Challenge to Paul/Jeff/Marcus: A case for Triangulation?

Jeffrey Booth booth2 at husc.harvard.edu
Tue Sep 12 11:32:23 MDT 1995


	Responses to Marcus' diatribe below...


On Mon, 11 Sep 1995, Marcus Strom wrote:

> Jim wrote the below. I am not from 'the other side of the pond', but
> live on the other side of the globe. These differences are important.
> I will soon do a thorough going dismantling of Militant's politics -
> Jeff has made a few misrepresentations of Militants program.
> Briefly: Jeff refers to the call for 'community control of police' a
> transitional demand. This is not what Militant's program says.
>

	Different programs for different situations:  Labour/community
control, community control, etc... .  Here's a quote from the latest
issue of Labor Militant in the U.S. :  "End police brutality and
harassement through labor-community committees to control all aspects of
public safety."  Labor Militant is an affiliate of the Committee for a
Workers International and a sister organization of Militant Labour.


 I will bring the program to my desk some time this week and quote
> from it regarding the police, revolution, parliament and the state.
> They cow-tow to bourgeois respectability (and yes, it was Sheridan in
> the _Guardian_, I'll bring that along too).
>

	Looking forward to the quotes.  Don't be too selective or out of
context now... .


> Jim, the differences have nothing to do with which side of the pond
> you're on - if the working class is an international class, then it
> needs an international program (Militant recognise this - their
> Australian program is quite similar to the British one). Also,  if
> the class struggle is taken through its contradictions to a postive
> resolution; ie a workers socialist revolution, and in order to
> achieve this it needs a party and a program, then these differences
> are actually quite important. I will maintain that the logic of
> Militant's program is counterrevolutionary. This claim is not made in
> a subjective / sectarian way: people in Militant are among the better
> people I've worked with in Britain and Australia (Jeff, I was even on
> picket lines facing the cops with your comrades in Scottland), but
> their program is wrong. It is sectarian of Jeff to rant and rave and
> dismiss any critique of militant from the left. It is the repetition
> of the Labourist crap that if you aren't in 'the' party (the Labor
> Party), you aren't in the movement. Militant's program is not all
> that different from the old CPGB's and the current CPB's "British
> Road to Socialism". You are kidding yourself if you think socialist
> 'revolution' will be through an Enabling Bill in Parliament (backed
>

	Wow.  Lots of assertions and distortions in the above.  The call
for public ownership of companies threatening redundancies or to close
down is a very practical demand that on the one hand could be won and on
the other hand raises the need for socialism.  A marxist political party
needs to fight for immediate demands (many of which would be seen as
reformist by ultra-lefts) AND organize and fight for socialist
revolution.  Your problem is that you ignore the need for a bridge
between workers' consciousness at present and the type of consciousnes
needed by at least some sections of the working class in order to have a
successful revolution.  One way of building up for larger and larger
fights is to put forward demands from the movement that people can
understand and fight for.  Going around yelling:  "Revolution now!" just
makes you look like an ultra-left wanker and most workers won't join your
little group.


by the labour movement) - the bastion of the bourgeoisie. The word
> 'backed' is a dead give away. Jeff you didn't address this point. You
> cannot equate nationalisation under 'democratic' control with
> socialism (as the first 'stage' of communism where class society
> still exists, with the working class the ruling class). And if this
> isn't really the case, then it should be in your program! It is
> dishonest and

	You lost me here mate!  A lot of Militant Labour material puts
forward formulations like:  "For a democratic socialist world to end
hunger, war and environmental destruction"  -- Labor Militant Sept./Oct.
'95.  But as I'm trying to explain, Labor Militant, Militant Labour,
etc...  also put forward more immediate demands and try to link them
altogether with a method of analysis and a guide to political action
(marxism).  Guess you just don't get it mate.  Too bad.  Put another
shrimp on the barbie!  (BTW... You're from New South Wales, right?)



patronising to have the 'real' program only available
> to those in the organisation. It will be politically developed people
> who read your program anyway
	
	Last night a guy that works the deli counter at a local Stop and
Shop said he really liked Labor militant's program.  He's not politically
developed in the way that you mean.


- aren't they smart enough yet to
> understand that a demand is only a minimum and is transitional to
> achieving revolutionary goals? Where does it say in your program that
> 'community control of police' is a transitional demand. All the
>

	It is what it is.  People readily understand our goal.  What
they're rightly sceptical of is how we're going to achieve it and how's
it gonna work.  So that's what we end up talking about a lot.


things you said about tactics on a demonstration regarding the police
> I agree with. At times, a tactical withdrawal, with communication
> with the cops may be in order, at times, it may be correct to attack
> the cops head on. These are tactical considerations for the day to be
> considered in the overall strategy of the particular campaign.
>
> Does the spectre of the Revolutionary Socialist League still hang
> over Militant? Does it still exist? Does it still have the real
> program and Militant's "Where we stand" just propaganda?
> The Revolutionary Socialist League was the name of the organisation
> the was before Militant (which formed in 1963?). It was a trotskyist
> group which favoured deep entrism in the Labour Party. Its leaders
> became the leadership of Militant Labour. If you have a program -
> publish it, don't make it a secret tome for the initiated.
>

	No secret program.  And I'm not even sure what the RSL was.  We
don't talk about it.  We talk about things like how to make the
unions we're in stronger and more democratic, how to help build a
movement against domestic violence, how to build the methods and ideas of
democratic socialism among working people, etc... .  Most, if not all, you
would dismiss as reformist.  But how to link the need to fight for
reforms to the need to fight for revolution is one of the keys to
building a successful mass, marxist, working class movement.



Militant's program as it exists is quite reformist. This means one of
> two things: either militant is very naive and believes that the
> bosses will allow their cops and their parliament to come under
> workers control through the Labour Party with a socialist
program
> (!), or they are very dishonest and elitist and only allow the
> initiated to know their true program. Either way, it does not display the
> method of a revolutionary, communist organisation.


	Yeah, yeah.  Heard it all before.  If you want to go out in an
ultra-left binge of glorious (and useless) violence, be my guest.
Building a mass movement that can conduct a succesful (and as bloodless as
possible) revolution is a more realistic way to go in my book.  The
Bolsheviks were successful in splitting the State forces with slogans
like Bread, Peace and Land.  They didn't become Narodniks.  The better
organized we are, the more unarmed the Bourgeois will be.

>
>                                            *   *   *   *   *   *
>
> To fall into the trap of saying that 'rioters' are middle class
> anarcho trouble makers!! It sounds like an editorial of the Sun or
> Daily Telegraph, not of a revolutionary marxist organisation.
>

	The ones that started it at the anti-poll tax demo were middle
class, anarcho, etc... .

> I have a lot of respect for the Militant in terms of the base in the >
class they have made - they must be doing something partly right,but
>

	See above about transitional demands.


they will not build the revolutionary party that our class needs to
> overthrow capitalism.
>

	Militant Labour does not claim at this time to be the
revolutionary party that will overthrow capitalism.  What force or forces
eventually play that role remains to be seen.  I'm confident that the
method and organization that the Committee for a Workers International is
building will be a significant part of that process.

	So put that in your Fosters', mate!

				
				-- Jeff Booth



> More when I have the quotes in front of me.
>
> Comradely,
>
> Marcus
>
>
> > 	I have to say that from _this_ side of the pond, the differences
> > between you lot over there doesn't seem worth the bile...
> >
> > 	Let's stick to goring the Thatcher/Major Tories and calling
> > Labour's bluff...
>
> > Date:          Fri, 8 Sep 1995 23:45:44 -0400 (EDT)
> > From:          Jim Jaszewski <jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca>
> > Subject:       Challenge to Paul/Jeff/Marcus: A case for Triangulation?
>
> > On Wed, 6 Sep 1995, Jeffrey Booth wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > 	Well, I was once again going to ignore Cockshott's misinformation
> > > about the left in Scotland.  But that claim below about his little group
> > > being the only working class organization was too much.  Cut the crap,
> > > Paul.  Militant Labour is the largest, most working class marxist
> > > party/organization in Scotland.
> >
>
> >
> > 	BTW:  Did anyone read the review of the Thatcher bitch's
> > autobiography in Monthly Review (She's mad, I tell you; MAD!...)?
> > (Jimmy Devine reviews a book in there too...)
> >
> >
> >
> >
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> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Jim Jaszewski <jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca>
> > http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/~ab975/Profile.html
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> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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