Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Left of the Empire

The future of the Respect coalition, a left-wing political party founded in 2004 in the United Kingdom, is apparently now in doubt due to a faction fight inside the party. To get a sense of both sides' arguments, check out, on one hand, Socialist Unity; and on the other hand, the Web site of the Socialist Workers Party and Lenin's Tomb (especially the entries titled "Respect" and "Summa"). I have no comment on the faction fight itself.

The SWP is in many ways like the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, their differences on the question of Islam notwithstanding, but Britain's electoral system and political culture don't allow the SWP to do what the LCR and the Parti Communiste Français can do in France by going it alone, and on a slightly larger scale what the Nihon Kyosanto can do in Japan, what the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista can do in Italy, and what Die Linke can do in Germany, let alone what the Socialistische Partij in the Netherlands recently achieved. But even if it could, on its own or in coalition, it still wouldn't make a lot of difference for the rest of the world. Continental Europe, where the Left is stronger than in Japan, the UK, and the USA, is still as much part of the US-led multinational empire, as it has been for a long time .1

What does it make sense for us, leftists of the empire, to do to break global imperialist unity forged and reforged after World War II?

1 The initial formation of the Atlantic ruling class with a "fundamental unity of purpose" was well described by Kees van der Pijl in The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class (London: Verso, 1984).

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