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...

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...

The left and self-defence

On 3 December, walking through Trafalgar Square on my way home from the anti-Trump demonstration, I noticed an SWP stall that had been turned upside down. Skinheads, police, and SWP members were nearby. The SWP were asking the police. “Aren’t you going to do anything, he just knocked over our stall?” The police looked unsure of what to do. Three people were jeering and doing Nazi salutes at the SWP. One got close enough to an SWP member and appeared to hit him and kick him to the ground. The police still looked unsure whether to intervene. Although maybe 50+ years old and a little inebriated...

"Get out of jail free” for bullying bosses?

On 5 December, a slightly revised version of an agreement between the National Education Union (NEU) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) was put to the NEU National Executive for approval. That agreement had been used in June, as I’ll describe, to sink an NEU dispute at Harbinger primary school in East London. Kirstie Paton, one of the four Executive members representing Inner London, where the strike took place, moved an objection to reject the agreement and I seconded it. We reminded the Executive of the Harbinger story and emphasised the flat-out contradiction between the...

Letters

Last week, you reported on the Morning Star coming out clearly in support of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. Events have also pushed Socialist Worker to clarify its stance, in fact to show how bad it is. For some time now SW’s basic line has been: “Shout about something else loudly enough to drown all thoughts about Brexit”. SW of 22 October, however, explicitly applauded the victory of the nationalist-minded big union bureaucracies against the left-wing rank and file at Labour conference (Brighton, 22-25 September). It complained that leading Labour MPs’ speeches on 19 October “flew in the face...

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