Sunday, 11 November 2007

George Orwell on the Respect split

From the essay Notes On Nationalism:

"As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance. The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort."


:-)

5 comments:

Charlie Marks said...

Respect a nationalist organisation? News to me, mate.

Tom P said...

In the essay he uses 'nationalist' to describe a particular way of thinking. Not the best label admittedly, give its other sense, but it's one of my favourite bits of his writing. Worth a read honestly.

Which side of the split are you on Charlie?

Charlie Marks said...

On the national aspect, Orwell is rather confused, I must say, muddling England with Britain.

Anyhow, there hasn't been an organisational split within Respect, and I hope there won't be - as it stands, it's just each side insisting the other has split. I think that each side's critique of the other has come a bit late and the bust-up would've been put-off and less confrontational had there been a general election this year.

It's clear that Respect can only survive and grow if there is both organisational unity AND a plurality of opinion. So, I'm with the Renewal lot on opening up and building the party. But if the end result is either the SWP or Galloway et al. going off on their own, it means further fragmentation of the movement.

This weekend there are four meetings of socialist groups: the official Respect conference, the Renewal meeting, the Socialism 2007 event of the SPEW, and the Labour Representation Committee's conference. It's a farce, but hopefully it will make people think seriously about how to establish a new mass party of the working class...

Tom P said...

Following on from the failure of both the Socialist Alliance and the SSP it seems to suggest two things:

1. The SWP would rather wreck an organisation than lose control of it to the wrong people.

2. Basing your public appeal on one charismatic individual is dangerous.

Charlie Marks said...

Can't argue with that, Tom. It is possible, if improbable, that the SWP will quit digging a hole and that all charasmatic individuals can be subject to accountability.

And you missed out the Scargill's SLP as an example of charisma gone awry...