British History

This week in history: December 28-January 3

29 December 2020

25 years ago: AT&T announces massive cuts, leading corporate assault on jobsOn January 2, 1996, AT&T announced it would slash over 40,000 jobs, bringing the new year in the same way the previous one ended, with major corporations posting record profits while destroying jobs on a massive scale.

This week in history: December 14-20

14 December 2020

On December 14, 1970, Polish workers in the port city of Gdansk walked off the job protesting the announcement by the Stalinist government, led by Władysław Gomułka, that there would be a major increase in food and fuel prices.

This week in history: December 7-13

7 December 2020

25 years ago: Galileo spacecraft reaches Jupiter On December 7, 1995, the spacecraft Galileo reached Jupiter in a stable orbit around the giant plane, demonstrating the extraordinary capabilities of science and technology.

Labour Party reinstates Jeremy Corbyn after suspension over antisemitism comments

The anti-Semitism witch-hunt and the failure of Corbynism

By Chris Marsden, 18 November 2020

This speech was delivered by Socialist Equality Party National Secretary Chris Marsden to a public meeting titled, “The Blairites’ anti-Semitism witch-hunt and the failure of Corbynism,” held on November 15, 2020.

Michael Apted’s 63 Up: The ninth film in the remarkable series

By Kevin Martinez, 3 February 2020

The British documentary “Up” series has followed the lives of a group of Britons from age seven up to the present, when they are now all 63. The latest film provides insights into not only their lives, but the nature of the postwar period.

Britain: 180 years since the Newport Rising—Part 2

By Paul Bond, 5 November 2019

Over weeks of careful preparation, workers were recruited across the Welsh valleys from Tredegar to Pontypool. Some 10,000 workers then marched, arms in hand, on Newport.

Britain: 180 years since the Newport Rising—Part 1

By Paul Bond, 4 November 2019

The Newport Rising, as it has become known, marked an historic point in the development of the class struggle and the organisation of the working class in Britain.

The Peterloo Massacre and Shelley

Part 2: Shelley’s politics and his Peterloo poems

By Paul Bond, 1 October 2019

Shelley’s commitment to revolutionary change was “more than the vague striving after freedom in the abstract,” as Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling wrote in 1888.

200 years since the Peterloo Massacre

By Paul Bond, 16 August 2019

A savage attack by sword-wielding cavalry on a crowd of protesters in Manchester, England in August 1819 resulted in at least 18 people being killed and some 700 injured.

Britain: Gang convicted of running “extensive and prolific” modern slavery network

By Richard Tyler, 9 July 2019

According to the International Labour Office, there are 40.3 million people in conditions of modern slavery across the world, including 10 million children .

Remembering the Kindertransport: 80 years since 10,000 mainly Jewish children were allowed in to Britain

Until February 10, 2019 at the Jewish Museum London

By Paul Mitchell, 28 December 2018

The testimony of the Kindertransport children are invaluable because most of the archives about their lives in Germany and Britain were destroyed during and after World War II.

Stop the NHS sell-off: Build rank-and-file committees

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (UK)

30 June 2018

No confidence can be placed in the trade unions or the Labour Party to reverse NHS underfunding and privatisation, much less defend the principle of socialised health care.

UK government lies exposed over civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria

By Jean Shaoul, 6 March 2018

Airwars estimated that the number of civilians killed last year by the US-led coalition against IS was between 11,000 and 18,000.

100 years since the Balfour Declaration

Part two

By Jean Shaoul, 8 November 2017

This is the conclusion of a two-part article on the Balfour Declaration that was to lead to the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine.

100 years since the Balfour Declaration

Part one

By Jean Shaoul, 7 November 2017

This is the first of a two-part article on the Balfour Declaration that was to lead to the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine.

Irish nationalism versus socialist internationalism: A reply to a reader—Part two

By Steve James, 10 August 2017

Knox proceeds from insisting that the British working class is hopeless to exalting the nationalist revolutionary traditions of the Irish working class.

Alberto Cavalcanti and postwar British cinema

By Joanne Laurier, 10 February 2017

In the course of a lengthy filmmaking career, Brazilian-born Alberto Cavalcanti created several of the most poetically realistic and socially poignant films of the twentieth century.

Government conspiracy against 1972 UK builders’ strike exposed

By Barry Mason, 15 December 2015

The frame-up of the striking workers, known as the Shrewsbury 24, required the intimate involvement of then-Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath.

The British Library’s Magna Carta exhibition: A vital though flawed presentation

By Joe Mount, 28 August 2015

The exhibition features a breathtaking array of documents of world-historical significance, brought together for a public audience for the first time.

The Queen’s Nazi salute: Historical revisionism in the service of state censorship

By Julie Hyland, 22 July 2015

According to the media, there was barely a family in Britain that wasn’t goose-stepping around their lawns in the early 1930s.

UK: Police commander at 1989 Hillsborough disaster admits causing 96 deaths

By Barry Mason, 23 March 2015

An inquest heard how the lies and cover-up by the authorities began within minutes of the tragedy.

How the British workers’ movement helped end slavery in America

By Joe Mount, 5 January 2015

The Confederacy wagered that British workers would rise up against the “cotton famine” caused by the Union blockade of Southern ports, and that this, combined with British ruling class sympathy for the South, would compel a British and French intervention against the Union. Instead, the overwhelming opposition of British workers to slavery proved a critical factor in preventing British recognition of the Confederacy.

Britain: Labour council destroys Newport Chartist uprising mural

By Paul Mitchell, 9 October 2013

Increasingly, cash-starved councils in the UK are handing over control of city centres and their public spaces to private companies.

The British working class and the American Civil War: 150 years since London’s St. James’ Hall meeting

By Tom Mackaman, 26 March 2013

March 26 marks the 150th anniversary of the “monster” antislavery, pro-Union meeting of British workers at St. James’ Hall in London.

BBC program exposes 1984 police frame-up of striking miners

By Dave Hyland, 29 October 2012

Inside Out, broadcast on BBC One Monday night, alleges that 100 witness statements made by officers policing the miner’s mass picket of Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984 were fabricated.

From the archives

James Reid: a political profile

25 August 2010

The following article was published by the Socialist Labour League, the forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain, as an appendix to Reformism on the Clyde, by Stephen Johns, published by Plough Press in 1973.

Stalin, Trotsky and the 1926 British general strike

Part Three

By Chris Marsden, 30 December 2008

Trotsky had argued that the very survival of British imperialism now rested not on the right-wing social democrats, but on the supposed lefts, without whom the right wing could not maintain its position in the labour movement.

Stalin, Trotsky and the 1926 British general strike

Part Two

By Chris Marsden, 29 December 2008

Bereft of any revolutionary guidance from the Communist Party of Great Britain, the working class had no possibility of arming itself against the role of the lefts who were being continually boosted under the Comintern’s orders.

Stalin, Trotsky and the 1926 British general strike

By Chris Marsden, 27 December 2008

More than 80 years on, the May 1926 British General Strike remains a defining moment in the history of the workers’ movement. Its lessons are essential for the development of a revolutionary strategy, not just in Britain but the world over.