Write for Su: Where Next for the Movement?

In the wake of George Galloway’s fantastic election victory for Respect in Bradford West, SU will soon launch a series of articles aimed at getting the whole of the left/progressive movement talking about what we need to do, how we need to do it, what our limitations are and what our greatest strengths are.

This site is about bringing the movement together to talk, to influence each other, to inspire each other to go out and act. Whether that’s being a stronger militant at work, bringing more positive political debates into our various parties, taking good ideas from other people, or simply refining the arguments we use against the propaganda onslaught we face every day, SU plays a substantial part in giving the movement an interesting, diverse, sometimes controversial and annoying, set of stuff to read and talk about. While the comments are dominated by some excellent regular activists, SU’s readership is incredibly broad.

So we want you to write for us. You can write on behalf of your party, your union, your workplace, your campaign, your community, yourself. If you think you have an interesting contribution to make, if you want to test out your ideas, please contact me. If you can think of someone who you’d like to see an article by, please feel free to suggest them in the comments (or privately by email). You don’t have to focus on “the left” – you can focus simply on “resistance to cuts”, “saving the environment”, or even electoral politics. It’s your chance to influence the debate.

There are a few ground rules. 1) We have our red lines. This site is absolutely, unwaveringly anti-imperialist and anti-Islamophobia. Please don’t write saying we need to defeat “terror” or whatever the propaganda word of the month is. And don’t put a racist slant on anything. 2) Not everything will be published – we won’t provide a platform for people whose aim is to destroy or destabilise the progressive movement. We want people to read, and constructively challenge, what you write. So you need to give people honest assessments. If your first paragraph asks us to believe that George Galloway has eaten yet another Jewish baby, or that the SWP is the reason for the recession, you’ll likely not see your article on the site. 3) We’ll moderate the comments slightly more heavily than normal. We won’t go down the road of ruthlessly policing what people say, but if we want honest debate we can’t allow faction fights, sectarianism or abuse. Wherever it’s from. (I might even delete my own comments, you never know.)

Take a leaf out of the books of our regular commenters, who engage with the subject and, while sometimes being moody about it, generally discuss the topic, not the evil person who wrote it. So f you don’t use the opportunity to engage and persuade, you’re not likely to be welcome. We want SU to be a place where all different shades of progressive opinion feel they can be comfortable getting it wrong, making mistakes and adjusting their views. There’s nothing better than having your mind changed by someone who appreciates that you’ve got good intentions, and where people don’t set traps or purity tests. So we have an agenda here: Do our bit to promote the left, in as open a way as possible. That means, we support Labour, Respect, Greens, the unions, community activists, socialist election candidates, environmental activists. We’re all in the same moral and political universe. On that note, we’re quite happy to have more than one article from members of particular organisations – as long as what you say is engaging and not repetitive, we want to publish it.

There’s no limit on how much you can write, but if we need to edit it down, we’ll talk to you about it to ensure none of the meaning is lost.

I don’t know if we’ll end up with 3 articles or 100, and we don’t expect a flood of articles straight away – it might take a while. We obviously want the normal strands of left-wing opinion from the established left-wing parties, and we offer you the chance to debate them honestly. But if you’re an RMT rep, or a Unison member, of consider yourself a “moderate” Labour Party member, or a staunch environmental activist who doesn’t really get involved with other left-wing activity, we still want you to write for us. If you work for a pressure group, please give us your views on how the movement can support you. We’ve got a big readership that’s mostly based in the UK, so this is your chance to work with other people, refine your ideas, feel a little bruised when no one laughs at your jokes, and maybe teach & learn some stuff. And if you’re a member of an established left-wing group and want to write something that may go against your own party, we’ll take anonymous contributions, but you’ll need to trust us cos before we do, we’ll need to know who you are. You don’t have to be in the UK either – a global perspective is crucial to what’s happening, and if you’re an expert on Greek politics, or the Tea Party, readers in the UK will want to hear your analysis and news.

Whether it’s 200 words or 2000, please get writing! you can send contributions directly to me – tony@evilplan.org.uk; if you want to talk through any ideas, please drop me an email.

284 comments on “Write for Su: Where Next for the Movement?

  1. Robert P. Williams on said:

    “…we support Labour, Respect, Greens, the unions, community activists, socialist election candidates, environmental activists….”

    What if someone thinks that the Labour Party in general has moved irrevocably to the right and is in fact a capitalist party with little between it and the ConDems?

    That someone would find it very difficult to support the Labour Party in general (despite having respect for the minority of genuine lefts that soldier on within its ranks).

    Perhaps that person may think socialist unity implies unity among socialists…. which may not be the same as unity with the Labour Party in general.

    Would a person like THAT be welcome to post on your site… or would they be banned?

  2. Robert, why would you jump to the question “would they be banned”? There are specific red lines that people cross that makes them unwelcome here, not simple political disagreements.

    That said, I wish you and Jimmy would stop this victim/passive-aggressive stuff. You and Jimmy both post exactly what you’ve just said, fairly frequently, and people debate it with you, so you already know that you wouldn’t be banned – drop the victim stuff. Be confident in your politics. If you’re confident, you won’t need to write in such a condesending way. As I think my post has made clear, we want to hear all sides of the debate. There’s an important constituency that believes Labour is dead. As long as you use your opportunity to give people genuine points to debate, you’re welcome to write.

    Although I think you should do yourself a favour and apologise for that nasty comment you posted a few weeks ago where you took the piss out of a regular commenter who has a difficult writing style, saying he was mentally ill. People called you out on it at the time but you never responded. I don’t think progressive people should do that kind of stuff, so it would be good if you acknowledged it. Aside from that, you’re welcome to write what you think the left, the class, the movement needs to do next.

  3. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Vanya,

    I’m all for being positive, but Tony is laying down ground rules and I just want to clarify the editorial policy and what he is intending to do… what is project or agenda is so to speak.

    I hope he gets as many contributors as possible.. I just want to clarify what was out-of-bounds. That’s all.

  4. Robert P. Williams on said:

    tony collins,

    I think the way you are responding is quite patronising, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.
    The article you posted did suggest that posts would be edited more strongly.

    As for the post where I couldn’t understand a persons way of writing… well, I do regret the way I responded to them. Sorry.

  5. Robert, the only thing I said would be done more strongly was comment moderation.

    In other words, to make sure that the writer of the article gets a chance to engage in a proper debate over what s/he writes, I’ll put a stop to needless sectarianism in the comments. So it’s sort of the reverse of what you’re saying – the only editing I might do of articles is for space, but as my post said (quite clearly, I thought), if we do edit it, we’ll talk to you about it to make sure none of the meaning is lost.

  6. Thanks for the apology, Robert. Text is hard to get right, and to be honest it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that someone might actually just be taking the piss with what they write. But over time on here, it’s become obvious that text is an incredibly restricting medium, and it can be really hard for some people to get their thoughts across, so I just assume good faith. It makes me grind my jaw less!

  7. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    3~~~ “I wish you and Jimmy would stop this victim/passive-aggressive stuff.” There we go again bourgeoisie psycho-babble. The defence of ourselves and our ideas from the hostile non-political argument/piss taking is not “passive-aggressive”. It is trying to add a clarification to the proceedings by explaining the hostility to the SP/CWI from individuals on this site who have taken a backward step in their ‘political consciousness’, which is the real understanding on what is at task; that is the socialist transformation of society and how to achieve it. Not the continuation of the economic system by other means.

    I also have an interpretation that the usual suspects who write on SU and are claimed/ing that it is their individual thought are advancing red herrings here, no pun intended. SWP, CP, of whatever variety, ANL, Respect, SP/CWI, Labour Party, et al, members all have their respective discussions/reading, etc, and are advancing not their independent thoughts but the thoughts of their respective organisations/ideology because of the Left ideological furrow they are in.

    I have nothing else to say on the matter, but Mr Collins, you made a comment on another thread about me posting the editorial from the Socialist on GG’s victory in Bradford. You said you would have liked to hear my thoughts rather that a post from the Socialist. I do not have time at the moment to sit in front of a computer continually posting to a socialist website, to be honest I do not know where you all have the time, but that is another matter. I am too busy with my personal life and my political life to do such activity. So the reason I post was because what is in the editorial on GG’s victory I was discussing with the general public on Saturday at the Stalls I participate in and with ordinary people I speak with over the weekend. So my individual thoughts and the Socialist editorial were equal. So it is easier to post than write screeds and then be accused as a clone and not thinking for myself.

    Now I am off to Edinburgh soon to be involved in an election planning meeting for the Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition for the forthcoming Council elections in Scotland. I would post an article from the Socialist Party Scotland to show what is taking place but I know that is not the done thing; at least not from SP members.

  8. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    PS~~~is the website timing right it says 1:23pm when it is 2:23 when it was posted.

  9. Vanya on said:

    #9 Jimmy how does someone with so much interesting experience and so much useful stuff to say waste your time on here behaving like a sanctimonious bore?

    It’s almost as if you’re tempting Tony and the others to ban you.

    Is that the idea?

  10. I’ve fixed the clock.

    And Jimmy, “passive-aggressive” is not “bourgeoisie psycho-babble”, it’s a real phenomenon that drips from so many of your posts. The victim stuff as well – even your post there, you make claims and digs that somehow you’re treated worse than everyone else, and Robert above you immediately assumed that if someone wrote an article along the lines he suggested, he would face a ban. It’s a bad habit you guys have, of always making out that everyone else is lacking in politics, that they’re “usual suspects”, that they’re allowed to get away with stuff that SP members aren’t allowed to get away with.

    It’s totally untrue, and I can’t believe that you responded to my comment about victim and passive-aggressive behaviour by… oh well you can fill the rest in.

    You get a lot of attention here, with people asking you to write your own views. Yet somehow you take this as an insult. And you post victim stuff about the “usual suspects”. You are also so dismissive of pretty much every single other poster on here, you’ve just declared that none of them post their own thoughts! Yet you are just about the only person whose contributions to this site consist entirely of links to articles published by the organisation you’re a member of.

    I’ll leave it to everyone else to decide whether I’m right about the victim stuff. I’d just direct them to your very last sentence.

  11. Vanya on said:

    Jimmy, guess what, there’s a link, tenth down on the list on SU, to the CWI website.

    If posting on here is so consuming of your precious time that you don’t have enough of it to do anything but quote the line verbatim and link to the website, I for one can assure you that I frequently visit it and am more than happy to direct others to it.

    That way you don’t even have to bother posting at all and risk being offended by all us nasty piss-takers, you obviously being such a sensitive soul who wouldn’t dream of dishing it out to anyone else (“Bourgeois psycho-babble”).

  12. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Come on Tony.

    I don’t think taking a robust and outspoken position has anything whatsoever with being a victim or passive aggressive.

    A victim would be on their knees wouldn’t they? A passive-aggressive person would more than likely be stubbournly silent than speak openly of what they think is wrong.

    Personally, I don’t mind if you use psychobabble – go ahead – but your use of the terms victim and passive-aggressive don’t really fit into that category… I think just plain old ‘babble’ would be more suitable.

    ~~~

    Actually Tony you did say with regard to articles:
    “2) Not everything will be published – we won’t provide a platform for people whose aim is to destroy or destabilise the progressive movement. We want people to read, and constructively challenge, what you write. So you need to give people honest assessments. If your first paragraph asks us to believe that George Galloway has eaten yet another Jewish baby, or that the SWP is the reason for the recession, you’ll likely not see your article on the site. ”

    It was only in your point 3) that you started talking about ‘comments’.

    Trying to find out what you think would: “…destabilise the progressive movement” is a perfectly valid question. Especially, when you insist that we, “…Do our bit to promote the left, in as open a way as possible. That means, we support Labour,…”

    After you said that… is it really that unreasonable to imagine that you might consider not supporting the LP as ‘destabilising’ to the ‘progressive movement’.

    Maybe you should have read your own article before having a go at me and Jimmy?

  13. “…as long as what you say is engaging and not repetitive…”

    Can’t help thinking that that might be the hurdle at which a lot of potential contributions might stumble…

  14. jim mclean on said:

    What if someone thinks that Labour as a class in general has moved irrevocably to the right and is in fact supportive of a capitalist system with little between Labour and the Capitalists.
    I sometimes think consumerism destroyed the left.

  15. Robert P. Williams on said:

    jim mclean,

    Well then we need to point out to the working class that capitalism is not going to deliver on its promises. Though I think this is becoming more obvious during the present period.
    Then we have to point out what we can put in place instead of capitalism… socialism.
    The consciousness of working people with regard to socialism has been quite low, but adopting neo-liberal policies rather than arguing the case for socialism hasn’t served working people well.
    The IFS think 88% of the cuts are yet to be implemented.

    Capitalism is the problem, not which particular political party happens to be running it.

  16. Robert, again with the victim nonsense. I didn’t “have a go at” you. Seriously, what is your problem? You guys really like to act as if you’re under attack.

    And you clearly didn’t even bother with elementary comprehension of what I wrote. Look at the two examples I gave: George Galloway eats Jewish babies, and the SWP is responsible for the recession. Now, I know some people accuse SP members of being po-faced, but I always credited you with being able to understand nuance. Here, I am clearly talking about people who pretend to be on the left but seek only to destroy it. People like the fake lefties of Harry’s Place and the AWL. I think the fact that I chose to use the word “progressive” rather than “socialist” would’ve made it clear that I am being incredibly broad in my call for articles.

    I sincerely apologise if this was not clearly signposted by my use of outrageous examples, and I can see that from my use of such examples you got the impression that I was also talking about people who might write that Labour is a bourgeois party that cannot fight capitalism because it is an agent of same. Easy mistake to make, I grant you.

    I would like to note that in quoting me (“we support Labour”) you deliberately cut out the completely unimportant bit where I mentioned that we also support “socialist election candidates”. Again, I can see how my statement that we support “socialist election candidates” might’ve given you the impression that we would ban people who wanted to write articles where they support socialist election candidates.

    I’m afraid with every stultifying, victimhood-filled post, you do nothing to disprove my contention that you guys act as if you’re somehow treated worse than the movement. You also proved that you don’t have a clue what people mean when they talk about others acting like “victims”, and you certainly don’t even know what the term “passive-aggressive” means.

    It’s been fun, but I’m not going to waste my time parsing my own, pretty clear article any further, just so you’ll know that when I said we welcome articles from people who wanted genuine, open debate, what I meant was, we welcome articles from people who want genuine, open debate.

    I’m going to give you an example of the sort of comments moderation I talked about, by telling you that I think I’ve explained myself clearly enough now, and asking for your next comments to be something substantial about the content of the post. Thank you.

  17. Has anyone got anything interesting to say about what next for the movement? Please

    The thing is, plenty of people have got lots to say, and I hope they can skip over the comments and get on and write some stuff. I’ve had 3 offers already. The thing that these comments show is, there are people who seek division even when they’re offered a chance at unity.

    The left wouldn’t have this trouble if I was in charge, I can tell you. I would write a PHP script to shut everyone the hell up.

  18. Graham on said:

    Tony,
    it is an excellent idea and i look forward to reading the contributions.
    Personally I think getting the various anti- cut organisations to work constructively together, if not merge into one, would be the starting point for the left to go forward.
    Best wishes.

  19. Marko on said:

    If this is to work we have to keep the vermin out or we will be debating big brother, cats, communalism, oil deals, Saddam and not where the left needs to go.

    So a strict no vermin policy please, at least over the coming weeks.

  20. Jim "Roland Rat" mclean on said:

    23# Don’t get you, how can you have a Rainbow alliance that doesn’t recognise the humanity of harmless trolls.

  21. Tony says

    “site is absolutely, unwaveringly anti-imperialist and anti-Islamophobia.”

    I would like to expand upon that.

    SU has also been consistently opposed to “leftist” anti-Semitism, and opposed to those forms of militant secularism that are intolerant of people with religious faith generally.

    Also, if people want to develop a considered argument that – for example – it is important for the British left to take the position that China is “imperialist”, then I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t publish that.

  22. Marko on said:

    “how can you have a Rainbow alliance that doesn’t recognise the humanity of harmless trolls”

    Because the vermin would never join anyway! That is one great reason to have this debate. Let us build this rainbow alliance and the purge of the vermin will be taken care of automatically! But in the meantime a no vermin policy will be essential if this debate is to be productive.

  23. John Grimshaw on said:

    #25 I think it is a positive good that Tony puts forward the idea of more collaboration on this blog especially given that it presumably belongs to Andy/Tony etc. Afterall they don’t have to do it. And nobody makes the SP miserably contribute to it. That said however there are of course some things that we could all fall out over so we have to make sure that those issues don’t simply become the be all and end all. So for example I need to know what Andy means by “leftist anti-semitism” before I can agree or disagree with him about this obviously important matter.

  24. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Tony

    The fact that you are trying to portray SP members as having a ‘Victim’ attitude is in itself an attack. If we try to defend ourselves you try to use that as evidence of the same.

    You have admitted that your article was a little ambiguous… which I enquired about… and you now try to portray as me having a victim attitude.

    Though you have seemed to indicate that you wouldn’t take any more comments on the ‘victim’ slur… so maybe you will delete this comment?

    As for the future of the labour movement, I would suggest that the trade unions stop giving money to the Labour Party and help to form a new workers party.

  25. John Grimshaw

    By “leftist” antisemitism I mean those who collude with or rehabilitate traditional themes of Jew hating in the guise of supporting the Palestomian cause.

    I am of course a supporter of Palestinian solidarity and an opponent of political Zionism. But while most anti-Zionists are not anti Semitic, sadly a few anti-semites do attach themselves to the Palestinian cause, and should be opposed.

  26. Dolorous on said:

    What’s funny about this promise of non-sectarianism is of course …. where’s the democracy? Since in the end, one person gets to decide who or what is acceptable discourse, and if they can’t come up with a good reason for excluding someone from a discussion, they … invent one out of thin air.

    Trolls should of course be sat upon, but then Andy Newman is quite capable of trolling and unprincipled conduct, abuse etc. even on his own blog if he disapproves of someone’s opinions. His idea of ‘democracy’ is the Chinese occupation of Tibet. So why should anyone have any confidence he could organise a democratic, non-sectarian discussion? The man is a total hypocrite and one of the worst sectarians on the left.

  27. While it is clearly a trolling distraction.

    My view on Tibet is that the best solution would be greater autonomy within PRC similar to the model of HK and Macau. This is also the view of the Dalai Lama, sorry to disappoint

  28. andy newman: While it is clearly a trolling distraction.My view on Tibet is that the best solution would be greater autonomy within PRC similar to the model of HK and Macau. This is also the view of the Dalai Lama, sorry to disappoint

    Whilst we’re on China, why do fully capitalist countries like Britain have better workers rights? I’ve never been able to work that out.

    Thanks in advance.

  29. Dolorous on said:

    KrisS,

    I might do at some point. Though even now Newman equates criticism with trolling, which does not augur well for debates.

    Newman claims to be all innocent over Tibet, but I remember reading him earlier supporting the Chinese Communist Party’s aspiration to appoint the ‘next’ Dalai Lama and condemning the Dalai Lama for saying that he would be the last of his line, supposedly in the name of ‘tradition’.

    This is the most astonishing piece of abuse directed at Tibetan Buddhists, not really any better than that directed at Muslims at Harry’s Place and worse places. For Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama is an incarnation of the Boddhisattva Chenrizi (Avolokitesvara), and if Chenrizi feels that Chinese oppression makes it a bad idea for him to incarnate in another Dalai Lama when the current one dies, that is a matter for him.

    Certainly not a matter for the Chinese Communist Party to have an opinion on. Or some silly blogger in England, who claims to be secular and democratic, but wants the Chinese state to take decisions on religious matters that are completely incompatible with its whole view of the world, you might think!

    There is something just as nasty as the worst kinds of Islamophobia or anti-Semitism behind that conception. Treating the deeply-held religious beliefs of a desperately oppressed people in a purely instrumental manner, in supporting a programme that basically involved them being colonised out of their own country by an occupying power.

  30. Jim mclean on said:

    With reference to Tibet, by all accounts the Red Army was seen as an army of liberation by many of the Tibetan peasantry. Virtually enslaved to meet the needs of the monasteries and the nobility. When I see Buddhist monks take up arms I wonder is it for the freedom of the “people” or the restoration of their lost privileges. Now clearly there may have been a hint of hypocrisy in the “Moral Authority” argument in China’s intervention. To liberate the enslaved serfs of Tibet during a period of enforced communalism may seem dodgy. Before commenting on Tibet the circumstances of the peasantry under the thumb of nobles and religious leaders has to be studied, it may not be a nice learning experience. And it is still back to the National Question.

  31. The next Dalai Lama will be, like the current Panchen Lama, appointed by the monks in Tibet. They will pay due regard to the interests of the Tibetan nation. It actually is not within the traditions of the religion for a political exile to make binding announcements on the future judgements of monestaries in Tibet

    The exile community is more and more distanced from life of Tibetans on PRC.

  32. Sorry but clearly the Chinese CP, which includes many thousands of Tibetans, does have an influence in the decisions of organised religions in the PRC. That is the way their state works.

    I am sure you regret the terrible injustices that the Communists have brought to Tibet, like abolishing slavery, introducing the first schools, doubling life expectancy, etc.

  33. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    andy newman: I am sure you regret the terrible injustices that the Communists have brought to Tibet, like abolishing slavery, introducing the first schools, doubling life expectancy, etc.

    This is amusing reminiscent of the claims of European colonists in Africa.

  34. Incidentally dolorous

    I have not described you as trolling for disagreeing, but for seeking to mischeviiusly subvert the debate to revolve around an axis of your choosing.

    If you choose not to debate here then you don’t have to.

  35. Darkness at Noon on said:

    andy newman: I am sure you regret the terrible injustices that the Communists have brought to Tibet, like abolishing slavery, introducing the first schools, doubling life expectancy, etc.

    I guess if those benefits outweigh and justify the illegality of invading and colonising another country then really you are on shaky ground. Very shaky.

  36. christian h. on said:

    In a shocking first, people running a blog have the right to set some boundaries on the contributions they publish, and the comments they will post. Oh wait, it’s not a first, nor at all undemocratic.

  37. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Dolorous:
    KrisS,

    For Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama is an incarnation of the Boddhisattva Chenrizi (Avolokitesvara), and if Chenrizi feels that Chinese oppression makes it a bad idea for him to incarnate in another Dalai Lama when the current one dies, that is a matter for him.

    Unlikely I’d have thought, as Avolokitesvara is a female deity, or the female Buddha of compassion. And the next would have been Dalai Lama had been found living and well in Spain http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/31/dalai-lama-osel-hita-torres

  38. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Darkness at Noon: I guess if those benefits outweigh and justify the illegality of invading and colonising another country then really you are on shaky ground. Very shaky.

    If you really have enough interest and the attention span – read ,consider ,and self-educate.

    http://newleftreview.org/A2380

  39. Darkness at Noon on said:

    onlyoneteaminessex: If you really have enough interest and the attention span – read ,consider ,and self-educate.

    http://newleftreview.org/A2380

    I read the piece. I still see no justification for the invasion and colonisation of Tibet and subjecting it to the cyclical social and political upheavals and reforms that characterised modern China and then adding the volatile aspects of race and religion into the mix. Ultimately, it has to be admitted that the occupation was a land-grab and with all the improvements to the lives of Tibetans (and the terrible things that happened inbetween), it remains a land-grab.

    My point is that it is dangerous to justify such actions on the basis that Andy Newman does. It could be used to justify many things. I hope you see that point as well.

  40. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    onlyoneteaminessex: Unlikely I’d have thought, as Avolokitesvara is a female deity, or the female Buddha of compassion.

    I never realised this until just now : “Historically, Chinese emperors had been seen in Tibet as the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Buddha, with a higher status than the Goddess of Mercy, incarnated in the Dalai Lama”.

  41. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    “13.Jimmy, guess what, there’s a link, tenth down on the list on SU, to the CWI website.”

    Vanya~~~guess what, the link is not to the CWI main site, but to Marxist.net which is the resource site. Sorry for being pedantic!!!!!!

    Tony~~~Once again you will be amazed that I have responded to your critique. Thinking back to my academic days in the social sciences my understanding of the psychological basis/theory of passive-aggression is dealing with opportunities in social or work-related circumstances in an obstructionist or antagonistic style that signifies aggression; or, in more general terms, articulating aggression in non-assertive (i.e. passive or indirect) ways. It can be seen in some cases as a personality trait or disorder marked by a persistent pattern of destructive attitudes and passive, usually disavowed, resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations. Now it is seen as a personality disorder, now I could take offence to the continual drip, drip insinuations that I have a personality disorder because I am accused of passive-aggression, but I do not, I just dispute the comments and critiques that are given by other contributors.

    Passive aggressive was first described clinically by the military during the second world war in the perspective of men’s reaction to military acquiescence. It was found that soldiers who were not openly defiant but expressed their aggressiveness by passive measures, such as pouting, stubbornness, procrastination, inefficiency, and passive obstructionism due to what was considered as an immaturity and a reaction to routine military stress. So yes I consider it is bourgeoisie psycho-babble because the origin of it was to put the lower orders down to be compliant to the bourgeoisie and its military state.

    Actually I believe Marxist psychology contemplates so-called passive-aggressive attitudes as the rational response to demands that may simply be disagreed with, for example if intended to exploit the individual, and yet where there is no possible or legitimate means of active resistance. Or as Robert P Williams says a “taking robust and outspoken position has anything whatsoever with being a victim or passive aggressive.”

    Tony you said “It’s a bad habit you guys have, of always making out that everyone else is lacking in politics, that they’re “usual suspects”, that they’re allowed to get away with stuff that SP members aren’t allowed to get away with.”

    I apologise that it is felt that I give a patronising commentary on the social and economic conditions and their consequences and the activities I do. My intention is not to put anyone down, but to say to people that I believe in fighting for and building for an independent working class organisation, a new workers party, and I am involved not just in words, but deeds as well to do that. That is why I tell people that I do SPS stalls, anti-cuts activity, and build an electoral alternative to the Labour Party, and the SNP, by being involved in the Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition week in week out. Is that really such a problem for you ‘activists’ in the labour and trade union movement. Now I am off to a Workfare activity which I am going to hate every minute of. Speak later.

  42. Robert P W: “I would suggest that the trade unions stop giving money to the Labour Party and help to form a new workers party.”

    I’m curious as to how the Socialist Party envisages this “new workers’ party”. Would it be essentially your Socialist Party (same line, same leaders) but with TU support and funding? Would it be a reprise of the old-style Labour Party from the 1970s and 80s, into which the SP could burrow as “Militant Tendency v. 2.0″? Would you hope for a body into which you could dissolve your organisation entirely? Or something else?

  43. John on said:

    #53

    Francis makes a good point on the repeated calls for a new workers party. The fact that every left of Labour initiative involving various socialist/Marxist sects has failed under the weight of their own contradictions can’t just be wished away as the result of personalities, lack of democracy, and so on. It is clear that unless parties such as the SP, SWP and others come to the table willing to dissolve their own organisations and structures into this new party it will always be doomed to fail. Parties operating within parties are a recipe for disaster, and when it comes to avowed Leninist organisations even more so.

    Personally, I fail to see what advantage there would be in Respect getting round the table with any other group at this stage. Why should its success be held back by the particular obsessions of any constellation of sects, coalitions and other lash-ups that have achieved nothing in terms of gaining traction within the wider working class.

  44. redcogs on said:

    John,

    John:
    #53

    Francis makes a good point on the repeated calls for a new workers party. The fact that every left of Labour initiative involving various socialist/Marxist sects has failed under the weight of their own contradictions can’t just be wished away as the result of personalities, lack of democracy, and so on. It is clear that unless parties such as the SP, SWP and others come to the table willing to dissolve their own organisations and structures into this new party it will always be doomed to fail. Parties operating within parties are a recipe for disaster, and when it comes to avowed Leninist organisations even more so.

    Absolutely John.

    It is difficult to properly understand whether the reluctance to consider completely breaking with past understandings and modus operandi is a consequence of Leninist elitism (ie, to put it crudely, ‘we are the chosen few’ destined by history to lead the masses home), or alternatively whether the individual leaders of the concerned ‘Party’s’ are so bound up with maintaining the political fiefdom’s that they have spent their lives constructing that they have become personally and culturally inflexible.

    Which ever it is, those involved appear to be guilty of placing mere personal interest before the wider interests of the working class who currently have no real voice or representation.

  45. John Grimshaw on said:

    #55 The first part of what you say John I have sympathy for. The innate sectarianism of most of the British Left means that they never really commit themselves to a broader party project even when they partly originate it like Respect/SWP. What they’re usually interested in is using the project to recruit for their own organisation and petty projects rather than the advancement of the working class. Objectively however there are always going to be problems with ostensibly revolutionary organisations hooking up with others who are essentially left reformists like George Galloway. This is the reason why elsewhere on a different thread I have argued that a united front strategy around commmon issues is probably the best way forwards.

    George has had a spectacular victory in Bradford but I think its too soon to tell whether this represents a change in fortunes for Respect or not. Ultimately there was hardly consistent success in Tower Hamlets where I think there is now only one councillor. So I’d be careful about having a go at the other “sects, coalitions and lash ups” just yet.

  46. John: “…every left of Labour initiative involving various socialist/Marxist sects has failed…” Well, every such initiative since 1920/21, anyway. The formation of the old CPGB was the last time any such initiative worked, and that did involve the complete dissolution of the BSP, SLP, WSF, “ILP Left Wing” etc. into the new party, such that within a very short time it was almost impossible to tell which communist came from which tradition. But it took the great authority of the Bolshevik revolution and the Comintern to achieve that, and a willingness to dispense with hallowed figures (notably Sylvia Pankhurst) who would not submit fully to the discipline of the new organisation. It is probably pointless to imagine that what worked 92 (or 112!) years ago would work again now, in radically different circumstances. John is right to point to the more recent experiences. It is pretty safe to say that trying to bring Trotskyist groups from different traditions together under one umbrella is like trying to unite cats by stuffing them into a sack.

  47. Dolorous on said:

    andy newman

    Andy Newman was the one who chose to make an issue of my point on Tibet, thus setting that particular hare racing, as opposed to my point on democracy, which the point on Tibet was merely an illustration of.

    Non-sectarian debate and political autocracy are fundamentally incompatible. That is my point. If this blog claims to be a non-sectarian forum for ‘Socialist Unity’, then no individual or small group should be able to treat it as personal property. If the latter happens, then it is not a non-sectarian forum for ‘Socialist Unity’.

    There certainly do need to be clear guidelines for debate, and they should be transparent, democratic, and enforced in a manner that seeks to be fair to all trends that seek to argue a socialist position. Any measures taken must be clearly justified and justifiable and open to challenge in a democratic manner.

    If advocating such basic prerequisites of non-sectarian socialist debate is defined as ‘trolling’, then there is a problem here.

  48. Vanya on said:

    I’m broadly with Francis, John and Redcogs on this.

    I have asked the same questions as Francis about the new workers party idea.

  49. Dolorous – why not log on to http://www.wordpress.com, register “Non-sectarian Socialist Unity”, and then announce it here as a free-for-all, non-autocratic, transparent, democratic etc. etc. blog for everyone to come and join in the fun? It will only take you 5 minutes and won’t cost anything.

  50. redcogs on said:

    i love the imagery of “uniting cats by stuffing them into a sack” :-)

    i use a catapult to deter cats that try to disrupt the wildlife that congregates around our well stocked bird table.

    i imagine more than slingshots will be required to instill a sense of order on to the warring 57 varieties ;-)

  51. Robert P. Williams on said:

    A century ago trade unionists and socialist came together to fight for independent representation for the working class: the result was the Labour Party. In the past the Labour Party, however imperfectly, provided a voice for the working class. Today, however, New Labour is a party of the giant corporations, its policies a continuation of Margaret Thatcher’s attacks on the lives and living conditions of working-class people. Public services are being sold off; the occupation of Iraq has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of ‘coalition’ soldiers; democratic rights are being undermined in the name of fighting terrorism; and the Tory anti-trade union laws, the most repressive in the European Union, have been left almost completely intact.

    At Labour Party conference after Labour Party conference the trade unions succeed in winning votes against New Labour policies. However, the Labour Party conference no longer has any power and its decisions are brushed aside by the party leadership.

    We believe that the chance to reclaim the Labour Party has long past and there is no point in continuing to fuel false hopes. We pledge to do all in our power to bring a new workers’ party into being in England and Wales.

    Structure

    We believe it would be wrong, at this early stage, to attempt to predetermine the structure or every aspect of a new party. That can only be decided on the basis of democratic debate leading to agreement amongst the forces involved.

    However, if it is to be successful, it is crucial that a new party, and any pre-party formations, be open, democratic and welcoming to all those who want to work together against the neo-liberal onslaught on the working class. This means that all groups and individuals, provided they are in agreement with the basic aims of the party, should have the right to democratically organise and argue for their point of view.

    Reaching out to workers

    This approach will help to ensure that the new formation is attractive to trade unionists, community and environmental campaigners, and anti-war activists. Most importantly it will assist in reaching out to workers and to young people who are not yet active in struggle. In this way we can unite the strongest possible forces to build a powerful working-class party that is capably of effectively opposing the anti-union laws, cuts, privatisation, environmental degradation and war.

    We believe that such a party would represent a fundamental break with the big business parties which currently dominate politics, giving workers the opportunity to resist the neo-liberal agenda and fight for a socialist programme.

    The CNWP believes that some of the demands which will be central to the formation of a new party include:

    Keep health and education public. Stop and reverse cuts in, and the sell off of, our public services. For properly funded, democratically controlled public services for all.

    For decent, affordable public housing for all who want it.

    No to racism and discrimination – oppose the divisive BNP. No to the specific oppression that people suffer due to their ethnic background, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, disabilities or health.

    For a living wage of at least £8 an hour, and a living pension – restore the link with earnings now.

    No to trident nuclear weapons – spend the billions on public services.

    Ownership and planning of energy and transport, leading to massive investment and expansion of renewable energy and clean, public transport.

    Immediate withdrawal of the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    For a democratic republic – a radical extension of democracy including all representatives, subject to recall, and paid the average wage.

    No to the capitalist profit system. For a democratic socialist society, based on public ownership of the major corporations that dominate the economy, and run to meet the needs of all, and to protect our environment for future generations, instead of the profits of a few.

    If you agree with what you’ve read, join the campaign!

  52. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Dolorous:
    onlyoneteaminessex

    I suggest you find better sources of information, as for Buddhists, a buddha and a bodhisattava are two different things. Its pretty elementary.

    My source of Buddhist knowledge is quite sufficient thank you very much. In Mahayana Buddhism (like the Tibetan and Chinese schools ,etc) Bodhisattavas’ of the earth are indeed Buddhas’ who have forgone personal enlightenment for the sake of suffering humanity. In fact Mahayana Buddhism has it that, in fact, every sentient being is capable of being a Buddha – each having the Buddha nature latent within them. My understanding of Buddhism really isn’t so patchy ,or even “elementary”. So ,if you please , in future do address me in a less patronising and manner. It’s just respect you see.

  53. John Grimshaw: #55 The first part of what you say John I have sympathy for. The innate sectarianism of most of the British Left means that they never really commit themselves to a broader party project even when they partly originate it like Respect/SWP. What they’re usually interested in is using the project to recruit for their own organisation and petty projects rather than the advancement of the working class. Objectively however there are always going to be problems with ostensibly revolutionary organisations hooking up with others who are essentially left reformists like George Galloway. This is the reason why elsewhere on a different thread I have argued that a united front strategy around commmon issues is probably the best way forwards.George has had a spectacular victory in Bradford but I think its too soon to tell whether this represents a change in fortunes for Respect or not. Ultimately there was hardly consistent success in Tower Hamlets where I think there is now only one councillor. So I’d be careful about having a go at the other “sects, coalitions and lash ups” just yet.

    I would echo the last point John makes in that comments such as made by Redcogs about ‘lennist elitism’ or on this and other threads where people in no organisation or in very small ones indeed ( in which I include Respect and to some extent the CP) such as Vanya,John or Mark P make disparaging remarks about organisations such as mine which might not be a mass party but has a membership they would gladly have ,do not help
    I previously carelessly insinuated that Vanya’s membership of Respect was a means of avoiding activity I apologise for that Vanya I did not mean to suggest you are inactive. In a similar vein however it is wrong to caricature membership of the SWP as simply involving selling papers on a Saturday ( though I wish more of our members would do so !!)
    There are common areas of activity for all of us chiefly union and workplace activity but equally many are active in the wider community in anti racist ,anti war, solidarity campaigns ,defence camapigns ,tenants groups etc and it is what we do within these spheres that is so often the point of debate discussion and argument on here so we all have more in common than what divides us.

    Anyway for what its worth here’s my contribution to this debate.

    Firstly lets be clear as to what will not ( or is very unlikely to) happen groups like the SWP ,I cannot speak for the SP but I suspect the same applies to them, are not going to ‘dissolve’ their organisations into a ‘broader party’
    Secondly those groups which to one degree or another adhere to the tradition which has its roots in the Bolshevik revolution and believe in revolution not reform are not going to do a theoretical u turn and suddenly reject every tenet of marxism with regard to the state and the nature of class society.
    That is not to say that there have not been organisations which have done that in the past the US SWP springs to mind ,which moved from ‘orthodox Trotkyism’ to become Castroites , the same could be said of the British CP when it rejected revolution for the British Road to Socialism.
    Nor by the same token I suspect will large numbers of those wedded to the idea that socialism will come through reform of the existing state apparatus suddenly become revolutionaries

    In other words lets start by accepting our differences which will not be resolved by organisational methods.
    As a revolutionary I do not reject fighting in the here and now for reforms.indeed I believe that often the best ‘reformists’ are those committed to revolution.
    It is really a question of tactics and strategy and the terrain on which we fight.

    To my mind if we are talking about building an electoral alternative to Labour there is a possibility that a broader type organisation could be built.
    The various projects in that vein have had degrees of success ( and failure ! ) the SSP was for a time an undoubted success in electoral terms, as was Respect and there have been localised examples Wigan, Walsall etc where a left challenge to Labour has gained modest success.Likwise it has been possible for socialists to gain a toe hold in places such as Coventry and Preston .
    I have not mentioned the Greens which in itself raises questions because they would regard themselves I beleive as the finished article though I stand to be corrected.

    The real problem has always been the question of the trade unions.
    It is true the RMT has backed TUSC but how many RMT members are truly involved,but as yet we have not seen a mass break by the union bureaucracy from Labour. It was this process which I think has made Die Linke qualitatively different to what we have in Britain.
    When Galloway was expelled from Labour he didn’t bring with him tens of thousands of LP members nor did the thousands who left Labour in disgust over the war find their way into Respect, TUSC, or any of the other various left electoral formations.

    There is a potentially large audience as Galloways victory showed for a left alternative which connects with the real experiences of working peoples lives and which doesn’t simply parrot there is no alternative ( but we’ll make it a bit less painful)position of Ed Miliband

    I know there is going to be a serious discussion within my organisation to where we go from here I like all other members will have my say SU is right to seek to open up that debate and we should thank Galloway for making that possible

  54. Darkness at Noon,

    D@N, that article by Wang needs to be read alongside the response NLR ran by the Tibetan scholar Tsering Shakya which points out just what a terrible example of neo-orientalism that original article is:

    http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2388

    “Wang’s text accordingly reveals next to nothing of the native worldview but divulges a great deal about the mindset of the colonizer. This seeks to reduce the native’s status to that of an infant—allowing the colonial master, by contrast, to assume the position of a wise adult, and thus justify his rule.”

  55. redcogs on said:

    Al: Firstly lets be clear as to what will not ( or is very unlikely to) happen groups like the SWP ,I cannot speak for the SP but I suspect the same applies to them, are not going to ‘dissolve’ their organisations into a ‘broader party’

    This drawing of a line in the sand is likely to condemn any future Party building initiatives to failure Al isn’t it?

    There is immense distrust on the left between the various groups. In some instances the misstrust verges on hatred. my hope is that current economic and political circumstances
    will engender a sense of urgency into the struggle to realise the need for real structural change amongst all of the left.

    If people were to demonstrate their good faith by openly and straightforwardly declaring their willingness to sacrifice their former organisational attachments, and begin to channel their energies and finances into the creation of something new fresh and honest then wouldn’t that act in itself begin the process of breaking down the mutual mistrust between a generation (at least) of class warriors?

    i wouldn’t argue for a moment that individuals should abandon their marxist understandings in the interest of creating a single unit for challenging the free markets hegemony – quite the contrary.

    The problem is surely one of organisational type. It has to be possible that socialist from different understandings could work together permanently under a suitable constitution which has the greater good at its heart. But that is less likely to happen if the start point is declarations of ‘no surrender of shiboleths’ by one of the larger more coherent organisations.

    Christ even the IRA and the unionists today can shake hands.

    By the way, you shouldn’t regard the term “Leninist elitism” as a personal attack. it isn’t intended as such. its a crude discription of an organisational mode of achieving an objective.

  56. Dolorous on said:

    onlyoneteaminessex,

    Well, you would then know that the Tibetan and Chinese (Chan) schools are part of the Mahayana, and therefore the ‘like’ in your explanation is superfluous.

    A Boddhisattva is not the same as a buddha, if it were the same, then there would be no terminological distinction and no religious murals showing buddhas each surrounded by a retinue of boddhisattvas, who indeed are believed to forego final nirvana in order to enlighten other beings first. But their level of enlightenment is believed to be somewhat lower than that of a buddha.

    It is true that they believe that every being has the Buddha nature, though this is a controversial concept within Buddhism as to its precise meaning, and it does not mean that they believe everyone currently has the consciousness of an enlightened being.

    In any case, it is a matter of simple fact that the Dalai Lamas are believed by Tibetan Buddhists to be a manifestation of Avalokitesvara. Look it up. Or try this

    http://www.tibetan-museum-society.org/java/arts-culture-Asian-Art-Dalai-Lamas.jsp

  57. toryboysnevergrowup on said:

    Is anyone just a little bit worried that the history of politicians espousing a mixture of nationalism and socialism with a little bit of religion thrown into the mix isn’t exactly inspiring? Not that I have anyone in particular in mind.

  58. Jim mclean on said:

    74# has been diverted. :-(

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

    Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

    Hare Rama Hare Rama
    Rama Rama Hare Hare

    Brown rice for tea

  59. Vanya on said:

    So in the spirit of furthering unity amongst socialists the idea is to start taking the piss out of as many religions as possible?

    Life is but a garment of illusion.

  60. Jim mclean on said:

    Spent a nice couple of hours listening to Concert for Bangladesh last night, now there is a forgotten genocide. What did run through my mind was that all these artists were millionaires. They and religious leaders probably did more to bring this atrocity to the fore than the Left. So recognize good when it is done.

  61. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Vanya:
    So in the spirit of furthering unity amongst socialists the idea is to start taking the piss out of as many religions as possible?

    Life is but a garment of illusion.

    Indeed so. It seems that any concept of unity is based upon only intolerance of others beliefs, or the equivalent piss take, which makes any prospect of unity only but a dream within a dream.

  62. I remember being told by a number of senior figures in the non-Labour left, with some degree of certainty, that when Galloway went off into Respect after the Iraq War that he was on a hiding to nothing because his programme and communalist approach was all wrong etc…

    Since then the outside Labour left in England has lost most of the council seats they once held and Galloway has been elected to Parliament twice for two separate areas.

    The lesson I draw from this is that if you stand a good orator and public figure on a left-populist and anti-war ticket, with a sustained and visible campaign, you can win a Parliamentary seat.

    The problem is whether or not this can then lead to a wider and more inclusive political movement drawing in previously inactive people to left politics. It has to be said that Galloway himself, judging by his contribution on Newsnight last night, does realise and accept this and only appears to see his role as “speaking for” the people who elected him rather than being seen as some sort of Messiah figure leading the way forward. He will also recognise that his election in Bethnal Green in 2005 didn’t lead to any sort of sustained outside-Labour electoral front.

    However I think his stunning win also shows that the orthodox interpretation of Leninism with its regular paper-sales and interventions etc… has become an exercise to largely sustain bureaucracies and give an impression of activity rather than seriously build a new political umbrella. If Galloway can achieve a ticket to Westminster twice, then why can other left groups not do so? And similarly why can no new up and coming socialists get through Labour Party selections for parliamentary seats?

    I think all groups on the left need to understand why the many recruits they boast of whenever they have a degree of success don’t then stick around. The (doubtless) thousands joining Respect currently since Bradford – will they still be there are active in five years time? I have to say I have my doubts. What about the thousands Labour openly boasted of since the last election and Milibands leadership? Are they all engaged as they could be? I actually honestly doubt most have even attended a single CLP.

    We all need to honestly understand the reasons why people quit and drop out from socialist political activity and actually address those reasons if we are to get over this period of marginalisation. Sadly I don’t ever see any serious or honest attempt to do this from any left group as to do so would indicate a failure in their methods. That is why those who leave political groups, including Labour, are characterised as being “wrong” and then demonised lest their wicked ideas infect the other cadres.

    Simply demanding, as Robert Williams does in 29, that trade unions stop giving money to Labour and start giving money to TUSC or whatever else will do nothing other than create a very rich left-fringe party with very little actual root in society. The programme he puts in at 67 is all well and good but appears to be, in fact, virtually identical to the blueprint of the Socialist Alliance before it which went the way of the dodo.

    Before we do anything we have to be honest and upfront about the thousands who go through the revolving doors every year and get disillusioned and drop out for whatever reason if we are to have any hope of seriously building an alternative. Carrying on as we have all done for years because “we are right and everyone else is wrong” is no longer a serious option for any serious socialist.

  63. Robert P. Williams on said:

    “Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilisation of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes — that is, the majority — as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair.”
    —Dalai Lama[

  64. Lawrence Shaw: Before we do anything we have to be honest and upfront about the thousands who go through the revolving doors every year and get disillusioned and drop out for whatever reason if we are to have any hope of seriously building an alternative.

    So what does “being honest” about this mean, to you? It’s true that people join and leave, and I don’t think anyone would seriously try to deny that. So you must be looking for more than just a simple admission of the fact, surely?

  65. 82. I don’t want to know that they ARE leaving, but I want to know WHY they leave. I want to know if it’s because they feel it’s a waste of time or if their politics change or if they are driven out by other people or what. We need to collectively know where we are failing before we can pretend to have the key to success.

    In my experience general disillusion is a major factor, but in my past one of the biggest put-offs for people was being pushed hard to stand in a shopping centre selling a newspaper nobody really wanted for hours every week…sad, but true.

    Our union engages carefully with everyone who leaves membership to find out if there is any way to keep them in the union and also publishes statistics behind the reasons to ensure that we understand what is going on. That’s because we’re not scared of confronting our problems if they exist. I think all left political parties and groups could seriously learn from this practice.

  66. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Dolorous:
    onlyoneteaminessex,

    Well, you would then know that the Tibetan and Chinese (Chan) schools are part of the Mahayana, and therefore the ‘like’ in your explanation is superfluous.

    A Boddhisattva is not the same as a buddha, if it were the same, then there would be no terminological distinction and no religious murals showing buddhas each surrounded by a retinue of boddhisattvas, who indeed are believed to forego final nirvana in order to enlighten other beings first. But their level of enlightenment is believed to be somewhat lower than that of a buddha.

    It is true that they believe that every being has the Buddha nature, though this is a controversial concept within Buddhism as to its precise meaning, and it does not mean that they believe everyone currently has the consciousness of an enlightened being.

    In any case, it is a matter of simple fact that the Dalai Lamas are believed by Tibetan Buddhists to be a manifestation of Avalokitesvara. Look it up. Or try this

    http://www.tibetan-museum-society.org/java/arts-culture-Asian-Art-Dalai-Lamas.jsp

    Right, Firstly, Boddhisattvas’ of the earth (note I use the term ‘earth) are in fact actual beings in Mahayana Buddhism and are not only equal to Buddhas’ but are Buddhas’ themselves. It seems that you are confusing the Theravadan state of being a Arahant here – below fully enlightened Buddhas’ – in this form “the lesser vehicle” enlightenment is only attainable after many lifetimes. Within Mahayana it’s realisable in the here and now. Albeit that there as many Mahayana sub-sects as there are sects of socialism and sub-genres of jazz – each with only slightly different approach within the same general paradigm. But the state of Buddhahood amongst those subscribing to Mahayana is not a controversial concept in any of those sects. Otherwise it wouldn’t differ in anyway from Theravada which relies on the early Suttas/Sutras.

    What you are misunderstanding is the distinction between Boddhisattvas’ of the air (so to speak) and Boddhisattvas’ in the here and now. What you must understand to gain any clear insight into Tibetan Buddhism, is that it relies primarily on visualisation of mythical Boddhisattvas’ to make the concept actualised. Those Buddhas/Boddhisattvas are only actually forces within the environment and not actually beings within themselves or outside of the realisable.

  67. Vanya on said:

    #85 Interesting- why don’t he and the government in China get on slightly better than they do then?

  68. John Grimshaw on said:

    i thought we were discussing where next for the movement, not where next for Buddhists. Or have I suddenly found myself in some parallel universe? The “peaceful” Sinhalese of Sri Lankha hardly dealt with the Tamils in a “peaceful” fashion.

  69. Just to clarify – is the Dalai Lama the representative of a feudal, oppressive social order based on serfdom, and therefore it is a good thing for China to rule Tibet, or is the Dalai Lama a progressive sort of admirer of the Beijing variant of Marxism, and therefore it is a good thing for China to rule Tibet?

  70. Vanya,

    history.

    Also, the break down of trust and confidence means that the PRC government sees the demand for more autonomy as a stalking horse for Western ambitions to break up their state.

    This of course isn’t helped by numpties from the Free Tibet campaign in the West. Han chauvinism is also a factor.

    There is a deal to be made, and perhaps when the current Dalai Lama is replaced by a Dalai Lama born in the PRC, a compromise will put the dispute to rest.

  71. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Andy Newman:
    Robert P. Williams,

    Worth mentioning that when the Dalai Lama refers to Marxism, he means the governing social and economic system in China, not what you have in mind.

    Can’t remember exactly on which thread – nor can I find the comments Robert P. Williams to which you respond. But someone quoted the Dalai Lama directly as saying that he respected Marxism and socialism generally, as those ideas were based upon compassion and equality. I seem to remember that he defined himself as being a Buddhist Socialist, presumably without fear of contradiction

  72. Vanya on said:

    John Grimshaw: have I suddenly found myself in some parallel universe?

    But who is asking this question, the real John Grimshaw or the parallel/ bogus one?

    Am I being a smartarse and therefore a total hypocrite?

  73. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    i thought we were discussing where next for the movement, not where next for Buddhists. Or have I suddenly found myself in some parallel universe? The “peaceful” Sinhalese of Sri Lankha hardly dealt with the Tamils in a “peaceful” fashion.

    Yeah, but the practice of any formal State religion shouldn’t preclude anyone from gaining an understanding of those with sincerely held religious sensibilities in essence. Ask Benn, Galloway or any other of the self-defined Christian Socialists. You needn’t find the solution to your alienation in any parallel universe , but only understand the differentiation between expedient State dogma and personal faith. It really would help in trying to create a rainbow , including all shades of red.

  74. John Grimshaw on said:

    #92 Somewhat bizarrely in the space of time it took me to type my response, your response has changed. And now I am confused.

  75. John Grimshaw on said:

    # 91 Who is the bogus John Grimshaw! They seek him here, they seek him there,…

  76. redcogs: This drawing of a line in the sand is likely to condemn any future Party building initiatives to failure Al isn’t it?There is immense distrust on the left between the various groups. In some instances the misstrust verges on hatred. my hope is that current economic and political circumstanceswill engender a sense of urgency into the struggle to realise the need for real structural change amongst all of the left.If people were to demonstrate their good faith by openly and straightforwardly declaring their willingness to sacrifice their former organisational attachments, and begin to channel their energies and finances into the creation of something new fresh and honest then wouldn’t that act in itself begin the process of breaking down the mutual mistrust between a generation (at least) of class warriors?i wouldn’t argue for a moment that individuals should abandon their marxist understandings in the interest of creating a single unit for challenging the free markets hegemony – quite the contrary. The problem is surely one of organisational type. It has to be possible that socialist from different understandings could work together permanently under a suitable constitution which has the greater good at its heart. But that is less likely to happen if the start point is declarations of ‘no surrender of shiboleths’ by one of the larger more coherent organisations. Christ even the IRA and the unionists today can shake hands.By the way, you shouldn’t regard the term “Leninist elitism” as a personal attack. it isn’t intended as such. its a crude discription of an organisational mode of achieving an objective.</blockquo

    You refer to ‘;party building ‘ but i’m already in a party, what you seem to mean is building your idea of a party.
    Now it can be said that the kind of party I;m in has only on one occasion managed to overthrow capitalism and that lasted for only a short time relatively speaking.
    However it can be said and is indeed true that the type of ;broad party you have in mind has never managed to reform away capitalism.
    I don;t know if you are or have ever been in a left of Labour party or organisation but why should I surrender my loyalty of many years to a party with a set of ideas I throughly approve of to join an organisation which would at the outset adhere to a method of of achieving socialism which I do not think can work ?
    You expect people like me and there are several thousand of us to give up our organisations ( which no one forces us to join) yet you give up nothing.
    Incidently I don;t think citing the pact between Sinn Fein and the Unionists is very helpful here.
    Who would draw up the constituion you refer to ? and how ?

    I think the best we can achieve at the moment is to establish a general consensus on the left and seek to include the greens ( though they have been pretty sectarian towards Respect and others on the left at times)that we do not stand against each other.
    If in any given area we can unite around a candidate who has genuine roots in the area a proven record of being an activist or who has led or leads a proper campaign and who has the support of one or more trade union branches or serious community or worker campaigns I believe that would be a good starting point.
    I can think of a councillor ( not labour by the way) in my area who has consistently voted against the cuts and done some sterling work on behalf of a group of sacked workers. It might be possible to persuade her to stand on a clear anti austerity platform and I have no doubt many of the workers she has supported will gladly help her election campaign .

    83# Lawrence its sad your experience of a paper sale was so dispiriting I agree at times it can be especially when its cold and its not going too well. I could suggest however that it depends on what paper you are selling ( !) and your understanding of what role a socialist newspaper plays.
    Our sales are pretty good at the moment we get a good response to our petitions and make a good few contacts.
    Paper sales are not just about standing on street corners ( I suspect those who say they are haven;t done many) they are at the least about ensuring there is a visible socialist presence in town centres.
    If they were to vanish what would you replace them with Lawrence how would you suggest we disseminate socialist ideas. etc
    I cannot remember the last time I saw a morning star paper sale in my town and yes it may be sold in newsagents but that has neither stopped the decline of the CP or increased the Stars circulation.

  77. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    #92 Somewhat bizarrely in the space of time it took me to type my response, your response has changed. And now I am confused.

    Of course you’re confused dear boy, of that it’s self-evident. It’s the state of delusional thinking, common to all humankind ;-)

    I requested deletion of my previous responses ,as when I edited them they came back as repeated posts. So yer not going bananas or anything.

  78. Jellytot on said:

    @89IThere is a deal to be made, and perhaps when the current Dalai Lama is replaced by a Dalai Lama born in the PRC, a compromise will put the dispute to rest.

    Good call.

    The current incumbent is part of the problem and won’t be part of the solution.

  79. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Actually, no.
    He has made a particular point of saying that what is going on in China is not genuine Marxism and that the gap between rich and poor in china is huge.

    The Dalai Lama also rejects ‘Leninism’, I think what he means is totalitarianism… though it is possible to see how they get mixed up in peoples minds, especially after witnessing the cultural revolution.

    Anyway, I’m not really making a political point. The SP hasn’t become a supporter of Buddhism, and is a supporter of the Tamils who have been treated in a dreadful way by Buddhists.

    I don’t think Buddhism or any religious group should be relied upon to bring about socialist change. The larger religious groups tend to become entwined with the state and therefore the ruling class.

    However, it is a legitimate role for socialists to defend the right of minority religious groups that are being persecuted… something that Lenin himself advocated (see chapter 3 of What is to be done.)

    On a personal note, I myself have been a Buddhist for over 10 years and am currently in a Tibetan Karma Kagyu group. Trying to be a Buddhist and a socialist is something I have to weave together myself…

    I think Marxism or scientific socialism must rest on it’s material base and so I really wouldn’t want to try and blend Marxism with religion.

    For me, Buddhism is as much a psychology as anything else. It helps me in personal relationships… I wouldn’t rely on Buddhist scriptures to inform me how to analyse and plan activity as a socialist. It’s a private thing, and best kept private I would say.

  80. #96 Working in my job, I am a huge defender of newspapers as a medium. However, it is fairly clear that even capitalist newspapers are struggling to break-even and make sales these days and they are losing their political power on an almost daily basis. Those that are managing to harness the real power and reach of the internet and other platforms are doing better than others that are not on the whole.

    The question is does the cost and vast effort of producing then distributing and selling a weekly printed paper really lead to political returns to match that effort in this day and age? Really? Or could it be that the continuation of printing regular newspapers by political parties is a dogmatic interpretation of Leninist orthodoxy more relevant to an agrarian Russian society in 1917 than a relatively high-tech UK in 2012?

    The awful truth in my experience was that the “paper sales” we made were largely on the back of people coming to the stall to sign the petition and make a donation towards what we were purporting to campaign on and then us giving them a copy of the newspaper in return for that. Very, very few people in real terms actively sought us out to buy and read the paper and the regular paper selling rounds we picked up from elections went dry before long with people not interested in buying the paper.

    Sure parties need to ensure they maintain the ability to produce regular printed material when the situation requires it as the internet is inherently unreliable. But I am hesitant as to the real overall benefit of weekly party-run papers in this day and age. I personally always buy them and like to see them, but are they really as a useful asset as we think?

    The Morning Star is slightly different to this as it attempts to offer a slightly different and more open platform for all strands of opinion, and I would like to think this can be developed further as time goes on and made more attractive to younger buyers. But it should be worked on further as a serious online presence and centre for the left.

    I often hear the objection to moving online that people who are poorer generally have less access to the internet, computers, mobiles etc and that is certainly true, but it is clear the events in countries far less well-off than ours have been driven via online campaigning. Perhaps if the issue for us getting our message across is lack of access to the internet we should be looking at cheap ways of getting ordinary people online…

  81. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Personally, I much prefer to read books and papers in print. Looking at a screen to read a long article can make my eyes sore.
    I don’t think printed papers or books are going to go any time soon.

  82. John Grimshaw [nee onlyoneteaminessex] on said:

    Robert P. Williams:
    Andy Newman,

    I don’t think Buddhism or any religious group should be relied upon to bring about socialist change. The larger religious groups tend to become entwined with the state and therefore the ruling class.

    On a personal note, I myself have been a Buddhist for over 10 years and am currently in a Tibetan Karma Kagyu group. Trying to be a Buddhist and a socialist is something I have to weave together myself…

    I think Marxism or scientific socialism must rest on it’s material base and so I really wouldn’t want to try and blend Marxism with religion.

    For me, Buddhism is as much a psychology as anything else. It helps me in personal relationships… I wouldn’t rely on Buddhist scriptures to inform me how to analyse and plan activity as a socialist. It’s a private thing, and best kept private I would say.

    Buddhism may be a contradiction to scientific socialism ,insomuch that it relies on actualised and realised philosophical idealism – the mind is the way. Although to be fair there was no-one about to turn it on its head. And even then, only if … But to me it seems that the central tenant of Buddhism, i.e. co-dependent origination is scientific and has been proven to be so. As you know , there’s no primary force in Buddhism, (probably no ‘big bang’ theory either) so I’m not sure that Buddhism can be described as being a religion in any case. I also know of one Japanese Buddhist who developed a theory of value – only differing from Marx by saying that even before a commodity was actually in use, e.g it was in storage, it already had a latent use value without being employed in manufacture.

    Although , I’d expect that any Buddhist with a social conscience would be amongst those who define themselves as being ‘socially engaged’ Buddhists. Of whom I know a few that are engaged on a community level a least, and as I remember working with Respect members in the local community.

  83. redcogs on said:

    #96. A1. i understand that there are those who have a strong and sincere belief that the bolshevik model is the way to achieve what they regard as socialism, and i have enough experience of left politics and politicians to have some insight into the extraordinarilly large personal sacrifice that they would be undertaking if they were to contemplate new possibilities and formations.

    i have no idea how others feel, but i wouldn’t be happy within an organisation where it was demanded that members abandon their deeply held personal politics.

    However, organisationally, it is surely correct to recognise that it would not be acceptable to tolerate those actively organising as covert entryists to capture and control any new formation – that would be a recipe for more of the disasters that we have seen previously.

    Demanding to know who would write a suitable constitution (as though such a thing was impossible?) is not perhaps surprising considering your perspective (does your Party have one?). Isn’t the obvious answer that it is done democratically in accordance with some agreed and acceptable procedures? Easy it wouldn’t be, but if all members had the same stake in ensuring success, because they had demonstrated good faith by dissolving their previous attachments for the greater good, then there is the possibility that long term trust could be a valuable prize, with the potential for assisting us all to find a way forward.

    Socialists who have confidence that their personal ideas are sound could expect to convince many others within any new (and larger) organisation than the one that they currently operate within.

  84. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    #105 was me. Seems that my Spartacus joke had also become my Nemesis :oops:

  85. Dolorous on said:

    Andy Newman

    I think you don’t get it. The Dalai Lama says that there wont be another one. Which means that since the next one would be, in the eyes of Tibetan Buddhists, simply the current one in a new incarnation, that any such ‘next one’ will be seen as a fraud. Unless the current one can be persuaded to change his mind, and say so publicly, before he dies.

    There is no way round that I’m afraid.

    Trying to play with things like this is as offensive to Tibetan Buddhists as burning the Koran is to Muslims. That’s probably one of the reasons why members of the Tibetan sangha are engaged in regular self-immolation these days. As is well known, Zen monks used the same tactic against the US in Vietnam.

  86. Chow on said:

    Mark,

    No it was a Nixon in China moment. Mehdi Hasan is exactly the right person to deliver this message to the Muslim community. He is a respected Muslim and a left winger, so he can talk to both groups directly and candidly.

    The problem with Respect was it was always about a bunch of left wing ideologues exploiting the instinctive prejudices of the Muslim community for short term political gain. Galloway and his followers had no wider interest in Muslims getting over their issues and integrating into British society. Indeed, their mission of using foreign policy as a wedge issue to separate them from society was exactly contrary to what the community needed.

    This is precisely the debate that needs to be had. It would be great if SU could help host it.

  87. Jellytot on said:

    @110Galloway and his followers had no wider interest in Muslims getting over their issues and integrating into British society.Indeed, their mission of using foreign policy as a wedge issue to separate them from society was exactly contrary to what the community needed.

    Reactionary Daily Mail/Telegraph Tosh.

    For “integrating into British Society” read supporting the wars and interventions in the Middle East. If doing the contrary separates them off (it actually doesn’t) then good on them.

    The Muslim Community are exactly right in voting RESPECT and rejecting the Establishment alternatives

  88. Jellytot on said:

    @108The Dalai Lama says that there wont be another one. Which means that since the next one would be, in the eyes of Tibetan Buddhists, simply the current one in a new incarnation, that any such ‘next one’ will be seen as a fraud.

    Hopefully when he goes through that “Doctor Who” style shape-shifting thingamajig and is incarnated as a brand spanking new Dalai Lama, that transition will lead to a more realistic position vis à vis Xizang being an indivisible part of One China.

    @108 As is well known, Zen monks used the same tactic against the US in Vietnam

    The US relationship to Vietnam and its presence there in the 60′s/70′s in no way correlates to Tibet/Xizang’s position within the PRC today.

  89. Robert P. Williams on said:

    In fairness to Galloway, he did place some emphasis on defending ALL against austerity cuts.

    This result does show that Labour councillors will not be viewed as being innocent after passing on government cuts.

    This shows the growing potential for anti-cuts candidates at council level, with the May council elections fast approaching.

  90. Chow on said:

    Jellytot,

    No, it means taking an interest in the wider issues to which Mehdi Hasan refers, and not defining themselves as in opposition to wider British society. Ending the us and them mentality that is holding them back, and starting to care about a whole range of policy matters.

    Remember Muslims are ordinary people that want to get on in life. They may have wedge issues that unite many of them, but underneath most of them will not be left wing ideologues like you.

  91. Jellytot on said:

    @115wider British society

    What exactly is that?

    Ending the us and them mentality that is holding them back

    Blame the victims.

    If only they could be more like “us”, eh ?!

    left wing ideologues like you.

    I’ve been called a zionist, stalinist, tankie,scab, liar, fantasist and a pro-fascist on here so “left wing ideologue” is a definite improvement. Thanks for that.

  92. Chow on said:

    Jellytot,

    You’re entitled to opt out of society and see the world in extreme anti western ideology terms where only a few narrow causes matter, but it’s selfish to bring down Muslims with you. It’s really damaging to them to be isolated and just a few of these comfort blanket issues which they need to rally around to feel a sense of identity. We know you’re not interested in a coerive society and wider progressive matters, but it’s really important if Muslims are to succeed to start caring again. They can do so much better.

    Mehdi Hasan is not a troll for speaking up.

  93. Jellytot on said:

    @117You’re entitled to opt out of society and see the world in extreme anti western ideology terms

    I don’t know about being “anti-Western” but I’m certainly anti-you and your patronising and condescending BS.

  94. Omar on said:

    #115

    You will note that Marsha Singh,the previous Labour incumbent in Bradford-West, was of the Sikh faith. So what was different about the Muslim voters in the GE two years ago compared to the by-election? What behaviour had they displayed then that was “holding them back” ?

  95. Jellytot on said:

    @34Alex Callinicos says [SW ink]:

    Callinicos also states in your linked article

    “It is in any case a huge cheek for Labour to accuse anyone else of “ethnic” politics. For decades the party has relied on deals with “community leaders” in black and Asian neighbourhoods to deliver the vote for its candidates.”

    It’s ironic that the SWP were making these exact same charges against Galloway and RESPECT in the Harman ISJ article in 2007:

    http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=396

    “This is what is known in US cities as Tammany Hall politics, or “vote bloc” or “communal” politics when practised by the pro_capitalist parties of the Indian subcontinent. It is something the left has always tried to resist. But it was this that began to appear in Respect in Tower Hamlets”

  96. Jellytot on said:

    @122Can we do the Respect split all over again?

    That would be pointless and I was rather impressed with the Callinicos article and I was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t compare Bradford West with the liberation of Milan in 1945 :-)

  97. Robert p williams

    I found your comments about being a Buddhist interesting. For me, religion is only in the exceptional case a private affair, because the social role of religions has been to codify conventions of social interactions and behaviour. Whether we regard the origin of those codifications as the product of human or divine agency, they by necessity have political as well as moral and ethical impact.

    The current Dalai Lama is an anachronistic throw back, born into a slave owning family, he personally negotiated the incorporation of Tibet as an autonomous part of the PRC, and oversaw limited modernisation, before he chose to throw his lot in with a pro-slavery aristocratic revolt in 1959 that actually started outside autonomous Tibet. He then fled with most of the countries gold and foreign currency accompanied by the feudal nobility.

    His position is deeply compromised by this past, and while there is undoubtedly some anti-Han and seperatist feeling in Tibet, it would be a mistake to assume that the exiles have a following in Tubet. considerable social and cultural changes have occurred since 1959 and it seems the sense of entitlement and haughty air of superiority of the exiles is resented.

    While the Dalai Lama and the starry eyed liberals in the West dispute the 11th Panchen Lama. It looks like Tibetans and the monestaries recognise him. Which means that there is a route to legitimisation for a new more pragmatic Dalai Lama born in the PRC once the incumbent dies.

  98. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    andy newman: His position is deeply compromised by this past, and while there is undoubtedly some anti-Han and seperatist feeling in Tibet, it would be a mistake to assume that the exiles have a following in Tubet. considerable social and cultural changes have occurred since 1959 and it seems the sense of entitlement and haughty air of superiority of the exiles is resented.

    It would be quite simple to find this out I would think by holding free elections in Tibet and the rest of the PRC.

  99. Robert on said:

    Tibet is a province of China and that’s not going to change. When the Dalai snuffs it he will be replaced by an incarnation loyal to the Chinese Empire and that will be the end of the matter.

  100. Jellytot on said:

    @128free elections in Tibet and the rest of the PRC.

    Considering the vast amounts of Taiwanese, South Korean, Japanese and US money that would pour into the campaign funds of any anti-CPC party, it wouldn’t be all that “free”.

  101. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Jellytot:
    @128free elections in Tibet and the rest of the PRC.

    Considering the vast amounts of Taiwanese, South Korean, Japaneseand US money that would pour into the campaign funds of any anti-CPC party, it wouldn’t be all that “free”.

    I see, best to not have them then. That way we can all just speculate on what these people *really* want.

  102. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Jellytot:
    @132

    Recent opinion polling here:

    http://english.sina.com/china/p/2012/0311/447840.html

    When asked about the idea of adopting Western-style democracy, 47.9 percent said they do not oppose the Western system, but the idea is simply unrealistic. About 29 percent rejected the idea, while 15.7 percent voiced support.

    In the 1985 Hungarian parliamentary elections the turn out was 94 percent and of those who voted, 99 percent voted for the communist MSzMP. I am sure a “poll” would have showed whatever the MSzMP wanted it to show.

    If you are right and not only do the Tibetans want to be ruled by the Chinese but the Chinese dont want to rule themselves then surely a free election would simply rubber stamp the CPC’s control and silence bourgeois former Euros like me.

  103. Martel on said:

    #132 We have already discussed on this site how flawed that section of the poll was. Generally with consensus.

    Despite that, it was interesting to note a majority in favour of the principle of democracy (despite an appallingly constructed question)and, in the other sections, a vast majority in favour of reform.

  104. John Grimshaw on said:

    #126 Tony I’m so confused now I don’t know who I am. Do you think I should adopt a pseudonym so that no-one else knows who I am?

  105. It’s fairly indicative of a very deep and serious problem that an article purportedly on the dire state of the UK left and what the practical ways forward should be has instead fostered a heated and complex debate about Buddhism vs Marxism, China/Tibet and, of course, Islam.

    No wonder we’re screwed.

  106. Robert P. Williams on said:

    andy newman,

    (with my Buddhist hat on)
    Well the Panchen Lama – is the head of a particular school of Buddhism. The Panchen Lama can’t be the next Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhism has a system of Tulkus or reincarnated Lamas. As far as the Tibetans are concerned (I have been to Tibet myself and also know a number of refugees and there is nothing haughty about them) you can’t be appointed as Dalai Lama… either you are the reincarnation or you ain’t.
    There are also other important schools of Buddhism in Tibet eg. The Kagyu, Sakya and Nyingma schools… they also have reincarnated Lamas, and don’t necessarily look to the Dalai Lama for spiritual leadership. We musn’t forget the Bonpo’s, and of course there is a sizable Muslim population in Tibet.

    I’m not going to dispute all the problems and horrors that an essentially feudal political system caused in Tibet. I support a secular society. But the government of China taking over and trying to run a religious order can’t be considered a secular society or Marxist either.

    (Marxist hat back on… and staying on from now on on this site!)
    China has a totalitarian political system with little to do with genuine socialism or Marxism. They have some benefits from a partially planned economy but but the lack of democracy and the greater involvement with capitalism is causing a lot of problems. The Tibetans would benefit most from genuine democratic socialism, with a socialist planned economy with democratic workers control and management. Something they do not have under the present totalitarian regime.

    In any case, I’m not here to defend my religion or argue for the restoration of the feudal/religious political system in Tibet.

    I support the position of the CWI in china:
    See the CWI’s chinaworker website.
    http://chinaworker.info/

  107. Lawrence Shaw: It’s fairly indicative of a very deep and serious problem that an article purportedly on the dire state of the UK left and what the practical ways forward should be has instead fostered a heated and complex debate about Buddhism vs Marxism, China/Tibet and, of course, Islam.

    No wonder we’re screwed.

    It strikes me as indicative of something, but I don’t think it’s quite as serious as you suggest, Lawrence.

  108. redcogs on said:

    The place of mind and its norms in the natural world has long seemed problematic. But finding a satisfactory conception of relations between mind and world is made more difficult by a certain tendency of thought. This is the tendency to regard perception and action as buffer zones mediating between mind and world. We tend to think of perception as input from world to mind and action as output from mind to world. This Input-Output Picture of perception and action may hold in place traditional worries about the mind’s place in the world, as well as more specific philosophical assumptions. If perception is input from the world to the mind and action is output from the mind to the world, then the mind as distinct from the world is what the input is to and what the output is from. So, despite the web of causal relations between organisms and environments, we suppose the mind must be in a separate place, within some boundary that sets it apart from the world.

    ;-)

  109. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Under Lenin, the constitution of the USSR allowed for the right of self-determination for all the member republics. This included the right to separate from the USSR, which was proved in practice in December 1917 when Finland was granted independence. At the same time, religious rights of all oppressed minorities were treated with extreme sensitivity, this was part and parcel of their approach to the national question – where their aim was at every stage to minimise division and differences between different sections of the working class. They understood that to achieve this it was necessary to demonstrate again and again that Soviet power was the only road to national liberation for the oppressed nationalities of what had been the tsarist Russian empire. From the start, this was the policy that the Bolsheviks set out to develop. However, following Lenin’s death and the rise of the bureaucracy many of these policies were reversed. Where Stalin ended up, Mao took as his starting point.

  110. #138

    Robert P. Williams: Well the Panchen Lama – is the head of a particular school of Buddhism. The Panchen Lama can’t be the next Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhism has a system of Tulkus or reincarnated Lamas. As far as the Tibetans are concerned (I have been to Tibet myself and also know a number of refugees and there is nothing haughty about them) you can’t be appointed as Dalai Lama… either you are the reincarnation or you ain’t.

    You miss the point, the 11th Panchen Lama was selected by a process of pulling the name from the urn, and is acceptable to most monestaries and to the CCP.

    The current Panchen lama will play a role in legitimising a similar process for identifying who has been reincarnated as the Dalai Lama.

    I hate to break it to you, but the person identified as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama then has the legitimacy of the role as long as they are accepted by others, even if they are not the *real* reincarnation.

    Incidently, China may be many thinks but it is certainly not “totalitarian”, and it is interesting that Trotskyits are the most die-hard adherents of thos cold war language. (not surprisingly perhaps as it was Trotskyites like James Burnham, Irvin Kristol and Sidney Hook who were the most fervent advocates of US imperial interests in the immediate post-war period.)

    Chinese society has a great deal of political pluralism, and a vibrant civil society.

  111. #141

    Robert P. Williams: the constitution of the USSR allowed for the right of self-determination for all the member republics. This included the right to separate from the USSR, which was proved in practice in December 1917 when Finland was granted independence. At the same time, religious rights of all oppressed minorities were treated with extreme sensitivity, this was part and parcel of their approach to the national question

    The PRC has the same constitutional provisions, which is why Tibet is an autonomus region, why Tibetans have privilages as a national minority, and why there is religious freedom in the PRC.

  112. #141

    Robert P. Williams: However, following Lenin’s death and the rise of the bureaucracy many of these policies were reversed. Where Stalin ended up, Mao took as his starting point.

    Sorry mate, this is so ill-informed to be verging on farcical.

    I don’t know why Western “Marxists” think it is acceptable to just make stuff up about China

  113. #138

    Robert P. Williams: also know a number of refugees and there is nothing haughty about them

    Well as a non-Tibetan you wouldn’t be tuned in to the culturaly specific signifiers of caste and class.

    Robert P. Williams: The Tibetans would benefit most from genuine democratic socialism, with a socialist planned economy with democratic workers control and management. Something they do not have under the present totalitarian regime.

    So you use the usual SP method of arguing something completely abstract, divorced from the actual social structure and conditions of Tibet.

  114. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Andy Newman: The PRC has the same constitutional provisions, which is why Tibet is an autonomus region, why Tibetans have privilages as a national minority, and why there is religious freedom in the PRC.

    You sound a bit like a cult member here Andy…
    … and I thought I had problems!

  115. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Robert P. Williams:

    The Tibetans would benefit most from genuine democratic socialism, with a socialist planned economy with democratic workers control and management.

    One thought, four hats- wouldn’t we all

  116. brokenwindow on said:

    Members of Falun Gong were committed to mental asylums or Labour camps;is this the religious freedom you mean?

  117. Dolorous on said:

    andy newman,

    “For me, religion is only in the exceptional case a private affair, because the social role of religions has been to codify conventions of social interactions and behaviour. Whether we regard the origin of those codifications as the product of human or divine agency, they by necessity have political as well as moral and ethical impact.”

    So what does that matter to a self-described social democrat anyway?

    “The current Dalai Lama is an anachronistic throw back, born into a slave owning family”

    Classic Stalinist nonsense, since (a) his birth family has nothing to do with his office as he was taken from them when an infant (even if this is true, and it is disputed) and (b) it ill-behoves supporters of Chinese Stalinism, with its millions in slave-labour camps, to accuse others of supporting ‘slavery’.

    “a pro-slavery aristocratic revolt in 1959″

    yes right, as opposed to the pro-slavery Chinese Communist Party.

    “His position is deeply compromised by this past, and while there is undoubtedly some anti-Han and seperatist feeling in Tibet, it would be a mistake to assume that the exiles have a following in Tubet. considerable social and cultural changes have occurred since 1959 and it seems the sense of entitlement and haughty air of superiority of the exiles is resented.”

    This is racist drivel, no different from some colonialist from the British Empire telling people who ‘content’ the natives were in India or Africa.

    “It looks like Tibetans and the monestaries recognise him.”

    You mean they have no choice, on pain of being tortured and/or executed by the Chinese political police.

  118. John Grimshaw on said:

    # 137 I’m not sure how to break the news. The Chinese Communist Party is not a communist party. As a former member of a Cliffite organisation you would probably expect me to say this but not even my orthodox Trotskyist friends would argue that China is communist anymore.

  119. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Dolorous:
    andy newman,

    “For me, religion is only in the exceptional case a private affair, because the social role of religions has been to codify conventions of social interactions and behaviour. Whether we regard the origin of those codifications as the product of human or divine agency, they by necessity have political as well as moral and ethical impact.”

    So what does that matter to a self-described social democrat anyway?

    More to the point, what does it actually mean ?

  120. Martel on said:

    # 151 There are a plethora of definitions of social democracy. Eduard Bernstein, one of the first on the left to point to the failings of Marx’s predictions and to reject the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, is probably the best place to start…

    ‘Social Democracy does not want to break up civil society and make all its members proletarians together; rather, it ceaselessly labors to raise the worker from the social position of a proletarian to that of a citizen and thus make citizenship universal. It does not want to replace civil society with a proletarian society but a capitalist order of society with a socialist one.’

  121. Jellytot on said:

    @148 Falun Gong

    ….who publish “The Epoch Times”. A hysterical anti-Socialist newspaper with links to the US based (and very “spooky”) “The National Endowment for Democracy”. A group, founded under Reagan, who are touchingly concerned with advancing democracy in countries such as Iran, Venezuela, Russia, Serbia, China etc.

    @143Tibetans have privilages as a national minority

    Including exemption from the one-child policy.

    Which rather scuppers their claim that they are suffering “genocide”.

    BTW Tibet is 93% ethnic Tibetan.

    @142it is interesting that Trotskyits are the most die-hard adherents of thos cold war language

    In their opposition to the CPC they seem to be playing their allotted historical role: To put a leftist veneer on pro-Right arguments.

  122. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    #152 Cheers. But what I was actually referring to was the paragraph highlighted , and not the definition of social democracy – which even if I hadn’t known before , you’d have thought that my degree in politics might have covered ;-)

  123. Jellytot on said:

    @141Where Stalin ended up, Mao took as his starting point.

    I take it then that you, had you been around, would have been rooting for Chiang Kai Shek between 1946 and 1950 then Robert P. Williams ?

  124. Martel on said:

    # 156. My mistake.

    I had no doubt that you had a clear opinion on what social democracy was.

    But, I thought you were kicking off a debate on whether there was any merit in describing oneself as a social democrat.

    #153 ‘Why am I not surprised you find that quote compelling?’

    I remember as a teenager reading all these far-left tracts on why Bernstein was wrong. So it was refreshing to find out that he was right on an awful lot.

  125. Jellytot on said:

    @157

    Galloway getting a (well-deserved) rapturous reception at Marxism 2012?!

    Funny old World ;-)

  126. #148

    brokenwindow: Members of Falun Gong were committed to mental asylums or Labour camps;is this the religious freedom you mean?

    Regretable as the persecution of Falun Gong is, the reason they are persecuted is not because they are a religion, but because they take secret oaths. i.e. it is one particular part of their religion that pushes the buttons of some of the more irrational paranoia of the Chinese state.

  127. #149

    Dolorous: You mean they have no choice, on pain of being tortured and/or executed by the Chinese political police.

    One of the interesting hang overs from 1940s and 1950s cold war propaganda is the way that fictionalised imaginings like Darkness at Noon, or 1984 coloured people’s perceptions of what was actually occuting in Eastrn Europe.

    the idea of Chinese secret police executing people for not accepting the 11th Panchen lama is surely a lurid fantasy straight out of a Fu manchu yellow peril pot boiler.

  128. #146

    Robert P. Williams: You sound a bit like a cult member here Andy…
    … and I thought I had problems!

    No it is simply an undisputed fact that the constitution of the PRC has protection for national minorities, that are broadly effective, and that pound for pound give advantages to non-Han citizens.

  129. What I never understood about Andy’s commitment to the CPC is that a Chinese Andy Newman – an organizer with an independent trade union that doesn’t toe the ruling party line and an administrator of a political website that invite contributions from a plurality of political organizations hoping to overthrow the current political system – would be in a whole lot of trouble.

  130. Jellytot on said:

    @164 Having family connections to China and have widely travelled there, it’s evident to me that, on balance, the CPC have played a largely progressive role in that country, especially in recent decades.

    To pull a country that was blighted by centuries of imperialism, feudalism, civil war and warlordism into a leading World Power that is materially benefitting its citizens is nothing short of miraculous.

    Andy can obviously speak for himself.

  131. #160

    Jellytot: @157Galloway getting a (well-deserved) rapturous reception at Marxism 2012?!Funny old World </blockquote

    I'm curious Jellytot you seem to have s real bee in your bonnet about the SWP and feel free to make a number of comments about the split that took place in Respect.
    Where you a member of Respect or are you now ?
    Isn't this site called Socialist Unity so the fact that Galloway is now speaking at Marxism should be welcomed should it not ?
    Are you seriously saying as you are at #128 that you prefer no democracy in Tibet.
    And if as you seem to believe China is some kind of socalist society drawing its inspiration from the Bolshevik revolution could you perhaps tell me how many billionaires there was on the Central Committee of Lenin ?

  132. Jellytot on said:

    @166Where you a member of Respect or are you now ?

    I voted for them but was never a member. I’ve always seen electoral fronts to the Left of Labour as being worthwhile as they could, in the right circumstances, offer a counter-weight to the Labour Right and drive Labour left-wards, providing “Left Cover”.

    Isn’t this site called Socialist Unity so the fact that Galloway is now speaking at Marxism should be welcomed should it not ?

    Yes, it should be welcomed and Galloway is obviously entitled to speak where he wants to.

    If however they want to jump into political bed with each other again (by which I mean the SWP apply for re-entry into RESPECT) without any discussion or debate about what went wrong last time then that would raise eyebrows.

    I’ve no doubt that the SWP would jump at it but Galloway is far too clever to allow that to happen in haste. In any deal, he would be entitled to massive concessions from the SWP. They need him more than he needs them.

    @160And if as you seem to believe China is some kind of socalist society drawing its inspiration from the Bolshevik revolution could you perhaps tell me how many billionaires there was on the Central Committee of Lenin ?

    Lenin and Leninism should be consigned to the dustbin of history IMO. It offers no organisational or theoretical model for the 21st Century.

    Are you seriously saying as you are at #128 that you prefer no democracy in Tibet.

    I prefer greater autonomy for Xizang within One China.

  133. #164

    BY: an administrator of a political website that invite contributions from a plurality of political organizations hoping to overthrow the current political system – would be in a whole lot of trouble.

    There are many publications in China that allow a very robust critique of the existing political system, although it is more academically orieneted than SU, the Chinese publication Dushku has some overlap with the aims of this website.

    SU does not in fact encourage contiributions from those seeking to “overthrow the current political system”, our editorial line is clearly in favour of the election of a Labour government, and for the development of radical reforming ideas within the context of social democracy.

  134. Andy Newman: SU does not in fact encourage contiributions from those seeking to “overthrow the current political system”

    I’m not interested in some tedious meta-discussion about this, but this is clearly not in the same spirit as Tony’s article.

  135. Jellytot on said:

    @169seeking to “overthrow the current political system”,

    It should be recognised that those groups who proclaim themselves “revolutionary” do not act as such. There is nothing in their structure, make-up, strategy (if they have one) and day-to-day tactics that would hasten the overthrow of parliamentary democracy. They talk Revolution but act Reform; they always have done and always will do. It’s just a pose.

  136. #170

    KrisS: this is clearly not in the same spirit as Tony’s article.

    Tony asked for articles in “where next for the movement”, surely no one thinks that overthrowing the current political system is an immediate aim for socialists. As such the difference between those who think it is a pipedream, and those who think it is a prospect to be put off indefinately is a moot one.

    If someone addresses themselves to the current context and political tasks of the left in Britain in 2012, then the real world strategic and tactical considerations will have only a tangental connection to whether or not they beleive in a “revolution” or that the Dalai Lama is really reincarnated.

  137. Jellytot: @166Where you a member of Respect or are you now ?I voted for them but was never a member. I’ve always seen electoral fronts to the Left of Labour as being worthwhile as they could, in the right circumstances, offer a counter-weight to the Labour Right and drive Labour left-wards, providing “Left Cover”.Isn’t this site called Socialist Unity so the fact that Galloway is now speaking at Marxism should be welcomed should it not ?Yes, it should be welcomed and Galloway is obviously entitled to speak where he wants to.If however they want to jump into political bed with each other again (by which I mean the SWP apply for re-entry into RESPECT) without any discussion or debate about what went wrong last time then that would raise eyebrows.I’ve no doubt that the SWP would jump at it but Galloway is far too clever to allow that to happen in haste. In any deal, he would be entitled to massive concessions from the SWP. They need him more than he needs them.@160And if as you seem to believe China is some kind of socalist society drawing its inspiration from the Bolshevik revolution could you perhaps tell me how many billionaires there was on the Central Committee of Lenin ?Lenin and Leninism should be consigned to the dustbin of history IMO. It offers no organisational or theoretical model for the 21st Century.Are you seriously saying as you are at #128 that you prefer no democracy in Tibet.I prefer greater autonomy for Xizang within One China.

    So that’s clear

    You do not support democracy in Tibet ! interesting that you condemn Leninism at least lenin supported the right of the nations who made up the tsarist empire the right to secede you seem stuck with ideas which pre date the French revolution ,what next the divine right of kings ?
    As for the SWP and Respect I doubt if the SWP have any intention of applying to join Respect but to say the SWP needs Galloway more than he needs them shows how out of touch you are.
    In my area Respect does not exist nor is there any active Respect branch within 100 miles so we’d hardly have much to re enter would we ?
    Its a bit rich for someone who cannot even bring themselves to say they support democracy to arrogantly opine that those who see themselves as revolutionaries are just posing someone who doesn’t even believe in democracy such as you is simply posing as a socialist IMO

  138. Darkness at Noon on said:

    @Andy Newman:

    “One of the interesting hang overs from 1940s and 1950s cold war propaganda is the way that fictionalised imaginings like Darkness at Noon, or 1984 coloured people’s perceptions of what was actually occuting in Eastrn Europe.”

    Sure. The anti-semitic purges never happened in Poland in the 60s? The Doctor’s Plot? The Gulags? The Prague Spring? Ad infinitum. All my imagination?

    Perhaps you may wish to refer to Harsanyi’s postings – as a former Communist I believe and Eastern European, I presume he must also has a fevered imagination. After all, I’m just a layperson, who reads books published by respected houses – not ‘propaganda’ – and comes to his own conclusions.

    I actually knew a man called Fritz Behrendt (now deceased) through my father. He ended up becoming a respected syndicated cartoonist. Fritz was a German Jew (via Holland) who abandoned his faith to commit himself to Socialism and building a Socialist society. He was educated in Communist Zagreb and the DDR. He was arrested in the DDR as a ‘Titoist’ – a ‘Titoist!’

    He turned his back on Socialism and the utter sham of the DDR and went on to expose the Gulags and hypocrisy of the Eastern Bloc.

    It’s from people like this that I learn about the horrors of the Gulag and the ‘freedoms’ of the DDR – even though he always felt a soft spot for Yugoslavia.

    I learned and listened to people who lived it Andy. Did you live it? Did you experience it?

    What would you have been Andy? An Communist Apparatchik? Or a free thinker? And if you were the latter, would you have been safe to revolt against perceived injustices in the Eastern Bloc?

  139. Jellytot on said:

    @173As for the SWP and Respect I doubt if the SWP have any intention of applying to join Respect

    Maybe, but the mood music is mighty loud.

    @173You do not support democracy in Tibet

    Tibet is an integral part of China and the adoption of multi-party democracy is a matter for the Chinese. Many Chinese realise that it would have a massive dislocating effect and the transition could well lead to the break-up of their nation (with a hostile “Free” Tibet allied to India on their western border). Why would they want to put themselves through that and trash the huge gains that they’ve made? In the end though it’s a matter for them.

  140. Andy: ‘SU does not in fact encourage contributions from those seeking to “overthrow the current political system”’. Well, your gaff, your rules, as they say – but you have just published a rather good contribution from some Swindon anarchists who, presumably, want to overthrow all political systems…

  141. John Grimshaw on said:

    #161 didn’t the Tolpuddle Martyrs get nicked nicked for secret oaths?

  142. I’ll interpret Andy’s words here:

    There’s no real mileage in articles that simply say “what we need is socialism”. We all know that. I get really annoyed when I read responses to the Murdoch hacking scandal saying “what we need is democratic workers’ control of the media”. Fine, but what has that got to do with anything in the next year or 5? Be practical.

    The mechanisms we use to get there are what’s of interest, and the key interest right now is in drawing an audience around the ideas of people and groups for what we need to do over the next few years.

    So I guess I’d interpret Andy’s words not as saying “if you believe we need to overthrow the system, we don’t want your articles”. What he means is, “if that’s all you’ve got to say, we’re not really interested”.

    I’d agree with that. And I speak as someone who wants to overthrow the system. I just know that for people who really do want to overthrow the system, you’d still better be more concerned about what you’re going to do tomorrow. Give us some substance.

  143. redcogs on said:

    Jellytot has a point in his criticism of those who proclaim to be socialist ‘revolutionaries’ simultaneous to acting otherwise.

    i see little evidence of revolutionary integrity in organisations that are correctly critical of the Labour Party and its never ending love affair with capitalism, yet end up collapsing into a call for a Labour vote at general (and local?) elections. i assume Socialist Worker will advise similarly for this May’s locals?

    When did encouraging the working class to vote for capitalism and Labour become revolutionary?

    Tony Blair and Jack Straw and all the other free marketeering gits want people to vote Labour.

    Posturing covers it nicely.

  144. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Jellytot: Tibet is an integral part of China and the adoption of multi-party democracy is a matter for the Chinese.

    Yes, multi-party democracy and whether to adopt it in China is a matter for the Chinese people. However, I find it odd that you have a different, categorical, opinion about Tibet. Thus Tibet is “an integral part of China” according to you and, presumably, the Tibetan people (or what remains of them after decades of colonisation) have no say on this matter. Curious stuff.

  145. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    My view re Tibet and its unpleasant features before the Chinese annexation is that certainly the Chinese brought many material and political benefits to Tibet when they annexed it. In my view that neither justifies the annexation (any more than the bringing of railroads and medicine to Africa justified the British Empire) nor does it provide an argument for the validity of the on-going occupation and colonisation. Do the pro-China cheerleaders here really believe that an independent Tibet would be a country of slave owners in the 21st century?

  146. Andy Newman at 127.

    “While the Dalai Lama and the starry eyed liberals in the West dispute the 11th Panchen Lama. It looks like Tibetans and the monestaries recognise him. Which means that there is a route to legitimisation for a new more pragmatic Dalai Lama born in the PRC once the incumbent dies.”

    The point though Andy is just how exactly do you know that the Dalai Lama will be reincarnated in the PRC? For all you or I know he could be reincarnated in the Tibetan diaspora.

    And whilst we’re on the subject of reincarnation. I think you might have been Sidney Webb in a previous life, that right wing Britsh labourist who developed a fawning admiration for Stalinist Russia. Your politics are very much in that tradition.

  147. Robert on said:

    Regardless of the Tibet situation the Chinese Empire provides a geopolitcal counterweight to US dominance. It also demonstrates that there are alternatives to the neoliberal model of capitalism. But much better to stick with idealism eh?

  148. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Robert: Regardless of the Tibet situation the Chinese Empire provides a geopolitcal counterweight to US dominance.

    So the Tibetans should take it on the chin for the sake of opposing American dominance? I suppose that the people of the USSR had no right to upset the role of that country in offsetting US power too?

  149. Jellytot on said:

    @187So the Tibetans should take it on the chin for the sake of opposing American dominance?

    What exactly are they “taking on the chin”?

    The massive decline in the infant mortality rate among ethnic Tibetans between 1950 and the present, perhaps ?

  150. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Jellytot: What exactly are they “taking on the chin”?

    The massive decline in the infant mortality rate among ethnic Tibetans between 1950 and the present, perhaps ?

    Yes, Tot, I know your view: Tibet is “an integral part” of China so self-determination doesn’t apply to the Tibetans. Also, we should overlook the wishes of the Tibetans as their colonisers brought them material benefits.

    These are just the kind of arguments that “enlightened” imperialists have always made. The British built railroads and schools and the Italians opposed slavery etc etc. I wonder if you give equal weight to these claims?

  151. Robert on said:

    #187 Many of the people of the former USSR are much worse off than they were in late Soviet times especially in some of the Central Asian stans. What happened to Russia in the Nineties was a catastrophe with the life expectancy of men falling by ten years. The Chinese will have learnt from the disaster of Gorbachev not to risk liberal reforms any time soon.

    Tibet is Chinese, it’s going to stay Chinese and neither Hollywood liberals nor SU posters are going to alter that fact.

  152. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    I feel I need to become engaged in this discussion again!

    Leon Trotsky, (and yes I consider myself as a Trotskyist) wrote in ‘The Transitional Programme’ during the 1930s that “The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterised by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.” Now I, the independent thoughts that I have developed through the decades I have been involved in politics; and discussions; and reading; and academic work, not only deem that there is a crisis in working class leadership today, but also a crisis in working class organisation as well; or to more accurate the lack of an independent mass working class political party, with a clear working class social programme.

    Now I will suggest, and many will disagree, that this is a consequence of the move towards the right in the after math of the collapse of Stalinism in the early 1990s by the leadership of the working class in the Labour Party and Trade Union leadership in Britain and through other countries in the world. Socialism as it was discussed in the past was consigned to the fringes and even the class struggle was summoned away by the 1990s and 2000s boom until its complete collapse in 2007. However, the understanding of this process on the part of the working masses, what I would call ‘political consciousness’, (which is the understanding of working people of their present situation), actually lags behind the very real objective situation that exists today.

    Never in the history of the modern working class movement has the gap between the objective situation of capitalism in crisis and the outlook of the working class has been apparent; especially the absence of a working class political mass party. Now given the relentless propaganda barrage since the collapse of Stalinism 20 years ago, the experience of 30 years of neo-liberal policies and the absence of a political and economic alternative for the working class to grasp. But more importantly the leadership of the working class have also become corrupted by the idea that there is no alternative to capitalism, there is not such a thing Socialism or if there is it is in the dim future and not in the foreseeable future.

    I disagree with that, I robustly disagree with that, and if my contribution seems outspoken then that is the way it is. Many of the contributions I find on here is so short sighted, but now I can see why you do not want contributions from comrades like Robert P Williams and I after reading the posts of 164,169,170, 172 and 179.

    This Socialist Unity website is just a drawing room discussion group with no intention, apart from a small number of the contributors, of intervening in the working class movement to change society to socialism. In fact it reminds me of reading about the Fabian Society in the 1890s in which they were quite happy to discuss about the social society of the time and invite Marxist revolutionaries along to their discussion groups; but woe-be-tide if these revolutionaries should suggest it can be done now rather than in the future. In other words what is wanted here is the minimum programme of old social democracy of fighting reforms in a weak capitalist society and the maximum programme of socialism at May Day Rallies and other meetings.

    The question is that a programme, strategy and tactics for the socialist transformation of society must be at the heart of discussions in and around the current trade union and industrial struggles that are taking place at the moment and in the coming years.

  153. Jimmy Haddow: The question is that a programme, strategy and tactics for the socialist transformation of society must be at the heart of discussions in and around the current trade union and industrial struggles that are taking place at the moment and in the coming years.

    What specifically do you mean by the ‘socialist transformation of society’ Jimmy? How would that look in practice and in detail? How would a socialist economy operate in the UK surrounded by capitalist economies?

    Where is the agency for this socialist transformation? From where do you draw your evidence that British society is currently pregnant with the possibility of this socialist transformation in the immediate future, as you conceive it? Where is the upsurge in socialist consciousness within the working class?

    These are serious questions btw. I’m interested.

  154. Jimmy – you talk of “the absence of a political and economic alternative for the working class to grasp”. But, surely, there is such an alternative? Your Socialist Party has been out and about, presenting your alternative, arguing your case with admirable clarity, for, what is it, 20 years now? More generally, Trotskyism has been flying its “spotless banner” of the 4th International(s) now for 74 years. Your alternative is out there. And the working class has refused to grasp it. Now, one of the most irritating aspects of Trotskyism has always been its tendency to blame everybody else for its own failings. It’s always all the fault of the Stalinists, the bureaucracy, the administrators of the Socialist Unity website, whoever… This may have been a credible line in 1938, but it is long past its sell-by date. If your politics are failing to gain traction despite 2, or 7, decades of intense effort, perhaps the first question to ask yourself is – is there something wrong with our politics?

  155. #184

    Hasanyi_Janos: Do the pro-China cheerleaders here really believe that an independent Tibet would be a country of slave owners in the 21st century?

    jano

    Surely a country as poor and small as Tibet could not meaningfully exercise economic and political soveignty? As such its “independence” would be in form not substance. what is more, almost half the Tibetan population live outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, in areas there they have always been an ethnic minority.

    The most meaningful ndependence wuld be the sort of “one country two systems” independenxce that HK and Macau have within the PRC. Oder?

  156. Martel on said:

    #191 ‘understanding of this process on the part of the working masses, what I would call ‘political consciousness’, (which is the understanding of working people of their present situation), actually lags behind the very real objective situation that exists today.’

    Preceded by….

    ‘Leon Trotsky wrote in ‘The Transitional Programme’ during the 1930s….’

    Oh, the irony.

  157. brokenwindow on said:

    Andy I am glad you can take off those corporate-branded CPR sunglasses and squint your eyes a little to focus.

    You describe the deaths of thousands of Falun Gong and the incarceration of tens of thousands as ‘regrettable’.
    More,for some it is 24 hour surveillance,quite a challenge to anyone’s Karma.

    The CPR defines itself quite clearly with its treatment – obsessive,murderous,torture prone and yes,paranoid – exposing the wider problems of the party and its censorship,surveillance,imprisoning of any who criticise party by demonstration as something out of a nightmare.
    Except for people living it, it is the political reality of a brutal regime. Your political judgement and loyalty is severely undermined as a result.

  158. “However, the understanding of this process on the part of the working masses, what I would call ‘political consciousness’, (which is the understanding of working people of their present situation), actually lags behind the very real objective situation that exists today.”

    In my view the working class understands exactly what has happened and what is happening what it can’t yet see, at least in England, is an effective way of resisting resisting the oncoming barbarism.

    Whenever a viable option has emerged to the Left of Labour working class support has been very much in evidence most recently in Bradford.

    It is not the lack of political conciousness in the working class that prevents say the SP from making progress its the fact the class does not see them as a viable vehicle for its aspirations.

  159. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    #191. Many Trotskyists were expecting great things from 1989-91, aka “the collapse of Stalinism”. Twenty or so years on, they have little to show for it, in eastern Europe or indeed anywhere else. People can of course react to capitalist immiseration, but the reaction can clearly take many non-Trotskyist forms, or non-left of any kind, even fascist or religious obscurantist. Looking at “the Arab revolutions”, the most striking thing about them is the absence of a political left, which is probably why the most obvious beneficiary of them is the very anti-socialist Muslim Brotherhood, as opposed to any Third, Fourth or Fifth International.

    A small footnote: during the recent Russian elections, Gennadi Zyuganov, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation candidate for president, gave a press conference reacting to the results, which I watched on the Euronews channel. A bust of Lenin was on display next to Zyuganov’s podium. This was actually the first time in quite a while that I had seen an image of Lenin on TV that was not merely historical, looking back at the 20th century.

    Whatever you make of Zyuganov, it is hardly the efforts of “Will the Real Fourth International Please Stand Up?” that convey any relevance for Lenin in the 21st century.

  160. prianikoff on said:

    Jimmy Haddow #191

    “This Socialist Unity website is just a drawing room discussion group….I feel I need to become engaged in this discussion again!”

    Perhaps you’re just addicted to tea and crumpets, but could you please explain your need to become “engaged” in what you describe as a “drawing room discussion group”?

    I mean, the SP won’t even get engaged in debates within the Labour party any more.
    Yet Labour has recruited 60,000 members since the last General election.

    I very much doubt that the number of individual readers of this blog is anything like that figure.
    So why don’t don’t you just adopt the same attitude you do to trade unionists who are still members of the Labour party? i.e. tell them all to leave!

    The more consistent and non-sectarian socialists amongst us see the need to intervene in all mass organisations, as long as they have working class supporters.

    (while obviously not supporting the politics of dead right-wing social democrats, like Ernie Bevin or Anthony Crosland)

  161. chjh on said:

    #194 “almost half the Tibetan population live outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, in areas there they have always been an ethnic minority.” That’s not true – the majority of those living outside the TAR live in the Tibetan historic provinces of Kham (now part of Sichuan province) and Amdo (now part of Qinghai province). Those specific areas were majority Tibetan, and most of them still are, even if Tibetans are a minority in the larger Chinese provinces.

    Incidentally, the Dalai Lama would probably settle for ‘one country, two systems’. Why doesn’t China offer it?

  162. Jellytot on said:

    @193If your politics are failing to gain traction despite 2, or 7, decades of intense effort, perhaps the first question to ask yourself is – is there something wrong with our politics?

    Suggesting Trots be introspective, Francis?

    There’s an exercise in utter pointlessness.

    @196The CPR defines itself quite clearly with its treatment – obsessive,murderous,torture prone and yes,paranoid

    I take that you’ve never actually been there?

    The next time I’m sipping a Latte on the Shanghai Bund, looking out over the skyscrapers of Pudong, I’ll have to keep reminding myself that I’m in an Orwellian nighmare.

    Some people on this site obviously want China to descend into utter chaos (they never express the same wishes about America….odd that). The vast majority of Chinese though understandably don’t.

  163. Chjh

    My understanding is that Kham certainly had s majority Han population in 1950. But I dont have access to books or even proper internet access at moment, so.let us park that for another day.

    In my view, the western liberal cheer leaders of Free Tibet, and the exile support of the current DalaiLama lead to a hardening of attitudes in Beijing.

  164. Andy: “a country as poor and small as Tibet could not meaningfully exercise economic and political sovereignty”. Maybe, but the obvious comparitor here is Mongolia, which does have all the trappings of statehood, even though it couldn’t really pursue any foreign policy which seriously upset both Russia and China simultaneously.

  165. Jellytot on said:

    @202the western liberal cheer leaders of Free Tibet

    They are not all happy clappy liberals. I’ve encountered some who are consciously right wing.

    @203Maybe, but the obvious comparitor here is Mongolia, which does have all the trappings of statehood, even though it couldn’t really pursue any foreign policy which seriously upset both Russia and China simultaneously.

    Compare Tibet’s geographic position to Mongolia. Despite the Dalai Lama’s protestations, a “Free” Tibet would be under mighty pressure to join the US-India axis to counterpose China and Pakistan – India being home to a large and politicised Tibetan exile community and with which it shares a land border. Nepal would also be in the unhappy position of being squeezed between the two snuffing out chances for progressive change there. The splitting away of Tibet would also hasten the breaking away on Xinjiang.

    All told the Chinese would essentially be left without much of a country. I can certainly see why the Right want it so much. Knocking out a future US competitor obviously has its attractions.

  166. Francis

    A political movement towards creation of an independent nation state does not exist on a social vacuum. The historical circumstances that led to an independent Mongolian state are completely different.

  167. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Jellytot: The next time I’m sipping a Latte on the Shanghai Bund, looking out over the skyscrapers of Pudong, I’ll have to keep reminding myself that I’m in an Orwellian nighmare.

    Yes, when I walk down Bond Street or Fifth Avenue, it is hard to imagine the problems in the UK and USA too.

  168. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Andy Newman: Surely a country as poor and small as Tibet could not meaningfully exercise economic and political soveignty? As such its “independence” would be in form not substance. what is more, almost half the Tibetan population live outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, in areas there they have always been an ethnic minority.

    The most meaningful ndependence wuld be the sort of “one country two systems” independenxce that HK and Macau have within the PRC. Oder?

    I agree, Tibet would be economically dominated by China which I am sure would be by far its largest trading partner and main source of capital investment. However, the “lesson” that seems to me quite clear is that people often greatly value political independence; even if this is not translated into the economic sphere. For instance the Scots have a strong nationalist movement but no cool heads could really believe that Scotland would not still be moved by economic decisions made in London and to economic shocks from England.

    I agree that its perfectly reasonable to suppose that a one country two-system arrangement would be as good as or even better objectively for Tibet.

    In honesty, I do not have a political prescription for China or for Tibet; I merely think that it is best for the Tibetans to make the choice for themselves.

  169. Well obviously none of us have any influence on real world events in China nor Tibet.

    However, the real issue is how the issue of Tibet is used in Western political context to undermine China’s authority,

  170. Jellytot on said:

    @206

    Very funny and I walked into that one, however, describing modern China as “obsessive,murderous,torture prone and paranoid” is inaccurate and utterly divorced from most peoples’ experience.

    Unlike the old Eastern Bloc nations, Passports are fairly easy for Chinese citizens to obtain with few travel restrictions placed upon them. If it’s such a “hellhole” why do most PRC citizens who travel and study abroad return there?

    A lot of the language being used to condemn China is Cold War nonsense.

  171. The loyalty of the Chinese expat community to PRC also evidence it is not a “hell hole”. Look at how Jaycee Fang, Jackie Chan’s son renounced his US citizenship and moved to China. And the active engagement of the diaspora in political debate in China

  172. 2012 is the year of the London Olympics. Few can forget the campaign of vilification run by the West during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 over the subject of Tibet.

    Kenny Coyle, resident in China, takes us through the facts relating to Tibet + China. Kenny deals with legitimate concerns raised and he counteracts many of the frankly racist myths against Han Chinese head on, giving the real story of feudal historical and modern propserous Tibet in China.

    Please do check it out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEwBvP4ZM1E

  173. Darkness at Noon on said:

    andy newman:
    The loyalty of the Chinese expat community to PRC also evidence it is not a “hell hole”. Look at how Jaycee Fang,Jackie Chan’s son renounced his US citizenship and moved to China. And the active engagement of the diaspora in political debate in China

    I know and employ several mainland Chinese here in Canada. Many have purchased properties here and have pursued dual nationality. They ALL want an alternative.

    One of my colleague has a father who is a retired admiral in the Chinese Navy – who bought a luxury condo in Vancouver.

    While free to come and go, many do not like the regime and the lack of transparency and the restrictions placed on people in terms freedom to pursue entrepreneurial and political paths. Most of all they hate the cynical corruption pervasive in that society and the restrictions placed on freedom of media and thought. None of them place too much trust in State media.

    They say there is an ability to ‘debate’ the politics of China, but that debate only goes so far. Once you are considered a danger or dissident, the State will come down on you and your family. There are many political prisoners in China.

    So yes, they are loyal to ‘China’ but few believe in Communism and no one is loyal to the regime – the regime is there because they have the guns and the power. We know this is still a State that sends in tanks and crushes people under them when threatened.

    BTW most expat Chinese are out and out mercantilists and consumers on a scale that is even.

  174. Jim mclean on said:

    the regime is there because they have the guns and the power.

    surely that is the basic definition of any state.
    “Monopoly of violence”

  175. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Darkness at Noon: BTW most expat Chinese are out and out mercantilists

    Most laymen of any nationality tend to find mercantilist ideas attractive. I don’t think that’t a unique attribute of Chinese people.

  176. 215 Hasanyi, you must watch the Tibet video and leave some educated comments.

    Also Hasanyi you must express more of your world view.
    You are always on the attack (from a “euro-’communist’”) world view. That is easy – long live Nina Temple & the “Democratic Left”!

    However, as political and world forces go, so far they seem to be lacking.
    So you Hasanyi, what are you REALLY about?
    Be proactive, not just destructive.

  177. Darkness at Noon on said:

    Jim mclean:
    the regime is there because they have the guns and the power.

    surely that is the basic definition of any state.
    “Monopoly of violence”

    Is that how the Tories aim to maintain power?

    Seriously, while all state have various shades of darkness to them, I don’t think anyone living in Canada or the UK et al expects to be splattered by tanks when demanding reform or being picked up in the middle of the night to languish in jails endlessly for political crimes.

    @ Harsanyi: Yes of course, but mainland Chinese here in Vancouver amaze me in their pursuit of the Capitalist ideal. They are unchained!

  178. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Zhou Enlai: Also Hasanyi you must express more of your world view.
    You are always on the attack (from a “euro-’communist’”) world view. That is easy – long live Nina Temple & the “Democratic Left”!

    I did not think that I was covering up my views at all. Certainly I make no denial about having been a eurocommunist; now I am merely a social democrat.

    Its curious to me — since we’ve recently agreed that the PRC is generally far less repressive than the old SU was — that the CPC doesn’t seem to be able to have a better policy for national minorities. At least the Sovs generally had actual Uzbeks running the Uzbek SSR and real Letts heading the Latvian SSR. Yet the CPC uses Han Chinese like Zhang Qingli and Chen Quanguo to head up the CPC in Tibet. Its very odd.

  179. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    Darkness at Noon: es of course, but mainland Chinese here in Vancouver amaze me in their pursuit of the Capitalist ideal.

    I thought you meant merchantilist in the old-fashioned sense of favouring a trade surplus and viewing trade in general as a zero sum gain.

  180. Jellytot on said:

    @218Seriously, while all state have various shades of darkness to them, I don’t think anyone living in Canada or the UK et al expects to be splattered by tanks when demanding reform or being picked up in the middle of the night to languish in jails endlessly for political crimes.

    *Sigh*….Why can’t they be more like “us” ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man's_Burden

    @213Many have purchased properties here and have pursued dual nationality.

    The PRC doesn’t recognise dual nationality.

  181. Martel on said:

    210.’The loyalty of the Chinese expat community to PRC also evidence it is not a “hell hole”.’

    In terms of the Chinese who study in Britain, we are dealing, in the vast majority of cases, with the children of the growing middle classes and elite who are doing very well out of the economic growth in China.

    Those with a western degrees are able to walk into the best paying jobs and those with higher status.

    We are certainly not encountering the Chinese masses.

    Regardless, there is a difference between loyalty to China and loyalty to the CPC. There seems to be a general wish for reform, greater freedoms, less corruption and less censorship.

    I also wonder what the effect is going to be of filling Chinese students (those who study the social sciences/arts) with unmitigated diet of post-modernism and post-structuralism (who tend to be united by a deep hostility to centres of power) before they return to join the Chinese elite.

    In university towns, where there are large numbers of Chinese students, open opposition groups to the dominance of the CPC exist. When I have visited Cambridge, I have often seen a stand which hands out anti-CPC leaflets to Chinese students.

    Support for the dominance of the CPC is so based on economic growth, it will be interesting to see how it copes during a period of economic crisis, which will happen sooner or later.

    It is also worth noting that the CPC is party of managers, officials and business people. The working class in the traditional industrial sense of the term constitute less than 15 per cent of membership, while 80 per cent of Chinese millionaires are members of the party.

  182. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    I have no blueprint re “where next for the movement”, other than the belief that the left is either going to capitalise on the inevitable protest against the ongoing attacks on living standards, or it will fail, possibly opening the way for fascism. As I noted in an earlier post, it is not just the left that can benefit from protest against immiseration.

  183. Martrl

    Post modetnism and post structuralism are already dominant themes in Chinese universities. And the demetits and merits of the current political system are widely debated, as are the merits and demerits of Western democracy.

    You approach the issue from an entirely Western perspective. The CPC rests its support not only on economic success but also on sovereignty and the unity of the state. Also the only credible route for political reform is through the CPC

  184. It is worth also saying that the reason we keep coming back to China is not because of those features which result from Chinas particular historical development. But from its demonstration that a govern that defends sovereignty and has a controlling footprint in the productive economy can gave win win relationships with multinational capital.

    That is the new socialist paradigm, and would be compatible with parliamentary democracy om.other countries

  185. 227 posts on a thread on WRITE FOR SU: WHERE NEXT FOR THE MOVEMENT? and at most no more than half a dozen posts on the subject.

    There is an old sayin
    ” a confussed mind does nothing” and this thread sums that up to a tee.

    Pathetic!

  186. SantiagoTalk, it’s one thing to criticise people, but it’s quite another to then say “Pathetic” as your only contribution to the entire thread.

    We’ve got SWP members here who really try to take part in the debates. And we’ve got SWP members here who sneer and abuse and don’t do much else. I have all the time in the world for the former, even if they won’t sleep with me. The latter, I don’t even send valentines cards to.

  187. chjh on said:

    Reading back over the comments, it’s noticeable that there is one argument conspicuously lacking: that the majority of Tibetans want to be part of China. The reality is that it’s taken for granted by pretty much everyone that most Tibetans, if given the choice, would not want to continue the current set-up.

    One of the interesting questions is why that should be so. Given that pre-1959 Tibet was a desperately poor, backward, oppressive country with a very low standard of living and very low life expectancy, why would most Tibetans prefer the return of the Dalai Lama to continuing Chinese rule?

  188. Pingback: RESPECT - THE SECOND COMING | Socialist Unity

  189. Dolorous on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Who needs Fu Manchu nonsense when you have the legacy of the cultural revolution and the so-called ‘Great Leap forward’, not to mention such events as Tien An Mien square? Perhaps Newman thinks they were fantasies akin to Fu Manchu also?

    So no-one has any fear of extra-judicial killing or being tortured in Tibet. So that’s why it is so difficult for foreigners to visit the place, the people would be queuing up to tell people how wonderful and humane the Chinese Communist Party are, how much they love them and how much they value the sublime freedom of religion they have been granted by their munificence. That’s why its so difficult to get in, the authorities are afraid that visitors would be mobbed be Tibetans singing their praises!

    Next from Andy Newman, how stories of mass murder and torture in Pol Pot’s ‘Democratic Kampuchea’ are all a racist fantasy of Western anti-communists, determined to blacken the reputation of Maoism and the Kampuchean Communist Party, and how anyone who does not believe that is a counterrevolutionary running dog of imperialism.

  190. Dolorous

    If you truly think that Tibet is anything like Pol Pots Cambodia you need to have a little lie down and a strong sweet cup of tea.

    Nor is it hard Or uncommon for Wrsternets to visit Tibet. A friend of mine just came back from a Buddhist pilgrimage there.

  191. Dolorous on said:

    andy newman,

    Didn’t say it was the same, but the same principle applies. Its laughable that you portray criticism of the CCP’s savage abuses of subject peoples as racist propaganda against Chinese people in general, while engaging in propaganda against Tibetan national aspirations that mimics old-style colonialist racist paternalism. Classic Stalinist hack nonsense.

  192. Dolourous

    You have failed to demonstrate that there is a Tibetan national aspiration for independence. So you are arguing hypothetical position.

  193. Robert on said:

    Tibet is Chinese and thats not going to change. The future for the Tibetan people depends on Beijing being persuaded to give them greater freedoms and the campaign from the West for an independent Tibet will likely lead to a harder line from Beijing. It’s not doing the Tibetans any good.

  194. Dolorous on said:

    andy newman,

    Every chauvinist, imperialist, racist and colonialist in history has argued the same crap. The upheavals and police state repression in Tibet say different. How about a simple test of Tibet’s real national sentiment – a free election and a referendum on the possibilities?

  195. Jellytot on said:

    @224You approach the issue from an entirely Western perspective.

    I find this is the biggest problem when discussing East Asian politics and society with European/American Leftists.

    There is a complete lack of self-awareness as to how Eurocentric they actually are.

    A basic understanding as to the eastern mindset, especially as it relates to the primacy of collective loyalty and relationships in opposition to individualism, would really help them understand political and societal developments in all the major east Asian nations.

    @222When I have visited Cambridge, I have often seen a stand which hands out anti-CPC leaflets to Chinese students.

    That would be by the Falun Gong I presume? A group that most Chinese regard as a cult similar to Scientology in the West.

    @234Its laughable that you portray criticism of the CCP’s savage abuses of subject peoples as racist propaganda against Chinese people in general

    I have heard with my own ears some pretty digusting sinophobia from Free Tibet protesters.

  196. Martel on said:

    #240 Your first few sentences are patronising guff. Phrases like ‘eastern mind set’ are extremely dodgy when referring to hundreds of different cultures.

    The group in Cambridge were not the Falun Dong. I tend to notice them because they always stop us as they assume my partner is Chinese. The literature they hand out is focussed on general democratic demands, seperation of powers, human rights, references to the UN etc.

    I imagine it is a pro-democracy dissident group, it seemed to be manned by academics & post-grad students and referred to a network in London and at other university towns.

  197. brokenwindow on said:

    Jellytot: The next time I’m sipping a Latte on the Shanghai Bund, looking out over the skyscrapers of Pudong, I’ll have to keep reminding myself that I’m in an Orwellian nighmare.
    Some people on this site obviously want China to descend into utter chaos (they never express the same wishes about America….odd that). The vast majority of Chinese though understandably don’t.

    Jellytot,

    But you do not address my statement of fact – the Party have incarcerated tens of thousands of FalunGong and murdered thousands.

    Can you not interrupt your Latte and ask a few questions to passers by except they will be too damn nervous to speak to you. Still as long as YOU can be safe and well because YOU seek not to challenge anything while there…how SMUG and intellectually DISHONEST.

    You care not for others suffering unless it’s ideologically shrinK-wrapped for you…it’s this kind of vast oversight that sees the real fatal flaw of the Left. You can’t handpick your causes while ignoring other mass murders.

  198. brokenwindow on said:

    224#

    So why not open up the Internet?

    I guess they’ll be studying Foucault too Andy over a Latte with Jellytot and you then maybe a demo in the town centre.

  199. There are extraordinarily frequent demonstrations in China, and mass lobbies of government officials are a centuries old established tradition.

    Chinese citizens are not at all nervous about conversing with foreigners and in my experience are fiercely proud of Chizna’s achievements. You clearly have never been there

  200. There are indeed very frequent demonstrations and mass lobbies, and the police are very careful to avoid any deaths – the explosion at Wukan (Guangdong province) a few months ago happened precisely because the police had crossed the line and beat a protester to death.

    That’s in China proper – in Tibet (historic Tibet, not just the province), and in Xinjiang, such freedoms are much more curtailed, and the police have in the very recent past opened fire on demonstrators.

    Incidentally, at #228, I didn’t say that Tibetans want to leave the PRC – there’s no evidence for that one way or the other. I said that most do not support the present set-up, which is a rather different matter.

  201. Martel on said:

    #244 China can be admired for the economic growth it has achieved, and the lifting of millions out of poverty, but lets not get all dewey eyed over political freedoms.

    The protests you refer to are disconnected single issue protests over sackings, grain expropriation etc. Greater tolerance is extended to these than political opposition (though they are still dealt with harshly).

    The state will not accept challenges to the one party state and organised political dissent, including human rights activists and national movements, are crushed.

    The hope is reform and greater democracy within the Communist Party.

    It is going to have reform with, in practice, the disregard for Marxist-Leninism, economic decentralisation, growing regional power bases, a growing, and assertive middle class, the growth of intellectual and artistic communities, and a powerful international business elite.

  202. brokenwindow on said:

    And so you have been there and will admit that the
    Party has executed a few thousand FalunGong memebers and incarcerated upwards of tens of thousands?

    Pop along to a ‘transformation centre’ and ask to speak to people being ‘transformed’. People are opposing the state because there have been no legitimate process open to them: ‘splittists’ – people who want to return to land removed/stolen from them,religious groups and democracy advocates,Uigers and tibetans,the groups and organisations are secretly growing to oppose the brutality of the Party machinery which has been rocked by a groups of meditators.

    Keep your head in the sand long enough and you may yet think it’s the world,Andy. Your reluctance to admit the totalitarian element of the Party I will leave to others to ponder why…

  203. brokenwindow on said:

    Andy,Were you in Russia during the revolution?

    No. so don’t be silly about my not having been to China – I have taught dozens of chinese asylum seekers and have chinese friends and friends who live there. And I read like you. clearly if you have been there,like Jellytot,
    you will have had too much LAtte froth on the end of your nose to see anything you didn’t want to.

  204. Jim mclean on said:

    Seems it is getting harder to get a decent mansion here in Fife with multi millionaire Chinese Golfers pushing up the price. Was at a graduation ceremony at Elmwood College a few years back and the majority of Golf Course Management graduates were Chinese Women. The Russians are also competing for Scottish mansions and estates. A lesson of some sorts in there but not sure what.

  205. "Moron in a hurry" on said:

    Martel (222) claims that the CPC is a “party of managers, officials and business people”.
    He then cites some figures relating to industrial workers and millionaires, which are (a) not in comparable terms and (b) highly selective, disregarding the social composition of chinese society.
    Surely, some account should be taken of rural workers and small farmers, public sector employees, students and the elderly? Don’t they count?
    In a report of the latest CPB delegation to China, John Foster and Rob Griffiths provide the following membership statistics for the CPC:

    * 9 per cent (6.9 million) manual and industrial workers
    * 23 per cent (18.4 million) professional and technical workers (including 2.5 million adult students)
    * 31 per cent (24.4 million) farmers, herdsmen and fishermen
    * 9 per cent (6.8 million) state officials
    * 8 per cent (6.2 million) other occupations (including business people)
    * 19 per cent (14.9 million) retired

    The report, Which Road for China?, can be ordered from the shop at http://www.communist-party.org.uk. A previous report, China’s Line of March, is available free by typing the title into the search box. Whatever socialists think of the analysis and conclusions, both reports are full of information not easily available in the West.

  206. chjh on said:

    Interesting statistics – no CCP members in the armed forces, or are they counted under ‘other occupations’? And it’s telling that the percentage of state officials, and of manual/industrial workers should be the same – there are rather more manual/industrial workers than there are state officials.

  207. Martel on said:

    # 250 A list of membership figures from different sectors does not change the fact that those from these sectors, will be predominantly the higher officials, top level professionals, foremen and managers rather than the workers and farmers.

    The party is highly exclusive, extremely selective and your average joe can not just join the party.

    The high number of students just reflects the fact that high achieving and conformist school children are picked and groomed as potential party members.

    Membership of the party is a priveledged posistion and well betides the ambitious young man or woman.

  208. Martel on said:

    The high number of state officals reflects the fact that those will any power are required to be party members.

  209. chjh on said:

    Peter Hessler tells an interesting story in his book ‘China driving’. He was a journalist in Beijing, and rented a summer house in a village outside Beijing from the local entrepreneur (started with a restaurant, and gradually expanded into other businesses. The entrepreneur at first refused, largely because he didn’t want to get drawn into village politics. But after a while he wanted to expand beyond his village into the nearby town, and at that point it proved advantageous to have a CCP card, in order to do business with people he didn’t know personally.

  210. Jim mclean on said:

    “it proved advantageous to have a CCP card”

    I have been keeping an eye on local “worthies” that have switched their Labour Membership for SNP Membership. Membership of the main Party is always a help.

  211. Dolorous on said:

    Jellytot,

    That would be by the Falun Gong I presume? A group that most Chinese regard as a cult similar to Scientology in the West.

    Whether or not this is true, coming from the party that gave birth to the Mao cult and the Cultural Revolution, that is a bit rich. That actually makes Scientology look at bit tame.

  212. Jellytot on said:

    @241The literature they hand out is focussed on general democratic demands, seperation of powers, human rights, references to the UN

    The UN, that great guarantor of human rights.

    @242But you do not address my statement of fact – the Party have incarcerated tens of thousands of FalunGong and murdered thousands.

    You’d do better to address the incarceration rates and reasons behind it in your own country before pontificating in a typical Western liberal manner to a developing country like the PRC – The Prison-Industrial Complex in America would be a good place to start.

    Can you not interrupt your Latte and ask a few questions to passers by except they will be too damn nervous to speak to you.

    I talk to plenty of Chinese and they are justifiably proud of their countries achievements and realise that there are many in the West who are afraid and want China to revert to its once servile position.

    P.S. All this talk of Lattes is making me thirsty – Off to Prets !

    @252The party is highly exclusive, extremely selective and your average joe can not just join the party.

    You people seem to forget that the Party has been in governmrnt for over 60 years – To expect it to be “proletarian” and “revolutionary” just shows how out of touch you are with a complete lack of understanding about what it takes to manage society.

  213. Jellytot on said:

    @256Whether or not this is true, coming from the party that gave birth to the Mao cult and the Cultural Revolution, that is a bit rich. That actually makes Scientology look at bit tame.

    Political understanding may not be your strong point but anybody who has studied that period would come to the realisation that the so-called “Mao Cult” of the mid-60′s was fostered by the isolation of the PRC from the outside world (in particular the Sino-Soviet split) and as a result of the failure of the rapid industrialisation projects of the late-50′s/early 60′s. Such ruptures threw up deformed politics.

    But then again ‘Dolorous’ such understanding seems to be beyond you: you seem to live in a world of inscrutably evil Han oppressors and noble and serene Tibetan Monks.

    As for the “Mao Cult” today all you’ll see as evidence of that is his face on the back of banknotes and elderly people in groups in public parks singing revolutionary songs about him while they exercise (in the same way as 80 year olds in Britain sing “White Cliffs of Dover”)

  214. Dolorous on said:

    “Political understanding may not be your strong point but anybody who has studied that period would come to the realisation that the so-called “Mao Cult” of the mid-60′s was fostered by the isolation of the PRC from the outside world (in particular the Sino-Soviet split) and as a result of the failure of the rapid industrialisation projects of the late-50′s/early 60′s. Such ruptures threw up deformed politics.”

    Well, considering millions died because of the lunatic economic schemes of the 1950s and many more millions in the Cultural Revolution, and that neither could have come into being without a political regime where a tiny clique ruled without any control or accountability to the workers and peasants it came to represent, this amounts to saying that one episode of inane adventurism gave birth to another even worse one.

    I note the use of ‘inscrutable’ which is your choice of words, not mine, as are Andy Newman’s nonsensical smears about ‘Fu Manchu’.

    Rather reminds me of phoney allegations of anti-semitism coming from apologists for Israel. The resemblance is not accidental, those who defend oppression of subject peoples have very little else at hand to defend the indefensible except smears that those who defend the oppressed against the oppressors are motivated by racism.

  215. Martrl

    There are 70 million party members so it is not that exclusive, and as with the experience of Eastern Europe, party membership often carries with it more obligations and duties than privileges.

  216. Robert P. Williams on said:

    If party membership is about 70million and the population of China is about:
    1,338,299,512 ….

    So party membership is ~ 5.23%.

  217. Martel on said:

    @257 ‘To expect it to be “proletarian” and “revolutionary” just shows how out of touch you are with a complete lack of understanding about what it takes to manage society.’

    A one-party state is not necessary for the management of society. I would find any ‘socialist’ that aspires towards one deeply suspect.

  218. Robert P. Williams on said:

    Genuine workers democracy is needed for socialism to work in the long term.

    China was a deformed workers state to begin with and is heading in the direction of capitalism.

    Mind you, the bourgeois parliamentary system thet we ‘enjoy’ isn’t up to much either: Vote every 5 years for MP’s that can ignore their manifesto and almost universially pander to the wishes of the capitalist class.

  219. Martrl

    The PRC. is of course not a one party state.

    But this is all posturing on your part, because while you quibble over specifics your real agenda is to somehow show that Chinas political system.is inferior to ours.

    What this overlooks is that both Britain and China have had specific and particular historical developments that are not interchangeable.

    Both Chinas strengths and weaknesses are the product of those historically contingent circumstances.

    There are many shortcomings but by and large the Chinese govt is committed to reform and improvement. There is no other credible vehicle for reform except the CPC

  220. Jellytot on said:

    @260There are 70 million party members so it is not that exclusive, and as with the experience of Eastern Europe, party membership often carries with it more obligations and duties than privileges.

    Very true Andy. My sister-in-law had the chance of party membership and turned it down much to the disappointment of her parents. To quote her (in translation) , “Too much study, too many meetings and if I wanted to endlessly promote road safety in my community I’d have become a fucking traffic cop!”

    @259Rather reminds me of phoney allegations of anti-semitism coming from apologists for Israel.

    Your analogy stumbles over the fact that China is, in general, a progressive force for good in the world while Israel is not.

    @264There is no other credible vehicle for reform except the CPC

    and the only vehicle for reform that will avoid the chaos.

  221. Jellytot on said:

    @259Well, considering millions died because of the lunatic economic schemes of the 1950s and many more millions in the Cultural Revolution, and that neither could have come into being without a political regime where a tiny clique ruled without any control or accountability to the workers and peasants it came to represent, this amounts to saying that one episode of inane adventurism gave birth to another even worse one.

    “Dolorous”, if you studied something other than the risible Chang/Halliday biography of Mao, you’d realise that the Cultural Revolution was a mass event, with mass participation and many aspects of which were driven from below, particularly in its early stages. The CPC has learned painful lessons from such events and for that it should be congratulated and admired. That political maturity has lead it to become the most successful Communist Party in history (much to the obvious chagrin of the Eurocentic Western Left)

    Your verbiage about “tiny cliques” and “lunatic schemes” reveals you to be the right-wing Cold Warrior that you obviously are.

  222. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot: @259The CPC should be congratulated and admired. That political maturity has lead it to become the most successful Communist Party in history.

    Or as the late Father Ted memorably said: “It’s the biggest Communist Party in the world and in my opinion, the best. The Chinese, what a great bunch of lads!”

  223. Dolorous on said:

    Jellytot,

    “if you studied something other than the risible Chang/Halliday biography of Mao”

    Sorry to disappoint you, never bothered to read that. Read ‘Wild Swans’ though, which is a good read.

    “the Cultural Revolution was a mass event, with mass participation and many aspects of which were driven from below, particularly in its early stages”

    Bullshit. It was a vicious political purge driven by psychotic cult demagogy, whose main aim right from the very start was to purge those in the CCP who were insufficiently enthused by Mao’s cult. Incidentally, one of the two most prominent targets of this purge was Deng Xioaping. If regarding this as an episode of cult lunacy makes you a ‘cold warrior’ then the Brehznev Soviet leadership in 1966 must have been ‘cold warriors’. There is a very funny Pravda cartoon of large numbers of Mao-cultists carrying portraits of Marx, Lenin and Mao – with Marx and Lenin hiding their faces in their hands with embarassment. Such ‘Cold War’ propaganda, arf arf!

    Incidentally this cultist nonsense, which was aimed at completely severing the connection between its followers and any residual socialist consciousness and rational appreciation of social and economic reality, laid the basis for China’s subsequent alliance with Richard Nixon, and US imperialism more generally, culminating in the Chinese attack on Vietnam in 1979 at the behest of the US, and their subsequent funding and arming of Pol Pot by the Chinese, US and British as part of an undeclared war against Vietnam. Not that I hold any brief for Vietnamese Stalinism either, but at least it never reached the level of lunacy, depravity and collaboration with US imperialism that the Maoists did.

    You talk about ‘cold warriors’. I can think of worse epithets for a regime that attacked Vietnam in alliance with the US and even gave military aid to Apartheid South Africa as part of an alliance against ‘Soviet social-imperialism’ aimed at driving the Cuban expeditionary forces out of Africa. The idea that the Maoists, or even Deng, have any sort of even deformed socialist principle, is a downright joke. If you can do that, then in terms of political prostitution, you can do anything!

    Interesting to see ‘Jellytot’ smoked out as an admirer of the Cultural Revolution, which was one of the nastiest episodes of extreme Stalinist cultism, as bad as anything in the 1930s or 40s. It was also most likely part of the inspiration for the even more grotesque form of Stalinism, which led to even more grotesque mass murder, practised by Pol Pol in Cambodia.

    This ‘radicalism’ that Jellytot cheers for had nothing to do with the working class. The largely petty-bourgeois youth who were whipped up into a frenzy of psuedo-’radicalism’ repeatedly clashed with the working class who were berated for ‘conservatism’ and ‘economism’ by the Maoist ‘radicals’ for defending their basic rights and living standard against these cultists. The Maoists hated the workers for their proletarian ‘economism’ – i.e. basic class consciousness – and brutally murdered many.

    This anti-working class politics was taken to its logical conclusion by the Pol Potists who in Cambodia emptied the cities and destroyed the urban economy, smashing the working class and sending the former city proletariat to work in rural slave camps. Those who resisted, or even showed insufficient enthusiasm. were exterminated in a slaughter that in intensity rivalled that of the genocide in Rwanda, and had a similar number of victims. This really was the Maoist ‘radicalism’ taken to its logical conclusion.

    If you admire or defend the Cultural Revolution, not in the 1960 when some impressionable and idiotic student radicals in the West did so, (along with idiot Trots like Healy and Banda), but from hindsight, that is really very weird.

    Attack me as a ‘cold warrior’ if you like, it just makes you sound like a prosecutor in something like the Slansky trial, or some Maoist nut from once of the ‘criticism/self-criticism’ sessions the Maoists used to hold (similar to techniques used in cults like Scientology, by the way).

    Jellytot admires the Cult(ural) revolution. Wow, far out!

  224. Dolorous on said:

    Jellytot,

    Dolorous: “Rather reminds me of phoney allegations of anti-semitism coming from apologists for Israel”.

    Your analogy stumbles over the fact that China is, in general, a progressive force for good in the world while Israel is not.

    In other words, a brazen admission that these allegations of anti-Chinese racism are indeed just as mendacious as the usual lies about ‘anti-semitism’ against supporters of Palestine.

    Excused only by the idea that Israel is a bad country, whereas China is good. So such lies to defend China are OK, whereas to defend Israel is wrong.

    Proof positive however, that you consider lying accusations of racism against critics an acceptable technique. Thank you for that admission at least.

  225. Surely there is a paradox that the negative view of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution w from Dolorois ould be broadly agreed with by most senior figures in the CPC today.

    It is still however fondly remembered as a folk memory in the working class in China, there was an interesting study published of how the GPCR is discussed through social media that shows this.

    It. Clearly was a mass popular phenomenom that went far beyond elite power battles, and alongside the obviuois negatives did have positive aspects.

  226. Incidentally if someone really were a carrerist they would be better off joining one of the block parties like the Revolutionary GMD who are disproportionally over represented.

  227. brokenwindow on said:

    Power to the People….

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8830790/Chinese-toddler-run-over-twice-after-being-left-on-street.htmly.

    There are profound problems there that no amount of obfuscation on your part can change.

    You still do not address the needless murder of thousands of Falun gong memebers,instead you mind-numbingly ask me to look at the American prisons.
    I,unlike comrade Newman,am not a fan of the death penalty. I have long argued against the death penalty and the manner of incarceration in the USA. Have you read The Executioner’s song,Jellytot?

    But you still have no courage to address what is staring you in the face – the PRC is a murderous and torture-prone corrupt outfit that hads delivered more wealth into the hands of a few than any western outfit. It is not for those who have had land forcibly taken or the hundreds of millions of migrant workers who have no right to education or healthcare or property purchases. The forces of capital are the winners in China not the workers or the environment in which they have to breathe the toxic air from factory smog. Xi Jinping,comfortably part of the ‘princelings group’ offspring of first generation party leaders is just like Cameron here – he has no idea of the lives of the vast majority of people whose lives he will further change being privileged,pampered and beyond the law thanks to deep party corruption.

    You have exposed yourself as a charlatan socialist,not interested in the genuine suffering of opthers but only in one dimensional sloganms and flimsy moral equivalences. And of course,your own LAtte-ridden comfort.

    Next time you squeal your own indignations about fascism,look in the mirror and see your own selective,flawed filtering of other’s suffering,perfectly divided along party lines.

  228. Dolorous on said:

    andy newman,

    “Surely there is a paradox that the negative view of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution w from Dolorois ould be broadly agreed with by most senior figures in the CPC today.”

    Tis true. and it is even more of a paradox, since they owe much of their legitimacy to Mao while at the same time no doubt shuddering at the memory of what he did to them.

    The problem is with folk memories and the like is that tbey are often based on completely nonsensical myths that bear no resemblance to what actually happened. Particularly when a great many of those might contradict such myths ended up six feet under.

    If Pol Pot had managed to fend off the Vietnamese and cling to power, maybe today there might be people today musing about ‘Year Zero’ saying, oh it wasn’t so bad, it was a mass phenomenon (it certainly was – mass slaughter!) and despite ‘negative features’ it had positive aspects as well.

    Crazy stuff! Sentimentalism about such bloody events that have absolutely nothing to do with socialism by the way is the kiss of death to any renewed socialist project.

  229. Jellytot on said:

    @269Jellytot admires the Cult(ural) revolution. Wow, far out!

    I don’t but only seek to understand it and place it in its correct historical context. To seek to understand and then be accused of support is typical of modern political discourse that seems to so often verge into hysteria.

    The rest of your post is an unedifying mixture of (liberal) moralistic nonsense and psuedo-Trot verbiage.

    Keep spinning that prayer-wheel Dolorous.

    P.S. Do people still use the term “far out”, any more ?

    @273Next time you squeal your own indignations about fascism,look in the mirror and see your own selective,flawed filtering of other’s suffering,perfectly divided along party lines.

    ….and they accuse “Stalinists” of accusatory hyperbole !!!

  230. Jellytot on said:

    @269political prostitution….smoked out….nastiest episodes of extreme Stalinist cultism…..grotesque mass murder….brutally murdered.

    I can’t decide whether you’re a Trot or a Neo-Con ‘Dolorous’.

    Whatever, welcome to SU.

  231. Martel on said:

    @264 I have no doubt that the most successful, and stable route, to reform in China is through the CPC. I am glad to see that the higher echelons of the CPC are committed to reform.

    Lets not claim that the CPC is not a one party state due to the existence of some subservient co-opted parties, allocated token seats, under the strict control of the CPC. You made a similar argument about the GDR.

    The only reason I was pointing to the exclusive and selective nature of the party was that ‘Moron in a hurry’ seemed to be implying the CPC was some form of open membership party full of manual workers, poor peasants and OAPs.

    One of the reasons for the ongoing stability of the regime is the ability to co-opt the bright, powerful, influencial, ambitious, successful or rich into party structures.

  232. Jellytot on said:

    @277One of the reasons for the ongoing stability of the regime is the ability to co-opt the bright, powerful, influencial, ambitious, successful or rich into party structures.

    ….and that’s a bad thing ?!

    In the West the “bright, powerful, influencial, ambitious, successful or rich” have a habit of voting, joining and donating to Tory or Republican parties – Parties that wish to dismantle welfare provision and are committed to rolling back the gains of previous decades; the complete opposite of the CPC.

  233. "Moron in a hurry" on said:

    Hilarious to read hysterical anti-communists like Dolorous and brokenwindow on this thread. Americans don’t do under-statement, do they. “Thousands of Falung Gong members murdered” indeed! Any evidence? Let’s hope it’s a little bit higher quality than the old “concentration camp and dungeon in a hospital where the organs of Falun Gong prisoners are harvested” wheeze they pulled a few years ago. I was in China when that nonsense came out, and saw the Japanese, Scandinavian and other TV crews reporting from the hospital in question that it was all a pack of lies. Even US embassy officials who went to the “concentration camp” and the “underground dungeon” had to admit on Chinese TV that it was a load of tosh – although they looked very disappointed!
    The hospital staff, needless to say, were outraged.
    Still, onward and upward, eh, exposing those Yellow Devils.

  234. "Moron in a hurry" on said:

    Martel (277), I wasn’t “seeming to imply” anything about the composition of the CPC. I just published the most up-to-date available figures. Now imply away.

  235. #273

    brokenwindow: There are profound problems there that no amount of obfuscation on your part can change.

    How is this relevant in a discussion about China’s political system; I can however see how it would be relvent if you were seeking to argue a racist and essentialising hostility towards Chinese people.

  236. #277

    Martel: Lets not claim that the CPC is not a one party state due to the existence of some subservient co-opted parties, allocated token seats, under the strict control of the CPC. You made a similar argument about the GDR.

    So your definition of a one party state includes states where you concede there are more than one party!

    Yes I agree that my argument was true of the GDR as well. The block parties allow the development of alternative political strategies and ideologies, and they are guaranteed representation, so that their views are considered.

    The constitution of the PRC recognises that the the CPC is a government party, and other parties are parties of opinion. This is not hugely different in substance from the American system where two political parties who have the almost identical poliices and philosophies can acheive power through accessing the millions of dollars required by corporate backing, but other parties can operate at the fringes.

    “Western democracy” has been described in China as a system where you can elect the chef in a restaurent, but you can’t decide what food you are served.

  237. #277

    Martel: The only reason I was pointing to the exclusive and selective nature of the party was that ‘Moron in a hurry’ seemed to be implying the CPC was some form of open membership party full of manual workers, poor peasants and OAPs.

    Well it includes about one in 20 of the total population, which translates into around one in ten of the working population. So while you are correct that it is selective in the sense of looking for respected people with a sense of civic resonsibility, it is a nonsense to imply that it is a small elite.

  238. Dolorous on said:

    Jellytot: Keep spinning that prayer-wheel Dolorous.

    Just noticed this. Well, I’ve been accused of being a ‘Muslim-lover’ and ‘Arab-lover’ when campaigning for Respect in the East End as long ago as 2005. Did someone mention a prayer mat? And now this.

    Spokespeople for oppression never change. Since ‘Jellytot’ supports ‘Hope not hate’, I wonder if he was one of those who was threatening to picket the East London mosque if a certain Palestinian Muslim cleric spoke there recently?