Passive Support or Intervention

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Sun Aug 11 23:45:38 MDT 1996

NICK.HOLDEN at wrote:
> Comrades,
> I'll try to restrict myself to comments. My mailer objected to the length of
> the last thing I posted!
> It's taking me a while to get a fix on people's perspectives, I'm afraid.
> Equally, I think one or two people seem to be struggling to get hold of
> mine. It has been implied that Richard and I agree about our approach to the
> Labour Party. This is wildly off the mark.
> If I were cruel, I would say, he is cheerleading for the Labour Party, while
> I'm trying to get control of it.
> But I'm not like that. So I won't.

I am glad that you will not be cruel Nick. We take different approaches.
That does not mean that we are in opposition.

> What I will say is....
> > The fact is; although we would like it to be different, the only choice
> > that the American people have is between Clinton and Dole. The CPUSA is
> > obviosly not in a position either financially or numerically to put up
> > its own candidates with any chance of making a real impact. So they have
> > to make the best of a bad job. At least Clinton has a better position on
> > abortion than Dole, and is not in the pocket of the tobbacco industry. So
> > maybe a few girls will not have their lives ruined by unwanted pregnancy,
> > or a few less people will die of cancer.
> I think there is a real problem here about how we. as Marxists, measure the
> *impact* of our efforts.
> It sounds from the above as though you are saying that impact means votes,
> and since the CPUSA cannot hope to get many votes, a presidential campaign
> would have little impact.
> But that is not how you judge elections, surely?

No, that is not how I judge elections. I agree with you, but I was trying
to look at it from the perspective of the CPUSA in a heavy-handed sort of

 I give homeless people money at tube stations because I want
> them to have enough money to buy food. I fight for my class, because I want
> everyone to have enough food. They are not contradictory.
> But advocating support for the lesser evil in electoral politics, while
> denouncing the system that generates the elections is contradictory.
> It is not against my principles to give succour to the homeless. To give it
> to the bourgeoisie, on the other hand....

You are contradicting yourself here. Surely that is what you are doing
when you will be fighting to get Blair elected? I really do not see why
advocating support for the lesser evil while denouncing the system is
contradictory. It is not ideal, but it is not contradictory.
> >
> > In election campaigns we have found it a good opportunity to meet Labour
> > Party members and show them that we do not have two heads and eat babies.
> > We sell them a few papers, get some individuals to work with us in joint
> > campaigns, we even occassionaly recruit a new member.
> But jou say to them both, "continue to work for Labour's electoral success"
> and "leave the Labour Party and join the NCP".
> Doesn't that fry their heads? I know it does mine.

No Nick, I do not tell people to leave the Labour Party, but it happens
sometimes. I have tried to persuade people not to do that and to hang on
in there.

> > I do not know enough about the situation in the US, so I am sure someone
> > will tell me that I have got it all wrong. In Britain I think it is still
> > too soon to write off people like Tony Benn, Robin Corbett, and others,
> > who I would still call Comrades. As I have said before, our position on
> > our relations with the Labour Party may change, but I think our friends
> > on the Labour Left still need our help.
> We sure do. Tell me again why you will not join the Labour Party and give it
> to us.

Because I am a Communist, and it is important to keep an independent
perspective. The Labour Left are our friends and allies, but we are not
the same.

> > I think it is a good thing to stand by your friends, and show your enemy
> > no mercy!
> Your enemy in this case not including the leadership of the Labour Party,
> who you work to get elected, but do nothing to dislodge from their position
> of leadership.

Not true! You said in an earlier posting that 50% of votes are from the
Trades Unions. I do not know your background, but I would say that I do
just as much to strengthen the position of the Labour Left as a member of
the NCP than as a LP member.

Best wishes,

      New Worker Online

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