Imperial Blog week ending 28 Meadow 4703
An Analyis of the Strategy of the Commitee of the IVth International.
On the EU Constitution Referenda.
WSWS advises No, i.e. rejection of the Proposed EU Constitution on the grounds that it is a corporatist tract that represents an attack on the working classes of Europe, on their democratic rights, and is an effort to confuse and deflect those classes from seeking a unification in a form that would threaten the priviledges of the national ruling elites.
On the 2004 United States Election.
SEP U.S. ran candidates at the Presidential and in a handful of small local constituencies (rural Maine, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, etc). It opposed, as it of course had from the beginning the Iraq war and correctly characterised the Democratic candidate as essentially representing the same interests as the Republican and having few if any important differences in principle.
The apparent general strategy.
In general, the apparent strategy is to devote essentially all of their resouces to the articulation of what might be called Orthodox socialism's (i.e. that of Marx and Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky and lesser lights within that school of political philosophy) perspectives of current political events.
Compromises with essential principles are never seen in official positions and they seldom fail to point the opportunistic character of compromises other left tendencies make with the established social order. On any given issue, the content of the bottom paragraphs of the corresponding articles can generally be inferred and fall into two major categories: 1) punch line reports of some fact reinforcing the state of affairs reported or 2) an exhortation to form an independent political party which can serve the interests of the working class.
In addition, there are public lectures by the authors of the WSWS as well as the fielding of candidates by the various national Socialist Equality parties.
Two major criticisms seem to be unanswered over the five or six years I have observed this organization.
The first is on the matter of the possibility of having any effect, which in turn resolves to the degree of the penetration of the consciousness of any significant portion of the body politic. While there seems to be no question the readership of the WSWS has increased in the indicated period, there's also no indication of quantitatively exactly how much nor is there any indication that the political perspectives advanced are having any general effect beyond that common to tiny fringe movements.
The second is that there is little or no movement in the direction of explaining or connecting with the practical work of what the reworking of society on a social basis would entail. In particular, with nothing expressed except implicit truisms about socialism being the 'true' democracy, there is nothing to explain how a movement based on such a party would fail to degenerate into a rule of an elite, as every attempt at socialism in the previous century did. Further, with it's concentration strictly on political as opposed to technical means, and with no statement of exactly what mechanisms would replace capitalist determination of production¹, this grouping would seem to invite dismissal as yet another "usual pinko suspect"².
Since there is no other political formation known to us of comparable worth, these shortcomings are all the more
disappointing. Some deeper issues are also implicit here such as whether it makes sense to have power devolve to the masses if these are incapable of even understanding their own class interests in the simplest and most obvious terms, let alone in obtruse matters of political philiosphy, mathematical economics, etc.
Does the fact of the failure of what should be the vanguard of the working class, the best trained workers, to adopt socialist and anti-capitalist perspectives indicate a fundamental unreadiness for the assumption of such power, whether it is a failure to see thru the propaganda of their masters, or a moral failure that makes them seek to become masters of the labor of others?
Our position is that it is rather the failure to articulate in clear terms exactly what a socialist transformation of society would be like that causes these would-be vanguards of the revolution to remain petty bourgeois wage labor slaves. And by the same token, it is the failure to articulate mechanisms that could assure the vision of a classless and stateless form of human society envisioned by Marx and Trotsky that are the surest basis for a suspicion that any such revolution would quickly decay into yet another rule by non-worker elites.
¹ The general position is that production for profit (i.e. surplus value) would be replaced by production 'to satisfy human wants and needs'. A particular position seems to be implicit that markets (of any kind) are anti-thetical to socialist production.
recently heard on Irish TV network referring to some opponents of EU constitution.