Tuesday 24 May 2022

The Socialist Party/Galloway Love-In

Back in the day, and we're talking back in the day, Militant (as was) looked upon its far left brethren with disdain for all sorts of reasons. One of them was the propensity of other Trotskyist outfits to split all over the place. Taken as evidence of their petit bourgeois composition and orientation, the Revolutionary Socialist League (Militant's "undercover" name) was sturdy and proletarian and didn't do that sort of thing. But then it did and split in 1991, expelling its founder and guru, Ted Grant and his loyalists. In 1997, a small group decamped and set up the short-lived Socialist Democracy Group. Between 1999 and 2001, a group of key cadres from Liverpool were expelled en bloc and were followed out by virtually the entire Scottish organisation. The Socialist Party, as it came to be, helped form the Socialist Alliance, before splitting away from that. In 2009 it formed No2EU with the RMT to contest the European Union elections, which became the basis of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Its arch rivals the Socialist Workers Party joined in, before splitting away in 2017. And then in 2019, the SP proper suffered its most damaging split yet in which the vast bulk of its international organisation, including the electorally successful Irish section and important long-standing cadres in England and Wales were expelled as more or less the final act of the retiring general secretary, Peter Taaffe. Just like the right wing Labour apparatchiks he spent years railing against, Taaffe elected to set fire to his entire organisation rather than face criticism and accountability for the mistakes made on his watch.

And here we are again in 2022, just three years after the dust had settled with another split. Except this time TUSC has elected to split from the People's Alliance of the Left, a new grouping that was set up in conjunction with the new, so-called pop-up parties that emerged from the debris of Corbynism (the Northern Independence Party and the Breakthrough Party), as well as what was left of Left Unity, the small non-Trotskyoid regroupment project that pre-dated the Labour left's resurgence. And why has this split taken place? Here's the statement from LU's Facebook page:
Statement on the Change of Relationship Between the People's Alliance of the Left (PAL) and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

In February 2022 the majority of member parties of PAL (all except TUSC) decided that they could have no formal association with George Galloway's Workers' Party.

This was because of a number of statements by Galloway and the WP on a wide range of social issues (including, but not limited to, women's rights, trans rights and immigration) which demonstrated politics that are irreconcilable with the policy of those parties or the founding principles of PAL. In addition Galloway and leading WP members had made public statements denigrating a Breakthrough member for being non-binary.

Despite this, and in full knowledge of this decision, the all-Britain TUSC Steering Committee has accepted the request by George Galloway's Workers' Party for formal observer status within TUSC and agreed to attempt to avoid electoral clashes where possible. This creates a formal association between TUSC and the WP which TUSC is aware the majority of the other parties within PAL have decided is incompatible with PAL membership.

As a consequence, the remaining PAL member parties regretfully consider that TUSC has, by its formal association with the WP, removed itself from membership of PAL at national level.

We recognise that TUSC is a coalition of different organisations and individual socialists and trade unionis who in their great majority do not share the politics of George Galloway and the WP, although they are prepared to critically collaborate with it as they (TUSC) consider it to be an organisation with origins in the labour and trade union movement. It will remain open to local PAL party members and supporters to cooperate with those socialists at a local level (provided they are not WP members). However, tere can no longer by any national alliance between PAL and TUSC for so long as it has a formal association with George Galloway's Workers' Party.

23 May 2022
This is fair enough. George Galloway is a British nationalist, one of Putin's useful idiots, and an occasional Tory voter. His so-called Workers' Party of Britain is dominated by the ultra-Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) who, when they're not carrying around their giant portrait of Uncle Joe at London May Day celebrations, spend time denying the mass murders of their hero (the Holodomor? Bad weather! The Great Purge? Model jurisprudence! The Katyn Massacre? The Nazis!) and crossing class lines to support reactionary outfits like the Brexit Party and the Canadian "freedom convoy" movement. Given their appalling politics, it shouldn't be surprising that they've swallowed the Tory/centrist line that the British working class are as backward and as socially conservative as them. The industrial (male) worker figures large in their political imaginary, and the everyday politics they push is a nationalist tinged version of post-war Labourism. It's worth noting the last minor party that had some success with such a stance was the British National Party.

The PAL parties are right to want nothing to do with Galloway and his acolytes. Their politics aren't just wrong - in words and deeds they're scabby. But that begs the question, why does the Socialist Party want an alliance with them? It's pure opportunism. The SP has form for ditching its principles to pal around with demagogues if it thinks a political profit can be turned, as per the Tommy Sheridan saga. Simply put, Galloway still has a real depth of support among British Muslims for his - admittedly principled - defence of their community and his consistent stand against the war in Iraq, Libya, and the ongoing occupation of Palestine. The Batley and Spen by-election was a rude reminder to an arrogant Labour machine that these voters won't automatically tick their box. Because of this standing, the SP has designated Galloway a significant personality with clout whose endorsement might see a few deposits saved, and a trickle of recruits come their way, if they can ride on his coattails in future election contests. In other words, the SP is doing what it once took great delight in criticising the SWP for doing when they formed Respect in alliance with Galloway in 2004. It's not principled, it won't get the SP anywhere, and if anything they're cosying up to the most frightful horrors nominally on the left is guaranteed their eternal new workers' party project won't come to fruition. At least not by their efforts, anyway.

1 comment:

Jim Denham said...

Let's be frank: anyone with five minutes' worth of experience on the left who hasn't yet rumbled Galloway is an effin idiot who deserves all they get. This is the death knell of TUSC.