Imperialism

Marxism and imperialism

We are not a government party; we are the party of irreconcilable opposition.... Our tasks... we realize not through the medium of bourgeois governments... but exclusively through the education of the masses through agitation, through explaining to the workers what they should defend and what they should overthrow. Such a 'defence' cannot give immediate miraculous results. But we do not even pretend to be miracle workers. As things stand, we are a revolutionary minority. Our work must be directed so that the workers on whom we have influence should correctly appraise events, not permit...

Solidarity with Iraqi workers!

A Workers' Liberty/ Solidarity pamphlet, March 2005. Trade unionists or Islamists? Who represents Iraqi workers? The "reactionary anti-imperialists" Why socialists can not support the USA in Iraq (part 1) Why socialists can not support the USA in Iraq (part 2) Why socialists can not support the USA in Iraq (part 3) Self-determination and democracy in Iraq Is Iraq another Vietnam?

The new world disorder: war and imperialism

Number 2/3 of Workers' Liberty magazine is a special issue on "The new world disorder: war and imperialism". For contents, and links to download articles from the magazine as pdf files, read on. The USA as hyperpower by Colin Foster. "Rome fell. Babylon fell. Scarsdale's turn will come". The super-plutocracy of the US rich, symbolised by such posh commuter towns as Scarsdale (near New York), is fated to decline. Thus Paul Kennedy summed up the message of his book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which was the central reference point for discussions of the shape of the world at the time...

Shapurji Saklatvala: a revolutionary trailblazer

Saklatvala speaking in Hyde Park, demanding the release of the Reichstag fire suspects in Germany (1933) This is the sixth and final part of a series. For the other articles, see here. The British trade union leaders’ surrender of the 1926 General Strike after nine days, as the strike was spreading and growing stronger, came as a shock to the mass of organised workers. Communists had played a central role on the ground and taken the brunt of repression; yet they too were ill-prepared for what took place. For two years the Communist Party had campaigned around the slogan “All Power to the [TUC]...

Review: Wadsworth on Saklatvala

Sacha Ismail reviews Marc Wadsworth’s biography of Shapurji Saklatvala, Comrade Sak: A Political Biography (Peepal Tree Press, 2020). There are four biographies of 1920s revolutionary socialist MP Shapurji Saklatvala. Marc Wadsworth’s is the most recent, originally published in 1998 and republished in an updated version in September this year. It’s very good – mostly. (When I started writing the recent series of articles on Saklatvala in Solidarity, I tried but failed to get hold of the original edition of Wadsworth’s book; the new version didn’t arrive until five out of six articles were...

Saklatvala and the Indian workers

25 of the accused in the Meerut conspiracy case This is part five of a series. For the other articles, see here. “Mr Saklatvala… has great influence in India. Irrespective of his Communist views, the Indian people are proud of him… They, a subject race… are naturally proud of the courage with which Saklatvala, one of themselves, denounces the British domination of India in unmeasured terms in the very House of Commons itself. He is a rebel by proxy for them all… When he speaks to them, therefore, they listen, and he speaks to them frequently.” - “India’s lost faith in Labour”, Socialist Review...

The "MP for India"

This is part four of a series. For the other articles, see here. "I pay homage to the British spirit of hypocritical statesmanship... We are debating here as if the [viciously repressive] Bengal ordinances were never promulgated, as if the shooting of Bombay operatives during the cotton strike had never taken place, as if a great strike of thousands of railway workers is not even now going on in the Punjab, with men starving … as if a great controversy is not raging, not only with the people of India but with people all over the world, whether British Imperialism, whatever its past history, is...

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...

"Battersea versus the British Empire"

This is part two of a series. For the other articles, see here. In 1921, aged 47, after 16 years in the UK, Shapurji Saklatvala was selected as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Battersea North. This came shortly after his very public decision to leave the Independent Labour Party and join the Communist Party of Great Britain. He would become both Labour's first "BAME" MP and one of Britain's first avowedly revolutionary socialist MPs. How did these things fit together? Communists and Labour Saklatvala had become active in the London Labour Party in 1918, through the ILP (which was...

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