Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Conway Hall: Thoughts and Prayers as Inventor of the Vegan Croissant Stands up for Free Speech.

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Morning Star Stands with old muckers Galloway and Williamson:

Written by Andrew Coates

January 25, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Animal Liberation, Anti-Fascism, Ukraine

Tagged with

Conway Hall Cancels Galloway’s Tankie Vatnik Fest.

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We all feel his pain. Thoughts and Prayers.

One day, you too may be silenced, shadow-banned, deplatformed. There will be nobody left to protest. And if they did protest their demands would be censored. Silenced. You have gone quietly into this goodnight. #cancelled#cancelculture


Written by Andrew Coates

January 23, 2023 at 7:59 pm

Coatesism Wins Backing from Monster Raving Tony Greenstein Party.

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Important backing from Chris Williamson’s Best Mate.

t is a great pity Andrew that you can write such lucid and well informed posts like the above and then join crackpots and racists like Jim Denham in supporting a ‘Jewish’ racial state that has now elected a government that includes Jewish neo-Nazis and whose politics, right across the board is of far-Right Zionists. E.g. Donald Trump was always more popular in Israel than the USA.

Your failure to understand the meaning of the French Revolution and the separation of religion and state and your support of religious ethno nationalism and your echoing of the bankrupt slogans of a Zionist movement in bed with people like Bannon and Tommy Robinson is a source of amazement.

Yours really is a wasted talent. It seems the IMG really damaged a whole generation of socialists.

Cheers Tone!

I shall endeavour to study properly the French Revolution.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 23, 2023 at 2:39 pm

Tom Nairn 1932 – 2023.

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“TOM Nairn, the “intellectual godfather of the modern Scottish independence movement” has died aged 90, a friend has confirmed.”

Tom Nairn has died. My dad, who was Glaswegian, read the Break up of Britain and found it important enough to take notes on it. Though, as a socialist internationalist, Jim could not thole the SNP and the more borders call. Without intruding too far on people’s emotions I thought his best work was The Left Against Europe? (1973) The worst was his more recent praise of Régis Debray’s Éloge des frontières In Praise of Frontiers. 2013, “For advocates of globalisation, the ‘frontier’ is often presented as an obstacle to universal freedom. But as the anti-democratic implications of this argument are increasingly evident, what if the solution to managing power is not fewer borders but more?”

The below was published in Bob Pitt’s excellent journal What Next? circa 2003..

Tom Nairn, Pariah: Misfortunes of the British Kingdom, Verso, 2002. Hardback, 300pp, £15.99.

Reviewed by Andrew Coates What Next? No.27

FOR SEVERAL decades Tom Nairn has been the Ben Nevis of The Nation. Peering downwards on the Isles, glimpsing Europe on the horizon, he has cast a long shadow over the UK’s imperial yet insular “ancien régime”, the Glamour of the British Crown, and the “feudal socialism” of the Labour Movement. His main refrain, Nick Cohen echoes, is that “Britain was a pre-modern state, closer to the multi-national Austro-Hungarian Empire than a ‘proper’ nation. Its component parts were held together not by a written constitution but by a fading loyalty to the archaic and undemocratic institution of the Crown in Parliament. With the arrival of the European Union there was no reason why Scotland in particular shouldn’t split off and join the ranks of small European nation states” (Observer, 7 September 2003).

Emerging from Nairn’s summit, a steady flow of books and articles, studded with literary embellishments, and scorn, have lashed the Royal State’s ageing, undemocratic fabric, and explored the renovation of Scottish self-rule. Lampoons on Marxism’s failure to appreciate the beneficial role of civic nationalism reinforce the appearance of rocky Caledonian independence.

Pariah is the product of an “outsider” public intellectual, still largely identified as a man of the left, of unique weight. As befits a mountain of Theory, Nairn’s silhouette looms large in many fields. His hinterland is broad, with degrees in Art, Mental Philosophy and Philosophical Aesthetics. Described as Scotland’s foremost political philosopher, he has addressed the 30th Anniversary celebrations of the Scottish National Party, with a tenderness that contrasts with his acerbity towards socialist internationalists. In pursuit of the nationalist cause he has entered the creaking House of Commons to speak to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.1 

On the Observer-reading centre-left, Nairn has had an enduring impact on campaigns for constitutional reform (notably through Anthony Barnett, the founding director of Charter 88). His influence can be seen in Will Hutton’s once fashionable attempt to infuse republican virtue into Blair’s premiership, and, through stakeholding (resonating through John Monks’ TUC, and its puffing of “social partnership”), to reverse the economy’s descending spiral. At the same time, as an original editor, under the Second New Left of Perry Anderson, Nairn has a regular outlet in New Left Review, and has shaped the common sense ideology of many once marxisant radicals.

The principal quarry of Pariah, as increasingly of the liberal constituency as a whole, is “Blairland”. New Labour’s last-ditch redemptive efforts to resist the ordinariness of middle-ranking Europeanisation, and preserve a world-wide commercial-financial base, are increasingly futile attempts to stave off an eclipse of British antiquated greatness. The result is a “degenerate parody” of Britain, and its “shrinkage and partial collapse” into a simulacrum. Having tapped this profitable polemical vein, the assault on political “archaism” is stretched to the global arena. Nairn now asserts that, despite modernist exteriors, the earth is strewn with ancient and obsolescent polities that buttress neo-liberalism.

Not restricting himself to aggressively free-market Anglo-Saxon governments, he extends his range by a quick trot through the latest products of France’s market in political invective. From having been used as a foil to British backwardness, the heritage of 1789 is now regarded as equally decaying. Nairn incorporates many of the – anti-Marxist – Deuxième Gauche’s criticisms of the Jacobin Republican tradition, and the French élite’s intoxication with “world-power delusions and vanity”(p.127). What is gained in breadth is lost in coherence. By extending condemnation of the pre-modern United Kingdom to such “proper nations”, Pariah has begun the break-up of Nairn’s apparently resilient theoretical edifice.

Pariah was begun during the General Election of June 2001, and is threaded around Nairn’s well-worn sarcasms against the Westminster political class, and the British protracted struggle against “normal statehood”. But too heavy a parochial focus has become untenable in the small audience for political pamphleteering. The furore around the anti-globalisation demonstrations against the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle in 1999 had brought to a wide audience abundant evidence of a global movement, and reinforced academic interest (already mushrooming) in the phenomenon of globalisation. The “war on terrorism” has bludgeoned states inside the organs of Global Governance to confront the overweening ambitions of American hegemony. 

Pariah bears ample witness to the power of these incoming tides.2 The Foreword asks, “Has ‘globalisation’ (inexorable if chastening March of Progress etc.) somehow rebounded upon its own forgers in the West?” (p.ix). We may reframe this: has bouncing-back globalisation implications for Nairn’s claims about the “exceptionality” of the British State Constitution? Have, in a globalised framework, Nairn’s reflections on the primordial reality of the Nation (particularity is a “universal condition”), and progress through a Constitutionalised dissolution of the United Kingdom, outperformed the Marxist perspective on capital and class formation? What are the political implications of globalisation for Nairn’s preferred democratic nationalism? The (partial) answers that emerge in the pages of Pariah are profoundly ambiguous.

Whatever Happened to Constitutional Reform?

Before, and at the dawn of, the 1997 Labour election victory, the centre-left forces were united in the conviction that the time has come to enact a democratic “second revolution”. This would bury the “battering ram” strategy of the old left that sought to capture central authority intact. The objective was to modernise the land, devolve power (regionally and to the different “nations” of the Isles), and tame, by a written constitution (with full separation of powers), the unlimited sovereignty of Parliamentary autocracy. Deeply sceptical about the prospects for success through the vehicle of New Labour,

Nairn was nonetheless broadly sympathetic to these goals. For a while much of the British intelligentsia was overwhelmed not – as elsewhere – by the fall-out from the collapse of Official Communism, or the inroads of post-modernism, but by the apparent strength of support for this politically liberal venture. Only a minority questioned the role of judge-law in codified Constitutions, and its conservative potential.

Tony Blair’s government, it is asserted by his party supporters, has enacted “the biggest and most rapid programme of constitutional reform in the UK’s history”.3 Some of the most significant acts have led to a Parliament in Scotland, an Assembly in Wales, and in Northern Ireland, the replacement of hereditary peers in the House of Lords by appointees, and the legal incorporation of European human rights legislation. To no-one’s surprise Nairn’s hostility to the British State has not diminished. In 2000 he denounced Constitutional “virtual” reforms, built upon Thatcherite deregulated liberalism, “mummified economics”. With the liquidation of British socialism, we are left with an élite whose principal aim is “a last-ditch attempt at maintaining the United Kingdom by the formation of a pot-noodle ruling class”. In the end the “nations of the composite state” will end by “throwing it off”.4 However, he now concedes that, if the UK’s “break-up [is] no longer a theory but a fact” (p.112), its progress is untidy and for the moment “cheap cunning” has won the day for “boundless central complacency”(p.87). Nairn admits, belatedly, that the British “house is taking some time to collapse” (p.87) – as a certain “Marxism” would no doubt say of world capitalism.

Many would agree that the effort being made to strengthen and overhaul legal and state institutions rests on the concentration of real power at the apex of government. Much of the Constitutional iconography is intact, a fragile construction, resting on a popular indifference and the midden of royalist sentimentality. Beneath the specious sheen of Cool Constitutionalism, the Leader retains Thatcher’s “pro-business” creed (“the lasting achievements of the 1980s” – Mandelson and Liddle), dosed with an ancient Christian socialist “Anglican compromise” of hierarchical British communitarianism (p.29).

The left, however, has not simply criticised “Labourite moderation” for “its wish to appease capitalism”, or “believed socialism to be mostly quite unrelated to constitutional matters” (p.56). Many have indeed come to realise that the rules that run the state are of great significance. The problem is that these are changing in domains Nairn barely touches on: the division between a democratic public sphere and private interest is being entrenched in favour of the latter. Having spent most of his career pouring icy water over the “warm glow” of the past, Nairn has difficulty coping with the thoroughly up-to-date “secular faith” of globalisation, as its entrepreneurial heroes swarm throughout the finery of the British Polity.

It is evident to all that the architecture of the British State is being rebuilt. The mechanisms involved are complex, international and local, from the capital-flow driven hegemony of the “Washington Consensus” to the host of companies and consultants fed from the public purse. Of importance is the central place in the European Union of the Essential Rights of the circuit of capital (freedoms to move labour, capital, goods and services) and the weakness of efforts to pursue the claims of citizens. One thing is clear: whatever the specific role of New Labour plc and the Unwritten Constitution, economic liberalism, above all denationalisation, has spread regardless of state form, with or without crowns and coronets. What remains of the sonderweg of the United Kingdom when it has become a template for global privatisation schemes? At present Downing Street (with few directly productive state functions left to sell off) has adopted the American republic’s schemes to “reinvent government” by outsourcing public services. This, with endlessly mutating New Public Management, reaches into the heart of the “pre-modern” (that is, pre-market) and the most democratic aspects of the state.

Pariah displays ingenuity in trying to find a handle on this. He recasts (with little acknowledgement and less modesty) his state-theory and (partially) his Constitutional reform project. Nairn’s initial move is bold. The end of the Cold War has finished the conflict between rival economic systems (socialist and capitalist). What we are left with is the boundless ambition of economism: free-market fundamentalism. This has political props. Nairn writes that the political backwardness of UK Constitutionalism is “typical, as well as being highly peculiar” (p.148). The British State is both free-market fish, and fuddy-duddy fowl. Further, that “the UK’s absurd microcosm rests upon the persistence of an ancien régime. But then, so does the whole macrocosm of neoliberalism“(p.149). Indeed there is a “bewildering set of Atlantic seaboard political antiques” (p.151). Yet as globalisation is accompanied by mass migration (despite border fences), above all to the great metropolises, these aged states’ homogenous foundations are undermined. So, Nairn observes in 2003, “hybrid societies”, “myriad Byzantiums”, and gigantic Weltstädte are mushrooming in every continent.5 The implication is that globalised fluxes sap the supports of the existing nation states. But Nairn has a twist: this is not the creation of a borderless world, but the terrain for a new form of smaller civic nation-states.

Nairn believes that in these conditions the absence of an economic rival to capitalism frees people to fashion creative political projects. He then adds to his repertoire the collective awareness of the anti-globalisation movement, which is, he claims, “inherently democratic” and “inherently nationalist”, ultimately founded on “communities, or ‘nations’” (p.161). In 2001 Nairn announced his focus was “the terrain of nationhood and republican Constitutionalism – those resistant forms of collective consciousness and will which seem mostly likely to survive the information revolution and to humanise the ‘empire of civil society’”.6 

As a “modest proposal” Nairn suggests a break-up of the British archipelago, “a ‘test-bed’ of emancipation from fossil-sovereignty, providential obsessions and the abscesses of radicalism” (p.161). This will be the seedbed of agency, as “modern” new civic nations will be built that “re-encounter nature. The resultant rapprochement is with pre-history and the bases of human society.” that will lead to “political transcendence” (p.158).

This thoroughly modern vision looks suspiciously like the invention of tradition. Amongst the flittering and louping shadows of the ancient hill people evoked in Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s A Scotch Quair (1946), we leave mundane concerns behind. As in the way of images so far above experience, we are no nearer finding concrete details. Nationalist movements have a mixed record in humanising civil society. Ethno-nationalisms in regions destabilised by globalisation, and engaged in a “survival battle with modernity”, have added another drip of poison to this process.7 However civic other forms of nationalism may be, they rest on the premise that membership of a political community rests on individuals being identical in some way, and that at least some national interests trump others.

It is hard to see how this can be located within hybrid identities, global capital streams and migration, unless at some point there is a demarcation between those who belong and those who don’t. Nairn may eviscerate departure lounge internationalism, with its emphasis on abstractly demolishing national barriers. But it is hard to see how erecting new ones serves the cause of the peoples.

Nairn’s principal “reform” through the dissolution of the United Kingdom into smaller parts, is, as a result, problematic. More dangerous snags arise from the nature of the emerging state, fettered by commercial interests. If the French Revolution was irredeemably stamped by the centralisation of the absolute Monarchy it despised, what chances for escaping the grip of the equally powerful Privatising-state by further fragmented administrative structures? If the UK dissolves into “a collection of (relatively) small independent or near-independent states, eight or nine in number” (p.135), by what means will they disentangle themselves from much more experienced for profit or Resource Accounting bureaucracies? Social democratic projects for social justice funded by high taxation are already vulnerable to regressive competition for inward investment. Further dwarfed by transnationals, pressure on smaller states to adopt the neo-liberal doxa will probably increase. If decentralisation extends as far as nationalists desire, one could foresee the European Union presiding over a levelling-down of social rights through such a scramble for competitive advantage. Unless the emerging neo-liberal order is tackled, dreams of fine-tailored independent Constitutions heralding justice and vibrant civil societies are Castles in Spain.

Second Revolutions

Pariah is entangled in a much wider portrait of British political development, the historical role of nationalism, and a Second Revolution that will shake up the British ancien régime. I will not repeat in detail the Nairn-Anderson thesis (first set out in the mid-’60s), or its place in the Second New Left, familiar to most Marxists, and obscure to the most learned.8 Yet, without this backdrop, it is impossible to grasp the difficulties – from Commerce to Constitutions – that emerge through reading Pariah.

In a series of classic texts British pre-modernity was located in its early “bourgeois revolution” (Cromwell, and then the Glorious Revolution) and the rise of agrarian, followed by mercantile, capitalism. As Nairn still puts it, the “British state dated from the 1640-88 era” (p.151). This, while embedding the market, left the landowning aristocracy to preside over the levers of power, stamping a patrician mould on the country, and on what emerged with the Act of Union of 1707, as “Britain”. Under the Crown’s continuing auspices a “transitional” state had been thrown up by civil society, solidifying its enduring hegemony over the population. It was adaptable to overseas naval exploitation – colonialisation – which became by the end of the 19th century full-fledged imperialism.

The First Industrial Nation was largely built outside of the state: the market conditions already established provided the humus on which it could grow; government did not (unlike in its rival states) co-ordinate and initiate development. Indeed its “founding moment” he once wrote, “was the containment and curbing of the industrial revolution.”9 The (stunted?) bourgeoisie had no need for its aid, and reached a comfortable compromise with the aristocratic Parliament, ascending only gradually to direct representation, extending this even more slowly (in “homeopathic doses”) to the rest of the population. This, then, is the enduring “archaic state”, whose vectors persist in the unwritten Constitution, law, and a political system that subordinates the land’s inhabitants to the role of “subjects”. So aristocratic, indeed, that Nairn asserts that between Victoria and 1945 the UK was ruled by “a single hereditary élite complex enough to support different political parties” (p.33). One would be grateful for a Debret’s that detailed the lineage of this nobility, uniting Lloyd George and Ramsay Macdonald with Churchill and Bonar Law. Unfortunately Nairn does not provide a reference to one.

Nairn’s take on this perspective is also based on a comparative analysis with other capitalist economies and states. Up to the First World War many European lands retained similar features from their own “ancien régimes”. However, new developmental trajectories led them through a “Second Revolution”, a “‘Modernising’ socio-political upheaval” that would “recast” society, abolish all feudal fetters, constitutionalise and democratise. By contrast, the United Kingdom remained wedded to its own anachronisms. As Nairn stated in The Enchanted Glass (1988): “… this Crown-and-Capital land is not really a national state: it is more accurately described as Southern-lowland hegemonic bloc, uniting an hereditary élite to the central processing unit of commercial and financial capital.”10 A nation-state prostrate to the City’s hegemony, with its “extra-territoriality” in the “genetic code” of Britishness – trade and military imperialism – this is a formidable obstacle for Second Revolutionaries to storm! Given that the planet is now described as spanned by exhibits from the political museum (from France to the United States) a global permanent revolution is required to sweep away the historic débris.

Search Pariah for the forces a British Second Revolution is up against, and, amid the mist, some fairly outrageous claims emerge. That, despite elections, secret ballots, and Parliament, (relatively) free speech, all the paraphernalia of a flawed capitalist democracy, the structures of the ancien régime enabled Thatcher to lay down a system based on “unique two-party ‘dictatorship’” which requires one party “in unremitting charge” (p.26). That “Britain is not a democracy” (p.70). That the United Kingdom is “a diseased descendent of representative oligarchy, which has consistently refused to reform central power democratically” (ibid.).

The objective conditions, Nairn asserts, for a new, modern wave of second revolutions exist in the dissolution of old multi-national states. Faced with autocracy (the dictators have not yet abolished the ballot box, or the freedoms normally associated with liberal states, but they are very cunning, as Nairn – above – admits), we can back nationalist parties. In After Britain (2001) he saw in Scotland that “self-confidence, collective optimism, a felt wind of change” were replacing the “underlying structure of the dismembered nation”.11 Is this truly the force (and not at present a rising one) to confront an oligarchy whose power base in post-Imperial financial and commercial outreach is everywhere bolted into global capital? Will this disappear under the ban of Holyrood? Will the Welsh valleys cast off the yoke of international capital when they have a genuine Assembly? Scepticism about this has already been expressed. It grows with every dirge at the coming demise of Westminster.

Hostility to centralisation is as often the watchword of local cliques as of democratic aspiration. As John Stuart Mill once stated, of British “unreasoning prejudice” of central reform, it is often “a blind feeling preventing or resisting even the most beneficial exertion of legislative authority to correct the abuses of what pretends to be local self-government, but is, too often, selfish mismanagement of local interest, by a jobbing and borné local oligarchy”.12 It by no means certain that eight or nine (why restrict the number, what of the Napoleon of Notting Hill?) smaller states will escape this, if the record of municipal life in the UK post-Mill is anything to go by. And there are deeper difficulties. The principle of republican equality stresses a growing set of universal rights, not particularism. A common political authority makes this possible. A European-wide republic would try to equalise social legislation and material conditions. By its nature it is absolutely impossible to imagine any form of devolved government playing such an equalising role.

By contrast modern republican states, which aspire to equality, fraternity and liberty, are, according to Nairn, contaminated. Nairn deconstructs with zest a political heritage often felt to be the stem of modern Constitutional statehood: French republicanism. The Fifth Republic is run by “gangs”, not unlike the UK with its fixation with a global mission of Greatness, and “parallel with the anachronistic structure and statist attitudes of late ‘Britain’” (p.130). Nairn cites Jean-Marie Colombani’s Les Infortunes de la République (2002). This celebrates “differences and particularities” in the face of “un pouvoir unique, omniscient et omnipotent en ultime rempart de la République” – an illusion which is the “le dernier avatar du bonapartisme industriel et, de ce fait, l’antichambre de la corruption et du trafic d’influences”.13 

He could have referred to dozens of other near identical political pot-boilers: all straining at the leash to bite the head off the French élite in the name of civil society and decentralisation. But Nairn ignores the more interesting of these thinkers influenced by Alexis de Tocqueville’s second most famous book, L’Ancien Régime et la révolution (1856) (which revealed the debt of the First Republic to Monarchic Absolutism). That is the attempt, notably by Pierre Rosanvallon, to explore the “crisis of representation” of France, with the populist and media-led “peuple-opinion, le peuple-exclusion, et le peuple-émotion” taking the place of civil bodies capable of rationally and autonomously influencing the state.14 This is not la faute à Robespierre. A Marxist might consider that the causes of this development of a disembodied “people” lie in the deformation of the republic by globalising capitalism. From the decline of mass political parties, to the shaping of the state for capital’s needs at the expense of the old social-democratic compromises, the glue that held the Republic together, its “social” character, has begun to melt.

Largely ignoring the social movement that has grown in France since the great strikes of the mid-’90s Nairn concentrates on one contradiction within the French state that corresponds to his own preoccupations: decentralisation. The attempt to give Corsica a large degree of autonomy attracted furious opposition from a variety of republicans, many from the socialist and also the old left-radical traditions that retain a base on the island. The successful resistance to Corsican autonomy (a stand for Nairn that symbolises the reactionary centralism of France’s political class) from those in situ reflected fears of a selfish outcome more dire than that sketched by John Stuart Mill. Perhaps Nairn has not delved deep enough to discover the violent Mafia behind the indépendantistes of la belle île. Or maybe Nairn is simply rendered myopic by his fondness for “pre-history and the bases of human society” and, more than a dose of Barrès, by his loathing of the “déracinés” of the rationalist Republic.

Conclusion: Different Modernities

Pariah concentrates on the political contradictions inherent in the British State. Its focus is on its Imperial, aristocratic, anti-democratic, historical legacy, superautonomy, and failure to adapt to modernity. All are features undergoing profound change. For Nairn the universal domination of the “dismal science” of “reactionary economism”, has “caused retrograde states and paleo-economics to bond” (p.154). From another standpoint neo-liberalism may be seen as far from archaic: it is the conscious development to the limit of tendencies inherent within capitalism. Blair’s inner Court appears carried away with this highly ambitious aim of attaining what Marx called the “highest development of capital”. That is when “capital has subjugated all conditions of capital production to itself”. Circumstances in which “social productive wealth has been capitalized, and all needs are satisfied through the exchange form; as well as the extent to which the socially posited needs of the individual … are likewise not only consumed but also produced through exchange, individual exchange”.15

 Perhaps we have yet to attain the neo-liberal utopia in which the “real community” is “constituted in the form of capital”. We certainly engage in private exchanges for many formerly public services (utilities, transport). Today’s dominant trend, however, is towards transactions between state and company, a transfer of unproductive (in Marx’s sense) activities to Capital (Contracting-Out, Public-Private Partnerships), financed through the market, but underwritten, and eventually paid for, by public revenue. These developments are not specific to Britain: they are at the core of capitalist state formation across the globe.

Faced with his own assessment of global changes Nairn focuses on national identity as “a necessary condition of tolerable modernisation”. In his latest pronouncements this is democratic nationalism, “interlocking human experience”, in tune with true globalisation, opposed to the “legacy of Empire” incarnated in the United States and “cosmocracy” (cosmopolitan élites).16 Pariah’s criticisms of the “metaphysics of globalisation” rest on challenging the “supposed dissolution of nations”, as opposed to an “actual extension of the world market and transnational industry” (p.156). We should, by contrast, follow Emmanuel Todd’s affirmation of nationality as the source of agency. In his L’Illusion économique (1999), Todd calls for “un protectionnisme intelligent” which Nairn translates as “protection” (p.156). This should be “intelligent”, allying economic and social protection, yet not hostile to private enterprise and the free circulation of capital, with flexible exchange rates.17 Nairn does elaborate on the details of these less-than-modest proposals, or om whether his national agents should follow suit. One assumes, however, that, as for Todd, since the extension of the world market is ineluctable, he favours what is in effect a moderate nationalist version of the “reform and regulate” stand on globalisation.

Pariah, however, does not offer a comprehensive explanaton behind the course of action he advocates – the middle-of-the-road nationalism that animates his political thought – but tries to overwhelm the audience with revolutionary rhetoric. The reader is wearied by constant recourse to striking and radical phrases. Proud of his label, “Ukania” (by analogy with Robert Musil’s description of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as Kakania), for decades Nairn has rarely missed an opportunity to wheel out that cack-handed comparison between the UK and a genuinely feudal régime. What serious links are given between globalisation, neo-liberalism, state backwardness, and the failings of New Labour, are similarly decked with distracting fioriture, the “ancien régime” birthing a family of Unwritten Mysteries, and, now, Blairland.

In Immortality (1991) Milan Kundera described the process by which socialist doctrine was simplified by its ideologues down to a collection of six or seven slogans and images, different coloured hands linked together, the dove of peace rising to the sky.18 No-one would accuse Nairn of simplicity. Yet, like any ideologue, he never seriously considers alternative views. For example, that the equality of a collective identity within a universalist social republic might be preferable to the “obverse of democracy”: a self harnessed to group particularity. Or that a social system that extends democratic control over the economy can’t be one that leaves small polities and nationalism at the mercy of capital. That economy is not one ideological “ism” that will automatically evaporate with the political and cultural hegemony of another, nationalism. Or that repeating the same attacks on the “ancien régime”, Parliamentary Sovereignty, Great Britishness, Labourism and international socialism may tarnish their objects, but only obscures the dilemma of a thinker whose central thesis, that these are “exceptional features” of the United Kingdom, is breaking up and being redefined in the face of neo-liberal globalisation. In the end we are left with only one unchanged image: Nairn holding on to the Saltire.


1. “… Scotland’s most influential political philosopher …”: Neal Ascherson, Stone Voices, Granta Books 2002, p.105. Speech to the SNP and submission to the Commons Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, in Tom Nairn, After Britain: New Labour and the Return of Scotland, Granta Books 2001.

2. The academic debate is well summarised in David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldman and Jonathan Perraton, Global Transformations, Polity Press 1999.

3. Democracy, Political Engagement Citizenship and Equalities, National Policy Forum Consultation Document Labour Party, May 2003, p.13.

4. Tom Nairn, ‘Ukania under Blair’, New Left Review (Second Series) No.1, Jan/Feb 2000, p.93.

5. Tom Nairn, ‘A Myriad Byzantiums’, New Left Review No.23 (Second Series), Sept/Oct 2003.

6. Tom Nairn, ‘Post-Ukania’, New Left Review (Second Series) No.7, Jan/Feb 2001, p.71.

7. Tom Nairn, ‘Reflections on Nationalist Disasters’, New Left Review (First Series) No.230, July/August 1998. Nairn’s most virulent defence of nationalism and attack on socialist internationalism is in Two Faces of Nationalism: Janus Revisited, Verso 1997. A substantial critique of Nairn’s views on nationalism is presented in Joan Cocks, Passion and Paradox, Princeton University Press 2002.

8. See notably: Tom Nairn, ‘The English Working Class’, in Robin Blackburn, ed., Ideology in Social Science, Fontana 1972. Tom Nairn, The Break-up of Britain, New Left Books 1977. E.P.Thompson, ‘The Peculiarities of the English’, in The Poverty of Theory, Merlin Press 1978. Michael Barratt Brown, ‘Away With All Great Arches’, New Left Review (First Series), No.167, Jan/Feb 1988. Ellen Meiksins Wood, The Pristine Culture of Capitalism, Verso 1991. Perry Anderson, English Questions, Verso 1992. Lin Chun, The British New Left, Edinburgh University Press 1993.

9. Tom Nairn, ‘The Future of Britain’s Crises’, New Left Review (First Series) No.113-14, Jan/April 1979.

10. Tom Nairn, The Enchanted Glass: Britain and its Monarchy, Radius 1998, p.243.

11. Nairn, After Britain, pp.112, 102.

12. John Stuart Mill, Autobiography, Oxford University Press 1963, p.163.

13. Jean-Marie Colombani, Les infortunes de la République, Gallimard 2002, p.167.

14. For a typical Deuxième Gauche, and media-ideologue, pot-boiler see Jacques Julliard, La Faute aux élites, Gallimard 1997. More interesting is as cited: Pierre Rosanvallon, Le Peuple introuvable, Gallimard 1998, p.448.

15. Karl Marx, Grundrisse, Penguin 1974, p.532.

16. On Open Democracy Forum: http://www.opendemocracy.net

17. Emmanuel Todd, L’illusion économiqe, Gallimard 1999, p.383.

18. Milan Kundera, Immortality, Faber & Faber 1991, p.127.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 22, 2023 at 11:33 am

Stop the War Coalition holds ‘Trade Union’ Conference.

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Meeting addressed by, amongst others, top Trade Unionist Salma Yaqoob, Leader of the Respect Party from 2005 until 2012, representing the party on Birmingham City Council.

Watch out for the Ideological State Apparatus!

Written by Andrew Coates

January 21, 2023 at 5:08 pm

Protest in Berlin Against Morning Star Red-Brown Heroine Sahra Wagenknecht.

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The Red-Browner was met by protests in Berlin, Wagenknecht im Wahlgefecht, “stop swaggering, your right to be a guest in Berlin has been forfeited!. Eight participants stand a short distance from the election campaign rally and let the old SED song blare “The party, the party is always right via a megaphone”. – first very loudly and then a little quieter at the instigation of a policewoman.”

I’ve already said that we’re paid by NATO.” He wears a crocodile hat and calls himself Schnappi, mocking the idea that some lizard people have taken over the world. 

More reports: Linken-Demo gegen Wagenknecht-Auftritt: „Sahra, lass das Schwurbeln sein“

Sahra, lass das Schwurbeln sein!“ :Linke demonstrieren gegen Wagenknecht-Auftritt in Berli

The Campist Morning Star (one of the two English language daily papers claiming to be on the left) reports today,

BEN CHACKO. Stop World War III: discussions in Germany on Europe’s social and war crises

STOPPING World War III means winning a wider understanding of the dual nature of today’s war, left politicians and activists argued at the 2023 Rosa Luxemburg Conference.

“The proxy war fought with Russia is linked to an internal social war on the working class,” Die Linke (The Left) Bundestag member Sevim Dagdelen pointed out, saying German workers had seen the fastest drop in real wages since the founding of the Federal Republic — with inflation meaning a worker on minimum wage had lost the equivalent of an entire month’s income in the last year.

At the same time German companies listed on the Dax index had paid out a record €55 billion in dividends, a new record.

“This is a brutal policy of upward distribution of wealth.”

Elaborating on the theme as we marched from Frankfurter Tor to Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht’s graves the following day, Dagdelen notes that extreme poverty is becoming common in one of the world’s richest countries: “Over two million people in Germany have been forced to rely on foodbanks.

“So on the one hand you have the war in Ukraine and the weapons deliveries, but on the other you have a war against your own population and it’s because of the sanctions [on Russia] — the sanctions are why so many people are losing income” (both through inflation and job losses).

“If the unions, if the Left Party [Die Linke] do not take on this question of the impact of the sanctions, people will stay away.

[reference to the fact that most of Die Linke, yes, Die Linke! will not stand with Russia]

“The root of the problem is the sanctions, the economic war against Russia. People are getting poorer and poorer, deindustrialisation is happening in Germany.”

Would she say Europe is paying the price of a war in the interests of the US ruling class?

“Yes. It is the US which wants to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, without putting its soldiers on the front line. They will not send Abrams tanks to Ukraine; but they are putting pressure on Germany to send Leopard II tanks.”

Dagdelen points out that the cost of gas in Germany is now 10 times higher than in the United States, leading German companies to shift manufacturing over there, and the Joe Biden administration is quite happy to pass measures like the Inflation Reduction Act that hurt European economies.

She also has little doubt that part of this economic strategy was the terrorist attack on the Nord Stream pipelines in September, noting that the US stated at the start of last year that it would stop Nord Stream 2 using any means necessary.

Reports on the investigation into these attacks have been held up again and again, and Western accusations that Russia sabotaged its own pipeline make little sense.

“This was a big terrorist attack on the sovereignty of Germany and all Europe,” Dagdelen fumes. “The US wants to destroy the Russian-German relationship for good.”

The risks being taken are extraordinary, as Marc Botenga, an MEP of the Workers Party of Belgium marching with us, points out.

“People are dying. You need to stop this war, so how are you going to do that?

“War can be stopped in two ways. By the complete destruction of the enemy, which in Russia’s case implies nuclear war — something that is being normalised now in political and media discussion. Or by diplomacy. We must make the case for diplomacy.”

[Workers Party of Belgium, Parti du Travail de BelgiquePTBDutchPartij van de Arbeid van BelgiëPVDA party of ‘Marxist-Leninist origins, best known internationally for one of its founders, Ludo Martens, who wrote, Another View of Stalin, which one can read in English on the site of the Stalin Society]

Dagdelen agrees, adding that the constant escalation through delivery of more powerful weapons systems will logically end in direct Nato participation in the war — a third world war.

Dagdelen, like her close ally Sahra Wagenknecht, has called out the “self-inflicted wound” of current German support for US policy on Russia in the Bundestag, but is not pleased with the left’s response in general.

Die Linke has often failed to take any clear position on issues related to the war: “For two weeks we have been debating in the Bundestag whether to send Leopard II tanks to Ukraine. Yes or no. And there is no single press release, no statement from the Left Party leadership on this point. Nothing.” (Die Linke did finally express opposition to the move two days after we spoke).

“You know, in the animal world some animals can play dead to avoid getting hunted. But that’s in the animal world, not the political world! In politics you have to have a profile. Not mentioning core problems means you lose trust, and others take advantage.”

She notes grimly that the far-right Alternative for Germany is polling at 18 per cent now, streets ahead of Die Linke.

There have been rumours that Dagdelen and Wagenknecht are so fed up with Die Linke’s failure to challenge state policy on Ukraine and stand up for anti-imperialist and anti-militarist politics that they are planning a new political party, but just as when asked about this by Junge Welt editor Stefan Huth the evening before, she smilingly refuses to be drawn.

All she will say is that the left is “in a 1914 moment” — as when the Second International collapsed because social democratic parties supported their respective countries’ war efforts in WWI, abandoning their previous commitment to peace and anti-imperialism.

Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, to whose tombs we were marching, were lonely anti-war voices in the Germany of that time, but history has rated them rather more kindly than the ranks of so-called socialists who howled them down as traitors.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 20, 2023 at 6:34 pm

Red-Brown-Vatnik-Islamic Republic of Iran Front Relocates Meeting.

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“Tickets are extremely limited” – nearly all redundant telephone boxes in the centre of London were already booked.

Cdes are surprised that former leftist Greenstein is not speaking…

Written by Andrew Coates

January 20, 2023 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

German parliament recognises Yazidi ‘genocide’ in Iraq by Daesh, the Islamic State.

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The German Bundestag has recognised the 2014 massacre of Yazidis by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in Iraq as a genocide, and called for measures to assist the besieged minority.

 Germany’s lower house of parliament recognised on Thursday the 2014 massacre of Yazidis by Islamic State group jihadists in Iraq as a “genocide”, and called for measures to assist the besieged minority. Deutsche Welle.

Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, recognised on Thursday the 2014 massacre of Yazidis by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in Iraq as a “genocide,” and called for measures to assist the besieged minority.

In a move hailed by Yazidi community representatives, deputies in the Bundestag passed the motion by the three parliamentary groups in Germany’s ruling centre-left-led coalition and conservative members of parliament.

The Bundestag “recognises the crimes against the Yazidi community as genocide, following the legal evaluations of investigators from the United Nations,” the resolution said, after similar moves by countries including Australia, Belgium and the Netherland

Calls to ensure historial record

The resolution condemns “indescribable atrocities” and “tyrannical injustice” carried out by IS fighters “with the intention of completely wiping out the Yazidi community”. 

The motion urges the German judicial system to pursue further criminal cases against suspects in Germany and the government to increase financial support to collect evidence of crimes in Iraq and boost funding to help rebuild shattered Yazidi communities.

It also calls for Germany to establish a documentation centre for crimes against Yazidis to ensure a historical record and to press Baghdad to protect the minority group’s rights.

The extremist militant group seized the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq, where Yazidis have lived for centuries, in 2014. The Yazidis follow an ancient religion rooted in Zoroastrianism, which IS considers heresy.

The jihadists forced women and girls into slavery, recruited boys as child soldiers, and killed many of the community’s men. Since then, thousands of Yazidis have fled the region.

Around 5,000 people are believed to have been killed and another 7,000 kidnapped. Many were taken to areas of Syria where IS held territory at the time.

Genocide of Yazidis by the Islamic State.

genocide of Yazidis by the Islamic State was carried out in the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in the mid-2010s.[1][11][12] The genocide led to the expulsion, flight and effective exile of the Yazidis. Thousands of Yazidi women and girls were forced into sexual slavery by ISIL, and thousands of Yazidi men were killed.[13] About 5,000 thousand Yazidi civilians were killed[5] during what has been called a “forced conversion campaign”[14][15] carried out by ISIL in Northern Iraq. The genocide began after the withdrawal of Iraqi forces and Peshmerga, which left the Yazidis defenseless.[16][17]

ISIL’s persecution of the Yazidis gained international attention and led to the American-led intervention in Iraq, which started with United States airstrikes against ISIL. Additionally, the US, UK, and Australia made emergency airdrops to Yazidis who had fled to a mountain rangeYPG and PKK fighters opened a humanitarian corridor to the Sinjar Mountains and helped the Yazidis.[18] By 2015, ISIL’s actions against the Yazidi population had resulted in approximately 500,000 refugees

Written by Andrew Coates

January 20, 2023 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Fascism, Iraq, Islam, Islamism, Syria

Tagged with ,

France, Day of Strikes and Mass Demonstrations Against Macron’s Plans to Raise Pension Age.

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 Day of strikes and protests in France, with transport, schools and refinery shipments disrupted as workers walk off their jobs in an attempt to derail President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular pension overhaul. France 24 (which you can watch on Smart Televisions in the UK).

Over a million of demonstrators protesting against the Macron reform:

It is striking that the French trade union federations, often divided – and none more so over previous pension reforms in the 1993, and in 2003 when the CFDT led a “bloc réformiste” with CFE-CGC et la CFTC in a compromise with the measures proposed by right-wing PM  Jean-Pierre Raffarin- were united today:

It is striking that the French trade union federations, often divided – and none more so over previous pension reforms in the 1993, and in 2003 when the CFDT led a “bloc réformiste” with CFE-CGC et la CFTC in a compromise with the measures on funding retirement proposed by right-wing PM  Jean-Pierre Raffarin- were united today.

Background, union leaders explain their opposition to the changes: Retraites : 8 syndicats, 8 raisons de dire non à la réforme Libération.

Despite these protests.

4:11pm: Macron vows to press ahead with reform despite protests

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is in Spain Thursday, did not seem to be buoyed by the massive protests back home, telling a press conference in Madrid that the reform “is just and responsible”, and that France “must carry this out”.

In the National Assembly Macron’s PM, Élisabeth Borne , has, as the largest party, only a relative majority. It will be hard to find easily the numbers from her own ranks alone for this measure. The traditional right, Les Republicans, are her indispensable allies. The left blog, NUPES, is opposed. The far-right Rassemblement National, led by Marine Le Pen, while not backing the protests, has not supported the change.

In case of difficulty there are constitutional means which allow the President to impose his wishes, (Article 49.3). They were used under his previous PM, Edouard Philippe in 2019/2020 for another pension reform. That was, nevertheless, dropped in the face of the Covid Pandemic. While supporting the new changes Phillipe, at present Mayor of Le Havre and not in Parliament, has said that there are a thousand other things more important to be done « il y a mille choses beaucoup plus importantes à faire ».(le Monde).

The fight continues:

In Marseille Mélenchon says Macron has already lost his first battle

Police use force against protestors:

Written by Andrew Coates

January 19, 2023 at 4:59 pm

Chris Williamson Goes Skwawkbox.

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Bumped into an esteemed comrade, ‘C’, this morning who is involved in community activism here. I mentioned Keir Starmer’s radical past to her. Then stopped. The full story of Pabloism is one for which the world is not yet prepared.

The world is nonetheless all too ready for the tale of Britain’s best known Vegan, after Morrisey.

Williamson, the Giant Rat of the SLP, is at it again:

Here is another of his mates, the renegade leftist Greenstein.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 18, 2023 at 6:23 pm

Debunking Russia’s War Propaganda.

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Incredible work here by @CounterV0rtex , with illustrations by Seth Tobocman and Tamara Tornado.


Resisting Humanity’s Downward Spiral.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 17, 2023 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Anti-Fascism, Ukraine

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The Taliban Inflict Islamic Law on Afghanistan.

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Islamists Begin Public Mutilations.

Public amputations return to Kandahar: the Taliban cut off the hands of thieves in the city’s stadium

For the first time since they came to power, the Taliban amputated the hands of people accused of theft and other crimes in front of hundreds of people at the football stadium in the city of Kandahar. According to the independent Afghan newspaper “Hast e Subh”, the Taliban punished nine alleged criminals with the law of retaliation in the presence of hundreds of spectators.

Four people accused of robbery had their hands cut off, while five others were flogged for sexual relations outside of marriage. Earlier, the Taliban, who have returned to power in Afghanistan since August 2021, carried out a public execution of a man accused of murder in Farah province. However, this is the first time that the Taliban authorities have staged the public cutting off of the hand.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 17, 2023 at 4:26 pm

Tankies Hijack Rosa Luxemburg and call for ‘peace’.

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Großdemonstration zum Gedenken an Luxemburg, Liebknecht und Lenin.

Rosa Luxemburg is a heroine for anti-Stalinist and non-Leninist democratic Marxists.

“The Russian Revolution”, an essay written in prison, contains what is perhaps her most widely repeated remark criticising the Bolshevik coup:

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.

Luxemburg had a sustained critique of the Bolshevik attacks on democracy written in On the Russian Revolution. Rosa Luxemburg 1918

     Let us take another striking example, namely the franchise developed by the Soviet government.7 It is not completely clear which practical significance is attached to this franchise. From Trotsky’s and Lenin’s critique of democratic institutions it can be seen that, on principle, they reject popular representation on the basis of general elections, preferring instead a system founded upon the soviets alone. This being so, it is in fact unclear why a system of universal suffrage should have been developed at all. To my knowledge, this system of suffrage has not been implemented in any way; there has been no mention of elections to any kind of popular representative body on such a basis. A more likely hypothesis is that it has remained a mere theoretical product of the conference room, as it were. Yet in itself it constitutes a remarkable product of the Bolshevik theory of dictatorship. Each system of suffrage, in common with all political rights as such, is not to be measured against any given abstract schemas of ‘justice’ or similar bourgeois democratic phraseology, but should rather be evaluated with regard to the social and economic relations to which it is tailored. The system of franchise elaborated by the Soviet government was in fact devised for the purposes of the period of transition from bourgeois-capitalist society to the socialist form of society—i.e. the period of the proletarian dictatorship. In accordance with the interpretation of this dictatorship advocated by Lenin and Trotsky, the right to vote is only granted to those who live by their own labour, being denied to everyone else.

 Yet the question is not exhausted by the Constituent Assembly and the system of franchise: also at issue was the abolition of further important democratic guarantees—i.e. the guarantees of a healthy public sphere and of the political activity of the working masses. These guarantees consisted in the freedom of the press, the right of association and of assembly; now that these have been abolished, all opposition to the Soviet government has effectively been outlawed.8 Trotsky’s line of argument (referred to above) regarding the unwieldiness of democratic electorates is far from being sufficient in order to justify these infringements. On the contrary, it is a patent and indisputable fact that without a free, untrammelled press, without an unimpeded right of association and assembly, rule by broad masses of the people is completely unthinkable.

  The tacit presupposition underlying the theory of dictatorship as formulated by Lenin and Trotsky is that the revolutionary party has in its pocket a ready-made formula for socialist transformation, and that this formula merely needs to be assiduously implemented. This is unfortunately—or perhaps, fortunately—not the case. Far from being an aggregation of ready-made prescriptions that have merely to be applied, the practical realization of socialism as an economic, social and legal system is something that lies in the mists of the future. What we possess in our programme amounts to no more than a few major signposts that indicate the general direction in which to identify the measures that are to be taken, and these indications are predominantly of a negative character at that. We know approximately what we have to eliminate at the very outset in order to clear the path for the socialist economy; by contrast, there is no socialist party program nor any socialist textbook that can instruct us as to the quality of the innumerable concrete measures, both major and minor, that are needed in order to introduce basic socialist features into the economy, the legal system and all social relations.

This constitutes no defect; on the contrary, it is precisely herein that the advantage of scientific vis-à-vis utopian socialism consists. The socialist social system shall—and can only—be a historical product: it is born of its own school of experience, in the hour of fulfilment; it emerges from the becoming of living history. Furthermore, just like organic nature (of which it ultimately forms a part), this living history has the alluring habit of always producing, alongside any real social need that it engenders, the means to the satisfaction of such need: it generates problems and their solution simultaneously. Yet if this is the case, then it is evident that by its very nature, socialism cannot be imposed—it cannot be introduced by ukase. 

It has as its prerequisite a series of coercive measures—against property, etc. The negative—the dismantling of what exists—can be decreed; the positive cannot. It is a terra incognita. A thousand problems. Experience alone is capable of making corrections and opening up new paths. Uninhibited, effervescent life alone fashions a thousand new forms and improvisations, contains creative power, and corrects all mistakes. The public life of states where freedom is restricted is so meagre, so miserable, so schematic and so sterile precisely because by excluding democracy, it occludes the living source of all intellectual wealth and progress. (Proof of this: the year 1905 and the period from February to October 1917). In these cases, this occurred on a political level; the same applies to the economic and social spheres. The entire mass of the people must participate in public life. Otherwise socialism is merely decreed, imposed from the conference table of a dozen intellectuals.


  The tacit presupposition underlying the theory of dictatorship as formulated by Lenin and Trotsky is that the revolutionary party has in its pocket a ready-made formula for socialist transformation, and that this formula merely needs to be assiduously implemented. This is unfortunately—or perhaps, fortunately—not the case. Far from being an aggregation of ready-made prescriptions that have merely to be applied, the practical realisation of socialism as an economic, social and legal system is something that lies in the mists of the future. What we possess in our programme amounts to no more than a few major signposts that indicate the general direction in which to identify the measures that are to be taken, and these indications are predominantly of a negative character at that. We know approximately what we have to eliminate at the very outset in order to clear the path for the socialist economy; by contrast, there is no socialist party programme nor any socialist textbook that can instruct us as to the quality of the innumerable concrete measures, both major and minor, that are needed in order to introduce basic socialist features into the economy, the legal system and all social relations. This constitutes no defect; on the contrary, it is precisely herein that the advantage of scientific vis-à-vis utopian socialism consists.

“The socialist social system shall—and can only—be a historical product: it is born of its own school of experience, in the hour of fulfilment; it emerges from the becoming of living history. Furthermore, just like organic nature (of which it ultimately forms a part), this living history has the alluring habit of always producing, alongside any real social need that it engenders, the means to the satisfaction of such need: it generates problems and their solution simultaneously. Yet if this is the case, then it is evident that by its very nature, socialism cannot be imposed—it cannot be introduced by ukase. 

It has as its prerequisite a series of coercive measures—against property, etc. The negative—the dismantling of what exists—can be decreed; the positive cannot. It is a terra incognita. A thousand problems. Experience alone is capable of making corrections and opening up new paths. Uninhibited, effervescent life alone fashions a thousand new forms and improvisations, contains creative power, and corrects all mistakes. The public life of states where freedom is restricted is so meagre, so miserable, so schematic and so sterile precisely because by excluding democracy, it occludes the living source of all intellectual wealth and progress. (Proof of this: the year 1905 and the period from February to October 1917). In these cases, this occurred on a political level; the same applies to the economic and social spheres. The entire mass of the people must participate in public life. Otherwise socialism is merely decreed, imposed from the conference table of a dozen intellectuals.”

Leninists have always tried to squirm out of this.

Now the Tankies try to claim the legacy of our comrade.

Peace banners dominate annual Rosa Luxemburg procession in Berlin.

Morning Star.

PEACE banners dominated the annual procession to lay flowers on the tombs of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Berlin today, the 104th anniversary of their murder.

Crowds marched to revolutionary songs including Rote Fahne, Bella Ciao and the Internationale from the Frankfurt Gate to the monumental memorial to fallen socialists where their tombs lie.

The march came a day after the biggest yet Rosa Luxemburg onference in the city, with over 3,000 people attending in person and over 20,000 following the event — themed Stop World War III, and organised by the Morning Star’s German sister paper Junge Welt — online.

Sessions included a study of war propaganda from the first world war to the present day, discussions of Chinese and Cuban socialist strategies and a recorded address from jailed US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, followed by an appeal for freedom for all political prisoners including Julian Assange, who still languishes in London’s Belmarsh awaiting possible extradition to the United States.

Die Linke MP Sevim Dagdelen warned that Nato was “mobilising for a third world war” and that the supply of weapons to Ukraine must be stopped.

“No previous history justifies a war,” she stressed. “Every war is a crime, but this year we need to prevent a greater escalation of war.”

She criticised Die Linke for not taking a clear anti-war line, when it had previously been the only anti-militarist party in the Bundestag.

“There are enough two-legged tanks in the Bundestag as it is — we don’t need more in Die Linke,” she said to applause.

[As late as February 2022, Dağdelen denied references by Western intelligence agencies to the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. On 18 February 2022, she appeared at a demonstration in Berlin with the slogan “Security for Russia is security for our country,” where she accused the German media of spreading the “tall tales of the U.S. intelligence service”. After the Russian invasion occurred, Dağdelen was among the co-signers of a statement attributing significant responsibility for the Russian invasion to the United States. In April 2022, she praised German protesters who opposed an increase in German military spending, and she described it as “madness” to deliver military weapons to Ukraine.]

There was an explicit call for the Red-Brown Front:

“Ms Dagdelen and Hamburg peace activist Christin Bernhold said the left needed to forge alliances but on “clear class positions,” and argued that a tendency to no platform speakers over political differences was undermining the whole left.”

Unsere Zeit journalist Melina Deymann argued that German trade unions were failing workers by accepting the lie that “we need to show solidarity with the exploiter class and moderate wage demands to unite against the evil Russians and the evil Chinese behind them,” and called for greater industrial militancy like that currently seen in Britain.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 16, 2023 at 12:04 pm

People’s Assembly on danger of “focus on antisemitism” and “weaponisation of antisemitism” to undermine Corbyn.

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Carried Unanimously.

Apart from anything else this motion reads like a badly written Spart rant.

The People’s Assembly National Conference attracted dozens, if not a couple of scores, of activists yesterday.

It is not known if the Suffolk People’s Assembly was present, or had to stay at home looking after his Ostentation of Peacocks.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 15, 2023 at 12:43 pm

Red-Brown Front: Tommy Robinson Leaps to the Defence of Former Labour left-winger Halima Khan.

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The Red Brown Front is a Fascist Front: Smash the Red-Brown Front!

Toff Khan self-identifies as working class.

Here is another time when a Muslim group had got close to Tommy Robinson:

Ipswich: EDL walk through town centre ends without incident

1st June 2013

A walk through Ipswich town centre by members of the English Defence League has finished without incident.

The group of about 50 were joined by members of Islamic charity Jimas, headed by chief executive Manwar Ali.

They walked through the town centre and arrived at Christchurch Park to lay flowers at the war memorial in memory of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Ipswich: Former EDL leader to address event on Holocaust Memorial Day

22nd January 2014

Organisers of an event on Holocaust Memorial Day in Ipswich have been criticised for inviting Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League, as a guest speaker.

The event on Monday, January 27, was originally planned to take place in conjunction with the Education Quarter Multi Faith Chaplaincy at Suffolk New College and University Campus Suffolk.

However the colleges have since disavowed themselves entirely from the talk and organiser JIMAS has decided to proceed independently.

The event on Monday, January 27, was originally planned to take place in conjunction with the Education Quarter Multi Faith Chaplaincy at Suffolk New College and University Campus Suffolk.

However the colleges have since disavowed themselves entirely from the talk and organiser JIMAS has decided to proceed independently.

Update: It heats up:

Written by Andrew Coates

January 14, 2023 at 6:47 pm

Communists call for Solidarity with Iranian Protests.

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The international communist movement supports protests in Iran.

The Morning Star publishes this statement, .

In an open letter following the largest annual meeting of communists from across the globe in Cuba last year, 62 parties speak out in solidarity with the Iranian people

WE the undersigned communist and workers’ parties are following with concern the developments in Iran since September 2022.

In line with the action plan unanimously agreed upon at the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) in Havana, Cuba, in October 2022, we express our solidarity with the just causes of the people of Iran including with the Iranian communists who face persecution and prohibitions on the free exercise of their political rights; and we stand against dictatorial regimes, repression, and discrimination in terms of democratic rights and freedoms in that country.

The current mass protests in Iran, which began after the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the “morality police” on September 16 2022 — with the country’s women and youth at the forefront — have condemned the repressive state policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and called for fundamental systemic political changes. Mass demonstrations across Iran have been brutally suppressed by the police and security forces of the IRI.

Confirmed reports put the number of the protesters killed by the state’s repressive measures at more than 500, including 57 children, while hundreds more are injured and around 18,000 have been arrested.

The IRI’s judiciary has confirmed that the trial of about 1000 protesters has already started. Several defendants have already been charged with “enmity with god,” “fighting against Islam” and “endangering the national security of the Islamic state” and sentenced to death. These trial processes fall massively short of even the most basic standards of legal due process and a fair and lawful trial.

We strongly denounce the use of the death penalty — particularly as punishment solely for engaging in peaceful protests and political activities and for exercising the right to free speech or freedom to join a political or social organisation of one’s choice.

We support the legitimate struggle of the Iranian people for peace, human and democratic rights, sovereignty, and social justice. Their struggle to determine the future of their country — free from any intimidation, oppression, or violence — is their legitimate right. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees and an immediate halt to the torture and execution of protesters.

We also strongly reject any interference by imperialism and reactionary regimes in the Middle East in Iran’s internal affairs. The future direction of political developments in Iran is a decision solely for the people of Iran themselves.

Signed: Communist Party of Albania, Communist Party of Australia, Communist Party of Austria, Party of Labour of Austria, Democratic Progressive Tribune, Bahrain, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Communist Party of Belgium, Workers Party of Belgium, Brazilian Communist Party, Communist Party of Britain, Communist Party of Canada, Communist Party of Chile, Colombian Communist Party, Socialist Workers Party of Croatia, AKEL, Cyprus, Communist Party of Bohemia & Moravia, Communist Party of Denmark, Communist Party in Denmark, Egyptian Communist Party, Communist Party of Finland, French Communist Party, German Communist Party, Communist Party of Greece, Communist Party of India [Marxist], Communist Party of India, Tudeh Party of Iran, Iraqi Communist Party, Communist Party of Kurdistan-Iraq, Communist Party of Ireland, Workers Party of Ireland, Communist Party of Israel, Party of the Communist Refoundation (Italy), Jordanian Communist Party, Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan, Communist Party of Malta, Communist Party of Mexico, New Communist Party of the Netherlands, Communist Party of Norway, Communist Party of Pakistan, Palestinian Communist Party, Palestinian People Party, Philippines Communist Party (PKP 1930), Communist Party of Poland, Russian Communist Workers Party, New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, Party Communists of Serbia, South African Communist Party, Communist Party of Spain, Communist Party of the Workers of Spain, Communists of Catalonia, Communist Party of Sri Lanka, Sudanese Communist Party, Communist Party of Swaziland, Communist Party of Sweden, Syrian Communist Party (Unified), Communist Party of Turkey, Communist Party of Ukraine, Communist Party USA, Communist Party of Venezuela, JVP Sri Lanka.

The French Communist Party, Parti Communiste Français (PCF) which has 12 MPs, issued this statement back in September:


The French Communist Party expresses its anger at this new barbaric assassination. It lends its full support to the struggle of Iranian women who want to see their rights recognised to freely dispose of their bodies and their lives. We call for solidarity with the Iranian people and the progressive forces mobilised against the theocratic dictatorship and for democracy.

In Britain this looks an important initiative from the wider left.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 14, 2023 at 11:47 am

Breaking, Exclusive: People’s Assembly to Hold National Conference Tomorrow.

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Top Labour Movement Figures John Rees and Lindsey German to Lead Working Class Fight Back.

Tickets Still Available!

Older people may recall the People’s Assembly. Launched in 2013 it was a leading force in the anti-austerity movements of the decade. The PA played a positive role, drawing together trade unionists, local campaigners against cuts, Labour party activists, and members of small left groups together for local protests and national demonstrations. It was a very significant initiative, with national conferences and groups across the country.

As recently as 2020 there were examples of local People’s Assembly groups in England such as Didcot and Calderdal. A few thousand people attended the national PA demo Britain is Broken calling to Kick the Tories Out, demo in November 2022.

In Suffolk these days the People Assembly spends his time in a picturesque village looking after the Peacocks (a gift from his days starring in The Prisoner), and recalling highlights of the Conference of “Solidarity with the AntiFascist Resistance in Ukraine” (SARU).

The importance of tomorrow’s event can be see by this annoncement.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 13, 2023 at 5:08 pm

Former Leading Labour Left Winger Halima Khan Goes Red-Brown Front.

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The Red-Brown Front is a Fascist Front: Smash the Red-Brown-Front!

Halima Khan was a leading Labour left-winger. Former Chair of Labour Party’s BAME Staff Network and Governance and Legal Unit staff. 2019-2022  Whistleblower on #LabourFiles .

Now she has joined the Red-Brown Front.

The Red Brown toff even has her own web site:

Former Investigations and Governance Officer of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit and Chair of the Labour Party’s BAME Staff Network. Whistleblower on Al Jazeera’s three-part series ‘The Labour Files’.

Lifelong anti-Racism activist who decided to whistleblow against the Labour Party, to expose high-levels of corruption and interference within British democracy. The mission was to exemplify how the British establishment works on a hierarchy of racism, where issues of Islamophobia, Anti-Black racism, and other forms of discrimination are seen as of lesser importance comparatively to how the state and its political factions treat Antisemitism – findings supported by the ‘The Forde Inquiry,’ pushed for by the BAME Staff Network.

Embarking on a new journey to reignite passions for activism through art and music explicitly and unapologetically, after years of being gagged into political correctness – liberation begins with our voice.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 12, 2023 at 6:22 pm

George Galloway in Twitter Meltdown.

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It’s not just the jokes, it’s the way he tells them.

Most of us when we throw a wobbly (speaking for a friend) shout at the squirrels in the street, buy two litres of White Cider and go and throw bread at the ducks in the park. Teetotal Galloway has only social media.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 11, 2023 at 7:50 pm

Far Right Tory MP Andrew Bridgen Finally Suspended From Party.

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Andrew Bridgen stripped of Tory whip over Covid vaccine comments

 has had the Conservative Party whip removed after having “crossed a line” in his criticism of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The North West Leicestershire MP has been increasingly vocal in remarks questioning the coronavirus vaccine.

On Wednesday he tweeted an article on vaccines, adding: “As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”

Chief whip Simon Hart said: “Andrew Bridgen has crossed a line, causing great offence in the process.

“As a nation, we should be very proud of what has been achieved through the vaccine programme. The vaccine is the best defence against Covid that we have.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 11, 2023 at 2:48 pm

Stop the War Coalition Calls National Demo on Ukraine.

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As left organises to Stand with Ukraine and we hear there are calls to get London Labour politicians to help with a march, the Stop the War Coalition announces counter-demonstration.


We will soon be approaching one year since Russia launched the genocidal all-out invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.  This new year provides us with an vantage point to consider what has happened and our approach in the period ahead.   It is one in which Labour must do all in its power to help Ukraine to win both on the military and the social front of the war.  

In the last year we have witnessed Ukrainians mount a courageous resistance against a nuclear superpower with greater numbers, weapons and resources.   Against the odds, and Washington’s advice to evacuate the government, the populace rallied to bolster a resistance which successfully defended their capital Kyiv and second city Kharkiv.  Strengthened by thousands of volunteers and making the most of the aid provided, the armed forces liberated the Kharkiv region and Kherson. They have provided for history yet another example that a people empowered by the idea of freedom can defeat the strongest armies of the world.

Overall, 1,888 settlements have been liberated, but this is not yet victory, Russia still occupies almost as many villages and towns.  Ukrainian’s know the price of occupation, the thriving city of Mariupol destroyed with 25,000 killed, areas liberated only revealing mass graves and horrific war crimes by Russian forces.    Conscious of this reality Ukrainians are determined to free their entire country and continue their struggle.

Yet despite defeating Russian strategic objectives at each turn and with barrages of missiles targeting the energy grid to maximise civilian suffering, the idea of Ukraine winning has been brought into question by a wide spectrum of opinion, from U.S military and political officials to the siren calls of sectarian socialism, stating it is time for negotiations and even trading land for peace.

That our solidarity must comprise advocating the victory of Ukraine follows from the appreciation of two components of the current war.


More through above link.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 10, 2023 at 12:51 pm

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George Galloway Victim of Cancel Culture as Church Annuls Tankie Fest.

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Outrage as Tankie Fest Cancelled.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 9, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Stop the War Coalition Publishes ‘Trade Union’ Conference Agenda.

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“British support for NATO escalation in Ukraine is prolonging the war and threatening confrontation between nuclear armed powers.”

Not many people are going to support that claim.

Stop the War Coalition.

“We are living in a more and more dangerous world. The war in Ukraine is a disaster for the people there and effectively pits two nuclear armed great powers against each other. It could escalate at any time and is already causing economic chaos. Meanwhile, the US is ramping up the pressure on China, with full support from the British government and other NATO allies.

All this is raising tensions around the world, and in the middle of the worst attacks on living standards since the 1930s they want us to pay for this new militarism. The Tories are attempting to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP – way above the European average.

We have called this conference because we believe that it is always working people who are the first victims of war and that the record sums being spent on arms and the military should be redirected to public services, to the NHS, social care and our crumbling schools. We believe that the slogan ‘cut warfare not welfare’ should be taken up by the whole of the trade union movement.

The conference is open to all trade unionists. We urge you to register but also to spread the word in your branches and trades councils.”

Stop the War are pushing a line, ” ‘cut warfare not welfare'” that harks back to the 19th century Liberal MP John Bright (1811 – 1899), “He opposed the Crimean War, not only because (like Cobden) he advocated the cause of peace and internationalism, but also for the burden that military expenditure imposed on the taxpayer.

There is no mention that most people, and most of the left and trade unionists, stand with Ukraine. Solidarity with Ukraine is common decency and internationalism. That includes military backing.

On China the StWC does not mention that Deputy Chair, Andrew Murray, author of their pamphlet The World at War. A Trade Union Issue, is an ardent Campist who backs the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and thinks the country is ‘socialist’.

 It is also curious, though no doubt they are trying to drag in what they can, to see ‘Islamophobia’ on the STWC agenda.

And there is one absence – amongst items not on the day’s programme.

The Iranian people’s democratic fight against the Islamic Republic of Iran is not mentioned.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 8, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Kurds: Muslims, Feminists and Revolutionaries – Charlie Hebdo.

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More than words needed to back the Kurds.

Les Kurdes, musulmans, féministes et révolutionnaires Natacha Devanda  Charlie Hebdo.

(Extracts, translated – the lyrical passages freely)

Kurds, and especially women, are at the forefront of the fight against dictatorial religious regimes.

Jin, jiyan, azadi” or, translated : “Women, life, freedom”. These three words have resonated in Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini last September. The West has discovered that this trilogy of revolt however, comes from afar. from the “Mountains of Kurdistan, [the] plains of Rojava, [and] demonstrations and political meetings in Turkey” , noted the journalist Émile Bouvier on the site Les clés du Moyen-Orient. Because this slogan, taken up today in the streets of Iran, comes from the Kurds. More precisely from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and, specifically, from the female (not to say feminist) branches within the movement considered by Turkey and other States as a terrorist organisation.

Before they were at the centre of tragic news in Paris at the end of 2022, the Kurds were best known for their military opposition to Daesh, with armed brigades fighting relentlessly, especially in Kobané, Syria. . In the early 2010s, a female branch was created within the People’s Protection Units (YPG), these are the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), which brought together up to 24,000 combatants. These are women warriors who inspire panic and fear in Islamist terrorists, as it is dishonourable for them to risk being killed by a woman.


….what is the origin of this Kurdish specificity in the Muslim world? “Throughout their history, the Kurds have developed a relationship with Islam that is different from that which generally prevails, particularly in the Arab world. Mainly Sunni Muslim like its Arab and Turkish neighbours, Kurdish society has shown a surprising capacity to accept religious diversity“, notes Pierre-André Hervé, geographer, specialist in Iraqi Kurdistan ….During the First World War, an officer of the English colonial empire stationed in Turkey was surprised at the mixed dances during Kurdish village festivals. “Unusual customs compared to other Muslim peoples in the region,” he noted. He considered also that,  in terms of the respect between men and woman male/female the Kurds [are] closer to Westerners than to other peoples in the region”.


The harsh living conditions, persecutions from outside and the need for a strong political organisation to shape the Kurdish identity would also help explain the progressive stand of this people. Not among all Kurds, of course, because honour killings and reactionary ideas also exist among them. But those who are politicised seem strongly influenced by the theories of Abdullah Öcalan, founder and former leader of the PKK, now a prisoner serving a life sentence in Imrali, Turkey. His texts on women are simply incredible. Lyrical, they denounce the alliance of the hunter and the shaman to expel women from power, criticise the patriarchy, which has thwarted the “progressive development of humanity and has engendered an extraordinary degree poverty in our lives”, and sets out the theoretical foundations of “jineology”, the science of women’s liberation.

In the new era that he calls for, Öcalan further notes that “the solutions to all the social problems of the Middle East must focus on the place of women 

On the ground, the Kurdish people are trying to put into practice these idea in Rojava, in northern Syria. It is a political project based on the emancipation of women, ecology and the inclusion of all ethnic and religious parts of society. It deserves to be widely known and supported. A utopia ? Maybe, but so what? We lack it as long as we die of it. And the Kurds want to live.”


All progressive humanity stands with the Kurds.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 7, 2023 at 12:53 pm

Tankie Fest in London.

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What a Shower!

Join us in London on Saturday 25 February at 2.30pm. We’ll be meeting at St Pancras New Church opposite Euston Station (more details to be announced). Our speakers George Galloway, Chris Williamson, Lowkey, Aslef VP Andy Hudd, MEP Clare Daly, MEP Mick Wallace, Max Blumenthal and Anya Parampil will be joined by a host of other guests to put the case for getting Britain out of Nato.

This lot make even the Stop the War Coalition sound reasonable.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 6, 2023 at 12:33 pm

Tina Werkmann Explains Shock Departure from “living corpse” Labour Representation Committee and Red Line TV.

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LRC is now a living corpse.”

Fun-for-all read: Unconscious cancel culture. Tina Werkmann explains her departure from the Labour Representation Committee and Red Line TV.

“Some comrades might find it ‘uncomfortable’, perhaps even a little ‘tasteless’ to air our grievances in front of the ‘political public’. I am not comfortable about it myself. But that said, I am convinced that the crucial political questions at play here should be discussed openly. Only in this way can we learn lessons from the ignominious defeat of the Corbyn project and its disastrous aftermath.”

Tina, no longer in the Office, continues her explanation in the pages of the House Journal of her former bureau The Weekly Worker.

“The LRC is now a living corpse. For some unfathomable reason, there are still monthly NEC meetings. These are borderline Kafkaesque. Sometimes statements are being discussed at length that are then not published anywhere. Or occasionally pop up months later. The statement on the war in Ukraine was an example of this”

“Similarly, motions about this or that activity, or an attempt to revive the LRC might be passed – without anybody actually responsible for implementation. I am not aware of any LRC branches that do anything, let alone meet. It’s like the LRC merely exists in order to … well, exist. A strange Potemkin village.”

(Perhaps a reference to model villages in Bourton-on-the water, Cotswolds, known for their perfectly formed miniature size)


The socialist left and pro-Palestine campaigns will have to suffer the consequences of this spineless political capitulation for many years to come, for example, when it comes to the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and the continuing cancel culture and attacks on free speech.


Werkmann, who this evening is hosting an event puffing Tony Greenstein (Monster Raving Raving Party, Canal Historique, Faction 2) on ‘Zionist’ responsibility for, and collaboration with, Nazism has done a lot to dispel the charge of anti-Semitism levelled against anti-Zionist stalwarts . Zionism during the Holocaust – with Tony Greenstein. One can onl concurr at being outraged,

The statement continues with some carefully worded sentences about Graham Bash…

Then..”I was told in one editorial meeting that “you cannot go into a meeting with black people and start talking to them about Marxism”. My question of “why not?” was met with an eye roll.” (one can only vaguely guess which well-spoken middle class person made this comment… or perhaps such a person was using her Massa Coatesy voice, or just plain Mockney)

“Things came to a head after our December 5 show on ‘direct action’, in which radical anthropologist Chris Knight, a member of the Labour Briefing editorial board and another self-declared Marxist, stated at length and repeatedly that Marx and Engels really were just spontaneous activists, who only wrote stuff and “maybe a programme” when there was a “lull in the struggle”.2

Werkmann, shocked to discover that the celebrated author of My Sex Life, ( “All of us have to suffer to become revolutionaries. In my cas the suffering was primary sexual”) was a bit of an odd ball, politically and otherwise, was plunged into a maelstrom of controversy.

We had moved on to discussing the next show when Jackie Walker dropped what I thought was a bit of bombshell. Because I was so critical of Chris she felt obliged to state that “some people are refusing to come back on the show because of you, Tina”. When I asked who these people were or what they had said, I was told she could not reveal their names or reasons because of “confidentiality”. But the fact they did not want to come back on the show was “a serious problem” resulting from my “style”.

One learns that stern, but fair, Werkmann had also has a to-do over Alan Simpson, the former left MP once tipped as a future leader of the left and always open to frank and fair discussions about his many shortcomings, “I have challenged Alan on what I believe are his political limitations.” 

People-person Jackie Walker took Tina to task,

If you are making people who are being interviewed (people who are fundamentally on our side) feel you are disabling their expression, in an unfair way, that is a problem. Interesting that when we did have people we were all opposed to, Graham actually said you allowed them to speak very freely.

Disabled, cancelled, who would have imagined that it should have come to this from the brave animatrice who gave a platform to Iran state lacky David Miller only in order to make a few gentle criticisms of him.

Cde Werkmann, to shorten things, has a new venture. “The culture of the new education and discussion series, Why Marx?, will hopefully be more robust.”

One imagines, robustly, that it will.

One can but hope that Jackie Walker does not reply in this vein:

“Massa’ Andrew an’ sum a u you gud white folks seems to be just falli’n ova yo’selves to teach me a thing or two ‘bout ma histry, an white terror an’ all those complicated things. I never had a thowt of none of it till y’all toll me ‘bout it jus now. Anyways, all this made me kinda of think, it was time, yessir, te give som-a dat lovin’ concern an’ thinkin’ right back to y’all!”

“It appears to have escaped Mr Coates (and his troubled, fragile political comrades and associates) that yes, not only am I black but I hold an American passport (having been born, yes, you got it, in America). Not only that, but if Mr Coates had researched however briefly before he wrote, something I would reccomend, he would have gathered that my mother was … yes, a Civil Rights Protestor who, in his words had ‘suffered real terror’. And that of course, being a descendent of slaves, that it IS my people that have been murdered, tortured, starved, lynched and raped as well as terrorised, not for 5 or 10 years, but for centuries yes — Coatsie – hope I haven’t upset you too much now but in case you want to know what you are trying to talk about, this trailer of the show might be of some help.”

To paraphrase a quotation from ‘Great White Hope’, “White folks so good to me, sometimes I just wanna cry about it!

Written by Andrew Coates

January 5, 2023 at 4:54 pm

Charlie Hebdo Publishes Results of Cartoon Competition to Mock Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei.

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The Origin of the World…. (Mullahs Get back to where you come from…).

On the 7th of January 2015 two French Muslim terrorists and brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the Charlie Hebdo in Paris. They murdered 12 people and injured 11 others. The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the racist Islamic terrorist group  Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In a linked attack, on the Hypercacher kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes ,four Jewish people were murdered by an Islamist, Amedy Coulibaly.

In a commemorative issue of Charlie Hebdo published today the satirical magazine has given the results of a special competition to design the “funniest and nastiest” cartoon of Iran’s Supreme Leader  Ali Khamenei.

In an editorial Riss states that contest is an illustration of why the issues leading to the slaughter of their comrades at the Weekly remain on the agenda.


Libération reports that a good part of the published drawings are thus the work of Iranians, most of whom have taken refuge abroad. Others come from a number of counriers, including Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and Sweden. They are by both professionals and amateurs. 

On December 8, we launched a of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We wanted to support the struggle of Iranians who are fighting for their freedom, by ridiculing this religious leader from another age, and to help send him back to the dustbin of history. A few weeks later and we had got more than 300 drawings(as well as thousands of threats)

The call for drawings.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 4, 2023 at 12:38 pm

Red Line TV (‘Continuity’ Labour Briefing, Canal Historique) in Crisis as Tina Werkmann Resigns.

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Red Line TV Faces Uncertain Future as New Controversy Erupts, this time over Climate Action Vanguardists.

Labour Briefing (Labour Representation Committee), one of the best known journals of the Labour left dating back to the Benn years, has not been published for some time.

Yet it has continued, some assert, through the medium of ‘Red Line TV‘.

Now, after a series of scandals (following giving a platform to Iranian regime supporter David Miller) Red Line TV is facing a crisis as key animator Tina Werkmann has resigned from the LRC and Labour Briefing Board that runs it.

It is alleged that a certain JW (!) felt that Tina, somebody one can assure readers is pretty polite and respectful, had made some climate direct action vanguardist person feel ‘unsafe’.

One can strongly disagree, as this Blog does, with Tina Werkmann’s politics, though she a serious leftist with both commitment and brio.

One can, as most of the comrades from the old Briefing, including leading figures, have done, go to other pastures, such as the excellent, Labour Hub.

But Tina Werkmann has been treated shabbily by the shrinking group of people that’s still around the LRC.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 3, 2023 at 2:41 pm

The former Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) on BBC Radio Four.

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An interesting broadcast was on BBC Radio 4 just before Christmas. (Hat-tip Bob B).

It is highly relevant to present day disputes on the left, as the Communist Party of Britain attempts to peddle the line that they are the unique inheritors of the Communist tradition in Britain, and the guardians of the legacy of the considerably larger Communist Party of Great Britain, (CPGB).

Britain’s Communist Thread

The Party’s Over

It begins with the final years of the CPGB.

There is archival material, with Nina Temple, the party’s last Secretary and interviews with people involved, notably Beatrix Campbell. Geoff Andrews author of Endgames and New Times: The Final Years of British Communism 1964-1991, contributes. Andrews puts the final two decades of the CPGB in the context of the rise of Eurocommunism, particularly in Italy and France, in reaction to the tyranny of the official Communist regimes of ‘actually existing socialism’. The programme gives some scope to what Eurocommunism was, or considered itself to be in the eyes of UK supporters, a broader democratic left that tried to take up the social movements that emerged post-68, and, more fundamentally, address the democratic flaws in the Soviet system, brought to a head with the 1968 Invasion of Czechoslovakia. One could have added, that the inability of Western European Communist Parties to win national political power was a major spur behind Eurocommunism.

In Britain Eurocommunism was associated with Marxism Today, although its Editor, Martin Jacques is not interviewed which may have added some further insights into what that meant to those involved. There is no account of the factional make-up of the party in the 1980s outlined, although in-depth this would be a strain on any but the most committed listener and Trainspotter. Yet it was their disputes which were the immediate causes of the demise of the CPGB as such, a brief turn to the Democratic Left, and then a scattering to the winds of most of this current. In these respects the programme covers the field well.

Marxism Today is described by the, some of the former protagonists, as an opening up to the “period of experimentation on the left”, in local government genuine anti-war protests that tried go beyond campism. Nina Temple is recorded from a television programme as rejecting the dictatorship of the proletariat and other doctrines of authoritarian politics. She comes across as bright, articulate, and very much in the mainstream of modern radical left (non-Leninist) thinking and its renovation through feminism in the 1970s, with movements far beyond traditional left structures. CP member Beatrix Campbell’s experience of being part of the collective of a Women’s Liberation journal, Red Rag and efforts by the leadership to shut it down, were for her, a landmark in her political development.

With accuracy the documentary discusses, through the voice of Robert Griffiths, the large-scale expulsions of those who opposed this strategy. The ‘new thinking’ did not perhaps find a wider echo on the left, above on the new Labour left of the 1980s, when it stumbled over issues like class politics, trade union militancy and (not discussed in the broadcast) a whole range of strategic issues. Ideas about a radical democracy (more recently revived in the brief enthusiasm for Left Populism, and the writings of people such Chantal Mouffe) went beyond social movements and pressure groups. There was wide discussion on the Forward March of Labour Halted. (edited by Eric Hobsbawm, 1981) and New Times (late 1980s), which the Socialist Society, from the radical democratic and internationalist left, criticised. By the late 1980s it became clear that many on the Eurocommunist wing considered a “progressive alliance” beyond the socialist and social democratic left. For some this would include all kinds of Greens and the Liberal Democrats, nationalist parties like  Plaid Cymru  and even the More Borders Scottish National Party, the SNP.

The programme gives full scope to what Eurocommunism was in the UK. It was less, as in France, Italy and Spain a move focused on trying to win political power but, a broader democratic left that tried to take up the ‘new social movements’ that emerged post-68, and, more fundamentally, the flaws in the Soviet system. Marxism Today is described by these, former protagonists, as an opening up to the “period of experimentation on the left”, in local government genuine anti-war protests that tried go beyond campism. Nina Temple is recorded from a television programme as rejecting the dictatorship of the proletariat and other doctrines of authoritarian politics. Opponents accused Marxism Today of being ‘scabs’, a reference to the magazine’s criticisms of the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the 1980s strike.

Accusations against the implication of leading Communists in the history that the “reformists and the revisionists” rejected accelerated divisions as the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. This is, as many of are well aware, the intimate ties between King Street, to Moscow and the CPSU.

With accuracy the documentary discusses, through the voice of Robert Griffiths, expulsions of those who opposed this strategy. For Griffiths, commitment to class struggle and Marxism-Leninism led to the creation of the Communist Party of Britain in 1988. At around 1,000 members of the CPG (in contrast to the CPGB’s 4,742 at dissolution, down from a peak immediately post-war at over 60,000), whose views are often expressed in the Morning Star (one of two daily English language dailies, independent, and owned by the co-op), has the present day General Secretary says that they often have a positive response from young people. This claim is backed by by Dalia Gebrial, writer and academic and, by Noah Russell, student and activist in the Young Communist League in Wales who stood for Communist Party of Britain in a local election last year in Cardiff.

For Griffiths, continued commitment to class struggle and Marxism-Leninism led to the creation of the Communist Party of Britain in 1988. At around 1,000 members of the CPG, whose views are often expressed in the Morning Star (one of two daily English language dailies, independent, and owned by the co-op), has, the present day General Secretary says often had a positive response from young people. This claim is backed by by Dalia Gebrial, writer and academic and, by Noah Russell, student and activist in the Young Communist League in Wales who stood for Communist Party of Britain in a local election last year in Cardiff.

An audio-clip of this is given:

This brilliant documentary, within its time limits, ends with the thought by Dalia Gebrial that ‘post-colonial’ experiments (one would understand, with forms of state directed ‘socialism’) is, to her of major importance to, her, communities, in Britain and to the future of communism in these lands..

With the war in Ukraine one can confidently assert: that’s as may be, but most of us have more pressing legacies from the USSR to deal with.

There are two further episodes, on the CPGB’s history:

Listen now Mistakes Were Made – 1956.

Britain’s Communist Thread

Historian Camilla Schofield explores a century-long thread of communism in Britain. Today focusing on the crises of 1956.

Little Moscow

Britain’s Communist Thread

Historian Camilla Schofield explores a century-long thread of communism in Britain.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 2, 2023 at 6:39 pm

Brendan O’Neill, “What unites Greta Thunberg and Andrew Tate.”

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Brendan O’Neill, “two cheeks of the same derriere of anti-humanism”

Brendan O’Neill is the chief Political writer of Spiked, the on-line journal formed by the old Revolutionary Communist Party/Living Marxism network. It is the Anti-Woke Finder General. Spiked has ties to the former Brexit Party of Nigel Farage, Conservative Party intellectuals, sovereigntists, and, in recent times, some New Left Review writers.

A literary chap, O’Neill is said, by top media commentator Rosie B, to model himself on 1930s reviewer Hope-Tipping (H-T) of Buttermere. H-T made his name in the 1930s by saying “the one thing that was lacking from D. H. Lawrence’s novels was the consciousnesses of sexual relationship, the male-female element in life”.

The Contrarian has made his richly remunerated way in this line, tossing off lines such as, “posh-bashing has eerie echoes of that older pastime of prole-bashing. In both instances, in both today’s pseudo-radical assaults on toffs and yesteryear’s reactionary attacks on a feckless underclass, moralism stands in for serious analysis and invective takes the place of cool-headed commentary.”

O’Neill has long criticised the Swedish environmentalist activist Greta Thunberg as “The Cult of Greta Thunberg”. He describes her as a “millenarian weirdo” and criticises what he describes as her “monotone voice” speech patterns. “Refuse to panic, mock the blather about hellfire, and appreciate that mankind’s transformation of the planet has been a glorious thing that has expanded life expectancy, allowed billions to live in cities, and made it possible for even the less well-off to travel the globe. Sin against St Greta.” (2019)

Every week, if not day, the pundit offers the Alternative View on leading events in the world, and further afield.

The New Year is no exception.

What unites Greta Thunberg and Andrew Tate. The Spectator.


“There’s no moral equivalence between the pair – but their cults have more in common than you might think.”

“So, are you Team Tate or Team Thunberg? Do you side with the muscled misogynist who has convinced tragic TikTok incels that he’s a ‘real man’? Or with the pint-sized prophetess of doom famous for scaring the world witless about the coming climate apocalypse?”

“For me, that’s the most striking thing about this daft spat – just how similar these two battalions in the Culture War are. On one side you have a squadron of lonely blokes who hang on Tate’s every word as if he were the messiah of masculinity. And on the other you have a platoon of middle-class eco-worriers who treat Greta as Gaia made flesh, the sainted green come to wash away mankind’s sin of industrial hubris.”

“They brook no blasphemy against St Greta. They treat her every utterance as gospel. Politicians fall at her feet and lap up her reprimands. It’s like political S&M.

“In different ways, both the Cult of Tate and the Cult of Thunberg encourage their followers to fear and reject modern society and to retreat into utterly unattainable dreams of ‘utopia’. “


“The green-leaning commentariat loves to mock the adoration and credulity of Andrew Tate’s sad fans. They don’t realise that they’re the saddest fans of all. If someone can explain why gushing over a young woman who says ‘The world is coming to an end and it’s YOUR fault’ is more sophisticated than fawning over a bloke who says ‘I have lots of cars and YOU don’t’, I’m all ears. Aren’t they both just species of self-loathing? Greta lectures us for leaving too big a carbon footprint, Tate mocks us for not having a big enough carbon footprint. It’s two cheeks of the same derriere of anti-humanism.


You can see the resemblance.

One is a loud-mouthed ‘social influencer, living a life of luxury. He’s a former kickboxer, who has appeared with O’Neill’s old mucker Nigel Farage(*), is friends with an American far-right television presenter, Tucker Carlson, and who, publicly at least, converted to Islam this autumn. He has been detained in Romania as part of a human trafficking and rape investigation.

Greta Thunberg is green climate campaigner who took Tate down more than a peg.


Written by Andrew Coates

January 2, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Tendance New Year Leftist Trainspotter Quiz.

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How was it faring in 2022 chaps?

It’s that happy time again.

Looking back at all our favourite Trainspotter events of the year, 2022.

Chris Williamson Registered a New Party with the Electoral Commission in August 2022. What was its name? When it was it deregistered?

  1. The All Vegan Anti-Zionist Alliance. September.
  2. The Anti-Zionist All Vegan Front. October.
  3. System Change. December.

George Galloway purged the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninst) from the Workers Party of Britain. Why?

  1. He thought the Brar dynasty were too critical of the  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
  2. They did not put enough work into the alliance with progressive small businesses in opposition to Traffic Calming Schemes in Kings Heath Birmingham.
  3. Anti-imperialist, scientific socialist, truthseeker Joti Brar looked at Galloway the wrong way during a meeting.

Why did the Breakthrough Party break up in September?

  1. The Youth were Revolting.
  2. The Revolt was the Youth.
  3. Can anybody remember who the Breakthrough Party are?

What were amongst the most remarkable claims that Tariq Ali made in 2022?

  1. Putting Enoch Powell in Churchill’s postwar cabinet.
  2. Anything he said on Ukraine, beginning with, “Since 3 December 2021, when the Washington Post ‘broke’ the story – based on some aerial photos of tents in a field and other helpfully selected nuggets of US intelligence – the Anglophone world has been subjected to a highly orchestrated media campaign, trumpeting at top volume the ‘massive’ and ‘imminent’ Russian invasion of Ukraine.” (News from Natoland February)
  3. “The Daily Star, a newspaper I had thought was long dead, has spent the last week publishing pictures of Liz Truss alongside those of a cabbage..”(Worstward Ho?)

Who is ‘spanky’ Maupin and how had he got this sobriquet?

  1. He was leading light of the “Center for Political Innovation”(CPI)  and got booted out. (Caleb Maupin’s Former Comrades Speak Out, His Abuses Must Stop!)
  2. Laurence Caleb Maupin is a widely acclaimed speaker, writer, journalist, for RT, the Tehran Times. and political analyst. He has travelled extensively in the Middle East and in Latin America. He’s spankin’ good on the Red-Brown Front!

When was Workers Hammer (Spartacist League) last published?

  1. Spring 2022.
  2. Summer 2022.
  3. Autumn 2022.

Why did the Canary become a Workers’ Co-op and get rid of the Bosses in October?

  1. “..the Canary was very much a hierarchical organisation. Directors made decisions and imposed them upon the rest of the team. ​​”
  2. “directors enjoyed perks such as unlimited personal, mental health, and sick leave on full pay. The rest of the staff, meanwhile, only received 65% sick pay, and historically received statutory sick pay.”
  3. “We publicised that there was only a 20% pay gap between the highest and lowest paid members of staff, the disparity in director and staff employment terms resulted in a pay gap that, in some cases, was about double that claim.”

What was the lowest TUSC vote in an election in 2022?

  1. 5.
  2. 17.
  3. Who knows, or cares, nobody’s interested any more.

Which left group was the first to call for a General Strike this year (easy one this)?

  1. The Newsline, one of the two English language dailies.
  2. The Morning Star, the second best known English language daily.
  3. Socialist Worker.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 1, 2023 at 1:06 pm

New Left Review Goes Spiked-on-line.

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New Left Review Goes RCP/Spiked Red Brown Front.

Perhaps unnoticed amongst the furore about their latest material on Ukraine by Volodymyr Ishchenko, which uses the tell-tale jargon about ‘identity politics’ New Left Review, the self identifying left wing journal, has just published two red-brown articles on Brexit.

One is by an old Living Marxism stalwart. Philip Cunliffe, who has been Frank Furedi’s close colleague at the University of Kent, and a long term Spiked activist. It is called, “The Meanings of Brexit.

He poses the ‘question’, no doubt on everybody’s lips, “What lessons can be drawn for the challenge of recombining national sovereignty with mass politics?”

He states,

“What lessons for a political project of achieving democratic sovereignty might be gleaned from the experience of Brexit? First, the necessity of linking sovereignty to the aspiration for greater popular control—as was artfully achieved by Cummings’s slogan for the Vote Leave campaign: ‘Take back control’. Despite all the hysteria about racism, imperial nostalgia and xenophobia supposedly driving the Brexit vote, it was this aspiration for control that ultimately won the day”

To make his allegiances clear ‘Brexit Bolshevik’ Cunliffe cites this work, whose authors include a one-time candidate for the Brexit Party (Heartfield, who is said to suffer from Coprolalia syndrome, bottled out at the last moment). James Heartfield, ‘European Union: A Process Without a Subject’, in Christopher Bickerton, Philip Cunliffe and Alexander Gourevitch, eds, Politics without Sovereignty: A Critique of International Relations, London 2007. 

The other is by a prominent member of the red-brown Full Brexit front (which brought together Spiked, Brexit Party people, ‘Blue Labour’ and former left wingers in group like the Communist Party of Britain, CPB, as well as ‘Green’ Larry O’Nutter, more widely known under his pen-name, Larry O’Hara). Christopher Bickerton. He is also “an author at Spiked” (Chris Bickerton on the new politics that transcends the old left-right divide. 2021)


“It is certainly possible that whilst the uk has formally left the eu, it remains a member-state. “

Taking Brexit seriously should have meant crafting out of this disparate body of voters a movement committed to the democratic potential of Brexit: exercising power without the constraints of the Single Market, and making clear the difference between being in and out of the eu in terms of tackling the uk’s deep-seated internal economic and social problems. At the same time, a lasting Brexit strategy required a careful balancing of costs and benefits, both economically and constitutionally.

For non-member-states, the vincolo esterno remains as a subjective disposition and attitude, as a habit and a way of thinking about political action. It is possible to overcome it, but this will take both time and effort. Above all, it will require the coming together of society and the political class, a closing of the ‘void’ that characterizes our advanced industrial societies. Brexit is no guarantee of this closure but it makes it a much more realistic prospect.


Much in these pieces does not need to be translated from the obscurity of New Left Reviwese. The message is that Brexit, was in a way only the authors can discern, a populist revolt against the ‘elites’. Led no doubt by unlikely figures like Johnson, Cummings and Jacob Rees Mogg, and Farage (barely mentioning the millionaires financing the Brexit Party and the ERG) but basically sound. At heart. If it’s gone a tiny bit Pete Tong one can only lament this. The Globalists are hard to get rid of.

Which leaves this question:

Has the RCP/Spiked now colonised the formerly left wing journal New Left Review?

Ask, Claire Fox, her Baroness….

Written by Andrew Coates

December 29, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Tony Greenstein Gets Big Boost from Iran state-affiliated media.

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The well-turned out gent from a notable South Coast resort has not only got a family history of fighting the Birmingham suburb of Moseley but is the author of the definitive study of the struggle against Hitler in Walmington-on-Sea,

Enjoying his retirement, and well-funded holidays, he has found time to appear on this blood-stained media outlet:

Today the Iranian affiliated media gives him another boost.

 Jews Don’t Count is an Exercise in Special pleading for Jewish Exceptionalism, Jewish Privilege & Jewish Victimhood

With this customary wit and elegance Greenstein writes,

It says everything about the superficial nature of the mass media that I even have to write this. Baddiel has received massive publicity for Jews Don’t Count, his pathetic plea for Jewish Exceptionalism and for Jews to be recognised as what they are not, victims of racial oppression.

When Sir Keir Stürmer felt the need to display his ‘anti-racist’ credentials to Labour Friends of Apartheid Israel, who better to praise than Blackface Baddiel’s Jews Don’t Count.

Speaking for his national-comrades in the new Red-Brown front Greenstein says,

Why the hell should the Left bother with this overwhelmingly reactionary community? 

Those who have actually read this book, sources close to Greenstein says he could not put it down, suggesting that he never picked it up, would say that Jews Don’t Count is a direct, short polémique making the point that anti-Semitism is a major issue that has not gone away.

Certainly not in Iran and its state-affiliated media.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 28, 2022 at 4:21 pm

Red-Brown Front Goes Public: Galloway, Chris Williamson, Lowkey Grayzone Max Blumenthal and Anya Parampil Star.

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The inventor of Britain’s most liked Vegan Croissant tweets:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 27, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Goodwill from the Tendance.

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A geezer I was at Warwick Uni at and shared a gaff in Leam with, remembers the days when we were in the International Marxist Group (IMG) and sold this excellent paper.

I am still left-wing, as is he.

As for the Editor of Socialist Challenge.

Alas, poor old Tariq is a class traitor, a hard line Brexiter, has said que dalle to back the people’s movement in Iran against the Islamic Republic, one of the most inspiring movements of this century, and on Ukraine, is a Campist mate of Andrew Murray.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 25, 2022 at 11:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Je suis Kurde.

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Clashes erupted in Paris on Friday as shocked members of the Kurdish community in Paris demanded justice after a deadly shooting attack killed three people at a Kurdish cultural centre.

France 24.

A 69-year-old white man, suspected of killing the three civilians in the heart of the French capital on Friday, was swiftly arrested by the police.

The suspect is known to the authorities for racist attacks, and was wounded in the face as he terrified the neighbourhood. 

The retired train driver was deliberately seeking out foreigners, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. But he added that it was “not certain” that the man was aiming to kill “Kurds in particular”.

As evening fell, riot police fired teargas to push back an angry crowd a short distance from the scene of the shootings as projectiles were thrown at officers, rubbish bins and restaurant tables overturned and at least one car damaged.

The attack took place in the Rue d’Enghien,  a street known to all. I add that I worked in the town of Enghein, just outside of Paris, for about three years, a place greatly loved by many of us.

All progressive humanity stands with the Kurdish people,

Written by Andrew Coates

December 24, 2022 at 2:06 pm

Ukraine: Galloway thinks of the Children.

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Without commentary.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 23, 2022 at 8:50 pm

Chris Williamson turns on Jeremy Corbyn.

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“The damage done by the ideological confusions of the Corbyn era, and its legitimisation of Zionism, is immense” Chris Williamson.

This Season is known for transforming people. An old comrade of the Tendance, on the crusty side, inclined towards Campism, woke up on the day before The Day so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions that he yoll “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

He walked about the streets, chortling, watching the people hurrying to and fro, gave tinnies of strong lager to beggars outside Sainsbury’s, put in tenner in the Sally Army Box, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. The Cde was so overwhelmed he bought a barrel of Ghost Ship Ale (in memory of recent visitations) to distribute to the poor in his own road, and became as good a friend, and as good an internationalist, as the good old burg of Ipswich knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.

Not so Chris Williamson, the former Labour MP, one-time ‘moderniser’ presently ‘anti imperialist’ and ‘socialist’, lackey of the Iranian regime, ally of George Galloway, associate of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, founder of a party (whose name this week one forgets), and best mate of one T. Greenstein.

The Ba Ba Bolshevik is, and looks like staying, in a foul mood.

Today Britain’s most famous Vegan chef, Teetotaller, and campaigner against Cruel Sports, has decided to take it out on one set of beasts, “The new evidence makes it all the more apparent that Corbyn’s office played a major role in ramping up “anti-Semitism” smears which targeted pro-Palestine Labour activists – his own supporters.”

It has become the custom, from bitter young men like Tel’s Nipper Oliver, to snaggletoothed duffers like the above Greenstein, to blame John McDonnell, and a list, which varies but usually includes Andrew Fisher, and Jon Lansman, for a range of things, including losing the 2019 election.

The Good Chief Corbyn, meek and mild, was, if not a child in such accounts, at least innocent of what went wrong. The same goes for his office, often called, LOTO, by reference to the team of Leader of the Opposition.

Not so! says Williamson in his latest thunderbolt.

Face the facts: Corbyn surrendered to Israel’s smears.

The new evidence makes it all the more apparent that Corbyn’s office played a major role in ramping up “anti-Semitism” smears which targeted pro-Palestine Labour activists – his own supporters.

Contrary to what many of his supporters think, Jeremy Corbyn indulged pro-Israel bullies. 

It does not appear that Corbyn was in the driving seat during much of the “anti-Semitism” blunders under his leadership. Corbyn, it seems, allowed his advisers to pressure him into considering ever-more absurd proposals.

For example, according to Owen Jones, key Corbyn aide Karie Murphy sought support from, and met regularly with Michael Levy – a staunch Israel supporter in the House of Lords and a founding member of the self-appointed Jewish Leadership Council.

One outcome of these meetings with Levy was a suggestion that Corbyn should visit Israel, something proposed by Simon Morris, who worked for an organization of which Levy is the president.

Corbyn rejected this suggestion and refused to engage with Levy.

Zionist influence in Corbyn’s office ran deep and Corbyn was given the worst possible advice.

Williamson concludes.

If anti-imperialists in Britain want to emerge from the rubble of the Corbyn project, they have to be prepared to engage in a rigorous post-mortem. 

For the moment Derby Chris is engaged in this strange ‘peace campaigning’:

Reaching out to fellow Red-Browner, Irish MEP, Clare Daly:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 22, 2022 at 4:51 pm

Spiked hails resilience of Populism; US Right rants at Ukraine President Zelensky.

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Frank Furedi, “The year populism came alive once more.”

Mad Frankie is at it again.

Star of GB News, he defends Jeremy Clarkson.

Furedi promotes diversity by retweeting  Coprolalia sufferer James Heartfield.

Discovering his identity and roots in the ‘us’ of Eastern Europe (does he speak any language other than English? just asking…):

He writes, “It’s clear now that these various obituaries for populism were premature. “

The well-turned out gent boasts about his national-comrades, the Swedish Democrats, Sverigedemokraterna, and the Brothers of Italy, Fratelli d’Italia. Populism is fighting back, ‘globalist ideology’, loathing of the nation, pandemic, borders, principal contradiction, “a conflict between those who hold a national outlook and those who hold a globalist outlook.” And so it goes.

Sure. What really warms the cockles of his heart? “Arguably, the most significant setback suffered by the European anti-populist technocracy was in April this year, with the re-election of Viktor Orbán as prime minister of Hungary. Despite considerable support for Orbán’s opponents from EU leaders, international media and assorted NGOs, Orbán’s party, Fidesz, won with a super-majority.”

The one-time Revolutionary Communist leaves us with this thought,

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February also dealt a serious blow to the globalist, identitarian worldview. It has shown that nationhood and national identity still matter. Even the most ardent globalist or EU federalist would now struggle to deny the salience of national borders.

Quite right! The national-comrades in the USA are becoming vocal on the issue of Ukraine…. (Benny Johnson, one learns today is a geezer with his own telly show on some US channel, ” chief creative officer at conservative organisation Turning Point USA”.)

Trump’s middle aged sprog:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 22, 2022 at 11:21 am

Dodgy US ‘Peace’ Campaign Code Pink to speak at special UK CND-Peace News on-Line Event.

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Code Pink: the Anti-Imperialism of Fools.

In the old days, we are informed by the Coen Brothers, the USSR used to send a Soviet submarine to lend support to beleaguered Hollywood Marxists organised in The Future. In London Palme Dutt would dispatch staff from King’s Street down to the East India Docks to pick up bundles of Comintern banknotes and tins of Beluga caviar. In Paris, from the PCF HQ, 2 Place du Colonel Fabien …well the tales quickly stop being funny.

The politics, forces and finances behind US ‘Peace’ campaign, Code Pink, are no laughing matter either..Not that they directly involve the Kremlin…

Oakland Socialist sets the scene. As part of a thorough critique of this book, which cuts to the quick, of interest internationally is the account of the political groups that have got involved in the same campaigns, with numerous crossovers, of personnel and events.

Medea Benjamin, the pro-Putin “left” and the far right in America.

“In recent years, Benjamin and Code Pink have led a series of Iranian state supported tours of Iran. In 2018, a group of about 25 socialists, feminists and other activists signed on to an open letter to Code Pink, criticizing one such tour. We pointed out the number of different protests, labor strikes, etc. ongoing at that time. “We are alarmed that while you will be hearing the position of the repressive right-wing government in Iran, you evidently have no plans to hear from any of the progressive opposition forces mentioned above. That can only mean that the end result of your visit will be to help legitimize this right-wing, repressive and reactionary regime,” the letter wrote.

[Benjamin, as we see above, is now involved in campaigning for Peace in Ukraine.]

Oakland Socialist Continues,

Benjamin was and is part and parcel of this pro-Putin “left”.

The Wider Pro-Putin “left”: “The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine” event
On Nov. 19, Benjamin appeared in an event in New York City (and also on the internet) called “The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine” . The event was organized by People’s Forum and ANSWER Coalition. Benjamin spoke along with a host of other big names, ranging from Noam Chomsky to Vijay Prashad. Benjamin’s position was that the war is a “proxy war” between the US and Russia. Nothing she said should have been a surprise. She dismissed the idea that the invading army can be defeated “on the battleground”. In this context, she called for negotiations, and a “Christmas truce”. These statements combined can only mean that the Russian invaders be allowed to annex further parts of Ukraine. As with the other speakers at this event, not once did Benjamin refer to the massive war crimes the Russian invaders are committing. Nor did she ever refer to what the Ukrainian people might want. That is par for the course for Benjamin.


Her role cannot be fully understood without understanding a central figure in all of this: Neville Roy Singham. Singham is a multimillionaire (probably billionaire) former tech entrepreneur and founder of “ThoughtWorks”. He presently lives in China, where he has unknown investments. Among other things, Singham became highly influential in the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. His influence there is considered to have been highly corrupting. He is also a denier of the genocide of the Uighurs in China. (For more on Singham’s role in South Africa, see this interview httpsamabhungane://oaklandsocialist.com/2022/09/05/video-interview-with-micah-reddy-of-south-africas-/ with South African journalist Micah Reddy. For Singham’s Uighur genocide denialism, see this article https://newlinesmag.com/reportage/the-big-business-of-uyghur-genocide-denial/ in News Lines.)

“Fashbuters” study
In 2021, a group called “Fashbusters” published a study  about the role of a fund called the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund (GSPF). Here is a summary of what Fashbusters found, although we urge readers to read the entire study: This is a fund set up by an anonymous donor and used as a conduit to launder donations to various left groups. Fashbusters found that the GSPF “… funneled over $12 million to the People’s Forum, over $12 million to Vijay Prashad’s think-tank The Tricontinental LTD… $210,000 to Codepink, and $20,000 to AIPAC (the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees (a pro-Assad lobbying group, not to be confused with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee which has the same acronym).”

They continue,

Donations to People’s Forum began in 2017 with “seed money” of $2.5 million. It skyrocketed to $12.5 million in 2019. Vijay Prashad’s Tricontinental received a whopping $13.256 million in 2019. Code Pink was just a bit player, receiving a mere $897,000 in 2019. There are close links between People’s Forum and ANSWER Coalition, mainly through the Party of Socialism and Liberation. And the main MC for the 11/19 event was Manolo De Los Santos, who is on the executive boards of both People’s Forum and the Justice and Education Fund (JEF, another recipient of GSPF grant money.)

Although it cannot be proven at this time, the circumstantial evidence is that Singham is the money bags behind this Goldman Sachs fund. Much of this evidence was discovered when Singham ran afoul of the Indian government for his role funneling dark money into that country for political purposes. After outlining the circumstantial evidence, Fashbusters asks: “how likely is it that a former employee of Singham just happens to run a 501c4 (UCF) that got a massive GSPF donation in 2018 and that the Indian government discovered evidence linking Singham to a 501c3 (JEF) are linked to one another and to People’s Forum through large sums of money?”


The People’s Forum, the ANSWER Coalition, and the Party of Socialism and Liberation are more than dubious politically without these revelations about their finances. They have origins in the Macreytite Workers World Party, named after their founder Sam Marcy (1911 – 1998) who moved from Trotskyism to supporting the Soviet crushing of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, and support for the Chinese Egocrat Mao Zedong. They developed a theory of “global  class war”, according to which Marxists had a duty to defend the existence of the USSR and its satellites in spite of their bureaucracy.

The Party of Socialism and Liberation has been used of cult-behaviour, “Documentation of corruption, institutional bigotry, and high-control group (cult-like) behavior in the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Socialist Alterative offered a political critique earlier this year,

Socialists and the War in Ukraine: A Response to the Party for Socialism and Liberation George Martin Fell Brown

In the United States one of the biggest purveyors of this sort of vulgar anti-imperialism is the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). The PSL has a long history of championing any figure, no matter how rotten, who comes into conflict with U.S. imperialism, including Slobodan MilosevicSaddam HusseinRobert MugabeMahmoud AhmadinejadMuammar al-Qaddafi, and Bashar al-Assad. They’ve championed the Chinese state violently crushing the Hong Kong democracy struggle in 2019.

Their current attitude towards the war in Ukraine represents a continuation of this wrong approach. They present the conflict in Ukraine as solely the responsibility of the U.S. and NATO. What criticisms they have of Putin are presented as mistakes of an ally, rather than the actions of a reactionary imperialist. And, like the approach of Sanders and Ocasio Cortez, their solution relies on diplomacy of imperialist powers rather than the power of the international working class.

More threads in this web:

In a November 2022 report, Intelligence Online revealed Singham was discretely funneling money to various groups aimed at lobbying against any western support to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, under the guise of anti-war efforts. We note that, Singham’s wife is Code Pink‘s Jodie Evans. His son Nathan (Nate) Singham works for the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Now to one of the figures mentioned above:

Prashad February 2022.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor, and journalist. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, which is also home to John Ross, leader of Socialist Action, and a former leading light of the International Marxist Group, who is a Senior Fellow at the Chinese state institution.

Prashad says today that he is interested in ‘debate’ not “malicious slander”. He writes, ” to claim that I support the Russian war on Ukraine is against everything that I have said or done on the record. I oppose this war as I oppose every war, which is why I have written – since 2014 – for the need for negotiation and for the need for neighbours to find a way to live with each other. It is peculiar that a call for negotiation between Russia and Ukraine is now painted as a ‘talking point’ of Vladimir Putin rather than a gesture towards peace.”(Can The Left Disagree Without Being Disagreeable?)

Just for the record, Prashad….

Meanwhile Code Pink must be one of the last groups to defend the Venezuelan regime:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 21, 2022 at 2:40 pm

Stop the War Coalition Denounces Helping Ukraine With Arms.

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Peace is a Good Thing.

The Morning Star carries this story.

PEACE campaigners have condemned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to supply hundreds of thousands of rounds of bullets to Ukraine in the new year.

Mr Sunak said the £250 million package will “ensure a constant flow of critical artillery ammunition to Ukraine throughout 2023.”


Campaigners criticised this latest pledge, which follows the government’s decision to send more rocket launchers and guided missiles to Ukraine earlier this year.

Stop the War convener Lindsey German said: “Europe has made a major turn to rearming this year as a result of the war.

“These moves come at a cost to the people of Ukraine — and of Russia — as it means the war continues, with terrible human consequences.

“They also come at a high cost to the people of Europe who are suffering rocketing energy prices and attacks on their living standards.


“Sunak says we can’t pay the nurses but can pay for deadly ammunition. This war is in no-one’s interests — we need ceasefire now, withdrawal of Russian troops and peace talks.”

Peace Pledge Union campaign manager Symon Hill said: “Rishi Sunak insults the intelligence of the public by saying he wants to achieve peace by building up military alliances and flooding a war zone with weapons.”


“Russian militarism and Nato militarism are two sides of the same coin. We need real and meaningful negotiations now.”

The Daily concludes,

But Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey said a constant flow of ammunition to Ukraine was “important and welcome.”

“Ministers must now place contracts to restock other weapons needed for the British army and to support Ukraine as part of the full plan of support they promised four months ago,” he said.

Revolutionary socialist Lindsey German, a leader of the SWP breakaway Counterfire. expresses her views in more detil here:

One of the main Xmas messages is that of peace. Yet this year we are marking a dramatic escalation in war and military spending. The war in Ukraine has been raging since Putin’s invasion in February. In the middle of freezing winter, many Ukrainians are suffering without heating or water, as attacks on the infrastructure from Russian forces continue. Many thousands of troops on both sides have died in the past 10 months. Refugees have been displaced across the country and worldwide. The war is bogged down in the winter months.  The danger is that it will continue as a destructive and long war of attrition and that the main victims will be the ordinary people of Ukraine.

The danger is that it will continue as a destructive and long war of attrition and that the main victims will be the ordinary people of Ukraine.

This makes peace all the more necessary. Calls for a ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and peace talks are the only solution to this war which does not involve further misery and the prospect of escalation, the use of nuclear weapons and the involvement of further countries. This outcome was blocked by our own government in April, when Boris Johnson went to Kyiv to urge Volodymir Zelensky to keep fighting in order to weaken Russia. Britain has been one of the most keen to send arms and weaponry to Ukraine, despite the dangers of escalation that this presents. British special forces are active in Ukraine and Ukrainian troops are regularly trained by the British army.


Our government’s response is to argue that if we want peace then we need more weaponry and more war. The opposite is true. An end to the wars in Ukraine, Yemen and in the many other conflicts throughout the world requires us to oppose our government’s policy. 


On the left there has been a discussion of the invasion of Ukraine. This has ranged from the right of Ukraine and its right to self-defence, the nature of Russian imperialism, its ideology, politics, military strategy and the interests its war furthers. There is the issue of the development – if it exists – of a ‘multipolar world’, A small minority has argued against backing the “Ukrainian capitalist state and its western imperialist backers” against the Russian onslaught. Apparently internationalism is a high price to pay, and an “echo of Western Governments, which so far have been willing to incur the pain as long as it can be transferred on to rivals and/or dumped on workers.” An even smaller group, the Tankie fringe, has taken Putin’s side.

Many would by contrast clearly follow the take of Anti-Capitalist Resistance (ACR) that, the Ukrainians, “are fighting for their own freedom, independence and self-determination.” “If Ukraine has the right to armed resistance to invasion, it must have the right to receive arms from whatever source – in actuality, mainly the NATO countries. The unexpected success of the Ukrainian armed forces on the battlefield is due to their greater motivation and the receipt of advanced weapons and equipment from the West. For us, it is counter-intuitive to support arms exports. In general, the arms trade is one of the evils of capitalism. However, right now, the supply of arms is vitally necessary for Ukraine to survive as an independent country.” Ukraine: voices of resistance and solidarity (a review). Richard Abernethy.

Friend of peace loving peoples German has boiled down the Stop the War arguments to the following: 1) Peace is a good thing, it should be negotiated in Ukraine. 2) The right to receive weapons is fuelling war, particularly in Ukraine. 3) Britain, from Boris Johnson to the present, is keeping the supply of weapons going in order to “weaken Russia”. 4) The cost of living crisis come from this Western warmongering.

The Second point is taken up by ACR.

The Third, part of a larger group of assertions about the war, expressed by Olivier Eagleton of New Left Review, was answered below.

No, the West Didn’t Halt Ukraine’s Peace Talks With Russia

Russian diplomacy was always a smokescreen.

Volodymyr Artiukh & Taras Fedirko. October 2022.

After the Russian withdrawal from Kyiv and northern Ukraine in late March, Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv on 9 April. He reportedly told Zelensky that Britain and other western states weren’t ready to provide security guarantees to Ukraine along the lines of the Istanbul framework agreement. The crucial evidence of Johnson’s intervention comes from an article in the Ukrainian outlet Ukrainska Pravda, which cites an anonymous source from Zelensky’s immediate circle…..

Because this article is almost the only source routinely cited as a proof of nefarious western interference, it’s worth looking at the evidence more carefully. We spoke with its author, the political journalist Roman Romaniuk, to get a clearer picture of the political context navigated by the Ukrainian negotiating team.

Romaniuk disagrees with Eagleton’s interpretation that Johnson halted the peace deal. “Johnson was one of the people whom Zelensky listened to – not because of a dependence on him, but because of relations of trust”, Romaniuk told us. Britain’s prime minister hadn’t come to Kyiv to order a termination of the peace deal; this was advice at best, and as such, his scepticism about Russia’s trustworthiness wasn’t unique. There were strong concerns within Zelensky’s closest entourage that the Kremlin wouldn’t stick to an agreement for any longer than it suited its interests.


The freezing of the March negotiations was a result of a complex interplay of different factors primarily related to Ukraine’s and Russia’s internal politics and the dynamics of the military operations. Focusing on a magic turning point when everything could have gone otherwise, commentators ignore that in Russia’s repertoire, diplomacy has consistently been subordinated to the use of force. We therefore shouldn’t fetishize peace talks, but ground a leftwing vision of the war and the opportunities for ending it in a realistic analysis of the interests, resources and strategies of the parties involved. With this vision, we need to ask: what kind of peace would be progressive and serve the interests of the people of Ukraine? As Ukrainian leftists have repeatedly emphasised, it isn’t just any peace Ukrainians want – and they certainly don’t want that which comes with occupation.

The first claim should be looked at in this light,


Lately, in the West, the sentiment on the prospects of a peaceful end to the war imposed on the Ukrainian people is heard more and more often. But are such negotiations possible, and who will benefit from them? And does Putin actually want peace? Ukrainian leftists Denys Bondar and Zakhar Popovych provided their take on these questions.


Ukrainians want peace, but not another “ceasefire” that will last until the next invasion. Campaigning for peace is actually being conducted even in mainstream Ukrainian media, but trust in peace negotiations and lasting peace are impossible without public discussion of its terms. In particular, the editor-in-chief of “Ukrainian Pravda” Sevgil Musaeva, a Ukrainian of Crimean-Tatar origin, does not reject negotiations. Even though the postponement of the Crimea decision is a personal matter for her, she calls for the public formulation of fair peace terms because if “Ukrainian society does not feel justice, any agreements are doomed from the beginning.”

We, Ukrainian socialists, must now watch closely so that no one forgets that peace negotiations must be public and only public, only on terms acceptable to Ukrainians. Only in this way can we count on a just and lasting peace.


We will not stoop to reply in great detail to the fourth assertion except to say that it parallels the Tories’ efforts to blame Putin for rising prices. That is, don’t stand with Ukraine because it might cost something.

And so the Morning Star continues on its way:


Written by Andrew Coates

December 20, 2022 at 12:58 pm

Twitter Latest: Musk Clings on like a Tapeworm.

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Musk: Top Taenia of Twitter.

Elon Musk’s best known scientific theories involve worms, notably parasitical worms.

Toxoplasmosis is a single-celled parasite that typically infects rats and mice. The parasite, scientists believe, affects the minds of rodents and causes them to lose their fear in predators such as cats and humans. These newly brave rats will approach cats, get eaten, and pass on the parasite to the cats who then pass it on to people — a symbiotic relationship with cats, essentially.

But does it affect humans as well? Maybe. Studies have suggested that people who test positive for toxoplasmosis can exhibit more risk-taking behaviour, according to LiveScience

The Byte.

Later in 2021.

He tests worms in space.

Elon Musk sends hundreds of British worms to SPACE in bizarre ISS experiment

Now like an intestinal parasite Musk is clinging on to Twitter.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 20, 2022 at 8:53 am

Crisis in La France insoumise bubbles over: what now for ‘left populism’?

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LFI ‘Gazeuse’ organisation bubbles over. Autain “La France insoumise must be democratised.”

The left alliance, NUPES, Nouvelle Union populaire écologique et sociale, is, with 151 MPs (out of 577), the biggest opposition bloc in the French Parliament, the Assemblée National. It united on programme of Green politics (a rich section, ranging from tacking climate change, a path to 100% renewable energy, to farming) raising the minimum wage level, a “révolution fiscale’ to shake up taxation, a price freeze on basics, lowering the retirement age to 60, tackling poverty giving young people financial independence, dealing with the housing crisis, expanding the public health service, to thorough-going democratic reform in a new, 6th Republic, a strong defence of secularism (laïcité), reform of the police and security services, to measures to promote equality and fight against all forms of discrimination. Many more ideas are offered. The document Programme partagé de gouvernement de la Nouvelle Union populaire écologique et sociales, 92 pages in print, is clear, and inspiring. It merits reading and re-reading.

NUPES was, and has not become, a ‘left populist’ alliance. During the election campaign it was projected that Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of La France insoumise (LFI), would, on the strength of his score in the April Presidential elections,  22% of the vote, in the second round, third place, would be able to demand of President Macron that he be appointed Prime Minster. In his early ‘seventies, he did not stand as an MP (the constitution allows the head of state to appoint a PM from outside the National Assembly).

But the NUPES was not The People. It is an electoral and Parliamentary alliance of the left, including the Socialist Party (31 MPs), the Communist Party (12 MPs) Mélenchon’s LFI (the largest group, 75 deputies), Europe Écologie Les Verts, (EELV, 17MPs, whose new leader  Marine Tondelier wishes to change the name to the more intelligible, Les Ecologistes), and smaller parties, including Génération·s, founded by the socialist Green former 2017 PS Presidential candidate Benoît Hamon (3 MPs) and the ‘Lambertist’ Trotskyists of the Parti ouvrier indépendant. (POI – 1 MP).  

LFI and other radical sections of NUPES have supported strikers, protests, and other actions in civil society. This autumn they backed marches on the cost of living (“contre la vie chère”) and climate change. Trade unions, working on the principle of independence from political parties that dates back to the revolutionary syndicalism of the 1906 Charte d’Amiens, do not, even from their left flank, always appreciate direct political interventions.  The left-wing (formerly largely Communist) CGT federation has expressed annoyance at its terrain being trampled on by Mélenchon’s initiatives. But one cannot accuse NUPES of neglecting extra-parliamentary activity. Internationalist initiatives, have included protests against the repression of democratic movement by the Islamic Republic of Iran (Communiqué de l’intergroupe de la NUPES #FemmeVieLiberté : Stop aux exécutions arbitraires !). Some left MPs have, in cooperation with union figures and the independent radical left, recently backed a declaration and demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine.

NUPES is appealing, particularly to our European left whose make-up, in different paries and groups, is often very close. You could say that any section of our left, from social democrats, democratic socialists, Greens, red-greens, diverse forms of Marxism, has its place in its ranks. They seem to have fitted in. If they have had difficulties they are shared elsewhere. Many of us are glad they established themselves with national strength when it looked a few years ago as if the French left would go the way of the Italian, departures for the liberal centre, style Macron and no left MPs at all, or America-style, the US Democrats, and an insignificant radical fringe..

NUPES, and specifically La France insoumise, has run into difficulties in different areas.

Adrien Quatennens, recently sentenced for acts of violence against his wife, came out of the court and immediately denounced a ‘lynching by the media’ and efforts to relativise the case. The case, posted on this Blog, has significance not only because it involved an MP caught out for domestic violence. The deputy was a leading figure in LFI and close to Jean-Luc Mélenchon. If suspended for 4 months from their Parliamentary group he still plans to return to the National Assembly in January. Feminists, and some left representatives, have denounced what they feel, rightly, is the feeble response of the official LFI to Quatennens’ actions.

The way LFI functions, as a ‘non-party but a ‘movement’ has been highlighted not just by this, which some consider leniency marked by personal closeness to the leadership of one former MP for the 4th Constituency of the Bouches-du-Rhône, but the appointement of a new co-ordinating body to run the organisation. Alexis Corbière, whose closeness to Mélenchon dates back two decades, a veteran of the French radical left (stints in student leadership for the Lambertists, 5 years in the Ligue Communiste révolutionnaire, LCR, before joining the Socialists in 1998, resigning from the PS, with Mélenchon in 2008), member of his hard-core Parti de Gauche, and a strong, to put it mildly, republican secularist) announced his “radical disagreement” with the LFI’s new leadership “J’ai un radical désaccord avec la nouvelle direction de LFI“.

The main issue is that this body, which ’emerged’ in a mysterious way (“une méthode que j’ai moi-même du mal à saisir.”) at a conference selected (not voted for) from LFI people, under the new titular head, Manuel Bompard, with no alternative ‘big beasts’ or different standpoints . This consensus decsion-making, degré zero, only selecting those loyal and in consensual agreement with one Jean-Luc.

Well known and respected Left MPs, also excluded from the leadership, such as Clémentine Autain, have joined the public critics. She agrees with many points made by Corbière:

Yesterday Autain, who has a degree of independent assured with her roots in the Ensemble! group (that consists of radical leftists, greens, self-management and anti-capitalist tendencies, site here), launched this broadside.

Clémentine Autain, députée LFI : « La mise au placard du pluralisme n’est pas possible » Journal du Dimanche.

 Pour la députée La France insoumise Clémentine Autain, « un parti ne se renforce pas en s’épurant ». [A reference to a phrase used by as a legend at the start of Lenin’s What is to be Done?, “le parti se renforce en s’épurant “a party becomes stronger by purging itself. “From a letter of Lassalle to Marx, of June 24, 1852] Elle estime également que les propos d’Adrien Quatennens, condamné pour violences conjugales, « vont rouvrir le débat » sur sa réintégration dans le groupe LFI à l’Assemblée”.

For the La France insoumise MP Clémentine Autain, “a party does not strengthen itself by purifying itself”. She also believes that the words of Adrien Quatennens, convicted of domestic violence, “will reopen the debate” on his reintegration into the LFI group in the Assembly.

The story is all over the French media: 20 Minutes.

Deputy La France insoumise (LFI) for Seine-Saint-Denis, Clémentine Autain spoke this Sunday in the Sunday newspaper concerning the new organisation of the party, announced last week, and the Adrien Quattenens affair .

“The decision to compose a leadership that is inward-looking is creating a major crisis. […] Shelving pluralism is not possible. We have a problem of democracy in the life of the movement”… “To calm the situation and guarantee the unity of the movement, we need to overhaul our organisation”. And to appeal to Jean-Luc Mélenchon . “I think [ Jean-Luc Mélenchon ] has a role to play [in this internal crisis] to put an end to it”.

Clémentine Autain fustige « l’indécence » d’Adrien Quatennens « qui sape la crédibilité de LFI » Huffington Post.

These difficulties were not unforeseen. The structure of LFI, half-US style pressure group business model, half short lived electoral rally, is, critics have long alleged, not fit for purpose. Mélenchon and those close to him have claimed that their ‘gazeuse’ (as in eau gazeuse, sparkling water, in this context, effervescent) organisation has avoided the old Parti Socialiste divisions of long-standing formal currents, each run by little barons. But the new forms is not able to deal with bubbling political life.

The last few days show they neither deals with the needs of a mass organisation with a large Parliamentary body nor grass-roots democracy. They are ill-adpated to new conditions. The underlying pluralism of NUPES is deeper than that of the late 90s Gauche Plurielle, which aligned highly structured pre-existing parties. Today this reflects a diversity of relatively new political movements (LFI is an obvious case, with Autain coming from and relating to the radical left beyond Mélenchon, but there are also bodies like Génération·s), new individuals, politicians coming to maturity who are not deferential to a Guide, and figures on the ground councillors and activists, who are making their own way. New MPs are unlikely to remain stewarded within its hazy structures nor appreciate being excluded from decision-making when it suits the managing directors. Purging parties does not work with elected representatives – they will not lose their seats, the voters chose them – nor fit with calls for a new more democratic republic. One idea of ‘left populism’, federating the people around a charismatic chief, in the shape of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has reached its limit.


See this analysis from the left, by the London based Phillipe Marlière.

« L’autocratie de la France insoumise et le discrédit de la gauche », par Philippe Marlière Nouvel Obs.

La France insoumise (LFI) is going through a crisis which, once again, put into question the foundations of its organisation, in particular the absence of democracy within it. The previous major crisis occurred in 2019.

Un parti personnel et autocratique

It has long been established that LFI is a personal party (created by Jean-Luc Mélenchon to serve his political objectives in the presidential election), that the ex-socialist rejected contested democracy in favour of a gaseous” organisation without membership, without elections of the leader and the members of the management, without pluralism, without the possibility of proposing to the debate and to the vote alternative motions to those of the cadres without the groups at the grassroots having the capacity to develop politically.”

“The movement is not “gaseous” , that is to say based on a flexible, light and reputedly effective organisation, but foggy, that is to say voluntarily opaque in order to cover up the tracks and allow the Commander to what pleases him when it so suits him.”

Written by Andrew Coates

December 19, 2022 at 2:37 pm

Chris Williamson in heartfelt plea after “losing 1000s of followers”.

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Williamson currently hosts the television programme Palestine Declassified on the Iranian government-owned TV channel Press TV.

Here is his latest show for the blood-stained regime’s channel:

Williamson retweeted this earlier.

And so it goes:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 18, 2022 at 6:44 pm

Royal Row Re-Ignites as Woke Fights Back.

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We all Feel their Pain.

One of the figures of the early bourgeois public sphere was Mrs Miggins. She ran a pie shop but moved into the coffee house business as they became a site of ‘refined’ assembly. As Habermas suggested they engaged in debates relevant to their shared experience (in political, economic and other terms). Some commentators have claimed that the origin of what the German critical theorist called the “ideal speech situation’ (Ideale Sprechsituatione) emerged in this discursive space.

1. Every subject with the competence to speak and act is allowed to take part in a discourse.

2a. Everyone is allowed to question any assertion whatever.

2b. Everyone is allowed to introduce any assertion whatever into the discourse.

2c. Everyone is allowed to express their attitudes, desires and needs without any hesitation.

3. No speaker may be prevented, by internal or external coercion, from exercising his rights as laid down in (1) and (2)

In the British historical documentary series, Blackadder the 3rd (which is believed to have been inspired by the New Left Review editor Perry Anderson’s otherwise long forgotten research into why Britain did not develop along the lines of the “normal bourgeois paradigm” ) this episode made its mark. “In “Dish and Dishonesty” she is seen talking to Blackadder about the election and says she thinks it is unfair that she is not allowed to vote, to which he replies “Of course it’s not fair! And a damn good thing, too: Give the likes of Baldrick the vote, and we’ll be back to cavorting Druids, death by stoning, and dung for dinner.”

One can only observe that Anderson, and his crusty comrade Tom Nairn, may well have been on to something about the failure of a discursive ideal situationist revolution. Yet, given the kind of thing one, alas witnesses in France (Zemmour) and the US (Trump) these days, they too fall far short of the Ideale Sprechsituatione.

One can only be thankful that in launching an appeal for a new Monster Raving organisation Cde Green’s Open Letter to’ Jeremy’ avoids these pitfalls. Public discourse needs higher standards so that we can accomplish our modern revolution and cast off the legacy of the days of Mrs Miggins.

His Blog today is a model, of kinds.

Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn – The Time Has Come to Break With the Labour Party

Dear Jeremy,

I don’t say that you were the main culprit in the defeat of the Corbyn Project. That accolade belongs to Jon Lansman of Momentum and John MacDonnell with a supporting role by Owen Jones.

It is time for you to make a clean break with Starmer’s Labour Party and lead the fight for a socialist party that stands for the interests of ordinary working class people. In the process you will encourage some of your colleagues to also make a break. The Labour Party stands for war, poverty and continued privatisation. It is time for you to make amends for the failure to fight the Right when it was possible.

In solidarity,

Tony Greenstein

Written by Andrew Coates

December 18, 2022 at 3:14 pm

Jeremy Clarkson said to back new ‘anti-woke’ campaign against Meghan.

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Modern Coffee House Sallies.

Some geezer I read recently suggested that public debate today can be compared to the days of Queen Anne and Regency Coffee House controversies. ” Debates rage over the role of social media networks, just as they once did over that of the coffeehouse. “Jeremy Cliffe. Yet, he notes, “networks built to serve that market through the algorithmic maximisation of user engagement, often exploiting ­emotions such as rage, fear and envy in the process, have come under greater scrutiny from users and regulators in the so-called techlash.”

As an admirer of Joseph Addison (1672 – 1719) and Richard Steele’s (1672 – 1729) The Spectator, and The Tatler, this is appealing, “An important aspect and distribution method of The Spectator involved the London coffeehouses…three thousand copies of each issue were distributed, but each issue received around twenty readers, resulting in approximately sixty thousand views per issue..this statistic is made possible through the common gathering of people at London coffeehouses. It is at these coffeehouses that the masses could gather and discuss politics and current events, sharing and rereading papers that were then left for the next crowd.” Addison and Steele: London Coffeehouses.

For the critical theorist Jürgen Habermas Coffee Houses were an important part of the early independent bourgeois public sphere, “

‘in town’, so Habermas proposes,”[t]he bourgeois avant-garde of the educated middle class learned the art of critical rational public debate”, precisely “through its contact with the ‘elegant world’” of this relocating courtly-noble society. Furthermore, it is at this juncture that he first spells out the importance of coffee houses and other public spaces, and the equation here of ‘town’ and such public spaces, positioning them as urban phenomena, is itself instructive: The ‘town’ was the life centre of civil society not only economically; in cultural-political contrast to the court, it designated exactly an early public sphere in the world of letters whose institutions were the coffee houses, the salons, and the Tischgesellschaften (table societies). “

“Around the middle of the seventeenth century, after not only tea – first to be popular – but also chocolate and coffee had become the common beverages of at least the well-to-do strata of the population, the coachman of a Levantine merchant opened the first coffee house. By the first decade of the eighteenth century London already had 3,000 of them, each with a core group of regulars. Just as Dryden, surrounded by the new generation of writers, joined the battle of the ‘ancients and moderns’ at Will’s, Addison and Steele a little later convened their ‘little senate’ at Button’s; so too in the Rotary Club, presided over by Milton’s secretary, Marvell and Pepys met with Harrington who here probably presented the republican ideas of his Oceana.” Of public spheres and coffee houses. Chris Philo..

Out this busy afternoon, with a trip to one one of the local coffee houses, Caffè Nero, alas without debate on the new stages of Enlightenment nor about a new Oceana came back to this:

Jeremy Clarkson says he hates Meghan ‘on a cellular level’ and ‘dreams of her being made to parade naked in the streets’.

In his latest column, Clarkson said that he felt ‘sorry’ for Prince Harry, who he dubbed a ‘glove puppet’ who The Grand Tour star claimed is controlled by his wife.

He then said: ‘Meghan, though, is a different story. I hate her.’

‘Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level,’ he added in The Sun, referencing Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, and West, a serial killer.

Continuing, the Clarkson’s Farm star said that at night, he’s ‘unable to sleep’ as thoughts about Meghan consume his mind.

‘At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, “Shame!” and throw lumps of excrement at her,’ he shockingly wrote.

The 62-year-old then alleged that ‘everyone who’s my age thinks the same way’.

Something in the way of humour and grace seems to have been irretrievably lost since the days when Addison wrote this for The Tatler (Lampoons). Not that Clarkson ever rises to the heights of wit…

“Lampoons and satires, that are written with wit and spirit, are like poisoned darts, which not only inflict a wound, but make it incurable.  For this reason I am very much troubled when I see the talents’ of humour and ridicule in the possession of an ill-natured man.  There cannot be a greater gratification to a barbarous and inhuman wit, than to stir up sorrow in the heart of a private person, to raise uneasiness among near relations, and to expose whole families to derision, at the same time that he remains unseen and undiscovered.  If, besides the accomplishments of being witty and ill-natured, a man is vicious into the bargain, he is one of the most mischievous creatures that can enter into a civil society. 

His satire will then chiefly fall upon those who ought to be the most exempt from it.  Virtue, merit, and everything that is praiseworthy, will be made the subject of ridicule and buffoonery.  It is impossible to enumerate the evils which arise from these arrows that fly in the dark; and I know no other excuse that is or can be made for them, than that the wounds they give are only imaginary, and produce nothing more than a secret shame or sorrow in the mind of the suffering person. 

It must indeed be confessed that a lampoon or a satire do not carry in them robbery or murder; but at the same time, how many are there that would not rather lose a considerable sum of money, or even life itself, than be set up as a mark of infamy and derision?  And in this case a man should consider that an injury is not to be measured by the notions of him that gives, but of him that receives it.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 17, 2022 at 8:29 pm

Founding Conference of Révolution Permanent. Jean-Marc Rouillan (former Action Directe) and Frédéric Lordon Star Speakers.

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The new far-left political organisation Permanent Revolution held its founding congress in Paris on Friday, hoping to take advantage of the recent split in the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) and the “democratic vacuum at LFI”. Reports France 24 no less!

“Jean-Luc Mélenchon runs the Insoumis with an iron fist, Lutte Ouvrière (LO) is old-fashioned: the party is not aimed at young people. As for the NPA, it intervenes everywhere and nowhere at the same time. We concentrate (recentralise) the struggle around feminist and environmental issues,” Paul Morao, communications manager for the new organisation, told AFP.

Media personalities such as the co-founder of the far-left armed group Action Directe (“It claimed responsibility for more than 80 attempted assassinations or other attacks between 1979 and 1987, when the last of its members still at liberty were arrested”) Jean-Marc Rouillan …..

[NOTE: sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987 for the murder of the CEO of Renault, Georges Besse, and a defence ministry official, General René Audran, out on parole since 2011. In 2016, “Rouillan commented on the Paris attacks when 130 people were killed by armed Islamists and  many more injured. “I found them very brave,” he said. “They fought very bravely. They fight on the streets of Paris, they know that there are 2-3,000 cops around.” But he went on to oppose their “theocratic” ideas. “You can say plenty of things about them – that you’re absolutely against their reactionary ideas, that it’s stupid to do that – but not that they are cowardly kids,” he declared. Former far-left armed group leader in court for ‘condoning’ Paris attacks ]

….. and the anti-racist activist Assa Traoré publicly showed their support for Permanent Revolution.

The Tendance was also interested to see this name, Frédéric Lordon, whose books have been translated into English (I have 4 of his livres, including the second one, all version originelle), “Willing Slaves of Capital, (Vero Books, 2014),  Imperium: Structures and Affects of Political Bodies, (Verso. 2022, French, 2015). He is “considered one of the most prominent intellectual voices of the radical left in France today”.

Niquer is shag/ fuck, in the latter sense, loosely, systematically fuck it all!.

Freddy is 6 years old. His choice of words reminds one of elderly French leftists who pepper their speech with Verlan, like the word Meufs.


“This party is the future of change, of a new era, of equality for all. Because everyone deserves to be free, to be defended”, launched Assa Traoré, elder sister of Adama Traoré, acclaimed by 300 activists present at the congress.

All chanted in chorus “Justice for Adama”, a young black man who died in 2016 after his arrest by gendarmes in Val-d’Oise.

Apart from the “anti-racist fight”, “other struggles are to come against inflation and for the revaluation of wages and, above all, the fight against the pension reform which we are already beginning to prepare”, continued Daniela Cobet , a Permanent Revolution activist who plans to organise strikes from the start of the 2023 school year.

To “unite the struggles”, the organisation has left “the door open to comrades” who have recently left the NPA, a movement which split in two during its congress last weekend.

Permanent Revolution had itself been unofficially created in April 2021 by activists excluded from the NPA for their more revolutionary line and their refusal of any rapprochement with LFI, desired by Philippe Poutou and Olivier Besancenot.

The organisation, which intends to continue the communist “class struggle”, is convinced that a “new revolutionary generation has been born since the demonstrations against the labour law reforms in 2016”, according to Anasse Kazib. The latter, a figure of the movement, had not been able to gather the necessary sponsorships to stand for the presidential election of 2022.


They’ve had links with Rouillon for some time:

Looks like the post-Morenoites are on a journey!

As the anti-Potou/Besancenot bloc s’epearted’ from the NPA they say, “Come and Join us!”

Explosion du NPA, un premier bilan

Daniela Cobet.


Les révolutionnaires n’ont aucun intérêt à mettre sous le tapis les désaccords stratégiques qui traversent le NPA depuis des années. Plutôt que de continuer le NPA, il devrait s’agir aujourd’hui de le dépasser dans le cadre d’un combat plus global pour la refondation d’une extrême-gauche révolutionnaire à la hauteur des enjeux de la situation politique et de la lutte de classes, qui puisse constituer une véritable alternative au néo-réformisme de LFI et à la recomposition de la gauche institutionnelle permise par la Nupes.

A notre petite échelle, nous essaierons d’apporter une petite pierre à cet édifice le week-end prochain, au travers de la fondation d’une nouvelle organisation révolutionnaire autour de Révolution Permanente. Une organisation dont nous espérons qu’elle pourra offrir un cadre militant à de nombreux camarades, et qui restera disponible au débat et à des collaborations pratiques avec les courants et les militants de la plateforme C du NPA.

Revolutionaries have no interest in sweeping under the carpet the strategic disagreements that have been going through the NPA for years. Rather than continuing the NPA, today it should be a question of going beyond it within the framework of a more global fight for the refoundation of a revolutionary far left equal to the stakes of the political situation and the class struggle, which could constitute a real alternative to the neo-reformism of LFI and to the recomposition of the institutional left that Nupes (Left Parliamentary and election agreement) has facilitated.

On our small scale, we will try to bring a modest contribution to creating this next weekend, through the foundation of a new revolutionary organisation around Permanent Revolution. An organisation which we hope will be able to offer a militant framework to many comrades, and which will remain available for debate and practical collaboration with the currents and militants of the C platform of the NPA.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 17, 2022 at 2:23 pm

As Elon Musk Boots Journalists and Critics Off Twitter Spiked Defends ‘Paedo Guy’.

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Paedo Guy Gets Spiked Backing.

Laurie Wastell, whose recent experience includes, Assistant Editor (trainee) Cabinet Office, “Writing media briefings for government use” penned this in Spiked. Yesterday.

The demonisation of Elon Musk

“Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter earlier this year, the tech billionaire has been the target of a persistent smear campaign. The so-called liberal media have sought to portray Musk as a far-right demagogue. They have insisted that his promise to liberalise Twitter must have some dark, ulterior motive.”

Wastrel Wastall refers to some dispute in the US in which the Tendance has not the slightest interest and then says, “free speech on Twitter is a direct threat to the left’s institutional power on social media. The clear implication is that challenges to the liberal-left’s hegemony need to be kept in check with censorship.” “Make no mistake, in the minds of the not-so-liberal elites, it is Musk’s support for free speech that makes him a ‘far-right activist’, rather than his controversial tweets “

He ends with this stirring call, “Now free-speech advocacy has fallen so far out of favour that it is not just deemed ‘right wing’, but dismissed as ‘far right’, too. The fight for free speech online is clearly just getting started.”

Spot on…..

Elon Musk wields axe as Twitter bans prominent journalists and upstart rival Mastodon. Sky.

The sudden, sweeping purge comes after controversy over Twitter suspending an account which tracked Elon Musk’s private plane. The billionaire had previously indicated that he was so committed to free speech on Twitter, that even the jet bot would not be banned.

Twitter has banned the accounts of several prominent journalists and its upstart rival Mastodon.

In a sudden purge which appears to make a mockery of Elon Musk‘s self-proclaimed free speech absolutism, the billionaire suggested that the reporters had been booted off for sharing personal information about him.

Among them are reporters from CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Intercept, and Mashable.

Loud-mouth Musk, a rich Gammon who thinks free speech is about his right to shout his own opinons, has been hoist by his own petard.

I don’t want to hear about what the rich are doing
I don’t want to go to where the rich are going
They think they’re so clever, they think they’re so right
But the truth is only known by guttersnipes

Written by Andrew Coates

December 16, 2022 at 11:46 am

Condemned for violence against his Spouse, La France insoumise deputy Adrien Quatennens plans return to National Assembly.

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Feminist Protest at Quatennens Court Judgement.

Adrien Quatennens is a long term ally of Jean-Luc Mélenchon (he joined the Parti de Gauche, PG, in 2013, and has campaigned for La France insoumise since its creation in 2016). He has been an MP for the LFI since 2017. Named coordinateur de l’équipe opérationnelle of the Party-Movement-Rally in 2019 Quatennens took an important post. Since he left this position a few months ago, after accusations of violence agianst his spouse, been occupied by Manuel Bompard, at present the head, (unelected but with the chief’s blessing, “Like Napoleon when he was crowned, he took the crown from the hands of the pope to crown himself.” as an internal critic has said ), of Mélenchon’s organisation.

That is to say Quatennens is more than just a LFI activist with a seat in the French National Assembly and a run-of-the-mill profile within the larger left bloc (NUPES).

The MP for a part of Lille in the North of France has been in the news for some months now. Accused of violence against his partner the charges ended in the Courts. The Guardian carried the initial story in September, “Dismay after French politicians defend MP who admitted slapping wife. Wife of Adrien Quatennens, a senior politician in radical left LFI party, reported him to police”. In November Le Monde published this article. “LFI party plunged deeper into crisis as wife of French MP Quatennens accuses him of ‘years of abuse. In fresh revelations, Céline Quatennens has accused her husband Adrien of ‘physical and emotional abuse’ when the party had been planning his return to the Assemblée National.”

Quatennens was in Court this week. He received a four months suspended prison sentence.

The Deputy has announced that he intends to return to the National Assembly in January. To the press, radio and television, he has even said that he had been subjected to a media “lynching” (“lynchage médiatique”).

Today the leader of the French Communist Party has stated that they consider anybody with these court convictions should resign from public office:

The Feminist collective Nous Toutes has announced that it will hold a public protest when he comes back.

On Thursday Le Monde devotes its principal Editorial to Quatennens and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s mangement of the affair.

La Nupes piégée par Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Sentenced on Tuesday, December 13, to a four-month suspended prison sentence for acts of violence committed against his wife, with whom he is in the process of divorcing, the deputy from the North was expelled from his group for four months. His return, to party parliamentary benches, scheduled in April, has been met with incomprehension by feminists who would have liked to see him leave the National Assembly. While LFI claims to be at the forefront of the fight against violence against women, the deputy has, on the contrary, refused to resign. He even says he is ready to return to the Hemicycle in January , even if it means sitting among the non-registered (note, that is as ‘non-party’). This has touched the left’s values and principles. Unease has spread to all its ranks.

Le Monde, noting that Quatennens is a protégé of Mélenchon, at a time when the 71 year old leader of LFI has reorganised the party-movement-rally to ensure his own influence is perpetuated through the person of Bompard (see above) makes it look all the worse. The Editorial comments that, “This has more to do with the practices of a Trotskyist groupuscule than the of a party fully integrated into the parliamentary game with aspirations to win power democratically.” (Il relève davantage des pratiques d’un groupuscule trotskiste que des mœurs d’un parti pleinement inséré dans le jeu parlementaire et aspirant démocratiquement au pouvoir.)

Criticisms of this behaviour, the Daily suggests, will add to internal attempts to escape the influence of the Mélenchon leadership. These come from figures such as François Ruffin, and Clémentine Autain, both of whom have called for democratic structures inside LFI. It extends to within the wider NUPES bloc, by the Greens, who have just elected, democratically (in contrast, it hardly needs saying, with LFI’s opaque procedures), Marine Tondelier as their National Secretary , and the Communists headed by Fabien Roussel. Le Monde concludes that while there is as yet no announcement of a process to chose Mélenchon’s successor a different path to that laid down by the ‘left populist’ leader is emerging, while the left as a whole remains divided.

In Le Monde alone there is so much material on this affair and the present problems of La France insoumise that only a selection can be given:

(Today) « La France insoumise est moins un parti-mouvement qu’un parti personnel » Rémi Lefebvre

 “L’organisation de La France insoumise permet à un petit groupe de personnes de concentrer le pouvoir” Interview with Manuel Cervera-Marzal (author of Le populisme de gauche : sociologie de la France insoumise. 2021. Reviewed and frequently cited on Tendance Coatesy).

Written by Andrew Coates

December 15, 2022 at 6:50 pm