The far left often provide me with something to giggle at. One wonders if they realise how ridiculous they are. Fortunately, for those of us who have no desire to violently overthrow parliamentary democracy and install a dictatorship, they appear to spend so much of their time arguing with each other that they have not yet worked out the best way to storm the Palace of Westminster.
The latest piece I have read from this segment of the political spectrum to cause me to chuckle was written by Sacha Ismail of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. Comrade Ismail has been discussing a recent conference People’s Convention of the Right to Work campaign. This appears to be another Socialist Workers Party dominated campaign and hence doomed to failure. It seems the highlight of the “People’s Convention” was a disagreement between the SWP and the Militant Tendency Socialist Party on a matter for which nobody outside the room could care two hoots.
Comrade Ismail has to find something to complain about in order to prove that his leftist cult sect is theoretically superior to that of the SWP’s. His point scoring matter which he hopes will deliver a knock-out below to his larger opponent is to highlight that despite the fact that the SWP have regularly been calling for a general strike, they did not do so in the motion tabled at this People’s Convention. What they did instead was simply “applaud the calls from a number of trade unions for co-ordinated strike action and will campaign to achieve this over the coming weeks,” a formulation that Comrade Ismail thinks was rather weak. One wonders why he has been getting so worked up about this as by his own admission, his organisation thinks that a call for a general strike “is not just wrong but demagogic nonsense.”
The amusing paradox is that in order to demonstrate how much they want the right to work, some want to go on strike and not work.
There is nothing new about this lunacy. The forerunner to the SWP was the International Socialists (IS) and in 1976 there was also a Right to Work Campaign totally dominated by IS members. Denver Walker recounted on page 41 of his amusing book, Quite Right, Mr Trotsky! (Harvey and Jones, 1985) that members of the IS were very keen to demonstrate their support for the unemployed to have a right to have a job. This went so far that a number of them “were silly enough to give up good jobs to become ‘unemployed activists.'”