Extending the witch hunt

Around the left

Life in the SLP is certainly colourful.  Just like the notorious ‘Russian’ labour dictator he seems to admire so much, Arthur Scargill has accumulated some strange and unexpected allies. Of all these lickspittle sycophants, none come much stranger than the ultra-Stalinite and homophobic authors of the Economic and Philosophic Science Review.

These converts to Scargillism - itself a unique cross between left social democracy, ‘official communism’ and NUMism - are masters par excellence of hysterical, sometimes near surreal, abuse and foaming invective. Our modern day, wannabe Yezhovs and Berias in the EPSR, naturally, are always desperate to do their master’s bidding. To this end they will go for the jugular of anyone who appears to have incurred Scargill’s displeasure, and hence earn some more loyalist brownie points. The latest target of EPSR wrath is the Fourth International Supporters Caucus and its cohorts.

The SLP’s black section was Fisc’s pride and joy. At its congress last December, Harpal Brar of the Indian Workers Association and editor of its Stalinite journal Lalkar, proposed that the black section be closed down. When Scargill pulled his 3,000 North West, Cheshire and Cumbria Miners’ Association block vote out of the hat, it was curtains for Fisc’s power base. They were shattered. EPSR was delighted, but now wants to broaden and intensify the witch hunt in order to safeguard and extend this ‘victory’ for the organisers of defeat. As it cack-handedly explains:  

“Sinister agenda of middle-class individualism continues onslaught to prevent the SLP from being built, whipping up black nationalism and other reactionary liberalism to spread more insults and disinformation to damn unitary party discipline on sections, democracy, card votes” (March 3). If only. By a splendid irony, the Fiscites have not started any campaign to abolish the block vote - or “card votes” as the EPSR puts it. Yes, turkeys do vote for Christmas. As we know, the first the “unitary party” knew about the NWCCMA block vote was on the first day of the congress. Pandemonium broke out. Congress dissolved into farce. Here we have the EPSR’s precious “party discipline”.

EPSR continues: “The nonsense of ‘left’ black nationalism - the latest concerted Trot attempt to disrupt the building of the SLP - is simply proved by the near-feudal hierarchical exploitation rampant within ethnic minorities inside Britain. Conditions of hard-driven poorly paid factory work as bad as anything anywhere in British industry can be found everywhere, ethnic owners living wealthily off their ‘own’ ethnic workforce. And the same applies to all workers in the country, whatever their race or colour, or their majority or minority ethnic position. All are cheated or oppressed at some stage by the same capitalist system, whether on housing, jobs, pay, education opportunities, or whatever. And although the burdens of racist persecution and discrimination on top of routine exploitation make things far worse for minorities, the only answer for the whole working class is to get rid of capitalism.”

Here we are treated to the EPSR’s essential economism.- black workers should forget their specific experiences and specific oppression in British society. In many respects, this is a variant of the SWP’s ‘black and white unite’ slogan. But at least the SWP’s approach is not based upon obsequious toadying to the latest whims of the Scargillite leadership:

“The claims being made for black ‘self-organisation’ as a solution (as opposed to working class self-organisation to abolish capitalism) - are a divisive reformist delusion. Separate black organisations within a class party for socialism weakens the struggle by dividing the forces and feeding illusions that boosted-ethnic pride and cultural-identity will have such an appeal that they will make the trouncing of capitalism that much easier and sooner.

“But this is a diversion which has already failed within each community. If anything, the record shows that it is too much concentration on ethnic questions which conflicts with building up a class party across all divides with which to overthrow the capitalist system which is oppressing everybody. Many ethnic communities lack nothing in being culturally ‘self-organised’. In general, such social structures tend towards a class-collaborative political influence rather than promoting the philosophy of class war, working class against the bourgeoisie, including black and Asian working class against black and Asian bourgeoisie...

“The SLP is currently being targeted for abuse by the ideological culture of black nationalism and its supporters among the white fake-‘lefts’ petty bourgeoisie [ie, Brian Heron, Carolyn and Patrick Sikorski, etc - DP]. Up and down the country, Trot opportunists are subverting the agendas of womens’ groups, education forums, etc, in order to launch wrecking attacks on the immediate past decisions of SLP congress, one enlightened aspect of which was to discontinue the divisive practice of organising the party along separate racial lines via the so-called ‘black sections’. Black middle class opportunists [eg, Imran Khan, Roshan Dadoo, Trevor Wongsam, etc - DP] are in uproar over this, having seen the SLP as a possibly ideal political-career vehicle noting that Diane Abbot, Paul Boateng and Bernie Grant have already captured these positions inside the Labour Party, and in view of Blairism rapidly becoming unpopular with the working masses, giving a new left party a chance for political success.”

Yes, it is true that “up and down the country” Fiscites like Roshan Dadoo and Trevor Wongsam have been visiting constituency SLP’s, promoting their case for the reinstatement of the black section.

“Trot individualism and opportunism argues that it is the absence of ‘black self-organisation’ from the SLP (as from society itself) which would impose ‘ghettoisation’ on black SLP members (as on blacks in society itself). It argues thus out of a petty bourgeois belief in the brilliance of individuals as the making of society, or the guaranteed triumph of any political party, etc ... The talk of being ‘ghettoised’ within the SLP gives the game away. Either it means that the SLP is itself incurably racist (continuing the notorious slander in the black sections pre-congress leaflet, augmented by the renewed slur that a black section-less SLP can ‘no longer represent black people adequately’) and can therefore never succeed as a party of socialism. Or it means that certain black individuals are not going to get the chance to star in the SLP as anticipated - with the same consequence of the SLP therefore failing”

As we have said in the Weekly Worker, under the aegis of the ‘black members group’, Dadoo, Wongsam, etc, have argued for the absolute necessity of the black section in order for the party to be relevant to the black community in Britain. It should be added that the ‘black members group’ is unconstitutional.

“The Trotskyite wish for special leadership representation without which it is claimed the SLP cannot possibly speak for black people is just pure petty bourgeois conceit, and not even black nationalist petty bourgeois conceit as its ‘excuse’, since the SLP has black leaders anyway. Leadership ambition is normal. Ultimatistic leadership ambition is crass. Ultimatistic black leadership is crass black nationalism. No workers’ party needs such handicaps”. The Fiscites dramatically withdrew themselves as NEC candidates on the first day of the SLP’s congress, only to pathetically climb-down on the second. Now it seems the EPSR faction wants Scargill to witch hunt them.

“And the SLP is not a federated party either, in spite of what other destructive Trot attacks from within Socialist Labour try to pretend. Women [but not black people it seems - DP] get together because of special organisational problems; affiliated trade unionists develop industrial policies, and come the closest so far to work place branches. Constituency parties are the best organisational structure for tackling the daily living problems of capitalist democracy for the moment. Why would separatist ethnic organisation stop at just black sections? If that was the way to better black SLP recruitment, then would not Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims, etc, all be better organised separately too for better recruitment? And why stop there, why not separate sections for the Irish, for Greek Cypriots, for Turkish Cypriots, etc etc? To ask the question is to give the answer to this bureaucratic schematicism seeking idiotic short-cuts through the very hard and conscientious graft of communist party-building.

“The insulting slanders against Socialist Labour by the black sections-agitators are just ruthless and philistine opportunism by petty bourgeois careerists and their like-minded middle class friends, guilt-ridden over white imperialist injustice but subjectively horrified at the thought of real communist revolution in Britain ... and [is] no use to the SLP”.

Political psychoanalysis, EPSR style. The author of this “separate and distinctive propaganda” - as the SLP constitution bluntly puts it - is none other than ... Royston Bull of Stockport SLP and failed candidate for Pat Sikorski’s post of vice-president. No pen name, no pseudonym. Bull must be very confident that the witch hunt in the SLP is not going to be a permanent state of affairs and that he is always going to be in favour with Scargill.

Don Preston