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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 November 2006

New publication

Marxism in Today's World

BILL MULLINS, the Socialist Party's national industrial organiser, reviews Marxism in Today's World, the new book from the Committee for a Workers' International.

THE NEW book published by the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), Marxism in Today's World, is an opportunity for many people to read in detail the ideas and policies of the CWI.

In the form of questions and answers, it came about as a result of an Italian publishing collective, Giovane Talpa, requesting that the CWI explain its ideas to an Italian audience. This book is the transcript of the extensive interview with Peter Taaffe that followed.

The format will give many people the opportunity to read how the ideas of marxism in the modern era are not the result of fixed and forever rules written in the 19th century - it is the method of marxism that shines through. The ability of the CWI to interpret the world today is a result of this method.

The questions are put by the interviewer Yurii Colombo from Giovane Talpa, who consider themselves marxists but from a different tradition to the CWI.

Socialist ideas

There are other previous examples where this has been done, such as Socialism on Trial and the questions put by attorneys to Leon Trotsky at the 1937 Dewey Commission in Mexico (see The Case of Leon Trotsky. The Dewey Commission, April 10 to 17 1937 Coyoacan, Mexico).

This was Trotsky's answer to the lies and slander against him and his ideas at Stalin's Moscow show trials in 1937. But it also gave Trotsky the opportunity to explain his ideas at considerable length.

The questions range from how the CWI looks at the world since 9/11 to our analysis of the national question in Northern Ireland, the marxist theory of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall and the permanent revolution today. On the way it takes in what happened in the Soviet Union - why the working class didn't fight back against the encroachments of capitalism - and whether Trotsky's pre-war perspectives for these developments were right or wrong.

The rapid industrial growth in China is also raised in the interview and whether this changes the world balance of class forces.

A penetrating discussion takes place around the question of the European working class, as manufacturing jobs disappear and white-collar workers, both in the public and private sector, come under attack.

This includes an analysis of the consciousness of this section of the working class and whether it can attain the strength and social weight of the industrial working class of the past.

Reform or revolution

The final 25 pages (the book is an easily readable 100-plus pages in length) deals with the history of the CWI and the Socialist Party. This brings out some of the misunderstandings about the CWI and the Socialist Party, both historically and today.

The accusation that our programme is reformist, particularly in relation to the state, is ably answered by Peter Taaffe (see also the recently published online pamphlet, Marxism and the State, an exchange on the Socialist Party website www.socialistparty.org.uk).

The question of the relationship between the International and the different national parties affiliated to the CWI and the membership as a whole is also discussed. In other words, democratic centralism in the modern era and whether it is still necessary to organise the revolutionary party along the lines of the Bolshevik Party of 1917.

I have no doubt that this book will be read with great interest by members of the Socialist Party and the CWI - from the newest to the longest-standing - and beyond. It will add enormously to the political development of all who read it.


Price 7.50
Special pre-publication offer 5

Add 10% postage and packing. Cheques payable to Left Books , PO Box 24697, London, E11 1YD. Credit/debit card: 020 8988 8789 fax 020 8988 8787. Buy online: www.leftbooks.co.uk email: [email protected]

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 22 November 2006:

Public health not private profit

Nurses against 'natural wastage'

Swansea says no closures

Ipswich campaign saves nurses' jobs

Pensioners lead the way


Socialism 2006

Socialism 2006 main rally

Films show a world of rising struggles

Socialist Party youth rally

Socialism 2006: a great success

Collection a big success

Socialism 2006 closing rally: defend the NHS

Sri Lanka


Education

Stop the fat cats! No to Cutbacks! Fight tuition fees!


New Socialist Party publication

Marxism in Today's World


The Socialist Interview

Can Labour be reclaimed?


Homelessness Feature

Homelessness: Privatising the problem


International socialist news

Worldwide protests at MP's murder

Leicester protest

Thatcher's monetarist guru dies

Prodi government under siege

US rages but Ortega's victory is no revolution


Socialist Party news and analysis

Queen's speech says 'work till you drop'

Lincoln organises against the far right


Socialist Party workplace news

Local government pensions: We're no April fools!

Disciplinary action against UNISON secretary

JJB Sports workers score a victory

Fujitsu on strike


 

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