CWO polemic on nationalism: the road to nowhere

by David Broder

Last Saturday I had a five-hour bus journey to Manchester. It was cold, the guy sitting next to me was eating something weird, and I’d forgotten my earphones so couldn’t listen to any music.

Further misfortune struck when I received an email on my phone, bearing an attachment of the Communist Workers’ Organisation article ‘The National Question Today and the Poisonous Legacy of the Counter-revolution’.

Part of this article was a reply against my own piece ‘The Earth is not flat’. Or, to be more precise, it was supposed to be a reply to my article, but in fact neatly sidestepped my points and instead held up their programme as a shining alternative to various straw-man arguments.

Megabus-stricken on the M1, I was stuck, unable to write a reply. Instead I brimmed with injustice (and, it must be said, no little amusement) at the CWO’s polemic. But this morning I took the time to make a few comments. Continue reading “CWO polemic on nationalism: the road to nowhere”


‘internationalism from below’ at the global commune

On 22nd May The Commune and the Republican Communist Network (Scotland) co-hosted a Global Commune day school in Edinburgh. The day had sessions on politics after the election, internationalism and communist organisation. Full reports on each to follow.

Allan Armstrong and David Broder led off the discussion, then we broke down into two groups for open discussion. Click here for Allan’s introduction; workshop reports below. Continue reading “‘internationalism from below’ at the global commune”

the communist case for ‘internationalism from below’

A contribution to the debate at The Global Commune event of 22nd May, 2010, in Edinburgh, by Allan Armstrong

1. Three Left approaches to building a new world order 

The Republican Communist Network (RCN) has mainly applied an ‘internationalism from below’ approach as a way to unite communists, socialists and revolutionary democrats throughout these islands around an immediate programme (1). This stems from our political opposition to the UK state, which acts as a junior partner to US imperialism and as a ‘licensed’ enforcer for corporate capitalist interests in the North East Atlantic, aided and abetted by its own junior partner, the ’26 Counties’ Irish state. (Of course, there are many other reasons why we oppose this and other capitalist states) In this context, we have argued for an `internationalism form below’ approach to counter two other approaches offered by the Left – the Left unionism of the British Left, and the Left nationalism mainly found in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Continue reading “the communist case for ‘internationalism from below’”

reading group: international working-class organisation

The next of The Commune’s London reading groups on ‘communism from below’ takes place from 7pm on Monday 15th June at the Artillery Arms near Old Street. The meeting will be focussing on the question of how the working class can organise on an international footing.

The recommended reading for the group includes two articles on ‘economic nationalism’ and protectionism in the workers’ movement, both of which appeared in Against the Current in summer 2000.

The articles by left communist Loren Goldner (click here) and Labor Notes editor Kim Moody (click here) relate to the US trade unions’ attitudes towards free trade during the upsurge in ‘anti-globalisation’ struggles a decade ago, unpicking the issues of identification with ‘national’ capitalism, the unions’ supposed sympathy for Chinese workers, and to what extent communists can support workers who mount powerful collective actions despite holding protectionist attitudes. Continue reading “reading group: international working-class organisation”