With New Labour openly committed to the worst excesses of free market capitalism and closed to working class input, it’s little wonder that the genuine left is looking round for an electoral alternative. The trouble is that recent attempts – the Socialist Alliance, the Alliance for Green Socialism, the Campaign For A New Workers Party etc, etc – have all been unmitigated disasters. The horrible miscarriage called Respect, I do not recognise as being on the “left” at all. In this situation, you can’t really blame some comrades for becoming desperate and willing to clutch at any straw.
Even so, the two latest get-rich-quick schemes conjured up by sections of the British left, are franky abysmal. The Peoples’ Charter is a petition for general good intentions, unrelated to any concept of how to actually achieve its stated objectives. It’s an unobjectionable but ineffectual waste of time and effort.
But however desperate and demoralised we may be, there has to be a bottom line – a limit beyond which no self-respecting leftist should go, even in these dog days.
NO2EU is much nastier and more dangerous than the inoffensive Peoples’ Charter and should be actively opposed. Apart from being, in reality, the latest effort by the little-Englanders of the Stalinist Communist Party of Britain (CPB), to whip up and cash in upon inescapably reactionary anti-EU nationalism, it’s also a scandalous misuse of the subs of RMT members, misappropriated without proper debate by Bob Crow and his posturing, Stalinist mates.
Robert Griffiths, the general secretary of the CPB, has denounced left critics of NO2EU as “ultra left”: so it’s “ultra left” is, it, Mr Griffiths, to object to the denunciation of “the so-called ‘free movement of labour'” in the EU and “the social dumping of foreign workers in Britain“?
This is not the same thing as the Lindsey oil refinery strike which, for all the stuff about “British Jobs For British Workers”, was a legitimate trade union action in defence of a national agreement. NO2EU is irredeemably tainted by its nationalism and little-England isolationism: it’s a reactionary dead-end that should be opposed at every turn. RMT members should ask Crow what the hell he thinks he’s playing at, wasting their money like this. The fact that some good comrades (like the Socialist Party) are – with reservations – supporting this nonsense, is a sign of the desperation that prevails amongst even some of the better sections of the left these days.