Making Socialism happen
JIMBOB hit it in one (letters January). If we really do want socialism to happen but are waiting for the rest of the world to understand it, then we’ll wait for ever! To combat capitalism we regrettably need to use the tools of capitalism, i.e. marketing—tell the people. Any business consultant will tell you that sales and marketing are the most important aspect of any business for profit (I do understand that the “profit” of Socialism is a better life for all).
In years gone by, at least we used to have “SPGB” painted on railway bridges, walls etc. That was before I had heard of the Socialist Party but at least, it made people curious as to its meaning and many must have followed it through and discovered the truth. I found socialism through a small advert in the Big Issue. After taking the Socialist Standard for 3 years now, together with other research, I realised that I have been a Socialist all my life!
There are billions of Socialists out there but we are not doing a very good job of educating them. Poorly-attended meetings in dingy pubs involving philosophical discussions are going nowhere—at least we had some News out of William Morris! Resources and Internet are possibly the most used words of these times. Resources are well understood—you can’t do ‘owt ‘bowt brass, but surely starting in a small way—car stickers, ties, T-shirts, sweatshirts, fly-postering etc—would be better than nothing. Internet—forget it—topics on the Internet need to be accessed—they don’t jump out and hit you in the face.
People are basically lazy and need to have information placed before them at all times—billboards, TV, newspapers, magazines—the Internet has a long way to go to using these marketing tools and I, for one, am not sure that it will ever do it. Encyclopaedias never became best sellers, did they?
TREVOR SMITH, Bury, Lancs
Nature abhors a vacuum. So, Labour were lucky to have government handed to them on a plate by that blank space we remember as the Major years. But now we are grown up. A pity, then, that we should be considered witless enough to need governing by a political celeb called Tony Blair. Worse still, as a mirror image of the Tory industrial-strength hypocrisy of old, this major-Domo leads a band of recycled Trotskyists, turn-again Socialists and ambitious but ideological blank pages to do his bidding. Time and again, we see lesser ministers fall by the wayside, soon outliving their usefulness but forever hamstrung by the Downing Street Policy Unit, and certain sure that Mr Blair will come up smelling of New Labour roses. Inferior brands of minister are mortal, and if he could only find a better electorate, I fancy his problems would disappear entirely. We must strive to be as new as today’s version of events. But being too old—and sceptical—so putting me outside Tony Blair’s remit, I remain staggered by a mentality that says it’s OK to be seen as a famous face on the glossy pages of lifestyle magazines, while presiding over quite objectionable policies such as confiscation of disabled voters’ income, and glossing over a banana-republic pauperisation of public services. When I canvassed for Labour—but mainly to get rid of the Tories—I imagined, foolishly, we’d been promised something a touch closer to Marx, than Imelda Marcos.
JEFFERY WHEELER, Nuneaton, Warwicks
Reclaim the streets
I liked the tone of the Open Letter to Reclaim The Streets (January) but then when I saw the recent thing on it all on TV late last week I tend to think that we should be pushing the fact that theirs is a futile method of social and political change as it completely ignores the power of the state. This is one of the reasons that I’m a keen supporter of the party, due to the fact that it does not ignore vital questions that “radicals/anarchists” should be asking about methods. Wishy-washy do-goodism on their part only ends up being self-seeking and self-repressive.
There are many cross-sections of people at the RTS-type events and, yes, “J18 Carnival Against Capitalism” was a breakthrough. I still got the feeling that some of the people are there because it’s this year’s thing, some because it’s a lifestyle-type thing, some because they have reformist agendas to push and a section of people who are influenced by the ideals of Anarchism. It’s these last people who I think we are more likely to persuade to the Socialist case because they are actually looking for answers as to why the world is in a mess. In my opinion it’s only because the “Anarchists” are out there and visible that we had people pointing but vaguely and incoherently in that direction (which in a way is fine) but there is no coherent method that Socialism has to offer. That’s why I think we need to be there and at these events with truck loads of leaflets and having a dialogue with anyone prepared to listen. It’s also why I think it’s important for us to attend the Mayday 2000 thing this year also, on a similar level.