Ian A from Bury & Prestwich SWP has written a response to debates about the revolutionary press and the role of the internet in recent bulletins. He surveys Chris Harman’s writing on these questions, and makes several recommendations – including using the web as “the central organ” for the party’s message and regenerating a culture of local leaflet production. Ian concludes:
The SWP has allowed itself to fall a long way behind in its efforts to communicate and organise. Instead of seizing on every opportunity to apply and develop Lenin’s politics in the light of technological change, we have clung on to the form of the revolutionary paper while our practice has changed to rob it of much of its political content.
If we are to build effectively, we need a decisive shift to correct our errors as quickly as possible. We cannot afford to fritter away opportunities to build by clinging to outdated methods which are clearly not working.
Colin Wilson writes:
In my response to John Molyneux, I referred to transgender people (the term “trans” is also often used.) There has also been media coverage recently of intersex people, for example following the recent decision in Germany that gender could be left blank on some birth certificates. I’ve become aware that, while some comrades are aware of these issues, for some people this is all new. That’s not surprising, because these issues have become the subject of political discussions only recently: when I was an LGBT activist at university in the early 1980s, for example, we never discussed them. Laura Miles has written an article which will hopefully appear soon in the ISJ, and which provides a fuller explanation. In the meantime, here is a quick briefing.
Neil Davidson speaking at a meeting in Edinburgh on 3 November 2013, organised by the Rebuilding the Party faction of the Socialist Workers Party.
This article was written by Jonathan Neale in June this year for Socialist Review, which did not publish it. It is a contribution to the debate about whether neoliberalism has changed the working class in ways which make struggle weaker. Jonathan argues that neoliberalism has changed us “in ways that make struggle harder, and easier, and different, and more explosive”.
Defeats have demoralised our leaders. And we can’t go back. The union movement we had 40 years ago was built on expanding capitalism and full employment. When we ask ourselves how to get out of this hole, our best examples are not the British rank and file movements of the 1970s or the Minority Movement of the 1920s. It is more important to look to Greece now, or Marikana in South Africa, teachers in Chicago, or textile workers in Egypt. People who are wrestling with the same problems we are wrestling with.
Also, we need to keep one lesson from the old rank and file tradition. The union leaders negotiate between employers and workers. They live and work in the middle. So sometimes they call strikes and sometimes they sell out. What decides that is pressure from above and pressure from below.
John argues against ideas which most socialists have accepted for some 20 years. My pamphlet Socialists and Gay Liberation, published in the mid-1990s, states that “sexuality changes through history, and between different societies”. The ISJ article LGBT Politics and Sexual Liberation, from 2007, claims that “sexuality is not a biological essence, unchanging through history… it is ‘socially constructed’.” John’s rejection of social construction as a “concession to bourgeois ideology” finds a problem where one was never detected before.
See our earlier post for previous contributions to debate on this topic.