I thought that Harry's baiting of Dave Osler was fun and had the right result in that it prompted Osler to reply and to state his views. Read the whole piece as it is interesting and the comments good and certain to grow. FWIW, I was a supporter of the Militant Tendency in the 80s and had a long and drawn-out move away from ultra-leftism in the 90s despite a brief dalliance with the RCP.
I have always thought of myself as a leftist, indeed until recently a Trotskyist. I would not call myself one any longer for the simple reason that I think it a fairly necessary tenet of Trotskyism that the revomution is "at hand". It isn't.
Another aspect of the debate that intrigued me is the description of a trotskyist as a revolutionary socialist who is not a Stalinist. I might have signed up to this one relatively recently, but now I am not a revolutionary. I have too many Polish and Cuban friends to consider myself a revolutionary socialist in that sense - even when stressing the non/anti-stalinist part of that rubric. I just see no evidence that a revolution helps the people whereas I see many small increments helping people even if they fail to address the root cause of their problems. For the rest, I am broadly in agreement with Dave and am getting to be a fan of his writing. I like a leftist that thinks stuff like trade unions and worker's rights are more important than scoring points against the Great Satan.
So, not a Trot then alas. Still a leftist. I am intrigued by the debates referred to by matgb in a previous comment concerning the uselessness of terms like left & right for the modern debate. I am sure that such a debate works for those involved, but I am an aging exile and like to know where I came from as well as where I am going and from that perspective, do feel a need to proclaim and reclaim my leftiness.
Over at Shiraz, jim Denham talks about a meeting he attended during which one Stephen Wilkinson from the Cuba Solidarity Campaign claimed he had never heard anyone "claiming to be from the left" who argued that "Fidel Castro is not a friend of the workers...it's just irrational, and I'm not prepared to listen to anyone who says that"
Which made me laugh out loud this morning, but did at least remind me to call a friend of mine who I have not seen since his last visit home. Jim goes on to say: "The important point about Castroite Cuba, from a Marxist point of view, is the lack of genuine trade unions and the repression of working class democracy." Which is to the point. He also links to an article on pseudo-left deification of big men in Latin America - an excellent article as it happens - http://www.workersliberty.org/node/7
The article is a review of D.L. Raby, Democracy and Revolution: Latin America and Socialism Today, Pluto 2006 - this is to me, the money-shot:
"Raby opts for populism essentially because of a lack of confidence in the democratic and organisational potential of the working class. She hints at this, with the comment that “social revolutions will continue to occur – at least in the global South” – effectively writing off workers in the “North”. (2006 p.65) "
which is the crux of my alienation from the majority of those falsely calling themselves socialists now - yes, SWP I am looking at you.
If I were a joining type of bloke, I might look further into the AWL who have consistently spoken sense re Iraq and Israel while others soil themselves.