Wednesday, January 31, 2007

United Left winds up

Last weekend the United Left met in Glasgow to dissolve their organisation. The United Left was the platform within the SSP supportive of the current leadership.

It seems that now that the platforms hostile to the broad party concept, the SWP and CWI, have left the SSP, the United Left do not consider it necessary or desirable to continue as a separate organisation.

I am not sure of the wisdom of this move, because one of the problems over the last few years was the lack of any forum for those in the SSP committed to the broad party model to discuss strategy and tactics - as the former ISM platform was non-functional.

Without a transparent mechanism as a party platform then such discussions take place behind the scenes between individuals in the charmed inner circle. Which was to a large part the problem with how the Sheridan affair was handled.

And if the party is a broad one, then any mechanisms within the party as a whole to develop cadre must also be pluralistic. The strength of their being a transparent platform is that it can openly develop a Marxist cadre, while still allowing the party as a whole to be pluralist.


Mark P said...

It also rather undermines all the claims the United Left were making about not just being an anti-Tommy Sheridan platform. As soon as Sheridan went they soon dropped all the rubbish about how they were a platform with a positive vision of the SSP.

AN said...

I don't agree with that Mark.

I think the UL were a pro-SSP platfrom, and once the SWP/CWI left, then in the day to day life of the party they had no need to have a platform themselves.

My concerns atre more for the long term heatlh of the party, I think the UL could have played a useful strategic role.

Dave Riley said...

While at a distance, I have to agree with your assessmeant Andy.

I'm not suggesting that a principle is involved here but unless you can coalesce proponents of the core project a lot of that support can be dissipated. While I see where there is a need in party building projects like these to disavow a state of permanent factionalism, you need some means to rally the most active party loyalists.

And really this comes down squarely on the side of cadre building. That was my major discovery (in fact a re-discovery) in my own personal experience here of the Australian Socialist Alliance over the past five years or so.

There's this myth engendered -- its almost a schema -- that projects like the SSP (or the SA here)transcend the need for such basic accumulation of an activist Marxian core.

That's dead wrong.

So long as this sort of political aggregation is done opening and transparently, then both the pluralism and the surety of the project will be in sync. And what develops is not so much a factional or exclusive situation, but a partnership between this "united left" and the rest of the party membership. That's
the key.If you don't have that then you fall victim to the sort of routine manipulation which the SWP seems to exercise over Respect.

IF these projects aren't democratic or accountable THEN THEY WILL FAIL. But just as surely, if they aren't aggressively driven forward with a clear awareness of the sort of continuity of analysis offered by Marxism,and a radical cutting edge --then they face the prospect of accommodating to all the pitfalls of electoralism and their socialist promise will be spent.

splinteredsunrise said...

If I may, I would plug the RCN as being a group of people who are trying to have a constructive debate. At least, E&L is always an interesting read. Unfortunately, their small size blunts their impact.

Frontline does still exist as an arena for discussion, but can't substitute for some kind of organised network of activists.

AN said...

Yes Frontline is a first class magazine. And yes the RCN have conducted debate in a constructive and pro-party manner.

I suppose the SSP needs to get this Hollyrood election out the way and let the dust settle, before there is any chance of assessing the context they are operating in.