New SPGB pamphlet on Parliament

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ajjohnstone
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Mar 31 2010 11:56

Waslax , care to give any historical examples of where a proletarian insurgency threatened the class rule of the capitalists and then led to a blood-bath by forces of reaction as you claimed would happen in your original post ? You seem to exempt February 1917 from my inappropriate examples and that it may have been a valid example but you have not said if you disagree when i asserted it was relatively blood-less and thus proof counter to you original statement .

Perhaps you may now cite Berlin 1919 when a government launched a pre-emptive strike against a disorganised Left [ Rachleff's article is illuminating on the lack of revolutionary consciousness of the majority of Germans ]. But i'm curious to know where else since in your original post you thought it unnecessary to provide evidence for your claim , preferring to offer up a general comment ( or more accurately , a personal speculation of a future event ) . Provide me with something of relevance to go on and you may get a reply that sticks to the subject .

As for your comments about my personal debating capabilities , well , fair do , after all , i'm not a professional revolutionary , nor an academic , not a vanguardist , not a leader . i have a political position and i fight my corner the best i can within the limits of my intellect and knowledge , sometimes to no avail , it appears , given some of the more dismissive remarks made on the thread . If it was only the SPGB that the workers were indifferent towards then glory be , i would gladly resign and join another organisation , but does anyone here in AF ,ICC , SOL-FED ,ICT think the working class care a toot or a hoot about them or anything they are writing or arguing , or in fact, are even aware of their existence . So be my guest with your acrimonious attitudes towards the SPGB ( i always thought we had the hostility clause but it's invariably others who express their hostility most vehemently ) , but show me that you yourselves are able to communicate constructively with the working class , that you are gaining sympathy and support ..... something ...anything at all to demonstrate that your groups are of any more consequence than the SPGB .....gives me no pleasure in making that challenge because you and i know the answer to that question even if it is uncomfortable to admit it.

knightrose
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Mar 31 2010 12:51

I don't think it's very fair to condemn the AF here. I'm the only one who has posted on this thread and I don't think I've been unfair or uncomradely.

My problem was with your pamphlet incorrectly quoting us.

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JimN
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Mar 31 2010 15:11
knightrose wrote:
I don't think it's very fair to condemn the AF here. I'm the only one who has posted on this thread and I don't think I've been unfair or uncomradely.

My problem was with your pamphlet incorrectly quoting us.

I thought we were just having a friendly discussion about the pamphlet. How did it turn sour?

The point about the misquote is a fair one and needs to be sorted as far as I'm concerned.

Knightrose - You've been very fair and comradely. Thank you.

All - It would be nice now to get back to a reasonable discussion on the pamphlet and related issues without anyone suspecting anyone else of ulteria motives. Please?

baboon
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Mar 31 2010 15:41

The support given by the SPGB to the democratic "movements" in eastern Europe is quite a serious question in itself. There's been no coherent argument to justify this support nor can there be from a proletarian point of view. The best argument so far put forward is that it was a confused situation. This is a pathetic excuse because confronted with a "confused situation" demands that revolutionaries have a greater responsibility to put forward a clear position and not one which, as in this case, generally supported Polish nationalism and the needs of western imperialism. A clear working class position is not a "simplistic schema" as AJ says above, but the application of proletarian principles to even and especially "confused situations".

Solidarnosc was a political movement before it became a trade union, not that that's any excuse for supporting a "democratic" trade union even if it appeared as such, as the SPGB did. Solidarnosc was first and foremost a nationalist political movement supported by western imperialism and the Catholic church. The "other side" of the SPGB's support for Solidarnosc was the stalinist support for their union apparatus - both positions are the defence of Polish nationalism (in this case) and represent support for the attack on the working class. In fact the attack launched by Solidarnosc was much more effective and much more sophisticated that the clumsy attempts of the stalinist unions and their western goons like Scargill.

Supporting the self organisation and demands of the working class, or "striking workers" as AJ puts it, particularly as expressed through the MKS in the upsurge of this expression of the mass strike, doesn't equate with supporting bourgeois democracy, as expressed by the form and content of Solidarnosc. AJ tries above to conflate the two whereas there is a class difference between them.

capricorn
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Mar 31 2010 15:50
JimN wrote:
I thought we were just having a friendly discussion about the pamphlet. How did it turn sour?

Because the Left Bolsheviks of the ICC joined in.

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Devrim
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Mar 31 2010 18:42
ajjohnstone wrote:
If it was only the SPGB that the workers were indifferent towards then glory be , i would gladly resign and join another organisation , but does anyone here in AF ,ICC , SOL-FED ,ICT think the working class care a toot or a hoot about them or anything they are writing or arguing , or in fact, are even aware of their existence .
Knightrose wrote:
I don't think it's very fair to condemn the AF here. I'm the only one who has posted on this thread and I don't think I've been unfair or uncomradely.
JimN wrote:
I thought we were just having a friendly discussion about the pamphlet. How did it turn sour?

I don't think that it did turn particularly sour, and also I think that AJ's point is fundamentally correct. The overwhelming vast majority of the working class is not interested in our politics at the moment. I'd include the AF in this and I don't think it is wrong to. What I think though is that all of the groups mentioned above share a similar basis in believing that class consciousness develops through struggle, which I don' think the SPGB don't though I could be wrong.

Devrim

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Mar 31 2010 21:00
october_lost wrote:
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.

I'm not sure why the SPGB is showing "huge amounts of un-dialectical thinking" as they are expressing the position of Marx and Engels on this issue. Unless, of course, Marx and Engels expressed "un-dialectical thinking" which seems unlikely....

october_lost wrote:
Secondly, capture control of the the armed forces?? Its an appendage of the bourgeois state.

well, the aim would be to abolish the armed forces as one of the first acts of the revolution. As Marx noted in The Civil War in France -- I'm not a Marxist and I know he wrote that! This would be part of smashing the state machine. Engels explained what Marx meant by that:

Quote:
"It is simply a question of showing that the victorious proletariat must first refashion the old bureaucratic, administrative centralised state power before it can use it for its own purposes: whereas all bourgeois republicans since 1848 inveighed against this machinery so long as they were in the opposition, but once they were in the government they took it over without altering it and used it partly against the reaction but still more against the proletariat." [Collected Works, vol. 47, p. 74]

As I noted above, the SPGB's position is the same as the one Engels expounds here. Now, of course this can be criticised (and anarchists have done so since Bakunin), but really do give the SPGB credit for having read and understood Marx and Engels and don't ask questions they answered over 100 years ago!

Of course, the question really is did Marx really learn all the lessons of the Paris Commune? I, and other anarchists, think that he did not, particularly given he stated after it that workers could vote socialism into being:

Quote:
"We know that the institutions, customs and traditions in the different countries must be taken into account; and we do not deny the existence of countries like America, England, and if I knew your institutions better I might add Holland, where the workers may achieve their aims by peaceful means. That being the true, we must admit that in most countries on the continent it is force which must be the lever of our revolution; it is force which will have to be resorted to for a time in order to establish the rule of the workers." [Op. Cit., vol. 23, p. 255]

However, I would re-iterate that the SPGB are well aware of most of the objections being raised here -- and that Marx and Engels addressed them! What I think is funny is that so many "Marxists" seem unaware of this...

Gravedigger
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Mar 31 2010 23:55

Kinghtrose: Can the SPGB assume that your lack of response on this thread to the contents of the pamphlet awaits a discussion by the AF?

ajjohnstone
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Mar 31 2010 23:59

Apologies if i appeared to over-react to the tones of political and intellectual posturing that i thought perhaps mistakenly i detected in certain posts .
Knightrose , i was simply saying that if some consider the SPGB to be an irrelevance then its time they understood their own insignificance in the real world of workers out there , it wasn't intended to be a criticism of those organisations worthiness or otherwise just a reminder of the true state of affairs .

" What I think though is that all of the groups mentioned above share a similar basis in believing that class consciousness develops through struggle, which I don' think the SPGB don't though I could be wrong." You are half wrong and half correct , Devrim .

I have said it before on Libcom that the SPGB argues that it is a touch too deterministic to accept that revolutionary direction emerges spontaneously out of "the struggle" .Class struggle without any clear understanding of where we are going is simply committing to a never-ending treadmill.There are clear limits to what militancy can achieve on its own and most workers know that full well. This "struggle" relies upon a notion of the inherently revolutionary nature of the working class and that through the class struggle this inherently revolutionary character will show itself.

To bring about socialist consciousness involves understanding socialism which means sharing ideas about it .People become socialists from their life experiences .We come to a socialist view of the world by interacting directly or indirectly with others, exchanging ideas with them. Militancy has to be transformed into a socialist consciousness.How are we supposed to become "revolutionary" without agreeing with the idea of what such a revolution would entail. There is nothing that dictates that we must become revolutionary socialists . Experience of circumstances could just as easily make us fascists or religious fanaticists . Our engagement with the world around us is always mediated by the ideas we hold in our heads and we cannot understand this world except through these ideas.

Yet ,socialist consciousness cannot just rely on only ideological persuasion . It has to link up with the practical struggle. Ideas can only develop through a practical movement. The majority will come to understand socialism through the potential effect of the social practice particularly of the class struggle.

The council communist Paul Mattick maintained

Quote:
“There is no evidence that the last hundred years of labour strife have led to the revolutionizing of the working class in the sense of a growing willingness to do away with the capitalist system…In times of depression no less in than these of prosperity , the continuing confrontations of labor and capital have led not to an political radicalization of the working class , but to an intensified insistence upon better accommodations within the capitalist system…" - Marxism, Last Refuge of the Bourgeoisie

Baboon , the 1980 statement by the SPGB has no mention whatsoever of Solidarity . Two years later , the SPGB while still offering its admiration for the workers in Solidarity could criticise its support for nationalism and religion - ideas that were generalised throughout the Polish working class and not limited to Solidarity members only.

The modern democratic state is the capitalist state. But the democratic state has been forced, against its will, to bring into being methods, institutions, and procedures which have left open the road to power for the workers . In this country the central institution through which power is exercised is Parliament. To merely send working class nominees there to control it is not sufficient. The purpose must be to accomplish a revolutionary reorganisation of society, a revolution which which will put everybody on an equal footing as participants . So that all may participate equally, democracy is an essential condition and that is free discussion, full and free access to information, means to implement the wishes of the majority which have been arrived at after free decision, and means to alter decisions if the wishes of the majority change.

The barriers to the establishment of socialism exist in the minds of the working class, and capitalist control of the machinery of government is a consequence.

alb
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Apr 1 2010 06:59

If you go to the ICC website today you'll see they've chosen today to publish a long thesis, full of quotations and footnotes, explaining why Bakunin was right and Marx was wrong about contesting elections.

Spassmaschine
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Apr 1 2010 07:27
alb wrote:
If you go to the ICC website today you'll see they've chosen today to publish a long thesis, full of quotations and footnotes, explaining why Bakunin was right and Marx was wrong about contesting elections.

I can't figure out whether this is an ingenious spammer, or just the tired "lol ICC acronym stands for other things as well" joke.

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Devrim
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Apr 1 2010 08:20
captain soap wrote:
alb wrote:
If you go to the ICC website today you'll see they've chosen today to publish a long thesis, full of quotations and footnotes, explaining why Bakunin was right and Marx was wrong about contesting elections.

I can't figure out whether this is an ingenious spammer, or just the tired "lol ICC acronym stands for other things as well" joke.

It is April Fool's day. Lighten up a bit.

Devrim

Spassmaschine
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Apr 1 2010 08:24

fair point

Samotnaf
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Apr 1 2010 08:31

Devrim:

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I don't think we have much in common with them at all.

So you're not interested in being a party, you don't operate as a political organisation, you don't have petrified endlessly repeated variations of the same old critique with which you hope to convert others, you don't bore the pants off people?

Nothing at all in common with them then.

knightrose
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Apr 1 2010 14:55
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Kinghtrose: Can the SPGB assume that your lack of response on this thread to the contents of the pamphlet awaits a discussion by the AF?

Not really. I agree with AJJ, none of our groups are important enough for us to spend hours on a topic which we know we disagree on. Fwiw, I was expelled from the SPGB for publicly arguing antiparliamentary, council communist views. That was in the mid-70s, so I'm well versed in the arguments.

My only comments were about the AF being wrongly quoted, and indeed being wrongly quoted on an issue which we've tried hard to sort out. I've been privately assured by ALB that the printed version will be corrected - after all it's not in the SPGB's interests to get it wrong, is it? Knowing ALB well, I also realise that his comment about us changing our principles, unlike the way the SPGB has kept theirs the same since 1904, was said with tongue in cheek.

The SPGB frustrate me. They have the capacity to produce good basic propaganda, written by workers for workers. Yet they achieve so little. Their politics is essentially divorced from any real class struggle that is going on. This was true when I was a member back in the early 70s and is still true today. Yet since then their membership has fallen quite dramatically. This is at the same time that the membership of other communist groups has grown. I wouldn't be surprised if the AF wasn't the same size or bigger than them now. So much potential wasted.

alb
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Apr 1 2010 18:52

The other passage AF objected to was this on the grounds that it suggests they stand for a minority revolution. But I don't think it does. It just suggests that they are not entirely consistent in their arguments for a majority revolution.

Quote:
In their “revolutionary manifesto for the millennium”, Beyond Resistance (1996), they talk of “violent conflict” and “revolutionary war” and boast:

“...our organisation must be prepared from the outset to use force against counter-revolutionary groupings as readily as we would against capital or the state” (p. 18).

This is in relation to unreconstructed “Leninists, Trotskyists, Maoists and other such authoritarian groups” (the feeling is mutual and these groups declare that they wouldn’t hesitate to use violence against counter-revolutionary anarchists). But the Anarchist Federation envisages these groups, as well as social democrats and fascists, being around in significant numbers at a time when a majority of the working class is supposed to have evolved an understanding of the need for a fundamental change in the basis of society, and this must cast doubt on whether the Anarchist Federation is committed to a majority revolution. This suggests rather that they see the revolution as one sparked off by minority anarchist action in which rival armed struggles then vie with each other for influence, power and control of territory.

To be fair, they (or some of them) can envisage the possibility of “something quite different" from a “revolutionary war” as an alternative revolutionary scenario:

“ The majority of military personnel are working class, and however indoctrinated they are, we doubt that they will be prepared on the whole to shoot down their friends, neighbours and relatives. Examples from the Russian Revolution of 1917 to the Rumania of 1990 show that the army will switch sides when it becomes clear that the people will no longer tolerate their government and are prepared to take to the streets to prove it” (Beyond Resistance, p. 19).

Quite. That’s what we’ve been saying all along. We would only add the people could also prove it by sending a majority of socialist delegates to parliament.

ajjohnstone
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Apr 2 2010 11:13
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"Yet since then their membership has fallen quite dramatically. This is at the same time that the membership of other communist groups has grown"

As many already know there are no secrets in the SPGB and we are particularly proud of that claim .

From what i recollect the last conference referendum results showed a return of about 120 out of 330 ballot papers issued .

That the print-run of The Socialist Standard is about 1250 a month these days , and about 1200 more read the PDF web form , not sure how many view the HTML .

The website seems to have a large number of hits. Monthly figure for Jan 2009---requests 542665-- pages 267694 -someone else will need to interpret the significance

The Socialism or Your Money Back blog gets about 100 hits a day , but its nothing compared to the stats achieved by Lenin's Tomb ,for example .

No idea of how frequently the SPGB videoes are watched on YouTube or the torrent file sharing , but i believe Kids Stuff was relatively successfully doing the rounds .

Moneywise , as many know , because of the age of the membership we stagger from one legacy to another and at present i think its a quarter of a million sitting in the bank , but believe me that rapidly dwindles until the next old timer pops his clogs and leaves something in the will .

We have a well furnished , well equipped Head Office with a well stocked library and a wide collection of both party and non - party archives . Well worth a visit and free coffee or tea always available . HO is increasingly used as a comfortable venue for public meetings.Some argue that its maintainance is an albatross around our necks. Others , a valuable asset .

As Knightrose correctly said a decline . I believe the most members was 1400 during the late40s-early50s and when i first joined in the 70s the membership was around 700 then and the circulation of the Standard was 6 or 7000 a month .

I have set the ball rolling and now await AF , ICC , SolFed , ICT , to supply their own membership figures and resources and their progress ....unless , of course , they have something to hide ...or something to be ashamed of ...

Knightrose's other comment "The SPGB frustrate me. They have the capacity to produce good basic propaganda, written by workers for workers. Yet they achieve so little. Their politics is essentially divorced from any real class struggle that is going on."

I am a critic within the party that much more of this basic propaganda should and must be done - or to give its proper description - education .
But i question just how much less divorced other groups really are from the "real class struggle". The ICC/ICT disengage from formal trade unionism whereas the SPGB constantly cautions the workers to be on guard against their own union leadership and to take control of their own struggles . On anti-war protests , behind the flurry of SWP placards at the tail-end of the march are the sprinkling of red and black banners distributing leaflets that say little different from the many that the SPGB hand out .
Our presence may not be large but we endeavour to attend as many political events as we can . Are other groups relating to elements of the working class any better or any more productively , if so , i for one would like to learn from their approach .

Organisationally as a formal structured political party i think the SPGB still has much to offer and that the decline can be reversed . Many environmentalist are growing aware that fundamental change to the economic system by political means is required and nothing will change through the promise of the so-called practical palliative policies of the reformists .

knightrose
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Apr 2 2010 11:56

The AF has nothing to be ashamed of, but we equally don't like putting our membership figures on the web. Call us paranoid if you like, but we do sometimes get a little too much attention from the forces of law and order.

That said, we're not as big as the SPGB, but I suspect there's not much difference when it comes to active members. We bumble along with a lot less dosh in the bank too. I seem to spend most of my time coming up with money making schemes - anyone fancy a pretty mug, a t shirt, hoodie or poster? I'm turning into an anarchist Dellboy.

Despite living from hand to mouth we do manage to print Resistance 10 times a year - usually around 5000 copies a month. We produce Organise twice a year - though only 600 copies of that. As many copies are read off the internet, or more. I can't tell you the web stats, because I'm not the web person. But you can see the stats for our pamphlets on the website - our new one has been read almost 400 times, despite not being available in print yet.

We've got 16 groups - of varying sizes, but all of them trying to be as active as possible.

I'm not sure what any of this proves really. We work as hard as we can. Members are active in loads of different campaigns and in their workplaces.

Unlike the SPGB we don't have a hostility clause. We see it as our responsibility to work with other anarchists and communists. In Manchester, last night, we held the second of the Manchester Class Struggle Discussion Forums. It was attended by members of the AF, Solfed, ICC and Commune. (www.manchesterforum.org.uk). Next weekend our women's caucus will be helping organise the anarcha-feminist weekend in Manchester. This has been done alongside other Manchester anarchafeminists.

As AJJ correctly says, there is often little to distinguish our anti-war propaganda from the SPGB's. The difference is that we are always happy to help our anarchists and communists distribute propaganda and seek to work with them. The SPGB prefers to exist in splendid isolation, pretending that the rest of us: " the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party" - and by party they have traditionally meant every other political organisation.

petey
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Apr 2 2010 15:40
ajjohnstone wrote:
The ICC/ICT disengage from formal trade unionism whereas the SPGB constantly cautions the workers to be on guard against their own union leadership and to take control of their own struggles .

i'm not a member and not an apologist, but at the ICC lectures i've attended they say pretty much what SPGB says on the issue of union membership and labor action. so while ICC oppose trade unionism, i think the 'whereas' above is too strong.

ajjohnstone
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Apr 2 2010 23:04

Knightrose , just a quick comment , remember how the SPGB likes to refer to the fact that they pubicised a Bolshevik Party statement for the (Stockholm?) anti-war conference during WW1.
Also how many European writers were translated and re-published by the early SPGB . How the WSPUS allowed Paul Mattick and Anton Pannekoek to write for their magazine. How we have recently published pamphlets by John Keracher and Pannekoek , and have talked of doing Martov . We now have a public tone where we have forums rather than formal debates with the likes of Ian Bone , Brian Morris or that environmentalist guy , yet still calling them debates when we confront avowed proponents of capitalism. Some have launched a collaborative project on the ECA that may lead to a joint pamphlet . Individual members have been co-authors with non-members producing books . Private publishing ventures have been done by certain members . I think i have heard of how members in Glasgow SPGB were regular participants in the post-war Workers Forum there that stemmed from the APCF . On the internet there is a blurring of organisations such as at the Bataille Socialiste website . Membership of the IWW does no longer lead to any discipline charges and on the Mayday rallies i have distributed both organisations leaflets. One branch uses the local anarchist centre as a monthly discussion venue ( and the Quakers hall for their branch meeting to balance ) . These are precedents that in principle could be repeated but there are members both within the SPGB and many on this list who would need convincing of any new re-approachment .

Of course , its not just attitudes that would need changed but political positions would have to be reviewed and direct discussions engaged in but as you pointed out , sometimes , differences are not that great , or simply one of emphasis on how our politics are expressed in words or actions . God knows why, Edwardian language still gets used by the SPGB but by no means do the other groups escape criticism from their own cliches and obtuse terminology .

How prepared some of us are to reach a conclusion that requires compromise , i am very pessimist but simply attempting to identify where we have mutual consensus and clarify our actual disagreements is positive for me . I think many know how often i have been taken to task by people on the Libcom list who don't actually understand the SPGB case , yet sometimes ( to yourself and Spikeymike) i have conceded that some views concerning the manner and means of how the working class acquire revolutionary consciousness , the SPGB don't have a fully satisfactory answer , IMHO. Inadvertent misunderstanding of one anothers positions , just as you have needed to point out with the Parliament pamphlet error , also has a negative effect .

Just a quick postscript , too , concerning memberships , i know ours are growing greyer and greyer and more wrinkly every conference , our youth wing begins with 30-40-somethings , so just how much new young blood is entering AF and the other groups and how many is just re-cycling of people or a circulating membership of the usual suspects ? How many are entering from the Left /Trots and how many are actually "political virgins" discovering new ideas for the first time ? These things are i think are quite important to guage strengths and growth .
The SPGB have begun a survey of readership , sounds like one of those consumer research questionaires , and probably is , but i suppose there is a value in profiling those taking notice of ourselves and a worthwhile endeavour . Perhaps , yourselves and others could think about doing the same and then compare and contrast all the result to search for lessons to be learned .

capricorn
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Apr 3 2010 06:41
petey wrote:
i'm not a member and not an apologist, but at the ICC lectures i've attended they say pretty much what SPGB says on the issue of union membership and labor action. so while ICC oppose trade unionism, i think the 'whereas' above is too strong.

I don't think this is right or that either the ICC or the SPGB would agree with it. The ICC is implacably opposed to trade unions and trade unionism seeing unions as agents of the capitalist state, in fact as the main enemy of the working class today holding back the revolution. I don't think this is the position of the SPGB.

petey
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Apr 3 2010 10:07
capricorn wrote:
The ICC is implacably opposed to trade unions and trade unionism seeing unions as agents of the capitalist state, in fact as the main enemy of the working class today holding back the revolution..

yes i know this position, but i quote a member, 'we never tell workers they should leave their unions', though they (obv) present their own argument when they have the chance. i'm only saying that here::

Quote:
the SPGB constantly cautions the workers to be on guard against their own union leadership and to take control of their own struggles .

you could substitute ICC for SPGB. i can't comment on the basic position of the SPGB to unionism.

knightrose
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Apr 3 2010 14:13

AJJ - what you are saying about the SPGB working with others in reality is an acknowledgement that the hostility clause is a liability and that many, but not all members, have known that for years. Ditching it, or refining it, would be a step in the right direction. But as long as it is there, most other communists will regard you with deep suspicion even if they can come to terms with your bizarre views on parliament.

the question of where our new members come from is an interesting one. tbh I can't find a simple answer. Some come via left groups, some have considered themselves anarchists for some time, some are newbies. Our age profile is much healthier than it used to be. I'm certainly one of the older members.

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Devrim
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Apr 4 2010 08:23
ajjohnstone wrote:
I have set the ball rolling and now await AF , ICC , SolFed , ICT , to supply their own membership figures and resources and their progress ....unless , of course , they have something to hide ...or something to be ashamed of ...

I don't think that we have anything to hide. I can't respond to the details about the UK ICC on all details as I don't know them. I can obviously comment on things that are open.

Publications: World Revolution 10 times a year.
International Review four times a year.

I don't know about sales obviously.

Internet:: You can see the 'reads' for the articles on the actual web pages. The articles in the last issue of international review have between 481 and 840 reads, and the last issue of World Revolution between 146 and 468 reads. Articles posted on the 'banner' get much more with for example a recent article on a dispute in Turkey attracting 1219 'reads' on the English website.

Membership: I don't know exactly, but I have a pretty good idea. I will leave it for them to say. I don't think we should post the exact number anyway, but I think there is nothing wrong with giving people a 'ballpark figure'.

Finance: I really have no idea at all.

If anybody is interested I could give much more detailed information for the Turkish section. I don't think we have anything to hide.

Devrim

gypsy
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Apr 4 2010 10:15
knightrose wrote:
The AF has nothing to be ashamed of, but we equally don't like putting our membership figures on the web. Call us paranoid if you like, but we do sometimes get a little too much attention from the forces of law and order.

.

That does sound abit paranoid to be fair cos Law and Order probably allready know. Its not like every anarchist is in the AF anyway.

Spikymike
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Apr 15 2010 17:25

I am sure I detect an inconsistency between ajj's explanation of his and the SPGB's support for the establishment and extension of democratic reforms in places such as South Africa and Poland in recent history with his explanation of his and the SPGB's non support of such reforms in modern history (as distinct from Marx's position during an earlier century) in his argument with the CPGB on nationalism (linked via the organise thread on The Commune). This later argument in fact seems closer than one might expect to the ICC's decadence theory on the differences between the position of Marx and that of post first world war communists in respect of reforms and national liberation.

Am I right?

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whichfinder
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Apr 16 2010 14:19
Spikymike wrote:
I am sure I detect an inconsistency between ajj's explanation of his and the SPGB's support for the establishment and extension of democratic reforms in places such as South Africa and Poland in recent history with his explanation of his and the SPGB's non support of such reforms in modern history (as distinct from Marx's position during an earlier century) in his argument with the CPGB on nationalism (linked via the organise thread on The Commune). This later argument in fact seems closer than one might expect to the ICC's decadence theory on the differences between the position of Marx and that of post first world war communists in respect of reforms and national liberation.

Am I right?

We'll deal with this, and other questions, at the Election Forum taking place at the bunker, 52 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 tomorrow (17th) at 6.00pm.

Not to be missed!

ajjohnstone
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Joined: 20-04-08
Apr 17 2010 13:01

Sikeymike , i really can't comment if there is an inconsistency or not , so you could you maybe expand and perhaps demonstrate the similarity with the ICC decadence theory ( which i am by no means an expert ) .

I do know that our position has always to differentiate between bread and butter reformism and those that advance democracy . Another example i can offer is while in no way endorsing Dubjek , in 1968 we wished the Czech "workers there every success in establishing a framework within which a genuine socialist movement can grow, namely , political democracy" and that [i]"democracy is established and maintained by the working class , not a gift from our rulers "[i] - that it is through political struggle that democracy is achieved and continually defended .

I think in the CPGB letter i was explaining how economic conditions - the productive forces - were not yet ripe for immediate socialism thus Marx advocated reforms and a longer transitional period through a first phase using labour vouchers to ration distribution and consumption . Unnecessary later .
As for capitalism's decadence i understand ther ICC position developed post -1914 , while the SPGB was critical of the 2nd International from its foundation in 1904 and sought no minimum program to expedite socialism , that capitalism had outlived its usefulness by then . In fact , although universal suffrage didn't exist , women having no vote , nor most male farm workers , sufficient workers did have the vote to give the working class political power , the SPGB concentraated its resources on convincing those of the merits of socialism , rather than agitate for the expansion of the electorate .

oooooooooops , duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

its the wrong letter i'm writing about . Its not this one http://www.cpgb.org.uk/letters.php?issue_id=813 ,( i'll let the above stand since there is some relevance .)

But that one http://www.cpgb.org.uk/letters.php?issue_id=812 criticising Allan Armstrong of the SSP .

I see where the confusion arises and how you see the similarity - the reference to WW1 and the ensuing destruction of Prussian , Austrian , Russian ( and Turkish ) aristocracy as a defining moment in history for the establishment of socialism .

Well , certainly in Russia , the bourgoisie didn't take power , being impotent , and required the intelligensia to complete the capitalist revolution . But the junker class of Prussia and the Hapsburgs in Austria were replaced and so support for an aspiring capitalist class was no longer required as earlier deemed by Marx and his arguments for Polish or Irish independence cannot be sustained today .

Quote:
Once industrial capitalist powers had come to dominate the world, and once a workable political democracy had been established in those states, then the task of socialists was to advocate socialism rather than democratic and social reforms. That is the position of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

Standing alone this is indeed the position of the SPGB , my error was not to add the caveat , that the German working class , as a majority even within a flawed parliament , could create the socialist revolution long before the events of 1914 as recognised and optimistically expected by Engels . http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/bio/media/engels/93_05_13.htm

The recourse to nationalism as a step towards socialism as Armstrong argues and the dismissal of those politics , and that the final nail in the coffin of any justification using Marx for it , was indeed the fall of the kaiser and emperor and tsar from WW1 may indeed be shared between the SPGB and the ICC but do i , or ICC , make much of the overlap ( if there is ) , as you appear to do , i'm not so sure .

Sorry for the confusing start , and probably just confusing end .

Spikymike
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Joined: 6-01-07
Apr 20 2010 09:42

The tail end of ajj's response above does start to recognise what I detected as a cross over in political arguments about support for 'democartic reforms' but I do not propose to pursue this now as it is a minor point.

I would just add on the non-support of the SPGB for the womens's suffrage campaign in Britain and similar movements elswhere that this again demonstrates the SPGB's stress on 'counting (socially defined working class) heads' as opposed to 'developing consciousness through struggle' even within the context of politics which emphasise definitions of socialism/communism in terms of 'formal democracy'.