Socialist Worker

Our politics


The fight for reforms gives revolutionaries their muscle

We can only achieve socialism by means of a revolution, in which millions of working people collectively take control of society, with new democratic institutions. Most of the time, that key revolutionary socialist idea is the property of a minority. It contradicts everyday experience. The predominant form of oppositional ideas is reformist.

Rank and file organisation is vital in the trade unions

Trade unionism is among the earliest and longest lasting forms of working class organisation. It arises from workers' need for mutual solidarity to deal with the twin pressures of a competitive "labour market" and employers' power in the workplace.

Democracy without centralism will fail

The job we face shapes the form of socialist organisation. If all we had to do was make general propaganda in favour of socialism, then the loosest form of association would be enough. But that would mean sitting on the sidelines, only commentating on real struggles and actual movements.

We need a party of leaders to change the world

Last week we argued that it is movements from below that can change the world. They draw their power from their capacity to mobilise large numbers of people. Movements provide most of the energy and creativity involved in great challenges to our rulers. The overthrow of capitalism will involve an immense movement from below. It will engage the self transforming activity of millions of working people, struggling for economic, political and cultural power.

Is there any place for parties in the movement?

Man y people in the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements agree with us on general principles. They agree that socialists must oppose all forms of oppression. They agree that any movement against capitalism must involve the initiative, energy and imagination of millions of organised workers. They agree we must unite the widest forces against the fascist BNP. They utterly oppose the Tory party and don't trust the Liberal Democrats. Mostly, they know the Labour Party offers no way forward.

Real equality for gays and lesbians is still to be won

From the Victorian era till the 1960s gays and lesbians were persecuted by the state. Police officers regularly entrapped and arrested gay men. In that repressive climate, most gays and lesbians hid their sexual orientation. Over the last three decades the worst legal restrictions and discriminations have ended. The level of popular prejudice against gays and lesbians is much reduced. Today every major TV and radio soap has gay or lesbian storylines, with sympathetic characters.

We stand for genuine equality for women

17 April 2004
"We hold these truths to be self evident. All men are created equal." So declares the American Declaration of Independence. Half the world replies yes, but what about women? Formal equality was part of the ideology of early capitalism. More importantly, the birth of the modern socialist movement made women's equality a feature of all progressive thought.

How was the Russian Revolution defeated?

10 April 2004
The Russian Revolution of October 1917 was greeted across the world with enormous popular enthusiasm. In the midst of the bloody slaughter of the First World War the workers' and soldiers' councils had taken control of the country. The new soviet government took Russia out of the war, instituting far-reaching reforms. Factory committees took over enterprises. The peasants won the land. Legislation gave women the most advanced freedoms anywhere in the world.

Can there be socialism in one country?

03 April 2004
There are two fundamental reasons why socialism has to be international. Both rise from the nature of capitalism. The first is very simple and material. One of capitalism's historic achievements has been the formation of a world market. If we think about our own everyday lives, it is immediately apparent that we depend on the products of the world.

Supporting national liberation struggles

27 March 2004
In the 1840s famine struck Britain's colony in Ireland. The British government enforced the export of food from Ireland. One and a half million people died from starvation, and a million and a half emigrated.

Right of the oppressed to organise their own defence

20 March 2004
At the heart of capitalism is an ongoing class struggle between capital and labour. That is the ABC of Marxism. But the alphabet has more than three letters. Class domination in capitalism is interwoven with many other sorts of human oppression. These provide a basis for divisions among the exploited. Disadvantaged groups have been held down on the grounds of being "different", and they in turn have fought back.

What is racism and why must we fight it?

13 March 2004
Socialism depends on workers overcoming the divisions within their own ranks. The most virulent of these divisions is racism, in all its forms. The racism of Hitler and the Nazis produced the organised mass murder of millions of Jews and Gypsies in the 1940s. What is racism?

Against imperialism

28 February 2004
Colin Barker continues his series on the 'Where We Stand' Socialist Workers Party statement of principles printed each week in Socialist Worker

Oppose all barriers that divide workers

21 February 2004
Divisions weaken the working class

Internationalism: workers of all countries unite

14 February 2004
In 1919, dockers in the city of Seattle refused to load arms for use against the recent Russian Revolution. They were followed by dockers in San Francisco, London, Hull and elsewhere.

What is the real case for socialist revolution?

31 January 2004
The argument for socialist revolution is not really a case about "violence". It's about developing genuine popular power within society. It's about a vast expansion of democracy.

Can't we win change through parliament?

10 January 2004
Why insist on the need for revolution? Surely, there must be a better way? Why not set out to elect socialist MPs who can legally and constitutionally vote in the principles of a new society? Wouldn't that be more in line with British political traditions? Wouldn't it save a lot of unnecessary violence?

The working class at the centre

13 December 2003
Under capitalism the working class has a great political advantage compared with all previous exploited classes.

Workers create all the wealth under capitalism

06 December 2003
There's a powerful myth, promulgated by Blair, by the Tories, by most of the media. It is that businessmen are "wealth creators". Without them, we're told, there would be no investment, no jobs, an economy in a spiral of decline.

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