If you believe the mainstream press, the spectre of Militant seems to be looming over the Labour Party once more. Tom Watson and a whole swathe of the Labour Right, not content with forcing their way into the dustbin of history with every botched job against Corbyn, are apparently turning into Britain's least organised historical reenactment society. Watson has confronted Corbyn with what he claims is proof of mass Trotskyist infiltration to the Labour Party—the news of which is probably most suprising to every Trotskyist in the country.
But, what if you've joined Labour and want to find out more about this trendy new doctrine that's taking hundreds of thousands of young left activists by storm? Well never fear, Verso Books have you catered for with our new Labour Party Entryist Starter Pack! Below you'll find all the books you'll need to be the hip young thing in your local CLP meetings.
The interview below was conducted via email by Selim Nadi as part of his research on theoretical and political exchanges between the French and German radical left during the era of decolonization, between 1945 and 1975.
How did you politicize yourself? In particular, what was the process that made you such a leading figure in the anti-imperialist camp (especially during the Vietnam war)?
It wasn’t exactly a self-politicization. I was born in Lahore, grew up in that city, went to school and university, and didn’t move to Britain until October 1963. My class locations were contradictory: the larger family were feudal, but my parents had broken loose on many levels and become members of the Indian Communist Party and later, after Partition, its weak Pakistani offshoot. In other words, I grew up in a communist milieu, and mixed, from a very young age, with the intellectuals, poets and journalists of the left, as well as peasant and trade union leaders who were always welcome in our house. My first recorded attendance of a meeting is when I was almost 6 years old. There was a large May Day meeting in Lahore in 1949, as the Eighth Route Army and other guerrilla detachments, triumphant against the Japanese occupiers and the corrupted and brutal nationalists of the KMT, were converging on Beijing. The main chant in Lahore was “Friends, we will take the Chinese Road.”
Tariq Ali spoke at Britain's biggest anti-nuclear march in a generation yesterday alongside Jeremy Corbyn, Giles Fraser and party leaders at a rally organised by the CND. Thousands of protesters gathered in London, some travelling from as afar as Australia to protest against the renewal of Trident.
"There is no practical, utilitarian or financial justification for Trident but we need it because it upgrades Britain's position in the world. I think it downgrades Britain's position in the world [...] If it really wants to upgrade its moral position in the world it needs to get rid of Trident," he said.
Ralph Miliband was a socialist intellectual of great integrity. He belonged to a generation of socialists formed by the Russian revolution and the second world war, a generation that dominated leftwing politics for almost a century. His father, a leather craftsman in Warsaw, was a member of the Jewish Bund, an organisation of militant socialist workers that insisted on preserving their ethnic autonomy.