Online pamphlets

September 1939: Behind the Stalinazi pact

Max Shachtman

I: 5 September 1939

The Hitler-Stalin pact is the most sensational news to come out of Moscow in many years.

The Euston Manifesto

Sean Matgamna

That’ll teach me to make silly jokes! A few issues back, in a fit of self-indulgent whimsy, I mocked some ex-comrades of ours who had abandoned socialist politics to enlist in George W Bush’s neo-conservative crusade to bring bourgeois democracy and American-style capitalism to Iraq. In a little skit, I had one of them confuse the Communist Manifesto with “the Bourgeois-Democratic Manifesto”.

Socialism and Democracy: democracy, direct action and the class struggle

Was advocating extra-parliamentary direct action to bring down the elected Thatcher government anti-democratic? Are 'by democratic means' and 'by parliamentary means' identical concepts?

Socialism and Democracy: Workers' Liberty special issue (no.17), January 1994

Download the pamphlet as a PDF:

  • Debate from 1982 between Michael Foot, then Labour Party leader, and John O'Mahony (Sean Matgamna), with a 1994 introduction
  • Appendices, including texts on socialism and democracy by James P Cannon, Max Shachtman, V I Lenin, and Hal Draper.

Read it online:
Introduction: Democracy, direct action, and the class struggle
Michael Foot: My kind of democracy (part 1)
Michael Foot: My kind of democracy (part 2)
John O'Mahony: Introduction
Chapter 1: Is Direct Action Against Thatcher Undemocratic?
Chapter 2: The Appeal to History
Chapter 3: The Scarecrow of Stalinism
Chapter 4: Superstition or Struggle?
Appendix 1. Labour Party: the sham of "one member, one vote" - John Bloxam and John O'Mahony
Appendix 2. PR, democracy, and socialism - John O'Mahony
Appendix 3. Marxism and democracy - James P Cannon
Appendix 4. The movement of the majority - James P Cannon
Appendix 5. 1917 was a democratic revolution - Max Shachtman
Appendix 6. Lenin on Democracy and Dictatorship
Appendix 7. Democracy in the Russian Revolution - Leon Trotsky (1918)
Appendix 8. An Eyewitness Account of the Russian Revolution - Hal Draper

Appendix 7 and appendix 8, included here, were not in the printed version of January 1994.

Libya, anti-imperialism, and the Socialist Party

Sean Matgamna

This is a copy-edited and slightly expanded version of the printed text.

Click here for the debate on Libya of which this is part.
Click here to download the printed Workers' Liberty supplement as pdf.
Click here to download the text, as slightly edited and expanded, in pdf format.

Libya, anti-imperialism, and the Socialist Party

Did Taaffe equate the Libyan rebels with the Nicaraguan contras?
Anything other than "absolute opposition" means support?
Intellectual hooliganism and AWL's "evasions"
What is more important in the situation than stopping massacre?

Bishop Taaffe and imperialism
What is the "anti-imperialist" programme in today's world?
From semi-colony to regional power
Taaffe's record as an anti-imperialist
The separation of AWL and the Socialist Party
Militant in the mid 1960s
How did we come to break with Militant? Anti-union laws
What is a Marxist perspective?
Peaceful revolution
Our general critique of Militant's politics
"We can't discuss what Grant and Taaffe can't reply to"

The US in Iraq and union freedoms
Socialists and the European Union
Toadying to Bob Crow
Ireland: why socialists must have a democratic programme
Conclusion: Pretension
Postscript: Militant and the Labour Party, 1969-87 - a strange symbiosis

Appendix: "An encounter with the shy Bishop Taaffe"
Appendix: "The Socialist Party and the workers"
Appendix: What We Are And What We Must Become: critique of Militant, written in 1966, which became the founding document of the AWL tendency
Appendix: The RSL (Militant) in the 1960s: a study of passivity: an account of how What We Are And What We Must Become came to be written, and the battle around its ideas.

The Socialist Party and the workers: “Every sect is religious”

Sean Matgamna

[This is a copy edited and slightly expanded version of the text in Solidarity.]

Commenting on Martin Thomas’s article “The Socialist Party’s working-class base”, Dave Osler wrote on our website: “In general, the article is a fair assessment of the history and politics of Militant/SP. But what it doesn’t mention is the class nature of the SP’s base, and that is important [...] As Marxists believe that the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class itself, I will freely admit to a grudging respect for the SP. So wrong on so many issues, but still..”

The Working Class Self-Education Movement: The League of the "Plebs"

Colin Waugh

In October 1908 industrial workers who were union-sponsored students at Ruskin College in Oxford founded what they called the League of the “Plebs”. Former students who had returned to their jobs as miners, railwayworkers, textile workers and engineers, supported them.