The response to the latest banking scandal from Britain’s biggest “revolutionary” group has been as uninspiring as it has been predictable.
Rather than making any clear political demands around the crisis, or taking the opportunity to argue for social control, the Socialist Workers’ Party has opted for catch-cry populism and has made “jail the bankers” its sloganistic response.
While the demand to bring people who are essentially corrupt thieves to some kind of justice (even bourgeois justice) has its place, to make this the encapsulation of one’s response is dismal. In fact, “sub-populist” might be a better term; most people understand that the problem is not one of a few “rotten apple” bankers but a systemic issue, so for the SWP to respond merely by demanding that a few people are thrown in jail lags somewhat behind popular consciousness on the issue. Nowhere does the SWP pose any demands for expropriating the banks. It says: “We’ve had it with these crooked bankers and their rich chums. The whole lot of them should be behind bars.”
Understandable sentiments, but from a revolutionary organisation — whose job it is to try and raise the political consciousness of the rest of the working class — one expects better.