28090Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: Socialist electoral tactics and the SA and Tasmanian elections
- Mar 23, 2006--- bobgould987 <bobgould987@...> wrote:
> Alan Bradley calls my use of the term, agitator,[snip]
>A brief response
> To my way of thinking the term is politically
> honourable and expresses
> a certain type of political activity.
> I prefer the idea of effective agitators to the more
> anodyne term
> activist, which is sometimes used by modern
> socialist sects.
In general I agree with Bob Gould about the use of the
term agitator. It would indicate, to use one
definition, someone who worked politically mainly by
taking a widely known fact to illustrate a single idea
to the "masses", compared with a propagandist who
would present "many ideas", to be understood as an
integral whole by comparatively few persons.
But Gould did not confine his comments to the
presentation of a term. He wrote earlier (March
21)about a supposed "dismissive attitude towards
agitators" in the DSP as a result of it being
"over-centralised". He also claims exists a paucity of
Democratic Socialist Perspective members with
histories of "independent industrial agitation",
claiming that this is because of its "overemphasis on
the homogeneity of the organisation [which] tends to
choke the life out of independently minded agitators".
This poses a series of questions:
1. Independent of whom or what? Is agitation under the
direction of a party, for example, necessarily a
problem? Gould's example of Bolshevik agitators
2. Why is industrial agitation peculiarly relevant?
Does this allow Gould to dismiss the agitation of DSP
members in a range of social movements, in
international solidarity and among students
(especially notable in relation to high school
3. Is the charge in its substance true? Does the DSP
possess little history of industrial agitation? Gould
knows, of course, that there are in fact both
individuals and groups of DSP members who, working
with others, have substantial histories of such work,
have acquired some influence relative to their
numbers, and have won various elected positions in the
unions (despite the disadvantage of [almost?] never
being appointed to positions of prominence), in at
least several regional TLCs and union networks, and in
a number of unions. The solidarity agitation,
including through media production (GLW, Actively
Radical TV, and so on) conducted by DSP members,
should also be considered.
Nonetheless, the DSP has emphasised the
propagandaistic framework for its activities,
including its agitational activity, and this concept
has generally been implemented. Therefore, agitation
is not its outstanding feature.
The objection can be raised that the influence of the
DSP, gained through its orientation, is small. Gould
argued, however, that the Balmain Trotskyists remained
few in number because of "objective conditions" and
the existence of a subjective factor such as the
existence of "high Stalinism". Haven't similar
objective and subjective conditions affected the DSP's
development (and also Socialist Alliance in the few
years of its existence)
Is the DSP's orientation itself the problem? Is it
over-emphasis and over-centralisation, given the DSP's
aim, which is to aid the development of the leadership
of a movement capable of overthrowing capitalist rule?
What has been the experience of the alternative
course, which Gould illustrates through the activities
of the Balmain Trotskyists, the work he has been
involved in, and perhaps also that of the Socialist
In all these cases the influence of such
agitationally-oriented socialist activity has been
relatively ephemeral or confined to one to two
inner-city suburbs. Yet the development of
revolutionary leadership would rather seem to need
work conducted on a sustained basis and extending
toward a national scope. This is what the DSP strives
for through an orientation to cadre development.
Messenger - Make free PC-to-PC calls to your friends overseas.
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>