10993Re: Latham's Leichhardt meeting
- Nov 24, 2004By 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
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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