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10993Re: Latham's Leichhardt meeting

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  • bobgould987
    Nov 24, 2004
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      By Bob Gould

      Michael Berrell's response to my posts on the Labor Party border on
      the eccentric. It's an eccentricity common on both the far left and
      the far right, and one to which, to be entirely honest, most of us
      sometimes fall victim.

      Leaving aside Berrell's convenient amnesia about SEP preferences, the
      eccentricity of his approach lies in his fully fledged conspiracy
      theory of politics, particularly Labor politics.

      He advances a conspiracy theory of a curious entity he creates in his
      own mind called the Labor Party, an all-encompassing phenomenon
      that's constantly conspiring to move its own politics to the right.

      In the real world, the creaking Labor-trade union continuum is a
      heterogeneous mass formation of competing groups, forces and
      interests, containing a range of ideological positions, which are
      often in conflict with each other.

      This is obvious, particularly at a moment such as the present, when
      there is conflict about which way the Labor and trade union movements
      should move.

      It may be comfortable for Berrell and other Marxist sectarians to
      create this overarching conspiracy theory of Laborism, but it's
      absolutely useless and counterproductive in developing ideas about
      how to proceed in the current crisis of the labour movement.

      In Berrell's mindset, all that's possible is to predict gloom and
      doom and further shifts of the mass movement to the right until the
      masses wake up and support the socialist sect of one's choice.

      In the real world, of course, that won't happen.

      This conspiracy view of labour movement politics is associated with a
      similar left view of the bourgeois side of politics, which many
      Marxists often treat as if there's some executive committee of the
      ruling class somewhere deciding on broad policy and immediate moves.

      In reality the bourgeois side of politics is a collection of
      competing interests and forces, although a dominant view of strategy
      and immediate needs often emerges. Conflicts among the ruling class
      are usually conducted in greater privacy than those in the labour

      I am constantly amazed at the conspiracy view of the labour side of
      politics advanced by Berrell, the Socialist Equality Party and Pip
      Hinman and the DSP, when the conflicts within the broad labour and
      workers movement are often so public and so clearly associated with
      different broad political interests and views.
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