ISN and other no-hopers issue statement: phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse

July 24, 2013 at 9:15 pm (Champagne Charlie, ex-SWP, political groups, statement of the bleedin' obvious)

The sheer banality of these people knows no bounds…

This joint statement was agreed by the International Socialist Network, Anticapitalist Initiative, and Socialist Resistance delegations to recent unity talks. They met to discuss the formation of a united revolutionary tendency.

Delegates from Socialist Resistance, the Anticapitalist Initiative and the International Socialist Network came together on Sunday 7th July to discuss the next steps on the road to forming a united, plural and heterodox revolutionary tendency on the left in Britain.

These discussions were born out of the recent crisis and split in the Socialist Workers Party, which led to the formation of the International Socialist Network, and also inspired debate all across the left in Britain and internationally on how we should move away from the top down and monolithic conception of revolutionary organisation that has proven so damaging in recent years. All of the delegations agreed that they were committed to building an open, democratic and radical left, which encourages free thinking, is built from below and can reach out to a new generation. Wherever necessary delegates tried to make clear the terrain of the debate within their own organisation to the other delegations. This was important for encouraging an open and honest culture in the discussions. It also made clear that the groups participating were not, and did not want to be, monolithic in their approach to revolutionary politics, but even in our own groups we were already attempting to practice pluralism.

Initially discussion focused on a document from Simon Hardy and Luke Cooper (ACI), ‘what kind of radical organisation?’. Discussion was wide-ranging but focused on the questions of building new left parties, trade union and social movement activism, and democratic organisation. Alan Thornett (SR) had produced a response to the document that focused on the difference between a broad party project and a revolutionary Marxist tendency, as well as raising some differences over how the question of democratic organisation was put across in the document.

After two delegate-based discussions of revolutionary unity it was agreed that the debate must be opened out to our wider networks and memberships, and a date for a joint national meeting was agreed for October. There was also a useful discussion of practical collaboration: plans floated for a joint 12 page publication, a common perspective for student and youth work in the autumn, working together to make Left Unity a success, and developing a joint BME caucus. For more information on these discussions then contact any one of the three different organisations involved, SR, ACI, and the IS Network.


A Comrade comments:

They want to build a “heterdox” open and democratic left which “encourages free thinking”, unless you’re free thinking about their distinctly orthodox position on imperialism in which case, comrade, you’re shit out of luck. 
I don’t see how this is building an organisation “from below” – is such a thing even possible? What does it mean? – when it’s a meeting of sect veteran Alan Thornett, former Workers Power hacks Simon Hardy and Luke Cooper, and whoever was sent from the ISN steering committee (former SWP hack and noted imbecile Tim Nelson/former SWP bigwigs China Meiville and Richard Seymour, etc.)
It’s a unity talk conducted “from above”, i.e. by the leadership of SR and ISN and the de facto leadership of the ACI. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just nonsensical to claim this is in any sense “from below”.
It’s not surprising that the three groups could agree this joint statement: it’s comprised entirely of ambiguous rhetoric about democracy and vague buzzwords. Reading it I was reminded of Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language:”
“This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.”
On a more positive note, I suppose it’s a step forward that they’re being “open and honest” about the debates within their own organisations and it’s good that there’s going to be some sort of wider organisational debate and some sort of joint conference, it’ll be interesting to see if the conference will be all-member or delegate based.


  1. lostbutnotreturning said,

    i have had enough of your sectarian offensive attitude.when you disagree you simply use the language of personal abuse.i no longer wish to recieve your emails

  2. yaya sanogo said,

    No hopers, sect veteran?
    Are you much more full of hope and love for your fellow men?

  3. R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Don’t think the clip (or at least China Mieville’s bit) particularly well illustrates the post as he’s being relatively sound on feminism and class and also denouncing the SWP CC rather effectively.

    Indeed if he didn’t have a real full-time job as a novelist and continues to evolve back to relative sanity I think he could be a very effective spokesman for the left.

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