Monday, 26 July 2010

The Curse of the Labour Party (Part 1)

“That’s life for you up to day down the rest of your life, but in the end we keep on trying to pull our selves up, sadly New labour or Labour will not do it, so what do we do, I've no idea.”

Was the comment sent in response to my last post ‘Summertime Blues.’

It’s all too easy to be critical of the Labour Party and the road that party has taken over the last decade and a bit. And it’s important to say from the onset of this piece, that there are many good socialists for whatever reason who choose to remain members and stay attached to a party that is not capitalism first preferred fix, but nevertheless has proven ready and able to do the biding and look after the interests of capital as we know it today. What people don’t seem to understand is that a two party system such as ours or like that in America really accommodates and helps to keep the system we all live under in place.

Now I don’t have to go into great detail about what has happened under New Labour. Wars, Afghanistan, Iraq, or tell you that the rich in the UK became much richer whilst the poor much worst off under the swashbuckler stewardship of this party.

Many things have changed since the formation of the Labour Party, the way we do and go about our daily lives, the way we earn a curst; we have fast and quick forms of communications such as this internet thing that I’m using, which our grandparents or even parents, depending of course how old you are; would not have dreamt possible in their youth, or to put it better than that, in the 1970s I would never have been able to foretell that in 30 years time I would be sitting at home writing and helping to run this political blog that can be, and has been read all over the world.

In the late 1970s the Labour Party started to purge its party, or a better way of putting it would be oust politically leftwing groups such as the Militant Tendency; which was an entrist group based around the Militant newspaper that was first published in 1964. It described its politics as descended from Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky who had their own agenda and ideas what socialism meant and how it would come about. I remember this very well being a then young and naive member of both Militant and the Labour Party. There was dishonesty on the part of Militant as I remember denying always that they were not another organisation when in fact they meet secretly as the Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL) up and down the country and eventually managed to get three MPs elected along with winning control of Liverpool City Council. However form 1985 onwards, a series of moves led by Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock against Militant ended its influence in the Labour Party and with it came the loss of its three Militant supporting Labour MPs. Now this is all part of the history of the Labour Party, but the relevance that I wish to highlight is that of Entryism a political tactic by which an organisation or state encourages its members or agents to infiltrate another organisation in an attempt to gain recruits, or take over entirely. I’ve highlighted the activities of Militant, but what about that of the agents of capitalism? There is a history of manipulation and backing of the rightwing within the Labour Party that stretches back years. Following the end of World War II, the Labour Party was elected on a platform of extensive domestic social reform, and of peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union in Europe. Fearful of the spread of Communist influence, the right wing of the party, under the then new Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, organised themselves around the journal Socialist Commentary, which became their most important mouthpiece. Throughout the post-war period, Labour's Gaitskellite right wing worked closely with MI5, Special Branch and a variety of CIA front organisations to advance its cause and curse on the party and in the process keeping the left at bay. Channelised with massive CIA funds, the right grew in confidence and influence, and vigorously campaigned against left-wingers like Aneurin Bevan, whom they denounced as "dangerous extremists".

Then there was the Campaign for Social Democracy that became a minor political party operating in the 1970s.

They were formed in September, 1973 by Dick Taverne, who had resigned from the Labour Party, after falling out with his Lincoln Constituency Labour Party over the European Economic Community.

He had formed the Democratic Labour Association in Lincoln elected as an MP for Lincoln under that banner in a by-election in March, 1973. He formed the Campaign for Social Democracy, which included members from my own Labour Party in Scunthorpe as an attempt to build a radical non-doctrinaire social democratic movement, and at the February 1974 general election they stood four candidates against leading Labour left-wingers (including Tony Benn).

All were unsuccessful (the highest polling only 2.4% of the vote in their constituency), and the campaign was wound up when the Labour Party won the February general election, making a split in the Labour Party less likely.

Such a split did occur in the early 1980s, when leading Labour moderates formed the Social Democratic Party, including those members from Scunthorpe.

I have written briefly about my small fender-bender with them on this blog in the past and you can read that (http://thesocialistway.blogspot.com/2009/08/real-labour-man.html) here, but the point is that we should not underestimate or even dismiss the lengths and determination that the enemies of the Labour Party will go too in order to undermine workers organisations. I’m only touching a small part of this trojan horse type activity that really did go on and for all we know still operates today.

I’m sorry if this post that was meant to be a reply to the comment that I posted at the beginning, has rambled on without as yet answering the question, but it has given me the opportunity to get some things as they say off my chest, and put things into real perspective which will then furnish the commentator with an answer. So for the time being I’m living it there so that interested readers can take-in what I’ve already said and will continue in the next post.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tens of thousands of claimants facing losing their benefit on review, or on being transferred from incapacity benefit, as plans to make the employment and support allowance (ESA) medical much harder to pass are approved by the secretary of state for work and pensions, Yvette Cooper.

The shock plans for ‘simplifying’ the work capability assessment, drawn up by a DWP working group, include docking points from amputees who can lift and carry with their stumps. Claimants with speech problems who can write a sign saying, for example, ‘The office is on fire!’ will score no points for speech and deaf claimants who can read the sign will lose all their points for hearing.

Meanwhile, for ‘health and safety reasons’ all points scored for problems with bending and kneeling are to be abolished and claimants who have difficulty walking can be assessed using imaginary wheelchairs.

Claimants who have difficulty standing for any length of time will, under the plans, also have to show they have equal difficulty sitting, and vice versa, in order to score any points. And no matter how bad their problems with standing and sitting, they will not score enough points to be awarded ESA.

In addition, almost half of the 41 mental health descriptors for which points can be scored are being removed from the new ‘simpler’ test, greatly reducing the chances of being found incapable of work due to such things as poor memory, confusion, depression and anxiety.

There are some improvements to the test under the plans, including exemptions for people likely to be starting chemotherapy and more mental health grounds for being admitted to the support group. But the changes are overwhelmingly about pushing tens of thousands more people onto JSA.
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I use to know the question to this, I do not know the the answer anymore.

If you can tell a country by the way it treats the poor the disabled the sick, what do you call the New labour ideology.

This week a young lad took his life after the DWP stopped his benefits, he was ill suffering from severe mental health.

for me it's easier you see my disability I'm paraplegic, but even thats not enough I will need to find a job, even though I've been part of the new deal, pathways to work, and workfare.

But I have one bag on one leg for my shit, and another bag for my piss.

Not enough though, seem we now live in a world in which disability is to be wiped out one way or another.

as one good solid vicar said, would it not be better to put children with disabilities down, so they do not have to go through the agony of life. my answer is yes yes yes if we have to live in a world in which we look at peoples ability to work.

anyway thats my rant over I've enjoyed commenting hate to over do my welcome.

Norbert said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for you post and of course you are most welcome to rant on this blog I think you should write something for us how do you feel about that?

Anonymous said...

Me I'm always willing to have a go, done a few bits and bob's on TV and radio over the years, once had an argument with Peter Hain, called Kinnock an idiot, told a professor for Labours welfare he was talking crap, other then that these days i mainly sit in the window watching the world go by.

Norbert said...

Hi Anonymous,

We can have a chat about it off site if you like, send me an email to norbertlawrie@hotmail.com

Look-forward to hearing from you!"

Chris H said...

Called Kinnock an idiot? He was the public face of the beginning of the destruction of the Labour party. You were far too polite!

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