Saturday, August 23, 2008

Moving on

If you are interested in why I left the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, read my guest post at the Shiraz Socialist blog.

To find out more about what I am doing now, visit the website of The Commune


Jason said...

I can hardly blame you for leaving. I f the AWL is really as beyond repair as you claim, I hope the other sane members follow you. Are you going to be maintaining this blog?

Renegade Eye said...

Keep me informed.

Simon_Hardy said...

Jason- Will be a bit strange for someone who seems to have become a council communist to run a blog called "whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?" :-P

david said...

The title's probably salvageable, but certainly not the web address

ks said...

so then, you have started a council communist grouplet that will have zero impact on the working class and its' movement!


you made some good criticisms of the awl and wrote some decent articles, only to now start a grouplet that will make no impact and will only last a few months anyway???

sorry to be so dismissive it's just so strange and such a waste of time.


David Broder said...


- i would not describe myself as a council communist. i am for workers' self-management and am a communist though. please do read more stuff on the site.

- i don't agree with your characterisation of our prospects for success. the left is crying out for some rethinking (indeed, not just dredging up some old tradition like council communism, brinton/castoriadis etc, which is not what we're doing)

- i don't think you and i have met. but looking over your blog i doubt that we would have much opportunity for close political collaboration. write to me if you want to talk though.

bill j said...

It is a bit disappointing that having been kicked out of the AWL, you've simply rejected the "left", on the grounds that you (and your mate) have the answers. Somehow, these answers (it turns out mainly recycled versions of stuff that's been around for ages) have not been noticed by the left, so its your job (and your mates) to enlighten us all.
Forget it. The reason this stuff hasn't found an audience is simple. It's not the answer.
Why not take a few weeks to think about where you go next rather than embarking on a project which cannot succeed?
The AWL's faults go back deep. They are inextricably linked to Matgamna's Healyism. Matgamna has had an entirely pernicious effect on the British left. He was responsible to a large degree for the scale of the SWP's bureaucratic intolerance, through his intervention into the IS in the late 1960s. Since then, he's chewed his way through many more innocent (and better) people, who have come into contact with him.
Today he's a wretched cynic, who doesn't believe a word of what he started out with, but is left holding the remnants of a really sorry bunch of Zionists and war mongerers.
You were unfortunately just the latest of his victims.
PR were victims of a similarly intolerant bureaucratic regime, one indeed inherited from Matgamna, Dave Stocking and co, did to us what Matgamna had done to them 30 years previously.
It wasn't tragedy but it was farce.
There are lessons there, to reject bureaucratism certainly. To re-look at what has passed for Trotskyism on the left. But not to give it all up in the search for immediate and easy answers, on the grounds that these bureaucrats really reflected the revolutionary tradition. They didn't. And they don't.

Darren said...

Bill J

"Forget it. The reason this stuff hasn't found an audience is simple. It's not the answer."

Erm, so you'll be following your own advice and shutting up shop over at PR? ;-)

Only (half) joking.

bill j said...

There are good objective reasons why Marxism as a theory is marginalised - I've read around it somewhat - and its scarcely an exaggeration to say that only PR have attempted to develop an assessment of those reasons. In the economy, the impact of capitalist restoration, globalisation, the state of the working class etc.
All the rest of the left without exception simply assert that capitalism remains stagnant and nothing has really changed since the 1970s/80s.
If that were true then Marxism as a theory has indeed been refuted.
I don't think that's true and therefore I think the key task is to explain how the world has changed in order that we can respond accordingly.
There are also subjective reasons. Bureaucratic intolerance, Healyite practice, dishonesty etc., we're all very familiar with those reasons as well.
Its typical to blame it all on the SWP at this point, but in fact there is a common root to all this. In the post war disorientation of Trotskyism. In which Matgamna plays a small, albeit particularly poisonous role.
All I'm suggesting to David is rather than rejecting it all, (understandable response) and turning to another well worn alternative Council Communism/Anarchism (which has been no more in fact a lot less successful), to take a serious look at where our tradition has gone wrong in order to seriously address its true not imagined failings.

darren redstar said...

the more things change ..the more they stay the same.

"Equally, I was never willing to break from Marxism.
> Someone wrote on this list that we are all
> rediscovering our politics. I fundamentally disagree
> with this - I don’t accept any suggestion that the
> fact that Marx and Engels are long dead makes their
> ideas “old fashioned” or “out of touch”. Yet as far
> as I can see, the consensus in the Red Party is a
> move to the anarchist wing of our movement.
> The AWL, however, is an internally democratic
> organization with much greater numbers, resources
> and readership of its paper."

Karl-Marx-Stra├če said...

Unless I've misread the article and other comments (also by David) elsewhere, he wasn't "kicked out" of the AWL, but left, after having already previously (secretly) set up another grouplet. Or have I misinterpreted something?

In any case, that's up to him. Jason, you hope the other sane members (I write as a non-AWL member) join David? In his new group, or just in resigining. Or in your own group, which is obviously the best, as you never tire of pointing out on the few blogs I read?

Jason said...

You must have me mixed up with some other Jason. I live in the U.S. As to where David et al should go -- that's up to them. I wouldn't recommend setting up yet another small membership organization. And it doesn't seem to me that that's what "the Commune" is.

Luke said...

In all seriousness, can we do a deal for the blog address? ;-)

Duncan Money said...

Just out of interest, are you aiming for some sort of record for membership of leftist groups?

As far as I can gather you're about my age, 20, but in that time have been a member of the CPGB, the Red Party, the AWL and now 'the commune'.

I look forward to your application to, briefly, join the Socialist Party sometime in the next few years.