When I wrote about the BNP recently expressing dismay that a National Socialist party could have nearly 50 councillors in our country some commented about why there wasn’t equivalent indignation over Communist local councillors with their allegiance to that twin totalitarian evil. It is a fair point. As a democrat I believe that Nazis and Communists should be able to stand for election. As a libertarian I believe they are entitled to free speech. But I also believe that their views are repugnant and should be challenged as such by all decent people. It is no use Trotskyists seeking to deny their totalitarian credentials by distancing themselves from what happened in the Soviet Union after their hero’s departure. In 1921 it was Trotsky who ordered the brutal suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion, sailors who were demanding free elections.

Similarly to the BNP, the Respect Party has been hit by splits and defections from those councillors elected under their colours unaware of the nature of the Party that was exploiting them. George Galloway has gone one way (retaining the Respect brand) and the Socialist Workers Party (now styling their electoral front The Left Alternative) another. The Respect Group on Tower Hamlets Council has halved with six remaining with allegiance to Galloway. There are still three in Newham and three in Birmingham. A Respect councillor in Preston has thrown in his lot with the Left Alternative rather than Galloway. I don’t know of any others.

The Communist Party of Britain don’t have any councillors that I know of but one of their representatives came along to Respect’s recent conference offering fraternal greetings. Galloway writes for the Morning Star and he and the CPB share a devotion to Castro et al.

When operating within the Labour Party, the Militant Tendency, a rival
Trotskyist entity to the SWP, were once an important force in local
government most notably in Liverpool. These days they operate under the
auspices of the Socialist Party. They have a couple of councillors in
Coventry (including Dave Nellist pictured) and a couple in Lewisham. In Kirklees
they have Cllr Jackie Grunsell although she was
elected under the "Save Huddersfield NHS" label.

No doubt much the greatest threat posed by the far left is when they
operate within the Labour Party. The defeat of Ken Livingstone as Mayor
of London earlier this year also meant the ejection from City Hall of
his coterie of highly paid advisers from Socialist Action, a group
which emerged from the International Marxist Group, yet another
Trotskyist sect. This does not mean that there are no extremists
exercising influence in Town Halls and sitting as Labour councillors.

18 comments for: Reds in the Town Hall: How big a threat is the far left?

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