Owen Jones on the SWP’s Eton Mess

Owen Jones article here on socialism losing its way:


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I agree to a large extent with this. The SWP is trying to stir up a left-wing populism based squarely upon class resentment. Resentment leads to a mythological understanding of social problems, and therefore, not only is it an inadequate basis for revolutionary practice, but there are similiarities with the Right in the current conjuncture. But I think that the purpose of this article is not to defend Horatio Whatever, but for Owen Jones to defend his leadership role within the movement. This defence extends to his strategy of trying to bring the Labour Party leftwards, so that they can become a ‘representative party’ that ‘champion[s] the needs and interests of working people’; as well as Jones’ parallel strategy (under, e.g. the People’s Assembly) of building a non-dogmatic, pluralistic and ‘inclusive’ movement, in which middle-class public sector workers, whose furthest reaching demand is that their pay keeps up with inflation, are identified as the vanguard of the Left. My objection with Jones’ article is that, since the working class are oppressed by the capitalist class, the working class need to achieve political power and emancipate themselves – not be ’emancipated’ by their ‘more intellectual’ middle-class comrades, nor ‘encouraged’ into the farce of contemporary British unionism. The tension here – the difficult questions that flow from this – are a product of class struggle and class antagonism. They cannot be magicked away by sentimental assurances that Such and Such ‘has his heart in the right place’.

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