Sensible socialists have long recognised that what matters is action – not institutions.
Since Jeremy Corbyn’s election, the Parliamentary Labour Party seems intent on dividing itself over commitments to a whole series of institutions such as the European Union or Nato: “I am not joining the shadow cabinet because I am committed to Europe”.
Is all very silly. What we need is an intense political engagement over the actions which may be undertaken by these institutions which in themselves are vehicles which can be driven in any chosen direction.
The European Union is increasingly characterised by actions which favour elites and rather than working people. An unwillingness to write off Greek debt is one example. A transatlantic trade agreement which restricted the ability of Governments to provide goods and services would be another. But the answer is not to undermine the European Union; it is to work across the continent to create the political alliances which would lead to alternative forms of action.
Nato legitimised nasty forms of Russian nationalism when it took actions to undermine Ukraine’s agreed neutrality. The problem was not the institution of Nato; it was the stupidity of a small group of leaders who were not challenged by a larger group who should have known better.
All this is not so far from the wasteful obsession within the Wales Labour Party which appears to be committed to changing the structures of local democracy in Wales when we ought to be focussed on praxis – actions and political alliances to energise local people in developing their own futures in their own communities.