The Ayatollahs' bombYesterday was a busy day.
First, at 11.00 hrs we handed in the nomination papers (and the £500 deposit, in cash) at the Town Hall. Everything was in order.
Then, at 14.30 our candidate spoke at a hustings in the same Town Hall organised by the Lambeth Pensioners Action Group. After speeches by three men in suits but with different coloured ties representing the "main parties" and a contribution full of technical detail by the Green candidate, Danny's, in which he said that the professional politicians on the panel were either fools or knaves for promising to run capitalism in the interests of the working class, was the only one to get a round of applause. The Liberal (Chris Nicholson standing in Streatham) smiled at being called a fool or a knave. The Tory (Rahoul Bhansani also in Streatham) took umbrage. The audience of about 40 or so gave the Labour candidate for Streatham (Chukka Umunna) a hard time, ending up with him heckling them. The pensioners of Lambeth seem a clued-up and bolshie lot.
At 19.30, the Stop the War hustings, in the Brix, St. Matthews Church, opposite the Town Hall started, with Joe Healey (Greens), Chris Nicholson (Liberal, still wearing his suit and tie), Jeremy Drinkall (Workers Power/League for a Fifth International) and Danny Lambert. There were 50 or so in the audience. The Green and Liberal candidates, believing that "politics is the art of the possible", outlined various practical steps that in their view could be taken to lessen tensions by pursuing an ethical foreign policy. Drinkall, supported by a claque of student supporters, played the demagogue calling for the "immediate" this and the "immediate that" (including the immediate dissolution of the state of Israel). But the highlight of his contribution was his defence of the right of the Iranian regime to develop its own nuclear weapons.
Danny read from our 1914 anti-war manifesto and commented "same carnage, different century", pointing out that all the attempts since then to stop wars had failed because they'd left the root cause unchanged. Wars, he said, were caused by conflicts between capitalist interests over markets, sources of raw materials, trade routes, investment outlets and strategic points to protect or acquire these, so the only way to end wars and preparations for war was to get rid of capitalism. This only provoked Drinkall, in a bid to differentiate himself from us, into launching an attack on "the Socialist Party" for not supporting reforms. Danny had to explain that what we were opposed to was not reforms as such, but to the policy of reformism, of pursuing reforms, like he was doing.
After the meeting those leaving were handed a 6-page leaflet by two members of "the International Bolshevik Tendency" denouncing Workers Power as "fake Trotskyists" and reformists for departing from Trotsky's "transitional programme" and for supporting the re-election of the Labour government. Which all goes to show that there are nuttier Trotskyists than those who want to set up a Fifth International. Their paper called -- wait for it -- 1917 proclaimed "Spoil Your Ballot!"
The Green candidate was interviewed about the meeting by a local blogger who more than once refers to us as the "SWP". The blogger is a localist who thinks that national and world issues should not be discussed at a local election. Healey put him right on this, well explaining the impact world events had on the amount of money local councils were given to spend (and that as a result of the present capitalist crisis things were only going to get worse). In fact what we have always said too and why we make no apology for raising the issue of world capitalism or world socialism in the local elections.