Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Socialist Party

The Last Gasps of the Pro-Brexit left.

with 21 comments

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Lacks “a sense of humility and appreciation” for Farage that ‘Left-Wing’ Full Brexit says is needed. 

With the Brexit Crisis fueling unprecedented voting shifts in the European election campaign the Pro-Brexit left ‘Lexit’ as they like to call it, (nobody else does) often feels to get away from the tiresome drag of cloud cuckoo land and escape to somewhere less mundane.

Time indeed to ihgnore the haemorigging of Labour votes to anti-Brexit parties, starting with the Liberal Democrats.

It’s there that the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) has finally found an echo for its Boycott Labour Campaign.

We need a People’s Brexit and a general election that can return a left and Labour government, which can begin to rebuild Britain for the people, not the bankers.

Respect the vote – SUPPORT a ‘People’s Boycott’ on 23 May 2019.

From the self-identifying  “Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants“.

The Socialist Party, which is thoroughly enjoying its trip away from the harsh world,  says of the European Elections.

Unfortunately, however, at this stage Corbyn and the left Labour leadership are not conveying a clear message to working class voters. A central reason for this is their continued mistaken attempts to compromise with the pro-capitalist Blairite wing of Labour – whether that is the local Labour councils cutting public services, or the Blairite MPs fighting for Labour to be seen as the party which defends the EU bosses’ club.

No mention of the pro Brexit Bosses’ Club.

No mention of the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit campaign which has captured people’s imagination across the left.

On the talks with May they say,

… reports from the talks have focused overwhelmingly on the Blairite demand for a second referendum, inevitably giving the impression to many Leave voting workers that Labour is not fighting in the interests of working class people and is instead focused on ‘reversing Brexit’.

No mention of Remain voting workers or the Remain supporters in the Trade Unions.

No mention of how to vote in the European election.

No mention of the Labour voters going head over fist to the anti-Brexit parties, which some polls suggest have pushed the party into third place.

Or this, somewhat optimistic claim,

A clear and unambiguous pro-Remain position from Labour would give the party a resounding 27% lead over the Conservatives, an 8% lead over the Brexit Party and a 14% increase in their overall vote, new research has revealed.

New European.

But apparently.

Bosses fear revolt against capitalism

At least the People’s Brexit dreamers of Counterfire say,

Tory collapse is only half the story; Corbyn’s Labour needs to sharply recalibrate around anti-austerity and class politics, argues Lindsey German

Farage understands he can only win the level of support he has by channelling the huge amount of anger about the failure to carry out the decision of the referendum. To do so he is prepared to downplay his racism, and he has some cover from erstwhile lefts who now support the Brexit party, but we can be sure that a campaign where he and Johnson are in competition (and with a myriad of fascist and extreme right parties spewing their filth) will have racism and scapegoating at their centre.

……

The only tactical vote is for Labour, because they are the only people who can beat Farage, and the higher Labour’s vote the stronger its left leadership will be. The alternative is strong Lib Dems – which will help Watson and Starmer.

How might they ‘channel’ this anger?

By joining Counterfire’s voyage to a People’s Brexit….

Note, Comrade Keir Starmer’s first appearance as an enemy of the revolutionary socialist groupuscule Counterfire.

The Morning Star with one toe in the carnival of reaction that’s taking place, dismisses worries about the far-right across Europe and Farage’s likely real political impact in the EU.

As indicated in this valuable article:

The far right is no great shakes

The European Union is proving to be a less reliable instrument for resolving contradictions among its member states and competing elites than either centre right, liberal or social democratic opinion has hitherto hoped.

In addition, although these right-wing populists are something of a problem for the big business and finance circles that stand behind the likes of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron they lack the long-term cohesiveness or numbers to reshape the institutions of the EU.

Like those leftwingers who think the EU can be transformed by populating its structures, they too will find out that the real decision-making ever eludes the grasp of forces outside the charmed circle whether they come from the left or the right.

Oddly, or not so oddly given reports that some of the hard line Brexit Bolsheviks will do more than follow the Communist Party of Britain’s call not to vote Labour the editorial concludes,

The populist right – in or out of the EU – cannot meet the needs of working people. Almost uniquely our country has a Labour government in waiting that can.

The Full Brexit, supported by prominent members of the Communist Party of Britain, and ‘Blue Labour’ Family Faith and Flag patriots, not to mention Spiked ex-Revolutionary Communist Party, (and Green Larry O’Nutter, better known under his pen name of Larry O’Hara)  tweets  about this article:

Lee Jones is Reader in International Politics at Queen Mary University of London.

Note these words well,

It is deeply lamentable that this crucial channel for political expression is being supplied by a party led by Nigel Farage. However, the explanation for this lies not with Farage’s unique talents, or the supposed far-right proclivities of millions of British citizens, as many now claim. Farage is only able to claim leadership of a pro-democracy movement because the left has utterly failed to do so. Despite admitting the EU’s many faults and being unable to mount a positive case for it, the left bottled the referendum, clinging to a discredited neoliberal edifice. The opportunity subsequently to return to its foundational principle of democracy and lead Brexit in a progressive direction has been squandered. Most so-called leftists have merely doubled down on their ludicrous insistence that only racists and fascists can oppose the EU.

He continues,

TBP ought to be a left-wing party. By failing to reclaim the banner of democracy from the Eurosceptic right, the left has created the opportunity for Farage to return.

Despite its important short-term contribution, however, in the longer term, it is doubtful whether TBP can help resolve the problems of British political life. While the most obvious limitations stem from its leadership, the deeper problems lie in the populist form of political organisation itself.

Accordingly, whatever Nigel Farage may or may not be, TBP is simply not a “far-right” party. It has only one policy, to defend democracy and uphold the referendum result, and there is no reasonable way to define this policy as “far-right”.

The academic opines that one should approach Farage’s start-up party,

…with a sense of humility and appreciation for the important role TBP is playing in the immediate crisis of British politics.

Jones concludes,

At present, TBP stands exclusively for the enactment of a democratic majority decision – no more, no less. To call this “far right” is hysterical, immoral, and deeply insulting to many millions of people.

The Brexit Party: Creature of the Void

At least the Socialist Workers Party says:

Vote Labour in the European elections – and increase the Tories’ crisis

Hold on…

The next few days matter. Labour could still launch a real fight that brings together the call for an anti-austerity and anti-racist Brexit with action over the NHS, housing, climate chaos and other urgent issues.

Back from the sidelines:

Advertisements

Socialist Party, (former Militant) in Total International Split over those who have “buckled to the pressures of ‘Identity Politics’.”

with 5 comments

Image result for socialist PARTY FORMER militant

From Alf Garnett Rants Against Climate Change Demos to Split. 

The Socialist Party, apart from the split in the PCS union, has  apart from its hard-line pro-Brexit stand, and links with the likes of the  Arron Banks national populist Trade unions against the EU’ has not campaign has not made the news these days.

Even the Alf Garnett  rants have not won it a wider audience.

Rant against climate change demos by the hard-line pro-Brexit ‘Socialist’  Party,

“R’s insufficient programme and its rejection of politics inform its strategy…”

In reality, the manifesto leaves capitalism intact while seeking to remove its worst aspects. But this vague vision of an alternative society is utopian – and would not even mitigate the effects of climate change.

The idea of individual martyrdom is typical of a middle-class approach, and contrasts unfavourably with the democratic, collective traditions of working-class struggle.

Perhaps this latest row will get people’s attention note the bit, “further reflection of this capitulation is in shown in the Euro election where the main slogan of the Irish section’s candidate is “for a socialist feminist”.

 

“To all CWI members.

Declaration of a split from the CWI.

The Non Faction, Faction (NFF) last week circulated an open letter signed by a series of IEC members, (full and alternates) together with some visitors and translators who attended the IEC meeting in November 2018 together with some CWI members who were not present. In their statement the NFF rejected the decision of the International Secretariat to convene a meeting in November 2019 and appealed for the IS and the openly declared international faction to reconsider its position and commit to participating in an IEC meeting in August. Now they have taken the decision to convene a meeting of the IEC in august themselves. This action is part of the objective of the NFF to carry through a “regime change” in the leadership of the CWI. We entirely reject this action which is ithe declaration of a split from the CWI.

In the statement the NFF once again ignored the central political issues of difference which have clearly emerged in this debate. As we stated at the IEC in November 2018 there are clearly two main divergent trends developing in the CWI. This has been clarified during the course of six months of debate. It is clear that there is a decisive difference now on the crucial issues of orientation, perspective and programme.

“Socialist feminist” a major step backwards.

It is evident to us that some sections of the CWI have buckled to the pressures of ‘Identity Politics’. Others have gone even further and have or are in the process of capitulating to them. This was recently demonstrated in the debate in US in Chicago. Andy M (US NC) who led off and replied for the NFF – no US EC member was present – argued that the IS “did not understand the new world situation” and comrades argued that the womens movement was detonating the struggles of the working class. A further reflection of this capitulation is in shown in the Euro election where the main slogan of the Irish section’s candidate is “for a socialist feminist”.

This divergence is reflected by a turn away from systematic trade union work in a number of sections and abandonment of an orientation and emphasis on the centrality of the working class. This is clearly reflected in Greece and the non- Trotskyist approach of the section towards intervening in the environment movement and the approach taken towards the workers in gold mining industry.

There is a major divergence between the NFF and ourselves on the question of a systematic and consistent orientation and intervention to the working class and its organisations. We defend this orientation and in doing so up hold the historical foundations on which the CWI was build. The NFF are opposed to it and are moving away from it. This is not a secondary issue as the NFF allege. It is a crucial question on which there needs to be agreement in order to establish a “principled revolutionary unity”.

The leadership of the NFF evade serious debate on these crucial questions of divergence. In debate after debate they have alleged that the IS is conservative, out of touch and now represents “the old guard”.

They have tried to rally support on the basis of an emotional appeal for “unity” but evade explaining what the principled political basis of “revolutionary unity” is based on. The only thing that unites the leadership of the NFF is opposition to the IS. The failure to debate the political issues and only call for “revolutionary unity” without political agreement is the receipt for a split.

Throughout the debate the NFF have denied that it is a question of “regime change”. However, as Sascha S made clear in his recent statement this was explicitly posed by Eric B (Belgium) at the IEC meeting in November. Now other representatives of the NFF have also posed the same issue in recent debates. Paul C (representing the NFF in England and Wales) explicitly posed this in a debate in the eastern region. Now the removal of Peter T from the IS has been raised in a debate in the US and the representative of the NFF in the debate, Andy M, failed to comment on this.

Regime change

It has been revealed during the debate that some NFF members have been preparing the ground for a regime change for a number of years. From Austria comrades report that they were informed some IEC members were organising against the IS in 2016. Younger comrades in England and Wales were told by Danny B that they would have an important role to play “especially if there was a split in the CWI” at about the same time!

All comrades have the right to oppose the IS and argue for a different political approach. However, this should be done openly and honestly. This was not done by these comrades. This dishonest method has sunk to new depths during the course of the debate. All members of the CWI need to pose the question if there is to be regime change – which is the right of comrades to propose – what is the political basis to elect a new leadership? The only unifying stance of the NFF is to deny that substantial political differences exist and opposition to the International Secretariat. We have published our political platform. What is the political platform of the NFF if it carries through a regime change? Comrades will search in vain for a political platform they all defend. We are confronted with a non, faction, faction with non principled principles! A regime change of this character will destroy the CWI as a viable Trotskyist international organization which we are not prepared to accept.

The NFF demand that the COC resumes its functions. Yet this body is perceived by the NFF as an “alternative to the IS” which we reject. We reject the calling of the IEC in August by the NFF as an attempted coup or preparation for a coup against the current IS.

The NFF claims that the IEC majority represents the majority of the CWI. We do not accept this. As we have explained the IEC as currently composed is not representative of the CWI. Its composition is weighed towards the smaller groups like Cyprus, Poland, or Australia with 1 full member whose active membership is less than some branches in other sections! Or Russia with 25 members and 2 full IEC members and not a single full timer. Greece with 302 members has 4 IEC members the same as England and Wales with 2000 members. 3 sections – Cyprus, Australia and Russia – have a total of 66 members and 4 IEC members!

Against the background of a political and theoretical abandonment of Trotskyism by the NFF leadership we cannot agree to participate in or recognise the August IEC which is aimed at enacting a regime change which will mean the destruction of the Trotskyist principles the CWI was founded upon. We have defended and will continue to defend the Trotskyist methods and principles on which the CWI was founded and continue to build it on those methods in the coming period. We therefore appeal to the comrades not to participate in this meeting called by the NFF on a non-principled political basis, which in reality is a split from the CWI.

Those participating in this are placing themselves outside the CWI and in a rival organization. We appeal to comrades to support the international conference called by the international faction ‘In Defence of a workers’ and Trotskyist CWI’ and the programme and platforms which we have defended. This is the road to build a powerful Trotskyist international based on the working class and the methods of the CWI.”

“Against the background of a political and theoretical abandonment of Trotskyism by the NFF “

Harsh words….

They appear to have split on the basis of some of their sections having some kind of of way of relating to mass politics.

That is, against the Millies’ standard practice of refusing to  work with anybody on an an equal basis as opposed to the normal practice of this funny sect, which thinks, bizarrely, that it is a leading force for socialism (let alone ‘Trotskyism).

Their criticisms of ‘identity politics’, lety aline their hostility to Climate Change demos, have the odour of another age: what they mean is working with other people on the left.

They have done that, “we are in  charge” stuff since the anti-Poll Tax movement and the ant-racist campaign, and, one could list their hollow fronts at length.

It looked ridiculous, from a groupuscule of aged dogmatists,   in the past and now….

One would suggest that the weakness of their politics has been cruelly exposed over Brexit, which they stridently backed, even to the extent of supporting the Arron banks linked right-wing Trade Unionists against the EU.

They publicly supported the hard right Brexit project, the extent of being key members of the NO to EU Yes to Democracy front of the labour aristocrats of the CPB and the RMT

The right-wing trajectory of the anti-European Union Taafe group  continues...

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Walks Outs by “ultra-left and sectarian” Spanish and Portuguese Sections in Growing Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) Split.

with 3 comments

Image result for socialist party CWI militant

Socialist Party in Split with “ultra-left and sectarian” Spanish and Portuguese Sections.

It seems as if the international far-left is undergoing some serious splits.

The American International Socialist Organization, which is known to the present site for some serious political articles over the years), has dissolved.

THE ISO’S VOTE TO DISSOLVE AND WHAT COMES NEXT

MEMBERS AND recent ex-members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) have decided to dissolve the organization and end publication of SocialistWorker.org over the coming weeks, but also to support several working groups and initiatives going forward, and to work toward continued collaboration in rebuilding independent revolutionary socialist organization.

These decisions followed a week of online voting that ended March 29 on nearly two-dozen proposals put forward ahead of an all-member conference call on March 24. Nearly 500 members, participants in disaffiliated branches and recently resigned members took part in the vote.

The decisions came in the wake of a severe crisis in the ISO after information surfaced about a horribly mishandled sexual assault accusation in 2013. An independent disciplinary committee at the time came to the conclusion that an ISO member had clearly violated the organization’s code of conduct and should be expelled, but the 2013 Steering Committee interfered with the committee’s work, overturned its decision and effectively

Meanwhile the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), best known for its British section, the stridently pro-Brexit Socialist Party, and which has yet to produce any serious political articles, is undergoing a split of its own.

It seems that in its dispute with the Irish group SP leader Peter Taaffe has found himself in the minority.

This is latest (April the 2nd).

Statement from the ‘In Defence of a Working Class Trotskyist CWI’ Faction to all members of the CWI

Dear comrades,

At the meeting of the International Faction in London held on 27-28 March the Spanish and Portuguese delegations unfortunately walked out of the meeting. In a final declaration JIR made the completely false assertion that they were being excluded from the Faction because they had raised political differences.

At this meeting a series of important political differences arose. This followed a telephone conference which was held between the entire Spanish EC and members of the IS Majority on Friday 22 March. At the meeting comrades from Spain raised a series of differences relating to method, the decisions taken by the leadership of the England and Welsh section at the recent congress of their section and also a clear declaration of important differences relating to the analysis of the CWI regarding the lowering of socialist consciousness following the collapse of the Stalinist regimes and the consequences this had for the international workers’ movement at the time along with the extent to which these effects are still present today.

At the end of this telephone conference JIR made clear that these issues were of critical importance to the Spanish leadership. It was agreed that they would be discussed in more depth at the Faction meeting in London. This was done on the first day. In the debate important differences emerged in relation to socialist and political consciousness, the consequences of the collapse of the former Stalinist states and the analysis we have had on Venezuela and some other issues which JIR stated were fundamental questions. During his intervention JIR argued that these questions had not been sufficiently discussed during the process of unification and that the comrades had been “deceived”, something which is completely false. He declared that these issues would be reported back to a special Spanish CC meeting which would then decide on its attitude towards the Faction.

In informal discussion following the meeting between the Spanish, Portuguese comrades and Phillip Stott (Scotland) Clive Heemskerk (England and Wales) and Tony Saunois (IS Majority) JIR made clear that these differences were fundamental and implied that the comrades would recommend to the Spanish EC and CC that they leave the Faction. He also stated that this would mean it would make no sense to remain in the CWI.

It was agreed that he make a formal statement of the situation to the Faction meeting the next day. At that meeting he was asked to make such a statement and argued that firstly Peter Taaffe should reply to the discussion. This was not acceptable as the content of the reply would partly be dependent on the declaration made by JIR.

This approach by JIR was a continuation of the ultimatist approach which unfortunately has been the approach adopted by the Spanish leadership throughout the CWI factional struggle. JIR eventually made a declaration protesting against the alleged methods used in the meeting and falsely claiming that the comrades were being excluded from the meeting because they and the Portuguese delegation had raised political differences. As Tony Saunois was responding to this declaration, refuting the allegations made by JIR, stating that we were prepared to continue the discussion on these issues the Spanish and Portuguese delegations walked out of the meeting.

The members of the Faction at this meeting reject the false claims that the Spanish and Portuguese were excluded for raising political differences.

At the meeting it was clear that the Spanish and Portuguese delegations were arguing in our opinion from an ultra-left and sectarian standpoint. The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction. However, in conducting a principled defence of the methods and traditions of the CWI against this trend we are not prepared to paper over or mask important political differences with the sectarian approach adopted by the Spanish and supported by the Portuguese leadership for the sake of opportunistic expediency in the factional struggle within the CWI. The Faction openly discusses political issues and, unlike our opponents, we do not hide any disagreements that may arise. The Faction was formed to defend a principled Trotskyist approach in opposition to opportunism within the CWI. Now a sectarian ultra-left trend has also emerged which we will also politically oppose.

Signed:

Tony Saunois, Bob Labi, Clare Doyle, Niall Mulholland, Senan Uthaya (International Secretariat);

Peter Taaffe, Hannah Sell, Judy Beishon (International Secretariat and English and Welsh EC);

Paula Mitchell, Clive Heemskerk (English and Welsh EC);

OKSascha Stanicic, Micheal Koschitzki (IEC and German EC), Angelika Teweleit (German EC);

Christine Thomas (IEC and Italy EC);

Phillip Stott (IEC and Scottish EC).

Further material available here: More documents from the CWI faction fight

From Trainspotters – the texts are now in the public domain.

The sentence, “The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction.” already looks headed for the annals of classical Marxist quotations.

“Convulsive Crisis” in Committee for a Workers’ International. Breaking News.

with 3 comments

Image result for the march of militant

The authentic ideas, traditions and policies of the Militant Tendency.

Everything that exists is material and is derived from matter; that matter is in a process and constant change; and that all matter is interconnected and interdependent.

Dialectical Materialism and Science  (SOCIALIST APPEAL)

Like a cloud burst this letter has just broken in the international socialist and workers’ movement:

Open letter to the members and former members of the CWI

The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) has been plunged into a convulsive crisis, which is most likely going to end in a split. At the centre of the crisis are developments in their Irish section. From the material available to us from their internal discussions it appears that the Irish section is being accused of adapting to identity politics, concentrating on women’s and LGBTQ+ issues to the detriment of work in the trade unions, bending towards reformism and at the same time adopting a sectarian stance. This emerges both from the criticisms of the International Secretariat (IS) majority faction and of one of their MPs, Paul Murphy..

The heavily ‘Labour Party orientated’ Socialist Appeal group – just a newspaper and sympathisers, and the odd abandoned telephone box,  – in the shape of the International Marxist Tendency traces the roots of the convulsions in the Socialist Party’s practice over the last decades:

Unfortunately, a bureaucratic clique, led by Peter Taaffe, slowly emerged within the tendency over a number of years.

Militant, as it was known, had its own split.

this led to the quest for shortcuts, which pushed the Tendency in an ultra-left and sectarian direction, breaking with all the traditions and methods that had led to the outstanding successes of the previous period.

Alas,

Ted Grant, together with Alan Woods, Rob Sewell and other comrades, attempted to resist this turn to adventurism, but it proved to be too late and they were met not with genuine discussion, not with any attempt at reaching agreement through democratic debate, but with bureaucratic methods and outright hooliganism that were completely alien to our democratic traditions. The opposition, inside the Militant in Britain and around the world, was expelled in the most arbitrary manner in early 1992. As Taaffe put it, the Opposition had “placed itself outside the organisation”.

This marked a decisive break with the genuine traditions of Trotskyism and eventually led to the destruction of everything we had achieved over a period of 40 years of patient revolutionary work. Under the leadership of Peter Taaffe, the gains we had made in the labour movement were gradually lost.

Lacking the load-stone of Marxism they were adrift, and look what befell them….

Not good stuff, not at all.

This is precisely what has happened to the leadership of the CWI under Taaffe. It made a big mistake in abandoning the Labour Party perspective and has not had the honesty and courage to admit so.

Mandelism.

Taaffe accuses his opponents in Ireland and elsewhere of all kinds of heinous political sins (liquidationism, opportunism, Mandelism, etc.). But if there is opportunism and liquidationism in the ranks of the CWI, these tendencies have not arisen overnight. The leadership is fully responsible for this chasing after short cuts, which is the basis for opportunism. It has been visible to all for quite some time.

The must-read of the day ends on this poignant note.

Comrades! The authentic ideas, traditions and policies of the Militant Tendency have been consistently preserved and defended by the IMT.

..

If you agree, we appeal to you to join the International Marxist Tendency, the true heir of the best traditions of the Militant, and its fight for a new International, and help us build the forces of Marxism with the healthy methods of Ted Grant.

March, 2019.

Further Reading: Socialist Appeal conference 2019: building the Marxist voice of Labour and youth

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 25, 2019 at 6:35 pm

Socialist Party’s Irish Bust-Up Fall Out – from Irish Times to Socialist Democracy.

with one comment

Image result for Socialist party Ireland

“Like a hermit crab it lived for decades in the British and Irish Labour parties and patiently burrowed into lower level of the union bureaucracies to win positions.” (Socialist Democracy)

The Irish Times published this last week,

Socialist Party documents illustrate criticism from international comrades

The inner workings of the Socialist Party are not usually on display for all to see.

Its TDs – Paul MurphyRuth Coppinger and Mick Barry – are the most cogent left wing voices in the Dáil.

Also operating under the Solidarity (formerly Anti-Austerity Alliance) banner, they have led debates on issues such as abortion and water charges.

In our view a tendency has also developed of some leading Irish comrades seeing all struggles through the prism of the women’s movement, rather than seeing how it interconnects with other struggles

Documents recently circulated within the party, however, illustrate how their movement has been criticised by international comrades for an excessive focus on abortion and women’s rights issues.

And this:

Inside Ireland’s Socialist Party: telling the ‘digestible’ truth

Paul Murphy advocates ‘united front’ when dealing with Sinn Féin, documents show

The – well informed – article cites ‘Internal Documents’ – i.e. those made available on this site, not to mention elsewhere.

The Socialist Party will present the truth “in the way which is most digestible to the working class at a particular time”, TD Paul Murphy has said.

In internal documents discussing Brexit and wider strategy, he asks: “Are we guilty of not ‘telling the truth’ to the working class when we don’t bring a demand to leave the EU?

“We always tell the truth to the working class. But we present the truth in the way which is most digestible to the working class at a particular time.”

In exchanges with members including Joe Higgins, he advocates a “united front” method of dealing with groups such as Sinn Féin.

“The guiding line for us all in this debate should be what Lenin, approvingly quoting Trotsky, argued, that ‘ideological struggle within the party does not mean mutual ostracism but mutual influence’.”

He also corrects his comrades’ “inaccurate historical description of the united front as ‘tactics the Comintern and revolutionary parties adopted . . . in the 1920s and 1930s’.

Irish Times readers were spared the reference to ‘Mandelism’, in this ‘debate’ a sugared almond only us hardened Trainspotters could chew over.

The below is definitely for the Trainspotters.

Irish Socialist Party internal debate

The issues should concern us all.

The programme of the Socialist Party is rather narrow and restrictive and it operates a vicious internal discipline. Like a hermit crab it lived for decades in the British and Irish Labour parties and patiently burrowed into lower level of the union bureaucracies to win positions.

Socialist Democracy.

The publication of internal documents from the Socialist Party has led to a gleeful attempt to rubbish the left by the Irish press and by an outbreak of gossip on social media.

In neither case has there been any real discussion of the issues arising in the SP’s internal debate. This is a pity, because the documents highlight key strategic contradictions for the Irish left that are not being addressed.

The areas of dispute are; feminism, relationships with Sinn Fein and the overall strategic direction of the reformist left in terms of a ”broad left party” and a “left government.”

Two issues stand out,

The Irish organisation is criticised by the British group for opportunism in the abortion referendum. That is the claim that they simply supported what young militants already believed and made no attempt to introduce socialist policies. Both sides of the argument are hampered by distorted ideas of what a socialist policy would be. For the critics, it is an orientation to the working class, by which they mean speeches in dusty trade union halls. For the Irish group, it was moving the front group ROSA to a more radical position focused on the right to choose.

And (this is where SD hits home),

The dispute around Sinn Fein inside the Socialist Party between Paul Murphy and the majority represents a much greater division than simply debates on feminism. Unfortunately that debate is poisoned at source, with both factions agreeing that Sinn Fein is a sectarian party.

What this means is that Paul Murphy, the advocate for a softer line, defines sectarianism as:

“trying to coerce the protestant working class into the southern state via a border poll”

The policy of the party is that a democratic majority vote for a united Ireland would be sectarian and coercive because it might provoke loyalist paramilitaries to violence. The extreme unionism of their position does not stop there. They routinely see far right loyalists as legitimate representatives of Protestant workers.

So at a fundamental level members of the Socialist Party exhibit a deep hostility to a unified Irish democracy. What then divides them?

Paul Murphy is in effect pointing out that their policy, brought to the fore, will alienate workers and limit their electoral appeal.

All this has happened before. The programme of the Socialist Party is rather narrow and restrictive and it operates a vicious internal discipline. Like a hermit crab it lived for decades in the British and Irish Labour parties and patiently burrowed into lower level of the union bureaucracies to win positions. Today the union leaders, locked in partnership with capitalism, are content to front protest activity led by communities and activists. This gives an area of intervention to the SP, but if the struggles are big enough they challenge the fixed ideology of the group.

So the bin changes campaign of 2003-2004  saw an electoral boost for the Socialist Party but also saw the expulsion of their national secretary and Joan Collins standing as an independent TD.

One cannot resist a laugh at this though,

Many sniggered at the use of Marxist theory in the Socialist Party’s internal debate. It’s true that it was somewhat turgid in places and self-serving in others. But it structures the debate around ideas that are themselves the fruit of many decades of struggle by the working class.

Now I wonder who that can refer to….

Written by Andrew Coates

March 12, 2019 at 5:48 pm

As Labour and Tories Split, Committee for Workers International (CWI/Socialist Party, ex Militant) Rows on “petty Bourgeois Mandelism” Escalates.

with 7 comments

Image result for cwi socialist

Call to Purge Labour as they face International Split of their own.

In the latest copy of the Socialist you’ll find this call to purge Labour,

Eight Blairites split – Now kick out the rest

  • Gang of eight traitors must face by-elections
  • Mandatory reselection to kick out the rest

Corbyn and unions must call mass action – for a general election now

They also demand they be allowed back into the Party, through the convening of a special conference in which they will happily particticate,

The Gang of Seven have exposed more clearly than ever the real nature of the battle that must be waged to refound Labour as a genuinely democratic, socialist party, with a renewed, federal structure. The Socialist Party calls for the convening of a labour movement conference, in which all anti-austerity forces, including trade unions and socialist groups such as our own, could participate.

Such a conference could discuss the urgent tasks facing our movement. Most immediately, these include building mass action to fight for a general election, deselecting Blairite MPs and their replacement with fighting socialist candidates, and building the struggle to transform society along socialist lines.

What you won’t read is an account of their own split, an international one involving their Irish and Greek sections, inside their mini-International, the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).

In Defence of a Working-class Orientation for the CWI Peter Taaffe for the International Secretariat (Majority) 14/1/19 It is necessary to call things by their right name. Barely a month has passed since the IEC and yet it is already quite clear that the CWI faces an opposition to the policies and programme of the CWI with tendencies towards petty bourgeois Mandelism. This opposition originated with the leadership of the Irish section, but it is also present in the leadership of a number of sections of the CWI who support them. This is most prominently displayed in the recent lengthy Greek Executive Committee’s resolution written by Andros P, which represents an open political retreat from the policies and analysis of the CWI. This is a complete apologia – both organisational and political – for the false methods, policies and perspectives of the Irish organisation.

More: IS-majority-and-PT-Statement-one.pdf

While the above magistral masterpiece  has been the subject of many discussions amongst the Leftists Trainspotters’ Permanent Central Committee (FB) over the last few days, there is also this:

Members bulletin Documents on the dispute that arose at the IEC

At the recent IEC meeting a major dispute erupted involving, in the view of the majority of England and Wales comrades who attended, fundamental issues. Arising from that dispute an international faction has been formed which the England and Wales IEC members are members of. There will now be a process of debate, leading up to a World Congress in January 2020, in order to discuss out and clarify the issues. The faction will be producing written political material explaining its view, and will invite others to do the same. Organised debates, with all views being put, will then take place. We recognise that it will not be possible for most comrades in England and Wales to draw firm conclusions prior to that process of discussion.

“It is not complete, as some confidential issues cannot be reported in writing…”

Contents:

IS statement following meeting with Irish leadership 3

Email from PS to KMcL, PM, DB 4

Our response to the issues 7

A brief contribution on some political issues mentioned by PM 13

IS letter for discussion on a marxist challenge to identity politics 19

Women’s oppression and identity politics – our approach in Ireland and internationally A Response to the IS document “Women’s Oppression and Identity Politics” Response of Belgian IEC members on IS document 46

T he United Front method and putting forward a Socialist Programme today Resolution from faction to the IEC 65

Concerning IEC 2018 66 30 51

Notable extract,

A crisis has developed. The IS and representatives of the leadership of the Irish section have met to have extensive discussion to try and find a principled solution to the problems which have arisen. 3.  This meeting followed the revelation that a comrade, CP, had [redacted]. The IS totally condemns these actions and finds them reprehensible. We agree that this needs to be reported and discussed to the NC of the Irish section which should discuss and agree what disciplinary sanctions should be taken against CP.

See also Urban 75.

A screenshot has been circulating containing the opening paragraphs of a document titled ‘Crisis in CWI’ and penned by head honcho Peter Taaffe. The tirade accuses the Irish section, their star section and most successful in electoral terms, of ‘political retreat’ and lurching towards ‘petty bourgeois Mandelism’. No substantive differences are raised and I don’t have access to the rest of the document, but the accusatory and intemperate tone suggests a split is on the horizon.

Irish comrades, not in the CWI, fail to detect substantial differences over wider Irish issues, though the Socialist Party’s pro-British Brexit nationalist line may well, they suggest, have caused tensions.

The “redacted” section suggests something that they wish to hide.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 21, 2019 at 6:27 pm

The Socialist Party and Socialist View Split in the PCS Union Grows.

leave a comment »

Image result for socialist party pcs

The PCS Internal Dispute Grows.

The world may have forgotten about the Socialist Party, although it is said that copies of Militant by Michael Crick (1984) are still selling and valued like gold dust.

This week they made a raft of demands including the following, a call for

An emergency labour movement conference, open to all genuinely anti-austerity forces to discuss the transformation of the Labour Party along democratic, socialist lines. This should include discussion on: restoring the policy-making power of Labour Party conference – including the trade unions playing a full democratic role; the introduction of a new socialist ‘clause 4’, replacing the one introduced by Tony Blair with one committing to democratic public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange; the opening up of the Labour Party to all socialist and anti-austerity forces to participate on the basis of a renewed, federal structure.

This prospect, sure to be welcome across the labour movement and in the Labour Party, for those who’re interested, part of their, “Editorial of the Socialist issue 1020. For a socialist alternative to the EU – mobilise to kick out the Tories!“.

Some may relish the prospect of solving the present politics crisis by, “mass action, including organising an emergency national demonstration to kick out the Tories.”

Alas, what most people are interested in is something that concerns people, active and solid people on the left, active in the civil service Trade Union, the PCS.

When the present row began the Socialist said,

The dispute within the left of Britain’s largest civil service union raises key issues for the whole labour movement.

After the left won control of the union, there have been important moves to democratise and transform PCS. Unfortunately, however, we now see the danger of that process being thrown into reverse, with power increasingly concentrated in the hands of unelected officials. Pressure in this direction is inevitable, given the difficult period the trade union movement is going through, but it is vital it is resisted.

PCS: the real issues at stake 20th of August.

In the course of this comradely debate the SP said,

Unfortunately, it is typical of some of Janice’s supporters’ false methods of argument to put up straw men in order to attempt to bombastically smash them down.

Despite the outrage expressed at the concerns we raised about the undermining of the democratic traditions of PCS, the SV reply repeatedly confirms this danger.

……

The SV authors accuse us of lying when we said that “arguments for affiliation [to Labour] will be put” in the new consultation on political representation that was agreed at this year’s PCS conference. We never suggested that the consultation would call for affiliation. This is clearly unlikely given the response to the last, 2016, consultation which raised affiliation as one option. Mark was sympathetic to looking seriously at that, arguing in a Policy and Resources Committee paper (published on 5 October 2015), “I’ve been approached by a number of people inside & outside PCS on the question of affiliation to LP… I do believe that we have a duty to consider this question.” However, “responses did not support” it.

In a woeful attempt to denigrate Chris’s record, the SV authors write: “Chris doesn’t take the average wage of a skilled worker”, and add that Janice has committed to do so. They and Janice turn their fire on Chris, but what demands have they made on Mark Serwotka? When Chris first stood for AGS he pledged to move to London, relocating his family at considerable expense and upheaval, in order to be based in the union HQ and be able to do his job effectively. Despite the financial demands of relocating, he pledged in his election address – with the agreement of other Socialist Party members including Janice Godrich – to repay part of his salary to union funds and make regular donations to strikes and labour movement causes in Britain and internationally. Chris has consistently met that pledge.

…..

They have not formally resigned from the Socialist Party, but the SV article, written by one Socialist Party member and one non-member, makes clear that they no longer see themselves as part of our party. It is not accidental that at one stage they refer to the Socialist Party as “their party”, meaning Chris and his supporters. They suggest that the Socialist Party’s “end objective” of “winning the leading positions in the union for their party justifies any actions, no matter how dishonest those means may be”.

PCS: the real issues at stake – a reply to Socialist View

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary

Recently qualified Leftist Trainspotter, Howie, posts this, keeping us up to date:

Socialist Party lose first stage of PCS Assistant General Secretary Campaign.

The influence of the Socialist Party begins it’s final decline as incumbent PCS Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh failed to win the Left Unity nomination. Janice Godrich as expected won. Only the interim result has been published though as you guessed it the Socialist Party are contesting the result.

They are indeed,

Throughout the campaign and emphasised by Chris at a number of debates, a fighting strategy and positive approach has been given that can take the union forward. Chris won a majority in three of the five election debates that he took part in, with Martin Cavanagh and John McInally deputising for Janice Godrich. This included London, which was attended by Mark Serwotka who argued against Chris.

We thank all those Left Unity members who took part in the debates, particularly those who supported our candidates.

On the AGS election, the interim report indicates 139 votes for Chris Baugh and 167 votes for Janice Godrich. However, Left Unity members are still waiting for the final results. This is because a whole number of votes have been ruled out – some postal ballots and those cast at three voting meetings, including London.

Despite this, the ‘interim’ results were published. Many Left Unity members are shocked and angry that this was done when there are issues still outstanding. Despite the claims of Janice’s supporters in Socialist View, the ruled-out votes could materially affect the results of three key positions: AGS, Left Unity chair and Left Unity editor.

The only way to clarify this is for the full report to be published, with all the results included, along with explanation for those omitted. This is not an attack on the integrity of the scrutineers, as Socialist View claims, but a call for transparency and democratic processes.

Comes the response from Socialist View,

Socialist View Statement on PCS Left Unity elections 2018

Following a long campaign to decide the nominations for the Left Unity slate for next year’s PCS national elections the LU Scrutineers Interim Report was published on Sunday 25th November.

 

The report confirms the result of the ballot for all contested elections, including the Assistant General Secretary and National President. We are pleased that the results show both Janice Godrich and Fran Heathcote have been successful in their attempt to secure the LU nomination for the posts of AGS and President respectively. Alongside Janice and Fran all other nominees, supported by the Socialist View campaign, have also been successful.

 

This clear result is testimony to the campaign which has been run by Janice and her supporters, and to the difference in strategy put forward via the Socialist View throughout this campaign.

 

The difference in policy and strategy between those of us supporting Janice, and the supporters of the incumbent Chris Baugh, have become increasingly polarised in recent weeks especially in relation to national pay campaign. The choice between building our union’s capability to improve our organisation in every workplace to win on pay, proposed by Janice and her supporters, versus the strategy, argued for by Chris and his supporters, of disaggregated group ballots linked to other employer based issues, has been a key strand to this campaign. The outcome of this election reflects the positive campaign ran by supporters of Socialist View and indicates wider support for the belief we have in our members ability to win, against the conservative approach of our opponents.

Some  have commented that only a few hundred people voted in the ballot.

It is not unusual for Leninist groupuscules to have ferocious splits.

This one, apparently, involves a far from exceptional degree of personal rancour

It is, however, out of the ordinary to see these disputes played out in public inside a trade union with around  185, 000 members, in an important sector of employment,  and inside an organisation which enjoys wide respect for its work.

The PCS Independent Left meanwhile have their own candidate:

John Moloney to stand for PCS Assistant General Secretary

At its Annual General Meeting, the PCS Independent Left nominated John Moloney as our candidate in the Assistant General Secretary elections next year.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 30, 2018 at 1:26 pm