Saturday, April 01, 2006

Weekly Worker 616 March 30th 2006

Weekly Worker (618, March 30th) provides a strange contrast to Socialist Worker. Where SW found the re-birth of class politics and solidarity, Weekly Worker diagnoses the Journey to Nowhere. Got to say: choose SW, choose life.

WW's focus is on the union leadership rather than the mass participation. Its back page story ('Show of union militancy ' by Alan Stevens) does start with a quick paragraph on the massive support for the strike before moving on to the 'sober assessment of weaknesses and strengths'. Comparison with 1926 or thr 1970s is true only in quantitative terms: yes it is the biggest strike by women. But 1926 and the 1970s were on a higher political and organisational plane. The strategy to win is lacking. There is the attempt to win a turnout, but the limited action is seen as being about getting talks. Stevens moves on to the left and its perspectives, focussing naturally on the SWP and Charlie Kimber's Pensions, profits and resistance pamphlet, which gets praised for its agitational case and criticised for missing out on the 'what is to be done' element. There's reference to Alex Callinicos's 'The politics of the new rank and file' in SW, which does contrast today with the 1970s, neglects the role of the CP in that period and treats demoralisation as a result of Thatcherism. Stevens finishes with a call for a Communist Party right now. Hmm, might be an idea to look at the role of the CP in the 1970s and consider whether if there is something capable of playing the role of the CP now it is the SWP.

Respect gets dealt with a page devoted to Talib Hussain, the former LibDem councillor and council cabinet member who joined Respect, with a good deal of publicity from Respect (a counter to defecions in Tower Hamlets perhaps). However Mr Hussain quickly left Respect and Peter Manson goes through the familiar CPGB critique of SWP opportunism and electoralism. Talib Hussain comes across as a massive and delusional ego (nothing new there then!), but this story will lose the CPGB some more influence in Respect.

Lengthy and heavy theory comes from Mike Macnair in 'Reform coalition or mass strike'. Most interesting point is the frank admission that the belief and call that the Soviets could take power in Russia in 1917. The Bolsheviks took power in the name of the Soviets and it was the Sovnarkom that came to hold power. The whole thing is worth reading and the debate (intervening in the LCR debate) worth following.

Mehdi Kia of Iran Bulletin - Middle East Forum contributes a piece on 'fighting on two fronts' and Ben Lewis gives an in-depth account of political battles inside the Linkspartei. There is a good review of The Proposition, but without enough attention being paid to the role of the aborigines in the film.


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