[Marxism] Prospects for Respect
plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Feb 18 15:46:57 MST 2004
I agree with Len W's assessment of RESPECT. It was great when Aretha
Franklin did it, but this new one ain't gonna be a hit.
The British SWP has argued that the Socialist Alliance failed to be able
to build out of the mass antiwar upsurge in Britain, and that this
justifies the formation of RESPECT.
This is a pretty cynical and dishonest argument on the part of Rees,
Callinicos et al, as it was the SWP which sidelined the Socialist
Alliance during the antiwar campaign, thereby ensuring the SA was unable
to grow as a result. The SWP did this for entirely sectarian reasons -
namely, the SWP leadership assumed their organisation would recruit
thousands of antiwar marches and they didn't want competition from the
broader Socialist Alliance.
Having stuffed the SA's chance of growing out of the antiwar movement,
the SWP leadership then used this failure as a justification for the
establishment of RESPECT. At the founding conference of RESPECT, SWPer
after SWPer got up and opposed basic socialist positions like open
borders, a workers' wage for MPs and so on. The SWP bloc vote ensured
that one socialist policy after another was voted down.
The SWP leadership are likely to find, however, that their alliance with
Galloway will be full of problems. Galloway is about as capable of
building a mass, or even mini-mass, party as Arthur Scargill.
Scargill's megalomania ensured the SLP was still-born and Galloway is
cut from the same cloth, except unlike Scargill he has no base
whatsoever in any section of the working class.
I think the other component parts of the Socialist Alliance should stay
away from RESPECT and leave it to the SWP and Galloway. The SA could be
reformed, by the rest of the far left. It would have a good chance of
getting back the groups that have left - Workers Power and, especially,
They could just get on with building the Socialist Alliance and maybe
trying to work with some other groups, like the Independent Working
Class Association, which seems to have a pretty good London mayoral
candidate that a reformed Socialist Alliance could support.
The SWP-Galloway project will end in tears. There's no reason for the
rest of the left to put energy into it and simply disillusion their own
members. Since the SWP leadership want to control it, let them have it
and let them carry the can for the coming disaster.
It's time for the rest of the left to just forget about working with the
British SWP and get on with their own independent politics.
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