Against Martovism

July 2024 Forums General discussion Against Martovism

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #81301
    jondwhite
    Participant

    Harry’s Place reports a letter to the Morning Star arguing against a broad party

    Against Martovism

    #88475
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Actually the link led me to Chomsky and sport and how it is relevant to what was being discussed on another thread. How do we engage with people. As Chomsky  points out those “common folk” with little interest in politics demonstrate astounding knowledge about sport. “There are also experts about football, but these people don’t defer to them. The people who call in talk with complete confidence. They don’t care if they disagree with the coach or whoever the local expert is. They have their own opinion and they conduct intelligent discussions. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon…The gas station attendant who wants to use his mind isn’t going to waste his time on international affairs, because that’s useless; he can’t do anything about it anyhow, and he might learn unpleasant things and even get into trouble. So he might as well do it where it’s fun, and not threatening — professional football or basketball or something like that. But the skills are being used and the understanding is there and the intelligence is there.” When i went to demonstrations on the Saturdays, i overhear someone commending the numbers attending and then witness 10-fold the crowd going to the local football game with more colour, more enthusiasm,  more joy and more committment than any of the demonstrators had been showing for whatever issue was being protested. This year i think the biggest march in Scotland has been to the SFA HQ  to complain about sanctions against Rangers (RIP). I am not suggesting we leaflet stadiums, the right-wing in the long-run i don’t think met with too much success doing that, and the left even less so.  But simply saying, as Chomsky is, that we should not give up hope of our political explanations being understood by the working class because it is too complicated, too theoretical and abstract. Just visit the local bookie and see how the punters can relate to you how a horse performs on different courses and in heavy or soft going to realise how patronising it is to claim that the working class are not intelligent enough to understand socialism – All the SPGB  has to do is to show the relevancy and show that change is indeed possible and revolution a realistic prospect. Was it for that reason that the myth of the general strike was created by syndicalists, i have a vague recall that is what Sorel’s Reflections on Violence was all about. Who can honestly say politics is any longer fun to participate in. The days of May-day rallies, the miners galas, elections with posters in the windows and bunting in the streets, open air meetings with police joining in the laughter at the heckling instead of now dragging the offenders off for “behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace” have all gone. Dreary politicos with unintelligible talk of “Martovism” and “liquidationists” flog their humourless journals. As some singer said sometime ago  …”where have all the protest songs gone?”…Even we discussed revolutionary songs a few weeks ago and only came up with options of 19th C dirges ….and the miners strikers returned to their football supporters chants from the terracing and the stands to sing on the picket lines.  Sorry to have deflected the post from Martov. It may be just a story but the Daily Worker as it was at the time had the highest circulation when they had an excellent racing tipster. Here in Scotland both Robin Cook and Alex Salmond had columns in the sports pages doing racing tips but i don’t think it ever influenced how people voted for them. Treat this contribution as a Sunday morning radio call-in on talk radio…grumpy and hung-over

    #88476
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I saw that letter as I sometimes buy the Morning Star on a Saturday to avoid having to throw away the weekend supplements the other papers bring out even though it means reading the day before yesterday’s news.. Anyway I’ve sent off this letter. Maybe they’ll publish it:

    Quote:
    Peter Cole ( M Star May 25-27) is wrong. Martov was right to oppose Lenin’s idea of a hierarchical top-down vanguard party of professional revolutionaries. Had he suceeded maybe the outcome of the anti-Tsar revolution would have been a democratic republic allowing the working class elbow room to wage the class struggle, and not the state-capitalist dictatorship over the proletariat that Lenin and the Bolsheviks established.

     

    #88477
    jondwhite
    Participant

    Would including articles on cooking and gardening “broaden the appeal” of the Socialist Standard or would this have the effect of diluting its message? Quite agree with Alan about spectators wanting to watch sport, we shouldn’t be dismissive of it.

    #88478
    ALB
    Keymaster

    We’ve already got columns on sport and religion, what more distractions do we need?

    #88479
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

     A crossword and i have suggested this before.http://archive.tribunemagazine.co.uk/article/26th-december-1941/22/socialist-crossword Since there are concerns from Paddy about members only reading the Standard online, wouldn’t a crossword help to ensure they would buy it to do the crossword and then buy the following months issue to get the answers! And educational, too”5 across clue could be “You get your money back if you don’t get this (9) “- answer socialism, – and the clue for 10 down – “Exact same as 5 across (9) – answer communism ” Full marks if you get the answer to this, Charlie?(4) ….. Another, Charlie, who published a lot (4)…..A right lazy sod this son-in-law turned out to be  (4,8)….Should council workers we be reading this communist on Shrove Tuesday (5,9)…. A prize of a free 6 – month subscription to one reader who send in correct answers that is picked out  ……just doubling  up, our existing free offer but  we could be generous and make it one year…no jokes about that being the 2nd place prize, please    (but with of course the usual small print exclusion cluse …”members and their family are excluded from the prizes”, i know some real mean skinflints in the party !!) Trial it for the December issue,  “Christmas Crossword” and give the winner a free subscription for 2013. The anarchist Black Flag had a very popular quiz that resulted in a pamphlet of its own being produced. Our own Xmas/New Year online quiz devised by Paul Bennet is always popular. Twist his arm to do a monthly one. 60 questions for 12 issues.   

    #88480
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Not 60 questions every issue !! Just 5 intriguing unusual questions each month’s issue. But leaving out the SPGB historical ones. Or maybe even leaving them in. Which SPGB general secretary hung around with James Connolly and rumouredly fell out with him? …whatever…Paul knows the score on what to ask   oh ho i love volunteering people to do stuff…!!!

    #88481
    jondwhite
    Participant

    Working-Class Movement Library in Salford, Manchester is advertising the following upcoming event13 June George McKay ‘Radical gardening’George’s new book, Radical gardening: politics, idealism & rebellion in the garden, aims to show how notions of utopia, of community, of peace and of activism are worked through in the garden.After the talk, at about 3pm, we’re also issuing an invitation to a free tour of our amazing and little-known garden, which is home to an astonishing range of unusual trees and plants. Ring 0161 736 3601 to book a place.This event is part of Salford’s Secret Garden FestivalRadical Gardening – Secret Gardens Festival

    #88482
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Perhaps a socialist commentry on Emmerdale ‘corrie’ and eastenders! Most workers watch them,

    #88483
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I thought it was April 1st all over.

    #88484
    jondwhite
    Participant

    How come Marxism Today went from a very high circulation relative to Socialist Standard to defunct?

    #88485
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    jondwhite wrote:
    How come Marxism Today went from a very high circulation relative to Socialist Standard to defunct?

     It’s probably best seen as collateral damage in the light of the CPGB’s decline and eventual implosion. Despite the latter, (with all its faction fighting), the magazine had become a rare success, and was a widely available glossy publication. I remember buying it in WH Smiths. (And the RCP’s ‘Living Marxism’, too).‘Marxism Today’ seemed to outstrip the Party itself. In his book on the CPGB, ‘The Good Old Cause’, Willie Thompson says “By the mid-1980s most of its readers were outside the CP; by the time of the first formal readership survey, overwhelmingly so. (So were most of its contributors).”It had become the vehicle of the Eurocommunist faction which somehow found itself dominating the CPGB, much to the disgust of the Morning Star lot, and various other factions. The Eurocommunists controlled the magazine, and were responsible for the ‘New Times Manifesto’, which firmly pointed the CPGB away from its old Labourist traditions. Thompson says – “It had been decided in the Spring of 1991 that Marxism Today would cease publication at the end of the year” – to be replaced by a new journal for the post-CPGB ‘Democratic Left’.Apparently, for all its relatively wide readership and visibility, it wasn’t a profitable magazine; it needed an annual subsidy of around £50,000.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.