Online pamphlets

“Revolutionary nationalism”, in 1920 and today

The Theses on the National and Colonial Question of the Second Congress of the Communist International, which met in July-August 1920, are one of the most important documents of revolutionary socialism. We reprint this text over on page 16. They were drafted by Lenin and amended in important respects by the Congress.

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Communist International 1920 Theses on the national and colonial question

1. An abstract or formal conception of the question of equality in general and national equality in particular is characteristic of the bourgeois democracy by its very nature. Under the pretence of the equality of the human person in general, bourgeois democracy proclaims the formal legal equality of the proprietor and the proletarian, of the exploiter and the exploited, and thus deceives the oppressed classes in the highest degree.

Communist International 1920 Theses on the national and colonial question

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Trotsky on the national question

By Leon Trotsky
Note:
Leon Trotsky was murdered by an agent of the Stalinist USSR in August 1940. Leon Trotsky was a great defender of the traditions pursued by the Bolshevik Party when they made a revolution in Russia in 1917. One of the Bolshevik’s great contributions to socialist ideas was their approach to the national question.

Trotsky on trhe national question and the politics of the Bolsheviks on national questions.

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CND: The CP steward, the priest, and the political banner

Author: 

Peter Fryer, Brian Pearce, and others

From Tribune 27 June 1958

Peter fryer: “stopped from marching”

Some most unfortunate incidents marred last Sunday’s demonstration organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Members of the Labour Party, including many who had come down specially from the provinces, were marching behind the Newsletter’s banner, which bore the slogan “Industrial action — black the H-bomb and the rocket bases” and were shouting the slogan “No work on H-bombs, no work on rocket bases.”

CND: The CP steward, the priest, and the political banner

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German socialist women’s movement - Self-organisation and class unity

During the nineteenth century, the emerging workers’ movement began to develop its policy on the “woman question”. Some of the early, “utopian” socialists argued strongly for women’s liberation. Ferdinand Lassalle led the “proletarian anti-feminists”, opposing votes for women and urging male workers to strike against women’s entry into industrial labour. Marx and Engels opposed Lassalle, arguing that women’s work was a step forward, a precondition for liberation.

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Cliff's state capitalism in perspective: The "Russian Question" in Britain in the 1940s

"I will argue that, on the level of Marxist theory, Cliff's position is an inorganic hybrid of post-Trotsky 'degenerated workers' state' theory and 'bureaucratic collectivism', and its implications and perspectives have most of the faults of post-Trotsky degenerated workers' state theory."

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The origins of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty: the thirteen basic questions

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

The origins of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty: the thirteen questions
(This is an expanded version of the text in Workers Liberty 3/26)

The political tendency now organised as AWL originates from Workers’ Fight, a small Trotskyist group formed in 1966. Why, and how?

Workers’ Fight came into existence as a distinct tendency in response to two linked “crises”.

In 2009, Sean Matgamna, a founder of the AWL political tendency, marked 50 years in revolutionary politics. In this article, he discusses the background to the decision by him and two comrades to launch the Workers’ Fight group, forerunner of the AWL, in 1966.

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Afghanistan, Marxism, And The Shape Of The 20th Century

In this study in depth, Sean Matgamna examines the political and social history of Afghanistan, especially in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century, and what the experience of Stalinism there, the 1978 Stalinist-Armed Forces Revolution and then the Russian invasion, tells us about Stalinism in history. Click here to read the article.

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The New Anglo-Irish Treaty (1987)

A Workers' Liberty pamphlet analysing the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 and its sequels, with a debate from the time between us and Sinn Fein.

Click here to download pdf.

New Anglo Irish Treaty

A Workers' Liberty pamphlet analysing the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 and its sequels, with a debate from the time between us and Sinn Fein

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60 propositions on the "Irish Question": a challenge to the left [1997]

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Ireland is one of the most important issues facing the British labour movement. For a quarter of a century the Six Counties of north-east Ulster have been in a state of latent, and sometimes open, civil war.

In all this time, the left in Britain has been able to do nothing to help our working-class brothers and sisters, the majority of the people in both the Catholic and the Protestant communities, find a way out of the bloody cul-de-sac into which sectarianism, the conflict of national identities and an irrational partition have forced them.

Here, in 60 simple, basic, plain propositions, we set out our view of the "Irish problem" as a challenge to a left that has never understood the issues, seeing a national liberation struggle where there is communal strife and the prospect of sectarian civil war.

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The 7 periods in the formation of the SWP (WL 3/38)

Myths and truths about the history and basic ideas of the SWP and its forerunners.

This pamphlet covers the pre-history of the SWP in the Socialist Review and IS groups of the 1950s and 1960s, and the period between 1968 and the late 1970s in which the essentials of today's SWP were formed. Written by one of the very few members of the IS National Committee of 1968-71 still active, it dispels myths and identifies some of the deep-set roots of the SWP's current troubles.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The SWP: some fundamental questions

Author: 

Paul Hampton/Mike Kyriazopoulos/Sean Matgamna/James Ryan/Martin Thomas/Tom Unterrainer
A collection of 24 articles by members of AWL or its predecessor organisations on some basic questions of SWP theory, history, politics and people. SWP members perplexed by the recent history of that organisation will find the root explanation for the organisation's zig-zags explored in the articles collected here.

A collection of 24 articles by members of AWL or its predecessor organisations on some basic questions of SWP theory, history, politics and people.

IS (SWP), Tony Cliff and the Question of the "Revolutionary Party"

Lenin

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

[1969]

From 1969, a criticism of the "IS" approach to party-building in the 1960s - which has flipped into a sort of mirror-image administrative centralism in the SWP of today - and a restatement of a Leninist alternative.

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