IST

LCR presidential candidate Olivier Besancenot

Below are two articles which first appeared in Critique Communiste, and in English in the November issue of International Viewpoint, the magazine of the Fourth International. The first is by Alex Callinicos, a leader of the British Socialist Workers Party. The second, "The NPA, a new experience of building an anti-capitalist party", is a reply by François Sabado, a leader of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 2, 2008, Bangkok -- For the past two or more years, especially since the September 2006 coup, Thai society has been hypnotised into forgetting about the real social and political issues. Instead, the whole of society and, most tragically, the social movements have been entranced by a fight between two factions of the Thai ruling class.

On the one side are the deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party, its successor the Peoples Power Party government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Opposing them are a loose collection of authoritarian royalists comprising the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the pro-coup royalist military, the pro-coup judiciary and the Democrat Party. The authoritarian royalists are not a unified body. They only share a collective interest in wiping out Thaksin’s party.

Reviewed by Ben Courtice

From Little Things Big Things Grow: strategies for building revolutionary socialist organisations, by Mick Armstrong, Socialist Alternative, 2007.

Socialist Resistance steering comittee

January 2008 -- Since the beginning of the decade important steps have been made in rebuilding the left internationally, following the working class defeats of the ‘80s and ‘90s and the negative impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By Murray Smith

January 4, 2008 -- The crisis which has led to a split in Respect is an important development, affecting as it does the principal force of the radical left in England. The future will tell us whether the current crisis represents just another failure, another dead-end, another missed opportunity for the English left, or whether, as seems increasingly possible, it offers Respect itself the chance for a renewal and is perhaps a step on the road towards a broader formation.

Whichever way you look at it, the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) is at the centre of the crisis. It is or was the central component of Respect, as it had been of the Socialist Alliance which preceded it, and it has been one of the main protagonists in the conflict that has engulfed Respect. So I want to look at what has happened from the point of view of the relationship between the SWP, a traditional far-left organisation, and the broader left formation that Respect is. I think there are some lessons to be learned which go beyond Britain.

By Phil Hearse

Phil Hearse came into politics through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and subsequently joined the Young Communist League in 1962 at the age of 13. He was expelled in 1963 for being a member of a "Trotskyist-led faction". From 1967, he was for 27 years a member of the British section of the Fourth International, before joining Militant Labour in 1994. After three years he left with a small group to help found Socialist Democracy.

By James Vassilopoulos

``We honour our dead not with a moment's silence but with a lifetime's struggle.''—Words on a poster showing protester Carlo Giuliani lying in a pool of blood during the G8 summit in Genoa.

By Alex Callinicos

Alex Callinicos is a leader of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain. His most recent book is Against the Third Way: an anti-capitalist critique.

By Murray Smith

CONTENTS

Challenges in uniting the left

Previous issues of Links have frequently discussed internationalism and internationals, or the question of how socialists should collaborate on an international scale. This issue is devoted to the closely related matter of left regroupment, or how socialists can collaborate at the national level. It discusses the challenges of left regroupment through concrete experiences in Australia, England, Scotland, France and Brazil.

In Australia in 2002, the Socialist Alliance, grouping nearly all the far-left organisations, was able to overcome difficult electoral registration requirements in several states and attract as new members a significant number of activists who were not members of any of the component groups. In September, the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), the largest member organisation of the Alliance, proposed to spur the process of left regroupment by becoming an internal tendency within the Alliance and carrying out all its public political activity through the Socialist Alliance.