Trawling the net, 21.02.07

Just a brief stopgap post today, flagging up things that should be in my pending tray but are having to wait behind the flurry of local news. I may or may not get back to them later, but here are some useful links in the meantime.

Courtesy of the estimable Louis Proyect, we have a critique of the Euston Manifesto by Paul Flewers of New Interventions. Obviously there is a huge amount that could be said about the Decent Left, but Paul deals with Euston much more calmly and concisely than I could manage.

Like I suspect most of its readers, I read the Weekly Worker for the gossip, not the political analysis. When they try to write for themselves, the Conrad Party of Great Britain can often be a bit ropy – this steaming pile of Matgamnite horseshit is a case in point. But I was impressed by this very good piece by Anne McShane, on Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs and how the SWP have taken it up as an excuse for their retreat into rightist puritanism.

Finally, this argument on the British left blogs about whether socialists should be in the Labour Party. The latest round can be found here, here, here, here, here and here. And probably a few other places that I haven’t happened across.


  1. AN said,

    February 21, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    It would be a mistake to assume that the interest about rejoining labour in the hot house of the blogoshere was a reflkection of a real development in the actual world. ;o)

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    February 21, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Indeed not… it’s a bit like the antimatter version of Tariq joining to support the Benn campaign. 😉

  3. ejh said,

    February 21, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Flewers’ piece begins:

    “One of the more interesting political events of 2006 was the launching of the Euston Manifesto.”

    To which the obvious response is “no”.

    I didn’t know Jon Pike was involved in Engage though. Mind you I remember Jon as a member of Socialist Organiser in Oxford in the mid-Eighties so I suppose that would make sense.

    Any leftist trainspotters know what happened to Ben Schoendorff?

  4. ejh said,

    February 21, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Incidentally, according to this unreliable source (final paragraph) Paul Flewers isn’t well.

  5. WorldbyStorm said,

    February 21, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Very good article in Weekly Worker. Except all the comma’s appear as ? on my computer.


  6. ejh said,

    February 23, 2007 at 9:57 am

    B%c&6se s*Çe #@ow$$rs int////et tªªt di&&eren=l? t¿ o,;e%s

  7. Dr Paul said,

    May 24, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    Re EJH re me: yes, I am somewhat indisposed at present. What made you describe the Popular Front for the Liberation of the CPSA as an ‘unreliable source’?

  8. ejh said,

    May 25, 2007 at 8:44 am

    What would make me describe it differently? I had no idea they had any pretensions to being reliable!

    (Incidentally I was a CPSA member 1987-93.)

  9. Phil said,

    September 4, 2007 at 9:30 am

    EJH – I was wondering what had happened to Ben myself. When did you know him?

  10. ejh said,

    September 4, 2007 at 10:04 am


  11. ejh said,

    September 4, 2007 at 10:07 am

    …hen I was at Oxford. (Sorry about that!) I doubt that he knew me, though. I can’t remember what group he was involved in but I do recall that they were supposed to have held a meeting where the famous Pablo was the guest speaker.

    I think I found his name not long ago in some report of a psychology conference but my French is not of the standard which would have enabled me to understand what was going on.

  12. Phil said,

    September 4, 2007 at 11:21 am

    I knew him in the late 80s/early 90s; his group Socialist Self-Management (the British branch of Pablo’s version of the FI) got involved in the Socialist Society. I remember them publishing a newsletter where they advanced a project of ‘desalienation’; to be fair I’m not sure what the English for désaliénation would be, but I don’t think it’s that. They had some good ideas, but the whole organised-tendency thing put me off.

  13. Andy Newman said,

    September 4, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Were you in the SWP in Oxford ejh? What years?

    I probably must know you then, or at least my ex-wife Sarah must have known you – as she was in Oxford SWP for years.

  14. ejh said,

    September 4, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Phil – if you look up Ben Schoendorff on Google you get Tony Benn’s site plus this thread! If you look up Benjamin Schoendorff instead you get the French stuff I referred to earlier.

  15. Andy Newman said,

    September 4, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    ejh – It looks like you aren’t going to answer when you were in Oxford.

    That is a shame, because you have questioned the credibility of my eye witness accounts of things that happened in the SWP.

    If we discuss Oxford, we could discuss events where we both know what happened.

  16. Derek Wall said,

    July 26, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Ben had a bit of a breakdown and got quite heavily into drugs, after a period in the Green Party, he was international secretary for the Greens for a while.

    I guess being on the Green Party exec can be a strain, speaking from personal experience.

    I had a friendly email from him a month or two back, he sounds like he has got things together, he lives in France at present I don’t think he is actively political.

    One ex Socialist Self-Management comrade is now Director of Public Prosecutions…and the whole thing feed into ecosocialism, the tendancy bit was I agree off putting though….Pablo’s tendancy reunified with the USFI.

  17. Phil said,

    July 26, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    One ex Socialist Self-Management comrade is now Director of Public Prosecutions

    Sir Ken Macdonald? Surely not. I know Keir Starmer QC was SSM, back in their Soc Soc days; I think he’s still pretty sound (I’ve got nothing at all against radical lawyers).

    Did you know Barney, by the way? One of the few people I’ve known on the left who I’d characterise as totally reliable – didn’t get on too well with Harry Curtis*, though.

    *Ben’s party name, which he insisted on using on all occasions.

  18. Phil said,

    July 26, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Whoops – hadn’t heard the news. Congratulations to Keir.

  19. ejh said,

    July 28, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Ah, I know Sally Hatfield from the same chambers – another Oxford connection (same college, same year). Very posh and I never knew she had any particular opinions until I happened to run into her acting as a legal observer on some large demonstration or other. Let’s not kill all the lawyers.

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