SWP

The Paradoxes of Tony Cliff, 1917-2000: A Critical Memoir

"The miners' strike is an extreme example of what we in the Socialist Workers Party have called the 'downturn' in the movement." Tony Cliff, Socialist Worker, 14th April 1984 "Sammy lugged his papers up and down Fourteenth Street yelling about a war in Europe. He used to come home with a hoarse throat and 30 or 40 cents in pennies. He would count the money and say, 'God dammit, I'm yellin' my brains out for nuttin'. "Several weeks later Sammy came in with a dollar seventy-eight. Papa, Momma and Israel danced around him. "'Sammy, you sold out all the papers?' said Papa in amazement. "'Yeah,'...

AWL versus SWP

Material for an AWL day school, November/ December 2005, and other stuff on the political differences between AWL and SWP. Download all the stuff for the dayschool as pdf (570 Kb), or read individual items below. "AWL vs SWP" day school, November/ December 2005 Discussion points for the day school 1. Transitional programme vs fake ultra-leftism Socialism after Stalinism, by Sean Matgamna, from How Solidarity Can Change The World The SWP and its "March on Parliament", by Sean Matgamna, from Socialist Organiser 591, 03/03/94 2. Marxism vs "Apparatus Marxism" The Degradations of Apparatus Marxism...

Socialist Worker on "The Lobby": half a step forward

Socialist Worker half-breaks from its previous attitudes to tell readers that seeing "the Israel lobby" as super-powerful in world politics is an antisemitic idea "Continuing to believe [criticism of Corbyn inside Labour is] all simply orchestrated by an 'Israel lobby' can lead you down some very dark paths… It can lead to antisemitic arguments". That's not from Solidarity, but, surprisingly, from an article by Nick Clark in Socialist Worker (2 December 2020). Clark's article is progress. Mind you, he doesn't explain how the "Israel lobby" idea of Jews worldwide being mysteriously highly...

Lockdowns and "life against life"

Mike Haynes was long the SWP's leading writer on Russia. Since quitting the SWP in 2013 he has been connected with the SWP splinter group RS21. It's interesting that on his blog he has criticised the gung-ho lockdown-enthusiasm of the SWP and RS21, explaining that "lockdowns not only save lives, they take them".

Fighting Covid: the police or workers' control?

A new campaign was launched on 14 November, called ZeroCovid. It takes up full isolation pay and public-sector Test and Trace, two of the demands raised by campaigns like Safe and Equal, and it is backed by a number of left-wingers, notably in and around the SWP. Yet its chief demand is a “full” and indefinite lockdown of everything which is not “absolutely essential” until we get to zero or “near-zero” infections. And its second demand is for international travel to be “reduced to an absolute minimum”. As we shall see, that means closing borders. The model for ZeroCovid “working” is New...

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...

Israel, 1948 and the truth

Socialist Worker has denounced all the Labour leader candidates over their agreement that it is antisemitic to describe the very existence of Israel (as distinct from particular policies) as racist. This means, says SW, “to deny Palestinians the right to describe their oppression by Israel, or to explain their own history. Some 850,000 Palestinians were systematically expelled from their homes when Israel was established in 1948 to ensure that Israel has a Jewish majority”. SW’s answer is somehow to re-run the 1948 war with a reversed outcome, which, they claim, would lead to a harmonious...

Three decades of Socialist Worker on antisemitism

When Sunderland Polytechnic Students Union (SPSU) banned a campus Jewish Society in 1985, Socialist Worker (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party) rallied to its defence. The SPSU was “quite clearly not racist. … One thing is clear – they are not racists, unlike the Zionists who oppose them.” (SW/928) Socialist Worker conceded in passing that “it can be argued whether the SPSU was tactically wise to ban the Zionists.” But the ban itself was not criticised. In fact, the paper uncritically quoted the SPSU Treasurer’s rationale for the ban: “The students union has a policy that Zionism...

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