Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Farewell, Workers' Power

Those of you who are as geekish as I am, will probably already be aware that the Trotskyist group Workers' Power has imploded, with its international section - the comically named "League for the Fifth International" - expelling a large number (possibly a majority given the parlous state of the group's membership) of its British section. They in turn have formed the "Permanent Revolution Tendency"... WP always did have a thing about sounding dead 'ard. They also had a thing about forming internationals; hopefully the PRT comrades will continue in this great tradition and form the League for the Sixth International, as soon as sufficient proletarian forces can be rallied to their standard.

It's a shame they've collapsed though. I always did enjoy their barmy interventions in meetings - I'll never forget seeing one of their comrades at a Socialist Alliance meeting, scarlet faced with r-r-r-r-revolutionary ardour, leaping out of a chair on hearing that a Catholic nun was considering joining the Alliance. If their motion was passed (I even forget what it was about) said he, gesticulating wildly, then "for every Catholic nun" (verily, he did spit forth the words as though they offended his mouth) who would not join, "ten anti-capitalist youth" would sign up to join the new and radicalised alliance, presumably due to WP's inspiring political direction. Absolute bollocks of course, but wonderful theatre. It was their schtick, to give the bonkers, frothy-mouthed speech at every meeting that accused everyone else of being a petty bourgeois dilettante, and by George they did it to perfection.

And now they've blown up, apparently by expelling the largest section of their largest section. Another one of those wonderfully eccentric institutions on the British left has faded away, leaving us all a little duller for its demise.

So farewell, Workers' Power. This blog awards you a tinfoil hat, in affectionate memoriam.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you support a troop withdrawn
form iraq? if so how you intend
to achive it.

7:07 AM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

Yes, and by bringing them home. How's this relevant?

7:56 AM  
Blogger Jim Denham said...

I miss "Workers Power" - but not that much. Their main usefulness, in recent years, has been to demonstrate to the SWP and anyone influenced by them, exactly where that sort of politics lead you: for instance, "Workers Power" had a position called the "Anti-Imperialist United Front". The "AIUF", according to "WP", meant - and this is not a crude cartoon misrepresentaion- that *whoever* militarily faught "imperialism" *must* be supported. Thus, they were the first (and, as far as I know, *only*) left group to support the Taliban against the US/British invasion of Afghanistan. In reality, the SWP and the British section of the USEC (the ISG), took the same position...but only "Workers Power" had the guts to spell it out.

I once asked Bernie MacAdam - a long-standing "WP" member, about their support for the Taliban, and about what it would mean in practice -for instance in Afghanistan. Bernie (a very nice guy, by the way), said to me, something like:

"Yes, the Taliban would be trying to kill us. But we would still give them critical but unconditional support"..!

I kid you not! And I have witnessess!

11:43 AM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

LOL, yes I remember that.

I'd have to say, the "minority" (who actually appear to be a majority of the British section) have not been tardy since their explusion. Their website's up and running, AND they've brought out the first edition of their new paper (which can be got from thier website, www.permanentrevolution.net).

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously you have little experience of faction fights. Once a split looks likely you buy a printing press (or the hi tech equivalent these days) or if you're on the other side and occupy the party offices, you change the locks.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Charlie Pottins said...

Actually modern technology has had a lot to do with the increased muliplication of splits. In the old days you needed an inky printshop with machines and operators in overalls, (I can even remember hot lead), but nowadays with PCs and DTP, anyone can form a "Party" in their bedroom (as distinct from some of the old school leaders who thought the "Party" was their bedroom)
I too will miss WP though (not for lack of aiming at them -joke). When first we met they had a book about the Fourth International and its failings which was dead good 'cos nobody else had one. If their know-all air was irritating at first one got used to it, and I'll miss that old-fashioned schoolmaster/schoolma'am air you used to get from some of them (I wondered whether their unique line on paedophilia was connected, but they seemed to have dropped that).
Whatever the country, whatever the crisis they could flourish a "programme" of what should be done if ...and give others ticks and crosses for correctness. It seemed a pity that having spotted so many failings of the Fourth International they could only think of repeating them; but they did do some good stuff, and not having been as opportunist and corrupt(so far as I know) as the old WRP and present SWP leadership, or the Sparts, who knows, perhaps some good will come out of this bust-up.

8:04 AM  

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