More Plugs for SP-USA

With the US Presidential election now in its final week of campaigning, I thought I would make a couple of more plugs for the Socialist Party USA, the Party that this blog is proudly endorsing for the election.

With the continued present crisis of world capitalism, and the ongoing occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq (not to mention yesterdays incursion into Syria), it is increasingly apparent that the spectre of socialism is again haunting capitalism, with increasing numbers of people beginning to question the legitimacy of the capitalist world order. People througout the former Soviet Union are increasingly rejecting capitalist restoration, condemning the last two decades as Katastroika and turning away from both Stalinism annd capitalism. People throughout the West are wondering what happened to the glorious ‘new world order’ they were promised with their victory over the Soviets in the Cold War. Greater and greater numbers are criticising the ‘socialism for the rich’ represented by the capitalist bail-out attempts.

The question will be whether the Parties of the Left are able to capitalise on these developments, or will the extreme Right instead benefit from them?

Add to this the US Republican Party has thrust the concept of socialism back onto the national consciousness of the US people. One almost wonders how desparate they have become in their wilful misrepresentation of the capitalist Democratic Party. While this tactic may harden their support amongst some still suffering from hangovers from Cold War propaganda, it is equally having the effect of bringing socialist politics back into the mainstream of US political debate. Socialism has a long and rich history in the US, being amongst other things the origin of International Workers Day on May 1st.

While it is unlikely that the Socialist Party USA will emerge as the victorious candidates a week from now, it is likely that they, and socialism itself, will prove to be of increasing relevance over the immediate period to come.

On that note, here is an interview with al-Jazeera discussing the SP-USA and 3rd Parties in the US presidential election, and here is an article with the (Floridian) St. Petersburg Times concerning the misrepresentation of the Democrats as socialists.

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22 thoughts on “More Plugs for SP-USA

  1. What’s particularly amusing about the hard right-wingers’ cries of ‘socialism!!’ is that, by their ridiculous definition of the term, Reagan’s concept of ‘trickle-down’ economics would be considered socialist.

  2. Jonathan,

    Out of interest, I checked out the Socialist Party USA, and found two interesting pieces of information:

    (1) The Socialist Party is democratic, with its structure and practices visible and accessible to all members. We reject dogma and promote internal debate. The Socialist Party is a “multi-tendency” organization. We orient ourselves around our principles and develop a common program, but our members have various underlying philosophies and views of the world. Solidarity within the party comes from the ability of those with divergent views on some issues to engage in a collective struggle towards social revolution. We strive to develop feminist practice within the party.

    I found this quote most interesting: “We reject dogma and promote internal debate.” As I understand, what the Social Party encourages is “internal debate” by those who have divergent views.

    The other thing I found interesting, especially since you have admitted to being a communist is this:

    “Under “Communist” states, decisions are made by Communist Party officials, the bureaucracy and the military. The inevitable product of each system is a class society with gross inequality of privileges, a draining of the productive wealth and goods of the society into military purposes, environmental pollution, and war in which workers are compelled to fight other workers.”

    Care to comment?

  3. Well, as a member of SP-USA, maybe I can clarify these for you.

    When we say “communist” the reason it is in ” ” is because they are talking about the Stalinist dictatorships that emerged in the USSR, China, North Korea, East Germany and elsewhere, who called themselves communist but who we, and many on the left, do not consider to be communist.

    They are strongly influenced by Marxist thought (though they do not explicitly identify as Marxist because they also have other types of socialists in their ranks, like Christian socialists) and they also admit to being influenced by Rosa Luxemburg, a German-Polish communist who is one of Jonny’s big influences. I would direct you to the membership handbook on the site, but unfortunately that link seems to be on the fritz.

    I also know that from the tendency that I am a member of, the Debs Tendency, that are are also many members in the party who are Trotskyists.

    Also, while the party promotes internal debate, it is also has zero restrictions on party members publicly airing grievances and differences of opinions. By internal debate they are attempting to contrast themselves to the typical stereotype of the Leninist communist party where there is no debate and where all decisions come down from the top leadership.

  4. My question was not to you Rowland. I’m looking for a response from Jonathan who obviously does not believe in “internal” debate, but prefers “public debate”. You do not profess tobe a member of any political party, in particular the PLP, in which Jonathan holds membership, in Bermuda, so you association or membership with the SP-USA really means nothing to me. By the way, I find the ideals of that SP-USA, very similar to the PLP, but that’s the subject of another debate.

    “Also, while the party promotes internal debate, it is also has zero restrictions on party members publicly airing grievances and differences of opinions.” That’s my whole point to Jonathan, so I guess you are agreeing with me.

    As far as what the SP-USA, says about communists, I want to hear what Jonathan has to say as he has confessed or admitted to being a communist. I don’t even know who you are, or what you stand for.

  5. I think you, and me/SP-USA are using the term “internal debate” in different ways.

    It my feeling, from reading what you have said over the months, that you believe that debate of a party nature should be largely held within the party, between members, at meetings etc, and not airing laundry, whether dirty or clean, to the public. It was my impression that you are using the term in that sense. I apologize if I misread you.

    On the flip-side, we are using the term “internal debate” to mean that there is debate actually going on. Period. We contrast that with other groups like the Revolutionary Communist Party or Communist Party USA, both of whom are Marxist-Leninist (Stalinist) and hence there is NO debate what so ever within the party, public or “internal.” They have god-like party leaders whose word is treated like holy writ and accepted by party members with absolutely zero debate. That is what we contrast ourselves against, it is not a public vs internal party debate situation, but a no debate vs having debate situation.

    I bought up my membership in SP-USA because I felt that I, as an active member, might know some information that could help with your questions, compared to your position of having only just went and recently looked them up. I was trying to be civil, helping to clear up some misconceptions.

    I would also debate just how close our platform in the US is to the PLP’s in Bermuda, but like you said, that can be debated later.

    As for Jonny, I know him very well, and I felt that as he is 4 hours ahead of Bermuda, that I might be able to give a statement not unlike something he would give concerning SP-USA.

  6. So tell me, would the SP-USA encourage constant public criticism by its members on a forum where you know few, if any, of the contributors support the ideals of the party?

    Why haven’t you and Jonathan tried to start a branch of the SP-USA here in Bermuda?

  7. To the first question, from my own experience of having taken a few ideological swipes at some of our candidates, for both this election and the ’04 cycle, as well as one my tendency’s internal ideological opponents, specifically the social democratic fist and rose tendency, on a number of forums and blogs that are not run by SP-USA members or supporters, many of whom are ideologically opposed to us, I have never been reprimanded, censured, punished or anything.

    If anything, in the many cases that what I said got back to members of my own tendency, or the party as a whole, it actually fostered a dialogue between me and members who decided to contact me about what it was that I said.

    We are not democratic centralist in the way that many “communist” parties are, meaning that we are not compelled to agree publicly with the party leadership’s decisions, regardless of what we may actually think of them. If we think the party is heading the wrong direction, if we think the candidates suck, or that part of by-laws or constitution must be revised or changed, then we have the full rights to talk about such ongoing, internal, critical debates anywhere, and in any forum.

    As to why we haven’t tried to start a branch here, well for the obvious, it’s an American party, I am a member because I am an “American” and I can vote in American elections, but much of it’s platform has no relevance for Bermuda.

    Also, while I have actually called openly for the creation of a third, leftist party in Bermuda, I do not know why Jonny has not done that. I would assume that he still considers the PLP the best party on the island, and I completely respect his feelings one way or the other. If he feels that the PLP is still the best vehicle for working-class Bermudians than all power to him. I never said we agreed eye to eye on everything.

  8. Hi LaVerne.

    Rowland is a dual US and Bermudian citizen and as a member of the SP-USA (I am not) can speak with some degree of authority on the issue. You may have posted that question directly to me, but one of the things about public blog forums is that by so posting anyone can reply to you. Rowland answered your question with the information he has and in the absence of my posting (time differences and work committments on this end do not allow for 24/7 monitoring on my part). There was no reason to attack him in the manner that you did, IMHO.

    You know the Party Constitution well enough to know that if you have a problem with my public posting then you have the right and ability to bring up in CC that I be reprimanded by a Disciplinary Committee. I have said in an earlier discussion on this thread that you may feel free to do so, and if the committee orders my disciplining then I will abide by it, consider myself expelled from the Party, and on my return to the country will appeal it and defend myself. The Party has my contact info, and I will accept a formal email (with a hard-copy to follow) as legitimate. I offered this before over the whole Southlands thing in CC and no-one dared to do so while I was there, if you wish to do so now that I am not present, feel free. Good luck with it. I have presented my case in an earlier thread (In Defence of Public Criticism).

    Now, to rehash things once more as calmly as possible.

    Yes, I am a communist. Explicitly I am a libertarian Marxist, and would accept the ‘pigeon-hole’ label of ‘Marxist-Luxemburgist.’ Council communist would also be an acceptable term. There are numerous branches of communist thought/schools, just as there are different forms of Christianity (to use an example). Due to historical reasons the branch most readily identified with the word ‘communism’ is what would more technically be described as ‘Marxist-Leninist’ or ‘Stalinist.’ This was the form we know of as being in power in the Soviet Union, and most other ‘communist’ states. Many other schools of communism, especially my school, would question whether this form of ‘communism’ was communist at all, I personally see it as essentially fascist with communist rhetoric. Thinking that all communists are such would be like me mistaking all Christians as Catholic.

    I understand why you, and many others, would make that mistake. The Soviets and other self-described states encouraged it for their own ends, as did the capitalist West for their own rival ends during the Cold War, and much propaganda was used to these effects. That despite my repeated threads on this issue (Communist, Me? Yes, but…; Libertarian Marxism; the ‘About’ section; and others within threads) indicates that either (1) I have not been sufficiently clear on the issue; (2) you have been failing to read such threads despite posting on some of the more explicit ones; (3) you are being deliberately obtuse. I’ll go with the benefit of the doubt and assume the first option. I refer you to the threads in question (you’ll have to search the blog, I don’t have time to find the appropriate links at the moment), and also recommend you employ your excellent investigative skills to search out the relevant terms (Luxemburgism, Council Communist, Libertarian Marxism) on the internet (many of the aforementioned threads on this blog funnily enough have handy links to just such terms).

    As Rowland has said, he has given a good exposition on the position of the SP-USA concerning public criticism. I don’t really see that there is much more that I could add. As I’ve said, feel free to call for my disciplining. You should note that nowhere in the Constitution does it say I cannot criticise the Party when I feel it a duty of conscience to do just that. Maybe you should also propose an amendment that explicitly closes that ‘loophole.’ However, one could, and I stress, could, argue that the Constitution does explicitly say that only the PRO should serve to defend the Party in public from criticism, making your own defence questionable as per the Constitution. I don’t for a second accept that, but just pointing out the possible interpretation.

    Anyway, as you are so adamantly opposed to my ‘freedom of expression’ that, actually trumps the Party Constitution as per our (albeit flawed) Constitution and the UN Declaration on Human Rights, as I’ve said before, go right ahead, propose to CC that I be disciplined (and as stated I will interpret as expulsion from the Party). I could care less.

    My loyalty is to the principles of progressive labour as I understand them and not to any Party Line. I will not stop criticising what I see as actions of the Party that contradict my understanding of progressive labour, no matter how much that might irk you. You can get me expelled from the Party if you so wish, but this blog and my commitment to progressive labour will not stop. Whether you accept that or not is your problem, not mine.

  9. In defence of Jonathan (not that he needs my help, but anyway….), he has stated on numerous occasions that he believes the internal processes of the PLP to be ineffective and ‘broken’ (I’m paraphrasing, so please correct me if I’m misrepresenting your position, Jonathan). I mean, he’s literally stated this again and again, so why this remains an issue is beyond me. In the first instance, internal debate should absolutely be the answer, but if the internal process proves ineffective, I’m really not sure what a member of a political party can do other than go public if they believe that the party has strayed from its core principles.

  10. Jonathan,

    Where have I attached anyone? I have asked a question, which you have interpreted as an “attack”. I think Mr. Keshena answered my question and it is obvious that he did not consider it an attack. I do not know him, so how would I know if he holds dual citizenship. You obviously have a personal relationship with him, I don’t. I think you need to look up the definition of attack. As I said to Mr. Keshena, he has not professed to be a member of a political party in Bermuda, hence my response to him, which I am quite satisfied with.

    I have no interest in discussing you postings at Central Committee, it is not that important. I have stated my feelings here as I am having a discussion on this blog. Maybe you would like for me to discuss it at Central Committee and then for someone to suggest that you be expelled. I don’t think that the PLP is interested in expelling you, or anyone else for that matter.

    Mr. Keshena, thank you for your explanation. I will read further on the Socialist Party, USA and may get back to you.

  11. Fine. Misunderstandings are nothing new; I had found your reply to Rowland as a bit harsh. Guess I was wrong.

    I got the impression from your constant focus that you were wanting my disciplining from the Party. I also think its unimportant, but I didn’t get that impression from your statements. So be it.

  12. Oh come on Comrade. Your gonna take that standing up? This is getting like Rummy vs Elvis. Kiss, make up, leave.

    Propaganda at it’s best. This is so funny I think I’ll call Guy Fawkes. Oh thats right, he was in the past and we have moved on.

  13. Must have missed that first sentence/ance LaVerne. “attached anyone” ?

    Try your hip sweetie..

    Thats why we love you sister. I will pray for you. Um just a confused person :+)

  14. Jonathan,

    Look at the responses to my posts from your posters, and then tell me about “harsh”. I’m not necessarily talking about this particular topic, but ovbiously you definition of “harsh” is completely different from mine. I actually find Rowland, one of your more “respectful” posters. We don’t always agree, but he never gets personal, like the others.

  15. “Cahow” I have never professed to be perfec, and I know you know I meant “attacked”. After all, you are “intelligent”.

  16. Socialism is evident under the PLP but most have gone to corrupt politicans. Hott1075 recieved $14000 of state welfare to open up along with the license. The BHC corruption scandal was state welfare given to the five plus Cabinet ministers who benefitted with inflated portfolioes. the question is when poor blacks just want free homeless shelters food stamps and welfare to help pay these corrupt rents, black capitalism pigs complain about handouts. Better to hear critism then feel it.

  17. Obama boy is advocating socialism only after capital became a target at 9/11 World trade center. Leading to the War on Terrorism and the recession to pay for Home Security. The GOP candidate has failed to link the blame to Bill Clinton open immigration policy those Mohammadians passed through an underfunded CIA. Blacks in Bermuda are all over the personality but explianing how government will help the working class is how Obama draws big numbers. In Bermuda Dr. Brown is just like the GOP he doesnt want to share the wealth this is how he and his elite followers have lost their way. A victory tomorrow is a victory for socialism. U cant be a capitalist without a shotgun and the right to bear arms. Anybody can just walk in your Bermuda house and jack u.

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