socialism from below

Which strategy for the left?

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In last month's Socialist Review, Ed Rooksby, a supporter of the Left Unity initiative, put forward his view that a left government can play a key role in the fight for radical change. Mark L Thomas argues this ignores the role of the state.

The Left Unity initiative has struck a chord with a significant number of socialists in Britain. The call by Ken Loach and others for a new left party had seen over 8,000 people put their names to it and Left Unity has now held a series of meetings and formed local groups across the country. It clearly expresses a mood for something better than the austerity agenda accepted by Labour under Ed Miliband.

A class that made itself

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Socialist historian E P Thompson's classic book The Making of the English Working Class was first published 50 years ago. Keith Flett takes a look at this seminal work of labour history that placed workers at the centre of making their own history

It is 50 years since the publication of E P Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class. Published by Gollancz in the autumn of 1963, it was paper-backed by Penguin in 1968 and remains in print today. The original paperback cover, a painting of a collier from 1814, clay pipe in mouth, walking stick in hand tramping for work, remains an iconic image of the origins of the modern working class. The impact and influence of the book have been worldwide, despite the fact that the paperback edition weighs in at 958 pages.

No saviours or substitutes

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The words of the Internationale strike a chord for all socialists who believe society can only be transformed from below. It is a message that could not be more urgent than for today's working class in Venezuela and Bolivia.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer.

So runs the second verse of the socialist anthem the Internationale. It is rarely sung in Britain. But the message is very important.

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