Minneapolis strikers, 1934. Since 1776 American progressives have fought with the best weapons available to them

Popular militia vs standing army

Jack Conrad takes issue with those on the left who oppose, shun or want to keep silent over a basic democratic demand

Many so-called Marxists consider upholding the right to bear arms divisive, unnecessary, provocative or dangerously off-putting. According to Sam Fairbairn, national secretary of the People’s Assembly, calling for a popular militia risks the unity of the anti-austerity movement and should therefore be barred from consideration. In the attempt to stop the question even being debated, he bureaucratically announced that a Teesside motion - which advocated the “dissolution of the standing army and the formation of a popular militia under democratic control” - was “outside of the remit” of the December 2015 delegate conference of the People’s Assembly.1

Strange, given that the People’s Assembly rejects the renewal of Trident, condemns imperialist adventures in the Middle East and opposes unjust and illegal wars.2 Stranger still, given that comrade Sam Fairbairn, along with John Rees, Lindsey German and Chris Nineham, is a member of Counterfire. Their 2010 breakaway from the Socialist Workers Party proudly proclaims itself to be a “revolutionary socialist organisation”. Sneakily, however, Counterfire is committed to “eliminating unnecessary barriers between our socialist politics and the thousands of activists being drawn into opposition to austerity and war.”3 Presumably, the “dissolution of the standing army and the formation of a popular militia under democratic control” constitutes one of those “unnecessary barriers” that have to be eliminated.

No less strange, Romayne Phoenix vehemently supported comrade Fairbairrn. With the backing of Peter Tatchell and Derek Wall, she stood on a Green Left ticket against Natalie Bennett in the August 2012 contest to be Green Party leader.4 Note: the Greens have a long standing peace and defence policy (as substantially updated in January 1990 and last modified in September 2014).5 In short, the Green Party demands scrapping Trident and a British withdrawal from Nato. Moreover, and this is the point, the Greens are programmatically committed to replacing the existing armed forces with a “body of civilian and military volunteers.” 6 In other words, a Green Party version of a popular militia.

While the Greens are not bad, at least on paper - amongst the economistic left there is a morbid fear of anything that smacks of the constitutional demand for the “right to bear arms” and replacing the standing army with a popular militia.

A few years ago, we interviewed Dave Nellist of the Socialist Party in England and Wales. He was standing as the lead No2EU candidate in European Union elections for the West Midlands constituency. Revealingly, the comrade refused point blank to say if he supported or opposed our demand for a popular militia.7 Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain - standing top of No2EU’s list in Wales - was, however, more forthcoming. He aggressively dismissed the demand for abolishing the standing army and a popular militia as “nothing to do with real struggle.” There is, he dumbly pronounced, no revolutionary situation in Britain. Hence such a demand is to be lambasted as a CPGB “provocation”. Showing his true colours, he cravenly stated that the very idea of a militia presented “a gift to the British state”. If we advocate such an outrage, “MI5 will be around straightaway”.8

So, maybe comrade Griffiths thinks the words of Internationale are a risky provocation too. This is the second stanza:

No more deluded by reaction,

On tyrants only we’ll make war!

The soldiers too will take strike action,

They’ll break ranks and fight no more!

And if those cannibals keep trying,

To sacrifice us to their pride,

They soon shall hear the bullets flying,

We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.9

Left Unity

Objectively then, when it comes to the standing army and the demand for a popular militia, it is clear that the Green Party stands well to the left of the cowardly economistic left.

Take Left Unity. Cross-examined on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics in March 2014, Salman Shaheen, then one of Left Unity’s four principle speakers, bent over backwards to present the organisation as broad, conventional and safely within the remit of 1945 Labourism (the comrade resigned in November 2015 with the stated intention of joining the Labour Party to support Jeremy Corbyn). Yet despite comrade Shaheen’s self-identification as a “moderate”, inevitably, Andrew Neil sought to paint Left Unity as “loony”. Specifically, he cited our Communist Platform’s standing motion to Left Unity national conferences.

Once again it is worth reproducing this motion in full. As will be surely appreciated, the popular militia it envisages is not only far more radical than the Greens’ “updated” Territorial Army. It combines abolishing the standing army with a militant class struggle perspective:

Left Unity is against the standing army and for the armed people. This principle will never be realised voluntarily by the capitalist state. It has to be won, in the first place by the working class developing its own militia.

Such a body grows out of the class struggle itself: defending picket lines, mass demonstrations, workplace occupations, fending off fascists, etc.

As the class struggle intensifies, conditions are created for the workers to arm themselves and win over sections of the military forces of the capitalist state. Every opportunity must be used to take even tentative steps towards this goal. As circumstances allow, the working class must equip itself with all weaponry necessary to bring about revolution.

To facilitate this we demand:

1. Rank and file personnel in the state’s armed bodies must be protected from bullying, humiliating treatment and being used against the working class.

2. There must be full trade union and democratic rights, including the right to form bodies such as soldiers’ councils.

3. The privileges of the officer caste must be abolished. Officers must be elected. Workers in uniform must become the allies of the masses in struggle.

4. The people have the right to bear arms and defend themselves.

5. The dissolution of the standing army and the formation of a well-regulated militia under democratic control.

Supposedly this reminded Neil of America’s Tea Party. Or so he said. Would Shaheen be voting for this madness? No, the comrade cringeingly replied. “I disagree ... I will be voting against ... The majority of Left Unity members are disaffected Labour voters.”

Neil is, in fact, an Americaphile. He has worked in the US and still owns a plush New York apartment. So you would have thought he might have recognised some of the well known phrases. In no small part, after all, our Communist Platform drew inspiration from the second amendment to the US constitution. Ratified to popular acclaim in 1791, it states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”10

The historic background forms part of our common culture. Those who made the American revolution, above all the urban and rural masses, saw a standing army as an existential threat to democracy. Eg, in her Observations on the new constitution (1788) Mercy Otis Warren - the mother of the American revolution - branded the standing army as “the nursery of vice and the bane of liberty”.11 At great sacrifice the common people had overthrown the tyranny of George III and were determined to do the same again if faced with another unacceptable government.

The American demand for a “popular militia and the constitutional right to bear arms” clearly referenced the 1689 English bill of rights. Having access to arms had long been regarded as a ‘natural right’ by radicals on both sides of the Atlantic.12 Certainly the Levellers and their successors considered themselves duty bound to take up arms against tyranny. Hence the staunch opposition to James II’s simultaneous attempt to maintain a standing army and disarm the “Protestant population”.13 Buoyed by his crushing of the Monmouth rebellion (1685) - carried out under the green Leveller flag and supported by peasants and plebeians - the Stewart king pursued his counterrevolutionary programme. Suffice to say, turning back the wheel of progress threatened the vital interests of the financial and merchant elite. And it was this class which took the lead in inviting William of Orange, the Dutch monarch, to launch his invasion.14

The subsequent - pro-capitalist - constitution, agreed by both houses of parliament and the newly installed dual monarchy, was founded on the Bill of Rights. Included amongst its provisions are these two vital formulations: “That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace unless it be with consent of parliament is against law.” And directly below that we read: “That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.”15 And, of course, the historical link between the English Bill of Rights and the US Second Amendment, has been repeatedly acknowledged, not least by the US Supreme Court (eg, United States v Cruikshank 1876).16

Theory and practice

Naturally Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels considered the second amendment part of their heritage. Clause four of the Marx-Engels Demands of the Communist Party in Germany (1848) is emphatic: “Universal arming of the people. In future armies shall at the same time be workers’ armies so that the armed forces will not only consume, as in the past, but produce even more than it costs to maintain them.”17

The Marx-Engels team never wavered on this. Read Can Europe disarm? Here, in this pamphlet written by Engels in 1893, ten years after the death of his friend and collaborator, we find a concrete application of Marxism to the dawning epoch of universal suffrage and universal conscription. Engels concluded that the key to revolution was mutiny in the armed forces. His pamphlet outlined a model bill for military reform in Germany. Engels was determined to show that the proposal to gradually transform standing armies into a “militia based on the universal principle of arming the people” could exploit the mounting fears of a pending European war and the widespread resentment at the ruinous military budget.18

For propaganda effect, Engels proposed an international agreement to limit military service to a short period and a state system in which no country fears aggression because no country would be capable of aggression. Surely World War I would have been impossible if the European great powers had nothing more than lightly armed civilian militias available to them.

Not that Engels was a lily livered pacifist. He supported universal male (!) conscription and if necessary was quite prepared to advocate revolutionary war. However, his Can Europe disarm? was not intended to prove the military superiority of a militia over a standing army. No, he wanted a citizen army within which discipline would be self-imposed. An army where rank and file troops would confidentially turn their guns against officers who dared issue orders against the vital interests of the people. By winning hearts and minds such an army could be made ours.

As might be expected, the Marxist parties of the late 19th and early 20th century unproblematically included the demand for disbanding the standing army and establishing a popular militia in their programmes. Eg, the 1880 programme of the French Workers’ Party, the 1891 Erfurt programme, the 1889 Hainfield programme of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, the 1903 programme of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, etc.

In the ‘political section’ of the programme of the French Workers’ Party (Partie Ouvrier), authored jointly by Karl Marx and Jules Guesde, we therefore find the demand for the “abolition of standing armies and the general arming of the people” (clause four).19 A proposition faithfully translated by the Germans: “Education of all to bear arms. Militia in the place of the standing army” (clause 3).20 The Austrians are adamant: “The cause of the constant danger of war is the standing army, whose growing burden alienates the people from its cultural tasks. It is therefore necessary to fight for the replacement of the standing army by arming the people” (clause 6).21 Then we have the Russians: “general arming of the people instead of maintaining a standing army” (clause c9).22

After theory there must come practice.

Amongst the first decrees of the 1871 Paris Commune was the abolition of the standing army and constituting the national guard as the sole armed force in the country. Memorably, Auguste Blanqui, an outstanding leader in the 1848 revolution, proclaimed two decades earlier, “he who has iron, has bread!” By forging a new state based not on a repressive force that sat outside the general population, the Commune opened a new chapter in working class politics. And Russia took what happened in Paris to as yet unsurpassed heights. Formed in April-March 1917 the Red Guards proved crucial. Red Guards, and increasing numbers of army units, put themselves under the discipline of the Military Revolutionary Committee - a subdivision of the Bolshevik-led Petrograd soviet formally established at Leon Trotsky’s initiative. On October 25 (November 7) 1917 the MRC issued its momentous declaration that the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky “no longer existed”. State power has passed into the hands of the soviets of workers, peasants and soldiers.

Workers formed defence corps during the 1926 General Strike in Britain. American workers did the same in 1934. There were massive stoppages in San Francisco, Toledo and Minneapolis. As to resisting tyranny, in the 1920s the two main workers’ parties in Germany established their own militias. The SDP dominated the soft-left Reichsbanner, while the Communist Party formed the much more militant Rotfrontkämpferbund (by 1929 it boasted 130,000 members). Despite its 1923 founding statutes emphasising ceremonial paraphernalia, marches and band music, the Schutzbund in Austria served as a kind of “proletarian police force”.23 When it came to strikes, demonstrations and meetings this workers’ militia maintained discipline and fended off Nazi gangs. Though hampered by a dithering social democratic leadership, the Schutzbund heroically resisted the February 12 1934 fascist coup. In Spain anarchists, official communists, Poum, etc, likewise formed their own militias against the Franco uprising. Then, more recently, in 1966, there was the Black Panther Party. It organised “armed citizen’s patrols” to monitor and counter the brutal US police force.24 Even the “non-violent” civil rights movement, led by Martin Luther King, included within its ranks those committed to “armed self-defence” against Ku Klux Klan and other such terrorism.25 Nor should we ever forget the miners and their heroic hit squads of 1984-85. Countless other such examples could be cited.

This is the “loony” tradition implicitly rejected by out and out pacifists such as Salman Shaheen and viewed with barely concealed dread, anger or embarrassment by social pacifists such as Sam Fairbairn, Dave Nellist and Robert Griffiths.

In that same dismal spirit, we have Rex Dunn writing in this paper.26 A repentant refugee from Gerry Healy’s Workers Revolutionary Party, the comrade nowadays seeks to reconcile Karl Marx’s “rational optimism” with Theodor Adorno’s “rational pessimism”.27 Naturally, as a self-declared “defender of classical Marxism,” he stands by the right to bear arms … at least “in principle.” However, there is theory and there is practice, and at least with comrade Dunn, the two are never to be united … certainly not at the moment.

Against those using the right to bear arms as a “virility” symbol of revolutionary credibility (the CPGB?), he fields America’s “love affair with guns” and the country’s horrendous murder rates. Though the infant US faced the threat of loyalist counterrevolution, that hardly applies today. So runs the comrade’s argument. Moreover, because the class consciousness of American workers - and workers around the world - is at its “lowest ebb”, he advocates what can only be characterised as Platonic Marxism.

Attempting to justify his Platonic Marxism, the comrade cites the backwardness of the US workers’ movement: failure to resist austerity, refusal to oppose imperialist wars, tiny Communist Party, domination by Republicans and Democrats, hopeless atomisation, etc. If and when that situation is finally rectified by some miracle of history, only then “would it be the right time to raise this demand.”

Comrade Dunn’s parochialism is laughable. After all since 1791 bearing arms has been a constitutionally enshrined right … in the USA. No mainstream American politician would dream of proposing to alter the constitution in this respect. Eg, introducing his recent proposals to tighten regulations on gun sales, Barack Obama told the American people: “I believe in the second amendment. It’s there written on the paper … No matter how much people try to twist my words … I taught constitutional law. I know a little bit about this. I get it.”28

Would comrade Dunn call for the abolition of the second amendment … well until at last he credits the US working class with being educated enough, responsible enough, advanced enough? Either consciously or unconsciously the comrade advocates an artificial theory of stages. First workers must be organised around elementary economic demands, then arrives the fight to oppose imperialist wars, then there is the building of a mass party … and finally, somewhere far down the line, is the demand for replacing the standing army with a popular militia.

Genuine Marxists take an entirely different approach. We present the working class with our fullprogramme. Hence the straightforward declaration that our intention is to replace capitalism with a communist system which enshrines the principle of “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.” A maximum aim around which the working class can and must be organised ... now.

Of course, we cannot proceed straight to communism. That is why Marxists have a minimum programme. It arranges the key aims we pursue under capitalism … and which in the fight to realise them strengthens, trains and readies the working class for revolution. As our Draft programme states, though “technically feasible” under capitalism, they can “only be fully realised through the working class coming to power, not only in Britain but on a continental European scale.”29

True, when it comes to the US there is the huge standing army. Numbering some 500,000, it has a roughly equal number of reservists. Of course, its origins lie squarely in the American revolution. The US army was sanctioned by an overwhelming vote by the Continental Congress in 1775. However, after decisively defeating the British-Hanoverian forces at Yorktown in 1781 the Continental Army was quickly disbanded. National defence relied entirely on the 13 separate state militias. It was the expansionist drive to crush the native Americans in the north west which saw the organisation of a standing army in 1791. That said, it was very small. Obviously the US army expanded considerably with the civil war and then World War I. But once peace was brought about the army was reduced once again. The decisive change came about after World War II. With the onset of the so-called Cold War the US decided to maintain a large standing army on a permanent basis. America had at last superceded Britain as capitalism’s global hegemon.

Whatever the exact history, Marxists in the US are surely obliged to include amongst their programmatic demands opposition to this monster. It should be disbanded forthwith and replaced by a democratically controlled popular militia.

Does comrade Dunn consider such a demand premature?

His answer seems to rely on Theodor Adorno. Fleeing the Nazi menace, the intellectually over-refined Adorno was mortified by what he found in New York. Instead of the high bourgeois culture he had grown up with in Germany, there was what he derogatively labelled “commercial society”: Hollywood films, the recorded music of Tin Pan Alley and the glossies and slicks of pulp fiction. All surely anticipated by the normal capitalist mass culture of 18th century Britain.30 But Adorno was appalled. Famously he castigated the “sadism” of Charlie Chaplin’s audiences, denounced jazz and snootily found every kind of radio music objectionable.31 He preferred sheet music.

America confirmed Adorno’s historic pessimism. Not only did he expect fascism to endure in Europe - because it was considered a natural outgrowth of capitalism - he rejected politics and science for an obscurantist philosophising which discounted the working class as the agent of social change. After all, how could people whose minds were filled with the trash of the “culture industry” make a socialist revolution?

So while the writings of Adorno are full of moral outrage against fascism - and the immanent fascism contained in capitalist development since the days of the Enlightenment - there is no attempt to map out a practical strategy that could lead humanity to a radical change in social relations. Instead the future is written off as an inevitable “descent into a new kind of barbarism”.32

Comrade Dunn is treading in the pessimistic footsteps of Adorno. As the working class demonstrably failed to realise socialism in the 20th century, the only “rational” choice open to him appears to be a retreat into a Platonic Marxism. Necessarily that means abandoning, neutering, objecting to the demand for a popular militia.


Many of today’s crop of social pacifists have a background in Trotskyism (eg, Sam Fairbairn, Dave Nellist, Andrew Burgin, Terry Conway and yes, of course, Rex Dunn). So, and not only for their benefit, it is worth quoting Leon Trotsky himself and his ‘Programme of action for France’ (1936). There is not a trace, not a hint, of the backtracking, cowardice and equivocation we see amongst his modern day followers.

Point 10 of the ‘Action programme’ carries this defiant title: “Disbanding of the police, political rights for soldiers”.33

Trotsky condemns the police and standing army and shows how they are used to “develop the civil war but also to prepare the imperialist war”. He demands democratic rights for rank and file soldiers and the “execution of police duties by the workers’ militia.”

Further down, under point 15, we find Trotsky putting forward a militant plan for the main workers’ parties and trade union federations to form their own militias and then uniting them “in action” against the growing threat from reaction. In February 1934 French Catholics, royalists and fascists called for a massive demonstration against economic chaos, weak government and political corruption. Armed with razors, clubs and knives, their gangs tried to invade parliament. Fifteen people were killed and 1,435 injured after gendarmes drove them back.

Trotsky, however, concludes, in point 17, warning against the delusion - spread by the Socialist Party and the ‘official’ French Communist Party - that the bourgeois police could be relied upon to disarm the reactionary gangs.

His slogan rings clear and loud: “Arming of the proletariat, arming of the poor peasants! People’s anti-fascist militia!” “The exploiters,” he explains, “are but a tiny minority” and will recoil from unleashing a civil war with their non-state fighting formations “only if the workers are armed and lead the masses”.

Trotsky and his co-thinkers were subjected to exactly the same kind of dismissals that today we in the CPGB hear coming from the mouths of comrades Fairbairn, Shaheen, Griffiths and other social pacifists. Trotsky brilliantly, almost effortlessly, knocked down the objections one by one in Whither France? Hence we quickly come to his “least serious and honest” opponents. The blubbers who insisted that to “call for the organisation of a militia” is to “engage in provocation”. This is “not an argument, but an insult”, fumes Trotsky.34

Arming the working class flowed from the entire situation in France. Trotsky rhetorically asked if a workers’ militia “provokes” fascist attacks and government repression? If that is the claim, he says, this is “an absolutely reactionary argument”. Liberalism has always told workers that by their class struggle they “provoke” reaction.

Today in Britain, it certainly does not take the call for a “popular militia and the constitutional right to bear arms” to “provoke” MI5 infiltration, spying and wrecking operations; police kettlings, batterings and killings; the sequestration of trade union funds, etc.

Accusations that we Marxists are engaged in a “provocation” have long been used by timid opportunists. Trotsky recalls that the Mensheviks hurled the charge at the Bolsheviks after the December 1905 uprising in Moscow.

Trotsky turns savage: “Such accusations reduce themselves, in the final analysis, to the profound thought that if the oppressed do not baulk, the oppressors will not be obliged to beat them.” This, says Trotsky, is the “philosophy of Tolstoy and Gandhi, but never that of Marx and Lenin”.35

Then there is that hoary old claim that “arming of the workers is only relevant in a revolutionary situation”. Trotsky pours scorn on this proposition: it means, he says, that the workers must permit themselves to be “slaughtered until the situation becomes revolutionary”. Peaceful, normal and democratic situations suddenly give way to storms, crises and unstable conditions, which “can transform itself into a revolutionary as well as a counterrevolutionary situation”.

But revolutionary situations do not fall from the skies. They take form, mature and find direction in no small measure because of the long and patient preparatory work done by the Communist Party, including spreading the idea of “a popular militia and the constitutional right to bear arms”.


In common parlance, what comrades Fairbairn, Nellist, Griffiths, Burgin, et al advocate is the politics of the lowest common denominator. Broadness, acceptability, respectability are their watchwords. Therefore they begin by asking what “potential recruits”, what “disaffected Labour voters”, what “the overwhelming majority”, etc are supposed to think. Having cut their message according to that cloth, then, as mass support is supposedly gained from one election to another, they promise to slowly reveal their ‘true’ principles.

The communist method is entirely different. “In our intransigent attitude lies our whole strength. It is this attitude that earns us the fear and respect of the enemy and the trust and support of the people” - so runs Rosa Luxemburg’s famous rebuttal of the revisionists in the German SDP.14 We seek to win the majority to the principles of communism through an unremitting political struggle in the face of bourgeois diagnoses of extremism, unelectability and insanity. Necessarily that means taking on and defeating the forces of opportunism within the organisations of the working class.

For the sake of this discussion, imagine that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party wins a majority in 2020. Are the courts, MI5, the armed forces and the police going to be staunchly loyal to the new government, or powerless to act behind ministerial backs, because of the results of a general election? Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, etc, rightly dismissed such naive politics as “parliamentary cretinism”.

The Corbyn government would doubtless be committed to swiftly reversing austerity, renationalising the rails, ending British involvement in Syria, cancelling Trident and maybe negotiating a withdrawal from Nato. However, say in the name of keeping the Labour right, the Daily Mirror and the liberal intelligentsia on side, the Corbyn government decides to leave in place the MI5, the police and the standing army. Frankly, that would be an open invitation for a British version of general Augusto Pinochet to launch a bloody counterrevolution. In Chile thousands of leftwingers were butchered after the September 11 1973 army coup which overthrew the Socialist Party-Communist Party Popular Unity reformist government under president Salvador Allende.

There are already rumours swirling around of unnamed members of the army high command “not standing for” a Corbyn government and being prepared to take “direct action”.36 Meanwhile, the Financial Times darkly warns that Corbyn’s leadership will damage “British public life.”37

Why trust the thoroughly authoritarian British army? An institution which relies on inculcating “unthinking obedience” amongst the ranks.38 An institution run by an officer caste, which is trained to command from public school to Sandhurst as if it is their birthright. And, of course, the British army swears to loyally serve the crown - believe it, more than a harmless feudalistic throwback. The monarch and the monarchy function as a potent symbol, and an ever-present excuse for a legal coup.

Why trust the British army, which has fought countless imperial and colonial wars, up to and including the latest horrors in Iraq and Afghanistan? A British army that has been used when necessary to intimidate, threaten and crush the ‘enemy within’?

No, instead, let us put our trust in a “well regulated militia” and the “right of the people to keep and bear arms”.


1. Weekly Worker December 10 2015.

2. http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/cut_war.

3. http://www.counterfire.org/about-us.

4. http://www.redpepper.org.uk/green-party-left-foot-forward/.

5. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/pd.html.

6. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/pd.html.

7. Weekly Worker May 21 2009.

8. Weekly Worker May 21 2009.

9. https://www.marxists.org/history/ussr/sounds/lyrics/international.htm.

10. www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am2.

11. http://constitution.org/cmt/mowarren/observations_new_constitution_1788.html.

12. Note, in legal terms, the ideologues of the American revolution - Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay et al - based their defence of the right to bear arms on English law, not least article 61 of Magna Carta.

13. RJ Spitzer Gun control Westport CT 2009, p101.

14. See AL Morton A people’s history of England London 1974, pp280-288.

15. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/WillandMarSess2/1/2/introduction.

16. http://www.constitution.org/2ll/2ndcourt/federal/11fed.htm.

17. K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 7, Moscow 1977, p3.

18. K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 27, London 1990, p371.

19. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/05/parti-ouvrier.htm.

20. https://www.marxists.org/history/international/social-democracy/1891/erfurt-program.htm.

21. I am grateful to Ben Lewis for his translation of the Hainfield programme.

22. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1902/draft/02feb07.htm.

23. M Kitchin The coming of Austrian fascism London 1980, p116.

24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_Party.

25. See CE Cobb This nonviolent stuff’ll get you killed New York NY 2014.

26. R Dunn ‘Gun violence and atomisation’ Weekly Worker December 10 2015.

27. http://www.rexdunn.co.uk/index.php/essays.

28. The Guardian January 5 2016.

29. CPGB Draft programme London 2011. pp7-8.

30. See T Cowen In praise of commercial culture Cambridge MA 2000.

31. TW Adorno Current of music Cambridge 2008.

32. J Always Critical theory and political possibilities Westport CT 1995, p32.

33. L Trotsky Writings 1934-35 New York 1974, pp26-27.

34. L Trotsky Whither France? New York 1968, p26.

35. L Trotsky Whither France? New York 1968, p26.

36. Daily Mail September 20 2015.

37. Financial Times August 14 2015.

38. NF Dixon On the psychology of military incompetence London 1976, p244.