Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Socialist Party Schizophrenia on Labour

The rise of the far-left in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and the creation of Momentum has caused a problem for the two large Trotskyist groups still outside the party. The attempt of the SWP to get in on the act was rightly seen seen as a shallow opportunist act even by those within Momentum itself and so far seems to have amounted to nothing more than a couple of articles in their unreadable rag Socialist Worker.

Besides the reputation of the Socialist Workers Party remains in complete tatters following the comrade delta affair which has alienated them from nearly every section of the left, student and feminist movement possible.

The Socialist Party however has been caught on the hop so to speak as it has been actively building an alternative to the Labour Party through it's still born Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing candidates on an ultra-left platform at every opportunity. However that project is in tatters nearly everywhere.

The Socialist Party does not seem to know how to cope or indeed survive in this situation. On the one hand we see them take a strange turn in Tower Hamlets where they have linked with the supporters of disgraced Lutfur Rahman, the former Mayor.

On Thursday night the TUSC, no more than a front for the former Militant Tendency these days will be holding a joint meeting with the Tower Hamlets Independent Group who stood against Labour at the last election in the borough. Amongst these acolytes of the fallen Mayor is one Oliur Raham a past PCS activist (of sorts, he never did much more than collect posts to add to his CV).

Now PCS is where the Socialist Party have a large and quite controlling influence within the Left Unity coalition which controls the union. There is according to John McInally:

.. .a longstanding debate on whether it is appropriate for a civil service union to ever affiliate to a political party. While this is an argument that was used by the right-wing in CPSA (predecessor of PCS) it is ingrained in the minds of many members and activists and would only be overcome on the basis of a major campaign of explanation and if political conditions were favourable - ie, if the Labour Party was a genuine anti-austerity party.

There is also the fact that many members and activists believe that only by maintaining political independence can the union apply pressure without fear or favour in order to win concessions and make advances for members' interests. Activists and members would be very wary of giving money to a Labour Party in which the Blairite bureaucracy still controls the party machine and finances. Many would much prefer to give such support by a method that would directly aid Jeremy and John's anti-austerity campaign.

This indicates that the affiliation issue in PCS can only be resolved on the basis of a democratically conducted review of the type PCS has excelled at under its left leadership.

Putting aside the rather tedious self aggrandisement which actually means in practice the usual bureaucratic manoeuvring that the Socialist Party are (in)famous for, they are seeking to influence a proposal by Mark Serwotka to set up a Trade Union Momentum which would allow them to have one foot inside the Labour Party's growing left and maintain their profile (such as it is) outside:

The idea for Trade Union Momentum sprang from the need to build a trade union based anti-austerity movement from outside as well as inside the Labour Party and autonomous from it..

This would be by building in workplaces and communities around the country with affiliations from trade unions, trades councils and individual union members.

Providing a platform for socialists and anti-austerity activists, inclusive of the Socialist Party, the National Shop Stewards Network and others not members of the Labour Party, in a widely based alliance, could be an important, even critical factor in defending the Corbyn/McDonnell leadership and building the anti-austerity movement.

Problem is they don't see eye to eye with the likes of John Lansman, one of Momentums's founders:

The self-appointed leaders of Momentum have retreated under this pressure and have responded to calls from the Blairites and the media to neuter the movement by attempting to exclude socialists and activists who are not Labour Party members, rather than building unity around a clear anti-cuts programme. This is a disastrous strategy and its architects like Jon Lansman, a leader of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, exposes the fact that under the long years of Blairite control they accommodated themselves to that regime.

In plain English the words they are looking for are that these people have sold out already and what is needed is for Momentum to look to the Socialist Party for leadership to build the true party..blah, blah..

In other words the same old reductionist nonsense that has been the basis of far-left cults for..well since forever.

How they intend doing this by linking up with the likes of the Rahamanites in Tower Hamlets shows how schizophrenic their political thinking has become.

And irrelevant. 

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