Marxist Writers: Tony Cliff

Marxists’ Internet Archive

Tony Cliff


“Intellectual toughness does not mean dogmatism; grasping a changing reality does not mean vagueness. Our criticism of orthodox Trotskyism was conceived as a return to classical Marxism.” – Trotskyism after Trotsky

Tony Cliff in action


Born in Palestine to Zionist parents in 1917, Ygael Gluckstein became a Trotskyist during the 1930s and played a leading role in the attempt to forge a movement uniting Arab and Jewish workers. At the end of of the Second World war, seeing that the victory of the Zionists was more and more inevitable, he moved to Britain and adopted the pseudonym Tony Cliff.

In the late 1940s he developed the theory that Russia wasn’t a workers’ state but a form of bureaucratic state capitalism, a theory which has characterised the tendency with which he was associated for the remaining five decades of his life. Although he broke from “orthodox Trotskyism” after being bureaucratically excluded from the Fourth International in 1950, he always considered himself to be a Trotskyist although he was also open to other influences within the Marxist tradition.

His political legacy is embodied in the British Socialist Workers Party and its sister organisations in the International Socialist Tendency.

Obituaries & Biographical Notes


The Present Agrarian Crisis in Egypt, 1935 (as Y. Gluckstein)

British Policy in Palestine, October 1938 (as L. Rock)

The Jewish-Arab Conflict, November 1938 (as L. Rock)

Class Politics in Palestine, June 1939 (as L. Rock)

Managerial Revolution, 1943 (as Y. Tsur)

Middle East at the Crossroads, 1945/1946

Industry and Banking in Egypt, 1946 (extract from book, unpublished at the time)

The Problem of the Middle East – Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, 1946 (first published in MIA)

Arabs and Jews Display Solidarity as Strike Wave Sweeps Palestine, April 1946

Important Lessons of Strike Wave in Palestine, April 1946

Palestine Strike: Arabs and Jews Unite, May 1946

A New British Provocation in Palestine, 8 July 1946

Workers in Egypt Battle Repression, 10 August 1946

Egypt’s Fight for Freedom Headed by New Leadership, 17 August 1946

On the Irresponsible Handling of the Palestine Question, December 1946

Terrorism in Palestine: Are the Terrorists Anti-Imperialist?, December 1946

The World Struggle for Oil, January 1947

Conflict in India, January/February 1947

Some Features of Capitalist Economy in the Colonies, April 1947

All that Glitters is not Gold, September 1947

The United States in the World Economy, October 1947

The Nature of Stalinist Russia, 1948 (book)

The Theory of Bureaucratic Collectivism: A Critique, 1948

The Franc Devaluation, February 1948

The Class Nature of the “People’s Democracies”, July 1950

Theoretical Bankruptcy and Political Dishonesty, July 1950

The Struggle of the Powers, November 1950 (as R. Tennant)

Britain and Egypt, November 1951 (as C. Tariq)

Stalin’s Satellites in Europe, 1952 (book) (as Ygael Gluckstein)

What Lies Behind Malenkov’s Moves?, May 1953 (as L. Turov)

Puerto Rico, April 1954 (as L. Miguel)

State Capitalism in Russia, 1955 (book)

Russia From Stalin To Khrushchev, 1956 (pamphlet)

Plekhanov: the Father of Russian Marxism, January 1957

Mao Tse-Tung and Stalinism, April 1957

Perspectives of the Permanent War Economy, May 1957

The Economic Roots of Reformism, June 1957

Changes in Stalinist Russia, Summer 1958

Background to the French crisis, June 1958

Background to Hungary, July 1958

Background to Middle East crisis, August 1958

Rosa Luxemburg (book), 1959

China: the Hundred Flowers Wilt, May 1959

The Chinese People’s Communes, Spring 1960

Russian organization man, Autumn 1960 (book review) (as Max Turov)

Trotsky on Substitutionism, Autumn 1960

The Truth about Hiroshima, November 1960

Ephemeral flora, Winter 1960/61 (book review)

On the line, Winter 1960/61 (book review) (as M. Turov)

The Belgian General Strike, February 1961

Belgium: Strike to Revolution?, Spring 1961

China, Summer 1961 (book review) (as M. Turov)

Regroupment, Summer 1961 (book review)

Bureaucracy, Autumn 1961 (book review)

The 22nd Congress, November 1961

The Divide, Winter 1961 (book review)

Soviet Studies, Winter 1961 (book review)

The Decline of the Chinese Communes, Spring 1962

The Labour Party in Perspective, Summer 1962

Peron, Summer 1962 (book review)

Sovietology, Summer 1962 (book review)

Kremlinology, Winter 1962 (book review)

Deflected Permanent Revolution, Spring 1963

China-Russia – The monolith cracks, Autumn 1963

The End of the Road: Deutscher’s Capitulation to Stalinism, Winter 1963

Kremlinology, Winter 1963 (book review)

1925-7, Winter 1963 (book review) (as M. Turov)

Russia: a Marxist Analysis, 1964 (book)

Catalogue, Summer 1964 (book review) (as Y. Sakhry)

Little Profit, Summer 1964 (book review) (as M. Turov)

Splits, Summer 1964 (book review)

Useful Placidities, Summer 1964 (book review)

Facts, Autumn 1964 (book review)

Inadequate, Autumn 1964 (book review) (as M. Turov)

Slaves, Autumn 1964 (book review) (as R. Tennant)

Marxism and the collectivisation of agriculture, Winter 1964/65

Barton is Best, Summer 1965 (as R. Tennant)

Change of Sign, Summer 1965

Figures of Fun, Summer 1965

How to Grow?, Summer 1965 (as M. Turov)

Introduction [to an Extract from Mass Strike, Party & Trade Union], Summer 1965

Incomes Policy, Legislation and Shop Stewards, 1966 (pamphlet) (with Colin Barker)

Labour’s Addiction to the Rubber Stamp, January 1967

Mao and the Workers, April 1967

Revolutionary traditions, April 1967

Crisis in China, Summer 1967

Notes on Democratic Centralism, June 1968

France – the Struggle Goes On, August 1968 (pamphlet) (with Ian Birchall)

Rosa Luxemburg, 1969 (book) (revised edition)

On Perspectives, April/May 1969

Introduction to Whither China, June 1969

The Employers’ Offensive, 1970

Nothing so Romantic, June 1970

On Perspectives: The Class Struggle in Britain, 1971

The Bureaucracy Today, June/July 1971

From Marxist Circle to Agitation, July 1972

After Pentonville: The battle is won but the war goes on, August 1972

1972: A Great Year for the Workers, January 1973

Lenin and the Revolutionary Party, May 1973

Factory branches, September 1973

Not by politics alone: the other Lenin, October 1973 (book review)

Lenin: His Ideas are the future, February 1974

Lenin’s Pravda, March 1974

The Use of Socialist Worker as an Organiser, April 1974

Portugal: Lessons for the Revolution, June 1974

The Great Incomes Policy Con-Trick, December 1974

Lenin (Vol. 1): Building the party, 1975 (book)

Lenin’s central committee, January 1975

Portugal at the Crossroads, September 1975 (pamphlet)

Portugal: The Lessons of the 25th November, December 1975

Lenin (Vol. 2): All Power to the Soviets, 1976 (book)

Portugal: The Last Three Months, March 1976 (with Robin Peterson)

Why we need a socialist workers party, January 1977

Portugal at the impasse, February 1977

Lenin (Vol. 3): Revolution Besieged, 1978 (book)

Where do we go from here?, April 1978 (interview)

Why socialists must support gays, August 1978

Ten Years On, May 1979

The Balance of Class Forces in Recent Years, Autumn 1979

The Right to Work: A New Stage?, October 1980

T is for Trotsky the hero, January 1981

The last stand that failed, April 1981

Clara Zetkin and the German Socialist Feminist Movement, Summer 1981

Alexandra Kollontai – Russian Marxists and Women Workers, Autumn 1981

Roots of Israel’s violence, April 1982

Building in the downturn, April 1983

Prologue to an upturn, June 1983

The charge of the right brigade, October 1983

Class struggle and women’s liberation, 1984 (book)

Miners after three months – a crisis of leadership, June 1984

1905, January 1985

In defence of Lenin, May 1985

Patterns of mass strike, Summer 1985

Marxism and Trade Union Struggle: The General Strike of 1926, 1986 (book) (with Donny Gluckstein)

The tragedy of A.J. Cook, Spring 1986

Unclear pictures, March 1986

The state of the struggle today, April 1986

Stafford Cripps – Another tale of betrayal, June 1986

The working class and the oppressed, September 1987

Where are the workers?, October 1987 (letter)

In fighting mood, March 1988

Dark clouds and silver linings, October 1988

The Labour Party: A Marxist History, October 1988 (book) (with Donny Gluckstein)

Trotsky (Vol. 1): Towards October 1879–1917, 1989 (book)

First stirrings, June 1989

Building for the Future, December 1989

Earthquake in the East, December 1989

Trotsky (Vol. 2): The Sword of the Revolution 1917–1923, 1990 (book)

The revolution changed to a sword the pen of its best publicist, July 1990

The struggle in the Middle East, October 1990

Trotsky (Vol. 3): Fighting the Rising Stalinist Bureaucracy 1923–1927, 1991 (book)

Balance of powerlessness, September 1991

The prospects for socialists, Summer 1992 (interview conducted by Lindsey German & Peter Morgan)

Class struggle in the 90s, July 1992

Trotsky (Vol. 4): The darker the night the brighter the star 1927–1940, 1991 (book)

Shape the future, January 1993

In the balance, February 1995

Engels, July 1996

Labour’s crisis and the revolutionary alternative, November 1996

50 Years of the International Socialist Tradition, Summer 1997

Change is going to come: but how?, June 1997

The Jews, Israel and the Holocaust, May 1998

The test of time, July 1998

Revolution and counter-revolution: lessons for Indonesia, September 1998

Trotskyism after Trotsky, 1999 (book)

Marxism at the millennium, 2000 (book)

A World to Win: Life of a Revolutionary, 2000 (book)

Further reading:

Reform or Revolution?, Rosa Luxemburg, 1900
What is to be done?, Vladimir Lenin, 1902
Results & Prospects, Leon Trotsky, 1906
The Mass Strike, Rosa Luxemburg, 1906
The Junius Pamphlet, Rosa Luxemburg, 1915
Imperialism, Vladimir Lenin, 1916
State & Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, 1917
“Left-wing” Communism, Vladimir Lenin, 1920
The History of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky, 1930
The Revolution Betrayed, Leon Trotsky, 1936

Updated on 28 August 2023