For equality, against bigotry

1919 - The fight for working women's rights

Published on: Sun, 14/04/2019 - 20:59

Janine Booth

1918 had ended with British women voting in a general election for the first time ever. But it was only those aged 30 or over and who met a property qualification who could vote.

That general election saw the first woman elected, but the successful candidate, Constance Markiewicz (pictured), refused to take her seat in the British Parliament that she and her Sinn Fein colleagues did not recognise as legitimate. Instead, Constance became Minister of Labour in the Dail Eireann, the first female Cabinet minister in Europe.

The Labour Party pushed for extension of women’s rights, and in March

How not to criticise religion

Published on: Tue, 14/08/2018 - 16:57

Daniel Randall

Tory politician Boris Johnson has provoked a scandal by writing, in a Daily Telegraph article opposing Denmark's ban on Islamic face veils, that women who wear them“look like bank robbers” and “letter boxes”. There have been calls from within his own party for disciplinary action to be taken against him, with many arguing (fairly, on the evidence) that his comments are expressive of a deep seam of anti-Muslim bigotry in the Tory party. Others have defended Johnson with claims that he was simply defending “liberal values”, and that the right to criticise religion and religious practise must be

Far-right humiliated in Cambridge

Published on: Mon, 23/07/2018 - 11:10

a Cambridge Workers' Liberty member

On 21 July 2018, a demo called by supporters of English Defence League co-founder and far-right activist Tommy Robinson ended quickly in humiliation. In sharp contrast to the thousands of Robinson supporters on the streets of London the Saturday before, the Cambridge ‘Free Tommy’ demo had a turnout of 35 at most.

Opposing the far-right were two counter-demonstrations that joined forces on a different corner of Parker’s Piece to the ‘Free Tommy’ demo: one called by Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF), and another called by Cambridge University Students’ Union BME Campaign,

Nationalism and patriotism are dead ends for the left

Published on: Thu, 21/06/2018 - 11:52

Ben Tausz and Sacha Ismail

The call to embrace patriotism is one heard over and over on the left. Particularly in the wake of Brexit and when the far-right is resurgent, many seek some way to ride the tide of nationalist sentiments. But for class-struggle socialists, the project of left-wing nationalism can only ever be politically incoherent and strategically a dead-end.

Advocates of British left-nationalism (and English - see below) often draw on the freedom-fighting histories of heroic movements like the Chartists and suffragettes. But this requires assuming there was something particularly British in what

Equal rights for migrants!

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2018 - 12:03


The unfolding scandal of the denial of health and social care to the now-aged children of the Windrush is a warning sign.
It shows the sharp end of government racism, and the immense store of racist malice that the British ruling class is capable of unleashing on any group of foreign-born people it chooses. It is the fruit of years of right wing demagogy, in the press and in government, against migrants.

However, it is only the tip of the iceberg — and unless the left and the labour movement rally to defeat the Tory government and Brexit, more is to come.

It was in 2012 when then-Home

Protest Trump on 14 July

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2018 - 11:15

Michael Elms

In January 2018, US President Donald Trump cancelled a planned trip to the UK.

His stated reason was that the famously unsuccessful realtor didn’t fancy the “off-location” US Embassy. But the real reason was almost certainly that Trump wanted to duck the huge wave of protest that anyone could see would meet any visit. The racist, authoritarian and climate-change-denying policies of the Trump administration stoked a storm of indignation and a series of huge rallies at the very suggestion of his visit.

In mid-April 2018, Trump announced a new trip to the UK, for a “working meeting” with Theresa

How the ground was laid for Enoch Powell

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2018 - 11:09

Matt Cooper

Last week saw the fiftieth anniversary of Enoch Powell’s “River of Blood” speech”.

The contents of the speech are well known, arguing that black and Asian people were an immutable and alien pollutant in Britain and that immigration should be stopped and reversed through repatriation.

The speech’s classicism sounds odd today, but it was a highly functional mask of over-educated respectability which barely concealed its main content — vernacular racism. Powell alternated between allusions to ancient Greek history and vox populi stories purportedly from people in his constituency. These stories

Tensions rise amid anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2018 - 17:46

Rohan Fernando

A state of emergency declared on 6 March to try to rein in the spread of communal violence in Kandy, Sri Lanka was finally lifted on the 18 March.

The violence was sparked by the death of a Sinhalese man, allegedly after being beaten by a group of Muslim men.
Muslim-owned homes and businesses were attacked in a series of revenge attacks, with violence escalating further when two hardline Buddhist monks arrived to negotiate the release from police custody of accused rioters.

With police unable to contain the riots, Maithripala Sirisena’s government declared a state of emergency, for the first

Secularism is a women's issue: an interview with Marieme Helie-Lucas

Published on: Sun, 04/02/2018 - 19:00

Andy Heintz

Marieme Helie Lucas is an Algerian sociologist and the founder and former International Coordinator of the “Women Living Under Muslim Laws” international solidarity organization. Helie Lucas also is the founder of “Secularism is a Women’s Issue.” Helie Lucas has long been a critic of Western human rights organizations’ sole focus on the crimes of the state as opposed to the crimes of non-state actors. She is a fierce champion of secularism in governance and a harsh critic of all forms of religious fundamentalism. She was previously interviewed by Workers’ Liberty here.

This interview was

2018 day schools: Marxism, national questions, and nationalisms

Published on: Mon, 25/12/2017 - 20:18

Marxism, national questions, and nationalisms

Selected reading (fuller list below):


1. Basics from our tradition: the Marxist debates on the national question before 1914

2. How Orthodox Trotskyism skewed the tradition

4. Ireland

5. Israel-Palestine

6. Catalonia and the "Norwegian way"


Trotsky's summary of the Bolsheviks and pre-1914 socialist debates on the national question -

Lenin - The Right of Nations to Self-Determination (1913: his longest summing-up text on the issue

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