Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Thursday, March 26, 2015

George Orwell and socialism - John Newsinger

Sunday, March 22, 2015

One Hundred Years of Labourism

After Rachel Reeves's shockingly explicit comments about how the Labour Party are not about political representation for unemployed workers, I was reminded of this quote:

  ‘Respectability is the death of all working-class movements. With the change in the public attitude towards trade unionism came a change in the social standing of the officials. 
‘They too became respectable, and with their new position came their divorce from the working-class point of view, the growing breach between the official caste and the rank and file. 
‘Divorced from manual labour, the leaders ceased to understand the needs of the wage-earner, and with the crowning camaraderie of the House of Commons died the last semblance of the old unity. 
‘The Labour leaders entered the governing classes, and Labour was left, perplexed and unmanned, to find new leaders from its own ranks...’

Who said this?  Was it perhaps Ken Loach, critiquing Ed Miliband's New Labour Party?  Perhaps the late Paul Foot, savaging Tony Blair?  Maybe Tony Cliff and Donny Gluckstein, in their 1996 work, The Labour Party: A Marxist Analysis?  Perhaps the late Ralph Miliband, in his classic 1961 work Parliamentary Socialism?  Was it Leon Trotsky maybe in his 1925 work Where in Britain Going? No - the answer  is G.D.H. Cole, from 1913 – in chapter vii of his book The World of Labour: A Discussion of the Present and Future of Trade Unionism.  

The problems we face today are not new, and go deep into the history of the labour movement, and so if we don't want another 100 years of Labour trying to preside over the management of a manifestly declining capitalist system, the importance of socialists organising an independent challenge to Labour in the coming elections remain as critical as ever - every socialist who can should support the growing campaign of the the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition and others like Left Unity.  If Labour are - as Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt put it, an 'aggressively pro-business party' - then the need for a new 'aggressively pro-working class party' has never been greater...

Labels: , , , ,

Edinburgh: 250 - Pegida: 0

One particularly great moment on the #M21  Anti-Racism Day Demonstrations


Monday, March 02, 2015

Newcastle: 1 - Pegida: 0

What a result - congratulations to those who stood up to fascism and fascism in Newcastle over the weekend - what a great way to build up to the demonstrations on 21 March!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Syriza and socialist strategy - Stathis Kouvelakis and Alex Callinicos

Monday, February 23, 2015

Where is Syriza going?

From Panagiotis Sotiris via Alex Callinicos:

First major negative reaction against the Eurogroup agreement from inside SYRIZA comes from Manolis Glezos, Member or European Parliament of SYRIZA, and a living legend of the Resistance against fascism (in 1941 along with Lakis Santas they took down the German flag from the Acropolis)
Here is a rough translation of his statement

Statement by Manolis Glezos

Before it is too late
The fact that the Troika has been renamed ‘the institutions’, the Memorendum has been renamed the ‘Agreement’ and the Creditors have been renamed the ‘Partners’, in the same manner as baptizing meat as fish, does not change the previous situation.
And you can’t change the vote of the Greek People at the January 25 election.
The Greek people voted what SYRIZA promised: that we abolish the regime of austerity that is the strategy of not only the oligarchies of Germany and the other creditor countries but also of the Greek oligarchy; that we abrogate the Memoranda and the Troika and all the austerity legislation; That the next day with one law we abolish the Troika and its consequences.
A month has passed and this promise has yet to become action.
It is a pity indeed
From my part I APOLOGIZE to the Greeκ people for having assisted this illusion
Before the wrong direction continues
Before it is too late, let’s react
Above all the members, the friends and supporters of SYRIZA, in urgent meetings at all levels of the organization have to decide if they accept this situation
Some people say that in an agreement you must also make some concessions. By principle between the oppressor and the oppressed there can be no compromise, as there can be no compromise between the slave and the conqueror; Freedom is the only solution
But even if accept this absurdity, the concessions that have already been made by the previous pro-memoranda government with unemployment, poverty and suicide, are beyond any limit of concession...
Manolis Glezos, Brussels 22-2-2015

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Remembering Malcolm X - Black Power, Anti-Capitalism and Revolution

Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle
Rosa Parks with a poster of Malcolm X

Malcolm X holding West Indian Gazette, Claudia Jones on cover 1964
Malcolm X paying tribute to Claudia Jones

'Anytime you live in a society supposedly based upon law and it doesn’t enforce its own laws because the color of a man’s skin happens to be wrong, then I say those people are justified to resort to any means necessary to bring about justice when the government can’t give them justice.’
Malcolm X at the Oxford Union

Malcolm X’s legacy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination is to recognise that the fight against racism must be a fight against the system that produces it. 
Anthony Hamilton on Malcolm's X's Road to Revolution 

See also Mike Davis on America's black shining prince, Lee Sustar on Malcolm's revolutionary politics, Brian Richardson on Manning Marable's biography of Malcolm X, Saladin Ambar on Malcolm X at the Oxford Union and Ken Olende and Avtar Singh Jouhl of the Indian Workers Association on when Malcolm X came to Smethwick just nine days before his assassination in February 1965.  For more on Malcolm X in Britain, see Marika Sherwood's study Malcolm X: Visits Abroad.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, February 16, 2015

UAF national conference 21 February

Unite against 
fascism and racism
Saturday 21 February
Congress Centre, TUC,
Great Russell Street, London
9am onwards: Registration
10.20–11.30am: Choice of the following four sessions
a) Mobilising against the far right and fascist street movements across Europe
Chair: Weyman Bennett Joint National Secretary UAF; Christine Bucholz MP
Die Linke (Germany); Martin Lynch Black Country UAF; Petros Constantinou KEERFA; Sabby Dhalu UAF
b) War, Torture and Islamophobia – Defend Civil Liberties
Chair: Judith Orr Officer, Stop the War; Speakers: Lindsey GermanConvenor Stop the War; Mohammed Kozbar VP Muslim Association of Britain; Victoria Brittain Writer and journalist; Hamja Ahsan Free Talha Ahsan Campaign; Louise Christian Human Rights Lawyer
c) Opposing Austerity, racism and scapegoating immigrants
Chair: Aaron Kiely NUS NEC; Speakers: Sam Fairbairn People’s Assembly Against Austerity; Mick Burke Economist; Eileen ShortDefend Council Housing
d) Never again – 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
Chair: Weyman Bennett UAF; Speakers: Gerry Gable EditorSearchlightCollette Levi Hidden child refugee from Vichy France
11.30–11.45am: Break
11.45am–1pm: Plenary
After Paris attacks: Uniting Against Islamophobia, 
anti-Semitism & Fascism in Europe
Chair: Sabby Dhalu UAF

Speakers: Nasos Iliopoulos Syriza Central Committee (Greece);Marwan Muhammed OSCE; Christine Bucholz Parliamentary Member Die Linke (Germany); Owen Jones award winning journalist;Claude Moraes MEPDr. Shuja Shafi MCB General Secretary;Billy Hayes CWU General Secretary; Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary; Weyman Bennett UAF
1–2pm: Lunch
2–3.30pm: Choice of the following four sessions
e) Black lives matter: campaigning against institutional racism
Chair: Brian Richardson UAF; Janet Alder Justice for Christopher Alder; Marcia Rigg Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign; Maz Saleem Justice for Mohammed Saleem
f) Keep racism out of the general election – no scapegoating immigrants
Chair: Wilf Sullivan TUC; Zita Holbourne PCS NEC & BARAC; Saira Grant Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Don Flynn Migrant Rights Network; Sabby Dhalu Stand up to Racism
g) Stand up to UKIP
Chair: Denis Fernando Rainbow Coalition Against Racism; Steve HartUnite the Union; Representative of Alliance Against Romanian and Bulgarian Discrimination; Jo Cardwell Stand up to UKIP
h) Je ne suis pas Charlie: incitement of hatred is not freedom of speech
Chair: Alan Gibson NUJ; N’Della Paye (France); Azad Ali MEND;Jude Woodward UAF
3.30-4.45pm: Plenary
Celebrate diversity: stand up to racism
Chair: Jude Woodward Assistant Secretary UAF

Diane Abbott MPEmily Thornberry MPKen Livingstone;Sharar Ali Deputy Leader Green Party; Lutfur Rahman Mayor of Tower Hamlets; Petros Constintinou KEERFA (Greece); Simon Woolley OBV; Lee Jasper BARAC