Workers' Liberty materials and bulletin for postal strikes starting today

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Sacha
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Aug 2 2007 10:59

Dundee United says that Third Campism led to "Shachtman supporting Reagan". Shachtman died in 1972, while Reagan became president in 1980.

On the substantial point: Shachtman and his associates did end up becoming pro-war liberals, and after his death some of them went further and became neo-cons. Why, please, is that the logical conclusion of Third Campism? Surely it's evidence that in fact Shachtman etc broke with the idea of the Third Camp - an idea which continued to be defended vigorously by democratic-revolutionary socialists like Hal Draper and Phyllis and Julius Jacobson? The tragedy was that these comrades had been robbed of an organisation because the Shachtman people folded it up in their rush to the right - meaning that a whole generation of radical US youth in the sixties were presented with no revolutionary socialist option that wasn't quasi-Stalinist (Maoist, degenerating "orthodox Trotskyist" etc).

Anyway, our coverage on the Glasgow strikes can be found here http://www.workersliberty.org/node/8939

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cantdocartwheels
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Aug 2 2007 23:35

So sacha, no reply to my question regarding the abysmally liberal politics presented on your site? Or do you openly support the labour party and see no problem with it? Am i to understand that your organisation would campaign for a ''left wing'' labour party leader?

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meaning that a whole generation of radical US youth in the sixties were presented with no revolutionary socialist option that wasn't quasi-Stalinist (Maoist, degenerating "orthodox Trotskyist" etc).

Thats the most pointless and banal analysis of the 60's i've ever seen.

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Anyway, our coverage on the Glasgow strikes can be found here http://www.workersliberty.org/node/8939

Oh come on admins, this is obviously just spam. We have a perfectly effective newswire on this site.

Moshehess
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Aug 3 2007 13:00

I think the attitude of some of the people on here is ridiculous.

Some people have a kind of "anarchist-nationalist" talk towards Sacha and Worker's Liberty because they are Trots and some people are just purposely being critical.

The fact is that Sacha and the Workers Liberty are supporting the Strike and supporting trying to make the world a better place. Sure the anarchists have differences on issues like the labour party or lenin but still the intentions of Workers Liberty are good.

And anarchists need to admit that their ideas are not perfect as well.

Shlomo

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Lazy Riser
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Aug 3 2007 13:06

Even Gordon Brown's "trying to make the world a better place".

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anarchists need to admit that their ideas are not perfect as well

Tell us, do, of the consequences of foregoing this "need". Common sense suggests the needs of the irrelevant are without impact.

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Devrim
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Aug 3 2007 13:16

I defended them posting things on here. I do think, however, that they don't have anything to offer postmen in specific, and the working class in general beyond the same tired old union nonsense.
I remember in the postmans strike before last, Students from leftist parties coming to our picket lines saying that the UCW should call a national strike. Despite the fact that we had a national wildcat strike at the time.
The one relevant action that the UCW did in that strike was to send every office back to work on the basis that they negotıated their own individual agreements, office by office.
Basically, they fucked the workers. The people who support the unions Post Office unions today (and how I cried talking to Postmen when I was in England last week who talked about the good old days of Tuffin, and the UCW) are on the side of the management against the workers.
Devrim

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pingtiao
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Aug 3 2007 13:36
Moshehess wrote:
The fact is that Sacha and the Workers Liberty are supporting the Strike and supporting trying to make the world a better place.

My understanding is that Workers' Liberty is a Trotskyist organisation, and a such it wants to turn society into a giant prison.
I don't, and I dare think neither do the majority of other posters on this site.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 3 2007 13:56

to be fair ping, the prison will wither away all on it's own by the time the next generation is making this promise to the generation after that

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cantdocartwheels
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Aug 3 2007 18:08
Moshehess wrote:
I think the attitude of some of the people on here is ridiculous.

Some people have a kind of "anarchist-nationalist" talk towards Sacha and Worker's Liberty because they are Trots and some people are just purposely being critical.

Nope Most people on this site are extremely quick to be critical of anarchist groups, i know that i'd be far harder on an anarchist organisation if it had the sort of agit prop AWL is putting out on its site and i feel i'm fairly safe in saying that 99% of the regular posters in this forum would be aswell.
Your analysis seems to be based entirely on the 'anarchists'' you might come across on indymedia and so on, people aren't that tolerant of that kind of shite vague liberalism here.

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The fact is that Sacha and the Workers Liberty are supporting the Strike and supporting trying to make the world a better place.

Aww, thats sweet, your point is? Anyway If they're so genuinely and honestly committed to making the world a better place, perhaps one of them can come on here and answer the critcisms or engage us in debate.

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Sure the anarchists have differences on issues like the labour party or lenin but still the intentions of Workers Liberty are good.

Oh come off it, if i can't be critical of the AWL for effectively supporting not just the idea of liberal democracy in general but actually the current ruling party, then what the hell can i be critical of them for?

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And anarchists need to admit that their ideas are not perfect as well.

No-ones perfect, unless your a sort of anarchist princess superstar, a concept which really makes me wish i had photoshop.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 3 2007 18:26
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Just like it did in Russia.

no you see there you had the wrong style of facial hair in charge, mustcahes without beards are a recipe for tyranny

Moshehess
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Aug 3 2007 19:04

Tommy Ascaso's sarcastic comment was actually a short, sweet and accurate one. But I think they are more critical of Trosky/Lenin than the SWP and less dogmatic.

I think a post-revolution following joseph k's or ping's or Tommy Ascaso's ideas would lead to bad things happening as well. AWL + Anarchists both have good intentions to make the world a better place, and they both have holes in their theories.

I don't think Gordon Brown is the same, and infact I think the AWL and the anarchists have far more in common than most people think.

Furtermore i get the feeling that Sacha posted this not as spam or a advert but to work with the anarchists. I hope one day libertarian marxists and anarchists can work together.

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Lazy Riser
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Aug 3 2007 19:28

<Accidental DP>

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Lazy Riser
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Aug 3 2007 19:28
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I hope one day libertarian marxists and anarchists can work together.

They do work together, maintaining middle class ideology.

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Devrim
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Aug 3 2007 21:56
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Just like it did in Russia.

It isn't about their analysis of Russia. It is about what they are doing today, how they orientate themselves to the Labour Party, and the trade unions that makes them anti-working class.
Devrim

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cantdocartwheels
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Aug 4 2007 08:28
Moshehess wrote:
Tommy Ascaso's sarcastic comment was actually a short, sweet and accurate one. But I think they are more critical of Trosky/Lenin than the SWP and less dogmatic.

Actually you're wrong, their ''official position'' (or the position of what passses for their ''intellectual core'') on trotsky and events like kronstadt is very much the traditional ''dogmatic' one. http://www.workersliberty.org/node/3961 However, I think this piece on their website demonstrates quite acurately that their members don't exactly have a theoretial grasp of this particularly and are hardly ''cadre marxist leninists' and that judging by this thread they appear to struggle to defend even he most crude position on stuff like this, hence when we criticise the AWL we should do it on the basis of how they currently orientate towards working class struggles and their attitudes towards the labour party, social struggles in day to day life and so on, rather than a few vaguely held assumptions about 1917.

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I think a post-revolution following joseph k's or ping's or Tommy Ascaso's ideas would lead to bad things happening as well. AWL + Anarchists both have good intentions to make the world a better place, and they both have holes in their theories.

huh? what specific ''theories'' are JK and ping putting forward then?

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and infact I think the AWL and the anarchists have far more in common than most people think.

we probably have a fair amount in common with their membership as ''radial workers'' or whatever but we don't have that much in common with the aims and practices of the AWL as an organisation

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Furtermore i get the feeling that Sacha posted this not as spam or a advert but to work with the anarchists.

Oh really, so what joint action has he proposed?

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I hope one day libertarian marxists and anarchists can work together.

Last time i checked they do so quite happily on this site. The AWL clearly aren't libertarian marxists however, and i haven't seen any real evidene to back up this assertion yet. Do you have any?

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 11:12
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My understanding is that Workers' Liberty is a Trotskyist organisation, and a such it wants to turn society into a giant prison.
I don't, and I dare think neither do the majority of other posters on this site.

Oh dear God that's dreadful Ping - you're normally a lot better than that. Every time the anarchists have come close to winning they've always been extremely reactionary bastards. I don't go about saying anarchists want to roll over for fascists to take over or all anarchists are wet pawns for authoritarians, even if historically speaking that's exactly what their role has been. Now I doubt very much the AWL want people to turn society into a giant prison, and they are a third camp group so they don't support in any way whatsoever the Stalinist regimes or refer to them as 'deformed workers states'. You could level those criticisms against Ortho-Trot groups perhaps but I think it's intellectually dishonest to do so with them.

For Sacha, yes you're correct - was talking half remembered balls... However Wikipedia (I'm lazy) has...

"The Shachtmanites eventually became irreparably divorced from the New Left because of their unwavering support for the Vietnam War (1957-1975). In 1972, Shachtmanites supported Democrat "Scoop" Jackson's presidential primary bid, as Jackson was by then the only major candidate who favored a continuation of the War. When George McGovern was nominated instead, the Shachtmanites chose not to endorse him."

The fact that the AWL supported the NATO bombing of Serbia and supports the retention of troops in Iraq would seem to me to imply some sort of lack of theoretical coherency. To clarify for me the AWL considers the Soviet Union to have been worse than the capitalist regimes (like right Shachtmanism)? Or is your position closer to the traditional bureaucratic collectivism idea?

Sacha
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Aug 8 2007 22:51

I'm sorry for disappearing from this discussion, but first I was very busy, and now I'm ill. Just a few things briefly - I'll be back to engage properly when I'm better.

i) Dundee, those in the AWL who hold a "bureaucratic collectivist" positoin are closer to what you call a "traditional bureaucratic collectivism idea" than to the late Shachtman. (Which doesn't mean they can't point out the liberties which workers have won under some capitalist regimes *relative to Stalinism*.) But actually the AWL doesn't have a position on the character of the USSR and the other Stalinist states. Would would be the point? Some of us regard them as something like "bureaucratic collectivist", some as "state capitalist", lots of us don't know - what unites is rejection of the idea that they were any sort of workers' states, and support for workers' struggles and advocacy of workers' revolution against them.

ii) Ping, if we want to turn the world into a giant prison, why have we consistently supported the struggles of the oppressed against bureaucratic dictatorship, eg Solidarnosc in its early revolutionary phase, other workers' organisations in Eastern Europe, calling for immediate Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan etc?

iii) For what it's worth, I don't share the traditional Trotskyist analysis of Kronstadt. My view is much closer to that put forward by Cuban Marxist Sam Farber in his book "Before Stalinism: the rise and fall of Soviet democracy" - pro-October revolution, but critical of how the mainstream Bolshevik leadership's politics developed. (Farber's analysis of both the USSR and Cuba is "bureaucratic collectivist, btw.) Farber regards the Kronstadt uprising as partially progressive, sees the bulk of their demands as perfectly justified and condemns the Bolsheviks' suppression of them. There are different views on this in the AWL; a majority of the leading activists are closer to traditional Trotskyism on this. But we debate it freely, like we debate everything else.

Anway, our new postal bulletin is here: http://www.workersliberty.org/node/8963

More when I've snopped sniffling!

Sacha

Moshehess
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Aug 9 2007 01:02

I feel that the attitude of a few of the anarchists towards the AWL reminds me of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Cults.

It seems anarchists & AWL have much in common with some differences. Yet you accuse them of stuff which is either very exaggarated or not true.

It also seems that a lot of anarchists like to attack others on the left in a kind of cultish way which is like "i have the real ideas and those who are different are evil."

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Volin
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Aug 9 2007 09:49
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It seems anarchists & AWL have much in common with some differences.

The only common ground we share is when they put their ideology aside and work with us without party or the organisational trappings of it - the same goes for any Leftists. An example of this might be the No Sweat (which I believe was started by AWL members) alliance with the IWW, both of which are calling for a national day of action against Starbucks on the 18th August. But watch this space, it remains to be seen how far this sort of thing will be a success.

Otherwise, you don't seem to be aware of either long-term or recent anarchist history. I'm astonished to read the assertion that this particular Trot group is 'libertarian'. Not in the slightest. Their understanding of democracy is typically bourgeois in character, their attitude towards unions regurgitated anti-working class labourism, in all they are liberal reformists with delusions of authoritarian state-capitalism. Rosa Luxemburg -and she still differs from anarchism significantly, would rail against her passing inclusion in these Trotskyist creeds.

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"i have the real ideas and those who are different are evil."

No, those political stances which seek to promote dead ideas of vanguardism, mediation, statism and reformism (in all their bizarre concoctions) can have no relation with ourselves (anarchists and communists) who stand for the autonomy and self-emancipation of the working class - except for our mutual antagonism. wink

Dundee_United
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Aug 9 2007 11:29
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vanguardism

There is absolutely nothing wrong with vanguardism, and more over whether you like it or not you're an ideological vanguard. Just fucking deal with it.

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reformism

There is no such thing as a non-reformist reform. If you really reject reformism then the only conclusion is to behave exactly as the ICC does - ie every strike or upsurge in struggle must be attempted to be pushed into setting up workers councils and generalising it into revolutionary movement. Anything short of that is evil, wicked rank reformism... Sorry but that's how it is. I'm a reformist and a revolutionary - as are most people here (including some of the confused reformists who 'reject reformism').

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they are liberal reformists with delusions of authoritarian state-capitalism.

Jesus. You make me want to defend the AWL. The guy has just explained his group supports no (as in zero, nil, nada, nothing) 'workers states.'

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Dundee, those in the AWL who hold a "bureaucratic collectivist" positoin are closer to what you call a "traditional bureaucratic collectivism idea" than to the late Shachtman.

Well that's certainly a lot easier to defend as a position. I think it is absolutely essential to have a coherent position on the Russian revolution. The Soviet Union is obviously much easier to theorise, but on the revolution itself it is essential.

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calling for immediate Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan etc?

See this is what I don't get. You call for troops out in Afghanistan (which in my view is difficult and not a straightup situation so there are arguments both ways - actually I'm deeply unsure what the correct position is on that one), but you call for the troops to stay in Iraq (which is a much more open and shut case - troops out now!). It appears indicative. It seems to me you guys view the Soviet Union as WORSE than the Western capitalist regimes. That leads to a very reactionary position. That to me is like right Shachmanism.

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The only common ground we share is when they put their ideology aside and work with us without party

Why should they do that when you - rightly enough - don't set aside your party (the AF)? Political organisations are essential if you want to organise with people who agree with you as effectively as possible. Don't pretend that you don't also think that (well maybe you do but then I'd question why you're in the AF).

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Farber regards the Kronstadt uprising as partially progressive, sees the bulk of their demands as perfectly justified and condemns the Bolsheviks' suppression of them.

My position. It was a fucked up situation and the logic of the Bolshevik state (which by this point was a failed project due to the lack of a German revolution) could only internally have been to crush Kronstadt. For me this is the chief problem with Bolshevik strategy - it leads to that logic (the logic of statecraft counterposed to class interests). That's the traditional anarchist argument. These days however, as you'll see if you discuss this here amongst all the reactionary religious zealots, the 'modern' view is more a pastiche of that position, where the forces of good were crushed by the forces of evil cos evil is nasty... But one day, we'll get those bastards <yawn>. I hate the left in this country.

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can have no relation with ourselves

Does that mean that if an anarchist and a Trotskyist try and have kids together the children will be mutants?

nastyned
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Aug 9 2007 11:49
Dundee_United wrote:
Does that mean that if an anarchist and a Trotskyist try and have kids together the children will be mutants?

I don't think he meant sexual relations.

Dundee_United
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Aug 9 2007 11:51
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I don't think he meant sexual relations.

grin

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Volin
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Aug 10 2007 19:39
Dundee_United wrote:
There is absolutely nothing wrong with vanguardism
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There is no such thing as a non-reformist reform.
Dundee_United wrote:
I wrote:
they are liberal reformists with delusions of state capitalism

The guy has just explained his group supports no (as in zero, nil, nada, nothing) 'workers states.'

...Oooh.

On the first two, you're bringing your own definitions into it. By vanguardism, of course I don't mean the dodgy usage by some platformists implying 'leadership of ideas' but the normal Leninist sense - partyism and the party leading over struggles. [Before you say it Dundee, 'party' isn't a general meaning for political groups but the hierarchical party!!] As for reformism, I already replied to you on that on another thread. Reforms that are won by their own strength and spur the working class on with a revolutionary agenda are not therefore a part of reformism. The latter is characterised by a complicity in the state, in stagism and instrumentalism - without going to the root of our problems, without genuine collective self-action and appeasing real militancy. So ditching the semantics, where do you disagree?

This has all been argued by anarchists for over a century now.

Thirdly, they're Trotskyists. The fact that this group doesn't support present-day 'communist regimes' doesn't detract from the fact that they support the myth of Bolshevism and the state capitalism following the Russian Revolution. Following this, they're organisational practice and wet-dreams are distinctly...state capitalist in orientation.

Dundee_United wrote:
I wrote:
The only common ground we share is when they put their ideology aside and work with us without party

Why should they do that when you - rightly enough - don't set aside your party (the AF)? Political organisations are essential if you want to organise with people who agree with you as effectively as possible.

That's a more important question. If we're working together, it would only be possible if they didn't put their party itself in the picture, it might be part of the latter's strategy or whatever crap, but it couldn't work if their style of decision-making and ideology were part of the actual process. Similarly, we wouldn't say 'everyone has to be anarchist if you're co-operating with us' - but the whole thing would have to directly democratic and not dominated by any ideology or power politics. It would then be more in our interests. I wasn't arguing that we put our specific political groups behind us (well, they should wink ).

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Volin
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Aug 10 2007 19:42
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if an anarchist and a Trotskyist try and have kids together the children will be mutants?

No, but they will most probably go for the more creative and radical option.

Trotskyists, you're children are with us! And all that. smile

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cantdocartwheels
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Aug 11 2007 05:07
Moshehess wrote:
I feel that the attitude of a few of the anarchists towards the AWL reminds me of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Cults.

It seems anarchists & AWL have much in common with some differences. Yet you accuse them of stuff which is either very exaggarated or not true.

It also seems that a lot of anarchists like to attack others on the left in a kind of cultish way which is like "i have the real ideas and those who are different are evil."

Do you have anything interesting to contribute to the debate on this thread, or just more half assed platittudes about how we should all get along?

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Aug 11 2007 06:15

Still not a single reaction to the accusation that the AWL aspires to little more than being a ''libertarian wing fo the labour party'', are we to assume that the ''vanguard'' are unable to defend themselves against such an accusation?

Sacha wrote:
iii) For what it's worth, I don't share the traditional Trotskyist analysis of Kronstadt. My view is much closer to that put forward by Cuban Marxist Sam Farber in his book "Before Stalinism: the rise and fall of Soviet democracy" - pro-October revolution, but critical of how the mainstream Bolshevik leadership's politics developed. (Farber's analysis of both the USSR and Cuba is "bureaucratic collectivist, btw.) Farber regards the Kronstadt uprising as partially progressive, sees the bulk of their demands as perfectly justified and condemns the Bolsheviks' suppression of them. There are different views on this in the AWL; a majority of the leading activists are closer to traditional Trotskyism on this. But we debate it freely, like we debate everything else.

. Well its nice to know you're not claiming its a ''white plot'' but as far as i can see your analysis is still based in the rather bizarre and ahistorical idea that the organisations in kronstadt were some sort of amorphous hippy mess that were to quote your words ''partially progressive'' rather than a fully functionig alliance of workers groups.

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cantdocartwheels
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Aug 11 2007 06:33
Dundee_United wrote:
There is absolutely nothing wrong with vanguardism, and more over whether you like it or not you're an ideological vanguard. Just fucking deal with it.

'vanguardism' in this context refers to a specific form of party organisation and a specific seperation of the political and economic in which a ''revolutionary party'' takes precedence over the organs of proletarian power. It also implies a specific attitude towards rival political groups, this attitude is not restricted to bolshevism obvously.
Also would you say praxis are a 'vangaurd' then?

Quote:
There is no such thing as a non-reformist reform. If you really reject reformism then the only conclusion is to behave exactly as the ICC does - ie every strike or upsurge in struggle must be attempted to be pushed into setting up workers councils and generalising it into revolutionary movement. Anything short of that is evil, wicked rank reformism... Sorry but that's how it is. I'm a reformist and a revolutionary - as are most people here (including some of the confused reformists who 'reject reformism').

I'm sorry but you clearly don't understand what anarchists and left cmmunists mean by 'refomism'. Reformism refers to the achieving of reforms through the parliamentary system. The AWL quite specifically support lobbying parliament via the labour representation committee among other things.
http://www.workersliberty.org/node/5772 I'm sorry but this approach is most definitely refomist..

Dundee_United
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Aug 11 2007 16:20
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I'm sorry but you clearly don't understand what anarchists and left cmmunists mean by 'refomism'. Reformism refers to the achieving of reforms through the parliamentary system. The AWL quite specifically support lobbying parliament via the labour representation committee among other things.
http://www.workersliberty.org/node/5772 I'm sorry but this approach is most definitely refomist..

Frankly I don't really see what's wrong with lobbying as one means of achieving political goals. Anyone serious about gaining reforms is also prepared to use lobbying as one aspect of how they go about achieving their ends.

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Lazy Riser
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Aug 11 2007 16:24
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Frankly I don't really see what's wrong with lobbying as one means of achieving political goals.

What's wrong with it is that it asserts their authority. Making demands of them is doomed, that's sort of the point. It's our responsibilty to fix things, not theirs. And we don't want their help either.

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cantdocartwheels
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Aug 11 2007 23:28
Dundee_United wrote:
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I'm sorry but you clearly don't understand what anarchists and left cmmunists mean by 'refomism'. Reformism refers to the achieving of reforms through the parliamentary system. The AWL quite specifically support lobbying parliament via the labour representation committee among other things.
http://www.workersliberty.org/node/5772 I'm sorry but this approach is most definitely refomist..

Frankly I don't really see what's wrong with lobbying as one means of achieving political goals. Anyone serious about gaining reforms is also prepared to use lobbying as one aspect of how they go about achieving their ends.

A revolutionary position is that capitalism only grants reforms when it has to, so either the self organised working class disrupts the means of production or there is such a threat of revolution that the capitalist class caves in and grants reforms. A reformist posiiton is that you lobby the capitalist class through parliamentary means and that some sort of compromise is reached as a result.

Dundee_United
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Aug 11 2007 23:36
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What's wrong with it is that it asserts their authority. Making demands of them is doomed, that's sort of the point. It's our responsibilty to fix things, not theirs. And we don't want their help either.

Oh get over yourself. It's one tactic amongst many. Within any campaign there will be room for lobbying alongside more militant action. That's the nature of mass campaigns.