Platform proposal #2

“The ACI is a network that enables anti-capitalist activists to debate current political issues. Where possible it aims to unite these activists to fight for against capitalism, for the interests of working people, the unemployed and the oppressed”.

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  1. billj
    October 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm · Reply

    I’m the author of the above. Just to add a little motivation. I think we need to be clear where we’re at. The ACI has maybe three active groups, London, Sussex and Manchester and a few other supporters scattered about. Those groups are very mixed – something that should be encouraged, but it should be up to the actual participants in local groups to determine policy. We need to have these debates out over an extended period among ourselves.
    In addition I think Simon’s draft is too vague on some things, has left a lot out, and has included stuff I don’t agree with.
    Its too much and too prescriptive.

  2. Barry Biddulph
    November 1, 2012 at 10:12 am · Reply

    I agree that Simon’s draft to too vague in parts,but it is only a draft. But we do need a political platform,framework, principles, or a where we stand kind of policy statement on which to unite. Unless we have some political shape and character we will have no cutting edge or focus for intervention.

    Bill does not even bother to attempt to specify what the current political issues are;so not only do we not even know where we are,we have no any inkling of where we want to go.

    On stuff Bill does not agree with. Well we should not expect total agreement or conformity with every dot and comma. General agreement and some disagreement is fine. we can tolerate and debate differences within a common framework or background.

    On Simon’s policy proposals I don’t agree with the words on trade unions. The phrase our unions implies they are ours or can be made ours, as if the trade union bureaucracy did not exist or could be removed altogether.

    Even in the long run I don’t think trade unions can be democratised or controlled by the grass roots given their nature in negotiating the terms of exploitation and the extent of their integration into the state/capitalism.

    Surely what we need is a network of rank and file activists within and across union structures, which can act independently of the bureaucracy and link up with resistance outside trade Unions,rather than the decades long attempt to transform the trade unions into something they are not.

  3. Luke Cooper
    November 3, 2012 at 9:51 am · Reply

    Hi all,

    Here is a report from Ishan on the consensus of a recent Brighton New Left Initiative meeting on the ACI.

    Cheers,

    Luke

    ***

    Many thanks to everyone who attended yesterday’s productive meeting. We discussed a few issues regarding the future of both the Brighton New Left Initiative and the Anticapitalist Initiative, with regard to the forthcoming policy conference on December 2nd. The consensus from the Brighton group is to retain the current autonomous status of local groups, but to organise national working groups on a number of issues through which people from all the group around the country can participate. Two such groups suggested were 1) Debt and Finance and 2) Culture, Arts and Media.

    We also discussed the idea of setting up a ’10-point’ programme for the ACI to give the organization some direction and unique character. We welcome suggestions and ideas about putting this programme together, something th
    at is likely to be a prominent issue at the December conference.

    Overall, the Brighton group reject the idea of forming a political party, with many participants expressing the fact that the reason why they wanted to join the Brighton New Left Initiative was to avoid the over-determined ideological/policy platoforms of established political parties.

    We want to move towards a qualitatively different form of political organization, and by keeping the autonomous structure, local groups can be more involved in the particular conditions of the areas they are working in, rather than have to take on national directives. In the future this may include things like community teaching programmes and sports/arts/culture-based initiatives to involve groups of people marginalised by the state and ignored by current Left organizations.

    Working groups would be nationally organised, providing support to local groups, and can begin to formulate new ideas for practical action.

  4. billj
    November 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm · Reply

    Its pretty straightforward. The reason I do not “specify” the current issues that the ACI will debate is that these will change over time. What’s more – its not for me to “specify” them – local groups can decide what they think’s important.
    Simon’s draft is a combination of tactical detail and the ad hoc absence of principal. More to the point its wrong for this meeting to determine what will be the tactical line of all its components.
    The Brighton consensus is closer to mine. Sure it wants a ten point charter but why not 13, 8, or 42? If you don’t say what the content of the charter is you can’t identify how many points it should have. Again its all the wrong way round. This needs to be built from the base up.
    You either want to build a different tradition or you don’t.

  5. November 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm · Reply

    Can you have party where local groups remain their autonomy? I would say yes. We’re clearly not going to launch a party on December 1, that is something I think we should be building towards with other forces. However, we should be prepared to have a national coordinating group where representatives of the local groups decide on national priorities, campaigns etc in between national supporter meetings. That doesn’t have to conflict with local campaigns or meetings.

    What would be the content of the proposed 10-point programme?

  6. billj
    November 5, 2012 at 10:05 am · Reply

    I’m fine with a national co-ordinating group. Local groups should send their representatives to a national group where necessary, its the only way to ensure that the leadership is accountable to the base.
    We should definitely not “elect/select” a “leadership” at the national meeting. That way there is no body to recall them. Its standard left practice and the means by which the leaders ensure that they cannot be recalled.
    I’m not against having principles either. I did try and write an alternative platform to Simon’s. But after talking it over with comrades I took the view that this was all too premature, that we needed a much more thorough discussion before adopting a minimum basis. Hence my holding position above.

  7. billj
    November 8, 2012 at 9:00 am · Reply

    For information purposes here’s the longer draft I had put together, but after discussion was reduced to the first paragraph.

    What is the Anti-Capitalist Initiative (ACI)?
    The ACI is a network that enables anti-capitalist activists to debate current political issues and where possible unites them to fight against capitalism, for the interests of working people, the unemployed and the oppressed.
    Political Alternative
    Every class struggle is a political struggle, including of the capitalists against the mass of ordinary working people. We aim to develop political alternatives to their world. These alternatives are based around five key areas of principle;
    1) Internationalism
    We support the Arab revolutions. We oppose imperialism wars and occupations, including Afghanistan. In Palestine we oppose the Israeli law of return that racially discriminates against Arab people. We want international solutions to the degradation of the environment based on need not profit.
    2) Working class
    The working class is the only class with the interest and power to end capitalism. We aim to convince working people that their individual struggles needed to be united against the capitalists as a whole. Just as the capitalists are united against us. We believe that the struggle for anti-capitalist ideas inside the labour movement is essential to change the world.
    3) From below
    The act of our emancipation must be the self action of working people and the oppressed voluntarily taken themselves. We fight for freedom of debate, discussion and decision in every struggle of working people and the oppressed.
    4) Against oppression
    We oppose all social oppression whether on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation or disability/ability.
    5) Anti-capitalism
    We do not believe that capitalism a system based on profit before that exploits and oppresses working people, can ever fulfil the needs of the working people it exploits and oppresses. We are against capitalism. We want its overthrow and replacement by a social system based on the principle of from everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need.

    On organisation I think we should simply say;

    The ACI is a network of autonomous groups. Each group will determine its own constitution in line with our agreed objectives and collect subs from its participants as it sees fit. A co-ordination made up of representatives of these groups will meet when necessary. The website and publications will be managed by nominated representatives of these groups.

    • November 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm · Reply

      I like the suggestions on workers democracy from below in Billj’s political alternative platform. Given the profound lack of it in the History of Stalinism /social democracy and the cult of Democratic Centralism, the words in point 3, or similar words should be included in the political platform.

      The problem with Billj’s section 2 is that the correct emphasis on working class, in the widest sense, is then reduced to a narrow notion of Labour Movement which in Britain is closely associated with the Labour party and the trade unions.

      Since the trade unions and the parliamentary Labour Party have failed to effectively oppose capitalist austerity and the Labour Party is cutting jobs and services with gusto,in Sheffield and other places, this traditional emphasis seems misplaced.

      By their very nature today Trade Unions and the Bureaucracy(still very much in charge) are ultimately not anti capitalist. They stand for the best deal in Capitalism. As the pension dispute showed, for a capitalism in crisis, the best deal is often nothing or very little.

      Also Trade Union roots and membership, particularly in the private sector,have withered and shrunk. So resistance has and will arise outside Labour movement channels. surely we have to relate to this rather than simply repeat the decades long attempt to win the Trade Unions and Labour Party to socialist ideas.

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