Left resurgence must happen in electoral form

From Lenin’s Tomb in Britain. This is an unusual position for a hard Left Marxist blog to take, as Marxists often see working within the system as pointless.

There have been various calls for left unity in response to the credit crunch and ensuing recession, in recognition of the grave threat to working class livelihoods. But little of this has really materialised outside of the stop the war movement. Given that we can’t depend on initiatives such as the Prisme or Visteon occupations generalising, there needs to be a mediating factor to agitate, galvanise and channel radicalisation, and this must take an electoral form. We need to learn from the best experience from the continent – from Germany, France and Greece for example – to understand how to do this. But it has to happen.

Like many other Left websites including this one, Lenin’s Tomb is searching for ways to resusitate the mostly comatose Left. Let’s keep working at it.

  • Search as much as you want — it’s the doing that matters. The No2EU initiative looks like it may roll on to the next UK poll and this would be the best initiative in yonks there. So there’s something to be cheered about. And for the moment that project is free of the grubby hands of Lenin’s group the SWP.

    In fact Lenin here is talking b.s. as he has consciously ignored the aggregation that’s happening under his nose.

    If the UK or anywhere wants to learn from “the best experience from the continent … to understand how to do this: then the answer is straightforward: political will.

    In each instance it took the decision of already existing party formations to switch into regroupment/unity mode. In France, the LCR; and in Germany the PDS and the WASG — with the WASG being the most interesting dynamic being more radical than the PDS and more consciously committed to regroupment politics.

    The SWP won’t be doing that in a hurry in the UK but the Socialist Party and others seem to be in motion (touch wood). But it would be a mistake to presume that the sectarian driven English far left is a benchmark for this issue. Unfortunately both the SP and the SWP run toy internationals where each local franchise follows suit and the political roots of the SWP still has sway over the outlook of the US ISO — although, but not reported here in Polizeros, I have monitored the ISO begin to move on this issue esp in its ongoing relationship with such figures as Peter Camejo and tendencies in the GP. The complication in the US is that your electoral system is so undemocratic it is hard to forge advancement by dint of electoral means alone esp while the Green Party still occupies a position on (or ‘in’) the Dem’s left flank

    • Hmm, whenever a leftie does something that doesn’t fit your dogma, you generally say something like “it’s the doing that matters.” As if no one else is doing anything. As if thought and planning isn’t important. As if loose coalitions can’t have people with differing views in them. As if UK lefties have no political will.

    • DJ

      I can’t say I’ve ever been to a truly democratic country, so I’ve never seen electoral success from any grassroots movement. I do agree with Dave that “it’s the doing that matters,” and there’s precious little “doing” in the U.S.– except, as Bob has noted more than once, on the Right (and to a lesser extent on the Religious Left).

      There’s much we can learn from grassroots movements in India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and other nations in which the “democratic” process is at least equally inaccessible as here. The most important thing is that presenting a preconceived solution is likely to fail. The brilliance of the original Sarvodaya campaign in 1958 was that it asked the poorest of the poor what they envisioned for themselves. The goal of that approach is to empower communities in forums that allow them to express and implement those solutions. In many countries (probably including this one), that means working outside the electoral system.

      That approach is no longer obscure; it’s been adopted by international development agencies and by corporate quality enhancement programs. It’s used by the United Nations and by HAACP analysts. And in all those varying arenas, it works. Yet even the founders of this country didn’t trust the people to govern themselves.

      If we believe that the People have the solution, then we must trust the People to come up with that solution. If we don’t believe the People have the solution, then whatever our political stripe we’re just dictators intent on imposing our will.

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