Advocacy again

Today it is reported Jeremy Corbyn wants to bring back Clause IV!

For A.Bevin the first democratic task was one of advocacy. The party has to advocate what ‘the masses’ (‘the many not the few’, ‘the people’) want. It is not a question of explaining, or persuading them of what is good for them (including, “don’t vote Corbyn”) as if the politician were a prophet, pastor or teacher: that doesn’t belong to democracy. Advocate!

In the early days of universal enfranchisement, ‘the masses’ as then constitued wanted a socialist programme – hence, Labour became a party of democratic socialism.

In the meantime -from the 60s onwards- it became clear that people found public ownership somewhat stifling. People would in fact rather have ‘money-makers’ in charge than ‘public servants’.

The question is whether people have changed their minds back to wanting ‘public servants’ in charge. If that is what the people want then it is our job to advocate this.

But I don’t think the people really care about that. Nor have they despaired of c-p-t-lism. They want politicians more like gardeners than architects, tending education, health, housing, social cohesion and economic growth. Who advocates those concerns most clearly?

Or we could fight for the minority protest vote – SNP, UKIP, Green, Left Unity, Non-Voters. But then we’re not seeking to advocate for ‘the many’ any more but rather to preach to them. Either the Labour Party was democratic socialist or just was.


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