Saturday, September 25, 2004

Left Atlanticism...

I've always found it odd that Leftists are often vehemently anti-Europe (in the UK). Admittedly, there is history - originally Pro-Europeanism was a Tory policy very much opposed by Labourites with their commitment to the Commonwealth (now, where did that go?). But I find it odd all the same.

Likewise much anti-Americanism. Admittedly, that too has a cause, largely, I think, the spite of the lover spurned. Many leftists probably once believed the aspirations the US said it held, for freedom and Democracy, only to see them betrayed by the discovery of the hidden history of Empire (you know, tanks on the streets of DC, massacres and frame-ups of trade unionists, etc.) Largely because, once, America was the palce where democracy was practised (at least nominally) in the way Europeans aspired to. I know I've aften felt that way.

Indeed, the British Labour movement, particularly the likes of the T&G owe much to the American trade unionists in the Knights of Labour for their support and foundation. At least according to Coates & Topham

Anyway, I was amused to see Norm posting this caustic - and sarcastic - response to a claim to a say in the US presidential elections.

See, I've been reading an (Old-ish) Socialist Labor Party (DeLeonist) pamphlet about the US constitution. It quotes Benjamin Franklin - I don't have it to hand, I mighht transcribe the quote later in the week - who apparently aspired, upon presentation with the original design for the stars'n'stripes, that one day every nation might be represented by a star on that flag. If true, a truly inspiring piece of Universalism from the old radical.

Why is there not, I thought, a left Atlanticism - a radical call to actually encourage not just Britain but all Europe to become states of the Union? mad, I know. But the idea struck me as truly progressive in the usual sense, Marxist within Charlie's own tactics (i.e. recognising the fact of US hegemony and seeking to accomodate within it and change it, rather than waging a futile fight against reality) and likely to at least challenge a few settled ideas about the world and the hold of the capitalists both sides of the Atlantic. A fun game in my own head, anyway.

But, I think that something like that - a big picture - is missing. The left is now entirely oppositional - against war, against privatisation, against merger, ageainst, against, against. There is no idea, no vision of a totality of society for the left to pursue anymore.

As an ending note, I originally went to the SWP's website to get a gobbett about their anti-Europeanism; but they don't actually have any policies on their website. Never mind no vision, nothing, zip, zilch...

3 Comments:

Blogger Robin said...

Hi - sorry, irrelevant personal question. Are you the same SPGB Bill that used to be at Lancaster University about six years ago?

11:35 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Jeez, am I *that* Famous - ye, the self same Bill 'Red Deathy' from Lubbs...

1:05 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

Go on Robin - dish the dirt. I won't tell nobody ;-)

9:14 PM  

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