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14527[GreenLeft_discussion] Re: Demise of the English Socialist Alliance

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  • Nick Fredman
    Mar 1, 2005
      Bob Gould's latest solemn pontification:

      >The DSP is fighting very hard for GLW to become the paper of the
      >Socialist Alliance while retaining DSP leadership control of GLW.

      This is utter rubbish, in fact saying black is white. The only
      barrier to the ISO, for example, having more input into and control
      over GLW is that they don't agree that SA should currently have a
      weekly paper. They are perfectly entitled to this opinion, but it is
      unfortunate for both SA as a whole and for the influence of their own
      ideas. The only reason that organisational change for GLW, which is
      still in a transitional state and totally open to further change, has
      proceeded so slowly is the reticence of the ISO (and the other
      groups) to come on board, and the reticence of the DSP and the great
      majority of independents to push through greater change to GLW in the
      absence of this.

      If they were of a different opinion, it would be quite easy to
      restructure the GLW board to include a fair (or knowing other SA
      structures, overly fair) ISO input, and of other tendencies who want
      to come on board. The DSP has stated time and again its view of a
      weekly SA paper is to lessen DSP "control", not to retain it, and its
      complete openess to organisational change, mergers between GLW and
      Socialist Worker, or whatever. There's also no reason why the ISO
      couldn't still publish SW (it seems a monthly now anyway, so could
      more logically be a tendency magazine), and simply send articles to
      both. Even from a purely factional point of view, one would think
      that ensuring that a reasonable number of articles with the politics
      they want gets into a weekly paper with thousands of readers is much
      better than sticking only with a smaller, much less regular paper
      with hundreds of readers.

      Unfortunately at the moment the ISO comrades seem to be stuck in a
      mindset which involves defending every inch of their organisational
      separateness, which includes refusing to countenance a weekly paper
      with real breadth and debate, rather than thinking creatively about
      how to better get out their own specific ideas, let alone how to
      better get out the common ideas of socialists.

      The specific example of the SA column on Che was probably a bit
      unfortunate, although the main thrust of it as far as I can see was
      to point to him as an example of a revolutionary (which the ISO don't
      so much disagree with) rather than promoting his strategic ideas
      (which they do very much disagree with).

      However, outside this column and the editorial, about which there is
      a specific agreement, the ISO and others can't really complain about
      too much DSP influence in GLW: the road is completely open to them to
      change this. They're the ones missing out on communicating regularly
      with the hundreds of SA members (such as the 30+ non-DSP SA members
      in my branch) and thousands of other people who not only read the
      paper regularly but see it as the weekly paper of the far left.

      Bob's other Big Lie de jouer:

      >He presents as evidence for this great influence of the DSP on
      >militant union officials the fact that some union officials take a
      >bundle of GLW, which they leave on their office counter. How many
      >unions would that be? Three or maybe five?

      This is a very dishonest caricature of the arguments made about the
      influence of SA (which is the point, rather than the DSP
      specifically) in the unions. As I just mentioned in another post (and
      as has been mentioned numerous times before), this can be measured
      not just in bundles of GLWs, but in a number of prominent SA union
      leaders and activists, regular SA conference and meeting talks and
      GLW interviews by prominent militant leaders, and most importantly
      joint work over a number of years, including important militants and
      union bodies coming on board SA initiatives.

      I hope everyone in SA has a sense of proportion (the importance of
      which a number of people have mentioned), and that no-one sees SA
      unions as anything more than a minority current of a minority
      current, but the actual point is that SA has made some modest but
      important advances in this regard, and has achieved more for the
      influence of socialists in the unions than would happened without the
      existence of SA.
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