History,  The Left,  The Right

From the Vaults: The Sunday Telegraph, March 5, 1978

On this blog, we have often commented upon similarities between the supposedly left-wing Socialist Workers Party and far-right wing parties. We are not original with this accusation. The SWP was formed in 1977. A year later, the following appeared in The Sunday Telegraph:

What future for the political fringe?

Peter Taylor and Ian Waller

The Sunday Telegraph,  March 5, 1978.

…. Consider the following extract from a political tract: “Real grievances in industry… arise, almost without exception, out of the iniquities of modern international finance capitalism.” And the following caption to a photograph: “The Stock Exchange – Where Parasites Can Make Fortunes.” Neither comes from the Marxist Left, but from the policy documents of the National Front….

Entryism (i.e. infiltration of the Labour party) is in theory not the official tactic of the S.W.P. (another group, the “Militant Tendency,” specialises in this). In practice most S.W.P. members are also active members of the Labour Party, although their commitment is to violent – specifically violent – revolution.

It is the similarities between the Socialist Workers and the National Front that are so diverting. Not only are there identical points on economic policy, but the “anti-Zionism” of the two groups is equally virulent.

Both groups would say this is not anti-Semitism. The Front claims Jewish members, and the S.W.P.’s chief theoretician, Tony Cliff, is in fact an Israeli citizen, with a real name of Gluckstein.

They are also at a similar stage of political development, having shaken off the status of a “pressure group” for that of a fully-fledged party. More than that, there is a common thread of paranoia and violence which runs through both organisations. If the theoreticians on both sides were honest, they would admit that at this stage in their political journey they need each other.