|Working class democracy: Chartist mass meeting, Kennington, 1848|
1) Building broad movements. Internal democratic culture can't be separated from an organisation's external activity. Activity in the wider world is the lifeblood of any group that wishes to be something better than a propagandist sect.
5) Factionalising is a bogus concept. Some people who discuss democracy and revolutionary organisation make a big deal of the question of factions: are they permitted? when are they permitted? what rights do they have? I actually think that 'factionalising' has long been a non-issue in reality. In the internet age the whole notion of 'factionalising' as A Bad Thing is absurd. It is utterly anachronistic to attempt prohibitions on discussion among members in an organisation, when it's so easy to make contact with each other and have a dialogue, e.g. via facebook. What is labelled 'factionalising' would more accurately be called 'discussion'.
6) Openness. This leads on to a more general observation about openness. The fact is that socialist groups have to be open about differences and 'internal' discussion because the growth of the internet means that everything gets out whether we want it to or not. We might as well embrace it. The age of the 'internal bulletin' is emphatically over.
7) Permanent discussion not permanent factionalism. Some commentators on revolutionary organisation argue that permanent factions are a good thing. In fact they institutionalise differences. They make it extremely difficult for there to be healthy, genuine and open discussion of issues because members can instinctively rally to 'their side' instead of engaging properly with the issues. If discussion among members is typically mediated through factions that is in truth less democratic.
8) Proposals not factions. The above points lead on to another: it makes far more sense to discuss concrete proposals on their own merits than it does to form factions which bundle together a whole set of issues. The emergence of factions can be polarising and unhelpful. A better approach is to focus on offering and discussing proposals, whether to a conference/national meeting or more informally. This, indeed, should be actively encouraged at every level of an organisation.
10) Democratic culture is crucial for growth. The health of any group's democratic culture is as much about how issues are discussed as anything more formal: an avoidance of hectoring, bullying and appeals to 'the tradition'; encouragement to express different opinions, because discussion of them enriches everyone's understanding; a willingness to acknowledge errors and correct tactics which may not be working.