Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Egypt - What Is To Be Done - Part 5

Build The Workers', Property, Democracy and State

I have spent considerable time discussing these strategies and arguments before coming to the question of what is to be done in Egypt because in order to answer that question it is at least as important to identify what is NOT to be done in order to avoid the disasters that have befallen the workers in the past as a result of pursuing a false course.
The actual strategy for the workers in Egypt has to be determined concretely by the workers themselves with the assistance of Marxists in Egypt, because only they can assess the actual balance of forces at any one time. The above set out the strategies that must be avoided whatever the conditions, the question is to determine the actual tactics that are appropriate at each stage given the actual conditions, and how those tactics can help develop the working-class as an independent force in Egyptian society capable of shaping events and its own destiny.

The basic outline of those tactics I have already set out both here and in other documents. The main focus for Marxists in Egypt must be the building up of independent working-class organisation. There is a tendency, as I have outlined in other documents in relation to Britain, to see the task in terms of winning positions in the Trades Unions, getting resolutions passed etc. In a situation such as that in Egypt today such activity is even more irrelevant. It is not “mass work”, but an electoralist shadow of it. The Trades Unions in any country only organise a minority of workers, and those actively involved in the union organisation an even smaller minority of that minority.
By no stretch of the imagination can this be described as mass work. Real mass work has to be conducted in the midst of the masses themselves, not in the Trade Union meetings, but on the shop floor, through the building up of rank and file organisations of workers – unionised and non-unionised alike – capable of responding immediately to every situation through their own direct action. Such organisation within each shop has to be spread throughout the whole factory in the form of Factory Committees. It is not to say that the Trades Union branches are not important, or that winning them and wider Trades Union organisations to a series of demands that further the workers interests does not matter – as Lenin said in response to the Anarchists in his “Two Tactics of Social Democracy”, this process has to proceed from above and below, but it is to insist that the starting point has to be a real drive to win over the majority of the masses, to win the battle of democracy, and not just to win votes that do not reflect real mass support.

The Factory Committee is the real building block of any proletarian movement. Without effective Factory Committees, Trade Union Branches are no more than empty talking shops, prone to bureaucracy and undemocratic practices. And that makes any other Trade Union organisation based on the Branches even more useless. There is no point winning the leadership of such organisations based on nothing, and capable of mobilising no one.
Without, the Factory Committees, effective Workers Councils are impossible in an area. In 1917, when Lenin recognised that they did not have a majority in the Soviets (Workers Councils) he told the Bolsheviks to focus their attention on the Factory Committees where they did have a majority, and considered organising the insurrection through them rather than the Soviets. But, the Factory Committee is vital to other aspects of the tactics and strategy that the workers need to develop. If the bosses of a factory attempt to lock-out the workers or to close the Factory, then the Factory Committee is the obvious organisation capable of responding immediately not just to occupy the factory, but to ensure that production continues under Workers Control. Because it is a rank and file organisation of the workers it is not susceptible to all of the sectional interests of the different Trades Unions in the factory, and their petty rivalries. Even if the factory is not to be occupied, at a certain stage of the struggle the Factory Committee can act as a means of introducing Workers Inspection, and Workers Control.

The Factory Committee can also be replicated within the workers communities, especially where workers are living in rented properties. Moreover, these committees can be linked together in order to provide support for each group of workers from workers elsewhere be they in a factory, or in a workers district. They are a basic building block of workers organisation, workers solidarity, workers ownership and workers control. And in order to achieve that they also form the basis of the establishment of an alternative Workers Democracy, and Workers State.
But any State requires the means to defend the interests of the Class whose State it is. The basic elements of that are already being developed in Egypt with the establishment within workers communities of Defence Squads and Militia to guard against the thieves and criminals released by Mubarak's State. Once again the Factory Committees provide the basis for regularising these Militia, and bringing them under Workers Control, organising them as a co-ordinated, disciplined force to protect the workers not just in their communities, but in their factories. An urgent task in the days ahead is to organise these Defence Squads and Militia, and also to move from their current position of being armed with knives and sticks, to the acquisition of guns.
To the extent that the workers can achieve this organisation, and be able to provide protection for the protests against the attacks of Mubarak's thugs, the more they will win over the petit-bourgeoisie, which throughout history has thrown its support behind whichever class has provided a clear lead, and demonstrated its ascendancy.

One tactic the regime is using, and which every other regime has used is to try to create economic chaos. Its not known whether the explosion at the gas terminal on Saturday was an accident or the work of the regime, but their have been reports of shortages of food and gas. Ruling groups always hope that if such chaos persists then sections of the population will eventually begin to call for a return of “Order”. Western news reporters, particularly from the BBC, have missed no opportunity to ask the question ad nauseum of protesters whether they should not now call off the protests now that Mubarak has made concessions – concessions which, of course would disappear to be replaced by vicious repression if the protests did end.
But, it is in workers interests both to deny Mubarak of this tactic, and for production and distribution to resume for their own needs. But, the workers should restart production under Workers Control via the Factory Committees, and to meet the needs of the masses, not the needs of the regime. Exactly, how and when that occurs can only be determined on the ground.

None of this constitutes a push for power by the workers. Nor does it constitute an attempt to introduce the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry. It only constitutes measures undertaken by workers for their own defence, and for the efficient functioning of the economy. It assumes that this economy remains a capitalist economy in the hands of Capitalists, and that the State remains a Capitalist State. But, further Political Demands are also required whilst remaining within that context.
If that Capitalist State is to even act as a defender of bourgeois democracy then it must be freed from the clutches of the existing political regime, a regime which is itself based upon the upper reaches of the State itself. A whole series of Democratic demands will be required in that respect such as:

* The election of all Top Civil servants

* The election of all judges

* The election of all Police Chiefs

* The election of the Military Top Brass

* An opening of the books of the State to see what financial links exist with which companies and individuals

* Democratic rights for all soldiers, including the right of Assembly, and to elect immediate commanding officers.

* For annual elections and the right of recall of elected representatives

* Freedom Of The Press

* Freedom Of Assembly

* The Right To Join Trades Unions

* The Right To Strike

* The Right To Bear Arms As Part Of A Democratically Regulated Militia

* Freedom Of All Political Parties

* The Rapid Convening Of A Constituent Assembly

These are not revolutionary socialist demands, but only demands for consistent bourgeois democracy such as outlined by Thomas Paine in his “The Rights of Man”, and which formed the basis of the US Constitution.
But, if the Army is to act as a stabilising force, persuading Mubarak to go prior to the installation of some Provisional Government along the lines of the Kerensky Government in Russia in 1917, then the demand for Democratic Rights for Soldiers, especially tied to the idea of developing Soldiers Committees similar to the Factory Committees of the workers is important, because Mubarak himself comes from that Military, and if he is not simply to be replaced by another General, then the links between the Political regime and the Army Chiefs of Staff must be broken, the political force pressing on the Army must come not from the existing regime, but from the mass of society. The channel for that must come through the rank and file soldiers.

That too will provide the most stable basis for ensuring that when the Parliamentary Elections do take place, when the Constituent Assembly is convened it can occur under the protection of the rank and file soldiers.
Depending upon, the progress achieved, further democratic demands arise to make the civilian regime stable and secure. The American revolutionaries, recognising the power that the State can exercise in its own interests as against those of society, argued against the idea of a permanent standing Army, and in favour of a Citizen Militia. It was after all such a Militia, which had defeated the military might of the most powerful Army of the 18th century, that of George III.
Especially, in conditions such as those of Egypt, where the State has for so long exercised power in its own interests against those of the Citizens, such a demand is particularly relevant. Once a Parliamentary Republic has been established the demand for the gradual replacement of the standing army with such a Militia should be raised. The forces of reaction will oppose such a demand, and from experience so will those of the Liberals and Reformists. In Spain, during the 1930's they opposed the call by Trotsky for the disbandment of the Officer Corps, for instance. They argued that Spain was threatened from without by the forces of German fascism, and the officer corps was needed to organise the country's defence.
But, as Trotsky correctly identified, the immediate threat to the Spanish Republic came not from Germany or any external enemies, but from the internal forces of reaction, for whom the Officer Corps would be the shock troops. The victory of Franco was the complete vindication of Trotsky's warnings.

If all that is achieved by the Democratic Revolution in Egypt is this level of transformation of society then this would represent a significant step forward for the Egyptian workers. It would provide the basis for the resumption of something approaching “normal” politics, and also provide the basis for facilitating the workers further organisation and development. But, precisely because it would constitute the resumption of “normal” politics it would mean that the basic contradictions of those normal politics would once more increasingly take centre stage. That is increasingly the contradictory interests of the workers and the Capitalists would become apparent. In 1848, Marx and Engels concluded that contrary to their belief a Socialist revolution would have been impossible.
Not only were the productive forces insufficiently developed, but the working class itself was insufficiently developed. That too was the real cause of the failure of the Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917. The solidarity and organisation of the working-class, and its hostility to the old regime, especially a corrupt regime during a period of crisis, is sufficient to overthrow such a regime, but it is far from adequate for the far more complex task of building Socialism, and as the rise of Stalinism demonstrated in Russia, and of the Party and State bureaucracy that led to Stalinism even under Lenin, this task cannot be subcontracted to a party or State to undertake from above. Just as Marx and Engels argued in relation to Lassalle, and his Statist programme of the conversion of property ownership and relations from above, this revolutionary transformation can only be accomplished from below by the acts of the working-class themselves. The workers have to demonstrate their desire to take over their factories, shops and offices not just as an act of rebellion, but out of a desire to become their immediate owners and managers.
If they are not prepared to do that, but instead fall back into the routine that bourgeois society conditions them in, relying on others to undertake that work of control, then necessarily those who undertake the control will usurp authority, establish their own interests, and act in those interests accordingly. The Bonapartist regime in Egypt is just another example of that basic truth.

If a Socialist revolution is to be achievable in Egypt, then not only do the productive forces have to be adequate for that purpose – and its is not clear that at present they are – but the workers must show that they are capable, and prepared to undertake the task of building Socialism themselves. For now, that would mean that workers have to begin to demonstrate their desire to take over the existing means of production, and to develop their own Workers Co-operatives, linked together in a Co-operative Federation. Even if, the productive forces in Egypt are not sufficient for Socialism at the present time, even if the workers themselves are not sufficiently developed as a class to begin to make itself the ruling-class, the creation of such Workers Property is a fundamental requirement for that transformation of the working-class, and for the development of its economic and social power in society.
It provides the Egyptian workers with an alternative to Capitalist exploitation, and demonstrates in practice, how such an alternative could be built as a different type of society. In the meantime, those Co-operatives would provide an increasingly important base of support for workers engaged in the class struggle against their own bosses. In Britain, at the beginning of the twentieth Century that role was played by the Co-op, in providing both food and finance to striking workers during the General Strike, for instance. In current conditions, not only could workers Co-ops in Egypt be providing food and other necessities, but they could also be producing and distributing the guns and other means of defence that the workers need.

But, another lesson of the Russian Revolution was that Socialism cannot be built in a single country, especially a less developed one. Although, the Co-operative production of a Socialist society is far more efficient than Capitalist production, precisely because it releases all of the energy, the inventiveness, and dynamism of the working-class, that cannot outweigh the advantages that a far more developed Capitalism enjoys on a national and international level. As Trotsky put it, “A grown lion can see off a pack of hounds, but if the hounds attack the lion when it is just a cub, then the hounds will defeat it.” Any attempt to build Socialism in Egypt would not only see it confronted by powerful Capitalist competition undermining its ability to survive, but it would also face overt and covert attempts to overthrow it by Imperialism.
The best hope for the Socialist revolution in Egypt will come from the ability of the Egyptian workers to build up their strength, build up their economic and social power by the construction of workers co-operatives linked in to not just a national Co-operative Federation in Egypt, but one across the Middle-East, and Europe. That will provide a powerful basis for competition against Capitalist property, for developing international solidarity, and for undermining the potential for Imperialist intervention. But, here too, workers in the West have a duty of international solidarity with the Egyptian workers. The US alone provides Egypt with around $2 billion of aid each year, half of that in military aid. The advantage the workers have over other classes is that it is they who do the work, who produce the goods and services and distribute them.
There is a duty incumbent on the US workers involved in producing the goods that make up that aid to ensure that it goes to the Egyptian masses, not to their oppressors. The US should not cut off aid to Egypt, but US workers in the factories, on the docks, on the ships and planes should set up their own committees, and link them to the Egyptian workers organisations, ensuring that the necessities, and arms that the Egyptian workers need, are provided to them directly. In Europe, and in the US there are already important worker owned Co-operatives, as well as large consumer Co-ops in Europe. In Europe, where workers themselves are already taking to the streets in opposition to the austerity measures, it is important to link up the struggles of workers on the Southern shores of the Mediterranean with those on the Northern shores in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and no doubt as the austerity measures bit, in Italy and France too.
Workers in Europe should organise through their Co-ops to provide assistance to the Egyptian workers. As the largest and most effective Workers Co-op in Europe, the workers at Mondragon should make contact with their North African comrades to assist in the development of worker owned property, and workers production. This would be the best immediate means of demonstrating an effective, efficient alternative to the chaos and oppression of Capitalism, and its austerity.

Of course, as Lenin outlined in “Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution”, socialists cannot refuse to take power if it is thrust upon them, if the battle of democracy is won, even if the productive forces are not sufficiently developed in the particular country.
In Russia both then, and later in his “April Theses” in 1917, Lenin argued that they would have to take power in the interests of acting to spur on the Socialist Revolution in those countries where the productive forces were sufficiently developed. Given the rapid spread of revolt across the Middle-East against repressive regimes, such a scenario may present itself again today, though it is doubtful that the productive forces in many of these other countries is sufficient to provide a basis for Socialism either. Many of them such as Saudi Arabia, although they have spent some of their oil revenues on trying to develop their own industries, remain largely Rent based economies dependent upon Oil, Gas, and its associated industries, as well as an increasing development of Finance.
If the current revolts spread to the repressive theocratic regime in Iran, where industrial development is reasonably developed, that might be changed, but its unlikely that this would be a sufficient basis for the building of Socialism across the whole of the Middle-East. The most significant development would be if the Arab workers could join with the Israeli workers, in order to take advantage of Israel's relatively advanced economy. But, the real solution for workers in the Middle East is to be able to link their economies and future to those of the workers in Europe, particularly Southern Europe, where the EU has already established a Mediterranean Trading Area. Building up international links between the workers in the Middle East, with those in Southern Europe, building solidarity action between them, especially now as they are both engaged in action, developing Workers property, Workers Democracy, and alternative forms of Workers State to defend the workers interests, would be a great step forward towards the construction of a wider Socialist United States of Europe and the Middle East.

In short, there are a number of principles which must govern the actions of the Egyptian workers if they are to avoid the mistakes of the past. The most important of those is for the workers to maintain their strict independence from other classes, supporting them in action in the struggle for Democracy, but using their own methods of struggle for that, and developing their own organisations and demands alongside it. They must maintain a position of “extreme revolutionary opposition”, supporting the Democracy movement in action, but all the time stressing the separate interests of the working-class, and its ultimate hostility to the bourgeoisie. It must focus primarily on the goal of developing the working-class, and the fight for Socialism rather than subordinating that to the immediate concerns of the struggle for democracy. It must build the strength of the working-class from below. The socialists must conduct mass work on the shop floor and in the workers communities, concentrating on the building of Rank and File Organisations from the bottom up, as the only sound basis for winning positions. Until such time as the socialists have successfully conducted that struggle and won the battle for democracy they must avoid any premature bid for State power.

But, exactly how the tactics outlined in previous paragraphs are implemented, and more importantly when they are implemented cannot be determined in advance, because that depends upon the material factors that exist at the particular time, and the balance of class forces.
In other words, to use Lenin's phrase this formulation has to remain algebraic, outlining the steps to be taken but not setting in stone the order in which they are raised or implemented. At the present time, the working-class may not be the most significant force in Egypt. But, that fact does not mean that the Egyptian workers have to see themselves as mere observers of the historical process tying their fate to some other more powerful group be it an Imperialism now turning on its former agent, or on the Army from which Mubarak came, and upon which ultimately his power has been based, or the Middle Class who were the most visible originators of the protests, and most certainly not upon forces such as the Muslim Brotherhood who would imprison the Egyptian workers if anything more cruelly than has Mubarak. The fate of the Egyptian workers lies in their own hands, and they can by organising to fight for their interests here and now, transform their condition, and can become the most important force in Egyptian society as a result of their actions.

Victory to the Egyptian Revolution, Victory To the Egyptian Workers

Back To Part 4


Jacob Richter said...

I'll focus just on your list.

In much of the Third World, workers aren't in the demographic majority. However, it would be absurd to side with bourgeois "colour" revolutions.

The strategy should be a political triad of independent working-class political organization, "democratism" from the urban petit-bourgeoisie, and peasant patrimonialism. As such, in going over your list I'll go generally in reverse order.


The last six demands sound too liberal. In the framework of class struggle, there is a broader demand that is greater than the sum of these parts you mentioned:

Full, lawsuit-enforced freedom of class-strugglist assembly and association for people of the dispossessed classes, even within the military, free especially from anti-employment reprisals, police interference such as from agents provocateurs, and formal political disenfranchisement.

[Extending from this is: The expansion of the abilities to bear arms, to self-defense against police brutality, and to general self-defense, all toward enabling the formation of people’s militias based on free training, especially in connection with class-strugglist association for people of the dispossessed classes, and also free from police interference by the likes of agents provocateurs.]

Thus, the old canard of "freedom of assembly and association" is rendered bankrupt.


The form of elections isn't specified. It is important that one gets this right the first time. Look what happens with having FPTP.

There is also no mention of participatory budgeting and oversight, full communal power, etc. instead of the usual municipal power.


I made my comment earlier in Part 1 of your blog. This next part is the hot potato part, as it addresses the problems with the first four demands.

The top civil service offices (and many more bureaucratic positions, I might add), police chief positions, general staff, and courts of constitutional law (not the rest of the court system) should be packed and sacked on the authority of one person.

However, said person should be the leader of a party, and should have the confidence of that party and the legislature.

Boffy said...

You said you would deal with the last demands first, but then went on to criticise the bourgeois democratic demands, by repeating mostly in other words, the demands that actually have come first and last in what I have written, the demand for workers independent organisation, for the establishment not of the Stalinist/Maoist concept of "People's Militias" that you put forward, but of Workers Militia and so on.

Your arguments about the form of bourgeois democracy are rather premature prior to the convening of a Constituent Assembly, which would have the job of determining those things, and your comments about oversight, and popular democratic involvement as opposed to Municipalism are rendered bankrupt and irrelevant considering that as part of developing working-class independence and self-government, I am proposing the establishment of Workers Committees in their neighbourhoods, and the establishment of Workers Co-operatives to provide and commission the services the workers need. Workers democracy in determining that is implicit.

What is more your bouregois-democratic demands for the Capitalist State - and such it must be unless we are already talking about its overthrow by what you admit are Minority working-classes - seems Utopian, particularly so prior to the very establishment of some form of bourgeois democracy.

Your demands for some new Bonaparte to be able to appoint all of the top positions of the State is at least consistent with your Lassallean politics, because as Marx told Lassalle, he was "the model of the future Worekrs Dictator".

We've seen plenty of them in the past, and I'd rather the workers in Egypt and elsewher avoid them like the plague. Fortunatley, your strategy is so far removed from the reality of the situation in Egypt, that such an eventuality flowing from it is as unlikely as that the Capitalist State in Egypt or elsewhere is going to legislate to so support "class-strugglist" measures whatever that might mean!

Jacob Richter said...

I'm not calling for a Bonaparte at all. I am a calling for people's history. I am calling for the real Julius Caesar.

See, Cicero's account prevailed over the past 2,000 years, such that his gentlemen's history account seeped into Marx's thinking, hence the negative overtone of the original "Caesarism" in German Social-Democratic circles.

Gramsci in prison started to break away from this. He put Caesar and Napoleon on the progressive divide, and Louis Bonaparte and Bismarck on the other. Truth be told, though, that Napoleon wasn't really that progressive.

Enter Parenti's excellent account of the class dynamics of ancient Rome, a people's history. Caesar was assassinated not just because of land reform, not just because of debt relief, not just because of caps on personal wealth, but because he intended to transfer power from the Senate to the Tribunal Assembly. Eventually he would have had to go against his own class in establishing a new ruling class system (think of feudal rulers becoming bourgeois, for example).

Caesarean Socialism extends this mere historical analysis to a conclusion on analyzing the various "witnesses to permanent revolution," applying strategy to Third World situations.

Once again, independent working-class political organization separates Caesarean Socialists from Bonapartists of all stripes. Where I agree with you is that the DOTP can wait. Where I don't agree with you is which class should precede the proletariat: the "national" bourgeoisie or "national" petit-bourgeoisie.

Jacob Richter said...

"'Class-strugglist' measures whatever that might mean"

I was under the impression you already knew by heart that every class struggle is political.

Class-strugglist assembly and association covers a variety of activities and organizations:

Political parties
Alternative culture
Explicitly political unions
Mass protests
Mass civil disobedience
Political strikes

The adjective term emphasizes these over irrelevant forms of "assembly and association" like nudist parades, gay pride parades, ethnic parades, etc.

Boffy said...

Of course every class struggle is political, but there is a tendency to use the term class struggle very loosely as lenin points out. Often the term is used for things which are not class struggles, but which are merely sectional struggles - for example a strike.

Those actions can often be not only not class struggles, but can be reactionary. For example, a strike to defend jobs at one plant or in once country by throwing the problem on to workers elsewhere.

The problem with vague terms such as the one you use is demonstrated by your reply. So for example you include in the term:

Alternative culture
Mass protests
Mass civil disobedience

But you then consider "irrelevant" gay pride demonstrations and so on, which I would have thought certainly comes under the heading Alternative Culture. Simply, placing the adjective "class-strugglist" in front is meaningless because who is to define whether this march rather than that one was based on "class-struggle".

In other words as I said its vague, which is why I don't know what it means, its not concrete. Moreover, it tends to sectarianism in your response. Its rather like the Militant's position of the 1980's and 90's, which stood aside from "irrelevant" issues and struggles of gay and women's rights, on the basis that they were not directly workers struggles.

The whole point of much I have written in these posts is precisely about how a working-class, which is not hegemonic, not only can, but has to work alongside these "non-class strugglist" movements in order to create the conditions in society, which best enable workers to organise, to move forward and to become hegemonic.

The idea that the working-class has to maintain its independence, build its organisation and strength cannot be separated from the fact, that the workers remain, and have to continue to exist within Capitalist society as whole during that process. The fact, that workers need to build their own democrqcy, does not change the fact that they continue to have to relate to bouregois democracy. That they build up Workers property that they have to continue to work for Capitalists, to operate within a market. That they build aspects of their own State such as Workers Militia that they also have to recognise and deal with the bouregois state, and try to democratise it, limit etc.

Jacob Richter said...

"But you then consider "irrelevant" gay pride demonstrations and so on, which I would have thought certainly comes under the heading Alternative Culture."

I used the term "alternative culture" to refer to Vernon Lidtke's work on the pre-war SPD. The Islamist equivalent would be the proper alternative culture apparatus of, say, Hezbollah, but supported by Islamist front charities.

I'd add another category to class-strugglist assembly and association: worker equivalents of the National Rifle Association. They wouldn't be workers militias or people's militias, but would educate and agitate for worker "gun rights" and even "gun welfare" (so as to overcome any economic privileges to gun access by petit-bourgeois elements and those higher up).


"Its rather like the Militant's position of the 1980's and 90's, which stood aside from "irrelevant" issues and struggles of gay and women's rights, on the basis that they were not directly workers struggles.

The whole point of much I have written in these posts is precisely about how a working-class, which is not hegemonic, not only can, but has to work alongside these "non-class strugglist" movements in order to create the conditions in society, which best enable workers to organise, to move forward and to become hegemonic."

Not all "Identity Politics" are relevant, and perhaps only few are. I'm for upward-trending equal pay for equal work, for example. I'm not, however, for "gender equality in the corporate boardrooms." Unlike the social conservatives in the otherwise militant Russian Communist Workers Party, I'm for equal access to *state or public services* for LGBTs, "marriage" being such a service. I'm not, however, for public LGBT orgies (or any other orgies, for that matter).

How do we accommodate those workers who, on social issues, are on the "Radical Center"?


Therefore, Lind argues, the American "radical" centrism of today is simply the adamant pursuit for a return to the once-mainstream political principle of New Deal economic progressivism coupled with a *moderate cultural conservatism*. This *modest cultural conservatism* would be exemplified on the political stage simply by the "radical centrist" politician's refusal to politicize or advocate socially-liberal issues like abortion or gay rights. However, the radical centrist politician might spurn any influence or pressure coming from the Religious Right and other socially conservative groups (i.e. pro-life advocates, school prayer advocates, etc.)