Tuesday, January 18, 2005

How to Create a Broad, Mass Socialist Party(?)

Have a look at this article on the Socialist Unity Website. I'm not sure what I think about it (and obviously I disagree with the writer's implied argument that Respect has ground to a halt/can't reach out to a wider constituency), but there are certainly a few interesting ideas. Michael Murray is absolutely right to suggest that the key to building a socialist party which reaches out beyond the current sphere of the far-left is to attract the thousands of socialists who exist to the left of New Labour, but who (for various reasons) are not attracted to the existing revolutionary left groups. There are thousands of socialists out there, as Murray says, who want to join an organised group, but are wary of existing ones. Murray suggests that a new mass party could be developed around the broadest of principles (he suggests picking up and dusting off the Labour Party's abandoned Clause 4 as the organising set of core principles). Crucially, the party, however, would not come into physical being until a certain number of people had signed up (10,000) - it would exist only in potential as it were, on the web (as a membership form I suppose) until this point. This, Murray suggests, would mean that none of the existing left groups would be in a position to dominate it (whether intentionally or whether unavoidably through sheer weight of numbers). Murray argues that previous attempts at broad alliances have necessarily relied on the organisational backbone of an existing left group and so have not appeared attractive (rightly or wrongly) to left Labour types. Launching the party with 10,000 members already signed up would mean that non-partisans of existing revolutionary parties would be in the majority and everyone wins - the independents have a party which isn't dominated by left groups and the left groups get the mass party they've always wanted. The left groups simply act as minority currents or tendencies within the broad left party.

Hmmm. My position is that Respect remains the best vehicle for attracting ex-Labour members and independent socialists. It needs a kick start, however, something that will truly put it on the political map as a serious player - ie a couple of seats at the General Election. Murray's plan should be put on hold - hopefully we won't need it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Day After

It wasn't too bad. I survived.

I went out to a little York pub last night with some friends and got drunk on 'Schneider Weisse' (a fantastic German white beer - you should try it kids) and, although I'm usually a non-smoker I had a couple of big fat cigars (possibly under the influence of watching too much McCririck on telly).

I didn't cry once.

I'm quite upset today, however, that Germaine appears to have left the Big Brother house. Whatever shall I do with myself of an evening? There's still Bez I suppose.

Monday, January 10, 2005


I'm 30 today.

Friday, January 07, 2005

It's OK to Like Big Brother, You Know.

I have a confession to make. I quite like Big Brother. Now I know that, as someone with an almost violent loathing of Heat Magazine culture (you know, where people are famous for being famous, in which meaningless celebrity obsesses a good proportion of the population - a culture in which people will buy a magazine because it's got a picture of some brain-dead, botoxed 'it girl' in a spangly dress on the front), this is perhaps rather inconsistent - maybe even hypocritical. I know, I know. However, sometimes even puritanical political fanatics like me need to take time off and slump in front of some undemanding TV pap.

This series of Celebrity Big Brother (yes the name makes me cringe), though, might be particularly interesting and could even provide some form of mild intellectual stimulation to its viewers. You see, in the BB house amongst some little twerp from Blazin Squad, a has-been Radio One DJ and that dickheaded bling-merchant, John McCrirrick, is Germane Greer. I've got a lot of time for Germane Greer - and I'm looking forward to seeing what she gets up to (and how long McCrirrick can make it before she eats the bastard alive). My interest was given a further boost last night when I watched one of those late night BB's - you know, where they just show the housemates talking. I was pleasantly surprised by the (rather bizarre) spectacle of Greer discussing the Asian Tsunami, Diego Garcia and Iraq with Caprice in a hot tub. She later launched into a polemic against Bush and the Iraq war, much to McCrirrick's annoyance - great telly.

If Greer keeps this form up, this could well make essential Stopper viewing. She might even make politics, intellectualish discussion and having opinions, fashionable. who knows, maybe, in the not too distant future, in amongst the fatuous, plastic celebs and soap opera blondes in Heat Magazine, we'll see a centre spread photo of Subcommandante Marcos relaxing in his chic jungle hide-out.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Apology Note

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for a while now, only I've been away over Christmas and have been very busy marking essays and trying (note emphasis of word 'trying') to produce a substantial piece of work.

Back to normal soon I hope.

Happy New Year by the way.

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