Monday, June 15, 2009

What's Left?

Bought a copy of Socialist Worker on Saturday as they happened to have a stall (or rather their front organisation Stop the War did) at the same Peace Fair in West London that we did. It was interesting to read the following in a piece headed "What about the radical left?":
Five years ago Respect polled 4.84 percent across London, beating the BNP. The combined left vote in London was down this year to 2.1 percent.
The No2EU (Communist Party/Militant list) got 17,758, or 1.02%. The Scargill Labour Party got 15,036, or 0.88%. That only makes 1.9%. So where does the other 0.2% come from. You've guessed. It must be our 4050, or 0.23%.

We should be flattered I suppose but because of the association of the "Left" with what went on in Russia and with Labour-style reformism we don't like to be classified as part of the Left (though we know what people mean when they do this). We certainly don't like being classified with these two lists, both led by ex-members of the Communist Party who still haven't broken with its ideology and still think the former USSR was socialist (and Militant too thought that the USSR was some sort of "Workers State"). In any event, we're no part of this State Capitalist Left.

But let's run with this for a moment. The total "radical Left" vote was 37,114. Our "contribution" was 4050, or 10.9%. So one in 10 of the "radical left" would be people prepared to vote for the SPGB, ie real socialism as opposed to the state capitalism favoured by most of the rest. Though this is probably more a reflection of their weakness rather than our strength. Still.

The same issue of Socialist Worker commits the SWP to convening a "conference of all those committed to presenting candidates representing working class interests at the next election". Be interesting to see if they send us an invitation as that's what we'll be doing. If they did, we could tell the gathering that the only way to pursue working class interests is to advocate a worldwide society of common ownership, democratic control, production solely for use not profit, and distribution on the principle "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs", and nothing but. But, being realistic, we don't think they'd accept this.


Jools said...

Interesting. So if the SWP invited you to this gathering would you accept the invitation?

stuart said...

I think there's a more fundamental difference between the SPGB and the Left than the ones mentioned. The proposed coming together would be to create a party to "represent" working class interests in elections, ie, to represent the interests of variable capital. The SPGB is surely not about that at all – it's all about the working class organising itself, electing delegates perhaps, but not representatives.

Londonsocialist said...

Let's see if they do invite us and on what terms. If they do I'm sure we wouldn't ignore it completely, ie at the very least we'd send a reply explaining our point of view that socialism, and only socialism, is what socialists should advocate at elections not (of course) the reforms and state capitalism they will want to.