The Fellow Traveller Pass: Or how forgiving are we of things within our political movements?

Jumping off from the discussion in here

Socialism / the left seems particularly vulnerable to fragmentation and this obviously hampers the movement’s effectiveness in bringing about the kind of society I believe we all would like to see.

A certain element of unforgivingness seems a pre-requisite to wanting to drive social change. No pasarán is a popular slogan for a reason. Similarly ACAB functions to draw a firm battle line, leaving little in the way of a grey area.

Does this obduracy make internal conflicts inevitable or harder to resolve?

I strongly believe people should be able to point out when a comrade has done something they aren’t ok with and have an expectation that the reaction isn’t going to be immediately defensive or dismissive. Is having a fiery passion backing your convictions going to act as a barrier to listening to someone pointing out your flaws?

Often someone’s position within the movement will not only to grant them protection from criticism but also far greater exposure for the person criticising them. The latter’s dedication to the cause will be questioned or they’ll be pressured to back off. How do we balance someone’s good work with their less good actions?

How much stock do we put in the associations of our associations? To use the example from the NIP thread, should the NIP guy be suffering from his association with Novara and their having uncritically platformed a racist eugenicist?

Any large political movement is necessarily going to be broad. But can / should you share a party with transphobes or people who campaign against travellers?

I’d be interested in your thoughts :slight_smile:


It’s hard to offer any kind of strong answer on the specifics of the NIP thing because despite reading through that bit of the thread I don’t feel like I have the actual evidence to sift through.

From reading though it sounded like any Novara media connection wasn’t really the issue, it was that the guy himself was dismissive of ableism. If, as mentioned, the problem was that he used the word st*pid, then that alone shouldn’t be enough to cause him to be cancelled but yeah, if someone says, “That’s not right,” you have to take it seriously.

The issue I think the Left have is that the the Right are constantly exploiting the attempt to be good and progressive so I can see how easy it might be to get hyper-defensive but really he should know better. Humility is really important.


Yeah Owen Jones recently some sort of issue where it sounded like he managed to throw someone under a bus while pointing out a genuine issue, and then he wasn’t really apologising well. I don’t know the full details on that though.

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