Oh no he didn’t…

It’s been a long time coming. In fact I wondered if this day would ever come. Part of me recoils at the very notion of it, but what’s done is done. Yes that’s right; I have joined the Labour Party.

So far several people have expressed varying levels of dismay at my decision. One Iraqi contact of mine offered to purchase some gas for use at my first branch meeting. Given the living hell his native land has been reduced to by the policies of this government such bitterness is understandable. However, I believe such an attitude to still be in error, and so it’s only fair that I make some attempt to explain myself.

Lets take a few deep breathes and deal with the first hurdle.  It is simply not the case that an organisation of millions can maintain a single mindset or political line at any and all times. The blood of hundreds of thousands in Iraq is not on the hands of those party members who raged against the military onslaught from the very beginning. That honour rests with Blair and his cohorts, alongside those who still mindlessly defend the New Labour project and its disastrous legacy.

Labour also needs to be remembered for its historical and organisation roots. It arose out of the Trade Union movement and, pardon me if I am mistaken, is still tied to that movement, no matter how tenuous the link has become.

In theoretical terms there has been no sudden transformation of what Lenin described as a “bourgeois workers party” to one of out and out reaction. The argument that I have encountered from some comrades – that the LP is now a thoroughly bourgeois organ because of Iraq – does not hold when we consider that, just as Lenin was urging CPGB affiliation, the LP had just participated in the global imperialist massacre of 1914-18.

Labours classification as a bourgeois workers party does not solely rest on it’s willingness to follow an imperialist foreign policy. Such a thing can only be a reflection of the balance of class forces within the party. What is more important is its relationship to the mass organisations of the class. Those were, are and remain the Trade Unions. Nobody but the most absurd ultra-leftist would bat an eyelid at a Marxist seeking to work within a Trade Union. The political expression of the Unions in this country, no matter how dented, twisted, or malformed it has become, is still the Labour Party.

4 thoughts on “Oh no he didn’t…

  1. to be fair, New Labour did manage to keep the economy sweet for longer than any previous government in recent memory, of course everything went downhill a couple of years ago but in terms of traditional boom-bust economics it should’ve happened years before it did.

    They’ve definitely lost touch with the old Labour values though. the Labour Party nowadays doesn’t really have any connotations with being a ‘worker’s party’, I guess it’s because more and more people are striving for higher paid jobs and the old working class is getting smaller and smaller.

    Still can’t believe you joined the Labour Party…

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    • True, but I think the boom lasted the length it did due to external factors involving the global economy and the injection of unprecedented levels of credit. A boom will last a great deal longer if demand appears to be sustainable – which is what credit does as it artificially raises purchasing power – but it’s illusory. Credit cannot sustain an economy, as we have seen with the “credit crunch”.

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  2. An excellent and witty piece! I certainly recognise all those earnest young revolutionaries!
    Joining the Labour party may well be the only way forward for now. The left are divided and spend more time attacking each other then concentrating on what the capitalist elite are up to. The old active Labour party is full of decent socialists who want to see a fair society. My problem is with the parliamentary Labour party, who seem to be made up of barristers,company directors, management consultants etc,etc. Where are the ordinary workers who could bring the human touch and passion back into political debate. There’s nothing like a £100k++ job for softening your concerns about the lot of your fellow proletariat!

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  3. It certainly seems somewhat less glamerous than what many young “revolutonaries” are after. A lot of people hate the LP – fair enough – but they don’t distinguish between the rank and file party member and, as you rightly point out, the parliamentary big wigs.

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