Saturday, May 07, 2005

Weekly Worker #575 May 5th 2005

Poor old Weekly Worker (#575 May 5th 2005), stuck with a weekly publishing schedule, coming out on a Thursday, without the resources for a special edition and a web-site strategy which is focussed on the paper rather than using it for independent updates. All this means the paper is, this week at least (to be generous), pointless. When the left ought to be focussed on the outcome of the election and in particular the remarkably good results Respect got WW has to stick to its hobby-horse of continuing monarchism in the constitution. The accompanying article, 'Secrets and lies' by Mike McNair is really about the Goldsmith legal advice revelations, coming to the conclusion that the fundamental problem is the constitutional-monachy system. McNair goes on to argue that the alternative is the abolition of secrecy, which ought to be applied to the left.

WW's election coverage contains some analysis of the smaller rump fragments of the left. Peter Manson writes about the SLP in 'Rising from the Grave', standing in 48 seats (down from 114 in 2001) despite its virtual disappearance from sight. Of course many of these candidates were pretty virtual and there are questions about where the money comes from. WW is most interested in itself and its advice to vote for 30 of the SLP candidates, or to vote for six out of the 10 WRP candidates, before restating their tactical approach of advocating votes for 'anti-war working class candidates', explaining why they wouldn't advocate voting for the sole SPGB candidate, but without justifying why they excluded support for Jeremy Corbyn - a topic much covered in their letter column.

Ben Lewis continues the approach with a discussion of why they didn't support Mohammed Nasseem in Birmingham Perry Barr, a leader of the Islamic Party of Britain which is described as offering an Islamic 'Third Way'. The piece ends with a critique of the SWP in Respect, quoting Chris Harman's The prophet and the proletariat for this purpose, warning against both writing off Islamists as fascists and as progressives who are not to be criticised.

An ex-Sinn Feiner with a socialist republican position, Philip Ferguson has a lengthy article on 'Behind the betrayal' traces the history of SF's move to pan-nationalism and the right since the 1980s, including some interesting details about the suppression of the radical POW/H-Block analysis. Ferguson puts a lot of the blame on the British left for not supporting the struggle, including the military component.

Nick Rogers writes about a socialist pensions policy, but I don't have the energy for this.

All-in-all, this Weekly Worker feels kind of irrelevant


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