Like all broad fronts created by the reformist left, the Coalition of Resistance is full of internal contradictions. Formed following a letter to The Guardian written by veteran left Labourite Tony Benn, its leadership is comprised of competing tendencies, each seeking to increase their own membership, and channel anger over the cuts into safe, reformist directions.
However, again like all broad fronts, it has many ‘ordinary’ supporters who just want to stop the government doing something harmful to their interests – in this case, slashing public spending. As Phil Dickens argued in October, anti-authoritarians need to engage with such people, because:
“It is vital to try and educate fellow workers and socialists about our ideas on how to fight the struggles we all face, and to agitate the authoritarians and self-appointed leaders of the left so that people know there is an alternative to them. But it all comes to nothing unless we actively organise and lead by example at the same time.”
In that spirit, I’m publicising the newly-formed spin-off from the Coalition of Resistance, namely Artists of the Resistance. At the founding meeting in mid-December, it was decided that “We need to be active in our respective areas, but also come together as writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, animators etc. We should work on propaganda making slogans, posters, YouTube clips, anmimated manifestos etc. We should go to places threatened with closure and speak, act, dance, play, perform, read.”
This is an excellent idea, and one that – unlike the Coalition of Resistance meetings addressed by trade union bureaucrats and Labour politicians – can easily escape the clutches of those who would manipulate it for their own party political ends. Already, the Facebook group has 251 members, a number that is sure to grow as performances get underway. It is has the potential to go viral via social networking sites, and pique the interest of those who might be loathe to read a political article. The first steps towards a Musicians of the Resistance group were taken today, and anyone who is interested in taking part is asked to email Alex Etchart (etchartmusic[at]gmail.com) with their name, skills, any web links, and contact details.