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Issue 25

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Interview with Malcolm X

By Barry Sheppard

This article is taken from a chapter of volume one of a political memoir, covering the years 1960-1973. Barry Sheppard was a central leader of the US Young Socialist Alliance and Socialist Workers Party during the years 1960-1988.


Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 19, 1925. In February 1946 he was sentenced in Massachusetts to 8-10 years' imprisonment for burglary. While in prison, he was won to the Nation of Islam, a Black Nationalist religious sect founded by W.D. Fard and headed at that time and until his death by Elijah Muhammad. Emerging in the early 1930s, the Nation of Islam was one of the groups that developed as a result of the decline and splintering of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association, which had galvanised a large section of the Black community after World War I. The Nation of Islam taught a religious doctrine that Black people were blessed by God and that whites were devils specially created to oppress Black people. They called for the creation of an independent Black nation in the United States, but tended to stress that the achievement of this state would be the work of God, not human beings.

Engels and the theory of the labour aristocracy

By Jonathan Strauss

I. The theory of the labour aristocracy

II. Marx and Engels on the labour aristocracy in 19th century England


The theory of the labour aristocracy argues that opportunism in the working class has a material basis. The superprofits of monopoly capital support the benefits of a stratum of relatively privileged workers, whose interests in this are expressed by class-collaborationist politics. Marx and, especially, Engels, first developed this theory. It is most closely associated with Lenin, however, for whom it became "the pivot of the tactics in the labour movement that are dictated by the objective conditions of the imperialist era".1

Many revolutionaries who claim Lenin as an influence nevertheless reject the theory. They deny the character of imperialism as monopoly capitalism, the existence of the labour aristocracy or the stability of opportunism. Their method mimics the empiricism of bourgeois economics, political science and sociology rather than following Marx and Engels' injunction to study history. Their acceptance of the results of this reflects the very often dominant position of opportunism in the working-class movement.

Success for second European Social Forum

by Murray Smith.

Murray Smith is an international officer of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and a leader of the International Socialist Movement (ISM), a Marxist current within it.

The second European Social Forum (ESF) took place in the Paris region 12-15 November. One year on from the highly successful first ESF in Florence in November 2002, the first challenge was to maintain the momentum. The challenge was met. Over three days, more than 50,000 people took part in fifty-six general assemblies and more than 250 seminars, a figure comparable to the 60,000 in Florence last year. There was no possibility of repeating the million-strong anti-war demonstration that closed the ESF in Florence, but the highly colourful and internationalist demonstration of 100,000 in Paris on November 15 can be counted as a success.

The forum was spread over three communes of the Parisian "Red Belt" suburbs—Saint-Denis, Bobigny and Ivry—and the La Villette neighbourhood of north-east Paris. Compared to Florence, this gave it a much more dispersed character, and it was difficult for participants to get an overall picture of the scale of the event as it unfolded. However, the other side of the picture was that this dispersion facilitated the participation of the inhabitants of these working-class areas, which might not have been so easy had the forum been held, for example, in central Paris.

Canada's Socialist Project

At a meeting in Toronto in the fall of 2000, some 750 activists responded to a call to "rebuild the left" by developing a structured movement against capitalism. This call for a new political formation that would be "more than a movement, less than a party" was similar to other initiatives in Canada and around the world that have been undertaken as the traditional organisations of the political left have waned.

The call was based on the understanding that the discovery and creation of a new kind of left politics is not going to be easy. It was in this spirit that, when the first Toronto initiative faltered, a group of independent socialists continued to meet with other activists across Ontario to try to learn from the experience and find a way forward. The group asked hard questions about how radically different from that first initiative a new political formation of the left would need to be. And they exchanged ideas and assessments of the political situation in Canada and the world, both to focus debate and to arrive at areas of political agreement.

Out of this process—a ray of sunshine during the long winter of 2003—this political statement was completed, launching the Socialist Project as a new political formation on the Canadian left.

* * *

The Ukraine scam, internationals and internationalism

By John Percy


International Potemkin villages

Wrong conception

Actual Marxist practice

The Comintern

Trotskyist tradition

Real internationalism


United parties


January 2004 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Embarrassing details of an extensive scam being operated against left-wing organisations surfaced in the Ukraine in mid-2003. At least twelve, possibly up to twenty, small left groups, mainly in England and the United States, were conned by an enterprising group of Ukrainian politicos pretending to be supporters of each of these parties or their "internationals" setting up their Ukrainian "sections".

The Marxist left's politics of alliances at the beginning of the 21st century

By Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera

José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba. This article first appeared in Cuba Socialista, the theoretical and political magazine of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.



Contemporary imperialism and the validity of the struggle for socialism

Marxism: key to determining content of struggles and allies

The Cuban Revolution's politics of alliances


Appeal from the LCR congress for the regroupment of the anti-capitalist left

This appeal was adopted by the fifteenth national congress of the LCR, held in Saint-Denis from October 30 to November 2, 2003.


Together, we fought intransigently in defence of workers' rights in the spring of 2003. Together, we have fought against unending imperialist war. Together we have fought against capitalist globalisation, against turning the whole world into a commodity and for the new internationalism incarnated by the anti-globalisation movement.

We are faced in France and on an international level with an offensive against the rights of peoples and of workers, with a headlong rush towards the destruction of the resources of the planet, with a state of permanent war aimed at maintaining the hegemony of the US and European great powers.

LCR holds decisive congress

By Murray Smith

Murray Smith is an international officer of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and a leader of the International Socialist Movement (ISM), a Marxist current within it.

The Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire [LCR] held its fifteenth national congress from October 30 to November 2, 2003. This was the first congress of the organisation since June 2000, an unusually long gap. It should have taken place in 2002 but was postponed because of the presidential election campaign. Originally rescheduled for the end of June, it was again postponed because of the May-June movement. In fact, these two events, emblematic of the political and social crisis that is shaking French society, constituted the political and social backdrop to the congress.

The May-June movement and its aftermath

By Murray Smith

Murray Smith is an international officer of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and a leader of the International Socialist Movement (ISM), a Marxist current within it.



The government goes on the offensive

The teachers' strike

The 'interpros'

A contradictory outcome

`Chirac's rotten summer'

A government in disarray

In the months of May and June 2003, France experienced the biggest wave of strikes and demonstrations since the historic general strike of May 1968. On several occasions millions of workers struck and demonstrated against the government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin. Their demand was for the withdrawal of the Fillon Plan, a project for pension reform that would put an end to the right to retire at sixty with a decent pension. At the same time, teachers and other workers in education were fighting a project of decentralisation, a first step towards breaking up the state education system.

The political economy of the rise of social movements in South Africa

By Dale T. McKinley


Class struggle revisited

New resistances

Facing realities





When South Africa's first democratic elections in April 1994 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the African National Congress, there still remained a broad-based (but mistaken) expectation amongst the black majority that the new ANC state would immediately begin to pursue a more socialist—or, at the least, radically redistributive—political economy.

What happened in globalisation?

By Humphrey McQueen

Humphrey McQueen is a leading Marxist writer in Australia and an activist in the Socialist Alliance. A version of this article appeared in the Journal of Australian Political Economy, No. 51 (Jime 2003).



Globalising capitals

Labour times




The nation-market-state

Summing up





Issue 25: Editor's introduction

The lead article in this issue is a contribution to clarifying the real meaning of "globalisation". Marxist scholar Humphrey McQueen examines the question of to what degree recent changes may represent a qualitatively new stage in the expansion of capital.

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