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C. Flower
26-01-2013, 06:46 PM
The ULA, the fight against austerity & building a new party of the working class (http://www.socialistparty.net/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1123-the-ula-the-fight-against-austerity-a-building-a-new-party-of-the-working-class) http://www.socialistparty.net/templates/socialist/images/pdf_button.png (http://www.socialistparty.net/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1123-the-ula-the-fight-against-austerity-a-building-a-new-party-of-the-working-class?format=pdf) Written by socialist party Saturday, 26 January 2013 17:00


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The Socialist Party has ended its membership of the ULA. We do so with regret as we initiated the negotiations that led to the ULA and are genuine in our preparedness to work with others on the left in a respectful, democratic and principled fashion.
However some in the ULA, including TDs, have moved away from a principled left position and have ditched the collaborative spirit. Apart from the Socialist Party, the other groups in the ULA have accepted this situation, leaving us with no choice but to withdraw.

These developments decisively undermined the ULA, which was already in a weakened state as ordinary working class people had not joined it in any significant numbers, along with the withdrawal of the Workers and Unemployed Action Group (Tipperary) last autumn. As a result, any potential that the ULA had of playing a role in building a new mass Left in Ireland is now gone.

New opportunities for the political re-organisation of the working class

At the same time, the struggle against the Household and Property Tax emerged as a real challenge to the Troika's and the Government's disastrous policy of austerity.
This struggle, which more than any other issue encapsulates the opposition to austerity, has now reached a decisive stage with the threat of deducting the tax at source from people's wages and benefits. It is clear that a major struggle on the Property Tax will politicise tens of thousands of people and will give an enormous impetus to the political re-organisation of the working class, something that unfortunately the ULA proved incapable of achieving.
The Socialist Party remains committed to building a mass and democratic party of the working class and believes that all who are committed to that objective should register the potential significance of the Property Tax issue.
At the start of last year 30,000 people attended meetings organised by the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT). 15,000 marched on the Fine Gael Ard Fheis and by the end of the year nearly 700,000 households, 52% of single home owners, had not registered or paid for the Household Tax.
The threat to rob people’s wages and benefits at source poses difficulties for the campaign and for ordinary people, but it has also deepened the anger. If a strong lead is given on the Property Tax there is a real possibility of even stronger protests this year than last.
An aspect of this struggle should be to connect to the widespread mood to punish Labour and Fine Gael. If out of the struggle came the proposal for a slate or an alliance of anti-Property Tax / anti-austerity candidates for the Local and European Elections next year, that would really ratchet up the pressure on the Government, and on Labour in particular.
Such a proposal could gain huge support and could lead to the involvement of thousands of working class people in a political struggle, with the possibility that many working class activists could get elected. Such developments would not only be a massive step towards forcing the scrapping of the Property Tax, but would also represent a big step towards a new mass party of the working class.

Lessons from the ULA's demise

The original idea of the ULA was for an electoral and parliamentary alliance of groups. On the suggestion of the Socialist Party, a membership was established to try to build a more significant alliance.
The launching of the ULA was a positive development coinciding as it did with the imposition of the Troika’s Programme and the looming general election. However, the worsening austerity combined with the abysmal failure of the trade union leadership to mount any struggle against it in the wake of the major public sector strike and mass demonstration in November 2010, dented people’s confidence and there was a tendency to wait and see if the new Fine Gael / Labour Government might be different.
Unfortunately, the absence of industrial struggles or battles against austerity, combined with a feeling that there was no alternative to austerity, meant that working class people weren’t pushed towards getting politically involved and the ULA didn’t grow despite many public recruitment meetings. Overwhelmingly the very limited numbers who did join were already established left activists, so instead of growing, the ULA barely got off the mark.
Last summer sections of the media consciously used Mick Wallace’s tax evasion and Clare Daly’s close political connection to him to attack the Left. This damaged the Socialist Party and the ULA’s standing as principled Left organisations.
The Socialist Party insists that its elected representatives must be politically independent from business or capitalist interests or people who represent such interests, even more so when tax evasion is involved. In this instance, the fact that the Socialist Party was prepared to lose a TD rather than compromise on an important principle meant that we overcame that damage and gained considerable credit among working class people in particular, who strongly disapprove of Mick Wallace's actions.

Political independence of the left can't be compromised

Unfortunately Clare Daly and another ULA TD, Joan Collins, intensified this political connection with Mick Wallace. They co-presented the X case abortion bill with him in late November. Furthermore on 20 December they organised a major press conference with him, and also Independent TD Luke Flanagan, on the issue of alleged corruption among certain members of the Garda in erasing penalty points for traffic offences. These generated significant media coverage.
They consciously chose not to organise on these issues under the ULA banner but instead opted to promote what is essentially a new alliance of parliamentarians who are not of the Left. This was a body blow to the already diminished credibility of the ULA.
Just as damning for the future of the ULA as these actions, was the fact that none of the other groups in the alliance, the People Before Profit Alliance, the Independent / Non-aligned Group nor significantly, the Socialist Workers Party, opposed this approach of supposedly being committed to a left project but in practice contradicting that by organising a political alliance with others in the Dáil Technical Group who couldn't at all be characterised as on the Left.
On 25 November, at the ULA Council, a motion moved by the Socialist Party on the need to end the political connection with Mick Wallace was voted down by all the other groups. In so doing they assisted in the jettisoning of a cornerstone principle for any left organisation, that it must take seriously its political independence from business interests or forces representing business interests.
Around the same time, the “Daly Bill” on the X case was resubmitted for the ULA’s Private Member’s slot on 27 November but, unfortunately, this was done without any consultation and in defiance of a specifically agreed procedure which necessitated discussion and consensus. If the Socialist Party had the opportunity, we were going to advocate that the ULA submit a bill on the X case but that it should be expanded to cater for a risk to a woman’s health as grounds for an abortion, with a view to broadening out the debate and discussion on abortion in the wake of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar.

ULA at an impasse, but a real basis for optimism for the future

This subverting of democratic procedure undermined the structures and relations in the ULA. Despite the facts, any wrong doing was denied and again unfortunately, none of the other groups made any serious objection to what had happened when it was raised at the Council meeting. These developments destroyed any basis for principled political collaboration and the ULA has been at an impasse ever since.
The ULA is compromised and cannot now be seen as an independent, principled Left alliance nor any longer can there be hope that it could prepare the ground for a new mass workers' party in the years ahead. These are the reasons why, as well as the need to avoid any future damaging associations for the party or for struggles that we are involved in, the Socialist Party is withdrawing from the ULA.
The Socialist Party is open to work with those who remain in the ULA on specific issues, on an agreed basis, both inside and outside the Dáil. However we believe that the key to building a Left alternative will flow from a serious struggle against the disastrous austerity and bailout agenda and in particular from the involvement of thousands of working class people in the battle against the property and water taxes in the year ahead.
Socialist Party members will be among the most active fighters in all aspects of the battle against the Property Tax. As part of that our members will raise in a democratic fashion, locally and nationally, the idea that an anti-Property Tax and anti-austerity challenge in the Local and European Elections in 2014 should be pursued by the campaigns.
Such an electoral initiative, combined with the active struggle against the tax and mass mobilisations against the Government, has the potential to pose a more real and substantial opportunity to build a new mass party of the working class.
Through the establishment of the ULA, initiated by the Socialist Party, an alternative was posed in half the Dáil constituencies in the last general election. We believe that the hopes engendered for a genuine left and socialist alternative which that stand raised, can be surpassed in the months ahead, if the unprecedented opportunity that the next elections offer, is fully grasped.

DO YOU AGREE? SUPPORT THE SOCIALIST PARTY? JOIN US. (http://www.socialistparty.net/home/join)

http://www.socialistparty.net/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1123-the-ula-the-fight-against-austerity-a-building-a-new-party-of-the-working-class

Dr. FIVE
26-01-2013, 06:55 PM
Lot of unfavourable circumstances, outside forces and other people are to blame.

Grand so

C. Flower
26-01-2013, 06:56 PM
So it seems that the Socialist Party blames Clare Daly and the working class and possibly the unaligned members for the failure of their ULA project.

Extraordinary that the role of the SWP is not mentioned prior to the Daly row. A leaked SWP document showed that that party had written off the ULA from early 2012.

I presume this means that the SP wants to go again with another SWP electoral alliance, under the umbrella of the CAHWT.

My commiserations to all of those sincere people who worked very hard for the ULA. Important lessons to be learned from this, and the need for a new and principled organisation of the left is more urgent than ever.

toxic avenger
26-01-2013, 07:07 PM
The working class were never going to support the ULA in large numbers, because the ULA is dominated by middle-class liberal-leftist 'progressives', and the working class are much more socially conservative if economically leftist. The bedrock of the great transformation of British politics that led to universal healthcare, welfare, and free education was a mass of popular support from those who wanted politically and economically leftist policies but were socially conservative.

I know a lot of people here aren't going to like me saying it, but it is the truth. The form of leftism espoused by the ULA is the sort of stuff that belongs among university students. They speak of 'the workers' but condescend to them, and they are never going to attract support in sufficient numbers to make a difference.

I never had any time for the ULA, particularly the giant egos and the gross hypocrisy. How they ever let Mick Wallace, a speculative developer whose political ideology only came to the fore when his gambling blew up in his face, become a member is beyond me. Clare Daly is also a hypocrite. It all reminds me of the sort of people I came across at UCC - intolerant, hyocritical arseholes and narcissists, the sort of people who I knew would one day end up abandoning their principles for position. It's the typical problem on the left - for some reason a huge number of those who inveigle themselves into positions of prominence are just extremely unlikeable people. I know people on the right of politics who are warmer, funnier, nicer people than a lot of these mouthy types. It bugs me a lot, because we on the left should be the reflection of what we purport our politics to be.

C. Flower
26-01-2013, 07:15 PM
The working class were never going to support the ULA in large numbers, because the ULA is dominated by middle-class liberal-leftist 'progressives', and the working class are much more socially conservative if economically leftist. The bedrock of the great transformation of British politics that led to universal healthcare, welfare, and free education was a mass of popular support from those who wanted politically and economically leftist policies but were socially conservative.

I know a lot of people here aren't going to like me saying it, but it is the truth. The form of leftism espoused by the ULA is the sort of stuff that belongs among university students. They speak of 'the workers' but condescend to them, and they are never going to attract support in sufficient numbers to make a difference.

I never had any time for the ULA, particularly the giant egos and the gross hypocrisy. How they ever let Mick Wallace, a speculative developer whose political ideology only came to the fore when his gambling blew up in his face, become a member is beyond me. Clare Daly is also a hypocrite. It all reminds me of the sort of people I came across at UCC - intolerant, hyocritical arseholes and narcissists, the sort of people who I knew would one day end up abandoning their principles for position. It's the typical problem on the left - for some reason a huge number of those who inveigle themselves into positions of prominence are just extremely unlikeable people. I know people on the right of politics who are warmer, funnier, nicer people than a lot of these mouthy types. It bugs me a lot, because we on the left should be the reflection of what we purport our politics to be.

I get your drift Toxic and can live without the charm of right wingers, that I find superficial, but know where you are coming from on this.

I think that technically, both the SWP and SP come over as what a Marxist might call petty bourgeois / middle class dominated groupings. Not sure what proportion of their members are factory workers, but I suspect few, from those I've met and heard in meetings. Their current main campaign takes them away from workplaces, unemployed youth and from people who live in Social Housing and towards people who own property.

Apologies for nit picking, but I'm pretty sure that Mick Wallace was never a member of the ULA.

I don't agree with you about the social conservatism. I think that has been dissolving as the more travelled and interconnected baby boom generation came of age in the 1990s-2000s. That shows in the SBP Red C Poll again today showing that people want legislation for abortion.

There was a real enthusiasm for the idea of the ULA by number of people who were looking for a left party, but didn't want to join either SP or SWP. Of course, neither of those parties was prepared to allow them political space.

Dr. FIVE
26-01-2013, 07:18 PM
Really don't want to start another circular on it but I think some did and might still be vastly over-estimating the impact of the Wallace fiasco. Even then, the campaign was directed against the entire technical group. Fwiw I don't think anyone on the Irish left came out of 2012 in better shape then Clare Daly.

Dr. FIVE
26-01-2013, 07:21 PM
In any case there seemed to be far too many blind spots in it's component parts for the ULA to have a favourable foundation to build on.
And to lament (and tenuously shift blame) on lack of working class solidarity when they refused to get their own act together

Saoirse go Deo
26-01-2013, 07:21 PM
I understand Wallace helped out the Shell to Sea campaign, that would have been before things went pear shaped for him?

C. Flower
26-01-2013, 07:21 PM
Really don't want to start another circular on it but I think some did and might still be vastly over-estimating the impact of the Wallace fiasco. Even then, the campaign was directed against the entire technical group. Fwiw I don't think anyone on the Irish left came out of 2012 in better shape then Clare Daly.

The fuss over Wallace came from the SP once they realised they were initially to the right of the general public on him. Big fuss then, to cover their tracks.

C. Flower
26-01-2013, 07:23 PM
I understand Wallace helped out the Shell to Sea campaign, that would have been before things went pear shaped for him?

Wallace is a radical - opposed the Iraq war, supported Shell to Sea, opposes the bank bail out.

Problem is, in his personal life, he didn't walk the walk.

toxic avenger
26-01-2013, 07:33 PM
I get your drift Toxic and can live without the charm of right wingers, that I find superficial, but know where you are coming from on this.

I think that technically, both the SWP and SP come over as what a Marxist might call petty bourgeois / middle class dominated groupings. Not sure what proportion of their members are factory workers, but I suspect few, from those I've met and heard in meetings. Their current main campaign takes them away from workplaces, unemployed youth and from people who live in Social Housing and towards people who own property.

Apologies for nit picking, but I'm pretty sure that Mick Wallace was never a member of the ULA.

I don't agree with you about the social conservatism. I think that has been dissolving as the more travelled and interconnected baby boom generation came of age in the 1990s-2000s. That shows in the SBP Red C Poll again today showing that people want legislation for abortion.

There was a real enthusiasm for the idea of the ULA by number of people who were looking for a left party, but didn't want to join either SP or SWP. Of course, neither of those parties was prepared to allow them political space.

Some right-wingers actually believe that their ideology really is the best for all - you and I both know that is nonsense - it isn't necessarily 'superficial' when they turn out to be warm and nice (and even principled) people - I always think of Teddy Taylor and his dogged determination to find out the truth about Lockerbie because he believed there was something unjust going on.

Apologies for the mix-up on Mick Wallace and the ULA - I realise he wasn't a member - he was just very pally with them and Clare Daly in particular. The point stands on the poor response to the Wallace affair, though.

It is possible that you might be right that there is some kind of generational social transformation going on which will in time mean that it is normal for working people to be 'progressive liberals'. But at the moment I think you might overstate it, and I thik it might be quite some time indeed before it happens. Meanwhile, in the here and now, the ULA and the left in general are out of touch completely with the working class themselves (they condescend to them by telling them that they know what is best for the working class, but the working class themselves have different ideas). Sinn Féin has much more success in this regard, but I would argue that their success is much more based on a combination of nationalism and populism than on the elements of progressive liberal leftism that they espouse.

Saoirse go Deo
26-01-2013, 07:49 PM
I think the Mick Wallace/Clare Daly thing didn't have as big an effect as they make out but it was still wrong, and she was wrong to involve him so much with the ULA etc.

I think they are correct in what they are doing, the ULA is wrecked, there's no point keeping it on minimal life support, time to pull the plug, let things calm down and try again to forge left unity.

Although given the egos involved and the desire for everyone to have their own personal group I don't think left unity is possible.

Imo the ULA was doomed from the beginning because the parties involved didn't amalgamate and form a new group, they were still positioning and competing with each other, it was bound to blow up sooner or later.

C. Flower
26-01-2013, 08:12 PM
Some right-wingers actually believe that their ideology really is the best for all - you and I both know that is nonsense - it isn't necessarily 'superficial' when they turn out to be warm and nice (and even principled) people - I always think of Teddy Taylor and his dogged determination to find out the truth about Lockerbie because he believed there was something unjust going on.

Apologies for the mix-up on Mick Wallace and the ULA - I realise he wasn't a member - he was just very pally with them and Clare Daly in particular. The point stands on the poor response to the Wallace affair, though.

It is possible that you might be right that there is some kind of generational social transformation going on which will in time mean that it is normal for working people to be 'progressive liberals'. But at the moment I think you might overstate it, and I thik it might be quite some time indeed before it happens. Meanwhile, in the here and now, the ULA and the left in general are out of touch completely with the working class themselves (they condescend to them by telling them that they know what is best for the working class, but the working class themselves have different ideas). Sinn Féin has much more success in this regard, but I would argue that their success is much more based on a combination of nationalism and populism than on the elements of progressive liberal leftism that they espouse.

I never said the working class were "progressive liberals" - I don't really think that term has much meaning.

I said they are not socially conservative as a class.

I think a good bit of SF's new support is "floating" and could end up anywhere.

C. Flower
26-01-2013, 08:33 PM
I think the Mick Wallace/Clare Daly thing didn't have as big an effect as they make out but it was still wrong, and she was wrong to involve him so much with the ULA etc.

I think they are correct in what they are doing, the ULA is wrecked, there's no point keeping it on minimal life support, time to pull the plug, let things calm down and try again to forge left unity.

Although given the egos involved and the desire for everyone to have their own personal group I don't think left unity is possible.

Imo the ULA was doomed from the beginning because the parties involved didn't amalgamate and form a new group, they were still positioning and competing with each other, it was bound to blow up sooner or later.

I agree that the whole ULA project was flawed and unrealistic. It was pointed out to them before they started that creating a party that would be in competition with the SP for members would be an insuperable conflict of interests.

Instead of honestly presenting it as an electoral alliance, they threw out lures that any reasonable person would have interpreted as meaning they wished to build the ULA as a party. Inviting individual members to an electoral alliance would make no sense - unless to use them to canvass for SP campaigns. In my opinion it was opportunistic and cynical.

It was their call - and if, as they claim, workers did not want to join at that stage, it was a poor call, in terms of timing. I don't agree, and from my observation they obstructed the growth of the ULA.

I think that the SP should be called by other left groups to stand over their commitment to united action, but I would think that anyone of sense (after the experience of the unaligned ULA members, who were treated with contempt) would now run a mile from any campaign or organisation controlled by them, unless they intend to become SP members.

The SWP if anything has a worse history in the ULA, but is not considered as a serious party by many (it has no political programme), and was not the main initiator of the ULA. The SP if it wants to come out of this with self-respect, needs to make a more honest and balanced analysis of "what went wrong" or the party will go on to repeat its mistakes.

Dr. FIVE
26-01-2013, 08:38 PM
+1

Sam Lord
26-01-2013, 08:43 PM
Instead of honestly presenting it as an electoral alliance, they threw out lures that any reasonable person would have interpreted as meaning they wished to build the ULA as a party. Inviting individual members to an electoral alliance would make no sense - unless to use them to canvass for SP campaigns. In my opinion it was opportunistic and cynical.



True.

Dr. FIVE
26-01-2013, 09:13 PM
You would nearly be lead to believe WAUG, SP & presumably SWP are the only people in the country to be taken in by INM/Govt campaign on the TG via on Wallace

Mick Tully
26-01-2013, 09:18 PM
When you look at the SWP, they can't even agree among themselves. It is a clowns party that like to pose as a socialist party, as Mc Creevey said years ago (a man I despise) he called them pinkos. Nice to be associated with at parties after the pubs close

unspecific
26-01-2013, 09:42 PM
Just taking in the freedom of not being under the thumb in a controlling/abusive relationship with the Socialist Party CC/website/IndependentNews&Media

Sam Lord
26-01-2013, 09:59 PM
Just taking in the freedom of not being under the thumb in a controlling/abusive relationship with the Socialist Party CC/website/IndependentNews&Media

So, what next for unspecific ? (politically that is ..)

C. Flower
26-01-2013, 10:13 PM
Just taking in the freedom of not being under the thumb in a controlling/abusive relationship with the Socialist Party CC/website/IndependentNews&Media

Would you be able to post that link again please ?

Jolly Red Giant
26-01-2013, 11:52 PM
Just taking in the freedom of not being under the thumb in a controlling/abusive relationship with the Socialist Party CC/website/IndependentNews&Media

You copied and pasted the exact same thing on cedar lounge and it was pointed out to you that it was an obnoxious comparison - you really should try to do better.

unspecific
26-01-2013, 11:58 PM
So, what next for unspecific ? (politically that is ..)

The old Stalinized left is cracking up globally under the pressure of the crisis and something new will be born of it. The SWP is deservingly falling apart, the SP is also stagnating and a dead end, the ULA doesn't really exist anymore. But on the other side, the objective need for a marxist working class movement is perhaps the greatest it has ever been. As a socialist it's our responsibility to try again at building something, taking on board the lessons of the ULA. So I'll gather every lefty I can find, get them in a room and try design something better to build.


Would you be able to post that link again please ?

I didn't post any link?

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 12:04 AM
The old Stalinized left is cracking up globally under the pressure of the crisis and something new will be born of it. The SWP is deservingly falling apart, the SP is also stagnating and a dead end, the ULA doesn't really exist anymore. But on the other side, the objective need for a marxist working class movement is perhaps the greatest it has ever been. As a socialist it's our responsibility to try again at building something, taking on board the lessons of the ULA. So I'll gather every lefty I can find, get them in a room and try design something better to build.

I didn't post any link?

Beg your pardon - I was confused by your post.

It has been a learning experience, no doubt about it.

Garibaldy
27-01-2013, 12:11 AM
The old Stalinized left is cracking up globally under the pressure of the crisis and something new will be born of it.

I'd be interested to see some flesh put on the bones of this remark. Where have the Communist and Workers' parties been cracking up since 2008?

Sidewinder
27-01-2013, 12:11 AM
Some of you may be aware that IMO the SWP are an intelligence counter-gang, the SP are a shower of crypto-unionists, and that furthermore the disruptive effects of technology have only barely begun to make themselves felt and the world in 30 years time will be radically, unrecognisably different from the 18th/19th-century society and economy that the traditional left/right ideologies are based on.

I think this is why none of this traditional Left stuff ever really goes anywhere and ends up in moronic and petty squabbles and splits - it's a dead ideology for an obsolete and long-ago period of history. The challenges of the future are going to be very different.

On that line, the kind of stuff I've been rambling on about for years is slowly now starting to creep into the MSM (http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/gadgets/8227861/Will-smart-machines-create-world-without-work)

Give up yer auld Marxism. Mass employment of unskilled labour is over, and we need radical new visions if we are to avoid a Dredd-style near future.

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 12:13 AM
I'd be interested to see some flesh put on the bones of this remark. Where have the Communist and Workers' parties been cracking up since 2008?

Any minute now, someone will come along and say that they aren't "Stalinized."

I may be wrong, but I took unspecific to be referring to some organisations that describe themselves as trotskyist.

Garibaldy
27-01-2013, 12:14 AM
Any minute now, someone will come along and say that they aren't "Stalinized."

I may be wrong, but I took unspecific to be referring to some organisations that describe themselves as trotskyist.

Ah ok. I may have misunderstood that then.

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 12:21 AM
Some of you may be aware that IMO the SWP are an intelligence counter-gang, the SP are a shower of crypto-unionists, and that furthermore the disruptive effects of technology have only barely begun to make themselves felt and the world in 30 years time will be radically, unrecognisably different from the 18th/19th-century society and economy that the traditional left/right ideologies are based on.

I think this is why none of this traditional Left stuff ever really goes anywhere and ends up in moronic and petty squabbles and splits - it's a dead ideology for an obsolete and long-ago period of history. The challenges of the future are going to be very different.

On that line, the kind of stuff I've been rambling on about for years is slowly now starting to creep into the MSM (http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/gadgets/8227861/Will-smart-machines-create-world-without-work)

Give up yer auld Marxism. Mass employment of unskilled labour is over, and we need radical new visions if we are to avoid a Dredd-style near future.

Technology is only intensifying the contradictions in the economic system.
Rich are getting richer the rest poorer.

Take it away Dolly....

Dolly Parton - Nine to Five - YouTube

Dr. FIVE
27-01-2013, 12:23 AM
amen Dolly,

Sidewinder
27-01-2013, 12:45 AM
No, it's not that simple.

Up to around the 1970s new technologies were disruptive in the sense that they would make older industries obsolete but end up creating entire new industries that ended up employing at least as many as the older technology. From looms to the vast shirt factories of the late 19th century. Or horse buggy manufacturers giving way to the vast mass employment of the auto industry.

But now, technology is reaching the point where it is destroying the need for any humans at all. Vast numbers of jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete right now. I see it all the time cos I work in the area. There are projects and startups forming now....may be another 10 or 20 years before the technology matures properly - but it has already started and once mature those technologies will simply wipe out vast numbers of clerical, administrative, in fact most office-based work, I'm directly involved with the online education and training space at the minute and teachers are in for a bit of a shock over the next decade or two....lots and lots of white collar and middle-class jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete....and nothing is going to replace them, not this time.

You people on the old left can cling to the certainties and socio-political prescriptions of the 19th century; or you can confront the very real cultural and societal crisis that the coming era of entrenched mass unemployment of 50%+ is going to cause and make yourselves relevant again.

unspecific
27-01-2013, 12:48 AM
Any minute now, someone will come along and say that they aren't "Stalinized."

I may be wrong, but I took unspecific to be referring to some organisations that describe themselves as trotskyist.

Aye, that's why I was careful to use(coin?) the term "stalinized". I think it's something we need to start thinking about.

Apart from the characitures of "stalinist", we need to be able to identify the behaviour and bureaucratic phenomenon itself associated with it wherever it arises - and that could be anywhere. Even in "anti-stalinist" organizations. I don't think your average activist could identify what stalinism in this sense actually means.

Dr. FIVE
27-01-2013, 01:10 AM
No, it's not that simple.

Up to around the 1970s new technologies were disruptive in the sense that they would make older industries obsolete but end up creating entire new industries that ended up employing at least as many as the older technology. From looms to the vast shirt factories of the late 19th century. Or horse buggy manufacturers giving way to the vast mass employment of the auto industry.

But now, technology is reaching the point where it is destroying the need for any humans at all. Vast numbers of jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete right now. I see it all the time cos I work in the area. There are projects and startups forming now....may be another 10 or 20 years before the technology matures properly - but it has already started and once mature those technologies will simply wipe out vast numbers of clerical, administrative, in fact most office-based work, I'm directly involved with the online education and training space at the minute and teachers are in for a bit of a shock over the next decade or two....lots and lots of white collar and middle-class jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete....and nothing is going to replace them, not this time.

You people on the old left can cling to the certainties and socio-political prescriptions of the 19th century; or you can confront the very real cultural and societal crisis that the coming era of entrenched mass unemployment of 50%+ is going to cause and make yourselves relevant again.

wrong

toxic avenger
27-01-2013, 01:17 AM
No, it's not that simple.

Up to around the 1970s new technologies were disruptive in the sense that they would make older industries obsolete but end up creating entire new industries that ended up employing at least as many as the older technology. From looms to the vast shirt factories of the late 19th century. Or horse buggy manufacturers giving way to the vast mass employment of the auto industry.

But now, technology is reaching the point where it is destroying the need for any humans at all. Vast numbers of jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete right now. I see it all the time cos I work in the area. There are projects and startups forming now....may be another 10 or 20 years before the technology matures properly - but it has already started and once mature those technologies will simply wipe out vast numbers of clerical, administrative, in fact most office-based work, I'm directly involved with the online education and training space at the minute and teachers are in for a bit of a shock over the next decade or two....lots and lots of white collar and middle-class jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete....and nothing is going to replace them, not this time.

You people on the old left can cling to the certainties and socio-political prescriptions of the 19th century; or you can confront the very real cultural and societal crisis that the coming era of entrenched mass unemployment of 50%+ is going to cause and make yourselves relevant again.

That may well all be true, but don't make the mistake of thinking that the Marxist analysis of capitalism ceases to apply - that's the same mistake that has been made before several times - with the advent of mass communications, mass travel, the welfare state, etc. Each time it was said that a new 'paradigm' (a word I hate) had been created, and each time the inherent contradictions of capitalism reasserted themselves and showed that it was same story, different book-cover. Yes, it may well be that advances in technologies lead to massive disruption and perhaps obsolescence of many types of work up to now performed manually, but the analysis stays the same in the end.

A lot of people, by the way, argue that no new technology has had anything like the impact of one particular invention 100 years ago - the washing machine. Maybe we will soon see that change..

Simonsays
27-01-2013, 01:34 AM
The left often wonders why they end up so powerless. This case embodies it. The country is going through the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. There is mass unemployment, major emigration and significant alienation from politics. And what do the left do? They get into a theoretical argument about definitions and structures, fall out among themselves and one side pulls out.

No wonder the left is powerless. It makes itself powerless by its preoccupation with self-definition rather than dealing with real problems.

Jolly Red Giant
27-01-2013, 02:12 AM
The left often wonders why they end up so powerless. This case embodies it. The country is going through the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. There is mass unemployment, major emigration and significant alienation from politics. And what do the left do? They get into a theoretical argument about definitions and structures, fall out among themselves and one side pulls out.

There is no theoretical argument - no arguments about definitions or structures - there is the simple fact that very few wanted to join the ULA - that is the reality. The ULA could possibly have continued if there was a spirit of cooperation and agreement among the components - unfortunately that has disappeared over the past few months. However, the ULA was never a long-term prospect unless significant number of new working class activists had drawn the political conclusions of the necessity for building a new left party. And to stress it again - that did not happen.

At this point the ULA is an impediment to developing a new left party because certain elements within the ULA are giving left cover to non-left elements in the Dail and undermining the potential for for developing the ULA. However, this is a symptom of the lack of involvement of new working class layers rather than the cause of the problems with the ULA.

riposte
27-01-2013, 02:15 AM
the left often wonders why they end up so powerless. This case embodies it. The country is going through the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. There is mass unemployment, major emigration and significant alienation from politics. And what do the left do? They get into a theoretical argument about definitions and structures, fall out among themselves and one side pulls out.

No wonder the left is powerless. It makes itself powerless by its preoccupation with self-definition rather than dealing with real problems.

+1,000,000 %

unspecific
27-01-2013, 03:07 AM
However, the ULA was never a long-term prospect unless significant number of new working class activists had drawn the political conclusions of the necessity for building a new left party. And to stress it again - that did not happen.

So will consistency be applied and the Socialist Party be wound down on that same basis then?

Jolly Red Giant
27-01-2013, 03:20 AM
So will consistency be applied and the Socialist Party be wound down on that same basis then?
You spouted this on the other place earlier as well - and it is utter bullsh*t. The Socialist Party is a revolutionary party aimed at recruiting the most advanced layers of the working class to the banner of revolution. The ULA was an attempt to build a broad left party that would attract a wide politically conscious working class activists who were attracted by socialist ideas but had not drawn revolutionary conclusions. It was right to make the effort but with hindsight it was premature.

The objectives of both organisations are different - the strategies are different - the structures are different - the politics is different - etc - your conclusions are wrong and nothing more than a cheap swipe at the Socialist Party who are simply being honest in their assessment of the state of the ULA and acting accordingly. Now you could argue that the Socialist Party is wrong and that is fair enough - although I suspect that time will eventually prove the Socialist Party to be correct in its assessment.

Dr. FIVE
27-01-2013, 03:44 AM
tooo much bullshit in the thread


legitimate point getting lost in the guff

unspecific
27-01-2013, 03:59 AM
You spouted this on the other place earlier as well - and it is utter bullsh*t. The Socialist Party is a revolutionary party aimed at recruiting the most advanced layers of the working class to the banner of revolution. The ULA was an attempt to build a broad left party that would attract a wide politically conscious working class activists who were attracted by socialist ideas but had not drawn revolutionary conclusions. It was right to make the effort but with hindsight it was premature.

The objectives of both organisations are different - the strategies are different - the structures are different - the politics is different - etc - your conclusions are wrong and nothing more than a cheap swipe at the Socialist Party who are simply being honest in their assessment of the state of the ULA and acting accordingly. Now you could argue that the Socialist Party is wrong and that is fair enough - although I suspect that time will eventually prove the Socialist Party to be correct in its assessment.

It's not a cheap swipe, it's seeking logical consistency and you can't bat that away with sophistry. The Socialist Party leadership's zig-zag is patently, glaringly, emphatically wrong and the Irish working class will pay for that if it hasn't already, as will the SP rank & file.

Wasting 2 years of the working class' and left's time and resources, demoralizing them to the point of people dropping out, making a public laughing stock of the cause of socialism, making the choice to emigrate rather than stay and fight that bit easier, leading good people up the garden path in an elaborate recruitment scheme... should all be criminal offenses in a time of capitalist crisis.

The SWP leadership are having their crisis from below and the SP leadership will have brought theirs on all by themselves.

Simonsays
27-01-2013, 04:50 AM
The ULA could possibly have continued if there was a spirit of cooperation and agreement among the components - unfortunately that has disappeared over the past few months.

It is a political organisation. Of course there was a lack of a spirit of co-operation and agreement. That happens in 100% of organisations. Political organisations by their nature involve disagreements and rows. The difference is that mainstream political organisations know that is a fact of life. The radical left can't seem to cope with human nature and end up breaking up. They seem to imagine political movements must be some sort of utopia.

Do you imagine the ULA was the only party in the Dáil where there was a lack of a spirit of co-operation and agreement among its components? You should see the fighting that goes on in all the others. But they don't storm out. Maybe it is because mainstream governments are focused on outcomes - on what they want to deliver, whereas the radical left seems to be focused in theoretical frameworks for working class mobilisation. They are pre-occupied with means. The mainstream focuses on ends. That is why they end up winning and the radical left ends up fighting.


However, the ULA was never a long-term prospect unless significant number of new working class activists had drawn the political conclusions of the necessity for building a new left party. And to stress it again - that did not happen.

What political conclusions, JRG? All I see referred to are the methodologies and theories, not specific outcomes.


At this point the ULA is an impediment to developing a new left party because certain elements within the ULA are giving left cover to non-left elements in the Dail and undermining the potential for for developing the ULA. However, this is a symptom of the lack of involvement of new working class layers rather than the cause of the problems with the ULA.

In other words, the issue was the methodology and means, not the outcomes.

I don't mean to be critical, but what you are describing the reasons why radical left movements all over are so powerless - it is as if different radical left groups have different theoretical frameworks and they all spend their time fighting over whose theoretical framework is more pure and does not betray principles, and kind of forget that the whole point of politics is actually to do something, not just talk about theories and throw around the standard slogans and cliches (lets 'fight' this, lets 'mobilise', etc.) It reminds me of my frustrating time in a students' union. For every problem the radical left's solution was to have a march, wave a banner, propose a motion at SU council, and protest. The mainstream political activists would end up trying to get the discussion onto saying "what precisely would that do?", "what do we follow it up with?" "what are the steps we need to take to get to the goal?" But the radical left would see the march and the 'mobilisation' as the goal, and think if they 'protested' that was the job done.

If the left is really going to make a major impact it has to get off all its theoretical framework fixation and actually work to achieve specific goals with specific targets that work - not argue about whether Trotskysm or some other ism is the better mobilisation method.

Seán Ryan
27-01-2013, 05:10 AM
I think this thread is descending into a content free pie throwing contest, similar to the ULA threads. Which is a pity. When one reads through the various degrees of dross, there are some absolute gems. The rules ought to be tightened. Posters who've been around here for a while should not be indulged when it comes to repetitive Punch and Judy theatrics where the signal to noise ratio results in a "division by zero" head wreck.

There are a lot of potentially engaging conversations to be had. If I had my way, I'd clean these threads of shíte once a week and be damned the messers who have a problem with it.

That ends my rant. Onto why I posted:

We're forever hearing that the SP is a revolutionary party. Even moreso than the SWP (be still my heaving stomach). What I want to know is, what proposals were put forward by either party, to the ULA, that were of a revolutionary nature?

It's my contention that not a single byte of revolutionary matter was ever proposed by either party. It's my guess that the reason for this is that both parties were "building the movement." Such an answer, I think, misses the point completely. Folks want to be part of a revolutionary movement, thus the nature of this beast must reflect a revolutionary outlook and approach. In other words, building the movement without either an outlook or an established revolutionary tone is an exercise in redundancy.

Now, it's all well and fine to disagree with my prognosis. But please, if anyone wishes to put something to me, like: "You're wrong, because you don't understand..." Please have the courtesy to address the question I posed, to at least provide some credentials that one is capable of engaging, in the first instance.

jmcc
27-01-2013, 05:25 AM
wrongNo. Sidey is not wrong. A few years ago I was involved with a start-up to develop algorithms that would identify websites associated with countries and localities - basically doing in hours what it took Google months and thousands of web crawlers. I remember speaking to people in EI and academia about it. Some of the academics were certain that this was impossible. It was in effect doing what it had taken directories like Yahoo years to achieve using people finding and submitting websites to its directory. Basically one relatively simple algorithm made the largely unpaid work (though some were paid) of thousands of people irrelevant.

The same kind of automation is at work and has been at work for decades. Smart command and control equipment replaces people who would have been sitting staring at dials. The internet has effectively made some government services into self-services cutting out a lot of paperwork - paperwork that would have required paper, postage and processing.

Many white collar and office jobs might be capable of being automated. It is possible to get online courses from MIT. Education is particularly exposed to this kind of seachange. Primary and Secondary education in Ireland is, not to put too fine a point on it, geared towards the lowest common denominator. It is the implementation of that old fallacy that everyone is created equal - no wonder so many teachers turn into Marxists. The problem, when it comes to education, is that people are not equal and have different abilities. Online teaching and course work would allow people with higher abilities to be taught to the best of their abilities rather than the worst. The integration of online courses with the ordinary curricula will be interesting as some teachers may not be able to keep up with the learning speed of their students.

The white collar jobs in banking started disappearing years ago. Most of those people were not smart enough to see what was happening with branch closures and creeping automation.

There is no Right and Left any more. That lack of relevance is the real problem for those who still think that they are on the Left.

Regards...jmcc

Dr. FIVE
27-01-2013, 05:51 AM
Haven't bothered to read even the first three pages of capital but that monty python sketch was good, wasn't it. Spoonfeed me something else before I start quoting Churchill.

toxic avenger
27-01-2013, 06:04 AM
No. Sidey is not wrong. A few years ago I was involved with a start-up to develop algorithms that would identify websites associated with countries and localities - basically doing in hours what it took Google months and thousands of web crawlers. I remember speaking to people in EI and academia about it. Some of the academics were certain that this was impossible. It was in effect doing what it had taken directories like Yahoo years to achieve using people finding and submitting websites to its directory. Basically one relatively simple algorithm made the largely unpaid work (though some were paid) of thousands of people irrelevant.

The same kind of automation is at work and has been at work for decades. Smart command and control equipment replaces people who would have been sitting staring at dials. The internet has effectively made some government services into self-services cutting out a lot of paperwork - paperwork that would have required paper, postage and processing.

Many white collar and office jobs might be capable of being automated. It is possible to get online courses from MIT. Education is particularly exposed to this kind of seachange. Primary and Secondary education in Ireland is, not to put too fine a point on it, geared towards the lowest common denominator. It is the implementation of that old fallacy that everyone is created equal - no wonder so many teachers turn into Marxists. The problem, when it comes to education, is that people are not equal and have different abilities. Online teaching and course work would allow people with higher abilities to be taught to the best of their abilities rather than the worst. The integration of online courses with the ordinary curricula will be interesting as some teachers may not be able to keep up with the learning speed of their students.

The white collar jobs in banking started disappearing years ago. Most of those people were not smart enough to see what was happening with branch closures and creeping automation.

There is no Right and Left any more. That lack of relevance is the real problem for those who still think that they are on the Left.

Regards...jmcc

I would not seek to argue with the contention that the development of new technologies will make an awful lot of jobs obsolete, I'd imagine that is true. But you are jumping to a conclusion that has been jumped to many times since the 18th Century, and one that I susect is also without foundation - the system within which these new technologies will be put to work will still be capitalism, subject to the same contradictions which have always been inherent to it. The wealth divide between the haves and have nots will continue as always, and the proposed responses to the problems in society will always be somewhere varying on the line between free market ideology and extensive interventionism.

Left and right will continue to exist, as the new technologies are put to the service of capitalism, rather than abolishing and replacing it. And therefore, I'm afraid, Marx's analysis of the behaviour of capitalism will stand precisely as relevant as it was in the 19th Century. The 'it's different this time' approach is delusion - it isn't. Yes there might well be upheaval and a whole new set of problems to deal with, perhaps on a scale we don't yet understand, but it would be mistaken to believe that such a process is going to fundamentally change the underlying economic system to such an extent that the inherent cyclicality, the fundamental divides between rich and poor, and the proposed remedies, are going to cease to exist. They're not.

antiestablishmentarian
27-01-2013, 06:44 AM
What a sorry mess. The Clare Daly/Mick Wallace excuse is implausible as a reason for the exit of the SP, in reality they probably failed to get enough new recruits (and their subs) to justify the outlay of resources and time they spent on the ULA. Commiserations to those independent activists who committed time, energy and money to building the now defunct. Hopefully the experience that was gaimed can be put to constructive use in another organisation. For now the implosion of the ULA means the only viable left party for most of the electorate os SF. They will clean up in the locals and the next GE, probably taking a seat or two from the erstwhile ULA TDs.

jmcc
27-01-2013, 06:47 AM
Left and right will continue to exist, as the new technologies are put to the service of capitalism, rather than abolishing and replacing it. There is a very important point that you may have missed: communications. The lack of communications effectively created a Right/Left divide. The Left was typically associated with the Working Class and knowledge, especially in the 19th Century was not widespread. Thus Marx's works were set upon and absorbed by people and then spread with little contradiction other than from what could arguably be called the Right. The levels of education were different then. Much the same model that gave rise to the gombeen teacher, solicitor and auctioneer Dail was at work. People who knew just a little bit more were seen as being very smart. Communications, the internet, the web and Social Media has effectively flattened what was once a very hierarchical model. That model allowed the Right and Left to exist.


The 'it's different this time' approach is delusion - it isn't.This isn't an "it's different this time" argument. This is something that has its roots in movable type and the effect of the Guttenberg press on the distribution and availability of knowledge. If one wanted to look up Marxism - would one read a book or check Wikipedia?

Society, whether it realises it or not, has shifted to being more technologically based and that requires an increased level of knowledge. The problem for those on the extreme Left is that they are still pushing Marxism and the rest like it is still the 1800s and they are in possession of the one true solution to all problems. While they were busy forumulating their great plans to fix everything, Society moved on without them. This same lack of relevance nearly killed the Labour Party. Now it is busy scrambling to reinvent itself. The fringe parties are small (secular) religious cults pushing their doctrines and there are too many of them to be successful.

Regards...jmcc

Dr. FIVE
27-01-2013, 07:03 AM
read a book hopefully. Things haven't moved on that much!

jmcc
27-01-2013, 07:09 AM
read a book hopefully. Things haven't moved on that much!They have. The average person may not have a book on Marxism or even a full set of encyclopedias but they may well have internet access.

Regards...jmcc

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 08:35 AM
No, it's not that simple.

Up to around the 1970s new technologies were disruptive in the sense that they would make older industries obsolete but end up creating entire new industries that ended up employing at least as many as the older technology. From looms to the vast shirt factories of the late 19th century. Or horse buggy manufacturers giving way to the vast mass employment of the auto industry.

But now, technology is reaching the point where it is destroying the need for any humans at all. Vast numbers of jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete right now. I see it all the time cos I work in the area. There are projects and startups forming now....may be another 10 or 20 years before the technology matures properly - but it has already started and once mature those technologies will simply wipe out vast numbers of clerical, administrative, in fact most office-based work, I'm directly involved with the online education and training space at the minute and teachers are in for a bit of a shock over the next decade or two....lots and lots of white collar and middle-class jobs are in the process of being rendered obsolete....and nothing is going to replace them, not this time.

You people on the old left can cling to the certainties and socio-political prescriptions of the 19th century; or you can confront the very real cultural and societal crisis that the coming era of entrenched mass unemployment of 50%+ is going to cause and make yourselves relevant again.

I agree with you half the way. I had written, in my previous reply to you and then deleted out as I wanted to keep it short, about a recent trip to London, and found that since last there, shop jobs and transport jobs had been stripped out due to automation. You go into the supermarket and at the cash tills, it is a long row of machines where you pack your own bag and pay with a card. In the transport system, ticketing is mainly cards bought from machines and touched in and out. There are still a small number of staff left, but if you ask a question, they blank you and you can see that their brains just aren't turned on to human interaction. As jmcc says, bank teller jobs are already gone. This is in a country which was told by Thatcher not to worry about manufacturing jobs as they would have a "service economy." Here we were told we would have a "smart economy."

People have been laughing this week about a report of a US worker who outsourced his own job to China and sat at home messing on the internet :)
while Chinese guy emailed the work to his boss. Not so funny when you think of the obvious implication that in future the boss is going to be the one doing the outsourcing.

The problem for capitalism is that technology does not come cheap. The company with the most cutting edge technology has the current competitive edge, so that all companies have to compete or die. But retooling is enormously expensive and a risky way to tie up capital as it can be overtaken or made obsolete at any time, unlike human beings who can be simply sacked or retrained. Overall, on average costs of production go up, not down, while prices are suppressed by intensifying competition. Average rate of profit declines, although some firms that win out may generate enormous profits.

There are still vast factories, bigger than ever, but they are in the East. Just because they are out of sight does not take them out of the system. These factories are replacing manufacturing, which is the main wealth producing element of economies, across the rest of the world. There are already hundreds of millions of unemployed people, including many millions of graduates, and countries in Europe with nearly 60% of young people unemployed.

The IMF solution is to drive western living wages and living standards for the mass of people down to starvation level.

The western middle class is facing a cataclysmic collapse in living standards. The Chinese working class is working under extreme exploitation but has fought for and achieved "years of double digit wage increases" - http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml - more than half the world population, since around 2010, is urban and productive capacity is outpacing the capacity of the system to distribute and consume.

But we may take comfort in the fact that a few very wealthy people are still getting much richer. Oxfam produced a figure last week showing that 100 of them have enough money to eliminate world poverty four times over. They have the power and wealth to avoid taxation and to buy politicians by the truck load.
I hear on the radio this morning that what we need in Ireland is "more tax incentives for high net worth individuals"...

The conflict between the interests of the wealthy and non-wealthy classes has never been more intense.

This is what drove the Arab Spring and is driving people in Europe and the US into political activity.

If you want to read an early analysis of this, read Marx, (Communist Manifesto) who anticipated it fully.

The very obvious solution is for the mass of people to take over control of the means of production and to run it to meet need. Technological development then becomes something that can be for the benefit of everyone - shorter working days and weeks - instead of throwing millions of people onto the dole. Built in obsolescence could be done away with, too.

Technology is 21st century, but the ownership structure and the political superstructure that supports private ownership is still 19th century.

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 08:45 AM
There is a very important point that you may have missed: communications. The lack of communications effectively created a Right/Left divide. The Left was typically associated with the Working Class and knowledge, especially in the 19th Century was not widespread. Thus Marx's works were set upon and absorbed by people and then spread with little contradiction other than from what could arguably be called the Right. The levels of education were different then. Much the same model that gave rise to the gombeen teacher, solicitor and auctioneer Dail was at work. People who knew just a little bit more were seen as being very smart. Communications, the internet, the web and Social Media has effectively flattened what was once a very hierarchical model. That model allowed the Right and Left to exist.

This isn't an "it's different this time" argument. This is something that has its roots in movable type and the effect of the Guttenberg press on the distribution and availability of knowledge. If one wanted to look up Marxism - would one read a book or check Wikipedia?

Society, whether it realises it or not, has shifted to being more technologically based and that requires an increased level of knowledge. The problem for those on the extreme Left is that they are still pushing Marxism and the rest like it is still the 1800s and they are in possession of the one true solution to all problems. While they were busy forumulating their great plans to fix everything, Society moved on without them. This same lack of relevance nearly killed the Labour Party. Now it is busy scrambling to reinvent itself. The fringe parties are small (secular) religious cults pushing their doctrines and there are too many of them to be successful.

Regards...jmcc

So what is your solution to mass unemployment ?

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 08:52 AM
read a book hopefully. Things haven't moved on that much!

A short one, but a good one.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 10:20 AM
The left often wonders why they end up so powerless. This case embodies it. The country is going through the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. There is mass unemployment, major emigration and significant alienation from politics. And what do the left do? They get into a theoretical argument about definitions and structures, fall out among themselves and one side pulls out.

No wonder the left is powerless. It makes itself powerless by its preoccupation with self-definition rather than dealing with real problems.

And who exactly is it that is leading the various campaigns against austerity?

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 10:24 AM
The Socialist Party is a revolutionary party aimed at recruiting the most advanced layers of the working class to the banner of revolution

The "banner of revolution" - and where exactly does that find its expression in any of the major political statements to the wider working class by the SP?

Where is the "banner of revolution" raised in your election manifestos? Where is the "banner of revolution" raised in your budget submissions? Where is the "banner of revolution" raised in the Dáil statements of your public representative(s)?

Stop pretending to be something you are not.

Binn Beal
27-01-2013, 10:33 AM
Good luck to the Socialist Party and also to the PBP and the SWP and the rest.

To borrow Joe Hill's epitaph: Don't waste time mourning. Organise.

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 10:34 AM
Back to the point of the thread.

The one thing that stands out to me is the SP not explaining what would seem, on the surface at least, to be a glaring inconsistency in their analysis.

The “objective factors” the SP claimed were holding back the development of the ULA is actually a reference to the level of militant consciousness of the wider working class.

What the CAHWT shows is that this consciousness was, and is, in fact quite militant (though unfortunately not perhaps as widespread as some of the hype would have us believe).

If the SP analysis of the CAHWT as a vehicle for militant class struggle is correct to any degree, and as an active participant I believe it is to some degree, then it directly contradicts their main reason for the failure of the ULA. How does the SP explain this?

I don't expect the SPers who post here to say anything other than they aren't interested in answering silly questions like that from "wacky liars" like myself but any SPer with any modicum of interest in political clarity and honesty is presumably asking that question, even if only quietly to themselves. It will be interesting to see if any of them have the guts to do so more openly.

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 10:41 AM
The “objective factors” the SP claimed were holding back the development of the ULA is actually a reference to the level of militant consciousness of the wider working class.

What the CAHWT shows is that this consciousness was, and is, in fact quite militant (though unfortunately not perhaps as widespread as some of the hype would have us believe).



I'm not sure what has led anyone to believe that willingness to campaign against a tax is an indication of a militant working class consciousness.

Is the CAHWT even essentially composed of working class people? I'm asking as I don't really know.

Binn Beal
27-01-2013, 10:58 AM
The ULA may be dead but there is no reason the analysis as to why it is dead cannot continue for many more years. I will be writing my own critique of everybody else shortly and it is expected to run to several volumes, beginning with the birth of Trotsky's grandparents.

Yes, it's sarcasm.

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 11:06 AM
I'm not sure what has led anyone to believe that willingness to campaign against a tax is an indication of a militant working class consciousness.

Is the CAHWT even essentially composed of working class people? I'm asking as I don't really know.

Well my local campaign group in Cobh certainly is and to the extent I am aware of other groups around the rest of Cork and nationally through the reps they send to meetings and the turn-out on demonstrations and at public meetings I would say that the overwhelming majority of the activists in the CAHWT are indeed working class.

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 11:37 AM
The ULA may be dead but there is no reason the analysis as to why it is dead cannot continue for many more years. I will be writing my own critique of everybody else shortly and it is expected to run to several volumes, beginning with the birth of Trotsky's grandparents.

Yes, it's sarcasm.

It's like any divorce. There's a certain amount of post-morteming necessary, for there to be any chance of the partners not going straight off and reproducing the same doomed relationship.

Jolly Red Giant
27-01-2013, 01:18 PM
I really am not interested in going around in circles on this one - So I will address it for one last time.

1. The Socialist Party initiated discussions on the establishment of the ULA because it felt that the attacks on working class people being launched by FF/FG/LP/IMF/ECB had the potential to lead to a widespread campaign of opposition to austerity. The potential could have existed for working class people to draw the political conclusions necessary that would lead them to join a left party. The only way of testing this hypothesis was to stick a toe in the water (in the form of the ULA) and see what happened.

2. The Socialist Party was never remotely interested in in a simple regroupment / coalescing of existing left groups and individuals. History, recent and far-flung, has amply demonstrated that such a regroupment does nothing to advance the cause of the working class and inevitably collapses as individual components and individuals attempt to make some poltiical capital out of the carcass.

3. The Socialist Party put a significant amount of work, collectively with others but often on an individual basis, organsing meetings and attempting to get people involved in the ULA. After good attendances at the initial ULA public meetings - few people joined. The reason for this is simple - working class people simply did not draw the necessary political conclusions that there was a need for them to join and get active in a left party. This is the reality - I wish it were different, but it is not - and all the fancy wishful desires among some people that if this had been done or that had been done (and its all the Socialist Party fault they weren't) things would be different, is just sheer nonsense. While left organsiations can assist working class people in developing a political consciousness - they cannot ram it down people's throats and make them 'believers' (for want of a better word).

4. <Bolshevik>has repeatedly stated that there is an inconsistency between the Socialist Party's attitude to the ULA and its attitude to the CAHWT - There is not. The CAHWT is not a political movement - it is a single issue campaign. It has drawn a new layer of activists into political activity but the vast majority of CAHWT members and the wider public who are boycotting the Household Charge still have not drawn the political conclusions that would lead them to becoming politically active in the ULA. Opposition to the Household Charge required people not to register and not to pay - it did not require them to actively engage in political activity. Those activists that did attend demonstrations, protests etc did not draw the necessary political conclusions (at least most of them) that would lead them to joining the ULA - how could anyone expect those who weren't active beyond boycotting the charge to join the ULA. The Socialist Party did correctly identify the CAHWT as the vehicle most likely to be the instrument of opposition to austerity (passive as it is) and were also correct in putting the resources necessary into the campaign to make it as effective as it was.

5. The Socialist Party has suggested that it is possible - no more than possible - that the upcoming campaign against the property tax and water charges offers the potential - nothing more than that - to develop the political consciousness of working class people so that they draw the necessary conclusions that would lead them to joining a new left party. This campaign will, by necessity, be qualitatively different to the campaign against the Household Charge. Because of the approach taken by the government the passive resistance nature that was effective in the CAHWT campaign is no longer viable. The upcoming campaign requires significantly greater mobilisation, activism, confrontation with the state etc., if it is to have a possibility of success. It will require large numbers of people who to this point have been passive participants to become active in the campaign. It opens up the possibility of the development of a generalised campaign against austerity, the possibility of running anti-austerity election candidates (and that is just one part of the campaign) and the possibility that through active struggle a section of the working class will draw the necessary political conclusions that they need to move into political activity by joining and building a new left party. This may or may not be successful - but the Socialist Party will strive to create the best possible opportunity for it to happen.

6. A key factor in the current situation is the lack of struggle in the trade unions. The union leadership have managed to portray the shambolic Croke Park Agreement as a victory for trade unionists - ably abetted by the establishment, the media, right-wing economic commentators etc. In practically every public sector workplace the right-wing elements have managed to suppress opposition to Croke Park on the grounds that the cuts would be far worse without it and we couldn't win anyway because public opinion is anti-public sector. What happens with Croke Park 2 we will have to wait and see - but without industrial struggle an added barrier to political consciousness exists. Similarly in the private sector - when struggle has emerged it has been around job losses, but instead of fighting to maintain jobs, workers have struggled for better redundancy payments. An added safety valve is mass emigration which is now at the levels of post-famine Ireland.

7. Large numbers of people on the left grossly underestimate the importance of class consciousness / political consciousness. Without drawing political conclusions on a class basis, it is impossible for working class people to engage in political activity on a socialist basis. I have been a member of the Socialist Party and its forerunner for more than 30 years - there are only a handful of Socialist Party members who have been involved with the organisation longer than I have (and unfortunately for personal reasons I am not remotely as politically active as I want to be). what is the point of my reminniscing - despite the fact that consciousness had started to develop to a small degree, political / class consciousness is significantly lower (and I mean significantly) that it was in the late 1970s / early 1980s. There were major industrial battles during this period (post office strike, tax marches, Ranks flour mills and Clondalkin paper mills) etc. Workers losing their jobs occupied not for better redundancy but demanded nationalisation to save their jobs - dozens of workplace occupations occurred in a four/five year period. These industrial battles educated and politicised an entire layer of working class activists (including many of the present day 'non-aligned' elements in the ULA). The Militant Tendency trebled in size in two years as small numbers drew revolutionary conclusions. The level of consciousness was significantly higher than the present day and was drawn out primarily by the major industrial battles of the period (period that saw Lynch being dumped as Taoiseach and three general elections in the space of 20 months). That is the difference - people continue to grossly underestimate how far working class consciousness has been thrown back by the collapse of Stalinism (and the consequential gallop to the right by Stalinist trade union activists) plus the major and ongoing ideological offensive by the bourgeois classes against socialist ideology. The only thing that will break that trend and reverse the low level of consciousness is a reemergence of class struggle on a significant scale and involving large numbers of working class activists. Greece has entered this phase - Ireland at this point most definitely has not. The campaign against the property tax and water charges may prove to be the catalyst - or it may not - time will tell.

8. Last point - the Socialist Party has and will continue to be criticised for its statement yesterday. The Socialist Party made its decision because it saw the reality of the situation - the ULA no longer has a role to play in developing working class consciousness (for a variety of reasons but primarily because the working class didn't join). The Socialist Party has been open and honest in its assessment (whether you agree with it or not) and has put its cards on the table. The Socialist Party will continue to work at building opposition to austerity and to attempt to assist working class activists to draw the necessary political conclusions that will lead to the building of a left wing political movement.

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 02:21 PM
4. <Bolshevik>has repeatedly stated that there is an inconsistency between the Socialist Party's attitude to the ULA and its attitude to the CAHWT - There is not. The CAHWT is not a political movement - it is a single issue campaign. It has drawn a new layer of activists into political activity but the vast majority of CAHWT members and the wider public who are boycotting the Household Charge still have not drawn the political conclusions that would lead them to becoming politically active in the ULA. Opposition to the Household Charge required people not to register and not to pay - it did not require them to actively engage in political activity. Those activists that did attend demonstrations, protests etc did not draw the necessary political conclusions (at least most of them) that would lead them to joining the ULA - how could anyone expect those who weren't active beyond boycotting the charge to join the ULA. The Socialist Party did correctly identify the CAHWT as the vehicle most likely to be the instrument of opposition to austerity (passive as it is) and were also correct in putting the resources necessary into the campaign to make it as effective as it was.

Of course I recognise the difference between the CAHWT and ULA. I am not conflating the two in terms of organisation but in terms of them both existing within the same framework of "objective factors" which the SP have referred to, presumably both explaining the success of the CAHWT and the failure of the ULA but in reality explaining nothing.

Your argument remains that nothing could have been done differently and you have no explanation for why the "objective factors" that led to working class activists being drawn to the CAHWT was happening concurrently with the "objective factors" that kept them away from the ULA.

Nothing would have been different if the promise to launch a new party made in the SP's election manifesto and been given some concrete reality instead of almost immediately after individual membership was opened up the SP continual pouring cold water on the idea except as some abstract long-term goal, which hardly made the ULA look attractive to the working class militants in the CAHWT.

Nothing would have been different if alongside those concrete moves towards launching a new party the SP (and SWP) had made the ULA their real priority so that on demonstrations etc the ULA was THE public face of the components of the ULA instead of it being themselves in competition with each other. Why would the ULA be attractive to working class militants in the CAHWT when it barely existed in public manifestations of opposition to austerity.

I guess it makes you feel better to argue this as it absolves the SP from any critical self-analysis but it will not encourage anyone to believe your calls that will inevitably come for a ULA 2.0

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 02:32 PM
The trots in South Africa launched a "mass workers party" last month. It is oddly called the Workers and Socialist Party. Apparently, 20 people attended the founding conference. The population of South Africa is 50.5 million.

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 02:46 PM
The trots in South Africa launched a "mass workers party" last month. It is oddly called the Workers and Socialist Party. Apparently, 20 people attended the founding conference. The population of South Africa is 50.5 million.

For anyone interested the "trots" here referred to is the CWI, the SP's international organisation. The full report is available at http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6095

The report does not claim the launching of a "mass workers party" as far as I can see.

The closest is much more measured:


The historic first step in the process towards the launch of what until this time has been referred to as a mass workers party will build the strike committees as the first battalion in the struggle to unite workers in the mines, factories and farms, communities and students into a formidable force that will tie the historical knot between the events at Marikana and those at Sharpeville on 21st March 2013.

The key part of the article which would indicate its potential importance to the CWI would be the following:


The Democratic Socialist Movement, affiliate of the Committee for a Workers International and representatives of strike committees of Bokoni Platinum in Limpopo, Royal Bafokeng and Murray and Roberts in Rustenburg, North West and KDC in Carltonville, Gauteng founded the party.

To the extent that represents some real recruitment of of worker-militants beyond one or two individuals and wider support among this layer of the most militant sections of the South African working class, then it is indeed potentially significant.

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 03:00 PM
The report does not claim the launching of a "mass workers party" as far as I can see.


I guess I was decieved by this headline:



From the miners’ strike to a new mass workers’ party


http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6068

So if it's not a revolutionary party and not a mass workers party what is it? A party somewhere between the two?

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 03:05 PM
Perhaps someone could tell me what this means and why it is necessary to torture the English language in this way.



The historic first step in the process towards the launch of what until this time has been referred to as a mass workers party


What exactly is this something that "until this time has been referred to as a mass workers party"?

Jolly Red Giant
27-01-2013, 03:10 PM
To the extent that represents some real recruitment of of worker-militants beyond one or two individuals and wider support among this layer of the most militant sections of the South African working class, then it is indeed potentially significant.
This is correct. The initial meeting was an organising meeting to plan for a conference. Dozens of representatives from mining communities and union branches were arrested to prevent them attending the meeting, the withdrawal of permission to use th venue, the refusal of bail to worker activists currently in detention. The expected attendance was over 200 leading activists but only 20 were able to actually get to the meeting.

This development has spread panic among the ruling elites in South Africa, the leadership of the ANC, the SACP and COSATU (especially the NUM). The workers and the communities who are actively participating in the development of this movement have been subjected to the full force of the state apparatus with the active support of the ANC, the SACP and the leadership of COSATU. The call for a new party of the working class has struck an echo right throughout the country - workers in industry and communities are actively participating in making it happen and it has the potential to shake the South African state to its very foundations. The membership of the DSM deserve enormous credit for the sheer effort and committment they have put into building this movement (facing the actions of the entire South African state) first among striking mine workers and now in the wider workers movement and within the communities. The first port of call for any workers or communities organising is now the DSM.

This development is hugely significant and if it reaches anything approaching its full potential it will have consequences far beyond the South African state in demonstrating the ability of working class people to organise in the teeth of the most vicious repression.

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 03:15 PM
I guess I was decieved by this headline:

http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6068

So if it's not a revolutionary party and not a mass workers party what is it? A party somewhere between the two?

Didn't see that - it is a bit misleading...

The actual interview in the video below this headline talks very little about a mass workers' party. The task facing the working class is described as "rebuilding the workers' movement" and primarily about rebulding the trade union movement with a mass workers' party posed some distance in the future and only referred to at the very end.

As regards what this represents programmatically it is probably just a normal left-reformist CWI grouping that has broken out of a period of being a tiny propaganda grouplet to now having a small base in the real workers' movement.

Jolly Red Giant
27-01-2013, 03:32 PM
As regards what this represents programmatically it is probably just a normal left-reformist CWI grouping that has broken out of a period of being a tiny propaganda grouplet to now having a small base in the real workers' movement.
I'll ignore the usual spartoid remark about reformism - but in effect you are correct. The CWI affiliate (the Marxist Wrokers Tendency) was of considerable political significance during apartheid era drawing into its ranks a wide layer of working class activists and being the target of the wrath of the SACP in particular. Like many other left groups, the MWT in South Africa suffered a significant setback with the collapse of Stalinism and the throwing back of workers consciousness. However, the DSM continues to represent the significant traditions built up by the MWT during the apartheid era and since. You are correct that the DSM was a small propaganda group - however it has grown significantly in the recent period and has gained the respect of large swathes of the mining communities and now further afield for its role in developing initially local and now national strike committees. While its numbers are still (in South African terms) small it now has enormous respect among large sections of the South African working class (and again is the focus of the wrath of the SACP).

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 03:45 PM
Didn't see that - it is a bit misleading...

The actual interview in the video below this headline talks very little about a mass workers' party. The task facing the working class is described as "rebuilding the workers' movement" and primarily about rebulding the trade union movement with a mass workers' party posed some distance in the future and only referred to at the very end.

As regards what this represents programmatically it is probably just a normal left-reformist CWI grouping that has broken out of a period of being a tiny propaganda grouplet to now having a small base in the real workers' movement.

The same recipe is being transferred from one country to another without any seeming lessons being learned when it goes wrong, and without the distinct nuances that would be evidence of a real analysis of the local conditions - relations between all classes, economic and social development.
It is a one size fits all approach.

Which leads me to query how policy is developed in the SP and its sister organisations. Is it all coming from one or two dominant individuals in the UK or elsewhere, or is it emerging from an analysis and debate throughout each of these parties, involving all of the members ?

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 04:02 PM
The actual interview in the video below this headline talks very little about a mass workers' party.

Loved his sweatshirt. :)

toxic avenger
27-01-2013, 04:08 PM
If the left can not capitalize on unprecedented and catastrophic circumstances such as those we have seen since Autumn 2008 (nearly 5 years ago!!!), when capitalism, particularly free-market, deregulate everything, winner-takes-all casino capitalism, has never been more completely discredited and shown for what it is, then, quite franky, it never will - not in Ireland.

Ireland is too conservative, its working class base is too small. The ULA and the Socialist Party are pissing in the wind - why the hell are the most right wing party in Ireland now in the ascendancy?

Time to face it - it isn't going to happen. Not in Ireland. So an alternative scenario, one which actually might have more appeal for traditional socialists who never bought the 'socialism in one country' guff anyway - the better hope is to concentrate on a regional European left alternative. Ireland is such a small open economy anyway, and is more likely to follow suit where the political discourse consensus in Europe as a whole rejects the shibboleths of the right, such as austerity (even the IMF is slowly beginning to cop on).

jmcc
27-01-2013, 04:26 PM
So what is your solution to mass unemployment ?I haven't figured out out yet. :) The old ones used to be war, colonisation and disease. However I think that colonisation (in newer forms) might make a comeback.

Regards...jmcc

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 04:30 PM
I haven't figured out out yet. :) The old ones used to be war, colonisation and disease. However I think that colonisation (in newer forms) might make a comeback.

Regards...jmcc

And you wonder why there are people who would prefer to try a planned economy, under workers control ?

Jolly Red Giant
27-01-2013, 04:35 PM
The same recipe is being transferred from one country to another without any seeming lessons being learned when it goes wrong, and without the distinct nuances that would be evidence of a real analysis of the local conditions - relations between all classes, economic and social development.
It is a one size fits all approach.

Which leads me to query how policy is developed in the SP and its sister organisations. Is it all coming from one or two dominant individuals in the UK or elsewhere, or is it emerging from an analysis and debate throughout each of these parties, involving all of the members ?
CF - you really need to get a life - :rolleyes:

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 04:38 PM
CF - you really need to get a life - :rolleyes:

Whatever you do, don't answer the question.

The same line is being put out in the north of Ireland now.

No wonder you have difficulties in terms of mismatch between policy and political conditions.

jmcc
27-01-2013, 05:26 PM
And you wonder why there are people who would prefer to try a planned economy, under workers control ?People always imagine that they can run things but often without ever really understanding the complexities of modern society. The whole "workers of the world unite" thing was great but the people pushing that idea never really thought about what comes next - how to meet the payroll and keep people working. The dangers of a planned economy were seen with the Soviet Union with factories locked into long production cycles and poor quality. In some respects, Communism and Marxism are anti-evolutionary ideas in that they seek to propagate inefficiencies. They also massively underestimate the capabilities of people to exploit such systems for their own benefit. What generally happens to Leftist movements is actually a kind of a capitalism of ideology with a few deriving maximum benefit from the system (the leadership), a middle layer of functionaries/true believers and the poor workers/members at the lower tier. The big problem for the Left is that there are so many Leftist organisations that if someone doesn't like one, they can always join another.

Regards...jmcc

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 06:32 PM
[QUOTE=jmcc;311838]People always imagine that they can run things but often without ever really understanding the complexities of modern society.

Some things have actually got simpler. There are a tiny number of vast corporations running worldwide operations. In Marx's day, production was much smaller scale, and more fragmented and nation-based.


The whole "workers of the world unite" thing was great but the people pushing that idea never really thought about what comes next - how to meet the payroll and keep people working.

Well, they had to deal with this in Russia when they took power in 1917. There were a lot of different approaches tried, from abolition of money to the NEP that encouraged a certain amount of capitalist production. Lenin brought in outside investors to start of sectors that previously didn't exist in Russia.


The dangers of a planned economy were seen with the Soviet Union with factories locked into long production cycles and poor quality.

Interesting. I wrote earlier about the costs of retooling in capitalism. Certainly with less commercial competition, a new model with a different quirky widget is not going to be produced every year, but is that really inefficient ?


In some respects, Communism and Marxism are anti-evolutionary ideas in that they seek to propagate inefficiencies.

I would describe built in obsolesence as inefficient, and it is the natural child of production for profit under semi monopoly conditions.
There were massive improvements in living standards post WW2 in the USSR - that are now falling backwards.


They also massively underestimate the capabilities of people to exploit such systems for their own benefit.

The problem of bureacracy was very much a live issue right from the early days of the USSR and the system struggled to deal with it. But bureacracy was a fleabite compared with the lunacy of the oligarchy.


What generally happens to Leftist movements is actually a kind of a capitalism of ideology with a few deriving maximum benefit from the system (the leadership), a middle layer of functionaries/true believers and the poor workers/members at the lower tier.

Those features exist in all parties, not just on the left. But on the left, it is in contradiction with the chosen ideology of the party.
That is definitely an issue and one that is live at the moment within the left.
"Bourgeois ideology" - individualism, hierarchy, cultism, and so on, are part and parcel of it. It presses down on left organisations heavily at mainly subconscious levels. Party members need to stop thinking of themselves as footsoldiers and realise their full mental engagement is needed too.


The big problem for the Left is that there are so many Leftist organisations that if someone doesn't like one, they can always join another.

Too much like the free market ? lol!

Jolly Red Giant
27-01-2013, 06:36 PM
Whatever you do, don't answer the question.

The same line is being put out in the north of Ireland now.

No wonder you have difficulties in terms of mismatch between policy and political conditions.

I have answered the question repeatedly - the world economy is in crisis - the working class on a global scale is being hammered - the workers movement needs a political voice - that voice is the neceesity of building new mass left parties - the necessity for such parties does not over-ride the fact that they cannot be wished into existance - the working class has to develop the consciousness needed to build such parties - in some countries (i.e. Greece and South Africa) the political consciousness has resulted in significant advances - in others (Ireland) the working class has not moved into struggle to any real degree and class consciousness has not developed. The only way of finding out the situation is to try - and if it fails then acknowledge the fact - move on - and try again in more favourable circumstances.

Anti-Coalition
27-01-2013, 06:56 PM
Through the establishment of the ULA, initiated by the Socialist Party, an alternative was posed in half the Dáil constituencies in the last general election.


I think this is one of the biggest reasons the ULA failed. From the outset, it was an alliance of failure. With only half of the constituencies represented, it was already a given that the ULA could not enter Government and actually change anything - unless it went into a coalition - which would have defeated the whole premise of the ULA. So, what it was, in reality, was a platform to elect the Opposition, not the Government. It was a chance to put a few key personalities on a pedestal, they felt they were entitled to, so that they could rant and rave, march and picket, but achieve absolutely nothing.

Why was it so weak from the beginning? That is the question that needs to be answered, before even considering any future body that represents the 'left' - or the 'workers' or 'the people'.

Personally, I believe that all the Marxist dogma and political ideology alienates the Irish people, in this day and age. It is old and tired, and any attraction it may have had is sitting under the rubble of the Berlin Wall.

We need a new revolution, and new writers with new language to inspire it

Anti-Coalition
27-01-2013, 07:00 PM
I have answered the question repeatedly - the world economy is in crisis - the working class on a global scale is being hammered....

By excluding the middle-class, who are also being hammered, perhaps even more than the working class, (because they do not have trade unions or agreements to protect them), your philosophy rings hollow - and will never inspire any kind of mass movement.

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 07:08 PM
Personally, I believe that all the Marxist dogma and political ideology alienates the Irish people, in this day and age. It is old and tired, and any attraction it may have had is sitting under the rubble of the Berlin Wall.

We need a new revolution, and new writers with new language to inspire it

Your problem is that you still have to organise the economy, society, in some way.

You retain private ownership of the means of production and profit as the motive for production and your "revolution" will not solve any problem afflicting the world. Not one single one. It will be the same old ...

If you want to change the society to one that operates on a ration basis to meet the needs of the people of the planet instead of the profit requirements of a handful well then it is hard to shake off Marx, etc.

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 07:11 PM
By excluding the middle-class, who are also being hammered, perhaps even more than the working class, (because they do not have trade unions or agreements to protect them), your philosophy rings hollow - and will never inspire any kind of mass movement.

I suspect that many of the people you consider middle class would actually be considered workers in a marxist perspective.

Anti-Coalition
27-01-2013, 07:32 PM
Your problem is that you still have to organise the economy, society, in some way.

You retain private ownership of the means of production and profit as the motive for production and your "revolution" will not solve any problem afflicting the world. Not one single one. It will be the same old ...

If you want to change the society to one that operates on a ration basis to meet the needs of the people of the planet instead of the profit requirements of a handful well then it is hard to shake off Marx, etc.

Marx had some great insights, and will always be there, as a reference point. But some of the best ideas, like dialectical materialism, were from later writers.

Shaking off the red stars, and even the use of the term 'working class', would be a first step.

From other recent threads, I know I seem completely pro-private ownership. But that is not the case. The problem is that any type of public ownership that has been tried already usually ended up in a dictatorial scenario. Only a Government with strong direct democracy principles and mechanisms has a chance of working.

Anti-Coalition
27-01-2013, 07:33 PM
I suspect that many of the people you consider middle class would actually be considered workers in a marxist perspective.

Maybe you are right. But the problem is that most of those people don't like being called 'workers'. It is demeaning to them...

They do not consider themselves a species of ant, or bee, but something more sophisticated....

jmcc
27-01-2013, 07:44 PM
Some things have actually got simpler. There are a tiny number of vast corporations running worldwide operations. In Marx's day, production was much smaller scale, and more fragmented and nation-based.And people still try applying Marx's ideas to situations that are massively more complex? It is no different from a secular religion.


Well, they had to deal with this in Russia when they took power in 1917. There were a lot of different approaches tried, from abolition of money to the NEP that encouraged a certain amount of capitalist production. Lenin brought in outside investors to start of sectors that previously didn't exist in Russia. And what Lenin and co did when they achieved power was really capitalistic - they went about knocking others out of the market.


Interesting. I wrote earlier about the costs of retooling in capitalism. Certainly with less commercial competition, a new model with a different quirky widget is not going to be produced every year, but is that really inefficient ?Commercial competition inspires development and cost effectiveness. With some products, the costs of retooling are lower because of the progressive nature of development.


I would describe built in obsolesence as inefficient, and it is the natural child of production for profit under semi monopoly conditions.Humanity has its own built-in obsolescence.


There were massive improvements in living standards post WW2 in the USSR - that are now falling backwards.That's because there were tens of millions fewer people in the USSR post WW2.


The problem of bureacracy was very much a live issue right from the early days of the USSR and the system struggled to deal with it. But bureacracy was a fleabite compared with the lunacy of the oligarchy.But the old Nomenklatura seem to have moved seamlessly into the new oligarchical structure.


That is definitely an issue and one that is live at the moment within the left.
"Bourgeois ideology" - individualism, hierarchy, cultism, and so on, are part and parcel of it. It presses down on left organisations heavily at mainly subconscious levels. Party members need to stop thinking of themselves as footsoldiers and realise their full mental engagement is needed too.For most people, "Bourgeois ideology" might be some brand of clothing. Irrelevance is one of the major things with which the Left has to cope. And when those on the Left get into power, they prove to be every bit as greedy as those on the Right (Gilmore, Rabbitte, Howlin, Quinn etc).


Too much like the free market ? lol!But unlike the free market, there isn't much worth selling or buying. :)

Regards...jmcc

jmcc
27-01-2013, 07:48 PM
I suspect that many of the people you consider middle class would actually be considered workers in a marxist perspective.And ironically many of the people who would be targeted by the Left are unemployed. Would that make unemployed Leftists capitalists as they are living off the efforts of the workers? :)

Regards...jmcc

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 08:05 PM
And ironically many of the people who would be targeted by the Left are unemployed. Would that make unemployed Leftists capitalists as they are living off the efforts of the workers? :)

Regards...jmcc

That would only be possible if you view everything through the lens of the individual rather than social classes.

jmcc
27-01-2013, 08:10 PM
That would only be possible if you view everything through the lens of the individual rather than social classes.Well I am an individual. :) Perhaps I'm a Libertarian?

Regards...jmcc

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 08:41 PM
[QUOTE=jmcc;311889]And people still try applying Marx's ideas to situations that are massively more complex? It is no different from a secular religion.

What do you have in mind, that is so complex, and so well managed at present ?


And what Lenin and co did when they achieved power was really capitalistic - they went about knocking others out of the market.

No, they knocked the market itself.


Commercial competition inspires development and cost effectiveness. With some products, the costs of retooling are lower because of the progressive nature of development.

It is low in cost for some, but high costs for the others who are put out of business by them.


Humanity has its own built-in obsolescence.

Not sure what you mean by that. People can be retrained.


That's because there were tens of millions fewer people in the USSR post WW2.

You could say that about the entire post war "boom" period, internationally but it would not be true. In the USSR productive capacity was increased by very much more than in comparable backward capitalist states and rivalled the most advanced ones.


But the old Nomenklatura seem to have moved seamlessly into the new oligarchical structure.

Well, that is the deal given to them by the World Bank. Your people, don't come complaining to me about them :)


For most people, "Bourgeois ideology" might be some brand of clothing.

You get exasperated by the lack of technical knowledge in the population. The lack of knowledge of the basics of scientific socialism is equally distressing to others.


Irrelevance is one of the major things with which the Left has to cope. And when those on the Left get into power, they prove to be every bit as greedy as those on the Right (Gilmore, Rabbitte, Howlin, Quinn etc).

Gilmore et al are on a rightward trajectory that will not stop until they reach some kind of physical barrier. And they are being well paid for it.


But unlike the free market, there isn't much worth selling or buying. :)

Unlike the "free market" - which is an abstract concept only, it actually exists.

Saoirse go Deo
27-01-2013, 09:39 PM
I think that the major problem is that peoples anger is channeled into an electoral payday for political parties, people sit at home and think "I'll get you come election day!!". That's what they are told to do by the political parties.

Everyone is obsessed with elections and getting elected, in pursuit of wider electoral gain principals get diluted and personalities take over.

Given the vested interests in the media and the establishment I think it will never happen that elections alone, or even in the main, will bring the change we need. How likely will it be that a revolutionary group would get the number of votes needed to form an overwhelming majority govt as would be required given the huge deck stacked against them? Impossible I'd say in normal circumstances.

You could end up with a coalition at best and that would hamstring the movement and lead to splits etc. Steam will go out of the movement and effort will largely have been in vain.

I think people need to recognize this and stop putting so much emphasis on elections - good for giving spokespersons - and thats all they should be - a platform but as an instrument for the fundamental change needed they shouldn't be portrayed as the main one.

It will take a storming of the Bastille type moment to bring about the political awareness, change and further radicalization people are talking about here, not getting a couple dozen people elected.

By channeling peoples anger into voting booths and not onto the streets movements are defeating themselves imo

In Irish history the only time a revolutionary movement managed to get itself elected against the overwhelming odds followed an unprecedented and unlikely series of events which radicalized people, 1916 and the fallout, and this was in the context of WW1, the collapse of Empires and the revolutions in Russia.

They only got elected in unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances, including the fact that other political parties didn't run against them and split the vote in many places.

The, temporary it seems, demolition of FF is as good as it is going to get in these, as favorable as I think you can realistically hope for, circumstances.

If there was going to be a major shift it would have been then. There wasn't. Peoples immense anger was channeled into the voting booth, dissipated quite a bit and when the smoke cleared they ended up with the exact same.

In the absence of any extraordinary Bastille type moment things will tick along the way they are.

Thats not to say I don't believe in democracy, I just don't believe is this type of mythical democracy, people think they have a say but they really don't.

People are encouraged to be angry at personalities, take James Reilly at this stage, in the unlikely event that he was forced to resign people would view, and would portray it as, a victory, but it really isn't, system stays the same, someone else will continue his antics.

Saoirse go Deo
27-01-2013, 10:03 PM
ULA response:



United Left Alliance
Press statement
January 27th 2013.

The United Left Alliance regrets the decision taken by Joe Higgins TD and the Socialist Party to leave the Alliance. We believe that they have made a serious mistake. The need for a new, broad and inclusive left, which will not on principle enter right wing governments with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail is today more urgent than ever.

Faced with a massive attack on jobs, pay, pensions, working conditions, welfare payments and entitlements, health and education and other essential social services, working people need an independent and radical political movement which will seek to represent them, help organise them, and above all, fight on their behalf.

The ULA was formed with the intention to bring together existing left groups along with individual members to help lay the basis over time to enable a new party of the left to come into existence. It was inevitable that there would be difficulties in bringing together groups who have had a long period of independent activity and indeed rivalry.

We believe it is necessary to work to overcome such problems and to create the conditions in which the ULA can achieve its undoubted potential.

It is unfortunate that the Socialist Party feels it necessary to create or exaggerate political differences to justify their action in leaving the Alliance. In reality their decision reflects an inability to put the urgent task of building a broader movement to more effectively represent working people before the narrow interests of their own small grouping.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD. Clare Daly TD. Joan Collins TD.

C. Flower
27-01-2013, 10:05 PM
ULA response:

Fair enough, they have issued a statement, but who elected them to speak for the ULA ?

ULA TDs, yes. But there is a membership.

No mention of not allying with Labour and mention of "broad and inclusive" alliance.

bolshevik
27-01-2013, 10:57 PM
Fair enough, they have issued a statement, but who elected them to speak for the ULA ?

ULA TDs, yes. But there is a membership.

The TDs have always spoken for the ULA. There has always been a source of tension between this reality and the formal leadership of the national steering committee.

royalmeath
27-01-2013, 11:19 PM
Hahaha, hilarious, the Irish left, the biggest joke ever,
grow up, there is no desire for a radical left, the most that could be hoped for is ten seats that would soon be split into 3 separated into 3 parties and one independent, after they fell out over who will pay for the caviare and champagne :)
Pathetic, give it up, now leftover movement will ever govern in this country, So fragmented and so selfish, socialism equals whats in it for me?
Simple, no matter what propaganda this site likes to portray, the most any left party could get is four elected

Sam Lord
27-01-2013, 11:27 PM
Hahaha, hilarious, the Irish left, the biggest joke ever,
grow up, there is no desire for a radical left, the most that could be hoped for is ten seats that would soon be split into 3 separated into 3 parties and one independent, after they fell out over who will pay for the caviare and champagne :)
Pathetic, give it up, now leftover movement will ever govern in this country, So fragmented and so selfish, socialism equals whats in it for me?
Simple, no matter what propaganda this site likes to portray, the most any left party could get is four elected

You appear remarkably concerned about something that is a joke and will never get anywhere in Ireland. People will be begin to wonder if what you post and what you actually believe are in accord.

jmcc
28-01-2013, 02:28 AM
What do you have in mind, that is so complex, and so well managed at present ?Companies that have tens of thousands of people employed worldwide and would in Marx's time have represented the output of large countries.


No, they knocked the market itself.They achieved a monopoly by rigging the market. :)


It is low in cost for some, but high costs for the others who are put out of business by them.I was thinking in more literal terms about retooling costs. Some production lines can be retooled quite easily but some, inevitably, will be put out of business. That's the nature of the beast. With some products, the components are ordered as close as possible to the time they are needed whereas decades ago, significant stocks would have been kept at the factories.


Not sure what you mean by that. People can be retrained.It is more an observation that people, along with products, have a finite lifespan. Some people can be retrained but not all and that's how some businesses view things.


You could say that about the entire post war "boom" period, internationally but it would not be true. In the USSR productive capacity was increased by very much more than in comparable backward capitalist states and rivalled the most advanced ones.And the USSR also plundered a lot of heavy equipment and expertise from Germany. Perhaps the economists here can answer this but the USSR and some of the other major players were still war economies for a few years after the end of WW2.


Well, that is the deal given to them by the World Bank. Your people, don't come complaining to me about them :)The World Bank aren't really my people. :)


You get exasperated by the lack of technical knowledge in the population. The lack of knowledge of the basics of scientific socialism is equally distressing to others.I was going to comment about Scientific Socialism being like an attempt at accurate Astrology but it does appear to include an element of error correction. It seems to be an attempt to repackage Socialism/Marxism for a more industrialised market where people were moving away from agricultural work towards factories and industry.


Gilmore et al are on a rightward trajectory that will not stop until they reach some kind of physical barrier. And they are being well paid for it.They should not be so well paid but I think that they will be taken out in, somewhat ironically given their history, a purge.


Unlike the "free market" - which is an abstract concept only, it actually exists.Well it is a free market of ideas however charging for them is quite difficult. This would mean that the small parties on the Left never really achieve the critical mass that would push them into being a mainstream party with a considerable share (20% or so) of the national vote. It is like they are all acting in their own personal interest (Gilmore, Rabbitte etc) rather than (Nash equilibrium like) acting in the best interest of themselves and other members.

Regards...jmcc

jmcc
28-01-2013, 02:36 AM
The TDs have always spoken for the ULA. There has always been a source of tension between this reality and the formal leadership of the national steering committee.Forgive me for saying this but with all this talk of a national steering committee it makes it sound like the party is the clown car in the Irish political circus. :) It might be a good thing if the vocubulary was updated to the 21st century.

Regards...jmcc

C. Flower
28-01-2013, 09:55 AM
Forgive me for saying this but with all this talk of a national steering committee it makes it sound like the party is the clown car in the Irish political circus. :) It might be a good thing if the vocubulary was updated to the 21st century.

Regards...jmcc

jmcc, I assure you that a steering committee is a widely used form of organisation, in everything from Government bodies, to the local fund for an extension to the GAA bar.

Perhaps you call it something else in tech land, but I'm quite sure that you have them - probably mainly meeting on skype or similar.

C. Flower
28-01-2013, 10:04 AM
Companies that have tens of thousands of people employed worldwide and would in Marx's time have represented the output of large countries.

Regards...jmcc

Marx would have been delighted by that. He used to count up the number of factory workers, amount of product etc, year on year, and viewed the build up as steps closer to socialism.

What I think has got more complex is that components of an item may be made in several different locations an assembled elsewhere. The impact on global production from the tsunami in Japan demonstrated that clearly. In some respects (transport, environmental impact) that may be a very inefficient way of doing things, that has developed in part through price competition, and access low paid work forces, but also to avoid dependency on a single work force that consequently has strong bargaining powers.

C. Flower
28-01-2013, 10:07 AM
The TDs have always spoken for the ULA. There has always been a source of tension between this reality and the formal leadership of the national steering committee.

Have they spoken for the ULA, or said whatever they felt like ?

The ULA was never going to be able to last in the absence of a programme and internal democracy and an accountable leadership. Anti-e wrote about that over a year ago. He also, rightly said, that serious workers looking for a party would not join (or remain in) an organisation without a programme.

For Clare Daly to end up doing her own thing, and not bothering with the SC, if the Steering Committee allowed TDs to speak for the ULA, was only to be expected.

bolshevik
28-01-2013, 10:10 AM
Have they spoken for the ULA, or said whatever they felt like ?

The second but they have always gone out as ULA press statements so to the world they have appeared to be official statements of the ULA.


The ULA was never going to be able to last in the absence of a programme and internal democracy and an accountable leadership. Anti-e wrote about that over a year ago. He also, rightly said, that serious workers looking for a party would not join (or remain in) an organisation without a programme.

All true - not that our friends in the SP think any of that made any difference and just the abstract idea of a new party some time in the future should have been enough to encourage workers to flood into the ULA.

C. Flower
28-01-2013, 10:18 AM
The second but they have always gone out as ULA press statements so to the world they have appeared to be official statements of the ULA.

All true - not that our friends in the SP think any of that made any difference and just the abstract idea of a new party some time in the future should have been enough to encourage workers to flood into the ULA.

It seems essential for the Non-aligned, non TD members of the ULA, if there are a number who want to push forward in one form or another, to meet up (independently of the TDs who are evidently a law unto themselves) and to discuss what they want to do.

Jolly Red Giant
28-01-2013, 10:57 AM
All true - not that our friends in the SP think any of that made any difference and just the abstract idea of a new party some time in the future should have been enough to encourage workers to flood into the ULA.
A bit disingenuous B - if workers had 'flooded' to the ULA then it would have been appropriate to move to a fully fledged federal party structure - the problem was they didn't. I would suggest (and I know you will disagree) that otherwise its putting the cart before the horse. As for internal democracy - whatever fault may lie with the Socialist Party, they were the only component organisation to promote non-aligned representation on the Steering Committee.

Final point - The Steering Committee did make decisions related to the activities of the TDs - the problem was that all the TD's with the exception of Joe Higgins ignored these decisions - and when push came to shove nobody had a problem with that except for the Socialist Party (I am not aware what the non-aligned reps did - but I was given the impression they didn't kick up a stink about it either).

bolshevik
28-01-2013, 11:23 AM
A bit disingenuous B - if workers had 'flooded' to the ULA then it would have been appropriate to move to a fully fledged federal party structure - the problem was they didn't. I would suggest (and I know you will disagree) that otherwise its putting the cart before the horse. As for internal democracy - whatever fault may lie with the Socialist Party, they were the only component organisation to promote non-aligned representation on the Steering Committee.

I am not disputing that. The difference is over what might have encouraged enough workers to join the ULA to get your seal of approval that it was ok to put your election manifesto promise to launch a new party into practice.

Your position boils down to saying nothing would have made any difference because of the "objective factors". What the non-aligned were continually saying, and others seem to agree, is that there are things that could have been done differently - and the SP, usually supported by the SWP, blocked these developments. No-one can know whether the changes would have been enough but it seems fairly clear that the ULA as it actually existed had flaws that were a barrier to that possibility.

Actually the non-aligned participation in the steering committee only served to highlight the democratic deficit at the heart of the ULA in the form of the veto.


Final point - The Steering Committee did make decisions related to the activities of the TDs - the problem was that all the TD's with the exception of Joe Higgins ignored these decisions - and when push came to shove nobody had a problem with that except for the Socialist Party (I am not aware what the non-aligned reps did - but I was given the impression they didn't kick up a stink about it either).

It is true that the other TDs did start going on solo runs and excluding Joe from the discussions about Dail tactics at the end of last year.

But prior to that all the TDs including Joe (and Clare when she was still in the SP) had been making policy statements left right and centre in the name of the ULA without any reference to the steering committee. This question of TD accountability is one of the main sticking points for many of the non-aligned when considering creating something new with the SWP & Daly/Collins bloc.

Your impression is wrong.

Sam Lord
28-01-2013, 12:56 PM
The dishonesty of the SP on these matters is just breathtaking.

For them to assert that the problem with the UAL was that people did not join (in a relatively short space of time) when absolutely nothing was done to build the organisation and encourage people to join requires a neck like a jockeys rear end. When the ULA had served its purpose after the last election it was essentially parked by the SP and SWP (until needed for the next election) while they continued on with the business of building their own respective parties.

The essential problem with the ULA was that neither of the two parties was committed to anything other than an electoral alliance and always had the priority of developing their own party in competition with the other. They should have just said this at the time instead of hypeing the impression of some new party of the left being created. But I suppose they needed the buzz.

jmcc
28-01-2013, 05:05 PM
jmcc, I assure you that a steering committee is a widely used form of organisation, in everything from Government bodies, to the local fund for an extension to the GAA bar.

Perhaps you call it something else in tech land, but I'm quite sure that you have them - probably mainly meeting on skype or similar.It is a simple question of perception. While using such terms in political parties, even small ones, may be a standard thing, it alienates people. Those people are the potential voters. Thus when they see the same terms being used (with some variations) from FG, FF to ULA, SP etc, they begin to consider that politicians really are all the same. And in their jaded cynicism, voters don't vote. The smaller the party, the more inclusive and current it must appear to voters. Lenin and Hitler (two extreme examples) understood this well.

Regards...jmcc

Jolly Red Giant
28-01-2013, 05:19 PM
Lenin and Hitler (two extreme examples) understood this well.
A brutal and completely off the wall comparison.

jmcc
28-01-2013, 05:25 PM
Marx would have been delighted by that. He used to count up the number of factory workers, amount of product etc, year on year, and viewed the build up as steps closer to socialism.He sounds very much like some kind of overpaid academic sociologist dabbling in economics. If he was around today, he'd be on Vincent Browne's show telling everyone how things should be done. :)


What I think has got more complex is that components of an item may be made in several different locations an assembled elsewhere. The impact on global production from the tsunami in Japan demonstrated that clearly. The floods in Thailand a few years ago might be a better example. These floods knocked out some of the major harddrive factories and prices of harddrives doubled almost overnight and remained high for a few months. The knock-on effect to the consumer was that everything with a harddrive suddenly increased in price. Refurbished harddrives were being sold as new.


In some respects (transport, environmental impact) that may be a very inefficient way of doing things, that has developed in part through price competition, and access low paid work forces, but also to avoid dependency on a single work force that consequently has strong bargaining powers.It is more do to with the complexity of some manufacturing processes. With some metals for example, it is easier to ship the finished product than millions of tonnes of ore. Some modern products are, in terms of the manufacture of their components, amazingly complex and are the sum of a myriad of production processes. To use the buggy whip of Marx's day as an example, that would just have a few components that could be produced locally and perhaps even in the same factory. The mobile phone by comparison has components from many countries and it is simpler to assemble it from components transported to the factory rather than to maufacture every component in one factory. The factories of Marx's day were quite simple affairs by comparison. This is why the "single workforce" argument in "workers of the world unite" now seems strange. Modern production processes are often much more efficient than the processes of Marx's day in that rather than the raw materials being shipped to a factory, only the finished components are shipped.

Regards...jmcc

jmcc
28-01-2013, 05:28 PM
A brutal and completely off the wall comparison.Is it? :) In the Russian revolution, what particular term always seemed to be used? One that seemed to provide an element of inclusiveness?

Regards...jmcc

C. Flower
29-01-2013, 03:30 PM
I've published a post of Jolly Red Giant's on the PW Blog - although there is much in it I don't agree with personally, it is a thoroughly presented personal view from a Socialist Party activist standpoint, well worth reading and discussing.

http://itsapoliticalworld.wordpress.com/

Sam Lord
29-01-2013, 03:37 PM
I've published a post of Jolly Red Giant's on the PW Blog - although there is much in it I don't agree with personally, it is a thoroughly presented personal view from a Socialist Party activist standpoint, well worth reading and discussing.

http://itsapoliticalworld.wordpress.com/

There goes this year's award.

MediaBite
29-01-2013, 03:54 PM
So it seems that the Socialist Party blames Clare Daly and the working class and possibly the unaligned members for the failure of their ULA project.

Extraordinary that the role of the SWP is not mentioned prior to the Daly row. A leaked SWP document showed that that party had written off the ULA from early 2012.

I presume this means that the SP wants to go again with another SWP electoral alliance, under the umbrella of the CAHWT.

My commiserations to all of those sincere people who worked very hard for the ULA. Important lessons to be learned from this, and the need for a new and principled organisation of the left is more urgent than ever.

Nail on the head.

riposte
29-01-2013, 06:22 PM
I see Clare Daly enjoys a hot whiskey.. :D

MediaBite
29-01-2013, 06:38 PM
I agree that the whole ULA project was flawed and unrealistic. It was pointed out to them before they started that creating a party that would be in competition with the SP for members would be an insuperable conflict of interests.

Instead of honestly presenting it as an electoral alliance, they threw out lures that any reasonable person would have interpreted as meaning they wished to build the ULA as a party. Inviting individual members to an electoral alliance would make no sense - unless to use them to canvass for SP campaigns. In my opinion it was opportunistic and cynical.

It was their call - and if, as they claim, workers did not want to join at that stage, it was a poor call, in terms of timing. I don't agree, and from my observation they obstructed the growth of the ULA.

I think that the SP should be called by other left groups to stand over their commitment to united action, but I would think that anyone of sense (after the experience of the unaligned ULA members, who were treated with contempt) would now run a mile from any campaign or organisation controlled by them, unless they intend to become SP members.

The SWP if anything has a worse history in the ULA, but is not considered as a serious party by many (it has no political programme), and was not the main initiator of the ULA. The SP if it wants to come out of this with self-respect, needs to make a more honest and balanced analysis of "what went wrong" or the party will go on to repeat its mistakes.

Why on earth would the ULA have been 'an insuperable conflict of interest' with the SP? Why should it not have an electoral focus? The SP does not own the Left in Ireland. It is not and never has been a unifying entity. The ULA never owed it any particular allegiance beyond respecting it as one among other fellow travelers and working with it as constructively as possible - which it clearly very seriously attempted to do. The ULA was and is one of the most constructive initiatives to emerge from the Irish left in a long time.

[Edited for unhelpful tetchiness!]

MediaBite
29-01-2013, 06:53 PM
the dishonesty of the sp on these matters is just breathtaking.

For them to assert that the problem with the ual was that people did not join (in a relatively short space of time) when absolutely nothing was done to build the organisation and encourage people to join requires a neck like a jockeys rear end. When the ula had served its purpose after the last election it was essentially parked by the sp and swp (until needed for the next election) while they continued on with the business of building their own respective parties.

The essential problem with the ula was that neither of the two parties was committed to anything other than an electoral alliance and always had the priority of developing their own party in competition with the other. They should have just said this at the time instead of hypeing the impression of some new party of the left being created. But i suppose they needed the buzz.

+ 4,500,000

C. Flower
29-01-2013, 07:28 PM
Why on earth would the ULA have been 'an insuperable conflict of interest' with the SP? Why should it not have an electoral focus? The SP does not own the Left in Ireland. It is not and never has been a unifying entity. The ULA never owed it any particular allegiance beyond respecting it as one among other fellow travelers and working with it as constructively as possible - which it clearly very seriously attempted to do. The ULA was and is one of the most constructive initiatives to emerge from the Irish left in a long time.

There is a sort of awe and subservience to both the SP and SWP among people on the Left in Ireland - even among those who don't think they are doing a great job. They pontificate, declaim and renounce as much as any parish priest ever did. *uck 'em. They are arrogant and alienating.

The insuperable conflict of interest would have emerged between the SP and the ULA had it become a Party. People cannot be a member of a democratic centralist Party like the SP without carrying out the instructions of the Central Committee and putting forward the SP's programme and policies

It the ULA had developed its own internal democracy, and made its own policies and programme - as many of the non aligned members were working for, and as was in fact emerging last year, then that policy and programme would inevitably have been different from that of the Socialist Party. How could the ULA have functioned and developed as a party have had a substantial part of its membership marching to a different drum to its own ?

The ULA, if it had been set up as an alliance, pure and simple, would not have had those problems.

The SP drove the ULA project from the beginning and put most into it, from what I could see, of the three main component groups. They were members of the Steering Committee and had ULA TDs. Rather than being fellow travellers with the ULA, which was at early stages of development, they were substantially its shapers.

The ULA project thus had flaws from day one. What made it as you say a positive and constructive initiative was the positive and willing spirit brought to it by new and unaligned members, particularly those who put a lot of hard work into it, both on the ground and in debate about the road it should take.

Who in your view has "awe and subservience" to the SP and SWP ? I don't see a lot of that around.

Jolly Red Giant
29-01-2013, 07:43 PM
The insuperable conflict of interest would have emerged between the SP and the ULA had it become a Party. People cannot be a member of a democratic centralist Party like the SP without carrying out the instructions of the Central Committee and putting forward the SP's programme and policies

It the ULA had developed its own internal democracy, and made its own policies and programme - as many of the non aligned members were working for, and as was in fact emerging last year, then that policy and programme would inevitably have been different from that of the Socialist Party. How could the ULA have functioned and developed as a party have had a substantial part of its membership marching to a different drum to its own ?

There is a fundemental flaw in your argument CF - genuine mass parties of the left have always had a federalist structure with various component parties playing a full and active role within them. Connolly established the LP as a mass workers party with a federalist structure and maintained the SPI as a component part of it with a seperate structure and a seperate programme. The allowing of component parties or platforms within the LP continued until the right-wing grasped total control of the leadership in 1930.

The Socialist Party did not have and would not have any problem with the ULA adopting a programme seperate from the Socialist Party's. The existing ULA programme was a minimal programme far removed from the Socialist Party's one. Furthermore the Socialist Party would have held the opinion that if the ULA had attracted a wide layer of activists - this new fresh layer would have pushed the programme significantly to the left.

LeftAtTheCross
29-01-2013, 07:58 PM
genuine mass parties of the left have always had a federalist structure with various component parties playing a full and active role within them.

Selective as ever.

The mass parties of western European communism, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, are not and were not federalist.

C. Flower
29-01-2013, 08:08 PM
There is a fundemental flaw in your argument CF - genuine mass parties of the left have always had a federalist structure with various component parties playing a full and active role within them. Connolly established the LP as a mass workers party with a federalist structure and maintained the SPI as a component part of it with a seperate structure and a seperate programme. The allowing of component parties or platforms within the LP continued until the right-wing grasped total control of the leadership in 1930.

The Socialist Party did not have and would not have any problem with the ULA adopting a programme seperate from the Socialist Party's. The existing ULA programme was a minimal programme far removed from the Socialist Party's one. Furthermore the Socialist Party would have held the opinion that if the ULA had attracted a wide layer of activists - this new fresh layer would have pushed the programme significantly to the left.

So, is the SP's democratic centralist party structure holding it back ?

It is perfectly disingenuous to say that the SP had no problem with a separate programme being developed in the ULA. The second conference of the ULA agreed a number of policy groups would meet to develop policy, and this did not take place. The ULA summer school was pulled by the Steering Committee, including the SP, at the last minute. No opportunities were afforded for members to develop and vote on policy or programme.

It is quite possible that the ULA would have moved in due course to the left of the Socialist Party.

Jolly Red Giant
29-01-2013, 09:23 PM
So, is the SP's democratic centralist party structure holding it back ?
The Socialist Party is a revolutionary Marxist party and the structure it adopts is appropriate for the task it has set itself.


It is perfectly disingenuous to say that the SP had no problem with a separate programme being developed in the ULA. The second conference of the ULA agreed a number of policy groups would meet to develop policy, and this did not take place. The ULA summer school was pulled by the Steering Committee, including the SP, at the last minute. No opportunities were afforded for members to develop and vote on policy or programme.
Again false - I spent 12 years as a member of the LP - I argued for socialist policies within the LP, I canvassed for the LP in several elections and I consistently put forward the programme of the Militant Tendency. The Militant operated within the LP and fought toe-to-toe with the right-wing over the LP programme (often winning a majority at LP conferences on specific issues).

I was not party to the pulling of the summer school or the conference so I don't know the reason why it happened. I would have been supportive of them going ahead. However, it is not relevent to the point you are making - which is that because it Socialist Party was a democratic centralist party it wouldn't allow the ULA to develop a seperate programme. The key point for the Socialist Party in developing the programme for the ULA was that it would be developed not by the existing component organisations or old left individuals who joined, but by new freash layers - anything would have resulted in a sectarian slugfest.


It is quite possible that the ULA would have moved in due course to the left of the Socialist Party.
Unlikely the uLA would have moved to an ultra-left position - but I supposed the possibility could never be completely ruled out.

bolshevik
30-01-2013, 10:13 AM
The Socialist Party is a revolutionary Marxist party and the structure it adopts is appropriate for the task it has set itself.


Unlikely the uLA would have moved to an ultra-left position - but I supposed the possibility could never be completely ruled out.

I challenged you before to provide any evidence to back up this claim that the SP is a revolutionary Marxist organisation.

Where is the revolutionary component to any of the major programmatic statements you present to the wider working class - election manifestos, budget statements etc?

These all present a left-reformist programme. Just because you can include aspirational references to the need for socialism at the end does not make you revolutionary socialists. When that is done in the context of a concrete programme that is left-reformist that just makes you reformist socialists.

Maybe you guys really think you are revolutionary socialists but such things are not to be judged by subjective intent but by the real programme presented to the working class and on that basis there is a major disconnect between your private revolutionary and public reformist views.

bolshevik
30-01-2013, 10:23 AM
I was not party to the pulling of the summer school or the conference so I don't know the reason why it happened. I would have been supportive of them going ahead. However, it is not relevent to the point you are making - which is that because it Socialist Party was a democratic centralist party it wouldn't allow the ULA to develop a seperate programme. The key point for the Socialist Party in developing the programme for the ULA was that it would be developed not by the existing component organisations or old left individuals who joined, but by new freash layers - anything would have resulted in a sectarian slugfest.


To be fair to the SP I don't think their schema included opposing the possibility that the ULA, if it had become a real party, could have developed a programme different to that of the SP. The apparent opposition to the development of programme in the ULA as it actually existed was much more to do with what JRG outlinjes here, as a symptom of their formalistic view of the process that until such time as enough (several hundreds?) of new activists, not already associated with the organised left, had joined they would oppose any developments towards a party. One aspect of that being the possibility of developing a programme.

The real problem was this catch-22 situation where the ULA as it actually existed under this schema was denied the opportunity of attracting those extra hundreds of members.

Which is not to say that those extra hundreds would necessarily have been recruited but it is also clear that the ULA as it actually existed was never going to be able to do that.

This is the real problem with the SP analysis - that they say nothing different could have been done and thereby it can be assumed that they will unfortunately repeat this schema in the future.

Jolly Red Giant
30-01-2013, 11:36 AM
I challenged you before to provide any evidence to back up this claim that the SP is a revolutionary Marxist organisation.

Yawn - no intention of getting into a sectarian slagging match



This is the real problem with the SP analysis - that they say nothing different could have been done and thereby it can be assumed that they will unfortunately repeat this schema in the future.
again - bullsh*t - the SP has never claimed that nothing could have been done differently - the SP made numerous proposals that were either rejected by the Steering Committee or, when accepted, others choose to ignore them.

There is zero evidence that doing anything that was veteoed by the SP would have resulted in one extra person joining the ULA. Despite all the evidence that is staring you straight in the face you simply ignore the fact that nobody joined the ULA and while the ULA might have managed to hang together with proper democratic accountability (and been in a position to capitalise on any change in political consciousness) - that sadly went out the window months ago.

C. Flower
30-01-2013, 11:45 AM
Yawn - no intention of getting into a sectarian slagging match


again - bullsh*t - the SP has never claimed that nothing could have been done differently - the SP made numerous proposals that were either rejected by the Steering Committee or, when accepted, others choose to ignore them.

There is zero evidence that doing anything that was veteoed by the SP would have resulted in one extra person joining the ULA. Despite all the evidence that is staring you straight in the face you simply ignore the fact that nobody joined the ULA and while the ULA might have managed to hang together with proper democratic accountability (and been in a position to capitalise on any change in political consciousness) - that sadly went out the window months ago.

Would you like to explain what they were ? My view of the SP involvement might change if it transpired that they were being blocked by others from taking basic steps to build the ULA as an organisation.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
30-01-2013, 11:58 AM
I bet it was something to do with an angry lesbian on a bicycle. They are a nightmare so they are with their demands for equality and wimmin' only cycling lanes.

C. Flower
30-01-2013, 12:34 PM
I bet it was something to do with an angry lesbian on a bicycle. They are a nightmare so they are with their demands for equality and wimmin' only cycling lanes.

A quaint and somewhat "Private Eye" view of the left.

bolshevik
30-01-2013, 12:51 PM
Yawn - no intention of getting into a sectarian slagging match

Translation: "No I can't provide any evidence of the SP presenting a revolutionary socialist programme in its major programmatic statements to the working class, so I'm going to pretend it isn't important to have to do so."

Captain Con O'Sullivan
30-01-2013, 12:53 PM
I'm only trying to help. I'm telling yiz if you keep your eye out and stay downwind you'll spot her in the end.

She's the one who turns up at every socialist meeting demanding to be viewed the same as everyone else and at the same time demanding to be given a special place on the agenda.

'Tis the crack, that leads to the groans, that leads to the fissure that leads to the breakdown.

She is Maureen Ni Hey!lihaun....

But seriously. Down on the list as I'd said before. Should the world turn upside down and I get my shot the hammering on the door will be for the members of the last government, a number of this government and the top level of the socialist and the workers party. They'll all be comrades forever in the same ditch in Wicklow.

And Maureen will be told to wait her turn like everyone else. In the interests of equality.

bolshevik
30-01-2013, 01:08 PM
There is zero evidence that doing anything that was veteoed by the SP would have resulted in one extra person joining the ULA. Despite all the evidence that is staring you straight in the face you simply ignore the fact that nobody joined the ULA and while the ULA might have managed to hang together with proper democratic accountability (and been in a position to capitalise on any change in political consciousness) - that sadly went out the window months ago.

How am I ignoring the fact that not enough people joined the ULA? The whole discussion is about that sad reality and whether anything different could have been done to get around it.

It is of course very hard to prove evidence of the effect of something that wasn't allowed to happen.

But I think it is likely that the lack of democratic control by the membership which was cited as the main reason for their leaving the ULA by the bulk of the non-aligned in Cork (virtually all of whom came in initially as supporters of the SP election campaign) didn't also have a negative effect on recruitment. And as I understand it this was replicated around the country.

I also think it is likely that the fact that the ULA only ever had token contingents on virtually all the major demonstrations in Ireland over the past couple of years while the contingents of the two main component groups were always much bigger, also contributed to the ULA not looking attractive to the working class militants getting active around the CAHWT.

So, no I can't prove my case, but then neither can you as we don't have the option of stepping sideways into an alternative universe where these things happened but everything else was the same.

But I would argue that there is a strong case for these two things having been a hindrance to recruitment.

I should also point out that I hold the SWP at least as, if not more, responsible for these problems than the SP. The SP, to their credit, were really committed to the project in their own way while the SWP were always just playing games.

Jolly Red Giant
30-01-2013, 01:58 PM
Translation: "No I can't provide any evidence of the SP presenting a revolutionary socialist programme in its major programmatic statements to the working class, so I'm going to pretend it isn't important to have to do so."

No - no intention of getting into a sectarian slagging match because no matter how much I demonstrate something is black, you will claim it is white and that my evidence doesn't stack up. From the perspective of the spartoid groups the CWI is ***** reformist******** - from the perspective of the CWI the spartoid groups are ultra-left ********* - never the two shall meet.

C. Flower
30-01-2013, 02:09 PM
No - no intention of getting into a sectarian slagging match because no matter how much I demonstrate something is black, you will claim it is white and that my evidence doesn't stack up. From the perspective of the spartoid groups the CWI is ***** reformist******** - from the perspective of the CWI the spartoid groups are ultra-left ********* - never the two shall meet.

I would appreciate, if you have time, a reply to this question.

http://www.politicalworld.org/showpost.php?p=312500&postcount=126

Thanks.

bolshevik
30-01-2013, 02:15 PM
no matter how much I demonstrate something is black, you will claim it is white and that my evidence doesn't stack up.

And where exactly have you demonstrated with evidence that the major programmatic statements of the SP, election manifestos, budget statements etc, present a revolutionary socialist programme?

You have stated quite a few times that the SP is a revolutionary socialist/Marxist organisation but that is quite a bit different from demonstrating that claim to be true with evidence.

Jolly Red Giant
30-01-2013, 04:42 PM
Would you like to explain what they were ? My view of the SP involvement might change if it transpired that they were being blocked by others from taking basic steps to build the ULA as an organisation.
The SP made several blocked attempts to facilitate non-aligned representation in the Steering Committee before it was finally accepted by the SC.

The Steering Committee agreed that the ULA reps would sit as a group in the Dail during Taoiseach's questions - that the ULA reps would not include Mick Wallace in any future press conferences or statements and that all PM motions or Dail motions would be submitted in the name of the ULA only. The seating arrangements lasted a week, the rest lasted until the abortion bill and have continued since with the penalty points etc.

My understanding is (and I may have some of the facts slightly out of line) that the Steering Committee came up with an agreed procedure following the public outcry over the tragic death of Savita Halappanaver on how to proceed in the Dail. It was agreed by the Steering Committee and the TDs that any Private Members motion on abortion rights would be submitted as a ULA proposal, that the PM motion would attempt to expand on the limited scope of the X case and that Joe Higgins would organise a meeting with legal representatives and the TDs to discuss the content of the motion. The following day Clare Daly declared that she was re-submitting the original motion under her name with the support of Collins and Wallace thereby going against the decision of the Steering Committee and ruling out the possibility of expanding the motion to include a situation whereby Savita Halappanavar could actually have been treated for her condition. When the SP raised this issue all the other 'components' of the ULA stated they didn't have a problem with what happened (including Boyd-Barrett and the SWP).

MediaBite
30-01-2013, 06:03 PM
I'm only trying to help. I'm telling yiz if you keep your eye out and stay downwind you'll spot her in the end.

She's the one who turns up at every socialist meeting demanding to be viewed the same as everyone else and at the same time demanding to be given a special place on the agenda.

'Tis the crack, that leads to the groans, that leads to the fissure that leads to the breakdown.

She is Maureen Ni Hey!lihaun....

But seriously. Down on the list as I'd said before. Should the world turn upside down and I get my shot the hammering on the door will be for the members of the last government, a number of this government and the top level of the socialist and the workers party. They'll all be comrades forever in the same ditch in Wicklow.

And Maureen will be told to wait her turn like everyone else. In the interests of equality.

:-) :-) :-)

C. Flower
30-01-2013, 07:01 PM
I'm only trying to help. I'm telling yiz if you keep your eye out and stay downwind you'll spot her in the end.

She's the one who turns up at every socialist meeting demanding to be viewed the same as everyone else and at the same time demanding to be given a special place on the agenda.

'Tis the crack, that leads to the groans, that leads to the fissure that leads to the breakdown.

She is Maureen Ni Hey!lihaun....

But seriously. Down on the list as I'd said before. Should the world turn upside down and I get my shot the hammering on the door will be for the members of the last government, a number of this government and the top level of the socialist and the workers party. They'll all be comrades forever in the same ditch in Wicklow.

And Maureen will be told to wait her turn like everyone else. In the interests of equality.

I have met her in a few different manifestations: as you say, an expert splitter.

http://www.whale.to/b/how7.html

jmcc
30-01-2013, 09:53 PM
And while the Left squabbles about terminology and who is a Marxist and who is a Leninist, the Right governs?

Regards...jmcc

bolshevik
30-01-2013, 11:45 PM
My understanding is (and I may have some of the facts slightly out of line) that the Steering Committee came up with an agreed procedure following the public outcry over the tragic death of Savita Halappanaver on how to proceed in the Dail. It was agreed by the Steering Committee and the TDs that any Private Members motion on abortion rights would be submitted as a ULA proposal, that the PM motion would attempt to expand on the limited scope of the X case and that Joe Higgins would organise a meeting with legal representatives and the TDs to discuss the content of the motion. The following day Clare Daly declared that she was re-submitting the original motion under her name with the support of Collins and Wallace thereby going against the decision of the Steering Committee and ruling out the possibility of expanding the motion to include a situation whereby Savita Halappanavar could actually have been treated for her condition. When the SP raised this issue all the other 'components' of the ULA stated they didn't have a problem with what happened (including Boyd-Barrett and the SWP).

This is not the case - both myself and EC as the non-aligned reps criticised the process at the steering committee meeting it was raised at by the SP.