Referring in the nomination of their respective candidates for the post of London mayor, the
editorial of 29 February 2000 correctly observed that
“the process of selecting both the Labour and Conservative candidates was a farce.”
In Labour’s case, this process, accompanied as it was by the skulduggery and back stabbing which is characteristic of bourgeois parties the world over, was even more of a shambles. There was not even a pretence on the part of the leadership to abide by the most basic norms of democratic practice. The electoral college was designed with only one thing in mind, namely, to ensure the success of former Health Secretary, Frank Dobson – Tony Blair’s favoured candidate. To put it another way, it was aimed at keeping Ken Livingstone out. Under this electoral college, the votes of each London MP and MEP carried the same weight as those of 1,000 ordinary members of the Labour Party. Some members were disqualified from voting on a technicality. South London Co-op and the leadership of the AEU (the engineering union) voted without consulting their members. In other words, Labour’s selection process was a blatant carve-up and a gross violation of the rights of its membership by the very leadership which had come to prominence by promising to restore power to individual party members. In the end Frank Dobson still only won by a whisker.
Dobson’s wafer-thin victory and Livingstone’s defeat are causing ructions in the Labour Party, whose leadership finds itself in disarray and membership disgruntled and demoralised. At the moment of writing we still do not know if Ken Livingstone will back Dobson or fight as an independent. In the latter case he is sure to invite immediate expulsion from the Labour Party. One thing is certain, however, that the outcome of the selection process for the mayoral contest in London has caused considerable damage to the Labour Party.
Anyone who has the least knowledge of the history of the Labour Party, its ideology and century-long practice in faithful service of British imperialism, and who holds dear the interests of the proletariat, is bound to welcome this result, for the disintegration of the Labour Party is a necessary pre-requisite for the development of a truly proletarian revolutionary party capable of leading the British working class in the latter’s historic mission to win the battle for democracy by becoming the ruling class.
Instead of grasping with great alacrity the opportunity offered by Labour’s disarray following upon the mayoral selection fiasco, there are those who call themselves socialists, even revolutionary socialists, who have either become cheer leaders for that imperialist warmonger and opportunist
, Mr Ken Livingstone, or assumed the mantle of advisers to the disenchanted and discontented members of the Labour Party urging them to stay in and fight. Thus the so-called New Communist Party (NCP), instead of emphasising the incurably reactionary nature and incorrigibly bureaucratic practice of the Labour Party, tells Labour’s membership not to walk out and thus
“fulfil the dreams of the right wing”,
“we need to take the fight to Blair.”
Forgetting that Labour has spent the entire 100 years of its existence in faithful and humble servitude the British imperialism, the disgraceful NCP says:
“The 100th anniversary of the Labour Party has coincided with a shameful episode
[the nomination of candidates for London Mayor]
in Labour history.”
editorial of 25 February 2000, appropriately entitled ‘Shameful!’ – shameful by name and shameful by nature, we might add).
Have the old mummies of the NCP forgotten all the other, really shameful, episodes in Labour’s long history? Have they forgotten Labour’s support for every single war, including the war against Iraq and Yugoslavia, waged by British imperialism? Have they forgotten Labour’s betrayal of the British working class at every step, including the betrayal of the 1926 General Strike and the historic NUM strike of 1984-1985? Have they forgotten Labour’s racism? Have they …. But enough! If the recent mayoral episode were the only shameful incident to mar Labour’s history, it would not have been sufficient to cast a shadow over its 100th anniversary celebrations. Ignoring all historic evidence, however, and flouting every socialist principle, making an irrevocable break with reality, and taking final leave of their senses, the NCP gentry conclude their editorial with the following words – truly shameful for a socialist to utter:
“The Labour Party is not the property of Blair – it is the creation of the working class AND IT IS THERE TO SERVE THE INTERESTS OF OUR CLASS”! (Emphasis added).
Such breathtaking apostasy, utter bankruptcy, such an attempt to reconcile the proletariat with the bourgeois Labour Party and to preserve the unity of the British proletariat with that Party and thus uphold its prestige, is hard to believe.
Yet in this shameful activity, the NCP are not alone. Their cousins, the CPB, hold similar views. Andrew Murray, who wrote some excellent articles during the recent imperialist war of aggression against Yugoslavia, has returned to the gutter of lib-lab politics. Writing in the
of 25 February, and terrified of a split in the Labour Party, he advises against Livingstone standing as an independent in the forthcoming mayoral contest in London, for even his victory as an independent
“would leave the labour movement with a king-sized political hangover the morning after. It could lead to a split without a strategy and the isolation of many active socialists from the trade-union movement.”
Sowing illusions in the Labour Party, just as do his cousins in the NCP, he goes on to say:
“If the Labour Party is TO REMAIN AN INSTRUMENT FOR WORKING-CLASS ADVANCE the trade unions must be far more decisive and purposeful in seeking to take the party back from the new Labour interlopers.” (Emphasis added).
The clear implication is that Labour has all along been an instrument of working class advance, that the present Labour leadership are no more than ‘interlopers’ and a minor blip, that all that is needed for Labour to REMAIN an instrument of working class advance is for the unions (the same unions which are busy betraying even the industrial struggles of the working class, from the Liverpool dockers to the Hillingdon and Skychef strikers) to take the party back into their hands!
Andrew Murray concludes his unhappy, not to say disgraceful, piece in defence of social democratic betrayal of the working class with the desperate SOS:
“If this is not tackled soon, the moment may pass for good. Now is the time for a more determined fight to reverse the hijacking of the Labour Party.
If battle is not joined, fragmentation can only increase as the disillusioned move off in support of one independent initiative or another.
“The votes for Livingstone need to be turned into a campaign for thorough-going change.
“‘Say and fight’ is still, just, a plausible slogan and strategy. Simply ‘stay’ is not.”
It is already too late, Cde Murray to stop the fragmentation of the stinking corpse called the Labour Party. Most of its honest members left to form the Socialist Labour Party which is, with each passing day, becoming a pole of attraction for all those who really desire the advance of the working class. You may keep a diplomatic silence about it, pretending not to have heard of it, but it does exist and is doing well. If you continue in your obstinate and foolish line, you will be rudely reminded of it as the remaining members of your party, disgusted to the point of nausea with the attempt of the CPB leadership to reconcile them to the bourgeois Labour Party, leave it to join hands with the SLP.
If the revisionist renegades of the NCP and CPB take the position of sowing illusions about the Labour Party as an instrument of working class advance, the various counter-revolutionary Trotskyite outfits, especially the SWP, go even further. London Socialist Alliance, a collection of counter-revolutionary riff raff, held a meeting in Camden to launch this campaign for the Greater London Assembly. It is, incidentally, in the field to oppose the SLP and not Labour or Tories as the LSA pretend. At this meeting, which was more in the nature of a rally in support of Livingstone, Paul Foot, one of the SWP’s stars, had this to say:
“I hope Ken Livingstone stands as a socialist and a trade unionist because people voted for him BECAUSE HE WAS A SOCIALIST, NOT DESPITE IT.”
There you have it. The SWP’s support for Livingstone is hardly surprising, for they have always supported counter-revolutionary social democracy. As well they might, for Trotskyism too is only a variant of social democracy, as has been proved over a period of nearly 100 years. But we need to remind innocent and gullible people, with little knowledge of history in general and the history of the international proletariat in particular, who are duped, even if temporarily, by SWP’s professions of socialism and its slanderous campaigns against the socialist states and socialism. Here are these ‘r-r-revolutionaries’ supporting Livingstone, who told the
last year that
“if the City went it to decline, it would mean that London would be doomed for a century of more.”
A few weeks following his above remarks, made during an interview given to the
, Livingstone went on enthusiastically to support the imperialist carnage in Yugoslavia. His actions and statements forced Andrew Murray of the CPB correctly to characterise him as a stock-exchange and a B-52 socialist. It is precisely this warmongering B-52 stock-exchange socialist whose campaign the shameless ‘socialists’ of the SWP have been running for nearly 2 years. During the Yugoslav war, embarrassment forced them to put the campaign on the back burner. But no sooner did the bombing stop than the SWP stood out in their lurid counter-revolutionary nakedness to campaign openly again for this opportunist, who has the totally undeserved appellation ‘Red Ken’.
In fact Livingstone is bourgeois to boot and a defender of the interests of British finance capital symbolised by the City. The Trotskyite and revisionist dupes may not understand, but the City gents, being the calculating and hard-headed business people that they are, perfectly understand it. This alone explains why Livingstone is managing to draw support from the Trots and the Tories alike and has been reincarnated as ‘the nation in one person’ – with all that this implies. The
came far closer to reality than the SWP Trots (whose natural habitat, like that of the petty-bourgeoisie, is a permanent state of suspension between heaven and earth) when in its Editorial of 29 February it observed:
Polls suggest that even among business executives Mr Livingstone’s support greatly exceeds Mr Dobson’s”.
That says it all.
On no account must we support either the official Labour candidate or Livingstone if he stands. The task of genuine socialists, of those who truly desire to promote the cause of the emancipation of the proletariat, is to fight the bourgeois Labour Party, which represents the interests not of the masses of the proletariat but of imperialism and of privileged sections of the working class – the labour aristocracy. It is the task of the revolutionary to
“explain to the masses the inevitability and necessity of breaking with opportunism, to educate them for revolution by a merciless struggle against opportunism”
and to unmask
“the hideousness of National-Liberal-Labour politics and not to cover them up.”
Imperialism and the Split in Socialism).
This is the only Marxist-Leninist line to be followed in the British, as well as the world, proletarian movement.
The only party taking part in these elections which deserves the support of the working class is the SLP.
calls upon its readers and supporters to vote and work for the Socialist Labour Party during the London election.