File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 119


Subject: Re: M-I: British Labour Party
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 1997 19:25:44 -0700


Thanks Hugh. Very interesting and nicely put. However I am not too 
sure about the factor of the accidental. Can you elab?

Rebecca
----------
From: Hugh Rodwell <m-14970-AT-mailbox.swipnet.se>
To: marxism-international-AT-jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Subject: Re: M-I: British Labour Party
Date: 06 October 1997 23:28

Rebecca writes:

>How come Blair found it so easy to suppress left dissent within the
>Labour Party?

He didn't. Or rather the long-term process of suppression wasn't easy.
It's
always been there and never stopped.

It took Thatcher all those years of very hard, very purposeful work to
weaken the union movement, and even then she didn't get the complete
crushing short-term victory over the miners that she wanted. This in
spite
of the treacherous leadership of the Trades Union Congress and Labour
Party
in the face of the Thatcherite attacks.

So what we've been seeing is a concerted attack by the political
leaders of
the bourgeois state, regardless of political labels, to weaken the
position
and potential of forces working for the short-term and long-term
interests
of the working class.

Blair just got lucky, the right (in both senses) opportunism at the
right
time.

All this is just a pale reflection of the treachery to working-class
leadership effected by the Stalinists in the Soviet Union over many
decades
from the mid-1920s and culminating in the sell-out of the workers'
states
to imperialism still in progress. Without the capitulation of the
Stalinist
bureaucracy to the imperialists in 1989-1991, and with it the
demoralization and collapse of Stalinist and neo-Stalinist (new left)
resistance worldwide, the empty anti-socialism of the Blurs of this
world
would find it much tougher going.

This is the expression of the world class struggle in its local British
form, with the special features stamped on it by the nearly spent
process
of loss of Empire (old style) and the need for the bourgeoisie to roll
back
the British expression of the postwar revolutionary upsurge of the
world
working class, ie the welfare state.

The question is not so much Blair's flair, but what forces were opposed
in
what historical conjuncture and what was their relative strength and
weakness at the time. As far as the personal element is concerned the
question is who is representing what forces, in what way and how
consciously.

Cheers,

Hugh




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