Merseyside and militant

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Fri Jul 14 16:40:29 MDT 1995

Well, Jeff's experience of militant has clearly been quite different from

Not, of course, that we would fully disagree: militant was very much
working class, in contrast to (say) the SWP (at the time at least, in my
experience: do I have to go on like this to avoid accusations of
"slander"?), and its program was uncompromising and Left.  I was never a
fan of Kinnock, and I'm no fan of Blair now.

Apart from blaming the tabloid press, however, and the right wing of the
Labour party (not all of whom can be "blamed" in any straightforward
manner anyhow, as some of them got out, forming and joining the SDP), I
wonder what else Jeff thinks we can learn from the general failures of the
80s Left in Britain, and from comparing different tactics and movements
(such as the GLC, our original point of departure, or, of course, the
miner's strike or CND)?

[I'm sorry that one of my sentences was confusing.  I was referring to the
fact that--as far as I can remember--Liverpool was the only area in the
country in which the Labour vote increased in the 79, 83 and 87
elections--elections that were otherwise nothing but disappointment for
the Labour party.  (However, I could be wrong, and the Labour vote may
also have increased in Glasgow.)  What this statistic means, however, still
seems to be up for grabs. But it seems to be some kind of index of local
success, if perhaps the result as much of the general social situation of
Liverpool as of any particular ideological line taken by either local or
national Labour party.]

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at

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