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November 3, 2011 at 8:49 am #86345ALBKeymaster
Things seem to be rather different the other side of the Atlantic or rather Pacific:http://news.yahoo.com/occupy-rally-shuts-down-shipping-port-indefinitely-062334964.htmlNovember 3, 2011 at 10:44 am #86346AnonymousInactiveOzymandias wrote:Oh why do I even bother my fuckin arse with this kind of attitude!
Now, now, play nicely! No-one has displayed any ‘attitude’ merely answered your posts. In fact they havent disagreed with you so far as I can see and asked for more about what you’d like to see the SPGB do. Our Party is unique in the fact that we have no leaders and can discuss freely what we’d like to see the Party do and say, guided by it’s Principles. YOU can be a part of that but if everyone throws their dummies out at every contradiction of counter-point made, then we’ll never get anywhere.To everyone: it maybe a good thing to remember when posting….Nice smile, deep breath, calm thoughts and proceed slowly…..remember it’s just politics and words and discussions about thoughts and ideas. It’s not and never should be personal – don’t take it that way and don’t dish it that way.November 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm #86347
Ozymandias, I understand your frustration.Anyone holding the mainstream party view should not oppose the Occupy movement, but should instead be delighted that their long-ignored and ridiculed views are at long last being vindicated. More importantly, they should get down to their nearest occupation and support it. The occupiers don’t need bloody leaflets or smart arses with all the answers or Socialist Standards — not even the totally brilliant and correct articles by Stuart Watkins — they need practical support.The fact that the current protests are small and staffed by the usual suspects (if true, which it isn’t, not entirely anyway) is irrelevant. The protests in America started small and with the usual suspects, but exploded into something bigger, something still growing and developing, mostly in hugely positive directions from a working-class and/or socialist viewpoint. One of the interesting things about it is that the anarchist usual suspects have succeeded in “imposing” (inspiring?) a leaderless, democratic structure to the whole thing – and one that is brilliantly designed so as to stop old left groups swamping it, winning a majoritarian decision, then taking it over. From the point of view of action, this means everyone can get involved, regardless of their political views. From the point of view of politics, it means the discussions can stay open-ended and ongoing, with no one group or perspective able to stamp its authority on it, other than from the point of broadest principles (We are the 99%; This is what democracy looks like).So, most members have got it all wrong. The fact that Henry Georgeists and ‘make capitalism nicer’ folk and people who are not in the slightest anti-capitalist can go along and participate and have their views respected and taken into account, while political discussions go on and on in an open-ended way, at the same time as more and more people are rallied into it on the basis of very broad principles (class conscious, pro-democracy), is a very good thing! As for the small size and scope of the British as opposed to American occupations, this is true. But the crisis is already more visibly and obviously hurting the working class in America, and that pain and hurt will be arriving on our shores very soon (not that it hasn’t already started of course). That could easily swell the Occupy movement here – and the occupations are already there for them, ready and waiting. November 30 could be a turning point, I certainly hope so.Above Adam says he was disappointed that the protestors had taken down the banner saying “Capitalism is crisis” and put one up saying “What would Jesus do?” But you’re wrong about that as well! The camp’s immediate aim and objective was to keep the public space they had created, and that meant defeating the St Paul’s legal action. If old anarchists and socialists had had their way, they’d have just gone into full, hostile, confrontation mode, and lost, heavily, to the police. The Occupy movement in general is far more creative and positive and clever than that. What better way to break St Paul’s than to appeal to the moral principles they supposedly uphold? In any case, it worked. The church did not want the PR disaster of a violent break up of explicitly peaceful, even Christian!, protestors, at their church, supposedly a place of peace and worship.Another thing to notice about Occupy in America: the old slogan about anarchism being a game the police win must be thrown on the scrap heap of history. The police are certainly violently attacking the movement. But every time they do, their every action is broadcast around the world, and the protest movement returns in ever greater numbers. The police are losing. (Incidentally, the movement is also proving something that some SPGB members have been waffling about for ages: the democratic and revolutionary potential of the new communications technologies.)Really, what’s not to like? When members say, “It’s not socialist though is it?” they are betraying that they actually believe the old caricature – that the revolution isn’t worth starting till everyone’s read and fully agreed with their copy of the Socialist Standard, and that it shouldn’t start anywhere but parliament.All the bestStuartNovember 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm #86348stuartw2112 wrote:The occupiers don’t need bloody leaflets or smart arses with all the answers or Socialist Standards — not even the totally brilliant and correct articles by Stuart Watkins — they need practical support.
I think the most worthwhile practical support we can bring to these is a knowledge of the possibilities of going beyond the market system. So Standards and pamphlets are one way of doing this.Quote:Really, what’s not to like? When members say, “It’s not socialist though is it?” they are betraying that they actually believe the old caricature – that the revolution isn’t worth starting till everyone’s read and fully agreed with their copy of the Socialist Standard, and that it shouldn’t start anywhere but parliament.
The party has never claimed that ‘the revolution’ can start in parliament without first starting in the minds (and therefore actions) of the masses. Both revolutionary and reactionary-reformist forms of consciousness can be explained by the contradictory nature of social life in capitalist society.Revolution is of course a process and not an event, but if the Occupy camps represent a tipping-point in this process I’m not yet convinced.November 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm #86349
“I think the most worthwhile practical support we can bring to these is a knowledge of the possibilities of going beyond the market system. So Standards and pamphlets are one way of doing this.”A knowledge of a possibility is not practical support. It’s not as if these camps are against political discussion. A major purpose of them is to start them and organise them.”The party has never claimed that ‘the revolution’ can start in parliament without first starting in the minds (and therefore actions) of the masses. Both revolutionary and reactionary-reformist forms of consciousness can be explained by the contradictory nature of social life in capitalist society.”Your point is not relevant to the point I made. Party members deny the caricature (socialism must all come through parliament) with the correct argument that, in the course of revolutionary change, all sorts of things will be going on: working class organisation, strikes, boycotts, protests, etc. Yet when faced with “all sorts of things” in a time of, if not yet revolutionary, certainly unprecedented and extremely serious change, members disapprove because it isn’t going through the channels they first thought of (as if revolutions ever do! As if Marx wasn’t as shocked as anyone by the Paris Commune!). Party members deny the caricature that they are idealist (everyone must become a socialist first in their heads) with some (correct) attempt at an explanation of changes in capitalism and struggle giving rise to socialist ideas (ie, capitalism and struggle produce socialist ideas, not the vanguard socialist party). But when faced with a situation of change and struggle and a ferment of ideas, members go back to the caricature: oh, I’m not impressed, they aren’t socialist, what we need to do is get down there with our leaflets.So which is it, comrades? Retreat to the caricatures we’ve spent so many years fighting against? Or consider instead just what “revolutionary socialism” might mean. Is it just words, hot air? Or does it mean something in practice? Might it not mean solidarity with working class struggles? I’ll answer my own question: if socialism doesn’t mean solidarity with working class struggles, then it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just hot air, or “agitated layers of air”, as Marx had it.”Revolution is of course a process and not an event, but if the Occupy camps represent a tipping-point in this process I’m not yet convinced.”As if the point is to wait to be convinced instead of jumping on the other side of the tipping point!All the bestStuartNovember 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm #86350
I think it is essential to continually go back and review what was thought previously and to avoid getting sentimentally attached to old ideas should new evidence go against them.It is foolish to think that the socialist party is the source of revolutionary consciousness. It is equally foolish to think that these ‘Occupy’ camps will automatically lead to an upsurge in socialist understanding.As I said before consciousness is an expression of material circumstances. Therefore, there is as much to gain (in fact more) by communicating with people who are not involved in these camps as there is with those that are. Our gaze should be on the population as a whole not just a tiny minority who are making the most noise at the minute.As a group of proles (and some capitalists) who have come to the conclusion that the market system is the root cause and / or an obstacle to the solution of social problems today; we can help ourselves and others who have came to a similar position to clarify their ideas, and so push the direction further. In fact this is the only thing we can do.What in practical terms does ‘solidarity with working class struggles’ actually mean in concrete terms, in terms of action? In reality not much I feel.By keeping alive the idea of a non-market post capitalist society we are acting in the interests of the whole of the proletariat, this is the most meaningful act of solidarity we can undertake.In terms of action then, we should be doing anything and everything that makes our theories easier to be found by those who will know how to use them.November 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm #86351
“It is foolish to think that the socialist party is the source of revolutionary consciousness. It is equally foolish to think that these ‘Occupy’ camps will automatically lead to an upsurge in socialist understanding.”I’m glad you stand against the first foolishness. As for the second, I don’t know anyone who belives that anything in social life happens “automatically”, so I’m not sure who it’s aimed at.”As I said before consciousness is an expression of material circumstances. Therefore, there is as much to gain (in fact more) by communicating with people who are not involved in these camps as there is with those that are. Our gaze should be on the population as a whole not just a tiny minority who are making the most noise at the minute.”Obviously true, I hear it all the time at the camps. What do you think they’re doing there if not trying, with a great deal more success than we have ever had, to reach out to the rest of the population?”As a group of proles (and some capitalists) who have come to the conclusion that the market system is the root cause and / or an obstacle to the solution of social problems today; we can help ourselves and others who have came to a similar position to clarify their ideas, and so push the direction further. In fact this is the only thing we can do.”I hope you’re right and that Socialist Party members are truly interested in clarifying their confused ideas and in pushing things on. There is some evidence for this, and it is indeed a good thing. As for “this is the only thing we can do”, that is so obviously wrong I don’t know how to answer it. We can do all sorts of things.<<What in practical terms does ‘solidarity with working class struggles’ actually mean in concrete terms, in terms of action? In reality not much I feel.>>Chomsky gets asked this all the time, and it’s an extraordinary question to ask, a sign of decades of defeat and powerlessness I suppose. What we can do to promote solidarity with working class struggles is something we have to ask ourselves all the time (that is, if we are genuine socialists, if socialism really means anything), and answer honestly, and do what we can. As Chomsky says, while people in the West are asking him that, people in Latin America and other places with mass social and democratic movements instead *tell him what they are doing*. It’s time we followed the good example.<<By keeping alive the idea of a non-market post capitalist society we are acting in the interests of the whole of the proletariat, this is the most meaningful act of solidarity we can undertake.>>If it falls to a small group of elderly blokes to keep an idea alive, it’s already dead. You should blow out the candle and go home. Thankfully, as Occupy and other movements are showing, they’re not dead, they’re very much alive.<<In terms of action then, we should be doing anything and everything that makes our theories easier to be found by those who will know how to use them.>>You have a touching faith in the idea that “our theories” will be of any use to any bugger. I’m afraid it’s not a faith I share. It’s a peculiarly arrogant view when you compare what we have achieved in the past century with what Occupy Wall Street achieved in one month. It would be more fruitful by far if we studied their theories and actions, and figured out what we can learn from them.CheersStuartNovember 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm #86352freetimes3xParticipant
This post from Janet who is having difficulty logging on:
I picked up an interesting link today which I’d like to share. I think the guy, Raymond Lotta, makes an excellent anti-capitalist case and is calling for a ‘socialist revolution’. It’s a transcript of a talk he gave at ‘Occupy Wall Street’.> Now here’s the other interesting bit – he’s from revcom us (revolutionary communist party US) and at the end there’s a link to their site with a downloadable pdf of the New Socialist Constitution of the Republic of North America. It’s 100+ pages so I only had a brief scan so far, however, you can guess where this is going— leaders/vanguard etc.>> I posted a comment to the effect that although his talk was on the button re. capitalism, members and followers of World Socialism had a different view of how we get to socialism and added our website so that interested individuals could take a look. It has been posted. Perhaps some comrades might like to add to the comments there?>> http://www.countercurrents.org/lotta021111.htmNovember 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm #86353stuartw2112 wrote:You have a touching faith in the idea that “our theories” will be of any use to any bugger. I’m afraid it’s not a faith I share. It’s a peculiarly arrogant view when you compare what we have achieved in the past century with what Occupy Wall Street achieved in one month. It would be more fruitful by far if we studied their theories and actions, and figured out what we can learn from them.
If you think what the socialist party says is of no use then you may as well give up.What concrete things has the occupy movements actually achieved?It may be drawing in lots of bodies, but so have loads of other mass movements in the past which in the end turn out to have a reformist agenda.November 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm #86354NannipieriParticipant
I am convinced that a very small number of participants in the Occupy the Stock Exchange movement have ideas resembling those of the party: not a condemnation, it’s probably a fair representation of society as a whole, at least in that respect.They may be representative of society in another key respect: that the majority are comfortable with the basic experience of aspirational-welfare capitalism but would desperately like to see it run more fairly – and they are convinced it can be regulated to this end.Apart from responding to this in the same way as socialists always have done, what privileged response does this movement warrant?I too am mystified as to what they are supposed to have achieved.November 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm #86355freetimes3xParticipantNannipieri wrote:I too am mystified as to what they are supposed to have achieved.
They’ve brought a new in-tent-city to the class struggle.November 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm #86356
What concrete things have the Occupy movement achieved? Seriously? Is this a serious question?So that’s what all this debate has been about? Members are just totally ignorant of what’s been achieved?Well, OK, I suppose that’s no crime. If you rely on the mainstream media for your information, you wouldn’t know what’s happening (although, to be fair, The Guardian, Russia Today and Al Jazeera haven’t been too bad). Off you go then, leave this forum, go and check it out. Come back when you’ve learnt something. For example, I don’t suppose you know that, when the Occupy Oakland camp was brutally suppressed by the police and cleared, it came back in greater numbers the next night and retook the square? That in the fight a cop shot an Iraq veteran in the head, very near killing him? That in response, a general assembly declared a general strike, and that this strike succeeded in shutting down a major port? No? Of no interest? Send them a leaflet titled “Introducing the SPGB”? Any “theories” that might be of use that we can send them? I’m all ears…November 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm #86357NannipieriParticipant
Why the hostility?November 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm #86358AnonymousInactive
If I can step in the middle without getting shot…… I think we are arguing similar points from slightly different angles but I too am baffled by the apparent anger of some comrades…..In short, as Stuart has articulated very well, there are some comrades who sincerely beliveve that the current Occupations are perhaps the start of something bigger than has ever gone before and as such the Party as an organisation should perhaps be doing more, or at least preparing to do more.On the other hand, other comrades believe that the Occupy movements at present are similar in character to large protest movements that have gone before (The Miners, The Poll Tax, Paris ’68 etc), based on more reformist lines demanding immediate, even if wide ranging changes within the system rather than calling conciously for a complete change of system and that point is an important one.However, even those taking the latter view, comrades on a personal level and on a more ‘official’ level ARE engaging in the movement, are speaking, are leafletting and promoting the Standard and our ideas and principles, certainly in London.Therefore, given our size of active members, I fail to see what, as a Party, we can do that we aren’t already doing? The material online, both on the blog and here has not been, to my understanding, in any discouraging or un-supportive, even if it has been wary or critical at times. I think the SPGB has had a good history of deliberately NOT getting swept into the moment too soon and taking time to provide a clear analysis of the situations as they develop whilst still propogating the essential ideas of socialism, which even by Stuart’s position seem to be lacking within the UK Occupy at the moment.In summary we are ALL pro-Occupy even as a Party it seems, just some have more reservations than others at this present time. However, as a Party I am not sure what else we can be doing? Perhaps those comrades who are more motivated and enthusiastic about the movement can make some serious suggestions, I am sure others may take them up. We are all in the Party with the essential goal of establishing socialism. Whether the Occupy movement can provide the necessary spark to ignite the begginings of that goal, no-one really knows, but can we demonstrate a little more co-operation in bandying our ideas about for practical intervention?November 4, 2011 at 12:03 am #86359AnonymousInactive
I don’t know what the circulation of the Torygraph is but some of their readers will be having palpitations surely at this image from the occupy mob.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/uknews/8863298/The-Occupy-London-Stock-Exchange-protest-camp-outside-St-Pauls-Cathedral.html?image=7
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