Labour still the same as always?!!!??

Ramon rcg at
Wed Aug 14 16:23:29 MDT 1996

>I wrote (a few weeks ago):
>> > So you still think nothing has really changed with the Labour Party!?!
>Adam Rose replied:
>> Of course something has changed with the Labour Party.
>> It has never been so right wing politically. It's membership, particularly
>> its active membership, has never been so middle class. It is not offering
>> any reforms - if anything, the opposite.
>> It is still a reformist party, though. A reformist party offering no reforms,
>> without a working class cadre.
>Will you still argue this if Labour completely severs its links with
>the trade unions and introduces state funding of parties?  I've
>suspected for quite a long time (a few years) that this is likely to
>happen under the next Labour government, and it just happens that
>there have been some rumours in the media in the last week or two that
>Blair is planning precisely this.
>The argument that there is a fundamental difference between Labour and
>the US Democrats now is extremely tenuous to say the least, but surely
>it will be utterly ridiculous to continue saying this when the trade
>union links have been abolished...
>> > And you still think that there is a realistic possibility of the Labour
left being
>> > rejuvinated!?!!!!
>> Yes, I do. Not just a possibility - an absolute certainty. The form and
the exact
>> timing are open to question, but it will happen - although whether it is led
>> by Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingstone, Clare Short, or even Roy Hattersly, I
will not
>> predict. There you are - a specific prediction which can be tested in
practise !
>And I predict this will not happen.
>Also, I predict that if any significant opposition to Blair starts to
>grow in the Labour Party, that it will either lead to a crackdown by
>Blair with the Labour "left" keeping their heads down, or some sort of
>split.  Whatever happens, there will not be a big influx of workers
>into the Labour Party.
>> > I agree that the reformists' arguments are extremely weak.  It is
becoming harder
>> > and harder to argue that significant reforms can be achieved under
>> >
>> > But you fail to draw another conclusion from the lack of support for
>> Lack of support !?
>A classic example of quoting out of context.  I was referring to the
>lack of support for Labour that you yourself mentioned at an SWP event.
>> The SLP stood the Chair of women against pit closures in Hemsworth, for god's
>> sake, and only got 2,000 votes ! If it stood today, it would get fewer,
>> because the election is nearer.
>Of course Labour still gets *electoral* support.  I've never said otherwise.
>> The Labour Party is the main working class party in Britain. If you don't
>> understand this, you cannot explain the strength of Blairism in the Trade
>> Union movement.
>Labour has traditionally been the party of the working class.  This
>(together with the collapse of Stalinism etc) explains it perfectly
>well to me.
>> > P.S. I agree that the SLP appears to have been still born, but the main
reason that
>> > it is unlikely to take off is the bureaucratic exclusive approach of
Scargill and his
>> > small band of followers.
>> Nonsense. Organisation flows from politics. The SLP is an electoral
party. They
>> don't want you because you embarass them like you embarassed the Labour
>The same argument could be made about the RC in Italy and the United
>Left in Spain.  They too are (primarily at least) electoral parties.
>They are far more democratic than the SLP and they have managed to
>attract significant working class support.

Are you sure that United Left in Spain  attracts significant working class
Please , look at the figures in the last election. The majority of working
class, in Spain as in United Kingdom, are with democratic socialism, not
with fundamentalistic marxism (Marx said : "I'm not Marxist"). There is not
socialism without freedom.

>> > In contrast, the open inclusive approach of the Scottish Socialist
Alliance is likely
>> > to have much more success.  It is planning to stand in a quarter of the
seats in
>> > Scotland at the next general election (and it will have much greater
potential after
>> > that).  Expect a few chuckles if you try to argue with Scottish workers
that the
>> > choice is between the Labour left (who???) and the SWP (which doesn't
even have the
>> > courage to stand, or does it?)  And, don't expect a very friendly
response if you try
>> > to argue that they should vote Labour...
>> No. The political choice on the left is between Blair and the SWP, ie
>> reform and revolution.
>There are two things wrong with this statement.  Firstly, Blair is not
>on the left.  Secondly, the SWP is not the only revolutionary party in
>Britain.  This statement is typical of the sectarianism of your
>> Electorally, in most cases it is between Blair and the Tories,
>> ie between the working class and the ruling class. Occasionally, it is
between a
>> socialist on a left reformist platform and a right wing reformist, in
which case
>> we vote for the left reformist platform.
>Obviously I disagree that Militant Labour and the Scottish Socialist
>Alliance will be standing on a "left reformist platform", but I'm glad
>to hear that the SWP has finally decided to support socialists who
>stand against Labour.  Or are you just guessing?
>> But, if Labour is a capitalist party, presumably, where there is no SLP
or SSA
>> candidate, you will abstain ? Surely you won't vote for a completely
>> party . . . ?
>We (in Militant Labour/the CWI) don't completely rule out the tactic
>of arguing for a vote for a capitalist party in some circumstances -
>we have advocated a vote for the ANC in South Africa and the PP in
>Pakistan in the past.
>We have not decided precisely what slogans we'll be using at the next
>election, but we probably won't be advocating a vote for Labour.
>[Which is not to say that we'll argue for abstaining; we'll probably
>use some slogan like "Kick the Tories out".]
>> PS Steve, how was the skiing in Australia ?
>I've no idea, I've never been to Australia.
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