DSP etc part 2

Nigel Irritable nigel_irritable at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 7 09:41:58 MDT 2002

John Paramo:
> Brian characterized the DSP before he read the
> from its leadership as a non-revolutionary
> organization (Stalinist, etc) or at least the CWI
> leaders did.

> Now Brian is complaining about the DSP "liquidating"
> the "revolutionary organization" in the SA.

John, you may be aware that there are a few ways in
which people can get booted off this list. One of them
is by digging up Trotsky/Stalin wars. Another is by
taking the attitude that one's own group is the one
true revolutionary organisation and that everybody
else is a reformist to be exposed.

My personal view of the DSP/SWP/many other groups is
that they are subjectively revolutionaries, though
they have deeply flawed politics. Whether or not
proclaiming yourself a revolutionary is in fact enough
to make you a revolutionary is a debate for another
place. As far as this discussion is concerned, in
analysing the DSP announcement, the important point is
that DSP members and leaders look at themselves as

> On the other hand, the DSP's letter does not
> that they are "dissolving" or "liquidating" their
> organization.  They merely wrote that they are
> thinking about operating as a faction or platform
> inside SA.

In fact the letter quite openly talks about turning
themselves into an irregularly-caucusing tendency
rather than a faction. This certainly represents
organisational dissolution. Whether it represents a
political dissolution is another question and one
which might be looked at differently in the light of
Nick's suggestion that the DSP are looking to
reconstitute the ASA not as a broad party leaving open
the question of reform or revolution (the SSP model)
but as a multi-tendencied revolutionary organisation.

> In other words, they want to end the agreement
> betwen organizations - that is the Alliance
> -and launch a "broad party."

Isn't that a decision which should be made by all of
the ASA allies rather than the DSP leadership (or
taking protestations of internal democracy at face
value, the DSP membership)?

> A faction, as the CWI knows very well throught their
> own experience inside Socialdemocracy, is not
> "liquidating" or "dissolving", is merely a different
> form of the party.

A faction is one thing a rarely-caucusing strand of
opinion another. If the DSP offer was just to function
publically as ASA members while keeping their own
organisation intact inside the ASA it would be a
fundamentally different offer. Not necessarily better,
but different.

> The CWI - and Cahill - leveled the same accusation
> against the CWI members who launched the SSP.  They
> are "liquidating" the revolutionary party inside the
> SSP.  But the Scottish left the CWI but continued to
> be centralzied and organized as a faction inside the
> SSP -- they named it ISM.

There differences and similarities.

Firstly, if Nick is correct, and the new model ASA is
to be a revolutionary organisation we are talking
about a very different context to that of the SSP - a
party which deliberately leaves open the question of
revolution or reform.

As for the organisation of the ISM it is little more
than an SSP leadership caucus. It is dwindling in
membership, and was dwindling in activity until the
need to organise against the larger and more
disciplines SW platform became apparant. The ISM does
not see itself as a disciplined revolutionary faction
of a broad organisation - I invite anyone who doubts
me to have a look at Alan McCoombes explanation in an
interview a while back of why the ISM still exists:
political education, keeping traditions alive and so

> he challenges the honesty and sincerity of the DSP
> and says this is just a maneuver to split the ISO
> and win over what he characterizes as "few
> independents."  If this is the case, then what the
> DSP is doing is a maneuver, a shortcut.  Then, these
> objectives are clearly in contradiction
> with "liquidating" their party, since is
> simply a maneuver, isn't it?

Obviously I was going too quickly for somebody. I said
that this DSP approach could be "liquidation" or it
could be a manouevre - an either/or choice, not a
contradictory combination.

> Of course, Cahill does no offer a shred of evidence
> about the honesty of the DSP and its proposal.

I refused to take them at face value while also
refusing to assume that they are lying. This may be an
overly  sceptical approach but it is not one of making
unfounded assertions.

> He is not done.  He also compares the SSP, DSP and
> the LCR (USFI), the British SWP and their proposals
> for broader alliances and parties - again assuming
> they are for "liquidating" the "revolutionary
> organizations"

Actually I said that the British SWP haven't changed
their party-model in the slightest and have no obvious
intention of doing so. As for the others - the SSP
does not think of itself as a revolutionary
organisation in the first place while exactly what the
LCR intends is unclear.

> but he assigns honesty to the Scottish ISM/SSP and
> the USFI and dishonesty and maneuverism to the SWP,
> DSP ...

I do not make a claim that the DSP are being
dishonest, I said that their honesty or otherwise in
making this proposal will only become apparant over
time. I regard the DSP and the SWP as having a more
generally maneouvrist method than the ISM or the LCR
and I suspect that most people would concur if they
were to look at the behaviour of of those
organisations over time. This has nothing to do with
holding some obscure grudge - I would have much more
reason to dislike the ISM than the DSP.

> Cahill denies the caricature of his organization is
> one of looking at itself as the nuclei of the
> revolutionary party that will grow cumulatively up
> the point of becoming a "mass party."

That isn't really a caricature because it doesn't draw
on existing features and exaggerate them, it just
invents them. The CWI is quite clear on this issue and
if anyone is interested they will be able to find more
detailed documents on the subject on the CWI website
or the websites of some of our sections.

>  But 60 years of existence

The CWI was founded in 1974 although some of its
sections existed before then.

> and without a single large organization (let's say
4-> 5,000 members)

How many revolutionary organisations are there in the
world with 5,000 members? There are none in Britian,
none in France, none in Germany, none in the USA. I
would be surprised if there are any in Latin America.

> and very, very few with more than 100 active members

100 active members? Are you serious? There are a large
number of CWI sections with more than that.

> and the fact that they can't even unite with
> themselves,


> seems to prove the caricature as truth.

All it has "proven" so far is your lack of coherence.

>  The CWI even have this ridiculous objective of a
> transition to such mass party.  They call it
> the "small mass party."

Look if you are going to slate the positions taken by
other organisations, you should at least try to read
them properly first. Some CWI sections have taken the
view that it will be possible for independent
revolutionary organisations to grow large enough to
take on some of the tasks of a mass party without
actually becoming a real mass party - hence the rather
clumsy term a "small mass party". This view is not a
theoretical explanation of the possibility of a small
revolutionary organisation becoming a real mass party
through the "primitive accumulation" of cadres and it
is not counterposed to the building of real mass
workers parties.

> As a I see little difference between the SWP or the
> SP ...

You can't show the blind.

Is mise le meas
Brian Cahill

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