Rayner Lysaght and Sean Matgamna debate "Socialism, Ireland, and permanent revolution"

Published on: Mon, 22/10/2018 - 16:36

On 9 November 2018, 7:30 at the London Welsh Centre, 157-163 Grays Inn Rd WC1X 8UE, Rayner Lysaght, author of "The Republic of Ireland" and many other books, debated Sean Matgamna of Workers' Liberty on the perspectives of Irish politics.

Solidarity 485 carries interviews with Lysaght and Matgamna outlining the ideas they will debate.

Interviews by Martin Thomas: click here for Lysaght, and click here for Matgamna


Rayner Lysaght: Threading together struggles

T: How would you sum up the idea of permanent revolution in a few words?
L: The development of the proletarian revolution out of what

Fighting capital or just a greedy few?

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2018 - 09:11

Dale Street

Published at the close of September, Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts’ Corbynism — A Critical Approach is not always an easy read. Bolton and Pitts go well beyond the argument that Corbyn does not understand antisemitism, does not really like the European Union, is a bit of a populist, and has a history (and present) of hanging out with some dubious characters. Rather, their book attempts to “elucidate the essential characteristics of Corbynism as a political orientation (and) outline and critique the general worldview which motivates such a platform”.

It seeks to do so on the basis of

Samir Amin, 1931-2018

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2018 - 08:38

Colin Foster

Samir Amin, who died this year at the age of 87, was one of the foremost writers of the “dependency theory” which, in the 1960s and 70s came, many left-wing activists came to think was “the Marxist theory of imperialism”.

Many even thought it was “Lenin’s theory”, although the whole structure of the theory was different.

Amin, of Egyptian-French background, lived most of his life in France, and was in the French Communist Party then associated with Maoists. The basic idea of “dependency theory” was that ex-colonial countries were underdeveloped because of a drain of surplus to the richer

The No-Party people

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 11:34

Sean Matgamna

During the 1980s, a lot of people who thought of themselves as Marxists [grew] indifferent or hostile to any project of building a Marxist organisation. This tribe, and it was quite an important component of the Labour left, marched or ambled, in so far as it expressed itself explicitly, under the idea: we will develop the influence of Marxism by promoting left-wing ideas in the existing broad labour movement, trade unions and Labour Party.

No socialist organisation beyond the Labour Party and its coteries and careerist cliques was needed. The existing structures were sufficient. This view

Democracy, socialism, and public ownership

Published on: Sat, 25/08/2018 - 07:35

Sean Matgamna

From Socialism Makes Sense

B. Didn’t Stalinism do what socialists advocated? Didn’t it “nationalise” the economy? Statify it? You say that “socialism” is what you say it is, and not what everyone else says it is!

A. Would you accept your politics being equated with all those who call themselves “right-wing” or “conservative”? You wouldn’t. The truth is that the self-definition of the left, in capitalist society, is always and inevitably a struggle against rabid misrepresentation and unreasoning prejudice. And even more so now, after Stalin.

B. The leftists who see future socialism as a perhaps

What is socialism?

Published on: Sat, 25/08/2018 - 07:30

Sean Matgamna

From Socialism Makes Sense

B. Socialists are good at criticising and rubbishing the society we live in. You are less forthcoming about your own positive alternative to it.

A. The elaboration of a detailed picture of a future socialist society would be arbitrary and pointless, because we can’t know in detail how things will evolve.

B. That puts people like me at a disadvantage. We defend what is, what we know, what critics also can see and know and denounce. You “defend” a vague and shadowy future, and say that in detail it is unknowable. What, positively, would a socialist society as you

Communism, socialism, workers' liberty: what the words mean

Published on: Fri, 24/08/2018 - 05:29

Martin Thomas

The terms "communism" and "socialism" were, when they first became current in the labour movement and left in the 19th century, pretty much signified the same thing, but with variable shades of nuance. Since then they have, at various times, acquired different meanings.

Generally AWL prefers to use the word "socialism", because it is widely understood that there are many versions of "socialism". We then further explain that our idea is working-class socialism, which implies also that it is democratic socialism and revolutionary socialism.

We consider ourselves "communists" in the sense in

Robert Fine, 1945-2018

Published on: Tue, 12/06/2018 - 13:30

The socialist writer and activist Robert Fine died on 9 June 2018, at the age of 72. We publish tributes from Workers' Liberty people and from others who knew and worked with him. Photo: Robert Fine with Jean Lane (in the clearing in the middle of the photo, slightly right of centre, holding Workers' Action newspapers) at the anti-fascist march in Lewisham, 13 August 1977.

For some of the writings by Robert Fine on this website, and a review of his latest book, click here or scroll down.

Clive Bradley

I learned a great deal from Bob Fine (in those days he went by "Bob"; I think later he

A book that will make socialists

Published on: Wed, 28/02/2018 - 11:04

Jim Denham

They say that people — young people in particular — don’t read books any more. I hope that’s not true, because books have always been powerful weapons in the struggle for socialism, and many of us can look back to a particular pamphlet, novel or collection of essays and say, “that’s what convinced me”.

Many comrades I’ve known said they were won over by Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (which, to my shame, I’ve never read), the poetry of Shelley or the writings of William Morris. For me it was youthful exposure to Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier, especially) and then, a few years

Hope and fight: why you should be a socialist

Published on: Wed, 14/02/2018 - 12:43

Sean Matgamna

“Why waste your life on this foolish quest?”, we are asked by anti-socialists and sceptics. “Why invite us to do the same? Why fight for a cause that may suffer nothing but defeat, in your lifetime, or forever?”

Our new book Socialism Makes Sense replies: Are we nothing higher than a commercially-conducted and regulated edition of animals, amongst them primitive humankind, spending an entire lifetime browsing and grubbing for food? That is the “shop until you drop” ethos which this society glorifies and depends on for economic dynamism. Leavened maybe with a bit of religious uplift, a half

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