Nationalism and the 'national question'

1916: The Easter Rising

Published on: Mon, 06/05/2013 - 16:58

Ireland and the Revolutionary Tradition of Easter Week

From Labor Action, 14 April 1941

Easter Sunday morning, 1916. Three o'clock. James Connolly. Irish revolutionary leader, was talking to his daughter and some of her friends, all asking why the revolt so carefully prepared had been countermanded.

Connolly knew that the arms from Germany had been intercepted, he knew that the arrangements had broken down, but he knew that the British government was going to strike. He could not let the revolt be stamped out without resistance. It seemed to him, and rightly, that the resulting demoralisation

Big brands profit from Uyghur forced labour

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 06:57

Ben Tausz

Uyghur Solidarity Campaign protesters invaded flagship Oxford Street stores on 5 March, demanding that global corporations – including Nike, H&M and Microsoft – cut ties with factories using Chinese-state-directed ethnic forced labour programmes.

Workers’ Liberty activists have played a central role in building UK labour movement solidarity with the Uyghur people and other Turkic minorities in the north-western Xinjiang province (known to the Uyghurs as East Turkestan). The Chinese state has targeted them with brutal, industrial-scale persecution: it has locked more than a million in

Hong Kong: the crackdown and the future

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 15:47

Chen Ying

The conflict in Hong Kong has further escalated and has reached a critical point as I write on 19 November.

The escalation began last week with the first casualty of the protest, a university student falling fatally from a multi-story car park in a conflict zone. Since then, policeman have fired live rounds seriously injuring a number of protesters, a man was doused in petrol and set alight by protesters, a pro-Beijing legislator was stabbed, a pro-democracy legislator had his ear bitten off, and there have been many other individual violent acts.

A woman has launched a legal case after being

Populism: a dead end for the left

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 15:27

Eduardo Tovar

In recent decades, there has been much discussion of “populism” as newly significant form of political movement. Some on the left even say we should embrace it.

Admittedly, there are major conceptual difficulties when discussing “populism”. Even if we limit ourselves to examples on the ostensible left, movements labelled “populist” can be so different in their substantive politics and theoretical groundings that they conflict directly.

On the one hand, there is Chantal Mouffe’s highly pluralistic and heterogenous “left-populism”, which is very much oriented towards liberation politics such as

The split in SDS

Published on: Wed, 13/11/2019 - 14:09

Jack Weinberg, Jack Gerson, and Jesse Lemisch

Across the world large and radical student movements came into prominence in the 1960s, fighting on their campus and against university administrators but raising wider political questions: opposition to the Vietnam War, opposition to the police, and opposition to capitalism. Their politics were often muddled and contradictory.

In America, students organised themselves on a national level into Students for a Democratic Society. This was a serious organisation, which had 30,000 supporters by the time of its collapse, and along with the black civil rights movement became a feared bogeyman for

Free Catalan political prisoners!

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:32

Phil Grimm

A wave of unrest has swept through Catalonia following the harsh sentencing of pro-independence leaders by the Spanish Supreme Court.

Twelve politicians and civil society leaders were found guilty of crime including sedition, misuse of public funds and disobedience following their involvement in the 2017 referendum on and subsequent declaration of Catalan independence from Spain.

That referendum had been declared illegal. The Spanish constitution contains undemocratic vetoes on any region declaring independence without the consent of Spain as a whole. Defendants were sentenced to hefty fines,

Rosa Luxemburg on 1905

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 10:19

Martin Thomas

“The extent to which the party rises to the occasion [of a revolutionary upsurge] — that depends in the greatest degree on how widely [the Marxists have] known how to make their influence felt among the masses in the pre-revolutionary period...”

It depends on “the extent to which [they were] already successful in putting together a solid central core of politically well-trained worker activists with clear goals, how large the sum of all their political and organisational work has been”.

Volume 3 of the new Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, published this year, shows how false the idea is that

The break-up of Yugoslavia

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 09:25

Sarah Correia

Sarah Correia is a researcher at the London School of Economics. She will speak at Ideas for Freedom, 22-23 June, on the case in Eastern Europe where the collapse of the old bureaucratic “one-party” regime around 1989 led to outright regression — the breakdown of the federal state of Yugoslavia into war.

The understandings of how things worked between nationalities in the old Yugoslavia varies. But a lot of the time there were no big apparent issues. The idea of being “Yugoslav”, and that being compatible with diverse national sub-identities was popular. A significant minority saw themselves

Letter: One king or another

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 11:35

Daniel Randall

Like Dale Street, Solidarity 486, I rather wonder whether the “pro-independence fundamentalists” who have described David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King as a “clarion call for Scottish independence” can possibly have been watching the same film I saw.

The entire endeavour, both in terms of the actual film itself and the story it’s telling, end up feeling a little... well, pointless. Chris Pine gives a measured, reserved performance as Robert the Bruce, but with the effect that his reasons for risking everything to undertake a dangerous war against the English crown seem rather inscrutable, a mystery

Luxemburg, economics, crises, and the national question

Published on: Thu, 30/08/2018 - 13:09

Martin Thomas

This article seeks to review and reflect on the two volumes of Rosa Luxemburg's Complete Works published so far.

Only a scattering - a much thicker scattering since the 1970s, but still a scattering - of Luxemburg's writings have been available in English until now.

Since the 1970s there has been a "Collected Works" in German. Even that misses out a lot. The new Complete Works, edited by Peter Hudis, will be fourteen volumes.

As Hudis explained in an article in Solidarity 356 (11/3/15:, "given the amount of time, care, and attention that she gave to developing her major

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