Saturday, 14 September 2013
The failure of the left and the working class today
Today I listened today to Novara Fm a weekly student run radio show from London http://www.novaramedia.com It regularly features great discussion and debate on all sorts of topics. The show is hosted by Aaron Peters and James Butler two communists who I think have a great way of articulating their views and are good broadcasters too by the way. Today’s show was featuring Owen Jones of the Labour left and his thoughts on the labour party and the trade unions. In the last week we’ve seen the TUC conference where lots of hot air was produced as always. Getting on to my main theme of this post which may run and run is the left and the working class of today and where we are heading, if anywhere at all. Now I am no longer a member of any political party and for a very good reason. I was a member of the socialist party and still remains a close supporter of the party but could no longer remain member of late due to various issues which I may elaborate in time but probably not now. The left is a frustrating thing hugely fragmented and split it has so far since the economic crisis of 2007/08 failed to provide a real alternative to the current situation be that inside the labour party which I have been in and now outside which I’ve experienced for myself too. Neitehr side of the left has been able to articulate a real alternative that we can focus around for one reason or another. Political party membership of all colours is at a all time low and yet the mass interest in politics is still very high. Somethingis going wrong you may think. But yet I do think we are in a new era entirely. A era where political parties have had their day to a extent in terms of mass organisation of members anyhow. The economic crisis has not benefited the labour party or the organised left outside the labour party one bit at all. Any forms of new parties including the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition which I had high hopes for and Left unity are still yet to make any sort of impact on people. This may change but I do still think todays left have not come to terms with the new situation let alone began to think of how to address this. By this I ean the new forms of the working class and the new layers entering it. For example there are more women in the workplace than possibly ever before now with a lot of trade union membership taken up by women yet the trade unions and their methods have not changed one bit. They still largely act, as do much of the left that we still live in a industrial based largely white male labour workforce. Nothing could be further from the truth any longer I’m afraid. Failure to recognise this and to reach new layers of BME and women workers is something which I’ve been astonished from with the left who like to pride themselves of reaching new layers. So far I’ve seen very little evidence of this. Also in terms of young people and private sector workers little to no attempts have been mde from the left to engage with these layers so far since the out break of the crisis in 2008. Now this post may sound a bit ranty and not really saying anything but I do think these points need to be made and it is also backed up with my own experiences of the left and the trade unions. They are simply not fit for purpose in my opinion. Hense I am going independent for now. I don’t think at this stage any left group or party has the ideas to move things forward. They are largely stuck talking to themselves and talking of by gone days. Well I’m afraid we live in a new era. A era of uncertainty and new situations that the likes of our leaders have not seen before. I do not have all the answers and I don’t think anyone out there does. I think as a collective we can do but at this stage we are a long way from a break through. The left frustrates me but also gives me hope as there is lots of big opportunities out there if any group or party is prepared to break from the habbits of the past which do no longer work and look forward to a new way of thinking. A new way of organising which brings new layers on board. The young, Women and all who have no voice as it stands today. We can certainly learn from the pasta nd we will do but we live in a new era, one we have not seen before all be it with similar features to the past. Much of the left is held back by its old ways of organising and failing to live in the ehere and now and adapt to that. Those who can adapt and find a way of reaching a mass audience will get a boost. As a Marxist I do still feel workingpeople have the ability and the power to change things. So far the left as a politica force has failed them I’m afraid. To move on we need to learn where we have gone wrong and where we can improve. Will this happen ? We can only hope.