The Spanish SocialistWorkers’ Party:
continuity, innovation and renewal
The Spanish SocialistWorkers’ Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español –
PSOE) was founded in Madrid in 1879. It was the largest party on the left
during the Second Republic (1931–36), and provided the Republic with two
prime ministers during the Spanish Civil War, Francisco Largo Caballero
(1936–37) and Juan Negrín (1937–39). Brutally repressed by the Franco
regime (1939–75), the PSOE almost disappeared as a significant political
force within Spain. Nevertheless, under the
Rock Against Racism and
Although RAR’s relationship with the SWP has been the subject of much
comment, the political and organisational aspects of this connection
have, to date, received relatively little attention. Since the party played
an important part in RAR and the wider anti-racist movement during
the 1970s, this absence of an analytical overview hinders our understanding of both organisations and it restricts our understanding of the
British left in general. It may seem peculiar, after all, that the most
Rock Against Racism (RAR) operated between 1976 and 1981, and was a mass campaign that combined anti-racist politics with popular culture. Throughout this period RAR used the medium of concerts featuring black and white musicians as a focus for, and practical demonstration of, its politics of 'inter-racial' unity. This book deals with important theoretical issues that are particularly pertinent to the party's relationship with RAR. It covers three areas: the theory of state capitalism, the relationship between the party and the working class, and the united front. The book then examines the state of the Socialist Workers Party - formerly the International Socialists (IS) - during the mid- to late 1970s. The youth cultures with which RAR most closely identified were contested between political tendencies and music industry interests before RAR appeared on the scene. Punk had emerged as a significant, if somewhat ambivalent, radical phenomenon in its own right and reggae was implicated in the politico-cultural struggles between black people and the British state. Furthermore, it is clear from the testimony from the far-right that black culture was not immune to co-option by forces opposed to the kind of multiculturalism that RAR espoused. The book also looks at some of the political and social influences on the organisation's politics. It argues that RAR's approach entailed a rejection both of the Communist Party's Cold War-inflected point of view and of those theorists who despaired of any attempt to break the grip of bourgeois ideology on the working class.
This book considers the underlying causes of the end of social democracy's golden age. It argues that the cross-national trend in social democratic parties since the 1970s has been towards an accommodation with neo-liberalism and a corresponding dilution of traditional social democratic commitments. The book looks at the impact of the change in economic conditions on social democracy in general, before examining the specific cases of Germany, Sweden and Australia. It examines the ideological crisis that engulfed social democracy. The book also looks at the post-1970 development of social policy, its fiscal implications and economic consequences in three European countries. It considers the evolution of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) from its re-emergence as a significant political force during the 1970s until the present day under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The book also examines the evolution of the Swedish model in conjunction with social democratic reformism and the party's relations to the union movement. It explores the latest debate about what the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) stands for. The SPD became the role model for programmatic modernisation for the European centre-left. The book considers how British socialist and social democratic thought from the late nineteenth century to the present has treated the objective of helping people to fulfil their potential, talents and ambitions. It aims to contribute to a broader conversation about the future of social democracy by considering ways in which the political thought of 'third way' social democracy might be radicalised for the twenty-first century.
This book explores the role of the far left in British history from the mid-1950s until the present. It highlights the impact made by the far left on British politics and society. The book first looks at particular strands of the far left in Britain since the 1950s. It then looks at various issues and social movements such as Trotskyism, anti-revisionism and anarchism, that the left engaged (or did not engage) with, such as women's liberation, gay liberation, anti-colonialism, anti-racism and anti-fascism. The book focuses on how the wider British left, in the Labour Party and amongst the intelligentsia, encountered Trotskyism between the 1930s and 1960s. The Socialist Party (SP) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) traditions have proven to be the most durable and high profile of all of Britain's competing Trotskyist tendencies. Their opponents in the International Marxist Group and the Socialist Labour League/Workers' Revolutionary Party (SLL/WRP) each met limited success and influence in the labour movement and wider social movements. The SWP and Militant/SP outlived the 'official' Communist Party of Great Britain and from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present day have continued to influence labour movement and wider politics, albeit episodically. The book is concerned with providing an overview of their development, dating from the end of the Second World War to the onset of the 2009 economic crisis.
The ‘globalisation’ concept has become ubiquitous in British politics, as it has in many countries of the world. This book examines discourse on foreign economic policy to determine the impact of globalisation across the ideological landscape of British politics. It critically interrogates the assumption that the idea of globalisation is derivative solely of neo-liberal ideology by profiling the discourse on globalisation of five political groups involved in making and contesting British foreign economic policy between 1997 and 2009: New Labour, International Financial Services London, the Liberal Democrats, Oxfam and the Socialist Workers Party. In addition to the relationship between neo-liberalism and globalisation, the book also explores the core meaning of the idea of globalisation, the implications for the principle of free trade, the impact on notions of the state, nation-state and global governance, and whether globalisation means different things across the ideological spectrum. Topically, it examines how the responses to the global financial crisis have been shaped by globalisation discourse and the value of ideology as an analytical concept able to mitigate debates on the primacy of material and ideational explanations in political economy.
International Financial Services, London (IFSL)
The Liberal Democrats
The SocialistWorkers’ Party (SWP).
The cases were selected to represent a broad spectrum of opinion of foreign
economic policy. Clearly, there are a number of methodological issues that need
to be addressed. Firstly, these groups vary in power, size and popularity.
Therefore, it could be said that some have significantly more sway than others
over the ideological meanings replete in globalisation discourse. Secondly, these
groups comprise a mixture of governmental, party, business and
People’s Party (Partido Popular – PP) in conjunction with the
opposition Spanish SocialistWorkers’ Party (Partido Socialista Obrero
Español – PSOE).2 The Madrid declaration demanded three specific
actions: first, regularisation for all immigrants who found themselves in
an irregular situation; second, equal treatment for immigrants and
Spanish nationals, including political rights for residents; and third, a
ban on the use of local information on residency for political purposes
and respect for the right to privacy and family life.
These demands were hardly new – five
these years we see the revolutionary
left at its best and its worst, at its most open-minded and creative and at
its most narrow-minded and ossified. In particular, I want to examine the
efforts of the three most important British revolutionary groups of the time
– Militant/Socialist Labour League (SLL), the Communist Party of Great
Britain (CPGB) and the Socialist Workers Group/International Socialists/
Smith and Worley, Against the grain.indd 173
Part II Issues
SocialistWorkersParty (SWG/IS/SWP) – which between them account for
Critical responses to
Rock Against Racism
Socialism and anti-racism
The most obvious place to start in assessing Rock Against Racism’s
politics and its links with the SocialistWorkersParty is the account in
David Widgery’s book Beating Time, which provides, as yet, the most
comprehensive treatment of RAR. Written from an insider’s perspective
(Widgery was one of RAR’s leading lights and a prominent SWP intellectual), Beating Time advances the argument that the RAR/SWP partnership was crucial, both for the success of RAR and the health of