Battle of Ideas

Karl Marx and Uyghur solidarity

On Tuesday 5 May the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign will coordinate a second wave of online protests against high-street companies whose suppliers used forced Uyghur labour in China. For those who don’t know, the Uyghurs are an ethnic group whose nation, East Turkestan, is held under Chinese control and ruled as ‘Xinjiang’ province (literally ‘New Frontier’).

Last time the target of the protests was Apple – this time, Gap.

Lenin on war economy and socialism

World War One, like the Covid-19 pandemic, pushed capitalist governments into "socialistic" measures of public control of economic life.

World War Two would do so even more. And by then governments in Britain and the USA, having to deal with stronger labour movements and sorely remembering the revolutionary tumults at the end of and after World War One, conceded a stronger "social" element and more liberties in their state control of economic life.

Socialism and science fiction

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash


The simple connection between socialism and science fiction is that sci-fi imagines alternatives to the status quo. Frequently, this involves implicitly critiquing our present society or projecting possible outcomes of existing social trends. More to the point, sci-fi tends to imagine change at the level of the entire human species, such as by envisaging how humanity will evolve socially through the application of scientific inventions and discoveries.

Robert Fine's "Cosmopolitanism"

The sociologist Robert Fine, who was a long-time sympathiser and sometime activist with Workers’ Liberty, passed away on 9 June 2018 at the age of 72.

As our series of book reviews to commemorate his life illustrates, Fine dedicated his scholarship to many far-reaching topics in social and political theory. These topics include the rule of law, the anti-apartheid movement and independent trade unions in South Africa, racism and antisemitism, and the political thought of GWF Hegel, Karl Marx, and Hannah Arendt.

The story of the Polish workers

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Solidarność (Solidarity), the Polish independent trade union, at what was then the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk. Solidarność both emerged from and provided the organisational infrastructure for the mass strikes of August 1980.

This intense period of struggle thrust strike leaders like Lech Wałęsa and Anna Walentynowicz into the international limelight. With the signing of the Gdańsk Agreement on 31 August 1980, Solidarność became the first independent union to be recognised by a Warsaw Pact country.

Three decades of Socialist Worker on antisemitism

When Sunderland Polytechnic Students Union (SPSU) banned a campus Jewish Society in 1985, Socialist Worker (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party) rallied to its defence.

The SPSU was “quite clearly not racist. … One thing is clear – they are not racists, unlike the Zionists who oppose them.” (SW/928)

Socialist Worker conceded in passing that “it can be argued whether the SPSU was tactically wise to ban the Zionists.” But the ban itself was not criticised. In fact, the paper uncritically quoted the SPSU Treasurer’s rationale for the ban:

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