Thursday, 3 October 2013
The various fronts of the left
Now we’ve all seen them and come across them the front organisation on the left is numerous. There is a long long list of them right down the years. I’ve come across many in my short space of time on the left some more well known ones include UAF- unite against fascism, Right to work, Youth fight for jobs, NSSN, Unite the resistance, Stop the war coalition, Coalition of resistance and the list goes on and on and on. Many have come and gone and others are only taken up at certain times. Left-wing front organisations, such as the Socialist Party's "Youth Fight for Jobs," are a way to monopolise movements and demobilising genuinely radical action in favour of recruitment and paper-selling sadly. Quite often a front is something for a left sect to grab hold of and gain control of a movement. The Left and its many fronts In the world of organised crime, mobsters have respectable businesses as fronts to disguise their illegal activities. In the world of political activism, parties and organisations form single-issue groups as fronts in order to lure people in on the basis of a single issue whilst hiding their broader ideology so that they can recruit people who may not agree with it. This is particularly prevalent on the Leninist / Trotskyist left. A prime example of this is the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) in Britain. Their front organisations include Right to Work, the Stop the War Coalition, Unite Against Fascism, Love Music Hate Racism, Campaign Against Climate Change, Globalise Resistance, and Defend Council Housing. Whilst they have the most fronts, however, they are not the only Trotskyist party to have them. The Socialist Party has the Youth Fight for Jobs Campaign, and has previously stood candidates in elections under the guise of “No2EU” and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty has Education not for Sale, Feminist Fightback, Workers Climate Action and No Sweat. So it goes on. The sects get tinier and more mental, and their fronts more obscure, but the formula remains the same. Take an issue people are concerned about, form a front group for it, mask any other politics you may have, and monopolise the movement by declaring anybody who cares about the subject but doesn’t side with yourselves to be “sectarian.” The likely result is that the most radical action you can muster is a liberal and entirely passive protest, whilst those who want to do something effective will be demobilised and disenfranchised from above. But hey, you’ll sell a lot of papers. Admittedly, the extent to which this is true varies. AWL and SP fronts, for instance, are often less apolitical and more direct with their message than SWP ones; take Workers Climate Action declaring that “climate is a class issue,” say, compared to UAF’s unwillingness to address the class issues that surround antifascism. But the formula roughly holds true in all cases. Sadly a lot of those who do want to fight back rather than cherry pic for new recruits for their organisation are often marginalised and often isolated and feel like their ideas are not listened to. I’ve experienced this too and have seen many a good activist driven away from getting involved as they feel over whelmmed with the various left sect getting involved and looking to dominate. We should encourage militant workers to join these organisations but look to remain independent and to continue to think criticlly at all times. If they feel something is wrong or being handled poorly then they must be allowed the democratic right and freedom to speak out without being threatened or isolated out of activity. All in all a lot of the left groups do not practice the concept of the united front very well at all and end up running it for their own ends shrinking its influence the longer it goes on due to their authoritarian nature of controlling from above and not allowing views and movements from below todevelop . This is all something which will continue but we do need to combat any forms of buraucracy that looks to hold a movement back by its small C conservatism that seems rooted in many of these left wing front organisations.