At the demonstration against the fascist BNP's "Red, White, and Blue" festival in Codnor, Derbyshire, on 16 August, the SWP was circulating a contact sheet.
Dear Comrade Cliff,
You admitted in last week's Socialist Worker that the SWP and the ANL made mistakes in relation to Brick Lane on September 24th.
Arabesques, he once turned in Cliff's rodeo,
Who now sits ad absurdom reductio!
See him fret, see him fume,
Watch him preen and presume:
George Bush’s visit to London on 15 June was an opportunity for socialists to take advantage of large scale opposition to the actions of the American and British governments’ both abroad and at home. Unfortunately, the demonstration held by the Stop the War Coalition was as politically vacant as previous ones. Instead of highlighting wider issues of global capitalism, the only subject on the agenda was the war in Iraq.
These are bad times for the Socialist Action group. Not only did the defeat of Ken Livingstone mean the loss of their sinecures at City Hall, their front group “Student Broad Left” has now almost disappeared. In an attempt to shore up their position, SA have hit out at their erstwhile allies in the SWP.
The 21 June Socialist Worker, an issue geared for the SWP’s anti-BNP demo in London, was full of establishment anti-fascism, claiming that the BNP are not a “respectable” party and calling for an apolitical cross-class front against fascism. To this end, the paper included an article about the “hidden story” of West Indian people fighting for the Allies in World War Two, as “revealed” by a new Imperial War Museum exhibition.
Unite against Fascism (UAF), the SWP-run anti-fascist coalition backed by several unions, called their first national demonstration in a long time on Saturday 21 June in central London. But the demonstration, organised at only just over a month's notice, was very small, with less than 3,000 people.
"As in private life one distinguishes between what a man thinks and says of himself and what he really is and does, still more in historical struggles must one distinguish the phrases and fancies of the parties from their real organism and their real interests, their conception of themselves from their reality."
Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.
I happened to meet Tony Cliff and his partner Chanie Rosenberg of the Socialist Workers Party recently and they invited me to dinner. Why? To recruit me to the SWP! I accepted.
The split between the SWP and Galloway-sycophants in Respect has politically destabilised and reduced both sides. Destabilised in the sense that the SWP was presented with the problem of sticking to its perspective of building a populist alternative to New Labour whilst the Galloway faction lost its best organisers and activists.