Saturday, 17 May 2014

Is the drift tothe right inevitable?

For those of us on the left times are looking bleak at the moment.The election in India of the avowedly right wing BJP seems one more desperate victory for the forces of reaction.It is a party that grew out of a far right militant bunch that admired Hitler and has a history of violent racist attacks on minority communities.
They are simply not nice people.
Yet part of the problem is that the Congress Party played into their hands, the once leftist party of the struggle for Indian independence has become mired in nepotism and corruption.
And you don't have to look fae elsewhere to see the same traits emerging in political parties of the centre/centre left all over the world.

France, Germany,Italy,Spain,Ireland,Greece most of former Eastern Europe and you see the dame pattern emerging.
Left Parties often with proud radical traditions and history have become corrupt empty vessels that bear little resemblance to the movement that they grew from.
Even the once might ANC in South Africa is now led by people most socialists would cross the street to avoid.
How has it come to this?
Well I suppose the template in many ways is the Labour Party here.A party founded with the name 'labour' in its title.That should be the clue-a party for the people who labour by hand and by brain, a party created by working people's organisations to give them a voice in the democratic process.
A party that was different from all else that went before.
On the spectrum of socialist/social democratic parties in Europe the Labour party was always on the social democratic,gradualist wing,and liked the notion that it represented the respectable working class.From its foundations it preferred the section of the class that wore suits on a Sunday and were ideally Methodists with a trade.
However those pesky unskilled noisy workers kept joining  and brought with them uncouth agitational habits like striking and demonstrating and causing class based mayhem.
As well as the rowdy street agitators the Labour Party also attracted a section of the intelligentsia who brought ideas,frequently more in keeping with the traditions of Marx than those of John Wesley.
However from whatever tradition they came they brought an idealism and a vision of the radical possibility of change.Not simply a little bit of liberal tinkering here and there but wholesale social engineering that changed the whole alance of the relationship between capital and labour.

Not for our forefathers the crumbs from the bosses table-they wanted the whole bloody bakery!
What was true in this country was true everywhere, the ideology of socialism was one that required the necessity of change with as little compromise as possible.

Gradually those principles were eroded away,but even as late at the mid 90's there seemed some possibility that change on a massive scale was just possible.Then came Thatcherism,the Chicago School.Monetarism and the collapse of the deformed workers. states throughout Europe.
None of this was really a surprise, as they were all pursuing the goal of the free market.
And to put it simply,once to accept the economics of the free market, then the ideas and the ideology follow s swiftly.
That means the values that sustained the socialist vision fly out of the winbdow, ideology is simply another commodity that you buy and sell, that you pick and choose according to taste.
Perhaps the defining moment in this country was when the cynical popinjay Peter Mandelson declared that he was 'relaxed about the filthy rich' 
And so the habit of cutting corners,buying power and influence,and endemic corruption became the leitmotif of much that passes for social democracy today.
And that then lets the far right in, it allows them to posture about 'the political class' and how different they are to 'the mainstream'.Make no mistake the appeal of the sanctimonious pigs bladders like Farage and his ilk are difficult to fight because so many passes have been sold by the 'modernisers'.

Of course all the evidence show that they are just as corrupt and venal, just think of Berlusconi and he stands for all that is evil and unwholesome in the body politic.But then remember that he got his first start in Milan by cosying up to Craxi,the leader of the Socialist Party of Italy.

"You don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"  
Well right now the left internatonally needs to see which way the wind is blowing and start thinking about how we reform, and no, we won't take advice from the SWP and neither will we borrow Gordon Brown's fucking moral compass!      

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