Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18291

Posted on 17 March 2014 at 11:24 GMT

'Poisonous infiltrators' in Labour Party were from the Right

A letter sent to the Observer on 17 March 2014:

Dear Editor

Andrew Rawnsley begins his piece on Tony Benn, as many have done, by referring to Benn's latter day status as 'national treasure'. This does not prevent Rawnsley, along with other New Labour sympathisers, using Benn's death as an opportunity to once more attack him for his trenchant opposition to the Blairisation of the Labour Party ('Tony Benn: a charismatic leader of the left damned by warm Tory praises', 16 March 2014).

Rawnsley states that: "for a nice man he kept some nasty company. He never disowned and stood in the way of dealing with, the Militant Tendency and other far-left entryists who were poisoning Labour from within."

I was, and am, one of the supposedly 'nasty people'. At seventeen years old I was the democratically elected representative of Labour's youth section on the Labour Party NEC, and also a supporter of the Militant Tendency. Tony Benn and I, along with Ken Livingstone and Dennis Skinner, were by then a small socialist minority on the NEC. Nonetheless, the ascending right wing were determined to further strengthen their iron grip on the party, going so far as to close down their own youth section in order to prevent further Militant supporters being democratically elected to the NEC.

The 'poisonous infiltrators' were not the Militant supporters - who argued along with others for the Labour Party to be democratised and for it to adopt a socialist programme - but those who wanted to turn Labour into one more party representing the interests of big business and the City of London. We warned at the time that the expulsion of Militant supporters was the thin end of the wedge and would lead to the expulsion of socialism. Sadly we have been proven correct.

Today we have a Labour Party that, as Tony Benn put it, represents the interests of 'Great Britain PLC', not the interested of the majority who are suffering austerity, and being promised more of the same under a future Labour government.

The Observer's editorial on Tony Benn (16 March 2014) correctly finished by stating: "at a time when capitalism is again revealing its profound flaws and inequalities, what Benn had to say has resonance and meaning for many that will be much missed." Despite all the attacks heaped on democratic socialism, and those like Benn who are fearless advocates for it, socialist ideas are regaining support, not within the Labour Party, but within society as a whole.

In our view what is needed is a new party that stands for the millions, rather than the millionaires. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition - which will be standing in hundreds of seats in the local elections and is supported by the RMT, the Socialist Party and others - is a first step in this direction.

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary, Labour Party NEC 1988-89

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Labour:

triangleSave Salford nurseries!

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

triangleBuilding the campaign against clearances of the working class

triangleNo fudge with the right wing

Socialist:

triangleYork Socialist Party: Perspectives from the National Commitee

triangleAfter 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: 120 years since the death of Eleanor Marx

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: The Refugee Rights Campaign

Labour Party:

triangleCarlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

triangleCorbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war

triangle100 years since women won the vote

Tony Benn:

triangleLambeth Socialist Party open meeting

triangleThe Labour Party, Militant and 'infiltration'

Militant:

triangleThe Socialist Party is being evicted - we need you!

Hannah Sell:

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

21/2/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

14/2/18

Homeless

In Windsor none of us want to see homeless people on the street

14/2/18

Pay

I'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

7/2/18

Socialist

The Socialist inbox

7/2/18

Cinema

Darkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill

7/2/18

Revolution

Bernie's book shows need for workers' party

7/2/18

Students

GCSE grading game stresses out students - even more than before!

7/2/18

NHS

Tragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS

7/2/18

Sexism

Fighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

31/1/18

Cricket

Capitalism v cricket

31/1/18

Film

Trump as Nixon: urgent questions about press freedom and the state

31/1/18

Sexism

Presidents Club sexism scandal: what you thought

24/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis exposes PFI chaos

24/1/18

Universal Credit

Universal credit: set up to fail

24/1/18

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999