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(en) Ireland, Anarchist journal Workers Solidarity #105 - Why can’t all the socialists get together? by Joe King

Date Tue, 30 Sep 2008 09:57:00 +0300

The Irish Socialist Network is talking to a half dozen other groups about unity.
The Socialist Workers Party, always in a hurry, simply wants everyone else to
join their People Before Profit creation. Every few years we see the same game
played, “why won’t the Judean Peoples Front join the Judean Popular Front?”
From Workers Solidarity 105 ---- Across the sea the Scottish Socialist Party
and George Galloway’s RESPECT coalition were the latest examples of ‘socialist
unity’. Both ripped themselves asunder as massive egos fought to be leaders of
small parties. ---- Interestingly, after these disasters, there is no discussion
about what sort of 'socialism' all this effort is in aid of. Nobody is asking
the most important question – what do we mean by ‘socialism’?

Should the country be ruled by a parliament, by workers' councils or even by a
one party dictatorship? Should it be old-style left Labour or libertarian
socialism? Should it be sympathetic to the regime in Cuba, or even to the
totalitarian Stalinist dynasty in North Korea? Where would freedom fit into things?

Anarchists have a good record of working alongside others to win whatever
victories are presently possible and of using methods that encourage working
class self-confidence rather than reliance on personalities or leaders.

However when it comes to the proposals for ‘left unity’ we need to look at what
is on the table – most immediately it’s an alliance for the 26 county local
elections next summer.

The failure of the left in the last century was, to a very large extent, that it
adopted the political organisation of capitalism in promoting a system of
choosing some person or party to govern the working class.

This emphasis on leaders and parties is also a legacy of the failure of 20th
century 'socialism'. Let us not forget that practically all of this left takes
its inspiration from the Bolshevik party and its state capitalist dictatorship
in the old Soviet Union. What we need today is not some sort of united front of
existing minor parties, but rather a break with that whole methodology.

Most importantly, real socialism is inseparable from freedom and direct
democracy. Freedom to speak, to discuss, to travel, to organise, to take control
of our own lives. All those effected by a decision should have the opportunity
of taking part in making that decision. We reject as contrary to our political
project any vision of socialism that does not explicitly oppose the division of
people into rulers and ruled.
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