I have been trying to contribute to the Independent Socialist Network’s comment section several times today but it is begining to look like they are not looking for comments. I find that very disappointing.
Before posting the critical comments that I have tried to leave on their blog (insofar as I can remember my exact words), I want to spell out why I think it is important to try to convince this group. If I thought they added nothing I would not care what they argued. It is only because I think many of them make a very valuable contribution that I take the trouble to argue my case.
Firstly, I am pleased they have unanimously agreed to sign up to the Left Unity project, and I am pleased that the SWP have today agreed to do likewise. I can only hope the SP will join them in this. TUSC needs to get involved in this. No ifs, no buts.
Secondly, I am equally pleased that the ISN are not trading in TUSC for Left Unity but accept the strengths of the latter groups, meaning they need to maintain dual membership for as long as possible. I hope the SWP and SP will do that too.
Having said all this, it is clear to me that some members of the ISN are not wanting to behave constructively towards either the SWP or SP. It is known that I think both groups have gotten a lot wrong vis-a-vis the TUSC project and there is a pressing need to adopt a very different electoral strategy in order to tap into a massive pool of alienation from all those parties committed to the agenda of austerity to restore the competitiveness of British capitalism, and that includes Ed Miliband’s Labour Party as well as Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party, as well as the Greens too, to a large extent.
Lack of a strategic realignment has meant other forces excluded from TUSC are starting to get their act together; they now pose a very serious danger of challenging TUSC’s right to be the one and only left-of-Labour franchise.
Arthur Scargill and George Galloway let slip their right to unite all those pro-Clause Four socialists betrayed by Tony Blair. There is now a serious danger of TUSC doing the same. The way to stop this happening is to take a cool, hard objective look at the forces the left has to deploy, the electoral system’s flexibility and lack thereof, and the key role elections can play in strengthening the extra-parliamentary struggle, the role electoral successes short of winning seats have in forcing the broadcasters to allow socialists into the television studios.
TUSC has to base its electoral strategy on drawing masses of radical protest voters into our orbit, simultaneously stopping it leaking to competitor organisations that will use such successes to justify the permanent exclusion of the SWP and SP, forcing both to stand against the new party, to everyone’s disadvantage, everyone who is not a supporter of the capitalist state, that is.
The last comment left on the ISN blog comes from someone calling himself ‘redmark’. His arguments have been used by others on that blog. They are very popular arguments within large sections of the left who are attracted to Left Unity and to the Labour Party. We can refer to such people as the Kinnock Tendency. They are, or threaten to become witch hunters of the SWP, SP and other Trotskyists. These individuals are extremely dangerous from the point of view of Left Unity. And the ISN should not be handing their blog over to such people, then denying their critics a right to challenge these reactionary ideas.
Any attempt of creating a new left party must learn from the failures of other such initatives. The SWP, SP and other sects will see this as a potential recruiting ground. If parties join they should submit a program that leads to their eventual termination and complete inclusion into the new party.