.............................................. ...............................................

The European election results and the British far left

Now that the significance of the EU electoral debacle has set in the outcry is strident. Even Lenin's Tomb ( situated in the SWP camp)has had enough. Phil Hearse offers a straight talking analysis in a piece aptly titled If this debacle doesn’t wake up the British Left, absolutely nothing will.
As Lenin writes:We fluffed it, boys and girls. It has been obvious for some time that a fundamental crisis of social democracy was brewing, and that this was going to be deeper than ever before, and that nothing the left could do - even if it was so deranged as to want this - could rescue it. We watched a yawning political vacuum open up and, due to our shibboleths, totems and taboos, our inward-lookingness, our traditions of feuding, and many other flaws, we failed to fill it.Elections are not the be all and end all, and ultimately what will matter far more than such votes will be what we do between elections. But this was one important way for us to assert ourselves in this crisis, and we handed the initiative to everyone but the radical left. I am not saying we should hammer ourselves over the head repeatedly with such facts, but I think it would be healthy to begin by acknowledging them and resolving never to let that happen again.

On similar lines:
Phil Hearse points out: The outcome of the county council and Euro elections means that the British left – the left to the left of New Labour – has to wake up and break out of its dire sectarian, bureaucratic and factional mindsets. Nothing is more shameful than the lack of of united left slate, around a minimal set of demands in the interests of the working class, in these elections. The near-absence of the Left from the electoral field was one important reason – though far from the only one – that such a large number of the protest votes against the main parties went to the hard right UKIP and the fascist BNP. It is shameful that the Left abandons so much of the electoral field to the far right because of nothing more than hardened, bone headed, factional idiocy – topped off by bureaucratic exclusions and anathemas
Locally , Duroyan Fertl has a sharp analysis of the results here in the GLW elist.

The tragedy is that the British far left has had years of hard Labour to get its proverbial shit together and has cynically squandered it.

Which part of that do they not understand?

Even the initiative for the No2REU package had to come from outside the main socialist left orgs. Crappy program. Formed late in the show. But hey, it's something ....!

I don't mean to suggest that regrouping the left is a walk in the park. The Australian experience has been very difficult to negotiate (see:Uniting the Socialist Left: the Australian Experience for a review)

But at least we've been able here to keep our eyes on the prize and rather than wank on about unity and collective action, actually work at the coal face creating a small beginning pointed in that direction. Our task has often been handicapped by the very same political myopia that infects the English left -- a myopia that the UK left exports via a distribution network of various toy international franchises.

But will or can the English left change its spots?

See also:

2 Com:

Dave Riley | June 10, 2009

-[Don't hold your breadth!] ''Leading figures in No2EU will also be meeting next
weekend tol discuss its further trajectory but No2EU isn't open and is affiliate
driven. It also proscribed some groups like the SSP using Solidarity to
'represent' Scotland (for self evident reasons on the part of the SP)

See Alan McCoombes on that point:

BUT!...[Don't hold your breadth!]

This week's Socialist Worker carries this open letter, addressed to the Left.


Maneuvering? You betcha. But the outcry on the left that the BNP got in may
cause some sort of rethink even among the Brit left orgs.

However that they are *forced* to consider ONLY an electoral coalition makes the
underlying attitude of these Trotskyists reminiscent of the approach of the
Stalinist parties going back to the thirties during 3rd Period politics.This
isn't their preference or practice.

A dispute over the No2EU stance on standing against the Greens and Labour in
some areas has also broken out:WHY DID NO2EU STAND IN THE EURO-CONSTITUENCIES
But I think thats' due to the fact that No2EU is/was not accountable nor.
despite their slogan, very democratic.

Dave Riley | June 11, 2009

re: Irish statement

" The election of Joe Higgins as MEP and the defeat of Fianna Fail in Dublin indicates that the political landscape is changing. The recent elections represent a seismic shift in Irish politics. Ever since 1927, Fianna Fail has dominated the working class vote but this has now changed - most probably for ever."

This is a quite a good statement and carries on from the English SWP open letter
to the left.I think it is sharper politically than the English one and drives home some cogent home truths -- esp about Sinn Fein.

The irony is that the Socialist Party in Britain -- the equivalent of Joe Higgins' outfit in Ireland -- is beginning to consider this political opening and signed on with the No2EU package, albeit as they claim, as a somewhat passive partner.

Given that the offer came from specific trade unions the SP was probably correct to sign on despite their justified hesitancies. The question is will they c try to change the format so that it is not so narrow and top down so that it is open to broader input?

Nonetheless in England the outcry is panic over the rise of the BNP whereas in Ireland the argument, at least here, is a considered estimation of political promise.

The SP's complication is that they may be arguing for two contrary approaches either side of the Irish Sea. Yes! for regroupment in England but No! in Ireland.That, of course, remains to be seen.

In my mind I cannot separate the example of the NPA from all this at least in regard to those party orgs -- the SP and the SWP -- as the NPA in France presents an example that can serve as a sort of template and as far as what has
been the long term attitudes, presents also a challenge.

The general left enthusiasm for Die Linke in Germany , while it suggests the scale of the political chasm that has opened up, also underscores that maybe
that road -- such a loose goosey left of social democracy positioning in a mainly electoralist package -- isn't the only way, and perhaps not the best way, to proceed, despite the similarity that exercise may have to projects like RESPECT in England.

And as LINKS coverage has indicated -- there is indeed a significant tactical and political divide between the French NPA/LCR and German Die Linke POVs

And for now, touch world, the "united front of a special kind" banana oil is not on show.

dave riley

Post a Comment