Dave Sherry

'Revolution is much more prevalent than our rulers would have us believe'

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Sally Campbell spoke to Dave Sherry, author of new book Russia 1917, about how the Russian Revolution is relevant today and why its mass democratic nature is still hidden in the mainstream narrative.

For many socialists the Russian Revolution is the most important event in history, but for many young people it’s just another bit of ancient history. What would you say to a young activist who doesn’t see the relevance of the Revolution today?

Tusc takes to Glasgow's streets

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The independence referendum last September showed that people in Scotland want to see radical change. While the left has grown out of that movement, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has quadrupled in size. Its membership has just passed 100,000, which means one person in 50 in Scotland is now a member. The latest polls show an 18 point SNP lead over Labour and predict they’ll win 47 seats to Labour’s ten.

The Liberty Tree

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Heard ye o’ the Tree o’ France,
And wat ye what’s the name o’ it?
Around it a’ the patriots dance,
Weel Europe kens the fame o’ it?
It stands where ance the Bastile stood,
A prison built by kings, man,
When superstition’s hellish brood
Kept France in leading-strings, man

From The Tree of Liberty by Robert Burns, written 1795 (published 1838).

Who was John Maclean?

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"I stand in the Gorbals and before the world as a Bolshevik, alias a Communist, alias a revolutionary, alias a Marxist. My symbol is the red flag, and I shall always keep it flying high."
John Maclean's Election Address, 1922

John Maclean was a Glasgow schoolteacher who became one of the finest socialist leaders the British working class has so far produced.

He was a fierce opponent of British imperialism and the leading figure in the opposition to the First World War. Maclean was a key figure on "Red Clydeside," and was involved with the Clyde Workers' Committee, which spearheaded a rank and file revolt against the dismantling of trade union defences during wartime.

John Maclean: enemy of empire

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Dave Sherry's book John MacLean: Red Clydesider has recently been republished by Bookmarks. Here we print an abridged version of the new introduction which looks at the importance of Maclean in the context of the debate about Scottish independence.

This year sees the anniversary of the First World War, the independence referendum and the hosting of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The convergence of these three important events affords socialists an opportunity to shape the referendum campaign and challenge both British and Scottish nationalism.

State of the nations

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It is increasingly likely that a referendum on Scottish independence will take place in the autumn of 2014. Dave Sherry looks at the growing tensions within the Scottish National Party and argues that socialists should back independence while emphasising class politics within the campaign

Political prediction is a risky business at any time, but at the moment the odds favour a Scottish independence referendum taking place according to the timetable set by the SNP-run devolved Scottish government - two years from now in the autumn of 2014. What is not yet clear is the exact nature of the question or questions that will be asked and who will be allowed to vote. In the present circumstances members and supporters of the Socialist Workers Party in Scotland will be arguing and campaigning for a vote for independence.

The minority movement

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As major industrial struggle seems set to make a return to Britain, Dave Sherry looks at the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary left during the period of intense class conflict which gripped Britain between the end of the First World War and the General Strike of 1926

In 1920 the best parts of the revolutionary left came together to form the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). It was soon put to the test.

Its first big challenge was the relationship between the "official" and "unofficial" wings of the trade union movement and how to work both with and against a newly emerging group of leftwing officials in the face of a deep recession and a vicious state offensive.

Trotsky: A Biography

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Robert Service, Pan Macmillan, £25

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's death. Expelled from Russia in 1929 and eventually exiled in Mexico, he was brutally murdered by an assassin from Stalin, who smashed his skull with an ice axe. This new biography is another hatchet job on Trotsky.

The Thin Blue Line

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Conor Foley, Verso, £14.99

Humanitarian aid has become a multibillion dollar business. Conor Foley's book explains how organisations and movements set up to help the poor and dispossessed have often betrayed them.

The Thin Blue Line - a reference to United Nations (UN) "peacekeepers" - shows how the doctrine of humanitarian intervention is increasingly being used as a cover by Western imperialism to impose its agenda on poorer nations.

The Forever War

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Dexter Filkins, The Bodley Head, £18.99

Prize-winning New York Times (NYT) war correspondent Dexter Filkins has written this eyewitness account of the "war on terror".

Based on his frontline experience in Afghanistan and Iraq between 1998 and 2007, his book is a pulsating kaleidoscope of incidents, anecdotes and interviews with the protagonists and victims.

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