Monday, 21 September 2020

Labour, The Left, and The Working Class – A Response To Paul Mason - The Programme of the Early Comintern, and the Transitional Programme (5/17)

The Programme of the Early Comintern, and the Transitional Programme (5/17) 


Following the 1917 February Revolution, most of the leading Bolsheviks were outside Russia, having had to flee from persecution and potential arrest by the Tsarist police state. The revolution brought them back by various means from a range of countries across the globe. In Russia, the task of guiding the party fell to Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Stalin, the most senior Bolsheviks there at the time. They continued to apply the principle behind the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry. On the basis of it, they gave critical support to the Provisional government. Lenin, however, fumed at this position, constantly sending messages and telegrams insisting that such support be withdrawn, and venting his anger. Trotsky notes, 

"On March 6 he telegraphed through Stockholm to Petrograd: “Our tactic; absolute lack of confidence; no support to the new government; suspect Kerensky especially; arming of proletariat the sole guarantee; immediate elections to the Petrograd Duma; no rapprochement with other parties. In this directive, only the suggestion about elections to the Duma instead of the Soviet, had an episodic character and soon dropped out of sight... 

On the 17th of March, through friends in Stockholm, he wrote a letter filled with alarm. “Our party would disgrace itself forever, kill itself politically, if it took part in such deceit ... I would choose an immediate split with no matter whom in our party rather than surrender to social patriotism ...” After this apparently impersonal threat – having definite people in mind however – Lenin adjures: “Kamenev must understand that a world historic responsibility rests upon him.” Kamenev is named here because it is a question of political principle. If Lenin had had a practical militant problem in mind, he would have been more likely to mention Stalin. But in just those hours Lenin was striving to communicate the intensity of his will to Petrograd across smoking Europe, Kamenev with the co-operation of Stalin was turning sharply toward social patriotism." 


The immediate cause for alarm was the fact that the Provisional Government had resumed the Tsarist position in relation to the war. The outbreak of the February Revolution had been heralded by the fact that Russian troops at the German front had begun to desert their positions in large numbers and return home. The Bolsheviks held a position common to all the revolutionary socialists across Europe of “revolutionary defeatism”. That is they argued that the main enemy of the working-class was at home, in the shape of its own ruling class. Revolutionary defeatism does not mean actively seeking the defeat of your own country, on the contrary, many of the revolutionaries were themselves fighting on the front lines, seeking to conduct revolutionary propaganda amongst their troops along these lines. Trotsky put forward a similar position at the start of WWII, pouring scorn on the role of the pacifists, conscientious objectors and draft dodgers. Rather, what revolutionary defeatism means is that the primary goal of the working-class remains to wage the class struggle against your own ruling-class, and seek to overthrow it, even if the consequence of that is defeat at the hands of the enemy. It is only justified to argue for defence, in the event that the workers actually do secure victory, and establish a workers' state, then the workers have something they can truly defend. 

But, as Lenin notes in his April Thesis, that formulation, of the Democratic Dictatorship, was one they adopted in relation to some future state of affairs. The reality was that the February Revolution had brought about that state of affairs. The Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry now existed. The question was what then the position of socialists to it should be. Marx in the Address referred to previously notes, that in the period when the petty-bourgeoisie secures power, the socialists must 

“oppose this party, whose betrayal of the workers will begin with the very first hour of victory, the workers must be armed and organised. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed. Where the formation of this militia cannot be prevented, the workers must try to organise themselves independently as a proletarian guard, with elected leaders and with their own elected general staff; they must try to place themselves not under the orders of the state authority but of the revolutionary local councils set up by the workers. Where the workers are employed by the state, they must arm and organise themselves into special corps with elected leaders, or as a part of the proletarian guard. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary. The destruction of the bourgeois democrats’ influence over the workers, and the enforcement of conditions which will compromise the rule of bourgeois democracy, which is for the moment inevitable, and make it as difficult as possible – these are the main points which the proletariat and therefore the League must keep in mind during and after the approaching uprising.” 

The significance of this position can perhaps be best seen currently in the US, in relation to the continued murder of black citizens by racist cops, and whilst this has led to demands for the police to be disbanded and defunded, the same bourgeois, and petty-bourgeois forces again try to neuter such demands, by attempting to translate the demands as merely calls for the police to be reconstituted and reformed. Its only necessary to look back to the Miners' Strike of 1984-5, to see the importance of building such a position in preparation for such large class battles.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Starmer Stumbles On Ridge, Marooned on Marr

 Keir Starmer appeared on Sophie Ridge and Marr this morning.  Wasn't he supposed to have been self-isolating?  His performance was less than convincing on either.

On  Ridge Starmer stumbled when asked what his new slogan "A New Leadership" meant, other than being a dig at Corbyn and his supporters.  What leadership was it exactly that he was going to be giving in terms of a new vision for Labour and for the country.  But, answer came there none.  Indeed, Starmer so far has been characterised not just by a cosmic level of vacuousness, but by he fact that where he has filled that vacuum, it has only been by appearing a tame support act for Boris Johnson#s government, which he has not only failed to oppose, but has even appeared as a willing cheerleader,whether it comes to a response COVID or in relation to Brexit.

Indeed, in relation to Brexit Starmer has now taken up a position as a more committed Brexiteer than Corbyn!  Starmer rather than opposing a damaging Tory Brexit, instead demands they get on with it will all speed.  He won't even call for an extension of the Transition Period, which on current trends can only result in either BRINO or in a disastrous Crash Out No Deal.  Why Starmer will not warn about that, and so make the case for scrapping Brexit is bizarre.

Both Ridge and Marr asked Starmer about Scottish independence.  Again he could provide no response.  He simply complained that in the midst of a pandemic, on the one hand, Johnson was reraising Brexit, whilst the SNP were raising the question of independence.  But, is it any wonder that in these conditions the SNP do so?  They face Johnson's incompetent handling of COVID being imposed on them, as well as being dragged out of the EU.  Meanwhile, they now face Starmer acting as a support act for the Toies on Brexit, in just the same way that Labour has done in relation to the question of the union.  Given the strength of feeling in Scotland over Brexit, is it any wonder that with Starmer now becoming a arch Brexiteer, they see the only way of escaping that fate being via independence?

As in 2014, we have a LP acting as second fiddle to Tory Unionism, and it is likely to kill Labour in Scotland, thereby also killing any hope of a UK Labour government for the foreseeable future.   It is worse today, precisely because Starmer has committed Labour to supporting a reactionary Brexit position.

Starmer was all over the place with COVID too.  He rightly said that we can't have kids going back to school, only for entire classes to be sent home just because someone gets the usual seasonal sniffles.  Of course, any kids - or staff - who might be vulnerable to COVID should not be in school, and thereby put at risk.  But that does not apply to the large majority.  Sending entire classes home just because someone sneezes is ridiculous.  Kids under 14 are at virtually zero risk of serious illness from COVID, but the media have completely failed to tell people that.  So, now we have parents wanting to get kids tested just because they get a cold.    Yet, instead of arguing against that, which clogs up the resources required for other people to get tested, Labour is wanting kids to be made a priority for testing.  And, n this basis, teachers have been sending entire classes home until such tests are done, which is totally ridiculous. 

Starmer also appears keen to introduce another lockdown at the earliest opportunity even though lockdowns have been less than effective, slowing the development of required herd immunity.  What lockdowns do is to diminish the resources to pay for their effects, whilst generating increased demand for resources to cover furlough and so on.  Starmer wants both a lockdown and a continuation of furlough schemes, which he can provide no explanation of how he would pay for it.  Of course, if Labour supported the proposals that many epidemiologists have backed, and which I have argued for from the beginning of focussing on isolating only those actually at serious risk from the virus, no lockdown would be needed, and ghe damage to the economy would be avoided so there would be no need for the unaffordable furlough scheme to continue. 

What The Friends of the People Are, Part III - Part 47

Lenin then cites a passage from Chernyshevsky, in relation to the Reform. The 1861 Reform, emancipating the serfs, actually brought great hardship, because, as serfs they had access to the land, and were able to provide food from it. The Reform freed the serfs, but they were, by the same token, freed from the land they farmed, unless they could afford to buy it. Millions could not, and were, thereby, ruined. 

Given the police state in Russia, Chernyshevsky could not speak openly about the Reform, but did so in a roundabout way of analogy. 

““Suppose I was interested in taking measures to protect the provisions out of which your dinner is made. It goes without saying that if I was prompted to do so by my kind disposition towards you, then my zeal was based on the assumption that the provisions belonged to you and that the dinner prepared from them would be wholesome and beneficial to you. Imagine my feelings, then, when I learn that the provisions do not belong to you at all, and that for every dinner prepared from them you are charged a price which not only exceeds the cost of the dinner(this was written before the Reform. Yet the Messrs. Yuzhakovs assert now that its fundamental principle was to give security to the peasants!!) “but which you are not able to pay at all without extreme hardship. What thoughts enter my head when I make such strange discoveries? . . . How stupid I was to bother about the matter when the conditions did not exist to ensure its usefulness! Who but a fool would bother about the retention of property in certain hands without first satisfying himself that those hands will receive the property, and on favourable terms? ... Far better if all these provisions are lost, for they will only cause harm to my dear friend! Far better be done with the whole business, for it will only cause your ruin!”” (p 280-1) 

In other words, Chernyshevsky, whose ideas the liberal Narodniks claimed heritage from, was under no illusion that the Reform was designed to benefit the mass of Russian peasants, because the land was not being gifted to them, but sold to them at a high price, a price the majority could not pay. 

“It required the genius of a Chernyshevsky to understand so clearly at that time, when the peasant Reform was only being introduced (when it had not yet been properly elucidated even in Western Europe), its fundamentally bourgeois character, to understand that already at that time Russian “society” and the Russian “state” were ruled and governed by social classes that were irreconcilably hostile to the working people and that undoubtedly predetermined the ruin and expropriation of the peasantry. Moreover, Chernyshevsky understood that the existence of a government that screens our antagonistic social relations is a terrible evil, which renders the position of the working people ever so much worse.” (p 281-2) 

Labour, The Left, and The Working Class – A Response To Paul Mason - The Programme of the Early Comintern, and the Transitional Programme (4/17)

The Programme of the Early Comintern, and the Transitional Programme (4/17) 


Having set out his basic programme around the demands to be pursued by such a “Left government”, Paul says, 

“If you want a framework to understand the difference between such a left government and socialism, the “workers government” concept promoted by the Comintern at its Fourth Congress in 1922 is a good place to start.” 

But, that is to completely misunderstand the concept of the Workers', or, as Lenin formulated it, Workers' and Peasants' Government, which is a formulation that arises in a condition of dual power, i.e. in a revolutionary situation. That most certainly is not the conditions we face today, or are likely to face in the foreseeable future. Paul's understanding of the Workers' Government is not that of the Communist International in 1922, but that of the Stalinists in later years, used to justify its support for the Popular Front

In 1917, the February Revolution led to the establishment of the Provisional government of Kerensky. It was a Popular Front government, comprising representatives of the workers (Mensheviks), peasants and petty-bourgeoisie (Social-Revolutionaries/Popular Socialists) and the bourgeoisie (Kadets/Octobrists). The Bolsheviks had believed, like all Marxists, that the socialist revolution would occur first in the already developed capitalist countries of Western Europe. The basis of this, as Lenin set out in his writings against the Narodniks in the 1890's, was that it is only where such developed industrial capital exists that the contradictions of capitalism become fully mature. It is there where the industrial worker is most clearly divorced from all private ownership of the means of production and, so, freed of all the ideological influences that such ownership continues to have upon them. It is why, in Russia itself, he argues that it is only the industrial workers in the big towns and cities that can provide the vanguard of the proletarian struggle, as against the arguments of the Narodniks (who in the 20th century morphed into the SR's and Popular Socialists) that the nature of the peasant and of the village commune created the material basis for socialist construction. On the contrary, Lenin says, it is the very fact that the peasant and petty-bourgeois handicraft worker still has a foot in the past, with their connection to the private ownership of means of production that means they cannot break away from the petty-bourgeois ideas that go with them, and those petty-bourgeois ideas amount only to a watered down, backward, and so reactionary, version of bourgeois ideas themselves. The peasant and petty-bourgeoisie could be drawn in behind the revolution, or at least neutralised in their social impact, only by the industrial proletariat providing the lead to developing a socialist alternative to capitalism. 

Paul believes that these conditions no longer exist, because the days of the big industrial workplaces are behind us, that many workers are employed in small workplaces, precarious employment and self-employment etc., and the types of exploitation are no longer based purely on the extraction of surplus value. In fact, this is based upon a misconception. The same misconception was held by the Narodniks, like Mikhailovsky, and used to present the same argument in relation to Russia in the late 19th century. Paul's argument is really just a modern day version of the same argument put forward by the Narodniks 130 years ago. In fact, as Lenin points out, in response, if this argument were correct, then there would have been no basis for Marx's argument in Britain in the 19th century either, because the factory workers comprised only a small minority of the total workforce, with more being employed as domestic servants than industrial workers. I will come back to this in relation to Paul's argument in that respect later.  I have also dealt with this argument in my critique of his Postcapitalism.

The Russian Marxists saw the historical process being one in which the industrial proletariat in Western Europe undertook socialist revolutions, and began creating socialism. In the wake of those revolutions, the industrial proletariat, in Russia, would act as the vanguard, uniting the peasants and petty-bourgeoisie behind it, in overthrowing Tsarism. Given the undeveloped state of Russian capitalism, and small size of the industrial proletariat, this revolution would lead not to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, as envisaged for Western Europe, but the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry, and this would create a transitional period during which both agriculture and industry was developed towards socialism, with the support of the socialist economies of Western Europe. 

Trotsky had argued in Results and Prospects, following the 1905 Russian Revolution, that, in fact, revolutions might occur in non-advanced economies, like Russia, or in countries undertaking anti-colonial revolutions. The basis of his argument was the concept of “Permanent Revolution”, first mentioned by Marx and Engels in 1850, in addresses to the Communist League. Following the defeats of the Revolutions of 1848, when the bourgeoisie, and the petty-bourgeoisie, organised within the liberal and social-democratic parties, betrayed the proletariat, Marx and Engels had set out the need for the workers to retain their political and organisational independence from these bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties. 

Marx says, 

“While the democratic petty bourgeois want to bring the revolution to an end as quickly as possible, achieving at most the aims already mentioned, it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent until all the more or less propertied classes have been driven from their ruling positions, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far – not only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world – that competition between the proletarians of these countries ceases and at least the decisive forces of production are concentrated in the hands of the workers.” 


Years later, Engels was to admit that their hopes in this direction had been Utopian for the simple reason that the only country in Europe where the working-class even formed a sizeable proportion of society, in 1848, was Britain. Even when Marx comes to write the Critique of the Gotha Programme, in 1875, he is led to point out, 

“In the first place, the majority of the "toiling people" in Germany consists of peasants, not proletarians.” 

I will come back to the position of Marx and Engels in this relation later.


Saturday, 19 September 2020

Lockdown - The Definition of Stupidity

Einstein said that the definition of stupidity was performing the same experiment over and over, and expecting a different outcome.  The imposition of lockdowns in response to COVID19 was never going to work, and so it has proved.  It was always the case that, unless the virus was more or less completely eradicated, or widespread herd immunity generated to it, then as soon as any lockdowns were relaxed, the virus would simply spread rapidly once again.  So, it has proved.  Everywhere that lockdowns were imposed, the virus has spread rapidly again, as soon as the lockdown was relaxed, no matter how soon, or how effectively those lockdowns were imposed.  That is happening in France, and Germany as much as it is happening in Britain.  The only place in Europe where that is not happening is Sweden.  Sweden never introduced a lockdown and so avoided the damage to its economy.  It made the same mistake as elsewhere at the beginning in relation to its care homes, but has remedied that situation.  It essentially ended any new deaths from COVID weeks ago.  In September it as had just 30 deaths in total, or less than an average of 2 per day.  A rational person would look to that successful experience, not simply repeat the failed experiment with lockdowns.

And, that was obviously going to happen.  As some epidemiologists pointed out at the start, its like a forest fire.  If you stop a fire by concentrating only on the burning trees, but do nothing to protect the rest of the forest by building adequate firebreaks and so on, as soon as you leave, any small embers from the fire you missed, get blown by the wind, and ignite the forest once more.  And, so it was bound to be with COVID and the lockdown.  The lockdown did nothing in itself to kill the virus.  On the contrary, by slowing its spread amongst the 80% of the population who are not at serious risk from it, it prevented the rapid development of herd immunity.

But as many epidemiologists like Professor Sunetra Gupta have pointed out, in the absence of a vaccine, the development of herd immunity is the only realistic means of killing the virus, by stopping its spread.  The latest reports suggest that it will still be another year before any vaccine is available for widespread use, and we already know that COVID 19 has developed more than one strain.  Indeed, COVID19 is a coronavirus, one of the viruses responsible for the common cold, and the reason no vaccine has been developed for the common cols, is precisely due to this problem that there are so many different strains involved.  That is why in response to the common cold resource is made to the long-term development of natural herd immunity, and partial immunities resulting from immunity to other closely associated strains.

If there was one justification for imposing a lockdown, it would have been to have given time to put in place other measures.  For example, there was no reason why the main locations of deaths and serious illness should have been hospitals and care homes.  It was known from the start that COVID19 is a highly specific virus, targeting almost exclusively the elderly particularly those over 80, but also those over 60, and to a lesser degree those with underlying medical conditions that compromise their immune systems.  So, from the start the aim should have been to isolate those groups.  The obvious place to start was care homes containing large numbers of elderly and vulnerable people, as well as hospitals.  But, that was not done.  people going into hospital with other conditions, contracted COVID19 in the hospital, and died.  Hospitals sent people with COVID19 back to care homes, where not only did they then die, but they spread the virus to others in the care home, who also then died or became seriously ill.

Yet, it should have been obvious that what was required was to lock down care homes, to isolate them, and to provide staff with adequate PPE to stop them spreading the virus.  It should have been obvious that hospitals needed to establish isolation units so that those with the virus were kept physically distanced from other patients, and again that staff were provided with adequate PPE, and contact protocols established to ensure that they could not act as transmitters of the virus to the elderly and vulnerable.  Yet none of that was done.  The government and the NHS signally failed in all those basic tasks.  Belatedly, and more as a piece of showmanship, the so called Nightingale Hospitals were set up, but although they drained much needed staff and resources from the rest of the NHS, they remained essentially empty, with bed after bed lying unused.  At the same time, because no effective contact or isolation protocols were established, to keep COVID patients physically distanced from others, large numbers of sick people with other illnesses, such as cancer were told to stay away from hospitals, or chose to do so for fear of themselves being infected.  In much of the country, far from hospitals being over run, admission rate fell to as low as 40%!

None of that has been done.  Now s lockdowns are relaxed, inevitably the virus has begun to spread more rapidly, though in truth we don't know how rapidly, because any guesstimate is based upon the numbers of people tested, and the testing regime is a complete farce, and in the process of collapse.  The government claims huge numbers are being tested, but a test is only a test if the sample is actually processed in a reasonable time, and the processing of samples is taking up to two weeks to do, which is totally useless.  On the one hand, we have thousands of people, panicked by government and media hype into getting children tested - which in the vast majority of cases is totally pointless as the chance of children being badly affected by the virus is statistically less than insignificant to non-existent - whilst many more people, can only get a test if they travel hundreds of miles to get one!

A look at the data everywhere shows that the largest increase in infections is amongst the younger age group.  But, its precisely amongst that age group that there is virtually no risk of death or serious illness.  That is why although the number of infections has spiked, the number of deaths or serious illness has not.  Where deaths or serious illness has increased, it is again amongst the elderly and the sick, which again simply shows that after all this time, governments have not put in place the appropriate measures to isolate care homes, or to establish isolation units for hospitals, or to ensure that the sick and elderly living at home, can be provided with the care they need safely.

Instead, governments are again looking to impose lockdowns, which impact not on those at risk from the virus, but on those not at risk, i.e. on the young and healthy!  Indeed, large numbers of them are being criminalised for doing nothing more than going about their business and enjoying themselves safely.  Already, we see that in term of the economic impact of government imposed lockdowns, it is these same younger age groups that are being made to suffer.  It is amongst those groups that incomes have been reduced most, and that have suffered the greatest loss of employment.  The government is scapegoating younger people in order to cover for its own idiotic mismanagement of the virus.

Yet, what is the government doing - and not just in Britain - as the virus inevitably spreads more quickly again, has it isolated the vulnerable, has it put in place the measures needed to ensure the vulnerable 20% of the population can isolate safely?  No it is again simply imposing lockdowns.  It is repeating the same failed experiment all over again, and expecting a different result.  The very definition of stupidity.

Labour, The Left, and The Working Class – A Response To Paul Mason - The Programme of the Early Comintern, and the Transitional Programme (3/17)

The Programme of the Early Comintern, and the Transitional Programme (3/17) 


Now, as far as the Left/Marxists in the LP is concerned, we are already part of such a Popular Front, simply on the basis of party membership, because the LP, unlike even, say, the Mensheviks, is a bourgeois party.  It is not committed to socialism, let alone Marxism, but merely to social-democracy, to  reconciling the contradictions between capital and labour within the context of capitalism.  We have no choice, because our forces are so tiny. In effect, we are back to the stage that the small sects like the Communist League, League of the Just, and so on were at in the first half of the 19th century. And, in these conditions, the Left should be a wing of that party, for the reasons that Engels states in relation to 1848. 

“When we returned to Germany, in spring 1848, we joined the Democratic Party as the only possible means of getting the ear of the working class; we were the most advanced wing of that party, but still a wing of it... Had we from 1864, to 1873 insisted on working together only with those who openly adopted our platform where should we be to-day? I think that all our practice has shown that it is possible to work along with the general movement of the working class at every one of its stages without giving up or hiding our own distinct position and even organisation, and I am afraid that if the German Americans choose a different line they will commit a great mistake.”


The Labour Party is not a Workers' Party in the sense that the German SPD, or the French and Italian Socialist Parties or the RSDLP were, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those parties, at least nominally, considered themselves to be Marxist parties, revolutionary parties, that sought the overthrow of capitalism. The LP has never been that. It is a workers' party in the material sense that it is composed of workers, it was created by workers organisations, and continues to be linked to them, i.e. the trades unions, and it is the party that workers look to to represent their interests. But, ideologically, the LP is no different to the Liberal Party of the late 19th century, and to which the working-class previously had such a relation. The LP is a bourgeois party, and, not surprisingly, given that it was created by the trades unions, which are themselves workers' organisations dominated by bourgeois ideas, i.e. the acceptance of the continuation of capitalism, and the goal, merely, of obtaining a higher price for the workers' commoditylabour-power – in the capitalist market place. And, the other workers' parties across Europe have regressed to the same ideological level. Ideologically, they are distinguishable from other social-democratic parties, such as the US Democrats, only quantitatively, not qualitatively, i.e. the degree to which they are dominated by conservative social-democracy rather than progressive social-democracy. At best they are representative of that sizeable, professional middle-class interest of the bureaucratic layer of managers and administrators (functioning capitalists) that directs the socialised capital (progressive social-democracy), at worst they are representative of the owners of fictitious-capital, whose revenues and capital gains are themselves ultimately dependent upon the fortunes of all of that mass of socialised capital (conservative social democracy). 

Paul says, 

“If you want a government that “smashes the state”, that pulls Britain out of NATO and the IMF, defunds the police force or adopts a policy of Open Borders — you are welcome to argue for all these things. But there will be no majority for them inside the Labour Party and — because of the dynamics outlined below — no possibility of Labour coming to power in 2024 if they were adopted.” 

Paul is right to say that we have a right to continue to argue for those positions, even if we know that, as presently constituted, the party itself is unlikely to adopt them. The point is not whether we have a right to continue to argue for adequate class struggle politics or not – and I would not list the positions above, currently, as being the most important in that respect – but why on Earth, when we can do so, would we follow Paul's advice and abandon such positions? Failing to argue for serious class struggle politics, by self-censorship, is not only unprincipled and the fastest route to irrelevance, it is also the fastest route to losing the right to even argue for such politics! Certainly “open borders” is not some raving communist position, but a purely rational, liberal position, flowing from the basic bourgeois rights and freedoms under whose banner the bourgeois revolutions of the 19th century were conducted. It is the basis of the EU, which cannot be described as some raving communist venture either. That Paul is led to abandon even these simple, liberal democratic demands in search of his chimerical broad alliance demonstrates the point made by Marx in his analysis of such an approach in relation to the events of 1848 in France. 

“Every demand of the simplest bourgeois financial reform, of the most ordinary liberalism, of the most formal republicanism, of the most shallow democracy, is simultaneously castigated as an “attempt on society” and stigmatised as “socialism.” 

(Marx – The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Chapter 1) 

Continuing to “march separately” by maintaining our political and organisational independence, does not at all prevent us from “striking together”, with others in the labour movement in order to defeat the forces of the Right, on issues of immediate agreement. It is the whole point of remaining inside the LP as a wing of that bourgeois party, in order to “get the ear” of the workers whose support is required to build an actual revolutionary workers' party! But, why would you limit yourself to getting the ear of workers for a program that you know is inadequate, and will fail, and only bring further demoralisation!! The whole point is to show to workers the inadequacy of social-democracy in action.


Northern Soul Classics - You Hit Me Right Where It Hurt Me - Alice Clark