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14507Re: Demise of the English Socialist Alliance

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  • nigel_irritable
    Mar 1, 2005
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      --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "dave_r_riley"
      <dhell2@o...> wrote:
      > i fear this says it all, brian

      Good. I wouldn't want there to be any misunderstandings. I remain
      absolutely convinced that there a socialist transformation of
      society can only be carried through with the assistance of a mass
      revolutionary party.

      > the comrades of
      > the ISM ( the ex CWI current within the SSP)achieved that despite
      > OPPOSITION from the CWI/Militant (ie: your outfit) and in the
      > absence of SUPPORT from the SWP(which joined the Scottish project
      > late then left only to rejoin it later on and has always been
      > ambivalent about the enterprise)

      Your understanding of history is again inaccurate on each count.

      1) The SWP did not join, leave and then join again. It never joined
      the Scottish Socialist Alliance and initially it did not join the
      SSP. Finally it joined the SSP in early 2001 and has never left.

      2) The Committee for a Workers International supported the creation
      of both the SSA and the SSP, with the vital proviso that it did not
      support the dissolution of Scottish Militant Labour as a
      revolutionary organisation. The minority of SML which agreed with
      this position, and thus never left the CWI, has been part of the SSP
      since the beginning and has constantly worked to strengthen and
      build that party.

      > this also begs the obvious question of how one is supposed to tell
      > when the 'moment ' is right for "the creation of a new mass party
      of
      > the working class". when the working class moves into struggle?

      You are, I think, missing the point quite spectacularly.

      You are still seeing the creation of a mass working class
      organisation as being primarily the act of the current small groups
      of socialists. You seem to be locating our disagreements in
      different views of when exactly we should move. You argue we should
      launch something now, as the DSP is attempting to do. You seem to
      imagine that the SP argues we should launch something at some
      indeterminate point in the future. In fact the disagreement is more
      serious than that.

      I don't think that our job is to create something at any stage which
      the working class will then pour into. That's a sectarian attitude
      whether it is focused on building a particular group or sticking
      groups together.

      Working class struggle has been for some years at a historically low
      ebb. That is not a permanent situation - if it is we should all just
      give up and go home. However, the working class will not begin to
      move into struggle because small bands of socialists either will it
      to happen or try to substitute themselves for the class. It will
      move into struggle again on its own accord as a result of the very
      nature of capitalism.

      When that does begin to happen, there will be moves made towards the
      reestablishment of working class political organisation and
      representation. Socialists, of course, have a role to play in all of
      this but - and this is an important but - the builiding of mass
      workers organisations will be primarily the creation of masses of
      workers in struggle.

      The corollary to this is that we are not waiting around for some
      signal, at which point we will jump in and build a better timed
      version of the kind of formation you advocate. Instead we see an
      extended process which we try to shape and influence and encourage
      but which we understand is not centred on or dependent on our own
      organisation.

      That means bringing the arguments for working class representation
      into the trade unions, community struggles and other movements. It
      means systematically encouraging working class activity. It can also
      mean launching or participating in various initiatives ourselves,
      but only in so far as we think they can contribute to this process.
      That's the work that the Socialist Party is engaged in and which we
      would encourage others to join.

      That isn't good enough for the impatient, often ex-members of left
      groups, who want a political home and they want it now. But
      impatience and a genuinely sectarian attitude, placing small left
      groups at the centre of political thinking rather than the working
      class itself, really are the causes of the occasional accusations we
      hear that we are ourselves "sectarian" in our attitude to this or
      that formation.

      Brian
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