Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Left of Labour electoral prospects and strategies in Britain

It seems that elements around the RMT, Communist and Socialist Parties that put together the last-minute NO2EU alliance for the recent Euro elections are now looking at putting together a coalition for the next general election in Britain.

Aside from concerns about the democratic credentials and principles of some of those involved in this project (in light of the way that NO2EU was put together over the heads of much of the RMT rank-and-file), I would say that a much broader discussion is needed on left electoralism. Going once "more unto the breach" with another coalition after the varied degrees of failure of the Socialist Alliance and Respect and split of the SSP without confronting the reasons for the failure of these projects would seem a self defeating exercise for those involved. The current and likely political situation should also be honestly looked at, along with the lack of time for putting together anything beyond local agreements not to have inter-left contests on the electoral field.

As far as I can see at this time, with the possible exception of the Greens and Scots and Welsh Nats (and whilst there are socialist elements/currents in these parties the leaderships are often more social democratic/left liberal) the Left in Britain are likely, in most cases, to go down and go down hard at the next general election, tactical and electoral agreements or not. (Tactical agreements might soften the blow). This is an inevitable result of the British Left's attachment to the Labour Party as internal or external tendencies through repeated deference to the shibboleth of the "organic" Trade Union link.

Once this likelihood is faced then a realistic appraisal of what can be salvaged in the short term and what the longer term strategic tasks should be can be addressed. I think that effort should be put into getting some electable tribunes elected - Salma, Caroline, some of the left Scots and Welsh Civic Nationalists and the handful of electable Labour Lefts behind McDonnell's "change candidates" idea. Such a grouping of MPS should present themselves as a left opposition in Parliament, separate and distinct from the rump Labour Party (which is likely, after defeat, to fall into civil war between different rightist factions). But beyond that the emphasis should be on the work that the Convention of the Left sensibly concluded was necessary - basic grassroots bread and butter coalition working. (Which will become even more vital in the face of the already telegraphed Tory onslaught on the British working class) Much of the left nodded in agreement to this and then went away and continued with the same old sterile sect politics, student recruitment and foreign policy fetishisation.....there is still time.

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At 9:57 am, Blogger Charlie Marks said...

The hope would be to shift Labour's policies at the same time... as with regards Die Linke's effect on the Social Democrats in Germany.


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