Torpor grips Convention of the Left

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The Convention of the Left met in Manchester at the same time as the Labour Party conference; attracting fewer than 200 at its main sessions, it said more about the weakness of the left than anything else.

The Convention’s list of sponsors, those tired hacks who have been responsible for reducing the influence of socialism in Britain to its lowest point for over a century, belied its aim – ‘to ask ourselves the essential questions’. There was no chance that an event supported by Labour MPs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, or by Tony Benn, or by leading members of Respect or the SWP, would ask the one essential question facing socialists today: how can we organise a total break from the Labour Party and finally bury its stinking corpse? Rather than hold Labour Party members to account for their affiliation to this rotten imperialist, racist and anti-working class party, audiences gave extra applause to those who announced their continued membership, whilst the charlatan Tony Benn received the loudest applause of all at the session he attended.

There was no wish to discuss the imperialist character of British capitalism and how this determines the nature of its current crisis and how socialists should respond. Nor was there any inclination to debate how the left has been reduced to its current level. The Convention, like the Socialist Conferences, Socialist Alliance and Respect that came before, is going nowhere.

FRFI 205 October / November 2008