Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

‘Conspiracy Theorist’ David Miller Gets Academic Backing.

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Academics defend “eminent scholar” David Miller.

The prestigious site Spiked led,

Even conspiracy theorists must have freedom of speech

Frank Furedi (Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Kent).

David Miller has an unpleasant and prejudiced worldview. But Bristol University should not sack him.

I don’t know what’s going on inside the head of Professor David Miller of Bristol University. I do know that he is a fantasist devoted to conspiratorial thinking. I also know he hates Israel, and Jewish people who take exception to his vile polemics against Zionism. And I know that despite the distorted version of reality he promotes, and his obsessive fantasy about Zionism being responsible for the evils of the world, it is wrong to call on his university to fire him. I believe academic freedom is a foundational principle of university life and that it would be far better to challenge Miller’s abhorrent views rather than suppress them.

‘Educators’ (educator, noun, mainly US,  a person who teaches people) and ‘researchers’ someone who conducts research, i.e., an organised and systematic investigation into something) have been bolder, a lot bolder…

Educators and Researchers for David Miller

Re: Academic freedom and the harassment and victimisation of Prof D Miller

We wish to express our serious concerns about the unrelenting and concerted efforts to publicly vilify our colleague Prof David Miller.

Prof Miller is an eminent scholar. He is known internationally for exposing the role that powerful actors and well-resourced, co-ordinated networks play in manipulating and stage-managing public debates, including on racism. The impact of his research on the manipulation of narratives by lobby groups has been crucial to deepening public knowledge and discourse in this area.


As public intellectuals and academics, we feel duty-bound to express our solidarity with Prof Miller and to oppose such efforts to crush academic freedom. Given your roles within the University and your responsibilities to the wider academic community, we urge you to vigorously defend the principle of academic freedom and the rights to free speech and to evidence-based & research-informed public discourse. We hope that you will uphold the integrity of academic debate.

Prof Sarah Purdy Pro VC (Student Experience)
Prof Tansy Jessop Pro VC (Education)
Mr Jack Boyer Chair, Board of Trustees
Dr. Moira Hamlin Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees
Prof Judith Squires, Provost
Ms Jane Bridgwater, Director of Legal Services
Prof Simon Tormey Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Yours truly

Professor Noam Chomsky, University of Arizona, Linguistics
Professor Judith Butler, UC Berkeley Comparative Literature
Mr. John Pilger Journalist, author, film-maker, London.


Professor Roy Greenslade, City, University of London, Journalism.


Professor Alex Callinicos, King’s College London (Emeritus)

And lots of others (see link).


Not everybody is happy:




And another reminder:

Here is another petition by a public intellectual and expert on the Middle East;

Tony Greenstein finds time in his busy job publicly intellectualising  to comment on Tendance Coatesy:

you are a scab Jim Denham. The demand to sack a lecturer for speaking out on the oppression of Palestinians and the activities of the Israeli state via its proxies, which is what the Union of Jewish Student is, shows just how much you have degenerated politically.

Andrew Coates is no better.

You are both disgusting scabs.

Today he has expanded his field,

Being a scab Denham you wouldn’t understand. However it is a widely used substitute for ‘Keir’ as Keir Hardie was a socialist whereas Starmer and you aren’t!!

Tony Greenstein is expected to play a leading role in tomorrow’s Labour in Exile Network (LIEN) Conference

Today he offers it extensive publicity on his Blog:

Labour In Exile Network Conference – This Saturday February 27th

Labour In Exile Network was formed in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension and the ensuing suspension of officers of the Labour Party who had the temerity to allow their parties to discuss such mundane matters as whether Starmer was out of his reactionary mind to suspend his predecessor.


To Labour’s racist leader this is in itself a crime.  The only acceptable Black people to this Zionist ‘without qualification’ are the David Lammy’s of this world.

LIEN has received considerable publicity in its call for an explanation from Starmer as to why he employed an Israeli spy, Assaf Kaplan, as a member of his staff, with the remit to snoop on members.

I sometimes despair at what I call the Stupid Left – Momentum and their fellow travellers.

Today even the most stupid member of Momentum realises that Starmer is a liar.


The Corbyn Project attracted hundreds of thousands of people to the idea that a better world was possible.  They were betrayed by people like Jon Lansman and John McDonnell who thought they could trim their sails to the wind and bow to the ruling class ‘anti-Semitism’ attack that was launched against Corbyn and his supporters.


The doolally gent concludes,

Looking forward to seeing everybody

Tony Greenstein

Anybody ‘stupid’ or not can expect a warm welcome.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 26, 2021 at 11:12 am

Rise and Fall of the Alt-Left Media: ‘Another Angry Voice’ Joins the Wails of the Wronged.

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Now in a Tizzy over ‘Starmtroppers’.


Perhaps one day people will recall the Corbynista alt-left media, alt left voices, and tweets with the warmth of a nostalgic glow. Others might suggest that there was at the height of their former fame, amongst some valuable work, there always something of the Lagado Academy of Projectors about their plans beyond that admirable personal devotion. Plans to teach socialist mathematics to pupils by writing propositions on wafers and consuming them with “cephalick tincture” did not bring about total luxury communism.

We lost the election. They spent some months defending Jeremy Corbyn’s legacy, a work nobody could deny needed doing. Then the, for the most part,  joined this swarm, as described by Duncan Bowie in Chartist Magazine.


The Labour Party is in a sorry state. We have a situation in which many active members seem to spend more time attacking other members, including the party leader, than attacking the real enemy: the Conservative Government. When my own constituency party is not passing motions calling for the resignation of Keir Starmer or the sacking of the party’s general secretary, it is passing motions attacking our own representatives on the local council. Meanwhile we have so-called political education sessions on how every Labour government has betrayed socialism or was at best ‘a lost opportunity’. Jeremy Corbyn is attacked for not being socialist enough, as we would have won the last election if we had promoted a Trotskyist version of socialism. To learn from history, it is best not to rewrite the past to fit our own worldview.

A plea for tolerance

Duncan is no doubt right to also point to the lack of tolerance from their opponents, and that, ” Constituency and ward parties are now told what we can or cannot discuss and local party officers are suspended for flouting directives or being critical of the current party leadership.” But the sheer volume of attacks on Keith Starmer from those self-identifying as on the left, is probably the first, and last, thing anybody not caught up these battles will notice.

Enter Another Angry Voice.

In its salad days it got this notice.

Clark’s site, Another Angry Voice, is attracting a readership that most mainstream news sites would kill for. Despite still being hosted on an old-fashioned Blogspot account and relying on donations for funding, it’s reaching millions of people with a combination of endearingly homemade memes, Facebook-friendly headlines, and a regular output of relentlessly anti-Conservative takes on the news. Recent mega-viral hits include “How many of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies do you actually disagree with?”, “30 things you should know about the Tory record”, and “The systematic Tory abuse of disabled people”.

The Rise Of The Alt-Left British Media

Posts in 2017 attracted over 1.5 million views

Founder Thomas G. Clark, these days has got ten likes for this Tweet.

He got 103 for this,


28 for this:

And a mighty 83 for this:



This is the kind of stuff Yorkshire’s finest is peddling these days, (Facebook).

Keir Starmer has just simultaneously declared ideological war on black Brits and the socialist fortress of Liverpool.
The front-runner to win the vote to become Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Liverpool was Anna Rothery, a black, female, socialist with years of experience as a popular city councillor.
However, Keir Starmer’s anti-democratic goons decided they didn’t want Rothery to win, so they tore up the party rules, scrapped the internal election process, and banned all three of the existing candidates from standing again.

These people hate democracy, they hate socialism, they hate black Brits, and they’re so damned arrogant they think they can tell the people of Liverpool what to do.


…….Starmer is so incredibly bad at this that he’d struggle to do more damage if he was actually on a covert mission to vandalise and destroy the Labour Party from within.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 25, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Syrian Intelligence Officer Sentenced in Germany for “complicity in crimes against humanity”.

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Syria: Government official Eyad al-Gharib sentenced in Germany in landmark torture verdict | Middle East Eye

Intelligence officer sentenced to four and a half years in prison over complicity in crimes against humanity  (Middle East Eye).

The conviction of a Syrian torturer in Germany, an “historic” first

Le Monde

Eyad Al-Gharib, 44, a former member of the intelligence services, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for “complicity in crimes against humanity” in the framework of the first trial linked to the abuses of the regime of Bashar Al- Assad.

Syria torture: German court convicts ex-intelligence officer


A German court has sentenced a former Syrian intelligence officer to four-and-a-half years in jail for complicity in crimes against humanity.

Prosecutors in Koblenz successfully argued that Eyad al-Gharib, 44, had helped to arrest protesters in 2011 who were later tortured and murdered.

The case was unprecedented for its hours of witness testimony describing widespread torture in Syria.

Another Syrian – Anwar Raslan, 58 – remains on trial.

Both fled Syria’s civil war and got asylum in Germany – but were arrested in 2019.

German prosecutors invoked the principle of “universal jurisdiction” for serious crimes to bring the case.

The agency the men worked for played a crucial role in suppressing the peaceful pro-democracy protests that erupted against President Assad’s regime in 2011.

Prosecutors argued that the two men were “cogs in the wheel” enabling a vast state torture machine to operate.

Mediapart gives some more context,

This is a world first. As the tenth anniversary of the popular uprising in Syria approaches on  March 15 , 2011, the government of Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad has finally been named as the perpetrator of “crimes against humanity” in legal proceedings, thanks to German justice which sentenced on Wednesday  February 24 to imprisonment, Eyad al-Gharib, ex-agent of ”  branch 251  ” of the Syrian general intelligence services.

As the Guardian reports

“This decision is historic because it condemns the entire criminal system that is the Syrian regime. Gharib is one man but he was part of an organised machine with orders to arrest peaceful civilians, disappear them, torture them, kill them and hide their bodies in mass graves,” said Anwar al-Bunni, a witness for the prosecution who was once arrested by Raslan and was shocked to bump into him by accident in Berlin in 2014.”

While this welcome story made the headlines, underlining the universality of human rights,  this, sadly, appears to the case.

The Independent.

The Syrian civil war is being “forgotten and ignored”, a charity has warned, as it released data suggesting less than two-thirds of Britons knew the conflict was still going on.

Syria Relief said that people caught up in the war “cannot afford for us to treat this anniversary as a history lesson” because millions there lack sufficient food and shelter.

It has released the polling data, compiled by YouGov, to mark 10 years since the conflict broke out.

Just 58 per cent of Britons surveyed said they knew the war was still raging a decade on, while 4 per cent believed it had ended and 38 per cent were not sure. YouGov questioned 1,753 adults between 16 and 17 February.

It is not only the general public who seem to have forgotten the war.

What has the ‘anti-war’ left to say on this?



It would hard to find any report or comment, from ‘alt-news’ sites and Blogs to campaigns such as the Stop the War Coalition.

You certainly won’t find anything on the German Court case or these events in the Morning Star.

This is about their most recent story:



Written by Andrew Coates

February 25, 2021 at 12:51 pm

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Paul Embery, “Sacked for Backing Brexit.” Another Free Speech Cause?

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Hours before his speech at the Leave Means Leave rally (pictured), FBU's Ian Murray told him that to speak alongside Mr Farage would be a breach of union rules

Paul Embery, Patriotic Flags from “all Corners of the UK’   for Brexit.

Kate Hoey.

Back in March, on the day we were supposed to Leave the European Union, there was a rally at Westminster. Emotions ran high. People had travelled to London from all corners of the UK to tell Parliamentarians how angry they felt about the extension to the departure date. The cross-party platform featured speakers across a wide political spectrum and it had one aim: to call for the referendum result to be respected.

One of the best, and most carefully listened to speeches, was the one delivered by Paul Embery, on behalf of Trade Unionists Against the EU. In it, he reiterated his position on the Brexit debate – that democracy must be defended.

Sadly this befell the work, family and community gent:

…..shortly after the rally, Matt Wrack, the General Secretary of the FBU, issued a statement which said that it was outrageous that so-called Trade Union officials and Labour MPs attended joint rallies with Nigel Farage and others on the nationalist Right. In no uncertain terms, he stated: “They are a disgrace to the traditions of the Labour movement.

The betrayal of Paul Embery. 2019.

Now, Sputnik takes up he cudgels for one of Britain foremost critics of “rootless cosmopolitans”.

Trade Unionist and Labour Activist Sacked ‘For Supporting Brexit’ – Tribunal Hearing


Embery says he was thrown out of the FBU after 11 years due to his vocal support for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, after addressing a Leave Means Leave rally in London with Brexit Party leaders Nigel Farage and Richard Tice in March 2019.

The firefighter and lifelong Labour Party activist argues that the justifications given for his dismissal were “contrived, unprecedented, and perverse” and was actually down to his “pro-Brexit views and activity.” he argues that the “leadership’s resentment” of his prominent position as a supporter of the Leave campaign is also to blame.

Paul Embery, a man of quick parts and a deep labour movement education, was stunned to hear, “Hours before his speech at the Leave Means Leave rally (pictured), FBU’s Ian Murray told him that to speak alongside Mr Farage would be a breach of union rules”.

Paul Embery National Organiser for Trade Unions Against the EU and ‘life long Labour activist’ had such keen eyes that he could ignore that  the organisation received money from hard right money-bags Aaron Banks.

A stalwart of Blue Labour Mr Embery was welcomed on a speaking tour in 2016  by the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (Socialist Party and RMT) to preach in his homely toiler’s clothes against the European Union and support for a Leave Vote in the Referendum.

TUSC tour continues

Paul Embery, London secretary of the Fire Brigades Union and national organiser of Trade Unionists Against the EU, pointed out: “The EU is rampantly pro-austerity and that approach has caused suffering throughout Europe, a collapse in living standards, the rise of the far-right and the decimation of public services.”

Paul Embery is a man whose identity, who defends the  love of flag, relatives, class and creed. He charges the dissolute “Left political establishment swallowed a poisonous brew of economic and social liberalism. They have come to despise traditional working-class values of patriotism, family and faith and instead embraced globalisation, rapid demographic change and a toxic, divisive brand of identity politics.”



One can only hope that other supporters of the liberty of expression, of national populism and patriotic identity politics will rally round to defend what promises to be another Free Speech War.

We look forward to hearing support for Embery from the Labour Campaign for Free Speech.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 24, 2021 at 1:59 pm

Morning Star, “China is committed to protecting human rights.”

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Uighurs' plight should alert world

Morning Star, “China launched a robust defence of its rights record in Xinjiang today, saying minorities both there and in Tibet provided a “shining example” of development.”

Yesterday the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty tweeted this:

it would seem that the Chinese state and Chinese Communist Party have lost one outlet for its propaganda in the UK, but can still rely upon the Morning Star to defend genocide in Xinjiang and to defame human rights campaigners and truth tellers.

writes Jim Denham, (16th of February)


Bang on cue, the Alt-News Morning Star has just published this:

China defends Xinjiang policy as UN debates human rights

CHINA launched a robust defence of its rights record in Xinjiang today, saying minorities both there and in Tibet provided a “shining example” of development.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi was speaking at a forum ahead of a meeting of the United Nations human-rights council (UNHRC) in which both Britain and the United States made allegations of abuses.

Mr Wang said China was “always committed” to protecting human rights and cited the growth of per-capita GDP and life expectancy in the regions as evidence that rights were being safeguarded.

“We believe that the rights to subsistence and development are basic human rights of paramount importance,” he said.

This ‘argument’ heard many times at the height of the Cold War, is that increasing basic living standards and welfare for the majority of the population outweigh political rights, guarantees to freedom of expression and religious belief. As the productive forces grow then such ‘bourgeois’ luxuries are trumped by ‘socialist’ development. It is a sign of the Chinese Communist Party’s residual Marxism, a return to the pre-Cultural Revolution days.  Produktivkräfte, the motor of history and progress, as they might say. Or, without any Marxist gloss, developmental economics.

But Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab used the country’s return as a voting member of the UNHRC to regurgitate claims that one million people are being held in torture camps in Xinjiang, with members of the Uighur community subjected to forced labour and forced sterilisation.

“[Rights abuses] are taking place on an industrial scale,” he said.

But evidence for such assertions is highly contested, with numerous anecdotal claims made by individuals with alleged links to terrorist organistions or, in one case, a member of the US intelligence service being widely repeated in Western media.

The only people contesting these reports are those inspired by the Chinese state, and their toadies, such as the Morning Star.

Most of the accusations are based on reports made by one person, Adrian Zenz, a self-styled expert on Xinjiang who believes he is on a mission from God to save the world from “Chinese communism.” Mr Zenz, who first coined the “one million” figure for the number of detainees, based it on interviews with just eight individuals.

Another source of allegations is the World Uighur Congress (WUC), an organisation that has received more than $8 million from Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy since it was established in 2004. Its leaders are linked to Islamist terror organisation the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), now the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) (ETIM/TIP), which fought with jihadists in Syria and seeks to establish a caliphate in Xinjiang province.

This Blog would refer to this:

The Morning Star is going to have a hard job making that stick so they roll out the ageing refrain of the New Cold War .

Washington’s new cold war on China has seen it adopt an increasingly aggressive stance, with President Joe Biden’s administration committing millions of dollars to military spending aimed at containing Beijing.

But countries not aligned with the US have cast doubt on its claims following diplomatic visits to Xinjiang. In a letter to the UN in 2019, 37 diplomats, most from Muslim-majority countries, praised China’s commitment to openness, adding that what they saw and heard in Xinjiang completely contradicted what had been reported in some Western media.

Mr Wang said he hoped Western countries would stop interfering (in China’s internal affairs and “stop smearing the Communist Party of China and China’s political system.”

Many British papers have got paid for advertorials from the Chinese state.

One can only hope the ‘daily paper of the left’ and one of Jeremy Corbyn’s best friends, gets properly rewarded.

Others, internationalists, will look to this:



Written by Andrew Coates

February 23, 2021 at 11:56 am

As Accusations of “Assad Apologist” Emerge, Call to Defend Professor David Miller Against “full spectrum of Zionist organisations.”

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Old friends rally to Miller’s Cause.

Not everybody agrees with Miller’s approach:


This has been launched:

Defend Freedom of Speech – Defend David Miller!

This is the group behind it.

On February 13 2021, an online conference of over 300 people set up the Labour Campaign for Free Speech. We agreed a ‘Charter for Free Speech‘, a ‘Charter for Labour Party members’ rights‘ and elected a steering committee of 10 people :

Anita Bennett (Chair of family learning disability charity Rescare, Stockport. Bristol NUJ Exec.) Kevin Bean (Expelled member, Wavertree 4, Merseyside Labour Left Alliance)  John Courtneidge (Co-operator, socialist& Quaker) Terry Deans (Plymouth and region Labour Left Alliance). Deepa Driver (chair Momentum Camden, Free Julian Assange campaign) Esther Giles (suspended CLP secretary, Bristol North West CLP)  Tony Greenstein (author, blogger, expert (!) on Israel/Palestine) Jackie Walker author and anti-racist campaigner Tina Werkman (co-chair, Labour Against the Witchhunt) and…

Chris Williamson (former Labour MP, Resistance Movement).

This is their latest initiative:


Professor David Miller of Bristol University called for an End to Zionism and said that the Union of Jewish Students, which is affiliated to the racist World Zionist Organisation, is using Jewish students as pawns and playing on their fears of anti-semitism.

David Miller has come under vicious attack from the Jewish Chronicle and a full spectrum of Zionist organisations including the Board of Deputies of Zionist Jews, the Union of Jewish Students and a multiplicity of Zionist organisations.


David Miller is part of the Syria Working Group, a red-brown organ of support for Assad in Syria.



The ‘Useful Idiots’: How These British Academics Helped Russia Deny War Crimes At The UN.


Dear Diane,

We are deeply concerned to learn that you are to take part in the launch today, 5th September, of a CAGE publication co-authored by David Miller, a notorious pro-Assad atrocity denier. You previously appeared on a panel with him at a ‘Spinwatch’ panel event back on the 26th March.

David Miller, a professor of political sociology at the University of Bristol, is part of a group that systematically denies high profile Assad regime crimes against civilians in Syria, particularly the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons. David Miller has also sought to deny Russia’s responsibility for the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Evidence of this is included below.

Labour’s 2017 manifesto, when referring to Syria, committed to work for justice for the victims of war crimes.

As Home Secretary in a future Labour government, you would have responsibility for policy towards Syrian refugees in the UK who are victims of—and witnesses to—the Assad regime’s crimes. You would also have responsibility for the UK’s own investigations into war crimes, currently dealt with by SO15, the Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police.

If you associate yourself with a committed war crimes denier such as David Miller, this must undermine confidence in the willingness of Labour to work for the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for crimes in Syria, including some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity seen this century.

We hope you will reconsider appearing on this panel and be more careful about who you associate yourself with in future given your responsibilities as an MP and as Shadow Home Secretary.

Yours sincerely,

Batool Abdulkareen and Bronwen Griffiths, Syria Solidarity UK

David Taylor, Vice-Chair, LCID


Diane Abbott letter tweets of Miller

This is Beely’s latest campaign:



Written by Andrew Coates

February 22, 2021 at 1:11 pm

Paris Commune Daily/La Commune au jour le jour.

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A welcome initiative;






 l’Association des Amies et Amis de la Commune de Paris 1871.

In May, when the Versailles troops were at the gates of Paris, the town hall of 14 th arrondissent organised a  free vaccination campaign against smallpox.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, our association wanted to mark this event by offering you the free download of an Android Smartphone application.

This application invites you for a communal walk in the Père Lachaise cemetery.

App to download for visiting sites:


May be an image of text that says "Orange 15:56 82% Parcours communard Blue Lion Guides PEGI 3 i Installer TABLEDESMATIERS La Commune de Paris 4CLERAY,EUGENE Histoire lela Commune À propos de l'appli Les tombes des communards au cimetière du Père Lachaise histoire, biographies Enseignement Noter cette application Donnez votre avis aux utilisateurs"



Written by Andrew Coates

February 21, 2021 at 4:04 pm

Chris Williamson stands with David Miller accused of ‘anti-Semitic tropes’.

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Williamson Stands with David Miller.

This is the background.

The Bristol Mayor and Bristol West MP have spoken out on Prof David Miller’s comments.

University of Bristol professor has come under fire for “unacceptable” statements about Israel and Jewish students.

Prof David Miller called for the “end of Zionism” and said Israel is “trying to exert its will all over the world” in a Zoom video call last Saturday.

The sociology lecturer later said Jewish students were being used as “political pawns by a violent, racist foreign regime” and accused his university’s Jewish Society (Bristol JSoc) of a “campaign of censorship” making some students “unsafe”.

Bristol West’s Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire described the conduct as “completely unacceptable”, adding: “I’m following this appalling behaviour by a Bristol Uni lecturer up with the university.”

And Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told the Jewish Chronicle: “I met students from Bristol Jewish Society [on Wednesday] and am awaiting more details about the incident. But I will be supporting them and meeting the university to discuss this matter.”

Prof Miller was suspended from Labour last year and later quit after claiming Sir Keir Starmer had taken “Zionist” money.

During an online Campaign for Free Speech event last Saturday, he said: “‘This is an all-out onslaught by the Israeli government on the left globally.

This was the Zoom meeting. Contributors included Norman Finkelstein, former Labour MP Chris Williamson (founder Resistance Movement), Jackie Walker (Labour Against the Witchhunt), a speaker from Jewish Voice for Labour, anti-apartheid veteran Ronnie Kasrils, Sami Ramadani (Stop the War Coalition), Jamie Stern-Weiner (expert on IHRA) and David Miller (University of Bristol).

I’m tired of waiting for my uni to act against conspiratorial hatred

Sabrina Miller.

Two years ago Bristol JSoc launched a complaint against Miller after a Jewish student came forward and described their experiences in his classroom (on the condition of anonymity).

“I was one of the only Jewish students in David Miller’s class. Honestly it was scary because he is a teacher so people believed the anti-Semitism he was spreading. I was scared because I am one voice and felt I couldn’t stand up to him or tell him what he was saying was wrong.”

In Miller’s Harms of the Powerful module he claimed the “Zionist movement (parts of)” were pillars of islamophobia. He also attempted to link various British Jewish organisations to the state of Israel. As a Jewish student, this conspiratorial spider’s web of arrows and organisations was grimly reminiscent of antsemitic tropes where Jews are accused of having unique power and influence over political affairs.

This was another response:

This is David Miller.

Syria ‘truther’ heads fundraising campaign to sue British Labour Party

Bristol University professor David Miller – a member of the “propaganda professors” group which defends the Assad regime against accusations of chemical weapons use in Syria and disputes Russia’s use of a nerve agent against the Skripals in Britain – is behind a new campaign to sue the British Labour Party.

Miller is director and sole shareholder in a company called Campaign for Chris Williamson Ltd, which was registered on 17 July.

Williamson, MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of antisemitism and Miller has launched a crowd-funded campaign through his company to take legal action against the party. The aim is to raise £75,000 to cover the costs.

Miller is a prominent member of the quasi-academic Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media which claims that chemical attacks in Syria have been “staged” by rebels in oder to falsely accuse the Assad regime (see previous blog posts). Miller is a co-author of the group’s latest article which claims the OPCW’s investigation into alleged chlorine attacks in Douma was “nobbled”. The group also disputes that Russia was responsible for poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury last year.


The route that Chris Williamson has taken.

Labour Against The Witchhunt Retweeted

It will be interesting to see how friends of Williamson, from TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) to the people in the ‘Free Speech’ campaign react in the coming days.

Universities are free to sack staff if they breach their employment conditions.

There seems a strong case against Miller, in the first place because he has launched an attack on students at his own institution.
Once outside his academic post he will be free to pursue his particular hobbies and political bugbears.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 20, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Free Speech and the Left.

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Peter Thatchell: “I defend free speech but also warn against UK govt bid to punish universities that don’t stop free speech violations”


Readers of Socialist Worker this week will see two articles on Free Speech.

The first begins, ”

The battle to defend the right to speak out for Palestine has returned to universities.

Some students in Oxford tried to stop left wing ­filmmaker Ken Loach from speaking at a university event last week.

Tory education secretary Gavin Williamson ­demands that all universities adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and its examples to shut down legitimate criticism of Israel.

Universities fight to protect solidarity with Palestine

The second,

In the middle of a pandemic the Tories have decided to launch further attacks on the left and anti-racists, while also claiming they want to protect free speech.

Tory education secretary Gavin Williamson is demanding that universities adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. Effectively this will prevent criticism of Israel.

He is also pushing for legislation that would compensate speakers who are denied a platform at universities if they feel their free speech has been infringed.

This could include fascists.

But the Tories are not interested in giving people a voice, and you can guarantee they won’t be standing up for Palestine campaigners.

Instead they are trying to use arguments around free speech to push their agenda and to limit criticism of themselves.


They are seeking to deflect anger in society away from class struggle.

That means we need anti-racist unity against Patel and the rest. The Stand Up To Racism demonstrations on 20 March are an important chance to build the movement.

We should oppose Williamson’s “free speech” charade.

‘Free speech’ campaign is designed to aid the right

The SWP wish to defend their right to speak out on ‘Zionism’, and could not care less about defending the right to express other controversial opinons. They do not look into the government’s claim that “There are some in our society who prioritise ‘emotional safety’ over free speech, or who equate speech with violence.” Nor do they discuss claims that whether there is a “free speech crisis” or not, allegations of Transphobia have also been at the forefront of  de-platforming, well beyond the confines of academia. One can only wonder at the reasons for the omission.

There is equally the issue of freedom of expression in the Labour Party, as this campaign indicates.

It is fair to say that for universities, and political parties and voluntary associations,  it up them to decide. As Ian Dunt argues (referring to academic bodies)  “It is not for government to make these decisions. It is for institutions and the people within them. That is where the fight for free speech operates. Not in the corridors of Whitehall.” But if we apply to this to the Labour Party there is no reason why the party’s rules on anti-Semitism and other forms of racism should not be applied to what is a voluntary body

In an effort to reconcile the contradictions in this approach Jewish Voice for Labour has just published an article from the left populist US journal Jacobin.

A socialist approach to Free Speech

Few writers in the USA would ever attack free speech as such. He talks of the liberal writer Timothy Garton Ash, Instead Faber offers a rambling discussion of how “social and economic inequality largely ignored by Garton Ash also play critical roles in limiting free speech. ”

But that is not exactly the point, since the view advanced is that certain speech is not acceptable.

One limit that crops up immediately is the right to offend, defended by Charlie Hebdo. To poke fun at Islam,  as they do, is not acceptable, the author judges, because he asserts that Islamophobia was rampant in France,


Garton Ash’s disregard for racism and discrimination is nowhere clearer than in his discussion of the vicious killings at the Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo. In Free Speech, Garton Ash fails to mention France’s rampant Islamophobia as a factor in the attack. Indeed, at the time, he had no qualms about appealing for a “week of solidarity” in which newspapers would have simultaneously published a “carefully presented selection of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, with an explanation of why they were doing so.”


What Garton Ash fails to recognize is that antisemitism or anti-Catholicism were marginal phenomena at the time of those publications, whereas Islamophobia was at its height during and following the Hebdo attacks. Supporting the right to offend as an element of free speech can still take into account whether the offended represent marginalized communities.

In a measured tone (which contrasts with most of the anti-Charlie speakers, from Tariq Ali to the above SWP)  he concludes,

This is not meant to suggest that censorship should be enacted to end Islamophobia. Rather, the government and civil society should work together to develop a political climate that strongly repudiates Islamophobia and supports the vigorous legal punishment of anti-Muslim discrimination.

In other words governments and ‘civil society’ should   create an atmosphere that repudiates Charlie Hebdo. There is no word on defending their right to satire, to caricature, religion.

Peter Thatchell expresses a contrary positon,

For the Jacobin writer, free speech should neverthless be defended with few qualification for critics of Zionism and for their activities in universities.

A Socialist Approach deplores the ,

broader campaign against critics and opponents of Zionism. PEN America’s 2016 study found that many Zionist individuals and institutions have attempted to bar the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign from campuses throughout the United States. For example, journalist Glenn Greenwald and others denounced a campaign by the Board of Regents of the University of California to ban anti-Israel criticism and activism in the name of combating antisemitism. Meanwhile, campuses nationwide have been pressured to fire pro-Palestinian professors and adopt reprisals against pro-Palestinian groups.

Farber concludes, after some reference to Rosa Luxemburg and the democratic advances of the labour movement, in these hard-to-make-sense-of sentences.

Consistent with this approach, we must defend free speech on its own terms, not merely because it helps to organize and fight for a new society. In this, free speech does not differ from the economic advances the working class and its allies have won. They are valuable both in their own right and because they strengthen the working class and its allies in their struggle for their emancipation.

By contrast most discussion of free speech focuses on why it is valuable in its “own right”. 

It is not Voltaire but the liberal, feminist and supporter of greater economic democracy.  John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873) who advanced some of the strongest arguments for free speech in the celebrated On Liberty 1859.. He was concerned with the claims of authority, the ability of governments and institutions, to repudiate and prevent differing opinons. Truth he believed would emerge in the open expression of views and debate. Socialists may wish to eliminate the inequalities of power and money that give make some voices louder than others. But is not because we consider that out definition of an emancipatory end is right that we would wish to advance the free exchange of different standpoints. We have to accept the possibility not only that truth will emerge from debate but that between different claims the “nonconforming” opinion corrects a one-sided assertion.

These are not arguments about the ‘market place of ideas’ abstracted from history. A thread owes something to Milton’s call for unlicensed printing, which sees truth emerging from darkness by expose to the light Areopagitica; (1644). But it is largely about politics in the broadest sense. From the density of controversy we can see the uncertainty of democratic political life, from the challenge to centres of authority, we can see the indeterminacy of power, the absence of a permanent office holder, of the democratic ‘absent place’, the refusal to fix society in one shape run from the centre (ideas outlined in the writings of Claude Lefort on the ‘democratic revolution’).  In short, for pluralism and a belief in the power of persuasion.

Standing for this possibility may run against claims that the ruling ideas of society, and the bodies that support them hold sway. But if the left does not have the ability to convince others of our beliefs how can we ‘make socialists’ who can counter them? ,

Like the great French defender of tolerance the British political philosopher was concerned primarily with clashes between different religious beliefs, the “rags and remnants” of past persecutions. Mill equally was out to defend amongst the  “diversity of opinion” the right to scepticism about religion. Liberty of thought, of speaking and writing should be part of the political morality of free institutions, and the rule in countries which practice religious toleration. He was, in this context and using more modern language, concerned with asserting the right to speak out against those in power (‘authority’), whether in the state or in the Church.

Here are some of his central arguments in favour of freedom of expression.

First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied. Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.

There was, for Mill, one limit (known retrospectively as the ‘harm principle’).

An opinion that corn-dealers are starvers of the poor, or that private property is robbery, ought to be unmolested when simply circulated through the press, but may justly incur punishment when delivered orally to an excited mob assembled before the house of a corn-dealer, or when handed about among the same mob in the form of a placard. Acts of whatever kind, which, without justifiable cause, do harm to others, may be, and in the more important cases absolutely require to be, controlled by the unfavourable sentiments, and, when needful, by the active interference of mankind. The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.

It does not take a leap to see how this can be extended to a distinction between what Farber calls “racist persuaders and violent racist intimidators.” Property is not the issue here. The original tactic of “no platforming” which was a street demonstration strategy of combatting violent far-right groups, like the National Front and the British Movement in 1970s Britain who set our faces against a “mob” of King and Country racists parading through towns and cities.

This, to say the least, was not about being hurt by the expression of views during talks they they are not obliged to listen to, books they do not have to read, or media which they do not have to look at.

It is hard to deny that right of groups of students or workers at universities to invite/host who they want to come and speak (with the above limitations in mind) is an important foundation for  a lively campus civil society and to students’ and university workers’  ability to organise and campaign on political and social issues.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 19, 2021 at 11:21 am

France, Minister Launches Investigation into “Islamo-Leftism’ in University Research.

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Islamo-Leftism is not a scientific reality – Centre national de la recherche scientifique

In a counterpart to the UK government’s sudden interest in academia this story has been at the top of French news for the last week.

Minister orders probe into ‘Islamo-leftism’ in French academic research

Speaking on French TV on Sunday, Vidal alluded to Islamo-leftism, which she said was “eating away” at society in general, and that the universities were not immune.

“What you notice in universities is that there is a minority of people who use their academic aura and qualifications…to advance radical or militant ideas.”


In a statement in reaction to the proposed probe, the Confederation of University Presidents expressed its “astonishment in the face of another pointless row about Islamo-leftism in universities”.

“If the government needs analysis, argument, scientific back-up to help it rise above its grotesque caricatures and petty nit-picking, then universities are ready and waiting,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, MP Julien Aubert, of the mainstream right wing LR party, welcomed Vidal’s move. He declared that the creation of such a fact-finding mission was urgent, so that parliament might address the issue.

The minister also announced that among the issues to be examined by the CNRS is research into post-colonialism.

She said it was “essential” that France’s social science and humanities departments study such such subjects.

French academics blast minister’s warning on ‘Islamo-leftism’

French Higher Education, Research and Innovation Minister Frederique Vidal addresses the National Assembly in Paris on January 12, 2021. © Christophe Archambault, AFP

The French minister for higher education has sparked a backlash from university heads after warning about the spread of “Islamo-leftism” in the country’s academic institutions.

The term “Islamo-leftism” is often used in France by far-right politicians to discredit left-wing opponents they accuse of being blind to the dangers of Islamist extremism and overly worried about racism and identity.

“I think that Islamo-leftism is eating away at our society as a whole, and universities are not immune and are part of our society,” Minister for Higher Education Frederique Vidal told CNews television on Sunday.

The comments came amid a divisive debate in France about what President Emmanuel Macron has termed “Islamist separatism,” in which Islamists are said to be flouting French laws in closed-off Muslim communities and fuelling terror attacks on French soil.


Vidal also announced that she would order an investigation into the problem of researchers “looking at everything through the prism of wanting to fracture and divide”, which she said included those focused on colonialism and race.

The National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the research body Vidal charged with the study, has already hit back.

Although it agreed to carry out the investigation, the CNRS condemned “attempts to delegitimise different fields of research such as post-colonial studies”.

Asked to comment further in parliament on Tuesday, Vidal said the investigation would determine “what is academic research and what is activism and opinion”.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal appeared to distance himself from the idea on Wednesday when asked for Macron’s views on the issue at a news briefing.

The president has an “absolute commitment to the independence of academic researchers”, Attal said, adding that it was “a fundamental guarantee of our republic”.

In further responses academics have protested at the claims:


More protests:


As this tweet says, Le monde has an excellent article on the background (I have a sub to the on-line paper). It even mentions our dear old SWP and Chris Harman’s The Prophet and the Proletariat (1994)  – though not the Respect Coalition which was a bloc between right-wing Islamists. softer Islamists, and left groups, like the SWP, and, latterly Counterfire, behind George Galloway. This illustrates that there have indeed been political alliances which could be said to be Islamo-leftists, though few would class Galloway as left-wing these days.

« Islamo-gauchisme » : histoire tortueuse d’une expression devenue une invective


Part of the radical left took  another path. In 1994, British journalist Chris Harman, a member of the Socialist Workers Party central committee, theorised, in an article called “The Prophet and the Proletariat”, “the need for a strategic alliance with the Islamists”. “In the past,” he writes, “ the left made the mistake of seeing Islamists as fascists, with whom we have nothing in common. “ But Islamism, he adds, ” has emerged in societies traumatized by the impact of capitalism. ” It is therefore strategically useful and possible to convert these young people to a different approach, that is to say “socialist, independent and revolutionary”.If he did  not use the term Islamo-leftism, the idea of ​​an alliance in the face of a common enemy – capitalist, Zionist, American – is clearly stated here. In France, the text was reproduced in a book, Islamisme et Révolution, by the small group Socialisme par en bas (SPEB), which would go onto  join the LCR.


Essays in Libération and France 24 on the history of this term do not claim to find the definitive origin of this term, rather, both publications trace the term as far back as a 2002 use in New Judeophobia, a book by Pierre-André Taguieff, historian of ideas, who describes Islamo-fascism as a type of anti-Zionism popular among “the new third-worldist, neo-communist and neo-leftist configuration, better known as the ‘anti-globalisation movement“.[3][4] Interviewed in 2016 by Liberation journalists Sonya Faure and Frantz Durupt, Taguieff is not certain whether he coined it or had heard it used, but he points out that the phrases Islamo-progressives and in the 1980s Palestino-progressives were used as self-descriptions by the French left.[3]


The fact is that a large section of the British left opposed Respect and any alliance with Islamists.








Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2021 at 4:43 pm

Skwawkbox devotes itself to attacks on Labour.

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Skwawkbox Publicises ‘Strike’ Against Labour Campaigning.

Breaking. Exclusive.


The Skwawkbox alt-news site is now running anti-Labour stories on a daily basis.

But Lo! A rapprochement with Britain’s most famous Vegan (after Morrisey) is on the cards.

The SKWAWKBOX Retweeted

Walker has a new fan.

Tiring perhaps of his latest man-crush, Tony Greenstein, Williamson is head over heels in love with Skwawky.

Monday night saw a hard-hitting discussion between Ian Hodson of the Bakers’ union (BFAWU) and the Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) Matt Wrack on Socialist Telly’s ‘Skwawk Talk’ programme.

And in an explosive section of the programme, Bakers’ president Hodson indicated that the union’s affiliation with the Labour party may not last much longer, such is the dissatisfaction of union members with the Labour party’s direction and policies under Keir Starmer.

BFAWU has been consulting with its members since January and Hodson said that the results so far show that only 9% of its members think that the Labour party is serving their interests or values:

The comments on Skwawkbox are from a world in itself.

What a disgrace the labour party has become these mp’s don’t represent the working class anymore maybe the Israelis can fund new labour or TB and chums but i doubt it , Fuck labour.

As a factional tool Steve Walker’s site continues its fight for one side in UNITE>

Exclusive: PULS secretary backs Beckett – and accuses United Left of gerrymandering selection and misusing Scottish member data

Written by Andrew Coates

February 17, 2021 at 5:50 pm

‘Labour in Exile’ Network to hold Launch Conference, Calls for “Strike Action” for May Elections..

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“will only campaign for Labour Party candidates prepared to condemn the suspensions.”


Press Release.


Labour Party members plan to take a form of extraordinary strike action — against their own party.

The action is being planned by the Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) group to protest against the suspensions of members under the leadership of  Keir Starmer.

Under the plan members will only campaign for Labour Party candidates prepared to condemn the suspensions.

Christine Tongue of LIEN said: “Hundreds of people, including many party officers,  have been suspended since Keir Starmer became leader,  unfairly and without even a semblance of natural justice. This is a purge — and we are going to take collective action to stop it.”

The group aims to target the May elections to local government.


The Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) has been promoting this as an example of an unjust expulsion.

The Morning Star has just given them another puff.

Purged Labour party members to print their own membership cards in act of defiance

PURGED” Labour Party members are planning to print their own membership cards in an act of defiance as they vow not to quit the party.

Since Sir Keir Starmer became leader, members have been expelled for voicing solidarity with his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn after he was suspended and subsequently readmitted without the whip.

A fightback is being organised by the new Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) which is launching a campaign to change the party later this month.

The new cards will bear the original Clause IV of the party’s constitution, calling for the common ownership of industry which was rewritten under New Labour leader Tony Blair.

Terry Deans, who was suspended last year, said: “We are not leaving the party, nor are we starting a new party.

“The Labour Party is our party and we are staying put.

“The cards will show people that whatever [Sir Keir] does, whether he suspends or expels us, the original party remains, and we remain members of it.”

Following an investigation by Labour’s national executive committee, the Falklands war veteran was suspended for 12 months, a decision that has left him puzzled as he was denied the opportunity for a hearing.

Mr Deans is still awaiting acknowledgement of his appeal submission nearly five months after lodging it.

“The disputes and disciplinary process is dysfunctional and not fit for purpose. All I want is a proper, fair justice system,” he said.

“This is our party and we’re not going anywhere.”

Labour was contacted for comment.

LIEN’s founding conference will take place on February 27. For more details go to www.labour-in-exile.org.

The anti-Labour Alt-news site The Canary has tweeted.

Labour In Exile Network Retweeted

Labour In Exile Network Retweeted


LIEN offers a ‘Plan for Change‘.

The right to free speech is coming under increasing  attack in the world at large and can no longer be guaranteed. We will campaign for Labour Party members, branches and CLPs to have the right to discuss any issues they like, without the threat of censure or suspension. We urge branches and CLP to ignore instructions of issues being “not competent business” as unconstitutional. We campaign against the recommendations of the EHRC report, which demands that antisemitism cases are outsourced and which leads to a curtailing of free speech. We will campaign to overturn the party’s commitment to the so-called definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which conflates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with antisemitism in a number of its examples. Instead, we need a culture of open and free debate on all matters.

The mere mention of the Holocaust serves a reminder of what kind of free speech they are after. Labour has the right to set up barriers to the public expression of racism. Do they went “open and free debate” on the Shoah? Including the likes of Norman Finkelstein who praises négationniste David Irving.? On the evidence of the same group’s Free Speech meeting last weekend, the answer can only be yes.

What effect will this have?

More headache for Keir Starmer as yet another Labour group is looking to boycott the local elections

In a press release, the group said it was planning “strike action”:

Under the plan members [of LIEN] will only campaign for Labour Party candidates prepared to condemn the suspensions.

This is on the agenda of the Conference.

. We also want to elect a new Steering Group and we will be hearing contributions from Leah Levane, Jackie Walker, Tosh McDonald, Roger Silverman, Chris Knight and Graham Bash..”


  • Witch-hunt Action Group
  • Social media
  • Press and outreach
  • Racism and Antisemitism Group
  • Legal Action Coordinating Group
  • Anti-Zionist Action Network

This is a wholly destructive campaign.

Is LIEN going to demand a kind of loyalty oath to their principles from all Labour candidates?

The names, it is sad to say because some of them have been long-standing left activists. do not command a lot of respect or support these days.

This is another sign of the fragmentation of the left.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 16, 2021 at 12:02 pm

Labour Against the Witch-hunt/Campaign for Free Speech: New Anti-Semitism Row over David Miller.

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Image result for Campaign for free speech david miller

““Free speech is not the main problem here, it is a problem but not the main problem. It didn’t start with the Labour Party. It’s not started with the Labour Party and moved to the universities. It’s an all-out onslaught by the Israeli government.”

A few days ago Tony Greenstein hailed a Labour Against the Witch-hunt sponsored event this Saturday,

Labour Campaign for Free Speech Conference – Saturday February 13th 2 p.m. – It’s time to stand up and be counted

Tomorrow the newly formed (Labour) Campaign for Free Speech will be holding its founding conference. In the Labour Party free speech has been under attack by its failing leader Sir Keir Starmer and his glove puppet David Evans.  There have been suspensions and expulsions all round, of Jews especially, all in the name of fighting ‘anti-Semitism’! Yet the same Starmer is incapable of saying anything about a state which bars Arabs from 93% of the land.


We have a host of interesting speakers tomorrow including Norman Finkelstein, author of Holocaust Industry, whose parents were both survivors of concentration camps. Ronnie Kasrills, the Jewish Commander of the ANC’s military wing, Umkonte we-Sizwe, is also speaking as is Jackie Walker – the Black Jewish former Vice-Chair of Momentum whom Jon Lansman stabbed in the back.  Chris Williamson, the former MP for Derby North who was hounded out of the Labour Party and the only MP to stand up against the witchhunt will be speaking as will Graham Bash of Jewish Voices for Labour.

Also speaking will be Sami Ramadani from Stop the War Coalition, Jamie Stern-Weiner an expert on the IHRA and Professor David Miller of the University of Bristol who has also been targeted by Zionist witchhunters who are demanding that he be sacked for holding what to them are unacceptable views.

The final speaker will be Esther Giles, suspended Secretary of Bristol North-West who was removed by Save Our Socialists and Momentum from a rally last Sunday at the behest of Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Anna Rothery, for not bowing to political correctness over trans rights.

It was indeed David Miller’s views which have drawn attention to the event.

The Jewish Chronicle carries this story.

Bristol University’s Professor David Miller has called for the “end” of Zionism as a “functioning ideology of the world” after launching an astonishing attack on the Jewish student groups who have lodged formal complaints about his conduct.

Speaking at an online campaign event at the weekend Professor Miller said: “It’s a question of how we defeat the ideology of Zionism in practice. How do we make sure Zionism is ended essentially. There’s no other way of saying that.”

He then added: “It’s not enough to say Zionism is racism, Israel is a settler colonial society…

“The aim of this is not only to say things but  to end settler colonialism is Palestine, to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the word.”

Bristol University professor calls for ‘end’ of Zionism as ‘functioning ideology of the world’


And what was the forum from which Miller launched this attack?

The sociology lecturer, who quit the Labour Party last year after being suspended following a claim Sir Keir Starmer took “Zionist” money, also used his speech at the Campaign For Free Speech event on Saturday to launch a direct attack on Bristol University’s JSoc and the  Union of Jewish Students.

Contributors include Norman Finkelstein, former Labour MP Chris WilliamsonJackie Walker (Labour Against the Witchhunt), Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi (Jewish Voice for Labour), anti-apartheid veteran Ronnie KasrilsSami Ramadani (Stop the War Coalition), Jamie Stern-Weiner (expert on IHRA) and David Miller (University of Bristol).

Harry’s Place has this take on the event.

Miller also accuses ‘Zionists’ of deliberately fomenting hatred of Muslims.

Launch Meeting Last December.


This Blog is in favour of defending these people’s right to bay at the moon.

But they can expect others who dislike what they say to react just as vigorously.

It is up to Bristol University to decide on whether Miller has broken professional rules.

It is up to the left to condemn his diatribe.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 15, 2021 at 5:25 pm

Piers Corbyn Launches London Mayor Bid.

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Piers Corbyn launches  bid to become the Mayor of London.


Not many people are impressed.

Word on the streets of Twitter is that the bid will sink without trace despite this tasty concert:












Written by Andrew Coates

February 15, 2021 at 11:49 am

Alt-Right Ipswich Tory MP Tom Hunt Warns Woke Culture out to “undermine social cohesion and local pride.”

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Baying Mob of Woke Statue Topplers (National Treasure Brendan O’Neill Cast into the Brink).


Alt Right Ipswich MP (KNOB, Knight Noble of Britishness) writes in Nigel Farage’s favourite paper, the Express,

History of our nation must not be rewritten by baying mob of woke statue-topplers

Tom Hunt. Express.

WOKE culture seems to have become an invitation for some of our institutions to undermine social cohesion and local pride. Historic England is the latest prominent example of a once trusted body waging war against our heritage, and in particular our villages.

Villages be Warned!

They have compiled a list of sites across the country which have links to people involved in the transatlantic slave trade. With this list, Historic England has named village halls, farms, schools and parish churches going out of their way to establish even tenuous links with the transatlantic slave trade. This has included chapels where historical figures worshipped and were buried. The sites can house the graves of those who profited directly from slavery, but also their relatives.

Sacred Places!

this view is used by those who seek to denigrate our cultural heritage and vandalise our shared sacred places.

He continues,

For many, it feels Maoist and dystopian. A quiet cultural revolution administered from the top rungs of the institutions which have been tasked with the great duty of preserving our culture and beautiful buildings for centuries to come.

Great Pyramids.

Obviously, the transatlantic slave trade was a moral blight.

But it was by no means exceptional.

For thousands of years prior, slaves and serfs had been used to build great works throughout the world, from the pyramids of Giza, to the Taj Mahal, to many of the ancient Cathedrals of England which were funded by repressive regimes of serfdom. Britain was the first nation in history to confront the horrors of the global slave trade in which some of her citizens were involved.

He concludes,

It is right to condemn slavery as a great sin, but it is the wrong approach to go about auditing our towns and villages to shame people into a sense of guilt about the places in which they grew up and the buildings which have brought their communities together.


Our gumshoes are now tracing out the links between Hunt and his fellow alt-Right anti-Wokeists.

Expect Revelations!



Written by Andrew Coates

February 14, 2021 at 3:36 pm

Génération identitaire: French Government begins process to ban Far Right ‘Identity’ movement

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Far right: Darmanin initiated the dissolution of Generation Identity

Right-Wing Identity Politics.


France has begun a process to ban French far-right group Generation Identitaire, which is known to be hostile to migrants, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

Generation Identitaire has repeatedly tried to bar migrants from entering the country, conducting high-profile raids in the French Alps and the Pyrénées.

France seeking to ban far-right, anti-migrant group  National Post.

The Minister of the Interior had mentioned this procedure on January 26 after an anti-migrant operation in the  Pyrenees. About thirty militants were deployed between Luchon (Haute-Garonne) and the Spanish border. With cars screen printed with the words,  “Defend Europe”, they had settled at the Col du Portillon, some had gone on hikes using a drone to monitor the border. A preliminary investigation for “public provocation to racial hatred” had been opened. This investigation entrusted to the research brigade of the gendarmerie of Saint-Gaudens is justified by “remarks made on this banner very clearly anti-immigration and especially the reason why this banner was deployed”, explained the prosecutor of Saint- Gaudens (Haute-Garonne), Christophe Amunzateguy. A complaint from SOS Racisme was also received.

Le Parisian.

This ban, or in legal terms the ‘dissolution’ of a political group formed within French law on public associations, comes at a time when issues of identity have reached a new stage.

Liberal identity politics has, for some time, had a parallel on the right and the far-right.

In Britain this has largely taken the form of support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Within this push for national sovereignty and identity against the European Union included a strong cultural theme.

Research by Anthony Heath and Lindsay Richards indicates an

association between an English identity, a preference for a hard Brexit, and the red lines of restoring British sovereignty and the ability to make independent trade deals and ending free movement and budget contributions to the EU.

Nationalism, racism, and identity: what connects Englishness to a preference for hard Brexit? 2018

Pro-Brexit identity politics equally exists in the writings of a layer of ‘left wing’ pro-Brexit activists, such Paul Embery. The firefighter and Blue Labour supporter  defends the traditional working class, and, “old-fashioned concepts such as patriotism, self-discipline, conscience, religious belief, marriage…respect for tradition.” (Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class. 2020). It goes without saying that Embery is not favourable to immigration and free movement.

National populist identity politics are defended by Spiked guru Frank Furedi another militant pro-Brexiteer. Hungary, he wrote in November 2020, , has taken a brave stand against “West’s woke elites.”. The government of Viktor Orbán” voices sentiments and values that remain popular, and which resonate with millions of people throughout the world.”

..from the globalist standpoint of the Western cultural and political establishments, the values promoted by the Hungarian government are antithetical to ‘our worldview’. In the Hungarian government’s upholding of traditional values, many of which are associated with Christianity, or its defence of national sovereignty, the likes of the European Union or Big Tech see something archaic and threatening.

Hungary’s war on woke

Slightly further to the right are the ‘Identitaires‘. Their origins, largely French, go back to the early years of the new millenium. This grouping was “founded in 2003 by some former members of Unité Radicale and several other anti-Zionist and National Bolshevik sympathisers.”

But it is much better known in its present form.


Génération Identitaire (GI) was established in 2012 in France, stemming from a bigger movement called Les Identitaires (or previously Bloc Identitaire), and advocating for a new generation of active European citizens. The movement spread across the European continent and now has prominent affiliated groups in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Italy (e.g. Generation Identity, Identitäre Bewegung and Generazione Identitaria).

Génération Identitaire seeks to bring together young Europeans around a common cause: the defence of Europe. Defence… but against what? According to the activists of GI, the identity and the future of Europe are both in danger due the “Islamisation of Europe” and the “migrant invasion”.

The movement has already launched a protest against the ban.


Here are some of the first supporters of the call.

Ils ont pris position contre la dissolution de Génération Identitaire

Marine Le Pen (Présidente du Rassemblement National)
Jean Messiha (Président du cercle de réflexion Apollon)
André Bercoff (Animateur sur Sud Radio)
Robert Ménard (Maire de Béziers)

Written by Andrew Coates

February 14, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Stop the War Coalition attacks Open Labour and Lisa Nandy’s ‘Liberal Interventionism’

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StWC Warns of “returning Labour to  ‘liberal intervention’.”


In the latest journal of Liberation, (ex-Movement for Colonial Freedom) Andrew Murray, former Corbyn adviser and chief of staff at UNITE the Union, wrote, “Corbyn has been replaced by Starmer as Labour leader but pressure from the mass of the movement on the key issues – no more wars of intervention, support for the Palestinians, no cold war with China – can make a difference.”

Murry, who was, and is, a leading voice in the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) warned, “Biden signals a return to “business as usual” after four years of the racist authoritarianism of Trump. However, business as usual under Democrats and Republicans alike has meant one war of intervention after another this century, and Biden’s foreign policy team seems full of “liberal interventionists”. One area of great concern was that the West was drawn into “a quasi confrontational stance against China.”

Liberation Journal Winter 2020-21

These views have now been developed.

Murray, who spent many years( 1976 – 2016) in the Communist Party of Britain and Lindsey German (a leading member of the revolutionary socialist group, Counterfire) have written a polemic which grapples with the threat, as they imagine it,  of “liberal interventionism” taking hold within the British Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn writes in the introduction,,

Andrew Murray and Lindsey German have the benefit of a consistent and honest track record in opposition to war. They were part of the foundation group of the Stop the War Coalition in 2001 and have jointly written this pamphlet to ensure we do not descend into another bout of interventionism, and then pretend the consequences are nothing to do with the original military action.

The authors state,

In this pamphlet, we argue for the continuing salience of those policies amid indications that Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, and his Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy will look for ways to abandon them. Not only are the main lines of Stop the War’s policies popular in the country, but they are also overwhelmingly popular among the Party membership. And the contemporary international situation makes them as relevant as ever, notwithstanding many changes in the world since our foundation in 2001.

The attack against Stop the War has been most recently expressed in a pamphlet published by Open Labour – A Progressive Foreign Policy for New Times. It was launched with the participation of Nandy, and subsequently endorsed by another member of Labour’s foreign affairs front bench team. Its arguments aim at returning Labour to its worst mistakes of the past, all made under the heading of ‘liberal intervention’.

This brochure then, is a reply to the  Open Labour pamphlet, Progressive Foreign Policy for New Times, by Frederick Harry Pitt snd Paul Thompson (in the distant past a leading figure in the radical left group Big Flame).

These is some of the core, well thought out and illustrated, arguments in the Open Labour document,

The dominant (though sometimes implicit) framing that drove Corbynism derived from anti-imperialist perspectives originally formed during the Cold War, national liberation struggles and opposition to repressive American interventions in South East Asia and Latin America in the 1960s and 70s. With the collapse of the Soviet block after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, this binary ‘two campism’ posed the West against the Rest. However, anti-imperialism was reshaped and revitalised by military interventions, notably Iraq, influenced by the neo-conservative defence of US hegemony as the guarantor of an often somewhat shallow conception of liberal democracy.

They observe,

What is notable about its politics is the complete lack of interest in any conflicts not directly attributable to ‘the West’ and an inability to see any actor other than the US and its allies as having motives or powers. So, for example, Islamist attacks in Europe have typically been seen through a ‘reaping the whirlwind’ prism in which terror is wholly or mainly as a response to Western military intervention.

This will strike a chord with many people.

Anybody familiar with the tragedy of the Algerian civil war between a repressive military state and murdering Islamist groups during the 1990s, will be aware of the the underlying truth of this argument. Ii what sense was the Groupe Islamiste Armé, (GIA )a response to Western intervention? In what sense is are the mass murders of black Africans by Islamist Al-Shabaab in Mozambique, happening at this very moment,  the responsibility of the West?

One needs more than a few sentences to respond to the following, but the questions posed are at the heart of opposition to the Stop the War Coalition.

The Stop-the-War worldview cannot accommodate situations where Western inaction, rather than Western intervention, has played a decisive role in unfolding violence. When the STWC discusses the Syrian conflict, it is almost wholly silent about the role of Russia or Iran, and even the Assad regime itself. The response of  the Stop-the-War left to each and every major conflict the world over typically represents little more than a nostalgia trip getting the band back together for one last riff on the Iraq years. But contemporary conflicts do not sit easily with the Iraq complex of the left.

It would be hard to find any but the most general and unfocused criticism of Russia and Iran in the StWC public statements, If they have not gone as far as figures such as Chris Williamson in broadcasting false information that benefits the Assad regime it would be hard to find much that would distract from the view that Syria is a sovereign state and that however bad the state is the axis on which any solution to the civil war can be found recognises that soveriegnty.

Liberalism and the left.

An important section of A Progressive Foreign Policy for New Times. is about the political and ethical underpinning of globally “spreading the rule of law”, “global human rights” and “global emergency services”, as Mary Kaldor and Alex Sobel put it in their Introduction.

An important section of is informed by the views of liberalion demosm and human rights developed by the late Norman Geras. They are close to the ‘synthesis’ of human rights and democratic Marxism defended by, amongst others on the internationalist left,  the present Blog.  In this Blog’s case they are informed by the critical take on Marxism and democracy of writers such as  Claude Lefort, (the democratic revolution and its ‘indeterminacy’) and Étienne Balibar ( l’égaliberté. Equality-Liberty) , and the more supportive views on democratic Marxism by Hal Draper,  “one of the creators of the Third Camp tradition). One of the bases for an alternative to Campism, is this area, independent of any ‘side’ but that of left-wing internationalism and evolving fights for human and democratic rights.

This contrasts with figures such as Andrew Murray who spent several pages of  The Fall and Rise of the British Left (2019) pouring scorn on human rights, “poisonous seeds of the politics of personal identity and human rights”, full stop.

Some of the Open Labour writers’ strongest approaches is to these problems centred around political liberalism is this,

.. the late Norman Geras called those ‘tenets of liberalism not indissolubly bound up with capitalism’, namely its attempts to ‘set limits to the accumulation and abuse of political power…protecting the physical environment Progressive Foreign Policy for New Times,a space of individuals from unwarranted invasion’. It has done so albeit unevenly and imperfectly, historically through ‘evolving institutions and practices, political and juridical, to contribute to such ends’.


They summarise the accusation that the Stop the War Coalition is campist. That is,

The ‘two-campist’ positioning of Corbyn’s intellectual and political milieu, which relates world events to a crudely caricatured clash between the West and the rest, is instinctive and reflexive rather than properly thought through. It is an under-theorised posture automatically adopted in response to the vagaries and complexities of foreign affairs.

Campism, was originally the stand of the pro-Communist left. It was the duty of every revolutionary to defend the Soviet Union, the Socialist Camp, and, later, their Anti-imperialist allies. It can be seen the have left a trace: the gut feeling that anything the West does has to be opposed. It can lead some to ‘defend’ the forces opposed to the West, as certain leftists do, ‘defending’ Iran, Assad’s regime, and others. If the StWC could offer an example, surely they defend the Palestinian camp including Hamas, against Israel.


Reply by Murray and German.

The pamphlet is a diatribe in defence of the record of the Stop the War Coalition. Its internationalism, Murray and German assert, is based on that  “we have campaigned against the actions of our own government – which does not imply support for their enemies, In case you had not got that message they call it, “indigenous and home-grown opposition to a state’s foreign policy objectives.” Anybody reading the whole text will find this repeated and repeated, “Our anti-imperialism must therefore start from here. Britain is part of one imperial bloc, and that is the one we need to challenge in our effort to give the country a new direction in world affairs.”

I doubt if there are any people who’ve been on the left for any time has not heard the slogan The Main Enemy is at Home. . This is not campism “guided by support for another ‘camp’ of hostile foreign powers” but one thing is pretty clear, it not striking out an independent policy, it is being against one side. Or, as they put it in a lengthy list of causes, “The answer to this charge is simple: in every case we have campaigned against the actions of our own government – which does not imply support for their enemies.” They attack the ‘bloc’ in short.

Away from words this is a significant issue. The principle does not always sit easily with internationalism: our main friends may be abroad. How do we help people fighting against dictatorial regimes, and genocidal groups like the Islamic State (Daesh)? This is, as the Open Labour pamphlet frames it, a major issue of human rights violations, ethnic cleansing and genocide. All Murray and German can say on Syria is that there are lots of actors, “intervention on all sides “. They avoid the issue that it was Western, primarily US action, which permitted the Kurdish forces to survive and defeat the Islamist genociders and that it was Trump’s decision to withdraw that support which has let other Islamists, under the aegis of the Turkish state, to push them back. And, as we learn, is pursuing an invasion of South Kurdistan.

What do the StWC  propose for the Kurdish people in Syria and their defenders in the PYD ? I cannot recall anything from Corbyn, and even less from the StWC about meeting the military needs for armed defence. What exactly did they offer when they state, “That does not exclude solidarity and support for those struggling for freedom, of course”? Early Day motions in Parliament? Kind words before the Coronets of Power? They looked sheepish when asked about this when  Kobanê  was in imminent  danger of falling, and was saved thanks to allied airpower: today, they do even bother to look at the Kurdish struggle.

Human Rights.

What kind of human rights do the StWC defend? Murray and German manage the impressive job of talking about issues around “China’s growing military strength” without mentioning China’s record, from the persecution of the Uyghurs, clamp down on freedom for dissenters,  to the attacks on democratic forces in Hong Kong.

Instead they pontificate in a  flurry of speculation,

It is also more likely that Biden will follow Obama and Trump in prioritising confronting China. This represents the danger of a new Cold War, but not of an Iraq-style invasion or a Libya-style bombing campaign, at least for the foreseeable future. Britain has announced that it will dispatch one of its two aircraft carriers to the Far East to assist in this confrontational posture. Nandy appears signed up to the anti-China strategy – Stop the War can see no case for  Britain deploying military hardware on the other side of the globe, against a country which poses no military threat to us.

The authors were on their strongest ground, when outlining the failures of humanitarian intervention –  although the Western leaders in these cases were always careful to underlay the reasons for their acts with appeals to national self-interest rather than a serious case for human rights.

In reality the wars of recent decades were not noble crusades against ‘fascism’ but attempts at regime change involving the deployment of huge amounts of military might. This often succeeded quite easily in overthrowing existing governments. However, the methods of imperialist war and occupation proved totally incapable of building the better societies they had promised – instead they led to endless continuing conflict, widespread displacement, human rights abuses and often very large numbers of civilian casualties as well as refugees. Many societies will not recover from the consequences of being ‘saved’ by the West for generations.

Now all Murray and German  have left is a last bow to things that never happened and were never going to,

Corbynism offers a different approach to the world. His Labour government would have aimed at disengaging Britain from the US-led hegemonic project, focussing instead on dispute resolution, de-escalation of conflicts and the reallocation of resources to poverty alleviation. It would have been a friend, rather than the sworn enemy, of movements for liberation and social justice, and radical governments, around the world. Every effort would have been made to address injustices like the dispossession of the Chagos Islanders and the occupation of the Palestinian territories. And over the longer term it would have reduced the power of the City of London and curbed the arms trade, two drivers of neo-imperial policy. It would have taken arms conversion seriously. It would not have assumed that Britain has a right and responsibility to intervene militarily willy-nilly.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 12, 2021 at 2:59 pm

Ken Loach in new row over Anti-Semitism.

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There are mixed reactions to the controversy over inviting Ken Loach to speak at a Zoom event hosted by St Peter’s College Oxford:

An Oxford college event with Ken Loach went ahead on Monday despite objections from the Board of Deputies and Jewish students over the filmmaker’s alleged antisemitism.

The event, live-streamed on YouTube yesterday, focused on the St Peter’s College alumnus’ filmmaking career.

Jewish Chronicle.

Outrage as Oxford college holds event with controversial filmmaker Ken Loach

Most people could not care less what an Oxford College does. But Jewish students who protested at this guest’s presence have every right to do so. Loach has a past, not just as a graduate of an exclusive Oxford college, but a political background. This includes his joint authorship of the play Perdition, a not too distant membership of George Galloways ‘anti-Zionist’ Respect Party (2004 – 2012)  and present, support for Labour Against the Witch-hunt, whose Vice Chair Tony Greenstein, is described by his local paper as a “notorious anti-Semite'(‘Notorious anti-Semite’ loses libel case).

But cancelling or no platforming Loach would  suggest that his films should be boycotted as well. No platforming was originally about street confrontations with violent far-right groups such as the 1970s National Front. The aim was to prevent them holding street marches to intimidate minorities. It was not about deciding on the virtue of this or that speaker. Loach has a high reputation as a film-maker for some, by no means all, cinema lovers, some of whom call many of his pictures in the last couple of decades ‘miserabilist’ and wooden, It is not a good idea to have the issue of protests against them introduced into criticism of the Loach cinematic oeuvre.

In the New Statesman. Steve Bush makes the point that it is one thing to defend the right to speak, and another to eulogise the speaker. This is a valuable distinction: very few people who defend Roman Polanski’s past behaviour. and against more recent accusations of violation. But the director’s 2019 film on the Dreyfuss Affair, J’Accuse has yet to be shown in many countries, including the US because of this.


Ken Loach’s defenders are making an old and familiar mistake

When someone is accused of bad behaviour, their friendship with you is irrelevant.

The actor and comedian John Bishop and the Labour MP Ian Lavery have both defended the film director Ken Loach, whose invitation to speak at St Peter’s College, Oxford, has been criticised by the university’s Jewish Society due to his history of controversial remarks. Among them were Loach’s declaration that the 30 Labour MPs who joined the 2018 “Enough is Enough” protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party were “the ones we need to kick out”, and that claims of Labour anti-Semitism were “exaggerated or false”.

Freedom of speech is vitally important, particularly at a university, but a university campus or a university college are not only institutions of higher education: they are also the home of their students, and it was, therefore, in my view, a mistake for the master of St Peter’s College to invite Loach and treat him as an honoured guest. It is not the same as an invitation from a university film society.


Both men are using what I think of as the “Me Too Formulation”, which is frequently wheeled out by friends and supporters of people accused of sexual harassment: I’ve met so and so, and they are a great bloke, so they cannot have done what they are accused of. Shakespeare in Love is a brilliant film, so no one involved in it can possibly have done anything untoward. And so on.

Bush’s article does cover Perdition.

This gives a good idea of why people remember the play:

Sean Matgamna. 1987.

There are at least two issues involved in the ‘Perdition’ affair: artistic freedom and its limits; and whether or not ‘Perdition’ is anti-Jewish.

Allen and the director, Ken Loach, immediately raised an outcry against ‘censorship’, alleging that they were victims of a coordinated Zionist conspiracy. ‘Perdition’ was being crushed under the ‘Zionist juggernaut’, as Jim Allen put it when he told his side of the story to the Irish Times.

The article continues,

The play alleges that ‘Zionism’, with something like 5 million Jews already dead, needed the corpses of a million more Jews in Hungary to help it strengthen the moral case for setting up Israel after the war. Allen argues that Zionism shared the racist assumptions for Nazism from ‘its own’ side, and that that was the basis of a collaboration even to the extent of sacrificing the Jewish millions in Europe, Zionism was concerned only with sawing the notables and the rich.

Nothing of this seems to matter to the Canary.

The former Labour member Kerry-anne Mendoza writes,

The witch hunt has come for Ken Loach. They’ll have to come through us first.

For the crime of not playing with the witch hunt, Ken Loach has become a target. As a national treasure, his words matter. And so the need to delegitimise him as an effective critic of apartheid is real. Now he is accused of Holocaust denial. Did he deny the Holocaust? No. Did he advocate for denying the Holocaust? No. They’ve reached back to the 1980s to replay

…a battle-hardened left is unwilling to play this game again. A massive and organic campaign of support has sprung up. The trending #IStandWithKenLoach hashtag is full of desperate pleas for truth in argument. By all means, we can have robust political disagreements. But to debase yourself by constructing entirely false narratives on such a serious issue is beyond the pale.

Quick off the block: Chris Williamson’s Resist Movement.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted this.

None of these responses even begin the talk about why many people on the left, including the radical left, would be very very wary of defending Loach’s strain of ‘anti-Zionist’ politics.



Apparently some still do not have a clue.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2021 at 2:28 pm

George Galloway up before the Beak again?

with 4 comments


Galloway Fund Raises for Potential Legal Case: “Signed copies of my #FidelCastro Handbook are now back in stock!”


Alliance For Unity’s use of RAF logo being looked at by Ministry of Defence

reports the right-leaning Scottish nationalist, The National.

THE branding of George Galloway’s Alliance for Unity party is being investigated by the Ministry of Defence’s copyright lawyers, The National can reveal.

A4U are a grouping of people with varying political allegiances that hope to stop pro-independence parties gaining a majority in May’s Holyrood election.

This is the response from George Galloway’s current minions.


This follows a contretemps a few weeks ago,

The former MP had applied for his party to be called “All for Unity”.

Former MP George Galloway has suffered another setback in his bid to get elected to Holyrood.

An application for the party he founded to be called “All for Unity” was rejected by an elections body due to incomplete paperwork.

Galloway was a long standing Labour MP in Glasgow who attracted headlines in 2006 after he pretended to be a cat on Celebrity Big Brother.

Galloway’s old friends in Counterfire,  such as John Rees, and Lindsey German (also of the Stop the War Coalition), or his bagman, Kevin Ovenden,  have yet to spill the beans on what happened during their years and years of support for the dapper Caledonian gent.

“Galloway’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, his refusal to debate with Israeli Jews, and his declaration of Bradford as being an “Israeli-free zone” are among the issues which have led to the attitudes of the politician being thought suspect”

Or indeed on what they think about his more recent adventures.

One day, one can only hope, we will be told.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 10, 2021 at 11:46 am

Left Fragmentation Part 4: Chris Williamson Falls out with Novara Media as Labour Against the Witch-Hunt Lines Up Divisive Meeting.

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Novara media’s Commissioning Editor & Reporter

The above has just been retweeted by Chris Williamson.

Novara Media have yet to respond.

In further news there are demands for a Labour Recall Conference.

A group of left-wing MPs and unions have called on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to hold an emergency conference as they warned of widespread “anger and disillusionment” in the party.

The row follows the suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn and suspicion among some over the direction in which Sir Keir wants to lead Labour.

The call for a special conference has been backed by the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, which includes Sir Keir’s former shadow cabinet colleagues John McDonnell and Richard Burgon, as well as the Unite union, the Bakers’ Union and Momentum.


The Morning Star, (independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the co-op) Socialist Appeal and the anti-Labour site Skwawkbox back the demand;;

Yet this development will surely be overshadowed by this event.

Against no platforming of fellow socialists! What does Free Speech actually mean?

Following the debacle over the no-platforming of suspended Labour activist Esther Giles at the Momentum-led “Labour Lockout” rally, we are pleased to welcome the comrade as a speaker at our February 13 conference on ‘Building the Campaign for Free Speech’. It is a great shame that the mainstream left has adopted the strategies of the right – bowing to baseless accusations of “transphobia” reminds us very much of the sidelining, smearing and vilifying of critics of Israel as “antisemites”.

Wherever one might stand on the debate over trans rights – and the issue is far from as black and white as some make it out to be – we very much “oppose demands for ‘zero tolerance’ and ‘safe spaces’, including on controversial issues like trans rights. They are the opposite of a culture of open debate. The best way to fight prejudice, misperceptions and misunderstandings is through education and debate”, which is how our draft Charter for Free Speech (which will be discussed at conference) puts it.

Labour Against the Witchhunt, the Labour Left Alliance and the Labour in Exile Network have issued an excellent joint statement on Esther’s no-platforming, which you can read below.

To demonstrate his credentials against anti-Semitism one of the speakers at the event tweet this, from the Monster Raving Greenstein Party:






Written by Andrew Coates

February 9, 2021 at 11:10 am

Left Fragmentation Part 3: Trade Union and Socialist Coalition Launches Rival to Labour in May Elections.

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Another Left Splinter.


TUSC is a coalition with an all-Britain steering committee comprised of representatives from its constituent organisations alongside leading trade unionists, sitting in a personal capacity. The current constituent organisations are the RMT transport workers’ union, represented on the steering committee since 2012; the Socialist Party, a co-founder of TUSC in 2010; and the Resistance Movement, established in 2019 by, amongst others, the ex-Labour MP Chris Williamson.

Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

The Socialist Party, SP,  is best known as one the splinters that emerged from the Militant Tendency – the others of an size being Socialist Appeal (following the major anti-Militant expulsions bust up in 1992 they stayed inside the Labour Party), and Socialist Alternative (a more recent split, which is part of the Committee for a Workers’ International in which the SP was the leading fore). There is also a faction within the PCS Trade Union, Socialist View, which had connections with the party.

Socialist Party leaders, such as Peter Taaffe (General Secretary 1997–2020) considered that the Labour Party had become a bourgeois party, and had to be opposed electorally. But, “When Jeremy was Labour leader there was an opportunity to transform Labour into a mass workers’ party. ” ‘Jeremy’ and his ‘project’ did not do this. “his was not done, allowing Starmer to take the leadership with the party machine, MPs, and structures ready and waiting to do his pro-capitalist will. Given that missed opportunity, a struggle for working-class political representation will not now succeed within the confines of the Labour Party.” “Today, in an era of profound capitalist crisis, the working class needs its own voice more than ever before. A party, not a project, is the way forward.” ( Socialism Today, issue 245, February 2021)

One can only guess who would be the leading cadre in this party.

Both the Socialist Party and the Rail and Maritime Transport union (RMT) campaigned for Brexit and cast their support behind the Leave campaign. TUSC promoted Paul Embery’s Trade Unionists Against the EU front whch had got financial backing from hard right businessman Arron Banks. Far from helping the labour movement, or fulfilling prophecies that the North Sea would turn to socialist lemonade,  this helped the Bosses’ Brexit and prepared the way for the Johnson electoral strategy of Getting Brexit Done..



Chris Williamson, whose Resistance Movement is, an observer member,  did not attend. This suggests that there may well be problems with the man whose reputation as a left-wing politician may exceed Lord Voldemort’s.

Williamson did make a recent appearance elsewhere, not long ago, promoted by the anti-Labour Skwawkbox alt-news site.

If Williamson is yet to tweet on the event,  Resist sent somebody.



Sadiq Khan is a target in London.


Pitching to Corbyn…

We await Corbyn’s response,

Summary of previous electoral campaigns (Wikipedia).

2015 local elections

TUSC renewed its promise to field the largest left-of-Labour challenge in the parliamentary and local authority elections. It bolstered its 2014 local election candidacy count by 70, bringing the total to 650. As it also fielded 135 PPCs, in every major town and city in England, Wales, and Scotland, TUSC subsequently exceeded the overall number of candidates to satisfy the BBC’s fair coverage threshold, qualifying it for distribution of election material via the Royal Mail, as well as time on the major networks for the airing of a Party Election Broadcast.[56]

TUSC gained no seats (and, in one ward, no votes) and lost three anti-cuts councillors in Leicester and Hull. They retain one affiliated councillor each in Warrington, Walsall and Hull, and two in Southampton.[57]

2016 local elections

Following the 2016 elections, TUSC had three councillors in Southampton under the banner of Coxford Putting People First,[58] Kevin Bennett having lost his seat in Warrington;[59] Hull Red Labour and Walsall Democratic Labour also lost their remaining seats.

2018 local elections

Following the 2018 elections, TUSC retained at least one affiliated councillor in Coxford, Southampton, following the re-election (as Independent – Putting People First) of TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell.[60] Two other former Putting People First councillors also retain their seats as Independents, but the group has since dissolved.[61] Morrell resigned in 2019.[62]

@Neo-LIberal’ Labour meanwhile has launched this:



Written by Andrew Coates

February 8, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Fragmentation of the Left, Part Two: Disintegration of the Corbynista Blogs (Rachael Swindon).

with 11 comments

‘Rachael Swindon Says No Vote for Labour.


Rachael Swindon is a well-known name on the left, for her tweets and for her Blog.

Meet The Woman Leading Jeremy Corbyn’s Twitter Army

The present Blog has a lot of respect for Rachael Cousins (‘Swindon’).


As a plain-speaking left-wing woman living in Swindon she does not talk in wooden phrases. More to the point, she has said a of plain truths about the difficulties ordinary people face in our lives. She loathed the Tories and right-wingers.


She did tweet some views we would not agree with (to say the least): Twitter ‘suspends’ Rachael Swindon’s anti-Tory account.


That’s as may be.


She was very pro-Jeremy Corbyn but above all she helped the left.


This marked her high point.

As a reward for all those efforts as one of Corbyn’s “social media outriders”, Rachael Cousins has gathered attention and recognition from the MP and his top team.

“She’s got two cards from Corbyn,” her husband pointed out. After some digging around in a cupboard.

Now this, as her Blog and Tweets have become a voice for the professional Anti-Keir Starmer crowd, has  happened.

Did you know that months that begin on a Sunday always have a Friday the 13th in them?

And be careful if you happen to find yourself in Salt Lake City, Utah, because you can be fined up to $1,000 for whistling on a Sunday.

And finally, it is thought if Keir Starmer waves his flag on a Sunday, he will be twenty points clear in the polls by Monday.

Fair enough, I made the last one up.

This is the crunch,

My local council has been Conservative-held for many years, although Labour are strongly represented. Normally, I would vote for whoever the Labour candidate might be in my ward, knowing it won’t make any difference because my ward is around 80% Conservative.

But not this time, unless the candidate truly represents socialist values, because these are the values of the real Labour Party. The Labour Party of Hardie, Attlee, Benn, and Corbyn. If the local candidate doesn’t hold these simple values, I will not have the motivation to get off my backside and give them my vote.

She concludes,

Anything less than HUGE Labour gains on May 6th will be a disaster for Starmer, no matter how they try and spin it. 

I’ll be watching closely, and I’m sure you will be too.

Enjoy your day guys,* and take good care.

In effect, she is washing her hands of politics.

Some are already suggesting that the strategy of the Corbynistas-in-mourning, Corby canal-historique, is to wish that Labour does as badly as possible in elections.


* ‘Guys’, an American expression which is said to include women under the male term.


More disintegration:

Against no-platforming at ‘Stop the Labour Lockout’, an event billed to campaign for free speech!

Joint statement by Labour In Exile Network, Labour Left Alliance and Labour Against the Witchhunt

We are very concerned to hear that Esther Giles of the successful campaign Save Our Socialists and Labour in Exile Network, has been de-invited from the February 7 ‘Stop the Labour Lockout’ event. She was billed to speak next to Alan Gibbons and Gaya Sriskanthan of Momentum, Matt Wrack of the Fire Brigades Union, Leah Levane of Jewish Voice for Labour and Socialist Councillors and many more.


But the day before the event, she was contacted and it was explained to her that some speakers had threatened to withdraw from the rally if Esther was allowed to speak. The reason: three years ago, she supported a comrade who was pressurised to make a statement about trans women. Esther’s feeling was that – regardless of the issue of the debate – nobody should be bullied. We continue to campaign side by side with all those oppressed by this capitalist society, including (but not only) women and all our LGBT comrades.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2021 at 5:10 pm

As Bastani Quits Labour Corbyn Left’s Fragmentation Accelerates.

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Image result for aaron bastani fully automated luxury communism

“Those with the least character to spare, can the least afford to part with their good word to others: a losing cause is always most divided against itself.”

William Hazlitt. On Jealousy and Spleen of Party. 1826

People join, the Labour Party, for many reasons, to get reforms done, to do a good job in local government, for specific policies, out of a commitment to social democracy, to the broad labour movement, to a variety of forms of socialism, and no doubt, for some, to make a career out of politics. Activism goes from delivering leaflets, attending meetings, holding street stalls, canvassing, to standing in elections, and working in elected positions.

Recent years have seen a newer form of activism, social media. Anybody can tweet, go on Facebook, or other networks. We  can even Blog…

Some have set up sites with more ambitious claims. Like the Canary and Skwawkbox Novara Media had its days of glory during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. From 2015 onwards it played a part in millions of people’s on-line clicking and flicking. Some at least considered them political players. They were all identified with one cause, Jeremy Corbyn and with the leader himself.

During the 2017 General Election, left-wing alternative media sites such as The Canary, The Skwawkbox, and Novara Media, well-known for their support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, were described in the Guardian as a “new force shaping the election debate”. By alternative media, we mean online news and commentary outlets that set intentionally themselves out as alternatives to a mainstream media that they consider to be biased and dishonest.

The reasons why will be debated for years, but that cause did not win…..

Fast forward to 2020, and to Labour’s 2019 General Election review, and these alternative media sites are now barely mentionedIn fact, they feature just briefly on page 96, buried in the final section of the chapter that dissects the Labour’s online campaign. Notable, too, is the lack of attention the sites received in post-election analysis. This is striking, since it is only in October of last year that Ash Sarkar was interviewing Corbyn on Novara Media, in a clear sign of their influence. In contrast to 2017, the narrative taking shape around left-wing alternative media is now one of decline.

Declan McDowell-Naylor. (1.7.2020.)

Are alternative media still relevant to the Labour Party?

The post-election and post Corbyn leadership decline has accelerated. The Canary’s founder, Kerry-Anne Mendoza quit Labour and has been embroiled in accusations concerning anti-Semitism, and her support for expelled Labour MP Chris Williamson. The site is studded with anti-Labour ‘stories’, Black Labour members are set to boycott campaigning for the party  Skwawkbox spends its time attacking Keir Starmer, its comments section dominated by abuse of the the “slimy knight”  “dry bumming” the membership. It has now pinned its hopes on the unlikely figure of Northern Labour MP Jon Trickett to become party chief this year. Novara Media, ploughs the same furrow, “Starmer’s Worst Week“….

This week a leaked presentation sparked ridicule for Labour, just as Starmer was caught lying in parliament.

The constant drip drip of attacks on Starmer and Labour may fortify the undoubted pleasure of hating. But many people will think that those who spend their time hurling abuse at their party enemies have not got over their rancœur at losing.

Yesterday this story was published in the Jewish Chronicle.

Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘attack dog’ quits Labour – allegedly ahead of an investigation into his conduct


The founder of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn website Novara Media has left the Labour Party, allegedly ahead of an investigation into his conduct.

Labour sources told the JC that the broadcaster Aaron Bastani, who was once dubbed Jeremy Corbyn’s “attack dog”, had quit his local Labour Party in Hampshire after being alerted to a probe into allegations made against him.

Asked to comment, Mr Bastani told the JC on Friday: “The idea that a journalist and member of the Labour Party would be suspended at the drop of a hat suggests deep seated problems inside the party in bringing together the kind of coalition that won Joe Biden the presidency last year.”

The strange final sentence apart (in what sense would Biden fit into Bastani’s ultimate goal of total luxury communism), this is the Novara Media’s own statement:



The weakening of alt-news sites reflects a wider fragmentation of the Corbyn ‘ultras’.

Labour Heartlands

This, and we would welcome more information, as if the ghost of 1930s Communist Party entryism into Labour has risen from the tomb.

The Weekly Worker reports on this event. Labour Left Alliance Conference.

If you want to understand the confused politics and contradictory strategy of the Labour left, the January 30 online discussion conference organised by the Labour Left Alliance was a good place to start. James Harvey.

The majority of comrades who attended and spoke clearly regard themselves as the real, militant left in the Labour Party – in contrast to the tame official left, represented by groups such as the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs and Momentum.

Roger Silverman of the Workers’ International Network (WIN) and the LLA organising group set the tone in his political opening by suggesting that the one-sided civil war unleashed by the Labour right had finally reached boiling point

For those not up to speed here is Cde Silverman’s groupuscule, the site On the Brink.

WIN evolved out of an international online socialist forum, members of which had been corresponding and meeting over the years. In 2009 a draft document setting out our common consensus was published under the title Preparing for Revolution, and in 2012 another: The Future International: socialists and the movement against capitalism. (For these and related documents, see introducingWIN.pdf)

The meeting saw resolutions from Socialist Appeal (the faction created by Ted Grant after the split in Militant), and the Weekly Worker’s own Labour Party Marxists. If you still have the will to live after scanning a few paragraphs go to the link above…

There are, in contrast to the old ‘alt-news sites’ and these warring factionalists, left wing groups and sites offering serious articles about the future of the UK Left,  such as Labour Hub, (see: Focus on Organising  Michael Calderbank), The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty ( Scotland, separation and socialism. Dale Street.) , Anti-Capitalist Resistance (England and Labour: Nation or Class? Simon Pearson ). There is also Chartist, Radical federalism  Sam Tarry).

These are some sites identified with the broader cause of socialism. Perhaps this is why they are important reading, rather than ‘alt-media’ based on one leader.









Exclusive: Tariq Ali on Progressive Military Coup in Myanmar.

with 6 comments



Tariq Ali has the Lowdown on Myanmar.


Breaking News.

Tariq Ali sat in the attic of his Islington Town House. The veteran of many a revolution, he was honing his combat skills. Zionist Space Invaders flashed across the screen of a games console. He wove between the Jewish laser cannons and blasted a flying saucer to smithereens.

There was a sound from the Smartphone.

The urbane public intellectual and former guerrilla picked the device up,

“Take a chill pill old Red Mole, its all so bogus, like, I’ve gotten the real dope on Myanmar.”

The Californian intonation could not disguise the voice of an old comrade, who had raised himself  to the level of comprehending the historical movement of imperialism as a whole.

“Halloa Perry! What ho? “

Mr Anderson continued, now speaking his mother tongue.

“Burma’s Margaret Thatcher is gone gone gone! Por tanto, the  general mouvance, has, after una estación de tránsito, what is dominant’ will never be exhaustive of the phase in question, Ha-at-tu-si ma-ak-ke-es-ta nu-wa-ra-ta-pa DINGIRMEŠ-is sal-la-i ha-as-sa-an-na-i da-a-er.”

Tariq smiled as he recognised the familiar Hittite tag.

“Insider Source?”

“You bettcha!”

“Next issue of New Left Review or shall it be the London Review of Books?”

“Get the news out pronto!

This was the Myanmar Moment, PR, steps forwards, who would have guessed?

The Street Fighting Man recalled the days in the Quartier latin leading the crowd to occupy the Sorbonne.

He called an old comrade.

“Bonjour Edwy Plenel! ” Tariq continued in the language of Molière, “Je suis un Revolutionary, je habite  à the south of Islington.”

As the story was unfolded the top French insider journalist exclaimed,  “Bougre de crème d’emplâtre à la graisse de hérisson!





Written by Andrew Coates

February 5, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Piers Corbyn arrested for leaflet comparing Covid vaccine to Auschwitz

with 7 comments


For reasons unknown Piers Corbyn thinks this makes his Auschwitz Leaflet less offensive.

I was just walking in Ipswich town centre at lunchtime, to buy some things (milk onwards), and people are talking, briefly, with social distancing, about their fears. The pandemic is, I’m sure it’s the same for all of us, something that people are desperately worried about (we know already of local deaths), and you can add a lot, a hell of a lot, to that.

That Corbyn had got away with his antics for so long is a disgrace.



The idea we’re antisemitic in any way is completely absurd.

“I was married for 22 years to a Jewess and obviously her mother’s forebears fled the Baltic states just before the war because of Hitler or the Nazis in general.

“I’ve worked with Jewish leading world scientists over the last 30 years,” he said. “I’ve also employed Jewish people in my business Weather Action, one of whom was a superb worker.”

He also said he supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Piers Corbyn arrested over leaflet comparing Covid vaccine to Auschwitz

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying a 73-year-old man was arrested in Southwark the previous day “on suspicion of malicious communications and public nuisance”.

The force confirmed that arrest was linked to a leaflet “containing material that appeared to compare the Covid-19 vaccination programme with the Holocaust”.

A 37-year-old man was also arrested in Bow, east London, on suspicion of a public order offence, Scotland Yard added.

Both men were taken to a south London police station. They have since been bailed to return on a date in early March.

Confirming his arrest, Mr Corbyn told the Standard that he was asked in a phone call to attend a police station and answer questions. He went voluntarily and was arrested while there.

He said that officers also searched his flat and examined other leaflets there but did not take any away.


Note this:





Written by Andrew Coates

February 4, 2021 at 2:38 pm

Labour, Patriotism and the Union Flag.

with 10 comments


Harold Wilson. Labour P.M.

The professional anti-Starmer crowd have been out in force today.

Here is why:

You would have thought that those who backed Rebecca Long-Baily and her call for “progressive patriotism” would be well pleased. (“To win we must revive this progressive patriotism and solidarity in a form fit for modern Britain.

Alas, no.

The anti-Labour site, baked by a well known Trade Union,  the Skwawkbox, yells,

Starmer’s ‘flag-shagging’ can’t even fool his own front bench, let alone working class communities

Move looks desperate and as false and stupid as it is – and will probably end Labour in Wales and Scotland.

This is the story itself (Guardian):

Leak reveals Labour plan to focus on flag and patriotism to win back voters

Labour must make “use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly” as part of a radical rebranding to help it win back the trust of disillusioned voters, according to a leaked internal strategy presentation.

Let us treat the  froth of the likes of Steve Walker, other ‘alt-news’ sites and professional anti-Starmer haters.  with the contempt they deserve. It comes from nothing and destined for the Wheelie Bin of History.

One could,  by contrast, write at length on this, about George Orwell’s efforts to distinguish patriotism and nationalisa, about Imperialism,  the theory that the “national popular” can be captured by left populism.  about how Scottish nationalists get off the hook despite their country’s own contribution to the British Empire, and about how in most countries, France and the USA, just about all politicians use the Flag. Not to mention the long list of Labour Party leaders and politicians have been pictured with the Union banner in one shape or another.

The Harold Wilson government of the 1960s supported this campaign in 1968:

I’m Backing Britain

I'm Backing Britain - Wikipedia


Things have developed, obviously.There is also a history to be written of the nationalism behind Brexit (indulged by many anti-Starmer people who helped Leave win). In the last decades internationalists have opposed those brandishing Britain in at the end of a pole. UKIP, the Brexit Party, Johnson and his cronies have made the sight of the Union Flag distasteful at present. There are serious left wing reasons to be wary of it, and a discussion to be had.

That is, what kind of country does it stand for?

That critical case needs to be explored and expanded.

But this is not what this Blog is going to do today.

Real love of the country is love of people and things dear, it is demonstrated not by symbols, it is shown by acts.

What can that mean?

One of my favourite, fictional, stories explaining English patriotism comes from the satirical novel England, Their England (1933) by A. G. Macdonell.

It is ‘travel memoir’ by a youthful Scots, Donald Cameron, who has been invalided away from the Western Front  With “no qualifications for any profession except the ability to drive a moderately crooked furrow and to direct the fire of a six-gun battery of eighteen-pounder guns” “he resolved to try his fortune as a journalist.” Donald writes for a series of London newspapers, before being commissioned by a Welshman to write a book about the English from the view of a foreigner.

To collect material for his book the young Sots enters the Dragon hostelry in Fleet Street at a Quarter to Twelve.  Engaging in conversation he encounters that he has met once of twice,  a man of about thirty-five from  circles he had begun to get to know. The  man exclaims, “”Have a drink. Flaming fish! but this is a stinking country.”

“This is on me,” he said. “It is the anniversary of Roland’s death in the Valley of Roncesvalles. The world came to an end on that day. It has never really existed since. We must drink to my fellow-countryman who saved Europe in the Pyrenees a thousand years ago, just as that other fellow-countryman of mine saved Europe in the marshes of St. Gond on the River Marne in 1914.”

“Do you mean Sir John French?” asked Donald.

The red-faced man became apoplectic. He swelled like a frog and his eyes appeared to become bloodshot. A queer, hoarse croaking issued from his lips. At last he managed to say, “I mean Ferdinand Foch, Marshal of France,” and he stood to attention.

“I beg your pardon most profoundly,” said Donald in great distress. “I had no idea—I mean your English is so perfect—is it really possible that you are a Frenchman?”

“My family name is Hougins,” replied the man with superb dignity. “And there were Hougins in the Channel Islands a good long time before Duke Robert of Normandy cast his eyes upon the tanner’s daughter.”

After his departure a perplexed Donald was informed of the truth,

But he said his family name was Hougins.”

“So it is, in a sense. It’s Huggins. Tommy Huggins, and he comes from Bolton. His great-grandfather was Mayor of Bolton about a hundred years ago.”

“But he sneered at the British Army,” protested Donald.

Mr. Hodge laughed again.

“That’s a favourite pose of his,” he said. “He went to the War as an infantry Tommy and performed prodigies of valour.”

True valour and irony, mocking patriotism, love for others, for countrywomen and men, courage, and humour, are not Jingo.

The below captures the right tone as well…

Susan Press says,




Written by Andrew Coates

February 3, 2021 at 5:08 pm

Police Probe into Piers Corbyn’s Vaccination-Auschwitz Leaflets.

with 2 comments

Arrests at UK anti-lockdown protest attended by Piers Corbyn

 Compares Covid-19 vaccination efforts to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.


Many people know that Piers Corbyn was a left-wing activist. His squatting campaigning even got him in the early BBC 4 series, Lefties, (2005).  As a student at Imperial College he became a member of the International Marxist Group in the 1970s, was a Labour councillor (`1986 – 90)  and has been well-kown as an activist in Southwark for a long time. He was in short for decades, part of the  Labour/radical left that his brother has been in. Thousands of thousands of us on the left have seen him speak, and many have met him.

Corbyn’s views on Climate Change, which he developed in the new millenium (openly from around 2008)  led to an end of his direct links with the organised left. He began by sending E-Mails about his is weather forecasting operation, Weather Action, to a wide range of leftists (including the writer of this Blog). It developed into his appearance in the far-right Express, which persisted for some years (Why is the Daily Express still quoting this crank in its weather stories? 2015).

In 2013 this had caught people’s attention,

Boris Johnson has become a real embarrassment to London’s scientific community after his latest outburst of climate change ‘scepticism’,


it seems that the only person Johnson consults on this issue is his friend Piers Corbyn, who rejects the overwhelming evidence that rising atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases is driving the unambiguous rise in global average temperatures, and instead holds the sun directly responsible for trends in the Earth’s climate.

Boris Johnson’s climate change “scepticism” is an embarrassment to London’s scientists

This offers an overview:

Piers Corbyn is an astrophysicist who regularly speaks at climate science denial events. He is founder and director of the weather forecasting company WeatherAction[3][4][5]

Corbyn bases his forecasts on activity happening on the surface of the sun. He claims the sun is the main driver behind changes in global temperature, rather than human activities and the burning of fossil fuels. [6]

His younger brother is Jeremy Corbyn MP, former leader of the UK’s Labour Party. There is no indication that Jeremy Corbyn shares Piers’ views on climate change, with Labour strongly committing to action on climate change in its latest party manifesto. [7]

Corbyn characterises climate science as a tool of “globalists” and sees George Soros as a kingpin in a global movement of “globalist elites” who are using climate science as a cover for deindustrialising the West. He has appeared at events alongside conspiracy theorists, including Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom. [8][9]

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Corbyn has been at the forefront of promoting misinformation and conspiracy theories about Covid-19, and has led and attended a number of anti-lockdown protests.


Piers Corbyn has declared Covid 19 is a “hoax”, been an anti-lockdown campaigner and is antivaccine.

His antics have been widely covered in the media.

Corbyn has become a anti globalist conspiracy theorist, has been involved with a variety of odd-balls from that camp,, many of whom are on the far right, has got fined and has had many brushes with the law.

He is now involved in this:


MP welcomes police probe of Piers Corbyn leaflet comparing Covid vaccine to Auschwitz

Evening Standard.

An MP welcomed a police investigation launched into a leaflet designed by Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers that likened Covid-19 vaccine efforts to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

The pamphlet had been hand-delivered in several areas, including Jewish homes in Barnet, north London and to residents in Southwark, south London.

It carried a cartoon of the extermination camp where 1.1 million people were murdered between 1940 and 1945.

A sketch of the entrance to Auschwitz in which the gates’ infamous slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (Work sets you free) was changed to “Vaccines are safe path to freedom”.


Southwark Labour MP Neil Coyle said: “I’m glad the police are investigating this offensive material and I hope a prosecution is secured.

“It is important to prevent this offensive Holocaust imagery and appalling anti-vaccine nonsense being circulated.”

Mr Coyle said he had heard of cases where leaflet teams knocked on people’s doors and made them come to their doorstep to talk in an apparent breach of Covid-19 stay-at-home laws.

He urged anyone with information about such cases to report them to the Met on 101 or online.

Matthew Doyle, a Southwark resident and former Labour Party aide at 10 Downing Street, said: “I was shocked to get one of Piers Corbyn’s vile leaflets through the door.


The Guardian has a report,

The leaflets were described by a London council as an attempt to play on the fears of some residents, particularly people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who are among those most at risk from Covid-19. They feature a sketch of the entrance to Auschwitz in which the gates’ infamous slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (Work sets you free) has been changed to read “Vaccines are safe path to freedom”.

Inside, there are baseless claims such as the conspiracy theory that some vaccines contain nanochip technology which will enable recipients to be electronically tracked. They bear the name of Corbyn, a weather forecaster, and that of his website, where the leaflets appear in digital form.

“Shameful disinformation of this sort dampens our efforts to help save lives,” said Councillor Kieron Williams, the leader of Southwark council, who said the authority had reported the matter to the police.

Since Corbyn’s climate change denial the left, radical onwards, has broken its ties with him. But the far-right conspiracy leaflets Corbyn has distributed for some time,  his links with far right figures in recent years, culminating with the present leaflets with an anti-Semitic overtow, have brought the issue back to the fore. It is good that Southwark Labour MP Neil Coyle and the Borough Labour Council have spoken out. It is not illegitimate to ask other left-wingers, including,  his brother who comes from the same left Labour/radical left, to say something.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 3, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Communist Party of Britain Calls for Unity Behind Anti-Monopoly Alliance.

with 7 comments


Communists to Promote Unity Candidates Against Labour.

As the class struggle intensifies and working people are uniting in a struggle for popular sovereignty against state monopoly capitalism in the EU and Britain the British Communist Party has launched an appeal for an anti-Monopoly People’s Convention for all those against monopolies and for People. 




Britain’s Communists renewed their call for large-scale public ownership in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that research, development and manufacturing addressed people’s health needs at home and internationally, instead of seeking market share and maximum profits from the NHS and private treatment for the rich.  Mr Greenshields, a former trade union president, welcomed the growing readiness of workers and their trade unions to resist attacks on jobs, employment contracts, pay and pensions, urging greater unity between them in each sector of the economy.

The CP executive endorsed his call for an alliance of labour movement bodies, the People’s Assembly and other campaigning organisations to oppose monopoly domination of government policies and the economy.  ‘We need an Anti-Monopoly People’s Convention to highlight the negative role played by big business in our society – and to highlight an alternative strategy’, Mr Greenshields proposed.

Cdes frantically searching for old books on State Monopoly capitalism, the theory that a fusion of the state and big business has led to this stage of capitalism, will recall that, “The strategic political implication of the theory for Marxist-Leninists, towards the end of the Stalin era and afterwards, was that the labour movement should form a people’s democratic alliance under the leadership of the Communist Party with the progressive middle classes and small business, against the state and big business (called “monopoly” for short). Sometimes this alliance was also called the “anti-monopoly alliance”.”

Ally of the Morning Star, ‘Tribune’, has also been unearthing the theory.

The Era of State-Monopoly Capitalism

Grace Blakeley

The challenge we face is not, then, primarily arguing for more state intervention. Instead, we must concern ourselves with how state power is being used — and who is wielding it. By the end of this crisis, a tiny oligarchy of politicians, central bankers, financiers, and corporate executives will have further expanded their power in the global economy. The challenge for the Left will be to hold them to account.

The only way to do so will be making the case for radically democratising our economies and our states. Publicly owned corporations must be governed by workers, consumers, and representatives of the general public. Our economic institutions — most notably the central bank and the Treasury — must engage ordinary people in their decision-making processes.

When this crisis is over, our collective capacity to expand, manage, and plan economic activity will no longer be up for debate. The question we will face is who is undertaking that economic management, and in whose interests.

Few would dispute the important role of the state, acting with business, has played a central role in governing large areas of the economy during the Coronavirus crisis. Whether it is has reversed decades of globalisation, and the internationalisation of finance, trade and production flows to recreate a state monopoly capitalism is another matter. Brexit, which the CPB enthusiastically  backed, was not just a national neo-liberal project but an international free trade strategy. Those who supported ‘Lexit’ ended up paving the way for trade deals that will reinforce this internationalisation. The  ‘tiny oligarchy’  has bases beyond any one state. Amazon and Microsoft only some of the most visible indications of the depth of the process of globalisation. They show no signs of disappearing..

The political problem is equally,  what is the social force behind an anti-monopoly alliance? The CPB casts its net wide, out to ‘labour movement bodies’, though they are not as all-embracing as the kind of ‘democratic alliance’ which seems to be behind Blackley’s call to “ordinary people”.

Or to put it simply: how does standing candidates against Labour help build ‘unity’ for the CPB  alliance?

In another unity move the Socialist Party and the RMT are holding this conference soon.

Come to the TUSC local elections conference – 7 February

Fighting back against Starmer’s new, ‘New Labour’ – including at the ballot box!

Starmer’s Labour cannot be trusted to stand up for ordinary people. That is why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is preparing to stand across the UK this May in the many elections taking place.

Howie reports on the latest:

Spelthorne Labour Councillors quit and may link up with far-left TUSC


Another unity campaigner Chris Williamson, who seemed to back TUSC, appearing on George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain (Communist Party of Great Britain – Marxist-Leninist, pro North Korean):




Written by Andrew Coates

February 2, 2021 at 12:50 pm

Piers Corbyn is Back: Compares Covid Vaccination with Auschwitz.

with 5 comments


As Backed by Tory MP Desmond Swayne.

The story below is enough to make you retch.







Notice this:


Piers Corbyn designs leaflet comparing Covid vaccine programme with Auschwitz’


An MP today asked police to investigate the distribution of a leaflet designed by Jeremy Corbyn’s brother that compares the Covid-19 vaccine programme with the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz.

Southwark Labour MP Neil Coyle said it was “utterly sickening” to exploit the Holocaust to peddle anti-vaccine myths that have been denounced by senior NHS doctors and scientists.

Theresa Villiers, the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, said the leaflet had been sent to Jewish homes in her constituency and had caused “upset and concern”. She called it “disgraceful”.

The pamphlet, which has been hand-delivered in several areas, carries a cartoon of the extermination camp where 1.1 million people were murdered between 1940 and 1945. In the drawing its sign that read “Arbeit macht frei” (“work sets you free”) has been altered to “Vaccines are safe path to freedom”.

Among claims in the leaflet that NHS doctors say are complete nonsense are that “some vaccines contain nanochips which can electronically track recipients”. It credits the idea of the cartoon to Piers Corbyn, the older brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Coyle said he acted after complaints from residents on the Newington Estate and the Walworth Road. “I am asking the police to investigate this breach of covid rules,” he said. “Families staying home, isolating and shielding should not face the hideous situation of having their doors knocked by conspiracy theorists pretending there is no risk.”

There is this


Piers Corbyn was a comrade on the left.


Look at the state of him now.



Written by Andrew Coates

February 1, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Paris Commune, the 150th Anniversary.

with 4 comments

MR Online | The Cry of the People: The Commune in Image [Le cri du peuple: la commune en image]

Le Cri du peuple. Jacques Tardi.

2001, the graphic adaptation of the libertarian novel  about the Commune of Paris by Jean VautrinThe Cry of the People.*  The project was to be completed in three volumes, but Tardi eventually decided to devote the fourth and last volume, which just appeared, to the unbearable repression by the Versailles troops during the bloody week (la semaine sanglante).

The Cry of the People: The Commune in Images [Le cri du peuple: la commune en image]

This Blog highly recommends all of Tardi’s bandes dessinées. This series (having seen the first three)  is very memorable.

Paris Perspective #3: ‘Parisian Exceptionalism’ 150 years after the Commune

Radio France International.


2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. Some look upon the Commune as a great leap forward for democratic rights, to others it’s a failed anarchist experiment that proves that “mob rule can’t rule”. And to others still, just an unfortunate oil-stain on the fabric of France’s recent history. In this edition of Paris Perspective, we try to better understand the events that took place in the French capital from March to June 1871 in a modern context.

From the declaration of war on Prussia in July 1870 up to the brutal repression of the Communards in June 1871, the events of what Victor Hugo called “The Terrible Year” resonate to this day in the French capital’s on-going story, and are among the most tragic in the history of France in the nineteenth century……


Faisons Vivre La Commune!


“Vive la Commune!”: Belgian exhibition celebrating the 150th birthday of the Paris Commune


This exhibition, “Vive la Commune!” will take place in Brussels and Liège in Belgium during the 72 days of the Commune, from March 18 to May 28 2021. It will be composed of photographic images taken by Karim Brikci-Nigassa of places important to the history of the Paris Commune. Manu Scordia and Thibaut Dramaix will interpret these images by trying to reconstruct the historical events through drawings in the photographs. Historical, social and political explanations will be written by Sixtine van Outryve. This combination aims to put visitors into the atmosphere of the Paris Commune and make them discover or rediscover an important episode in the working class and social history of our region.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 1, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Russian pro-Navalny Protests, Conspiracist ‘anti-imperialists’ react.

with 3 comments

St Petersburg rally

St Petersburg: Crowd Shouts ‘Down the Tsar!. 

Alexei Navalny protests: Moscow in lockdown as police detain thousands

Riot police and national guard troops close central metro stations and block off streets


Moscow police have paralysed the centre of the Russian capital as protests in support of the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny continue for a second consecutive weekend.

At least 3,000 people including Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, were detained at rallies across the country as supporters of the Kremlin critic took to the streets to protest against his jailing, despite biting cold and the threat of arrest.


Already the ‘anti-imperialist’ friends of  Vladimir Putin are responding:

George Galloway Retweeted:

The Notorious site The Grayzone of Max Blumenthal.

“Despite facing repression, Alexei Navalny is no hero. Russian writer Katya Kazbek reveals the Western-backed opposition figure’s real history.”



Eva Bartlett, a Canadian activist and blogger who is known for promoting conspiracy theories about Syria She writes opinion editorials  for the television network RT, aka Putin Telly.

“Western mass media and hypocritically-indignant Western representatives are again busily claiming Russian peaceful protesters have been brutalized by police in demonstrations across Russia on January 23.

The sloganeers demand the release of the unpopular petty criminal and Western flunkey, Alexei Navalny, arrested upon returning to Russia for having broken Russian law.”

A contrasting left wing analysis of the background:

Ilya Budraitskis

Russia: Mass protests calling for Navalny’s release on 23 January, set to continue

On 23 January, large-scale protests were held in Russia, the main unifying demand of which was the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who had been arrested a week earlier just after his return from Berlin (where he was being rehabilitated after being poisoned).

On the eve of the rally, after his arrest, Navalny’s campaign team presented a video about Vladimir Putin’s secret palace, which cost about 100 billion roubles (about $13 million) and was astonishingly opulent and senseless. Against a backdrop of economic stagnation, rising inflation, and unemployment, the story of this palace resonated enormously (over 90 million views on Youtube at the moment) not only as an example of corruption, but also as a demonstration of colossal social inequality in modern Russia.

Unlike the previous Navalny investigations in which high-ranking bureaucrats and oligarchs close to power have been the heroes, this time it is the authoritarian leader himself whose sustained popularity has until recently provided the legitimacy of the regime. Not surprisingly, the publication of the film and the call to go out into the streets provoked a panicked reaction from the authorities: “preventive” talks were held at every school and university, informing students that their participation in the protests would lead to “problems”, and all TV channels explained that the palace did not really belong to Putin, who preferred an ascetic way of life.

Read more view link (Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières)


Written by Andrew Coates

January 31, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Chris Williamson’s New Best Friend, Tony Greenstein, and Nemesis, Owen Jones.

with 6 comments



“Williamson became a topic that caused mounting anger and frustration within the leadership, including Corbyn who according to senior aides, privately called him an idiot and wished he’d shut his fucking mouth. (Page 253. This Land.)

Many people have reviewed Owen Jones’ This Land, The Story of a Movement (2020). It is a participant’s account of the Corbyn moment,  a “political revolution”  in the Labour Party. It begins with an account of left wing protests in the new millenium, the Stop the War marches in 2003, and continues up to (amongst others) the People’s Assembly Against Austerity formed in 2013. The author by this a national columnist, was prepared to offer some selfless support for this and other campaigns, touring the county to speak in towns and cities. Work, as a Parliamentary Researcher for John McDonnell in 2005, and, for some time, membership of the Labour Representation Committee reinforces the depth of his commitment to the left. That is, before Corbyn’s win the Labour internal elections.

From Jeremy Corbyn’s success in the 2015 leadership contest, an honourable score in the 2017 national ballot, to crushing electoral defeat in 2020, Jones offers a weighted series of judgements within a compelling set of first hand reports on the day-to-day working and strategies of the Labour leadership, and their internal battles. It is an effort to present neither a story of Corbyn as the leader of a “crazed political cult” doomed to fail from the word go,  or a noble effort wrecked by internal sabotage and the eternal right-wing smear campaign against socialism. It remains an important record.


Reception has often focused on ‘Corbyn’s Court’. “This is Seumas Milne, he does our thinking for us” the Labour chief would sometimes introduce him.  After some less than faint praise for the Party’s Communications Director, This Land talks at length of how Milne was “sadly lacking”, “evasiveness”. turning up at meeting only to “waltz in and out”, lack of professionalism, and a fair amount more. Other figures appear in This Land. Andrew Murray,  Karie Murphy, Len McClusky, with varying degrees of respect and criticism. Jones’ ally Andrew Fisher, come across as a thoroughly decent person, with a real political ‘nose’ which is not the case for everybody.

Its pages are worth reading now, with some distance.

But this is not another review of last year’s political books.

This Blog thinks simply that  Owen Jones is a good thing. He is a columnist, a commentator. He does the ground work. He offers analysis. You can disagree.  But the last thing left wing politics needs is an echo chamber.

So one one let readers gauge if History will be kinder “to a “reluctant leader” with a deep-rooted revulsion of injustice” who “withstood a campaign of vilification that would have broken many”. Or that his failures included that, used to agreement amongst those on his section of the left he was left struggling “with difficult conservations with those he disagreed with” and that his stubbornness contributed to a “bunker mentality” of his inner circle. Some may agree that it was a tragedy that John McDonnell, “serious on winning the prize” was not in charge, and  “Labour’s lost leader”

But I digress…..

Chris Williamson, never one to forget a grudge, has been nursing one against Jones. Apart from the head quote there is another,

If those described as ‘cranks’ had a King, it was Chris Williamson. As leader of Derby City Council he implemented  pro-privatisation schemes, the Private Finance initiative, and formed an alliance with the Conservatives in order to govern. ….2010, backed Ed Miliband ..I met him at the time, He was a middle of the road ‘soft left’ MP who would tweet countdowns about how many days remained until a Miliband government would usher in ‘responsible capitalism’. Williamson supported the war on Libya Western airstrikes on Iraq in 2014, and refused to vote against Conservative workfare programmes in 2013……But when he lost his seat in 2015 Williamson re-invented himself a revolutionary, his new political outlook accompanied by a Twitter profile picture of Fidel Castro accompanied by Nelson Mandela,” (Pages 251 – 2)

And it gets hotter,

“But is was Williamson’s role in the antisemitism crisis that proved toxic” .

Jones lists many incidents, the defence of any Labour member accused of anti-semitism, notably Jackie Walker, re-tweeting dubious figures, and, as people who follow this Blog and others know full well, Williamson’s “inflammatory comments”. This Land claims that Karie Murphy  (Executive Director of the Labour Party’s Leader’s Office, LOTO) acted a  “one-woman” Chris Williamson defence league. This does not reflect well on her judgement. Or indeed on those on the left who rallied behind him.

The saga continues.

It’s the Alternative Voice: the Monster Raving Greenstein Party take on This Land.


Review of Owen Jones ‘This Land’ – a liberal apologist for Israeli Apartheid who helped bring the Corbyn Project down


I have devoted a whole blog to ‘The AntiSemitism Crisis’ in Owen Jones book, because he played a key role in supporting a campaign whose sole purpose was removing Corbyn.

In years to come, the moral panic over ‘anti-Semitism’ which helped destroy the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party, will come to be seen for what it was. Utterly contrived and confected.

It is not hard to see why Williamson likes this torrent of a rant,

Chris Williamson [251-3]

If the ‘cranks’ had a king according to Jones, it was the socialist Labour MP Chris Williamson. There follows what can only be described as litany of lies. This is ‘journalism’ according to Jones.

Chris’s crimes included meeting Miko Peled, son of an Israeli General and hiring a House of Commons room to show Jackie Walker’ film WitchhuntThe film was an expose of the fake anti-Semitism campaign. The Zionists did not like it and when it was scheduled to be shown at the Labour Conference in 2018 someone phoned a bomb threat to the place where it showing. Jones has nothing to say about these Zionist attacks on free speech.

Let those who plan to align with Williamson, and his “grassroots, anti-imperialist working class movement” Resist, such as the Socialist Party and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) reflect on what kind of figure this man is..


Here’s some more of Williamson’s allies:




Written by Andrew Coates

January 30, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Bellend Brian Rose out on the Campaign Trail for London Mayor Election.

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Bellend Battle Bus. 


Here’s Bellend Central:


I am a candidate for Mayor of London in the forthcoming Mayoral and Greater London Assembly elections. Those elections are currently scheduled to take place on Thursday, 6th May, having been delayed for one year under the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020. I am writing to you as the Commissioners and Chief Constable of the three police forces with responsibilities and duties within Greater London.

This letter is written, on legal advice, for two purposes.

First, to emphasise my concern at the interpretation of guidance from Government (rather than the application of the law) by officers of the City of London Police Force who issued me, some of my campaign team and paid contractors of that team with fixed penalty notices (‘FPNs’) for undertaking lawful political campaigning on Sunday, 24th January 2021.

Secondly, to seek your assurance that officers under your command will not arrest, issue FPNs or direction notices to, interfere with or in any way prevent any person from lawful political campaigning, while London remains under ‘Tier 4’ or at all; and that they will not do the same to persons contracted by such teams to perform paid or unpaid services necessary to such campaign teams.

I request that you, the commanders of the three forces policing London, undertake to take no steps to prevent political campaigning; and, in particular, filming of candidates around the city and the use of a battle bus to transport those candidates and their teams to venues where they will be filming together with the production teams necessary to films. We ask that you agree that you will not issue FPNs or direction notices to, interfere with,  arrest or in any way prevent any person from lawful political campaigning. We ask this for the benefit of all political campaigns, to whom we ask you give like assurances.

Regrettably, it appears to have fallen to my campaign to make this request as we have been the only one whose campaigning has been interrupted. Given the continuing uncertainty over my ability to engage in political campaigning, we ask that you give these assurances as a matter of urgency; and in any event not later than by 4 pm on Friday, 29th January 2021.

Failure to do so may result in an urgent claim for judicial reviewand declaratory relief.

The reason for this exercise in Bellendery?

Life of Brian.


Former Wall Street banker Brian Rose was filming promotional material for his campaign in Southwark on Sunday when police intervened.

Mr Rose said he and six of his staff were each fined £200 and were told “campaigning was not a necessary reason” for being out.

He described confusion over campaign rules as “an affront to democracy”.

The City of London Police force said restrictions “have no exemption for canvassing”.

A spokesman for the force added: “Anyone canvassing can expect the police to enforce the legislation, which could include issuing fines.”

Mr Rose presents a media platform called London Real, where he hosts guests

Brian Benedict Rose (born May 1971)  is an American-born podcaster and former banker, who has actively promoted misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in London and is a candidate in the 2021 London mayoral election. After banking he founded London Real, a podcast and YouTube channel with two million subscribers.

Spotify 2020.

The podcast is titled “David Icke – The coronavirus conspiracy: How Covid-19 will seize your rights & destroy our economy.”

London Real host Brian Rose starts the episode by explaining how his last interview with Icke went viral, receiving more than 7 million listens and more comments than any other London Real episode. “That tells me one thing, people want to hear your opinion,” he said.

Your Next Mayor of London: Brian for Mayor.

Bellend Business:

Written by Andrew Coates

January 29, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Skwawkbox and the Canary under fire in Report, “Antisemitism and the alternative media”.

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Police investigating calls for CAA personnel to be shot and beheaded after Canary editor says Jews like CAA “gonna get their asses dragged all over town” by BLM as far-left phalanx launches

Canary Chief  Kerry-Anne Mendoza.

Report: Corbynite sites feature far-right tropes

Lee Harpin Jewish Chronicle

EXCLUSIVE: Study for the government analyses The Canary and Skwawkbox next to other extremist outlets

The Canary and Skwawkbox, two of the websites most closely linked to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, have been found to promote “heavily negative coverage of Jewish issues” to audiences that are “associated with antisemitism”, a damning new government report has found.

An analysis of content published online by the websites revealed alarming parallels between editorial lines taken by the two sites and that of the extreme far-right online outlet Radio Albion, when it came to the reporting of stories involving Jews.

The above article is not going to be friendly to the Canary nor to Skwawkbox.

The author of the study, carried out by King’s College London for the Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism is Lord John Mann, He is, amongst other things, a man who ditched Labour for the hard right and a fanatical supporter of Brexit. He is not somebody we hold in any esteem whatsoever.* Many in the labour movement consider him a turncoat.
Nevertheless there are some worrying indications from the JC article. They show serious reasons to be concerned about these two alt-left alt-news sites and their  content.

The present Blog post here is just, as Wikipedia would put it, a stub for future analysis.

The 77-page document, Antisemitism and the alternative media, which will be sent to government ministers next week, set out to explore four online websites – two that have been associated with the Labour left and two with far-right associations — in unprecedented depth in order to better understand the ideologies they promote and the audiences they were reaching.

This stands out,

The report gives further detail on the way it believes Skwawkbox, which is edited by hard-left activist Steven Walker, has promoted the viewpoint that British Jews who support the state of Israel — along with members of organisations such the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM)  and Labour Friends of Israel  (LFI) — are a corrupting influence on politics in this country.

We await an Exclusive from Skwawky in asp on the issues.

No doubt with this template (yesterday)

Exclusive: BoD and JLM given veto to exclude expert nominees from Labour’s ‘independent’ antisemitism ‘advisory board’



“Mann was one of only three Labour MPs, along with Ian Austin and Kevin Barron, to defy a three-line whip and to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the 15 January 2019 Meaningful vote. On 29 January 2019, Mann was one of seven Labour MPs to vote with the Conservative Government supporting Graham Brady‘s amendment mandating Theresa May to renegotiate the Irish backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement. The other six MPs were Austin, Barron, Jim FitzpatrickRoger GodsiffKate Hoey and Graham Stringer.[47] On 3 April 2019, Mann was one of twelve Labour and ex-Labour MPs to vote alongside the Conservatives against the Cooper Bill, which had been supported by the Labour Party. Nonetheless, the bill passed the House of Commons with a difference of one vote. On 3 September 2019, Mann and Hoey were the only Labour MPs to vote with the Government in an attempt to prevent MPs from taking control of the house to block a potential no-deal Brexit, saying “I didn’t vote with the government. I voted against an amendment that is deliberately calculated to block Brexit”


Written by Andrew Coates

January 28, 2021 at 4:58 pm

New Left Group: The Harmony Party Gets Boost from Harmonious Canary.

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Harmony Party: Well-Established Rumour Says Kerry-Anne Mendoza Has Joined.


One for the Spotters.

Some months the eagle-eyed contributors to Urban 75 noticed that The Harmony Party had been formed. Gumshoes found that it was an incorporated company, registered n the 29th of June 2020. Initial assessments that it was a two people and a canine  job were confounded when a third member was discovered.

There was speculation that it was neo-Posadist or futurist group inspired by the collected works of Aaron Bastani. This rested on the declaration that in their world,

all Consensus of Assemblies and all Party Consensus must seek never to take a decision which will result directly in unavoidable injury to a human being, and must not, through inaction, allow human beings or humanity to come to harm…

Old hands suggest the name is a tribute to much-loved Buffy The Vampire Slayer character, Harmony Kendall

Harmony (pretending to be Buffy) | Buffy style, Vampire slayer, Buffy the vampire slayer


The harmonious types who run The Canary, like the ‘Mendoza’ woman, Kerry-Anne Mendoza  have just now given the party a major boost on their respected and prestigious alt-news site.


A new left-wing party has put socialism fully back on the political agenda. But unlike the current Labour and Green parties, its approach is entirely different. Because member-led democracy and mutual aid are at its heart.

This is a very long and deeply researched piece, evidently the product of hard toil on the Net.

We urge those who wish to contribute to the coffers of the benchmark investigative journalists who run the Canary to click on the link below.

A new left-wing party aims to bring ‘Harmony’ to the UK

To whet the appetite, John Urquhart, for it is he, the founder of the new party, says,

I came to the realisation back in March 2020.

I’d started a mutual aid organisation called Cymbal. While handing out soup on the University and College Union [UCU] picket lines back in February and early March people kept asking about what Cymbal was, what it was for, and so on. By the end of every conversation was what I at first assumed was a joking question of “when can we vote for you then?”

I realised that people weren’t joking. People were desperate for something that would amplify their own voice. And the precariat today are not just working class but also middle class.

Here is the Harmony Party in their own words,

We’re unlike any Political Party you are familiar with.

Harmony means consensus. We’re led by our Members and Participants. We decide pretty much everything by discussion (and everything else by vote).

Action on the climate disaster and action on inequality are at the top of our agenda.

We oppose social exclusion and apartheid.

Rumour has it that Kerry-Anne Mendoza has already started an oppositional faction in the new party.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 28, 2021 at 11:09 am

Morning Star on Capitol “Carnival” and need to fight Joe Biden “Restoration”.

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History of Communism on Twitter: "#OpenAccess "The Communist Party of Great Britain and the struggle against social fascism" The Communist International, 15 March 1932. https://t.co/Tjc1aviGdK @MRCWarwick @evanishistory #SocialFascism #Sozialfaschismus ...

British Communists have a Long History of Expertise in Fighting Fascism.

Some on the left have already begun to dismiss the assault on the US Capital as a ‘pantomime’. Or as one leading cadre puts it, ” less Nuremberg and more fancy-dress party.”

How we laughed at their  antics….

The above writer, Nick Wright, stalwart of the Communist Party of Britain, CPB writes in the Morning Star. 

Trump hysteria ends in anti-climax. Nick Wright.

Under Biden, as before, we need the broadest possible class-conscious coalition against the capitalist machine that intends to march the US and the world into more war and poverty — singling out Trump as a ‘fascist’ aberration only hinders that task, writes NICK WRIGHT.

Wright points out with expertise in putsches all kinds that that,,

…a coup needs decent staff work, careful planning, a modicum of secrecy and enough disciplined troops to look credible for CNN.

Trump supporters’ effort at the beginning of this month failed to meet every one of these criteria — and a question naturally occurs.

Why is the Washington political Establishment so invested in the presentation of Trump’s carnival outing as a threat to the existing order?

Hard-nosed cadres of the CPB were wondering that.

Now a bit of theatre does not just turn up and happen.

Even a bal masqué has its organisers.

Meet Trump’s Pro-Insurrection “Intellectuals


We should have known January 6 was coming, because Trumpism’s “intellectual” wing called for it, for weeks.

Last December, Ross Douthat suggested that “there are two Republican Parties.” One of them governs dutifully, “certifying elections, rejecting frivolous claims and conspiratorial lawsuits, declining to indulge the conceit” that Donald Trump’s defeat could be overturned anti-democratically.

The article continues,


The other GOP, Douthat argued, “is acting like a bunch of saboteurs.” However, these Republicans “are doing so in the knowledge—or at least the strong assumption—that their behavior is performative.”

He called it dreampolitik, “a politics of partisan fantasy that . . . feed[s] gridlock and stalemate and sometimes protest but not yet the kind of crisis anticipated by references to Weimar Germany and our Civil War.”

So that brings in sense of proportion.


But saying that a real coup was not on the cards is not Wright’s principal intention.


First, he attacks the real enemy, Paul Mason.

Britain’s own prophet of impending fascism, Paul Mason, speculated immediately after the Capitol riot, “if the militias ever turn up to an event like this — and that could be as early as the inauguration — America is looking at a serious fascist challenge for power.”

In emboldened type he argues that the far right “understand the weakness of the state machine they are up against, despite its bloated, militarised character.”

In hyperventilated hyperbole Mason then went on to argue that Trump “overtly and physically reached out to the fascist element in his base and their immediate response was to take that as permission for the most shockingly violent act.”

Mason has a book to sell but — even in his chosen marketplace for fleetingly held and indisputably daft ideas — to equate this pantomime protest as a “shockingly violent act” invites derision.

Most people would agree with Paul Mason’s main argument, which is that fascists, and the far-right, were present in the gambol around the Capitol. They form an important part of Trump’s political base.

MAGA is a form of National populism, which has its counterparts in Europe – parallels with parties classes on the extreme right, such the French Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen, at present, however fleetingly,  leading in the opinion polls.  They, like Trumpism, are “dependent on the reactionary mobilisation of distinctive national narratives of nationhood and empire. ” None easily fits into whatever  “boilerplate fascist formulae” can be found. Obviously the French far right appeal to les Français de souche, French history, and la terre et les morts,  is not going to be the same as the US, with its ” racist specifics of the slave and settler state.”

Trump was  in power, and with a lot more power than national populists in Poland and Hungary. There was no totalitarian  state, and no mass fascist unified movement – the idea that the GOP was one hardly arises. But it was national populist, claiming to embody the Will of the People, and contemptuous of anybody who opposed it. It was socially illiberal. It was economically nationalist, encouraging others to follow, as when Trump actively backed Brexit. as Paul Mason has called it, it was national neoliberalism (Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being 2019).

The next point is to gain traction for the idea that Joe Biden is the new enemy of all progressive humanity, if not worse.

To Wright,

The forces that coalesced around Trump’s thwarted bid for a second presidency cannot be retrofitted into the commonplace conceptions of a fictionalised “fascism” to prettify Biden’s restoration regime.

Not a word on what kind of regime the Trump Presidency was. Was it a revolution, now followed by Bourbon Biden?

The final objective of the article is clear: it is to mobilise against the “restoration regime”.

The most pressing need is for the working class to act in its own class interests, the liberal outriders of the neoliberal order want us to outsource anti-fascist action to the capitalist state machine.


Building the widest anti-racist and anti-fascist coalition is a priority — but in undercutting the fascist appeal to workers, the principal strategic objective of the left and the working-class movement must be to become the most powerful advocates for working-class interests and against the governments of big capital.

Watch out for those liberals and socialists who collaborate with the state machine not to mention governments of  big capital.

A word for them occurs, social….fascists, not enemies of fascism but objectively their allies.

O for the days of the Popular Front….

We look forward to reading Paul Mason’s forthcoming book: How to Stop Fascism  Paul Mason (out in August).


J.V. Stalin. Concerning the International Situation





Written by Andrew Coates

January 27, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Riots in the Netherlands after Anti-Curfew Protests.

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Netherlands: Another night of riots over coronavirus curfew | News | DW | 26.01.2021



Rioters torch Covid testing facility as Dutch police clash with lockdown protesters in Amsterdam

Evening Standard.

Dutch police used water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters in Amsterdam demonstrating against a new lockdown curfew that was introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It comes after rioting youths set a coronavirus testing facility on fire in Urk, a small fishing village in the Netherlands on Saturday.

Third night of rioting; 151 arrested in multiple Dutch cities

NL Times (English language news from the Netherlands).

On the third night of the coronavirus curfew, the Netherlands faced its third nigh of rioting. Multiple cities saw looting, fireworks, arson, and clashes between the rioters and the police. The riot police were deployed in multiple places and at least 151 people were arrested, the police said late in the evening. In most cities, calm returned by around 11:30 p.m., NOS reports.

In Amsterdam, the unrest was centred around Molukkenstraat in Amsterdam-Oost. Rioters tried to push a police van on its side. Nine people were arrested. The police reported that the situation was under control during the course of the evening.

The French daily Libération reports on the rioting and mentions far-right involvement.

Vendredi, un premier appel à la violence a été lancé par différents groupes de la jeunesse d’extrême droite tel que Pegida, connu principalement en Allemagne comme anti-islamiste…..

 On Friday, a first call for violence was launched by various far-right youth groups such as Pegida, known mainly in Germany as anti-Islamist. These young people, whom the mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, described as “hooligans”, met on social networks, affirming “war is declared”  even asking potential demonstrators not to  “forget not your guns ”.

Anti-Islam group Pegida may ignore rules and demonstrate in Eindhoven

Anti-Islam movement Pegida wants to demonstrate in Eindhoven on Sunday, despite Mayor John Jorritsma’s ban. The municipality fears disturbances because Pegida is planning to burn or destroy a Koran in some other way. In the past, a demonstration of the organization also resulted in riots for which three hundred officers and two riot control units had to be deployed.

Pegida said earlier that it “doesn’t care about the Mayor’s orders” and will go to Eindhoven on Sunday. The group Netherlands in Resistance previously announced a demonstration in Eindhoven but has since cancelled it. It is possible that demonstrators from that group will still come to Eindhoven to drink coffee in public under the guise of ‘The Coffee Club’ to deflect the organizers’ responsibility.

This report in English from Deutsche Welle is accompanied by a video which is essential viewing.

Netherlands: Another night of riots over coronavirus curfew

More videos:



Written by Andrew Coates

January 26, 2021 at 11:03 am

National Populist Marine Le Pen Tops French Opinion Poll.

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Marine Le Pen Tops Poll.


Le Monde:

Presidential: Marine Le Pen’s last chance in 2022

Seventeen months before the election, the president of the National Rally appears in the polls as the main opponent of Emmanuel Macron.

Marine Le Pen, who is due to present her New Year greeting to the press on  Monday January 25, is still given as the main competitor of Emmanuel Macron, seventeen months before the presidential election, even if the political landscape is ever-changing. An IFOP-Fiducial poll for CNews and Sud Radio in June 2020 even credited the president of the Rassemblement National (RN) with 45% of the voting intentions in the second round, if it was necessary to vote immediately. And above all 40% of the voters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2017 would be ready to vote for her, and 33% of those of François Fillon (republican right-wing).

This Poll was taken seventeen months, before the French Presidential election.

Marine Le Pen’s Party Le Rassemblement National, RN,  (ex-Front National) topped the 2019 European Election poll in France, winning 23,34% of the vote.

Now she is credited with 26%

Marcon remains popular, despite disquiet at his high-handed way of dealing with politics. Demands for more resources to fight Covid19 and mass protests at a new security law which will ban people taking pictures of the police in action and increase surveillance.

The classic ‘governing’ right wing (the present incarnation of Nicolas Sarkozy’s party) Les Républicaines (LR), at 16% is down from their 20.1% score in the 2017 Presidential elections.

Jean Luc-Mélenchon, at 10%  is well down from his 19.58% result in the same contest.

At 7% he national populist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan  is slightly up from his 2017 4,70%

There is no clear Socialist Party candidate – it could well be, to say the least, Anne Hidalgo rather than the sovereigntist Arnaud Montebourg who is ploughing his own path. Other forces on the left are likely to be more favourable to her – as Mayor of Paris she governs with the support of a wide range of left wing forces, including the Communists and Greens.

Marine Le Pen has been compared to Donald Trump.

The RN’s national populism could be say to have parallels with Make America Great Again her organisation’s origins and  strategy has been very different.

TO begin with the Front National was founded by members of the revolutionary nationalist group  Ordre nouveau. Jean-Marie Le Pen  had a long, and violent history on a French far-right which goes back to supporters of the Vichy regime and fighters for l’Algerie Française.

As they have emerged as electoral force in the 1980s a  prime aim has been to purse the long-term Front National of “ dédiabolisation“. (literally de-demonise). That is, to exorcise that past.

When Marine Le Pen took over the reins ten years ago the renaming of the party as the RN was a new turn in this long-term strategy.  She further attempted to tone down her party’s language, using  allusions rather than direct attacks on “enemies” of France and the French, defending the Republic despite the presence of extreme-right Monarchists around the party, supporting Laïcité while her backers are often traditionalist Catholics – a ‘secularism’ aimed  against Muslims.

Dix ans de Marine Le Pen à la tête du RN: la grande arnaque de la «dédiabolisation»


Marine Le Pen has only pursued this strategy with more or less the same recipes: recruitment of executives doing well in the media – Florian Philippot was the perfect example for years – distancing himself, officially, distancing her self from extremist groups, polishing her speech to make its racism and xenophobia largely euphemistic… Marine Le Pen used the expression “national priority” rather than “national preference” , too overtly discriminating…

In 2012 they created a broader front, the le Rassemblement Bleu Marine, to attract the traditional right and former socialist sovereigntists. Yet as Mediapart notes, the core of the party remains far-right, to the point where the street fighters of the Groupe Union Défense (GUD) and extreme racists linked to Alain Soral’s Égalité et Réconciliation, have roles in the organisation.

While it has 6 deputies in the National Assembly, 1 Senator, 306 regional councillors and 827 local councillors, at  83 000 members (a figure hotly disputed, “ selon des sources internes, entre 20 000 et 25 000“.) The RN is not a mass movement. Run from the top down with a structure not far off “democratic centralism” it also not a totalitarian mass party with a military wing.

Not only is Marine Le Pen more measured in tone than Trump has ever been, but she has no militias behind her, nor supporters ready to rampage through the Assemblée National.

She is actually a lot milder than Brendan O’Neill….

And there is no French far-right mass media to compete with the British extreme nationalist press.




Written by Andrew Coates

January 25, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Socialist Workers Party (US): Democrats use false pretext of “fascist Coup” to attack, ““deplorable” workers” who “who refused to back Joe Biden for president.”

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Meet the 'QAnon shaman' behind the horns at the Capitol insurrection – Channel 4 News


“Deplorable” Worker Under Attack by Democrats and Liberals.

“The Biden-supporting woke elites pose a graver threat to the American republic than Trump did.” Brendan O’Neill.

President Trump’s ignoble exit from office has inspired a hectares of commentary. What were the origins of his National Populism and MAGA? What were the social and cultural bases of his support? Where will the Trump electorate go? Can Trumpism shed light on other forms of right-wing populism, including a link to fascism, in Europe, and the vote for Brexit in the UK?

One issue, remaining to the forefront, is what was the significance, of the Trumpian ramage through the Capitol?

The landscape in which these issues are discussed are marked by the overhanging issue of populism. A whole range of writers have discussed the divorce between liberal ‘elitism’, and the ‘left behind’. The American philosopher Michael Sandel (and author of a pioneering ‘communitarian’ study of Kant, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.1998) has attacked the “tyranny of merit”. Michael Young’ satirical  ‘meritocracy” has become a real social project.

 “Those at the top deserved their place but so too did those who were left behind. They hadn’t striven as effectively. They hadn’t got a university degree and so on.” As centre-left parties and their representatives became more and more middle-class, the focus on upward mobility intensified. “

The populist backlash of recent years has been a revolt against the tyranny of merit, as it has been experienced by those who feel humiliated by meritocracy and by this entire political project.”

Yet Sandel’s mild calls for social justice and equity do not come to grips with that backlash. Nor does criticising liberal ‘elites’ help when we are confronted with those who wish to celebrate populism. Those who defend La France périphérique (Christophe Guilluy), the echte British working class  (Paul Embery), to the anti-liberal  identity politics promoted by Spiked/Brendan O’Neill and the Brexit/Reform Party. They want to have done with political liberalism, concrete human rights, and promote an imaginary collective sovereignty.

In political shape, in elections and in government, they use the “deplorables” for their own ends. They are the ventriloquists of the people’s voice. Donald Trump was such a barker. His reign ended when his troops played out their visions in the Capitol buildings.

It is this territory that the US Socialist Workers Party, whose origins go back to the 1920s when Trotskyism first emerged in political shape outside the USSR,  has entered.

Liberals use Capitol ‘insurrection’ to target political rights


Liberal Democrats and capitalist bosses are using the action by some Donald Trump supporters who entered the Capitol Jan. 6 — falsely claiming it was an “insurrection” or “fascist coup” — to escalate their attacks on freedom of speech and political rights more broadly. Their main target is not Trump, but working people.


In Massachusetts, Therese Duke was fired from her nursing job of 15 years by bosses at the UMass Memorial Hospital after being recorded on video during a tussle in D.C. the day before a relative handful of conspiracy theorists and would-be paramilitaries, confederate flag carrying rightists and a few over- enthused Trump supporters occupied the Capitol Building. Since her firing Duke has tried to launch online fundraisers to support herself, but says these have been shut down by the big tech companies.

Democratic Party politicians are trying to come up with a way to deal with what they see as “deplorable” workers who don’t think like them.

The main target of these bans and other attacks by liberals and bosses are working people who refused to back Joe Biden for president. They think such “deplorables” must be held in check. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ran an opinion piece Jan. 10 titled, “When It Comes to Trump Supporters’ Fascism, America Cannot Afford Appeasement.”

The SWP lends a sympathetic ear to the spluttering of the ‘deplorables’, casts doubt in the event that happened when they “entered” the US legislature, and tries to turn the reaction of this rampage into a wholesale attack on ” freedom of speech and political rights” With the visionary talent given to those who grew up as Trotskyists they see “working people” as the real target.


The Party founded by James P Cannon and Farell Dobbs has not forgotten their own days of glory,


The U.S. rulers always seize on whatever opportunity they can to chip away at the political rights of working people. During World War II the second-class mailing permit of the Militant (note the SWP paper) was revoked — and several issues destroyed at the post office — by the administration of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Officials justified the measures citing the Militant’s uncompromising defense of Black rights and complained the paper reported the war as a conflict “fought solely for the benefit of the ruling groups.”

Observers of the SWP suggest that they are on a party building binge that reminds them of the days of the UK Workers’ Revolutionary Party.


There is evidence to back this up.


Workers need our own party, a labor party!


The SWP campaign is underway as conflicts between and within the bosses’ Democratic and Republican parties are sharpening. Even as Donald Trump leaves office, the Democrats moved to impeach him again, charging he instigated an attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6. They and some Never-Trump Republicans are determined to prevent him from running again in 2024. They hope to have him indicted, to attack his businesses and chip away at his ability to communicate with those who support him.


The capitalist rulers increasingly fear working people, who are beginning to see that the bosses and their government have no “solutions” that don’t dump the costs of the crisis of their capitalist system on us. In 2016 and 2020, many backed Trump, another capitalist politician, hoping he would provide something different.

“Workers need our own party, a labor party, we can use to fight back and win allies,” Calero told the Militant. “The SWP is running to set an example of the fighting perspective we need in charting a course to take political power into our own hands and end once and for all the dictatorship of capital.”

Given the shrunken size, and elderly membership, of the SWP it looks unlikely that they will fulfil this objective.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 24, 2021 at 12:57 pm

Russian Protests Supporting Gaoled Alexei Navalny: Where Does the Left Stand?

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Demonstrators clashing with the police on Saturday in Moscow.

The BBC reports.

Hundreds of people have been detained as police try to stop nationwide protests in Russia in support of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Mr Navalny’s wife, Yulia, said she had been detained at a protest in Moscow, where tens of thousands have gathered.

They were met by large numbers of riot police in the capital’s Pushkin Square, and beaten back with batons.

Mr Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most high-profile critic, called for protests after his arrest last weekend.

He was detained on 17 January after he flew back to Moscow from Berlin, where he had been recovering from a near-fatal nerve agent attack in Russia last August.

On his return, he was immediately taken into custody and found guilty of violating parole conditions. He says it is a trumped-up case designed to silence him, and has called on his supporters to protest.

Prior to the rallies, Russian authorities had promised a tough crackdown, with police saying any unauthorised demonstrations and provocations would be “immediately suppressed”. Several of Mr Navalny’s close aides, including his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, were arrested.


OVD Info, an independent NGO that monitors rallies, said that more than 1,600 people had been detained during protests across the country on Saturday.

Here is another report:

Internationalists would first of all see the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny., his poisoning, and the arrests of protestors in human rights terms.

As in this:

If this had happened in the USA or in Europe the left would be up in arms.

Here are some of the few initial left reactions:

Ken Livingstone’s team, now lined up behind the Chinese capitalist dictatorship:

Overt Pro-Putin ‘Anti-Imperialists’ tekn apart by Paul Canning:




Navalny’s Return and Left Strategy by lefteast

(Extracts: follow link for full article)

Russia has had an eventful week and it’s not even finished. First, Alexey Navalny flew back to Moscow, then he was immediately arrested upon crossing the border, and the next day his team published a video illustrating Vladimir Putin’s own corruption and calling upon all citizens to come out to the streets against the government on January 23. What is the Russian left to think of all this? Navalny is certainly not its own, but should it stay away from the protests and the brewing political crisis? We asked Ilya Budraitskis, Ilya Matveev, and Kirill Medvedev, for their opinion.

Ilya Budraitskis, Moscow-based historian, political writer, and co-author of the Political Diary podcast


Navalny’s bold and precise populist strategy is in fact aimed at creating a protest coalition, with an important place reserved for the representatives of the system parties (above all, the Communists), who will refuse to play by the Kremlin’s rules and are able to conduct lively and offensive electoral campaigns.  A key element of this strategy is Navalny’s rhetoric, in which the issues of poverty and social inequality have taken the place of liberal-democratic values. The high-profile anti-corruption investigations that have earned him popularity have an emotional impact on a huge audience (for example, his latest film about Putin’s palace, costing 100 billion roubles, was viewed over 50 million times by Friday), since they directly indicate the extreme stratification of Russian society. In an environment of openly falsified elections and unprecedented police pressure, electoral protest can only have an effect if it is supported by a mass non-parliamentary street movement. And only such a movement can determine Navalny’s personal fate today — if hundreds of thousands across the country do not stand up for his immediate release in the coming weeks, he will surely face a long prison term.

In my view, participating in such a movement — with our own programme and demands — is today the only chance for the Russian left. Moreover, it is the left that can most coherently express the sentiments that are increasingly pushing people to active protest: social inequality, the degradation of the social sphere (especially health care, which became dramatically apparent during the pandemic), police violence, and the absence of basic democratic (especially labour) rights.

Kirill Medvedev, activist of the Russian Socialist Movement, musician from the Arkady Kots Band, editor of Zanovo-media

But the more convincingly Navalny works with the theme of corruption and the ostentatious consumption of top officials, the more the limits of this rhetoric are exposed in a country like Russia, exhausted by inequality and permeated by class contradictions. Now the situation looks like this: Navalny is showing us the palaces of the rulers, playing with the fire of class resentment, while at the same time (together with his comrades-in-arms) promising businesses complete freedom in the Beautiful Russia of the Future. They say that the problem is not the palaces and gigantic fortunes per se, but where they come from. But of course, with the further development of this populist line, it will no longer be easy to separate the corrupt “friends of Putin” from those whom Navalny calls “honest businessmen,” but whose fortunes are just as huge, and similarly generated by illegal schemes from the 1990s and 2000s and, of course, by over-exploitation of workers. All of this opens up great opportunities for leftist politics, which, with an equally skillful combination of valor and rationality, could produce a far more powerful wave of discontent and a far more coherent program of change than Navalny’s eclectic populism.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 23, 2021 at 5:14 pm

Asa Winstanley on ‘Fabricated’ ‘Disinformation’ Claiming Chinese State Persecution of Uighurs.

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Image may contain: 1 person

Can you trust a Word this Man Says?


Asa Winstanley is a journalist, a self-styled ‘investigative journalist to boot.

You can read his material on his Blog:  my latest articles here. “Most of my work is published at The Electronic Intifada.”

He has become known for this story,

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor at the Electronic Intifada. On Tuesday 19 January, he broke a story about Keir Starmer’s Labour Party hiring an ex-spy.

The ‘Canary’. 

He’s a favourite with other ‘alt’ news sites.

This gives a flavour of his investigations:

The views Ash Winstanley expressed on the Chinese state persecution of the Uighurs are deeply offensive.

This is what the left is saying:


How the Left Can Oppose the Uyghur Genocide

Rebecca Ruth Gould


How the International Left Can Support the Uyghur People


There is much that activists concerned with human rights violations can do to compel their states to take action. First, by lobbying our elected officials, we can pressure the states of which we are citizens to implement Magnitsky-style sanctions that target specific individuals—for example, Communist Party leaders in Xinjiang and administrators of the detention camps—implicated in the Uyghur cultural genocide.

The suffering of China’s Muslims may seem distant to many activists in North America and Europe. This assumption of distance is grounded in an illusion, however. Every time we turn our computer on, buy a new shirt from the Gap, or add tomato paste to our pasta sauce, we are potentially complicit in the detention, torture, and rape of Uyghurs and the slow extermination of their culture. The fact that our governments prefer to look the other way as China seeks to eradicate and coercively assimilate their largest Muslim population does not absolve us of our duty to resist. If the erasure of a minority community were taking place in our neighbourhoods and communities, what would we do? This is happening to the Uyghurs of China every day, and it is an atrocity we cannot afford to ignore.

When it comes to the oppression of minority populations, geographic distances have a way of shrinking much faster than we expect. The surveillance apparatus that China has developed for monitoring and persecuting its Uyghur population involves technologies such as facial recognition that have captured the interest of U.S. corporations as well. Ironically, this surveillance apparatus has been built with the help of U.S. behemoths such as IBM and Google. State surveillance is big business, after all. As journalist Ross Andersen has suggested, “Once Xi perfects this system in Xinjiang… [H]e could also export it beyond the country’s borders, entrenching the power of a whole generation of autocrats.” The recent $400 billion deal between China and the authoritarian Islamic Republic of Iran, which commits the two countries to close strategic and economic cooperation for the next 25 years, should be viewed in this light.


No democrat or internationalist should touch Ash Winstanley with a barge-pole.





Written by Andrew Coates

January 22, 2021 at 6:28 pm

Arnaud Montebourg Launches Presidential Bid: Sovereigntists and Political Confusionists.

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Arnaud Montebourg, créateur des miels Bleu Blanc Ruche, sur le marché de Louhans ce lundi 10 juin | Voix du Jura

Montebourg: a Hive of Actitity Behind Presidential Bid.

Arnaud Montebourg is a former member of the French Parti Socialist, a founder of a left-wing current Nouveau Parti Socialiste (NPS). He was  Ministère de l’Économie et des Finances and held other posts under François Holland’s Presidency until 2014 when he resigned. A lawyer by training he quit politics. After some academic teaching, he moved into business. At present he runs a company  Bleu Blanc Ruche, producing ice-cream,  honey and almonds.

Montebourg has developed his own ideas. He first talked of a ” capitalisme coopératif” and then advocated ‘de-mondialisation’ – de-globalisation.  Against globalised capitalism, and for green policies, one of the few explicit lines of thought he came up with were centred on the idea of ​​a strong state, controlling finance, and capable of taking measures vis-à-vis the financial and banking system.

On this basis he stood in 2017 (as head of his own micro-party, Le projet France) in the Parti Socialiste’s ‘Citizen’s Primary’. This vote, open to all who signed a declaration of support for left-wing values,  to choose their Presidential candidate. He came third, behind Manuel Valls and Benoît Hamon (who became the PS candidate) with 17.52% of the vote.

Montebourg has now launched a new bid to stand for French President in the 2022 election.


The ex-Socialist has been discussing the construction of a large front, from the French right to the republican, sovereigntist left,  to oppose Emmanuel Macron. “I am no longer attached to any party”. He has talked to figures on the hard-right Les Républicaines (LR) like the leader of their group in the  European Parliament, François-Xavier Bellamy. LR nationally is less than enthusiastic about a potential alliance, but that has not stopped him trying:

To promote his ideas and Presidential adventure Montebourg has formed a new micro-party,  L’Engagement (named after the book shown below).

Rejoignez le mouvement l’Engagement

Nous voulons le retour d’un État au service de l’intérêt général, libéré de l’emprise d’une minorité. L’Engagement affirme que les préoccupations des Françaises et des Français doivent être les priorités de l’Etat : la réponse à l’urgence climatique, la protection de nos emplois existants et à venir, de nos libertés, l’entraide et le dialogue entre tous.

We want the return of a State at the service of the general interest, free from the grip of a minority. L’Engagement affirms that the concerns of French women and men must be the priorities of the State: the response to the climate emergency, the protection of our existing and future jobs, our freedoms, mutual aid and dialogue between us all.

Who could possibly be against that!

Mediapart has a long article on this venture:

Montebourg, ou l’aventureux pari du souverainisme des deux rives


L’engagement has garnered 2,000 rather heterogeneous supporters: socialists, but also voters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2017, disappointed Bayrou, radicals, executives and entrepreneurs,”

Tomorrow he was due to attend a Conference on the Republic organised by one of the factions that has emerged from the nationalist left, « Nation souveraine ». Cancelled because of the pandemic (perhaps there will be a mass Zoom?) the event featured this characters,

Jean-Pierre Chevènement (former left socialist,  authoritarian Minister in  the Jospin government of the late 1990s a founder of modern French sovereigntist politics), LR MP Julien Aubert (hard traditional right party see above) Henri Guaino, (also LR), the economist David Cayla (blames neoliberalism for populism), Céline Pina, at one point close to the secularist, but nationalist Printemps républicain before joining the red-brown group bringing together far right figures and left nationalists, a kind of heavyweight Spiked.  la galaxie Onfray

One of them would have been this chap,

….former aide to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Djordje Kuzmanovic – who posed with a ’Union Jack to fête le Brexit, en février 2020, avec François Asselineau (has his own Frexit party, L’Union populaire républicaine (UPR)), Florian Philippot (former Front National) et Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (has his own national populist party Debout la France (DLF)…

What a meeting!

It is said that Mélenchon is concerned about this initiative eating into his support.

At least one person thinks he can get into the second round of the contest, the above red-browner Kuzmanovic.

The authors of the Mediapart article helpfully point out , however, that with 2,000 backers Montebourg faces 200 000 parrainages citoyens already pledged for a Mélenchon candidacy.

There are also potential left candidacies from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Christiane Marie Taubira  as well as presence of the (Green) Yannick Jadot. Amongst others…

There is a precedent for Montebourg’s bid..

Jean-Pierre Chevènement led the left socialist current, CERES in the 1970s (a founding force in the French Socialist Party, was the most famous French political figures who moved from any form of leftist politics to sovereigntism. In 2002 he stood for President as a republican nationalist. Declaring his candidacy was neither right nor left,  « ni de droite, ni de gauche » he won over royalists, former supporters of Jean-Marie Le Pen or sovereignists), socialists, as well as those close to the far left. He was backed by Régis Debray. Chevènement got  5% of the vote.

Of wider interest is the way in which figures of the left have become involved figures clearly on the national populist right. As a comparison Spiked springs to mind, although in France Montebourg has more serious connections,  intentions and ambitions.

Is this a response to the blow against Populism inflicted by the defeat of Donald Trump?

French sovereigntism looks to many like a form of national populism.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 22, 2021 at 12:48 pm

Right Wing Extremists Step up Campaign to Save Our Statues.

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Save our statues - Album on Imgur

“Woke is the Enemy of our History, Traditions and Values.”

Government to require planning permission for removal of statues as Robert Jenrick criticises ‘baying mobs’

The communities and local government secretary wants to grant himself the power to overrule Labour councils, many of whom have launched reviews to address the legacy of colonialism and slavery.

Under law changes to be published on Monday, he claimed every statue would be given greater protection from “baying mobs” and road names saved from a “revisionist purge” by Labour councils.

This group has emerged, with a role in supporting the government’s measures:

Save Our Statues

Action This Day

Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and many Conservative MPs promised they’d save our history from mob rule. And Save Our Statues is here to help them do just that!

We are ramping up our efforts to get them policy solutions that will help our supportive politicians push back against the bullies, shrink the size of handouts to extremists, dismantle loony left legislation and defeat biased local council reviews designed to delete your history. Become a Save Our Statues member and force the change you want to see in Westminster.


Peter Whittle – Founder & Chairman

Peter Robin Whittle (born 6 January 1961) is a British politician, author, journalist and broadcaster. He is a London Assembly Member (AM) affiliated with the Brexit Alliance, having formerly been affiliated with the UK Independence Party (UKIP). He is the founder and director of the New Culture Forum think tank and host of So What You’re Saying Is…, a weekly cultural and political interview show on YouTube.


Richard Bingley – General Secretary (Former Ukip home affairs spokesman Richard Bingley and former Ukip home affairs spokesman). 

Media Partners:

We are a global community dedicated to resisting threats to our heritage.

Those who wish to destroy our monuments and rewrite our history are using online petitions to help give the impression of large-scale support they just don’t have.

We are a resource to log and promote counter-petitions aiming to defend them.


‘Global’, as in North American and Britain.


This Blog has mixed feelings about getting rid of statues, renaming streets, and dealing with the legacy of empire by symbolic actions. Monuments are history. They can raise issues, not honour people.

But those claiming to stand for tradition have no right to defend the values of  the past if they claim that these values are everybody’s. Empires, from the British to the Ottoman, are not something many would wish emulate today.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 21, 2021 at 11:25 am

Trump to Launch ‘Patriot Party’…Or Not.

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Watch President Trump's farewell speech from White House - YouTube

Ce n’est qu’un début…

Watching Trump’s Valedictory speech yesterday evening after all the bombast, greatest bombast, bombast at its most bombastic, this stuck out,

‘Our movement is only just beginning’

This seems to be an explanation.

We learn from the  Metro  something of what this may be:


Donald Trump is talking about starting a new ‘Patriot Party’ after he leaves the White House, according to reports. The outgoing president spoke with his top aides about creating a new political party last week before saying it’s only the ‘beginning’ of his MAGA movement in his farewell speech, sources told The Wall Street Journal. The informants also revealed the new party would be called the ‘Patriot Party’, echoing his election-winning promise to ‘Make America Great Again’. It’s not known how Trump would form a new political party in the US, which has been historically dominated by two parties – the Democrats and Republicans.

There will be no doubt discussion of what this may be, its relation to fascism, national populism, and the armed US far-right militias not to mention his legion of one-time toadies across the UK and the rest of Europe.


For the moment the wits of the Internet are having a field day





Written by Andrew Coates

January 20, 2021 at 12:28 pm

Brexit Britain: Government Confirms Employment Rights “Under Review.”

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In 2012, five newly-elected Conservative MPs co-authored a pamphlet, Britannia Unchained, which denounced the UK’s “bloated state, high taxes and excessive regulation” and British workers as “among the worst idlers in the world”. Four of it authors – Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng – are now among the leading lights of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

Their judgement of the UK workforce was severe.

“We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor,” they wrote. “Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.”

The UK, they declared, should “stop indulging in irrelevant debates about sharing the pie between manufacturing and services, the north and the south, women and men”.

Their prescription was that, instead of learning from Germany and the Nordic states, as social democrats advocate, that Britain should copy Australia, Canada and the Asian ‘tiger economies’ of Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea – by slashing regulation and taxes.

For libertarians like them, the promise of a hard Brexit was that it would allow the deregulation they dreamed of. “If we could halve the burdens of the EU social and employment legislation we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs,’ said Priti Patel in 2016. What burdens she was speaking of aren’t clear, but the legislation she was referring to contains such onerous measures as paid holidays, safety at work and maternity leave – not something that most employers, never mind employees, would want to be without.

Patel and her colleagues now have a Brexit deal that allows this deregulatory bonfire – at the price of huge, costly, and for many unworkable new barriers to trade. But the UK is, on paper, free from the obligation to stay aligned with EU standards.
This lot, the real force behind Brexit, enabled by the Lexit campaigners to vote with them to Leave,  are now putting their project  in motion.

Update, Border Maniac Wolfgang Streek is unrepentant,


Writing from the sovereigntist Brexit ultras of  New Left Review he writes today,


Ins and Outs

For several years now, a serious effort has been under way in Brussels to learn nothing from Brexit, and the way things are it may well be successful. What could have been learned? Nothing less than how to shake off the late-twentieth century technocratic, anti-democratic, elitist chimera of a centralized European neoliberal empire and turn the European Union instead into a group of friendly sovereign neighbour states, connected through a web of non-hierarchical, voluntary, egalitarian relationships of mutual cooperation.

As to the United Kingdom, for the Lexiters Parliament rules again, unconstrained by ‘the Treaties’ and the European Court, and British citizens finally have only their own government to blame if something goes wrong: no responsibility without responsiveness.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 19, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Belgium, Flemish Parliament Honours Nazi Collaborators.

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Flemish Parliament funds brochure honouring Nazi collaborators - European Jewish Congress

Flemish Nationalists Honour Nazis.

This story began over the weekend.

Flemish Parliament funds brochure honouring Nazi collaborators

The Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organisations (CCOJB), the country’s EJC affiliate, has expressed outrage after a brochure honouring Nazi collaborators was published with funding from the Flemish Parliament.

The brochure, which was published as part of a special edition celebrating 50 years of the Flemish Parliament, depicted Nazi collaborators Staf De Clercq and August Borms among figures which have “shaped the emancipation of our language and our people”, as reported by the daily, De Standaard.

De Clercq, one of Belgium’s most notorious collaborators and the leader of the pro-Nazi Flemish National League (VNV), is described in the brochure as “an educator and language border activist”. Borms, who was sentenced to death as a collaborator and refused to denounce the Nazis is described as “a teacher and figurehead of activism during World War I.” The brochure does acknowledge that they were both Nazi collaborators.

“Honouring these collaborators of the Nazi regime is scandalous, at a time where we face growing concerns about our safety and our children being increasingly exposed to unbridled antisemitism”, said CCOJB President Yohan Benizri.

RTBF, today.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Flemish Parliament (or rather the creation in 1971 of the Cultural Council of the Dutch Community), it has decided, under the aegis of its president Liesbeth Homans (N-VA), to highlight 14 personalities who ” contributed to the emancipation of the people and their language ” in a special edition of Newsweek magazine. Among these rare hand-picked representatives are two notorious collaborators: August Borms and Staf De Clercq. A ” scandalous ” honour declared  Yohan Benizri, president of the Coordination Committee of Jewish Organisations in Belgium (CCOJB).

Le Soir today.

La mise à l’honneur de deux collaborateurs nazis par le Parlement flamand irrite

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Flemish Parliament (or rather the creation in 1971 of the Cultural Council of the Dutch Community), the assembly decided, under the aegis of its president Liesbeth Homans (N-VA), to highlight 14 personalities having “contributed to the emancipation of the people and their language”. Among these rare hand-picked representatives are two notorious collaborators: August Borms and Staf De Clercq. A “scandalous” honour for Yohan Benizri, president of the Coordination Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB).

“Many young Belgians do not know the history of their country,” he laments. “You can’t fight hate speech effectively when you celebrate a shameful legacy. This effects of this message are totally deleterious. “


Le Soir notes that the Flemish paper of record De Standaard also reacted,

 De Standaard also wondered last week: “Is it appropriate to honour two Nazi sympathizers, collaborators with the German occupier, including one (Borms) during the two world wars in addition?” “Wondering whether the Flemish parliament had become ‘masochist’, the daily recalled that ‘if Borms and De Clercq had achieved their ends, there would never have been a question of a Flemish parliament, or even of a democracy in general “.

The biggest group in the Flemish Parliament is the hard right  N-VA. New Flemish Alliance (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie) led nationally by Bart  De Wever. and in the region by Wilfried Vandaele.

There is also a strong pres ence (outside the ruling coalition) of the more openly far-right Vlaams Belang 23 seats, which has roots in the nationalist movement, such as the Flemish National League,  which collaborated with the German occupation. There is only limited Green and left-wing representation.

Flemish Parliament:

Government (70)

  •   N-VA (35)
  •   CD&V (19) Christian Democrats/Flemish nationalists.
  •   Open Vld (16) Right wing Liberals.


Opposition (54)

De Weever is a right wing nationalist, with ‘conservative’ views on just about everything. In October 2007, in reaction to the apology of the Mayor of Antwerp for his city’s collaboration in the deportation of Jews during the Second World War, Bart De Wever said that:

“Antwerp did not organise the deportation of the Jews, it was the victim of Nazi occupation … Those who were in power at the time had to take tricky decisions in difficult times. I don’t find it very courageous to stigmatise them now.

Bart De Wever is a fervent supporter of Catalan nationalism, and a close ally of its leading figure, Carles Pauigdemont.

De Wever : “Puigdemont est un ami que l’on ne laisse pas tomber”

De Wever: “Puigdemont is a friend that we will never let down”.


Written by Andrew Coates

January 19, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Farewell to Perry Anderson: “Westminster is vastly superior to this lacquered synarchy.” (the EU).

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Perry Anderson and the French Left After Macron. | Tendance Coatesy

“It may grate that, for all its woeful shortcomings – think only, beyond … realm – Westminster is vastly superior to this lacquered synarchy” Perry Anderson Distinguished Professor of History and Sociology at the  University of California Los Angeles.

Briefings for Britain, a pro-Brexit site, is in love.

Perry Anderson’s evisceration of the European Union’s past and present in three long articles in the London Review of Books is remarkable in at least three ways.  First, for its lucidity and intellectual richness: my summary can in no way substitute for reading the whole, which I strongly recommend.  If many of its arguments are broadly familiar to critics of the EU, they have rarely been so cogently expressed, or with such controlled anger and command of detail.  Second, because it comes from a leading Left-wing intellectual—though this will be no surprise to Left-inclined Leavers or to those who have followed some of Anderson’s earlier writings.  Third, because it appears in a journal whose overwhelming majority of readers must be archetypal metropolitan Remainers: so all credit to the LRB’s editors.  I look forward with anticipation to a flurry of Letters to the Editor attempting to reply to Anderson’s indictment.  But so far, not one.


The final article, ‘The Breakaway’ (21 January), continues its examination of the political history of the EU focusing on Britain’s relationship with ‘the project’ from Macmillan to Johnson.  Few Brexiteers, I think, would disagree with his overall interpretation.  He discusses several prominent British commentators, both Remainers (noting the ‘weakness’ of their stance, attacking Leave but offering no vision of Britain in the EU, and averting their gaze from its defects), and Leavers.  Among the latter, he recognizes the ‘substance’ in the ideas of our friends Noel Malcolm, Richard Tuck and Chris Bickerton, who differ in their political starting points but agree on the legitimacy of Brexit.  Given his own political views, Anderson is a stern critic of the British system of government.  This makes the comparison he draws with the EU all the more compelling: ‘for all its woeful shortcomings … Westminster is vastly superior to this lacquered synarchy.’


A devastating indictment of the EU

Robert Tombs

Perry Anderson offers a critique of the European Union, a history of Britain’s relation with the EU, and an account of the Referendum and the vote to Leave. The tone of that critique is summed up in these passages, on the EU Court, the Commission, the Council, the Parliament and the Central Bank.  “The founding fathers of the Court, notes Anderson, included former Nazis, an Italian fascist, and a French collaborator: nearly all appointees were not lawyers but politicians…” And so it continues, ” corrupted by immunity in their occupance  (sic) of power”

Those familiar with Anderson writings over the last decades, which found admirers not just in Briefings for Britain, but a former foe, who found much to relish in his anti-EU écrits, the late Roger Scruton, will no discover more than an endlessly indulged proliferation of citations, books garnered from every nook and cranny, to support the view that the EU is a bad, failing, thing, full of “tawdry episodes”, whose effects have been to “dilute sovereignty without meaningful democracy, compulsory unanimity without participant equality, cult of free markets without care of free trade..”

The length of the present LRB  articles, the periodic style of the sentences, hides some crude and contentious judgements. An orrery of errors, as one of the leading thinkers of the First (pre-Anderson) New Left, E.Thompson might have said, were he not also a fervant opponent of the ‘Common Market’. Basically, there is very little of the new left left.

Politically, the two camps were divided by contrasting perceptions of what was at stake in the referendum. The Remainers consisted essentially of two groups, those who were moved principally by cultural issues and those principally by economic issues.

For the first group, composed of the young and most of the well-educated, the driving force was overwhelmingly a hostility to chauvinism – a rejection of the blind xenophobia and racism that threatened, they believed, to make Britain a suffocating prison of reaction. For the second group, leaving the EU threatened living standards, which were bound to drop cruelly on exit. Leavers were also divided into two groups. For the first, overwhelmingly located in the plebeian categories C2DE, the key issue was control over their own, and the country’s, destiny, something that could only be secured by departure from the EU. For the second, it was recovery of the independence that had been the basis of Britain’s prowess in the past. To these more general considerations, control of immigration and borders came second. Close to three-quarters of Remainers thought Britain a better country than thirty years earlier; nearly three-fifths of Leavers thought it worse.

Contrast with this, after a lengthy paragraphs on the way that, kept outside the Euro, voters felt no danger in voting to Leave.

The masses who voted for Brexit believed they were striking a blow at Brussels and the neoliberalism under which they had suffered for a quarter of a century. In reality, that neoliberalism – harsher than anything on the Continent – was British in origin, and could be overthrown without any of the instant penalties that would have been incurred if the UK had been a loyal member of the EMU. As for those who voted against Brexit, their warnings of disaster were for all immediate purposes irrelevant.

So in other word “taking control” was in Anderson’s eyes, with the unique talent for reading voters’ thoughts about “neoliberalism’, as they speak about all the time down the Duck and Dog.

Anderson describes the ‘shenanigans’ of the Second Referendum movement.

He proceeds to patronise left wing anti-Brexit supporters.

within their general mouvance, the youthful cadres of Momentum that had formed the shock troops of Corbynism shifted to an increasingly militant pro-Europeanism. This development, however, made clear a substantial gap between aspirations and abilities. That a passionate internationalism moved the new recruits to the idea of a second referendum was clear. But what kind of internationalism was it?

For a start, and a finish, not many of us can speak foreign languages….”. Among the young, an internationalism that is so largely sentimental yields solidarity with other Anglophones, of Commonwealth or other backgrounds. But in any wider or more lasting sense, sympathies without skills lack depth and staying power.” So welcome to the post New left world of the Anglosphere, joining the ERG and Nigel Farage.

Or, so the Distinguished Professor of History and Sociology at the  University of California Los Angeles  who has spent most of his academic career in the USA, tells us.

And, well that’s our effort to work for Another Europe, it’s just not Possible….

The mysterious synarchy thwarts them. Our “mouvance” – French for a “sphère d’influence”, in orbit of – a locution Anderson struggles with instead of simply saying wider movement – has come to nought.

Reforms, it seems, don’t work, never did, but then Anderson also gave up on revolution long ago, his songes of dual power,(Arguments in English Marxism, 1980s), replaced in New Left Review, with a wholesale slow burn up of leftism and any hopes for the European left. Post-New Leftism without apologies is the new mass line.

The man who once blamed the failures and supine position of the British working class movement and the Labour Party for its deference to institutions, the UK failure to experience a Second Democratic Revolution, is now prepared to acknowledge the superiority of the Palace of Westminster, imbued with the ghost of Hobbesian sovereignty, an election system that gives result that “that bear no resemblance to the divisions of opinion in the country; an unelected upper chamber crammed with flunkies and friends of the two dominant parties; an honours system devised to reward bagmen and sycophants” to the  wily manoeuvrings of Continental elitists.

A lengthy stay in Anderson’s well furnished library has shown us all up.

We could begin our re-education by reading this further marvel from Briefings for Britain,

Variable Geometry: Global Britain’s Opportunity Post-Brexit

Former diplomat Nick Busvine argues that we are already seeing positive signs of a more coherent and influential foreign policy as Global Britain begins to exploit the freedom of manoeuvre offered by Brexit.


Sráid Marx  has posted today, on Anderson’s fellow Lexiteers, aka the Gammon Left.

Is learning from Brexit possible?

Last week the ‘Financial Times‘ revealed that the Tory Government is working with big business on plans to tear up those workers’ rights enshrined in EU law.  This would include ending the 48-hour limit on the working week; changing rules on work breaks and ending the inclusion of overtime pay in holiday entitlements.  This is the list reported but there are undoubtedly others.

That this was one purpose of Brexit and its likely effect was both predictable and predicted, it comes as a surprise to no one.  Yet large swathes of the Left in Ireland and Britain supported it, although much less vocally in Ireland because it is so unpopular.  In any case their support for it has assisted putting in place these projected attacks and is indefensible and inexcusable.

An analysis of why they took such a position would have to look at such things as an originally opportunist position becoming hard-wired into their politics; their nationalist perspective arising from the view that the nation state will introduce socialism and come to embody it; general simple-minded opposition to the EU on the shallow grounds that it is a creature of capitalism, and the strong tendency to have a more concrete idea of what you are against than what you are for.  There’s also a large dose of ignorance and stupidity involved.

The significant role of stupidity first hit me when I read that left supporters of Brexit were complaining that the negotiations on the British side were being conducted by the Tories.  Further examples became clear when they, like the rest of the Brexit movement, demanded a harder Brexit as the only one worthy of the name, and for the same reason – there was no point otherwise.

Now that even a blind man can see what the future invites, what are the chances that this left will reconsider its support for Brexit and the political approach that led to it?  What might this involve?

Well, much of this left also supports Scottish nationalism, which perhaps should be no surprise since this too involves an obviously nationalist project that harbours illusions in a separate capitalist state.

Read the full post through the link above.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 18, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Trump, Fascism and Democratic Socialism.

with 5 comments












Trump’s New Residence? 

There is debate on the left, across the world, on Donald Trump’s national populism and its relation to fascism. Many are now talking of David Renton’s study on the way in which different factions on the right have converged. (The New Authoritarians: Convergence on the Right. 2019).

One theme of the last twelve months has been the convergence of people and groups emanating from a conservative or a fascist starting point which, despite their different origins, have been working together since Brexit.

Convergence on the right

Nick Cohen writes in the Observer today,

If Trump looks like a fascist and acts like a fascist, then maybe he is one

I can see three objections to calling a large section of the Republican party pre-fascist. The first can be dismissed with a flick of the fingers as it comes from a self-interested right that has to pretend it is not in the grip of a deep sickness – and not only in the United States. The second is the old soothing “it can’t happen here” exceptionalism of the Anglo-Saxon west, which has yet to learn that the US and UK are exceptional in the 21st century for all the wrong reasons. The third sounds intelligent but is the dumbest of all. You should not call Trump or any other leader a pre- or neo-fascist or any kind of fascist until he has gone the whole hog and transformed his society into a totalitarian war machine.

Perhaps we can learn something about how to react from the history of other “pre-fascist’ movements.

For the specialist in the history of French fascism, Zeev Sternhell, the European far-right was born out of a will to break with “l’ordre libérale” in the late 19th century. One of the first stirrings was “Boulangism”  1885-1889 (named after General Boulanger). Boulanger was seen by many French people  as the man destined to avenge France’s defeat in the Franco-German War. This movement was,, Sternhell argued, a synthesis between nationalism and certain forms of ultra-republican socialism (Blanquisme).  anti-liberalism, nationalism (Bonapartists), with an anti-Semitic overtow, (La droite révolutionnaire, 1885–1914. Les origines françaises du fascisme.1978).

A kind of Make France Great Again movement, Boulangism was an electoral event, a coalition of candidates around a figure who would carry the “will of the people” to power against corrupt elites. They were seen to be behind Revanche (Revenge on Germany), Révision (Revision of the Constitution), and, for at least one section of their supporters, Restauration (the return to monarchy). Despite the success of Boulangist candidates never came near to winning a majority in the French election of 1889, 72 deputies against 366 for the Republican side .

Efforts to pin Boulangist ideas down in one ‘populist’ nationalist direction, nostalgia for Bonaparte’s First Empire, run up against the fact that Boulanger had not just the votes but the financial backing of wealthy Monarchists (exposed by a former supporter in  Les Coulisses du boulangisme).

Despite this, some on the left, like Paul Lafarge, considered that the demands of the ‘people’ against the “les gros bourgeois” and their impatience with republican ‘réformisme’  could be turned  in a socialist direction. An important section of the left opposed Boulanger, accusing him of Césarisme, the wish to override democratic procedures.  For Jean Jaurès popular support for Boulanger was not just socialist aspirations gone astray, it was not socialist in any sense.

After initial electoral appearance, with support from working class districts, Boulanger himself took the stage and  was urged to take power by a coup d’état.

In January 1889 Boulanger was returned as deputy for Paris by an overwhelming majority. When the election results were announced, wildly shouting masses of his supporters urged him to take over the government immediately. Boulanger declined and spent the evening with his mistress instead. His failure to seize control at the crucial moment was a severe blow to his following.

A new government under Pierre Tirard, with Ernest Constans as minister of the interior, decided to prosecute Boulanger, and within two months the Chamber was requested to waive the General’s parliamentary immunity. To his friends’ astonishment, Boulanger fled from Paris on April 1, going first to Brussels and then to London. He was tried in absentia for treason by the Senate as high court and condemned on Aug. 14, 1889, to deportation. In the elections of 1889 and 1890 his supporters received setbacks, and public enthusiasm for his cause dwindled away. In 1891 Boulanger committed suicide in Brussels at the cemetery of Ixelles, over the grave of his mistress.

Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Frederick Engels set out some reflections that stand up well today,

Although the Boulangist movement appeared to be ephemeral in retrospect, Frederick Engels paid close attention to it. Engels saw the threat of a Boulanger dictatorship, warning socialists in France:


The finest thing of it all is that three months after these two congresses Boulanger will be in all probability dictator of France, do away with parliamentarism, expurgate the judges under pretext of corruption, have a gouvernement à poigne and a chambre pour rire (trans. mock chamber), and crush Marxists, Blanquists and Possibilists all together. And then, ma belle France—tu l’as voulu! (trans. my beautiful France – that’s what you wanted!)

Engels recognized the danger of a Boulangist dictatorship as spelling the end not only to the socialist movement in France, but the Third Republic itself. For him, the question was not just how to analyse Boulangism, but how to fight it.

Engels, Boulanger and the Fight Against Fascism

That could stand for the position democratic socialists should take towards Trump’s supporters and their assault on the Capitol.



Written by Andrew Coates

January 17, 2021 at 12:33 pm

Laurence Fox (Reclaim Party) Pokes Fun at Disabled People and Covid Sufferers.

with 3 comments

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says "Laurence Fox @LozzaFox After a long period of consultation with myself, an extended review period and proper due diligence conducted with myself, I've received the badge that I ordered from Amazon. Thank you for being there for me. #anxiety NOULEW NOL mask EXEMF Iam exempt from wearing face covering. மரதாத தh"


The controversial actor has been busy buying online but was told by irate twitter users that “the only thing you are going to be exempt from is future employment

Foxy’s biggest supporters come from Spiked, the ex-Living Marxism/RCP, network,

Laurence Fox and the woke McCarthyists

Brendan O’Neill, for it is her,

Disagree with the cultural elites and they will try to destroy you.

Here is another,

The culture war affects everybody’

Laurence Fox tells spiked why he set up a political party to fight wokeness.

Barely a week goes by without Laurence Fox trending on Twitter. Since his explosive appearance on Question Time earlier this year, the actor-turned-activist has made a number of controversial interventions in the culture wars. His criticisms of cancel culture have, ironically, led to him being denounced and blacklisted by his fellow actors and other media types. Now he believes that something must be done about the dominance of woke culture, and he has set up a party called Reclaim to combat it. spiked caught up with Fox to find out what he hopes to achieve.

Or as the old Red-Browners say,

This is said to be the new national populist cause célèbre.


Others take a different view.

Even a Tory MP says.







Written by Andrew Coates

January 16, 2021 at 1:56 pm

As Attack on Workers’ Rights Looms, Lexit (‘left’ Brexit) is Trending…

with 6 comments

Heavyweight Supporter of Lexit.

Lexit is trending on Twitter.

This is why:


Those from the left who supported Brexit helped the Tories win the last election, by building support to ‘get Brexit done’ and ‘take back control’.

They facilitated this.

UK workers’ rights at risk in plans to rip up EU labour market rules

Financial Times.

Post-Brexit shake-up of regulations including 48-hour week likely to spark trade union outrage.


Peter Foster, Jim Pickard, Delphine Strauss in London and Jim Brunsden in Brussels YESTERDAY 833 Print this page Worker protections enshrined in EU law — including the 48-hour week — would be ripped up under plans being drawn up by the government as part of a post-Brexit overhaul of UK labour markets.

The package of deregulatory measures is being put together by the UK’s business department with the approval of Downing Street, according to people familiar with the matter. It has not yet been agreed by ministers — or put to the cabinet — but select business leaders have been sounded out on the plan.

The proposed shake-up of regulations from the “working time directive” will delight many Tory MPs but is likely to spark outrage among Britain’s trade union leaders. The move would potentially mark a clear divergence from EU labour market standards but the UK would only face retaliation from Brussels under the terms of its new post-Brexit trade treaty if the EU could demonstrate the changes had a material impact on competition.

What was Lexit, the campaign to leave the EU on a ‘socialist’ basis?

Those on the left with longer memories than than SWP fruit flies will recall it well.

Lexit – the Left Leave Campaign

With the referendum campaign on Britain’s membership of the EU now underway, left forces have officially launched a campaign for a left wing British exit. The organisations backing #Lexit — the Left Leave Campaign include the RMT rail workers’ union, the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, Counterfire, the Indian Workers Association, the Bangladeshi Workers Council of Britain and Scottish Left Leave.

They are united around five key arguments for a left exit — against the EU’s neoliberal agenda, its undemocratic nature, and the horrors of Fortress Europe; and for a defence of workers’ rights through collective organisation and union strength, and for exploiting the crisis for the Tories that a leave vote would provoke.

Socialist Review.

There was also the hardline Full Brexit group, a red-brown alliance of the Brexit Party backing Spiked, many Lexit supporters, the Communist Party of Britain, Labour Party nationalists, sovereigntists, ‘Trade Unionists Against the EU led by anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaigner Paul Embery’ (supported by the Socialist Party) and various other odd bods.

They had their critics.

Brexit offered the public three wishes: you can take back control of your money, your borders, and your laws. Lexit does much the same with a socialist twist. Offering little more than dreams, both sides fail to realise that in an interconnected world, you can’t take back control without giving something up.

Without a proper account of the EU’s complexity and origins, the Lexiter position tends to fall into a self-made abyss of misunderstanding. And without having the class power to back up its position, a Lexit – just like Brexit – may condemn the UK to perpetual autarky and possible disintegration.

Paul Walsh

Lexit still has at least one supporter.

Sparing time from writing about  happy memories of participating in the paramilitary Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse, KdA) in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (East Germany),leading member of the Communist Party of Britain, Nick Wright says,

We are where we are on Britain’s exit from the EU. Where we no longer confront the employers or ministers able to hide behind the conditions that EU treaties impose on member states, we face different obstacles built into the new trade agreement negotiated by a Tory government that now represents an evolving consensus between big business and the banks and the EU’s dominant states.

That this is buttressed by the new US regime waiting in the wings is a reminder that the Atlantic alliance is as much a mechanism for economic control as it is a war fighting machine.

Where we once grappled with the pro-employer judgments of the European Court of Justice, we now directly face our ruling-class court system. Britain’s bourgeoisie rightly fears an insurgent working class and we have a long history of challenging British courts with industrial action.

Class politics. Nick Wright.

We expect the Morning Star to call for trade union factory militias to lead the battles!

Others have a different take.


Bob sums up their effect.

The Government has reacted to the FT report with a policy of staunch denial…(which means it’s true).

Business secretary has denied claims EU-based employment laws such as 48-hour week will be axed.





This blog has begun reading hardline Leave supporter and post-New Leftist Perry Anderson’s latest roman fleuve on Brexit  in the London Review of Books……

Written by Andrew Coates

January 15, 2021 at 11:32 am