The Death Of Socialism
I would never claim that socialism is in a healthy state in this country nor that it is a serious political force in current circumstances. But how can Nick Cohen begin to reach conclusions about our socialism having died without assessing or even mentioning the role of Labour's parliamentary bodies such as the Tribune and Socialist Campaign Groups? Yet nowhere do these emerge in his book "What's Left?".
He also fails to look at the Tribune Newspaper, numbers of other publications that can be purchased at Compass Conferences or the Morning Star (except in its old guise as the Daily Worker) . Compass itself is ignored for his preferred Euston Manifesto buddies.
At The Fringe
Yet the Revolutionary Communist Party, Socialist Alliance, the Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Revolutionary Party are all delved into; not to mention ye olde Communist Party. When it comes to left-wing personalities we get Perry Anderson, Tony Cliff, Ted Grant, Tariq Ali and Gerry Healy. And whilst this is all interesting stuff for officionados, where are the more recognisable lefties such as Tony Benn and his re-incarnation John McDonnell ? The latter is currently trying to stand for the leadership of the Labour Party, which at the moment provides the additional post of Prime Minister.
I don't agree with what John is doing, even though he has given me an open invitation to pop in to a Socialist Campaign Group Meeting in the Commons sometime. Nick does not seem to know that John even exists and is currently, in fact, using up a great deal of kinetic energy.
The strange thing about Nick's omissions are that (from his own perspective) he could have used these as fodder to feed his overall thesis about the left's self inflicted wounds. For instance, the Socialist Campaign Group spawned "Labour Against the War", which has a close relationship with the "Stop the War Coalition". The latter is a clear target for Nick's polemic. Why does he not spread his net to also take on "Labour Against the War?".
I was on the platform at the launch of Labour's version of the "Stop the War Coalition". I later resigned when I felt that they seriously lost their way as a supposed democratic socialist organisation after the invasion.
The Shape Of Things To Come
I will return to what Nick missed in the future. This includes the strange absence of any analysis by him of the bulk of the hard lefts shortcomings over Northern Ireland. For current failures by many on the left to turn against terrorism in Iraq, follows on from much the same people associating themselves with the Provisional IRA's use of Sinn Fein.
In the meantime, the type of lefty who Nick criticizes over Iraq includes the strange case of Sami Ramadani whom is himself a London based Iraqi. To glimpse at what Sami gets up to scrawl down to question 6 here and then here.