Forum Replies Created
Robbo says: I thought we socialists argued that war in the modern world is all about the commercial rivalries in capitalism and, as self respecting hardline materialists, we look askance at suggestions that wars are fought over such ethereal things as religious or political beliefs. These later are supposed to serve merely as a kind of ideological smokescreen to hide the real economic motives for war.I think you will have a hard task explaining the present war between ISIS and its opponents in Syria and Iraq as arising from "commercial rivalries in capitalism" and to regard ISIS and other militant Islamists' religious beliefs as merely "ethereal". ISIS, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram etc. have disagreements amongst themselves and as often fight against each other as they do against "the West" or against "US imperialism", but what drives them all is not material interest but religious faith. Of course they are not the only religious zealots around. Messianic Zionists of the settler movement in the West Bank, Buddhist monks in Myanmar, Hindu nationalists are pretty much the same, it's just that Islamic zealots at the present time are the worst of them, in terms of the level of violence. The closest comparison in Christendom would be with the mediaeval Crusaders, who were every bit as barbaric as ISIS. Leftists of all stripes, including SPGB socialists, have trouble explaining this upsurge in religious zealotry in the world today, partly because we have all been brought up to believe that religion was an opiate of the masses which must fade with the advance of science and secularism, so it's hard to accept that religious faith can be a driving force of political movements in the modern world. And then there's the firm belief, for Marxists, that religion, along with ideology in general, is part of the "superstructure" and so can only be explained by reference to the "base" (economic activity). This is an ancient belief, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come within cooee of explaining Islamist and other forms of violent conflict fostered by religious zealotry.
Vin Maratty said: The conclusion arrived at by several writers from textual analysis in simple terms is that Marx used "ideology" in a neutral way.
I'd really like to know who these "several writers" are Vin because from my reading Marx never used "ideology" in a neutral way ( I take it you mean non-evaluative, value-free). In The German Ideology virtually every reference by Marx and Engels to ideology and ideologists is pejorative. No doubt it would be possible to employ Marx's concept of ideology in a neutral way, but when Marx refers to ideas as "ideology" he's not making a value-neutral statement, he is saying that these ideas are false or illusory even though the purveyors of those ideas – ideologues like philosophers, theologians, professors etc – are unaware of it. In GI he calls certain philosophers and historians "ideologists" because of their philosophical idealism which of course, as a materialist, Marx forcefully repudiates. Eg: "…as in general with ideologists..they inevitably put the thing upside down and regard their ideology both as the creative force and as the aim of all social relations, whereas it is only an expression and symptom of these relations". And: "The whole of historical development consists, according to the ideologist, in those theoretical abstractions which originate in the heads of all the philosophers and theologians of the age." Marx makes a clear distinction between history as ideology and "real" history – history written from a materialist standpoint. In GI, "ideology" is also given a somewhat different but related meaning, as a sociological concept rather than a philosophical one. This is the major meaning given in the 20th C Marxist tradition which denotes ideology as any set of ideas or beliefs which function to maintain a particular social order or economic system, typically by representing the social order as "natural" and "immutable". In a class society ideology works by persuading the subordinate class to accept it's social position as "natural" and "immutable", along with "natural" and "immutable" features of so-called "human nature", so winning support for class rule. It's an important argument, because it's through ideology, not economic power or physical force alone, that modern capitalist systems maintain the hold of the capitalist class over the working class. Hence the importance, as Gramsci first proclaimed, of socialists challenging bourgeois hegemony in education, media, etc where the dominant ideology rules. I don't think this means that socialist ideas must also be seen as an ideology. Marx believed that his analysis and understanding of capitalist society gave workers a true picture of their real situation; ideology gives a false picture – hence Engels' reference to "false consciousness". (BTW I don't share the view posted here by LBird and mcolome1 that Engels seriously misconceived Marx's view of ideology. It's a weak argument that relies for its support on the fact that Engels alone referred to "false consciousness" some ten years after Marx died. But the term "false consciousness" is broadly consistent with what Marx said about ideology and ideologues in GI – a work co-authored anyway by Engels). Marx was a founder, maybe the founder, of the sociology of ideas, so its not surprising that orthodox (bourgeois?) sociologists today use the concept in studying ideas as expressions of the social, eg. looking at "occupational ideologies" as ideas and beliefs that maintain group cohesion and social position (a functionalist argument). Orthodox sociology also often refers to belief systems as "ideological" where they are action oriented, eg. in pursuit of a political goal, the way that Leninism could be regarded as an ideology. It would be consistent with this view of ideology to regard the SPGB's Declaration of Principles as an "ideological statement", particularly re Clause 6. But this would entail distinguishing between (i) socialism as a body of theory; (ii) socialism as a political movement; and (iii) socialism as a fully established social system. Regarding the latter, there can be little doubt that Marx and Engels believed that there would be no ideology in a socialist society, since to them, ideology arises only in class divided societies, so where class rule ceases to be the form in which society is organised then ideology ceases also. For orthodox sociologists there could still be ideologies in socialism, but not expressions of class interest or position but of social groups such as occupational groups like, say, scientists considered as a professional group (which has nothing to do with the question of scientific practice itself which Marx and Engels consistently saw as anti-ideology, indeed the opposite of ideology).
LBird says:pgb/ wrote:Marx could never have used the term “scientific ideology” orthe “ideology of science” since *he saw science as an activity or socialpractice free of mystification and distortion*.I'd like to see your evidence for this assertion, pgb, since it goesagainst everything I've read by Marx on the issueThere are many places where Marx talks about "science" which unambiguously treats science as a practice which reveals the "real" nature of things – as distinct from mere "appearance". The distinction between appearance and reality is crucial IMO to understanding Marx's epistemology and therefore his understanding of science. Consider the way he treats "vulgar economy", which he saw as "superficial" because it "holds fast to appearance, and takes it for the ultimate". "Why then," he asks, "have any science at all?" (Letter to Kugelmann, 11/7/1868). Elsewhere (Capital, III) he says "Scientific truth (sic) is always paradox, if judged by everyday experience which catches only the delusive appearance of things". By revealing the internal relationships, the "inner physiology", upon which appearances depend, science "demystifies" reality. There would be no science if appearance and reality coincided, which means that in a socialist society (no commodity production nor autonomous market forces) there would be no science of political economy since there would be nothing to demystify. I agree with ALB that a “science free of mystification and distortion” doesn’t mean that Marx argued for “knowledge as Eternal Truth”. The very idea of “Eternal Truth” would have been seen by Marx as vapid and ideological – exemplifying the worst of vulgar political economy which saw the bourgeois world as eternal (ahistorical) and natural. Insofar as Marx had any view at all about the nature of truth, I think he had a very common-sense view about it which was close to what philosophers call a correspondence theory of truth – a candidate for truth is true only if it corresponds to the facts or "states of affairs", which can be known through use of empirical evidence. Empirical observation is of course theory laden – the standard point made against positivism – and of course there is therefore a process of selection to decide what should count as a fact, and the investigator's theoretical presuppositions, his ideas and values, his "ideology" as you call it will all be relevant. I can't see how this must necessarily lead to "mystification", "distortion" or "bias". If as you say, all humans are "ideological", I take it that no-one can ever be neutral regarding their views on things (I am thinking here primarily of socioeconomic phenomena rather than what you call "rocks") and therefore they can never be objective. Hence no such thing as objective scientific knowledge. I beg to disagree. Marx was certainly not neutral in his views about capitalism, but I believe he was objective in his analysis of it. In using the word "objective" here I am conveying the idea that scientific theories and propositions are distinct from private beliefs or collective beliefs such that their truth or falsity is independent of what anyone thinks or feels about the matter. Eg. Marx's claim that in conditions of capitalist competition there is a tendency for the rate of profit to fall is an objective claim. It is not necessarily a truth claim. Scientific theories etc, can be true or they can be false. Marx certainly believed that scientific objectivity was possible and that scientific research would offset or expunge the distortions, mystifications and biases associated with ideology and class position. The objectivity of his own analysis derived from the rigour of his reasoning and the extensive empirical evidence he collected to support his account………………………………………………….PS: Can someone tell me how to indent quotes and place them on the grey background that everyone here uses. Thanks.
I think YMS makes a fair point in saying that “ideology almost by definition is unconscious…” and "knowing ideology as ideology destroys its status as ideology". I mean only that his statements sit well with Marx's concept of ideology. For Marx, opinions, points of view, political programs etc are "ideological" where those who hold them imagine them to be the result of intellectual reasoning, or logic, or divine revelation etc, and are unaware of their origin in social conditions and the part they play in justifying and maintaining those conditions. The ideologist is unaware of this functional relationship between his ideas and the social conditions they express (including class interests), hence the association of the concept ideology with "mystification", "delusion", "false consciousness" etc. “False consciousness” does not imply empirical falsehood. Calling ideas or theories "ideological" does not involve any judgement as to their truth or falsehood in a cognitive sense. Marx could never have used the term “scientific ideology” or the “ideology of science” since he saw science as an activity or social practice free of mystification and distortion. Having said that, I cannot make any sense of YMS’ remark that “even the truth is ideological”. Maybe we should declare a moratorium on the use of the term since it’s being used in many different and often contradictory ways.
"Solicitor's wrong" would be tort, hence an anagram for Trot. And "island" probably refers to the isle of Skye. Hence Trotsky (sans the "e" at the end). A pretty clunky clue though!
Maybe I have been overawed by Robert Fisk's work. I think he is far and away the best Middle East correspondent around. So maybe I can't see what you see, for I can't find anything in the article posted that could be called "pro-Islamist". What is it?
LBird wrote: Here's the source, pgb. A bit about 'science' and 'disinterested' enquiry, too.Karl Marx, Afterword in Capital, wrote:In France and in England the bourgeoisie had conquered political power. Thenceforth, the class struggle, practically as well as theoretically, took on more and more outspoken and threatening forms. It sounded the knell of scientific bourgeois economy. It was thenceforth no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. In place of disinterested inquirers, there were hired prize fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and the evil intent of apologetic.
Thanks for the correction and the source which I eventually found in my edition (Kerr) of Capital 1 where it is in the Preface to the 2nd German edition. It must be the most extreme statement I think Marx ever made against so-called "vulgar economists". However, reading it in context does highlight the problem I have in understanding your views on Picketty. The "hired prize-fighters" Marx refers to were post-Ricardian "vulgar economists" whom he distinguished from classical political economists (esp. Ricardo) whose work he saw he saw as "scientific" because it concentrated on the reality rather than the appearances of capitalist society and by its honesty and intellectual detachment. This in spite of the fact that Ricardo was seen by Marx as a "the most classic representative of the bourgeoisie". Fairly clearly, in Marx's eyes you could be a representative of the bourgeoisie yet still conduct genuine scientific research on the bourgeois economy. Or, you could be a "vulgar economist" who was unscientific, intellectually dishonest, and an apologist for capitalism (although Marx was more inclined to stress the superficiality as against the apologetic character of vulgar economy). You have obviously placed Picketty in the latter category: you say that Picketty's data is "cooked"; he asked questions that already fitted in with his answers; his book is "ideological" (as opposed to "scientific"); he is a used-car salesman; just another apologist for capitalism, displays bad conscience, and of course is also a "hired prizefighter". Wow.I have been very slow in reading Picketty and am only now up to page 300. But nothing I have read so far gives the slightest support to your claims. Despite my long established skepticism regarding French theorists in many disciplines, I was pleasantly surprised to find Picketty lucid, no bullshitting, fair-minded in his assessment of others (incl. Marx), and certainly intellectually honest. Like Ricardo, he supports capitalism, but like Ricardo he is no apologist for capitalism. I have found nothing in his mountain of data and in his graphical representations, to suggest his data are "cooked". I cannot see why concentrating on inequality of wealth and income rather than the realm of production must render his work "unscientific". Indeed, I think he has done socialists and Marxists a service in mapping in such high detail the distribution of income amongst the wealthy, including the relatively wealthy amongst the top wage earners of the working class, which he reveals by looking at the top percentiles rather then the deciles common in official income statistics (as with most govt. sources I know of). His work also raises issues concerning the real heterogeneity (and fragmentation?) of the working class – something usually obscured in the two-class, owners and non-owners, model of Marx – which has important political implications. Wealth and income statistics, as Picketty argues strongly, are as much a political construction as an economic one.With all this in mind, I asked you in my original post what sources you would use if you were carrying out research into wealth and income distribution in modern capitalist societies, because I couldn't see how you could avoid using the same sort of data as Picketty, even though you claimed his data (or 'data') were "cooked". You said that you wouldn't be looking at Picketty's 'data' because you – as a self-defined Communist – would be looking at other things, specifically exploitation (obviously, because in Marxist terms it is within the realm of production). In the end, all you seem to be saying is that your "ideology" would select different economic and social issues as objects of study than the issues Picketty has chosen. Which is not saying very much, and provides no ground at all for making judgments on the quality and significance of Picketty's research. Which makes me wonder: have you actually read his book?
L Bird says: "Picketty is, in the words of Marx, a hired prize-fighter for the bourgeoisie. We Communists shouldn't be taken in by his ideology, methods, 'data', or results."I've not read everything of Marx by a long way, but describing someone as "a hired prize-fighter for the bourgeoisie" doesn't sound like Marx to me. Marx was an indefatigable user of data collected and made available by the British government (eg. the famous Blue Books), and a respecter (and critic) of bourgeois economists like Ricardo and Tooke, whose statistical data in A History of Prices (6 Vols) was used by Marx in writing Capital.You on the other hand, seem to have an aversion to the use of statistical data (and of mathematics generally) in economic analysis. So can you tell me please what sources you would use if you were to undertake the same task as Picketty, ie. to map the elusive shape of wealth and income inequality in modern capitalist societies? Picketty uses the World's Top Incomes Database (WITD, accessible on the Net), National Income and other data from various governments, estate tax returns etc. I like his honesty in saying that these sources, though the most extensive ever assembled, are yet incomplete and imperfect. However, since you believe that facts are constituted by theory (and ideology) I assume that the data you would use re inequality would be quite different than Picketty's data since he is a "bourgeois economist" with a different theory (and ideology) to you, a Communist. So what data would you use?
This is the best review of Picketty I have read so far – from latest issue of London Review of Books:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n13/benjamin-kunkel/paupers-and-richlings
Reference to Freddy Demuth reminded me that back in the 1960s, Lewis Feuer, a US philosopher and editor of "Marx and Engels: Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy" (pub. 1959), met with his Soviet counterparts in Moscow where he revealed to them the story of Freddy being the illegitimate son of Marx. I think Feuer came across the Demuth-Marx story while searching the Marx archives held at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. Anyway, when his Soviet counterparts heard this they were of course quite shocked, not having known this before, until one Soviet responded : "Well, as Marx said – nihil humani a me alienum puto'" – which means "nothing human is alien to me" – the response given by Marx to the questionnaire ("Confessions") submitted to him by his daughters when asked for his favourite maxim (Francis Wheen gives all Marx's responses to this questionnaire in his Marx biography). BTW, it's worth mentioning that the first biography of Eleanor Marx was written by the Japanese Marx scholar, Chushichi Tsuzuki, "The Life of Eleanor Marx 1855-1898: A socialist tragedy" (pub.1967). Still worth reading IMO.
To Socialist Punk:I think you are wrong about Stephen Sackur. I too saw his interview with Picketty whom I thought handled himself well, although his heavy French accent made it difficult for me hear him clearly. Sackur, alike those before him who appeared in Hard Talk, always takes the role of Devil’s Advocate. This is how the program is structured, so interviewees must know this beforehand surely. The interviewer is always going to be hard-headed in putting hard questions to the interviewee. It’s why it’s called Hard Talk and not something wussy like Questions and Answers. Sackur asked Picketty what he objected to about inequality, by quoting from a Canadian economist (I didn’t catch the name) who said something like “what Picketty has against inequality can be stated in one word: envy”. It’s the Canadian economist you should be calling “a blatant apologist for capitalism”, not Sackur. Sackur also questioned Picketty’s claim that the top wealth holders in the world were mainly those whose wealth was inherited. He referred to the latest Forbes 400 list of wealthy Americans and pointed out that most of those at the top had acquired their billions not through inheritance but rather through their talents and hard work (so he said). That doesn’t seem to me an unfair question at all since it was aimed directly at a major argument of Picketty, like asking “where’s your evidence?” Forbes BTW has carried the most hostile reviews of Picketty’s book that I have read so far. It’s surely appropriate for a Devil’s Advocate to go the lair of the capitalists to forge his questions to Picketty. Meanwhile, I too(like ALB) have finally bought a copy of the book, and have read 100 pages so far. 570 to go! So far, I agree with Stuart’s appraisal (see#30, #31).April 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm in reply to: Is the case for socialism, one of morality, cold logic or long term survival of our species? #100840
Vin Maratty wrote (#43) have to say that I am somewhat bemused that the SPGB has avoided answering such an important question. We have heard mainly from non members but what is the SPGB's position?What is the WSM's case based upon? Morality? The class struggle? Save the planet? As a non-member, I am surprised that no member here has so far referred to the fact that the very question raised by Vin was put at the 2010 annual conference of the SPGB and I understand a ballot of the members was taken on the proposition that "socialism is both scientific and ethical". I may be wrong, but I think that this proposition was carried (63 for and 53 against). But as I understand it, another ballot later overturned that vote with the result that the members now hold that "socialism is scientific" (but not ethical). Is this the "official view" of the SPGB? I may have some of the details wrong here, but I mention the case only because the issue was discussed at great length on the old WSM Forum, in which I and several others participated, with strong views expressed for and against.
twc writes: pgb/ wrote: I think the quote on Marxism he (Frank Roydon) took from Lucien Laurat's 1940book is spot on for his purposes, and quite properly he uses it to argue acase to "re-examine all our assumptions and see if they are still sound."twc wrote: That is sheer nonsense when one is dealing with a political party whosecondition of membership is acceptance of its /Object/ and /Declaration ofPrinciples/What exactly is going on here? We are talking about an article written almost 70 years ago in a publication of a tiny socialist group in Melbourne in which the writer, reflecting on the failure of socialist revolution in the centenary year of the publication of the Communist Manifesto, suggests that "our little group in Australia (the SPA) should try and re-examine all our assumptions and see if they are sound". The reason I referred to Roydon's quote from Lucian Laurat was that Laurat eloquently makes the case for Marxism as a "living tradition" – an intellectual tradition which requires continual questioning "even of truths already acquired". As one who continually proclaims the virtue of the scientific method, I thought the Laurat quote would particularly appeal to you. Instead, you say it is "sheer nonsense when dealing with a political party whose condition of membership is acceptance of its Object and D of P". So if you are a member, you can never question the Object and Dof P. Right? It is disingenuous to believe that a world socialist party's“assumptions”* are anything other than its Object and Declaration of Principles. If they aren’t, please explain what they could ever be. Our Object and Declaration of Principles are not mere "assumptions”. They are scientific abstractions from the concrete phenomena of society, You make an awful lot out of Roydon's innocent use of the word "assumptions". You equate "assumptions" with the Object and Dof P. Yes, the D of P is full of assumptions. Here are a few: that the working class is a revolutionary class (the historical subject); that the only division in society significant for working class political identity is class division; that the ending of class division means the ending of other social divisions eg. "race"/ethnicity, gender . Like any assumption these are contestable, they are all open to rejection. Eg: the history of the past century would surely make anyone doubt the truth of the first assumption above. These are not, as you say, "scientific abstractions from the concrete phenomena of society". They are abstractions, but not scientific ones. Nor should we expect them to be. Their significance is not derived from the relationship in which they stand to evidence of the kind that scientists use (or historians). They are ideological statements whose significance derives from their intention and capacity to mobilise workers for social and political action, as is quite explicit in principle 8 of the DoP: "The (socialist parties SPGB, SPA etc) therefore enter the field of political action…….and call upon the members of the working class to muster under their banner…etc" All other political parties are different from the parties of worldsocialism. Most have no clear Object at all, and none have Principlesworthy of human support. To the man-in-the-street it seems highly reasonablefor them to go through continual soul searching, all other parties do it allof the time, except that none of them has a soul like our Object and Principles to find. We obviously hold fundamentally different views about the significance of the Object and DofP. From other posts of yours which I have read, you give them almost mystical status. To say of other parties that they don't have a "soul" like the Object and DofP is unusual to say the least for a materialist. It seems that you have bought the idea that Roydon's piece was an "obituary" for the SPA because you believed he was disagreeing with the DofP (he wasn't) which in your eyes amounted to "sabotage from within". And this, presumably, marked the beginning of the end for the SPA in 1948. "What was done was done" you say, and.."the consequences were devastating". What consequences? Who or what was devastated?
twc:Aren't you making a lot of fuss over Frank Roydon's 1948 article in Socialist Comment and particularly his use of the word "bias"? Surely all he is doing is emphasising the importance of "standing outside the Socialist movement " (his words) to better take up the role of a "detached observer". He specifically associates "bias" with having "hopes and aspirations", ie. with values. So I read this to mean that he is not (and cannot be) "value free", so a truly value free person would be a dead person. Quite. Roydon certainly has "biases": he is biased against capitalism and biased in favour of socialism and the working class. Most socialists are. But that shouldn't mean that we can't be objective. You don't have to be neutral or value free or "unbiased" in order to be objective. Marx was not neutral towards capitalism but I believe he was objective in his analysis of it (even though he might have agreed with Max Weber that there can be no such thing as a value-free social science). I have just finished reading Roydon's article more thoroughly a second time. I can find nothing in it to justify your claim that he "disavowed the Object and Declaration of Principles" of the Party. And nowhere does he suggest that the socialist case of the SPA, the SPGB and Marx is just "bias, opinion, ideology – and is probably wrong". I think the quote on Marxism he took from Lucien Laurat's 1940 book is spot on for his purposes, and quite properly he uses it to argue a case to "re-examine all our assumptions and see if they are still sound." Who was it who once called for "the critical examination of all that exists, without fear of the results of that criticism nor of the powers that be"?Thank you for the comprehensive material on the founding of the SPA in 1924 and activities thereafter. Very interesting. You refer to "a very long document" written by W J Clarke. It would be of great value to turn those pages into a history of the Socialist Party in Australia, and I hope that by lodging the document with the SPGB it will eventually appear in that form. I am not surprised that Jacob Johnson's papers were not made available, since we (esp. J Thorburn ) had the same knockback years ago. A great pity really. I recently read the one document which Johnson wrote and published (I hold a copy). It's an expose of Walsh's corrupt activities as president of the Union in 1928, appropriately titled: "The Crooks Exposed". It has great literary merit not seen today in anything coming out of TUs in my part of the world. Unlike Clarke and Casey, both of whom I believe had contact with the SPGB before arriving in Australia, Jacob Johnson came out here as as young child from Sweden so unlikely he knew of the SPGB beforehand. He would have made a great subject for a labour movement biography.
twc: Thank you for your interesting and heartfelt response. A major problem in understanding the "turbulent era" as you call it is that federal records of the Seamen's Union are practically devoid of material covering the years 1920-1935. Unfortunately Jacob Johnson kept no records relating to his own activities for fear Walsh would use them against him (and vice-versa). There is a story that large cases of Union records disappeared into Sydney Harbour. Your reference to Rowan Cahill is interesting. He is one of two historians who wrote the history of the Seamen's Union. The other was Brian Fitzpatrick, one of the first reputable Australian historians to write history in a Marxist framework. His contribution to the Union history covers the period 1872 to the eve of WW2. Rowan Cahill covers the period 1939-1972. There's no comparison IMO between the two. Fitzpatrick's work is first class. Cahill's is hagiographic – glorifying Elliot. So I can fully understand Clarke's dismissal of him. Fitzpatrick makes no mention of the SPA. Cahill does: "Casey, along with Johnson and Clarke, had been a member of the Australian Branch of the rigidly Marxist British Socialist Party. Author of the immortal IWW ballad 'Bump me into Parliament', he had been known as the 'philosopher of the proletariat' ". Cahill also refers to Casey as "the mainstay and guiding intelligence" of the Johnson faction. I recall (c. 1958) Clarke talking about Casey in almost reverential tones. In Strike across the Empire, a history of the 1925 seamen's strike, the authors Hirson and Vivian (UK historians) describe Johnson as "a member of the Australian Socialist Party: a small group that proclaimed that revolutionaries could only take power when they had the whole-hearted support of the masses". Finally, the Australian historian Stuart McIntyre in The Reds says: "Johnson and the branch secretaries in Melbourne and Brisbane were adherents of the rigidly doctrinaire Socialist Party of Great Britain, which allowed no compromise in the class war, and enforced the Union rules as strictly as they upheld the letter of impossibilist Marxism". Well, at least he got the name right.ajj: Yes, I read your previous post which carried the piece from Socialist Comment by one Frank Royden (unknown to me). I was surprised when I read it because it was unlike anything I had seen before in SC. Only after that did I look it up in my own collection of SPA material. It is an unusual piece because of a very forthright, honest and up-front tone, which I haven't found in other issues of Socialist Comment. Its analysis of parties on the Left is quite good even after almost 70 years. Thanks for pointing it out.