April 20, 2006


Every country needs a labour party. We no longer have one: If Blair loses votes to the BNP next month, it will be because New Labour has abandoned working class communities and values (George Galloway, April 20, 2006, The Guardian)

Labour's long retreat from class politics - marked by the marginalisation of trade unions, privatisation, the abandonment of council housing and the helter-skelter of billionaires queueing up to fill the party funding gap - has finally forced some worms to turn.

Margaret Hodge, New Labour minister and formerly Islington's red duchess, and Jon Cruddas, once Downing Street's union-link man, have broken ranks to highlight the rupture in Labour's heartland: the end of the 100-year affair with white working people, those with nothing to sell except their work.

Labour's 1945-97 coalition of the working class and progressive middle-class allies - buttressed from the mid-60s by millions of mainly Commonwealth migrants - is being crushed in a vice-like process. The abandonment of traditional Labour social policy has been coupled with a foreign policy that deeply alienates parts of that coalition. The resulting fracture is now haemorrhaging votes from each element.

Labourism/Socialism doesn't work, but a significant portion of population will always want it, which traps the Left into backing policies that make it unelectable most of the time.

A Plan To End The War - Dump The Democrats (Joshua Frank, 20 April, 2006, Countercurrents.org)

Across the country opposition to the war in Iraq is fast setting in. The latest Bush job approval ratings are dismal, hovering around 35%, in large part due to peoples’ wariness about the disorder and uncertainty engulfing Iraq. Two weeks ago 24 towns in Wisconsin passed antiwar resolutions. According to Institute for Policy Studies in Washington that pushes the total number of cities to pass similar referendums nationwide to 100. But as the sentiment against the war continues to mature, the most significant question still remains unanswered: What are all of us who want to bring our troops home now going to do to stop the war?

Getting off our lazy haunches and protesting in the streets is one thing, but until we are willing to voice our objections at the ballot box, nothing in Iraq will ever change. Marching through our Main Streets with anti-Bush placards in hand, no matter how refreshing and energizing it may seem, still doesn’t hold all the hawks accountable for the war they have instigated. And I am not just talking about the Republican warmongers. On the other side of the isle the antiwar movement is faced with its principal challenge -- the Democratic Party.

It’s more than a challenge. In fact antiwar allegiance to the pro-war Democrats may well be our biggest problem. Despite the mounting opposition across the US to the war in Iraq, not one major Democrat has endorsed an immediate unconditional withdrawal of troops from Iraq. A few have supported Rep. Murtha’s “strategic redeployment” plea, which would sanction air strikes of Iraq as well as continued US military outposts throughout the region. But not one leading Democrat wants US troops home now. And what has the antiwar movement done to punish them? Nothing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 20, 2006 9:47 AM

Is Mr. Frank admitting that Dennis Kucinich is not a 'leading' Democrat? What about Barbara Lee? Gavin Newsom? The SF board of supervisors? Ramsey Clark? Michael Moore? Lynne Stewart? Cindy Sheehan? Catherine Baker Knoll?

With respect to the antiwar proposals by localities around the nation, I would guess that probably 500 local entities "voted" in the 1980s to ban nuclear weapons and nuclear war. A great exercise in democracy, and also in superfluity.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 20, 2006 10:06 PM

"What are [we] going to do to stop the war?"
"...the war they have instigated."

Seems to me that the war more-or-less started on 9/11/2001. And it wasn't the US that started it.

As Trotsky said, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."

Also: "You are at war with whomever thinks they are at war with you - like it or not."

Posted by: ray at April 21, 2006 12:16 AM

"Those who do not have swords can still die on them."

Posted by: Mikey at April 21, 2006 9:09 AM