No Image

The recomposition of the International Workers’ Movement, part 1

1st Oct 1995 Socialist Action 0

First published: October 1995     

The re-introduction of capitalism into eastern Europe in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, unleashed a carnival of reaction throughout the world; the advance of NATO into eastern Europe, starting with the bombing of Yugoslavia; the collapse of living standards throughout eastern Europe and the former USSR; the greatest rise of racism since the 1930s and the first serious attempts to start dismantling the welfare states in western Europe.

This course of events was predictable and predicted. The overthrow of the planned economies in eastern Europe and the break-up of the USSR changed the international relationship of class forces in favour of imperialism. The imperialist ruling classes consequently became, not more conciliatory, but vastly more aggressive – taking the offensive to secure their interests in the third world, in eastern Europe and against the working class within the imperialist states.

The critical issue today, is whether that imperialist offensive will be taken onto a new level by the restoration of capitalism in Russia. Four years after Yeltsin came to power that issue has still not been resolved.

No Image

The recomposition of the International Workers’ Movement, part 2

1st Oct 1995 Socialist Action 0

The refusal to work out its line on the basis of the class character of the conflict has finally led the Fourth International to disaster in its line on the war in Yugoslavia.

The real situation in Yugoslavia is that German imperialism sponsored the break-up of the federation to create new capitalist states in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. The Serb minorities fought to remain part of the Yugoslav Federation – a non-capitalist state. The United States and German imperialism built up Croatian and Bosnian armies. NATO was moved into the area. Imperialism conducted a propaganda campaign, swallowed by most of the west European ‘left intelligentsia’, likening the Serbs to Hitler and then launched the massive aerial, missile and artillery bombardment of the Bosnian Serbs.

No Image

The nature of World War II

1st Oct 1995 Socialist Action 0

First published: October 1995

World War II, the fiftieth anniversary of which has been celebrated recently, set the entire framework for current world politics. It was incomparably the greatest armed conflict in human history. But it was also something more. It was the greatest class struggle in the twentieth century.

The first problem in approaching World War II is its sheer size. With fifty million dead – thirty million of them in eastern Europe – with war on three continents, with the greatest number of people under arms in human history, it bears the same sort of relation to a strike that the Himalayas do an anthill.

No Image

Women, the family and the welfare state

1st Jul 1995 Socialist Action 0

First published: July 1995    

Since the Second World War the position of women in society has progressively advanced. The driving force of this was the mass entry of women into the workforce. But its consequences spread into all spheres of society – the education system, rights to divorce, abortion and contraception, equality legislation, legal, economic and property rights and the massive expansion of social provision via the welfare state. Today women face the first sustained attempt to roll back these gains, not by driving women out of the workforce, but by dismantling the welfare state.

No Image

Which class will organise an international economy?

1st Jan 1995 Socialist Action 0

First published: January 1995

The most important strategic debate in the international labour movement since Marx and Engels was that which took place between Stalin, Bukharin and Trotsky in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. The fundamental issue at the core of that debate was Stalin and Bukharin’s strategy of ‘socialism in one country’. Although Stalin resolved the debate by liquidating his opponents, he could not liquidate the real contradictions which gave rise to the conflict. Those remain the fundamental driving forces of the crisis which has unfolded in Russia since Yeltsin came to power in August 1991. As the Russian working class faces a struggle with capital today as desperate as 1917 and 1941, the starting point for a theoretical understanding of that struggle remains the issue of socialism in one country.

The issue of ‘socialism in one country’ is the most fundamental question of socialist strategy in the twentieth century. Trotsky regarded this issue – not, for example, democracy or the popular front – as the fundamental point of divide between Stalin and Bukharin; between what he called ‘national reformism’ and Marxism.

No Image

Marx on hegemony

1st Sep 1993 Socialist Action 0

First published: September 1993

Socialist Action gives tremendous emphasis to the international class struggle, the struggle of women, the black community, and all sections of the oppressed as part of working class politics. But it does not treat these simply as individual questions, vital as each is separately. Socialist Action seeks to integrate them in a hegemonic strategy – that is, one in which the labour movement champions the demands of all the exploited and oppressed. Such an emphasis is not a peripheral question but at the core of Marxism. We consider the origins of the idea of hegemony in the views of Marx and its place in socialist strategy.