Wednesday, February 28, 2007

. . . Not This Bloke Either

Without wishing to incur the wrath of some of my more hardcore comrades in the SPGB - muchos respectos to the Glas-Vegas Branch comrades - politics differences aside, John McDonnell seems like a decent sort, and I've always been impressed by the fact that he is one of the few Labour Lefties who never felt the need to froth at the mouth when stating his political viewpoint. However, for all that, I have to agree with the following article that will be appearing in the March issue of the Socialist Standard:

If John were Prime Minister

And it's the SPGB who are dismissed as the impossible dreamers?

Now, if I could work John Prescott and Jon Cruddas into this post, I could entitle the post, 'The Three Johns' . . .


Reidski said...

Darren, lay off. Like me, you're not in that party so, like me, keep out of their fight. If I can sound a bit fucking precious here, I try not to tell people in other countries how their country should be run. Likewise, I don't get involved when organisations decide who is or isn't going to lead them or what their policies should be.
Biggest weakness of the left - telling everyone what they should or shouldn't do or think!
Ok, not a very well thought out comment here, but I hope you get my gist!

Imposs1904 said...


I get your gist and you can pogue mahone. ;-)

No offence, 'cos you know I love you to bits. ;-)

John said...

There's being outside the tent and pissing in. Inside the tent and pissing out. And then there's standing in the corner, on your own, and pissing all over your own shoes.

Socialism in the UK is being destroyed. The entire mainstream political discourse has moved over the past 30 years to the centre-right. Of all of the candidates, McDonnell is the only one that will actively defend the gradualist gains that remain.

Sure, he ain't no revolutionary. And sure, he ain't gonna bring down the capitalist mega-machine. But he's trying to engage with the Labour movement, the party, young people, etc. No other Labour candidate for the leadership or deputy leadership is doing anything similar.

So, the SPGB should stop pissing on their own shoes and come and help piss on New Labour.

Reidski said...

socialism in Britain (which is a bad enough label, never mind fucking "UK")hasn't even begun to be tried.

But, anyway, the point of my revisit to the one was just to say: na na na na na na, Darren got criticised, na na na na na na!!! Do I sound childish?

And you do, of course, know that I was being a right hypocritical wanker with my comment as I never tire of telling people what they should think ;-)

Imposs1904 said...

Boba, I love your analogy . . . I really do.

The SPGB in the corner "Pissing on it's
? - And I bet that the SPGB shoes are hush puppies. It's a really funny image ;-)

However, it doesn't get away from the fact that the Labour Party has been shitting on the working class since its very inception, and the left in the Labour Party can rewrite history in their own minds all they like that the old days were different but the fact remains that the Labour Party that John McDonnell originally joined and the (new) Labour party of today is the same beast: a reformist organisation that has always sought to administer capitalism rather than replace it.

At every decisive juncture in its history, it has again and again chosen nation over class politics.

From reading McDonnell's website, and following the debates around his candidature in both the left press and the left blogs, the impression remains that McDonnell is putting forming a reform programme, harking both back (and forward) to an alternative society that is, at best, little more than a sanitised form of capitalism.

The campaign that he is conducting - apart from drawing in the 'usual suspects' - is, in its own fashion, the same sort of top down politics of every common or garden capitalist politician. Repeating the mistakes of such movements as Bevanism and Bennism in the Labour Left's past, the problem to be solved is simply a matter of the left being in a position of leadership in both the Labour Party and the Unions (and throw in the 'Yoof' for good measure).

Sure, perhaps a case can be made that you want more people participating in politics but the matter of the 'emancipation of the working class being the work of the working class itself'? It's never been on the agenda for the Labour Party, whether we're talking about the left or the right, and never will. It wasn't the reason the Labour Party was set up in the first place.

In its place is the routinist round of possibly gaining control of the local trades councils, electing a left shop steward, increasing the membership of the Campaign Group in the Parliamentary Labour Party etc etc but it can't mask the fact that the Labour Left in its own fashion is as separate from the 'working class' as those of us outside the Labour Party.

Dave Osler knows that himself when he writes on his blog that to just be able to gather a few hundred socialists in the Labour Party around the McDonnell leadership bid is reason enough to rejoin the Labour Party at this point. Such candour reveals the reality of the left in the Labour Party.

So I'll have to respectfully decline your offer of getting involved in the McDonnell campaign. On the matter of the Labour Left, there's something to be said for standing in the corner surveying the political scene.

Yep, occasionally the piss will dribble on our hush puppies but more often than not it will hit its intended target of the latest political saviour from the left promising to lead the rest of us to socialism, but in fact offering no more than half-baked reformism. ;-)