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And across the water… July 21, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, The Left.
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What of this? and not entirely unconnected, what of this?

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1. Paddy Healy - July 22, 2013

Following the further development in the crisis of the SWP(UK) and the deepening of the crisis of the Trotskyist left internationally, I wish to raise a further point for discussion.
The fracture of the Trotskyist movement into multiple factions took place during the second world war, almost 70 years ago. Recently, social democrats including left social democrats have been discredited due to the imposition of austerity policies. Following the fall of the Russian bureaucracy and its satellite bureaucracies, the communist parties barely exist in western countries. It might be expected that the Trotskyists would now grow rapidly as workers grow angrier by the day. Instead crisis and divisions on the left have deepened all over Europe including in Ireland and the UK.
My earlier discussion documents concentrated on systemic political errors and deep-seated misconceptions which underlie these developments. I highlighted the prioritisation of recruitment to the individual sect above all revolutionary tasks in all circumstances. I still hold those views.
However when a phenomenon persists for many years, the question arises as to whether there is a material basis for it.
Almost all Trotskyist groups have adopted democratic centralism as an organisational form in accordance with its particular version of the form of organisation which existed in the Bolshevik Party. There is much discussion internationally of which version is the correct one as evidenced in the links below.
I find it increasingly difficult to believe that the continued series of disasters on the left arise mainly from organisational misconceptions and bad practice.
Let us examine the material position of these groups. From time to time, particularly since the sixties, several groups in the UK and France have had a dues paying membership numerically between 5000 and 10,000—SWP, Militant(now SP) and Workers Revolutionary Party in the UK and OCI/PCI and others in France. For a membership of 5000 paying on average 50Euro per month, this amounts to 3million euro per year in income and unlike a trade union there is no need to maintain a strike fund! It is necessary to invest the annual surplus leading to situations where longstanding organisations own considerable property and investment portfolios.
It is generally accepted among such groups that many loyal party activists should be appointed as full time officials. Leaders are commonly in position for decades.
I am not suggesting that the leaders are “on the take”. Indeed many full time officials are very committed and self-sacrificing people.
Instead let us contrast the position of full time organiser for the Bolshevik Party in revolutionary Russia and a similar person in the post-war western world. The Bolshevik organiser was in danger of being shot, hanged or imprisoned. In the western world the leaders are in great danger of being sent to international conferences abroad!
It would not be surprising if such leaders began to develop a proprietorial attitude to the organisation if there are not much stronger organisational counter balances than existed internally in the Bolshevik Party. In that case, the counterbalances were external. The lifestyle in the west can become pleasant and even exciting. As in trade unions, full time officials have little difficulty in manipulating the rank and file. The exercise of unaccountable power can lead to arrogance and can undermine revolutionary fervour. The replacement of(typically many) departing members with new dues paying recruits becomes a priority over revolutionary tasks. The leaders can become completely divorced from the problems and realities facing actual workers. It is not necessary for such circumstances to lead to the level of abuse prevalent in the WRP for damage and bureaucratic deformation to occur. The leaders, unlike trade union bureaucrats, do not typically become verbally conservative. Indeed, virulent ultra-leftism may be exactly what is required to replenish the supply of young dues paying members in competition with other sects.
It would be madness to send an experienced leader back to work in a factory or office in a revolutionary situation. But when a quiet period continues for 70 years it may be necessary to do so together with the institution of other counterbalancing measures. (The nuns always found it necessary to rotate the position of reverend mother despite assistance from on high in the maintenance of humility!)
Many union officials believe they are acting in the interest of workers when clearly they are not. Similarly, left wing leaders can convince themselves that they are acting in a revolutionary way when they are doing the opposite if their personal life style is pleasant, interesting and comfortable.
The general membership of the sects is typically well meaning, committed and self sacrificing in its majority. Because of the large turn-over in membership many are inexperienced and manipulable.The damage now being done by the sects to anti-austerity campaigns and to the emergence of a principled political regroupment requires that the rank and file stand up to the leaders and insist on having new radical reform and control measures installed in their organisations. Rejection of the principle that recruitment to the sect comes before all other tasks in a rapidly developing political situation would strike at the heart of the bureaucratic deformation affecting the sects.

https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/my-political-position-paddy-healy/

Paddy Healy on failure of CAHWT
http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?10726-The-Cavalry-of-the-Household-Charge/page67

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workers republic - July 23, 2013

Paddy’s approach,to look for a reason for a universal,recurring problem is a wise one.
Scientific Socialism has to be amenable to scientific analysis.
Beauocracy was present in the Bolshevik party even in the days of Lenin , it was the cause of conflict with the Kronstad Soviet and with the Left Social Revolutionaries.
This paralysing beauocracy was opposed by the Workers Oppositiln within the Party. Alexandria K. the spokeswoman for the Workers Opposition famously said;- “if you take the Prolerariat out of the ‘Dictater

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workers republic - July 23, 2013

Alexandria said “if you take the Proletariat out of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat you are left with the dictatotship of the dictatorship, the dictatlrship of the beaurocrats”.Instead of the Proletariat there was the Party and instead of the Party the Politbeuro and later ,instead of the Politbeuro the rule of one man,-Stalin. Alxandria also said “Communism cannot be decreed, it can only come from the creative work of the Proletariat” (maybe I paraphrased a bit there). The SP think a general strike can be decreed. I takes more than a headline in the Socialist , or a chant outside the GPO to have a General Strike!,

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richotto - July 23, 2013

An average of 50 eu a month for party membership is a disturbingly high amount for ordinary and maybe less well off working people to be expected to pay and thats only for an initial contribution to the cause. That monthly fee would cover at least a years membership for all other non marxist parties regardless of size. I remember the Greens membership fee for example was 17 eu in 2007. If that kind of money was being donated by young impressionable people to a religious cult it would be deemed controversial and inappropriate but because its for a political party its considered out of bounds for discussion outside the party. The fact that there is no transparency whatsoever on the internal workings and processes of Leninist parties is against the interests of a democratic society and indeed the ordinary members and supporters concerned. Paddy has done us a favour here by helping to lift the veil of secrecy.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 23, 2013

richotto – people who are members of far left parties pay what they can afford. The Socialist Party and others do not have any other source of income other than donations from their members and supporters – there are no golf classics or Galway tents. The money is spent on party building and campaign building – and like I said below – Paddy plucked the numbers out of his rear end.

As for ‘transparency’ – the members of the Socialist Party are scrutinised by working class people every time they stand for an election (politcal, trade union etc) every time they attend a public meeting, everytime the hold a stall etc.

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Ed - July 23, 2013

Honestly, do you have to hijack an interesting thead and divert it into this red-baiting, witch-hunting territory? I don’t know how Paddy Healy calculated that members pay an average of €50 a month, but it’s not an outrageous amount of money as long as there’s flexibility for different personal circumstances. For several years I was paying two standing orders that came to about that, one to a left group, one to a campaigning group. There’s nothing ‘cultish’ about it; if you can afford it, it’s fine. People shouldn’t be guilt-tripped into paying money they don’t have, of course.

The ‘non-Marxist’ parties ask less of their members in general: it’s enough to fill out a form and pay a few quid, you’re not expected to take part in any activity whatsoever. Hyper-activism is unhealthy but so is a completely passive membership; to all intents and purposes the Labour Party is a group of TDs, it has no campaigning profile whatsoever. Radical left parties aren’t going to be receiving any corporate donations so they need their members to contribute a fair bit to keep the organisation going.

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richotto - July 23, 2013

I would’nt say its fair or accurate to characterise the membership of non Leninist parties as “completely passive”. Why not go the whole hog and say braindead? If people hold sincere and strong political beliefs they naturally would tend to put themselves out in a similar way across the board. I understand that if you are working you have to be prepared to stump up a minimum amount per month far above any other parties. I gave an example of Greens at 17eu pa in 2007 (don’t know what they are now) and they could not be seriously accused of dependant on corporate donations. If one falls below the minimum threashold of monthly contribution a prospective member will be refused admittance to the party even though qualified in every other respect and will instead be considered as a supporter and occasional contributor but with no membership rights.
The whole admittance/vetting process of far left parties seems eliteist, top down driven and puts prospective members on the spot where a maximum sub could be extracted. What “members can afford” seems to belong to the world car salesmen and not what democratic parties should be about.

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Ed - July 23, 2013

Well “brain-dead” would appear to be an absolutely fair characterisation of the 95% of Labour members who voted for the current programme for government (that is, of those who participated in the decision-making process). Seriously, do you think Labour or Fine Gael or Fianna Fail offer an edifying example of ‘what democratic parties should be about’? Policy decided upon, not by members, but by little conclaves of party leaders and their unelected, highly-paid advisors, who bend their ear to corporate lobbyists and right-wing journos?

The leadership of social-democratic parties has always done its best to ensure the membership is completely passive, and they’ve now come very close to achieving that goal. For all your talk about car salesman, you’re trying to hawk a dodgy, clapped-out old banger here yourself, and diverting our attention away from what could be an interesting discussion with some more trolling about the radical left.

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2. Jolly Red Giant - July 22, 2013

What a condescending piece of claptrap.

And WbS don’t come along and say that if i don’t agree I should argue against the content – there is nothing in the content that warrants anything more than the above comment.

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pangur ban - July 22, 2013

Regardless of what you think of ph contribution, you seem to be unable to adapt to the culture of this site. Maybe you should just foxtrot Oscar to politics .ie

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Sans-culottes - July 23, 2013

He got banned from p.ie

Doesn’t stop him from commentating using a different username.

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Garibaldy - July 22, 2013

JRG do us all a favour and stop pushing your luck with this sort of thing. It’s always a shame to have to start removing comments or commentators, but it does happen.

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mick wallace fan - July 22, 2013

Dont mind them you have us one step closer to a workers party. good intervention and no way predictable.

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3. Jack Jameson - July 23, 2013

Has the British SWP’s travails had any impact on the Irish SWP or are they sufficiently compartmentalised to avoid this?

Or has this been covered elsewhere on CLR and I’ve missed it?

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pangur ban - July 23, 2013

it has generally had very little coverage.
it may be only a slight exaggeration to say that SWP members are not allowed to use the internet

there are aslo ‘inter;ocking directorships’ between SWP here and the mother ship

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4. workers republic - July 23, 2013

Hi GRG,
Claptrap is not a word used in dialectic argument! Put up an antithesis to Paddy’s thesis.
High pressure recruiting and the selling of theSP paper has been a major feature of the SP involvment in the CAHWT campaign. Instead of campaign stalls ye had ye’r own stalls. Ye claim to be followers of Mark ,forgetting that he condemned this kind of sectarianism, that is the word he used, putting the narrow intetests of the party ( recruitment, elections or whatever) ahead of the interests of the working classes.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 23, 2013

This is utter rubbish – in reality the Socialist Party has been the backbone of the CAHWT – it was driven by the SP and the SP put enormous resources into building the campaign. So what if the Socialist Party sells its paper – we want to spread our ideas – and as for the stalls – in my local area the Socialist Party organised and manned (with others) twice as many CAHWT stalls than it did SP stalls.

If the Socialist Party was solely focussed on narrow party interests then it wouldn’t be organising CAHWT groups to run candidates in areas where the SP would win council seats – it would run argue against CAHWT candidates, run its own candidates and attempt to use the CAHWT members as foot soldiers in the election dropping leaflets and knocking on doors.

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5. Jolly Red Giant - July 23, 2013

I am loathe to waste my time on this nonsense – but what the hell – I’ll take the bait.

Let’s go through it in detail – and I will state from the outset that I am addressing this claptrap (and no matter how you dress it up – that is what it is) from the perspective of a member of the Socialist Party – I am not speaking on behalf of or for anyone except myself.

Following the further development in the crisis of the SWP(UK) and the deepening of the crisis of the Trotskyist left internationally,
I don’t follow the machinations of other groups on the far left – but in terms of the Socialist Party in Ireland and the CWI internationally there is a significant level of growth and increasing influence among the working class. This is particularly the case in South Africa for example where the DSM has trebled its membership, assisted hundreds of thousands of mineworkers in organising strike action and resisted the attacks of the state directly against the DSM and against wider worker and community struggles. Significant advances are also being made in Greece, Nigeria, Brazil and a host of other countries. I would suggest that Paddy is taking the crisis caused by the disgraceful handling of the rape accusations in the SWP in Britain and extrapolating it into a generalised crisis and it is occurring all in his own mind.

The fracture of the Trotskyist movement into multiple factions took place during the second world war, almost 70 years ago. Recently, social democrats including left social democrats have been discredited due to the imposition of austerity policies. Following the fall of the Russian bureaucracy and its satellite bureaucracies, the communist parties barely exist in western countries.
Stating the blindingly obvious

It might be expected that the Trotskyists would now grow rapidly as workers grow angrier by the day. Instead crisis and divisions on the left have deepened all over Europe including in Ireland and the UK.
Why? – just because there is a crisis it does not automatically mean that there will be the rapid growth of the far left. Paddy’s bald statement is mechanical and does not take into account any analysis of the current nature of society in Ireland or internationally, the level and degree of class consciousness, the impact of 25 years of an ideological offensive against socialism by the ruling elites etc. Paddy is adopting a normal and run-of-the-mill attitude of many older former revolutionaries on the left – either become deeply cynical and/or point the finger of blame at the existing far-left groups for their ‘failure’.

Furthermore – the left internationally is going through a fundamental change in orientation and development. The past 30 years has seen the utter degeneration of the former social democratic parties, the collapse of Stalinism and a period of significant economic boom – all of these factors have led to a re-alignment of the left – it is a process that is far from complete and if Paddy studied his history of the development of the labour movement he would be aware that such developments do not proceed in straight lines.

My earlier discussion documents concentrated on systemic political errors and deep-seated misconceptions which underlie these developments. I highlighted the prioritisation of recruitment to the individual sect above all revolutionary tasks in all circumstances. I still hold those views.
And your views are wrong – they are driven by the fact that your dictats and the dictats of the WUAG were not accepted by others in the ULA. This was despite the fact that other elements in the ULA were willing to bend the stick on the relationship of the WUAG with the ULA. The WUAG – driven by Paddy – engineered an exit from the ULA on spurious grounds and then Paddy did the usual finger pointing at everyone else involved,

As for ‘recruitment’ – I make no apology for the Socialist Party recruiting new members – that is part of its task. Maybe Paddy’s failure to recruit people to the LWR over a 20 year period (with the exception of the odd luminary like Alex White) leads him to do a tirade against revolutionary parties attempting to recruit members. The Socialist Party has never, ever prioritised recruitment over the advancement of any campaign or group it has been involved in – that is the case with the CAHWT.

However when a phenomenon persists for many years, the question arises as to whether there is a material basis for it.
Now we come to Paddy’s latest finger pointing exercise

Almost all Trotskyist groups have adopted democratic centralism as an organisational form in accordance with its particular version of the form of organisation which existed in the Bolshevik Party. There is much discussion internationally of which version is the correct one as evidenced in the links below.
The Socialist Party operates a form of democratic centralism. There is no such thing as a ‘correct’ form of democratic centralism – the form of democratic centralism is and should be based on the objective and subjective conditions in existence at any particular time. Over the Past 40 years the Socialist Party has adapted, changed, modified the form and structure of democratic centralism that operates within the party – and it has done so to reflect the conditions faced at any particular time.

I find it increasingly difficult to believe that the continued series of disasters on the left arise mainly from organisational misconceptions and bad practice.
Here we have Paddy’s ‘understanding’ of his perceived ‘series of disasters’ and where they arise from

Let us examine the material position of these groups. From time to time, particularly since the sixties, several groups in the UK and France have had a dues paying membership numerically between 5000 and 10,000—SWP, Militant(now SP) and Workers Revolutionary Party in the UK and OCI/PCI and others in France.
Paddy is now plucking numbers out of thin air

For a membership of 5000 paying on average 50Euro per month, this amounts to 3million euro per year in income and unlike a trade union there is no need to maintain a strike fund!
And is now extrapolating fictitious calculations out of the numbers he plucked from his rear end.

Let’s be clear – the membership numbers are way off base – the subscription numbers are way off base – and Paddy assumes that every member pays up every month on time without ever missing a payment.

It is necessary to invest the annual surplus leading to situations where longstanding organisations own considerable property and investment portfolios.
I will have to get onto Joe Higgins to see where all of these property and investment portfolios are. He has been doing a fantastic job at hiding them for all these years.

It is generally accepted among such groups that many loyal party activists should be appointed as full time officials.
Is that how you operated when you were leading the LWR?

Leaders are commonly in position for decades.
This is a run-of-the-mill dose of nonsense that regularly crops up when some people want of diss on left organisations. I joined the Socialist Party more than 30 years ago. Of the 28 current members of the National Committee two were in leadership positions when I joined – Joe Higgins and (a very young) Mick Barry. In fact I would personally prefer that there were more long-standing members of the NC who would bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to political discussions – but it is not the case.

And as an aside – how long has Paddy and Seamus been leaders of the WUAG?

I am not suggesting that the leaders are “on the take”.
Of course not – it would leave you open to a variety of different actions.

Instead let us contrast the position of full time organiser for the Bolshevik Party in revolutionary Russia and a similar person in the post-war western world. The Bolshevik organiser was in danger of being shot, hanged or imprisoned. In the western world the leaders are in great danger of being sent to international conferences abroad!
Once again – Paddy is taking A and then putting it to B and ending up with something from planet Z.

As an interesting aside – the member of the Socialist Party who has been ‘sent’ to the most international visits is Paul Murphy. He has been to Greece repeatedly during widespread social unrest – to Tunisia during the uprising – to Kazakhstan to support workers massacred by the dictatorship – on a Gaza flotilla and been detained by the Israeli state etc. etc. I understand than he is now banned from entering several countries because of his efforts to support working class movements – but he hasn’t been hanged or shot yet so clearly he doesn’t warrant classification as a full time organiser for the Bolshevik Party

The lifestyle in the west can become pleasant and even exciting. As in trade unions, full time officials have little difficulty in manipulating the rank and file. The exercise of unaccountable power can lead to arrogance and can undermine revolutionary fervour.
Doing a little finger pointing again Paddy –
The replacement of(typically many) departing members with new dues paying recruits becomes a priority over revolutionary tasks. The leaders can become completely divorced from the problems and realities facing actual workers. It is not necessary for such circumstances to lead to the level of abuse prevalent in the WRP for damage and bureaucratic deformation to occur. The leaders, unlike trade union bureaucrats, do not typically become verbally conservative. Indeed, virulent ultra-leftism may be exactly what is required to replenish the supply of young dues paying members in competition with other sects.
It would be madness to send an experienced leader back to work in a factory or office in a revolutionary situation. But when a quiet period continues for 70 years it may be necessary to do so together with the institution of other counterbalancing measures. (The nuns always found it necessary to rotate the position of reverend mother despite assistance from on high in the maintenance of humility!)

Extolling the virtues of a religious sect – love the analogy !!

Many union officials believe they are acting in the interest of workers when clearly they are not. Similarly, left wing leaders can convince themselves that they are acting in a revolutionary way when they are doing the opposite if their personal life style is pleasant, interesting and comfortable.
Now – given that Paddy is attempting to diss on every left leader in the Western world – I think here is an appropriate place to look at Paddy’s career –

From his website –
Former President Teachers Union of Ireland
People could ask what Paddy actually did as President of the TUI – it was only a few years ago – and maybe Paddy could also outline which candidate he supported in the TUI presidential election a couple of years ago, Finn Geaney or Bernie Ruane?

Lecturer in Physics(retd).
You have to love those academics

A member of the Governing Body and of the Academic Council of the DIT.
A member of the Council of Convocation of the National University of Ireland
Served for a number of years on The Higher Education and Research Sub-Committee of Education International.
Represented TUI on the European Trade Union Committee for Education
A member of the international Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD

Don’t you just love the way academics pad their résumé? Looks like there were plenty of opportunities for going to international conferences there Paddy.

The general membership of the sects is typically well meaning, committed and self sacrificing in its majority. Because of the large turn-over in membership many are inexperienced and manipulable.
This is utterly condescending – and probably comes from Paddy’s own attitude to the members of the LWR when he was leading it to oblivion.

The damage now being done by the sects to anti-austerity campaigns and to the emergence of a principled political regroupment requires that the rank and file stand up to the leaders and insist on having new radical reform and control measures installed in their organisations. Rejection of the principle that recruitment to the sect comes before all other tasks in a rapidly developing political situation would strike at the heart of the bureaucratic deformation affecting the sects.
And again – Paddy is lecturing the ‘sects’ – the same finger pointing that he has engaged in since the WUAG left the ULA (and incidentally they were the first group to abandon the ULA – despite the fact that apart from attending Steering Committee meetings they rarely engaged in any ULA work or activity).

Paddy Healy has spent months engaged in a vitriolic campaign of denigration of other far left groups adopting all the normal and expected antics of a true political sectarian. His ‘analysis’ is mechanical and designed not to further any debate on how to advance the cause of the working class. He has engaged in a one man tirade against all and sundry who do not agree with him and he has done so in the most condescending and blame game fashion – and he has done so by attacking others on the left rather than pointing out what he feels should be done – and I suspect that is because he really doesn’t know how to advance the cause of the working class here or internationally. If Paddy or anyone else want to present a comprehensive, thought-out and well argued piece on the current state of the left and how to grow support for socialism (without the vitriolic sectarianism) then I will happily engage.

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richotto - July 23, 2013

“…does not take into account any analysis of the current nature of society in Ireland or internationally, the level and degree of class consciousness, the impact of 25 years of an ideological offensive against socialism by the ruling elites etc.”

One powerful contributer to the weakness of the left in Europe is relatively uncontrolled mass immigration and its effects in the labour market and conditions of indigineous the working class. Labour parties led by middle class types have been seen by working class people detrimentally affected by mass immigration as one of the main advocates of intake of foreign workers. Such a significant proportion have transferred their votes seemingly permanantly to nationalistic right wing parties of various shades for this reason alone that its not hard to name quickly several governments that are as a result run by centre right and not centre left parties.

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Ed - July 24, 2013

Do you ever get bored with this tedious concern trolling? ‘If the left wants to progress, it needs to spend its time denouncing public-sector workers / immigrants / demonised group of your choice’? Here’s an idea, why don’t we just let the right-wing press write the programme of left parties? Hang on, that’s exactly what they did in Britain, years spend pandering to the Murdoch press and the Daily Mail and they lost 5 million working-class votes. Brilliant plan, worked just fine.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 24, 2013

Best to ignore him, Ed. He is a ‘socialist’ who is anti-choice, anti-immigrant, pro wage cuts and the property tax (but remarkably coy about income tax increases), and is convinced that workers in the public sector are a ‘manopoly’ [sic].

In short, he’s a troll and has to resort to making more and more outrageous statements because people refuse to be baited by him.

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richotto - July 24, 2013

This is just simple abuse and an attempt to censor like latter day archbishops proclaiming what is beyond the pale. Anything I have said is accompanied by relevant arguments and facts from the point of view of the least well off in society.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 24, 2013

an attempt to censor like latter day archbishops proclaiming what is beyond the pale.

I cannot prevent you from posting this nonsense. I am not preventing you from this nonsense. I can, however, criticise it for being nonsense. This is the very essence of free speech. You need to familiarise yourself with the concept of censorship.

Anything I have said is accompanied by relevant arguments and facts from the point of view of the least well off in society.

This is the dubious claim you have made to date. In any event, everything I have said above is supported by the content of your previous posts here. Are you denying that?

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Ed - July 24, 2013

From the point of the view of the Sunday Independent, you mean.

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pangur ban - July 23, 2013

JRG
You seem to be trying to engage in grown up debate but you really must try harder
Given the juvenile tone of much of your comments if you joined the sp 28 years ago you must have done so st the age of minus twelve.
That being said there are those who when reading of paddy Healy denouncing left sectarianism would respond ‘pot kettle black’
What matters is not the characteristics of the person making the analysis, but the nature of the analysis itself

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Jolly Red Giant - July 24, 2013

The problem PB is that there is no ‘analysis’ – there is nothing more than a sectarian rant against all and sundry that Paddy Healy blames for all the ills of the world.

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6. Roy Ratcliffe - July 23, 2013

I agree with the substance of Paddy’s analysis and concerns. Indeed, the Trotskyist and Leninist sectarianism prevalent in the 20th and 21st centuries was also endemic in a different form in the 19th. Marx and Engels encountered it sufficiently embedded to criticise it frequently. Leninism has also become for some more like a belief system that refuses to examine the reality that underpins it. The articles ; ‘Anti-capitalist sectarianism parts 1, 2 and 3’ ; ‘Marxism versus Marx’ ; ‘The Revolutionary Party’ are just a few of the articles on my blog at http://www.critical-mass.net which consider this and other problems facing revolutionary anti-capitalists.
Regards, Roy

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Bob Smiles - July 23, 2013

Did the WUAG argue against the ULA having a policy on raising corporation tax? Was that not opportunism? Is retrospective support for the IRA part of the WUAG programme? And what did the LWR do right that the SP and SWP are doing wrong?

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7. Paddy Healy - July 24, 2013

My intention in producing my recent documents, including the current comment, is to facilitate a remedy to the problem of the, at best, totally inadequate response of the Trotskyist left to the current political and economic crisis in Ireland and at a European level. I fully accept that the majority of members of SP and SWP are well intentioned. In this I include some very prominent members whom I hold in high regard.
My contention that there is a deepening crisis on the left is shared by large numbers of activists at home and abroad including many former members of Trotskyist organisations and international currents. To take but one small example among very many, a former leading member of CWI(to which SP is affiliated) Roger Silverman, addressed a meeting called by Workers International Network in Dublin last January which was attended by several former members of SP.
It is not, of course, my contention that I or organisations with which I have had an involvement never made any mistake and I have no difficulty dealing with such matters in an appropriate forum. However I am not prepared to let such matters be used divert this current important discussion into cul de sacs.
Hence,I will not be trading allegations or involving myself in diatribes with JRG. JRG employs a tactic beloved of politicians and trade union bureaucrats who wish to deflect discussion. That is denying allegations not made. It is important that I correct one matter lest it be used to poison discussion.
JRG says: “I will have to get onto Joe Higgins to see where all of these property and investment portfolios are. He has been doing a fantastic job at hiding them for all these years.” It is clear even from the extracts that JRG quotes from my comment that I never suggested that the local SP here in Ireland had such investments. I was referring to organisations which have had memberships around 5,000 or more. These are typically in the UK and France and are the anchor sections of international tendencies. It is, of course, necessary for revolutionary organisations to accumulate resources as it is to have a dues paying membership. I have never said that there was anything wrong with such practices IN THEMSELVES.
The key point is whether special counterbalancing measures are necessary in imperialist countries to counteract tendencies towards bureaucratic deformation of left wing organisations resulting in continued systemically incorrect and damaging strategies and policies.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 24, 2013

Paddy – You are the one asserting that there is a crisis in the Trotskyist left – I would accept that there is a crisis in the SWP (specifically in Britain – but it has spread further afield) as a result of disgraceful behaviour over rape allegations and I know the IMT have suffered a series of splits over their continued entryism into the former social democratic parties – but I utterly refute any assertion by you that the Socialist Party and the wider CWI is ‘in crisis’. I do not and have not claimed to speak for any other group. Neither I nor the Socialist Party/ CWI have any control over the various strategies and developments of other groups on the Trotskyist left – and will not accept responsibility for what they do. You speak of a meeting with Roger Silverman in Dublin – Silverman left the CWI 20 years ago – and fair dues to him that he is still active. However, just because his meeting in Dublin attracted a number of former members of the CWI (there are quite a few out there). The meeting was of little relevence to the CWI. Roger Silverman left because he had criticisms of the CWI (he is not the first and I doubt he will be the last) – I don’t agree with his criticisms and just because he and a few others had a meeting is not any indication of any ‘crisis’ within the CWI.

Furthermore – with the exception of possibly the English section of the CWI (who I think may own the building where they operate their printing press from) there is no section of the CWI anywhere that owns property and there are no ‘investment portfolios’. I have no idea what others do or don’t do. And by the way – there is no such thing as an ‘anchor section’ in the CWI – there are three, if not four sections of the CWI that are of roughly similar size and some of the smaller sections have far more political influence than many of the larger sections have.

The problem with your analysis is that you take a wide and varied selection of Trotskyist groups and lump them all into one blob and then condemn them all as one. I am quite willing to debate and defend any criticisms that you have of the CWI or its constituent sections – but if you simply lump the CWI in with other groups who have a widely diverse political positions many of which that are diametrically opposed to the political stand of the CWI then I have to respond in kind. Furthermore – if you are going to engage in criticism of any group then you should expect criticism of your political positions. I specifically addressed all of the points you raised – you chose to ignore them.

I reject your assertion that the Socialist Party has engaged in continued systemically incorrect and damaging strategies and policies and would actually assert that the WUAG are an organisation that is following an incorrect and damaging strategy in – bending to media hype on a whole host of issues – in running from the ULA when it got the first opportunity etc etc – that you in particular have engaged in writing a series of politically sectarian attacks that have very limited theoretical and political vaule and that rather looking critically at the political positions and direction of the WUAG, you have engaged in finger-pointing at other groups on the left.

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Paddy Healy - July 25, 2013

No Crisis in SP in Ireland ???????????????????????

“On Sunday July 7 an aggregate meeting of the Socialist Party (Committee for a Workers’ International Ireland) was held in Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin to discuss the resignation of four comrades.
Notably these comrades had individually emailed letters of resignation to the party staff. Moreover those resigning had occupied positions of considerable importance: Jimmy Dignam had worked in Joe Higgins’ office in parliament; Richard O’Hara had been branch secretary in the Swords branch in north Dublin during the Clare Daly debacle which dogged the SP throughout the second half of last year and worked full-time in parliament; Andrew Phelan had been involved in forming the independent Fightback group in the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (outside party stricture); and Megan Ní Ghabhláin had similarly been involved in organising a militant opposition to Croke Park 21 in the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, which is one of the two largest teachers’ unions in Ireland. Hence their resignations could not pass without mention.”
SEE NEW THREAD

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pangur ban - July 25, 2013

I think it was the late Brian lenihans who said at the time of the arms trial
‘Crisis ? What crisis?’

By the way paddy why don’t you share your analysis with the broader range of people you regularly email?

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8. http://gjshow.com - April 14, 2014

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9. Bettye - May 21, 2014

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10. Ramiro - December 19, 2015

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