CPB/Left Labourites

D OC donaloc at peterquinn.com
Thu Nov 28 03:01:38 MST 2002


Colin wrote: There is much that is risible in this posting. Some of this has
been
answered by others but what universe does the writer live in, when he
can say this: " It has regular contributors who would be viewed by most
people as the leaders of the left in Britain e.g. Tony Benn, George
Galloway and Ken Livingstone (now mayor of London)"

Nice to have my efforts appreciated. I do recognise that I may have got
several aspects wrong - e.g. I didn't realise that the SWP were 'central' to
building the STWC - if so, the first good thing I've ever heard about them.
IMO, the CPB is much more than just its small membership. Having said that
they're mostly all old as Nigel Irritable said.

Nigel Irritable made the point that the Morning Star is kept going by bulk
orders from the Trade Unions, in effect, that supports what I was saying. I
would challenge Cahill to identify an occasion when the paper backed Right
against a serious Left. I would also note that if Brian had a difficulty
with something in it - he could put a letter in and I would be sure it would
be published.

Having said that, this post by Colin is miles off-centre.

> This is truly absurd.
1. Tony Benn may still be able to speak at huge meetings but his
influence is zero.

For those with an interest in facts, Tony Benn is currently doing a speaking
tour of Britain and from every report I have heard it is extremely
successful. So much so that its success was covered on Channel 4 News. They
noted that he even packed auditoria in staunchly conservative areas because
there appears to be something of a recognition even in these places that the
system has gone wrong. Tony Benn represents everything that is upright in
mainstream British politics. He stood down as a Labour MP 'to focus on
politics'. In my book he has more influence than any other left leader.

2. George Galloway can only be deemed on the left in the loosest sense
and like Benn is not the leader of anything.

Most staunch opponent of nuclear weapons and anti-imperialist. Not afraid to
get arrested, etc. No, he's not leader of any micro-sect but that's the
point. People have to stop thinking in those terms just now.

3. Others may disagree but I've always thought Livingstone was a pure
opportunist... Be that as it may, he ceased being on the left in any
meaningful sense 20 years ago. Again he doesn't lead anything.

Perhaps he is, sometimes you have to be. Left Populist is perhaps a better
term. Again, Livingstone doesn't have a sect of followers but happened to be
elected against the best efforts of the New Labour Party heirarchy as Mayor
of London with an army of canvassers. As such, he now speaks on behalf of
ten million.

4. " most people..." You must be joking. None of these people impinge on
the consciousness of the working class in any progressive sense.
Livingstone will have an effect on the working class by the introduction
of the London congestion charge. This is a £5 per day charge you will
have to pay if you drive through central London from next year. Very
progressive, I don't think.

I said it that way as I knew that some mad ultraleftists would challenge
their left-wing credentials. As I said it, it was right, they are viewed by
the common person as leading left wingers. Ask the average Briton to name a
socialist, they will probably say Benn, Scargill or Livingstone and then
they start to think. In Scotland, they might mention Sheridan but I would
think Galloway might be known by a few for his protests against Trident
nukes.

In defence of Livingstone, he is putting his head on the line to impose a
charge on all SUVs entering London. Perhaps it's a little rough at the
edges, but London has a decent enough public transport system compared to
most other areas - working class people can use this. All monies raised will
go to Public Transport. In my book that's pretty progressive - besides, it
can be improved with the lessons of time. If people want to oppose
congestion, pollution and its effects on working class people living in the
centre of London, then you have to support what Livingstone is doing
(against all the big car/petrol lobbies).

5. I don't believe you're actually serious with what you're saying. If
you are, you have a very strange relation to reality.

It is yourself who has a strange relation to reality. Believe it or not,
popular recognition of prominent socialists does not precisely concur with
your own (methinks warped) assessment.

D.


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