Guest writers for the Standard?

June 2024 Forums World Socialist Movement Guest writers for the Standard?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #84488
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I may well be wrong (usually i am) but i thought when we interviewed non-members like Mattick Jnr and Kliman it added something to the Socialist Standard. I also note positively that we are increasingly hosting public meetings featuring non-members 

    It shows we are more inclusive than the usual sectarian smears we get from the Left-wing (and, imho, historically, they aren't too far off the mark about that)

    I also think it genuinely adds to certain legitimate debates amongs socialists where to diverge on a viewpoint is not seen as a heresy to be denounced. 

    I also believe it may add to the online circulation of the Socialist Standard having contributions from some high profile (relatively)socialist thinkers. Whats wrong with holding on to the shirt tails of more popular and better publicised fellow socialists for increased exposure. 

    My ideal  would be a regular non-member guest column. 

    Personally, i would also favour letting them have access to our columns. I recall we published a Chomsky article (although he was very unlikely to be aware of the fact) on intellectual ownership with an accompanying one that complemented it by ourselves. 

    Now my question is – Who do you think we should invite and try to get to agree to publish or interview in the Socialist Standard. No need to restrict answers to one person. Preferably the person should be approachable and not too out of reach ie such as Russel Brand

    To get the ball rolling, since we do have contact – i suggest Derek Wall…a good writer…on our wave-length

    Maybe returning to Andrew Kliman on co-operatives?

    and again to Paul Mattick on taxes?

    But what about others who i am not very versed up on?

    Let's here from you comrades.

     

    #118728
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    Don't want to be seen as being overly critical, however I do have a number of real difficulties with this proposal:1. Is it the role of our Official Journal to put forward the views of non-party members?2. Is this forum the correct place to take a decision about whether or not to make a change in the way we fill our Official Journal this forum?In terms of the first point, whilst I accept that guest writers might (and at present there is no way of proving this) increase interest in the standard, does this mean necessarily it is the right thing to do. No doubt an article about the personal life of Cheryl Cole (or whatever her name is now) would increase interest in the standard, but I don't think that would be the correct way forward either. As to the point of writers being "(relatively)socialist thinkers", is this not a bit like being "relatively pregnant". Again is it our role to be "inclusive", I think not. We are a Socialist Party, an EXCLUSIVELY Socialist Party, what next "a broad church approach". I also find it quite surprising that a member of the NERB was censured on the grounds of the hostility clause for retweeting a tweet from the Labour Party, yet we are proposing to give space in our Journal to writers who are not members of our Party.the second, and in my mind possible more important point, is that any decision of this nature should be addressed through the democratic organs of our party, The EC, Conference and ultimately the Party as a whole, not just the very small minority of Party members who are active on this forum. I do think this is a vitally important point, this forum is not the Party, it is not representative of the Party any more than a dozen party members in the pub having a chat when they're full of ale.I've got to say that I find it astounding that without the slightest reference to the democratic organs of the party to agree to this in my view momentous change in editorial policy, you are already inviting suggestions, as if it is a done deal.I really don't mean to be negative, however I do think this should be thoroughly discussed by the whole Party beforer any decision is made!

    #118729
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Hi Tim,I know Alan is more than capable of defending himself here, but I wish to point out that I never got an impression of a "done deal" regarding this idea from Alan's opening post. This forum is just a place for discussion and party decisions are not taken here. I'm sure one or two ideas have been born on this forum that eventually went on to be discussed and voted on by the wider membership.The way I see it, a discussion down the local pub is perfectly capable of producing a fantastic idea every now and then, that could go on to be a money spinner, for want of a better term.I personaly think it a good idea. Anything that can reduce the sectarianism associated with the SPGB, mentioned by Alan, without compromising principles is to be welcomed.The discussion has started, let's keep it rolling.

    #118730
    jondwhite
    Participant

    Non-members think and express thoughts that might overlap with socialist ideas. Admittedly it is not widely known, but non-members have been printed before so it would not be a 'momentous change in editorial policy.'

    #118731
    moderator1
    Participant
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
     I also find it quite surprising that a member of the NERB was censured on the grounds of the hostility clause for retweeting a tweet from the Labour Party, yet we are proposing to give space in our Journal to writers who are not members of our Party.

    This in fact is not what occurred if by "censured" you mean suspended.  What actually occurred was a party member informed a member of NERB that the twitter account they owned contained a retweet from Labour and they should take action to delete it – otherwise it was in breach of the hositilty clause.The NERB member took umbridge at this information and responded with an insult which resulted in an indefenite suspension.

    #118732
    Bijou Drains
    Participant
    moderator1 wrote:
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
     I also find it quite surprising that a member of the NERB was censured on the grounds of the hostility clause for retweeting a tweet from the Labour Party, yet we are proposing to give space in our Journal to writers who are not members of our Party.

    This in fact is not what occurred if by "censured" you mean suspended.  What actually occurred was a party member informed a member of NERB that the twitter account they owned contained a retweet from Labour and they should take action to delete it – otherwise it was in breach of the hostility clause.The NERB member took umbridge at this information and responded with an insult which resulted in an indefenite suspension.

    That wasn't what I meant, what I meant by censured was they were told they should take action to delete it. The point I am trying to make is that re tweeting something that makes a similar point to ours Although from the labout Party) is not a million miles away from inviting a non Socialist to write in the Standard. I don't think either re-tweeting the Labour Party or getting non Socialist writers in the standard is something we should be doing. I am willing to accept that this might not be a majority opinion of those members of the party registered on this forum.As to the term momentous, I do think that it is a momentous decision to have a change in editorial policy where we regularly invite non party members to contribute, you may not, but that's your prerogative.

    #118733
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
    we are proposing to give space in our Journal to writers who are not members of our Party.

    No "we" are not. One member has proposed this for discussion here on our non-decision-making "discussion forum". The current policy on this is that we can and have published articles by non-members on condition that the view expressed is one we agree with (and that the writer has not acquired notoriety over something we wouldn't want to be associated with). Not the same thing as giving non-members free rein in a regular column to express their views.

    #118734
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Tim, I think the position has been correctly elaborated by others.We already have precedents from the past and we have guest speakers and my suggestion was indeed nuanced to those we share much the same politics with. I simply seek to increase the frequency.Note i said my "ideal" was a regular guest column and that would probably arise from trial and error using the experience we gain by increasing the number and frequency of non-member writers.  There are aspects of Marxism where i think is up for acceptable legitimate disagreement and giving space for debate. That hoary old hot chestnut the Declining Rate of Profit and the countervailing influences, for one. We have our position, others have another. It doesn't make us political enemies (but may have an effect upon the direction of propaganda practice) As an aside, I am intriqued by ALB's caveat "(and that the writer has not acquired notoriety over something we wouldn't want to be associated with)"Who does he have in mind, i wondered?Sadly, i also note that no-one came up with any suggestions of who to commission (or bring to attention specific topics). Are we saying there are no socialists out there who are not already members of the party? Surely not. But i confess i am having my own difficulty in imagining who to ask – but i a not the most widely read of members, so that isn't surprising. Nor do i think we need to accept a non-members full position. Merely agree with and accept a particular aspect of it, as we often do and express in book reviews. It may mean adding the condition that we do make clear differences on other issues. I always thought that our interview with Tony Benn was a great capture.http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1980s/1980/no-905-january-1980/socialists-confront-mr-tony-bennAlso the imaginary "interview" with Marx. For those who forgothttp://mailstrom.blogspot.com/2007/07/talking-with-marx.htmlMaybe we should do Engels, Kautsky…even Lenin… If we choose not to do living  people, we could do the dead in a similar style…maybe even imaginary people…Jack London's character Ernest Everhard, for instance.  

    #118736
    lindanesocialist
    Participant
    moderator1 wrote:
     The NERB member took umbridge at this information and responded with an insult which resulted in an indefenite suspension.

     prove it. As he is not here to defend himself becausr YOU suspended him, WHAT insult???? Withdraw you accusation

    #118735
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Quote:I also think it is one that is going to require us to look at all of these areas in great depth if it is not going to cause us great problems in the future. I have started putting some ideas/proposals together, which members of our Branch have indicated they feel is necessary  for an Item for Discussion for ADM and think it is a better idea to examine the whole thing, rather than make adjustments to a system that I think needs overhauling.Tim, probably before you became a regular contributor to the forum but others will tell you that i have been pushing for a special conference to debate and discuss a re-vamp of  the whole party image and approach…and willing to re-visit some of our traditional principles even if to just re-affirm , or perhaps elaborate a little more upon them. I made a point that it should be a special conference devoted solely to the topic and not just a few resolutions tagged on to Conference or ADM.I know members of your own branch would like for instance more emphasis on the WSM with perhaps a name change or simply a policy change such as we had when it was decided to use the full "Socialist Party of Great Britain" and "SPGB" less and substitute "Socialist Party" more. So i am in full agreement with your sentiments that we should have a complete over-haul and subject the WSM to a full MOT. This guest writer topic does not preclude such a wider, broader debate, but i am genuinely interested in who we consider to be "comrades" or not. So let's try and list them. 

    #118737
    ALB
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    As an aside, I am intriqued by ALB's caveat "(and that the writer has not acquired notoriety over something we wouldn't want to be associated with)"Who does he have in mind, i wondered?

    I don't know. I was thinking of someone who had been expelled from another organisation for an act we wouldn't endorse, e.g from a union for strikebreaking or stealing branch funds. Or, for that matter, had been expelled by us. Or, what about having called for a vote for some capitalist party? So, that's Chomsky out. An interview is a different matter of course.

    #118738
    Bijou Drains
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
      So i am in full agreement with your sentiments that we should have a complete over-haul and subject the WSM to a full MOT. This guest writer topic does not preclude such a wider, broader debate, but i am genuinely interested in who we consider to be "comrades" or not. So let's try and list them. 

    I think I might not have made what I was proposing clear. I was not proposing a complete overhaul of the WSM, or that we"discuss a re-vamp of  the whole party image and approach…and willing to re-visit some of our traditional principles even if to just re-affirm , or perhaps elaborate a little more upon them."I was proposing a review and revamp of how the Party interacts with the Internet. With regards to the points you made above, although at some point in time we do need to look at how the movement operates at some time in the future, I do not think this is the pressing need now. As to the D of P, I am quite happy with the way they are worded and what they say. I think their historical form adds gravitas to our case. As to who we consider comrades, I would say, generally speaking, those within our Party, those who are not comrades are those who are not members of our party. I do not think this is a sectarian approach, we are not a broad church Party and although there are those out there with very similar views to ourselves other than acknowledging that they have similar views to ourselves, it serves no purpose I can see to talk about those who for example agree with 90% of what we say as comrades, but not those who agree with only 89%. Where do we draw the line, do we consider SPEW as comrades because they are closer to us than the BNP?

    #118739
    jondwhite
    Participant

    Is a retweeting of a Labour Party tweet seriously a breach of hostility?

    #118740
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I wouldn't have thought so but let's not derail this thread.

    #118741
    Tristan Miller
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    I recall we published a Chomsky article (although he was very unlikely to be aware of the fact) on intellectual ownership with an accompanying one that complemented it by ourselves. 

    You must be thinking of "Intellectual property: A further restriction on personal freedom" which appeared in the January 2006 issue.  I can assure you that Chomsky was well aware in advance that his article was to appear in the Standard.  I was the one who solicited his contribution (which, while based on a speech he made, had not been previously published), and I wrote the commentary/rebuttal that accompanied it.  Everything was cleared in advance with the editorial committee.  From the outset it was agreed that we would not simply be giving Chomsky a platform to expound his own views.  Rather, we would use this opportunity to compare our views with his, highlighting for readers the similarities and, more importantly, the differences.  Chomsky himself was informed about and agreed to this setup.Personally I wouldn't be in favour of publishing articles by, or interviews with, non-members unless they were accompanied by a critical commentary from us.  But I'm very much in favour of doing so when we can provide such a commentary.  It's similar to how we've always operated at indoor and outdoor meetings, and the name recognition these contributors bring can help draw readers to our publications.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.