What Militant said about Scargill's new party (fwd)

Chegitz Guevara mluziett at shrike.depaul.edu
Wed Nov 15 14:52:40 MST 1995

Marc, "the Chegitz," Luzietti

I'm not anti-society, society's anti-me
I'm not anti-religion, religion's anti-me
I'm not anti-tradition, tradition's anti-me
I'm not anti-anything, I just want to be free.

Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 12:43:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Chris Faatz <cfaatz at teleport.com>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 19:08:22
From: Derek McMillan <derek at mcmillan.win-uk.net>
To: cfaatz at teleport.com
Subject: What Militant said about Scargill's new party

I have posted this to apst and informed the International
accordingly.  The announcement that a new Socialist Labour
Party will be formed on May Day in 1996 is potentially the
most important event of the year.

Editorial from Militant 10 November

The Latest Daily Telegraph (British Tory paper) poll puts Labour 40%
clear of the Tories.  This does not vindicate the right-wing
leadership of the Labour Party but mainly it reflects a profound
anti-Tory mood, a deep-going class hatred of The Tories.  There has
also been a certain growth even of a pro-Labour, pro-Blair mood,
particularly in "middle England."
     This is less to do with Blair's "moderation" than the experience
of the middle class of Tory attacks and decline of living standards.
But this shift of the middle class towards Labour, including the
increasingly middle-class character of the Labour Party membership,
is more than matched by a widespread disillusionment of socialists at
the spectacle of Labour's lurch rightwards.
     Thousands of socialists have now abandoned any prospect of
transforming Labour into a vehicle of socialist change.
     This layer, estimated in a Red Pepper (UK leftist journal) poll
at over two million is to the left of the Labour Party.  Many of
these would support a call to build a mass socialist party.  Labour
is becoming like another capitalist party, a British version of the
US Democratic Party.
     Arthur Scargill at the Labour Party conference floated the idea
of building a new Socialist Labour Party.  Before the special Labour
Party conference which abandoned Clause Four earlier this year,
Militant Labour was first to call for the formation of a new mass
socialist party.
     In the past Militant worked successfully, together with others
in turning the Labour Party towards the working class, as shown in
the mass struggles like Liverpool and the poll tax battles.  Then we
held out the prospect of the trade unions moving into the Labour
Party and transforming it in a socialist direction.
     However, Blair's counter-reforms, changing it into a party fully
supporting the 'market' as well as the attacks on internal democracy
have ruled out such a transformation.
     It is therefore necessary to prepare for the formation of a new
socialist party.  We have called for a widespread discussion amongst
the Left about this idea.  We did not expect such a party to emerge
until after the next general election.
     The experience of a right-wing Labour Government, with the
inevitable mass disillusionment amongst working people, would prepare
the ground for the emergence of such a party.
     But such is the revulsion now at the policies of the Blair
Labour leadership that a socialist party could be formed before the
The mood is certainly there amongst the advanced workers in the trade
unions, amongst women, amongst black and Asian workers, and the
youth.  Many of the youth especially would be attracted to a new
socialist party.
But new parties can be compared to an aeroplane on a runway.
Properly prepared and organised the 'plane' can take off.  But
history is littered with examples of 'crash landings' and parties
formed in high hopes which never actually get off the ground.
An ill-prepared effort now would be disastrous for the cause of
socialism.  Anew socialist party must be broad-based, embracing all
genuine forces fighting for a mass socialist alternative in Britain.
It must be inclusive, not exclusive.
Where successful initiatives have been taken in Europe, such as in
Italy with the Communist refoundation (RC) and the United Left (IU)
in Spain, success was only possible through adopting open forms of
organisation avoiding the bureaucratic structures of the social
democratic and Stalinist parties.
The RC in Italy has attracted new layers of the working class
precisely because it avoided Stalinist forms of organisation.  All
genuine socialist revolutionary forces were asked to join, with the
right of organising around their own newspapers.
In Britain it would be impossible to capture the imagination of new
layers of the working class without drawing on the best democratic
features of the Labour movement.  Originally, the Labour Party was a
federation of tendencies including important Marxist forces.  That
federation has been destroyed by witch-hunts and a coup organised by
the right.
Militant Labour, with our record of struggle in Liverpool, on the
poll tax, in the battles against the fascists in the 1990s, seeks to
build the influence of our own organisation.
But we also stand for the widest possible mass socialist force in
     We have raised the idea of a socialist [party and we will do all
in our power to build such an organisation.  The Left must take the
plunge now.
All who accept an explicitly socialist program should be invited in.
Appeals should be made to trade unionists to join the party.  This
would not lead to big affiliations from the trade unions initially
but that could come once a right-wing Blair government acts against
the unions.
However, important layers of trade unionists would join now.  In the
meantime, fresh layers, some never involved in politics before, would
rally to a clear socialist banner.
The older generation, who have dropped out, disillusioned by the
shift to the right of the Labour leadership could be revived to
participate in the party.
Refusal to take such an initiative now would mean that the Left would
reconcile itself to impotence and leave the field free to Blair's
right-wing Labour Party.
The time to act is now.  Prepare the ground for the launching of a
mass socialist party in Britain.
What do you think?

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