Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Why am I not in the SWP?

I am aware that my very brief thoughts on Friday about voting do not even begin to count as a critique of Democracy. I will endeavour to share coherent thoughts on the subject soon. As is so often the way, however, my interest has been piqued by another, although not entirely unconnected, subject ...

FDTW ask: "Why Aren't We In The SWP?" (the "we" here being the "ultra left") and reprints the introduction for a talk being given next week (FDTW don't give details as to where) which they say will "serve as a taster for what we will be talking about on this blog in the coming few weeks."

They say: "I'm hoping to ask the same questions with respect to lefty politics. Is it all as rubbish and useless and (the ultimate situationisty putdown) boring as the ultra-left says? Are elections and propagandising and marches and demos to be rejected on principle? Or is it rather the ultra-left position that is posturing bullshit, of no use in any real situation?"

I hope FDTW print the rest of their talk. They seem to be asking (some of) the right questions, but I fear that compromise/involvement/leftism ("elections and propagandising and marches and demos") versus purity/passivity/ultra-leftism could well parody the latter and banalise the former.

The ultraleft (not a term I care for) critique of leftism (also unhelpful, if unlikely to be bettered without recourse to ugly neologisms) arose as a critique of the kind of activities the Left has always engaged in, not as a form of political withdrawal. But FDTW probably have in mind those groups which we might characterise as being the official ultraleft (ICC and CWO) who do seem to have made a virtue of carping.

Whilst I would suggest the political thinking of the official ultraleft is moribund, I do not believe that leftism (and I'm increasingly aware that "leftism" requires a definition from me soon) is the answer.

Communists shouldn't be retreating back to the left, but what does it mean to be a communist nowadays anyway?