We have a movement to build. In the process, we may lose the next two or three elections. As long as our enemies control the media, dominate workplaces and determine the nature of so many community institutions, they will always be able to frighten enough of the electorate into voting against us to prevent us from winning an election.
They will only allow us to come close to winning office if we simply remove all radical demands from our programme. We could do that – we could make ourselves ‘electable’ by becoming so ‘moderate’ that the existing elites they would be willing to let us form a government for a while. But to achieve that, we would have to abandon much of our support among the poorest sections of society, and would demoralise our own forces to the point where we would have lost more than we had gained. We might get into office, but all real power would remain in the hands of our enemies, and we would have lost the opportunity to build a real movement for social change.
We have to build our forces across culture and in civil society, in order to take our positions and deepen our networks, and in order to fight what Gramsci calls the ‘war of position’. We have to develop our own institutions, our intellectual networks, and above all our own media. Only then will we be in a position to form a government. This may take a decade – it may take a generation – but it is the only path open to us.
I think this is a hypothetical speech (written by Gilbert) that the Bennites could have made back in the 80s (but didn't)