>Dear all,
>I was wondering what others here thought of the issue of Ken
>Livingstone standing for Mayor of London. He has made it quite clear
>that he would want to work with the City of London Stock Market and
>although he has made some concessions to his old Left allies on the
>Underground (with which the Tories and Liberals would not great
>disagree) he is clearly far from rejecting capitalism, even in a
>gradualist Fabian sense.
>And yet many on the left (some who do not normally call for a vote
>for the reactionary Labour Party) will call for voters in London to
>vote Labour if Livingstone is their candidate. It is much like the
>usual suspects (SWP et al) calling for a vote for Labour (without
>illusions, of course!) just because Prescott (an old Trade
>Unionist) is its deputy leader or merely because it has 20 old-Left
>winger' still clinging on.
>As an anti-parliamentarian I am naturally against. As a Marxist
>oppose to reforminst Social(ist) Democratic Parties like Labour I am
>again dismade that the Left's response in greater and greater numbers
>is to continue to follow the coat-tails of such parties.
>Will they ever manage to break from Labour ?

To my mind it looks like something with the potential of a popular
mobilization regardless of who's heading it. Ken Livingstone as an icon is
a rallying point for more public influence, public service etc and less
profiteering, greed, destruction of civic amenities and so on. There are
two reasons to support him like a rope supports a man being hanged.

1) It allows a free popular movement to develop with mass support in which
socialist currents can put forward a lot of their own programme, not as
Ken's programme but as something Ken should stand on. "Yay, Ken, sock it to
'em, Ken, why don't you do this too, Ken!!" In other words, something like
"Great London campaign groups" or whatever, as a grass-roots effort to
rally people behind transitional demands for democratic control of local
government, more and better public services, job provision etc.

2) It has the potential to split the Blairite Labour Party, because mass
support in London is for Ken L and hugely against the manipulation and
hypocrisy and anti-worker record of the Blair government and New Labour
Party machine. What Blair has shown time and again, and in the London
mayoral race more than ever is the way in which bureaucratic centralism is
absolutely essential to running a treacherous pro-bourgeois workers' party.
Ken L is being compelled to swear allegiance to every comma in a manifesto
(not a programme even but an election manifesto!) that hasn't even been
written yet! One of the main red-baiting lines rendered useless.

This gives us lots of scope for opening peoples' eyes to what's happening
and organizing for the demands we think are central.



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