Illusionary socialism

TONY BLAIR’S Spectator speech last week must have been yet another blow to both the reformist and revolutionary left, who still insist on calling for a vote for Labour. Tony’s targets this week were ‘irresponsible’ parents, teenage ‘delinquents’ and ‘anti-social’ tenants. Proving once and for all that he is the genius of the truly nasty sound bite, Blair announced his attention to “end the give and take-away society”.

No wonder Kenneth Clarke commented: “Sometimes I think Tony Blair is copying my speeches”.

The supreme irony is that Blair advocates cracking down on tenants and parents by increasing state power against them, while simultaneously preaching the ‘new right’ ethos of opposition to the “overbearing state”.

The response of Militant Labour and the Socialist Workers Party to the Blairite ‘new turn’ has exposed the sheer poverty and timidity of the revolutionary left.

ML members will be lobbying the special Labour Party conference on April 29 “to protest and oppose Tony Blair’s attempts to ditch socialism by scrapping clause four” (Militant March 24).

Not only is ML defending Labour’s anti-communist inspired clause, but it is actually sowing socialist illusions in it.

Alex Callinicos in Socialist Worker (March 25) displays the same rank cowardice. He writes: “Simply to dismiss Labour as no different to the Tories would be to cut oneself off from the aspirations for real change that have become concentrated in it.”

As we know the solemn task of the SWP is to act as cheer leader for the Labour Party. Its hegemony over the working class must never be challenged, especially at elections - to do so would be to ‘let the Tories in’.

Callinicos looks forward to some future date when “Blair could find himself isolated and in head to head combat with substantial figures who would prefer to set up an alternative rather than see their influence entirely eliminated”.

We are supposed to sit around twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the disillusioned reformist left to form a monstrous reforged Labour Party. What reactionary fantasies. The SWP is determined to close its eyes to the real movement in society and wish it away.

In the absence of any real alternative, society is moving to the right and the Labour Party is moving in harmony with it. Yes, this is creating a vacuum, but until the revolutionary left is bold enough to begin to try and fill it, the left in the Labour Party will be dragged right with it. Remember all those who were going to leave if Blair got elected?

All genuine revolutionaries must break from the stifling trend of trying to salvage Labourism which haunts the left. Our task now is to reforge the Communist Party, which will ruthlessly oppose Labourism and social democracy in all its guises.

Frank Vincent