Marxism and trade unionism

What is the “social strike”?

Submitted by Matthew on 8 March, 2017 - 11:02 Author: Daniel Randall

Recent strikes by “gig economy” workers (e.g. Deliveroo) are profoundly significant. They explode the myth, peddled by some on both left and right, that so-called precarious workers can’t organise, and that the proliferation of those types of work is in the process of rendering labour organising historically redundant.

Further debate on the "social strike" and workplace organisation

Submitted by AWL on 12 September, 2016 - 2:15 Author: Daniel Randall

Cautiously Pessimistic's[1] thoughtful reply to my critique of Plan C's "social strike perspective" is very welcome. Many of its themes were telegraphed in an exchanged of comments between me and Cautiously on the AWL website, under my original article (click the link above and scroll to the bottom). I'll try to focus here on issues I haven't already responded to.

On the "social strike": a response to Plan C

Submitted by AWL on 26 August, 2016 - 9:57 Author: Daniel Randall

For a response to this article by the anarchist blogger "Cautiously Pessimistic", click here.

For a further response from Daniel Randall, click here.

Plan C comrades have told us they also plan a collective response, which we will link to once it is published.

Democracy, direct action, and socialism

Submitted by Gemma_S on 24 June, 2016 - 10:53

There are decisive turning points in history that shape the future for many years ahead. The British labour movement was brought to such a turning point by the victory of the Thatcherite Tories in the 1979 general election and the events that came after it. The defeat of the labour movement then shaped the social, political, and ethical world we live in now. Was that defeat unavoidable? The revolutionary left argued then that it wasn’t: that if we mobilised our strength we could defeat Thatcher, as we had defeated her Tory predecessors in 1972-4.

Ellen Meiskins Wood (1942-2016): a Marxist who put class centre

Submitted by Matthew on 20 January, 2016 - 11:59 Author: Andrew Coates

Ellen Meiksins Wood, who has died aged 73, was a noted intellectual figure on the international left who influenced several generations of thinkers and activists.

Born in New York as Ellen Meiksins one year after her parents, Latvian Jews active in the Bund, arrived as political refugees, Wood studied in California before establishing herself as an academic in Canada, based at York University in Toronto.

Her writings were thought-provoking and luminous.

The old new

Submitted by AWL on 9 June, 2015 - 4:42

Unlike many who emphasise the novelty of any given period, and insist that some innovative new approach must be adopted, John Cunningham (“It is not ‘business as usual for the left”, Solidarity 366, 3 June 2015) at least has the honesty to admit that he doesn’t know what that new approach is. “I take no pleasure from the comments I make here”, John says, “as I have no alternative to offer.” Honest, but nevertheless frustrating.

Marxism at Work: What are Trade Unions?

Submitted by Tubeworker on 18 November, 2014 - 9:25

In the day to day functioning of capitalist society, workers are exploited. On an individual basis workers are weak and cannot fight back against the bosses so we have formed trades unions – organisations where workers combine together to fight for better conditions.  

Workers have common interests – better pay, better working conditions – around which we can unite in trades unions.  The only power we have is in our numbers, we are strong together.

1864: the First International

Submitted by AWL on 23 September, 2014 - 5:54 Author: Michael Johnson

A hundred and fifty years ago, on 28 September 1864, the working-class movement took a huge step forward with the founding of the International Working Men’s Association.

A meeting at the St Martin’s Hall in London brought together radical and socialist delegates from around Europe, to set up the organisation which would become known as “The First International”.