Marxists

Malm: Further into the swamp

Second in a series of articles about the writings on climate politics of Andreas Malm. More here. Since the publication of his celebrated book Fossil Capital (2016), Andreas Malm has continued to expound his views on climate change. He has published several books, includingThe Progress of This Storm (2018), Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency (2020) and How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2021), along with numerous journal articles. Malm’s evolution has been erratic, consistent only with his pseudo-profound pontification. His advice to the climate movement has veered from geoscience to acts of sabotage...

Why we wrote about Saklatvala

Our new pamphlet on 1920s revolutionary socialist MP Shapurji Saklatvala is out now and can be bought here (profits from the first print run go to the Sage care workers’ strike fund). Its author Sacha Ismail explains why he started reading about Saklatvala and we decided to produce the pamphlet. When I first joined Workers’ Liberty, twenty years ago, I read an article about the history of the Labour Party. Written in 1996 by Sean Matgamna, it cited Saklatvala as an important figure, quoting Communist and Trotskyist veteran Harry Wicks – active in the Battersea labour movement at the same time...

Leo Panitch, 1945-2020

Leo Panitch, an assiduous and important Marxist writer on political economy and an active socialist, died on 19 December 2020, from Covid-19 contracted after being admitted to hospital with cancer. His biggest book, The Making of Global Capitalism, written with Sam Gindin, is essential reading, and summarised a vigorous programme of research into post-1945 capitalism. I first met Leo Panitch, I think, at an "International Marx Congress" at Nanterre University, near Paris, in 2004. He was off-hand, and I guessed he had the typical attitude of a famous university professor (at York University...

Shapurji Saklatvala: a series of articles

Buy our pamphlet on Saklatvala here. A series of articles in Solidarity about Shapurji Saklatvala (1874-1936), the revolutionary socialist activist and fighter for Indian independence who became Labour's first "BAME" MP. (Pictured above speaking in Hyde Park, demanding the release of the Reichstag fire suspects in Germany, 1933.) • Labour's first "BAME" MP • "Battersea versus the British Empire" • A tribune of the working class • The "MP for India" • Saklatvala and the Indian workers • A revolutionary trailblazer Review of Marc Wadsworth's biography of Saklatvala here.

Victor Serge's notebooks, 1936-47

Above: On the boat to (eventually) Mexico (1941), Victor Serge on the very far left of the photo. The passengers also included the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and the artist André Bréton. Notebooks: 1936-1947 by Victor Serge, reviewed by John Cunningham. The Notebooks are translated by Mitchell Abidor and Richard Greeman, and published by New York Review of Books, 2019. Paperback, £17.99. Any publication of works previously untranslated into English by Victor Serge can only be welcomed. Serge was a Belgian-Russian whose life is both a chronicle of and an eye-witness to the struggle for...

A critique of identity politics

Mistaken Identity is a concise six-chapter exposition and critique of “Identity Politics” from a broadly Marxist perspective. It a reasonably accessible text with a bit of effort made by the author, Asad Haider, to write in a not-too-academic style, using autobiograpy or biography, analysis, commentary and historically relevant episodes to make the arguments. The first chapter, “Identity Politics”, draws on a host of socialist references – the Combahee River Collective, The Black Panthers, C L R James and others – in order to excavate the obscured history of class-based racial struggles. It...

Fiendishly/not so difficult political quiz

In these troubled and isolating times here’s a chance to have a bit of fun and demonstrate to all and sundry that you are a real smart-arse. Most of these questions are not that difficult, there are a few stinkers however. Try and resist the temptation to look everything up on Google. Use the quiz as you see fit. I hope some of the answers at least will prove interesting. The full answers will be posted in ten days from when they are made available online. Deaths, assassinations etc. 1. Gavril Princip assassinated Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. To which secret organisation did Princip...

To bring revolution "down to earth"

The socialist activist and scholar Robert Fine, who passed away on 9 June 2018 at the age of 72, was a long-time sympathiser and sometime activist with Workers’ Liberty. Our series of book reviews to commemorate Fine continues with Political Investigations: Hegel, Marx, Arendt (Routledge 2001). Karl Marx (1818-83) was the first writer to integrate socialist politics with comprehensive and well-documented theories of economics and history. Most working-class socialists since his time have regarded themselves as Marxists to one degree or another, and by now most of us vehemently reject the idea...

Michel Lequenne, 1921-2020

“The last Trotskyist” — so Michel Lequenne, who died on 13 February 2020 aged 98, sometimes described himself, according to a tribute by Antoine Artous and Francis Sitel. Arguably he was indeed the last surviving Orthodox Trotskyist with an unbroken political thread from the early 1940s. There are other Orthodox Trotskyists — the more-or-less theory-free network around Peter Taaffe’s Socialist Party, the “Morenist” diaspora, those post-Mandelites who still call themselves “Trotskyist” — but they scarcely attempt to offer a systematically-developed ideological tradition. In the introduction to...

Revolutionary organising in the German army in World War II

War-torn France 1943, occupied by the German army and administered by the Vichy regime: the tide had begun to turn against the Nazis, but they still ruled most of Europe. The extermination of Jewish people proceeded relentlessly. Within France, the resistance was dominated by Gaullists and the Communist Party (PCF). Both expressed virulent nationalism, summed up by the slogan: “à chacun son boche” (let everyone kill a Hun). In April 1943 Robert Cruau, a 23-year-old postal worker moved to Brest, along with Georges and Henri Berthomé. They were members of the Parti Ouvrier Internationaliste (POI...

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