I am painfully aware that I am not, when it comes to the frequency of my posts, a electronic samuel pepys, just recently I have had to complete my dissertation and am in the middle of revision for my finals, We are also fostering a succession of short-term emergency placement kids, which take up much of the available blogging time (to say nothing of the sitting around staring at the telly and painting (badly) english civil war model soldiers that takes up the other 90% of my life).
I am also trying, slowly to work out the politics that I now want to argue for; I am still convinced in the necessity of a non- statist, libertarian, socialism; though how that could be, or should be created is far less clear.
Anarchism as a movement is a historical not a current phenonemom, its adherents in the here and now have little more significance than the Sealed Knot, who spend their weekends recreating the battles of the English Civil War.
Social democracy is a movement that has, despite the best predictions, and repetitive declarations, of the far left flatly refused to disappear.
It is a movement, both on its left and right, that is firmly wedded to authoritarian and statist politics.
The ideals of the Labour Left are rested on the myths of the 1945 Labour Government, that socialism is attained through Nationalisation, through the bureaucratic management of Capital.
Neither the vacuousness of sectarian purity, nor the state worshipping of the social democratic left (let alone the would-be chekists of the leninists) are attractive to me.
Instead I am starting to look again at the experience of the ILP after its split from Labour in 1932; rejecting the betrayals of the Labour party in office and under attack from the Communists- to the extent of the murder of its leading comrades at the hands of the OGPU in Spain. The ILP had to develop a revolutionary policy was combined with a serious commitment to practical work in working class communities. the ILP's experience has been historically denigrated by Labour movement historians who influenced by either Labourism, who denied that the split could never be justified nor have any positive outcome, or communist or trotskyite, who could not forgive the ilps refusal to kowtow to Moscow.
It is impossible to recreate the pre war ILP; it would be an exercise as pointless as the 1917, 1936 and 1945 reenactment societies that prolifigate the left.
Instead there has to be a new attempt to create a left, one which places individual liberty as highly as social and economic equality. One that refuses to become embroiled in the false messiah of "Anti Imperialism"; which betrays the working class of the third world by giving left cover to their rulers, whose sole 'redeeming' feature is their opposition to the US government.
It is depressing therefore to read that a serious attempt to build an independent working class politics- the IWCA seems to be floundering in the one area that it had had some limited success, in the Blackbird Leys area of Oxford, and is abandoning electoral politics for 'community work'.
Enough meandering, back to the books- I have to immerse myself into the history of the 12th/13th century French Monarchy for the next two weeks.