The time has come for us to take a step forward. For twenty years Socialist Appeal has maintained itself as a permanent, monthly fixture in the labour movement, providing a Marxist, class-based analysis of events in Britain and internationally.
The decision to launch Socialist Appeal as a fortnightly paper comes at a moment when the class struggle is accelerating worldwide. We are entering the sixth year of the deepest crisis in the history of the capitalist system. The unprecedented expansion of cheap credit that preceded the slump of 2008 was a symptom of the crisis of overproduction that had been developing beneath the surface, in the womb of capitalist society, since the end of the post-war boom.
These symptoms were analysed here in the pages of Socialist Appeal long before the crisis erupted. We saw this slump coming, predicting that all attempts by the bourgeoisie to re-establish the economic equilibrium would result in a destabilisation of the social and political equilibrium - meaning revolution and an acceleration of the class struggle. As Trotsky said, Marxism is the "superiority of foresight over astonishment"; a scientific tool which needs to be in the hands of every member of the working class.
However, for many of the early years of Socialist Appeal we were fighting against the stream. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the defeat of the miners, the rightward shift in the labour movement and rise of Blairism, effectively conspired to isolate the forces of Marxism for the best part of two decades. At that point the role of Socialist Appeal was to hold on to the ideas of genuine Marxism in a hostile environment.
With the stream
Today the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky are being rediscovered by a new generation. Even some bourgeois economists have to admit that Marx was right! At least with his economic analysis, if not his socialist conclusions...
This year alone we have witnessed revolution once again in Egypt with 17 million taking to the streets to overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood. Again in Turkey and Brazil this summer we saw mass revolutionary upheavals, seemingly on minor issues such as the closure of a park or a rise in bus fares. In reality, however, these minor issues were merely the triggers for far deeper grievances held against the whole rotten system.
In the belly of the beast we saw the deep divisions among the American ruling class this October which caused the "shutdown" of the US government, only narrowly avoiding another financial meltdown along the lines of 2008. Closer to home, the strikingly different reactions to the death of Thatcher taught a valuable lesson to a whole new generation of workers and youth that there are two Britains, not one. There is the Britain of the establishment, the Tory Party and the state; and then there is the Britain of ordinary working people, of the ex-mining communities, made to suffer brutal austerity in order to safeguard the bosses’ profits.
Forward to a Fortnightly!
It is for these reasons that workers and young people are looking for an alternative to the capitalist crisis and turning to the ideas of Marxism. This is the explanation for the growth in support for Socialist Appeal.
That is why in 2014 we are launching our "Forward to the Fortnightly" campaign. We are no longer fighting against the stream, and that has been reflected in our growing numbers of supporters writing in to the paper and website, asking how they can help build a base of support for Socialist Appeal in their areas, taking the programme of Marxism into the labour movement.
Our aim is to use 2014 to build up our resources, launching the fortnightly Socialist Appeal in 2015. In order to achieve this we will need more staff working on the editorial, layout, sales and distribution. Our aim is take on two new staff by the end of the year to begin this work. Therefore we have launched a Press Fund with a target to raise £25,000 this year, and we urge all our readers to donate generously!
We need your support. We have no big business backers; we only rely on the individual donations of countless ordinary people to keep us going. Take out a subscription to Socialist Appeal - this can now be done by direct debit online on a monthly or annual basis. Encourage others to subscribe - raise the question in your local union about taking out a subscription for the branch. Talk to your local left-wing bookshop about stocking copies of the paper.
Become a seller of Socialist Appeal and join a local supporters' branch. If there is no branch in your area, help us set one up! It is only through the tireless efforts of each individual supporter that the forces of Marxism advance. Everyone has their role to play, no matter how large or small. Write to us today and find out how you can help build the voice of Marxism within the labour movement in your area - the only ideas that can make conscious the unconscious strivings of workers and youth to change society.
Forward to the Fortnightly! Forward to socialism!