June 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm #86254DJPParticipantHch wrote:You support workers defending and trying to defend their wages and conditions via unions. SPGB members do it themselves I am told above. But you oppose workers defending their social wage, such as NHS health care, benefits, education etc. You have drawn an artificial distinction between the two. Please advise.
We neither ‘support’ nor ‘oppose’ workers in struggle, what place does a party have patronising the working class by telling them what to do? We think working men and woman are wise enough to know what to do to defend there position within capitalism.The point is such things do not get to the root to the root of the problem, and this the socialist party should explain and demonstrate so that workers choose to join us in the abolition of wage-labour.June 25, 2011 at 5:11 am #86255
i think my lengthy posts did address your questions directly and specifically , Hch. I can only conclude that they were too long for you to read through. Militant changing its name and stealing another organisation’s title, that i think , is the height of sectarianism. What is wrong witht them calling themselves the CWI. What are they scared of? Apart from exposing the truth of the matter. Committee of the Workers International even Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) would be more honest since you think re-branding your Scottish members Socialist Party Scotland after jettisoning unity with the Scottish Socialist Party and seeking alliance with Sheridan’s personality cult Solidarity fair-dos. (of course, your differences with the SSP are nothing like the division you have with fellow Trots in the SWP and the collapse of the Socialist Alliance confirmed what i said in an earlier post about sham unity) HCH you claim that “the Socialist Party (the old Militant, CWI) which participated in TUSC has the same goals as you: common ownership with workers democratic control, production for need, international socialism, party democracy etc etc. They condem old the bureacratic and totalitarian Soviet types regimes” Okay, link me to those claims on your SPS website. I read the “ABOUT US” – nothing about common ownership but plenty about state ownership ie the old bureucratic soviet type model ! i go to your homepage “how a socialist economy would work” and i read about the wonders of state capitalism and the glorification of the Bolshevik Party. No HCH , we do not share the same goals, nor do we have a shared understanding of the past. We are and nor are the working class fooled by rhetoric of a re-hash of transitional programme. Nor are we taken in by the your claims of party democracy, one that is based upon Leninist “democratic centralist” lines in which the executive committee are the policy-making leadership, upon a hierarchy where each layer of leadership has power over the levels below it, with the party’s national leadership – the members of its central committee – at the top. Power in the hands of the leaders and in practice reduces the rank-and-file members to a mere consultative role. The welfare state – most particularly its health service component – originally represented an advance for many workers, though it was certainly not introduced with benevolence in mind. We have never said that all reforms are doomed to failure and do not really make a difference to workers’ lives? There are many examples of ‘successful’ reforms in such fields as education, housing, child employment, conditions of work and social security. The Socialist Party does not oppose all reforms as such, only the futile and dangerous attempt to seek power to administer capitalism on the basis of a reform programme – reformism. The Socialist Standard wrote “It seems unlikely that the working class and its organisations are strong enough to stop these austerity measures being imposed, let alone imposing their own demands. But we must start from where we are. David Cameron and the new government will be expecting that you’ll just take whatever’s coming to you. We must try to prove them wrong…where socialists have their most vital contribution to make – a clear idea about alternatives is not mere utopianism, but an important ingredient in inspiring successful struggle. An upturn in class war, such as we’re seeing in Greece, and may perhaps soon be seeing in this country too, is the only basis on which socialism can begin to make sense and seem like a credible and possible alternative to capitalism for the working class as a whole.”Another Socialist Standard said “We welcome any upsurge in the militancy and resistance and organisation of our class. But we also know, from bitter experience, that work of an altogether quieter, patient, more political kind is also needed. The skirmishes in the class war must be fought if we are not to be reduced to beasts of burden. But as human animals capable of rational thought and long-term planning, we must also seek to stop the skirmishes by winning the class war, and thereby ending it. ..” As revolutionaries, we do not advocate reforms, that is, changes in the way capitalism runs, such as alterations to immigration policy or the health service or the tax system. Reforms, however ‘radical’, can never make capitalism run in the interests of the workers. Nor should supporting reforms be some kind of tactic pursued by Socialists to gain support from workers, for workers who joined a Socialist Party because they admired its reformist tactics would turn it into a reformist organisation pure and simple. To attract support on the basis of reformist policies but really aim at revolution would be quite dishonest to get workers’ support on the basis of saying one thing while really wanting something quite different. History showed us the fate of the social democratic parties , which despite a formal commitment to socialism as an “ultimate goal” , admitted the non-socialist to their ranks and sought non-socialist support for a reform programme of capitalism rather than a socialist programme. In order to maintain their non-socialist support , they were themselves forced to drop all talk of socialism and become even more openly reformist . Today the social democratic parties are firmly committed to capitalism in theory and in practice. We say that this was the inevitable result of the admission of non-socialists and advocating reforms of capitalism. That is why we have always advocated socialism and never called for the reform of capitalism. We are not saying that all reforms are anti – working class, but as a socialist party advocating reforms , it would be its first step towards its transformation into a reformist party. Regardless of why or how the reforms are advocated, the result is the same: confusion in the minds of the working class instead of growth of socialist consciousness. I will re-iterate the stategy of the Socialist Party. The institution of government does not feel threatened by appeals to it to act on single issues – even if those appeals take the form of mass public protests. On the contrary, government only feels a sense of power and security in the knowledge that the protesters recognise it as the supreme authority to which all appeals must be made. As long as people are only protesting over single issues they are remaining committed to supporting the system as a whole. But government will take quite a different view when large numbers of people confront it not to plead from a position of weakness for this or that change or addition to the statute book, but to challenge the whole basis of the way we live – in other words to question the inevitability of buying and selling and production for profit, and to actively work from a position of political strength for its replacement by the socialist alternative. In such circumstances, the governments aim will be to buy off the growing socialist consciousness of workers. In other words, reforms will be much more readily granted to a large and growing socialist movement than to reformers campaigning over individual issues within the present system. Not of course that the growing movement will be content with the reforms the old system hands out. To those who still say that, while they ultimately want socialism, it is a long way off and we must have reforms in the meantime, we would reply that socialism need not be a long way off and there need not be a meantime. If all the immense dedication and energy that have been channelled into reform activity over the past 200 years had been directed towards achieving socialism, then socialism would have been established long ago and the problems the reformists are still grappling with (income inequality, unemployment, health, housing, education, war. etc.) would all be history. It is only when people leave reformism behind altogether that socialism will begin to appear to them not as a vague distant prospect, something for others to achieve, but as a clear, immediate alternative which they themselves can – and must – help to bring about.June 25, 2011 at 8:34 am #86263
DJP – your response is a flimsy cop out: ‘neither support or oppose workers in struggle’. This is also a change in position on the party line, which said earlier you support workers in wage struggles and participate in unions. My point to that issue was why don’t you support workers defending their Social Wage e.g. Fight the Cuts. You know you should but are now doing idelogical summer salts which would make Stalin proud.
Alanjjohnston – well what can I say? You are playing semantics. I’m no spokesman for the Socialist Party (CWI) but you really are clutching at wet, thin straws by trying to condem their socialist goal. You talk ‘common owbnership’ and so do they. They sometimes use the term ‘nationalisation’ but mean the same as you and fully adhere to the principle of ‘each according to his/her ability, each according to their needs.’
As for Militant adopting the ‘Socialist Party’ name, well at least they act like a party as opposed to an academic talking shop. Maybe you should re-name yourselves, such as the Socialist Education Group, because you are not a political party. Dropping the ‘Great Britain’ name would be to your advantage as well.
You go on (and on): ‘As revolutionaries, we do not advocate reforms…’ Please advise if the SPGB position of neutrality as explained by AJ is now the case. If ,as I suspect, not then why support workers in struggle for better wages and conditions but not support their struggle to defend their social wage? Such struggle which is strongly linked for the need of socialism, raises workers consciousness. I agree, you need to be careful to keep the socialist goal very clear and keep out opportunists, which is why TUSC refuses to accept or support or let join those who believe in ‘some cuts’ or act like Labour Councillors and just pass the cuts on, which is unacceptable. The Socialist Party (CWI) continually bang on about the need for socialism within TUSC. For example, they take the position that ‘tax avoidance’ by capitalists should be opposed but unless you take economic power out of their hands, the ruling class will find ways aound. You would agree with that.
Commonality! You look for any excuse to oppose others, like Socialist Party (CWI) when you have far more in common. By the way, Sheridan is not a member of Socialist Party Scotland or their counter parts in England & Wales and have been critical of his approach and personality cult. But someone who went to jail over the Poll Tax rebellion, fought the baliffs (literally) and been persecuted for his Marxist beliefs and agitation by News International, should get your support not condemnation. You need to know which side you are on.
Finally, if the SPGB supported TUSC and the Campaign for a New Workers Party, you would come into contact with workers who are supportive of socialist ideas. There is no principled reason why you could not participate AND keep your identity but that would mean getting your hands dirty which you fear. Such a shame.June 25, 2011 at 11:40 am #86264
We require little lecture on political unity from those on the Trotskyist Left who are well deserved of the title 57 Varieties , having mostly been made up out of splits of splits of splits of splits….Why should we join your Campaign for a New Workers party and not other groups such Campaign for a new Marxist Party …or even Respect (before its purges) ….and a host of other non-starters that have come and gone in the past. The Weekly Worker is always an amusing source of the disharmony exhibited within TUSC, itself the offspring of No2EU. I never said Sheridan was a member of the SPS. He is though an ex-member of the old Scottish Militant Labour and the CWI. Aware of his personality cult , your comrades in Scotland in what was the International Socialists (not to be confused with the original I.S. – seems stealing other groups names is a habit) nevertheless resigned en masse from the SSP and aligned themselves with Solidarity (as of course did the ever opportunist SWP). How are the remaining members of the SSP such as Colin Fox who perhaps placed party before the individual viewed by yourself…renegades? class traitors? deluded dupes? running dogs of Murdoch? Let me again clarify for you…we have no objection to workers and socialists gettting involved in fights for partial demands but don’t believe the party should do that. We regard the strategy of transitional demands as elitist and manipulative, as well as just downright silly.The party’s task is NOT to “lead the workers in struggle” or even to instruct its members on what to do in trade unions, tenants’ associations etc, because we believe that socialists and class-conscious workers are quite capable of making decisions for themselves. If this sounds difficult to understand, it’s because you haven’t risen beyond a Leninist level of consciousness To return to trhe question of a united class as i said in an earlier reply we hold that within trade unions for practical reasons for unions, in order to be effective, must recruit all workers in a particular industry or trade regardless of political or philosophical views. A union, regardless of type, to be effective today must depend primarily on numbers rather than understanding. We dismissed the chances of large numbers of workers, pragmatic proletarians, resigning from established unions for small radical organisations that can show no evidence of power, which is an immediate question for them. We were castigated for such a position by the so-called radicals of the syndicalist movement who liked to call us the sectarians. As a union activist i have personally worked hand in hand with SWP/Militant/CP/SNP/Labour Party and even the odd fascist or two. As the current recession within capitalism continues, squeezing and stamping down upon the working class ever more relentlessly, alongside the growing realisation of the failure of all forms of running the system; then there is definitely a growing POTENTIAL for the escalation of struggle towards the overthrow of the system. However, how many times has the potential been there in past moments of escalated struggle and capitalist crisis only to disappear or to be channelled into reformist, pro-capitalist directions? Discontent over wages or conditions can be a catalyst for socialist understanding but so can many other things such as concern about the environment or war or the threat of war or bad housing or the just the general culture of capitalism . The SPGB does not minimise the necessity or importance of the workers keeping up the struggle to maintain wage-levels and resisting cuts, etc. If they always yielded to the demands of their exploiters without resistance they would not be worth their salt, nor be fit for waging the class struggle to put an end to exploitation. Successes through such actions as striking and protests may well encourage other workers to stand up for their rights more but the reality remains that the workers’ strength is determined by their position within the capitalist economy, and their victories will always be partial ones within the market system. Only by looking to the political situation, the reality of class ownership and power within capitalism, and organising to make themselves a party to the political battle in the name of common ownership for their mutual needs, will a general gain come to workers, and an end to these sectional battles. Otherwise, the ultimate result of the strikes will be the need to strike or demonstrate again in the future.The never-ending treadmill of the class struggle. Workers can never win the class struggle while it is confined simply to the level of trade union militancy. It requires to be transformed into socialist consciousness. I see little evidence of SPEW engaging with worker on the question of socialism but find ample proof that SPEW feeds the working class with false illusions. From your websiteThe masses increasingly know what they don’t want but don’t, as yet, know what they want, because of the absence of an authoritative Marxist leadership. – The NC is elected precisely to manage the organisation in between congresses. Sometimes, in exceptional circumstances, it even will be compelled in the light of changed circumstances to change the decision of the congress.We have demanded £220 income for all workers including the pensioners…Firstly, the call for £220, is a transitional demand, which can only be realised fully on the basis of the reorganisation of society on socialist foundationsIn place of the term nationalisation, we should look for new ways of expressing the same idea, “public ownership” or the term that Trotsky used at one stage of “socialisation”. Of course we have to add the demand for workers’ control and workers’ management.Our general position is well known; we oppose all restrictions imposed by decaying and outmoded capitalism. We oppose passports, we oppose the attempt to restrict the free movement of labour, the capitalists idea of “fortress Europe” etc. But truth is concrete and on this issue we have to take account of the different levels of consciousness of the proletariat. We cannot put forward, in the manner of the sects, the bald slogan of “open borders” or of “no to immigration controls” or a variant of this…http://www.marxist.net/namechange/transitionalprogramme/index.htmlAll things to all people…duh..and thats supposed to be a principled positionJune 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm #86265
Thank you for you amusing reply AJ. Some points:
1. Don’t you think it a bit rich talking about ‘the 57 varieties’ of Trotskist groups when the same could be said about socialist/Marxist groups, one of which the SPGB claims to be? Didn’t the SPGB start by coming out of the SDF? Splitters!
2. Transitional Demands – they are just a way of putting the theory of socialism into concrete terms that can be understood by workers. The SPGB uses language that few understand and has a rather abstract view of socialism, which makes it sound like science fiction. If nationalising the means of production under democratic control ‘sounds silly’ then that is precisely an example of the childish, dogmatic SPGB approach I’ve been talking about.
3. You cannot separate workers immediate struggles from the need for a socialist world, be it against cuts, unemployment, education, war etc and expect to gain the ear of workers, let alone their support and participation. The history of the SPGB should have taught you that. You applaud workers resisting the onslaught of capitalism and this can lead to growing class consciousness but refuse to join them, prefering to sit on the sidelines saying ‘I told you so, now read Marx.’ The world doesn’t work like that. If it did, capitalism would be history a long time ago. It explains why the SPGB (founded in 1904) only has a few hundred members today, most of which I am told are politically inactive.
I must say, I have been disappointed with the level of debate coming from the SPGB over the issues I’ve raised. You resorted to the type of sloganising and cheap responses I would expect from some of the Marxist sects, such as the SWP, AWL etc.. You are no different.
For a Socialist World!June 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm #86266June 26, 2011 at 2:55 am #86267
Two comments to make (well, more than two points actually)We did split from the SDF as you say but we never repeated the mistake of entering into alliances with non-revolutionary, reformist organisations ever again. We never had to leave the 2nd International as Lenin did because we recognised before he did the predominant non-socialist elements within it and the inevitable betrayal of 1914, we never joined the 3rd, 2 and 1/2 or 4th Internationals, we never applied for affiliation to the Labour Party (only to be most likely expelled later) nor entered unity talks when the Communist Party was formed (only to be probably purged later). We learned from the experience of being socialists in the SDF.You accused the SPGB of “demonstrating a subconcious low opinion” of the working class, that we think workers are “dumb masses” and “being tricked” and that we “use language that few understand” and that we have “a rather abstract view of socialism ” but you don’t deny do you that SPEW readily admits to dumbing down their politics to gain support because the working class would not understand the nuances of their real position, that they make reform demands that they know are unachievable under capitalism yet deliberately withhold that “little” detail in their propaganda , or that SPEW changed the old terminology for new words and phrases (but still to express the same old object ) because workers saw through the original and have rejected the policies (and you dared accuse me of semantics.) You say the SPGB is “sloganising” when in the real world SPEW spends much time and energy in search of the right vote-catching, member-recruiting slogan. You say we are no different from those “Marxist sects” – the AWL and SWP – what a way of talking about other groups that have been your comrades-in-arms in joint ventures. Such expression of solidarity yet you nevertheless feel you can persuade ourselves to join together and co-operate with yourselves ! Geez..HCH. can’t you recognise your own hypocrisy in all those accusations against us and understand the exhibition of your own condescending elitism in regard to working class capacity to understand political ideas. The faults you identify with the SPGB are actually the mirror and reflection of your own party’s flawed politics, in psychological terms, it’s called transference. If we have a commonality as you claimed earlier then you should be joining us in the SPGB, not the other way around ( we have re-assured you that your personal individual involvement in the class struggle can continue. ) However, you will have to under-go a knowledge test to enter the SPGB and from your posts, i fear your application would be rejected.June 26, 2011 at 3:15 am #86268
oh, Hch, how can your position shift from this statement ” You have much to offer the socialist movement, especially your vision of socialism” to this conclusion “a rather abstract view of socialism, which makes it sound like science fiction.” What is it – if flattery doesn’t work , substitute invective, instead?June 26, 2011 at 6:30 am #86269ALBKeymasterHch wrote:Finally, if the SPGB supported TUSC and the Campaign for a New Workers Party, you would come into contact with workers who are supportive of socialist ideas.
Why would we need to “enter” a reformist organisation to meet workers and get our ideas across? In any event, judging by the results of the last general election TUSC has no wider an audience than we have. In fact, in the Vauxhall cobstitutency in London, which we contested, the Trotskyist candidate got fewer votes than us. He was incidentally from a Trot group that wanted to join TUSC but was denied access to it. The rumour was that TUSC leader Bob Crow, as an unreconstructed Stalinists, didn’t like Trots. I’m sure he’d like us even less.June 26, 2011 at 9:54 am #86270
Sorry , ALB but i can’t go along with your schadenfreude tendencies here, since the SPGB got a miserable 143 votes whereas the TUSC achieved a glorious average of 371 at the general election so quite obviously they are 3 times more in contact with the workers than we are (in this years local elections it was 153 average per TUSC candidate, our last local election result was again a feeble 113 votes, dwarfed by the droves that vote for the TUSC ). Understandably, the fact that the SPGB sloganising is the ever unpopular “socialism and only socialism” explains why SPEW/TUSC’s host of demagogue demands had the electorate salivating at the polls, rushing to place their X in support. Well… okay… admittedly the odd few score more on average than the SPGB got but we do tell voters not to vote for us if they don’t agree with our object of socialism. See the SPEW election manifesto here btw http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/4224 , promising everything but free beer (only the SPGB promises to deliver that with with our demand for free access !!)June 26, 2011 at 10:42 am #86271
1. Thanks for the invite to join the SPGB but warning me I may fail the entrance test. Is the maths question at Login part of the test as if it is I’m becoming optomistic? Your test does appear elitist and demostrates a proscriptive view which even the sects don’t have. What happens if a member detracts from the part line to the point that if they were new and applying to join they would not be permitted membership? Suspension until they renounce reformist leanings? Expulsion?
2. Invective? Yes – in response to the provocative responses I am getting from the official site of an organisation. I suggest a course in written communication and public relations skills for your officers. I will however explain my seemingly contradictory comment. The SPGB blue print of a socialist world is an exciting vision but you need to put far more flesh on the bones to sound realistic, otherwise it can appear utopian. This is not a new critism to you as it’s been levelled at the SPGB for decades.
3. Returning to TUSC. This is an alliance and comming together of organisations and independent people within a democratic, federalist organisation. These organisations and people share a vision of the need to replace capitalism with a socialist type society. There is not 100% agreement on everything, which is why it is an alliance, aiming to put a common front and stop socialists fighting eachother at elections. TUSC is new and stood over 140 candidates in the May local elections, reaching a far wider audience than the SPGB did or could. Results for TUSC were mixed but some candidates received over 30% of the vote cast, so that’s an encouraging start. TUSC AND the SPGB were at the mercy of the objective situation: being squeezed by Labour, as many voted against the Con-Dems and saw Labour as the best bet to give Cameron and Clegg a bloody nose.
4. I wouldn’t worry about Bob Crow, he does not run TUSC. But why so hostile to him? He is a great trade union fighter, who got the RMT to reject Labour, dabbled and rejected the SLP, no fan of the SWP and alike but sees that sectarianism and division plays into the hands of the Con-Dems, Labour and the ruling class. I and others would find fault with some of his views and the fact he draws a salary which is above the members he represents. TUSC members and especially the Socialist Party (CWI) stand canidates on the average wage of workers, with the rest given back to the movement and audited. They currently have two Irish MEPs who do precisely that. I’m unaware of the SPGB view on workers representative salaries, so maybe someone could advise, as it’s an important issue in preventing careerists getting on board.June 26, 2011 at 2:42 pm #86272
Why there is a requirement of the knowledge test has been explained by me to you already ( message No. 5) which confirms what i suspected , you don’t fully read the replies to you.Once again, it is not to show how scholarly someone is in Marxism . S/he may never have read a word of Marx or socialist literature. It does not necessarily require an academic’s grasp of Marxian economics. The members application questionnaire is made up of a dozen questions
1. What are the basic features of capitalism?
2. Explain what you understand by the terms capitalist class and working
3. Do you consider that the working class is exploited? If so, briefly
explain how this takes place.
4. What do you understand by the word ‘socialism’?
5. Why do socialists say there will be no trade or money in a socialist
society? On what basis will wealth be distributed?
6. Has socialism been established in any part of the world?
7. Why do socialists say socialism cannot exist in any one country alone?
8. Why do socialists maintain that democratic methods such as, in this
country, parliamentary elections, must be used to capture political power
for the achievement of socialism?
9. Why do socialists not take sides or willingly take part in wars?
10. What is your attitude to other political parties? Do any of them stand
11. Why does the Socialist Party not campaign for reforms?
12. What are your views towards religion and its relation to the Party case for socialism?
Our Party rules are at for all to see http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/rules2009.pdf Thinking is not and never has been a violation of socialist discipline. Once more i will try and explain our position which does make us different from the Left. Marx believed that, as the workers gained more experience of the class struggle and the workings of capitalism, it would become more consciously socialist and democratically organised by the workers themselves. The emergence of socialist understanding out of the experience of the workers could thus be said to be ‘spontaneous’ in the sense that it would require no intervention by people outside the working class to bring it about. Socialist propaganda and agitation would indeed be necessary, but would come to be carried out by workers themselves, whose socialist ideas would have been derived from an interpretation of their class experience of capitalism. The end result would be an independent movement of the socialist-minded and democratically organised working class aimed at winning control of political power in order to abolish capitalism. As Marx and Engels put it in the Communist manifesto, “The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.”Like it or not , HCH, this is not the same analysis advocated by Lenin , Trotsky or Ted Grant or Peter Taffe. The Left put forward a whole raft of reformist demands that on paper might seem to be appealing. The only problem is that there is no plan to actually achieve these demands – they are “pretend” demands. Trotsky himself called these kind of demands “transitional demands” – the idea being to look at everybody else’s demands and make bigger demands so they sound great. Occasionally they might achieve a demand which will make them seem sincere, however the idea isn’t to achieve these demands – it is to not achieve them! This is the Troskyists’ grand master plan to make workers dissatisfied, so the latter will become revolutionary and flock behind their political leadership. In other words the workers are to be the infantry led by the Trotskyist generals. The Left have real aims quite different to the reform programme they peddle. In this, they are being as dishonest as any other politician, from the left or right. The ultimate result of this is disillusionment with the possibility of radical change. Genuine socialists get tarred with the same brush. When someone comes across the Socialist Party for the first time, a common reaction is to consider us as just another left-wing political organisation. The Left use similar terminology to us, talking of socialism, class struggle, exploitation, etc, and invoking Karl Marx. But digging a little deeper will show that our political position is very different from that of the Left. The Socialist Party is not on The Left. There is so much manipulation, dishonesty, and downright erroneous thinking connected with the Left that we would not wish to be associated with them in any way. Read how we are different at http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/differences.html One of the great strengths of the SPGB is our opposition to leadership and our commitment to democratic practices, so, whatever weaknesses or mistaken views we hold or get accused by yourself, they cannot be imposed upon others with possible worse consequences. Can you claim the same for your own politics? The history of Leninism/Trotskyism blames all on the lack of leadership or the wrong leadership or a traitorous leadership. The SPGB are not going to take the workers to where they neither know where they are going, nor, most likely, want to go. This contrasts with those who seek to substitute the party for the class or who see the party as a vanguard which must undertake alone the task of leading the masses forward. The crucial part of the SPGB case is that understanding is a necessary condition for socialism. The SPGB’s job is to make a socialist soiciety an immediancy for the working class, not an ultimate far-off ideal. Something of importance and value to people’s lives now, rather than a singular “end”. We have published pamphlet “Socialism as a practical alternative” http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pamphlets/SAAPA.html that endeavours to explain a bit more fully. It was Marx who said we should not write recipes for the cook-shops of the future but i understand and sympathise with your complaint. The issue is often discussed within our organisation. Many caution against the creation of blueprints . There is no point in drawing up in advance the sort of detailed blueprint of industrial and social organisation . For a small group of socialists , as we are now , to do so would be undemocratic. We also recognise that there may not be one single way of doing things, and precise details and ways of doing things more than likely vary from one part of the world to another, even between neighbouring communities. Nor can we determine what the conditions will be when socialism is established. As the socialist majority grows, when socialism is within the grasp of the working class, that will then be the proper time for making such important decisions. It is imprudent for today’s socialist minority to be telling people how to administer a socialist society. When a majority of people understand what socialism means, the suggestions for socialist administration will solidify into an appropriate plan. It will be based upon the conditions existing at that time, not today. At this point you are no doubt saying to yourself “cop-out” but no. We can reach some generalised conclusions based on basic premises and can outline broad principles or options that could be applied. We do not have to draw up a detailed plan for socialism, but simply and broadly demonstrate that it is possible and therefore refute the label of “utopian” . Never forget that socialist society is not starting from a blank sheet and we are inheriting an already existing production system . Workers with all their skills and experience of co-operating to run capitalism in the interests of the capitalists could begin to run society in their own interest. I am not sure whether your criticism of “provocative responses” apply to me although i do hold my hand up for my latter comments. In the beginning, i gave you the courtesy of full and detailed replies to your position and your posts.June 27, 2011 at 10:03 am #86273stuartw2112Participant
Hi Hch,”stuartw2112 – if you are puzzled why I query the SPGB position on say reformism, is that it has big holes in it whivh I’m trying to get an answer but have been unsuccessful so far: You support workers defending and trying to defend their wages and conditions via unions. SPGB members do it themselves I am told above. But you oppose workers defending their social wage, such as NHS health care, benefits, education etc. You have drawn an artificial ditingtion between the two. Please advise.”The big holes are of your own imagining. We do not oppose workers defending their social wage. See recent issues of our journal, the Socialist Standard, for confirmation. What we oppose is a socialist party promising to do something about the social wage, NHS, etc, not because it really gives a stuff, or is deluded enough to think that capitalism can deliver on its demands, but because it wants to recruit members, win votes, or give workers an education in failure, in the limits of struggle. The reason we are against such tactics are amply demonstrated by recent history, eg, of the Labour Party.StuartJuly 3, 2011 at 12:48 am #86274AnonymousInactive
The Login CAPTCHA :This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.We changed from the letter one as it didn’t always display legibly.July 3, 2011 at 11:54 am #86275PJShannonKeymasterMatt wrote:The Login CAPTCHA :This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.We changed from the letter one as it didn’t always display legibly.
Not that it really matters but that wasn’t the reason why I switched it to the math captcha, there was a problem with the software. When the site goes live properly we will be using ‘mollom’ so there won’t be any captacha challenges for people to type in.But unless you’re a web developer its not that important or interesting I suppose…
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