change of venue for 4th may reading group

Because of refurbishment work to the usual venue (no doubt the result of the structural crisis of capitalism), the venue for the next of The Commune’s London reading groups on ‘communism from below’ has changed to the Lucas Arms, on Gray’s Inn Road, near King’s Cross.

The meeting will be focusing on the subject of so-called ‘Parliamentary socialism’ and its historic failure. We will be discussing the questions:

– What problems were created in the British labour movement when it separated into ‘parliamentary’ and ‘industrial’ wings?
– In what ways and for what reasons does parliamentary activity lead to the accommodation of the workers’ movement to the existing system?
– Should we refuse to participate in all elections and bourgeois parliaments?

The recommended preparatory reading for the discussion is this chapter of Communism and Society by William Paul and Modernisation as domination in the Chilean and British Left. All are welcome. Comrades will give lead-offs on the text, followed by general discussion.

The meeting takes place from 6:30pm on Monday 4th May. Contact or 07595 245494 to register your interest, request printed copies of the texts or find out more information. See below for map.

6 thoughts on “change of venue for 4th may reading group

  1. It should also be noted that workers councils have been a “historic failure”

    The simplistic argument “power corrupts” also applies to workers councils and other spontaneous groupings.

    It is worth noting the difference between reformist Social Democracy and other revolutionary currents, such as the Impossibilists, who occasionally stand on elections.

    Even a left-communist like Bordiga was only opposed to elections as a matter of tactics, not one of principle.

    See the forthcoming SPGB pamphlet on the revolutionary use of parliament.


  2. The problem is not simply that “power corrupts” but that the organs of the existing bourgeois state – e.g. the Parliament which presides over the army, police, MI5, state bureaucracy etc. etc. – are not the same as what you refer to as organs of workers’/popular power established from below, since all this state machinery is not neutral or apolitical and has its own definite interests as part of the ruling class. You can’t just win an election then decide to ‘enact’ socialism by running the state in a ‘socialist’ way, it runs contrary to any idea of grassroots control/change from below, i.e. the very content of working-class power.

    “Even a left-communist like Bordiga was only opposed to elections as a matter of tactics, not one of principle”

    What precisely do you mean by this distinction, particularly in light of the fact that the articles on this site about elections do not advocate ‘in principle’ abstention from all elections (and suggest value in standing for propaganda reasons etc.)?

    Of course, on the evening of May 4th there will be an excellent opportunity to discuss these questions with us…


  3. Totally agree with David: looking to parliamentary democratic procedures for revolutionary change is a contradiction in terms. The House of Commons and liberal parliamentary-democracy is the problem and not the solution.


  4. Unfortunately I am unable to attend the talk.

    To clarify my point further :

    Until the majority of the working class understand and want socialism it will not exist.

    When this majority understanding is reached (during such a time organisations such as workers councils will uncountably be formed) it is perfectly feasible for a socialist majority to enter parliament and dissolve the state.

    The question “parliament or workers councils?” misses the point since neither can achieve socialism in the absence of a pro-socialist majority.

    I would disagree that “democracy is the problem and not the solution”. “Democracy” in the context of private ownership of the means of production is NOT democratic. Likewise any socialist / communist movement that is not democratic in its procedures will succumb to vanguardism or dictatorship.

    I believe in revolution through the brain-box not the ballot box.


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