Charlie Kimber

Continuity and change in the Labour Party

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First published in 1988, Tony Cliff and Donny Gluckstein's The Labour Party: A Marxist History was indispensible to those trying to understand the power and limitations of reformism. Charlie Kimber explains why he has contributed to an updated edition covering the period from Blair to Corbyn.

An extraordinary transformation in the image of the Labour Party happened in 2015 with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader. A party that had acted as an efficient and loyal servant of the capitalist class was suddenly speaking about a challenge to big business, the banks, and the super-rich.

May Made Me: an oral history of the 1968 uprising in France

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Among the many books published in the 50th anniversary of the May ’68 revolt, this one stands out for its ability to hear from those directly involved. Through dozens of interviews with participants, Mitchell Abidor lets us feel the transformative power of mass struggle on individuals and society.

Students fighting the police on the barricades and 10 million workers on general strike made what had seemed impossible capable of being realised. And people found courage and new strengths.

Tories out before 2022?

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Theresa May’s government is staggering from crisis to crisis, yet no likely replacement for May is apparent. Charlie Kimber assesses the political landscape as Corbyn’s Labour Party waits in the wings.

Theresa May keeps finding new ways to have a worse week than the one before. Don’t think this process will end in 2018. New lows will be reached, regarded as the bottom of the pit — and then even deeper depths discovered.

But it’s a great danger to think this means the inevitable demise of the May regime. No Tory wants to risk Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 and the spectre of a Labour government promising change is what saves May. There is no unifying alternative to her for the Tories, and she acts as the useful scapegoat who could be replaced later on.

Danger on the right in Europe

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The far-right has made a series of major electoral gains across Europe. Charlie Kimber details the links between their rise and the wholesale distribution of bigotry by the establishment.

A series of election results in Germany, Austria, France and the Czech Republic have seen advances for hard right and sometimes fascist forces. The left has made advances, including the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain. But there are stark warnings of the danger from the right.

Urban Revolt

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Read this to be inspired by stories of city-based resistance in some of the most difficult conditions possible.

The editors want to confront the idea that capitalism is triumphant everywhere and instead look at examples where “the hegemony of ruling classes is being directly challenged by mass organisations”. Their examples range from Africa to Asia to Latin America.

The balance of class forces after the Brexit vote

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The world changed a little after Britain voted to leave the EU. Socialist Review spoke to Charlie Kimber, editor of Socialist Worker, about the new challenges revolutionaries face in the current period.

In the run up to the EU referendum in June we argued that a leave vote would create a crisis for our ruling class, particularly for the Tory party; that it would be a crisis for the EU project itself; and that therefore a Leave vote could provide an opportunity for our side to strengthen the fight against austerity. How much do you think we’ve seen those predictions borne out?

Crowds and Party

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For a decade or more there has been a sustained assault on the need for a political party in order to achieve social change. Many of the great movements of 2011 such as Occupy and 15M in the Spanish state explicitly rejected parties and leadership. This is now changing.

Guantánamo Diary

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The US and British ruling classes pose as democrats and liberators. They claim their actions stand in stark contrast, for example, to the horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State (IS). British and American methods are, it is suggested, those of pure fighters with clean hands.
Anyone who still needs convincing that this is nauseous hypocrisy should read this book.

The crisis in mainstream politics presents a challenge for the left

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There is a strong tradition of intervention in elections from the revolutionary left. Charlie Kimber learns from the experiences of Marx, Engels and Lenin, while confronting the reality of today.

In six months time Britain will go to the polls for a general election. The Socialist Workers Party believes we need a serious left intervention in the election.

The first question is whether revolutionaries should bother with elections and parliament at all. After all, we understand that real power does not lie in parliament. It exists in the wholly unelected sphere of the ownership and control of the offices, factories, call centres, transport hubs and so on.

A precious victory for South African miners

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The successful strike by platinum miners marks an important shift in the confidence of South African workers.

The miners, who are part of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), struck for five months in one of the country’s longest running industrial disputes.

They won significant concessions from the bosses, a 20 percent wage rise for new workers (around £55 a month) and between 7 and 8.5 percent increase for more skilled workers. Many will have their pay backdated from July of last year.


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