The reciprocal relation between boom and crisis in economy and the development of revolution is of great interest to us not only from the point of theory but above all practically.
Workers' Liberty 3/23: Debate on the unions and Labour Party
This is an excerpt from the founding document of the AWL tendency, "What We Are And What We Must Become", written in 1966 by Rachel Lever, Sean Matgamna, and Phil Semp.
This discussion article on Marxists and the Labour Party was written by Sean Matgamna in September 1976, at the end of a big political battle in the International-Communist League, forerunner of the AWL, in which attitudes to the Labour Party figured as one of the issues.
These are the main sections of the resolution on "Workers' Representation after Bournemouth" passed at the AWL conference in May 2008.
Historical references can never settle a question; but we can learn from history, for example from how Trotsky responded in previous circumstances when it was argued that social democratic parties had become so dead that the sheer weight of political disengagement and unresponsive leadership ruled out revival.
One of the dangers AWL faces - and into which some on the other side of this dispute have fallen - is that we conflate things that should be kept distinct.
Apart from a small few people AWL is agreed that in a general election we will say: "Vote Labour as fallback where there is no acceptable socialist candidate". Why? The Democrats in the USA are the choice of most unions. Despite that, we do not advocate a Democratic vote, and we do advocate a Labour vote.
Our procedure is based on the idea that Marxists develop and redevelop their expectations of what will or can happen within the frame of the big shaping objective events. When the economic, social, and political framework shifts, then we must reassess everything, including, here, the prospects for change in the union-Labour relationship.
After the defeat at the Bournemouth Labour Party conference of September 2007, which banned political motions to future conferences from unions and local Labour Parties, AWL began to propose a fallback option in addition to our basic line of pushing for the unions to fight within the Labour structures.
Over the last dozen years AWL has argued for activists to fight in the unions for those unions to raise the banner of revolt against New Labour, rally those who could be rallied to recreate the old, relatively open, Labour structures that Blair and Brown cemented over - and hive off the New Labour element.