Post-Trump North American left trends

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Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2019 18:27
Hieronymous wrote:
This is a faction fight, pure and simple. But aided by all the weaponized abuse

Could it be that there's a faction fight, and also abuse? Which would make it a bit less 'pure and simple'.

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Hieronymous
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Aug 2 2019 00:32
lou.rinaldi wrote:
When it came up you literally used the Bill Cosby defense.

Literally means, by definition: "word for word."

Bill Cosby feigned victimhood, equating his martyrdom to Emmett Till's. He claimed his accusers and the whole judicial establishment were racists. He claimed consent. He preached a Puritanical anti-drug message, while drugging his victims. His defense lawyers tried to excuse his rapes away by alleging that they were "romantic" affairs. What does any of this have to do with what I wrote? Literally or figuratively?

When it came up, I asked about the process of accountability and mentioned restorative justice. How does that have anything to do with Bill Cosby?

lou.rinaldi wrote:
I get that he is your friend.

This is disingenuous. Don't put words in my (or anyone else's) mouth. From what you've written, perhaps you know this person better than I do. They haven't lived in my region for over a decade, so it's not accurate to call him a friend. In this thread posters bleat on and on about "due process," but I've yet to see anything that goes beyond being a smear. A vicious factional fight has escalated to accusations of abuse, as part of a power struggle.

If not, why is it taking place on libcom? And why on this thread? And how is the intent any different than the accusers in Aufhebengate? The post making the revelation was almost gleeful. Is that the proper tone in addressing allegations of sexual abuse?

Ray Jovana
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Aug 2 2019 03:29
Quote:
"This is is an excellent case where you should've trusted your instincts and erred on the side of principle, because it amounts to mere hearsay"

"You've just weaponized allegations that are mere hearsay, at best, and intentional fabrications, at worst."

FYI, it isn't hearsay or a fabrication when you hear it straight from the perpetrator:

Quote:
"What OT did is definitely awful, but I've only seen the account of the sexual assault that OT himself forwarded to me."

This,on the other hand, is is the definition of hearsay:

Quote:
"During these conversations, my ultra-left comrades confirmed what a toxic cesspool of disinformation and Trump-sympathizing white nationalism the Seattle IWW branch has become. They reminded me that Spencer Sturdevant and Cyan Rose Quinn (the former banned from libcom for his fascistic posts) went from the Seattle IWW branch to become straight-up white nationalists, affiliated with Identity Evropa"

"how is can the Seattle IWW branch be "doing very well" when it's the breeding ground for COINTEPRO-like disinformation and fascists?"

On Spencer and Cyan, they left the Seattle IWW and SeaSol in 2012. At that point, as I understand it, they were leftists more interested in abstract theory than workplace organizing. From there Spencer spent a few years on LibCom and in some sort of online leftist theory reading group. If you want to find people with insight into their drift to fascism, you might try talking with someone who's had contact with them sometime in the past 7 years.

I'd bet a pint that active Seattle wobs put all together have had no more interaction with Spencer/Cyan over the last 7 years than you have, Hieronymous.

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Juan Conatz
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Aug 16 2019 12:55

Anyone been following the stuff around the DSA Convention? My god its like seeing the 1960s SDS play out in 2019. Fights over basic centralization vs decentralization, innumerable caucuses and factions, procedural nightmares, fake controversies, walking the line between liberalism and leftism but leaning towards the latter, etc. If you've read Kilpatrick Sale's book on SDS, you'll see what I mean.

There's a number of accounts on the Convention. It's hard to really parse the different caucuses and factions as an outsider so its hard to really make sense of the proposals and resolutions. But it seems the caucuses that are most pro-Bernie/electoral politics won out easily over those who are more skeptical of electoral work as a main activity.

sherbu-kteer
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Joined: 19-08-17
Aug 16 2019 14:31

I've been struggling to parse it too. I found this report from the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung helpful in understanding the internal dynamics and factions of the DSA with regards to the caucus. It has some interesting survey data too. Eg, ~70% of DSA chapters are not involved in campaigning for candidates or ballot initiatives, whilst 48% are engaged in 'mutual aid' (pg. 4). Agree that the more centralist people seem to have won out, but I'm still trying to figure out what was at stake. Like I still don't know what the Build group actually believe or want to do.

Most of the (sparse) mainstream media coverage seems to have focused on the clips of the weird procedural disputes, like the person criticising the speaker for using the word 'guys'. Tucker Carlson had a little feature about that and invited Libcom favourite Angela Nagle on to discuss it with him. From what I can tell that sort of thing was really marginal in the context of the conference as a whole but it's pissed off the 'anti-idpol' people to the point where some of them have formed a new caucus to 'right the ship' and wrest control of the organisation back from the "the professional-managerial stratum, academics, and college-educated millennials". It's always a bit funny to see social democrats complain that their mostly social democratic organisation is too bureaucratic and 'PMC', it's like saying McDonald's has too many hamburgers.

The thing I'm most interested in is how they're going to approach the labour union issue, they passed a "rank-and-file strategy" (I think this is the Kim Moody thing?) at the conference and some branches in particular are really planning to go hard on it: "We will focus our branch resources on recruiting NYC-DSA members to take jobs in these sectors and on developing a strategy for militant, democratic, classwide struggles based in these sectors". It mainly seems to be about pushing for a more activist union leadership. Will be interesting to see how it plays out, and how radical syndicalists (eg IWW, WSA) respond.

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LeninistGirl
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Aug 17 2019 00:51

The critique I've seen of the "rank-and-file" resolution has in general been that it focuses only on just unions. Which is seen as not being enough since unions historically represents the "upper strata" of the working-class.

zugzwang
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Aug 17 2019 09:19

Is there really a "Rosa Luxemburg foundation" that pushes reformist-leftist politics? And I see on wiki they're the think tank of Die Linke party in Germany.

I'm pretty sure Luxemburg wrote against this type of stuff, if Die Linke's wiki page is anything to go by, in Reform or Revolution (though I guess Richard Wolff's, who has amassed a following with these worker coop ideas, appearance in their Rosa Remix compilation makes more sense now):

Quote:
The party wants to strengthen anti-trust laws and empower cooperatives to decentralise the economy.

sherbu-kteer
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Aug 17 2019 14:27

All the major German parties have think tanks attached to them oddly enough. The Greens have the Heinrich Böll foundation, SPD Friedrich Ebert, CDU Konrad Adenauer, etc. They're quite well funded too by looks of things, the Green one has a bunch of international offices, while the Rosa Luxemburg one has international offices and also has funded DSA stuff.

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LeninistGirl
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Aug 17 2019 17:05

I think it depends on where you draw the line for what is "reformist" politics. From the things I've read it doesn't seem to be pushing a specific line. I think the political groups and unions part of the labor movement in a lot of countries have publications tied to them that is largely independent of their own line. The TUC my union is part of is very close to the Social-democratic party and has a paper called Arbetet, where they have published everything from articles on NUMSA forming their new party Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, articles by active syndicalists that argued against the social-democrat's proposal on restricting the right to strike, and so on.

syndicalist
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Aug 17 2019 20:16
sherbu-kteer wrote:
The thing I'm most interested in is how they're going to approach the labour union issue, they passed a "rank-and-file strategy" (I think this is the Kim Moody thing?) at the conference and some branches in particular are really planning to go hard on it: "We will focus our branch resources on recruiting NYC-DSA members to take jobs in these sectors and on developing a strategy for militant, democratic, classwide struggles based in these sectors". It mainly seems to be about pushing for a more activist union leadership. Will be interesting to see how it plays out, and how radical syndicalists (eg IWW, WSA) respond.

WSA has always rejected a strategy of "boring from within".

W.S.A. believes, in part:

"The type of unionism that we advocate is self-managed by the members, works to spread solidarity and link up with workers in other countries, encourages mass participation, fights against all forms of inequality and discrimination, and rejects any idea of “partnership” or “common interests” with the bosses.

To transform the American labor movement, we support efforts to build new self-managed unions independent of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions in situations where this makes strategic sense. At the same time, we cannot hope to play a role in many workers struggles, to put forth our ideas and our program, if we remain aloof and abstain from them simply because many of them take place within the AFL-CIO or Change to Win unions. So long as workers struggles are organized through these unions, we participate in those unions and their struggles.

We also support the building of autonomous rank-and-file movements in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions, independent of the bureaucracy. The sort of rank-and-file opposition movements that we support should not aim at merely electing a different leadership, but should aim at changing the union into a social movement based on mass participation and member control.

For unions to be self-managing, this starts with the importance of the general meetings of the members to make decisions. To prevent the organization becoming dependent on a small number of people, executive committee posts should have term limits. This needs to be combined with a systematic approach to training members in all the tasks needed in running a union.

Full-time paid officials no longer suffer the daily indignities of subordination to the bosses. The often high salaries of union bureaucrats in the USA separate union officials from the conditions of life of union members and encourages officials to look at the union as their personal ticket out of the working class. We believe that the number of paid officials in the labor movement should be kept to a minimum. Local unions should avoid paid officers as much as possible. If workers feel that a paid officer is needed in a particular case, their pay should be limited to the average wage level of the workers. Half-time paid officers are better than full-time because at least the person still works under the bosses part of the time.

Genuine self-management of a union goes beyond the formal structure and also depends on active participation and education of members." ("Unionism", https://workersolidarity.org/about-wsa/where-we-stand/ )

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R Totale
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Aug 18 2019 16:48

I was going to say that I was sure German Wildcat had written about the Rosa Luxemburg foundation, but I might just be thinking of about one line in this article.
Agree it'd be a bit disappointing, although hardly unprecendented, if DSA adopt an industrial strategy that's solely focused on already-unionised sectors and has little or nothing to say about non-unionised ones.

syndicalist
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Aug 18 2019 16:52
R Totale wrote:
I was going to say that I was sure German Wildcat had written about the Rosa Luxemburg foundation, but I might just be thinking of about one line in this article.
Agree it'd be a bit disappointing, although hardly unprecendented, if DSA adopt an industrial strategy that's solely focused on already-unionised sectors and has little or nothing to say about non-unionised ones.

Well, a question is: what sort of unionism for the unorganized sectors? I think this is key. And also why boring from within a social democratic formation is not a strategy for libertarian workers