National Sections of the L5I:

Europe

Independent Labour Party: Lessons of the split pt1

The Labour party has not been the only mass working class party in the history of the British Labour movement. But what are the lessons of the shortlived Independent Labour Party? Read more...

The failed coup in the USSR

The failed coup d’état of 19-21 August has deepened the pre-revolutionary situation in the USSR. It opens up a new phase in the history of the disintegration of the rule of the Soviet bureaucracy. As in Eastern Europe in the last quarter of 1989 it poses the question of political revolution or social counter-revolution. It is this question that the Soviet proletariat will face and must find a solution to in the coming months and years. On 19 August the clique of “hardliners” within the Council of Ministers, discovering hitherto unsuspected medical capabilities, diagnosed Mikhail Gorbachev as too sick to continue to wield the State Presidency. In his place stepped Gennadi Yanayev and behind him the real junta: Pugo, Yazov, Kryuchov and the uncertain prime minister Pavlov, representatives of the layer of bureaucratic conservatives in the military, heavy industry, interior ministry, KGB and armed forces. Read more...

The situation in Yugoslavia and the position of proletarian revolutionaries

Yugoslavia faces the prospect of a horrific civil war between the peoples and ethnic groups that make up this most multi-national of European states. Revolutionary Marxists condemn without hesitation the fomentors of national strife. The Serbian, Croatian and Slovenia nationalists are all guilty of this. Cynically playing with the fire of chauvinism which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths during the Second World War, reviving the pogromist traditions of the Chetnik and Ustasha fascists, they have brought the country to the brink of a repetition of these events. Read more...

Militant Tendency faced with a turn

Militant’s turn to standing candidates against Labour contradicts everything they said and did in the 1980s. It is the result of the collapse of their political perspectives, argues Richard Brenner. Read more...

The crisis of Stalinism and the theory of state capitalism

In 1917 Russian capitalism was forcibly overthrown and history bore witness to the first state and society in which the working class was the ruling class. Yet the revolution that gave birth to this state was a fragile flower. Its Bolshevik leaders understood that it could not survive in the harsh climate of external hostility and isolation. In time armed aggression by the imperialist nations would, they believed, deliver a fatal counter-revolutionary blow unless workers’ revolutions in the advanced European countries came to the assistance of the world’s first workers’ state. Read more...

Poland’s transition to capitalism

Jan Bielecki is Poland’s Prime Minister. Ten years ago he was a Solidarnosc member in Gdansk, delivering lumber for his living. Under martial law he was an underground activist, assisting the Gdansk shipyard to keep its printing press going. In January 1991 Bielecki was chosen by President Lech Walesa to oversee the country’s transition to capitalism. Another 13 of Bielecki’s cabinet have Solidarnosc membership going back to 1980 when the ten million strong mass movement pitched itself into a battle against the Stalinist dictatorship.1 Read more...

The USSR at the crossroads

Since mid-November 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev has sponsored a creeping coup against his own policy of glasnost. Fragile and limited democratic rights have been conceded by the bureaucracy since 1985 and extended de facto by the struggles of the new workers’ movement and the revolt of the nationalities. They are all under attack. Read more...

1991 - A new beginning for German workers

Introduction

The political revolutionary upsurge in the German Democratic Republic during 1989-90 destroyed the Socialist Unity Party (SED) which had ruled on behalf of the Stalinist bureaucracy since the foundation of the state in 1949.

Like all ruling Stalinist parties, a major part of its membership consisted of place-seekers, managers and functionaries whose adherence to the party provided access to material privileges and power. With the collapse of the old regime this parasitic layer’s nominal commitment to Stalinised “Marxism” vanished, along with the social advantages of party membership. Read more...