Saturday, January 25, 2003
The socialist Left is and has been for decades split and bitterly divided. There are good historical reasons for this and real political differences. But there are also artificially magnified hatreds and deeply grooved, knee-jerk, reactions often based on events that took place decades before, with little or no consideration that an organization’s membership and even programmatic perspective may have changed. We tend to ignore or dismiss each other out of hand without ever or just rarely tuning in. The fact is that left and revolutionary socialists disagree with each other on only a handful of issues and many if not most of these perceived differences are tactical and secondary in nature and not principled ones.
We stand on the eve of tremendous social and political upheaval. The world’s ruling classes are not as strong as they pretend. There are deep divisions and signs of worried apprehension about the fate of their system. The masses of the world itch for revolution. Even in this bastion of imperialism, ever deeper layers of the population are becoming angered and fed up as their lives disintegrate. There are mammoth opportunities for socialists just around the corner, including what has already become a mass anti-war movement.
In this context it is time to dramatically speed up the pace of efforts toward regroupment and unified front cooperation among left and revolutionary socialists. To not thus put aside our customary sectarian and ingrown, inbred rivalries, constitutes a betrayal of our historic duties and mission. We must find ways to work together, not ignoring our real differences, but casting out our contrived and exaggerated ones and emphasizing our commonality.
To this end the Socialist Party of Michigan calls for and proposes:
- The formation of a Socialist “roundtable” where representatives of all groups and tendencies will come together to discuss possible avenues of mutual effort.
- Included can be seminars and conferences to discuss and debate political questions, although this by far is not the most important area of interaction.
- The formation of a permanent united caucus of left and revolutionary socialists, set up to facilitate intervention into existing and upcoming movements, union and strike struggles, peoples’ organizations, etc.
- The eventual building of a united electoral entity (something like, but not limited to the nature of the Peace and Freedom Party of California) where all socialist groups would have proportional representation in the selection of candidates for public office, all groups agreeing on a basic set of principles, but also free to run and campaign on the basis of their own program. This tactical concession to reality would allow us to pool our efforts and labors for going through the arduous task of petitioning to get on the ballot under an actual party label rather than each group struggling to do so on their own, something none of us are able to do at the present. Some socialist groups will, of course, reject this approach and opt for other or no electoral action.