The origins of the International Socialists

The first Marxist Workers Group meeting and the first SWAG conference. Some important achievements. Publishing the battler. Major problems. The Toma dispute. Regrupment discussions. Constitutional crisis. Foundation f the International Socialists.

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Th Mnsh ccuptn f Sptmbr 1974 ws nthr f SWG's mprtnt cts f ntrvntn, but ts sgnfcnc ws nt s much n th ccuptn tslf (s wth th nsurnc qul py cmpgn, vry lttl ws chvd n trms f th cncrt dmnds). Rthr, bcus SWG prsntd th dmnds fr ductnl rfrm wthn lft wng, clss rntd prspctv, th knd f studnts tht t rcrutd frm ths cmpgn tndd t b ns wh wr thn prprd t g ut nd ttmpt srus gttnl wrk wth mltnt wrkrs. Th bgnnngs f Th Bttlr ws ls nthr qulttv lp. Clumsy t frst, wth lttl nsd nfrmtn nd strng `studnt flvur', th ppr grdully bult crdblty wth numbr f mltnt wrkrs. SWG mmbrs gnd xprnc thrugh ntrctn wth mltnts, nd Th Bttlr bcm th mst mprtnt vhcl n th prcss. Th prntrs1 nd mtwrkrs' strks f ugust-Sptmbr 1975 wr n mprtnt brkthrugh n ths dvlpmnt. nd Th Bttlr s vhcl fr ntrctn wth mltnt wrkrs, prvdd mnngful lnks wth lk-mndd rdcls n thr rs. Dspt th cmmn pltcs f SWG nd th WL, nd SWG's ntrvntn n th lttr, t s dubtful tht ths Hbrt grup wuld hv bn `rcrutd' wthut th ppr; Th Bttlr prvdd th sm functn fr thm s t dd fr SWG mmbrs. ndd th ppr bcm th prncpl mdum fr buldng ntnl rgnztn. Lckwd's Cnbrr grup wr bl t us t n th sm wy s SWG nd th WL, nd ths s lmst crtnly th mn rsn tht thy fnlly dcdd t jn S.

Th dvlpmnt f ny grup s nt, f curs, ll `br nd skttls'. Sustnd prds f hypr-ctvty, usully cupld wth n tngbl rsults, cusd much frctn, tnsn, nd lmst cnstnt mn-crss wthn th grup. lthugh undsrbl n ts ntl mpct, th mjr ntrnl crss f md-1975 tstd nd stld th ldrshp's nd th grup's blty t cp wth crss n th futur. nd t gv n mptus t th dvlpmnt f th dmcrtc-cntrlst structur whch hs prvdd th rgnztn wth th ncssry dscpln t ntrvn s chsv, nd smtms ffctv, unt n vrus struggls.

ny grup f ppl, n mttr wht ts purps, sz, cmpstn r turnvr f mmbrshp, wll undrg qulttv chngs vr prd f fur yrs nd such chngs d nt ncssrly mn t hs grtr prspcts fr th futur (n trms f ts purps). Th xprnc f bng mmbr f th grup n th rly dys wuld hv hd sm ntcbl dffrncs frm th xprnc f bng mmbr n th lttr hlf f 1975. f curs, th MWG bgn s dscussn grup, s thr ws ntlly n rgnsng f ctvty by th grup s whl. But vn ftr th grup bgn cllctv ctvty, dbts n th rly dys f SWG tndd t b vr bstrct nd/r thrtcl ssus. Frm lt 1975 th dbts tndd t b rltd t mmdt ctvty. n th rly dys, mtngs nvrbly strtd lt, nd wr ftn lng trtuus ffrs, nt nfrquntly gng nt th rly hurs f th mrnng. Ths ws rflctn f th ssntlly studnt mlu frm whch th grup cm: studnts lv lss structurd xstnc thn th cmmunty t lrg, nd hv prpnsty fr lng-wndd dbt vr bstrct ssus nd th fnr pnts f phlsphcl dtl. By lt 1975, mtngs wr bgnnng t bcm mr rdrd, prcss whch bcm cclrtd n th subsqunt S yrs. Ths dffrncs n th cnduct f mtngs mnt dffrnc n th mpct f th grup n th prsnl lvs f mmbrs: by lt 1975 (wth th ntbl xcptn f th cnsttutnl-crss/lctn prd) t ws gnrlly lss hctc. gn, ths dffrnc bcm mr ntcbl n subsqunt yrs. Yt ths ntrnl dvlpmnts such s th cnduct f mtngs, cnnt b msurd slly n thr ffct n mmbrs' prsnl lvs. Thy wr rflctn f th grtr srusnss f th grup, prtly rsult f cnscus ffrt t mk th grup mr `hbtbl' fr wrkrs, wh r usd t rdrd nd prctclly rntd dscussn.

Th fw succsss SWG hd n mblsng ppl - th nsurnc qul py cmpgn, th Mnsh ccuptn, th Stck xchng mrch - r qut mprssv gvn ts smll sz. Thy wr prduct f th dtrmnd hrd wrk f th mmbrshp, th gttnl skll f th ldrshp, plus th ctvst nd wrkng-clss rnttn f S-typ pltcs. (f curs, n ntrvntn, rrspctv f th skll wth whch t s cnductd, hs msur f succss unlss cndtns r `rp' fr such ntrvntn - ths ws prtculrly tru f th Stck xchng mrch) Th mst dstnctv spct f tny SWG's xstnc s nt, hwvr, t's fw mmntry succsss.

Bg ks frm lttl crns grw. nly nn ppl ttndd th fundng cnfrnc f th Russn Scl Dmcrtc Prty (ltr, th Blshvks) nd tht prty wnt n t ld n f th wrld's grt rvlutns. ustrln S my nvr ld rvlutn. But f th bjctv cndtns bcm `rp', f th cptlst systm gs nt svr crss - nd prsnt ndctns r tht t wll - th xprnc S wll hv gnd thrugh ts cnstnt ntrctn f ts pltcs wth wrkng clss mltnts, wll crtnly gv t th `ptntl t ld sclst rvlutn n ustrl. nd th bss fr tht ptntl ws ld n th frmtv SWG yrs.

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