United front

Why read...The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany

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Trotsky wrote this series of articles in extraordinary times. Germany in the 1930s was hit by a massive crisis that crippled the economy and drove unemployment up to 6 million.

In the conditions of global recession a new movement, fascism, was rising in parts of Europe. In Germany this took the form of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party.

Anti-fascism and the spirit of the united front

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In this special feature Socialist Review sets out the challenges and strategies faced by the anti-fascist movements in Britain. With contributions from activists involved in the struggle here.

The declaration by Tommy Robinson and his cousin Kevin Carroll that they were abandoning the English Defence League (EDL), the street organisation they had founded, marked an important milestone in the struggle against fascism in Britain. Robinson had led one of the most successful fascist street movements since the National Front in the 1970s, a model emulated by dozens of "Defence Leagues" across Europe. His resignation marked the movement's demise, and follows the electoral collapse of the Nazi British National Party (BNP).

Is Leninism finished?

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Do revolutionary parties, like the Socialist Workers Party, that draw on the method of organising developed by Lenin and the Bolsheviks still fit in the twenty first century? Alex Callinicos challenges the critics and argues that Leninism remains indispensable

The demise of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and of the political tradition that it seeks to embody have been widely proclaimed on the British left in recent weeks. Thus the columnist Owen Jones has announced that "the era of the SWP and its kind is over." Is he right?

U is for united front

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In 1919 the Communist International was born. Throughout Europe and beyond new Communist Parties were founded, generally by splits in mass reformist parties. As anyone who has been through a split knows, the process left behind enormous political and personal bitterness. Yet within a couple of years the Communist International was urging its members to form united fronts with the reformist parties.

Many Communists were confused. Why should they unite with those they had so recently denounced as traitors? The reason was simple. The revolutionary wave had subsided, and the employers were on the offensive, trying to restore their profit levels. A defensive strategy meant the involvement of the broadest possible movement. As the Comintern's manifesto of January 1922 put it, "No worker, whether communist or social-democratic or syndicalist, or even a member of the Christian or liberal trade unions, wants his wages further reduced. None wants to work longer hours.

Marching Separately

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The rise of the new left in Europe opens up new opportunities for revolutionaries.

Is a new mass left emerging across Europe? This seems a very real possibility after a summer which has seen the emergence of the Left Party in Germany, the central role played by the LCR and the Communist Party in the victory for the 'No' vote in the French referendum, and the electoral breakthrough for Respect in England.

Unity in Diversity

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The movement against neoliberalism and war must be built, but so too must the revolutionary Marxist current within it.

The 2000s are proving to be a new era of mass movements. This is most spectacularly reflected in the international campaigns against global capitalism and against the 'war on terrorism'. Of necessity, these movements unite a wide range of political forces in common action. The anti-capitalist movement prides itself on its unity in diversity. The second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre brought together a very wide spectrum that extended from French and Brazilian social democrats to revolutionary socialists and autonomists.

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