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Tariq Ali on New Left Books / Verso

September 8, 2020

This interview between Tariq Ali and Sebastian Budgen on the history of Verso / New Left Books should be of interest to readers.

The first half (it is very long!) has quite a bit about the IMG and the Fourth International.



2020 marks 50 years of radical publishing at Verso Books. Founded by the journal New Left Review in 1970, Verso–named after the term for a left-hand page–began as New Left Books. The fledging imprint sought to invigorate the Anglophone intellectual world with the energy and insight of the best continental philosophy and social theory.

Now, 50 years on, Verso brings you radical voices that challenge capitalism, racism and patriarchy, debate the future of the planet, and offer far-reaching proposals for social and political change.

In this video, Tariq Ali (one of the New Left Review core group that founded New Left Books/Verso), and Verso editor Sebastian Budgen, discuss the history of New Left Books, and the political and intellectual context from which Verso Books developed.

Ernie Tate

August 17, 2020

Via Phil Hearse:

Ernie Tate, who together with his partner Jess Mackenzie was an IMG full-timer in the 1960s and who many comrades may have met, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

It hit him suddenly last week, but he has only a short time to live.

If comrades who know him want to send a message, please get in touch with us for his email address.

Working class insurrection and dual power in Europe

August 7, 2020

Thanks to Phil Ward for supplying us with this long document by Dave Bailey which we have titled:

Working class insurrection and dual power in Europe

Phil writes:

I don’t know what the document was originally called, or its date, though it looks like 1978 from the content.  I also don’t know if it was ever originally circulated, what reception it got (it’s quite critical of Mandel’s concept of dual power), or what happened to Dave Bailey – all of which are interesting questions.
A suitable title might be “Working class insurrection and dual power in Europe”, if the original can’t be found.
Can anyone else shed any light on it?

Nationalisation or Expropriation? Preston IMG

July 17, 2020

Here is an interesting division of labour.

The pamphlet Nationalisation Or Expropriation? was translated by Preston IMG from an original French language pamphlet put out by the Ligue Communiste. It was then printed by Birmingham IMG who added this introduction…



Sexism, Sexuality and Class Struggle- a Bristol IMG pamphlet

July 15, 2020

Here is an interesting pamphlet published by Bristol IMG in the mid-1970s.

Sexism, Sexuality and Class Struggle- Men Reply

IMG Student Commission- Cracking Up…

July 14, 2020

Over the next week or so we have a few slightly obscure or unusual IMG (related) pamphlets lined up for you…

To kick off, as it links to recent posts on students, we have the IMG Student Commission pamphlet Cracking Up- Education Cuts and How To Fight Them.

1975 or thereabouts…

More on IMG Students…

July 13, 2020

Mike P writes:

In relation to the 1976 student special: at the time there were actually two NUS conferences per year, one in December and one at Easter. The December one was eventually abandoned to save money, as the Easter one tended to be the more significant one because it included elections to the executive (they were all in Blackpool I believe at that time).

The one in December 1976 was controversial and prompted the special issue because the NUS Travel commercial subsidiary company among others collapsed a few weeks before and went insolvent, nearly bringing the entire union crashing down with it. To stay afloat the NUS eventually had to sell off its profitable insurance subsidiary Endsleigh Ltd to a Dutch company to pay off the debts of NUS Travel Ltd (Endlsleigh was named after Endsleigh Street in Bloomsbury where the HQ of NUS was at the time – it’s still around owned by A-Plus and still highly profitable for its owners). The NUS came to an arrangement to pick up travel services for its members through the then smaller Irish equivalent travel organisation USIT.

It would be good to find a copy of the Red Weekly pamphlet “NUS Travel collapse – A socialist answer” advertised on the front page – does anyone have it?

[Actually, Mike, we do! Red Weekly pamphlet- NUS Services Crash ]

The main demand I recall of the IMG at the time was the NUS should be calling on the Labour government to nationalise the student travel companies and provide them as a service to students.

The Broad Left leadership of NUS were blamed for mismanagement, as well as being incapable of deciding whether they were running a business or campaigning for student rights – doing both badly. At the same time as the Travel company collapsed there was a wave of occupations around the country following a summer series of occupations of protests about closure/cuts at teacher training colleges. The Essex Uni one just before the NUS Conference is reported on but a few weeks earlier there was one at Oxford Poly where I was a student. That was significant for the IMG because Paul Brooke who was the IMG student organiser that year and put together the student special, had been the Deputy President there before he went to work in Upper Street where the IMG was then based.

I was involved in the Oxford occupation but didn’t get to go to the December 1976 conference and wasn’t in the IMG. But I got elected on a Socialist slate for the next NUS conference, in Easter 1977 where the Travel company was finally resolved by selling the insurance company. It’s hard to believe now, but one of the best organised groups at that conference was the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS), led at the time by a certain Anna Soubry, taking on Sue Slipman then the CPGB President. 4 years later they were both in Social Democratic Party together! Soubry went back to the Tories and became an MP, then went off with Change UK or whatever they were called and lost her seat at Westminster last December.

A leading light in the CPGB and former NUS President wrote a book in 1975 (Student Politics & Higher Education, Digby Jacks, 1975 published by Lawrence & Wishart) that I have a copy of. Amusingly he states (page 78) “At its foundation the NUS established a Travel department which soon acquired a pre-eminence internationally and an esteem amongst the membership which it still maintains (now as NUS Travel Ltd)”. “esteem amongst the membership” didn’t stop it going bust within 12 months of him writing these words!

By 1977 conferences the IMG had launched the Socialist Students Alliance with a range of non-aligned activists and became the largest opposition to the Broad Left on the NUS Executive [The very loud but utterly headbanging and appropriately called “NOISS” pronounced “noise”! were the IS student group later SWP). Several issues of an SSA magazine/paper called “Socialist Student” were published instead which I think you have on the site. The Broad Left was wound up in 1979 in favour of a “Left Alliance” with the Liberal Party students (there’s an article in Spring 1979’s International explaining the demise). By the time of the founding of the SDP in 1981 the student left had moved into the Labour Students organisation NOLS and the CPGB/Broad Left and SSA largely became footnotes in history.

SOCIALIST CHALLENGE insert- The Struggle Against Apartheid

July 11, 2020


This is a two sided, A4 leaflet which was included as an insert in Socialist Challenge no68 19th October 1978…

The Struggle Against Apartheid




Brighton IMG- Readings On Stalinism

July 10, 2020


Brighton IMG- Readings On Stalinism an educational pamphlet.


Pravda Vitesi!

July 9, 2020

pravdaWe previously mentioned Pravda Vitesi! Bulletin of the Committee to Defend Czechoslovak Socialists but now, thanks to Ebay, we have been able to acquire a couple more copies to add to our collection.

So now we have three:

Pravda Vitezi no3 January 1973

Pravda Vitezi no 4 May 1973

Pravda Vitezi no9 Winter 1974

The Bulletin drew support from the New Left, the IMG and IS traditions and critical Communists such as Monty Johnstone. It was chaired by Lawrence Daly and its committee included Christopher Hitchens, Ken Coates, Christopher Harman, Robin Blackburn, Ralph Milliband, Tamara Deutscher…

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