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8411Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programmes.

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  • dave_r_riley
    Aug 16, 2004
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      Shane 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.

      dave riley
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