:: Monday, October 27, 2003 ::

What George Did Next

It seems likely that George Galloway will not force a by-election but may stand for the European Parliament on the London 'peace and justice' list that is being put together by an assortment of people around the Stop the War Coalition/Socialist Alliance axis. The main figures involved are George Monbiot and Salma Yaqoob from Birmingham. The Green Party have not responded well to the proposals claiming that the new coalition will be a front for the Socialist Workers Party and has nicked their programme.

It is the latter complaint that I find more interesting than the former. I think the left can only get back on track in England if it makes itself relevant on the small issues as well as the big issues. That means thinking globally sure, but acting locally. As James Meek wrote in a recent Guardian article "It's too bad for them that the Socialist Alliance has been so busy stopping the war in Iraq and dodging tear gas in coastal resorts such as Genoa and Seattle that it has been unable to tackle the BNP head on. As any marxist schoolboy would tell you, the forces of bourgeois neo-liberal global capitalism have Burnley by the throat."

Joyce McMillan also wrote an interesting piece in the Scotsman recently examining anti-racism in the light of the undercover reporting of police racism.
She noted "the existence of that official anti-racist culture has actually increased the appeal of racist ideas, language and action for that minority who, in every society, like to think of themselves as rebels, dissidents and bad boys. In that sense, we in Scotland have at least one reason to be grateful to Tommy Sheridan and his Scottish Socialist Party, for setting up a dissident working-class alternative to current mainstream politics that is immaculately non-racist, whatever its other weaknesses. But in large areas of England, that far-Left alternative is absent or negligible; and as the language of some of those recruits showed, a vote for the BNP can come to be seen as a gesture of radical, populist defiance against establishment values."

Any initiative that can increase the reach of the left is a good thing. But it needs to have a firm political programme which addresses the big questions in the context of everyday problems like the damp on the walls or the local post office shutting down.

:: Alister | 12:36 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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