A group of comrades previously involved in the SWP opposition over recent months met in London on Sunday 12 January. We agreed to start the process of creating a new group for revolutionary socialists in Britain.
This is very much a work in progress, and for now the group will use the name of this blog: Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21). The meeting agreed the launch statement below, after which 115 people elected an 11-person steering group. Watch this space for more details. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
rs21 launch statement
We are committed to revolutionary change – the self-emancipation of the working class, liberating the whole of humanity. To achieve this we believe that revolutionary socialists must organise independently and work within wider movements.
At present, the basis for a genuine mass revolutionary party does not exist in the British working class movement, but nonetheless revolutionaries must do what they can to help facilitate this goal.
As a group, we are fluid and possibly temporary. Our immediate priorities are establishing enough organisation to facilitate debate and clarify our ideas, support our collective work in workplace struggle and social movements, and argue for revolutionary socialism and Marxism where we can.
The working class movement is more powerful when the left finds ways of working on what unites people against our common class enemy. For this reason, whilst we will be honest about what political differences are, we will seek to work with broader working class forces on the basis of agreement where possible. This means we want to work with the SWP, Labour Party members and others in campaigns and struggles ahead.
The group initially comprises those who wish to join it who resigned from the SWP since the Revolutionary Socialism blog was launched. We encourage participation in our group from those who agree with this statement of intent. The revolutionary left faces a series of difficult questions and important tasks. We hope that together we can begin to address these challenges.
These proposals are purposefully limited to what practical steps we should take in the next four to six weeks.
1.1: We encourage local groups to form on the basis of the statement above, and to invite other comrades who agree with it and want to work collectively with us to join the group.
1.2: It is for the judgement of local groups to decide who this includes. In areas where there is no local group this will be a national decision.
1.3: We encourage local groups to establish regular meetings where we can. These should choose goals for activity, report successes and failures, and feed back questions.
1.4: There are calls for revolutionary regroupment. This is a patient process of working out what the political basis is for organisational separation or merging. Any answers to these questions will not emerge in the immediate timeframe.
1.5: We will hold national meetings every four to six weeks which will review our progress.
2: Publications, media and communications
2.1: We will work towards upgrading our web presence. This will be the outward face of our group in the immediate timeframe. We also recognise the importance of printed publications and will work towards having some form of printed publication available for the national anti-racism demonstration on 22 March.
2.2: We elect a team of six for the short-term task of doing this.
2.3: The steering group will request volunteers with ideas and skills useful for a longer-term media committee. This will make recommendations on technicalities and practicalities for publications. It will also advise on the use of technology to maximise participation (including for those in areas where our numbers are small), producing guides for members on how to use such technology.
2.4: We will decide today a name for our group, so that this can be used on our website and any publications.
2.5: We will set up a national email discussion group and secret Facebook page. The elected steering group will establish protocols for the use of different tools to ensure maximum participation.
We will adopt the bank account “The People’s Education Society” that paid for this weekend’s meetings and transfer the signatures on it to the new steering group. We will encourage the setting up of standing orders from today for people to donate to help our work around the country.
We will elect a steering group today of 11, including at least five women. The role of this body is as follows:
4.1: The steering group will facilitate the national group, putting in place enough organisation to enable activity and political clarification. It is accepted that this will inevitably involve a degree of political leadership.
4.2: The steering group, or a group chosen by it, will be responsible for editorial control of the web site and any national publications, which will include a range of views.
4.3: The steering group will encourage open debate between different views, including from within the steering group. We recognise the dangers of a “not in front of the children” approach, and the steering group will consciously work to avoid this.
4.4: The steering group will draw up a calendar for political discussion events, so that local groups can plan their own meetings and events.
4.5: Initially the steering group will not have a collective “line” on issues unless there is a high degree of consensus.
4.6: The steering group will suggest activity for local groups and facilitate the production and distribution of resources. We recognise that different activity will fit in different areas, so we also encourage comrades to write and produce their own material.
4.7: The steering group will facilitate the provision of speakers for meetings around the country.
4.8: The steering group will take such other decisions as are appropriate between national meetings, after consultation with members where practicable.
4.9: The steering group may delegate tasks and responsibilities as appropriate.
4.10: The steering group will be up for re-election at the next national meeting.