Labour Party history

Editorials - February 1995

Editorial comments on Blair's "modernisation" project in the Labour Party and the peace process in Northern Ireland. Click here to download article as pdf. Article continues on page 5.

John Archer: black pioneer of labour politics

Painting of John Archer which hangs in Liverpool Town Hall. It contains many important details about Archer. The paper is The Crisis, edited by W E B Du Bois “My election tonight marks a new era. You have made history tonight. For the first time in the history of the English nation, a man of colour has been elected as mayor of an English borough… That news will go forth to all the coloured nations of the world and they will look at Battersea, and say it is the greatest thing you have done” – John Archer, 1913 In January, Workers' Liberty published a pamphlet on Shapurji Saklatvala, the...

Poplar rates rebellion centenary: ten lessons for today

It is the centenary year of the Poplar council rates rebellion, an inspiring victory in London’s east end rich with lessons for today. At the time the rebellion took place, just after the first world war, the London Borough of Poplar comprised the dockland area in the big bend in the River Thames (Poplar) and an area of similar size to its north (Bow). A quarter of its people lived in (official) poverty, 83 of every thousand of its babies died, and over thirty thousand people lived in overcrowded housing. It had a tradition of working-class organisation and action. The east end was the centre...

The US left and Trump: replying to debate

Thomas Carolan did make a British analogy for what socialists can do now in the USA in relation to the Democrats. But it was not with the Labour Party! It was with the Liberal Party in the late 19th century.

Women of the Poplar rebellion

Our story is set just after the first world war in Poplar, an east London borough with a population of 160,000 people crammed into the docklands in the bend of the River Thames (Poplar) and the area just north of it (Bow). It was an impoverished and exclusively working-class area, which had suffered greatly during the ‘Great War’. Working-class women juggled low-waged work with domestic chores, contending with overcrowded housing, unsanitary conditions, fatherless children and war-wounded husbands and sons. They had fought against profiteering companies, government stinginess and for the vote...

Activist agenda: Safe and Equal, Free Our Unions, Neurodivergent Labour, Poplar 100

Safe and Equal is pursuing its drive for full isolation pay for all with systematic phoning-round of its hundreds of contacts, demands for information from councils and from the NHS Test and Trace operators, and an appeal to other groups for a united front on the issue. Momentum Internationalists has given support; a good informal response from Don’t Leave Organise, but no formal answer yet. Free Our Unions has a Zoom meeting on anti-union laws, Tuesday 2 March, 6:30 pm. Speakers include Gerry Carroll MLA on the Trade Union Freedom Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mark Porter, Unite...

Shapurji Saklatvala: a revolutionary trailblazer

Saklatvala speaking in Hyde Park, demanding the release of the Reichstag fire suspects in Germany (1933) This is the sixth and final part of a series. For the other articles, see here Buy our pamphlet on Saklatvala here

Wadsworth on Saklatvala

Sacha Ismail reviews Marc Wadsworth’s biography of Shapurji Saklatvala, Comrade Sak: A Political Biography (Peepal Tree Press, 2020) There are four biographies of 1920s revolutionary socialist MP Shapurji Saklatvala. Marc Wadsworth’s is the most recent, originally published in 1998 and republished in an updated version in September this year. It’s very good – mostly (when I started writing the recent series of articles on Saklatvala in Solidarity, I tried but failed to get hold of the original edition of Wadsworth’s book; the new version didn’t arrive until five out of six articles were...

Video: Fighting council cuts

Video and audio introductions from a meeting on the history and lessons of fighting council cuts, with Josh Lovell, Labour Party councilor. Sweeping cuts are now taking place and are expected in local authorities across the UK, but neither Labour nor the left are prepared for this. If Labour does not take up the fight it will have much less chance of winning back working-class voters, and importantly, saving the jobs and services we all rely on. Josh Lovell, a Labour Party councillor (in opposition) discusses the history of past battles in local government going back to the 1970s, and how we can apply lessons learned from those struggles today. From a meeting of the same name, on 4 October.

Saklatvala and the Indian workers

25 of the accused in the Meerut conspiracy case This is part five of a series. For the other articles, see here. Buy our pamphlet on Saklatvala here. “Mr Saklatvala… has great influence in India. Irrespective of his Communist views, the Indian people are proud of him… They, a subject race… are naturally proud of the courage with which Saklatvala, one of themselves, denounces the British domination of India in unmeasured terms in the very House of Commons itself. He is a rebel by proxy for them all… When he speaks to them, therefore, they listen, and he speaks to them frequently.” - “India’s...

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