Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What kind of sectarian are you?

The left loves to think of each other as "sectarians", there never has been a genuine disagreement as far as I can tell without sectarianism being at the root of it, at least according to some quarters... but what sort, how can we tell without a diagram? Click the image and then use the chart to determine what kind of sectarian you are.

Citizens of the US may need to substitute "Member of the Democrats" for "Member of the Labour Party". Likewise with other countries.

This is a draft so any corrects particularly useful.

I really should get out more these kinds of stupidities are helping no-one...


Observer said...

The problem with your map, Jim, is that you equate what people say with what they do.I think that's a mistake.

They don't always dovetail. Anyone should be allowed abusive language, even hostility --it's called ventilation or anger.But if you act in a sectarian manner -- then thats' the key thing especially if you make a habit of it.

I've been in a few debates on this topic and I think it's no good trying to deprecate "sectarianism" as so many discourses.

I think the best model I've come upon is the notion that on the left we are saddled with so many competing "closed caucuses" -- like so many charioteers jostling for a good start for when the gun finally goes off. What feeds it is the "our day will come" mentality.

While we can be considerate of psychologic theories in way of explaining this phenomenon the core roots are in political existence as well as some elements of political culture.

Who's to say that the Greens aren't sectarian or the British Labor Party when it suits them? You are
falling into the trap of saddling the far left groups with a monopoly...

Nonetheless I think England, and maybe London, is sect central --the far left zoo.

But you don't have it all to yourself.

Peter Camejo wrote an interesting polemic on the US SWP under this heading that you may find useful. Camejo is a of course the running partner with Ralph Nader for the Green Party in the US.


The other related issue promoting sectarianism is a pre-occupation with programatic questions over what you actual manage to do and achieve.

The far left -- despite all its assurances as to its materialism --can be rather idealistic when it comes to marking off and protecting its shibboleths.

But the trap most people make, who move out of and beyond this milieu, is to thereafter equate sectarianism with a organisational mode. It seems this is how you prefer to swallow it. I think that's a mistake. But if you are so enamoured with the notion there's a whole list --
MarxMail --
or exers dedicated to complaining about that very thing and generating a culture of paranoia around organisational questions.

I think this is a form of historical blindness because while there may be problems with the way some groups do business -- such as the British SWP -- if you want to replace the modus operandi I can't see any advantage with making a new shibboleth of it as these Marxmail exers do.

Jim Jay said...

Um... the point is that no matter what you do you end being a sectarian in someone's eyes... so although you make lots of interesting points I don't think that is a problem with the map, because I'm saying it doesn't matter whether you are or are not a sectarian - someone on the left will always see you that way.

For instance you say "Who's to say that the Greens aren't sectarian or the British Labor Party when it suits them?" but if you'd looked at the map you'd see both greens and labour party members covered... so I'm not conviced you looked at my map properly before writing your response.

The real problem is I've missed out a box I wanted to put in but didn't have space! Under why weren't you selling papers I wanted an option "I was too bored/hung over/embarressed/demoralised/disabled" which would have made you a "sectarian whinger".

The term sectarian is a completely devalued word through its over use anyway, and its far better to avoid it and actually say, in ordinary English, what you mean eg "So and so does not like working with so and so" or "A became less enthusiastic about project B once comrade X got involved, as it meant he wasn't the only paper seller in the room"

weggis said...

I prefer Monty Python's version in The Life of Brian.
It perfectly illustrates the two comments above!!!!!!