Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Tony Benn: an appreciation

with 15 comments

Shiraz hits  (Sean Matgamna)  the right  note,

The first thing that should be said and remembered about Tony Benn, who died on Friday 14 March, is that for over four decades he backed, defended, and championed workers in conflict with their bosses or with the “boss of bosses”, the government.

That put him decidedly in our camp. The political ideas which he too often linked with those bedrock working-class battles detract from the great merit of Tony Benn, but do not cancel it out or render it irrelevant.

And then  this,

He shifted radically halfway through his life – back to the Radical seam in British political history….

Benn was a socialist. But first and foremost a British radical.

But not the socialist, in the European Marxist sense.

A wonderful type, I have no words to go on about this.

But not really “one of us.”


Written by Andrew Coates

March 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm

15 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I’ve long felt that nationalist dimension of the Labour left’s outlook to be worrying. If the bosses wish to organise on a European-wide basis in the Common Market, then so should we — a genuine European union of the working class.

    Dr Paul

    March 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm

  2. Can I just take this opportunity to say that for most of the left, that poisonous figurehead of the drone supporting left, Matgamna, is not only ‘not one of us’ but more to the point, ‘one of them’.

    And Benn was very much a socialist in the European Marxist sense (at least 30 years ago anyway). I suppose people like Hollande represent what a Marxist would understand as a socialist today? I guess the decline of old style social democracy and the rise of neo liberal ‘Third wayism’ has muddied the waters.

    I remember Engels talking about the socialists of his day, and he didn’t set up some ideal of what a socialist is, but firmly rooted it in reality. I remember him criticising socialists when it came to prisoner rights, saying something like:

    “You would at least think socialists would have some sympathy with prisoners’.

    So for Engels, no dogma of what a socialist is or isn’t.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    March 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm

  3. I don’t have much sympathy for you Beddie Boy.

    And what’s with this ‘guess’?

    Is you perchance moved to the USA?

    Andrew Coates

    March 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm

  4. I ‘guess’ s/he has just gotten frustrated reading too much stuff on the internet.

    I’m sure Sean Matgamna would be amused to be described as a ‘figurehead’ of anything; though it’s not quite on the level as him being described as ‘believing he is “the British Lenin”‘ in a Labour Student (NOLS) document of the early 1990s.


    March 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm

  5. I once tried to point out to Americans that if you start using gotten you have gotten round to have gotten into a load of ill-gotten problems.

    But then I gave up.

    Andrew Coates

    March 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

  6. I was just thinking of this Dagmar.

    “s/he ”

    Unlike French English does not signal gender with adjectives when you speak or write.

    One of my favourite films, Tomboy, lost a lot of its credibility on this issue.

    Nor, expect in the indirect adjectives, does German sign a person’s gender.

    Normally (since I know Germans) Dagmar is feminine.

    Andrew Coates

    March 21, 2014 at 6:16 pm

  7. I’m curious, Andrew – if your “us” does not include Benn, then who does it include? It must be a pretty select bunch – assuming you’re not using the first person plural pronoun in the fashion of monarchs and Margaret Thatcher…


    March 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

  8. I don’t need sympathy thanks.

    Guess is an indication of being unsure about something, a polite form of modesty if you like. Not something the warriors of the drone supporting left would ever understand.

    No, the drone supporting left are never in doubt and can always be trusted to make ‘clever’ remarks.

    The use of the word clever in the sentence above is not meant in the literal sense, bit like the way I used the word guess.

    I suppose Dagmar has never even been on the internet and posts his comments direct from his mind. Being a systems developer my job entails much time spent on the net. And there are times when processes are running that I use that time to vent my spleen at decents.

    On that score Matgamna and his fellow travellers are an odious and posionous stain on the left. You lot should be aware of how hated you are on the left.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    March 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

  9. Actually Francis it does come from French, from a Monarch, one of the frequent ‘calques’ in English (look up your dictionary) . Okay I mean my mates.

    Andrew Coates

    March 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

  10. I bet there’s a lot of quaking going on re Beddy’s insults. I bet in his bedroom there’s a lot of ‘lonely passion’ (as in ‘of Ted Grant’) going on. I’m amazed the key’s arent completely stuck together.

    Dagmar is indeed a female name. But in German many things are gender/sex-signposted, including almost all job descriptions or titles (that wasn’t the way in the DDR though, as I am sure Andy Newman would point out, if he wasn’t getting his chances of a Labour career soiled over at his own blog).

    Apart from the world for ‘girl’, which is neuter (due to it being the diminuitive form of ‘maid’).


    March 22, 2014 at 7:48 pm

  11. Actually there are few words in French which are feminine (la vigie, la sentinelle, la recru) which are feminine in form but (generally) masculine in meaning).

    There’s also the famous case of l’amour (masculine in singular, feminine in the plural).

    Andrew Coates

    March 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm

  12. Beddy-boy: “Being a systems developer my job entails much time spent on the net.”: ah: not actually a real worker, then, Beddy-boy?

    So you can take your opinions, and go away.

    Sean Matgamna was at least a working class guy who developed his views through struggle in the Manchester docks, auto-didactic reading and learning, and experience in the CP and SLL.

    I don’t think you’re fit to tie his boot-laces, Beddy-boy.

    Jim Denham

    March 24, 2014 at 2:05 am

  13. Jim thanks to the AWL for sending a review copy of In an Era of Wars and Revolutions: American Socialist Cartoons of the Mid-Twentieth Century, edited by Sean Matgamma.

    With chance BB will have a crisis seeing a post on it.

    Andrew Coates

    March 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm

  14. Come on Jim Denham, on this you’re, for a change, wrong. I have no idea what a “systems developer” does, but I am quite aware that many IT jobs are today’s equivalent of the assembly lines of old, but maybe with even less human interaction and a lot more control. Just because they make you likely to get RSI and are probably next-to impossible to organise; as opposed to doing your back in or being hit by a crane like dockers with union cards might have done it doesn’t mean they’re not “workers”.

    Saying that, there is one proviso: I am reliably informed that Beddy-Boy has velcro straps on his trainers, he’s never needed to learn to tie bootlaces.


    March 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm

  15. Denham,

    my dad worked in a factory all his life. I am unsure of what hole you crawled out of.

    The sexual innuendo of Francis is quite common on the drone supporting left I have noticed. You try to intimate that you are all cool men about town types, disgusted at those awful men who have no one to love. Your enlightened views on women must go down a treat at the local sect meeting.

    But me, I am ok thanks. Me and the missus are off to Lanzarote shortly so fire away boys, I am in too good a mood to take offence.

    At the moment I am building a data warehouse for a local authority incidentally. Usually the job is pretty social as a fundamental part of the work entails a ‘proof of concept’ phase, which means meeting other humans to understand their requirements.

    Computers have revolutionised the world in many ways, I never really had you drone supporting leftists down as Luddites, but I guess (that word again!) you guys are used to being whatever you want to be, whenever the situation suits.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    March 24, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: