Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Marxism in crisis and decline

Marxism 2014

The rabid Socialist Workers Party have been boasting about the turnout at their Marxism 2014 bash in their down market tabloid Socialist Worker:

Over 2,600 people attended the event, organised by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). 

Some 166 meetings took place as well as film screenings and other cultural events.

Marxism 2014 began on the day of a 1.4 million-strong public sector strike. Striking workers were welcomed with cheers from the audience at the opening rally on Thursday of last week.

Given the propensity of the SWP to exaggerate their attendance figures this needs to be revised downwards. It certainly sounds down from last year and their previous attendance figures have claimed as many as 8,000 turning up. 

A serious (and welcome) decline.

Whilst most activists on the left, particularly feminists treat the SWP (rightly) as a pariah within the labour and trade union movement, the Socialist Party of England & Wales (SPEW) complain:

Despite the size and influence of the Socialist Party we have never been invited to debate at Marxism. Socialism, by contrast, has hosted debates with the SWP.

Nonetheless, this year, as in previous years, Socialist Party members attended Marxism and attempted to raise our views. It was not easy to do so. In a session on the trade unions the Socialist Party's tactics were explicitly criticised and yet, when our member appealed to be able to answer the points, he was still not called.

Particularly galling for them:

In a session on how to fight Ukip, introduced by SWP national secretary Charlie Kimber, Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party, who sits alongside Kimber on the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, was called in to speak but only for two minutes at the end of the discussion after she'd appealed directly to Kimber.

Not exactly comradely is it. Tsk.

Why they act as surprised beats me. In their opening paragraph they actually say:

Marxism does not have a good record for open and democratic discussion.

No comrades and its not just the SWP. History shows that disagreements between Marxists have usually ended in purges, Gulags and worse!

Still never mind you can always hold meetings of your own:

Trade unionists crammed into a pub room for the National Shop Stewards Network's post-demo meeting on 10th July, spilling out on to the pavement.

It's becoming a bit of a tradition for activists after a strike demo in London to come for a drink with the NSSN, talk over the day and discuss 'what next', and have the opportunity to get up on a chair to speak.

Better not 'ave one too many comrades you might fall off yer soap box!

Both cults will be heading off to the pro-Hamas demo organised by their rivals Counterfire via the totally misnamed Stop the War Coalition on Saturday.

If you bump into Tony Collins of Socialist Unity you might want to ask him the meaning of his rather odd statement on their website recently. He shares his wisdom on the current attempt to get Hamas to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza thus:

What would this proposed ceasefire mean in practice? It would mean the existing air attacks by Israel would stop.

Duh, like yeah Sherlock. That would be the consequence.

Your problem is?

In fact that's a question most people should be asking the mix of Communists and Islamists that turn out on Saturday.

No rockets, no retaliation.


Then both Palestinians and Israelis can get on with their lives and move forward to peace and prosperity.

It's not rocket science.

Well not the Hamas version.....

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