Solidarity: the nice guys who get left behind

Part of the Imperial Diss List.

I, Saturn, am Emperor of All Socialist Groups, and as such I enforce my rule by bashing each group one at a time to remind them that they are supposed to be obeying my will rather than committing all manner of foolishness as on their present course.  Any who give sign that they will obey me shall be spared.

~

I almost feel like I committed a sin with my title, because maybe Solidarity is onto something.  Maybe there’s something inherent in the revolution where you have to be willing to lose to really make the whole thing work and come together.  Maybe the people in Solidarity realize that the organization Solidarity really isn’t so important, and what’s more important is that they work as a team to assist whatever emerges as actually important.  That seems to be their attitude.  And maybe having a team of people with that type of humility will be just the thing, just the straw that breaks the camel’s back, just the critical factor, that tips things over the edge and makes the revolution happen.

Or maybe they’re just a bunch of fucking suckers and they’re getting taken for a ride while far less noble people are swallowing up all the recruits.

Hell if I know.  I’m going to hedge my bets and try to absorb their spirit while organizing with the tactics of the other assholes.

Of course, my whole analogy may be exactly on-point because from what I hear Solidarity barely exists anymore, and it’s more or less becoming synonymous with DSA Left.  Which I am totally fine with.  What am I writing here, an obituary?  If Soli is just getting on board with the Great Entry into DSA Left then honestly they’re making the right move and I commend them.  So I’ll give them a fairly rushed treatment of everything that’s been wrong with them in the past.

Almost everything wrong about Solidarity originates as overcompensation against their Trotskyist origins.  I would describe nearly every iteration of the problem as a manifestation of them being scared of their own shadows.  And I guess it’s natural that they should be, because old-school orthodox Trotskyism was some ugly shit that was basically almost indistinguishable from Stalinism.

Solidarity formed not even so much as a group unto itself, but a regroupment of a bunch of tiny splinters from various tiny Trot sects that realized being tiny Trot sects was a really bad idea.

As such, they were never really built to be an organization that functioned with any type of cohesion.  They had an ultra laissez faire approach to everything, because they didn’t want to impinge on the rights of their little coalition members.  But it became kind of ridiculous, because some of their coalition members were tendencies of as few as like, one to five people.  Or maybe it was more like, they kept the coalition model of pure laissez faire expectations on action, but became more of a membership organization.  So they have absolutely zero in the way of democratic centralism.

Now I can understand why some people are leery of democratic centralism because the way it’s applied in some sects is just centralism, because they’re not democracies – it’s just bureaucratic centralism.

There are two ways to fix this.  One is to overcompensate and abolish centralism completely, naturally this is the one Solidarity fucked up and went with.  The other is to just ensure that the culture is actually democratic.  I have to say I think Solidarity is pretty good on that front too, they’re pretty good about allowing a variety of opinion.

As far as centralism, what I really wish for would be that a group would allow a culture of democracy, ie a variety of opinion rather than ideological-centralism top-down party-line cultishness, as well as a halfway compromise between centralism and federalism.  This means, a bit of centralism in deciding national campaigns, and a bit of freedom to experiment locally.

Solidarity does in practice have some national campaigns worthy of mention.  The biggest is Labor Notes, which is a nationwide network of union activists who keep in touch and assess their progress together.  They get involved in others now and then, but it’s kind of sporadic, based on the initiative of individual members, sometimes gets legs depending on whether leadership backs it or not, etc.  Probably the other big one would be the System Change Not Climate Change ecosocialist coalition.

As another overcompensation for the Sins of Trotskyism Past, Solidarity has the typical identity politics.  It’s a place where privilege discourse reigns, where some Maoist language of “oppressed nationalities” rather than, you know, races has been absorbed.  This seems to be an extension of overcompensation for sins of past Trotskyism, ie a fear of standing up for the centrality of class analysis, a fear of standing up to moralism.

One of the critiques I’ve made in the past of Solidarity and really many other socialist groups is that their labor orientation seems entirely sunk into unions organized around the public sector, while private sector workers are left totally vulnerable and unorganized.  “We go where there’s union strength,” the argument goes, but, I find it unlikely that the public sector unions are going to lead a generalized fightback that spread contagiously across the public sector.  They will have to be pushed to actually sink resources into that.  There are some exceptional cases of it.  We need to see more.

Generally we need to unionize everything by saturating the workplaces with socialists by building a mass party, as I discussed in my IWW critique.

So as stated before Soli is scared of its own shadow.  As an extension of their fear of democratic centralism, they’re afraid to even ask anyone to do anything.  They’re really scared to branch-build, really scared to obligate anyone to do anything.  Now this can actually be a healthy instinct, because the opposite is a cult that takes over your life and doesn’t care if it’s cutting into your need to rest, have friends, get to your job, or take breaks to pee.  What we ideally need is a golden synthesis best of both worlds, a group that engages you to participate, at a reasonable and moderate rate, as I mentioned in my SPUSA critique.

Soli has the typical problem of being mostly older folk, as I discussed in the WWP bashing, probably because it doesn’t have the guts to actually believe in its mission or recruit anyone.  Which is probably why it’s just joining DSA Left, which makes sense for a group that is not much more than a regroupment outfit.  If you believe in regroupment, just go where the regroupment is actually happening.  Good call!  Shit, maybe I should too, I’m almost talking myself into it.

Damn that wasn’t even that harsh, I’m disappointed in myself.  PS I was vaguely a half-dues-paying member ie “sympathizer” of Soli for a little bit before beginning my metamorphosis into the Emperor and pretty much blowing off all my political commitments to anything or anyone.

Solidarity’s main crime is just, like, to not even be that offensive I guess.  Which actually is kind of weak, if you think about.  Come on, Solidarity.  Get hard.

~

Part of the Imperial Diss List.

I keep completing these, and I keep getting tired.  But then I stop and think of how fucking stupid you all are.

your-stupidity-fuels-my-hate

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