Party and class

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

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. John O'Mahony accused the Labour Party leadership of paving the way for Thatcherism and then succumbing to it. In 1974 a wave...

Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins in the 1920s and today

Workers' Liberty 3/3 (March 2006) reproduces many communist factory bulletins from the 1920s, and discussion from that era about how they should be produced. "Workers cannot write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory". It also includes information on workplace bulletins produced by the AWL. Click here to download pdf .

Workers' struggle, or "alliances across business"?

The pdf/ print version carries an abridged version of this article Where now for the Labour Party? Following election defeats and facing environmental and economic crises, many articles are asking what direction Labour should take under its new leader. On the eve of the leadership result, Neal Lawson, director of the Compass lobby group, wrote an article on Open Democracy in which he argued for what he called a new approach. Labour must pursue new "alliances" and "build capacity", he said. It must unite a range of "countervailing forces" that will "transform our country as it comes out of the...

ABCs of Marxism

A page bringing together reading and other materials related to the ABCs of Marxism series of online meetings. To be updated soon. See here for a list of introductory articles from Workers' Liberty on key issues. Session 1. What is the United Front? The idea of a "united front" was developed among the revolutionary Marxists who grouped together after the Russian revolution of 1917. It was developed further by Marxists such as Trotsky, often in opposition to Communist Parties were which stripped of revolutionary politics after Stalin's counter-revolution in the USSR. Notes on the United Front -...

Marxists and “left governments”

“We are not a government party; we are the party of irreconcilable opposition… Our tasks... we realise not through the medium of bourgeois governments... but exclusively through the education of the masses through agitation, through explaining to the workers what they should defend and what they should overthrow. Such a “defence” cannot give immediate miraculous results. But we do not even pretend to be miracle workers. As things stand, we are a revolutionary minority. Our work must be directed so that the workers on whom we have influence should correctly appraise events, not permit...

The working class and solidarity

From "Socialism Makes Sense" B. The working class? The "proletariat"? Ha! That is the best example of the falseness and foolishness running through your pretended "objectivity" and the allegedly "scientific" character of your Marxist socialism! Your view of the working class is absurd. A. Someone, John Maynard Keynes, I think it was, once asked why he should look to the social equivalent of mud, the working class, as saviour against the educated ruling classes. Why should he look for social salvation to the most ignorant, the least accomplished, the least able class in the society - to its...

ISO: stirrings in the ashes

People from the leadership of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) which was in place before the ISO’s convention in February 2019, have launched a new website, the International Socialism Project (ISP), internationalsocialism.net , and some forums in Chicago. The project also involves one or two former members of the “Orthodox Trotskyist” (in fact, semi-Assadist) Socialist Action group. Background: the ISO was long the most active group on the US far left, with up to 1500 members. Apparently overwhelmed by criticism from the ranks, the old leadership (many of them leaders since the...

Rosa Luxemburg on 1905

“The extent to which the party rises to the occasion [of a revolutionary upsurge] — that depends in the greatest degree on how widely [the Marxists have] known how to make their influence felt among the masses in the pre-revolutionary period...” It depends on “the extent to which [they were] already successful in putting together a solid central core of politically well-trained worker activists with clear goals, how large the sum of all their political and organisational work has been”. Volume 3 of the new Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, published this year, shows how false the idea is that...

Lukács: another view

According to John Rees and the Counterfire group (a splinter from the SWP), Georg Lukács was "the most important Marxist political philosopher since Marx". He was "the great theorist of revolution in the 20th century", and his writings were "the most sophisticated development of the classical Marxist tradition that anyone has developed". John Cunningham's presentation ( Solidarity 511 ) is more sober. But generally Lukács has enjoyed high repute in a wide range of the left since the early 1970s, and with many Third Camp Marxists since Michael Harrington made the first English translation from...

Transforming the labour movement: a reply to our critics

• The printed paper carries an abridged version of this article. 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. Their only activity consists in preaching an abstract, millenarian version of socialism and pouring scorn on the...

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