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Left sectarianism, the SP and the ULA

category international | anti-capitalism | opinion/analysis author Thursday August 16, 2012 00:13author by john throne - Facts For Working peopleauthor email loughfinn at aol dot com Report this post to the editors

Left sectarianism is endemic in the left groups and damaging to the workers movement.

Left sectarianism is putting the interests of the left group in front of the interests of the workers movement. It seriously damages the struggle of the working class. The struggle to eradicate this scourge.

I see the SP puts forward a dual task approach, that is building a revolutionary nucleus and at the same time building a mass workers' party. I am inclined to agree with this. But But like all ideas it is a question of how it is applied.

In Ireland we have the ULA. I think there are about five or six groupings in this. As far as I know they all in one way or another subscribe to being revolutionary socialist. Maybe some a bit more than others. But all are in this direction. For me the idea would be to try and bring these groupings closer together to try and develop the ULA as a revolutionary socialist nucleus. What is the main obstacle to this. There can be issues of program, there can be issues of perspectives. These should be discussed in a comradely and open fashion. But there also is the issue of left sectarianism.

Left sectarianism I see as left groups putting what they see as their own immediate interests ahead of the interests of the movement. Did the SP prepare for the picket for their Pussy Riot protest by approaching all the other groups in the ULA and trying to get a joint action? This would have been the non left sectarian way to do this. It would have brought the ULA together to a greater degree and strengthened trust. Or did the SP just go off on their own and organize a picket so they would get the publicity out of it for themselves? I would like if the CWI Comrades on this list could inform us on this.

I was in Ireland some years ago for a visit. Joe Higgins as far as i remember was just getting out of prison. The SP held a meeting for him and it was very big. But it was an SP event. I suggested that this was a great opportunity to hold this meeting, yes with Joe Higgins the main speaker but invite speakers from all the other left and activist groups also. The idea being to have the largest turnout for the cause and also to prove that the SP was no longer left sectarian. But most of all and this is the best way to put it, to openly explain at this meeting that the SP like all left groups had been left sectarian in the past, but that It was now breaking from this and it was inviting all other left groups to join with it in the fight against left sectarianism. This would have been the way to do it.

The irony in the approach of the SP and all the left groups which practice left sectarianism, and I did myself in the past, is that it is not only not in the interests of the movement but it is not in their own interests either. In Ireland there are thousands of activists and potential activists who would join a revolutionary group if they could be assured that it was not a left sectarian outfit. Such an approach as i suggest would not only be in the interests of the movement but in the interests of the SP and in the interests of moving forward to bring together all the groups that see themselves as revolutionary socialist into one force. We should invite all the members of all the left groups to take up the fight against left sectarianism in their own groups. Possibly set up an anti left sectarian current in which all from whatever group or none could be active. hold conferences seminars on this issue.

Then there is the wider movement. What about the Labor Party. It is an organization that is helping the capitalists in Ireland and internationally loot the country. This has to be said openly. But the LP does get votes and has support still, I think more votes than the ULA. Are there any cracks appearing in this party. Are there any cracks appearing in the trade unions or between the trade unions and the party. I do not know. If there are or if we think this would be possible then the increasingly united ULA could put forward a united front approach calling on all union and labor party members who oppose the cuts to join them. But it would have to be on the basis of opposing all cuts and taking on the bankers and governments capitalist offensive. Such a united front approach would be much more effective if the ULA which was making it was unified and was putting its left sectarianism behind it.

John Throne

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