Vladimir Lenin

The German workers' revolution of 1918/19 and why it was defeated

Submitted by dalcassian on 9 September, 2013 - 3:06

In January 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the two most prominent leaders of the German revolutionary movement, were savagely murdered in Berlin. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were victims of a wave of terror unleashed by the leaders of German Social Democracy in order to crush working-class revolution.

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The SWP and the Iran-Iraq war: the sudden shift to super-anti-imperialism

Submitted by dalcassian on 3 September, 2013 - 11:55

In 1988 the SWP suddenly became very 'anti-imperialist'. It became a loud cheerleader for what it sees as progressive or revolutionary nationalisms.

It still talks of socialism and class struggle, but now these are proposed as merely the best means to secure the greater nationalist end. It fiercely supports Iraq in the Gulf War. It insists fanatically that it is not even worth thinking about an appeal to the Israeli working class, that Israel must be destroyed, and that a 'two-state' solution in Palestine is worthless even as an interim measure.

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How Stalin destroyed communism

Submitted by Matthew on 15 May, 2013 - 7:18

70 years ago, on 22 May 1943, Stalin announced the formal shutting-down of the Communist International, the association of revolutionary socialist parties across the world set up after the Russian Revolution.

Although Moscow retained close control of the Communist Parties until the 1960s, the shutting-down was a symbolic disavowal of socialist revolution. This is how socialists commented at the time.

He long ago destroyed it as an instrument of socialism!

By Albert Gates (Al Glotzer)

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In memory of the Commune

Submitted by Matthew on 18 April, 2013 - 8:49

Forty years have passed since the proclamation of the Paris Commune. In accordance with tradition, the French workers paid homage to the memory of the men and women of the revolution of March 18, 1871, by meetings and demonstrations. At the end of May they will again place wreaths on the graves of the Communards who were shot, the victims of the terrible “May Week”, and over their graves they will once more vow to fight untiringly until their ideas have triumphed and the cause they bequeathed has been fully achieved.

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The Marxists on oppression

Submitted by Matthew on 10 April, 2013 - 10:30

The fourth part of a review article looking at the themes of John Riddell’s new book of documents from the early communist movement.

The week Paul Hampton looks at how they debated women’s liberation and other issues of oppression.

The early Communist International’s focus was on working class self-liberation and this was reflected in the time spent on discussions on party building, work to transform the labour movement and on the specifics of class struggle strategy.

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The SWP and "Leninism"

Submitted by martin on 30 January, 2013 - 10:20

The Central Committee (CC) of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has changed its line. For the first while after the SWP's unhappy conference on 4-6 January, the CC said that the conference had decided the controversial issues. The case was closed, SWP members were instructed to think and talk about other things, and, as for non-SWPers, it was none of their business.


Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 12:49

“We must not forget that even if we are centralists, we are democratic centralists who employ centralism only for the revolutionary cause and not in the name of the ‘prestige’ of the officials. Whoever is acquainted with the history of the Bolshevik Party knows what a broad autonomy the local organizations always enjoyed; they issued their own papers, in which they openly and sharply, whenever they found it necessary, criticized the actions of the Central Committee. Had the Central Committee, in case of principled differences, attempted to disperse the local organizations or to deprive them of literature (their bread and water) before the party had an opportunity to express itself—such a central committee would have made itself impossible. Naturally, as soon as it became necessary, the Bolshevik Central Committee could give orders. But subordination to the committee was possible only because the absolute loyalty of the Central Committee toward every member of the party was well known, as well as the constant readiness of the leadership to hand over every serious dispute for consideration by the party. And, finally, what is most important, the Central Committee possessed extraordinary theoretical and political authority, gained gradually in the course of years, not by commands, not by beating down, but by correct leadership, proved by deeds in great events and struggles.”

(The Crisis in the German Left Opposition, February 1931, Writings, 1930-31, p. 155)

Submitted by Liam Conway on Mon, 02/11/2013 - 23:30

In the book One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (May 1904), an interesting footnote appears partly in relation to Lenin's attempt to persuade his opponents in the Martov group to stay in the party at the 1903 Party Conference. He recalls a conversation with a delegate at the Conference. It is in stark contrast to my experience of the SWP who, at NUT Conference for example, will close down debate, not because "the question has been settled" but because they fear the arguments or are too lazy to engage in them. If there is to be a Leninism let it be based on the living, breathing agitational Lenin, not the lifeless relic preserved by Stalin that appears to haunt the entire left today.

“How oppressive the atmosphere is at our Congress!” he complained. “This bitter fighting, this agitation one against the other, this biting controversy, this uncomradely attitude! . . .” “What a splendid thing our Congress is!” I replied. “A free and open struggle. Opinions have been stated. The shades have been revealed. The groups have taken shape. Hands have been raised. A decision has been taken. A stage has been passed. Forward! That’s the stuff for me! That’s life! That’s not like the endless, tedious word-chopping of your intellectuals, which stops not because the question has been settled, but because they are too tired to talk any more....”

The comrade of the “Centre” stared at me in perplexity and shrugged his shoulders. We were talking different languages.

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Marx and Lenin on press freedom

Submitted by martin on 11 December, 2012 - 10:44

Marx analysed the problem of a free press thoroughly in two long essays which are to be found in the first volume of the collected edition of his works.

For Marx “the right to think and speak the truth” was an elementary human right and freedom of the press — as he said — merely “human freedom in practice”. Marx recognized that human freedom is made up of a complex of interdependent freedoms.

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