Online pamphlets

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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The SWP: its crisis, its history, its politics

Documents and discussion relating to the IS/SWP tradition.
  • The SWP crisis of 2013
  • The SWP crisis of 2013: weblinks to all the main documents
  • The SWP and "Leninism": response to Alex Callinicos's "Is Leninism finished?"
  • Where will SWP opposition go? (comment on ISO-USA and Socialist Alternative)


  • Publications: 

    The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

    The political psychology of Irish Republicanism: Three events that made the IRA

    Author: 

    Sean Matgamna
    An overview of the political-ideological lineaments and history of Republicanism in 20th and early 21st century Ireland.



    “Ireland occupies a position among the nations of the earth unique... in the possession of what is known as a physical force party — a party, that is to say, whose members are united upon no one point, and agreed upon no single principle, except the use of physical force as the sole means of settling the dispute between the people of this country and the governing power of Great Britain..."

    James Connolly, Workers’ Republic, July 1899.

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    For or Against The Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba 1961: Max Shachtman Debates Hal Draper

    The dispute over attitudes to the "Bay of Pigs" invasion was the first sharp break on a big world-political issue which separated the ageing Max Shachtman from long-time co-thinkers such as Hal Draper and Julius Jacobson.

    The dispute over attitudes to the "Bay of Pigs" invasion was the first sharp break on a big world-political issue which separated the ageing Max Shachtman from long-time co-thinkers such as Hal Draper and Julius Jacobson.

    This pamphlet, published by Draper in May 1961, presents the dispute.

    Click here to download pdf (which includes excerpts from the contemporary press not transcribed below, giving factual background on the invasion).

    Contents and note

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    Matt Merrigan on Ireland in Labor Action, 1955-7

    Matt Merrigan was a member of the small Irish Trotskyist group in the 1940s, and a socialist all his life. He eventually became president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and died in 2000.

    Matt Merrigan was a member of the small Irish Trotskyist group in the 1940s, and a socialist all his life. He eventually became president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and died in 2000. (Click here for a short biography.)

    In the mid-50s, for a while, he wrote reports on Ireland for Labor Action, the paper of the Independent Socialist League of Max Shachtman, Hal Draper, and others in the USA.

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    September 1939: Behind the Stalinazi pact

    Author: 

    Max Shachtman

    I: 5 September 1939

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

    Up to yesterday, it was the general belief that Stalin was moving heaven and earth in an earnest attempt to establish a “peace front” of the “democracies” against the “fascist aggressors”, especially against Fascist Germany.

    Behind the Stalinazi pact, Socialist Appeal, September 1939

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    The Euston Manifesto

    Author: 

    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”.

    The Euston Manifesto

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    The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

    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?

    Debate with Michael Foot

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    An Solas/Workers' Republic, 1966-8

    The activists of the Workers' Fight group (forerunners of AWL) in 1966-8 produced five issues of An Solas/ Workers' Republic, the theoretical journal of the Irish Workers' Group.

    The activists of the Workers' Fight group (forerunners of AWL) in 1966-8 also produced five issues of An Solas/ Workers' Republic, the theoretical journal of the Irish Workers' Group.

    The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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

    Author: 

    Sean Matgamna

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

    The Socialist Party operates as if the ideas of Marxism are fixed. Its bureaucratic sect structures prevent its members from discussing and learning from their own experiences.

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    The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

    Anarchism, Marxism, and polemic

    Martin Thomas’s article in Solidarity 3-195, “Working-class struggle and anarchism”, has prompted a long debate on our website. We print excerpts from two contributions and a reply to the debate by Martin Thomas. The original article and entire debate can be found here.


    The polemicists have invoked the Anarchist Federation as proof that my criticisms of anarchism in Solidarity 3/195 were unjust. Let’s see what the Anarchist Federation says.

    Its website recommends an interview with an AF member which says:

    Continuing the debate on the relation of anarchism to working-class struggle and Marxism.

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