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March 30, 2012

Comments

ejh

Any piece is short if you can't be arsed to read it.

Phil

Against Phil I note that it was the Rees-German gang who were keenest on Respect, if the split had come earlier it might never have got off the ground.

"Gang"! You and your sharp written tone...

Strictly speaking it was Rees's (sorry, the Rees clique's) response to Galloway that precipitated the split in Respect; I think after a certain point it was "my way or the highway" on both sides.

What would have happened if the same demands had been made much earlier, who knows? What we've ended up is actually a four-way split, between the SWP, the Rees cabal, Respect and everyone who got fed up and bailed out at any point from the decision to form Respect to the split. If somebody had made Galloway's 2007 demands some time between 2001 and 2003, at least one of those cleavages might have been averted.

ejh

I think after a certain point it was "my way or the highway" on both sides.

I would locate this point at a position some time before the parties actually met.

Steve Williams

Going back to the O'Neill piece, it really is hopeless. He starts from the premise that there's no possible good reason for anyone to vote for Galloway, and then heads backwards from there. The fact that his premise has been proven radically wrong within the last 24 hours is no impediment. Predictably, he shows no sign of having spoken to a single voter to, you know, ask them why they voted for Respect. And really, what is one to make of sentences like this?:

"Today, being anti-war is really just another way of being anti-politics, another way of expressing your belief that all politicians are liars, that they never listen to us, and that they're rotten, oil-grabbing bastards."

He got paid to write that. Incredible.

ajay

Brendan O'Neill in "fact-free hack" shock!

skidmarx

I think after a certain point it was "my way or the highway" on both sides.
Yeah, but my point was more directed to the period between the split and the last general election, where the Respect position on unity was to welcome any support for their candidates.I think the SWP got better much quicker.
If somebody had made Galloway's 2007 demands some time between 2001 and 2003,
I can't remember quite what they were. I tend to think that whatever the formal demands, they were an excuse for GG to acquire more control over Respect than his representation among activists justified, a perspective I may have acquired from viewing the split through the prism of the defection of his assistants from the SWP, under cover of the claim that they had stayed the same while the SWP had changed, a claim that after a while I decided was bullshit, and so tended to judge their faction as the primary crap-vendors in the split.
And my point is that the worst bullshitters on the SWP were those most enthusiastic about Respect, so them leaving earlier might have left Respect fans with far less momentum (and Bethnal Green & Bow might never have happened).

Steve Williams

Fair point, ajay. I just dunno who it's for, really. Even the whiskeriest rockers try new material sometimes.

Phil

defection of his assistants from the SWP

Weren't they expelled, or am I thinking of someone else?

Just heard on BBC News: Galloway fought a "canny campaign focusing on withdrawal from Afghanistan, tuition fees and jobs", and he achieved "the rarest of things for politicians, making people believe in him". He's standing for things people actually want, and he believes in them himself. The cunning fiend!

Cian

Quite. Whereas obviously they should vote for a grown up modern politician. Stupid voters.

It reminds me, a little, of a perennial complaint among Dublin political journos. I can't believe that the inhabitants of [Rural place that Dubliners despise] voted for [politician that they despise for being a relic of the 1930s - which he probably is], rather than [shiny modern politician].

It never occurs to them to ask anyone there why they vote for them. If they did, they might discover that [despised politician]'s office returns calls, and helped X when they had that problem, managed to get Y's roof fixed by the council, etc, etc. Whereas shiny modern politicians never return calls, and are sodding useless.

There's a lesson there for the left (Greens?) if they choose to learn it.

skidmarx

I was thinking of Kevin and Rob, who were I think his parliamentary and constituency assistants respectively, and had been members of the Oxford branch of the SWP at the same time I had in the late 80s. It was reading that they had been lobbed out that prompted me first to investigate the political internet, as I knew that both they and the SWP couldn't both be in the right (though they could all be wrong). It was this, from Kevin's final protest against expulsion that struck me as a good way to measure veracity, which seemed to be the key measure as judged by most of both sides:

The charges against us at the five minute meeting we had with Martin Smith and Chris Bambery were that we had damaged Respect and the party and that we had failed to carry the SWP’s political line to George Galloway or reported back on the reception of that line. This is delusional...This witch-hunt has no place in the party of Tony Cliff, Duncan Hallas and Paul Foot, the party we joined in 1984 and of which we have been proud members.

If Kevin was telling the truth, I reckoned, then we would see him maintain the same politics as the SWP as events unfolded, and the shallow manipulative nature of their enemies in the SWP would see the party implode. As time went on, the latter never happened , and over one issue after another, most notably Tibet, he would defend the politics of Galloway, not those of the SWP, though sometimes claiming, as he has more recently over Syria, that what he is saying is what the SWP really believes.
So I stopped believing his narrative, and those of his faction, and projected back and found valid the inference of his ex-comrades that he had effectively been Galloway's agent (without placing to many overtones in that term) inside the SWP for a while before the split. And so on.
I'm happy to carry on arguing this with you, but don't feel an obligation to.

Wholeheartedly agree with your last comment. How dare he be popular.

bert

Phil, forgive the delay, I just got back in.
I assumed from dsquared's latest and from elsewhere on the thread that there was general agreement that identity politics was at work here. Of course that wouldn't end the discussion - we could happily argue over the extent it's at work. And whether or not that's a good thing, in this case or in any case.

I've not read any more on all this, so I'm no better informed than I was this morning, but would Galloway's targeted letter that he doesn't drink and is a better muslim than brother Imran count as the sort of evidence you'd want?

Actually, that gives me a third theory.
This whole thing is that fucker Eric Joyce's fault.

Strategist

He was an unbelievably shit constituency MP, and he devoted his time to going on Big Brother and looking like a dickhead.

Agree - he was, I think, one of the worst if not the worst MP of that parliament in terms on constituency service, attendance in the House etc.

Is this true, or is this just the inadvertent regurgitation of the establishment propaganda of the time?

My recall of the situation was that George & team were doing well getting through the standard constituency MP caseload (helping people with problems as a kind of Citizens Advice Bureau etc), whilst he was doing speaking engagements all over the country most evenings rather than pointlessly attending the House where he was being frozen out anyway (not an easy place to be when there are 649 other MPs who want to snuff out the very idea that a new breakthrough party might be conceivable).

Having said that, when he did attend the House for debates and was called, he delivered a series of master classes in parliamentary oratory - a pretty much forgotten & irrelevant skill that at least some old timers appreciate.

Meanwhile, as he was effectively banned from any MSM reaching a mainstream working class audience, he decided to go on Celebrity Big Brother as a means of getting tens (hundreds?) of hours of air time in front of that audience, little knowing that every time he said something political in the BB house it would tweeted out with birdsong by the show's producers. It was a disaster but a noble try. His next gambit, the Talk Radio show, was a much more successful second try.

The two propaganda tricks are to say that someone with a low House attendance record are "lazy MPs", when they are working approx 100x harder than MPs pissing it up in the House bar and then trying to use the attendance statistic to say that they don't look after constituency caseload, when they are two totally different things. They did exactly the same thing on Ken Livingstone. It's an old trick, it works and even sophisticated people believe it.

Phil

It's evidence that he's just as willing to appeal to the 'Muslim vote' as Labour, and rather better at doing it.

Let's not kid ourselves - any politician trying to get votes from a community that's 30+% X is likely to present him/herself as having X-friendly values. It would be nice if parties aspiring to represent the Left never did this (except when 'X' is 'working class') but they do - and in this case Labour seem to have struck first. The charge against Galloway was (as it generally is) that he played to a 'religious' or 'communal' vote that all the other parties had been scrupulously ignoring. It's nonsense, as it generally is.

bert

Catching up with the rest of the thread I see you mentioned that letter. I think there's room for good-natured difference over whether Respect is an effective protest operation that's just got a deserved reward for an effective campaign, or whether it's a vehicle for populist opportunism that's targeting sectional grievances. In fact I think there's just about enough room to hold both views at once.

I think his line about the Bradford Spring is genius, and I salute his indefatigability.

bert

I hadn't seen 6:46 when I posted 6:51.
Wouldn't Kenan Malik make the same criticisms of the Labour Party?
I'm uncomfortable with the retreat into relativism, voiced most clearly by Belle upthread. I understand where its coming from, but I don't like it.
Of course, I've not noticed Kenan Malik winning any byelections recently.

CMcM

Skidmarx,

From the outside, it appeared as if the proximate cause of the split was the inability of Galloway and Rees to work together.

The SWP lifted up Rees to a leadership position 20 years or more before Respect was ever thought of. This what I meant by them being the architects of their own downfall, with or without help from Galloway.

I'm not suggesting Galloway is blameless. But I say put two dogmatic Leninist egoists together and you have all the makings of a dog fight, never mind the wider politics.

But someone with a history in the Socialist Alliance, might say the root cause was the SWP's inability to work on a basis of equality with anyone else under any circumstances.

skidmarx

From the outside, it appeared as if the proximate cause of the split was the inability of Galloway and Rees to work together.
Maybe that inability had roots in the political differences.
The SWP lifted up Rees to a leadership position 20 years or more before Respect was ever thought of.
That's just about right.
This what I meant by them being the architects of their own downfall, with or without help from Galloway.
This assumes that it is Rees' personal failings that caused the problems, and I'd tend to locate the cause somewhat differently.
But I say put two dogmatic Leninist egoists together and you have all the makings of a dog fight
Galloway is explicitly not a Leninist (and if I forgot upthread, I meant to respond WTF? to the term "neo-Leninist). This may seem like a petty point, but makes me think that such imprecision is down to using the term as one of denigration rather than serious political analysis.
But someone with a history in the Socialist Alliance, might say the root cause was the SWP's inability to work on a basis of equality with anyone else under any circumstances.
And someone from the SWP might retort that having established the SA and Respect they have one of the best records on the left of working with others. When as mentioned above I first looked for information on the Respect split I came across a lot of comments on one site (Dave Osler's) of the type "the SWP are always like this, you can't trust them", without even bothering to go into detail about the then current dispute, as if they were addressing only an audience that would never in its life give the SWP the time of day, and so I tended to value such commenters on the subject very little.
As with the judging Galloway thing upthread, I tended to listen more to those like Anna Chen who had worked with the SWP, and had slightly more specific allegations to make.

chris williams

Established the SA? What planet did that happen on?

belle le triste

'pologies, sm, "neo-leninist" is actually just where I have the SWP filed in my head, no doubt based on something I read 25 years ago -- I wasn't intending any sneaky intra-sectarian diss, less still hinting at some subtle analysis or distinction of position. It actually always used to drive me nuts trying to work out what distinction was being made (but never stated) when people used "neo-colonialism" or "neo-imperialism" instead of plain old "colonialism" or "imperialism": I guess I do think there's a difference between 1917 and 2012, and was vaguely gesturing at that, but not in any very content-ful way.

Phil

Galloway is explicitly not a Leninist

Galloway's explicitly not a Trotskyist, but I have to say I've always had him mentally filed as a Stalinist, in a number of senses. We may have different opinions as to whether Stalinist is a subset of Leninist.

Strategist

I've always had him mentally filed as a Stalinist, in a number of senses

Though presumably not in the mass murderer sense?

Richard J

I missed most of this yesterday, thanks to a busy day and being knackered, but I presume everyone's seen the RTs of Galloway's thanks to the people of Blackburn?

ejh

without even bothering to go into detail about the then current dispute

Regardless of the approach of commentors on Dave Osler's site, who I view much as I view the commentors on HP, going into detail about any given current dispute is pretty much a losing-the-will-to-live experience. I have never, for instance, even started to look into what's true and what's not true about Gilad Atzmon. Perhaps better to take the view that when, or more precisely where, politics reaches a certain level of shoutiness and hostility, that's a place I'd rather stay away from.

On a jollier level, I assume everybody's seem John Rentoul's Galloway Tweet?

ejh

Gorgeous does Blackburn

Rentoul does Gorgeous

skidmarx

Established the SA? What planet did that happen on?
Somewhere in the unfashionable Western spiral arm of the galaxy, I believe. I remembered after I wrote it that there had been some organisation prior to the SWP's involvement (I wasn't paying attention to party politics during the whole SA period), but Wikipedia seems to support the way I put it:

The Socialist Alliance was named and expanded in 1999 when other Trotskyist groups including the Socialist Workers Party, the International Socialist Group and Workers Power joined

The article seems to suggest that many of the complaints against the SWP then prefigured those about Respect, how dare they use their larger numbers to win votes, that's undemocratic.

I think that neo-colonialism is when formal political control is not exercised; neo-imperialism may be much the same,though I'm happy using imperialism as a broad term not tied to a formal empire.Someone else might like to explain why there is a real distinction between conservative and neo-conservative.

I do think there's a difference between 1917 and 2012
In the first a better world was being born and in the second the world is coming to an end?

ejh

Good thing for the Arsenal if it did

Phil

how dare they use their larger numbers to win votes

This is a bit tedious. As I think you know, the complaint about the SWP's tendency to dominate has never been one of weight of numbers. (In case I'm wrong.

CMcM

Galloway is explicitly not a Leninist

Well, perhaps not *explicitly*. & I can share any doubts that he could deliver an off the cuff summary lecture on the contents of Materialism and Empirio-criticism.

But he's from Dundee & the Dundee Labour Movement, at least in his generation, was notoriously pro Soviet, as I tried to indicate in my would-be humorous posting of an old parody song above. Galloway shared this pro-Soviet orientation. I've always thought he'd have been more at home in an alliance with the Morning Star crew than with the Swappies. & then, as Phil indicates, there is the matter of democratic centralism, which is really what I was getting at by calling him a Leninist: whether he formally signs up to this doctrine or not he behaves as if he believes in it.

Ascribing political splits to underlying theoretical or structural causes can get you a long way. But, in small organisations, individual & group psychology matters more than political people like to admit. (& not just political people: who really believes any band broke up just because of *musical* differences?). Hence my observation on the tensions between Galloway & Rees.

how dare they use their larger numbers to win votes, that's undemocratic.

There's a difference between using demcen techniques to run a front organisation and an understanding of politics as it might be practiced in an alliance of groups with different social bases and motivations.

john b

Since I've actually been asked, which is rare: the reason why I said "nobody gives a monkey's" re Iraq is because outside of minority communities and wonks, nobody gives a monkey's re Iraq.

The reason why I said "and quite rightly so" is that British participation in Iraq's sole impact was to diversify the 'dead and crippled young men' toll from Americans and Iraqis to also include Brits. Without British participation, the same number of Iraqis and slightly more Americans would have died.

Although in general it's nice if a PM kills fewer rather than more of his own people, in the context of a volunteer army the fact that a few more British volunteers and a few fewer American volunteers suffered (particularly given the coercive nature of US military recruitment among young men in the absence of anything that could be classed as a welfare state) is hard to become particularly excised about.

If you think the UK could have done anything to influence the course of the Iraq war, then roffle.

skidmarx

I think the failure to use terms in the same manner I do thus impeding communcation has just shifted from Leninist to democratic centralism:

CMcM - whether he formally signs up to this doctrine or not he behaves as if he believes in it
Absolutely not. DemCen requires there to be a democratic process and then all members to be bound by the decision, Galloway had a fair power to dissent when he wanted, such as over abortion, and did seem to be trying to reduce the power of the majority in respect to make policy at all, (again, I could be more precise on the detail, but don't have the time this morning) seems more like authoritarian anarchy (not a lot more, and no more than the rest of his fellow parliamentarians).

Phil - If you get a bit more precise, I think your's is a more sophisticated argument, but one I've heard before and have always been inclined to disagree with, that demcen means that parties that practice it don't act democratically in wider bodies. If the members of a party agree that they should take votes on things and then all carry the argument that the vote approves, I don't have a problem with that.

Why would an Arsenal fan want the year to end?
3(3)Tottenham Hotspur25 16 5 4 49 25 24 53
4(4) Arsenal 25 13 4 8 48 35 13 43

3(3) Arsenal 30 18 4 8 61 39 22 58
4(4)Tottenham Hotspur 30 16 7 7 53 35 18 55

Guano

John B

"If you think the UK could have done anything to influence the course of the Iraq war, then roffle."

Indeed, John, quite correct. The UK had no influence. Blair was simply riding pillion. There was no way Bush was going to wait for a UN resolution or share post-invasion planning with the so-called coalition. But that's why it's important. The selling of the invasion to the UK was based on the idea that the UK did have influence, that Blair would get Bush to commit to peace in the Middle East or to proper post-invasion planning or a UN role in reconstruction. It fitted into the idea of the UK punching above its weight, and the special relationship, and Blair's idea of the UK using the US military to solve the world's problems (eg his speech to the Labour Party in October 2001).

And it was all a fantasy. And it's important that we remind people that it was all a fantasy.

bert

How's this for a useful comparison.
Not European this time, American.
Galloway ran the campaign people were urging Santorum to run. Talk about jobs, and growing up the son of a Pennsylvania steel worker. Let the culture stuff be understood, without charging into it head on. Let the intensity of sectional grievances at the grassroots and resentments against established figureheads generate a bottom-up populist victory. Become the beneficiary of divisive cultural politics without placing it at the centre of your campaign and thus generating a backlash.

Seems to me there's a fair bit to this comparison. Ask yourself this. If you're campaigning on women's issues in Bradford - let's say you've been putting in the hard work making incremental progress on domestic violence, or forced marriage, or the acceptance of honour killing - does the blow struck against the biradari network fill you with joy or does it represent a realignment of the forces opposing you? How about if you live in Bradford, you're muslim and you're gay. Hasn't the triumphant Bradford Spring just added to the many other ways in which your life sucks?

Now, like I said, Galloway is much craftier than Santorum, and will seek to avoid getting pinned down on this stuff. But the cultural underpinnings of the Respect movement, and the resentments on which it draws, seem to me to only point in one direction. If future developments prove me wrong, needless to say that'd be something to welcome - Bradford will repay close watching between now and 2015.

Phil

Galloway ran the campaign people were urging Santorum to run.

No, Bert. Galloway ran a campaign talking about jobs and tuition fees and the war in Afghanistan and the mess that council deals with business have made of Bradford. If he'd run on a political platform of cultural conservatism - Muslim, Catholic or whatever - he wouldn't have been running as a Leftist and I wouldn't have supported him. He wasn't, he was and I did.

If you're campaigning on women's issues in Bradford

Why don't we wait till we hear from somebody who is? My personal imaginary Bradford radical is pleased that things have been shaken up a bit and that somebody with all these other leftist positions has got in, but since she doesn't exist any more than yours that doesn't prove much.

CMcM

Skidmarx,
I think the failure to use terms in the same manner I do thus impeding communication

If you’re suggesting I don’t accept either the SWP’s definition of Leninism or a starry eyed view of the supposed benefits of democratic centralism you’re quite right.

I'll concede my phraseology re Galloway being a fan of democratic centralism was unsubstantiated though. I can’t find any direct quotes to back it up, so I withdraw it. I merely note that he argued for CP affiliation to the Labour Party in 1981 (and thus attracted Dennis Healey’s displeasure, which is no bad thing in or of itself). I also seem to recall that, like a lot of Labour and TU folk, he decidedly took sides in the Euro-Tankie civil war in the old CPGB in the 1980s – and was pro the faction which became the CPB.

Phil

demcen means that parties that practice it don't act democratically in wider bodies

It's not exactly that; it's more that demcen means that positions are necessarily decided within the member organisation rather than among the individual members of the larger organisation, which is problematic when the larger organisation operates on the basis of individual membership. In voting terms, the SA membership of an SWP member wasn't worth the same as the membership of a non-aligned individual; you could say it was worth less (because the SWPer didn't get to make his/her own mind up on the day) or that it was worth more (because whatever the SWPer voted, lots of others would vote too), but either way there was a division built in to the organisation, for as long as the SWP maintained its version of DC in its approach to the SA.

Dan

Bert -- I'm no huge fan of Oona King, but to say that being mixed-race makes her "weirdly unresolved" is Really Not On. I'm actually kind of surprised nobody else has jumped on you for it yet.

bert

Dan, if that was what I was saying, I'd expect to be jumped on too.

bert

Phil, read the Santorum analogy again. You've got the wrong end of the stick, perhaps because for entirely understandable reasons you've not paid undue attention to the Republican primaries. People were urging Santorum to dial down the cultural divisiveness. He didn't, but that's another story. Like I say, read it again, and if you can find anything you actually disagree with, let me know.

On your other point, you talk as though I'm producing imaginary testimony from imaginary witnesses. Actually I'm trying to illustrate why I think the cultural agenda of a significant portion of Galloway's backers in this byelection is likely to cause problems in the remainder of this parliamentary term. Like I say, "if future developments prove me wrong, needless to say that'd be something to welcome"; or like you say, "why don't we wait..." Again, do make sure to let me know if there's something of substance you disagree with.

ejh

It's one of those anaologies that's trying too hard, isn't it?

skidmarx

In voting terms, the SA membership of an SWP member wasn't worth the same as the membership of a non-aligned individual;
I choose Door No.2 - it's worth more. Disciplined parties are more effective than an aggregate of individuals. If there was enough agreement across the organisation then it would be reasonable to expect factions within it to abandon separate discipline, but in a big tent I can understand why it's found invaluable. I can see some problems with it, but I find that many of the complaints about it are sour grapes from those without the same number of like-minded individuals to back them up (and often those party members would vote the same way and against the view of such a complainant even if it weren't for demcen).
It's probably a flawed analogy, but I was thinking today about the tendency of some people to rip the tops off SWP placards, which never used to incense me, but I did find it unreasonable behaviour. If you're going to carry an SW placard, then you should be prepared to give them credit for having brought it. A lot of people wish to opine on what the SWP should do, recognising that they are often the most effective force on the left, without giving credit for the possibility that the way they do things is why they are effective.
[I don't mean to suggest this is your motivation, and as before , I don't need to discuss this but am happy to do so, and am interested in you opinion).

CMcM - I think I agree with the definition in the Wikipedia link that Phil gave above, though I don't agree that there was any real democracy under Brezhnev (and indeed in Russia since the 20s), so what existed then wasn't demcen at all. I really don't think Galloway fits the definition at all, he wasn't going to insist that everyone in Respect support every decision it came to, or indeed follow them all himself.

Phil

Bert - simple question: why do you think a right-wing American Republican is a fitting comparison for a British socialist?

you talk as though I'm producing imaginary testimony from imaginary witnesses

When what you're in fact doing is musing on what imaginary testimony from imaginary witnesses might look like if it were ever to become real and we were ever to see it. Thanks for clarifying.

Seriously, lots of leftish people with strong feelings about gender issues may be thoroughly pissed off about yesterday's result. Or they may not - personally I think they're probably feeling moderately elated. We don't know. As such your speculation is worth about as much as mine, i.e. nothing.

Cian

Since I've actually been asked, which is rare: the reason why I said "nobody gives a monkey's" re Iraq is because outside of minority communities and wonks, nobody gives a monkey's re Iraq.

How long have you been an ex-pat? This is so out of kilter with reality, that it's just bonkers.

Cian

perhaps because for entirely understandable reasons you've not paid undue attention to the Republican primaries. People were urging Santorum to dial down the cultural divisiveness. He didn't, but that's another story.

Ah, 'people'. Well yes 'people' will do that. We're talking pundits here aren't we.

guthrie

Myself and some other ordinary Britons that I know are and were thoroughly pissed off about Iraq. None of us being from ethnic minorities but quite capable of seeing a clusterfuck before it properly began.
And anecdotally on the internet, some LGBT people are upset that Galloway has won.

bert

The common thread is the appeal to victimhood.
Getting political traction by appealing to the reactionary cultural resentments of a self-conceived put-upon minority.

Now, he got a whopping majority, and this doesn't apply to everyone. My sense is though that it applies to enough of the Respect vote to be a cause of worry.

You say you'll worry when you're given cause to worry, and that's fine with me.

Phil

Getting political traction by appealing to the reactionary cultural resentments of a self-conceived put-upon minority.

OK, now show me evidence that Galloway did actually do this. I can show you evidence that his campaign centred on jobs, tuition fees, Afghanistan and redeveloping Bradford; what have you got?

Phil

I find that many of the complaints about it are sour grapes from those without the same number of like-minded individuals to back them up

But SWP member 1 doesn't have 999 like-minded individuals to back her up, except on the key meta-issue of "shall we vote for the agreed party policy?" She doesn't know what those people individually think about issue X; she doesn't need to know. It doesn't matter much what she thinks about it herself, come to that.

(and often those party members would vote the same way and against the view of such a complainant even if it weren't for demcen).

Possibly - but how could you possibly know?

skidmarx

But SWP member 1 doesn't have 999 like-minded individuals to back her up, except on the key meta-issue of "shall we vote for the agreed party policy?"
I'm not sure I completely understand this. If an issue is important, the party at whatever level is appropriate will have discussed it and will tend to back up those arguing for what's been agreed. If it isn't that important/ has come up suddenly then there would be more latitude , but you'd tend to expect members of the same party to be most comradely to each other. You don't get to the meta-issue until you've considered many of the issues.
She doesn't know what those people individually think about issue X; she doesn't need to know. It doesn't matter much what she thinks about it herself, come to that.
I think this is a view of SWP membership/ demcen that it is the abandoning of individual will for the will of the centre, when I was a member it was still necessary for anyone wanting to push a line, even the CC, to convince comrades that it was right before they would support it. I don't recognise this picture as matching reality. I think there may be other problems with groupthink or something of the sort that the SWP might suffer from, but this seems like quite a patronising paradigm.

Possibly - but how could you possibly know?
Because in my experience, party members tend to have quite similar politics to each other (though I have met more than I expected who believed Russia had been a degenerated workers state rather than state capitalist), if they didn't they'd leave.[Bores remaining company with overdone meerkat impression]

bert

Phil, don't get stuck on the idea that there was a full-on culture war assault. From early on in the thread, when Jamie cited the official literature, that hasn't been the issue. Instead, you yourself described Galloway's approach as dog-whistling.

We're told that among Imran Hussein's failings was a "particularly presumptuous approach to the mosques".

Galloway's message: "God KNOWS who is a Muslim. And he KNOWS who is not. Instinctively, so do you."

I linked to one piece by Kenan Malik. Here's another. He's a decent guy, and far more deserving of your attention than the muppet show at Harry's Place.

Strategist

>>>outside of minority communities and wonks, nobody gives a monkey's re Iraq.

>>>How long have you been an ex-pat? This is so out of kilter with reality, that it's just bonkers.

I think replace "minority communities & wonks" with 'Asian British and graduates holding university degrees' and you've got a pretty close description of the 2 million who marched in London in 2003. Hence when we marched past Robin Cook's Whitehall office, he apparently said, "there goes the middle class vote".

Since then *some* working class veterans and military families have got it and joined the movement. But in general the white working class, in London & the South East anyway, and no doubt with hon exceptions, were never bothered by Iraq, or were positively supportive of British aggression.

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