Found: a thinking hard leftist
Three posts down you can read the indignant chunterings of Duncan and Bob Piper as they protest that the 1983 General Election defeat had nothing to do with the policies we fought it on or the malign influence of the Hard Left. Nope, on planet zog where the Hard Left live it was all Healey and Callaghan's fault. That and the workers were suffering from false conciousness and were so interested in the class treachery of owning their own council houses and some BT shares that they failed to see what a wonderful country it would have been if we had been able to leave the Common Market and implement the Alternative Economic Strategy.
However, I have now started believing in miracles having discovered that living only 3 streets to the west of me is someone from the Hard Left who has actually engaged their brain cells and moved on from the political paradigm of the early '80s.
Dave Osler (http://davespartblog.blogspot.com/) is coming from a very, very different place to me politically but at least he shows some attempt to analyse where the world is now and how his brand of politics should respond to it. He says:
"To add to the tragedy, much of the marginalisation is self-inflicted. I cannot think of a single section of the left that has truly come to terms with the last two decades, and made sense of the ways in which the world has been dramatically remade.
The challenges are many, from the collapse of communism, globalisation and environmental crisis to the rise of political Islam, European integration and the emergence of China as a world power in the making, All that was solid did indeed melt into air. But somehow we just never saw history’s sucker punch landing on our collective jaw bone.Where are the thought out responses?
Where is the recognition of the need for cross-border unions and cross-border political parties? Where is the debate on - for instance - whether co-ordinated action by European social democratic parties could maintain manufacturing employment without lapsing into reactionary protectionism?
Where is the serious attempt to draw up policies capable of combating climate change, the most important political issue of all? You can’t deal with a problem of that magnitude simply by sticking an additional bullet point onto the Transitional Programme.
Inertia at the level of political theory condemns us in advance to irrelevance. The left remains content to do what it has always done. That means it’s going to get what it always gets.
Consider the John McDonnell decision to run for the leadership of the Labour Party. Leadership bids are a time-honoured Labour left tactic for enthusing its base, of course. But this time round, it amounts to little more than going through the motions.
There isn’t a Labour left to enthuse. As a result, there is little buzz, no sense of excitement, about the proceedings. The meetings have been small, and largely attended by people old enough to remember the Benn for deputy race that represents the campaign‘s prototype.
Elsewhere, Trotskyist organisations have learned to run electoral fronts with a little more pizzazz than they did in the seventies. But Respect is clearly going nowhere fast. As one of Respect’s national committee members revealed recently, membership has fallen from around 5,000 at the time of the euroelections in 2004 to 3,040 last year and 2,160 this year.
The Scottish Socialist Party has imploded spectacularly. One side or the other in Sheridan dispute has committed perjury and some comrades may well be looking at an extended stay in Barlinnie.
Unions are increasingly compelled to merge together for warmth, and content themselves with providing legal and financial services to members, with a sideline as unpaid health and safety inspectors.With a few partial exceptions, they do not make even a pretence of trying to exert political influence. The main leaders are convinced that Brown enforcing a public sector pay freeze from inside Number Ten is as good as it gets."