Party and class

Socialism, Reformism and Democracy [a 1994 debate between AWL and former Labour leader Michael Foot]

Author

Martin Thomas

Do official Labour politics offer any real hope today? Or must serious socialists, and even serious democrats, look instead to the revolutionary left?

Such was the question in debate before a packed audience at London's Conway Hall last Wednesday, 9 March, when John O'Mahony [Sean Matgamna], editor of Socialist Organiser, a paper banned by the Labour Party leaders in 1990 for our Trotskyist politics, confronted Michael Foot, leader of the Labour Party from 1980 to 1983.

Transforming the labour movement: a reply to our critics

Author

Todd Hamer

One of the strangest organisations on the British left is the Socialist Party of Great Britain (no relation to the similarly named Socialist Party of England and Wales). Founded in 1904, they are the oldest organisation on the British Left and yet unless you happened to walk past their shopfront on Clapham High Street, South London, you would not know they existed. Like their stuffy little shop, the SPGB is inert.

US socialist organisation implodes

Author

Stephen Wood

A crisis which looks terminal is gripping the International Socialist Organization (ISO), the largest would-be Trotskyist organisation in the US.

Letters

Janine′s article on “Neurodiversity, capitalism, and socialism” in Solidarity 494 was interesting and informative. I agree with most of what she advocates. However, I′d like to query her implication that “text-heavy” newspapers are no longer very important, and that alternative media (videos, meetings) can replace them.

Socialism and singlejacking

Author

Martin Thomas

A review of Stan Weir's writings, 'Singlejack Solidarity'.

"The term singlejack... On-the-job organisers for the Western Federation of Miners and the Industrial Workers of the World... used it to describe that method of organising where dedicated advocates are developed one at a time on a highly personalised basis..."

The leading Minneapolis Trotskyist Ray Dunne was a prime example. An IWW shop steward met Dunne, aged 15, in a lumberjack camp. He identified Dunne as willing to stand up against the boss, and also thoughtful.

The No-Party people

Author

Sean Matgamna

During the 1980s, a lot of people who thought of themselves as Marxists [grew] indifferent or hostile to any project of building a Marxist organisation. This tribe, and it was quite an important component of the Labour left, marched or ambled, in so far as it expressed itself explicitly, under the idea: we will develop the influence of Marxism by promoting left-wing ideas in the existing broad labour movement, trade unions and Labour Party.

Letters

“Feeling the Bern”: Prospects for the American left

One of many international-themed sessions at The World Transformed this year, four members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) discussed different perspectives for the American left. The panel was chaired by Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara, who opened by asking the panellists about their political upbringings and how they became socialists. A common thread that ran through all the answers was the realisation that the Democrats and the Republicans were ultimately two sides of the same coin.

The professor and the helicopter

Author

Colin Foster

People tried to construct flying machines for thousands of years before the first planes were built in the early 20th century, and the first regularly-produced helicopters from the 1930s.

Suppose a historian were to study all the documents she or he could find about that effort, prior to say 1900, but without registering that the purpose was to find a flying machine.

Maybe the historian would imagine that the purpose was just to find some way of getting from place to place, and would comment: why didn’t they just walk?

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