Building a broad mass movement, UK

Ben Courtice benj at
Mon Jan 6 15:38:40 MST 2003

Ian Willmore wrote:
My comment would be that David Yaffe has long been one of the most notorious sectarians even
on the (generally viperous) British far left.

It's noticeable that his latest miserable article attacks Monbiot and Vidal - two of the most
successful and effective green journalists in Britain - as well as CND and the SWP for their
"unprincipled" (i.e. effective) work in the Stop the War Coalition.

Step 1 on the Yaffe Road to Socialism: rubbish all activists, groups and individuals actually
doing anything. Step 2: offer the unique and principled leadership the working class and
progressive forces need - in the form of Yaffe.

Somehow, I suspect this is doomed to failure.

Maybe I shouldn't have quoted Yaffe if it will generate so much heat. I'm aware of the RCG's bad reputation. I happen to think that they produce a generally informative and interesting newspaper. I don't necessarily endorse the views of David Yaffe I posted; he seems to be advocating a break up of the real broad mass movement that is developing, in the name of a "revolutionary anti-imperialist movement against war, capitalism and imperialism" that only exists as a wish. (If I have misconstrued Yaffe then apologies to him).

I was hoping however to hear if Yaffe's specific attacks on the STWC have any currency whatsoever? First, on the alliance with the left labour types (I guess there are different viewpoints about this on the list too... pro and anti Labour) and Monbiot and Vidal (who allegedly "ratted").

The Labor Party is involved in the peace movement in Australia too, or at least sections of it. If these sections are genuinely against the war of course we want to work with them. On the other hand, to the extent that they try to impose top-down, closed, invitation-only organisational structures on anti-war coalitions they may do the movement more harm than good. Certainly my local anti-war group has problems in this regard. I'm curious what parallels anyone sees in Britain?

Ben Courtice

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