International Socialist Alternative

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International Socialist Alternative
International Socialist Alternative logo.png
Formation21 April 1974 (as Committee for a Workers' International)
1 February 2020 (as International Socialist Alternative)
TypeAssociation of Trotskyist political parties
HeadquartersHovenierstraat 45,
1080 Molenbeek,
Brussels, Belgium
Region served
Worldwide
Membership
30 sections
LeaderCollective leadership
Websitewww.internationalsocialist.net

International Socialist Alternative is an international association of Trotskyist political parties.

The group was founded in 1974 as the Committee for a Workers' International, by supporters of Militant from 12 countries.[1] In August 2019, a faction left and formed a separate organisation called the "refounded CWI". After initially calling themselves the "CWI Majority", the remaining group renamed themselves International Socialist Alternative in February 2020. The ISA has groups in 30 countries.

History[edit]

The CWI split[edit]

In 2018 and 2019, a dispute developed in the organization around the questions of socialism and identity politics,[2][3] the role of the trade unions and the working-class movement, and under what programme and how Marxists ought to organize internationally and domestically. This ultimately led to a multifaceted split. The dispute divided the leading bodies of the CWI with International Secretariat and International Executive Committee taking conflicting positions.

One group, which had founded the “In Defence of a Working Class and Trotskyist CWI” (IDWCTCWI) faction in November 2018 in support of the CWI's International Secretariat, declared in July 2019 that the CWI had dissolved and that they were the refounded CWI.[4][5]

A second group, in support of the majority of the CWI's International Executive Committee, declared itself the CWI Majority in August 2019 and renamed itself International Socialist Alternative on 1 February 2020. It asserted that the CWI had not dissolved but that the IDWCTCWI had split from the CWI.[6][7]

A third group, which had split from the IDWCTCWI earlier, declared it had left the CWI entirely and formed International Revolutionary Left in July 2019.[8]

Details[edit]

The dispute was sparked in 2018 around what the CWI's International Secretariat described as a watering down of the Socialist Programme of its Irish section and the tendency of its leaders to see "all struggles through the prism of the women’s movement, rather than seeing how it interconnects with other struggles".[9] At the time of initial split in August 2019 the Irish section had 3 elected Members of the Irish parliament. The February 2020 election saw the loss of one of those seats. Another Socialist Party TD left the Party during the course of the dispute.[10] This resulted in the Irish section of the ISA having one TD in the new Dáil term.

In 2019, the CWI split. The leading body of the CWI is the World Congress, which elected an International Executive Committee (IEC) to govern between congresses. The IEC then appointed an International Secretariat (IS) which is responsible for the day-to-day work of the International. The majority of the IS founded a faction called “In Defence of a Working Class and Trotskyist CWI” (IDWCTCWI) in November 2018 at an IEC meeting, in opposition to the rest of the IEC. This faction held criticisms of a number of national sections of the CWI. The majority of the IEC disagreed with the faction's criticisms, and took issue with the methods used by faction members to conduct the debate, which included talk of expelling one of the sections the faction was criticising.

The majority of the Spanish, Venezuelan, Mexican, and Portuguese sections, the first three of which had joined the CWI in 2017 after leaving the International Marxist Tendency, initially supported the IS faction but in April 2019 split with them and then left the CWI altogether to form their own international tendency, International Revolutionary Left.[11] In Spain, a minority which supported the CWI Majority reconstituted themselves as Socialismo Revolucionario, which has been the CWI's section in Spain prior to its 2017 merger with Izquierda Revolucionaria. A minority in Mexico and Portugal also remained in the CWI and supported the CWI Majority.[12][13]

The faction's leadership was concentrated in the Socialist Party (England and Wales), which was the largest section of the CWI, as a number of members served on both the leading body of the England & Wales section and on the IS, including its general secretary, Peter Taaffe. The faction attracted support from an overall minority of the CWI's national sections. Most of the IEC, and most of the CWI's national sections, stood in opposition to the faction. But both the Faction, and its opponents claimed a majority of the individual members.

The IEC outlined a process of discussion and debate to avoid a split, leading to a World Congress in January 2020, the highest decision-making body of the CWI. The Taaffe-led IS faction initially agreed, then withdrew their participation from the committee charged with organizing the debate, and declared they would not participate in the IEC or the World Congress. A Special Conference of the Socialist Party of England and Wales voted by a margin of 173 - 35 to support the Faction and sponsor the International Faction conference. This conference was held in July 2019, open only to CWI members who supported the faction, and asserted that they had 'dissolved and refounded' the CWI.[14][15][16] The majority of the CWI continued operating and held an IEC meeting in August 2019, and declared they will "provisionally organize the renewed international organization with the name “CWI – Majority”."[13]

In September 2019, a minority faction of the South African section, the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), left WASP and formed the Marxist Workers Party in support of the Refounded CWI.[17] The remainder of the WASP declared itself for the CWI Majority.[18] The same month, a majority of the German section voted by a 2 to 1 margin to support the CWI Majority. The minority faction formed a new organisation, Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität - (Sol), supporting the Refounded CWI.[19]

In June 2020 a group of members of the DSM (the CWI section in Nigeria) announced that they were leaving the CWI to form the Movement for a Socialist Alternative, affiliated to ISA.[20]

The CWI Majority/ISA claims a presence in 32 countries, making up the majority of the CWI.[13] The Refounded CWI claims to have sections in 11 countries.[21][22]

At the CWI Majority World Congress on 1 February 2020, the name of the organisation was changed to International Socialist Alternative.[23]

The ISA has published their perspectives on the split.[24] The CWI has also published the main documents from the debate leading up to the split.[25][26]

Splits and Disaffiliation[edit]

In March 2021, the majority of International Socialist Forward, the former Taiwanese branch of China-Hong Kong-Taiwan section, publicly declared a split from the China-Hong Kong-Taiwan section, and the ISA organization.[27]

In June 2021, Socialist Action, the former Australian section of ISA that split from ISA in March, announced a plan to collaborate with International Socialist Forward.[28]

On June 24, 2021, Xekinima, the Greek section, along with the sections in Cyprus and Turkey, declared disaffiliation from ISA. Reasons claimed included a disagreement on perspectives regarding neoliberalism, disagreement with adopting a code of conduct on sexual harassment, lack of a healthy internal democratic regime, and an accusation of the section practicing federalism.[29]

On the same day the majority of Socialismo Revolucionario the Spanish section, citing the autocratic handling of the section announced their decision to break with ISA.[30]

International campaigns[edit]

In addition to the work carried out across its various national sections, the ISA also runs three international campaigns.

Rosa[edit]

The international socialist feminist campaign named after Rosa Luxemburg and Rosa Parks aims to build the socialist-feminist wing of the Labour movement. It claims that fighting all forms of misogyny and sexism is linked to the fight for rent control and public housing; the fight for decent and equal pay; the climate justice movement; and fighting racism, transphobia & the far-right. And that socialist feminism means breaking with establishment feminism that seeks to feminise the capitalist elite.[31]

System Change, Not Climate Change — Fight For A Socialist Alternative[edit]

The campaign insists that it is capitalism which is destroying the planet so what is needed is large scale, system changes — otherwise the effects of global warming will be out of control. [32]

Stop repression in Hong Kong[edit]

As part of the current subversion trial the Chinese regime has rounded up almost the entire crop of opposition leaders and proposed candidates, from across the spectrum of anti-government politics, including trade unionists, pro-Western liberals and right wing localists (a Hong Kong nationalist movement). Among them are former legislators like ‘Long Hair’ who was elected five times to the now sidelined Legislative Council (Legco).[33] The campaign claims "the best support for the democracy struggle will come from inspiring grassroots solidarity — from labour, social and civil rights movements who are fighting on behalf of the oppressed and disenfranchised in their own societies. To fight repression and authoritarian rule in Hong Kong — and China — we need people’s solidarity across national borders."[34]

Structure[edit]

[35][36][37]

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

Sections[edit]

Section Name English Translation Website
Australia ISA Australia https://www.facebook.com/australiaISA
Austria Sozialistische LinksPartei Socialist Left Party https://www.slp.at/
Belgium Linkse Socialistische Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte Left Socialist Party - Socialist Party of Struggle https://socialisme.be/
Brazil Liberdade, Socialismo e Revolução Freedom, Socialism and Revolution https://lsr-asi.org/
Canada Socialist Alternative https://socialistalternative.ca/
China 中国劳工论坛[38]

Zhōngguó Láogōng Lùntán

China Worker Forum https://chinaworker.info/en/
Czech Republic Socialistická alternativa Budoucnost Socialist Alternative Future http://www.levice.cz/
England, Wales and Scotland Socialist Alternative https://www.socialistalternative.net/
Finland Sosialistinen Vaihtoehto Socialist Alternative https://www.facebook.com/sosialistit
Germany Sozialistische Alternative (SAV) Socialist Alternative https://www.sozialismus.info/
Hong Kong 社會主義行動[39]

Sewuizyuji Haangdung

Socialist Action https://socialism.hk/
Indonesia Socialis Action[40] Socialist Action https://sosialisindohk.wordpress.com/
Ireland Socialist Party / Páirtí Sóisialach http://socialistparty.ie/ https://socialistpartyni.org/
Israel/Palestine حركة النضال الاشتراكي / מאבק סוציאליסטי

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

Socialist Struggle https://socialism.org.il/

https://socialism.org.il/nidal/

Italy Resistenze Internazionali International Resistance https://resistenzeinternazionali.it/
Ivory Coast Militant Côte d'Ivoire Militant Ivory Coast
Mexico Alternativa Socialista México Socialist Alternative Mexico https://alternativasocialista.org/
Netherlands Socialistisch Alternatief Socialist Alternative https://socialistischalternatief.nl/
Nigeria Movement for a Socialist Alternative[41] https://socialistmovementng.org/
Norway ISA Noreg / ISA Norge ISA Norway https://www.facebook.com/CWINorway/
Poland Alternatywa Socjalistyczna Socialist Alternative http://socjalizmxxi.nazwa.pl/mainsite/
Quebec Alternative socialiste Socialist Alternative https://alternativesocialiste.org/
Romania Mâna de Lucru Hand of Labour https://manadelucru.net/
Russia Социалистическая Альтернатива

Socialisticheskaya Alternativa

Socialist Alternative https://socialist.news/
South Africa Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) https://socialist.org.za/
Spain Alternativa Socialista Socialist Alternative https://alternativasocialista.net/
Sudan البديل الاشتراكي

al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

Socialist Alternative
Sweden Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Socialist Justice Party https://www.socialisterna.org/?v=f003c44deab6
Taiwan 國際社會主義道路(臺灣)[42]

Guójì Shèhuì Zhǔyì Dàolù Táiwān

International Socialist Alternative Taiwan https://revolution.tw
Tunisia البديل الاشتراكي

al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

Socialist Alternative https://thawrablog.com/
United States Socialist Alternative https://www.socialistalternative.org/

Associated organisations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Foundation – 1974".
  2. ^ "Socialist Party documents illustrate criticism from international comrades". Irish Times
  3. ^ Sell, Hannah; secretary, Socialist Party deputy general (2020-02-29). "Socialists debate identity politics -". Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  4. ^ Sell, Hannah. "Britain: Socialist Party conference overwhelmingly supports refounding CWI". socialistworld.net. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Taaffe expels his majority – Weekly Worker". weeklyworker.co.uk. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  6. ^ Koritz, Joshua. "Bureaucratic Coup Will Not Stop CWI Majority from Building a Strong Revolutionary Socialist International! | Socialist Alternative". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  7. ^ Alternative, International Socialist (February 4, 2020). "Announcement || Welcome to Our New Website!". International Socialist Alternative.
  8. ^ "Founding Congress of the International Revolutionary Left". Izquierda Revolucionaria. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  9. ^ Editor, Fiach Kelly Deputy Political. "Socialist Party documents illustrate criticism from international comrades". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-03-28.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ McGee, Harry. "Paul Murphy leaves Socialist Party to launch new group". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  11. ^ Left, Revolutionary. "Founding Congress of the International Revolutionary Left". Izquierda Revolucionaria.
  12. ^ correspondent, Jorge Martin and special. "CWI faction fight: Spanish section walks out". In Defence of Marxism.
  13. ^ a b c "CWI Majority Declaration". 2 September 2019.
  14. ^ Koritz, Joshua. "Bureaucratic Coup Will Not Stop CWI Majority from Building a Strong Revolutionary Socialist International! | Socialist Alternative". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  15. ^ Sell, Hannah. "Britain: Socialist Party conference overwhelmingly supports refounding CWI". socialistworld.net. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Taaffe expels his majority – Weekly Worker". weeklyworker.co.uk. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  17. ^ http://marxistworkersparty.org.za/?p=613
  18. ^ "The Workers and Socialist Party remains a force for working class unity". September 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "Der Kampf für Sozialismus geht weiter". Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität. September 8, 2019.
  20. ^ Alternative, International Socialist (2020-06-16). "Nigeria || Introducing Movement for a Socialist Alternative". International Socialist Alternative. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  21. ^ "CWI-Worldwide |".
  22. ^ http://socialistalternative.net/a-new-chapter-for-revolutionary-socialism-in-britain.html
  23. ^ Alternative, International Socialist (February 4, 2020). "Announcement || Welcome to Our New Website!". International Socialist Alternative.
  24. ^ "Continuing the Fight for International Socialism". International Socialist Alternative. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  25. ^ "In Defence of Trotskyism – the documents – Marxist.net". Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  26. ^ In Defence of Trotskyism. London: CWI. 2019. ISBN 978-1870958882.
  27. ^ "國際社會主義前進多數派公開聲明". 國際社會主義前進 International Socialist Forward (in Chinese). 2020-03-06. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  28. ^ "國際社會主義前進(ISF)和澳洲社會主義行動( SA )合作聲明 ISF and SA Statement of Collaboration". 國際社會主義前進 International Socialist Forward. 2021-06-24. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  29. ^ "Why we disaffiliate from the ISA – Open letter by the ISA sections in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus". Xekinima. 2021-06-24. Archived from the original on 2021-06-28. Retrieved 2021-06-30.
  30. ^ "Statement – Socialismo Revolucionario majority leave ISA" (in Spanish). 2021-06-26. Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  31. ^ https://www.rosainternational.org/about
  32. ^ https://internationalsocialist.net/en/action/climate#About
  33. ^ https://internationalsocialist.net/en/2021/05/solidarity
  34. ^ https://internationalsocialist.net/en/action/hong-kong
  35. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p.51
  36. ^ Building the socialist alternative around the world, socialistworld.net, 27 December 2002.
  37. ^ Thesis for the International Executive Committee (IEC) of the CWI 2013, socialistworld.net, 22 November 2013.
  38. ^ Part of the section China, Hong Kong, Taiwan
  39. ^ Part of the section China, Hong Kong, Taiwan
  40. ^ Website run by the Hong Kong group
  41. ^ https://internationalsocialist.net/en/2020/06/nigeria
  42. ^ Part of the section China, Hong Kong, Taiwan
  43. ^ https://www.rosainternational.org/about ROSA International Socialist Feminist

See also[edit]