March 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm #81934
The new Ken Loach film on the welfare state is out and we can expect plenty of left/liberal nostalgia.
I came across this statement which i would like to have clarified.
"In Warfare State: Britain, 1920-1970 (2005) David Edgerton points out that state spending on social security reached a peak in 1929, which wasn't supassed until the early 1970s."
So how much extra money went into the Welfare State and how much of it was redistributive?
SOYMB already pre-empted the release of the film with this earlier blog post.March 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm #92500
'Spirit of 45' has many talking heads- working class activists and left reformist celebrities – Tony Benn, John Rees, James Meadway from the New Economics Foundation, Dot Gibson of National Pensioners Convention, 'leftist' ex trade union leaders from ASLEF, RMT, NUM, ex Liverpool Councillor Tony Mulhearn.At the Q&A afterwards at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, Owen Jones (author of Chavs) plugged the Peoples Assembly (he said it embodied the spirit of 45) on 22nd June 2013. Loach himself plugged on several occasions Left Unity.org – he called for a "new political formation, a new party, we can't leave it to left groups, the labour party, trade unions although some are progressive, a left alternative to Labour"What has happened to Loach's attachment to Scargill's Socialist Labour Party which he joined in 1995 when New Labour abandoned Clause 4 ?Loach called for "a real socialist alternative" which already exists in a party called the Socialist Party of Great Britain which was established in 1904 before the Labour PartyMarch 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm #92501
There's a revealing passage in this interview with Ken Loach where he says:Quote:Ken says that as he made the film, what resonated was the feeling that this generation achieved something unique that we could learn from today, and that many did not support Labour because they were “Socialists” but because they did not want a return to the poverty of the 1930s.March 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm #92502
There was no mention of Marx in the whole of 'Spirit of 45'. Even John Rees never mentioned the most famous Rhinelander to live in London: he saw the spirit of 1945 in line of 1381 Peasants Revolt, John Ball, Diggers of St Georges Hill and the Utopian Socialism of Rober Owen, he is probably correct, Atlee's govt was not socialism although twice Loach showed the Atlee speech saying His Majesty! had asked him to form a governemnt and Clem uses line 'Labour Movement with a socialist policy'. The use of a George Fenton arrangement towards the end of the music by Hubert Parry of 'Jerusalem' is a definite signifier to this film. Although I believe William Blake would have been a supporter of William Morris and by association that of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.March 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm #92503steve colbornParticipant
Those who do not learn the lessons of history, are condemned to repeat it. Just about sums up the working-class! Steve. PS. Knowledge is power and strength.March 21, 2013 at 8:02 am #92504
Steve C writes “Those who do not learn the lessons of history, are condemned to repeat it…Knowledge is power and strength” What should our strategy be? Alexander Reiswich said on another thread on another topic but it is appropriate to quote “… it “won't get us anywhere to simply say "I'm right, you're wrong"… ” It is clear that not only Ken Loach and many others including the new SWP breakaway International Socialist Network are intent upon using the film as a spring-board to organise a new political party.Steve66 suggests the socialist alternative is ourselves the Socialist Party but so far we have to realistically acknowledge that we have been rejected by the the working class and also by many who consider themselves to be some sort of socialist. How do we change that attitude and image of ourselves? Do we simply consider it a failure of our propaganda that we are not able to make films like Loach can do to project a political message that relates and resonates with its audience? How do we actually respond to the Spirit of 45 without being accused of sour grapes when we criticise it? We could simply compile facts and stats to challenge the premise of it all as our Beveridge and Family Allowance and nationalisation pamphlets endeavoured to do but with equally little effect.Should we instead concentrate on any particular aspect of 45 that was positive. Perhaps the confidence of the working class in demanding and expecting change and willing to dispatch war-time leaders like Churchill to the opposition. NHS Free Access. Homes for heroes. The power of the vote. I have little doubt that the film will galvanise the Left to some degree. Screenings turned into organising events. Should we have a leaflet prepared to distribute at these showings? A movie review special issue of the Standard? …4 pages…Is it all just a passing fad anyways , doomed to stay on the fringes as most things the Left get involved in does? Perhaps a film award for Loach and little else of substance from it?Suggestions as always welcomed.March 21, 2013 at 8:10 am #92505
One thing that the events of 1945 repudiate is that a economic slump is the best time for the progress of socialist ideas. Something like what happened then seems better, i.e a hope that things could/would get better. After all, our party was at its largest in the years after 1945 too. Unfortunately, today the expectation is that things are going to get worse. That will get some people (a minority) thinking about capitalism and becoming anti-capitalist and even socialist, but will discourage mass action such as the general strike being called for by leftists.March 21, 2013 at 10:16 am #92506
What is interesting about 'Spirit of 45' is that these reformist leftists now view 'nationalisation' critically. John Rees wanting 'workers control' or 'management by local committees', ex NUM talking heads seeing topdown nationalisation, same managers from private days, essentially 'state capitalist' enterprises. All this is an advance from obsession with 'Clause 4'Should the SPGB debate with Loach and or Owen Jones, would pull in lots of people and we can get our 'socialist message' across, Head Office probably too small, Conway Hall ? Peter Tatchell's ideas about 'economic democracy' should be debatedThe implosion of the SWP will leave lots of Trots abandoning leninist democratic centralism, where are they going to go ? Into 'Left Unity PArty' ? They should come to the SPGB.The SPGB also had a high membership tally in the late 1960s when capitalism was still booming in the West. Economic slumps do not benefit socialism, in fact reformist ideas from the Right Wing proliferate like UKIP here, neo nazis such as the BNP a few years ago and currently in Greece there is neo nazi Golden Dawn.March 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm #92507jondwhiteParticipant
I'm not sure economic slumps benefit fascists nor socialists. Maybe they benefit the apathetic.Spirit of '45 screenings nationwide spring/summer 2013March 28, 2013 at 5:23 am #92508
The economic slump in Germany 1929-32 benefitted the Nazis. The Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party in Greece have risen at a time of severe economic crisis.March 28, 2013 at 7:18 am #92509
Not to mention how Mosley's fascists arose in the 30s out of the left ILP via New Party to the BUF. Wasn't he an advocate of Keynesian economic soutions same s Strachey?The left can become right. National Bolshevism.April 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm #92510
Economic crisis in Cyprus has seen rise of far-right party National Popular Front aka Ethniko Laiko Metopo (Elam) which has links to Golden Dawn in Greece.April 1, 2013 at 6:31 pm #92511
More like the spirit of 35, then?
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