Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Why wait for an alibi?

AKA 'Recycling comments from other blogs'.

The Recruitathon has passed for another year, and I have to be honest that I continue to have a tinge of sadness that I no longer have the opportunity to set up an SPGB stall outside the event and experience a two day thousand yard stare parading past our lit table.

I miss the old days of seeing Tony Benn give a variation on the same speech (and the same anecdotes) year after year. The CPGB and the AWL drawing lots to see whose turn it is to have this year’s ‘incident’ with a middle-ranking apparatchik from the SWP, and, having a pulse and a bank account, being asked to join the SWP about 141 times during the course of the event. (More often than not by the same people who blank you when you're doing the stall.)

Throw in a smattering of American accented Sparts lovebombing any passing politico who happens to glance at their stall for a nanosecond; the Class War stall doing a roaring trade to Baby Trots with their Class War T Shirts and Class War lighters and a Big Issue seller who’s lucky to sell three magazines all weekend and I could be transported back to any year between 1996 and 2004.

Yeah, I know that sounds like I'm suggesting that one year sounds like any other but, via this comment from 'Thin Lizzy' over at Socialist Unity blog, it appears that I'm not the only one who suffered from Groundhog Weekend Syndrome:

"I am delighted that the SWP apparently had another successful Marxism event. However, I don’t believe that we can have total confidence that the SWP leaders are telling the truth about the size of Marxism every year.

Back on July 15, 2006, Socialist Worker reported that, ‘Some 4,100 activists gathered to discuss and debate a huge range of political issues‘ at that year’s Marxism. However, SWP party notes in July 2007, according to their internal bulletin last Autumn, stated: ’Marxism 2007 was a great success. Over 4,100 people attended the event, up over 400 on last year’. This week’s Socialist Worker proudly reports: ‘Around 4,100 people from across Britain and the world came to this year’s Marxism festival held in central London last weekend.’

What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

Did I mention that the highlight of 'Marxism' every year was the kick arse secondhand bookstalls?


stuart said...

Ah, the good old days. Highlights of Marxism for me were going to the more obscure philosophical meetings. Go to a meeting on Iraq, hear unanimity of opinion that strangely corresponds to that of Harman and Callinicos and so on. Go to one on the significance of architecture or Satre, furious rows.

I also liked the fact that it was big. Suspend all critical faculties, and it was almost possible to believe you were part of a big and growing movement.

That and getting toasted in the beer garden, nicely toasted.

Bill said...

Popped along - as every year, commented to a few people that its getting smaller every year - they didn't use ULU this year, at all, which i found interesting.

Bought a book on Russian left communists from the ICC, bought my annual pamphlet from Workers' Fight, went home. Ran into a London Architecture festival outside the British museum, and sat on the grass they'd covered the street with and listened to Jazz - much better event.

Seemed to be fewer staklls than ever.