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A view of the left in the UK… April 12, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This is great – part of an overview of different left groups from FIIMG (Fourth International In Manchester Group) mentioned in comments.

They very kindly include Spiked in that category of ‘left’ – not sure I would, but even with my appetite for British further left arcana I hadn’t realised the following:

The RCT/RCP sent comrades onto graphic design courses, devoted itself to media interventions ready for its reboot as Living Marxism, and eventually disconnected itself from the rest of the left, notoriously siding with the Union of Democratic Mineworkers during the 1984-1985 miners strike, and bit by bit took up a specialist niche position as contrarian anti-left commentators.

They supported the UDM? Really? Sheesh. I’ve criticisms of aspects of the NUM strategy but the UDM … a step too far.

But I think this following is a fine analysis of a dynamic that goes wider than Spiked:

This drift to the right has enabled and been fuelled by a concern with social diagnoses from outside the Marxist tradition – set reading at the still-functioning internal organisation meetings are typically classical sociological texts set by Frank – and this has also made conversation with ‘policy-makers’ easier. To engage in sociological babble about the ‘elite’ chimes better with policy wonks than old talk about social class. Hapless sellers of Living Marxism during the late 1990s were already finding it difficult to justify their presence outside left events, claiming that they wanted nothing more than to promote ‘debate’, and now this ‘debate’ apparatus is in full bloom, ranging from the Battle of Ideas to the ‘Debating Matters’ events in schools and prisons. For some obsessive critics they are everywhere, with their tentacles through the media, and the love this exaggerated importance given to them, feed off it.
The rationale for the turn to ‘debate’ is precisely to side-step traditional ‘politics’, especially left politics, and to draw libertarian politicians and intellectuals ranging from Nigel Farage to Roger Scruton away from politics as such into ‘debate’, to enable a new generation of gifted leaders to emerge who will lead us into Tomorrowland. Spiked has spawned a new generation of younger activists who are well-suited to the new ideological climate, sons and daughters of old LMers are leading campaigns to trigger Brexit Article 50, for example.

I’ve italicised that key point – that’s the short cut mode of left and leftish and not left at all politics.

The piece on the SWP looks at Falling Down – a very very interesting film for its time and one which foreshadowed many of the concerns and tropes and contradictions of the contemporary period.

And the one on the LP neatly points up the contradictions in the new found support for that party given how relatively small its shift to the left. Indeed its critical but sympathetic appraisal of Corbyn and his support is fascinating and perhaps timely.

Anyhow, like it or not – an interesting perspective.

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