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Choosing allies

Seamus Milne writes a characteristically  good article in the Guardian.

Puts New Labour in same camp as Lib-Dem in terms of dogma, ideology & unreformed belief in free markets.

That’s why we need to make 26th March big but also not blindly follow Ed Mili back to New Labour’s love of the City of London.

Let’s get real. Ed Balls hasn’t produced a believable radical alternative to what he & his friends followed for 13 years. Let’s attack the Con-Dem regime but replacing Man U with Man C doesn’t change the direction, character and belief of a new Labour regime.

Left-of-centre led Spain & Greece are fulfilling the IMF and ECB’s demands just as enthusiastically as Fianna Fail-Greens did in Ireland.

It shows we need to form a deeper, wider movement joining with good individual Labour politicians and unions. We cannot blindly take an unreformed package which is happy to talk populism when out of power.

The ‘New Labour’ Party isn’t fit for purpose. It’s the tens of thousands of Labour activists and a handful of MPs and half the unions who we should be supporting.

Whenever we don’t get to waving the flag, there’s an outcry of sectarianism. I do not mean that way. The revolts convulsing many countries North and South of the Mediterranean are successful precisely because many have bypassed the traditional ‘opposition’ groups who bought into the status quo.

A bit like much of the NUS and the more radical, angry students who ignored Aaron Porter & Co.

While we build up to the rally and march in two weeks time, we must maintain a sense of realism and optimism.

Realism that much of the TUC  ‘leadership’ didn’t challenge the love-affair with the City of London since the late 1990s. That they are not going prepared to challenge the current ethos either.

Optimism in that like students who were galvanised & energised by taking part in protests, the 26th will be one rally building a movement based around the thousands of local protests outside and inside libraries, council offices and banks.

No political party can co-opt this budding movement or ‘lead it’. Politicians and activists will have to join it, work alongside it and share power over decisions and direction.

The debate and deliberations will move from an oppositional no-cuts position to a ‘rolling back the big private sector’.

Three decades ago, the mood of the times was to roll back the ‘bloated public sector’.  That ideology was spun together into a political ‘narrative’ in the mid 1970s and took 1973-74 energy and political shocks as its catalyst.

In our times, the catalyst is the 2008 banking crash. Nearly three years on, we are in the middle of constructing our own alternative picture of what type of economy, society & environment we would like to see.

It will have a broader canvass. We will have to have pan-European ideology, challenging Wall Street & London’s the hedge fund dominance and fuse Left ideas of wealth & income redistribution with ideas on climate change and peak oil.

Given what’s happening in North Africa and the Middle East, we might need an even wider vision.

The mix is in the melting pot. The end product isn’t clear. The 26th is one signpost in a very long road. Let’s look beyond this month and work it out

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