Mike Macnair

Mike Macnair is a member of the Provisional Central Committee of the CPGB and, “being an old-fashioned ex-Trot political hack”, writes on a wide range of issues. He is the author of the book Revolutionary Strategy (2008) and is currently working on a second edition.

Latest articles by Mike Macnair

Operation Imperial Overlord

Rishi Sunak committed a ‘gaffe’ by leaving the D-Day celebrations before Joe Biden’s speech, it is claimed by an over-excited media. But, asks Mike Macnair, what was the military and strategic meaning of the Normandy landings?

Rising above the smog

Dual power and the mass strike is a failed strategy that directly leads to today’s endlessly fragmented ‘far left’. Instead we need a mass Communist Party and a strategy of republican democracy. Mike Macnair replies to Steve Bloom

Sir Keir’s little helpers

Behind the kitsch leftwing decoration there is anti-anti-imperialism, defence of Zionism and the aiding and abetting of the ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt. Mike Macnair looks at one of those confessional sects calling for a blanket Labour vote

Minimal symmetrical errors

One upholds only the maximum programme in elections, the other rejects the maximum programme as ultra-leftist, but neither shows the least understanding of the minimum programme. Mike Macnair replies to Adam Buick and Steve Freeman

Continuing the war of lies

Truth is notoriously the first casualty of war. But the onslaught on Gaza requires Israel and its supporters in the main parties, the trade unions and the capitalist media to balance contradictory narratives. We need our own mass media, says Mike Macnair

Local election barometer

Things are on course not for a hung parliament, but a thumping Labour majority. As for the left, apart from George Galloway’s WPB, the results were statistically and politically almost irrelevant. Mike Macnair says the way forward lies with principled unity which will allow for effective mass work

Foibles, fantasies and failure

For too long much of the left has tailed Scottish nationalism. Yet Humza Yousaf’s fall demonstrates that control is still exercised by Westminster. But it is not just about the legal limits of devolution: there is economic reality too, writes Mike Macnair

Thinking through the options

Vote Labour to get the Tories out? What about the Greens and the various left candidates? Mike Macnair discussed the coming general election at the April 21 aggregate of CPGB members

Further criminalising speech

Tory opposition to the Scottish ‘hate crime’ act is about protecting their ‘traditional right’ to stir up hatred. Once it was Jews and Huguenots. Now it is illegal migrants, trans activists and marchers who oppose genocide in Gaza. But, asks Mike Macnair, what the hell is the SWP doing with its call for prosecutions?

Money, debt and crap

Thames Water has defaulted on debt repayments; there is talk of renationalisation. Meanwhile there is an ongoing scandal about the release of untreated sewage into rivers and seas. Mike Macnair investigates the problems and possible solutions

Same old same old

Having abandoned clause four Fabianism, the Woods-Sewell tendency has issued a manifesto with a view to grandly renaming their oil slick international. Mike Macnair asks what, if anything, is new about their Revolutionary Communist International

Repeating past failures

Socialist Appeal’s proposed ‘Revolutionary Communist Party’ claims to offer a ‘clean break with the sects’. In fact, the proposal is a mere repetition of the method of the confessional sects, argues Mike Macnair

Delusions of ‘official optimism’

Socialist Appeal has discarded its ‘clause four’ Fabianism and made a ‘communist turn’, all explained by heady talk of a coming revolutionary crisis. Mike Macnair assesses its perspectives

Anglo-Iranian relations longue durée

It is vital not to promote illusions in any capitalist global power, argues Mike Macnair. This is an edited version of the online talk given to the ‘Voice of Revolution’ discussion group

We need political action

What comes first? Politics or economics? Mike Macnair responds to the criticisms of Robert Schlosser and upholds the general approach of the Marx-Engels team and their strategy of revolutionary patience

Deal with the arguments

The left needs to stop tailing spontaneity and start thinking strategically. Mike Macnair takes issue with Steve Bloom’s canonisation of Luxemburg and criticisms of democratic republicanism

Unqualified free speech

David Miller’s tribunal case is a personal victory that ought to be celebrated. But, argues Mike Macnair, what is needed is a political victory to advance our rights

Symbolic victory in The Hague

Whatever its limitations, Mike Macnair welcomes the ruling of the International Court of Justice. It helps undermine the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ big lie

Communist unity and its refuseniks

We must reject bureaucratic centralism, sects of one and diplomatic unity-mongering. Instead, we must uphold the right to engage in sharp polemics and form factions, says Mike Macnair. This is an edited version of his January 21 Online Communist Forum talk

Justice at a huge price

The Horizon scandal was about faulty software, individual gullibility and corporate indifference, writes Mike Macnair. But the fundamental problem dates back to the 1660s and the selling of legal services to the highest bidder

Taciturns offer nothing positive

Naming your organisation Talking About Socialism and then not wanting to talk is as perverse as it is revealing. Mike Macnair responds to the arguments of Nick Wrack and Will McMahon

A world turned upside-down

Festivals of wild disorder symbolically assert human solidarity. Mike Macnair explores the history, ancient and modern, of a constantly reproduced Golden Age

Upfront, sharp and personal

Communist unity cannot come about through broad-frontism, safe spaces or tailing the existing left. Mike Macnair responds to three recent contributions

Defend and extend the jury system

Acquittals of pro-Palestine activists, BLM protestors and XR campaigners have infuriated the Tory press and seen a judicial backlash. Mike Macnair argues for juries and their right to hear ‘lawful excuse’

Aim for deZionisation

Israel is a work colony based on an ideology of blood and soil. Mike Macnair gets to grips with the logic and history of ethnic cleansing and expansionism

A communist appeal to Socialist Appeal

Going from Fabian clause four socialism to self-declared communism is welcome progress, says Mike Macnair. But what that poses is unity in a Communist Party

Unity based on solid principles

Mike Macnair replies to criticism of the CPGB on partyism and explains why we uphold the use of sharp open polemics and reject the soggy methods of diplomacy

Not tough on the causes

The prison system is in deep trouble. Mike Macnair suggests that there is more to it than bad government

Following the national road

Defeat for the SNP in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election is probably a foretaste of what will happen in the general election, yet much of the left still clings to petty nationalism. Mike Macnair offers a radical alternative

It’s good to talk

Unwillingness to fight through political differences results in unprincipled splits which cannot be explained and reduces the movement to gravel. Mike Macnair issues a call for debate

Forms of popular frontism

Repeating calls for ‘no platforming’, calls to line up behind reactionary nationalists are, argues Mike Macnair, modern forms of madness. We favour free speech

Online Communist Forum, Sunday September 10 5pm

Fifty years since the overthrow of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government in Chile. Speaker: Mike Macnair

National road to disaster

Some 60,000 died, huge numbers were tortured and driven into exile, the parties of the left were banned and driven underground. Mike Macnair asks if any strategic lessons were learnt

Anti-Semitism of useful idiots

We need a principled defence of free speech and a firm grasp of geo-strategic realities. Mike Macnair discusses the case of David Miller

Rebranding as Transform

Yet another call for a new broad left party, yet another disappointment to come. Mike Macnair looks at the latest offering

Blind leading the blind

With Sir Keir in complete control of Labour, the left faces a crisis of perspectives - a crisis which finds full expression in three recent articles. Whatever the nuances and subtle differences, says Mike Macnair, they all remain trapped in possibilism

Cross-party yellow peril

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has produced a lurid account of the challenge represented by China. Mike Macnair argues that the UK is playing catch-up with the US hegemon

Silence on the alternative

Crimes, prejudice and sheer incompetence give added weight to the traditional republican slogan of a people’s militia, argues Mike Macnair. So why is the left so reluctant to make the call?

Dumbness of dumbing down

The Morning Star’s CPB is about to enter its pre-congress discussion period. We have here, though, a classic case of bureaucratic, not democratic, centralism. Mike Macnair investigates

Abortion should not be illegal

Carla Foster has been handed a 28-month sentence. Mike Macnair warns that this is part of a wider Tory culture-war offensive designed to rally the right

Misleading parliament should matter

Mike Macnair discusses Boris Johnson’s lies, his resignation, his honours list and his media manipulation

Knavery and folly

Mike Macnair considers the latest stage in the Tory culture-war campaign for freedom of (only) Conservative speech

A hundred years of muddle

Marking the centenary of György Lukács’s hugely influential History and class consciousness, Mike Macnair spoke to an Online Communist Forum on May 14 about the book, the man and the politics

Stuff ‘single person’ leadership

Despite its ostensible archaism, the coronation of Charles III reflects the thoroughly modern practice of one-man management, argues Mike Macnair

History and anti-history

Still like an academic conference, but at least there is more politics today. Mike Macnair reports from Chicago and the 2023 convention of the Platypus Affiliated Society

Yet more lies

The Tories are way behind in opinion polls and have therefore turned to culture war issues such as trans people and further curbing free speech. Mike Macnair eviscerates what passes for their arguments

From order to chaos

Why has so much of the left collapsed into social-imperialism? Why the continued illusions in US intervention? Mike Macnair talked to Hands off the People of Iran in a meeting hosted by Yassamine Mather

Tailism cannot deliver

By clearing away misconceptions and starting from our common class interests we can produce a workable approach. Mike Macnair concludes his series

Effective collectivity is key

Mike Macnair argues that we all - not least trans people - need democratic decision-making to ensure common actions and common goals

Gender, class and capitalism

Mike Macnair argues that the emancipation of trans people requires the overthrow of bourgeois rule

Moving towards the positive

Tory culture wars have deep roots and deadly consequences. Mike Macnair digs down into history and links the oppression of women and trans people

Clearing the ground

Getting out of the ‘gender recognition’ trap requires breaking with the foundations of the arguments behind it, argues Mike Macnair

Devolution non-recognition

UK government uses the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill as an excuse to assert ministers’ right to micro-manage Holyrood legislation for Tory electoral advantage. Mike Macnair explores the issues

Shoras, party and programme

Illusions in so-called bourgeois democracy persist - as do illusions in workers’ councils. Mike Macnair stresses the necessity of a mass party

Free-trade imperialism

Mike macnair reviews Promised lands: the British and the Ottoman Middle East by Jonathan Parry (Princeton University Press 2022, 453pp)

Self-determination is a right

Mike Macnair scrutinises the UK Supreme Court’s ruling on ‘Indyref2’ and looks at some typically inadequate left responses

Principle not diplomacy

Mike Macnair explores the Mandelite ‘Fourth International’ and its commitment to fudge, concealing differences and upholding bland generalities in unity projects

Fraudulent scheme

With the moral panic over the migrant ‘invasion’ in full swing, Dominic Raab’s bill rises from its bier. Mike Macnair separates the ‘dignified’ and ‘efficient’ parts

Performative anti-fascism

With the far-right Fratelli d’Italia forming a government in Italy, the SWP warns of the danger, but calls for … street protests. Mike Macnair offers a critique

Upping the fightback

Mike Macnair supports the call for activists to take the financial resourcing of sustained strikes seriously

Grand strategy and Ukraine

Pre-emptive wars, sanctions and other measures are being used by the US to prevent even the possibility of a real ‘peer rival’ emerging, argues Mike Macnair. This article is based on his talk given to Communist University in August 2022

Imperialist Russia?

The Morning Star and Communist Review are locked into a debate on whether or not the Russian Federation should be characterised as an imperialist power. Mike Macnair investigates the protagonists and their arguments

From goch to pinc

Mike Macnair critiques the ongoing political degeneration of Anticapitalist Resistance and the Mandelites

Migration delusions

The Tory leadership rivals’ attempts to outbid each other on being ‘hard on immigration’ promote delusions, argues Mike Macnair

Recovering global ascendancy

Sri Lanka’s debt crisis and political collapse could easily be repeated in other so-called third world countries. Mike Macnair argues that this is a knock-on effect of the Ukraine war and America’s determination to smash any tendency towards a multipolar world

State and philosophy

Mike Macnair reviews Beyond Leviathan: critique of the state by István Mészáros (edited by John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review Press, 2022, pp482, £18.76)

Guns are not the problem

Abolishing the second amendment would require a civil war and leave the state with a monopoly when it comes to the right to bear arms. Mike Macnair sees no reason why we should trust the capitalist courts, army and police

Spycops and our response

Much to the shock and outrage of the liberal left, industrial-scale police infiltration has once again been exposed. But, Mike Macnair argues, for the capitalist state this is normal behaviour

Stunts, problems and solutions

The ‘right to buy’ scam exposes the Tories as the party of buy-to-let landlords, property speculators and City-boy financiers, argues Mike Macnair

Assessing Putin’s gamble

Mike Macnair critiques the idea, common amongst social-imperialists and social-pacifists alike, that modern Russia is a full-blown imperialist power

SUPPLEMENT: Imperialism and the state (Part IV)

There can never be a world capitalist state. Hierarchy and inequality between many states is an inevitable feature of capitalism

SUPPLEMENT: Imperialism and the state (Part III)

Capitalism produces huge wealth and huge inequalities, both of which play a role in recurring crises

SUPPLEMENT: Imperialism and the state (Part II)

The capitalist state is a form of joint-stock operation. It is, in origin, a joint venture of the bourgeois revolutionaries

SUPPLEMENT: Imperialism and the state (Part I)

Early, not late, capitalism generated imperialism, and capitalism without the state is impossible

Cementing US control

Mike Macnair spoke to Online Communist Forum on the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s historic week-long visit to China

Neither 1914 nor 1940

Mike Macnair interrogates the bogus claims made by Paul Mason and Alex Callinicos about imperialism and the Ukraine war

BDS: for or against?

Israeli settler-colonialism and the appropriate solidarity movement with the Palestinians were debated at the February 13 Online Communist Forum. Daniel Lazare argued that the BDS campaign is a cross-class popular front which therefore should be shunned. Mike Macnair stressed the US alliance with Israel, attempts to outlaw BDS and the ongoing witch-hunt against anti-Zionists in the Labour Party

Rightwing ‘Marxism’- a senile disorder

Michael Sommer’s 2014 essay 'Anti-Postone: or, Why Moishe Postone's Antisemitism Theory is Wrong, but Effective' has recently been translated into English by Maciej Zurowski (Cosmonaut Press 2021, Available on Amazon or in the Cosmonaut webstore). A more than useful contribution to the fightback against the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ big lie, which finds its most ‘sophisticated’ justification in the pseudo-Marxist writings of Moishe Postone. Here is the introduction provided by Mike Macnair

Spin, traps and rights

Left responses to Raab’s proposals - in so far as they exist - have simply been to defend the 1998 Human Rights Act and the European Convention. A bad idea. Mike Macnair proposes a real Bill of Rights instead

No change of line

Mike Macnair responds to Daniel Lazare on BDS, the Israel Jewish working class and the necessity of opposing the witch-hunt

Victim of vengeful US mafia

Julian Assange has been patiently, unrelentingly pursued. Mike Macnair highlights the complicity of the UK state and courts and the failure of the left

In modern times

Capitalism needs an ideological cover for its minority rule, but it also needs the constitutional rule of law. Socialism will be different. Mike Macnair spoke at the Online Communist Forum on November 14. This is an edited version of his talk

Modern ancient constitutions

We are agreed: the struggle for political democracy is vital. But more is needed. Mike Macnair answers his common-ground critics

Honouring the victims

On October 9 a group of Iranian revolutionaries, now mainly based in North America and Europe, organised an online meeting to commemorate the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Among the speakers were Yassamine Mather, Shahin Chitsaz and Mike Macnair

Decline and decay

Mike Macnair shows that the post-1945 and post-1976 global ascendancy of US-style constitutionalism is at the core of the current liberal impasse

Enlightened constitutions

Mike Macnair shows that the US constitution modernised the English constitution - no monarch, no hereditary peers, no state church - but made the interests of capital more secure against the lower orders

Class, state and constitution

Rising classes have to reshape states in their own interests. Mike Macnair explores the revolutionary origins of capitalist modernity

Artificial antiquity

The creation of a new constitution is not only relevant to social transition. It is fundamental, argues Mike Macnair

Constitutions ancient and modern

Bourgeois politicians, not least those in Britain and the US, make frankly risible claims about the constitutions of their respective countries. But, argues Mike Macnair in the first of two articles, Marxists are right to treat constitutions seriously

Human rights illusions

Dave Levy has proposed that Labour should make its disciplinary procedure comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. Mike Macnair shows that the project is totally delusional

Courts are not our friend

Failure of legal attempt to challenge the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt exposes broad-left illusions in ‘fairness’ and ‘playing by the rules’. Mike Macnair explains

No-platforming fraud

Government proposals for legislation to ‘protect free speech’ in universities are part of the ongoing culture wars designed to please the rightwing press, argues Mike Macnair. This article is adapted from his June 20 Online Communist Forum talk

Centrality of class

Mike Macnair replies to Foppe de Haan and Catherine Liu on the analysis of history and meritocracy

Behind the Lulu Lytle wallpaper

Sleaze stories about the Downing Street flat and Boris Johnson’s character aim to protect the general regime of corruption. Mike Macnair paints the bigger picture

American ‘Blue Labour’?

Mike Macnair reviews 'Virtue hoarders: the case against the professional managerial class' by Catherine Liu

Nationalist dreams and nightmares

Mike Macnair reviews 'Workers and nationalism: Czech and German Social Democracy in Habsburg Austria, 1890-1918' by JS Beneš and 'The Fiume crisis: life in the wake of the Habsburg empire' by DK Reill

Police Bill spin

Mike Macnair says the ‘Old Corruption’ of the 18th and 19th centuries is returning and we need to respond accordingly

1921 turning point?

Mike Macnair spoke to Online Communist Forum on March 7 about the related centenaries of the 1921 Kronstadt rebellion, the adoption of the NEP and the ban on factions in the Russian Communist Party

Engels’ original sin?

Mike Macnair reviews 'Marx, Engels and modern British socialism: the political thought of HM Hyndman, EB Bax and William Morris' by Seamus Flaherty

Principle, not dogma

No one can discredit Marxism better than ‘Marxists’. Mike Macnair responds to criticisms from Gerry Downing and Levi Rafael

Decline and decay

Gridlock domestically, economic stagnation and rebalancing abroad. Mike Macnair assesses the situation following the elections. This article is based on an opening given to the November 15 aggregate of CPGB and Labour Party Marxists members

Break with managerialism

Martin Thomas’s response to Neil Faulkner misuses history to defend the bankrupt model of confessional sects, argues Mike Macnair

Historical muddle, theoretical overkill

Continuing his response to Neil Faulkner, Mike Macnair rejects the myth of the ‘Zinovievist’ origin of democratic centralism

Heroes and sinners

Mike Macnair argues that Neil Faulkner’s ‘great men’ approach to the party question is utterly useless

Programmeless liquidationism

Neil Faulkner’s interpretation of Lenin is based on stunningly bad history, argues Mike Macnair

High politics and the working class

Neil Faulkner and Martin Thomas falsify the party question, albeit in different ways, argues Mike Macnair

Incoherent mosaic

Mike Macnair reviews 'Degrowth in movement(s): exploring pathways to transformation', essays edited by Corinna Burkhart, Matthias Schmelzer and Nina Treu

Property and the propertyless

We must fight the managerial-bureaucratic capture of workers’ organisations now, argues Mike Macnair

Unity and organisational principle

Mike Macnair looks at the regroupment call from Socialist Resistance and Mutiny

Against fetishising soviets

Retreating from Marx’s arguments for political action of the class leads to Bakuninism. Mike Macnair replies to Levi Rafael

Behind the aircraft

The left is in danger of playing a conservative role over Covid-19. Our aim should be to set the agenda, argues Mike Macnair

Lenin avatars

Mike Macnair looks at the treatment of the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth in some of the left press

Crisis and consequences

Mike Macnair speculates about the longer-term effects of the Covid-19 shutdown

Democracy and republic

Ben Lewis (editor and translator) "Karl Kautsky on democracy and republicanism" Historical Materialism series No196, Brill, 2020, £121, pp352.

The great moving right show

Characterising the Johnson government as ‘fascist’ provides some sections of the left with the excuse they need to collapse into broad frontism and class collaborationism, Mike Macnair presents his case

Corbynism is over

Mike Macnair argues that the very aim of winning government office is misconceived and self-defeating.

Political zombification

Mike Macnair finds the second pre-conference discussion bulletin a sad but revealing read...

High politics and the left

Calls to focus on the economy and crude ‘tax the rich’ slogans actually play into the hands of UK capital, says Mike Macnair.

Problematic Tory assumptions

Jonathan Sumption 'Trials of the state: law and the decline of politics' Profile Books, 2019, pp112; £9.99

Judges, politics and democracy

Mike Macnair warns that the Supreme Court decision on prorogation could be used as a precedent to block radical measures by a Labour government.

Revolution and reforms

Mike Macnair concludes his discussion of the US left’s Kautsky debate.

Containing our movement in ‘safe’ forms

Mike Macnair continues his discussion of the US left’s Kautsky debate by considering the arguments of Eric Blanc.

Organisation or ‘direct actionism’?

Mike Macnair takes issue with Charlie Post over his critiques of Vivek Chibber and James Muldoon on strategy.

Fabian or anarchist?

Mike Macnair continues his critical discussion of the ‘Kautsky debate’ in the United States.

Widening frame of debate

Mike Macnair begins an examination of the ‘Kautsky debate’ that is taking place on the US left.

Liberal and illiberal delusions

Mike Macnair argues that capitalism cannot escape from the battles of liberals and conservatives

Constitutional or political?

Mike Macnair asks whether talk of a ‘constitutional crisis’ following the election of Boris Johnson as Tory leader is real or illusory

Negations of democratic centralism

Mike Macnair completes his series of articles dealing with the issues raised by the collapse of the US International Socialist Organization

Reclaiming democratic centralism

One of the major issues raised by the Renewal Faction of America’s now liquidated ISO was the managerial regime that underpins the Cliffite tradition internationally. But there is bureaucratic centralism and democratic centralism. Mike Macnair continues his investigation

Full-timers and ‘cadre’

Mike Macnair discusses the managerialist version of ‘democratic centralism’ revealed by the collapse of yet another sect

Transparency and solidarity

Mike Macnair looks at the procedural questions that precipitated the collapse of the ISO

Reactionary and dangerous

Mike Macnair condemns Sajid Javid’s cheap grandstanding and critiques proposals to ‘modernise’ treason law

Recalling Magna Carta

The battle between the Telegraph and Sir Philip Green has interesting implications for the class struggle, writes Mike Macnair

The Tory interpretation

Mike Macnair argues that there is an institutional bias in the teaching of history. It is a bias that suits the agenda of those who believe in inequality, the natural order and firm government

The enigmatic gilets-jaunes

How should Marxists respond to the gilets jaunes? Mike Macnair looks at the likely winners and losers

Working class trade policy

Mike Macnair concludes his series on ‘free trade’ by looking at the positive alternative

Free-trade illusions

Mike Macnair continues his argument against tailing the liberals

New stage of Brexit politics

In or out of the EU, argues Mike Macnair, we need a united workers’ movement on a European scale

Free-trade tailism

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty has enlisted a clipped version of Marx and Engels to serve its political agenda. In the first of two articles Mike Macnair looks at the claims of free trade and protectionism

Liberal playthings

Mike Macnair assesses the AWL’s second conference document, on Europe

Grappling with the party question

Mike Macnair looks at two very different documents from two very different organisations

Hodging their bets

Labour’s Kafkaesque disciplinary procedure is part of the ongoing attacks on free speech, writes Mike Macnair

Dead end of intersectionality

Only the working class can unify the oppressed, argues Mike Macnair. This is an edited version of his talk at the July 29 London Communist Forum

Scorched earth and statesmen

Mike Macnair looks at the continued efforts of the Labour right to procure an electoral defeat

Outlook Moggy

Rees-Mogg’s medievalism may have been meant as a diversion, writes Mike Macnair, but it raises real issues

Irrational optimism

Mike Macnair responds to Rex Dunn’s arguments about Trotskyism and May 1968

Getting beyond capitalism

Mike Macnair completes his critique of intersectionality and identity politics

Mistaken versions of Maoism

Two books on intersectionality reviewed: 'How we get free: black feminism and the Combahee River Collective' by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Haymarket, 2017, pp191, £9.70) and Asad Haider's 'Mistaken identity: race and class in the age of Trump' (Verso, 2018, pp132, £9.90)

Race and class

Mike Macnair examines the critiques of intersectionality developed by Adolph Reed Jr and Walter Benn Michaels

Intersectionality is a dead end

Sections of the left are beginning to cotton on to the extent to which ‘identity politics’ and ‘intersectionality’ are neoliberal projects, argues Mike Macnair. But they do not yet offer a clear alternative

May 68 to colour revolutions

The left has used the May 68 événements as evidence for a distorted concept of revolution, argues Mike Macnair. By doing so it has even endorsed ‘revolutions’ in the service of reaction. This is an edited version of a talk given to the May 27 London Communist Forum

I'm part of the union

Peter Purton Champions of equality: trade unions and LGBT rights in Britain Lawrence and Wishart, 2017, pp194, £20

Cold war nostalgia

Mike Macnair looks at the AWL’s version of ‘socialism’ and finds it wanting

Across the board

The AWL is moving to the right at an ever-increasing pace, observes Mike Macnair

Smears roll on

What lies behind the ‘anti-Semitism’ lies? Mike Macnair investigates the strategic issues involved

Arms and the man

The question of gun control is not as straightforward as it may appear, writes Mike Macnair

Is Trumpism the future?

Yes, the US president is widely derided, writes Mike Macnair, but does he represent an alternative to the neoliberal ‘equalities’ agenda?

Labour tails Tory rebels

Calling the modern powers to revise statutes by regulations ‘Henry VIII clauses’ gives the whole Brexit exercise a spurious air of English antiquity, argues Mike Macnair

Historical inaccuracies and theoretical overkill

Identity politics are prone to fragmentation, only the working class project of universal liberation can unite the oppressed, argues Mike Macnair

Capitalist hell

Mike Macnair reviews: William Clare Roberts, Marx’s inferno: the political theory of capital, Princeton 2017, pp282, £21.40

Power structures and democratisation

Mike Macnair looks at the implications of the ‘Pestminster’ scandal

1967 and all that

It is 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 partly decriminalised gay sex. Mike Macnair examines its significance

Poisoned fudge

Mike Macnair explains why NEC concessions to the JLM will only serve to whet the right’s appetite

Not enforcing juche

In the last analysis North Korea’s ‘rogue state’ status results from US strategic requirements, writes Mike Macnair

Rhetoric and political realities

A ‘rule of law’ which protects property rights above all else guarantees nothing but authoritarian demagogy, argues Mike Macnair

Criminal law and class society

Mike Macnair reviews: Robert Reiner Crime: the mystery of the common-sense concept Polity, 2016, pp246, £15.99

Left’s movementist delusions

Neither a million-strong demonstration nor mass strikes would in themselves be likely to bring down the Tories, argues Mike Macnair. But, with the government weak and wobbly, the real question is what happens after a general election. Greece holds plenty of negative lessons

Self-deception and apologetics

The AWL cannot bring itself to condemn imperialist interventions in principle, writes Mike Macnair

The myth of ‘human rights’

He was the public face of US foreign policy, but Zbigniew Brzezinski (1928-2017) was far from being an original thinker, says Mike Macnair

With a whimper

Labour’s proposals on union rights amount to mere tinkering, writes Mike Macnair

Unplanning delusions

The collapse of the Soviet Union does not prove that planning is impossible, argues Mike Macnair

What kind of education?

Mike Macnair reviews: Paul Auerbach, 'Socialist optimism: an alternative political economy for the 21st century', Palgrave Macmillan 2016, pp522, £26.99

Defend Livingstone against the witch-hunt

The April 9 London Communist Forum featured two opening speakers. Each comrade took a particular angle on the ‘Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ lie

Compulsory lies

Caving in to the ‘anti-Semitism’ falsehoods is Labour’s contribution to the ‘post-truth society’, writes Mike Macnair

True fake news

Perhaps there is another agenda lurking behind Trump’s travel ban, muses Mike Macnair

March … and then?

Defending the NHS requires party politics, argues Mike Macnair

The new president and the new global order

What if Trumpism was made to serve the aims of US capital? Mike Macnair speculates

Refendarii dolosi

Mike Macnair exposes the anti-democratic nature of referendums, including the membership ‘survey’ just sent out by Lansman & Co

Attempt to outlaw justified anger

The demand that Corbyn should apologise for Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ is a demand to bow before US policymakers, writes Mike Macnair

Lexiteers all at sea

Both the Morning Star’s CPB and SPEW advocate immigration controls and socialism in one country, notes Mike Macnair

After the Brexit vote

Mike Macnair argues that very little has become clearer since late June

Scorched earth litigation

The right’s implausible and not so implausible legal threats have a purpose, writes Mike Macnair

Don’t rely on the courts

Mike Macnair considers the likelihood of a legal challenge to Labour’s NEC

After an unexpected vote

Mike Macnair introduced the discussion at the CPGB aggregate on the fallout following the EU referendum result. This is an edited version of his speech

Closed Marxism

Mike Macnair reviews: John Holloway, 'In, against and beyond capitalism: the San Francisco lectures', Kairos/PM Press, 2016, pp85 (plus preface), £10.59

Smear tactics and our response

To combat the lies, we need our own independent working class media, argues Mike Macnair

Social democratic corporate management?

There is no common political interest between the working class and productive capital, writes Mike Macnair

Two strategic illusions

Money can function fully only if it is world money, writes Mike Macnair

Bakuninist hatchet job

Mike Macnair takes issue with Dave Douglass over the First International

The Davidson papers

Mike Macnair reviews Neil Davidson

Bureaucracy - in the state and on the left

Mike Macnair reviews: David Graeber The utopia of rules: on technology, stupidity and the secret joys of bureaucracy Melville House, 2015, pp274, £9.47

Masses and government

Communists are not opposed in principle to the formation of working class administrations under capitalism, writes Mike Macnair

Origins of democratic centralism

Demands to bring parliamentarians into line; rightwing MPs complaining about the threat of deselection; pleas to put electability first - it all sounds very familiar

Overcoming the power of capital

Mike Macnair asks why leftwing administrations cannot halt the long-term trend to the right

Doing things differently or same old?

Mike Macnair outlines the Communist Platform’s opposition to both word limits for motions and to a branch ballot to determine which should be prioritised at conference

Socialism from below: a delusion

We need to go far beyond slogans, urges Mike Macnair

Self-determination and communist policy

Mike Macnair highlights important differences of nuance

Nation-state and nationalism

Communists strive for the equality of nations, writes Mike Macnair in the second of a series of articles

Democracy and rights

Mike Macnaircalls on the CPGB to reconsider its position on the question of national self-determination. In the first of three articles, he examines the meaning of ‘democratic rights’

Hegemon in decline

In his speech to the May 30, Hands Off the People of Iran day school, Mike Macnair looked at the inconsistencies of US strategy in the Middle East

Doing war differently

Does today’s workers’ movement need its own ‘self-denying ordinance’? Mike Macnair looks to the lessons of the New Model Army

Socialism will not require industrialisation

The transition to a new society is possible, argues Mike Macnair

Thinking the alternative

In his third article on the maximum programme, Mike Macnair argues that we can already see aspects of the social goals of communism in the present

Thinking the alternative pt. 2

Peter Hudis Marx’s concept of the alternative to capitalism Haymarket, 2013, pp241 Michal Polak Class, surplus, and the division of labour Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 (Kindle edition)

Thinking the alternative

Should the movement have a final goal? Mike Macnair argues for the maximum programme

Second time as farce

The decline of Britain as an imperial power is symbolised by the funeral of Richard III, argues Mike Macnair

Magna Carta and long history

There are celebrations, but also deflations. Mike Macnair examines the rival interpretations

Wrong kind of radicalisation

How to explain the ‘teenage brides for IS’? Mike Macnair examines the phenomenon of hope in a disastrous illusion against the background of the left’s failure

Fantasy history, fantasy Marx

Chris Cutrone’s arguments are characterised by dogma and vacuous circularity, writes Mike Macnair

Doing politics the same

Despite its commitment to ‘safe spaces’, Socialist Resistance’s view on the way we should organise is not ‘different’ at all, comments Mike Macnair

Good intentions and the road to hell

Where now for disputes and ‘safe spaces’? Mike Macnair examines the issues

Left Unity: code of conduct or a safe spaces nightmare?

How to vote at conference- Mike Macnair explains the Communist Platform’s recommendations for November 15-16

Transparency is a principle

Demanding ‘confidentiality’ when it comes to internal disputes makes us look like a combination of Little Stalins and the Life of Brian, argues Mike Macnair

Parvus: for German victory

New translations shed light on the thinking of socialists who ended up supporting 'their' side in WWI. Mike Macnair introduces a second Parvus article

The price of nationalism

Mike Macnair reviews the cynical geopolitical manoeuvres of the rival power blocs

Parvus’s ‘Fourth of August’

Sections of the left also adopted a German-defencist position during 1914-18

Daniel Bensaïd: Repeated disappointments

Daniel Bensaïd An impatient life: a memoir (translated by David Fernbach, introduced by Tariq Ali) Verso 2013, pp384, £24.99 (£11.77 paperback, £9.69 Kindle)

The Bolsheviks’ success and the ‘revolutionary’ fear of electoralism

Mike Macnair reviews two books by August Nimtz in the context of the left's fear of politics

Bourgeois or capitalist?

Marc Mulholland Bourgeois liberty and the politics of fear Oxford University Press, pp400, £37 (£9.25 direct)

‘Speaking bitterness’ and Left Unity

The precursor of ‘safe spaces’ was unsuccessful and destructive in past movements of the oppressed, writes Mike Macnair

Left unity: Safe spaces are not liberating

Mike Macnair puts forward an alternative to Left Unity’s draft ‘safe spaces’ policy

Exploitation and illusions about 'anti-imperialism'

Mike Macnair completes his reply to Ian Donovan

Nothing but bathwater

The Soviet Union did not constitute capitalism of any sort, argues Mike Macnair

Triumph of Afro-Caribbean art

Roy Williams Kingston 14 Theatre Royal, Stratford; ends April 26

Left Unity: How to vote on March 29

Mike Macnair outlines the recommendations of the Communist Platform

Anti-imperialist illusions

What does the class-political independence of the proletariat mean in practice? Mike Macnair replies to Ian Donovan’s allegations of ‘third campism’

Indecision and irrationality

March 29 is very likely to be just as frustrating as the November founding conference, writes Mike Macnair

Changed and unchanged

What do the negotiations with Iran tell us about US policy? This is an edited version of a talk given by Mike Macnair to the January 25 Hands Off the People of Iran day school

Supplement: Left Unity’s contradictory aspirations

A wide-ranging strategic debate has erupted on the left, Mike Macnair conducts a critical examination

Lukács: The philosophy trap

György Lukács provided the ‘theoretical overkill’ for the bureaucratic centralism of groups like the SWP, argues Mike Macnair

Debate: Inspiring view of future society

Is the distinction between socialism and communism necessarily Stalinist? Mike Macnair replies to Nick Rogers

Leveson, libel and lucre

The overall result of the combination of Leveson and the Defamation Act is a major attack on freedom of speech and communication, argues Mike Macnair

Rethinking imperialism

Was Lenin right when he called imperialism the ‘highest stage of capitalism’? Mike Macnair believes he was very wrong

Programme: Lessons of Erfurt

Was the Second International based on ‘parties of the whole class’? Mike Macnair looks at the real history of working class organisation

AWL review: Education or training?

Mike Macnair reviews: Cathy Nugent (ed) 'Marxist ideas to turn the tide: readings and reflections on revolutionary socialist strategy'. Phoenix Press/Workers’ Liberty, 2013, pp138, £5

AWL school: Economism and frontist delusions

Mike Macnair was at the Ideas for Freedom school to listen, to learn and to debate

Broad parties: Theories of deception

The extent to which we practise transparency and democracy determines whether we can be taken seriously, argues Mike Macnair

Lessons of May 68

Would there have been a revolution but for the betrayal of the official leadership in France? This is an edited version of a talk given by Mike Macnair at a recent London Communist Forum

Review: Method and the dialectic

Mike Macnair completes his review of: Guglielmo Carchedi, 'Behind the crisis: Marx’s dialectics of value and knowledge'. Haymarket Books, 2012, pp303, £20

What drives capital’s global crises?

Mike Macnair reviews: Guglielmo Carchedi, 'Behind the crisis: Marx’s dialectics of value and knowledge', Haymarket Books, 2012, pp303, £20

Labour Party: Murdoch’s Blairite offensive

Is Ed Miliband moving left? Mike Macnair examines what lies behind the campaign run by The Times

Workers' movement: Bureaucratic ‘justice’ and dealing with sex assault cases

How should the left deal with serious allegations made by one member against another? Mike Macnair looks at the limits of what is possible

Feminism debate: A useless product of 1970s radicalism

From women’s liberation to bureaucratic feminism - Mike Macnair examines the process that produced the witch-hunting of ‘rape deniers’

Rome, empire and christianity: Politics of poverty and purity

Mike Macnair reviews: Peter Brown, 'Through the eye of a needle: wealth, the fall of Rome and the making of Christianity in the west, 350-550 AD'. Princeton 2012, pp758, £27.95

'Anti-imperialist united front': No inherent connection with the working class

Ten years after the height of the mobilisation against the Iraq war, Mike Macnair calls for an end to the politics of the ‘anti-imperialist united front’

SWP CC and theory: Self-serving dishonesty

Do the Socialist Workers Party’s ‘stability’ and ‘clear perspectives’ result from its ban on permanent factions? You must be joking, writes Mike Macnair

Comintern review: Not a school of strategy

Mike Macnair reviews: John Riddell (ed), 'Toward the united front: proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International 1922'. Brill, 2012, pp1310, €200 (paperback also available from Haymarket Books, £39.99)

General strike: Rebuild the movement

The call for a general strike to bring down the government is out of place, writes Mike Macnair

Partly off one knee

The Trade Union Congress decision to consider the option of a general strike represents a small step forward, writes Mike Macnair

Her life and her legacy

Mike Macnair asks whether the modern ‘new left’ use of Luxemburg is part of the problem rather than the solution

Imperialism, capitalism and war

Mike Macnair examines the paradox of the rational irrationalism of US foreign policy

No guide to revolution

Mike Macnair reviews: Iain McKay (ed) Property is theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon anthology AK Press, 2011, pp822, £25

Liquidationism and 'broad front' masks

Mike Macnair recently addressed a CPGB aggregate on liquidationism and 'broad frontism'. Below is an edited version of his talk

Strategy and freedom of criticism

Mike Macnair continues his review of: Daniel Bensaïd, Alda Sousa, Alan Thornett and others, 'New parties of the left: experiences from Europe', London 2011, pp202, £7

The Fourth International and failed perspectives

Mike Macnair reviews: Daniel Bensaïd, Alda Sousa, Alan Thornett and others, 'New parties of the left: experiences from Europe', London 2011, pp202, £7

End the cycle of splits

If the left is to build a serious political organisation it will have to facilitate internal dissent, writes Mike Macnair. And that will require both majorities and minorities to act responsibly

Overcoming the enemies within

The left must unite in order to change the relationship of forces both within and outside the Labour Party, argues Mike Macnair

One fight, inside and out

What are the tasks of communists in relation to the Labour Party? Mike Macnair answers some key questions

Both Pham Binh and Paul Le Blanc are wrong

The left has never properly grasped the history and significance of Bolshevism, argues Mike Macnair

Imperialism before Lenin

Mike Macnair reviews: Richard B Day and Daniel Gaido (editors and translators) Discovering imperialism: social democracy to World War I Brill 2012, Historical Materialism book series, Vol 33, pp951,

Neither advocate nor oppose

What should be the attitude of Marxists to Keynesianism? Arthur Bough responds to Mike Macnair

Clear economics, weak politics

Mike Macnair reviews Paul Mattick 'Business as usual', Reaktion Books, 2011, pp126,

Global fight for reforms

Mike Macnair concludes his article on the alternative to nationalistic Keynesianism

Promoting the national economy divides workers

Does Keynesianism represent an alternative to austerity? Mike Macnair begins by looking at John Maynard Keynes's actual theory

Too early to say

Mike Macnair reviews Ian Birchall's 'Tony Cliff: a Marxist for his time' Bookmarks, 2011, pp664,

Has capitalism reached the end of the line?

Mike Macnair spoke to the November 12 CPGB aggregate on the Marxist understanding of the crisis. This is an edited version of his speech

Principled opposition, not constitutional cretinism

Mike Macnair explains what is wrong with 'a Labour government for its own sake'

Mapping the alternative

The workers' movement must begin to act on a European scale, argues Mike Macnair

Organising for an alternative vision

Student unions are not like trade unions, argues Mike Macnair. Unity must be built primarily around politics, not 'student issues'

A hypothesis to change the world

Mike Macnair explains the thinking behind the new version of the CPGB's Draft programme

Lenin's strategy: illusory or realistic?

Mike Macnair reviews Lars T Lih's 'Lenin' Reaktion Books, Critical lives series, London 2011, pp234,

Maoism with pretensions

Mike Macnair reviews: Alain Badiou's 'The communist hypothesis' (translators D Macey, S Corcoran) London 2010, pp279, £12.99

Divided by a common language?

The Frankfurt school methodology employed by Platypus is worse than useless, argues Mike Macnair

The study of history and the left's decline

Dealing with the present demands not useful myths, writes Mike Macnair, but a real understanding of the past

Theoretical dead end

The US Platypus group is in the borderlands of two types of left, argues Mike Macnair in the second of two articles

No need for party?

The US Platypus grouping does not have a political line because there is 'no possibility of revolutionary action'. Mike Macnair reports on its convention

Propaganda and agitation

Why do we need electoral tactics? Mike Macnair completes his three-part series

Principles to shape tactics

In the second of three articles Mike Macnair examines the electoral controversies in the SPD and the views of Marx and Engels

Electoral principles and our tactics

When is it permissible to vote for opportunist or even non-working class candidates? In the first of two articles Mike Macnair begins his examination of the issues

There is an alternative

But only if we aim for working class rule across Europe, says Mike Macnair

The errors and pitfalls of general-strikism

The March 12 London Communist Forum featured a discussion between Mike Macnair of the CPGB and David Broder of The Commune

Anarchist origins of the 'general strike' slogan

We set up this debate in response to widespread calls from the Trotskyist left for the TUC to call a general strike against the cuts. This is Mike Macnair's opening

The direction of historical development

Jairus Banaji History as theory: essays on modes of production and exploitation Historical Materialism books series, Vol 25, Leiden, 2010, pp406, £81

Teleology, predictability and modes of production

Mike Macnair continues his review of Jairus Banaji's 'History as theory: essays on modes of production and exploitation' Historical Materialism books series, Vol 25, Leiden, 2010, pp406, £81

Marxism and theoretical overkill

Mike Macnair reviews Jairus Banaji's 'History as theory: essays on modes of production and exploitation' Historical Materialism books series, Vol 25, Leiden, 2010, pp406, £81

Pause for thought

We do not live in a democracy, we live in a 'rule of law' state, argues Mike Macnair

Arming the resistance

What lies behind the ruling class cuts offensive and what strategy do we need to defeat it? This is an edited version of the speech given by Mike Macnair to the November 28 CPGB aggregate

Dances with scabs

In this final article, Mike Macnair draws some conclusions from the history of Trotskyist entry into the Labour Party

Entries and exits

Mike Macnair continues his historical summary of British Trotskyism's attitude to Labour Party work

In, out, shake it all about

How did the far-left policy of Labour Party entry develop? Mike Macnair looks at the changing attitudes of British Trotskyism

Transition and abundance

Schemes for quasi-market communism offer a rationale for capitalism, argues Mike Macnair

Localist separatism can only produce crazy confusion

Mike Macnair reports on the latest attempt to create a national grouping to the left of Labour

Humble petition or militant action?

There are two sides to Tolpuddle, argues Mike Macnair

Gerbils on a wheel

Mike Macnair argues that the single tactic of 'No platform for fascists' merely recapitulates the errors of Dimitrov's popular front. This is an edited version of the speech he gave to the July 4 London Communist Forum fringe meeting during this year's Marxism

Representation, not referendums

The basis of decision-making under the dictatorship of the proletariat is not the same as under communism, argues Mike Macnair

Socialism is a form of class struggle

Why can't the proletariat abolish capitalism immediately on taking power? The answer lies in the need for transition, argues Mike Macnair

Against the state, not just the ruling class

Mike Macnair completes his examination of the lessons of bourgeois revolution

Models of revolution

Mike Macnair reviews Henry Heller's 'The bourgeois revolution in France 1789-1815' Bergahn Books, 2006, pp172, £20.13; and, David Parker's (ed) 'Ideology, absolutism and the English revolution: debates of the British communist historians, 1940-1956' Lawrence and Wishart, 2008, pp285, £18.99

Government of the people, by corruption, for the capitalists

David Cameron's deal with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats puts in place the 'strong government' demanded by the capitalist class. The working class will now be attacked with a vengeance, writes Mike Macnair

From an instrument of deception

Mike Macnair reviews the mainstream election campaign and the inadequate response of the left

Sects and 'new left' disillusionment

Mike Macnair reviews P Blackledge, N Davidson (eds) 'Alasdair MacIntyre's engagement with Marxism: selected writings 1953-1974' Brill (Historical materialism series), 2008, pp443, £89

It is not enough to call for abolition of anti-union laws

Capitalism and the rule of law are incompatible with political democracy and free association, writes Mike Macnair

Bureaucratic centralism and ineffectiveness

The split of the John Rees-Lindsey German Left Platform from the Socialist Workers Party has generated a small round of discussion on the party question in the left blogosphere, writes Mike Macnair. But what is missing is a recognition of the need for Marxist unity

A real united front could organise unemployed

Mike Macnair takes a looks ahead to the SWP's 'Right to Work' conference

Accentuate the positive

At last the establishment of a left unity electoral coalition has been confirmed by the highly secretive 'core group'. But, asks Mike Macnair, is this unity built on sand?

World politics, long waves and the decline of capitalism

Are we facing a new 'long slump' like the 1930s or is the recent financial crisis merely a blip in a larger picture of capitalist expansion? And how does the decline of capitalism fit into the picture? Mike Macnair examines the issues

No way back for warmongers

Mike Macnair addressed the Hopi AGM on the continued threat of war. US imperialism has a new face, but when it comes to foreign policy it is business as usual

No coalition with 'son of No2EU'

Issues of left and right are not so clear-cut when it comes to Respect. Mike Macnair reports on its annual conference, held in Birmingham on Saturday November 14

Making and unmaking Labour

An alternative to the Labour Party will only ever grip masses of workers if it is an alternative to Labourism, writes Mike Macnair

Labour Party blues

Is Labour still a bourgeois workers’ party? What, if anything, does this expression mean? Mike Macnair continues the debate

Marxism and the inequality of nations

Mike Macnair analyses 'world-system' theory and looks at Boris Kagarlitsky's attempts to overcome its weaknesses with his analysis of Russia

Studying the past to grasp the future

Mike Macnair reviews Boris Kagarlitsky's Empire of the periphery: Russia and the world system London 2007, 384pp, £35

Stalinist illusions exposed

Mike Macnair explodes the myths about the 'gains' of the USSR

David Davis and democratic rights

The failure of the far left to champion democracy has allowed rightwing polititians to pose as libertarians, argues Mike Macnair

Driven by ideas

How should communists approach campus work? In the first place by understanding the contradictory class position of students, argues Mike Macnair

Treaty of Lisbon and a workers' Europe

In the name of democracy and internationalism, Mike Macnair argues against calls for a referendum

Pantomime analogies, beanstalks and 'science'

Would a Marxist party in Britain be a 'halfway house' on the road to a communist international? Mike Macnair responds to Dave Craig

Negative critique and positive alternatives

Mike Macnair reviews the following books: - Phil Hearse (ed) Take the power to change the world (Socialist Resistance, 2007, pp144, £6); - Michael Lebowitz: Build it now: socialism for the 21st century (Monthly Review Press, 2006, pp127, £10.95) - Cliff Slaughter: Not without a storm: towards a communist manifesto for the age of globalisation (Index Books, 2006, pp314, �12.99)

The procedural is political

We must learn to recognise both bureaucratic and legalistic manipulation, writes Mike Macnair

Ditch the strategic illusion

Pro-Tehran apologetics in the Stop the War Coalition represents a kind of nostalgia for the 'anti-imperialist front', writes Mike Macnair

Wot? No left?

In the fight between George Galloway and the SWP, Mike Macnair is reminded of the debate between the Bukharinite 'rights' and the Stalinists in 1929-33

Boycotts and working class principle

Mike Macnair outlines the tactics communists ought to adopt in relation to Israel

Under the carpet

Mike Macnair reports from the September 25 AGM of Respect Oxford

Leading workers by the nose

Our immediate task is to pose a political alternative to the existing regime, writes Mike Macnair, not wait for the 'transitional method' to produce soviets. This article concludes his series on 'permanent revolution'

Spontaneity and Marxist theory

What is the relationship between unorganised mass movements and the revolutionary party? Mike Macnair continues his series on 'permanent revolution'

For a minimum programme!

Continuing his series on 'permanent revolution', Mike Macnair suggests that the victory of workers' power through a democratic republic does not remove the distinction between the two parts of the communist programme

What is workers' power?

A workers' state cannot be determined by property forms, argues Mike Macnair

'Transitional' to what?

Setting the scene for a series of articles on 'permanent revolution', Mike Macnair argues that the dictatorship of the proletariat must take the specific form of the democratic republic

Floodtide of capital

Mike Macnair locates the contradiction in capital's desire for free movement and its need to control labour

Origins of fortress west

What is the connection between the development of capitalism and restrictions on the movement of labour? In the first of two articles Mike Macnair traces such restrictions back to feudalism

End bureaucratic centralism

Unity of the Marxist left is both possible and realistic, argues Mike Macnair. What is lacking is the will

Defeat was fault of enemy machine guns

Mike Macnair replies to Dave Brown and Gerry Downing who argued last week that the defeats of the 20th century are not grounds to rethink the strategic ideas of the early Comintern

Ten wasted years

Americanisation and resistance to it was the dominant theme in Blair's decade, argues Mike Macnair

Programme, or ad hoc reflections?

Mike Macnair replies to Phil Sharpe on the question of programme

Putting out the trash

Economic and political interpenetration both internationally and nationally makes a mockery of the Revolutionary Democratic Group's 'democratic permanent revolution'. Mike Macnair concludes his response to Dave Craig of the RDG

International from the start

Mike Macnair continues his polemic against the 'national democratic revolution' schema of the Revolutionary Democratic Group's Dave Craig

Clinging to Trotskyist pieties

There is no movement in Britain to set up a new 'mass workers' party', argues Mike Macnair. What can be achieved, however, is a united party of the Marxists

Abolition and working class solidarity

Official society celebrates the bicentenary of the ending of slavery as part of 'our common British heritage'. Mike Macnair examines the class forces that underpinned anti-slavery

Not a mistake but a state crime

Four years after the invasion, Iraq continues to sink deeper into the morass. Mike Macnair analyses the current situation

AWL 'realists' raise their heads above the parapet

Divisions emerge within the AWL over troop withdrawal

Bush ups the ante

Differences over Iraq have been sharply debated in Washington between 'neocons' and 'realists', writes Mike Macnair. On a micro-scale this is paralleled in Britain by a debate within the Alliance for Workers' Liberty

Death of a nationalist

Mike Macnair looks at the death of Saddam Hussein

Copyright or human need

Communists are for the freedom of information, says Mike Macnair

Marxist party - now or never

Mike Macnair writes on this weekend's launch conference of the 'Campaign for a new Marxist party'

Developing a Marxist programme

Mike Macnair continues the debate on what is meant by a Marxist party and how to campaign for one, begun by Critique's call for a conference on November 4

New left for old

Mike Macnair reviews Max Elbaum's Revolution in the air: sixties radicals turn to Lenin, Mao and Che Verso, 2002, pp370, £20

Campaign for a party - or another sect?

The organised left cannot be bypassed in the fight for a Marxist party, argues Mike Macnair

100 years hard labour?

Mike Macnair reviews Graham Bash and Andrew Fisher: 100 years of Labour (London 2006, pp80, £4). Available from www.100yearsoflabour.net

Bringing about a Marxist party

Why must we go through the existing left rather than appealing directly to 'the class'? Mike Macnair explains

Three political commitments

Unity not around 'Trotskyism', insists Mike Macnair, but around class independence, democracy and internationalism

Origins of 'Leninism'

Mike Macnair reviews Lars T Lih's Lenin rediscovered: What is to be done? in context Brill, 2006, pp867, €129

Sheridan wins first round

Mike Macnair discusses some of the legal implications of the case and argues that socialists should not use the bourgeois press to fight out their differences

Prostitution policy and the NOTW smears

Mike Macnair remembers the discussion in the SSP over the question of prostitution

What sort of 'Marxist party'?

A new formation must avoid from the start all the failings of the Trotskyist sects, writes Mike Macnair

Sleaze is back

But, argues Mike Macnair, it never really went away

Fight where Marxists are

The organisation of a conference by the Critique group to campaign for a new Marxist party is welcome, writes Mike Macnair. But how far it will get is problematic

'Class lines' against democracy

Mike Macnair takes on Ian Donovan

Republican democracy and revolutionary patience

Mike Macnair concludes his series on communist strategy by throwing down the challenge to the existing left

Political consciousness and international unity

What is the link between national and international revolution? What is the role of the workers' international? Mike Macnair continues his series on communist strategy

The minimum platform and extreme democracy

Under what conditions should communists participate in government? Mike Macnair revisits the strategic problem of authority

Unity in diversity

How does the concept of the united front fit into the struggle for a Communist Party? Mike Macnair continues his examination of strategy

Communist strategy and the party form

Mike Macnair examines the Leninist 'party of a new type' and disentangles its advantages and shortcomings from the necessity of splitting from the Second International

War and revolutionary strategy

Mike Macnair puts the record straight on Lenin's call for defeatism and insists on the necessity of the left taking the democratic question of arms seriously

War and revolutionary strategy

Mike Macnair puts the record straight on Lenin's call for defeatism and insists on the necessity of the left taking the democratic question of arms seriously

Reform coalition, or mass strike?

In the third article in this series, Mike Macnair examines the basis of two contending strategies for working class advance

Revolutionary strategy and Marxist conclusions

In the second in a series of articles, Mike Macnair continues his examination of right-moving Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire theorists and the response of the SWP's Alex Callinicos

Floundering towards Eurocommunism

While Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire theorists flounder towards Eurocommunism, the SWP's Alex Callinicos can only answer them with evasion. In the first of two articles, Mike Macnair discusses revolutionary strategy

More ballots, more bullets

We are approaching the third anniversary of the big anti-war demonstrations before the invasion. Mike Macnair takes stock of the anti-war movement and the current situation in Iraq

Vote for class independence

Mike Macnair revisits the question of the popular front

Which way forward?

Control the bureaucrats

What are the lessons of Lenin's 1917 pamphlet State and revolution? Not the need for a 'commune state', argues Mike Macnair, but the need for representatives to be made accountable

Imperialism versus internationalism

In this concluding article, Mike Macnair argues that our most powerful enemy is the imperialist state. That is why communists are revolutionary defeatists

Imperialism lives on

In the second of a short series of articles, Mike Macnair examines the role of the state in the global order and looks at alternatives to the 'imperialism of free trade' theory

AWL, Iraq and 'new imperialism'

Mike Macnair argues that the failure of the AWL to call for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq is a symptom of their flawed analysis of imperialism

A bridge too far

Mike Macnair reviews: Graham Dutfield, 'Intellectual property rights, trade and biodiversity', Earthscan Publications, 2002, pp238, £24.95 Michael Perelman, 'Steal this idea: intellectual property rights and the corporate confiscation of creativity', Palgrave, 2002, pp242, £17.65 Peter Drahos, 'A philosophy of intellectual property', Ashgate, 1996, reprint 2002, pp272, £60

What's in a name?

Mike Macnair takes issue with Dave Craig on republicanism. Dave Craig’s article, ‘Republican slogans and the CPGB’, which shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the arguments CPGB comrades have been putting forward

Democrats form platform

Some 30 people - varying over the course of the day - met in Birmingham on Saturday November 8 to form a Democracy platform in the Socialist Alliance. Mike Macnair reports

At the crossroads

Sooner or later the Socialist Workers Party faces a choice between strategically counterposed perspectives which have developed within the ranks of its leadership, argues Mike Macnair

Democracy not 'justice'

Do Salma Yaqoob's and George Monbiot's 'Principles of unity' provide a solid basis for a common political programme? Mike Macnair thinks not

Darwinism and Marxism

Mike Macnair reviews The structure of evolutionary theory by Stephen Jay Gould (Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2002, pp1,433)

ILN split danger

CPGB call for left unity