Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Socialist Action, a Response to the SWP Crisis.

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Sam Marcy lives!

Socialist Action is a descendant of the International Marxist Group (IMG).*

A descendant.

It has now waded into the SWP crisis, asking,

Why the bourgeois media offensive against the SWP?

There are answers:

There are really two issues involved. First, why this crisis in the SWP has developed. Second why the capitalist media, who are implacable enemies of anything progressive, have decided to take such an interest in the matter. As will be seen the two issues are very different.

Before seeing how SA responds their own political background has to be borne in mind.

Socialist Action  is best known for its close co-operation with Ken Livingstone.

Amongst Livingstone’s ‘bag carriers’ were (Wikipedia reports)  Socialist Action supporterschief of staff Simon Fletcher, deputy chief of staff and director of public affairs and transport Redmond O’Neill, economic adviser John Ross, green adviser Mark Watts and culture adviser Jude Woodward.

In 2007 Livingstone changed the GLA rules so that his eight key advisers, four associated with Socialist Action (including John Ross and the late Redmond O’Neill), who as temporary appointments would not normally have been entitled to severance pay, received an average of £200,000 each.

Hedging their bets, “Socialist Action has also participated in Respect – The Unity Coalition since the 2007 split in that party. Several of its supporters became members of the party and one serves as its national treasurer.”

A failure  to secure Livingstone’s re-election led to Respect being given more priority. However Kate Hudson’s exclusion from the Galloway orbit (she was O’Neill’s partner though had been in the Communist Party of Britain), may have meant that this strategy was downgraded.

What is SA’s ideology?

Socialist Action has evolved far from the Trotskyism and new leftism of the IMG. Very far. Its ideology is often described as “Marcyism‘ after the former US Trotskist Sam Marcy (Sam Ballan, 1911 – February 1, 1998).

Marcey saw the main duty of the left was to “defend the existence of the USSR and its satellites in spite of their bureaucracy”. He supported the Soviet military intervention, in Hungary 1956, arguing that the initial worker uprising had attracted class elements that sought to restore capitalism.

After the collapse of the  Eastern Bloc and Soviet Stalinist states  SA has defended  ‘anti-imperialist’ forces of any kind.

Jane West and  Tom Castle’s articles on the Socialist Action site define everything in the world in terms of the fight against ‘imperialism’ – the US and to a lesser extent the European Union.

If you be bothered to wade through them you will learn that,

The class struggle in Egypt is still unfolding. Recent steps in foreign policy by President Morsi have been progressive – including the decision to visit Iran for the non-aligned summit and to pay a state visit to China before making one to the US. But so far domestically there has been only a limited response from the Muslim Brotherhood to demands of the Egyptian masses for improvements in their living standards and in standing up to the army, behind which stands the US.

Most immediately at the heart of the relationship of forces in the region now lies the struggle in Syria, where the imperialist-sponsored, financed and armed Free Syrian Army is seeking to overthrow Assad in order to break the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah axis which has successfully resisted the Israeli state and is one of the chief obstacle to untrammelled imperialist control in the region.

More recently Castle opines,

The US is encouraging its junior imperialist partners to step up their military role in Africa, with the US providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance rather than the key fighting forces. This is to allow the US to continue prioritising its ‘pivot’ to Asia, which is aimed at stepping up its presence in the Pacific as a curb on China, partly aimed at forcing a diversion of Chinese resources into defensive military spending in an attempt to curb the growth of the Chinese economy.

Human Rights? Forget it.

The SWP ‘Crisis’ to the SA.

Socialist Action begins by listing various crises in the SWP’s recent past, largely to do with their own hot and cold, very cold,  relations with windbag Galloway.

Then comes the Macryite line,

The real roots of this crisis are that the SWP was founded on a wrong analysis of the international class line of divide between the international working class and imperialism which led to major misunderstandings of the class struggle. Its famous strap-line ‘Neither Washington nor Moscow but international socialism’ expressed its analysis that the Soviet Union was a variation of capitalism, dubbed ‘state capitalism’. No class distinction could be drawn between this ‘state capitalism’ and the capitalist and imperialist powers.

The SWP failed to understand that the destruction of the USSR, and the re-establishment of capitalism constituted a great victory for imperialism which set back the class struggle internationally.

This is followed by a tortuous paragraph,

Throughout the last two decades the SWP’s comrades have therefore been led to expect a major upsurge in the struggle in the imperialist centres, which has failed to materialise, while turning their faces away from the really progressive developments in world politics such as Chavez in Venezuela, Castro in Cuba and the whole advance of the left in Latin America. This over-heated view of the possibilities in the class struggle also led to a sectarian and wrong attitude to other forces pursuing limited but progressive struggles within the imperialist centres – one of the issues which lay behind the wrong approach of the SWP in Respect.

Put simply they didn’t keep on Galloway’s bandwagon, or support unconditionally Chavez and Cuba.

The SWP, Socialist Action condescends to say, did,  apparently, stand on the right side against ‘imperialist interventions’.

What the Bourgeois Offensive against the SWP?

The bourgeois media thinks, accroding to SA, that a Labour victory in the next election is probable.


This therefore leads to the ruling class’s second goal: to reduce, divide, weaken and confuse any potential leftward pressure on Labour or emergence of forces to its left. This is why the bourgeois media is jumping on the crisis in the SWP to run a campaign against it. It is taking the opportunity of the SWP’s crisis to weaken as much as possible a significant component of the left that would oppose Labour’s austerity policies and help organise the resistance to it. And to discredit and smear the left in general.

In other words it should be clearly understood that the current attack on the SWP by the Daily Mail and its ilk is not carried out to ‘improve’ the left but to damage it as much as possible.

So, so,

Whatever discussions continue on the left about the issues raised by the crisis in the SWP, there should be no confusion about the fact that the bourgeois media campaign against the SWP has no progressive content whatever. It is merely part of an offensive to weaken the left as much as possible now and prevent the emergence of a powerful left campaigning against Labour carrying out austerity policies after 2015.

Quite Right Comrades!

We have been confused by the bourgeois attacks. We have thought they have an oppressive content”, we considered the Daily Mail was out to “improve” the left.

The scales have fallen from our eyes!

More information on Socialist Action, Stalinist, secretive and not left-wing: Socialist Action, the group behind ‘Student Broad Left’

*As is Tendance Coatesy.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm

2 Responses

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  1. It all went wrong with the SWP when Cliff came out with his state capitalist theory..

    Michael Ezra (@MichaelEzra)

    February 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

  2. As Richard Seymour would say, this accusation is vituperous objuration.

    Andrew Coates

    February 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

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