Left groups and people

Tim Hales: a tribute

On Sunday 6 September my good friend and comrade Tim Hales passed away several months after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Tim will be known to many readers of Solidarity for the colourful and vibrant cartoons he produced regularly for the paper over recent years. He had been an art teacher since the 1980s, first in Barnsley and then Leeds, and was able to devote more time to his own artwork after retirement. He took the responsibility for producing cartoons very seriously and was always proud to see his work published in the paper. I first met Tim as an activist in the Leeds division...

Video: Remembering the Bosnian War, with Sarah Correia and Martin Thomas

Audio and video Introductory speeches from a meeting of the same name, which outline the complex events that led up to the war, left responses and legacies of the war. Sarah Correia is a researcher at LSE, researching memories of the Bosnian war. Martin Thomas talks about the response of much of the left at the time. December 2020 marks 15 years since the end of the Bosnian war. In 1992 after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence, a Serb-backed military assault took place, bringing ethnic cleansing, rape and destruction of mosques. Under the banner of “peace” and opposing Western intervention many on the left sided with, or failed to oppose, the Serb nationalists. Workers' Liberty argued an international arms embargo should be lifted so that the Bosnians could defend themselves. This meeting will outline the complex events that led up to the war, the left responses and the legacies of that war.

The left and Bosnia

The wars in Croatia (1991-5), Bosnia (1992-5), and Kosova (1999), all part of the break-up of Yugoslavia, were among the first wars of the new era following the fall of Stalinism in Eastern Europe (1989) and the USSR (1991). And the different attitudes then of different trends on the left were among the first markers of how the left would differentiate in the new era. Workers’ Liberty backed the peoples of Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosova in their struggle for self-determination against what we saw as Serbian proto-imperialism, quasi-imperialism, or sub-imperialism. Leading figures of the...

Cooperate where we agree, debate where we disagree

Neil Faulkner of the Mutiny group has published a series of articles about the ideas of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky on revolutionary parties, prompted, he says, by "an online meeting on the future of the British Left in which I participated on 12 July". That meeting brought together us, Workers' Liberty, with Mutiny and another group, Red Flag. We found it useful and hope for more similar. Faulkner's series takes off from a polemic against the emphasis of the Red Flag speaker, K D Tait, on "different programme and strategy". He makes no comment on what the Workers' Liberty speaker, Ruth Cashman...

Protest vote or independent political action?

Above: Howie Hawkins, longstanding socialist activist, is running on the Green Party ticket alongside Angela Walker Re-posted, with thanks, from the New Politics magazine website. A bumper sticker displayed with increasing resonance these days reads: “2020, any responsible adult.” This is undoubtedly the mood of Democratic Party voters as was made abundantly clear by the abrupt collapse of the Sanders momentum. The US is in free fall under a regime that represents an exceptional threat not only to democratic life but to human life itself. The need for an American socialist answer has rarely...

"American Carnage"

When Donald Trump gave his inaugural speech to a poorly attended crowd in January 2017, he spoke of ending “the American carnage”. Carnage isn’t a strong enough word for the three-pronged crisis the country now faces. The Covid pandemic rages — 150,000 deaths and rising. Expect half a million virus fatalities come election time in November. Trump’s behaviour continues to make a dreadful situation far worse as he undermines the advice of his own public health experts and continues to promote quack remedies, disinformation, and conspiracy theories. Trump no longer recommends swallowing...

Remobilise the left!

The Black Lives Matter protesters, still on the streets eight weeks after the killing of George Floyd, are a new wave of young leftists. Video and article. As we said back in Solidarity 551, they deserve "more than the hurried reforms now offered here and there in the USA. Reforms can stick, deepen, become a lever for more, but only through the work of a movement which works and educates week by week, year after year".

Learn from Bosnia

July 11 1995 was the beginning of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst atrocity committed by Serb nationalists during their wars to dominate the other peoples of former Yugoslavia. In a few days over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims men and boys were murdered. It was by far the largest mass killing in Europe since the 1940s. There were crimes committed on all sides during the wars in former Yugoslavia, but it was nowhere near symmetrical. Serbia, in control of the bulk of Yugoslavia’s military machine, and Serb nationalist militias attempted to deny the other nations of the former federation self...

What's the way forward for the revolutionary left?

70 people attended the meeting on the way forward for the revolutionary left we held jointly with two other socialist groups, Red Flag and Mutiny, on 12 July. It was an interesting and useful, though very preliminary, discussion. We hope there will be more. For Workers’ Liberty, Ruth Cashman argued for socialists who share important elements of a common perspective – on a class-struggle response to the crisis, on transforming and democratising the labour movement, on Brexit, internationalism and free movement – to pursue more united organising and campaigning and more organised discussion and...

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