Reading between the lines of a rant

July 20, 2008 at 4:35 pm (blogging, deviants, left, voltairespriest)

Oh come on, who else could it be?

I wonder why the fella (who thinks m’learned colleague and long-time Alliance for Workers’ Lliberty member Mr Denham is a “superior intellect”, lest we forget) is so angry at the AWL for making a historically self-evident point about the left, in particular the Grantite tendency in the 1980s? And indeed if he thinks the Militant model for Labour Party work was so shit-hot, as evidenced by its subsequent success, then I take it his Socialist Appeal membership card is in the post? Or there again maybe not.

No offence, of course.

6 Comments

  1. modernityblog said,

    the AWL article:

    “The root sectarianism is sectarianism in relation to the working class and its movement.”

    nope, the roots of sectarianism is the class composition of British Left groups and their leadership: middle class backbiters, ego maniacs, power worshipper and power lust

    similar internal attitudes can be seen in nearly all forms of middle-class dominated organisation, from the Tunbridge Well resident associations to New Age groupings, communes etc.

    class is the issue.

  2. Ed said,

    As a matter of interest, mod, that go for Marx and Engels, too? Or is apolitical workerist idiocy just something which works for contemporary groups?

  3. modernityblog said,

    Sadly I’m not a sociologist, but I’m sure that they study this type of issue, it’s not like it doesn’t affect thousands of other organisations, composed of human beings, interacting with each other

    so I don’t know why some people think that the British Left would be immune from these issues.

    There is also another rather obvious middle-class habit or trait, which is to assume that everyone who disagrees with you is either an idiot or somehow mentally inferior, but I’m sure that anyone familiar with the adversarial nature of conflicts, within middle-class dominated organisations, can verify this.

    I believe that academics call it “arguing in bad faith”

  4. Dr Paul said,

    I think that there are two things here.

    Firstly, the average left-wing leader, regardless of his class background (bourgeois, petit-bourgeois, lumpen (Gerry Healy) or — very occasionally — proletarian), is an ultimate petit-bourgeois in outlook and behaviour. The average left-wing leader treats his organisation as if it is his private property. Left-wing leaders have always reminded me of a particularly narrow-minded, proprietorial, suspicious sweet-shop owner — comrades/kids are on the face of it welcomed in by an array of goodies, but the leader is always on the look-out for comrades wavering from the party line, just as the shopkeeper thinks that every little kid is likely to half-inch the jelly snakes or gob-stoppers.

    Secondly, the vicious nature of faction fights in left-wing groups is not, in my consideration, the product of our politics as such. Blow-outs in far-right groups are usually more personalised and violent. One needs only to look at faction fights in religious bodies. A friend of mine who helped run a mental-health charity was appalled at the viciousness of a scrap that erupted amongst volunteers and patients; it was just like a political blow-out. A railway preservation group in Wales (of which I am a member) had a blow-out that matched anything in the SWP or Militant (if not the Healyites). I think that if one has an organisation with big ideas and ambitions and dedicated, fervent members, minor differences will suddenly develop into major blow-outs; it’s the contrast between a (usually) small group and its big ambitions that magnify differences and cause great hostility and suspicon amongst members and supporters.

  5. Dr Paul said,

    To refer to the article at the root of this, the Workers Liberty one, what’s sad is that what the author — I can’t be sure who it is, but it’s rather too brief to be Sean Matgamna, although I’m open to correction — could be said by practically every left-wing leader this side of Gerry Healy, and then promptly ignored in practice as yet another heresy is discovered and the heretics promptly disciplined, and a group myth set up about the incident.

    A friend of mine who was a member of Matgamna’s group (I’m not sure if he was on the central leadership), told me how that group was no better than the others he’d been in. The same thing has happened, he says, with the Campaign for a Marxist Party, with the Communist Party of Great Britain, for all its pledges to democracy in the Weekly Worker, acting like every other left group he’s encountered over some 45 years.

  6. modernityblog said,

    good points, Dr. Paul,

    people and power? it is a shame that the Left, as a whole, have never looked at these issues in any detail

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