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(en) Freedom March 01 2004 - Oops, they did it again...

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 21 Mar 2004 14:17:08 +0100 (CET)

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In a way, we should have been flattered that the SWP considered
libertarian ideas more relevant and appealing than their Leninist
dogma. After all, the SWP would not need front organisations if
they could attract people on its own merits.
Needless to say, SWP members argued that it was not a front
organisation and pointed to various "independent" members of the
GR steering group as evidence. Recently, however, GR has seen
four non-SWPs resign. In their joint resignation letter they note
that "many of you will have suspected our deep dissatisfaction
with the organisation for some time" and they wanted to "clearly
lay out" their reasons for resigning. "It is no secret," they note,
"that GR is dominated and controlled by the SWP" but they
became involved with it because it "has been a vibrant
organisation." They broke with GR when it became little more
than "the mechanism through which the SWP engages with the
European Social Forum process" and its agenda "is primarily
aimed at increasing the profile of the SWP within the movement."
In short, "within the ESF and more widely, we believe, the SWP
has followed a course which endangers the process as a whole and
is proving detrimental to the building of a pluralistic movement
capable of radical action in the UK." In other words, the usual
SWP undemocratic practices we all know and love.

All four of them are now involved in creating the "Radical Activist
Network." This is being launched on March 5 and will involve
opposition to all “forms of oppression, exploitation and
domination in society, which dehumanise people, destroy our
natural environment and reduce life to a system of economic
values” and “a belief that radical and sustainable social
change can only be achieved through collective, grassroots
organisation based on solidarity, equality, democracy, openness
and respect for others.” After their experiences with the SWP
they add “a rejection of top-down, hierarchical and
authoritarian models of political organisation.”

Commenting on all this in the CPGB's "Weekly Worker," Tina
Becker argued this was "throw[ing] out the baby with the
bathwater and reject[ing] political parties per se" rather than
rejecting the SWP's "particularly perverse and bastardised method
of ‘democratic centralism.’" Which makes sense only if
you think, like anarchists, that real "democratic centralist" parties
are authoritarian hierarchical and top-down by their very nature (a
position few Leninists are usually happy to admit to). In contrast to
CPGB wishful thinking, an alternative analysis would be that the
activists have drawn sensible, libertarian, conclusions from their
experiences in social struggle. It seems the height of idealism to
compare reality to a mythical organisational form which has never
worked when it has been applied.

What to make of it all? Well, beyond the "we told you" reaction,
the obvious conclusion to draw is why libertarians are leaving it to
the likes of the SWP to create organisations like GR. There is a
real need for organisations which, while not libertarian as such,
operate in a libertarian manner and through which people who
want to act can do so. Such bodies would not be "fronts" but
rather autonomous self-managed groups which draw together
those who want to change the world for the better whether
anarchist or not.

Rather than just denounce the SWP for being bureaucratic
opportunists seeking to funnel popular discontent into their party
we should be asking ourselves why we let them get away with it by
not creating a real libertarian alternative?

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