This forum and the future of the SPGB

June 2020 Forums World Socialist Movement This forum and the future of the SPGB

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  • #190911

    So, seriously, what are we going to do about the declining involvement of people in this forum?  This same malaise afflicts  the Party as a whole.  Paradoxically we are seeing slightly rising membership as I understand it with almost every new member joining via the internet but a declining level of activity across the Party as a whole.


    This does not bode well for the future of the SPGB.  Unless the Party addresses this question now there could be problems ahead.  Moral exhortations are not going to do the trick.  We need practical and imaginative solutions that are socially inclusive in their impact.


    I want to kickstart a serious discussion on this problem.  What are your thoughts on the matter?






    robbo, is it possible that my interventions are driving people away from the forum?

    If so, I’m truly sorry about that – it’s not my intention.

    But if a party forum is simply meant to act as a ‘glue’, as a ‘reinforcement’ for the party’s existing ideological beliefs, then my fundamental and oppositional questioning (especially about the lack of democracy within your party view of ‘science’, when ‘democracy’ has always been a supposed ‘core belief ‘of the party) can only act against this purpose.

    Of course, I’ve benefited greatly from my engagement – over the years, I’ve followed up all the claims made by your members, and read widely about Marx, Engels, history of ‘science’, materialism/physicalism/realism, German Idealism and Romanticism, Pannekoek and the many other 20th century ‘Marxists’, philosophy of physics, maths, logic, etc. – and so I understand both my own position and your party’s much better than I did at first.

    I must say, though, I would have thought that this fundamental political debate would attract anyone interested in ‘democratic socialism’, and I’m very surprised at the party’s inability to answer critical questions, and declare openly its own ideological beliefs.

    That’s the main reason I haven’t developed from an interested enquirer into an active party member. I don’t think that, as a party, you have a coherent view of politics. Whether this political confusion is the source of your ‘declining involvement’, might be worth considering.

    I’m inclined to point out that people wanting ‘Science’ to be the source of their political beliefs, don’t want ‘Democracy’ to be their political solution. The two just don’t fit.

    Matthew Culbert

    Your question is not being seen.

    (At the time of writing this I am the only one here.)

    I just drop in and out, as I am usually working in the site. I look to see if there are any current topical posts, which I can make use of elsewhere.

    There has never been any more than a handful of members engaging in any kind of discussion on the Forum.

    I have recently removed 100 or so subscribers whose email addresses are bouncing.

    The debating style can seem intimidating.

    My guess is after a while it can get boring.


    robbo, is it possible that my interventions are driving people away from the forum?


    I dont think the low participation in discussions on this forum has been the result of your interventions LBird and I am not quite sure why you think it might be.  No this is a more general problem with the Party.  Its not just evident in the case of this forum but across the board


    Its paradoxical that the membership seems to be slightly growing, almost entirely because of applications via the internet,  but activity is on the decline.   The Party seriously needs  to sit down and have a fundamental think about what is going wrong here.   Because something is going seriously wrong in the way the organisation engages with its membership and sympathisers.  We can’t go on like this…

    Bijou Drains

    robbo, is it possible that my interventions are driving people away from the forum?

    I don’t think it is either.

    Mind you, I don’t see people flocking to the forum to seek out the latest episode of L Bird v The SPGB, as a sort of parallel universe version of the Colleen Rooney v Rebekah Vardy spat, either.

    I can only give a personal view, I enjoy the forum very much. I check it at least four of five times a day when I have a chance. It is probably the only place in the world where I see discussion that actually makes sense. I find it a huge boost to my morale to know I can have regular contact with fellow socialists.


    Well, I’m glad that my interventions don’t seem to be detrimental (but that doesn’t, of course, mean that they are regarded as useful by anyone else), but the discussion seems to have been completely one-sided, as far as any political/philosophical development goes.

    By that, I mean that I’m clearer about, and more confident in arguing in favour of, democratic control within all areas of social production, which is what I’m clearer than ever in thinking that that was what Marx was arguing for, and was what he meant by Communism/Socialism.

    However, the SPGB doesn’t seem to have developed its arguments in the light of what I’ve argued, but simply reiterates a position that has been dismantled by political developments since Marx’s death (which indeed have shown Marx to have been correct – no democratic control of social production, no communist mode of production).

    I’m inclined to argue that the blind alley of ‘materialism’ has come to an end, and that any ‘socialist’ parties continuing to adhere to ‘materialism’ will die out.

    It’s a shame that the SPGB doesn’t seem to be able recognise this, because, at least theoretically, a commitment to ‘democracy’ within a party, should allow for the replacement of an obviously deadly ‘theory’ with a better one. But, as I’ve found out on a few sites, the commitment to ‘matter’ (and the erroneously belief that this is Marx’s basic concept of analysis) is far stronger than the commitment to ‘democracy’. Further, the defence of ‘Science’ also seems to play a deeper role, than the defence of ‘democracy’.

    Still, at least those having read my arguments on a number of political sites, can’t say that they haven’t been warned, that they’re not heading for any ‘democratic socialism’ worth that name. If the aim is ‘Scientific Socialism’, then a look at Lenin’s progress would be instructive.


    L Bird,

    I don’t think that the low participation in this forum is due to your commentaries, the problem is the low participation of the members of the Socialist Party and the companion parties.

    The same thing was said when I became the moderator of the WSM, it was blamed on me the low participation, but the post was offered for several months and nobody wanted to do the dirty job and I took it, and I am not the moderator anymore and the participation is still the same.

    Right now Yahoo is going to cancel most of the discussion forums and I have not seen any new keyboard warriors participating in this forum, the participation is always the same.

    The participation in the discussion forum of  the leftists and Leninist parties is very high


    marcos wrote: “L Bird,

    I don’t think that the low participation in this forum is due to your commentaries, the problem is the low participation of the members of the Socialist Party and the companion parties.

    If I were to venture an opinion on this ‘low participation’, marcos, I’d say that there doesn’t seem to be any appetite amongst the membership of the SPGB to actually argue their political case. I don’t know why this should be the case, however, because most people who claim to be interested in politics can’t shut up! (and I plead guilty to this).

    marcos wrote: “The participation in the discussion forum of  the leftists and Leninist parties is very high

    But they, and the ‘anarchists’, are also unable to argue their political case. In my experience, the claim that they are engaged in ‘Science’ (as in ‘Scientific Socialism’, and Lenin’s claim to ‘Know Reality’ as it is, in itself), and so they are all unable to engage in critical thought (whether about ‘Science’, or Marx, or social production). They censor critical thought.

    ‘Science’ seems to trump ‘politics’.

    They all pay lip service to Marx and Capital (including many ‘anarchists’, like LibCom), but actually ignore what Marx wrote, and his democratic politics, which, for Marx, also applied to the socio-historical activity of ‘Science’.

    The upshot of all this seems to be sites comfortable with ’18th century materialism’, but unable to engage with the 21st century, and so have no wider influence amongst any educated workers, who now have the tools to debate and argue with their ‘betters’, unlike when Lenin was claiming to know better than the benighted masses.

    Our class might have been ignorant in the 19th century, which allowed Lenin’s elitism to take hold amongst our class, but times have changed.

    ‘Change’, eh? Who was the thinker quite keen on discussing that?

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by LBird.

    I am not talking about who is right or who is wrong, or what is science and what is not science, what is democracy and what is not democracy, if Marx was right or if Marx was wrong, or who is the best Marxist, or who is not Marxist, I am talking about the low participation in this forum. Case closed


    L Bird really does live in his own delusional world. Comrades here have debated with him ‘ad nauseam’ but he has no skills at debate and merely repeats himself making communication impossible. I certainly do believe that he has had a negative impact on this forum because a collective sigh of frustration bordering on despair goes up when ever one of his posts appear. It’s the same with many social media forums, the Left get animated about the use of plastic straws and identity politics etc. that frankly socialists find infinitely boring. As to how to motivate participation I would like to see more discussion about the articles in the Standard, which compared with other political journals, is brimming with provocative polemical insight.


    marcos wrote: “…I am talking about the low participation in this forum. Case closed

    Well, I’ve given you plenty of suggestions, but perhaps it is simply your refusal to discuss politics, the ‘always-open case’.


    Wez wrote: “L Bird really does live in his own delusional world…

    Yet more personal insults, and yet more refusal to give political answers to political questions.

    You’re determining ‘the future of the SPGB’, Wez. Well done.


    The only that I can say is that the Socialist Party will go thru the same route taken by the SLP of America, or it is going to be taken over by reformists and it is going to be the end of the only genuine socialist organization that has existed for more than 100 years


    Correction: The only thing that I can say………..

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