Sunday, November 29, 2015

Trendies, get stuffed! (1980)

From the March 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is time the working class declared war on the trendies. Radicals, liberals, cult musicians, progressive poets, campaigning journalists, revolutionary feminists, long-haired vicars, nose-picking punk heroes, populist academics, counter-culture creeps, Leninist demonstrators, ecologist friends of the earth, health food nutcases, real beer bores, fringe theatre goers and people who talk in loud voices about Trotskyism in Hampstead pubs. These denimed crusaders constitute one of the biggest diversions the working class has been confronted with since Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Church at Wittenberg.

Trendies want capitalism to ban the bomb, clean up the atmosphere, give equality to women, rock against racism and legalise dope. Those who disagree with their ideals—for so long as they try to enact them by marching up and down Oxford Street listening to the echo of their slogans they will remain idealists—are labelled 'reactionaries'.

Socialism is a materialist proposition, based on the incentive of human self-interest. It is dependent upon logic, not 'good vibrations'; reason, not rabble-rousing. We want a society in which men and women will fully control their own lives because they will own and control the means of producing and distributing wealth. The socialist case has developed out of a scientific analysis of the capitalist system which oppresses us. The system cannot be reformed in the interests of the working class. It must be abolished.

Trendies couldn't care less about abolishing the system. Those in the SWP and IMG are more concerned with supporting the latest fashionable reform than organising for revolution. Their political aims are determined by the very narrow confines of the system which only some of them have vaguely perceived.

Some trendies stay trendy all their lives. Peter Hain, the personification of a long yawn, is attempting to keep it up until he gets his pension. Reg Birch, the mad Maoist who recently retired from the TUC, did keep it up until he got his pension. From adolescence to senility, with nothing in between, they follow every movement, every demonstration, every cult that is thrown up in the name of the modern secular religion, Progress. What Progress is and where it leads to nobody knows. Others grow weary of their trendiness. At thirty they cut their hair, buy a suit and get a job in an office. By the time they reach sixty they tell their trendy grandchildren how they too once went through a rebellious period. "You'll grow out of it". And one day the workers will grow out of it. We'll grow out of the ideology which tells us that hope is the passing affliction of the young and uneducated. The working class will then grow up to socialist political majority.
Steve Coleman

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