Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Hot (Trot) Gossip

I'm not normally interested in the machinations of the far-Left in the UK, but given that Respect seems on the brink of a "Peoples Front of Judea/Judean Peoples Front" moment, just a quick plug for two sites where you can follow (if you want to) the increasingly paranoid behaviour of the UK's leading Lenin wannabes, the SWP.

Check out Socialist Unity and Dave's Part. In addition to posting all kinds of embarrassing (for the SWP) internal documents, some of the discussion in the comments on posts is worth a read (honest).


Charlie Marks said...

I read those blogs. The stuff about the SWP bores the pants off me. By all accounts there's a New Labourish control-freakery associated with the SWP - but without on the inside pissing out (and sometimes in the tent) Respect would be fucked.

Please tell me the prospect of Respect collapsing into Python-style splittery doesn't fill you with joy...

Tom P said...

Hi Charlie

I'm a Labour supporter and member so I'm not a huge fan of Respect.

If I'm honest, I do think there is probably space for a non-Labour left alternative to Labour given that there seem to enough people willing to support such a project (though I wouldn't myself). And it is clear from other European countries that such a project is possible (Die Linke in Germany for example).

However I really do question whether Respect was the right model for this. Galloway strikes me as a deeply dodgy bloke, and I always thought an alliance betweem Trosts and fellow travellers on the one hand, and non-socialist but anti-war muslims on the other, was going to be hard to keep together. What is strange is that the current stand-off seems to be intra-Left, rather than Left vs non-Left, which makes implosion all the more likely since the bigger battle is yet to come.

I would have thought some sort of tie-up with the Greens would be more productive. Interesting interview on the Socialist Unity blog in this vein.

Charlie Marks said...

When Respect started up there was a really disappointing row with the Greens which soured things permanently. Also, the CPB voted to continue supporting Labour instead of joining Respect. And the SP's project, the Campaign for a New Workers' Party has tried and failed to get Respect tops to sign up to its call for a new mass party of labour.

So will it go belly-up? I don't know. I'm hoping that both sides will be able to sort it out. Remember, there was almost a bust-up between Galloway and the SWP but it didn't happen...

As for Die Linke, if you lived in Germany, would you be supporting them or the SPD? Perhaps the Greens?

My hope is there can grow be something like Die Linke in England... Naturally, I don't think that the Labour party is "left", but rather best left alone...

Tom P said...

Dunno how I would vote in Germany to be honest. I have a German colleague who is an ex-SPD member who says she might vote for Die Linke if she was back there. But it's a very different world politically and for unions.

On the subject of this blog temporarily, I am slightly in awe of the Germans' ability to keep a high-quality manufacturing sector. It just shows you that countries can make choices about the direction of their economies and societies.

I wonder whether the Germans have been able to do it precisely because they haven't followed the Anglo-American model of shareholder primacy in corporate governance, and their companies are therefore less subject to irrational short-term pressure from the capital markets.

Anyway to bring it back to politics, on Left alternatives a big problem for them is that they generally seem to put forward manifestos based on what Labour used to stand for. In a pure 'pitch to the voters' sense this seems to be misguided for two reasons. First, it looks odd to back policies that another part has given up. Second, it looks like they are fixated on the past.

Ho hum!

John Gray said...

“on Left alternatives a big problem for them is that they generally seem to put forward manifestos based on what Labour used to stand for..."

Hi Tom

I know that the Far Left parties claim that they are traditional “ Labour” but in reality their actual policies and views are largely based on outdated and economically illiterate classic Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist (& Heinz 57 trot ) ideology. Despite moments of madness and romanticism the Labour Party has always owed more to “Methodism rather than Marx”.