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Theory & History

70th anniversary of the assasination of Leon Trotsky

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Coming mass revolts will see workers and youth look to Trotsky’s ideas

 

Peter Taaffe, General Secretary Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales)

Seventy years ago the greatest living revolutionary of the time, Leon Trotsky, was murdered by Josef Stalin’s hit man Ramon Mercader. There had been a number of failed previous attempts on Trotsky’s life but this time a fatal blow from an ‘ice pick’ successfully destroyed the ‘brain’ of the working class and the symbol of implacable opposition to capitalism and totalitarian Stalinism. This event, celebrated in the Kremlin by Stalin and the bureaucratic elite he represented, also brought joy to the capitalist governments of Europe, America and the world.

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World Capitalist Crisis

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Class struggles on the rise


Report by Kevin Parslow from CWI Summer School, Belgium

Over 400 people attended the CWI Summer School in Belgium in July, including from across Europe, Russia, Central Asia, India, the US and Quebec and the Middle East. The 2010 CWI School tooko place against the background of capitalist governments, throughout Europe and internationally, taking savage measures against the working class to cut the huge rise in budget deficits following the collapse of the world banking system in 2008-09. The first discussion, on the World Capitalist Crisis and the Class Struggle in Europe, was introduced by Peter Taaffe from the International Secretariat.

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Liverpool 1983-87: The Council That Took On Thatcher

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"We Translated Socialism Into The Language Of Jobs, Housing And Services" 

The savage cuts announced by the ConDem government will have a devastating effect on the lives of millions of people across Scotland.  The building of a mass opposition to these cuts is essential if we are to defeat them.  Below is an article about the mass movement in Liverpool in the 1980s led by the forerunners of the Socialist Party, The Militant, which defeated Thatcher's cuts and won a famous victory against cuts and privatisation. The lessons of this struggle has importance relevance for us today.  Below is reprinted article commemorating the 20th anniversary of this extraordinary movement. 

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Bloody Sunday Enquiry

“This was MURDER”

Re-publication of article from the Militant newspaper (CWI in Britain – predecessor of the Socialist)

More analysis on the outcome of the Saville report investigation into the massacre of 13 civilians by British paratroopers on on Sunday, 30th January 1972 will follow soon on socialistworld.net. Below we publish an article carried in Militant, newspaper of the Militant tendency (CWI – predecessor of the Socialist Party) on that tragic day’s events.

Withdraw troops - Replace with Armed Trade Union force Militant 4th February 1972

The murder of 13 unarmed demonstrators in Derry on Sunday, 30th January 1972, will go down in history as the North of Ireland’s BLOODY SUNDAY. It is to be compared to the Croke Park massacre of 1920 when ’Black and Tans’ shot down 12 civilians. The modern ’Black and Tans’ are the thug detachments of British Paratroopers who, despite the lying accounts which first appeared in the British Press, in an orgy of terror indiscriminately shot defenceless men and boys, some of them in the back.

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Women, the Russian revolution and the collpase of Stalinism

On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall the world media have been falling over themselves to commemorate events that showed once and for all that capitalism was victorious, that communism, socialism and Marxism were confined to the dustbin of history and the people of Russia and Eastern Europe can now bask in the wealth and freedom that we in the west have ‘enjoyed’ for decades.  

What a crushing disappointment the reality of market capitalism has meant for the working class in these countries.  Mass unemployment, poverty pay, inequality and war have been the reality for millions of people.  Women, in particular, have faced the sharp edge these social and economic ‘reforms’.

Christine Thomas and Sinead Daly

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The Russian revolution, its degeneration and the collapse of Stalinism

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The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent demise of the Stalinist regimes of Eastern Europe is a crucial time for socialists to discuss the nature of the USSR, why the regimes fell, the subsequent consequences this had for the labour and socialist movement in Europe and internationally, and crucially what lessons can we learn to arm us in the campaign for socialism today.

 

Luke Ivory - International Socialists

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Marxism and the second world war

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Seventy years ago, the major powers plunged humanity into the horror of world war

Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party, cwi in England and Wales

"Winston Churchill, wrote the following about Hitler’s rise to power (see picture opposite) in the 1939 edition of his book, Great Contemporaries: “I have always said that if Great Britain was defeated in war, I hope we would find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations”. The Nazis were financed and aided by the British ruling class with massive support from British big business so long as they faced east, towards attacking the Soviet Union. Thus Britain effectively backed Hitler’s rearmament programme in the 1935 Anglo-German naval agreement that allowed an expansion of the German navy that broke the Versailles Treaty’s limits."

 

And I can’t help but wonder now Willie McBride

Do all those who lie here know why they died?

Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?

Did you really believe them that this war would end wars?

But the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame –

The killing, the dying – it was all done in vain.

For Willie McBride, it’s all happened again

And again, and again, and again, and again.

© Eric Bogle

The lyrics to Eric Bogle’s haunting folk song, No Man’s Land (The Green Fields of France, or Willie McBride), set against the background of an imaginary young soldier killed in the first world war, are as relevant today on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the second world war which falls on 1 September. War did happen ‘again and again’ with its countless victims and will continue to do so as long as capitalism remains. Indeed, the total number of victims of the second world war dwarfed even the carnage of the first. Estimates of the total number of casualties for the war suggest some 60 million died, 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.

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The Real Lessons of the Second World War

The seventieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War falls on 1 September. A minimum of 60 million people died (some estimates put the number as high as 77 million): 20 million military personnel and 40 million civilians. While the 'theatres of operations' did not spread to the whole of the world, it nevertheless touched most of humankind and its consequences certainly exercise a profound effect today.

PETER TAAFFE looks at the lessons of this devastating event.

Nuclear weapons were first deployed obscenely at the very end of the war on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then a massive stockpile of weapons has hung like a terrible sword of Damocles over us, threatening to bury humankind and probably all animal life, under nuclear rubble. Why and how did we arrive at this situation, what were the causes of the Second World War, how did it differ from the First World War and, crucially, is it possible today to avoid the nightmare that our parents and grandparents endured during this catastrophe?

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August 1969 – When British troops went into Northern Ireland

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A turning point in history

August 1969 was a turning point in the history of Northern Ireland. It was then that the Labour Government of Harold Wilson took the decision to send troops onto the streets, first of Derry, then of Belfast.

The measure was presented as temporary – troops were needed, they said, because, with riots sweeping the streets, with huge parts of Derry and Belfast sealed off behind barricades and with pogroms starting to develop, it was clear that the Unionist government at Stormont had lost control. It was to be a ‘stop gap’. The troops would be withdrawn ‘as soon as law and order is restored’.

Peter Hadden, Socialist Party (CWI in Northern Ireland)

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Scotland and the National Question

Statement from the International Socialists, CWI (Scotland)

Introduction
This statement was written in September 2003 in the aftermath of the May 1st 2003 Scottish elections which saw a severe defeat for the main pro-independence, nationalist party the Scottish National Party. The purpose of this statement is to explain the approach, programme and method of the International Socialists and the Committee for a Workers International on the national question.
In doing so we seek to clarify what we believe to be a principled socialist and Marxist attitude to the national question in Scotland.

The CWI has always adopted a consistent position on the national question. The CWI has historically defended the national rights of the Scottish people. At the same time we have explained that to guarantee those rights and end poverty it is necessary to link the national struggle to the fight for socialism. In this statement, as well as outlining the analysis of the CWI, references will be made to a statement drawn up by the policy coordinator of the Scottish Socialist Party Alan McCombes. This statement entitled “Which way forward towards independence and socialism” proposed the setting up of an Independence Convention. In raising our differences with this proposal we aim to contrast our attitude toward the national question in Scotland to the ideas put forward by the leadership of the SSP.

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