The Struggle for Socialism Today
A reply to the politics of the Socialist Workers Party
A 1999 document by the Socialist Party in Ireland
Introduction by Tom Crean
This pamphlet, written in the form of an open
letter, originated in correspondence between the Socialist Party in
Ireland and the Socialist Workers Party [in Ireland - Ed], initiated
by the latter. The SWP approached us with a view to having a bloc in
the recent local elections. While we were willing to discuss this, we
had severe reservations about the positions and methods of the SWP
which we wished to discuss before considering an agreement.
The initial correspondence is reproduced as
an appendix. After the SWP sent us a longer reply (also in the
appendix) which raised a number of other issues including the attitude
of Marxists to the former Soviet Union and to the national question in
Ireland we decided to write a more thorough explanation of the nature
of our differences. In order to follow the arguments it would probably
be best for the reader to look at the appendix first, especially the
SWP's letter of 11 January 1999.
It is not our normal practice to respond at
such length to arguments raised by what in reality is an organisation
with little weight within the working class. However, the issues
raised go to the heart of what sort of party is needed today to lead
the struggle for socialist change. In a sense by responding to the SWP
at length, we have taken the opportunity to explain our ideas, our
methods and our structure in a more developed way than we have for
quite some time.
Of course, we hope that this will be read by
serious members of the SWP who wish to understand our reasons for not
accepting automatically the proposal for an electoral bloc. But we
also believe that this pamphlet will serve to inform new members of
our party and others on the left as to why there is more than one
organisation in Ireland claiming to be Marxist.
We are confident that socialist minded
workers and youth will agree upon examination that the ideas, methods
and organisational structures of the Socialist Party - but
unfortunately not those of the SWP - represent the genuine continuity
of Marxism on this island.
On behalf of the National Executive
Committee of the Socialist Party (CWI - Ireland)