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March 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — One of the most important areas of work for socialists in Europe in the period of Trump will be to establish ongoing working political relationships with comrades in the US and Canada. To that end Left Unity will increase our coverage of politics across the pond. We will begin with a new ‘letter from North America’ courtesy of Ernie Tate. Ernie is a lifelong revolutionary who emigrated to Canada from Northern Ireland as a young man. In the 1960s working in Britain he was one of the most important activists of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign. He has recently produced a two volume memoir of that period, “Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s”, published by Resistance Books. Now at the age of 82 and living in Toronto he is still active and an acute observer of the political scene. Ernie will send us his thoughts twice monthly. Below are the first two instalment written to Phil Hearse his longtime friend and comrade.
By Socialist Resistance
February 20, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance — The vote in Britain for leaving the European Union and the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election are part of the same process and not coincidental events. What we are witnessing is a worldwide shift to the right, represented by Trump, the rise of the so-called ‘populist’ right in Europe, by Modi in India, by the decline and semi-collapse of ‘socialism for the 21st century’ in Latin America and by morbid phenomena like the rise of Isis and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, an openly death squad government.
As in all periods of intense crisis there is a political polarisation and the emergence also of significant forces to the left, represented in Europe by the Corbyn trend in the Labour Party, Podemos in Spain, the continued strength of the Portuguese Left Bloc and Communist Party, Syriza in Greece and in a different way Bernie Sanders in the United States.
October 20, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal republishes two articles presenting differing views on the position that the radical left should take towards the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
A Corbyn rally in Bristol.
By Socialist Resistance (Britain)
July 31, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Jeremy Corbyn campaign for the Labour Party leadership is a remarkable phenomenon. He stands a very good chance of winningunless the Labour Party establishment can turn around the tide over the next six weeks.
As things stand, the tide remains with him. The Labour leadership is like a rabbit in the headlights. Large numbers of people, young people in particular, are joining Corbyn's campaign and people are flocking to his rallies and campaign events. Many are signing up to Labour as registered supporters or as affiliated supporters through their trade unions. (According to Labour List in late June the figures were registered supporters: 9115, affiliated supporters: 3788 while the number of full members has also grown significantly since the general election.)
The support from inside major trade unions for Corbyn’s candidacy has been extraordinary.
Peoples Assembly march, London, June 20, 2015. Photo by Steve Eason/RS21.
Socialist Resistance editorial
June 22, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One home-made banner on the Saturday, June 20, London demonstration against austerity seemed to put into words the inarticulate howl of anguish of millions. In colourful letters it read “Fuck the fucking fuckers”.
It was a reminder of just how visceral hatred of the Tories [Conservative Party] is and just how all-encompassing their social counter-revolution aspires to be. The People’s Assembly is claiming 250,000 marched from the Bank of England to parliament.
There was a strong trade union presence, lots of families, groups of friends, environmentalists and activists from across the progressive spectrum. Mainly though it was a gathering of the young, the angry and defiant who were announcing that they understood what a Tory government means and are ready to stand up to it. Singer Charlotte Church is representative of this generation, with her passionate, reasoned expressions of contempt for the new government.
Greens' Westminster MP Caroline Lucas.
By Terry Conway
April 8, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Membership and support for the Green parties across Britain – the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) and the Scottish Green Party (SGP) – has surged dramatically.
The membership of the GPEW has doubled in the past year and currently stands at 54,500, making it the fourth-largest party in Britain – bigger than the Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party. It has also been rising in the opinion polls, topping 10% recently, well in advance of the Lib Dems, which has led the broadcasters to propose its inclusion in the TV debates.
Scotland: 45% vote Yes despite ruling class panic; Business as usual is not an option; Labour for Independence statement
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
By Alister Black, Glasgow
September 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- After two years of campaigning, Scotland’s independence referendum has ended. It saw victory for the No side, the opponents of independence, with 55% compared to 45% who backed a Yes to independence.
The referendum saw an unprecedented level of political engagement and debate throughout Scotland. This was reflected in the huge and unprecedented turnout of 84.59%, reversing the trend of recent decades of dwindling poll turnouts. Some rural areas even recorded 100% turnout.
Pro-independence campaigners, especially around the Radical Independence Campaign, registered thousands to vote in Scotland’s poorest and most marginalised communities, where many had been off the voters roll since the days of the poll tax.
We spoke to people who had never voted and needed the process explained. These alienated communities were enfranchised by the referendum.
Anti-war protest in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, July 23, 2014. Signs read, "Bring our children back!" and "Stop the bloodshed!"
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.
By Roger Annis
August 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an article published on Left-East on August 10, Russian left-wing writer Ilya Budraitskis laments "there is no anti-war movement in Russia". His article is a rather bleak, despairing outlook on the prospects of organising against “war” in the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. He titles his article “Hope in a hopeless place”.
For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.
[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]
By Dave Kellaway
May 26, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Despite a strong support for the far right, the radical anti-austerity left maintained and increased its votes in some countries such as Greece, but also Spain and Portugal.
By Liam Mac Uaid
May 24, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- From the coverage of the English local election results and the relentless Nigel Farage mania you would think that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) had romped to first place with the Conservative Party (Tories) a close second. You’d also be forgiven for thinking that the Labour Party had received a hammering and the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) don’t exist. The main story in most of the press, from the BBC to the Daily Telegraph, is that Labour is in crisis as a result of the election.
Yet what actually happened was that it was the two parties of Britain's coalition government -- the Tories and the Liberal Democrats -- that have been hammered. Labour’s result reflects the party’s polling figures over the last few months. It would have made them the largest party in parliament if repeated in a general election, though just short on an overall majority.
For more on Left Unity, click HERE.
By Dave Kellaway
May 10, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Several hundred members joining in a week after a Ken Loach Guardian article and a Salman Shaheen appearance on the Daily Politics show … new branches opening up every week and a well-attended national policy conference in Manchester … a dozen or more candidates baptising our electoral intervention in the May local elections.
This is Left Unity (LU) only six months after its founding conference. Who would have thought a new broad party of the left launched by an internet appeal and sustained through a Ken Loach cinema documentary would still be around a year later with nearly 2000 members and more than 50 branches? Occasionally on the left we need to acknowledge that we have done something right. Even in a very difficult period where we have suffered a series of defeats it is possible in a small way to build something to the left of the Labour Party that has the potential to draw in wider layers than the revolutionary left normally engages with.
By Dave Kellaway
March 17, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Bob Crow’s family sent a message of solidarity to the People’s Assembly conference on March 15. They recognised that he was fully supportive of this movement. A truly nationwide movement if you listened to the accents and checked the delegate lists of those attending yesterday. A broad movement with over a dozen major unions affiliated. A movement that is not a top-down coalition, as some of its ultraleft critics have suggested, but one that is embedded in over 80 local groups. More than 660 people registered and there were around 500 in attendance. As someone remarked to me, you could tell it was a broad mobilisation because you did not recognise many people.
The Emmanuel Centre with its biblical exhortations beautifully marked out on the walls was full with activists actually fighting for some of those good intentions in a 21st century where hundreds of thousands have to go to food banks each week.
By Phil Hearse
March 15, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- It is a bitter irony that Tony Benn has died in the very same week as Bob Crow, two giants of the labour movement who will be cruelly missed.
Numerous instant obituaries and comments have concentrated on Benn’s determination, his speaking and writing talents, his humour and his personal kindness. Of course. But in celebrating his life the important thing for the left, especially the younger generation, is to make an assessment of Benn and Bennism as a political phenomenon, why it constituted such a threat to the existing powers that be (including in the trade unions and Labour Party) and why such an array of forces gathered together to attempt to put an end to it.
By Liam Mac Uaid
March 11, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- We are deeply shocked at the news that Bob Crow has died suddenly early this morning of a heart attack at the age of 52.
We send our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to his family and friends and to the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and its members. His death is a huge blow to the RMT and to the wider trade union movement and to the cause of militant class-struggle trade unionism. During his 12 years as general secretary, the RMT has grown in both size and stature. He has been prepared to support strike action to defend the wages jobs and conditions of his members, and has done so very successfully.
As a result of this he has been vilified by the employers, government ministers and the likes of London mayor Boris Johnson, but has enjoyed strong support among the rank and file of the union. To say that he will be sorely missed is a gross understatement.
* * *
By the Socialist Resistance executive committee
January 17, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Socialist Resistance welcomes the news that the comrades who left the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in December as a consequence of the ongoing crisis over the abuse of women in that organisation have launched Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st century group (RS21). We recognise that they have done this in order to continue the struggle for revolutionary politics and we look forward to establishing both practical and political collaboration with them.
We welcome the openness of the statement they have posted on their website and the basic principles around which it is framed.
It is never a time for celebration when an important organisation of the revolutionary left goes into crisis and decline because, ultimately, the whole movement suffers. The question it poses, however, is how to build something new and better out of this experience and how to move on in a positive direction.
John Riddell: Do we need an anti-capitalist government? United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries (videos)
November 11, 2013 -- SocResVideo, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- John Riddell, editor and translator of Towards the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922, speaking in London on November 3, 2013, at the "Building Unity, Taking Power: Left Histories and Contemporary Practice" seminar organised by the Anti-Capitalist Initiative, International Socialist Network and Socialist Resistance. The above talk is "Do we need an anti-capitalist government". The second below is "United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries". They are followed by some of the discussion.
Toward the United Front, Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922
Edited and translated by John Riddell
Brill, 2011 (hard back), 1310 pages, 200 euros
Haymarket Books, 2012 (paper back) US$55
Joint statement supported by British socialist organisations, the International Socialist Network, Socialist Resistance, Workers Power and the Anticapitalist Initiative
August 30, 2013 -- The defeat of the government pro-war resolution in parliament [the British House of Commons] is important. Even though the Labour Party opposition voted against the Tory motion, it too had submitted a pro-war resolution, albeit calling for a pause until after the report from the UN weapons inspectors. That resolution was also defeated. These votes reflect the anti-war mood in Britain. But as far as the USA is concerned, the threat of war is still on the agenda possibly using bases in Britain.
The regime of Bashar al-Assad is every day carrying out more massacres of increasing cruelty against the people of Syria, whether it be the bombing of civilian areas or the use of chemical weapons. Two years into the uprising against the dictatorship, over 100,000 have died, 2 million are refugees and many more are “displaced” out of a population of just 20 million. This tragedy fills us with horror and rage.
We continue to extend our solidarity to the movement for democracy in Syria. We pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the fight against the brutal dictatorship and to all those who are continuing to resist.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/3451.]
Militant trotskyste aux Etats-Unis, historien marxiste renommé, l’auteur avait été invité à intervenir dans le cadre du cycle de conférences publiques, intitulé Marxism, que le SWP de Grande-Bretagne organise chaque année au début de l’été. C’est de cet événement et des échanges qu’il a eus à cette occasion, dans le contexte particulier de la crise que ce parti traverse en 2013, que Paul Le Blanc rend compte ici.
Comme il le rappelle dans son texte, l’auteur est désormais membre de l’ISO (International Socialist Organization, la principale formation de la gauche révolutionnaire aux Etats-Unis, exclue en 2001 de l’IST, le courant international du SWP britannique), alors qu’il provient et continue de se réclamer d’une tradition politique différente, celle de la section états-unienne de la IV° Internationale (l’ancien et défunt SWP de James P. Cannon et Joseph Hansen – à ne pas confondre avec son homonyme insulaire). -- Jean-Philippe Divès
By Paul Le Blanc
July 20, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is an important “far left” organisation in Britain which, among other things, organises an annual educational conference -- Marxism -- in London. The SWP is undergoing a crisis which is only one aspect of a much larger phenomenon, taking place on a global scale within the revolutionary left. This involves a recomposition of the revolutionary socialist movement as a political force, in tandem with the struggles of the multi-faceted working class struggling against the effects of the present world crisis of capitalism.
In what follows, I want to offer a report on what I was able to observe while attending Marxism 2013 (July 11-15, 2013). I will also take up various issues having to do with discussions and debates having to do with the Leninist tradition and how it relates to realities and struggles of our time.
By Phil Hearse
July 12, 2013 -- Socialist Resistance -- A supporter of the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain (CPB), under the pseudonym "Michael Ford", has written the most substantial rebuttal of the proposal to found a new left party in Britain – “Left Unity’s Modest Flutter”, posted on the Left Unity site.
Weighing in at more than 9000 words Ford’s article assesses almost every conceivable objection, from the weighty to the absurd. By analysing his critique in depth we can be more precise about what the case for a new party actually is and on what basis it can be built.