A New Initiative

January 14, 2010

It might only be an electoral coalition, but the long wait for ‘Son of No2EU’ seems to be over – the Socialist Party has announced the creation of a ‘Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition’.  Even though it doesn’t have any national union backing, it does have the personal support of Bob Crow (which is significant) and Brian Caton of the POA (less significant as he’s in the Socialist Party).  It’s not clear at the moment who else is involved, but it would be good if the Communist Party and smaller groups threw their hats into the ring, to ensure that it genuinely is a uniting of left forces rather than just the Socialist Party and a few leading trade unionists (however impressive these are).

I’ve argued on this blog before that a new broad left workers party is essential, a drum the Socialist Party have also been banging for a while now.  It’s clear that any differences that exist in the Labour Party are purely of presentation, whether to be honest about making cuts t0 public services or whether to pretend that you won’t, while secretly planning on it.  The eccentricities of the electoral system mean that when Labour lose in May or June, they lose a lot more narrowly than their popular vote warrants.  The right-wing union leaders and some in the blogging world will no doubt harbour illusions that the party can somehow be won back, but the only decent thing a socialist can do would be to contribute towards killing off the party.

Talking of bloggers, I was sad to see that Nation of Duncan, and Leftwing Criminologist (who also blogged at the newer site ‘And Now for Something Completely Sectarian‘) have called it a day.  Time is a precious commodity for active socialists, and I can understand why they have decided to do this, but it is unfortunate all the same.  Both have supported this blog, and I am grateful to them for that, as well as the many excellent posts they have contributed over the years.


On ice, but not dead

November 15, 2009

A recent comment from Nation of Duncan reminds me that I have been neglecting the blog recently, this is unavoidable owing to the many committments I have at the moment, but I will be back with regular posts as soon as I have sufficient time to post something worthwhile.  I will definately be reporting with the Carnival of Socialism in December.  Normal service will resume.

I’d Rather Be A Picket Than A Scab

October 21, 2009


Vengeance and Fashion would like to offer all posties his solidarity in the strike action they are taking – safeguarding their futures and the future of our postal service.  Visit Red Postie for the unvarnished truth, and boycott the lying mainstream media.

Another New Low For New Labour

September 30, 2009

A brief preview of Labour’s bold new policy:

Now, obviously they haven’t gone so far as to strongarm adoptions from unmarried mothers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they suggested something like that as a desperate, ‘populist’ throw of the dice with massive electoral defeat coming in the weeks before the General Election.

Just when you think that bunch of slimy, cynical scumbags can’t get any worse, they pull it off.  Well done Gordon, well done Mandy.  Mission accomplished.

The Death of Blogs

September 17, 2009

Many blogs seem to have fallen on their swords over the Summer.  Vengeance and Fashion is not one of them, and will be returning to normal service now.  But although it is well known that most blogs that are started never get past the first couple of posts, the death of more established ones seems less common.

The main blog to have ceased trading over the Summer is the excellent Left Luggage.  In a statement on the site announcing that there will be no more posts, the authors outline the three main reasons why they are not continuing, which I reproduce below:

1) The amount of time and energy needed for a small number of people to maintain a regular supply of high-quality content (many of our pieces have been lengthy compared to other blogs). Clearly we have limited time outside of work and we therefore felt that in the long term this could compromise the local political initiatives the group is involved with individually, simply because of the time we were tending to devote to Left Luggage. Obviously this would contradict the key strategic direction we have been advocating. In addition, one of the two editors of the site is planning to launch a new project with young people in London this autumn, which will even further squeeze the time available to update Left Lugagge.

2) While we had established a regular readership of about 100 unique users per day, we seemed to have plateaued despite some peaks when we had content posted on other website or articles of especial interest to a wider readership. Most of the people posting on the website seemed to be (largely) receptive to what we have been argued; they were generally broadly in accord with our analysis of the Left, its limitations and key elements of a future strategy. Therefore, if we were mainly reaching the same people using similar same arguments, with which they generally agreed, it raised the question as to how much use Left Luggage could be in promoting this perspective.

3) Additionally, we felt at the risk of repeating ourselves. In the 75 articles we have published since March, we have covered a lot of ground and an enormous variety of issues. But fundamentally we are addressing ourselves to the same cluster of problems and proposing a modest set of strategic solutions. From the beginning we set ourselves the task of covering a specific central issue: why is the Left so weak and out of touch with the vast majority of working class people. We never sought to cover every international or even national issue, and do not propose to offer a detailed political theory, just some simple strategic points.

I have a great deal of sympathy with each of these points.  As regular readers of the blog will be aware, I have been far too busy to post properly for a few weeks, life and work being what it is.  Even when I can spare the time, I can usually only muster enough for one proper post a week.  I also get the impression from the comments that those who read the blog are largely sympathetic already to what I am saying.  I’m also aware of the need to say something new, which is quite difficult when the fundamental arguments I put forward are that the Left – as Left Luggage put it more eloquently than I can – needs to continually be:

Speaking to the concerns of working class people; proving itself to be the best fighters for the immediate interests of that class; engaging in long-term political work to rebuild working class self-organisation and political culture.

Left Luggage was different in that it presented itself as an arena for debate amongst the Left over strategy.  I, like most bloggers, wear my prejudices and biases openly.  I am sympathetic to the politics and strategy of groups such as the Commune, the IWCA and the Socialist Party, and generally hostile to the pernicious influence of the Stalinist left (the CPB), the middle-class radical left (the SWP) and the ultra-left (the CPGB).

This website is no replacement for Left Luggage, but I would hope that a similar site establishes itself in the near future.  Vengeance and Fashion is no place for it, though I would hope that more people who disagree with me would comment here and spark up a productive debate.  I wish the contributors to Left Luggage all the best in their current and future activism, and thank them for the wealth of material and insight that will continue to exist on that site.

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

September 10, 2009

Not just with this blog, which I haven’t had much time to spend on these last few weeks, but with English football.  An excellent result last night, but it was against an unusually poor Croatia team.

My prediction is that the defensive frailties will come back to haunt England in the World Cup, and all the hype that will be generated will turn to bile.  Again.  Pity South Africa for the masses of drunk jingoistic morons that will descend on it next Summer.

V&F will return soon, and he will return with meatier topics, possibly slagging off liberals here, calling for x, y and z to be legalised there, and also solving the national debt and budget deficit, all before breakfast.

Worthy Causes

August 28, 2009

No time for a proper post this week, so I’ll simply plug a few causes I think are worthy of a mention:

Hands Off the People of Iran – It is ludicrous to suggest that a tiny sect like the CPGB could operate a front such as this.  Rather it is a broad campaign that takes the classical, and correct Marxist position of opposing the theocracy and imperialist intervention.  Despite the silence of the media, the situation in Iran is very much alive, and there will surely be more protests and uprisings to come.

Defend the Four – Four members of the Socialist Party have been shamefully witchhunted by the pro-New Labour leadership.  They have been suspended from office but are continuing their efforts to clear their names.

Save Vestas – The occupation might be over but the struggle continues.

Defend Tommy Sheridan – Defending Scotland’s well known socialist ahead of his State initiated witchhunt of a perjury trial.