[Marxism] The SWP, Respect and the united front
lueko.willms at t-online.de
Mon Nov 5 01:10:50 MST 2007
On Sun, 04 Nov 2007 11:45:15 -0500, Louis Proyect wrote:
> There is so much confusion here that one hardly knows where to begin.
> Let s establish first of all that the united front was
> never intended to be applied to electoral politics.
> The united front could be summarized
> under the slogan March separately strike jointly .
That also applies to electoral politics. Our (the proletarian
revolutionists) strategic goal is wresting the political power, state
power, out of the hands of the bourgeoisie, of capital, and use
political power to begin to reshape society in the interests of working
people and all of humanity.
We work to establish a unity of the class as a whole, that is basis
and goal of the "united front" as strategy and tactic.
Election time is an occasion to make that clear. Here also we work for
unity. Not in the way of putting aside our revolutionary goals of taking
power by a government "of workers, by workers, and for workers" to
paraphrase Lincoln's Gettysburg formula, and subordinate us under the
discipline of some majority party in the working class, but by pushing
that one to break with bourgeois coalition governments. "All the power
to the soviets" was the revolutionary expression in a revolutionary
situation of the demand to the reformist parties to break their
submission to the bourgeoisie and take all power in their hands.
In not so revolutionary times, there are also ample examples on how to
do it, or rather on how not to do it.
For example the 2005 federal elections in Germany, which were called
by then prime minister Schröder of the SPD to reposition the SPD as the
"party of the little people" against the Christian-Democrats and
liberals (FDP) as the representative of a course threatening more
attacks on the living standard and rights of working people. Schröder
was quite successful, resulting in a parliament where CDU/CSU and FDP
were in a minority. Schröder boasted of his success after the election
results were known, but he omitted the thorn in his side, the newly
formed coalition of the PDS and a split-off of the socialdemocrats.
If this new reformist party, which now has merged under the
preposterous name of "Die Linke" (The Left), had some revolutionary
guts, they would have assured both during the election campaign and
after the election results were in, that they would -- in case that they
would have less deputies in parliament than the SPD -- vote for the
SPD's candidate for prime minister (Kanzler or Chancellor), just to
assure that the SPD or SPD/Green coalition would have the chance to
realize their campaign promises. We -- the revolutionists -- would have
promised to support any move in the interests of working people, but
oppose any law infringing our rights and living standard.
But the flat refusal by the PDS/WASG combination left the SPD off the
hook, and allowed them to proclaim that there was and is no other
possibility for a government than the "Große Koalition" (large
coalition) of SPD and CDU/CSU, continuing the attacks on working people
under a new cover.
The Green party in their first parliamentary success in the 1980ies in
Hesse, went even further: they refused to vote for the SPD prime
minister (who nevertheless managed to form a minority government), but
then voted for his budget, giving him all the funds necessary for the
policies they purportedly opposed. The PDS/WASG parliamentary group was
dismissed of such a choice because the government coalition has a
majority anyway. Instead they work for a coalition government with the
SPD, as they have on the Länder level in Berlin and
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, cutting wages and increasing working hours...
So there is ample room for united front policies in the electoral
arena, but success is bound to a condition: not to muddle the
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