Out of the frying pan…
The following are excerpts are from an article by Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland. These points should be of concern to voters, who may be tempted to put their faith in the advice of the coordinator classes, rather than their own instincts and judgments, that will lead them toward a happier life and a fairer society. The subject here is RESPECT but it could easily be any of the other party’s that claim to represent working folks concerns.
Excerpts from. Britain: The Respect-Unity coalition and the politics of opportunism (WSWS)
My Italics added. (I have highlighted what I feel are relevant points concerning the eroding of socialist principals to fit leadership needs. The whole article, which is much longer, is linked at the bottom of the page)
The politics of opportunism
“The name is an acronym for Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environment, Community and Trade Unionism. Headed by former Labour MP George Galloway, its leading personnel are largely drawn from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
However, an appraisal of its origins and program shows that Respect has been established in order to prevent a genuine political break with Labourism. It is based on the explicit rejection of any possibility of constructing a socialist party based on the working class.”
Where the idea began – Built on the back of the anti war coalition.
” As is usual with war there is usually a lot of bobbing and weaving as leaders of various organizations try to line themselves up with the most popular view at the best possible time. Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy spoke at the first antiwar demonstration, but thereafter refused to take part and ended up supporting “our boys” once war – was declared. More importantly the Trades Union Congress (TUC), after initially declaring its opposition to war, issued a public statement that it would no longer support a movement critical of Blair.”
Enter George Galloway: the voice of the people.
“Due to the absence of any significant opposition within the Labour Party to the war, George Galloway, a man with a record of opportunist relations with a number of Arab bourgeois regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein, was promoted by the STWC as representing the voice of dissent from within the government’s ranks.”
Enter the coordinator class.
“The SWP does not articulate the interests of the working class, but of a significant layer of the middle class that benefited from the old welfare state provisions and occupied positions within academia, local government, the civil service and the trade unions.”
Who will work with anyone. And abandon any principals that do not fit the remit of short term power gains.
“The response of the SWP has been a sharp lurch to the right. It has concluded that the reason for its lack of success is its association with socialism and the working class and so it has abandoned the Socialist Alliance project orientation in favour of the construction of Respect.
This is not merely a continuation of its; old orientation under a new name. It evidences the incorporation of the SWP and a number of smaller groupings into the framework of bourgeois politics.
The SWP has decided that the anti war movement’s ability to galvanise broader social layers must provide the template for creating its own explicitly non-socialist political vehicle. Though its orientation to the Labour and trade union bureaucracy remains as a constant, it is to be complimented by an appeal to all; antiwar forces and to Muslims in particular.”
in order to win
“Respect’s founding declaration reiterates these claims that a movement’s viability depends on its ability to make the broadest appeal on the least controversial basis. Consequently its “declaration for a left electoral challenge to New Labour” on which it is to contest the European elections is less than 700 words in length.”
if we take it easy and curtail our socialist views and opinions, maybe we could re-introduce them later.. after we win…
“…In a recent interview…Galloway made clear that Respect’s aim is to win support from sections of the Labour and trade union bureaucracy. A success for Respect in the European elections could enable pressure to be brought to bear in the Labour Party to depose Blair as leader and tack left, he said… That, however, was a task for the future. Until then even reformist socialism should be spoken of only behind closed doors.”
“We want to rally people who are progressive, but perhaps might not define themselves a socialists yet… it is important that we don’t define ourselves in such a way that we rule out winning people that we can win.”
at any cost
“The SWP’s uncritical embrace of Galloway speaks volumes. A Labour Party member for 35 years and an MP, he is a life long admirer of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the former Soviet Union and a consummate political operator and self-publicist. He is avowedly hostile to Marxist socialism, which the SWP purports to represent. During the first public meeting launching the “coalition of dissent”, Galloway denounced revolutionary socialism as a foreign import and counterpoised his belief in a party uniting everyone including Tories who believed in democracy.”
in any form
“An alliance based on anti-Marxism
Galloway has no power base, nor significant political support. In the SWP he has been given a ready made electoral machine, one that he can rely on to offer a left veneer to a program that is explicitly bourgeois and anti-socialist. Moreover, he is free to pursue his political project together with the SWP while maintaining his already existing relations with the Arab bourgeoisie and continuing his efforts to cultivate others such as the Muslim Association of Britain.”
and finally to acquire pseudo socialism with adjustments concerning – republics, the monarchy, and wages
“It is virtually impossible to read any political comment by the SWP on the new coalition that does not make a ritual denunciation of sectarianism. But this is solely to provide a justification for its jettisoning of fundamental socialist and democratic principles.
At the convention on January 25, the total time allotted for contributions from the floor was less than two hours. Any one challenging aspects of the declaration was booed and hissed by the audience of mainly SWP members and voted down. An amendment proposing that the R in Respect should stand for Republicanism was rejected by the SWP on the grounds that one shouldn’t make a “big deal” about the monarchy; the issue is basically “immaterial” as France and the US are republics and who would think they are any the more democratic than Britain?
A motion proposing that the declaration specifies its support for open borders—an end to immigration controls— was also defeated.
An amendment proposing that Respect should commit itself to its elected representatives accepting only the wage of a skilled worker—”a workers representative on a workers wage”—was also overwhelmingly defeated. The SWP opposer argued that whilst “no one in this hall would not subscribe to this aspiration… Respect is not a particular socialist organisation.
…a danger that we would be exclusive if we carried this. What are we going to say to people like George Galloway? Are we going to make it a condition that they have to accept a workers’ wage? It would be to misconstrue what Respect is about.”
… Galloway has stated openly that he “has no time for the idea of workers’ representatives on a worker’s wage,” that he “could not live on three workers wages,” and that £150,000 a year is what he “needs to function properly as a leading figure in a party of the British political system.”
Galloway’s, preference is for the concerns of the coordinator class, not the working class, with late Arafat, and the conservative, PLO leadership, rather than what the ordinary Palestinian. This is the man who hangs up the phone during a discussion with a Palestinian, because of his views [the Palestinians] that Arafat, does not representing ordinary Palestinian people. Galloway retorts “I am not listening to this rubbish and “I am paying for this phone call,” then hangs up. (Lesley Riddock Radio Scotland) A man of the people, I think not. So who are Galloway’s, people? -The “rich guys sitting in back rooms who work out deals together, and the population’s irrelevant.” that Chomsky describes here.
How do we become relevant.
To be continued…