Last night, as I rummaged through my bookshelf looking for some papers, I came across a copy of the OBA’s Constitution which I had printed off last year. In the margins of the document I had made a series of notes concerning the Constitution. While I had a bullet-point plan of a full critique of the Constitution, it looks like I only got as far as critiquing their ‘Preamble’. Reading over the notes last night, I thought that – as rough and incomplete as they are – they may make for some interesting reading for others. So, here they are!
NB – The date I wrote on these notes was May 18th, 2011, however the OBA’s constitution, at least the Preamble, appear to be unchanged at the moment.
A Beginning of a Critique
A) Initial reading is that it, the preamble, is a direct reaction to the PLP, but it also has a deeper significance.
B) The text can be read superficially and at a deeper level.
It is an unusual preamble; read more as an electoral platform than a general foundation (ideology and purpose statement) to anchour the Party. Reads very much as a short-term focused, politically opportunistic attack on the PLP’s term as government. While it is to be expected that the OBA would wish to critique the PLP’s record, such a critique is out of place for a Constitution, which should instead provide the Party with the ideological foundation on which Party theoreticians (representatives) can base their critique (on a daily basis).
Furthermore, the critique embodied here comes across as overly negative and sniping, albeit clearly in an attempt to masquerade as nice rhetoric.
It ultimately comes across as reactionary, in the sense of a ‘reaction to’ the PLP record, rather than a clear and reflective critique stemming from an ideological position. It is clear, however, in review, that it does articulate an ideological view, only this ideological position has not been clearly ‘made conscious’ within its articulation.
It appears instead to be a raw, reactionary articulation. It is possible, however, to synthesise this ideological position through a critical reading of the subtext/implications implicit from the existing text. This leads to two possible conclusions, and one counter critique position (ie, an arguement that could be raised against my critique).
Two Conclusions & the Counter
The two possible conclusions are that:
1) The ideology represents a wholly unconscious ideological expression (worldview) of a particular class position; that class has not rigourously reflected on this position and critically understood its basis. [NB- We all have an ideology/worldview, just not all are conscious of it, that is, reflective, but may react according to our underlying, unconscious ideology.] Or;
2) The OBA is fully aware of its ideological position and basis (reflected in the text) but, for whatever reason, concludes that it is not politically expedient to NOT clarify the basis of its ideology. Its interest is instead to obscure its theoretical position and instead present its ideology as ‘natural’, as ‘commonsense’.
In reality it is likely that both conclusions are true to a certain extent.
It is likely the OBA – and its dominant class, in as much as it can be seen as a social relation of different class factions united/led by a dominant one – has ‘intellectuals’, that is, ideological leaders with clear ideological positions who understand the class interests and implications of the OBA’s ideology.
Similarly, the majority of OBA members and supporters likely do not have clear ideological positions. Their’s is a an unconscious ideology, and it is expressed only ‘in reaction to’. Their conscious ideology of the Party’s intellectuals resonates with the unconscious ideology of the wider membership?
The critique, or argument that my reading/analysis of the subtext is open to attack from (ie, the argument I expect to be raised in opposition to my argument) is that I am ‘reading into’ the document my own prejudices (ideologically).
To guard against this critique – that I am reading into the text an ideological position that does not actually exist – it is important to try and show the basis of my own reading.
This, of course, is not an approach that negates the opposition – it is, in some ways, in the interest of the opposition to portray my own critique as based on partisan prejudice and fabrication, as well as to deny that what is articulated (by the document, and by extension, the OBA – and by further extension, a whole class) is indeed an ‘ideology’ as opposed to ‘reality’, ‘natural’, and ‘common-sense’.