The mother of all downturns?

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by chilango, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    The OP isn't talking about people who 'just vote labour' - he's talking about a dying/dead constituency/field of action - not just any anti-tory.
     
    redcogs and chilango like this.
  2. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    But at the height of the political posting on here, people were getting excited about structureless clown collectives.
     
    19force8 likes this.
  3. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    No, they were laughing relentless and mirthlessly at then and accusing at least of one the initiators of being a tout.
     
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  4. Plumdaff

    Plumdaff joy in people

    The most successful campaign against a Labour Council in the last year or so - in Haringey - was in large part fought within the Labour Party itself. Now that may be an example of the paucity of the Left right now but is also an example of how many people are choosing to square that circle.
     
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  5. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Round here the OP's point about Labour councils is probably the most prescient - for example shutting every day nursery in the area, or building zero affordable homes. However you might be surprised just how many people are putting up a fight, or are wise to the council-level corruption, not in overtly political spheres but instead on public view in local FB groups etc. But they face the usual void of organisation so action amounts to individuals e.g. writing to Sajid Javid about something that is (in the housing case) not a substantial answer to anything anyway. And if/when it amounts to nothing they will go round the cycle of doing less & less next time.

    The Haringey HDV episode, which tbf I'm not intimately familiar with except some cursory reading on here, seemed to offer some interesting perspectives on what might happen if central Labour decided to smash up its own failing components, but there's no indication that it's a pattern to be more broadly repeated. Is Andy Burnham going to do anything about Greater Manchester's many council-initiated fuckups? Probably not. But aside from central gov, what other entity would you back to make an impact in public service provision here, which in turn is probably the single biggest factor that decides what quality of life working people have here? If there's no answer to that then you're stuck trying to mould what you do have - Labour - to your aims.
     
  6. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    Not, I should say, Alinskyite organising. More this kind of stuff: Momentum

    Which can be a little bit Trotskyist in tone but way better than what has been passing for community organising in the US.
     
  7. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    This is very much my point.

    I'm less interested in whether Labour is the best vehicle for struggle, than that it increasingly appears to be presented as the only one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  8. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    So, let's go back to the start - what produced the field of action we're here to mourn and what were it's components - my offering:

    1) a rigorous and deeply implanted union culture based on class grounds - even if not politically falling for labour.
    2) a political party that was seen and accepted as the other part of 1)
    3) A lively third leg based on sympathetic rejection of the first two but always revolving around the same issues.

    Or am i looking back too softly - did this really exist in the 80s? It certainly was accurate before that. What existed then that allowed this/produced this - and what doesn't now?
     
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  9. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    You had 10s of thousands of people in left of Labour organisations with decades of tradition and structure. In many ways not a good thing. But a thing nonetheless. That came from somewhere. Where?
     
  10. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    Yeah, I deliberately didn't say people on here were excited. But that was the general environment at the time - and Chilango was talking about a general environment for action. When the 2008 crisis came there was no base from which to fight. Since then has been a very slow process of people attempting to reconstitute actual organising. It's a slow process, partly because the starting point was so low, partly because the cultural drift is against it. But I think it's the 15 years before 2008 that was fucking depressing.
     
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  11. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    It wasn't the general environment. That's a crazy claim to make. That was utterly irrelevant. At the time i was accusing you of having no real understanding of class politics - you said class was irrelevant, you went off and saw how it was. Fair play. But don't pretend that this was what was happening.
     
  12. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Momentum's a dead-end back to Labour again though.
     
  13. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    It is, confusingly, a different organisation based in the US.
     
  14. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Sorry, on my phone so didn't check :oops:
     
  15. J Ed

    J Ed Follow Back Pro Expropriation

    I think that this is a very good way of describing this process. An even more worrying manifestation of this is when people start cheering on the destructive effects of neoliberalism on the 'other side'.
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  16. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    The democratisation of universities.
     
  17. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    Coming back to this. As late as the mid 90s this was the case.

    What changed?

    Was the collapse of the CP and the Soviet Bloc in part responsible?

    Is it as simple as the the other side "winning"?

    Has the changing nature of social interaction - the continued break up of physical community structure and its replacement with online stuff - relocated stuff?

    Its not that long ago when you'd see stuff day to day. Stickers on lampposts, posters advertising events, meetings in pubs, paper sales on the high street, you'd know people who were "political" at work, or your in neighbourhood. Fuck, you could be picky and avoid the worst trots or whatever. There'd be leftie bookshops or cafes where you pick up flyers and FINs or fanzines or local newsletters.

    Perhaps never on the scale of say the CP's infrastructure in Italy (which has also largely vanished afaics) but there was an infrastructure.

    I'm rambling a little perhaps, but I want to talk about this, and part of the problem is there isn't anywhere to do so...
     
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  18. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    I wrote this last night but didn't post as I weren't sure it really added anything or I might be ramling about nothing much. Oh well, I will anyway.

    Don't really feel I can offer much being too young during the 80s (other than growing up in a home that hosted Labour party meetings/Mum being politically active) but I know that there was a strong tradition of 80s class/workers militancy (outside/around Labour/Militant/unions?) and that also cut-across stuff around squatting, welfare rights battles, liberation movements (womens/lesbian & gay/black but still very much grounded in class rather than identity?), SWP/ANL, CND, anti-fascist stuff (AFA), Solfed, Afed, etc. too and the Poll Tax stuff kicking off 89/90. In absence of the internet, you'd see fanzines, political newsletters and flyers in record shops, pubs and bookshops, and those places would also act as central hubs for organising too.

    My experience of this stuff really only starts around 91/92, as a suburban raver encountering stuff like free parties, but with the CJB being the politicising moment for me. I still remember there being a whole load of networks/alliances around the above still active, and emerging road protests/RTS, hunt sabs, anti-capitalist stuff, the alternative media like schnews, and where all of these stood entirely on their own and disconnected from Labour (as it underwent its shift to 'New Labour' and liberalism). Even in the very late 90s/early 00s, there appeared to be some momentum, and the internet I think in its early days worked alongside traditional media/networks (rather than replacing them) - urban for example, indymedia.

    However, I always felt that not long after the turn of the millenium that shift really happened, and a society that was becoming individualised and liberalised, and where class politics had been largely squeezed out by organising/action focusing along more single-issues/compartmental lines, and of course the rise of identity politics at that time. The internet has also massively shifted to becoming a corporate/capital beast in that time, and social media I think has actually hindered proper grassroot network building - sure it might be ok to publicise events, but they're poor tools for organising and discussion, and replace 'discourse' with just one-liner comments, where complex issues get reduced to a 'either you agree with me or you're my enemy' spat followed by being blocked. And all this has created a very weak left outside of Labour and the loss of those old traditions and networks, whilst also creating a huge vacuum for the working class which the right/far-right has been able to exploit better. And any remnants of left politics get simply sucked back into fighting for Labour again because confidence is too low to build anything outside of it, or we have single-issue campaigns/groups trying to make any marginal difference they can.

    Even working in Higher Ed, and with the strike action going on right now, I feel I have to stay quite 'low key' about my politics around colleagues (this wasn't like this even 10 years ago). I work with colleagues now who aren't unionised and don't see any reason to be (even in a unionised environment), who think that we 'have a decent thing going on really' and that it's all part of a 'bygone age'. Not sure how we shift this back again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  19. cantsin

    cantsin Well-Known Member

    speaking as someone never 100 % about anything at the moment, but throwing a fair bit of time / energy into the left Lab thing (in part, as some kind of self therapy or something probably) , I can understand a lot of the sentiment on here - but holding up cynical centrist, business loving, zero social housing creating, anti Corbynite mayor Khan as any kind of pointer to what a left Lab govt would look like in power, just doesn't make any sense.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  20. 19force8

    19force8 For the avoidance of faith

    Eh?
     
  21. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    The expansion of university numbers via a rubric of economic democracy.
     
  22. cantsin

    cantsin Well-Known Member

    opposing shitty,gentrifying New Lab councils, whilst supporting Corbyn / Momentum, is v common in Labour at the moment : online, in CLPs, etc ...eg : our Kernow cousins saw off this total wrong un (below) just this week, and it's happening all over. Am not saying this in any way addresses the core critique of your OP, but people need to know that the victory in Haringey, that could well end up materially affecting (positively) the lives of 1000's of working class residents for generations to come, cld be just the tip of an iceberg :

    (ps : "the bullying and intimidation " referred to in the headline turns out to have been the usual ' consistently opposed online / in meetings for ludicrous zombie Blairist approach to all matters relating to housing, cuts, etc etc "

    Labour leader quits party after 'bullying and intimidation'
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  23. 19force8

    19force8 For the avoidance of faith

    Well, yes. I'm interested in the link you see between that and the decline of left culture over the last 20 years.
     
    Celyn likes this.
  24. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    It's the clear material link between a cannibalising narcissistic left culture that's predicated on it's own individual consumer radicalism. One of the struts between class and politics kicked clear awaay.
     
  25. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    Go on butchersapron, I'm not (yet) sure what you're driving at here....
     
    19force8 likes this.
  26. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    I thought i just did - left culture used to be based mainly on class understood as a collective interest - various people trying to parasite on that class culture didn't really effect that. And it had an established political representation in the labour party - and so a ready made enemy to react to. Today this left culture is both diminished and outshouted by a competing left culture based on individual radicalism that mirrors flashy consumerism and that serves only to undermine collective expressions of interests beyond the marginal or deliberately antagonistic. This is one leg of the struts that supported what we mourn - a wide oppositional culture - kicked away. Because people will not go near that shit.
     
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  27. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    Yeah, got all that bit. Not sure how the expansion of university numbers fits in to that. Are you saying that it links to "a competing left culture based on individual radicalism that mirrors flashy consumerism"?

    I'm not disagreeing. I'm interested in hearing more....
     
  28. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    The expansion in university numbers allied with lazy reliance on social media has inflated what were bitchy clubs into larger fight clubs complete with sponsors and audiences. This is now, like it or not, what people think of when they refer to the left. Not the union branch organising shopping for OAPS last week. The class-left split is being driven eveer further apart by this. Far more so than the embourgeiousment that people feared in the 60s-70s
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    october_lost and mather like this.
  29. cantsin

    cantsin Well-Known Member

    possibly the least dialectical thing I've ever read from you
     
  30. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    I suppose you can only suggest that all movement and all change is progress for so long before you end up denying that bad things have happened and are happening.
     

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