Not Waving, RA Vol 4, Issue 3, Oct/Nov '99

SWP's Continued Orientation to the Labour Party

IN FEBRUARY, I wrote in this column about the SWP's Action Programme, as being the latest in a tradition of finding something for their members to campaign around. Since then, the emphasis on the Action Programme has faded, and replaced by another 'initiative', this time a lobby of the Labour Party conference. Such activity is used to create the impression that there is some kind of movement growing against Blair in an organised way, but even the SWP's own publications show this is not the case.

"The Labour Party's annual conference takes place this month against a growing clamour of opposition to the policies of New Labour, which in all too many aspects mirror those of the Tory government" sighs central Committee member Lindsey German "but there are signs of resistance across the country. Housing workers from London's Tower Hamlets have struck for several weeks over the summer against the Blairite council's plans to replace local housing offices with a call centre. Council tenants are fighting privatisation of their homes. Pensioners have organised a national demonstration this month for decent pensions."

Hardly 'storming the winter palace' is it? The SWP have been having these lobbies for years now and, they're nothing except a day out for their members.
Under the slogans, "Let's tell New Labour: Restore the link - decent pensions; Welfare not Warfare; 35 hour week - No loss of pay; £5 an hour - tax the rich; End privatisation and PFI/PPP; Full union rights - repeal the anti-union laws; Scrap the Asylum and Immigration Act.", the SWP, despite developments, continues to orientate to Labour. Reinforced by having Labour has beens like Tony Benn and Liz Davies speaking at the rally. If they dislike Tony Blair so much, why are they still in the same party as him?

LRCI Website

It's not just the SWP who have a monopoly in ignoring reality, while talking nonsense, old favourites Workers Power have long been international leaders in this field. In December I wrote about the exciting new developments in their paper. An excitement based solely on the change of colour on their masthead: "We think the [new] look now reflects the fact that Workers Power is the only really revolutionary paper in Britain." This step forward for revolutionary newspaper design was so exciting that they decided to redesign and relaunch their website as well. The main feature on the site was a discussion page.

Predictably, the contributions were generally so uncomplimentary it led to all messages being "erased" and the site closed down. "How can the LRCI lead the international revolution if it is so intolerant and incapable of debating on its own internet space?" one asked afterward.

How indeed? Well, under the heading 'Ten years of the LRCI', Dave Stockton explains. "The LRCI has passed the test of the end of the century's historic turning point. It has a programme adapted to the new period of wars and revolutions that lies ahead. We have advanced and developed our programme and theory, expanded our range of publications... We accumulated a cadre increasingly steeled in internationalism as a day to day practice. The ten years work of the LRCI represents a basis for real advance, an achievement of which every LRCI member can be proud." Which is nice.

So confident are they of their politics, they have been forced to censor any disagreement in public. In reality, like their parent body, the SWP, they have not and never will achieve anything. The era of the sect is well and truly over.

Colin O'Brien

Reproduced from RA Vol 4, Issue 3, Oct/Nov '99