Sunday, 23 June 2013

In to the Valley of Death.....

Right now it seems the left in this country, and indeed across the world seems to be getting its act together.Although much of what is happening is inchoate confused and sometimes contradictory there does seem to be a pattern emerging.
Capitalism is not quite in retreat,and its not exactly down on both knees but it is stumbling,and it does seem to be even more confused than the forces of the left.
I mean the left in the broadest sense,not exactly the full blooded tightly knit parties of Bolshevik revolutionaries,but rather a wider movement that in the main has seen through the weakness of social democracy and is stumbling towards a new socialist identity.

To be sure the events in Turkey,Brazil,Greece,France Denmark(maybe I've confused the events in Denmark with Borgen!) are all pointing in the same general direction.
There are stiring too in the Middle  East,although they are generally confused with religious sectarianism and in some cases gangsterism, and saddest of all there is the need to rebuild a socialist alternative in South Africa, where the ANC under Zuma has become a corrupt and self serving elite.
But generally things are moving.Of course we have to acknowledge that there are forces moving in the other direction too.That when capitalism is in real crisis it frequently turns to fascist ideology to strengthen its sinews and provide boots on the ground.Throughout Europe and the United States the evil forces of the far right are growing.In Greece,France,Russia,Scandinavia and even Germany fascist parties and -paramilitaries are starting to reappear.
In Britain many on the left thought we had seen off the BNP only to see them reappear once again,disguised as the EDL or in suits and sheepskin jackets as UKIP.

The labour Party in time of capitalist crisis is behaving with predictable timidity, but then the social democratic race has run its course.The party that carried so many of our hopes has become a hollowed out shell for careerists and opportunists Whilst there are pockets of folk who still think that there is a socialist vision lurking in the party that ditched Clause4   and was happy to encourage "the filthy rich" most have deserted to either give up or seek comfort in single issue politics or the pub.

This weekend however revealed that there is something exciting going on.The Peoples Assembly in London attracted several thousand people and inspired a great many.It must have been successful given the virtual press blackout it engendered.
How significant too that this weekend Miliband chose to inspire those comrades left in the party with the
promise to continue the coalition's austerity policies after the next election.
Hurrah for that inspirational leadership!
At the same time the huge growth in the Left Unity movement, inspired by Ken Loach's moving film 'Spirit of 45' that may be the Autumn lead to the creation of a broad based left party that will bring together more people than anything before.

If you add on top of that the growing ferment and anger in the Trade Union movement, and the recognition that the struggle against the austerity and cruelty of this government and the set-up it validates-then the signs are good.The creation by Unite of Community Branches that stretch out from industrial working members to the widest community, to folk engaged in battles against the bedroom tax,youth unemployment,deprivation, racism,discriminating in all its forms-then you have potential for a new dynamic.

So why do I sometimes feel a bit like Captain Nolan in Tony Richardson's film 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'.You remember the scene,when Cardigan led the light brigade down the wrong valley, and Nolan,realising the mistake tried to ride in front of Cardigan to tell him where the enemy was.cardigan ordered him back and before Nolan could remonstrate he was killed!
Now I don't feel that I will be shot by big Russian guns,or fall from my horse,but I have a sense that there are dangers,and they're not coming from the bloody enemy.
There are all the old sectarian moans and objections.Look at any local Facebook,for instance the Northampton Peoples Assembly and you will see old battles being resurrected again.You know what's coming when the word 'traitor' is bandied about, and worse still 'commie', in a casual and illiterate way.

there will always be differences on the left, and sometimes they are irreconcilable ,as happened in Spain during the Spanish Civil war, and as in Chile in 1973 when the debate between advance to consolidate against consolidate to advance got in the way of a united struggle against the fascists.But surely we have learnt something after decades.

this state is the enemy,and if we want a fair just and equitable society then we need to ignore the siren voices and move together-forward!  

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