Friday, 12 February 2010

Stand up to the hard times!

I’ve decided that my membership of the Socialist Party (SPGB) should now be allowed to lapse, following  Wednesdays appalling Central London Branch meeting that has hammered for me at least the final nail into this antediluvian (as it seems) organisations coffin, and despite being invited to contest on their behalf the Canning Town South Ward of Newham in the May local government elections. However I’m now considering the possibility of standing as an independent alternatively; campaigning against poverty, unemployment and in support of the new National Unemployed Worker's Union whilst hopefully building a branch that will stand up for the unemployed, but all this will need some very careful consideration of what’s involved as I did this once before ( ) in Frodingham Ward Scunthorpe.

Coming back to my disagreement or rather a conflict of opinions or actions or the lack of them in the case of the Socialist Party. It has taken me some time I must admit to arrive at this view, that the party is nothing more than a debating society of a sort. Whilst I support the case that is advocated by the party, I’m not convinced that all their members do, and that some of their members are so out of touch as to look down on the unemployed and those of us at the bottom of the capitalist shit heap, and here underneath is an example of an exchange between myself and two members last week on a party discussion forum about unemployed people and literature sales by on-line credit card harmonizing rather than sending  cheques, which may prove to be a bigger problem than they think, as cheques are being done away with, anyhow my post starts as thus:

And if you’re on the dole maybe the Department of Works and Pensions would
accommodate us by stopping it out of benefits?


I can assure you, Jim, the mere fact of being on the dole doesn't preclude you
from having such a facility. It certainly didn't stop me getting a mastercard
in the past, - not to say having one thrust upon me!



I really did have to rub my eyes in disbelief at Sandy Easton’s suggestion
about the mastercard and his misinformed, highfaluting view of what doesn’t
preclude someone like me being unemployed from obtaining such a facility.

What planet are you living on Comrade: or rather, you don’t live on £54.30
unemployment benefit do you?
If you did you would know that there’s not much change spare these days
from that pittance. I’m sure yore comments were meant in good faith
trying to be helpful I suppose. However you don’t know what you’re talking
about and that goes for anyone who thinks life on the dole is a simple walk in
the park, it’s not!

I’m appalled!


To be fair Jim,
I've had credit card offers, credit increased etc when I was on the dole as
well, so it wasn't uncommon about 3 years ago when virtually anybody with any
kind of credit rating to get one or an increase!! A lot of my mates got these
offers as well and they were in the same financial predicament as me at the


I'm not concerned in 3 years ago, but in the here and now please have a look
at this.


My point is that you as a employed or unemployed worker can currently have the
1) you can live in the real world2) live on the dole 3) credit agencies can
Offer you credit with a view of making a profit 3) offer credit that you may or
May not be able to pay back 4) you can, as worker or an unemployed worker, take

Advantage of this facility to buy things

No more, more less.


But what about 5) which you didn't put; that's to change the world and the way
we do things; simply to impotent to be left off that list, which is my point really!

And that believe it or not is the way it went, and with one other who asked what's my point This party forum has 102 members on it; you have to be a member to be able to participate in discussion, but not one member had the gumption or the dignity to stand up for the unemployed which in my book is a fucking disgrace, and I’m very upset!

Now what happened at my branch meeting may not be connected but indirectly I believe it is, but that aside, as an unemployed person (long term) whose blacked in terms of gaining any employment through past activities in the Trade Union movement. I feel that I can not stay a day longer, in such an outfit that has a dismissive attitude to those of us on the dole and through no fault of our making. I’ve been up to now bit hesitant to say that this winter, I’ve found that the daily decisions have been weather I spend the little money I have on heating or food which is not only  reality for me, but for thousands! That’s why I will join with those of us who will fight back and not just talk about it!

This post is being sent out to all the unemployed activists that I work with, and I would very much welcome your comments!
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Chris H said...

The view that you have reached seems to be a common critical view that many have. Though I'm sympathetic to a lot of the aims of the SPGB the path to a practical outworking of theory does seem a little spartan. Whatever you do I trust it will be the right decision for you!

And if you do stand under a NUWU banner than best wishes to you!

Norbert said...

Thanks Chris,

Just to clarify a point or so, first my decision was not arrived at overnight, for some time I've had issues, concerns about what the SPGB really is in reality, my conclusion as I have said, is a debating society nothing more which makes me a wee bit sad as I agree with all their aims and objectives, but there is the big 'but' that keeps coming to the forefront, are they really serous, my exposure to membership say's they are not!

With under 400 members in the UK they are a very pale shadow in comparison to their founding members, and what keeps them afloat is the wedge in the bank, when that's gone will they still be about? I think not myself, but you never know as they have won a few younger members just recently.

It's true what you say about making the right decision. I've always been active in the bigger movement, doing what I've felt needed to be done and trying to win the support of my fellow workers wherever that's been or whatever form that's taken including being prepared to braking the law. Without wanting to boast, I have as it happens a long history of this, and if it needs to be done, and in the interest of the struggle then I will do it not a problem!

Things Chris are not getting any better for the vast majority, on this blog I have consistently dismissed the claims that have been made that the recession is over, well we know now that that was all flannel put out by the capitalist controlled media to keep the lid on things, but for how much longer I wonder! At the end of last year and the beginning of this I decided that I would be more active amongst the workers whom I live amongst and associate with, they are the people of Canning Town and the street homeless of London, the poor and unemployed and those of us that live in poverty. And I'm not joking about poverty I've just had my electricity bill in today and will have to make a claim next week to lend money from the dole in-order to pay it off! It's never been like this for me before, but I'm not on my own as many tell me they are in the same boat! So it's time to flow together that's why I'm joining and getting involved with the NUWU, but standing in the may elections is just an idea for now, I'm in talks with others about this so no firm decision as yet.

Well the last thing that must be said is I like the feeling of independence and I think this is going to be a great year in the class war and for socialist ideas taking a hold amongst workers!

The Socialist Way

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