National Sections of the L5I:

Issues

The Transitional Programme fifty years on

Half a century has passed since the Transitional Programme (TP)1 of Leon Trotsky was written. In those fifty years much has occurred that Trotsky’s programme neither foresaw nor prepared for. Trotsky’s perspectives were based on the premise that ‘Mankind’s productive forces stagnate’.2 Yet, in the metropolitan countries the second imperialist war was followed by an unprecedented economic boom for almost twenty years. In turn this boom created the conditions for the resurgence of social-democratic reformism, a force Trotsky believed would be decisively destroyed in the war. Stalinism too not merely survived but gained a new lease of life through its expansion into eastern Europe and eventually parts of Asia. The condition for these unforeseen developments was the defeat of the revolutionary upsurge that occurred during the war in Europe. The defeat of that upsurge was achieved by counter-revolutionary force in the areas occupied by the Soviet Armed Forces and Allied imperialism. It fell victim to the no less fatal snares of democratic counter-revolution in much of western Europe. Read more...

Founding the Communist International

Proceedings and documents of the First Congress March 1919. Edited by Riddell, Pathfinder 1987, Reviewed by Peter Mason Read more...

Theses on Zionism and Palestine: 1947

We reprint here an English translation of ‘Draft theses on the Jewish Question today’, first published in Fourth International in the January/February 1948 issue. They are dated January 1947 and the available evidence suggests that they were drafted by Ernest Mandel (‘Walter’) and first discussed by the International Secretariat in Paris at its 16 December 1946 meeting. Read more...

SWP: wrong positions on Iran and Iraq

‘The war is no longer just a conflict between two ruling classes fighting for domination of the region . . . The war now is one in which Iran faces the world’s mightiest imperial power (the USA—WP) and its European and Arab allies. Under these circumstances socialists are not neutral... We are with the Iranians—for the defeat of the whole coalition of forces, including Iraq, that is ranged against them.’
(Socialist Worker Review December 1987). Read more...

Sri Lanka and the Tamil question

1. The India Sri Lanka Accord of July 1987 represents the latest attempt at imposing a reactionary settlement on the national struggle of the Tamil people. The accord proposed autonomy which demanded the disarming of the only force enjoying the support of the Tamil people and reliance on Indian troops responsible for the repression of national groups inside India. It proposed a referendum in the Eastern Province in late 1988 to decide whether to continue links with the Northern Province. Read more...

Gorbachev and the Soviet working class

Mikhail Gorbachev, and those politically close to him, face a most daunting political prospect. He has staked his political future on reversing the tendency to stagnation and decline in the growth of the Soviet economy. But he has gone further than this. The means to that end promise a major attack on the economic privileges and political authority of a significant section of the state bureauracy. In order to deliver that blow Gorbachev is courting limited mobilisations of rank and file workers and party members against those who resist pressure for change. Read more...

The Pope of Marxism

Dave Stocking reviews Karl Kautsky by Dick Geary (Manchester University Press 1987, 146pp, £4.95) Read more...

The Meaning Of The Second World War

Paul Mason reviews The Meaning Of The Second World War by Ernest Mandel (Verso 1986 pbk £6.95)

Except for the Russian Revolution no event has shaped the modern class struggle more than the Second World War. The basic outlines of every contemporary war and revolutionary struggle were drawn during World War II. Yet despite its importance, the war remains a virtual closed book for the British labour movement. Read more...