National Sections of the L5I:

Europe

PDS: From Stalinism to social democracy

The revolutionary crisis in East Germany in the autumn of 1989 spelled doom the former ruling party—the SED. Mass demonstrations saw SED members on both sides of the conflict between the ruling Stalinist bureaucracy and the popular opposition. Read more...

What’s new about “New Labour”?

At the start of 1996 all British political commentators are agreed on one thing. Only a miracle can save John Major and the Conservatives at the next election. The Labour Party, which has lost a record four general elections, is now almost certain to win. The media pundits insist that it is thanks to Tony Blair that the party, “unelectable” for the last seventeen years, is on the verge of government. Read more...

Balkan wars: A peace to end all peace?

The history of the Bosnian crisis is littered with failed imperialist peace plans. Each of them involved a recognition by imperialism of territorial gains made over the slit throats and raped bodies of tens of thousands of civilians. These plans drawn up by retired senior politicians and diplomats—Vance-Owen (Mark I and II), Owen-Stoltenberg, the Contact Group and now Clinton— have all put multi-ethnic Bosnia on the dissecting table. Read more...

Russia 1905: Lenin, Trotsky and the permanent revolution

On the 90th anniversary of the St Petersburg General Strike Paul Morris explains the debates about party, programme and revolutionary strategy that helped shape the Russian Revolution of 1905 Read more...

Spanish civil war: Trotskyists and the POUM

Andrés Nin, the leader of the POUM until his murder at the hands of Stalinist agents in Spain, was expelled from the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) in 1927. He formed a Spanish section of the International Left Opposition, led by Leon Trotsky.

Between 1930 and February 1933 Trotsky and Nin corresponded about the tasks of the Spanish revolution, which had opened with the fall of King Alphonso and the declaration of the Second Republic in 1930. Over the next eight years the revolution went through many ebbs and flows until the final victory of the counter-revolution at the hands of Franco in March 1939. Read more...

The genesis of Irish nationalism - The United Irishmen and the failed revolution of 1798

In 1795 the United Irishmen, the first Irish republicans, refounded themselves as an underground revolutionary organisation. In September of the same year, the Orange Society was established as a mass reactionary alliance of landlords and loyalist peasantry. The aim of the United Irishmen was to recreate the French Revolution in Ireland; the Orangemen's goal was to prevent it. So the "two traditions" referred to in the Downing Street Declaration both have something to commemorate this year. Read more...

France: The FN: twists and turns of a fascist front

The French Front National (FN) was founded in 1972 as a coalition of fascist tendencies. It grouped together Vichy collaborators, young thugs and a handful of non-party fascists, like Jean-Marie Le Pen, who had played minor roles in the post-war history of the French far-right. By 1980 the FN had only 270 members, of whom scarcely 100 were fully paid-up.1 Three years later the FN won 2.2 million votes in the European elections and Le Pen’s face was on the front page of every newspaper. Over the next 10 years, the FN was able to put down deep roots and is now a fundamental feature of the political landscape. Its impact on every other political party has been enormous. Read more...

The MSI: “The cudgel and the double breasted suit”

Italy is the only western European state in which a fascist party has joined a government since 1945.1 The entry of the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) into the coalition government of Silvio Berlusconi prompted alarm amongst the left in Italy and around the world. It also provoked some revealing reactions from the bosses’ press. The Economist reassured its readers:

“Hitler and Stalin were monsters. Mussolini by comparison was a farmyard rooster . . . the true mark of fascism, belief in a peculiar variety of one-party corporate state—not, it should be said, a belief shared by this newspaper—is not Nazism or racism. Let the word ‘fascist’ be reserved for those who profess that belief, and today’s neo-fascists be judged for their own ideas, not Hitler’s.”2 Read more...

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