7 Apr 2011

SWP critique of autonomism doesn't cut it

Very embarrassing article from the SWP.

I am not an autonomist and obviously see a role for political parties but its so didactic and over simplified, we can straw man or women any alternative as a means of foolishly just insisting on support for our own particular perspective. No one on the left has a recipe that works, a certain modesty, plurality and self-criticism are all needed rather than 'hey fools, you are wrong and we are right.'

Its boundary maintence which is never good to my mind. There are some excellent people in the SWP doing excellent things, for example, Mark Bergfeld's NUS Presidential campaign....this is not the way to build links.

The SWP are, of course, quite right to critique autonomists or ecosocialists or others on the left but simplification does not win respect....it would be very easy for autonomists to point to the failures of the traditional far left but this would not automatically justify their politics.

Criticism of others does not automatically illustrate the wisdom of ones own political position.

Autonomism shares many of the characteristics of anarchism. Its main idea is a rejection of organisation. It believes small, imaginative groups of radicals should act on behalf of the masses.

That's wrong, autonomists challenge traditional ideas of organisation, they may or may not have alternatives that work...they don't believe 'imaginative groups of radicals should act on behalf of the masses.'

If you remove the word 'imaginative', you would in fact get a caricature of Lenninism.

1 comment:

Ben Courtice said...

"Boundary maintenance" is a good description. "Inoculation" against outside ideas is how I usually put it. It's not an opening of a debate, or an invitation to look further into what is a quite complex discussion. It's just "we're right they're wrong, end of lesson". And it involves a level of simplification that amounts to mischaracterising the other side.

And the writing style is pretty clumsy. The opening story, if it's supposed to be the bit that grabs our attention, is woeful. Like a parable for the disciples!

This sort of stuff really discredits the organised left. Not that anarchists and autonomists haven't done it too - but that's no excuse.

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