Saturday, February 17, 2024

Letter: Vanguardism (2002)

Letter to the Editors from the January 2002 issue of the
 Socialist Standard


Dear Editors,

We in the Socialist Party have often been accused by members of various Leninist parties and groups, from the defunct Communist Party to the nearly defunct Militant Tendency, of being irrelevant, and not being, like them, in the vanguard of the working class.

Certainly we are not “in the vanguard”, have no intention of being; as this could not lead to the establishment of a world socialist society. But what of the so-called vanguard of the working class here in Britain? Have they achieved more with their “transitional demands” and ever-changing reform programmes?

Prior to the last election, a ragbag of Leninist, Stalinist and Trotskyist parties and sects, dominated largely by the thoroughly undemocratic Socialist Workers Party, but also including the also completely dishonest remnants of Militant, came together to form, for electoral purposes (despite most of them claiming that socialism would not be established by democratic means) the “Socialist (sic) Alliance”.

Not surprisingly, despite their boasts and disdain for genuine socialists, they received no more, and often fewer, votes than socialists who advocated socialism and not numerous reforms and demands.

Here in Colchester, the SA fielded no candidate. But in Ipswich, a few miles to the north, they had a candidate, Peter Leech. On a turnout of 57 percent, he received 305 votes (0.78 percent). At the by-election held in Ipswich on Thursday, 22 October, on a turnout of 40.16 percent, Leech managed to come eighth out of nine candidates, with a grand total of 152 votes (0.55 percent).

So much for the vanguard of the working class!
Peter E. Newell, 

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