Left groups and people

Today farce, tomorrow tragedy?

This [6 January] was a “coup” as social media spectacle. In their pseudo-Viking gear and Confederate patches, the far-right rebels were a distinctly unappealing lot. And their rebellion utterly lacked a coherent plan beyond smashed windows and selfies. Rather than a coup, it was a pathetic right-wing putsch attempt and was put down remarkably swiftly. It was given the green-light by Trump and his inner circle. But it was overwhelmingly condemned by the spokespeople of the capitalist class: the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, the CEOs of most major corporations...

Leo Panitch, 1945-2020

Leo Panitch, an assiduous and important Marxist writer on political economy and an active socialist, died on 19 December 2020, from Covid-19 contracted after being admitted to hospital with cancer. His biggest book, The Making of Global Capitalism, written with Sam Gindin, is essential reading, and summarised a vigorous programme of research into post-1945 capitalism. I first met Leo Panitch, I think, at an "International Marx Congress" at Nanterre University, near Paris, in 2004. He was off-hand, and I guessed he had the typical attitude of a famous university professor (at York University...

Mike Perkins, 1932-2020

Mike Perkins, a long standing supporter of Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty, died on 9 November aged 88. Mike joined shortly after his retirement from work, some 20 years ago. Through his union, Unison, he was on the trade union education course at Southampton College. Run by a socialist tutor, the course was lively, relevant and political, rooted in the class struggle and related political issues. It was 1997. The Labour Party had won the election, but were led by pink-Tory Blairites who had captured control. These issues were discussed on the course, with a number of members continuing that...

Trump's defeat: excerpts from the US left

The working class needs a party Maria Svart, National Director of the Democratic Socialists of America, from a "dispatch" here While breathless... expectations of a blue wave totally flopped, there was a red wave — our kind of red! So far, 28 out of our 37 nationally-endorsed campaigns have won; we have “squads” in [15] state legislatures... and we won 8 out of 9 major ballot initiatives. We’re still just a political organisation [i.e. not a party], but contrast that with a Democratic Party that fails to listen to working class people and fails to invest in building grassroots power. It has...

Lara McNeill pledges to restore socialism and dignity to Young Labour

Lara McNeill has written a pitch for Young Labour’s NEC [National Executive Committee] Rep seat in Tribune. I rate her chances of getting the seat highly, given that she is the incumbent and the only left candidate on the ballot paper, and, after all, Momentum’s National Coordinating Group endorsed her without a vote! One passage reads “When young people are protesting for social justice, standing up to exploitative bosses, or striking against their landlords, I want them to know that Young Labour will be on their side”. That would certainly be a welcome step. But a question arises. What steps...

Nick Wright and "the powerful intellect"

Nick Wright is a member of the Communist Party of Britain and frequent contributor to the Morning Star — often writing on Labour Party matters. Two themes recur in Wright’s articles: that Labour’s changed position on Brexit (no longer promising “to honour” the referendum outcome) was the “fatal surrender” that cost it the 2019 election and that allegations of antisemitism within Labour under Corbyn were “manifestly untrue and malicious” — the work of “not only British and Israeli state actors but an unscrupulous assembly of reactionary forces of all kinds”. Those particular quotes turn up in a...

How the major parties spoil the election

By Angela Walker (candidate for Vice President on the Hawkins/Walker Green Party US ticket) Republicans spoil elections by suppressing the Democratic vote and the Black vote. They orchestrate voter roll purges, most notably in the 2000 election in Florida, and restrict the number of polling places in Black and Brown communities. The GOP encourages voter intimidation at polling places, which seems to be higher this year. Democrats spoil elections by trying to suppress the Green vote, kicking us off the ballot, instead of embracing the proven non-partisan solution to spoiled elections. The...

Backing Biden will not stop Trumpism

Much of the United States Left is in the midst of an oddly-timed embrace of lesser evilism. They are calling for socialists to support Biden at the very moment Trump’s campaign seems in crisis and headed for defeat. Nevertheless, key figures on the US Left, including long-time supporters of independent politics, are pushing the new socialist movement not just to vote for Biden, but to actively campaign for him. To be clear, our argument is not about what comrades do during the time it takes to cast a ballot. What we oppose is the new socialist Left, especially the Democratic Socialists of...

Back Hawkins, not Biden

Workers’ Liberty’s National Committee on 24 October debated the 3 November US election. This is the motion it passed. The political crisis that will probably happen in the aftermath of the US Presidential election will be caused by Trump refusing to accept defeat. That crisis may, if it takes an extreme form, push Trump to begin co-ordinate a violent right-wing street response. Our role is to back US socialists, the labour movement and the oppressed, to rally in defence of democratic rights. Trump is not a fascist. His aim is to stay President. Being a vile, sexist, narcissistic, right-wing...

A policy based in realities

Donald Trump is “setting the stage for an authoritarian Second Term”, putting people in place, putting down markers for street violence and for the rigging or flouting of elections. Branko Marketic gives some recent detail in an article for Jacobin. In our debate in Solidarity, I think everyone has agreed that Trump and his base are at least “pre-fascist”, or “proto-fascist”, or “could develop in a fascist direction” after the 3 November election. That makes Joe Biden, a standard neo-liberal, a lesser evil. The obvious response in a vote between a lesser evil and a greater is to vote for the...

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