[Marxism] Respect in split

Jscotlive at aol.com Jscotlive at aol.com
Tue Oct 30 16:20:26 MDT 2007

Louis writes:
I plan to look at the Respect controversy but am also interested in  
trying to figure out how these attempts at broader left or socialist  
parties keep going kerblooey. I suspect that the refusal to simply  
dissolve old vanguard parties is key.
I couldn't agree more. I was a member of the Scottish Socialist Party,  
another united Left formation that split. There have been problems recently with  
united Left formations in Italy and France, and now Respect in England is in  
crisis. This is no coincidence. It isn't the forces involved that are at fault  
as much as the concept, which I think is flawed. The SWP are the largest 
marxist  formation in the UK and therein lies the problem. It is inevitable that 
at a  certain point their weight of organisation and numbers begins to dominate 
any  coalition, which leads to resentment from non-SWP members of said 
coalition. I  also have experience of the problem which George Galloway has 
articulated  vis-a-vis the SWP with regard to the fact that they come to meetings with 
a  predetermined position on things, thus rendering debate and discussion  
meaningless. I don't blame the SWP for this; it is simply a contradiction in any 
 coalition or united Left formation that has yet to be bridged. As a former  
member of a vanguard party, the WWP in the US, I really think that they are 
the  problem and are currently holding back the Left. The material conditions 
which  exist in both the US and the UK are conducive to a mass party type  
formation, one that is open, democratic and bottom up. 
I met last weekend with somebody very close to Galloway the day before the  
Stop the War Conference in London and the dispute is not as black and white as  
some are attempting to make out. The SWP leadership are claiming that 
Galloway  and his faction are trying to drive the Left out of Respect. You only have 
to  consider some of the figures who have lined up with Galloway to see that 
this is  nonsense. People like Ken Loach, Victoria Brittain, Alan Thornett, 
Jerry Hicks,  Rob Hoveman, Kevin Ovenden, Ger Francis, are socialists of 
longstanding and can  hardly be described as rightist.


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