SWP

The SWP / IS tradition

The Crisis in the SWP: The Formation of the SWP: Report of a Participant. Workers' Liberty 3/38

The Paradoxes of Tony Cliff, 1917-2000: A Critical Memoir

Cliff

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

"The miners' strike is an extreme example of what we in the Socialist Workers Party have called the 'downturn' in the movement."

Tony Cliff, Socialist Worker, 14th April 1984

Examining the legacy of Tony Cliff, the chief leader of the Socialist Workers' Party in Britain until his death in 2000.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

AWL versus SWP

Material for an AWL day school, November/ December 2005, and other stuff on the political differences between AWL and SWP.

Download all the stuff for the dayschool as pdf (570 Kb), or read individual items below.

"AWL vs SWP" day school, November/ December 2005

Discussion points for the day school

1. Transitional programme vs fake ultra-leftism

Material for an AWL day school, November/ December 2005, and other stuff on the political differences between AWL and SWP.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Lessons from Birmingham

Author: 

Liam Conway, NUT Exec member (pc)

There have been two reports into Birmingham schools; one commissioned by Birmingham Council, written by Ian Kershaw, a former Head Teacher from Coventry, the other by Peter Clarke, former counter-terrorism chief at the Met.

It is not enough to put a cross wherever the Government puts a tick. We have to actually dirty our hands and find out honestly what is going on in Birmingham schools.

Publications: 

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Bad for USA, automatically good for us?

Since about 1987, and until recently, the standard SWP line has been to support any force clashing with the USA as “anti-imperialist”.

The battles in Syria since 2011 have put that line into question; and the current clash between ISIS on one side, and the US, Iranian, Syrian, and Iraqi governments on the other, even more so. The SWP does not back ISIS.

The SWP and “anti-imperialism”.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Cliff on Substitutionism

Twenty years ago Trotsky was assassinated. The best tribute one can pay to this great revolutionary, who so despised all cant, would be a critical study of some of his ideas. We offer the following study of one problem he so brilliantly posed as a very young man, a problem that plagued him for the rest of his life, and that is still with us: the problem of the relation between party and class, and the danger of the former substituting for the latter.

From Workers' Fight 1

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Right and left on Iraq

The right and Iraq

The USA and most other big-power governments (including China, which has huge oil interests in Iraq) have followed a Saudi call for “a national conciliation government” in Iraq.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia has confined itself to saying: “We warned long ago that the affair that the Americans and the Britons stirred up there [in Iraq] wouldn’t end well”.

The US has got a pledge from Maliki to form a new government by 1 July, but may resign itself to Maliki heading it.

US policy worsened Sunni-Shia divisions in Iraq; the Maliki government has worsened them further.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

May elections

In the 22 May council elections, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is making a big effort to stand 561 candidates. In the European elections on the same day, No2EU will field 46 candidates in seven regions. The Left Unity group is standing only 12 council candidates across the country.

TUSC is an electoral alliance mainly of the Socialist Party and the leadership of the RMT union. It also involves the Independent Socialist Network and the Socialist Workers’ Party. Its platform is pretty much limited to opposing cuts.

Left candidates in local elections.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

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RS21 has its public launch

About 120 attended the political weekend organised by RS21, the most recent splinter from the SWP.

About 120 attended the Saturday of the political weekend organised on 29-30 March by RS21, the most recent splinter from the SWP. On Sunday there were 50 at the start, and 70 by the end. According to RS21 treasurer Ruth Lorimer, RS21 has about 200 members.

A few of us from AWL attended. There were also a few from ISN (the group which split from the SWP in early 2013), and of course people interested in or close to RS21 but not members. No other left groups chose to attend.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Teachers' dispute must escalate

Members of the National Union of Teachers will strike on Wednesday 26 March.

Talks with the Department of Education are ongoing, but the government has made it very clear that these talks will not deal with the issues at the heart of the teachers’ dispute. They will only discuss the implementation of policies, including the raising of the retirement age to 69, the end of final salary pensions, and the end of automatic annual pay progression.

Public campaigning, street stalls, rallies and meetings that the NUT has rightly been carrying out need to be backed up with a serious industrial strategy. This continues to be the only way to revive the dispute and give real hope to the tens of thousands of teachers who will strike on 26 March.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

The left in the miners' strike

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the great miners' strike. A new book by Workers’ Liberty, out this week, tells the story of how working-class communities fought a Tory ruling-class government. But how did the left conduct itself?

The Labour Party, led then by the former "soft left" Neil Kinnock, refused to indict the government and brand its activities for the vicious class war they were.

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the great miners' strike. A new book by Workers’ Liberty, out this week, tells the story of how working-class communities fought a Tory ruling-class government.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Defend free debate on campuses!

The campaign now spreading in some parts of the student movement for the SWP to be banned from campuses should be opposed. We should defend freedom of political expression and debate on campuses.

The form of “banning” varies: tipping over and physically destroying SWP stalls; insisting that SWP members either absent themselves from campaigns or agree to not have SWP materials on them; or banning the SWP from booking or using rooms in students’ unions.

The campaign now spreading in some parts of the student movement for the SWP to be banned from campuses should be opposed. We should defend freedom of political expression and debate on campuses.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Issues and Campaigns: 

“Third camp” or no camp?

Many responses from the left to the Ukraine crisis have ignored, sidestepped, or downplayed the right to self-determination of the Ukrainian people.

Many responses from the left to the Ukraine crisis have ignored, sidestepped, or downplayed the right to self-determination of the Ukrainian people.

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Expulsions, exclusions, and “punishments”

Some union branches which previously nominated SWP members as left candidates in union elections have not done so this year.

The motive is to register a protest against the SWP’s 18 months or so of crass mishandling of charges of sexual harassment and then rape against a leading organiser.

Some of those refusing to nominate explain that in the actual vote between an SWPer and a right-winger, they will vote for the SWPer. The refusal to nominate is intended as a gesture of reprimand.

Socialist Party and ISO exclude dissidents.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The SWP on industrial strategy: five three-quarter truths

Precariat

Five three-quarter truths, piled one on top of another to reach a conclusion, make a conclusion which is only three-quarters times three-quarters times... true. Or 24% true. Or three-quarters false.

Example: the SWP's current argument on "work, class, and resistance", as developed in a day school sponsored by the SWP's International Socialism Journal in London on 8 February.

The SWP enounces five three-quarter truths:

1. The working class is a whole. It is not two separate segments with a wall between. There is no separate "precariat" class.

A day school sponsored by the SWP's International Socialism Journal in London on 8 February debated perspectives for industrial struggle.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Class Struggle and Women's Liberation

Published in 1984, Tony Cliff’s book Class Struggle and Women’s Liberation set out the SWP’s theory on women’s oppression and how to fight it.

This was a couple of years after the SWP had shut down its inconveniently independent ‘Women’s Voice’ paper and organisation, and Cliff’s cliched tale of “good” revolutionaries putting the class struggle first and “bad” bourgeois/radical feminists was clearly aimed at members of his own party.

A critical review of Tony Cliff’s book Class Struggle and Women’s Liberation, which set out the SWP’s theory on women’s oppression and how to fight it.

Publications: 

Culture and Reviews: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Regrouping Cliffites? or six-way merger?

A call to activists quitting the SWP to discuss seriously with others on the left, including AWL.

A call to activists quitting the SWP to discuss seriously with others on the left, including AWL.


Dave Renton, one of the well-known figures in the new wave of people who have quit the SWP after its December 2013 conference (NWSQ for short), sets his aim for 2014 as "the regroupment of the best of the Cliffite diaspora, and then (with luck) contributing to that bolder, braver left of which we can be just a constituent part".

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Callinicos and the SWP: wrong on imperialism

At the Second Congress of the Communist International, in the debate on the national and colonial question, just after his book Imperialism had been translated into German and French, Lenin warned delegates they should “establish concrete facts and to proceed from concrete realities, not abstract postulates”.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Where now for the SWP opposition?

After the SWP's conference oppositionists quit, but where will they go and how should the rest of the left respond?

In the few days since the SWP's annual conference (13-15 December) there has been a flurry of public resignations by members of the Rebuilding the Party faction, including SWP old-timer Ian Birchall (here), the authorised biographer of SWP founder Tony Cliff.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

No to physical attacks on the SWP!

At least twice in early December, anarchist students at Sussex University have carried out physical attacks on Socialist Workers Party stalls.

Sussex Autonomous Students (sussexasn.tumblr.com) report: “A few days ago the SWP turned up to one of the Sussex 5 Solidarity demos. They brought a mass of placards and papers, which they proceeded to distribute from the obligatory stall. We binned their placards, turned over their stall and burnt their papers.”

Anarchist students at Sussex University have carried out physical attacks on Socialist Workers Party stalls.

Trade Unions: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Criticise the SWP, don't physically attack them!

This is slightly different from the version published in the printed paper.

At least twice in early December, anarchist students at Sussex University have carried out physical attacks on Socialist Workers Party stalls.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

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