Solidarity 179, 19 August 2010

Why is socialism in disarray? 1

Submitted by Matthew on 21 August, 2010 - 5:11 Author: Sean Matgamna

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Submitted by guenter on Sun, 22/08/2010 - 02:26

hats off- every word is true. simply a great article. perhaps a little 2long.

Submitted by Mark on Mon, 30/08/2010 - 11:05

The article argues that the German communists allowed Hitler to come to power because Stalin had decided Hitler would “keep them busy in the West”.
But that idea is not uncontested. Among others it is contested by Trotsky.
CLR James 1937 book Word Revolution contains a version of the argument. James is not very coherent. He argues both that after the Red Referendum, “Moscow… threw all pretence aside and came openly out for letting Hitler in.” And also, a few pages later, that, “Stalin… had no idea what Fascism meant, of what it would do in Germany. Stalin and the Stalinists really and honestly thought that Hitler was just another Schleicher or Papen.” In other words, they also sincerely believed in their policy.
Later, in April 1939 James discusses Germany with Trotsky (History of the Left Opposition). Trotsky comments, “Stalin hoped that the German CP would win a victory and to think he had a ‘plan’ to allow fascism to come to power is absurd. It is a deification of Stalin…’After Hitler our turn’ was a boast. You pay too much attention to it…” Similarly, “keep them busy in the West”, was an after-the-event, cynical justification, for a failed policy.

Submitted by dalcassian on Tue, 31/08/2010 - 12:57

In reply to by Mark

Marguerite Buber-Neuman, wife of Heinz Neuman, a German Stalinist leader killed in the purges, reported tnat Stalin said "Won't Hitler keep them busy in the west, etc" to her husband in, I think, 1931. I'll provide a quotation when I have a chance to go to a library. Or maybe some reader will... Incidentally, Marguerite Buber-Neuman was one of the train-load of german communists imprisoned in Russia sent to Hitler after the Hitler-Stalin Pact, as a gesture of good will. She survived to tell the tale.

Sean Matgamna

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Women's experience and socialism

Submitted by Matthew on 21 August, 2010 - 12:14 Author: Pat Longman

The following article is Pat’s polemic, which is still very relevant, against Sheila Rowbotham’s 1979 article “The Women’s Movement and Organising for Socialism”, published in the well-known collection, Beyond the Fragments.

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Submitted by USRed on Thu, 20/03/2014 - 15:26

And how does it differ from a simply MARXIST party?

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A working-class feminist on Islington Council

Submitted by Matthew on 21 August, 2010 - 11:49

In 1982, Pat successfully stood in St. George’s ward for election to Islington borough council. Socialist Organiser, the predecessor of Workers’ Liberty, was active in the Labour Party at the time. The following extract is taken from an interview with Pat from Socialist Organiser No. 83, May 6 1982. As workers again face a Tory government seeking to make savage cuts, our class will need councillors like Pat who will argue for councils to refuse to pass on the cuts that Tory central government wants them to make.

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Can we promote a different kind of education for workers?

Submitted by Matthew on 19 August, 2010 - 5:15 Author: Sheila Cohen

Sheila Cohen (NUJ/UCU) discusses the sorry state of trade union studies (courses accredited by the TUC and available at a variety of further education institutions) and what can be done to promote independent working-class education.

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Oxford University and working-class education

Submitted by Matthew on 19 August, 2010 - 4:56 Author: Colin Waugh

Under the pressure of rising working-class self assertion across the country, the University extension movement accepted Albert Mansbridge’s scheme for tutorial classes and committed study (as opposed to more “popular” bigger lecture classes). This acceptance was spearheaded by a group of young, socialistic Oxford tutors. Supported by prominent figures in the church, civil service and ruling class generally, members of this group worked with Mansbridge himself and the other main Workers’ Educational Association activist, J MacTavish, to produce a report, Oxford and Working-Class Education.

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Useful idiots

Submitted by Matthew on 19 August, 2010 - 4:44 Author: Dan Katz

The question that John Sweeney’s programme posed was interesting: why have so many seemingly intelligent people turned themselves into apologists for terrible, brutal, murderous regimes?

Harold Pinter defended Slobodan Milosevic. Noam Chomsky sided with Pol Pot’s Cambodian regime. Tony Benn doubted Solidarnosc’s trade union credentials. Jean-Paul Sartre refused to back an investigation into Russian slave labour camps. Vanessa Redgrave’s WRP took Libyan money. The SWP explained away the Taleban’s policy on women. George Galloway prostrated himself in front of Saddam.

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New York subway workers: lessons in winning "reform from below"

Submitted by Matthew on 19 August, 2010 - 4:33 Author: Becky Crocker

London Underground RMT activist Becky Crocker reviews Hell on Wheels: the Success and Failure of Reform in Transport Workers Union Local 100, by Steve Downs.

This pamphlet tells the story of New Directions (ND), a rank and file group within Union Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, which represents transport workers in New York, including on the subway system.

Written by Steve Downs of the socialist group Solidarity, it focuses on the problem of how to achieve reform within unions.

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The Gay Liberation Front, 40 years on: no revolution without us!

Submitted by Matthew on 19 August, 2010 - 4:16 Author: Katherine McMahon

“No revolution without us! An army of lovers cannot lose! All power to the people!” (Statement from the Male Homosexual Workshop at the Black Panthers' Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention)

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Jimmy Reid and his one great achievement

Submitted by Matthew on 19 August, 2010 - 4:05 Author: Jim Denham

Union leader Jimmy Reid, who led the long-running occupation of Upper Clyde shipyards in 1971-72, has died. Jim Denham comments on his political career.

Whatever his faults — and they were many — Jimmy Reid embodied the truth that workers, when united, can force serious concessions out of capitalism.

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