Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Socialist Party in disarray

The travails of the Socialist Workers Party may be at the forefront of most observers of the antics of the far left, but their now larger rival the Socialist Party of England & Wales (SPEW) along with its Scottish and Irish equivalents have their own problems.

The continuing dispute over the niceties of Marxist theory have led to the publication of an "Open Letter" to the executive committees of SPEW & the SP(S) over at Marx Returns from the Grave:

Dear Hannah,
Please find below an open letter to be circulated to all EC members:
Open Letter to the Socialist Party EC and the Socialist Party Scotland EC
Dear comrades,
We would like to warmly welcome the start of the official debate on the important question of ‘The causes of the Great Recession’. We would like to thank all those who worked and spent their precious time in facilitating this, with particular thanks to the comrades who formatted the documents so adequately and efficiently!
We look forward to furthering the discussion which we believe will stand us in good stead for the tasks ahead, as we clarify the ideas and raise the theoretical level of our great international.
At this point we would like to make the following additional preliminary remarks to help facilitate the smooth running of the debate:
We support the idea of a scheduled time table for the debate which the EC originally proposed. This could include deadline dates for a series of members’ bulletins on the issues. Members would be encouraged to write their thoughts and contribute to the collective learning experience.
There are a number of comrades internationally who are interested in reading the documents and debating the issues but need a translation – the key languages being French, German and Spanish.
It could also include a debate at the upcoming Socialism 2013 event. This would be on the basis of a comradely introduction to the ideas and where the differences lie.
We think this would be in the spirit of vibrant, open debate and demonstrate to the wider movement the dynamic and fraternal traditions of the CWI. In this period of mistrust in political parties we think such an approach is consistent with our aims to reach out to the working class, especially the youth.
Branches and regions should be encouraged to hold regional aggregates or branch meetings (depending on what best suits the area) to discuss the issues in a friendly and engaging manner. The signatories are more than happy to speak at these events.
We have found the EC documents useful in bringing out the wider implications of the debate with relation to consciousness, political conclusions and the transitional programme. It is useful to highlight that although the technical intricacies of the arguments surrounding falling rate of profit are very important – they do need to be set out in a way which relates to the current historical tasks and all that flows from it. We mustn’t fall into the academic trap of not locating the theory with practise, even in our party, where members on either side of the debate and in between are firmly rooted and checked by the class struggle.
We do ask though that the both the England and Wales and the Scottish Executive Committees kindly refrain from using statements on Bruce’s personal blog in replies to our document. This is because Bruce’s personal views are not necessarily shared by the other signatories.
We would also like to re-iterate that all signatories are committed members of the CWI and are in full agreement with the theory of the degenerated workers’ state in relation to the former Soviet Union and the deformed workers’ state with regards to Eastern Europe (as opposed to state capitalism).
We also accept the transitional programme as explained by Trotsky, and we are not believers in a ‘final crisis’ of capitalism. Such allegations in official submissions to discussion documents only serve to muddy the waters; not generate the political clarity that we are aiming to achieve.
With that in mind, we hope that the debate does not descend down the blind alley of comrades having to prove themselves on these basic concepts that we hope we are all agreed on! We look forward to furthering the debate and sharpening our analysis.
Forward, to a socialist world!
Steve Bush, Allan Coote, Sandra De Andrade, Steve Dobbs, Pete Glover, Georg Kumer, Rae Lewis-Ayling, Jordan Martinez, Alec Price, Wayne Scott, Bruce Wallace
At the same time the threat of a challenge to the sitting Socialist Party (Ireland) MEP by the SWP, as reported by Mentioning the War blog has led to a very public rant in the Irish edition of The Socialist:

SWP’s sectarian decision could damage chances

It has been confirmed that it is the intention that Socialist Workers Party member, Councillor Brid Smith would be a People Before Profit Alliance candidate in the European Elections next May for the Dublin constituency. When this information initially appeared a few days ago via social media, it caused bewilderment and shock.
This is an irresponsible decision and should be rescinded. It strikes a blow against the struggle to build a genuine Left and Socialist alternative by making it more complicated for Paul Murphy to retain the European Parliament seat. If proceeded with, it would rank as a crass example of political sectarianism.
Of course political groups on the Left have the right to stand in whatever elections they wish. That is not the issue. They also have the responsibility to judge whether it is correct to exercise that right against the specific political background prevailing at the time and the ramifications that flow from their decision.......
Any attempt to justify a People Before Profit Alliance candidate on the basis that the ‘far left’ needs to have more ambition and go out with the aim to win two out of the three seats reflects either incredibly bad political judgement or is simply blatantly disingenuous. Close to 50% of the first preference vote and very good transfers would have to obtained to make that possible.
This is building up to be a massive battle between many forces/candidates, probably for one seat, and the PBPA throwing their hat in the ring could endanger Paul Murphy’s chance of retaining that seat....
......Talk of the possibility of two seats by members of the SWP for the far left is an attempt to prettify or camouflage what would be a deeply sectarian move that will damage the struggle and could well result in giving a left and socialist seat to the right-wing.
Full article: here
Paul Murphy's defeat would be no loss given his unsavoury views on the middle east as previously reported on this blog. 

Sometimes I think these people can't help themselves, let alone other people.

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