AWL discussion on "After Bournemouth", 2007: "The East End Radical Clubs"

Submitted by martin on 2 November, 2007 - 7:02 Author: MT

I've found that some comrades think that if we conclude that Bournemouth is consolidated, and the Labour Party is no longer an (even bourgeois) workers' party, then that automatically means that any work in CLPs is ruled out.

Not so. That assessment certainly rules out any large, strategic investment of forces in the Labour Party, or any strategy based on "reclaiming" the Labour Party machine or a large chunk of it. It certainly mandates high priority for maximising the independent Marxist political profile of the AWL.

But it does not rule out probing and propagandising in CLPs, if and where they have some life, in the same way as Marxists in the late 19th century probed and propagandised in the working-class Radical Clubs attached to the Liberal Party, especially in East London.

It seems from the history that those Liberal-linked Radical clubs were very much more lively, and had a very much more proletarian composition, than any CLP I know of today.

But, for example, there are plenty of small towns and villages where the revolutionary left has no presence whatsoever. Of course, there may be no Labour Party either. But in some of those towns and villages there will be a Labour Party branch with a little life which - for lack of any alternative - attracts most of the people who consider themselves left-wing, or socialist, or concerned about working-class interests. No principle rules out probing and propagandising in such Labour Party branches.

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