Saturday, 5 May 2007

International Socialist Group & The Green Party's "left turn"

Following the reports in the Weekly Worker of a 'split' in the ISG between those who advocate and oppose work in Respect - the latest edition of the International Socialist Group journal ('Socialist Outlook') has a piece on Derek Wall which notes the "endorsement" by the ISG of Kovel and Lowy's "Ecosocialist Manifesto" - suggesting strengthened ties between the "Eco-Socialist" Green Left platform in the Green Party and the ISG. Is there a story here? Or are our friends in the ISG just expressing some basic left solidarity while improving their green credentials?

The suggested "left turn" of the Green Party - following the election of Green Left bigwig Derek Wall as co-leading speaker of the Green Party - raises some points of interests for the far left. In an article cited by Humantide (which seems to have vanished from the SP website) the Socialist Party outlines its position on this issue. The SP rightly point out that principled leftists should reject the negative effects of punitive taxation on the poorest sections of society (perhaps an obvious point, but one that should be made anyway) while largely failing to address the most basic of points - that a coherent understanding of the role of class, and a substantial working class base of support, is largely absent from the party. This is a point made by the AWL in "Green Party turns left?".

The implications of this are expressed well by the suggested Green Party "betrayals" documented within the Socialist Party article, as it is tossed hither and tither between competing internal factions. The Socialist Party ends by "welcoming" the development, but largely writing off the progressive role the organisation can play - expressed for the SP in relation to the Campaign for a New Workers Party.

Friends of North Korea

The most recent article to grace the blog of "New Worker Features" by General Secretary of the New Communist Party Andy Brooks concerns the "hero" Kim Il Sung and the general defence of the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea. Which provides a perfect opportunity to outline a relatively new organisation on the scene; the Friends of North Korea.

Founded around December 2005 the Friends of North Korea appears to have been brought to life by a collection of tankie and tankie sympathizers for the purposes of cosying up to North Korea. The most recent activity of the grouping has been noted by the Staliniod Revolutionary Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) in an online report:
On April 14, 2007, a public meeting and social was held under the title "Korea Defends Independence". It was organised by Friends of Korea....
From the same folks at the RCPB (M-L) we find that the "Co-ordinating Committee of Friends of Korea" has written a letter to Comrade Kim Jong Il signed 'Michael Chant, General Secretary', expressing the prerequisite groveling on the "occasions of the 61st anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea".

A heavy role for Harpal Brar (no surprises there really) is hinted at in reports of meetings by the New Communist Party here. While earlier accounts of a "preparatory committee" for Friends of Korea cite members of groups as wide-ranging as the NCP, RCPB (ML), CPGB (ML) and SLP - a veritable whos who of the Stalinist far left!

If anyone has anything else which would shed light on the organisation - they don't seem to have a website, your input would be very much appreciated.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Boris Yeltsin: Far-left Reaction

Spartacist League / CWI exchange

I realise by now the corpse of Boris will be quite, quite cold - but in the world of far-leftist politics a week is a slightly longer time.

I've been awaiting the Yeltsin obits for some time now - the left is at its best when it knows who it hates, and it hates them passionately. I also enjoy it when various leftist publications sweep aside the vestiges of bourgeois-morality (respect for the dead) for the sake of a good, fiery polemic.

It's long been a common refrain of the Sparts in the international communist league's that members of the Socialist Party's CWI were during the early 90's "on Yeltin's barricade". It's a widely acknowledged fact that if you are to observe an exchange between members of each organisation - a mention is guaranteed within the first sixty seconds, regardless of the previous conservation or wider political context within which said conversation is enacted.
The Spartacist League quote, rather amusingly, a "front page" CWI account during the period, from the "Barricades in Moscow":
"I am a participant in the struggle for democracy...I went to the White House and helped build barricades around the monument." (1991)
Interestingly in a piece released by Militant titled 'Militant's Real History' the following contrasting quote is provided:

"We publicly distanced ourselves from the pro-capitalist Yeltsinites,... flooding towards the defence of their hero at the White House in Moscow"
I suspect this inconsistency will be largely attributed to the malignant role of the Grant / Woods grouping, as suggested above.

However we view the CWI position on "Yeltsins barricades" retrospectively, the party make it slightly clearer how they feel about him with the benefit of hindsight, in a April 26th article titled "Wild capitalism across the former USSR". In which the "bitter experience of the mass of the population under his rule" is duly noted. Ignoring the historic inconsistencies - it is a fairly perfunctory obituary with the usual stodgy prose we've all come to expect from 'The Socialist'.

I await the Spartacist League rebuttal with a certain amount of unhealthy glee.

Yeltsin: Drunken Buffon

Moving on, the New Communist Party tell us it was the "drunken buffoon" Yeltsin who put the "final nails into the coffin of the Soviet Union". That's more like it, comrades! It doesn't exempt others from blame of course, citing "traitor" Gorbachov as a precursor. After this some curiously random points are made (try finding the point in there if you can) about British history before ending on a high-note, the defense of the workers' states in "China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam...Cuba". So many workers state, so little time in which to defend them.

There hasn't been much else on the Staliniod-left that i've actually seen, hopefully Lalkar or the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) will provide us with something yet.