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The left and European Monetary Union

1st July 1996 Socialist Action 0

First published: July 1996

‘The completion of the socialist revolution within national limits is unthinkable. One of the basic reasons for the crisis in bourgeois society is the fact that the productive forces created by it can no longer be reconciled with the framework of the national state. From this follow, on the one hand, imperialist wars, on the other, the utopia of a bourgeois United States of Europe. The socialist revolution begins on the national arena, it unfolds on the international arena, and is completed on the world arena. Thus, the socialist revolution becomes a permanent revolution in a news and broader sense of the word; it attains completion only in the final victory of the new society on our entire planet.’ – Trotsky

The social explosion in France at the end of last year, and the new wave of cuts in public spending planned in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and other states, show the contradictions in which those on the left who supported the Treaty of Maastricht now find themselves. They endorse the very agreement which is co-ordinating the attacks on the welfare state on a European Union wide level and, in doing so, place themselves on a collision course with every section of the European labour movement acting to defend the welfare state.

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The material basis of Euro-socialism

1st July 1996 Socialist Action 0

First published: July 1996

For more than a decade the most coherent support for the process of concentration and integration of capital in western Europe has been provided by social democracy. The rise, and recent decline, of this current – ‘Euro–socialism’ – provides an object lesson in the way in which the politics of the working class movement are shaped not merely by its own immediate situation, but by its relations with all classes in society.

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Militant bourgeois

1st July 1996 Socialist Action 0

First published: July 1996

Some years ago the Financial Times ran an exceptionally instructive back page interview with Jean Marie Le Pen, the leader of the extreme right wing French National Front. It was instructive, not because of what it told the reader about Le Pen, but for what it reflected about the thinking of the Financial Times.

The article was entitled ‘Militant bourgeois’. The tone of the interview was precisely expressed by its title. It sought to foster toleration among the FT’s readers of Le Pen as a ‘militant’ representative of a ‘bourgeois’ political force – without, of course, endorsing his more obscurantist, racist and anti-semitic views. The approach was to create the kind of attitude to Le Pen among FT readers, that might have been found among militant car workers in the 1970s to a ‘communist’ shop steward – ‘we don’t agree with a lot of their ideas, but they are useful to have on our side in a fight with the class enemy.’

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Lessons of the Chinese economic reform, part 1

1st May 1996 Socialist Action 0

First published: May 1996

The most conclusive indictment of the economic policies which have devastated Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1989 and 1991 is their contrast with the spectacular success of the reform of the world’s second major centrally planned economy – China – a model now being increasingly applied in Vietnam and Cuba. China’s success shows that the suffering inflicted upon the peoples of Eastern Europe and the former USSR, under the guidance of the IMF, was totally unnecessary.

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Marxist theory and the British labour movement

1st April 1996 Socialist Action 0

First published: April 1996

Theoretical underdevelopment and the false counterposing of theory to practice has critically weakened the left in Britain. This majority British tradition has historically contrasted with the emphasis on the integration of theory and practice by the most advanced working class political currents internationally. The recomposition and renewal of the socialist left in Britain poses afresh the necessity of theoretical exchange and development.