Feb 26 2012

THE RCN CALL FOR SOCIALIST/COMMUNIST REGROUPMENT IN SCOTLAND

A STRONG AND UNITED LEFT IS NEEDED MORE THAN EVER

 WE HAVE NOT STOPPED THE CAPITALIST OFFENSIVE

 WE NEED TO LISTEN, LEARN, THEN MOVE ON

In our lifetime there has never been a greater need for unity of socialists and communists, nor has there been a greater fragmentation of the Left.

What we have had under capitalism is as good as it was going to get. Now employment protection, pensions, health services, housing provision and education are under sustained and organised attack with a disproportionate effect upon youth and women.

The post World War II gains are under attack by all the pro-capitalist parties, not just the Tories; yet still union representatives and various sects call on workers to oppose TORY or CON-DEM cuts.

Doesn’t it make you want to weep? It’s not just that these cuts are being implemented by all parties, it’s that all parties are doing so because capitalism requires it and they have no alternative to capitalism.

Capitalism is not in crisis in the sense that those who ‘run’ it have made mistakes; capitalism is doing what it has to do – subject economies to periodic painful depressions in order to survive.

This is the point. It is not possible in the long term to humanely manage or reform capital! Capitalism can be forced to grant limited concessions by organised militant action, but as soon as we let our guard down they will snatch them back as is currently happening.

We need to move beyond capital’s parasitic stranglehold on human society. We need to find a way to organise to that end.

PAST FAILURES

Many groups/organisations/parties on the Left point to achievements of which they are proud – recruitment, a prominent role in key struggles, electoral successes or producing quality publications are examples. Yet the Left is weaker and more fragmented than for many decades and, in Scotland, the once strong SSP is a shadow of its former self*. Self-proclaimed revolutionary ‘parties’ or proto-parties put most of their efforts into fighting each other. Why is this?

  • Gurus, self appointed leaders and media attention seeking personalities have set up and controlled too many of our organisations. Democracy has not been open or even practised.
  • Members and recruits are ‘given the line’ to repeat. They are told what to think instead of being encouraged how to think.
  • Front organisations are set up with little if any democracy mainly in order to recruit.
  • Broad Lefts share this same democratic deficit and limiting aspirations.
  • New activists become disillusioned and misdirected – just think of some of the slogans (and weep again) ….

….Fight The Con-Dem Cuts.. it’s capitalism we are fighting against and all the parties supporting it and all the organisations supporting them, including the Labour Party, the TUC, STUC and the SNP.

…Make Poverty History… you mean, make capitalism history and all the parties and organisations supporting it.

We need to move beyond populism, reformism, electoralism and egotism.

CONDITIONS FOR REGROUPMENT

A fundamental issue is the democratic and interpersonal nature of how we interact. We won’t get far without open, comradely and non-sexist behaviour.

We need a framework that lays out rights and responsibilities of individuals, groups, platforms, networks and organisations that come together. We need a style of discussion and debate that allows us to listen, reflect, and question. We need to discourage the sectarian ‘We have our line and we will vote en-bloc’ behaviour.

We need to start from a few fundamental realities:-

It is the capitalist mode of production that constitutes the underlying problem. It is a system of exploitation with its wage slavery and domestic drudgery, and its denial to the majority of the guaranteed material means to provide a decent living. It is also a system of oppression with its patriarchy and consequent sexism, its competitive states, national chauvinism and racism, and its denial of real democracy and human dignity. It is a system of necessary and recurring crises, continuous wars and environmental degradation.

Capitalism promotes a selfish individualism based on ‘having’. We must offer an alternative, based on that aspect of being human which capitalism suppresses – our shared social existence. Then we can prioritise ‘being’ over ‘having’. Therefore, it is not enough to fight against capital. We must fight for a system of human emancipation and liberation – i.e. communism organised on the principles:-

1.  “From each according to their ability; to each according to their needs.”

2.  “Where the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

We need to develop an Immediate Programme based on meeting our real needs which, through the development of independent working class politics and organisation,  allows us to fundamentally break with capitalism and move towards the first phase of communism, i.e. socialism.

We should lead by example. We will be judged by the way we behave within our organisation.

 NEXT STEPS

We in the Republican Communist Network are joining in the call for a regroupment of the Left and will help to facilitate this.

We are NOT suggesting the setting up of another Party – that would be a decision for those who had come together under this regroupment, once a sufficient base of support had been won amongst the working class.

We ARE suggesting that the points within this leaflet should form part of the discussions for a regroupment. Others will certainly have additional points to discuss.

A fuller description of our current thinking can be found at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2011/12/23/beyond-the-ssp-and-solidarity-forgive-and-forget-or-listen-learn-and-then-move-on/

Please contact us if you are interested in joining the call for a new regroupment at RCN, c/o PO Box 6773, Dundee, DD1 1YL or www.republicacommunist.org/blog. This is NOT a recruitment tactic (although we would like to hear from you if you are interested).

Please add your voice to the call for a regroupment at whatever meetings/demos/strikes you participate in.

UNITED WE STAND A CHANCE OF A BETTER FUTURE

 DIVIDED WE FACE INCREASING BARBARISM UNDER CAPITALISM

 WE MUST LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES AND MOVE ON

* see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2012/02/11/the-rcn-platform-and-the-ssp/

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