OUR very first issue in September last year promised that we were not starting up yet another socialist party. We did not have a manifesto. We stood for traditional socialist values and our main intention was to provide a safe space, a non-sectarian platform for debate. We wanted to hear from diverse voices, especially those who did not have a platform of their own. We wanted to change the conversation around socialism, to stress its positives instead of constantly having to respond to the fake news and smear stories emanating from the mainstream media and the rabid anti-Corbynism of the Labour right wing.
Can you believe that in our early meetings on Zoom after the 2019 General Election and before we even had a website, some people were arguing that we would do better not to mention socialism at all, because it would put people off? We should concentrate on peace and justice and fairness, on cooperation at community level and fighting climate change, but not to mention the ‘S’ word!
The world has changed a lot since 2019. Brexit, Covid, Ukraine, the climate crisis edging into climate catastrophe and the cost-of-living crisis. Politics has changed. The Tories are in crisis, and not before time. But Labour has moved so far to the right all they can offer is a Tory lite response that is no alternative at all. Most important of all, as capitalism heads for a deep recession, the working class is rediscovering its power with strikes and ballots involving bin workers, civil servants, care workers, education staff, rail, bus and airline workers. Even barristers are joining in!
This is all to the good, but it does mean that we can no longer rely on general principles. People are asking questions like,
- Does Critical Mass have a position on the war in Ukraine?
- Will we back Labour in a general election to get the Tories out?
- If we need a new party which one should we join?
That is why “What We Stand For” by Dave Middleton is such a timely article in this month’s magazine. It opens up a whole new conversation about questions of socialist strategy and tactics that go beyond general principles. We really want to publish as many responses as possible in time for our first anniversary issue in September. We look forward to hearing from you.
Until then, enjoy the Summer of Discontent and don’t forget to look out for our August issue in a month’s time.
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