Saturday, 7 September 2013
Attitudes to democracy and discussion on the left
On the left we often talk about fighting for democracy and for the most democratic society possible i.e. socialism or communism yet of late I’ve been less than impressed with certain sections of the left and socialists. My attitude is that all forms of democracy are necessary and all should be upheld. Stating we are democratic and have open democratic discussion is just not enough we actually have to practice what we preach from now on. Too often I’ve been attacked and been shouted done by other socialists or left wingers who tell me I can’t say such and such thing or that I’m breaking democratic centralism. Forgive me for not knowing the rules of this. At times it feel like there is a cultish type mentality on the left in some parties anyway with a party line debated in a small circle of often members who have known each other for years and often decades deciding the policy in a room much like choosing a new pope and when a decision is made the membership will then be able to debate it but can affect very little change on the outcome. I have to admit I’ve been frustrated by some on the left and left less than impressed with some people’s attitudes to democracy. To some it’s an added extra and something we just do anyway so let’s not get bogged down in discussing things let’s get on and build for that 24 hour general strike or next lobby of the TUC. Any dissenting voices are often rounded on it seems to me. I’ve raised disagreements which hasn’t affected any parties ability to intervene in any situation which means surely I haven’t broke any rules or democratic centralism or that angel of it anyway. I am not proud to admit I’ve been abused to the point of cyber bullying by some of my own comrades at times for daring to question things and the way we work. I am a critical thinker and always have been I personally think we should encourage critical thinkers and not deter them for speaking out. If a party or organisation cannot debate its differences out in public then people will wonder how much they can trust them. Showing you are democratic and debate does take place in your party sounds far more genuine than a party which looks completely united and has no differing opinions. It’s hard to believe anything can be that faultless. In any group there will be disagreements and differing views and strategies. I think to air our debates out in the open shows to the working class we are democratic and can share and discuss our ideas in a confident manner. What have we to hide at the end of the day? Democracy is key to me and when I see it being over ridden or pushed to one side I wince and sigh as I know a party and the left has lost a bit more credibility. People are looking for ways to learn not to just be fed and told what to think. This is not healthy and wont lead to any revolution or mass workers party. Failure to debate and discuss leads you no where but to oblivion and irrelevance I’m afraid. The left has a lot of lessons to learn in the next period if it is to stand any chance of making a break through. At times the left and socialists drive me up the wall a lot are genuine activists others I am not so sure about. But trust is a big thing to me and once my trust is broken its hard to repair it. Let’s work together for greater genuine democracy and open debate and discussion at all levels.