14 Dec 2008

A bottom up democratic Socialist Workers Party?

Some of us like Emmerdale but the big soap opera on the left is the Socialist Workers Party, John Rees has been kicked off the top table and is responding with a bit of polemic.

My problem with the SWP, much as I have a lot of time for John Rees as a human being (we are both from Chippenham, so solidarity with those from Wiltshire is my sentiment), is that it is about a small group of full time leftists running a top down centralised political party, the emphasis is on building the party not on achieving radical change.

Politics on the left must go beyond Leninism and frankly I know plenty of Leninists who are more user friendly than the SWP.

The assumption from everyone outside the SWP is that what ever they get involved in is a means to recruitment not an end. So Green Party, anarchists, Labour left, non labour left, we all distrust them to a women and a man.

My approach is the opposite, the Green Party, Green Left and the EIN are instruments for promoting social justice, ecology, animal liberation, workers control, open source economies, anti-capitalism, etc.

I have big disagreements with the Communist Party and the FI but both organisations in the UK are not simply building themselves up, they are a bit more reflexive on where they have gone wrong in the past too.

John Rees picks up on an internal SWP document from Neil Davidson that seems more in tune with my thinking:

Neil suggests that if there were a less professional leadership that included those who hold down jobs and which was drawn from different parts of the country we would be more able to deal with these issues. He is more generally critical of a ‘top down’ and anti-democratic culture of debate in the SWP that closes off necessary discussion prematurely.

More years of the locust, I think we should be told!


Anonymous said...

Don't expect anyone to cry any tears over the continual splintering of the Stupid Wankers Proletariat. They fucked the anti-war movement, then fucked Respect. Now they're too busy fucking themselves for anyone to care.

Charlie Marks said...

Let's hope comrades in the SWP can get through their differences by debating with each other, deciding on their future by vote of the membership, and by staying involved in campaigns with other tendencies.

A split wouldn't be good news for any of us - we don't need demoralised activists as we're entering a recession.

jwr said...

well said, charlie. the last thing the left needs is demoralisato#io around economic crisis. I don't understand how the SWP fucked the anti-war ovement. they moved quickly after 9/11 (days in fact) and we got the biggest mass movement we have seen)

ModernityBlog said...

biggest mass movement in 60 years and what do they do to it?

drive it into the ground, alienate as many people as possible then put people off political activism as a result

whatever my difference with the Greens, I suspect IF they had been leading the anti-war movement then things might have turned out differently

that terrible trait that a lot of Leninists have, as if they can do no wrong, is a bit like the Enron film, Smartest guys in the room.

that is until it all falls apart, then they move on to the next project, without a passing thought

people often forget but the SWP has a long history of this, for the past 30+ years

Charlie Marks said...

But unlike the past, this time rank and file SWP members can be more informed about their organisation - what with the blogosphere making it easier for members to get involved in the direction of their party. So, a culture change is on the way, perhaps.

Grim and Dim said...

"the Green Party, Green Left and the EIN are instruments for promoting social justice, ecology, animal liberation, workers control"

So animals ocme before the working class. Tells you all you need to know about the fucking Green Party....

Grim and Dim said...

What does "animal liberation" mean anyway? Liberation can mean simply freedom from restraint. So we let the tigers and wolves from london Zoo loose on the streets of North London. A real vote-winner.

In terms like "women's liberation" and "gay liberation" it seems to mean something more, similar to what Marx meant by the "emancipation of the working class". I might summarise it as taking conscious control of one's situation. Now animals cannot be liberated in this sense. Their consciousness is limited, and they are incapable of freeing themselves from hereditary patterns of behaviour.

That you should lump animals and workers together is typical of the class mentality of the green party, most of whose members live in big houses with SUVs. You see both workers and animals as passive suffering victims, deserving recipients of charity.

The Green Party is stuffed out with patronising upple middle class peopkle who have no idea how the rest of the world lives. When i tell Green Party members I can't compost my food waste because I don't have a garden, they stare at me in wonder as though they had never met anyone who lived in such conditions.

One rather vacuous young lady of limited intelligence told me I should make my own yoghurt. She clearly had a very undemanding job, and probably servants to do her housework. It did not seem to occur to her that anyone might not have time to make yoghurt.

Workers will take control for themselves without the benevolent assistance of the Green Party. And I hope that next time you try to liberate an animal it bites you.