Groundhog Day on the Left?

November 15, 2008 at 10:59 am (AWL, CPGB, crap, left, voltairespriest)

Weekly Worker 745Yeah yeah, I know it’s puerile to post about left sectariana. But it’s the Strictly Come Dancing of left-wing blogging; you all love it at the same time as denouncing it, so fuck it – why not?

Looking blearily across t’internet this morning, I found myself browsing that august population, Temperance Man’s Digest The Weekly Worker. I haven’t looked at it for a little while. And what did I see before me but an article by Mark “R Whites” Fischer… ranting on about the AWL and CPGB’s bad-tempered negotiations over a debate on Iran. I can’t for the life of me recall the man having written about anything else for some time now, so I presume the Provisional Central Committee have decided this is a national priority for the class and befitting therefore the full time attentions of one of their most accomplished comrades. As you would, of course. It merely amazes me that Martin Thomas’ statements about whether or not Sean Matgamna would be on the platform in such a debate were somehow overlooked in last night’s BBC News headlines.

Anyways, R Whites is clearly most exercised by the whole affair. You must read the whole thing to get the full effect, but here’s my favourite paragraph, reproduced here just as a taster:

Thomas has ducked, dived, wheedled and whinged. He was argued himself into a position so irrational that, if you did not understand that this was a man desperately attempting to ensure that a debate did not happen but at the same time trying to pin the blame on us for the ‘no-show’, then you might actually fear for his sanity. Or, as I put it in one message, the tension between what he was saying and what he clearly wanted to happen (or not happen more like) was making him appear “slightly unhinged”.

If I could offer my own thoughts, I can actually think of a format for the next debate. Mr Denham and I are aware of a very pleasant Catholic community centre in Birmingham that has both a bar which can cater for AWL members’ drinking needs during the course of the debate (and if ever there was a reason to have a bevvy it was listening to a gruelling 3 hours odd of sectarian ranting last time the groups tried this). It also has a church nearby so that CPGB members upset by the drunken excesses of the shandy-quaffing AWL members can retreat for a moment’s quiet contemplation. I am also sure that the nice people who run the bar could be persuaded to lay on some bread rolls for members of the two groups to hurl at each other in the course of the evening. All in all it’d be a great night out and it’s less than 2 hours out of London, so what are we waiting for? Let’s get it on!


  1. Andrew Coates said,

    Having visited Brum a few weeks ago (it took about three hours from Ipswich via Peterborough), surely you need more than a few ales to keep living there!

    I have an alternative view of the Weekly Worker’s staff drinking habits, as well as insulting the AWL, but, hey I am an equal opportunity insulter.. Well, I think they are on a sectarian binge.

  2. voltairespriest said,

    I think the Weekly Worker should go for sponsorship from Schloer…

  3. Lobby Ludd said,

    I can’t get the CPGB / Weekly Worker on line anymore.

    I keep getting the message: ‘The document contains no data’. ( No doubt some people may find that ironic. (Not me, of course, because I know what irony means.))

  4. Lobby Ludd said,

    And I know what ‘data’ means.

  5. Lobby Ludd said,

    And disappointment.

  6. Lobby Ludd said,

    And taking having a laugh.

  7. Lobby Ludd said,

    Insert: ‘the piss and ‘

  8. Lobby Ludd said,

    This is easy.

  9. Jules said,

    Groundhog day? What you on about?

  10. Jules said,

    Groundhog day? What are you on about?

  11. Jules said,

    Groundhog day?

  12. Jules said,

    Groundhog day? etc etc etc

  13. David Broder said,

    Shameless plug for The Commune: the first issue of our paper came out on Friday ( ). It sold v. well at the LRC conference, and not only did our motion on workers’ self-management win a big majority, but Chris Ford and I were elected to the national committee.

  14. modernityblog said,

    [LRC? what IS that? does it DO anything apart from have meetings? and pass very worthy motions?

    any chance that they’ll enter the 21 century and put MP3s of debates on their web site?

    and please could they improve the accessibilty of their web site, funny backgroud images ain’t too good for those with poor sight, HTML as well as PDF, Font sizes option and audio access, etc

    that’s not too hard]

  15. Voltaire's Priest said,


    The LRC essentially gives a lot of old lefties a last, tangential excuse to cling to their Labour Party membership cards. Nice people tho.

  16. modernityblog said,

    well Volty,

    the LRC don’t seem to DO much, and that’s what counts

    even their web site is poor when it comes to getting the message over to a wider audience (not the worst for sure, but could be so much better if they tried)

    still that’s by the by, as Labour will lose the next general election if that Green Paper on Council Housing goes thru, so the LRC won’t have much purpose after that.

    I don’t think that the political ramifications of the Green Paper have penetrated yet, I hope a guest post I wrote will explain it.

  17. Dr Paul said,

    I can’t complain about the Weekly Worker; not only does it publish a letter from me, but I am defended by Tony Greenstein to boot:

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