LM group

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The LM group is a loose collection of individuals and organisations characterised by an anti-environmentalist, apparently libertarian ideology and a common heritage extending back to the British far-left in the early 1980s. It takes its name from 'LM Magazine', formerly Living Marxism, the organ of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Background and ideology

The LM network opposes all restrictions on business, science and technology, especially biotechnology. The group's pre-eminent ideologue is Frank Furedi, a professor of sociology at Kent University and a leading figure in the contemporary Marxist movement in the UK. The group, grounded in an academic idological framework provided by Furedi, use the media and various self-created outlets to lambast the 'precautionary principle'. Environmentalism, sustainable development and legal regulation are attacked by as holding back humanity and positive change. New technologies, especially biotechnology, and massive industrial development are eulogised:

"What are the risks?" and "what are the side effects?" are questions posed to an ever-expanding list of subjects. Such concerns are not merely expressed in relation to the high-profile dangers - BSE, nuclear radiation, potential environmental catastrophes. Every new product, from the mobile phone to computer games, is invariably put through an anxious calculus of risk. There is a compulsion to anticipate and pre-empt adverse outcomes. - Frank Furedi, "Why Do We Live in Terror?", Guardian, 26 July 1997

The relationship between Furedi's theories on risk and the LM group's ancestry as a revolutionary political fringe movement is explained by former RCP member David Webb:

As [the LM group] see it, the failure of previous attempts to change society, such as Communism and the labour movement in the West, has undermined 'historical thinking', which emphasises man's ability to create history. The result is a morass of fundamentally negative ideas. Anti-globalism and environmentalism assume that all change, all progress, will inevitably have destructive consequences that we cannot foresee. The rise of speech codes, political correctness and other forms of official regulation of interpersonal behaviour are also seen by the LM group as a reflection of negative assumptions about humanity as a consequence of the loss of consciousness of man's history-making potential. All these cultural developments are therefore explained by the Furedi group as a function of the failure of alternatives to capitalism. In the words of Frank Furedi, the demise of historical thinking is 'simply a generalisation from the empirical recognition that, at present, there is no ideological alternative to liberal capitalism'. [1]

The group is believed by some to have conducted a campaign of entryism into British media and scientific circles since the mid-1990s. The most prominent advocate of this theory has been George Monbiot, the environmentalist and Guardian newspaper columnist, who has based some of his work on research by the website GM Watch, edited by the anti-GM campaigner Jonathan Matthews. Supporters of this theory have accused the LM Group of using front groups, a technique which they say was long practiced by the Revolutionary Communist Party, to promote a pro-corporate, right wing line.

Furedi and others with a background in the RCP, however, deny that they are involved in an organised conspiracy. Furedi claims that Monbiot's accusations that his the head of a "cultish" underground "sect" have been sent to his employers: "Copies of this article have been sent to my vice-chancellor. Letters are sent questioning why they are employing such a person ... It is so fascistic. It is McCarthyism: writing to people trying to get you fired from your job because of some plot you are supposed to be involved in. It is completely fair to call me a schmuck, but these people are not debating. They are saying I should not be listened to because I am a conspirator... That kind of conspiracy theory, historically, used to be an argument of the Right. It was characteristic of the Right to talk about masonic conspiracy, about Jewish plots, but now we are seeing parts of the Left being obsessed with this kind of stuff." Quoted in the same article in the Times Higher Educational Supplement (which employs Furedi as an occasional columnist) another alleged conspirator Claire Fox said: "What they are saying is that if you have had any connection with the RCP and you have since got on with your life, then whoever you work for now is a front organisation for the RCP, which doesn't even exist. Certainly, there is a network of like-minded people. Some people do come from an RCP background, because we have a long intellectual history together, and we do work together sometimes, but it is just wrong to imagine that there is some revolutionary cell."

Primary platforms for the group are currently the Institute of Ideas, Sense About Science and e-zine Spiked Online. Prominent members of the network include the Times columnist Mick Hume, Sense about Science director Fiona Fox, her sister Claire Fox and former Living Marxism publisher Helene Guldberg.

LM group members and sympathisers

LM is not an officially constituted group.

Pseudonyms

The use of pseudonyms by associates of the LM group and the Revolutionary Communist Party is extensive. The primary function of this would seem to be to allows the group to promote its ideas widely in the media without being recognised as a relatively small ideological clique. Nom de guerres can also compartmentalise areas of a life, protecting an individual and their career. Fiona Fox is now head of the Sense about Science. One can only presume her current colleagues are unaware of her writings as Fiona Foster, denying genocide in Rwanda [2].

Leading personalities

Others

Related organisations

The following organisations have been established by the Revolutionary Communist Party, and various associates and sympathisers of the LM network. These platforms take a variety of forms, including think tanks, charities and fake "grassroots networks". A interesting discussion of RCP/LM front groups was held on usenet in 1998.

External links