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Jack Conrad

Articles by Jack Conrad

Left Unity: Arms and our moderate speaker

May 08 2014

Jack Conrad takes issue with Salman Shaheen’s cowardly rejection of the demand for a popular militia

The Leninist: First conference makes decision to go monthly

March 06 2014

In January 1984 we organised the First Conference of Supporters of The Leninist, where the decision was made to go monthly

The Leninist: Before this there was that

March 06 2014

Jack Conrad recalls the genesis of the CPGB’s Leninist faction and its enduring legacy

Plans for the hard left

December 12 2013

Jack Conrad outlines the thinking of the CPGB’s Provisional Central Committee

In praise of the Communist Platform

December 05 2013

Text of Jack Conrad's contribution to the Platform debate at Left Unity's conference

USSR: Getting the Soviet Union right

November 07 2013

On the 96th anniversary of the October Revolution, Jack Conrad engages with the Russian question

Left Unity: Communicating across the archipelago of isolation

August 29 2013

Jack Conrad puts the case for clear principles and greater boldness. This is an edited version of his opening contribution to the ‘Fighting for a mass party’session at Communist University

SWP leadership: Laughable history produces laughable results

July 11 2013

Jack Conrad argues that the pre-1917 Bolshevik model of organisation should be properly studied and properly understood

Left Unity: The spirit of ’45?

May 09 2013

What do we hope will come out of the May 11 Left Unity conference? Following Nick Wrack’s speech at the April 27 London Communist Forum, Jack Conrad replied for the CPGB. This is an edited version of his response

Capitalist decline: Thatcher in history

April 18 2013

Jack Conrad explores the conditions which created Margaret Thatcher and takes issue with the ‘great person’ version of history

Programme and Party: Broad bad, mass good

February 21 2013

Opportunists require mushy politics and meaningless phrases when they set out to deceive. Jack Conrad argues in favour of a mass working class party and the kind of principles and politics outlined in the Communist manifesto, the Erfurt programme and the programme of the Parti Ouvrier

SWP and programme: Transitional regression ends in a hunch

February 14 2013

Is the so-called transitional method the road to revolution? Jack Conrad argues against the economism of the Socialist Workers Party

Nature and Programme: Wealth of nature and counterfeit Marxism

January 24 2013

Why does SWP Online insist on carrying anti-Marxist nonsense? Jack Conrad shows why root-and-branch change is long overdue

Supplement: Origins of the crisis in the SWP - part two

January 17 2013

Third-period Blairism and the necessity of demystifying Bolshevism, Jack Conrad continues his analysis of Cliff and the SWP's politics

Supplement: Origins of the crisis in the SWP - part one

January 10 2013

The Soviet Union question, by Jack Conrad (pdf available here)

Keynes: The great saviour and his leftwinger converts

October 18 2012

Capitalism is in terminal decline. So why, asks Jack Conrad, do so many on the left advocate not socialism, but increased government spending, deficit financing and Keynesian solutions?

Contours of green thought

June 29 2012

Greenism is hobbled by two fundamental faults. It cannot tame capitalism, nor does it offer a realistic way of superseding capitalism. Jack Conrad explores its limitations

A blunder of historic proportions

June 20 2012

Voting for the Muslim Brotherhood was a vote for a party of counterrevolution, not the revolution. Jack Conrad examines MB's origins, ideas and evolution

A weapon for the movement

May 09 2012

Comrades in London are beginning their collective study of Marx's Capital. Jack Conrad introduces what is still an unequalled work

Classical Marxism and the general strike - Part I

November 23 2011

Jack Conrad suggests many elementary lessons that need to be relearnt

Classical Marxism and the general strike - Part II

November 23 2011

Jack Conrad continues with post-1848 general strike calls

Lenin and the United States of Europe

November 02 2011

Jack Conrad takes issue with the attempt to recruit Lenin to the CPB nationalist camp

Political suicide or managed decline?

July 20 2011

With the sovereign debt contagion spreading, the euro facing existential crisis, the possibility of a US default and gold prices hitting record highs there is a real possibility that capitalism is heading for a further sharp downturn. But, asks Jack Conrad, does Keynesianism offer a way out?

The sigh of the oppressed - part 1

May 25 2011

Jack Conrad examines Marx and Engels and their criticism of passive materialism, theological atheism and religion

The sigh of the oppressed - part 2

May 25 2011

Jack Conrad continues his examination of Marx and Engels and their criticism of passive materialism, theological atheism and religion

Not our solution to their crisis

March 23 2011

The economic crisis is far from over. But does Keynesianism offer a way out? No, argues Jack Conrad. Keynesianism is thoroughly elitist, anti-working class and pro-capitalist

When all the crap began: Supplement Part 1

February 23 2011

Women's oppression, class, organised religion, war, and private property are not natural, writes Jack Conrad

When all the crap began: Supplement Part 2

February 23 2011

Women's oppression, class, organised religion, war, and private property are not natural, writes Jack Conrad

The phases of communism

September 22 2010

Jack Conrad concludes his discussion of the CPGB's Draft programme by looking at socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat

Neoliberal ghosts and the art of brevity

September 15 2010

Jack Conrad answers criticisms of the CPGB's Draft programme in the second of a three-part article

Goldilocks and the communist programme

September 08 2010

In an opening article, Jack Conrad picks out and assesses various criticisms of and alternatives to the CPGB's Draft programme

Royalist nationalism, opposition prophets, and the impact of exile and return

August 04 2010

Jack Conrad concludes his survey of Ancient Israel (supplement III)

Peasant socialism and the persistence of polytheism

July 28 2010

Jack Conrad continues his survey of Ancient Israel in Supplement II

Religion, class struggles, and revolution in ancient Judea

July 21 2010

Jack Conrad examines Ancient Israel (supplement)

Marxism, nature, and proposition one

July 07 2010

Why is the SWP commitment to ecological thinking doubted? Jack Conrad looks at the 'What the Socialist Workers Party stands for' column which appears every week in Socialist Worker

Origins of religion and the human revolution - pt1

December 16 2009

Jack Conrad gives his assessment of some of the main theories and asks what apes can teach us

Origins of religion and the human revolution - pt2

December 16 2009

Jack Conrad gives his assessment of some of the main theories and asks what apes can teach us

Dead Russians

March 11 2009

Jack Conrad defends Lenin and Trotsky, and issues a health warning about Arthur Scargill, George Galloway, Robert Griffiths and others who want to forget, belittle or maintain silence over the crimes of Stalin

What is fascism?

February 06 2008

Is it a matter of principle that communists should attempt to deny organisations of the extreme right a platform? Jack Conrad provides historical background in support of his motion to be put to the February 9 CPGB aggregate

Uses and abuses of Jesus

December 19 2007

Even in the 21st century Jesus is still a much prized figure. In this the second chapter of his new book Jack Conrad shows how Jesus has been used and abused by almost every political persuasion

Past, present and future

December 19 2007

The struggle to equip the working class with a Communist Party has been long, arduous but absolutely necessary. The theme of a talk given by John Bridge at Communist University 2007

Powerful because it coherently explains

December 05 2007

Jack Conrad defends dialectical materialism against positivist critics

A rough guide

November 21 2007

The Campaign for a Marxist Party holds its reconvened conference this weekend. Jack Conrad looks at the main motions, amendments and political issues

Jack Conrad replies

October 24 2007

Tell it like it is

October 03 2007

The CPGB has been much criticised over its willingness to use the enemy's media and its insistence on defending free speech. Jack Conrad explains why communists should stand against censorship and strive to expose opportunism

Sober up or spiral down further into irrationality

September 26 2007

The CMP's national committee clearly lacks legitimacy. Despite that, because of that, it decided to pre-empt our national conference and appoint a Bonapartist chair. A panic measure. John Bridge reports

Beyond the prison walls

September 19 2007

How should communists respond to any upsurge in industrial action? Last month's POA dispute offers some useful lessons. Jack Conrad examines the arguments

Frederick Engels and nature's dialectic

August 29 2007

Sadly Marxism must be defended against some who claim to be Marxists, or at least sympathetic to Marxism. Jack Conrad shows that this is especially the case when it comes to attacks on Frederick Engels and his work on the dialectic of nature

Proposition number one and one-dimensional Marxism

July 04 2007

The SWP leadership has jumped on the 'stop climate change' bandwagon. But, argues Jack Conrad, if they want to be taken seriously the first thing for them to do is to reformulate their proposition one

Ten versus ten

May 09 2007

Jack Conrad offers an alternative to the Socialist Party's method and its programme in the run-up to this Saturday's conference of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party

Space, the final frontier?

March 07 2007

Going to the moon and space travel and are back in the news, writes Jack Conrad. But the left would be daft to fall for the sci-fi hype

The test of 1917

January 03 2007

Did events force Lenin to jettison his 'democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry' formulation after the fall of tsarism? Or was this formulation concretised in the republic of workers', peasants' and soldiers' soviets? Jack Conrad continues his study of the communist programme

Kautsky, Lenin and Trotsky

December 13 2006

What were the differences, strengths and similarities? Jack Conrad investigates

Fantastic reality - Marxism and the politics of religion

December 13 2006

Religion is back with a vengeance. George Bush and the US christian right, holy Tony Blair and Britain's islamophobia, Russia's reinstalled orthodox church and India's saffron communalism, the toxic evangelicalism sweeping Africa and Latin America, Saudi Arabia's puritanical wahhabism and al Qa'eda's terrorism of spectacle, the Iranian theocracy and everywhere, it seems, the escape into the trench warfare of religious identity. But what is religion? In this extract from the introduction to his new book, Jack Conrad shows that the answer is not as straightforward as it might first appear

Permanent revolution and state power

December 06 2006

As Jack Conrad shows, the Marx-Engels theory of permanent revolution does not preclude the workers' party participating in government

Programming the Russian revolution

November 29 2006

Like German social democracy, Bolshevism had a minimum-maximum party programme. It was their DNA. But, asks Jack Conrad, was their programme irretrievably flawed, as argued by Tony Cliff and the SWP?

Our republic

November 22 2006

For too long the left has dismissed minimum-maximum programmes. Jack Conrad argues that as well as shortcomings, gaps and faults there is much that can positively be learnt from them

Programmatic masks and transitional fleas

November 15 2006

Is Leon Trotsky's Transitional programme the last word when it comes to the Marxist programme? Or does it represent regression in Marxist terms? Jack Conrad argues against Trotskyite economism

Programme and its structure

November 08 2006

Why do communists give their programme such importance and go to such pains to develop, guard and enrich it? Jack Conrad begins a short series by examining the background to the CPGB's Draft programme

Climate change and the necessity of communism

November 01 2006

No to market solutions. Jack Conrad explains why capitalism is the problem

Iraq exit strategy

October 25 2006

Iraq shows the limits of US power and underlines the fact that it is in relative decline, says Jack Conrad

The limits of green politics

October 25 2006

Green politics have caught on in a big way. Jack Conrad explores their contours, limitations and contradictions

Benedict XVI and the struggle for Europe

September 20 2006

There is more to the pope's Regensburg speech than a crude attack on islam. Jack Conrad investigates

In revealing company

September 06 2006

Jack Conrad draws parallels between 'proletarian nationalism' and the SSP and Solidarity in Scotland today

The determination of revolution

August 30 2006

Jack Conrad discusses strategy and contrasts Scottish national socialism with the communist demand for national self-determination

British duality and the class struggle

August 09 2006

National consciousness is complex. As Jack Conrad shows, British national consciousness is particularly complex, being at the same time English, Scottish and Welsh. It also involves class and class struggle

Not oppressed but a joint oppressor

August 02 2006

Was Scotland subject to a takeover by England in 1707? Does Scotland suffer from English cultural imperialism? Jack Conrad questions some more left nationalist myths and assumptions

Nationalist myths are not Marxism

July 26 2006

Jack Conrad argues against the Scottish Socialist Party's claim that Scotland is an oppressed nation, an English colony. Prior to the 1707 Act of Union Scotland was not a nation

Defending national socialism is not Marxism

July 19 2006

Jack Conrad begins an extensive reply to Bob Goupillot with an examination of the principle of 'one state, one party' and its history

No future in the past

June 28 2006

Jack Conrad questions the romantic image of prehistory presented by green thinkers

Unity and the SSP

June 21 2006

Is working class unity helped by a separate Scottish Socialist Party and the strategy for an 'independent socialist Scotland'? The following exchange took place recently on the Socialist Alliance internet discussion list between Bob Goupillot - a member of the Republican Communist Network (Scotland), one of the SSP's smaller platforms - and Jack Conrad. Things kicked off when comrade Goupillot defended the SSP after a posting by Jim Gilbert

What should have been done

June 14 2006

Jack Conrad concludes his series of articles on the general strike

Changes and responses

May 31 2006

Climate change is nothing new. Nor can we stop it. What we need, insists Jack Conrad, is a society that can cope with sudden change

Virtues and vices

May 24 2006

Jack Conrad pays tribute to the role of the CPGB in 1926. But as well as heroism there were limitations

A study in bureaucratic inertia

May 17 2006

Jack Conrad shows that, while the Tory government assiduously and ruthlessly prepared for the 1926 general strike, the TUC was content to pass left-sounding resolutions

Days of black and red

May 10 2006

In the second article on the general strike and its turbulent background Jack Conrad looks at the delayed birth of the CPGB and the course of events from black Friday to red Friday

Darker shades of green

April 19 2006

Jack Conrad questions the romantic images presented by green primitives and cautions against the seductive lures of ecofascism

Greenism and neo-Malthusian pseudo-science

April 05 2006

In the first of three articles Jack Conrad argues that the global ecological crisis cannot be explained by crude overpopulation theories. Each social formation has its own laws, including laws of population

Self-determination and the British-Irish

February 15 2006

Jack Conrad argues in defence of thesis 19

Prometheanism and nature

January 18 2006

Technological Prometheanism and capitalism's profit-driven degradation of nature: Jack Conrad puts the case for revolutionary Prometheanism and sustainability

One-dimensional Marxism and proposition one

December 14 2005

Why does the CPGB accuse the Socialist Workers Party of economism? Jack Conrad explains with a look at the 'where we stand column' in Socialist Worker and the comrades' attitude to nature, ecology and global warming

A world to save! A world to win!

November 30 2005

Jack Conrad looks at climate change and the programme that communists should advance

The modern Janus

November 16 2005

Respect purports to have something for everyone. In terms of programme, argues Jack Conrad, that means the attempt face two ways at the same time

Strikingly modern

March 30 2005

On the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto: Jack Conrad of the Communist Party of Great Britain

Economism and the necessity of programme

August 04 2004

Jack Conrad argues that the left is crippled by its flattery of economic struggles - and the constant downplaying of the primacy of the political

Equality and the Euro gravy train

July 28 2004

Peter Mandelson's nomination as Britain's EU commissioner sheds light on the undemocratic nature of the EU. Jack Conrad examines how communists should challenge this institution - to build a truly democratic Europe from below

Respecting programme

February 04 2004

Jack Conrad contrasts the approach of the Bolsheviks to the tawdry attempts at self-justification by the opportunists in Respect

No respect for equality

January 28 2004

Jack Conrad on the refusal of Respect to have its MP's on a workers wage thanks to the SWP

Respect and opportunism

January 21 2004

Despite the failure of the SA the party question has not gone away: it is simply posed anew in the more difficult subjective conditions of Respect, writes Jack Conrad

Mission Earth

January 14 2004

George W Bush is reportedly going to use his 'state of the nation' address on January 28 to announce plans to establish a permanently manned base on the moon some time over the next eight to 15 years, but what about the Earth? Jack Conrad takes apart the lunar madness

Big people and the small state

January 07 2004

Tory leader Michael Howard declares: "I believe the people should be big. That the state should be small." This is a sentiment that authentic Marxists would wholeheartedly concur with, writes Jack Conrad

Bible myths and modern Israel

December 17 2003

Jack Conrad looks at archaeological wars and bible myths

America versus Europe

November 19 2003

George Bush’s four-day state visit to the United Kingdom has provoked a storm of brilliant protests and tells us something about the state of imperialism, says Jack Conrad

United States of Europe - theirs and ours

November 11 2003

Jack Conrad explains the communist vision

Party notes: Royal scandals and platonic republicanism

October 29 2003

Paul Burrell's book 'A royal duty' has unleashed yet another crisis for the beleaguered British Royal family. Jack Conrad comments

Party notes

October 22 2003

Jack Conrad takes a closer look at the new Peace and justice campaign

Party notes: Democratic centralism unites and directs

August 20 2003

Jack Conrad continues the debate on revolutionary organisation following discussion at the CPGB's Communist University

Slogan wars

April 30 2003

Jack Conrad discusses the problems of the left when it comes to opposition to an attack on Iraq

Armchair generals, or Saddam's leftwing allies

March 12 2003

Many on the left entertain an agenda - overt or covert - of defending the Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein. Jack Conrad takes them to task

Stalin's system of terror

March 05 2003

The 50th anniversary of Joseph Stalin's death on March 5 1953 has been used as an occasion to revisit the massive terror he personally ordered and presided over from the late 1920s onwards. Jack Conrad investigates the legacy of 'the man of steel'

The left and the Muslim Association

February 05 2003

Jack Conrad discusses Marxist strategy and tactics

Preparing for power

October 30 2002

In the seventh and concluding article in his series Jack Conrad peers into the future

Dictatorship of the proletariat: Bolshevism versus Kautskyism

October 23 2002

In the sixth part of his series of articles Jack Conrad discusses the debate between Lenin, Trotsky and Kautsky

Proletarian dictatorship as theory and practice

October 16 2002

In the fifth part of his series of articles Jack Conrad discusses the contradictory impact of the October Revolution

Russian means and the dictatorship of the minority

October 09 2002

In the fourth of his series of articles Jack Conrad examines the background to Lenin's use of the word 'dictatorship' and the role played by the Mensheviks

Dictatorship of the proletariat and the Second International

October 02 2002

In the third of his articles discussing peaceful and violent revolution Jack Conrad examines the use of the term 'dictator-ship of the proletariat' after Marx an Engels

Formulation nine and the dictatorship of the proletariat - part two

September 25 2002

Jack Conrad continues his reply to those who have attacked the recently updated 'What we fight for' column as a move to the right

Formulation nine and the possibility of peaceful revolution

September 18 2002

Jack Conrad begins a series on peaceful revolution

Operation Red Flag

May 16 2001

Electorally we are mounting one of the biggest leftwing challenges to the Labour-Tory political establishment ever. Operation Red Flag.

Towards an SA pro-party bloc

March 28 2001

Undoubtedly the Socialist Alliance has moved ahead in leaps and bounds in the couple of years since the Socialist Workers Party made its welcome turn towards elections. True, things began rather badly. The SWP decided to lift its siege mentality and embrace the Socialist Alliance ... but then momentarily and disastrously recoiled from the consequences. Fear conquered audacity.

Sect primitivism and a Socialist Alliance party

March 14 2001

Inevitably the main underlying theme of the Socialist Alliance's March 10 conference concerned the period after the general election. Each and every debate at Birmingham was haunted by its attendant ghost of things to come.

We cannot replace New Labour by becoming old Labour

March 07 2001

Over recent months Weekly Worker reporters and correspondents have repeatedly shown how the Socialist Alliance majority - in particular the Socialist Workers Party - have fallen in behind the separatist agenda of Scottish and Welsh left nationalists. Whereas our main enemy is tightly, effectively and malevolently organised across the whole of the United Kingdom state, we have irresponsibly divided and thereby weakened our fragile and meagre forces. A self-inflicted disunity that will do more than rob us of an all-Britain joint political broadcast. The wound runs far deeper...

Prioritise democracy

February 28 2001

Examining the 'priority pledge' submissions to the Socialist Alliance's March 10 Birmingham conference is sadly instructive. Before us we have on parade economism lined up in neat regimented rows. An army of misguided innocence (see 'Our principles' Weekly Worker February 22).

Rescuing Lenin and Trotsky from 'Trotskyism'

February 07 2001

For the first time since 1920 there is the distinct chance of uniting all serious revolutionaries in Britain in a single organisation and thereby starting the historically necessary process of building a viable mass working class party. The CPGB is absolutely clear, however, that as an aim we are against any and all centrist halfway houses, attempts to revive old Labourism, an artificial Labour Representation Committee, etc.

Vauxhall fightback

January 17 2001

We should not only be protesting against General Motors on January 20. Anger must be focused squarely on the government and UK state. The Luton Vauxhall crisis highlights New Labour's obscene worship of the market and the inhuman values of capital. According to Tony Blair, issues such as the closure of Vauxhall are purely "commercial". His government is therefore committed not to intervene. Blair's government is afraid of jeopardising Britain's reputation - won through Thatcher's assault on trade union rights and power - that this country is dedicated to the accumulation of profit.

Coventry by numbers

October 04 2000

Two unions, three rooms and three trends

Deeper unity not break-ups

September 27 2000

New Labour no longer rides high in opinion polls. Yet tragically there exists no viable, all-United Kingdom, leftwing alternative. It is the Tories who have benefited from discontent and staged something of a mid-term recovery...


September 20 2000

A decade after the self-collapse of bureaucratic socialism in the USSR and eastern Europe the world's big bankers and the pampered representatives of global capital meet over September 26-28. It is the IMF-World Bank's 55th annual conference and is being held in Prague with much fanfare - not least in order to mark the acceptance of the Czech Republic by the 'international community'.

Petrol protests: Jacobin rage

September 13 2000

New Labour confronts its gravest crisis. There can be no doubting the seriousness of the situation triggered by the current wave of protests. Not only have petrol pumps run dry, but the government has assumed emergency powers to ensure deliveries of fuel...

Debunking the myth - part four

July 12 2000

Neil Davidson The origins of Scottish nationhood Pluto Press, London 2000, pp264, pbk, £14.99

Debunking the myth - part three

June 21 2000

Neil Davidson The origins of Scottish nationhood Pluto Press, London 2000, pp264, pbk, £14.99

Debunking the myth - part two

June 07 2000

Neil Davidson The origins of Scottish nationhood Pluto Press, London 2000, pp264, pbk, £14.99

Debunking the myth - part one

May 31 2000

Neil Davidson The origins of Scottish nationhood Pluto Press, London 2000, pp264, pbk, £14.99

Against independence, for a federal republic

February 23 2000

Marxists start their immediate programme not with nations, but the enemy state, says Jack Conrad