The Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh,
17 West Montgomery Place,
Edinburgh EH7 5HA
“Our theory is not a dogma, but a guide to action,” Marx and Engels said, ridiculing the mere memorising and repetition of magic formulas.
A back-and-forth exchange of views can potentially achieve a higher level of clarity about the problems confronting the socialist movement. There has been a depressing lack of principled debate among those in the anti-Bolshevik groups.
The Lothian Socialist Discussion meetings are a forum aimed at those who are interested in the future of socialism. The aim of such discussions is the rebirth of a serious socialist movement. An open-ended political discussion among libertarian socialists is necessary. A careful, rational discussion of perspectives is easier to do that when one eliminates sectarian abuse. Name-calling seems to be an unfortunate penchant of those on the Left. Such a discussion can’t be held hostage to the delusions of ideological grandeur. Cherished illusions must be shed. We have no ready-made solutions to this problem of the stagnation of the progress of socialist ideas. We claim only that the problem must be faced and there must be discussion. The result of this discussion, we hope, will be the liberation and the re-emergence of socialist principles. When we talk about forging cooperative relations in the non-market milieu we are talking about developing a comradely "party" spirit, not imposing a party line.
If unity is to be achieved, we do have to air differences and disagreements, debate and discuss them. There must be a willingness to examine all views seriously, to draw conclusions on the basis of an open mind. We should distinguish the serious and fundamental issues which separate us from the relatively minor ones.
‘If only the left could get together...’ is a cry we often hear, encouraged the taunts and jibes of those who joke about the multitude of revolutionary organisations. Unity for unity’s sake seems as uninspiring a slogan as it is sterile. The unity of conscious and informed purpose in the struggle for socialism is the only unity worth having and that can only be promoted by important and basic debate.
The Socialist Party’s conviction is that the welfare state is not a halfway house to socialism nor on the road to-wards socialism. The welfare state is the modern version of the Victorian ideal of self-help and self-improvement schemes. The Socialist Party’s aim is the abolition of capitalism and reorganizing the planet on a socialist basis. We fully acknowledge that, in this endeavor, we are up against a most powerful and ruthless master class intent upon divide and rule.