Solidarity 120, 25 October 2007

Why I left the SWP

Published on: Tue, 11/12/2007 - 23:47

Tom Unterrainer

Many people reading this article may ask themselves “why join the SWP in the first place?” Others still will ask “why go on to join the AWL?” These are legitimate questions. In fact, the answer to the question “why I left the SWP” revolves almost entirely around answering the other two.

Some people fill hours of their lives writing lists of incidents, outrages and ‘crimes against socialism’ carried out by the SWP. This documentation is a time-consuming and important work, but this article will be no such list. Others have provided us with impressionistic sketches of leading SWP ‘personalities

LRC balks at new start, but debate will go on

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 12:46

Chris Ford

“The LRC meets at a time when socialists within the Labour Party, trade unions, left groups and many progressive campaigns are being forced to face up to a number of hard truths in reassessing their future”, read the National Committee statement to the Labour Representation conference on 17 November

Around 250 attended the conference, slightly down on last year. The theme of the conference was Next Steps for the Left.

The National Committee rightly pointed out that in the current situation the: “potential for the left is therefore immense and the LRC could play a pivotal role because of its

Rediscovering workers’ control

Published on: Mon, 12/11/2007 - 19:29

David Broder

Marx’s aim of transforming society into a “free association of producers” has long been ignored by large swathes of the “Marxist” left. Not only Stalinists and social democrats, but also avowedly Trotskyist organisations such as the Militant Tendency (forerunner of the Socialist Party) have equated nationalisation with socialism, with the state bureaucracy substituted for the working class as the vanguard of social transformation.

Sometimes with gestures made towards democracy through formulations such as “public ownership”, the dominant trend of the left in recent decades has been to move

Japan, 1945-52 When US imperialism forced democracy

Published on: Thu, 08/11/2007 - 19:24

Dan Katz

Parts of the left back any opposition to US imperialism around the world dogmatically, without qualification, and with little attempt to examine what the effects and actions of the imperialist power are. Or what the political character of the local alternatives to imperialism are. These leftists might be suprised by the story of the US imperialist intervention in Japan, contradicting as it does, some preconceived notions of how an imperialist power behaves.

Japan’s Second World War had the most brutal end. On 6 August 1945 a US Superfortress bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped an atom bomb on the

Support the SWP? No!

Published on: Sun, 04/11/2007 - 14:49

Dave L.

I don’t think there is a point in ‘taking sides’ in this faction fight. The SWP are reaping the whirlwind that they have sown. It appears to be a rearguard action against the opportunist, anti-secular and tailist politics that they encouraged in Respect. Finally they have heard the sound of Cliff turning in his grave!! But they deal with it in just the same bureaucratic anti-democratic way that they used yesterday against those of us who raised these very questions. I remember well the SWP using the same tactics to stop me being a delegate to conference and move my resolution on secularism.

Tom Mann: Independent labour gets organised

Published on: Fri, 02/11/2007 - 19:12

Cathy Nugent

Continuing the series on the life and times of Tom Mann

In 1887 Keir Hardie called the leaders of the trade union movement “holders of a fat, snug office, concerned only with maintaining the respectability of the cause.” He might have been talking about the trade union leaders of today. Unfair? Why else, except a burning desire for respectability, have they acquiesced in the hollowing out of the democratic and political life of the Labour Party, the party, which Hardie helped to establish? The trade union leaders’ relationship to the Labour Party is like that of the trade union leaders of the

We need a mass campaign to save NUS

Published on: Tue, 30/10/2007 - 19:27

Sofie Buckland

On 16 October the NUS National Executive Committee voted with only two votes (myself and SWP member Rob Owen) against to endorse the proposals of the “Governance Review” for slashing internal democracy, and, with only four votes against, to call on member unions to authorise an Extraordinary National Conference to rush through the changes.

The fight, in other words, is now definitely on. What is being planned is not just a bit more chipping away at NUS democracy, as has happened almost continuously for the last twenty years, or even a dramatic attack like the abolition of the second (winter)

Discussion: Lacking a dimension on Israel Palestine

Published on: Mon, 29/10/2007 - 19:41

Rhodri Evans

Daniel Randall’s article in Solidarity 3/119 was extremely useful for the information it collected on working-class movements and groups in Israel and Palestine.

It seemed to me, though, that it lacked a dimension. The working-class movements among the Palestinians and the Israelis represent our fundamental hopes, and they deserve support as workers’ movements whatever their exact policies.

But the working-class movements can effect fundamental political change only when they have the policies to do so.

For example, the Workers’ Advice Centre, which gets more column-inches in Daniel’s article

Northern Iraq: Turkey threatens invasion

Published on: Sun, 28/10/2007 - 19:58

Dan Katz

Energetic US diplomacy may have headed off – for the time being – the threat of a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq.

Turkey wants to see the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerilla bases in northern Iraq closed down. The PKK, a Stalinist-nationalist organisation based in the Kurdish areas of Turkey – and now with bases in Iraq – launched an armed struggle against the Turkish state in 1984.

37,000 people have died during the PKK-Turkish conflict. In the mid-1990s thousands of villages were destroyed in the Kurdish south-east of Turkey, and hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled to cities in other

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