David Yaffe and George Monbiot

Nigel Irritable nigel_irritable at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 6 15:38:45 MST 2003


1) David Yaffe is the leader of a small left
organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Group.
He is also an academic. The RCG comes from a
Trotskyist background but has evolved towards a kind
of third worldist Stalinism.

They originated in the old International Socialists,
as the victims of one of a series of purges in the
1970s which turned the IS into the British SWP. Their
particular faction called itself the "Revolutionary
Opposition". In turn the RCG soon expelled the people
who went on to become the RCP (of "Living Marxism"
fame).

While the RCP grew in both numbers and oddness and the
SWP retreated to the universities, the RCG stumbled
on. Utilising a super-charged version of a labour
aristocracy theory, they decided that most of the
organised labour movement in Britain had been
thoroughly bought off by imperialism.

Liberated from the bothersome task of trying to
achieve anything substantial amongst their local
working class, they settled down into a routine
consisting pretty much entirely of international
solidarity campaigning. They are uncritical
cheerleaders of the Stalinist states and any movement
in the third world which could even loosely be called
"anti-imperialist".

Their paper is called "Fight Racism! Fight
Imperialism!", a name which they use more often than
the RCG tag. In universities they organise as
glorified Cuba fan clubs, around a boycott Bacardi
campaign.

The hilarious guide to the British left "As Soon As
This Pub Closes..." started a rumour that Yaffe had
invented a machine which calculated the precise
tendency of the rate of profit to decline at any given
moment.

As a last aside on the RCG, I once chaired a small
open meeting on Palestine in the London School of
Economics. All bar two of the attendees were the usual
people who came to Socialist Student Society meetings.
The two others consisted of one Austrian right-wing
Zionist and one member of the RCG. To borrow from the
Smiths, "I can laugh about it now, but at the time it
was terrible..."

2) I don't think that Marxists should have any
illusions in people like George Monbiot. He is a
left-liberal journalist who writes some useful pieces
in the Guardian but his limitations are severe. The
basic problem with him (and some other prominent
figures like him) is that he sees flaws in capitalism
from a liberal-humanitarian rather than a class
perspective.

Is mise le meas
Brian Cahill



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