We received this criticism from a Dan Paris ( ? ) ." Split the left . Why not ! What exactly is the purpose of the SPGB standing in the Livingstone [sic] by-election ? The SPGB has no grass-roots support in the area , you are an irrelevant sect with no link to working class people in the area . Standing against the SSP is simply splitting the left and helping the forces of capitalism.It's this kind of reactionary action that stops the working class from supporting socialism . " Dan Our candidate from the 1997 Livingston election has replied :
Hi Dan ,
I dont think you know us for starters .
We stood in this consituency in the General election of 1997, and largely predicted the form of the New Labour administration and the subsequent disillusion which the " left " are now trying to capitalise upon .
We are not a part of this " left " . We are opposed to measures which tinker with and attempt to reform capitalism .
The left on the other hand have kept their agenda well hidden , if it has a discernable revolutionary current , it isn't obvious , indeed , even their active supporters appear afraid to engage with any discussion about what socialism * is * .
However , it has been a " left " tactic in the past where they are hypocritically asking workers to vote for a parliamentary party to get reforms which you know you can't get , on a road which they dont support , to socialism ,which is not defined except , that it is recognisable as another state capitalism . The Socialist Party is opposed to such trickery of workers .
This you call socialism...Such cynicism and hypocrisy allied to political opportunism is breathtaking.
It started quite early this , Sheridan , at a radical book fair held in Edinburgh outlined his view of socialism which was nationalisation - with the maximum and minimum permitted wages of worker being in the ratio of 4 - 5 : 1 , he added , that this lessening disparity of income was realistic as a society where equality of income existed wasn't realistic .
Besides making him a socialist who doesn't believe in socialism , the society he mentions retains every feature of capitalism mentioned above , and therefore could only ever be a bastardised capitalist society .
I was there and I heard it . Simply , the "left" are not socialists , " yir airse is oot the windae "
, as we say , if you think you're socialists . Lesson number one for would-be leftists...
** Even limited equality can not be achieved , while retaining the profit motive - It is economically impossible .**
We on the other hand are quite explicit that socialism is , " the common ownership and democratic control of all the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and on behalf of the whole population " . In other word a free access society . We stand for the original idea of socialism .
Untrammelled by statist failures , indeed we predicted all of these failures . The " left " appear to want to administer capitalism with minimum levels of wage slavery permitted in this , and inasmuch , the SSP , declare £9 an hour as an ok situation , worth workers striving for , worth a socialist party having as an objective.
Far from splitting the " left " , we despise the "left " for its political cowardice , ( being unable or unwilling to describe socialism to workers and nail their true colours to the Socialist mast ) , of opportunism , ( interference in workers struggles and grass roots movements to subvert them to their cause ) , and for its pretensions , ( of assuming to know what socialism is , and presenting itself as a leadership to-wards it) .
As the only Socialist Party in the Livingston by-election we urge workers to " Abolish the wages system " . We insist that Socialism as defined above is an immediate and practical possibility , requiring only a majority of workers who know what it is , who desire it and are willing to organise as equals , without a vanguard of political leaders forming an elite and a cadre of misinformed workers , as their expendable cannon fodder and irrelevant pawns , (our job is to inform , relay , and assist in this ) unlike the Leninist - Trotskyite , and former CP-er Stalinist Left , we dont , as Lenin said , regard workers , " left to their own devices as being only capable of achieving trade union consciousness "
( I give a line by line detailed answer to your post below)What exactly is the purpose of the SPGB standing in the Livingstone by-election ?
To put the case for Socialism , as no others do this , made by workers seizing control of their own destiny and working for socialism , without the leadership of vanguardist organisations or any other leadership .The SPGB has no grass-roots support in the area, you are an irrelevant sect with no link to working class people in the area .
The Socialist Party ( SPGB ) does not look for support or supporters , rather we insist that on the contrary workers learn what socialism is , and join us as equals to bring it about .
We dont wish to lead them . They will not need leadership if they make themselves socialists . Far from having no link to working class people in this area , we are the working class in this area who are organised for socialism as we define it , admittedly pitifully small , though we are , but we dont lie to workers by pretending, that by voting for reforms , or any other measure they are supporting socialism . We do not intervene in workers struggles , except as workers in struggle .Standing against the SSP is simply splitting the left and helping the forces of capitalism
We are standing against * all * the capitalist parties , this inevitably includes the SSP as they support a reformed capitalism with them as the new bosses , retaining wage labour capital , government control , and their platform reflects this . The SSP and the Left ARE
the forces of capitalism . Simply put , we are the only revolutionary alternative to capitalism in this election...It's this kind of reactionary action that stops the working class from supporting socialism .
It is by insisting that SSP style reforms can ameliorate the conditions of workers , and that this equates to a " socialist " response , the SSP and any and all others who so mistrust the workers , that they can't describe the socialist alternative to them , are indeed the reactionary element , leaving workers confusedly equating socialism with these tired and out-moded tried and failed remedies of the last century . ( The Labour Party , The Communist Party , Social Democrat Parties of all stripes ) .
The Socialist Party ( SPGB ) has an honourable record since 1904 of never selling socialism short , and insisting it is an immediate and practical goal , requiring no other minimum demand , now that the vote has been won , that it can only be brought into existence by the workers themselves , comprising a majority , who know and understand what socialism is , a free access global society , without nation states . We dont pander to nationalist sentiments like the SSP , following slavishly Lenin's silly " Imperialism as the highest form of capitalism " dogma .
Our demand is the world for the workers and not for some new state-capitalist entity , or permissible level of wage slavery . In fact , the SSP's platform is even less radical than the Old Labour one , where mistakenly , they thought they were ushering in a new era , and piously mouthed phrases such as " we are the masters now
" , and " socialism will come like a thief in the night
" .Yours for real socialism , Matt Culbert
( Edinburgh Branch , West Lothian Socialist Discussion Group )
The West Lothian Discussion Group meets at the Lanthorn Community Centre , Kenilworth Rise , Dedridge , Livingston , 7-30pm every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month .
Edinburgh Branch Meetings are the 1st Thursdays of each month 8pm at Quaker Hall , Victoria Terrace , Edinburgh