Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The revolutionary left and the anti-cuts movement

38 Socialist Workers Party members in Scotland have today resigned. The political basis of the split in Scotland is primarily the question of how revolutionary socialists relate to the anti-cuts movement. The 38 former members claim - correctly in my view - that the dominant SWP leadership has increasingly focused on a narrow kind of 'party building' which is separate from (and at the expense of) being centrally involved in movement building.

This approach diminsishes the organisation's influence in the broader movement and encourages sectarian habits. It separates party members from a growing mass movement, which they should in fact be building as their first priority. In the context of systematic coalition building it is possible to build revolutionary organisation, as well as contributing to the movement.

That is the task - creating a revolutionary Marxist pole within broad-based movements of resistance - which we in Counterfire set ourselves when we launched last March. The statement from the Scottish group indicates they are engaged in a very similar project. I, like other Counterfire members, wish them well.

Here is an extract from the collective statement - read it in full HERE.

'In particular our work around the Right to Work campaign has been confused and patchy across the country, primarily because the Central Committee - as a whole - did not drive that perspective from its inception.

In the build-up to the 26 March we could have been organising to get every possible local anti-cuts and trade union activist working together to carry out mass leafleting, but the message from the centre was to concentrate on building it through our paper sales. Those were, of course, vital; but we also needed to place ourselves alongside the thousands who were working to build the march.

Consequently the SWP's ability to influence wider layers of people provided by the biggest demonstration in trade union history was restricted. There are some very good SWSS groups, but the Glasgow students were the only SWSS group with any sizable presence on the student feeder march. Amidst arguably the biggest youth revolt in British history - and despite reports of bumper recruitment to the Party after Millbank - this should have been a massive wake-up call.'


1 comment:

  1. It's interesting you say CF's aim is a "pole within broad-based movements" - because whilst discussing Chris Bambery's resignation last night I wrongly characterised CF's position as a kind of cyber-vanguardism whereas you describe something more associational.