Collapse of the Socialist Alliance

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RichardGriffin
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Mar 15 2004 11:56
Collapse of the Socialist Alliance

At a conference on Saturday the SWP dominated SA agreed not to stand any candidates in this year's June elections. The SWP has effectively closed the SA down in favour of its new vehicle the Respect Coalition. A lot of independent socialists are hacked off with what has happened (as are some SWP members) so...

.... what should anarchists do in response?

WeTheYouth
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Mar 15 2004 13:48

Laugh grin They make something then destroy it for a more popular name lol. Not to mention riding on the back of the anti-war movement.

They are pathetic.

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 15 2004 15:24

Ahhh i think thats a bit of a shame really. Although im no SWP fan, i thought perhaps the Socialist Alliance would get a candidate elected somewhere, which would at least get leftism on the agenda. Well, thats the Trotskyites for you.

As for what anarchists should do, laugh specifically at the SWP. See if the aforementioned "independant" socialists are approachable.

Steve
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Mar 15 2004 15:44

The Socialist Alliance did manage to get a councillor elected in Preston on a specific anti-war ticket and in alliance with the Imam of a local mosque. He is also SWP and is now going to stand as a RESPECT candidate in the Euro elections and I presume change to a Respect Councillor. He may stay as SA as I understand the SWP are holding onto the name to prevent the independents from using it.

SolFed has had inquires from several disillusioned SA members over the past year. I think we should just let SWP/Respect get on with it. It’s bound to collapse again. We should attend to our own agenda and not coat-tail developments within the Marxist left. They do that with the Labour Party anyway.

EZLN Marcos
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Mar 15 2004 15:53

God its no wonder the left never have any success why can we not aggree with each other.

To be honest I think the SWP are terrible for the image of socialism they are all mental and also they all assume that everyone aggrees with them, wich Im sad to say they don't.

Still they are less annoying than the Alliance for Workers Liberty, I was trying to negotiate with them on sunday it was painfull.

ClassWar
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Mar 15 2004 15:58

Agree with Steve really.

I would only add that the turn towards Respect can be explained in part by the SWP needing to find a reason why the massive anti-war protests did not translate into electoral success for the SA.

With the exception of Preston results were awful (for example in London the IWCA did better, despite having a fraction of the SAs members and resources)

Obviously the SA/SWP cannot address they real reason for their electoral failure - bad politics and too many middle class muppets - so instead of changing the message, they change the messenger.

Secondly Respect makes a turn away from uniting the left, to a section of the Left - the SWP - instead directing its focus towards the peace movement and the Muslim community. The way the Preston result has been held up as a template further illustrates this.

This may bring some electoral gains in the short term - especially if they get Imam's on board - but I don't see how it is doing anybody else, or the wider working class, any good.

GenerationDecay
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Mar 15 2004 16:08
Quote:
I would only add that the turn towards Respect can be explained in part by the SWP needing to find a reason why the massive anti-war protests did not translate into electoral success for the SA.

Aside from the obvious one that they were too busy 'building the party' and forgot about the SA until a few weeks before the elections, you mean wink

Is there any difference between RESPECT and the Green Party? Any at all? Anyone...

knightrose
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Mar 15 2004 16:34
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Is there any difference between RESPECT and the Green Party? Any at all? Anyone...

Well, Respect exists to get a nasty stalinist bastard elected as an MEP smile

I was at the Trial of Tony Blair on Friday night in Manchester. Quite entertaining, but also revealing. Lots of SWP members got up to speak, most of them quite young. It was clear that they believe that the war was wrong because it was illegal and that they really need a new party that they can vote for.

oh!, how the mighty have fallen!

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JoeMaguire
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Mar 16 2004 09:49
ClassWar wrote:
I would only add that the turn towards Respect can be explained in part by the SWP needing to find a reason why the massive anti-war protests did not translate into electoral success for the SA.

This is true but doesnt really cover it fully. During the Iraqi invaision and the subsequent protests most of the left expanded with the big exception of the SWP. In fact as an entity they have dwindled while other trot groups have gone through some modest expansion. There current course is to try and make ground in terms of profile and recruitment. But this is straining them closer and closer to reformism and leftwing populism. Needless to say they will become more and more politically moribund and unstable.

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 16 2004 13:48

But say, in some imaginary dream world the SA or RESPECT or whatever got alot of electoral support or whatever, and they approached the solidarity federation with offers of a role in one of their constituencies (not a paid governmental role, obviously) im aware this would never ever happen, but how would you feel? take it?

Steve
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Mar 16 2004 13:50
Augusto_Sandino wrote:
But say, in some imaginary dream world the SA or RESPECT or whatever got alot of electoral support or whatever, and they approached the solidarity federation with offers of a role in one of their constituencies (not a paid governmental role, obviously) im aware this would never ever happen, but how would you feel? take it?

We would tell them to fuck off.

(I bet I know what's coming next)

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Spartacus
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Mar 18 2004 14:38
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We would tell them to fuck off.

is that all? if the left ever get strong such as in that hypothetical situation, i think they should be attacked (not necessarily violently, although it might be fun...) rather than simply ignored. they are authoritarians, therefore of no use to anyone but their leaders...

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 18 2004 14:55

True, authoritarians just screw the anarchists over at every opportunity. Telling them to feck off would probably be best.

GenerationDecay
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Mar 18 2004 15:48
GenerationTerrorist wrote:
Quote:
We would tell them to fuck off.

is that all? if the left ever get strong such as in that hypothetical situation, i think they should be attacked (not necessarily violently, although it might be fun...) rather than simply ignored. they are authoritarians, therefore of no use to anyone but their leaders...

I REALLY hope you're joking.

brizzul
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Mar 19 2004 02:51

Argue against class struggle organisations that have central control. This is a perfect example of the lie of democratic centralism and can be used to prove how shit it is. We can laugh too at a load of pussies incapable locally to control their own organisation.

We can also invite them into properly radical federations that preserve local autonomy yet retain collective, national responsibility & coherency (the meaning of federalism). It proves how much better *we* are than their political bosses.

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 19 2004 09:50

If you want an example then think about the communist party and the CNT in Spain...

Steve
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Mar 19 2004 10:00
Augusto_Sandino wrote:
If you want an example then think about the communist party and the CNT in Spain...

An example of what? & when? Today? confused

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Spartacus
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Mar 19 2004 14:19
GenerationDecay wrote:

I REALLY hope you're joking.

i'm joking that it might be fun, cos violence isn't, any humour derived from it is generally nervous relief. but not about the necessity of destroying any form of top down leftist organisation if it became a threat. i don't want to start one of those stupid arguments about left unity because i believe anarchism to be outside of the left (not in that weird crypto fascist way, or anti-class struggle way), but our east european comrades have the write idea...

GenerationDecay
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Mar 19 2004 16:11
GenerationTerrorist wrote:

i'm joking that it might be fun, cos violence isn't, any humour derived from it is generally nervous relief. but not about the necessity of destroying any form of top down leftist organisation if it became a threat. i don't want to start one of those stupid arguments about left unity because i believe anarchism to be outside of the left (not in that weird crypto fascist way, or anti-class struggle way), but our east european comrades have the write idea...

The Eastern European comrades who engage in this kind of stuff are, frankly, idiots. Left unity has nothing to do with it, if you can't win over the younger cadre of the trotskist left (who want the same end society as you do, and are involved generally to try and make a better world) to anarchism by your ideas and actions then you aren't likely to win many other people over either. Besides which, its a total waste of energy and resources, I know of one occasion when czech anarchists launched into an attack on the trotskyists instead of attacking a group of fascists, which is pathetic. With them having suffered under Stalinism I can kinda understand why they would do it, although I don't condone it, but I can't fathom why someone here would say its a good idea.

And people wonder why the anarchist movement is in such a state... angry roll eyes

Steve
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Mar 19 2004 19:13
GenerationDecay wrote:
I know of one occasion when czech anarchists launched into an attack on the trotskyists instead of attacking a group of fascists, which is pathetic. With them having suffered under Stalinism I can kinda understand why they would do it, although I don't condone it, but I can't fathom why someone here would say its a good idea.

And people wonder why the anarchist movement is in such a state... angry roll eyes

If this is the incident I have heard of then it's not quite how you paint it. It wasn't an attack on a group of trots instead of fascists. No fascists were present. Also said 'trots' had links with the old ruling communist party. Czech anarchists had suffered badly under the Marxist regime and they see Marxists in much the same light as fascists. It's easy to sit here in the UK and condemn them. None of us have had to live under state communist rule. Such a lot of nonsense has been put around in this country about this incident by 'Revo' and Workers Power including a claim that the SF had issued a statement condemning the Czechs. Simply not true.

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 19 2004 20:22

I meant an example of Marxists screwing over anarchists, in the Spanish civil war the Spanish Communist party villified and persecuted the CNT despite the fact they were supposedly on the same side, and some would say thats why the Republic lost the war.

Steve
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Mar 19 2004 20:46
Augusto_Sandino wrote:
I meant an example of Marxists screwing over anarchists, in the Spanish civil war the Spanish Communist party villified and persecuted the CNT despite the fact they were supposedly on the same side, and some would say thats why the Republic lost the war.

Ahh, right! Got it.

LiveFastDiarrea
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Mar 20 2004 09:55

Who said anything about *winning* trots over to anarchism through fighting them?

GenerationDecay
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Mar 20 2004 19:55
Steve wrote:
If this is the incident I have heard of then it's not quite how you paint it. It wasn't an attack on a group of trots instead of fascists. No fascists were present. Also said 'trots' had links with the old ruling communist party. Czech anarchists had suffered badly under the Marxist regime and they see Marxists in much the same light as fascists. It's easy to sit here in the UK and condemn them. None of us have had to live under state communist rule. Such a lot of nonsense has been put around in this country about this incident by 'Revo' and Workers Power including a claim that the SF had issued a statement condemning the Czechs. Simply not true.

I have no idea if its the same incident, but it may well be, since I've only heard of it from heresay. I'll accept what you say about it, sure, but the main point is that I don't believe its acceptable tactics for anarchists to attack trots in a blanket fassion (in fact I think its pretty abhorrent). There are two issues at hand here...

The personal: I did mention in my post that I understood the reasons behind the attack, that these were people who suffered under the Communist Party's rule. But 'victims morality' does not make it ok, seeing as I am pretty sure non of the trots in question want to see a return to the old regime. I don't go around smacking every single Labour member I see... Stalinists are fair enough in Eastern Europe I guess, but I guess its cos I see differences in motivation between them and trots...

The ideological/tactical: this issue is probably more relevent, seeing as the discussion started in the context of the SA/respect. I still totally reject it though... maybe someone could explain to me why an organised campaign of violence against the authoritarian left would be an acceptable use of time and energy, when even if they gained an element of representation in parliament it would be negligible compared to the three main parties (and thats not even taking into account actions we need to take against corporations etc). Aside from the fact that I have problems with attacking people with fundamentally good intentions (here we'd be talking about the grassroots of the left more than the likes of Banberry etc, I'll punch that fucker myself wink), and am slightly more disposed to targetting the state and the fash, this is not going to give anarchists a particularly good name, of course only relevent depending on who you have a good name with but... Following on from this, and also in reply to this quote:

Quote:
Who said anything about *winning* trots over to anarchism through fighting them?

AFAIK, no one. But there are two replies to this. The first, and most obvious, is simply to point out the number of ex-trotskyists (including many on this board) who have gone over to anarchism. I may be wrong, but I don't think most would want to associate with people who a week ago were smash their and their friends faces in. Many people move to the anarchist movement from the authoritarian left, this is anecdotal evidence yeah but I'm sure no one will contend it. The second is that should A group like Respect get elected onto a ward, the people who put them their will be the local (probably working-class) community. Beating up the elected representatives of a local community is NOT the best way to endear yourselves to said community, its fine if they are fash (different matter and different tactics) but not if they are a socially progressive group. Ideas and actions are the way forward, save the violence for when its necessary. Its not even as if the authoritarian left is a 'threat'.

GDxx

Steve
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Mar 21 2004 11:15
GenerationDecay wrote:
I've only heard of it from heresay.

Exactly. Heresay. Don't condemn somthing on heresay, especially when a lot of it comes from lies spread by WP and Revo. Oh and they don't attack trots in a blanket fashion. It was a small one-off incedent blown out of proportion by the above mentioned.

I don't advocate attacking Marxists/Trots in this country but I don't trust any of them. The ordinary members of Trot groups can be approached and argued with as they soon get pissed off with the politics. The hardened cadre though are different. They'll sell their own grandmother if they think it will benefit the party. They'll certainly stab anarchists in the back, at the moment metaphorically, but if they ever get power then literally.

Edited to add.

I have worked with many local activists through the Radical Preston Alliance and many of them are sound. Some of them though (SWP) I don't trust. They only turned up when they wanted something and their antics in the local anti-war group confirmed that.

coyote
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Mar 28 2004 16:32

hmm.

I seem to remember several actions in the mid90s when the trots tried to physically attack us... (the "justice" demo, several antiCJB marches, student demo 1999)

...and many more when they either grassed us up to the cops(poll tax, antifa stuff) or led us into police setups (Welling,)

they also consciously wrecked several non SWP protests/campaigns.

what is it that the trots are fond of saying?

"self defense is no offense!"

by the late 90s several of us were (half seriously) talking about an action against the Marxism event.

however, we had better things to do than that,

and in the UK anyway the trots are quite happy destroying themselves (in the usa they actually do attack each other)

star green black

AlexA
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Mar 28 2004 20:48
GenerationDecay wrote:
The Eastern European comrades who engage in this kind of stuff are, frankly, idiots. Left unity has nothing to do with it, if you can't win over the younger cadre of the trotskist left (who want the same end society as you do, and are involved generally to try and make a better world) to anarchism by your ideas and actions then you aren't likely to win many other people over either. Besides which, its a total waste of energy and resources, I know of one occasion when czech anarchists launched into an attack on the trotskyists instead of attacking a group of fascists, which is pathetic. With them having suffered under Stalinism I can kinda understand why they would do it, although I don't condone it, but I can't fathom why someone here would say its a good idea.

I think if you read abolishing Borders from Below (east european anarchist courier) you'd know that they certainly do not ignore the fascists. In czech in particular there is very serious fighting with serious injuries on both sides - i believe when a group of fash attacked some FSA comrades (the IWA group you mention above) on of the nazis was thrown from a bridge.

In czech the World Revolution group there is not and has never been part of Anti-Fascist Action, but it *is* strongly linked to the Stalinist CP (they have an office in their building, and there is membership cross-over) - which ran the country like a fascist dictatorship, and tortured and imprisoned many anarchists + workers, including people in the FSA (still).

So although it's not nice, it's very understandable - and to criticise them for not doing enough to fight fascism is I think very much out of order, considering the risks they put up with...

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Spartacus
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Mar 29 2004 10:05
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So although it's not nice, it's very understandable

not just understandable, in that context it is highly necessary and to be applauded. saying they shouldn't because the fash are a problem too is like saying it would be daft to attack fascists in germany if stalinist were on the rise there (not that they are as far as i know). in this country i don't suppose ordinary members of trot groups need to be attacked, and as coyote said they're destroying themselves, but if they were to somehow get their act together and start to make progress then i think they should be opposed.

GenerationDecay
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Mar 30 2004 02:20
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So although it's not nice, it's very understandable - and to criticise them for not doing enough to fight fascism is I think very much out of order, considering the risks they put up with...

I didn't say they didn't do enough, I know they do hell of a lot against the fascists in circumstances a lot more tough than here, the point was that, apart from being plain nasty, it deflects resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

GenerationDecay
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Mar 30 2004 02:49
GenerationTerrorist wrote:
Quote:
So although it's not nice, it's very understandable

not just understandable, in that context it is highly necessary and to be applauded. saying they shouldn't because the fash are a problem too is like saying it would be daft to attack fascists in germany if stalinist were on the rise there (not that they are as far as i know). in this country i don't suppose ordinary members of trot groups need to be attacked, and as coyote said they're destroying themselves, but if they were to somehow get their act together and start to make progress then i think they should be opposed.

1. I said Stalinists were probably fair game, although because they have a different base and a different method of organising I still don't agree with it, although its understandable.

2. The point of physical direct action against people is not cos they're 'not very nice' or 'have dangerous politics' but because it is a valid action to combat their method of organising. No Platformvas a tactic is only applicable to fascists because it is the best way of dealing with their threat. If it wasn't, then it would be necessary to organise against them in a different way, and just beat the shit out of them in your own free time. Like I said earlier, Labour are doing far more damage than the Fash in the UK, simply because they are more powerful, but I don't go around beating the shit out of Labour members.

3. Anarchism and Trotskyism gain recruits from similar social groups. So if Trotskyism is on the rise, its because its more organised in communities and centres of struggle. Ditto with anarchism. So if Trotskyism is a 'threat' to you, then fucking organise and win people by your actions and ideas, not by beating up people who would potentially be on your side if you actually argued with them and showed them that you had better ideas.

GD

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JoeMaguire
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Mar 30 2004 11:01

Can it be expanded on, exactly why the WP sister organ in czech as links with stalinists?

Also is there anywhere to read about these events in detail?