[Marxism] The SWP, Respect and the united front

Lüko Willms 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 


Lüko Willms
Frankfurt, Germany
visit http://www.mlwerke.de Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotzki in German

More information about the Marxism mailing list