On Friday 28 February we attended a meeting of the West London Branch on the subject of Apartheid. As usual, the speaker was well informed (though only about capitalism, not about ‘socialism’), and as usual he put the routine party case and used the routine evasion. When it was pointed out that, in South Africa as in Britain, class position does not agree with political attachment and is not coming to agree with it, he replied that the Party did not say economics directly governs politics (nobody had suggested it did say that) and made no attempt to answer the point that had been made.
More interesting was a statement by a Party member speaking in discussion. He mentioned an American who, on television, had expressed the disturbance and shock that disclosure of President Reagan’s connection with the sale of arms to Iran had caused. He (the Party member) claimed this as evidence that from the misdeeds of their rulers people learn to distrust them. In fact; of course, it tends to show just the opposite. If, after Nixon’s performance, many Americans can still be shockd by Reagan’s, that demonstrates the near-impossibility of shaking their confidence in government.
We did point this out at the meeting; it produced a chilly silence but no other response.
Attitudes towards government, whether of the general body of the people, the (A-)SPGB or anybody else, are affected more by ideology than by evidence.
from Ideological Commentary 27, May 1987.