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Editorial

"It i s a n e w Society that w e are working to realise, not a

Cleaning up of our present tyrannical muddle into an improved, smoothly-working form of t hat same "order", a mass of dull and useless people organised into classes, ami dst whi ch the antagonism should be moderated and veiled so that they should act as checks on each other for the insurance of the stability of
the system."

William Morris, Commonweal, July, t885


NLR is a d e velopment of Un iversities and Left Reviewand The New Reasoner. The p o l i t i c al d i s cussion wh i ch t h o s e t wo j o u rnals h ave b e gun , an d t h e c o n t acts t h e y h a v e m ade are th e b a sis o f t h e N e w L e f t . W h a t ever w e a r e able to do i n t h e j o urnal w i ll , w e b elieve, be an organic g rowth out o f t h e t w o d i f ferent traditions from w h ich w e b egan. I n p a r t i c u lar, w e a r e a n x i ou s t o m a i n t ai n t h e wide scope of NL R . We a r e c o nvinced that p o l i t i cs, to o n arrowly c o n ceived, h a s b e e n a ma i n ca u s e o f t h e d ecline o f s o c ialism i n t h i s c o u n t ry , an d o n e o f t h e reasons for th e d i saffection from socialist i deas of y oung people in p a rticular. The h umanist strengths of socialism which ar e t h e f o u ndations fo r a g e n u i nely p o p ular s ocialist m ovement must be d eveloped i n c u l t u ral a n d social terms, as well as in economic and political. What we need now i s a la n g uage sufficiently c l ose t o l i f e all aspects of i t to d eclare our d i scontent w i t h " h a s s ame order". The p u r pose o f d i s cussing t h e c i n em a o r t e e n -age culture in NL R is n o t t o s h ow t h a t, in s o me m odish way, we are k eeping u p w i t h t h e t i m e s . T h ese are d i r ectly r elevant t o t h e i m a g i n ative r e sistances of p e o pl e w h o h ave t o l i v e w i t h i n c a p i t a lism-the g r o w in g p o i n t s o f social d i scontent, t h e p r o j ections o f d e e ply-felt n e eds. Our experience of l i f e t o d ay i s s o e x t r aordinarily f r a g mented. Th e t ask o f s o cialism i s t o m e e t p e ople w h ere they ar e, w h e re t h e y a r e t o u c hed, b i t t e n, m o v e d, f r u s t rated, n a u seated to d e velop d i s c ontent a n d , a t t h e same ti me , t o g i v e t h e s o c i alist m o v ement s ome di rect sense of the times and ways in which we live. At th e s a m e t i m e , t h e t rad i t i o n al t a s k o f so c i a l i s t a nalysis wil l s t i l l r e m a in . T h e a n atomy o f p o w er , t h e relationship of b u siness to p o l itics, th e r ol e o f i d eology, the analysis o f t r a n sitional p r o g rammes an d d e m ands, are all c e n t ral t o tha t d i s c ussion of t h e s t a t e, w i t h o u t which there can be no clarity, either of t heory or p ractice.

years ago, such people m ight h ave regarded NL R a s a wierd intellectual junket. Now t hey feel that our emphasis up cia an and edu ca t i o n is a com m on concern. On our side, we feel the urgent need to enlarge our own experiences by d r awing i n t o d i scussion people also have a different sense of the society. Our hope is that NLR WJv ' r V i T t o l if e genu i n e dia l o gue b e t w e en intellectual and industrial workers.
Some point , t h e d i s t ant w a r i ness between i n t ellectual and industrial w o rkers must b e b r o ken d o w n. I t i s on e o f the m ost d angerous aspects of t h e p r esent p l i ght o f the socialist movement. Our ho pe is t hat NL R wi l l b e g i n t o kni t t o g ether t hi s b r oken conversation. Thi s i s p a r t i cularly important when we c o n sider the question of social o wnership. Many o f t h ose i n t h e L a bour Party an d t h e Trade Un ions wh o d e clare fo r s o cial o w n ership, h ave reservations about the fo rm which it s h o uld t a ke. So have we. The present form o f n a t i onalisation i s no t a s o cialist for i t d o e s no t g i v e o r d i nary m e n a n d w o m e n d i r ect c ontrol o v e r t h e i r o w n li v e s . N o r do e s t h e " p u b l i c corporation" f o r m of n at i o n a lisation c o n f r ont as a socialist m e asure s h o uld the u r g en t p r o b l em s o f a modern industrial society: such q uestions as bureaucracy, the d i stance b e tween m e n a n d d e c i sions w h i c h a f f ect them, th e p r o blems o f o v er-centralisation, ar t h e v e sted p ower o f t h e n e w p r o p ertied c l asses. H ere, a w h o l e neglected tradition w i t hi n s ocialism needs to b e i m a gin a tively rediscovered: but t hat w i l l b e a st erile task, if i t i s not enriched by the experience of men and women who w ork i n i n d u s t ry. W e m u s t c o n f r ont t h i s q u e stion o f bureaucracy, which touches us all, together.

A l a rge n u m ber o f p e o pl e w h o m w e h a v e d r a w n t ogether a r o un d t h e t wo re v i ew s a r e a n x i ou s t o do s omething to fin d a f o r m o f p o l i t i cal a c t i v it y w h i c h m atches t h ei r p o l i t i ca l c o m m i t m e nts . W e a re oi g c d b y their i m p atience wit h t h e h e sitancies which w e h a v e shown for o rganisation. This can b e i g n ored n o l o nger. But w e n e ed t o s a y, as f i r m l y a s w e c a n, t h a t t h e m o s t urgent task fo r s ocialism t oday r emains th e c l arification of ideas. The m ovement has never before been so short o n ideas, so long on pious waffle. Not u n ti l w e attain th i s clarity, through a d ecisive shift i n p o l i t ical consciousness t hroughout th e m ovement, w il l w e b e a bl e t o w o r k w i t h a revolutionary p erspective i n v i e w . W e s h al l c o n t i n ue to bounce from one side to another, fighting a p erpetual The journal, then, w i l l r a nge w i dely. Bu t i n p o l i t i cal rear-guard a c t i on , a "h o l d i n g o p e r ation" , w h i l e t h e terms, NL R r e p r e sents a r e a l b r e a k-through f o r u s : a c hampions of " m e -too" a dvance int o t h e c al m w a t ers of break-through, both i n t e r m s o f r e gular, frequent publi an "American" f u t ure. Ou r h o p e i s t h a t p e o ple in t h e c ation, a s k eletal bu t p e r m anent o rganisation, as w el l a s New Left wil l f eel, wit h a special urgency, the poverty of the ne w a u d i ences w i t h wh o m we c a n c o m m u n i cate. i deas in the Labour M ovement. The strength of t h e N e w B ecause of t h e d i saster of t h e E l e ction, an d t h e l o s s o f Left w i l l b e t e s ted t h e s t r ength o f i t s i d e as: w e s h all d irection w i t h i n t h e e s t a b lishments o f t h e l e f t , m a n y h ave to h o l d f ast t o t h a t , a s t h e p r essure builds u p t o p eople are anxiously f eeling t h ei r w a y f o r w ard. T h r ee "cease talking and begin doings".

T he j o urnal, t h en , b o ok s an d p a m p hlets g e t t in g a w ide an d m o r e r e p resentative c i r culation, s c hools a n d conferences and d i scussions these make u p t h e s p ear head of the New Left. As we open up some of the hidden recesses of " B r i t a in : u n k n ow n c o u n t r y" , i t w ou l d be wrong fo r i n t e l lectual w o r kers t o d i s card t h ei r p r o p er r ole, or u n l i k e t h e p i o neers of s ocialism, t o fl a t t e r t h e rank and f i l e an d o u rselves into a s afe complacency, by abasing ourselves before the altar of ac tion at any price. G ranted t h at , w h a t f o l l o ws? W e h a v e s p oken o f t h e New Left as a " m o vement o f i d eas": th e p h rase suggests, both the place we accord to socialist analysis and polemic, a nd th e n a t ural g r o wt h o f i d e as, t h r ough p eople, i n t o socialist activity. I t i s , i n o n e s ense, education w hich t h e s ocialist movement lacks most of a ll : t h e j o b o f t h e N e w Left i s t o p r o v id e t h i s k i n d o f s e r v ice fo r t h e L a bour M ovement. B u t e d u c ation i s t o o i n a c t iv e a n d r i g i d a t erm suggesting th e s t ifF approach of t eacher t o p u p i l , t he d u l l at m o s phere o f c l a ssroom a n d Pa r t y h e a d quarters, where socialist i deas raise their u gl y h e ads, are looked at d i stantly, and for want of i n t erest or v i gour fade and die away into th e shadows again. What w e need i s a l i v in g m o v ement o f p e o ple, b attering away a t t h e problems o f s o c i alism i n t h e m id - T w entieth C e n t ury, pooling t h ei r e x periences, yet, a t e v ery p o i nt , b r eaking b ack int o t h e L a bour M o vement, t h rusting f o rward l i k e so many u n i n v ited g u ests i nt o C o n stituency Parties and T rade Union branches, pushing within C N D , p i c king u p the quick tissues in the society, sloughing oIF the dead. We are, then m o ving b eyond education i n t h e n a rrow sense to political activity i n a l l i t s aspects. What w e n eed are not only d i scussion groups, but centres of socialist work and activity rallying points of d i s turbance and discontent withi n t h e lo c a l c o m m u n i ty , t h e n e r v e c e n t res o f a g enuinely popular and i n f ormed socialist m ovement. W e shall in Left Clubs or T r ibune Societies, informal groups and university clubs be parallel to , r ather t han compet ing wi th , existing organisations of th e L abour M ovement: f ree where they are t i ed, m aintaining a d i r ect l i n k w i t h similar m o v ements an d t e n d encies i n o t h e r c o u n t r i es. T he Left C l ubs, and other similar centres with w ho m w e want t o m a i n t ain i n f ormal l i n ks, w i l l n o t l o o k t o w ards s ome centre f o r d i r e c t ives an d g u i d ance, w h ence t h e tables of t h e Socialist Law w i l l b e d i s pensed, but p r ess in u p o n t h e c e n t r e w i t h t h e i r o w n i n i t i a t i v es. T h e se ought t o b e , m o reover, centres of socialist activity, w here a demonstration o f s ocialism can b e m a d e, a nd w h e re t h e f ragmentary sense of c o m m u n it y a n d s o l i darity, w h i c h used to b e p art o f t h e s ocialist m ovement, can b e p i eced together again. A m o v ement, t ha t i s t o s ay, w h ose open f orm and d i verse activities wil l r eflect th e b readth of t h e N ew Left, b u t w h i c h w i l l c o n t i nually p i oneer new a n d f lexible ways o f w o r k in g t h r o ugh, b etween, around t h e frozen monoliths of the Labour Movement. Indeed, the test of such centres as Left C l ubs or other New Left k i nds of groups might be whether or not t h ey a re able to b reak out o f t h e d i stressingly narrow way i n w hich socialist o r ganisation i s d i s cussed today. T hi s i s o ften l i m i t e d t o " t r a n sforming t h e L a b ou r P a rt y f r o m

within", and resolution-passing all of w h ich i s n ecessary, but l i m i ted. A s i f s ocialism turned today on th e q uestion of formal allegiances, as if the whole electorate were under t he constant w a t chful e y e o f t h e P a r l i amentary w h i p s! Where the candidates are good, we should concentrate our forces, swing the enthusiasm of a Left C lub b ehind some o ne who wil l v ot e N O t o t h e B o mb , w hen th e rest of t h e p arliamentary f r a t ernit y t r o o p t h r o ug h t h e d o o r in t o n o-man' s-land: where th e c andidate i s w e ak, b ad , c o m promising, w e s h ould d ra w a way f ro m p o l i t i cal b l ack mail as if f rom t h e p l ague. The last refuge of scoundrels t oday is n o l o n ger t h e a p peal fo r " p a t riotism", bu t t h e cry that w e m u s t s in k o u r d i f f erences in t h e i n t erests of P arty U n i t y . S o cialists should c ease t o s q u ander t h e i r energies upon scoundrels, and should cease to allow t h em to betray the enthusiasm of th e young. They should give or withold t heir support b y t h eir ow n c hoice and accord i ng t o s o cialist p r i o ricies. They should v ot e w i t h t h e i r feet in both d i rections: the protest march or t h e b oycott. Where there are CN D o r D i r ect A c t ion d emonstrations, Left Clubs should be th e most active group. W here there a re groups of h o uses without a n a c t iv e c ommunity l i f e , w here there ar e y o un g p e o ple w i t h ou t a yo u t h c l u b , where there are responsible rank-and-file strikers being snubbed by T r ade U n io n l e aders, or c o l oured w orkers being frozen out b y T r ad e U n io n r a nk-and-filers, there is work f o r u s t o d o . T h e m e t hods of d i r ect action, so effectively u se d i n t h e Ca m p a ign , o u g h t t o b e re interpreted by Left C l ubs and similar groups. The test of such centres of N e w L e f t a c t ivit y m i g h t b e i f , a m o ngst their m ost a c t iv e m e m bers, t h ere ar e P arty a c t i vists and political " un c l u b bables", st u d e nt s an d t een - agers, t eachers and m e mbers o f t h e T r a des Council. T h e o l d t imers will w ant t o o rganise the young: wil l t h ey t ake i t ? The younger people w i l l w a n t t o p l a y j a z z an d s h ow films: will th e old stagers let them? Can we find a way of w orking t o g ether w h i c h m a r r ies t h e t w o e l e ments o f a s ocialist m o vement: t h e t h e oretical analysis w h ic h g i v e s t he m o v ement p e r spective, t h e c l a r io n c a l l t o m or a l principle, taken u p i n a n u n a shamed way, which g i v es
the movement guts?

O ne cannot p r escribe f orms o f a c t i v it y f o r a d e m o c ratic S o cialist m o v e ment . I t is of t e n a q u e s t i o n o f response as well a s i n i t i a tive the quick a nd i m a g i native r esponse t o in t e r n ational o r n a t i o na l c r i s is , o r l o c a l o pportunities, as they disclose themselves. But i n a n d o u t and alongside all o t her activity, there is always the w ork o f "the Socialist Propaganda". Th e L abour M o vement i s not in i t s i n surrectionary phase: we are in ou r m i ssionary phase. The Left C l ub s and N e w L e f t c e ntres the New Left in g eneral must pioneer a way forward by w o rking f or socialism as t h e I d m i s sionaries worked: as i f c o n sumed by a f i r e t h a t i s c a pable of l i g h t in g t h e d a rker places in our society. We have to g o o u t i n t o t o wns and c ities, u n i versities an d t e c h nical c o l l eges, y o ut h c l u b s and Trade U n io n b r anches, and as Morris said make socialists t h e re. W e ha v e c o m e t h r o u gh 2 0 0 ye a r s o f

capitalism and 1 0 0 y e ars o f i m p erialism. W h y s h o uld p eople naturally turn t o s o cialism? T h ere i s n o l a w

w hich s ays t h a t t h e L a b ou r M o v e ment , l i k e a g re a t inhuman engine, is going t o t h rob it s way i nt o socialism, or that w e c an, any l o nger as the Labour Party does r ely upon poverty and exploitation t o d r iv e p eople, l i k e b lind animals, t owards socialism. Socialism is , an d w i l l r emain, an active faith i n a n e w s ociety, a faith t o w h i c h we turn as conscious, thinking human beings. People have to be confronted with experience, called to th e " society of e quals", not b ecause they have never had i t s o b a d , b u t b ecause the " s ociety o f e q u a ls" i s b e t t e r t h a n t h e b e s t soft-selling c onsumer-capitalist society, and l i f e i s s o m e thing li v ed, n ot s o m e thing o n e p a sses through l i k e t e a through a strainer. How close Morris came to t h e b o ne! H e l o oked r i g ht a cross history a nd , w i t h r e m a rkable i n s ight , s a w i n t o o ur p a r t i cular p r e d icament. T h e re , o n t h e s t r e et s o f Nairobi i s M o r ris's "tyranny": here, i n t h e a geing dock yards, the cluttered roads and railway stations, the decay ing centres of our ci ties, the closing nationalised collieries, i s hi s " m u d d l e" . I n Pa r l i ament, s i t T w e edledum a n d

T weedledee, "cleaning u p " , " i m p r oving" the f i el d o f political vision narrowed t o t h e d i smal t ask o f c a pturing control o f t h a t s y s tem o f " c h e cks" an d b a l ances Her Majesty's Government "for the i n surance of t h e st ability of the system". Only t h e p l ush carpet, the dispatch boxes and Black Rod k eep them f rom on e another's arms. And
in th e c o u n t ry, a t h o u sand P r oductivit y C o m m i t t ees, a fleet of Royal Commissions, a covey of b i -Partisan Parlia mentary Delegations, a brace of d i nners in c elebration of "our B omb " a n d " t h e g r eat A t l a n ti c A l l i ance", a s catter of knighthoods and orders and decorations, keep antagon ism "moderate" and "veiled". Now, perhaps, we can finish the Morris quote: "The real busi ness of Socialists is to impress on the workers the fact that they are a class, whereas they ought to be Society. The work that lies before us at present is to m a k e Socialists, to cover the country with a n etwork of associations composed of men who feel their antagonism to the dominant c lasses, and have no temptation to waste their ti me i n t h e thousand folli es of party politics."

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' Shh! D o n ' t R o c k t h e B o a t ! '

Our thanks are due to Abu and the Observer for permission to reprint cartoons.