There is a spectrum of groupings on the left and I think its worth trying at least to point them out as fairly distinct identities. These are my definitions and this is how I see people – others are under no obligation to adopt them.
There is not only overlap, but they also vary on the liberal-authoritarian spectrum. So its not an exact science.
Labour Right: The the most rightward end of the spectrum. Represented primarily by the Progress faction. Mostly social liberal and economically centrist, though contain some socially conservative people too, such as Tom Harris and Frank Field.
Soft Left: Slap-bang in the middle within Labour; represented primarily by the likes of Compass and Jon Cruddas. I’m somewhere here, though less statist than many of my peers.
Labour Left: Primarily represented by the Labour Representation Committe. Most hardcore socialists within Labour identify with this faction.
Non-aligned liberal left: People who would normally vote Labour but can’t bring themselves to, thanks to its unwillingess to tackle inequality properly, the Iraq war and rhetoric on issues such as immigration. Includes many who voted Libdem or are within the Green party. They are closest to the LRC or Compass within the Labour party.
Non-aligned hard left Your assortment of SWP, communist types. There’s little point in trying to split the difference here to be honest, and its beyond my pay grade to do that. I find some highly engaging and passionate and idealistic. In most cases however, I find them incredibly annoying and destructive to any campaign / movement.
Update: Alex points out that the SWP are a political grouping in themselves, so why do I refer to them as ‘non-aligned’? Good question. I suppose when I say aligned, I mean to the main political parties (in the Parliamentary sense) that includes the Greens. Though I can see some sense in separating out the SWP from other non-aligned hard left, there are far too many minor categories there for me to start dissecting. But I suppose his point stands.
update 2 To clarify, I’m not that big a fan of Labour Right positions or their own brand of sectarianism either
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Party politics