Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

France: Migrant Camp at the Place de la République Violently Dismantled by the Police.

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Les forces de l'ordre place de la République, lundi soir à Paris.

Police Violence That Has Shocked France.

 

France to probe Paris migrant camp dismantling after ‘shocking’ scuffle images

France 24.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Tuesday said he was launching a probe into clashes that broke out late Monday after police cleared out a new migrant camp at Place de la République in the heart of Paris, adding that images of the scuffles were “shocking”

People posted photos and videos on social media of police hitting demonstrators as they moved in to clear the square of migrants‘ tents, which the police said had been set up without official permission.

“Some of the images of the dispersion of the illegal migrant camp at Place de la République are shocking,” Darmanin wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday, adding that he was seeking a full report into the incident.

Libération is more forthright:

Place de la République, les images de la honte

The Images of Shame.

A Paris, migrants frappés et journalistes molestés lors de l’évacuation d’un campement éphémère

In Paris, migrants beaten and journalists molested during the evacuation of a temporary camp

The First Secretary of the Socialist Party denounced this action:

Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France insoumise, attacked the disproportionate  use of force,  shameful for our Police. What is the sense, he asks, of beating up people in dire straits?

Police officers filmed pulling up tents and leaving people thrown to ground.

Gérald Darmanin said he had demanded a report on the police operation by lunchtime on Tuesday.

“Certain images of the breaking up of an illegal migrant camp at Place de la République are shocking,” Darmanin tweeted late on Monday night. “I have just demanded a detailed report on the reality of the facts from the prefect of police by midday tomorrow. I will take decisions as soon as I receive it.”

Police and gendarmes were sent in late on Monday to clear a camp from the square in central Paris. About 450 refugees set up tents at the request of the charity Utopia 56 to protest against the forcible clearing of a camp a few days previously that left scores of migrants wandering the streets.

Utopia 56 had issued a statement demanding the authorities provide shelter for the estimated 3,000 homeless migrants sleeping rough in and around the French capital.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 24, 2020 at 11:39 am

The Conspiracist ‘anti-Lockdown’ Movement Comes to the East of England.

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A protester faces the camera Picture: CHARLEY SHILLABEER

Woke Gammon Out in Ipswich on Saturday.

The movement has now extended to our part of the world in the East of England.

That is our manor,

Three arrested during anti-lockdown protest in Ipswich

Ipswich Star.

Three people were arrested during an anti-lockdown protest in Ipswich on Saturday as Suffolk police enforced its message that “gatherings will not be tolerated” in the county.

And,

Covid: Nine arrested at anti-lockdown protest in Basildon

BBC

Nine people were arrested and a number of police officers injured at an anti-lockdown protest in Basildon.

Essex Police said it was called to a “large, unauthorised gathering” on Saturday afternoon and was unable to persuade people to disperse.

Seven fines were issued and a number of police officers reported being assaulted but their injuries were said to be minor.

Police said there would be patrols in the town on Sunday to stop a repeat.

Nationally:

Arrests made as anti-lockdown protesters chanting ‘freedom’ clash with police

This is what this lot believes in (and believe me this Blog loathes them from the bottom of its sole).

No photo description available.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 23, 2020 at 11:33 am

Christiane Taubira: the First Black Presidential Candidate in France?

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Une pétition appelle Christiane Taubira à se présenter à la présidentielle

Presidential Candidacy Gaining Momentum.

Une pétition appelle Christiane Taubira à se présenter à la présidentielle.

Les Inrockuptibles.

At the initiative of writer Cloé Korman and producer Maxime Ruszniewski, 80 citizens including Juliette Binoche, Mati Diop and Eric Reinhardt have signed a petition asking Christiane Taubira to be a candidate for the French Presidential elections in 2022.

One and a half years from the contest of 2022, and while the only candidate declared on the left is for the moment Jean-Luc Mélenchon (who obtained Thursday, November 12 the 150,000 sponsorships needed to present his  candidacy), people are campaigning for Christiane Taubira to get started in her turn. At the initiative of the writer Cloé Korman and the producer Maxime Ruszniewski, 80 citizens including Juliette Binoche, Mati Diop and Eric Reinhardt signed a petition, relayed on a blog of Mediapart , so that the former Minister of Justice of François Hollande takes the plunge.

Her Facebook Page  Christiane Taubira pour 2022  has just announced that it has  50.5K members. People, including some radical left wingers, are already forming local committees to back Taubira.

Benoît Hamon, the former Parti Socialiste presidential candidate (2017), and leader of the left party Génération.s says,  “Christiane Taubira would be a fantastic figure to stand for the green left” (Slate)

 

Taubira was the Minister of Justice under Parti Socialiste François Holland’s presidency.

Taubira, a well-established political figure from Cayenne in French Guiana, was seen as an outspoken voice on the left of the Socialist government who had championed a rights-based and increasingly open approach to the justice system. She was best known for her role in introducing France’s same-sex marriage law in 2013.

But since the January and November terrorist attacks in Paris, Taubira was seen as increasingly at odds with Hollande’s hardline security clampdown that had sought to confer more emergency powers on police and local officials and away from the legal process.

..

Taubira’s ultimate showdown with Hollande and his prime minister, Manuel Valls, was over the president’s controversial plans to strip convicted French-born terrorists of their citizenship if they have a second dual nationality. The measure – known as the “loss of nationality” plan – was to be written into the constitution next month.

The move, which the government had admitted was purely symbolic, was seen by critics on the left, such as Taubira, as having the dangerous side-effect of sending a message that French citizens could be divided into two categories – with those who were “pure” French worth more than those with mixed backgrounds.

Guardian. January 2016.

Wikipedia,

Having been nominated Minister of Justice by Jean-Marc Ayrault, following the victory of François Hollande in the 2012 Presidential Elections, she was supposed to work with Junior Minister Delphine Batho. However, their relationship quickly broke down being unable to share responsibilities. After the June 2012 Legislative elections, Delphine Batho was moved to become Minister of Ecology replacing Nicole Bricq, leaving Mme Christiane Taubira in charge of the Ministry of Justice. She resigned her position as Minister of Justice on 27 January 2016 after a disagreement with President Hollande over policies related to the treatment of French Nationals convicted of terrorism.[6]

Taubira was the driving force behind a 21 May 2001 law that recognises the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity. In 2013, she voiced her support for land reforms in France’s Caribbean territories as compensation for slaves

As Minister of Justice, Taubira formally introduced the electoral promise of François Hollande.[8] It became Law 2013-404, which legalised same-sex marriage in France.

Taubira resigned in January 2016 after openly disagreeing with the French president’s proposal to strip French nationality from dual-citizens who are convicted of terrorism, a measure championed by Hollande in the wake of the terrorist attacks that shook Paris on 13 November.[6] One week later, she published Murmures à la jeunesse, a book about this proposal.[9]

When she was a Minister Taubira was the victim of vicious racist attacks by the far-right:

Taubira victime du racisme.

More background on France 24

Written by Andrew Coates

November 22, 2020 at 11:28 am

Chris Williamson Back with his old mucker Galloway

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Of all the responses to Labour’s crisis, easily the worst.

The Red-Brown front takes shape. Williamson Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), Bar (Communist Party of Great Britain, Marxist-Leninist/Workers Party of Britain), Max Blumenthal,  professional conspiracy theorist, Galloway, Workers Party of Britain, and a Liberal Democrat.

It is suggested that the below is real…perhaps it is not: we would welcome clarification: they say it comes from a SP type who’s trying to get it adopted by TUSC.

Image may contain: text that says "The Great British Trade Union socialist Party and together we make Britain Great. it's time to put People First. #TUSC"

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 20, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Culture Wars, the Pogues, Lawrence Fox – a Fairytale at the BBC.

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“It just goes to show that’s where we’re at in this very self-censorious monochrome mono-cultural world that we’re in.””

Laurence Fox launches party to fight ‘woke cult’ – ‘My kids are being politicised!’

ACTOR Laurence Fox has launched a new political party to fight “the indoctrination of an entire generation” by “the woke religion”.

Express. Thursday November the 19th.

Speaking to Express.co.uk he revealed he’s held discussions with Tory MPs from the newly formed ‘Common Sense Group’, spoke of his anger at his children being “highly politicised” and argued “we don’t have a conservative government”. He also talked about the toll political activism has taken on his acting work admitting his opponents may have “succeeded in destroying my career”.

Comment on the Express site – peak Gammon,

At last a “lovey” who isn’t a raving marxist or anti British campaigner. Laurence is one of a vanishing breed – a gentleman, and a courageous patriot. I’m delighted that he seems to be weathering the storm of bile from his vicious, brain-dead detractors, and I look forward to supporting his new party. Stay strong Laurence – you speak for the silent millions of decent, unrepresented people in this fast disintegrating country. Stay strong old friend!

The thespian’s views on Twitter.

The Gammon left were also not slow to react:

The saga continues…

 

 

 

There is a serious political point here: Fox is trying to build a political movement around these issues.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 19, 2020 at 5:22 pm

Labour Party readmits Corbyn after suspension: a Welcome Move.

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Image may contain: 1 person, text that says "TESCO 18:28 58% Tweet sky news SkyNews @SkyNews Jeremy Corbyn reinstated to Labour after suspension over response to antisemitism report Jeremy Corbyn reinstated to Labour after suspension over response to antisemitism re... news.sky.com 18:23 17/11/2020 SkyNews Alerts Latest Tweet your reply"

 

A welcome move.

It beggars belief that anybody thinks that the Labour Party should expel its former leader.

This is the man who led our party at the last General Election.

He is highly respected by many people and has spent decades working hard in his constituency, Islington North.

It is no surprise that the NEC reached this unanimous decision.

It is to be hoped that those in the Labour Party who protested in a democratic fashion against the suspension will also have their cases dropped.

Follow this thread.

We can have disagreements, serious disagreements, with Corbyn but the tone of the those railing against him at present is beyond beyond acceptable limits.

They continue to shout against him.

This is one noted figure who spent the last election screaming abuse against the Labour Party and its members.

Now we have this:

Starmer urged not to let Corbyn back into parliamentary party

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is being urged not to let Jeremy Corbyn return to the parliamentary party.

It comes after the party readmitted the ex-leader as a member, following his suspension for suggesting political opponents had dramatically overstated the scale of anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn issued a statement saying he regretted any “pain” caused.

Sir Keir is coming under pressure from groups including the Board of Deputies of British Jews to take further action.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said a decision had not yet been taken on whether to restore the Labour whip to Mr Corbyn, which would allow him to sit once more as one of its MPs.

 

Keir Starmer’s judgement in initiating the process has been questioned, but it also hard to see how he could have avoided a response to the stubborn statements by Corbyn.

Party members will, it is not hard to guess, be relieved that the NEC has reached the decision it has.

The ultras meanwhile say that Corbyn climbed down:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 18, 2020 at 11:22 am

Tommy Sheridan Resurfaces on Chris Williamson Show.

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Image

 

What a parcel of rogues!

Tommy Sheridan loses Supreme Court bid over perjury conviction

8th of June, 2020. BBC.

Former MSP Tommy Sheridan has lost a UK Supreme Court bid to appeal his 2010 perjury conviction.

Sheridan was jailed for three years for committing perjury during a civil action against the News of the World.

The ex-politician was awarded £200,000 in damages in 2006 over claims the now defunct tabloid made about his private life.

But the Supreme Court ruled his appeal against his perjury conviction “does not raise an arguable point of law”.

Details of the decision, which marks the end of a series of legal cases dating back almost 14 years, were confirmed in a media update of determinations made in February and March.

Ian Lavery Labour MP and former Party Chair  is appearing with Mendoza tonight:

Here are her views on Labour:

Keir Stalin has launched a purge of all left-wing MPs from the Labour Party

 

It is said that Mendoza has left the Labour Party.

We would welcome clarity on this point.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 16, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Glory to Antifa!

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The Independent reports.

It is perhaps fitting that America’s most infamous conspiracy theorist is stumping again for Donald Trump. In the week since his election loss, the president appears to have all but abandoned the job of governing to focus on spreading false and debunked stories about voter fraud to explain his defeat.

The “Million MAGA March”, featuring Jones as one of the key speakers, was called to lend support to the president’s unsubstantiated claims of a rigged election. Tens of thousands turned out in the capital with signs reading “Stop the steal” and “Stop deepstate fraud now,” marching from Freedom Plaza to the Supreme Court.

Skrewdriver were an English Neo-Nazi punk band formed by Ian Stuart Donaldson in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire in 1976. Originally a non-racist punk band that was very influential to later Oi! bands,[1] Skrewdriver changed into a white supremacist rock band after reuniting in the 1980s.[2] Their original line-up split in January 1979 and Donaldson reformed the band with different musicians in 1982. The new version of the band played a leading role in the Rock Against Communism movement.[3]

Wikipedia.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 15, 2020 at 11:54 am

Labour NEC Results: Most People Happy but Skwawkbox claims Giant Lizards Stole Left Votes.

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Momentum-backed candidates win seven of 15 positions as Corbyn critic wins CLP vote

Most people thought is was a balanced result, and are  happy with it.

The main left slate led by far, independent figures like Ann Black (who was part of the original Centre-left Grass-roots Alliance in the 1990s) got back. The ‘ultras’ of the Labour Left alliance were not too displeased, though they had got not a whisker towards a seat.

The result is a balanced mixture of left Grassroots Voice, centre left (Open Left)  and party centre and right Labour First – (note in, say US terms the centre to the right is Bernie Sanders political policies).

Personally I was extremely pleased that Anne Black got back on the NEC, as somebody who had been involved in above Grassroot Alliance.

I was disappointed that the Tribune slate did not get in.

I voted for some of the Grassroots Voice people.

I was not happy that Yasmine Dar, (not somebody I backed) was re-elected. Her history of backing a Khomeinist Rally  and her dodgy tweets on Israel speak for themselves.

But tough, that is democracy.

One of the biggest left parties in the world voted for a NEC that represents the members’ opinions. It may be sometimes critical of Keir Starmer but it is a solid Labour..

If some people think that giant lizards got Luke Akehurst of Labour First (somebody I very certainly did not vote for) elected, then so be it.

There are some who persist in this kind of thing: the geezer who can mind read into what happened in the ballot boxes:

Breaking: more than 6,000 left-wing votes disqualified by Labour hierarchy – in an election where 12,000 was the quota to be elected

Take your giant lizards and go and join Chris Williamson Skwawky.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 14, 2020 at 6:16 pm

Morning Star Gives a Puff for Old Friend Chris Williamson.

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Iggy Ostanin on Twitter: "I've spotted Labour MP Chris Williamson, previously criticised for praising anti-Semitic Assad propagandist Vanessa Beeley, who called Jo Cox a “warmongering Blairite” after her murder just liked a

“We will fight resurgent Blairism, including at the ballot box.”

They are already calling it the new Red-Brown Front….

The Morning Star the paper of …okay, wholly independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the co-op, reports

Chris Williamson joins reformed Tusc left party

 

FORMER MP Chris Williamson has joined the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), a year after being suspended by the Labour Party.

The former parliamentarian for Derby North announced yesterday that he had been elected to the group’s national steering committee as a representative of the Resistance Movement.

Mr Williamson’s suspension from Labour ahead of last year’s general election meant he was unable to stand as a party candidate, instead opting to run as an independent.

The party, co-founded in 2010 by the late Bob Crow, the former general secretary of RMT, saw the former MP and four other new members join leading trade unionists from other unions, the Socialist Party and independent socialists on the national body.

Mr Williamson said: “The Labour Party has been hijacked by Establishment lackeys and no longer welcomes socialists within its ranks.

“The situation facing the country is dire, which requires us to work out how to co-operate on the left to establish a social movement throughout the land and a credible electoral alternative for voters.”

The move came as a group of northern Labour MPs launched the No Holding Back initiative, which emphasises the need for Labour to regain trust among working-class constituencies.

Note, we are sure they appreciate being linked to TUSC and Williamson.

TUSC national chairman Dave Nellist, another former parliamentary colleague of Mr Corbyn, said the suspension of Mr Corbyn was “the clearest signal yet that under Keir Starmer’s Labour the interests of Britain’s capitalist Establishment will be in safe hands.”

Note, former colleague of Corby,  as in thirty years ago.

He said that candidates standing in elections who endorse Mr Corbyn’s suspension and backing austerity “cannot expect to be unchallenged.

“We will fight resurgent Blairism, including at the ballot box.”

 Wisely Williamson does not count on so-called bourgeois election success.

 Williamson won just 635 votes in the 2019 General Election.

But he has not been inactive since:

What's wrong with Chris Williamson?
The RMT’s leading socialist has been quiet for some time. but one awaits his joy at this announcement.
EddieDempsey
@EddieDempsey
Joined May 2020
Note on Chris Williamson’s friend Vanessa Beeley: here she is on the French far-right site Égalité & Réconciliation run by holocaust denier Alain Soral.

Alep et l’imposture des “Casques blancs” : entretien avec Vanessa Beeley

More on her, in French,

Vanessa Beeley, la blogueuse complotiste préférée des médias russes

Le 26 juillet 2014, elle intervenait au théâtre de la Main d’Or, à Paris, lors d’une conférence sur la Palestine organisée par Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala et Laurent Louis, aux côtés de Marion Sigaut et Jacob Cohen, des figures de la complosphère francophone la plus sulfureuse.

Maîtrisant correctement le français, Vanessa Beeley a apporté son soutien à François Asselineau lors de la dernière campagne présidentielle. Le 25 mars 2017, son intervention lors du meeting parisien du président de l’Union populaire républicaine lui a valu des applaudissements nourris, en particulier lorsqu’elle fit vibrer la corde antiaméricaine et conspirationniste de son auditoire :

Written by Andrew Coates

November 13, 2020 at 11:41 am

Chris Williamson Joins TUSC (Socialist Party/Militant).

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Britain’s Most Famous Vegan with some old mates.

Ex-MP Chris Williamson joins TUSC to challenge ‘resurgent Blairism’

At the same time it welcomed new members to the coalition steering committee from the national executives of five different trade unions – and the former Labour MP Chris Williamson who was himself suspended in 2019 and prevented from defending his Derby North seat as a Labour candidate in last year’s general election.

….

“Chris Williamson joining the TUSC steering committee at this time is especially welcome. As an MP Chris was a member of the RMT’s parliamentary group and, when he was suspended from Labour in February 2019, received overwhelming support from our Annual General Meeting [national conference]”.

“The successful motion forewarned that ‘anti-Corbyn members of the Parliamentary Labour Party have demanded Chris Williamson’s removal from the party as a step towards their real objective of removing the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’. And so it has been”.

“I am sure RMT members will look forward to once again working with Chris on our common political goals”.

….

Williamson said.

“The Labour Party has been hijacked by establishment lackeys and no longer welcomes socialists within its ranks”.

“We therefore need to build a new vehicle outside the Labour Party to offer a refuge for disgruntled members and others dissatisfied with the discredited political and economic status quo”.

“The situation facing the country is dire, which requires us to work out how to cooperate on the left to establish a social movement throughout the land and a credible electoral alternative for voters”.

Background:

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHRIS WILLIAMSON?

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people on Twitter – whether ignorantly or disingenuously – claiming to not know what’s wrong with Chris Williamson.

Here are just a few of the things. I’m starting with some that have nothing to do with antisemitism. And the antisemitism issues I’m including having nothing to do with Israel-Palestine, so please don’t tell me that all Williamson has done is criticise Israel. Some of this was in my older posts about him (here and here). A lot of the material is via Twitter, because Williamson is a prolific tweeter, but Williamson blocked me on Twitter on Holocaust Memorial Day this year, so I also drew for the antisemitism section on Twitter threads by Marlon Solomon and Barny Skinner and Daniel Sugarman’s article.

More

At the festival, participants were asked to vote between the position put forward by Peter Tatchell, in support of democracy in Syria and in defence of Syrian civilians being bombed, or for Peter Ford and Vanessa Beeley, in support of the Syrian government. Williamson voted for Ford. In voting for the Beeley/Ford position, Williamson is not just calling attention to alleged media distortion of the conflict; he endorses the dictatorship.

Williamson may not have known this when he tweeted about the “privilege” of meeting her, but Beeley herself has some dodgy form: saying that “Zionists rule France”, describing Israel’s treatment of Gaza “a Holocaust”, saying Human Rights Watch is run by “a Jewish organisation called the Washington elite”, and has defended well-known antisemites such as Gilad Atzmon (more on him below) and Alison Weir.

Read the rest of Bob’s post.

Labour anti-Zionist Moshe Machover says he is ‘proud’ to share platform with those accused of antisemitism

November the 9th

Hampstead and Kilburn CLP member slams the Labour leader as he appears on panel with Chris Williamson and Tony Greenstein.

Update: the other one of Williamson’s old muckers (the geezer between him and Galloway)  Lee Stranahan, once of the fash Breitbart, now RT

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 12, 2020 at 1:04 pm

Neo-Con Blog Harry’s Place is Expired.

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All That Is Solid ...: Solidarity with Harry's Place

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

 

This is the latest news from ‘arry’s Place:

This Domain Name Has Expired – Renewal Instructions.

Harry’s Place

Harry’s Place was supportive of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the concept of liberal interventionism, and liberal dissident movements in the Islamic world. It is a supporter of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It is opposed to Islamism and what it characterizes as totalitarian, pro-Islamist and antisemitic tendencies in its ranks. Figures associated with these tendencies are often strongly criticized, including Raed Salah,[1] and Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

 

Materials for an autopsy:

10 Years of Harry’s Place by Phil and also by Phil,

Revisiting Harry’s Place 

Fancy a deep dive into the blogging wars of the pre-Corbyn left? Of course you do. In this episode of Reel Politik, Jack and Geraint pop along to the cemetery and dig up an old adversary: Harry’s Place. Long time hangers-ons of the British left will remember the role this blog, now a shadow of what once was, had in drawing together the pro-war “left” before, during and after the Iraq War.

They were self-appointed arbiters of political decency (hence the term, ‘decents’) who fulminated against anyone concerned with stopping the UK government’s penchant for wars as well as critics of Israel, and played a mobilising role in putting together the now (largely forgotten) Euston Manifesto. For those of you who weren’t around, imagine the meltiest centrism combined with the scurrilousness of Gnasher Jew and you’ve got a good idea of their positioning and output. Which included publishing people’s addresses and trying to get them sacked from their jobs. Charming.

One of their best known contributors in the glory days was David Toube  a lawyer and former lecturer, and who is now director of policy at the ‘anti-extremist’ foundation Quilliam.

At present Toube is living in the Essex marshlands. His main occupation is appearing on Facebook under the name of David Dove

He is said to have found a new life on Twitter.

One of their close allies has become an admirer of the Polish government.

 

Hoare is worried about HP’s disappearance:

Written by Andrew Coates

November 12, 2020 at 10:10 am

Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society. Michael Heinrich. Review.

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Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society

 

Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society. The Life of Marx and the Development of His Work. Volume 1. 1818 – 1841. Michael Heinrich. Monthly Review Press.

(This Review Appears in the latest Chartist Magazine.)

 

 

“A man dressed like Karl Marx” Michael Heinrich observes “would hardly arouse attention walking through the streets of Paris of London today.” (Page 18) Some biographers assert that Marx was a product of a past epoch, the early 19th century “increasingly distant from our age.” (Jonathan Sperber 2013) By contrast the first volume of a projected account of Marx’s life sees his reflections on the “epochal rupture” that created modern capitalism, to be, if more arresting than his clothing, recognisably part of today’s world.

Heinrich has not written a guide to Why Marx Was Right. Volume 1 of The Life of Marx and the Development of his Work begins with probably the best account of time, place, family and culture of Marx’s early years in the German provincial city of Trier. Demolishing a common “biographical fiction” his Dutch mother, Henriette Presburg, was not an “uneducated housewife” but intelligent and witty, who cared deeply for her children and followed political developments. Marx’s Jewish family background was less an influence on his youth than “Enlightenment-humanist” ideas, from his father Heinrich onwards. Marx was never an “outsider”. Within his family and friends at the Gymnasium he grew up in a “politically interested enlightened-liberal milieu”.

Marx passed from his early education to studies at the University of Berlin. A possible influence on later work, the lectures of the radical Hegelian Eduard Gans, who had read Saint Simon, is carefully assessed. Heinrich places Gans, in a way another Marx biographer, Gareth Stedman-Jones, would, within early French socialist ideas about “association”. The biographer is not sure that they prompted the Communist Manifesto’s picture of history

Marx passed from his early education to studies at the University of Berlin. A possible influence on later work, the lectures of the radical Hegelian Eduard Gans, who had read Saint Simon, is carefully assessed. Heinrich places Gans, in a way another Marx biographer, Gareth Stedman-Jones, would, within early French socialist ideas about “association”. The biographer is not sure that they prompted the Communist Manifesto’s picture of history as the record of class struggle. There have been many candidates for that, including the disciple of Charles Fourier, Victor Considerant.

One of the greatest strengths of Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society is to rethink our accepted ideas about the Young Hegelians. This is not just a concern of Marxologists or browsers in a virtual Great Library of Alexandra. Books and articles still circulate explaining the left Hegelian “dialectic” that Marx and Engels made “materialist”. Heinrich begins by stating that, it is not possible to reach a consensus about the substantive characteristics or even the duration of influence of Old and Young Hegelianism” (Page 269)

The “broad current” of radical Hegelians developed the groundwork of the “dialectical method” some Marxists hold to. But they were above all interested in the critique of religion, and embedded in theological debates of the time. Paralleled in Britain and France in critical approaches to the Bible and revealed Truth, they could be seen as part of the process of secularising history and politics. Marx’s engagement in the radical; Hegelian Doctor’s Club, which moved from discussions about atheism to demands for intellectual and social rights, indicate a similar direction. Yet early studies in the philosophy of religion reflected how his education and intellectual debut was “far more shaped by religion that it would be today”. (Page 288) This suggests that not everything about early modern society would be recognisable today.

The volume ends with an essay on How is Biographical Writing Possible Today? It discusses a variety of approaches to the history of ideas, including Quentin Skinner and Michel Foucault. Marx, he notes, “obtained his influence primarily through his writings, having an impact both during his lifetime and after.”(Page 334). This leaves one expectant for a future account of Marx’s role in the First International. This was an intervention that Gareth Stedman Jones considered to mark the moment when Marx’s ideas both converged with and had an effect on the emerging socialist and labour movement.

An exceptional and carefully researched book, if not always easy-going when dealing with abstract philosophy, Heinrich’s volume will be essential reading for anybody interested in Marx.

 

French speakers will be interested in this series of podcasts on France Culture.

Grandes traversées : Karl Marx, l’inconnu

and Gareth Stedman Jones feature in these brilliant documentaries.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2020 at 3:48 pm

Fun and Games as Gammon Galloway Melts Down and Claire Fox Votes Against Brexit Bill.

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Galloway is having a Gammon meltdown.

Meanwhile this is the news hitting the country.

Claire Fox attacks opponents of Brexit bill – before accidentally voting against it

A senior statesman has also been putting his oar in:

 

 

here

Written by Andrew Coates

November 10, 2020 at 12:26 pm

While US ‘Left’ publication has Sour Grapes in Europe Woodbridge Welcomes Trump to his new Golf Course.

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Image may contain: one or more people, text that says "J Jacobin @jacobinmag It's good that Donald Trump ost But the Left now needs to pivot immediately to opposition to the Joe Biden administration. No Honeymoon for Joe Biden jacobinmag.com"

 

 

 US ‘left’ publication, Jacobin leads with this story

We in Europe, by contrast have made this generous offer for Donald Trump to spend his twilight years (should that not be ‘zone’ Note by Editor)  on a new Golf Course and Grouse Moor just by Woodbridge Suffolk.

Kevin Algar a renowned progressive intellectual and poet has been busy all weekend getting it ready for the former President.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 8, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Monster Raving Greenstein at Defend Corbyn Meeting they are calling, “The Night of Shame”.

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 Greenstein , the Man They Could Not Silence leads Defence of Cde Corbyn.

From the Skeleton case against Greenstein. It begins with his use of the words he used “Zio scum” “racist whore” , “Janus faced whore”…

This is Greenstein in full flow:

GnasherJew®גנאשר on Twitter: "I spy with my little eye an antisemite. Tony Greenstein expelled from @UKLabour who abused the Grandchild of Holocaust survivors with this.… https://t.co/zII22MYus9"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 6, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Paula White: Obscenity Live in US Election.

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Angels are Being Dispatched from Africa to Back Trump.

This Blog is not American.

I freely admit that my ignorance of US politics is such that (I am not making this up) I only learnt what POTUS meant a couple of weeks ago. I rely on what comrades say about the elections.

But this, as one might say, dépasse les bornes.

Presidential spiritual adviser Paula White leads creepy live prayer service to secure Trump election win

Angels are being dispatched VIctory Victory Victory.

 

She is still at it.

The report continues:

Good luck, Paula. And by good luck, we mean, go fuck yourself.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 5, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Anti-Fascism, Culture, Populism

Tagged with ,

Last Chance Saloon for ‘Left’ as Tariq Ali and Lindsey German ‘Defend’ Jeremy Corbyn..

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Last night there was a curious meeting hosted by a group presently calling itself the Radical Alliance.

It was to defend Jeremy Corbyn.

‘Shovel Hands’ MP Lavery and even respected comrades like Julia Bard and John McDonnell took part.

The presence on the platform of some other speakers would have warned most people off.

Tariq Ali, former supporter of the Liberal Democrats, one time leftist, prominent Brexit campaigner, was there. Only a few weeks ago Tariq stood by and uttered not a word  when Norman Finkelstein spoke his admiration for Holocaust denier  David Irving at a meeting held by Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

The far left event that attacked CST and praised David Irving

Even Tony Greenstein uttered a protest.

Not a dicky bird from Ali. Wealthy Ali’s manor, Verso, publishes Finkelstein’s claims about the big influence of Jews in British life.

Lindsey German, leader of the revolutionary socialist groupuscule Counterfire, once George Galloway’s best friend,  and a member of Respect, was also prominent.

Salma Yaqoob former leader of Respect (am I detecting a pattern here?) was there. Yaqoob fought one of the dirtiest elections in British history against comrade Naz Shah of the Labour Party in 2017. In the Bradford West contest she came third with 13.9% of the votes,

Bastani, whose family is said to produce excellent ice-cream, was promoting total luxury communism.

Piddock, well what can you say?

I could go on about this rogues’ gallery.

Sharing platforms with these types?

The view on the left is that this a front by Red Labour and Counterfire  for promoting a breakaway from Labour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 2, 2020 at 1:06 pm

World Kobane Day 1st of November.

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1st November - World Kobanê Day - Women Defend Rojava

 

 

Rise up for World Kobane Day

Peter Boyle Green Left

October the 29th. 2020.

Supporters of the Rojava Revolution in north and east Syria will commemorate the sixth anniversary of World Kobane Day on November 1.

World Kobane Day was initiated by the Kurdish Freedom Movement and its supporters at the time of the Islamic State’s (IS) siege of the city of Kobane in late 2014. The call was made to rally international solidarity for the fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who were pushing back against the brutal invasion by the fascistic forces.

The significance of World Kobane Day cannot be understated. The heroic people’s resistance in Kobane turned the tide against IS and made the freedom fighters of the YPG, YPJ and SDF international symbols of liberation. It also drew world attention to the Rojava Revolution.

The people of Kobane have been rebuilding, as well as gradually furthering the institutions that replaced the chaos of those dark days. They have brought forward a new model of participatory democracy light years ahead of what reality was like for them prior to the declaration of autonomy by Kurdish revolutionary forces in 2012.

About 70% of Kobane had been destroyed by the time the siege was broken in early 2015. The streets were littered with mines and booby traps. Yet, within months, tens of thousands of people who had fled the city had returned and the water supply, which had been totally destroyed, was restored. The next year, the Kurdish Red Crescent opened a hospital. Kobane’s first university opened in December 2017.

However, Kobane — much like the rest of Rojava (formally known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria, AANES) — is far from safe. Turkish troops occupying parts of Syria and Islamic fundamentalist terrorist gangs supported by the Turkish state have escalated their attacks on the populated Ain Issa region to the south-east of Kobane. One of their objectives is to cut off the M4 highway linking Kobane with the rest of the Rojava.

ANF News reported on October 24 that several attempts by the occupiers to circumvent the positions of the local military council and infiltrate the town were thwarted by the SDF.

Civilian settlements and villages along the M4 and the Ain Issa refugee camp were attacked by the terrorist gangs, supported by Turkish reconnaissance and fighter jets, which further raises the danger to the civilian population.

Aziz Xerbîsan, an SDF commander who coordinated the defense operation against the occupation forces in the village of Seyda told ANF News, “The attack was well organised. The Turkish army and allied mercenaries tried to enter the town from three sides; via Seyda in the northeast, the M4 and Ain Issa camp in the northwest. There were about fifty attackers.”

“This was not their first attempt to occupy Ain Issa,” said Xerbîsan. “The town is regularly attacked, our forces respond to all attacks.”

Kobane and the area around Ain Issa and along the M4 are supposed to be patrolled by Russian and United States military forces, under the terms of a ceasefire agreement made in 2019, but, according to the SDF, they did not intervene, even though the attack took place right in front of Russian and Syrian troops.

“The attacks have caused extensive material damage to the homes and farmland of the civilian population. Even motorists are being shot at. The main focus of the attacks is the expulsion of the traditional inhabitants. Such attacks are defined as war crimes. The US and Russia, under whose aegis the ceasefire agreement was signed last fall, are merely watching.”

In its call for international solidarity on World Kobane Day 2020, the group Women Defend Rojava said: “On June 23 this year, three activists of the women’s movement Kongra Star were murdered by Turkish drones in a village in Kobane.

“This attack on women’s rights activists is an attack on society, the women’s movement and the democratic system in Rojava …

“But this won’t stop us. With the spirit of our murdered comrades we will strengthen our fighting spirit and offer resistance as we did in Kobane. Because resistance means life.”

hi

Written by Andrew Coates

November 1, 2020 at 10:17 am

Posted in Anti-Fascism, Kurds, Left

Tagged with , , ,

Call from US Left, “For popular action to close down the racist Charlie Hebdo magazine!”

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Image may contain: one or more people, sky, crowd and outdoor, text that says "NOUS AVONS VAINCU LE CALIFAT, NOUS VAINCRONS AUSSI SA MENTALITE #SamuelPaty"

Yankee Doodle Dandies Call “For popular action to close down the racist Charlie Hebdo magazine!”

Boycott Imperialist and Islamophobic France!

Solidarity with the Muslim migrants! Drive out the French occupiers from Mali and other countries!

Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 26.10.2020,

 No to Islamophobic hatemongering!

* Release all arrested Muslims in France!

* For popular action to close down the racist Charlie Hebdo magazine!

* French Navy – out of the Eastern Mediterranean!

* Drive the French occupiers out of Mali and all other African countries!

* Freedom for Chechnya! Down with Russian imperialism!

* No “normalization” with Israel! For a single red and democratic state in historic Palestine from the river to the sea!

It will come as no surprise that this group, which has origins in Trotskyism,  has ‘Views” on the Holocaust, “The reason that the genocide of the Jews is unique is because the Jews were white Europeans.” “The Zionists also contributed to the genocide of the Jews because they wanted to secure their settler colonialism project rather than using their influence to open gates of the USA, Britain and other countries to the Jewish refugees.”

Counterfire has the relatively moderate rant on the topic  by an old mucker (I speak of muck), John Mullen.

Mullen is a friend of ‘Comrade Delta’, the SWP leader accused of rape. You can read him on Martin Smith’s site A Dream Deferred, This is a fact which oddly does not get mentioned. He is (or was, this is not clear, but I would like to imagine they would have told him to fuck off long ago) a member of Ensemble the left group that’s an ally of La France insoumise of  Jean-Luc Mélenchon

This is the gobshite published today:

France: build the movement against Islamophobia.

Patronising barely covers this bit,

Not understanding that these caricatures are racist is very common indeed on right and left in France, and the caricatures are on the school curriculum, so showing them in class as illustrations does not mean that this was a racist teacher.

As is this loony bins conspi theory:

In the Eastern region of France a booklet of caricatures of religious figures (“those most remarked upon”) will be distributed in every high school, and other regions will probably follow suit. The booklet will include anti Catholic caricatures too, but its main aim is Islamophobia. Town halls in major cities have been projecting on the walls of their buildings Charlie Hebdo cartoons, avoided the most insulting ones, but portraying mocking Islam as a brave blow for freedom.

MInd you he has a good word for his old comrade from Socialisme par en bas (the SWP’s arm in France, she was part of this group),

Leading figures such as FI Member of Parliament Danièle Obono have been in the forefront of the fight against Islamophobia for years, and persistent work by a minority has led to real progress on Islamophobia in the organisation.

HIs conclusion,

The most important task is to build as broad an alliance as possible to defend Muslims against Islamophobia.

Note I have corrected the US spelling.

Not a word, not a dickey bird, about his own orga’s declaration.

In the view of many on the left this is about the best statement going,

 

Agir contre le terrorisme islamiste, pas contre les musulmans.

After the abominable act perpetrated against a teacher last Friday, it is important to act against Islamist fascism, which threatens democratic freedoms, secularism, and community relations. We will be in this struggle: we are against all oppressions.

But we refuse to allow a battle to be waged against Muslims. In this regard, the request to dissolve the CCIF is inadmissible. This Collective against Islamophobia did not intervene in the denunciation of Samuel Paty. It should not be sanctioned. In the same way, there is no need to stigmatise all Chechens for the act of one of them, nor to suspect all asylum seekers … Nor is it the place to establish a wide-ranging law against “separatism”, which risks stigmatising those who adhere to a religion, andis, as a result, itself legislation that creates division.

The far right and the right are taking advantage of the situation to advance their repressive agenda Under the guise of the fight against Islamist terrorism, they aim to attack migrants, call into question the right to asylum, and permanently destroy the possibility of different communities living together in a free and democratic society.

For your info Mullen the fact that you, a member of the group that has somebody as respected as Clémentine Autain as a leader, are playing politics in the UK (as in your role in the JVL statement on the same issue) at the moment is highly unwelcome. 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 27, 2020 at 11:59 am

United Gammon-Woke Front Against Fighting Coronavirus.

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Police make arrests at London anti-lockdown protest

Revolutionary Clenched Fists, and Gammon Union Flag,

The Evening Standard reports: Eighteen people have been arrested after protesters clashed with police at an anti-lockdown demonstration in London.

Hundreds of campaigners marched to Parliament after bringing Oxford Street to a standstill.

The Metropolitan Police said 18 arrests were made after officers took action to disperse crowds when “disruption” was caused on Westminster Bridge.

Three officers sustained minor injuries after they clashed with campaigners at the Stop the New Normal protest, said the force.

Not only have the anti-Lockdown Gammon united with Woke Conspis they have borrowed SWP demo counters (rela figure up to a couple of thousand!

 

Sometimes you just want to give the type a good slap in the gob:

Fuck me, he gets worse!

Today there is this, ultimate Woke Wankery.

Image

h

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 25, 2020 at 6:06 pm

Tom Hunt, Ipswich MP, Rails Against ‘Cultural Marxism’.

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Was Looney-Bins Ipswich MP Behind these Stickers?

Last year there were these stickers plastered around Ipswich. One of them was on the corner of Bond Street and St Helen’s Street, a three minute walk from where the offices of Tom Hunt, far-right MP for Ipswich were at the time

Coincidence?

The Guardian reports.

 Tom Hunt, the MP for Ipswich, accused the leaders of Black Lives Matter of having “strayed beyond what should be a powerful yet simple and unifying message in opposition to the racism that still exists in our society, into cultural Marxism, the abolition of the nuclear family, defunding the police and overthrowing capitalism”. Hunt was one of two Tory MPs to decry “cultural Marxism” during the debate; the last time a politician did this – Suella Braverman, now attorney general, in 2019 – she was criticised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews for using a term often associated with far-right antisemitism.

Why is the UK government suddenly targeting ‘critical race theory’?

The local paper covered his intervention,
Ipswich Star.

Mr Hunt told MPs that while he agrees that individuals who harbour racist views within key organisations need to be “rooted out”, people should be “a little bit careful” about using the term institutional racism

Speaking in the Commons debate on Black History Month, Mr Hunt also criticised some leadership figures of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement for “straying into cultural Marxism”.

Mr Hunt told MPs: “Touching upon current issues in the media, like other honourable members, I was appalled by the death of George Floyd. I was absolutely appalled.

“I think that the vast majority of people who have gone on the protests I think are well-meaning and I agree with (Tory MP Steve Baker) that we should listen to their strength of feeling and how they feel.

“But I do think it is unfortunate that some of the leadership figures of BLM have at times strayed beyond what should be a powerful yet simple and unified message in opposition to racism that still exists in our society, straying into cultural Marxism, the abolition of the nuclear family, defunding the police, overthrowing capitalism.

“So in some senses, I find it quite regretful that a message and an agenda that should have been used to unify at times has been allowed to become very divisive.

“But ultimately it is our duty to make sure the right messages are learnt from that horrific incident, and I think it needs to be one of unity and moderation and looking to improve upon the situation we have today where we know that racism still exists.”

He added: “I’d also, looking at a petition, like to be a little bit careful about the term institutional racism

“Yes, I think we need to be alive for the fact that there will be individuals who harbour racist views within key institutions, whether they be schools or the police, and they need to be rooted out.

“But I think to smear an entire organisation as being institutionally racist, again I think is incredibly unhelpful and divisive.”

Shadow schools minister Wes Streeting said the UK would not lose anything by telling an accurate story about the nation’s past.

He told the Commons: “I was lucky to go to an inner-city state school here in London, just up the road where children were drawn from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, but particularly black African and Caribbean communities.

“It’s made me feel entirely, not just comfortable with the diversity of our country, but actively welcoming it, really feeling that I’ve benefited from an education that gave me exposure to people from a wide range of backgrounds, faiths and cultures.”

Equalities minister and Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch added that the Black Lives Matter movement is “anti-capitalist” and “political”.

She told MPs: “Some schools have decided to openly support the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group – often fully aware that they have the statutory duty to be politically impartial.

“Black lives do matter, of course they do, but we know that the Black Lives Matter movement – capital B, L, M– is political.”

The MP, author it is said, of Another Voice by Dave Strumerist, is a man of many, many opinions.
He is  keen to stop immigration, and backs the far-right ‘Migration Watch’.

Rumours that Hunt has a dog called Blondie have been strenuously denied.
But Hunt is a strong supporter of our best friends.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 24, 2020 at 11:00 am

Islamist Fascism, Samuel Paty and Jewish Voice for Labour.

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Samuel Paty's assassin was in contact with a jihadist in Syria | En24 World

Agir contre le terrorisme islamiste, pas contre les musulmans”

It is important to act against Islamist fascism, which threatens democratic freedoms, secularism, and community relations.” Ensemble.

The statement by the radical left alliance, Ensemble (which has 3 Deputies in the National Assembly, including Clémentine Autain)  is one of  many serious and dignified reactions to the murder of Samuel Paty.

And there is this, from Jewish Voice for Labour.

We are all shocked by the horrific murder of French teacher, Samuel Paty and send our condolences to his family, friends and pupils.

We are also appalled by the way it is being used by many in France, including leading elements of the French state, to incite hatred against Muslims.

The potential horrific consequences of demonising a whole community for the actions of an individual is something that we, as Jews, are all too aware of.

Here the French, Jewish, antiracist campaigning organisation UJFP, Union juive française pour la paix, raises the alarm.

How to use religious fanaticism to justify state racism

This Blog  shares the concerns that have led to the protests of the French civil liberties campaigns against the suggestion that the Collective against Islamophobia in France, the CCIF should be dissolved. Like many French anti-racist campaigners we do not share the view that the body cannot be criticised. Amongst many issues (beginning with the claims about combating  ‘Islamophobia’, a religion, rather than fighting discrimination against Muslim people there is  its stand accusing Charlie Hebdo of racism. This is a transparent attempt to sap left wing support for the satirical Weekly’s freedom of speech. Yet it is clear that attempts to deal with political groups in this way are anti-democratic. (1)

JVL publishes Declaration of the Union juive française pour la paix (French Jewish Peace Union), 19 October 2020

But the statement notably declares, “Now these same authorities want to ban any fight back against islamophobia, by attacking Muslim organisations like the Collective against Islamophobia in France, the CCIF. This organisation is being libelled, smeared and insulted because it aims at having the rights of Muslim citizens respected and at fighting discrimination.”

They continue,

There is something totalitarian in this new stage in the racist and islamophobic  discourse of the French State. T

The organisation Baraka City, an antiracist grouping like the CCIF, is threatened with being banned”

“The generalised denouncing of Muslims every time a lost young man carries out such a crime is in a sense a victory for the perpetrators of these acts against democracy.”

There are many problems with the JVL statement.

To begin there is nothing in defence of freedom of thought, of open education, of the right to teach critical thinking through debate,

Then how ‘lost’ and alone was the killer?

Libération reported yesterday, that he was closely tied to jihadist groups:

Assassinat de Samuel Paty à Conflans : un assaillant bien connecté au jihad

The use of data from Abdullakh Anzorov’s phone reveals exchanges with the Iraqi-Syrian zone. According to our information, one of his contacts in Idlib received a photo of the head of the beheaded teacher from the young terrorist.

What kind of ideas did he have?

 Anzorov (the killer) had not held back from posting in succession dozens of anti semitic, misogynistic and homophobic messages.”

Today Mediapart publishes the results of an investigation into the network accused of inciting Anzorov.

The news site, founded by Edwy Plenel, author of Pour les Musulmans, (2014) cannot be accused of ‘Islamophobia’.

Attentat de Conflans: révélations sur l’imam Sefrioui

Abdelhakim Sefrioui, Mediapart notes, has a long association with the “anti-Semitic far right and  jihadist circles”

Sefrioui became involved in complaints against Samuel Paty to the point of presenting himself at the College to talk to the Head about it. Claiming to speak on behalf of French Imans, his own background was as a leading figure in a group, the collective Cheikh Yassin (CCY) named after the founder of Hamas. He had been removed, back in 2015, from the Muslim body that represents Imans (CIF). He, by contrast, became close to the Holocaust denier, Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, in the early years of the new millennium. During a demonstration against Israeli attacks on Gaza two extreme right activists Frédéric Chatillon and Axel Loustau joined the cortège led by the Yassin collective.

The investigation is long and complex. It covers his turbulant agitation in front of Mosques, and particular interest in schooling, reminding one of Islamist agitation on gender equality education in the UK. Disagreements with the far-right, who supported Assad, broke out during the outbreak of civil war in Syria. While Mediapart found people who denied any active encouragement for people to join jihadist groups in the region, the Minister of the Interior, in the decree of October 21 dissolving the said collective. declared that group members “have distinguished themselves by facilitating the departure of several young radical Islamists to the Iraqi-Syrian zone, by going themselves to fight in the zone or by preparing attacks abroad”

Through his lawyer Sefrioui claims that he  “knew nothing” about the terrorist project of Abdullakh Anzorov,

France Info says today,

Adbelhakim Sefrioui is notably blamed for having participated in the mobilisation against the teacher. He had also accompanied the father to college who had come to complain about the teacher’s behaviour, and he had also posted a video on social networks. According to his lawyer, there is no proof, for the moment, that this video provoked the act of the terrorist. “Has Abdullakh Anzorov  seen this video? It remains to be proven. He surely did not need this to murder,” the lawyer continued. The same line of defence was offered by the student’s father who posted the video.

The official inquiry continues.

This much is clear: the slaughter of Samuel Paty by somebody who had nothing directly to do with his college cannot be understood as simply the “actions of an individual”.

What is at Stake?

JVL and the (Union juive française pour la paix refuse to discuss violent Islamism, and above all, to take into account the way that the anti-semitism of Islamists can lead to them making common cause with the far-right. On their site the only reference to fascism comes from a comparison between dissolving the CCIF and Vickey’s suppression of Jewish organisations,

Loin de moi l’idée de placer des régimes aussi différents que Vichy et le pouvoir macronien sur un pied d’égalité, mais il est utile de mettre en exergue des ressorts racistes partagés, ceux-là mêmes qui ont conduit à la dissolution des organisations juives et qui conduiront peut-être à la dissolution de certaines organisations musulmanes.

Far be it for me to ​​place regimes as different as Vichy and Macron’s on an equal footing, but it is useful to highlight shared racist motives, ones that led to the dissolution of Jewish organisations, and which may lead to the dissolution of certain Muslim organisations.

Derrière les dissolutions, la haine (20th of October)

The  translator of the statement published by the JVL, John Mullen, has been a member of the SWP linked group, Socialisme par en bas (he is at present said to be involved in Ensemble, supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France insoumise)  with links to ‘Comrade Delta’ Martin Smith – see Smith’s site Dream Deferred.

Ensemble itself denounces state attacks on Muslims and stands against  Islamist fascism  – something not mentioned by the JVL.

Agir contre le terrorisme islamiste, pas contre les musulmans.

After the abominable act perpetrated against a teacher last Friday, it is important to act against Islamist fascism, which threatens democratic freedoms, secularism, and community relations. We will be in this struggle: we are against all oppressions.

But we refuse to allow a battle to be waged against Muslims. In this regard, the request to dissolve the CCIF is inadmissible. This Collective against Islamophobia did not intervene in the denunciation of Samuel Paty. It should not be sanctioned. In the same way, there is no need to stigmatise all Chechens for the act of one of them, nor to suspect all asylum seekers … Nor is it the place to establish a wide-ranging law against “separatism”, which risks stigmatising those who adhere to a religion, andis, as a result, itself legislation that creates division.

The far right and the right are taking advantage of the situation to advance their repressive agenda Under the guise of the fight against Islamist terrorism, they aim to attack migrants, call into question the right to asylum, and permanently destroy the possibility of different communities living together in a free and democratic society.

Ensemble have got it about right.

 

*****

 

Note:

(1) For more information see Libération, Qu’est-ce que le Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France que Darmanin veut dissoudre ? and the CCIF their COMMUNIQUÉ DU 17 OCTOBRE : L’IMPASSE) .

Written by Andrew Coates

October 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm

On “the Silence over the murder of Paris teacher Samuel Paty.”

with 8 comments

Image

We owe it to him think, to speak, and to teach freely.

It’s no secret that this Blog devotes a fair amount of time to French politics and culture, and to issues that concern the Francophone  world – which includes a very large swathe of Africa.

These days, with the Net, which means debate across the world, reactions to the murder of Samuel Paty, reactions from French leftists on FB, and writing French contributions to their discussions-  with a spell check that even adds the accents! – takes place. There is Smart Television (you can watch the Arte French news journal, which is perhaps comparable to Channel Four News on the App box), you can listen to France Inter, watch BMTV on the Net –  you have detailed information about at the tip of your fingers.

French, for an English-speaker, is not inaccessible: about a third of our words are the same, and when it comes to politics the percentage is often so high that when I post some sentences I do not translate.

I first learnt directly about the French left in the 1970s from French members of my IMG ‘cell’ in central London (I was at an FE college), who had ties to the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire.

Active on the French left for some years in the 1980s, a time when I first met Labour’s leader, Keir Starmer, at a meeting in Paris in the middle of that decade, I would say that there are great similarities between our left-wing parties and people, from Labour to the Parti Socialiste, The Green Party to the Verts (Now Europe Ecologie Les Verts, EELV), and our different radical lefts, here and in the Hexagone. I, like others, have kept up these ties.  There are French people on the British left, and British and Irish people in the French left.

Dare I say it, we are are also culturally very close.

I watched events unfold after the slaughter of Samuel Paty, directly, on BFMTV, and through the news on France Inter. There are posts here on the background and issues.

Today this is in people’s minds.

The ceremony at the Sorbonne can be seen on this video, to the music of U2’s One, a favourite of Petty.

 

 

 

The brutal killing  of a teacher in France’s public education system is a tragedy with universal implications. But we, who are on the left have a special responsibility.  The religious motives of the murderer are beyond doubt. The issues it raises are many, but one stands out: the need to defend the rights of free speech, of free and open education against those who wish to impose their political-religious ideology on others. That there are people who can explain what is at stake by their familiarity with the language should help.

Today the ‘I’ publishes this heartfelt article.

I buy the ‘I’, a concise daily that many of us find, as they say, an “essential daily Briefing”. Kate Malby confirms this.

I recommend the paper.

The silence over the murder of Paris teacher Samuel Paty is deafening – we owe it to him to defend free speech

Kate Maltby

France and England are tricksy siblings. We’ve had our grumpy moments – don’t mention Le Brexit – and over the past thousand years, like most siblings, we’ve sometimes tried to steal each other’s toys. (Agricultural heartlands and strategic ports.)

But they are our neighbours, separated by just 21 miles across the English Channel. They are our friends, and not only because every school-exchanger has a warm memory of pimply but mysterious Jean-Luc, who taught the English kids to drink boxed wine.

The shared absurdities of medieval warfare, dimly recalled 700 years on, foster intimacy not enmity. Remember the aftermath of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan nightclub? Our government flew flags at half-mast; we mere citizens changed our Facebook filters to images of the French flag. #JeSuisParis and all that.

None of that this week. The murder of teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb by an Islamic extremist – after he discussed freedom of expression in class and showed cartoons of the prophet Muhammad – has been met with barely a sound in British public life.

To be fair, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, waiting out election madness in the US, and laying down supplies for a possible no-deal Brexit. Our politicians made the right noises, then went back to sharpening their weapons for the forthcoming Manchester-Westminster civil war. But where are the hashtags? The headlines? The conversations?

Do we think of France as somewhere far away, out of mind?

Samuel Paty was no ignorant Islamophobe. A teacher with many Muslim pupils of Arab heritage, he took classes at Paris’ Arab Institute to better understand their background.

When it came time to teach civics, he taught his students about one of the biggest controversies in recent French history: the 2015 massacre at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and the ongoing social discussion about whether the magazine had been “provocative” by printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed.

He offered his students the choice to leave the room before the cartoons were shown. It wasn’t enough. He was killed on Friday, after parents reportedly led an online campaign against him.

It should be the leading news across a continent when a teacher is murdered in the line of public service.

She concludes,

For some in America and in Britain, defending freedom of expression – and even the basic right of teachers not to be murdered – can sound like defending Trump.

But for Samuel Paty, “freedom of expression” wasn’t a hard-right talking point. It was a matter of life and death.

We owe it to him think, to speak, and to teach freely.

See:

Stand and Be Counted

Marieme Helie Lucas, an Algerian sociologist and freedom fighter, founder of the solidarity networks Women Living Under Muslim Laws, and Secularism is a Women’s Issue argues that the roots of the murder of Samuel Paty go back to the 1990s and the experience of Algerians in the ‘war against civilians’.  She argues that we should ‘Stand and Be Counted’.

Feminist Dissent.

Watch the ceremony above, listen to the music (in English) and weep.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 22, 2020 at 11:11 am

“Rightly seen as an insult” – Socialist Worker Exploits Murder of French Teacher Samuel Paty.

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Un “martyr de la liberté” – Imam Hassen Chalghoumi,

This is taking place today:

France to pay respects to beheaded teacher with ceremony at Sorbonne

The  reactions to the  murder of Samuel Paty continue to dominate French politics.

First of all there has an outpouring of  feeling in solidarity with the victim, his profession, family  and friends.

There was this appeal, by Hassen Chalghoumi, President of the Conférence des imams de France.

“Cette barbarie n’a pas sa place, ni dans les écoles ni ailleurs en France”, a assuré le président de la Conférence des imams de France.”

His dignified reaction had already got into the British media,

“Police have carried out dozens of raids, while the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque and plans to dissolve a group that supports Palestinian militant group Hamas.”

In the heat of the emotion the French government has clamped down on Islamists, carrying out raids and ordered the six months closure of Pantin mosque accused of being linked with the “mouvance islamiste radicale“, and notably of having circulated videos inciting hatred against Samuel Paty.

They also hastily announced plans to, amongst other measures, dissolve the Collectif contre l’Islamophobie, a national campaign founded in 2003,

The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, promised it Monday morning. He will ask for the dissolution of the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) which he suspects, supporting evidence he said, of having participated in the campaign against Samuel Paty , the professor assassinated on Friday in Conflans-Sainte- Honorine (Yvelines) . The association would be “an enemy of the Republic” , he said on Europe 1. It is a wake-up call for the new generations of Muslim activists who have grown up in France. Controversial, vilified but appreciated by some, the CCIF, a symbol, has been at the centre of controversies over Islam for ten years.

Libération.

https://twitter.com/Alric_Andreas/status/1318414693946589184?s=20

These allegations been denied by the Collectif. As French leftists, far from favourable to the organisation,  have pointed out, there is no evidence of ties between the CCIF and the campaign of hate waged against Samuel Paty.

Bringing in such measures, by a “claquement de doigts”, has been, according to some government sources, not been unanimously agreed. Strong opposition from the Ligue des droits de l’homme (who have appeared on the Journal d’Arte, amongst other platforms), and the widespread feeling that democracy and the republic are not defended by catch-all administrative repression, indicates that they face serious obstacles.

What is clear is that some extreme Islamist forces have been involved in the slaughter.

The links and the issue of whether responsibility can be assigned to these individuals are the subject of a judicial investigation.

These decisions are nevertheless underway,

Macron said a pro-Hamas group called the Cheikh Yassine Collective would be dissolved for being “directly implicated” in the murder, adding that a formal decision would be taken at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The group’s founder, Islamist radical Abdelhakim Sefrioui, is being held by police for publishing a video on YouTube insulting Paty.

The radical anti-fascist left site, La Horde has published this about the principal figure accused of inciting murder,  Abdelhakim Sefrioui, the anti-Semitic circles he is part of, and the above “Cheikh Yassine” Collective:

À propos d’Abdelhakim Sefrioui et du collectif Cheikh Yassine

The individual is not unknown to anti-fascists, and the comrades of the REFLEXes site, who had already spoken of the character a few years ago, reminded us of this. In the wake of the creation of the Cheikh Yassine collective, and therefore of the decision to use support for the Palestinian people for proselytising purposes, Sefrioui also created in 2005 the “Committee on the Genocide in Palestine”, with two unwavering supporters of Holocaust Denial, Ginette Hess Skandrani and Mondher Sfar, leaders of the association Entre la Plume et l’Enclume.

The latter, with his Tribe Ka, is still, in anti-Semitic circles, all haloed by his provocations in the Marais district; we remember for our part his support for Youssouf Fofana, the torturing kidnapper of young Ilan Halimi, murdered because he was Jewish.

Sefrioui’s opportunism does not stop there. Manager of a religious bookstore in Paris, he saw, in the aftermath of the riots of 2005, in the rapprochement with Dieudonné, an opportunity to get closer to the youth of working-class neighbourhoods, within which the comic  enjoys a certain credibility Thus, at the same time, he got closer to Dieudonné (Note: prosecuted many times for anti-Semitism), not only by joining his support committee in 2007, but also by introducing him into the Islamist spheres: thus, it was Sefrioui who accompanied Dieudonné during the days of the UOIF at Le Bourget in 2006.

The article, which is lengthy, concludes by condemning the French state for fostering this racist form of identity politics by financing and giving prominence to such people who claim to be (what we would call in the UK), “community leaders”.

All of these considerations have been ignored by the British Socialist Workers Party. The group, which has a strong influence on the Stand up to Racism association, is trying to exploit the tragedy for its own ends.

The murder and beheading of teacher Samuel Paty in France last week was appalling. It must not be used to deepen Islamophobia and racism.

Paty had shown his school class an image produced by the Charlie Hebdo magazine of a naked caricature of Mohammed. He had told Muslim children to turn their backs or leave the room.

It was rightly seen as an insult. Chechen refugee Abdoullakh Anzonov then killed Paty.

Now official French society, drenched in Islamophobia, has seen a chance to step up its institutional racism.

A wave of hypocrisy about “free speech” has followed. Macron—the brutaliser and blinder of Yellow Vest protesters and the initiator of imperialist wars in Africa—says he is for freedom.

He adds that the killing proves the need for his new law on Islamic “separatism”. This includes a host of measures where Muslims are treated differently to others.

The right, except for the fascists, backed Macron. Marine Le Pen’s fascists want to go much further. Disgracefully most of the left—from the Socialist Party to Jean-Luc Melenchon of France Unbowed—have also swallowed “national unity” with a racist, anti working class state.

Melenchon attacked the whole Chechen community.

This horrific murder must not be seized upon to deepen the Islamophobia and state repression that are the context in which it happened.

French state exploits murder to attack Muslims

Insult and then killing.

Perhaps one might also note that the public education system in France is part of the “French state”.

This is the account published today in Le Monde, a more respected paper,

A complaint was filed by the parent of a student against the history and geography teacher for “dissemination of pornographic images” , after the latter had shown his students two caricatures of Muhammad which had appeared in Charlie Hebdo. This parent of a student had also broadcast a video, which has been around social networks, in which he called Mr. Paty a “thug” and called for “say stop” . The police questioned the teacher about the rumour that he asked Muslim students to report and leave the classroom. This he strongly denied.

Paty denied that he asked  Muslim pupils to leave the room.

This is what Paty said,

I suggested that my students look away for a few seconds if they thought they were shocked for one reason or another . At no time did I tell the students: “Muslims, you can go out because you will be shocked.” And I did not ask the students who were of the Muslim faith.”

The statements of Melenchon, or as he spells his name, Mélenchon, have created dissension inside La France insoumise.

Update:

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 21, 2020 at 10:59 am

Perry Anderson, New Left Review and Europe.

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See the source image

Perry  Anderson, New Left Review and Europe.

 

“But what would Brexit actually mean for the European Union, or for Ukania in parting with it? So far, all that was clear was that ‘Blairized Britain has taken a hit, as has the Hayekianized eu’ and ‘critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret these knocks to it’, against which the entire global establishment had inveighed. “

Perry Anderson. Ukania Perpetua. New Left Review. 2/125. Sept/Oct 2000.

 

In Rule Britannia (1972) Daphne du Maurier imagined a Britain in which, because of economic and political failures, the UK had joined with USA together in a single nation, USUK. It halted talk about joining the Common Market. In a state of emergency, enforced by US marines, resistance comes from liberation forces led by Paddington Bear and, armed with bows and arrows, the Lost Boys.

In the detail this may be a faulty recollection. But Perry Anderson seals his account of the “distinctive” New Left Review arguments about “British state and society” and the endurance of the “liberal market economy” over the decades, the “deep structures of Labourism” reconciled to that order, the Corbyn moment, elected on a platform that rejected the “whole neoliberal order” with a picture of a defining moment in British politics, Brexit, that has less plausibility than the novelist’s scenario.

In the days of the ‘ultra-Europeanism” of The Left Against Europe, Tom Nairn wrote of the anti-EU left’s “retreat back to the lost ground of nationalism and ‘national sovereignty’.” (New Left Review 1/72 1975)

This is a lengthy Apolgia Pro Vita Sua. But in its account of British capitalist and political development, its state form dubbed, with Nairn’s cack-handed humour, “Ukania”, there is a glaring absence. Anderson devotes not a single line to the part played in the Referendum by the sovereigntist left, the Lexiters, including at least one member of NLR’s Editorial Board, the stentorian voiced Tariq Ali. Unmentioned is the curious alliances between these forces in the Full Brexit, Communist Party of Britain, Labour Parliamentary supremacists, Blue Labour spokespeople for the Somewhere People against the Nowheres the “rootless cosmopolitans”, the Brexit Party supporting Spiked Network,  and prominent New Left Review contributor Wolfgang Otto Streeck, to name but one new leftist who joined this merry band of Constitutionalists.

Anderson permits himself one glowing recollection of the past of this illusion, the 1970s and 1980s Alternative Economic Strategy (AES), which promised a British Road to Socialism, Exit from the European Union, marked by import controls, “the outlines of an English nationalism not inherently reactionary could be glimpsed in the Alternative Economic Strategy (aes) advocated by Benn, since the opportunities for progress in the eec had proved less than once believed. Still, the aes contained the obvious danger of a Jacobin centralization blind to the realities of peripheral nationalism. Only if that were overcome, could an English socialism put behind it the ‘shame and defeat of British socialism’.”The possibility that scepticism about this long-abandoned banner was fuelled as much by the implausibility of a siege economy grew at the cusp of globalisation, as by the deliberate cut to any prospect of European left working together in a common institutional framework, the EU.

Many, indeed many, of the pages of Ukania Perptua are devoted to Scottish Nationalism, English nationalism, British nationhood, and how it might deal with “peripheral nationalism”. None are taken up with the “anglosphere” promoted by Brexiters, not just as a transatlantic and antipodean cultural home for the English-speaking volk, but an economic trading sphere, a tamed free-market liberalism for an age of national populist governance. This was hard right project indicates why a section of the left opposed Brexit, and became involved with the wider anti-Brexit cause, though kept a distinct voice in Another Europe is Possible and within the Labour Party, where it played a pivotal role in promoting pro-Referedum policy with a wider social left edge.

.

Nor is there any space for the views of the internationalist left which opposed Brexit and offered the slogan, and the outline of a programme, for “another Europe”. “The Brexit referendum was a domestic quarrel, in which both sides were at mass level essentially oblivious of the ostensible object of the occasion, the European Union itself, other than as an object of polar cathexis; Remain and Leave opinion at large equally ignorant of, and indifferent to, its structures and mutations.”

The pro-Brexit vote was a “social revolt” from below, regional and social, a “hinterland of decayed industries and discarded proletarian households” was pitted the against the “liberal academy” (whatever that US expression means in UK terms), “educated opinion”, and the “wider establishment.” The poor had voted – if not as  poor, or as working class – and had dealt a  “stinging popular rebuff to the political class as a whole, united (the minority of Conservative Brexiteers aside) in an empty defence of the status quo.”

The  “liberal intelligentsia”, (Anderson ignores the Trade Union Congress and trade union opposition to Leave), weighed little in the (narrow) outcome. Labour was paralysed by divisions on the issue and “unable to reach a coherent position”, “immobilized like Buridan’s ass” during the referendum and when the campaign for a Second Referendum swept into the streets (also passed over by Anderson).

Scruffy rootless cosmopolitans may ask, what was the weight of the faction in the Conservative Party, the European Research Group (ERG) each group and the poundage of the ventriloquists of popular anti-EU feeling in the right-wing media, UKIP, and, leading up to the 2019 General Election, of the Brexit Party? Did they really put so much money and effort in the media and campaigning endeavours exposed in Peter Geoghegan’s Democracy for Sale (2020) for their personal glory?   Anderson guards his options, the Brexiteers’ Second off the starting blocks, Project Fear, trumped the Remain Camp’s. Their Take Back Control won out – offering as a lifeline to the pro-Brexit Left who could point to its popularity above that of anti-immigrant sentiment. And whatever latest ruminations on Englishness have to offer.

Labour straddled both sides of the divide, Anderson opines, and is now n “confronted with the task, not just of reconciling ‘identity politics’ (sc. Leaver proletariat) and ‘social liberalism’ (sc. middle-class and youth Remainderdom), but of developing an agenda to compete with Johnson’s One-Nation Toryism, and not preempted by it.” Now, he reflects, Labour, “having lost the working class in 2019 by a huge margin, is in a still less secure position, penned in to the corral of an increasingly middle-class—professional, managerial, clerical—Europeanist constituency” It is led by Keir Starmer, a figure Anderson announces is “soft right”,  one is glad he’s got this publicly off his chest, after having to write rude things about the Labour leader under the cover-name of a NLR intern.  Labour has now a man ill-fitted perhaps, or not, to deal with the dislocation between these forces and the traditional working class constituencies, a British working class. Rivaling only Orwell in their hopes for the proles,  whose socialist potential New Left Review – in the present re-edition of the Nairn-Anderson thesis – may well indicate, if one looks hard enough, has a long record of admiring, we can keep a glimmer of faith.

Corbyn is done and dusted. Anderson adds no new insights into the traditional unprecedented-anti-left-campaign lack-of-steel-hardened cadres, terribly principled on US-led wars and US-imperialism, and Palestine, narrative. The learned editor cannot resist patronising the members, the “vast majority, neither young nor old possessing any political culture beyond the enthusiasms of the moment or the illusions of the past”, bear in mind that amongst his other qualities Corbyn is the activist tip of the same milieu – what of Brexit?

This lengthy passage indicates something,

Without any mass upheaval, or even such turbulence as marked the seventies, the order of Ukania has been disrupted as never before since 1911–14, with no new equilibrium in sight. All its components—economy, polity, ideology, territory, diplomacy—have simultaneously and interconnectedly been destabilized. The model of growth around which the country has been built since the late nineteenth century has generated such internal tensions that it has finally backfired. Contracting manufactures, swelling financial and commercial services, deepening regional inequalities, stagnant wages, soaring house prices, escalating inequalities, and when this pattern exploded in a banking crisis, the imposition of austerity to contain it, produced the convulsion of Brexit, and with it the risk of a drop in British gdp potentially greater than any on record. Decline, banished for a season from reputable discourse, has returned in more drastic guise. What lies ahead, many declare, is more like the term in Spengler’s mistranslated title—Untergang: not decline, but downfall; or perhaps, in its abruptness, the French dégringolade.

 

I am not sure that La Bourse is undergoing a dégringolade as yet. But me, looking at the latest on Brexit and US Trade Deals, I am phoning up Paddington Bear and the Lost Boys for help. Downfall is upon us! Watch out for Traitors! Get ready to storm the Führerbunker! This is one culture war that’s not going away!

 

I am also reading this very contrasting, and serious account about the  world economy’s present development :

Les capitalismes à l’épreuve de la pandémie

Robert BOYER

 

 

****

On the Trade union reactions to further ‘blows’ to the ‘establishment’ see: Shiraz.

No deal and WTO rules would be “devastating” for manufacturing

On Anderson this recent thought-provokng critical survey indicates some bearings.

The Antinomies of Perry Anderson

George Souvlis

If back in 1992 he had considered the EU a possible vehicle for overcoming nationalist divisions, by the time of his 2000 editorial its subordination to the American hegemon had doomed such a perspective. This new conjuncture was, instead, defined by the expansion of the capitalist order throughout the world, a historical process that many theorists of the time described with the euphemism “globalization.”

Τhe US hegemon was expanding its geopolitical influence in new territories throughout the globe, establishing its economic interests ever farther-afield while creating new dependencies between the capitalist center and its peripheries.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 20, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Homages Across France to Samuel Paty, and in Defence of Freedom of Speech.

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Teachers Vow to Continue to Defend Freedom of Speech.

Si tu penses que la critique des religions est l’expression d’un racisme,
Si tu penses qu’ « islam » est le nom d’un peuple,
Si tu penses qu’on peut rire de tout sauf de ce qui est sacré pour toi,
Si tu penses que faire condamner les blasphémateurs t’ouvrira les portes du paradis,
Si tu penses que l’humour est incompatible avec l’islam……

Alors, bonne lecture, parce que cette lettre a été écrite pour toi.

“If you think that criticism of religions is the expression of racism, If you think that ‘Islam’ is the name of a people. “If you think that you can laugh at everything except anything that you think is scared. If you think that punishing blasphemers will open the gates of heaven for you. If you think that humour is incompatible with Islam….”  Then, dear reader, this it’s for that this book is written for you.”

Lettre aux escrocs de l’islamophobie qui font le jeu des racistes, (2015)

‘Charb’, Stephane Charbonnier) Editor of Charlie Hebdo, murdered by jihadists 7th of January 2015.

 

Today in France people came to pay their respects to the memory of Samuel Paty.

 

 

A Conflans Sainte-Honorine, dimanche 18 octobre

Tribute from one of Samuel Paty’s students:

 

There were moving public gatherings and tributes across France today in memory of Samuel Paty. In Paris, at the Place de la République, thousands  stood and listened to speeches from education unions, and teachers.

 

 

The event in Paris was transmitted live on BFMTV.

Political figure attended and joined the crowd.

Left wing parties and representatives, including the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanque, from President Macron’s La République en marche, were present, as well as a few members of right wing parties. The national populists of the Rassemblement National (formely Front National) did not take part and attacked the commendations as yet another example of “la politique de la bougie ” woke candle-lit vigils (le Monde)

 

The detailed background to the killing, the hysteria whipped up around the presentation of Charlie Hebdo cartoons in a civics class on freedom of expression, and the role of those  external to the school where Samuel Paty taught, including already known anti-semitic Islamist figures, is now emerging.

 

In Britain the murder of Samuel Paty was reported.

Rallies expected across country in defiant reaction to beheading of Samuel Paty after showing pupils controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

The Guardian reporter Kim Willsher saw fit to add this in an otherwise balanced article.

To mark the opening of the long-awaited hearing – scheduled to last until November – Charlie Hebdo republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed, including those that led the Islamist gunmen Saïd and Chérif Kouachi to attack its offices, killing 12 people, and Amédy Coulibaly to shoot a police officer and kill four people at the Hyper Cacher supermarket.

The reprinting of the cartoons in turn led to an 18-year-old Pakistan-born man stabbing and seriously injuring two people outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo in what the French authorities said was “clearly an act of terrorism” three weeks ago.

Another of Charb’s statement from his Lettre aux Escrocs is this, “Si tu penses qu’un dessin est plus dangereux qu’un drone américain” If you think that a cartoon is more dangerous than an American drone…..”

The Guardian sees fit to publish material suggesting that the dangerous drones of Charlie Hebdo caricatures “led” to murder…

In the same way that women wearing provocative dress ‘leads‘ to rape….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fascism, Post-Fascism, Populism and National Populism. On Enzo Traverso.

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Télécharger Les nouveaux visages du fascisme - Enzo Traverso gratuitement | Bookys

Verso

Les nouveaux visages du fascisme, d’Enzo Traverso, Paris, Textuel, 2017.

Available in English: The New Faces of Fascism Populism and the Far Right Enzo Traverso. Verso, 2019.

“German Fascism, like Italian fascism, raised itself on the backs of the petty bourgeoisie, which it turned into a battering ram against the organisations of the working class and the institutions of democracy. But fascism in power is least of all the rule of the petty bourgeoisie On the contrary it is the most ruthless dictatorship of monopoly capital.”

 

Leon Trotksy, What is National Socialism? 1933.

 

 

What does fascism mean at present ? In responding to this question Ernesto Taverso’s New Faces of Fascism, Populism and the Far Right,  takes us back to the past before confronting the contemporary world, and potential futures. “Theory is history” is the watchword of any discussion about fascism, populism, post-fascism, and national populism. These extended conversations are as much about the workings of far right ideas and movements in history as about their shape today. One theme is clear, we are far from the world Trotsky described. There are no mass movements about to create dictatorships and ram down their ideas on the population.

 

Born in Italy, but having made  his academic career in France, writing studies of German Jewish philosophy, Nazism, anti-semitism, and the two World Wars, the writer and teacher has an international reputation. Since 2013 Traverso has been professor in Cornell University in the US he was a member of the Trotskyist Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, (LCR) until it merged with other groups at the foundation of the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA) in 2009.  He has retained an audience on the radical left both in France, and with 8 books translated, in the English-speaking world.

 

Traverso has written a a critique of the ‘militant’ anti-communism of François Furet, Stéphane Courtois (The Black Book of Communism) and Ernesto Nolte. He emphasised the differences between Stalinism and Nazism (many of his themes are summarised in this article: De l’anticommunisme (2001) Some of his best known books are on the dramas of the past in which different European far-rights took to the stage, and the “historical singularity” of the Shoa was played out. He has also advanced the less theoretical view that after the Second World War, the establishment of the State of the Israel, and the decline of anti-Semitism in the West,  the Jewish “historical role as the critical consciousness of Western culture”, the keynote of Jewish modernity, has ended. Not everybody, including radical Jews, would agree. This assertion has provoked the claim that the fruit of much intellectual labour is to assert a  mass betrayal, ” la trahison des élites intellectuelles juives!” (Review: Enzo Traverso, La Fin de la modernité juive. Histoire d’un tournant)

 

What does fascism mean today? That an answer is far from obvious comes from the fact that no real parties exist which call themselves fascist or Nazi. Interviewed in Jacobin Taverso has said, “in the competition between the Left and the Right to reinvent itself, post-fascism is one length ahead. ” (Fascisms Old and New). Far-right ideas have always been fluid, and capable of drawing inspiration from hostility to liberal ideas of formal equality, Parliamentary democracy from the left, as well as traditional  pictures of the Nation an organic whole,  and cultural or biological racism.

 

Readers of Zeev Sternhell (1935 – 2000), an author Traverso critically engages with,  are struck by the way that both nationalist and socialist ideas went into the French far-right that the author, who passed away this year, saw as a matrix of European fascism (Ni droite ni gauche. L’idéologie fasciste en France. 1983). A turn-of-the-20th century socialism divided between those who defended republican and democratic liberalism, the alliance that reached its highpoint during the Dreyfus Affair, and an anti-parliamentarian left, which despised the bourgeois Third Republic. This reached  the point where some aligned with the Monarchist and nationalist right, illustrating before the cataclysms  of the Great War, and the divisions opened up on the left by the 1917 Russian Revolution,  how ideas do not always walk around, as the theorist of populism Ernesto Laclau once said,  with indelible class or left/right identities written on their backs.

From Red to Brown.

 

That leading French Communists, like Jacques Doriot could in 1936 found the mass fascist party, the Parti populaire français  and end as the leader of the Nazi sponsored  Comité de libération française, perishing in strafing by Allied Planes, is only one of many political cross overs. Less well-known is the career of Georges Valois, former radical syndicalist, disciple of Georges Sorel, pillar of the Cercle Proudhon (1911) that brought together radical trade unionists and Action française, founder of the first  French fascist party,  le Faisceau, modelled after Mussolini’s original. By the late 1930s Valois turned back towards the left and tried to join the French socialist party, the SFIO. He died of typhus, arrested and deported by the Gestapo for working for the Resistance.

These two careers remind us of the gulf that separates 1930s fascism and today’s far-right. For Sternhell the far-right was born out of a will to break with “l’ordre libérale” back in the late 19th century. What has been called the first populist movement, a mass of support for an figure who would carry the “will of the people” to power against corrupt elites, “Boulangism”  1885-1889 (after its leader General Boulanger), was a prelude, a synthesis of anti-liberalism, nationalism, with an anti-Semitic overtow . But it was the profound crisis that followed the Great War that gave it political force.   Ernesto Traverso points out the “The chaos after the Great War was the result of a breakdown in the so-called “Concert of Europe” — nineteenth-century classical liberalism — and today it is a consequence of the end of the Cold War. Fascism and post-fascism have been born from this chaotic and fluctuating situation.”

Les nouveaux visages du fascisme begins with comparison with the – still within living memory – past.  Régis Meyran presents these “conversations” by underlining the differences between present -day far-right and classical fascism. Citing Traveso’s initial effort to underline the difference between fascism in the past and the far right today that is broadly in the same line as Sternhell, classical fascism claimed to offer a revolutionary alternative, “une alternative de civilisation, annonçait sa « révolution nationale » et se projetait dans le futur. l’utopie d’un « Homme nouveau. “Les métamorphoses des droites radicales au xxie siècle 2015)

 

Today by contrast, their reduced offer is “un nationalisme structuré par l’islamophobie, ces movements étendent désormais être des partis républicains  que les autres partis.” nationalism structured around Islamophobia. This comes from a writer who at numerous points in the present volume is prepared to locate the “nouvelle judéophobie” of French Muslim minorities in these terms, “À cause de la politique israélienne le juif devient l’incarnation de l’Occident”, because of Israeli policies the Jew has become the incarnation of the West. That is, unlike traditional anti-semitism which saw Jews as enemies of the West… (Page 96). This is hackle-raising. It is not convincing to argue that hostility to Jews from people in North Africa,  the Middle East, and amongst those of a Moslem background across the world, and others, has been created by the existence of the state of Israel. Were this the case it would  be remarkably sudden dislike –  post-1948.

There is another difficulty with the assertion. The European far-right has had complex relationship with Arab nationalism, and Islamism, than this, or a reference, say, to French colonialism in the Maghreb,  suggests. The more than prominent holocaust denier Alain Soral’s admiration for Syrian Baathism and the late Colonel Gadhafi, and the Iranian finance fronted his  electoral Liste antisioniste (2009) with Shi’ite  candidates, and a few ultra-orthodox Jews, and the backing of prominent black comedian Dieudonne. This indicates that while these ‘nationalist revolutionaries’, right-wing in values, but (self-proclaimed) left wing on economics and imperialism, may  have lost an earlier battle for influence on the far-right, and seem absent from the electoral apparatuses like the Front National, now Rassemblement National, of Marine Le Pen; they have not disappeared.

Traverso discusses with indulgence the  “Indigènes de la République”, a movement, which ‘in general’ played “un rôle salutaire” (Page 49) Known for its hostility to secularists, and vividly criticised for its own religious and race based ‘identity politics’ by Magrébin leftists in France, the author extends his welcome to the point of reinterpreting Houria Bouteldja’s attack on the “philosémitisme d’Etat”. He suggests that what they really meant to say was not anti-Semitic, but criticism of “philosionisme” – philo-Zionism. (Page 99) As one might imagine the academic treats Charlie Hebdo – he was a signer of a public letter against National Unity following the slaughter at the Weekly and the Hyper-cacher. They took advantage of their privileges in France to mock the excluded (Page 63) Look where it got them.

 

Hoping that an English translation would offer the words “democratic” or “constitutional” rather than republican, what are the results of the turn towards political integration? Far-right parties in the Western side of Europe often have small memberships, the Rassemblement National numbers only just over 25,000 card-carriers but went to the second round of the Presidential election in 2017, where Marine Le Pen got 33.9% of the vote to Emmanuel Macron’s 66,1%, the Alternative für Deutschland, AfD, 35,000, 94 seats in the Bundestag,  the Italian Fratelli d’Italia, FdI, 160,00, but under 5% of the vote in Parliamentary elections. None of these parties have fully democatic democratic structures, they are Leader-led, from Matteo Salvini in the Liga Nord,  to Marine Le Pen, to Gert Wilders. But there is no  Führerprinzip –  if you disagree with the line you get shoved out, not beaten up, or shot.

But that does not prevent analogies with the past.  Trump, for example, draw on classical far-right demagogy.  He call for the defence of a virtuous community, rooted in the country, threated by a metropolitan corrupt cosmopolitan elite – and a lot more gobbing on ‘the enemy’ as we have seen in recent months. But the Trump style, self-taught in modern communications, does not mobilise the masses: he attracts a public of atomised individuals, consumers, not soldiers. Overtly reactionary messages come from the Polish Law and Justice Party and the Hungarian Fidesz, both of which are hostile to liberal conceptions of democracy. But their protectionist policies are not autarky, nor have their sent legions to conquer lost national territory.

Post-fascism, Traverso declares, works in an atmosphere dominated by the “impolitique”, the removal of decision-making from popular control. It offers a “démocratie plébiscitaire” through a direct relationship between the Leader and the People. But what kind of “nouvelle civilisation”, what third way between capitalism and communism do any but the most marginal far right groups call for? Economic protection and the defence of national identity are far from the call for a spiritual and moral revolution of 1920s and 1930s fascism. Yet there are deep concerns voiced by liberals like Madeleine Albright,  in a winner-take-all politics that follows from seeing rule as a plebiscite. The direct tie between electors and the governors takes place only virtually, while policies and administration jobs remain as removed from popular power as under centrist ‘neoliberal’ Cabinets.

The book is at its most thought-provoking when it offers a number of different ways with which to think about the present-day far-right. Traverso focuses on the “metamorphoses” of the extreme right into anti-system, anti-elite, but formally constitutional parties. Xenophobic, structured around Islamophobia, nationalism against globalisation, pitting nations against Europe, authoritarian and law-and-order, they stand, for “un État souverain, qui refuserait la soumission au pouvoir de la finance.” (Page 35) Traditional appeals to the nation itself is reconfigured in terms of “identity”, Despite the  independence of maītre-penseurs, like Éric Zemmour and Renaud Camus, many would regard Traverso’s paradigm, the French ‘post-fascist’ right as indebted to  Maurice Barrès and the mystique of La Terre et les morts, with a genetic appeal to Français de souche (of French stock) to boot. It hardly needs underlining that Zemmour’s Le Suicide français (2014) is far from just a diatribe against French decline and immigration: the best-seller is one long rant against the liberalism of May 68 (‘Dérision, Déconstruction, Destruction’) and ‘political correctness.’

National Populism.

A useful summary is offered in Traverso’s more recent statement, “the driver of the radical ideals in Europe is its critique of neoliberalism. It is reactionary, authoritarian, inspired by the so-called sovereigntist populism. This is different from the fascism that had other characteristics like, among other things, a militaristic, expansionist, imperialist dimension which is not present in the current radical right.” (Enzo Traverso: “What we’re seeing now around the world is different from classic fascism” 2019). The difficulty is that while we would not wish to over-egg the point, this politics, as Jan-Werner Müller has argued, populists claim that in their battle against elites they alone represent the people. They say, in effect, We are the People, who are You?” In this “moralistic imagination of politics”. “Once installed in office, “they will engage in occupying the state mass clientelism and corruption, and the suppression of anything like a critical civil society. (Page 102. What is Populism? 2016)

It is difficult to draw hard and fast lines between post-fascism and populism. If populism is analysed as a ‘style’, (“à partir de son style”) that is, a direct appeal to the People against the Elites, it’s a term that can refer to left as well as right. The term national populism, by contrast,  puts the emphasis on what sovereignty parties of the right strive for. It’s their nation, their people, and their decision-making. An attack on liberalism, reconfigured itself to mean the ‘anti-May 68’ wave in France, and more widely, the hostility to ‘woke’ culture, an appeal to the ‘real’ people, the Somewheres against the Nowhere people, and we can see national populism in parties, and an influence on the Brexit Party, and, to an extent, on  government. The  British Cabinet of Boris Johnson, even has had some input from a new form of ‘red-brown’, or ex-left-wing, ex-Marxist cohort, the Spiked Network marked above all for waging culture wars on behalf of the populist right.

Another is this extraordinary ideology, the “anglosphere”, – at the moment, when a ‘no Deal ‘ Brexit looms –  far from a marginal dream-picture of a future world.

…we should then spend the next few years forming up with the Anglosphere – in particular, with the Five Eyes of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Europeans may be our brethren, yes, but the Anglosphere are our kin. We share a common language, many traditions, roots, history and culture. We have a mutual geopolitical strategic interest in forming up at this juncture, as many of our friends across the water have already been keen to point out. We should therefore begin by formalising a ‘CANZUK’ free trade and perhaps movement agreement, which polling has shown to attract broad support among the populace in each country.

 

The Europeans may be our brethren, but the Anglosphere are our kin Patrick Timms. January 2020.

 

One feature of The New Faces of Fascism stands out. The shift in the way Marxists looked in the past at these  labels  not to classify them properly, but to see what the function of the far-right is palpable. Trotsky was only one who outlined what he saw was the role of Nazism – to destroy the workers’ movement, which he believed could have, if politically untied, have led a socialist revolution in Germany. In the 1970s Nicos Poulantzas tried to explain how fascism and Nazism arose out of class struggles against labour movements, and gained the support of monopoly capital as a means to help resolve economic crises. Although right-wing populists advocate a form of national neo-liberalism, few people today, talk much about how they work for the interests of fractions of the bourgeoisie. Except, perhaps when it comes to where ideas such as the “anglosphere” come from, the foundations financing it, and the businesses hoping to profit from it.

Les nouveaux visages du fascisme, is better at starting arguments than settling them, It is not an account of the social conditions that have propelled national populists to the fore, beyond some references to neo-liberalism, post-politics, and “the extreme centre”.  It looks at the Islamic state and concludes that the genocidal world it imposed was a “univers totalitaire”. But like Traverso’s use of this aspect of Hannah Arendt’s portrait of totalitarianism the ideas offered are useful, debatable, and thought-provoking. Like ‘post-fascism’ our ways of looking it, and thinking about how the left should counter national populism, are, for the moment, open to further debate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers’ Union, SNES-FSU, Declaration After Islamist Murder in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

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✞𝑩𝒂𝒃𝒚_𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒓. on Twitter

Reaction to Islamist Murderer.

Teachers’ Union Declaration.

The SNES-FSU learnt with horror of the assassination of a professor of history and geography from the college of Bois d’Aulnes (78). This horrific act is said to be linked to the ongoing use of cartoons of Muhammad as part of a CME (moral and civic education) course. Tonight, the entire educational community is in shock.

The SNES-FSU offers its deepest condolences to the family of the victim and gives our support to all his relatives, colleagues and students.

This horrific assassination was committed against a teacher who was doing his job.  The heart of the mission of education was attacked: learning and empowerment.

The school is a place where the experience of debate builds citizenship and freedom of conscience. This is an essential task of the public education service. To attack a professor is to attack a pillar of our democracy and our Republic.

The SNES-FSU reiterates its unwavering attachment to freedom of expression. This obligation must not, and will never be, dropped in the face of terrorism.

Today, Saturday, October the 17th,the SNES-FSU calls on the staff of National Education service to hold a minute of silence, at 11 a.m., in  schools that are open, in memory of our murdered colleague.

Faced with this tragedy, everybody should rise to the challenges this presents. The SNES-FSU calls on everyone to refrain from any exploitation of these events, and to respect the mourning and pain of our community of educators.

Call for a Minute’s Silence.

Charlie Hebdo:

Charlie Hebdo shares the feelings of horror and revolt after a teacher in the line of duty was murdered by a religious fanatic. We express our deepest support to his family, loved ones and all the teachers.

Reactions:

 

The Father of Murder, a man who had railed at the Teacher on the Internet. is amongst those arrested.

PROFESSEUR DÉCAPITÉ: 9 GARDES À VUE, DONT LE PÈRE QUI S’ÉTAIT PLAINT DE L’ENSEIGNANT SUR INTERNET

Written by Andrew Coates

October 17, 2020 at 8:52 am

Bellend Lockdown Sceptic, Brian Rose, Stands for London Mayor.

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Brian Rose is Running for Mayor - I PREDICTED THIS!? - YouTube

Coffeezilla “Predicted” that Expat Bellend Would “Grift” His Way to this. 

In happier, more innocent, days the Natural Law Party brought joy to British elections.

Alas, they left British politics at the start of the new millenium.

The Natural Law Party promised world peace through transcendental meditation and an end to poverty by applying the Constitution of the Universe. It even sent a squadron of 7,000 yogic flyers to end the conflict in Kosovo. But now, after years of campaigning and tens of thousands of pounds of lost deposits, the party has decided to disband. The Yogi has finally landed.

..

The Natural Law Party was fully active last year, fighting local and Greater London elections, as well as holding an annual conference, but its leaders have agreed to put it into deep storage. “We discussed before Christmas whether we should fight another election and we have now decided to disband the party. It is being retained on one level, but as far as elections are concerned, the Party is on ice,” a spokeswoman said.

Yogic flyers crash out of British politics

Unkind people suggested that the Natural Law Party was a  stunt to sell the  Maharishi Foundation’s version of Transcendental Meditation.

After the party’s collapse there were plans to establish a University of Natural Law, at Rendlesham, conveniently next to next to sightings of Flying Saucers. The reasons it never took off were never made clear. Yet a settlement was established, still no doubt waiting for instructions from the aether. (Ipswich Star, “Yogi’s legacy lives on” 2008).

The digital landscape has, it is said, transformed the way political campaigning works.

Now voters in London will have a chance to back a new blue-skies voyager in cyberspace, a candidate for London May, Brian Rose, who appeals to growing  constituency, the bellends.

THE CURRENT LIFE OF BRIAN

I was feeling pretty sick myself, mentally anyway,  but my day ended well when I got an email from Brian Rose saying he was going to run for Mayor of London. It was the best news I have heard all day!

Why, you ask? After all I don’t live in London. No, I don’t, but I have been listening to Brian Rose on London Real for months now. He doesn’t buy the bag of lies we have been sold about Covid and he wants to put London back to work. Good for him, I salute him! Here in North Dakota it was fear of losing the election, due in just under a month, that backed the Governor down over his new regulations and that gave me hope! This is the hope; that if enough of us push back against the madness, maybe, just maybe, we can back these politicians down and we can save ourselves from a future that promises to be far worse than communism! 

Brian has a proven track record.

The American expat, a former Wall Street and City of London Banker, created London Real, a” new generation media business with half a billion views and two million subscribers. Brian has conducted over 800 in-depth interviews as an antidote to the numbing effects of mainstream media.”

Brian founded London Real Academy offering live personal mentorship with courses designed to help you Transform Yourself.

We believe that spending time watching or listening to inspiring people opens your mind and stimulates new ideas. We also believe in the power of personal mentorship to transform the individual.

Brian created a community of the best people around, his events are unique, completely avoiding the world of “gurus” and sticking to a the world of professionals. In being true to his intentions, Brian is building a brand customers love, not like.

There’s experts in business, physical training, pitching, space travel, physics, poker, racing etc etc etc…  and then the very same guests hanging out in the academy. London Real creates a genuinely great business where the community and content come first, and the money comes second.

The 10 Success Habits Brian Rose Uses to Bring the London Real Podcast to 40 Million Listeners.

London real appealed to Brians everywhere:

The breadth of interview and topics covered continues to expand, with popular guests including: Mantak Chia, (Taoist Master) Robert Kiyosaki, (endorsed Trump in 2016)  Dorian Yates, (Boybuilder, Yates has advocated alternative treatments for cancer. He has also made statements in interviews concerning the negative health effects of sodium fluoride additives in tap water and claimed that there are cancer viruses and sterilants in some vaccines),   Dan Peña, (the“50 billion dollar man”, Trump supporter) Bruce Lipton,  (claims that beliefs control human biology rather than DNA and inheritance), Dan Bilzerian (‘professional poker player’, tried to run as US president but ended up backing Trump in 2016), Priyanka Chopra, David Icke, Dr Joe Dispenza (Workplace Solutions & Train the Trainer–Encephalon, TTT Academy, Chiropractor )and Ido Portal (keep fit practice).

With that tasty team in mind one the priorities Rose highlights is this:

 Transform London 2021 plan of attack

Health First

We will create the strongest, most resilient citizens in the world who are physically and mentally robust, always prepared for times of crisis. We will do this by proactively implementing early education and practice of a proper diet, daily exercise routine, and the avoidance of smoking and excessive drinking. This topic is close to my heart as I’ve spent the past 9 years educating the world on how to take control of one’s own physical and mental health.

Issues of the Day?

Rose’s programme is an anti-lockdown .

Cynics and sceptics may suggest that Rose’s bid to be Mayor is a publicity stunt to get cash for his New Ageish/managerial poppycock business, London Real.
Brian Rose thinks he’s going to be the next mayor of London. I break down why Mr. London Real -betchadidn’t donate Rose is just grifting yet again, this time on a new topic. Politics.

..

Written by Andrew Coates

October 15, 2020 at 11:51 am

Gal Gadot as Cleopatra, from the Paradox of the Actor (Diderot), the Paradox of the Spectator (Rancière) to DNA Tests.

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A Take on the Cleopatra Controversy.

Amongst the many best-known writings of one of warmest, democratic and radical figures of the Enlightenment , Denis Diderot, was the Paradox of the Actor (Paradoxe sur le comédien), 1773 et 1777.

The greatest actor not, the argument of the dialogue goes, one who directly puts herself or himself into the role. The great actor does not play the role directly, she or he does not try to identify with his character. The actor studies the character, reads about it, he imagines the person, forges an “ideal model”  to be guided by. Then, in order to play, the actor will only have to copy this model: to get out of her or himself,  to alienate her or himself, to enter this model – something which is not the actor at all.

The comparison with Brecht’s theory of the effect of ‘distancing’ Verfremdungseffekt is obvious. The other point is   reflection on the obvious fact that playing a part on the stage is open to people who are not the same as the person in the play itself. Diderot claimed that some of the best actors (he looked at the performance of the English  Shakespearian thespian Garrick) were those who kept a separation between themselves and their role. The point could be extended to cast some even more obvious objections to the idea that only people of a certain colour or ‘race’ should be in certain parts, on stage, screen or television.

More recently the radical left-wing writer Jacques Rancière his reflections on the “Paradoxe du spectateur.”Le Spectateur émancipé  (2008) He  suggested that the role of the spectator should be given its  placed within art. In classical models the relation is seen as one way, from the work to the consumer, Par conséquent, être spectateur, c’est être dans l’incapacité de connaître et d’agir. Individu passif par excellence, il ne « sait pas voir. » ” to be a spectator is to be incapable of knowing and acting. A passive individual par excellence, she or he “does not know how to see. ” The radical work, by contrast, “produce effects inasmuch as they do not tell us what to do.”

Today the debate on a Jewish Women, an Israeli citizen, playing Cleopatra sets us firmly back in the years of the passive consumation of what is given by the producers of a spectacle. Without considering the issue of acting, the intuition of Diderot that is a degree of distance which makes a player perform best, and without giving an audience any chance to be anything but passive consumers of images, we have this.

Gal Gadot as Cleopatra is a backwards step for Hollywood representation

 

Cleopatra is once again getting the big screen treatment, this time courtesy of Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and the DC heroine herself, Gal Gadot. But even with a female director, and female screenwriter in Laeta Kalogridis on board, the casting of an Israeli actor with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage as the legendary Queen of Egypt has led to a not unfounded debate about Hollywood whitewashing.

A renowned expert in genetic history leads off the article,

 

In recent years historians, such as Hilke Thuer of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, have questioned the long-held belief that Cleopatra VII was white. Scholars agree that there’s no doubt that Cleo was Macedonian-Greek on her father Ptolemy XII’s side, potentially Persian or Syrian too, but because the ethnic origin of her mother remains unverified it has strengthened the idea that the Egyptian ruler was of mixed heritage. “The mother of Cleopatra has been suggested to have been from the family of the priests of Memphis,” Betsy M Bryan, Alexander Badawy professor of Egyptian art and archaeology at Johns Hopkins University, told Newsweek. “If this were the case, then Cleopatra could have been at least 50% Egyptian in origin.”

But would that be enough to stop her being white?

 

Expert on skin colouration Hannah Flint says so, and that Gadot is a standard of “whiteness”.

 

The actor does tick the box for Middle Eastern and north African (MENA) representation, so she’s not as western a choice as either Angelina Jolie or Lady Gaga would have been – who had both previously been linked to the role. But it still perpetuates a white standard of foreignness.

 

Perhaps we have lost an opportunity to discuss the cultural nature of Cleopatra’s heritage, she is said to have spoken Ethiopian, the language of the “Troglodytes”, Hebrew (or Aramaic), Arabic, the Syrian language (perhaps Syriac), Median, and Parthian, and she could apparently also speak Latin, although her Roman contemporaries would have preferred to speak with her in her native Koine Greek (Cleopatra).

 

Reports indicate that Gadot speaks Hebrew at least.

 

Perhaps in future all actors will have to undergo DNA tests before taking appropriate roles, and submit to a special panel to make sure that they are fitted to be “historically accurate and representative.”

 

Hold on, it’s pretty obvious why this is creating controversy.

 

As  Tweets continue.

 

Oh, and the  Tweet at the top, by “Syrian girl”,  is from a well-known pro-Assad Twitter account.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 14, 2020 at 4:50 pm

Brexit to Open Floodgates to US Agribusiness and Poor Quality Food..

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Philip Lymbery (@philip_ciwf) | Twitter

Pro-Brexit Left  Still Claim Leave Shattered “Neoliberal shibboleths”.

The Brexit ultras of the Morning Star were content to report, without comment, this story yesterday,

Farmers stage Westminster tractor protest over threat to British food standards

Labour called on ministers to put a “guarantee in law” that food standards will not be lowered as a result of trade deals being sought with countries such as the US and Australia.

Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said that it would be “absurd” if the Tory government voted against its own manifesto pledge to protect food standards.

He warned: “There’s still a serious threat that they will drop that promise to get the trade deals they’re so desperate to secure with Donald Trump and others.”

Unite national officer for agriculture Bev Clarkson backed the call for standards to be enshrined in law to protect them from being watered down.

She told the Star: “British farming has long been held up as the benchmark for global food and animal welfare standards.

“However, the suspicion remains that the government would be prepared to sacrifice these standards, built up over many decades, to achieve post-Brexit trade deals.”

Well that went well:

In a drive to open UK markets up for a US Trade Deal, and the creation of an ‘anglosphère’, this happened last night.

This is not just bad news for farmers.

Last night this was on Channel Four.

Dirty Secrets of American Food

For Dispatches, Morland Sanders investigates the American food that could soon be coming to Britain, to a supermarket near you, as part of a post-Brexit trade deal.

The Channel Four programme on last night was horrific in so many ways, from treatment of animals in the vast industrial farms in the US, and the use of chemicals in agriculture, to the prevalence of diseases, but what struck me was the point that if low standard bacon from the US is fifty pence cheaper than the UK product, many would buy it.

In Suffolk there is a lot of outdoor pig rearing, in good welfare conditions. This will go to the wall.

 

The Daily Mail headlined,

Coming to a supermarket near you? American pork is SIX times more likely to contain salmonella than the British variety, claims study amid fears over food standards in a US-UK trade deal

  • E. coli allegedly found in 90% of turkey products destined for US supermarkets
  • US pork up to six times more likely to have salmonella than UK pork, study claims
  • 13% of pork samples tested for salmonella in US meat were positive for bacteria
  • E. coli was also found by experts in 80% of chicken, 70% of beef and 60% of pork
  • Preliminary results of US study be aired in Channel 4 Dispatches at 8pm tonight

You would have thought that with these stories, only one of heap, that the brains behind the pro Brexit left, whose campaigning to leave the European Union helped bring the project of an ‘anglosphere’ onto the political agenda, some serious reflection.

There is no space for their claim that Brexit would be the time to be “seizing the historic opportunity Brexit offers for restoring popular sovereignty, repairing democracy, and renewing our economy.” (Full Brexit).

One does not expect them to wear hair-shirts and retire from public life to hermits’ grottos, though that is not such a bad idea.

But they are still at it.

The alliance of leftists, Communists, Blue Labour and the Brexit Party is holding this event.

Neoliberal shibboleths have also been shattered, with the government intervening to save jobs and businesses, while even the EU has set aside its treasured state aid rules (despite continuing to try to force the UK to abide by them).

At the same time, governments around the world seem short on imaginative ideas to reboot the economy. The priority seems to be trying to restore a pre-crisis system that was already failing millions long before COVID-19.

So how do we really “build back better”? How do we avoid a slow, jobless recovery – a degraded “new normal”? What policies and programmes are required to allow working people to take control of their lives, and enjoy a more prosperous and fulfilling future?

Join two world-leading experts to debate these crucial issues:

  • Professor Costas Lapavitsas, renowned economist, former member of the Greek parliament, and author of The Left Case Against the EU (Polity, 2019), and
  • Professor Bill Mitchell, one of the leading lights of Modern Monetary Theory, and co-author, with Thomas Fazi, of Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto, 2017).

Lapavistas, serial electoral failure in Greece (Monster Raving Looney Party scores), has found new friends in the sovereigntist Catalan nationalist left – in case you hadn’t guessed already sobiranies refers to sovereignty.

Away from the exalted world of Covid-19 Basic income – and, why not? a world of Fourier’s Perfect Harmony – this is how Brexit in the UK is shaping up. How have the “Neoliberal shibboleths” been shattered?

The facts, as shown with these moves to open the floodgates to dirty US food,  indicate the exact opposite.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 13, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Louise May Creffield, Unite for Freedom: Hipster Confusionists Front Against ‘Coranvirus Hoax’.

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Confusionists Thrive in the Present Conditions.

This is the news today:

UK coronavirus LIVE: Boris Johnson to announce three-tier lockdown system ‘including pub closures and travel bans’ as London faces new curbs.

The country will be divided into medium, high or very high risk categories, with Liverpool expected to see the tightest restrictions imposed. Such “very high” risk areas are set to see pubs, gyms, bars and casinos shut, with all but essential travel banned.

In these conditions the confusionists have thriven.

Louise May Creffield At the beginning of this year I never thought this would be my life.
But here we are 6 months into this madness and this video is awesome.
It’s quite emotional to see how far we’ve come from a few handfuls of people dotted around the country to this.
Still more to do but we go from strength to strength no matter what is thrown at us.
💥 Sat 24th Oct is going to be EPIC – https://bit.ly/3cFdGeI ✊🏻✊🏻✊🏻

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10164288735715711&id=864925710

Confusionists who respond to the Unite for Freedom:

She is still listed here: Brighton, Kempton and Peacehaven Labour Party.

Your Executive Committee

 

Here’s Piers Corbyn, who runs Stop the New Normal.

We are #StopNewNormal, #StopOrGo and #BetterWayCharter.  We are a political movement campaigning to stop parliament renewing the Covid-19 oppressive legislation. We are fighting against the government’s Covid policies which cause illness and death – and fighting for Action to cut claimed virus illness and SAVE LIVES.

Here’s Piers Corbyn on the “globalist common enemy”.

“Starting with a planned crisis in usa, they’re creating race conflict to destabilise the UK, and other countries to divert attention from their agenda to bring in the New Normal and  the New World Order as part of fighting the COVID supposed major crisis which is nothing more dangerous than a cold or flue..” And, and how Antifa and BLM are funded by “mega Billionaire George Soros’ …..

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Corbyn manages to use just about every major major far-right conspi trope in those lines alone, and then he goes for the ‘Nazified’ NHS.

Who needs David Icke’s Lizards…well, they do because he’s involved in the same campaigns…

Yet Kempton Labour Party has unless we are told otherwise, a close political ally of this type, and organiser of their protests,  as a member and apparently on their Exec.

 

Here it their truly vile Hip Video:

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 12, 2020 at 11:39 am

Dublin: Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) Ireland Clash with Anti-Lockdown Far-Right.

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Anti-Fascists, Republicans and Socialists confront National Party in Dublin.

Hundreds clash in violent exchanges at Dublin protest

Protest by anti-mask, anti-lockdown groups, including right-wing National Party took place outside Leinster House

A protest by anti-mask and anti-lockdown groups, including the right-wing National Party, was organised to take place outside Leinster House at 1pm on Saturday. However, scuffles quickly broke out when the demonstration was met with a group of counter-protestors.

Gardaí confirmed an investigation focused on the organisers of both protests is now under way, while two men, one in his 30s and second in his 40s, were arrested for public order offences.

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The group of at least 100 counter-protestors, which appeared highly coordinated but made up of disparate groups, met opposite the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephens’s Green at 12.45pm.

The group, all of whom were masked and mostly dressed in black, marched down Dawson St and turned right onto Molesworth St before moving towards Leinster House chanting “Nazi scum, off our streets”.

The group was flanked by uniformed gardaí on bicycles, while several Garda vans from the force’s public order unit remained on standby in the vicinity. Plain clothes members of the Garda also mingled among the crowds.

Statement by AFA. Ireland.

On Saturday 10th October 2020, Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) Ireland and its allies confronted a rally organised by the fascist National Party (NP) outside Leinster House, Dublin. Over 150 militant anti-fascists challenged a meagre group of NP supporters who were protected by a wall of steel barricades, lines of Gardaí and the Public Order Unit who had their batons drawn. The NP event was a failed attempt to use current Covid-19 restrictions as a rallying point to attract unsuspecting members of the public who may hold genuine grievances with the lockdown.

The Albert Meltzer quote “there’s no such thing as a fascist march – only a police march” was proven again today as the massive Garda operation was required to ensure the larger anti-fascist mobilisation was kept away from the underwhelming fascist presence.
It continues,

Despite several weeks of publicising the demonstration on social media, the demo received zero traction beyond the NP’s core members and supporters. Disingenuously the group didn’t even have the courage to put their own name on the event poster which was widely shared by all main NP organisers.

Amongst the speakers today was mini-führer Justin Barrett and former British army soldier ‘Tan Torino’ (Rowan Croft) who served with the Royal Engineers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hardly what could be described as Irish patriots! A nervous Torino was spotted leaving the vicinity immediately after his rant and did not even stay around for Justin Barret’s rambling long speech.

The fascists may have been emboldened by their recent attacks on individuals but cowered behind a sea of cops until they were led away for their own safety. The sight of them being escorted away was a pathetic sight. They have recently boasted about ‘controlling’ the streets of Dublin but seemed genuinely shocked and scared by the sight of hundreds of working-class anti-fascists in Dublin today. Our numbers proudly marched afterwards through the city from Leinster House to the GPO carrying Irish tricolours, starry ploughs, sunbursts and rainbow/lgbt+ flags. Passersby stopped and clapped on hearing the chant “Fascist scum, off our streets!” This was the second Saturday in a row in which the so-called hardmen of the far-right were shown up as mouthy cowards.

The National Party have strongly opposed the use of masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during this global pandemic. Their supporters are undeterred by restrictions. Today we saw the full support that these pricks can muster whereas we know that huge numbers of our supporters did not take to the streets today out of concern for the most vulnerable in society. Those of us out today did so out of a sense of necessity and true patriotism to protect our country from their dangerous and toxic ideologies.

The National Party, founded in 2016, is an ethno-nationalist far-right group. Its leader, veteran fundamentalist Catholic Justin Barrett, called for doctors who perform abortions to be executed. He has had long-standing ties with European fascists and spoke at several neo-Nazi rallies in Germany and Italy in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he was a leading member of the extreme anti-abortion group Youth Defence. He has remained unapologetic about sharing platforms with former SS officers.

AFA Ireland is a militant anti-fascist organisation formed in 1991. We believe in physically and ideologically confronting fascism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. As always, we encourage all anti-fascist minded people across the island to reach out to us and work together in a militant, disciplined movement against fascism. Profound thanks again to all our members and supporters in the republican, socialist, grassroots, LGBTQ+ and trade union movements.

Beir Bua. La Lucha Continúa. No pasarán.
AFA Ireland, 10 October 2020
ENDS

 

There is a background to this:

Socialist Democracy:

Fascism: Ireland’s illusion of immunity begins to pall

18 September 2020

In reality Ireland is a society riddled with misogyny, class hatred,  sectarianism and anti traveller discrimination that easily adapts to racism.  In the North an entire political system is built around competing sectarian rights and housing apartheid.

The old governmental system in Dublin, revolving around two largely identical right wing parties, is in decay.  An opening has occurred and fascists have begun to mobilise.

They are still weak and disguise themselves in yellow vest and anti mask protests, but they are strengthened by their willingness to use violence and by winks and nods from the police.

Two guiding principles should lead us.  Firstly we must not privatise opposition,  with each left and republican group organising independently,  shouting “trash the fash” without having built the means to follow through on our promise.  There has to be an all Ireland anti-fascist  movement.  Secondly, socialists in such a movement must argue for a radical alternative.  Fascism grows whenever the workers movement fails.  At the moment the trade union leaders have buried themselves in partnership with the government and many socialists are advancing the fatuous plan of a “left” government led by Sinn Fein.

When working people are desperate and the left are silent we are leaving the door open for the far right.  Time to unite for a revolutionary alternative!

People are beginning to ask why there have been no counter-protests against the ‘anti-mask’ confusionist and  far right demos in Britain.

 

 

On Darren Grimes, Hate Speech and in Defence of Freedom of Speech.

with 9 comments

British commentator Darren Grimes faces police investigation after interviewing historian David Starkey

Stand Up for Darren Grimes.

Involving the police in public debate is not a good idea.

I write this as somebody who had an early morning visit in 2013  from the local rozzers who asked at my doorstep, “Are you Andrew Coates of the left socialist Blog Tendance Coatesy”. It followed a “complaint” from Ipswich-based Islamist group, Jimas.

The affair came to nothing, but is not something you forget.

Today this is the news.

 

Darren Grimes under police investigation after David Starkey interview

Darren Grimes is being investigated by police on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred over an interview with the historian David Starkey that he published, it has emerged.

Mr Grimes, a conservative commentator, has been asked to attend a police station to be interviewed under caution after publishing a podcast in which Dr Starkey said slavery was not genocide because there are “so many damn blacks”.

It has been warned that the investigation, by the Metropolitan Police, will have a “chilling effect” on free speech, while Mr Grimes has described it as an “abuse of taxpayers money”.

Mr Grimes is accused of a public order offence of stirring up racial hatred by publishing the interview on his podcast on July 2, The Telegraph can reveal. He has since apologised, while Dr Starkey’s career lies in ruins, with the historian set to lose all his academic titles and book deals.

I think it goes without saying that this Blog loathes, abhors, hates and detests Grimes, an editor at Brexit Central. and all out right-wing nutter.

That his mates in Spiked, Toby Young, Paul Embrey,  and all the rest of that racaille, have leapt to his defence only sharpens the feeling.

But there is a point at which we have to take a stand. 

We defended Charlie Hebdo, they are comrades on the left,  from forever.

Now is the time to oppose, publicly, actions against somebody who will never be on our side, Darren Grimes.

This is not sure: Holocaust denial is about as bad as you can get, and often falls outside of  incitement.

This is a further point:

As a leftist, who comes from the Humanist tradition, this is a (lengthy) outline of an approach.

Humanists UK.

Free speech and expression

We work for an open and inclusive society with freedom of belief, speech, and expression. We believe that free speech and expression is an essential liberty without which societies can easily slide into a culture of oppression, suspicion and fear. Freedom of speech and expression has occupied an important part in humanist thinking for centuries and humanist organisations have always been active in campaigns for it.

We campaign both domestically and internationally for freedom of speech and expression and helped to found the End Blasphemy Laws campaign, which since its inception in 2015 has supported the repeal of blasphemy laws in seven countries.

In 2014 we hosted the triennial World Humanist Congress in Oxford. At the Congress, the delegates approved the Oxford Declaration on Freedom of Thought and Expression, which, in summary, states that:

  • The right to freedom of thought and belief is one and the same right for all.
  • No one anywhere should ever be forced into or out of a belief.
  • The right to freedom of expression is global in its scope.
  • There is no right not to be offended, or not to hear contrary opinions.
  • States must not restrict thought and expression merely to protect the government from criticism.
  • Freedom of belief is absolute but the freedom to act on a belief is not.

That’s for the principles.

But what is happening in this case?

Let’s be clear, Grimes was interviewing the geezer, talking to,  David Starkey.

If people claim to be on the left and tweet this (Grimes is gay) they are not part of my left, the democratic socialist, and the democratic Marxist, left.

There have been ugly attacks recently on the freedom of writers like J.K. Rowling, and those who have spoken up for her, and their rights to express their opinions on trans issues.

Whatever side we take they have not come to getting the old Bill involved.

Which is what must be fought against in this case.

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 10, 2020 at 11:37 am

Conspiracy Campaign ‘Save Our Rights’ Hits New Low Trying to Exploit Disabled Equality Act.

with 3 comments

 

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New Low: Using Disability Equality to Protest Against anti-Coronavirus Measures.

The Save our Rights campaign has these objectives:

ENDING THE CORONAVIRUS ACT 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 and the wide sweeping powers granted by it have infringed upon our Human Rights and has been used with no prior Parliamentary scrutiny.

We do not live in a democracy nor do we have a voice. We will not accept this any more and are going to fight to change the system to a radical new and real democracy.

Vaccination,

Regardless of the science behind vaccine development, it would still be against our Human Rights to mandate it. We are monitoring developments closely for any potential mandates that may be brought into place.

Save our Rights is run by Louise Creffield who has been the women’s officer for Brighton Kemptown Labour Party CLP.

That is not all:

In about as low as you can get move today (Facebook Page) we learn that are not trying to use legislation against discrimination and specifically  sections that protect disabled people’s rights to serve their cause.

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But not all is well in conspiracy red-brown circles.

Her friend and guide Piers Corbyn has hit a spot of bother.

 

The Piers continues,

And continues,

Time perhaps to drown his sorrows:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 9, 2020 at 10:28 am

A Red Letter Day for Baroness Claire Regina Fox as she takes her House of Lords Seat.

with 6 comments

 

 

Claire Fox: This Climate Science Denying Former Revolutionary Communist Might Win in the European Election | DeSmog UK

 

“And, with glorious triumph, they

Rode through England proud and gay,

Drunk as with intoxication

Of the Wine of desolation”

The Mask of Anarchy. Shelly.

Today, “In the Lords (12:00), there’s another crowd at the arrivals desk, with former Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox due to take her seat as Baroness Fox of Buckley,”

The Conservative Woman site writes today,

Keep campaigning in the Lords, Claire

ALTHOUGH Claire Fox is no longer a mouthpiece for the Revolutionary Communist Party, she is still far from being a social conservative. Nonetheless, throughout the political upheavals of the past few years, she has been on the side of the angels when battling for Brexit, fighting for free speech and doughtily defending civil liberties.

Last Night John McDonnell (MP), Ann Pettifor (Economist), Adam Ramsay, (Open Democracy), Amelia Womack, (Deputy Leader of the Green Party) and Ana Oppenheim, (Another Europe and Momentum NCG) spoke at a Webinar for Fight for the Future, organised by Another Europe is Possible.

This is the biggest attempt to deregulate the economy in British history, alongside a vicious anti-migrant policy. Boris Johnson and his allies were always clear that this is what they wanted from Brexit. Now, it is happening.

Unless we stand up and fight back, we could lose everything.

All the speakers had important  points to make about the effects of Brexit, attacks on human rights, consumer standards, and the future of the movement for new Green politics to respond to the ecological crisis.

A striking contrubution came when Adam Ramsay. He outlined the way  Brexit opened up the UK to largely US run multinationals and finance. Beginning with inroads into the NHS, US-style deregulation, the lowering of consumer standards to fit the needs of American agribusiness, and free-reign asset-stripping the Open Democracy Site Editor, he suggested that Britain will become an annexe of the US, without power to affect decisions made that will affect us. That is, Ramsay has written)  “an outhouse for US business, a sort of colder, paler version of Puerto Rico.” ( Britain after Brexit: welcome to the vulture restaurant.)

The Open Democracy speaker also talked of the funding that drove the Brexit Campaign, the ‘dark money’ that Peter Geoghegan put at the centre of the campaign for the Brexit project of this “anglosphere” (Democracy for Sale. 2020). Ramsay was the stimulus and collaborator for Geogenham’s investigation into the DUP’s pro-Brexit intervention in the 2016 Referendum, “The sheer scale of the party’s spending (£250,000) also begged the question of where the money came from.” (Page 82).

From this flow of cash, the ‘digital mercenaries” of Brexit,  the gyrkins of the ‘anglosphere’, the ruddy-faced English nationalists, the Tory Toffs of the European Research Group, we come to the area where ‘left’ met right, the Full Brexit.

 

This was an initiative which brought together the ‘Spiked’ network (whose immediate predecessor was Living Marxism, with a background in the Revolutionary Communist Party,- please ask for more details!) members of the British Communist Party, Lexit leftists…

Bob From Brockley:

The Full Brexit”, an avowedly left-wing pressure group launched in the summer of 2018 to reframe the Brexit narrative as one about “democracy” rather than just bashing immigrants. Alongside a smattering of Blue Labour social conservatives and Lexit Marxists, a good half of its 20 founding signatories are RCP network members. Academic Chris Bickerton has been a Spiked contributor since 2005, when he was a PhD student at St John’s College, Oxford. Philip Cunliffe, Furedi’s colleague at the University of Kent, is another long term Spiked activist. Pauline Hadaway, another academic, is a veteran of the Living Marxism days. James Heartfield was a paid RCP organiser. Lee Jones seems to have been recruited at Oxford around the same time as Bickerton. Tara McCormack is an RCP veteran, as is Suke WoltonBruno Waterfield write for Living Marxism.

Other signatories aren’t part of the network but have been promoted by Spiked: Paul Embery and Thomas Fazi for example (Fazi is also connected to the 5 Star Movement and recently retweeted an antisemitic tweet from someone with “Nazbol” in his user name). Many are also involved in Briefings for Brexit, which has several RCP veterans on its advisory committee, and some involved with Civitas. This is a peculiar form of left-right crossover politics

Claire Fox: Brexit & Left. (Brexit Party MEP Candidate) I So What You're Saying Is - YouTube

 

Then,

“The RCP then played a key role in the creation of the Brexit Party, again providing “left” cover for a deeply right-wing project.”

Today one raptor in ermine takes her fight for “democracy” and seat in the House of Lords, Baroness Claire Regina Fox.

Spiked it could be noted is also a beneficiary of US right-wing largesse.

The ennoblement has aroused opposition centring on this part of her political past:

More: John Rogan, The Brexit Party, Claire Fox and Warrington-an overview.

 

Her ladyship has taken of the name of the place where she grew up, Buckley.

The news has not gone well in the Welsh town.

In this week’s Private Eye we learn that her Ladyship cannot be stopped from using this name.

We hope the Baroness receives a rousing welcome.

Update:

 

 

Radical Left-Wing Clémentine Autain Joins Call for France to Back Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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Clémentine Autain on Twitter: "Face aux agressions commises par  l'Azerbaïdjan contre l'Arménie dans le Haut Karabakh, la neutralité n'est  pas une position tenable. Dans le JDD, cet appel que j'ai cosigné 👇…

 

This appeared on Sunday in the Journal du Dimanche.

The declaration was signed by prominent figures of the French right, notably from Les Républicains (whose Senator, Bruno Retailleau, on France-Inter this morning, also called for France to stand up for Armenia) but it was also backed by very well known figures on the left, including the radical left.

Here are some of them.

Eliane Assassi (présidente du Groupe communiste républicain citoyen et écologiste au Sénat), Clémentine Autain (MP, Ensemble/La France insoumise), de Raphael Glucksmann (European Deputy, Place Publique elected on a Socialist led list), de Benoît Hamon (French Socialist Presidential candidate in 2017, now leader of the Red-Green Génération·s), Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Mayor of Paris) , Yannick Jadot d’EELV (Greens), Pierre Laurent du PCF (French Communist Party), de Marie-Noëlle Lienemann (Socialist Party).

The  declaration, states  that “Azerbaijani army has already attacked, not only Nagorno-Karabakh, but Armenia itself” 

This attack also represented  an aggression that we cannot tolerate,  against a country friendly to France, to which we have an historical, universal responsibility in respect to the genocide in which its people were victims in 1915. 

Neutrality would give carte blanche to an offensive who objective is to remove the Armenian population from the territory.

Outlining the role of the Turkish state in backing the Azerbaijan government and its military operations, they note that, ” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has denounced the sending of militiamen – not to say jihadists – in Turkey’s pay, transported to Azerbaijan from Syria.”

In these conditions France must come off the fence. 

Faced with all of these events, it is clear that a space of neutrality, which France has worked within over decades, in order to create a pathway to peace, no longer exists. Such a stand now allows Azerbaijani aggressions to take place with impunity, carried out in close consultation with its Turkish ally,  rather than offering a means to seek a solution to the conflict. For all of these reasons, we consider that French diplomacy must review its strategy in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: strongly denounce the Azerbaijani aggression and demand an immediate end to the violence on the part of Azerbaijan. If this does not happen there should be substantial support for the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities which will require recognition of their full legitimacy. “

There are difficulties with the public platform.

Critics from the left have responded.

Arménie: une tribune de droite soutenue par des gens de «gauche»

A writer for agauche notes not only that the Tribune was backed by members of the French right but that both “Armenia and Azerbaijan are ruled by nationalists,”.

Of course, those who have pushed for today’s conflict are from Azerbaijan and in the background there are  Turkish warmongers. We must denounce them and that is the main thing. However, in order to be genuinely democratic, one must not follow behind a corrupt, bureaucratic, militarist Armenian state which has unilaterally decided to annex part of Azerbaijani territory.

 

Clémentine Autain has a strong feminist activist background as a municipal councillor, that includes standing for election in Paris as a councillor on a Parti communiste français list, working for the Paris Town Hall and support for the  Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA). At present she is a leading figure in the Ensemble bloc, an independent alliance within La France insoumise, which is led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. At present she is an MP for a consistency in the region next to Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis.

Autain is a remarkable, independent-minded, and admirable person.

Her signature counts for a great deal.

It will be interesting to see how other members of Ensemble react. 

At present their site (Ensemble)  carries no reference to the declaration. 

For a confused British reaction to this serious crisis see Shiraz:

Morning Star gobbledegook

Culture Wars: One Wounded, Laurence Fox.

with 10 comments

Trashy reactionary UK grifter Laurence Fox just BEGS to be sued by Crystal  for libel. : rupaulsdragrace

Will Baronnes Claire Regina Fox Continue to Lend Support?

Story of the day:

Stonewall boss sues Lawrence Fox for defamation

A charity boss is suing Laurence Fox after the actor labelled him and others ‘paedophiles’ during a bizarre online spat.

Simon Blake, the deputy chair of LGBT charity Stonewall said in a Twitter statement on Monday that he was suing Fox for defamation.

Earlier on Monday, Fox was embroiled in a heated exchange with a number of Twitter users which included Mr Blake and Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp.

The Lewis star called them ‘paedophiles’ after they had claimed he was ‘racist’.

On Saturday, Fox had accused Sainsbury’s of ‘promoting racial segregation and discrimination’ and promised to boycott the supermarket chain after it promoted Black History Month.

As he faced a backlash for his views, he clapped back at people ‘falsely accusing him of racism’ by retaliating with unsubstantiated slurs calling them ‘paedophiles’.

Mr Blake then tweeted asking Fox to delete the ‘untrue’ slur but when Fox did not initially do so, he released a statement saying Fox had ‘defamed’ him and that he had instructed lawyers to pursue legal action.

At the end of September Lawrence Fox launched his new (£4 Million quid backed) Party, provisionally called ‘Reclaim’  to “‘fight the culture wars’.

The troops have been massing across the battlefield.

The Tories entered the culture war.”The Conservative Party should lay a firm claim to the enlightenment tradition and let that be its lodestar in the culture war (“The Conservatives must rally to the flag of the Enlightenment tradition as the culture wars rage.  September the 20th 2020). 

The Master strategists of Spiked had carried this ‘long-read’ at the end of June.

“The culture war now constitutes politics in general” writes Spiked Guru, Frank Ferudi. The one-time revolutionary Communist  talks of a  “crusade against the Enlightenment” against the “civilisational achievements of the past”.

The identitarians are winning the culture wars

Since the 1970s, regressive political forces have colonised the institutions of education, culture and even business.

It has successfully marginalised conservative and classical-liberal ideas, be they tolerance or democracy, within institutions of socialisation, such as schools and universities. And it has turned many cultural institutions, from the arts to the media, against humanist sentiments and ideals associated with the Western tradition that runs from Classical Greek philosophy through the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Even classical socialist ideals of solidarity and internationalism have been torn.

He continues in this Burkean vein,

These developments take the form of a one-sided war against the past in general, and the legacy of the West in particular. Those upholding the importance of tradition and historical continuity now appear to be always on the defensive.

One source is education, 

 a result of this development, ‘public educational systems’ become a ‘major cosmopolitanising influence on [their] students, with a corresponding distancing from localistic interests and values’.

In this “stylisation of life”, “the post-1970s cultural crusaders are winning.” It remains for those of “us concerned with defending the legacy of human civilisation step up and take the fight.

It takes some cheek to claim that the anti-tradition currents known under the name of the Enlightenment are part of …tradition.

Ferudi is known for his vast collection of newspaper clippings, now digitalised.

One wonders if he has ever had to time to read some of the works of the Enlightenment writers he claims for the national populist camp.

Zadig ou la Destinée; 1747 is one of Voltaire’s best known stories. It ” challenges religious and metaphysical orthodoxy with his presentation of the moral revolution taking place in Zadig himself. “

In the fable the hero, Zadig, is confronted with the “tradition” of burning widows, “le bûcher de veuvage”. He objects. One of the tribesmen replies, “Il y a plus que mille ans que les femmes sont en possession de se bruler. Qui de nous osera changer une loi que le temps ã consacrée? Y-a-t-il rein de plus respectable qu’un ancien abus?” Zadig replies, thunderstruck, “La raison est plus ancienne.” For more than a thousand years women have been carried to burn themselves. Who amongst us can change a law that time has hallowed? Is there anything more respectable than an ancient abuse?” Zadig, “Reason is older”.

That is an Enlgightement moto, the rights of Reason, not the Rights of Tradition.

Reports from the battlefields indicate that neither reason nor enlightenment look prominent in the present culture war.

Lawrence Fox’s Pop-up Party began with a diatribe about Sainsbury’s.

We probably do not need to repeat the issue that led to the present spat, but we note that he’s been re-tweeting his old muckers at Spiked);;

And this declaration of solidarity.

 

 

Speculation is growing, with former Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox due to take her seat as Baroness Fox of Buckley on Thursday, whether her ladyship will repeat her defence of Lawrence Fox earlier this week….against the “vile lie that “Fox hates black people”.

 

And then there is this:

Finally there is this:

 

an

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 6, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Stéphanie Roza, La gauche contre les Lumières ? The Left Against the Enlightenment.

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La gauche contre les lumières - Stéphanie Roza - YouTube

Stéphanie Roza, La gauche contre les Lumières ? Fayard,

The ‘culture wars’ , where to begin, where to end? “We are witnessing” writes Stéphanie Roza, “at the present moment, in some of the academic and activist world.. a “tir de barrage” against “imperial Reason”, the humanist Enlightenment Project originally formed in the 18th century. It stands accused as fundamentally imperialist, neo-colonial, male and oppressive, “in a word, ‘white’.” Against these views the feminist philosopher, specialist in the  Enlightenment ideas, and early socialist thinkers (Comment l’utopie est devenue un programme politique,)  member of la Fondation Jean-Jaurès, affirms that this blanket rejection offers no prospect of human emancipation.

For Roza the anti-Enlightenment currents she surveys offer are more than a dead-end.  Taken as a whole they are a “regression” to conservative and counter-revolutionary hostility towards the Enlightenment, the hatred of Edmund Burke and de Masitre, for the French Revolution. Sexed up by a reading of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and the Frankfurt School’s critique of ‘modernity’ it melds into the view that the Enlightenment has become a prison powered by alienated, instrumental, rationality’s efforts to dominate Nature and Society. The authors of the Dialectic of Enlightenment(1947), in this respect, were precursors of the rejection of “universalism”, and an alternative search for indigenous pasts and ideas, something tying  together (some)  post-colonial studies and the return in force of national populism, and politics based on La Terre et les morts (Maurice Barrès).   Drawing, as she does, on the Zeev Sternhell’s Les Anti-Lumières : une tradition du xviiie siècle à la Guerre froide, (2004) she contends that they are unable to confront, and even are complicit, faced with a far-right founded in the line of the French nationalist Barrès, and his hostility to cosmopolitanism, a ‘biopolitics’ of blood and soil. 

La gauche contre les Lumières ? does not offer ‘an‘ Enlightenment to defend. We should call it a “plural” movement, with debates from differing standpoints on popular rights, on slavery, women, human universality, and religion. Those aware of the issues will recall this immediately. There were figures like Voltaire, who for all his willingness to challenge the authority of inherited values and (at personal risk) challenges to the the French legal system remained a deist, and wished for good government, freed from superstition, not popular rule. David Hume, whose questions undermined the basis of faith itself, adopted a modern form of the ancient Pyronnian scepticism. In the absence of a certain alternatives, it was best to accept conventional political order. There were those (brought to prominence with the Black Lives Matter protest)  who denied racial equality, adopting contemporary views, some claiming proto-scientific status, on a racial hierarchy. This contrasts with the early denunciations of the slave trade and  of European treatment of extra-European peoples, by leading Enlighement thinker, the Encylopedist, Denis Diderot (1713 – 1780), (see: Diderot, de l’atheisme a l’anticolonialisme.Yves Benot. 1970) and who was  prepared for whole-scale reform.  

Roza’s arguments often parallel the work of Kenan Malik in affirming the importance of the “radical Enlightenment” explored by Jonathan Irvine Israel (who put Spinoza as the forerunner of radicality)  which could be said to the forerunner of both the socialist movement and progressivist liberalism. That is the “package of basic values” that refused to accept inherited traiton or an appeal to fixed transcendant religious dogma, and defines modernity and the liberal and democratic socialist left in the broadest sense (including democratic Marxism)  – toleration, personal freedom, democracy, racial equality, sexual emancipation and the universal right to knowledge. As the author puts it, early socialists talked of the 18th century “Lumières des bourgeois” and the 19th as the  “Lumières des prolétaires.”  (Page 31) 

Threads on Michael Foucault recognise the  influence of the ‘genealogist’ within the present ‘culture wars. Roza begins with the thesis that his writings undermined every “démarche révolutionnaire traditionnelle” (Page 53) A critique of the “disciplinary society” – valuable in itself as she has remarked in interviews – and a certain debt to the Enlightenment, cannot hide that Foucault historicised the ideas of universalism, progress, and rationality, to political chimeras. Personal autonomy, she writes, has little meaning, without the ability to make rational decisions. His writings were welcomed, she observes, by the CIA as part of the fight against “socialist egalitarianism”, hopes still alive in 1970s France.  (Page 62) Appendixes are devoted to the further discussion of Foucault’s original philosophical project, later efforts to come to terms with the Enlightenment, and his idea of critique

There are powerful chapters on ‘anti-progressivism’, the association of the left with the idea of “Progress” , and the strain of Green ‘neo-Luddism’, that associates science with present-day ecological disasters,  and  post-colonialist claims that colonisation was an extension of the philosophy of human rights.

The authors covered are mainly francophone, such as Jean-Claude Michéa, who offers a leftist gloss on the Blue Labour loathing of liberalism and ‘Nowhere People’.  and the ‘post-colonial’ anti-semites of the Parti des indigènes de la République (PIR),  with the  exception of intersectionality theorists and the anti-Charlie Hebdo  Talal Assad.Many of the themes are common currency regardless of language. 

What exactly is being proved by denouncing ‘Western’ Enlightenment ideas? Were the movements to free countries from Western rule influenced by western ideas? Roza shows, the very obvious fact, that ‘western’ ideas were employed, and transformed, by anti-colonial movements, such as those in India and Indo-China,  to assert their own rights to independence.  Human rights are in this sense both universal and particular. They are part of the democratic inheritance that needs to be defended and developed in the way Jean Jaurès proposed not ditched.  Roza then  remarks that the original declaration of human rights affirmed that these rights exist inherently to everybody, “abstraction faite de leurs appurtenances communautaires” ‘ from whatever community they belonged to. In short, the mental operation is simple: we are not referring to people in “general” but to each and every person. (Page 145) It is up to people to change, and expand, these rights, not to leave them as abstract ideals..

Perhaps more controversially Roza puts into question the use of the word “blanc”, white, in debates on the left and post-colonial circles. She observes its use to shout down and label ideas put forward by “des universalistes noirs, arabes ou autres”. What is this category? she asks. Is is not a racial one, a symptomatic use, taken, in word at least, from racist discourse? What kind of political debate can take place when all there is stirring the pot is mutual accusation? It is time, she suggests, to go beyond this political stage.

La gauche contre les Lumières ? concludes that at a time of great political confusion, the fall out from so many failures it’s hard to count, has led some to reject the foundations of the left, the “la matrice historique d’où l’ensemble des combat d’emancipation sont issus” (Page 164) For all the setbacks, this remains our common ambition, “La gauche socialiste, anarchiste et communiste est née d’ambition de pousser toujours plus loin, jusqu’à son véritable accomplissement, le projet des Lumières de garantir à chaque être human le pleine exercise de tous ses droits et le plein épanouissement des ses faculties…”(Page 178) The socialist, anarchist and communist left was born with the ambition to push the Enlightenment further, to guarantee to every human being the full exercise of her or his rights, and to develop their faculties to the full.

Writing with clarity and freshness Stéphanie Roza, has, we hope, much to contribue to bringing this project back to the centre of the politics of the left. La gauche pour les Lumières.

Quel avenir pour l'universalisme ? Stéphanie Roza - YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Reclaim Party”: Culture Wars Warriors.

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Fox’s New Tattoos:

In the classic study of “political start-ups” in the digital age, Democracy for Sale (2020) Peter Goeghegan wrote of web-based parties. On future University courses students will learn in detail how the “Internet has reshaped politics”. Looking at the Brexit Party the journalist detailed how fights for ‘hegemony’, the active and passive backing of people for ideas, has been waged by the use “untraceable online fundraising” in a media landscape splintered into “myriad shards, all competing for attention.” 

This Story, about an attempt to enter the fray and build a social network behind a “political party”,  hit the Toelines last week:

Laurence Fox: Controversial actor launches political party to ‘fight the culture wars’
 
Sky News.

Billie Piper’s ex-husband says he has been given £5 million to get the group up and running.

In a statement announcing the launch on Twitter, he said his party would “change everything… with love, reason and understanding”.

Politicians, he wrote, had “lost touch” with people and “public institutions now work to an agenda beyond their main purpose”.

“Our modern United Kingdom was borne out of the respectful inclusion of so many individual voices,” he said.

“It is steeped in the innate values of families and communities, diverse in the truest sense but united in the want and need to call this island home.

“The people of the United Kingdom are tired of being told that we represent the very thing we have, in history, stood together against.”

He also hit out at black and working class actors who he claimed only expressed concerns about the industry once they had “five million quid in the bank”.

Fox, the ex-husband of actress Billie Piper, had raised large sums from ex-Tory donors and the party name is subject to approval by the Electoral Commission, the paper said.

A new political party led by Laurence Fox. Reclaim – Reason – Reform – Progress

In a hard-hitting piece in the Evening Standard yesterday the popular star of Lewis wrote,

So, it’s done. A party launched. Almost. The usual suspects will wail, moan and gnash their teeth, conveniently opining on what they think I stand for rather than what I actually stand for. My biggest fans “the Guardian” will no doubt launch into a personal attack rather than a political one, just like all privileged middle-class Leftists. “Laurence man bad”. Ultimately they‘ll rather just help make my points for me. Meanwhile, if the great British public are anything to go by … all will be well, very well indeed, and I’m so used to being punched in the face by the press, I shall take it my stride. I’m much more interested in the people.

The cruel sneers have already begun:

Hands up who takes Laurence Fox seriously  Guardian/Observer.

 

With the self-depreciating wit that have made Fox a national treasure he anticipated these responses.

Thursday’s meetings gather apace. People challenge me now, wholeheartedly, and I love it. Finish off the day being presented with some exasperatingly unanswerable questions. Never let me off the hook, ever. Then, suddenly, it’s time for dinner and kids’ stories. Fall asleep still whirring.

But all is not plain-sailing in the fight to stand up for love, reason and understanding.

Laurence Fox reveals he was phoned by cabal of actors who threatened his career on loudspeaker as they told him to ‘change his tune’ over Black Lives Matter

Inspector James Hathaway Fox has found leads to follow up: 

He has an opening to the left: approving anti-cosmopolitan campaigner Paul Embery of Trade Unionists Against the EU, one-time darling of the pro-Brexit left.

 

Allies are already popping up to praise the pop-up party,

Toby Young writes in the Spectator, 

Laurence Fox is a political force to be reckoned with

 Reclaim doesn’t have to win anywhere in order to make a difference. Ukip only managed to win a single parliamentary seat, yet it achieved its main political objective. All Laurence needs to do is persuade the Conservative party that if it doesn’t become more robust on culture war issues it will lose votes to him in Red Wall seats. Not enough for Reclaim to win, but enough for Labour to come up through the middle.

And Laurence’s initiative has already had a backbone-stiffening effect on No. 10, with its comms team frantically briefing out that Boris was planning to appoint Charles Moore to run the BBC and Paul Dacre to run Ofcom at the same time that the story broke about the new party. With his backbenchers growing restive, Boris is particularly vulnerable to the charge that he hasn’t done enough to protect Britain’s statues and monuments from marauding gangs of Black Lives Matter protestors or to defend Britain’s history from those who portray it as an unending litany of exploitation and oppression. If the new party starts creeping up in the polls, Boris will have to do something to shoot Reclaim’s Fox

Let’s hope other old friends don’t stand idly by!

One chap from the Brexit Party has already been busy: ” His ‘Reclaim Party’s’ website isn’t wholly new to politics either, having been part set up by former Brexit Party candidate Darren Selkus. As his Privacy Policy reveals…” (Guido Fawkes

Selkus raised eyebrows with this stunt last year:

Standing in a Tory Constituency he was “stood down” by Farage’s Private Company.

Now he is going flat out for Fox.

Farage is said to be contemplating a rival.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 4, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Morning Star on the Anniversary of German Reunification and the “Defeat of European Socialism.”

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See the source image

“Historical question, which should be debatable on the left without leading to rifts.”

The Morning Star is an interesting read. From blaming Labour’s defeat at the general election on a failure to support Brexit, articles trying to justify China’s policies towards the Uyghurs, to its theories about the Party’s “thermidor” after Keir Starmer’s “scam” to win the Labour leadership, the Daily Paper of the Left is a respected rival to the Weekly Worker.

Today the paper does not disappoint.

On the anniversary of German reunification they have run an Editorial.

War and peace 30 years after German reunification

THE 30th anniversary of German reunification this weekend will be marked by celebratory speeches and triumphalist op-eds.

The defeat of European socialism is presented as both a liberation from tyranny and the inevitable just deserts of an impossible and heretical alternative to the rule of the market.

These hopes were dashed,

The reality that the end of the GDR was more Western conquest than joyous reunification applies even more to another idealistic dream of the early 1990s, the “peace dividend” — the hope that the end of the cold war would mean demilitarisation and the reallocation of arms spending to socially useful purposes.

 

The character of Soviet and eastern European socialism is a historical question, which should be debatable on the left without leading to rifts. But it is high time the threat of anti-communism was recognised for what it is.

..

Thirty years after German unity symbolised capitalism’s victory over socialism, we can say with certainty that the world has become less safe as a result.

Liberal journalists have recently worried that the greatest threat to peace and stability is a rift in the transatlantic alliance. The reality is that it is that US-led alliance itself which threatens to bring our world down in flames.

For more on the “historical question” see:

How the Morning Star reported the fall of the Berlin Wall

Hatful of History.

Two days before the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Morning Star (the paper nominally tied to the newly established Communist Party of Britain) had a two page spread celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917. Interviewing Yuri Kasin of the Soviet Union’s Social Sciences Institute, the article praised the reforms in the USSR under the banner of perestroika and quoted Kasin about the growth of socialism:

What we are seeing now is not the crisis of Socialism, but the crisis of the outdated model of Socialism. Perestroika is outlining the contours of the new model to which the future belongs.

Those who are ready to bury Socialism, because of the difficulties we are going through will be disappointed. The cause of the Great October Revolution is immortal.

On the night of 9 November, the Berlin Wall began to collapse. The Morning Star first reported it on 11 November under the headline ‘GDR UNVEILS REFORMS PACKAGE’. Roger Trask quoted the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) who were putting their spin on the rapidly unfolding events (announcing 18 new crossing points):

The German Democratic Republic is awakening… A revolutionary people’s movement has set in motion a process of serious upheaval… The aim is dynamically to give Socialism more democracy.

Trask further reported:

The party announced plans for the total reform of the electoral process onto a multi-party basis and for the establishment of the rights of assembly and press freedom. New underground and railway border crossings are also to be investigated, said the GDR Interior Minister Friedrich Dickel.

Amid scenes of wild jubilation thousands of GDR citizens visited West Berlin for the first time in their lives – with most of them enjoying the stay but returning back later.

 

The Morning Star from 11 Nov, 1989 (all pics from microfilm copies of the paper so text is probably unreadable)

Many people on the left have not the slightest intention of mourning the end of the division of Europe, and of the Stalinist regimes in the East. Given its present anti-internationalist politics the Morning Star has not learnt from the defeat of its brand of “European socialism”.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 3, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Morning Star Backs Tory Government Against the European Union.

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Boris Bolsheviks Back Blighty!

Britain’s fastest growing Left Daily, reports on the “left uproar”  at the EU.

The paper, independent of the Communist Party of Britain, owned by the co-op, leads the left today with this,

Calls for end to ‘posturing’ and ‘ultimatums’ in UK-EU dispute as trade deal deadline looms

THE Labour Party and Britain’s communists condemned the EU’s decision to launch legal action over Brexit legislation today and warned both sides that time is running out to strike a trade deal.

 

 

The daily with the ear of new Labour chief reports,

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said that the issues at stake “are quite capable of being resolved.”

“Both sides need to sit down, resolve them, get a deal,” he said.

“That’s in the national interest — it’s in our interest and the EU’s interest.”

Top newshounds sought out the views of  Britain’s most respected left party,

Communist Party of Britain general secretary Rob Griffiths said that the EU Commission was taking legal action “even before any breach of the WA has occurred.”

In an echo of what Labour members surely think he continued,

“These latest threats and ultimatums underline why Britain is right to leave a set-up in which unelected EU institutions can act as both prosecutor and judge against democratically elected national governments.”

Here are Robert Griffith’s views on why Labour lost the last election:

Britain’s Communist Party blames Labour’s “Stop Brexit” stance for election defeat

December the 19th 2019.

The Labour Party secured its election defeat by shifting to a “Stop Brexit” stance, Britain’s Communist Party says.

Addressing an extended meeting of the CP political committee Monday, General Secretary Robert Griffiths said that other factors in Labour’s general election defeat should not be seized upon to obscure this “undeniable and overriding” fact.

Griffith’s warned about siren voices calling for a ‘deal’ with the EU guaranteeing so-called workers’ rights, consumer and labour standards,

The CP political committee warned that “the same alliance of forces now aims to drive class politics and socialism out of the Labour Party altogether. They want to ‘Europeanise’ Labour into the same ditch filled by all those traditional social democratic parties whose pro-EU, pro-market politics have driven away much of their electoral support.”

As for Johnson, Griffiths reckoned “he will be pulled back into line on the EU, proposing a Withdrawal Bill and a new trade agreement with the EU that keeps Britain closely aligned with the pro-market, pro-big business rules of the EU single market.

In an indication of why Griffiths finds much to admire in the present Tory stand he continued,

“This will be a Brexit in name only at a cost of around £33 billion ($43 billion USD)—not the ‘people’s Brexit’ that would allow a British government to support strategic industries, take transport and energy fully into public ownership, reform public procurement rules, slash Value Added Tax, regulate the labour market, and raise funds for massive investment in housing and economic infrastructure.”

Today’s Morning Star is, well, spooky!

Only yesterday this Blog foresaw that the pro-Brexit left would find much to admire in Johnson standing up to EU Law. (Will pro-Brexit Left Defend Johnson? EU Launches Proceeding against UK for breaching the Withdrawal Agreement.)

The Tendance is known as the Sage of Suffolk. But, believe me, even our most junior trainee clairvoyants could see  from a hundred kilometres that that lot would react in this way.

Critics would say that this backing for Johnson’s stand gives support to a rival interpretation of Labour’s December defeat. That it was the pro-Brexit People’s Brexit lot who, by giving credibility to the idea that “Britain was right to leave” the democratically pooled sovereignty of the EU, they helped spread acceptance of the hard right project of a free-market  ‘anglosphere’ .

And Starmer, by the way,  said, ” everyone needs to “sit down” and work out a deal.” No mention there of it being right to leave the EU. As they cite the Labour Leader’s colleague, “Shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves added: “Both sides need to drop the posturing and the threats by getting back round the negotiating table and getting a trade deal done.”.

The Morning Star, daily voice of the left, has yet to cover this story from internationalist campaigners.

 

Thanks newshawk Jim…

 

Day of Action in Solidarity with Chinese Workers and Minorities: Free Uyghurs, Hong Kong and Tibet!

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Sign reading: "SOLIDARITY WITH CHINESE WORKERS & MINORITIES! FREE UYGHURS HONG KONG & TIBET!" [logos for Labour Movement Solidarity with HK and the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign] "#NoXiNoTrump"

 

Day of Action:

 

Local Protest:

 

Against Beijing and Washington, for International Workers’ Solidarity: Internationalists and the 1 October Day of Action

Why Today?

 

Image may contain: text that says "Today, the 1st October is P R China's national day and a Mourning Day for the #Uyghurs! Communist China, 71 years ago today illegally occupied Uyghur homeland #China: StopUyghurGenocide #China: loeTheCocentrationCamps #World: Stop China committing Uyghur Genocide Only #INDEPENDENCE for Uyghurs can save Uyghur lives from Genocide! @AzizIsaElkun"

Written by Andrew Coates

October 1, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Will pro-Brexit Left Defend Johnson? EU Launches Proceeding against UK for breaching the Withdrawal Agreement.

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This is the news today:

 

The issue is law – and is at the heart of divisions about the European Union in British politics, including within the left.

In the essays collected in Perry Anderson in The New Old World (2009) wrote that the European Union has become a distant institution, a “semi-catallaxy’, formed to suit the ideals of the free-market economist Frederick Von Hayek, “the order brought about by the mutual adjustment of many individual economies in a market”. It would be a “deputy Empire” to the United States, a subaltern role for its reigning political forces who had agreed to neoliberal political economy, with little popular participation. Law, in Hayek’s ambitions for this alternative word for the economy, would increasingly replace democracy, though, as the learned writer added, “the Union remains, with its dense web of directives, and often dubious prebends, far from a perfect Hayekian order.” (Page 541)

Anderson has little faith in the European left, noting only the “emasculation” of the mainstream Labour, socialist and social democratic parties in the first decade of the new millennium. Yet the “neo-liberal system generates reactions it cannot always control.”

Since that book the search for these “reactions” against the “system”, including the EU,  has haunted the journal which Anderson founded in its present form, New Left Review (NLR).

The Banking crises of 2009 brought new groups to the fore. By 2016 there were ‘Oppositions’ (Editorial). “The common context for all the new lefts is anger at the political management of the Great Recession” wrote the present editor Susan Watkins. Riding a wave of protests, the new leaders of revolt, the list is striking these days, included Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, Pablo Iglesias, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Syriza’s leader,  Alexis Tsipras, and…Beppe Grillo of the Italian  5 Star Movement.

In a  style, of which only New Left Review has the secret, she defined them as

Respectful of nato, anti-austerity, pro-public investment and (more guardedly) ownership, sceptical of ‘free trade’: as a first approximation, we might call them new, small, weak social democracies. 

If you can stomach the next bit these are the qualifications,

New: Corbynism can’t really be described as such; Labour’s soft left is familiar from the 1980s—though as an effective political force, arguably it died and has been reborn.

Small: in comparison to the million-member parties of the golden age of social democracy, of course, but also in relation to their national contexts, where the mainstream parties can usually muster around two-thirds of the vote; nevertheless, as noted, some 150,000 Podemos members voted on its coalition policy, compared to only 96,000 psoe members in Sánchez’s consultation.

Weak: in the modesty of their demands—or what they think it feasible to demand; the classic social-democratic parties, flourishing in periods of capitalist expansion (1890s, 1950s), aimed at a tangible redistribution of wealth.

Social democratic: if so, this is not what many would have predicted ten or fifteen years ago. The ideologies of the alter-globo and ‘social movements’—even of Occupy and 15-m—were closer to a soft anarchism, or left-liberal cosmopolitanism, more or less informed by intersectional identity consciousness, depending on national context. Those tendencies are still around, as are surviving far-left strains: the new oppositional structures by no means exhaust the movements’ aspirations; but where protest has crystallized into national political forms, they have not so far been anarchist or autonomist.

Not wishing to go further into these contortions (which ignored the debate on ‘left populism’ that began shortly afterwards centred on Podemos, La France insoumise , though touched on Corbyn and Sanders),  we now turn to the next hunt for anti-system forces.

After the Referendum on membership of the European Union in 2016 the NLR Editor Susan Watkins pontificated on the forces that led to the Leave victory and what the result implied,

Culturally and ideologically, the victory of British (read: English) nationalism has revealed the emptiness of its symbols: Rule Britannia, Mother of Parliaments, Royal Navy, Going It Alone, Dunkirk Spirit—all that has gone. The uk has grown accustomed to serving as a semi-sovereign state, its foreign policy dispensed from Washington, its domestic regulations sketched in Brussels.

For this part of the ‘anti-system’ left there was no speculation on what this end to “semi-sovereign’ state might give for the future. It was joy at seeing the lego-land of the EU taking a knock that mattered. In phrases worthy of New Left Review editorial board stalwart, Tariq Ali who welcomed the Leave victory as a “kick up the backside” to the EU Watkins wrote,

The Brexit vote doesn’t mean state break-up, yet. Still less the downfall of Brussels. For now, though, it is plain that Blairized Britain has taken a hit, as has the Hayekianized eu. (1) Critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret these knocks to it, against which the entire global establishment—Obama to Abe, Merkel to Modi, Juncker to Xi—has inveighed.

Editorial Casting Off? New Left Review. 2016. Susan Watkins.

After last year’s General Election Watkins editorialised,

By blocking Brexit in Parliament, and thus ensuring it would have to fight an election on this difficult ground, Labour (and the others) allowed Johnson to capture the power of initiative, to present his party as a radical democratic force. The upshot, of course, is to give a new lease of life to the hegemony of the City and the extraverted dynamics of British capital; an ironic culmination to the long decade that opened with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Susan Watkins. Editorial New Left Review. January 2020. 

Put plainly, it was wrong to oppose Brexit in Parliament. Labour should have accepted Brexit, root and branch. he fault of the left which fought the European Reform Group project in Westminster, and the protest movements against Leave and for a New Referendum, is that we were not ‘radical democratic’. Perhaps New Left Review could have organised a mass counter-movement for a People’s Brexit…

A ‘counter-narrative’, as they say, is that Left supporters of Brexit, by legitimising the project of Leave, gave succour to the Tories’ campaign to win people on the promise of “Getting Brexit Done.”

Capitalism did not suffer any blows. Instead Johnson’s ‘anglosphere’, the new Hayekian project of global trading, financial dealing without restraint, and cheap and shoddy food imports,  took off.

What remains of the” left’s populist strategy that proposes a rupture with the neoliberal order and finance capitalism”? They have been cast down faced with the success of national populism. For some ideas this Blog recommends, P. Rosanvallon, Le siècle du populisme. Histoire, théorie, critique (2020). (the author I note has the merit of being one of the people on the planet Perry Anderson dislikes the most.

Rosanvallon talks of the European Union as a “plus protectrice” of its citizens than an isolated state. He cites Brexit as a blow to this in the name of “conception métaphysique de la souveraineté” that speaks only to beliefs and  passions. Johnson’s government relies on the absolute sovereignty of the Referendum result. It is populist not just because of its appeal to the “people” to fight ‘enemies” like the EU. It is being led in the direction, reportedly by adviser Dominic Cummings, of a “brutalisation” of institutions, taking directly in hand all state institutions, and flouting law if need be. We may not be at the stage of some populist regimes, which have attacked all independent institutions and reshaped law to their own needs. But we can already see that, as  Le siècle du populisme says, “lorsqu’un leader populiste prend le pouvoir, ce qui était de l’orde d’une stratégie électorale devient une politique d’Etat.” (Page 239) When a populist leader takes power what had been an electoral strategy becomes a State Strategy.

It is no surprise that it seems that the EU’s ‘neoliberal’ laws and rules are not good enough for the new buccaneers. Nor that a row is underway over their attempts to flout them.

As in this, today.

More:

 

 

Will New Left Review and what remains of the ‘Lexit’ left welcome this ‘shock’ to the system?

This, by contrast, is the internationalist response:

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 1, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Trump-Biden Debate: In Defence of Antifa.

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Stand With Antifa Against Trump and the Far-Right!

It was only a few years ago that American leftists made it clear to us in Europe that ‘antifa’ was an important movement in the US, given the development of a US far-right in the wake of the triumph of Donald Trump’s national populism.

To tell the truth I was impressed not just by their politics but their culture: that pro antifas really knew in depth about stuff like football hooligans, that some of them they drank real cider and ale  in Portland pubs, and they has serious knowledge and awareness of our own fight against the far-right in Europe.

Then there is this lot:

Most of us are very far from being in favour of rioting, or see, in the way groups like the French group Lundi Matin do, some kind of serious “insurrection” in the streets emerging from the radical fringes of the Black Lives Matter protests (. La politique de l’Identité, l’intersectionnalité et le discours du privilège social constituent la dimension la plus sophistiquée du dispositif policier » contre l’insurrection américaine.).

But ‘antifa’ as its name says, is against the far-right, and the other side’s fringe, the friends of our home grown gammon and the supporters of the Brexit ‘anglosphere’. 

This is still sticking in the craw:

Followed by:

I’d suggest anybody who want to know about antifa reads this article by highly regarded activist and researcher Spencer Sunshine;

“Debunking the 3 Biggest Myths about Antifa” (end of June. 2020)

The “antifa”—or antifascist—movement has captivated the American public’s attention as of late, especially in the wake of the deadly far-right gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017, and clashes in Berkeley, California on August 28. But many myths about the movement have been circulated in media reports and op-eds, creating something of a moral panic about the fight against fascism. Below are three of the most pernicious myths about antifa and evidence as to why they are dangerously wrong.

MYTH # 1—Violence is at the Core of Antifa

MYTH #2—The Violence is Equal on “Both Sides”

MYTH #3 — Antifa is a Gift to the Far Right

The article should be read in full (there’s lots more on the site).

It’s evident that public resistance works when confronting far-right groups, and antifa are not the left-wing terrorists despite how they have been portrayed. And so perhaps we should ask ourselves: why are so many mainstream media sources using dishonest methods to create a folk panic about antifa, and who benefits as a result?

There’s resources in Lib-Com, including this important piece: 

“Outside agitators”, “ANTIFA”, conspiracy theories and disinformation

Read Shiraz today as well:

Donald Trump is a Fascist

Thomas Carolan

The President of the USA is a fascist who is trying to steal the 2020 Presidential election. You can soften that down to saying Trump is an “authoritarian”, or a delusional psychotic would-be king of the USA, but fascist is better: a fascist is what Trump is in his opinions and in his actions where he is free to act as he likes.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 30, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Jon Lansman, Left has “Wrong Strategy”.

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No photo description available.

Slates for Labour NEC, “Left has wrong Strategy” Jon Lansman,

Nominations have now closed for the Labour Party NEC elections.

Politics within the Labour Party have been dominated by reactions to the new Labour Leader, Keir Starmer. There have been criticisms, some justified, of his actions, such as made over the Armed Forces Bill, and the tone of an appeal to patriotism. Some who identified with Jeremy Corbyn have, since the election of Starmer,  gone a lot further and yelled about a return to ‘Blairism’. There is a would-be war on social media launched those who have returned to Labour, after publicly denouncing the party during the General Election, and now want to purge Labour of the left.

Most people have not joined the wall of wailing against Keir Starmer or the opposite yells for a clean-out of opposition. They are impressed by poll results, which finally place Labour ahead of the Tories. Labour members, a majority of whom strongly opposed Brexit, are appalled at the supporters of an ‘Anglosphere’ running the country along the lines of the hard right ‘Brexit project’. They are not amongst those, intellectuals of New Left Review, or self-appointed voices of the working class left-behind , who welcomed the break from the European Union that gave Boris Johnson his political opportunity. They want leadership, a line of action, to take us out of the present mess. For many Starmer is beginning to offer some hope that we can do this.

Many, probably a majority, would like to see a Labour NEC, the body that gives a voice to the membership, play a supportive, but not uncritical, role working with Labour’s Parliamentary leadership.

People will look at candidates in this light. It is to be imagined that only a minority will be attracted to calls to “stay and fight”, that is against Starmer,

John Lansman says of the left (that is, the groups he identifies as left, ignoring that a section of the long-standing left backed Starmer):

I think it has the wrong strategy, failing to recognise that 40% of Corbyn supporters voted Starmer, more now accept him whilst some have left the party. We must learn from our mistakes, build coalitions to win the support of party & country.

It is not hard to see that people who cast their ballots for Starmer do not appreciate being called Blairites, or ‘left covers’ for right-wing politics. But Lansman is more concerned at the way the NEC elections may play out.

There are five slates running.

  • Grassroots Voice, from the “Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance” a collection of organisations on the Labour left, largely Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. It has just agreed a single slate of six candidates for the nine CLP reps on Labour’s National Executive Committee. The ‘centre’ name was a relic of the `1990s’ when the slate was created with the participation of Labour Reform and notably Ann Black. Grassroots Voice is probably known as the most Corbyista group. They stand for “embracing transformative socialist ideas”.
  • Labour to Win, “putting Labour back on the path to Power.” This is the slate of factionalists Progress and the ‘old right’ Labour First. They now call themselves Keir Starmer’s bestest  friends.
  • Labour Left Alliance. They say that Starmer “has stopped pretending to want to continue some of the policies championed by Jeremy Corbyn and has gone back on the promises made in his election campaign.” Backed by Labour Against the Witch-hunt, Labour Party Marxists, and, don’t even ask, see: Our affiliates.
  • Open Labour. Democratic socialists, ” Our socialism looks outwards to the voting public, is honest about the political challenges we face, and encourages an inclusive & pluralist ethos within the Labour Party.”
  • Tribune. Democratic socialists, “we are socialists of the Tribunite left.” That is, the Parliamentary group and others from that current,  not the US Jacobin  owned ‘Tribune’ magazine.

The last two slates Labour Reform officially only endorses two candidates and Tribune three.

A discussion of those standing requires a different post, there are some really good people, but perhaps slate lists are not the best way to vote.

Information here:

In this confusion, let’s be clear, only one candidate immediately stands out: Ann Black.

John Lansman has looked at the possible outcome.

Here are some of his conclusions.

Lansman’s answer?

The replies come trickling in.

From the anglosphere we hear this:

There is a Mountain to climb before these types could be part of transformative left alliance.

This looks a better direction for the future of the left:

Anti-Brexit Campaign Urges Left-Wing To ‘Wake Up’

A left-wing pro-free movement campaign is urging supporters to “wake up” and join protests against the US-UK trade deal and Boris Johnson’s “vicious anti-migrant policy”.

Another Europe Is Possible, which spearheaded the left of centre movement against Brexit, will on Monday launch a new campaign aimed at opposing the government’s post-Brexit agenda for the country.

Claiming Brits’ rights are “under attack” the group is organising socially-distanced demonstrations as part of its new ‘Fight For The Future’ drive.

Events planned for early October, include speakers such as former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Labour MPs Nadia Whittome and Clive Lewis, economist Ann Pettifor, War on Want’s director Asad Rehman, Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden and the TSSA union’s Manuel Cortes.

Another Europe says left wing campaigners despondent about the general election result for Labour need to refocus efforts on opposing the government.

Michael Chessum, national organiser for Another Europe, told HuffPost UK: “The government is going to use the coming months to drive through unprecedented changes to our economy and society.

“With coronavirus dominating the headlines, Johnson is pressing ahead with US trade negotiations and has already announced plans to scrap social and environmental protections, as well as human rights.

“There is huge public opposition to economic deregulation and the lowering of food standards, but unless we build a big, loud opposition to what the Tories are planning, it could all happen very quickly.

“The left and the remains of the anti-Brexit movement need to wake up.”

Written by Andrew Coates

September 29, 2020 at 10:45 am

Morning Star Attacks Threatened BBC.

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Newspaper headlines: Johnson 'faces Covid revolt', and Charles' warning - BBC News

Only the personnel change in “anti-democratic” state broadcaster. Morning Star.

“Given the fact that the ‘ruling class’ in principle holds State power (openly or more often by means of alliances between classes or class fractions), and therefore has at its disposal the (Repressive) State Apparatus, we can accept the fact that this same ruling class is active in the Ideological State Apparatuses insofar as it is ultimately the ruling ideology which is realized in the Ideological State Apparatuses, precisely in its contradictions. Of course, it is a quite different thing to act by laws and decrees in the (Repressive) State Apparatus and to ‘act’ through the intermediary of the ruling ideology in the Ideological State Apparatuses.”

Louis Althusser, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.  (1970)

The Morning Star, best friend of the left, wholly independent and owned by the co-op, has an angle on plans to place the BBC under direct hard right control. Instead of defending the BBC against the Tory plans to seize control of public broadcasting by the Hard Brexit Right, the daily, which some suggest has been close to the Communist Party of Britain, has chosen this moment to attack the “anti-democratic character of the state broadcaster.” The BBC, as its editorial explains today, is an apparatus of the ruling class, and the Conservative Party. The Broadcaster is, in short, an ideological state apparatus which upholds capitalism.

For good measure the paper, which has been the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s best friend for as long as anybody can remember, takes the time to explain to its readers and trade unionist funders that the party had been seen to stand for the status quo in the fight over Brexit. It left the way open for others to win over the anti-status quo side. They should offer their own anti-Establishment alternative to actually existing public service broadcasting.

 

Liberals may whinge:

But the Morning Star has mounted a rigorous Marxist attack on the Ideological State Apparatus that is the British Broadcasting Corporation,

From Jim,

Editorial What should we make of Tory plans for the BBC?

REPORTS suggest Boris Johnson is seeking to appoint former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre chair of media regulator Ofcom, while making former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore chair of the BBC.

Tory MP Steve Baker was clear on the Sophy Ridge show why such appointments would, in his view, be good news: “They are Conservatives.”

At the BBC, despite perennial Tory claims of “left-wing bias,” this would be nothing new. BBC staff with close links to the Conservative Party abound.

Proof!

Director-general Tim Davie is former deputy chairman of Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party. Former BBC Westminster chief Robbie Gibb walked straight from overseeing the public broadcaster’s political output to becoming director of communications for Tory prime minister Theresa May. And her immediate predecessor David Cameron also picked his comms chief from the BBC top team, snatching Craig Oliver from his role as head of TV news.

The BBC waged war, pitiless war on Jeremy Corbyn, “co-ordinating” internal Labour actions, like this resignations, and for some reason having a go about something to do with Russia – I can’t think what. If proof were needed they ignored their own rules – typical of the ruling class specious claims to fairness and democray.

The BBC joined the rest of the media in a five-year onslaught against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, co-ordinating the resignation of shadow cabinet member Stephen Doughty on air during the “chicken coup” of 2016 and mocking the Labour leader up as an apparent Russian in 2018 among many other instances. In 2017 the BBC Trust was forced to admit that its political editor Laura Kuenssberg had broken impartiality and accuracy guidelines when interviewing Corbyn about terrorist attacks.

So why the proposed appointments – and why leak news of them in advance?

The Tories are aware of the value of culture wars as a means of shunting politics that advances the interests of the working class off the agenda.

We cannot reply on the BBC to stand firm, to take sides, to be partisan….

since the BBC is already dominated by Conservatives, objections based on the broadcaster’s supposed objectivity are unlikely to wash.”

Let’s have none of this then!

 

What is at stake is that Labour missed the Brexit campaign for a political and economic free-market anglosphere. The Labour leadership hummed and hawed, most of the members had the cheek to oppose leaving the EU!

Johnson rode to power on the Brexit cause and he — or at least Dominic Cummings — will understand what made the case against it so unconvincing.

Warning people trapped in poverty pay and insecure jobs of economic disaster doesn’t work. Labour’s predictions of privatising trade deals threatening our public services were accurate enough, but lost their sting because they were also an accurate picture of the present. Brexit was an argument the status quo was bound to lose since it had so little going for it.

In other words arguing for Brexit, and preparing the ground  for a belief in a People’s Brexit, was the anti ‘status quo’ argument. It was just the wrong kind of anti-status quo chaps who got all the benefit when it came to an election on Getting Brexit Done.

The left should heed this analogy when addressing Tory plans for the BBC. Britain’s media landscape looks bleak, dominated by a handful of giant companies and by the political right. The mooted launch of a Fox News-style channel, GB News, is likely to make things worse — but the involvement of senior and former BBC figures including both Neil and Gibb in that project give the lie to the idea that it represents something completely alien to our existing broadcast media.

Socialists should acknowledge the importance of public-service broadcasting — while highlighting the anti-democratic character of the state broadcaster and proposing serious media reform. Labour under Corbyn made valuable suggestions as to the form that could take, but those are off the agenda until a radical socialist challenge to the current set-up is rebuilt.

WE recognise the importance of public service broadcasting but not in actually existing form, which is not for the public but the “state” which has made the BBC an “anti-democratic” organ.

To that end, our priority should be to promote and support the socialist and independent media.

Like the Morning Star…

After Moore and Darcey US!

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 28, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Democracy For Sale: Peter Geoghegan. A Left Anti-Populist Review.

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Foreshadowed in ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics – Peter Geoghegan.’ (Head of Zeus.2020).

Peter Geoghegan on Twitter: "Oh wow. I'm very sorry to hear that!… "

 

A reader of the alt-left media, trying to get to grips with Labour’s 2019 Election Defeat, asks, how did the Tories appeal to working class and former Labour voters? Working by the lamp-light of the study he or she interrogates the nearest object to hand, via Zoom. “Red Wall Voter” they say, “How did you change your opinion? What role did Brexit play?” The voter will look back, and ask the theorist in turn, questioning the gaze of the theorist sitting in metropolitan isolation, away from the real folks who want their Country Back.

A left populist pops up on the screen. “A popular democratic interpellation” says the reader of Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau, has been taken by a “logic of equivalence”, the “designation of the enemy” a frontier of the political imaginary, into a new hegemonic discourse”. The task of the left, he or she continues, is to ensure that “the people” is constructed democratically” against the “oligarchy” that rules in the EU and the UK. (1)

In 2016, in Sunderland, Peter Geoghegan, just before the Referendum asked a real-life Brexit supporter. “He talked about pit closures and disinvestment, deindustrialisation and neglect” He was vexed about Turkey joining the EU. Where did he hear that news? Facebook. On his train the journalist sees a copy of the Metro free-paper. It has an ad-wrap around for Vote Leave, paid for by the Democratic Unionist Party. Digging into this Democracy for Sale reveals that the “DUP’s advertising blitz was bankrolled by the biggest donation in Northern Irish history routed by a secretive Scottish group linked a  former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence”. Sunderland was the first constituency to declare, heavily, for  Leave.  Supporters had been “interpellated” by money.

In the Campaigns for Brexit use of Facebook and Twitter to paper propaganda, Dominic Cummings’ official Vote Leave campaign and Arron Bank’s Leave.EU (see image above…) the “digital” Brexit Party, Young Britain, the European Research Group (ERG), they all lead back to the role of “dark money“. These are “funds from unknown sources that influence our politics”, building support for ideas with sophisticated digital means unknown until this millennium.

Democracy for Sale is  a gripping account of the way the politics of cash  played out in the EU Referendum, in the run up to the Boris Johnson’s December Election Campaign, and, as the author reminds us in this Podcast, is being performed – half-seen, half-concealed – in public today. (Bella Caledonia. #NAFNC Interviews Peter Geoghegan). The operations of a US-inspired style of campaigning was able to buy influence – on the cheap –  in British politics.  That fundraising and the use of money escaped regulation. with Banks, for example,  moving money in and out of his offshore businesses. “There was little political will for a major political investigation into how election law was broken in 2016” . It shows how “the leaders who thrive now are those who can best control a fragmented and disoriented media, harnessing the power of social networks a a push us towards extremes.”(Page 224)

The ‘Anglosphere”

Above all, the book illustrates how the troops of the Brexit camp were able not just to speak to the Sunderland, the ‘left behind” electorate   but to mobilise them for a Buccaneering free-market project grounded in an imaginary  ‘Anglosphere’ that would shatter ties with the European Union. “In two decades, the idea that Britain should leave the European Union deregulate and form a new trading relationship with predominantly white English-speaking nations went from fringe concern to a widely held political aspirations “Pages 127 – 8). Geoghegan traces a network of Think Tanks and pressure groups, behind the shift in opinion,  “producing the ideas” that “gain traction”. These ideas, going back to the twentieth century theories of Milton Friedman and  Friedrich August von Hayek, reconfigured in the age of national neo-liberalism of Donald Trump. Shaped in this millenium wealthy US foundations, Heritage, Atlantic Bridge, there was a shift to promote a “new special relationship with the United States based on deregulation and free trade” (Page 135)

The ideas have long had outlets in media owned by Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch and the gamut of British Conservatives papers, from the Mail, the Star and the Express, a constant source of crude “mistruths about the EU”, the Brexiteer Bollox recounted in Fintan O’Toole’s Heroic Failure, Brexit and Politics of Pain (2018) . There have been projects like the Young Britain’s Foundation (YBF), to train a cadre of hard-right young people in the ideologies of US libertarians. Money gushing from the Koch Brothers has found its way into the greedy hands of the former Revolutionary Communist Party Network, Spiked and the Academy of Ideas. The vector of the Anglosphere ideal  and, with pride of place, the “hardline Parliamentary caucus, the European Research Group.”

Democracy for Sale has a fine chapter on the “digital gangsters” of Cambridge Analytica who specialised in “‘psy-ops’ to disrupt democracy”  a trailblazing operation in on-line profiling and false-messaging. “Online campaigning is also barely constrained by Britain’s tight election finance laws.” (Page 203). A “sprawling industry”, surrounded by allegations of external interference, Russian and other, one message comes out, as spoken by Peter Pomerantsev “In an age where the old ideologies have vanished and there is no competition over coherent political ideas, the aim is to lasso together in separate groups around around a new notion of the people in an amorphous but powerful emotion that each can interpret in their own way, and then seal it by conjuring up phantom enemies who threaten to undermine them.” (Page 220) Pomerantsev had met Chantal Mouffe, as he recounted in his book on “influence machines”,   This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality (2019).  You had already guessed.

In 2019 the Brexit Party, inspired by the Italian Movimento 5 Stelle, 5 Star Movement,  template of a  tech-utopian web platform, controlled from the top with an iron grip, buttressed by  a pseudo -participation through the Net, emerged from UKIP to push for the Leave cause, post-referendum. Like its elder mentor Nigel Farage’s party was a private company, very private.  In the “pop up” org, the long-standing dress of the UK’s old-style national populist UKIP was dropped, “the herring-bone suits, the blokey bonhomie and the and “tarnished fascist-leaning brand” got dumped. In came the “shiny new”  party with figures seen to be from outside the traditional political spectrum. Hard-line Catholic moralist and Tory stalwart  Ann Widecombe entered alongside Claire Fox (yet to be Baronnes Claire Regina Fox..) from the Spiked spider’s web, with her background in revolutionary Trotskyism.

The Brexit Party encapsulates how the Internet has radically reshaped politics, from the rise of untraceable online funding to the splintering of a relatively homogeneous media landscape into myriad shards, all competing for attention.  (Page 223)

The Party came first in the 2019 European Elections. It disappeared without trace in the December General Election, standing down in all Conservative held seats. But it garnered a useful half a million votes, “mostly working class constituencies” ” (Page 253) One can imagine that, aside from the wider effect of Farage’s efforts to popularise Brexit as a people’s cause,   harmed Labour more than the Tories. The  profits from his venture, after the party was formally wound up, continue to keep this friend of Donald Trump and Trumpism in a more than comfortable lifestyle,

National Populism.

Geoghegan extents the story to Trumpite ideologue Steven Banon and European ultra-conservatives, or national populists, Matteo Salvini and the nativist Lega Nord  in Italy, Vox in Spain (the later with clear links to Spain’s Fancoist ultra-right), the ‘social conservatism’ of the Polish Law and Justice party, Victor Orbán’s Hungary, and the international appeal of an “authoritarian model” of politics. It might have been useful to compare them with the rise of Silvio Berlusconi, four times Italian Prime Minister, head of Forza Italia and a pre-digital Media empire, promoter of a rightist populism from 1994 onwards, ” “Berlusconismo” (entrepreneurial optimism),  and no stranger to ‘dark money’.

One could add that dubious political funding is a long-standing feature of political life in Spain, France, and many other European countries and in Spanish politics it is said to be the source of the left populist reaction to La Casta by Podemos. I can euqally find some striking examples of it in one of the forerunners of populism, the late 1880s century ‘Boulangist’ movement in France, backed by right-wing patriotic ultras, Bonapartistes, some on the Blanquist left, radicals and socialists , anti-Semites, Monarchists, and Catholic reactionaries and with more than dubious finance. It is said to have been one of the first movements to be “beyond left and right”. Boulanger was exposed by a 19th century Peter Geoghegan, Gabriel Terrail in Les coulisses du boulangisme, préface de Mermeix, (1890).

Democracy for Sale makes a plea for legislation to end this “dysfunctional status quo”. Yet can that stop the influence of wealthy donners, speculators eager to make money from injecting “a bit of chaos into the economic system” and the foreign owners  and tax dodgers of media bodies promoting Brexit? The paradoxical basis of the coalition of protectionist sentiment behind Brexit and free-market buccaneers has not stopped Johnson being elected.

One underlying cause of the spread of populist campaigning through lying,  the growth of the Net and the massive decline of print media, and other regulated news vehicles such as public service broadcasting, is harder to tackle. With an eye to the future Boris Johnson is opening the floodgates for his friends not just to cream off profits from the state bounty in the form of contracts for everything from Covid Testing onwards. There are plans to open the media to right-wing populism.

 

Then there is this..

The Guardian reports,

Andrew Neil has quit the BBC to launch a new right-leaning opinionated rolling news channel which aims to start broadcasting early next year as a rival to the public broadcaster and Sky.

Be forewarned. Many of us, repelled by the very name of the Brexit ideology’s cornerstone, a new economic and political “anglo” sphere (one can imagine what an Irish author thought of that one), have tended to mock the idea. As it merits scorn –  a love that dares to speak its name, looks threadbare in the world of grasping Trump’s efforts to cling to power. But read Peter Geoghegan’s highly recommended Democracy for Sale: it’s a better guide to the politics of right-wing hegemony than anything academics have yet produced.

And so it continues…

********

 

 

Peter Geoghegan Open Democracy

For an Introduction to the vast and learned library of books about left populism, discourse, hegemony and the People, see this interview:

‘For A Left Populism’: An interview with Chantal Mouffe

Attack by former Charlie Hebdo Office: Suspect Recognises Political Motives.

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Quatre ans après l'attentat de Charlie, l'artiste C215 a réalisé une nouvelle fresque en hommage aux

The attack took place near to a mural fresco by street artist C215 in tribute to the victims of the 2015 murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices.

The BBC reports,

The two people wounded were staff at a TV production company, one of their colleagues told AFP news agency.

“Two colleagues were smoking a cigarette outside the building, in the street. I heard shouting. I went to the window and saw one of my colleagues, covered in blood, being chased by a man with a machete in the street,” another member of staff at the Premières Lignes production firm said.

 

The firm has offices in the Rue Nicolas Appert, a side street off Boulevard Richard Lenoir where the former Charlie Hebdo offices are located. A mural to the 12 people killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack is nearby.

 

The satirical magazine has since moved to a secret location.

 

Charlie Hebdo released a statement, expressing their immediate concern for the victims of the attack and condemning the presence of “fanaticism and intolerance” in France.

They state that the ideology and the thinkers behind the attacks are “nothing other than fascists”,  and that against fascism “we have no choice other than to continue to fight for our ideas and values.”

 

Le Monde reports,

According to our information, although he speaks French and English badly, he also quickly recognised a political dimension to his act. Details still need to be investigated, especially in their religious dimension. But his act was deliberate and thoughtful, he explained in substance. The National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT), however, quickly took up the case on Friday, opening an investigation for “attempted assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise, a criminal terrorist association”.

In addition to the place of the attack and its timing, in the midst of the trial, it is the attitude of the attacker which justified the referral to the PNAT, according to its leader, Jean-François Ricard. In a brief public address on Friday, he underlined “the author’s clear desire to kill two people he knew nothing about and who were at that time simply on a cigarette break” . The Paris criminal brigade and the general direction of internal security (DGSI) were entrusted with the investigations.

Attaque près des anciens locaux de « Charlie Hebdo » à Paris : ce que l’on sait du principal suspect

The Second suspect, who according to some reports have in fact been running after he accused trying to stop him,  has been released from police custody.

AFP states,

The main suspect was arrested near the Place de la Bastille. The 18-year-old was born in Pakistan, according to a source close to the case.

Arriving in France in August 2018, he had been taken care of by the departmental council of Val-d’Oise. The latter “had contested his minority, but a court decision had confirmed his support until August 10, 2020, the date of his majority and therefore since which he is no longer under the protection of social assistance” .

During these two years, “no sign of radicalisation had been observed by the services” .

His time being taken care of by French social services was followed by his placement in accommodation for those just reaching adulthood.

Reactions.

It is hard not to be emotional in present conditions.

The attack takes place during the Trial over January 2015 slaughters at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper-Cacher of those accused of providing logistical aid to the assailants by carrying or supplying cash, weapons and vehicles.

Le Monde carried a report a couple of days ago, a full page in the print edition, on the testimony of some of those affected by the murders in the Kosher supermarket. It is titled, “Why such hatred of Jews?”.

Au procès des attentats de janvier 2015 : « Pourquoi cette haine du juif ? Pourquoi ? »

Let’s hope we don’t hear about French and Western intervention (in Pakistan?) behind the motives of the accused. But Al-Qaeda in its publication One Ummah earlier in September had stated that Charlie Hebdo would be mistaken if it believed the 2015 attack was a ‘one off’ Many will also look at the killings and state prosecutions of those accused of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Let’s hope we don’t hear from those questioning ‘absolute freedom of expression” – Charlie’s right to satirise religion and the “l’infâme” of religious bigotry and the racist ideology behind this latest attack.

Plantu, le Monde’s  cartoonist expresses the best immediate response.

no

Written by Andrew Coates

September 26, 2020 at 10:45 am