[Marxism] More on the UK political scene

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 15:43:59 MDT 2016


Brexit has brought British politics onto the list and that is a source of
something l very much welcome, for the absence of threads on UK and Irish
politics has been a source of frustration for me.  Perhaps it is my
Eurocentrism at work but I feel that what happens in the UK is very
important for Australia.

Now if comrades will forgive me I will express a wish that we post in a
comradely fashion. We will disagree of course but let us show ourselves as
non-abusive thinkers and non-sectarian activists. Let us reserve our anger
for those  who are the enemies of humanity.

I have read the Finger and Greenslade articles and they are very
informative. But I have a reservation about some of their formulations.  I
am unhappy about the calling into being of a great swathe of people who
seem to be outside our political ken.  I refer to those who live in the
former Labour heartlands.  I have in mind that commentators are painting a
picture of us on the Left looking over a fence at something like the lumpen
proletariat.

What we are dealing with are those people who have been driven into misery
by the turn to neoliberalism that took place in the early 70s and which
Social Democratic and Labor Parties acquiesce to.  We all know that. We all
also understand there were a series of defeats for the Left which were
essential to that process.  In the UK, Bennism was defeated and eventually
largely purged.  Then the miners were clubbed into the ground. But Benn was
defeated first in the cabinet discussion by Healey and Callaghan in 1976.
In Australia, the Whitlam government was sacked by an extra-parliamentary
coup in 1975, but even before that the Keynesian treasurer Jim Cairns was
overthrown in very murky circumstances in 1974.  Listers can fill in
similar events for their own countries.

The conversion of the Labor/SD Parties to neoliberalism and the embrace of
what Mair called "responsibility" has spawned great bitterness, and misery
and disorientation.  A defeated Left could not offer a response here. It is
not that we did not know what was needed, it is just that no one at all was
listening.
But nothing stays the same. A new generation born under neoliberalism has
emerged that is finding its way, in its own way, to politics. I did that in
the 60s and the new generation are doing now in this decade. Corbyn and
Sanders have been chosen as flag bearers for this new movement.

Those who now inhabit the shells of the parties that compromised with
Neoliberalism, (in Britain it is the Blairite faction largely), think they
can see off this challenge.  Unlike Sanders in the States who will embrace
Clinton, though Corbyn will not compromise apparently. He is now in the
role of the "meddlesome priest" and my respect for him has grown
exponentially.

The pressure though on him is enormous. No one should doubt that. His
strength though is that unlike his enemies he has a mass movement to draw
upon. Should he stand firm and take his movement to the heartlands he might
be able to create a mass Left Party.  In the States if Sanders had decided
to go to the Greens and stands with them something very radical might have
emerged.  But Sanders lay down with the dogs of the Democratic Party and
unsurprisingly he got fleas.

So where are we?  Well I have to get ready to go to work! and will break
off here, without having aid much - oops sorry.  But I will rejoin
conversation later.

comradely

Gary



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