the commune issue 6 out now!

The sixth issue of The Commune (July 2009) is now available

The paper is published online, but you can order a printed copy or multiple papers to sell (£1 + postage for one copy, or £4 per 5 issues) by emailing uncaptiveminds@gmail.com

Click the image to see PDF, or see articles as they are posted online below.

thecommune6

editorial – migrants are at the heart of our fightback

Adam Ford reports on the Linamar fight and the state of the car industry

Joe Thorne looks at resistance to primary school cuts in London and Glasgow

Dave Spencer argues that the left has much to learn from the local work of the Northampton Save Our Services campaign

Jack Staunton writes on call centre workers’ organising initiatives

Chris Kane counters the argument that we ought to go back to the Labour Party, and stresses that communists need to organise

Kofi Kyerewaa explains the flaws of calling for the banning of the BNP

Activists participating in the occupation to protest the SOAS immigration raid draw a balance-sheet of the struggle

The story of the victimisation and planned deportation of a Chilean woman who dared to stand up to her employer Fitness First

Alice Robson reports on the campaign against cuts in English classes in Tower Hamlets

Kieran Hunter examines the hostile media and public response to June’s strike on the London Underground

David Broder looks at reactions to the mass movement in Iran against the re-election of Ahmedinejad

Alberto Durango explains how Unite have abandoned cleaner organising

Gregor Gall looks at the victory of the Lindsey oil refinery strikers and its implications for the industry

Joe Thorne looks at resistance to primary
school cuts in London and Glasgow
Dave Spencer argues that the left has much
to learn from the local work of the Northampton
Save Our Services campaign
Jack Staunton writes on call centre workers’
organising initiatives
page 3
Chris Kane counters the argument that we
ought to go back to the Labour Party, and
stresses that communists need to organise
Kofi Kyerewaa explains the flaws of calling
for the banning of the BNP
page 4
Activists participating in the occupation to
protest the SOAS immigration raid draw a
balance-sheet of the struggle
page 5
The story of the victimisation and planned
deportation of a Chilean woman who dared
to stand up to her employer Fitness First
Alice Robson reports on the campaign
against cuts in English classes in Tower
Hamlets
page 6
Kieran Hunter examines the hostile media
and public response to June’s strike on the
London Underground
page 7
Alberto Durango explains how Unite have
abandoned cleaner organising
page 8
Gregor Gall looks at the victory of the
Lindsey oil refinery strikers and its implications
for the industry
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hal draper’s “independent socialism: a perspective for the left”

The following pamphlet was published in 1964 as an outline of the ideas of the Independent Socialist Committees in the USA, which involved such figures as Hal Draper who represented the left trend which emerged from the old Workers’ Party.  Along with a group in Chicago led by Kim Moody and comrades in New York they formed a national organisation which later became the International Socialists.  They sought to preserve the idea of the third camp of independent working class politics.

Chris Kane

There are many pamphlets and books explaining the general idea of socialism; this is not another one. For present purposes and for the sake of argument, we are assuming you know what the socialist idea is: the idea that the ability of human beings to live like men should not be dependent on the making of private profit; that the community of men can operate our economic institutions under social control rather than under the autocracy of moneyed overlords; that democracy can apply as much to the way we make a living as to the way we make a government, by putting the factories and plants under collective control. Continue reading “hal draper’s “independent socialism: a perspective for the left””

marx and engels on the state and society

by Ernie Haberkern

“The “New Question” posed by the experience of the Labor government is not, then, whether socialism can be established by parliamentary means or only by extra-parliamentary means. It is this: Can the working class reach socialism only by its own efforts, by its direct class rule over the economic and political life of the country, or can socialism be attained without workers’ control and simply by an expropriation of the bourgeoisie carried out, one way or another, under the control and direction of a more or less benevolent workers’ bureaucracy? The spread of Stalinism has raised the same question in one way; the Labourite government in another way. If it is not the most vital question of our time, it is certainly one of the most vital. Not a few Marxists have abandoned the basic convictions of the founders and teachers of scientific socialism by replying, in effect, in the affirmative: Yes, the road to socialism lies or may lie through the domination of society by a workers’ bureaucracy or a bureaucracy that arose out of the labor movement. They have concluded that the Stalinist revolution is the socialist revolution, that Stalinist society is progressive, that the Titoist state is socialist, and the like. As for ourselves, we remain unreconstructed in our belief that the emancipation of the working class, that is, socialism, is the task of the working class itself and no one else. The experience of the Labor government, especially when considered, as it must be, in the light of the social and historical significance of the rise of Stalinism, has not modified our belief in the slightest degree and we see no grounds in the realities of British society to warrant such a modification.”

Max Shachtman, The New International, January/February 1951

This article, in which the author repudiated his long-held position that nationalization by itself was a progressive step towards socialism, argues that nationalization of private capital by the state bureaucracy, even when carried out by a party based on the working class is not a step forward. The article even goes so far as to argue that the Attlee government, if it continued on this path, was heading towards a social system that would differ little, if at all, from Stalinism.

Shachtman was rediscovering Marx and Engels’ views on the subject of statification. Continue reading “marx and engels on the state and society”

new content in ‘ideas’

we have added more content to the ‘ideas‘ section of the commune.

first off is a piece on self-management in the struggle for socialism by michel raptis – also known as michel pablo and at one time a leading member of the trotskyist international secretariat of the fourth international – who in the late 1960s and early 1970s turned his focus towards workers’ self-management.

tamás krausz describes the struggle for workers’ self-management in action with his article on the workers’ councils in hungary in 1956, where workers mounted a revolution against the stalinist bureaucracy and tried to take power, only to be crushed by russian tanks.

then we reproduce kevin anderson’s essay on lenin’s engagement with hegelian philosophy during world war one, and his little-read hegel notebooks.

and in state capitalism or bureaucratic collectivism? chris ford introduces the debate in the united states workers’ party over the class character of the soviet union, and we republish speeches by raya dunayevskaya and max shachtman.