Nick Fredmans quandry

Nick Fredman nfredman at
Thu Dec 19 05:56:23 MST 2002

Response to David Murray

Comments by Steve Jolly of the Socialist Party (the CWI in
Australia), posted by David here recently, in which the Jolly tried
to show that his group's score in one electorate of 2.1% was far
superior to Socialist Alliance's result in adjacent electorates of
1.9%, or whatever the freakin hell the difference was, showed not
only a remarkable ignorance of statistics (that sort of difference is
statistically meaningless), but also a perfect example of the sect
mentality - trumpeting differences among the left and the innnate
superiority of one's own grouplet rather than contributing to the
general movement. You also miss the points I was making: a). recent
socialist votes have varied much more due to factors outside of our
control such as whether the Greens have run, rather than which brand
of socialism appears on the ballot, which most voters haven't a clue
about; and b). election campaigns, like all our work today, should be
aimed more at the vanguard of people in progressive political motion,
than the masses in general, so other measures of the sucess of
elecroral campaigns are a lot more important than votes received.

David askes why SA hasn't been successful with 200 people
participating in the Vic elections - what do you mean by success, win
a seat? As I said before, mobilising over 200 people, joining a few
more, building the anti-war rally etc, were the successes. I have no
idea how the Socialist Party fares in these regards, and I'd happily
concede that it does good work in this and that area. It somes ways
it's probably is no more sect-like than others on the left, except in
the currently important area of Socialist Alliance. Whatever the
brilliance of the SP's electoral organisation and propaganda, and
union and other interventions, how different is this really from what
SA does, or rather could be doing a lot more of if socialists
campaigned on what they agreed on (surely a fair bit), while
discussing what they don't?

I could write more but I've got to head off to Maitland for family
Christmas. Bah humbug. At least on the 26th we can relax in the
nearest aircon multiplex and watch the Two Towers.

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