Solidarity 059 ESF Extra, 7 October 2004

Against the Europhobes, against the Euro-capitalists. For a workers’ united Europe

By Sean Matgamna

There are two basic lines of possible working class policy in relation to the European Union.

The first advocates building on what the bourgeoisie has created and uniting the working class across the EU to fight the bourgeoisie for democratic and social reform and, in the course of doing that, building towards socialist transformation by working-class revolution on a European scale.

Such an approach does not imply backing what the dominant capitalists and their servants do, or the way that they do it.

Around the world: 

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The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty: what we are, why you should join us

By Daniel Randall

Solidarity is published by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, AWL. The first thing the AWL stands for is the idea of socialists being organised. We believe that individual socialists, no matter how right their politics or good their intentions, can never be as effective as an organised, educated, activist socialist group.

In the last hundred years, at many times, in many countries, the absence or slackness of socialist organisation has meant revolutionary openings missed, and counter-revolutionary outcomes imposed.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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The Blairite Ken

The Greater London Authority and Ken Livingstone are supporting the London ESF. A demonstration of the progressive politics of the London Mayor perhaps? Not quite. John Bloxam examines his record.

In June this year Livingstone intervened into a pay dispute on the London Underground to say that members of the RMT union should cross picket lines. He was urging people to scab. This is a disgrace, but one that comes on top of many other disgraces.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Help build No Sweat!

By Mick Duncan

No Sweat, the British anti-sweatshop campaign, began life as a national network a little under three years ago. During those three years the organisation has extended the breadth and scale of its work, which has included drives against sweatshop bosses abroad and in the UK.

Five national trade unions and the National Union of Students are now affiliated and No Sweat continues to grow, week by week.

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Solidarity with Iraqi workers!

By Martin Thomas

Iraq has a growing new labour movement — independent trade unions, unemployed movements, women’s organisations, and working-class political parties.

In oilfields, oil refineries, the railways, factories, and elsewhere, workers have organised trade unions and sometimes won victories by removing Ba’thist managers or improving wages.

Different strands in the Iraqi labour movement have sharp political differences between themselves. But all the main groups agree on two points:

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An A-Z of the “global justice” movement

A is for ATTAC

The biggest “movement for another globalisation” in France, which has a large international network. It has a considerable overlap with official politics, for example in the French Socialist Party. But some revolutionaries are active within it.

ATTAC France was launched in June 1998, following a call for an “Association for the Tobin Tax for Aid to Citizens” in the December 1997 issue of the magazine Le Monde Diplomatique. It now has more than 30,000 members, and other national ATTAC groups tens of thousands. For Tobin Tax, see T, below.

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Our sort of revolution

By Mark Osborn

How can exhausted, downtrodden workers, bombarded with prejudices, come to see their place in the world as part of a revolutionary class? Or will better-off workers always see their interest in getting what they can out of the system, and will worse-off workers always be helpless objects for charity and welfare?

These questions were answered in practice in France in May 1968. In April 1968 many people were still saying that the working class had been irrevocably tamed. By June they were eating their words.

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Socialism versus Stalinism

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John O'Mahony

In 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, we went on the streets with the headline: “Stand up for socialism”, and the strapline: “Stalinism was the opposite of socialism”.

A common response, gleeful or sad, was: “Socialism is dead, darling!”

But for years and decades before 1991, we had championed the underground workers’ movements and the oppressed nationalities in the Stalinist states. We had waged war on the idea — which used to be held by many in the labour movement — that states like the USSR, China, or Cuba were socialist in any sense or in any degree.

Socialism after the collapse of the USSR.

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ESF rogues' gallery - The SWP and George Galloway

The Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) is the biggest left group in Britain. Earlier this year the SWP and some other socialists put a big effort into a Respect election campaign for the European Parliament (held on 10 June). The election campaign was organised around the politics and personality of George Galloway MP, a figure who will be prominent at the ESF. But was it left-wing? Does George Galloway deserve to be a hero of the left? Does the SWP’s self-submergence in Respect help socialist and anti-capitalist politics? Colin Foster says no.

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