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Far-Right Rassemblement National set to top French European Polls.

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National Populists Predicted to get strong vote in European Elections.

Elections européennes 2019 : à deux jours du vote, le RN solidement installé en tête des sondages

European elections 2019: two days before the vote, the RN firmly installed at the top of the polls.

Le Monde.

Selon la dernière étude Ipsos-Sopra Steria pour « Le Monde », la liste RN devance de deux points celle de LRM. L’estimation de la participation augmente fortement, à 47 %.

According to the latest Ipsos-Sopra Steria study for Le Monde the RN list is two points ahead of LRM. The estimated  level of participation has increased sharply to 47%.

The party of Marine Le Pen, the Rassemblement National, RN,  (ex-Front National) is at around 25% while President Macron’s list, La République En Marche  (LRM) with the centrist party, the Modems,  ( Mouvement démocrate) of François Bayrou  is at 23%

The once ruling right-wing politicians (under the Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy 2007 – 2012) grouped in the Les Républicains have only 13%

The RN no longer advocates withdrawal from the European Union.

The hard-line sovereigntist far-right, which backs Frexit, with ‘social’ policies of nationalisation and anti-austerity with an end to uncontrolled immigration (resembling the British red-brown alliance), of Debout la France of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, and Les Patriotes of Florian Philippot stand at 3,5% and 0,5% respectively.

According to these figures the Party of JeanLuc Mélenchon, La France insoumise (LFI), has continued its decline and stands at 7,5%.

The Greens (EELV), who have been keen to stress that they are neither right nor left (Ecologie “ni de gauche ni de droite” : la stratégie à l’allemande de Yannick Jadot) , at 9,5% are well ahead of LFI.

The Socialists, Parti Socialiste (PS) have their own alliance, PS-Place publique. The list is led by Raphaël Glucksmann, of Place Publique, a socially liberal forum of intellectuals. he is the son of the anti-Marxist New Philosopher  André Glucksmann.  Glucksmann, fils, is a one-time dabbler in “neo-conservatism” with a controversial advisory role to the former President of Georgia  Mikheil Saakachvili . They are hovering at just over 5% at 5,5%

Both the Communists, the Parti communiste français  (PCF), and the alliance of Benoît Hamon  (former French Socialist presidential candidate in 2016, 6,36% of the vote),  Génération.s, stand well below the 5% needed to get MEPs (both at 2,5%)

It is worth noting that Génération.s, is linked to  DieM25,

This initiative, promoting a Green New Deal,  very much led by Yanis” Varoufakis, which has a European candidacies across the continent  seems unlikely to make an impact.

The far left  Lutte ouvrière is at 0,5% and a Gilets Jaunes slate (Alliance Jaune) is at 1,0%

Génération écologie, the historic bearers of “écologie intégrale”, who have aligned with just about everybody in the long career of  Brice Lalonde are at 0,5%

The Parti animaliste, which backs animal rights, tops all three of them with 1,5%.

 

There was an important article in le Monde yesterday which judged that any alliance between the very disparate forces of the European nationalist populists is likely to unravel fairly quickly.

 L’alliance à contrecœur de Matteo Salvini avec Marine Le Pen »

By the “spécialiste du populisme et des droites radicales Gilles Ivaldi.”

The failure of the French left to present a united front is clearly a major obstacle in efforts to win electoral support, leaving the way open for the RN and Macron list duel.

But this is not all.

The National Populist leaning (suitably mashed up in a Mouffe antagonistic articulation) left magazine Jacobin, could not be wider of the mark with this claim (yesterday):

Given the state of the Left on most of the continent it seems unlikely to benefit from a breakup of the European Union. If recent trends are any indication, the kind of broad social base and political power necessary to implement a bold, socialist exit from the EU is still quite a way off — Jeremy Corbyn being the hopeful exception.

The European Left in Disarray. LOREN BALHORN

Anybody looking at the Labour Party’s probable European elections result (which is certain to see a big vote for non-Labour Remain parties by Labour supporters) will laugh at that “hopeful exception” comment.

Un rire jaune.

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Red-Brown Front News: Galloway Hugs Steve Bannon in Joy at May’s Resignation.

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George Galloway’s New Best Friend.

Most people, certainly anybody on the left, would shun Steve Bannon.

Not so ‘red-brown’ George Galloway

He chose to have a  little chat with his new mate in the dictatorship of Kazakhstan.

“Kazakhstan heavily restricts freedom of assemblyspeech, and religion. In 2014, authorities closed newspapers, jailed or fined dozens of people after peaceful but unsanctioned protests, and fined or detained worshipers for practicing religion outside state controls. Government critics, including opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov, remained in detention after unfair trials. Torture remains common in places of detention.”

Not that Galloway minds:

Here is his cosy little debate there with the would-be mastermind of a European National Populist movement Steve Bannon.

They appear to have some affinity:

This seems to show them really hitting it off:

Well well.

The  above appearance at the “Eurasian Media Forum (EAMF)” – hosted by a free-speech denying dictatorship, follows Steve Bannon’s campaign to woo national populists, beginning with those standing in the European Elections.

L’ancien conseiller de Donald Trump est en France pour appuyer le Rassemblement national avant la tenue des élections européennes, le 26 mai.

Le Monde. 18th of May.

It includes this: Steve Bannon’s alt-right academy — and one village’s fight to stop it.

How an Italian monastery became part of a plan for a populist Europe.
Bannon was not however involved in this:

Most people are, as a result, sceptical about the potential fruits of his labours but he is trying.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

May 24, 2019 at 11:27 am

On Polling Day, Voting Labour and the European Election that saw a (small) Red-Brown Front Back the Brexit Party.

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The European elections today have led,  to misery in company, for all the major parties.

They are predicted to see a revival of the Liberal Democrats, the swift descent into the bin of the new ‘Change’ party, a consolidation of the Green party vote, the Labour campaign for excellent Euro-MEPs that has barely taken off, and the Conservatives trailing down amongst the also-rans. UKIP, trying to establish itself as the voice of the pure far-right, is hard to predict, but there is little doubt that the National Populists of the Brexit Party, will be the winners.

Communist Call for Boycott set to get biggest Support.

It is expected that the Communist Party of Britain will claim, following the lead of the Sparticists (“Down With the EU! No Participation in Its Pseudo-Parliament!) abstention will get the biggest numbers, at projections that put the no-vote percentage at possibly over 50%

While the CPB’s Morning Star prepares to spend Sunday evening celebrating this is perhaps the most significant consequence.

Without much direct political power, but bound to be seized on the Conservative contenders in their looking Party leadership election the Brexit Party is now the nearest British equivalent of Marine Le Pen national populist Rassemblement National in France, Italy’s la Lega, of Matteo Salvini.

Everybody, not least Labour strategists will now be already beginning to digest this change in the political landscape.

One approach will be to ‘learn’ from Farage.

Outside those who – like the Lexit Left – who have a mobile app that tells them what the ‘working class’ Brexit thinks if it backed the Brexit Party, they might begin with those a few paces closer to National Populism.

In a somewhat shamefaced article, reflecting the fact that the ‘forum’ that originally published it,  the ‘left wing’  Full Brexit which contains supporters of Farage – Lee Jones, whom we cited a few days ago says,

Lee Jones – The Brexit Party: Creature of the Void

To become anything more than a single-issue protest party, TBP would need to develop a more substantive policy platform, but this would be highly likely to intensify the party’s internal contradictions, and push TBP further to the right. Like its singular appeal to democracy, TBP’s ability to field candidates from the left, right and centre is a short-term strength, maximising its electoral appeal. However, it is also a long-term difficulty, because it is not clear that the party’s founding cadre share anything beyond their common concern for democracy. The more the party seeks to develop a concrete platform, the more these divisions will expose themselves.

The thesis that thieves will fall out runs up, the academic informs us, against this.

The party’s internal character, moreover, makes it highly unlikely that leftist forces can triumph in a struggle to define what TBP stands for.

First, as noted earlier, the left is mostly conspicuous by its absence. There are some noted far-left figures standing, but the bulk of the candidates are essentially petit-bourgeois types and middle-of-the-road professionals.

Second, the money and organisational heft at the centre of what has so far undoubtedly been a slick, professional campaign are unlikely to be converted to progressive causes.

Third, and most importantly, TBP completely lacks any internal democratic structures. The party’s 85,000 registered supporters are not party members; they have no say over how the party is run. This is a deliberate design by Nigel Farage, based on his experiences battling UKIP’s internal factions, which he blames for being unable to professionalise the party. Although TBP is brand new, and arguably its institutional structures, like its policies, are potentially up for grabs through internal struggle, it is unlikely that Farage, or party chairman and business magnate Richard Tice, will gladly relinquish their domination. If not, then they will remain the ultimate arbiters of any struggles over the party’s future.

Many readers of this Blog, not living in Britain or Ireland, will not be aware that, “some noted far-left figures” include people like Claire Fox, who has been a prominent broadcaster on the BBC, and that the network around Spiked, beginning with Brendan O’Neill, are also constantly in the mass media, from the Sun, to Sky Press Review, and – well, let’s say a lot more. If anybody knows about the infinite ability of Gramscian strategies for hegemony reduced to the simulacra of news, opinion, and large gobs, it is them.

So he is plain wrong to push the existence of this red-brown front to the margins. In terms of political perception Fox citing Shelly has an importance, just as Marine Le Pen’s claim to the legacy of Jean Jaurès  in the days of the Front National did.

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Yet, Sovereignty Jones is right on the limits of this kind of political influence a network like the Spiked/RCP or any other internal group could have.

Farage, we note, has already avoided, despite pleas from the red-brown George Galloway, having the wheezy crook  on his team – a man who could, potentially be a real rival.

Does anybody honestly think that the loud-mouths of Spiked (ex Revolutionary Communist Party have the bottle to stand up to the milkshaked man?

Jones opines,

The lack of internal democracy is not only a glaring contradiction for a party claiming to stand for democracy; it also compounds the lack of accountability associated with an absent manifesto. For all of these reasons, it is most likely that TBP will develop as a populist party of the centre-right, or what Eaton and Goodwin call a “national populist” party. Ironically, and regrettably, this would deepen the convergence between British and continental European politics.

Note the next,  final, sentence,

To call this “far right” is hysterical, immoral, and deeply insulting to many millions of people. It distracts attention from the true source of the current crisis, which is not Nigel Farage’s political wizardry, or slavering hordes of xenophobes, but the reluctance of the political establishment to accept an instruction that they themselves solicited.

This is clearly a call to “listen” if not “artculate” the Brexit Party’s demands through other vehicles.

Populist Politics and Democracy.

There are some points to add on the lack of democracy in populist parties built around a leader, whose necessary charismatic ‘function’ is (problematically) a pillar of Ernesto Laclau’s On Populist Reason (2004).

This seems to operate regardless of formal party structures.

Lee Jones would benefit from some further references about how “internal struggles” end up in National Populist Parties, even ones with more  internal voting democracy and ownership than the Brexit Party.

There is a famous recent case in France.

When he expressed serious differences Florian Philippot,  an out gay man, once Marine le Pen’s right-hand (“directeur stratégique de la campagne présidentielle de Marine Le Pen), got short shrift and was turfed out the Front National, (now the Rassemblement National), in no time at all.

His views  were “social sovereigntist”, against privatisations and for leaving the Euro (considered to undermine national monetary authority) not too far from some of the Full Brexit.

Philippot’s micro-party, Les Patriots, is an extreme right group – tough on immigration –  that is anti-austerity  backs gay marriage, Frexit, defending welfare benefits and raising the minimum wage.

 

 

After the results on Sunday.

We predict with the certainty of a sage, that some of the themes of the Brexit Party’s, “instructions”, that is the need for Brexit, will get into the ears of labour strategists.

What they make of them, whether Labour will try to full  the “floating signifier” of Brexit around the wishes of the Brexiters of all shapes and political colour, will be up for grabs.

This will be the crucial moment for the internationalist anti-Brexit left to make its mark and offer a clear alternative.

We will have to argue against those aligned to groups like the Full Brexit who continue to argue for sovereigntism and a conservative cultural ‘Somewhere people’ programme.

There is also another aspect of this election.

It is this

Milk floats as well.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 23, 2019 at 5:00 pm

The Last Gasps of the Pro-Brexit left.

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Lacks “a sense of humility and appreciation” for Farage that ‘Left-Wing’ Full Brexit says is needed. 

With the Brexit Crisis fueling unprecedented voting shifts in the European election campaign the Pro-Brexit left ‘Lexit’ as they like to call it, (nobody else does) often feels to get away from the tiresome drag of cloud cuckoo land and escape to somewhere less mundane.

Time indeed to ihgnore the haemorigging of Labour votes to anti-Brexit parties, starting with the Liberal Democrats.

It’s there that the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) has finally found an echo for its Boycott Labour Campaign.

We need a People’s Brexit and a general election that can return a left and Labour government, which can begin to rebuild Britain for the people, not the bankers.

Respect the vote – SUPPORT a ‘People’s Boycott’ on 23 May 2019.

From the self-identifying  “Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants“.

The Socialist Party, which is thoroughly enjoying its trip away from the harsh world,  says of the European Elections.

Unfortunately, however, at this stage Corbyn and the left Labour leadership are not conveying a clear message to working class voters. A central reason for this is their continued mistaken attempts to compromise with the pro-capitalist Blairite wing of Labour – whether that is the local Labour councils cutting public services, or the Blairite MPs fighting for Labour to be seen as the party which defends the EU bosses’ club.

No mention of the pro Brexit Bosses’ Club.

No mention of the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit campaign which has captured people’s imagination across the left.

On the talks with May they say,

… reports from the talks have focused overwhelmingly on the Blairite demand for a second referendum, inevitably giving the impression to many Leave voting workers that Labour is not fighting in the interests of working class people and is instead focused on ‘reversing Brexit’.

No mention of Remain voting workers or the Remain supporters in the Trade Unions.

No mention of how to vote in the European election.

No mention of the Labour voters going head over fist to the anti-Brexit parties, which some polls suggest have pushed the party into third place.

Or this, somewhat optimistic claim,

A clear and unambiguous pro-Remain position from Labour would give the party a resounding 27% lead over the Conservatives, an 8% lead over the Brexit Party and a 14% increase in their overall vote, new research has revealed.

New European.

But apparently.

Bosses fear revolt against capitalism

At least the People’s Brexit dreamers of Counterfire say,

Tory collapse is only half the story; Corbyn’s Labour needs to sharply recalibrate around anti-austerity and class politics, argues Lindsey German

Farage understands he can only win the level of support he has by channelling the huge amount of anger about the failure to carry out the decision of the referendum. To do so he is prepared to downplay his racism, and he has some cover from erstwhile lefts who now support the Brexit party, but we can be sure that a campaign where he and Johnson are in competition (and with a myriad of fascist and extreme right parties spewing their filth) will have racism and scapegoating at their centre.

……

The only tactical vote is for Labour, because they are the only people who can beat Farage, and the higher Labour’s vote the stronger its left leadership will be. The alternative is strong Lib Dems – which will help Watson and Starmer.

How might they ‘channel’ this anger?

By joining Counterfire’s voyage to a People’s Brexit….

Note, Comrade Keir Starmer’s first appearance as an enemy of the revolutionary socialist groupuscule Counterfire.

The Morning Star with one toe in the carnival of reaction that’s taking place, dismisses worries about the far-right across Europe and Farage’s likely real political impact in the EU.

As indicated in this valuable article:

The far right is no great shakes

The European Union is proving to be a less reliable instrument for resolving contradictions among its member states and competing elites than either centre right, liberal or social democratic opinion has hitherto hoped.

In addition, although these right-wing populists are something of a problem for the big business and finance circles that stand behind the likes of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron they lack the long-term cohesiveness or numbers to reshape the institutions of the EU.

Like those leftwingers who think the EU can be transformed by populating its structures, they too will find out that the real decision-making ever eludes the grasp of forces outside the charmed circle whether they come from the left or the right.

Oddly, or not so oddly given reports that some of the hard line Brexit Bolsheviks will do more than follow the Communist Party of Britain’s call not to vote Labour the editorial concludes,

The populist right – in or out of the EU – cannot meet the needs of working people. Almost uniquely our country has a Labour government in waiting that can.

The Full Brexit, supported by prominent members of the Communist Party of Britain, and ‘Blue Labour’ Family Faith and Flag patriots, not to mention Spiked ex-Revolutionary Communist Party, (and Green Larry O’Nutter, better known under his pen name of Larry O’Hara)  tweets  about this article:

Lee Jones is Reader in International Politics at Queen Mary University of London.

Note these words well,

It is deeply lamentable that this crucial channel for political expression is being supplied by a party led by Nigel Farage. However, the explanation for this lies not with Farage’s unique talents, or the supposed far-right proclivities of millions of British citizens, as many now claim. Farage is only able to claim leadership of a pro-democracy movement because the left has utterly failed to do so. Despite admitting the EU’s many faults and being unable to mount a positive case for it, the left bottled the referendum, clinging to a discredited neoliberal edifice. The opportunity subsequently to return to its foundational principle of democracy and lead Brexit in a progressive direction has been squandered. Most so-called leftists have merely doubled down on their ludicrous insistence that only racists and fascists can oppose the EU.

He continues,

TBP ought to be a left-wing party. By failing to reclaim the banner of democracy from the Eurosceptic right, the left has created the opportunity for Farage to return.

Despite its important short-term contribution, however, in the longer term, it is doubtful whether TBP can help resolve the problems of British political life. While the most obvious limitations stem from its leadership, the deeper problems lie in the populist form of political organisation itself.

Accordingly, whatever Nigel Farage may or may not be, TBP is simply not a “far-right” party. It has only one policy, to defend democracy and uphold the referendum result, and there is no reasonable way to define this policy as “far-right”.

The academic opines that one should approach Farage’s start-up party,

…with a sense of humility and appreciation for the important role TBP is playing in the immediate crisis of British politics.

Jones concludes,

At present, TBP stands exclusively for the enactment of a democratic majority decision – no more, no less. To call this “far right” is hysterical, immoral, and deeply insulting to many millions of people.

The Brexit Party: Creature of the Void

At least the Socialist Workers Party says:

Vote Labour in the European elections – and increase the Tories’ crisis

Hold on…

The next few days matter. Labour could still launch a real fight that brings together the call for an anti-austerity and anti-racist Brexit with action over the NHS, housing, climate chaos and other urgent issues.

Back from the sidelines:

A Critical Account of Laclau and Mouffe on Populism. Part One.

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A Socialist Critique of Laclau and Mouffe, from Discourse to Populism.

“Enfants, enfants, je vous le dis: montez sur une montagne, pourvu qu’elle soit assez haute, regardez aux quatre vents, vous ne verrez qu’enemies.”

Children, children, I say this to you, climb a mountain, providing that it’s high enough, look in all directions, and you will see but enemies.”

Jules Michelet. Le Peuple. 3rd Edition 1846. (1)

Ernesto Laclau (1935 – 2014) was a political theorist, perhaps best known as a ‘post-Marxist’. The former Professor Political Theory at Essex University, he is attributed the founder of the Essex School of Discourse Analysis, and is best known today for his book on a topic which has recently come to dominate politics, On Populist Reason (2005). The Belgium born Chantal Mouffe, his partner, has, like Laclau, passed the major part of her career in British higher education. Their joint book, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1986) made a splash, as a critique of class based Marxism that tried to deal with ‘new social movements’. Readers of Marxism Today during the period would have been familiar with the two names, as well as the often virulent critiques of their turn. Norman Geras began with an attack on  “a procession of erstwhile Marxists” (Post Marxism? 1987) But since that time Mouffe, like Laclau, seemed consigned to the decent obscurity of the University.

To the surprise of many in the new century Laclau and Mouffe spread their wings much further than academia. Posthumously Laclau has joined the select group of radical thinkers who have passed from youthful left activism, to being considered, not least by some players on the European left, a real influence on practising politicians. Pablo Iglesias, and Íñigo Errejón, have cited the Argentine born academic as an inspiration for the strategy of their political party, the Spanish Podemos founded in 2014. For those of an historical spirit they may indicate that the tie between radical left-wing Theory and Practice, apparently broken by the decades of Stalinism and the Cold War, and rendered even more marginal by the collapse of Official Communism, has been re-forged.

Mouffe was, and remains, very visible, at least in that select part of the political world that reads the Guardian, the New Statesman, El País, le Monde, and other European heavyweight dailies and magazines. Perhaps the high-water moment of her political influence was seen in her dialogue with leading Podemos figure, Íñigo Errejón in 2016, Podemos In the Name of the People. Mouffe has had the ear of the undisputed leader of the largest French left party now represented in the Assemblée Nationale, La France insoumise (LFI), created in 2016 by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Mouffe and Laclau and Mouffe’s influence on Mélenchon and his advisers, particularly during the 2017 Presidential Election, has drawn the attention of the francophone media. The interest, originating in his personal formation in the Argentinian left,  of Laclau in Latin American populism, and relation to the Bolivarian Revolution – a key theme of the chief of LFI – in countries such as Venezuela drew attention and criticism. (2)

Left Populism.

A degree of scepticism about Laclau and Mouffe’s impact is nevertheless needed. The dispute between Errejón and Iglesias indicates that they are thinkers, and above all politicians in their own right. There are even greater doubts about whether anybody outside his inner circle marked Mélenchon’s left populist L’ère du peuple, Mouffe is clearly heard. Whether her recent suggestion that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is also “left populist” will lead a British audience to follow the “clues” for successful radicalism Owen Jones saw in the 2016 book remains less probable. Left populism has not been able to construct a ruling political bloc through on electoral victory. Efforts to go beyond ‘left’ and ‘right’ in the traditional sense have not been crowned with success. Podemos lost seats in the Spanish General Election, and Mélenchon’s La France insoumise has descended to below 10% in the poll. The Bolivarian Revolution has not turned out well, to say the least. (3)

It remains an attractive speculation that Laclau and Mouffe have created a Mirror for the Modern Left Populist Prince. The issue of Populism, which they have covered for many years, is important at the present. This is only one example of how their works might be mined for insights: “As Laclau foresaw” writes Jade Azim, “the success of populist movements depends on a symbolic signifier that can unite varied demands under a single umbrella.” For Nigel Farage, “The Brexit party’s empty signifier is Brexit, uniting a variety of voters under its banner; Farage loyalists, grassroots Conservatives, George Galloway, and the Communist Party. Its genius lies in its simplicity: an ideologically empty home for those angry at what they perceive as a Brexit betrayal by corrupt elites.” One awaits the response of Corbyn’s inner circle to her proposal that the party counter attacks with, “a unifier akin to “Get On With it”, in the context of winning security for businesses and workers alike..”  Apart from the fact that even the Communist Party of Britain has yet to endorse Farage, what kind emotional affect would tie a voter to this “unifier” – which says essentially, I’m not interested. (4)

In the revival of interest in Laclau. though with more detail about his views on populism, Phil writes,

Does Laclau offer any insights? Widening the possibility for the co-option of demands is one. Indeed, what we’re likely to see before the next general election is the wholesale adoption of hard Brexit by the Tories, at least for the cameras and papers anyway. But ultimately, getting down and dirty in the guts of populism is what’s necessary. We know the logic, but the logic isn’t free-floating. It is fed. Elaborating the programme for older voters, who tend to power right populism more than any other demographic, looking at the myriad of unsaid demands and grievances the Brexit chain of equivalence scoops up, challenges us to think about ways of co-opting them and neutralising them. It’s a task easier said than done, and one much harder than Laclau’s book, but done it must be if we are to detoxify politics and banish the hard right from political efficacy permanently.

Laclau on Populism

Phil observes that vagueness and a rhetoric that reveals the “materiality of words” lies at the heart of a wide spectrum of populism.  This is to ignore, in Most recent writings, the importance of emotional ‘affects’. It’s is hard to believe that “re-copting” the nationalist rhetoric of, say, the Brexit Party, its cries of Betrayal, its loathing of Europe,  into an alternative ‘left populism’ based on the ‘People’ can avoid giving credence to the super-charged right-wing ideas used.  Indeed this has been a main charge against La France insoumise, which has sought, endlessly, to make its own chain of equivalence work.  Left politics are based on new demands that break from established ideas, not to mention prejudices, and the xenophobia and racism that have fed the Brexit movement. FInally, language is not ‘out there’, the populists produced them within material party apparatuses, amply funded by sections of the hard-right bourgeoisie. They are “popular” only in the sense that a movement like 19th century French Boulangism was, a plebeian movement funded by fractions of capital that supported French monarchism, and anti-Semites engaged in a struggle with ‘Jewish’ capital. (5)

Perry Anderson on Laclau Today.

This is far from the end of the story. Works, from their joint Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), Laclau’s On Populist Reason (2005) and final writings on ‘rhetoric’, have much wider implications. Mouffe’s essays on political theory, up to Agonistics (2013) the discussion with Errejón, and For a Left Populism (2018) have an enormous range of references, from Gramcsi to Frédéric Lordon.  Are the ideas of Laclau and Mouffe, to cite only a few, on the “empty” and “floating” signifier in the discursive forms that construct the People Against a Them – an Other which Mouffe was to frame in terms adapted from Carl Schmitt as the “Enemy” – guides for radical let alone socialist politics? Perry Anderson, with commendable generosity, has said that Laclau and Mouffe writings of of thirty years ago, which argued for a break with Marxist “economism” and for a “new pluralism” based on radical democracy, and for a “politically constructed collective will” were “augers of the reaction against neo-liberalism”. They anticipated the conditions for the rise of Populism, the present, “when deindustrialisation had shrunk and divided the working class leaving a much more fragmented social landscape and a multiplication of movements, of right and left contesting the established order in the name of the people” – populism, a “bug bear of elites. (6)

The New Leftist remarked critically, if, one may gives him the benefit of the doubt and imagine that he still considers himself  committed to some socialist ideas,  that in Laclau’s On Populist Reason “reference to socialism fades altogether, and populism take over hegemony as the more pointed and powerful signifier of the inherently contingent unification of democratic demands – which in isolation would equally well be woven into an anti-democratic discourse – into a collective will. Bound together by a common set of symbols and affective ties to a leader, and insurgent people can then confront the regnant powers of their society, across the dividing-line of dichotomous antagonism between the two.” Everything becomes an affair of “articulation” joining voices together an attempt to construct a progressive populism embedded in the “national popular” to fight this battle for a “populist rupture”. As Anderson indicated, the People against the Elite, the Oligarchy, comes also in a National Populist guise, the Nations against more enemies than even Jules Michelet could have dreamt up. How these could be articulated into a left movement, other than a ‘red-brown’ or, at best, a ‘Blue Labour’ one that sympathises with them, is never explained. (7)

There are deeper problems with the views of Laclau and Mouffe. Their exaggerated interest in constructing “popular hegemony” (federating the people as Mélenchon’s supporters call it) and blindness towards what Perry Anderson called the “normal forms of hegemony” that of the dominant classes. But assessing Laclau and Mouffe is not easy. The response leads us from theoretical abstractions that would make an E.P.Thompson belch in his tomb, to some of the thorniest issues confronting the present day left. To begin, but not end, they include the nature of the discourse theory that replaced ideology in their work, ‘rhetoric’ and ‘articulation’ in politics, Mouffe’s sketch of ‘agonistic democracy’ right up to the overlaying of class politics by ‘populism’, national identity and sovereignty. As Mouffe put it, “Introducing her latest book the political theorist Chantal Mouffe writes that post-democracy “signals the decline in the role of parliaments and the loss of sovereignty that is the consequence of neoliberal globalisation.” (8)

This complex of theory, often described as abstract, if not rebarbative, is beyond doubt influential, if hardly accessible to a popular audience.  (9)

It is also profoundly wrong implying a shift and opening to Sovereigntist ideas, and has potentially damaging effects in destroying the historic class and ideological basis of the left.


Next section…..from Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory,  Slavoj Žižek. to On Populist Reason….

 

  1. Page 41 Jules Michelet. Le Peuple. 3rd Edition 1846
  2. There are hundreds of articles on this see :Les dangereux affects de Chantal Mouffe. Laurent Joffrin. 2018 Chantal Mouffe, la philosophe préférée de Mélenchon, Corbyn, Iglesias…  Chantal Mouffe, gurú del Podemos de España y del Frente Amplio: “Hay que votar por Guillier”
  3. La influencia de Laclau y Mouffe en Podemos.  Miguel Sanz Alcántara. One of the founders of Podemos cited in their piece, Juan Carlos Monedero, has stated that the impact of Laclau-Mouffe “populist hypothesis” on the party has been framed a posteriori. See for example  Las debilidades de la hipótesis populista y la construcción de un pueblo en marcha. Mélenchon pays homage a number of times to Laclau and Mouffe in Le Choix de l’insoumission (2016). But it is far from rare for a French politician to garnish her or his intellectual authority with weighty sounding influences.
  4. What Ernesto Laclau can teach us about the Brexit Party. New Statesman. 15th of May 2019.
  5.  See “Boulanger’s appeal as a nationalist was added appeal in the face of disillusionment with the Republic installed on 4 September 1870 and gradually solidified during the 1870s, the Third Republic (1870–1940). To most republicans, especially since 1848, the Republic had meant “the social and democratic Republic,” but the Republic now in power seemed to foster big business and industry. The severe recession of 1882, which hit farmers and increased unemployment, particularly in construction and textiles, increased resentment against the Republic among workers, artisans, and small-businesspeople. This resentment was further increased by a corruption scandal that broke in October 1887. President Jules Grèvy’s son-in-law, Daniel Wilson, who lived in the presidential residence, was selling his influence on the president: payment to Wilson was a sure way to get the Legion of Honor. The president was forced to resign at the end of 1887.” “The affair led directly to a new right. Until Boulangism, nationalism had been linked to the Revolutionary tradition of the levée en masse (the nation at arms) and royalists had disdained it. Now nationalists began to envisage authoritarian methods. In the mid-1880s, under a journalist named Paul Déroulède (1846–1914), La ligue des patriotes (the Patriots’ League) developed a new vision: the way to rebuild the nation was to inculcate obedience among the people and authority among their leaders. Monarchists and other conservatives who had initially disdained Boulanger soon saw the value of this kind of nationalism through Boulanger’s ability to draw popular support. If they could not restore the monarchy, they could use this nationalism to aim at an authoritarian regime based on values of nationalism, deference, and hierarchy. And conservatives learned about mass politics. The Dreyfus affair would further hasten their learning process.”
  6. Gramsci’s Heirs. Perry Anderson. New Left Review No 100. 2016. Socialist Strategy Where Next ? January 1981 Marxism Today. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Verso. 1985.
  7. Page 80. Gramsci’s Heirs
  8.  For a Left Populism. Chantal Mouffe 2018. Verso.
  9. For an overview see the review of Ernesto Laclau: Post-Marxism, Populism and Critique. David Howarth. by Will Horner.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Corbyn’s – qualified – Support for a Popular Vote on a Brexit Deal : Would it include an Option to Remain?

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Image result for corbyn labour leaflet

Lacklustre – amongst the Politer Comments.

People were excited about this today.

Some thought that Labour had turned to backing a People’s Vote.

Some even tweeted that Labour had finally adopted the politics of the internationalist left, to remain and transform the EU.

The Currant Bun set the tone for the most optimistic reception.

PANICKED Jeremy Corbyn today suggested that Labour WILL back a second referendum in his latest Brexit flip-flop.

The leftie leader said there should be a “public vote” on any deal agreed by Parliament.

 This U-turn comes after Labour slipped to third place in the polls with Remainers abandoning the party in favour of pro-EU rivals.

The party has previously said it would support a second referendum in order to stop No Deal or a bad Tory deal.

But now Mr Corbyn has suggested he’ll back a so-called people’s vote on any deal at all.

The Labour leader told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I want us to get a good deal and then have a decision of the public after that.

“If we can get that through Parliament, the proposals we’ve put, then I think it would be reasonable to have a public vote to decide on that in the future.”

Much excitement followed,

Well, yes and no.

These contentious points remain as Politics Home says,

The Labour leader pledged to look “very carefully” at any fresh promise by Theresa May to protect workers’ rights after Brexit, with the Prime Minister on Sunday promising a “bold new offer” to MPs when they again vote on her EU deal.

Asked whether his party was “staunchly against” EU free movement, Mr Corbyn said: “I’m not staunchly against freedom of movement… Our manifesto said that the European system would obviously not apply if you’re not in the European Union.

“But I quite clearly recognise there has to be a lot of movement of workers… Ask any company in manufacturing or any other sector how much they need and rely on workers from Europe and indeed the other way around.”

And he added: “It would be open for negotiation, the level of movement of people between Europe and this country if we were a non-member of the EU.”

For once one can only agree with this comment from the die-hard anti-Corbyn wing of the party,

The crucial issue of a People’s Vote seems to involve no possibility of voting the remain.

Mr Corbyn also rejected a characterisation of his party’s EU elections platform as ‘Vote Labour, Get Brexit’, and said he believed it would be “reasonable to have a public vote” on any Labour-backed EU deal that gets through Parliament.

He said: “I think what would be a fair assessment would be to say ‘vote Labour, challenge austerity and guarantee living standards for the future, not a no-deal exit from the European Union which is all that is being offered by the Tory right and in a sense by the Tory Party.'”

On a second referendum he said: “What we fought the [2017] general election on was to respect the result of the referendum – and that we’ve done –  to try to get a deal which guarantees trade and relations with Europe in the future, and if we can get that through Parliament, the proposals we put, then I think it would be reasonable to have a public vote to decide on that in the future.”

In other words, Remaining in the EU to transform the EU, the pillar of the internationalist left in the Labour Party and outside, is not an option promoted by Labour.

Not only is Labour not planning to Remain, but Corbyn did not put a commitment to include remaining in the EU on a ballot about the “deal” it would make with the EU.

The plan seems to be than, that Corbyn will heal the country’s divisions and secure a real “People’s Brexit” which he will then put to the popular vote.

That is, after new PM Boris Johnson has had a stab at things with his Chlorinated Trump Hard Brexit.

As it is,

Labour panics as remain voters switch to Liberal Democrats

Senior Labour figures were engaged in a desperate battle to shore up the party’s support on Saturday night, amid warnings that its stance on Brexitwas helping to “detoxify the Lib Dems”.

With just days left before the European elections at which Nigel Farage’s Brexit party is expected to triumph, shadow cabinet ministers are among those concerned that Labour’s ambiguous position on Brexit has helped revive the Lib Dems. It comes as new polling seen by the Observer suggests Vince Cable’s party is running in first place in London and could even beat Labour overall.

One senior party figure warned: “If the consequence of Labour’s Brexit position and this European election is to essentially detoxify the Lib Dems, then that’s a real problem.” Clive Lewis, a shadow Treasury minister, said “lifelong Labour voters” would not back the party this week due to its Brexit stance. He added: “It feels like we’ve given [the Lib Dems] the political equivalent of resuscitation.”

..

Labour MPs revealed they were already drawing up attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit should a hardline Brexiter replace May as prime minister, with some suggesting that revoking Brexit had to be a fall-back option.

Corbyn Feels Your Pain:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 19, 2019 at 12:41 pm

As French National Populist Rassemblement Takes Projected Lead in European Polls Anti-Semitism Scandal Emerges.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Guillaume Pradoura"

Marine Le Pen’s Party  likes a laugh…

The Rassemblement National (RN) stands at 23,5% in polls for the European elections, just ahead of Macron’s list, for En marche at 22,5% (Européennes : un nouveau sondage donne le Rassemblement national devant En Marche ) In another poll more than a third of French people are reported to  have a “good opinion” of the far-right party (Plus d’un tiers des Français ont une bonne opinion du Rassemblement National).

This morning on Europe 1 Gilets Jaunes were interviewed on how they would vote.One said for Marine Le Pen’s party, the other would cast his ballot for La France insoumise.Meanwhile this  scandal around the picture of a Rassemblement National aide disguised in “funny” dress as a Rabbi has been hitting the French media headlines.
This is the background from Konbini news.C’est un nom inconnu du grand public. Et pourtant, Guillaume Pradoura est bien connu de la délégation du Rassemblement national (ex-Front national) au Parlement européen. Par son curriculum vitae d’abord. Actuellement assistant de l’eurodéputé Nicolas Bay, en 7e place sur la liste RN aux élections européennes, il a été un temps colistier de Marion Maréchal-Le Pen aux élections régionales de 2015.

He is unknown to the general public. And yet, Guillaume Pradoura is well known to the Parliamentary group of the Rassemblement national (RN) (former Front National) in the European Parliament. By his CV to begin with. He is currently assistant to the MEP Nicolas Bay, in 7th place on the list RN in the European elections. He was on the same election list as Marion Maréchal-Le Pen in the 2015 regional elections.

Guillaume Pradoura s’est d’abord fait un nom au sein de la mouvance identitaire avant de rejoindre le parti de Marine Le Pen. Un engagement qui lui permit de nouer de solides relations avec différents groupes nationalistes et néonazis européens. Au point de faire jouer son réseau pour aider un jeune Français proche du Ku Klux Klan à échapper aux forces de l’ordre, avait révélé Mediapart en 2016. L’assistant de Nicolas Bay avait alors expliqué au site d’information avoir “voulu l’aider, dans une sorte de réflexe paternaliste”.

Guillaume Pradoura first made a name for himself within the identitarian movement before joining the party of Marine Le Pen.  This was an engagement that allowed him to build strong relationships with different nationalist and neo-Nazi European groups. To the point of using his network to help a young Frenchman close to the Ku Klux Klan to escape the police, as Mediapart revealed in 2016. The assistant of Nicolas Bay had then tried to explain this by saying that he ” wanted to help, in a kind of paternalistic reflex’ .

He is now suspended from membership of the Rassemblement national.

RN : l’assistant de Nicolas Bay suspendu après s’être “déguisé” en juif sur une photo

The Rassemblement national (RN) announced Friday the suspension of Parliamentary Assistant to the European Parliament, RN Nicolas Bay after the broadcast of a photograph depicting him “disguised” as a Jew.

On this snapshot posted on social networks by MEP Sophie Montel, former activist of the National Front, Guillaume Pradoura is wearing a rabbi hat lined with curls. He grimaces in front of the lens, his hands twisted.

“Guillaume Pradoura is immediately suspended from the National Gathering and summoned before the conflict commission for the purpose of exclusion”, wrote Friday on his Twitter account the mayor of Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais) and vice-president of the RN, Steeve Briois.

At the beginning of the day on Radio Classique, Nicolas Bay had played down the importance of this “very old photo, which dates from 2012 or 2013” and spoke of “bad taste”.

This picture was initially defended by his boss,

“It was a dressing up, a simple bad taste joke  in a private setting” , said the former Vice President of the Front National Nicolas Bay,

Aide to far-right French politician pictured wearing Orthodox Jewish costume

Times of Israel.

Guillaume Pradoura, an aide to National Assembly leader Nicolas Bay, posing in 2013 while wearing an Orthodox Jew costume. (screenshot news.konbini.com via JTA)

JTA — An assistant of the general-secretary of France’s foremost far-right party was photographed grimacing while dressed as an Orthodox Jew and extending claw-like fingers at the camera.

Labeled by the French media as an “anti-Semitic caricature,” the image from 2013 of Guillaume Pradoura, which surfaced in social networks this week, exposed the National Rally – formerly National Front – to fresh criticism of anti-Semitism in its ranks.

Pradoura is the assistant of Nicolas Bay, ranked number 7 on the list for this month’s European Parliament elections by the National Rally under Marine Le Pen.

Bay dismissed criticism over the picture, saying that “it was a disguise, a mere joke made in bad taste made privately,” Kobini, a news site, reported Thursday.

Far-right candidate of the National Rally party Nicolas Bay, speaks during a media conference for the upcoming European elections next month in Strasbourg, eastern France, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party’s founder and father of it’s current leader, Marine Le Pen, has multiple convictions for denying the Holocaust and inciting racial hatred against Jews. His daughter has kicked him out of the party and vowed to stop expressions of anti-Semitism in its ranks.

 

Ireland, Irexit and the Manipulations of the British National Populist Right.

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National Populists Try to Enter Irish Politics.

(Thanks to Jim for this latest)

For anybody wishing to understand Brexit  Ireland is at the forefront.

Irish commentators, starting with Fintan O’Toole,  whose Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain has marked the whole debate, have written some of the finest articles and books on the issues involved.

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth O’Tool bit the National Populist right of Spiked,

“His sneering at Leave voters smacks of aristocratic elitism.” writes the hybrid Norman surnamed Michael Fitzpatrick.

Anybody who knows Irish people, and left-wing activists in or from Ireland, will realise that a great deal is at stake.

For those who have been asleep for the last few years this is the sticking point,

Brexit: What is the Irish border backstop? BBC.

A key part of the Brexit negotiations was about the border that separates Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Last month, EU leaders approved a withdrawal deal with the UK that includes an agreement on the Irish border.

Both sides committed to avoiding the return of a “hard border” – physical checks or infrastructure – after Brexit.

This is where the controversial “backstop” comes in.

The backstop is a position of last resort, to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal.

At present, goods and services are traded between the two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland with few restrictions.

The UK and Ireland are currently part of the EU single market and customs union, so products do not need to be inspected for customs and standards.

..

And that had been a problem in the UK?

That is an understatement.

If a backstop only applied to Northern Ireland, then the customs and regulatory border would essentially be drawn down the middle of the Irish Sea.

Goods coming into Northern Ireland from elsewhere in the UK would have to be checked to make sure they met EU standards.

Any separate status for Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK is seen as potentially damaging to the union as a whole.

As such, Prime Minister Theresa May continually rejected the EU’s proposal saying it would threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK.

She suggested a backstop that would see the UK, as a whole, remaining aligned with the EU customs union for a limited time after 2020.

Her proposal, published in June, contained nothing about single market regulatory issues, which are probably more important than customs in terms of maintaining a soft border.

The highly recommended Sráid Marx An Irish Marxist Blog discusses the left’s response in depth.

He analyses this aspect of the thorny subject with all the seriousness it needs, in a 3 part series,

Should socialists support a border poll? 1

One consequence of Brexit has been louder demands for a border poll and the legitimacy of a test of support for a united Ireland, on the basis that Brexit breaches the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).

I have argued before that Brexit does not breach the GFA although it does exacerbate its failures and does involve increased tension between the British and Irish Governments, who are the custodians of the agreement.  It does catalyse increased instability and it does give rise to expectations that support for a united Ireland will have increased as a result. I have also argued that while this may be the case it is unlikely that a poll would result in a vote within the North for a united Ireland.

Those following the issue have not failed to notice that after its creation earlier this year a party in Ireland advocating Irexit, Irish withdrawal from the EU has got publicity. The Irish Freedom Party, also known as Irexit Freedom to Prosper (IrishÉire Amach: Cumann na Saoirse).

It began with this in February.

 Last weekend, a group of 600 people, drawn to an appearance by leading Brexit flame-fanner Nigel Farage in Dublin, showed that there is some public appetite for an exit from the EU like the British, or at least that more questions be asked about the direction the EU is heading in.

Irexit: Could it be Ireland’s next big political movement?

But it was this, in March, which grabbed wider attention:

British Far Right Extremism Manipulating Ireland

Irexit Parody. Medium.

This story covers the evidence of ongoing British far right groups trying to influence Irish people towards an Irish exit from the EU. These people do not have Irish people’s interests at heart. It is about pushing their own personal Anti-EU, right-wing messaging, while pretending the genesis of that project originated within Ireland.

The excellent article should be read in full but this should whet people’s appetite.

About a month back, after seeing endless UK based social media accounts pushing Irexit, I was drawn into trying to figure out where these accounts originated. The Irexit party seemed to have an official party website created by a fake web development company. (I did get to the bottom of who runs that but I don’t believe they are relevant to this story). However, I also noticed the unofficial social marketing campaign around Irexit, was being run under the Muintir na héireann website and social media accounts. This is where in the terms and conditions of the Muintir na héireann website, I found the first link to infamous British far right individuals. Muintir na héireann’s terms and conditions pointed to the same address as the European Knights Project and Liberty Defenders..

Jack Sen, real name Dilip Sengupta, is a self-styled spin doctor for nationalist movements. He manages websites and social media campaigns to promote his own beliefs and those of prominent figures in far right extremism. In between his regular Skype’s with David Duke (former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan), Jack Sen took time to run for election with his associates within UKIP, only to be thrown out at the last minute for public anti-Semitism comments about labour candidate Luciana Berger’s Jewish ethnicity.

This is the conclusion:

Some serious questions do need to be asked.

  1. Why would, after throwing him out of UKIP, Nigel Farage and/or his associates again use or aid a known neo nazi, to support the Irexit campaign?
  2. How would Hermann Kelly, who lives in brussels working in PR for Nigel Farage’s EU party EFDD, be allowed the freedom to return to Ireland to form a new anti-EU party, without that being the express wishes of Nigel Farage himself?
  3. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  4. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  5. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  6. After Hermann Kelly’s involvement in libertas and that funding fiasco, why would our media choose to give this even a second worth of airtime to platform the next move? https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/politics/ganley-confirms-libertas-got-cash-from-hedge-fund-group-102147.html
  7. Finally it is clear that the Irexit Party do not stand alone but have the backing and support of a cabal of other “independent” candidates and parties. Why do irish people have to go to some random twitter account to see this? Why is our established media not better at explaining these interconnections to our voters? More on the interconnections here — https://twitter.com/IrexitP/status/1126986431065415681/photo/1

Parts of the Irish left, such as the Communist Party of Ireland and the Socialist Party also oppose EU membership, though the latter is not clear if this means just Brexit or Irexit as well.

The Socialist Party, which has 3 TDs in the Dail, makes this observation,

It is essential that the workers’ movement also considers the potential impact of the withdrawal agreement on sectarian divisions in the North. The draft agreement outlines a scenario in which there will be a developing East-West border. This will increase sectarian tension and weaken workers’ unity, and we are opposed to the agreement on this basis. The trade union movement should reverse its current position and come out against the draft agreement.

We have been warned that if the agreement is not voted through the UK will crash out of the EU, and a hardening of the North-South border will then be “inevitable”. If this were to happen it will increase sectarian tension and weaken workers’ unity. We are resolutely opposed to this scenario too. We do not accept that border checks or controls on the North-South border are in fact inevitable. The trade union movement must oppose, and refuse to implement when possible, such measures.

The Brexit Calamity & the Role of the Workers Movement

How this can be reconciled with their backing Brexit, and how such a result could happen, is, apparently a matter for the workers’ movement, in some misty land where everything turns out right if the correct line is followed.

Since the Socialist Party has yet to support Irexit we are left even deeper in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enoch Powell, Europe, Farage, the Working Class and the Brexit Party.

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Image result for paul foot enoch powell

Founder of British National Populism.

Enoch Powell was the first post-war politician in Britain to take an openly racist political position.

He, above all amongst Conservatives, is still recognised as a key political figure of the late 20th century.

What is is his legacy?

This is a helpful summary:

The ‘ultimate impact’ of Powell on the discourse on immigration and ‘race relations’ in Britain was ‘to shift it further to the right’.[7] Also taken up by Margaret Thatcher in her 1978 statements on immigration on Granada TV’s World in Action, Powell’s remarks have provided a rudimentary framework for attacks on immigration and multiculturalism ever since.

The Legacy of Enoch Powell. Hatful of History.

Paul Foot wrote his obituary in 1998.

Everyone who wrote about him was certain of one thing: Enoch Powell was not a racist. He ‘said things we didn’t agree with’ (Tony Blair). He was ‘an extreme nationalist, but not a racialist’ (Denis Healey). He inspired racialists ‘but was not a racialist himself’ (Tony Benn). The Tory papers which revered him and called for parliament to be prorogued in his memory would not contemplate the possibility that he was a racialist. The unanimity was complete. Which is all very odd because the most important thing by far about Enoch Powell was that he was a racist pig of the most despicable variety.

The point is easily proved. In a private speech to lobby correspondents some years before he started speaking in public on immigration, he said, ‘Often when I am kneeling down in church I think to myself how much we should thank god, the holy ghost, for the gift of capitalism.’ Powell believed in capitalism just as a religious nut believes in the holy ghost. When fighting elections in Wolverhampton he would spell out the ‘simple choice’ between ‘free enterprise and a planned society’. He gloried in what he called the symmetry of capitalism. Ponderously, with a deliberate form of speech which many mistook for careful thought, he explained how the market drove and inspired the capitalist economy to ever higher summits of perfection. There was only one condition: that capital should be left to find its own place and its own direction.

Beyond the Powell

Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, in 1968,  issued dire warnings about the impact of immigration, was followed by these working class actions,

After the “Rivers of Blood” speech, Powell was transformed into a national public figure and won huge support across the UK. Three days after the speech, on 23 April, as the Race Relations Bill was being debated in the House of Commons 1,000 dockers marched on Westminster protesting against the “victimisation” of Powell, with slogans such as “we want Enoch Powell!” and “Enoch here, Enoch there, we want Enoch everywhere”. The next day, 400 meat porters from Smithfield market handed in a 92-page petition in support of Powell, amidst other mass demonstrations of working-class support, much of it from trade unionists, in London and Wolverhampton.

This was only the tip of the iceberg. At the end of April showed that 74% of those asked agreed with his speech and only 15% disagreed, with 11% unsure. The controversy divided the country, with many working class people backing Powell. One of my father’s brothers, a shop-steward in a car-plant in the Midlands, agreed with the Tory Toff. For over a decade my Dad refused to speak to him. In my North London secondary school some of the cockneys (often skinheads) and my friends had fights over ‘Good ol’ Enoch’.

Powell was also an ardent opponent of British membership of the European Union, or Common Market/European Economic Community, was it was known in the 1970s.

This was his view. on what was at stake over British membership of this alliance of states based on pooled sovereignty.

The House of Commons is at this moment being asked to agree to the renunciation of its own independence and supreme authority—but not the House of Commons by itself. The House of Commons is the personification of the people of Britain: its independence is synonymous with their independence; its supremacy is synonymous with their self-government and freedom. Through the centuries Britain has created the House of Commons and the House of Commons has moulded Britain, until the history of the one and the life of the one cannot be separated from the history and life of the other.

 Do not be deceived. With other weapons and in other ways the contention is as surely about the future of Britain’s nationhood as were the combats which raged in the skies over southern England in the autumn of 1940. The gladiators are few; their weapons are but words; and yet the fight is everyman’s.

Speech at Newton, Montgomeryshire (4 March 1972), from The Common Market: Renegotiate or Come Out

It does not take much to see these views echoed in the present Brexit debate, from the European Research Group to Spiked and the Full Brexit.

Powell as a National Populist, with race, nation, People., Sovereignty, all welded together by a demagogue.

In 1974  Powell took this line:

Powell described British membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) as “if there be a conflict between the call of country and that of party, the call of country must come first” and went on to say: Curiously, it so happens that the question ‘Who governs Britain?’ which at the moment is being frivolously posed, might be taken, in real earnest, as the title of what I have to say. This is the first and last election at which the British people will be given the opportunity to decide whether their country is to remain a democratic nation, governed by the will of its own electorate expressed in its own Parliament, or whether it will become one province in a new European superstate under institutions which know nothing of the political rights and liberties that we have so long taken for granted.

Speech to an audience of around 1,500 people on 23 February 1974 about British membership of the EEC. 

If the electoral system had been different, if ‘start up’ virtual parties, funded by right-wing millionaires and far right US allies had existed, who knows if Powell would have done. He could have led a political force, like the Brexit Party., As it was Powell’s only direct political intervention of any electoral significance was perhaps his call in 1974 to vote Labour, in the belief that they would oppose British membership of the EU.In the 1975 Referendum over EEC membership.

During the 1975 contest  Michel Foot and other left figures of the Labour Party, such as Peter Shore, Barbara Castle, and the right-winger Eric Varley  opposed to EEC membership notoriously appeared on platforms with Powell. Tony Benn would also campaign against the Common Market. The Communist Party of Great Britain clung onto the ‘No’s shirt tails.

Powell ended his political career as an Ulster Unionist, a group whose presence is a key to present Tory turmoil over Brexit

For reasons rooted in their own support for a Sovereign Britain free to make deals with the un-elected WTO, the remains of this patriotic left are keen to underline working class support for Brexit.

The Brexit Bolsheviks even have a direct line to  how the working class thinks.

During the week the daily of the Labour boycotting Communist Party of Britain, the Morning Star had this editorial during the week.

Labour must recapture the anger of working-class Leave voters

The rising index of voters signifying their intention to vote for Farage’s Brexit business entity is the direct consequence of the failure of our deeply unrepresentative parliamentary system to give effect to the Brexit vote and, more directly, it is the product of a deepening reservoir of contempt for mainstream politicians.

The Labour Party’s big losses are among people where the Leave vote signified working-class anger.

This is not a healthy situation. Labour needs to recapture its insurgent spirit and find a shared language with the millions of people it needs if it is to form a government.

These are among the millions who seem unprepared to vote for its candidates in next week’s election.

Yet what exactly is the electoral basis of this ‘anger’?

Yesterday Peter Kellner demolished some myths about the working class anti-Brexit vote.

The polls are clear – Labour’s Brexit tactics are failing spectacularly. Peter Kellner

The party is haemorrhaging votes in the mistaken belief that the leave tendency is driven by its working-class base

“A YouGov analysis of more than 25,000 voters suggests the following division of leave voters in the referendum, linked to the 2017 election result.

• Middle-class leave voters: Conservative 5.6 million; Labour 1.6 million.

• Working-class leave voters: Conservative 4.4 million; Labour 2.2 million. (A few of the remaining 3.6 million leave voters supported smaller parties; most did not vote in 2017.)”

“So the largest block of leave voters were middle-class Conservatives, followed by working-class Conservatives. Just one in eight leave voters was a working-class Labour supporter. To be sure, had even half of these 2.2 million voters backed remain, the result of the referendum would be different. But to suggest that the referendum’s 17.4 million leave voters were dominated by working-class Labour supporters is simply wrong.”

Kellner concludes,

None of this addresses the wisdom of Labour’s policy towards Brexit and a new referendum. All it does is indicate that its policy is specifically haemorrhaging remain votes without enhancing its appeal to leave voters. If the party’s aim was to maximise support next week by appealing to both remain and leave Britain, it is failing spectacularly.

This is obviously far from the last word on the electoral sociology of this election.

As this indicates.

But the issue of those working class Brexit backers is above all a political one.

There are still Lexiters (left supporters of Brexit) who believe that the anger of what Kellner indicates is in a majority the rage of  conservative (both small and Big ‘C’) sections of the working class  and their counterparts in the Middle Class Tory voters,  contains within it the seeds of a genuine People’s Brexit, a fight against EU ‘neo-liberalism’.

The kind of “insurgent spirit” of the Smithfield Porters…

They are unlikely to be convinced by Kellner since they have a hotline to what the ‘real’ workers think.

In case others, fed up with the whole show, think this is a battle between two nationalisms, this should concentrate their minds.

The Brexit Party combines exactly the same extreme nationalism, hard line free-market policies as Powell.

Enoch Powell would not doubt have been happy to get this kind of support:

 

From Jean-Luc  Mélenchon’s Left Populism, Andréa Kotarac Defects to far-Right Populism.

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From Populist Left to Populist Far-Right.

Many on the French left have long been wary of La France insoumise, the self-styled Left Populist Movement, “point de ralliement (rally) of Jean-Luc  Mélenchon.

One issue has been its ‘sovereigntism’.

That is, putting the demand of popular sovereignty – against the ‘oligarchy’, domestic and European – at the centre of its politics.

A couple of days ago this type, Andréa Kotarac, decided that the far-right rally of Marine Le Pen, the  Rassemblement national, was a better bet for this nation-centred strategy.

French far-left candidate slammed as ‘stink bomb’ for defecting to far right

France 24.

High drama in the French campaign as a far-left candidate calls for voters to back the far right – earning the would-be MEP some choice insults from French far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Andréa Kotarac, a former regional adviser to Mélenchon’s far-left France Unbowed party (La France Insoumise), announced Tuesday that he was leaving the party and would instead back the far right in European Parliament elections in order “to block” President Emmanuel Macron’s Republic on the Move (La République en marche) party. Mélenchon responded by calling Kotarac a “stink bomb” and a “traitor”.

In fact there is already a legal process to stop Marine Le Pen’s Party using this support in their election publicity.

 

More:

Written by Andrew Coates

May 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Copying National Populism, the Left and Brexit.

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The ‘left’ that copied National Populism so much that it joined it.

The deeply affecting Retour à Reims, (2009, translated in 2018) by Didier Eribon  describes growing up gay in a hard working class area of Northern France. His parents who were manual labourers and cleaners. Eribon, who began a University career, and journalist on left of centre papers and magazines,  known for his critical writing on Michael Foucault and gay politics, stayed away from the city of his youth for many years.  His ‘return’  is  physical, visits, but it’s principally a trip through his memories.

Reims is hard to summarise in a few lines. Even so, for once the publisher’s puff is spot on. It is “breathtaking”.  Perhaps one outstanding theme is important for today, when we see national populism rise across Europe, and channel through the rise of the Brexit Party in the UK. In the sometimes harrowing pages he asked “how did people like his working class family who used to vote communist when he was a child, end up voting in such large numbers for the far right?

That is, how did large numbers of ordinary working people once on the left become voters, if not more, for the nationalist right.

“To be a communist had next to nothing to do with a desire to establish a government resembling the one found in the USSR … In working-class environments, leftist politics meant first and foremost a very pragmatic rejection of the experience of one’s own daily life. It was a form of protest, and not a political project inspired by a global perspective.”

Working Class.

His own answer focused on this, as Steven Pool put it in the Guardian review of he recently translated English version, “the problem, as he sees it, is that the left ended up abandoning talk of the “working class”, a political concept through which people could experience fellow feeling with others in the same boat. After the turn in the 1980s and 90s towards talk of individual rights and responsibilities, by contrast, this idea of group feeling, indeed of fraternité, had been atomised. And what took its place was the cynical exploitation and fomenting of anti-immigrant attitudes by the far right, which brought the working class back together but this time under a mood of hostile nativism rather than economic solidarity. The National Front, Eribon asserts, was now “the only party that seemed to care about them, the only one, in any case, that offered them a discourse that seemed intended to provide meaning to the experiences that made up their daily lives”.

Authoritarian Populism.

In his memoir Erbion refers to the work of Stuart Hall on authoritarian populism in The Hard Road to Renewal (1988),  and to Raymond William’s novel Border Country (196) inspired by his own working class origins. Hall tried to explain how people came to vote for Thatcher’s mixture of hard-line economic liberation through a cultural brand of law and order populism that ‘articulated’, gave voice to, their anxieties. Williams helped more personal insights into how somebody may move class but still be moulded by the ‘habitus’ (Pierre Bourdieu, a key reference) of his ‘popular’ (working class) background.

Erbion, who had been a Trotskyist in a group which ignored issues of identity (he does not name the tendency), as a gay man, asked, how can we neutralise this support for the far-right, or the drift to the more traditional right of his brothers?

The most recent – paperback –  French edition of Retour à Reims has an introduction by ‘Édouard Louis.

The gay writer was inspired by Erbion in his own more recent literary career, books which have an international impact (En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule  Le Seuil. 2014.  The End of Eddy. 2017) 

Louis has recently written Qui a tué mon père (2018). translated this year, Who Killed My Father.  It ends in a few moving pages where he rages against the French  welfare reform designed to attack “spongers”.  Since the new millennium  ‘reforms’, which cut disability benefits and  forced his father to accept low paid gruelling jobs, raised prescription charges  and which, through a reduction in Housing Benefit.

Louis’ anger is very easy to grasp in the country of Universal Credit and Pip Disability Tests.

Other themes are also easy to relate to.

For French Communist Party read the  ‘traditional Labour supporting’ North.

Does this exasperation following the end of the traditional working class and welfare reforms designed to compel people to be ‘flexible’ and turn to precarious jobs,  explain the rise of national populism?

Is part of its support mourning for the end of the traditional working class?

Is the Brexit Party surfing on this wave of emotion  able to direct people’s hatred onto the EU.

Anybody reading Lexit (pro-Brexit) left-wing material will find the idea that somehow the salt-of-the-earth working class have been ‘betrayed’ and ignored by the cosmopolitan elites including the rights based  left – not that Erbion or Louis romanticise  past or present workers, beginning with their own families...to say the least!

Today the Guardian publishes this essential read which deals with some of these issues, above all how can the left tackle the support for national populist parties, like the French Front National/Rassemblement National.

It takes apart some of what might be called the mythic interpretation of the working class.

Why copying the populist right isn’t going to save the left

Cas Mudde.

Among the old stalwarts of the centre-left, there is a simple explanation for the decline of the parties they used to lead: immigration. In recent interviews with the Guardian, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and the former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi all sounded the same note, declaring that Europe must “get a handle on migration” to stop right wing populism. Hardly a week passes without some candidate or columnist declaring that liberals will only regain power when they lock down the borders.

 

Mudde continues,

This dramatic shift in the rhetoric of ostensibly centre-left parties is part of a larger panic over how to halt the spread of right wing populism across the west in recent years. The conventional wisdom has been largely steered by a growing group of academics and pundits, often of the right or centre, who offer the same advice: social democratic parties will perish unless they take care of the “left behind” voters by limiting immigration. Some academics now even go so far as to openly defend white identity politics.

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities,” Eric Kaufmann’s polemic dressed up as social science is a key book in this respect. Although it ends with a call for a ‘civic’ inclusive nationalism, Kaufmann’s premis is the ‘naturalness’ of ethnic dislike. Policies have to adapt to this feeling, not try to change it.

The argument that a tougher stand on immigration will revive the social democratic parties – and arrest the rise of the radical right – is based on two basic errors, which together reflect a larger misunderstanding about the historic role of centre-left parties.

The first mistake is the widespread assumption that the rise of rightwing populism and the decline of traditional centre-left parties are two sides of the same coin – both caused by working-class voters abandoning the old social democrats for the nativist message of the new populist radical right. The second misperception, closely related to the first, is that the voters who now support the populist radical right are largely the white working class that used to vote reliably for social democratic parties.

As the data shows, both of these widely repeated assumptions stand on loose empirical footing. In fact, most populist radical-right voters are not working class, and the majority of the working class does not support the populist radical right.

Comrade Cass Mude states,

In fact, most voters for populist radical-right parties were not working-class – and most working-class voters did not vote for the populist radical right. A recent study found that “only” 31% of “production workers” and 23% of “service workers” voted for west European populist radical right parties between 2000 and 2015. And while the FN and Austria’s Freedom party are exceptions – with workers constituting 45% and 48% of their electorates, respectively – the figures are much lower for other such parties, with Italy’s Lega Nord at only 17%, for example.

I could not put this better,

Social democracy is an ideology that supports egalitarianism and social justice through the framework of liberal democracy and a mixed economy. Inspired by the Marxist concept of class struggle, social democracy aims to uplift all marginalised groups. But those who argue that centre-left parties need to pander to white anxiety about immigration are essentially saying that social democratic parties are first and foremost an interest group for “the working class” – which is always, in these accounts, assumed to be white.

..

The key to reviving the fortunes of social democracy is not to pander to the nativism of part of the white working class, but to embrace the ideas and policies that are fundamental to social democracy – egalitarianism, social justice, solidarity, the right to social protection and a comprehensive welfare state. These values represented a widely shared common sense for the vast majority of Europeans in the second half of the 20th century – before their hegemony was eroded by three decades of neoliberal ideas and policies. The only way back for social democracy is to fight to make these values dominant once again.

 In other words, we should be proud of our movement’s history, and seek to build a left bloc in society inspired by these values.

Democratic socialism is inclusive. Our greatest leaders, from Jean Jaurès to Rosa Luxemburg, stood for universal  rights, and universal rights against oppression and exploitation.

It is no more viable to adopt right wing ‘identity politics’ – not too far from the ‘Identitarian’ far right, than it is to develop a US-style politics of coalitions between interest groups, in its academic version a multiplicity of different ‘sectional’ struggles.

Chantal Mouffe, who has been amply criticised on this Blog, says,

What I call the ‘populist moment’ is marked by the multiplication of resistances to this post-democratic situation. Those resistances are manifesting themselves in many different ways, not necessarily in a progressive way. Those resistances are, in a sense, all expressing ‘democratic demands’ – demands for more democracy, for the people to have a voice. But these demands can be articulated in a xenophobic way. This is why we have seen the development of right-wing populism that claims ‘the problem has come from the immigrants’. Those demands, however, can also be articulated in a more progressive way, as a call for the extension and radicalisation of democracy. This is what I refer to as ‘left populism’.

For A Left Populism’: An interview with Chantal Mouffe

To this argument Mudde says,

Although Mouffe stays away from the nativism lite of some other left populists – most notably Sahra Wagenknecht and her new movement Aufstehen (Stand Up) in Germany – she also clearly targets the white working-class voters, particularly the ones the third way lost to the populist radical right. In several interviews Mouffe has said: “When citizens go to vote they see no difference between the choices facing them. That has allowed the development of right-populism. Marine Le Pen speaks to the pain of the popular classes, telling them that foreigners are the cause of their problems. We need another, opposed discourse built on the basis of equality.”

The left populists share the assumption that the (white) working class votes for the populist radical right out of economic anxiety rather than cultural backlash. Hence, once the left provides them with a better socio-economic alternative, they will no longer care about Islam and Muslims.

Another aspect it that trying to turn around national ‘affects’ (emotional bonds to the ‘nation’) in a left direction have not only failed in Spain (not least because the Spanish ‘nation’ is made of multiple nations) but in France where La France insoumise is down to under 10% in the most recent polls.

And this has happened, a leading member who has just announced his support for the far-right party of Marine Le Pen.

As Éric Faisson says,

..my point is not that immigration is a good economic deal, but, first, how come those who are supposed to think in terms of good deals and bad deals don’t acknowledge this, and, second, how come those who are supposed to be critical of all this actually buy into it. In fact, when people say we cannot afford to be nice to migrants because it would be against the interests of the people, they are buying the idea that it is a bad deal. My point is not to endorse the good deal argument but to question the bad deal one. It is really about the racialisation of economic issues, about how those who are racialised (and thus considered ‘naturally’ other or radically alien) are considered worthless, and then by the same token, about how those who are considered worthless are in turn racialised and treated as ‘other’. Such an approach avoids accepting as a fact the opposition between Whites and non-Whites.

He observes,

The problem with the populist strategy, for the left, is that it’s neither left nor a winning strategy. It was even less so during the latest presidential campaign in France: everyone played that same card at the same time, including Macron, with a rhetoric of ‘centre’ populism! Of course, my argument is not just about France. The same considerations apply to the United States. But another dimension becomes apparent there, thanks to the availability of racial data. Trump’s success is not so much among working-class voters in general, but more specifically among the white working class. In a left-wing populist strategy, the racial dimension of the Trump vote is underestimated, and the class dimension is overestimated – whereas it now seems clear that his critique of the establishment was always just an illusion.

Mudde ends with these inspiring paragraphs,

Social democracy needs to reassert its ideals in a way that is inclusive of all workers. It should return to the theory rather than the practice of European social democracy – an egalitarian ideology based on solidarity with all socially weaker groups and individuals, irrespective of class, race, or sexuality. In the early 21st century, throughout western Europe, a growing percentage of the shrinking working class will be female and non-white (or of immigrant descent).

..

The revival of social democracy will require a new cultural and political infrastructure, centred, at first, outside of electoral politics. It should include the trade unions, which, despite weakened membership and power, still have better connections to working people. It should include progressive minority organisations, particularly those focused on socioeconomic concerns, and new grassroots organisations, rooted in local communities.

Above all, to fight national populism we need to build the internationalist left.

The issue of immigration was and still is at the heart of the Carnival of Reaction that followed the Brexit referendum result.

It and the rhetoric of ‘betray’ are tied together.

An alternative begins with a pro-European internationalism against Brexit, in opposition to the Brexit Party and those who wish to copy the ‘populists’.

 

The latest on those who have copied the National Populists.

 

 

John Rees and Lindsey German on Farage and the Brexit Party – Don’t mention George Galloway!

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Rees and German in Happier Days.

John Rees and Lindsey German have been key people in the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Stop the War Coalition (StWC).

As effective leader of the People’s Assembly and  Convener of the StWC they have played a significant role in the most important left mobilisations of the new millennium.

Rees and German, who are also leaders of the revolutionary socialist Counterfire (a split from the Socialist Workers Party in 2010), campaigned for Brexit.

Their call for a “People’s Brexit” has got absolutely no echo in the labour movement and the wider public.

The demand for a General Election is a to will for something not in the gift of the Labour opposition.

Now they are trying to come to terms with the rise of Nigel Farage’s Plc, the Brexit Party.

They do not mention Farage backer Galloway, with whom they have a long and close bond, once.

The growth of Nigel Farage’s party is remarkable, but not unstoppable, argues JOHN REES (Morning Star)

Rees explains the high scores for Farage in the opinion polls.

Leave voters have no effective, unequivocal, voice in establishment politics. After three long years of watching the political Establishment twist and turn, squirm and prevaricate, the political system is held in even lower esteem than it was before the referendum took place.

In other words, everything that produced the Leave vote in the first place has become worse in the last three years while the political representation of those who voted Leave is still non-existent.

The secret of the Brexit Party’s success is that it has fill this void.

The Counterfire leader avoids any in-depth discussion about the Brexit Party, part of a wider, a Europe-wide, rise in national populism, its class basis, and the way a “virtual” populism can capture a voting audience. Or how the ‘sovereigntist’ politics of this brand of “insurgency” mix patriotic national “taking back control” with Hard right policies.

He  misses out promoting his own hobby-horse, the defunct People’s Brexit, though loses no time in underlining that Labour has missed the boat for its “divisions”.

The Labour Party is divided and appears to many Leave voters as if it is permanently held hostage by the majority Remain Parliamentary Labour Party and constantly pressured into compromise by the second referendum campaign.

So Leave voters have no effective, unequivocal, voice in establishment politics.

Now what might an unequivocal voice be?

Obviously for Rees one that opposes, those who “dismiss Leave voters as knuckle-dragging racists who simply have to be exposed to the expertly informed opinions of Michael Heseltine, Tony Blair, Vince Cable, and Caroline Lucas until they except the revealed truth.”

No mention of Love Socialism, Hate Brexit.

No mention of the strong left opposition to Brexit, and for a People’s Vote.

The People’s assembly leader has some interest in what he claims is a “couple” (actually four, Claire Fox, Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, James Heartfield and Stuart Waiton, ex-Revolutionary Communist Party members, now writing for Spiked), of left-wing Farage fanatics.

Farage has even managed to convince a couple of gullible and/or desperate former leftists to act as window-dressing for his own free-market, NHS privatising, xenophobia.

Honesty would compel him at this moment to register George Galloway’s support for Farage.

The far-right Express reported on April the 24th.

Galloway reveals why he has MUST support Brexit Party – ‘no other party I could vote for’

BREXITEER George Galloway has said it is “not a difficult choice” to support the Brexit Party in the event that Britain is made to stand in the European elections.

There is little doubt that years of close collaboration with the Man in the fedora explain this gap.

Rees stood as a candidate for Galloway’s Respect Party.

In 2012 Counterfire hailed this result, the ‘Bradford Spring’:

Galloway victory: a landslide against war and austerity

Years of dishonestly working with somebody widely known for what he is all too visibly today have left their mark.

Rees recommends,

Indeed, in order to avoid the appearance that Labour had colluded in a class collaborationist relationship which extracted the Tory government from the very deep pit into which it has dug itself, a more or less total surrender by the government would be necessary.

That isn’t going happen, so the negotiations need to end now because all they are doing is sending a message to disillusioned voters that the Labour Party is part of a political Establishment which has already lost their trust.

In short, it makes Farage look like the insurgent outsider and Labour look like pork-barreling insiders.

Fair enough many would say.

But this?

A return to mass rallies would be one vital step in restarting the popular dynamic of support for Corbyn.

But more is required. The essential element now missing — it’s a direct relationship with the mass movements from which Corbyn has historically drawn his strength.

Efforts to conjure up this mass movement by the People’s Assembly have come to little more than a few thousand strong demonstration in London earlier this year.

He commends “the protest outside the Tory Party conference in Manchester in the autumn called by the People’s Assembly and the trade unions.

What has changed since January? 

Lindsey German argues, as one would expect, in the same vein.

An insurgent right can only be fought by an insurgent left – weekly briefing

She notes of the Brexit Party,

Headed by the far-right politician Nigel Farage, the party is projecting itself as an honest, democratic outfit, fielding non-white candidates and some from the erstwhile left in order to appeal to voters across the board who voted leave.

Again no mention of Galloway.

German also has a history of work with the man in the jaunty head-gear.

Famously she defended this decision about the Respect Manifesto in 2005,

George Galloway did not like what he saw. In particular, he objected to the twin questions of gay rights and abortion, which, he insisted, would jeopardise hundreds, if not thousands, of votes in the East End. It was not so much the ordinary muslim voter who would be alienated, but the leaders of the mosque and groups like the Muslim Association of Britain, who might withdraw their backing and influence their followers to do the same.

..

As for the non-appearance of LGBT rights in the manifesto, comrade German made no direct reference to it, but she said: “The idea that this was not an issue is not true – we always took it up.” The other parties were always bringing it up, according to comrade German, claiming that Respect was pro-gay – and despite the fact that they had dropped it from the manifesto too!

Comrade German concluded, totally disingenuously, that the motion had been moved “in bad faith”. No, comrade, you voted for it in bad faith, seeing as you have no intention, if your behaviour at conference is anything to go by, of actually abiding by it.

Notoriously she had said: “I’m in favour of defending gay rights, but I am not prepared to have it as a shibboleth” (see Weekly Worker July 10 2003).

Gay rights ‘shibboleth’

German cannot resist her own version of Rees’ snide attack on opponents of Brexit – including again, if not mentioned, the internationalist left.

Those who have been pushing for a second referendum seem particularly perplexed by this but it has always been obvious that treating the 2016 result as if it simply hadn’t happened, or treating the result as the work of ignorant and stupid people, would help to strengthen the likes of Farage.

No text is cited for the “ignorant and stupid” remark.

And,

The problem is that Labour has been looking less and less like an insurgency. That’s bad enough, but now Farage is claiming the insurgency mantle. Labour needs to get back out on the streets, arguing and campaigning across the country.

Slogans about insurgency – as it can be conjured up by an act of will – cannot hide the fact that those  backing Brexit have contributed to the left’s difficulties.

This is the way forward.

 

 

Brendan O’Neill Gets the Hump about “McCarthyite assaults on everyone associated with the Brexit Party.”

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Far-right outfit, loopy too.

Brexit Party: The elite’s smears won’t work, because they just aren’t true.

Brendan O’Neill opines,

The elite is throwing a lot of shit at the Brexit Party, but it just isn’t sticking.

Ha! Ha! Ha! 

In extraordinary amount of character assassination – or rather, attempted character assassination. Claire Fox’s political past is dredged up, by those who clearly have nothing of substance to say about her political present and her arguments in defence of democracy.

As in:

As in,

Witness Nick Cohen’s boilerplate column in the Observer yesterday in which he bemoaned the media’s failure to shift politics away from Brexit and in a more ‘desirable’ direction – this is the wail of a collapsing establishment horrified that its fury and bluster and conspiracy theories make no impact whatsoever beyond certain parts of London.

Ha!

O’Neill terminates his prose peroration.

Call off the thinkpieces, park the conspiracy theories, chill your McCarthyite urges….]

Not a bleeding chance me old china!

 

See also: on Medium John Rogan

The Resistible Rise of the National Populist Brexit Party.

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Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party and National Populism.

Last week Lewis Goodhall published a widely read piece,  Brexit: The conditions are ripe for the biggest backlash imaginable. The “referendum itself might be considered as mere prologue to the main populist act” the Sky political correspondent observed, “ultimately, the referendum will be best understood as the apotheosis of a eurosceptic battle, not as the populist war itself.” Attending a public meeting of the Brexit Party he observed, “I’ve never been to a Trump rally – but I imagine, from everything I’ve seen and heard – that what I experienced on the Fylde wasn’t a million miles away.”

Today opinion polls put the party that is standing in the European elections on the ‘simple’ programme of leaving the European Union with no withdrawal agreement is outperforming Labour and Conservatives combined.

The Observer reports today,

The Opinium survey for the Observer places the Brexit party on 34%, when people were asked how they intended to vote on 23 May, with Labour slipping to 21% and the Conservatives collapsing to just 11%. Ominously for Theresa May, support for the Tories at the European elections is now less than a third of that for Farage’s party, and below that for the Liberal Democrats, who are on 12%.

The Brexit Party was formally launched on the 12th of April. It is now standing candidates across the country for the 23rd of May contest and intends to run in the next General Election. Apart from the support from former Conservative Minister Anne Widdecombe and Annunziata Rees-Mogg the sister of leading Tory Brexiteer, Jacob Rees Mogg, the party attracted attention for the candidacies of former Revolutionary Communist Party members, Claire Fox, Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, James Heartfield and Stuart Waiton now contributors to the Trump admiring libertarian Spiked. George Galloway, former leader of the ‘socialist’ Respect, endorsed the list. A microscopic group the Communist Party of Great Britain-Marxist Leninist, has joined in, calling for support and the hardest Brexit possible.

Matthew Goodwin, the author with Roger Eatwell of National Populism (2018) considers that the Brexit Party indicates that Farage’s party shows that in Britain  “political de-alignment’ is underway. With some echoes of Trump’s support, the Brexit Party is part of the rise in Europe national populist parties. There are conflicts over “values”, “Brexit is certainly one of them but there are many others such as immigration, terrorism, refugees, climate change, minority rights and the steady advance of social liberalism.” Goodwin concludes that this “is also coinciding with a breakdown of tribal loyalty to the main parties, which is making it easier for new populists and other challengers to break through.” (1)

In 2014 Christophe Gilley (Le Crépuscule de la France d’en haut) developed a similar theme. The tribune of la France “périphérique”, the ‘left behind” zones away from the globalised metropolises, asserted that political disaffection led to the “marronage” (on the model of the runaway slaves called ‘maroons’ who established their own free communities in the Caribbean) of the “popular” classes from traditional political parties. For the author voting for (what was then) the Front National indicated defiance of the “modèle mondialisé” (2)

National Populism.

National Populism is a sketch of these populist parties, largely centred on Europe. From UKIP, the French Front National (now Rassemblement National) – never in government – to President Trump, Orban’s Hungary, Matteo Slavini’s  Lega in Italy, the Freedom parties in the Netherlands and Austria.

To explain their growth the book begins with some reasonable sounding phrases, concern at  “rapid ethnic change” a fear of relative deprivation, under the effects of  “neoliberal globalisation” (whose economics are not explored). It continues with the perceived threat of  “ethnic destruction” as the springboard for the National Populist demand for “national independence and identity”. The book ends with this claim, “We do not think the term “racism” should be applied solely because people seek to retain the broad parameters of the ethnic base of country and its national identity, even though this can involve discriminating against outside groups.” (3)

Goodwin’s earlier study of UKIP (with Robert Ford) described Farage’s old party as appealing to “the ageing, shrinking and left behind white working class” which Labour had ignored in its “modernising” years under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. This continues to another sweeping generalisation, “White working class voters no longer saw Labour as a party sensitive to their concerns but as part of the problem.” (4)

It is too early to map the sociology of the Brexit Party. Or to indicate to what degree ‘ethnic’ issues motivate its supporters. But perhaps Goodhall offers a clue. In an outline of the pro-Brexit forces from an after the Referendums, he states, “It was not so much people versus elites but a clear coalition of wealthy and poor, connected and isolated, northern and southern. Far from an outsider clique, its campaign leaders were senior cabinet minister The Brexit Party’s message is simple and familiar: they took your country from you, now they’ve taken your democracy too. And “they” are the elites, those who hate the culture of the people, the values of the people, the democracy of the people.”

A central feature of the Brexit Party itself has yet to be examined. It is, in the mould of a number of new European populist parties, not just Leader dominated but entirely the property of one Nigel Farage. It is, he says, “a company not a political party“. This is in many senses a trait not just of right wing populists. Farage’s rival French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche, was created like a business ‘start up’ and has only a gestural internal life. La France insoumise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is a “movement” a “un lieu de Rassemblement” that is a rallying point, with no competing internal platforms. Policies are decided on-high and then approved by E-Mail. As quickly as anybody who displeases the owner of the Brexit Party critics of Mélenchon discover that they are out on a limb. (5)

Farage’s outfit is everything but the creation of the ‘left behind’ the peripheral regions, the downtrodden working class. It has nothing in common with the British labour movement, created by workers themselves. It is the spin of ponces working in offices on the model of Trump and his alt-right communication specialists – a milieu Farage, along with finance capital, is intimately linked with. It is, and in this we agree with Goodwin, if nothing else, it is national populist, putting their idea of the nation above everything else, against the “non-people”, the rootless cosmopolitan internationalists. That is, it is against the left, the labour movement, and democratic politics.

Betrayal

The Brexit Party has one main story, that of ‘Betrayal”. Apart from the hard-right media, such as the Express, this is promoted by the former leftists of Spiked,  “This betrayal narrative” states Chris Gilligan “that Spiked share with Farage, George Batten (UKIP’s new leader) and Tommy Robinson (former figurehead of the far-right English Defence League (EDL), and currently an ‘adviser’ to UKIP), is a recurring theme in Spiked commentary on Brexit.” Spiked itself boils it down to demanding democracy against the willful manipulations of pro-EU politicians. (6)

This portrayal of the Brexit issue as a conflict between the “democracy of the people” and the treacherous ‘Oligarchy’ may be hard to shape by advocates of Left-wing populism. Chantal Mouffe has spoken of how all demands for democracy could be taken up by the left, may find hard to reshape in their own image. The Brexit Party has, if nothing else, a “strong libidinal investment” in its national “form of identification”. Jean-Luc Mélenchon declares in an interview with El pais this week, that he continues to consider himself not in terms of left and right but in relation to ” “El pueblo y la oligarquía” , the people (against) the oligarchy Jean-Luc Mélenchon ( “Los tratados de la UE niegan a Francia sus necesidades”). But only under 10% of French voters identify with his rally as part of the People. (7)

The difficulty becomes all the more acute in that a large part of the British left, inside or outside the Labour Party has not stood up for the democracy of the peoples, a project to work with the rest of the European left to transform the European Union. There have been feeble attempts to ignore the need to confront Farage, and describe the British divisions over Brexit as a conflict between “two” rival nationalisms. Rhetoric about ‘elites’ may not have reached the paranoiac delirium of Jaun Banco’s recent Crépuscule and its attack on the “imperium” of the “oligarchie parisienne”. But we have seen in the Full Brexit (which brings together Communist Party of Britain members and Spiked writers, including the Brexit Party candidate James Heartfield), and in the writing of New Left review contributor, Wolfgang Streeck, a willingness to indulge the fantasies of the hard-right about a European Empire.  (8)

Is it any wonder that the Weekly Worker prints this last Friday,

The second important motion debated concerned LAW’s attitude to the European elections – especially in view of George Galloway’s call to support the right wing Brexit Party on May 23. Perhaps surprisingly, this had been met with various degrees of approval from some Lexiteers, including comrades on LAW’s unofficial Facebook group.

Can the Labour Party’s European election campaign “unite” both sides of the Brexit debate? Given the issues discussed here, nothing is less probable. The Brexit Party is more than a virtual ballot box and Net operation: it has tapped into public opinion. Only a sustained effort to uproot them, to face them down with an internationalist pro-European stand, and work to expose their hard right, anti-popular politics, can build the electoral coalition to defeat them. If need be street action against the Brexit Bullies may be called for.

Today,

Nigel Farage has meltdown on Andrew Marr accusing him of ‘worst interview ever’.

Nigel Farage flew into a rage at Andrew Marr during a heated exchange, accusing the BBC presenter of ‘the most ridiculous interview ever’. Farage grew increasingly incensed throughout the interview after Marr repeatedly brought up a series of controversial comments the Brexit Party leader had said in the past. He was asked whether he still supported ‘replacing the NHS with a private insurance based system’ and also whether he still believed global warming was the ‘stupidest thing in human history’. The Brexit Party leader also appeared to forget he had advocated a second referendum on membership of the EU, after telling Marr that conducting one would be ‘the ultimate betrayal’. Marr proceeded to play a clip from January 2018, where Farage said ‘we should have a second referendum’. Growing increasingly frustrated, he told Marr: ‘Do you want to discuss these European elections or not?

*****

  1. Are these the last gasps of our old political order? Matthew Goodwin. Unherd. 5th of May.  See also his: The end of trust in our political class

  2. Page 174. Christophe Gilley Le Crépuscule de la France d‘en haut 2017 (2014)

  3. Page 75 National Populism. The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. 2018.

  4. Page 133. Revolt on the Right. Explaining Support for the radical Right in Britain.  Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin. 2014.
  5. À propos du mouvement «La France insoumise». Mélenchon. “ les processus de « démocratie interne » sont également à l’œuvre. Mais dans le mouvement, on s’efforce de ne jamais en faire un sujet de conflictualité interne. Il n’y a donc pas de « majorité », de « minorités », pas de plateformes concurrentes, pas d’orientation générale opposée les unes aux autres. Autrement dit : le mouvement se soucie d’abord d’être inclusif et collectif davantage que formellement « démocratique », sachant à quelles violences et dérives conduisent les soi-disant pratiques « démocratiques » organisées par les règlements intérieur des partis traditionnels. Le mouvement n’a qu’une référence idéologique commune a tous ses membres : le programme.
  6. Brexit and ‘left’ cover for Farage and UKIP by Chris Gilligan
  7. Page 71. For a Left Populism. Chantal Mouffe. Verso. 2018.
  8. Wolfgang Streeck – The European Union is a liberal empire, and it is about to fall

Socialist Labour Party Wins Over Hartlepool Councillors.

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Proud and Patriotic Socialist Labour Party on ‘Brexit Day’.

The Socialist Labour Party, founder Arthur Scargill, still exists (thanks to Steve and for more information, John).

In the news today,

SLP Welcomes Hartlepool Councillors

We are delighted to announce that Hartlepool borough councillors, Allan Barclay and Sandra Belcher, have joined Socialist Labour. On behalf of the SLP they will contest the local elections on 2nd May

With many years of service to the people of the town, Councillor Belcher who represents Jesmond Ward and Councillor Barclay who represents Manor House ward will carry the flag for Socialist Labour in Hartlepool

All our members, supporters and voters we feel sure will join us in congratulating our councillors who have declared their support for our policies. We wish them every success on 2nd May

STOP PRESS Since the local elections FOUR more Hartlepool councillors have quit Labour and joined the SLP.

The Hartlepool Mail reported on Thursday.

The leader of Hartlepool Council Christopher Akers-Belcher has tonight resigned from the Labour Party, as have Marjorie James and Ann Marshall.

Councillor Akers-Belcher told the Mail his decision came on the back of what he says has been a lack of action by the party over complaints about “ongoing bullying, harassment, racism and anti-Semitism” which he submitted in August and then again in October.

He said he had told senior officers within the party he did not intend to lead for another term, but that conflict between them continued, and that his predicted fall in support for the party across the Tees Valley has been realised because of the issues.

The resignations by Coun Akers-Belcher and Coun Marshall, who both represent the Foggy Furze wards, and Coun James, who is a ward member for Manor House, follow in the footsteps of others, who have left to join the Socialist Labour Party.

They include Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, who was initially suspended from Labour before he resigned and is Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher’s husband, Allan Barclay, who lost his seat in last week’s local election after standing for the Socialist Labour Party, and Coun Sandra Belcher, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher’s mother.

On Brexit they  they have published this, (April).

The British people and Socialists voted to leave this bastion of Capitalism which is based on a Customs Union, a Single Market and Free Movement of Workers and Capital.

So far Britain’s membership of the EU has cost British workers jobs, an annual deficit in trade with the EU of over £85 billion, an annual membership fee of £25 billion plus being ruled be
unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

In the name of all those who fought for freedom, I call for a ‘No Deal’ exit from the evil European Union.

Arthur Scargill Leader, Socialist Labour Party 3rd April 2019

Here is their call for a Boycott of the European Elections.

PRESS RELEASE
Boycott EU Elections Says Scargill

The Socialist Labour Party has repeatedly made clear it will not stand any candidates in the European elections or support any party, organisation or individual standing in these elections.

Participation in these elections is in breach of the democratic vote of the British people in 2016. The SLP’s position was clear long before that of the Communist Party of Britain and/or the Morning Star, or any other body or individual still confused.

The SLP also urges that as many Party members as possible should stand in local authority elections, thereby conveying our message on not only a local but national and international basis to voters within those boundaries.

We will never have a fair, democratic electoral system in the United Kingdom until we introduce a system based on proportional representation: a principle which was a cornerstone of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. The French government has just conceded it will introduce democratic proportional representation for all elections, and the UK must be  pressured to do the same.

Arthur Scargill Leader, Socialist Labour Party 26th of April.

 

Paul Embery Resurfaces in Row with Jess Phillips and Defence of Danny Baker.

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Pledge card for a post-Brexit manifesto. 

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) official (Executive Council), Spiked Contributor, Full Brexit supporter, and head of the  Arron Banks funded Trade Unionists Against the EU, Paul Embery, came to wider attention this April after denouncing ‘rootless cosmopolitans’.

He was told to shut up by the highly regarded trade union the FBU.

Union official told to ‘cease’ social media after ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ tweet

On the Nigel Farage Brexit Party supporting Spiked site Embery was unrepentant,

This really captures the divide in our society, as I tweeted, between ‘a rootless, cosmopolitan, bohemian middle class’ and a ‘rooted, communitarian, patriotic working class’.

Bohemian, cosmopolitan, all words often in the air down at the Rose and Crown.

In fact not even bleeding used chez Coatesy except in quotes.

Embery continued,

These scarlet-faced witch-finders are a threat to free speech, and they need to be faced down remorselessly.

The labour movement has turned against the working class

Now he continues his battle for free speech:

In a lengthy thread this can be signaled;

In an attempt to cover his arse he added,

Now he is engaged in a war on another front.

Jess Phillips may not be everybody’s cup of tea.

But she often says things that need saying, even if you disagree with her.

She lives in Brum.

Her children go to an ordinary Birmingham state school. She is seen in the local supermarkets.

I have not heard the city called “metropolitan liberal” before.

Wikipedia says,

Phillips left the Labour Party during the years of Tony Blair‘s leadership, rejoining after the 2010 general election. She told Rachel Cooke in her interview in The Guardian it was because her parents stopped paying her membership direct debit. Her period at Women’s Aid made Phillips “utterly pragmatic… I learned that my principles don’t matter as much as [people’s] lives.”In the 2012 local elections, she was elected as a Labour councillor for the Longbridge ward, taking the seat from the Conservatives.

Embery claims he aims to restore a “sense of belonging”,

Where we currently have disunity and atomisation throughout our communities – not least because identity politics proliferates – we must foster instead a spirit of civic nationalism that generates a sense of belonging, patriotism and shared citizenship between all of our people. (How to fix Britain after Brexit)

Beginning by insulting comrade Jess Phillips.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 11, 2019 at 11:15 am

After Brexit Failures National Populists in Continental Europe Pull Back from ‘Frexit’ and ‘Italexit’.

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Frexit no longer popular even on Far-right.

For some months there have been reports in the French press that the far-right Rassemblement national (RN) of Marine Le Pen has been distancing itself from Frexit, the demand that France leave the European Union.

Some small French far-right parties continue with this policy, notably the L’Union populaire républicaine of François Asselineau and the Front National  (which is the now the RN) break-away,  Les Patriotes of Florian Philippott. The demand is sometimes echoed by a fringe of the Gilets Jaunes. (1)

But after speculation the RN itself formally announced this in April:

Européennes : Marine Le Pen renonce officiellement au Frexit dans son projet (France-Inter)

 Pour la première fois, noir sur blanc, Marine Le Pen n’évoque plus la sortie de l’Union européenne et de la zone euro.

For the first time, in black and white, Marine Le Pen does not mention leaving the European Union and the Euro zone.

Followed more recently by this speech, denouncing the European Union ‘prison’ without calling to escape from it.

Frexit had been a key RN policy right up to the party’s Presidential campaign in 2017.

Despite this turn the far-right party still has plenty of nationalist ‘reforms’ in mind starting with the abolition of the European Commission in favour of straight-forward intergovernmental negotiations, and continuing up to plans to impose harsh controls over all forms of migration inside or from outside the EU.

But this change indicates two things.

Firstly the disaster that is Brexit has deterred others following.

The second, is that if elected Farage’s Brexit Party will not find such willing allies in the European Parliament, out to join with them to do what they can to destroy the European Union.

There are also growing indications that European national populists face an obvious difficulty. How can nationalists, whose whole raison d’être is to promote ‘their’ nation’ work with those with the same basis in other nations in an international project.

A further point arises.

Former leftist, New Left Review author and Spiked contributor Wolfgang Streeck has staked his hopes on the Fall of the European Empire and such “anti-imperialist” (his description) forces as the German AfD on the far-right. (2)

It might seem that those, some claiming to be on the left, rubbing their hands in glee at the destruction of the European “liberal empire” with the help of the national populists may have been celebrating too soon. (2)

Today France 24 reports,

 France’s Marine Le Pen, Italy’s Salvini forge far-right alliance to ‘overhaul EU from within’

 

In a change of strategy, nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are now promising voters a far-right bloc to overhaul the EU from within. But experts say it will be difficult for nationalists across Europe to co-operate.

At present, the European far-right is split across three umbrella groups. In addition to its linchpins the National Rally and the League, the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) bloc has expanded to encompass the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD), as well as an array of smaller Scandinavian and Eastern European far-right parties.

However, other nationalist outfits such as Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party and the Swedish Democrats sit in the European Conservatives and Reformists group, while the UK’s Brexit Party and Lithuania’s Order and Justice are part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group.

..

In light of this fragmentation, “Salvini is trying to unite the far right populist groups ahead of the European elections”, in a new grouping that would further expand ENF, noted Vasiliki Tsagkroni, a lecturer in political science specialising in European populism at the University of Leiden, in an interview with FRANCE 24.

An integral part of this plan is Salvini’s and Le Pen’s gambit to woo a big beast of the European far-right, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidesz party was suspended from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) – currently largest group in the European Parliament – in March.

Amid the inextricable difficulties Brexit has created for the UK, Le Pen and Salvini have had to pivot towards proposing to upend the EU from within because they realised they had to ditch their previous vote-losing ‘Frexit’ and ‘Italexit’ agendas.

The National Rally 2019 European election manifesto contains no reference to leaving the euro or the EU – both key planks of Le Pen’s failed 2017 presidential campaign. “We didn’t have much choice: either we had to submit [to the EU] or we had to leave it. But now we have allies,” Le Pen glossed it. Likewise, Salvini’s League dropped its anti-euro stance in late 2018, with its economic spokesperson saying that leaving the single currency is “not possible”.

“Most of these far-right populist parties have understood that telling people they would leave the EU and the euro is scary,” explained Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the extreme right at the Fondation Jean Jaurès think tank in Paris, in an interview with FRANCE 24. “And the example of Brexit adds to this: the British know what they want to get out of, but they have no idea where they’re going.”

..

***********

(1) Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stepson is stepping into politics, and wants France to leave the European Union.

Aurélien Enthoven, 17, son of singer Carla Bruni and philosopher/broadcaster Raphaël Enthoven, has been campaigning for the Republican Popular Union (UPR), a nationalist party that supports leaving the EU, the newspaper Le Parisien reported Wednesday.

Enthoven was seen at the party’s pro-Frexit rally on May 1, wearing a Brexit “Leave means leave” T-shirt, and, according to Le Parisien, he contributed £25 to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

Note:  Opinion Poll, ” L’UPR rassemble 1,5% d’intentions de vote.”

(2) “Note also that what since the refugee episode of 2015 has become the biggest opposition party, the AfD, while nationalist, is so only in the sense of isolationist and anti-imperialist – and is, strangely enough, for this reason, branded by German liberal imperialists as “anti-European”. With benevolent reading, leaving aside for a moment the party’s disgusting fits of historical revisionism, AfD nationalism amounts to unwillingness to pay for empire, with corresponding willingness to allow other countries to do their own thing; see the party’s strong belief in appeasement instead of confrontation in relation to Russia, a belief it shares with the left wing of the Linkspartei.”  Wolfgang Streeck – The European Union is a liberal empire, and it is about to fall.

This is not how people on the left normally analyse the  racist far-right Alternative für Deutschland (Afd).

News from the Red-Brown Front, Galloway Withdraws from Peterborough Contest,

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 He used to be George Galloway you know.

 

Mr Galloway this evening confirmed he was pulling out of the race after missing out on the Brexit Party nomination which has gone to Secret Millionaire Mike Greene.

Mr Galloway tweeted: “I tried to persuade @Nigel_Farage to support my candidacy in #Peterborough to emphasise the broad democratic alliance the campaign must be and balance the candidatures of Ms Widdecombe and Ms Rees-Mogg. Now that the #Brexit Party have named their candidate I have withdrawn my own.”

Mr Galloway had never confirmed if he was standing as an independent or with a party, although he had been rumoured to be seeking the Brexit Party nomination.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, a former Conservative parliamentary candidate who is standing for the Brexit Party in the upcoming European elections, denied rumours earlier this week she wanted to be her new party’s candidate in Peterborough.

Ms Widdecombe, a former Tory MP who is also standing to be a Brexit Party MEP, had joined party leader Nigel Farage at a Brexit Party rally on Tuesday at the KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough.

Mr Greene’s candidacy was confirmed earlier this evening.

The Brexit Party is contesting its first ever parliamentary election but is currently the 10/11 odds on favourite to win according to Ladbrokes, just ahead of Labour which is evens.

There was a time, a happy time for Galloway, when he was the leader of the Respect Party, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, venerated by his close allies in the Stop the War Coalition, led by Counterfire’s Lindsey German, and his close friends, Seumas Milne and Andrew Murray, an alliance that brought together the Socialist Workers Party and (euphemistically named) ‘conservative’ Muslim Association of Britain.

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Then there was a schism, yet Galloway still pulled ’em in, with his comrades in Respect Renewal,  Ken Loach (now a sponsor of Labour Against the Witch-hunt),  Victoria Brittain, Salma Yaqoob and Nick Wrack.

Then, the divine surprise of the ‘Bradford Spring” when he was elected as MP again in the 2012 Bradford West by-election.

More rows followed after Galloway showed an understanding of sexual etiquette and excused his old mucker Julian Assange.

One of the last faithful, Yvonne Ridley, who had sought to keep Respect “zionist free” (Respect is a Zionist free party … if there was any Zionism in the Respect Party they would be hunted down and kicked out. We have no time for Zionists,”, stood in Rotherham in 2012 and gained 8% of the vote.

Since those happy days – he was defeated in Bradford in 2015 by Labour’s Naz Shah) Galloway has made a living on RT and other media outlets.

He has become something of a poet,

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This year things seemed to be looking up as Galloway contemplated becoming a modern version of Jacques Doriot, who was expelled from the French Communist Party in 1934 and founded the far-right Parti Populaire Français. Doriot culminated this distinguished career by supporting the Vichey regime, and then fighting for Hitler on the Eastern Front.

Now in a pensive mood the great man reflects after this snub:

In the meantime, he might find this interesting reading.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 9, 2019 at 10:28 am

Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) joins the Red-Brown Front.

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The harder the Brexit, the more the imperialists will be set back.

Galloway, Farage and the Brexit party

British workers are set to keep demanding Brexit at the upcoming EU elections.

There’s a parallel in the ‘unpardonable to stand with Farage’ line with that taken by many commentators and ‘historians’ who condemned the USSR for ‘standing with Hitler’ or, conversely, ‘standing with Churchill’ during WW2. In fact, the USSR stood with neither; she stood with the workers of the USSR and of all countries. But the tactical alliances she made enabled the Soviet Union to vanquish her mighty imperial enemies.

Brexit, as the CPGB-ML has emphasised since the beginning of the debate leading up to the referendum (in which 17.4 million voted to leave the EU, as opposed to 16.1 million who voted to remain), hurts European, British and US imperialism alike.

The harder the Brexit, the more the imperialists will be set back. Yes, some privileged workers will find that their privileges come under threat from this outcome, but that’s the way the winds of capitalist economic crisis are blowing in any case.

The CPGB (M-L) does not hesitate to cite the mouthpiece of the social-imperialists, RT…against ‘imperialism’.

This farrago continues:

Farage, like that other disrupter US president Donald Trump, may not realise that Brexit is against the broader interests of imperialism, but most of the other imperialists do.

What we are seeing on a global scale, decried as ‘populism’ by imperialist representatives and as a ‘massive shift to the right’ by the imperialist ‘left’ (social democrats, Trotskyites and revisionists), is, in fact, massive disillusionment with the effects of imperialist economic crisis and war, and consequently the established politics of imperialism.

It is the beginnings of a revolutionary temper among the masses, and only our weakness organisationally prevents communists from drawing mass support from this righteous anger and becoming a major force in British political life. This can change, but only if we adopt the correct attitude towards the working class’s desertion of the bourgeois parties: we must embrace it!

The CPGB-ML have thus decided to side with the vehicle of the most reactionary fraction of finance capital (the Brexit Party) against the working class and socialist movement.

Their modestly titled “tactical alliance” with national populists, dreamers of the British Empire, and self-serving free-market nationalists, excldues them from the left and all progressive forces.

It is to be hoped that their presence at any left or trade union event will be met with an appropriate response.

Here is their banner:

A useful history of red-brown alliances is given in this article.

An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left  (Anonymous)

This is particularly relevant.

The start of the Occupation of the Ruhr by France and Belgium in 1923, meant to force Germany to continue paying war reparations, however threatened this cooperation and resulted in rising nationalism in Germany, especially among the working class, and the Comintern subsequently pushed for cooperation between the Communists and the ultra-nationalists. In June 1923 Radek gave a speech to the Enlarged Executive Committee of the Comintern praising Leo Schlageter, a far-right Freikorps member who together with his unit joined the NSDAP in 1921 and engaged in sabotage against the French forces occupying the Ruhr before being executed by them in May 1923. This was a followed by a period of cooperation between the KPD and the Nazis against the Versailles Treaty during which KPD member Ruth Fischer infamously attacked “Jewish capital” in an attempt to appeal to Nazi students, and the KPD’s newspaper reprinted articles by members of the German far-right such as Arthur Moeller van den Bruck even as its rank and file members were fighting against fascists on the streets.

Radek notably declared,

I believe that the great majority of the nationalist-minded masses belong not to the camp of the capitalists but to the camp of the workers. We want to find, and we shall find, the path to these masses. We shall do all in our power to make men like Schlageter, who are prepared to go to their deaths for a common cause, not wanderers into the void, but wanderers into a better future for the whole of mankind; that they should not spill their hot, unselfish blood for the profit of the coal and iron barons, but in the cause of the great toiling German people, which is a member of the family of peoples fighting for their emancipation.

Known as the ‘Schlageter’ line this is ultimately the basis, a common interest between nationalists and national Bolsheviks, which is the ground of the CPGB (M-L)’s position.

It is not to be expected to have any real effect.

Except….by spreading political confusion it will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of the far-right.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 8, 2019 at 11:14 am

A World to Win. The Life and Works of Karl Marx. Sven-Eric Liedman. A Marxist Review.

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A World to Win. The Life and Works of Karl Marx. Sven-Eric Liedman. Verso. 2018. Translated by Jeffrey N. Skinner. (This appears in the latest Chartist magazine).

“I have attempted to explain not only who Marx was in his time” announces Sven-Eric Liedman, “but why he remains a vital source of inspiration today.” This major biography, published in Swedish in 2015, aims to offer a “portrait of Marx unobscured by what happened after his death.”

The book is also, the Preface to this English edition explains, a counterweight to Gareth Stedman Jones’ Karl Marx Greatness and Illusion, which appeared (2016) after the present work’s original publication. Jones, he asserts, tends to overshadow Marx’s own writings through his detailed portraits of the inspiration of his thought, and the early socialist and workers’ movement. Jones saw Marx’s crowning achievement in the years when the International Working Men’s Association, the First International, began to flourish, from 1864 to 1869. In that study this was the period when the author of Capital deployed “a language with which politically aware working men at the time could identify”.

Stedman Jones is known for an interest in the way language forms class. But he also stated that Marx was buoyed up by the belief that, “the process of a transition from the capitalist mode of production towards the society of associated producers had already begun.” It was this that propelled him to reach out to the activists in trade unions and the co-operative movement, associations that could change the course of history. It is from these origins that ‘Marxism’ took political shape.

Liedman, by contrast, is inspired by the approach of the largely German New Marx Reading (neue Marx-Lektüre) of figures such as Hans Georg Backhaus. This aims to show Marx’s ideas, not the Marxism that developed inside these movements. A large part of A World to Win is taken up with the conceptual analysis of Marx’s categories, from the method announced in the 1859 Introduction to the Grundrisse, that work itself, and the “unfinished Masterpiece” of Capital.

Marx nevertheless stood out as more politically active “than any other political thinker in the nineteenth century”. “In his own time”, Liedman states, “Marx was almost exclusively known as a politician.” He was “allied with the working class” acting for their liberation, the pivot of “the liberation of all humanity.” Liedman’s account of Marx’s involvement in radical German ‘young Hegelian politics’ is largely philosophical. But he soon brings the issue of industrialisation, the Industrial Revolution to the fore. The account of the 1848 Revolutions, above all in France, lacking Jones’ familiarity with  (largely French)  utopian socialism and communism, Christian social thinking, and early social democratic politics, portrays the bond between social and political revolution.

The International.

In the late 1860s Marx made a significant contribution to the International. While advancing his views on the “abolition of the wages system”, this involved “compromising” with a variety of socialist, anarchist and trade union forces. Spreading the word of “solidarity” between workers’ struggles (the body’s prime aim), to the “duty of the working classes to conquer political power” allowed for leeway between opposing viewpoints. But the months of the Paris Commune in 1871 saw Marx convinced again that “bloody conflicts as part of social development that would be hard to avoid.”

Liedman is less informative than Stedman Jones on why many of the British trade unionists recoiled from the Commune. It was not just that they considered it “rash” and “hopeless”. Their lack of sympathy extended to its plans for federal self-government faced with what was already the foundation, under initial Orléanist, constitutional Monarchist, and constitutional republican leadership, of the French Third Republic. Marx’s social democratic and republican rival, Louis Blanc, the veteran of the 2nd Republic, who would go on to serve in that Republic’s National Assembly, enjoyed great influence over the British radical movement. (2)

A World to Win gives substance to the ideas that Marx developed. This ranges from a discussion of Method, from the 1959 Introduction to the Grundrisse, the traps of the ‘metaphors’ of base and superstructure, the category of the “totality”, dialectics, form and content. There is a more accessible account of Marx’s studies of technology, machinery, and the industrial revolution, its downside for the working classes, and, Liedman’s forte, science. In this the book deploys with a welcome freshness greater textual resources than other recent biographies.

Was Marx, in this context, a pioneering thinker of globalisation? Liedman’s claims (he is far from the first)  about his “prophetic” insights are not wholly convincing. Joseph Addison talked in the Essay on the Royal Exchange (1711, Spectator No 69) of merchants who “knit mankind together in mutual intercourse”, and Ricardo, of free commerce creating a “universal society of nations”. Marx highlighted the planet-wide development, and, while not thinking it through, did not regard colonisation as a straightforward boon. In this respect, an observation that deserves underlining for critics of globalisation is Marx’s view, which he cites,  that, “free trade expedited the classless society”.

Benefits of the Doubt.

A World to Win, as a biography must, traces out a life. Liedman gives Marx the benefit of some weighty doubts on his behaviour towards his servant Helene “Lenchen” Demuth, his personal feuds (notably with Bakunin), and the abusive, often racist, vocabulary of his correspondence with Engels, described as “roguishly nonchalant”.

A World to Win often cites one of Marx’s favourite authors, Honoré de Balzac. For Liedman one tale, Melmoth Reconciled (1835), is a “picture of capitalism” in which the capitalists “live their lives at the Stock Exchange in a pact with the Devil.” (Page 462) Others recall that the hero Castanier got for his soul an eye into “men’s thought’s. I see the future, and I know the past. I am here, and I can be elsewhere also.” After peeling away Marxism from Marx, to reveal Marx’s original picture of the “mechanism and the scheme of the world.” Liedman has many pages on the thoughts of theorists who have attempted to do the same. Little of this is accessible to those not already familiar with the terrain. Despite the great strengths of the biography, many may come away feeling, like Balzac’s Cashier in the short story, that such painstaking knowledge of thinker’s insights into the whole of creation is too much to absorb.

******

  1. Pages 465 – 466. Karl Marx. Greatness and Illusion. Gareth Stedman Jones. Allen Lane 2016.
  2. Page 510. Karl Marx. Greatness and Illusion. Gareth Stedman Jones. Allen Lane 2016.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 8, 2019 at 9:31 am

After his ‘red’ mates, Farage’s ‘brown’ allies make headlines in the ‘confusionist’ Brexit Party.

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Ipswich Brexit Campaign Car.

There is the claim that the working class, the “popular” vote, is for Brexit.

This is contested claim (ignoring the strong popular anti-Brexit vote in major cities to begin with), and, odd, since many of the people advancing the claim say they are Leninists.

To Lenin, on a generous interpretation, socialism is the fusion, by persuasion,  between Marxist ideas and the labour movement, it is not the “spontaneous” product of opinion polls.

On a less generous view Leninism claims to be a scientific standpoint celebrated by the various, not to say, teeming, micro-parties of that section of the left leading the working class by these “tribunes of the people” by a variety of stunts and tactics.

The major reason they refer to the social basis of the Brexit vote is not because they have become psephologists but because it’s the view they support.

Take this from the revolutionary socialists (self-proclaimed Leninists) of Counterfire.

Lindsey German says today (A general election with a People’s Brexit is our escape route from this Westminster quagmire), after the local elections that,

Labour is winded by these results, not least because they weren’t expected, but it has to fight back in the Euros. Firstly against Farage, the fascist ‘Tommy Robinson’, UKIP and all the rest of the racist right. But as importantly, by putting an agenda which argues for a People’s Brexit (something Labour seems to have abandoned in the face of its own Remainers), and for a completely altered set of priorities on domestic issues ..

Labour, they say, must, ” Demand that general election and a People’s Brexit, and redouble efforts to campaign around other issues – climate emergency, austerity deaths, housing.”

Now one can agree with one of German’s points, that Corbyn should not do a “deal” with May on Brexit.

But this?

That we can “break through the Brexit cloud which hangs over British politics at present, and can hopefully unite those on different sides of the divide”?

By campaigning for a People’s Brexit  that few have heard of and those that have have most have already forgotten the phrase.

No chance.

We can agree that fighting austerity policies is Labour’s Number one priority.

But nobody, nobody, can imagine however “hopefully” that there is unity when she calls for the very issue, Brexit, and her group’s support for it, can be thought away by other campaigns.

How exactly are they going to “fight” Farage, one might ask, if all they can say is, “we want a better Brexit than you do!”

Brexit was, is, and will be, the key issue, and Counterfire stands with the Brexit side.

Many would consider that Counterfire, and the Lexiters more widely, underestimate not the potential electoral support for Farage, but the political basis for the ‘red-brown’ alliance. This includes people in the ‘left’ Full Brexit, as well as the media promoted (from the BBC to Sky) Spiked (ex-Revolutionary Communist Party).

National populism has its ‘left’ wing with these links, and it also has its brown wing, clearly on the far-right.

This mixture, is known in France, where there are plenty of examples of such a bloc, is “confusionism”.

Yesterday brought news from the ‘brown’ side of this alliance.

Nigel Farage is facing strong criticism from Jewish organisations and a series of other groups after it emerged he repeatedly took part in interviews with a far-right US talkshow host, during which the Brexit party leader openly discussed conspiracy theories, some of which have been linked to antisemitism.

A Guardian investigation has found Farage has appeared at least six times on the show of Alex Jones, who was sued by bereaved parentsafter claiming a US school shooting was faked, and was banned permanently from Facebook last week.

In his various appearances on Jones’s show, Farage discussed themes commonly associated with an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish financiers are behind a plot to replace nation states with a global government.

In the six identified interviews, which date from 2009 to last year, Farage, whose Brexit party is leading polls for the upcoming European elections, repeatedly uses words and phrases such as “globalists” and “new world order”, which regularly feature in antisemitic ideas.

In the interviews, Farage also says:

  • Members of the annual Bilderberg gathering of political and business leaders are plotting a global government.
  • The banking and political systems are working “hand in glove” in an attempt to disband nation states.
  • “Globalists” are trying to engineer a world war as a means to introduce a worldwide government.
  • Climate change is a “scam” intended to push forward this transnational government.

One minute it’s former leftist Claire Fox citing Shelly’s Rise like Lions in the service of National Populism. The next it’s full conspi Bilderberg stuff.

The nutter pictured above is probably a lot saner than this lot.

Morning Star Calls for Active Boycott of Labour Party (European Elections).

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Morning Star, Self-Styled Supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

“Our view is that a mass boycott and stay-away, similar to the tactic used in South Africa when the apartheid government forced local government structures on an unwilling population, will be a massive restatement of the democratic decision to Leave.”

With this provocative analogy, an insult to the brave people in South Africa fighting apartheid, underlining that the Morning Star intends to develop its already announced anti-Labour campaign, the article contains these points

A vote for any party at the European elections is a vote for the EU

The Communist Party’s political committee (PC), reviewing the message coming back from People’s Brexit meetings in cities as far afield as Cardiff, Bristol, Derby, Cambridge, Southend, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, London and Norwich and some workplace gatherings around the country, confirmed the party’s decision to boycott the European elections on April 24.

International secretary Professor John Foster said: “The ‘People’s Vote’ in the biggest poll in British history in June 2016 was to leave the European Union… this should be reinforced by a ‘People’s Boycott’ of the EU elections if they go ahead.

“Britain should have left the EU and its institutions by now, almost three years after the result — but this been prevented so far by a majority of MPs and the Tory Cabinet who want to keep us tied to EU single market and customs union rules if they can’t sabotage Brexit altogether.”

The party’s campaign for an active boycott is the start of something much bigger. We want the maximum pressure brought to bear on parliament to implement the majority vote from the referendum.

If a boycott — in effect a massive “stay-away” — does not sharpen minds, workers taking to the streets and non co-operation in other ways can follow. We need a People’s Brexit and a general election that can return a left and Labour government, which can begin to rebuild Britain for the people, not the bankers.

A boycott is designed to take support away from all parties….

While some of its close allies in The Full Brexit and former best friend George Galloway are backing Farage, it is good to see that the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain has not forgotten its classics.

“Firstly, it is not true that fascism is only the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie. Fascism is not only a military-technical category. Fascism is the bourgeoisie’s fighting organisation that relies on the active support of Social-Democracy.

Social-Democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism. There is no ground for assuming that the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie can achieve decisive successes in battles, or in governing the country, without the active support of Social-Democracy. There is just as little ground for thinking that Social-Democracy can achieve decisive successes in battles, or in governing the country, without the active support of the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie. These organisations do not negate, but supplement each other. They are not antipodes, they are twins.

Fascism is an informal political bloc of these two chief organisations; a bloc, which arose in the circumstances of the post-war crisis of imperialism, and which is intended for combating the proletarian revolution. The bourgeoisie cannot retain power without such a bloc. It would therefore be a mistake to think that “pacifism” signifies the liquidation of fascism. In the present situation, “pacifism” is the strengthening of fascism with its moderate, Social-Democratic wing pushed into the forefront.”

J. V. STALIN, from , “Concerning the International Situation,” 1924″.

You can access further material in support of Brexit from the CPB here:

Use these resources to campaign against participation in the sham EU elections on the 23rd of May and explain to everyone you know why it’s essential to support Brexit.

Experienced comrades predict that the CPB’s tactic, apart from putting pressure on Labour to do a “Ramsay McDonald” and collaborate with the Tories to introduce Brexit, will enable the micro-party and its organ to claim that any abstention was a vote for their ‘line’.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 5, 2019 at 10:31 am

Brendan O’Neill defends National Populism, but will he stand up for Claire Fox and the RCP’s Line on Ireland?

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A Populist Hero Is Something to Be.

(From here)

The dangers of anti-populism

Spiked. Brendan O’Neill.

It isn’t populists who threaten life, liberty and democracy in Europe – it’s anti-populists.

I always (note Only always?)  find it perplexing when people claim that the new national populism is a threat to life, liberty and democracy in Europe.

Because there is indeed a threat to life, liberty and democracy (note to ed: add, pursuit of happiness…?) in Europe today.

But it isn’t coming from populists. It’s coming from anti-populists. (note to ed, please  underline emphasis)

And so it goes…

The real danger in Europe today, in political terms, isn’t populism – it’s anti-populism. The real danger is the shrill, often violent backlash of the technocratic elites (note: nifty turn of phrase) against the rise of national populist sentiment.

..

why do the political and cultural elites, most notably in the UK, seem willing to trash democracy itself in order to crush (note, isn’t that a bit mildly put) populist sentiment?

‘Trashing’ democracy is definitely bad.

So in the spirit of populist reason and the legacy of European civilisation, like Notre Dame itself, as transmitted by the voice of this blog we ask O’Neill to explain himself to his mates in the Brexit Party.

It’s an affair  whose flames are consuming more than wood and stone; they are consuming tradition, the past itself, the legacy of the Revolutionary Communist Party, O’Neill’s spiritual birthplace.

It’s something which has has led nationalist populist sentiment to take a merry turn against his lot in Spiked:

IRA row: Warrington Brexit MEP candidate quits

BBC.

A Brexit Party candidate for Warrington has quit at the failure of another would-be MEP to apologise for comments about the IRA bombing of the town.

European elections candidate Sally Bate said she had resigned because Claire Fox refused to condemn the attack.

Fox was a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) which defended the 1993 bombing.

Ms Bate said Nigel Farage should remove her from the party list and “stand together with victims of the atrocity”.

Tim Parry, 12, and Johnathan Ball, three, were killed in the IRA attack on 20 March which left 56 others injured.

An RCP newsletter at the time of the bomb stated that the party defended “the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom”.

Tim’s father Colin Parry has urged voters in the North West to reject Ms Foxbecause she did not offer any apology for her former views.

In a statement, Ms Fox said: “Terrible things happened – mercifully, a peaceful resolution has emerged following the Good Friday Agreement.”

She added: “I do not condone the use of violence.”

Ms Fox is top of the list of Brexit Party candidates for the North West, meaning she would be the first to claim any European Parliament seat which the group wins in elections on 23 May.

Ms Bate was listed seventh.

Announcing her resignation from the Brexit Party, Ms Bate said: “I am unhappy with Claire’s statement since she has not categorically condemned the violence inflicted by the IRA.

“I stand by Colin Parry and his family and all victims of the Warrington bomb and in view of Claire’s ambiguous position on the issue I cannot continue to stand beside her as a Brexit candidate…”

Cde Rogan has today tweeted this thread which Brendan is welcome to follow: 

There is plenty more and there is this, recommended, article:

Corbyn Says Brexit Deal “Has to be Done”.

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Image result for love socialism hate brexit

Most people will not rush to pontificate on implications of the local election results least of all for Labour’s Brexit strategy.

John McDonnell is reported to have responded earlier today ,

“So far message from local elections: Brexit – sort it. Message received.”

Responding to suggestions that his comments signalled he was keen to strike a deal with the government in the coming days, with both main parties at risk of a drubbing in next month’s European elections, McDonnell said: “We need to get on with sorting this out, one way or the other.”

Guardian

This can be interpreted in many different ways, calling for a People’s Vote, a Soft Brexit, opposing Brexit in the new conditions that have emerged, and who knows what else – all in line with different angles on a Labour resolution passed in different days.

But just now Politics Home carries this report which, following the previous remarks, will cause a deep sigh of annoyance for the majority of Labour members who are opposed to actually existing Brexit .

Jeremy Corbyn says election results show Brexit deal with Tories ‘has to be done’

The Labour leader said voters had sent a clear message that Parliament must get on with approving the UK’s departure from the European Union.

His comments added to the confusion surrounding Labour’s position after Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the issue had to be dealt with “whichever way”, suggesting the party could end up opposing Brexit altogether.

 

It is hard to see which audience Corbyn is talking to.

Perhaps it is the “real” people that the national populist left thinks are the only people that count, that is those who back Brexit.

Clearly he is not talking to his own party and the internationalist left.

Labour for a Socialist Europe carries this further report:

Responding to Tory Brexit minister James Cleverly on the BBC, Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said:

“You as a Brexit Minister should understand that we are in there [in the Labour-Tory talks on Brexit] trying to bail you guys out.”

(Watch the clip here.)

Whether or not this is how the entire leadership and negotiating team views the talks, it must certainly reflect a strong strand of opinion – and in any case it reflects the unfortunate political dynamic. Whatever the risks for the Tories, the risks for Labour if it agrees a deal are greater – as explained here. It would amount precisely to bailing the Tories out.

These talks, to the degree they are “successful”, mean Labour accepting most of the Tories’ Brexit agenda, including for instance its Immigration Bill. The political logic of this is shown by Rebecca Long-Bailey referring to discussions in these negotiations about workers’ rights as “fantastic” (!)

Concerningly, John McDonnell tweeted “message from local elections – ‘Brexit – sort it.’ Message received.” This ambiguous statement is being widely interpreted as leaning further towards making a deal.

The talks are effectively counterposed to Labour taking the fight to the Tories, as the local government election results show. Similarly they are now a risk to Labour’s campaign in the European elections, as Paul Mason explains here.

Labour members should protest about Gardiner’s comments and, more importantly, demand the party withdraws from the talks. Sign the statement calling for that here.

Comrade Owen Jones makes many points in his guarded and thoughtful analysis today, but perhaps this is the most relevant one.

There will be many siren voices arguing that there are simple answers for Labour. As long as Brexit dominates, there aren’t. The party’s left-populist message is sidelined, and it risks alienating the remain and leave voters it needs to win an election. Sometimes the honest answer is there are no easy solutions, and anyone arguing otherwise is kidding themselves.

Left populism, which Owen has admired in Podemos, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s “rallying point”,  La France insoumise, is on the decline.

In last month’s Spanish election Podemos lost twenty-nine MPs and 7 percent of its votes.

La France insoumise stands at a possible  8 to 9 % (in highly unstable opinion polls) for the coming European elections – and has no prospect of governing France whatsoever.

Left populism, the idea that “the” people, including the working class and oppressed groups, can be moblised against the “elites” and the “oligarchy” has been overshadowed by national populism.

That form of populism, in the UK overwhelmingly focused against the EU, has so far only drawn fringe parts of the left into its orbit in red-brown alliances like Farage’s Brexit Party.

It puts nation, national sovereignty, above everything else, and opposes it to the ‘anti-nation’ the rootless cosmopolitans, the ‘liberals’, which to them includes the internationalist left, the ‘anywhere’ people.

But the danger that more mainstream forces will try for a simple answer which is to appeal to the ‘real people’ who are anti-Brexit and ignore Labour’s broader constituencies, and the ties that bind the labour movement to Europe.

It would be better if we “sidelined” populism, left or right, and talked about serious left-wing policies.

The left cannot build a winning political bloc without the people who are opposed to Brexit for the simple reason that many of their principles define what a ‘left’ is.

The economic and poltiical programme of a Labour government needs to be based on alliances with our other European lefts to begin with, inside the structures of the European Union.

The European elections are still going ahead and the present un-constructive ambiguity will not help Labour campaign.

 

 

News from the Red-Brown Front: Galloway to Stand in Peterborough.

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Image may contain: 1 person, text

I Used to be George Galloway I’ll have you Know!

Farage’s key backer throws hat in the ring.

George Galloway has announced he will stand in the upcoming by-election in Peterborough.

Peterborough Telegraph.

The outspoken ex-Labour and Respect MP, who also starred on Celebrity Big Brother, made the announcement on Twitter shortly after it was confirmed a Recall Petition to remove sitting MP Fiona Onasanya had been successful.

Mr Galloway tweeted: “I intend to stand in the forthcoming parliamentary by-election in Peterborough. More follows…”

He later added: “If elected as the MP for #Peterborough my first priority will be to help secure the full implementation of the #Brexit decision made overwhelmingly by the people there in 2016. I believe I’m the best placed candidate to do so and the one who’d make the biggest impact in the House.”

Leave supporter Mr Galloway has not indicated if he is standing for a party or as an independent.

 

One wonders how his close friends from the Counterfire groupuscule (which runs the Stop the War Coalition) will react.

This is how they did to his last triumph:

George Galloway MP: Bradford win shows we were right to oppose war

Alas, that was so 2012.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 2, 2019 at 11:33 am

Labour’s Position on Europe and National Populism.

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Not Everybody likes National Populism.

The prospect of European Elections in the UK has enabled national populism, both right and left, a public platform.

National populism can be seen as a collection of movements and parties which pit the ‘nation’ against the ‘globalised elites’ and put politics in the service of this. Sometimes this is the the ‘people’, the British people, the ‘real’ people, the ‘real’ working class, against the cosmopolitan left.

There is Farage’s Brexit Party, an alliance of the far-right, economic liberals, and former ‘revolutionary communists’ of Spiked, and the harder right UKIP. It is backed by the one-time favourite of the ‘left’, and Stop the War Coalition campaigner, George Galloway.

The Brexit Party illustrates another feature of national populism, confusionism, between right-wing and left-wing ideas.

The Full Brexit group, which involves Labour Peer Lord Glasman, critic of ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ Paul Embery of the ‘trade unionists’ against the EU, with close links to Arron Banks, the theorists of the ‘somewhere’ versus ‘nowhere’ people, David Goodhart, other academics and members of the Labour Party, Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star), Counterfire sympathisers and ‘left’ sovereigntists.

The Full Brexit claims that it aims, “to revive a genuine left internationalism”. But its politics are equally based on the priority to the ‘national.

They include those close to Spiked, such as this supporter and signer of the Full Brexit founding statement, now standing for Farage’s party.

The pro-Brexit German academic Wolfgang Streeck, who writes for New Left Review and the Farage backing site Spiked, writes in the same vein as the Full Brexit.

Wolfgang Streeck on why the EU is a deplorable institution that we must leave.

Here are some more of his views:

It is suspected that these currents, have had some influence on Labour’s decision to remain ambiguous on policy for the European elections.

The CPB and Counterfire, for example, have campaigned for a ‘People’s Brexit’, a populist appeal which fell dead in the water.

But they continue to advance their cause.

On the one hand there is the argument that Labour needs to respect the Referendum result – the principal argument of the sovereigntists. These are the voices of the ‘real’ nation, not the liberal cosmopolitans (on this see on Shiraz: Stop stereotyping the north as Brexitland’ say four Labour MPs.)

On the other there is the potential, which by a combination of threats and exaggerations, these anti-EU groups are attempting to manoeuvre Labour into accepting Brexit in the belief that they could mould it to their wishes.

This is the position put forward in today’s Morning Star:

A Labour source told the Star: “The NEC agreed to keep the party’s policy the same as it ever was, which is to carry on fighting for a general election and to support an alternative Brexit deal which puts workers’ rights first.”

What this ‘deal’ could possibly be is buried in clouds of rhetoric.

The Tories have been unable to make a ‘deal’.

What on earth is the basis that anybody can be confident that Labour can make an agreement, one that satisfies the ‘Brexit on WTO rules’ supporting ‘left’ and ensure – please –  that it, “Puts workers’ rights first?”

The shifting sands, or rather quicksands, of British politics are not a stable basic on which to advance Labour’s policy in the changed circumstances.

There is a need to clarify policy, not to deal with a conference composite, which was the result of many different motions on the issue of Brexit. Not only the failure of the Tories to reach a deal but the mass demonstrations for a People’s Vote, that is a new Referendum, have changed the political landscape.

Yesterday’s NEC decision can be seen in this light.

It is said that “after weeks of debate, they are simply reiterating their plan to hold open the “option” of a public vote if they can’t get their own deal or a general election.”

Labour List writer Sienna Rodgers says,

Why? There is the fundamental fact that they simply don’t like the idea of holding another referendum, seeing it as disrespectful to voters and unhelpful electorally to Labour. A majority of NEC members, like the leadership, would prefer to push through a soft Brexit and get the divorce deal part of the process over and done with.

This does not explain the possible influence of the national populists in moulding the idea of ‘soft’ national Brexit.

The view, put forward by a number of ‘left’ populists (both genuinely left, such as Chantal Mouffe) and the highly suspect Wolfgang Streeck) is that the left has to appeal to the ‘left behinds’ in the present ‘populist revolts’ against ‘elites’.

This includes supporters of groups like the Brexit Party and others on the far-right, and therefore people’s ‘concerns’ on migrant workers must be ‘listened to’.

Weak on economics, they believe that a fully sovereign Parliament can break free of the capitalist world and make its own road to socialism. at which point ……

Without bothering about ‘Europe’, that is the left and the labour movement in the rest of our continent.

Next there is  the issue of Labour Party democracy.

As Michael Chessum says, why did these individuals vote as they did?

Finally, this is perhaps the most telling critical point for the coming election:

Labour’s manifesto decision is another cynical act of ‘constructive ambiguity’ Chris Allnutt

So now we know. Labour’s manifesto for the European election will be just as garbled and meaningless as its existing policy. After weeks of debate, they are simply reiterating their plan to hold open the “option” of a public vote if they can’t get their own deal or a general election.

This is evasive to the point of dishonesty. They’re now aggravating the uncertainty of their conference policy by committing it to their election manifesto.

….

What kind of Brexit did people want? We never asked. Leave was all things to all people. So we spent three years tearing ourselves apart over it. And now we risk letting ambiguity embolden a Brexit that nobody voted for three years ago and nobody wants now.

The European elections raise European issues.

Being ambiguous during them is not a good strategy.

 

Update from John and B, Red-Brown confusionism today.

Image may contain: 2 people

 

“Labour Heartlands” discuss Communist Party of Britain Plan to Boycott Labour in European Elections.

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People's Boycott

‘Labour Heartlands’ not Hearty enough to back Labour  without reservations in Euro-Elections.

They have just published this:

Why some on the Left are calling for a ‘People’s Boycott’ of the EU elections

For the first time in its 99 year history, the Communist Party (CP) has called on members and supporters to campaign for a boycott of an election in Britain, in this case, the EU election on 23 May.

 

Labour Heartlands will be conducting a number of articles expressing the Left position on the EU elections the first of these takes a look at the CPB position who are running a  Boycott on the EU elections.

Writing exclusively for Labour Heartlands Phil Katz, Eastern district secretary explains the CPB position and why the Boycott.

The ‘exclusive’ (one imagines the competition for a piece from that quarter…) article does not mention that the CPB, which claims the mantle of the old Communist Party of Great Britain, stood against Labour in a crank list which got well under 0,5 % of the vote in the last European elections….

This is one of the key points:

 A plan has been rolled out to explain the decision to allies and leading trades unionists. Members and supporters are being supplied – via a ‘download day’ – with up-to-the minute analysis, campaign materials including speakers notes, films, posters, leaflets, stickers, Facebook and Twitter cards – part of a social media strategy.  The focus however, is on holding face to face discussion meetings whenever and wherever possible.

Every Communist Party branch is being asked to approach local Labour movement allies, especially Labour Party members to work together to hold meetings where those who voted Leave, Remain or not at all, are encouraged to enter into dialogue. These forces will be the hub of the movement to leave the EU and galvanise support in Brexit-voting areas for a change of government.

In other words to break the Labour vote and to get people to back a small ‘People’s Brexit’ campaign that nobody has heard about…

And this takes some bleeding cheek  even from the red nationalists:

Readers of this article are likely to share that aim. Our view is that a mass boycott and stay-away, similar to the tactic used in South Africa when the apartheid government forced local government structures on an unwilling population, will be a massive restatement of the democratic decision to Leave.

 

We urge you to boycott and say No to the EU elections and Yes to a general election.

 

The disclaimer at the end is to say the least ambiguous.

Editors note: Labour Heartlands have not taken an official position on the EU elections at this point.

Real heartlands that lot, they are not sure about voting Labour….

Now,  were I suspicious this all sounds like a typical far-left  manoeuvre.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 28, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star) Officially calls for “Peoples Boycott” against Voting Labour.

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Morning Star Jeremy Corbyn T-Shirt

Morning Star, Corbyn’s best mate,  advocates not Voting Labour.

 

Following our post yesterday the anti-internationalist left has issued this declaration:

 

Communists call for “People’s Boycott” of EU polls

The European elections scheduled for May 23 are illegitimate in Britain”, John Foster told the Communist Party’s political committee on Wednesday evening.

He insisted that the “people’s vote” in the biggest poll in British history in June 2016 was to leave the European Union and that this should be reinforced by a “People’s Boycott” of the EU elections if they go ahead.

“Britain should have left the EU and its institutions by now, almost three years after the result – but this been prevented so far by a majority of MPs and the Tory Cabinet who want to keep us tied to EU single market and customs union rules if they can’t sabotage Brexit altogether”, the CP international secretary said.

Boycotting the elections to a “sham European Parliament that cannot even initiate its own legislation” would send the clearest message to the political and big business establishment that the referendum result must be honoured, Mr Foster argued.

In particular, he warned against Labour presenting itself as an anti-Brexit party, as some of its leaders and European candidates are intent upon doing.

Whether Labour members will have to organise to defend themselves against the ‘boycotters’  and various ‘anti-cosmopolitan’  and anti-EU red-brown groups, some of which have a thuggish record, is a live issue.

Meanwhile one of the Morning Star’s old favourite columnists is proceeding.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 27, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Morning Star (Communist Party of Britain), Says “Strong Case” for Not Voting Labour and Boycotting European Elections.

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Image result for alex mayer

Labour Candidate for the East of England, Alex Mayer. Morning Star suggests “active” campaign not to vote for her.

Should we boycott the Euro elections?

Editorial Morning Star.

In a rambling editorial, which begins with the reflections that, “today the Italian people celebrated their Festa della Liberazione, which marks the overthrow of fascism which set in train the establishment of a social republic based on the value of labour.” the mouth piece of the hard-line pro-Brexit on WTO terms Communist Party of Britain Morning Star suggests the following,

There can hardly be a more suitable candidate for the Brussels talking shop than a motor mouth Trotskyite turned right-wing libertarian.

The election for which these oddballs present themselves is wholly illegitimate. But it presents real dangers for Labour if the party presents itself exclusively as the anti-Brexit party which some appear to want.

One of Labour’s candidates, the SDP turncoat and Blairite privatiser Lord Adonis, has advised Brexiteers not to vote Labour. The millions of working-class voters who voted Brexit in the June 2016 “people’s vote” might well take him at his word.

There is a strong case — rooted in a respect for the people’s democratic instincts — for an active boycott of this unnecessary, irrelevant vanity parade.

In other words, don’t stand up to the far right.

Don’t stand up for internationalism.

This is the group that this little lot backed during the last European elections: No2EU – Yes to Democracy. 

Vote:

2014 31,757 Decrease 0.19% Decrease

 

I shall be campaigning for comrade Alex, one of the best candidates in the coming election

Labour announces Euro candidate list for East of England

Posted by Alex Mayer on 19th April 2019

Alex Mayer MEP said: “For as long as Britain is in the European Union we need British MEPs standing up for the people of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Only this week I was in the Parliament voting for research funding, for better rules on sustainable finance and to improve working conditions for people on zero hours contracts.

I am delighted to head a strong team of Euro candidates. We will fight for local investment, action on climate change and cracking down on tax dodgers.”

The full list of Euro candidates for the East of England is:

1. Alex Mayer MEP

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 26, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Brexit Party Explained in an Image.

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Image may contain: one or more people

Nicked from John: Let#scelebrate the launch of the Brexit Party with a cartoon. Oh, and my Twitter thread on Claire Fox, the RCP and their backing for Irish Republicanism.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 25, 2019 at 11:45 am

Posted in Anti-Fascism

Claire Fox (ex-Revolutionary Communist Party and former Warwick Uni student) to stand for far-right Brexit Party.

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Image result for claire fox Brexit party

Class Enemies Hobnobbing. 

I am a former student at Warwick University.

In our days in the 1970s we had an International Marxist Group (IMG) member as President of the Student Union.

You do tend to keep in touch with what’s happened in your old manor.

Just after I left I learnt that a group, which became the Revolutionary Communist Party,  had a base at Warwick.

Their publications indicted that they were far-left. I knew them from the days when they were the RCT (Revolutionary Communist Tendency) and used to shout at us lot in the IMG, for not being real Marxists.

Step forward this type.

 

Claire Fox:

Fox was born to Irish Catholic parents John Fox and Maura Cleary and is the older sister of Fiona and Gemma Fox.[2] After attending St Richard Gwyn Catholic High Schoolin FlintNorth Wales, she studied at the University of Warwick where she graduated with a lower second class degree (2:2) in English and American Literature.[

A mate of mine when I visited the area,  said, “they are not left-wing, they are a cult”.

He was still at Warwick, and like me, on the hard left, had a loathing for her and her friends like venom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 24, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Socialist Party, (former Militant) in Total International Split over those who have “buckled to the pressures of ‘Identity Politics’.”

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Image result for socialist PARTY FORMER militant

From Alf Garnett Rants Against Climate Change Demos to Split. 

The Socialist Party, apart from the split in the PCS union, has  apart from its hard-line pro-Brexit stand, and links with the likes of the  Arron Banks national populist Trade unions against the EU’ has not campaign has not made the news these days.

Even the Alf Garnett  rants have not won it a wider audience.

Rant against climate change demos by the hard-line pro-Brexit ‘Socialist’  Party,

“R’s insufficient programme and its rejection of politics inform its strategy…”

In reality, the manifesto leaves capitalism intact while seeking to remove its worst aspects. But this vague vision of an alternative society is utopian – and would not even mitigate the effects of climate change.

The idea of individual martyrdom is typical of a middle-class approach, and contrasts unfavourably with the democratic, collective traditions of working-class struggle.

Perhaps this latest row will get people’s attention note the bit, “further reflection of this capitulation is in shown in the Euro election where the main slogan of the Irish section’s candidate is “for a socialist feminist”.

 

“To all CWI members.

Declaration of a split from the CWI.

The Non Faction, Faction (NFF) last week circulated an open letter signed by a series of IEC members, (full and alternates) together with some visitors and translators who attended the IEC meeting in November 2018 together with some CWI members who were not present. In their statement the NFF rejected the decision of the International Secretariat to convene a meeting in November 2019 and appealed for the IS and the openly declared international faction to reconsider its position and commit to participating in an IEC meeting in August. Now they have taken the decision to convene a meeting of the IEC in august themselves. This action is part of the objective of the NFF to carry through a “regime change” in the leadership of the CWI. We entirely reject this action which is ithe declaration of a split from the CWI.

In the statement the NFF once again ignored the central political issues of difference which have clearly emerged in this debate. As we stated at the IEC in November 2018 there are clearly two main divergent trends developing in the CWI. This has been clarified during the course of six months of debate. It is clear that there is a decisive difference now on the crucial issues of orientation, perspective and programme.

“Socialist feminist” a major step backwards.

It is evident to us that some sections of the CWI have buckled to the pressures of ‘Identity Politics’. Others have gone even further and have or are in the process of capitulating to them. This was recently demonstrated in the debate in US in Chicago. Andy M (US NC) who led off and replied for the NFF – no US EC member was present – argued that the IS “did not understand the new world situation” and comrades argued that the womens movement was detonating the struggles of the working class. A further reflection of this capitulation is in shown in the Euro election where the main slogan of the Irish section’s candidate is “for a socialist feminist”.

This divergence is reflected by a turn away from systematic trade union work in a number of sections and abandonment of an orientation and emphasis on the centrality of the working class. This is clearly reflected in Greece and the non- Trotskyist approach of the section towards intervening in the environment movement and the approach taken towards the workers in gold mining industry.

There is a major divergence between the NFF and ourselves on the question of a systematic and consistent orientation and intervention to the working class and its organisations. We defend this orientation and in doing so up hold the historical foundations on which the CWI was build. The NFF are opposed to it and are moving away from it. This is not a secondary issue as the NFF allege. It is a crucial question on which there needs to be agreement in order to establish a “principled revolutionary unity”.

The leadership of the NFF evade serious debate on these crucial questions of divergence. In debate after debate they have alleged that the IS is conservative, out of touch and now represents “the old guard”.

They have tried to rally support on the basis of an emotional appeal for “unity” but evade explaining what the principled political basis of “revolutionary unity” is based on. The only thing that unites the leadership of the NFF is opposition to the IS. The failure to debate the political issues and only call for “revolutionary unity” without political agreement is the receipt for a split.

Throughout the debate the NFF have denied that it is a question of “regime change”. However, as Sascha S made clear in his recent statement this was explicitly posed by Eric B (Belgium) at the IEC meeting in November. Now other representatives of the NFF have also posed the same issue in recent debates. Paul C (representing the NFF in England and Wales) explicitly posed this in a debate in the eastern region. Now the removal of Peter T from the IS has been raised in a debate in the US and the representative of the NFF in the debate, Andy M, failed to comment on this.

Regime change

It has been revealed during the debate that some NFF members have been preparing the ground for a regime change for a number of years. From Austria comrades report that they were informed some IEC members were organising against the IS in 2016. Younger comrades in England and Wales were told by Danny B that they would have an important role to play “especially if there was a split in the CWI” at about the same time!

All comrades have the right to oppose the IS and argue for a different political approach. However, this should be done openly and honestly. This was not done by these comrades. This dishonest method has sunk to new depths during the course of the debate. All members of the CWI need to pose the question if there is to be regime change – which is the right of comrades to propose – what is the political basis to elect a new leadership? The only unifying stance of the NFF is to deny that substantial political differences exist and opposition to the International Secretariat. We have published our political platform. What is the political platform of the NFF if it carries through a regime change? Comrades will search in vain for a political platform they all defend. We are confronted with a non, faction, faction with non principled principles! A regime change of this character will destroy the CWI as a viable Trotskyist international organization which we are not prepared to accept.

The NFF demand that the COC resumes its functions. Yet this body is perceived by the NFF as an “alternative to the IS” which we reject. We reject the calling of the IEC in August by the NFF as an attempted coup or preparation for a coup against the current IS.

The NFF claims that the IEC majority represents the majority of the CWI. We do not accept this. As we have explained the IEC as currently composed is not representative of the CWI. Its composition is weighed towards the smaller groups like Cyprus, Poland, or Australia with 1 full member whose active membership is less than some branches in other sections! Or Russia with 25 members and 2 full IEC members and not a single full timer. Greece with 302 members has 4 IEC members the same as England and Wales with 2000 members. 3 sections – Cyprus, Australia and Russia – have a total of 66 members and 4 IEC members!

Against the background of a political and theoretical abandonment of Trotskyism by the NFF leadership we cannot agree to participate in or recognise the August IEC which is aimed at enacting a regime change which will mean the destruction of the Trotskyist principles the CWI was founded upon. We have defended and will continue to defend the Trotskyist methods and principles on which the CWI was founded and continue to build it on those methods in the coming period. We therefore appeal to the comrades not to participate in this meeting called by the NFF on a non-principled political basis, which in reality is a split from the CWI.

Those participating in this are placing themselves outside the CWI and in a rival organization. We appeal to comrades to support the international conference called by the international faction ‘In Defence of a workers’ and Trotskyist CWI’ and the programme and platforms which we have defended. This is the road to build a powerful Trotskyist international based on the working class and the methods of the CWI.”

“Against the background of a political and theoretical abandonment of Trotskyism by the NFF “

Harsh words….

They appear to have split on the basis of some of their sections having some kind of of way of relating to mass politics.

That is, against the Millies’ standard practice of refusing to  work with anybody on an an equal basis as opposed to the normal practice of this funny sect, which thinks, bizarrely, that it is a leading force for socialism (let alone ‘Trotskyism).

Their criticisms of ‘identity politics’, lety aline their hostility to Climate Change demos, have the odour of another age: what they mean is working with other people on the left.

They have done that, “we are in  charge” stuff since the anti-Poll Tax movement and the ant-racist campaign, and, one could list their hollow fronts at length.

It looked ridiculous, from a groupuscule of aged dogmatists,   in the past and now….

One would suggest that the weakness of their politics has been cruelly exposed over Brexit, which they stridently backed, even to the extent of supporting the Arron banks linked right-wing Trade Unionists against the EU.

They publicly supported the hard right Brexit project, the extent of being key members of the NO to EU Yes to Democracy front of the labour aristocrats of the CPB and the RMT

The right-wing trajectory of the anti-European Union Taafe group  continues...

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Galloway and the Far-Right.

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Image result for george tony greenstein

Galloway with Friend. 

Galloway’s old mates, John Rees, Lindsey German not to mention  his  former bag-man, Kevin Ovenden have been quite as mice about their leader’s turn to the far right.

 

All his best mate Rees can find to say is this;

The left needs to stop retreating over the use of the term Zionism

Written by John Rees

The Red-Brown  front continues….

Written by Andrew Coates

April 20, 2019 at 10:58 am

George Galloway goes Red-Brown and backs Farage’s Brexit Party.

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Galloway Goes Red-Brown.

The Red-Brown alliance develops, George Galloway is to back Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party for the Euro-elections.

Following the lead of former rivals, the ex-Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked/Institute of Ideas now supporters of National Populism,..(1)

 

 

Yesterday Galloway has tweeted his backing for Farage added, (1)

The Herald had just reported,

Socialist George Galloway under fire for backing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in EU elections

He also predicted that Farage’s party would win “at least 50% of the vote”, saying: “Count on it. The working class in the north are on the move.”

When being criticised for supporting Farage he told one critic: “So Farage is Hitler? How stupid can you get.”

In response to criticism Galloway has tweeted,

The seriousness of this much-welcomed support can be seen here:

We confidently predict that this red-brown alliance will receive more support.

As Jim says,

It appears he is not on his own. Chelley Ryan is a Corbyn cultist and a prolific tweeter and Facebook poster who has also posted for Red Labour and writes for the Morning Star. She has tweeted in support of the Brexit Party.

There have been others on social media.

Is this just Stalinist fraying at the edges or is there more to it?

UPDATE: from far-right Daily Express.

Brexit REBELLION: Left-wingers follow Galloway to back Nigel Farage’s surging Brexit Party

THE Labour EU elections list is so remain heavy left-wing Brexiteers are throwing their lot in with Nigel Farage, including George Galloway.

Fellow left-wing Brexiteers also promised to vote for their former political enemy Nigel Farage.

Simon Middleton said: “I totally agree with you Mr Galloway. Next month’s elections are about Brexit, pure and simple.

“I am from a Socialist background and I will be voting for Nigel Farage aand the new  Brexit Party “

Retweeted.

******

  1. Perhaps this tiff is forgiven now….”In an article in The Australian newspaper, 15th January 2009, ‘Critics of Israel giving voice to anti-Semitism’,  I stated that George Galloway, British MP for the Respect party, had called for a boycott of ‘Israel’s shops’ and that this meant that he was calling in practice for a boycott of Jewish shops. This was incorrect and I now understand that he was calling for a boycott of ‘Israel’ shops which is a mobile retailer operating in shopping malls and who sell Israeli goods and was not referring to ‘Israel’s shops’. I apologise to Mr Galloway for the mistake, and I withdraw the suggestion made in my article that he was showing or encouraging anti-Semitism in calling for this boycott.
    Frank Furedi, 9 February 2009″.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 18, 2019 at 11:50 am

Notre-Dame: Rebuilding a Masterpiece of the Human Spirit is Everybody’s Concern – L’Humanité.

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Rebuild!

The French communist daily today expressed the thoughts of millions of people across the world.

Le terrible incendie a failli détruire le chef-d’œuvre de l’esprit et de l’histoire qu’est Notre-Dame. Après une immense vague d’émotion, sa reconstruction est l’affaire de toutes et tous, de ceux qui croient au ciel, comme ceux qui n’y croient pas.

The terrible fire nearly destroyed  the masterpiece of the spirit and of history that is  Notre-Dame. After an immense wave of emotion, its reconstruction is the business of everyone, of those who believe in heaven, as much as those who do not believe in it.

Lines from the Communist Poet Louis Aragon.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 17, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Labour Against the Witch-hunt Faces New Crisis over “member’s support for Holocaust denier.”

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Image result for tony greenstein and Pete Gregson

The “procedure that Peter faced has been wholly unfair..” Tony Greenstein.  January 2019

Last November in the Weekly Worker, a leading force in Labour Against the Witch-hunt,  ‘Carla Robert’ of Labour Party Marxists wrote,

Similarly ridiculous is the case of Edinburgh Labour Party member Peter Gregson, who is currently “under investigation”. We will not be surprised if Gregson is also either told to undergo the JLM’s pro-Zionism training and/or referred to the NCC.

Anti-Zionism and self-censorship

By no coincidence whatsoever Labour Against the Witch-hunt publicly declared,

LAW Statement: Lift suspension of Peter Gregson from GMB, stop investigation

Labour Against the Witchhunt calls on Labour’s NEC to reject the allegations of anti-Semitism against Peter Gregson, condemns his suspension by the GMB trade union and calls for the immediate restoration of his full membership rights.

But, spotters of LAW’s tortured inner workings will have noticed at the time,

Although Peter’s petition is a good idea, challenging Labour’s NEC to revoke its adoption of the IHRA definition, we cannot support it. Firstly, we disagree with some of its wording – eg, before it adopted the full IHRA definition on September 4, Labour did not allow “full freedom of speech on Israel”. On the contrary, the witch-hunt was in full flow long before that. Secondly, some of the formulations in Peter’s supporting documents internalise the racism of Zionist ideology, failing to distinguish clearly between the Zionist movement and the Jewish population, and attributing a non-existent collective political identity to “the Jews”, eg, “the Jews have so much leverage here [in the UK]”.

LAW leading light Tony Greenstein wrote in January,

Although Labour Against the Witchhunt didn’t support Peter’s petition because of problems with its wording we recognise that it represents a significant opposition in the Labour Party to the attempt to curtail if not abolish freedom of speech.

Of course the corrupt and racist GMB has never had freedom of speech. The regional barons ruled without opposition. The union exists primarily for the benefit of its highly paid officials not its membership. However even Roache and co. will have difficulty defending this particularly iniquitous decision. If Peter’s expulsion is not revoked then GMB members should join another, genuine trade union.

Shop Steward Expelled for ‘anti-Semitism’ by a Racist and Corrupt Trade Union

In March Labour Party Marxists (another hat for LAW to wear) were saying:

Reinstate Peter Gregson 

 It goes without saying that, while Gregson is not anti-Semitic, he can certainly be criticised for his eccentric politics – in the words of Jewish Voice for Labour, he is a “loose cannon”. For example, he admits that his initiative can be described as a “death-wish” petition, in that it is “sticking two fingers up to the NEC” by “brazenly breaking the IHRA rule”. He adds: “It is important now for more of us to come out and openly breach the IHRA, whilst never being anti-Semitic in the true sense of the word.”

Such brazen defiance is a matter of tactics, of course, but it must be said that in current circumstances it is not exactly a wise move. Firstly, the forces opposing the witch-hunt are extremely weak and are hardly in a good position to mount a successful challenge of this sort. Secondly, the “death-wish” petition does the right’s work for it by identifying hundreds of Labour members as easy targets.

Gregson also makes himself a target through his inappropriate choice of words. For instance, he has claimed that “Jews” in Britain have “leverage” because of what he describes as a general feeling of guilt over the holocaust. When this clumsy phrasing was criticised by JVL – surely it is the Zionists, not undifferentiated “Jews”, who would try to turn any such sentiment to their advantage? – he was not prepared to admit his error or change his wording. His response is: “… we suffer in the UK from holocaust guilt. Thus, all Jews have leverage, whether they want it or not, because all Jews were victims.”

However, we must not let this hold us back from defending him.He is a victim of a rightwing witch-hunt, aimed at defeating the left and regaining control of the party for the Blairites.

web-Peter-gregson

Now…

Emails reveal row within Labour Against The Witchhunt over member’s support for Holocaust denier

Pete Gregson insisted denier Nick Kollerstrom was ‘Holocaust sceptic’, and was condemned by fellow LAW member Tony Greenstein

Labour Against The Witchhunt (LAW) – which was launched to defend Labour activists accused of antisemitism – has been rocked by a bitter rift over one of its member’s open support for a Holocaust denier.

Tony Greenstein, LAW’s vice-chair, who was himself expelled from Labour over his use of the word “Zio” and for mocking the phrase Final Solution, has clashed with another of the group’s supporters .

Peter Gregson – who has been backed by LAW since being expelled by the GMB union over alleged antisemitism – had urged Mr Greenstein and his allies to support a petition he started, which included links to an article by Ian Fantom of the conspiracy theory Keep Talking group.

In that article, Mr Fathom writes approvingly of Dr Nick Kollerstrom – author of The Auschwitz ‘Gas Chamber’ Illusion.

But in emails sent to LAW’s leading members – including expelled Labour activist Jackie Walker, her partner Graham Bash and Tina Werkman – Mr Greenstein initially attempts to persuade Mr Gregson to “cut links” with the Mr Fanthom and Mr Kollerstrom, saying the association “would be incredibly damaging” for LAW.

He writes: “I must ask you to remove all references to Ian Fantom’s article from your petition update which directs people to Kollerstrom’s holocaust denial article on the website of the well-known Holocaust denial site CODOH.”

In his March 22 email, Mr Greenstein also refers to wording in Mr Gregson’s petition saying: “It is bad enough that you yourself used the word ‘exaggerate’ in terms of the Holocaust.”

He writes on March 23 that Mr Greenstein is “exhibiting the kind of shrill neurosis for which the left is rightly famed. And is why of course so many in the left are doomed to obscurity, for they slam the door hard shut at every opportunity.”

Mr Fantom has previously shared conspiracy theories blaming Israel for 9/11. But Mr Gregson writes of him: “I have spent time with Ian Fantom. I believe he is OK. I do not have a problem with his politics.”

In his own furious response, Mr Greenstein writes back at 2.54 am, setting out detailed evidence of Mr Fantom’s support for Mr Kollerstrom, noting that the article Mr Gregson links to says Mr Kollertrom “had been targeted in a witch-hunt”.

“You can call me whatever you want but I am not going to have holocaust denial being debated or legitimised under the guise of ‘free speech’,” Mr Greenstein writes.

“It’s like debating the rights and wrongs of murdering 50 Muslims in New Zealand last week, or perhaps that too didn’t happen?

“I am removing you from the LAW Facebook and will leave it to the LAW Steering Committee as to whether you are removed from LAW membership too.”

In a further message on April 3 – still copying in much of the LAW leadership – Mr Gregson writes: “Tony is stating he will seek to damage my reputation by making LAW shun me if I do not do as he asks. If that is not a threat, then I’m a chinaman.”

No response to this article has yet been seen.

Informed sources suggest that since he began, earlier this year, being published by the racist Islamic Qatar  dictatorship’s Al Jazeera Greenstein  has become more careful with his ‘robust’ language.

We still expect some broadside…

On the up, a couple of days ago Labour Against the Witchhunt, was celebrating Ken Livingstone’s decision to join their campaign.

“Former London mayor is announced as Labour Against The Witchhunt’s honorary president”

Written by Andrew Coates

April 16, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Étienne Chouard, Alain Soral, The Far-right, Political Confusionism and the Gilets Jaunes.

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Image result for étienne chouard soral

Face au fascisme on ne pense plus; il ne faut plus penser – c’est tabou. L’antifascisme est une forme plus évoluée, plus subtile que l’antisémitisme, mais pas moins contre-révolutionnaire. Il crée une attitude de réflexe et de haine.”

Faced with Fascism, one stops thinking; one mustn’t think any more – it’s taboo. Antifascism is the more evolved form, subtler than anti-semitism, but no less counter-revolutionary. It creates a reflexive attitude of hatred.

Groupes radicaux pour l’abolition de l’argent et de l’État

From, Précieuses pépites. Étienne Chouard.

(citations of his cherished nuggets, 1031 pages long, from the Situationists, James Madison, Gandhi, Pastor Neimöller, Edmund Burke, George Orwell……)

Alain Soral has been condemned to a year in gaol for Holocaust denial. As the would-be sorcerer’s apprentice of a Red-Brown alliance, his balance-sheet has until recent years largely been a negative one. The most public initiative, the ‘anti-Zionist’ electoral list he helped organise with Dieudeonné, with the support of a few former leftists, and Tehran inclined Islamists, was a failure.

Égalité et Réconciliation¸ trumpeting the cause of workers and peoples, with right-wing national values, against globalist elites, appeared submerged in the malestrom of populism. As part of a “conspi” turn it could be said that Soral, who never fails to inject anti-semitism into the public domain, helped set out some markers, but little more. His site has had a small, if real, (according to reports) echo amongst the anti-gay marriage and anti-‘genre theory’ movement, which combined the traditional far-right, Catholic ‘ultras’ and some conservative Muslims. To escape from this impasse Soral has recently tried to engage – before his imprisonment has temporarily cut this short – with the Gilets Jaunes…with more success, if still limited.

It is the fashion in some quarters to look at the Gilets Jaunes through rose-tinted spectacles. After all, what could be more heartening than to discover, as perhaps prophesied by Jean-Claude Michéa, the work of those “en bas” in revolt against the neoliberal elite. The left which has, since, apparently the Dreyfus Affair, sought to integrate the left into a world ruled by finance is shaking. Woven in the by those who have been “solidaires depuis toujours”, acting through the heart of their “idenitité populaire la plus spécifique”, the French People have arisen…. (Notre Ennemi le capital. 2017)

No doubt there are worthy projects to wrestle inside the Gilets Jaunes movement, and fight for leftism and below within it. Reports, though not those broadcast by the professionals of tinting roses, the SWP, if their most recent General assembly (not universally recognised) indicate that they have decided to not offer any recommendation to vote for the coming European elections. A victory of sorts, though one finds it hard to imagine the good faith of any leftist sitting in a room with those who argued for supporting for a variety of hard-right lists – as happened..

Instead we have Étienne Chouard, a teacher, whose Mother worked for the – some might say – elitist Tel Quel literary and theoretical journal of Philippe Solars,  known for its 1960s structuralism, ultra-Maoist phase, and violent ‘anti-totalitarian’ turn in the 1970s. He says he is “a seeker of the original cause of social injustices”. The blogs he runs, such as Plan C, and his own personal site, advance the cause of “une Constitution Citoyenne, écrite par et pour les citoyens.”

Chouard is popular amongst the Gilets Jaunes – significant enough to be cited at length in the media, the latest appearance being in Saturday’s Le Monde (13.4.19). His audience on social networks is astronomical. He is probably the best known promoter of one of the Gilets Jaunes central demands, direct democracy through the idea of government by referendum. “référendum d’initiative populaire”. A one-time leftist, who dabbled in anarchism and the ultra-left, and who claims inspiration from  Cornelius Castoriadis he has expressed sympathy for Nigel Farage, yet voted Mélenchon in the last Presidential elections. The life-long grass-roots activist has now declared that he will back François Asselineau, a hard-right Frexit (French Brexit)  campaigner who runs the small UPR. It is also opposed to NATO. Le Monde notes he is far from alone amongst the Gilets Jaunes in backing this far-right party.. (12.4.19. Gilets jaunes » : François Asselineau et le « Frexit » font recette sur les ronds-points) that the UPR is known for promoting “conspiracy” ideas. (1)

Image result for étienne chouard soral

Chouard is the ideal type of “ confusionism”, melding together the far-right ideas with leftism. But this rhetoric does not stop at issues such as the European Union. As the reader of (one can believe this, see above) over 3,500 books on philosophy, politics and stuff, he has views on many areas. His freethinking has led him to express opinions doubting the official version of 9/11, and to express interest in the conspi site, Réseau Voltaire. Chouard has also had ties, notable ties, with Alain Soral over the years. His notorious description of Soral as a “resistant” did not go down well. He has stood back, preferring the calmer waters of the UPR, for his own red-brown alliance, from aligning himself with the sulphurous holocaust denier.

Despite the jolly film (judging from its trailer…) J’veux du soleil, by François Ruffin, there seems, as yet little indication of the français de souche amongst the Gilets Jaunes, reaching out to minorities, the “urban nomadic proletariat”.  But he doubtless found somebody prepared to listen to Michéa when it comes to official left and liberal anti-fascism.

(1) See also COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE : ÉTIENNE CHOUARD ANNONCE PUBLIQUEMENT QU’IL VOTERA POUR LA LISTE DE L’UPR AUX ÉLECTIONS EUROPÉENNES )

François Asselineau‘s ‘souverainiste‘ platform has two main targets, the European Union and the United States.[32] He insists that France should leave the Eurozone,[33] the European Union, and NATO.[32] According to Asselineau, the EU and NATO “as seen from Washington…are the political and military side of the same coin, that of the enthrallment of the European continent to their ‘buffer zone’ so as to surround and contain the Russian continental power”.[33] He says the process leading to European unification was launched solely upon orders from the American government.”

You can guess his views on Assange and Brexit….

Alain Soral, Red Brown National Populist, sentenced to one year in prison for Holocaust denial.

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Image result for alain soral cacircuture

Alain Soral sentenced to one year in prison for Holocaust denial

le Monde.

The prosecution had required six months of imprisonment against the far right essayist, and 15,000 euros fine against his lawyer, Damien Viguier.

The right-wing essayist Alain Soral was sentenced on Monday, April 15, to one year in prison  for Holocaust denial.

Mr. Soral, 60, was tried in Paris for challenging the existence of the Holocaust and published on his website contentious conclusions of his lawyer in another case. His counsel, Damien Viguier, was sentenced to 5,000 euros fine for complicity, because of the content of these conclusions.

The prosecution had demanded six months in prison against Mr. Soral, and 15,000 euros fine against Damien Viguier.

..

In 2016, the site of Alain Soral, Equality and Reconciliation, had published a drawing representing, on a “one” titled “Chutzpah Hebdo” , the face of Charlie Chaplin in front of the Star of David, with, written in a bubble, the question “Shoah where are you? ” Shoah où t’es ?  , Referring to a controversial first page of Charlie Hebdo after the attacks in Brussels , ” Dad where are you? » « Papa où t’es ? ».

More:

French far-right activist Alain Soral jailed for Holocaust denial.

Radio France International.

Multiple convictions over a contested image

The conviction concerns an image published on Soral’s website Egalité et Réconciliation (Equality and Reconciliation) in 2016 in which a fictional newspaper called “Chutzpah Hebdo” bears a caption reading “disoriented historians”.

Before a Star of David, a likeness of Charlie Chaplin surrounded by a shoe, a wig, a bar of soap and a lampshade asks “Holocaust, where are you?”

The image was a reference to a controversial cover of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo depicting a young man asking “Daddy, where are you?” surrounded by dismembered body parts, published in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels of 22 March 2016.

A court ruled the image on Soral’s site to be an instance of Holocaust denial and fined Soral 10,000 euros with the possibility of imprisonment in case of non-payment.

Monday’s conviction and sentence concerned a text by Viguier that Soral published on the same site in November 2017

In the text, Viguier says the shoes and wig were a “reference to memorial sites and sites of pilgrimage” that were “brought together to stir readers’ imaginations.”

Concerning the wig, Viguier wrote “haircuts occur in all places of concentration for reasons of hygiene,” and said claims that Nazis made soap from human fat and lampshades from human skin were “war propaganda”.

Viguier posted a message on Soral’s website saying they would both appeal the court’s decision.

This sentence may seem harsh but Soral has many previous convictions.(1)

His rabid anti-semitism is only one aspect of a political stand which goes from support for the Syrian regime, the Venezuelan government, hostility to “communitarian” identitarian gay, feminist politics, alliance with the Front National, a Liste Antisioniste (anti-Zionist),

Claiming links with the French Communist Party, the PCF,  in the late 1980s and early 1980s (which they deny, and,  although he has shown a membership card it is hard to prove any activity), Soral came to the public scene through the manifesto, Vers un front national . This followed his anti-EU campaigning against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.

In some respects this could be considered a template for new red-brown (rouges-bruns) alliances which have more recently marked European politics, above all, over the question of the European Union.

The Manifesto was signed by Jean-Paul Cruse a former member of the Mao-spontex Gauche prolétarienne, and appeared in one time ‘counter-cultural’ paper ‘Idiot international’ founded by Jean-Edern Hallier. It proposed ‘authoritarian politics needed to rebuild the country, to assemble the forces of civilisation against the market, and to advance the cause of the Nations. against Zionism and the stock market. The « front » aimed to group together « the Gaullist hard-liner, Pasqua, Socialist ‘patriot’ Chevènement, communists and ultra-nationalists.

medium_cruse_vers_un_front_national_1.3.jpg

Soral has been closely associated with the French comedian and fellow Holocaust denier, Dieudonné.

His web site  Égalité et Réconciliation offers a red-brown perspective, trumpeting the rooted population against the elite, and combining the “working class” left with the values of the right (Gauche du travail et droite des valeurs ). It intends to continue the perspective of the pre-Great War  Cercle Proudhon, which united a minority of radical, but patriotic   trade unionists with the radical far right maurrassien current.

It is marked by conspiracy theories of all kinds, centring around ‘Zionism’.

Soral has had links with  the ‘Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF), and individual ‘anti-Zionist’ Muslims,  Camel Bechikh, and ‘Albert Ali alias Abdelaali Baghezza, ancien responsable des Jeunes Musulmans de France amongst others. He has also had ties with far-right Catholic traditionalists.

Backing for Arab nationalism is long-standing, and continues with support for the Syrian regime.

It is hard to keep up with all the details of this ‘red-brown’ alliance, which can be seen via the above links.

Recently Égalité et Réconciliation has been an enthusiast for the Gilets Jaunes.

….

(1)

  • Le , la cour d’appel de Paris a confirmé le jugement du  par lequel Alain Soral était condamné à une amende de 3 000 € pour incitation à la haine raciale à la suite de propos tenus dans le cadre de l’émission Complément d’enquête sur France 2, le . Entre autres propos de la même veine, celui-ci affirmait : « la formation qualifiante pour exister dans les médias aujourd’hui, c’est d’être sioniste : si t’es antisioniste, si t’es judéo-critique ou quoi que ce soit tu dégages […] »123.
  • Le , Alain Soral est condamné en première instance à 2 500 euros d’amende, un euro symbolique de dommages et intérêts, 3 000 euros au titre des frais de justice, ainsi qu’à la publication, à ses frais, du jugement dans deux journaux, pour diffamation envers le maire socialiste de Paris Bertrand Delanoë, après avoir porté à son encontre des accusations d’enrichissement illégal et de pédophilie, dans une vidéo datée du  sur le site d’Égalité et Réconciliation124. Cette condamnation est confirmée et alourdie en appel, le , avec 2 000 euros de dommages et intérêts et 5 000 euros au titre des frais de justice125.
  • Le , le juge des référés de Bobigny, saisi par la LICRA, ordonne l’interdiction et le retrait des ventes « dans un délai d’un mois » de l’Anthologie des propos contre les juifs, le judaïsme et le sionisme, de Paul-Éric Blanrue et la censure partielle de quatre ouvrages réédités par Kontre Kulture : La France juive d’Édouard DrumontLe Salut par les Juifs de Léon BloyLe Juif international d’Henry Ford et La Controverse de Sion de Douglas Reed. La maison d’édition et Alain Soral sont également condamnés à verser, « à titre de provision », 8 000 euros à la LICRA, ainsi qu’à payer une partie des frais de justice126. La LICRA a également demandé la réparation du préjudice subi pour incitation à la haine raciale et à l’antisémitisme par l’édition du livre Anthologie des propos contre les juifs, le judaïsme et le sionisme. Dans un délibéré daté du , le TGI annule cette condamnation127. Néanmoins, la condamnation d’Alain Soral est à nouveau confirmée définitivement en appel128 et l’ouvrage de Paul-Éric Blanrue figure sur le site de la maison d’édition avec la mention « interdit à la vente à partir du 13 décembre »129.
  • En , l’Union des étudiants juifs de France a déposé plainte contre Alain Soral pour une quenelle réalisée devant le mémorial de la Shoah, à Berlin, qu’il avait ensuite diffusée dans une vidéo en 130. Le , Alain Soral est condamné par le tribunal correctionnel de Paris à verser 100 jours-amendes d’un montant unitaire de 100 euros pour injures à caractère racial, soit 10 000 euros d’amende, ainsi que 14 001 euros de dommages-intérêts au profit des sept associations qui s’étaient constituées parties civiles131. Le , la cour d’appel de Paris réduit la peine à 5 000 euros d’amende et 15 000 euros de dommages et intérêts aux sept associations parties civiles, auxquels s’ajoutent 500 euros à chaque fois pour les frais de justice d’appel132.
  • Le , Alain Soral est condamné à 2 000 euros d’amende, 2 000 euros de dommages et intérêts et 3 000 euros de frais de justice, pour diffamation envers le vice-président du Front national Louis Aliot, après l’avoir qualifié de « con du mois », de « suceur de sionistes », de « saloperie » et de « crétin », dans une vidéo publiée le  sur le site d’Égalité et Réconciliation. Le directeur de la publication de ce site a également été condamné à 1 500 euros d’amende avec sursis133. Ayant fait appel, Soral est à nouveau condamné à verser 2 000 euros à Louis Aliot134.
  • Le , Alain Soral est condamné à 6 000 euros d’amende, 3 000 euros de dommages et intérêts et 2 000 euros de frais de justice, pour provocation à « la haine, la discrimination ou la violence » à l’égard du journaliste juif Frédéric Haziza et de la communauté juive. Il avait, en , publié une vidéo dans laquelle il estimait que Frédéric Haziza faisait « un boulot de censeur tribaliste » et dénonçait « une arrogance, une domination et une malhonnêteté communautaire ». Le tribunal a estimé qu’Alain Soral, « mû par sa vindicte personnelle à l’encontre de Frédéric Haziza, (…) passant du particulier au général et radicalisant ses propos, s’est exprimé dans des termes qui, à l’évidence, visent non pas les seuls juifs sionistes, mais bien les juifs dans leur ensemble »135. Le tribunal a également ordonné à Alain Soral de supprimer les propos concernant Frédéric Haziza de la vidéo dans un délai de huit jours, sous astreinte de 1 000 euros par jour. Il a en outre été condamné à verser un euro de dommages et intérêts et 1 000 euros de frais de justice à la Ligue des droits de l’homme et à l’association « J’accuse », les parties civiles de la Licra, d’SOS Racisme et de l’UEJF ayant été déclarées irrecevables pour des raisons de procédure136,137. Le , la cour d’appel de Paris confirme la condamnation d’Alain Soral à 6 000 euros d’amende pour provocation à la haine envers Frédéric Haziza et les juifs, et lui ordonne de supprimer les propos concernant Frédéric Haziza d’une vidéo circulant sur internet138.
  • Le , le tribunal correctionnel de Paris a également condamné Alain Soral à 4 000 euros d’amende pour diffamation publique en raison de l’orientation sexuelle à l’encontre de Pierre Bergé, en raison de propos tenus dans son livre Dialogues désaccordés, coécrit avec Éric Naulleau. Outre l’amende, le tribunal correctionnel a condamné Alain Soral à verser à Pierre Bergé 10 000 euros de dommages et intérêts, solidairement avec l’éditeur du livre, Hugues Robert de Saint Vincent139. Le , la cour d’appel de Paris condamne Alain Soral à verser 17 000 euros à Pierre Bergé et demande la suppression du passage le concernant des exemplaires commercialisés ; l’éditeur préfère retirer l’ouvrage de la vente140.
  • Le , le tribunal correctionnel de Paris condamne Alain Soral à verser 60 jours-amendes de 50 euros — soit 3 000 euros —, sous peine d’emprisonnement, pour avoir lancé fin 2013 un appel aux dons sur Internet afin de payer la condamnation dont il avait écopé pour des propos diffamatoires à l’encontre de Bertrand Delanoë. Entre juillet 2013 (avant son appel aux dons) et mars 2014, les enquêteurs ont pu déterminer qu’Alain Soral et son association Égalité et Réconciliation ont encaissé au total plus de 350 000 euros141.
  • Le , le tribunal correctionnel de Paris condamne Alain Soral, en tant que directeur de la publication du site d’Égalité & Réconciliation, à 5 000 euros d’amende pour injures et injures antisémites, en raison de commentaires publiés sur le site par des internautes s’en prenant au journaliste Frédéric Haziza. Il doit également verser 3 000 euros de dommages et intérêts, 2 000 euros pour les frais de justice, un euro de dommages et intérêts à la LICRA et 1 000 euros pour les frais de justice142.
  • Le , le tribunal correctionnel de Paris condamne Alain Soral à 10 000 euros d’amende pour injure raciale à l’encontre de Frédéric Haziza à la suite d’un texte publié sur son site internet. Il doit également lui verser 5 000 euros de dommages et intérêts et 3 000 euros pour les frais de justice, ainsi qu’1 euro de dommages et intérêts et 1 000 euros de frais de justice à quatre associations de lutte contre le racisme. Il est par ailleurs déclaré coupable du délit de provocation à la discrimination religieuse pour d’autres passages du texte ainsi que le commentaire d’un internaute143.
  • Le , Alain Soral en tant que responsables de site est condamné144 car il a relayé un article d’Hicham Hamza, auteur du blog conspirationniste (ou complotiste)145,146,147 Panamza.com, qui est condamné en diffamation pour avoir traité Caroline Fourest de « désinformatrice » sur la base d’une séquence de son film Les Obsédés du complot. Sur son blog, il avait accusé Caroline Fourest d’avoir tronqué le sous-titrage d’un dialogue dans son reportage sur les réseaux complotistes mais la cour a admis l’explication de la journaliste qui indiquait que la mauvaise retranscription relevait « d’une erreur de sa monteuse lors du montage du documentaire » « en raison des propos « confus » et « inaudibles »148 ».
  • En juin 2016, il écope de six mois de prison avec sursis pour « apologie de crimes de guerre et contre l’humanité » pour des propos visant Serge et Beate Klarsfeld ; il doit également verser 5 000 euros de dommages et intérêts à chacun des époux, ainsi que 2 000 euros à la LICRA149.
  • Le , Salim Laïbi, chirurgien-dentiste, polémiste, a déposé plainte avec constitution de partie civile contre Alain Soral auprès du TGI de Marseille, pour diffamation à la suite du post Facebook de Alain Soral : « On ne l’entend plus le dentiste obèse ! Il n’appelle plus au djihad anti-Gaulois. C’est pourtant sa ligne depuis des mois ». Selon le quotidien La Provence, Alain Soral refusera de se rendre aux convocations du juge d’instruction malgré un mandat d’amener. Il est également absent à l’audition du  au TGI de Marseille, où son avocat, Me Drici Lahcen, affirme « que son client n’a pas dépassé les limites de la liberté d’expression »150 et que ce n’était pas sa page Facebook. Le , Alain Soral est condamné par le tribunal correctionnel de Marseille pour diffamation publique à une amende pénale de 2 000 euros151.
  • Le , Binti Bangoura, une top modèle et chanteuse française d’origine africaine, dépose plainte contre Alain Soral152,153. Alain Soral est convoqué le  devant le tribunal de Paris, sur citation directe, pour « injures raciales », « menaces », « harcèlement » et « envois réitérés de messages malveillants »154. En novembre 2016, il est condamné à 120 jours-amende de 50 euros (une peine transformée en emprisonnement si la totalité de l’amende n’est pas acquittée) et à verser 8 000 euros à la jeune femme (dommages-intérêts et frais de justice)155,156.
  • Le , Alain Soral est condamné à trois mois de prison ferme pour contestation de crime contre l’humanité et injure raciale, par le tribunal correctionnel de Paris, pour avoir publié sur son site — à la suite des attentats de Bruxelles — un dessin jugé négationniste157. La sentence est confirmée en novembre 2017 par la cour d’appel de Paris158.
  • Le , il est condamné à 6 000 euros d’amende pour avoir publié et mis en vente sur le site d’Égalité & Réconciliation une affiche jugée négationniste, diffamatoire et incitant à la haine envers les Juifs ; il est également condamné à verser solidairement 2 000 euros à la Licra, partie civile et à l’origine de la plainte dans ce dossier159.
  • Le , il est condamné à six mois de prison avec sursis et 10 000 euros d’amende pour avoir publié des caricatures antisémites sur le site d’Égalité & Réconciliation160.
  • Le , il est condamné à deux peines d’emprisonnement avec sursis pour provocation à la haine, après la diffusion de deux dessins jugés antisémites sur le site d’Égalité & Réconciliation161.
  • Le , il est condamné à un an de prison ferme pour injure et provocation à la haine raciale, par le tribunal correctionnel de Bobigny162,163.
  • Le , il est condamné par la Cour d’appel de Paris à trois mois d’emprisonnement avec sursis et 5 000 euros d’amende, pour avoir indiqué de faux directeurs de la publication sur le site d’Égalité et Réconciliation. Cette condamnation est confirmée en cassation le 22 janvier 2019164.
  • Le , il est condamné à un an de prison ferme avec mandat d’arret pour négationnisme de la Shoah. Son avocat, Damien Viguier, est condamné à 5 000 euros d’amende dans la même affa

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm

Shamima Begum: accused of responsibilities to face up to, she has rights.

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Image result for al-Khansaa brigade

Was Begum a member of the  Isis all-female Al-Khansaa Brigade, who enforced women’s dress rules?

This has caught the headlines.

Shamima Begum: IS bride ‘given legal aid’ for citizenship fight

BBC.

Legal aid has been granted for Shamima Begum – who joined the Islamic State group aged 15 – to fight the decision to revoke her UK citizenship.

The 19-year-old, who left east London in 2015, was stripped of her citizenship in February, after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp.

Her family has previously said it planned to challenge the decision.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Legal Aid Agency’s decision to assist Ms Begum made him “very uncomfortable”.

Legal aid is financial assistance provided by the taxpayer to those unable to afford legal representation themselves, whether they are accused of a crime or a victim who seeks the help of a lawyer through the court process.

It is means-tested and availability has been cut back significantly in recent years.

This Blog agrees with this statement:

The I’ . Florence Sneed reports, nevertheless has also reported on  this:

Shamima Begum: Isis bride ‘was discipline enforcer for group’s morality police’

Shamima Begum, who left London aged 15 to join Isis, served in the terror group’s “morality police” to help enforce strict rules among female members, according to reports.

Ms Begum is said to have been allowed to carry a Kalashnikov rifle and earned a reputation for being a strict “enforcer” on issues such as women’s clothing.

The teenager, who is now 19, previously said she was “just a housewife” after being tracked down to a Syrian refugee camp earlier this year.

But sources have said she had a paid role as an enforcer of discipline in which she likely ordered the imprisonment and lashing of women in Raqqa, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

It reported that Ms Begum is also thought to have been actively trying to recruit other women across Europe during her time in city.

Other reports suggest the teenager – who has since been stripped of her British citizenship – went as far as preparing suicide vests and sewing them on to would-be bombers.

The Independent added this detail,

One activist quoted by the newspaper said Begum had been seen holding an automatic weapon and shouting at Syrian women in the city of Raqqa for wearing brightly coloured shoes.

“Members of our group from Raqqa knew her well,” said Aghiad al-Kheder, an activist from Deir ez-Zor who founded an anti-Isis collective that published information about Isis crimes from sources on the ground.

This leads to the following report, (Independent)

Isis: British women led by Aqsa Mahmood ‘running sharia police unit for Islamic State in Syria’

The ICSR says it monitors 25 British female jihadists who have left their lives in the UK to support Isis.

The brigade’s women are reportedly paid a monthly salary of 25,000 Syrian Pounds (roughly £100), says TRAC, for duties that are not involved with acts of terror – instead insurgency operations.

They are not the only all-female brigade, either, with another – Umm Al-Rayan – also created around the same time.

Security services believe that it is likely that the women will know the true identity of ‘Jihadi John’, the Isis fighter believed to be the person responsible for the beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

According to Syria Deeply, the al-Khansaa brigade has also been tasked with cracking down on civilian women who fail to abide by the ultra-strict brand of sharia law implemented by Isis, including that women be fully covered in public and be chaperoned by a male.

An Isis official in Raqqa reportedly said: “We have established the brigade to raise awareness of our religion among women, and to punish women who do not abide by the law.

“There are only women in this brigade, and we have given them their own facilities to prevent the mixture of men and women.”

These are serious charges which Begum must face up to.

It will be interesting to hear the response from this quarter.

Shamima Begum said that at the time she had accepted Isis’s line that the Manchester bombing was justified as form of retaliation. But she went on to say that it wasn’t “fair” on the women and children killed in Mancheser.

And she suggested there was an equivalence between the Manchester bombing and the mass murder by the West in the Middle East.

Certainly it is utterly hypocritical to hear denunciations of violence from those who backed mass slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan, urged on the devastation of Libya and support the bombing and starving of Yemen.

The West is responsible for the horrors of Isis. Had it not been for its imperialist wars in the Middle East, there would have been no Isis for Shamima Begum and her school friends to join.

Many liberals fall into the trap of seeing a division between “good” and “bad Muslims”—such as Shamima Begum who deserve to feel the full force of the law. But any Muslim that dares to question British foreign policy is considered to be a “bad Muslim” by the British state.

Socialist Worker. 20th of February 2019.

Begum, if the case against her is proved, was an active participant in genocide.

There is no doubt whatsoever about the nature of the mass killings carried our by Daesh.

Only the politically confused can try to excuse the genociders of ISIS and aided by the Islamic Morality Police by pointing to the crimes of Western powers.

Only hypocrites and liars can throw responsibility for their crimes onto ‘the West’. 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 15, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Euro Elections: An Opportunity for Labour to take an Internationalist Stand on Europe.

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Labour Will not Win by Competing for the Brexit Vote.

The Tories are in steep decline, and the Brexit Party (Farage, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Spiked – Revolutionary Communist Party oddball, Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert to name but their best known candidates),  are slugging it out over ownership of the fear of god with UKIP.

UKIP has just distinguished itself with this:

I bet the chap below does not like rootless cosmopolitans:

Labour is a strong position to stand up for internationalism.

The anti-cosmopolitan Full Brexit crowd is still trying to drag the party into a competition with the three Brexit parties and adopt National Populist policies.

Skwawkbox, for it is he, says,

Labour’s leadership, following the party’s conference policy, tabled the option of a new referendum in Parliament – and it was decisively defeated, as it was when tabled separately.

But to those aware of working-class opinion, especially outside London, it’s always been clear that Labour had to see through Brexit or risk alienating huge tracts of its heartlands.

Labour’s current strong polling shows that the majority of its base understood that Jeremy Corbyn has played a difficult hand brilliantly. But if Labour wants to win power – as millions of suffering people in this country desperately need – it’s now time for the party to focus on delivering a Brexit that works as well as possible for everyone. Ultimately, that’s always been true.

Those who can’t see beyond a desire to ‘stop Brexit’ to the greater prize of a country governed by Labour for the many cannot be allowed to dictate the party’s agenda, tactics or message.

The time has come for the internationalist left to strike another note:

The Huffington Post publishes this:

Jeremy Corbyn Handed ‘Remain, Reform, Rebel’ Manifesto For European Elections

Rachel Wearmouth

Calls for Jeremy Corbyn to back remain at the European elections have intensified as a strongly pro-EU manifesto penned by left-wingers was passed to the Labour leader.

Titled “Remain, Reform, Rebel”, the document was penned by Corbyn allies, including his ex-economic advisor Ann Pettifor, and has been endorsed by every sitting Labour MEP set to contest their seat should the Brexit deadlock trigger the May 23 poll.

It demands an EU-wide Green New Deal – similar to that advocated in the US by Democrat politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – to include a “European super-grid” and pledges to make the continent 100% served by renewables by 2050.

Labour’s official manifesto will be be decided separately by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee and the party has said it will consult with a range of stakeholders.

Talks between Corbyn and Theresa May were set to enter a third week on Monday as the pair attempt to thrash out a compromise after the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement was rejected three times.

While elections to the European Parliament are not yet certain, all parties have begun preparations to take part.

….

It comes as party insiders increasingly fear the European Parliament elections, which will be held almost three years after the 2016 vote, will inevitably morph into a proxy referendum on EU membership.

A Labour source told HuffPost UK MEPs see the Remain vote will split between the new Change UK party, the Lib Dems and Greens, handing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party a path to victory.

Turning to the Commission’s draft manifesto, they said: “These talks are like a death dance with the first who stops accused of collapsing.

“This is the left’s bid to show that we aren’t afraid of fighting on an overtly pro-European election.

“We want to come out fighting and to be able to say we are part of a pro-European alliance that wants to push things in the direction of a socialist Europe.

“We are saying to Labour as a commission: bite the bullet, get behind where the membership are and the majority of Labour voters are.

Former Revolutionary Communist Party’s Spiked: Alka Sehgal Cuthbert Candidate for Farage’s Brexit Party.

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Alka Sehgal Cuthbert is a Cambridge-educated former secondary school teacher

Prominent Spiked Contributor Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert stands for Farage’s Party.

Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, another of the party’s new candidates, is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

“My son still finds it very difficult to countenance this,” she told The Daily Beast.

“It’s widely recognized that Left and Right have lost their meaning so we need new principles to base our politics on, and for me the question of democracy is the key—I’m not doing this for Nigel Farage.”

Daily Beast.

This received the seal of approval from Spiked: Joanna Williams @jowilliams293

Head of Education and Culture . Associate editor .

Articles by ALKA SEHGAL CUTHBERT on Spiked.

Article by Joanna Williams.

Link to the ‘left’ Full Brexit front:

Defending Eddie Dempsey she re-tweeted this.

More to follow…..

Dodgy Geezer.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 13, 2019 at 12:04 pm

James Robertson, Founder of the Sparticist League, and Progenitor of the Private Eye Columnist, Passes On.

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spart nk

Sparts’ British Supporters.

James Robertson, (born 1928) was National Chairman of the Spartacist League (US), the original national section of the International Communist League. Robertson is now, it is reported (Marxism List), a consultative member of the ICL’s international executive committee in the depths of Hades.

Contacted by this Blog the venerable scion Comrade Dave said,

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Julian Assange,  Aaron Bastani…and now Comrade Robertson, who has not been the victim of the racist declining British empire as it is smashed by the Spartacist League/Britain  which will honour his memory in our fights to build such a revolutionary workers party, one that stands as the tribune of the people in defending all the oppressed including the downtrodden. Building such parties internationally is part of reforging the Trotskyist Fourth International as the world party of socialist revolution.  As Trotskyists, we stress that just as workers in the US must defend their unions against the bosses despite the sell-out union leadership, the international working class, especially in the US, must stand for unconditional military defence of the Deformed North Korean Workers’ State against imperialism and internal counterrevolution.

Down with the Pabloite Revisionists!

Glory and Hail to the Memory of the Robertson Victorious Red Army!

Dave Spart: Chair of the Aldeburgh Climate Collective/Free Julian Assange, People’s Brexit Alliance.

Full accounts of his life and his passing, the public mourning,  and planned commemorative meetings have yet to appear.

For those who only know the Sparts from the celebrated offspring’s regular Private Eye Column the excellent Hatfull of History offers this introductory guide, which concentrates on their British activities.

Taking a break from writing book chapters and ARC proposals, I have been plunging into bizarre world of the Spartacist League (UK) through the recently digitised Spartacist Britain (1978-84) and Workers’ Hammer (1984-2011), made available online through the Riazanov Library Digitization Project and the Encyclopedia of Trotskyism Online. The Spartacist League were a breakway group from the Workers Socialist League (led by Alan Thornett) who had broken away from Gerry Healy’s Workers Revolutionary Party in the mid-1970s. The SL joined up with other Spartacist groups in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, forming the International Communist League – a version of the Fourth International that opposed the Mandelite Fourth International which the IMG belonged to. In his 1984 work, John Sullivan described the Spartacist League as ‘very unpopular’ and ‘increasingly unbalanced’ and are probably best known nowadays for their absurd defence of regimes such as North Korea (accompanied by unintelligible placards announcing their position – see here).

SECTARIAN HILARITY FOR THE LEFT-WING TRAINSPOTTER! THE UK SPARTACIST LEAGUE’S PAPERS FROM 1978-2011 NOW DIGITISED AND ONLINE

(Note if I could be arsed there is an issue which denounces ‘Bully Boy Coatesy’ to boot).

 

A guide is offered in the Bible, our look-up-to, As Soon as This Pub Closes. (1988) – one could update it at length, right to the recent expulsion of the Polish section (maximum 3 members, “ICL Expels Members of Polish Section. Statement by the International Executive Committee. 5th of April 2019).

THE Spartacist League (Sparts for short) are a colony of an American group of the same name who split from the American SWP in the early 1960s, when the parent group became Castroites, lost interest in the labour movement, and became ardent supporters of armed struggle (except in the United States, where guerrilla war is illegal). Consequently, the SWP fired Gerry Healy, who had been their British concessionaire up till then, made it up with their old enemies Pablo and Mandel, and created the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. Those, mainly in the SWP’s youth wing, who could not accept the change in policy were expelled and eventually became the Spartacist League. They tried to work with Gerry Healy, who the Sparts’ leader, James Robertson, recognised as a kindred spirit, but Healy demanded unconditional obedience and worship at his personal shrine. If the group was to escape from national isolation it needed its own International, so teams of missionaries were despatched to strike at the revisionists’ European base. Although less successful than the Mormons, they managed to recruit some natives and now have a group of about 60 people, which publishes a journal named Workers Hammer.

The Sparts’ complete parasitism on other groups makes them very unpopular on the rest of the left, so, regrettably, little attempt is made to understand the theory which explains their behaviour. The Sparts’ core belief is that, for the foreseeable future, it is impossible for revolutionaries to address themselves to significant sectors of the working class, as anyone open to revolutionary politics is already a supporter of one of the groups which falsely claim to be revolutionary. The key task of revolutionaries is, therefore, to win over supporters of these Ostensibly Revolutionary Groups (ORGs), by heckling their meetings and hoping to be thrown out. The Sparts will in this way achieve the primitive accumulation of cadres which is a necessary stage to be gone through before proceeding to a direct involvement in class struggle. The belief in the long slow haul is combined with the view that there is not much time left to build the vanguard party before the final struggle between socialism and barbarism. Such a theory may be contradictory, but it is necessary if the group is to maintain revolutionary fervour while confining its activity to a propaganda onslaught on the ORGs.

Surprise is sometimes expressed that such an introspective strategy comes from a group born in the stirring 1960s, heyday of youth revolt and the movement against the Vietnam War. Are the Sparts not too kind to the ORGs, in spite of continually bad-mouthing them? As usual, an examination of the group’s own history and political predicament will provide an explanation which eludes us if we confine our attention to the realms of grand theory where the Sparts would like to contain it. The core of the Sparts joined the SWP in the late 1950s, after splitting from Max Shachtman’s Independent Socialist League, a formerly Marxist organisation which moved rapidly to the right during the 1950s. Shachtman had split from the SWP in 1940 and ended up supporting the Vietnam War, so the young men who joined the SWP were accepting that that party embodied the revolutionary tradition. They were almost alone in joining what was already an ossified liberal sect, which is why they immediately dominated its youth movement and breathed some life into a decrepit structure.

When the Sparts found themselves outside the SWP, they had, in order to justify joining it in the first place, to construct a myth that it had degenerated recently. The contention puzzled other American leftists. Some of the old SWP members were loyal and dedicated comrades, but the party’s intellectual level was abysmal, it had hardly any industrial clout, and young people, apart from those who were to become the Sparts, saw it as an irrelevance. So did their younger sisters and brothers, when the anti-Vietnam War movement developed in the 1960s. James P. Cannon, the Healy prototype, who the Sparts continue to see as the American Lenin, retired from active leadership but retained political solidarity with the subordinates who replaced him. The SWP, after the departure of the Sparts, acted as handboys of the liberal Democrats in opposing the more radical elements in the anti-war movement. Our indigenous Sparts are carefully brought up in a myth which dates the SWP’s degeneration a decade-and-a-half later than the facts warrant. The contradictions in the Spart view of the movement’s history conditioned their inability to understand British politics, once they stepped ashore. The antics of the American SWP’s co-thinkers here were appalling, so the Sparts slated them mercilessly. On the other hand, the theory said that such groups embodied the revolutionary tradition, in however deformed a fashion, so the Sparts could not abandon them and search for a healthier corpse to feed off.

Why stick with such a contradictory theory and live in such a repulsive environment? It is a more intellectually satisfying variant of the Mandelite belief in the revolutionary potential of the flotsam of that milieu, and fulfils the same function of providing a justification for avoiding the working class. No one unfamiliar with American society can appreciate the enormous difficulty in maintaining a hold on reality in an environment where student radicals have to compete with Hari Krishna and Lyndon La Rouche, a former Spart who is now a leader of a Moral Majority sect. It is surprising, not that the Sparts are crazy, but that they are not even madder. The Sparts’ belief that the ex-Trotskyist movement was healthy until the 1950s allows them to avoid any discussion of the much more important discussions of the 1940s. They cannot help but be aware that the British section of the Fourth International, the Revolutionary Communist Party, was one of the healthiest and most working-class and that their hero Cannon helped in its destruction when he imposed his clone Healy as its leader. Consequently, their anti-British chauvinism seems like a mirror image of Militant’s patriotism. The Sparts’ fixation on their very individual view of history and their chosen field of operations limit their interests. They found it easy enough to outrage your average middle-class trendy by reiterating traditional Marxist views on such issues as Black and Female separatism. As unusually learned Marxists, they are well aware that the founding fathers’ views on Gay Liberation are even more shocking to many of those who consider themselves their followers, but they wisely decided not to press that point. [1] It is more difficult to extend this method to cover areas such as political economy where the trendies do not have a view. In any case, the Spart heart was not in this. Once the overriding aim to zap the ORGs is understood, everything else about Spart activity falls into place. For example, a revolt in South Africa is intrinsically less interesting than the wrong response of the Dutch or German Pabloites to that event. As illusions in Eurocommunism, feminism and the youth vanguard crumbled in the mid-1970s and the radical left was thrown into crisis, the Sparts hoped to benefit from the decline of their softer rivals. In practice, the collapse of that milieu had a calamitous effect on them in the early 1980s. When the dog dies, the fleas also die. Unused to developing the independent activity which was clearly necessary, now that there was not much meat on the ORGs, the Sparts lost most of their cadre in Britain.

Because many of the Sparts’ formal positions are more acceptable to labour movement activists than the lunacies peddled by their competitors, there is the danger that people outside the radical middle-class milieu will want to join them. To prevent the inevitable tensions which would result from recruiting working-class militants, reasonable positions are expressed in an intolerably harsh manner that works quite well. American ex-Sparts describe a very Healyite organisation where Robertson sits behind a steadily growing pile of empty beer cans carrying on a rambling drunken harangue interspersed with senile laughter, yet we have found Robertson charming on his visits to London. It is true that many of the leading Sparts go in for a macho-man image of guns and swords. The perfectly reasonable call for the abolition of the licensing hours is elevated to a central demand, and there are signs of a flirtation with Scots nationalism. As befits its American origin, the Sparts are individually competitive. New ideas are floated, and if successful their originators get promoted, while if the idea is found to be revisionist they are demoted. If you believe that she who lives by the sword will die by the sword, you have probably guessed the Sparts’ destiny. In the early 1980s, a group of veteran Sparts in the Bay Area of California, where they had their only toe-hold in the labour movement, defected. The renegades, who originally called themselves the External Tendency, had absorbed their Spart training well. They re-classified their parent group as an ORG and turned up to intervene at its meetings, carefully restraining themselves against attempts to goad them into violence. Innocents in Bootle or Lyon can hardly be expected to understand that the main purpose of all Spart literature is to discredit that tiny group in California.

Goaded by the External Tendency, the Sparts became increasingly unbalanced, and now agree with the despised Pabloites that a wave of sexual repression is sweeping over Britain. If the External Tendency (now known as the Bolshevik Tendency) are able to smuggle a colonist with the requisite ethnic qualifications past Thatcher’s racist immigration police, so that she or he could do to the Sparts what they do unto others, they would lose control completely and go the way of the Healyites and accuse their rivals of working for the CIA. The Bolshevik Tendency is an extremely small flea, but its bite could well prove fatal.]

See also: (1964), EXPULSION LAID TO TROTSKYITES; Socialist Workers Accused of Arbitrary Actions

 

The Socialist Workers party the American Trotskyite group, has been accused of expelling members solely “on the basis of opinions,” allegedly for the first time in its 35‐year history.

The charge is being circulated by the expelled members, led by, James Robertson and Geoffrey White. Mr. Robertson is the editor of a new 16‐page bimonthly, Spartacist, started here by the ousted group; Mr. White is the West Coast editor.

Mr. Robertson said in an interview last week that “more than a quarter of the membership,” including Mrs. Myra Tanner Weiss, former Vice Presidential candidate, and Arne Swabeck, a founding member, had opposed the expulsions last December although many disagreed with the opinions of the expelled group.

Farrell Dobbs, national secretary, has declined to comment on the charges, circulated in a Spartacist edition of 2,000 copies, according to Mr. Robertson.

Mr. Robertson asserted that past expulsions had been based on actions outside the party. He cited the ouster of Max Shachtman and James Burnham in 1940 after they began operating an independent publication.

While the Socialist Workers party does not make known its membership, Mr. Robertson estimated it was down to about 500 members nationally. A subscription drive recently brought its weekly publication, The Militant, up to perhaps 7,000 to 10,000 subscribers, he estimated.

The Trotskyites’ policy flows from the world Communist program of the late Leon Trotsky. The party is currently running a Presidential ticket headed by Clifton DeBery, who Mr. Robertson said was Mr. Dobbs’s sonin‐law. Mr. Dobbs polled 40,165 votes as party candidate for President in 1960.

Mr. Robertson said that five members of his so‐called Revolutionary Tendency group were expelled by the national committee on Dec. 28 on charges of having a “hostile attitude.” He said the five were not granted “the formality of a trial.”

Another, he said, was expelled by the New York local on Feb. 13 for having picketed Queen Frederika of Greece “without prior consultation or approval.” Five more, he went on, were expelled by the local last Thursday on charges that included their having voted against a report branding his group “a hostile faction.”

Mrs. Weiss voted against the latest expulsion on the ground that the party should allow “different democratic interpretations” even though she opposed the Robertson group politically as “sectarian and ultra‐leftist.” Those expelled are demanding readmission and could appeal to a national convention.

The Revolutionary Tendency group was formed in 1961, The Spartacist said, in response to what it called the national committee’s “surrender of all Marxist responsibility toward the Cuban Revolution through abasement as an uncritical apologist for the Castro regime.”

The group asserted this had been repeated with regard to the Ben Bella regime in Algeria. Most recently, it contended, the majority engaged “within the United States in a will‐o’‐ the‐wisp chase after Black Nationalism.”

Of those expelled, Mr. Robertson said, the oldest was Mr. White.

Mr. White, 37 years old, is a former chairman of the Communist party of Rhode Island. He resigned from that party in 1957 after Premier Khrushchev’s disclosures of Stalinist terrorism.

Mr. Robertson said that Mr. White then joined the Socialist Workers party and polled 2,000 votes as its candidate for the City Council in Berkeley, Calif., Jast year.

Mr. Robertson said he himself was 35 and had joined the Communist party in California at the age of 18 in 1946. From 1949 to 1957, he said, he belonged to Mr. Schachtman’s Workers party, called the Independent Socialist League in its later days, and then he joined the Socialist Workers party.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Movement for Brexit Blackout Takes off as Aldi Blockaded and People Turn off the Telly.

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Image result for league of gentlemen local shop

Brexit Campaign to Stop buying EU products Takes Wing, “there’s no need for the Alice in Wonderland politics emanating from both the Another Europe is Possible camp and some trade union officials.”

The Socialist Workers Party and other Brexit Bolsheviks moan that there is no “mass movement” for Brexit.

As Paul Embery’s Trade Unionists Against the EU says,

For the metropolitan liberal elite, far removed from such concerns, the prospect of a people’s Brexit simply violates their sense of entitlement and jeopardises the prospect of middle-class benefits that the working class will never see.

Out-of-touch Labour MPs and councillors, door stepping for Remain, are shocked at what their constituents are saying.

Labour councillor Ed Murphy added insult to injury by claiming only the thick will vote to leave.

There is a blind refusal to see that a people’s Brexit provides a genuine opportunity for workers to gain confidence, challenge a weak and divided Tory government …..

A window of opportunity seem now to be growing!

cover photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, suit and text

Britain’s very own Brexit Gilets Jaunes are leading a new movement.

The call, in the Brexit Protest and Direct Action Group on Facebook, comes after EU leaders agreed to an extension to Brexit until October 31 – although the UK could leave quicker if a deal can be agreed.

There have previously been calls for people to stop buying EU products in supermarkets, a nationwide blackout where pro-Brexit supporters switch their phones and TVs and not go shopping for the day and plans to blockade every major roundabout and junction in Britain.

Other planned protests by Brexiteers include cancelling TV licences, refusing to pay Council Tax and protests outside German supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl in a bid to get Prime Minister Theresa May to listen to their demands.

Doncaster Free Press.

This is Brexit at its best’ claim five protesters who blocked off an Aldi

Echo. Liverpool.

The group of around five people parked their vehicles across the road so delivery trucks could not pass.

The group of around five supporters came in cars and camper vans and blocked Chester High Road, in Neston , last night.

In a video taken by a passerby members of the group can be seen brandishing placards and wearing British flags around themselves.

Meanwhile a man with a microphone shouts ‘this is Brexit at its best’ as another woman, with a flag wrapped around her head, shouts ‘we are here’.

“The tiny demonstration soon became a laughing stock on social media as some pointed out that one of their camper vans was German-made. One man wrote on Twitter: ‘They have blocked the road to a German supermarket distribution centre because they ‘don’t want German they want Brexit…. with a German motorhome.’”

Brexit supporters say they will turn off TVs and stay off work for ‘blackout’ protest tomorrow

Staffordshire live.

People enraged about the slow path to Brexit are planning to switch off their phones and TVs, stay off work and spend no money tomorrow.

A Facebook group called “Brexit Blackout! 12th of April”, which so far has more than 3,000 members, is organising a day of no driving, no spending and no using electricity to “get across the message to the powers that be that people demand their government adhere to 2016 referendum result”.

..

And among protests that have been suggested for tomorrow – the day we were supposed to leave the EU – are blockades of ports, roads and airports.

Will we see this lot join them?

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2019 at 11:05 am

Bye Bye Assange: George Galloway (Hard Brexit Candidate for the North West England in Euro Elections), Cries “Shame!”

with 5 comments

 

We’re all tears.

2012.

Respect MP criticised by anti-rape campaigners after claiming having sex with a woman when she is asleep is not rape
“not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”

“Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”

Lawyers and anti-rape campaigners said Galloway was wrong and the law is clear that consent is required every time someone has sex.

Galloway said he was speaking out because “a reign of intellectual terror has descended in Britain” on this issue and he believed the sexual assault claims were part of a “setup” intended to deliver Assange into the hands of the US authorities angered at his publication of state secrets.

“It is staggering just how ignorant, factually and morally incorrect George Galloway can be,” said Katie Russell, spokeswoman for Rape Crisis England and Wales. “It is very concerning that an elected MP should display such ignorance of the law for all the women and men he represents. It sends a negative message to all the women and girls who have experienced sexual violence and a disturbing message to perpetrators. He says he doesn’t believe these women or these allegations and that is a very powerful statement because every woman or girl who has made an allegation of sexual violence deserves to have that treated fairly.”

Let not this overshadow the following historic announcement.

Who is backing Galloway, what alliances has he made?

We also ask for any leakers to tell us…

Meanwhile Assange gets more support:

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Written by Andrew Coates

April 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Shambling Towards Shambles: Brexit, Alex Callinicos and the Socialist Workers Party.

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“If a breakthrough to the left occurs in a particular country, this would indeed require a left government defying the EU and introducing a programme of controls over the economy.”

Alex Callinicos.

Shambling towards the precipice Alex Callinicos.

International Socialism Issue 162. April the 8th.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 10, 2019 at 11:44 am

Counterfire, John Rees, So-called Marxists and Brexit.

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Image result for john rees with george galloway

“Genuine Marxists” with their one-time Best Friend.

Amongst many other things Brexit has divided the left.

The Parliamentary Labour Party, and the large number of people in Britain who have left-wing politics, from social democratic ideas, left liberalism, green politics, and all the varieties of democratic socialism have seen different views on the European Union become the burning political issue of our time.

The Marxist left has also been split.

What seemed like the majority view of both the non-Labour Leninist left and – it was assumed – the Labour left was a position extremely  hostile to the EU. Tony Benn had even described the UK as a “colony” of the EU, and this flight of fancy was not his alone.

The Referendum showed that there was a strong section of the radical left, including those who identify with the Marxist tradition, who stood for a Remain Vote. Today many are organised in the campaign, Another Europe is Possible, whose support goes from the Labour grass-roots group, Open Labour not far from the Party’s centre, the Green Party, to the Party’s Left, the democratic socialist Chartist, supporters of Momentum, to more radical groups, such as Socialist Resistance and the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. Left Unity has also given its backing to Another Europe. From Another Europe there is equally Labour for a Socialist Europe, which produces valuable material relating to Party debate. The allied initiative, Love Socialism Hate Brexit, has attracted Labour MPs, like Clive Lewis and Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

The Lexit, pro-Brexit, Left, has grouped around The Full Brexit, an alliance of Family Faith and Flag Blue Labour, sovereigntists, The Communist  Party of Britain, Spiked contributors , the odd maverick Green, and supporters of the Revolutionary Socialist Counterfire. The Full Brexit’s recent troubles over Eddie Dempsey, and, now Paul Embery, opponents of “rootless cosmopolitans” illustrate the difficulties many on the left would have in working with this body, let alone its anti-EU politics.

Now, from the above Counterfire, ignoring such mundane issues, John Rees offers the left a masterclass on Marxism.

Marxists, so-called Marxists, and parliamentary socialists

He begins by citing this,

The only sensible reaction to the accusation by the Tory right that Jeremy Corbyn is “a Marxist“ is the one that Karl Marx himself gave. In response to some of his own would-be followers in France he said: “all that I know, is that I am not a Marxist”.

Marx was referring to Jules Guesde the leader of the French ‘Marxist’ tendency which became the Parti Ouvrier, and, after another name change, eventually became, in 1905, part of the first substantial french socialist party, the : Section française de l’Internationale ouvrièreSFIO.

A little further down Rees gives another “famous quotation” from Engels, on French socialism to support his politics,

“We have never called you anything but ‘the so-called Marxists’ and I would not know how else to describe you. Should you have some other, equally succinct name, let us know and we shall duly and gladly apply it to you.”

He states of this (Engels To Paul Lafargue At Le Perreux. London, 11 May 1889)

What was it that produced such a scathing remark from Engels? It was the idea, current among Marx and Engels’ French supporters, that support for reforms was just a trick meant to lure workers into more radical politics once they had seen such demands fail.

Marx and Engels would have none of it. They took seriously the demands for reform that arose from the working-class movement and inscribed them as basic demands in their own programme. They wanted them achieved because they knew that both the struggle to attain them, and any successes that were achieved, would strengthen the working class movement in practice and ideologically.

Rees, to put it simply, is  misleading. The exchange had a meaning only within its time of writing and does not refer to “reforms” in general.

Engels’ letter was in the context of one of the divisions that marked, and still mark, French socialism, and international socialism. That is between those who stand for internationalism, what would now be called universal human rights, and those tempted by National Populism.

This arose during the “Boulangist Movement” and the letter is about the ambiguous attitude of Marx’s son-in-law, who had expressed sympathy  for this nationalist upsurge.

Mitchell Abidor offers and excellent introduction to this episode, a mass movement around Georges Boulanger, a former general in the French army, General Boulanger and the Boulangist Movement.

The movement that had grown around Boulanger’s name was perhaps the first of its kind, a combination of royalists, Bonapartists, Republicans, socialists, and Blanquists. If it resembles any movement in this strange mix of followers it is Peronism, which was also able to attract followers from all ends of the political spectrum around the figure of a general. And like Peronism, Boulangism was able to do this because it can justly be said of the man at the heart of it that, like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland, there was no there there.

It is hard not to see some modern parallels,

Populism, nationalism, defense of the rights of workers; everything was in place for the birth of the movement that would bear the general’s name.

And,

From 1888-1889 Boulanger went from victory to victory, winning elections in seven different districts. Blanquists, the most intransigent of revolutionaries (but who were not immune to the temptations of nationalism and anti-Semitism) , were to say that with Boulanger “the revolution has begun,” and that Boulangism is “a labor of clearing away, of disorganizing the bourgeois parties.” So close were the ties between the extreme left and Boulangism that the police were convinced that secret accords had been drawn up between the two forces. And though the official Blanquist bodies were split as to how far they’d go in following Boulanger, it is a fact that the Boulangist movement’s strongest electoral showing was in the Blanquist strongholds in Paris. Indeed, throughout France, it was in working class centers that Boulanger garnered his greatest successes.

The Engels text in full reads,

We have never called you anything but ‘the so-called Marxists’ and I would not know how else to describe you. Should you have some other, equally succinct name, let us know and we shall duly and gladly apply it to you. But we cannot say ‘aggregate’, which no one here would understand, or anti-Possibilists, which you would find just as objectionable and which would not be accurate, being too all-embracing.

It continues,

What we need are letters from Paris, sent direct to the Star, bearing the Paris postmark and refuting the Possibilist calumnies which appeared in Saturday’s and Tuesday’s editions, namely, that Boulé’s election campaign was run on Boulangist money, that Vaillant had acted as an ally of the Boulangists, etc. I should say that you could do this perfectly well without ruffling your newly-found dignity as the one and only Catholic Church in matters connected with French Socialism.

Apart from Engels notably not criticising Lafargue’s misguided enthusiasm for Boulanger, what else does this refer to?

It is first of all, about the Guesdist tendency’s war with the “possibilitists” of Paul Brousse leader of the  Fédération des travailleurs socialistes de France and with Édouard Vaillant a former Commmard, and ‘Blanquist’  elected a Municipal Councillor in 1884 in Paris

Engels backed the desire of his friend for an independent workers’ party – unlike the Possibilistes, and by extension municipal socialists of all stripes,   who turned from intransigent socialism and  were ready to compromise with the Parliamentary (and Municipal)  Republican left in order to achieve reforms.

But this leaves open the issue of what position should have been taken to Boulangism, a view, which Lafargue  was, unfortunately, to clarify further in a far from progressive direction.

As Abidor says,

We can multiply the number of quotations from those on the left who either supported Boulangism or refused to openly or uncompromisingly oppose it. Paul Lafargue, the great socialist leader and theoretician, who in 1887 wrote a bitingly mocking article on Boulangism, also wrote to Engels that “Boulangism is a popular movement that is in many ways justifiable.” The followers of the other great Marxist if the generation, Jules Guesde, wrote that “the Ferryist danger being as much to be feared as the Boulangist peril, revolutionaries should favor neither the one nor the other, and shouldn’t play the bourgeoisie’s game by helping it combat the man who at present is its most redoubtable adversary.”

He continues,

But not everyone on the left was willing to go along with or refuse to block the Boulangist juggernaut. Jean Jaurès wrote that Boulangism is “a great movement of socialism gone astray,” and the Communard and historian of the Commune P-O Lissagaray was a motive force behind the Société des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen, which was formed to combat Boulangism and defend democracy, uniting in the group socialists, republicans, students and Freemasons.

This episode is described in greater detail in Les Hommes Révoltés. Les Origines Intellectuelles du réformisme en France (19721 – 1917) Emmanuel Jousse. 2017. Pages 150 – 152.

The campaign against Boulanger “« empêcher la réaction césarienne. » (halt the Caesarist Reaction!) attracted the support not only Paul Brousse and Vailliant  but the radical left ‘Allemanists” of Jean Allemane a trade unionist,  and veteran of the Paris Commune exiled to hard labour in New Caledonia, and Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray, the author of the still valuable History of the Paris Commune of 1871, an event in which he participated.

In other words, the salt of the earth.

After Boulangism dispersed, left supporters of Boulangism were still churning out books justifying their alliance.

Pàtil-Emile Laviron claimed that the anti-Boulangist campaign has meant an alliance with the parliamentary establishment and neglect of the class struggle (“Oubliant leur principe de la lutte des classes, ils entrèrent dans la coalition parlementaire des radicaux et des opportunistes. Boulangisme et Parlementarisme.” 1888)

In Les antisémites en France : notice sur un fait contemporain 1892  Mermeix (Gabriel Terrail) claimed that right-wingers and anti-semites were merely ‘infiltrators” in the movement. The General had popularised the ideas of socialism, (“Le général Boulanger a donc puissamment aidé l’esprit public à évoluer vers le socialisme”).

This may not help sort out the ‘genuine’ Marxist sheep from the reformist Goats, but it does raise some contemporary issues about national populism and anti-antisemitism…

In some respects one can that an alliance against a serious hard-right nationalist project, Brexit, springs to mind….means marching with, though not supporting, a variety of groups with this goal, though not others, in common.

It is hard to tell, but one could ask if more than one section of the Full Brexit would have had some sympathy with General Boulanger. who stood for the “real” France, the “real” workers” against the cosmopolitans.

What would Galloway have done…..?

Written by Andrew Coates

April 9, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Paul Embery, Fire Brigades Union, Arron Banks Funded ‘Trade Unionists’ Against the EU, Denounces “Rootless Cosmopolitans”.

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Brexiters Beware: Rootless Cosmopolitan.

Paul Embrey, is the head of Trade Unionists Against the EU, and a prominent supporter of The Full Brexit.

Some suggest that it has got jealous about all the attention paid recently to fellow Full Brexiteer, Eddie Dempsey.

Look at the endorsement that Eddie’s got!

This is a good summary of some of Paul Embery’s background:

Better for the Country Limited and Leave EU, both controlled by Arron Banks, are under investigation by the Electoral Commission over potential breaches of the spending limits during the 2016 EU referendum campaign. Banks also has links with organisations claiming to be of the Left.

Better for the Country Limited made a series of donations to a group called: “Trade Unionists Against the EU” (TUAEU) amounting to a whopping £54,000. This is an unprecedented sum from a prominent Far Right figurehead for a so-called workers’ organisation.

The TUAEU have strong links with the Communist Party but they have also appeared on platforms with the Socialist Party and the Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMT). The RMT made a significant donation of £30,000 to TUAEU during the Referendum campaign. The RMT actually affiliated to TUAEU in 2016.

RMT members will want to know why so much of the Union’s money has gone into an organisation largely funded by an Arron Banks’ company and what checks have been done to investigate exactly what TUAEU is.

The TUAEU National Convenor is Paul Embery the London Regional Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union. Embery is a regular contributor to “Spiked Online” which itself is a relic of a former Left group reborn as a Far Right mouthpiece. We need to open a discussion about the scandal that means senior trade unions and trade union officials are actively pursuing the agenda of a Far Right funded organisation with links to other groups like the English TUC which in turn appear to have been set up to undermine workers’ rights.

TUAEU is also linked to a bizarre group called the English TUC.

This group advertises TUAEU across its masthead and has set itself up as a bona-fide trade union but the nationalist iconography on its website, replete with English heraldry and English flags is unlike anything else on any other Union website. Interestingly the contact number for the English TUC is Trades Union Congress for England Castle Brook House 75 Swinton Crescent, Unsworth, Bury, Lancashire BL9 8PB. Googling this address, it is interesting to see that this house is flying the flag of St George from a flagpole erected on the side of the house.

Evidence of Far Right Infiltration into the British Left

This ruffled some feathers.

He got support: Novara Media:

Family Faith and Flag, or Work Family and Community in their public face, Blue Labour.

La Patrie in French (grammatically female if it does mean”father” land, is etymologically “pays des pères”) also has this connotation for French speakers (amongst whom it is hard to imagine Bastani):

Une version relativement moderne et guerrière dit que la Patrie est le pays, la nation, pour lesquels on est prêt à se sacrifier.

 A relatively modern and warlike version entials that Motherland is the country , the nation , for which we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.

And,

La notion de patrie est lourde d’affectivité identitaire ; elle est une affirmation d’une différence ou d’une proximité avec autrui et il peut arriver qu’elle mène à la xénophobie

The notion of patrie has a heavy connotations of emotional identity, it is an assertion of difference or a bond to others, and it may lead to xenophobia.

What exactly is the “rooted, communitarian, patriotic working class”, opposed to the “rootless, cosmopolitan, bohemian middle-class .”?

Is every worker to be enrolled in the Full Brexit?

Is every worker, by definition “rooted”?

That all plain folks are, like Embery, National Populists?

That’s before we get into “rootless cosmopolitans”, an expression no doubt that comes to the lips of the locals every day down at the Dog and Duck…

 

The Dead End of Lexit (“Left” Brexit).

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Image result for Lexit left brexit

One for the Historically Minded Trainspotters.

Bob has written an excellent survey of the confusionist politics of the ‘left’ Brexit camp aka, Lexit, ‘People’s Brexit’,

Left nationalism and Brexit Bolshevism

I haven’t managed to keep up with the flood of sewage coming out of the nationalist left this past month. The cast of characters: a weird amalgam of Arron Banks-funded trade unionists (Paul Embery), Blue Labour’s Third Way centrists (Lord Maurice Glasman), old Etonian man of the people David Goodhart, the formerly Trotskyist libertarian contrarians of Spiked (Frank Furedi, Clare Fox, etc), media professors like Matt Goodwin, and old school tankie Stalinists at the Morning Star, young Stalinists shit-posting on social media, SWP splinter sects like Counterfire, and hipster leftists at Novara and in the machinery of Young Labour, and even a few ex-anarchists. None of these currents would be particularly significant alone,although some of them are increasingly called upon pundits on daytime TV sofas and Question Time debates. But the alignment of these different formations has become an increasingly toxic force on the left. This toxic force pulls the Labour Party away from internationalist, anti-racist and pro-migrant positions (e.g. promoting pro-Brexit positions and sacrificing our right to freedom of movement). And it is toxic in terms of the culture of our movements too, driving better people away from the left.

Another Europe is Possible published this at the end of last month,

BREXIT, FARCE, AND THE LEXIT LEFT

Neil Faulkner argues that Brexit is the British expression of the wave of nationalism, racism, and fascism sweeping the world – and Lexit is on the wrong side of history.

History repeats itself. First time, tragedy; second time, farce. It was an off-the-cuff remark by Marx, and it gets repeated too often. But how appropriate it seems as Britain’s small, shrinking, sectarian Left embraces Third Period Stalinism ever more completely.

..

The Lexit Left, on the other hand, is an alliance of 1970s fossils, unrepentant Stalinists, and former Trotskyists. It represents an abandonment of revolutionary internationalism and solidarity, a retreat into the fantasy-world of ‘socialism in one country’, and a capitulation to the nationalism of the Far Right.

The Morning Star keeps at it:

What would a ‘clean break’ with the EU mean for the economy? Alex Gordon.

Any Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated between the EU and Theresa May is by definition not going to be acceptable to socialists. The EU wishes to tie Britain into its single market and customs union, which embeds austerity, cuts and privatisation, super-exploitation of migrant workers (and wage depression), a Fortress Europe, racism and a growing far-right across Europe as a consequence.

A “clean break,” managed no-deal Brexit on WTO terms will allow a future Labour government to challenge these policies. Labour’s current policy to embrace “a customs union” with the EU would prevent implementation of its 2017 general election For Many Not The Few manifesto and could lose them the next general election.

As in this prospect:

But, fortunately,  this looks prospect has not won friends inside the Labour Party, today.]

Face the facts, Labour leftwingers: Lexit is dead

(Described as being on the soft left of the Labour Party, with the “Daily Mirror noting Smith’s politics “largely overlap when it comes to policy” with Corbyn’s.)

The key sections are these:

But the Lexiters had one argument that was never completely rebutted. There was a grey area in the law about whether EU competition laws and state aid rules would prevent us from renationalising the railways or subsidising other key industries. Even though most legal experts thought this was surmountable, it was a point that lingered in the public debate. Not any more. In supporting a customs union and a single market alignment, our party leadership is saying it would bind the UK to the very rules the Lexiters are against. And, if we’re outside the political structures of the EU, we will have very limited say in how those rules are made or how they will operate.

As George Peretz QC, co-chair of the UK State Aid Law Association, has said: “In a customs union, we are asking the EU to give up the weapon that WTO rules (countervailing measures) give it against UK subsidies. There were always going to have to be cast-iron state-aid rules in consequence.” The EU has already imposed a state-aid clause in the proposed withdrawal agreement for this very reason.

The truth is there can be no leftwing Brexit. It is an oxymoron. It’s irreconcilable with those values of freedom and equality that are at the heart of what we stand for. There is no freedom without an end to poverty, said Bevan; it is our job is to pursue equality and freedom, said Crosland. To them, a leftwing Brexit could never have been born; to me, Lexit is now dead.

….

Crucially, Jeremy is fighting for a significant extension of the Brexit deadline with the EU. This additional time is needed not only to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU but also to scrutinise any new deal and allow for a confirmatory referendum so that the people, as well as MPs, can have their say. Labour is finally making the right case for its values of equality, internationalism and freedom. Our party can remind the country the Brexit right doesn’t have to have its way. If we stay in the EU, we can work with other socialist parties to build a fairer and more democratic Europe.

Lexit is dead. Democracy is alive. Labour is waking up. Now the British people know the real facts about the costs of leaving, that many of the promises made for Brexit will be broken and that any deal will not give clarity – just a crisis that goes on and on – our voters deserve a new say.

The wind is turning.

The letter was organised by the Love Socialism Hate Brexit campaign.

The fight continues:

If a deal is passed, Brexit never ends. We must put a stop to it

Brexit threatens all of the progress we have made. The public rightly regards this episode as an exercise in politicians wrangling over a chaotic process and neglecting the real issues. Unless it offers a sharp alternative on Brexit, Labour will not be immune to that sentiment. Meanwhile, our national discourse is becoming increasingly poisonous. Racists the far right are on the rise, feeding off the idea that the 2016 EU referendum put them on the winning side of history.
The two MPs continue,

We have now joined with a host of other radical and socialist Labour MPs to form Love Socialism Hate Brexit. Together, we are campaigning for the socialist Labour government we all need. And we are taking a stand with Labour members, and with the communities we represent, to fight against the disaster that is Brexit. We, and other members of Love Socialism Hate Brexit, will write a column every Thursday for LabourList.

We want to turn this from a moment of stagnation and frustration into a moment of hope. By uniting, Labour can end the Brexit chaos, bring down the government, and rebuild and transform Britain. We can live up to our role as an internationalist party, leading the left in Europe to fight climate chaos, bring forward a compassionate refugee policy, and combat and regulate capital. We need to remain and transform the EU.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2019 at 10:36 am

Alain Badiou criticises the “réactionnaire” Gilets Jaunes movement: “tout ce qui bouge n’est pas rouge”.

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Something has kept me away from the movement of the Gilets Jaunes: it is the overwhelming presence, the constant return of the  cheerless tricolore  flag,..” Alain Badiou.

A few months ago it was announced that Badiou was to have an op-ed article on the Gilets Jaunes published in Le Monde.

We were watching out for it like ‘awks.

But it appears that the French Daily would not publish it, something about Badiou being virulently rude against Alain Finkielkraut in another article («Le Monde» a-t-il «censuré» un texte d’Alain Badiou sur les gilets jaunes ?)

In the weeks that followed we lost interest, largely because something was happening in the UK that readers may have heard of.

But now Cde Google informs us that the text had found a publisher.

ALAIN BADIOU : LEÇONS DU MOUVEMENT DES « GILETS JAUNES »

Alain Badiou, March 10, 2019

“Un proverbe d’autrefois dit que « tout ce qui bouge n’est pas rouge ». Et pour le moment, du « rouge », dans le mouvement des gilets, qui certes « bouge », il n’est pas question : je ne vois, outre le jaune, que du tricolore, toujours un peu suspect à mes yeux.

An old proverb says that “everything that moves is not red” (that is, not every political groundswell is on the left…Note). And for the moment, “red”, amongst the Gilet Jaunes movement, certainly “moves”. That is certain. But I see, in addition to the yellow, only the tricolore, which is always a bit dubious in my eyes.

Badiou considers the Gilets Jaunes’ upswell as a protest against the difficult lives of those in rural or sub-urban areas, the result of the erosion of public services,  the way that real incomes have not kept up with the times,  tax systems which weigh upon these parts of the population, and the hard lives of women who also have to raise a family.

In France there is are deep rooted reasons for discontent in the working middle and lower middle class, particularly in the provinces. Deindustrialisation and real pauperisation have gone along with the present, Macron-led, ‘modernisation’

The Gilets Jaunes are thus a reaction of classes threatened by Macron’s policies and the constant wavew of austerity/modernisation. They can be viewed in Marxist terms as the cry of despair of those threatened with losing their relative status in a ‘globalised’ world. But they are not forward looking. “The individual members of this class…. constantly hurled down into the proletariat ” look to the past, to their lost security, and demand that a better past be restored.

As traditional political organisations, of the left and the right, have not been able to channel this discontent, the Gilets Jaunes’ “spontaneous” response has been hard to pin down.

This is Badiou’s sketch:

..on pourrait appeler la subjectivité de ce mouvement un individualisme populaire, rassemblant des colères personnelles liées aux formes neuves de la servitude aujourd’hui imposée à tous par la dictature du Capital.

one could call the subjectivity of this movement a popular individualism, gathering together the personal anger related by the new forms of servitude today imposed on all by the dictatorship of Capital.

This does not mean the Gilets Jaunes are’ fascists’ (though one can remark that this reaction involves supporters of the far-right, from Marine Le Pen’s party to the ‘ultras). Badiou dismisses this talk from what he calls (with all the moral authority of a former apologist of Pol Pot), “renegade” intellectuals. This is just “infiltration”. Oh, and “crypto-fascist style of “the people against the elite” and, hey, the wild rumours (notably about The Media) circulating on social networks…

Which – all reports confirm – is widely taken for “truth” against “fake news”.

Yet the legitimacy of reacting to Macron’s neo-liberal policies does not make the Gilets Jaunes left-wing.

There are two fundamental tendencies in politics, those in favour of capitalism, and those, under the names of socialism and communism, which have challenged it.

In what sense are the Gilets Jaunes, harking back to the security of the post-war settlement, aligned with socialism or communism?

Les gilets jaunes « combattent la Bourgeoisie », comme le dit Marx, c’est vrai. Mais ils le font pour restaurer un ordre ancien et périmé, et non pour inventer un nouvel ordre social et politique, dont les noms ont été, depuis le XIXe siècle, « socialisme », ou, surtout, « communisme ».

“The Gilets Jaunes fight the Bourgeoisie”, as Marx would  say. That is true. But they do it to restore an old and outdated order, and not to invent a new social and political order, whose names have been, since the nineteenth century, “socialism” or, especially, “communism”.

Some further salient extracts when Badiou gets more serious and tackles those who would see in the movement a revolutionary challenge to the system:

“Of course, the ultra gauches, the anti-fafs, those who’ve woken up after (the movement) Nuit-debout, those who are always on the lookout for a “movement” to get their teeth into, the loud-mouths of “the coming insurrection”  (l’insurrection qui vient, the name of an ultra left neo-situationist  manifesto) , celebrate the GIlets Jaunes’  democratic proclamations (in fact, individualistic and short-sighted), introduce the cult of decentralised assemblies, and imagine that they will soon redo the capture of the Bastille.

“But this attractive carnival fails to impress me: these movements have led everywhere, for ten years and more, to terrible defeats, paid very dearly by the peoples. Indeed, the “movements” of the last historical sequence, from Egypt and the “Arab Spring” to Occupy Wall Street, from the latter to Turkish Squares, from this  to the Greek riots, from  the Indignados…Nuit Debout…seem to ignore the implacable  historical laws that govern the world today….

Nothing is more important, in the present moment, than to have in mind the lessons of this sequence of “movements”, Gilets Jaunes included. They can be summed up in a single maxim: a movement whose unity is strictly negative, either will fail, often giving rise to a situation worse than the one that at its origin, or it will have to be divided in two, by the emergence of a creative surge, and within it, an affirmative political proposition which is really antagonistic to the dominant order, and supported by a disciplined organisation.

Sticking the knife in further Badiou talked of the Gilets Jaunes as a reaction of “old France” under threat in a recent book, Méfiez-vous des blancs, habitant du rivage  reviewed, here: Alain Badiou. Changer de peuple.

One can genuinely see that the State, in the service of Capital, has deserted the old provincial world, ageing, suburban and colonial. One can understand  the nation-wide, archaic, reaction of part of society whose small privileges are menaced.

His  hostility to the demonstrators brandishing of the Tricolore  is strong,

 Quelque chose m’a tenu écarté du mouvement des « gilets jaunes » : c’est la présence massive, le retour constant du triste drapeau tricolore, dont la vue, à chaque fois m’accable, et d’une marseillaise que trop de nationalismes fascisants ont entonnée pour qu’on se souvienne encore de son origine révolutionnaire.

Something has kept me away from the movement of the Gilets Jaunes: it is the massive presence, the constant return of the  cheerless tricolore  flag, whose sight, always overwhelms me, and of the Marseillaise which too many fascistic forms of nationalism have bellowed out for us to remember its revolutionary origins.

Back to the Op-ed (above) Badiou’s counter-strategy looks in the line of radical socialism.

…without massive incorporation of new proletarians, the Gilets Jaunes can not represent, as such, “the people”. This people, would be reduced to the nostalgia for its lost social status of the poorest sections of the middle class. Today, in politics, “the people”, the mobilised crowd must have a strong and central contingent amongst the nomadic proletariat of our suburbs, the proletariat from Africa, Asia, Europe of the East, Latin America; it must show clear signs of breaking with the dominant order.

Change is above needed,

First in its visible signs, like the red flag instead of the tricolore…..and in its demands,  the minimum requirements that must be claimed, for example, include  the total cessation of privatisations and the cancellation of all those sell-offs that have taken place since the mid-eighties. The main idea is to have collective control over all means of production, the entire banking system, and all public services (health, education, transport, communication)….

LEÇONS DU MOUVEMENT DES « GILETS JAUNES is beautifully free from Badiou’s ontological speculation. If you can get over the attacks on everybody – and I enjoyed those against the ‘ultra-left’ those out to fish for souls for their revolutionary projects – Badiou has retraced the path to some fairly robust ideas about reviving collectivist and universalist demands…..

There is nothing of this in the just published interview on the Verso site:  Allegiance to Macron is largely negative! Alain Badiou interviewed about the Gilets Jaunes, Macron and future of the French left.

The explanation is simple: the  original date of the article was Interview with Julien Le Gros, 17 December 2018 Translated by David Fernbach.

Less explainable is why Badiou’s numerous fans in the English speaking world have not reacted to the wise words of the ‘post-Maoist’ sage, which many will be tempted to call undeniably sane.

A clue, again, may lie in the way he lays into  Occupy! and other movements.

A pitiful reply from admirers of L’Insurrection qui vient on the site Lundi Matin, which mixed sub-Badiou ‘metapolitical’ ontology and Jacques Rancière’s devotion to the role of the “part of those of no part” in generating ‘dissensus” to accuse him of pointless irrelevance,  was published at the end of March: Jacques Fradin. QU’AURAIT PU DIRE ALAIN BADIOU DES « GILETS JAUNES » ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 6, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Full Brexit Replies to Paul Mason: to Defeat the Far Right we need “National Renewal” and “Democratic Sovereignty”

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But not the Full Shilling.

To defeat the far right, the left must embrace a socialist and internationalist Brexit

This article begins with an attack on Paul Mason’s most recent article.

His piece was full of the usual McCarthyite tactic of guilt by association against those who oppose the EU. Mason’s attack on Eddie Dempsey, an anti-fascist trade unionist, was a classic example of this. It is vital that we move beyond this kind of politics on the left.

It is hard to know what the “usual” MacCarthyite pratices are.

But there is a different logic driving parts of the British left, and it is not mere economic nationalism – self-defeating though that is. At a meetingof the Full Brexit campaign in London this week, alongside left-wing economists Larry Elliott, Costas Lapavitsas and Grace Blakeley – the RMT activist Eddie Dempsey delivered an extraordinary tirade against the 80 per cent of Labour members who want to Remain, and the million people who marched on Saturday.

If there is one thing people who go on the Tommy Robinson marches have in common, Dempsey told the audience, “it’s that they hate the liberal left – and they are right to hate them, they are correct.” When called out by a fellow Labour member who works for Another Europe is Possible, Dempsey replied that his critic was “flush with money from Soros”.

To defeat an insurgent far-right, Labour must resist Brexit with all its force

Paul Mason.

Or this?

The authors then move on to threat of the far-right growing if people do not follow their pro-Brexit politics.

Mason is right to argue that there is a threat of a nasty right-wing reaction. But the truth is that this menace will be intensified if Brexit is abandoned.

They then offer their policies,

It is also true that the left has been unable to articulate and campaign around a democratic vision of national renewal.

What are these?

Do they begin from the politics of the Communist Party of Britain’s Mary Davis whose name is below the article?

The CPB would abandon the Good Friday Agreement in its Brexit on WTO rules alone.

Is it to give priority to control over the movements of people, and put this into the hands of the electorate as American resident Richard Tuck (also below) suggests? (1)

Is to gamble on the vision that Wolfang Streeck (equally below) dreams of that,

With the European anaesthetics withdrawn, workers and voters might remember the British tradition of powerful trade unions and a universal welfare state, get together again, strike for better employment conditions, and elect a Labour government worthy of that name.

Spiked

And we should not disagree with those who voted for Brexit.

We stand by their vote and the socialist possibilities that it opens up through the restoration of democratic sovereignty.

Spiked.

Is is the “no deal” Brexit  that Maurice Glasman (yet another [person cited below, but whose language “interregnum” inflects the whole article) supports?

We can see the dire alternative.

To the authors this is the entire European left’s record of government since the EU began.

The collective paralysis of the continental left, particularly its social democratic wing, is a cautionary tale of the cost of abandoning the possibilities of democratic change within the nation state. There are severe constraints on what can be achieved within the EU and working class voters know it.

Alas, Labour refsues to heed.

Labour could have led a democratic, pro-Brexit campaign but has refused to do so. Again, the consequences of this inevitably favour the right.

Mason, we apologise if we have not cited his attackers direct charges in detail, stands accused.

His argument that Thatcherism in one country is bad is obviously correct but he fails to see that Thatcherism in one continent is clearly worse. That is why we oppose the EU.

Exclelent analogy, we got rid of Thatcher, we can tackle her policies; we can get rid of neo-liberal EU policies as well….

AS for the Full Brexiteers, in the realm of dreams they can oppose anything they like.

But how Brexit on WTO terms, No deal, No Good Friday Agreement, is the road to anything other than the hard-right free market would take psychoanalytical symptomatic reading skills of a Jacques Lacan to unravel.

One of those morbid symptoms is the left’s commitment to the single market, the customs union and the sovereignty of the ECJ; to the capitalist eternity of the EU.  We urge instead a politics built around democracy, radical economic reforms and internationalism.

The way to defeat the far right is for the left to embrace an internationalist and democratic Brexit.

This diagnosis and this prescription are incantations.

To concentrate woolly minds let us return to the points above: does this lot agree with a Hard Brexit, no agreement with the EU, exit under WTO rules, or not?

We can see one of their chaps does not, but what he does propose, is: well Why true democrats must back Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

(Bottom of NS article): The Full Brexit is a pro-Leave group of academics including Maurice Glasman (Blue Labour), Costas Lapavistas (Fringe Greek far-left), Mary Davis (Communist Party of Britain), Chris Bickerton, (Why true democrats must back Theresa May’s Brexit dealWolfgang Streeck (Aufstehen Germany) and Richard Tuck (Harvard University).

(1) The Left Case for Brexit. Richard Tuck, Dissent 2016.

The way for the left to address the immigration debate is to understand that immigration is to many people only the most vivid and proximate sign of a more general loss of political power. Nothing will answer those people’s concerns unless they can be told that decisions about immigration policy are going to be in the hands of the British electorate, like all decisions of major importance.

The debate can then begin over what kind of immigration policy the left should support, and whether (like the present system) it should in effect give priority to white Europeans over the older classes of immigrants in Britain, predominantly South Asian, who wish to unite families and move easily between Britain and South Asia. The left should also appreciate that the traditional heart of modern left-wing politics, a planned welfare state, is rendered virtually impossible if Britain stays in the EU, since no one will have any idea of the population numbers in the UK even in the near future. This is an illustration of the way the free movement of people, as well as of goods and capital, in the EU almost necessarily entrenches markets rather than collective planning.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 4, 2019 at 5:41 pm

News from the Red-Brown Front: “Brexitphobia” Brendan O’Neill and Spiked’s Last Trumps on Eve of Election.

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“Brexitphobia” and “shrill conspiratorial wild fantastical accusations”.

Last week red-brown strategist and National Populist was in a tizz.

Comparing criticism of Claire Fox (notably by Nick Cohen) to the homophobic campaign against Peter Tatchell during the 1983 Bermondsey elections his rage new few bounds (The desperate bid to slur the Brexit Party )

Fox, and his other mates from the Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked were targets of a “smear” about paedophilia, an oligarchical McCarthyism witch-hunt against pro-Brexit democrats

They stood, along with the Three Yorkshiremen – cruelly mocked by class prejudiced ‘comics’  – the Chevalier de la Barre, executed for not saluting a religious procession in 1766, and Galileo, as martyrs the centuries old fight for independent thought.

Now Brendan has a new target, “Brexitphobia”, the “the Brexitphobic sections of the political and chattering classes.”

These latest smears against the Brexit Party are disgraceful” the pugnacious plebe adds, “actually.”

The truth about the Brexit Party’s ‘dark money’

Think about it: just days before the Euro elections, a former PM and his army of cheerleaders are throwing dirt and allegations at the party that looks set to win those elections.

The columnist concludes, “millions of people will be watching these dirty tricks by the morally knackered political elite.”

Claire Fox has been – as the Central Committee has commanded – speaking in the same vein.

As the far-right Express reports yesterday,

Brexiteer Claire Fox broke into an outraged rant at the “vile and horrible” behaviour towards Brexiteers at a Brexit Party rally in Bolton on Monday. The Brexit Party MEP candidate added that it is tempting to “lash out” but insisted Brexiteers should “rise above” the “wild conspiracy theories”. She said: “There is a sense of desperation in the air from the opponents of Brexit.

While they are dolling out insults and abuse coming out fast and furious with a kind of shrill conspiratorial wild fantastical accusations and vile muckraking.

“They are in danger of debasing public life.

“One Guardian journalist described the atmosphere of a rally, much like this, in Yorkshire last week said it was the Blitz spirit whipped up into a lynch mob.

With admirable restraint Feisty Fox continued,

It is tempting to lash out, it is tempting but we will not resort to their tactics.

“It is fantastic to see here throughout the country and even on social media, Brexit party candidates and supporters are rising above this muckraking.

“As they go even lower, we must go even higher”

Spiked latest post includes a defence of the forgotten people, who had no voice in politics, happy to have found the Brexit Party, Trump and the Australian hard right PM Scott Morrison.

The rise of the blue-collar patriots

Their socially conservative nature – patriotic, family-oriented, community-spirited – must be better appreciated, and certainly not subject to the level of abuse and ridicule that has been displayed in recent times.

Post-materialist over-indulgence and an unhealthy obsession with identity politics is costing the political left dear across the West. Blue-collar patriots, who have demonstrated astonishing party loyalty over the generations, have had enough.

Dr Rakib Ehsan is a Spiked columnist and a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.

How true, how very true.

Claire Fox had it tough. She used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o’clock at night. She had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when she got home, her Dad would slice her in two with a bread knife.

In a further plus for the Red-Brown Front another self-identifying ‘socialist’ joins,

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen an NHS dentist, senior trade union official and a socialist, who lives in London and is standing in the North West of England as a candidate.

And can anybody understand why the Labour Party is in favour of this? This is the Labour Party which was founded for the purpose of defending working-class communities against the elite. Now we find the Labour Party siding with the establishment and turning its back on those very communities. Five million Labour Leave voters have been left politically homeless and I say to those people: the Brexit Party will speak up for you.

I’m standing for the Brexit Party to stop the EU overturning democracy as they did in my native Denmark.Europe,

More on Spiked’s parent body:

 

 

 

Here.