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Theory & History

Peter Hadden – an inspiring life for socialism

Niall Mulholland This obituary was written following the death of Peter Hadden on May 5th 2010. Peter Hadden was the Northern secretary of the Irish section of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), the Socialist Party, when he sadly died ...

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40th anniversary of the founding of the Committee for a Workers’ International

Socialistworld.net Socialist Party Scotland is affiliated to the worldwide socialist organisation the Committee for a Workers’ International. To mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Committee for a Workers’ International on April 21st 1974 we are publishing here three ...

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The Poll Tax Rebellion

Tommy Sheridan and Ronnie Stevenson at press conference in Saughton Prison

 “Ye cannae beat her son, she’s faced doon Galtieri and beat the miners. She’s the iron lady”
 
This was a common response at the early anti-poll tax meetings organised in housing schemes across Scotland in 1988.

 

 

A battered and bruised working class had witnessed a rampant and brutal Prime Minister, in the shape of Margaret Thatcher, cruelly and callously despatch troops to recapture the tiny Falklands Islands and sink ships in retreat from the battle in 1982 and tool up the ‘polis’ in paramilitary gear and tactics to crush the aspirations of miners in 1984. Their only crime was a desire to defend their jobs and communities for future generations. 

 

by Tommy Sheridan, Chair of the Scottish and All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation

 

With less than 40% of the popular vote a deeply divided Britain returned her to office for a record third term in office at the 1987 general election.  Her victories over the Argentinean conscripts and the proud National Union of Mineworkers emboldened her to implement even more assaults on the welfare state, trade union rights and the very concept of ‘society’.  ‘There’s no such thing’ she declared at a Royal Geographical dinner to the applause of the rich and powerful throughout the land who welcomed her determination to destroy socialism, human solidarity and the collectivist spirit which renders a society worthy of the description.

This was the political background to the mighty anti-poll tax struggle.

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When Mass Campaigning Defeated the Poll Tax

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A Residential School setting in West Linton in the Scottish Borders seems a weird place to start the story of the poll Tax but given the history of it’s demise it is as good a place to start as any.

by Ronnie Stevenson, secretary Mount Florida anti-poll tax union, Glasgow

At a Militant (the forerunner of the Socialist Party in England and Wales and the International Socialists in Scotland.) conference in 1987, called to discuss resistance to the Poll Tax Labour Councillor Chic Stevenson moved that we begin to organise for total defiance of the Poll Tax. The strategy involved arguing for all councillors to refuse to implement the tax and for building support for a mass non-payment campaign should it be implemented. 

The decisions which were taken shaped the campaign over the next few years. The ideas of a mass campaign against the poll tax, for building anti-poll tax unions, for mass organised non-payment and non-compliance by local authorities and council trade unions, and for industrial action to defend those victimised for non-payment or non-implementation were brought together in a Militant pamphlet in April 1988. 

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International Women’s Day – The miners’ strike changed women’s lives

This year is the 30th anniversary of the 1984-85 miners’ strike. An important feature of the strike was the involvement of tens of thousands of women in a huge support network, fundraising and picketing. To mark International Women’s Day 2014 ...

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The 1984/85 miners strike was a civil war without the guns

By Ronnie Stevenson The miner’s strike of 1984/5 has correctly been described as a civil war without guns. That description may be too kind to the ruling class as they did consider using the army, as can be seen from ...

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95 years on: Red Clydeside and The Battle of George Square

Tanks in George Square in 1919

An extract from the pamphlet Red Flag Over the Clyde written by Jim Cameron and produced by Scottish Militant Labour (forerunner of Socialist Party Scotland) in 1994 Posted 31st January 2014. 

"It is a misnomer to call the situation in Glasgow a Strike - this is a Bolshevist uprising." These were the words of the Secretary of State for Scotland to describe what was happening in Glasgow at the beginning of 1919 and in particular, what came to be known as the "Battle of George Square". (see picture opposite of tanks in George Square)

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Review – Lenin’s revolutionary Legacy

‘Lenin’ by Lars T Lih Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (No.175, February 2014) In an attempt to answer the description of Lenin by capitalist historians as a brutal dictator, some on the left turn to Lars T Lih. He has tried to ...

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95th anniversary of murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht

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By Peter Taaffe, written to commemorate the 90th anniversary in 2009. Posted 15th January 2014

On 15 January 1919, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the finest brains of the German working class and its most heroic figures, were brutally murdered by the bloodthirsty, defeated German military, backed to the hilt by the cowardly social-democratic leaders Noske and Scheidemann. On this important anniversary, it is vital to look at Luxemburg’s inspirational, revolutionary legacy.

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Chile: 40th anniversary of bloody overthrow of Allende government

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Tony Saunois, Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI). Posted 11th September 2013 

The terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001 was not the first ’9/11’. In Chile, on 11 September 1973, a bloody coup, led by General Augusto Pinochet and backed by the US administration, overthrew the democratically-elected, Left government of President Salvador Allende. In its aftermath, thousands of trade unionists and socialists were slaughtered and thousands more imprisoned, tortured and exiled.

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