SPEW Tactics

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Joined: 16-10-16
Oct 30 2016 12:04
SPEW Tactics

I have just finished reading a SPEW political pamphlet about defending the NHS.
What caught my attention was it was the first SPEW pamphlet I have ever comes across which discusses actual tactics recommend by SPEW.

Here were the points:

What can you do to fight service closures or privatization in your area?

Is your local hospital,A&E,maternity unit or children ward under threat of closure? Are there plans to privatize community services? Here are some ideas about how to campaign and fight back against cuts. Contact the Socialist Party for more info,resources or help with the campaign.

1) Organize a public meeting once you hear about local services under attack. Contact the local press,papers,radio and TV.

2) Find others to work with who are willing to take responsibility for doing certain jobs within the campaign- you'll need a treasurer,press and publicity organizer, secretary and chair among other roles. Meet regular as a smaller group to discuss the campaign strategy. Involve as many people in different ways as possible.
3) Contact local councillors and MP's. If they are not already involved put the them under pressure to support the campaign through lobbying and petitions.

4) Attend any consultation meetings to put forward the arguments against cuts.

5) Contact all the trade unions who represent workers affected by the proposals. as well as approaching local union reps, try to talk to rank and file workers by organizing stalls outside hospitals ans other workplaces.

6) Petitioning is a good way of raising awareness, either on stalls in town centres or knocking on doors to drum up support for the campaign. Keep a list of supporters to contact regularly about events. Email lists, Facebook groups and twitter are all useful.

7) Contact the press regular. Get supporters writing letters on a weekly/daily basis to get the debate going and force the health bosses to come out the woodwork.

8) Refer proposed changes to the council's overview and scrutiny committee and involve the health and well being boards. Make them aware of the public opposition to the plans. They have the power to hold up the process and even take legal proceedings.

9) Organize a local march or protest (at least once) as a way of showing opposition to the plans.

10) Consider standing anti-cuts candidates in local or even national elections. Politicians
will take the campaign more seriously if they think their electoral position may be challenged by a local community activist.

11) Make links with other similar campaigns, locally and nationally, to find out what has worked in other areas.

12) Support health workers in any actions they are taking; trade union action is the most effective way to defend the NHS. Uniting community campaigns with trade union action makes a campaign stronger and more likely to win.

13) Take legal advice. Consider whether there may be a legal case against those making the changes-as in Lewisham and the Leeds children's heart surgery campaigns.

14) Join the Socialist Party. Get involved in fighting to change society for the better and guarantee a decent health service into the future/

Be totally honest. Were any of these numbered points any good? Were all numbered points bad? Some numbered points bad or some points good? What kind of resources and help could SPEW realistically offer? I think many Libcom would strongly disagree with point 14. Point number 11

11) "Make links with other similar campaigns, locally and nationally, to find out what has worked in other areas."

is most interesting as it implies maybe adopting new ideas and tactics outside of the suggested points by SPEW here

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Oct 30 2016 12:12

From personal experience, I have found Socialist Party activists in single issue or workplace campaigns I've been involved in extremely effective organisers and campaigners.

Other than bits of their campaigning strategy which often include things like lobbying Labour councillors, or standing in elections, I would say generally the strategy here is good.

Where I would disagree is there more overarching strategy for the transformation of society, which includes an organising element, but is ultimately based on electing Socialist Party activists to positions of influence in the unions, local government and eventually (they wish…) national government.

They did have considerable success in this regard in the 1980s when they were part of the Labour Party, but in terms of getting us any closer to socialism it was an abject failure, as they ended up sending thousands of redundancy notices to Council workers in Militant-controlled Liverpool, and called for people to snitch on anti poll tax rioters.

Of the trots though that you come across they are probably the most down-to-earth, sensible and practical lot (although where they come to dominate campaigns you get into problems, as with the SWP, but this doesn't happen often)

Joined: 16-10-16
Oct 30 2016 12:32

Thanks Steve for commenting. I think as Theresa May stubbornly insists in the NHS making cuts of £20 Billion I expect to see a surge in campaigns to Defend the NHS from all Schools of thought be they Anarchist, Communist, Trotskyist or Impossibilist. When you have had to work with Socialist Party in any campaign have you or any other anarchist suggested to Socialist Party members the horizontal method of organizing within any type of campaign and if so what has been their reply to open suggestion of horizontalism?

jondwhite's picture
Joined: 23-10-12
Oct 30 2016 12:48

When you find any 'impossibilists' calling to 'defend the NHS' it will
be the day I stop being an 'impossibilist'. Impossibilists aren't just against bad reforms they are against all reforms that could conceivably leave our rulers in control and win support that could be used to prop up any rulers: 'good' or 'bad'.

Joined: 1-08-06
Oct 30 2016 17:36
DigitalSocialist wrote:
... When you have had to work with Socialist Party in any campaign have you or any other anarchist suggested to Socialist Party members the horizontal method of organizing within any type of campaign and if so what has been their reply to open suggestion of horizontalism?

Here's a thread from a couple of years ago about the local SPEW (I'm pretty sure the members of the SPGB would prefer it if you didn't refer to the SPEW as 'the Socialist Party') manoeuvring to take over a locally-based protest group/movement:


Joined: 16-10-16
Nov 4 2016 20:22

Hello slothjabber sorry for late reply and thanks for the link. I see this thread was from 2013. Did you succeed in convincing the SPEW to adopt direct democracy in the campaign?

Joined: 1-08-06
Nov 5 2016 13:24

God no. They completely dominated the campaign, the 'Anarchists' were sidelined, mass-meetings ceased and the campaign fell to pieces.

They did however manage to organise a single anti-bailiff action (no bad thing in itself of course) that was reported in the local paper, and presumably managed to get them a few more votes in the local council elections (which I'm sure was the point - I see 'contact the local press/TV' is point 1 of their guide to campaigning).