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Defend Jeremy Corbyn

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Mexico
Teachers continue strike despite extreme repression

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This weak government can be beaten

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21/06/2016: Lady Health Workers organisation protests at non-payment of wages

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EU referendum

19/06/2016: Whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead

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Stand together against bigotry, war and terrorism

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Conflict in the South China Sea

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Orlando massacre

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New trade union action plan

13/06/2016: “The cup is full !”

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Egypt’s workers in revolt

12/06/2016: Review of "The Egyptians: a radical story"

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EU green myths

11/06/2016: The truth about the EU and the environment

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Left parties turning against bosses’ Europe

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China’s ’Cultural Revolution’ 1966-67

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A fighter who inspired millions

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The working-class case against the EU

08/06/2016: Review of ‘And The Weak Must Suffer What They Must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis

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1989 mass movement and June 4 massacre

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Biggest union votes to support exit from the EU

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Obituary

Peter Hadden - an inspiring life for socialism

www.socialistworld.net, 20/05/2010
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

PETER HADDEN, Northern secretary of the Irish section of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), the Socialist Party, sadly died at the age of 60, in Belfast, on 5 May after a three year battle with cancer.

Niall Mulholland, first published in The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

Peter was a representative at the founding congress of the CWI, in 1974, and then elected to the CWI’s International Executive Committee. Many comrades in Britain will recall the socialist analysis and alternative Peter advanced at public meetings in Britain on the conflict in Northern Ireland. In doing so, he often demolished the arguments of the Labour right wing, the reformist left and the ultra-lefts.

Even in a few hundred words, it is only possible to give an outline of Peter’s full life of socialist activities. During the long years of the ‘Troubles’, Peter and the comrades in Northern Ireland campaigned courageously in very difficult and often dangerous circumstances for workers’ unity and for the building of a mass socialist alternative.

They campaigned against state repression, sectarianism and sectarian killings, poverty and unemployment. Peter actively assisted many workers’ struggles over decades, including workers involved in the Chelsea Girl, Montupet, firefighters, Belfast airport and Visteon disputes. A highly talented speaker and writer, Peter made major contributions on political issues and theory, in particular his analysis of the national question in Ireland and internationally.

Born in 1950, near Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Peter came from a Protestant background. He went to Sussex University, in 1968, where he joined the ‘Militant’, the Marxist tendency in the British Labour Party. The late 1960s was a period of growing youth and working class radicalisation internationally and Sussex was already an important base of support for Trotskyism.

Peter Hadden, 1950 - 2010, photo Paul Mattsson

Peter Hadden collaborated and discussed with leading members of Militant, including with Peter Taaffe, who visited the North in 1969, to discuss with members of the Derry Labour Party Young Socialists. During the explosion of the mass civil rights movement in the North, the beginnings of a base of support for Militant were established. In 1971, Peter Hadden moved back to Northern Ireland, committed to building the forces of Marxism.

As well as attracting mass support from Catholics in the North, the civil rights movement initially attracted layers of Protestant youth. But as sectarian bigots and capitalist nationalist and unionist parties attempted to sow divisions amongst workers and to derail the movement, the labour and trade union leaders failed to present a class alternative.

The forces of Marxism were too weak to decisively influence events and the situation across the North descended into sectarian conflict. The Labour government sent British troops to the streets of Derry and Belfast in 1969. On the left, only Militant clearly opposed the troops being sent, warning that they would be used against the Catholic population and working class.

Class position

When many working class Catholic youth turned to the Official and Provisional IRA in the early 1970s, Militant alone on the left argued a clear class position, opposing the ‘armed struggle’. The armed campaign would prove counter-productive, dividing the working class further. Events have proved Militant/Socialist Party correct but at the time those arguments went against the mood in many working class areas.

Over four decades, in the pages of Militant Irish Monthly (later Militant, Socialist Voice and The Socialist), Peter Hadden and the Northern comrades defended this socialist analysis and called for workers’ unity and a socialist alternative. Peter’s many articles, pamphlets and books, such as Common Misery, Common Struggle (1980), Divide and Rule (1980), Beyond the Troubles? (1994), Troubled Times: The National Question in Ireland (1995) and Towards Division, Not Peace (2002), developed a Marxist analysis of the conflict and the national question and elaborated socialist demands, policies and programme.

During the 1970s, Peter worked for NIPSA, the main public sector union in Northern Ireland, before becoming a full time political activist for the Militant/Socialist Party. Peter’s many years of collaboration with NIPSA comrades led to the party’s important support in that union. Militant/Socialist Party supporters have acted as the main left opposition to the right in the union, as well as initiating action, including strikes, by NIPSA members against cuts and poor conditions, and also against sectarian attacks against workers.

In the early 1970s, Peter was active in the Northern Ireland Labour Party, campaigning for it to take an independent class position as the conflict engulfed society. But the policies and inaction of the right wing NILP leaders saw the party disintegrate. Peter and other comrades initiated the Labour and Trade Union Group and the Young Socialists, which called for the unions to resist sectarianism and repression and to build a workers’ political alternative. In conditions of daily bombings and shootings, heavy state repression and sectarian polarisation, the party sought to win the ear of the most politically advanced sections of the working class and youth.

While opposing the republican and loyalist paramilitary campaigns, Militant/Socialist Party always opposed state repression, including the brutal conditions in the prisons, which led to the ‘dirty protest’ and then the 1981 Hunger Strikes. With Peter working closely with comrades in the British Labour Party, such as then NEC member Tony Saunois, Militant was able to open up dialogue with some of the prisoners in the Maze.

Peter played a central role in the rapid growth of the party in the North in the 1980s, reflecting the rise in class struggles and youth radicalisation in Britain, Ireland and internationally. Party-led campaigns, such as the anti-National Front demonstration in Coleraine and school students’ strikes against Tory youth policies, brought new youth recruits. The party organised solidarity work for the striking British miners and held successful rallies supporting Liverpool City Council and anti-Poll Tax struggles, with Peter Hadden speaking on platforms alongside leaders of these Militant-led mass struggles.

However, the intensification of sectarian polarisation following the Hunger Strikes and the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement cut across class movements, to some degree. As during the North’s other tumultuous events, such as the Loyalist ‘work stoppages’ and the events around the Gibraltar Three killings, Peter Hadden anchored the party with a clear Marxist analysis of events and a principled class position. At the same time, he was always soberly optimistic about the possibilities for the party to grow in influence and numbers.

New situation

The split in the Militant in Britain, and in the CWI, in 1991/92, saw Peter, along with the majority, face up to the new world situation and firmly oppose the dogmatic, conservative views of Alan Woods and Ted Grant. It was in no small part due to Peter that not one member of the Northern organisation joined the Woods/Grant split. During this vital debate, Peter visited Italy, on behalf of the majority, to discuss with comrades.

The 1990s proved difficult for socialists everywhere, due to the consequences of the collapse of Stalinism. Many on the left were also disorientated by the developing ‘peace process’ in Ireland and the role of Sinn Fein.

Peter’s role in the formulation of the party’s analysis during this period proved invaluable. The ‘peace process’ would not bring about lasting peace and prosperity, as many claimed, but power sharing between the main sectarian-based, pro-market parties and growing divisions on the ground. Nevertheless, socialists and the working class needed to seize the window of opportunity to develop class politics.

It was Peter who coined the slogan, ‘No Going Back!’ which in the 1990s caught the imagination of the many thousands of Catholic and Protestant workers who went on marches and protests – often initiated by Militant/Socialist Party supporters in trades councils and unions – against a slide back to sectarian conflict. The party’s Youth Against Sectarianism campaign attracted thousands of school students across the North.

For many years, in the absence of a mass political alternative for workers, Militant/Socialist Party members stood in elections. In 1992, Peter stood in the Westminster elections and got widespread media coverage when he and his family narrowly escaped a bombing intended for a nearby target. In 1996, Peter played a crucial role in the creation of the Labour Coalition. Although it did not hold together, largely due to right wing elements, the Coalition did win seats to N Ireland Forum elections, indicating the potential for class politics to break the sectarian mould.

The last decade saw Peter energetically continue to play a leading role in party initiated campaigns, including the very successful ‘We Won’t Pay Campaign’ against water charges. Socialist Youth campaigning on, for example, anti-racism, brought new youth to the party, including those now playing a leading role.

Working closely with the Southern Irish comrades, Peter played a crucial role in helping the development of the party across the border, which bore fruit in many fields, not least in electoral gains. Socialist Party TD and now MEP, Joe Higgins said that he would often seek Peter’s advice on issues set for debate in the Dáil or in Brussels.

Video: Peter Hadden speaking at Socialism 2006 at the Teachers’ Club in Dublin, Ireland. Peter is addressing the St. Andrew’s Agreement.

International

Comrades from around the world will remember Peter’s many incisive, valuable contributions at international meetings of the CWI. Peter also made overseas visits on behalf of the CWI, giving important political and tactical help and advice to CWI comrades. Amongst other places, Peter visited Italy, Nigeria, Israel/Palestine, Czech Republic, Greece, Australia, Scotland, Belgium and the USA.

Family, friends and comrades accompany Peter’s coffin to Belfast crematorium on the 10th May 2010. Photo: Kevin Cooper

Peter’s passing is a great loss for his family and friends, the Socialist Party in Ireland and for the whole CWI. As the Westminster and Stormont governments prepare for savage cuts, Peter will sadly not be here to play his part in the huge class struggles that impend.

But the inspiring example of Peter’s decades of socialist activity in the most trying circumstances, and his writings, particularly on the national question, will undoubtedly serve as an educator and guide to the new generations entering struggle. The greatest tribute we can make to Peter’s memory is to build a mass socialist movement to finally sweep away the inequalities and poverty of capitalism.

Hundreds paid their respects at Peter’s funeral including many from the trade union movement and from the wider left. Photo: Kevin Cooper

For examples of the tremendous contribution of Peter Hadden to Marxism follow the links below

Troubled Times - the national question in Ireland, first published in 1995.

August 1969 – When British troops went into Northern Ireland - A turning point in history, published in 2009

Northern Ireland - 1907 Dockers and Carters’ strike - Belfast workers in revolt, published in 2007



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NEWS

Video: Defend Jeremy Corbyn
30/06/2016, Video with Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Fight the Blairite coup

Britain: Blairite coup against Jeremy Corbyn
29/06/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Defend anti-austerity struggle

Mexico: Teachers continue strike despite extreme repression
28/06/2016, Adam Ziemkowski, Socialist Alternative, USA:
Working people in Mexico need fighting unions, an independent left party, and socialism

Scotland: After Brexit, SNP government threaten second Indy referendum
27/06/2016, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
Leave vote higher than average in many working class areas

Britain: After the referendum
24/06/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary:
Tories Out! General election now! Fight for a 24 hour general strike

Pakistan: Budget 2016-17
24/06/2016, Muhammad Khan Ahmedani Socialist Movement Sindh, Pakistan:
The digits change but reality remains a nightmare for most

Britain: EU referendum
23/06/2016, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead

Taiwan: Student protests win important victory
23/06/2016, CWI Taiwan:
Education ministry retreats over increased tuition fees

Italy: Prime Minister Renzi’s party routed
22/06/2016, Chris Thomas, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Five Star mayors elected in Rome and Turin

Ireland: The left wing case for leaving the EU
22/06/2016, Originally published on sluggerotoole.com:
Article by Paul Murphy, Irish MP and former MEP and CWI member

Hong Kong: New protests as kidnapped bookseller speaks out
22/06/2016, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Gangster methods of China’s regime exposed

Ireland: This weak government can be beaten
21/06/2016, By Paul Murphy, Anti-Austerity Alliance MP and Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) member:
“The reality is that a small clique of hard-left, Trotskyite politicians, who are quite upfront about seeking to overthrow the current system, are now arguably setting the political agenda.” (Shane Coleman, Irish Independent 17 May 2016)

Pakistan: Women health workers protest in Sindh
21/06/2016, Sughran Khaskheli:
Lady Health Workers organisation protests at non-payment of wages

Britain: EU referendum
19/06/2016, Editorial of the Socialist, issue 906:
Whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead

US: Stand together against bigotry, war and terrorism
17/06/2016, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Orlando – massive wave of solidarity with LGBTQ community

France : Massive protest demonstration in Paris
15/06/2016, Naomi Byron in France for The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
Workers march as Senate debates hated labour law reform

US: Over 100,000 sign petition for independent Sanders challenge
13/06/2016, socialistworld.net:
Surge in support for petition initiated by socialist councillor Kshama Sawant

US: Orlando massacre
13/06/2016, Immediate reaction from Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, Seattle:
Stand with our LGBTQ Sisters and Brothers! Fight back against Scapegoating & Islamophobia!

Belgium: New trade union action plan
13/06/2016, Nicolas Croes, PSL-LSP (CWI in Belgium):
“The cup is full !”

Egypt’s workers in revolt
12/06/2016, Christine Thomas:
Review of "The Egyptians: a radical story"

Environment: EU green myths
11/06/2016, Claire Laker Mansfield, originally published in Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The truth about the EU and the environment

History: China’s ’Cultural Revolution’ 1966-67
10/06/2016, Edited version of article written by Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe for Militant (predecessor of the Socialist) in February 1967.:
50 years ago the ’Cultural Revolution’ began in China.

Britain: Youth and the EU referendum
09/06/2016, Editorial from the Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Fight for our future, starting with a Leave vote to smash the Tories

China: 1989 mass movement and June 4 massacre
08/06/2016, Socialist Action (CWI) reporters in Hong Kong:
Video by CWI comrades in China and Hong Kong

Greece: Victory for Athens bus cleaners
07/06/2016, Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Kasimeris (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
Strike action wins major concessions from contractors and bus administration

Northern Ireland: Biggest union votes to support exit from the EU
06/06/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Union and Labour leaders should join NIPSA and other combative unions in opposing bosses’ club

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Britain: Referendum revolt
27/06/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (issue No.200, July-August 2016):
Capitalist establishment shattered

Asia: Conflict in the South China Sea
16/06/2016, This is an abridged version of an article by Vincent Kolo, originally published on chinaworker.info.:
Territorial disputes resemble pieces on a ‘geopolitical chessboard’ as the US and China struggle for hegemony in Asia

Middle East: ISIS under pressure on several fronts
15/06/2016, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Working classes, through bitterest of experiences, will take to road of mass struggle again

EU: Left parties turning against bosses’ Europe
10/06/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Progress in Portugal and Spain, confusion in Britain

Muhammad Ali: A fighter who inspired millions
09/06/2016, Hugo Pierre, Socialism Today (originally published in 2003):
Establishment forced to incorporate his legend into re-writing of history

Review: The working-class case against the EU
08/06/2016, Hannah Sell, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Review of ‘And The Weak Must Suffer What They Must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis

France: Fight against Valls/Hollande government intensifies
31/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Gauche Revolutionnaire statement underlines vital need for political alternative

Austria: Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president
24/05/2016, Sonja Grusch, SLP (the Austrian section of the CWI):
‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

Britain: EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines
24/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party England & Wales):
New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

Brazil: Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class
19/05/2016, André Ferrari, LSR (‘Freedom, Socialism and Revolution’ - CWI Brazil):
The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

Ireland: ‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead
18/05/2016, Kieran Mahon, Anti-Austerity Alliance / Socialist Party Councillor, Dublin:
Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

Saudi Arabia: Gathering storms over the House of Saud
13/05/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Collapse of oil prices expose fragile foundations of oil Gulf monarchies

France: New stage in battle over labour law
12/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

Ireland: 100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly
12/05/2016, Three articles on Connolly’s life and ideas :
Revolutionary socialist, militant workers' leader and internationalist

Belgium: Trade unions announce new plan of action
11/05/2016, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium) Reporters:
Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

Britain: 90th anniversary of epochal general strike
05/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) general secretary:
When workers tasted power

Israel/Palestine: The Marxist left, the national conflict and the
Palestinian struggle

29/04/2016, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
The necessity of a class approach and a socialist alternative

France: One-day strike set for 28 April
26/04/2016, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
A final stage before indefinite action against Hollande’s government?

US: The un-Democratic Primary
22/04/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative Seattle, originally published on counterpunch.org:
Why we need new party of the 99%

Capitalism: a failing system
18/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, from May edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, analyses the downward course of the US economy – and the limits of the whole capitalist system

Review: ’Militant’ by Michael Crick
14/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Lessons of Militant vital for anti-austerity struggles today

US election turmoil
01/04/2016, By Tony Saunois (CWI Secretary) who recently visited the US for meetings of Socialist Alternative:
Bernie Sanders campaign - an opportunity to build a new party of the 99%

Britain: A new moment
28/03/2016, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), published in April 2016 issue of Socialism Today:
Extracts from a statement discussed at the Socialist Party’s recent congress

Ireland: 100th anniversary of Easter 1916 Rising
26/03/2016, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
A revolt against imperial power and war

History: When Khrushchev denounced Stalin
26/03/2016, Niall Mulholland, from Socialism Today (April 2016 issue of the monthly journal of Socialist Party, England & Wales):
1956 ‘secret speech’ a devastating blow to Stalinist regimes