Tuesday, 15 February 2011

'Break the law not the poor' ?

I've commented before on my amazement at the sometimes bizarre common ground between the SWP and so-called Labour Lefts - and the resulting easy ride that the SWP gets as a result: Look at the column inches (if there is such a thing in cyberspace) devoted to feigned outrage at the NSSN's launch of an anti-cuts campaign at the initiative of the Socialist Party. I'm not re-opening that debate  -but just  compare it to the relative non-controversy of the recent anti-cuts meeting of the  SWP (sorry) Right To Work Camapign (sorry) People's Convention.

The main point of contention there seems to have been the attitude we should take  to Labour councils who make cuts.  It appears that the SWP  are  saying that we must work with Labour councillors who argue that some cuts may be necessary - and that they are better made by people who will try to minimise the damage than  by Tories. 

This is no more than  a re-hash of the 'dented shield' argument put up by some 'Left' councils in the 80's. It was a crock of shit then and it's a cock of shit now - a moral fig-leaf for capitulation  - just as it was when Liverpool and Lambeth councils were left to fight on their own.

In fact history is repeating itself as farce - first time round these Labour Lefts at least started off by talking up a fight - but this time their equivalents have jumped right into defeatism from the off. Ironically changes in the law since the 1980's actually mean that councillors who pass deficit /needs budgets actually do not  risk the same personal penalties that the Poplar councillors did in the 30's of the Liverpool '47 did in the 80's.

So why this bizarre defence of the indefensible by the SWP ?  

I'm not stupid or sectarian enough to  believe that it's because they aren't actually serious about fighting the cuts. I  can only think there are  fundamental political political reasons behind it: They seem to have the   impression that the Labour Party is being /will  be radicalised  again after the post-election  increase in membership. Or maybe they really think that the resources of the Left are so weak - or so finite - that they must make desperate bed-fellows.

In typically python-esque Left fashion accusations of the "Third Period-ism' have been thrown at the SP and of "Popular Frontism' at the SWP.  I'm not going to go there - personal experience of working together locally in TUSC reminded me that there is more that unites us than divides us. So I won't dig up any unhelpful and over-dramatic obscure historical analogies. But how about a simple common sense formula ? - That the anti-cuts movement should be working with any group or party (that isn't fascist or racist)  so long as it refuses  to implement austerity cuts.

4 comments:

Riversider said...

Great points Journeyman.

In Preston, Labour are actually boasting that they selected the Guild Hall for cuts, (which include 23 job losses) thus 'saving' one or two leisure centres.

We need unity of everyone affected by cuts against ALL the cuts:
http://riversstream.blogspot.com/2011/02/unity-against-all-cuts.html

thorxlive said...

Interesting post (i didnt understand any of it, haha)

The Innocuous Bison said...

Damn man, you've got a lot of fucking thoughts in your head. I'm intrigued and yet exhausted, will read and engage another time.

Paul said...

"This is no more than a re-hash of the 'dented shield' argument put up by some 'Left' councils in the 80's. It was a crock of shit then and it's a cock of shit now - a moral fig-leaf for capitulation - just as it was when Liverpool and Lambeth councils were left to fight on their own."

Fookin spot on mate. I got radicalised because of the LPYS/militant. I know principles vs electability is the oldest argument in the book, but when you compare what the likes of Dave Nellist and Terry Fields stood for then with the careerist shits that run the show now, I wonder how people would respond.