Socialist Standard

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jondwhite's picture
jondwhite
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Nov 14 2014 13:30
Socialist Standard

Any views on Socialist Standard, critical or otherwise here?

Spikymike
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Nov 14 2014 17:15

Would that be the 1904 edition or perhaps later or what! Please if you want to plug your groups publication be less lazy and a little more inventive. Better still I'd recomend linking the occasional relevant article in your journal together with an intro' to specific discussion threads on here as I have done from time to time. Otherwise I think you are testing the admin's patience on this one.

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Nov 14 2014 17:45

Like I always say, Socialist Standard is the Toby Carvery of socialist publicatons. You always know what you're getting, comfort food and plenty of it, but it's basically always the same.

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Entdinglichung
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Nov 15 2014 17:33

I love the "Simon the sociobiologist"-cartoons

ajjohnstone
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Nov 20 2014 01:41

Spikey, i think you been a bit unfair to the poster.

From his messages on our own forum over the months i believe he is genuinely seeking some honest feedback on how the SPGB means of propaganda is received and how it can be improved. I think he has recognised that we lack the interaction which would lead to questioning how we present ourselves. I don't think he was simply advertising. We do use the events and announcement section on Libcom for that purpose.

An eternal debate within the party is should we as we have done occasionally in the past open up the columns more to non-members who overlap but not entirely agree with our case to join.
In fact, should we have a section in it where actual members can argue with one another without it deflecting from our commonly held positions. For instance, GM, nuclear power and fracking are some environmental issues where we have within the party different attitudes and approaches and we have delegated the actual responsibility of deciding to the future generation members of a socialist society. But, imho, it leaves us with a gap since decisions made now by capitalism will determine future consequences that may not be reversible by socialist society.

On the quality and lay-out and the actual look of the SS, i have little complaint. It does have the image of a quality magazine. However, would the monthly cost be better spent on promoting its online version as an e-magazine, to be perhaps regularly updated?

So yes, we would appreciate the opinion of readers and from a potential audience rather than simply an internal incestuous discussion with ourselves.

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Nov 20 2014 11:17

I’ve been reading the Socialist Standard regularly for the last few years. Most articles are well written though not all issues contain stuff that are equally interesting to me. I thought the recent issue on the 1st WW was excellent. The November issue, ‘Monsters Inc.’ is also very good, particularly ‘The war to end wars’ article (…Capitalism is war plain and simple. It’s not just market society with a war on top, its war all the way down… Understanding that capitalism is war helps to make sense of the news in a way that nothing else does…). I usually find the ‘cooking the books’ column interesting.

On the debit side, the regular ‘halo halo’ item is often too silly. Religion can be amusing, though sarcasm simply misses the target. I suspect for most people in the UK today it is largely irrelevant.
The Standard sometimes appears to be more interested in protecting its Socialist heritage than developing fresh perspectives. Has ANY political party ever publicly admitted to getting things wrong? Though it may be unkind to say so, recently even the Anglican Church has felt it necessary to transcend some of its historical baggage. However this particular failing is not peculiar to the Standard it’s shared by many anarchists and ‘leftists’ (can’t someone invent a less ugly word).

ajjohnstone
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Nov 20 2014 14:45

.

Quote:
Has ANY political party ever publicly admitted to getting things wrong?

There is an amusing incident one time that a speaker admitted the SPGB was not perfect and had made mistakes in the past which led to the obvious question...what were those errors? The speaker stumbled and couldn't give an example. Probably the only time an SPGBer speaker was struck speechless.

I'm led to believe at the end of WW2 the party and its members fully expected the same play-out as post-WW1...a deep economic slump which didn't materialise. Maybe that is why the party now offers caveats and conditions to everything it says about future developments .

In recent years the SPGB read the anti-war 2003 feeling wrong. No-body expected a million on the protest ...or hundreds of thousands...very quickly ran out of leaflets and hurriedly printed out more but still not nearly enough.

I still think our main fault is that we appear to be aloof to various movements when we really aren't against them in principle. We could have done more during the Occupy and actually assisted logistically. We had no voice in the Scottish referendum and local members were completely absent from any activity. (i understand why and sympathise but the party nationally should have tried to mitigate the circumstances.)

One aspect of the Socialist Standard is that the editors are constrained by a conference decision that the articles shouldn't be too theoretical and full of Marxian analysis but to stay aimed at the general reader.

I used to consider religion as irrelevant until 2005 with the Make Poverty History and saw just how many tens of thousands the churches could politically mobilise when they choose to, housing and feeding them in all that infrastructure they possess. Even today it seems even for much of the left it is their meeting houses or church halls that are our venues for meetings and conferences.

One SPGBer said we should interact with the charities such as Oxfam on solutions to problems more, but i can't see us engaging too much with the churches but perhaps we are being a bit blinkered. James Connolly said the Catholic Church will adapt to the rising workers movement to survive. We had Liberation Theology and now, don't we see this with the Pope condemning inequality and certain capitalist practices and all those vicars who no longer believe in the existence of God, much less in the miracles.

But these WW1 events remind me how the church still can bless the warriors going off to battle whether it was the Somme or now Iraq or Afghanistan.

Enough ruminating for the moment....

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Nov 23 2014 23:31

As far as I know the Socialist Standard doesn't get much feedback from libcommers, on libcom.org, particularly in a SPGB-non-reactive way and on the general approach of it. There aren't many ongoing publications in the libcom milieu (especially since the demise of Freedom newspaper) so seemed appropriate to ask.

AJ has brought up issues with the SPGB (some not specific to the Standard) but unless non-members wish to discuss these here then I'd suggest sticking to the Standard.

As for theory, I think it is too short on theory, and not to any great advantage in appealing to the 'general reader'. I also think its been said elsewhere that there is too much emphasis on a monthly sneer at the big organised religions which I'm not sure convinces anybody. Especially given the rather dogmatic approach that sometime may be implied on matters on which SPGBers might reasonably disagree. On specific organised religions, something a bit less regular and a bit less condescending would pack more of a punch.

Incidentally none of the improvements that I think could be made to the Standard, necessarily involve the printing of material from non-members. Not that I think that would be a terrible (or unprecedented) thing either.

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jondwhite
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Apr 13 2017 13:13

There is a motion for conference 2017 'That the print Standard be discontinued from January 2018 and the online Standard become the Party's official journal' to be decided on Sunday 30 April at head office. Who's going?

syndicalist
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Apr 13 2017 14:17
jondwhite wrote:
There is a motion for conference 2017 'That the print Standard be discontinued from January 2018 and the online Standard become the Party's official journal' to be decided on Sunday 30 April at head office. Who's going?

Seems that print publications are vastly disappearing. What a shame, as I prefer them over on-line. But, hey, its a waste of money if no one reads the printed version.

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Apr 13 2017 16:41

That's a real shame. I have my differences with the SPGB but I really like (and subscribe to) the Socialist Standard. I hope you decide to keep it running.

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Apr 13 2017 17:12

I second that Serge.

potrokin
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Apr 13 2017 18:24

The Socialist Standard is always a great read and I am a subscriber myself so I will be quite sad not to be getting it in the post as of next year. It's not the same just having it online, you can read it on the bus for example, but atleast I will still be able to read it.

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Apr 13 2017 21:25

The decisions not been taken yet and views of non members can be submitted to spgb@worldsocialism.org with express request they be considered at conference 29-30 April. Conference is open to all visitors who can also speak at conference. You could even tweet the party.

ajjohnstone
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Apr 14 2017 10:12
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"Conference is open to all visitors who can also speak at conference.'"

Not quite. This is at the discretion of the chair and dependent upon the time available for branch delegates and party members and th timetable of the confrence.

We try to be inclusive and i recall as chair i allowed a person to speak who had just walked off the street having chanced to see the meeting in progress through the window. But there is no guarantee that visitors are permitted to contribute and i wouldn' like people to come along believing they had a right to address the conference and get belligerent when refused, thinking it was perhaps something personal.

Of course, they can freely engage members at the break - a tasty lunch is free to all visitors...or, at least, it used to be when we had volunteers to prepare it.

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Apr 14 2017 12:44

If one turns to the Socialist Standard of 1904 one can read basically the same analysis of capitalism and statements about socialism as would be found in 1934 or 1984. There are some who would see such consistency as a strength and others who would regard such a record of unaltered social perception as a serious weakness. As an example of the former, the SPGB propagandist of the late 1970s, arguing against the reformism of the ‘Right to Work’ Campaign and pointing out that full employment cannot be created by governments and even if it could such a condition amounts to no more than the right to be exploited, is able to argue with even greater credibility when he or she can point to the Socialist Standard editorial of November 1904 in which precisely the same argument is presented.

https://libcom.org/library/impossibilism

shortshanks red...
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Apr 14 2017 16:56

I am an avid reader of the socialist standard, its always informative and engaging. I get a giggle out of Halo Halo aswell as the cartoon on the back and feel they make good , serious points about religion. I would be sad to see it go and I tend to leave it about for others to read who might not otherwise be aware of socialist ideas.

potrokin
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Apr 14 2017 21:35
syndicalist wrote:
, hey, its a waste of money if no one reads the printed version.

Thats a good point but my feeling is that if it could be online (as it is now) but online only, then surely that wouldn't cost anything? Atleast then it would still be available.

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Apr 16 2017 22:29

Here's two websites (with lots of historical information) started to urge supporters to supporting the continuation of the printed Socialist Standard
https://savethesocialiststandard.tumblr.com/
https://savethesocialiststandard.blogspot.co.uk/
If you can share them, it could help.

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May 1 2017 11:07
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NO DELEGATES VOTE TO STOP THE PRINT EDITION OF THE SOCIALIST STANDARD. On an indicative vote the motion was rejected at Annual Conference today by nil votes for, 12 against and 2 abstentions. The motion now goes to a vote of the whole membership

Spikymike
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Apr 7 2018 15:28

Well it's still going both online and in it's printed format. A reliably regular monthly production does not result in every issue being a great read but sometimes they get a good balance of personal reflections and comment with some light theoretical content as with this latest pretty good edition here:
www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2018/no-1364-april-...
Of course you have to be prepared to put up with some repetition of their parliamentary dogma from time to time amongst other of their peculiar historical legacies but still worth a read.
I still occasionally link an article from their publication where it is relevant and useful to a particular discussion on libcom but wouldn't normally recommend a whole edition as above.