Online pamphlets

Hal Draper: An Eye-Witness Account of the Russian Revolution

Author: 

Hal Draper

The Russian revolution was the most important event of the 20th century.

It was the most important event in the entire history of the working class. The working class took and held power in territory that covered one sixth of the globe.

That working class power was overthrown in the early-mid 1920s by the Stalinist counter-revolution, which though continuing to call itself "communist" and "working class" put in a brutal and savage state bureaucracy as a new ruling class over the working people.

An account by I N Steinberg, a political opponent of the Bolsheviks, here summarised by Draper, shows that the 1917 upheaval was not a conspiracy but a real people’s revolution.

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AWL: what we are, what we do and why we do it

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Over a period of two centuries and more, humankind has made tremendous strides in developing its power to control nature and, in terms of medicine and surgery in all their aspects, over itself. But we have proved as yet unable to break through into the higher stage of civilisation whose objective preconditions have long existed - the stage characterised by rational, human control over our society, and over nature, by a harmonious relationship with the eco-system on which everything depends.

We are still at the mercy of irrational social and political forces, even while our power to tame the irrational forces of nature, at whose mercy humankind has been throughout its existence, reaches an amazing and still increasing capacity.

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The Levellers and Oliver Cromwell

Author: 

CLR James
On January 30, 1649, Cromwell and his officers executed Charles I. But the Levelers, leading the common people of London and the rank and file of the army, rose against the military government...

On January 30, 1649, Cromwell and his officers executed Charles I. But the Levelers, leading the common people of London and the rank and file of the army, rose against the military government, demanding the election of a new parliament based on manhood suffrage, and advocating a social program which showed that for them the revolution had. not ended but had just begun. A military revolt broke out in May. Fairfax and Cromwell took the field against the rebellion in person; the revolutionaries had to be struck down before they could make contact with other regiments.

The life and death of Henk Sneevliet, Dutch Internationalist

W L Introduction:
Leon Trotsky once said that the small revolutionary movement he led was like the apex of an inverted social pyramid, upon which the whole weight of capitalist society pressed down. Hounded and murdered by fascists and Stalinists, the Trotskyists suffered terrible casualties during and immediately after the Second World War, all across Europe, from France to Greece. The politics of independent working class socialism, which the Trotskyists represented, was everywhere defeated.

Tributes to the memory of Henk Sneevliet, founder of the Indonesian Communist Party, by Max Shachtman and by an unknown fellow-prisoner of Sneevliet when he was captured and killed by the Nazis in World War 2

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Richard Franklin Pettigrew and the Fight Between Democracy and Plutocracy in the USA

Author: 

George Novack
The real traditions of plebeian democracy in the United States, since the Civil War, have been bound up with mass struggles against Big Business. Many anti-monopolist battles have been waged under the banner of democracy by movements and individuals apart from the tendencies inspired and guided by Marxism.

Recent converts to capitalist “free enterprise” glorify this system of robber rule as the foundation of American democracy. However, the real traditions of plebeian democracy in the United States, especially since the Civil War, have been bound up with the mass struggles against Big Business. Many anti-monopolist battles have been waged under the banner of democracy by movements and individuals apart from the tendencies inspired and guided by Marxism.

Leon Lesoil, Trotskyist Martyr

Author: 

Parti Communiste Revolutionnaire (Belgium, 1945)
The story of the life of Leon Lesoil, Belgian Trotskyist martyr.

Son of a worker, a worker himself from the age of 13, Leon Lesoil awakened to a political life during the First World War. Caught up by the wave of patriotism and chauvinism that swept over Belgium after the German invasion, he enlisted in August 1914 in the sincere belief that the war was in defense of Justice, a “war to end all wars.”

Woodrow Wilson and Bolshevism: What the Peacemakers did to Europe

Author: 

Sherry Mangan
Woodrow Wilson and Bolshevism: What the Peacemakers did to Europe. A Marxist account of the last phaze of World War One and what happened after the war by Sherry Mangan

“If America had not turned her back upon the world ...” The Wilson Day speeches last December were built around this theme: that what “lost the peace” and started Europe on the path to fascism and the Second World War was the fact that America became “isolationist” and rejected Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations. The corollary theme is: this time a real world-wide organization of the United Nations will enforce democracy, outlaw war, and sprinkle benevolent pints of milk over a “better world.”

The Last Time We Were Heresy Hunted

Author: 

Sean Matgamna
A 4 part account of the mid-1980s campaign against AWL's predecessor, Socialist Organiser, by the WRP.

In 1981, the actress Vanessa Redgrave, acting on behalf of the Workers' Revolutionary Party of Gerry Healy, of which she was then the best-known member, sued Sean Matgamna and John Bloxam for libel over things Matgamna had written about the WRP in Socialist Organiser (forerunner of Solidarity) and Bloxam had repeated in a circular letter to the paper's supporters.

The WRP embroiled us in expensive and potentially ruinous legal processes for four and a half years, until it collapsed in 1985 and the case was dropped.

Revolutionary Unionism

Author: 

E. V. Debs, 5 times Socialist candidate for the Presidency of the USA
Eugene Debs's great speech for revolutionary industrial Unionism - Chicago, November 1905

The unity of labor, economic and political, upon the basis of the class struggle, is at this time the supreme need of the working class. The prevailing lack of unity implies lack of class consciousness; that is to say, enlightened self-interest; and this can, must and will be overcome by revolutionary education and organization. Experience, long, painful and dearly bought, has taught some of us that craft division is fatal to class unity. To accomplish its mission the working class must be united.

Provos, Protestants, and working-class politics

Provos, Protestants, and working-class politics: an imaginary dialogue, by Sean Matgamna. (1986 text plus a 2007 introduction)

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The 1983 debate in Socialist Organiser, plus 1986 introduction and background briefing pages: download pdf.

Provos, Protestants, and working-class politics: an imaginary dialogue (1986, plus a 2007 introduction); the debate in Socialist Organiser, 1983

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