The socialist workers party 1951-1979

The Socialist Workers Party (the International Socialists) has grown into an organization capable of small but significant interventions in the class struggle, and with a real possibility of laying the foundations for a revolutionary party in Britain.

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Th rgnl ntntn, f stndng sm sxty cnddts n th Gnrl lctn, ws drppd, nd t ws fnlly grd nt t stnd ny cnddts t ll. Whl sm xprnc hd bn gnd, nd th pssblty f fghtng lctns n th futur rmns, th xprmnt hd n gnrl prvd ngtv.

N TH summr f 1977 th SWP snt n pn lttr t th Cmmunst Prty, mkng srs f cncrt suggstns fr jnt mtngs btwn th tw rgnstns t dscuss cprtn rund spcfc ndustrl nd trd unn qustns. Bn Rmlsn., th Cmmunst Prty's ndustrl rgnsr, rpld tht th SWP's `ctvty nd prpgnd s dvsv nd dsruptv, mkng mr dffcult th dvlpmnt f untd mss struggl.' Sclst Wrkr, 9 July 1977

Th SWP ws ls pprchd by th MG fr cprtn n n lctrl llnc. Th rspns t ths ws tht t th prsnt tm lctrl ntrvntns culd b nly mttr f prpgnd nd tht untd frnts cn b frutful f thy r bsd n spcfc nd cncrt dmnds, nt bstrct prpgnd.

N rly 1978, fllwng th dft f th frmn's strk, nd whn th mn pstv r f ctvty ws th rpdly grwng NL, nw dbt mrgd n th rgnstn. nc gn th qustn t stk ws Sclst Wrkr, ts rnttn nd ts us s tl fr prty buldng. Th dtr, Chrs Hrmn (wh hd tkn vr frm Pul Fl sm thr yrs bfr), rtrd frm th pst nd n Fbrury t ws nnuncd tht `Sclst Wrkr s t h r-lunchd s n mprvd, lvlr ppr'. Th m ws t pn th ppr ut t `rch nd nvlv thusnds mr ppl wh r nt mmbrs f th Sclst Wrkrs Prty.' Sclst Wrkr, 11 Fbrury 1978 Th nw dsgn fr th ppr ncludd mr crtns, rgulr sprts nd tlvsn cvrg, nd srl stry `Th Frdys'. Th clm ws tht vr th prvus yr r s th ppr hd bcm `brng' nd prdctbl', nd tht th ppr shuld nw b usd t rch nw prphry.

Crtcs f th nw ppr llgd tht th ppr ws gvng nsuffcnt ttntn t th ndustrl struggl; tht mprtnt pltcl qustns wr bng vrsmplfd t such n xtnt tht th pltcl cntnt f th ppr ws dlutd: nd tht th ppr ws smply rflctng nd nthusng but th NL, rthr thn rgung tr th SWP's dstnctv pltcs wthn tht mlu.

Th dbt crrd n fr sm tm. t th nd f July fur jurnlsts wh hd bn spclly ssctd wth th nw ln n th ppr (Pul Ft, Jm Nchl, Lur Flynn nd Ptr Mrsdn) rsgnd frm full-tm wrk n Sclst Wrkr, nd Tny Clff ws ppntd s dtr. Sm fturs f th nw ppr (fr xmpl, th sprts clumn) wr rtnd, whl thrs dspprd. Th Frd strk nd th rsurgnc f ndustrl struggl n th utumn f 1978 shftd th blnc f th ppr bck t wht t hd bn yr rlr.

Try vctry n My 1979 brught t n nd fv yrs f Lbur rul. n purly numrcl trms th SWP ws nt sgnfcntly lrgr thn n 1974, wth mmbrshp n 1980 f 4100 s gnst 3900 n 1974. But th srus lsss f 1975-6 hd bn md up fr, nd th scl cmpstn f th Prty (36 pr cnt mnul nd 32 pr cnt wht cllr wrkrs) shwd tht th Prty ws snkng rts nt th clss, s dd th lrg numbr f cmrds hldng shp flr nd trd unn pstns. Th Rnk nd Fl Dfnd ur Unns' Cnfrnc n Jun 1979, ttndd by sm thusnd dlgts, ws n ndctn f th Prty's mplnttn nd blty t mbls.

n th trms f th vrll clss struggl, th stutn ws n f cntnud dwnturn, wth mst struggls fundmntlly dfnsv. Th Cmmunst Prty nd ts vrus `Brd Lft' frnts fcd furthr dcln, whl much f th rvlutnry nd x-rvlutnry lft ws bmusd by swng t th lft n th Lbur Prty whch ws n fct lrgly cnfnd t th rhtrcl nd cnsttutnl lvls. lmst ln th SWP std fr th pn buldng f nw rvlutnry prty wth clr prgrmm nd bs n th wrkng clss. Th prblms - cuts, unmplymnt, rcsm nd th nw Cld Wr - wr duntng.

But whl th rd bfr us s undubtdly lng nd hrd, th pssblts r nrmus. n th bss f crtcl undrstndng f ts wn trdtns, th SWP cn lk frwrd wth cnfdnc t th struggls hd.


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