Posts Tagged ‘trots’

I am a revisionist, not a right-winger

28/05/2015, 05:42:09 PM

by Adrian McMenamin

Eduard Bernstein is not a name heard much in Labour circles today – a social democrat and a communist (he would not have seen these as antithetical) – he shocked and scandalised many more orthodox members of the Social-democratic Party of Germany (SPD) by daring to “revise” Marxist thinking, to account for societal developments, in his “Premises of Socialism and the Tasks of Social Democracy” in 1899.

Fundamentalists have a tendency to regard their favourite books as unchallengeable eternal truth, rather than human works created in a given society at a particular time. That applies even when these fundamentalists are supposedly the most stringent enemies of superstition or religion – as the SPD’s hard-line Marxists claimed to be. For them the very idea of suggesting that Marx’s works were other than sacred and fixed was unthinkable. No method of theory revision for them, no matter how “scientific” they claimed their socialism was.

“Revisionism” thus quickly became, and remained, a term of abuse on the left – even, as in Mao’s China, a suitable reason to put someone to death: imagine that, a movement ostensibly at the pinnacle of the enlightenment ends up killing people for impure thoughts.

To be a revisionist is to be a traitor, an unbeliever or an apostate.

The Labour leadership election has been a case-in-point: the commonest piece of abuse thrown at Liz Kendall for daring to suggest, for instance, we should not be knee-jerk hostile to parents who want to improve the outcome of the state education system by setting up challenger schools, is that she is a Tory.

There are plainly a lot of Labour party members who think there is no difference between us – the revisionists – and the Tories. Beyond the obvious question of why, if someone really is ”a Tory”, they are wasting their time in an impotent and defeated party, as opposed to exercising power and influence in the real thing, there is the issue of historical experience. For surely it is us revisionists – from Bernstein on – who are those seeking victory for the left most keenly.

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Revealed: Unite boss’s plan to turn clock back to 1983 for Labour

20/07/2012, 07:00:45 AM

by Atul Hatwal

A few weeks ago Uncut revealed Unite’s political strategy. How the union intends to take control of local Labour constituency parties, influence parliamentary selections and extract maximum political return for their funding largesse.

The focus of the strategy was on the acquisition and retention of power within the Labour party. Now, one of the most senior officials in the union lays bare what Unite intends to do with that power.

Dave Quayle is chair of Unite’s national political committee. This is the body that is responsible for the management and delivery of the union’s political campaign, from national activity down to Unite’s constituency level plans.

Critically, it is the body that determines how Labour’s biggest donor spends its money in the party.

Comrade Quayle recently gave an interview to the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) website. This would be the AWL that defines itself as an organisation committed to the ideas of “Marxism and revolutionary socialism”.

He clearly felt among friends as he held forth on how Unite plans to change the Labour party,

“We want a firmly class-based and left-wing general election campaign in 2015. We’ve got to say that Labour is the party of and for workers, not for neo-liberals, bankers, and the free market. That might alienate some people, but that’s tough.”

It’s an extraordinary statement for someone like Quayle to make. Unite’s plans for Labour, backed by the millions of pounds at their disposal, can be summarised: yes to class conflict; no to the free market; and forget about the votes of businessmen, Tory switchers or the centre ground. Anyone in the party disagree? Lump it.

Quayle’s vision genuinely involves turning the clock back to 1983 for Labour.

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The return of toytown politics

08/05/2012, 05:36:41 PM

by Ian R. Stewart

Back in 1990, with thirteen million people refusing to pay the poll tax and the country in uproar, Neil Kinnock lambasted the unsavoury collection of Trotskyites in the SWP and Militant (now the Socialist Party; TUSC; Respect; Left List; take your pick) as being “toytown revolutionaries”.

He was right, as very few of them had ever been willing to take responsibility for their actions, or seriously made the kind of hard choices that even Liberal Democrats are willing to make these days.

Put simply, these people refuse to accept the reality of the world around them.

Yet toytown politics is not dead, in fact it is thriving, don’t just take my word for it, watch “The Wright Stuff” on Channel Five, or “The Daily Politics” on BBC2.

Or, closer to home, just read the blogs, tweets and articles of various hoary old “New” Labour hacks online or in the press.

Toytown has relocated to the media & Westminster village, where today we hear the nonsensical calls from some for Ed Miliband to stand down after a massive victory in England and Wales, spanning from Cardiff to Great Yarmouth.

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The old cancer at the heart of the student riot

11/11/2010, 09:00:18 AM

by Luke Akehurst

THE SAD lesson of the hijacking of part of Wednesday’s NUS demo – by a small minority who turned it into a mini-riot – is that some of the iron laws of left politics from the last time there was a Tory PM still hold true.

The mainstream left, whether that’s the Labour party, its affiliated trade unions, NUS or other organisations campaigning against the cuts needs to know that the bad guys are not all to our right on the political spectrum.

Idealistically, we might have thought that the sheer horror of the cuts being proposed by the Tory-Lib Dem government would mean all forces on the left in Britain could unite to protest and fight to protect key public services and benefits.

Wednesday’s behaviour killed that idealistic dream as it probably killed the political enthusiasm of some of the 50,000 ordinary students on the march.

On the plus side 49,000+ of them marched peacefully. By any stretch that’s a remarkable political mobilisation. The entire membership of all the student political organisations in the UK plus non-student supporters and non-partisan student union activists does not get anywhere near 10,000 people. So 80% or more of the marchers were “real people” driven to political protest by the government, not long-term political activists.

This should therefore have been a marvellous opportunity to get an entire new generation involved in politics, inspired by participation in a powerful protest that would have got their case all over the media and put fear in the hearts of the Lib Dem MPs who betrayed their erstwhile student voters. This should have been the start of a campaign that would have seen those 50,000 marchers go back to their colleges and work to either stop a government policy in its tracks or failing that contribute to mobilising their fellow students to evict Tory and Lib Dem MPs in university seats in the next general election. (more…)

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