Tendance Coatesy

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SWP Stall “turned over” by Autonomist Police.

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Autonomist Police Scatters SWP.

Yesterday,

The SWP found out today that their rape-apologist bullshit has got no place in Liverpool. Their stall outside the NUS conference in Liverpool (it was outside because they’d already been refused entry to the conference) was turned over and their literature scattered to the wind. Let this be a lesson to them – we won’t accept their rape apologism here.

They spouted the usual crap: “sectarian”, “political nobodies”. So fucking what? More tellingly though, they made accusations of “sending men to intimidate women”. 50% of the people involved in tossing their shit papers on the floor and ripping down their shit posters were women.

This histrionic post ends with this gibberish,

The SWP covered up rape, threw survivors under the bus and intimidate anyone who tries to confront them about it (anyone remember the Glasgow anti-bedroom tax rally?). UAF grasses militant antifascists to the police. We won’t tolerate an organization that is so misogynistic in nature and so repugnant in its political opportunism anymore. We’re drawing a line now. Try not to cross it.

From Liverpool Class Action an “Autonomous anarchist group currently active in Merseyside.”

This follows the censorship of the SWP Marxism Festival by ULU.

Despite affiliated universities (notably the School of Oriental and African Studies;) letting rooms to real reactionaries, Islamists, who openly preach misogyny advocate female circumcision and hatred of gays – against which ULU has done precisely nothing, student union officers issued a statement that ended with this,

To the SWP, we say that you are beyond help and progressive debate. You are disgrace to the left and we have no wish to help support any growth in your oppressive organisation. The bottom line is that you do not have any right to use this space, you are not welcome here or anywhere near our union and we will not be harassed by your organisation. As students and activists, we stand united against sexism.

A little further back there was this, (December 2013),

Sussex: Autonomists in ‘feelgood’ attack on SWP

Tom Munday on the turning over of an SWP stall and the burning of their papers at Sussex university.

The actions of these groups, and those on the ‘left’ who sympathise with them, are straight-forward authoritarian policing. They suppress political debate. They revile and scream rather than talk. They are the self-appointed political police of the left.

They are also hypocrites: no autonomist or ‘anti-sexist’ group  dares carry out of the same actions against the Islamists, guilty of not just of a bureaucratic and incompetent sexism, but open misogyny.

We do not advocate censoring their views either: debate, and free speech are a condition of secularism.

The Sussex self-appointed police  of the ASN (Autonomous Students Network) continue their actions,

Despite being repeatedly told by survivors that their presence on campus is triggering, the SWP loyalists continue to cover campus in their propaganda, hold meetings and are even running a candidate for the student union elections. As long as they act like that, we will continue to act like this.

Solidarity as ever with all survivors, we will not back down.

Burn the SWP.

‘Tom Munday’ in the Weekly Worker was right in analysing this as follows,

The reaction of the ASN represents only the most recent incarnation of a morality culture fostered by groups like the SWP. What we effectively see here is the most facile aspects of Blairism regurgitated as ‘socialist’ doctrine. The very notion that all the injustice and violence of the world can be willed away with good intentions and a true heart is fanciful to say the least, but lapses into outright narcissism when it expects the terrible realities that infest society at large to not find themselves duplicated within the left itself. Add into this mix an SWP-esque brand of directionless actionism and you end up with Frankenstein politics: at best leading us towards disingenuous ‘safe spaces’ policies.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 10, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Street Clashes in Nantes over New Aéroport.

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La police et les gendarmes mobiles ont fait usage de grenades lacrymogènes et de canons à eau contre les militants.

Street Battles in Nantes.

Violence erupted when about 20,000 people demonstrated against an airport project near the city of Nantes on Saturday, leaving six riot police officers injured.

Environmental activists have been protesting for more than a year against the government’s plan to build a new airport for the west of the country, with some activists occupying the area by living rough in makeshift wooden cabins.

Police have tried several times in vain to evict the squatters and have had to contain many demonstrations.  Reuters.

Agence France Presse also reports,

Riot police moved into the western French city of Nantes on Saturday, clashing with hundreds of anarchists who broke shop windows, destroyed bus stops and pillaged the city centre.

At least eight police officers were hospitalized after violent confrontations with up to 1,000 “radicals,” the prefecture of the Loire-Atlantique region said. Fourteen people were detained.

The rioters had joined an estimated 20,000 people protesting against plans to build a regional airport. Officials did not say whether protesters were injured.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the delinquents were from the “radicalized ultra-left” and were waging an “urban guerrilla” campaign.

The protests turned very violent as “autonomous” groups broke away.

The evidence remains today,

On the route taken by the demonstrations  the day before, this morning we could still see marks of the events. Municipal workers  were busy erasing tags and paintings on the walls, including those of the mayor. The façade of a Vinci Immobilier (Estate agents),  ransacked on Saturday, has been replaced by wooden boards. Vinci is linked to the airport project. On sites a little further away, lay the blackened carcasses of a giant drill and a bulldozer. The façade of the administrative court, is still painted with large amounts of red paint, and on the ground floor several windows were broken, making it  unrecognisable. A huge“Zad Everywhere” was tagged on the main entrance door. Zad means “deferred development zone” of the airport. This acronym has become a symbol of the opposition.

On Kervegan, one of the oldest districts of Nantes island, the cobblestone streets were scarred by large holes. They have been  replaced by the earth where the pavement had been torn up. Barricades were erected and then set on fire. At the transport hub of the city, the Place du Commerce, all the ticket booths and the offices of the  Society Nantes transport were burnt out. The paving stones for several tram lines  were torn out.

Libération.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Leninism on Way Out as ISO Crisis Deepens.

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fillesb

Still Flogging a Dead Horse.

”  To defend press freedom the 19th century French liberal Benjamin Constant used analogy. * He imagined a society before the invention of language. Suddenly people could speak. When it undermined order figures in authority began to regret this state of affairs. Gradually the innovation was accepted. Nobody any longer had the idea of forbidding talking on the grounds that it could be used to spread rumours, lies or fantasies.

Perhaps the Socialist Workers Party will consider Constant’s argument when they next stick on their internal documents, “Under No Circumstances Should This Text be Posted on the Internet, For SWP members Only.”

* Cited Page 227. Les Gauches Françaises. Jacques Julliard. 2012.

Tendance Coatesy, The Crisis of the SWP,  Leninism and the Left. February 2013.

Louis Proyect writes today (extracts),

One wonders if the ISO leaders might have anticipated the “security breach” that allowed the documents to become public. After all, in the electronic age, what’s to prevent a Marxist version of Edward Snowden from cropping up? This is especially true given the leaks that took place in the British SWP, the group that spawned the ISO. Those leaks were focused primarily on the British SWP’s refusal to punish a top leader who had allegedly raped a young female member. As is the case with bureaucratic institutions in general such as the Catholic Church and the military, there is a tendency to defend those in power, no matter what they do. If you’ve reached the point where you’ve become tired of bureaucratic abuse from the ISO leadership, why not let the rest of the left know what’s going on behind closed doors?

Proyect’s  objects are many but this sticks out,

I want to address the question of the “right” of a Leninist organization to keep its discussions shielded from public view at the end of this article, but will start with an evaluation of the ISO’s current woes, which according to both sides in the dispute is very real.

He concludes,

The real issue is not security, but the right of a sect to keep its deliberations a secret. When you stop and think about it, all of these “Leninist” groups operate on a mercantile basis that is concerned with maximizing market share. Their internal bulletins are analogous to reports discussed by the board of directors leading up to a sales campaign. What business is it of Pepsi to know what Coca-Cola is up to? How can we let Socialist Alternative know what we have planned for 2014? Hush now, comrades. Mum’s the word.

While I will not be around fifty years from now, I am convinced that “Leninism” will be long dead. If we are fortunate enough to be capable of rallying the forces needed to transform American society, it will be on a basis that has little to do with the imagery associated with the Smolny Institute and the Winter Palace. We will write our own future based on the living struggle that we surely have in front of us. Every effort has to be bent toward uniting the greatest number of people on a principled class basis. In a way it is too bad that ISO cannot understand the role it can play in helping to catalyze such a movement. One hopes that they can figure out a way to emerge out of the existing stagnation and rise to the occasion.

The background to this crisis is given on the External Bulletin site,

The organizational crisis and its political roots

The International Socialist Organization (ISO) has been in a general crisis since 2009. This has not been experienced or understood as a general crisis, but rather a series of disconnected and personalistic branch crises. But if we merely list the crises that we know about, the general nature of the problem becomes clear: (see links for more)

Perhaps the conclusion is not as radical – certainly not about the Leninist roots of their problems – as it could be,

To sum up, the political roots of the ISO’s organizational crisis lie in the group’s failure to adequately theorize the neoliberal phase of capitalism. Its past practices are increasingly ineffective in a new conjuncture, but it lacks the “theoretical capital” to invest in the ideation of strategy. Itself impoverished in ideas, the leadership has adopted a defensive posture, concerned–in many ways legitimately–that a politically weak organization cannot handle the internal struggles that will be required to generate and test new ideas. But there is no alternative to this internal struggle if the organization is to progress.

Update: Opposition expelled from ISO, here.

More details and comments on this split on Howie’s Corner.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Back George Galloway’s Bid to be First PM of Scotland!

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Galloway for PM: Somewhere.

George Galloway wants to be the first prime minister of an independent Scotland, should the Outspoken Respect MP fail in his campaign to have Scots vote against the referendum on September 18. The 59-year-old, who represents Bradford West in the Commons, said he would prefer “a real Labour prime minister of the whole of Britain” but would settle for the role of Scottish PM should the vote go against his position.

Reports the Huffington Post.

He also said the saner following,

“I would fancy being prime minister of Scotland but I would rather we had a real Labour prime minister of the whole of Britain.

“I want to avoid the break-up of the country which I think will beggar people on both sides of the border, will lead to permanent Tory rule in Westminster and thus the Bank of England which will control the Scottish economy.

“Unleashed will be a race to the bottom with England cutting taxes, regulation, public spending, and Scotland having to follow it. So everyone on both sides of the border will be worse off.”

Mr Galloway took to the stage to the strains of Stealers Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You, saying he chose the song for its chorus “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”. “Flag wavers don’t like me very much, whether they’re Saltire flag wavers or Union Jack flag wavers,” he said.

“That’s fine. There are a small number of Union Jack wavers who are opposed to my stand on war and occupation abroad, and my identification with religious minorities that they hate. “If they weren’t protesting against me then I think I would be doing something wrong.”

Mr Galloway said he believes in “united countries” including a united Ireland, saying he would support Northern Ireland’s exit from the UK, in contrast to his bid to prevent Scotland from leaving.

“I don’t believe in breaking countries up as I think we have too many countries in the world, not too few,” he said.

“The Irish people were denied their right to unity and independence. The Scottish people never have been, and could have voted for independence at any time that they liked in the whole era of universal suffrage of nearly 100 years.

“People say that they want Scotland to have self-determination but they have self-determination, and always have, and will exercise that self-determination again in September.

“If it chooses to become independent then it will become independent, but I think it would rue the day.”

He said he would contemplate becoming an MP of an independent Scottish Parliament in the “hypothetical” event of Yes vote.

He added: “I am confident that the vote will be No, and I just want to make sure that it’s a decisive result because otherwise the kind of hatred and division that this campaign is at risk of sowing will be a permanent feature of Scottish politics and public life.”

Pat Smith, secretary of the Edinburgh Radical Independence Campaign, said: “Tonight’s protest is about showing that another Scotland is possible, one where racist, Islamophobic views like those perpetuated by the SDL have no place and where George Galloway’s cavalier attitude to politics is a thing of the past.

“Galloway’s celebrity status may bring attention to his bizarre and often sectarian brand of unionism, but we know that people in Scotland will see straight through this attempt to feign interest in the referendum as simply another bout of self promotion.

“The Radical Independence Campaign offers a real alternative to the corruption and self-interest of Westminster politics which Galloway seems so comfortable with. We want to see a Scotland run for and by the people – a people’s democracy, a society of equality, a great welfare state, a good neighbour, and pioneer of a just economy.”

We prefer the Galloway for Prime Minister of Scotland and the United Kingdom talk.

Indeed why not – unlike the nationalists who call themselves ‘radical’ – we don’t want mild social democracy and pro-business government in one state, but socialism in Europe.

So why not Galloway for European President? 

Make a start: Stand for Respect in Hampstead and Kilburn.

Respect will take the Hampstead and Kilburn fight right to rancid Maajid Nawaz and the New Labour apologist for Awami League…

” Applications are invited to be Respect candidate at the General Election in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency.”If you are interested, please email contact@respectparty.org

 

We have already applied…

Written by Andrew Coates

February 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm

International Socialist Network: Seymour and Others Split over Race Play.

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Is this the Shortest Lived Left group ever? 

“I shall eat grass and die in a ditch in the brown water where dead leaves have rotted”.

Not from Richard Seymour, China Miéville, and Magpie Corven and other comrades’ resignation letter from the International Socialist Network (ISN).

 Which is here (with helpful comments “intercalated” as Seymour would put it), 

To the SC and our comrades in the ISN

With great regrets, we are resigning from the ISNetwork. Many of us were involved in the setting up of the network, and we are very sad that it has come to this. We remain in full solidarity with ISN comrades, and look forward to working with them on campaigns.

Despite the repeated characterisation of us as a ‘right bloc’ (Note: heavens what is the world coming to?) , we do not represent any unified political position beyond our concerns about both the political direction and internal culture of the ISNetwork. It has been clear for some time that our critiques put us in a minority: contrary to a common smear, we have always been willing to argue from this position, and welcomed this political debate. However, there has been an increasing breakdown of trust between us and various leading members of the organisation. It is now clear that we are not welcome in the ISN (Note: But very welcome Chez Tendance Coatesy which we hope you will soon join in our “rotten iqudationist bloc”)

One of us is a woman sex-worker and bdsm practitioner. After many years of self imposed isolation from politics, she believed she had finally found a space where even those comrades who disagreed with her positions would discuss controversial topics of sexuality and desire in respect and comradeship. Instead she has been browbeaten, patronised, marginalised and moralised against, and the topics she wishes to discuss with her comrades dismissed as, in the words of one SC member, self-evidently ‘sordid.’ She has been made to feel so unwelcome that she feels forced to leave the SC and ISN.

The SC has put out a statement strongly implying racism and claiming ‘inappropriate’ argumentative techniques against three of our members. We entirely reject these insinuations and urge anyone interested to examine the threads in question here & “comment currently unavailable” (Note: we wonder why…)  and judge for themselves.

That they are over a controversial and charged topic -and one on which the signatories to this letter do not necessarily agree- is not in doubt: however, if there is a single statement made by any comrade that can reasonably be judged ‘inappropriate’, let alone racist, we urge their accusers to state it (Note: be warned, as a reader who enjoys Lacan and Judith Butler and can be seen flipping through a copy of Spinoza on a sunny day – this is hard, hard going).

It is claimed, on the basis of a leaked email thread (Note: Tush!)  of a private conversation, that we have been politically dishonest, and set out to split or even destroy the network.

This is wholly untrue (Note: well said!) . As has been made clear in this week’s bulletin, we had intended to launch a platform within the IS Network in order to argue for our position. However, recent events had given us an increasing sense that we might not be able to remain members, due both to legitimate political differences and to the personalised politics of vituperation at the brunt of which we have felt.

Accordingly – as is explicitly allowed in the ISN constitution – we have been discussing among ourselves to work out how best to argue our position within the network, our chances, and our contingency strategies if we felt unable to continue.

At issue here is not just the conduct or content of recent discussions or even the political direction of the ISN, but the question of making a habitable culture of discussion on the Left. When some of us recently wrote an article criticising a politics of anathema within the ISN, we were derided by opponents who denied any such thing exists (Note: how very true, how very very true).

Unfortunately, it does. One SC member has recently publicly insisted that ‘no one is being targeted personally’. The very same SC member recently seconded a denouncement on Facebook, by another SC member, of several of us as ‘arrogant fucks’ and ‘bad rubbish’ to whom ‘good riddance’ (Note: a disgrace the overweening toe-rag twats!).

One leading member expressed a desire on Facebook to strangle one of us – referring to her as a ‘nauseating tosser’ – and not one of the SC members to whom she said this suggested it was an inappropriate comment to make (Note: and they use such discourse  well I mean, what can you discursively intersectionalise?).

Several SC members openly expressed their agreement with a status referring to us as ‘parasites’ (Note: there is no room for such language in the workers’ movement!).

Another SC member wrote ‘they should count themselves lucky they haven’t been expelled’ – particularly galling to two of the ‘Facebook Four’ involved in our thread. There are further examples, but this culture is one in which we can no longer work: we also would like comrades to consider whether left organisations can hope to attract a new generation of members if they treat each other in this way.

We look forward to working in a left culture that has ended certain practices inherited from the SWP. These include moralistic browbeating; the implicit claim that various controversial topics are inappropriate for discussion; that certain comrades can not be argued with on them; and that dissenters from these nostrums deserve to be attacked in personalised terms.

We know many ISN members look forward to this with similar enthusiasm (Note: indeed we do!).

Jamie A

Magpie C

Kieran C

A. M.

China M

Richard S

Len T

Rosie W

Document here.

“There is some check in the flow of my being; a deep stream presses and some obstacles;  it jokes; it toys; he in the centre resists.”

My attitude is one of defiance. I am fearless. I conquer.”

Not  the words of Richard Seymour.

More comment here .

Defend the Seymourites!

For an International Workers’ Inquiry!

Now!