16 June 2003


Stephen Marks writes:

Granted that Andrew Murray is a raving Stalinist, and granted that his piece (click here) is stylistically an extruded length of agitprop cliche, as far as the content goes just what is so loony about it? Like any successful campaign on the left the anti-war campaign has been the object of an open season by the right-wing press. Murray is advising its supporters to keep calm, and reject destructive infighting on the one hand and delusions of grandeur on the other. Sounds good sense to me.

True, he describes the instinctive behaviour of the Tory press as if it was a conscious conspiracy, but this is a universal bad habit on the left and relatively innocent. It is also not as far removed from reality as some other bits of left mythology. But his main problem is that like Nick Cohen, Mark Thomas and the SWP, he shares the delusion that the internal politics of the STWC is particularly important.

Most of the 2 million who marched in February neither knew or cared about the factional makeup of the STWC leadership - it was a convenient facilitator for a massive popular outburst of opposition to the war.

The one relevant political position the SWP and CPB shared was the 'unprincipled' [from a left-sectarian] view that the campaign should be broad, minimalist and non-exclusionary. As long as its leadership clung to that view, their other politics was and is irrelevant - unlike ANSWER in the USA whose sectarian instigators - the Marceyites of the Workers World Party - used their position to advance their particular party line. In that situation to point out how far removed the Marceyites neo-Stalinoid politics are from that of the majority of anti-war opinion is not witchunting but legitimate and relevant politics.

Rather like the legal principle that your previous convictions cannot be mentioned in court, unless you are unwise enough to plead your alleged good character in your defence - when it becomes legitimate for the prosecution to reveal your previous form to the jury.

No comments: