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Working with members of lefty parties

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Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 30 2007 17:07
Working with members of lefty parties

What are peoples opinions on working with members of left wing political parties?

Obviously i wouldnt want to distribute any of the material that say the SWP or Respect put out, and for the large part the people who run these parties are a patronising and naive bunch, not to mention the fact that all theyre aiming for is a peice of political power. However if cooperating with members of such organisations means you are able to foster and encourage more of a class struggle approach in the communities that these individuals have an influence in would the tedium of working with such groups not be outweighed by the possible benefits?

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 30 2007 17:14

I'd work with individuals... i wouldn't work as part of an SWP group.

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madashell
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Mar 30 2007 18:53

Yeah, working with members of leftist groups isn't a problem, IMO. I don't see why it's any more of a problem than working with, say, a tory on a workplace or community action.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 30 2007 19:03

yeah i'd go along with that mate, i think you just have to be careful that working with a couple of individuals doesnt lead to you being the victim of a recruitment drive!

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georgestapleton
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Mar 30 2007 19:08

I hardly think you are going to be 'the victim of a recruitment drive'

Its quite easy, take Nancy Regan's advice:

Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 30 2007 19:27

i was only joshing!

WeTheYouth
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Mar 30 2007 19:28

I work with people from other lefty groups all the time there aint nothing wrong with it, for example working on a campaign for free education or a strike support by students then i dont see anything wrong in working with them

knightrose
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Mar 30 2007 19:47
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Working with other left groups isnt even a question, unless they have a bad track record like the SWP.

It's a huge issue. I don't consider myself part of the left. But I work with other workers on many issues. I generally don't stop to ask which party they support. If we agree on means and ends there's hardly a problem. If we disagree on some things there's often not an issue either tbh.

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Bubbles
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Mar 30 2007 20:53

I love working with lefties orgs and twats from slowly dying trot sects. They are great to be in coalitions with, many of them support the IWW, we make contacts for shit, get the trots to organize a bunch of people to come to solidarity protests and hand them all red/black flags. Pretending to be interested in their crap news papers so they give it to you for free is the best part.

I welcome crazy lefties into my union, they have organizing experiance and some have been in unions before...but this is only ok if your org can crush theirs, that way their is a deterent from trying to take us over.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 30 2007 21:08
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If we agree on means and ends there's hardly a problem

thats where the difference often seems to be, in that the means and ends are completely detatched with many lefty groups. You ask them what they want and theyll say a free and equal society where everyone gets an equal say in the running of their communities and workplaces and youll ask them how theyre gonna get there and they'll suggest getting elected into councils and parliament!

I think a lot of its is down to naivety though and many become disillusioned quite early on, the rest go senile and persevere with it for the rest of their living days!

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Bubbles
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Mar 30 2007 22:03
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
I think a lot of its is down to naivety though and many become disillusioned quite early on, the rest go senile and persevere with it for the rest of their living days!

thats what i like to call the american bourguosie

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Bubbles
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Mar 30 2007 22:03
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
I think a lot of its is down to naivety though and many become disillusioned quite early on, the rest go senile and persevere with it for the rest of their living days!

thats what i like to call the american bourguosie

syndicalist
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Mar 31 2007 02:02

knightrose: "But I work with other workers on many issues. I generally don't stop to ask which party they support. If we agree on means and ends there's hardly a problem. If we disagree on some things there's often not an issue either tbh."

I'd agree with this to a large extent.

WSA has worked with leftists in various coalitions or specific shop or union matters. You know, it;'s all a question of how to work with others in a principled manner and without getting suckered into sectarian wrangling or a recruitment drive.

knightrose
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Mar 31 2007 06:56

In Manchester we frequently find ourselves on demos with a trot group called Permanent Revolution - they were kicked out of Workers Power. We get on well enough on a personal level - I think they're closet anarchists smile, but we wouldn't engage in joint fronts, for example. The issues though, tend to be ones any worker with class consciousness would want to work on. The SWP are harder because they don't really want to talk to us. I think their members are scared or something. Except at work where it's a question of working on union issues.

posi
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Mar 31 2007 11:01

Before Permanent Revolution were kicked out of Workers Power, a lot of the faction's e-mails were leaked to the majority leadership of WP, who published excerpts. According to WP - and I haven't seen this denied -

Quote:
The International Faction [i.e. what was to become Permanent Revolution] talk spitefully about the need to ‘maximise the chaos and disarray into the ranks of the organisation we leave behind’, to ‘disorientate and demoralise’ majority members and to be ‘particularly aggressive’ to young supporters of the majority to ‘make them ask themselves if politics is really for them’ (Mark H, ‘Re: Congress and Tactics’, June 23rd 2006). [1]

Which is disgraceful.

knightrose
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Mar 31 2007 11:19

Funny. They're really nice guys.

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madashell
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Mar 31 2007 11:59

I remember when all that kicked off, the guy who sent the infamous e-mail is actually a really nice guy who fired off one message in the heat of the moment. The thrust of the whole thing was "Right, we run the paper, pretty much finance the whole org and we have all the experience, they're going to be a bit fucked when we leave, aren't they?"

posi
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Mar 31 2007 12:08

I'm sure he's a nice guy. But to set out to target young people (to be 'particularly aggressive' to them) to 'make them ask themselves if politics is really for them' - this is well beyond the pale, and fundamentally different from saying that you make an important contribution to the organisation. It is reactionary sectarianism of the first and worst order.

Nice guy or not, it's pretty bad, and (if I've interpreted the text right) doesn't bare excusing.

(Not saying anyone doesn't recognise that; but it's good to be aware of what people in these groups tend to do when it comes to the crunch - it's not necessarily about how nice individuals are...)

All this said... yeah, I work with members of trot groups all the time. Some really good people.

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madashell
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Mar 31 2007 12:12
posi wrote:
I'm sure he's a nice guy. But to set out to target young people (to be 'particularly aggressive' to them) to 'make them ask themselves if politics is really for them' - this is well beyond the pale, and fundamentally different from saying that you make an important contribution to the organisation. It is reactionary sectarianism of the first and worst order.

Nice guy or not, it's pretty bad, and (if I've interpreted the text right) doesn't bare excusing.

(Not saying anyone doesn't recognise that; but it's good to be aware of what people in these groups tend to do when it comes to the crunch - it's not necessarily about how nice individuals are...)

Yeah, it's not on, but if I remember rightly, the people who stayed in WP weren't exactly blameless and were actually responsible for pissing those people off so much. All I'm saying is that it's daft to come down on one side or the other of the split, neither come off brilliantly if you look into it.

knightrose
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Mar 31 2007 12:34

and anyway the split doesn't really bother us, does it?

posi
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Mar 31 2007 16:01

true.

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Bubbles
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Mar 31 2007 19:27
knightrose wrote:
and anyway the split doesn't really bother us, does it?

instead of watching soap operas i like to read about party splits. please do continue.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 2 2007 02:52
posi wrote:
Before Permanent Revolution were kicked out of Workers Power, a lot of the faction's e-mails were leaked to the majority leadership of WP, who published excerpts. According to WP - and I haven't seen this denied -

Quote:
The International Faction [i.e. what was to become Permanent Revolution] talk spitefully about the need to ‘maximise the chaos and disarray into the ranks of the organisation we leave behind’, to ‘disorientate and demoralise’ majority members and to be ‘particularly aggressive’ to young supporters of the majority to ‘make them ask themselves if politics is really for them’ (Mark H, ‘Re: Congress and Tactics’, June 23rd 2006). [1]

Which is disgraceful.

Yeah but it doesn't make sense. It sounds like a smear to be honest. Why would (presumably) well-intentioned members of a Trotskyist group discourage recruitment of youngsters, considering the quasi-paedophiliac fetishisation of students and "youth" every Trot openly indulges in. Are WP claiming they're state assets or what?

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R.R. Berkman
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Apr 2 2007 05:39

It depends how much they pay.
The NDP tends to pay a living wage, which is more than I can say for other jobs I've had.
wink

posi
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Apr 2 2007 10:33

Alan - but 'Mark H' doesn't appear to deny in any of Permanent Revolution's texts on the split that these are direct quotes from his e-mail. And madashell implies that he's even accepted that it was sent, and made excuses for it... as ever, the interests of the sect took precedence over the interests of the broader movement. quelle surprise. or something.

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jef costello
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Apr 2 2007 15:55
knightrose wrote:
The SWP are harder because they don't really want to talk to us. I think their members are scared or something.

They're scared you'll make them take back Refused smile

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but this is only ok if your org can crush theirs

Is this just bad phrasing or do you really think like this? I know defending campaigns against takeovers is important but you sound like certain Russian "communists" there.

yuda
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Apr 2 2007 23:42

IMO, we have to be careful working with authoritarian left and liberal left groups. I have seen many cases where anarchists and their groups get sucked into coalitions with such groups (the anti iraq war mobilisations as an example) then end up doing a majority of the donkey work because they are the ones with the connections, campaign skills, protest skills, etc whilst the liberals (esp) get the credit and anarchists get slagged off when things get broken or people get arrested.

Also I've seen and been involved in examples where anarchists have had to water down actions/their message to appease the liberals and those on the authoritarian left. One example was me an a few others tried to set up a direct action crew during the iraq invasion the one and only meeting was high jacked especially by one SWO member (the old direct actions by the few are sectarian chestnut) and to a lesser extent a couple of liberals, to get something out of the meeting we did some silly wee action that was very symbolic and pointless. In hindsight we would have been better to just get out there and do stuff ourselves