8411Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programmes.
- Aug 16, 2004Shane contrary to my contribution was keen to mark me down over
programatic questions. I think he is mistaken.
I used the term 'program' only once, I thought. I was trying to
stress as strongly as I could that it was not so much a question of
where outfits were at but where they were going. I was stressing the
dynamism of each project rather than were they were at at any one
time --and I thought that was what Smith was trying to draw out too.
As he wrote: New political formations can start with quite limited
programmes and develop more solid ones through common activity and
discussions. That is, of course, provided that no artificial ceiling
is put on the process, that no brakes are applied."
In this regard, Shane's dismissal of Marx's critique of the Gotha
program is a little confusing.
In the accompanying letter to Bracke, Marx was keen to denigrate
programatic fetishes -- since , as he wrote, "Every step of real
movement is more important than a dozen programmes". There is a very
clear distinction here which Marx was keen to polemicize against in
regard to the German party: "But by drawing up a programme of
principles (instead of postponing this until it has been prepared
for by a considerable period of common activity) one sets up before
the whole world landmarks by which it measures the level of the
Party movement. "
This is indeed how so many left groups set themselves up so that
their advocacy seems hallow... and I oppose this approach.
The Socialist Alliance,I suggest, follows a different path that is
in sync with Marx's parenthesis:programatic decisions are dependent
on a period of common activity. The standard 'Marxian' tradition is
this country has been different from that approach: much of it was
imported, franchise like, and seldom was it empirically driven.
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