Updates and acknowledgements

We recently put our Workers Socialist League materials online and made a plea for anyone able to help us fill the gaps in our Socialist Press collection. Thanks to Keith W who promptly donated a complete run!

So, whilst scanning continues on Socialist Press (estimated time of completion about ten days) we are now able to bring you complete runs of the Woman Worker and Red Youth supplements as well as two issues of Marxist Student.

Thanks also to Keith S for letting us have some 70 issues of Socialist Organiser from 1982 – 1984. We will scan these soon too.

And, as ever, Barry B comes up with more goodies including several issues of Fighting Worker, paper of the US Revolutionary Workers League which was distributed in Britain by supporters of the Revolutionary Internationalist League and also issue 1 of the RIL’s Revolutionary Fighter newspaper.

Much more stuff still in the pipeline, including a lot of vintage materials. Watch this space…

 

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The Workers League (IS Opposition)

G StrikeThe Workers League represented a significant mid-1970s split from the International Socialists taking with it a significant number of leading cadres- Jim Higgins, Roger Protz and veterans such as Harry Wicks.

However, as this account indicates, it proved to be a short-lived formation.

Jim Higgins’ book More Years For The Locust gives much of the background to the IS Opposition and the faction fight leading to the formation of the League.

We have three issues of Workers News, newspaper of the Workers League, including one from 28th February which appears to be the first issue.

Also a pamphlet by Harry Wicks on the General Strike

WORKERS LEAGUE ARCHIVE

The Workers Socialist League

Battle4TrotskyismIt is with great pleasure that we are able to bring you our archive of papers, pamphlets and journals of the Workers Socialist League, or the “Thornett Clique” as its detractors would have it!

This has been a collective effort and, whilst far from complete or comprehensive, it does represent a substantial collection.

The origins of the WSL lie in the expulsion by the WRP of some 200 members in 1974, comprising the bulk of its industrial base in Cowley. This group, led by Alan Thornett, John Lister and Tony Richardson went on to form the WSL on the basis of a return to the method of Trotsky’s Transitional Programme, as they saw it.

The WSL quickly established a fortnightly, later weekly, newspaper, Socialist Press and maintained itself for six years until fusing with Matgamna’s International Communist League. Both groups by then operating within the Labour Party. The new organisation maintained the name WSL but Socialist Press fused with the broader paper Socialist Organiser.

1 year

Our collection contains a substantial run of Socialist Press– 143 copies including number 1 and the final issue 254.

We also have all 13 of the Trotskyism Today pull-out theoretical supplement to the paper as well as the four issues of Trotskyism Today magazine.

You will also find a substantial number of pamphlets both from Socialist Press / WSL and also from the Socialist Youth League. Additionally we have copies of Red Youth, the later period youth publication and Workers Socialist Review, the ‘post-fusion’ theoretical magazine.

Othe items of note are bulletins of the Trotskyist international Liaison Committee (TILC) and a couple of issues Woman Worker, the pull-out supplement paper. We would very much like to find further issues of WW, TILC publications and Red Youth.

You will note we have an empty place-holder folder for a jornal called Marxist Student which is advertised in Socialist Press but which has not yet come to light…

 

 

The Banda Group- Communist Forum / Marxist Philosophy Forum

MikeBanda2Following the schism of the Workers Revolutionary Party into two identically named organisations, distinguished only by their publications, both sides of the split continued to unravel and throw off new groups…

One such was the Communist Forum associated with Mike Banda, a long-time leader of the WRP and later WRP (Workers Press)

Sometimes John Sullivan is just too good not to quote…

“Banda himself was moving fast, ignoring Slaughter’s attempts to slow him down. He realised that, in spite of his Khrushchevian role in denouncing Healy, he had been playing the Beria part for so long that he was an obvious target for anyone seeking a scapegoat. The more critical comrades were bound to ask if things had begun to go wrong only in the past 10 years or at some other point in the 35-year Healy-Banda collaboration. After several months meditating in a Sri Lanka ashram, Banda came up with an answer whose audacity left his rivals gasping. The movement had been wrong since 1923: in other words Stalin, not Trotsky, had been right all along! So he, Banda, was not to blame for the present shambles. Nice one Mike! With a dozen supporters, he now publishes a journal called Communist Forum, but rumour has it that he is falling out with them too.”

We have three issues of Communist Forum– a small photocopied magazine and a pamphlet on Morality of the WRP- an Open Letter to Cliff Slaughter by Dave Good. Also included is a letter from Dave Good to a member of Workers Power.

It should be noted that the first issues of Communist Forum do not list Mike Banda as a steering committee member.

By November 1987 the Communist Forum appears to have adopted the name Communist Study Group and began to issue a new publication The Communist, or The Communist Bulletin.

We have four copies of this substantial yearly journal which shows the group surviving until at least 1989, despite the assertion in the Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organisations that it lasted only 1986-7. That same publication also tells us that the group became the Marxist Philosophy Forum in 1987 but this name does not appear in any of the publications we hold…

 

 

 

WIL / RCP- Workers International News

TrotskyWorkers International News was the theoretical journal of the Workers International League from 1938 until 1944 after which it continued as the journal of the fused Revolutionary Communist Party.

We present here some 67 issues of WIN including special supplements in the form of pamphlets.

These should be read in conjunction with the Marxist Internet Archive / ETOL listing which deals with the issue of the erratic numbering of this magazine. In particular, after Vol 5 no 13 for September 1943 the next issue becomes Vol 5 no14 (so duplicating the ‘real’ Vol 5 no 4) and then the run continues from this revised numbering and is never rectified. This is so odd that we cannot help but feel there may be a reason for this which goes beyond simple error- perhaps something relating to wartime paper rationing. Readers views and comments would be welcomed.

Also in our files are several Workers International League pamphlets, bulletins and leaflets.

 

 

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 will havae more Workers Liberty magazines scanned in due course.

*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!