Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

On the Left Press.

with 11 comments

Frances O’Grady is again  at the front of the latest Chartist (November), and Coatesy on French anarchism and Algeria at the back.

The left press certainly embraces a diversity of views.

Some notes, from a personal standpoint.

  • There are still ‘party papers’ in the UK. Notably Socialist Worker and the Socialist. They have reports on their campaigns and – in the case of the latter – some valuable reports on Trade Unions. Their primary objective is to ‘build’ their organisations.
  • When they report on international issues their views reflect support for their satellite factions. Even their more serious publications, such as (SWP) International Socialism, follow this strategy. For all Alex Callinicos’ many merits and the virtues of his close associates such as “toffy nosed” (as his comrades call him) Sebastian, they have not escaped from the James Cannon ‘Building the Proletarian Party’ approach .
  • The Morning Star is an important resource for information about unions and has some international news. Not everybody may agree with their stand on the EU, which some regard as little Britisher. Nor indeed the CPB’s inability to come to terms with its past.

However the hard-core activists read the following


  • The Weekly Worker. Its international coverage, on Iran, Israel, and – at the moment – Tobias Abse’s articles on Italy, is on a par with journals like Le Monde Diplomatique. It is a real focus of serious Marxist debate.
  • Solidarity. The AWL may not be everybody’s cup of tea. But they have a base in the workers’ movement and their paper is solid stuff. Their material on, for example Welfare Reform, is excellent. They publish some of the best articles about North Africa by Maghrebian socialists.


  • Labour Briefing (LRB). The relaunched Briefing contains brilliant articles, such as a long article on decriminalising prostitution, one by Viento Sur on Spain, and developments in the Labour Party.
  • Chartist (see above). Chartist is the point where democratic socialists of all kinds can express themselves.
  • The Commune. A real effort at relaunching workers’ self-management.

People may note that there is considerable cross-over between many papers (obviously we exclude the SWP and SP publications).

Many of the same people write for the Weekly Worker, Briefing, Chartist, and so forth.

These are the real democratic socialist media, based on activists and intellectuals,  working together.

Above all the publish writing by people who directly know what they are talking about.

Read them!


Written by Andrew Coates

November 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Anarchism, Capitalism, European Left, Left

Tagged with ,

11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. This is a need for a long overdue debate about the left press, the problem with the star, SW and WW is they stick far to rigidly to the party line. Although to call any of these groups a political party is being over generous. Still I do appreciate the work which goes into getting these papers out there and we are better off with them than not.

    For me the problem with the WW is it cannot make up its mind whether it is a newspaper or a magazine and sadly most weeks falls into the latter category. I would also add it badly needs a sub editor to cut down some of the articles, they would work fine in a magazine format but in my view not in a newspaper.

    The star has never punched its weight and I feel it is because it is far to conservative and I do wonder how much pressure is brought to bear on its editorial staff. In my experience old stalinists never forget an insult or imagined slight.

    Socialist worker is a party paper to its core and whilst it undoubtedly carries some good and interesting stuff, much of its content is agiprop circa IS days.

    Just as we need a single broad left party, we need a single left wing daily newspaper, probably on line. In the meantime we have what we have, so all I can add is keep up the good work comrades and thanks for your work

    Organized Rage

    November 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm

  2. The entire left press suffers through being stuck with a model that seems to have barely changed since the late 19th Century. I would place much of the left press as more akin to free advertising, designed to attract people to a particular product. Weekly Worker is in my opinion by far and away the most interesting read on the left and one linked to a particular strategy. Whilst agreeing that Solidarity can be an excellent read, it is painfully too hit and miss and generally doesn’t reflect the positive activist dynamics of the AWL group (I’m a member). http://www.licom.org deserves a mention as a website that both champions Anarcho/Libertarian politics and is likewise positively informative as a resource and professionally put together.

    Lawrie Coombs

    November 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm

  3. Lawrie there is a place for anarchist ideas. Sadly the anarchist press, such as Freedom, suffers from many, if different, faults to the ‘party press’.

    On that subject Terry Liddle wrote a very good long review in Chartist a couple of issues back on Colin Ward.

    The Weekly Worker’s subbing is probably due Mick to the fact that it is weekly, and not produced by full-time well-paid journalists.

    They did do a good job on subbing my stuff on Revolutionary History’s special issue – I learnt how this is done from Mike M when he was editor of Briefing and can judge it.

    The Star, I would well imagine, bears in mind slights. But then I am hardly in a position to criticise that.

    A left paper?

    Well we have good blogs, such as your own Organised Rage, and a host of others you can get to via the links here and on other Blogs.

    Andrew Coates

    November 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm

  4. Lawrie- that link goes to a hostmonster holding page- do you have one that works?

    Pete Shield

    November 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  5. He means http://www.libcom.org – he spelt it rong


    November 2, 2012 at 2:05 am

  6. Any comment on Red Pepper?


    November 2, 2012 at 2:14 am

  7. Reblogged this on Everybody Comes From Somewhere and commented:
    This is worth a read!


    November 2, 2012 at 3:40 am

  8. Red Pepper is intresting but not really an activist journal.

    I read it a lot when they got it in the Ipswich Central Library, but it was one of the first victims of the cuts!

    Andrew Coates

    November 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

  9. I don’t suppose these are left wing?

    vin maratty

    November 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm

  10. I owe a lot to the SPGB, as a very young teenager I got my basic Marxism from the Socialist Standard.

    But it is, well-written as it is, not an activists’ paper.

    Andrew Coates

    November 3, 2012 at 10:57 am

  11. Freedom is struggling to survive


    November 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: