New Additions to The Socialist Party’s Website

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    New Additions to The Socialist Party’s website

    The website has recently welcomed archive material from Socialist Standard issues dating back to 1906, and there are two new audio recordings transferred from tape cassette.

    New Audio Uploads

    Lessons of the German Revolution, 1918-19 – A talk by Bill Martin in 2001

    Special Party Meeting on Poland (1982)


    Recent Socialist Standard Archive Additions (click links for full articles)

    Book Reviews

    Clara Zetkin – Reminiscences of Lenin (reviewed by Adolph Kohn, April 1929)

    This brief account of recollections of Lenin is written by the German Communist, Clara Zetkin, formerly an active member of the large Social Democratic Party. Quite a large part of the book is occupied with Lenin’s criticism of the German Communist Party.

    Paul Cardan – The Fate of Marxism (a Solidarity pamphlet, reviewed March 1970)

    One of the great crimes of Bolshevism has been to identify its own dictatorial state-capitalist policies with Marxism, thus unfairly discrediting the latter. Quite sincere people have been understandably repulsed by the arrogance, cynicism and dishonesty of the self-appointed Bolshevik “vanguards”, and have reacted in various mistaken anti-Marxist ways — by losing interest in politics, becoming Social Democrats, moving to the “Right” or enrolling with the anarchists.

    John Quail – The Slow Burning Fuse (reviewed by Paul Bennett, April 1979)

    Quail’s aim to present “the lost history of the British anarchists” between 1880 and 1930. His account is primarily a narrative one, with little emphasis on theoretical matters – which is just as well, since the theoretical discussions are the weakest part of the book. Quail’s researches have led him to uncover a number of near-forgotten incidents and personalities, some of which are recounted interestingly here.

    Tariq Ali – Revolution From Above (reviewed by Adam Buick, June 1989)

    Trotsky argued that Russia was basically socialist because industry was nationalised but that political power had been usurped by a privileged bureaucratic caste led by Stalin; all that was required to put it back on the road to socialism again was a political revolution to remove this caste from power. The argument was flawed in two main respects.

    Film Review – Michael Collins (written by Richard Montague, December 1996)

    History is the story of what happened; economics is the story of why it happened. Rarely does popular history go beyond a look, invariably distorted by the perceptions of the historian, at what happened and, especially when the story is written for the Hollywood financial moguls, history is moulded to box office terms.

    Theatre Review – Tom and Clem (written by Michael Gill, June 1997)

    Days after the confirmation of Tony Blair (anag: Tory in Lab) as Prime Minister, it was interesting to see a play about events in 1945, immediately after the Labour Party’s landslide victory in the first post-war general election. Tom and Clem, a play by Stephen Churchett, is centred on a series of imaginary conversations between Tom Driberg, journalist and darling of the Left, ex-Communist Party member and recently elected Labour MP for Maldon in Essex, and Clement Attlee, the first Prime Minister to lead a majority Labour government.

    Party News –

    From Our Branches (report on SPGB activity from March 1906)

    Watford Branch

    Dead? Not much. Not by a jugful. Just busy, that’s all. Too busy to report, even at times. But alive! O! very much alive. Ask our local Labour-misleading friends the enemy. They may conceivably wish we were dead. It isn’t their fault we are not. But we won’t die, ingrates that we are. So they try the game of ignoring us. It’s a goose game. And their elaborately simulated indifference is worth coming a long way to see.

    Brutal Attack on A Speaker (Various attacks on Socialist meetings in Canada and Glasgow, reported in August 1931)

    We learn from the “One Big Union Bulletin” (Winnipeg) that repeated brutal attacks have been made by Communists in that city on speakers of the newly re-formed Socialist Party of Canada.

    We have recently experienced similar tactics in Glasgow, not, be it noted, from Communists, but – or so it is believed – from certain religious fanatics.

    Why I Joined the SPGB (Harry Young, a.k.a. Horatio, writing in February 1976)

    I was, of course, not the only one to leave the Communist Party. My main claim to distinction is that I was for many years a national official of the Young Communist League—its National Organizer, in fact. During most of the ‘twenties I was the official representative of the YCL in Moscow, and subsequently, a member of the five-man secretariat of the Executive Committee of the Communist Youth International, the “Sanctum Sanctorum”.

    Obituary – Ian Jones (recorded by Eddie Grant in February 1992)

    It is with sadness that we report the unexpected death of comrade Ian Jones in November after missing several Executive Committee meetings due to trouble from asthma.

    Class Issues –

    First Steps In Socialism – Who Are the Working Class?

    (asked A.E. Jacomb in April 1913)

    Who are the working class? Many members of the working class, who dress after the fashion of their masters, and ape their manners, would repel with lively indignation and scorn, the suggestion that they belong to “the backbone of the country,” the working class. They think that between these “hewers of wood and drawers of water” and the “upper ten” there exists a class whose fortunes and interest are with neither.

    The Working Class is Us (came an answer from Robert Barltrop, 65 years later in January 1978)

    In the middle nineteen-fifties academics and littérateurs invented the old-time working class. Before that, books about the life of the poor had always been more or less documentary, describing the miseries of unemployment and slum conditions. The new picture presented via “kitchen-sink” drama, novels like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and “deeper” works such as The Uses of Literacy was of a materialistic, hearty, boozy industrial proletariat with a core of sensitivity which made uprisings possible.

    Miscellaneous – 40s, 50s, 80s

    That Word Unity (A common enough call for socialists, but on what basis? January 1944)

    That word “unity” has a charm of its own. Ethically it symbolises an idealist condition and appeals to the gregariousness of human beings. Having this fine appeal, it is continuously used by all sorts of unscrupulous people and bodies as a cloak. We have appeals by vested clerical interests for “Christian” unity, capitalists and their Labour and Communist allies clamour for “National” unity, federationists seek “European” unity; we have got the term United Nations, and prominent statesman are clamouring for “world” unity.

    Mr. Enigma (Michael Gill reports on the political return of Aneurin Bevan, June 1954)

    Once again he’s in the news. Once again his name is plastered across the front pages of the national newspapers. Once again he is accused by his Labour colleagues of splitting the party ranks. Once again he has given his opponents scope to make political capital out of his manoeuvres.

    News on Sunday (Janie Percy-Smith reports on the short-lived Sunday newspaper, in June 1987)

    The News on Sunday was hyped as “the paper that bites back”, “the paper that has got balls but no tits”, and “the paper that gives you the naked truth not naked women”. It is financed by trade unions and left wing local authorities.

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