George Walford: Doing the Splits (55)

IC has been running items under this heading, drawing attention to the increase in divisiveness towards the eidodynamic end of the ideological range. The first two of the present selection are particularly fine; one gives vigorous expression to what happens, the other shows its practical

  • “Why is it that right-wing bastards always stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity while liberals fall out among themselves?” (Yevgeny Yevtuchenko).
  • Robert Harris points out that after all the work of the reformist and revolutionary movements the British Conservative Party has become, in terms of years in office, not less but more successful. In the 70 years before 1922 they held office by themselves for 28 years; in the 70 years since 1922 for no less than 40 years. He continues: “Not least of the reasons for this is that, from the 1920s onwards, their opponents have been split between Liberal and Labour. ‘Divide and rule’ is the classic maxim for all those who seek power. In Britain, the left has been divided; the right has been united; and the right has ruled.”
  • Militant has long been a splinter movement within the Labour Party. News now comes that Militant itself has split.
  • As the Spanish Civil War recedes into history it comes to appear increasingly like a struggle between the forces of a would-be dictator on the one hand and a united people on the other. It didn’t look like that at the time. The Socialists were split between outright reformers and the nominally revolutionary Caballeristas, producing infighting and internal crisis, contributing to the destruction of the Republic, while “it was the [Spanish Communist Party’s] political cannibalism and the Comintern’s ideological sectarianism which really destroyed the Republican camp’s unity of purpose”. (Denis Smyth in TLS 31 January)


from Ideological Commentary 55, Spring 1992.