Britain

200 years ago the founder of scientific socialism and arguably the greatest thinker of modern times, Karl Marx, was born. To celebrate, on Saturday 5 May in London, Socialist Appeal(the International Marxist Tendency in Britain) held Marx in a Day: a series of talks and discussions exploring Marx’s revolutionary ideas and political activity. The event was a great success, with around 80 workers, activists, students, and young people from across the country and even as far away as Paris coming along and taking part.

The establishment media machine has been in overdrive since last Thursday’s local elections in England, attempting to portray the results as yet another disaster for Labour and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. But after three years of spewing bile, nobody pays much attention to such hysteria and distortions anymore.

“The Governor of the Bank of England has warned that massive job losses driven by technology could resuscitate Marxism in the West,” announced the Daily Telegraphrecently.

We publish here an in-depth analysis of the political situation in Britain, which was discussed at the recent conference of Socialist Appeal supporters. Although originally drafted in December, the processes and contradictions that this document outlines still lie at the heart of British politics. In this first part, we look at the long-term crisis of British capitalism, the implications of Brexit, the movement on the industrial plane, and the ever-growing anger towards the elite.

Hundreds of people of Caribbean origin, who migrated to Britain as part of the ‘Windrush generation’ (named after a ship that famously brought a large number of West Indian immigrants to London in 1948) are having their citizenship called into question by the state. Despite having lived and worked in the country for most of their lives, many such people (largely of retirement age) are now facing severe problems with their immigration status – seemingly out of the blue.

On Monday, David Davis and Michel Barnier – the lead Brexit negotiators for Britain and the EU respectively – announced that an agreement had been reached to implement a 21-month transitional period following the original March 2019 deadline. During this time, the status quo would apply and the UK would effectively remain in the EU. The extension period, it is hoped, would be used to thrash out the final Brexit deal, including the as-yet-unspecified future trading arrangements.

One decade on from the onset of the Great Recession, and British society is undergoing a series of crises: economic, political, and social. The status quo has broken; the centre ground has collapsed; political polarisation and radicalisation is taking place everywhere.

There is an old film starring Peter Sellers called The Mouse that Roared that describes a comical situation in which a tiny, insignificant, European nation declares war on the United States in order to obtain aid. By a peculiar twist of circumstances, they win. The scenario of this amusing production was strikingly brought to mind by the events of the last few days in Britain.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the latest spy thriller: the attempted assassination of an MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, which the Tories are blaming on the Kremlin. But what lies behind this story? Alan argues that there is something suspiciously theatrical about the use of nerve gas (a 'Cold War relic') to bump off an ex-spy. But maintaining a sense of Cold War tension is certainly in the interests of the British ruling class.

On Wednesday the Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is visiting Britain on a 3 day visit where he will meet up with top business figures as well as Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

Miembros del Partido Laborista Británico y de los sindicatos han lanzado una nueva campaña llamada Labour4Clause4 (Laboristas por la Cláusula 4), que tiene como objetivo restaurar la Cláusula 4 en los Estatutos del Partido, y comprometer al Partido Laborista con las políticas socialistas. Esta campaña cuenta con el pleno apoyo de Socialist Appeal (sección británica de la CMI). Hacemos un llamamiento a las agrupaciones locales del Partido Laborista, agrupaciones sindicales y organizaciones estudiantiles para que lo apoyen donde sea posible.

27 February marked the centenary of the adoption of the socialist aims of the British Labour Party. At a special Labour conference in February 1918 at Central Hall, Westminster, under the direct impact of the Russian Revolution, the party adopted a new constitution that contained the famous Clause 4.

With the recent announcement in Britain of the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and the upcoming wedding, we call not for celebration of but the abolition of the monarchy. The royal family is a feudal relic and symbol of national chauvinism which, along with the House of Lords, reveals what our so-called ‘democracy’ really is – a system designed and run to serve the interests of the ruling class. The monarchy is a drain on the public purse, receiving handouts of £35.7 million per year on top of countless other expenses. The upcoming royal wedding is an excellent example of this. While the royal family will pay for the wedding ceremony, reception etc., the taxpayer will foot the bill for the policing, security costs and public order arrangements around the event. Kate and William’s 2011 wedding saw £15 million spent of policing alone, with 5000 officers deployed. This time we can expect the same arrangements, if not even greater measures following the recent increase in

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50 years after the revolutionary events of 1968, one hundred revolutionary Marxist students gathered at SOAS in London for the annual Marxist Student Federation conference. With comrades from Glasgow to Southampton present, the Federation’s fifth conference was its most enjoyable yet.

A new campaign has been launched by British Labour Party and trade union members called Labour4Clause4, which aims to restore Clause 4 and commit the Labour Party to socialist policies. This campaign has the full support of Socialist Appeal (British section of the IMT). We call on local Labour parties, trade union branches, and student societies to endorse it wherever possible.

A recent poll finds that young people in the UK today see capitalism as more dangerous than communism. But what has really sent the establishment into a frenzy is Marxist student Fiona Lali's defence of communism on BBC Radio 4.

Workers in Britain have been under attack from the bosses and the Tory government for years. And yet many trade union leaders do not seem capable of fighting back. This is one of the reasons that unions last year experienced the biggest single drop in their membership since records began. Total union membership is now just 6.2 million workers, compared to 13.2 million in 1979.

The collapse of Carillion has come as a shock to the company’s workers and the public who rely on its services. But it seems that Westminster politicians and City bankers were fully aware of the dodgy dealings going on at the construction and outsourcing giant.

By kicking off 2018 with a cabinet reshuffle, May had intended to re-establish her authority over the Tory Party and her cabinet. The Prime Minister hoped to send out a signal that her administration had found a new stability. But it was not to be.