Committee for a Workers' International (1974)

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Committee for a Workers' International
Committee for a Workers' International logo.png
SuccessorCommittee for a Workers' International (2019) and International Socialist Alternative
Formation21 April 1974
TypeAssociation of Trotskyist political parties
Region served
35 sections (until 2019), 13 today [1]

The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) was an international association of Trotskyist political parties. Today, two groups claim to be the continuation of the CWI.



The origins of the CWI can be traced to a group of British trotskyists which were expelled from the USFI in 1965,[2] after disagreements regarding the Colonial Revolution, Gurrilerism, Studentim and the post war boom. But it is not till 1974 that they set about building an international. The founding conference of the CWI was held in London on 20 to 21 April 1974 and attended by supporters of what was then called Militant (or the Militant tendency), from 12 countries including Britain, Ireland and Sweden.[3][4][5] In the early years of the international, sections generally pursued a policy of entryism into social democratic or labour parties. As such, the CWI was originally secretive because to organise openly risked the expulsion of its sections from the parties in which they were working.

End of entryism[edit]

The CWI largely ended its strategy of entryism in the early 1990s. The international developed an analysis that many social democratic parties had fundamentally changed in nature and become outright capitalist parties, their main example being the UK Labour Party. This was strongly resisted by Ted Grant, one of Militant's founders. After a lengthy debate and special conference in 1991 confirmed overwhelmingly the position of the CWI in the England and Wales section, Grant and his supporters sought official faction status within the organisation, which was granted for some time, but later was revoked by the leadership.[6] Ted Grant and his supporters set up a rival office, staff and fundraising, and left Militant to form the International Marxist Tendency.

Since their Open Turn CWI sections have, in a number of countries, stood candidates under their own name. One section has representation in a state parliament, the Socialist Party, which has three TDs in Dáil Éireann in the Republic of Ireland. The CWI also has elected members in a number of regional legislatures or local councils in Sweden; (Germany) (members of The Left); Pakistan; Sri Lanka; and the United States, where Socialist Alternative elected Kshama Sawant to Seattle City Council in 2013 and again in 2015.[7] In the 2005 Sri Lankan presidential elections the CWI affiliate, the United Socialist Party, came third (with 0.4%).[8]

Supporters of the CWI launched a youth organisation, International Socialist Resistance, in 2001.[9]

New mass workers' parties[edit]

CWI members played a leading role in founding the Scottish Socialist Party. However, the SSP broke with the CWI in 1999, with a minority of members loyal to the CWI establishing the International Socialists. When Tommy Sheridan resigned from the SSP in 2006 and established a new party in Scotland, Solidarity, the International Socialists joined in conjunction with the Socialist Workers Party.

CWI members stood as National Conscience Party candidates in the 2003 Nigerian legislative elections, winning 0.51% of the national vote. In Germany CWI members have been active in the new WASG since its foundation in 2004 and in December 2005 were elected part of the new leadership of its Berlin district that ran candidates on a clear anti-cuts programme in the 2006 Berlin regional election, gaining 3.1% and several borough council seats, but the Berlin WASG later merged into Die Linke. In Brazil, CWI members helped found the P-SOL Socialism and Liberty Party after left wing parliamentarians were expelled from the PT.

In the 2011 Irish general election the CWI's Irish affiliate, the Socialist Party won two seats in the Dáil as a part of the wider left group, the United Left Alliance which won five seats in total in Dáil Éireann.[10] However, one of the elected members of the Socialist Party has since left the party to continue as an independent.[11] In the by-election in Dublin West in 2014, the Socialist Party gained a second seat in the Dáil again, and a third seat in the 2014 Dublin South-West by-election as part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.



World Congress
Deliberative organ
International Executive Committee
Executive organ
International Secretariat
Administrative organ
  • Held every 3 to 5 years;
  • Attended by delegates from the CWI's national sections;
  • Responsible for establishing the international's programme and policies;
  • Grants recognition of new sympathising sections;
  • Elects the International Executive Committee.
  • Composed of members from across the CWI elected at the world congress;
  • Responsible for the CWI's policies in between congresses;
  • Elects the International Secretariat.
  • Conducts the day-to-day work of the CWI;
  • Responsible for carrying out the directives of the IEC, to which it is accountable;
  • Prepares documents and reports for review and approval at IEC meetings.


In 2019, a dispute developed around the questions of socialism and identity politics;[15] the role of the trade unions and the working-class movement; and under what programme and how should Marxists organise internationally and domestically, which ultimately led to a four ways split. One group continues to operate as the CWI, while another is now called International Socialist Alternative.

Some of the key documents relating to the split are published at[16] and some of the documents published by the 'In Defence of a Working Class Trotskyist CWI' faction are collected in the book In Defence of Trotskyism.[17]


Section Name English Translation Alignment
 Australia Socialist Action (formerly the Socialist Party) ISA[18]
  • Sozialistische LinksPartei
  • Sozialistische Offensive
  • Socialist Left Party
  • Socialist Offensive
  • ISA[18]
  • Refounded CWI[19]
  •  Belgium Linkse Socialistische Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte Left Socialist Party / Socialist Party of Struggle ISA [18]
     Brazil Liberdade, Socialismo e Revolução Freedom, Socialism and Revolution ISA[18]
     Canada Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     Chile Socialismo Revolucionario Revolutionary Socialism Refounded CWI[19]
     China 中国劳工论坛

    Zhōngguó Láogōng Lùntán

    China Worker Forum ISA[18]
    Cyprus Northern Cyprus Cyprus Νέα Διεθνιστική Αριστερά / Yeni Enternasyonalist Sol

    Nea Diethnistike Aristera

    New Internationalist Left ISA[18]
     Czech Republic Socialistická alternativa Budoucnost Socialist Alternative Future ISA[18]
     England and  Wales
  • Socialist Alternative
  • Socialist Party
  • A majority supported the founding of the Refounded CWI, the minority founded Socialist Alternative and joined the CWI Majority[19][20]
     France Gauche révolutionnaire Revolutionary Left Refounded CWI[19]
  • Sozialistische Alternative (SAV)
  • Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität - (Sol)[21]
  • Socialist Alternative
  • Socialist Organisation Solidarity
  • A majority of SAV voted at a party conference to support the CWI Majority. The minority formed a new group called Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität (Sol) and joined the Refounded CWI[19][21]
     Greece Ξεκίνημα


    Start ISA[18]
     Hong Kong 社會主義行動

    Sekuizyuji Haangdung

    Socialist Action ISA[18]
     India New Socialist Alternative Refounded CWI[19]
    Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland Ireland Socialist Party / Páirtí Sóisialach ISA[18]
     Israel and  Palestine حركة النضال الاشتراكي / מאבק סוציאליסטי

    Ma'avak Sotzialisti / Harakat a-Nidal al-Ishtiraki

    Socialist Struggle ISA[18]
     Italy Resistenze Internazionali International Resistance ISA[18]
     Ivory Coast Militant Côte d'Ivoire Militant Ivory Coast ISA[18]
     Malaysia Sosialis Alternatif Socialist Alternative Refounded CWI[19]
     Mexico Aternativa Socialista México Socialist Alternative Mexico ISA[18]
     Netherlands Socialistisch Alternatief Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     Nigeria Democratic Socialist Movement
     Poland Alternatywa Socjalistyczna Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     Portugal Socialismo Revolucionário Revolutionary Socialism International Revolutionary Left[22]
    Quebec Quebec Alternative socialiste Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     Romania Mâna de Lucru Hand of Labour ISA[18]
     Russia Социалистическая Альтернатива

    Socialisticheskaya Alternativa

    Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     Scotland Socialist Party Scotland Refounded CWI[19]
     South Africa
  • Workers and Socialist Party (WASP)
  • Marxist Workers Party[23]
  • ISA[24]
  • Refounded CWI[19][23]
  •  Spain Izquierda Revolucionaria Revolutionary Socialism International Revolutionary Left[25]
     Sri Lanka එක්සත් සමාජවාදි පකෂය / ஐக்கிய சோசலிச கட்சி

    Eksath Samajavadi Pakshaya / Aikkiy Cōcalic Kaṭci

    United Socialist Party Refounded CWI[19]
     Sudan البديل الاشتراكي

    al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

    Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     Sweden Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Socialist Justice Party ISA[18]
     Taiwan 國際社會主義前進

    Guójì Shèhuì Zhǔyì Qiánjìn

    International Socialist Forward ISA[18]
     Tunisia البديل الاشتراكي

    al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

    Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     Turkey Sosyalist Alternatif Socialist Alternative ISA[18]
     United States
  • Socialist Alternative
  • Independent Socialist Group
  • ISA[18]
  • CWI [26]
  •  Venezuela Izquierda Revolucionaria Revolutionary Socialism International Revolutionary Left[27]
     Vietnam(illegal) Quốc tế xã hội cần lao International Socialist Workers ISA[18]

    Associated organisations[edit]

    See also[edit]


    1. ^ "CWI-Worldwide -". Retrieved 28 March 2020.
    2. ^
    3. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p. 67
    4. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p.52
    5. ^ "A History of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI): Foundation".
    6. ^ The 'Open Turn' debate. Retrieved 17 July 2014
    7. ^ "King County Elections" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2017.
    8. ^ United Socialist Party (CWI) comes third in presidential election Archived 10 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 17 August 2007
    9. ^ 500+ at Brussels ISR conference Archived 22 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 17 July 2014
    10. ^ Elections Ireland: 31st Dáil. Retrieved 17 July 2014
    11. ^
    12. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p.51
    13. ^ Building the socialist alternative around the world,, 27 December 2002.
    14. ^ Thesis for the International Executive Committee (IEC) of the CWI 2013,, 22 November 2013.
    15. ^ Sell, Hannah; secretary, Socialist Party deputy general (29 February 2020). "Socialists debate identity politics -". Retrieved 29 February 2020.
    16. ^ "In Defence of Trotskyism – the documents –". Retrieved 29 February 2020.
    17. ^ CWI (2019). In Defence of Trotskyism. London: Socialist Books. ISBN 9781870958882.
    18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa
    19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j
    20. ^
    21. ^ a b
    22. ^
    23. ^ a b
    24. ^
    25. ^
    26. ^ Bilsky, Jacob; Group, Independent Socialist (19 March 2020). "United States: Private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets -". Retrieved 19 March 2020.
    27. ^

    External links[edit]