Sunday, 2 March 2008

Rees-pect news

Don't ask me why but I was looking at the website of Rees-pect (SWP wing) earlier and in amongst the usual guff I spotted something actually slightly interesting in this story. Have a butchers at this:

The meeting erupted when Deputy Mayor Bill Tyson ruled against taking motions from Respect councillor Michael Lavalette (on pension disinvestment in the arms trade)...

So Rees-pect is now backing disinvestment from arms companies. As I have blogged about before, I am not a fan of disinvestment except in extreme circumstances. I think engagement is a better strategy, even with defence companies. I usually find calls for disinvestment to be knee-jerk reactions to a given issue that aren't properly thought through, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see the SWP and its fellow travellers involved in such a move.

Elsewhere it's all going belly-up for the SWP since Respect's People's Front of Judea moment. They've seen a card-carrying SWP member defect to the Tories. They've been told they can't use the Respect name in elections. They've been stung again over taking a dodgy cheque to fund a union conference. In the finest tradition of sectarian posturing they've hilariously decided to stand against a Respect (Galloway wing) candidate in the GLA elections. And they've seen Mark Steel leave after a couple of decades of membership. Those on the Galloway side of eth split hint darkly that there is more bad news to come...


Charlie Marks said...

The whole affair has been a tragedy for those of us - in and out of the SWP.

Tom P said...

Hi Charlie

As you know I won't lose any sleep over this. But as an outside observer a few things strike me.

First, if the far left is going to have any influence on politics surely a bit of self-awareness is in order. Working people in this country have no desire or reason to support a revolutionary movement, so why are so many of you hung up omn preserving the purity of your revolutionary beliefs? There may be space to the Left of Labour electorally but you won't capitalise on it whilst your language and reference points are from a different age.

Secondly, as such I just don't think you can trust the SWP as a reliable group to work with. They have been instrumental in helping breaking up three Left of Labour electoral movements now - SA, SSP and Respect. How many chances are yo going to give them. I have read that peope think they need the SWP because they have the numbers (in terms of activists). But if, as seems to be the case, they will always ultimately put the SWP's interests above eveything else that seems like a poor bargain. If you're going to succeed you will need to build up your own activists, not employ the SWP as guns for hire.

Finally, surely relying on big name figures is also the road to disaster. Scargill, Sheridan and Galloway all have major flaws.

Charlie Marks said...

I agree with what you say, actually..


In fact most "far left" types express the same views. Perhaps this whole Reespect charade will be the last straw.