[Marxism] Re: RESPECT direction after the election

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Mon May 23 07:40:40 MDT 2005

calvin wrote
 >Yes, I only wish the Labour Party would go back to the basic 
principles of
 >'Old' Labour, like cracking down on militant trade unionism in the 
1980s and
 >anti-Imperialist strikes and struggles in Ireland since the party's
 >existence, bombing and killing people in Iraq, India, Malaya, signing
 >contracts with South Africa's apartheid regime, sending gunships to 
China to
 >secure gains made by British imperialism during the Opium wars, sending
 >troops into Ireland, opposing Egyptian demands on Suez, Kenyan national
 >liberation demands in late 1940s, supporting Zionist demands in 
 >not-so covert support for US imperialism in Vietnam, Special Powers 
Acts and
 >torture of prisoners in north of Ireland, In Place of Strife trade 
 >legislation in 1970s, increasing inequality, vouchers systems and
 >snatch-quads for ayslum seekers, selling hawk aircraft to Indonesian
 >military for use in East Timor, and a million other 'red' measures. 
 >they supported the Welfare State. But, then, so did the tories.
 >And much of this with George Galloway in the party. Eh?

Quite. Though Galloway opposed all of those measures, has been at odds 
with the leadership for years and then expelled for being too left 
wing. Still, I am uncomfortable with the formulation that RESPECT put 
forward on being "real" Labour - which is posed in terms of what 
workers thought the Labour Party would deliver, but never has. In my 
book that doesn't go far enough in explaining the nature of parliament, 
reformism and the ruling class. -- Tony

There is the same problem here with Ralph Nader, with the additional 
problem that, despite his political courage in the face of despicable 
personal attacks, his program and that of the Green Party is solidly 
middle class.

This is why I thought that there should have been a Socialists for 
Nader* organization that could have supported him while pointing out 
that his genuflection to the Democratic Party of the past, of 
Roosevelt, etc. was completely misplaced.

Some of our inaction was because of the continuous ballot status 
crisis, requiring a laborious state-by-state process that cut across 
any national left political effort. It didn’t help that from time to 
time in the past Peter Camejo has used language that indicated he 
rejected bringing socialism or other criticism into his campaigns.

At the end of the campaign, Camejo praised the work of the ISO; but I 
am not sure that he would have done so had the ISO, along with 
supporting Nader, consistently differentiated or laid out their own 
program where it differed from his.

      *     *     *
Tony writes that he “suspect[s] events, combined with the influence of 
the revolutionaries within respect, are pushing Galloway’s trajectory 
more and more to the left. I hope so anyway.”

This seems vague and implies that an opportunity to build or coalesce a 
tendency or group of like thinkers who can work together now and in the 
future, no matter what happens to Galloway or RESPECT, may slip away. 
Certainly that is what has happened here over the years regarding Nader 
and The Green Party.

Sorry if I have overlooked other posts on this very subject.

* It was pointed out by someone on Marxmail that the American ISO was 
such a group. However, what was needed was an independent group in 
which ISO and others could have participated--even if the ISO itself 
had initiated it.

Brian Shannon

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