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Thursday, 15 October 2020

Boxing Matches...

A facebook friend has been talking about labels other political folk place on him. Its been something I've been thinking about (also in the context of how people... And in particular men, obsess, or have almost /quasi religious experiences of things that become obsessions).
I've always been obsessed with fairness. And I've been obsessed with how people decide on dogma/systemic beliefs/groups to join. Like many, my obsession for a better world became almost religious... A kind of Saul Damascus Paul thing, where rather than travel the roads of Asia Minor to preach, I sold papers, organised political activity, debated and organised political campaigns and campaigning groups.

I've always understood that society needs to change - we need a fair world both economically and democratically. And until I was in my thirties, I felt the way to help achieve this was through uniting with others to campaign. I didnt join political parties until I was in my thirties (and because of the fervent religious sectarianism I saw growing up in Northern Ireland, I studiously avoided joining any of the multitude of tail chasing dogmatic socialist parties and groupings-even though I agreed with much of what they aspired to). 

Its odd. People love placing others safely into boxes labelled good and bad, in a comparison with the box they have situated themselves.

After leaving the Scottish Socialist Party, which I had joined because of its original left unity (a recruitment call of "if you agree with 80% of what we say, join and lets discuss that other 20%," helped), and its foundational and essential shared compromises, I realised just how little I had in common with the dogmatic socialist groups and groupings which had made up just less than 50% of the membership up until 2007 (but a huge part of the internal power structure). After 2007, although mostly (not entirely) the SSP was nationally directed by people from one particular group, a multitude of local branches such as the one I was organiser for (Campsie Socialists), were vibrant, multi factional and none, lively debating chambers and locally active units - left alone really, by the small group at "the top."
Friction came when there were moves to reunite the dogmatic, and at times rancid groups (through Rise - even though those who were "in charge"  of this were at pains to say Rise was a unity of individuals joining, the fact was that at the top were people whose politics were forged in the sectarian furnace of splits and dogma and their activities at that time reflected their origins). What became obvious was that the real activity and vitality of the SSP came from the branches, after the leaderships began to impose their new idea of order on these active and effective branches.

The mass exodus (hundreds of activists) from the ssp and the absolute failure of Rise circa late 2015/16 has left many of us (a good few hundred activists) without weekly debating chambers, and made, redundant the politenesses that let dogmatic shite go unchallenged outside these meetings.

On leaving, I found many more left folk without a political home, or are in one they call "temporary," for one reason or another. I've played with doing just that too, but always talk myself out of it. At present, I feel, my pro Scottish Independence activism can be played out outside party structures, as can my pro sustainability, anti war, anti nuke, anti capitalist views. 

So... Yip, I've been accused/placed in boxes of all sorts,  from left anarchist, through to liberal. I myself would say I'm an anti fascist, antiwar, anti nuke, I suppose, "revolutionary" socialist, "realist" (materialist), red/green and a democrat. Actually, I could list many titles. I think though, I understand that the world is massively complex; human relationships, and the needs and desires of people, who club together to realise these things will inevitably lead to disagreements. One of the things, we need to learn and teach is finding ways through disagreement... And how to socialise power.

What do you identify as, how do others see you, and what views have you been accused of having/which boxes have you been placed in by others ? 

I could go on... But box and label me quick.

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