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Revolutionaries And Broad Parties

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Notes for a Socialist Resistance meeting. March 2009

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Revolutionaries And Broad Parties

  1. 1. Revolutionaries and broad parties
  2. 2. Groups discuss for 5 minutes <ul><li>1: Is there still a need for revolutionary organisations? </li></ul><ul><li>2: Why have broad parties of the left emerged in the last decade? </li></ul><ul><li>3: How should revolutionary currents functions in a broader formation? </li></ul>
  3. 3. First principles <ul><li>Build a broad class struggle party to resolve today’s crisis of working class representation </li></ul><ul><li>Today that is Respect </li></ul><ul><li>Revolutionary overthrow of capitalism </li></ul><ul><li>Build organisation for this task </li></ul>
  4. 4. Argentina <ul><li>December 2001 huge social explosion </li></ul><ul><li>Self-organisation on a massive scale </li></ul><ul><li>Vanished </li></ul><ul><li>No anti-capitalist party capable of uniting the movements and struggles in a project for taking power. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Rightward ho! <ul><li>Governmental left parties have been moving right in Europe </li></ul><ul><li>“ Social liberalisation” </li></ul><ul><li>Fracturing of working class support for them </li></ul>
  6. 6. Defensive <ul><li>Series of defensive struggles across Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Much more limited in Britain </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance of parties in Italy, Scotland, Portugal, France, Germany, Denmark </li></ul>
  7. 7. Mixed experiences <ul><li>Brazil, Scotland, Italy have been setbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Showed what was possible, especially Rifondazione during anti-capitalist movement </li></ul><ul><li>Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste – on s’engage et puis on voit </li></ul>
  8. 8. Programmes <ul><li>Opposition to layoffs & wage cuts </li></ul><ul><li>Demands that need mobilisation of workers’ movement and government that breaks with bourgeoisie </li></ul><ul><li>Based on capacity for resistance </li></ul>
  9. 9. Non-revolutionary <ul><li>Include revolutionary and non-revolutionary sections </li></ul><ul><li>Mixture of existing left and newly radicalising forces </li></ul><ul><li>Need to be clear on key questions – democracy, class struggle, internationalism, non-participation in capitalist governments </li></ul>
  10. 10. What’s different <ul><li>No evidence of mass base for revolutionary politics </li></ul><ul><li>Recent experiences of potential of mass parties </li></ul><ul><li>Mass parties can have national political impact </li></ul>
  11. 11. Spaces <ul><li>Put socialist, anti-capitalist ideas to large audience </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge neo-liberal consensus </li></ul><ul><li>Allow revolutionaries space to put their ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Politics of small propaganda groups cede national politics to the right </li></ul>
  12. 12. Ferment <ul><li>Broader parties are transitory </li></ul><ul><li>Ideologically fluid and diffuse </li></ul><ul><li>Require judgements on where to draw political line and when to compromise </li></ul>
  13. 13. Behaviour <ul><li>Fluidity and compromise add weight to need for revolutionary current to organise </li></ul><ul><li>Has to prioritise the work of the broad party </li></ul><ul><li>Has to respect democratic processes of broad party </li></ul>
  14. 14. Democracy <ul><li>Wrong to use numbers or organisational capacity to win votes or arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Members of broad party must feel that decisions are not stitched up in advance. </li></ul><ul><li>Bureaucratic tricks prevent party developing its own culture </li></ul>
  15. 15. No phalanxes <ul><li>In almost all circumstances members of revolutionary current should vote as individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Exceptions are issues of principle: </li></ul><ul><li>war, interests of working class, degeneration of leadership (Brazil) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Minima <ul><li>Own meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Own public events </li></ul><ul><li>Own press </li></ul>

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