Despite their different political flavours, the three frames set out above deal with a number of very similar issues. This is hardly surprising given that each worldview developed over the same period, within the same political and social context and in relation to the same emerging problems and opportunities. So, we find that each frame addresses themes such as democracy, power, economic and political institutions and the appropriate methods for social change.
This chapter outlines some of the points at which each frame, or a particular combination of them, find agreement on certain points. However, I stress more explicitly those places where sharp divergence in understanding is evident, since these points help to draw the boundaries around each frame, aiding understanding of their contents and extents. The chapter also stresses the tactical and strategic differences, more often than the philosophical. The strategic and the philosophic aspects are completely intertwined, since to provide a plausible strategy for social change one must base it on a plausible understanding of the social structure that is the target of that change. However, since proponents of the different frames mostly come into contact in the planning and carrying out of political action – it is in the realm of strategy that their divisions are most easily perceived.
In exploring the points of agreement and disagreement we find out, among other things, what exactly is meant by radicalism or reformism (depending on who is using the word), why the united front tactic of trotskyist organisations is so divisive, and how the notion of direct action has come to be applied in apprently inappropriate situations.