[Marxism] tension in the British Labour Party(?)

Michael Fisher michaelfisherx at gmail.com
Thu Apr 25 18:56:36 MDT 2013

Both McCluskey and Miliband have an interest in a public spat.

McCluskey was recently re-elected to the leadership of Unite. However, his
opponent (an anti-Labour Party former member of the SWP) did surprisingly
well. Being strongly criticised by Miliband will go down well among many
Unite activists. Miliband is eager to challenge the image being peddled by
parts of the Murdoch press that he is too leftwing. Taking a swing at
McCluskey will play well with The Times and those swing-voters who are

However, there is little evidence (as yet) that a politically significant
section of the electorate are willing to support a radical alternative to
some form of austerity. The various far left groups in the UK remain small,
with little or no political influence. Whenever they have stood in
elections they have performed very poorly. Fear, division and an
overwhelming sense that there is no alternative remain the defining
characteristics of UK politics. I hope this changes soon - but at the
moment the anti-austerity left simply doesn't have the numbers.

On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:21 AM, Gary MacLennan
<gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com>wrote:

> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
> The Guardian had this report on the spat developing between Union leader
> and the far-right of the Labour Party.
> "Ed Miliband <http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/edmiliband> risked a
> civil
> war in the Labour <http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/labour> movement on
> Wednesday evening when he denounced the leader of Britain's largest trade
> union for a "reprehensible" attempt to divide the party after warning of
> the dangers of being "seduced" by supporters of Tony
> Blair<
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/24/ed-miliband-election-seduced-blairites
> >
> .
> In his strongest attack on any union leader, Miliband tore into Len
> McCluskey <http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/len-mccluskey> hours after
> the Unite <http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/unite> general secretary
> claimed that the Labour leader would be "cast into the dustbin of history"
> unless he abandons support for David Miliband's campaign managers, Jim
> Murphy and Douglas Alexander.
> "Len McCluskey does not speak for the Labour Party," a spokesman for
> Miliband said. "This attempt to divide the Labour Party is reprehensible.
> "It is the kind of politics that lost Labour many elections in the 1980s.
> It won't work<
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/24/ed-miliband-union-leader#>.
> It is wrong. It is disloyal to the party he claims to represent."
> The strongly worded statement follows a warning by a member of the shadow
> cabinet that Britain's largest trade
> unions<http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/tradeunions>have been taken
> over by a new "Bennite tendency" which must be fought by
> Labour. McCluskey has been identified as one of the most disruptive
> forces..."
> I struggle to maintain coherence when it comes to the Milliband Brothers.
> Theirs is the worst kind of snotty treachery.  Nevertheless I think it is
> important to pay attention to the "row" within the British Labour Party.
> The far-right known as the Blairites or New Labour have been stirring
> lately, including getting Blair himself to take time off from making
> millions sucking up to dictators to make a call for the Labour Party to
> stay "electable" i.e. to stay on the side of Murdoch et the captialist
> class.
> This notion of keeping to the right so one can win an election is deeply in
> the consciousness of the British Labour Party, although the Blairites
> express it in its most fanatical form. BTW much the same can be said of the
> Australian Labor Party.
> The problem is that the economic crisis is so deep in the UK, that
> increasingly people are abandoning support for the ruling
> Conservative-Liberal Coalition.  The Labour Party is 10% in the polls,
> virtually without doing anything. If they were to come up with a serious
> alternative to Austerity then the gap would widen.
> However even though the Keynesians are making much of the Reinhart Rogoff
> spread sheet error, there will be no return to Keynseianism until the
> specter of communism appears once more at the banquet table and shakes its
> gory locks.  Then and only then will a section of the capitalist class move
> to Plan B.
> I remain convinced that a pre-revolutionary firestorm is a very real
> possibility and not just a consummation devoutly to be wished. A European
> political crisis worthy of the name is what we need.  Then surprise,
> surprise suddenly we would get Keynesian solutions coming out of the mouth
> of "good cop" Ed and maybe even from his "bad cop" brother David.
> comradely
> Gary
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