The left

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Syriza confirm electoralist road is wrong road to another world

It now appears that the Syriza's insistence that the severe nature of what the Trokia demanded meant that the Greek people had to directly decide through referendum on whether or not to comply has been replaced with the more standard 'We can decide for you' of electoralist politics. That is unless the letter from Tsipras offering a deal that the Financial Times has leaked is a forgery, which seems unlikely.

According to how uncritical individuals and organisations are of Syriza they are currently taking one side or another in an argument as to whether this indicates a sell out or is some new master stroke. But it reinforces our criticism of the hopes placed in electoralism and Syriza. Once more the people who elected them and those in solidarity with them across Europe are reduced to being spectators in something akin to an episode of West Wing.

On the Greek online funding campaign - lets not neo-liberalise solidarity

The ideas of each age tend to become that of the ruling ideology and we are seeing an extraordinary example of that at the moment. As a response the ECB/IMF attack on Greek democracy an online fund it campaign has been set up to fund the 1.6 billion interest owed and so far 1,863 people have contributed.

The first problem is the obvious practical one that the 1.6 billion if raised only represents the latest interest instalment on an unplayable debt over 300 billion. So even if successful such a project would only kick the ball down the road for a month or two.

Rojava - Revolution Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Revolutions are seldom made in favourable circumstances.  Russia 1917 emerged from the mass slaughter of WWI and the disintegration of an economy under the pressure of the supply demands of that war.  Spain 1936 emerged from a well planned and executed fascist coup amongst a powerful military backed and armed by international fascism.  Schemas for revolution that depend on quiet times and plenty may well be doomed from the start.

That said it’s hard to imagine more impossible conditions for revolution than that of Rojava.  A brutal civil war, 3 small areas of territory that were kept in a state of low development by the previous regime and are not even linked to each other.  A fanatic army of barbaric religious extremists armed with captured looted US heavy weaponry attacking from one side, a hostile state quietly backing that army and closing its borders to the good guys on another and waiting in the wings the old regime and its long history of brutal counter insurgency.  And above all this the tactical and strategic intervention of an imperialist power whose manipulations have devastated the land to the South East over a period of almost three decades.

After the election of Syriza in Greece - Power is not in Parliament

Today, across Europe, the left is excited by the likelihood of Syriza topping the polls in the Greek election. Some on the left have gone so far as to suggest the election itself will mark the end of austerity policies, in the terminology of the Anglo left, an end to the idea that There Is No Alternative (TINA).  Another indication that something of significance is happening is that ahead of the election a new wave of capital flight has started from Greece with an estimated 8 billion transferred out of the country over the last few weeks. [Translation into Greek]

 

Why is online conflict so much more disruptive of organising?

I’ve written a good deal about the positive organisational opportunities created by social networking. Here I’m going to look at one of the strong negatives, the intensification and deepening of conflict as a result of online disagreement . This results in fracturing movements even resulting in people unable to be physically in the same space as each other, never mind work together in a sustainable way.

This piece has been written over many months, and I’ve delayed publication at several points to avoid what I’m saying being mistaken for a specific commentary on the latest flare up. Take my references here as being very general and drawn from a long exposure to political discussion on and offline. I’ve been arguing with people online since 1992. Where I’m referring to specific incidents I’ll make that clear, otherwise I’m talking about patterns I’ve observed rather than specific incidents. This is defientley not about you, dear reader even if I hope its relevant to you.

Anarchism, Oppression & Exploitation - WSM position paper

I was part of a long education and discussion process that culminated in this new position paper on "Anarchism, Oppression & Exploitation" being agreed by WSM National Conference at the start of October 2014.

Review: "Democracy at work: A cure for capitalism"

This is a frustrating book. On the one hand, it is nice to see a work dedicated to the importance of workplace democracy and which argues that (state) socialism was simply state capitalism. On the other, it would have been nice if the author, Richard Wolff, had some understanding of libertarian socialism so that he realised he was simply reinventing the wheel and avoided unnecessary jargon. This is understandable given that the author is clearly working in the Marxist tradition but it is not excusable.

Burton tries to pinkwash Jobstown protest

Joan Burton has seized upon her brief inconvenience in being faced with the people in Jobstown last week to try and smear water charge resistance in general.

Now the Phone is already notorious for inventing quotes from random people she claims to meet about how they just love austerity so perhaps you’ll forgive us some cynicism. In any case, according to the Irish Times:
"Joan Burton has accused Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy of “smirking” while protesters threw missiles and taunted gardaí with homophobic and misogynistic remarks during the water chargers protest."

Turnips, hammers & the square - why workplace occupations have faded

What if we build it and they don’t come? That was the experience of the left during the crisis - decades had been spent building organisations and a model of how crisis would create revolution but when the crisis arrived the left discovered that the masses weren’t convinced. The expected pattern of crisis leading to small strikes and protests, then to mass strikes and riot and then perhaps to general strike and revolution didn’t flow as expected. Under that theory the radical left would at first be marginal but then as conditions drove class militancy to new heights the workers disappointed by reformist politicians and unions leaders would move quickly to swell its ranks.

Libertarian Socialism: Beyond Anarchism and Marxism?

The links between the two schools of revolutionary socialism – Marxism and class struggle anarchism – have produced much debate, some more helpful than others. Into the helpful pile comes Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) edited by Alex Prichard, Ruth Kinna, Saku Pinta and Dave Berry. Twelve excellent chapters and a terrible one are sandwiched between a useful introduction and conclusion. Overall, it is essential reading for all those seeking to enrich libertarian socialism in the 21st century.

  


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