- ZZ says:
- May 2, 2013 at 7:47 am (Edit)
- Is it safe to assume that the SWP, if it manages to win a majority to its political perspectives, will do away with those factions and their naughty literature?
[comment left on this article: https://derekthomas2010.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/mark-perrymans-kinnockite-witch-hunt-or-genuine-left-unity/]
Good question. The answer, in my ‘humble’ opinion is, no. I was a strong supporter of the SWP loyalists against Richard Seymour’s group. That said, I was never a yes man who hid differences with the CC. I disagree with Alex Callincos’s attitude to factions. I think he and most comrades on all sides are adopting an anti-dialectical approach to factions. I am in favor of one of two options: either democratic centralists functioning as a faction inside a broader workers’ party, as the Bolsheviks did inside the RSDLP; or Leninists operating as an independent democratic centralist party, but one that prevents a series of splits by itself tolerating factions (as was normal inside the bolsheviks), and not just in the run up to conference.
The state of the class struggle today means that it is not going to be good enough for the SWP to rally all the worker activist troops inside a big tent of its own making. The SWP leadership is not flavour of the month these days. It finds itself alienated from far too many sections of the workers’ movement. This is not all its fault, but some of it is.
If the SWP had not abandoned Chris Harman’s Open Letter approach to Militant, calling for the fusing of the cadres of both groups when the later moved beyond Kinnock’s party, the left-of-Labour organisation that exposes Labour’s left flank in the electoral arena today could be an unequivocally revolutionary party, like those that formed after WWI. That, alas, is no longer possible.
As Gramsci was fond of pointing out, and as all Marxists know, timing is crucial in politics. The extent of Labour’s shift rightwards since the Miners Strike means that people far to the right of Chris Harman in 1985 demand a left alternative to Labour. An accommodation needs to be reached with the best of these comrades, which is where Left Unity comes in.
If the SWP formed a bare majority inside Left Unity, with a mere few thousands of members, and barely enough votes to save deposits, that is nowhere near enough. In theory such an SWP faction could provoke a split in Left Unity. However, would that be in their interests? I doubt it. We need a workers government, and asap. Britain’s electoral system is best dealt with under present circumstances by revolutionaries and centrists uniting around the best candidates to pose a credible alternative to all the explicitly pro-capitalist parties, including the Ed Miliband wing of Labour, the SNP, Greens and UKIP. A pure revolutionary party is not on the agenda today, and the SWP must know that. And even when that changes, a ‘pure’ revolutionary party would still need to incorporate factions to stop splitting all over and over and over again.