The Socialist Unity Network

I, Robot?
..a reply to a reply to a reply to a critique...

Ben Drake

I agree with Mike that life's too short for internecine combat and also I fear boring the pants off everyone, so just a brief rejoinder if I may:

Clearly we ain't going to agree about the benign/malign influence of the SWP in campaigns, or whether we have acted democratically.  Let history be the referee, or Perluigi Collina if available.

But there are a couple of points I have to take issue with. First, why do you think SWP members are fibbing when we cite our own experiences?  Contrary to popular myth, we don't join as blank clones into which is implanted The Party Line.  We are in fact just like real people, in that our ideas develop from what we've seen and done.  It's just that the ideas we've arrived at are such that they led us to join the SWP.

And the fact that we usually stick to our position in debates isn't evidence that we're failing to engage.  It is possible to listen, understand and disagree all at the same time!

On a heavier note, can I ask that you clarify your comments on finances in the Socialist Alliance?  I don't think you meant to imply fraud or dodgy dealings, rather what you felt were formally incorrect procedures.  But people might mistakenly read in darker implications, especially as this is a public access website.

Finally, I'm glad I was wrong about your view of the Stop the War campaign. It's only fair you're aware that some do cite your essay as evidence for the 'didn't try hard enough' position.  But any road up, the most important thing is we all continue to campaign and co-operate where we can in campaigning.

To that end, can I urge all SUN readers (!) to start collecting signatures on the national petition for the immediate withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq, launched by the Stop the War Coalition in support of the campaign by the family of Gordon Gentle, a 19-year-old soldier from Glasgow who was killed in June: (or you can currently go to this from the Socialist Unity Front Page)


September 2004


Previously in this thread

Mike Marqusee's Signs of the Times article

Ben Drake's original article in reply

Mike Marqusee's response


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