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The problem with a lot of these debates about a coalition government is
that they fixate on the smaller opposition parties and their being "liberal
capitalist" parties, and grossly misunderstand the nature of the British
Labour Party.

Firstly, there seems to be no real prospect of a coalition with other
parties. The Liberal Democrats have ruled out a coalition with Labour while
Corbyn is the leader, because they wouldn't accept his economic agenda. A
coalition with the Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru (not simply
"liberal capitalist" parties in my view) is unlikely given the Labour
left's continued Unionism. The Greens (definitely not simply a "liberal
capitalist" party) have one MP. The only real possibilities are either, a
temporary coalition to form a government to straighten things out before an
election/referendum (I'm not certain that would be necessary really) or b)
some form of electoral pact where they agree not to campaign against each
other in seats where only one of them has a realistic chance of unseating
Tories. Both of these seem to be tactical questions rather than matters of
principle. Personally, I'd be open to both if they facilitated a defeat of
Boris and his hard right government, which a week ago was set to suspend
parliamentary democracy and force an economic crisis and possibly re-ignite
the Troubles. While formal long-term political alliances with the "liberal
bourgeoisie" are inevitably riven by class differences, there will often be
a temporary alignment of interests when dealing with rampant reaction - a
point that has been clearly illustrated this week.

However, the reason I say that many miss the point about Labour is that it *is
*a long term alliance between the liberal capitalists (or their
representatives anyway) and the working class. It's not, and never has been
a purely working class party, and has never really been a social democratic
one (in the classical meaning of the term). It has, from the beginning,
been an alliance of workers' representatives (mainly the trade union
bureaucracy) and the liberal bourgeoisie. The entire point of the battles
with the "Blairites" has been precisely because that wing was unhappy with
Corbyn's leadership. To consistently argue that we should not work with
"liberal capitalists" would mean to argue that we shouldn't be in the
Labour Party at all. Or that Corbyn should expel the majority of the PLP
(which he won't do).

I'd be opposed to a coalition with the Liberal Democrats (which isn't
offered anyway), because they would oppose the Labour Party's economic
agenda. I'm not certain that's the case for the SNP, Plaid or the Greens. A
confidence and supply agreement might be possible in exchange for support
for independence referendums (although some of the chauvinists in the party
might balk at that). Certainly, the SNP and Plaid in devolved government
have shown their not adverse to Keynesian measures (which is all Corbyn's
really advocating), and the Greens are certainly aware that intervention in
the economy is required to enact their environmental agenda (which has
largely been adopted by Labour anyway). Given Corbyn's cabinet will
definitely include "capitalist ministers" anyway, as there's plenty on his
front bench in the PLP, I see no reason to exclude representatives of the
SNP, Plaid or the Greens.

Tim N

On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 10:52 PM Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism@lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> (Forwarded from Anthony Brain.)
> I have just read an article by Guardian journalist Gary Younge of a
> major radicalisation within America which large layers of workers and
> middle class elements prepared to fight to what they perceive as some
> form of Socialism.  I would not be in favour of voting if these
> socialists run for any capitalist party, including the Democratic Party.
>   If they run as independent socialists or for a working class party,
> American Trotskyists should call for a critical vote for them.  Even if
> they are running for the Democratic Party American Trotskyists should
> demand they break from that party so an effective fight can be waged
> against capitalism.  As Trotskyists we patiently explain why we do not
> vote for any candidate within a capitalist party.  This will be tested
> to be proven correct as the masses go through further experiences with
> liberal capitalist politics and those Social Democrats subordinating
> themselves to these liberal capitalists!
> The election of these socialists has been going on for two years
> according to Younge!  Why mention it all off a sudden in a major
> article?  Are the liberal capitalists laying the basis for Corbyn to be
> Prime Minister in the next few days?  Younge also mentions that layers
> of the Jewish middle class are radicalising with them looking to
> pre-World War 2 Socialism which rejects Zionism.  Are the capitalists
> worried these layers among others could re-generate Trotskyism and see
> the pre-Jack Barnes American Socialist Workers Party politics in America
> and globally re-emerge even bigger than 1928-19811?
> American Trotskyist George Novack in his book “Understanding History”
> quoted Lenin’s letters from afar as an example of the law and Uneven and
> combined development in contrasting the February and October 1917
> revolutions.  Lenin argued the February revolution was brought about by
> a mass upheaval and a layer of the ruling class utilising it to get rid
> of the circle around Nicolas II and Tsarina Alexandra.  By the time of
> the October 1917 Russian Socialist revolution it became clearer class
> versus class, rather than combination of classes!   By Lenin and Trotsky
> implementing the programme; principles; strategies; and tactical
> application of Permanent Revolution managed to lead  the first
> successful socialist revolution.
> British Trotskyists have to maintain our principles of calling for a
> minority Labour government and oppose any coalition with capitalist
> parties or any capitalist minister joining.  Corbyn so far resisted
> these pressures.   Liberal capitalists are piling the maximum pressure
> for a coalition government.  What happens if there is going to be a
> minority labour government or a coalition government could be in the
> balance in the next few days!
> If there is a Labour minority government or Labour wins a parliamentary
> majority through  a general election, Trotskyists should critically
> support workers rights from day one of starting work; for a free and
> comprehensive national educational service from nursery to university;
> nationalisation of Royal Mail; railways; and utiliies (gas; electricity;
> and water).  The purpose of a coalition government would be to block a
> lot of these necessary reforms, which run counter to essential measures
> if millions of workers and sizable middle class layers are going to
> survive!   As Trotskyists we would intervene in these class battles to
> show the masses in practice why you need the overthrow of capitalism to
> carry out these measures consistently.  This will help defeat those
> reformists who not want to seriously challenge capitalism.
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