Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Time for a new workers’ party?


There is an interesting new article titled Time for a New Workers' Party? by our friends in Permanent Revolution, which has just been posted on their website. Most of the article is spent debunking the political projects of the Socialist Party, Respect and company. Depressingly little of substance is provided by way of an alternative to these projects.

Within the article PR outline the need to "pursue the vital task of patiently building a revolutionary socialist party". How? We're told: "by direct action, by uniting rank and file militants and activists, by building from the base, by ensuring democratic control of our organisations". What do these things actually mean - if not just the internal party-building of another left-wing sect? I rather suspect you'd be hard pressed to find many leftists who wanted a disunited and undemocratic union-movement. Fairly unsubstantial stuff. We are told that the "numbers of working class militants that can be won to revolution and a communist organisation is small at the moment" perhaps reviving the not unusual argument that during this period the revolutionary party (presumably this is Permanent Revolution?) has to ready itself and build with gradual growth for periods of greater struggle.


Depressingly, when asked about the Campaign for a Marxist Party, a supporter referring to PR as 'we' replies "who are they?". While commenting on the Mcdonnell campaign, the curious remark is made that it is "largely SP dominated". This the Socialist Party that disaffiliated from the Labour Party in 1991? Perhaps Socialist Action is the group they had in mind. The general feeling I was left with was that Permanent Revolution doesn't know what the Permanent Revolution thinks:
I'm not sure either that the impetus for a new mass party will come out of the Labour Party.... yes such a struggle would have to intersect with any mass bourgeois workers' party and split it. That's one possible scenario- but you can't second guess the class struggle surely?

I should point out that this is a 'comment' and may not actually reflect the opinions of PR. Though If this is reflective of the views of a membership showing the advanced sections of the working class the forward, I could make a general guess about prospects for class struggle! Another member replies, also largely suggesting a turn away from the Labour Party:
"not least because the Labour Party is a profoundly unfriendly place for those us trying to build communism...from my experience anyway members of the LP are so far from sympathetic to communism there's really little point in being a member."
Hardly a new phenomena, this hasn't dissuaded Communists from involvement in the Labour Party prior to now. The suggestion that Communists would make the decisions on which organisations they involve themselves in on the basis of popularity seems a tad ahistorical to say the least. Though, as i've pointed out previously, this may not actually reflect the opinions of the Permanent Revolution grouping.


Anonymous said...

In terms of little of substance, what do you think revolutionaries should be doing? The re-building of rank and file movements in the unions is a vital task of today and while you might not find anyone who disagrees on the left how groups go about things is another thing. If you look at the way the left is operating in the unions, the SP in the PCS for example or the SWP often being uncritical of the bureaucracy and the way they've gone about the "Fighting Union" conferences (a bit of an ironic title given the totally passive nature of these conferences) then there are a lot of problems.

The comment about being SP dominated was aimed at the CNWP I believe not the McDonnell campaign, although it is badly worded. Also I wouldn't assume that all the comments are from PR members/supporters, they're not.

Also you wouldn't find a single person in PR who sees it as "the revolutionary party"......

Also as for the Campaign for a Marxist Party the person who asked "what are they" isn't the author of the article. But rather than say it's depressing why not explain what it's about and give a link?

J.B said...

"I wouldn't assume that all the comments are from PR members/supporters, they're not"

The quotes I cite are all from those refferring to Permanent Revolution as "we" - suggesting membership or at least support for the ideas it is advocating.

I haven't got time at the minute to expand on other point, but will do so later.

J.B said...

I agree that there have been a lot of problems with the way the SP has operated in the PCS. The point about how we go about building the rank and file movement is interesting. The fact that the campaign has attracted support from the very unions that have disaffiliated from Labour (RMT, FBU) raises some interesting points of reference.

It's my opinion that the revolutionary left needs to unite around the McDonnell campaign (while exploring the urgent need for a revolutionary communist party - with other groups) PR has been doing this to some extent via its union involvement.

I'm not really sure how PR seeks to develop the momentum for the building of a Revolutionary Marxist party if not in tandem with other leftists uniting around similar demands - given the limited base of support it has. If you'd care to expand on this point - that'd be great.

Charlie Marks said...

Well, now that the McDonnell campaign failed to get dear John onto the ballot for leadership (much arm-twisting by Brown's bullies) socialists will have to decide what to do next. I think the CNWP could be viable, but only if more groups are willing to get involved.

The key to creating a reformist socialist party in which the revolutionary left can openly operate is to get the socialist party and the socialist workers party to open a dialogue.

I see SWPies and SPEWers in most cities on a saturday. A veritable free market of revolutionary socialism exists. Different brands of trotskyism, different front groups to choose from. The probem is organisational competition; there should be ideological competition within organisational cooperation.

The split of the SSP in scotland might make it harder to have a successful united pluralist workers' party in the UK, but I still think that without both of the large revolutionary socialist groups co-operating there will be failure to make a breakthrough.

The CNWP might be more likely to get union cash if it didn't have a rival in the SWP's respect.

I don't think a declared revolutionary communist party, no matter how united, would have any success. Something along the lines of the SSP, in organisational terms, would allow the revolutionary left to debate politics in a non-sectarian way -- the unity being around the success of the party.

Anonymous said...

helooo three weeks. dying for another post.

ProstoShelMimo said...

Вариантов немало, можно банально по рынку пробежаться, можно по магазинам, можно по интернету пошерстить и в наше время хоть и с другого конца страны заказать, а можно и у подобных этим ребят заказать.