When asked to define revolution, socialists often quote a famous statement by Leon Trotsky: “The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historical events.” …
In the following piece British socialist Dan Swain builds on Hal Draper’s classic discussion in the essay “The Two Souls of Socialism” of socialism from below vs socialism from above and shows its relevance to the contemporary period. We are republishing this article because we think it makes a useful contribution. But we also think it is important to note that the article does not address lessons learned since the 1960s about the importance of anti-oppression struggles in creating conditions for democracy within social movements. This is perhaps reflective of broader political weaknesses on the contemporary left. We believe it is critical to be attentive to the ways in which racism, sexism and heterosexism structure power relations within society – including within movement organizing – and limits the discussion around what it means to practice the politics of socialism from below today. Socialists need to actively promote anti-oppression politics – anti-racist queer feminist socialism from below!
– NSW editors
The Front d’action socialiste (Socialist Action Front) is an organization of socialist activists launched publically in Montreal on May 1, 2014. We are publishing an English translation of its founding declaration as a small contribution to strengthening much-needed links between socialists in Canada and those in Quebec and because we find its non-sectarian emphasis on building movements and its revolutionary humility admirable – NSW
By Alan Sears
These are challenging times for the anti-capitalist left. Despite the enormous attacks being waged in the name of austerity, there is little in the way of sustained resistance in the streets, workplaces, neighbourhoods or schools. The Left’s limited resources are being strained to the limits in struggles to organize against the tide.
By Gene McGuckin
On December 3, the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group put on an event, “Strategies to Fight Climate Change.” We are republishing the speech by VEG member Gene McGuckin. A report on the event and links to videos of all the speakers’ talks is online here — NSW
We are republishing an interview with Alan Sears, who frequently writes for New Socialist Webzine, by Andrew Sernatinger and Tessa Echeverria, who are socialists in Madison, Wisconsin. The text first appeared on the New Politics site and the interview was originally broadcast on their Black Sheep Podcast — NSW
By Mike Gonzalez
In every revolutionary crisis the state will slip off the velvet glove to reveal the iron fist underneath; that is the nature of the beast, as Lenin reminded us. Armies are there to serve the capitalist order, whether their activity is described as “peacekeeping,” “national security” or simply the maintenance of public order.
By Cinzia Arruzza
A few months ago on the New York subway I saw the most incredible poster, a picture of a crying baby of colour with the words, “Got a good job? I cost thousands of dollars each year”. While I was still recovering from the shock, I saw a similar poster of a little Black girl: “Honestly Mom… chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”
By DL Simmons
With the indigenous activists of Idle No More and Defenders of the Land calling to make the summer of 2013 “Sovereignty Summer” — a “campaign of coordinated non-violent direct actions to promote Aboriginal rights and environmental protection in alliance with non-native supporters” — it’s a good time to look at the relationship between indigenous struggle and radical politics. With this in mind, we are glad to publish a revised and updated version of a piece that originally appeared in the special Indigenous Resurgence issue of New Socialist in 2006.
During the peak of the Red Power movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many newly radicalizing indigenous people became interested in exploring various theories of revolution and socialist organization.
Review of Zak Cope, Divided World, Divided Class: Global Political Economy and the Stratification of Labour Under Capitalism (Kersplebedeb, 2012)
By Charlie Post
A specter has haunted anti-capitalist radicals and revolutionaries for more than 150 years—the specter of working class reformism and conservatism in the global North of the capitalist world economy. Why have those who Marx called the “grave-diggers of capitalism,” the wage-earning majority of the industrialized societies, embraced politics that either seek to “balance” the interests of capital and labour (reformism) or blame other workers for falling living standards and working conditions (conservatism)?
This is Part II of Kokkino’s statement after the June elections in Greece, revised and slightly abridged from the version published in International Viewpoint. Kokkino is a revolutionary socialist organization in Greece, which has been in the throes of a major debt crisis since 2009.
Kokkino is part of the broader Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which is the main force against the austerity measures being imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition of a proposed bailout. SYRIZA’s anti-bailout stance resulted in a dramatic growth in its popular support in the run-up to the recent elections – from just under 5% of electoral votes in May to 27% in June.
Part I of this statement offers an analysis of the election’s political outcome. The final sections, reprinted here, focus on strategic questions for the radical left in Greece. Although the context is quite different, there is much to be learned from the experience of major social mobilization in Greece since the eruption of the debt crisis. – New Socialist
Alan Sears’s “Notes Towards a Socialism for the Times” is a very good article to get people interested in socialism, or to reinvigorate the passion of those already knowledgeable on the topic. It strives to explain what socialism from below is, how it fell by the wayside and why we need it back.
You asked me if the people who publish this webzine are Trotskyists. Speaking only for myself here, I don’t consider myself a Trotskyist. I think the best of Trotskyism can contribute to the kind of socialist politics that’s needed today, but that we need to go beyond Trotskyism. Let me try to explain.
By Alain Badiou
We reproduce this recent essay by the French radical philosopher Alain Badiou because of its thoughts about the times in which we’re living and about the “communist hypothesis,” which are not just relevant to people in France. As always, signed articles on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or publisher (in particular, New Socialist does not share Badiou’s belief that the USSR, Mao’s China and similar societies were socialist) -NS