Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Socialist Party (Peter Taaffe) from Nationalise the 400 Top Monopolies to Nationalise 150.

with 23 comments

What Would Trotsky Have Done?

Concern is growing in the international workers’ movement after night’s appearance by Peter Taaffe on Channel Four News.

The dapper gent, reminding us of how his organisation, the Socialist Party, brought down Thatcher, and was now looking to re-affiliate the Socialist Party to Labour, talked of the programme we all – how pressingly ! – meed.

But something sounded wrong.

In 1964 Militant, forerunner of Taaffe’s party paper,  The Socialist, demanded” “Nationalise the 400 Monopolies” (Wikipedia).

In 1972 a “supporter” of the paper, Pat Wall called “for Labour to win the workers to a programme of taking power by taking over the 350 monopolies which controlled 85 per cent of the economy.”

“By the late 1970s, the Militant newspaper was a 16 page weekly, outlining its organisations policies, activities and campaigns. By the end of the 1970s, the Militant tendency was calling for the nationalisation of the top 250 monopolies, later 200…”

Yesterday Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party of England and Wales and member of the International Executive Committee of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), which claims sections in over 45 countries around the world demanded, according to reliable reports, “public ownership of the top 150 monopolies.”

This new line is confirmed in the party paper, ” We would nationalise not just steel in Britain but the top 150 monopolies that control the wealth and resources in society.” (20th of April 2016)

In “A world of crisis, ripe for revolution” (Socialist Party national congress 2016) is this the moment to abandon the hope of nationalising the other 250 monopolies?

Is is not the time, with history breathing down the SP’s neck, to stand firm, when even the Stalinists of the so-called British Communist Party (CPB)  have rushed to the aid of the Labour right?

The leader of Britain’s Communist Party has condemned alleged Trotskyist ‘entryism’ into Labour.

Robert Griffiths, the party’s general secretary, denounced the tactic as dishonest and predicted it would backfire.

His comments came after the leader of the Socialist Party, the successor to Militant, Peter Taaffe said he expected to become a Labour member if Jeremy Corbyn keeps his job.

Mr Taaffe was expelled from the party in 1983 as part of then leader Neil Kinnock’s battle against hard-left elements.


The Communist party released a press release saying it condemned ‘dishonest tactics by sectarian entryist groups’.

Mr Griffith said: “Only Labour’s right-wing benefit from this manufactured media storm about entryism into the Labour Party.

“With hundreds of thousands of progressive voters flooding to support the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn neither the media nor Tom Watson’s fertile imagination cannot conjure a real threat from a handful of obscure sectarians.

“Deciding Labour’s leadership and policy is the exclusive privilege of its members, registered supporters and trade union supporters. Membership of the Communist Party is incompatible with membership of the Labour Party by decision of both party leaderships

More in the Morning Star:  Communists: Labour Entryism A Myth.

COMMUNIST Party leader Robert Griffiths has slammed the “fertile imagination” of rightwingers who say far-left infiltrators are taking over the Labour Party.

Mr Griffiths emphasised that the Communist Party had always opposed entryism and said the “sectarian” organisations that practised it were too small to make a difference.

He made the statement after deputy Labour leader Tom Watson claimed old Trotskyist entryists were attempting to use the “Labour Party as a vehicle for revolutionary socialism.”

Mr Griffiths said: “Only Labour’s right wing benefit from this manufactured media storm about entryism into the Labour Party.

“With hundreds of thousands of progressive voters flooding to support the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn neither the media nor Tom Watson’s fertile imagination can conjure a real threat from a handful of obscure sectarians.

“Deciding Labour’s leadership and policy is the exclusive privilege of its members, registered supporters and trade union supporters.

“Membership of the Communist Party is incompatible with membership of the Labour Party by decision of both party leaderships.”

Judges will today rule on whether 130,000 people who joined the Labour Party in the last six months can vote in the forthcoming leadership election.

On Monday, a High Court judge ruled in favour of five new members who argued that refusing them the right to vote would amount to a breach of contract.

But the case was heard by the Court of Appeal, where lawyers representing Labour general secretary Iain McNicol argued only the national executive committee could rule on the constitution.

The decision will be announced at 3pm today.

A senior Labour source said: “If Labour loses the appeal, the position of Iain McNicol becomes untenable.

“Having spent nearly a quarter [of a] million pounds on this legal case and staking his professional reputation on the outcome, if he loses today then he simply can’t stay in post.”



Written by Andrew Coates

August 12, 2016 at 11:09 am

23 Responses

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  1. On the contrary, it is Taafe’s vanity that is aiding the right wing

    Nick Wright

    August 12, 2016 at 11:43 am

  2. Brilliant article!

    “Taaffe is almost the last Trotskyite standing. Even in his own much-diminished organisation his hectoring style and sectarian impulses are symptomatic of a passing era. A large part of the SP has already departed to the Labour Party and of those remaining – many of them hard-working and effective trade union activists – the discipline and reality of trade union work has shaped them into something rather distinguished from the traditional trotskyite.

    Fortunately, Taaffe is not allowed out much in public. The last time I heard him speak was several years ago at a memorial meeting for a very notable and accomplished trade union leader, John McCready, of the civil and public service union whose resolute realism was married to a formidable work ethic. There, Taaffe’s contribution was unyieldingly formulaic, uncharitable and unsympathetic to the wide spectrum of people and opinion gathered to honour John. I thought he had been put out to grass so it was something of a surprise to see him wheeled out for today’s BBC Radio 4 World at One.”

    Unfortunately he is not the only one in the SP grandstanding nor is the idea that they are not involved in efforts to crawl back into Labour (and in a few cases actually part of it) untrue.

    There are a number, one might call them the dernier carré, who are both trying to bathe in Corbyn’s reflected glory and trying to advance their own sectarian cause – witness all that guff about a new radical workers’ party, the SP affiliating to Labour and welcoming a split in the Party.

    But then, like your good self, they are no doubt exalted by the opportunities Brexit presents.

    Andrew Coates

    August 12, 2016 at 11:54 am

  3. You are being a bit unfair to the RSL/Militant/SPEW/whatever, Andrew. With the historic tendency of capitalism towards monopoly, or at least oligopoly, the number of “monopolies” requiring nationalisation can be expected to fall every decade or so. I’m not sure why it has to fall in lots of 50, but there you go… Unfortunately, the equally historic tendency towards globalisation can make “nationalisation” increasingly problematic, but hey ho – it’s always easier to amend an old slogan than think up a new one.


    August 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm

  4. Taaffe? he should just taff off, with his merry bunch of millies.

    All these entryist groups are dishonest, and anybody who’s ever had a dealing with a Trot will know how devious and double dealing two faced these types are. The AWL is itself just a big entryist orgnanisation and should be expelled from the Labour Party.


    August 12, 2016 at 11:26 pm

  5. Jim Denham

    August 13, 2016 at 11:15 am

  6. I wish your front page story (11 August) had not referred to “the Socialist party” without qualification. As a sidebar clarifies, former Militant is “Socialist Party of England and Wales” (Spew!). There also exists the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) which is not Trotskyist – in fact it existed before the Soviet Union, which it always opposed. I am a member of neither but feel sorry for anyone in the SPGB if folk muddled them up with Spew.

    Bob Allaway


    Today’s Guardian.


    Andrew Coates

    August 13, 2016 at 11:17 am

  7. Seems to me there are at least three sorts of people who could best serve the cause of the left in the Labour Party by staying as far away as possible: 1) George Galloway and his fan base; 2) SPEW, and 3) the AWL. In each case their support is best expressed silently, and from a great distance.


    August 13, 2016 at 12:41 pm

  8. “Labour Party Marxists” have gone rather quiet recently.

    Perhaps you have been advising Ken as well Francis.

    Andrew Coates

    August 13, 2016 at 4:45 pm

  9. The moment anybody ever listens to my advice, Andrew, I promise to stop offering it. 😉


    August 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm

  10. Forgive my naivete but how does one nationalize corporations that are…transnational?


    August 13, 2016 at 7:53 pm

  11. https://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/awl-statement-oppose-watsons-witch-hunt/

    “The AWL is nothing like the SP, or its forerunner, the Militant. We are not a closed, secretive sect.”



    August 13, 2016 at 10:46 pm

  12. Re: “entryism.” If a Marxist organization joins the Labour Party OPENLY, not SECRETLY, how is that “entryism”?


    August 13, 2016 at 10:49 pm

  13. Organisations can’t ‘join’ the Labour Party. They can apply for affiliation. It is vanishingly unlikely that any Trotskyist groupuscule which applied for affiliation to Labour would be granted it. Such a group can encourage its members to join Labour as individuals, but if the group retains its own structure and internal discipline, and uses it to direct the political work of its members within the Labour Party, then that is entryism pure and simple.


    August 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm

  14. The SP claim they wish to apply as an affiliate organisation, like the Fabians.

    They also welcome a Labour split, indeed encourage it…..

    Andrew Coates

    August 14, 2016 at 3:47 pm

  15. It was never Taaffe’s party until he stole it and destroyed it and now they are nothing but a shell . It was build by many others , Taaffe had little to do with it. I wonder why some keep telling this lie.

  16. But in practice the anti-Corbynites in the PLP have “their own structure and discipline.” And they never pay for it. To say that a group like the AWL or Socialist Appeal can’t exist within Labour is effectively to say that Labour isn’t allowed to have factions. Which is anti-democratic. Fine, let them join as individuals one by one. Those individuals should be allowed to gather under their own banner as a Labour Party faction, put out their own paper, organize their own events, etc.


    August 15, 2016 at 3:06 pm

  17. Taafe and his party are also very boring, the Socialist newspaper is the most boring paper on the left.
    As for the AWL they are a zionist left organization, playing a double entryism, entryism in the labour party as a ‘left’ organization, and entryism on the left as an ostensibly Marxism group but in reality a zionist group. The AWL should be expelled from the Labour party and driven out of the workers movement.


    August 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm

  18. The problem with disciplined factions is the problem of leverage – a relatively small but organised group of people can exert a disproportionate amount of influence in the structures of the wider party. I don’t need to explain how they can do that on this blog, with its high proportion of ‘veterans’ among the readers. 😉 If their operations are parasitic (they seek to grow at the expense of the host organisation) or disruptive (they are more interested in fighting within the organisation than fighting its external opponents), then the party needs to be able to defend itself against them – swiftly, and, if need be, unceremoniously.


    August 16, 2016 at 1:28 pm

  19. …and I wouldn’t see Labour’s anti-Corbynites as any kind of disciplined faction. More of a rabble of uncoordinated ambitions and wounded egos…


    August 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

  20. Dean says: “As for the AWL they are a zionist left organization, playing a double entryism,”: clearly, Dean, they’re agents of the Illuminati/ Zionist/ Masonic world conspiracy, eh?

    Jim Denham

    August 17, 2016 at 2:05 am

  21. When I hear the word ‘Zionist’ applied in this way, and most of the time I hear it anyway, I reach for my hear plugs.

    Francis, yes. In the case of the Socialist Party they have a union base as well.

    They are, I can assure you from first-hand knowledge, using the campaign to re-elect Crobyn to do exactly what you suggest.

    Anti-‘trotskyist’ hysteria aside,it is well known, and there for ‘veterans’ to see, that they up to their old manipulative practices, and are indeed, after the utter ruin of their special political project around TUSC, trying to crawl their way back into the Labour Party on the back of this movement.

    The problem is not just their bureaucratic, tired and dissembling organisation, it’s that their aim is to split the Labour Party and reduce a ‘socialist’ (given their nationalism a dubious description of the SP politics) to the permanent minority party status their Editorials cited here in a number of posts celebrate.

    Andrew Coates

    August 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm

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