labour aristocracy cont.

Martin Spellman mspellman at cix.co.uk
Tue Feb 4 01:56:39 MST 2003


> To elaborate on this, it is a *fact* that not a single
> revolutionary party
> in a G7 type country has recruited significant numbers of industrial
> workers.
>

	This is too sweeping. There were three broad scenarios:

a) Countries, like the USA, where workers followed bourgeois parties

b) Countries of 'Northern Europe' like Britain and Germany, where you had a
united trade union movement but where social-democracy dominated
working-class politics. Even there CPs had some influence in certain areas
e.g. Britain in docks; motors and print. CP was noted and feared in some
industries for its industrial work, which probably had its height in the 70s
in the struggles against incomes policies. There they were articulating
working class feelings.

c) Countries of 'Southern Europe', like France and Italy, where you had a
three-way split in the trade union movement (Communist; Social-Democratic
and Catholic) but where the CP was sometimes the largest working-class
party.

	The dominance of social-democracy/reformism within the working-class
movement was certainly a  problem. But it had deep roots and was sustained
by the 'long boom' of 1948-68 and could be seen, in some sense, to have
'delivered the goods'. But even if, for arguments sake, you had the best
possible situation of a united working class led by a revolutionary party
the difficulties would still have been immense. Apart from the strength of
the economy, one of the problems was the Marxist-Leninist model of a
revolutionary party. There was too little 'concrete analysis of a concrete
situation' and too much romanticism and subjectivism. Plus the hierarchical
nature of the organisation meant that it was a brave comrade who would dare
to put forward their own analysis, as this was the fief of certain people
only and to make your own would have been seen as heretical. 'The party line
was never wrong and the situation was never right'. What this led to and
came from was 'organisational/expedient methods to solve political
problems'. Politics was assumed rather than discussed. Is it any wonder the
left got into such difficulties?

Martin Spellman



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