[Marxism] Debates on the Left in the UK

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 5 14:25:56 MDT 2016


Michael Roberts latest blog on the 2016 CLASS Conference *Britain at a
Crossroads*  [http://classonline.org.uk/conference2016] is particularly
interesting. [For Roberts' piece go to
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/158358a2d65b1079].  As List members
would know, Roberts is a traditional Marxist in that he argues that there
is a Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall.

(I myself am inclined to suspect that Roberts believes this is a "law" in
the Popper-Hempel sense, and that he does not give due weight to the word
"tendency", nor understand it sufficiently in a Bhaskarian ontological
depth sense.)

So, generally, he is very critical of the Keynesian approach which sees the
economic problem in terms of falling demand caused by decades of supply
side economics rather than by a fall in profitability caused by investment
in fixed capital.

I am not an economist and still "tend" to believe the last piece I have
read.  But leaving that aside, I was very struck by the tone of the
conference as reflected in Roberts' article. In the UK, as in Australia,
the fools are in charge. The  UK Left has a clear understanding of the
depth of the crisis but Prime Minister May remains massively ahead in the
opinion polls. It seems to me, from afar,  that, as the crisis bites, caste
is re-emerging as a political force and the fast-thinking response of "The
Laird/Boss knows best" is very much a part of the consciousness of the
English. It would appear that all one needs is a posh accent to garner
massive public support. How else can one explain an idiot like Boris
Johnson being a political force?

But it is very clear that the Laird/Boss does not have a clue and that we
are staggering towards another massive slump.  Corbyn and his team remain
our best hope of a sane and sensible attempt to solve the crisis. One has
only to read what the Blairite David Milliband has put out to grasp that
Corbyn's critics within the Labour Party are clueless about the depth of
the crisis. [Go to
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/09/new-times-david-miliband-why-left-needs-move-forward-not-back].
The anti-Corbyn forces are fighting the battles of the 80s while an
economic tsunami is building up.

But despair is beginning to grip sections of Corbyn's support, if the
twitter traffic around the Leftist and public intellectual Owen Jones is
any indication [Go to .
https://twitter.com/OwenJones84?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
]

Everywhere, there is a refusal to acknowledge the depth of the crises we
face.  I use the plural to indicate my awareness that we are heading for
ecological disaster and possibly a period of accelerated wars. Nonetheless,
my primary focus remains on the economy and how it seems almost impossible
to get even a moderate, sane Keynesian approach on the public's agenda.

Sadly, the truth would appear to be that things will have to get worse,
before they get better.

comradely

Gary



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