Stop fostering illusions
Dave Vincent also takes issue with the CPGB's aim of transforming the Labour Party and asks: What is up with some leading lights within the CPGB?
Stan Kelsey at the March 27 aggregate argues for the recruitment of anti-cuts activists into the Labour Party! Eddie Ford in ‘Taking on redder hues?’ describes those who dismiss Labour as “misreading the situation” or of being guilty of “self-serving sectarianism” (Weekly Worker March 31). Oh well, that’s won that argument then.
He feels a bit of left rhetoric by Ed Miliband at the massive March 26 anti-cuts demo shows he has been forced leftwards by the growing resistance to the cuts. Er ... the same Ed Miliband who stated the coalition government should not be brought down by industrial action - it must only be voted out at the next general election?
Anne Mc Shane, in her article, ‘Now the left has TDs’, quoted the Irish Labour leader (and deputy prime minister) warning members they “would have to walk through forests of placards in the months and years ahead” (Weekly Worker March 24). Isn’t this the attitude held by British Labour councillors already voting cuts through?
James Turley reports that PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka received a rapturous reception when he called for generalised strike action at the rally in Hyde Park, whereas those speakers who advocated the official Labour perspective of less cuts received a lukewarm response (‘Arm the movement with Marxist politics’, March 31). Given the number of Labour-affiliated trade unions present, what does that tell you about where their ordinary members are politically, compared to the union tops?
Labour-affiliated unions who refuse to let their conferences debate the Labour link or even levels of donations have no mandate to declare their members should vote Labour and they do not represent where most ordinary union members are.
The varied but consistent reactions to the speakers said it all. No-one has exposed Miliband’s hypocrisy in praising the struggles of the suffragettes and civil rights movements - who did not rely on simply voting Labour or, in the US, the Democrats rather than taking to the streets. Both parties jump on the protests bandwagon to divert support to themselves, then stall the struggle and divert it to electoralism.
BBC1’s Question time on March 31 featured Mark Serwotka on the panel, and every opinion he gave secured the loudest audience applause - compared to no applause on any response from so-called leftwinger Diane Abbott, who, let it not be forgotten, was supported by a number of CPGB leading lights in the Labour leadership contest.
I have argued before that socialists/Marxists should be relating to those joining anti-cuts protests who are not Labour Party members rather than wasting time with ‘Labour Party no matter how bad’ useful idiots (to capitalism), who foster illusions in Labour.
If you give various labels to those who detest the Labour Party for 13 years of betrayal of the working class, then you have a duty to explain exactly how the Labour Party will be pulled left, given the anti-democratic procedures enforced on constituency parties and party conference. Any hint of trying to do so will be condemned as harming Labour’s electoral prospects, and the Labour Representation Committee will fall meekly into line.
Eddie Ford quotes Socialist Worker to the effect that there were “at least” 68 Labour Party banners on March 26. On a march of 500,000? Is that all? How many would have been there had Miliband not been a main speaker? How many of the 68 wards supported John McDonnell in his two woeful leadership bids instead of Brown or Miliband? How many of the 68 will only back anti-cuts Labour candidates? How many of today’s ‘moving to the left’ Labour Party MPs voted for intervention in Libya (and voted for the Iraq war)?
So many people who don’t think very much still look to Labour. How many of the self-deluding saps also think they are now middle class (supposedly 71%)? Given the disgraceful disunity of the left, is that surprising?
The answer is to give people a left alternative - not to foster illusions that the Labour Party can be pulled left (yawn). Or even for trade unions and communities to stand independent, anti-cuts candidates. Now that would be a real move to the left: ordinary people collectively deciding to get involved in politics once again. Where might such discussions, decision-making and campaigning lead? But, no, we must vote for self-serving, careerist Labour MPs talking left in opposition.
Eddie Ford thinks that Miliband addressing the anti-cuts demo, and intending to address the Durham miners’ gala, to be of some significance. Eddie, might it be just bad, old-fashioned opportunism? Miliband still argued cuts were necessary to the Hyde Park rally. That was an insult to all those who had just marched - not ‘moving to the left’. Not one of the 18 members of my union branch who had come from Manchester praised Miliband - but they all raved over Serwotka’s address.
CPGB members need to stop looking to the Labour Party and start looking outwards to those fighting the cuts and who have no time for Labour. But then the CPGB’s stance against halfway houses (and independent anti-cuts candidates too?) forces them to be trapped into supporting the Labour Party with the lame fig leaf that we should be ‘working within to pull it left’. All the left-turning pit tunnels collapsed years ago, but keep clearing away the rubble, comrades!
I know what you are pulling and it isn’t Labour to the left!