Sunday, 16 August 2015

Brown's Failed Analogies and Apologism

I am just watching Gordon Brown's speech.  I missed the start of it, but the drift, that the Labour Party should not select Jeremy Corbyn and be a party of protest, is clear.  But, it comes down to apologism rather than a rational argument.

There is, of course, a rationale to the idea that it is necessary to be elected to be able to put your ideas into practice, but the fact remains that there is only a point in being elected so as to be able to implement your own ideas.  There is no point being elected only in order to be forced to implement someone else's ideas.  The fact is that Brown, Blair, Kinnock, and others before them, do not seek to be elected to implement the ideas of socialism, the ideas that are needed to further the interests of workers, who comprise the vast majority of society, they seek to be elected only for the purpose of being elected, and, in order to achieve that aim, they will be prepared to implement any set of ideas.

If we look at some of those examples that Brown gave they show the point.  If we take Neil Kinnock, for example, in response to Labour councillors, who had been elected, in Liverpool and elsewhere, and who were, thereby, able to implement and to fight for socialist ideas, Kinnock's response was not to applaud that success, and to swing the whole force of the Labour Movement behind them.  It was the opposite.  It was to condemn them for implementing those policies, and standing up to the Tories. It was to demand that they, along with all the other Labour Councillors, up and down the country, who had been elected, abandon their right, and their duty, to implement those ideas that they had been elected upon, and instead to meekly submit to the Tories diktat, and to implement their anti-working class policies.  More than that, Kinnock then went on to eject those socialists from the Labour Party, and to shape it in such a way that would make it far more difficult for Labour Party members to be elected on socialist policies, and to fight the Tories, just as Kinnock had refused to support the miners.

Apparently, when Ed Miliband was elected, Kinnock is reported to have said, "We have got our party back."   The reality is that it was Kinnock, and the soft-left of the party who threw the party away during the 1980's, and who handed it on a plate to the Blairites, including Brown, who followed, just as they created the conditions of betrayal and acquiescence that facilitated the rule of Thatcher and Major for 18 years. During all of the years of Thatcher's Poll Tax, it was not Kinnock and his supporters who opposed it, but the tens of thousands of ordinary workers and socialists who protested in the streets, and organised in the communities, including those Labour Councillors who also adopted the position "Can't Pay, Won't Pay", even at the risk of gaol.  It was they, not Kinnock in Parliament, who defeated the Poll Tax, which in itself led to the removal of Thatcher from office.

Brown's other example, was the person we all revere, he said, Nelson Mandela.  Of course, for decades, Mandela was far from revered by politicians and celebrities, who considered him a terrorist, and would have run a mile, during those times, from having their name associated with his.  For others of us, we never revered him that much to begin with, precisely because his politics were not our politics, but the kind of bourgeois, nationalist politics we oppose.  The fact that he was revered by members of the Stalinist parties says all that needs to be said about the bourgeois nationalist politics of the Stalinists themselves.

But, the example of Mandela proves the opposite case of the one that Brown wants to portray.  The fact is that, nearly a quarter of a century after Mandela's ANC took governmental power, in South Africa, the position of the ordinary black South African has improved very, very little.  The government of the country has simply seen the corruption of white bourgeois politicians replaced by that of black bourgeois politicians; it has seen former black trade union leaders, like Ramaphosa, as government ministers, send in the troops to massacre striking black mine workers; it has seen exploitation by white capitalists only supplemented by exploitation by black capitalists, who have used the influence of the ANC, in government, to line their own pockets.

That is the real lesson of those politicians who simply want to get elected, as opposed to those who want to get elected on the basis of  deeply held principles, and a commitment to implement them.

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