Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

There’s something misguided about ‘Concerns’ for Muslims when people try to silence Iranian critics of Islamism.

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The Sharpest ‘Injuries’  –  Words. 

The Guardian Opinion desk Editor David Shariatmadari commented yesterday on the case of Warwick University Students’ Union attempting to ban Maryam Namazie, from addressing a meeting of its Atheists, Secularists and Humanists Society.

There’s nothing misguided about the left’s concern for Muslims. David Shariatmadari.

He comments,

Namazie’s supporters two things were very clear: first, this was a direct attack on free speech; second, lefties were once again siding with religious conservatives because of a misguided belief that Muslims, as a minority group, should be protected at any cost.

Shariatmadari starts poorly,

First – was the move to block Namazie’s appearance really an attack on free speech? She should certainly be at liberty to express herself within the law. The Guardian has in the past published her work. But does the withdrawal of an invitation really amount to censorship? Her words have not been banned, the state has not gagged her. Is Namazie’s capacity to share her ideas diminished if she doesn’t appear in front of 50-odd students? After all, she can still tweet and blog, as she showed over the weekend. If anything, the whole episode has increased her audience.

So, Warwick University SU’s decision was small beer.

The state has not banned her.

Namazie, can still speak. She can write, go on Facebook, she can tweet.  She can mumble to the wind.

No need for secularist uproar.

“All we’re really seeing is one student body’s messy weighing up of which values it wants to endorse, and which it wants to reject – and exercising its own right of free expression to make that choice.”

But until the SU reversed the decision she could not address the Atheists, Secularists and Humanists Society. That is the province of the SU who can decide, or not decide, if her speech is acceptable to them.

And they – as he indicates, have some reason to be wary, then they can tell their student members what they can and cannot listen to.

Shariatmadari makes clear there were reasons for the Students’ Union to be worried.

That leads us to a second point: what motivated those who didn’t want the event to go ahead? Were they really “kowtowing to Islamists”? Namazie is often described as a secularist, championing enlightenment values and defending the rights of women against conservative religious ideology. These are positions that most progressives would find it easy to get behind. But the way Namazie articulates her arguments might give them pause.

Indeed, he continues, the Guardians of what or what not Warwick students should be allowed to hear at their meetings, were right to pause.

At the World Atheist Convention in Dublin in 2011, she set out her stall as an equal-opportunity critic of religious belief. “In my opinion, all religion is bad for you. Religion should come with a health warning, like cigarettes: religion kills.”

However, she does regard Islam as a special case. She believes it is defined by the concept of “inquisition”. She contrasts it with Christianity, arguing that “a religion that has been reined in by the Enlightenment is very different from one that is spearheading an inquisition.” This would seem to hold out some hope for the “Reformation” of Islam. (Personally I feel that the analogy with 16th-century Europe is flawed. It misrepresents the nature of hierarchy in Islam, as well as being anachronistic.) And yet at the same time, Namazie denies the possibility of change and evolution.

She says that “under an inquisition things like ‘Islamic feminism’, ‘liberal interpretations of Islam’ – these are all in quotes for me – ‘Islamic reformism’ … are impossible. A personal religion is impossible under an inquisition.”

One might at this point note that comrade Namazie is Iranian ( Shariatmadari is proud to signal in his own background, that “My 90-something uncle, whom I’ve met three times, was a religious nationalist politician in Iran, but I was brought up in a secular household.).

Perhaps he has also met modern Iranian secularists. Perhaps he has heard about the censorship, the religious ‘legality’ of Iran, the repression, the torture, the gaol sentences for Namazie’s comrades, and the deaths of the beloved martyrs for secularism and the left, under the Islamist theocracy.

No. Shariatmadari goes to what he considers is the quick.

So, at a stroke, she denies the agency of all would-be Muslim reformers, Muslim feminists in particular. She undermines those imams and scholars who do preach a liberal, open version of Islam. She appears to think that Muslims with non-judgmental views about sex and sexuality are kidding themselves. In fact, she speaks as though she would actually like to shut down debate in these areas. At one point she quotes the Iranian political activist Mansoor Hekmat: “This is the religion of death.”

Hekmat is the author of many works on Marxism and Islamism, which have had a deep impact on the international left (see Wikipedia). He was the founder of the Iranian Worker Communist party.

This the article referred to, by comrade Hekmat said about Islamism, in fuller form, and not the Guardian’s abbreviated version.

Islam and De-Islamisation

I realise that the interests of some require that they rescue Islam (as much as possible) from the wrath of those who have witnessed the indescribable atrocities of or been victimised by Islamists. I also realise that the extent of these atrocities and holocausts is such that even some Islamists themselves do not want to take responsibility for them. So it is natural that the debate on ‘true Islam’ vis-à-vis ‘practical Islam’ is broached over and over again. These justifications, however, are foolish from my point of view (that of a communist and atheist) and from the points of views of those of us who have seen or been the victims of Islam’s crimes. They are foolish for those of us who are living through a colossal social, political and intellectual struggle with this beast.

The doctrinal and Koranic foundations of Islam, the development of Islam’s history, and the political identity and affiliation of Islam and Islamists in the battle between reaction and freedom in our era are too obvious to allow the debate on the various interpretations of Islam and the existence or likelihood of other interpretations to be taken seriously. Even if the debate were in the future and on other planets where the most basic rights and affections of humanity were not violated. In my opinion, it shows the utmost contempt for the science and social intelligence of our times if every excuse and justification that Islamists fling into society whilst retreating is scientifically analysed and dissected… In Islam, be it true or untrue, the individual has no rights or dignity. In Islam, the woman is a slave. In Islam, the child is on par with animals. In Islam, freethinking is a sin deserving of punishment. Music is corrupt. Sex without permission and religious certification, is the greatest of sins. This is the religion of death. In reality, all religions are such but most religions have been restrained by freethinking and freedom-loving humanity over hundreds of years. This one was never restrained or controlled. With every move, it brings abominations and misery.

What does this imply for free speech?

Moreover, in my opinion, defending the existence of Islam under the guise of respect for people’s beliefs is hypocritical and lacks credence. There are various beliefs amongst people. The question is not about respecting people’s beliefs but about which are worthy of respect. In any case, no matter what anyone says, everyone is choosing beliefs that are to their liking. Those who reject a criticism of Islam under the guise of respecting people’s beliefs are only expressing their own political and moral preferences, full stop. They choose Islam as a belief worthy of respect and package their own beliefs as the ‘people’s beliefs’ only in order to provide ‘populist’ legitimisation for their own choices. I will not respect any superstition or the suppression of rights, even if all the people of the world do so. Of course I know it is the right of all to believe in whatever they want. But there is a fundamental difference between respecting the freedom of opinion of individuals and respecting the opinions they hold. We are not sitting in judgement of the world; we are players and participants in it. Each of us are party to this historical, worldwide struggle, which in my opinion, from the beginning of time until now has been over the freedom and equality of human beings. I will not respect the superstitions that I am fighting against and under the grip of which human beings are suffering.

Given the action of Daesh, shown last night on Channel Four News training children to slaughter, one can’t help feeling that comrade Hekmat had a point – whatever we think about the details of the politics of the Workers-Communist Parties.

What kind of “respect” should we show these Islamists?

Freedom of speech does not mean deference or pandering to the intolerable.

By contrast, this is what Shariatmadari considers important.

What might lead people to decide they’d rather not give a platform to such rhetoric? Recognising the pressure British Muslims are under – surveilled by the state, victims of verbal abuse, vandalism and arson – could it be that some students felt welcoming a person who believes Islam is incompatible with modern life would be wrong?

He consdiers that many would not wish to live in a society ruled by Islamic values – glossing over the fact that even many moderate Muslims believe in some version of Shariah ‘law’ which by its very principle is a discriminatory – against Women, against non-believers – and is the rule of God, not of Democracy.

No, this is what matters,

However, the fact remains: at this historical moment, in this country, Muslims are subject to greater demonisation than almost anyone else. Absolutists may not like it, but this power imbalance must enter into the calculation.

So an Iranian woman whose views on Islamism stem from the experience of actually existing Islamic counties, contributes to those who wish to “insult and injure” Moslems.

How does this enter the calculation of the “power balance”?

He notices that,

We are lucky to live in a pluralist democracy, with freedom of choice in politics and religion. These are things we should cherish, but they are not in any serious danger. Were they really threatened – by the emergence of a theocracy, by the drafting of racist or misogynist laws – the left would oppose that with every sinew. I hope that more citizens in Muslim-majority countries can one day enjoy the level of political and social freedom that we do, and I support the men and women who try to bring that about.

But in the meantime it’s okay to call a halt to those who wish to insult “injure” (with no doubt the shparest of weapons – words), Islam.

Earlier this year Shariatmadari expressed great concern about the word “terrorism”.

Modern “terrorism” has the peculiar property that it relies on its enemies to grant it victory – and why not have a special word for that? Why not use it to describe the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which, in my view, fall into that category?

But the word itself casts a shadow of fear. Politicians deploy it to justify illiberal measures. The panic it evokes ramps up prejudice against minorities. It is even used to win support for wars. Wielded carefully, “terrorist” could still make sense, à la Fromkin. Used to frighten, cajole or slander, it’s one of the most toxic words of our times.

No doubt he will feel equal concern at those of the description of Iran, and all states whose ‘laws’ are based on the Shariah as  theocratic monsters.

No doubt he will point to liberal elements in their regimes and the need for careful language.

And no doubt he will wince at those of us who call Daesh genociders.

Tough: that’s freedom of speech. 

Stop the War Coalition Confusion on the Labour Motion to Back UN authorised Bombing of Islamic State.

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Stop the War Coalition: No intervention against Daesh.

First the bald assertion.

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) notes that the Labour Party voted against British intervention in Syria, in present conditions.

Stop the War warmly welcomes the Labour conference vote in opposition to British military intervention in Syria.  It shares the view of conference delegates that this would only risk repeating the dreadful consequences of previous such interventions in Iraq and Libya.

We believe that every possible pressure must be put on Labour MPs to support the Party’s position if and when David Cameron decides to bring the issue to the Commons for a vote.  It is vital that the strong lead given by Jeremy Corbyn in favour of peace and in opposition to western interventionism, now endorsed by conference, be supported by all Labour MPs, whether or not there is a ‘free vote’ on the matter.

Just as Stop the War has criticised US bombing, and the possibility of British intervention, in Syria, so too we cannot support Russian military action.  It remains our view, supported by long history and experience, that external interference has no part to play in resolving the problems in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East.

Only strong, sovereign and representative governments in Syria and Iraq can take the fight to Islamic State and provide a real alternative on the ground to its rule.  External powers should refrain from any direct or indirect military intervention and concentrate instead on assisting a negotiated end to the Syrian civil war, which would be a step in that direction.

Stop the War Coalition.

Next, this is what the motion says,

Conference believes the Parliamentary Labour Party should oppose any such extension unless the following conditions are met:

  1. Clear and unambiguous authorisation for such a bombing campaign from the United Nations;
  2. A comprehensive European Union-wide plan is in place to provide humanitarian assistance to the increased number of refugees that even more widespread bombing can be expected to lead to;
  3. Such bombing is exclusively directed at military targets directly associated with ‘Islamic State’ and is not aimed at securing regime change in Syria, noting that if the bombing campaign advocated by the British government in 2013 had not been blocked by the PLP under Ed Miliband’s leadership,  ‘Islamic State’ forces might now be in control of far more Syrian territory, including Damascus.
  4. Any military action is subordinated to international diplomatic efforts, including the main regional powers, to bring the Syrian civil war to an end, since only a broadly-based and sovereign Syrian government can ultimately retake territory currently controlled by ‘Islamic State’.

The motion is clearly opposed to British intervention, off its own back, in Syria.

But it equally gives forthright backing for bombing if given the go-ahead by the UN.

It therefore is the case that delegates did not vote against all intervention in Syria.

Finally, what does the StWC think of UN authorised bombing?

Here is their answer:

With or without UN agreement, bombing Syria by Russia or UK should be opposed. Lindsey German

Stop the War would oppose UK military intervention with or without a UN resolution (look at the consequences of UN authorised wars in Afghanistan and Libya).

Here is German’s organisation, Counterfire, publishing the StWC’s plans on the strategy to follow:

A plan of action: stopping the bombing of Syria

The main task must be to extend the enthusiasm and energy generated by his campaigning over the past months into every local community, workplace and college.

The more people are actively engaged in the campaign to stop the drive to war in Syria, and in the anti-austerity movement, the more we will be defending Jeremy Corbyn under such relentless attack.

How can we do this?

For the anti-war movement, we need to get onto the streets in every area and onto campuses with leaflets, petitions, posters, badges, etc, drawing people into an ever-widening network of activists for peace.

We need to re-invigorate local anti-war groups and start new groups where none exist. While organising locally, the untimate focus will be on parliament and the need to break the consensus that always takes Britain into disastrous wars on the coat tails of the United States.

In 2013, mass pressure on MPs, coupled with the memory of Tony Blair’s catastrophic war on Iraq, delivered an unprecedented defeat for the government, as David Cameron tried to bounce parliament into supporting the bombing of Syria’s Assad regime.

Now Cameron hope that by switching the target to ISIS, he can reverse that defeat and take the UK into yet another pointless war that will serve no purpose, other than to create more death and chao, and drive more refugees to flee the war zone.

We need to implement immediately a comprehensive lobbying of MPs…


A plan of action: the anti-austerity movement

Stop the War has always contrasted the vast government expenditure on the military and weapons of mass destruction, and the draconian austerity cuts to public and welfare services. Billions are spent on the UK war machine at the same time that brutal cuts in benefits are driving some desperate victims to suicide.

The protests at the Conservative Party conference from 3 October will help shape the political landscape over the next months. Tens of thousands will be protesting there, not just on the opening day – 4 October – but for the whole week. The anti-war message needs to be heard loud and clear by the movement, by the media and by the politicians.

Time is tight — the flashpoints are imminent, and we need to act now.

Within a few days of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader over 120 new members joined Stop the War Coalition, an indication that the movements that underpinned his victory are recognised as central to defending him.

The stakes are high. With enough pressure from below, David Cameron’s government’s plan to bomb Syria can be defeated for a second time, which would be a long term humiliation for the warmongers.

We also need a big campaign and protest over the scandalous delay in publishing the Iraq war inquiry report, blocked it appears by those — like Tony Blair and Jack Straw — likely to be criticised by Chilcot. With Jeremy Corbyn declaring that Tony Blair should be held to account for alleged war crimes, there is a real prospect that Blair could be driven out of public life once and for all.

Next year parliament will vote on the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons system, at a projected cost of over £100billion. The Campaign for Nuclear disarmament is already mounting a concerted campaign to get MPs to vote against. A huge protest movement before parliament votes will intensify that pressure.

The moment a vote on bombing Syria is announced, Stop the War will call a protest, but the success, the scale, and the impact of that protest depends on what we all do in the next few weeks. Its up to us.

It would seem that the StWC has not the slightest strategy for confronting Deash.

It is unlikely that many will heed this call for ‘revolutionary defeatism’: concentrating their energies on the defeat of British imperialism.

In the process they intend to use the anti-austerity movement to moblise against core parts of Labour and UNITE policy on Syria.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 1, 2015 at 11:19 am

Stop the War Coalition Against *any* Bombing of Islamic State.

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Stop the War Coalition Says Do Nothing to Stop these Genociders. 

With or without UN agreement, bombing Syria by Russia or UK should be opposed

Lindsey German 30 September 2015.

ONE OF the main reasons for disillusionment with mainstream politics has been the denial of democracy that was the vote by parliament to take Britain into the Iraq war.

The Labour party conference has passed a resolution opposing the bombing of Syria unless a number of stringent conditions are met. These include unequivocal UN authorisation for such a bombing, attempts at diplomatic solutions to the crisis, and proper provision for refugees from Syria.

Stop the War would oppose UK military intervention with or without a UN resolution (look at the consequences of UN authorised wars in Afghanistan and Libya). The Labour resolution sets the bar for intervention very high, but that may change with Russia now bombing Syria.

Stop the War is against Russia’s attacks on Syria. We think they should stop immediately. And we would welcome less hypocrisy from those who have supported US and allied bombing over the last year.

It is unlikely that all of the conditions agreed by the Labour party conference will be met when David Cameron urges parliament to vote for bombing. However, it seems that a number of Labour MPs will vote with Cameron in defiance of party policy.

They will do so because they have learnt none of the lessons from previous interventions, including the bombing of Libya that is today a source of ISIS support and weaponry, as well as the starting point of many refugees.

They will maintain a willful ignorance about the fact that bombing of ISIS has been carried out for over a year, including covertly and illegally by British pilots and drones. They will ignore all the evidence that previous interventions have increased the threat of terrorism, not diminished it.

Some of them will also vote in favour of bombing, not out of any particular conviction but because they want to embarrass and defeat Labour’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy’s position is unambiguous, repeated in his leader’s speech this week: he is not abandoning his lifelong commitment to opposing war and nuclear weapons. So some on the right of the party will join the Tories in voting for bombing in order to ensure the motion is carried.

The call by some, including left-winger John McDonnell, for Labour MPs to have a free vote on this matter, will only encourage more of them to vote with the Tories. For right wing Labour MPs to defy both conference policy and a party whip is harder than for them to vote according to their ‘conscience’.

War is not an issue of conscience, but a political question. There are a number of people who oppose wars in principle. But there is no principle involved in supporting wars regardless of circumstances or outcomes. To pretend that it is so is to impute much more lofty motives to a whole number of the MPs who routinely vote for war.

Instead they should respect the mandate that Jeremy has won, not least because of his longstanding opposition to the Iraq war and his promise to apologise for it.

Perhaps MPs of all parties should also reflect that one of the main reasons for disillusionment with mainstream politics has been the denial of democracy that was the vote to take us into Iraq.

The BBC reports:

Labour members have voted to oppose airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, without a mandate from the United Nations.

Activists in Brighton voted in favour of a motion tabled by the Unite union to make their support for strikes conditional on UN backing.

The vote is not binding on MPs but Jeremy Corbyn has said the party must heed the opinion of members.

It follows calls from a senior Labour figure for a free vote in Parliament.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told a meeting hosted by The Guardian at the Labour conference that Syria and the renewal of Trident were issues on which he did not expect consensus within the party and he believed a vote on military action in Syria should be made “on the basis of conscience”.

The UNITE Motion (Original version):

Conference notes the evidence of an increased Russian military build-up in Syria; the announcement of talks between US and Russian military leaders aimed at avoiding the risk of clashes in Syria on Friday, 18th September; the meeting between the Israeli and Russian presidents in Moscow on Monday, 21st September, focused on preventing accidental conflict between their forces in Syria; and the growing international diplomatic effort to achieve a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Syria.

Conference also notes the likelihood that David Cameron will seek House of Commons support to extend UK participation in the bombing of Iraq to Syria in the near future.  

Conference believes the Parliamentary Labour Party should oppose any such extension unless the following conditions are met:

  1. Clear and unambiguous authorisation for such a bombing campaign from the United Nations;
  2. A comprehensive European Union-wide plan is in place to provide humanitarian assistance to the increased number of refugees that even more widespread bombing can be expected to lead to;
  3. Such bombing is exclusively directed at military targets directly associated with ‘Islamic State’ and is not aimed at securing regime change in Syria, noting that if the bombing campaign advocated by the British government in 2013 had not been blocked by the PLP under Ed Miliband’s leadership,  ‘Islamic State’ forces might now be in control of far more Syrian territory, including Damascus.
  4. Any military action is subordinated to international diplomatic efforts, including the main regional powers, to bring the Syrian civil war to an end, since only a broadly-based and sovereign Syrian government can ultimately retake territory currently controlled by ‘Islamic State’.

Conference believes that only military action which meets all these objectives, and thus avoids the risk of repeating the disastrous consequences of the 2003 regime-change war in Iraq and the 2011 air campaign intervention in Libya, can secure the assent of the British people.

Tendance Coatesy unequivocally supports the UNITE motion calling for UN authorised action in Syria, and the call from comrade John McDonnell  for a Parliamentary vote on the basis of conscience, given the range of opinions inside the Labour Party’s elected representatives and the gravity of the situation.

In the Labour leadership election Jeremy Corbyn did not win a mandate for his views, as Chair of the Stop the War Coalition, on their detailed  position on the Middle East.

This was not something put to a ballot of members, affiliates and supporters.

The Stop the War Coalition effectively calls for the peoples of the world to stand aside faced with the genociders of Daesh/ISIS.

This is the defining political issue of the tragedy in Syria and Iraq – entangled with many others . It cannot be walked away from.

These are the “circumstances” Lindsey German blithely  dismisses.

The motion calls for UN authorisation.

If that happens, which is not yet clear, the immediate “outcome” of increased attacks on the Islamist killers we can hope to see is that the PYG and our Kurdish sisters and brothers will be bolstered by weakening ISIS, and that the murderers will be forced back.

The UNITE motion is good sense and adds sound points about European help for refugees.

We would back the aim of encouraging, “international diplomatic efforts…. to bring the Syrian civil war to an end, since only a broadly-based and sovereign Syrian government can ultimately retake territory currently controlled by ‘Islamic State’.

Whether this will happen is no doubt far from clear.

But we cannot  remain indifferent to the fate of our sisters and brothers in Syria.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 30, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Podemos Suffers Set Back in Catalan Elections.

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We can’t, not yet….

This morning the Spanish radio was full of the fall-out, and the ‘fractures’, resulting from the results of the Catalan elections.

The Significance of the Catalan Elections Montserrat Domínguez.

  • The pro-independence front loses the referendum. The anti-independence forces account for 52 percent, compared to the secessionist bloc’s 47 percent. It’s inconceivable that with these results, once the the cava wine bubbles evaporate, any serious politician (in Catalonia) will propose a unilateral declaration of independence. That would be undemocratic. But it’s the first time that the option to secede takes such flight: more than 1.9 million votes is a cry that no serious politician (in Madrid) can ignore.
  • In the polls, Ciudadanos breaks the roof: it tripled the results of the previous elections and, with 25 seats, stole the spotlight. The Sorpasso (overtaking) of the People’s Party (PP) in Catalonia is a warning: will this happen again in the general elections in December? We will never know what result Albert Rivera would have achieved if he had been the candidate of the Generalitat, the Catalan government; but being the second force in Catalonia gives wings to his aspirations to get to the Moncloa Palace.
  • The PP is increasingly irrelevant in Catalonia: it lost 10 seats, including Badalona — where Xavier García Albiol was mayor — which went to Junts pel Sí. It’s a real slap in the face for the party and its campaign strategy. Today, there is a cold wind in Moncloa and Genoa street: Rajoy is proving to be incapable of facing the challenges in Catalonia.
  • After a spectacular gain (from 3 to 10 seats), CUP now has the key to governance in Catalonia. If it fulfills its promise of not voting for Artur Mas as president, Junts pel Sí will be forced to come to an agreement on another candidate… and internal battle is guaranteed.
  • Podemos loses momentum: ICV alone got more seats (13) than the new coalition. The 10 deputies Podemos got in the parliament is very far from what it had hoped for. Does it mean that its success in the past municipal elections — Barcelona, Madrid, Cadiz, Zaragoza — was the zenith of its political career? (NOTE: it went up to 11)
  • The socialists are still alive. Maintaining almost the same numbe
  • When 77 percent of Catalan citizens vote, the message is strong and clear. The pro-independence front, which brings together Junts pel Sí (Together for Yes) and the CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy) party, earned a clear majority in the Catalan parliament, winning 72 seats. It now has the legitimacy and strength, said Artur Mas, to keep pursuing its dream of secession.
  • r of votes as in the last Catalan elections — after the internal bleeding and the appearance of new parties that contest their ideological territory — justifies Miquel Iceta’s sigh of relief, despite having lost four seats. And those half a million Catalan votes are worth their weight in gold in Pedro Sanchez’s race toward the Moncloa Palace.

Together for Yes (JxSí)[b][c] 1,620,973 39.54 Increase3.11 62 Increase4
Citizens-Party of the Citizenry (C’s) 734,910 17.93 Increase10.36 25 Increase16
Socialists’ Party of Catalonia (PSC-PSOE) 522,209 12.74 Decrease1.69 16 Decrease4
Catalonia Yes we Can (CSQEP)[d] 366,494 8.94 Decrease0.96 11 Decrease2
People’s Party of Catalonia (PPC) 348,444 8.50 Decrease4.48 11 Decrease8
Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) 336,375 8.20 Increase4.72 10 Increase7
Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC)[c] 102,870 2.51 Decrease5.47 0 Decrease13
Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA) 29,785 0.73 Increase0.16 0 ±0
Zero Cuts-The Greens (Recortes Cero-Els Verds) 14,390 0.35 Increase0.28 0 ±0
Let’s Win Catalonia (Ganemos) 1,158 0.03 New 0 ±0
Pirates of Catalonia-To Decide Everything (Pirata.cat/XDT) 326 0.01 Decrease0.49 0 ±0

El País  commented,

Pablo Iglesias ha construido alrededor de Podemos una épica de partido ganador que ayer, tras lograr en las elecciones catalanas un resultado que sus propios dirigentes consideran decepcionante, sufrió el mayor revés desde su nacimiento.

Pablo Iglesias has built around Podemos an epic  in which they are the winning party. But yesterday, after the results of  the Catalan elections, which their own leaders considered disappointing , the party suffered the biggest setback since its birth.

We should observe that Podemos (link to their site here) did not go it alone this time. Inside Catalunya Sí que es Pot (CSQEP) they were allied with  Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (Red Greens), and Esquerra Unida i Alternativa, (the more directly linked to the left bloc, Izquirda Unida).

This in itself is a step forward for a group that appeared to wish to ‘go it alone’ to the extent of organising, its own demonstrations against austerity rather than create united fronts.

What are the consequences of this poor result – not to mention their eclipse by a right-of-centre populist party, Ciudadanos ? *

Iglesias has announced today (Iglesias ofrece un referéndum catalán en el que pediría el ‘no’)  that if Podemos wins the nation-wide general election he will offer a proper referendum to the Catalans, in which his party will campaign against the separatists and for a multinational and pluralist Spain.

Inside Podemos some have criticised the alliances that they made in Catalan with left-wing and Green forces, declaring that people did not understand the “alphabet soup” (CSQEP) that resulted on the ballot paper.

It will be interesting to follow further developments.


“..populism requires the division of society into two camps – one presenting itself as a part which claims to be the whole; that this dichotomy involves the antagonistic division of the social field, and that the popular camp presupposes as a conditions of its constitution the constriction of a globalised entity out of the equivalence of a plurality of social demands.” (Page 83. On Populist Reason. Ernesto Laclau. 2005)

Enthusiasm for Podemos on the European Left, including Britain, was until recently widespread. It was accepted that the party had managed the difficult feat of giving a political voice to the indignados movement. That it has built a ‘populist’ constituency through language and demands that welded together the 99% against the 1%. That it used the (in Laclau’s words) ‘floating signifiers’ of the ‘people’ (crushing majority) against the Spanish ‘casta’ and had created a democratic organisation capable of challenging the rule of finance and the dominance of economic austerity. It is new, it uses the Net, it encourages direct communication not tired old bureaucratic structures, or divisions between the historical left and right.

This could be tied into the argument offered by Paul Mason in  Postcapitalism ( 2015). That, “By creating, millions of networked people, finally exploited but with the whole of human intelligence one thumb-swipe away, info-capitalism has created a new agent of change in history: the educated and connected human beings.”

Mason also asserts that, “In Europe, repressing policing and a untied front of all parties in favour of austerity beat the indignados into a sullen silence. But the results showed that revolution in a highly complex, information-driven society would look very different from the revolutions of the twentieth century. Without a strong, organised working class to push social issues rapidly to the fore, the revolts often stall. But order is never fully restored.” (Page  xviii)

But in general enthusiasm for new groups like Podemos, with no visible links to the workers’ movement,  is widespread. There is a constant search for new political agencies to replace the ‘old’ left and labour movement. In Mason’s case, despite his own above warning,  this went so far as to make this extraordinary claim, “Scotland, “presented with the opportunity to break with a neoliberal state and start afresh, millions of young people said, ‘Yes’ “(Page xix)

There is little doubt that there is a great deal of political fluidity in Europe today. Movements to break up existing states, often from the wealthiest regions of a country (as in Catalonia or in Italy with the Lega Nord) tired of paying for poor and apparently lazy ‘southerners’ , appear part of this process. The strong showing of the Catalan sovereigntists was welcomed by forces from the Scottish National Party, promoting the interests of their ‘ain folk’ against ‘Westminster, the hard-right Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (Belgium), who dislike the former industrial French speaking and Socialist voting Walloon,  and some leftists – the latter apparently convinced that Barcelona tax-payers are right not to want to subsidise their feckless compatriots.

Podemos may, or may not, be capable of offering what Mason (in the most significant part of Postcapitalism) calls “revolutionary reformism”. Mason’s list of ideas, a third managerial revolution, switching  off the neoliberal privatisation machine, suppressing or socialising monopolies is attractive. But everything depends on a political vehicle to implement them in a recognisably effective form.

That is, the need a political forces capable of reaching and transforming existing political institutions. They have to connect ‘giving voice’ to protests, social interests (not least the labour movement)  and being capable of administering solutions. They need parties.

In the case of Podemos this, which Ernesto Laclau called the “moment of articulation” – that is the details of how political parties operate – is becoming unstuck.  No doubt the ripple effect of the defeat of Syriza’s anti-austerity programme counts for much in their present impasse. They may have woven ‘floating signifiers’ together, but what anchors them?

Podemos’ vaunted horizontal democracy (apparently giving shape to Mason’s ‘networks’) is paralleled by an internal structure, built as a pyramid around a leader. This is deeply problematic and pretty much casts its claims to novelty to the dustbin. Iglesias has as El País indicates, a self-defined “epic” in which he will valiantly take on the Spanish ‘casta’. Like a figure in the Game of Thrones (a box set of which he generously donated to the Spanish King Felipe VI)  he is surrounded by intrigue. He finds it hard to work collaboratively. Forced to accept alliances with other forces, like the Green Equo and the long-standing Izquirda Unida, he has the ill-grace to refuse to take any joint responsibility, in the political battles.

Now that it is clear that Podemos has not the remotest chance of forming a future government in the Cortes Generales it will be of interest to see how his authority is maintained.

* Ideologically, C’s describes itself as a progressive, secular, constitutionalist, European federalist and postnationalist party. In addition, Albert Rivera has said that C’s defends autonomismAccording to its declared identity signs, C’s advocates four basic lines of action:  Defence of individual rights. Defence of social rights as well as the welfare state. Uphold the State of Autonomies and Europe’s unity. Regeneration of democracy and of political life. Wikipedia.


Warwick Students’ Union Backs Down from Denying Free Speech to Maryam Namazie.

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NSS welcomes Warwick Student Union’s decision to allow Maryam Namazie to speak

Posted: Mon, 28 Sep 2015 09:40

The National Secular Society has welcomed Warwick Student Union’s decision to host secular campaigner Maryam Namazie. The Union reversed their ban on her speaking following huge public pressure.

Ms Namazie had been blocked from speaking at a Warwick Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society event after the Student Union said the ex-Muslim campaigner could ‘insult’ religion. The SU were also concerned that Namazie, an NSS honorary associate who campaigns for human rights and equality, could ‘incite hatred’.

Informing Ms Namazie of their initial decision to block her, the SU wrote: “There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy”.

In a frank apology on their website, the SU admitted they had “failed, and failed badly in this case” and promised to “act immediately to examine how that happened, and to it put it right”.

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood commented: “We welcome the Student Union’s change of heart and hope their ‘continued commitment to free speech’ is reflected in actions as well as words. Freedom of expression is under growing threat, particularly when it involves discussions surrounding Islam. Every act of appeasement to those intent on closing down debate encourages self-censorship and depletes this freedom further.

“Freedom of expression is not only a pre-requisite for resolving challenging problems but for the functioning of democracy itself.

“The Student Union’s decision has saved it and the University from an escalation of this unfortunate situation and potentially even a legal challenge further down the line.

“While this case has ended in the right outcome, we still have grave concerns about an external speaker policy which says guests on campus must ‘avoid insulting other faiths’. This is extremely broad and open to a wide variety of interpretations, and therefore extremely restrictive to freedom of speech.

“Universities have a legal duty to defend freedom of expression and in our view certain Student Union policies may be working in direct conflict with that duty. This is an issue we hope to discuss with the NUS in the coming weeks.”

Statement from the Students’ Union:

Warwick SU has a process for assessing any potential risks or legal issues associated with any external speaker, and it is now very clear to us that in this case that process has not been followed.  Speaker invitations that may involve such issues are routinely considered by the SU President, who will also take advice from senior SU staff. This did not happen on this occasion. Neither the SU President, nor senior SU staff, were consulted as they should have been. This is a significant error for which there can be no excuse.  There is a great deal that we now must put right, and these are the first steps that we are putting into place:

1) The proper process has now been followed, as it should have been in the first place. The application by the Warwick Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society for Warwick Students’ Union to host Maryam Namazie as an external speaker has now been considered and approved.

2) The SU is now seeking to meet promptly with the leadership of the Warwick Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society to make the necessary arrangements for the event to take place in the format they have requested.

3) Warwick SU will issue an unequivocal apology to Maryam Namazie for this egregious and highly regrettable error.

4) Our process as to how we assess requests to host external speakers is very clear. However, it is also equally clear that how this process is communicated and understood by everyone in the SU who needs to be aware of it has failed, and failed badly in this case. We need to act immediately to examine how that happened, and to it put it right, and we will.

We want to assure everyone of Warwick Students’ Union’s continued commitment to free speech. We also want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who has expressed concern, or disappointment, or who has been hurt by this significant error and, as we said above, we will be issuing a full and unequivocal apology to Maryam Namazie.


This is welcome news.

That there remains a difficulty that will continue in other venues can be seen from the reaction of some ‘leftists’ who tried to cast doubt on Maryam Namazie’s politics – as if that were the criterion to give or to deny people free speech.

There is little doubt that the malevolent legacy of the kind of approach advocated by the former site Islamophobia Watch and its Master, Bob Pitt, who took it upon himself to wage war on left-wing opponents of Islamism, can be felt at work here.

To this way of thinking strong criticism of Islam, and above all, attacks on the politics based on the Qu’ran, are intrinsically Islamophobic.

Whether we agree with the Hekmartists’ (Mansoor Hekmat (منصور حکمت; June 4, 1951 – July 4, 2002) political practice, or their detailed ideas, or not, there is little doubt that Islamism is a major problem.

The views of people who have direct experience of it as a tyrannical ideology of states like Iran (Namazie’s country of origin), are of great importance.

In this respect secularism is just a matter of defending free-speech and the freedom of the state from rule by one faith: it is a call for material liberty. 

Furthermore this is not just something happening far away:  The ex-Muslim Britons who are persecuted for being atheists  28 September 2015 BBC.

An investigation for the BBC has found evidence of young people suffering threats, intimidation, being ostracised by their communities and, in some cases, encountering serious physical abuse when they told their families they were no longer Muslims.

There are also local councils that seem to have little awareness of the issue or any policy on how to protect these vulnerable young people.

There are no official statistics on apostasy in British Islam, and only a few academic studies based on a tiny handful of individual cases.

But growing numbers of ex-Muslims are sharing their experiences on online forums. Coming out as a non-believer at an age when young people of all backgrounds can rebel over relationships and cultural expectations means it’s often hard to identify religion as a factor.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 28, 2015 at 10:56 am

Socialist Action, Shadowy Gurus of the new Labour Leadership – Exposed!

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Labour Briefing AGM circa 1981. Pic: Sunday Telegraph.

Rumbled by the Telegraph and Andrew Gilligan!

For much of Labour’s history, the idea that the party was covertly influenced by revolutionaries, Communists and terrorists was dismissed as a fiction propagated by Right-wing tabloids.

But now it is true.

Very worrying.

Mr Ross, now an economic adviser, was a prominent member of an international Marxist group. In an election speech in 1974, Mr Ross – quoted in a biography of former London mayor Ken Livingstone – said: “The ruling class must know that they will be killed if they do not allow a takeover by the workers. If we aren’t armed there will be a bloodbath.”

The Sunday Telegraph has also uncovered evidence of how other key figures around Mr Corbyn, including his chief of staff, Simon Fletcher, as well as Mr Ross are or were members of a tiny, secretive Trotskyite sect, Socialist Action, which seeks a communist revolution and believes that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a “tragedy for humanity”.

In secret documents (so secret they do not publish them NOTE) seen by this newspaper, Socialist Action calls itself the “revolutionary wing of the Labour Party” and describes how it performed a “clandestine form of entry” to infiltrate the party.

Among groups on the revolutionary Left, Socialist Action is unique in another way. It already has substantial experience of power.


Socialist Action started as an overt organisation fighting elections in its own right, initially known as the International Marxist Group (IMG). Mr Corbyn’s brother, Piers, was a prominent IMG member and fought an election for it in the 1970s.


Modesty prevents us from mentioning another prominent member of the IMG in the 1970s, behind a world-famous Blog.

A main focus of the group’s attention was the monthly news sheet London Labour Briefing, a key instrument of the takeover of the 1980s party in the capital by what became known as the “loony Left”.

Briefing, set up by a separate group of Trotskyites, was strongly influenced (?????)  by Socialist Action. Mr McDonnell and Mr Corbyn, too, were both closely linked to it.

Some might possibly note the word “separate” and quibble about the word Trotskyist,  but, hey, left’s continue the fun!

According to the authoritative Parliamentary Profiles by the late Andrew Roth, Mr Corbyn, a political activist and councillor, was the general secretary of its editorial board. His byline appears frequently from the first issue in 1980 and he usually chaired main fringe meetings of Briefing at events such as the Labour Party conference. According to the March 1983 issue, he ran Briefing’s mailing list.

Mr McDonnell, another bylined writer from the early 1980s, remains a key figure at Briefing, now affiliated with the ultra-Left party pressure group he chairs, the Labour Representation Committee (LRC).

Briefing’s pages seethed with calls for “mass extra-parliamentary action” and it ran hit-lists of “traitor” Labour MPs and councillors to be purged. The group gave 30 pieces of silver – well, “silver milk [bottle] tops” – to former Labour prime minister Jim Callaghan.

A lifestyle section agonised about whether it was “bourgeois” to have children, while municipal tea dances put on by London councils were denounced as “heterosexist” as well as “primarily racist” (because they “reflect comfortable white society”).

Mostly though, Briefing, like Socialist Action, avowed what it called a “British revolution” – its motto was Trotsky’s “Take the Power”.

Yes, we are well and truly rumbled.

Labour Briefing is well-known for its close ties with Socialist Action (note snazzy SA site!).

They share the word “socialism” for a start!

Taking Power?

We should ask politely, if not at all…

But here’s the rub: I can even now recall the warmth with which much-missed Briefing Editorial members, such as Leonora Lloyd  and Mike Marquesse talked about their secret ‘guru’  John Ross.

Briefing, in a coded message to supporters, with due reverence, once published a photo of the Leader under the title, “A rare daylight picture of John Ross”.

Even today the influence of Socialist Action on the Briefing and the LRC is only equalled by the mighty forces of Socialist Fight and the Posadists, not to mention the Brent Soviet.

Andrew Gilligan: Bless!

Isis Threaten Sylvania: Banned from Passion for Freedom Exhibition.

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Isis Threaten Sylvania by the artist Mimsy is removed from Passion for Freedom exhibition at London’s Mall Galleries, after police raise security concerns. Below, Guardian critic Jonathan Jones reviews the artwork.

Isis Threaten Sylvania is a series of seven satirical light box tableaux featuring the children’s toys Sylvanian Families. It was removed from the Passion for Freedomexhibition at the Mall galleries after police raised concerns about the “potentially inflammatory content” of the work, informing the organisers that, if they went ahead with their plans to display it, they would have to pay £36,000 for security for the six-day show.

In Isis Threaten Sylvania, rabbits, mice and hedgehogs go about their daily life, sunning themselves on a beach, drinking at a beer festival or simply watching television, while the menacing figures of armed jihadis lurk in the background. “Far away, in the land of Sylvania, rabbits, foxes, hedgehogs, mice and all woodland animals have overcome their differences to live in harmonious peace and tranquility. Until Now,” reads the catalogue note. “MICE-IS, a fundamentalist Islamic terror group, are threatening to dominate Sylvania, and annihilate every species that does not submit to their hardline version of sharia law.

The Metro says,

The controversial piece shows loveable hedgehogs, rabbits, and mice living their everyday life in the fictional land of Sylvania – all while ISIS militants are seen lurking in the background.

A description for the piece in the exhibition catalogue reads: ‘Far away, in the land of Sylvania, rabbits, foxes, hedgehogs, mice and all woodland animals have overcome their differences to live in harmonious peace and tranquillity.

‘MICE-IS, a fundamentalist Islamic terror group, are threatening to dominate Sylvania, and annihilate every species that does not submit to their hard-line version of sharia law.’

The artwork was created by London based artist Mimsy, who reacted angrily to suggestions that her piece was not ‘real art’.

I love my freedom’, she said.

‘I’m aware of the very real threat to that freedom from Islamic fascism and I’m not going to pander to them or justify it like many people on the left are doing.

Explaining the police decision, a gallery spokeswoman said: ‘Mall galleries was approached by Westminster Police who expressed concern about the potential risks of including Mimsy’s work.

They made it clear there would be an additional policing cost if the work was included in the exhibition and indicated this cost would be passed on either to the artist or to the exhibition organiser.’

Background to the pictures (Metro March 2015).

All is not well in Sylvania…

An artist going by the name Mimsy has created a scathing satire of ISIS, and the west’s reaction to the terrorist group, using Sylvanian Family dolls.

The project, which is called MICIS, comprises of two images depicting the happy, care-free world of Sylvania, with threatening figures clad in black clothes and carrying guns and ISIS flags, lurking in the background.

Talking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Mimsy explained what motivated her to create this project: ‘I was inspired by the theocratic barbarism of ISIS, the obvious fear of terrorism in the west, and the neo-liberal denial of any actual threat.’

Mimsy then went on the tell us why she chose to express these views with Sylvanian Family dolls.

She told us: ‘I played with Sylvanian Families frequently as a child of the early 90s, and for some reason thought they were the perfect depiction of innocence.’

She went on: ‘there is also a one-dimensional childish element to the image that perfectly summarises the mentality of religious fundamentalists. They are blowing themselves up and murdering for a cause that is as so flat, thin and childish, it may as well be depicted as if it were a toy set in an ARGOS catalogue.’

As the staff of Charlie Hebdo learnt in the most horrific of way, religious fundamentalists don’t like satire. So it’s hardly surprising Mimsy has decided to remain anonymous.

When asked to give us more information about herself, the artist simply said: ‘I’m a person who loves the free world, loves democracy (with all it’s flaws) and most of all loves satire.’

We love the Sylvanians.

We love you Mimsy. 

Shame on the Censors!

Written by Andrew Coates

September 27, 2015 at 11:17 am

Warwick University Student Union Bans Feminist, Marxist, Secularist Maryam Namazie.

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Comrade Maryam: Banned for being a Feminist, Secularist and Marxist. 

A prominent secularist and activist has been barred from speaking at a student union event due to fears her speech would “incite hatred” against Muslim students.

Reports the Independent.

Maryam Namazie had been booked by the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists (WASH) group to speak about secularism to Warwick University’s Student Union on 28 October.

However, the group was notified last month that Ms Namazie’s speech had been cancelled. The decision has led campaigners to raise concerns about student bodies across the UK thwarting freedom of speech on their campuses.

The union said that “after researching both [Ms Namazie] and her organisation, a number of flags have been raised. We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus”.

Articles written by Ms Namazie indicated she was “highly inflammatory” and “could incite hatred on campus”, according to the union.

Ms Namazie, who fled Iran with her family in 1980 after the revolution, said she was likely to have spoken about apostasy, blasphemy and nudity in the age of Isis. She told The Independent she was “angry” her talk had been blocked.

“They’re basically labelling me a racist and an extremist for speaking out against Islam and Islamism,” she said.

“If people like me who fled an Islamist regime can’t speak out about my opposition to the far-right Islamic movement, if I can’t criticise Islam… that leaves very [few] options for me as a dissenter because the only thing I have is my freedom of expression.

“If anyone is inciting hatred, it’s the Islamists who are threatening people like me just for deciding we want to be atheist, just because we don’t want to toe the line.”

Ms Namazie, who considers herself an anti-racist campaigner, added: “To try to censor me, does a double disservice to those people who are dissenting by denying people like me the only opportunity we have to speak.”

This really sticks in the craw:

Isaac Leigh, president of Warwick Student Union said: “The initial decision was made for the right of Muslim students not to feel intimidated or discriminated against on their university campus… rather than in the interest of suppressing free speech.”

“A final decision on this issue will be reached by the most senior members of the Student Union in coming days,” he said.

Ms Namazie hoped her talk would be rescheduled.

Comrade Namazie is respected not just in secularist and human rights circles but widely on the international left.

As editor for the Worker-communist Review, Maryam Namazie is a Central Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran. She advocates ideas inspired by Workerist Communism, especially those of the Iranian theorist Mansoor Hekmat.

She is strongly feminist.

Maryam Namazie is also the spokesperson of Fitnah- Movement for Women’s Liberation, a protest movement which is, according to their website, “demanding freedom, equality, and secularism and calling for an end to misogynist cultural, religious and moral laws and customs, compulsory veiling, sex apartheid, sex trafficking, and violence against women.”

According to Namazie, the name of the movement comes from ahadith, or a saying from Islamic prophet Muhammad, which in her opinion portrays women as a source of harm and affliction. She explains that even though the term is generally perceived as negative, the fact that women who are called fitnah are those who “are disobedient, who transgress the norms, who refuse, who resist, who revolt, who won’t submit” makes it suited for a women’s liberation movement.She has explained that the creation of the movement was sparked by contemporary movements and revolutions around the world, especially those in the Middle East and North Africa, although she emphasizes Fitnah has global relevance.

It is not hard to see that an uppity Iranian feminist secularist and Marxist might indeed offend religious bigots.

In this light one can only describe the decision of Warwick University Student Union – my own former student union – as a deep deep stain.

Comrade Marayam’s own Blog: here.

More in the Guardian.

Petition: Allow Maryam Namazie to speak at The University of Warwick.

More from the comrades at Shiraz here.

Benjamin David (President of Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists) has published a response on the student union’s website.

Dear supporters

As President of WASH, I feel that it is important that I comment about the recent controversy regarding the decision taken by The University of Warwick’s Student Union to prohibit Maryam Namazie from speaking on campus. For those unfamiliar with Maryam, she is a secularist, a human-rights campaigner, and leader of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain – as well as being a friend of mine.

After submitting a guest-speaker application to the SU, I received the following response explaining their decision to bar Maryam:

…after researching both her and her organisation, a number of flags have been raised. We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus.

There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy:

*must not incite hatred, violence or call for the breaking of the law

*are not permitted to encourage, glorify or promote any acts of terrorism including individuals, groups or organisations that support such acts

*must not spread hatred and intolerance in the community and thus aid in disrupting social and community harmony

*must seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups, within a framework of positive debate and challenge

*are not permitted to raise or gather funds for any external organisation or cause without express permission of the trustees.

In addition to this, there are concerns that if we place conditions on her attendance (such as making it a member only event and having security in attendance, asking for a transcript of what she intends to say, recording the speech) she will refuse to abide by these terms as she did for Trinity College Dublin:


As a student of the University, I must confess that I cannot but help feel an element of embarrassment – as well as feeling that my society has been vitiated in light of the encroachment on the strong secular and free-speech principles that the society espouses. We have appealed the decision and we will submit a further post detailing the outcome in due course. The restriction of free-thought and non-violent free-speech is the most dangerous of all subversions, a subversion that is only amplified in light of the fact that Maryam has always campaigned against violence and discrimination and has done so passionately for many years – something that should have been taken on board when the SU’s assessment was made. Maryam often describes the true facts concerning her own experiences and those of people she works with in relation to radical forms of Islam – not all forms of Islam, just those pernicious, radical strands of the religion – things that most peaceful Muslims would also condemn. I must profess that if those facts are an incitement of hatred – which I most definitely believe they are not – then the solution is to change the way people are treated in certain faith communities, not to insist Maryam lie about her life through censorship. As Maryam stated in her blog:

“The Student Union seems to lack an understanding of the difference between criticising religion, an idea, or a far-Right political movement on the one hand and attacking and inciting hate against people on the other. Inciting hatred is what the Islamists do; I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.”

And, what is more:

“The Student Union position is of course nothing new. It is the predominant post-modernist “Left” point of view that conflates Islam, Muslims and Islamists, homogenises the “Muslim community”, thinks believers are one and the same as the religious-Right and sides with the Islamist narrative against its many dissenters […]This type of politics denies universalism, sees rights as ‘western,’ justifies the suppression of women’s rights, freedoms and equality under the guise of respect for other ‘cultures’ imputing on innumerable people the most reactionary elements of culture and religion, which is that of the religious-Right. In this type of politics, the oppressor is victim, the oppressed are perpetrators of “hatred”, and any criticism is racist.”

The infringement of free-speech is becoming insidiously ubiquitous, and many universities, including The University of Warwick, are circumventing the freedom of speech in pursuit of inoffensive, sanitary narratives. As many of those at Warwick University know, few universities have sullied its free-speech as much as our university has. Spiked-Online’s ‘University Free-Speech Rankings‘ recently imputed the university with their infamous red-ranking, stating that:

“The University of Warwick and Warwick Students’ Union collectively create a hostile environment for free speech. The university, which has received an Amber ranking, restricts material that is ‘likely to cause offence’. The students’ union, which has received a Red ranking, has instituted bans on the Sun and theDaily Star, launched a campaign to have ‘offensive’ wallpaper in a local bar removed and banned ‘prejudiced’ entertainers from performing in the union. Due to the severity of the students’ union’s actions, the institution’s overall ranking is Red” 

I believe that we at the University of Warwick need to come together, as secularists, as students, revering the intellectual suffusion of ideas and dialectics, to construct a truly formidable voice of opposition for the sake of those beloved principles that we promote. Lest we forget: “censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship” – George Bernard Shaw

Benjamin David

(President of Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists).

Written by Andrew Coates

September 26, 2015 at 11:16 am

Will Russian Israeli Military Alliance and US-Russian ‘Tacit Agreement’ throw Stop the War Coalition and Eustonites into Confusion.

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Obama and Putin

‘Tacit Agreement’ on Syria in Sight?

Russia-Israel military alliance in Syria is a breakthrough.

Pravda. 23.9.15.

The agreement reached in Moscow between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on a “mechanism to prevent misunderstandings between Israel and Syria” is to influence the power balance in the Middle East, Avigdor Eskin, the Israeli publicist told Pravda.Ru in an interview.

The Russian-Israeli joint military group will coordinate operations in Syria. This military cooperation is the first one since foundation of the Israeli state, Eskin noted. The military alliance will operate without the US as well as other Western countries. The parties have one opponent, that is the Islamic State, and misunderstandings can occur only on the Syria’s helping Hezbollah, which is declared a terror organization in Israel.

What about Bashar al-Assad, the expert says that the Israeli authorities realized that only his army can oppose the radical Islam, and he is the only intelligible negotiation leverage in Syria. Jihadists, which are currently in the Golan Heights (a disputed area between Israel and Syria) for instance, are backed by the US, and attack the Israeli territory.

Russia and the United States have reached a “tacit agreement” on ending Syria’s bloody crisis, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said.

Damascus (Agence France Press 24.9.15.)

“The current US administration wants to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. There is a tacit agreement between the US and Russia to reach this solution,” Bouthaina Shaaban said in an interview with state television late Wednesday.

“The US recognises now that Russia has profound knowledge of this region and a better assessment of the situation,” she said.

“The current international climate is heading towards detente and towards a solution for the crisis in Syria.”

Shaaban said there was a “change in the West’s positions” over Syria’s war, which has killed more than 240,000 people and displaced millions since 2011.


Yesterday on Newsnight the consequences of the Russian-US tacit agreement were discussed in some detail by a former UK ambassador to Moscow and Timothy Snyder (author of Bloodlands).

The main message of the former diplomat was the Russia was focused on the threat from violent Islamism, Daesh. The US had not been able to create an alternative to Assad and to the genocidal Islamists. In present conditions – not least the humanitarian crisis – it was important to get rid of the Islamic State before anything else.

Snyder noted that Putin had a long history of backing authoritarian regimes and had created problems in the Ukraine.

Which did not answer the point about the Middle East and defeating the Islamic State.


Today: Syria: U.S., Russia Reach ‘Tacit Agreement’ On Ending Syrian War; Obama And Putin To Meet Monday. (HGN)

“Russia has provided and will provide adequate support to the legitimate government of Syria in the fight against extremists and terrorists of all kinds,” Ilya Rogachev, head of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats, told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Moscow announced Thursday it plans to hold naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in September and October. On Wednesday, the Syrian military for the first time began using Russian drones, and the army has previously received at least five fighter jets along with tanks and artillery.

Now that Russia is militarily involved in Syria, there has been “a change in the West’s positions” over the Syrian war and the crisis “is heading towards detente and towards a solution,” according to Assad’s adviser.

As Stratfor writes, “Russia has rightfully judged that its direct intervention in Syria will force Washington to begin direct military-to-military talks with Moscow on the conflict.”

The White House announced Thursday that Obama and Putin will meet Monday afternoon in New York during a three-day session of the U.N. General Assembly, reported The New York Times. The two will discuss the conflicts in both Syria and Ukraine.

The wider consequences of this change are too great to be examined here.

The mention of Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia,  and Iran should make it obvious that the complexities of whatever is being negotiated are enormous.

But we can observe some effects on UK domestic politics, specifically on the left and foreign policy:

  • The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) has been a leading voice in this country criticising the US and its allies’ interventions in the Middle East. But it has done more than that: it has asserted that the US, and Israel, have been responsible for both the conditions that gave rise to the Islamic State, and that their present actions have to be firmly opposed.
  • The StWC has refused to offer anything remotely realistic to secure the minimal objective of defeating the Islamic state, or indeed, to defend the group which many on the left strongly identity with, the Kurdish people’s armed wings – the principal  democratic fighting opposition to the Islamist killers.
  • Will they continue to do this when Russia is a ‘tacit’ ally of the West?
  • What alternative will they  offer? Or simply, what will they say?
  • The Eustonites, such as Harry’s Place and their right-wing allies in Parliament and the media, have been vociferous in denouncing the StWC and their former Chair, Jeremy Corbyn, for complicity towards Russia and  anti–Israeli forces, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
  • The Eustonites have advocated (without about as many specifics as a StWC policy-statement) forceful intervention in Syria to create a democratic replacement to the Assad regime – without going into the slightest detail about what this will consist of. They have been prepared to fight to the last Syrian and last Kurd to secure that end.
  • Will they now continue to do so when Assad’s ally, Russia is now about to reach an understanding with the West, and when Moscow has already made an agreement with Israel?
  • What will they say?


It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how these two opposing groupings react to  developments in the coming days.

It’s Boost, Boost for Ipswich as Town named Fifth Lowest in Country on ‘Life-Satisfaction” Index.

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6th of August,

Ipswich is celebrating a real feather in its cap.

It’s today been rated the third happiest place in the country to live.

This was in a survey carried out by the property website ‘Rightmove’.

Picture of typical Ipswich person’s private transport (taken from above link):

Ipswich Marina.

Today (Ipswich Star).

The government’s Office of National Statistics has just published its “wellbeing” index for 2015, showing the responses from 165,000 people across the country.

They were asked to summarise how they felt on four different subjects – and to rate their feelings between one and 10.

When asked: “How satisfied are you with your life generally?” The average in rating in Ipswich was 7.14 out of 10 – the fifth lowest in the UK.

But Ipswich has many excellent amenities (next to town centre): 



Local MP, Lord Mayor of Ipswich, Minister for Ipswich, Editor of the Ipswich Star, and Patron of Lady’s Lane Shrine for Healing the Sick and Poor,  Ben Gummer said he would take the survey with a pinch of salt – especially as it comes out just six weeks after another survey by estate agency Rightmove named Ipswich as the third happiest town in the country.

Mr Gummer added: “I’m certainly trying to do my bit to make the lives of the people of Ipswich more satisfying by working with others to improve the town centre, by keeping up the pressure to improve rail services, and by trying to ensure the Wet Dock crossing is approved.

“But I don’t think anyone should get hung up on this survey!”

Over Stoke Bridge near ‘Planned’ Wet Dock Crossing – convenient for yacht owners:


Mr Gummer is best known nationally for his radical plans to shake up local government,

Ben Gummer, who represents Ipswich, was speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference organised by the 2020 group of Tory MPs.

The group sees itself as a factory for radical political ideas.

He suggested shaking up local government so that councillors solely representing local businesses could be elected to town halls.

Mr Gummer acknowledged the idea “had no hope of getting into a manifesto” but pointed to the City of London, as a model for how his idea works in practice.

BBC 2012.

Mr Gummer’s private Transport system (Spotted in Rendelsham Forest).


Written by Andrew Coates

September 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Bangladeshi Islamists Threaten our Sister and Brother Secularist Bloggers.

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Stand by our Bangladeshi Sisters and Brothers.

Militant group publishes global hitlist of bloggers, activists and writers reports the Guardian.

Nine UK-based bloggers on list published by Bangladesh group Ansarullah Bangla Team, who have been blamed for a series of murders.

An Islamic militant group in Bangladesh has issued a hitlist of secular bloggers, writers and activists around the world, saying they will be killed if its demands are not met.

The list will raise fears that Islamic militant violence within the unstable south Asian country could take on an international dimension.

The targets in the list include nine bloggers based in the UK, seven in Germany, two in the US, one in Canada and one in Sweden. Some are Bangladeshi citizens living overseas. Others are dual nationals or citizens of the western nations.

The list was issued in a statement on the internet by the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a group that has been blamed for a series of murders of bloggers and activists in Bangladesh over the last 18 months. All those killed have been prominent critics of extremist religious doctrines, especially in Islam.

The acting leader of the ABT and two close associates were arrested earlier this month in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, for their involvement in the murder of a secular blogger earlier this year.


British-based bloggers of Bangladeshi origin named on the list have approached police in London and elsewhere following its publication. They say authorities have have advised them to take precautions to minimise the risk of attack.

It is unclear if the ABT has the capability to carry out their threats, but its call for action may prompt individuals to mount “lone wolf” attacks.

Police have charged an ABT organiser and four supporters with the murder of a 27-year-old blogger, Washiqur Rahman, in Dhaka in March.

Rahman’s death came just weeks after a Bangladesh-born American atheist blogger was murdered in Dhaka by machete-wielding attackers.

The murder in February of Bangladeshi-born US citizen Avijit Roy, a science writer and blog moderator, prompted outrage around the world. His US-based widow is among those named on the new list the group appear to have issued.

The IBT Times notes,

In August, Niloy Neel was murdered in Dhaka, and two people were taken into custody in relation to the attack. In May, Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death by masked assailants with machetes in the city of Sylhet, northeast of Dhaka. Das wrote blog posts for Mukto-Mona (Free-mind), a website founded by Roy. In March, Washiqur Rahman, a blogger who decried religious fundamentalism, was killed in a similar attack near his Dhaka home.

See New Humanist Blog.

Living Marxism Journalist Celebrates ‘King of the Lads” David Cameron sticking his “bits in all sorts of places.”

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Brendan O’Neill does his bit for Oppressed Men Everywhere. 

Calm down, dears. Drunk young men put their bits in all sorts of places. Why? Because they’re drunk and young and men. It’s what they do. I remember a boozed-up night in which a friend of mine put his into the exhaust pipe of a car. On another occasion a friend slapped his schlong on to an electric fence. Much merriment ensued — for us, not him. Was it big and clever? Nope. But then, we weren’t big or clever people — we were young and dumb. It’s genuinely heartening to know the PM was once young and dumb too.

One assumes from this language that Brendan is referring to an alternative universe in which he was brought up in a US high-school and starred in Dumb and Dumber.

All are implying that Dave is a deviant, some strange super-toff, far, far removed from ordinary people who never misbehave.

Well, now they have a potential new hero in Dave, King of the Lads. If only he would fess up to his pig thing (if it’s true) and take ownership of it. In 2015, it often feels like the world is ruled by the unworldly, by over-spun politicians, a moralistic media class, and fun-allergic student bureaucrats. Pig-gate gives me hope — hope that behind Cameron’s too glossy veneer there might just lurk a real man. Maybe even a bloke.

, “He began his career at Spiked’s predecessor, Living Marxism, the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party.”

The Spectator. 


Written by Andrew Coates

September 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Cameron, British PM and Sticking your Knob in a dead Pig’s Mouth.

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Latest: Downing Street stays silent over claims David Cameron put genitals in a dead pig’s mouth while at Oxford University.


Downing Street has refused to comment on extraordinary allegations made in a new book that David Cameron performed an obscene act with a dead pig and smoked cannabis while he was at Oxford University.

The allegation is that,

His extraordinary suggestion is that the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.

I must confess a disagreement with our esteemed colleagues of the Independent when they say that the French media has dismissed these claims.

David Cameron accusé d’avoir mis son sexe dans la bouche d’un cochon mort Créé : 21-09-2015 11:20

Which translates as Daic Cameron is accused of having stuck his knob in the mouth of a dead pig.

VIE ETUDIANTE – Une biographie publiée au Royaume-Uni lève le voile sur la jeunesse du Premier ministre britannique à l’université d’Oxford. Au programme : soirées alcoolisées et rite d’initiation à base de cochon mort…

Meanwhile the attention of international progressives is focused on Kermit’s Fate.

One further point: how Cameron is going to face to House of Commons, or indeed walking down a street, without shouts of ‘Oink oink’ remains to be covered.


Written by Andrew Coates

September 21, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Jeremy Corbyn: Nick Cohen goes Barking

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Why I’ve finally given up on the left. Nick Cohen.


‘Tory, Tory, Tory. You’re a Tory.’ The level of hatred directed by the Corbyn left at Labour people who have fought Tories all their lives is as menacing as it is ridiculous. If you are a woman, you face misogyny. Kate Godfrey, the centrist Labour candidate in Stafford, told the Times she had received death threats and pornographic hate mail after challenging her local left. If you are a man, you are condemned in language not heard since the fall of Marxist Leninism….



I leave it at that.

If I claim that Nick has serious mental heath issues I will not doubt be accused of wishing to intern him in a old style Soviet psychiatric  hospital





Written by Andrew Coates

September 18, 2015 at 10:52 am

New Slander Against our Charlie Hebdo.

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'Moral decay': Critics claim Charlie Hebdo has overstepped the mark after it published a series of cartoons mocking the death of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach this month

Daily Mail.

French magazine Charlie Hebdo facing legal action after publishing cartoons mocking the death of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi



But others have pointed out many newspapers worldwide used those images to make a political point. Why can’t Charlie Hebdo?

Charlie was mocking European states.

It was mocking Christian ‘Charity’.

A subject on which the Daily Mail is no doubt an expert.




Written by Andrew Coates

September 17, 2015 at 11:19 am

God Save the Queen! In Honour of Jeremy Corbyn.

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In Honour of Jeremy Corbyn.

God save the queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-bomb

God save the queen
She ain’t no human being
There is no future
In England’s dreaming

Don’t be told what you want
Don’t be told what you need
There’s no future, no future,
No future for you

God save the queen
We mean it man
We love our queen
God saves

God save the queen
‘Cause tourists are money
And our figurehead
Is not what she seems

Oh God save history
God save your mad parade
Oh Lord God have mercy
All crimes are paid

When there’s no future
How can there be sin
We’re the flowers in the dustbin
We’re the poison in your human machine
We’re the future, your future

God save the queen
We mean it man
We love our queen
God saves

God save the queen
We mean it man
And there is no future
In England’s dreaming

No future, no future,
No future for you
No future, no future,
No future for me

No future, no future,
No future for you
No future, no future
For you


Written by Andrew Coates

September 16, 2015 at 11:09 am

Posted in Anti-Fascism

Tagged with ,

Jeremy Corbyn Win: Bliss.

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Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways,
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights.
I am not young but this, savour the moment, was bliss.


That’s it…




Written by Andrew Coates

September 13, 2015 at 11:32 am

Turkey: People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Makes Urgent Call for International Solidarity Against Mounting Violence.

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Turkish Nationalists and Islamists Lead Attacks on  HDP



Turkey is increasingly drifting into a civil war. Politics of violence have escalated after the general elections of June 7 led by the AKP provisional government. Today, the peace and negotiation process between PKK and the Turkish state has come to a halt and war has started again.

Just within the last month, severe clashes have taken place in many Kurdish cities such as Silopi, Lice, Şemdinli, Silvan, Yüksekova and Cizre where the civilian population has been targeted by state forces. Tens of civilians, guerillas and members of state security forces have died in the ensuing clashes. Since July 24, the AKP interim government has not been attacking ISIS, as it claims to be doing, but the Qandil Mountains in the territory of the Kurdistan Regional Government instead, as well as Kurds, democratic forces, democratic politics, civilians, women and the opposition as a whole in Turkey.

The Turkish state and the provisional AKP government are implementing all sorts of oppressive measures such as forbidding entry into and departure from Kurdish cities against which it launches military operations, cutting off all communication including phone and internet lines, blocking off press and observers to prevent the truth about what is happening on the ground from reaching national and international public attention. A curfew has been in place in the province of Cizre for the past week where 21 civilians have been killed. The province of Cizre have been under siege for days where there is serious shortage of food, water, access to basic health services, preventative treatment of the wounded, and burial of those who have been killed by state security forces. Serious concerns regarding fears of civilian massacre in Cizre have been voiced by the elected members of the parliament and civil society organizations.

In this very violent situation, HDP has also been targeted by AKP spokespersons and pro-AKP mass media. Almost every day, our party officials and especially our co-chairs are being put on the target for those “nationalist and patriotic” people. Many calls and statements of AKP officials have been signaling a call for war against HDP. As a result of this violent discourse of AKP, many of our buildings in several cities have been attacked by groups of people associated with racist and fascist groups. On September 8, they attacked our HQ in Ankara, setting fire to the building. Our party archives and records were targeted specifically. No one was injured in the attack but our HQ is now heavily damaged and unavailable for use.


The headquarters of the HDP in Ankara was badly damaged by fire on Tuesday night (9 Sept)

Until now, over 128 party buildings all over the country have been attacked. Moreover, the police and other security forces of the state did not do their job to prevent the attacks.

We once again want to emphasize that HDP is not a part of these violence-based, war- oriented policies. As HDP, we did not take part in any decision-making process of the war. On the contrary, we are trying to push both PKK and the Turkish state to end this armed conflict. It should be known that it is the AKP who is insisting on war politics and implementing anti- democratic practices all over the country.

In spite of these adverse developments, we call on all international communities, civil society organizations and the international media for solidarity and support to bring about an immediate cease-fire and the commencement of peace talks. Our call is also one for urgent action against increasing state violence, the violation of human rights and anti-democratic practices and measures ins Kurdish cities as well as the cities in the western regions of the country. We now need the support of the international public more than ever in order to achieve the realization of a lasting peace in the Middle East, Turkey and Kurdistan. In this context we invite all of our friends, political parties, associations, networks, civil society organizations and all peace-loving forces to act in solidarity with us. We call on all democratic international institutions and forces to take concrete steps against the Turkish state’s violent, anti-democratic actions against its own people and citizens.

Foreign Affairs Commission of HDP
10 September 2015

Written by Andrew Coates

September 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Is Jeremy Corbyn a National Socialist, a Fascist, or Big Brother? The Big Liberal Debate Begins.

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Future Under Jeremy Corbyn Say Top Liberal Thinkers.

Dire warnings are gripping the liberal British media……

Jeremy Corbyn for UK Labour party leader? Blame the bankers

There is a point on the European political spectrum where the extremes of right and left converge: where nationalists align with socialists in revolt against the status quo. National socialism, it was once called. One side waves the flag, the other demands a bigger state. Both rail against outsiders — the right against immigrants, the left against international capitalism.

They share a soft spot for authoritarianism, a yearning for state direction of the economy and a jealous regard for national sovereignty. They tap into the resentments of those left behind by change. Above all, they are against the status quo — whether centrist politics, the EU, globalisation or Wall Street.

Mr Corbyn is a clever politician. He has worked hard to cultivate an image of principled reasonableness, pitching to young idealists as well as grizzled Marxists. To borrow a well-worn aphorism, he is adept at faking sincerity. In truth, there is an air of menace about his campaign. You are either an unquestioning loyalist or you are a Tory bastard.

Then there’s this:

Don’t be fooled by utopian Corbynomics – it is seductive fiction

The Labour front-runner’s policies have been tried in the past and rejected, and require an extremely authoritarian state Hamish McRae.


In many respects, the big surprise of the populist insurgency is that it has not been bigger. In another age, the 2008 crash might have triggered a revolution. Instead, Mr Corbyn and his fellow travellers are now capturing the seething popular resentment. They do not have answers. Many simply preach hatred of the outsider. They have understood, though, that something has to give.

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 you could see as anti-Utopian novels, describing what happened when such societies went wrong. Nevertheless, the idea that governments can engineer, if not an ideal society, at least a better-run one is deeply seductive. That, I think, explains the undoubted appeal of Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies – particularly to people too young to remember Britain in the 1970s, when the Labour government attempted some elements of the policies he now advocates.

I will be sure to pass on these warnings to the people coming out in love and solidarity – many of whom have voted Corbyn –  to demonstrate support for refugees tonight and this weekend.

And these:

Recent weeks have seen Jeremy Corbyn ridiculed as ‘the political equivalent of a child’s invisible friend’, ‘ugly, dispiriting, and out of touch’, ‘the bearded Messiah’, ‘dangerous’, ‘puerile’, ‘completely unfit for any kind of senior political office’, ‘a malevolent clown’, ‘an extremist who has spent a political career embracing nasty causes’, ‘a gormless Marxist’, and ‘a tinpot meddler’ prone to ‘engrained political pathologies’.

Those with the temerity to back him have been branded ‘Trumpton revolutionaries’,’pig ignorant lefty click activists’, ‘psychotically furious about everything’, ‘terribly well-orffff, doncha know’, infantile and possibly mentally impaired’, ‘petulant children’ and ‘gibbering perpetual adolescents’.

That’s right, we are supposedly ‘a rancid collection of single-issue nutcases’, ‘smug, London middle-class liberals’,the green-ink brigade’, halfwits’, ‘feminist lesbians, human-rights campaigners and race-obsessed mentals’, and ‘dog on a string radicals who view a bar of soap as a tool of capitalist oppression’.

Who are you calling a braindead Trot? 

Labour anti-Europe Group Linked to Tax Payers’ Alliance and Hard-Right Business Campaign.

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Kaye Hoey MP: From International Marxist Group to Patriotic Tax Payers’ Alliance.

A new Eurosceptic Labour group has been accused of acting as a front for the campaign to leave the European Union in the referendum vote.

Labour for Britain, which launched in June and says it picking up strong support from MPs, peers, councillors and activists, aims to “provide a space” for party members who support a “significant change” in the relationship with the EU.

But The Independent has found that it has strong links to Business for Britain, an organisation that is prepared to go further and argue in favour of a British exit from the EU. The Labour group also has ties to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which has variously argued for further benefits cuts, reducing pensions and eroding trade union rights.

Labour source said: “This isn’t a forum for debate but a front for people who want to erode workers’ rights and raise taxes on families while cutting them for millionaires. I’m shocked Labour MPs would work hand-in-glove with those whose policies run counter to the beliefs of our party.”

Brendan Chilton, the director of Labour for Britain, said the website would shortly be registered to Mr Mills.

“It just was a simple case in the very early days that we needed to get a domain set up and the website purchased, and Labour for Britain at the time hadn’t been established all too long and so we worked with Matthew Elliott to get that done,” he said.

Mr Chilton acknowledged it “certainly can appear” the group is a front for a pro-“Brexit” campaign, but he added: “Our activities to date [show] we are primarily a group that says the Labour Party …will press for reform.”


17th of June International Business Times.

A group of Eurosceptic Labour MPs have teamed up with one of the party’s biggest private donors to launch a campaign to push for a “full dialogue” ahead of the promised EU referendum.

The “Labour for Britain” group has the support of John Mills, the founder of household goods firm JML, who gave Labour £1.6m ($2.5m) worth of shares last year.

The organisation, set up by Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer and Kelvin Hopkins, warned that Labour could “weaken the UK’s negotiating position” by supporting the “In” campaign no matter what.

The MPs said in a joint statement: “We believe that the debate about our country’s future in the EU has been dormant within the Labour Party for too long. We need to have a full dialogue within our membership and with our natural supporters.”

Mills, who is also a co-chairman of Business for Britain, claimed that “many Labour voters feel that too much power lies in Brussels rather than with the UK Parliament”.

Kate Hoey is a former member of the International Marxist Group – way back in the 1970s it is true. (here).

This is what she says these days, (New Statesman 19th of June) – all of which puts the disclaimer from Chilton distancing Labour for Britain from the hard right in its true perspective.

What Hoey wants, she tells me, is: “To get back to our parliament the right to make its own laws, the right to have complete control of our economy, to decide everything that relates to our own country … and of course that is fundamentally opposed to what the original aims of the Common Market were”. She also calls for an end to the free movement of people (“People from the Commonwealth are completely penalised when it comes to getting their families in to visit them and yet somebody can walk in from Romania or Latvia with no history of involvement in this country whatsoever”) and the abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. “That’s what the Labour Party should be doing instead of going off into a little corner and saying ‘No, no it’s all wonderful and we might want to tinker around a little bit’. We are letting down millions of our own supporters, many of whom voted Ukip and will continue to do so until this is treated in a serious way.”

Even more strikingly, Hoey blames her party’s “extremely unpatriotic” outlook for its increasing alienation from its traditional working class supporters. “They feel very strongly about their country and we have been extremely unpatriotic as a party to our country. There’s just a feeling that we’re half-hearted about being British, we’re half-hearted about the monarchy, we’re half-hearted about the way we see our country in the world. I’m very proud of being British and I think the United Kingdom is a force for good in the world and we seem to feel all the time that we have to put ourselves down because somehow that might upset people”.

…we’ve been taken over by this kind of London, intellectual, academic-y, liberal-y people who feel that, really, if only we just got rid of all those people out there who ask awkward questions about immigration and ask awkward questions about people living off benefits when they shouldn’t be, that Labour would somehow be wonderful.

We hope that’s cleared that up.

Those who claim to be on the left and who back anti-EU campaigns for the coming referendum should reflect on the political evolution of our former comrade.


French Trotskyist Current, the Gauche Unitaire (Picquet Tendency), Joins the French Communist Party (PCF).

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A formal statement has just been issued announcing that Gauche Unitaire (GU), which has a long background in Fourth International Trotskyism, and whose best known figure, Christian Picquet, has been a leading figure in the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, will engage in a process of ‘regroupment’ inside the Parti Communiste Français (PCF).

The Gauche Unitaire was created from a small grouping inside the LCR which opposed to the formation of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (NPA) in 2009. The immediate cause of the split was the refusal of the NPA to join forces with the PCF and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche in a common list for the European elections in 2009.

The background was long-standing disagreement with the NPA’s belief that “between us and the Parti Socialiste’ there is nothing’ – an assertion hard to justify when the PCF retained over 200,000 members and the closely aligned union federation, the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), continued to show an unwillingness to disappear.Behind this it is said that Piquet and his comrades’ turn to a more “centrist” republican democratic socialism cut them off from the belief inside the NPA that the time had come for a radical new movement riding high on the anti-globalisation protests (if one can remember them…..).

The “Picquet Tendency” became the Gauche Unitaire. It was a founding member of the Front de gauche (FdG) the social and electoral bloc of these forces that present united lists for that Euro contest, and subsequent French national and local elections.

Another group which emerged out of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, equally critical of its ambition to incarnate on is own, the radical left, was the closely related Convergence and alternative. This now forms part of the ‘third’ pillar of the FdG)  Ensemble .

The Gauche Unitaire identifies itself as democratic socialist, republican, anti-capitalist, and has been a supporter of French laïcité.

It considers that the left needs to change society by ” mobilisations sociales prolongées et de consultations populaires” – in other words, grass roots, trade union and civil society activity, combined with democratic electoral advances.

It is no secret that Tendance Coatesy has very similar views.

Over the last year the Gauche Unitaire has run into difficulty inside the Front de Gauche. A majority of its members have joined Ensemble (which groups together many people with radical left, democratic socialist and feminist ideas, including the ‘self-management’ and left-Green current Les Alternatifs: see more on their site here). GU had formally withdrawn with the FdG over disputes about eligible places on European election lists. It is thought that the group at present is down to well below 100 members.

A declaration announcing the decision for the GU to join the PCF  is in  l’Humanité and Piquet’s blog today.

There will be a joint press conference tomorrow.

 Point presse Pierre Laurent et Christian Piquet
Jeudi 10 septembre à 13h
Siège du PCF – 2, place du Colonel Fabien

Christian Piquet’s Blog:

mercredi 9 septembre 2015

Une déclaration commune du PCF et de Gauche unitaire

Ce 8 septembre aura marqué une date importante. Dans l’histoire de la gauche autant que dans celle de la coalition à laquelle nous participions jusqu’alors… Le Parti communiste français et Gauche unitaire ont en effet officialisé le processus qui les amène à se regrouper aujourd’hui au sein du PCF.

Une page est ainsi tournée, celle qui avait vu Gauche unitaire, en 2009, se constituer en parti à partir du courant unitaire du Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste, regrouper très vite des hommes et des femmes issus de diverses traditions, et devenir cofondatrice du Front de gauche. Les évolutions de la situation française, les immenses périls qui pèsent sur la gauche et le monde du travail, la situation pour le moins difficile du Front de gauche (sur laquelle j’ai eu maintes occasions de m’exprimer ici) ont amené les militantes et militants de GU, lors du III° Congrès de l’organisation, en juin dernier, à considérer que l’heure était au regroupement, et non plus à la dispersion, à l’éparpillement, à l’entretien de différences n’ayant guère de sens en regard des enjeux décisifs du moment politique présent.

Les convergences entre nos camarades communistes et nous-mêmes n’ayant cessé de se confirmer au fil des années, c’est donc un choix de responsabilité qu’a fait Gauche unitaire. Sur les réseaux sociaux, un journaliste a constaté que cette décision contrastait avec les fragmentations, polémiques brumeuses, claquages de portes obscures, rivalités d’égos ou scission qui rythment la vie du camp progressiste et contribuent surtout à démoraliser celles et ceux qui attendraient plutôt des perspectives d’espoir. Il a parfaitement raison ! Ce jeudi 10 septembre, à l’issue du conseil national du PCF, appelé à se prononcer à son tour, Pierre Laurent et moi-même présenteront à la presse l’aboutissement du processus de rapprochement engagé ces derniers mois. J’aurai ensuite l’occasion de revenir ici sur ce qui m’a motivé, avec mes camarades, dans la volonté d’écrire une nouvelle page du combat pour que la gauche redevienne la gauche. Je reproduis déjà, ci-dessous, la déclaration conjointe de nos deux partis.

« Nos deux organisations ont en commun de puiser au meilleur de la pensée humaine, de l’apport des Lumières, des idéaux mis en avant par la Révolution française, de l’action de Jaurès en faveur de la République sociale. Elles se revendiquent, face à un capitalisme dont la cupidité n’a cessé de grandir, de l’apport irremplaçable de Marx, qui avait choisi le mot de communisme pour désigner le mouvement même d’abolition de l’ordre existant. Si l’histoire tourmentée du XX° siècle a profondément meurtri, et même dévoyé, cette belle promesse de « mise en commun » s’opposant à la concurrence de tous contre tous, il s’agit à présent de la réhabiliter afin de rouvrir enfin à l’humanité un horizon d’espérance. Par-delà leurs histoires propres, leurs traditions politiques respectives, la manière dont ils ont pu appréhender le passé, le Parti communiste français et Gauche unitaire ont pu vérifier, à la chaleur du travail réalisé conjointement, qu’ils se retrouvaient dans une commune volonté de reconstruire une perspective crédible et ambitieuse de transformation sociale.

« Cela fait ainsi de nombreuses années que nos deux formations constatent leur convergence de vues. Elles portent une identique appréciation sur les menaces que font peser les politiques libérales sur l’avenir de la planète et sur la paix, sur les droits sociaux et conquêtes populaires, sur les politiques publiques garantes de la cohésion de notre société, sur les fondements mêmes de la République en France, sur les équilibres écologiques. Elles s’opposent de même aux orientations mises en œuvre par François Hollande et Manuel Valls qui, loin de rompre avec l’orthodoxie austéritaire et le pouvoir de la finance, s’efforcent de satisfaire les désidératas du grand patronat, tournant le dos à la majorité populaire qui avait rendu possible la victoire remportée sur Nicolas Sarkozy en 2012.

Elles mesurent également le risque que la situation de très grave crise sociale et politique que connaît notre pays ne profite à une droite dure et revancharde, avide d’en finir avec tout ce qu’il subsiste du programme du Conseil national de la Résistance. Elles s’inquiètent tout particulièrement de constater que le découragement et l’écœurement qui s’emparent de larges secteurs de la population font aujourd’hui le lit du Front national, de ses idées de haine et de son programme de discriminations.

Elles réaffirment, dans cette situation de grands périls, la nécessité de faire grandir l’exigence d’une autre politique, pour rassembler de nouveau la gauche sur un nouveau projet social et démocratique, et lui permettre de retrouver le chemin du peuple. Elles agissent dans ce cadre pour que le Front de gauche soit un instrument au service d’un tel rassemblement de la gauche sur la base d’un changement complet de cap, qu’il soit à même d’agir efficacement pour une nouvelle majorité de gauche et un gouvernement qui répondent aux attentes de nos concitoyens. Elles se retrouvent, s’agissant des prochaines élections régionales, autour de la nécessité de favoriser les rassemblements les plus larges, aux premiers et seconds tours, à partir de propositions audacieuses récusant la logique de l’austérité nationale, condition pour battre la droite et l’extrême droite, garder à gauche le plus grand nombre de Régions, aboutir à de nouveaux contrats majoritaires à la tête de celles-ci.

« À partir de ces constats, au vu de l’ampleur des défis qu’il s’agit désormais de relever, et en fonction de l’appréciation portée sur ses six années d’action au sein du Front de gauche dont elle est l’une des trois composantes fondatrices, le III° Congrès de Gauche unitaire, fin juin 2015, a considéré que l’heure n’était plus à l’émiettement et à l’éparpillement des forces travaillant à ouvrir une nouvelle perspective pour la gauche. Elle a donc décidé de regrouper ses forces avec celles du Parti communiste français au sein de ce dernier. À la suite des discussions positives ayant eu lieu tout l’été avec la direction du PCF et des échanges, tout aussi positifs, entre militants des deux formations, cette décision a été définitivement ratifiée les 5 et 6 septembre par les délégués des sections de Gauche unitaire, réunis à Paris.

« Le regroupement sera effectif après qu’à son tour la réunion du conseil national du PCF, qui se tiendra le jeudi 10 septembre, en soit saisie.

« Pierre Laurent et Christian Picquet présenteront le même jour à la presse, à 13h, le sens de ce regroupement.

« À la fête de L’Humanité, l’aboutissement de ce processus sera présenté aux participants, à l’occasion d’une rencontre publique qui se tiendra sur le stand du conseil national du PCF, le samedi 12 septembre à 12h.

« Dès la semaine qui suivra la fête de L’Humanité notre rassemblement sera alors totalement effectif au niveau des sections et fédérations concernées, ainsi qu’au conseil national et au comité exécutif national du PCF. »

No I am not going to translate this heavy bloc of left-wing prose, apart from anything else most of the words are the same in English.


Anti-Kurdish Violence in Turkey Spirals out of Hand.

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Hundreds of Turkish fascists in Istanbul chanting tonight: “We don’t want a military operation, we want a genocide”, referring to the ongoing war against the Kurds.

Save Kobane Facebook.


Smoke comes from HDP headquarters after attack by nationalist demonstrators in Ankara. 8 Sept 2015

A crowd has attacked the headquarters of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP party, amid rising violence between Turkish forces and the militant Kurdish PKK group.

Pictures from the scene appeared to show the HDP building in the capital, Ankara, on fire.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has appealed for calm.

Earlier, Turkish ground forces crossed into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish militants for the first time since a ceasefire with the PKK two years ago.

Turkish warplanes also launched a wave of air strikes on bases of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) in northern Iraq.


US concerned by attacks on media outlets in Turkey

By Yerevan Saeed

WASHINGTON DC—The US State Department called on Turkey’s ruling party and government officials Tuesday to not encourage violence against media workers amid street protests and clashes in Istanbul and other Turkish cities.

“We’re concerned by reports that the protests against the Hurriyet Daily were encouraged by members of the Justice and Development Party,” said State Department’s Spokesperson John Kirby. “Elected officials must be careful not to appear to encourage violence against media outlets,” he added.

Washington voiced its concern after pro-government protesters, including an AKP member of parliament, attacked Hurriyet Daily, an independent liberal media outlet for misquoting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he spoke live on Haber TV.

The Turkish president was answering questions about the Daglica incident in which 16 Turkish soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Hurriyet Daily had allegedly challenged the president on his election promise that the conflict with the PKK would not have resumed if his AKP party had won 400 parliamentary seats.

The newspaper published Erdogan’s exact words later on, and said it would make proper inquiries about the misquoting incident.

The State Dept. Spokesperson Kirby said that media freedom and due process were “key elements in every healthy democracy”, urging Ankara to uphold these values.
“The quality of Turkey’s democracy matters to us, and we expect Turkish authorities to uphold Turkey’s core values, democratic foundations, and universally recognized fundamental freedoms,” said Kirby.
Amidst ongoing violence between the Turkish army and the PKK southeast of the country, Turkey recently detained several reporters including two British and a Dutch journalist, inviting international condemnation.



HDP official: anti-Kurd attacks a step to civil war.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An official from the People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) has accused Turkey on Tuesday of waging a war against the Kurds, claiming that 128 of the pro-Kurdish party’s buildings were attacked Monday.

HDP Co-chair Figen Yuksekdag said in a press conference Tuesday that the Kurds have been subject to harassment and attacks have been carried out on Kurdish political party buildings, homes and vehicles by groups across Turkey.

Yuksekdag said “facist” groups killed a worker on Monday for speaking Kurdish and Turkish police did not intervene.

Yuksekdag said the recent attacks are a dangerous step toward civil war.

In Turkey’s Niğde province, in the southern part of Central Anatolia, a group of nearly 500 protesters attacked the HDP provincial branch in the city of Nigde building with stones, according to Today’s Zaman news agency.

Similar attacks were staged in the Manavgat, Antalya, Mersin, Sakarya, Çorlu and Kayseri provinces, with protesters throwing rocks at the party’s local headquarters and hanging Turkish flags on the buildings.

Tensions also ran high in the Beypazarı district of Ankara on Monday night. A group of some 200 people who marched in the district to protest the PKK were pelted with rocks as they passed through the Zafer neighborhood where Kurdish seasonal workers reside, the news agency reported.

There were several injuries sustained in the incidents, according to police.

During the recent clashes between the PKK and Turkish Army, 100 civilians were reportedly killed during four days of heavy attacks.




Urgent: Disturbing Coordinated mob-attacks, and lynchings against the Kurds in Western Turkey:

Hundreds of Kurdish civilians in Western Turkey injured and several killed. Police have participated in the attacks against Kurdish civilians.

Turkish president Erdogan and the AKP have provoked fascist, nationalist and racist groups into protesting and forming lynching groups who have engaged in terrorizing Kurdish civilians by attacking homes in different districts in Istanbul, Ankara, Kirsehir, Kocaeli, İzmir, Balikesir, Malatya, Mulga, Mersin, Keçiören, Tuzluçayır, Beypazarı, Balgat, Isparta, Konya, Antalya and many other cities.
Following ongoing provocations by the R.T. Erdogans government, pro AKP racists and fascist groups have engaged in coordinated attacks against Kurdish civilians, including attacking Kurdish shops, houses, businesses, and HDP offices. These attacks have been ongoing for the past 48 hours.

Hundreds of Kurdish civilians in Western Turkey have been injured during the attacks by these fascists, and an unknown number of people killed. Hundreds of Kurds in different Turkish cities are currently blockaded in HDP offices, where they have sought safety from the lynching mobs. The mobs have broken windows, chanted anti-Kurdish and HDP slogans, with local police not intervening to stop the terrorism of the mobs.

Since the start of the Turkish war on the Kurds 32 years ago, this is the first time that such casualties have occurred to such a large scale. Erdogan and AKP are directly, explicitly, and deliberately provoking racial and nationalist clashes. Two days ago Erdogan gave the official order to the police forces to shoot civilians on sight if they are deemed a “threat”. He also called on the public to inform on fellow civilians who are considered to act “suspiciously”. This is an attempt to divide society and promote internal conflict between ethnic groups, and stimulate anti-Kurdish racism.

The mobs are organising themselves across social media, forming groups and attacking homes known to belong to Kurdish families. Attacks on 128 HDP offices have occurred with HDP signs and slogans ripped off and replaced with the Turkish flag. Other offices have been set on fire. Mobs are stopping local buses travelling between cities and checking civilian identity cards to determine who is Kurdish or not. When the bus drivers have attempted to drive off to escape the angry mobs, the police intervened and stopped the buses leading to further attacks against the buses, drivers and civilians. In some cases, the police have participated in the attacks with the fascist mobs against the Kurdish civilians.

The attacks on Kurdish homes, civilians and neighbourhoods are still ongoing and hundreds of thousands of Kurds in these major cities are currently in direct danger.

We call on the international community to stand with the Kurds in light of these disturbing and clearly coordinated attacks, and to act immediately to call on the Erdogan government to end its violent, racist and divisive policies.

Kurdistan National Congress – KNK

Written by Andrew Coates

September 9, 2015 at 11:36 am

Shilan Ozcelik, Kurdish Volunteer, on Trial for Trying to Join Fight Against Islamic State.

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Shilan Ozcelik Trial Begins at the Old Bailey – First PKK Trial in Over a Decade.

Kurdistan Tribune.

Kurdish woman Shilan Ozcelik, who was arrested in January for allegedly attempting to join the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), will appear in court on Monday 7 September, 10am, for the first day of her trial.

The 18 year old was charged with ‘engaging in conduct in preparation to for giving an effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism’ under section 5 (10) (a) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and has been held on remand in Holloway prison since early March.

Her arrest and charge was met with outrage by the Kurdish community in the UK and supporters of the Kurdish struggle, who condemned it as a blatant example of selective and political criminalisation of the Kurdish community, which has continued since the PKK was listed as a ‘terrorist organisation’ in 2000.

We reject this labelling of the PKK, which we believe confuses the Kurdish people’s legitimate struggle for self-determination with terrorism and has the effect of criminalising anyone in the Kurdish community who is part of peaceful political activity. We know that Shilan has never committed any act of violence and poses no threat to the people of this country. As such, we reiterate our call for the charges against her to be dropped.

Her arrest also came at the height of the ISIS siege on Kobane, Rojava, when the YPG and YPG, the Kurdish self-defence forces, resisted a fierce onslaught which garnered them international recognition. These forces, along with the PKK, have been coordinating with the US authorities to fight ISIS in northern Syria, despite the terrorism designation that looks increasingly nonsensical.

The PKK was, until the end of July, holding to a two-year long ceasefire while early stage negotiations between PKK leadership and the Turkish government were taking place. The party has made numerous statements declaring their commitment to a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish question in Turkey, and currently plays a key role in the stabilisation of northern Syria and Iraq. Given this context, the arrest of a young Kurdish woman for allegedly attempting to join the fight against ISIS seems more than a little contradictory.

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has begun a postcard campaign calling for the government to drop the charges against Shilan. We aim to send hundred of postcards to land on the Home Office doorstep and we need as many people as possible to send them.

Contact us on estella24@tiscali.co.uk  / knklondon@gn.apc.org and we will send you a set of cards.

Woman in court for alleged PKK ties.

Morning Star.

Monday 7th Lamiat Sabin.

A WOMAN accused of terrorism-related activity is set to appear at the Old Bailey today in the first trial involving the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in more than a decade.

Shilan Ozcelik was arrested in January for allegedly attempting to join the PKK, designated a terrorist group by Britain in 2001.

The 18-year-old from Highbury, north London, is charged with “engaging in conduct in preparation to and for giving an effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism” under the Terrorism Act 2006.

Ms Ozcelik has been held on remand since March in Holloway Prison after she was arrested at Stansted Airport while returning from Syria on suspicion of travelling to fight against the so-called Islamic State (Isis).

She is also accused of attempting to join the Women’s Protection Units of the PKK.

Ms Ozcelik and her family claimed that she had gone to Syria to be an aid worker.

The Kurdish community in Britain criticised the charge as a “blatant example of selective and political criminalisation.”

“We know that Shilan has never committed any act of violence and poses no threat to the people of this country.

“As such, we reiterate our call for the charges against her to be dropped,” the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign said in a statement.

“We reject this labelling of the PKK (as terrorist), which we believe confuses the Kurdish people’s legitimate struggle for self-determination with terrorism and has the effect of criminalising anyone in the Kurdish community who is part of peaceful political activity.”

Turkey broke a ceasefire with the PKK last month after a strong showing by Kurdish political party HDP in recent elections.

More information on the campaign:

Free Shilan! Drop the charges!

Meanwhile in Turkey:

Racist attacks on HDP offices and Kurds across Turkish cities.

ANF news Desk.

September the 8th.

Large numbers of racist groups have started a Kurd-hunt in a number of Turkish cities, in which some 126 offices of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) were attacked across the country since yesterday.

Large numbers of racist groups have started a Kurd-hunt in a number of Turkish cities, in which some 126 offices of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) were attacked across the country since yesterday.

Police took no action against the aggressive assailants who blamed HDP for the current situation in Turkey, without ever mentioning the role of the AKP despite it clearly stating that “None of these would have happened if we had won 400 seats in the parliament”.

Still unable to accept the results of the June 7 elections and pointing at HDP as the responsible side for the ongoing conflict, government officials, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in the first place, keep making statements provoking attacks of avenge against the party, as well as the Kurdish population in the country and the Kurdish armed movement, PKK, which voiced numerous calls for peace and negotiations even after the ending of the solution process due to the AKP’s failure to win what it desired.

Local racist groups are also promoted and reportedly supported by the AKP that faced a big disappointment in the elections in which HDP received 13 percent of the votes across the country and thus didn’t allow AKP to come to the power alone.


Many extreme nationalists attacked in large groups on the HDP, DBP buildings and the mainly Kurdish inhabited neighbourhoods in many districts of Ankara last night.


A large group of racists attacked the DBP headquarters in Balgat district of Ankara by throwing stones and chanting racist slogans against the Kurds at around 20:00 yesterday evening. While police forces did not intervene the attack, the signboard of the party was broken down by the group. The action of the racists in front of the DBP building lasted until 02:00.


In Beypazarı district of Ankara, another large group marched from the district centre to Zafer neighbourhood where mainly Kurdish people live and attacked the houses and shops of the Kurdish citizens, setting fire to some of the houses and vehicles. While the Kurdish people in the neighbourhood responded to attacks with self-defence, the racist group reportedly used guns against the Kurds, leaving 7 persons wounded.

While police intervened the scene only in the early morning hours, tension remains high in the district. HDP Beypazarı branch co-chair Abdu Öner said although the situation is relatively calm in the district as of the morning hours, some Kurdish families are leaving the district as the threat continues.


A large group of racists gathered also in the city centre of Ankara last night and marched to Tuzluçayır district of the city known as a leftist settlement. The group attempted to enter the neighbourhoods where Kurdish, Alevi and leftist people live, intensifying their attacks mainly on Aktaş neighbourhood where many Kurdish people live, but faced a strong resistance by the people waging self-defence. The racist attacks were repulsed and the racist group had to leave the district as the youth held vigil in the district during the night against further attacks. In the meantime, police did not intervene the incidents, but rather accompanied the racist group from the city centre to Tuzluçayır.


In another development, a group of racists attacked on the HDP Keçiören office breaking the windows and taking the signboard of the party down. The group attempted to enter into the building until late hours, and left the scene after hanging a Turkish flag on the building.


Getting organised through social media, a group of racist assailants first attacked HDP building in Erdemli district of Mersin and then attacked the houses and shops of the Kurdish people in the district. Two vehicles owned by Kurdish citizens were set on fire in front of the police forces, while the group also attempted to burn three houses of Kurds. While the fire department and police did not intervene the scene, the racists further threatened the Kurdish people with killing them.

In the meantime, another racist group closed the highway between Mersin and Antalya and stopped the buses belonging to companies from Amed, Van and Mardin and held ID checks in the buses in an attempt to figure out the Kurdish people.

The attackers damaged the buses and also attacked the drivers. Some drivers who had to drive on the group to flee the scene were stopped by police, paving the way for further attacks on the buses.


HDP headquarters in the southern city of Antalya also became the target of Turkish racist groups. While five persons remained stuck in the building during the attack, the party members arriving at the scene were also attacked by the fascist mob and police forces. 10 people were wounded in the incidents, while one person, O. Çakmak was seriously injured by a knife from the back. Çakmak still remains in a life-threatening condition in the hospital where he was operated.


Racist groups in Konya also attacked the buildings of HDP and Ronahi –Der, a gathering point of Kurdish students in the city, while another group targeted the Kurdish workers in Ilgın district.

A group gathered in Konya bus station in the evening hours and marched to HDP building in an attempt to set the building on fire. The group broke the door to enter the building while HDP executives were inside. The group had to leave the scene after an intervention by police teams.

Another group directed at Ronahi-Der in Karatay district and set the building on fire before continuing to march in the neighbourhoods where mainly Kurdish people live.

In Ilgın district of Konya, racist groups targeted around 400-500 Kurdish citizens, who came to district from the Kurdish cities to work in the construction of buildings. The workers did not respond in order not to flame the incidents, but had to defend themselves as the attacks increased. Two Kurdish workers were reportedly injured in the attacks that lasted until late hours.

The workers demanded to be evacuated from the district following the incidents, but the district governor told that they could only be evacuated in 3-4 days. The workers said they did not have any life security as there were no measures taken by security forces and concerned authorities.


A group of around two thousand racists attacked the HDP building in Isparta, leaving big material damage inside. The group threw down the chairs inside from the windows and then set the office on fire. The group then escaped from the scene by chanting the slogan “Martyrs are immortal, our land is indivisible”.


In the western province of Muğla, a university student was attacked by a racist group with knieves, leaving him injured in many parts of his body. The student was taken to Fethiye Public Hospital after the attack.


A group of around 100-150 racist assailants attempted to burn down the HDP building in Malatya, entering the passage where the office of the party is located, and breaking down the iron doors before police forces standing there, who also accompanied the group in hanging Turkish flags on the building.


In another western city of Balıkesir, a group of racists entered the HDP building and first damaged the furniture inside, then threw down the chairs from the balcony and then set the office on fire. The group then dispersed from the scene, while the police did not intervene.


HDP offices in İzmir city center as well as ddistricts of Bergama, Dikili, Kemalpaşa and Buca were also targeted by attacks of racist mobs on the excuse of the Dağlıca incident which left 31 soldiers dead, including one staff lieutenant colonel, and 6 others wounded.

While the assailants were not intervened or stopped by police here either, groups raided HDP offices and burned flags of the party, while also rallying in Selçuk and Atatürk neighborhoods from which they were later repelled by the self-defense of Kurdish citizens.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 8, 2015 at 11:58 am

Jeremy Corbyn at Burston Rally Calls for Labour to Open up Policy Making to Members.

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Burston Strike Rally.

From SJ Burston Facebook Page

As many as 3000 people have attended the annual Burston Strike Rally in Norfolk – among them Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn.

The rally is held every year to celebrate the longest strike in history which happened in 1914. Then schoolchildren ‘went on strike’ to support their sacked teachers. The strike lasted 25 years. ITN.

Clive Lewis, elected this year as Labour MP for South Norwich, and one of the original Parliamentary backers of Jeremy Corbyn’s bit for leadership, spoke. He called for not let up in our efforts to get Corbyn elected, and the importance of the campaign to bring Labour in line with the mood for changed politics.

Jeremy addressed the rapt crowd. He talked of the need to build on the labour movement’s achievements, of the debt we owe to those who fought for the NHS, for the Welfare State, for legislation like equal pay, health and safety and the human rights act.

The Labour governments of the 1990s had helped with initiatives like Sure Start and more resources for public services. But their achievements had been built on sand: they had accepted the free-market consensus laid down in the Thatcher years.

Unable to confront directly the Conservatories’ call for more austerity, they had not challenged it. Instead of attacking the financial causes of the crisis, the banks, they had accepted the need for cuts, if reluctantly.

Labour had to break with austerity. It had to oppose welfare ‘reform’, from the sanction system to the assault on disabled people’s benefits. It to start backing trade unions and defnding the right to organise, to belong to a union and to strike.

Corbyn outlined plans for a National Investment bank as a pillar of his programme to rid the public sphere of the dead hand of PFI.

One theme of Corbyn’s speech is worth underlining.

He called for opening up Labour’s policy process to the party membership.

This is a subject he frequently focuses on.

I don’t think we can go on having policy made by the leader, shadow cabinet, or parliamentary Labour party. It’s got to go much wider. Party members need to be more enfranchised. Whoever is elected will have a mandate from a large membership.


Those familiar with the present Labour policy process, culminating in the National Policy Forums, will know that it is hard, if not impossible, to influence the Parliamentary leadership’s decisions.

This is how the way they make policy began (Tribune. January 1995. Andrew Coates – ironically encouraged to write this by Peter Hain).

January 1995

The Tendance, who is well acquainted with people who have participated at every stage of the Forum process (and was himself there when it was set up), can give chapter and verse on how the Leader, his office,  and his communications staff have ignored well-thought out proposals on everything from Planning Legislation to Welfare.

It is ironic that it is the very system of rule by the favoured few which introduced the present open election process for the Labour leader.

The right-wing of the party under Blair – the modernisers – have long had the ambition to make Labour into a version of the US Democratic Party.  But it was not just the ingrained cultural cringe of the British political scene towards the US that was the immediate stimulus.

They were impressed by the following changes on European left (the Italian former Communists’ beat them to the change over to ‘Democrats’).

They gained the ear of the party Leader……

Italy 2007:

On 14 October 2007, voters of the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico) were called to choose the party leader among a list of six, their representatives to the Constituent Assembly and the local leaders. The primary was a success, involving more than 3,500,000 people across Italy, and gave to the winner Walter Veltroni momentum in a difficult period for the government and the centre-left coalition. Wikipedia.

This system continues.

Progress published an admiring article in April 2013, by Shamik Das:

The Partito Democratico was the only party to organise primaries both for its leader and its parliamentary candidates, and was the only party without the leader’s name on the ballot paper.

During the leadership primaries, both the eventual winner, Pier Luigi Bersani, and his principal challenger, Matteo Renzi, utilised the web, with the party gaining a strategic advantage. Between June and December 2012, it was the only political party with an online presence, dominating cyberspace – and it is a presence that continues to grow and deliver.

The PD’s primaries’ database stands at an impressive three million contacts (out of an electorate of about 50 million, with turnout  at 75 per cent), a small army the party re-energised and mobilised in the general election. Detailed analysis of the database was undertaken, from people’s professions to backgrounds, knowing where to go, what to ask of them, and how many voters each can contact in turn. Many of these three million people (in a democracy of a similar scale to our own) are recently engaged and spreading the message ever further. Imagine such strength in the UK.

There is also this:

France 2011:

This was the first primary to be open to the general public. In order to participate to the open primary, voters had to meet the following conditions:

  • be registered in the French electoral lists before 31 December 2010 (or for French persons under 18: be 18 at the time of the 2012 presidential election, or be a member of Socialist Party (PS), Radical Party of the Left (PRG), Young Socialist Movement (MJS), or Young Radicals of the Left (JRG); foreigners will be able to vote if they are members of PS, PRG, MJS, or JRG);
  • pay a contribution of minimum €1;
  • sign a charter pledging to the values of the Left: “freedom, equality, fraternity, secularism, justice, solidarity and progress”.

The six candidates participated in three televised debates on 15 September, 28 September and 5 October 2011.

In the first round election day, around 2,700,000 voters cast their ballots: Hollande won 39 percent of the vote, followed by Aubry with 30 percent and Montebourg at 17 percent. Former presidential candidate Royal came in fourth place with 7 percent of the vote.[1]

Second round

On 9 October 2011, after the first results of the first round, Manuel Valls called his voters to cast their ballots in favor of François Hollande; on 10 and 12 October 2011, Jean-Michel Baylet and Ségolène Royal respectively announced they would support François Hollande. On 14 October 2011, Arnaud Montebourg did not instruct his voters how to vote, although he explained he would personally cast his ballot for Hollande.[82]

François Hollande and Martine Aubry contested a runoff election on 16 October 2011, after a televised debate held on 12 October 2011. Almost 2,900,000 voters participated to the second round: François Hollande won the primary with around 57 percent of the vote, becoming the official candidate of the Socialist Party and its allies for the 2012 presidential election.

In Progress in 2013 Axel Lemarie lauded the French primaries,

n 2011 the French Socialist party embraced the principle of an ‘open primary’ to select its candidate for the presidential election of 2012. This first experiment was a success in terms of both mobilising supporters and gaining media coverage. All registered voters were given the chance to take part in the selection process. In fact, in order to participate voters needed simply to sign a charter pledging allegiance to the values of the left and to pay a symbolic contribution of at least €1; they did not need to be members of the Socialist party. For the first time in France, a presidential candidate was chosen by the general public through a unique democratic and participative process.

More than 9,000 polling stations were open for the first round of the primary both in France and across the world. To ensure maximum legitimacy, an oversight body, comprising a prominent lawyer, a law professor and a specialist in ethics, was charged with registering the candidates, monitoring the elections and announcing the final results. To be declared the winner, a candidate needed to receive more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast. If no candidate received this, a second round was to be organised between the two leading first-round candidates.

Over 2.5 million people voted in the first round and in the second this number rose to around three million. Moreover, the televised debate between the two second-round candidates was a huge success, attracting an audience of around six million viewers, energising the party and dominating political coverage.

Building on this success, the party organised another open primary process for the local elections next March. It was also deemed a success. For example, in Marseilles, 23,440 voters participated in the second round of the primary, which represents around a quarter of those who voted for the Socialist party  during the last local elections in 2008. And it showed how the open primary process can be full of surprises. In the Marseilles contest, former minister Marie-Arlette Carlotti, the favourite to win the primary, was eliminated after the first round.

Impressed by the evidence from Italy and France, and no doubt the silver tongues of the Progress wordsmiths,  Labour came round to adopting their own version of the’ primary’ (they failed to spot one small cloud on the horizon – in France, the left candidate came from nowhere to 17%).

Against the wishes of many in the party, and almost by stealth, the new election system was set up.

Whatever the final results we can imagine that Progress are already celebrating their achievement.



Richard Seymour Mocks Burns Victim and War Veteran Simon Weston in latest Attack on Liberal Defence of Murder.

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On 2 September 2015, (Richard) Seymour left a Facebook comment about a Telegraph column detailing Falklands War veteran and serious burns victim Simon Weston’s comments regarding Labour Party Leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn’s plan, Weston believes, to “surrender” the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Seymour stated in his comment: “Seriously. Who gives a shit what Simon Weston thinks about anything? If he knew anything, he’d still have his face.” Seymour was unapologetic on twitter for his comment.



Guardian confirms Richard Seymour does not work for them after hate post

The Guardian newspaper has confirmed that Richard Seymour does not work them after he posted a hate comment on Falkland’s veteran Simon Weston. The Guardian has though confirmed that Seymour was a regular author on its web-site with a profile at: Richard Seymour.

Simon Weston suffered serious injuries whilst on active duty on HMS Sir Galahad when the Argentines attacks it. His injuries included severe burns to his face.

Richard Seymour wrote in a comment:

“If he knew anything he’d still have his face”.

Seymour refused to apologise on his comment which appeared on an article written by Simon Weston in the Daily Telegraph.


Simon Weston.

Criticism of these comments should not the preserve of right-wingers like Guido Fawkes.

This is a matter for the left.

Whether Seymour apologies or not this indicates two possibilities:

  • Seymour is an incontinent troll who sinks as low as the mood takes him to amuse himself by hurting people.
  • Seymour feels he has the moral right to lecture disfigured supporters of the Falklands War by pointing to their injuries.

Either is not a pleasant option.

Most people would crawl and away and die rather than stoop to this kind of language.

Still, here everybody can see the “limitation of humanitarianism in this situation” (Lenin’s Tomb) .

Very clearly.

We should note that regardless of his Guardian status, Seymour is a prominent author at Verso books and helped frame some policies in Left Unity (we hope not those on people with disabilities).

Richard Seymour


Verso adds that  Richard Seymour lives, works and writes in London. He runs the Lenin’s Tomb website, which comments on the War on Terror, Islamophobia and neoliberalism.

His moral status is further undermined when we observe that earlier this year he spoke at this event: What now for Europe? The instrumentalisation of the Paris attacks.

It was organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) which is closely linked the Iranian theocratic dictatorship.

In 2015 IHRC gave the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo their “International Islamophobe of the Year” award less than 2 months after 12 members of staff at the magazine had been murdered by Islamic extremists.

He shared a platform with the “anti-race mixing” group the Indigènes de la République – whose writings he has published on his Blog – who specialise in attacking gay feminist and secularist Caroline Fourest. (see this on the “excellent Houria Bouteldja, a member of Le Parti des indigènes de la République. Lenin’s Tomb) (1).

(more Islamic Human Rights Commission, Charlie Hebdo, Richard Seymour and the Indigènes de la République)

This is a translated French response to this, the militant wing of Post-Colonial Studies: Toward a materialist approach to the question of race: A response to theIndigènes de la République.

Amongst the authors’ criticisms of the “excellent” ideologues, are these, “for Houria Bouteldja, feminism is a luxury which indigène women may not profess to claim.” “Riding the gathering wave of identitarianism, it proposes a systematic cultural, almost ethnocentric, reading of social phenomena. This leads to the adoption of dangerous positions on antisemitism, gender, and homosexuality.”

Seymour’s latest venture is this:

(1) This is what she said about the racist anti-Semite comedian Dieudonné in this post, “I thoroughly disagree with his political choices: the fact that he has been seduced by Soral’s nationalistic views, that he knows nothing about Palestine and Zionism, and his alliance with the far-right. At the same time, I feel ambivalent. I would start by saying that I love Dieudonné; that I love him as the indigènes love him; that I understand why the indigènes love him. I love him because he has done an important action in terms of dignity, of indigène pride, of Black pride: he refused to be a domestic negro. Even if he doesn’t have the right political program in his head, his attitude is one of resistance.” I now add that in the eyes of the indigènes, this is what they see in him first and foremost, rather than seeing the nature of his allies. A man standing upright. Too often were we forced to say “yes bouana, yes bouana.” When Diedonné stands up, he heals an identitarian wound. The wound that racism left, and which harms the indigènes’ personnality. Those who understand “Black is beautiful” cannot miss this dimension, and I emphasize, this particular dimension in Dieudonné.”


I notice another madman, Mike Pearn, who claims to be on the ‘left’, and is known to this Blog, made vile comments as well:

Corbyn’s ally, Sean Magmana: Daily Telegraph Exposes Alliance for Workers’ Liberty Plans.

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Important Corbyn Allies Says Telegraph. 

If it mattered to Corbyn at all what the Labour Party looked like to the public he wouldn’t be running for leader. His is a hostile takeover

Just look at what his allies are saying. Sean Matgamna of the Alliance for Workers Liberty has written: “If Corbyn wins, then the Left should immediately go on the offensive. Irreconcilable MPs should be de-selected.” Matgamna’s position was echoed by Corbyn’s campaign manager Jon Lansman when he was on Newsnight this week. And please don’t let any MP tell you that it would be embarrassing for Corbyn if his allies tried to deselect a sitting frontbencher. They do not care.

John McTernan. Telegraph.

Since Cde Gorge Orwell we all know that the Daily Telegraph can be relied on to tell the truth.

Now this presents a problem for the Communist Party of Great Britain  (Provisional Central Committee – Weekly Worker) whose plot to “infiltrate” the Labour Party was fearlessly exposed by the Sunday Times  in July, indeed given Front Page treatment.

This is (only a fraction) of what this, the leading revolutionary force in the Labour Party  says of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty in their esteemed Weekly:

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and social imperialism

One might guess that the Weekly Worker does not believe the AWL are against ‘social imperialism’.

You would be right:

Charles Gradnitzer examines how the social imperialists have responded to the latest Israeli assault on Gaza.

Sample, “Another war, another bizarre article from the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty patriarch, Sean Matgamna.1 This latest stream-of-consciousness tract on the AWL website is half initiation rite for new members of the group, half appeal to the conscience of Zionists to stop bombing Gaza.”

AWL paper: Solidarity.


Written by Andrew Coates

September 4, 2015 at 11:48 am

Comrade Peter Tatchell Speaks for Us: Back Corbyn and Raise Human Rights Issues with him.

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Comrade Peter Tatchell Speaks for our Left.

I’m backing Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leadership, despite his unsavoury “friends. By

This article expresses the views of many of us on the democratic socialist left.

A Corbyn premiership would reverse damaging, cruel welfare cuts and the privatisation of vital public services. He’d tackle climate destruction, rocketing rents and house prices. Trident renewal, foreign wars and the sinister Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership would be nixed. His administration would bring rail and energy companies back into decentralised public ownership. All sensible, compassionate policies. Good for him.

In my book, he is head and shoulders above all the other Labour leadership candidates, both in terms of his past political record and his political agenda for the future. But the single most important over-arching reason for supporting Jeremy is that Britain needs to turn away from the flawed and failed policies of business as usual. He is shaking up the establishment and breaking with the cosy political consensus that has been shared by Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems and UKIP. The mainstream, middle-of-the-road policies of the last decade are not the answer. All they offer is more of the same, which is what got us into the current mess.

Comrade Peter’s article is lengthy and merits a full read.

Those will long-memories will recall that Peter has been important contributor to Labour Briefing – a significant part of the Labour left backing Jeremy Corbyn. He has also been on the Socialist Society’s Steering Committee. He is well-known to “our” left.

That is  apart from all the other campaigns and issues he has fought for so bravely.

Peter Tatchell is one of the most respected and genuine people many of us know.

After having given due weight to his merits, and the immense hope Jeremy Corbyn represents, he sums up our reservations.

Since Jeremy has his heart in the right place and is not an Islamist, Holocaust denier or anti-Semite, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Nonetheless, he has been careless in not checking out who he shares platforms with and been too willing to associate uncritically with the Islamist far right.

While I’m certain that Jeremy doesn’t share their extremist views, he does need to explain in more detail why he has attended and spoken at meetings alongside some pretty unsavoury bigots who advocate human rights abuses – and especially why he did so without publicly criticising their totalitarian politics.

He also notes problems with the stand taken on Hamas, Hezbollah, Russia and Ukraine.

There is much to say on these issues, and others – but read the article.

I will concentrate on those who are crowing that Corbyn’s opposition to direct Western intervention in Syria is another reason why he is unfit to lead the Labour Party.

One of the more distasteful claims now being made is that full-throttled backing of the Syrian opposition would have stopped the present refugee crisis.

What exactly that mean became clear as the conflict escalated in 2012- 2013 and voices became louder and louder that there should have been armed intervention, helped by aerial bombardments.

Those leading the charges against Corbyn were amongst the forces putting pressure for the British government to support military action in Syria.

Parliament voted in August 2013 against this.  “David Cameron said he would respect the defeat of a government motion by 285-272, ruling out joining US-led strikes.”

They, above the ‘Eustonites’ and the Labour right-wing, including Blogs such as Harry’s Place, have not forgiven Jeremy Corbyn for helping in the defeat of this move.

It is clearer nevertheless, by the day, that the “opposition” in Syria, that is armed groups,  that would have been aided by these measures were the very Islamist genociders (in ‘moderate’ killer or ‘extremist’ killer guise) who now create mass misery.

The result would probably have been, as Phil states, the premises are skewed.

Could Bombing Have Averted the Syrian Refugee Crisis?

The injection of large numbers of US and UK troops might have brought about an Afghanistan/Iraq-style “solution” with all the anti-insurgency actions and casualties that would have entailed, but IS would have been locked out. However, as we know neither the public nor for that matter the political and military elites were taken with such a scenario. Perhaps timing could have made a difference. Had the bombs fallen on Damascus earlier today’s crisis might have been avoided. Possibly, but as the last foray into Libya showed early intervention is no guarantee of success. If the bombs had landed in support of the 2011 uprisings, what has befallen Tripoli, Benghazi, etc. could be a window into the road not taken in Syria. That, however, was never on the table.

This was, and remains, no democratic alternative to the Assad tyranny with the force to replace it.

What can we do?

Peter’s statement on the present state of the Syrian civil war is important.

On Syria, Jeremy seems to have no policies, apart from “Don’t bomb Syria”. I concur. We don’t want escalation and war. But surely 250,000 dead, 1.5 million wounded and 10 million refugees merits some action? Total inaction aids the survival of Assad and Isis (IS).

A good start might be a UN General Assembly-authorised no-fly zone, arms embargo, peacekeepers and civilian safe havens – plus cutting funding to the IS and Assad armies by a UN blockade of oil sales.

Such measures – enforced by non-Western states such as Argentina, India, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa – would help de-escalate the conflict and reduce casualties. Jeremy’s wariness of intervention is understandable. I share it. But surely a UN mandate designed to limit war fighting is reasonable and legitimate for a left-wing candidate?

Peter also speaks on a subject dear to our heart: the Tendance has supported movements of solidarity with the Iranian people, such as Hands off the People of Iran * – which is both anti-Theocracy and for human rights in Iran, and against Western Military intervention.

Like Jeremy, I don’t want war with Iran. I opposed the indiscriminate, blanket Western sanctions that hurt ordinary Iranians. But I’ve struggled to find examples of where he has spoken out against Iran’s mass jailing and torture of trade unionists, students, journalists, lawyers, feminists, human rights defenders and sexual, religious and ethnic minorities (such as the Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and Baluchs). Why the silence? He often and loudly criticises Saudi Arabia. Why not Iran?

It is very distressing to see Jeremy appear on the Iranian regime’s propaganda channel Press TV, especially after it defamed peaceful protesters and covered up state violence at the time of the rigged presidential elections in 2009. Moreover, how can Jeremy (and George Galloway) appear on Press TV, despite it broadcasting forced confessions by democrats and human-rights defenders who’ve been tortured into admitting false charges, and who are later executed?

He concludes,

Based on these serious lapses, Jeremy’s critics say his foreign policies make him unfit to be Labour leader and prime minister. I understand some of their reservations, but they ignore all the international issues where Jeremy has a superb record, including support for serious action against global poverty and the arms trade, and his opposition to the Saudi Arabian and Bahraini dictatorships (two tyrannies that most other MPs ignore and which Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron have actively colluded with). Moreover, Jeremy’s been a long-time champion of the dispossessed Chagos Islanders, Kurds, Palestinians and Western Sahrawis. Few other MPs have shown similar concern about the fate of most of these peoples.

We are immensely glad that Peter has spoken out.

The Haunting Images of the Refugee Crisis.

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At least 12 Syrians trying to reach Greece have drowned off Turkey after the boats they were travelling in sank.

An image of one of the victims – a young boy lying face down on the beach – has sparked an international outcry over the human cost of the crisis.

The picture, released by a Turkish news agency, is trending worldwide on Twitter under the #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (“humanity washed ashore”) hashtag.

Thousands of migrants have died this year trying to reach Europe by sea.






Aylan Kurdi, à gauche, et son frère, de 5 ans, également mort pendant le naufrage.

The 2 refugee brothers who drowned alongside each other and one’s body washed up on Turkey’s shore today. This little boy’s name was Aylan Kurdi. He was only three and his brother five years old. The were Syrians from Kobanê.

From here.

Remember, always remember,  this:


Written by Andrew Coates

September 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Posadist International Publishes full run of Red Flag, Child Bearing in Space and Flying Saucers, The Process of Matter and Energy, Science and Socialism.

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Quatrième Internationale Posadiste


The Comrades of the Posadist International have rendered a great service to the International workers’ movement and to scientific researchers by putting the full run of their esteemed journal Red Flag on the Web.

Hat tips to Dave B and Jon A.

Great Britain – Red Flag

We can only salute them with the words of their first issue in the UK:


“We must embark upon the a new line: the line of class against class of clear and unfettered leadership of the class struggle, of the presentation of an alternative line, the programme of Marxism-Leninism-Trotskyism to the British working class.”

Red Flag. Volume 1 No 1.

July August 1963.

These are valuable documents for serious scientific students of dialectics:

Several texts unpublished

Several texts of J. POSADAS hitherto unpublished or recently re-published :

– War preparations and the role of the Socialist countries, 23.3.1981
– War is not the end of the world: It is an atomic charco, *20.9.1972
– Flying saucers, the process of matter and energy, science and Socialism, 26.6.1968
– Childbearing in space, the confidence of humanity and Socialism, 12.8.1978.

* The word ‘charco’ used by the author in its Argentinian version of Spanish has been left untranslated here for lack of a sufficiently evocative English world. The context of the author’s writings points to a traumatic quagmire, of a short duration. Editorial from Posadist Cdes.

Childbearing in space, the confidence of humanity and Socialism

J Posadas 12 August 1978


The Soviets are setting out to experiment with the gestation of a child in space.

This could be one of the forms that love will take in the future. It marks a very important step in the field of reproduction and in the field of science. Only a Workers State can actually do this. This initiative proves that the Soviet Workers State is not strictly determined by bureaucracy, for all the bureaucracy which it has. The bureaucracy still moves the tail -end of the Workers State, but not its limbs .

 Having now justified its existence , and demonstrated its superiority , the Workers State moves its own limbs

The superiority of the Workers State is no longer confined to its economic form….


“The existence of flying saucers and of beings coming to Earth is a phenomenon admissible by the dialectical conception of history. The most immediate conclusion that we are able to draw is that these beings, if they exist, possess a social organisation superior to our own. Since their appearance is not bellicose or aggressive, this means that they have no need for war, and that they come to Earth with no conquering aim.”


” We admit to the existence of extra -terrestrials as a conclusion of dialectical thought. The latter fills us with the certainty that we can master any existing phenomenon, and that we shall not be caught off-guard. Matters of extra- terrestrials and flying saucers do not put the dialectical method in any doubt whatsoever. Indeed they confirm it! The dialectical method gets reconfirmed at every turn.”


“We consider that extra-terrestrials and flying saucers can exist precisely because of what the dialectics teaches us about the organisation of matter. Matter can take infinite forms. For example, there is no reason why reproduction should always involve coupling. There may be self-reproduction, as is the case for the amoeba. And why shouldn’t this become the case for the human being in the future?”



 Coatesite solidarity with the Posadist International’s scientific research.

Hello Comrade! John Prescott Speaks to his old Mates on Labour Election.

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John Prescott: Comrade.


The Tendance, old liquidationist Pabloites as we are, has always had a soft spot for John Prescott.

There’s that time he phoned me up – late, but obviously during House of Commons Bar opening times – and we had a chat, about this and that.

 He struck me, as he does most labour movement people we know him, as a genuine man of the left, one of ‘us’.

 Marginalised, and patronised by Blair, treated as a bleeding idiot, he kept his corner.

 He did his best against the privateers running down the transport of this country, stuck up for the environment, was none too clever about Council Housing, and was – we now know – capable of arguing against the Iraq War.

 He even went to Ruskin, like my dad.

 Though my dad didn’t end up in the House of Lords.

 Today I got an E-Mail from John, obviously personally addressed, to my good self.

Hello comrade! (We can still say that can’t we?).

I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and be brief.

This leadership election is nearly over, and it looks like it’s down to a choice between Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham.

I was glad I encouraged MPs to nominate Jeremy to get him into this race because we really needed a debate on Labour’s future.

And what a debate it’s been! People are flocking to meetings, our number of members and supporters has tripled and there’s a buzz about Labour again.

But now you need to decide who’s the best person to lead us back to power in 2020.

And for me, that person is Andy Burnham.

From progressive renationalisation of our railways to integrating social care into our NHS, Andy has the ideas, experience and passion to unite this party and put our traditional values in a modern setting.

We need a leader who won’t just lead protests ON Downing Street. Andy’s the best candidate to march us back INTO Downing Street.

Because if we don’t choose a leader who can win in 2020, we’ll give the Tory’s another five years of misrule to hit the poor and dismantle everything we achieved in Government.

So if you haven’t yet, please vote for Andy today.

The future of our country and our party depends on it.

And you’ll make me happy too!


Today Andy Burnham has made a final appeal to voters in the Labour Party election (Independent).

I know you feel like we we’ve been dancing to the tune of the Conservative Party for too long. It’s no wonder people think we’re all the same when they can’t see the difference between us and the Tories on key issues like education and social security.

You want a bolder, more principled Labour Party. And you want us to be clearer about where we oppose the Tories. So here are five key commitments I will make if you elect me leader.

1. Housing

I will oppose the extension of right-to-buy to housing associations. Right-to-buy has created a dysfunctional housing market that doesn’t work for people anymore. Instead we should be championing policies such as ‘rent to own’ and allow councils to borrow money councils so they can build more homes.

2. Education

I will oppose the Tories’ latest damaging changes to our education system. I will stand up for comprehensive education against the enforced academisation of schools. The values of comprehensive education should be as intrinsic to our party as the values of the NHS.

3. Trade unions

I will fight against the Conservative campaign to demonise the trades unions. I will defend the ability of the unions to defend Britain’s workers. I will lead outright opposition to the cynical Trade Union Bill and will be a proud defender of the Labour movement.

4. Welfare

I will lead the opposition to the Welfare Bill. I am proud of what the last Labour Government did to lift children and disabled people from poverty and to help low paid workers with tax credits. The Welfare Bill will move the clock backwards and unfairly punish disabled people.

5. Elections

I will win the 2020 election general election. The polls have shown that, of all the candidates standing to be leader, I am best placed to win for Labour. I won’t just take the Tories on, I’ll kick them out of government.

So under my leadership we will fight the next election on a radical manifesto, with bold ideas such as integrating the NHS and social care, and renationalising the railways. I will set out exactly how we will pay for each policy, leaving no doubt in people’s minds that we are a principled Labour Party, ready for government.

To the thousands of people still undecided on how to vote, I say very clearly: don’t give up on wanting to see big changes, but don’t give up on winning either. The stakes for our party and the country couldn’t be higher.

I am sorry not to make my old mucker John happy.

I voted Jeremy Corbyn: the best anti-austerity candidate, and somebody with a solid socialist background and policies.

But I put Andy Burnham as my second preference.

John is obviously not planning to join the Kendall Resistance, and certainly does not share Yvette Cooper’s dislike of ‘boys’ toys’ like trains and cars.

I hope that Corbyn and Burnham can work together.

More…. Andy Burnham makes a pitch for Labour’s leftwing vote (Guardian)

Written by Andrew Coates

September 1, 2015 at 11:52 am

Guardian Boosts Anti-Charlie Hebdo Hatred: Emmanuel Todd.

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Emmanuel Todd: Loathes Charlie Hebdo, Now Warns of European ‘Suicide’.

The Guardian loves France.

The France of a Year in Provence, and now, the film of Posy Simmond’s Gemma Bovray.

The Guardian hates France.

The France of secularism, of a left that is for ever rubbing the liberal warm feelings of the majority of its eceumentical readership.

The Guardian has an ignoble history of printing violent attacks on the secularist satirists of Charlie Hebdo.

After the murders at the Weekly, and at the Hyper Cacher Seamus Milne, former Comments Editor at the paper, stated of its cartoons, “This wasn’t just “depictions” of the prophet, but repeated pornographic humiliation.” Milne put the blame for the attacks down to Western policy in the Middle East and the ‘war on terror’  – no doubt a serious warning to Bangladesh to cease its imperialist ambitions there if it wants to end the slaughter of secularist bloggers.

Now they have found Emmanuel Todd to stand as proxies for their campaign against the militant leftist secularist Charlie.

The printed article below contains a reference to Todd’s La Chute finale (1976), a study which predicted that the Soviet Union would decompose. He has been living off the reputation it gave him as a seer since 1989. Indeed (this is unlikely to be a coincidence) le Monde gave the book a favourable  mention   a few weeks ago (Emmanuel Todd, la fin de l’étoile rouge).

He is a ‘demographer’. Todd’s central theme is that changes in family structures (nuclear, extended) are related to economic and political change. His most famous claim is that “nuclear” families are the oldest form. We not competent in this field, but one be assured that his ideas are not ‘universally’ accepted.

Todd is the kind of French essayist, or polemicist, who churns out a yearly book on a “controversial” subject every year. Less repetitive than Régis Debray, but always, always, contrarian.

InL’Illusion économique : Essai sur la stagnation des sociétés développées, 1998. Todd advocated “Intelligent protectionism”.

Après l’empire : Essai sur la décomposition du système américain, (2002) is an extended essay on the title.

This recent statement (11.7.2015) should give pause for thought to those on the left, or to liberals,  rushing to adopt Todd’s views on Charlie Hebdo,

 Europe is “contrôlée par l’Allemagne et par ses satellites baltes, polonais, etc” et qu’elle est “devenue un système hiérarchique, autoritaire”“On est en train sans doute d’assister à la troisième autodestruction de l’Europe”, estime-t-il, rappelant les précédentes : “Il y a d’abord eu la guerre de 14, puis la deuxième guerre mondiale.” Il en conclut que “l’Europe est un continent qui, au XXe siècle, de façon cyclique, se suicide sous direction allemande.”

Europe is controlled by Germany and its Baltic and Polish (etc) satellites” and it has “become an authoritarian and hierarchical system. ” “we are without doubt witnessing the third self-destruction of Europe, “he asserted, referring to the historical precedents, “First there was the 1914 war, then the second world war.” He concluded, “Europe is a continent which, in the 20th century committed suicide under German leadership.”

This year Todd published a book, and articles, attacking the massive wave of solidarity, mass demonstrations and commemorations for Charlie and the victims of the Hyper Cacher.

Now we have this in English.

The article’s main theme is this: “The street demonstrations were the self-glorification of the French middle class. That made me explode.”

With customary modesty he begins with,

…what he called his own “magnificently crafted Exocet missile” at the nation, with a book arguing that the street rallies were a giant lie.

This is the missile:

The rallies, he argued, were not what they claimed to be – an admirable coming-together of people from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds standing up for tolerance – but an odious display of middle-class domination, prejudice and Islamophobia. To Todd, they represented “a sudden glimpse of totalitarianism”. These “sham” demonstrations, he claimed, were made up of a one-sided elite who wanted to spit on Islam, the religion of a weak minority in France. The working class and the children of immigrants had been notably absent, he said. The most enthusiastic demonstrations, he decided, had occurred in the country’s most historically Catholic and reactionary regions, an affirmation of the middle class’s moral superiority and domination, and their Islamophobic quest for a scapegoat.

Todd’s central argument is that there are fundamentally two Frances. There is a “central” France, including Paris and Marseille and the Mediterranean, where there is equality on the family level and a deep-rooted attachment to secular values of the French revolution and the republic. Then there is a France of the periphery, for example, the west or cities such as Lyon, which has stayed true to the old Catholic bedrock, where people may no longer be practising Catholics, but they’re still infused with all the social conservatism of that Catholicism, its hierarchies and inequality. He calls this “zombie Catholicism”. Infuriating his critics, Todd maintains that the post-attack rallies represented zombie Catholicism on the march.

The pro-Charlie Bloc  (bloc MAZ, Middle class, Aged and Zombies) is given a fuller analysis in French (oddly….discussion of two parts of it are missing in the Guardian article – although written by a respected French journalist).

Its ideology is:

  • « européiste », par son soutien à Maastricht en 1992 et à la Constitution européenne de 2005 ; Pro-European, backing the Maastricht Treaty and the European constitution,
  • islamophobe, au vu de la diffusion d’une « obsession de l’Islam » dans la presse papier, du succès des livres d’Éric Zemmour et de la relégation des attentats de l’hypercacher au second plan du mouvement des « Je suis Charlie »  Islamophobic, related to the racist rantings of Zemmour who wants to expel all Muslims from Europe.
  • germanophile, par sa défense du « modèle allemand » que la France devrait imiter à tout prix. Germanophile, defending the German model, which they want France to defend at any cost.

More here.

It would be interesting to know how he found statistical evidence for the Je Suis Charlie marchers’ support – or even readership – of Zemmour.

Readers of the introduction above will note that Todd is, by pure coincidence, anti-European and something of a Germanophobe.

The statistics he used to bolster this analysis have been rigorously unpicked.

Où est Charlie ? Ce que montrent réellement les cartes d’Emmanuel Todd –T. Joliveau is one of the best.

Joliveau questions, rightly, if you built a picture of the sociology mass demonstrations of public concern by aligning them to their geographical origin. Can one find evidence of this, “mystérieux indicateur de zombitude catholique” and transfer this to those who turned up on rallies? Nothing is less certain.  The tie with Catholicism is even less clear. he notes, “Une légère sur-participation à la manifestation dans les villes de tradition catholique semble confirmée mais il est moins justifié par un traitement statistique que par une typologie du recul du christianisme que Todd sort un peu de son chapeau.” there is a slight over-representation of demos in Towns and Cities with a Catholic tradition appears confirmed, but is less justified by a statistical alignment with the retreat of Catholicism, which Todd has rather pulled out of his hat.

Joliveau also points out, by way of how you can shape statistics, in this lengthy and detailed examination, that you can equally draw a correlation between the areas where there were fewer demonstrations and zones where there are high numbers of  low paid, unqualified and unemployed people, and supporters of the Front National.

What is clear is that there was a link between those with higher education and  support for Charlie on the marches (les diplômés de l’enseignement supérieur court ou long).

There is a little doubt that there are a lot of (self-evident) indications  this is true.

Is Todd saying that educated people – that is by definition those likely  to read left-wing satirical magazines and are concerned about issues such as freedom of expression and (not the least!) defend a hard-line secularist weekly– are ‘Catholic zombies”.

That the scores of immigrant associations who backed the protests are all ‘Islamophobes’ is less certain.

The idea is so incoherent that it is barely worth considering.

His theory is that the rise in Islamophobia is in turn stoking anti semitism in run-down suburbs, and that anti semitism is growing in the middle class.

Presumably the same middle class that worshiped Charlie…..

We stood up, with millions across the world,  for Charlie with every fibre of our being.

Todd can dislike the vulgar and 68er Charlie as much as he like.

He can engage in Anglo-American language about being careful not to offend religious sensitiveness.

As Joliveau says, the support was a “Symbole non d’un collectif, mais d’un rassemblement d’individus ayant chacun leur propre raison d’être là avec les autres.”

We all had our own reasons to show our sorrow, our internationalism, our solidarity and our love.

We are certainly not anti-Euro, protectionist nationalists like Todd.

We are not surprised that Polity Press is publishing a translation of this book.

Unlike pro-Charlie writings, (see the Tendance’s  review of Charb’s pamphlet), it will not doubt be on university courses.


Note: this is another demolition of Todd’s statistics: Un esprit de système caricatural Les catégorisations opérées par Emmanuel Todd et son déterminisme sociologique sont discutables. 

Nick Cohen Goes Colonel Blimp on Jeremy Corbyn.

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Nick Cohen goes Colonel Blimp:

How Jeremy Corbyn’s Coup Hijacked Labour.

Blimp outraged:

Jeremy Corbyn encapsulated everything that was deceitful about his campaign to be leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition when he claimed he wanted to prioritise “the needs of the poor and the human rights of us all”. From the point of view of the poor and the oppressed, his words were a grim joke.

Blimp more outraged:

Like many from the Left’s dark corners, Corbyn does not believe in the human rights of “us all”. He is concerned only with the rights of those whose oppression is politically useful. If the oppressed’s suffering can be blamed on the West, he will defend them. If not, he is on their enemies’ side.

Blimp apoplectic:

A short and far from comprehensive tour of the regimes Corbyn has supported includes the geriatric Cuban dictatorship, the corrupt and extraordinarily incompetent Chavistas who have come close to bankrupting oil-rich Venezuela, and Russian imperialists who have used force to redraw Europe’s boundaries..

Blimp warning of Russian bear:

Corbyn, like so many on the far Left, does not fear Russia. Nor does he care that UKIP and the French National Front defend Putin because they admire a regime that loathes the European Union as much as they do. The far left has never been comfortable with the EU either. However, it indulges Putin because, as Corbyn explained in the old Communist daily, the Morning Star, “the EU and Nato have now become the tools of US policy in Europe”. From this, it follows that all attempts by the former occupied nations of Europe to protect themselves from their old imperial master are American-backed provocations which goad a justly affronted Russia. Or as Corbyn put it, “The expansion of Nato into Poland and the Czech Republic has particularly increased tensions with Russia.”

Blimp reminded of his evening appointment in the Bath House:

When the far Left shades into the far Right, I am tempted to hug the centre and treat it as our best protection against the poisonous and the deranged. Respectable commentators have urged Labour members to do the same. They failed to understand that in Labour’s case the centre ground is as polluted as any derelict site.

Blimp talking religion and ethics,

Jeremy Corbyn has never pocketed thirty pieces of silver. He says what he says because he means it, not because he has been paid to say it. This does not make him morally superior in my eyes.

Blimp, musing that they’re all as bad as each other,

One wing of the Labour Party left office and latched onto a malign force in the world: the resource-rich states with large sovereign wealth funds and a vanishingly small concern for human rights. After the Western financial crisis, they were the freest spenders on earth, and Blair, Mandelson and dozens of others sucked long and heartily at their teats. Meanwhile, a second wing of the Labour Party latched on to equally powerful and equally malign anti-Western movements which hate not just the worst of our society but its best: democracy, human rights and sexual equality.

Blimp thinking of Tiffin and trying to wrap up his immortal peroration,

Unless Labour changes very fast and very soon, it will cease to be a force for good in the world. I hope I am wrong but I can’t see that change happening in my lifetime.

Why, O Why?

I have not left the left, it’s the left that’s left me…….


Political Confusion on the European Union Gains Ground on the Left: Jacques Sapir and the Front National.

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Selling Your Soul to Mr. Putin

Jacques Sapir: Red/Brown Alliance Against European Union. 

There is an excellent French Blog site which deals in “political confusionism”.

Back in July it picked up on a development that’s hit the headlines in France over the last few days: the call by “left” economist Jacques Sapir for an alliance with the Front National. (JACQUES SAPIR, UN HOMME DE GAUCHE ?).

Like many people (including we note floating voter Tariq Ali who got a column in Le Monde recently hinting darkly at ‘the left’ turning against Europe) he is claiming that the crisis in Greece shows the need for a left-wing anti-European Union stand.

Sapir has gone one stage further than the NO2EU UK left and indicated that he would be favourable to this:

 L’économiste «hétérodoxe» préconise une alliance des partis anti-euro, regroupant le Front de gauche et le Front national.

Like certain British Labour politicians he has a fondness for evoking memories of the Resistance.

Sapir gave the Conseil national de la résistance (CNR) as his model.

Sapir is no unknown: a prominent economist, and Director of the Centre d’études des modes d’industrialisation (CEMI-EHESS), he has been close to the Front de Gauche, to Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche and to the “sovereigntist” former Socialist Minister (and leader of the left tendency inside the Parti Socialiste, CERES), Jean-Pierre  Chevènement.

On the Confusionisme site  Ornella Guyet adds,

Prominent in the current debate surrounding the Greek crisis, a prominent supporter of  “de-globalization” – whose theories inspired the Arnaud Montebourg’s (1) discourse on the question – he is also an expert on Russia, known for his softness towards  the Putin regime, equally famous for his careerism, his homophobia and his alliances with the far right in Europe. His site Russeurope, given legitimacy by legitimized by its academic pretensions Jacques Sapir is a frequent guest of  the salons of the Russian embassy, ​​as well as seminars of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a think tank based in Paris to promote the image of Putin’s Russia in Europe. Not surprisingly, we find his name in several pro-Kremlin media, Voice of Russia and Sputnik News.

More recently, obsessed by the Euro, he has become ever closer to the “sovereigntists” of the Right:  the groupuscule Debout la République

Sapir claims that the Front National has “changed” from its far-right origins, and that in any case he was talking about an alliance of the right and left involving a party that has “come from” this transformed FN.

Immediate reaction on the left to Sapir’s ideas was not favourable.

Eric Coquerel, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s close ally,  called this strategy “an aberration”. He continued, “Given the scale of the current crisis, we must offer an alternative to  fascist and xenophobic reactions. Their nation is not ours. ”  Clémentine Autain (Ensemble), a leader of the Left Front  has said that “The phenomenon is not massive…but it  gives credibility to the FN . “

It is however well known that Mélenchon’s party is openly flirting with the idea of a “Plan B”, that is, leaving the Euro, “if a renegotiation of EU treaties fails .”

They plan an “internationalist summit for Plan B” to be held in late 2015 which bring together those in the like minded  “left” who agree to work together on the subject. (More here)

Sovereigntism, that is the belief that the “nation” has the supreme right to decide “its” fate – faced with international forces, from the European Union to NATO – appears to be gaining ground on the British left as well. The collapse of sections of the left to the belief that Scotland would be better off governed by its “ain folk”  in the SNP was one indication. After the Greek crisis, anti-European Union voices have become louder, promoting perhaps a return to a belief in a road to socialism outside of the EU.

At a time when fear of ‘foreigners’ – migrant workers, refugees in particular – is reaching an all-time high in Europe, playing with nationalism seems a dangerous gamble.

(1) Left-wing of the Parti Socialiste. Montebourg scored  17,19 % in the first round of the open PS French Presidential “primaries” of the party, which involved 2,700,000 voters who signed a declaration saying the backed the values of the left – without anybody wetting themselves about “infiltration”.

Free Film-Maker Oleg Sentsov and anti-Fascist Oleksandr Kolchenko gaoled after unfair trial in Russia military court.

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Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenkoin the courtroom

Free Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko!


A court in Russia has jailed Ukrainian film-maker Oleg Sentsov for 20 years for plotting terrorist acts in Crimea.

Sentsov, 39, was arrested in May 2014 during a protest against Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula two months earlier.

He pleaded not guilty and his family say he will appeal. The trial has been condemned by the US, EU and other film directors.

Russia denies accusations that he is a political prisoner.

Another Crimea activist, Alexander Kolchenko, who was being tried with Sentsov and also denies the charges against him, was sentenced to 10 years.

After the verdict was read out, both defendants sang the Ukrainian national anthem in the military court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the case breached international law, while the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, said the process had been a “farce”.

Allegations of torture

Sentsov, best known for his 2011 film Gamer, was accused of setting up a terrorist group. Prosecutors say he was involved in two attempted arson attacks in the city of Simferopol, ordered by extremist Ukrainian group Right Sector.

The Ukrainian government says he is being punished for being a Crimea-based pro-Ukrainian activist.

Russia: Ukrainian film-maker’s 20-year jail sentence compared to ‘Stalinist-era show trials’.

 Amnesty Statement:

 Long prison sentences handed down to two Ukrainian activists by a Russian military court today are a blatant injustice and are comparable to “Stalinist-era show trials” of dissidents, Amnesty International has said.

The sentences came after a patently unfair trial marred by credible allegations of torture.

The court in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don sentenced film director Oleg Sentsov to 20 years and ecologist and anti-fascist activist Aleksandr Kolchenko to ten years on “terrorism” charges, charges which they both deny and claim were politically-motivated. The two were accused of arson attacks on pro-Russian groups following Russia’s occupation of Crimea last year.

International humanitarian law requires that Russia, as the occupying power in Crimea, prosecute any defendants in civilian courts under Ukrainian law.

Amnesty attended the trial, including today’s sentencing hearing in Rostov-on-Don.

Amnesty International’s Eurasia Researcher Heather McGill said:

“This whole trial was designed to send a message. It played into Russia’s propaganda war against Ukraine and was redolent of Stalinist-era show trials of dissidents.

“This trial was fatally flawed and credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment have been ignored by the court. Both Oleg Sentsov and one of the main witnesses for the prosecution have alleged that they were tortured.

“Any testimony gained through torture and other ill-treatment must be thrown out, the ‘terrorism’ charges must be withdrawn, and Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko should either be released or face a fair trial in a civilian court.”

There has been extensive and detailed political coverage in the French language media (the story was headlined on the radio this morning) see:

La Russie condamne le réalisateur ukrainien Oleg Sentsov à vingt ans de prison. Le Monde.

Russie : Oleg Sentsov, réalisateur ukrainien condamné pour «terrorisme»  Le cinéaste et un jeune anarchiste, présents sur les barricades de Maidan à Kiev et contre l’annexion de la Crimée, ont été naturalisés de fait avant d’écoper de 20 ans de prison. Libération.




Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2015 at 11:02 am

Sparticist League Backing ISIS: Once Again.

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Sparts Campaigning.

Spartacist League Forms Syrian Battalion in Support of ISIS

RAQQAH, SYRIA – Marking the first time since the Bolivian National Revolution that Trotskyists have rallied in armed defence of their values, members of the Spartacist League of Britain have travelled to “the Caliphate” in order to defend ISIS from “imperialism”.

The formation of the so-called “Hammer Battalion” follows an announcement earlier this week of Spartacist League support for ISIS military victory.

“However, a senior ISIS source has hinted that not everyone in the movement is supportive of the group’s actions: “They spend more time condemning others for not being ISIS enough than actually fighting. Three of our best men were killed last month in a fight over whether the Soviet Union was a ‘deformed’ or ‘degenerated’ worker’s state.”

See more on Workers’ Spatula.

The source for this?

SL/B National Conference Summer 2015. The fight for a Leninist party

We must guard against a tendency, noted in the documents adopted by the December 2014 plenums of the ICL International Executive Committee and the SL/US Central Committee, to succumb to the pressure bearing down on our party to weaken our opposition to imperialism. The reintegration of Crimea into Russia in the aftermath of an imperialist-sponsored, fascist-infested coup in Kiev and the referenda for “self-rule” in the East Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk were largely met with howls of outrage by the liberal and reformist left in the West…. We took a correct, Leninist stance in forthrightly declaring “Crimea is Russian” and in defending the right to self-rule in Eastern Ukraine.

The US, supported by Britain, is now at war with the Islamic State (ISIS), which was initially funded by extremist Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. [An IS motion of 23 October 2014 said:] “We have a military side with the reactionary ISIL when it engages in military conflict with the imperialists and their local forces on the ground, including the Iraqi Kurdish pesh merga, the Baghdad government, Shi’ite militias and the Syrian Kurds. We give no political support to any of these retrograde forces.”…

The justification?

Here is some background:

Workers Vanguard 3rd of April 2015.

It is the duty of class-conscious workers everywhere, particularly in the U.S., to oppose all wars and occupations carried out by the imperialists. When the U.S. began air strikes against ISIS last year, we explained that “any force, however unsavory, that attacks, repels or otherwise impedes U.S. forces strikes a blow in the interests of the exploited and the oppressed” (“U.S. Out of Iraq! No Intervention in Syria!” WV No. 1051, 5 September 2014). We take a military side with ISIS when it targets the imperialists and forces acting as their proxies, including the Baghdad government and the Shi’ite militias as well as the Kurdish pesh merga forces in Northern Iraq and the Syrian Kurdish nationalists. This does not mean we give the slightest political support to the reactionary ISIS butchers.


Workers Hammer(UK) Winter 2014 – 15.

Many liberals and reformist organisations, while claiming to oppose the imperialists’ intervention in Syria/Iraq, are simultaneously backing the Kurdish forces that are acting as imperialist proxies. In the battle for the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria, the US has carried out airstrikes against ISIS and dropped arms and other supplies to fighters on the ground, mainly from the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is allied to the nationalist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) based in Turkey. PYD military forces are acting as ground troops and spotters for the US imperialists, thus tying the fortunes of the oppressed Kurdish population to the imperialists’ war against ISIS. While we uphold the right of national self-determination for the Kurdish people, who are oppressed by the bourgeois regimes in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, “championing the Kurds in the current conflict can only mean lending support to imperialist plunder”, as we explain in “Down with US/British war against ISIS!”

Workers Vanguard. 31st October 2014.

ISIS today is in battle against the local tools of U.S. imperialism, the main enemy of the world’s working people. A setback for the U.S. in Syria might give pause to Washington in its military adventures, including by encouraging opposition at home. Such opposition adds to the tinder that must be ignited in class struggle against the capitalist rulers who, in their quest for ever greater profits, beat down the workers, black people and immigrants.

In our opinion the Sparts show the ultimate degeneration of revolutionary “defeatism” (wishing the destruction of one’s own ‘ruling class’ and its military).

This is where it led during the Second World War: saying that the Allies, backed by the French Resistance, were the same as the SS and Vichy.

One might say that the ultimate blame for this moral bankrupcy can be put at Trotsky’s feet.

As this indicates –  on the eve of the Second World War.

Trotsky sharply rejected any notion of taking sides in the war:

By his victories and bestialities, Hitler provokes naturally the sharp hatred of workers the world over. But between this legitimate hatred of workers and the helping of his weaker but less reactionary enemies is an unbridgeable gulf. The victory of the imperialists of Great Britain and France would not be less frightful for the ultimate fate of mankind than that of Hitler and Mussolini. Bourgeois democracy cannot be saved. By helping their bourgeoisie against foreign Fascism, the workers would only accelerate the victory of Fascism in their own country. The task posed by history is not to support one part of the imperialist system against another but to make an end of the system as a whole.

Just as in 1914, Trotsky was urging his followers to swim against the stream. In doing so, he cut through the ideological claptrap of the ‘democracies’ opposed to Hitler. What he failed to do was to offer any real indication of a strategy which would enable the tiny Trotskyist current to relate to the broad anti-Fascist movement that would emerge in occupied Europe.

More:  With the Masses, Against the Stream  Marxists Archive.

Ian Birchall, the author of the article cited above, is a lot more forgiving to the “errors” that resulted from these words than the Tendance is.

Pablo Iglesias Backs Jeremy Corbyn, but Podemos is less and less a model for the Left.

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On Downward Slide in Opinion Polls.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias held a press conference on Monday to mark the end of the summer holidays, as Podemos supporters launched a campaign to make #PabloIglesiasToMoncloa the top trending topic on Spanish Twitter, in reference to Moncloa Palace, the Spanish Prime Minister’s official residence.

“We are out to win the election”, he said.

A poll published earlier on Monday showed Podemos in line for 11.94% of the vote or 30-34 seats in the 350-seat Congress, in third place behind the Popular Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE).

Mr. Iglesias rejected the idea of a coalition deal between the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and Podemos after the general election as “absolutely unlikely”, although he did not rule out “decentralised dialogue processes” with new alternative left platforms such as Ahora en Común.

He added that Podemos now believed the general election in Spain would take place “in December”.

Regarding the early regional elections in Catalonia, which will take place on September 27, he said he believed the Podemos option there, “Catalonia Yes We Can” (Catalunya Si Que Es Pot) was the “only option” that had a chance of beating the First Minister’s joint pro-secession electoral list: “Our main aim is to beat Artur Mas”.


He also said the rise of Jeremy Corbyn was “very important” in the race to lead the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, helping it to remember its roots.

“What is happening in the United Kingdom, I insist, is very important. A different Labour Party, that gets its party origins back as a representative of the popular classes is, I believe, very important”, suggesting Angela Merkel now represented “the past” and that alternative left parties were the future.

One of Mr. Iglesias’s European parliamentary assistants later tweeted that Podemos supports Jeremy Corbyn “because we understand he is an ally in changing the constitutional architecture of Europe”.

Spain Report.

While Iglisias’ backing for Corbyn is generous, we sincerely hope that people on the British left would stop comparing themselves with Podemos.

The  leadership of Iglesias has been most recently in trouble over his attitude to the rest of the Spanish left (indeed over whether the party should be ‘left’ at all) followed by disputes over Podemos’ stand on Catalan independence.

Their downward spiral was described yesterday in El Mundo by Casimiro García-Abadillo ¿Por qué se desinfla Podemos?

Naturally we would not credit this daily, or its journalists, with any sympathy for the Spanish left, but some points made are important.

García-Abadillo begins by noting a higher figure for Podemos than Spain Report, 15,7%. But the most significant aspect is the drop from 23,9% in January (and, we could add,  around 30% at points last year).

He argues that Podemos is in trouble because (in our, not the article’s order):

  • The shift to pragmatism (the “leftist populism,” Iglesias represents), conducted with the aim of disputing the hegemony of the PSOE left,  disappointed some of its electorate, linked to 15-M (that is, the original Indignados). These has created internal strife, led by figures such  Teresa Rodríguez and Pablo Echenique. This ideological tension thas demobilised many of his followers, as highlighted by the low turnout in the primaries (something we have noted on this Blog).
  • The ideological uncertainty extends to issues such as the independence of Catalonia. This generated confusion among potential voters. Essentially, Podemos has failed to stand for a genuine leftist movement that has nothing to do with nationalism. The compromise position adopted on secession has created tensions within the party in Catalonia and has likely discouraged many citizens from other regions who reject granting privileges to the richest part of the country (Catalonia) for sealing off its privileges in autonomy, if not independence.
  • The experience of coalition government in municipalities and communities following the elections of 24th of May has been somewhat disappointing. The case of Madrid is well known and covered on this Blog.
  • The debate on electoral alliances. El Mundo blames the “opportunism” Podemos has shown. We by contrast would blame the “new age sectarianism” of the “post-left” that thinks it can dismiss the Marxist forces of the Izquirada Unida and the Greens of Equo.
  • The effect of the failure of Syriza in Greece, or more simply its defeat faced with the power of Finance  – which are too obvious to dwell on.

Full article: El Mundo.

Podemos had a strategy which many people on the left across the world admired.

The “Spanish regime is facing a crisis of legitimacy and there exists an opportunity for the emergence of a party with progressive politics and popular appeal that can challenge the political establishment and reassert the collective power of the people against corporate capital.”

To mobilise this strength Podemos claimed that it needed an approach that was “beyond” the left/right division.

That is, according to Eduardo Madura,

The traditional ideology and language of the left is unfit for purpose in that it does not adequately correspond to people’s everyday experiences. ‘For the majority of people the language of the left does not signify what it does for those within the movement,’ he says. ‘People’s traditions and experiences are so different.’

Podemos: Politics by the people. Andrew Dolan. Red Pepper

Words that apparently move “beyond right and left” and connect with real experience focus on the key element in Podemos’s public discourse: mobilisation against the ‘casta’ – the political ‘caste’ or elite.

In On Populist Reason (Verso, 2005) Ernesto Laclau described the shifting way the “popular” is constructed. A populist party is, he argued, built around “empty signifiers” – that is symbolic points around which the conflict between the “people” and the “elite” is created.

Podemos is so famous for having woven its discourse around opposition to the “casta (caste)” -the political ruling class – that the, having fixed it, quilted it, wrapped itself around with it, it would, at some point, fray.

It was perhaps predictable that once it became identified – symbolically and in reality – with those who rule, that is take office – it would face problems.

These are exacerbated by the creation of a Podemos of the right, Cuidamos,

Ciudadanos deprives Podemos of its novelty effect and, above all, its appearance as the only contender to the throne that bipartisanship has already semi-abandoned, around which a heterogeneous social majority could be built, attracted to Podemos by the real possibility that it was the vehicle for political change. It is a vicious circle, because as a victory for Podemos seems less possible, the less support it will receive. And, on the contrary, the more credible the victory of an alternative, the more instrumental support it will receive. Although both parties are vying for only a layer of votes and their major potential voters come from counter-posed sites, Ciudadanos blocks the growth of Podemos in the less politicized and more conservative sectors and fires a torpedo at the waterline of its project of a transversal party which aspires to quickly accumulate a social majority that goes beyond the traditional confines of the “people of the left”.

Josep María Antentas International Viewpoint.

Podemos has also moved rightwards, dropping, notably, plans for a universal ‘Citizen’s income and tempering its anti-austerity plans with a degree of realism – such as proposing that debtors and creditors negotiate mortgage payments, instead of advocating the suspension of all such foreclosures as it did previously.

These difficulties have been worsened by the existence of another ‘populist’ element, a charismatic leader who holds the party together and takes the decisions.

How Iglesias has been insulated from political difficulties – opposition – is indicated by Podemos’s adoption of an inner party structure that gives  “winner takes all” power to the leadership. That is despite claims that it is “horizontal” and based on intimate “circles real decision-making is made by one circle; the Leader’s.

His dislike of the ‘old’ left is unfortunate in that every political ideology becomes – pretty rapidly with today’s communication systems – ‘old’, old enough to remind people of earlier attempts to move “beyond” left and right, with their mixed results.

There are few signs that Iglesias or his  Courtiers has found a way out of the problems posed by ‘populism’ – a shifting social base, a drift with the tide of opinion, and the ‘charismatic’ tendency to ignore the advice of others.

Letter to a Young Corbyn Supporter: Courage! You are our Future!

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Vote Corbyn!

An impassioned article has just appeared on the Guardian site.

Please don’t ridicule this young Labour voter’s passion for Jeremy Corbyn.

Rosie Fletcher writes,

My many criticisms of Labour in recent years – its milquetoast defence of its economic record, its lack of direction, skittering whichever way the tabloid wind blows, its bland, sputtering lack of passion – distanced me from them. But I saw May’s defeat as an opportunity to revitalise the party, along with tens of thousands of others, many of whom, like me, are young people whose futures are being clouded by the Tory present.

I joined before Jeremy Corbyn had even removed his hat to throw it into the ring, but he’s not only got the policies to clear those clouds, but also the passionate support needed to do so.

Jeremy Corbyn’s backers, that is the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, and others, such as the activists’ alliance, the Labour Representation Committee (Labour Briefing) have been arguing for a positive alternative to Labour Party national policies, for many years.

So many that we are perhaps we were convinced that nothing would change in the Party – which some of us left (although if union members we have been affiliates in a sense already: I voted in my union’s elections for the last leadership candidate).

We were however convinced that Ed Miliband served our full support in the May General Election.

On issues like the Living Wage, workers’ rights, progressive taxation and defence of public services (particularly welfare and education) we saw Miliband as a step forward.

He was unable to successfully defend Labour’s past economic record in the face of mendacious Tory attacks.

He did not clearly come out against austerity, or the wholesale give-away of public services to private chancers – at present enjoying a continued bonanza at the expense of the rest of the population.

He did not tackle head on the anti-migrant message of the other parties, or the anti-welfare message of the free-market right.

But, it must be said that Miliband was more open to the labour movement, new radical ideas,  and wider left-wing opinion that his predecessors.

Many of us gave practical support to Labour during the election.

We too do not relish being treated as potential infiltrators.

 Rosie Fletcher notes,

as a young Labour member, it’s often hard to discuss Corbyn with – shall we say? – more seasoned voters. It can feel as though an official opinion has been issued. If in doubt, one can, should the topic of the Labour leadership come up, simply pronounce: “Of course, Corbyn is totally unelectable” and feel as if one has contributed something at least. We have reached consensus without giving him an opportunity to disprove it, despite his progress from being eminently electable in Islington to imminently electable as Labour leader.

I would take this argument seriously.

But the counter-argument is that if we wish Labour to be a copy of the Conservatives, backing welfare cuts for example, then people will vote for the original and the not the copy.

I am not so overcome with Corbymania that I believe Comrade Jez to be perfect and his leadership of Labour – should it happen –as the first step to a sort of socialist version of the 1970s’ Coca Cola commercials, where we not only buy the world a Coke, but seize the means to produce it as well.

Perhaps we are much too old to even begin to think in these terms!

The accusations surrounding his less savoury associations need a robust response, more than just a denial of antisemitism. His detractors should, however, consider the paradox held within complaining about the company Corbyn keeps and then parroting Tony Blair.

As indeed they should.

Not everybody agrees with what Jeremy Corbyn has said on foreign policy issues.

We need, just to cite one case, a strong response of complete opposition to all forms of Islamist reaction just as much as opposition to Western intervention in the Middle East. The sight of British volunteers for the jihadist genociders – people who go to murder our Syrian, Iraq, Kurdish, Yadzidi and Assyrian sisters and brothers  – cannot be dismissed as a product of the ‘West’s’ crimes. They are responsible for their actions and should be judged for them.

We need practical backing for our Kurdish sisters and brothers, against Turkey’s  Erdoğan and the Jihadist killers.

But we have confidence in the ability of people, with a new and open Labour Party, to bring these views into debate.

Jeremy Corbyn is the Chair of the very respected human rights and anti-colonial organisation, Liberation (ex-Movement for Colonial Freedom). Liberation campaigns for human rights without exception. It has taken up not only the case of the Palestinians but, amongst many others, that of  secularists in Bangladesh, the victims of Islamism in Sudan, and (as Stephen Marks notes in the comments here) has, with Jeremy Corbyn, been promoting the Kurdish cause for many many years.

We would hope that this activity is better known.

Back to the Past?

Rosie continues,

These patrician warnings that Corbyn only serves to drag Labour backwards serve to make me, as a young voter, feel patronised and unwanted. I had never considered that Corbyn was a throwback until people started banging on about how bad the 1980s were, seemingly forgetting that we are not actually electing a leader to be sent back in time into the exact circumstances of Jim Callaghan’s resignation. You’d think Michael Foot himself was running, attending debates in a hammer and sickle-print donkey jacket, from the amount we’ve been talking about him.

There were patrician predictions of dire consequences of radical policies at every stage in the left’s history…

Unfortunately we recall the 1980s campaigns against left-wingers, feminists and anti-racists, all too well.

Barely a day went past without a story about the “loony left”.

Let’s not talk about Michael Foot. We should look at somebody, who was greatly loved, and who tried to make a difference to the world, starting from where she lived, Haringey

Mandy Mudd.


Mandy Mudd “I am not intimidated, I will not shut up”

Mandy helped set up the “Positive Images” campaign. This was after controversy was whipped up over the inclusion of a statement in the 1986 Haringey Labour Party manifesto, which committed Haringey Council to devote resources to “to promote Positive images of gay men and lesbians”.

Nobody, today, would accuse this initiative of being extremist madness.

But this is exactly what happened.

Then this,

When Bernie Grant stepped down as Leader of Haringey Council, following his selection as the Labour Candidate in Tottenham; Steve King and Martha Osamor took over as Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, and for a short while the left was in the ascendancy. But the Labour right wing within the Haringey Labour Group, soon organised to replace them. This they achieved in 1987, and immediately the new leader began making significant cuts from the autumn of 1987 onwards. In response, Mandy and Mike Marqusee initiated through Haringey Labour Briefing, an attempt to build mass resistance to the cuts by setting up “Haringey Fights Back”. Public meetings and mass lobbies were organised, whilst inside the Labour Party attempts to get councillors to oppose the cuts continued.

Then there was the evening of 10th December 1987 when the Haringey Labour Party Local Government Committee met to discuss the cuts. Heated discussion took place. Finally the riot police, already deployed within the Haringey Civic; were used to clear the public gallery during the course of the meeting. Two councillors and two labour party activists were arrested. A complaint was subsequently made against Mandy and she was charged with “a sustained course of conduct prejudicial to the Party”.

It was at this point that the attempt to smear and discredit Mandy began in the national media. She was turned into a national hate figure, with the clear intention of undermining her leadership of the campaign against the cuts. The attack was vicious and very personal. She found herself on the front page of the Sun and door stepped, having to climb over a garden wall and out through a neighbour’s door in order to be able to get off to work. Various attempts were made to get her employer to take action against her. One example of this was an article in the Daily Mail on 11th February 1988, in which Richard Littlejohn wrote: Appointing Mandy Mudd as a school governor is as appropriate as putting Kurt Waldheim in charge of a holiday camp. Do you want her ruining your daughter’s education? I don’t.”

Mandy did not shut up.

There were many Mandies, and many of us are still around.

 Perhaps Rosie you can now realise how we react to the press campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

Forget Foot!

Corbyn is inspiring passion, enthusiasm and motivation. People want something different. He is packing out halls, bringing in new supporters and new voters. Imagine what Labour could do if they harness that over the next four years, rather than throwing away the harness and then shooting the horse and setting the barn on fire for good measure.



Euston Manifesto Top Backer Compares Corbyn Supporters To EDL.

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Corbyn Meeting Queue: Bad as EDL Says Top Euston Manifesto Backer.

In 2006 the Euston Manifesto was published.

“The manifesto proposed a “fresh political alignment”, which involves “making common cause with genuine democrats, whether socialist or not”, in which the Left stands for democracy, freedom, equality, internationalism, the open-source movement, and historical truth, while condemning all forms of tyranny, terrorism, anti-Americanism, racism and anti-Semitism, including any form of it that “conceal[s] prejudice against the Jewish people behind the formula of ‘anti-Zionism.'” Wikipedia.

It ended with these words:

It is vitally important for the future of progressive politics that people of liberal, egalitarian and internationalist outlook should now speak clearly. We must define ourselves against those for whom the entire progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic “anti-imperialism” and/or hostility to the current US administration. The values and goals which properly make up that agenda — the values of democracy, human rights, the continuing battle against unjustified privilege and power, solidarity with peoples fighting against tyranny and oppression — are what most enduringly define the shape of any Left worth belonging to.

Euston Manifesto.

One of the main signatories is given as David T, Harry’s Place (Wikipedia).

This is what he said yesterday.

You’re a person who has supported somebody who actively promotes people who are trying to kill me and my family.

When somebody says “I’m a socialist and I support Jeremy Corbyn” I hear the equivalent of “I am a UKIP member, I love Nigel Farage, and I go on EDL marches”.

David Toube.

Coatesy is not alone in receiving this message from the blustering public school boy’s incontinent brain.

Others too have been told that they are a ‘revolting person’ and ‘worse than a fascist’.

It would be tedious to list all the other Euston Manifesto rages against Jeremy Corbyn, but here is another prominent Euston signatory, Oliver Kamm, yesterday.

Corbyn’s deplorable allies

It’s no longer possible to assume that a declared progressive will defend free speech, secularism, women’s rights, homosexual equality, cosmopolitanism and the spread of scientific inquiry.

Those are the values that cause me to admire Israel – a nation whose pluralist ethos will be fulfilled when there is an eventual two-state solution with a sovereign Palestine.

Yet now we have a left that tolerates bigotry, allies with theocratic reaction, embraces terror groups and espouses irrationalism.

Paul Anderson, another Euston backer on Corbyn,

The first thing to know about him is that he’s a boilerplate leftist with a Chomskyite thicko’s take on the world.

The idiot noise online favours Corbyn; I’d rather read the FT.

Nick Cohen, yet another Eustonite, at the beginning of August,

The severity of the assault makes me wonder why so many unions are backing Jeremy Corbyn. It is not just that he has planted kisses on the backsides of half the tyrannies on the planet: including the posteriors of an Iranian regime, which persecutes its own trade unionists along with women and religious minorities; Putin and his kleptomaniac and irredentist Russian nationalist friends; Gaddafi, after his own people had executed him, and the Chavez gang, which somehow managed to reduce oil-rich Venezuela to penury.

Worse than the tyrannophilla, from a practical point of view, is that Corbyn does not have a chance of winning the 2020 general election. And if you think five years of unconstrained Tory government is bad, picture what they could do with 10.

Now he ramps up the hysteria,

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party: one of them must go

Nick Cohen.

“For years people like me have been arguing that the worst people on the left have been going along with movements and regimes, which are reactionary and in some instances fascistic – radical Islam and Putin’s Kremlin to take the most obvious examples from Corbyn’s CV. We have been trying to provide a left-wing case against the appeasement of imperialist aggressors, in the case of Russia, or of sexist, racist and homophobic religion in the case of radical Islam.

I am putting it as politely as I can when I say we had limited support from mainstream commentators and politicians of the centre left. They didn’t want to criticise ‘our side’. They didn’t want to admit that racism (in its anti-Semitic form) was as much a problem for the left as the right. They didn’t want to puncture the phoney air of righteousness which surrounds left-wing politics like a cloying perfume, or ‘distract’ themselves from the fight against the Tories

They didn’t want to know. Well they know now.

And as the far left moves to takeover Labour, their laziness and ignorance has left them naked before their enemies. They have no principled social democratic arguments in their arsenal, as the pathetic figure of Andy Burnham proves daily.”


It was often said of professional ex-Communists in the Cold War that they adopted they reversed the Stalinist Manichean view of the world: everything Communist was evil incarnate and everything in the West was  great.

Was that true of the Eustonites – as many allege?

The original Euston Manifesto had many faults, above all its failure to find much fault with American and Western foreign policy, and its embrace of – some – supporters of the invasion of Iraq.

But it did back universal human rights.

Many on the left – the non-Leninist left – did not need lessons in this respect.

Human rights form the common roots of democratic socialism.

From Jean Jaurès to Ralph Miliband democratic principles are part of our most basic principles.

Those of us who are democratic Marxists stand for what Jaurès famously called the “synthesis” between liberty and socialist class struggle.

It should go without saying that the Tendance, and our close comrades, defend “defend free speech, secularism, women’s rights, homosexual equality, cosmopolitanism and the spread of scientific inquiry.”

We are part of a substantial group of people, including Jeremy Corbyn who backed Charlie Hebdo’s right to free speech in an Early Day Motion immediately after the Paris massacres.

Corbyn is also the Chair of Liberation (ex-Movement for Colonial Freedom), a respected and long established human rights and anti-colonial group in the UK. *

Perhaps Cohen and the Eustonies could explain why their campaign against the British Empire was wrong when they have time for anything other than mouth frothing.

But then, that lot are becoming more like their anti-Communist forerunners: they can not accept that we are democrats, we are ‘left-wing’ and therefore on the wrong side.

Like their monomaniacal predecessors, it is people like Toube and Cohen who are now trying to scream down the democratic socialists who back the thoroughly decent Jeremy Corbyn.

We suspect that the Eustonites are preparing another Manifesto, to be published  should Corbyn win.

If this happens, we will bear the above comments at the front of our mind.


* History of Liberation ex-Movement for Colonial Freedom.

In 1945 one-fifth of the world was still under British sovereignty and 780 million people throughout the world lived under European colonialism.

The Labour Government did not support independence and their general election manifesto gave no commitment to introduce bills to provide for self-government, except for India. The Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, justified this by saying the loss of the colonies would mean falling living standards for British people. Continued colonial rule was in contradiction to the Atlantic Charter, agreed between the UK and USA to provide a blueprint for the world after World War II and which stated that “All peoples have a right to self-determination”.

In Malaya communist insurgents were put down by British security forces, who even used head hunters to bring in rebels’ heads. News of this was concealed from the British public but anti-colonial activists received the photographic evidence. Fenner Brockway played an active role in convening a conference of anti-colonialists, representatives of nationalist and independence movements and black organisations such as the League of Coloured Peoples in 1947. Offices were set up in Paris and London and in 1948 the Congress of Peoples Against Imperialism was established.

With the outbreak of wars against French rule in North Africa the Paris office of the League of Coloured Peoples was closed. By now India, Ceylon and Burma had their independence.[when?] In Africa, however. independence organisations, such as the Mau Mau led byKenyatta, were established and solidarity was called for.

The Movement for Colonial Freedom was founded in 1954. The Labour Party’s official position was not to support independence leaders. This however was not universally accepted and 70 MPs, including Harold Wilson and Barbara Castle, supported the Movement for Colonial Freedom. It also had backing among celebrities such as Benjamin Britten and in the universities. Fenner Brockway was the chairman, Douglas Rogers the secretary and Tony Benn the treasurer.”


Liz Kendall: Diary of a Résistante

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Liz Kendall: Only Serious Resistance to Jeremy Corbyn.

Liz Kendall ready to join ‘The Resistance’ if Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership race….

Thursday August 20.8.15. The Corbynistas are advancing on all fronts. The entire population is leaving Knightsbridge; we are living in an atmosphere of panic.

The passengers on the Tube this morning looked ugly and deformed.

A cat near my office was scavenging for tit-bits.

I thought of how it’s always the animals who suffer first.

Friday August 21.8.15. Corbyn’s policy programme looks backwards and had been rejected by Labour in the 1930s.

My heart is filled with the scenes of savagery I have witnessed at his Tottenham meeting.

Chuka says that is it just him just him or is there a serious lack of cool places to go in London at the weekends.

“Most of the North London haunts seem to be full of trash and C-list wannabes, while other places that should know better opt for the cheesy vibe.”

Saturday August 22.8.15. We must champion the power of human beings to shape their own lives, and oppose the tyranny of the bureaucratic state.

Corbyn’s plans to bring back the old Labour Badge made me think of the Stalin’s Pioneer camps.

Tristram thinks that Jeremy’s message is sweet and simple: we must end austerity now, bring back steam railways, scrap Trident, replace it with catapults, and nationalise kebab production.


People are different.

They have acquired a secretive, furtive air when I ask them if they’ve voted for me.

Sunday August 23rd. It’s the little things that bring home the depth of our isolation: this morning our cleaner announced that she has joined the ‘militia’ of the Labour Party Marxists.

I could have wept into my latte.

Monday August 24th. Liberty should be reclaimed as a defining ideal.

 We must be doing the best for kids, particularly in white-working class communities.

The editorial committee for the newspaper we are planning is settled. The name of our organ? Résistance.

Tuesday August 25th. News from the Suffolk Maquis in encouraging.

A brave band of supporters has set up a ‘free zone’ in Rendelsham forest.

They sent us a Selfie of their base:




Russell Brand Speaks out for Corbyn as very Social Secretary Blunkett Whinges.

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The front page of the Daily Record offering its support to Jeremy Corbyn

“It seems to me that Jeremy Corbyn is being vilified and attacked by the media and by the establishment simply because he is in public talking out on behalf of ordinary people,” Mr Brand said.

He added: “The other candidates in the Labour leadership election – and I don’t really want to be involved in leadership elections or voting-type stuff any more – but they are interchangeable, even though they are different genders, like the Burnham one, the Cooper one.

“I think I have met some of them but they all sort of just float around and seem like they could have podded off of him [points at screen of Tony Blair]. And that’s what worries me about it.”


Meanwhile a very social secretary has announced (Independent),

If Labour wants a leader who is very good at opposition, they should elect Jeremy Corbyn, David Blunkett has said as he tried to discourage those eligible to vote in the party’s leadership contest from electing the hard-left MP.

The former Home Secretary said Mr Corbyn “represents very good opposition” but was also “profoundly good at opposition” within the Labour party.

Mr Blunkett, who is backing Andy Burnham for the leadership, said that although he wanted the next Labour leader to be “radical,” he said the priority must be electing someone who “above all can actually do something about winning”.

Amongst many, many, shady aspects of Blunkett’s record in office and profiteering, we find this (Wikipedia):

“Former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Blunkett, an advocate of increased participation by firms like A4e in the welfare system while in government, has faced criticism for accepting a trip to South Africa from A4e, in addition to earnings of between £25,000 and £30,000 as an adviser, three years after leaving office.

And this…

Guest Post: The Left-Wing Case Against Jeremy Corbyn.

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As a pluralist democratic socialist Blog we publish this guest post, despite reservations about its content.

The author, who wishes to remain anonymous (Herefor more), for fear of on-line terrorism from Corbynistas, was a prominent signatory of the Euston Manifesto (2006).

He contributed  the following lines (removed from the final version), “1. Islamists are tossers. 2. Stalinists are tossers. 3. Most Trots are tossers. 4. So are most Labour leftists. 5. And most anarchists. 6. And every variety of post-modernist.”

I have not left the Left, it’s the left that’s left me.

“I am past-it enough to remember trolleybuses and steam trains, tractors in the Ipswich Buttermarket, and old Suffolk ‘bor’ doffing their caps when the young ‘Master’ visited relatives on the Estate.”

“Apart from my Vlog I have run a successful sweet shop empire in Bixley for the past twenty years, have increased the Labour vote in the Parish Council,   and, for all its faults, have come to terms with the market society.”

“Corbyn is not a wholly wicked man, but the 1980s hard left were all complete bastards.”

“The first thing to know about him is that he’s a boilerplate leftist with a thicko’s take on the world. He barely got his Latin ‘O’ level, and like Hugo Chávez, he speaks fluent Spanish dog Latin!

“Many of Corbyn’s prescriptions are delusional – nationalising everything is not the solution it once was.”

“When he announced plans to create take into public ownership Kebab production I wondered what the people of Green Lanes think!”

“The verbal abuse directed at insufficiently left-wing members of the Labour party during the leadership contest is both comic and sinister.”

“Opponents of the moronic, scraggly bearded,  rabbit food munching, dinosaur, ‘Compo’ Corbyn, who clearly needs a heart-and-brain transplant, do not stoop so low.”

“His ‘anti-Zionist’ international politics, taken from the pages of Der Stürmer are muddle-headed. Bringing an end to war is a little harder than simply declaring oneself a pacifist.”

“My plans to create a special intervention force for Syriya, backed by Turkey and the US, to save the Kurds, have some modest echo: I expect our bearded comrade Corbyn to oppose them!”

“Yesterday when  it was announced that Corbyn plans to sack everybody in Labour HQ and replace them with his own appointees, I was reminded of Pol Pot’s entry into  Phnom Penh –  about to blow up the  National Bank building on Tou Samouth Boulevard.”

“Now I hear from a reliable source that he plans to  put Tariq Ali in the House of Lords!”

The genuine heirs of the Suffragettes and the Chartists and the Tolpuddle Martyrs shouldn’t be cowed by people who view a bar of soap as a tool of capitalist oppression.

“I shall be joining the Resistance!”

Join the Free French, or, the Maquis!


Andy Burnham Shows Sense as Factionalist Tristram Hunt Visits Ipswich.

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Essential reading on where Jeremy Corbyn comes from. 

“For students of entryism, Engels’s tactics were textbook stuff: a brutally successful medley of threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Tristram Hunt on the political practice of Marx’s comrade amongst German workers in Paris the  mid-1840s.

Page 141. The Frock Coated-Communist. Penguin 2010.

Andy Burnham To Reach Out To Jeremy Corbyn

“I want to capture that and involve Jeremy and his team in rebuilding our party from the bottom up,” he said, also promising to “take the best ideas of the other candidates, where there is common ground between us, and use them to shape my radical vision”.

He said it would be “unforgivable” if infighting after the new leader is elected prevented Labour standing up to the Tories.

Sky News

Shadow Cabinet MPs form ‘the Resistance’ group in anticipation of Corbyn win.

A moderate Labour pressure group dubbed “the Resistance” is being formed by two top shadow cabinet members as Jeremy Corbyn pulls ahead in the leadership race, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt have written privately to Labour MPs calling on them to meet four days before the leadership result is announced. It is being seen by MPs as a rival to Mr Corbyn’s Left-wing  platform and the start of guerrilla warfare for Labour’s soul.

The group, Labour for the Common Good, will meet on September 8 and include some peers, council leaders and trade unionists.

Evening Standard.

Tristram Hunt supports Liz Kendall.

Dear Andrew.

This is just a reminder that Tristram Hunt MP, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, will be in Ipswich this Monday 17th August to meet with local members and supporters.

The event will take place at 33 Silent Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TF at 12.15pm. Parking can be found at Cromwell Square or at the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

RSVP to meet Tristram this Monday

We hope you can make it along!

Liz Kendall for Labour Leader

Labour for the Common Good...

Students of Labour politics will be reaching for their copies of  Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock’s Labour by Richard Hefferman and the much missed Mike Marqusee (1992).

One of the central themes in the book is the story of how the Labour Co-ordinating Committee (LCC) emerged. From the soft left of the party it evolved into a part of what would (after Kinnock’s exit) become Blairism.

Progress, one of the leading forces in the present ‘anybody but Corbyn’ campaign carried a couple of years ago  an interesting article by Luke Akehurst  on this topic,

…the LCC did play a role in rescuing Labour, they came late to the match having been playing on the other side in the first half. The heavy lifting had already been done by the Old Right around the MPs in Labour Solidarity, the union leaders and political officers in the St Ermins Group and the newsletter ‘Forward Labour’.

We can see an attempt to reforge this bloc of the former left (in the present instance perhaps some ‘Eustonites’?) and the hard Labour right,  with Liz Kendall’s claim to promote a “new politics: blue Labour in dialogue with the revisionist tradition that started with the Gaitskellites in the 1950s.” (17th August Progress).

She states,

To make this a reality, Labour must win back economic credibility, the argument goes. In no uncertain terms, Kendall argues that Labour has to be known for being ‘careful with people’s money’.

 ‘If we’re deaf to these calls from the public for fiscal responsibility, we’ll be out of power for decades’ she warns. Turning the left’s critique on its head again, Kendall insists, ‘the politics I’m putting forward is actually the real anti-austerity politics’. When Labour puts its energies into ‘running sound public finances’ it ‘win[s] elections’, meaning Labour politicians ‘can actually stop some of the awful, vile things that the Tories are doing’. The current shadow care minister is able perhaps better than anyone currently at the top of Labour politics to identify the real divide between the Conservatives and Labour: George Osborne’s summer budget promotes ‘inherited wealth for the few’, she says, while Labour’s mission under her will be to ‘tackle the inherited poverty for too many people’. ‘This is the politics that will really be anti-austerity. It will allow us to win power and to have a totally different alternative from what the Tories are doing.’ Articulating this fundamental difference and putting flesh on the bones of a plan to achieve this is what will make clear how Labour differs from its array of competitors.

For those tempted to take these claims seriously Dave Osler’s New Labour PlC (2003) is essential reading.

‘Labour Party Plc’ tracks the party’s relationship with business from the early steps made by Neil Kinnock, to John Smith’s more overt flirting, to the love that dared speak its name under Tony Blair. David Osler looks in turn at funding of the Labour Party by rich individuals and big business, the scramble for lucrative government contracts once Labour was in office, and the way that business has been invited to help formulate government policy.

Osler suggests that one key turning point was Black Wednesday in 1992. On that day the pound was kicked out of the scheme that was the precursor to the euro and the Tories looked like they might never win another election. John Moores, director of Littlewoods football pools, described the motivation of big business in forming closer ties to the Labour Party during this period: ‘Since Labour is going to form the next government, it’s worth getting to know them.’ Another executive was more explicit in saying why he supported a New Labour initiative before the 1997 election: ‘Some of those involved are clearly dedicated Labour supporters. But most, like us, simply want to influence policy.’

This new receptiveness on the part of business was only part of the picture. Former leader John Smith signalled Labour’s desire to court business with a series of meetings with people from the City of London–dubbed the prawn cocktail offensive. Up for discussion were not just policies on the economy and companies, but also anything that might upset the wealthy.

Blair pledged to keep top-rate income tax at 40 percent in the 1997 election manifesto. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, after his £1 million donation had been returned following a scandal over tobacco advertising, explained that his gift was a result of Labour’s pledge not to raise income tax. ‘As a substantial contributor to the Inland Revenue, I have clearly benefited from this decision,’ he wrote. After all the questions about the possible link between party donations and government policy, such an explicit connection did not merit many column inches.

Socialist Review.

Meanwhile the anti-Corbyn factionalists are in disarray.

Gordon Brown declared yesterday (BBC) that Labour should not be a party of permanent protest.

He also stated,

“I have to say that if our global alliances are going to be alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there is absolutely no chance of building a world-wide alliance that can deal with poverty and inequality and climate change and financial instability, and we’ve got to face up to that fact.”

Mr Corbyn has previously described Hezbollah as “friends” and said that he wanted Hamas to be “part of the debate”.

Some points:

  • Labour supporters are not voting in the leadership contest on whether to ally with Hezbollah, Hamas, Putin, and the (late) Hugo Chávez.
  • Corbyn has, however ill-chosen some of his words have been, never  suggested an “alliance” with these forces.
  • It is up to the Labour Party, and preferably a strengthened internal democratic process, to decide on our foreign policy, not Jeremy Corbyn,

The Telegraph states,

Lord Mandelson tried to persuade the three mainstream Labour leadership candidates to quit en masse to stop leftwinger  Jeremy Corbyn and force the party to suspend the election.

It also emerged that Liz Kendall urged Yvette Cooper to stand down because Andy Burnham is the only candidate who can win – but Miss Cooper refused.

The Independent reports today:

Dozens of Labour staff members and Shadow Cabinet aides could be dismissed within hours of Jeremy Corbyn winning the party’s leadership, it has emerged.

The Independent understands that large numbers of Labour staff members are on contracts that expire the day after the new leader is elected. This means Mr Corbyn and his new shadow cabinet team will have a completely free hand at choosing who works for the party, with little or no legal obligation to existing staff.

Labour aides, who have worked for the party for the past five years, fear those around the new leader will use the opportunity to “purge” party HQ of those considered to be on the right, and replace them with people whose views are more in tune with the new leader. Other staff members intend to leave of their own volition and are understood to be already sending out their CVs in anticipation of a Corbyn victory.

Our own hope is that Leadership contenders  follow Andy Burnham’s suggestion – it follows Jeremy Corbyn’s own calls for opponents to work with him if he wins.

This will strike most people as the way forward.

Unless we wish to follow Labour for the Common Good, with its hint of “threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Alan Patridge, Jez, Mark and Super Hans Debate why Not to Vote Jeremy Corbyn

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The Top Debate on Norfolk Nights.

Alan Partridge, “Throughout the questions I will be remaining impartial at all times. I will remain Pontius Partridge. Let battle commence!”

Mark, “Luckily we’re all English so no-one’s going to ask any questions. Thank you, centuries of emotional repression!”


Super Hans “People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can’t trust people Jez.”

Alan Partridge, ” I’ll be asking our bearded Comrade Corbyn: Which is the worst monger? Fish, iron, rumour or war?”

Mark, “I’d say, Jeremy, why do you insist on seeing the anus as some kind of human USB port, just waiting to have all kinds of hardware plugged into it?”

Jez, “He wants to spend a fortune on renationalising stuff. He backs Islamists. He’s ‘Come Mr Taliban, tally my bananas!'”

Alan Partidge, “Let me tell you something about the Andy Burnham people forget, people forget that during Andy Burnham’s speeches there are over 1000 hours of uneventful, very pleasurable listening before he hits the iceberg!”

Jez: Oh yeah. Pissed and stoned in a gas-guzzler listening to Yvette Cooper play with boys’ toys; this is the life. Already given a quid to Greenpeace this year so I’m golden.”



Jeremy Corbyn as seen by Le Monde.

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The antidote to the Blair virus.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the man who’s shifting the Labour Party towards the left.

Le Monde. Philippe Bernard


Nobody would have bet a penny on Jeremy Corbyn, when the Labour Party ‘primary’  to appoint the successor to Ed Miliband – who’d immediately  resigned following his defeat in the legislative elections of May 7 – opened in mid-June.

On Tuesday an opinion poll by  YouGov gave Corbyn 53 % of the vote, 32 points above Andy Burnham, (a figure close to Ed Miliband), and 35 points ahead of the moderate candidate Yvette Cooper.

The antidote to the Blair virus

While Labour’s  failure in the General Elections is generally attributed to it taking a position too far to the  left, the emergence of one of the few party members to call himself  “socialist ” in a country where this word is equivalent to a red rag, is considered suicidal. The left of centre press has also long patronised Mr. Corbyn, attributing his popularity to the fashion for retro styles and deep dismay at the electoral failure.

But the crowds at his rallies, the broad support of local party bodies, and above all, his endorsement by the unions Unison and Unite, which finance Labour’s campaign, have now forced the media to take him seriously. Corbyn is “the antidote to the Blair virus inside Labour , “said Dave Ward on  July the 30th, bringing the Corbyn the support of the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU), 200 000 members strong. ” We reject the idea that Labour must position itself at the centre, ” he said advancing a programme in favour of “a more just distribution of wealth, jobs and decent wages.” The refusal of Harriet Harman, acting leader of the party, to condemn the drastic cuts in social benefits decided by the Cameron government has exacerbated Labour’s internal tensions.


For Labour’s party apparatchiks, believers in  unbridled economic liberalism and the withdrawal of the State, Jeremy Corbyn’s politics are nonsense. A frequenter of trade union pickets, an anti-monarchist, a supporter of the renationalisation of the railways,a  nuclear disarmament activist, a believer in solidarity with Palestine and an opponent of the Iraq war, the Islington MP  spends his time in Parliament opposing his own party’s line. Ascetic, vegetarian, refusing to drink alcohol and own a car, he is seen  as a caricature of a North London intellectual. From Karl Marx, he said there is ” a lot to learn” causing ripples in a BBC audience. Certainly he is in favour of staying in the  European Union, but in ” a better Europe defending social justice and not finance. “

Devoid of charisma but strong in his simple and clear demands, something totally lacking its competitors, the sexagenarian Corbyn has mobilised young people exhausted by the Cameron government’s austerity policy. Supporters see him as the British leader of a  Podemos or a Syriza. To those who say that no election victory is possible with his programme, Corbyn has replied that the Scots gave  the SNP, positioned to the left,  a landslide vote, and that in England, 36% of the electorate did not vote. He plans to mobilise the voters who abstained with a state intervention programme to ” eliminate the worst vestiges of poverty in Britain . “

Tristram Hunt, Shadow Minister of Education,  estimates “the danger is that Labour Party, a great governing party, will be reduced to a mere pressure group” . . The opponents of the rebel MP evoke  a previous Labour leader, Michael Foot, whose very left-wing programme led to the triumph of Margaret Thatcher in 1983. That programme is known as ” the longest suicide note in history. ” The complex internal electoral system in the Labour Party means that there is no certainty in Jeremy Corbyn’s victory. But whatever happens, the next Labour leader will not be able to  ignore his radical message.

Le Monde

Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2015 at 11:48 am

Jeremy Corbyn Defended our Beloved Charlie.

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JEREMY CORBYN (Parliamentary site). 

EDM 670: Defence of Journalist and Freedom of Expression

Filed under: Early Day Motions (EDM), civil liberties

That this House expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the families of those journalists, police and others who were assassinated or injured at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015; notes that this attack took place on press day, thereby increasing the casualty list and the potential damage to press freedom; considers that the perpetrators of this heinous crime must swiftly be brought to justice; further notes the bravery of individuals who work in this field despite many of them coming under attack previously, and that in carrying out their jobs they uphold the invaluable and historical right to free speech and freedom of expression which are both integral elements of democracies; acknowledges the solidarity that is being shown around the world on behalf of the victims and their colleagues in standing together in defence of civil liberties at this time; and offers its support to the NUJ in the UK and the International Federation of Journalists for their work in defending the rights of all journalists to do their job without fear of threats, intimidation and brutal murder.


Yvette Cooper Goes Identity against ‘Boys’ Toys’ in Labour Battle.

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Yvette Cooper: Labour Should not be run by White Men.

Labour should not be run by two white men, says Cooper: Leadership contender launches stinging attack on Corbyn and says party needs a feminist approach

Yvette Cooper launched a scathing attack on Labour leadership front-runner Jeremy Corbyn yesterday and claimed the party should no longer be run by ‘white men’.

The Shadow Home Secretary insisted she was the ‘real radical’ and made the case to be Labour’s first woman leader – saying the party needed a ‘feminist approach to our economy and society’.

She hit out at the prospect of ‘a Labour Party after a century of championing equality and diversity which turns the clock back to be led again by a leader and deputy leader, both white men. Who’s the real radical? Jeremy or me

On Newsnight yesterday Cooper, married to Ed Balls, said that all the talk on transport, cars and trains, was about “toys for the Boys”.

What was needed was child care.

She is obviously proud of the expression “boys’ toys”  : it was made in Manchester the same day:

Universal free childcare should be as much the infrastructure of the modern economy as trains, planes and boys toys.

Cooper has never used boys’ toys transport.

In Manchester she also said, on Clause Four, and Corbyn’s proposals for greater public ownership,

“Bringing back clause IV? Spending billions of pounds we haven’t got switching control of some power stations from a group of white middle aged men in an energy company to a group of white middle aged men in Whitehall?”

Too right: the worst thing is that these men are white and middle aged.

Cooper was born in 1969 and is white.

She was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from  5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010.

Her new concern with welfare issues contrasts with the fact that she did nothing to reform the ‘controversial’ Work Capability Assessments and the company, ATOS, from this programme, during her term of office.

The Welfare Reform Act 2007 introduced Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) to determine who should receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Decisions were taken by officials at the DWP using evidence from the assessments, carried out by the Atos subsidiary Atos Healthcare.

During her post she the Labour government operated its latest version of the New Deal programmes (the ‘Flexible New deal’) which paved the way for Workfare and a crack down on claimants.

It was hived out to companies run by…..white and middle aged men.

With one big exception: Emma Harrison and the notorious A4E .

A4e was a company started by Emma Harrison‘s father. It was originally a Sheffield based training company, putting unemployed steel workers through a getting-back-to-work course. Emma Harrison joined the company after graduating in engineering.

After the Labour Party came to power in 1997, they introduced the back to work New Deal service for those on Jobseeker’s Allowance, requiring claimants to attend vocational training or risk losing their benefit. In the mid 2000s the government withdrew funding from Jobcentre Plus’ vocational training programmes and redirected the funds to “back to work” agencies, such as the Sheffield based company A4e. A4e quickly became the largest provider of New Deal services in the UK, and had contracts for the New Deal worth £80 million.[11][12] When the New Deal was wound down in 2010, A4e was paid a share of £63 million in “termination fees”.

A4e was awarded a contract for the Pathways to Work scheme in 2008,[with a target to get 30 per cent of participants into employment. In February 2012 the Public Accounts Committee heard the success rate was 9 per cent.[14] Committee Chair Margaret Hodge questioned why A4e had been awarded new contracts to deliver the Work Programme despite this “abysmal” performance. Conservative Committee memberRichard Bacon expressed similar concerns, asking why A4e’s “dreadful performance in one of the immediate predecessor programmes” had not been taken into account during tendering.


David Blunkett, a pillar of New Labour, was closely involved with A4E.

David Blunkett, the former secretary of state for work and pensions, has amended his entry in the House of Commons register of interests to include a trip to South Africa paid for and organised by a private training company for which he is an adviser, the Observer can reveal.

The MP for Sheffield Brightside, who resigned from the cabinet for a second time in late 2005 after breaking the ministerial code over a separate business interest, amended his entry with the House of Commons authorities last week after discussions with the Observer.

He had travelled with another person last September, on behalf of A4e, a leading employment and training firm that is bidding for multi-million pound contracts in the UK from Blunkett’s former department and is expanding its interests around the world. Blunkett consulted the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and was told: “The registrar suggests that for the avoidance of doubt it would be advisable to amend your entry to make clear that you do travel on behalf of the company.”


Blunkett is also an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn.

Writing in the Mirror at the end of July he said,

The language used by Jeremy Corbyn about combating austerity will be out of date.

The arguments about who will protect the poor from George Osborne will have passed.

Jeremy is the candidate of the Old Left, and they will have few answers for new challenges facing the Labour Party and the country in 2020.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 14, 2015 at 11:53 am

Ipswich For Corbyn.

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Rugby Tackle by Tony Blair Not Guaranteed!

The apocalyptic  mood that seems to have seized the right-wing of the Labour Party and their Eustonite friends reached a frenzy this morning:

Tony Blair: Even if you hate me, please don’t take Labour over the cliff edge.

The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes “disunity”. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.


Even more so today, they do not think their challenges can be met by old-fashioned state control as the way to personal or social empowerment; they do not think breaking up Nato unilaterally is sensible; and they realise that a party without a serious deficit-reduction plan is not in these times a serious contender to govern them.


If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation. If he wins the leadership, the public will at first be amused, bemused and even intrigued. But as the years roll on, as Tory policies bite and the need for an effective opposition mounts – and oppositions are only effective if they stand a hope of winning – the public mood will turn to anger. They will seek to punish us. They will see themselves as victims not only of the Tory government but of our self-indulgence.

Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t offer anything new. This is literally the most laughable of all the propositions advanced by his camp. Those of us who lived through the turmoil of the 80s know every line of this script. These are policies from the past that were rejected not because they were too principled, but because a majority of the British people thought they didn’t work. And by the way, they were rejected by electorates round the world for the same reasons.

I also recall the 1980s – if you were there you would remember it.

The expression “old fashioned” was around then too.

It was used against those who wanted public influence and – yes – ownership (you can’t control what you don’t own – democratic socialist axiom), back in the ….1950s.

But at least the leading “revisionist” of that time, Tony Crossland, aimed for “social equality” and sought means to that goal ( The Future of Socialism. 1956).

In the 1980s faced with Thatcher there was a profound re-thinking on the left.

A high-point came with the Socialist Conferences (also known as the Chesterfield Conferences after the founding one) in the latter part of the decade.

They involved the left Labour Campaign group, notably Tony Benn, union and Labour Party activists, the Socialist Society (a ‘new Left’ group), left and pressure groups of all hues.

Over 2,000 people attended each of these events.

They debated  topics, Hilary Wainwright noted (in a reply to the  SWP’s dismissal of the Labour left)  such as, Left perspectives on winning the next election or Campaigning for the leadership: prospects and possibilities, the papers and workshops were on Democracy and state power, International finance, The fight for local government, The politics of race, The working class and socialism. Other events discussed feminism and socialism, green politics and constitutional reform (including Proportional Representation).

Documents emerged that offered a radical green democratic socialism based on participation and expanded rights.

Apart from that mouthful they put forward some clear ideas about workers’ rights, feminism, welfare, and constitutional change.

All this, as things boiled down in the 1990s – not forgetting the Fall of Official Communism –  to a choice between Blair and an effort to stand by the gains of social democratic public control, union rights,  and welfare.

There is also nothing new about our opponents’ rhetoric: all of this was shouted down as the foibles of the ‘hard left’ dinosaurs.

It seemed that a “multiplicity of democratic forces” in the ‘New Times’  would best be served through bolting down to the new free-market environment, and hope to add a little reform through the ‘Third Way’ (one idea that’s now so past its sell-by date that even its authors have forgotten about it).

The “modernisers” of the Labour Party, Blair and then Brown’s Cabinets, were even more electorally focused: they proposed a strategy based on an appeal  the “aspirational ” middle and working class that was indifferent to anything but their own personal interests and conservative (small and big ‘C’) values, what happened to them?

For the left the principal point about these Labour governments was that  they opened up the remains of the social democratic state to new markets (the NHS’ internal market) financing by PFI and turned over the unemployed to private profiteers, ‘providers’ of the various schemes like the New Deal.

Some of the Blair and Brown crew, and many of their immediate followers, went in for pretty old fashioned personal benefit.

One only has to look at those now benefiting in outsourcing companies like Capita to get a glimpse of that picture.

They did not bolster the position of unions – the grass-roots participatory foundation of many social rights.

On welfare they did not expand rights, or protect the “safe home” of the welfare state, but tried to reform the personal behaviour of the poor, the “socially excluded.”

They did not  up for the public goods that are needed for social equality, the universal services, the cash we have to have pumped into welfare run on a democratic basis , or freed the state from the grip of private exploiters – outsourcers –  living off the general purse.

The money they pumped into public services went as quickly as it had appeared, at the first signs of an economic crisis.

What have they done since?

In a sentence: they have not fought austerity.

Corbyn, by starting from this position opens up the possibility of re-opening the left’s imagination for those debates of the 1980s – ones which, it’s easy to see, have a great deal of present-day relevance, in new and changed forms.

One big idea that’s come back is public ownership of public provision.

This needs a pan-European approach, as developed by the Party of the European Left.

In the meantime…..

Today’s Guardian attack on Corbyn carries all the moral and principled authority that Blair can draw upon:

Tony Blair’s insatiable greed exposed by his secret deal with Saudi Arabia

John Stevens 22 January 2015.

Tony Blair has amassed a personal fortune since standing down as prime minister – often acting as an adviser to controversial businesses and regimes.

But yesterday the hefty fees he charges to act as a go-between were revealed.

A previously secret contract with a Saudi oil company headed by a member of the country’s royal family has been leaked showing Mr Blair charging £41,000 a month and 2 per cent commission on any of the multi-million-pound deals he helped broker.

The emergence of the Saudi deal led to new criticism of Mr Blair’s role as a Middle East envoy, but he strongly denied there is a conflict of interest.

The contract between Tony Blair Associates (TBA) and PetroSaudi signed in November 2010, said Mr Blair would personally arrange introductions to his contacts in China, such as senior politicians.

He had already attracted scathing criticism after it emerged that he had given Kazakhstan’s autocratic president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of 14 unarmed civilians.

Mr Blair has said claims that he is worth £100million are ‘greatly exaggerated’. But the Saudi contract shows how much he has been able to charge for his services.

Since leaving Downing Street in 2007, he has amassed a fortune including a property portfolio of 31 homes worth at least £25million.

He is one of the world’s best paid speakers – earning up to £150,000 a speech – and has secured advisory roles with US investment bank JP Morgan and Swiss insurer Zurich International.

The Saudi contract stated that TBA would help find potential sources of new investment and added that Mr Blair would make ‘introductions to the senior political leadership, industrial policymakers, corporate entities and other persons in China identified and deemed by us and you to be relevant to PetroSaudi’s international strategy’.

The firm agreed it would not divulge his role without permission.

Meanwhile we learn that Ipswich Top Tory Kevin Algar has joined the Eustonite attack on Corbyn:

Jeremy Corbyn Signed Commons Motion Looking Forward To Asteroid Killing All Humans

The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn once declared his support for an asteroid killing every human on the planet – because of PIGEONS.

The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies.

Adding his name to the motion alongside fellow Labour MPs John McDonnell and Tony Banks, Corbyn felt it was right to highlight the issue – and wanted an asteroid to obliterate every human on the planet for being “cruel and uncivilised”.

Alan Johnson Writes Love Poetry for Tessa ‘Kylie’ Jowell as London Mayor.

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Tessa is a Star: Labour’s Kylie!

Hat-Tip: The Strop.

It starts with a look,

Then a double take,

Then a smile,

A moment to work up the confidence and then they come over.

Tessa cannot leave the house,

without meeting new people,

who want to say hello.

I have seen this a hundred times,

and believe me it’s not normal –

no other politician inspires such warmth.
Tessa is a star.

She is Labour’s Kylie – everyone,

loves her,

and she only needs a first name.

She has a remarkable way,

with people,

that generates real affection.

But that’s not,

why I’m backing her to be Mayor.

I backed Tessa,

right from the start,


she has,

the right values to make London,

a fairer place to live.

Through Sure Start,

and the Olympics,

she has a record,

of delivery,

that is second,

to none, and I know she can beat the Tories.

And today, I’m more sure,

than ever

But it’s not just because the opinion polls show she’s the only candidate who can beat the Tories,

– though they do and by,

a country mile.

It’s because she has set out a genuinely compelling vision.

One London – where everyone can share in the city’s success.


Alan Johnson MP



Written by Andrew Coates

August 12, 2015 at 11:45 am

The Wit and Wisdom of the anti-Corbyn Campaign.

with 43 comments

Ruled the Earth a lot longer than New Labour.

DOMINIC LAWSON: Comrade Corbyn’s biggest problem? He never smiles! (Even though his Marxist views are such a joke).

20th July.

On Tuesday a former aide to Mr Blair said the MPs who nominated the left-winger to encourage debate were “morons”.

22nd July.

Tony Blair, “mocked people who say their political heart wants to support Mr Corbyn, telling them bluntly: ‘Get a transplant.’

22nd July.
And so it goes:

In the last few days we’ve had this:



Nick Cohen,

Worse than the tyrannophilla, from a practical point of view, is that Corbyn does not have a chance of winning the 2020 general election.

August the 9th.

An ‘interview’ with Jeremy Corbyn

Cross-Post, August 10th 2015, 8:54 pm

Interviewer: Salah has propagated the blood libel, claiming that Jews bake bread with the blood of gentile children.

Corbyn: I’m no expert on culinary matters – there are more important issues facing our society, after all – and never had any reason to chat about recipes with him. But all that is beside the point. How am I supposed to fulfill my diplomatic mission to make peace between Raed Salah and the UK if I DON’T praise him effusively?

Interviewer: Salah has also boasted about taunting a Jewish teacher with a drawing of a swastika.

Corbyn: If I only campaigned on behalf of people who DON’T bait Jews with swastikas, I’d never get out of the house. That can’t be the solution.

Harry’s Place.

Oh our aching sides!

The British Left’s Hypocritical Embrace of Islamism: a Reply to Maajid Nawaz.

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The British Left’s Hypocritical Embrace of Islamism.

Maajid Nawaz writes, in the Daily Beast,

The desire to impose religion over society is otherwise known as theocracy. Being veterans of the struggle to push back against fundamentalist Christians, American liberals are well acquainted with the pitfalls of the neoconservative flirtation with the religious-right. How ironic, then, that in Europe it is those on the left—led by the Guardian—who flirt with religious theocrats. For in the UK, our theocrats are brown, from minority communities, and are overwhelmingly Muslim.

Stop: if Nawaz considers that the Guardian is representative of the ‘left’ then there is a problem here. The paper officially backed the Liberal Democrats an election ago, – his party – not even going far enough to the left to support Labour.

True there are plenty of columnists for the Guardian (and exceptions, does he ever read Polly Toynbee?) like Reverend Giles Fraser, who have a soft spot for Islamism and spend their time wittering away about “shared identities” and linking Islamist “radicalism” with a fight against injustice.. Some, like Seumas Milne (who has stronger  claims to be on the left),  think that the struggle for progressive principles runs so far ‘within’ Islamism that he could back the right-wing Ennahda  party in Tunisia for its apparent calls for ‘social justice’ against left-wing secularist parties.

The Guardian also opened its pages to writers who loathed Charlie Hebdo, and French secularism, at the time of the Islamist attack on the Weekly, and the murder of Jewish customers at Hyper- Casher.

Seumas Milne denounced Charlie for repeated pornographic humiliation.” of the Prophet. Fraser felt the pain of “a beleaguered, economically fragile Muslim community”.

While condemning the killings with a sentence or two,  they immediately went out of their way to understand the ‘anger’ of people at seeing rude cartoons about their religion.

These people, and they include would apparently set up a list of rules and regulation to govern what is satire and what is not. It should, we heard endlessly, only attack the ‘powerful’. That, according to Will Self, we should drop the “sexual fetish” of defending the right of people to express themselves freely.

It was no doubt no coincidence that Respect’s MP,  George Galloway was particularly keen on a set of regulations to keep in check people’s tendency to make fun of others.

For those who came up with their hare-brained idea we can only guess that at their public schools they  had read Juvenal’s line

…difficile est saturam non scribere. nam quis iniquaetam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se

It is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself.

Yup, injustice, that’s all satire should be about.

But one doubts if their ‘rules’ can fit Viz magazine’s idea of satire:



I jest.

On the left there were others who stood with those who would regulate free speech to suit the demands of ‘Muslims’, and some (like a former supporter of your party Nawaz, the Liberal Democrat voting, Tariq Ali, as well as more obvious sources, like the Socialist Workers Party) who essentially claimed that Charlie “had it coming”.

But there were plenty of left-wing people, and organisations who stood with the martyrs of Charlie.

Groups like the Alliance for Workers Liberty, the paper, the Weekly Worker, and, more importantly countless Facebook friends, democratic socialists, social democrats, liberals and believers in human rights – hundreds of thousands of left-wing and liberal people in this country wept at the murders of our beloved comrades at Charlie and the Jewish victims of the anti-Semite killers  and stood up against Islamist violence when it counted.

Your write,

There is a natural fear among Europe’s left, that challenging Islamist extremism can only aid Europe’s far-right. But the alternative to this fear must not be to instead empower theocratic fascism. There is a way to both challenge those who want to impose islam, and those who wish to ban Islam. It has not escaped me, nor other liberal Muslims, that while challenging Islamist extremism we must remain attentive to protecting our civil liberties. We are born of this struggle, after all.

Some of us are born of this struggle as it echoed in the United Kingdom. and across the world:

The Real Origins of Secularism.

Secularism, in the form of laïcité, was the product of the 19th, not the 18th century. As Georges Weill explained (Histoire de l’idée laïque en France au XXe siècle. 1929, new edition, 2004) it was during the 1840s that the idea that administration and government of the country should be free from any religious power, emerged. Edgar Quinet ( 1803 – 1875) was one of the first to advocate a “une séparation complète radicale” of religious institutions from the State (Page 147 – 149)

Quinet’s emphasis on the idea of secular education, “l’école laïque ” was to be at the centre of all the subsequent fights for laïcité. Jules Ferry, who created the basis for a republican education system liberated from the –Catholic Church –, was only able to begin to realise this ideal after the Second Empire, under clerical domination, had fallen. The Third Republic (founded 1875) was rocked by divisions on the issue. It was only in 1905 that France saw a real separation of Church and State (with numerous exceptions, notably concerning private Catholic education, which continued, with subsidies).

Weill indicates that far from being the result of a violent hostility to religion French secularism originates in four sources. The first came from ‘Galician’ Catholics who opposed the ultramontagne power of the Pope over their own affairs, and, as the century progressed from Catholics who became attached to republican ideals. The second was amongst liberal Protestants, who had obvious (and blood-stained) reasons to distrust the power of the official Church. A third were desists, who wanted religion, illuminated by science, to be free from the doctrinal control of Papal Curia.

Only in the fourth category, the “libres penseurs”, can we find those with some debt to Hébert. The early workers’ movement owed a debt to Christian belief, particularly to Lamenais’ Paroles d’un croyant (1834), which rooted Christianity in democracy and social causes (in many respects more advanced than British ‘Christian socialism’ and still worth reading). But as the century progressed anti-clericalism spread amongst the socialists as well as amongst those who would become the so-called ‘Radical Socialist’ party (the word ‘radical’ comes from the British ‘radicals’ like John Stuart Mill). Many of the popular classes simply abandoned religion. 

For myself this is one part of the socialist heritage: the ‘synthesis’ between democratic Marxism and universal human rights for which  one of our greatest martyrs, Jean Jaurès, was assassinated.

Note that many secularists are ‘believers’.

Secularism is freedom to believe….

At a time when our comrades are again being slaughtered in Bangladesh for the crime of criticising  Islam and Islamists in the shape of the genocidal Daesh movement are attacking minorities, enslaving, and as you say…..

Will you join with this movement?

Back the Kurdish fighters, and the brace voices for secularism and freedom in every country – in many cases people deeply rooted in the Left?

The choice is for everybody.