I managed not to laugh when the Leninist said – straight-faced – that there was a difference between “top-down” and “democratic socialism.”
I managed not to howl with mirth when she explained that Lenin had to abolish the soviets (workers assemblies) because the revolution hadn’t happened in Germany (lazy old Rosa Lux!) and the UK (unreliable Glaswegian ship-builders!).
I managed not…
But if we are talking about management, well, there’s no going past the SWP, is there?
Different, I’m told, from that useless talking shop the People’s Assembly (splitters!)
Democratic, I’m told, because comrades are elected to the Central Committee by the conference every year.
Full of… new members. It’s fresher’s fayre, after all.
I asked how many of those new members would still be involved in a year’s time. (How many would have stayed the course after the predictable barrages of emails, escalating emotional blackmail to attend this march or sell that newspaper – I put it more diplomatically than this).
I got back: “well, which party are you in?” When I tried to point out that wasn’t actually the point, I got back “well, what would you do about the English Defence League?” I smiled (not snarled, smiled. Well, I may have smirked), got up and “made my excuses and left.”
It is ever thus. And it is not just the ideologues who change the subject when something uncomfortable is brought up. Just last Friday someone berated me for banging on about cancelled elections to a local climate body. I should, I was advised, spend my time writing about the Bad Guys – Cuadrilla and all that crowd Asking questions that “allies” find awkward -simple questions about, um, democracy and performance – is clearly unacceptable, double-plus ungood.
I keep thinking that it is a morally vacuous stance to denounce enemies about which whom we can do little.
I keep thinking that when people change the subject they are scared, and know that they are on very shaky ground morally or factually.
I keep thinking that if we sit in the smugosphere for much longer, we and our “civilisation” will rot.
I should not keep thinking, since it seems to piss people off.
* For the record, I follow Marx’s line – I’d never be a member of a club that would have me as a member.