Battle of Ideas

As we were saying: when the Morning Star nearly went under

Our comment in 1990 when the Morning Star lost its bulk sales in the USSR and Eastern Europe, nearly went under, and appealed frantically for funding from the trade unions in order to survive.


Some of the best people I have ever encountered in the labour movement - or anywhere else, for that matter - were CPers, that is, Stalinists, in one degree or another.

Amritsar, a hundred years on

On 13 April 1919, in Amritsar in the Punjab, India, 50 soldiers under the command of the British General Dyer opened fire on a crowd gathering in the Jallainwala Bagh – a garden-cum-open area popular for meetings and social or religious gatherings.

Many of the crowd were there to celebrate Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year. No one was armed, there were no disturbances, it was peaceful.

The British authorities put the number of dead at 379, with more than a thousand injured. The actual number of fatalities will never be known.

Introducing: social reproduction theory

One of the key texts of early social reproduction theory was Lise Vogel’s Marxism and the Oppression of Women, published in 1983. Vogel’s aim in the book was to criticise the ‘dual systems theory’ that emerged from the 1970s, which saw (a) Marxism as an explanation for class exploitation, and (b) patriarchy as an explanation for women’s oppression: two linked but fundamentally separate systems.

George Orwell, Spain, and revolution

In his 1947 essay, “Why I Write”, George Orwell explained:

“The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it…”

Homage to Catalonia, in which Orwell bore witness to the murder of the Spanish Revolution, was the product of this defining period of Orwell’s life, at least the literary and political equal of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Why Jews wanted Israel

These are the concluding sections of an article on “The Jewish Problem After Hitler”, by Albert Glotzer (writing as Albert Gates), in the “Third Camp” Trotskyist journal The New International of September 1947 (eight months before the creation of Israel). The article was written in response to an article on the same subject of July 1946 by Ernest Mandel, who would become the main writer of “Orthodox Trotskyism” over decades until his death in 1995. Picture is of people grieving for those killed in 1946 pogrom against Jews in Kielce, Poland.

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