The Art of Critical Support


I think critical support is something that a lot of socialists need to learn to master, because I see socialists quite often fall on either side of the “support” extreme. We’re either disavowing individuals or groups completely or throwing their all at a group or individual without proper analysis. As Leftists we spend a lot of time, quite rightly, rejecting the notion of centrism. You know, this bizarre idea some people have that “Oh maybe there’s points on both sides.”, but we do that so often that we over look the more accurate and quite helpful definition of middle ground thought where we ask the question “What can this individual do to further MY goals?”

I don’t agree with accelerationists (it’s a very privileged ideology), but they do have that thought pattern mastered. They reason that they can vote in the worst possible government to force the working class to revolt. They understand that the correct positioning of their political enemies can further their own goals. It’s the kind of thing we should ALL be thinking about, at all times, treating the political landscape as a game of chess rather than a race. The Left is at the weakest it has ever been, no truly Left wing politician in the western world has a chance of winning an election if one was called tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless, the whole point of Marxism is to participate in class struggle, not in “class flick-a-switch”.

As a Scottish Republican Socialist I believe that the United Kingdom has no place in mankind’s future. It’s nature as a monarchy should signal that it is a relic of a bygone age and to that end, I support the Scottish independence campaign. I’ve went into more detail about that in another article but in summary I believe in a independent republic, not because of any vain idea about nationalism or patriotism, but because I believe that democracy works best when power is placed in the hands of people who have the most to gain or lose from an issue. In my mind, Scottish independence is merely the first tentative step in the long, long road to forming a real, democratic, socialist republic. To that end, I often find myself supporting the SNP on nationwide issues, or in local elections. I have no love for the SNP. I was briefly a member from 2014-2015 and formally cut all ties with them in 2016 in the wake of the Named Person Scheme. I have vocally criticised them, their members, their supporters and their policies when I felt it was needed and rushed to their defense when that was needed. The simple fact is that the SNP in 2019 Scotland embody a couple of things:

  • They are the ONLY viable defense against Tories
  • The only party with any chance of delivering Scottish independence

As soon as both of those things are no longer true, I’ll drop any pretense of supporting the Neo-Liberal SNP and continue towards my goal of a worker’s republic but for now they are a valuable tool.

The same can be said for the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders (who recently announced his intention to run for US President again). Neither of them are truly revolutionaries. That’s not to say they are horrible people, or did not once hold revolutionary ideas but their political careers have guided them from their far left roots, to a much more comfortable “center left position”. Still, it has to be said of both of them that they represent the absolute best in their respective political landscapes. This is especially true of Bernie Sanders who exists in the political wasteland that is the United States of America. Not to be too harsh, but America is so far behind the rest of civilised society that they need someone who, in all honestly is only about as radical as Tony Blair to drag them into, not even the 21st century; the 20th! American leftists especially need to understand this and they need to back the only candidate with any real hope of building America up into a modern country. He doesn’t have a spotless voting record by any means, but deliberate apathy and crucifixion of flawed politicians is what led to mockery that is the Trump Administration.

And be under no illusion, a Corbyn Britain and Sanders America would still be frought with the same imperialist problems that we see with May and Trump, with Cameron and Obama, with Blair and Bush and they should be criticised and protested against every time it happens under their watch but a center left UK and US is still a step forward and as leftists we need to take, and capitalise on every step forward we can as a victory in the ongoing fight for socialism.

R. Cuthbert

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Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement is a political party in Scotland. The party launched on 3 September 2006