[Marxism] Winston Churchill nostalgia?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 10 12:24:45 MDT 2009

In recent weeks, the high-profile Socialist Unity blog in Britain 
(ranked 420,070 by Alexa; by comparison Lenin’s Tomb is number 363,494 
in traffic) has featured articles that attempt to salvage the reputation 
of Winston Churchill within the context of commemorating the WWII 
“people’s antifascist coalition”.

My first reaction to this effort has been disgust but on a deeper level 
I have to wonder what would explain this retrograde development. To an 
extent, it might be a kind of knee-jerk reaction against the Socialist 
Workers Party in Britain. Since Socialist Unity has a deep animus toward 
these comrades, one wonders if they are simply putting a plus where 
their chief bogeyman puts a minus. If Alex Callinicos vilifies 
Churchill, then why not find nice things to say about the British 
imperialist warlord?

It should be stressed that the valentines to WWII and Churchill have 
been written by Andy Newman, who is responsible for most of the original 
content on Socialist Unity—for better or for worse. I have been told 
that Newman was a member of the SWP for a brief time (along with 
possibly half of the people living in Britain) so maybe we are just 
dealing with the case of the embittered ex-member. I for one have 
trouble understanding this as a political-psychological reaction. As an 
ex-member of the dreadful American SWP and one of its harshest critics, 
I am less inclined to take a position 180 degrees opposed to their own 
as a matter of principle. For example, if the Militant newspaper 
denounces the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, you won’t find me 
supporting it. And so on.


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