Socialist Labour Party

Steve Wallis S.Wallis at
Tue Nov 28 03:42:40 MST 1995

TimW333521 at wrote:

> 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.

I agree with Adam that there are different shifts going on
simultaneously.  I do think that whereas the leaders of the Labour
Party and trade unions have shifted to the right, there has been a
shift to the left amongst the working class as a whole.

There are not yet huge numbers of workers who have drawn revolutionary
conclusions, and many workers still have illusions in Blair, but the
numbers of workers who regard themselves as "socialists" are
increasing at the same time that Labour is ditching socialism.  This
is borne out by an annual Guardian survey of social trends - according
to the latest of these, more people in Britain now favour a "mainly
socialist" economy to a "mainly capitalist" one.  [Obviously different
people will have different definitions of the word "socialist", and
opinion polls should be taken with a pinch of salt, but this gives
some indication of the potential for a socialist party such as the

> 3)  Is there REALLY a world wide shift away from traditional reformist
> workers party TOWARDS more radical parties?  Where?  I have perhaps missed
> it, living in a sea of right wing crap here.  Or has the shift away from
> reformist parties been accompanied by a strengthening of right wing parties?
> (U.S., France, Italy to mention only a few)

There is increasing disenchantment with all the traditional political
parties - of both left and right.  Even amongst those who continue to
vote for them (due to lack of an alternative) they generally do so
with little enthusiasm.  Parties on the left (e.g. new parties or
alliances to the left in Italy, Spain and New Zealand, and the Greens
in many countries) have made gains as well as those on the right.

> 4)  There is perhaps too much discussion of Militant Labour versus SWP.
>  Certainly Carlos's suggestion of a merger makes objective political sense.
>  The problem, as Louis so correctly points out, is that they share so much!
>  In particular they share sectarianism.

With due respect, working class activists in Britain are in a better
position to judge that than yourself or Louis.  Militant Labour has
worked with other left organisations in campaigns against the poll
tax, the Criminal Justice Act and water privatisation, for example -
and it is largely due to our record in these campaigns that some such
organisations are keen to continue to work with us in a Scottish
Socialist Alliance.  [Their attitude towards the SWP is rather
hostile, but if I elaborated it might appear "sectarian"...]

> 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.

I disagree with this conclusion.  Militant has been one of the most
successful organisations (if not *the* most successful) at using
entrism, and our approach was (b).  However, it is necessary to come
to terms with the changed objective situation, and recognise that
"the party of British workers" may not continue to be "the party of
British workers" up to the eve of the revolution.


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   /----------+ Centre for Policy Modelling,         Email: S.Wallis at
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