- This topic has 355 replies, 21 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 2 months ago by Anonymous.
March 19, 2012 at 10:57 am #86540
The distinction made between everyday struggles by ordinary people trying to make their lives better or less bad under capitalism (good) and political reformism (bad) doesn’t make any sense. To take the example used before, it would mean supporting people taking over ununsed buildings and squatting them, but opposing groups campaigning to prevent the criminalisation of squatting (to take a live issue). In cases like this, socialists shouldn’t let their principles get in the way of doing the right thing. As for “support”, it’s surely simply a matter of solidarity – socialists work in solidarity with working class people to protect and advance our class and human interests. I don’t see what meaning ‘socialist consciousness’ has outside of feelings of solidarity and contributing to actions that build it. It’s what I meant ages ago when I said that there’s very much more socialist consciousness outside of the party than there is (sadly) inside it.March 20, 2012 at 8:00 am #86541
But, Stuart, isn’t this is the thin end of the slippery slope? Where, and how, do you draw the line? How, and when, do you apply the brake to stop ending up arguing that, if you want a particular reform, the best way to get it is to support a party that has a chance of forming a government and so be in a position to implement it (and other reforms), say, Labour? The only other possibility is what we’ve got now: a myriad of single-issue pressure groups campaigning to get existing governments to implement their particular reform.Surely in all this, there’s a need for a group of people to put forward the bigger picture — that only socialism can provide the framework within which the problems facing ordinary people (and which these pressure groups campaign on) can be lastingly solved. Otherwise we’ll never get beyond struggling to go up a downward escalator (or is it a slippery slope?).March 20, 2012 at 11:34 am #86542
@ALB: You’re asking me what the magic answer is, but there isn’t one. Favourite quote of mine:”There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change, and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.”Is there a need in this for a group of people to put forward the bigger picture? Sure, of course. I just don’t understand why that group of people must also snipe at those whose work makes the development of the bigger picture possible.March 23, 2012 at 3:08 am #86543alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
Ralph Nader in quite a humourous article tries to re-direct the Occupy Movement into re-adopting leadership and re-entering into conventional reform politics. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/22/ceos-contemplate-the-occupy/ “…Let me show you why they are here today and will mostly be gone tomorrow. Do they have leaders? No, they proudly reject leaders and even the very trait of leadership. Show me a successful movement or business or union drive, and I’ll show you leaders. It can’t happen without leaders to give form and direction over time, no matter how unpleasant they may be……Occupy has no agenda or program that millions can relate to. Sure ‘inequality, inequality, 99 percent, 99 percent’ make good slogans because people believe them to be true. After all, don’t we really? But without either a religious fervor, some kind of ideological ‘ism,’ – both out of tune with the times – all they’re left with are actual reforms for which they have little interest or patience. This is where they’re really missing the boat and the vehicle of change. Because they detest politics……by detesting politics, they avoid surrounding members of Congress at their offices back home or on Capitol Hill. They avoid the single victory that could be theirs in this election year. And that is raising the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour…over 70 percent of people polled support keeping the minimum wage raises current with inflation. Hundreds of groups of influence want it – at least they are on the record like the AFL-CIO, the National Council of La Raza, the NAACP, social service and religious charity groups – just about everybody.The Occupiers… can galvanize all these groups to pour it out on members of Congress. Imagine the gratitude of 35 million workers who are now making ten dollars or less per hour for their families. Imagine a victory in an ocean of gridlock to whet the appetite of tens of millions of Americans for more of what they call their fair share. Once the masses get moving, as you know, they’re hard to stop……The Occupy people are increasingly bickering amongst themselves in an imploding way while dispiriting themselves with the endless democratic assemblies where majority rule is out. They do not want leaders, or a real-life agenda. They are tussling with anarchists and hired provocateurs, and they disdain any discipline, much less paying full-time organizers. One might uncharitably say they are not serious about anything described as victory – even one in their hands that will bring them great admiration…” I understand the under-lying assumption of the article concerning the positive effect of making gains. The strength of unions, for instance, is dependant about winning benefits, and getting better conditions at work. The whole point is to win real tangible gains that in turn can bolster people, particularly their morale and confidence, and show what can be done, allowing momentum to build, and winning more people over to a critical analysis of the society they live in.Stuart will correct me if i am wrong but i think this is the point he is making. But it does demonstrate the slippery slope into reformism that Adam fears occurring and which Ralph Nader is actually recommending we take. The middle way, to employ Stuart’s buddhist sympathies, as i see it, is that groups like our own advise the working class to seize whatever immediate advantage they can but ultimately the struggle for them should be a means to an end. Ideas are not empty gestures. Ideas offer us the opportunity to think and act , to cross into new lines of inquiry and take new positions. We have to be involved in that communication of the socialist alternative as a practical possibility.March 23, 2012 at 8:44 am #86544
I wonder how Stuart will respond to Nader’s argument !March 23, 2012 at 9:18 am #86545AnonymousInactive
Could Nader be talking about us?March 23, 2012 at 11:28 am #86546ALB wrote:I wonder how Stuart will respond to Nader’s argument !
He’s saying the Occupy movement should get more organised and more politically effective? Well, what an insight. Who disagrees?March 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm #86547
An interesting task would be to compare the political effectiveness of Ralph Nader (or the SPGB if you like) with that of the Occupy movement, and then conclude who we should be taking most seriously:http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/01/11/rising-share-of-americans-see-conflict-between-rich-and-poor/March 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm #86548
Just remembered. Nader can’t plead the Lesser Evil since wasn’t he once a candidate for the US presidency with the result, some say, that George W. Bush (Chomsky’s Greater Evil) got elected instead of Gore?March 27, 2012 at 9:39 am #86550
Occupy Oakland leads the way (written by ex-SPGBer)http://infantile-disorder.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/occupy-oakland-still-leading-way.htmlMarch 27, 2012 at 10:01 am #86551AnonymousInactivestuartw2112 wrote:Occupy Oakland leads the way (written by ex-SPGBer)http://infantile-disorder.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/occupy-oakland-still-leading-way.html
First impressions. A little depressing as there is only capitalism to tinker with. There’s nothing there about communism, no hope, no relief from wage slavery.March 27, 2012 at 10:11 am #86552TheOldGreyWhistle wrote:First impressions. A little depressing as there is only capitalism to tinker with. There’s nothing there about communism, no hope, no relief from wage slavery.
There is only capitalism to tinker with… well, yes, that’s where we’re at. There’s still no alternative. But if there’s hope, it lies with the Occupiers.March 27, 2012 at 11:06 am #86554AnonymousInactive
I have lived in capitalism a long time, I was a miner in 84 and I can tell you, you can’t beat capitalism and you cannot make it work in our interests. Capitalists laughed while people around me went hungry and were attacked by state bullies. You can occupy what you want, you can strike as long as you want but the capitalists own the state, the army, the police and the means of wealth production.March 27, 2012 at 11:32 am #86553
That’s what I said: that’s where we’re at. The defeat of the miners was of course an absolutely key event that still defines where we’re at. Words alone won’t and haven’t changed much. The crisis and the occupations and strikes are beginning to.March 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm #86549
It’s not easy from over here to work out exactly what’s been happening in Oakland. Here’s a rather different analysis, from some “ultraleftists” on the spot (taken from one of their discussion forums I’m on). Don’t know if there’s any truth in their allegation that the movement there has been hijacked by a bunch of varied vanguardists (and of course any contacts with the organised trade-union movement would be anathema to ultraleftists even if not such a problem for us and a delight to vanguardists):http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/01/30/18706115.php
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