Saturday, October 31, 2020

Ideology or Ideals?

 The WSMs position is not ideological, when its actually practical/strategic. If anything its our opponents who portray it as some sort of puritan ideological position. Sure its a big issue for others on the left, but its just the sensible tactic for now.

I envisage a growing revolutionary movement may need to more actively engage with reformist opportunities provided for working class gains - I have no ideological objection to that, but we'd be doing it from a position of strength with the capitalist class in desperate retreat. As to the present, I think there are grey areas (i.e. as to what is trade union activity and political activity) and we in WSM do definitely sometimes make it seem like its clear cut, when it really is not.


Campaigning against government cuts for example is often about both defending jobs as well as advocating for free access to healthcare, education, libraries etc. - so it gets messy, but individual socialists can sort that out for themselves on a case-by-case basis. "Mostly on track"? I think we at best aspire to that!

Returning to the Labour Party, the main thing I would want to highlight (to anyone interested in the SPGB or the WSM) is that we have no leaders and never have in 116 years of existence. No secret meetings, no slates, no power grabs: decision-making is entirely led by members. We have an executive committee (anyone can attend the meetings) but it's there to carry out the memberships wishes, it cannot initiate resolutions, only branches can. We accept no ring-fenced funding and are immune to being taken over or influenced by media or others.

We can do this because our members are equal. We can say this because all members when applying to join have to satisfy their local branch that they are not a "follower", that their views are consistent with being a revolutionary socialist with no prejudices, and a clear understanding of capitalism and socialism.


Some think this requirement to join is elitist; in fact its the very opposite. The Labour Party long ago allowed itself to be open to anyone with the vaguest commitment to social justice and a chequebook. The suspension of Corbyn may be shocking to many Labour members. Corbyn may have genuinely been the leader you wanted him to be, but the Labour Party? - it has never been the party you thought it was.

Brian Gardner

(slightly adapted)


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