Left groups and people

What France teaches us

My decision to go on the delegation to France organised by AWL on 25-26 January had its roots in what happened on 12 December. As a Labour activist and socialist for two years, I had a flame of hope that a left-wing government could triumph. As we all know, it didn’t. Facing an 80-seat Tory majority which will destroy communities, workers rights and environmental protections the question became — what next? The possibility for resistance still exists and always will, so when I saw the opportunity to go and learn from the French strikes in Paris, I jumped. The only way we can resist the...

What alternative in Iraq?

The protests in Iraq are not just around a particular demand, but against the whole governmental system. How can an alternative government be won, and what sort of government? We talk about councils – in place of bourgeois parliamentary democracy, we want councils which establish direct democracy in neighbourhoods and workplaces. When there is a political vacuum, these bodies can take control of cities. However, this kind of idea is unfamiliar to the younger generation in particular, who know little about socialist traditions. The young people in the protests we discuss with often think we...

Bernie Sanders, dangerous Trotskyist?

In the hunt for dirt on Bernie Sanders, hostile journalists have come up with very little. He had his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. He wrote some dodgy stuff in an alternative newspaper as a very young man. And that’s pretty much it. It’s hard to find anything really juicy in Sanders’ past because his politics have been fairly consistent from the time he joined the Young People’s Socialist League (YPSL) in the early 1960s until today. It was in the YPSL that he learned to be a democratic socialist and he remains a democratic socialist even now. But one story has recently surfaced which is...

New decade, old approach?

Three years after Stormont collapsed, following the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), power-sharing returned to Northern Ireland on 11 January and a new Executive was formed. The general election on 12 December punished both the main parties, the DUP and SF. There was growing anger at the continuing deadlock, which saw a crisis in public services — NI has the longest NHS waiting lists in the UK and schools are under huge financial pressure — while legislators still received their salaries. A well-supported health workers’ strike for the restoration of pay parity with UK NHS staff (broken by the...

Bob Sutcliffe 1939-2019

Bob Sutcliffe, a well-known Marxist economist for over fifty years, and at one time a comrade of ours in the Workers’ Socialist League of 1981-84, died on 23 December 2019, aged 80. I last talked with Bob about 10 years ago, when I was seeking interviews and discussions with Marxist economists about the 2007-8 crisis and its aftermath. Bob explained that his health was bad, and he couldn’t contribute, but he was, as ever, friendly, helping me with introductions to other economists. He was then, and had been for some years, working as a university teacher in the Basque country of Spain. When I...

The uprising in Iraq

Iraq is in a constitutional limbo. Adil Abdul-Mahdi has resigned as prime minister, but he is still in office, as a caretaker. On 26 December Barham Salih, the president, refused to accept the nominee of the ruling bloc of Islamist parties. Salih threatened to resign himself. There is deadlock, and both Abdul-Mahdi and Salih are still in office. The entire ethno-sectarian political regime of Iraq is in a deep crisis though the power is still in their hands. The ruling Shia political Islam parties and their militias and intelligence forces have so far killed hundreds of the people of the...

Exclusion first, politics second?

Labour Transformed, launched apparently by some of the backroom people of The World Transformed (TWT), held its second meeting at Westminster University on 25 January, after a first meeting on 14 December. We saw about 30 people go in, and are told the numbers later rose to maybe 50. TWT, a spin-off from Momentum, has organised “festivals” of debates and workshops on the fringe of Labour Party conference since 2016. LT has made no mention of the second meeting on its website or social media. People claiming to speak for the (anonymous) organisers — for example in urging the staff of...

Solidarność: The workers' movement and the rebirth of Poland in 1980-81

Buy the book Cover price £5. Buy online for £6.50 (UK) or £10 (outside-UK) including postage Outside-UK postage Within-UK postage Bulk orders are £18.72 for 4, £38 for 10 and £73.75 for 20, including UK postage. Pay at www.workersliberty.org/payment and email awl@workersliberty.org with details of your order and mailing address. You can buy it on amazon. 2020 is the fortieth anniversary of the explosive birth of the Polish independent workers’ movement, Solidarność (Solidarity). The Polish workers’ struggle of 1980-1, from the creation of Solidarność in the mass strikes of August 1980 to the...

US-Iran: a clash of imperialisms

The conflict between the USA and Iran in the Middle East which has now flared hot again is a conflict between two imperialisms. They are two different sorts of imperialism. The USA is a world power, Iran, a regional power. The sway of the Iranian state over the oppressed nations within its own borders (Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Baluchis, etc.) is directly political and military. Its less direct sway in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, etc. is also politico-military. Being much less strong economically than US capital, Iranian capital has to rely on such politico-military methods. The USA, for decades...

Letters

Revolution by stealth I’m surprised that Katy Dollar’s report on the 14 December Labour Transformed conference (Solidarity 529) does not mention the repeated, unpleasant attempts of the organisers to prevent Workers’ Liberty members selling our materials and running a small stall in a corridor. I’m surprised, also, that the report does not mention the organisers’ comments to our members that AWL supporters would not be welcome in the organisation they were setting up, or their silly attempts to demagogically label us as the people who are members of the “democratic centralist organisation in...

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