At last! The SWP have realised they should probably be calling for a Labour vote. However they reduce everything to Corbyn himself. They won’t support Labour in Scotland.
Socialist Worker explains:
The Socialist Workers Party has decided to suspend its membership of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
TUSC has provided a structure for trade unionists, campaigners and socialists to stand in elections against pro-austerity politicians.
It’s not a decision we take lightly.
We have been part of TUSC for over seven years, stood dozens of candidates and recorded some of TUSC’s better results.
We have worked with the other components of TUSC—the RMT union, the Socialist Party and independents.
We think it is right to cooperate with others on the left wherever possible.
Labour won’t be the vehicle for socialist transformation any more than Syriza was in Greece—and we still want a socialist alternative to it.
But we cannot support the decision taken at TUSC’s recent conference to stand in May’s council elections in England and Wales.
These elections will be seen as a referendum on Corbyn. It won’t matter if the candidates are right wingers. Every loss will be blamed on the left.
For TUSC to stand at this point welds together Labour supporters and is a barrier to united front work with Labour people.
Our small electoral united front would make it harder to achieve a larger united front with the Labour left.
At the Copeland and Stoke by-elections Labour’s candidates were from the right. However, Socialist Worker called for a vote for Labour. We don’t want Ukip or the Tories winning.
What’s at issue is how to fight cuts and work with Corbyn-supporting Labour members against those who ram though the attacks. And we know any victories for them would be used to unleash the dogs on Corbyn.
We have been proven right. If TUSC was winning substantial votes the argument might be different, but the results will be modest. There’s no shame in that. But it makes standing against a Corbyn-led Labour even harder to justify.
Our unwillingness to put forward candidates is not because Labour councils are doing a good job. They are ruthlessly imposing Tory cuts.
Many councils face a loss of 60 percent of their income between 2010 and 2020. Yet there have been no Labour-led national marches, no councillors’ revolt, no calls for defiance by councillors, unions and people who use the services.
Instead, at the last Labour conference, delegates and leadership united to declare it a disciplinary offence to pass “illegal” no cuts budgets.
What’s at issue is how to fight these cuts and work with Corbyn-supporting Labour members against those who ram though the attacks.
We believe the best way is to campaign in the streets and workplaces alongside Labour supporters.
None of us can predict future events. At some point, as part of the fight to move beyond social democracy, we believe it will be necessary to stand in elections again.
Were Corbyn to be removed and replaced by a right winger, the question of standing against Labour would return in sharper form.
We hope TUSC will continue to be part of the response.
In Scotland the situation is different. Labour is headed up by the anti-Corbyn Kezia Dugdale. The rise of the Scottish National Party has raised the question of alternatives to Labour.
We support Scottish TUSC candidates as part of what we hope will be a wider realignment on the left.
We wish the best to those who remain in TUSC and look forward to continuing to work with them.
Just to further underline their incoherence, the SWP also:
– Cites as one reason not to call for a vote for Labour in Scotland: the fact that Kezia Dugdale is anti-Corbyn (BUT, a majority of Scottish CLPs nominated Corbyn, not Smith. Most affiliated and registered supporters in Scotland probably voted Corbyn. Individual members in Scotland voted only narrowly for Smith rather than Corbyn. If members with less than six months membership had not been excluded from voting, a majority of individual members would probably also have voted Corbyn).
– Cites as the second reason not to call for a Labour vote in Scotland, “The rise of the SNP has raised the question of alternatives to Labour” … (BUT, it could equally be argued that the rise of UKIP in England has raised the question of alternatives to Labour).
– Argues that Labour in Scotland will not revive unless it comes out in favour of Scottish independence. (“There is no way back for Labour unless it breaks with its pro-Union stance.”)
– Demands a second referendum on Scottish independence (“We Need to Fight for New Referendum on Scottish Independence”). Current support for a second referendum: 51% against. 25% for.
– In the real world, the pretext for a second referendum is that Scotland voted ‘Remain’ but England voted ‘Leave’. But the SWP, of course, called for a ‘Leave’ vote. The SWP wants a second referendum because Scotland voted the wrong way in the EU referendum?
– In fact, the SWP’s idiocy goes a step further: it argues that the way to win a second referendum (in Scotland, where over 60% voted ‘Remain’) is not to demand continuing membership of the EU/Single Market: “It won’t be won by saying it is to secure access to the bosses’ EU single market.”
– What the SWP refuses to recognise is the obvious fact that those most enthusiastic about a second referendum are the ultra-nationalists. But the SWP pretends that the demand for a second referendum is ‘really’ the property of the most progressive-minded people: “For socialists the sight of independence rallies can sometimes grate a little with the display of Saltire flags and Scottish football tops. But the aspirations of the people who turn out at them is vastly different from that narrow nationalist perspective. The number of Palestinian flags and the rainbow flag of LGBT+ liberation present showed the grassroots movement for independence is marked by a progressive politics.”
- See also Tendance Coatesy, here.