Thursday, 26 April 2007

Class War - Bash the Rich October 28th

You read correctly reader. No, this isn't an 80's timewarp machine with added broadband. Class war is advertising in the latest edition of the paper (Summer 2007) a Bash the Rich march - the last one being as far as I know in 1985:



Ex-Class War founder Ian Bone is also blogging about this. What's going on there? Do I detect a frisson of reconciliation? Perhaps just comradery unity. From what little I understand there was a break with Leeds Class War and London Class war, after the Leeds members refused to be involved beyond issue 73 for various reasons. Wikipedia suggests one of which was a conflict surrounding the "Stuntism" of Bash the Rich type actions favoured by I.Bone. My learned class-war friends can fill in the gaps if they want to. I should probably by his book about Class War, but times are hard.

Anyone fancy a bit of knees-up hows your father i'm-a-real-cockerney class war action? It might not be the best idea to inform the coppers that you're planning to surround Cameron's house five months in advance, given that the 1985 'bash the rich' march was prevented by a "heavy police presence". A point that has been commented upon elsewhere;
Publicising a Bash the Rich march in advance is like informing the law beforehand of your intention to hold up a bank

We will indeed see.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Leftist jokes

In a somewhat desperate bid to avoid doing any work at all i've been collecting some injokes about the far-left. One of my favourites is a variation of a joke which starts "I was walking across a bridge one day" and is most commonly used in reference to religion but with a little tweaking it's much funnier. If you have a joke about the left, leftist organisations or something relative to this - please feel free to share. I would source these, but i've no idea where they're from.
An old revolutionary walks across the Brooklyn Bridge one day, and he sees man of a similar age standing on the edge, about to jump. He runs over and says: "Stop. Don't do it."

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

"Well, there's so much to live for!"

"I'm just depressed, I've been a Communist all my life and the revolution seems as far away as ever"

"You're a Communist?"

"Yeah, why?"

"I am as well!! Did you originally join the Communist Party USA?"


"Me too! Did you join the pro-Trotsky Communist League of America in 1928, which later merged with the American Workers Party to form the Workers Party of America in 1934?"


"Spooky, Me too! After the WPA was expelled from the Socialist Party of America in 1936 did you then go on to join the Socialist Workers Party USA and the fourth international?"

"I did actually…"

"Me too! In the 1940 dispute did you side with Cannon or Shachtman?"


"Me too! In 1962 did you join Robertson's opposition caucus, the Revolutionary Tendency?"


" Holly shit! And of course like me you were expelled and went on to join the International Communist League (Spartacist)"

"Well that goes without saying!"

"In 1985 did you join the International Bolshevik Tendency who claimed that the Sparts have degenerated into an "obedience cult""

"No way!"

"Nah, me neither. In 1998 did you join the Internationalist Group after the Permanent Revolution Faction were expelled from the ICL?"

"Yeah! I can't believe this! Maybe I won't…."

"Die counterrevolutionary scum!". And he pushes him off the edge

And one more:
Two greek anarchists are making molotov cocktails. One says to the other, "So who will we throw these at then?" The other replies "What are you, some kind of fucking intellectual?!?"

see-also: Political Lightbulb Jokes (Dave's Part)

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Socialist Party: bridge to revolution

Any claims the Socialist Party may once have had to the high-holy grounds of ortho-trotskyism, on the basis of an enduring critique of state-capitalism, seem to be fading fast. Though this ground has been conceded by the membership for some time now.

In discussions with members of any party, tendency or organisation i'm always careful to try and approach the topics members will expect to be raised creatively - such topics tend to be treated fairly dismissively, if just through repetition.

The topic I raise now is an example of one of those.

Criticism of the the programme upon which the Socialist Party party stand during election periods - and that most commonly expressed in material - fails to appreciate the 'period' within which we function, and the subtle nuances of the Transitional approach applied. Indeed, such approaches misunderstand the very nature of the transitional approach. Hopefully I won't provide a caricacture of the SP's position if I suggest that this is a fairly common reply to the suggestion that the SP does not link the demands it makes to the need for wider structural change.

I will make a point here that may not be unfamiliar, though its importance isn't lessened by repetition. The failure to concretely link demands made to the need for a revolutionary overthrow of society is a criminal abduction of duty for any principled Marxist. Accusations may be made that I quibble over phrasing (I apologise for trying to pre-empt those who may respond to this) however the 'phrasing' is key.

Housey notes a common phrase utilised for 'linking' demands to a wider programme of change: 'We fight for a socialist world....democratic public ownership of the big companies that currently dominate the world'. The linking of public ownership to democracy is a novelty on the basis of the election material I've seen in the South East, but putting this aside for one moment, If we want to move beyond demands for a programme of 'socialist' nationalisation of industry and instead challenge the entire basis of capitalist rule, how might we do this? Not to be dull or worthy, let me cite the following quote;

"A society without social contradictions will naturally be a society without lies and violence. However there is no way of building a bridge to that society save my revolutionary, that is, violent means. The revolution itself is a product of class society and of necessity bears its traits"
Trotsky: Their Morals & Ours
Unless the Socialist Party comrades are aware, our society is still one of social contradiction requiring revolutionary, that is violent, overthrow. Any attempt to intuit this from much of the material I cite (and most of the leaflets distributed by the party during elections) would be hard, if not impossible [1].

We can compare this to the CNWP. What is being argued for in the CNWP is a left-reformist show that is hard to differential from the McDonnell campaign. Ironically most Socialist Party members would actually not disagree that the SP's involvement in the CNWP is an abdication of a basic transitional approach largely because the Trotskyists within this organisation are told they themselves can't link these demands to the wider need for socialism. Members have my sympathy, it's a poor diet of gruel for any principled Marxist to try and consist on.

[1] As an aside, a leading SP youth cadre made a point not too long ago on the Revolution boards [] that a revolutionary, that is violent, overthrow of capitalist society might be required for this purpose - might.