National Sections of the L5I:

Issues

World War 2 - When "communists" were strike breakers

The Second World War was supposedly the "finest hour" of the British Communist Party (CP). It grew to 56,000 members, controlled many workplace organisations and had great influence in the unions. But throughout the war the CP acted as the puppet of Kremlin foreign policy. Read more...

Revolutionary theory and imperialism: from Hilferding to Trotsky

The imperialist epoch can celebrate approximately its ninetieth anniversary.1 Lenin and the other great Marxists of the early twentieth century certainly did not anticipate such longevity. Like Marx before them they envisaged that the crises and contradictions of the capitalist system would provide the objective conditions for the working class to despatch it to the museum of social history. Read more...

Britain 1988 - The state of the unions

The year 1988 opened with an eloquent rebuttal of the arguments from all those who have bid farewell to the working class. The strikes in Ford, on the ferry services, in the mines, in the NHS and in the civil service all demonstrate not merely the physical existence of the working class, but also its continuing capacity for class struggle. Read more...

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...