Solidarity 059 ESF Extra, 7 October 2004

Against the Europhobes, against the Euro-capitalists: For a workers’ united Europe


Sean Matgamna

There are two basic lines of possible working class policy in relation to the European Union.

The first advocates building on what the bourgeoisie has created and uniting the working class across the EU to fight the bourgeoisie for democratic and social reform and, in the course of doing that, building towards socialist transformation by working-class revolution on a European scale.

Such an approach does not imply backing what the dominant capitalists and their servants do, or the way that they do it.

Help build No Sweat!

By Mick Duncan

No Sweat, the British anti-sweatshop campaign, began life as a national network a little under three years ago. During those three years the organisation has extended the breadth and scale of its work, which has included drives against sweatshop bosses abroad and in the UK.

Five national trade unions and the National Union of Students are now affiliated and No Sweat continues to grow, week by week.

Solidarity with Iraqi workers!

By Martin Thomas

Iraq has a growing new labour movement — independent trade unions, unemployed movements, women’s organisations, and working-class political parties.

In oilfields, oil refineries, the railways, factories, and elsewhere, workers have organised trade unions and sometimes won victories by removing Ba’thist managers or improving wages.

Different strands in the Iraqi labour movement have sharp political differences between themselves. But all the main groups agree on two points:

An A-Z of the “global justice” movement

A is for ATTAC

The biggest “movement for another globalisation” in France, which has a large international network. It has a considerable overlap with official politics, for example in the French Socialist Party. But some revolutionaries are active within it.

ATTAC France was launched in June 1998, following a call for an “Association for the Tobin Tax for Aid to Citizens” in the December 1997 issue of the magazine Le Monde Diplomatique. It now has more than 30,000 members, and other national ATTAC groups tens of thousands. For Tobin Tax, see T, below.

Our sort of revolution

By Mark Osborn

How can exhausted, downtrodden workers, bombarded with prejudices, come to see their place in the world as part of a revolutionary class? Or will better-off workers always see their interest in getting what they can out of the system, and will worse-off workers always be helpless objects for charity and welfare?

These questions were answered in practice in France in May 1968. In April 1968 many people were still saying that the working class had been irrevocably tamed. By June they were eating their words.

Socialism versus Stalinism


John O'Mahony

In 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, we went on the streets with the headline: “Stand up for socialism”, and the strapline: “Stalinism was the opposite of socialism”.

A common response, gleeful or sad, was: “Socialism is dead, darling!”

But for years and decades before 1991, we had championed the underground workers’ movements and the oppressed nationalities in the Stalinist states. We had waged war on the idea — which used to be held by many in the labour movement — that states like the USSR, China, or Cuba were socialist in any sense or in any degree.

ESF rogues' gallery - The SWP and George Galloway

The Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) is the biggest left group in Britain. Earlier this year the SWP and some other socialists put a big effort into a Respect election campaign for the European Parliament (held on 10 June). The election campaign was organised around the politics and personality of George Galloway MP, a figure who will be prominent at the ESF. But was it left-wing? Does George Galloway deserve to be a hero of the left? Does the SWP’s self-submergence in Respect help socialist and anti-capitalist politics? Colin Foster says no.

Change the world without taking power?

Can we change the world without taking power? Without organising ongoing, structured, political movements (parties)? John Holloway, in a much-read book (Change the World Without Taking Power, Pluto 2002) says we can.

He is wrong. If we don’t take power — if, to be more exact, activists do not agitate, educate, and organise to push the working class towards sufficient organisation, confidence and assertiveness for the working class to take power — then the Blairs and Bushes, the Schröders and Putins, will keep power.

A socialist world is possible

By Colin Foster

Socialism means democratic control by the producers — the workers — over what is produced and distributed.

That’s how it will end poverty, class inequality, exploitation, boom-slump cycles and the trashing of the environment. That is how it will ensure good social provision for all, in place of the chaos and inhumanity of the free market.

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