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Socialism

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Weekly podcast offering a Marxist approach to the big issues we face in a world of capitalist crisis. Fighting for jobs, homes and public services for all. From strikes and mass movements through to community campaigns, history and theory. We shine a light on the struggles of workers and young people, and discuss the strategy for a socialist fightback.
112 Episodes
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103. The Arab Spring

103. The Arab Spring

2021-01-2925:51

What are the 2011 Arab Spring’s lessons for now?Ten years ago, revolutions erupted in Egypt and Tunisia, and rapidly spread in the Middle East and North Africa. Workers and poor people enraged by their living conditions toppled dictators.World capitalist governments were taken by surprise. Why did Marxists in the Committee for a Workers’ International foresee that uprisings were coming?What was the outcome of the Arab Spring movements? Why did some go further than others, and why have none achieved the full aims of protesters?What is the significance of revolutions in the region since? And what is needed for the further upheavals which are already brewing to finish the job?This episode of Socialism looks at the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring: lessons for today.Further readingTen years since the 'Arab Spring': https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31923/27-01-2021/ten-years-since-the-arab-springEgypt: The road to the 2011 revolution: https://www.socialistworld.net/2021/01/25/egypt-the-road-to-the-2011-revolution/Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity (2018): https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26747/17-01-2018/tunisia-explosion-of-protests-against-government-austerityIran: strike wave marks new stage in revival of workers' movement (2020): https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31329/09-09-2020/strike-wave-marks-new-stage-in-revival-of-iranian-workers-movementLebanon: mass protests cut across sectarian division (2020): https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/30278/12-02-2020/lebanon-mass-protests-cut-across-sectarian-division
How should socialists respond to the dramatic crisis in the US?On Wednesday 6 January 2021, Trump supporters - some armed - invaded Congress. It was the culmination of the loose-cannon president’s desperate attempts to overturn the election result. But the US capitalist class is used to inflicting humiliations like this on the rest of the world – not losing control at home.Was this action just a protest-turned-riot, or did it represent some kind of attempted coup? Are Trump and his movement ‘fascists’, or is the real picture more varied and chaotic?The opposite attitudes of Capitol Hill police officers and US military chiefs show the splits in the US state machine. The big divide between Trump’s supporters and other Republicans shows splits are developing there too.So can incoming Democrat Joe Biden fundamentally change the fortunes of US capitalism, or the conditions of the mass of the population? Is it right to support social media bans, new anti-terror laws, and the Democratic Party? Or could that actually help Trump and hinder working-class struggles?Clearly the events of 6 January were a watershed. What do workers and young people in the US need in order to put their own stamp on events?This episode of Socialism looks at the United States in crisis: the storming of the capital.Further reading and listeningCWI analysis of the US post-election crisis: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31867/20-01-2021/usa-in-crisis-the-need-for-a-socialist-alternativeUS socialists respond to 6 January attacks: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31834/13-01-2021/how-should-socialists-respond-to-the-6-january-attacks-on-capitol-hillCWI statement immediately following 6 January events: https://www.socialistworld.net/2021/01/07/us-in-crisis-need-for-a-mass-workers-party-and-socialist-programme/Trump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31884/20-01-2021/trump-twitter-ban-only-independent-workers-voice-can-defeat-rightUS imperialism in decline: https://soundcloud.com/socialismpodcast/99-2020-highlights-us-imperialism-in-decline
What is the outlook for class struggle in Britain in 2021?The pandemic was a world-shattering turning point. All the weaknesses of capitalism were laid bare in 2020. But in few countries more so than Britain.The nightmare which began in 2020 has not been limited to public health, but has infected the already-ailing world economy – with British capitalism the worst hit of all the major capitalist powers. Working-class and young people have already suffered hugely as the bosses try to pass on the pain. The bare-bones Brexit deal will only make things worse for Britain’s capitalist rulers.Boris Johnson’s Tory government has been completely exposed for its incompetence and craven defence of profit over lives. But Keir Starmer’s Labour offers no opposition whatsoever. Britain’s working class has no political voice – and desperately needs to build for a new, independent, mass workers’ party.Already this year, the trade unions have overturned the government by forcing part-closure of schools. And young people showed they are ready to explode in protest in last year's Black Lives Matter movement.British capitalism is not well. Meanwhile, Britain’s working class is angry – but lacks political organisation and leadership.This episode of Socialism look at Britain in 2021: a new era of capitalist crisis.Further reading2020 - a year which drove home the catastrophic failures of capitalism: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31784/30-12-2020/2020-a-year-which-drove-home-the-catastrophic-failures-of-capitalismGlobal capitalism at most dangerous conjuncture since the 1930s: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31825/13-01-2021/global-capitalism-at-most-dangerous-conjuncture-since-the-1930sWorkers' action wins Tory U-turn on school safety: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31788/06-01-2021/workers-action-wins-tory-u-turn-on-school-safetyUniversities: refund the rent, cancel the fees, for fully funded, publicly owned education: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31792/06-01-2021/universities-refund-the-rent-cancel-the-fees-for-fully-funded-publicly-owned-education
What do young people need today - and how can they fight for it?Last summer, massive, young, working-class protests exploded around the world after the murder of George Floyd, and other appalling incidents of racism and police violence. But it's not just these issues that angered young people.In the US, Britain and around the world, the youth are suffering appalling conditions, and a future of crisis and uncertainty. But young people have also fought. In electoral movements - through support for figures like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. And on the streets - in the global climate strikes, and last year’s huge, young and working-class uprisings under the slogan of ‘Black Lives Matter’.Even before the pandemic, wages were low, jobs insecure, housing and education unaffordable - and tomorrow promised nothing but economic and social turmoil, and even climate catastrophe. In 2020, the pandemic multiplied all these problems, as the capitalists and their politicians dumped the burden disproportionately on the working class and youth. Young people on the streets were angry about racism, but they were also angry about all of it.How can young people fight to change things? And what would a socialist programme offer young people in that struggle? This episode of Socialism, one of our highlights of 2020, looks at how young people can fight back: a socialist youth charter.Further reading and listeningRefund the rent, cancel the fees, and fight for fully funded, publicly owned education: https://socialiststudents.org.uk/2021/01/05/refund-the-rent-cancel-the-fees-and-fight-for-fully-funded-publicly-owned-education/Socialism 91. Universities in crisis: https://soundcloud.com/socialismpodcast/91-universities-in-crisisA socialist charter for young people: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/txt/555.pdf
The crisis-ridden US has two options: socialism or barbarism. In the run-up to last year’s election, the United States was faced with a litany of crises. This episode was recorded during the run-up - but Biden’s election changes little. Like many capitalist economies, the US had to partly suspend production in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The state was forced to inject trillions of dollars into the economy to keep the capitalist system going. The capitalists were facing these crises with an unreliable representative at the helm: Donald Trump. But they were breathing a bit easier once Bernie Sanders, who came to prominence with his promise of a “political revolution” against the “billionaire class,” endorsed a more reliable representative of big business interests in the form of the Democrat Joe Biden. Biden narrowly defeated Trump. But the problems faced by “Sleepy Joe’s” administration have no solution on the basis of the capitalist system that both he and Trump defend.Huge anger is growing. Class polarisation sharpens as the divisions between bosses and workers are exposed. Armed demonstrations ratchet up the tensions. Capitalism is threatening to plunge millions more into poverty, on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.This episode of Socialism, one of our highlights of 2020, looks at US imperialism in decline: coronavirus, Trump, Sanders and socialism.Further readingTrump out but not down: http://socialismtoday.org/trump-out-but-not-downLesser evil Democrats won’t end Trumpism: http://socialismtoday.org/lesser-evil-democrats-wont-end-trumpismRevolution or reaction: http://socialismtoday.org/revolution-or-reactionGlobal covid-19 pandemic, capitalist crisis and bitter class polarisation in the United States: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/04/21/global-covid-19-pandemic-capitalist-crisis-and-bitter-class-polarisation-in-the-united-states/
80 years on from Trotsky’s assassination: can they kill his ideas?Lev Davidovich Bronstein, better known as Leon Trotsky, was murdered on 21 August 1940. What was Stalin so afraid of? And why do capitalist commentators still try to bury Trotsky’s ideas today?Earlier this year, the Committee for a Workers’ International published a new book, and Socialism produced a special podcast series, for the 80th anniversary of the revolutionary leader’s assassination. The book is called ‘Leon Trotsky - A Revolutionary Whose Ideas Couldn’t Be Killed’, and you can buy it at leftbooks.co.uk. The podcast series is called ‘Trotsky and Trotskyism’, this episode was its first instalment, and you can find a playlist with all 11 episodes at our SoundCloud page, soundcloud.com/socialismpodcast.What was Trotsky’s role in Russia’s revolutions? What is the theory of ‘permanent revolution’? How did Stalinism betray it? What were Trotsky’s ideas for defeating Stalinism and fascism? And what can workers and socialists today learn from it all?This episode of Socialism, one of our highlights of 2020, introduces the co-leader of the Russian revolution: Trotsky’s revolutionary ideas.Further reading80th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31220/19-08-2020/80th-anniversary-of-leon-trotskys-assassinationLeon Trotsky - A Revolutionary Whose Ideas Couldn't Be Killed: http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=49798530Leon Trotsky: A revolutionary's life: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/15106/29-08-2012/leon-trotsky-a-revolutionarys-lifeMy Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography (Trotsky): http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/950002679/Products/TROT0025
97. Chartism

97. Chartism

2020-12-1830:32

How did Britain's working class fight to overthrow early capitalism?In the early 19th century, the industrial revolution was rapidly creating a big new social class in Britain: the working class. Workers produced huge amounts of new wealth for the ruling capitalists, but had appalling conditions and no say in politics. Sound familiar?Trade unions appeared for the first time, formed by workers to fight in the workplace. But they quickly realised that this alone was not enough. The bosses used political power to restrain or reverse what the workers could win by industrial struggle alone.The Chartist movement was the world’s first working-class party. Its ‘People’s Charter’ demanded a massive extension of democratic rights for workers – with the goal of using that to improve their material conditions. But increasingly, experience taught Chartist workers that petitioning alone was not enough either. Ultimately, revolutionary struggle was the only way for workers to gain power – or even win more rights within the capitalist system.How did the Chartists develop their ideas and methods of struggle? What was the outcome of the movement? And what can we learn from it today?This episode of Socialism looks at Britain’s revolutionary working class: Chartism.Further readingNewport Rising 1839: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/8303Class struggle and the early Chartist movement: http://socialismtoday.org/archive/129/chartism.htmlDebate: The class character of Chartism: http://socialismtoday.org/archive/130/chartism.htmlDebate: Class, leadership and the Chartist movement: http://socialismtoday.org/archive/131/chartism.htmlNewport council destroys workers' mural: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/17541The Pentrich uprising: revolution and counter-revolution in 19th century Britain: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25680
What are the roots of women’s oppression?Thousands of years ago, early human societies lived without economic classes or gender oppression. Life was basic, precarious and sometimes brutal. But all contributed what they could to producing the necessities of life, and men and women had an equal say and social status. How did humans move from this to ways of organising society which are more advanced – but where a small, pampered minority exploits the hard work and suffering of the majority? How is this connected to women being treated as second-class citizens or commodities? And how does capitalism benefit from it? Friedrich Engels investigated these questions in 1884.Can patriarchy be analysed and overcome separately from the struggle against the economic ruling class? And what is necessary to end women’s oppression – both by material privations and by backwards social attitudes – once and for all?This episode of Socialism, part of a short series on Engels, looks at Marxism and women’s liberation: The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.Further readingInternational Women's Day 2020: Fighting sexism and austerity: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/30362/04-03-2020/international-womens-day-fighting-sexism-and-austerityIt Doesn't Have to be Like This: Women and the Struggle for Socialism: http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=2017207The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Engels): https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/index.htmWhat Lies Behind... The Oppression of Women: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24780Engels and women’s liberation: http://socialismtoday.org/archive/181/engels.html
How did Engels explain the scientific approach to socialism?Today, there are socialists who argue that rational arguments, or moral appeals, or new technologies, or localised socialistic community projects, can defeat capitalism. These ideas are not new. Unfortunately, they have all been disproven in theory and practice.These well-meaning approaches express the yearning of billions for fundamental social change. But they are utopian: they do not take a scientific approach to examining how society works – and therefore, what is needed to change it.Friedrich Engels came up against similar misleading ideas. His 1877 work Anti-Dühring explained why ‘scientific socialism’ – the original name for Marxism – showed the real way forward. In 1880, Engels reworked key chapters to produce his brilliant explanatory pamphlet ‘Socialism: Utopian and Scientific’. How did early socialist ideas evolve? What is ‘dialectics’ – the science of change – and how did Marxism put in onto the ‘materialist’ basis of the physical sciences? And how does this approach apply to understanding the development of capitalism – and the struggle for socialism?This episode of Socialism, part of a short series on Engels, is a re-run of one of our most popular episodes from 2019 - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.Further readingSocialism: Utopian and Scientific (Engels): http://leftbooks.co.uk/Socialism-Utopian-and-Scientific-1Socialism: Utopian and Scientific discussion questions and resources: http://www.socialistbooks.co.uk/socialism-utopian-and-scientific-resources/The renewed relevance of Socialism: Utopian and Scientific: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/28107/17-10-2018/the-renewed-relevance-of-engels-classic-socialism-utopian-and-scientificThe ABC of Materialist Dialectics (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1939/12/abc.htmThe Masses Arise: The Great French Revolution 1789-1815: http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=2017204Value, Price and Profit (Marx): http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/950002679/Products/MARX0004
What did Engels have to say about the housing crisis?Cramped homes. Extortionate costs. Rip-off landlords. Rising homelessness. Projects to upgrade areas just used to force workers and poor people out. Meanwhile, posh new houses lie empty.It could be any major town or city in the 21st century. But it was all described by Friedrich Engels back in the 19th century.Why does capitalism endlessly recreate this social crisis? Why didn’t increasing home ownership solve the problem? What can we learn from Engels’ arguments against anarchists and liberals about housing? And how can socialists start to fix it today?This episode of Socialism, part of a short series on Engels, looks at the fight for the right to a home: The Housing Question.Further reading and listeningThe Housing Question (Engels): https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/housing-question/Housing crisis: what now and after the pandemic? https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31110/22-07-2020/housing-crisis-what-now-and-after-the-pandemicThe end of social housing? How can we solve the housing crisis? (2015): https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/21777/18-11-2015/the-end-of-social-housing-how-can-we-solve-the-housing-crisisSocialism episode 45. How renters can beat gentrifiers: https://soundcloud.com/socialismpodcast/45-how-renters-can-beat-gentrifiersSocialism episode 31. Grenfell and Barking: safe homes for all now: https://soundcloud.com/socialismpodcast/31-grenfell-and-barking-safe-homes-for-all-now
What can the horrors of industrialisation teach socialists today?175 years ago, Britain was the most advanced capitalist country on the planet. Leaps forward in industry created huge productive power and riches for the capitalists.Radicals looked to Britain as a way forward for society following revolutionary movements against the old feudal rulers in Europe. But despite massive economic progress, which lays the basis for socialism, capitalism came with terrible new social miseries.What was life like for the working class in 1845? Is there any real comparison with life in the 21st century? And what did it tell Engels about who should run society?This episode of Socialism, part of a short series on Engels, looks at his first major work: The Condition of the Working Class in England.Further readingSocialism 2020: four days of open, online discussion and debate, 20-23 November: https://www.socialism2020.net/The Condition of the Working Class in England (Engels): http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/950002679/Products/ENGE0006
Who was Friedrich Engels and what were his ideas?Marxism, originally called ‘scientific socialism’, takes its name from Karl Marx. But Marx didn’t work alone in developing his ideas. His co-philosopher – and close friend – shares the credit for that historic work.How did these two giants of socialism come together? What led Engels to develop revolutionary ideas? What were his most important contributions to socialist thought? And what can we learn from his hands-on approach – not just to ideas, but in fighting to put them into practice?This episode of Socialism, part of a short series on Engels, introduces the co-founder of Marxism: the revolutionary life of Friedrich EngelsFurther readingEngels: A Revolutionary Life: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/4795/04-06-2008/engels-a-revolutionary-lifeThe Frock-Coated Communist, the revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/7401/05-06-2009/the-frock-coated-communist-the-revolutionary-life-of-friedrich-engelsThe Condition of the Working Class in England (Engels): http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=6651300The Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels): https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/manifesto/The Housing Question (Engels): https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/housing-question/Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (Engels): http://www.socialistbooks.co.uk/socialism-utopian-and-scientific-resources/The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Engels): http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=2017113
How can students fight back against rip-off Covid imprisonment?Universities have enticed students onto courses with promises of a learning experience that never materialised – then trapped them there under lockdown to suck out fees and rent.Overcrowding on campus and in housing is causing major material and mental health crises. Jobs and teaching quality have nosedived – after already suffering from years of marketisation.Meanwhile, the official student organisations have deserted the field. And Starmer’s Labour has ignored the pressing problems of students and young people as it cravenly backs the Tory government’s approach.This episode of Socialism looks at the crisis in the universities: how can students fight back?Further readingJoin Socialist Students: https://socialiststudents.org.uk/join/Covid and the campuses: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31379/23-09-2020/covid-and-the-campusesStudents not to blame for unsafe uni conditions: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31464/14-10-2020/students-not-to-blame-for-unsafe-uni-conditionsStudents trapped on Covid campuses speak out: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31402/30-09-2020/students-trapped-on-covid-campuses-speak-outSolidarity with Manchester students - fight for democratic control of campus safety: https://socialiststudents.org.uk/2020/11/06/solidarity-with-manchester-students-fight-for-democratic-control-of-campus-safety/Corbyn suspended - Time to fight for a new mass workers' party: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31582/03-11-2020/corbyn-suspended-time-to-fight-for-a-new-mass-workers-partyUS: Narrow poll lead for Biden in highly polarised elections: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/11/05/us-narrow-poll-lead-for-biden-in-highly-polarised-elections/
What next for the uprising in Nigeria?Millions of youth have been out on the streets in response to the brutal repression and banditry of the Nigerian state’s so-called ‘Special Anti-Robbery Squad’ (Sars). They have the sympathy of millions of workers in this huge, resource-rich west African country.The scale of the protests shows this is about much more than just police violence. Appalling wages and living conditions, soaring fuel and food prices, and breath-taking levels of corruption, have discredited the whole Nigerian capitalist establishment.There are widespread calls to bring the government down. The union leaders called – and then called off – a general strike. And Democratic Socialist Movement – Nigerian sister party of the Socialist Party in England Wales – has attracted impressive numbers with its revolutionary programme, and its new youth platform, the Youth Rights Campaign.The Committee for a Workers’ International spoke to DSM on Wednesday 21 October, following another brutal killing of protesters by state forces, about how the movement can win.This episode of Socialism looks at the uprising in Nigeria: End Sars, Buhari out, fight for a socialist Nigeria!Further readingNigeria: Buhari must go! https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/10/22/nigeria-buhari-must-go/Mass protests force government to disband killer cop unit: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31483Nigerian police repress peaceful anti-government protest: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31358Nigerian labour leaders postpone general strike at last minute: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/09/30/nigerian-labour-leaders-postpone-general-strike-at-last-minute/Nigeria protests shake regime: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31568Solidarity with the movement in Nigeria: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31555Sixty years since Nigeria’s independence – mass misery in the midst of huge resources: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/10/01/sixty-years-since-nigerias-independence-mass-misery-in-the-midst-of-huge-resources/
How did Trotsky view revolution and the arts?Because art holds a mirror up to life, many revolutionaries have taken an interest its role. Leon Trotsky in particular wrote on art, literature, and its role in society and politics.Art can be insightful because of its politics, or despite them. So how does Marxism, a political theory, have any relation to art?  The Russian revolution led to an explosion in artistic vision. Then Stalinism stamped it all out. Why?Why did Trotsky struggle to try to bring together revolutionary artists in the 1930s? And what relevance does Trotsky’s approach to art and culture hold today?This episode of Socialism looks at revolution and culture: Trotsky and the arts.Further readingArt and revolution: http://socialismtoday.org/archive/128/art.htmlManifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art (Trotsky, Rivera, Breton): https://www.marxists.org/subject/art/lit_crit/works/rivera/manifesto.htmThe Social Roots and the Social Function of Literature (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1923/art/tia23b.htmSurrealism’s revolutionary heart: http://socialismtoday.org/archive/120/manifesto.htmlRevolutionary drama: http://socialismtoday.org/archive/203/brecht.htmlLiterature and Revolution (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/lit_revo/Art and Revolution: Writings on Literature, Politics and Culture (Trotsky): http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=2075628
As the capitalist world tears at itself, who stands to gain? Global capitalism is in its deepest crisis since the 1930s, exacerbated by ‘the great accelerator’: Covid-19 pandemic and depression.There is turmoil on every continent; class battles and uprisings; rising authoritarianism; polarisation within and between nations. Meanwhile, the trade union and ‘new left’ leaders have more and more accommodated themselves to capitalism’s demands.The United States is a harbinger for the 2020s. Constitutional crisis is on the cards. Internal and international tensions, conspiracy theory mysticism, and dangerous right-wing forces are on the rise.Is fascism the same threat it was a century ago? What is the difference between fascism then and right-wing authoritarianism today? Why does this matter? And how can socialists navigate these choppy waters to build the urgent alternative?This episode of Socialism looks at crumbling capitalism: revolution and counter-revolution today.Further readingWorld perspectives: Revolution and counter revolution – Who stands to gain? https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/10/08/world-perspectives-revolution-and-counter-revolution-who-stands-to-gain/Worldwide capitalist crisis deepens – step up the fight for socialism: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/10/07/worldwide-capitalist-crisis-deepens-step-up-the-fight-for-socialism/
How can socialists link day-to-day struggles to the need for revolution?Global capitalism is in a historic crisis, and offers no future to the majority of humanity. Socialism is the only alternative to bloated billionaires, mass unemployment and ruinous trade wars.On the one hand, the profit system is in such a mess that even defending existing pro-worker reforms can lead to colossal pitched battles. On the other hand, why would workers bother fighting for new reforms if it seems the economy cannot possibly grant them?Socialists need demands and slogans which link the struggle over day-to-day problems with the need to overthrow capitalism. So how can we work out such ‘transitional demands’?What is the difference between a ‘transitional programme’ and a ‘minimum-maximum programme’? Is there a fixed formula we can use to create it? Has one ever worked? And what are some of the problems it would have to address today?This episode of Socialism looks at the bridge from immediate needs to socialist revolution: what is a ‘transitional programme’?Further readingThe Transitional Programme (Trotsky) with an introduction by Peter Taaffe: http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=2333802The Socialist Party's core programme - What We Stand For: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/partydoc/What_We_Stand_ForCoronavirus - a workers' charter: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/partydoc/Coronavirus_-_a_workers_charter_2020A socialist charter for young people - we won't sacrifice our future to capitalist crisis: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/30868/08-06-2020/a-socialist-charter-for-young-peopleTrotsky's Transitional Programme: Winning Support For Socialism (2002): https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24669The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It (Lenin): https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/ichtci/index.htmThe Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels) - especially final two chapters: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/manifesto/Discussions on the Transitional Programme (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/tp/tpdiscuss.htmThird Congress of the Communist International: On Tactics - especially section V: https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/3rd-congress/tactics.htm
What is the state of world capitalism as it heads into a second wave of Covid-19?Over a decade ago, the global capitalist system was shaken by a historic financial crisis. It still had not recovered when the coronavirus pandemic caused the worst economic contraction in history.Pandemic, depression, environmental catastrophe, political turmoil - capitalism is not well. And now a second wave of Covid is gathering pace.What does this mean for capitalism around the world? Will we see mass protests and revolutions? Isn’t it the right making gains from the crisis? And what will the US elections bring?This episode of Socialism looks at a world on the brink: capitalist crisis and the second wave.Further reading10 years since the financial crash: https://www.socialistworld.net/2018/09/14/10-years-since-the-financial-crash/Coronavirus plunges capitalism into global turmoil - the need for a socialist alternative: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/03/23/coronavirus-plunges-capitalism-into-global-turmoil-the-need-for-a-socialist-alternative/What lies behind the US-China trade war? https://www.socialistworld.net/2019/05/24/what-lies-behind-the-us-china-trade-war/Democratic, Republican, and Peoples’ Conventions: What Way Forward for Workers? https://independentsocialistgroup.org/2020/09/22/democratic-republican-and-peoples-conventions-what-way-forward-for-workers/Interview with US presidential candidate: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/09/22/interview-with-us-presidential-candidate/Britain: Tory Prime Minister’s brinkmanship over EU deal deepens capitalist splits: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/09/17/britain-tory-prime-ministers-brinkmanship-over-eu-deal-deepens-capitalist-splits/Britain: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians: https://www.socialistworld.net/2020/09/14/britain-trade-unionist-and-socialist-coalition-to-stand-in-elections-again-against-pro-austerity-politicians/
What are the lessons for today from the 1926 general strike?One of the myths about the British working class is that it’s too ponderous and conservative to have a serious fight with capitalism. Actually, centuries of bitter class struggle have shown the real potential again and again.But arguably the high point came in 1926, during a period of national and international crisis for capitalism not so different from today. Despite the hesitancy and treachery of the official union leaders, Britain’s workers came out on strike in every sector, and without an end date. They even started running parts of society for themselves.How did Britain’s only general strike so far come into being? What did it show us about revolutionary power of a general strike? Why did it end in defeat? And what can workers and socialists today learn for the huge class battles coming up today?This episode of Socialism looks at Britain’s ‘almost’ revolution: the 1926 general strike.Further reading and listening1926 General Strike: Workers Taste Power (Peter Taaffe): http://leftbooks.co.uk/epages/950002679.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=2017077The general strike today (2003): http://socialismtoday.org/archive/76/generalstrike.htmlTowards a 24 hour general strike (2012): http://socialismtoday.org/archive/161/britain.htmlSocialism 75. Britain's revolts after WW1: https://soundcloud.com/socialismpodcast/75-britains-revolts-after-ww1Where is Britain Going? (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/britain/wibg/The Middle of the Road (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/britain/v3/ch02f.htm75 years since the 1926 general strike: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/8489/04-05-2001/1926-general-strike-a-showdown-between-the-classes90 years since the 1926 general strike: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/22727/04-05-2016/1926-general-strike-when-workers-tasted-power1926 general strike debate: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/5276/15-06-2006/1926-general-strike-debate
What was Trotsky’s advice for revolutionaries on unions?The trade unions are the basic organisations of the working class. Trotsky, like all who follow the ideas of genuine Marxism, believed the working class was the only social force which can lead socialist revolution.But the union leaders can be timid, or even hold back struggle by their members. And anyway, the working class today looks very different to working class in 1917.So how did Trotsky see the unions in relation to the struggle for socialism? And are those ideas - and the unions themselves - still relevant to that struggle today?This episode of Socialism looks at the organised working class: Trotsky on the trade unions.Further readingShould Revolutionaries Work in Reactionary Trade Unions? (Lenin): https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/lwc/ch06.htmThe Nature of the Trade Unions (Peter Taaffe): http://marxist.net/2019/12/11/the-nature-of-the-trade-unions/Trade Unions and Bolshevism (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/britain/ch07.htmThe Trade Unions in Britain (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1933/09/unions-britain.htmTrade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay (Trotsky): https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/xx/tu.htm
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Comments (9)

Rick Bettencourt

Outstanding Program

Apr 25th
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Rick Bettencourt

Outstanding Program

Apr 6th
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Rick Bettencourt

Outstanding Program

Mar 17th
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Rick Bettencourt

Outstanding Program!

Mar 15th
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Mark Jones

Um eh eh um eh. Speak idiot

Dec 16th
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Rick Bettencourt

outstanding program

Oct 6th
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Mayola De l'Ennemi

Love all of the podcasts. Keep it up ⭐✊

Aug 27th
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Mayola De l'Ennemi

I really enjoy your podcasts, keep it up

Aug 27th
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andrew herbert

great podcast

Oct 26th
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