Glasgow COP26

January 2022 Forums General discussion Glasgow COP26

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 121 total)
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  • #223929
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Building an organised socialist party rooted in a broader workers’ movement is also our aim.

    As our editors said:
    ” It won’t be the Socialist Party as an organisation separate from the working class that would have a parliamentary majority, but the socialist-minded working class. It is they who will have won political control and the socialist MPs will be their delegates. This presupposes, as you say, a socialist majority outside parliament, one which will have organised itself not just into a socialist political party, but also in places of work ready to keep useful production going. Also, there would be similar movements in control of political power or about to be in other advanced capitalist countries.”

    And until we become a mass socialist party we do operate as an educational group, made up of workers who have successfully acquired revolutionary consciousness and are guiding our fellow workers the best we can in directing them towards socialist conclusions.

    We shouldn’t be looking for distinctions that perhaps do not exist. Your quote doesn’t show they actually advocate a vanguard party.

    Nor does the quote actually say “fight against the climate crisis” under capitalism.

    “Fight” could be how we often use the word, a struggle to end the climate crisis and all the other social ills caused by capitalism

    We are not identical, we are not clones of one another but I suggest we are on a very similar wavelength, maybe close enough to even call one another comrades.

    There are some Left Communists that are still burdened with the Leninist baggage but more often than not it is centred on historical interpretation, a legacy they inherited but I am not so sure that it affects them in modern circumstances. Nor will determine their future role.

    Our strategy remains based upon acquiring political power through the ballot box when practicable. Too many Left Communists reject such tactics as impossible. On this issue, we are the Possiblists and they the Impossiblists.

    #223935
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    Although you characterise the CWO and it’s various sister organisations as somehow “post Leninist”, Alan, and that their Leninism is a historic quirk,I fear you are being far too kind to them.

    As one simple example demonstrated in the article you quote, they follow the same failed, patronising, elitist strategy that the Leninists follow ad nausium, i.e. campaigning for something that cannot be achieved, in order to demonstrate to the working class that it cannot be achieved. I quote – “We argue that a fight for basic living conditions, which capitalism cannot grant, will be the basis on which the consciousness of the need to overthrow the system”

    Another example of their elitist attitude is taken form the ICT platform 2020

    “It is the task of the proletarian political organisation to return to the working class the lessons of its own historical experience, organising the better elements produced by the class and leading the working class struggle towards an internationalist revolutionary solution”

    A further examination of their internal organisational history shows they have conspiratorial and democratic centralist roots that are deeply embedded. There is no transparent, accountable open and democratic processes similar to our internal democracy.

    Their objective of a classless, moneyless society,based on common ownership may be one we share (alongside Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, et al), but the means are as important as the objective. Sadly we differ from them in this way in many significant ways.

    The Leninism and elitism they show, is not a historic quirk, it is deep within their organisational and theoretical DNA.

    #223938
    Matthew Culbert
    Keymaster

    Yes, despite their public utterences they see themselves as ‘leaders’of the ‘ignorant’ masses.

    The ends will determine the means.

    We should add ‘professional revolutionaries’ to the, ‘philanthropic big bourgeois and petty bourgeois’ of Marx’s quote below.

    ” The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves. We cannot, therefore, co-operate with people who openly state that the workers are too uneducated to emancipate themselves and must be freed from above by philanthropic big bourgeois and petty bourgeois.”
    (1879 Marx and Engels )

    #223940
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    BD, again like ALB your quote, “We argue that a fight for basic living conditions, which capitalism cannot grant, will be the basis on which the consciousness of the need to overthrow the system”, isn’t as condemnatory as you think it might be.

    Another way of expressing its sentiments is that capitalism cannot be reformed (…a fight for basic living conditions, which capitalism cannot grant…) and the class struggle (…a fight for basic living conditions…) will produce the understanding that will bring the working class to replace the capitalist system.

    Regards your second quote

    We have to remember what leadership means. It is a political function.

    It does not mean that we deny that there are better teachers than some, better writers than some, better speakers than some, deeper thinkers than some. Others will call them leaders. We don’t.

    We describe them as knowledgable fellow workers who have educated themselves and who now educate others and it is understandable that some comrades defer to their intellectual authority but not to give them political authority, no matter how impressive an individual charisma one may possess.

    Can you identify for me the leaders of the various Left Communist groups?

    One thing often inherited is language although its application often changes from its original usage. We ourselves have dropped many expressions once common to Marxism because of the evolution of words (the dictatorship of the proletariat meaning working-class political power, for instance. We are very reluctant to employ the word communism although we always say it is a synonym for socialism.)

    I’m not very well acquainted with the Left Communist internal organisation but I have not detected a democratic centralism structure akin to the Leninist and Trotskyist parties. Perhaps there is and if so, you may know of it and can describe its operation to me.

    As I said, we do have a fundamental difference in the attitude to electoral action. It is for us and them to put our respective arguments forward to our fellow workers and it is the working people who will determine which is the stronger case. Nor does it mean workers are infallible and that we cease our advocacy for engaging in elections just because we are in the minority right now.

    I see a crucial difference in being hostile to anti-worker and anti-socialist political parties such as avowed capitalist, nationalist or state-capitalist ones and what should be comradely disagreement and debate upon strategy and tactics within the non-market socialist sector, the “thin red line” as the late ex-member John Crump wrote about.

    #223941
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Matt, we, ourselves, fully acknowledge the present ignorance of our fellow workers and their lack of class consiousness

    We recognise that they have been imbued with false ideologies of nationalism and religion, racism and sexism.

    The very big difference is that we hold that our fellow workers are capable of acquiring socialist knowledge.

    Some of it will be acquired through our own efforts of bringing enlightenment through our writings.

    But more importantly, we say the exploitative conditions of capitalism itself makes it its own grave-digger which will result in the self-emancipation of the working class.

    We also reject the premise that government coercion can be used to force revolutionary ideas into the minds of workers.

    #223943
    ALB
    Keymaster

    We have debated the CWO on a couple of occasions and, Alan, I am afraid your interpretation of what they mean is mistaken. Listen to them explaining what they mean:

    Can a Majority of Workers Develop Socialist Conciousness Under Capitalism?

    #223955
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    from last year rather than almost 40 years ago

    There is confusion over what constitutes “the Party”, similar to the various usage of the term by Marx and others.

    I think they are mistaken in their interpretation of the role of the Bolshevik Party. That is the baggage they carry and must discard.

    “…we need to stress certain things about the new organisation which are not often expressed directly. In the first place the new party had also drawn the lessons from the experience of the failed revolution in Russia:

    1. The Party as a product of rising class consciousness of the wider class would remain a minority of the class. It would not be a mass party like those of Social Democracy nor would it use any old tactical expedient or manoeuvre simply to widen the party membership but operate on the basis of a consistent revolutionary strategy. The party represents the revolutionary gains of the working class in all its episodes of struggle against the system.
    2. The Party was an indispensable element in guiding and inciting the destruction of the state of the exploiters BUT…
    3. It did this only by giving a lead to the wider class movement as only the working class in its mass organisations can actually build a socialist society through their actions. Socialism does not arrive by decree but by workers organising themselves across society…”

    http://libcom.org/blog/introduction-work-cwo-ict-05012021

    “…We are for the Party, i.e. the coming together of the most conscious in advance of the wider working class movement of the future. But we are not that Party. This will be the product of the future class movement which will emerge from the continuing failure of the system to solve its deep contradictions and pose the question of revolution once again. Instead of the numerous splits of a retreating class movement which has characterised the recent past we will see old differences resolved by the real movement. Old ideas will be discarded and new ones appropriate to the situation may have to be adopted, as part of the process of the formation of a new revolutionary movement. This will be the mass movement which will create a real class party to guide the path to dismantling capitalist power and then capitalist relations of production…”

    “…Unlike the other currents of the Communist Left which seem to see the working class as some idealist abstraction called “the proletariat” we have always seen that it is made up of real human beings. It is not endowed with any special or mystical character other than its place in production which makes it the natural antagonist of capitalism but which will only come to consciousness of the need to shake off exploitation under particular conditions. Our task is to become part of the wider class and learn with it in all its struggles…”

    We too have to develop a relationship with the wider working class. At the moment it isn’t a particularly deep connection. The more we do reflect it, the more we will evolve as a political organisation.

    But they do share one of my aspirations.
    “…Comrades in other organisations which share our ultimate vision of a classless and stateless society may be rivals but they are not enemies. With them we must always start from where we agree and adopt a tone of comradely persuasion in our exchanges and avoid egotistical point scoring. Our purposes are too serious for anything else…”

    But the CWO can speak for themselves. I believe some of its members occasionally visit this forum. Up to them to take up the debate rather than me offering my personal view.

    #223962
    rodshaw
    Participant

    To me one significant thing is that Thunberg is saying she doesn’t trust politicians to cut the mustard. She knows it’s useless pleading with them, unlike what she used to say. They are “pretending to take our future seriously”. Still a long way from real socialist consciousness but not to be knocked.

    #223964
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    #223970
    james19
    Participant
    #223977
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    A useful if lengthy read

    https://brooklynrail.org/2021/11/field-notes/Capitalism-and-the-Climate-Apocalypse

    “Socialism, the abolition of class society, which only recently was thought to be an unrealistic, utopian pipe dream, can now begin to be recognized not only as a distinct possibility, but as the only real alternative to the collapse of human civilization.”

    #223984
    ste finch
    Participant
    #223985
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    A Glasgow city council property in Tradeston, a former homeless services unit, has been restored to habitability over the past few days by a group of local activists frustrated at reports of visitors forced to sleep rough.

    Baile Hoose as they have named the enterprise – said the building now offers sleeping space and donated food as colder weather descends on the encampments springing up in Glasgow’s parks.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/03/glasgow-activists-re-open-disused-building-to-house-cop26-visitors

    #224009
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    They might not yet be fully there as yet but some are now considering a money-free society

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/11/04/world-without-money

    #224011
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Interesting but a reason why we argue not for the abolition of money as such but for the abolition of a system of society that makes money necessary. Not so much for “A World without Money” as for “A World that doesn’t need Money”.

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