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Not your usual Spreadsheet April 28, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Came across this on Twitter

I’ve downloaded the spreadsheet and uploaded it here.
Trotskyist Membership spreadsheet

Quite interesting to see the membership numbers from the various groups in the UK

Comments»

1. EWI - April 28, 2020

The RCP/Spiked!/Institute of Ideas gang had 380 members? Finding out how many infiltrated the UK media might be interesting.

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2. EWI - April 28, 2020

At first glance, I don’t see the CPGB. Am I missing them under a different heading?

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WorldbyStorm - April 28, 2020

Not Trotskyist.

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WorldbyStorm - April 28, 2020

Red Action surely lasted longer than the mid 80s.

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EWI - May 24, 2020

Duh, yes. Serves me right not to read ahead.

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3. sonofstan - April 28, 2020

If the RCG has no members who’s been postering Leeds recently in their name? False flag stuff?

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Ed - May 23, 2020

Most likely reason is that the compiler didn’t consider the RCG Trotskyist after 1976 as it moved away from and disavowed Trotskyism rather than it disappeared. Same with Red Action.

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WorldbyStorm - May 23, 2020

Did it actually disavow Trotskyism as such or did it just let it slip away?

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4. another - May 23, 2020

Have to admit that back in the day the RCP paper was great!,the layout,journalism,content the look…even some of the members you could actually talk with…id like to say it but id get into trouble the problem with Trotskyist(s) is like well you know…

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5. Krondstatbusperson - May 23, 2020

so erm….whos stolen all the cigarette papers? it seems are history and roots are slipping away,its got to be said as far as situationism is concerned any capitalist structure you like some body somewhere has them scanned in or rotting away on kremlin shelves!!!!!

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6. Krondstatbusperson - May 23, 2020

so whats the next step anyway?

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7. GearóidGaillimh - May 24, 2020

Why did SWP membership decline so much after 1998? I am surprised it didn’t decline more after 2013.

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sonofstan - May 24, 2020

“Why did SWP membership decline so much after 1998?”

The Blair government and the advent of real existing socialism rendered them redundant?

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8. roddy - May 24, 2020

Any ideas why “Trotskyite” groups ,even those with parliamentary representation have such a low party membership?

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Colm B - May 24, 2020

I’d hazard a guess Roddy, that it might be due to two factors:

1 The high demands on members time, much more so than “normal” parties. This leads to burnout and high turnover.

2 The crude/dogmatic nature of the ideology/ politics of some, if not most groups – attractive to the young but conversely likely to lead to many drifting away as they grow older and they are not satisfied with the simplicities of a toy-town version of Marxism.

3 Ironically when these organisations mature or split, the new or reformed organisations don’t tend to grow because they lose the recruitment mania or just merge into broader radical left.

Btw Trotskyism has produced serious Marxist thinkers such as Bensaid, Lowy etc. whose work is recognised as of serious value beyond the narrow world of Trotskyism. Another example would my friend Neil Davidson, who sadly passed away recently, he was one of Marxism’s great historians as well as being a dedicated trade unionist and socialist activist.

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WorldbyStorm - May 24, 2020

3 Ironically when these organisations mature or split, the new or reformed organisations don’t tend to grow because they lose the recruitment mania or just merge into broader radical left.

Yes, definitely think this is a key factor (along with the others you mention). One real curiosity of the present situation is that in ireland we have multiple waves from certain parties leaving them and either establishing others or whatever and yet it’s a dynamic that is underconsidered. I don’t mean that in the sense of knocking those parties rather in the sense of considering how, why and why hasn’t this stopped.

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WorldbyStorm - May 24, 2020

+1 re Trotskyism producing solid thinkers on Marxism. I’m not a Trotskyist myself but some of those who I’ve come to know in the past two decades who I’d rate very highly as activists and just general people on the left come from or remain within that tradition. I find that particularly amongst those who have left there’s a commonality of approach (and scepticism) while still rooted on the left/further left with many of us who would have come from and been critical of and in many cases left the ‘orthodox’ Marxist camp(s).

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Colm B - May 24, 2020

Yes definitely there is a sort of convergence in the space between the various orthodoxies, what we used to call non- dogmatic Marxism in the ISN.

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Alibaba - May 24, 2020

I agree with the two factors you indicated and I say that as a Trotskyist-inspired activist, albeit a retired one committed to engaging with solidarity actions nowadays. I still wonder if the smalless in group numbers is a function of how ossified the Irish far left has been and the fact that some Trotskyist groups here have been dominated by leading individuals who devoted their lives to building their sects and would brook no challenge to their control (and even dissent on occasion) although, although, although that could be said of other political groups too. Still, the smallness of the Irish population magnifies that effect. 

In addition, when politics doesn’t interconnect with everyday life as it did in a dreadful way in Northern Ireland, you don’t tend to build the numbers in the Republic in quite the same way and are quicker to give it up. 

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Michael Carley - May 25, 2020

I think it also matters that there is an alternative radical tradition to reach into (by the measure of violent conflict, more “radical”: there were no deaths in the October Revolution, by contrast with 1916) and those organizations were on the ground and usable by activists who wanted to take action on the issues which elsewhere would have been taken up by a Communist or other radical left group.

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WorldbyStorm - May 25, 2020

That’s key, re alternative radical tradition. But in a way isn’t the same true of the UK. The labour/union tradition – well shy of Marxism, was there to be dipped into and mopped up people who elsewhere would have gone further left. On the continent that’s not always true since CPs had more weight as in Italy, Spain, etc. And then there’s other issues – one thing that I’m fascinated by is the way in which elites (aristocracies and so forth) adapted or not in the 19th and 20th C. In Britain one could argue they did from their perspective rather well. Spain absolutely abysmally. Germany… well, not great but they survived on some levels. Etc.

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9. Daniel Rayner O'Connor - May 25, 2020

Actually, Ali, proceeding from a similar perspective (old Trot, but not quite retired), I would say that the personalia that bedevils the Irish movement was imported partly from Britain, where such caudillismo has been a feature of the left since a time when what passed for leftism in Ireland was to be found only in the CP..
To explain our failure, it is necessary to go beyond these islands. Trotsky’s defeat and the subsequent marginalisation of his movement made its members the more desperate to find a way forward. Issues that might have been resolved in larger organisations were blown out of proportion. Yes, they were important but not important enough to cause splits. To condense a bit, the result was that when the SU imploded it was an already powerful right that triumphed big time. If you want to see the results, look around you. More than ever, the choice before humanity is between socialism and barbarism ( and extermination). A united socialist front is needed, but beyond this is the need for a new international Communist Party, based on the recognition that the working people will not take state power through parliamentary manoeuvres and that such state power can only become Socialism internationally.

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EWI - May 25, 2020

A united socialist front is needed, but beyond this is the need for a new international Communist Party, based on the recognition that the working people will not take state power through parliamentary manoeuvres and that such state power can only become Socialism internationally.

It seems to me that even the word ‘socialist’ has become toxic and counter-productive, particularly given its’ enemies command of the mass media (and of most of the academy). Time to take a leaf out of the other side’s playbook and go for rebrand and rebirth?

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WorldbyStorm - May 25, 2020

Mixed feelings about that but the term communist does seem freighted with real issues that can cause problems more widely. Socialist less so.

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Joe - May 25, 2020

I wondered about the utility of the word ‘socialism’ when I was last slightly active – in the noughties with the ISN.
But heartened I am by SoS’s statement on another recent thread on here that lots of the young crowd he works with talk to him positively and, I think, committedly, about socialism.
Thanks to Corbyn.
And young and not so young people in the USA seem to be calling themselves socialist too these days and increasingly that’s seen as normal.
It’s the coming thing, hopefully.

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10. roddy - May 25, 2020

The thing is if you said “vote for me I’m a communist “,people would run a mile.However if you said “vote for me I’m a socialist”,nobody would bat an eyelid.The word “communist” conjurs up images of Stalinist repression and I say this as someone who marched alongside the CPI on many occasions and consider them allies on many issues.

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WorldbyStorm - May 25, 2020

Agree roddy

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - May 25, 2020

We should not argue about the name, tho’ I am inclined on this matter to agree with Sean O’Casey who insisted that the term socialism was something of cop out. But then he thought that Lady Astor and Harold MacMillan were really Communists). If the term ‘Socialism’ wins people, the important thing is to see that the programme is Communist.
Just lets avoid the words ‘Social Democracy’. Okay?

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