26 Nov 2007

More on John Rees




For the reader who wants an introduction to the history of dialectical thought in the socialist movement, and especially the thorny issue of the Nature and Human interelationship, the only work that is both readable and not over-simplified is The Algebra of Revolution: The Dialectic and the Classical Marxist Tradition by John Rees (Routledge, 1998). argued Walt in US Green Party newsletter here.


Well as I say, I was amazed, it seemed so unlikely a coincidence to bump into him on a fairly empty 9.56 pm train between Bath and Chippenham and to find we were both Corsham/Chippenham lads. He told me about a guy in Stop the War from Chippenham as well and noted 'Jeremy Corbyn went to school in Chippenham, the catholic one'....those from a revolutionery tradition went to Frogwell school, social democrats down the road....

He was very nice about my speech and we had a laugh about the incident where the Greens were criticised but kept off of the RESPECT conferences.

Did mention that I enjoyed his Algebra of Revolution book..which the late great Walt Sheasby had recommended I read....had to admit I could not remember much about it, read on the way to Green Party Weston Super Mare conference a couple of years ago...

Avoided Zen, you know on trains you usually talk about zen or venezuela, well I do.

Well I really enjoyed chatting to him and it still seems like something literally out of a dream or a Murakami novel.

I think if possible it is good to seperate out personal feelings from political debate, but I guess in all political parties, not just left ones, table tennis societies, drama clubs, workplaces...people have often quite personal disagreements and it is difficult to maintain warm feelings for those you disagree with.

Criticise the political line not the person....I wish I could do this, can't! The RESPECT stuff is going to be raw for those involved for some time

In the Greens of course we love each other and can seperate disagreement from personality, that's because we are lovely greens, equally because we are fluffy bunny nice Greens if do get a leader they wont be corrupted....Greens universally can be trusted...just imagine if we weren't Greens, we would be in power with centre right parties, turning a blind eye to motorways slicing through neolithic sacred sites...it would be like Sinn Fein getting beneath the blanket with Ian Paisley.

And 'A very public sociologist' I know your game! It's the old life history stuff, 'two leftists from Frogwell Primary, must be something indicative there'....however as Wittgenstein used to say 'causes are superstitutions'.....makes you think, once when I was an out their real life sociologist I thought for all of two days that all Earth First!ers had parents who were coppers...increase the sample from two interviews to four and one finds not.

Anyway all the RESPECT stuff fascinates too many of you out there..

Why people become activists fascinates me and AVPS and may be should be a topic for another day.

Indeed one criticism I have of the far left is their failure to think about repertoires of action.

Social Movement Theory so good and useful I guess must of the main players have been renditioned...useful stuff and I must talk about it more

As I admitted to John, I am not essentially a fan of the SWP, but it was still a fun and surreal moment...so trolls instead of giving me tedious abuse, enlightenment with some train stories...I suppose you don't do trains just spiked 4 by 4s.

1 comment:

a very public sociologist said...

Thanks for the plug, Derek. You are right about the left's repertoire of action - a lot of comrades reported back in their final interviews how they found it quite a surreal experience because they'd never been asked to think about why they do what they do.

I think a more pressing question concerning repertoires involves the trade union movement as a whole, and would do well to learn from our sisters and brothers in the global south about social movement trade unionism. To be honest, I cannot see a new generation of young workers being inspired to join trade unions here when they narrowly confine themselves to workplace issues. Something more is required.