Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Other To Fill It In

Extensive correspondence arising out of the last two days' posts on the CPGB and the ILP.

As several people have pointed out, the CPGB, for all its many obvious and less obvious faults, was at least useful to Labour as a friendly critic and as a critical friend, whether from the old industrial Left and the working-class autodidactic tradition, or more recently also from the world of Gramscian adhocracry, even if that did end up producing New Labour.

I have also had some mentions of the fact that the split between the Second and Third Internationals arose out of the support of the former's key members for their respective countries' roles in the First World War, a situation of obvious contemporary resonance.

And within that context of déjà vu all over again, the rare mention of the ILP, with its effort and that of its diverse band of international brethren to steer a middle course, seems to have struck a lot of chords. Lest we forget, by the time that the Second World War really began in earnest from Britain's point of view, the USSR was both under Stalin and on side, and the ILP, with its literal martyrs to Stalinism in Spain, was the only party to stay out of the Coalition.

The ILP attempted to commandeer the entire Opposition benches for its three MPs. But rather more successfully, it continued to ask questions and to contest by-elections. Who will do that next time? I am clearly not the only person asking that question. It is time for a friendly critic and a critical friend.


  1. People looked askance at the role of the SWP in the Stop the War Coalition. They look askance at the role of the SWP and other Trot outfits in the anti-cuts movement and so on. But the Trots have only filled a gap that should not exist in the first place. We need something with a broad enough base from which to organise everyone opposed to the war agenda and everyone opposed to the loss of their local library or whatever. Leaving it to Leninists is why we keep having wars and keep having cuts.