Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:18:08 AM EST
Today [Yesterday] melo posted one of several responses to an article by Owen Jones in the Independent; -
British politics urgently needs a new force - a movement on the Left to counter capitalism's crisis
But the truth is that Britain urgently needs a movement uniting all those desperate for a coherent alternative to the tragedy of austerity, inflicted on this country without any proper mandate. That doesn't mean yet another Leninist sect, lacking any semblance of internal democracy, obsessed with replicating a revolution that took place in a semi-feudal country nearly a century ago.
front-paged by afew
Having read the article and the responses, I felt that they very compellingly addressed the points, the responses were good and had strong critiques. They also, except for the occasional passing reference, completely missed the point
Political power is not about sitting in pubs or committees alongside like minded individuals, in Clapton Vale or wherever. It's not about canvassing, it's not about selling poxy badly written propaganda sheets peddling glib superficiality to morons. That is just process. Political power is about electing representatives who will fight for your causes and electing enough of them so that they can form a government.
Or, as Markos would say "More and better Democrats". And, as he found out, more democrats is the easy part. It's the better that's the hassle.
Oh, don't worry, disappointment has always been the lot of the British Labour party; "they'll always betray you" was something I'd hear frequently back when I was a member, although such people were always worryingly vague about what the betrayal actually was.
No, it doesn't matter if you form a new left pressure group, there's no point. When Blair took control of the Labour party in 1994, he immediately sought control of the messaging system and the system of selecting MPs. This was supposedly to end the faction fighting which had left the party on its knees during the 80s. But, while it had the pleasing result of having the party singing from the same hymn sheet, the more corrosive effect of MP selection only became apparent later.
Theoretically, the selection of MPs is in the control of the local constituency Labour party. In reality, in winnable seats, it's more in the gift of powerful factions. And from 94, the biggest faction was Blair's. So much so that, when the party won their landslide in 97, huge numbers of Blairite placemen and women found themselves in Parliament. Ignorant of the system and totally at the mercy of the whips.
These people had not been chosen for their wit nor their political originality. Or even for their political interest. They were chosen because they'd worked as interns for the party. What that meant was that, following private eduction, a satisfying university, their parents were rich enough to be able to support them for a decade or so while they climbed the greasy pole. They came from privileged backgrounds and had never known want, didn't understand unemployment, couldn't imagine poor housing or health rationing. They were pliable, vaguely conservative, nice and conveniently dim. None of these people have ever risen to positions of consequence.
Even Tony recognised the problem and there followed the rather disgusting spectacle of any byelection (resulting from an MP's resignation or death) being preceded by some member of Tony's metropolitan clique suddenly discovering their proletarian roots before being parachuted into some obscure northern constituency. They would parade around for a couple of weeks attempting rough humour with people whose accents they couldn't even understand until, the minute the election was over, they would escape back to London, never to be seen again by the mugs who'd been corralled into voting for them. Again, these people had never known want and had no idea of the genuine needs of those they allegedly represented.
At some point, and some of us suspect it was very early on, the Labour party went from being a party representing the working classes to, in Orwell's words, "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power."
And that's still the Labour party of today. It doesn't matter how hard you work for them, and god knows there are no alternatives available, the people who get elected are clueless time serving conservative sheep without a single liberal leftish progressive between the lot of them.
We are 3 years into the demonstration to the point of absurdity of the futility of austerity, and the Shadow Chancellor still agrees with it !!!! At no point has he ever suggested that are real alternatives to current policy. His predecessor , the last chancellor, also completely agrees with austerity. There are no fringe groups of MPs pushing for new ideas, nobody advancing alternative analyses. There is just dumb supine acceptance of the status quo. The poor are always with us and neoconservatism is the only game in town.
Yes, Owen, we love your essays, but don't effing kid me that your new left group isn't another poser's paradise for the ineffectual and self-important. We desperately need MPs who aren't from the 1%, and there's no sign of us getting any.