Thursday, 20 February 2014
CWI: A bureaucratic farce, solidarity with Bruce Wallace
and the group of 11 My former party the CWI the Socialist Party of England and Wales is under going a crisis it would seem. With the news that long standing member Bruce Wallace has been suspended has not surprised me in the slightest. This all feels very familiar to my time in the party where my blog was used to attack me and my critical thinking was frowned upon too. You would think, perhaps naively, that advocates of two different theories of crisis could co-exist in the same organisation and fight things out at length. Apparently not. After a protracted drama, Wallace has been suspended, in substance for making his criticisms openly - his blog, apparently, is “a platform for a continual stream of invective and attacks on the party”. He has already declared his intention to appeal. While I am no longer a member I have full solidarity with Bruce and the others under attack I know how it feels to feel isolated and cast out as a trouble maker. Indeed this very blog came under intense scrutiny for my own critical views of the way the Socialist party was heading in terms of its methods and ideas. There is much with Bruce and the group of 11 which I agree with most of what they say are spot on to call out the Socialist party’s reformism and dedication to a under consumptionist position economically when it comes to understanding capitalist crisis. Bruce and others including Professor Andrew Kliman who is not a member of the CWI I’d like to point out rightly point towards the Tendency of the rate of profit to fall to find the under lying cause of crisis under capitalism. Why a party cannot co exist with members holding differing views on things I’ll never know. Where is the democracy I wonder? Whilst I don’t agree with everything I can identify with their outlook when it comes to theory. They argue for vigorous theoretical debate in SPEW, based on the actual practice of the Bolsheviks in the pre-revolutionary period. They write, entirely correctly: “democratic centralism prescribes unity on the basis of action, such as programmatic action and activity, and not unity on theory. What is clearer to me though is the fact the revolutionary left and the Marxist and trotskyist left is in crisis and it doesn’t look like a solution is anywhere to be seen as many of them are stuck in their old dogmatic ways and methods. We are going through a period where, it is fair to say, the long-standing organisations of the Trotskyist left are fraying at the edges. We have seen two splits in the space of a year in the SWP. As I write, the Renewal Platform of the International Socialist Organization - the SWP’s erstwhile US group - has been expelled. Workers Power, an orthodox Trotskyist group, has shed a large proportion of its small membership over the last few years. In Ireland, the CWI organisation has itself lost a clutch of experienced members. All these splits have taken place on an extraordinarily thin political basis. We are beginning to recognise the pattern. Comrades, whether through a short, sharp shock (the SWP’s rape debacle) or through a longer disillusionment, come to realise that the grand breakthrough is not, after all, just around the corner. They advance criticisms of the toy town Bolshevism of their organisations, the delusions of grandeur, and set out on their own - whether they jump or are pushed - to really build the movement. What they do not do is sit down and think, and come up with a rounded political alternative. Thus, they drift into liquidationism.