Unity as organizational fetishism

Ryan Daum rdaum at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
Sat Feb 24 12:24:30 MST 1996

On Sat, 24 Feb 1996, Hugh Rodwell wrote:

> In the whole article there is not a single concrete policy position
> presented. Policy documents are mentioned, as is the 'Kurdish question',
> but no indication is given as to the content involved or any stands taken.

Given a) the article is an overview document of the creation of a new
party, not a detailed summary of the party's programme or orientations b)
it is entirely possible for a multi-tendencied organization to manage
several programmatic positions within one organization while maintaining
unity in action, it would be inappropriate for a brief newsy article like
this to hold up one programmatic position as superior or dominant,
especially given the history of the Turkish left.  c) There is obviously
no programmatic position which the group could choose that could satisfy
you anyways -- unless of course the group happened to be _your group._

> This is pure opportunism. The kind of unity aimed for is cliquish and
> feel-good, the worst kind of Broad Left cop-out. 'He's a Kemalist
> Social-Democrat, but he's *our* Kemalist Social-Democrat, so that's all
> right. Kurdish question? That's *hard* , so we don't talk about it too
> much, I guess.'

a) It was explicitly stated that the party was founded as an independent
worker's party, separate from the Social Democrats.  b) The Kurdish
question was also addressed in the article, if you chose to read with
your Sectarian Reading Glasses off.  c) The fact that you consider
efforts at Broad-Left to be "pure opportunism" just indicates how out of
touch with actual struggles and movements of the working class and
oppressed you _are._

> They won't be able to. And they don't let us know what the 'fundamental
> themes' are, so we can't see what they're aiming at and can't form any
> judgement about the validity or realism of their goals.
> Not that it matters, cos the cliquish essence of the project is immediately
> reiterated to dispel any doubts that the generalizations may have given
> rise to:

Maybe you should contact the FI to _find out_ what those "fundamental
themes" are -- the article is obviously not designed with that in mind.

And then comes the clincher: "Not that it matters" -- your dismissal
outright of any kind of left project other than your own indicates your
disconnection from real politics, the politics which deals with actual
_real people_ and _real workers_ and _real activists_ who probably have
different and uneven politics from both you and me, and aren't going to
change their opinion because you can polemicize more aggressively.  At
some point we must admit the possibility of working together, or face
oblivion apart.  If that's "feel good opportunism" than I accept the
label.  It's better than being a useless appendage of some miscellaneous
ultra-left grouping with no influence in the class whatsoever.

> Incidentally, the whole article is self-contradictory on the political
> conjuncture. It mouths as a truism:
> >This is not a period of upturn and growth in the class struggle.
> yet doesn't ask why in that case it is experiencing 'Such rapid growth' or
> why 'the party keeps growing. New members are signing up.'

In what way are these two contradictory -- or have you not been reading
your Lenin?  It is perfectly possible for such an organization to
experience rapid growth in a short term period without a corresponding
rise in the overall level of organization in the class as a whole, or a
rise in the number of victories won by the oppressed.  The level of class
struggle is not directly connected by causal lines to the number of
activists within a party --

> Who needs principles when you can get a hundred new members, eh?

First, it is quite clear that these people have principles -- it is you
who is being unprincipled in your obvious refusal to work with people
without the same line as yourself.  Secondly, your comment about getting
a hundred new members simply reveals how small and isolated your own
group is.


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