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Splits and Fusions- an archive of Trotskyist publications in Britain

This is the post excerpt.

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Welcome to Splits&Fusions.

Here we will showcase documents from the various tendencies of what can broadly be described as the Trotskyist movement in Britain (with a nod to Irish, US and other publications in the English language).

In most cases items will be presented without much in the way of editorial, beyond a brief (and hopefully factual) description of the group. Continue reading “Splits and Fusions- an archive of Trotskyist publications in Britain”

From “Workers Fight” to “Workers Liberty”- the Matgamna group

AfghanWikipedia is a good source for an outline of the various splits and fusions undergone by the tendency associated with Sean Matgamna since it first emerged from the RSL / Militant as Workers Fight in 1966- on the basis of the What we are and what we must become document.

[UPDATE You can read the original document here: What We Are And What We Must Become]

Within two years the group was inside the International Socialists as the Trotskyist Tendency before emerging once more as Workers Fight, fusing and de-fusing with Workers Power and then, in the late 1970s, entering the Labour Party as the International-Communist League.

In 1981 the group fused with, and adopted the name of, the Workers Socialist League and when that fusion eventually fell apart, continued life in the Labour Party as the Socialist Organiser Alliance and Alliance for Workers Liberty…

Our collections include the following:

Workers Fight magazine and pamphlets and Permanent Revolution theoretical journal

International Communist magazine and pamphlets

Workers Action– one magazine and lots of pamphlets*

Socialist Organiser– pamphlets and special editions of the paper (mostly in pamphlet/magazine form) Only one issue of the tabloid*

Alliance For Workers Liberty– various pamphlets and bulletins, Workers Liberty pamphlets and magazines and Marxist Revival magazine.

We are very grateful to Shane Bentley for providing scans of a number of these magazines.

*Readers will note that we are very light on the various tabloids produced by this tendency- the Workers Fight, Workers Action and Socialist Organiser newspapers. If anyyone can provide access to any of these we would like to hear from you.

 

 

League for Socialist Action an update

TPMany thanks to Pauline Roberts for supplying us with a number of pamphlets and educational bulletins from the League for Socialist Action of which she, and her late husband Tony Roberts, were leading members.

The pamphlets include  LSA – What We Stand For and EEC Does It Matter? by former IMG veteran Pat Brain who died last year.

Additionally there are six Socialist Action Educational Pamphlets covering 1980 perspectives, single issue campaigns and the Transitional Programme, amongst other topics.

Any further documents gratefully received!

The Socialist Current Group

SCrThe Socialist Current journal began publication in 1956 and was subtitled “Incorporating the International Socialist” which was the journal of the Revolutionary Socialist League of Ted Grant at the time. The link with the Grantites did not last long and by the following year a Socialist Current Group was established, it leading members being Frank Rowe, Morry Solloff and Sam Levy.

Continue reading “The Socialist Current Group”

Revolutionary Marxist Tendency (1982?)

WRFWSo, here is a little mystery. We have four documents from a group calling itself the Revolutionary Marxist Tendency and dating from around 1982.

Initially we thought they may be an incarnation of the British franchise of Pablo’s (International) Revolutionary Marxist Tendency. However, certain internal political clues lead me, at least, to have some doubts about this provenance.

Firstly, in the first of the documents (Pamphlet 5 on the Economy of the Soviet Union) it is clear that the RMT identifies with Trotskyism but there is no mention of the Fourth International or even any international affiliations. Furthermore, the advert for earlier RMT pamphlets lists Pamphlet 1 “The Poverty of the Left- the need for a Marxist propaganda group” as being the founding document of the Tendency. Other pamphlets set out the groups priorities as being opposition to the Labour Party and full support for the Irish liberation struggle.

Pamphlet 6, on the Malvinas, makes a fundamentalist Marxist analysis of imperialism and critiques Militant’s position on the Malvinas / Falklands War.

Then there are the leaflets. Capitalist Crisis Explained, A3 double sided, is concerned with Marxist economics and an explanation of the crisis.

Workers Rights For Women is more interesting and sets out the RMTs central political idea of overcoming ‘divisions’ in the working class by counterposing an abstract ‘socialism’ or ‘workers control’ to sectional or reformist demands (such as equal pay for women).

So, all in all, whilst the name fits with the Pabloites, I really don’t think the politics do and there is no reference whatsoever to an international affiliation or to the Pabloite press- International Marxist Review etc.

So, my best guess / stab in the dark would be that this is a short-lived micro-split from the Revolutionary Communist Tendency, RCG or RCP. This is based on the following reasoning- the style of some of the documents is very Yaffeite / RCGish, the key political positions and concerns- Ireland, Labour, Malvinas are very RCP and the Workers Rights leaflet explicitly polemicises against the RCP, rather than any other tendency, which tends to lead me to the conclusion that it is a continuation of a formerly internal debate…

Hopefully someone can prove me right, or wrong- perhaps by producing copies of other pamphlets by the Revolutionary Marxist Tendency. Over to you…

 

 

Harry Constable in his own words

Some readers will be interested in the publication of  the book “Harry Constable in his own Words”.  Harry Constable was a very important unofficial dockworkers leader in the 1940s and 50s. He was also a socialist who was active in the revolutionary left including joining the organisation led by Gerry Healy in the 1950s.

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Details of the launch meeting, in Liverpool, for the book are on the flyer and we will post information about how to obtain the book in due course.

Revolutionary Communist League / Chartist Tendency

SChFollowing his departure from the International Marxist Group, Al Richardson (Richard Stephenson) was to become one of the founders of the Revolutionary Communist League which later became primarily identified with Socialist Charter and known as the Chartist Tendency.  A brief sketch of the origins and direction of this group can be found here.

Our Archive contains a number of pamphlets and bulletins but is light on copies of the Chartist newspaper (a situation we would like to rectify)

A few items of note include four issues of The Chartist– Bulletin of the Young Chartists,  two series of International Bulletin and three copies of Chartist International from the later 1970s.

Amongst the many pamphlets you will find nos 1 and 2 of a series on the Fourth International, copies of the Socialist Charter and also the Soldiers Charter which attempted to agitate amongst members of the armed forces. There is also a shorter leaflet version of the Soldiers Charter produced by Leeds University Labour Students.

Other gems include Chris Knight’s pamphlet The First Revolution on the origins of human culture. A fascinating read but, sadly, our copy is missing the last page. And, from the same author comes the legendary pamphlet “My Sex Life” in conjunction with the Women and Labour Collective and the Chartist Minority Tendency.

Also of interest will be the joint discussion bulletin of the Socialist Charter and the IC-L

Workers Power

wpFor the best part of 50 years the Workers Power group has been a small but stable component of the British far left.

It traces its origins back to the Left Faction of the International Socialists in 1972 and was eventually expelled in 1974 at which point it began publication of the Workers Power magazine.

Following a short lived fusion with Sean Matgamna’s Workers Fight group it reconstituted itself and resumed publishing Workers Power, first as a magazine and then as a newspaper which continued through until 2015.

The core of our WORKERS POWER ARCHIVE is some 90 issues of the newspaper which originally appeared on the Workers Power website (now discontinued). We are grateful to Shane Bentley for downloading these and making them available to us.

Additional materials include some later issues of the newspaper, a large number of pamphlets and a nearly complete run of Red Miner, Workers Power’s bulletin for striking miners.

We also have copies of Trotskyist Bulletin and Trotskyist International– publications of Workers Power’s international body the Movement (later League) for a Revolutionary Communist International and also the WP theoretical journal Permanent Revolution.

We are currently still adding issues of Trotskyist International and Permanent Revolution to the archive.

Readers will note a substantial gap in our collections- copies of the paper for the 1990s and early 2000’s. If anyone can help with these, please get in touch.