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International Socialist Alternative

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International Socialist Alternative
Formation21 April 1974 (1974-04-21) (as Committee for a Workers' International)
1 February 2020 (as International Socialist Alternative)
TypeAssociation of Trotskyist political parties
HeadquartersHovenierstraat 45,
1080 Molenbeek,
Brussels, Belgium
Region served
30 sections
LeaderCollective leadership

International Socialist Alternative is an international association of Trotskyist political parties.

The group was founded in 1974 as the Committee for a Workers' International, by supporters of Militant from 12 countries.[1] In August 2019, a faction left and formed a separate organisation called the "refounded CWI". After initially calling themselves the "CWI Majority", the remaining group relaunched under the name International Socialist Alternative in February 2020. The ISA has groups in 30 countries.


The CWI split

In 2018 and 2019, a dispute developed in the organization around the questions of socialists being part of feminist and LGBT movements,[2][3] the role of the trade unions and the working-class movement, and under what programme and how Marxists ought to organize internationally and domestically. This ultimately led to a split. The dispute divided the leading bodies of the CWI with International Secretariat and International Executive Committee taking conflicting positions.

One group, which had founded the “In Defence of a Working Class and Trotskyist CWI” (IDWCTCWI) faction in November 2018 in support of the CWI's International Secretariat, declared in July 2019 that they were dissolving the CWI and that they were the refounded CWI.[4][5]

The majority of the organisation, in support of the majority of the CWI's International Executive Committee, continued to operate, and renamed itself International Socialist Alternative on 1 February 2020, to distinguish themselves from the faction which had split and taken that name.[6][7]


The dispute was sparked in 2018 around what the CWI's International Secretariat described as a watering down of the Socialist Programme of its Irish section and the tendency of its leaders to see "all struggles through the prism of the women’s movement, rather than seeing how it interconnects with other struggles".[8] At the time of initial split in August 2019 the Irish section was one of the few sections of the CWI to have had any success in electoral politics. It had 3 elected Members of Dáil Éireann. The February 2020 election saw the loss of one of those seats. Another Socialist Party TD left the Party during the course of the dispute.[9] This resulted in the Irish section of the ISA having one TD in the new Dáil term.

In 2019, the CWI split. The leading body of the CWI is the World Congress, which elected an International Executive Committee (IEC) to govern between congresses. The IEC then appointed an International Secretariat (IS) which is responsible for the day-to-day work of the International. The majority of the IS founded a faction called “In Defence of a Working Class and Trotskyist CWI” (IDWCTCWI) in November 2018 at an IEC meeting, in opposition to the rest of the IEC. This faction held criticisms of a number of national sections of the CWI. The majority of the IEC disagreed with the faction's criticisms, and took issue with the methods used by faction members to conduct the debate, which included talk of expelling one of the sections the faction was criticising.

The majority of the Spanish, Venezuelan, Mexican, and Portuguese sections, the first three of which had joined the CWI in 2017 after leaving the International Marxist Tendency, initially supported the IS faction but in April 2019 split with them and then left the CWI altogether to form their own international tendency, International Revolutionary Left.[10] In Spain, a minority which supported the CWI Majority reconstituted themselves as Socialismo Revolucionario, which has been the CWI's section in Spain prior to its 2017 merger with Izquierda Revolucionaria. A minority in Mexico and Portugal also remained in the CWI and supported the CWI Majority.[11][12]

The faction's leadership was concentrated in the Socialist Party (England and Wales), which was the largest section of the CWI, as a number of members served on both the leading body of the England & Wales section and on the IS, including its general secretary, Peter Taaffe. The faction attracted support from an overall minority of the CWI's national sections. Most of the IEC, and most of the CWI's national sections, stood in opposition to the faction. But both the Faction, and its opponents claimed a majority of the individual members.

The IEC outlined a process of discussion and debate to avoid a split, leading to a World Congress in January 2020, the highest decision-making body of the CWI. The Taaffe-led IS faction initially agreed, then withdrew their participation from the committee charged with organizing the debate, and declared they would not participate in the IEC or the World Congress. A Special Conference of the Socialist Party of England and Wales voted by a margin of 173 – 35 to support the Faction and sponsor the International Faction conference. This conference was held in July 2019, open only to CWI members who supported the faction, and asserted that they had 'dissolved and refounded' the CWI.[6][4][5] The majority of the CWI continued operating and held an IEC meeting in August 2019, and declared they will "provisionally organize the renewed international organization with the name “CWI – Majority”."[12]

In September 2019, a minority faction of the South African section, the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), left WASP and formed the Marxist Workers Party in support of the Refounded CWI.[13] The remainder of the WASP declared itself for the CWI Majority.[14] The same month, a majority of the German section voted by a 2 to 1 margin to support the CWI Majority. The minority faction formed a new organisation, Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität – (Sol), supporting the Refounded CWI.[15]

In June 2020 a group of members of the DSM (the CWI section in Nigeria) announced that they were leaving the CWI to form the Movement for a Socialist Alternative, affiliated to ISA.[16]

The CWI Majority/ISA claims a presence in 32 countries, making up the majority of the CWI.[12] The Refounded CWI claims to have sections in 11 countries.[17][18]

At the CWI Majority World Congress on 1 February 2020, the name of the organisation was changed to International Socialist Alternative.[7]

The ISA has published their perspectives on the split.[19] The CWI has also published the main documents from the debate leading up to the split.[20][21]

Splits and disaffiliation

In March 2021, the majority of International Socialist Forward, the former Taiwanese branch of China-Hong Kong-Taiwan section, publicly declared a split from the China-Hong Kong-Taiwan section, and the ISA organization.[22] The reasons cited included a disagreement in the approach to use of online media, and a turn toward Taiwanese nationalism by International Socialist Forward.

In March 2021, Socialist Action in Australia split from ISA after ISA objected to their treatment of the victim in a sexual assault case.

On 24 June 2021, Xekinima, the Greek section, along with the sections in Cyprus and Turkey, declared disaffiliation from ISA. Reasons included a disagreement on perspectives regarding neoliberalism, disagreement with the ISA adopting a code of conduct on sexual harassment, disagreement with the ISA's objection to victim-blaming in Socialist Action in Australia[citation needed], and a related disagreement with the ISA having an international focus rather than being a federation of national sections left to operate on their own.[23]

On the same day the majority of Socialismo Revolucionario the Spanish section, citing the alleged autocratic handling of the section announced their decision to break with ISA.[24]

These organisations later published the rationale for their split, including the many documents relating to their debate with the ISA majority on their website.[25]

2024 Abuse allegations

In April 2024, the Irish Section of ISA published a statement accusing the leadership of ISA of mishandling of abuse allegations against a then leading member of ISA. The accused the international leadership of procedural errors, lack of transparency, and delay in accountability. The statement claimed that: "In this case, the survivor’s testimony was effectively discounted, and the person accused kept in membership. Not only is this unacceptable; it is diametrically opposed to the socialist feminist approach that all sections of ISA had previously committed to embody." They announced the formation of a Faction to Defend Safeguarding, Socialist Feminism and Internal Democracy (SSFID) [26]

The ISA Executive has responded to these allegations: [27]

International campaigns

In addition to the work carried out across its various national sections, the ISA also runs three international campaigns.


The international socialist feminist campaign named after Rosa Luxemburg and Rosa Parks aims to build the socialist-feminist wing of the Labour movement. It claims that fighting all forms of misogyny and sexism is linked to the fight for rent control and public housing; the fight for decent and equal pay; the climate justice movement; and fighting racism, transphobia & the far-right. And that socialist feminism means breaking with establishment feminism that seeks to feminise the capitalist elite.[28] 25 November is the International Day Against Violence Against Women. Rosa marked it with demonstrations in a number of cities [29][30] In Taiwan the occasion was marked by an ISA demonstration in support of Peng Shuai. Peng's whereabouts and safety have become a matter of international concern after she early this month disappeared after she accused former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual abuse.[31][32]

System Change, Not Climate Change — Fight For A Socialist Alternative

The campaign insists that it is capitalism which is destroying the planet so what is needed is large scale, system changes — otherwise the effects of global warming will be out of control.[33] At the COP-26 conference in Glasgow ISA organised a lively contingent on the demonstration.[34] spokesperson Danny Said "We need to make sure that COP26 can hear the voice of the working class” [35]

Stop repression in Hong Kong

As part of the current subversion trial the Chinese regime has rounded up almost the entire crop of opposition leaders and proposed candidates, from across the spectrum of anti-government politics, including trade unionists, pro-Western liberals and localists (a Hong Kong nationalist movement). Among them are former legislators like ‘Long Hair’ who was elected five times to the now sidelined Legislative Council (Legco).[36] The campaign claims "the best support for the democracy struggle will come from inspiring grassroots solidarity — from labour, social and civil rights movements who are fighting on behalf of the oppressed and disenfranchised in their own societies. To fight repression and authoritarian rule in Hong Kong — and China — we need people’s solidarity across national borders."[37]



World Congress
Deliberative organ
International Committee
Executive organ
International Executive
Administrative organ
  • Held every 3 to 5 years;
  • Attended by delegates from ISA's national sections;
  • Responsible for establishing the international's programme and policies;
  • Grants recognition of new sympathising sections;
  • Elects the International Committee.
  • Composed of members from across ISA elected at the world congress;
  • Responsible for ISA's policies in between congresses;
  • Elects the International Executive.
  • Conducts the day-to-day work of ISA;
  • Responsible for carrying out the directives of the IC, to which it is accountable;
  • Prepares documents and reports for review and approval at IC meetings.


Section Name English Translation Website
Australia ISA Australia
Austria Internationale Sozialistische Alternative International Socialist Alternative
Belgium Linkse Socialistische Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte Left Socialist Party – Socialist Party of Struggle
Brazil Liberdade, Socialismo e Revolução Freedom, Socialism and Revolution
Canada Socialist Alternative
China 中国劳工论坛[41]

Zhōngguó Láogōng Lùntán

China Worker Forum
Czech Republic Socialistická alternativa Budoucnost Socialist Alternative Future
England, Wales Socialist Alternative
Finland Sosialistinen Vaihtoehto Socialist Alternative
Germany Sozialistische Alternative (SAV) Socialist Alternative
Hong Kong 社會主義行動[41]

Sewuizyuji Haangdung

Socialist Action
Indonesia Socialis Action[42] Socialist Action
Ireland Socialist Party / Páirtí Sóisialach
Italy Resistenze Internazionali International Resistance
Ivory Coast Militant Côte d'Ivoire Militant Ivory Coast
Mexico Alternativa Socialista México Socialist Alternative Mexico
Netherlands Socialistisch Alternatief Socialist Alternative
Nigeria Movement for a Socialist Alternative[43]
Norway ISA Noreg / ISA Norge ISA Norway
Palestine/Israel حركة النضال الاشتراكي / מאבק סוציאליסטי

Ma'avak Sotzialisti / Harakat a-Nidal al-Ishtiraki

Socialist Struggle

Poland Alternatywa Socjalistyczna Socialist Alternative
Quebec Alternative socialiste Socialist Alternative
Romania Mâna de Lucru Hand of Labour
Russia Социалистическая Альтернатива

Socialisticheskaya Alternativa

Socialist Alternative
Scotland International Socialist Alternative Scotland
South Africa Workers and Socialist Party (WASP)
Spain Alternativa Socialista Socialist Alternative
Sudan البديل الاشتراكي

al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

Socialist Alternative
Sweden Socialistiskt Alternativ Socialist Alternative
Taiwan 國際社會主義道路 (臺灣)[41]

Guójì Shèhuì Zhǔyì Dàolù Táiwān

International Socialist Alternative Taiwan
Tunisia البديل الاشتراكي

al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

Socialist Alternative
United States Socialist Alternative

Associated organisations

See also


  1. ^ "Foundation – 1974".
  2. ^ "Socialist Party documents illustrate criticism from international comrades". The Irish Times. Irish Times
  3. ^ Sell, Hannah; secretary, Socialist Party deputy general (29 February 2020). "Socialists debate identity politics -". Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Sell, Hannah. "Britain: Socialist Party conference overwhelmingly supports refounding CWI". Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Taaffe expels his majority – Weekly Worker". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b Koritz, Joshua (26 July 2019). "Bureaucratic Coup Will Not Stop CWI Majority from Building a Strong Revolutionary Socialist International! | Socialist Alternative". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  7. ^ a b Alternative, International Socialist (4 February 2020). "Announcement || Welcome to Our New Website!". International Socialist Alternative.
  8. ^ Editor, Fiach Kelly Deputy Political. "Socialist Party documents illustrate criticism from international comrades". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 March 2020. ((cite news)): |last= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ McGee, Harry. "Paul Murphy leaves Socialist Party to launch new group". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  10. ^ Left, Revolutionary (29 July 2019). "Founding Congress of the International Revolutionary Left". Izquierda Revolucionaria.
  11. ^ correspondent, Jorge Martin and special (5 April 2019). "CWI faction fight: Spanish section walks out". In Defence of Marxism.
  12. ^ a b c "CWI Majority Declaration". 2 September 2019.
  13. ^ "The Founding of the Marxist Workers Party". Archived from the original on 7 November 2019.
  14. ^ "The Workers and Socialist Party remains a force for working class unity". 7 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Der Kampf für Sozialismus geht weiter". Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität. 8 September 2019.
  16. ^ Alternative, International Socialist (16 June 2020). "Nigeria || Introducing Movement for a Socialist Alternative". International Socialist Alternative. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  17. ^ "CWI-Worldwide |".
  18. ^ "A new chapter for revolutionary socialism in Britain". Archived from the original on 8 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Continuing the Fight for International Socialism". International Socialist Alternative. 24 October 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  20. ^ "In Defence of Trotskyism – the documents –". Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  21. ^ In Defence of Trotskyism. London: CWI. 2019. ISBN 978-1870958882.
  22. ^ "國際社會主義前進多數派公開聲明". 國際社會主義前進 International Socialist Forward (in Chinese). 6 March 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  23. ^ "Why we disaffiliate from the ISA – Open letter by the ISA sections in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus". Xekinima. 24 June 2021. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  24. ^ "Statement – Socialismo Revolucionario majority leave ISA" (in European Spanish). 26 June 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  25. ^ "Crisis in the ISA". Internationalist Standpoint. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  26. ^ "A crisis in International Socialist Alternative (ISA)". Socialist Party. 18 April 2024.
  27. ^ "Addressing Questions on a Safeguarding Case". ISA. 18 April 2024.
  28. ^ "ABOUT". ROSAInternational. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  29. ^ "Journée contre les violences faites aux femmes – Mobilisations de la campagne ROSA sur les violences faites aux femmes au c?ur des villes". DH Les Sports + (in French). Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  30. ^ "VZW Rosa organiseert actie tegen geweld op vrouwen op de Oude Markt in Leuven". ROB-tv – Regionale Omroep Brabant (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  31. ^ "Calling for clarity – Taipei Times". 29 November 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  32. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "彭帥事件發酵 台灣民團聲援|中央社影音新聞". YouTube.
  33. ^ "System Change, Not Climate Change — Fight For A Socialist Alternative". International Socialist Alternative. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  34. ^ "COP26: Up to 100,000 protesters gather in Glasgow Green but Greta 'cancels' | The Scotsman". The Scotsman. 6 November 2021.
  35. ^ "氣候大遊行登場 民眾痛批英首相「偽君子」 | 國際焦點 | 國際".
  36. ^ "Solidarity || Hong Kong "Subversion" Trial — International Protests on 31 May". International Socialist Alternative. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  37. ^ "Solidarity Against Repression In China & HK". International Socialist Alternative. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  38. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p.51
  39. ^ Building the socialist alternative around the world,, 27 December 2002.
  40. ^ Thesis for the International Executive Committee (IEC) of the CWI 2013,, 22 November 2013.
  41. ^ a b c Part of the section China, Hong Kong, Taiwan
  42. ^ Website run by the Hong Kong group
  43. ^ "Nigeria || Introducing Movement for a Socialist Alternative". 16 June 2020.
  44. ^ ROSA International Socialist Feminist
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International Socialist Alternative
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