Challenge to Cockshott

Jeffrey Booth booth2 at
Wed Sep 6 09:08:56 MDT 1995

	Well, I was once again going to ignore Cockshott's misinformation
about the left in Scotland.  But that claim below about his little group
being the only working class organization was too much.  Cut the crap,
Paul.  Militant Labour is the largest, most working class marxist
party/organization in Scotland.  They led the anti-poll tax struggle not
your pitiful little sect.  They have a base in the housing estates and
Tommy Sheridan, a well-known Militant Labour spokesperson, has been elected
twice in Glasgow.  You also forgot to mention the anti-fascist organizing
of Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE).  I could mention a lot of other
examples of Militant Labour's activity in Scotland but I actually prefer
it when ultra-left wankers like yourself ignore Militant Labour since you
give the left a bad name among working people.  But I don't want your
misinformation about the left in Scotland to go completely unchallenged.

				-- Jeff Booth

On Mon, 4 Sep 1995, Paul Cockshott wrote:

> Marcus writes
> -------------
> You have unwittingly stumbled across the very dilemma of Red Action's
> politics. They *do* try to meld anarchism and communism. They reject
> the vanguard party for voluntarist thuggery. For instance. In their
> activity against the British National Party (BNP), rather than build
> mass community action against them (I don't mean in the popular
> frontism of the  ANL/ARA), they resorted to using terror.
> I have nothing against using terror as a *tactic*, but Red Action and
> their front organisation use terror as a strategic weapon. JUst punch
> 'em and that's it. (I simplify).
> Paul
> ----
> Since Marcus has here condemned all of the well known
> anti-fascist organisations operating here,
> ANL and ARA for popular frontism, and AFA for terrorism,
> I would be interested in just which anti-fascist group
> he takes to be following the correct line?
> What is this mass community action that he talks about
> and what examples can he give of trying to organise it?
> The line pursued by AFA is of ideological and physical opposition
> to fascism. AFA has engaged in prolongued propaganda work
> particularly around football to win sections of working
> class youth to an anti-fascist position. This has led to
> there being real forces that can be mobilised against the
> fascists.
> Why does Marcus feel that AFA are wrong in using counter
> terror as part of their strategy? So long as it is part
> of the strategy of the fascists, the left must be able to
> respond in kind. When, as may be the case now, the BNP
> abandon that strategy, then as Red Action has recognised,
> the Anti-Fascists must modify theirs as well.
> Marcus
> ------
> They are the anti-vanguard vanguard. This is elitist petty bourgeois
> 'blokey' politics.
> A melange of anarcho-communism, uncritical support for the IRA - this
> is Red Action. Their paper is purile, with headlines like: "We are
> the reds!". They spend many articles explaining why they are the most
> important / threatening organisation to the state by giving examples
> of how the state is surveilling them. "We are the most persecuted
> therefore we are the best" "We are the Reds" - petty sectarianism,
> not the patient work of building a workers' party. (Part ... y: ie,
> you are part of the class, not separate - a sect).
> Whenever i saw Red Action in public, I literally saw a phalanx, a row
> of around 8 -10 of their members, standing 6inches apart all with a
> copy of their paper, bomber jackets, jeans, doc martens, shaved heads
> and all male. Not very inspiring. But I'm glad they beat up fascists.
> But it won't build a revolution.
> Paul
> ----
> This seems to be the sort of inversion of reality that is
> commonplace on the left. Since the demise of the Communist Party
> here, the majority of left wing organisations draw their main
> support either from students, or from ex-students now in white
> collar jobs in the public services. The membership of Red
> Action is predominantly drawn from the manual working class.
> By what criterion are they to be judged petty bourgois?
> Does Marcus think that they actually own small firms?
> Or are they just judged middle class because he disagrees
> with them and does not like the way they dress?
> Marcus
> ------
> Just because you walked into
> the SWP/Sparts/..... whatever at a young age, learnt 'marxism' by
> rote and then got bled dry by some sect (next week - we all adopt
> Enverism!), don't turn your back on the need for a communist party,
> a party with real roots in the class, a party that is the living
> class consciousness of revolutionary workers.
> Paul
> ----
> Having some knowledge of marxism I avoided the lures of Spartacism
> etc. If 30 counts as a young age, that was when I joined the CP,
> but it was hardly a sect. I agree that the workers need
> to be constituded as a class and thus as a political party.
> RA have took the initiative in organising a conference in July of groups
> ranging from the CPGB through to Class War, about a dozen in all,
> with the aim of forming a new working class political movement.
>      --- from list marxism at ---

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