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Guardian Boosts Anti-Charlie Hebdo Hatred: Emmanuel Todd.

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

The Guardian loves France.

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

The Guardian hates France.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now we have this in English.

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

With customary modesty he begins with,

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

This is the missile:

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

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

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

Its ideology is:

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

More here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presumably the same middle class that worshiped Charlie…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

Nick Cohen Goes Colonel Blimp on Jeremy Corbyn.

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Nick Cohen goes Colonel Blimp:

How Jeremy Corbyn’s Coup Hijacked Labour.

Blimp outraged:

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

Blimp more outraged:

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

Blimp apoplectic:

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

Blimp warning of Russian bear:

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

Blimp reminded of his evening appointment in the Bath House:

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

Blimp talking religion and ethics,

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

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

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

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

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

Why, O Why?

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

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

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Selling Your Soul to Mr. Putin

Jacques Sapir: Red/Brown Alliance Against European Union. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Confusionisme site  Ornella Guyet adds,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenkoin the courtroom

Free Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko!

BBC.

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

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

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

Russia denies accusations that he is a political prisoner.

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

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

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

Allegations of torture

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

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

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

 Amnesty Statement:

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

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

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

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

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

Amnesty International’s Eurasia Researcher Heather McGill said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Update:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2015 at 11:02 am

Sparticist League Backing ISIS: Once Again.

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Sparts Campaigning.

Spartacist League Forms Syrian Battalion in Support of ISIS

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

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

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

See more on Workers’ Spatula.

The source for this?

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

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

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

The justification?

Here is some background:

Workers Vanguard 3rd of April 2015.

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

 

Workers Hammer(UK) Winter 2014 – 15.

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

Workers Vanguard. 31st October 2014.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On Downward Slide in Opinion Polls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

,…

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

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

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

Spain Report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full article: El Mundo.

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

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

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

That is, according to Eduardo Madura,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Josep María Antentas International Viewpoint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vote Corbyn!

An impassioned article has just appeared on the Guardian site.

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

Rosie Fletcher writes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We too do not relish being treated as potential infiltrators.

 Rosie Fletcher notes,

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

I would take this argument seriously.

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

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

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

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

As indeed they should.

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

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

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

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

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

We would hope that this activity is better known.

Back to the Past?

Rosie continues,

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

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

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

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

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

Mandy Mudd.

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

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

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

But this is exactly what happened.

Then this,

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

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

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

Mandy did not shut up.

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

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

Forget Foot!

Corbyn is inspiring passion, enthusiasm and motivation. People want something different. He is packing out halls, bringing in new supporters and new voters. Imagine what Labour could do if they harness that over the next four years, rather than throwing away the harness and then shooting the horse and setting the barn on fire for good measure.

Exactly!

 

Euston Manifesto Top Backer Compares Corbyn Supporters To EDL.

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Corbyn Meeting Queue: Bad as EDL Says Top Euston Manifesto Backer.

In 2006 the Euston Manifesto was published.

“The manifesto proposed a “fresh political alignment”, which involves “making common cause with genuine democrats, whether socialist or not”, in which the Left stands for democracy, freedom, equality, internationalism, the open-source movement, and historical truth, while condemning all forms of tyranny, terrorism, anti-Americanism, racism and anti-Semitism, including any form of it that “conceal[s] prejudice against the Jewish people behind the formula of ‘anti-Zionism.'” Wikipedia.

It ended with these words:

It is vitally important for the future of progressive politics that people of liberal, egalitarian and internationalist outlook should now speak clearly. We must define ourselves against those for whom the entire progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic “anti-imperialism” and/or hostility to the current US administration. The values and goals which properly make up that agenda — the values of democracy, human rights, the continuing battle against unjustified privilege and power, solidarity with peoples fighting against tyranny and oppression — are what most enduringly define the shape of any Left worth belonging to.

Euston Manifesto.

One of the main signatories is given as David T, Harry’s Place (Wikipedia).

This is what he said yesterday.

You’re a person who has supported somebody who actively promotes people who are trying to kill me and my family.

When somebody says “I’m a socialist and I support Jeremy Corbyn” I hear the equivalent of “I am a UKIP member, I love Nigel Farage, and I go on EDL marches”.

David Toube.

Coatesy is not alone in receiving this message from the blustering public school boy’s incontinent brain.

Others too have been told that they are a ‘revolting person’ and ‘worse than a fascist’.

It would be tedious to list all the other Euston Manifesto rages against Jeremy Corbyn, but here is another prominent Euston signatory, Oliver Kamm, yesterday.

Corbyn’s deplorable allies

It’s no longer possible to assume that a declared progressive will defend free speech, secularism, women’s rights, homosexual equality, cosmopolitanism and the spread of scientific inquiry.

Those are the values that cause me to admire Israel – a nation whose pluralist ethos will be fulfilled when there is an eventual two-state solution with a sovereign Palestine.

Yet now we have a left that tolerates bigotry, allies with theocratic reaction, embraces terror groups and espouses irrationalism.

Paul Anderson, another Euston backer on Corbyn,

The first thing to know about him is that he’s a boilerplate leftist with a Chomskyite thicko’s take on the world.

The idiot noise online favours Corbyn; I’d rather read the FT.

Nick Cohen, yet another Eustonite, at the beginning of August,

The severity of the assault makes me wonder why so many unions are backing Jeremy Corbyn. It is not just that he has planted kisses on the backsides of half the tyrannies on the planet: including the posteriors of an Iranian regime, which persecutes its own trade unionists along with women and religious minorities; Putin and his kleptomaniac and irredentist Russian nationalist friends; Gaddafi, after his own people had executed him, and the Chavez gang, which somehow managed to reduce oil-rich Venezuela to penury.

Worse than the tyrannophilla, from a practical point of view, is that Corbyn does not have a chance of winning the 2020 general election. And if you think five years of unconstrained Tory government is bad, picture what they could do with 10.

Now he ramps up the hysteria,

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party: one of them must go

Nick Cohen.

“For years people like me have been arguing that the worst people on the left have been going along with movements and regimes, which are reactionary and in some instances fascistic – radical Islam and Putin’s Kremlin to take the most obvious examples from Corbyn’s CV. We have been trying to provide a left-wing case against the appeasement of imperialist aggressors, in the case of Russia, or of sexist, racist and homophobic religion in the case of radical Islam.

I am putting it as politely as I can when I say we had limited support from mainstream commentators and politicians of the centre left. They didn’t want to criticise ‘our side’. They didn’t want to admit that racism (in its anti-Semitic form) was as much a problem for the left as the right. They didn’t want to puncture the phoney air of righteousness which surrounds left-wing politics like a cloying perfume, or ‘distract’ themselves from the fight against the Tories

They didn’t want to know. Well they know now.

And as the far left moves to takeover Labour, their laziness and ignorance has left them naked before their enemies. They have no principled social democratic arguments in their arsenal, as the pathetic figure of Andy Burnham proves daily.”

****

It was often said of professional ex-Communists in the Cold War that they adopted they reversed the Stalinist Manichean view of the world: everything Communist was evil incarnate and everything in the West was  great.

Was that true of the Eustonites – as many allege?

The original Euston Manifesto had many faults, above all its failure to find much fault with American and Western foreign policy, and its embrace of – some – supporters of the invasion of Iraq.

But it did back universal human rights.

Many on the left – the non-Leninist left – did not need lessons in this respect.

Human rights form the common roots of democratic socialism.

From Jean Jaurès to Ralph Miliband democratic principles are part of our most basic principles.

Those of us who are democratic Marxists stand for what Jaurès famously called the “synthesis” between liberty and socialist class struggle.

It should go without saying that the Tendance, and our close comrades, defend “defend free speech, secularism, women’s rights, homosexual equality, cosmopolitanism and the spread of scientific inquiry.”

We are part of a substantial group of people, including Jeremy Corbyn who backed Charlie Hebdo’s right to free speech in an Early Day Motion immediately after the Paris massacres.

Corbyn is also the Chair of Liberation (ex-Movement for Colonial Freedom), a respected and long established human rights and anti-colonial group in the UK. *

Perhaps Cohen and the Eustonies could explain why their campaign against the British Empire was wrong when they have time for anything other than mouth frothing.

But then, that lot are becoming more like their anti-Communist forerunners: they can not accept that we are democrats, we are ‘left-wing’ and therefore on the wrong side.

Like their monomaniacal predecessors, it is people like Toube and Cohen who are now trying to scream down the democratic socialists who back the thoroughly decent Jeremy Corbyn.

We suspect that the Eustonites are preparing another Manifesto, to be published  should Corbyn win.

If this happens, we will bear the above comments at the front of our mind.

♦♦♦

* History of Liberation ex-Movement for Colonial Freedom.

In 1945 one-fifth of the world was still under British sovereignty and 780 million people throughout the world lived under European colonialism.

The Labour Government did not support independence and their general election manifesto gave no commitment to introduce bills to provide for self-government, except for India. The Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, justified this by saying the loss of the colonies would mean falling living standards for British people. Continued colonial rule was in contradiction to the Atlantic Charter, agreed between the UK and USA to provide a blueprint for the world after World War II and which stated that “All peoples have a right to self-determination”.

In Malaya communist insurgents were put down by British security forces, who even used head hunters to bring in rebels’ heads. News of this was concealed from the British public but anti-colonial activists received the photographic evidence. Fenner Brockway played an active role in convening a conference of anti-colonialists, representatives of nationalist and independence movements and black organisations such as the League of Coloured Peoples in 1947. Offices were set up in Paris and London and in 1948 the Congress of Peoples Against Imperialism was established.

With the outbreak of wars against French rule in North Africa the Paris office of the League of Coloured Peoples was closed. By now India, Ceylon and Burma had their independence.[when?] In Africa, however. independence organisations, such as the Mau Mau led byKenyatta, were established and solidarity was called for.

The Movement for Colonial Freedom was founded in 1954. The Labour Party’s official position was not to support independence leaders. This however was not universally accepted and 70 MPs, including Harold Wilson and Barbara Castle, supported the Movement for Colonial Freedom. It also had backing among celebrities such as Benjamin Britten and in the universities. Fenner Brockway was the chairman, Douglas Rogers the secretary and Tony Benn the treasurer.”

Wikipedia.

Liz Kendall: Diary of a Résistante

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Liz Kendall: Only Serious Resistance to Jeremy Corbyn.

Liz Kendall ready to join ‘The Resistance’ if Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership race….

Thursday August 20.8.15. The Corbynistas are advancing on all fronts. The entire population is leaving Knightsbridge; we are living in an atmosphere of panic.

The passengers on the Tube this morning looked ugly and deformed.

A cat near my office was scavenging for tit-bits.

I thought of how it’s always the animals who suffer first.

Friday August 21.8.15. Corbyn’s policy programme looks backwards and had been rejected by Labour in the 1930s.

My heart is filled with the scenes of savagery I have witnessed at his Tottenham meeting.

Chuka says that is it just him just him or is there a serious lack of cool places to go in London at the weekends.

“Most of the North London haunts seem to be full of trash and C-list wannabes, while other places that should know better opt for the cheesy vibe.”

Saturday August 22.8.15. We must champion the power of human beings to shape their own lives, and oppose the tyranny of the bureaucratic state.

Corbyn’s plans to bring back the old Labour Badge made me think of the Stalin’s Pioneer camps.

Tristram thinks that Jeremy’s message is sweet and simple: we must end austerity now, bring back steam railways, scrap Trident, replace it with catapults, and nationalise kebab production.

Afternoon.

People are different.

They have acquired a secretive, furtive air when I ask them if they’ve voted for me.

Sunday August 23rd. It’s the little things that bring home the depth of our isolation: this morning our cleaner announced that she has joined the ‘militia’ of the Labour Party Marxists.

I could have wept into my latte.

Monday August 24th. Liberty should be reclaimed as a defining ideal.

 We must be doing the best for kids, particularly in white-working class communities.

The editorial committee for the newspaper we are planning is settled. The name of our organ? Résistance.

Tuesday August 25th. News from the Suffolk Maquis in encouraging.

A brave band of supporters has set up a ‘free zone’ in Rendelsham forest.

They sent us a Selfie of their base:

 

 

 

Russell Brand Speaks out for Corbyn as very Social Secretary Blunkett Whinges.

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The front page of the Daily Record offering its support to Jeremy Corbyn

“It seems to me that Jeremy Corbyn is being vilified and attacked by the media and by the establishment simply because he is in public talking out on behalf of ordinary people,” Mr Brand said.

He added: “The other candidates in the Labour leadership election – and I don’t really want to be involved in leadership elections or voting-type stuff any more – but they are interchangeable, even though they are different genders, like the Burnham one, the Cooper one.

“I think I have met some of them but they all sort of just float around and seem like they could have podded off of him [points at screen of Tony Blair]. And that’s what worries me about it.”

Telegraph.

Meanwhile a very social secretary has announced (Independent),

If Labour wants a leader who is very good at opposition, they should elect Jeremy Corbyn, David Blunkett has said as he tried to discourage those eligible to vote in the party’s leadership contest from electing the hard-left MP.

The former Home Secretary said Mr Corbyn “represents very good opposition” but was also “profoundly good at opposition” within the Labour party.

Mr Blunkett, who is backing Andy Burnham for the leadership, said that although he wanted the next Labour leader to be “radical,” he said the priority must be electing someone who “above all can actually do something about winning”.

Amongst many, many, shady aspects of Blunkett’s record in office and profiteering, we find this (Wikipedia):

“Former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Blunkett, an advocate of increased participation by firms like A4e in the welfare system while in government, has faced criticism for accepting a trip to South Africa from A4e, in addition to earnings of between £25,000 and £30,000 as an adviser, three years after leaving office.

And this…

Guest Post: The Left-Wing Case Against Jeremy Corbyn.

with 25 comments

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As a pluralist democratic socialist Blog we publish this guest post, despite reservations about its content.

The author, who wishes to remain anonymous (Herefor more), for fear of on-line terrorism from Corbynistas, was a prominent signatory of the Euston Manifesto (2006).

He contributed  the following lines (removed from the final version), “1. Islamists are tossers. 2. Stalinists are tossers. 3. Most Trots are tossers. 4. So are most Labour leftists. 5. And most anarchists. 6. And every variety of post-modernist.”

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

“I am past-it enough to remember trolleybuses and steam trains, tractors in the Ipswich Buttermarket, and old Suffolk ‘bor’ doffing their caps when the young ‘Master’ visited relatives on the Estate.”

“Apart from my Vlog I have run a successful sweet shop empire in Bixley for the past twenty years, have increased the Labour vote in the Parish Council,   and, for all its faults, have come to terms with the market society.”

“Corbyn is not a wholly wicked man, but the 1980s hard left were all complete bastards.”

“The first thing to know about him is that he’s a boilerplate leftist with a thicko’s take on the world. He barely got his Latin ‘O’ level, and like Hugo Chávez, he speaks fluent Spanish dog Latin!

“Many of Corbyn’s prescriptions are delusional – nationalising everything is not the solution it once was.”

“When he announced plans to create take into public ownership Kebab production I wondered what the people of Green Lanes think!”

“The verbal abuse directed at insufficiently left-wing members of the Labour party during the leadership contest is both comic and sinister.”

“Opponents of the moronic, scraggly bearded,  rabbit food munching, dinosaur, ‘Compo’ Corbyn, who clearly needs a heart-and-brain transplant, do not stoop so low.”

“His ‘anti-Zionist’ international politics, taken from the pages of Der Stürmer are muddle-headed. Bringing an end to war is a little harder than simply declaring oneself a pacifist.”

“My plans to create a special intervention force for Syriya, backed by Turkey and the US, to save the Kurds, have some modest echo: I expect our bearded comrade Corbyn to oppose them!”

“Yesterday when  it was announced that Corbyn plans to sack everybody in Labour HQ and replace them with his own appointees, I was reminded of Pol Pot’s entry into  Phnom Penh –  about to blow up the  National Bank building on Tou Samouth Boulevard.”

“Now I hear from a reliable source that he plans to  put Tariq Ali in the House of Lords!”

The genuine heirs of the Suffragettes and the Chartists and the Tolpuddle Martyrs shouldn’t be cowed by people who view a bar of soap as a tool of capitalist oppression.

“I shall be joining the Resistance!”

Join the Free French, or, the Maquis!

 

Andy Burnham Shows Sense as Factionalist Tristram Hunt Visits Ipswich.

with 10 comments

Essential reading on where Jeremy Corbyn comes from. 

“For students of entryism, Engels’s tactics were textbook stuff: a brutally successful medley of threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Tristram Hunt on the political practice of Marx’s comrade amongst German workers in Paris the  mid-1840s.

Page 141. The Frock Coated-Communist. Penguin 2010.

Andy Burnham To Reach Out To Jeremy Corbyn

“I want to capture that and involve Jeremy and his team in rebuilding our party from the bottom up,” he said, also promising to “take the best ideas of the other candidates, where there is common ground between us, and use them to shape my radical vision”.

He said it would be “unforgivable” if infighting after the new leader is elected prevented Labour standing up to the Tories.

Sky News

Shadow Cabinet MPs form ‘the Resistance’ group in anticipation of Corbyn win.

A moderate Labour pressure group dubbed “the Resistance” is being formed by two top shadow cabinet members as Jeremy Corbyn pulls ahead in the leadership race, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt have written privately to Labour MPs calling on them to meet four days before the leadership result is announced. It is being seen by MPs as a rival to Mr Corbyn’s Left-wing  platform and the start of guerrilla warfare for Labour’s soul.

The group, Labour for the Common Good, will meet on September 8 and include some peers, council leaders and trade unionists.

Evening Standard.

Tristram Hunt supports Liz Kendall.

Dear Andrew.

This is just a reminder that Tristram Hunt MP, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, will be in Ipswich this Monday 17th August to meet with local members and supporters.

The event will take place at 33 Silent Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TF at 12.15pm. Parking can be found at Cromwell Square or at the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

RSVP to meet Tristram this Monday

We hope you can make it along!

Liz Kendall for Labour Leader
http://www.lizforleader.com/

Labour for the Common Good...

Students of Labour politics will be reaching for their copies of  Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock’s Labour by Richard Hefferman and the much missed Mike Marqusee (1992).

One of the central themes in the book is the story of how the Labour Co-ordinating Committee (LCC) emerged. From the soft left of the party it evolved into a part of what would (after Kinnock’s exit) become Blairism.

Progress, one of the leading forces in the present ‘anybody but Corbyn’ campaign carried a couple of years ago  an interesting article by Luke Akehurst  on this topic,

…the LCC did play a role in rescuing Labour, they came late to the match having been playing on the other side in the first half. The heavy lifting had already been done by the Old Right around the MPs in Labour Solidarity, the union leaders and political officers in the St Ermins Group and the newsletter ‘Forward Labour’.

We can see an attempt to reforge this bloc of the former left (in the present instance perhaps some ‘Eustonites’?) and the hard Labour right,  with Liz Kendall’s claim to promote a “new politics: blue Labour in dialogue with the revisionist tradition that started with the Gaitskellites in the 1950s.” (17th August Progress).

She states,

To make this a reality, Labour must win back economic credibility, the argument goes. In no uncertain terms, Kendall argues that Labour has to be known for being ‘careful with people’s money’.

 ‘If we’re deaf to these calls from the public for fiscal responsibility, we’ll be out of power for decades’ she warns. Turning the left’s critique on its head again, Kendall insists, ‘the politics I’m putting forward is actually the real anti-austerity politics’. When Labour puts its energies into ‘running sound public finances’ it ‘win[s] elections’, meaning Labour politicians ‘can actually stop some of the awful, vile things that the Tories are doing’. The current shadow care minister is able perhaps better than anyone currently at the top of Labour politics to identify the real divide between the Conservatives and Labour: George Osborne’s summer budget promotes ‘inherited wealth for the few’, she says, while Labour’s mission under her will be to ‘tackle the inherited poverty for too many people’. ‘This is the politics that will really be anti-austerity. It will allow us to win power and to have a totally different alternative from what the Tories are doing.’ Articulating this fundamental difference and putting flesh on the bones of a plan to achieve this is what will make clear how Labour differs from its array of competitors.

For those tempted to take these claims seriously Dave Osler’s New Labour PlC (2003) is essential reading.

‘Labour Party Plc’ tracks the party’s relationship with business from the early steps made by Neil Kinnock, to John Smith’s more overt flirting, to the love that dared speak its name under Tony Blair. David Osler looks in turn at funding of the Labour Party by rich individuals and big business, the scramble for lucrative government contracts once Labour was in office, and the way that business has been invited to help formulate government policy.

Osler suggests that one key turning point was Black Wednesday in 1992. On that day the pound was kicked out of the scheme that was the precursor to the euro and the Tories looked like they might never win another election. John Moores, director of Littlewoods football pools, described the motivation of big business in forming closer ties to the Labour Party during this period: ‘Since Labour is going to form the next government, it’s worth getting to know them.’ Another executive was more explicit in saying why he supported a New Labour initiative before the 1997 election: ‘Some of those involved are clearly dedicated Labour supporters. But most, like us, simply want to influence policy.’

This new receptiveness on the part of business was only part of the picture. Former leader John Smith signalled Labour’s desire to court business with a series of meetings with people from the City of London–dubbed the prawn cocktail offensive. Up for discussion were not just policies on the economy and companies, but also anything that might upset the wealthy.

Blair pledged to keep top-rate income tax at 40 percent in the 1997 election manifesto. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, after his £1 million donation had been returned following a scandal over tobacco advertising, explained that his gift was a result of Labour’s pledge not to raise income tax. ‘As a substantial contributor to the Inland Revenue, I have clearly benefited from this decision,’ he wrote. After all the questions about the possible link between party donations and government policy, such an explicit connection did not merit many column inches.

Socialist Review.

Meanwhile the anti-Corbyn factionalists are in disarray.

Gordon Brown declared yesterday (BBC) that Labour should not be a party of permanent protest.

He also stated,

“I have to say that if our global alliances are going to be alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there is absolutely no chance of building a world-wide alliance that can deal with poverty and inequality and climate change and financial instability, and we’ve got to face up to that fact.”

Mr Corbyn has previously described Hezbollah as “friends” and said that he wanted Hamas to be “part of the debate”.

Some points:

  • Labour supporters are not voting in the leadership contest on whether to ally with Hezbollah, Hamas, Putin, and the (late) Hugo Chávez.
  • Corbyn has, however ill-chosen some of his words have been, never  suggested an “alliance” with these forces.
  • It is up to the Labour Party, and preferably a strengthened internal democratic process, to decide on our foreign policy, not Jeremy Corbyn,

The Telegraph states,

Lord Mandelson tried to persuade the three mainstream Labour leadership candidates to quit en masse to stop leftwinger  Jeremy Corbyn and force the party to suspend the election.

It also emerged that Liz Kendall urged Yvette Cooper to stand down because Andy Burnham is the only candidate who can win – but Miss Cooper refused.

The Independent reports today:

Dozens of Labour staff members and Shadow Cabinet aides could be dismissed within hours of Jeremy Corbyn winning the party’s leadership, it has emerged.

The Independent understands that large numbers of Labour staff members are on contracts that expire the day after the new leader is elected. This means Mr Corbyn and his new shadow cabinet team will have a completely free hand at choosing who works for the party, with little or no legal obligation to existing staff.

Labour aides, who have worked for the party for the past five years, fear those around the new leader will use the opportunity to “purge” party HQ of those considered to be on the right, and replace them with people whose views are more in tune with the new leader. Other staff members intend to leave of their own volition and are understood to be already sending out their CVs in anticipation of a Corbyn victory.

Our own hope is that Leadership contenders  follow Andy Burnham’s suggestion – it follows Jeremy Corbyn’s own calls for opponents to work with him if he wins.

This will strike most people as the way forward.

Unless we wish to follow Labour for the Common Good, with its hint of “threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Alan Patridge, Jez, Mark and Super Hans Debate why Not to Vote Jeremy Corbyn

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https://i0.wp.com/www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article7697793.ece/alternates/w620/Pg-9-norwich-bbc.jpg

The Top Debate on Norfolk Nights.

Alan Partridge, “Throughout the questions I will be remaining impartial at all times. I will remain Pontius Partridge. Let battle commence!”

Mark, “Luckily we’re all English so no-one’s going to ask any questions. Thank you, centuries of emotional repression!”

Jez, “To be honest, the Corbyn fans here have been breaking my heart. YOU FUCKING IDIOT JEREMY! YOU TOTAL FUCKING IDIOT! THAT WAS YOUR JOB YOU FUCKING MORON! YOU CRETIN! YOU’RE A FUCKHEAD! THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE; A FUCKING SHITHEAD!”

Super Hans “People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can’t trust people Jez.”

Alan Partridge, ” I’ll be asking our bearded Comrade Corbyn: Which is the worst monger? Fish, iron, rumour or war?”

Mark, “I’d say, Jeremy, why do you insist on seeing the anus as some kind of human USB port, just waiting to have all kinds of hardware plugged into it?”

Jez, “He wants to spend a fortune on renationalising stuff. He backs Islamists. He’s ‘Come Mr Taliban, tally my bananas!'”

Alan Partidge, “Let me tell you something about the Andy Burnham people forget, people forget that during Andy Burnham’s speeches there are over 1000 hours of uneventful, very pleasurable listening before he hits the iceberg!”

Jez: Oh yeah. Pissed and stoned in a gas-guzzler listening to Yvette Cooper play with boys’ toys; this is the life. Already given a quid to Greenpeace this year so I’m golden.”

 

.

Jeremy Corbyn as seen by Le Monde.

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The antidote to the Blair virus.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the man who’s shifting the Labour Party towards the left.

Le Monde. Philippe Bernard

(Extracts).

Nobody would have bet a penny on Jeremy Corbyn, when the Labour Party ‘primary’  to appoint the successor to Ed Miliband – who’d immediately  resigned following his defeat in the legislative elections of May 7 – opened in mid-June.

On Tuesday an opinion poll by  YouGov gave Corbyn 53 % of the vote, 32 points above Andy Burnham, (a figure close to Ed Miliband), and 35 points ahead of the moderate candidate Yvette Cooper.

The antidote to the Blair virus

While Labour’s  failure in the General Elections is generally attributed to it taking a position too far to the  left, the emergence of one of the few party members to call himself  “socialist ” in a country where this word is equivalent to a red rag, is considered suicidal. The left of centre press has also long patronised Mr. Corbyn, attributing his popularity to the fashion for retro styles and deep dismay at the electoral failure.

But the crowds at his rallies, the broad support of local party bodies, and above all, his endorsement by the unions Unison and Unite, which finance Labour’s campaign, have now forced the media to take him seriously. Corbyn is “the antidote to the Blair virus inside Labour , “said Dave Ward on  July the 30th, bringing the Corbyn the support of the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU), 200 000 members strong. ” We reject the idea that Labour must position itself at the centre, ” he said advancing a programme in favour of “a more just distribution of wealth, jobs and decent wages.” The refusal of Harriet Harman, acting leader of the party, to condemn the drastic cuts in social benefits decided by the Cameron government has exacerbated Labour’s internal tensions.

..

For Labour’s party apparatchiks, believers in  unbridled economic liberalism and the withdrawal of the State, Jeremy Corbyn’s politics are nonsense. A frequenter of trade union pickets, an anti-monarchist, a supporter of the renationalisation of the railways,a  nuclear disarmament activist, a believer in solidarity with Palestine and an opponent of the Iraq war, the Islington MP  spends his time in Parliament opposing his own party’s line. Ascetic, vegetarian, refusing to drink alcohol and own a car, he is seen  as a caricature of a North London intellectual. From Karl Marx, he said there is ” a lot to learn” causing ripples in a BBC audience. Certainly he is in favour of staying in the  European Union, but in ” a better Europe defending social justice and not finance. “

Devoid of charisma but strong in his simple and clear demands, something totally lacking its competitors, the sexagenarian Corbyn has mobilised young people exhausted by the Cameron government’s austerity policy. Supporters see him as the British leader of a  Podemos or a Syriza. To those who say that no election victory is possible with his programme, Corbyn has replied that the Scots gave  the SNP, positioned to the left,  a landslide vote, and that in England, 36% of the electorate did not vote. He plans to mobilise the voters who abstained with a state intervention programme to ” eliminate the worst vestiges of poverty in Britain . “

Tristram Hunt, Shadow Minister of Education,  estimates “the danger is that Labour Party, a great governing party, will be reduced to a mere pressure group” . . The opponents of the rebel MP evoke  a previous Labour leader, Michael Foot, whose very left-wing programme led to the triumph of Margaret Thatcher in 1983. That programme is known as ” the longest suicide note in history. ” The complex internal electoral system in the Labour Party means that there is no certainty in Jeremy Corbyn’s victory. But whatever happens, the next Labour leader will not be able to  ignore his radical message.

Le Monde

Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2015 at 11:48 am

Jeremy Corbyn Defended our Beloved Charlie.

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JEREMY CORBYN (Parliamentary site). 

EDM 670: Defence of Journalist and Freedom of Expression

Filed under: Early Day Motions (EDM), civil liberties

That this House expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the families of those journalists, police and others who were assassinated or injured at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015; notes that this attack took place on press day, thereby increasing the casualty list and the potential damage to press freedom; considers that the perpetrators of this heinous crime must swiftly be brought to justice; further notes the bravery of individuals who work in this field despite many of them coming under attack previously, and that in carrying out their jobs they uphold the invaluable and historical right to free speech and freedom of expression which are both integral elements of democracies; acknowledges the solidarity that is being shown around the world on behalf of the victims and their colleagues in standing together in defence of civil liberties at this time; and offers its support to the NUJ in the UK and the International Federation of Journalists for their work in defending the rights of all journalists to do their job without fear of threats, intimidation and brutal murder.

More details: DEFENCE OF JOURNALISTS AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Yvette Cooper Goes Identity against ‘Boys’ Toys’ in Labour Battle.

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Yvette Cooper: Labour Should not be run by White Men.

Labour should not be run by two white men, says Cooper: Leadership contender launches stinging attack on Corbyn and says party needs a feminist approach

Yvette Cooper launched a scathing attack on Labour leadership front-runner Jeremy Corbyn yesterday and claimed the party should no longer be run by ‘white men’.

The Shadow Home Secretary insisted she was the ‘real radical’ and made the case to be Labour’s first woman leader – saying the party needed a ‘feminist approach to our economy and society’.

She hit out at the prospect of ‘a Labour Party after a century of championing equality and diversity which turns the clock back to be led again by a leader and deputy leader, both white men. Who’s the real radical? Jeremy or me

On Newsnight yesterday Cooper, married to Ed Balls, said that all the talk on transport, cars and trains, was about “toys for the Boys”.

What was needed was child care.

She is obviously proud of the expression “boys’ toys”  : it was made in Manchester the same day:

Universal free childcare should be as much the infrastructure of the modern economy as trains, planes and boys toys.

Cooper has never used boys’ toys transport.

In Manchester she also said, on Clause Four, and Corbyn’s proposals for greater public ownership,

“Bringing back clause IV? Spending billions of pounds we haven’t got switching control of some power stations from a group of white middle aged men in an energy company to a group of white middle aged men in Whitehall?”

Too right: the worst thing is that these men are white and middle aged.

Cooper was born in 1969 and is white.

She was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from  5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010.

Her new concern with welfare issues contrasts with the fact that she did nothing to reform the ‘controversial’ Work Capability Assessments and the company, ATOS, from this programme, during her term of office.

The Welfare Reform Act 2007 introduced Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) to determine who should receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Decisions were taken by officials at the DWP using evidence from the assessments, carried out by the Atos subsidiary Atos Healthcare.

During her post she the Labour government operated its latest version of the New Deal programmes (the ‘Flexible New deal’) which paved the way for Workfare and a crack down on claimants.

It was hived out to companies run by…..white and middle aged men.

With one big exception: Emma Harrison and the notorious A4E .

A4e was a company started by Emma Harrison‘s father. It was originally a Sheffield based training company, putting unemployed steel workers through a getting-back-to-work course. Emma Harrison joined the company after graduating in engineering.

After the Labour Party came to power in 1997, they introduced the back to work New Deal service for those on Jobseeker’s Allowance, requiring claimants to attend vocational training or risk losing their benefit. In the mid 2000s the government withdrew funding from Jobcentre Plus’ vocational training programmes and redirected the funds to “back to work” agencies, such as the Sheffield based company A4e. A4e quickly became the largest provider of New Deal services in the UK, and had contracts for the New Deal worth £80 million.[11][12] When the New Deal was wound down in 2010, A4e was paid a share of £63 million in “termination fees”.

A4e was awarded a contract for the Pathways to Work scheme in 2008,[with a target to get 30 per cent of participants into employment. In February 2012 the Public Accounts Committee heard the success rate was 9 per cent.[14] Committee Chair Margaret Hodge questioned why A4e had been awarded new contracts to deliver the Work Programme despite this “abysmal” performance. Conservative Committee memberRichard Bacon expressed similar concerns, asking why A4e’s “dreadful performance in one of the immediate predecessor programmes” had not been taken into account during tendering.

Wikipedia.

David Blunkett, a pillar of New Labour, was closely involved with A4E.

David Blunkett, the former secretary of state for work and pensions, has amended his entry in the House of Commons register of interests to include a trip to South Africa paid for and organised by a private training company for which he is an adviser, the Observer can reveal.

The MP for Sheffield Brightside, who resigned from the cabinet for a second time in late 2005 after breaking the ministerial code over a separate business interest, amended his entry with the House of Commons authorities last week after discussions with the Observer.

He had travelled with another person last September, on behalf of A4e, a leading employment and training firm that is bidding for multi-million pound contracts in the UK from Blunkett’s former department and is expanding its interests around the world. Blunkett consulted the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and was told: “The registrar suggests that for the avoidance of doubt it would be advisable to amend your entry to make clear that you do travel on behalf of the company.”

BBC

Blunkett is also an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn.

Writing in the Mirror at the end of July he said,

The language used by Jeremy Corbyn about combating austerity will be out of date.

The arguments about who will protect the poor from George Osborne will have passed.

Jeremy is the candidate of the Old Left, and they will have few answers for new challenges facing the Labour Party and the country in 2020.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 14, 2015 at 11:53 am

Ipswich For Corbyn.

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Rugby Tackle by Tony Blair Not Guaranteed!

The apocalyptic  mood that seems to have seized the right-wing of the Labour Party and their Eustonite friends reached a frenzy this morning:

Tony Blair: Even if you hate me, please don’t take Labour over the cliff edge.

The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes “disunity”. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.

…..

Even more so today, they do not think their challenges can be met by old-fashioned state control as the way to personal or social empowerment; they do not think breaking up Nato unilaterally is sensible; and they realise that a party without a serious deficit-reduction plan is not in these times a serious contender to govern them.

……

If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation. If he wins the leadership, the public will at first be amused, bemused and even intrigued. But as the years roll on, as Tory policies bite and the need for an effective opposition mounts – and oppositions are only effective if they stand a hope of winning – the public mood will turn to anger. They will seek to punish us. They will see themselves as victims not only of the Tory government but of our self-indulgence.

Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t offer anything new. This is literally the most laughable of all the propositions advanced by his camp. Those of us who lived through the turmoil of the 80s know every line of this script. These are policies from the past that were rejected not because they were too principled, but because a majority of the British people thought they didn’t work. And by the way, they were rejected by electorates round the world for the same reasons.

I also recall the 1980s – if you were there you would remember it.

The expression “old fashioned” was around then too.

It was used against those who wanted public influence and – yes – ownership (you can’t control what you don’t own – democratic socialist axiom), back in the ….1950s.

But at least the leading “revisionist” of that time, Tony Crossland, aimed for “social equality” and sought means to that goal ( The Future of Socialism. 1956).

In the 1980s faced with Thatcher there was a profound re-thinking on the left.

A high-point came with the Socialist Conferences (also known as the Chesterfield Conferences after the founding one) in the latter part of the decade.

They involved the left Labour Campaign group, notably Tony Benn, union and Labour Party activists, the Socialist Society (a ‘new Left’ group), left and pressure groups of all hues.

Over 2,000 people attended each of these events.

They debated  topics, Hilary Wainwright noted (in a reply to the  SWP’s dismissal of the Labour left)  such as, Left perspectives on winning the next election or Campaigning for the leadership: prospects and possibilities, the papers and workshops were on Democracy and state power, International finance, The fight for local government, The politics of race, The working class and socialism. Other events discussed feminism and socialism, green politics and constitutional reform (including Proportional Representation).

Documents emerged that offered a radical green democratic socialism based on participation and expanded rights.

Apart from that mouthful they put forward some clear ideas about workers’ rights, feminism, welfare, and constitutional change.

All this, as things boiled down in the 1990s – not forgetting the Fall of Official Communism –  to a choice between Blair and an effort to stand by the gains of social democratic public control, union rights,  and welfare.

There is also nothing new about our opponents’ rhetoric: all of this was shouted down as the foibles of the ‘hard left’ dinosaurs.

It seemed that a “multiplicity of democratic forces” in the ‘New Times’  would best be served through bolting down to the new free-market environment, and hope to add a little reform through the ‘Third Way’ (one idea that’s now so past its sell-by date that even its authors have forgotten about it).

The “modernisers” of the Labour Party, Blair and then Brown’s Cabinets, were even more electorally focused: they proposed a strategy based on an appeal  the “aspirational ” middle and working class that was indifferent to anything but their own personal interests and conservative (small and big ‘C’) values, what happened to them?

For the left the principal point about these Labour governments was that  they opened up the remains of the social democratic state to new markets (the NHS’ internal market) financing by PFI and turned over the unemployed to private profiteers, ‘providers’ of the various schemes like the New Deal.

Some of the Blair and Brown crew, and many of their immediate followers, went in for pretty old fashioned personal benefit.

One only has to look at those now benefiting in outsourcing companies like Capita to get a glimpse of that picture.

They did not bolster the position of unions – the grass-roots participatory foundation of many social rights.

On welfare they did not expand rights, or protect the “safe home” of the welfare state, but tried to reform the personal behaviour of the poor, the “socially excluded.”

They did not  up for the public goods that are needed for social equality, the universal services, the cash we have to have pumped into welfare run on a democratic basis , or freed the state from the grip of private exploiters – outsourcers –  living off the general purse.

The money they pumped into public services went as quickly as it had appeared, at the first signs of an economic crisis.

What have they done since?

In a sentence: they have not fought austerity.

Corbyn, by starting from this position opens up the possibility of re-opening the left’s imagination for those debates of the 1980s – ones which, it’s easy to see, have a great deal of present-day relevance, in new and changed forms.

One big idea that’s come back is public ownership of public provision.

This needs a pan-European approach, as developed by the Party of the European Left.

In the meantime…..

Today’s Guardian attack on Corbyn carries all the moral and principled authority that Blair can draw upon:

Tony Blair’s insatiable greed exposed by his secret deal with Saudi Arabia

John Stevens 22 January 2015.

Tony Blair has amassed a personal fortune since standing down as prime minister – often acting as an adviser to controversial businesses and regimes.

But yesterday the hefty fees he charges to act as a go-between were revealed.

A previously secret contract with a Saudi oil company headed by a member of the country’s royal family has been leaked showing Mr Blair charging £41,000 a month and 2 per cent commission on any of the multi-million-pound deals he helped broker.

The emergence of the Saudi deal led to new criticism of Mr Blair’s role as a Middle East envoy, but he strongly denied there is a conflict of interest.

The contract between Tony Blair Associates (TBA) and PetroSaudi signed in November 2010, said Mr Blair would personally arrange introductions to his contacts in China, such as senior politicians.

He had already attracted scathing criticism after it emerged that he had given Kazakhstan’s autocratic president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of 14 unarmed civilians.

Mr Blair has said claims that he is worth £100million are ‘greatly exaggerated’. But the Saudi contract shows how much he has been able to charge for his services.

Since leaving Downing Street in 2007, he has amassed a fortune including a property portfolio of 31 homes worth at least £25million.

He is one of the world’s best paid speakers – earning up to £150,000 a speech – and has secured advisory roles with US investment bank JP Morgan and Swiss insurer Zurich International.

The Saudi contract stated that TBA would help find potential sources of new investment and added that Mr Blair would make ‘introductions to the senior political leadership, industrial policymakers, corporate entities and other persons in China identified and deemed by us and you to be relevant to PetroSaudi’s international strategy’.

The firm agreed it would not divulge his role without permission.

Meanwhile we learn that Ipswich Top Tory Kevin Algar has joined the Eustonite attack on Corbyn:

Jeremy Corbyn Signed Commons Motion Looking Forward To Asteroid Killing All Humans

The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn once declared his support for an asteroid killing every human on the planet – because of PIGEONS.

The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies.

Adding his name to the motion alongside fellow Labour MPs John McDonnell and Tony Banks, Corbyn felt it was right to highlight the issue – and wanted an asteroid to obliterate every human on the planet for being “cruel and uncivilised”.

Alan Johnson Writes Love Poetry for Tessa ‘Kylie’ Jowell as London Mayor.

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Tessa is a Star: Labour’s Kylie!

Hat-Tip: The Strop.

It starts with a look,

Then a double take,

Then a smile,

A moment to work up the confidence and then they come over.

Tessa cannot leave the house,

without meeting new people,

who want to say hello.

I have seen this a hundred times,

and believe me it’s not normal –

no other politician inspires such warmth.
Tessa is a star.

She is Labour’s Kylie – everyone,

loves her,

and she only needs a first name.

She has a remarkable way,

with people,

that generates real affection.

But that’s not,

why I’m backing her to be Mayor.

I backed Tessa,

right from the start,

because,

she has,

the right values to make London,

a fairer place to live.

Through Sure Start,

and the Olympics,

she has a record,

of delivery,

that is second,

to none, and I know she can beat the Tories.

And today, I’m more sure,

than ever

But it’s not just because the opinion polls show she’s the only candidate who can beat the Tories,

– though they do and by,

a country mile.

It’s because she has set out a genuinely compelling vision.

One London – where everyone can share in the city’s success.

Thanks,

Alan Johnson MP

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 12, 2015 at 11:45 am

The Wit and Wisdom of the anti-Corbyn Campaign.

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Ruled the Earth a lot longer than New Labour.

DOMINIC LAWSON: Comrade Corbyn’s biggest problem? He never smiles! (Even though his Marxist views are such a joke).

20th July.

On Tuesday a former aide to Mr Blair said the MPs who nominated the left-winger to encourage debate were “morons”.

22nd July.

Tony Blair, “mocked people who say their political heart wants to support Mr Corbyn, telling them bluntly: ‘Get a transplant.’

22nd July.
And so it goes:

In the last few days we’ve had this:

 

 

Nick Cohen,

Worse than the tyrannophilla, from a practical point of view, is that Corbyn does not have a chance of winning the 2020 general election.

August the 9th.

An ‘interview’ with Jeremy Corbyn

Cross-Post, August 10th 2015, 8:54 pm

Interviewer: Salah has propagated the blood libel, claiming that Jews bake bread with the blood of gentile children.

Corbyn: I’m no expert on culinary matters – there are more important issues facing our society, after all – and never had any reason to chat about recipes with him. But all that is beside the point. How am I supposed to fulfill my diplomatic mission to make peace between Raed Salah and the UK if I DON’T praise him effusively?

Interviewer: Salah has also boasted about taunting a Jewish teacher with a drawing of a swastika.

Corbyn: If I only campaigned on behalf of people who DON’T bait Jews with swastikas, I’d never get out of the house. That can’t be the solution.

Harry’s Place.

Oh our aching sides!

The British Left’s Hypocritical Embrace of Islamism: a Reply to Maajid Nawaz.

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The British Left’s Hypocritical Embrace of Islamism.

Maajid Nawaz writes, in the Daily Beast,

The desire to impose religion over society is otherwise known as theocracy. Being veterans of the struggle to push back against fundamentalist Christians, American liberals are well acquainted with the pitfalls of the neoconservative flirtation with the religious-right. How ironic, then, that in Europe it is those on the left—led by the Guardian—who flirt with religious theocrats. For in the UK, our theocrats are brown, from minority communities, and are overwhelmingly Muslim.

Stop: if Nawaz considers that the Guardian is representative of the ‘left’ then there is a problem here. The paper officially backed the Liberal Democrats an election ago, – his party – not even going far enough to the left to support Labour.

True there are plenty of columnists for the Guardian (and exceptions, does he ever read Polly Toynbee?) like Reverend Giles Fraser, who have a soft spot for Islamism and spend their time wittering away about “shared identities” and linking Islamist “radicalism” with a fight against injustice.. Some, like Seumas Milne (who has stronger  claims to be on the left),  think that the struggle for progressive principles runs so far ‘within’ Islamism that he could back the right-wing Ennahda  party in Tunisia for its apparent calls for ‘social justice’ against left-wing secularist parties.

The Guardian also opened its pages to writers who loathed Charlie Hebdo, and French secularism, at the time of the Islamist attack on the Weekly, and the murder of Jewish customers at Hyper- Casher.

Seumas Milne denounced Charlie for repeated pornographic humiliation.” of the Prophet. Fraser felt the pain of “a beleaguered, economically fragile Muslim community”.

While condemning the killings with a sentence or two,  they immediately went out of their way to understand the ‘anger’ of people at seeing rude cartoons about their religion.

These people, and they include would apparently set up a list of rules and regulation to govern what is satire and what is not. It should, we heard endlessly, only attack the ‘powerful’. That, according to Will Self, we should drop the “sexual fetish” of defending the right of people to express themselves freely.

It was no doubt no coincidence that Respect’s MP,  George Galloway was particularly keen on a set of regulations to keep in check people’s tendency to make fun of others.

For those who came up with their hare-brained idea we can only guess that at their public schools they  had read Juvenal’s line

…difficile est saturam non scribere. nam quis iniquaetam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se

It is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself.

Yup, injustice, that’s all satire should be about.

But one doubts if their ‘rules’ can fit Viz magazine’s idea of satire:

https://40.media.tumblr.com/d8b147fa7dbc341d3a74323a6295a52b/tumblr_ndpet99xRw1r7pphso1_500.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/i762.photobucket.com/albums/xx262/SteveStrummerGB/Viz.png

I jest.

On the left there were others who stood with those who would regulate free speech to suit the demands of ‘Muslims’, and some (like a former supporter of your party Nawaz, the Liberal Democrat voting, Tariq Ali, as well as more obvious sources, like the Socialist Workers Party) who essentially claimed that Charlie “had it coming”.

But there were plenty of left-wing people, and organisations who stood with the martyrs of Charlie.

Groups like the Alliance for Workers Liberty, the paper, the Weekly Worker, and, more importantly countless Facebook friends, democratic socialists, social democrats, liberals and believers in human rights – hundreds of thousands of left-wing and liberal people in this country wept at the murders of our beloved comrades at Charlie and the Jewish victims of the anti-Semite killers  and stood up against Islamist violence when it counted.

Your write,

There is a natural fear among Europe’s left, that challenging Islamist extremism can only aid Europe’s far-right. But the alternative to this fear must not be to instead empower theocratic fascism. There is a way to both challenge those who want to impose islam, and those who wish to ban Islam. It has not escaped me, nor other liberal Muslims, that while challenging Islamist extremism we must remain attentive to protecting our civil liberties. We are born of this struggle, after all.

Some of us are born of this struggle as it echoed in the United Kingdom. and across the world:

The Real Origins of Secularism.

Secularism, in the form of laïcité, was the product of the 19th, not the 18th century. As Georges Weill explained (Histoire de l’idée laïque en France au XXe siècle. 1929, new edition, 2004) it was during the 1840s that the idea that administration and government of the country should be free from any religious power, emerged. Edgar Quinet ( 1803 – 1875) was one of the first to advocate a “une séparation complète radicale” of religious institutions from the State (Page 147 – 149)

Quinet’s emphasis on the idea of secular education, “l’école laïque ” was to be at the centre of all the subsequent fights for laïcité. Jules Ferry, who created the basis for a republican education system liberated from the –Catholic Church –, was only able to begin to realise this ideal after the Second Empire, under clerical domination, had fallen. The Third Republic (founded 1875) was rocked by divisions on the issue. It was only in 1905 that France saw a real separation of Church and State (with numerous exceptions, notably concerning private Catholic education, which continued, with subsidies).

Weill indicates that far from being the result of a violent hostility to religion French secularism originates in four sources. The first came from ‘Galician’ Catholics who opposed the ultramontagne power of the Pope over their own affairs, and, as the century progressed from Catholics who became attached to republican ideals. The second was amongst liberal Protestants, who had obvious (and blood-stained) reasons to distrust the power of the official Church. A third were desists, who wanted religion, illuminated by science, to be free from the doctrinal control of Papal Curia.

Only in the fourth category, the “libres penseurs”, can we find those with some debt to Hébert. The early workers’ movement owed a debt to Christian belief, particularly to Lamenais’ Paroles d’un croyant (1834), which rooted Christianity in democracy and social causes (in many respects more advanced than British ‘Christian socialism’ and still worth reading). But as the century progressed anti-clericalism spread amongst the socialists as well as amongst those who would become the so-called ‘Radical Socialist’ party (the word ‘radical’ comes from the British ‘radicals’ like John Stuart Mill). Many of the popular classes simply abandoned religion. 

For myself this is one part of the socialist heritage: the ‘synthesis’ between democratic Marxism and universal human rights for which  one of our greatest martyrs, Jean Jaurès, was assassinated.

Note that many secularists are ‘believers’.

Secularism is freedom to believe….

At a time when our comrades are again being slaughtered in Bangladesh for the crime of criticising  Islam and Islamists in the shape of the genocidal Daesh movement are attacking minorities, enslaving, and as you say…..

Will you join with this movement?

Back the Kurdish fighters, and the brace voices for secularism and freedom in every country – in many cases people deeply rooted in the Left?

The choice is for everybody.

Call for International Convoy for the Opening of Humanitarian Corridor from Turkey to Kobane.

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https://i2.wp.com/helpkobane.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/coridor-660x330.jpg

 

 Call for Participation in an International Convoy for the Opening of Humanitarian Corridor from Turkey to Kobane

On 15the of September 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) launched the first large scale attack against the canton of Kobanê in Syria. The Kurdish people living there, led by the People’s Protection Units of (YPG and YPJ) organized a historical war of resistance to defend themselves against the attack. The resistance of the men and women in Kobanê was, and remains, a fight for democracy, human rights, a common future, and equality of women in society.

Kobanê was liberated after 134 days of intense resistance, but the attacks from ISIS continue:
Between 25th and 27th June 2015, ISIS committed another massacre in Kobanê, where more than 200 civilians, most of them women and children, were brutally murdered.

Soon after, on the 20th of July 2015, a suicide bomber exploded in the cultural centre of Amara in Suruç in Turkey. The centre has been an important reference place for international solidarity with Kobanê, with large numbers of activists visiting and congregating there. The blast killed 32 people, and left over a 100 injured among the youth of the Young Socialist Organization, who wished to participate in the reconstruction of Kobanê.

Following this last attack, and while also maintaining a humanitarian blockade on Kobanê, Turkey declared its intention to join the International Coalition against ISIS. Instead, Turkey implemented a policy of ferocious attack on Kurdish positions that belonged to the YPG, the YPJ and the PKK, who have been the only forces effective against ISIS. Simultaneously, Turkey has launched a repressive campaign towards the supporters of the Turkish Left and pro-Kurdish opposition parties such as HDP, DBP and DTK. In the process Turkey has arrested more than 1,300 people, including a number of children.

Nevertheless, the resistance of Rojava continues, and Kobanê needs international support more than ever. Essential services such as water, electricity, food supplies and health care are still lacking or non-existent. It is also crucial that that the thousands of refugees return to their city safely, and support the reconstruction of the city in efforts towards normalisation of life for the traumatised community.

To date, Rojava and the region remain besieged by ISIS. The opening of the border with Turkey is essential in maintain a steady supply of aid and support for traumatised and war torn communities, including hundreds of thousands of refugees who lack access to basic needs and services. The population of Kobanê therefore urgently needs a humanitarian corridor to receive the necessary aid and relief in order to protect, supply and rebuild their city.

Further, after the liberation of Kobanê, anti-Isis Kurdish forces have captured strategic cities like Tal Abyad, Ain Issa, Sarrin, and Hasaka, and continue advancing toward liberating villages of the Raqqa region, the capital of ISIS in Syria. Each of these communities are in desperate need of international aid and services, which only a humanitarian corridor can address. Turkey’s continued prevention in allowing humanitarian aid to cross into Syria is in direct violation of human rights and international law.

The reconstruction of Kobanê, and humanitarian support for Rojava, is essential in cementing the only possible path for democratization of Syria and the entire area. In contrast, the objective of Turkey is to create a buffer zone between the cantons of Kobanê and Afrin, which will facilitate advancement of jihadist and other terrorist forces that endanger hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian lives. This current situation requires an extraordinary mobilization of international solidarity to support the Kurdish people.

Therefore, we invite individual activists, institutions, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, feminist groups, environmentalist groups, youth organisations, concerned citizens, and local and international authorities to participate in a large international caravan to promote peace, by making a public international call for the opening of a humanitarian corridor between Turkey and Syria. The Humanitarian Caravan will urge the UN to assure the opening of another border crossing, based on the implementation of the Resolution 2165 of 14 July 2014, article 2.

Tuesday, the 15th of September 2015, will mark the anniversary of the first ISIS attack on Kobanê. On this date we aim to stand in solidarity with the people of Kobanê and Rojava in the border town of Suruç (Pirsus) between the 15t-17th, to express our political support, and request the entry of a humanitarian convoy to Kobanê as a concrete act of international solidarity.

We hope to see as many international supporters on the 15th in Suruç.

Solidarity Committee
For further information and registration please contact : carovana15settembre@gmail.com

Facebook here.

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ANKARA, Turkey – Recent Turkish airstrikes against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party in northern Iraq have killed 390 PKK members and injured 400, Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency on Sunday quoted unidentified security sources as saying.

“Turkish security sources are claiming to have killed a total of 390 militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in a series of recent air strikes against rebel targets in northern Iraq,” the agency said.

“An anonymous security force source also told Anadolu Agency that 400 PKK insurgents were injured in the attacks,” the agency added.

Giving a partial list of targets, it said they included an air raid on the Bokriskan region of Iraq, in which a PKK battalion commander, identified as Sehit Dilan, was killed along with four other leaders, and 30 other militants were wounded.

More than 20 PKK members, including the head of its women’s branch – identified by her code name Gulten – were killed in an attack on the group’s Zergele camp in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Qandil mountains.

In Enze in northern Iraq, buildings used as PKK headquarters were destroyed and almost 30 female militants were killed, according to the sources quoted by AA.

It added that, “More than 20 security force personnel have been killed in attacks mostly attributed to the PKK and at least 1,300 people arrested in operations targeting various militant groups.”

Tensions in Turkey escalated after the PKK claimed responsibility for assassinating two policemen in Gaziantep last month, ending a shaky peace process with Ankara that began in 2013.

The latest hostilities have brought that peace process to a halt.

A fortnight ago, Turkish air force jets and artillery began a hail of attacks against the PKK, including airstrikes and artillery fire on PKK camps in the Kurdistan Region’s Qandil Mountains.

Rudaw.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 10, 2015 at 11:42 am

Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Clause Four Moment”.

with 5 comments

Worth Reading Again. 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when socialist ideas appear to have a real possibility of gaining political influence in the United Kingdom the anti-left and anti-socialist liberal media is never in want of a response.”

Tales about Trotksyist, Green, Tory and Communist entryists joining or becoming sympathisers of the Labour Party have run, and run and run.

Most people will wonder what reaction those who, in their tens of thousands, have become members of the Labour Party, or signed up , will have.

No doubt they will not all welcome being the object of suspicion.

Or, those, who, like myself, have helped Labour out in a small way for several years during local elections, enjoy thinking that they may be the subject of an intensive investigation into our political affiliations.

But this is nothing to what is about to come with the latest news about Corbyn’s support for a new look at  Clause Four.

We had a flavour of what’s in store yesterday.

* (who believes in charging people to enter public museums) in the Guardian (Labour centrists like me aren’t cynics: we’re the truly ethical wing of the left)  evoked his personal memories of actually existing socialism.

He mentioned, “soup swimming with sausage fat in the decaying hostel of the Komsomol..”.gruel ladelled out from huge tubs at Moscow airport and bought a drink at a shop where there were separate tills for each of the small range of commodities.”

The arts editor of the liberal paper observes, “I was seeing pure socialism – and everyone I met was exploding with joy to escape from it.”

A “serious and committed Marxist” in his student years, who tried to find “kulaks” in the English Civil War (why, one might possibly  ask?) sums up his critique of Corbyn, “I can’t help thinking today’s bold neo-Marxist concepts like “the 1%” and “austerity” are equally unmoored from real lives. Indeed Greece has already found out what anti-austerity means in practice.”

So that’s been told. Austerity is a “neo-Marxist concept”.

No prizes for guessing how Jones and his friends will react to today’s news.

Jeremy Corbyn to ‘bring back Clause IV’: Contender pledges to bury New Labour with commitment to public ownership of industry

“Corbyn reveals that he wants to reinstate Clause Four, the hugely symbolic commitment to socialism scrapped under Tony Blair 20 years ago, in its original wording or a similar phrase that weds the Labour Party to public ownership of industry.

“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring the Clause Four as it was originally written or it’s a different one, but I think we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.

“I’m    interested in the idea that we have a more inclusive, clearer set of objectives. I would want us to have a set of objectives which does include public ownership of some necessary things such as rail.”

Independent on Sunday. 

The original Clause Four was drafted by the Fabian Sidney Webb. It was adopted by the Labour Party in 1918.

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

The idea that public ownership should follow one pattern of government appointed boards with only indirect  Parliamentary control  – what is known as Morrisonian nationalisation – was far from anybody’s minds at the time.

In 1920  Sidney Webb , Beatrice Potter Webb  published the Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain which outlined a society in which two chambers, of producers, consumers democracy, in an overarching political elected system.

There were other ideas, including G.H.Cole’s workers’ control plans in  Self-Government in Industry (1917, revised 1920).

Since that time, and since 1945, there have been a variety of socialist proposals for public ownership.

The last with any serious impact were elaborated in the 1970s:   Britain: The 1970s and the movement for workers’ control. Andrew Coates  (Links Magazine).

The failures of the free market make these ideas relevant again.

As you can read about in left journals, like Labour Briefing, a magazine Jeremy Corbyn has been associated with for several decades and the Labour Representation Committee.

Eastern Daily Press. Outside Corbyn Meeting Norwich.

Jeremy Corbyn is right: we need to look at these ideas and not fall back on the market, or rather the organised profiting from state subsidies for privately contracted out ‘public services’ and the profiteering of the utilities and railway companies.

This, in effect, what is being proposed, not a reinstatement of the old Clause.

As the Corbyn Campaign says (Mirror),

“He says we need some forms of discussion about public ownership objectives for the 21st century and in some cases, such as rail, on which matter Labour needs to reflect more closely the views of the majority of the public.”

That this will be a fight is obvious from another headline in the paper’s this morning,

Labour’s biggest individual donors have pledged to stop giving money if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader in a move that could leave the party almost entirely dependent on trade union funding.

Five senior donors have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn’s victory would be “disastrous” and could lead to Labour being locked out of power for decades.

Millions of pounds of funding from businessmen may be withheld if the Mr Corbyn, the hard-Left candidate and apparent front-runner, wins the contest on September 12.

It is the first time the party’s biggest financial backers have spoken out about Mr Corbyn, with only John Mills, the party’s top individual donor, having voiced concerns until now.

The revelation has triggered fears that Labour’s attempts to rebuild links with industry would be undermined and its dependence on union funding heightened under Mr Corbyn.

Telegraph.

I also think that a new Clause Four backing public ownership will have the effect of getting rid of the clinging faith that the SNP is left-wing. not to mention putting the cat amongst the pigeons of the Green Party.

* Jonathan Jones is a hot contender with Giles Fraser nominated by Shiraz for the “most annoying” semi-literate commentator in the mainstream UK media.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 9, 2015 at 11:08 am

Fourth Bangladeshi Blogger, Niloy Neel, Hacked to Death: All our Solidarity and Love to our Bangladeshi Comrades!

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The saga of bloggers killing continues. After a brief pause for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, blogger killing have now resumed.

Niloy Neel, an organizer of Science and Rationalist Association Bangladesh feared for his life after the killing spree started in Bangladesh earlier this  year. A number of Author, blogger, organizer was killed one after another.

Niloy finished his Masters of Philosophy from Dhaka University in 2013. Then he started working for an NGO.

The killing took place at his residence, killer entered home in the disguise of a tenant. They were 4 individuals who took part in the crime. We’re still trying to construct the events through witness accounts.

His body has been mutilated beyond recognition.

It all happened midday on the Friday the 7th of August, 2015.

This post will be updated regularly. 

Khilgaon police OC Mustafizur Rahman told bdnews24.com that ‘Niloy’ was slaughtered in his flat on the fourth floor of a building at North Gorhan around 1:45pm on Friday.

He said five assailants had entered the flat in two groups after the Juma prayers and killed him.

Niloy, the fourth blogger to be murdered this year, lived in that flat with his family.

Imran H Sarker, the Ganajagaran Mancha spokesperson, told bdnews24.com that Niloy was an activist of the platform, carrying on a movement demanding a ban on Islamist parties and the maximum punishment for 1971 war criminals.

“Niloy was also a regular blogger,” he added.

Sarker said the attackers had entered the building posing as potential tenants.

In February, writer-blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death near Dhaka University’s TSC.

A month later, another blogger Oyasiqur Rahman was killed in a similar fashion in the capital as violence against secularists continued.

Two months later, secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed in Sylhet.

All three killed were involved with the Ganajagaran Mancha.

In May, terror group al-Qaeda’s Indian offshoot had claimed responsibility for the killing of secular bloggers in Bangladesh whom it described as ‘blasphemers’.

Radical group Ansar Bangla also claimed responsibility for the deaths.

Two years ago, Mancha activist Ahmed Rajib Haider, another blogger, was hacked to death near his Mirpur home in Dhaka.

The BBC has just published the story:

A Bangladeshi blogger known for his secular views has been hacked to death by a gang armed with machetes in the capital Dhaka, police say.

Niloy Neel was attacked at his home in the city’s Goran area.

He is the fourth secularist blogger to have been killed this year by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh.

Mr Neel was on a list of bloggers viewed as targets by the militants, the head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network told AFP news agency.

Imran H Sarkar said the attackers entered Mr Neel’s room, “shoved his friend aside and then hacked him [Neel] to death”.

BBC South Asia editor Charles Haviland says that, like previous victims, Mr Neel was not only secular but atheist and like two of the others he was from a Hindu, not a Muslim, background.

Police said about six attackers had tricked their way into Mr Neel’s home by saying they were looking to rent a flat.

“Two of them then took him to a room and slaughtered him there,” deputy police commissioner Muntashirul Islam said.

“His wife was in the flat but she was confined to another room.”

All our solidarity and love to our beloved Bangladeshi comrades.

Le fascisme ne passera pas!

Update: (Bangladesh. Star)

Ansar-Al-Islam, Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent, has claimed responsibility for the killing of blogger Niladri Chattopadhyay terming him an enemy of Allah.

Read more: Yet another blogger killed

In an email sent to media houses in Bangladesh, it said, “Alhamdulillah! Mujahidin of Ansar-Al-Islam (AQIS, Bangladesh Branch) carried out an operation to slaughter an enemy of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (peace & blessings be upon him), whose name is Niloy Chowdhury Neel.”
However, the authenticity of the email issued by Mufti Abdullah Ashraf, who claimed himself to be the spokesman of Ansar-Al-Islam, could not be verified independently.
The online activist Niladri Chattopadhyay, 40, was stabbed to death by unknown assailants at his East Goran residence in Dhaka this afternoon.
A group of four youths stabbed the blogger indiscriminately in his flat on the 4th floor of a five-storey building around 1:30pm, the victim’s wife Asha Moni told The Daily Star.

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 7, 2015 at 11:53 am

Giles’s Grandmother Goes Jeremy Corbyn in Ipswich.

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Latest Recruit to Corbyn Campaign: Giles’s Grandmother.

As Trotskyist infiltrators swarm to tonight’s Jeremy Corbyn meeting in Norwich Ipswich saw a new supporter of the Labour leadership candidate: The Grandma statue, based on the character in Carl Giles’s cartoons.

https://no81bob.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/giles-grandma.jpg?w=700

 

She is a merry soul these days.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 6, 2015 at 11:26 am

Labour Party Leader Election and French Socialist Party ‘Primary’

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Hysteria in UK at Labour Party Leadership Open Election. 

Such is the cultural cringe of the British media towards the USA that journalists have restored to comparing the Labour Party leadership election to the American Democrat primaries.

The Guardian explains Corbyn to an ‘international’ (that us, US) audience by saying that, “Like Bernie Sanders in the US Corbyn is a reminder that voters today seem to crave authenticity and a challenge to to the status quo – even if, in the final analysis, that may not necessarily be an electable one.”

But there is a comparison to a political party a lot nearer to home, and, both culturally and politically, far closer to the British left than the American Democrats: the French Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste).

Looking at the PS  even more important than that the French Socialists  held their own first “open” elections to decide on its leader in 2011. 

The 2011 French Socialist Party presidential primary was the first open primary (primaires citoyennes) of the French Socialist Party and Radical Party of the Left for selecting their candidate for the 2012 presidential election. The filing deadline for primary nomination papers was fixed at 13 July 2011 and six candidates competed in the first round of the vote. On election day, 9 October 2011, no candidate won 50 percent of the vote, and the two candidates with the most votes contested a runoff election on 16 October 2011: François Hollande won the primary, defeating Martine Aubry.

To participate you had to:

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

 

Around 2,700,000 voters participated in the first round, and  2,900,000 voters in the second.

Results of first round:

 Summary of the 8–9 and 15–16 October 2011 French Socialist Party presidential primary
Candidates Parties 1st round 2nd round
Votes  % Votes  %
François Hollande Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 1,038,207 39.17% 1,607,268 56.57%
Martine Aubry Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 806,189 30.42% 1,233,899 43.43%
Arnaud Montebourg Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 455,609 17.19%
Ségolène Royal Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 184,096 6.95%
Manuel Valls Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 149,103 5.63%
Jean-Michel Baylet Radical Party of the Left (Parti Radical de Gauche) PRG 17,055 0.64%
Total 2,650,259 100.00% 2,860,157 100.00%

About the only incident that sticks in the mind is that Martine Aubry accused the media of favouring François Hollande (More details here).

Nobody, to my recollection had a wobbly about the possibility of “infiltration” by the ‘hard left’ or right-wing.

This would indeed be something of a joke given that the present General Secretary of the Parti Socialiste, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, is a former cadre of one the hardest of hardest Trotskyist groups, the ‘Lambertists’.

The only real surprise was that Arnaud Montebourg, the left-wing candidate, and author of  Votez pour la démondialisation ! (an anti-economic liberal vision of globalisation, aimed at controlling finance), and a supporter of a new, radically democratic, ‘6th republic’, came from roughly nowhere to get 17,9%.

At the time Progress supporter Will Straw observed (Left Foot Forward. 2011)

 The French Socialist Party’s presidential primaries point the way ahead for British political parties, to the great benefit our democracy

The issue of primaries was discussed in a Progress fringe at Labour party conference. David Lammy, Jessica Asato and I spoke in favour with Luke Akehurst (and a number of people in the audience) expressing reservations.

Key points for the case against included concerns about the cost and whether primaries would actually re-engage voters in the democratic process. The Socialist Party’s (PS) experiment with primaries to select their candidate for President has given the clearest possible response.

On Comment is Free, political commentator, Agnes Poirer, explained that five million people had watched the final debate last Wednesday and wrote:

“It’s called primaries fever. It’s taking place all over France and should last another week. Although, in theory, only affecting the people of the left, even the right has showed early symptoms…

If a million people vote today, it will be a success for democracy. A bigger turnout would give an incredible legitimacy to the left’s candidate.”

In the end, 2.5 million people took part each paying a minimum of €1. In total, I’m told by a PS insider that the party collected between €3.2 million and €3.7 million – allowing for a significant profit once costs are taken into consideration.

Since no candidate took 50 per cent of the vote, there will be a run off this coming Sunday between François Hollande, who came first with 39 per cent, and Martine Aubrey, who secured 31 per cent. Ultimately the Socialists will end up with a significant war chest to fight President Sarkozy at the next election.

Even more significantly, the PS collected contact details for more than 1 million people making it far easier to mobilise large numbers of volunteers for the campaign.

As Daniel Hannan MEP understands:

“The eventual winner… will begin with a large corpus of emotionally committed supporters.”

The Conservative party, of course, experimented with primaries to select candidates like Sarah Wollaston in Totnes. Her independence has made them increasingly reluctant to fulfil the coalition programme commitment to hold 200 primaries ahead of the next general election. But democracy campaigners should hold them to it and push for primaries for the mayoral elections and for the selection of the elected police commissioners.

I would add that the Montebourg surge indicated that the best laid plans of France’s Progress types could come undone.

Unfortunately, despite only getting 5,63% of the vote, the lone French Blairite, Manuel Valls, is now Prime Minister!

If Progress seems to have conveniently forgotten its own recent past there is plenty more to think about here:

 wrote in 2011. (Institute for Government)

A novel experiment in democratic participation is under way on the other side of the Channel. Following recent rule changes, the French Socialist Party (PS) has offered all registered voters the chance to vote on the party’s candidate to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s presidential poll.

The first round of these new primaires citoyennes (citizen’s primary election) took place this past Sunday, with around 2.5 million people participating. The top two candidates – Francois Hollande and Martine Aubry – now go forward to a second, decisive round next week.

This innovation comes at a time when the Labour Party has itself just taken a small step towards opening its own selection procedures to the public. The next time Labour selects a new leader or deputy, ‘registered supporters’ will be entitled to take part, although the share of the electoral college allocated to this group will be a measly 3%, perhaps rising to 10% later.

What could be drawn from this process? Paun observed,

Read the rest of this entry »

Sebastian Budgen – Risée du Monde – Out to ‘Get’ the Charnel House.

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Sebastian Budgen: Family Grocers Does Excellent Tuck!

This story on Charnel House is the talk of the Left,

Stumbled across an amazing database of free Marxist PDFs, the posts of which seems to be password protected but whose files are nevertheless accessible.

See the site for details.

The post cites Budgen’s response to people who download for free:

“…before the internet people had to actually go to the photocopying shop. Now they don’t even have to do that and they are outraged when they can’t download the stuff for free. Fuckers – I hate them so much…

I make a distinction between the honest downloaders who do it discreetly and will spend money when they have it and the loud-mouthed freeloading scum who have no interest in or understanding of how to build a counterhegemonic apparatus.

I’m not just interested in people being customers but in recognising, to the extent that they are leftists, that they should be involved in building a counterhegemonic apparatus. The anarchoids and lazy leftists of today don’t get that so they act like the lowest petty bourgeois individualist swine.”

Sebastian Budgen, of Verso books and Historical Materialism, on download culture and downloaders, Oct 2012.

Sebastian Budgen Memorial Page.

There are many reasons to dislike Bugden’s politics as well:

We strongly suspect he has something to do with propagating the “anti-race mixing”  Indigènes de la République in the oddly named  Jacobin and the promotion of the sympathiser of this group – the militant wing of anti-colonial studiesChristine Delphy, by Verso.

Budgen has the “chic” for getting himself loathed.

We express our solidarity with comrade Ross Wolfe who has been the object of this attack by the Owl of the Verso Remove:

Maybe I’d feel a bit worse about linking to all these texts if Budgen weren’t such a whiny crybaby. Hard to sympathize with him, however, after he put out this ridiculous burn notice against me a couple months back, urging other leftists to erect a cordon sanitaire around me. Leftists should “shun” and “no platform” me, defriending anyone who posts or shares links to this blog. Kind of reminds me of a recent Clickhole article, “Uncompromising: This Tyrant Unfriends All Dissidents as an Example to the Rest,” which describes “[a] despotic maniac rules with an iron fist of callous indifference, unfriending anyone who dares go against something he posts.”

Childishness and grandiosity aside, though, this is a great list of books. Grab them while you can, but don’t despair if they’re removed before you get the chance. Someone will repost them eventually, probably sooner than later. Enjoy.

Update (LOL): Seems he’s now asking ppl to report anyone who so much as links to this post. *impotent buttrage intensifies*.

The poor puffer seems to have forgotten the gentlemanly etiquette of the Eton Wall Game.

report-to-me-anyone-who-shares-that-charnel-house-post

As he would no doubt love to call for similar action against Coatesism and all of its works we can only say: arise ye starvlings from your slumbers and feast on Budgen’s hampers!

Open source Marxism: Free PDFs from Historical Materialism, Verso, and Jacobin.

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Andrew Coates:

Sebastian Budgen does do excellent Christmas Hampers. ” Sebastian Budgen — until recently a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party in Britain (prior to its 2013 rape scandal), commissioning editor of Historical Materialism, Verso Books, New Left Review, and now also Jacobin — take exception when similar demands are placed on books released by their own companies. Budgen of course claims that the printing presses he works for are not ordinary companies, but rather integral parts of a “counterhegemonic apparatus” that will someday challenge hegemonic capitalism.

The Association of Musical Marxists captured this hilarious sense of exceptionalism on their “Sebastian Budgen Memorial Download Page,” featuring one of his trademark outbursts against those who illegally download books……”

Originally posted on The Charnel-House:

.
Stumbled across an amazing database of free Marxist PDFs, the posts of which seems to be password protected but whose files are nevertheless accessible. (You can click any of the hundreds of links below to download them directly, since the post itself is locked). Even if these get taken down, as seemed to happen with the Fuck V£R$0 blog a few years ago, the cat is already out of the bag. As Novara Media pointed out following the Lawrence & Wishart copyright controversy in 2014, once published these things tend to obey the logic of the so-called “Streisand effect.” They explained that “[the] attempt to ban or censor something will tend to increase its prominence and breadth of dissemination. The instantly and near-infinitely replicable quality of digital information makes this easy.”

In their view, this is just one of “Seven Reasons ‘Radical’ Publishers are Getting OWNED by the Internet.”

View original 2,962 more words

Written by Andrew Coates

August 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

Kurds: We will liberate Shengal and Kurdistan to honour the genocide victims.

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YBSh (HPG-affiliated Ezidi force in #Shengal) celebrated its first anniversary today.

We will liberate Shengal and Kurdistan to honour the genocide victims

From the Kurdish Question.

The People’s Defense Centre (HSM) Headquarters Command has released a statement on the anniversary of the Shengal genocide perpetrated by ISIS gangs against the Kurdish Êzîdî people in South Kurdistan.

Condemning the perpetrators of the savage genocide vehemently, and describing it as a black mark of humanity in the 21st century, HSM commemorated all the people martyred in this genocide and in the following resistance, the youths and fighters of the Êzîdî people, guerrillas and peshmergas, and pledged to liberate Shengal and Kurdistan to honor their memory. HSM also vowed to bring the powers behind this mass killing to book.

‘WE WOULD OBVIOUSLY NOT REMAIN SILENT TO THE ISIS EXECUTIONS IN SHENGAL’

“It was obvious that the Kurdish freedom and guerrilla forces wouldn’t remain silent to the ISIS executions in Shengal on seeing that those meant to defend that region retreated from the scene instead of resisting”, said HSM Headquarters Command and recalled the followings as to how Shengal survived ISIS genocide one year ago.

“Risking all the dangers, HPG started an initiative to stop the genocide against Êzîdî people through an intervention in Shengal area on August 3.

Battalion forces dispatched to Shengal on August 3,4 and 5, also with the support of YPG, took 150 thousand Êzîdî people under their protection on Mount Sinjar, and started their delivery into Rojava through a corridor as of August 8.

Thanks to the brave self-sacrificing comrades, this genocide against the Êzîdî people was stopped, yet thousands of people were abducted by ISIS gangs during the first two days, and hundreds of them were massacred.”

The statement by HSM also recalled that the Kurdish freedom movement alongside the women, youths and individuals from the Êzîdî community who stayed in Shengal and joined the resistance waged a fight against ISIS gangs for four and a half months with great commitment, courage, determination and sense of patriotism.

HSM Headquarters Command underlined that; “Despite the fact that the resistance averted a greater massacre and the north of Shengal has been liberated, it is an obvious truth that the entire Shengal territory is yet to be liberated, and the victims of the genocide are yet to be avenged. It is political but not military problems that creates an obstacle to the achievement of this goal. A part of the Shengal town and lands still remains occupied by ISIS due to the failure of the Kurdish politics to achieve the unity and association in itself. This situation remains a significant matter of self-criticism for the Kurdish politics.”

‘THE FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE GENOCIDE WILL BE THE BEGINNING OF SHENGAL’S LIBERATION’

People’s Defense Center Headquarters Command stated that the first year anniversary of the genocide by ISIS, based on colonialism and described as ‘edict’ by Êzîdî people, would be the beginning of Shengal’s liberation. The Command noted that resistance against the colonialism of AKP, which has an ideological affinity with ISIS, would also be interpreted as a struggle against ISIS, and defeating ISIS would imply defeating AKP, due to the relationship between the two. The Command promised that they would fulfill all of their responsibilities so that the people of Shengal gain victory in their struggle against ISIS.

‘WE WILL DO EVERYTHING FOR THE LIBERATION OF SHENGAL’

In its statement, the Command emphasized the importance of Leader Apo’s framework in the struggle of guerrilla forces, which would exhibit an increased military performance based on the self-defense of all peoples of Kurdistan in the coming period. The Command promised that they would do everything for the liberation of Shengal, so that hundreds of hostages are freed and Êzîdî people can freely express themselves and their free will in an environment of victory and hope.

The Command noted that its guerrilla forces had been waiting for the development of a national policy which would include all forces stationed in Shengal, but would act on its own if necessary, in addition to its pledge to develop joint action through the perspective of national unity.

HSM ended its statement by emphasizing its determination to do everything for the liberation of Shengal, people’s victory and freedom, and revenge of martyrs who died during the genocide.

See also the excellent US based site Harvest.

The ANF (Ajansa Nûçeyan a Firatê)  news service reports:

Shengal is reborn with the Êzîdî Assembly for Construction

Shengal Resistance continues uninterrupted at the first year anniversary of Shengal Genocide. 1094 gang members were killed and 326 were wounded during the first year of ISIS occupation of the Êzîdî town.

More than 420 clashes took place between HPG, YJA Star and YBŞ/YPJ Shengal forces and ISIS gangs since Shengal Genocide last year. 1094 gang members were killed and 326 were wounded during these clashes. The humanitarian aid corridor between Shengal and Rojava was reopened on December 18. Shengal Resistance Forces made up of HPG, YJA Star, YBŞ, YPG and YPJ fighters launched the ‘Operation for Shengal’s Liberation’ in the town center and nearby villages, and liberated several locations. YPJ Shengal announced its formation and Shengal Resistance Units (YBŞ) held its first conference over the past year. Êzîdî people resisting ISIS in Mount Shengal also formed Shengal Êzîdî Assembly for Construction representing the will of Êzîdî people. The assembly works towards fulfilling the different needs of Êzîdî people who are resisting ISIS in Mount Shengal or have returned to their lands in and around the town. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew Coates

August 4, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Orthodox Trotskyism on the “Psuedo-Left” and Jeremy Corbyn

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Trotskyism vs. Revisionism Volume 7: The Fourth International and the Renegade Wohlforth

Standing Firm Against Pseudo-Left. 

While some of the left of Labour groups welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign, and indeed attempt to bathe in its glory, including even the so-called ‘hard’ Workers Power now practicing entryism in Channel Four’s Economic Department (Paul Mason), of there remain Trotskyists who have not forgotten the ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUCVWXYZ of the Transitional Programme.

 

Much of the pseudo-left have indeed rallied to Corbyn’s side. Far from being a “hard left” plot to destroy the party, however, their concern is to preserve Labour’s role as the main political opposition to socialism and revolution. The Communist Party of Great Britain has long maintained the fiction that Labour is a “workers’ party” to this end, while the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition was formed as an electoral bloc between sections of the trade union bureaucracy and the pseudo-left as a means of preventing a political rebellion against Labour.

This also accounts for the backing that Corbyn has won from Unite, Britain’s largest union, along with several other unions. The greatest fear of the trade union bureaucracy is that Labour’s too obvious adoption of Tory policies will open the way for the emergence of a new, socialist, workers’ party.

But rather than proving Labour’s continued relevance to workers and youth, Corbyn’s candidacy has instead laid bare just how sclerotic, moribund and right-wing the party is. Faced with the possibility that it may be required to adopt an oppositional pose, it has gone into meltdown.

Writes Julie Hyland  on the esteemed organ of the International Committee of the Fourth International, The World Socialist Web Site.

The British section of the ICFI, the Socialist Equality Party, stood 2 candidates in the 2015 General election:  Katie Rhodes in Glasgow Central and David O’Sullivan in Holborn and St. Pancras.

They resolutely criticised the left wing alliance that also presented candidates in the election, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, and the left group, Socialist Unity.

……Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Left Unity. Representing better-off layers of the upper-middle class, these pseudo-left tendencies see the crisis only as an opportunity to further their own careers and gain lucrative posts in the trade union bureaucracy and the state apparatus.

More here.

Katie Rhodes scored  58 votes (0.1%) and David O’Sullivan obtained 100 (0,2%).

Their rivals, TUSC, stood 135 General Election candidates and won 36,327 votes, or 0.1% of the popular vote.

Meanwhile…is this what the Times has become these days?

Oh our aching sides!

Save Kano Nine from Nigerian Sharia Courts Death Sentence for Blasphemy!

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Secular groups write to Nigerian President over blasphemy death sentences

Posted: Sun, 02 Aug 2015 07:00

The National Secular Society has joined other secularist organisations in calling for a full pardon and civil protection for nine people recently sentenced to death by a Sharia court in Nigeria.

The letter, organised by the Secular Policy Institute, expresses deep concerns over the death sentences handed out for blasphemy and appeals to the Nigerian President, Governor, and Ambassador to ensure the preservation of the individuals’ rights of free conscience and religious expression.

The so-called ‘Kano Nine’ were sentenced to death by a sharia court in the Nigerian state of Kano after what the BBC described as a “speedily done” and “secret” trial.

The charges centred around claims that the nine accused said that Niasse, the founder of the Tijaniya sect, was “bigger than [the] Prophet Muhammad”.

The nine are alleged to have made the comment at a religious gathering held to honour Niasse, in a venue which was burnt down by a mob before the nine (eight men and one woman) were arrested by police over the accusations.

The head of the religious police in Kano told the BBC: “We quickly put them on trial to avoid bloodshed because people were very angry and trying to take law into their hands.”

There were reports of celebrations across parts of the city when the death sentences were announced.

The Secular Policy Institute note that “comments by local-authorities expressing relief at stemming further vigilante acts” give the impression that the verdicts were the result of “political expedience rather than a fair administration of justice.”

The ‘Kano Nine’ are “being sacrificed to pacify a mob”, the signatories write.

There was extreme secrecy around the trial, and even the names of all of the accused are not known.

Nigeria operates two countervailing jurisprudences – Customary and Sharia. The Customary Criminal code would call for a maximum two-year sentence for purported violation, with the Sharia code specifying a death sentence.

The letter argues that at the very least the State should uphold civil over religious law.

The BBC gives some background:

Nigeria court in Kano sentences nine people to death for blasphemy

An Islamic court has sentenced nine people to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

The accused, who were all Muslims, had pleaded guilty, the head of Kano’s religious police, Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, told the BBC.

The trial was speedily done in secret after a section of the court was burnt down by angry protesters last month.

It is not known if they will appeal against the sentence.

The alleged offence was committed last month at a religious gathering in honour of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa.

The nine, eight man and a woman, were reported to have said that “Niasse was bigger than Prophet Muhammad”, triggering unrest.

The venue was burnt to the ground by an angry mob and the nine were arrested,

“There has been consensus among Muslims scholars that insulting the prophet carries a death sentence,” Mr Daurawa told the BBC Hausa service.

“We quickly put them on trial to avoid bloodshed because people were very angry and trying to take law into their hands,” he added.

Reactions:

SaveKanoNine: Story Behind The 9 People Sentenced To Death Over Blasphemy In Kano

The case of a recent judgment by an Upper Sharia Court, Rijiyar Lemo, in Kano state, which passed death sentences on nine persons for blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed has caused uproar among Nigerians.

On Thursday, 26th June 2015, a group of Tijjaniyya sect members, during Maulud in Kano, blasphemed the prophet of Islam and the action was followed by widespread protest in the state. It was reported that this barbaric judgement created wild jubilation in certain quarters in Kano, this was further worsened when the Kano Government’s expressed satisfaction at the given verdict. A press release by the government stated that this judgement will serve as a deterrent to others.

After series of hearing, the Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal, in a statement, said the nine were found guilty under Sections 110 and 382B of the Sharia Penal Court law of 2000.

Four other persons namely Alkassim Abubakar, Yahaya Abubakar, Isa Abubakar and Abdullahi Abubakar were discharged and acquitted as they were not found wanting by the court. However, Abdul-Inyas and Hajiya Mairo, with seven others to death, will be executed over a case of Blasphemy once the Kano State Governor appends his signature on their execution form.

Reacting to the judgement, Nigerians on Wednesday took to Twitter to appeal for the sentence to be overturned.

Using #SaveKanoNine hashtag, many have called on the intervention of President Buhari and higher-placed individuals and bodies such as Amnesty International to interfere.

As Turkey Attacks Kurds is an Islamist Alliance Being Prepared to Take Control of a Syrian “Safe Zone”.

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The Kurds Fought for Kobane’s Freedom from the Genociders: Now they Face New Threat.

Hürriyet Daily News states,

Around 260 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have been killed and hundreds more wounded in Ankara’s week-long campaign of air strikes against targets of the outlawed group inside Turkey and in northern Iraq, the semi-official Anadolu Agency said on Aug. 1.

Without citing its sources, Anadolu said that among those wounded was Nurettin Demirtaş, the brother of the co-leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas.

Ankara has launched a two-pronged anti-terror offensive against Islamic State of Iraq and the LEvant (ISIL) jihadists in Syria and the outlawed PKK militants in northern Iraq and inside Turkey after a wave of attacks in the country.

Taz notes that the Turkish air strikes have hit the Syrian YPG (the heroic defenders of Kobane).

Die YPG erklärte, sie habe mit der Gewalt zwischen der Türkei und der PKK nichts zu tun. „Trotzdem sind unsere Einheiten im Visier des türkischen Militärs“

The YPG explains that they have nothing to do with the violence between the PKK and Turkey, “nevertheless, it’s our units which have been targeted by the Turkish military.

In Green Left Weekly  Tony Iltis  states,

Turkey has “joined the war against ISIS”, according to US politicians and the corporate media after a July 23 deal between the US and the Turkish government. The deal gives US war planes and drones access to Turkey’s Incirlik airbase from which to conduct air strikes in Syria and Iraq.

The reality is very different. The US and NATO have actually given a green light to Turkish air strikes against the most effective resistance to ISIS — the left-wing Kurdish-led forces.

They have also foreshadowed supporting Turkish plans to create a buffer zone occupied by Turkish soldiers or Islamist proxies in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan). Turkey’s aim is to achieve what ISIS — also known as ISIL or IS — failed to do: prevent the spread of the liberated area of Rojava under the left-wing Kurdish-led Democratic Autonomous Administration.

Ignoring growing evidence of collusion between the Turkish state and ISIS, the US hailed the Turkish state’s recent crackdown on leftist and Kurdish activists as a “crackdown on terrorism”.

In fact, this response to Turkey’s repression of the forces actually in the front line against ISIS reveals the West’s “War on ISIS” as a lie.

Turkey’s Demirtas: ‘Erdogan Is Capable of Setting Country on Fire’

Interview Conducted By . Der Spiegel.

SPIEGEL: The Turkish government says it is fighting all “terrorists” equally. Why do you view their approach primarily as a campaign against Kurds?

Demirtas: Take, for instance, the number of people arrested in raids across Turkey recently. How many members of IS were among them? A few dozen? On the other hand, more than a thousand Kurds were arrested, particularly youths, on the grounds that they were PKK supporters. These figures say it all.

SPIEGEL: Were you expecting this to happen after the election?

Demirtas: I wouldn’t have put anything past Erdogan before the election, no matter how crazy. He is perfectly capable of setting the whole country on fire if it means maintaining his grip on power. We have been witnessing a worrying shift for some time now. The democracy that we so painstakingly achieved in Turkey is eroding. It is getting worse by the day.

Readers of French can read this important article on the site of Ensemble (the third largest group in the Front de gauche) on the details of the HDP’s political stand

Habur: Turkish epression against the families of victims of Daesh  Habur

Reports Solidarité Ouvrière.

A Habur, the border crossing between Turkey and Iraq, it has been six days that the families of thirteen YPG fighters killed in action against bands Daesh, have been waiting for the Turkish state to allow them to take back bodies of their relatives.

Yesterday, July 31, unable to wait any longer, families of fallen combatants have demonstrated for the bodies of their relatives  in order to organsie their funnerals. The Turkish forces of repression responded with tear gas and water cannons to the request from families already grieving the loss of loved ones.

Now we have this: Turkish warplanes kill civilians in Kurdish region’s Qandil

By RUDAW 7 hours ago
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkish fighter jets launched a fresh attack against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Saturday, killing 10  civilians and injuring 11 others in the Qandil Mountains of the Kurdistan region, a Rudaw reporter at the scene said.

“We were all sleeping when the Turkish fighter jets bombarded our village,” Ismail Abdula Ghader, one of the injured civilians,said by phone this morning. The bombing targeted Zargali village in Rawanduz district, which is on the outskirt of the Qandil Mountains. The PKK was used the area as a stronghold for many years.

Ghader said the fighter jets dropped bombs over the civilians’ houses and killed six civilians instantly and injured seven others.

The Hurriyet Daily News reported Friday an intelligence source saying that 30 F-16 warplanes shelled 130 targets in the Qandil Mountains both inside the Turkey and in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The source also claimed that Turkish airstrikes have killed 190 PKK guerrillas and injured at least 300 others. The PKK has previously confirmed the death of four members because of the recent aerial attacks in Qandil.

Turkey claims its attacks are “in retaliation” for the killings of two Turkish police officers last week, for which the PKK claimed responsibility.

The latest conflict has possibly brought to a halt a peace agreement reached between Ankara and the PKK two years ago.

Since July 24, Turkish air force jets and artillery have kept up a wave of attacks against the PKK, including five rounds of airstrikes on Saturday that targeted the Qandil Mountains.

This is of great concern:

Libération (Hala Kodmani. from  Karkemish (Turkey) reports on Syria,

Au sein du regroupement salafiste, les jihadistes de Ahrar al-Sham tentent de paraître modérés pour bénéficier de l’appui des Américains et contrôler une future «zone protégée» dans le nord du pays.

Inside a regrouping of the Salifists, the Jihadists of Ahrar al-Sham are trying to appear moderate to gain Amjerican support and control a future “safe zone” in the North of the country.”

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 1, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Weekly Worker Sets Record Straight on Communist Infiltration of Labour Party.

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Weekly Worker Congress, 2015 (Photo Courtesy, Sunday Times) 

“As we hit the rough midpoint of the Labour leadership contest, it is safe to say that the right – both within Labour, and meddling from without – is in total, blind panic.”

As the Labour leadership contest gets ugly, William Kane begins to worry about the sanity of the bourgeois press (Weekly Worker).

At the most delusional end, we find – unsurprisingly – The Mail on Sunday, whose foam-flecked red-baiting focuses on a truly astonishing claim from the MP, John Cryer: “I am reliably informed that members of the Militant Tendency are using Tusc [the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition] to pay £3 to vote for Corbyn.”2

Where are we to begin? Perhaps by suggesting Cryer looks up the word ‘reliable’ in a nearby dictionary, and considers whether it can really be applied to any source who claims that:

  • The Labour Party is being infiltrated by an organisation that no longer exists, and whose direct descendant, the Socialist Party in England and Wales, refuses to touch Labour – Corbyn’s campaign included – with a barge pole.
  • This infiltration is being conducted through the same organisation’s electoral front, set up as a competitor to Labour.
  • This peculiar course of action is being taken in spite of there being no need for it, since anyone can sign up for £3 if they so choose.

Indeed.

TUSC stood against Labour in the General Election.

It was made up of the Socialist Party, the SWP, and smaller forces, such as the Independent Socialist Network.

How long union support, officially from the RMT, will continue is unclear after the election of a new General Secretary.

The Socialist Party – committed to the building of a new workers’ party – is well-known for the view that Labour is a “bourgeois party” which cannot be reformed.

TUSC was prepared to stand against Labour in marginal seats.

On this basis it aroused opposition on the left:

Criticism from the Unite union

In February 2015, senior figures from Unite the Union condemned the Socialist Party and by implication TUSC, for standing candidates against Labour in marginal constituencies for the 2015 general election. The open letter addressed to the Socialist Party, which does not mention TUSC, accuses the Socialist Party of having a “derisory” electoral record.[ In response, the Socialist Party claimed that a Labour government “would be at best austerity-lite and a continuation of the crisis that faces working-class people.”

The Socialist Party may have wavered on this point (after the wave of support for Corbyn).

[Note: what the SWP thinks varies from week to week according to the rhythm of its own fads and recruitment drives,  so we shall pass over this for the moment.]

The Independent reports,

A victory for Jeremy Corbyn in Labour’s leadership contest will  effectively be “the formation of a new party” with radical socialist ideals at its core, according to the organisation that evolved from Militant, the Trotskyist faction expelled by Labour in the 1990s.

Right-leaning Labour MPs have accused Militant – which rebranded itself the ‘Socialist Party’ in 1997 following Tony Blair’s first election victory –  of  “infiltrating” the leadership contest.

The group’s deputy general secretary officially announced its formal support for Mr Corbyn claiming the unexpected surge in support for the Islington MP would “be a real step forward, and in effect the formation of a new party.”

Hannah Sell told The Independent that statements by leading Labour figures that they would not serve in a shadow cabinet headed by Mr Corbyn, pointed  to a schism, and the need for a new Labour constitution.

She forecast : “In the same way that Blair created New Labour and abandoned the values of his party, so a Corbyn victory would create the basis for a new 100 per cent anti-austerity party of the working class.”

We at the Tendance doubt this news, which would mean ditching a stand taken for well over two decades.

This is the TUSC general election result: “the party performed badly at the election, winning a mere 36,327 votes, or 0.1% of the popular vote. No parliamentary seats were gained and no deposits were saved.”

Cde Kane continues on the story that cheered us all up:

Hard left plot to infiltrate Labour race. Sunday Times 26th July.

HARRIET HARMAN has been urged to suspend the Labour leadership race after evidence emerged that hard left infiltration is fuelling a huge surge in party membership.

More than 140,000 new activists are projected to have joined by the deadline for registration to vote, a rise of more than two thirds since the election, with many signing up to back the hard left candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

The Communist party of Great Britain has called on supporters to join and back Corbyn as part of its revolutionary “strategy” while Green party activists have also been discussing how to vote for him.

He comments,

 

…we expect better things from The Sunday Times. After all, Rupert Murdoch’s papers are not indifferent to the internal goings-on of the Labour Party, but highly interventionist. We might consider them a sort of evil twin: both our organisation and their corporation think about Labour strategically, albeit from diametrically opposed political viewpoints.

How amused we were, then, to make the front page! A story about “hard-left infiltrators” voting for Corbyn seized upon our humble organisation as a significant agent in all this stuff. They quoted us – more faithfully than many comrades on the left, we might add – on transforming the Labour Party, on fighting for a left victory in the leadership election, urging people to register and vote for Corbyn.3

There was, naturally, some hair-raising revolutionary rhetoric, and a little photomontage of Provisional Central Committee chair Jack Conrad and the last issue of the paper (clearly in view, ironically enough, is the front page promo: “As Jeremy Corbyn surges ahead, right plots anti-democratic coup”). There you have it – it’s the Weekly Worker wot won it.

Seriously now – we find ourselves, above all, concerned with the precipitate decline in journalistic standards. When a mail-out writer for Labour List declared on July 27 that we “could organise an infiltration of a nine-year-old’s birthday party and I doubt anyone would notice”, he was being a touch unfair; but we do not claim to be a large organisation, and frankly even if everyone who had read this paper since Corbyn’s nomination had signed up (almost certainly not true, given our international reach), it would still not amount to a significant minority of the numbers who have done so.

It must be said that on Sunday when these stories in the Mail and Sunday Times broke, social media, that is, Facebook and Twitter, were buzzing with the happy voices of leftists chortling over their croissants and Co-op 99 tea.

Our instructions from the CPGB Central Committee (Provisional) were not slow in coming: well grubbed old mole!

More, please, please, more peals of laughter….

Cde Kane rightly observes,

we are not a large organisation, and target our propaganda more or less exclusively at other “hard leftists”, who in turn seldom take our advice.

Many on the left do read the Weekly Worker.

Some of (including the Tendance) have written for it.

It is well worth a read.

Now…must ask Cde Kane on next line (with approval from the SPA. GS?).

 

Corbyn 20% Lead as UNISON Backs Jez.

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Jeremy Corbyn opens up MASSIVE 20-point lead in the Labour leadership election race

Daily Mirror.

Jeremy Corbyn has opened up an astonishing 20-point lead over his rivals in the race for the Labour leadership.

Private polling seen by the Daily Mirror shows Mr Corbyn set to top the ballot with 42%, way ahead of Yvette Cooper on 22.6%, Andy Burnham on 20% and Liz Kendall on 14%.

But once second preferences have been taken into account the veteran leftwinger is ahead by just two points on 51% to Ms Cooper’s 49%.

Some Labour MPs are now urging supporters of Mr Burnham and Ms Kendall to either back Ms Cooper or at least ensure she gets their second preference votes as the only way of stopping the Corbyn bandwagon.

Ballot papers for the contest are sent out on August 14, with the result announced on September 12.

Unison Backs Corbyn For Labour Leadership

Unison has announced it will be backing the anti-austerity candidate Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership.

And in a blow for Andy Burnham, who emerged early on in the leadership race as a union favourite and frontrunner, the trade union has tipped Yvette Cooper as its second choice.

It comes after a second poll suggested a significant lead for the veteran Islington North MP, putting him 20 points ahead of Ms Cooper.

Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s message has resonated with public sector workers who have suffered years of pay freezes, redundancies with too many having to work more for less.

“They have been penalised for too long by a Government that keeps on taking more and more from them. Their choice shows a clear need for change towards a fairer society where work is fairly rewarded, and where those living and working in poverty supported.”

Well done!

I was not going to Blog on this, after receiving threats from some very odd quarters.

But is too important to confine to the world of Twitter and Facebook.

As ‘Coup’ Against Jeremy Corbyn Threatens the Hard Left Moblises its Troops.

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Weekly Worker Editorial Board Deciding Corbyn’s Strategy.

Senior Labour MPs are plotting to oust Jeremy Corbyn if he is elected party leader, amid growing fears that the leadership contest has been hijacked by far-Left infiltrators.

Shadow cabinet sources have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn would never be allowed to remain in the job long enough to fight the 2020 general election, if he is elected on September 12.

A coup could be launched within days of the result, which would plunge the party into even deeper crisis and division, but would be necessary to prevent an electoral “disaster” under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, senior figures said.

However, a growing number of Labour MPs believe Mr Corbyn’s campaign is being boosted by tens of thousands of radical Left-wing socialists who have paid £3 to sign up as an “affiliated supporter” in order to vote in the election.

There are reports that Unite, the country’s biggest trade union, which is backing Mr Corbyn, has been telephoning 1,000 people a day urging them to register with Labour and back their preferred candidate.

One shadow cabinet minister told The Telegraph a coup would be inevitable if Mr Corbyn is successful.

Reports the Telegraph.

On the 6th of May Seamus Milne announced:

The Tories are plotting a coup in the name of legitimacy.

Fleet-footed the People’s Assembly acted (7th of May):

Stop the ‘Tory Coup’.

Ipswich followed the lead.

Cde Milne swiftly replied:

We beat off that coup!

Our troops, after recruiting thousands of new Labour Party supporters,  are ready again!

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Ipswich Workers’ Militia in Training.

HDP (People’s Democratic Party, Turkey) : Erdoğan and his Party are Dragging Turkey into Civil War.

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Now is the Time to stand with our Kurdish and Turkish Sisters and Brothers.

HDP ( Peoples’ Democratic Party (Turkish: Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP), Kurdish: Partiya Demokratik a Gelan) official Declaration:

NOW, IT IS THE TIME TO CLAIM THE STRUGGLE FOR PEACE

As of July 24, Turkey has been pushed to an uncertain process. Unfortunately, the AKP government, government agencies and the military have taken steps that end resolution and peace process and de facto ceasefire.

The political detentions involving our party and constituents and gradually spreading to all provinces; heavy bombardments to Kurdistan Federal Region; prohibition of “Great Peace Rally” to be held by Peace Bloc by very simple reasons; inhibitions to various press and communication facilities; police raids to the several civil society organizations, and particularly to Eğitim-Sen, are the first indicators that next days will be distressing for Turkey’s society.

As of July 24, the President and the AKP put into operation the concept of executing country’s governance over security policy through the military and the police. The President and the AKP have prepared this new period by the political and psychological ground they have created for days. They made the society ready for the conflicting environment by launching psychological operations through their own media.

Erdoğan and Davutoğlu’s Middle East policy covering recent years has created very heavy effects on the expectations of peace and democracy in the society. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu’s new policies after July 24 will lead to irreparable damages. This path will certainly destroy the possibilities of resolution and peace and would create serious social costs.

We emphasize once again strongly that Turkey needs peace and resolution. The solution of our social, historical and political problems is possible by improving mutual dialogue, negotiation and democracy. The extension and continuation of violence will never serve to permanent, democratic and egalitarian solution for any aspect of society.

Turkey is at the very important crossroads for its future. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu’s new policies and practices are not likely to reach a “good” conclusion. The future of Turkey’s society cannot be left to the operations of the military to be performed outside of the country and the police to be carried in the country under the coordination of the Intelligence Agency of Turkey.

The environment of violence created by Erdoğan, who has lost majority in the parliament and his dreams of governing Turkey as “one man” until his death being collapsed, has no limits. His aim is to realize the scenario of a re-election, which would give him back his old power. His plan of ruling the power alone until re-election by making a coalition impossible leads catastrophic situations in the country.

The plan is to ensure a single-party government through re-election by creating the impression of “a comprehensive fight against terrorism.” This plan is to burn the country in order to obtain absolute power. To bring the attacks against Kurdish society together with the fight against ISIL cannot be accepted.

Militaristic attacks and bombardments, political detentions and pressures should be stopped immediately. We have not any problems, which cannot solved by talking and negotiation.

We once again make a call to Turkey’s democracy and peace forces and every conscientious, responsible citizen. Today is not the day of keeping silent and waiting. We cannot just watch in concern the approaches of the AKP and the President who lead Turkey step by step towards a huge conflict by their pursued policies. Let’s strengthen together the struggle for peace, resolution, justice, democracy and negotiation. Every passing minute would make it more difficult to take steps.

Peoples’ Democratic Party

Central Executive Committee

Latest expression of solidarity with Victims of ISIS Atrocity to HDP:

Dear comrades,

On behalf of Ensemble! Mouvement pour une Alternative de Gauche Ecologique et Sociale (Together! Movement for a Left Ecological and Social Alternative), member of the Left Front (Front de gauche), we wish to express our solidarity after the terrible attack which took place this week in Suruç against comrades travelling to Kobanê in order to rebuild a town which has become a symbol.

Your international appeal on the occasion of the demonstration planned for 26 July in Istanbul must reach the wideest possible audience ; active solidarity is also necessary.

Faced with the horror of such an act, we are conscious that the Islamic State (IS) is following a clear objective : to break the heroic resistance of the Kurdish people in Rojava, as well as the solidarity movement which has followed. Like all serious observers of the situation, we know that IS has benefited from the goodwill and even the active complicity of the Turkish government in order to attain its goals. As a formidable adversary, IS does not hesitate to exploit the most reactionary elements in Turkey such as anti-Kurdish racism and the authoritarian tradition coming from the 1980 coup, as prolonged by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

However, we are also aware of the admirable capacity for resistance of the Kurdish people over the last several decades, the mass democratic politicisation which was revealed by the Gezi movement in 2013, especially among young people, and the first signs of an awakening of the militant workers’ movement in Turkey. The remarkable result of the HDP in last June’s parliamentary elections, in extremely difficult conditions, is a remarkable signal.

By killing these comrades, the IS has shown what it fears the most : the common democratic combat of the peoples of the region – a combat which implies a respect for Kurdish reality. This was the cause which the comrades died for in Suruç, and that you are continuing to fight for.

We will do our best to support you by continuing to participate in the solidarity movement with the Kurdish people, with the resistance of Rojava and the democratic and class struggle in Turkey.

Although we cannot be with you this Sunday in Istanbul, we will show our solidarity at this Saturday’s demonstration in Paris calledto condemn the attack in Suruç.

In solidarity,

Clémentine Autain Myriam Martin

Jean-François Pélissier Marie-Pierre Toubhans

Spokespersons of Ensemble !

The Daily News reports:

The Turkish army’s ongoing military operations in Iraq and Syria to crack down on terrorists was engineered by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), whose objective to regain its one-party government is dragging Turkey into a “civil war,” the leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, has claimed.

“A temporary government with its temporary prime minister is dragging the country step-by-step into a civil war, regional war. Turkey has already been bogged down the Middle East quagmire because of wrong policies in Syria,” Demirtaş told reporters July 27, before a party meeting in Ankara.

Demirtaş’s criticisms came as the AKP-led government started a comprehensive military campaign against terror inside Turkey and through cross border operations in Iraq and Syria. The target in Iraq is the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and in Syria the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The government strongly slammed the HDP for not condemning the PKK’s recent terror acts, with accusations that it relied on the terror organization.

For Demirtaş however, these operations were designed to let the AKP re-gain its one-party government that it lost in the June polls. “The AKP, as a ruling party already knee-deep in corruption, has begun wrathfully seeking ways to become the government once again,” he said, accusing the government of being responsible for the deaths caused by recent terror acts.

The real architect of this design was President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was the practitioner, he argued. “They should better know that we have no palaces, no red plates, no millions of dollars to lose. We came penniless and we’ll go penniless. You better think about yourself. We have no fear of anything,” he said.

“These massive cross-border operations are the government’s efforts to save itself. These are operations of the palace. The palace has established its own state with a massive budget, cover operations and institutions,” he said.

Peace was just ‘a move ahead’

Demirtaş vowed his HDP would continue to work for the next elections to avoid the AKP stirring up more trouble in Turkey, stressing, “Peace was just a move ahead. There was only step left,” in reference to the halted Kurdish peace process.

In response to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s call for the closure of the HDP on charges of links with the PKK, Demirtaş said, “Parties are opened and closed by the people. They should better give an account of their dirty history.”

Written by Andrew Coates

July 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Toward a materialist approach to the question of race: A response to the Indigènes de la République

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Andrew Coates:

One can only praise the authors of this critique of “confusionnisme politique”, the translator’s excellent work, and the Charnel House for publishing this important work. There is a very disingenuous reply full of the tropes of cl assical Europen rhetoric, and little substance (‘essentially’ repeating,  it’s an Indigenes thing, you wouldn’t understand), here:    http://indigenes-republique.fr/vacarme-critique-les-indigenes-la-faillite-du-materialisme-abstrait-2/

Originally posted on The Charnel-House:

.
The Charnel-House
introduction

.
A few months ago, I wrote up a critique of the “decolonial dead end” arrived at by groups like the Indigènes de la République. Despite being welcomed in some quarters of the Left, wearied by the controversy stirred up after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it was not well received by others. Last month, however, a French comrade alerted me to the publication of a similar, but much more detailed and carefully argued, piece criticizing Bouteldja & co. in Vacarne. I even asked a friend to translate it for the new left communist publication Ritual. But before he could complete it, someone describing himself as “a long-time reader/appreciator of The Charnel-House” contacted me to let me know he’d just finished rendering it into English.

The authors of the original piece — Malika Amaouche, Yasmine Kateb, and Léa Nicolas-Teboul — all belong to the French…

View original 6,318 more words

Podemos Faces Crisis as only 16% of Sympathisers vote to Select Election Candidates.

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 Foto

Success Less and Less Clear.

El Pais reports that this week’s internal primaries for the coming Spanish elections invovled only 16% of the sympathisers  entitled to vote, around 60,000 people. Of these 82% plebiscited Pablo Iglesias as candidate for the Presidency of the government.

Iglesias has declared that the level of participation was “muy alta”. El Pais

This comes as Podemos slips ever lower in the opinion polls, hovering at 15% (from a high of over 30% only last November).

This week  the French Communist Daily, l’Humanité published a scathing attack on Iglesias by Jean Ortiz (« Podemos » et la machine à perdre ?). Ortiz lost no time in ascribing the downward path and loss of support of Podemos to the Iglesias leadership.

Citing theParty boss’s  lengthy interview in New Left Review he noted how the lider maximo had effectively reduced anti-republicanism to giving the Spanish Royal a box set of Game of Thrones. Other policies, from feminism, secularism, the removal of NATO bases, and even,  a central plank of their programme, debt renegotiation, had been dropped or played down. He also gave prominance to the continuing attacks on the Spanish left alliance, the Izquirda Unida.

Others blame Iglesias’ overwhelming vanity for loss of momentum and political direction of Podemos.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 25, 2015 at 9:59 am

Istanbul Peace Rally Against against Islamic State of Iraq and ISIS on 26th of July.

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A photo showing two young women, Ezgi Sadet and Büşra Çetin, lying side by side with Çetin holding Sadet’s hand tightly after the bombing in Suruç has become one of the symbols of the tragedy. Both women were thought to be dead, but Çetin survived. She was first treated in Şanlıurfa, from where she was sent to İstanbul for further treatment ( Story from Zaman)

CALL TO INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FOR ISTANBUL RALLY ON 26 JULY 2015

The Islamic State brutally attacked the internationalist youth group who met in Suruç on July 20. They had gone there to support the struggle for great humanity being waged in Kobani, and help rebuild the city.

As a result of this attack, 32 people were killed and over 100 people were injured. Although Islamic State has been held responsible for this attack, Turkey’s AKP Government, by resisting the taking of effective measures to prevent Islamic State and other reactionary forces, bears the real responsibility for these massacres of civilians.

Being part of the progressive international community, we hold it to be a historical duty for us to develop further cooperation against Islamic State (ISIL) and similar organizations. The Peace Bloc, in which HDP takes place as well, will organize a big march in Istanbul on July 26 in order to act in solidarity with peoples who are yearning for freedom and peace everywhere in the world, and particularly in the Middle East, in order to give a powerful response to Islamic State barbarism.

In this context, we invite everyone who believes in democracy and freedom to support our struggle for humane values against barbarity and Islamic State by participating in this march on July 26 in Istanbul.

Selahattin DEMİRTAŞ & Figen YÜKSEKDAĞ
Co-Presidents of HDP

Date: 26.07.2015, 4:00 pm
Place: Şişhane, Beyoğlu/İstanbul

Co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas calls for a mass rally in Istanbul against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Sham(ISIS) after Suruc incident

Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has called people for a mass rally in Istanbul on Saturday against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) over the Suruc incident in which 32 people were killed.

“We shall organise an international ‘peace rally’ against ISIS in Istanbul” Demirtas said at his party’s board meeting on Tuesday.

The ‘peace rally’ is organised by Peace Blog, consisting of different civil society organisations, women organisations, political parties, labor and profession groups.

The rally is planned to begin on July 26 from the front of Turkish National Television (TRT) building in Sishane to Aksaray district of Istanbul at 16:00 (GTM)

32 people were killed on Monday when the massive explosion hit the garden of the Amara Culture Centre where members of the far-left pro-Kurdish Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) gathered for a press meeting in Suruc district of Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

The suicide bombing suspect is confirmed to have links to ISIS on Wednesday, after he was identified with DNA test.

Chaos and violence hit Turkish streets in aftermath of Suruç

Protesters took to the streets and clashed with riot police throughout Turkey on Tuesday due to widespread public anger over the massacre of over 30 activists in a suicide bomb attack in the town of Suruç in the southeastern province Şanlıurfa on Monday.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 23, 2015 at 5:11 pm

People’s Democratic Party (HDP – Turkey) Calls for International Solidarity with the Martyrs of Suruç.

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suruc bombing

 

People Carry the Coffins of the Suruç Martyrs through Gaziantep.

Our beloved comrades were bringing toys to give to Kobanê children.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Gaziantep deputy Celal Doğan, who attended the ceremony, said: “There was no violence; there were no guns [with this tragedy]. There were just a handful of idealists in Turkey, just 300 people who were at most 25 years old who aspired to go to the destroyed town of Kobani and rebuild it. They dreamed of building daycare centres, parks and projects such as hospitals.” (Zaman)

The  Peoples’ Democratic Party, Turkish: Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP), Kurdish: Partiya Demokratik a Gelan, has issued the following statement:

CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

I’m writing this urgent letter to inform you regarding to the ISIL’s bombing attack that caused death of 28 young people and nearly 100 injures in Suruç in Turkey where closest town to Kobani. All the victims were members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations which known as youth organization of ESP (Ezilenlerin Sosyalist Partisi or Socialist Party of the Oppressed).

We as HDP strongly condemn the massacre against the young people whose show their internationalist solidarity for Kobani and its resisting peoples against the ISIL.

The ISIL’s activities in Turkey and AKP Government’s tolerance for ISIL members caused many civil casualties in Turkey like Hatay/Reyhanlı Attack on 11 May 2013 and Diyarbakir Attack on 5 June 2015. It is clear that, Turkey and its borders has turned into logistical base and militia crossing gate for ISIL for 3 years. Additionally Turkish Intelligence’s (MIT) hundreds of trucks which full of the arms and military equipments have been dissembled by the government and the divulgers (prosecutors and gendarmerie officers) have been arrested due to the preventing the arm transmitting operation to Syria.

Our party and peoples of Turkey are aware that AKP Government has big responsibility to encouraging the ISIL and rising civil casualties in Syria, Iraq and Turkey as well. We as HDP calls international public opinion to react for AKP Government’s irrational approaches that causing civil casualties in the Middle East. In this regard, HDP call all the democratic and progressive parties and NGOs to show their solidarity for the young victims in Suruç.
Respectfully yours,

Nazmi GÜR
Vice Co-Chair of HDP in Charge of Foreign Affairs

The HDP  site already lists expression of solidarity by the following:

 European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, Die Linke (Germany) and Syriza.

Syriza declares:

Statement by YIANNIS BOURNOUS, member of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA,

Head Responsible for European Policy, International Relations, Foreign Policy & Defense, Greek diaspora

On the deadly terrorist attack in Suruc

We express our horror and unspeakable sorrow for today’s barbaric bomb attack by fundamentalist islamists against dozens of members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations in Suruc, Turkey, which resulted in the loss of 28 lives and the injury of more than 100 people.

We mourn the loss of dozens of young militants who went to Suruc, in order to help as volunteers in rebuilding neighboring Kobane, a city-symbol of the struggle of the Kurdish people against the barbarity of islamofascism.

The AKP government is accountable for its underground and/or visible links and transactions with branches of the Islamic State. It must immediately stop providing any kind of direct or indirect support to the terrorists, starting from the exemplary punishment of those who orchestrated today’s murderous attack.

SYRIZA expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and stands on the side of the Turkish and Kurdish Left, which fights against darkness on behalf of humanity.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 22, 2015 at 10:54 am

Up to 50 Killed in Bombing at Socialist Solidarity Assembly in Suruç (Turkey), little doubt ISIS to Blame.

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BREAKING: Suicide Bomb Attack in Suruç, 50 Dead, 100 Injured

The Islamists’ Massacre of our Beloved Comrades.

20 July 2015

ANF – Suruç

A blast has occurred at the Amara Culture Center in Suruç district of Urfa, across the border from Kobanê, where members of the Socialist Youth Associations Federation (SGDF), coming from various cities have been staying before their planned cross into Kobanê to help reconstruction work today.

DBP (Democratic Regions’ Party) Urfa co-chair İsmail Kaplan said that a suicide bomb caused the blast in Suruç district of Urfa, which targeted around 300 members of Socialist Youth Associations Federation (SGDF) before their cross into Kobanê.

Kaplan said that over 50 people have lost their lives and dozens were wounded, according to initial reports.

The blast occurred in the garden of Amara Culture Center where they youths have been staying since their arrival in the district yesterday. The youths gathered in the garden to release a statement to the press before crossing into Kobanê.

The garden of the culture center turned into a a blood bath after the blast as the bodies of the youths scattered around in pieces.

Ambulances have been rushed to the scene to transport the wounded to hospitals. The bodies of those killed remain in the garden.

Another bomb was set off concurrently across the border, in Kobanê and it is likely that the attack was carried out by ISIS gangs.

The BBC reports:

An explosion has killed at least 27 people and wounded many more in the Turkish town of Suruc near the Syrian border, the interior ministry says.

The blast occurred in the garden of a cultural centre. Hundreds of youth workers were reportedly staying there.

There is no official word on the cause of the explosion. Reports say it could have been a suicide attack.

Suruc, located near the Syrian town of Kobane, houses many refugees who fled fighting there in recent months.

Kobane has been a battleground between militants from the Islamic State (IS) group and Kurdish fighters since September last year, when IS overran the town, forcing most of its residents to flee into Turkey.

The Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) is reported to have had at least 300 members staying at the Amara Culture Centre to take part in rebuilding work in Kobane.

The federation tweeted photographs showing the group in the garden before the blast and the scene afterwards.

Pervin Buldan, a senior lawmaker from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP opposition party, told Reuters that local officials were investigating the possibility it was a suicide bombing.

“Turkish and Kurdish youth had come to cross into Kobane, and there were three or four days of activities planned,” she said.

The hashtags #SuruçtaKatliamVar (There is a massacre in Suruç) and #SuruçMassacre started trending on Twitter soon after the explosion.

 

Absolute love and solidarity to our comrades!

Lundi 20 juillet 2015 : Rassemblement suite au massacre au Kurdistan de Turquie ce matin à 19 h 30, Monument des mobiles, haut de la Canebière, Marseille

MASSACRE A SURUC

Rallies and Demonstrations in Germany:

Suruc

London:  Protest in front of the Turkish Embassy | Demotix.com.

More information on Protests as they develop: inagist.

Update (Tuesday). A Facebook friend (GH) comments,

The massacre by ISIS in Suruc was not just against the Kurdish movement but a direct attack on a Left Wing youth group, one associated with the RWCA group in Stoke Newington. A close friend of mine knows people who were murdered today Fundamentalist Islamism is killing friends of my friends. The attacks in Syria by ISIS and other Islamist groups are against Kurdish groups with relatives in London.

 

An important article on the Ensemble (the ‘third’ grouping in the Front de gauche) site illustrates how the French left has immediately shown absolute support for our sisters and brothers in Suruç:

L’Etat Islamique attaque la solidarité entre les peuples à Suruç.

Podemos in Free-Fall in Spanish Opinion Polls.

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Populist Party Losing Popularity.

17th July Simple Lógia.

 

PP 26,2%
PSOE 23,1%
Ciudadanos 18,4%
Podemos 14,9%
IU 5,4%
UPyD 0,5%

https://i0.wp.com/electomania.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/15010_1.gif

 

Evolution of Podemos support:

https://i2.wp.com/electomania.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/15010_2.gif

 From 31% (December 2014)  to the present,  14,9%

More (just out)

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s governing People’s Party (PP) and the main opposition socialists (PSOE) have pulled well ahead of anti-establishment party Podemos ahead of national elections later this year, polls showed on Sunday.

Voter support for the center-right PP stood at 29.1 percent while the PSOE was on 25.1 percent, according to a survey by pollsters GAD3 published in Spanish daily ABC.

Support for Podemos, which transformed Spain’s political landscape in mid-June when leftist municipal coalitions it backed took power in four of the country’s five biggest cities, fell to 15.0 percent.

A second survey, by research firm Simple Logica and published on news portal larepublica.es, produced a similar result.

The findings contrast with recent polls that have shown the three parties running virtually neck-and-neck. In a survey from Metroscopia, considered the benchmark in Spain, published in El Pais on July 5, they all stood at between 21.5 and 23 percent.

Both the GAD3 and Simple Logica surveys questioned around 1,000 voters. The former was conducted between June 23 and July 8 and the latter from July 1-9.

The parliamentary elections are expected to take place in November.

(Reporting by John Stonestreet; Editing by Ros Russell)

 

Simple Lógia.

One of the problems about “populism” is that it evaporates when a movement is not “popular”

Some on the British left, who bathed the reflected glory of Syriza when it won a merited victory, are now fighting to the last impoverished Greek against Alexis Tsipras.

Now that the party of Pablo Inglesias  is not doing well, can we expect the same people to turn on Podemos?

Note: we cannot blame this on the fall-out from the present state of the Greek crisis as the score really began to go down in March.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 19, 2015 at 11:18 am

Populism, Popular-Democratic Fronts and Tim Farron.

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Tim Farron: New Populist Front – but don’t invite Gays!

Older left-wingers will remember the group, the Democratic Left.

It was the official heir of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and grew out of the magazine Marxism Today.

We have written on some of the theories and politics behind this group, Stuart Hall, Thatcherism, and Marxism Today (also published in North Star. June 2013).

One of the principal criticisms of the current that became the Democratic Left, was its its willingness to dissolve any form of class politics into a very nebulous form of “democratic alliance”. In the case of Stuart Hall this took the shape of looking for “new constituencies for change” to win over a hegemonic majority opposed to the ‘National Popular” configuration that cemented the electoral  the base of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘authoritarian populism”.

The idea that there is an alternative, progressive, type of populism, is not new. The present rise in the intellectual  popularity of “populism” on the British left, articulated in a “democratic” left-inflected way, woes something to another influence on the Democratic Left, the “post Marxism” of Ernesto Laclau, and, to a lesser extent Chantal Mouffe (she has since adopted a form of left republicanism or “agonistic pluralism” *).

Laclau developed the idea out of his studies of Latin America, including Peronism, and a critique of the Althussarian  and Poulantzian position on the class grounds of ideology. Ideology is something which only take a class alignment in specific configurations of discourse. This leaves open the possibility of “democratic” as well as reactionary forms of populism. That is ” the basis of populism in the creation of “empty signifiers”: words and ideas that constitute and express an “equivalential chain”. This “equivalential chain” is made possible only when a list of unfulfilled political demands create a ‘logic of equivalence” between them. ” To translate: populism can become ‘popular’ when the frustrated masses fuse their demands (through what mechanism?) together.

Like Castoriadis’ concept of the “social imaginary” this appears to encourage a great deal of political creativity. Unfortunately it also allows politicians to ‘creatively ‘ make alliances and launch campaigns around demand with whoever seems to advance their cause. It is also suggested that it lets political parties and activists lose sight of the need to give a voice to clear interests – like class – and to make “socialism” such a flexible ‘democratic’ signifier that it loses all specific meaning.

We hear that Laclau has had an impact of Podemos and (we are surprised at this) the more seriously left-wing Syriza (Why Ernesto Laclau is the intellectual figurehead for Syriza and Podemos In the Spanish case it appears to mean appealing to the “masses” against the “elites”, the “political caste” (la casta), and claims to have gone “beyond” the “old” divisions between left and right.

In a British left-wing  version, advanced by, amongst others,  Owen Jones, left populism appears to mean pandering to anti-European fears. It can, in fact, mean just about anything that is “popular”

This is the end result of the (soon to dissolve) Democratic Left:

The Democratic Left stated a belief in a pluralist and socialist society “incompatible with the structures and values of capitalism.” Beginning as a political party, it decided not to stand candidates but instead to support tactical against the Conservatives at the 1992 General election and soon become a non-party campaigning organisation. DL campaigned on modernising unions, including Unions21; anti-racism and cultural diversity; democratising Britain, including Make Votes Count; social exclusion and poverty, including the Social Exclusion Network; focussing on coalition building, and operating in effect as a ‘socialist anti-Conservative front’.

Wikipedia.

Hard-line critics of this approach dismissed it as an end to class politics, without any solid basis in society, and (for Trotksyists) a renewed “popular frontism”, without specific socialist politics.

The Democratic  Left withered away during the early Blair years, though we hear that some of them are still around in the New Politics Network (always something ‘new’…) and the journal Soundings.

We were reminded of these ideas when we read Red Pepper in June.

Many of the SNP candidates in the last election were chosen from or influenced by this movement, even though the movement is autonomous from the SNP. They have come to Westminster not with a nationalist but an anti‑austerity and pro-democracy agenda. As George Kerevan, now MP for East Lothian, said in the last issue of Red Pepper: ‘Watch out for SNP campaigners south of the border. If there are anti-austerity demonstrations in London, I will be there.’

He’s not alone. And although with Cameron in office there is probably little that he and his fellow SNP activists can achieve through sitting in Westminster and sticking to conventional procedure, there is much that a progressive anti-austerity alliance of MPs, including from Plaid Cymru, the Labour left and the victorious Green Caroline Lucas, can contribute to amplify the voices and demands of the movement across the country.

Hilary was once a critic of the Democratic Left and Marxism Today…..

It will be interesting to see this ‘populist’ left reacts to this generous offer:

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, began his first day in office by calling for progressive groups on the left to come together to forge a joint agenda on key constitutional issues such as electoral and Lords reform. He also revealed that defence of civil liberties, more social housing, climate change and continued UK membership of the European Union will be the primary issues on which he first intends to define his leadership.

This seems one of the – many – stumbling blocks to this new alliance (Guardian).

The new Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, on Friday night repeatedly avoided answering whether he regarded gay sex as a sin during a live television interview.

Just one day into his role as party leader, in an interview with Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News, Farron was asked whether he personally believed, as a Christian, that homosexual sex was a sin.

After replying that as liberals it was not “our views on personal morality that matter”, Farron said that to “understand Christianity is to understand that we are all sinners”.

* See the readable On the Political. Chantal Mouffe.  2005 and the, less readable, Agonistics: Thinking The World Politically. Chantal Mouffe. 2013.

 

New Lib Dem leader Tim Farron: Britain Wrong to Bomb Islamic State in Syria.

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Britain could be playing into Isis’s hands by bombing Syria, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats has said.

Reports the Independent.

Tim Farron raised concerns about a revelation that British pilots embedded with other nations’ forces were conducting air strikes on Syria despite MPs voting against action in 2013.

He argued that the suffering caused by such strikes could lead people to support terror groups such as the so-called ‘Islamic State’.

“The decisions you make there are not based on some overall theological sense of what you should do but on what is right,” he said.

“Is it right for us to attack a sovereign country? Is it right for us to overstep a mandate that we have not been given by the electorate or government? Is it right to incite ISIS, or indeed not to incite them – but to play into their hands and be martyrs.”

In response to a freedom of information request from the human rights group Reprive, the Ministry of Defence disclosed that US, French and Canadian armed forces were deploying UK pilots in Syria.

Jennifer Gibson, staff attorney at Reprieve, said the debate about UK action in the Middle East needed to be more “open and honest”.

“It is alarming that Parliament and the public have been kept in the dark about this for so long,” she said.

Yet more worrying is the fact that the UK seems to have turned over its personnel to the US wholesale, without the slightest idea as to what they are actually doing, and whether it is legal.”

An MoD spokesperson said the so-called Islamic State group was a threat to the UK and clarified the position of the British pilots.

“UK embeds operate as if they were the host nation’s personnel, under that nation’s chain of command,”

“Isil poses a direct threat to the UK and to countries around the world. The UK is not conducting airstrikes in Syria and the government has made clear it would return to Parliament if it proposed doing so.

“We have a long-standing embed programme with allies but there are currently no pilots taking part in this region. When embedded, UK personnel are effectively operating as foreign troops.”

The Independent’s Defence Correspondent Kim Sengupta explained that the revelation could have undermined trust in the Government.

Many people would be concerned that British air power is being used, without Parliamentary authority (which was promised)  to launch bombs in Syria.

There has, however, been this Twitter reaction,

Tim Farron’s honeymoon period as newly elected Lib Dem leader barely lasted 12 hours after his comments on ISIS and his religious convictions caused a social media backlash.

TheySay.io analysed over 80,000 tweet mentions and 15,000 Tweets relating to Farron over 24 hours and found that whilst social media reaction was initially mostly positive, there was a significant increase of negativity following his BBC Radio 4 interview this morning.

Further analysis indicated that the negativity was due to a variety of topics including but not limited to the current state of the Lib Dems, right wing criticism of his political stance and some bemusement and concern about the influence of his religious convictions.

Below are a selection of random tweets covering some of the points.

As the first “random Tweet” comes from David Aaronovitch one equally doubts if many people care about what the former Communist, present-day pro-military intervention everywhere,  and Murdoch columnist, thinks either.

Farron’s intervention could be put down to a desire to make a stir on the first day of his leadership by appealing to the Liberal Democrats’ ‘anti-war’ past.

But….the  claims about the bombing seem to be true.

To repeat the Independent’s story:

Freedom of information request by human rights group Reprieve reveals UK service personnel acted under auspices of US and other nations within coalition

British pilots have carried out air strikes in Syria, marking a significant expansion of the UK’s role in the campaign against Islamic State.

The UK pilots were embedded with coalition forces, including the US and Canada, and the number involved is understood to have been in single figures.

Details of British personnel’s involvement in strikes by allied nations’ forces were revealed by a freedom of information request from the pressure group Reprieve.

This is clearly wrong – it is active intervention in the Syrian civil war without democratic authorisation – even if it remains the case that not many people will be concerned if Isis fighters are killed.

And it is also the case that any support, called for the Kurds, fighting their genocidal enemies, is to be welcomed.

What the masses of the entire world care about ISIS/Islamic State/Daesh  is this:

Escape from Isis.

We were prepared for harrowing tales of life under Isis, but never expected positive stories to emerge from the horror, says director Edward Watts.

One cold March morning in Iraq, my small team and I looked out across fields of lavender towards the trenches of the Islamic State, the most feared terrorist group in the world, with a sense of hope.

When, weeks earlier, Channel 4 commissioning editor Siobhan Sinnerton offered me the chance to direct a film about the lives of women living under the rule of the Islamic State – the film that became Escape From Isis – we both knew the project would entail insane hours of relentless work amid tales of unimaginable human suffering. And so it proved.

But neither of us could have guessed that here, on the frontline with Isis, we would find a positive twist to the story.

Through hard work and a series of lucky breaks, I got the opportunity to follow an underground network of activists who, unseen by the world, were trying to free women held by Isis militants and used as sex slaves. That morning, we were waiting for a family of 24 to be guided across the frontline to freedom after eight months in the hands of Isis.

The brutality that people endure inside the Islamic State is difficult to comprehend. One woman’s story will always stay with me. At only 21, Aeida was abducted with her two-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. The militants beheaded people in front of the children and kept the family in a house where women were used as sex slaves.

During her interview, Aeida had just described witnessing a nine-year-old girl being taken away to be raped when she suffered an extreme traumatic flashback and collapsed, struggling to breathe, her face contorted by the horror she had witnessed.

I was torn between the film-maker in me, who knew I needed to record, and the human being, who did not want to add in any way to her suffering by pointing a camera at it. Even after making 20 documentaries, I still find it a difficult balance to strike.

You do see Aeida collapse in the film, but in the edit, I could not watch the material without shedding tears.

Team bonding

For most of the shoot, there were only four of us: me, our main character Khaleel, driver Hazim and fixer Hassan Ashwor, running around northern Iraq in Hazim’s dad’s old saloon. Having a small team allowed me to sneak into places that were off-limits to bigger units – and build the relationships on which our access depended.

The most essential member of the team was Hassan. He had worked as a translator for the US Marines – good preparation for work in television – and was a true TV soldier. His incredible stamina, translating almost continuously for up to 24 hours, helped me to build trust with the secretive rescue network, who had never before allowed cameras to film them.

The humour of our little team carried us through hell; I remember teasing driver Hazim about his quest for a girlfriend as we drove past blown-up buildings and the craters left by roadside bombs.

That cold morning, two hours passed on the frontline with no sign of the family. I decided to snatch a shot of an Isis observation post on the frontline ahead. We wrestled the tripod to the front of the trench and I fitted a long lens. I had just put my eye to the viewfinder when Hassan nudged me: “They’re coming.”

I swung the camera up to the hills and saw the family of 24, a tiny group of black-clad figures, scrambling towards us and freedom.

Everyone – the soldiers, my team, relatives of the escapees – leapt over the frontline and ran helter-skelter into no man’s land to meet them, heedless of the danger. I filmed the soldiers carrying several of the women the final few hundred yards to safety.

The family had walked for two days to escape. They were too exhausted to take another step and were loaded into trucks and driven away. I flicked off the camera and wiped away the sweat. Hassan grinned at me. “No one has seen anything like that before,” he said.

I’m proud that, thanks to all of our hard work, they now can.

Progressive humanity stands with these brave people fighting the Islamic State genociders.

Greece and the Left, the fight against Austerity continues through the EU, not for a ‘new Britain’.

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Europe’s Left: No Retreat to Nationalist anti-European Politics. 

Alexis Tsipras’s grip on power suffers a blow with 32 of his own MPs rebelling as the Greek parliament votes in favour of new austerity measure against a backdrop of violence on the streets of Athens reports the Telegraph.

There are many things to say about the developing Greek crisis but I am still  struck by the information given in Le Monde on Tuesday about the “Explosive Propositions of Wolfgang Schäuble“.

The German Fiannce Minister, Schäuble, wanted Greece out of the Euro (no doubt to the satisfaction of the ‘left’ critics of Syriza’s leadership ), for a “provisional” period (not enough, would say the ‘left’, the True Finns and Golden Dawn). He also demanded a through-going “depolitisation” of the country;s administration, under close EU supervision (not something the ‘left’ would welcome one suspects).

The details behind this are a lot worse – as presented by Jack Rasmus,

Why Hardliners Prefer Grexit

It is a known fact that Schaubel and the ‘right wing’ of Euro bankers and ministers have wanted to eject Greece from the Euro since 2012. In that prior debt restructuring deal, private bankers and investors were ‘paid off’ and exited the Greek debt by means of loans made by the Troika, which were then imposed on Greece to pay. 2012 was a banker-investor bailout, not a Greece bailout. What was left was debt mostly owed by Greece to the Troika, more than $300 billion. Greece’s small economy of barely $180 billion GDP annually can never pay off that debt. Even if Greece grew at 4% GDP a year, an impossibility given that Europe and even Germany have been growing at barely 1% in recent years, and even if Greece dedicated all its surplus GDP to paying the debt, it would take close to a half century for Greece to pay off all its current debt.

Schaubel and the northern Europe bankers know this. In 2012, in the midst of a second Eurozone recession and financial instability, it was far more risky to the Euro banker system to cut Greece loose. Today they believe, however, that the Eurozone is stronger economically and more stable financially. They believe, given the European Central Bank’s $1.2 trillion QE slush fund, that contagion effects from a Greek exit can be limited. Supporters of this view argue that Greece’s economy is only 1.2% of the larger Eurozone’s.

What they don’t understand, apparently, is that size of GDP is irrelevant to contagion. They forget that the Lehman Brothers bank in 2008 in the US represented a miniscule percent of US GDP, and we know what happened. Quantitative references are meaningless when the crux of financial instability always has to do with unpredictable psychological preferences of investors, who have a strong proclivity to take their money and run after they have made a pile of it—which has been the case since 2009. Investors globally will likely run for cover like lemmings if they believe as a group that the global financial system has turned south financially—given the problems growing in China, with oil prices now falling again, with commodity prices in decline once more, with Japan’s QE a complete failure, and with the US economy clearly slowing and the US central bank moves closer to raising interest rates. Greece may contribute to that psychological ‘tipping point’ as events converge.

But there’s another, perhaps even more profitable reason for hardliners and Euro bankers wanting to push Greece out. And that’s the now apparent failure of Eurozone QE (quantitative easing) policies of the European Central Bank to generate Eurozone stock and asset price appreciation investors have been demanding.

Unlike in the US and UK 2009-2014 QE policies that more than doubled stock prices and investors’ capital gains, the ECB’s QE has not led to a stock boom. Like Japan recently, the Eurozone’s stock boom has quickly dissipated. The perception is that stock stimulus from the Eurozone’s QE, introduced six months ago, is perhaps being held back by the Greek negotiations. Euro bankers and investors increasingly believe that by cutting Greece loose (and limiting the contagion effects with QE and more statements of ‘whatever it takes’ by central banker, Mario Draghi) that Grexit might actually lead to a real surge in Euro stock markets. Thus, throwing Greece away might lead to investors making bigger financial profits. In other words, there’s big money to be made on the private side by pushing Greece out.

So, when we are talking about Syriza’s ‘betrayal’  bear this in mind.

Read it carefully.

Most will rightly, dismiss as stale air, calls for a “true” revolutionary party which will abolish these difficulties, and no doubt make the bankers and Schäuble disappear from the Earth’s surface.

But there are serious people inside Syriza, the Left Platform,  who offered an alternative strategy to Tsparis and who have not accepted the present deal.

One of their leading spokespeople, Stahis Kouvelalkis  has declared of the pro-EU Syriza leadership (this could apply more widely to others on the left – to Tendance Coatesy amongst many others) (Greece: The Struggle Continues ):

So for these people the choice is between two things: either being “European” and accepting the existing framework, which somehow objectively represents a step forward compared the old reality of nation-states, or being “anti-European” which is equated with a falling back into nationalism, a reactionary, regressive move.

This is a weak way in which the European Union is legitimated — it might not be ideal but it’s better than anything else on the table.

I think that in this case we can clearly see what the ideology at work here is. Although you don’t positively sign up to the project and you have serious doubts about the neoliberal orientation and top-down structure of European institutions, nevertheless you move within its coordinates and can’t imagine anything better outside of its framework.

This is the meaning of the kind of denunciations of Grexit as a kind of return to the 1930s or Grexit as a kind of apocalypse. This is the symptom of the leadership’s own entrapment in the ideology of left-Europeanism.

Kouvelakis cites the Greek Marxist political writer Nicos Poulantzas, who wrote and lived in France for most of his career,  to back his anti-EU ideology.

He says that Poulantzas said the following.

Yes, Poulantzas talked about European integration in the first part of his book on social classes in contemporary capitalism, in which he analyzes the processes of internationalization of capital and he clearly considered the European Economic Community an example of an imperialist form of internationalization of European capital within the framework of what he considered the new postwar structural hegemony of the United States.

Poulantzas indeed made this analysis in Les Classes sociales dans le capitalisme aujourd’hui, (1974)

But in L’État, le pouvoir, le socialisme (1978) Poulantzas offered an alternative to the domination of capital: a fusion of direct and representative democracy based ont eh workers’ movement and civil society. He famously stated that the state, is a ” « condensation matérielle d’un rapport de force entre les classes et fractions de classe » (a material condensation of relations between classes and fractions of classes).

The European Union is a judicial and economic  framework which is, self-evidently,  linked to these relations of changeable power.

It is not only a cabal of finance ministers, EU Commissioners,  and neo-liberals who can do as they will – if there is a large enough power to stop them.

To change the EU,  to fight neo-liberalism,  requires a different relation of force: based on Europe-wide unity between the popular classes and lefts.

It means a political movement, across borders, with institutional weight.

The European Parliament, without any effective influence on EU decision-making, which is essentially inter-Ministerial and Commission based,  is nevertheless a point where these bonds can, and are, made, through groups like the European Left Party – however weak they may be at present.

To leave the EU is to leave these potential ties of unity.

It is to give up the game at the first sign of difficulty – to follow those, misguided or simply opportunist ‘friends’ of Syriza who now turn on them when they have run into trouble.

It is to set the course for naked domination by the forces of international capital.

Or to put is more simply, no country, nor left, is in a position to  break free of  the IMF’s clutches, not to mention world financial markets.

Those on the Syriza left who proposed a Grexit, the centrepice of their economic plans, have yet to answer the point: would they have either offered a viable package, and how would they have warded off the financial locusts described by Rasmus?

They have yet to give a serious response.

A ‘New Britain’.

The Greek crisis has been a perceived as proof that the ‘pro-European’ left has failed, largely by those who were already convinced that this is so.

Briefly basking in Syriza’s reflected glory they have now returned to their own political projects.

In France, apart from the anti-Euro and ‘Sovereigntist’  Front National, a minority of the Parti de Gauche (45%) voted at their recent conference for this as part of a general “Eurosceptic” line (Libération).  Their leader, JeanLuc Mélenchon, has made frequent nationalist and anti-German remarks during the Greek crisis.

He said a few days ago,

“Pour la troisième fois dans l’histoire de l’Europe, l’obstination d’un gouvernement allemand est en train de détruire l’Europe”

For the third time in the History of Europe, the obstination of the German government is destroying Europe.

There is little doubt the same mood exists across Europe.

In Britain some see the Greek crisis as a sign to join in the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union.

This, Owen Jones dreams, would ” focus on building a new Britain, one of workers’ rights, a genuine living wage, public ownership, industrial activism and tax justice. Such a populist campaign could help the left reconnect with working-class communities it lost touch with long ago.”

Unfortunately this option will appear on no Referendum Ballot paper, when, one assumes the believers in a New Britain will mark their slips in the same way as the ‘populists’ of the far-right,  and hard-line anti-socialist economic liberals.

As Jim Denham rightly says, “The left should fight, not to go backwards from the current bureaucratic, neoliberal European Union, but forward, to a democratic United States of Europe, and a socialist United States of Europe.”

In the meantime here are some serious articles by people the Tendance respects (though disagrees with) on Syriza and the present crisis:

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin: Treating SYRIZA responsibly (Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal)
Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, Athens

 

Update: A reminder from UNITE,

Remaining in the EU is essential for manufacturing workers

02 April 2015 By Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary

Two-thirds of manufacturing jobs in the UK are sustained by trade with the rest of the EU.

Between 2009 and 2011 the number of manufacturing jobs in the UK dependent on trade with the EU grew by 15 per cent.

But it is not just the economics that make membership crucial it is also the protection that workers have because of the EU.

Talk of employment directives may seem dry but protecting our members rights at work have come about because we belong to the EU, and because Unite and other trade unions have fought long and hard to achieve them.

Parental leave has been extended to at least four months for each parent no matter what type of employment contract a worker may be on.

Thousands of workers in part time jobs can no longer be treated less favourably  than their counterparts who work full time.

Bosses don’t want anything that might interfere with their right to hire and fire at will so anything that provides protection for temporary agency workers from gross exploitation are hard fought. But we have been able to do it.

One of the major protections for workers is the transfers of undertakings directive a vital piece of legislation that guarantees workers’ rights and obligations in company takeovers and mergers – there was a time when companies could dismiss and automatically sack their entire workforces upon the transfer or sale of a business.

The working time directive protects workers from being forced to more than 48 hours on average and guarantees breaks during and between shits.

And lest we forget – guaranteed paid annual leave, of at least four weeks (28 days a year) – which now thanks to Unite has to be paid at average pay.

There have been massive improvements on equal pay; the right to be consulted on redundancies; to have information about your company and for workers in multinational companies the right to be heard and consulted at European level and improvements on health and safety.

Tory Eurosceptics and Ukip echo the right wing and defeated Tea Party in the United States offering Britain a prospectus of becoming an offshore financial centre – like Hong Kong.  Left to them we will become Europe’s economic and political renegade.

If the Tories and Ukip get their way they will set us on this calamitous course to exit the EU. That’s why manufacturing workers need to vote Labour on 7 May.

Socialist Party of Great Britain worth £1,3 million. And?

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Always Readable. 

Long ago, in my North London youth, I learnt a lot of basic Marxism from the Socialist Party of Great Britain’s monthly, The Socialist Standard.

As John Sullivan wrote (see below) the SPGB’s use of the “vernacular” – that is plain English – made these ideas accessible to an ‘orrible well under 15 year old North Londoner in a way that no other leftist publication did.

Like many on the left I have come across SPGB members over the years.

Frankly I am not surprised at this story – which in today’s terms reveals a ‘fortune’ that the average Tory MP would use up putting a deposit down on a one-room holiday flat and beach-hut  in Southwold.

But it shows the SPGB – immortally dubbed the Small Party of Good Boys –  is still there.

Perhaps they will soon have a well-mannered debate with Michael Ezra on how best to spoil your ballot paper (we hear that drawing a picture of “my naughty little mansion” on the slip was his 2015 response).

Socialist Party of Great Britain worth £1.3m, accounts show reports the BBC.

A tiny socialist party which believes in the abolition of money is sitting on a £1.3m cash and property pile, it has emerged.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain, which has 300 members, has cash reserves of £452,250 and property worth £900,000, its latest accounts say.

The party, which was founded in 1904 – making it one of the oldest in the UK – is based in Clapham High Street.

It bought the South London shop premises in 1951 for about £3,000.

But it has benefited from the boom in the capital’s property prices, with the value of its assets increasing by £400,000 in a single year, according to its accounts.

‘Not a charity’

Media spokesman Adam Buick, who joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain in 1962, said he saw no contradiction between its socialist beliefs and its capitalist windfall.

“We live in a capitalist society and you need money to survive in a capitalist society,” he told BBC News.

“We are not a charity, we are not giving it away to the poor, we are using it to propagate the case for socialism.”

The party, which does not have leaders, aims to use the ballot box to build a mass socialist movement and is well-known in left-wing circles for rejecting the Soviet Union as a failed example of “state capitalism”.

It fielded 10 candidates at this year’s general election, all of whom lost their deposits, gaining a total of 899 votes. It also contested 2014’s European elections in the Wales and South East regions, gaining a total of 6,838 votes.

Explaining the party’s stance on money, Mr Buick said: “We don’t want just to ‘abolish money’.

“What we want is to see established a society of common ownership and democratic control in which money, banks, finance etc will be redundant and so disappear, being replaced by ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’. What socialism in its proper sense has always involved.”

Generous bequests

Mr Buick said the party was regularly approached by estate agents and property developers urging them to sell their headquarters, which is flanked by fashionable restaurants and shops.

He said some members were in favour of selling up and moving to a cheaper, less high-profile location and others had argued in favour of putting the party’s money in an investment account, although they drew the line at investing in the stock exchange.

“That would be going too far, although there would be some members who wouldn’t necessarily be against that,” said Mr Buick.

He said the party had only recently begun to have its accounts fully audited, including an estimate of its property wealth, to comply with Electoral Commission rules.

The party had also benefitted in recent years from generous bequests from members who had died, he added.

An even smaller left wing party, the Socialist Alliance, was recently left £101,254 in a will, which it spent on deposits and campaign funds for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates at May’s general election.

Background: from  John Sullivan  As Soon As This Pub Closes.

THE oldest socialist party, the SPGB was founded in 1904, when the left wing of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) rejected the opportunist politics of Hyndman, Marx’s bête noir, the leader of their parent group, which culminated in congratulating King Edward on his accession to the throne. The original left faction was a confused amalgam which included some people in London and a number of Scots comrades influenced by the American Marxist–Syndicalist Daniel de Leon. Unfortunately De Leon’s ideas came to them through the agency of the Edinburgh adventurer James Connolly, who ended his career as an Irish nationalist and Catholic martyr. Instead of fighting to win the SDF to a Marxist policy, the Scots broke away in 1903 to form the Socialist Labour Party (SLP), leaving the London SDF members compromised and isolated. The following year they themselves split from the SDF and formed the SPGB.

The double-dealing of the faction which formed the SLP made the SPGB an angry and suspicious group from the beginning. That was demonstrated by the Declaration of Principles (D of P), carried in the first issue of its journal, the Socialist Standard. The key part of the document is Clause 7, the famous ‘hostility clause’ which states: ‘That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party which seeks working-class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.’

The ‘hostility clause’ was a stroke of genius which expresses the essence of the SPGB, and achieved a simple formula for achieving isolation and non-cooperation which the party’s rivals try to obtain through confused and inconsistent dialectical contortions. Religious sects achieve the same effect by shaving their heads or wearing distinctive clothes. The hostility to other groups was reciprocated from the beginning as the SPGB’s insistence on writing in plain English caused great offence: most left groups consider that a church must have its own language and liturgy, and have laboriously constructed a jargon comprehensible only to the initiated. The SPGB’s insistence on using the vernacular has provoked much the same response as that of the Papacy towards those who translated the Bible into the common tongue. The D of P has never been seriously challenged, and the party has never looked back. It has been fortunate in finding a biographer in Robert Baltrop, whose book The Monument is a truthful and warmly affectionate account of a group whose aggression and cantankerousness have placed a strain on the tolerance of most people who encounter them. People have the impression that a group bound to a doctrine first enunciated in 1904 must be composed of dogmatic robots. Nothing could be further from the truth! The SPGB was, until recently, full of the most delightful and varied eccentrics one could hope to meet. The reason for this is that although the D of P is sacrosanct, it covers only the question of how the socialist society will be brought about. The party, in contrast to many other sects, does not try to regulate its members’ domestic lives, eating habits or personal relationships.

The party’s formula for achieving socialism is beautifully simple: the workers are to become individually convinced of the socialist case, and when that has been done they will vote in a government which will decree socialism at a stroke. No attention is given to boring questions of tactics or strategy. The SPGB thus achieves the unique distinction of being both constitutional and revolutionary. Through this formula the SPGB avoids the strains which drive other socialists to drink or revisionism. The very simplicity of the formula might seem to rule out the possibility of discussion. However, the D of P, inflexible as it is in the area which it covers, does not specify what the society of the future will be like; consequently, SPGB meetings, whatever the ostensible topic, quickly tend to gravitate towards discussion on precisely this theme. Under socialism will we be vegetarian, monogamous or not? Will we still live in cities? Will we use more or less water, and will goods still be mass produced? Visitors to SPGB meetings, expecting to hear solemn Marxists discussing how to overthrow the bourgeoisie, are usually surprised and charmed. No speculation is forbidden by the D of P, so imaginations can soar, unfettered by the tedious discussions on tactics and strategy which form the content of most socialist theory. Even the least imaginative of the speculations are more appealing than descriptions of the Christians’ dreary, male chauvinist heaven.

It is accepted sociological wisdom that any organisation which has existed for three generations should have achieved a measure of family continuity, and so be relieved of the constant necessity to win converts from the outside world. As the SPGB is the only political sect which has been around long enough to test the theory on, it has attracted more attention from sociologists than from students of politics. In fact, the SPGB’s achievement there has not yet equalled that of any established religious sect. What does happen, according to Barltrop, is that new members join because of social relationships rather than formal propaganda, which serves as a diversion for the members rather than as a source of recruitment. The party is, apart from the Discussion Group, the only socialist organisation which is at all difficult to join. Members have to satisfy a committee that they understand the SPGB’s case; in contrast, the vanguard groups will accept anyone who does as she is told.

In the 1950s, the SPGB seemed like a survivor of the Edwardian era, rather like the Secular Society, with whose cultural milieu it overlaps. However, just as that scene was rejuvenated by a revival of interest in the universities, so to a lesser extent was the SPGB. This has changed the internal atmosphere in ways which are sometimes worrying. Discipline, once draconian, has become very lax: some of the younger members’ interpretation of the ‘hostility clause’ is frankly alarming. They argue that the while the D of P enjoins hostility to rival organisations, this need not be extended to the members of such organisations. On a strictly legalistic reading of the D of P, this is perhaps allowable, but it would severely weaken the social effect of the hostility clause. It would never have been accepted by the stalwarts who built the party, and it goes against its whole tradition. Some of the new wave wish to substitute a plan to transform society gradually through the growth of cooperatives for the party’s traditional programme of an immediate transition to socialism once it has a firm parliamentary majority. It would be sad indeed if a party which fought so long against the Social Democratic theory of gradualism were to succumb to the life-stylism which has destroyed so many of its rivals.

I have omitted the concluding paragraph because it was written before this split in the SPGB.

Socialist Studies

In 1991, the Camden and northwest London branches of the Party were expelled after a party-wide referendum found them to be engaged in persistent undemocratic behaviour. Some of these ex-members, comprising sixteen individuals, refused to recognise the expulsions and attempted to continue operating as the Socialist Party of Great Britain, which they claimed to have “reconstituted”. The group’s activity consists primarily of holding occasional propaganda meetings and publishing their journal Socialist Studies, which serves just as much as a forum for socialist philosophy and agitation as it does for polemics against the original SPGB. The Socialist Studies group claims that original SPGB has deviated from the strict anti-reformism principles it established in 1904, to the point of engaging in Trotskyist, Stalinist, and even fascistpolitics.

I am not sure about the last claim.

Socialist Studies comes, sometimes, to the Burston Rally, and he is a polite enough chap who does not look capable of making such wild claims.

In Defence of Syriza against “Syriza delenda est”.

with 15 comments

 

We Backed Syriza then, and We Stand by our Friends.

Syriza delenda est   Syriza Must be Destroyed:

There is little doubt that this is the aim of the neo-liberals, from the hard right to the ‘moderate’ left  in the European Union.

But there is worse to come.

A commentator in the Financial Times has been moved to state,

Greece’s brutal creditors have demolished the eurozone project.

few things that many of us took for granted, and that some of us believed in, ended in a single weekend. By forcing Alexis Tsipras into a humiliating defeat, Greece’s creditors have done a lot more than bring about regime change in Greece or endanger its relations with the eurozone. They have destroyed the eurozone as we know it and demolished the idea of a monetary union as a step towards a democratic political union.

In doing so they reverted to the nationalist European power struggles of the 19th and early 20th century. They demoted the eurozone into a toxic fixed exchange-rate system, with a shared single currency, run in the interests of Germany, held together by the threat of absolute destitution for those who challenge the prevailing order. The best thing that can be said of the weekend is the brutal honesty of those perpetrating this regime change.

More via link above.

We learn that at Marxism 2015 this happened,

Alex Callinicos argued that Syriza might have a more radical programme than PASOK’s then, but was being not only nonetheless reformist; going against the OXI vox populi was clearly being treacherous. The hall erupted in cheers when Panos Garganas broke the news that he had to leave for Greece to attend a meeting of public sector unions for Monday towards calling a General Strike and the deepening of revolutionary pressures from below…”

And so it goes…..lectures from the SWP who backed a gaggle of groupuscules (Antarsya) that stood against Syriza in the Greek General election.

The Socialist Party, which at least had the merit of calling for a vote for a Syriaz, got its screams of treason in early.

Last week the published a statement from their own – not very numerous –  Greek allies,  a classic in Trotskyist ‘betrayal’ rhetoric.

Time for a new, mass revolutionary Left to oppose all austerity!

Editorial statement by Xekinima (CWI Greece), 10/07/2015

The leading group in SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras have been proven tragically incapable of responding to the tasks of the moment and unworthy of the confidence of the working class. They are unworthy of the earth-shaking ‘No’ vote on 5 July which reverberated throughout Europe and the whole world.

They betrayed the confidence of workers, pensioners, the unemployed and the poor, who voted by 70%-80% in favour of No in the working class neighbourhoods and cities. They betrayed the great struggle launched by the Left and the working class, all across Europe, in support of the struggling Greek workers.

And yet, even at this time, the SYIRZA leaders around Tsipras have the gall to ask people to rally today in favor of ‘No’ because, supposedly, this ‘government of the Left’ needs the support of people in the streets! But why should the working class rally and demonstrate to defend those who have stabbed it in the back!

Like the Communist Party of Britain and other fragments of the British far-left who have wasted no time in denouncing Tsiparis  these are objective allies of  German Finance Minister Schäubleand, Europe’s neo-liberals, and the nationalists who want to see a return to “nationalist European power struggles.”

That is, they lay  the responsibility for the present impasse on those who did not create it.

If you want to know where the real blame lies it is important to read: Yanis Varoufakis full transcript: our battle to save Greece.  The full transcript of the former Greek Finance Minister’s first interview since resigning. (New Statesman).

This summarises the problem,

Varoufakis said that Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister and the architect of the deals Greece signed in 2010 and 2012, was “consistent throughout”. “His view was ‘I’m not discussing the programme – this was accepted by the previous [Greek] government and we can’t possibly allow an election to change anything.

“So at that point I said ‘Well perhaps we should simply not hold elections anymore for indebted countries’, and there was no answer. The only interpretation I can give [of their view] is, ‘Yes, that would be a good idea, but it would be difficult. So you either sign on the dotted line or you are out.’”

It is well known that Varoufakis was taken off Greece’s negotiating team shortly after Syriza took office; he was still in charge of the country’s finances but no longer in the room. It’s long been unclear why. In April, he said vaguely that it was because “I try and talk economics in the Eurogroup” – the club of 19 finance ministers whose countries use the Euro – “which nobody does.” I asked him what happened when he did.

“It’s not that it didn’t go down well – there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on, to make sure it’s logically coherent, and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you’d have got the same reply.”

We are not accustomed to abandoning our friends when they are in trouble, for all the complex comments and judgements that need to be made about this “coup” against democracy.

We will back Syriza – we feel this dans nos tripes.

Is there any hope?

This is one view:

Requiem at an Empty Grave?  Syriza’s Momentous Day Leo Panitch July 12, 2015

Did those who are already raising Lenin from his tomb to render quick judgement on Syriza’s abject “world-historic defeat” (without saying much about what victory would look like or require) actually bother to read the rather similar plans that Syriza put forward before the referendum and that were consistently rejected by the EU and IMF “Institutions”? This rejection is what the referendum was about. The resounding OXI was then used by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to secure the resignation of the leading political representative of the domestic ruling class (and former Prime Minister), Antonis Samaras, and to get all the party leaders with any such claim or ambitions to speak for that class to adopt Syriza’s position on the need for debt restructuring and investment funds. One might even say that if there was a class crossover involved here it was the other way around, one that looks more like what Gramsci meant by a hegemonic strategy rather than the way it is presented from the perspective of those standing on Lenin’s Tomb.

The virtually same formulations in Syriza’s plans that were just yesterday called intransigence by mainstream media in Greece and aped by the media abroad are now presented as capitulation in order to disguise the significance of this. This is not surprising but what is surprising is the immediate acceptance of this capitulation interpretation by so much of the Western radical left from whom one might have expected a rather more sophisticated reading and less quick rush to negative judgement. Of course, the latter view is shared by many on the radical left here in Greece, including those Syriza MPs who opposed or abstained on the vote in the Greek parliament. But in doing this, they only raise the question of whether the Antarsya strategy of Grexit (which obtained less than 1 per cent of the vote in January) is any more viable today than it was then.

Deal or No Deal?

The real situation is this, as we await the outcome of what will in fact be a momentous day. If there is in fact some significant debt restructuring and investment funds in a deal today and this is not effectively tied to further conditionality, this would offset many times over the four year $12-billion plan for fiscal surpluses in the plan just passed by the Greek parliament. Of course, even if this is the effective outcome of this weekend’s final maneouvres, this will require some political sophistication to discern, since it will be concealed somewhat so that other European leaders can disguise this from their electorates, whose attitudes the Northern and Central European labour movements have done little or nothing to change. Tsipras would need to explain this well to get people to understand the significance of the victory he – and they with their support in the referendum – would have pulled off.

It will not be a “world historic” victory, for those who like such language, since it will still involve tying the revival of the Greek economy to the fate of what remains a very much capitalist Europe, but this would not mean that the Syriza government would exclude itself from the continuing struggle to challenge and change that. On the other hand, if Tsipras walks away today accepting the same conditionalities as before to debt restructuring, and without any guaranteed investment funds on top of this, then it will indeed be interesting to see where Lenin will take us once he is let out of his tomb, and sees that he faces yet again the sad fact that a break in the weakest link could not break the stronger links of the labour movements in Central and Northern Europe to both domestic and global capitalism.

Update:

It looks as if we have accept that Panitch was wrong and that this is a defeat.

Or rather dressed up as this:

  • The Greek parliament must immediately adopt laws to reform key parts of its economy – by Wednesday. The reforms include: streamlining the pension system and boosting tax revenue – especially from VAT
  • A commitment to liberalise the labour market, privatise the electricity network and extend shop opening hours
  • The eurozone agrees in principle to start negotiations on a loan package for Greece worth €82bn-86bn (£59bn-£62bn; $91bn-$96bn)
  • The loan will come mainly from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – the eurozone bailout fund. But the International Monetary Fund will also be asked to make a contribution from March 2016

The debt restructuring and the rest have come at the price of slashing public spending and a host of ‘free-market’ measures.

Above all privatisations: the railways and ports.

The problem was not the Syriza put ‘Europe’ above Greece, or the Greek popular masses.

The hard money and the hard women and men,  counted, and they were bullied, with – we have to admit, some protection (how limited, we have yet to weigh this up) by François Hollande.  According to Le Monde, he played a key part in keeping Greece in the Euro.

But frankly, was an ‘alternative’ based on a Grexit – a small country holding out with its own currency, bravely pursuing full-blown anti-austerity, a viable option?

Anybody we thinks this should read this (if they grasp some French): Que se passerait-il si un pays quittait la zone euro ?

It mentions interest rates at 12%, inflation running wild, and that’s just in the hypothetical case of France – a strong economy!

Now this may be fiction but it’s not too far off reality.

The supporters- like poor old Lenny of the Tomb – of this counterfactual are ‘aving a laugh.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 13, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Fighting Islamic State is not a Crime: Release Pablo and Álvaro!

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https://communismeouvrier.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/11214070_901055586617167_2777911003175522313_n.jpg?w=302&h=429

Release the Fighters Against Daesh!

As the UK media agonises about British recruits to Deash, repression of those internationalists willing to go and fight the genociders continues:

ANF – News Desk

Kurdish Question.

The Marxist Leninist Communist Party-Rojava (MLKP) has released a statement condemning the arrest by the Spanish state of two Spanish revolutionaries soon after return from the battle in Rojava, West Kurdistan.

MLKP Rojava stressed that only enhancement of the international solidarity would defeat these attacks on those putting up a fight against ISIS.

Remarking that the struggle waged in Rojava and Shengal against ISIS is being strengthened with heroic resistance admired by the oppressed all over the world today, the statement said that Rojava is a territory where the oppressed peoples and humanity longing for freedom, equality and justice are realising their dreamed future bit by bit.

The statement said: “This is why it is being defended with self-sacrificing resistance. Our Spanish communist comrades have also been a part of this dignified struggle by putting up a fight at many fronts in Rojava to defend it against fascistic ISIS gangs. The presence of Spanish communists in Rojava is at the same time a call to progressive humanity to ‘enhance this dignified struggle’ against fascistic ISIS gangs, an enemy to all the world’s peoples”, the statement said.

MLKP Rojava emphasised that the struggle and fight against ISIS, enemy of humanity, women, oppressed peoples, faith groups and nations, was a fair and legitimate one. It also stressed that defense of Rojava was a fight of honour and freedom and represented human dignity.

“The arrest by the Spanish state of our two Spanish comrades is as illegitimate as the defense of the Rojava revolution is legitimate and right”, it underlined.

‘ATTACK ON ANTI-IMPERIALIST AND ANTI-FASCIST STRUGGLE’

Condemning the Spanish state for arresting revolutionaries in addition to failing to adopt an attitude against the ISIS fascism, MLKP Rojava said they assessed the arrest by the Spanish state as an attack targeting not only Spanish communists but also the anti-imperialist and anti-fascist struggle growing around the Rojava Revolution.

Stressing that it is only enhancement of the international solidarity that will defeat these attacks, MLKP Rojava ended its statement by conveying sincerest feelings of solidarity to the Marxist Leninist Rebuilding Organisation and the two Spanish comrades arrested.

The French Initiative Communiste-Ouvrière  (a left group with origins in the Iranian ‘Hekmatist’ current (here), which has no relation to ‘Marxism-Leninism’) also appeals for the comrades’ release.

Combattre Daesh n’est pas un crime ! Relaxe pour Pablo et Álvaro !

Pablo D.O. et Álvaro F.R. alias ‘Paco’ sont deux militants communistes espagnols, membres de l’organisation Reconstrucción Comunista. Ils ont été arrêtés le lundi 6 juillet à Madrid et inculpés le mardi 7 juillet de « participation à une organisation terroriste » pour avoir combattu aux côtés de l’YPG au Kurdistan syrien contre les obscurantistes fanatiques de Daesh.

En attente de leur procès, les deux militants communistes sont placés en liberté surveillée : ils ont du rendre leurs passeports, ont l’interdiction de quitter le territoire espagnol et doivent pointer toutes les semaines au tribunal.

Défendre la population civile de Rojava contre les bandes fanatiques de Daesh n’est pas un crime ! Pablo et Alvaro ont lutté au Kurdistan au nom de l’internationalisme contre Daesh, une organisation responsable de nombreux crimes contre l’humanité tant en Syrie qu’en Irak.

L’ héroïque résistance de la population de Rojava, de Shengal et d’ailleurs contre la barbarie des fanatiques de Daesh a été et continue d’être soutenue dans le monde entier par tous ceux et toutes celles dont le cœur bat pour les valeurs de liberté, d’égalité et d’humanité. En partant se battre en Rojava pour défendre la population civile contre les bandes terroristes de Daesh, Pablo et Alvaro n’ont commis aucun crime bien au contraire ! Il est en plus, non seulement injuste, mais particulièrement délirant d’inculper de « participation à une organisation terroriste », deux militants qui justement ont combattu Daesh, une des principales organisations terroristes.

L’Initiative Communiste-Ouvrière affirme sa solidarité avec Pablo et Alvaro et demande leur relaxe immédiate et inconditionnelle.

L’Initiative Communiste-Ouvrière appelle toutes les organisations, ouvrières, féministes ou de défense des droits humains, tous ceux et toutes celles qui ont manifesté leur soutien à la résistance de Kobanê, à interpeller les autorités espagnoles pour demander la relaxe de Pablo et Alvaro.

In Defence of Syriza and Tsipras.

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German right-wing Tabloid Bild is not happy with the result of the negotiations with Greece.

Tsipras laughs and we pay….

The BBC reports,

Eurozone finance chiefs are gathering in Brussels for a meeting that could decide whether new Greek proposals are sufficient to secure a third bailout and prevent a possible eurozone exit.

Greece’s parliament overnight backed PM Alexis Tsipras’s new package.

But he faced anger from some in his own party for proposing measures that were rejected in a referendum last Sunday.

Greece’s creditors gave an initially positive reaction to the plans but a bailout agreement is far from certain.

The creditors – the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – have sent a first joint assessment to the eurozone ministers.

“Under certain conditions, they jointly see the proposals as a basis for negotiation,” an EU official told Reuters.

Greece is asking creditors for €53.5bn ($59.47bn; £38.4bn) to cover Greece’s debts until 2018, but the amount of the new bailout could reach €74bn, as Greece is seeking a restructuring of its massive debt, which it says is unsustainable.

Times of Change adds,

In his speech (to the Greek parliament), Alexis Tsipras defended the painful bailout proposals his leftwing government presented to parliament on Friday, saying they were difficult measures but would help keep Greece in the euro zone.

Arguing that the mix of tax hikes and spending cuts was better on many points than the package rejected by voters in a referendum on Sunday, Tsipras insisted that he had won important concessions on restructuring Greece’s enormous public debt.

“For the first time, we have on the table a substantial discussion for a debt restructuring,” he said in a debate before parliament votes on endorsing the proposals.

He said Greece would meet 6.8 billion euros of payments on maturing bonds held by the European Central Bank due in July and August and said that the capital controls imposed on banks would not force the government to take new fiscal measures.

The French Communist Daily, l’Humanité has a long, rigorous and sympathetic report on this speech and the difficulties facing Greece: here.

Anti-Europe sections of the British left will be interested in the following:

Tsipras said the vote gave him a “strong mandate to complete the negotiations to reach an economically viable and socially fair agreement”.

“The priority now is to have a positive outcome to the negotiations. Everything else in its own time,” he said.

In an ominous sign for the stability of the government, however, 10 deputies on the ruling benches either abstained or voted against the measures and another seven were absent, leaving Tsipras short of the 151 seats needed for a majority of his own.

Prominent leftwingers in the governing Syriza party signalled before the vote that they could not support the mix of tax hikes and spending cuts proposed by Tsipras, following the rejection of similar austerity measures by voters in Sunday’s referendum.

Energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, deputy labour minister Dimitris Stratoulis as well as the speaker of parliament, Zoe Constantopoulou, all abstained.

“The government is being totally blackmailed to acquiesce to something which does not reflect what it represents,” Constantopoulou said.

Guardian.

SYRIZA Left Platform Proposes Grexit- Tsipras Urges MP’s to Support Proposals.

Two SYRIZA lawmakers and three members of the political committee, who are part of the Left Platform, a subgroup within SYRIZA, produced a document on Friday that asks for the renegotiation of a deal with the institutions. If a deal without austerity and with sufficient liquidity cannot be reached Greece should exit the Eurozone, the document argues.

Political Committee members Stathis Leoutsakos, Antonis Davanelos, Sophie Papadogiannis and lawmakers Costas Lapavitas and Thanasis Petrakos  further urged the government to sign a transition deal toward a new currency that will allow Greece to do three things.

  • A radical reform of the banking system
  • The complete halt of austerity policies
  • The exit from the Euro and the subsequent a write down of most of Greece’s debt.

“An exit from the eurozone under the current circumstances is a difficult but realistic process that will allow the country to follow a different path, away from that of the unacceptable programs that will emulate the Juncker proposal,” the document reads.

An exit from the Eurozone would generate further benefits according to the proposal. Namely, the restoration of financial liquidity, a sustainable growth program based on private investment, the rebuilding of the internal economy to reduce dependence on imports, an increase in exports, independence from the European Central Bank, its policies and restrictions and finally the utilization of unused resources to create rapid growth so as to protect against the first difficult months following the Grexit.

We have little doubt the SWP which  has close links to an obscure group in Greece opposed to Syriza, not to mention the Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star), which backs the Greek Communist Party (KKE), an organisation that envisages a fortress Greece against the EU, and indeed the Brent Soviet, will seize on the Greek government’s decision in order to attack Syriza.

Or as their mates on the WSWS already shout: Syriza’s betrayal of the Greek working class!

The will fight to the last Greek pensioner to defend their factions.

Their answer to Greece’s problems: austerity: oppose it!

Now why didn’t  Tsipras think of that one!

The Weekly Worker said they should not have taken power in the first place: problem solved!

In the meantime we say: back our Greek comrades in their  hour of need.

This is well-worth reading: (from Marxism List):

Commentary from Theo, a Greek FB friend

 
 
This one is for my non-Greek Marxist facebook friends who have been 
posting about my country for the last year or so . . .
I, for example, could have told you what to expect from Synaspismos 
because I lived in Greece for many years. I could also have told you 
about ???, ???, the ???, other Marxist groups, Greek anarchists, etc. -- 
and in great detail.
This is not an "I told you so" because I did not say much and prefer 
boat carpentry to political infighting.
I'm no expert. Why should you care what I think? I don't expect you to now.
I might have enjoyed deriding the ?????? leadership for being parlor 
revolutionaries, political opportunists and milquetoast reformists, 
well, I didn't because (1) they actually got themselves elected 
(something nobody can take away from them) and, accordingly, (2) 
deserved a chance to do their jobs.
A few months ago I was amused to read some comment threads by non-Greek 
leftists which were, more or less, anti-KKE pile-ons. People who were 
not Greek, did not speak Greek, and had never lived in Greece magically 
morphed into expert critics of that country's working class politics. I 
should have liked to ask these just-add-water theoreticians to accompany 
me to Athenian working class neighborhoods or to parts of rural Greece 
where they could explain to the locals their local politics. I'd happily 
volunteer my services as interpreter.
(Incidentally, I'm not KKE, just another garden-variety Marxist with an 
independent streak.)
But ?????? pretty much came to power because ????? went up up in smoke. 
That's what fucking happened. There simply wasn't anybody left with 
mainstream appeal and good party organization.
At least they gave it a whirl.
The Greeks elected them to wheel and deal for Greece, not to leave the 
EU or lead a global insurgency against the neoliberal order.
And that's what they've been trying to do (however little you or I may 
think of their maneuvering).
Did Tsipras call the referendum so as to duck for cover behind the Greek 
people?
Maybe so.
Does that suck?
Sure.
But, honestly, if you were Greek and on the hard left, that's about what 
you'd expect.
And if you are not Greek and not on the hard left, but still familiar 
with even the most of rudimentary Marxist analyses, you surely 
understand that ??????'s appeals to reason in its negotiations would not 
be well received by representatives of an economic system that is 
irrational at its core.
What's interesting to me is how the EU honchos can't seem to tolerate 
even a mildly left wing government like ?????? being successful.
Whether or not you agree or disagree with what, admittedly, is my 
backyard and layman's opinion is unimportant.

Is Iglesias’ Leadership of Podemos Beginning to Unravel?

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Podemos Leader Faces Challenging Times. 

La izquierda alternativa desafía el plan de Iglesias para las generales

The Left Alternative challenges Iglesias’s plans for the General Election.

Reports El Paìs today – translated/adapted. (Hat-Tip to SH)

Under the name Ahora en Común, a group of the left of Podemos have, on Thursday,  set in motion an initiative to promote “popular unity”  for the general election, candidacies in the  style of the’ ‘ciudadanas’ citizen-city  lists (governing in Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza. The platform,  with the backing of Podemos office holders, Izquidra Unida  (IU – united left, groups based on democratic communists and radical left socialist and green groups, formerly the largest left alliance in Spain)  and those from these lists,  is a setback to the strategy of Pablo Ingelisas , who  wants the other forces of the alternative left to join behind him, under his “umbrella”,  for the election. IU’s candidate, Alberto Garzón, whose own proposals for unity have already been rejected by Iglesias, has welcome the proposals.

The manifesto was signed by representatives of Podemos, candidates of “popular unity”, the United Left (IU) and Equo (Spain’s Greens). These include Jorge Suarez, mayor of Ferrol (Ferrol in Common), Isidro Lopez, deputy in the Assembly of Madrid, Diego Pacheco, a member of the regional management of the organisation in Madrid, Rosa Martinez, spokesperson for Equo, Pablo Carmona, Councillor for Ahora Madrid Mauricio Valiente, former candidate of IU Madrid and Councillor also now Madrid, IU MEP Javier Couso or Eduardo Garzon, economist and brother of the candidate of the d’ederación de izquierdas’ (federation of the lefts), Alberto Garzón.

You can see the – growing – list of those backing Ahora en Común (Now, Together! ) here.

Iglesias’s response has been to say that he does not need unity between parties, but unity between people.

“El líder de Podemos afirma sobre la plataforma ciudadana que “la unidad popular no es la unidad de partidos, es la unidad de la gente”. (El Diario).

Presumably behind, himself, and his leadership of Podemos…..

…it didn’t take long to find accusations, discussed in Podemos itself, that Igelsiais appears “proud and arrogant, and who refuses to join with anybody else, even at the cost of losing votes”.  “que parece arrogante y soberbio, que se niega a confluir con nadie aun a costa de perder votos. Beatriz Gimeno and Carmen San José. Mardid Assembly Councillors Podemos. (Viento Sur. – Left grouping part of Podemos)

These problems follow Podemos distancing from Greece’s Syriza. (Guardian 6th of July)

For the past year, they have positioned themselves as allied agents of a change sweeping across southern Europe.

On the face of it, Spain’s leftwing anti-austerity Podemos party should have been crowing at the landslide victory of the no vote in Sunday’s Greek referendum. But while Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias was quick to praise Syriza and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, his overriding message was a simple one – Spain is not Greece.

With a general election due in Spain by the end of the year, Iglesias, whose party made substantial gains in local elections earlier this year, was careful to mark the differences between the two countries, worried, analysts said, that any worsening of the situation in Greece could drive crucial middle-class voters away from his party.

“We have a great friendship with Syriza, but luckily, Spain is not Greece,” Iglesias told radio Cadena Ser. “We’re an economy with much more weight in the eurozone, we’re a country with a stronger administration and with a better economic situation. The circumstance are different and I think it makes no sense to draw parallels.”

Instead, Iglesias framed the referendum as a step forward for democracy in that the Greek people had finally been handed the power to decide on austerity measures. “It’s good news for Europeans and Greek citizens,” said Iglesias. “The people of Greece have said they want change, they support a government who says that things can be done in a different way.”

The referendum was a clear success for Tsipras, said political scientist Fernando Vallespín from Madrid’s Autonomous University. “The automatic assumption is that what is good for Tsipras is good for Podemos,” he said, but he feels it is too early to say whether that is the case, pointing to the efforts made by Iglesias to distance Spain from Greece. “I think Podemos is worried that the situation in Greece won’t get better.”

Reinforcing the differences between the countries dampens the idea of contagion, he said, and maintains the party’s appeal to moderate voters. The latest polls show Podemos is in a virtual tie with the governing People’s party and opposition Socialists.

Podemos must walk a fine line when it comes to Greece, said José Ignacio Torreblanca, the author of Asaltar Los Cielos, or Storm the Heavens, which explores the rise of Podemos. “On one hand it’s good news for them, because the message of the people having voted against austerity strengthens their message. The frame for them is fantastic because its the people against the troika, David against Goliath and the weak against the powerful,” he said.

The challenge, however, is then to distance themselves from any bad news emerging from Greece. “This is where the space opens for the People’s party and others to point to issues such as the queues for cash machine withdrawals. All of the parties have been trying to use Greece to their advantage.”

Followed by this reaction:

Tsipras dissing Podemos leader Iglesias goes viral 09th of  July 2015

“Misogynistic, vitriolic, very dangerous” – George Galloway as described in Naz Shah’s Maiden Speech.

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Just out: “Naz Shah (Bradford West) (Lab) (Maiden Speech House of Commons)

It is customary to say a few pleasant words about my predecessor—[Laughter.] I have many words, but sadly only a few pleasant ones.

My predecessor was, I am told, a great orator.

The sad truth is that the only words he ever directed towards me were misogynistic, vitriolic, very dangerous and, to quote him, “only ever had a fleeting relationship with the truth”.

However, it would be most unwise of me not to compliment him on his sensational acting abilities, not forgetting, as demonstrated in “Big Brother”, his taste for red leotards and black hats. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his actions, which united the people of Bradford West. Their patience—and, indeed, mine—certainly paid off when we handed him his P45 on 8 May.

The Spandex Cat has truly left the building.”

Thanks DT.

Ha, Ha Ha!

Good on you Naz!