Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Building a Party, when not demolishing it

I have often wondered what a serious British party of the Left (i.e. ideologically to the left of the old Labour Party, but non-dogmatic in its 'analysis' of Marx and his inheritors; its membership founded on organised labour; free of the self-hating bourgeois; and determined to be a party of action rather than a debating society) might look like. And I still wonder, since no serious candidate has ever emerged, within my lifetime or previously. Listening to that well-known 'political' actress Vanessa Redgrave on the radio tonight, I was reminded fleetingly of her comrade Gerry Healy and what was essentially 'his' Workers Revolutionary Party - this before the moment passed like a minor stomach cramp. Meanwhile: the risible Socialist Workers Party is going through one of its seemingly perennial convulsions, this time with the loss of comrade Lindsay German, who, to her credit, has got her chosen cause onto television in the last 6-7 years more than any other member of an inconsequential groupuscule one could think of, barring her ex-comrade George Galloway, of course, whose rating is boosted on account of his principled appearance on Celebrity Big Brother. What web sources are running as German's own account of her resignation says nearly all that needs saying about the hopeless narcissism of small differences that has characterised the self-styled Trotskyist parties of these islands:
I resigned on Wednesday on my way to a Stop the War public meeting in Newcastle which I had been asked not to attend by the Central Committee. I was first phoned about this two days before by a CC member who told me this wasn't a proper STW meeting, that it was organised by ex members hostile to the party, and that most STW members in Newcastle knew nothing about it. This turned out not to be true, as two sets of minutes of meetings (in the public domain) make clear... I believe the CC was wrong in the particulars of this case, but that this reflected a more general political error. The meeting itself was a success, with 35 people including a number of Muslims attending. There were unfortunately no SWP members (two paper sellers didn't come into the meeting) and only a handful of ex members...

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