DSP/SP/ reply to John

Nigel Irritable nigel_irritable at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 9 10:12:19 MDT 2002


Hi John

> I canvassed with 20 to 30 members of the Socialist
> Party not one of them described the SP to the
> electorate as a revolutionary party. They talked
> about the needs of the area, the work record of the
> canditate, the unjust bin tax and a plethora of
> other issues that were/are important to the
> working class in Swords.

All that is evidence of John is that we aren't
ultra-left crazies.

[snip...]

> So what is the difference between the SSP and the SP
> in their activism?

In some ways the Socialist Party would have a very
similar style of approach to that of the Scottish
Socialist Party (or at least the ISM and those within
the SSP who mimic them). After all, we have decades of
shared experience. The type of issues we get involved
in are similar.  The fundamental difference though
comes down to one thing: the SSP as an organisation
leaves open the question of reform or revolution. We
do not. And for all that it might seem a minor change,
it is slowly warping the politics of the ISM. A few
years ago, for instance,  you would never have seen
Tommy Sheridan arguing for the raising of the lowest
band of income tax to pay for services - ie tax the
working class.

> If the SP/CWI argued in the past for entryism in the
> Labour Party because it was the party of the working
> class. They have ceased with this strategy (a
> SP executive member advises that this is because the
> LP are no longer a working class party)

Right.

> then shouldn't the SP be trying to build a party of
> the working class or do they argue that the SP is
> the party of the working class?

No, of course we don't argue that we are the party of
the working class - though really you should know
this. We don't argue that we are going to become the
party of the working class either. And yes what we
want is a party of the working class. So how do we go
about building one?

Do you remember the Taxation Justice Alliance, John?
That represented a step towards forming a broad
organisation and it had some moderate successes. But
we were in the middle of one of the longest and
biggest booms which any western country has been in
and class consciousness was at perhaps the lowest
point it has been in more than a century. By the time
Healy's bunch starting edging backwards we had learned
a valuable lesson: a small group of activists cannot
substitute themselves for a movement of the working
class.  So we retreated, built our own forces while
continuing to work with others on individual issues -
in the unions, on the bin tax or whatever.

When we try again to launch a broad organisation we
will time it better and we will be stronger. But it
appears that you want action and you want it now. So
what would happen if we went ahead and launched an
Irish left alliance next week? We would be confronted
with the question that sits there like a turd on the
carpet when anybody starts asking about an alliance -
What forces would it attract?

Well I'll tell you what it would attract right now.
The Socialist Party. Your group. The SWP. A handful of
left republicans. And fuck all else.

And with all due respect for your company John, it
isn't worth lumbering ourselves with bunch of scheming
student sectarians or with a few victory-to-the-IRA
nutters. A few months of that line up would be enough
to ensure that any broad group never grew and never
survived. One step forward would have turned into two
steps back.

 If so, it should
> accomodiate both revolutionaries, progressives and
> reformists.

A new party of the working class? It's not even a
question of "should". If we are going to have a new
party of the working class than it is going to have to
include all kinds of working class political strands
or else we won't have one at all.


> Your dismissal of the DSP discussion is surprising
> considering the SP(England) about turn on it's
> involvement in same

I'm not sure what you are saying here. Are you talking
about the Socialist Party leaving the Socialist
Alliance in England? And I should remind you that my
sceptical view of the DSP's announcement is *my*
sceptical view and not that of the Socialist Party or
the CWI (neither of which have a view on the subject).

> and a coreographed move from the (Irish) SP
> regarding the Left front against Nice.

Now I really don't know what you are talking about. Is
this a reference to the Irish Socialist Party arguing
that there wasn't likely to be any useful role for a
broad left campaign on Nice, thinking about it for a
while and then reassessing the issue and deciding to
hold a meeting to

> The London CWI comintern has been busy!:-(

That's unworthy of you, frankly.

Is mise le meas
Brian Cahill

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