The poetic cliché that “history repeats itself” has turned into parody and farce in the current leadership selection process in the Labour Party in which various right wing candidates, like brands of dish soap, vie against each other in a boring and meaningless spectacle.
This essay is published in Daily Wales: News for a Sovereign Nation, 19/05/2015
The parody and farce of the situation is manifest – a “Labour” Party in which the leadership selection process involves neither workers nor advocates of workers. The necessity of the intervention by Len McCluskey, a union leader, merely exacerbates the farce. But, no one in our corporate headline media will look at this process outside of the box.
The box is simply placed upon our heads and we are given a fait accompli which is a forced choice between different brands of the same corruption of the Labour Party. But, how many times have we been here before? The Left & the Right, the continuous and methodical divestment from the union movement and ordinary Labour Party members who are given the unenviable position of advocacy for something in which they no longer believe – all choice in politics becomes a forced choice if we do not have representation.
The current government has a mandate, an elective dictatorship for five years based upon 37% of the electoral vote. Very few of us were in any way involved in the selection processes of the leaders and thus our votes are merely a rubber stamping process, the criterion for which is an impressionistic sensibility disseminated by the information industrial complex.
Vague impressions, innuendo, brother stabs brother in the back, sick child, archetypes, corporate control, the manufacturing of control through distraction and superficiality. The problem is that we as humans in post-modern society live in a world of poetic clichés, inside a mythology of ghosts and innuendo. Old Labour, New Labour – clichés, stereotypes, misunderstandings, distortions and lost/missed opportunities.
The Left has never been given a chance, except for the catastrophe of 1983. But, in itself, the loss of Michael Foot means nothing. Should we talk about the interference in Wilson’s Labour government by the United States and the subservience of the United Kingdom to America ever since? Or, is that not allowed, outside of the box, extremist propaganda. But, outside the box is the truth, the perspective to see things as they are.
The Labour programme of 1983 was a courageous document as it was the last time Labour attempted to tell the truth, without any concern about electability. While not a perfect programme – (the position on the EU is questionable in light of the urgent necessity of a declaration of independence of Europe from the United States and its institutions of occupation: the IMF and NATO. Europe can be democratised, de-centralised, etc. if it has sovereignty. This modification moreover is quite compatible with the other so-called radical positions in the platform.) it was a bold statement of the state of affairs as they were and continue to be.
Though “doomed to fail”, due in part to the split with the SDP, the Labour programme of 1983 should not be merely dismissed as “old left” and therefore outside of the box. We need to tear the box apart and see the world as it is.
The Left sought such a transformation of our perspective, first, in the domestic context, in its brief, yet inadequately supported, attempts of worker ownership in the 1970’s and second, in its 1983 statement, which, in the present context, asked a fundamental question about the nature of the UK.
The advocacy of leaving NATO for instance, and to unilaterally disarm, both of these are institutional realities over which we are still fighting today. But, no one questions NATO – Trident has become the symbol of a movement which forgot why it was a movement. Of course, Trident is ethically and economically indefensible, but disarmament, as it was advocated by Tony Benn and Bertrand Russell included a re-orientation of the foreign policy alignment of the UK with respect to the USA.
This is not questioned today, even though it has metamorphosised into opposition to TTIP which has been described as America’s economic, and in effect political, complement to NATO and the IMF. UKIP distracts us with its anti-EU positions when the real threat is not Brussels, but Washington. But, we never hear questions like this, no one talks about it anymore, or at least not that many of us.
The manufacturing of consent outlined by Noam Chomsky has transfigured into a multi-media culture of distraction, addiction, obsession and narcissism. The many who have any inclination to find out about these questions, of European sovereignty, for instance become corralled into various networks, surveillance machines, social media. Technological networking without actual engagement on the streets is merely a complement to the manufacture of consent.
That which is lacking in the Labour Party is not merely the intelligence to know what the most fundamental questions are, but the courage to follow these questions with actions to their most profound logical conclusion. The 1983 Labour programme may perhaps present a series of positions which would make any contemporary party “unelectable”, but such a reality, that the questions cannot even be raised, clearly shows the humiliation of Europe and the United Kingdom to an unquestioned and ever-expanding United States occupation.