18
Jul
13

SP move to formalise the split in the CAHWT

Earlier this week the Socialist Party produced a statement on their decision to go ahead with standing candidates by their side in the split in the CAHWT – “Take the fight against austerity on to the political field” (http://socialistparty.net/household-charge/1242-take-the-fight-against-austerity-onto-the-political-field)

The formalising of the split in the CAHWT is codified by the SP:

“The motion from Dublin West campaign which was passed at the conference of the CAHWT in April provides for those local campaigns that are in agreement with the electoral challenge to come together in September to discuss it further.”This is an opportunity for further work on a common programme and other areas of co-ordination, and to consider under what banner candidates run under as a more general anti-austerity banner might better describe the nature of the electoral challenge from the campaigners in the areas that back this initiative.”

One of the article’s main purpose seems to be to castigate every other organised political tendency in the CAHWT as being responsible for the effective collapse of the campaign (as I have detailed eleswhere on this blog) – if only everyone had quietly fallen in behind the SP’s leadership!

The positive justification for their side in this split seems to boil down to the phrases of “political initiative” and “political pressure” that CAHWT activists have come to pepper the interventions of SP comrades at meetings in the past period. It seems that they really believe that the primary anti-austerity weapon over the next 10 months should be to “facilitate the selection of candidates to ensure that as many points of political pressure are maintained on the government and Labour in particular.”

Everyone knows that the Labour Party are dead in the water in electoral terms anyway. What difference taking 40 or 50 council seats (which is probably the absolute most they can realistically expect) is supposed to make to this is unknown. But of course they have laid the ground for this with their criticism of the rest of the CAHWT for not backing their slate – if only we had all come on board and got perhaps as many as 100 councilors elected.

The SP attempt to deal with one of the criticisms of their electoral perspective as follows:

“The arguments that some have put forward that you can only either fight elections or fight the water tax but not do both is an assertion contradicted by the evidence that the areas backing the electoral challenge have been among the most active to date and continue to be active in the current juncture”

Even if it were true that the areas standing candidates did in fact represent the “most active to date” why do the SP expect people to think that these areas could suddenly double their level of activity. The reality, as even the most loyal SP supporters must know in their hearts, is that as the election gets nearer more and more of the time, effort and financial resources of these groups will be spent on the elections.

Of course the article makes no attempt to deal with the more substantive problem with standing candidates in terms of the lack of political accountability that I and others have raised in the following questions:

Are we going to have candidates running in the name of the campaign and therefore as de-facto spokespeople for us all? Who will decide the political platform any such CAHWT candidates run on and how will any of us in other local groups who disagree with elements of that platform, or comments made by the candidates, be able to disassociate ourselves from it?

It is important to recognise that this is all just part of the plan the SP has had for the CAHWT ever since the demise of the ULA. As they wrote about the CAHWT back in January this year:

“If out of the struggle came the proposal for a slate or an alliance of anti-Property Tax / anti-austerity candidates for the Local and European Elections next year, that would really ratchet up the pressure on the Government, and on Labour in particular.

“Such a proposal could gain huge support and could lead to the involvement of thousands of working class people in a political struggle, with the possibility that many working class activists could get elected. Such developments would not only be a massive step towards forcing the scrapping of the Property Tax, but would also represent a big step towards a new mass party of the working class.”

From “The ULA, the fight against austerity & building a new party of the working class” (http://socialistparty.net/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1123-the-ula-the-fight-against-austerity-a-building-a-new-party-of-the-working-class)

“If out of the struggle…” – as if this was some spontaneous development. When in reality the SP have been maneuvering for exactly this ever since it became obvious that the ULA was not going to be a viable vehicle for their dreams of a wider electoral front. This began some time before their formal withdrawal. For instance CAHWT activists can look back at the setting up of Dublin Constituencies as “regional groups” at the May 2012 conference as one of the first signs of the SP laying the ground for this.

Of course it is true that the working class does indeed new a political party to represent its interests. But such a party would not have the kind of left-reformist fantasy the SP will present to the working class. It would be an organisation that would tell the working class the truth about the need to overthrow capitalism and would present a revolutionary programme capable of achieving that aim. It would see standing in elections to the institutions of capitalist political rule as a secondary tactic compared to the central task of organising the working class in our own fighting organisations which would be the embryos of workers council type formations – the basis of working class rule. As such revolutionaries have a clear side in the SP generated split in the CAHWT.

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