"Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change" - Karl Marx

This blog is my interpretation, I will do everything I can to change the world along those line

Thursday, 10 September 2009

In the Hub: Lessons of Liverpool

Cardiff West Socialist Party met to discuss the lessons of Liverpool city Councillor from 1983--87 under the control of Militant. Comrade AP from The Cardiff East branch paid us a welcome visit to lead the discussion on this heroic struggle and his experiences of it as a Cardiff Militant.

It is of course a discussion I Have heard several times before but one that always interests me and inspires me. Various aspects of the struggle were discussed including all of the facilities the council proived to the community the job creation  and the implementation of a minimum wage of £6 an hour (£8 an hour today) and how they kept to every manifesto pledge despite attacks fromthe goernment constantly.

We also discussed several negative aspects of the period such as the unfortunate attitude the Socialist Workers Party took and how their approach led them to being chased out of the city when they tried to sell their paper. It was generally agreed that it was a mistake to issue the reduntacy  notices.

There was also a very interesting and healthy debate over whether it would have been correct to stand independantly as Militant Labour once we had been barred fro doing so by the politically bankrupt Labour leadership of Kinnock. A very interesting discussion indeed, one which continued informally after the meeting and spilled over into the tactical question of when it was correct to leave the labour party.

All these topics of course vitally in the current situation where various councils are implementing huge cuts, including Cardiff council, in which the lib dems have proposed £21million in cuts. Important again because of the approach we take inside a broad formation which with any luck we will be doing in the near future.

A truly inspiring discussion, one that has inspired me to re-read the book, the only problem is that I have leant it to a comrade who has moved away :( for more information about the struggle i recommend you read the book Liverpool A city that dared to fight


  1. should Militant have split from Labour at the time, around 1987? build on success of the struggle and the Miners strike gains?

  2. In my opinion I don't think they should have split from labour at the time. I do think however that they should have stood as Militant Labour in Liverpool when they were barred from standing as Labour.
    They would have obviously been expelled in Liverpool, but if the were able to galavanize the liverpool labour movement it is possible it could have forced the hand to readmit them. It would have obviously difficult for militant in the rest of the country as well, but I believe the should have taken the same stance as the CWI in berlin recently. Clearly there were no easy desions.

    As to when militant should have left labour. from discussions with various comrade i thinks itsgenerally agreed that we stayed abit too long. My personal view is that when the LPYS was shut down in 88 we should have broken. But comrades were uncertain to how things were pan out particulalrly with the collapse of the berlin wall in 89 it was for awhile very hard to have serious worked out perspectives because of this, and it was better not tomake changes.

    Easy to say with the benefit of history must have been very difficult for all comrades
    A difficult situation though and no decisions were easy.

  3. yes. my view is the height of Liverpool the best time, taking LPYS and the Militant Miners with you.

  4. Militant Labour's control of the Liverpool Council in the 1980's is a good example of not only the strength's of the CWI's militant reformist politics but also its limitations and weaknesses.

    Despite having won very real political leadership of a significant part of the working class in Liverpool they made no attempt to build alternative organs of working class rule. Certainly none are documented in the book and indeed at one stage I remember a refernece to the fact that it wasn't soviet type situation being given as a reason for some particular limitation on what they could do.

    This misses the point that these alternative organs of working class rule have to consciously built. Instead the struggle in Liverpool was largely limited to the existing organs of capitalist rule and when the bourgeoisie put the squeeze on the end was inevitable and under that pressure we saw mistakes like the issuing of the redundancy notices - something which is only conceivable as a tactic if your horizon is limited to struggle within the existing bourgeois frameowrk.

    The main political lesson I personally took from the book was the limitation of reformism, even of the most courageous and militant kind, to really threaten bourgeois rule.

  5. I will respond Alan, but could you clarify the points you are trying to make, if possible by giving specfic examples making ti easier for me to respond

  6. I am making a general point about Militant Labour limiting the struggle to within the framework of the existing bourgeois structures and lamenting the lack of soviet-type bodies.

    My point being that this is exactly the problem with the CWI's overall approach. Despite the occassional revolutiontary rhetoric their concrete practice is reformist as this "high-point" of their tradition makes explicitly clear.

    The focus of their strategy was to limit the fight within the framework of parliamentary bourgeois democracy, rather than having the focus on building on our own alternative organs of proletarian democray.


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