Plain Speaking

Socialist Worker has become too windy according to a couple of members of the SWP’s national committee:

“The “style of the paper needs to change. Articles need to be written from the perspective of its core audience. They need to be shorter and written more simply. The paper should provide its audience with bullets they can fire in the class struggle: a pithy fact, the short, sharp, funny exposé of the madness of the system, a convincing two-minute argument..”

Not being a regular reader I don’t know if that particular criticism is justified or is simply a handy stick with which to beat the Reesite ex-leadership.

One thing  is clear though. SWP blogger Richard Seymour definitely wants to watch his back in future.

Here’s an example of his ultra-baroque writing style in a recently written article on the economy:

The ‘credit crunch’ miniseries has been characterized by one shocking plot twist after another. Each complication in the plot has arisen ex nihilo, with no history, roots or context to speak of. The template for such coverage is provided by the genre of virological outbreak: the malady strikes at random, demanding new industry wide culls, as the pathogen mutates and finds unanticipated vectors. The heady drama of stock market fluctuations, meanwhile, is driven by a single mysterious character known as ‘the investor’. He is confident today, shaken tomorrow, fleeing with his savings (and yours) the next day. All that is offered by way of motivation for such behaviour is the presumed ‘animal spirits’ that disrupt the calculus of said investor.

The reification of socially produced institutions is such that, in the news media spectacle, we experience them as god-like personalities controlling our lives without reason or accountability. One of the great challenges that socialist activists have experienced in trying to rouse resistance to the loss of jobs and livelihoods is that the very idea of ‘resisting the recession’ can seem incoherent in light of its spectacular autonomy.

There’s a reason the idea of resisting the recession might seem incoherent to the bewildered masses our Trotskyist agitator imagines he’s addressing, but it I suspect it’s less likely to be the phenomenon of ‘spectacular autonomy’ than the simpler to understand spectacle of comic verbosity.