Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Metropolitan Elite Myth - Part 4 of 4

That the Alt-Right use such suspiciously similar arguments and terminology is not surprising, because we know that a large number of those ideas have been developed, via international co-operation by such forces over decades. If those who are concerned about the machinations of the Bilderbergers really want to turn their attention somewhere, it should be to the relations between various neo-Nazi groups across Europe, going back to the 1970's, and how today those links also spread out from the Kremlin to Trump's associates in the US, to right-wing parties and groups in France, and other parts of Western Europe etc. They should look at how the ideas of National Bolshevism, referred to in Part 1, feed out not just to these overtly right-wing organisations that claim to also be “Workers Parties”, but also to those “left wing” parties and organisations that act as apologists for the Kremlin, and spread similar ideas about building socialism in one country, or which seek to break apart existing supra-national structures such as the EU.

In fact, nationalist ideology has never restricted its proponents from forming international organisations, and undertaking internationally co-ordinated actions to further their cause. Stalin co-operated with Hitler, in the 1930's, against Trotskyists, and later via the Hitler-Stalin Pact; Hitler and Mussolini co-operated with Franco in the Spanish Civil War; Stalin and Mao co-operated until their conflicting nationalist interests brought them to blows.

The roots of co-operation can be traced back to the 1930's, when these ideas about conservative nationalist parties being the true workers' parties were developed, and as with the Strasserites, the idea of using the capitalist state as a central element of economic development and planning was introduced. Such ideas are not only central to the policies of Putin, but they are now also part of the programme of Trump, of May, of Le Pen, and others.

These ideas were promoted as part of the ideology of National Bolshevism, that grew out of the Strasserites, and whose supporters were also central players in the Israeli political establishment, where this same hard-right authoritarian conservative regime can be seen in the form of Netanyahu, and his close ties with Trump.

We are living in dangerous times. When the long wave boom came to an end in 1974, the social-democratic model, developed after WWII, found itself in crisis. That model required that workers' living standards rose each year, at the same time that technological developments led to rising social productivity, and a rising mass of profit. The solution, within a social-democratic framework, required a breakdown of existing national borders – which is what the EU brought about – and greater regulation, represented by the Bullock Report in Britain, the EU's Draft Fifth Company Law Directive etc.

But, within the labour movement of Europe, Stalinism still cast a heavy shadow. Across continental Europe large Eurocommunist parties were still driven by the national socialist idea of Socialism In One Country, represented by the various national roads to socialism, whose British version also formed the backdrop to the AES, pursued by the Bennite Left.

Instead of pursuing this greater economic planning and regulation, on a wider EU basis, therefore, the social-democratic forces divided on what appeared at the time to be left and right, but what actually turned out to be nationalist and internationalist. Workers ended up with the worst of both worlds. A divided social-democracy opened the door to conservative forces. The development of further regulation and economic management was put on hold at both national and international level, and conservatives instead framed the wider markets on free market principles. The nationalist left had been on the wrong side of history, and the internationalist right of social-democracy triumphed over it, whilst finding itself having to adopt the same conservative, free market ideas that now dominated.

Part of the strength of the Alt-Right is the weakness of the left that has remained attached to its own reactionary nationalist ideas. In the intervening period, the right has developed its own international links, many of which flow out of the Kremlin. But, the now more or less empty shells of Stalinist parties across Europe still linger on in zombie form, like the Communist Party of Britain, and its paper The Morning Star, as support acts for Putin, apparently oblivious to the fact that the USSR itself no longer exists.

So, on the one hand we have, in Britain, some years ago the BNP followed by UKIP, whilst the CPB established NO2EU, whose nationalistic, Little Englander programme was barely distinguishable from the former organisations. In the recent EU referendum the same forces put forward a programme of Lexit or Left exit, that was equally nationalistic, and which fortunately, virtually no one ever heard anything about.

Now, these same political forces appear to be behind the pressure on Labour to adopt the thoroughly reactionary and tactically stupid position of supporting Brexit. Similarly, in France, whilst Le Pen puts forward her nationalistic agenda, and proposals for France to leave the Euro, which would mean the end of the EU, the Stalinist Melanchon puts forward his own nationalistic programme for the presidential elections. By these means, not only is the Kremlin feeding the forces of the nationalist right, but via these Stalinist forces, and their periphery, it is also feeding this nationalist poison directly into the heart of the labour movement itself.

Socialists need to unite within and across borders to fight this nationalist cancer. In Britain, socialists should come together to build a Socialist Campaign for Europe. To that end I support the Option Six proposals set out by Paul Mason as the basis of discussion.  We need motions submitted to trades unions and Labour Party organisations opposing the triggering of Article 50, and preparing the ground for conference resolutions, in the Autumn, committing the party to opposing Brexit, and for the building of a Workers Europe.


George Carty said...

Isn't the big problem for the Labour party with respect to Brexit the fact that while a majority of Labour voters in 2015 voted Remain, that wasn't enough to win, and an overwhelming majority of working-class people who didn't vote Labour in 2015 (ie the people which Labour needs to attract in order to win) voted Leave?

This pie chart analysing the 2015 General Election and EU referendum results in Sunderland demonstrates the problem.

Boffy said...


The 65% of Labour voters who voted Remain, and the 57% of Labour voters even in places like Stoke or Sunderland who voted Remain, are, however you look at it, the starting point for Labour. That is not just the case in terms of practicalities, i.e. that they form the largest voting bloc. It is so because opposing Brexit is the principled position for Labour to take, and focussing on the progressive group supporting that position should form the starting point from which Labour builds a larger base.

But, I'm, not sure even that your proposition holds. In Stoke central for example, in 2015, the problem was also that 50% of the electorate could not be bothered to vote. The real problem for Labour is how to overcome the legacy of the conservative ideas that Labour promoted from the time of Kinnock onwards, and the apathy it engendered amongst large sections of the working-class.

The question is how to provide an alternative to all those old conservative ideas without simply presenting the equally old, bureaucratic, statist, nationalistic ideas as the only available option. In other words, its necessary to reject the ideas of blaming foreigners - whether in the form of the EU, immigrants, or imports - whilst not accepting the notions of the political centre that, therefore, we have to accept the existing EU warts and all, or worse, as the Blairites, and Cameroons would have had it, to accept the EU warts and all, but with reforms to remove or limit those very aspects of it, such as the right to free movement, which are beneficial for workers.

Labour should put forward a radical, internationalist programme, actively drawing in other EU socialists, as part of developing an EU workers charter, similar to the ideas I have set out previously, and that Paul Mason has outlined in his Option 6. We should make it clear that even fairly basic needs can now only be achieved on a European wide basis, and that our perspective for achieving them, is not some kind of passive reliance on the EU bureaucracy and existing regulations, but on building an ever more powerful workers solidarity across the EU, to transform society in a socialist direction.