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From the archive: An Introduction to Marxist Philosophy

 

We take pleasure in reproducing the first instalment of “An Introduction to Marxist Philosophy” by the late Peter Jefferies (Geoff Pilling). Geoff was a University lecturer and expert on the history of political economy but also a Trotskyist revolutionary and active fighter for the Fourth International. Geoff would have been greatly heartened by the developments taking place in Southern Africa and elsewhere and would have wanted to contribute to the building of the workers movement there.

The text is taken from the pamphlet of the same name published by Keep Left, London, January 1975 and comprises a series of articles that first appeared in Keep Left the weekly paper the Young Socialists (A British Trotskyist organisation – Ed.), Sept. 29, Oct. 6, Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 10, Nov.17, Nov.24, Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15, 1973. (Corrections to the original appear in [ ] Editor)

Chapter 1. Materialism and Idealism

‘PHILOSOPHY.’  When many members of the Young Socialists see the word they will no doubt think of something which they imagine strange and difficult, something done by ‘wise men’, often with long white beards!

So the first thing to get clear about at the start of this series of short articles is that the study of Marxist philosophy is not at all peculiar or over-difficult.

In fact, it is true to say that everybody has a philosophy,whether they are aware of it or not, whether they have worked it out or not.

For, by philosophy we mean a general conception of the world and the relationship of man and his thinking to this world.

And all of us have such a conception of the world. If this is the case, you might ask, why do we need to study philosophy? Simply because we have to develop a scientific and coherent conception of the world and the changes taking place within it.

For the revolutionary party, this is a vital question. Only if all its activities are guided by such a conception can it carry out its tasks of leading the working class to power and the establishment of socialism — the greatest change ever undertaken by man.

In Marxism lies the highest struggle by man to grasp the nature of the world in the course of his continual struggle to change it.

Hence the urgent need on the part of every Young Socialist to begin a systematic study of Marxism, individually and as part of his or her branch. Continue reading

Freedom for the Peoples of Africa! No to intervention!

By Balazs Nagy  February 2013 (First published in Workers International Journal No. 1)

It would be very wrong to judge France’s military intervention in Mali on the basis of the deafening and unanimous press and television chorus. They think this act of war was inevitable and celebrate it. It galvanised them unhesitatingly and pompously to laud President Hollande as a great leader — the very same politician they used to dismiss as flabby.

But it would be even worse to put any trust this “leader’s” own pronouncements, or those of his aides and their allies in Europe and across the world. Continue reading

Out Now! New edition of the journal, Nov 2015

In this issue:

Namibia: 
Political Report to the Second Congress
Unified Programme of Namibian Working People
Basis of our discussions with CP
2014 Election Manifesto
Elements of a Programme for Namibian Mineworkers.
Keetmanshoop Municipal Election Manifesto

International:
For an Independent Inquiry into Marikana
Resolution: ‘Solidarity with Greek dockers’
Commemorating Liverpool Dockers’ struggle

Urgent Financial Appeal

The Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP) in Namibia is a section of the Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International.

It will hold its Congress in Windhoek on 1, 2 and 3 October 2015.

We appeal to socialists internationally to contribute to the fund for this Congress.

The WRP participated in the November 2014 elections and achieved a real breakthrough, winning two seats in the National Assembly after only four weeks of campaigning, travelling many hundreds of miles into the different regions of the country.

The working class in Namibia has responded through the WRP to the fact that they must fight for political power with a programme independent from the bourgeoisie, including the bourgeois nationalists who dominate the workers’ movement.

Workers International Journal  has published details of the way the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) – dominated state has responded to the election result. They have connived in setting up a fake “Workers Revolutionary Party” and used this as a pretext to block the funding to which the party is legally entitled. This is despite a ruling by their own Ombudsman which recognises our Party’s legitimacy. In fact SWAPO acts as representatives of the interests of the bourgeoisie in Namibia, desperate to stop any demands of working people from being heard in parliament.

So this cannot be a “normal” congress. We need to bring together the new forces that have emerged – often hundreds and hundreds of miles away – to discuss the problems facing various sections of workers and landless people and what kind of leadership and programme is now required.

It is on this basis that we seek your urgent financial support.

To those supporters who have already responded we give our heartfelt thanks.

The WRP estimates it could cost up to 300,000 Namibian dollars (= rand) in order to hold this Congress. That is approximately £14,000, or $22,000 US.

That is a very tall order indeed, but they assure us that however much we can raise, the Congress will, despite all difficulties, be held and carry out its business.

Bob Archer, 

Secretary,

Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International

If you can send a sterling-denominated cheque, please mail it to:

PO Box 68375, London E7 7DT, UK

If you are remitting by other means, please email us at info@workersinternational.info discuss how to transfer the money.

 

The Theses of Pulacayo (1946)

The revolutionary programme of Trotskyism in South America:

The Theses of Pulacayo 

As the leading elements in the South African working class struggle over key points in the revolutionary programme of Marxism, such as the role of the working class in the revolution, how they relate to other classes, how they should work in government and politics, how to organise at the workplace and in the community, how to plan to develop the national economy and industry, how to organise politically as a party and in a United Front, the Pulacayo Theses provide an essential guide for a way forward.

In 1946 the Bolivian Miners’ Federal Trade Union (FSTMB) was a centre of a profound debate between political tendencies which culminated in the Pulacayo Theses submitted by the Trotskyist Revolutionary Workers Party (POR). Now nearly 70 years old, these Theses stand up astonishingly well as a practical and theoretical guide to action.

Workers International Journal strongly recommends a study of these theses to all those who strive to build the movement demanded by the NUMSA special congress of December 2013

I. Basic principles

1. The proletariat, in Bolivia as in other countries, constitutes the revolutionary social class par excellence. The mineworkers, the most advanced and the most combative section of this country’s proletariat, determine the direction of the FSTMB’s struggle.

2. Bolivia is a backward capitalist country; within its economy different stages of development and different modes of production coexist, but the capitalist mode is qualitatively dominant, the other socio-economic forms being a heritage from our historic past. The prominence of the proletariat in national politics flows from this state of affairs.

3. Bolivia, even though a backward country, is only one link in the world capitalist chain. National peculiarities are themselves, a combination of the essential features of the world economy. Continue reading

What next for Greece (and Europe)?

THE SYRIZA-led Greek government made a bid to reverse the appalling and humiliating conditions laid upon the country by the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund).

The fiasco that followed deserves careful consideration by all trade unionists, socialists and working people more broadly.

SYRIZA is a coalition built around forces coming from the Euro-Communist sector which several decades ago split from the old KKE (Greek Communist Party). They promised a new kind of “left” politics, breaking the mould of sectarian wrangling over ideological shibboleths. (In the process they junked a number of political principles also, in particular the understanding of the basic conflict in society between capital and labour).

With the shock of the country’s bankruptcy and the fateful “Memoranda” reverberating around Greek society, with masses of people going, in real confusion, into semi-permanent occupation of the city squares, it was the coalition which became SYRIZA which captured the popular mood.  Continue reading

Out now! New edition of the Journal, July 2015.

Inside this Issue:

Namibia: 
WRP(N) fights for its constitutional rights
Namibian miners demand “end evictions!”

Programme of the Fourth International: 
The Theses of Pulacayo (1946)

Europe: 
What next for Greece – and Europe?
Bosnia solidarity appeal
UK elections

Letter from Workers International to Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia

15 June 2015
To Mr. Peter Katjavivi
Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia

Sir,
we write to you in great concern about a campaign of slanders and threats, including death threats, which is targeting several members of our Namibian section, the Workers Revolutionary Party.
The authors of these criminal acts are members of a group around lay lawyer August Maletzky and former member of parliament Benson Kaapala. August Maletzky took this campaign to its highest point to date on Wednesday, 10 June, at about 18H30 when he shouted several times across the street at the house of our member and the legal representative of the WRP, comrade Hewat Beukes, that Hewat Beukes would be killed.
These threats by the Maletzky-Kaapala group have been multiplying and intensifying since you, Mr Katjavivi, as Speaker of the National Assembly, chose to promote this same group of violent and dishonest elements around Maletzky and Kaapala as a “faction” of the WRP on equal footing with WRP’s legitimate leadership and its only legal representative, comrade Hewat Beukes. You choose to ignore the fact that comrade Hewat Beukes is indeed the only legal representative of the WRP, a fact that is legally binding for everybody and especially for you in your function as Speaker of the National Assembly. Continue reading