Monday, 23 October 2006

Why The British Left Sucks in 2006: Episode 9 - Loose Ends

To round off the series, a look at the ones we missed.

Socialist Party of England and Wales: Used to be Militant. Used to be big. They ran Liverpool back in the day - see episode 8, i forget which one. Anyway, since they left it's all gone a bit pear shaped. There was a nasty period between 1995 and 2001 where basically bits were dropping off all over the shop. To my knowledge, none of the resultant groupings made much impact, and the group has somewhat stabilised, mostly good people and a good working class base but basically reformist.

Socialist Party of Great Britain: a bizarre entity, which is one of the oldest socialist groups in the world. Extremely sectarian, they have a habit of disassociating themselves from every conceivable point of contact with actual working class struggles or other workers' parties. Mostly harmless. A great piece of left apocrypha runs thus: at some point in the 70s or something, the SPGB looked at their membership returns and were appalled. They decided that there could not possible be that many good socialists in Britain,and promptly expelled a load of people.

Alliance for Workers Liberty: nee Socialist Organiser, nee International-Communist League........basically, Sean Matgamna and posse. They used to be ortho-trots, as far as i can tell, but have recently become shachtmanites. Which is to say, a little bit "wobbly" on the question of international affairs. They have a rather dim habit of being a bit too easy on Israel, and a bit too harsh on Islam, and one would not be surprised to see a number of AWL comrades 'do a hitchens'. In fact, one of the founders of the neo-con "left" group behind the Euston Manifesto, Alan Johnson, made that trek himself (and reckons it was perfectly logical, as you would).

World Revolution: Ultralefts. You gotta love them. These guys number probably in the low teens, and spend most of their days accusing other parties of being parasites on the workers movement. Which is very magnanimous of them, all round.

Class War, SolFed, AF: the three main anarchist organisations. Sometimes it's difficult to slide a cigarette paper between them, although they'd no doubt disagree. Class War, for their part, appeal mainly to teh punx with their Crassish artwork and mordant humour. Solfed are more explicitly syndicalist (n00b note: trades-union obsessive). And AFed are just...AFed. All are largely of the decent school of anarchism, based on a critique of class society and all that jazz, and refreshingly free of Crassish lifestylism and squat-obsessions (although CW threaten to renege on that score occasionally). As a lapsed council communist,I have my criticisms of anarchism, another time perhaps - but i nevertheless hope to see you all at Trafalgar Square on a certain saturday.

And with that, the series ends. I hope it was as fun for you to read as it is for me to not have to write anymore.

Comradely greetings, tls