National Sections of the L5I:

The working class

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Why is there no socialism in the United States?”

Mainstream American politics is “big business” and the latest presidential contest is no exception. The eye-watering amounts of money thrown at Obama and McCain by the American rich testify to the simple fact that both the Democrats and Republicans are capitalist parties – neither has ever represented the independent interests of American workers. Andy Yorke asks, “Why have American workers never had a party of their own?” The answer, he argues, can be found in the historical struggles of the working class. Read more...

Will Barack Obama bring a new deal for American workers?

Barack Obama has electrified the American president elections and fostered the belief amongst American workers, African-Americans and youth, that, if elected, he will bring radical change. Dave Stockton looks beyond Obama’s celebrity and radical language and finds a candidate itching to serve the capitalist class. Read more...

Industrial Workers of the World: one big union

Mark Hoskisson looks at the history of the Industrial Workers of the World one hundred years on from its foundation Read more...

The Great Miners’ Strike, 1984-85

Two decades have passed since the British miners launched a strike to defend their pits from a huge closure programme. The strike turned into one of the most decisive economic and political struggles of the twentieth century. Mark Hoskisson looks back at this contest between the British state and the thousands of working class men and women, whom the Tory prime minister of the time, Margaret Thatcher, famously described as “the enemy within”. Read more...

From reserve army to frontline troops: women in the global workforce

When the early socialist campaigners talked about women’s liberation they saw the right to work, access to an independent wage and integration into the collectivity of the workplace as key steps to freedom from subservience and family drudgery.Today, more women do paid labour than ever before: but what does that mean for women’s liberation? Read more...

Thatcher, Major and the unions: Fighting “the enemy within”

When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 she had united the Tory party around the goal of breaking the strength of the British trade unions. Read more...

The working class movement in South America today

The São Paolo Forum of the “New Left” met in Managua in July. Keith Harvey explains how it failed to come up with either a diagnosis or a cure for the continent’s ailments.

It has become commonplace on the Latin American left to root its present crisis in two related events—the collapse of Stalinist ruling governments in Eastern Europe and the USSR and the defeat of the FSLN in the 1990 Nicaraguan elections. Read more...

The general strike 1842

One hundred and fifty years ago the first prolonged general strike of the British working class was at its peak. Tens of thousands of workers in Lancashire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire mounted flying pickets, seized control of whole towns and organised armed militias. To the horror of the employers and aristocrats they transformed their strike from a wage struggle to a struggle for political power. Paul Morris tells the story of this key event in working class history. Read more...

The myth of the underclass

The recent events in Los Angeles have led bourgeois commentators and academic “Marxists” to brush up the old concept of an “underclass”. Lesley Day and Colin Lloyd argue that this idea is not only useless for analysing the class structure of the US urban centres but is a positive diversion from the search for a working class solution to the crisis of the US inner cities. 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...