WW archive > Issue 403 - 11 October 2001


Buffers; Pro-party; Inability; Rightwing; Blunkett's law; Abolish authority

Socialist Alliance press statement on bombings

War no answer

Statement by Dave Nellist, national chair of the Socialist Alliance

Taliban apologetics

On the Socialist Alliance Press Group, Socialist Workers Party member Tim Nicholls of Lewisham attempted to justify his organisation?s refusal to condemn the September 11 terrorist outrages in the USA. This provoked a lively and enlightening exchange, including a rebuttal from Dave Osler

Press group

Introducing politics

Pakistan in turmoil

Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, describes the situation in his country following the onslaught on Afghanistan. As the comrade makes clear, the working class faces two great dangers. On the one hand, Musharaf?s military government and its US backers. On the other, islamic fundamentalism and black reaction. There must be a fightback on two fronts. Farooq Tariq?s text has been slightly edited

Our history Tragedy of Sylvia Pankhurst: Beyond sectarianism

Sylvia Pankhurst took the lead in the setting up of the so-called ?Communist Party - British Section of the Third International? on June 19 1920; it had Edgar Whitehead as secretary, TJ Watkins as treasurer and herself as editor of Workers? Dreadnought, its official paper. The formation of the CP-BSTI was opposed by the Third International, not least because the overwhelming mass of communists in Britain were on the verge of coming together to form the CPGB. In spite of this Lenin saw to it that Sylvia Pankhurst was smuggled into Soviet Russia. Arriving during the course of Comintern?s 2nd Congress she found herself and Willie Gallacher - also a delegate from Britain - targets of Lenin?s anti-left-communist polemic (see Leftwing communism and speeches at the 2nd Congress). The debates and votes at the 2nd Congress saw the left communists decisively defeated. However, where Gallacher returned to Britain a convinced Leninist determined to unite all communists into the CPGB, Pankhurst stuck to her ?infantile? views, still dismissing the CPGB as the ?CPGB (British Socialist Party)?. Nevertheless the momentum towards unity was unstoppable. At its national inaugural conference at Gorton, Manchester, the CP-BSTI voted to ?join the conference proposed by the executive committee of the Third International?. From August 1920 to January 1921 a series of meetings and discussions took place to that end. The majority of the CP-BSTI were obviously sincere in their desire for unity. At its Cardiff conference on December 4-5 1920 it not only agreed to unity, but voted by 15 to three to accept the Leninist theses and resolutions of Comintern?s 2nd Congress. Pankhurst was not able to vote against. Since October 20 she had been in prison, charged with inciting members of the armed forces ?to mutiny and lawlessness?. From prison she made her views known on supposed ?non-communists? in her own organisation. Her sectarianism was leading her straight into the worst possible individualist conclusions. She imagined herself at the head of a ?left? faction in the CPGB and threatened to use her paper, the Workers? Dreadnought to these narrow ends. When Sylvia Pankhurst was released from gaol in May 1921 the Leeds convention had already taken place. Former CP-BSTI secretary ET Whitehead sent her an official letter repudiating Workers? Dreadnought as an organ of the Communist Party. Over the summer of 1921 Pankhurst resumed editorship and in August, desperate for funds, the paper was turned into a ?1-a-share corporation. As a result the CPGB broke all links with her and after a brief lash-up with Herman Gorter, the Dutch left communist, Sylvia Pankhurst drifted out of working class politics. She ended her days in Ethiopia, dying in September 1960, a friend and devotee of emperor Haile Selassi.

Getting organised

A rank and file ?Unions Fightback? conference against privatisation, for solidarity and union democracy has been called for Saturday November 3 in London. This statement has been agreed as its basis

Green socialists to join SA

Liaison Committee

SA debates the war


Revolution and counterrevolution

Pacifism disarms

Consigned to the shadows

Iain Duncan Smith has declared war on the racist right of the Conservative Party. But it was Blair and New Labour who were the winners in Blackpool, writes Michael Malkin

My enemy?s enemy

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