Still under construction

Around the web: Workers Power

I remember last visiting the Workers Power website about two years ago, and, to be honest, I was not very impressed. Since then the move to a new server has coincided with a revamp of the site. Perhaps now things are looking a little better "� Logging onto workerspower.com, I was greeted by a minimalist website offering a variety of links to articles taken from Workers Power Global, the once-weekly e-bulletin of the League for a Revolutionary Communist International (WP's 'international'). Interestingly the invitation to join WPG's mailing list is the most prominent feature of the website, probably because the infrequency of the LRCI's press has seen the bulletin become its chief mouthpiece. Quickly looking over the most recent WPG, I noted that the comrades provide us with their views on anti-war protests, Indonesia, US imperialism and Palestine. Fair enough, but it falls down as a tool for the promotion of WP politics on two counts. Firstly, at the end of the text it lamely asks readers to become correspondents for the LRCI, providing an address for comrades to send "news and views"�. What about a postal address or phone number? What about those that want to join? Secondly, WP is content to passively wait for subscribers to come to it. There is no promotion of its bulletin on left discussion lists and forums, and as a consequence WP's views are rarely discussed or even acknowledged on them. Returning to the website, a review of Michael Hardt's and Toni Negri's Empire also occupies quite a prominent position on the home page. Being interested in WP's take on this important work, I was disappointed that it was only available in pdf format. This not only meant having to wait a long time to download the piece - suggesting the webmaster could only be bothered to scan it in and not take the time to provide a quick loading text version. The same goes for the online version of the infrequent 'rank and file' paper, The Agitator. Luckily these examples stand out as exceptions. For example, the '(anti)-capitalism' link on the home page leads to a text version of the pamphlet (Anti)-capitalism: from resistance to revolution. Turning to the publications link, the available collection is disappointing, to say the least. Incomplete archives are available for Workers Power (Britain and Australia), Trotskyist International, Trotskyist Bulletin, and the defunct Permanent Revolution journal. For example, the WP (Britain) archive has a selection of articles from the March 2000 to February 2001 issues. Editions before and after that date are not listed. The PR and TB archives are even worse, managing just one issue apiece. This gap in the archives is partially made up for by the very helpful organisation of material on the home page. For example, articles are thematically arranged country by country, allowing one to survey the LRCI's take on events from Brazil to Sri Lanka. Finally, the links section tend to come across as an afterthought. A separated hammer and sickle occupies the top of the page, indicating that this area is still under construction. In total there are just 17 links: six to other LRCI sections with the rest being made up by Destroy IMF (a WP front), Globalise Resistance, a broken link to the London Socialist Alliance (just how long have the links been "under construction"�?) and others. Unusually for a left website, links to CNN, the BBC and even the Financial Times are included - under the rubric, "our pick of daily news sources"�. Maybe the comrades are hoping that Ted Turner et al will return the favour. In sum, like the website of the Socialist Workers Party, WP's online window to their organisation is a very amateurish effort indeed (see Weekly Worker December 19). While it may offer a more or less adequate representation of WP and the LRCI, the poor presentation and incomplete archives will do little to win them new sympathisers. I suspect that few people beyond the ranks of the LRCI itself will be adding this site to their bookmarks. Phil Hamilton