I was invited to attend the Yeovil Trades Council meeting yesterday. I was pleased to see the discussion was very open and it sparked a debate about being in or out of the Labour Party, one I've had with myself prior to joining for many years.
I wasn't able to get all of my thoughts out at the meeting on this, so here they are.
A couple of comrades brought up the point that because the Labour government was carrying out a neo-liberal agenda, which is perfectly true, such as moving the postal service in the direction of privitisation etc, they shouldn't have our support and we should attempt to form a new party.
Lenin said the Labour Party was a bourgeois-workers party, so we shouldn't be surprised that the leadership is carrying out a bourgeois program, with some concessions that is after all what they have been doing since it was founded.
It is a valid point to say that New Labour is far worse, and that Brown is even more right-wing than Blair. So we should look for an explanation why, I believe one possible candidate would be the state of socialists within the party. I believe thanks to all the people saying work outside the party, or attempting splits it has allowed the leadership to get away with far too much.
The state of the Labour Party is the way it is firstly because of the purges during the 1980s which weakened the left, largely thanks to the help of the media, Thatcher and the Labour leaders and their "longest suicide note in history" crap, and later because of so many people calling on their comrades to abandon the party.
If we lose the Labour Party, we lose the political wing of the working class. Instead of having the couple of dozen socialists in parliament we have nobody, 2.5 business parties sitting opposite each other. In effect handing the bourgeoisie total control of the parliament.
The fight for Labour isn't over, the next few years I think will be crucial, as a few comrades mentioned the possibility of losing the next election is something we need to be aware of, the polls are grim reading. But will an election defeat strengthen New Labour? Of course not it probably destroy it, it will end the one thing they've had going for them with all the moderates inside the party "we can win elections" doesn't amount to much when you lose an election.
Marxism-Leninism also cropped up, and how that the USSR and China are bad, oppressive and so on and so forth, Dave (Bridgewater TUC). How that has any relevance is beyond me, if anything it seemed more like an ad hominem against Ken (sorry I forgot your last name) from the Communist Party of Britain.
By the same logic one would attack democracy because George Bush declares he is for democracy - or any number of things. Marxists should not hand over our words just because Stalinist and Maoist revisionists like to use them.
Marxism-Leninism, or Bolshevism is important for the working class, the Labour Party is not capable of revolution, its a mass party of the working class, but still bourgeois which we should use to win progressive advancements for the working class. However when the time comes and the labour leadership are brought off on the edge of revolution, we need a revolutionary party to finish the job.