Quarterly WSM journal proposal

March 2024 Forums World Socialist Movement Quarterly WSM journal proposal

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 31 total)
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  • #127533
    HollyHead
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    It would have to be self-financing (as it wouldn't be) and not take resources away from the Socialist Standard (which it would). And it would require a Conference resolution (unlikely to get through) .So it's a non-starter.  It's not a priority.and would only be a vanity publishing. Another of the thousand blooms flourishing here that will wither in the face of reality.

     I agree. This is another example of the tendency among Party members to duck shove — "Look here's a good idea …" [ for someone else to implement]  […usually the EC,]To run  projects of the sort argued for here the Party would need an active membership of  2.000+ not the couple of hundred we have at present. We are still awaiting the pamphlet Conference called for in the 1950s on (I think) "The London Traffic Problem."

    #127534
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    HollyHead wrote:
    ALB wrote:
    It would have to be self-financing (as it wouldn't be) and not take resources away from the Socialist Standard (which it would). And it would require a Conference resolution (unlikely to get through) .So it's a non-starter.  It's not a priority.and would only be a vanity publishing. Another of the thousand blooms flourishing here that will wither in the face of reality.

     I agree. This is another example of the tendency among Party members to duck shove — "Look here's a good idea …" [ for someone else to implement]  […usually the EC,]To run  projects of the sort argued for here the Party would need an active membership of  2.000+ not the couple of hundred we have at present. We are still awaiting the pamphlet Conference called for in the 1950s on (I think) "The London Traffic Problem."

     

    #127535
    robbo203
    Participant
    jondwhite wrote:
    Robbo would you be willing to write for such a journal?

     Yes indeed JW – as I'm sure  would many other comrades both in the UK and abroad. Apart from anything else, it would be good to have  a genuinely international theoretical  journal which I'm sure will be of great benefit to all the companion parties too.   There seems to be precious little interaction between them apart from the exchange of EC minutes.   I see this as one element in a much broader and desparately needed overhaul of the whole movement,  It must surely be obvious to everyone by now that things cannot go on as they have and real change is required if we are going to stop the rot and at long last start growing again.  Doing things in the same old way we have always done them is, quite simply, no longer tenable. Incidentally, I have  never quite understood why the old "World Socialist" journal was discontinued.  Can anyone enlighten me?

    #127536
    robbo203
    Participant
    HollyHead wrote:
    ALB wrote:
    It would have to be self-financing (as it wouldn't be) and not take resources away from the Socialist Standard (which it would). And it would require a Conference resolution (unlikely to get through) .So it's a non-starter.  It's not a priority.and would only be a vanity publishing. Another of the thousand blooms flourishing here that will wither in the face of reality.

     I agree. This is another example of the tendency among Party members to duck shove — "Look here's a good idea …" [ for someone else to implement]  […usually the EC,]To run  projects of the sort argued for here the Party would need an active membership of  2.000+ not the couple of hundred we have at present.

     I am not too sure this is the case – there are groups smaller than the SPGB that manage to put out a theoretical journal without much apparent difficulty  -but even  if it were the case why not just adjust the parameters to make the project more feasible  – for example instead of a quarterly journal make it a half yearly or even annual journal?  The question is do we want or need a journal that treats its subject matter in somewhat different way to the Socialist Standard?  I think we do for all the reasons I gave in another thread.   Im battle hardened when it comes to internet debates having  spent  literally years  on numerous forums putting across the socialist case  and referring people to articles in the Socialist Standard . I can tell you, if you dont already know, that it is surprising how often the criticism crops up that the article in question treats the subject in too superficial or simplistic manner.  Yes, Iagree the criticism is unfair inasmuch as it is not reasonable to expect a subject to be adequately covered in a short article.  But the point is that such criticism is less likely to arise in the case of a theoretical journal which takes a quite different approach to the subject matter,    Also, why would such a journal need to be fully self financing as opposed to, say,  partially self financing?  How much Party activity is actually fully self financing? Is it not possible to subsideise it to some extent out of the ample funds that the Party possesses, assuming it needs subsidising? I fully  understand the criticism that is often made aking the lines that "some members come up with good ideas but expect others to implement them" – notably the EC.  Its a fair comment but I think it rather ironically reflects what to me is part of the problem with the Party – that it is too centralised in the way it is organised and that the  party "culture" has adapted to reflect the organisation. Hence the very expectation amongst members you allude to  that any good idea should be organised and implemented centrally and by the EC in particular. .  But it is precisely because Party activity is too centrally  organised that you then have this perception among many members, particularly isolated members that there is little or nothing they can do by way of contributing to Party activity.  So  they feel effectively excluded and disenfranchised.  This in turn results in a large chunk of the membership becoming inactive.  Its a vicious  circle that needs to be broken I want to suggest  that there is another way of doing things were activity is not so much initiated or implemented "by the centre" (e.g. the EC or HO) but, rather, enabled or faciliated by the centre.  Members should be more encouraged to show intiative and to implement ideas themselves and feel less constrained by procedures and regulations. That means  encouraging a wider range  of both activities and approaches to promoting the socialist case to enable the currently inactive membership to become more active.  So I am all for letting a thousand flowers bloom for that reason  I  appreciate this is a general point about party organisation  Im making which might not be particularly relevant to the idea of  a theoretical joural but then again maybe it might!

    #127537
    ALB
    Keymaster
    robbo203 wrote:
    Incidentally, I have  never quite understood why the old "World Socialist" journal was discontinued.  Can anyone enlighten me?

    Seven issues were produced between 1984 and 1987. It stopped, basically, because not even active members were buying it let alone non-members. Also, we were having difficulties getting good quality articles from the Companion parties. I can't remember exactly but I don't think more than a few hundred per issue were printed. There's good stuff in them and there are still copies of some of the issues left at Head Office if anyone wants one. Just ask.It was set up in accordance with a resolution passed at 1983 Conference:

    Quote:
    That this Conference favours the publication (in addition to present publications) and instructs the EC to act accordingly.

    But, can I put a similar question to you, why did the publication "Common Voice" stop being produced. For similar reasons?

    #127538
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Robin, I applaud your enthusiasm but Adam makes the case against.  However,  It has been shown that people are more likely to watch a video than buy a pamphlet so why not produce a monthly and quarterly video on various topics and use adwords to advertise it or them?The Intro video has had a measurable impact. X number of people watched it and y number of people 'liked' what they sawTry something new by using the technology available to us, Besides,  I do believe the party had a keen and active Audio Visual Committee.

    #127539
    robbo203
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    robbo203 wrote:
    Incidentally, I have  never quite understood why the old "World Socialist" journal was discontinued.  Can anyone enlighten me?

    Seven issues were produced between 1984 and 1987. It stopped, basically, because not even active members were buying it let alone non-members. Also, we were having difficulties getting good quality articles from the Companion parties. I can't remember exactly but I don't think more than a few hundred per issue were printed. There's good stuff in them and there are still copies of some of the issues left at Head Office if anyone wants one. Just ask..

     Thats quite depressing to hear.  Was a  post mortem ever carried out to  discover why the WS was not selling well?

    ALB wrote:
     But, can I put a similar question to you, why did the publication "Common Voice" stop being produced. For similar reasons?

     Fair point.  I think the thing about Common Voice is that its fate, by comparison with the World Socialist, was much more directly bound up with the fate of the World in Common Group which is now sadly, more or less moribund.   You can't really compare the SPGB and WiC anyway.  Firstly, this was because WiC was a very much smaller organisation consisting of, at most, 2 dozen members, (if I remember correctly), whereas the SPGB is an organisation of several hundred members.   The fate of WiC confirms something I’ve come to believe – that it is extraordinarily difficult to get a completely new organisation off the ground from scratch.  The smaller the organisation the more vulnerable it is to decline.  You need a certain critical mass of membership to obtain (or maintain) credibility.  WiC didn’t have that but the SPGB has or, should I say, just about has.  It is this fact coupled with the recent decline in the membership of the SPGB which I found very disturbing indeed that prompted me to re-join.  As a socialist it was the logical thing for me to do despite having grown quite accustomed to being a freelancer, so to speak. A growing awareness of the plight of the SPGB forced this decision on me an I could no lobger resist the call to rejoin  Secondly, WiC was almost entirely an internet-based phenomenon, meaning that there was a very limited and narrow range of interactions between members.  After an initial burst of enthusiasm, the momentum simply could not be sustained and a vicious circle of demoralisation and decline set in. This is precisely why I have been banging on so much about the need for the SPGB to diversify, decentralise and deepen the pattern of interactions amongst members.   I know from bitter first-hand experience what happens when you dont.  The workload increasingly falls on a shrinking hard-core of activists who, one by one, succumb to burn-out and then drop out.   The Party urgently need to radically overhaul the way it goes about doing things.  We need to rid ourselves of this lingering negative attitude towards any fresh proposal because it is perceived to be “unrealistic” and because it fails to taken out how few are the members who would be committed and willing enough to put these proposals into effect.   If you keep harping on about how few are the number of committed activists in the Party without offering any solution as to how increase that number then there can only be one outcome – even more demoralisation and consequently, even fewer committed activists to shoulder the workload. You cannot imagine how depressing it is for me to hear such talk after the initial enthusiasm of re-joining. I am convinced that the Party has the potential to turn things around in quite a dramatic fashion.  I would not have re-joined if I thought otherwise.  But it requires a significant change in the whole culture of the Party – and its organisational structure It precisely because there are far too few members involved in activity that the Party needs to considerably broaden the range of activities it engages in and adapt itself to the circumstances of the currently inactive majority in order to draw them into activity   If it does not do this it will very likely go the way WiC went even if the process will be more drawn out.

    #127540
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Can i remind all those frustrated writers, both members and non-member sympathisers, that our blog is receptive to posting articles, both long and short. You are all very welcome to submit your writing to spgb.blog@worldsocialism.org

    #127542
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Thanks, Robbo, for what happened to "Common Voice". This part struck me as particularly significant

    robbo203 wrote:
    …WiC was almost entirely an internet-based phenomenon, meaning that there was a very limited and narrow range of interactions between members.

    I see this as a warning that we should not follow the view that has been expressed here that we too should become "an internet-based phenomenon" without physical meetings between members. That would be the way to prove the Private Frasers right.

    #127541
    ALB
    Keymaster

    And any frustrated poets wanting to compete for the Mcgonagle Prize.

    #127543
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    ALB, i recall that one reason you explained the Standard does not publish poetry and passed on poetry submission to the blog is that the editors were not qualified to decide on the quality of them.

    Quote:
    And any frustrated poets wanting to compete for the Mcgonagle Prize.

    I think you are crossing the line and appear to be denigrating a comrade's consistent contribution to current affairs expressed in his weekly poem to the blog. Your regretful attempt at humour, has misfired, imo.

    Quote:
    I see this as a warning that we should not follow the view that has been expressed here that we too should become "an internet-based phenomenon" without physical meetings between members.

    Without the chore of quoting chapter and verse, i don't think i ever suggested the end of face-to-face interaction and recall repeatedly posting that we should become, as i phrased it, a more "SOCIAList" Party, now echoed by Robbo in his more precise descriptionI think it can also be said that i frequently proposed to the chagrin of some that we make a much more physical presence at political events.I have proposed that organisationally we can do without an HO. I have suggested that we use the tools of the internet such as Skype-type to draw in more involvement in our meetings and decision-making. And i have suggested that our priority in publicity and propaganda should no longer be hard-copy print but indeed increase activity on the internet – such as Vin responded by advocating video rather than a new magazine.Nor have i ever said that we no longer do printed material but that it is limited to "on-demand", special issues of the Standard being printed to circulate at public political gatherings, for instance, and pamphlets to stock lit stalls.I make no apologies for my pessimistic prognosis for the Party but let it be noted, i want to be proved wrong and i, myself have been suggesting means of remedying the situation and not given up hope that our decline can be reversed by taking appropriate action. When i walk away from the problem, will be when i walk away from the Party, and that is not going to happen in the near future. The little i do, i will continue to do.

    #127544
    robbo203
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    Thanks, Robbo, for what happened to "Common Voice". This part struck me as particularly significant

    robbo203 wrote:
    …WiC was almost entirely an internet-based phenomenon, meaning that there was a very limited and narrow range of interactions between members.

    I see this as a warning that we should not follow the view that has been expressed here that we too should become "an internet-based phenomenon" without physical meetings between members. That would be the way to prove the Private Frasers right.

     Yes I agree with your conclusion and it was precisely for this reason that I oppose the idea of turning the Socialist Standard into a purely e-journal.  That would be a retrograde step and involve a significant narrowing of the range  of interactions and activities among the membership.  All the evidence seems to suggest we need to move in the opposite direction in order to entice into activity the currently inactive majority  of members whose circumstances, combined with the restricted range of party-based activities available to them, effectively excludes them from contributing to the growth of  the Party. The  key to any successful reorganisation of the Party has to involve developing ways  of reaching out to and involving this excluded and inactive majority, in my view..  That should be the Party's primary focus.  Expanding our presence on the internet is important but so too is expanding our presence in the more mundane world, so to speak .  This is not an either-or thing

    #127545
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    ALB, i recall that one reason you explained the Standard does not publish poetry and passed on poetry submission to the blog is that the editors were not qualified to decide on the quality of them.

    Quote:
    And any frustrated poets wanting to compete for the Mcgonagle Prize.

    I think you are crossing the line and appear to be denigrating a comrade's consistent contribution to current affairs expressed in his weekly poem to the blog. Your regretful attempt at humour, has misfired, imo.

    Quote:
    I see this as a warning that we should not follow the view that has been expressed here that we too should become "an internet-based phenomenon" without physical meetings between members.

    Without the chore of quoting chapter and verse, i don't think i ever suggested the end of face-to-face interaction and recall repeatedly posting that we should become, as i phrased it, a more "SOCIAList" Party, now echoed by Robbo in his more precise descriptionI think it can also be said that i frequently proposed to the chagrin of some that we make a much more physical presence at political events.I have proposed that organisationally we can do without an HO. I have suggested that we use the tools of the internet such as Skype-type to draw in more involvement in our meetings and decision-making. And i have suggested that our priority in publicity and propaganda should no longer be hard-copy print but indeed increase activity on the internet – such as Vin responded by advocating video rather than a new magazine.Nor have i ever said that we no longer do printed material but that it is limited to "on-demand", special issues of the Standard being printed to circulate at public political gatherings, for instance, and pamphlets to stock lit stalls.I make no apologies for my pessimistic prognosis for the Party but let it be noted, i want to be proved wrong and i, myself have been suggesting means of remedying the situation and not given up hope that our decline can be reversed by taking appropriate action. When i walk away from the problem, will be when i walk away from the Party, and that is not going to happen in the near future. The little i do, i will continue to do.

    Ditto

    #127546
    Major McPharter
    Participant

    You tube is a avenue we can all take to put forward our case. For example would people go on and look up  ( the verve its a bitter sweet symphony) this great song has had over 366 Million hits YES comrades 366 Million hits the songs goes  Trying to make ends meet you are a slave to money then you die. How true comrades. At the moment some good socialist banter is goung on but he needs some back up, so come on Please Please get on there.

    #127547
    robbo203
    Participant
    Major McPharter wrote:
    You tube is a avenue we can all take to put forward our case. For example would people go on and look up  ( the verve its a bitter sweet symphony) this great song has had over 366 Million hits YES comrades 366 Million hits the songs goes  Trying to make ends meet you are a slave to money then you die. How true comrades. At the moment some good socialist banter is goung on but he needs some back up, so come on Please Please get on there.

     Yes it is a good song and quite stirring as well  with good lyrics.  You are right about the potential emotional power of audio visual presentation and no doubt the AV committee will seeking ways to harnesss it.  Do you have any suggetions in mind?

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