Socialist Labour Party
adam at pmel.com
Mon Nov 27 01:55:37 MST 1995
> A good thread on British politics. I've learned a lot. However, I still
> have questions.
> 1. Most of the respondents seem to be opposed to working within the Labour
> Party, while at the same time seeing it as at least partially a workers party
> or at least wishing it to win the next election. So I can only assume that
> their opposition to working in/remaining in the LP is based not on princeple
> but on some tactical matter which is still not overly clear to me.
It is, as Militant have found, impossible for any reasonably sized revolutionary
organisation to work inside the Labour Party at present. They just get expelled.
The SWP, of which I am a member, has for a long time opposed working inside
the Labour Party, even when it was possible to do so. This is because the
electoralism of the Labour Party drags socialists to the right.
[ This doesn't neccessarily mean that it would be wrong for tiny groups who can't
get an audience in any other way ].
When I was in the Labour Party, I saw this process at work from the inside.
That's why I left it and joined the SWP.
> 2. Whatever position one takes on working within LP or building an
> alternative to it, no one really is discussing what is really happening among
> broad layers of the British working class. Do the advocates of the SLP truly
> believe England is witnessing a radical/revolutionary political shift? My
> view from afar is that it is witnessing a moderate/left reformist shift. If
> the former were true then the respondents would not have to worry about
> workers voting for the LP instead of the SLP. Yet almost everyone seems to
> be realistic enough to think the SLP will get few votes.
There are various shifts going on simultaneously.
Firstly, millions are shifting from voting Tory to voting Labour.
This is a shift to the ( moderate, reformist ) left, towards working
class politics away from ruling class politics.
Secondly, thousands of activists are moving from left reformist politics
to supporting Blair and a "dynamic market economy" , however reluctantantly.
This is a shift to the right, away from any form of socialist politics.
Related to this is a collapse of reformist cadre. It used to be the case
that there were in every workplace, a significant number of people
actively arguing for reformist politics either the CP or the
( similar ) Labour Left variety. This was good and bad. Good,
because these people tended to be anti-racist, anti "Law and order",
pro gay rights etc. Bad, because these people also were the ones
who at critical times, held back the struggle. This means under Labour,
there will be more potential for both revolutionary + reactionary
arguments than there was last time.
Thirdly, there is massive bitterness, particularly in the workplace, at the
effects of the market. Sometimes this breaks out into action which contradicts
the Blairite ideology that the workers involved may at the same time support.
So , for the last week the postal workers in Scotland have been on unnofficial
ie illegal stike for the last week. On the radio there was a brilliant scene
from a mass meeting where the officials were getting shouted down for saying
they had to go back. They're going back now, with what seems like at least
a partial victory.
> 5) Has anyone published a serious study of Trotskyist entrism in Britain? I
> recall the question has been approached in two quite different ways (some
> basis for both views can be found in Trotsky). (a) The raid scenario. You
> enter because there are "workers" (read in most cases students or other
> radicals) to recruit there. You leave when recruits dry up. (b) The grand
> historical scenario. You enter because the party IS the party of British
> workers. For this very reason in a prerevolutionary crisis, class
> contraductions come out, a split occurs and a mass revolutionary party
> emerges under your leadership. I always thought that the Grant people
> adhered to (b) (as did Healy at one time and Lambert's people).
> I guess the raid people have won out.
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