New SPGB pamphlet on Parliament

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ajjohnstone
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Mar 9 2010 11:56
New SPGB pamphlet on Parliament

From those you all love to hate , a new pamphlet has been published by the Socialist Party of Great Britain , explaining its case for the revolutionary use of Parliament with particular regard to its anarchist critics .Hardcopy print version due soon .

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/20C/Parliament_update.html

ernie
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Mar 10 2010 19:06

AJJ

Having briefly read through the pamphlet what is most striking (apart from all the usual lack of mention of the soviets etc) is the national framework the whole question is addressed in. The pamphlet discusses the revolutionary use of parliament completely within the national framework and would appear to say that socialism can be introduced in one country as long as the majority is socialsit! Is this really what you are trying to say?

Spikymike
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Mar 10 2010 19:22

Ther same tired arguments from the SPGB then which still misses the main point which is how a revolutionary situation can arise and what the relationship between class struggle as a practical movement and class and revolutionary awareness actually is.

I usually try to present some more detailed arguments against the SPGB's views on this but I have done it so many times before, here and at meetings etc, only to be met with incomprehension from SPGBers stuck with an essentially idealist and unmarxist view of the world.

The issue is not about competing abstract schemas for how an ideal conscious revolution might take place ( many anarchists sadly fall into this debating trap set up by the SPGB) but about a realistc view of how the everyday class struggle might in the right circumstances deepen, develop and extend to present a practical challenge to capitalism.

For more on this readers could check out the short correspondence between Subversion and an SPGB member in the Libcom Library.

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JimN
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Mar 25 2010 10:03
ernie wrote:
AJJ

Having briefly read through the pamphlet what is most striking (apart from all the usual lack of mention of the soviets etc) is the national framework the whole question is addressed in. The pamphlet discusses the revolutionary use of parliament completely within the national framework and would appear to say that socialism can be introduced in one country as long as the majority is socialsit! Is this really what you are trying to say?

No, definitely not. Socialism can only be a global society.

knightrose
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Mar 25 2010 15:48

Sadly, you've quoted the AF wrongly when arguing against our Aims and Principles. We actually say

Quote:
Because the ruling class will not relinquish power without their use of armed force, this revolution will be a time of violence as well as liberation.

. We were unhappy with the way we'd formulated it before and changed this a couple of years ago. We make it clear it's not the working class which will seek violence but the dispossessed ruling class. The class will have to retaliate. It's not really that different from the SPGB's formulation of "peacefully if possible, violently if necessary".

Steve_j
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Mar 25 2010 19:27
knightrose wrote:
It's not really that different from the SPGB's formulation of "peacefully if possible, violently if necessary".

I thought SPGB rejected violent defence by the working class, instead believing it is not necessary under their objectives and therefore not appropriate.

Please correct me if i have it wrong.

knightrose
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Mar 25 2010 21:50

I think you are wrong. When I was a member, admittedly in the early 1970s, although many were in practice pretty much pacifists, in theory they accepted that the working class would legitimately defend itself if all else failed.

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waslax
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Mar 26 2010 09:56

But isn't it quite obvious to anyone with any understanding of the history of the capitalist class that, given the threat of proletarian insurgency, ... all else will definitely fail; that they will not ever peacefully give up their class power, and thus that violence is inevitable? So why the pretense about the possibility of peaceful revolution? Undoubtedly to appeal to 'pacifist socialists'. No?

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Demogorgon303
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Mar 26 2010 11:12
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No, definitely not. Socialism can only be a global society.

So given that not all countries have parliaments, what should workers do in those countries, in your view?

knightrose
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Mar 26 2010 12:04

it has been suggested to me by some SPGBs that first they would demand one big reform ...

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Demogorgon303
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Mar 26 2010 14:27
Quote:
it has been suggested to me by some SPGBs that first they would demand one big reform ...

That would seem the logical result of their position, but can any SPGBer confirm or deny?

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arminius
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Mar 26 2010 16:10

One should probably define precisely what one means by the extremely slippery term 'reform', so that any response really means something and so everyone is talking about the same thing.

I'd be interested in the answer also.

Gravedigger
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Mar 27 2010 23:27

But I would assume as a member of the SPGB, that this particular reply was given in the context of: We are not in the habit of writing blueprints, neither can we assume what the conditions will be at this stage of the revolutionary process for to do so would be undemocratic. In short, if any reforms were needed it would be up to the working class at that time to decide what particular measures were necessary.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 28 2010 03:52
Quote:
It's not really that different from the SPGB's formulation of "peacefully if possible, violently if necessary".... -
...-I thought SPGB rejected violent defence by the working class, instead believing it is not necessary under their objectives and therefore not appropriate.

As Knightrose explained the official position is that the SPGB is not a pacifist organisation , although there may be some members as individuals who are . The manner in which the SPGB propose , the use of parliament , is to lessen the liklihood of violence or to minimalise the extent of violence if it takes place . It should be noted that within our Declaration of Priciples we make it specifically clear that we will capture the control of the armed forces , firstly to thwart the capitalists access , but secondly, to use it if necessary to put down any minority recalcitrant pro-capitalist reaction to the socialist majority .Rather this than to argue for the creation of some form of workers militia which i have often come across in writings from some anarchists and Leninist/Trotskyists .

I think actually Waslax that the events of the past show that change can indeed be relatively bloodless when the violence of the State no longer was a guarantee of control or retained the consent of the people. I can think of the fall of Marcos , the Shah, Apartheid South Africa, the state capitalist USSR puppet regimes . Even Russia February 1917.

As for those countries that do not already possess a democratic process for the working class to achieve political power , the SPGB has already had one split over the question . We did support the demand for democratic reforms of Eastern Europe , particularly in Poland and the Solidarity union and this principle partly led to the breakaway of the Socialist Studies group.Therefore our stance is very plain from that resulting pain.

Perhaps some here will now accuse us of a fetish for bourgouis democracy rather than credit the fact that we do recognise the merit of some reforms which strengthen the working class and permit socialist activity and yet manage not to jeapordise the identity or integrity of the SPGB by going down the slippery road of reformism . The SPGB will support the demand for suffrage and the means for the democratic exercising of it . We have to differentiate between "fighting" reforms that we can avail ourselves to effectively wage the class war and those reforms that encourage or foster "acquiescence" to the capitalist system. I think Solidarity ( not the Polish one) expressed it well by "meaningful action". Needless to say , i accept there are those who will say voting is not meaningful action since it can be described as passive but i respectfully disagree .

We have now had a number of comrades in African dictatorships who day to day struggle is primarily the freedom to organise.

The criticism that the pamphlet discusses the revolutionary use of parliament completely within the national framework i find a valid one and it is a failing of presentation and could have been expressed differently if re-written but from another SPGB pamphlet Questions of the Day echoing Gravediggers comment we read:-

Quote:
Because capitalist governments are organised on a territorial basis each socialist organisation has the task of seeking democratically to gain political control in the country where it operates. This however is merely an organisational convenience; there is only one socialist movement, of which the separate socialist organisations are constituent parts. When the socialist movement grows larger its activities will be fully co-ordinated through its world-wide organisation. Given a situation in which the organised socialists of only a part of the world were in a position to gain control of the machinery of government, the decision about the action to be taken would be one for the whole of the socialist movement in the light of all the circumstances at the time.

Perhaps this could be viewed as a convenient cop-out but i think its a realistic appraisal .The SPGB lays down only general guidelines . Actual circumstances and conditions existing at the time determine the content and course of appropriate future activity . Anything other than that will condemn us as utopians and idealists .

knightrose
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Mar 28 2010 08:22

Are you going to alter the reference to the AF's Aims and Principles? You are kicking at an open door there.

Gravedigger
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Mar 28 2010 13:22
knightrose wrote:
Are you going to alter the reference to the AF's Aims and Principles? You are kicking at an open door there.

I've passed your concerns on to the author, and I'm expecting him to join the thread shortly when he'll address your comments.

alb
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Mar 28 2010 15:56
knightrose wrote:
Are you going to alter the reference to the AF's Aims and Principles? You are kicking at an open door there.

Might still be possible to amend the print version. But, to make it clear that no deliberate distortion was involved, can you confirm that the AF's Aims and Principles did at one time say what the pamphlet says. The pamphlet was drafted a few years ago so that the explanation might be that the change took place after or that we were using an old version on an old version of Organise. In fact what year was the change made (so we can quote this in case it changes again)? I have also found a third version of the passage. Perhaps it would be a good idea if you didn't keep changing the wording of your principles -- like the SPGB which hasn't changed its since 1904!

As to the other criticisms re that it is nationally oriented the reason for this will be that it was dealing with arguments that were also nationally oriented, particularly and ironically those from the Irish anarchist group.

The question as to what the SPGB thinks workers should do in countries where there is not the more or less limited but stable political democracy that exists in countries like Britain (and Ireland) has been dealt with in previous pamphlets. Here for instance is what is said in the chapter on the "Socialism and the Less Developed Courties" in the 1969 edition of Questions of the Day:

Quote:
"In most of the less developed countries political democracy does not yet exist. The governments there, whether representing the old landowning or the emerging capitalist class, stifle criticism and threaten the organisation of opposition parties and even of trade unions as plots to overthrow them. In such circumstances socialist activity is very difficult and the workers (being only a minority of the population), besides trying to organise into a socialist party ought also to struggle to get the freedom to organise into trade unions and win elementary political rights. As in the advanced capitalist countres, however, this should still involve opposition to all other parties in order that the socialist issue shall be kept free from confusion."

and:

Quote:
"The socialist idea is not one that could spread unevenly. It is thus likely that the socialist parties will be in a position to gain control in the industrially advanced countries within a short period of each other. It is conceivable that in some less developed countries, where the working class is weak in numbers, the privileged rulers may be able to retain their class position for a little longer. But as soon as the workers had won in the advanced countries they would give all the help needed to their brothers elsewhere."

The full text of a later edition of this pmphlet can be found on the SPGB website under "pamphlets".

knightrose
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Mar 28 2010 17:21
Quote:
Might still be possible to amend the print version. But, to make it clear that no deliberate distortion was involved, can you confirm that the AF's Aims and Principles did at one time say what the pamphlet says.

The Aims and Principles did indeed say what you said. We changed them around three years ago because we realised that they were open to misinterpretation. We've never advocated a bloodbath to rid the world of capitalists, we've always meant that the ruling class is almost inevitably going to use violence against a revolutionary working class. The extent to which our class is prepared for that is crucial in limiting its extent.

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JoeMaguire
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Mar 29 2010 00:38
ajjohnstone wrote:
The manner in which the SPGB propose , the use of parliament , is to lessen the liklihood of violence or to minimalise the extent of violence if it takes place . It should be noted that within our Declaration of Priciples we make it specifically clear that we will capture the control of the armed forces , firstly to thwart the capitalists access , but secondly, to use it if necessary to put down any minority recalcitrant pro-capitalist reaction to the socialist majority .Rather this than to argue for the creation of some form of workers militia which i have often come across in writings from some anarchists and Leninist/Trotskyists .

There are huge amounts of un-dialectical thinking going on here.
Firstly, if your voted in power, there is a gulf between holding power in bourgeois politics and bringing about a complete change in the mode of production. Secondly, capture control of the the armed forces?? Its an appendage of the bourgeois state. Past experiences have shown the army will have fractures as the class struggle intensifies. And demands for workers militia were invariably a response to fascism and armed reaction.

alb
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Mar 29 2010 09:00

I think William Morris got it right when, in a lecture he gave, it must have been around 1894, abandoning his earlier anti-parliamentary and quasi-syndicalist ideas expressed in "The Policy of Abstention":

Quote:
I confess I am no great lover of political tactics; the sordid squabble of an election is unpleasant enough for a straight-forward man to deal in: yet I cannot fail to see that it is necessary somehow to get hold of the machine which has at its back the executive power of the country, however that may be done, and that the organization and labour which will be necessary to effect that by means of the ballot-box will, to say the least of it, be little indeed compared with what would be necessary to effect it by open revolt; besides that the change effected by peaceable means would be done more completely and with less chance, indeed with no chance of counter revolution. On the other hand I feel sure that some action is even now demanded by the growth of Socialism, and will be more and more imperatively demanded as time goes on. In short I do not believe in the possible success of revolt until the Socialist party has grown so powerful in numbers that it can gain its end by peaceful means, and that therefore what is called violence will never be needed; unless indeed the reactionaries were to refuse the decision of the ballot-box and try the matter by arms; which after all I am pretty sure they could not attempt by the time things had gone so far as that. As to the attempt of a small minority to terrify a vast majority into accepting something which they do not understand, by spasmodic acts of violence, mostly involving the death or mutilation of non-combatants, I can call that nothing else than sheer madness. And here I will say once for all, what I have often wanted to say of late, to wit that the idea of taking any human life for any reason whatsoever is horrible and abhorrent to me.
ernie
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Mar 29 2010 11:23

So the SPGB supports democratic reform, logical I suppose and sounds pretty inoffensive, because who can be against democracy!

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We did support the demand for democratic reforms of Eastern Europe , particularly in Poland and the Solidarity union

You and the Western bourgeoisie.
The democrate reform 'movements' in the old Eastern Bloc whilst mobilising millions of people were also used by parts of the different national bourgeoisies to either maintain their power or to gain power. Time after time the new governments were formed by members of the old governments or security forces. But then may be the proletariat in Eastern Europe should have been pleased to have the opportunity to vote, pity about the continued capitalist oppression!
Radio 4 several months ago had a very interesting programe about Romania and the 'uprising' there, which from the programe appeared to have been nothing but a cynical manipulation of popular discontent by one part of the state apparatus to get rid of another. Leaving in place basically the same people with a few changes of personal here and there

ernie
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Mar 29 2010 11:40

Is the SPGB saying that these events represented some form of step forwards for the populations in these countries and were carried out because the "the state no longer was a guarantee of control or retained the constent of the people?

Quote:
I think actually Waslax that the events of the past show that change can indeed be relatively bloodless when the violence of the State no longer was a guarantee of control or retained the consent of the people. I can think of the fall of Marcos , the Shah, Apartheid South Africa, the state capitalist USSR puppet regimes . Even Russia February 1917.

None of these events expressed any such thing.
The fall of the Shah certainly was proceeded by a massive workers movement but in the end the Shah was replaced by another set of exploiters.
The end of Apartheid came about because dominant parts of the bourgeoisie in that country both black and white understood that apartheid was crippling the economy. The negotiations to end this system were organised by one of the big mulitnations. Al the change tried to do was to increase the effectiveness of the ability of the South African bourgeoisie to exploit the working class.
The fall of Marcos was another cynical manipulation of popular discontent by part of the bourgeoisie,this time the Aquino family (one of the most powerful cliques in the country) to get rid of Marcos.
The fall of the state capitalist states of the East simply replaced one set of bastards with another who were able to dress up in democratic garb.
It is frankly staggering that the SPGB can place these inter-bourgeois struggles in the same list as Feb 1917. The events of Feb had nothing in common with these bourgeoisie fraction fights. It opened up a whole revolutionary process, whilst the events listed above simply opened up another chapter in the rule of capital, this time under the democratic guise and a period of terrible attacks on working and living conditions. But seeing it was in the name of democracy it got the support of the SPGB.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 29 2010 12:13

oh , October Lost , how i dislike such phrases as un-dilectical , my eyes glaze over when i hear it being used .

Bertell Ollman said

Quote:
“Dialectics is not a rock-ribbed triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis that serves as an all-purpose explanation; nor does it provide a formula that enables us to prove or predict anything; nor is it the motor force of history. The dialectic, as such, explains nothing, proves nothing, predicts nothing, and causes nothing to happen. Rather, dialectics is a way of thinking that brings into focus the full range of changes and interactions that occur in the world”.

So you say "Firstly, if your voted in power, there is a gulf between holding power in bourgeois politics and bringing about a complete change in the mode of production."

Are you confusing ourselves as a political party that intends using elections to assume political office and establish socialism my a series of decrees ? The pamphlet explains "Nor are we offering ourselves, as if we were a conventional political party, to introduce socialism for people, not even in one fell swoop....We’re talking about a radical social revolution involving all aspects of social life."

You also say "...the armed forces?? Its an appendage of the bourgeois state. Past experiences have shown the army will have fractures as the class struggle intensifies..."

I don't really have any issue with you there. If the state is capitalist and capitalist society has the consent of the majority , control of the military will be under the capitalists and accepted .
Again as the pamphlet said that the growth of socialist ideas in society generally will be reflected similarly by a rise in revolutionary consciousness within members of the armed forces and consequently the loyalty of the military to the Bourgeois State is undermined and troopps unreliable but also that a socialist majority through control of the Parliament "will be an immense advantage to have control of the social institution with the power to employ socially-sanctioned force."

You end with " demands for workers militia were invariably a response to fascism and armed reaction."
Perhaps not the best of groups to quote but CPGB's demand for a workers militia can be read here

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JimN
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Mar 29 2010 20:24
ernie wrote:
Is the SPGB saying that these events represented some form of step forwards for the populations in these countries and were carried out because the "the state no longer was a guarantee of control or retained the constent of the people?
Quote:
I think actually Waslax that the events of the past show that change can indeed be relatively bloodless when the violence of the State no longer was a guarantee of control or retained the consent of the people. I can think of the fall of Marcos , the Shah, Apartheid South Africa, the state capitalist USSR puppet regimes . Even Russia February 1917.

None of these events expressed any such thing.
The fall of the Shah certainly was proceeded by a massive workers movement but in the end the Shah was replaced by another set of exploiters.
The end of Apartheid came about because dominant parts of the bourgeoisie in that country both black and white understood that apartheid was crippling the economy. The negotiations to end this system were organised by one of the big mulitnations. Al the change tried to do was to increase the effectiveness of the ability of the South African bourgeoisie to exploit the working class.
The fall of Marcos was another cynical manipulation of popular discontent by part of the bourgeoisie,this time the Aquino family (one of the most powerful cliques in the country) to get rid of Marcos.
The fall of the state capitalist states of the East simply replaced one set of bastards with another who were able to dress up in democratic garb.
It is frankly staggering that the SPGB can place these inter-bourgeois struggles in the same list as Feb 1917. The events of Feb had nothing in common with these bourgeoisie fraction fights. It opened up a whole revolutionary process, whilst the events listed above simply opened up another chapter in the rule of capital, this time under the democratic guise and a period of terrible attacks on working and living conditions. But seeing it was in the name of democracy it got the support of the SPGB.

In fairness I think that ajjohnstone was only trying to make the point those changes of state control took place relatively peacefully when it was obvious that the regimes had lost all popular support despite the workers not having access to even limited democracy. He was using examples to make a point.

How you read from that that the SPGB support the new regimes beggars belief. In fact you sound pretty much like an SPGBer in most of what you said here.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 30 2010 07:10

I think Ernie you are being slightly disingenuous when i did make it clear that "events of the past show that change can indeed be relatively bloodless" i cited . I think they were relatively bloodless those examples . I think Waslax overlooks the other option for the capitalist class when confronted with a rapidly developing revolutionary conscious working class - It may not be the Iron Heel but instead temporarily sacrifice their profit from surplus value to offer every sugar coated welfare reform possible under the sun and the promotion of "humane" capitalism of "philanthropy". Velvet chains of wage slavery !

I suppose we could have taken up the position of Scargill and many others on the Left concerning Polish Solidarity and actively tried to undermine workers endeavouring to organise themselves outside the State trade unions but we didn't , did we ? I guess it did make us bed-mates with the Pope in the Vatican .

No doubt we should never have heeded the Chartists demands for suffrage since those damn workers once they got the ballot just went ahead and voted for representatives of their bosses , didn't they ? Perhaps we should not have abolished the Jim Crow electoral laws of the USA since it only gave us Obama , after all .

Said it before , say it again , the vote is only as revolutionary as the person behind the X .

South Africa ? Apartheid being a shackle upon the full development of capitalism ? Trying to teach your granny to suck eggs again ,Ernie ? The SPGB published a pamphlet in the 50s and had this to say

Quote:
"To the factory-owner in Cape Town or Durban, to the shareholder in the
Rand mines or the Port Elizabeth car-assembly-works, Negro [sic] labour is an essential ingredient in his profits. He is, therefore, resolutely opposed to the Nationalists' schemes for apartheid".

It highlighted the supporters of apartheid being the farmer landowners not the capitalist industrialist .

Ernie , you said

Quote:
".... simply replaced one set of bastards with another who were able to dress up in democratic garb....cynical manipulation of popular discontent ."

--- The Bolsheviks and October 1917 sprang to my mind [ just being smart-assed about our past debates, no need to answer ;-p ]

Committed as we are to employing liberal democracy as the tool to expropriate the capitalist class just as Marx and Engels held and maintained , we recognise that not everywhere in the world possess it thus we do encourage those workers to achieve it .The SPGB have long argued that the capitalists' need for an elected machinery, and that necessarily requires the active participation and consent of the workers, means that we can organise as a class to take control of that machinery to bring an end to their system.

But lets not forget that democracy is not parliament but a process that must be struggled for (and defended) and it also must be the struggle for socialism .

baboon
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Mar 30 2010 22:09

The SPGB says above: "We did support the democratic demands in Eastern Europe". That seems clear to me. These demands for bourgeois democracy were shaped, formulated and implement under the aegis of sometimes western imperialism, sometimes Russia, or in the case of Poland 1980, both of them along with the Vatican (and the SPGB). Internationalism is not just a word, it has a meaning for the working class. Supporting different factions of the ruling class, with the best will in the world, is a betrayal of internationalism.
The argument you put about Scargill presumably supporting the Stalinist regimes is only the other side of the coin. Apart from the position supporting demoocracy, which you did, or supporting stalinism, which others did, there was another position, a proletarian position that the Solidarnosc union and political organisation was used to smother the movement of the working class and take control of the situation. Solidarnosc was the response of the bourgeoisie to the MKS inter-factory strike committees which, in Poland 1980, coming out of the mass strike, was the closest thing to soviets that we've seen since the revolutionary wave. It was this threat that, in the midst of the Cold War saw something of an unification of the eastern and western blocs to crush this important movement.

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JoeMaguire
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Mar 30 2010 22:12
ajjohnstone wrote:
Are you confusing ourselves as a political party that intends using elections to assume political office and establish socialism my a series of decrees ? The pamphlet explains "Nor are we offering ourselves, as if we were a conventional political party, to introduce socialism for people, not even in one fell swoop....We’re talking about a radical social revolution involving all aspects of social life."

I think I am going to have to read the respective document. I assumed you were of the belief you could enter parliament for use in its own ends.

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thegonzokid
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Mar 30 2010 22:37

I don't love to hate the SPGB. I'm fairly indifferent to them.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 31 2010 06:24
Quote:
This Conference re-affirms the stand taken in the September 1939 Socialist Standard and repeated in the September 1989 Socialist Standard, that the Socialist Party of Great Britain wholeheartedly supports the efforts of workers everywhere to secure democratic rights
against the powers of suppression. Whilst we avoid any association with parties or political
groups seeking to administer capitalism we emphasise that freedom of movement and
expression, the freedom to organise in trade unions, to organise politically and to participate
in elections are of great importance to all workers and are vital to the success of the socialist
movement. (1990)

Not being a member at the time , i may have not laid sufficient nuance or caveats upon the SPGB attitude towards Solidarity in Poland . The Party had actually lent support to Solidarity in Poland in the early eighties as a trade union movement , rather than as a political movement. The SPGB never expressed support for Solidarity as a political party. Solidarity began as a trade union that also demanded democratic rights. It was entirely right that the Party should express support for this. As the situation developed Solidarity did become a reformist political party and when this happened we opposed it. I'll repeat that - when it became clear that it wasn't a union, support was withdrawn.

This was similar to the way we opposed the actions of trade unions in Britain when many years before they helped form the Labour Party. Our support for Solidarity is totally in accordance with our long-standing position of supporting trade unions when they act along sound lines. What we expressed was admiration, sympathy and support for the mass strikes and attempt to organise an independent trade union under a state-capitalist dictatorship . It is inconceivable that a socialist party, committed to the interests of the working class, could have failed to have expressed admiration for what the workers in Poland were doing to establish basic trade union rights.Lets not under-estimate just what did take place at Gdansk government ministers being forced and negotiate in public with loudspeakers wired up so that the strikers massed outside the meeting room could hear what was going on inside.

That the SPGB gave support to the striking Polish workers is hardly surprising - that an unfolding reality (where you have no crystal ball) is a good deal more complicated than formulating simplistic schema to be applied at all times, in all situations. Were the SPGB being too eager to support Solidarity in the beginning ? Perhaps , but class struggles are not clear cut affairs.

A 1980 leaflet can be [url= http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/archive/poland%281980%29.pdf]read here[/url]

Another article from 1982 can be read here

In regard to parliament and the State some may be interested in reading this conference resolution.

Quote:
That the 1984 Conference Resolution, 'This Conference affirms that socialism will entail the immediate abolition and not the gradual decline of the State', be rescinded and replaced with:
'That as the State is an expression of and enforcer of class society, the capture of political power by the working class and the subsequent conversion of the means of living into common property will necessarily lead to the abolition of the state, as its function as the custodian of class rule will have ended. Those intrinsically useful functions of the state machine in capitalism will be retained by socialist society but re-organised and democratised to meet the needs of a society based on production for use'. (2004).
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Devrim
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Mar 31 2010 06:58
ajjohnstone wrote:
From those you all love to hate , the Socialist Party of Great Britain ,
thegonzokid wrote:
I don't love to hate the SPGB. I'm fairly indifferent to them.

Yes, so am I. Despite us being in agreement that socialism is a non-market system, I don't think we have much in common with them at all. I think that the interest from left communists and anarchists goes back to the mid-seventies when the Libertarian Communism group* split, which had an influence on Solidarity, Wildcat, Subversion, and the ICC.

Devrim

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Communism_%28journal%29

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Mar 31 2010 07:59

ajjohnstone wrote:

Quote:
I think actually Waslax that the events of the past show that change can indeed be relatively bloodless when the violence of the State no longer was a guarantee of control or retained the consent of the people. I can think of the fall of Marcos , the Shah, Apartheid South Africa, the state capitalist USSR puppet regimes . Even Russia February 1917.

This is a convenient (for ajj) changing of the subject. The subject I addressed was a situation involving a proletarian insurgency threatening the class rule of the capitalist class. Leaving aside Russia in Feb. '17, none of these events ajj refers to involved a proletarian insurgency threatening the class rule of the capitalist class of a country. Therefore, they have zero relevance to the subject concerned.

JimN wrote:

Quote:
In fairness I think that ajjohnstone [in replying to Waslax] was only trying to make the point those changes of state control took place relatively peacefully when it was obvious that the regimes had lost all popular support despite the workers not having access to even limited democracy. He was using examples to make a point.

Perhaps, but his point had nothing to do with what I had written.

This method of debating (or replying to critical comments) really does leave a lot to be desired. It certainly affects my estimation of those who employ or defend it, and I am sure there are others who are similarly affected.