August 1914 was a decisive turning point for the world socialist movement. A fundamental divide opened between reformists and revolutionaries when most parties of the Socialist International supported their own ruling classes in the world war.
The destruction of the natural environment in the Stalinist regimes through the twentieth-century made it understandable that, for many, Red and Green seemed incompatible. Fast forward thirty years to our own era and the common sense has changed.
Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-64) is often described as the “founder of German social democracy”. But his influence on the German workers’ movement was mostly disastrous.
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Trotsky began outlining his theory of permanent revolution from a prison cell while awaiting trial for his participation in the 1905 revolution. In that upheaval, he had been elected chair of the Saint Petersburg Soviet, a radical workers’ government that had coordinated waves of mass strikes, armed workers in their thousands and levelled demands against the ruling monarchy.
When a furious elderly man berated former Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the federal election campaign trail over the government’s treatment of disability pensioners, he not only burst the bubble of forced civility and stage-managed good cheer that characterise most politicians’ interactions with the public; he also exposed something interesting about the limits of capitalist ideology.