26th october london reading group: what are trade unions for?

The next of our London discussion meetings on workplace organising is to be held from 7pm on Monday October 26th at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street. We will be looking at the questions:

cwumarch

– Why should unions remain independent from the state?

– What are the limitations of negotiating better conditions of employment?

– In what ways have unions become integrated into the administration of capitalist relations, and how can this be resisted? Continue reading “26th october london reading group: what are trade unions for?”

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tonight’s london reading group on communist organisation

The last in our current series of London reading groups on ‘communism from below’ will take place on Monday 13th July from 7pm at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street station. It is on the subject of ‘communist organisation today’. We will be discussing the issues:

– Can communists with different ideas and perspectives co-exist in the same organisation? Is ‘forgetting our differences’ and ‘leaving past baggage at the door’ a precondition of left unity?
– Should we organise for specifically communist positions, or establish a broader ‘left’ presence filling some of the political space abandoned by Labour?
– Should we concentrate on propaganda and ideological struggle, or workplace and community activism… or can we integrate both?
– What useful role can communists play in solidarising with resistance to the recession? Continue reading “tonight’s london reading group on communist organisation”

13th july reading group: communist organisation today

The last in our current series of London reading groups on ‘communism from below’ will take place on Monday 13th July from 7pm at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street station. It is on the subject of ‘communist organisation today’. We will be discussing the issues:

– Can communists with different ideas and perspectives co-exist in the same organisation? Is ‘forgetting our differences’ and ‘leaving past baggage at the door’ a precondition of left unity?
– Should we organise for specifically communist positions, or establish a broader ‘left’ presence filling some of the political space abandoned by Labour?
– Should we concentrate on propaganda and ideological struggle, or workplace and community activism… or can we integrate both?
– What useful role can communists play in solidarising with resistance to the recession? Continue reading “13th july reading group: communist organisation today”

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””

hal draper: anatomy of the micro-sect

reproduced with the kind permission of ernest haberkern: available to buy at amazon.com or socialisthistory.org.

There is a terminological problem. “Sect“ is often used as a cuss-word to mean a group one doesn’t like. “Movement” is often used to describe something that does not exist in organized form; as when “the American socialist movement“ is used as an abbreviation for scattered socialist elements that often do not “move” at all. We shall use these terms with more precise meanings. Continue reading “hal draper: anatomy of the micro-sect”

crosland’s new social-democratic reformism

The idea of Gordon Brown writing on the future of socialism will come as a surprise to many, but that is precisely what he invites us to discuss in his foreword to a new edition of Anthony Crosland’s The Future of British Socialism. Continue reading “crosland’s new social-democratic reformism”