OWEN AND THE BOLSHEVIKS
An open letter to Owen Smith.
Dear Owen Smith.
In 1903, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party met in London. A debate took place on whether anyone had the right to become a member of the party and the majority voted in favor.The leader of the losing side, Vladimir Lenin, didn’t have confidence in the masses and wanted power to stay in the hands of a small elite group. Lenin wasn’t going to let a democracy get in his way. When some of the members who had voted against Lenin had left the room on a different matter, Lenin split the party, naming his faction The Bolsheviks, derived from the Russian word for majority. At the time of these disputes, Leon Trotsky shouted at Lenin: “That’s dictatorship you’re advocating,” to which Lenin replied, “There is no other way.”
Is talk of a split perhaps scaremongering by you and the rebels, to discourage party members from voting for Jeremy Corbyn? Or perhaps The Labour Party, like the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, is genuinely heading for a historic split, between a large majority and a smaller minority and that the anti-corbynista side of the split within the Parliamentary Labour Party, like Lenin, favour elitism as opposed to having faith in the membership and the mandate made up of “ordinary hard working people?”
Do you agree that under- handed tactics were used at Tuesday’s NEC meeting? Because, just like in London in 1903, the opportunity was seized upon after members of a rival faction, in this case Jeremy Corbyn and some pro-Corbyn members, had left the room. A decision was made in their absence, excluding new members of the party – who are a better reflection of the masses than 172 MPs – from voting in the leadership contest.
This, just like the actions of Lenin, is an attack on the inclusiveness of the ‘so-called’ People’s Party. Do you agree that this decision and the events of the last few weeks, like Lenin and the Bolsheviks, have shown a complete contempt for democracy? You are a man of no principle. And I have no doubt that the path you and the rebels will take will amount to a slightly modified version of Tory Neo Liberalism.
Do you agree that the establishment mantra of “there is no alternative” reflects the words of Lenin and that Neo Liberalism presents a serious threat to democracy? And do you agree the so-called ‘elite’ minority have failed to see that the survival of The Labour Party is dependent on it returning to the people’s movement it once and not going against its own membership? The 172 Labour MPs in Parliament, like the Bolsheviks, are in danger of breaking off to form an elite false majority. Looking like a large majority in Parliament, but are in fact a small minority when taking into account the overall party members. In the press, Corbyn supporters like myself are often depicted as Trotskyists, but perhaps the anti-corbynistas that have more in common with communism.
If the Labour Party does split, would you agree that the name ‘The Labour Party’ should stay with its grassroots, and would you be interested in my suggestion for a party name you and our possible future opponents? In my view, you and the rebels should adopt the name Owen and the Bolsheviks. Perhaps it’s better suited and a greater reflection of the truth.