Future elections

June 2024 Forums World Socialist Movement Future elections

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 139 total)
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  • #92600
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    I personally think we should only contest Council seats because then we can communicate more with communities compared to if we were elected in constituencies.Anyway, if we were elected onto local Council seats, we would continue to spread the message of socialism and people power democracy within that ward and, hopefully, the people within that ward will democratically choose to live in a ward which is moneyless so this will be the start of the democratic workers' revolution which will gradually spread from one ward to another until eventually socialism reaches all of the world and we then have a socialist world.  

    #92596
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    I agree with SocialistPunk that we read into Alan's comments a bit too much. I don't mean to go on about this subject Ed but it's just, if you don't want us to focus too much on Council seats then, may I ask, what is your alternative?

    #92597
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster
    SocialistPunk wrote:
    I see the future of socialism taking off at the local community level. The pieces will not slip into place with propaganda alone. Do any socialists seriously think a switch will one day flip to the "revolution on" position in most peoples brains as a product of propaganda? Somehow the WSM needs to find a way to connect to everyday people. To help to empower people

    I think for many SPGBers this is taken as said. Our party structure and organisation is based upon local branches. We stand by the statement of the 1st International that the act of emancipation must be by the working class itself.But as I said earlier in passing there is also the economic organisational aspect to consider and thats the organisation within the unions and the work-places. This has to be in tandem with community activities and neither can be neglected. Individual memebers will choose which option for them as individuals will be the more effective and fruitful.I touched upon social/affinity groups and by this I meant the host of special interests that has to be brought under the socialist umbrella….single parents, disabled (physical and mental health), the environmental problems, and the innumerable  of cultural  groups that possss demands. I actually consider the IWCA approach of sports and study groups as something that is necessary. Edinburgh branch of the SPGB actually had a football team called Capital. We have to demonstrate that no aspect of peoples life is left untouched by socialism. The German SPD had thosands of spin-offs in the daily lives of workers , the british bike and rambling clubs at turn of century too are just an example of how socialist politics is also about the social!But complementary to this is the political challenge of taking class power by workers at at some point this is national elections and entering Parliament to remove the capitalists from political controlNor do I think any of us in the SPGB think that some fine morning the working class will wake up and decide wouldn't it be nice to have socialism.How we act as a catalyst for workers is the eternal question and not just for us but all on the Left. Leaders and vanguards have been tried and failed. Reforms and piecemeal palliatives have been tried and failed. Riots and insurrections have been tried and failed. The SPGB having learned the lessons of these failed efforts have chosen the slow educational policy. It can't be said to have failed since it is glacially slow but like a glacier it slowly changes the political landscape.Whatever triggers off a surge in political activity, the SPGB strategy  can supplement it, not substitute for it like most left practices would.

    #92601
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    We need economic planning, though if this planning is made by unions each citizen must have a say, not a small minority. When you talk about unions and work place organisations making decisions you mean unions and work places under a democratic cooperative ownership making these decisions, don't you?Also, you are right, there does need to be special interests. For example, we will provide jobs for everyone though understandably, of course, not everyone will be able to work, as there will be single parents looking after children 24/7, people with health problems who need lots of looking after, as well as protecting environment and ecology hence this will mean putting lots olf green legislation in place.

    #92602
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    "We need economic planning, though if this planning is made by unions each citizen must have a say, not a small minority.""You hit the nail on the head. Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism of both IWW and SLP varieties and workers councils need to have a democratic relationship with wider society to determine what is needed, how much is required and the ecological way they are produced. Within the individual enterprises and in particular industries the workers will control the specifics of the production process.  There will not be "co-operative" ownership in  the sense of co-ops  which would be just a variant of sectional ownership…mines to the miners and so on , which would deprive society having social ownership and control, but common ownership which really means no ownership if we all actually own it.Your second point is one i often make against those who disparage the vote and talk taking about power in the streets and on the barricades. They forget that the old , the young and the infirm, those with responsibilities to those people cannot participate in such a revolutionary manner, are excluded . Insurrections are predominantly for young single males!The vote gives us inclusiveness, their voice, their input, their constructive contribution . It is not passive as those anti-parliamentarians claim when properly utilised but a means of everybody to be involved in decision-making when they cannot attend the general assemblies, the mass pickets and protests and occupations.Socialism is not a matter of governments and legislation but simply collectively addressing peoples needs in a voluntary style of organising society.

    #92603
    Ed
    Participant
    Alex Woodrow wrote:
    I agree with SocialistPunk that we read into Alan's comments a bit too much. I don't mean to go on about this subject Ed but it's just, if you don't want us to focus too much on Council seats then, may I ask, what is your alternative?

    I don't think I've said that and it's not my position. I think the amount of propaganda generated through the Brixton Hill by election was very positive and worthwhile. However, it's not a patch on the amount we would generate from say contesting a whole nation such as Wales or Scotland. To put this in context in the European elections there are only two constituencies in Wales and three in Scotland. For covering either of those nations we would get a three minute thirty party political broadcast on national television instantly reaching hundreds of thousands of workers maybe even millions. Alternatively I don't know anyone who pays any attention to local council elections we also have to work quite hard to generate the media response that we do get from them. Leafleting ourselves or at a cost to the party whereas with the European elections our leaflets would be distributed by the Royal Mail. Contesting council elections on a grand scale also requires us to have many more members than we currently do who are willing to stand for election. Many don't even want their names recorded in branch minutes let alone as a name on a local ballot sheet.Finally I see the party's role in contesting elections as purely propagandist. We should only be doing it in order to get people thinking about capitalism. To do otherwise would be to fall into the trap of parliamentarianism. My position is that we should take absolutely no part in the running of capitalism. While if elected to a parliamentary seat it would provide us with a great deal of propaganda in a council seat it would seem fairly petty taking that position over whether the town should have a new set of swings for the park.So as ever we should be looking to reach as many people as possible with our message rather than trying to find the best way to get elected.

    #92604
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Ed wrote:
    So as ever we should be looking to reach as many people as possible with our message rather than trying to find the best way to get elected.

    Exactly and around £100K is a small price to pay for reaching everyone in the UK which is why I favour contesting all 12 regions.

    #92605
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Ed wrote:
    twc wrote a particularly good post on the processes which determine class conciousness. http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/general-discussion/social-reproductionAs a p.s. I would like to see more articles like this published in the standard on occasion.

    There's another relevant article on this that appeared in the Socialist Standard in April 2011:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2011/no-1280-april-2011/brief-history-public-relations

    #92606
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    Ed, I guess you could well be right regarding the European election BUT, if we stood in regions, then we need to do LOTS of work so people see that we care about people in this region unlike other candidates who are full of nothing but sleaze.When I mean lots of work, I mean both before the election and after if elected. Though anyway, this is an opportunity for the party, and I am willing to help the party as much as possible so we can spread our message of people power democracy, but we all need to pull our weight because this will not be easy. Nevertheless it will be worth it in the end.

    #92607
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    alanjjohnstone, I completely agree with you mate. We need a democratic world where each citizen has an equal say on decisions. I agree that we need common ownership, and the only reason that I said co-operative ownership was because I thought that it meant the same as common ownership. Though now I know that these words have different meanings, I shall never again think of using these words interchangably purely due to the fact I am all for common ownership and I am against the idea of co-operative ownership.

    #92608
    Ed
    Participant
    Alex Woodrow wrote:
    Ed, I guess you could well be right regarding the European election BUT, if we stood in regions, then we need to do LOTS of work so people see that we care about people in this region unlike other candidates who are full of nothing but sleaze.When I mean lots of work, I mean both before the election and after if elected. Though anyway, this is an opportunity for the party, and I am willing to help the party as much as possible so we can spread our message of people power democracy, but we all need to pull our weight because this will not be easy. Nevertheless it will be worth it in the end.

    Yeah I agree, it was actually my main concern about contesting every region and why the EC will make the final decision after corresponding with the local branches. The other thing about which elections to stand in is creating a continued presence where people see that we're not a flash in the pan. Council elections are better for that. So I guess I'm saying that there are pro's and cons to both strategies.

    #92609
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    Ed, I think standing in a european election could go either way. While standing in a local election only shows the community that we care about the people and are not sensationalists, when it comes to a european election it is very much touch and go to whether or not the general public are able to see through the lies portrayed by the coporate controlled media and see that, unlike other parties, we do actually care about the people. Anyway, if we are standing in the european elections the party has all my support and we all need to work very hard.

    #92610
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Alex, i was needlessly a touch too pedantic about the word co-operative.Marx himself uses the term, "co-operative society" to describe socialism/communism. Also "republic of labour" , "society of free and associated producers" or simply "Association". Commonwealth and "common treasury" has been used by the SPGB.It is all in the context, isn't it? So use it by all means but make sure its meaning is unambiguous.Sorry if i gave the impression i was lecturing or hectoring yourself. (i probably was but unintentionally)  

    #92611
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Since it has been brought up a few times I’ll try to respond to the question of what are we to do in a little bit more coherently. For me participating in elections, whether local, national, or Euro is only one tool we should use. Nothing is automatic or mechanical. Capitalism generates dissatisfaction but that dissatisfaction can take a great many forms depending on what people think and what their options are. And all outcomes are built by people in their particular time and circumstance, none follow automatically. As said on another thread on the forum , a recession can just as easily result in an upsurge of right-wing ideas.Nor does militancy necessarily equate with revolutionary understanding. Militancy can be used for a "better deal", a compromise slice of, rather than, the whole pie. Workers can use class struggle either offensively or defensively. Sometimes direct action comes because of impatience with a slow process and is thus counter-productive or it is used when there is no other form of struggle or reform available. Direct action alone and by itself is not inherently revolutionary. However, it can be self-empowering and this is positive.If people begin to see many other people around them willing to fight and engage in collective actions, this gives them more of a sense of having the power to change things, and the wider the level of solidarity, the more extensive the potential power of the working class. A more ambitious agenda for social revolutionary change becomes less irrelevant, less "impractical". But the solidarity must go beyond those who we work alongside in the workplace or live alongside in our community.History shows that there were much greater number of “revolutionaries” (I’m being purposefully generous in defining revolutionaries to include non-SPGB “socialists” who in the past had a greater understanding of what Marx and socialism really was than to-days typical Leftist) who lived and worked in the factories and neighbourhoods, who had been formed through the long hard slog of the activities of radical organisations (again i would be more inclusive to which parties), publications, study circles, and various working class cultural institutions, in which anti-capitalist ideas were transmitted. These militants on the scene then acted as organisers and catalysts, if there was the anger, discontent and a general will to fight.Teachers and writers and speakers are not in themselves a vanguard leadership but they do have a concrete effect on situations and educate and inspire. I doubt Chomsky himself ever stood on a picket-line but who can deny his explanations of society has not brought forth activists that have. Nor is there anything sectarian by criticisng and correcting misconceptions and false ideas that may be  held by our fellow workers. That is the task for socialists. Other members know from past contributions that i have sought to argue for greater co-operation and collaboration with what is called the “thin red line”, various anarchist and Left Communists, who constitute the non-market, anti-state sector. But as some of us have problems with them and some of them have problems with ourselves. It will be enough not to be hostile to them, IMHO.

    #92612
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    Ok then alan. Though anyway, from now on I shall probably just use the word common rather than anything else because then we will all understand each other.

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