A joint statement has been issued by three small organisations announcing their engagement to unite into an "open, democratic and plural" organisation. These groups are:
The Anti Capitalist Initiative: A minuscule group containing the 15 former members of a group called Permanent Revolution which disbanded this year, itself a breakaway from the Workers Power organisation which was believed to have less than 50 members before their split. According to their closing statement:
During the following seven years we produced 24 issues of a journal that we think made a significant contribution to debates within the far left, that attempted to develop Marxist theory to address new issues and that offered coherent programmatic answers to key issues facing the international working class. As a consequence the journal developed a significant audience and our ideas won a hearing across the left and the labour movement.
A grand allusion considering they then tell us:
However, with the development of a number of new campaigns, networks and organisations, combined with the decline of the established far left groups, we recognise the need for the left to organise itself in radically different ways. As a result we have now decided to cease publication of our journal and website.
Nobody noticed though.
Socialist Resistance is the second and possibly the largest of these groupscules, certainly it is the one with the longest history as it can trace it's origins back to the International Marxist Group which at one time was led by Tariq Ali. The current leader of SR is one Alan Thornett, a former member of the Workers Revolutionary Party and Cowley shop steward.
Currently Socialist Resistance is involved with the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition and has been seen in meetings of the other increasingly unnoticed project Left Unity. Fingers in many pies it would seem.
The final component of the troika is the newly formed International Socialist Network which split from the ailing SWP earlier this year. They'll obviously be hoping that current events breaking out around the annual Marxism 2013 bash will lead to the departure of another layer of comrades around Ian Birchall.
The tentative romance between these groups has led to the issuing of this self indulgent missive:
This joint statement was agreed by the International Socialist Network, Anticapitalist Initiative, and Socialist Resistance delegations to recent unity talks. They met to discuss the formation of a united revolutionary tendency last weekend.
Delegates from Socialist Resistance, the Anticapitalist Initiative and the International Socialist Network came together on Sunday 7th July to discuss the next steps on the road to forming a united, plural and heterodox revolutionary tendency on the left in Britain.
These discussions were born out of the recent crisis and split in the Socialist Workers Party, which led to the formation of the International Socialist Network, and also inspired debate all across the left in Britain and internationally on how we should move away from the top down and monolithic conception of revolutionary organisation that has proven so damaging in recent years. All of the delegations agreed that they were committed to building an open, democratic and radical left, which encourages free thinking, is built from below and can reach out to a new generation. Wherever necessary delegates tried to make clear the terrain of the debate within their own organisation to the other delegations. This was important for encouraging an open and honest culture in the discussions. It also made clear that the groups participating were not, and did not want to be, monolithic in their approach to revolutionary politics, but even in our own groups we were already attempting to practice pluralism.
Initially discussion focused on a document from Simon Hardy and Luke Cooper (ACI), ‘what kind of radical organisation?’. Discussion was wide-ranging but focused on the questions of building new left parties, trade union and social movement activism, and democratic organisation. Alan Thornett (SR) had produced a response to the document that focused on the difference between a broad party project and a revolutionary Marxist tendency, as well as raising some differences over how the question of democratic organisation was put across in the document.
After two delegate-based discussions of revolutionary unity it was agreed that the debate must be opened out to our wider networks and memberships, and a date for a joint national meeting was agreed for October. There was also a useful discussion of practical collaboration: plans floated for a joint 12 page publication, a common perspective for student and youth work in the autumn, working together to make Left Unity a success, and developing a joint BME caucus. For more information on these discussions then contact any one of the three different organisations involved, SR, ACI, and the IS Network.
A long romance is planned it would seem. Whether this coupling will produce any offspring is as yet unknown.