Committee for a Workers' International

The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) is an international association of Trotskyist political parties.

Committee for a Workers' International
Committee for a Workers' International logo.png
Formation21 April 1974
TypeAssociation of Trotskyist political parties
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Region served
CWI Majority - 30 sections Refounded CWI - 13 sections
WebsiteCWI Majority: Refounded CWI:

As the result of a split in 2019 there are two groups claiming to be the CWI, referred to as the "CWI - Majority" and the "CWI (Refounded)".



The founding conference of the CWI was held in London on 20 to 21 April 1974 and attended by supporters of what was then called Militant (or the Militant tendency), from 12 countries including Britain, Ireland and Sweden.[1][2] In the early years of the international, sections generally pursued a policy of entryism into social democratic or labour parties. As such, the CWI was originally secretive because to organise openly risked the expulsion of its sections from the parties in which they were working.

End of entryismEdit

The CWI largely ended its strategy of entryism in the early 1990s. The international developed an analysis that many social democratic parties had fundamentally changed in nature and become outright capitalist parties, their main example being the UK Labour Party. This was strongly resisted by Ted Grant, one of Militant's founders. After a lengthy debate and special conference in 1991 confirmed overwhelmingly the position of the CWI in the England and Wales section, Grant and his supporters sought official faction status within the organisation, which was granted for some time, but later was revoked by the leadership.[3] Ted Grant and his supporters set up a rival office, staff and fundraising, and left Militant to form the International Marxist Tendency.

Since their Open Turn CWI sections have, in a number of countries, stood candidates under their own name. One section has representation in a state parliament, the Socialist Party, which has three TDs in Dáil Éireann in the Republic of Ireland. The CWI also has elected members in a number of regional legislatures or local councils in Sweden; (Germany) (members of The Left); Pakistan; Sri Lanka; and the United States, where Socialist Alternative elected Kshama Sawant to Seattle City Council in 2013 and again in 2015.[4] In the 2005 Sri Lankan presidential elections the CWI affiliate, the United Socialist Party, came third (with 0.4%).[5]

Supporters of the CWI launched a youth organisation, International Socialist Resistance, in 2001.[6]

New mass workers' partiesEdit

CWI members played a leading role in founding the Scottish Socialist Party. However, the SSP broke with the CWI in 1999, with a minority of members loyal to the CWI establishing the International Socialists. When Tommy Sheridan resigned from the SSP in 2006 and established a new party in Scotland, Solidarity, the International Socialists joined in conjunction with the Socialist Workers Party.

CWI members stood as National Conscience Party candidates in the 2003 Nigerian legislative elections, winning 0.51% of the national vote. In Germany CWI members have been active in the new WASG since its foundation in 2004 and in December 2005 were elected part of the new leadership of its Berlin district that ran candidates on a clear anti-cuts programme in the 2006 Berlin regional election, gaining 3.1% and several borough council seats, but the Berlin WASG later merged into Die Linke. In Brazil, CWI members helped found the P-SOL Socialism and Liberty Party after left wing parliamentarians were expelled from the PT.

In the 2011 Irish general election the CWI's Irish affiliate, the Socialist Party won two seats in the Dáil as a part of the wider left group, the United Left Alliance which won five seats in total in Dáil Éireann.[7] However, one of the elected members of the Socialist Party has since left the party to continue as an independent.[8] In the by-election in Dublin West in 2014, the Socialist Party gained a second seat in the Dáil again, and a third seat in the 2014 Dublin South-West by-election as part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.


In 2019, the CWI split four ways. The leading body of the CWI is the World Congress, which elects an International Executive Committee (IEC) to govern between congresses. The IEC then appoints 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. [9] 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.[10][11]

The faction's leadership was concentrated in the Socialist Party (England and Wales), 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 membership. Most of the IEC, and most of the CWI's national sections, encompassing a majority of the International's membership, stood in opposition to the faction.

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. They then held a separate conference in July 2019, open only to CWI members who supported the faction, and asserted that they had 'dissolved and refounded' the CWI.[12][13][14] 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”."[11]

In September 2019, a minority faction of the South African section, the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), left the CWI and formed the Marxist Workers Party in support of the Refounded CWI.[15] The remainder of the WASP declared itself for the CWI Majority.[16] 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.[17]

The CWI Majority has a presence in 35 countries, making up the majority of the CWI.[11] The Refounded CWI claims to have sections in 11 countries.[18]

A further split occurred in Ireland in September 2019 when TD Paul Murphy left the Socialist Party and set up a new group known as RISE which is affiliated to neither the CWI Majority or the Refounded CWI, nor specifically espouses Trotskyism[19].



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


Section Name English Translation Alignment
  Australia Socialist Action (formerly the Socialist Party) CWI Majority[23]
  • Sozialistische LinksPartei
  • Sozialistische Offensive
  • Socialist Left Party
  • Socialist Offensive
  • CWI Majority[23]
  • Refounded CWI[18]
  •   Belgium Linkse Socialistische Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte Left Socialist Party / Socialist Party of Struggle CWI Majority[23]
      Brazil Liberdade, Socialismo e Revolução Freedom, Socialism and Revolution CWI Majority[23]
      Canada Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Chile Socialismo Revolucionario Revolutionary Socialism Refounded CWI[18]
      China 中国劳工论坛

    Zhōngguó Láogōng Lùntán

    China Worker Forum CWI Majority[23]
        Cyprus Νέα Διεθνιστική Αριστερά / Yeni Enternasyonalist Sol

    Nea Diethnistike Aristera

    New Internationalist Left CWI Majority[23]
      Czech Republic Socialistická alternativa Budoucnost Socialist Alternative Future CWI Majority[23]
      England and   Wales
  • Socialist Alternative [CWI Majority]
  • Socialist Party [Refounded CWI]
  • A majority supported the founding of the Refounded CWI, the minority founded Socialist Alternative and joined the CWI Majority[18][24]
      France Gauche révolutionnaire Revolutionary Left Refounded CWI[18]
  • Sozialistische Alternative (SAV) [CWI Majority]
  • Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität - (Sol) [Refounded CWI][17]
  • Socialist Alternative
  • Socialist Organisation Solidarity
  • A majority of SAV voted at a party conference to support the CWI Majority. The minority formed a new group called Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität (Sol) and joined the Refounded CWI[17][18]
      Greece Ξεκίνημα


    Start CWI Majority[23]
      Hong Kong 社會主義行動

    Sekuizyuji Haangdung

    Socialist Action CWI Majority[23]
      India New Socialist Alternative Refounded CWI[18]
        Ireland Socialist Party / Páirtí Sóisialach CWI Majority[23]
      Israel and   Palestine حركة النضال الاشتراكي / מאבק סוציאליסטי

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

    Socialist Struggle CWI Majority[23]
      Italy Resistenze Internazionali International Resistance CWI Majority[23]
      Ivory Coast Militant Côte d'Ivoire Militant Ivory Coast CWI Majority[23]
      Malaysia Sosialis Alternatif Socialist Alternative Refounded CWI[18]
      Mexico Aternativa Socialista México Socialist Alternative Mexico CWI Majority[23]
      Netherlands Socialistisch Alternatief Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Nigeria Democratic Socialist Movement
      Poland Alternatywa Socjalistyczna Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Quebec Alternative socialiste Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Romania Mâna de Lucru Hand of Labour CWI Majority[23]
      Russia Социалистическая Альтернатива

    Socialisticheskaya Alternativa

    Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Scotland Socialist Party Scotland Refounded CWI[18]
      South Africa
  • Workers and Socialist Party (WASP)
  • Marxist Workers Party[15]
  • CWI Majority[16]
  • Refounded CWI[15][18]
  •   Spain Socialismo Revolucionario Revolutionary Socialism CWI Majority[25]
      Sri Lanka එක්සත් සමාජවාදි පකෂය / ஐக்கிய சோசலிச கட்சி

    Eksath Samajavadi Pakshaya / Aikkiy Cōcalic Kaṭci

    United Socialist Party Refounded CWI[18]
      Sudan البديل الاشتراكي

    al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

    Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Sweden Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Socialist Justice Party CWI Majority[23]
      Taiwan 國際社會主義前進

    Guójì Shèhuì Zhǔyì Qiánjìn

    International Socialist Forward CWI Majority[23]
      Tunisia البديل الاشتراكي

    al-Badil al-Ishtiraki

    Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Turkey Sosyalist Alternatif Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      United States Socialist Alternative CWI Majority[23]
      Vietnam(illegal) Quốc tế xã hội cần lao Chuuniotaku International Socialist Workers CWI Majority[23]

    Associated organisationsEdit

    See alsoEdit


    1. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p. 67
    2. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p.52
    3. ^ The 'Open Turn' debate. Retrieved 17 July 2014
    4. ^ "King County Elections" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2017.
    5. ^ United Socialist Party (CWI) comes third in presidential election Archived 10 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 17 August 2007
    6. ^ 500+ at Brussels ISR conference Archived 22 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 17 July 2014
    7. ^ Elections Ireland: 31st Dáil. Retrieved 17 July 2014
    8. ^
    9. ^
    10. ^
    11. ^ a b c "CWI Majority Declaration". 2 September 2019.
    12. ^ Koritz, Joshua. "Bureaucratic Coup Will Not Stop CWI Majority from Building a Strong Revolutionary Socialist International! | Socialist Alternative". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
    13. ^ Sell, Hannah. "Britain: Socialist Party conference overwhelmingly supports refounding CWI". Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
    14. ^ "Taaffe expels his majority – Weekly Worker". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
    15. ^ a b c
    16. ^ a b
    17. ^ a b c
    18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k
    19. ^ McGee, Harry. "Paul Murphy sets up new political group called Rise". The Irish Times. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
    20. ^ Taaffe, P. 2004. A Socialist World is Possible. CWI Publications & Socialist Books, p.51
    21. ^ Building the socialist alternative around the world,, 27 December 2002.
    22. ^ Thesis for the International Executive Committee (IEC) of the CWI 2013,, 22 November 2013.
    23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa
    24. ^
    25. ^

    External linksEdit

    CWI Majority:

    Refounded CWI: