Cameron’s EU deal

May 2024 Forums General discussion Cameron’s EU deal

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 266 total)
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  • #117551
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    So is the referendum 

    #117552
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Since my "second coming" as a member of the Party i have witnessed two occasions where the Party entirely misread the political feelings and attitudes of fellow workers.The first was in 2003 when we expected just the usual large march against the Iraq War but nearly a million turned up on the streets to march against war and we were logistically unable to engage meaningfully with any of the protesters. STWC got the rewards of a real anger that existed, (something they later went on to squander.) The second time was the Scottish referendum where every man woman child and their dog (and i mean that literally) were expressing their views on nationalism, national and class identity and what they hoped and aspired for politically,. Every city town and village had the Yes and No campaign, very often beyond the usual political party divide. Yes and No were genuine grassroots movements. Unfortunately Scottish members and the Party could only produce several hundred stickers as their contribution to this debate and i don't believe anyone actually attended the numerous meetings or rallies that took place around the country. Personally i got the inkling that  the Party didn't care a hoot about the Scottish referendum and so didn't bother to do anything other than make a token effort. They gambled, (rightly as it happened but only just, because despite what they say it was a photo-finish) that the No campaign would prevail. I can't predict that the EU referendum won't be an anti-climax, full of apathy, or whether is sparks of a similar rise in political activity and increased political dialogue,  – something that we as a party have been complaining about being missing in fellow workers for quite some while – but i sure want the Party to be ready if there is, with leaflets and stickers and posters and banners. They can all be designed or drafted to be a timeless quality and used generally. For sure, we will receive a small audience but at least they'll get a unique perspective to look intoIf it turns out that few fellow workers are interested in the EU debate, well, we can build upon that too…that people did recognise it isn't an issue for the working class and their lack of interest confirmed our case.What i dont want is for members to go fishing and tell others to go fishing and treat the referendum as a total non-event that we simply go through the motions…a dull leaflet, a re-hashed sticker that never get stuck up and an odd article in the Standard and on the blog, sniping at just one side and not attacking both equally and bringing out the full socialist case…Or are we saying that this is all a re-play of German and Italian unification and Marx supported those and so we should sympathise with the EU state, as well, and concentrate on its good points ie mobility of labour  and ignore the more questionable aspects of it, eg its undemocratic structure. Once more i appeal to members and branches to ensure this referendum is formally discussed at annual conference and we adopt decisions made by the party on how we should approach it….if we go fishing, we should be seeking the right bait to hook and catch our fellow workers…and casting our nets wide….oh, plenty more metaphors to use but i won't …

    #117553
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Don't worry, Alan, I'm sure there'll a sort of special issue of the Socialist Standard in June, an EC statement and a leaflet. Whether there'll be enthusiasm from members to get involved, or whether the general public will be interested, can't be predicted. At least it might make Conference at Easter more interesting than discussing changes to our rulebook or committees' terms of reference.It's going to be an odd campaign. Cameron has not in fact negotiated anything new. All he has done is frozen the UK present relationship to the rest of the EU. He hasn't undone anything, merely at most prevented anything changing. The envisaged new EU legislation making family allowances paid to migrant workers for their children back home to be what they would get there is just removing an obvious anomaly from a capitalist point of view and benefits other member-states too.So the STAY/YES campaign will in effect be campaigning for no change, to keep things as they are. It will be the LEAVE/NO campaign that will be proposing to change things. So, if we are going to judge a proposed reform on its merits and as to how it will affect the growth of the socialist movement, that's what we are going to have to judge. Personally, I can't see it has any merit whatsoever. By legally restricting the free movement of workers, by whipping up nationalism to the detriment of the spread of socialist ideas, and by provoking an economic crisis even though this might only prove temporary, it's going make things worse. So it's definitely a NO-NO. Just thought, that would make a good slogan NO2NO (not being serious, Alan ).Also, it's going tobe  the NOs that will be making the running. They'll be more motivated. UKIppers, Tory backwoodsmen and recklessly ambitious politicians like Boris Johnson, open opponents of socialism and everything we stand for. I still say that one of the best ways to get in on the debate will be to embarrass those calling themselves socialist for wanting to get involved with these people. We might stand a chance of winning some over to our position which on the face of it is more in line with the other ideas they profess.As to "mistakes we have made", the front page of the June 1989 Standard "Don't Fight the Poll Tax. Abolish thee Wages System" must be in the running. Only came across it again when looking for our manifesto for the European elections held that month, the first time we contested them, in the Tyne and Wear constituency where our candidate was Tim and the title of our manifesto was "Euro-Capitalism or World Socialism?" This time it'll have to be a bid more unwieldy: "Euro-Capitalism, British Capitalism or World Socialism?" or maybe "Neither London Nor Brussels but International Socialism".

    #117554

    Callng on peopel to stay away in their droves is a clearer message, but write-in votes are about building the party's support.  I don't see how much change eitehr in or out can make.  Any new 'free trade treaty' would have to cinlude some element of free movement (no government wants those pissed off ex-pat Britains being repatriated); there'll have to be some sort of arbitration in any free trade treaty.  This really is one for the passing show.

    #117555
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    I'm sure there'll a sort of special issue of the Socialist Standard in June, an EC statement and a leaflet.

    Yup, what i fully expect…but what i would like to see is a lot more than that.But as Gnome always reminds me, a few are carrying the total membership but i would like to see a special effort put in by the Party as a whole and it is why i tried to suggest that it gets combined with the May election…keep the momentum up ….have a integreaated campaign that continues without pause…2 or 3 months of determined activity with the Party investing in the basic tools of propaganda  ….Not just the one leaflet but many, new banners , megaphones/mobile PA system, seeking out meetings and rallies to attend…i once suggested  this http://www.theprojectionstudio.com/projects/ with our own slogns and logo. 

    Quote:
    or maybe "Neither London Nor Brussels but International Socialism".

    UH-OH And be mistaken for the SWP…No we have to put a positive spin on it …"Beyond the EU  to World Socialism" …something like that…I'm sure members will discuss the referendum at conference but unless there something on the agenda.. resolutions to focus upon…its just going to be a blether and blather with little or no outcome. I have no doubt some members would rather go fishing than engage in socialist activity…its understandably getting more and more  attractive as we approach the autumn of our years and the appeal of meaningless meanderings along the lines of the Last of the Summer Wine has more and more attraction. And, you can guess,  that takes me back to my usual doom and gloom prophecies and portents for the Party's future…It is one very  important  reason why we need to galvanise members into action whenever the political arena arises for us to do so…yes, i know we cannot force members into activity…we are voluntarist organisation…but , surely we can try bribery and blackmail…Anyway, the blog has posted twice on the EU conveying the message cut and pasted from Standard archives on the EU…a few more are already ready giving a similar message. Feed back would be welcome if members think our Party line should be more nuanced over this referendum. 

    #117556
    ALB
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    Quote:
    or maybe "Neither London Nor Brussels but International Socialism".

    UH-OH And be mistaken for the SWP…

    No, to embarrass them (but it looks as if I have put a every time I say something likle this).I see that the SWP did debate this issue at their Conference last month and that some of them have been proposing abstaining or spoiling their ballot paper:

    Quote:
    Call for left exit in EU referendumConference debated what position to take in the coming referendum on the European Union (EU).Joseph Choonara from the central committee argued that the SWP should campaign for Britain to leave the EU. He said, “The basis of our argument is a question of political principle.”Joseph outlined how the EU is “driving through neoliberal politics in the most brutal way” from the TTIP trade deal to the blackmail of Greece.“It’s a sign of solidarity with Greek comrades to argue for the break-up of the EU,” he said.But Barry from Bradford argued that the situation was different from Greece. “This is a ruling class faction fight,” he said.Dave from Bristol said the main beneficiaries of a vote to leave would be “David Cameron and Ukip”. He argued for a campaign of active abstention. Some argued for a campaign of spoiling ballots, but other delegates said that this would mean not taking a clear position.Sally Campbell from the central committee said that it was more than just a than a fight at the top. “This will shape the debates in the workers’ movement,” she said……Conference voted overwhelmingly to support a left-wing, internationalist, anti-racist vote to leave in the EU referendum.
    #117557
    Quote:
    Conference voted overwhelmingly to support a left-wing, internationalist, anti-racist vote to leave in the EU referendum.

    At a tactical level, suporting 'out' makes sense for the left, sicne it will mean the Tories doing nothing else but implement the split for the remainder of this Parliament…

    #117558
    jondwhite
    Participant

    1975 Socialist Standard had an article on the EU referendum that took place thenThe Common Market: In or Out – Does it …and also two articles on Scots NationalismScots NationalismScots Nationalism: Part 2

    #117559
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    ALB wrote:
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    Quote:
    or maybe "Neither London Nor Brussels but International Socialism".

    UH-OH And be mistaken for the SWP…

    No, to embarrass them (but it looks as if I have put a every time I say something likle this).

    We'd be embarassing ourselves more likely.  We do not stand for International Socialism; we stand for World Socialism.  A subtle, perhaps, but an extremely important distinction… 

    #117560
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Of course, I realise that and it wasn't a serious suggestion but was one that would have been understood immediately by anyone aware of the history of the SWP. To spell it out, they were originally formed as the "International Socialism Group" and their slogan, on their publications, etc was

    Quote:
    Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism.

    But I suppose not all members are Trotskyist-train-spotters or need to be. But at least it confirms what we were taught in Speakers Class that irony never works as people take you literally.

    #117561
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    ALB wrote:
    Of course, I realise that and it wasn't a serious suggestion but was one that would have been understood immediately by anyone aware of the history of the SWP. To spell it out, they were originally formed as the "International Socialism Group" and their slogan, on their publications, etc was

    Quote:
    Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism.

    But I suppose not all members are Trotskyist-train-spotters or need to be. But at least it confirms what we were taught in Speakers Class that irony never works as people take you literally.

    Irony works well when people are on the same wavelength and understand where you're 'coming from' but unfortunately most will know little or nothing about the SWP/IS….  or us.

    #117562
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Anyway this exchange has brought out why we prefer to speak of "world socialism" rather than "international socialism" since the first implies a world without states and without frontiers while the second implies that nation-states have relations with each other however close. Nit-picking for some perhaps but as you pointed out an important distinction.

    #117563

    FWIW, with Coorbyn being largely out of the debate, he's come out fighting:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35633821This is grist to our "sideshow"narrative.

    Quote:
    Mr Corbyn said the PM should have focused on issues like cyber crime, fair trade and the refugee crisis.And he claimed the "influence of Tory Party funders" could be seen in protections for the City of London.
    #117564
    rodmanlewis
    Participant

    This is the political equivalent of softcore porn. People who don't like it aren't interested, and those who prefer hardcore aren't interested either!

    #117565
    Bijou Drains
    Participant
    gnome wrote:
    ALB wrote:
    Of course, I realise that and it wasn't a serious suggestion but was one that would have been understood immediately by anyone aware of the history of the SWP. To spell it out, they were originally formed as the "International Socialism Group" and their slogan, on their publications, etc was

    Quote:
    Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism.

    But I suppose not all members are Trotskyist-train-spotters or need to be. But at least it confirms what we were taught in Speakers Class that irony never works as people take you literally.

    Irony works well when people are on the same wavelength and understand where you're 'coming from' but unfortunately most will know little or nothing about the SWP/IS….  or us.

    Does this mean the party is suffering from an irony deficiency (walks away, hanging head in shame)

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