Prophets of Doom

Domhnall donaloc at peterquinn.com
Wed Feb 27 10:17:39 MST 2002


Martin Spellman:

I don't want to appear as the prophet of doom or a Jeremiad and I do want
to see a socialist revival in this country but I do not see the Socialist
Alliance as the vehicle for that. Neither do I hold out much hope of
developments in the trade union movement, at least in the short and medium
term. The existing groups seem set in their respective sectarian ruts and
the non-aligned socialist activists are an ageing group.

First, I would like to say I agree with many of the points made in relation
to the post by Martin (and for once, even Brian Cahill). The despondency
which filled Martin Spellman's post was very negative, however. If Labour is
terminally lost (and has been for at least a decade) and there is no hope
for left-wing alliances outside that party - what is your alternative?

The low votes registered by the SSP (they were all under 10%) are not
totally discouraging in  my view. It's a pity there isn't a Scottish voice
on this list, but I reckon their vote is going to increase in the next few
elections. The SA vote was quite low (as was a particular vote for the SLP
in Hartlepool against Mandelson which I had expected more from) but I don't
think it's the end of the line.  It's going to be harder for the SA to
break-through in England, but changing events elsewhere might favour them.
If they can keep plugging away on localised, community-based actions their
turn will come - but it'll take dedication. Labour will look a lot more
ragged after another two elections - and they will start to become a bigger
party. The polarising effect within the Labour party will force their
internal contradictions to resolve quicker - this might finally force a
realignment.

Will the FBU reaffiliate? I don't think so. They're more likely to conduct
independent campaigns around issues like pay and conditions and on
anti-privatisation. But that's not the end of the world, it'll bring about
contradictions within their relationship with Labour too.

Thanks to 'trainspotting' Magnus for the reference. I didn't know there was
another daily - things are twice as good. Now we have just got to get people
to read them! In regard to criticisms of the Morning Star, when I said that
it was what a decent left-wing paper should look like - I didn't mean it is
perfect. Brian's characterisation of their 'fawning' over some of the most
dislikeable Union leaders is spot-on. But it has sports pages, it has TV
listings, it has a decent level of arts/cultural coverage and it is very
open to all currents on the left wing - I don't take many other 'pure'
publications but this is a quantum leap ahead of the rest.

If our task is to politicise the masses and involve them behind a good
strategy (and to encourage their ownership over strategic decision-making
then this is the way forward. You don't do this by discussing Lenin V Stalin
V Mao for the nth time. Most people I know read papers from the back - they
rarely get past the horses' page. They might take a look at the front page
and a glance over the articles but that's it. The high illiteracy
rate/alienation from educational culture is a reason why we focus on murals/
symbols - they convey political notions and concepts with the minimum of
words. For those with access to computers and the inclination to use them,
this kind of forum is leading the way.

Domhnall.



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