It was the experience of being part of the opposition that kept many of us as members. We were energised by the comradely spirit, inspired by the debate and discussion, welcomed as people who could make valuable contributions regardless of length of time spent in the party. It felt like an organisation we wanted to be part of.
The current leadership's handling of an allegation of rape was a catalyst in bringing to the surface questions comrades had; questions of oppression, the strategy around our student work, what the working class looks like today, the issue of left re-alignment and electoral work, the internal democratic life of the party. All of these questions and so many more were being debated as if for the first time. Why after five years of the worst recession in 80 years, we asked, has the anti-austerity work stalled so badly? Yet those horizontal lines of communication which had developed – buzzing with creativity, energy, and political insight - disappeared once the faction dissolved.
For those of us in branches neither based in London or with the ear of a comrade in the know, the result was isolation. Many of us felt as though we couldn’t return to our branches, where CC loyalists fulminated with indignation and resentment. The space available for discussion and debate inevitably closed and we are left with a choice of wait in silence or quietly leave the organisation. We intend to do neither.
A culture of dogmatism and defensiveness has presided over the organisation in recent times; they are no tools for revolutionary Marxists who must look hard reality in the face. In order to think through the faultlines of the crisis in the party, we are opening up a space to begin to re-conceive the possibilities of revolutionary organisation true to the name of tribune of the oppressed.
The aim of this blog is simple, to provide a space where comrades can explore and discuss the range of issues with which we are now faced. The questions that were raised in the opposition need to be answered. What can we learn from contemporary feminism? What is our strategy for building rank and file groups? What should a revolutionary organisation look like?
Over the next few weeks we will be posting pieces on a number of issues. We make an appeal for contributions from people who consider themselves members of the International Socialist tradition, of any length, on any topic. Please send your submissions to the email address below; If you prefer us not to use your name then please add a pseudonym for us to use.
This blog doesn't proclaim to hold answers to the questions raised but we hope that by opening up the debate to comrades across the country, we get closer to answering them. We hope to inspire comrades to write and take these ideas to their branches to form a party-wide debate.
We have wasted too much time on the promise that something would be done. The severity of the crisis dictates that silence is not an option. We deeply value the International Socialist tradition, a tradition that lives and breathes, that constantly develops, that learns from both theory and practice. This blog upholds that tradition.