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Left Socialist Blog

Labour’s Evolving Brexit Position: Time to Take Sides for Positive Remain Campaign.

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Labour Voices Against Brexit.

The BBC reports,

Labour would “carry out whatever the people decide” in another referendum on Brexit, says Jeremy Corbyn.

The party leader told the Guardian he would hold a fresh vote if he became PM – offering a Labour-negotiated deal and Remain on the ballot paper.

The article gives the strongest indication yet that Mr Corbyn would remain neutral in any such public vote.

It comes ahead of Labour’s party conference where he is expected to face increasing pressure to back Remain.

According to campaign group Another Europe is Possible, more than 80 motions have been submitted by local Labour groups for debate at conference in Brighton calling for the party to back Remain in a future public vote.

A number of high profile members of the shadow cabinet, including shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow chancellor John McDonnell, have said they would campaign for Remain.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has called for another public vote on Brexit before any general election.

The issue is far from having been settled:

Sienna Rodgers comments on Labour List.

Jeremy Corbyn has written Guardian piece in which he sets out Labour’s current Brexit position. In government, the party would secure a “sensible deal” from the EU, put it to a public vote against Remain and “carry out whatever the people decide”. The strap line? “Let’s stop a no-deal Brexit – and let the people decide.” Although there is no mention of Harold Wilson, the 1975 referendum or staying neutral, the article has been widely interpreted as signifying that Corbyn would not back either option. Unlike the ‘Scenario 2’ trade union stance, though, the article doesn’t confirm that Labour’s position “should depend on the deal negotiated”. Instead, it simply leaves the question unanswered. The pressing issue: will Labour conference answer the question for him, and will it be the pro-neutrality unions or pro-Remain members who decide?

This is the key section of the Leader’s article,

A Labour government would secure a sensible deal based on the terms we have long advocated, including a new customs union with the EU; a close single market relationship; and guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections. We would then put that to a public vote alongside remain. I will pledge to carry out whatever the people decide, as a Labour prime minister.

Corbyn can say that, though he offers no evidence that things have changed that this Brexit could be negotiated.

But, as Rodgers notices, it does not endorse the UNITE-led (she uses the code, “trade union stance”) hard Leave position which rests on the above belief that there exists evidence that they could renegotiate a deal of such breadth.

The issue remains that (to follow Rodgers in a previous article) whether this could take place, ” Labour’s manifesto in a snap election would advocate renegotiating the deal, which would be put to a public vote but Labour would not necessarily support either its own deal or Remain. It would “depend on the deal negotiated”

The Hard Leave factionalists range from traditional right-wing defenders of British sovereignty, and their seats, like Stephen Kinnock,  to traditional defenders of British sovereignty as  a means to launch, through a People’s Brexit, into an independent socialist Britain.

The latter group, now hunkering down in their Unite heartlands, are adrift.

They are trying every trick in their book, appeals to the ‘real’ working class who support Brexit, as oppose to the ‘unreal’ metropolitan ‘rootless cosmopolitans’, backed by slanted statistics on the Labour vote, and cries that ‘Jeremy’ is behind them.

But a large section of the left, inside and outside the Labour Party, is as Polly Toynbee has not failed to notice, is not on the Remain and Transform side.

They are joined by the centre of the Labour Party,

“The Referendum-remain-reform motion is backed by John McDonnell, Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Tom Watson, Diane Abbott, Andy McDonald and most of the shadow cabinet. An unequivocal conference motion will halt the desertion of Labour remainers to the Lib Dems, making the other two parties look extreme.”

Swinson’s remain extremism has given Labour a golden opportunity

The fight against what Paul Mason calls, “national neoliberalism”, national populism, needs allies, and it needs the kind of bold socialist policies a left-government can offer.

The issue of Europe is bringing this outward looking internationalist left together.

Labour’s Conference will see if we are able to face up to efforts to manoeuvre our efforts away.

The forces hostile to internationalism will exert maximum pressure to get their way against Labour members, and it is likely that the kind of pressure Another Europe is Possible Organiser Michael Chessum faced last year has  redoubled.

The call below should be supported.




Written by Andrew Coates

September 18, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Ex Key Galloway Ally Salma Yaqoob tries to Become Labour Mayor of Birmingham.

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Related image

Yaqoob Back in the Days of Respect.

Ex Respect leader and anti-war activist Salma Yaqoob launches shock bid to be West Midlands Mayor

Outspoken activist Salma Yaqoob has launched an audacious bid to win the right to challenge Andy Street as West Midlands Mayor, BirminghamLive understands.

Ms Yaqoob, former leader of the Respect Party and an ex Birmingham city councillor, has decided at the 11th hour to throw her hat into the ring to win the Labour nomination – despite questions over her party credentials.

Subject to confirmation from Labour’s executive that her candidacy meets membership criteria, she will stand against Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne, thought to be the frontrunner, and unions favourite Pete Lowe from Dudley in the race to be selected as the party’s official candidate to take on Street next May.

The reason why she left Respect was not disagreement with its politics, but a personal spat with Galloway over his defence of Julian Assange.

He suggested accusations against Julian Assange by two Swedish women did not constitute rape “as most people understand it” and Assange was simply guilty of “bad sexual etiquette.”

Yaqoob was caught up in the backlash and left the party as a result.

This is what she said afterwards,

I’ve always admired George’s anti-imperialist stances and I don’t regret, for a second, standing side by side on those issues. But for me, to have to make a choice between that and standing up for the rights of women was a false choice. I thought it was a blurring of something that didn’t need to be blurred. It’s not that complicated – you can hold two ideas at the same time.” Of course, “we’re all human, we can’t always make perfectly worded and crafted sentences – I really hoped a clarification would sort that out.” She published a statement setting out her own position, but then, as she describes it, things escalated. Although she says Galloway never got directly in contact – and still hasn’t – she felt she was being personally maligned; that “under the guise of different names there were personal attacks”.

Salma Yaqoob, in her first interview, explains why she left the party, what comes next – and her thoughts on George Galloway

The interview continued,

There is also a significant cohort worried about the nature of the membership of Respect, that it is an uneasy alliance of far left and Islamist far right. “I will not accept that. I’ve been there from the beginning. I know that we have fought those very reactionary forces, we challenged them from within. I get the hate calls – I get people in the streets saying, ‘She is trying to wreck our homes.’ I’ve had the death threats, that anyone who beheads me will go straight to heaven. Because I promote democracy, because I have a very clear stance on pluralism. Pluralism is not about just supporting people you happen to agree with anyway. I would challenge anybody to say where I have pandered to, never mind encouraged, any reactionary stance.”

This is denying reality, the alliance between Respect and Islamists is a fact that can’t be wished away by referring to their distance from the most extreme, violent, wing and ignoring the link between the party with ‘moderate’ Islamists of, amongst others,  the Muslim Brotherhood.


Her own ignoble role in denying Islamist influence during the Trojan Horse scandal is a matter of record. (1)


One can admire her standing up for democracy against the Jihadist wing of Islamism.


One can also admire the fact that she has stood up for Syrian refugees.

And she believes in a Third EU referendum, not to mention loathes the Boris Johnson Coup.

Yaqoob appears to have made a personal enemy in arch-right wing Leaver MP Roger Godsiff which is good.


But her background in Galloway-style bogus ‘anti-imperialism’ is still there.


Because of this, Lansman’s is very far from a unanimous left-wing view:

(1) “While Ofsted’s inspection of Park View is not thought to have found any evidence of extremist behaviour, the report concludes:

  • The academy did not do enough to alert students to the risks of extremism.
  • Speakers invited to the school were not vetted and pupils not taught about the safe use of the internet.
  • Staff are scared of speaking out and some feel governors get inappropriately involved in the running of the school.
  • Pupils are not given adequate preparation for living in a multi-cultural society.
  • Education about sex and relationships is ineffective.

The school’s managing trust has issued a statement rejecting the findings, saying inspectors have misrepresented the facts, adding there was “no suggestion” in the report of extremism being present in classrooms.

Park View Educational Trust said: “Ofsted judges that Park View is not doing enough to raise students’ awareness of the ‘risks of extremism’. We reject this.

“It is also crucial to note that the Ofsted reports make absolutely no suggestion, nor did they find any evidence, that trust schools either promote or tolerate extremism or radicalisation.”

The trust added it had been working with the government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme since at least 2012.

It said there was “an open working environment” but accepted improvements in areas like staff pay, recruitment and progression could be made.

However, it said “a disillusioned workforce would soon result in (academic) standards slipping” and this had not been the case, with three-quarters of GCSE pupils earning grades A* – C, including maths and English, last year.

Mr Gove is facing renewed pressure from his Labour shadow, Tristram Hunt, over the government’s handling of the threat of extremism in schools.

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “How you can go from outstanding to inadequate? And that’s because the inspection criteria is not fit for purpose.

“We want a much broader criteria to make sure these problems don’t arise.”

Ms Yaqoob, who described herself as “a Birmingham mum”, alleged that Ofsted’s findings were “prejudged” and she had yet to see “a shred of evidence” that pupils were being radicalised.

“The kids of Birmingham are already damned as being extremist,” she added.

“One of the [Ofsted] inspectors asked a girl who was sitting next to a Muslim boy whether she felt intimidated.

“The assumption being that a Year 11 Muslim boy is, by virtue of being a Muslim boy, intimidating.”


Written by Andrew Coates

September 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Tunisia, “Revolutionary Conservative” Kaïs Saïed heads First Round: two Populists to battle it out.

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Kais Saïd ou le choix de la génération

Robocop Heads Tunisian Presidential First Round.

Presidential election results were seen as a shock in the Tunisian media.


Tunisia election: Outsider in lead stuns after most votes counted.

Al Jazeera.

With two-third votes in presidential race counted, conservative constitutional law professor Kais Saied takes the lead.

Law professor and political outsider Kais Saied is leading Tunisia‘s presidential polls with two-thirds of the votes counted, the electoral commission said, after the country’s second free vote for head of state since the 2011 Arab Spring.

Saied was on 18.9 percent on Monday night, ahead of imprisoned media magnate Nabil Karoui, who was on 15.5 percent, according to the electoral commission, ISIE.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, a presidential hopeful whose popularity has been tarnished by a sluggish economy and the rising cost of living, could well turn out to be the election’s biggest loser.

ISIE figures showed him in fifth place with 7.4 percent of the vote, trailing both Ennahdha party candidate Abdelfattah Mourou (moderate’ islamists, once a favourite of Jeremy Corbyn’s right-hand man, Seumas Milne)  and former defence minister Abdelkarim Zbidi.

France 24 noted,

In a sign of voter apathy, especially among the young, turnout was reported by the elections commission (ISIE) to be 45 percent, down from 64 percent recorded in a first round in 2014.

Reports indicate that  Kaïs Saïed’s electoral base is the educated youth, the “les 20-30 ans éduqués.”

Nicknamed, “robocop”, this comes from his unflagging diction, his use of a rigorous literary Arabic (when many candidates speak in Tunisian forms), his analysis essentially based on the country’s constitutional problems, his conservative positions on social issues. Others have made the connection with “Robespierre”, a ”  Robespierre without guillotine, but if the situation was that of two centuries ago, he would have used it,” an observer noted. He has been a favourite in the polls for many months.

Le Point.

The  analysis by Syrine Ben Youssef on Huffington Post Maghreb has a different angle on the age cohort.

Kais Saïd ou le choix de la génération Z

37 % des électeurs de Kais Saïd auraient entre 18 et 25 ans

37% of the voters for Kais Saïd  are said to be between 18 and 25 years old.

Syrine Ben Youssef summarises some reasons for this result.

They call them ‘Generation Z’ who have grown up since the Tunisian Spring, in contrast to ‘Generation Y who made the revolution.

This is the digital generation, “digital natives” ultra-connected, born with internet, mobile phones, and  social networks.

Saïd is seen as “honest, independent, intellectual” and, above all, he conveyed this image in short broadcasts which can be quickly absorbed and gave an image of furthering a change from the old political set up, the style of lengthy speeches and arguments. He, the Huffington Post journalist, argues,, managed to give an accessible image and a message of supporting, “ideas of ​​direct popular participation” and backing for “universal suffrage”, that is, not the rule of a squabbling political class.

Generation Z, for its part, shows us, through this election in 2019, that it needs change and that it thinks differently. Kais Saïd advocates  a direct democracy where the intermediaries between the power and the people would be reduced. A democracy in the image of a horizontal company or even a liberated firm having little or no level of separation between employees and the executive. Kais Saïd targets, perhaps very intentionally or possibly accidentally, Generation Z.

In case anybody should think this audience makes Saïed a liberal, think again.

He is in favour of the death penalty, he thinks homosexuality is promoted by ‘foreign’ forces’ (l’homosexualité, ou plutôt son expression publique, est encouragée par des parties étrangères qui les financent »)  which should be kept Private, and he thinks that inheritance laws should give priority to males (as in most interpretations of Islamic ‘law’). More here.

It looks like a standoff between two “populists”, the one, constitutional and conservative, who attacks “elites”, the other Nabil Karoui, referred to as a Tunisian Berlusconi with dodgy money – currently in Gaol awaiting trial for this – who wants to “Libérer l’économie”, free the economy.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 17, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Eddie Dempsey Affair latest turn: Owen Jones attacks “caricature of working-class identity.”

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Image result for eddie dempsey right to hate them tweet

Red-Brown Front Defends Dempsey.

For those who do not know Eddie Dempsey is a virulent supporter of Brexit. He has participated in the red-Brown Full Brexit, which brings together Spiked supporters and members of the Brexit Party (including James Heartfield, candidate for Nigel Farage in Islington North), Communist Party of Britain members, Leave Labour, Blue Labour, anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaign and leader of  Arron Banks funded Trades Unionists Against the EU, Paul Embery, Counterfire, Funny Money sovereigntist  Thomas Fazi, Wolfgang Streeck, New Left Review Stalwart and a ‘left’ national populist, Prof Costas Lapavitsas, of a Greek leftist micro party, backers of the Socialist Labour Party (Scargill’s lot) and many, many, even odder balls and lot, and lots, more Spiked writers.

Spiked carried this story in March,

Why we’re campaigning for a Full Brexit

Bob From Brockley analysed this red-brown front:

One LM initiative in the post-Referendum period was “The Full Brexit”, an avowedly left-wing pressure group launched in the summer of 2018 to reframe the Brexit narrative as one about “democracy” rather than just bashing immigrants. Alongside a smattering of Blue Labour social conservatives and Lexit Marxists, a good half of its 20 founding signatories are RCP network members. Academic Chris Bickerton has been a Spiked contributor since 2005, when he was a PhD student at St John’s College, Oxford. Philip Cunliffe, Furedi’s colleague at the University of Kent, is another long term Spiked activist. Pauline Hadaway, another academic, is a veteran of the Living Marxism days. James Heartfield was a paid RCP organiser. Lee Jones seems to have been recruited at Oxford around the same time as Bickerton. Tara McCormack is an RCP veteran, as is Suke WoltonBruno Waterfield write for Living Marxism. Other signatories aren’t part of the network but have been promoted by Spiked: Paul Embery and Thomas Fazi for example (Fazi is also connected to the 5 Star Movement and recently retweeted an antisemitic tweet from someone with “Nazbol” in his user name). Many are also involved in Briefings for Brexit, which has several RCP veterans on its advisory committee, and some are involved with Civitas. This is a peculiar form of left-right crossover politics.

The RCP then played a key role in the creation of the Brexit Party, again providing “left” cover for a deeply right-wing project. Otto English in Byline Times documents how, in February 2019, a film-maker, Kevin Laitak, a disciple of Furedi, began turning up at local Leavers of Britain groups, telling campaigners that he was making a short film about rank-and-file Brexiters. He then recruited activists who might consider standing for the new BXP, who were then called by a woman called Lesley Katon. Katon told would-be recruits that she was the co-founder of a group called ‘Invoke Democracy Now’, whose activists, English notes, included Claire Fox, as well as Luke Gittos, the legal editor of Spiked, Brendan O’Neill, its editor, Living Marxism alumni Tessa Mayes and Munira Mirza, and Mick Hume, former editor of Living Marxism (for more on Invoke Democracy Now, see Colin Lawson). Katon herself has several LM connections, and among the candidates emerging from this process were In addition to her client Claire Fox; Katon’s colleague David Bull who spoke at a Spiked event in 2003; James Heartfield, a long-time RCP cadre; Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, a former RCP activist and Spiked contributor; and in Scotland long time Spiked writer Stuart Waiton. Of these, only Fox was placed high up enough a regional list to get sent to Brussels.

Dempsey came to people’s attention when he spoke at a Full Brexit event.

Amongst the fall out from this speech was this.

For daring to criticise Dempsey Clive Lewis had this to face:

Clive Lewis expelled from RMT parliamentary group for ‘defamatory’ attack on Eddie Dempsey

Then there was this:

Ash Sarkar just No Platformed a pro-Brexit trade unionist

The middle-class left gets more ridiculous by the day.

The middle-class left gets more ridiculous by the day. Today, Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar announced she has pulled out of speaking at an upcoming People’s Assembly demo, apparently because she couldn’t bear to share a platform with pro-Brexit trade unionist Eddie Dempsey.

Spiked commented,

Bourgeois ‘leftists’ have No Platformed a working-class trade unionist. All because he supports Brexit. There could be no better example of how detached these people are from real radical politics and working-class interests.

The Morning star echoed Spiked:

RMT’s Eddie Dempsey calls for unity against Boris Johnson after ‘no-platform’ bid by Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar

Despite his enthusiastic participation in this Red-Brown front, set up by Spiked, Dempsey makes this bald-faced claim.

Today sees this released:

This is a core section,

A few weeks ago, both me and Novara Media editor Ash Sarkar were invited to speak at a rally organised by the People’s Assembly. As it turned out, I’d double booked, but I was lobbied particularly by BME activists to withdraw, which Ash quickly did. The reason: the presence of RMT activist Eddie Dempsey, who once argued that “the one thing that unites” those who turn up at Tommy Robinson protests “is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.” Now we socialists have our own critique of the “liberal left” — principally their support for market economics — but that is not what Tommy Robinson supporters (or “fascists”, to use shorthand) hate them for. No, it is for having perceived anti-racist, pro-migrant, anti-Islamophobia politics.

What makes it even more egregious is that Dempsey folds anyone on the left who isn’t pro-Brexit into his “liberal left” category, including both myself and Ash Sarkar. We were expected to stand as an ally with someone who believes fascists are right to hate us. For those of us at risk of violence from Tommy Robinson’s fascist supporters for espousing our socialist politics — indeed the last People’s Assembly protest I spoke at, they surrounded me chanting “Jonesy as a homo” then attempted to punch me in the face — it is a lot to ask us to stand together as comrades and allies with an individual who believes these hateful thugs are right to hate us. (We’ve since been accused of ‘no platforming’ Dempsey, including by the right-wing libertarian Spiked website, and Sarkar was inundated with racist abuse: in actual fact, we simply disinvited ourselves — no-one is forced to share a platform — and turned down an offer by the protest organisers to remove Dempsey as a speaker).

Dempsey’s perverse argument rests on the assumption that Tommy Robinson’s supporters represent a meaningful, if wrongheaded, constituency of working-class Britain. It is a belief which should have been put to bed by this convicted fraudster, thug and grifter getting 2.2% of the vote in the North West during the European elections: most working class people detest this far-right businessman. An even more extreme worldview is expounded by Dempsey’s ally Paul Embery — a pro-Brexit union activist suspended by the Fire Brigades Union’s national executive — who opposes equal marriage, believing it alienates “traditional Labour voters”, opposes trans rights, and claimed that Labour’s demand for revoking Geoffrey Boycott’s knighthood on account of his domestic abuse conviction had “alienated the whole of Yorkshire.”

But this caricature of working-class identity is simply not based on the facts. Take Brexit: a debate often simplistically portrayed as Leave = working class, Remain = middle class. This is partly because of a ‘ABC1C2DE’ social classification system which has a lot to answer for: ABC1 lumps FTSE 100 board members in with public sector workers as ‘middle class’, while C2DE — which is weighted towards pensioners — is used as a working-class social indicator. But even using this profoundly flawed system, most working-class people under 35 and working class BME people voted for Remain. We are told that “the Labour heartlands voted Leave”: why Liverpool, Manchester or indeed London are excluded from “Labour heartlands” is not explained. Where does the Scottish working class fit in all of this?

Red-Brown Eddie responds.




Here is another example of Dempsey’s activism.



Nick Cohen on the Brexit Bolsheviks of Spiked: James Heartfield (né James Hughes), from Sectarian Marxism to National Populism.

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Heartfield’s Brexit Party Steps up Competition with Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Holloway Road.

James Heartfield, from the Revolutionary Communist party and its successor organisations, will fight rather than support Corbyn in Islington, and stand for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party. He’s not alone in that. In the European elections, Farage put forward four candidates from what was in the 1980s the RCP, and then morphed into Living Marxism, the Institute of Ideas and Spiked. The names may have been different but the personnel and mentality endured. One, Claire Fox of the BBC’s Moral Maze, is now a Brexit party member of the European parliament.


Meanwhile, if Corbyn has provided excuses for tyrannical regimes, his rival in Islington North from the Brexit party defended Colonel Gaddafi’s Libyan tyranny.

This is one of Comrade Cohen’s starting points in this excellent article,

The conventional explanation for the success of the RCP is that it has cannily moved from the far left to where the money is. It understood that the media reward talking heads who will propagate any theory, however simplistic or false. “It still operates as a clique,” a former member told me as I was researching this piece. “But instead of attacking liberals from the far left it now attacks them from the libertarian right.” For denouncing political correctness, wokeness and other assorted horrors, it receives Koch brother money and commissions from editors desperate for “contrarian” thrills.

This is true and I am not sure this accounts for the enthusiasm of Spiked for the Brexit Party and their other main field of operations, the Red-Brown Front, the Full Brexit, which brings them together with members of the Communist Party of Britain, Counterfire, Blue Labour, Labour Leave and other odd-balls, either (Why we’re campaigning for a Full Brexit. Meet the leftists making the case for Brexit’s transformative potential.)

See Bob on Going full Brexit: from Red Front to red-brown front.

From this one can see that their ideology has a lot in its misty mixture of virulent rhetoric. Which emerged when they discarded all political bearing s within Marxism traditions, and belief in the potential of working people and the whole range of the oppressed to change society and create for themselves forms of socialism.

Contrarianism, hostility to the welfare state social democratic Labour Party (ingrained in the group since its origins), a vague belief in the ‘risk taking’ promethean aspects of modern science and capitalism (grabbedat to justify anti-Green politics), the hatred of the “culture of complaint”, a well worn defence of the Enlightenment, and jibes at the identity politics of the 1990s, all go into the mix of Furedi  and chums. In place of Marxism they claim to be brave humanists as well.

There is a lot of ranting about elites – definitely outlined by Cohen as a vein of conspiracy thinking. But behind this there is a shift from standing for ‘strong democracy’ (Benjamin Barber) to national sovereignty thwarted by oligarchs and liberal elites, the cosmopolitan internationalists who oppose Brexit.

The EU is risk averse, it believes that if something moves it should be regulated. It represents risk as a form of danger not an opportunity.”The alternative is national sovereignty, “National sovereignty is not simply about waving the flag, it’s about understanding that only through the institutions of a nation state can you have a sense of control over your destiny and hold your leaders and politicians to account. It is only in this terrain that democracy has any real meaning.”

Sovereignty post Brexit: an interview with Frank Furedi

Cohen continues,

Brexit itself, however, is the ultimate post-crash conspiracy theory. Britain could be a buccaneering country again, as it was when it ruled a quarter of the world, if only it were not the victim of Brussels

Buccaneering nations are glamorous, no doubt, but exactly why do we need these pirates?

Conspiracy theory only gets us so far, what are they conspiring for?

One thing that struck me recently researching it, and reading, re-reading, far-right texts, is how some figures of the Nouvelle Droite in France, specifically Guillaume Faye, explicitly draw a link between defending ‘European civilisation’ (Faye shifted in the years towards his death last year to a more overtly nation based theme), and make a link between the kind of Furedi angle on glory that was Europe as independent sovereign states.(the RCP guru now slips from the Enlightenment to Judeo-Christian and Classical heritage) to overt ethnic racism. The route passes through nations, to ethnic groups, to ethno-racial forces. The elites, the ‘globalisers’ are out to thwart this.

The Spiked Red-Brown Front with the Brexit Party has not gone down that road – yet – but you can’t help feeling that the plea for the ‘white working class’ downtrodden by elites is pretty close to it.

Many of the contrarian themes – though very certainly not all, and there are some major differences over ‘Paganism’, of the RCP are also echoed in these quarters. Alain de Benoist though is more left-wing (he encourages pluralism and decentralisation, for a start) than Spiked on the issue of sovereignty.

The Spiked Red Brown front is serious, it is aimed not just at the Brexit party but through the Full Brexit Party, at the ‘left’.

Like the French nouvelle droite it seeks not just influence but political levers for a goal.

This is National Populism, a set of doctrines and ideas, attitudes and culture, that above all, denies that the democratic constitutions make sovereignty an ’empty psace’ which all can potentially occupy. Only the “real” people and their leaders can legitimately  do so.

Mind you a lot of their ideas are just plain drivel.

Defending the ‘anti-globalisers’ amongst the ‘native populations’.


Written by Andrew Coates

September 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Still Facing Rape Accusations, Tariq Ramadan Resurfaces: Compares Himself to Dreyfus and Retweets Assad Propaganda.

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Ramadan, ” Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford, St Antony’s College” Goes Full Conspi.

Tariq Ramadan has been the news in France

He has written a book whose publication has been authorised.

Image result for devoir de verite ramadan


Much of the book is, apparently, full of the usual pretentious intellectual drivel with which he has made his mark.


That is the least of it…..

Tariq Ramadan compares himself with Captain Dreyfus

Le Monde.

The Islamologist, indicted for rape, has come out of his media silence by publishing “Duty of Truth” (Devoir de Vérité) , in which he attacks the complainants, justice and the media.

In nearly 300 pages, the book alternates between mystical-spiritual considerations, phrases with Nietzschean accents to speak about his ordeal in prison and, especially, it is contains repeated attacks against an evil triptych: the plaintiffs, the justice and the media. “On the road, we must of course overcome resentment and resentment,” says the theologian from the first pages. A bit of advice  forgotten  when he comes to mention those he considers responsible for his troubles.

The accusers?  “Women who were jealous or who felt cheated and who looked settle scores after the facts. “ All liars, he says. As the “Innocent” party, he has no softer words for them. The judges ? Tariq Ramadan immediately feels “their deep hostility” their “voluntary blindness” , when it is not the “shifty look” of the liberty and custody judge responsible for his case.  The media? “They want me guilty” , and indulged in a “lynching” , “with their vulture instincts”.

Now we learn that the latest antics of the dapper Oxford Don (on “leave of absence”, as a Professor at Oxford, that is still with his post)has reached the English speaking world.

The Middle East site The National publishes this:

Tariq Ramadan book to be published despite pleas of rape accuser

Jamie Prentis

The scholar faces a number of sexual assault accusations.

French authorities have allowed the publication of a book by Tariq Ramadan despite it outing a woman, known in the media under the pseudonym Christelle, who has accused the scholar of rape.

A court in Paris ruled that the woman’s identity was already known to the public. But it also accepted that damage would be done to Christelle if her real name was revealed and ruled Mr Ramadan must pay her a symbolic single euro.

He initially denied any sexual encounter with Christelle but later admitted to a consensual relationship in 2009.

“The release of this book as it stands has to be banned as it reveals the identity of my client in 84 instances,” said her lawyer Eric Morain.

“All media have respected the law. Tariq Ramadan must respect it as well.

Mr Ramadan’s book, Duty of Truth, rejects a number of rape accusations levied against him and portrays the academic as a victim. He compares himself to Alfred Dreyfus, a French officer of Jewish heritage unfairly convicted of leaking military information to Germany in the late 19th century.

Mr Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been indicted on two rape charges and faces similar accusation from at least two other women.

The Federation of Muslims in France said felt “betrayed” by Mr Ramadan’s behaviour, in reference to the affairs he has admitted.

“We feel betrayed by the behaviour revealed by Mr. Ramadan, a behaviour that totally contradicts the ethical and moral principles expected of a man who preaches Islam, calls for his spirituality and his values, and answers questions of a mostly young audience and looking for models,” it said.

Mr Ramadan has taken an agreed leave of absence from his post as a professor at the University of Oxford while under investigation. His appearances on French TV to promote the book have sparked outrage in some corners of France.

The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions said Mr Ramadan’s words are “an insult to the memory of Alfred Dreyfus and an offence to all who worked towards his rehabilitation”.

He was detained in February last year and held for nine months before being granted bail and denies all the charges.

Last month, Mr Ramadan faced a new accusation of raping of a woman in May 2014 in Lyon, France.

The bit about Dreyfus is not a joke, rather it’s a very poor taste one:

The  plea of total innocence – of rape – recognises his adultery, and, does not mention (that is, does not explicitly deny) his sado-masochistic tastes,

Il nie tout, ignore les accusations de séquestration et de domination, de sodomie forcée, de coups violents et d’humiliations – comme l’ont décrit les plaignantes, dont il livre au public toutes les identités, alors qu’elles avaient témoigné sous X. Son récit n’évoque même pas la contradiction avec son puritanisme affiché.

He denies everything, ignores the accusations of forcible confinement, forced sodomy, violent beatings and humiliation – as the Complainants, whose identities he gave to the public, testified under X. His story does not even evoke the contradiction with his claims to puritanism.

Marianne: Tartuffe. Avec “Devoir de vérité”, Tariq Ramadan fait sa charia

Ramadan’s bluster has not gone well with his old mates.

Le retour de Tariq Ramadan fâche dans les milieux musulmans


Tariq n’a fait aucune amende honorable», regrette l’un de ses anciens proches. «Il a un culot monstre, de tenter de revenir sur scène», commente Abdelaziz Chaambi, un ancien compagnon de route lyonnais, en froid avec le théologien depuis une dizaine d’années. «Qu’il se taise» réclament les milieux musulmans, selon le sociologue spécialiste de l’islam Vincent Geisser, au fait de l’ambiance de la base.

“Tariq has not made an honourable amend  regrets one of his former relatives. ” He has a bleeding cheek,  to try to come back on the public stage, ” said Abdelaziz Chaambi, a former fellow traveller from Lyon, who has fallen out with the theologian the last twelve years. “He should shut up”  demand Muslim circles, according to the sociologist, specialising in Islam, Vincent Geisser, reflecting on the atmosphere at the grassroots.

Fat chance.

Here some of his true friends:

Ramadan continues with his new dada’

We hear that a book attacking the pious Oxford Don is in the pipeline for publication soon.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 14, 2019 at 11:05 am

Morning Star Publishes Demand for Irish to stop Whingeing, follow British lead and leave the European Union.

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No photo description available.

 A United Ireland will be “under Franco-German military control while flying an EU flag.”

Kevin  McCorry, “leading member of the People’s Movement, who defend and enhance Irish democracy and sovereignty and the primacy of Bunreacht na hÉireann and its institutions over EU supranational institutions and treaties. They inform and develop the knowledge and awareness of people on EU matters.” (Hat-Tips to FB Friends)

Written in a different way one would say they (a small group by any standards) are virulently anti-EU, defend Irish neutrality and are very wary about the EU’s rules allowing freedom of movement: People’s Movement.


Ireland should follow Britain out of the EU — or it will come under effective Franco-German control while flying an EU flag, writes KEVIN McCORRY

Underneath this picture one can read.

A KEY reason for the hostility of the EU and the Irish government to Brexit and their intransigence on the artificially created problem of the Irish “backstop” is fear that if a real Brexit occurs — with Britain outside the EU customs union, single market and European Court of Justice jurisdiction — the Republic of Ireland will inevitably follow.

Continued EU membership by either the UK or the Republic of Ireland is in no way necessary to underpin the North-South co-operation within Ireland and the East-West co-operation between Ireland and Britain that the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) provides for.

To suggest otherwise is false. Naturally both states must honour their commitments under the agreement.

Given that one of the states has opted to leave the EU — something which is not prohibited by the GFA — continued good relations between the two close neighbours demand, even at this late stage, that the other must either do the same or enter into a bilateral agreement with the state leaving the EU to ensure the continuance of an open border.

It’s all the fault of the Irish,

So far Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s uncritical commitment to “Team EU” has made him utterly disdainful of any move in that direction.

Varadkar has consistently refused to listen to rational arguments on the “backstop.” The Irish Establishment has gone too far down the Eurofederalist road to turn back now.

if there are new Irish border problems arising at this time, they do not stem from Britain’s democratic decision to leave the EU, but from the Irish government’s desire to remain in it, even though it is not in the Irish people’s interest to continue as citizens of the EU federal state-in-the-making, for they are already citizens of an Irish state…..


If the Republic stays in the EU following Britain’s departure, a united Ireland at some future date would mean that the whole island would come under effective Franco-German military control while flying an EU flag.


The new Mass Line will surely go down well in the Republic and amongst Remain voters in the North.

Though the Communist Party of Ireland’s front organisation likes it,

This reminds the reader of the earlier efforts of the Pro-Brexit ‘left’ to work out their politics in Ireland,

The stupidity of their position is no more obvious than in relation to the sticking point of the Brexit negotiations – the claim that there can be Brexit and no hard border in Ireland.  Theresa May has claimed that the UK can leave the EU and its Single Market and yet maintain the current frictionless arrangements.  But this is impossible, and she is running out of time to either reverse her position on the Single Market or dump us into a no deal.

In the first eventuality there would be no strong reason to seek an exit from the EU in the first place, and in the second scenario there will be what’s called a ‘hard’ border.  The supporters of Lexit in Ireland, People before Profit, have announced that they are “ready to oppose a hard border” and “will advocate mass civil disobedience against the imposition of a hard border . . .”

So just what form should or would this civil disobedience take?  And how would it be more than just a token protest and actually be effective?

Will, for example,  PbP seek to persuade lorry drivers to refuse to submit papers on the border that validate their imported or exported load?  Will they picket workplaces of hauliers, ports, factories and warehouses telling the workers not to process export or import paperwork?  Will this be done both North and South for those exporting and importing into the North?

Sráid Marx

People before Profit and preventing a Brexit hard border

That fantasy could be put down to leftist folk politics.

Now the new Lexit Line is fuck the Republic!

Written by Andrew Coates

September 13, 2019 at 11:11 am

Pro-Brexit Factionalists Try to Make Labour Pull ‘Credible’ Brexit Plan Out of the Hat.

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The Failed Plan of the Past, Now Pro-Brexit Faction in Labour Hopes to Pull ‘Credible’ Leave Deal out of the Hat.

In a letter Jeremy Corbyn said on September the 9th.

A letter from Jeremy Corbyn on our Brexit position. 

Labour set out a compromise plan to try to bring the country together based around a customs union, a strong single market relationship and protection of environmental regulations and rights at work. We continue to believe this is a sensible alternative that could bring the country together.

But the Prime Minister refused to compromise and was unable to deliver, so we ended cross-party talks.

Now both Tory leadership candidates are threatening a No Deal Brexit – or at best a race to the bottom and a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump: that runs down industry, opens up our NHS and other public services to yet more privatisation, and shreds environmental protections, rights at work and consumer standards.

I have spent the past few weeks consulting with the shadow cabinet, MPs, affiliated unions and the NEC. I have also had feedback from members via the National Policy Forum consultation on Brexit.

Whoever becomes the new Prime Minister should have the confidence to put their deal, or No Deal, back to the people in a public vote.

In those circumstances, I want to make it clear that Labour would campaign for Remain against either No Deal or a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs.

Labour has a crucial, historic duty to safeguard jobs, rights and living standards. But no Brexit outcome alone can do that.

We need a general election. After nine years of austerity, too many people in this country cannot find decent secure well-paid work and have to rely on public services that have been severely cut back.

This leaves open space for the magic moment when a “Brexit outcome” could “protect the economy and jobs”.

While waiting for Doctor Who to fix one with his sonic screwdriver the pro-Brexit hardliners continue.

The Morning Star reports today,

In his TUC conference speech on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn said that if he became Prime Minister he would offer a referendum with a “credible Leave option” negotiated by Labour as well as Remain.

He also said that his priority is for an election as soon as Parliament has blocked the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

The new Mass Line is for a United Front From Below to demand a General Election, “whatever your views on Brexit” (but let the pro-Brexit factions run the show, please!).

Hundreds packed the Tories Out rally fringe at TUC conference last night as part of the ongoing national Stand with Corbyn — Unite to End Tory austerity tour.

‘Tories Out,’ TUC delegates hear as Labour Assembly Against Austerity rallies for radical change

The Morning Star reports that ‘union leaders’ that is their allies in UNITE and the CWU, the “pro-Brexit group Leave Fight Transform” (the front set up by the Communist Party of Britain) and even the GMB poured scorn on Watson’s suggestion that a Referendum was needed before a General Election.

This is echoed by the Morning Star’s friends in Counterfire,

To stop Watson, it is necessary for the left to organise and fight. Enough compromise, cut Watson loose, call a general election now, and mobilise for a government for the many, not the few! This should be the programme of the left to win.

Tom Watson is undermining Labour – it’s time to cut him loose

The Morning Star also reports on the dodgy doings of its new front, Leave Fight Transform (LeFT).

They are still trying to get Labour to adopt a pro-Brexit plan.

Perhaps the not the best way to do it is to give a platform for calls to vote against Labour MPs,

EVERY MP who wants Britain to remain in the European Union should be “opposed” by the labour movement, Arthur Scargill said yesterday.

Speaking at the meeting of the left-wing anti-EU group Leave Fight Transform (LeFT) at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton, the former National Union of Mineworkers president said that “every single MP who wants us to go back into Europe should be opposed.

That is my view, as a socialist, as a Marxist,” Mr Scargill said.


Other speakers included RMT activist Eddie Dempsey, Communist Party of Britain chairwoman Liz Payne, teacher and education activist Gawain Little and Manchester Labour Students leader Sarah Cundy.

Dempsey, who has close ties with the Red-Brown Front The Full Brexit, which brings together supporters of the extreme right Brexit Party and the sovereigntist ‘left’  used the platform to attack Labour’s Shadow Chancellor,

 Mr Dempsey said: “I’ve never seen anyone run as quick as John McDonnell in these last few weeks.

Arthur Scargill says the left should oppose all pro-Remain MPs

See Jim: The tragedy of Arthur Scargill.

Finance capital is rubbing its hands at the prospect of Brexit.

Boris Johnson faces more chaos.

Brexit Bolshevik Myth Busted:

The way ahead for anybody trying to push a Brexit Deal for Labour is hard,

Labour’s pro-deal contingent could soon face a brutal political choice

Which leaves the burning question – are the Labour rebels so opposed to a new referendum that they will back a deal that could give the Tories licence to wreak havoc on Britain’s employment, consumer and environmental protections?

If Johnson returns to parliament brandishing the hardest of Brexits, will they tell their local Labour voters that they must sacrifice their protections for the sake of democracy? Will they tell their local trade union activists that their interests are best served by Labour MPs selling them out?

Are they so committed to upholding a public vote that they see such things as a price worth paying just to avoid another one?

Chaminda Jayanetti



Labour and Brexit: Corbyn Promises “Credible” Leave Option in Referendum.

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Image result for Another europe is possible 2019 protest

Stop Boris, Stop Brexit!

The latest Labour announcement  on Brexit.


And here:

On Labour List  Sienna Rodgers says,

. Labour’s current position was summed up by Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the TUC congress 2019 yesterday: “And in that election, we will commit to a public vote with a credible option to leave and the option to remain.” No more, no less. That is pretty straight-forward, but it does leave a couple of key questions unanswered. What is the credible Leave option? And would Labour back Remain in that referendum?

A “credible Leave option” means no deal wouldn’t be on the ballot paper. That in itself does attract some criticism, because it excludes a position held by a significant chunk of voters, and it has led a number of Labour MPs opposing a referendum. (They argue that a public vote could not include such a destructive option, but couldn’t be legitimate without it either.) On the whole, however, Labour is agreed on that front.

The debate that has sprung up recently is whether Labour would renegotiate and establish its own Leave option, or just stick Theresa May’s deal on the ballot paper – as some interpreted John McDonnell as saying last weekend.

On the second question regarding Labour’s referendum position, the unions are winning the argument so far. They want the official stance to be dependent on the quality of the deal negotiated, not confirmed before the election, as set out after a crunch meeting in July. McDonnell, Thornberry, Diane Abbott, Keir Starmer and other shadow cabinet members have pledged to campaign for Remain in the referendum, but as a whole Labour hasn’t nailed its colours to the mast. As yet, the ‘1975’ approach of allowing Labour figures to campaign as they wish hasn’t been ruled out either. This could all change at conference, however, when members may be able to force the leadership into unequivocally backing Remain – even against its own deal.

For ‘the unions’ read UNITE, advised by the pro-Brexit Andrew Murray.

The Straight Left recent member of the Communist Party of Britain, has influence not just on UNITE’s ageing boss, Len McCluskey but on Corbyn – his expertise won by supporting Russia’s President Putin no doubt indispensable on how to negotiate disputes between nation states.

A good guide to the thinking behind the turn to a ‘credible’ Leave option can be seen in Murray’s house journal, the Morning Star.

Its  editorial on the same speech (Corbyn’s speech shows where Labour’s true priorities should lie) says,

The permanent bureaucracy of the EU seems keen to work with Britain’s Remain-at-all-costs crowd to annul the referendum result.


some see Britain’s never-ending Brexit saga as a source of further destabilisation they could do without.

The above side-show, the “melodramatic spectacle” of left wing MPs protesting against prorogation, and Labour support for a referendum, stands in the way of a united front from below,

Labour’s unhelpful insistence on rerunning the referendum may be an obsolete policy by election time. Whether it is or isn’t, the labour movement mobilisation against Boris Johnson’s government should build throughout September and aim at a huge demonstration for democracy outside the Conservative Party conference, focused on forcing an election to address the catastrophic social, economic and environmental crises afflicting our country and the world.

This hope, barely hiding annoyance at their own inability to offer any “credible” Leave politics, is followed by this call.

A purge is needed to make the Party stronger. The Boycott Labour (in this year’s European elections) Morning Star advises,

Constituency parties meeting to discuss trigger ballots against serial saboteurs such as deputy leader Tom Watson must carry on even as we gear up for a looming battle with the Conservatives.

Counterfire adds an attack on John McDonnell.

(The Boris burnout – weekly briefing)

if, however, it declares as a Remain party in full and puts ‘country before party’, in John McDonnell’s unfortunate phrase, if it seems indistinguishable from the ‘extreme centre’, then it will lose.

Engaged in this united front from below, the Shut Down The Tories – Protest the Tory Party Conference (I assume they mean against) organised by  The People’s Assembly Against Austerity,  the two Brexit Bolshevik forces, and their red-brown allies, have yet to offer a “credible Leave” option.

None whatsoever.

There is only one actually existing Brexit, the Johnson one and no effort to conjure up a jobs first, People’s Brexit, run by Care Bears, has any credibility.

It is hard not to agree with comrade Paul Mason:

A return to the folk politics of the old anti-austerity protests cannot avoid the clash between internationalists who wish to Remain and Transform and the Lexit Left.

There is no ‘credible’ Leave option for the left, only for the Trump backing deregulating backing fractions of capitalism and their national populist allies, including the red-brown front.

Will Labour come out clearly for Remain?

The row is just developing.

Brexit: Tom Watson to break Labour’s uneasy truce

Deputy leader will argue party must ‘unambiguously and unequivocally’ back remain

The struggle continues…


Written by Andrew Coates

September 11, 2019 at 11:55 am

Campaigner against “rootless cosmopolitans”, Paul Embery, gets Sky News Platform.

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Image result for rootless cosmopolitan Paul embery

No bad Tweets go unrewarded, Embery Now on Sky News.

The ex-Revolutionary Communist Party member, today,  pillar of the Red-Brown Front, Spiked, and Brexit Party MEP is right.

You can watch the Press Preview on Sky News every evening at 10.30pm and 11.30pm.

Sunday night’s reviewers will be writer and columnist Christina Patterson and trade unionist Paul Embery.

Sniffer out of metropolitan elites Embery is unrepentant:

Down at the Dog and Duck, where they speak, politely,  of nothing but a “genuinely-held belief” in the existence of ‘rootless cosmopolitans” Embery has another mucker.


Another regular on Sky is in full froth.

There is a twisted route by which these people have followed to get to National Populism, with as many bends than the French red-brown soveriegntists who rail at the legacy of May 68,  the culture of narcissism and identity politics.

But none is as bent as Brendan.

Here is a sample of the great man on the Sky Press Review

“Boris has been confronted time and again over his niqab comments. His critics say ‘words have consequences’. But censorship has consequences too. Silencing criticism or mockery of Islam would have awful consequences — it would kill freedom of speech.”

Brendan O’Neill on Sky

Written by Andrew Coates

September 10, 2019 at 12:48 pm

TUC, to Campaign against “damaging right-wing agenda behind Brexit and supports a confirmatory public vote on any deal or no deal with a remain option.

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Image result for trade unions against brexit

The TUC Puts Words into Policy.

Motion passed at TUC yesterday.

Composite 04 Brexit

Congress recognises that the promises that were made during the EU referendum campaign are now distant memories, and that a Tory no-deal Brexit looms on the horizon – with potentially devastating results for workers in the UK.

Congress notes that the Tories have so far miserably failed to negotiate a Brexit deal that protects our jobs and our rights.

Congress notes with concern that Brexit, especially under ‘no deal’, would hit the NHS hard, with new immigration hurdles deterring EU healthcare professionals from coming to the UK to work in the NHS and the deep risk of wholesale privatisation flowing from a trade deal with the Trump White House. Congress fears the agenda of many Tory MPs is to enter into a devastating trade deal with Donald Trump which will reduce our rights and standards and leave our NHS and agriculture vulnerable to predatory US companies.

Congress believes too many Tory MPs are unwilling to defend the Good Friday Agreement which has brought peace and prosperity to Ireland. A hard border will have a devastating impact on the lives of people on either side of it.

Congress condemns the Tory government’s plan to categorise migrant workers earning less than £30k a year as ‘low skilled’ and allow them to stay in the UK for just 12 months. We will not let right-wing politicians and bosses divide our class. We will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with migrants to stop any attacks on them.

Congress will campaign against the damaging right-wing agenda behind Brexit and supports a confirmatory public vote on any deal or no deal with a remain option. Congress will continue campaigning for reforms to help build a Europe for the many through solidarity across borders.

Congress also supports a general election as a matter of urgency so that the British people can elect a government committed to ending austerity and building a new economic settlement that leaves no-one behind.

Mover: Musicians’ Union
Seconder: Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Supporter: Royal College of Midwives


It passed almost unanimously, with only the RMT transport workers’ union delegation voting against it.

TUC Congress demands Brexit referendum with option to Remain

The Morning Star was compelled to note,

Reiterating the TUC’s official position in support of a second referendum, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Whatever happens, we will fight for our jobs, we will fight for our rights and we will fight for public services.

“Even if there is a no deal, and I will do everything I can to stop that, that won’t be the end of it — it will just be the beginning.

“Because working people did end up paying the price of the banking crash.

“I think there is no appetite among working people to pay the price for a no-deal Brexit.”

Be warned though, the  Morning Star indicates,


On the issue of Brexit the current manoeuvres in Parliament will give the opportunity for an emergency motion that could help to stop the lemming-like rush to the Remain cliff.

Andy Bain is the Communist Party of Britain’s industrial organiser.

It was clear that the TUC would pass policy, however much the result of compromise, to oppose not just a Hard Brexit but to support a third referendum.

Hence this disingenuous  attempt yesterday by the pro-Brexit Morning Star to wriggle out of TUC policy before the vote was taken.

It argues against Labour’s position of stopping No Deal.

A pincer movement in which Labour is trapped between rival political forces which fetishise Brexit and divorce it from the political, economic and social crisis which created it must be met by a massive mobilisation to fight for a Labour government whose mission is to deliver the radical change its programme outlines.

Pacts based on stopping “no-deal” that shackle Labour to parties of the status quo, that are intrinsically hostile to any fundamental shift in wealth and power to workers and that have been complicit in the devastation of our communities by austerity, the relentless rise of child poverty and the fire-sale of our public assets will bury our movement’s message and hand Boris Johnson the narrative he craves, as the man who defied Parliament and fought to implement the 2016 referendum decision in the face of Establishment sabotage.

Polls suggest that despite purging his parliamentary party and losing Commons vote after Commons vote, Johnson’s strategy is paying off with a growing lead over Labour.

Our movement should throw aside parliamentary games designed to trap the Labour leader and demand an immediate election to unseat an illegitimate government and replace it with a socialist one.

The stakes could not be higher for our movement

There is no doubt that some people would just wish all the business of opposing Brexit would just go away and we could get back to unity around left folk politics.


But note this:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 9, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Notre histoire intellectuelle et politique. 1968 – 2018. Pierre Rosanvallon. Review.

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Image result for Notre histoire intellectuelle et politique. 1968 – 2018. Pierre Rosanvallon.

Notre histoire intellectuelle et politique. 1968 – 2018. Pierre Rosanvallon. Les Livres du Nouveau Monde. 2019.

History, writes Pierre Rosanvallon, has meted out a long series of disappointments, and still bites at our neck. One of France’s leading public intellectuals, who began his career working in the secularised, once Catholic, trade union, the CFDT, developing their radical approach to autogestion, self-management, Notre Histoire starts with reflections on the ordeals of politics today.

The shades of the defeat and marginalisation of the French left, with Macron wiping the floor of the left in the Presidential contest of 2017, the once-governing Socialists down to just above 6% in the 2019 European elections, and the populist left of Jean Luc-Mélenchon at 6,3%, hover for the reader of a book originally published last year, at the start, the middle, and the end of these pages. Yet, the author, asserts, despite the widespread feeling of powerlessness, the left should not wallow in pessimism, however lucid. Beyond sterile political managerialism, and posturing Rosanvallon aims to offer a renewed effort towards a “perspective émancipatrice”

The present volume is a balance-sheet of decades of public intervention, above all, post 1981, in the French governing left, and more books and articles than one cares to count. Rosanvallon “combines positions in the power in the academy, prominence in the media, patronage in publishing; enjoys close connections with the worlds of business and politics” Perry Anderson continued in 2009, a social liberal “embellishing the new”, and engaged in a “work in progress” towards a “liberal future”. (1)

One of the many merits of Notre Histoire is to put that angle firmly in its place. Rosanvallon lays claim to the influence of Cornelius Castoriadis on his 1970s work for the CFDT and development of ideas about autogestion, and close relations with the Socialisme ou Barbarie (SouB) thinkers. His approach to labour history was influenced by E.P.Thompson and Gareth Stedman Jones and History Workshop. He was informed by Michel Foucault’s ideas on liberalism as a “une technologie politique”, and the writings of Jacques Rancière, André Gorz and Marcel Gauchet. Rosanvallon, fortified with these influences, could he be conveniently classed amongst the hysterical anti-Marxist nouveaux philosophes. Not does Rosanvallon refuse to called an ‘anti-Marxiist, but for him totalitarianism was a wider phenomenon of modernity, marked by the abolition of politics as an autonomous realm, and a disregard for democratic processes.

The critique of totalitarianism, began by another SouB writer, Claude Lefort, did not imply a sense of self-satisfaction with liberal democracy The liberalism which he began to defend could be better seen in terms of the image of sovereignty as an “empty place”, which all can compete to occupy. There is a permanent revolution in democratic invention, ‘indeterminate” (that is, never fixed) propelled by movements and demands for rights and recognition. Rosanvallon’s writings, on “counter-democracy” far from waddling off into ever more complex sovereignties, are intended to offer this radical supplement. This is far from the “anti-political” liberalism of the unfettered free-market.

Second Left.

The Second Left (deuxième gauche), with which Rosanvallon was identified with in the 1970s – an “organic intellectual” – had a more immediate target, the “social-étatism” of the French Communist Party (PCF), and sections of the French Socialist Party, (PS). Yet, as he recounts, in the 1980s, during François Mitterrand’s Presidency, neither the statists nor his own side, from the CFDT to Michel Rocard, succeeded in imposing their ideas. Rocard took stock of economic reality and backed the turn to “rigour” in the 1983 turn from the PS’s plans for a Keynesian national relaunch. Yet this “realism” became a kind of “religion” for this current, at the expense of any plans to change to society (Page 207). As Prime Minister from 1988 to 1981, Rocard began France’s ambitious decentralisation programme, and made steps toward an inclusive universal social security system. But the Second Left itself, in the wake of the CFDT’s dropping of autogestion and socialism, no longer existed as a coherent political force to confront the challenges of neoliberalism. Following others he paints a picture of the PS clinging to Europe as the theatre for their ambitions, a – flawed – construction that compensated for the lack of national ambition. This limited their approach to democratic and social issues. (Pages 217 – 219).

Notre Histoire would no doubt be the cause for some cackling in pro-Brexit New Left Review circles if it remained fixed at this point. But Rosanvallon has another narrative, of wider importance, the rise of sovereigntism. From leader of the PS’s marxisant CERES to government Minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement developed a “republicanism” from 1986 onwards in Socialisme et République which gradually obliterated all reference to socialism. This went with a return to the Nation, and the ponderings of Régis Debray on the soul of France and the manes of Gaullism.

Notre Histoire observes that the rediscovery of republicanism could also be found visions of “civic republicanism” described by the historians of ideas such as John Pocock and Quentin Skinner – reprised more recently by Chantal Mouffe. Yet this was not an academic detour. Identifying globalisation (with a heavy accent on ‘Americanisation’) and the European Union, this current has developed a defensive and restrictive concept of secularism (‘Laïcité’), a conservative vision of education, and a fundamentalist stand on sovereignty. (Page 256) Chevènement now is part of a small movement, Le Mouvement républicain et citoyen, (MRC), whittled down to The Republic defended against all.

The ‘anti-68’.

Rosanvallon outlines the “pensée anti-68” which parallels the retreat of this part of the left (including his old comrade, Marcel Gauchet) to ideas that seem closer to the anti-cosmopolitan right than to an emancipatory left. The writings of Christopher Lasch on the “culture of narcissism”, influential in France, and Lipovetsky’s critique of hypermodernism and individualism (a coupling, some would say, ignores that writer’s more optimistic moments), writers on the breakdown of community and traditional solidarity, the left-behind in La France périphérique, and the critique of the “rights culture” are cited to indicate an anti-68 “populism”. Perhaps it is in this nébuleuse that one can see some of the most significant “passerelles” (bridges) between the left and national populism. It does not take long to see parallels amongst the British ‘left’ supporters of the Full Brexit and their Brexit Party members.

Others will no doubt go through Rosanvallon’s approach to neoliberalism, informed by a reading of Foucault on ‘governmentality’. The concept that emerges at the end, of an “individualisme de singularité” casts some light on a key aspect of modern politics, the decline of mass class based parties and trade unionism. The weakening of collective negotiation goes in hand with patterns of work, making inequalities both more resented (directly experienced), and less easy to see in terms of people as groups. He writes, “le peuple”, the people, is henceforth the plural of a vast collection of different “minorities”. (Page 410)

Anderson, we have already noted, dismissed Rosanvallon. Apart from his pretensions, so distant from those of the one-time Editor of New Left Review, to international stature, he writes, apparently, is “somewhat priestly”. This is not a trait this reviewer has noticed, and he has at least seven of the author’s books. They are fluent, thought-provoking, aware of debates rarely taken up in France (such as British post-war discussion on equality and socialism) and a mine of information. One would like to follow his lectures he now gives as a member of the Collège de France. Anderson is not alone in scorning all reference to ‘liberalism’. Claude Michéa, accused of reneging on his SouB roots, now the manufacturer of grumpy populist books on common decency and the left-behind, calls the alliance between liberalism, internationalism, and socialism, one of the founding faults of French socialism. Others, who have learnt much from Rosanvallon’s writings on democracy,  for all their, at time, sweeping history, would disagree. The present work, studded with a marked degree of intellectual honesty,  indicates many reasons why. (2)

Facing up to National Populism.

How these insights enable us to face up to national populism is far from clear. Solidarity and national protectionism may look appealing to fragmented minorities. Rosanvallon only announces a possible “conceptualism” of populism, not a new emancipatory project. By contrast though, the “democratic revolution” outlined by Claude Lefort and developed in different ways by writers such as Étienne Balibar as “unlimited democracy” may offer the basis of an alternative. Not shutting down, not borders, not the sovereignty of referendums and chiefs – or PMs – but the popular ‘counter-democracy’ movements like Another Europe is Possible try to embody, indicate that nationalism can be fought. How successfully, we have yet to see. Democracy, as Lefort said, is “indeterminate”. On the horizon we see that Thomas Piketty has just published a new tome, Capital et Idéologiewhich includes proposals for reform and transform the European Union. The fight continues…..


(1) Pages 208-9. The New Old World. Perry Anderson. Verso. 2009.

(2) La Gauche et le Peuple : lettres croisées. Flammarion 


See:  Une aventure intellectuelle par Jean-Yves Potel

and, amongst many other  reviews,  Pierre Rosanvallon : bilan d’étapes Jean BASTIEN

Boris Bootboys rally for Johnson and Queen flops as Left backs Defend Democracy protest.

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March for Boris and Queen Flops.

Remainers and Brexiteers have clashed in Parliament Square during protests.

About 200 people joined a pro-Brexit demonstration organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) and clashed with the anti-Brexit group March for Change.

As the latter began to set up for a rally of their own, some members of the DFLA approached and began shouting.

A beer can was thrown towards about 10 people from the March for Change protest before police, who knew about both protests prior to Saturday, on horseback intervened.

Evening Standard.

Sputnik, the RT stream that hosts George Galloway *: “Protesters have been taking to the streets of London to rally in support of Brexit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and activist Tommy Robinson. The demonstration was organised by the “Democratic Football Lads Alliance” group.”


As can be seen Sputnik  has given maximum publicity to the protests of a handful.

These Brexit bigots are held up to left-wing internationalists opposed to Leaving the EU as one of the reasons why Labour should be careful about provoking the ire of the national populists behind Leave.

They are without doubt furious about pushing Brexit.

But these images show that for the moment, on the streets, they are little more than scarecrows.

Paul Mason Tweets on the DFLA and the British Gilets Jaunes.


The Independent also reports,

Pro and anti-Brexit protesters have clashed outside parliament.

Around 200 people joined a pro-Brexit demonstration organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) on Parliament Square in Westminster on Saturday morning.

Look at them….


The internationalists held their heads high.

Owen Jones:

Rallies have taken place across the country:



Written by Andrew Coates

September 7, 2019 at 4:23 pm

The Left At the Forefront of Anti-Brexit Movement as March to “Support Boris and the Queen” Planned.

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Left Taking the Lead!

This is an excellent start to the day read.


This is an important analysis.

First stage of coup defeated – now the battle gets serious

Note these points:

Nigel Farage is quite right that he personally is the key to a Johnson victory. If Johnson meets a number of preconditions – hard Brexit or nothing! – the Brexit party faithful will be mobilised for Johnson. At a certain stage it is quite possible his rallies will also feature Farage.

This Saturday’s demo by the Football Lads Alliance – ‘Support Boris and the Queen’ – will be an indicator of the scale of the reaction to come. The reactionary onslaught will of course be led by the Tory press, with the Sun and the Mail in the vanguard.

The whole of the Left must completely reject the Johnson-Brexit line that the government is fighting to implement the democratic will of the people as indicated by the 2016 referendum outcome. The 2016 Brexit referendum was not a democratic exercise and, in any case, the British people did not vote for a hard Brexit – on the contrary they were told a trade deal with Europe would be easy and everything would be tickety-boo, European UK residents would be safe etc etc. This has now been revealed as rubbish. In fact a softer Brexit was available in May’s plan, and not passed largely because the Tory right (and DUP) wanted only a hard Brexit. In this sense it is ridiculous for the Morning Star to say that Parliament has frustrated the democratic will of the people. That is repeating Johnson’s line.


Meanwhile out on l’angleterre périphérique  the fragments of the pro-Brexit left shout,

The SWP says, , “Socialist Worker wants a break from the racist, neoliberal EU. But there are people who have been won to backing it because they think it’s progressive.”

The Hard Brexit Morning Star (Editorial 5th of September warns, yet again, of .

the big business coalition that wants above all other considerations to keep Britain as closely aligned to the neoliberal EU as possible..

The Split-riven Socialist Party calls for,

 Corbyn negotiating an exit deal with the EU from the standpoint of working-class interests.

And Counterfire says Labour  should be “uniting people across the Brexit divide” by being willing to ” negotiate a People’s Brexit.”

Away from the fringes Comrade Clive Lewis says,

The marriage of the left and the Remain movement is not only a natural and logical conclusion to this sorry saga – Lexit was never, of course, on the cards, while a hard-right Brexit very much is. It also offers a wonderful chance to transform our party’s fortunes in the country. Labour has struggled in recent polls, but we know the formula we need to win at a general election, which might be right around the corner.


For many of us, this week has been the launch-pad for that renewed vision and campaigning. And on Saturday, activists will be doing it all over again – right outside Boris Johnson’s home. If you too want to demand democracy, say no to the coup and Brexit, and kick-start the campaign for a socialist victory in an upcoming election, join Momentum, Another Europe is Possible and others at a noisy rally on Saturday at 2.30pm outside Downing Street at or any of the events mapped out here. The PM is on the back foot – let’s come together to finish him off, and change both our country and Europe for the better.

Chartist writer Alex Sobel says,

Read this fine article:

Nick Dearden on the chilling world that awaits if the free marketeers get their way

Boris Johnson has been clear that a trade deal with the US is an absolute priority for him, and has planned a series of meetings with Trump’s administration, while snubbing European leaders. Johnson’s new Trade Secretary Liz Truss met the US ambassador to talk trade only a few days into her new job. So what is this trade deal likely to mean for us?

First it’s important to recognise that Johnson’s new cabinet is stacked with ultra-free marketeers, who are deeply sceptical about protections for workers, consumers or the environment. Founder of the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, Liz Truss herself is a turbo-charged Thatcherite who has spoken of her desire to drive down taxes, cut back public spending and strip away regulations on everything from housing, to education, to the workplace.

This is some of what’s been happening during the week.


Written by Andrew Coates

September 6, 2019 at 4:53 pm

The last of the People’s Brexit Brigade, Counterfire, attacks John McDonnell and Left Internationalists.

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Image result for john rees and galloway

Still Crazy for a People’s Brexit: John Rees and Lindsey German with friend.

Don’t overestimate Boris Johnson…

John Rees, today, on the site of the groupuscule Counterfire, which runs the People’s Assembly (which held an ‘anti-coup’ rally a couple of days ago – who distinctive sectarian message was drowned out by the internationalist anti-Brexit clamour) and the Stop the War Coalition.

Rees is now keen to stress his own faction’s distinctive politics.

Some, like John McDonnell, seem to have become such fervent converts to the EU that they think that Brexit is more important than getting rid of the Tories. This is a mistake.

This is indeed a problem, and one of the Labour leadership’s own making. If they had not tied themselves so completely to the Remain bandwagon they could have appealed to Leave voters more convincingly and undercut Johnson, especially in the wake of the crisis over proroguing parliament in which the prime minister’s Machiavellian plan ended in shredding his credentials as a democrat.

But when the shift to an unequivocal Remain policy took place a while back we were told that it would unlock a huge reservoir of support for Labour. If the polls are to be believed that simply hasn’t happened.

On Brexit Labour should stress that it will negotiate a People’s Brexit, its unwisely abandoned original policy, and put that forward as a realistic alternative to Remain. That would cut the ground from under Johnson’s appeal to working-class Leave voters.

Unkind people may suggest that the conclusion to this puffery just about sums up the politics of Rees and his mates in Counterfire.

The Bullingdon Boys have got by all their lives on bluff and bluster.

Like their mate, this posturing puffer:


Looks like Tariq has more than a soft spot in his head for the Leavers…

As a person of peace I would not endorse this language, but in view of their participation in ‘anti-coup’ rallies, some are now calling the likes of Rees and Ali, the Brexiteers’ fifth column.

No, they are the left-behinds, l’angleterre

As a person of peace I would not endorse this language, but some are now calling the likes of Rees and Ali, who spoke at the ‘anti-coup’ Rally, the Brexiteers’ fifth column.
No, they are the left-behinds, l’angleterre périphérique.

Morning Star, says, “the referendum result should be respected, and Britain should leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal”.

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“Political elite’s arrogant authority”, says Brendan O’Neill in Spiked.

To get a taste of how the Brexiteers are frothing where better than to look at Brendan O’Neill flashing his Prick.

Today was a very dark day for British democracy

The political class has taken back control – from the people.

Don’t believe for one minute the self-aggrandising claims of the Remainer establishment and its noisy cheerleaders in the media. Tonight’s vote by MPs to seize control of the parliamentary agenda in order to prevent a No Deal Brexit is not, as they claim, a wonderful assertion of parliamentary sovereignty against a dictatorial executive led by Boris Johnson.

No, it is an assertion of the political elite’s arrogant authority over the people. If MPs have seized power from anyone this evening, it is from us, the public, the millions who voted to leave the EU. This is not parliament vs the executive – this is parliament vs the people, and it opens up one of the greatest, most troublesome constitutional crises of modern times.

This is how Corbyn’s self-identifying best friend responds.

Labour must make clear it respects the Brexit result if it wants to win an election

The Morning Star believes that the referendum result should be respected, and Britain should leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.

Problems may arise,

However, in the latter case, there will certainly be problems, particularly over the supply of fresh food and medicines, despite Michael Gove’s claims to the contrary.

Half of Britain’s food is imported, and 30 per cent of that comes from the EU, plus another 11 per cent from non-EU countries as part of EU trade agreements. If there is no deal, then tariffs and delays will result.

Food and drink manufacturers are facing difficulty in securing additional frozen and warehousing space in November, as that space has already been booked for Christmas supplies.

The solution, force business to solve any difficulty by ‘co-operation””

This issue could be resolved if the big corporations were forced to co-operate instead of compete.

Alas, Labour is going down the wrong path,

Labour’s position of blocking a no-deal Brexit risks Johnson sacking the Tory rebels and calling a general election on his terms, where he will paint Labour as an anti-democratic, referendum-cancelling party.

With the above declaration  in mind await The Morning Star’s explanation for this:



Written by Andrew Coates

September 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

Galloway Anti-Boris Coup Protests: A “strange melange of liberals, Trotskyists, and EU fanatics” Morning Star attacks, “desertion by large sections of the left and the labour movement of the anti-EU cause”.

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“The strange melange of liberals, Trotskyists, and EU fanatics.”

The noted Red-Brown supporter of the Brexit Party is in full forth froth today:

Our least finest hour: Britain is in the grip of mass hysteria

George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator (also the leader of the one of the biggest post-war ‘left’ parties, Respect, which was backed by, amongst others, Counterfire, who have called for protests today).

…the “left” has been worse than the right!

March, strike, occupy” was their answer to the draconian decision to give 5 more away-days to their MPs (few of whom they would, hitherto, be seen dead with).

March they did, in decent numbers. Though, when counted, it became clear they had confused thousands with millions, the first month of pregnancy with the ninth.(nice touch that one!)

As for strike, of course not a single British worker downed tools, no doubt on account of the fact that foie gras isn’t on their menu and they have no current plans to travel to Provence.

The promise (threat) to occupy bridges and block roads has not yet been kept. Perhaps being confronted with angry workers whom they were hoping would be on strike put them off this slogan.

Hell hath no fury like the entitled middle-class not getting their way, but it all had the feel of a tantrum rather than a revolution in the end.

And anyway it was quickly overtaken with the even greater threat to democracy of a general election by universal suffrage. The news is alight with the speculation that, faced with a recalcitrant parliament determined to block the Brexit which the people voted for, the PM is about to ask the people to elect another one.

We await his Spiked column to join Brendan O’Neill shaking his willy.

A protest against the people

The ‘Stop the Coup’ movement is a middle-class revolt against the masses.

…..the deceptive, dishonest ‘Stop the Coup’ marches are not surprising, they are deeply concerning. Language matters. Ideas matter. Democracy matters. We cannot allow people to distort the meaning of the word democracy so shamelessly and so thoroughly. We cannot allow the agitators against democracy to claim the mantle of democracy. Democracy is far too important to become the twisted plaything of the disgruntled urban elites.

Language does matter.

Not to mention this! (update):


His Red-Brown Front continues their work.

The Morning Star has learnt a lesson or twenty in Spiked language and is now nearly fluent.

The sage, pro Brexit, organ of the Communist Party of Britain says,

Editorial: Leave or Remain, we don’t need crass identity politics

On the pro-Leave side, there has long been the presence of right-wing, neoliberal, anti-immigration and British nationalist elements who see the return of sovereignty as the means to pursue their reactionary agendas as well as end in itself.

They regard themselves as the only true British patriots and brand their adversaries as unpatriotic traitors.

Their prominence in the pro-Brexit movement has been greatly assisted by the desertion by large sections of the left and the labour movement of the anti-EU cause.

Some such socialists and trade unionists believe that Brexit should only be seen as an option or a necessity when we have a Labour government struggling to implement a left manifesto against massive EU obstruction. Many more fear being labelled as racists or fascists for simply opposing EU membership.

Which brings us to the identity politics now gripping large parts of the pro-Remain, anti-Brexit movement.

They see themselves as the only true “Europeans” and therefore the only genuine internationalists.

Increasingly, they dismiss and deride most if not all anti-EU, pro-Leave supporters as narrow-minded nationalist and racist bigots.

One of the fundamental problems of an identity-based outlook on either side is that it can quickly take on a subjective, emotional character, becoming impervious to evidence and reasoned argument.

As passions are inflamed, this could lead to violence which might indeed threaten democratic and political rights.

We saw the dangers on Saturday. Hysterical slogans equating Boris Johnson, Brexit and the prorogation of Parliament with Hitler, fascism and the death of democracy are dangerously deluded, provocative and insulting.

Now the last sentence may well be true, but as for putting internationalists in the same bag as the hard-right Leave……

Some might say that is deluded, provocative and insulting.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 3, 2019 at 10:51 am

Perfidious Brexit: The Movement Against the Johnson Coup, the Left and Brexit.

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Image may contain: 3 people, including Andrew Coates, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Another Europe is Possible at Burston Yesterday.

Perfidious Brexit.

“Many in Britain are now springing the defence of Parliament and elected representation, but they should have spring a bit earlier. Those in the Labour Party who were neutral about Brexit  – or even saw it as a welcome disputation to the status quo and an opportunity for radical reform – only now seem to be noticing that Brexit was always a vehicle whereby the hard-right could take over the government”.

Patrick Cockburn. The Independent.

“People are tired, Rob,” Silas continued, “They’re fed up. They’re worn down. They’ve had with all this left-wing dogma. The new anti-authority is on the right, not the left. It’s the new punk…..”

Sam Byers. Perfidious Albion. Faber and Faber 2018.

What are the values behind Parliamentary proroguing, the sacking and the use of an armed police officer to escort Sonia Khan, Sonia Khan specials adviser out of Downing Street?  “Respect for one,” suggests Sam Byers’ post-Brexit novel, “’Integrity. Pride in our landscape. Control over our borders, our laws.” The leader of England Always, Hugo Bennington, continues, “It’s about putting the needs of our country and the people in it first.” Love for his country means, “Self-protection. “control of immigration” “control of our culture”. “We need to ensure we’re all, literally and hypothetically, speaking the same language.”

Perfidious Albion is not an imagined future.

It is now. England Always is the Brexit Party and the European Research Group-led Tories. The street thugs and angries, already adopting American, and “Kool Aid”, Farage’s “Folks”, are slavering for a No Deal Brexit.

Control of the language has become a battlefield. Johnson, Farage, and the outriders in Spiked, the ‘new punk’ right are already trying to recapture British pre-contemporary pomp. British sovereignty, the voice of the ordinary people, the people’s voice for Brexit, stands against the Parliamentary elite. Hugo Bennington/Brendan O’Neill’s waving Internet dick; Jacob Rees Mogg’s “visionary soil” need the coup de main of the Prime Minister to set off a national populist surge for “community, belonging, group identity and the nation.” (1)

“Brexiteers dream of a Britain ‘unchained; from the shackles of European regulation.” wrote Luke Cooper in the Introduction to The Left Against Brexit (2018) “in other words, even more of a capitalist distopia. At present the Prime Minister is driving through Brexit, regardless of the elected MP’s wishes. The National Organiser of Another Europe is Possible, Michael Chessum says, “The longer-term aim of Johnson’s plan goes much deeper, Brexit Britain is to be a deregulated country, brought closer into the orbit of Trump’s America. Workers’ rights, food standards and environmental protection are to be undermined. Public services and the NHS will, as made clear by the US government, be up for sale.” (Westminster shutdown: is Britain facing a coup? Observer. 1.9.19)

It is not good enough for some on the pro-Brexit Left to confine their indignation to curbs on Parliament. It is not enough to focus on Johnson’s pro-austerity politics. Brexit drives the Cummings Cabinet; Brexit is the instrument to achieve their aims. Look at any of the protests against the ‘Coup’ and you will see European flags and hear calls not just to stop a No Deal Brexit, but Brexit full stop.

Régis Debray in l’Europe fantôme ( 2019) asserts that the European ideal is the property of “élites sociales sans honneur” an ersatz messianism. This weak civic cult is a shield from reality, and appeals only the orphans of the radical left, and Christian democrats, liberals, socialists, social democrats, one time radical leftists in need of a cause, believers in the Enlightenment, believers and secularists, a cult of saints and the, European, god, dulia and latria.  This heartless, property-of-nobody, non-nation is further sullied, in Debray’s eyes, by the dominance of English “pidgin”.

A feeble thing, Europe is no doubt a ‘phantom’. There are greater thrills to be had following Bennington’s Willy, praising borders, getting excited with New Left Review at the prospects of “anti-systemic” parties.

Yet, the last days the country has seen mass protests against the Coup, including one where I live, Ipswich, where around five hundred people heard Labour MP Sandy Martin, Liberal Democrats, and Suffolk European Alliance speakers address the crowd from the steps of the Old Town Hall.

Image may contain: 1 person, crowd, sky and outdoor

At the Burston Rally yesterday Another Europe is Possible had a stall. Many of the people present seemed to be from the Lexit side of the left. Mark Serwotka  from the PCS trade union made an appeal for unity against the Conservatives and the Johnson Coup. Nobody on the platform spoke of the need for a ‘People’s Brexit’. People came to our stand to pick up stickers and copies of The Left Against Brexit rapidly disappeared. Some trade unionists, I cite amongst them an electrician and a fire-fighter, talked of their support for the AEIP stand. A comfortable majority of trade union members voted Remain, as did a majority of the younger working class. Alas, Len McCluskey, UNITE Boss, goes against these internationalist  views. (2)

As comrade Chessum says, “we are witnessing the growth of a huge movement in defence of democracy”. The centre of the groundswell is the fight against Brexit in its only actually existing shape the Hard Right ERG Johnson Brexit.



(1) Page 278. National Populism. The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. Pelican. 2018

(2) Unite will support Labour MPs who vote for a new Brexit deal

Leader Len McCluskey says union will back MPs – even on the right – who face deselection/

Kinnock, the Labour MP who coordinates aroundabout 30 MPs in a group called Respect the Result, has previously said he believed there was increasing feeling among many of his colleagues opposed to a second referendum that passing the withdrawal agreement bill was the best option. McCluskey has previously argued that Labour must be prepared to support a pragmatic Brexit deal, saying it appeared to be impossible to stop no deal and that there was no path to a second referendum. The majority of Labour MPs who are sceptical about a referendum are still likely to back the cross-party efforts to pass a bill this week that would mandate Johnson to seek and extension to Article 50.

Morning Star Backs “Spiked” Against “No Platforming” Eddie Dempsey.

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Morning Star Backs Red-Brown ‘Spiked’ on this.

As protests against the Johnson coup grow the Morning Star has nothing better to do than to defend Full Brexit Loudmouth and ‘Liberal’ loather Eddie Dempsey.

This is one of Dempsey’s many statements that met opposition from all progressives and people of good will.


RMT’s Eddie Dempsey calls for unity against Boris Johnson after ‘no-platform’ bid by Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar

RMT activist Eddie Dempsey insisted that “bringing people together to call a general election” should be the left’s priority after two activist journalists pulled out of a rally because of his presence.

Ash Sarkar and Owen Jones said they would no longer speak at Tuesday’s People’s Assembly rally calling for a general election after an attack on Twitter by Pete Radcliff, who was expelled from Labour in 2016 for supporting the Alliance for Workers Liberty.

Mr Radcliff said he could not believe that they would “share a platform with someone like Eddie Dempsey who openly supports No Deal in complete opposition to Labour’s policy.”

Ms Sarkar then said that she had agreed “before I saw the speakers list” and would pull out. Owen Jones replied “same — and I’ll be focusing my energy on building for tomorrow’s big #StoptheCoup demo.”

But Mr Dempsey told the Morning Star that the fight to bring down Boris Johnson should not be policed on Leave or Remain lines.

“The referendum has brought out the limits of the political system and what happens when the people vote against that system’s interests,” he said.

“The royal prorogue is just another example and raises the question of moving beyond the last feudal relics of the system. An election is the only way out of this. That requires bringing people together on the socialist left whether they are Leave or Remain, as we have done before and will have to do again when all this is settled. The real problem is we need to own this country, and we don’t.”

Ash Sarkar says,

Others would be less generous, given the background of Dreadful Dempsey.


Written by Andrew Coates

August 31, 2019 at 10:54 am

People’s Assembly (Counterfire) “Stop Boris” Rally in Chaos: Ash Sarkar and Owen Jones Refuse to Share Platform with Eddie Dempsey – the Red-Brown Front Bites Back.

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Full Brexit supporter Eddie Dempsey to Speak at People’s Assembly Stop Boris Johnson Rally next week.

“The one thing that unites [the people who turn out for Tommy Robinson]…. is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.”

Eddie Dempsey, 26th of March and Star Speaker at People’s Assembly rally on Tuesday.

More here: Pro-Brexit Morning Star Wades into the “Eddie Dempsey Affair” and Mounts Campaign Against Anti-Brexit Labour MP Clive Lewis. (Tendance Coatesy)

This information circulated widely in the last day (the stats on this Blog echo).

This happened:

The National Populist site, Spiked, bit back.

Counterfire obviously think Dempsey is an ideal figure to bring together supporters of their CareBears version of Brexit supporters with Hard Brexit backers:

Luxury Communist Bastani Is automated to  think so:

This prompts a helpful suggestion:


Spiked, whose network (ex-Revolutionary Communist Party)  are key founders of the Red-Brown Front the Full Brexit, which includes Brexit Party candidates like  James Heartfield, (now proposing to stand for Farage, against Corbyn in Islington North) Communist Party of Britain members, Counterfire supporters, Blue Labour, and all kinds of rag-tails and bob-tails. has leapt to defend Dempsey. *

Not only is Dempsey a national comrade but,

So there we have it. Bourgeois ‘leftists’ have No Platformed a working-class trade unionist. All because he supports Brexit. There could be no better example of how detached these people are from real radical politics and working-class interests.

No Platformed a pro-Brexit trade unionist

The fight against the Red-Brown Front continues.

Pour en finir avec Eddie !


One LM initiative in the post-Referendum period was “The Full Brexit”, an avowedly left-wing pressure group launched in the summer of 2018 to reframe the Brexit narrative as one about “democracy” rather than just bashing immigrants. Alongside a smattering of Blue Labour social conservatives and Lexit Marxists, a good half of its 20 founding signatories are RCP network members. Academic Chris Bickerton has been a Spiked contributor since 2005, when he was a PhD student at St John’s College, Oxford. Philip Cunliffe, Furedi’s colleague at the University of Kent, is another long term Spiked activist. Pauline Hadaway, another academic, is a veteran of the Living Marxism days. James Heartfield was a paid RCP organiser. Lee Jones seems to have been recruited at Oxford around the same time as Bickerton. Tara McCormack is an RCP veteran, as is Suke WoltonBruno Waterfield write for Living Marxism. Other signatories aren’t part of the network but have been promoted by Spiked: Paul Embery and Thomas Fazi for example (Fazi is also connected to the 5 Star Movement and recently retweeted an antisemitic tweet from someone with “Nazbol” in his user name). Many are also involved in Briefings for Brexit, which has several RCP veterans on its advisory committee, and some are involved with Civitas. This is a peculiar form of left-right crossover politics.


Mass Rallies Against Boris “Coup” as pro-Brexit Left Warns Against “pro-Establishment” Protests.

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Norwich Rally Thursday: “These protests bring together sections of the establishment ..” Counterfire.

Mike writes, “Big turnout at Norwich City Hall to protest against the Boris Johnson coup.

Speeches from Karen Davis Labour candidate for Norwich North, and local councillors, anti Brexit campaigners and a Green MEP. However the stars of the show where voices from the large crowd – especially younger protesters aghast at the coup and far right Tory project of Brexit”

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing

Image may contain: 7 people, people standing and outdoor


Press report.


Comrade Paul Mason writes,

There are more planned over the weekend.


The Socialist Workers Party demands,

It is crucial that these protests are anti-Tory and for forcing Johnson and the government out—not protests against Brexit.

And they must be open to people who voted Leave.

Pro-‘People’s Brexit’ Counterfire leader Lindsey German followed this line, as today’s Morning Star reports,

Lindsey German from the People’s Assembly said: “It is clear the only way out of the crisis is for a general election to give the people the opportunity to bring down the hard-right Tory government led by the unelected Boris Johnson.

“The only way to end the Tory austerity nightmare is the election of an anti-austerity government committed to saving our hospitals and schools, investing in housing, renationalising our public services and acting on behalf of the people — not Johnson and the Tories’ pals in the banks and big business.”

Her sectarian pro-Brexit groupuscule issued a statement under this name, Vladimir Unkovski-Korica.

This type goes so far as to include Another Europe is Possible, the left campaign, as part of the “establishment”.

Resistance to the Tory coup should be about democracy, not Europe

As is usual in such circumstances, a wide array of forces has been unleashed. The left has taken a lead calling for protests against the Tory coup. The People’s Assembly protest calling for an immediate General Election is likely to be important and will take place at 6 pm on Tuesday 3rd September in Parliament Square.

But others have moved to demonstrate as well. The pro-European paper, The Guardian, was quick to report on calls for marches by groups like ‘Another Europe is Possible’, ‘Leeds for Europe’ and ‘The European Movement in Scotland’.

These protests bring together sections of the establishment which would prefer the end of the constitutional crisis to be the establishment of a government that would act to stop Brexit altogether. They also want to do anything to stop a Corbyn government.

This is why it would be a basic mistake for the left, especially the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party, to take up the cause of merely of defending Parliament or worse being seen to do so in order to overturn the 2016 referendum result.

There has already been far too much slippage in that direction lately. The recent attempts by Labour’s front bench to court the Liberal Democrats and rebel Tories have shown all the signs that such a strategy actually leads to the de-radicalisation of Labour’s message.

They attack the Shadow Chancellor,

Labour’s John McDonnell even took a selfie with other opposition parties to celebrate their deal to prioritise merely stopping a no-deal Brexit.

This is their rousing alternative to the People’s United Front:

Rather than trying to present itself primarily as the sensible, slightly anti-austerity and massively anti-no deal Brexit party, Labour should be calling for mass demonstrations and placing a no confidence motion in Boris Johnson’s government in the days before Parliament is shut down, denouncing him as a demagogue and calling for system change and a revamping of all the country’s institutions.


The left inside and outside the Labour Party cannot afford to let the moment slip. The alternatives, whether a Boris Johnson victory or a de-radicalisation of the Labour Party in government, would risk a massive defeat for the labour movement as a whole.

They have their own rally with the despicable Eddie Dempsey, Luxury Communist Aaron Bastani,  and former Liberal Democrat  voter and Brexit Bolshevik  Tariq Ali leading the bill.



Apparently some people have pulled out because of Dreadful Dempsey’s presence but not Bastani!

Written by Andrew Coates

August 30, 2019 at 12:18 pm

Pro-Brexit Left Falls out: Morning Star Denounces, “contrived outrage from opposition politicians”, Counterfire Infuriated at “biggest attack on democracy since before universal suffrage.”

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Morning Star Echoes Brendan, outrage at “Contrived outrage”.

All was going swimmingly a few days ago.

The Morning Star, organ of the Communist Party of Britain, and Jeremy Corbyn’s self-identifying best friend, published a joint piece by a leading CPB member (Boycott Labour ‘Krazy’ Katz) and a Counterfire (who run the People’s Assembly and the Stop the War Coalition)   Cadre, Martin Hall, arguing for left unity around support for Brexit.

How times change!

We must beat Johnson with democracy, not Parliament

BORIS JOHNSON’s intention to prorogue Parliament has provoked much contrived outrage from opposition politicians and Commons Speaker John Bercow.

But where have these self-proclaimed “defenders of democracy” been while Jeremy Corbyn and many progressive and labour movement figures have been demanding a genuine exercise in democracy through a general election?

They continue,

It is nothing out of the ordinary that a new prime minister at the head of a new government wants to suspend Parliament briefly in order to prepare a new legislative programme.

Nor is there anything out of the ordinary about a parliamentary shutdown so that politicians can attend their autumn party conferences.

With a few tilts at Johnson the the Communist Party of Britain daily says in Spiked style, of those opposing a No deal Brexit in parliament,

 As it is, they are the squawkings of a bunch of unscrupulous plotters who are now being played at their own disreputable game.

The CPB’s answer?

Caught as we are between those that would thwart the people’s will, expressed in the 2016 referendum, and a Tory government intent on pursuing its reactionary agenda by any means, the only logical call is for a general election now.

We need the election of a government committed to a radical socialist agenda and a recognition that the chances of carrying through that agenda require our release from the straitjacket of the anti-democratic EU, anti-worker European Court of Justice rulings and the neoliberal single market and customs union.

In other words a government committed to the same Hard Brexit as Boris Johnson.

Studious readers will note how much the Morning Star’s response is – in slightly more guarded words – that of the Brexit Party Pillar, Spiked,

But while Johnson is plain wrong, another thing is true here too: his Remainer opponents, those who have spent the day calling him a ‘tin-pot dictator’ and threatening civil disobedience, do not have right on their side either. In fact, they are far, far worse.

The very people who have spent the past three years doing everything they can to thwart democracy are now trying to pose as warriors for democracy – without a glint of shame or self-awareness.

Who will defend democracy?

Boris’s prorogation is wrong. His critics are even worse.

Tom Slater.

All this kerfuffle from the ‘anti-woke’ pro-Brexit, left sovereigntist and national populist camp contrasts with today’s Counterfire 

The biggest attack on democracy since before universal suffrage.

The hard right have seized government and are now launching an attack on democracy, we have to fight back, argues Chris Nineham


Faced with this attack on democracy, the whole of the left urgently needs to unite and get back onto the offensive. Parliament has shown its limitations more clearly than ever in the last few years, and much more thoroughgoing democracy is needed. But arbitrary rule by Boris Johnson is clearly not the answer to that problem. We need a clear and militant defence of parliamentary democracy including mass rallies and protests. But we also need to stop the retreats and get back to the job in hand: mounting a real assault on the right wing cabal that has been allowed to take power in this country.


Just one point, we are not going to unite on Brexit.


Here is one reason, Counterfire leader John Rees.


Written by Andrew Coates

August 29, 2019 at 10:50 am

Galloway and Labour Leave Join the Brexit Fifth Column to Back Johnson Against the People’s Representatives.

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Queen Suspends Parliament  at Balmoral Council.

This is the reaction of the pro-Brexit FIfth Column claiming to be part of the Labour movement.

More fifth columnists:


In the absence of any statement today this looks as if it signals an anti-Labour turn from the Lexit lot.

How far it will go we shall see.

Morning Star


Leave Fight Transform spokeswoman Sarah Cundy told the Star that the principal aim of the Lib Dems and pro-Remain MPs is “to block any Left-led Labour government from power.”

She said: “Today is another example of just this.

“We’re disappointed that the Parliamentary Labour Party, all of whom were elected on a manifesto to respect the result of the referendum, is now working with the very people who’ve made it their aim to remove the left from power in the Labour Party.

“As socialists, we should be refusing to rally behind this undemocratic liberal banner of blocking the referendum result which pushes at every turn to restore Blairite hegemony in the Labour Party.”

Written by Andrew Coates

August 28, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Boris Johnson to Suspend Parliament to force through Hard Brexit: All out to Block the Coup!

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“A Very British Coup” – John McDonnell.

Frightened of losing a vote Boris Johnson plans to suspend Parliament.

Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament


The government has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September – and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

Boris Johnson said a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his “very exciting agenda”.

But it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Tory backbencher Dominic Grieve called the move “an outrageous act”.

He warned it could lead to a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson, adding: “This government will come down.”

But the prime minister said it was “completely untrue” to suggest the suspension was motivated by a desire to force through no deal.


Comrade Paul Mason says, “#StopTheCoup – from Orkney & Shetland to St Ives, every constituency in Britain needs to shake with rage. They’re shutting down parliament because Boris Johnson can’t persuade civil servants to break our laws… #GeneralStrike on the day it happens…

Comrade John McDonnell says,

The pillar of the Brexit Party, Spiked, has already got its case for suspending Parliamentary democracy in (26th of August)

A battle of two evils

Proroguing parliament to force through Brexit is wrong. But using parliament to stop Brexit is far worse.

Brendan O’Neill,

Boris might be proposing a showdown between the executive and the parliament, but his pseudo-democratic critics are proposing something worse: a showdown between parliament and the people, in which parliamentarians, more than 70 per cent of whom voted for Remain, would use their know-all, well-educated, arrogant clout to ensure that the brainwashed little people did not get their way. The constitutional crisis Boris would provoke by proroguing parliament to push through the largest democratic vote in UK history would pale into insignificance in comparison with the disorder that would ensue from the weaponisation of parliament against the people.

There is much to criticise in the idea of proroguing parliament. But the anti-Brexit MPs criticising it are not doing so because they love democracy, whether of the parliamentary or any other kind. No, they fear the suspension of parliament because it would rob them of the key arena in which they are able to twist the rules and warp the agenda in order to achieve what would be the largest assault on British democracy in the history of the people winning the franchise – the thwarting of the vote for Brexit.

In short, suspending democratic procedure is the “lesser of the two evils.”

One wonders how many of their allies in the Red-Brown Front will follow suit.

Counterfire (which backs the pro-Brexit camp from the ‘left’ and publishes supporters of the Red-Brown Full Brexit)  hits off by attacking Remainers and lays claim to the be the leaders of militant opposition to this move:

There is no serious and reliable parliamentary opposition from those who talk Remain but prefer a no-deal Brexit to a Corbyn government.

Those on the left who have been taken in by the Lib Dems have been played by them and by Johnson. Perhaps now we’ll hear less of supporting demos led by them and Alastair Campbell, and more of highlighting the class issues which affect the vast majority of us, whether Brexit happens or not. Only by moving decisively in this direction can we break the impasse around parliament and defeat Johnson.

The Left, progressives, and people of good will, are signing this:


Over 200 MPs have committed to #BlockTheCoup so far!

We the people need to show Johnson we back every one of those MPs – and won’t let him subvert democracy. Sign the petition to #BlockTheCoup 👉http://ofoc.co.uk/blockthecoup

This is not a “coup” in the sense of a coup d’état that suspends normal laws and introduces a state of emergency.

In other senses it certainly is is a “coup” in the sense of a blow against democratic right to debate and the right of our representatives to vote on the most important legislation to face Parliament for decades.

Our comrades in Another Europe is Possible say,

Boycott Labour Communist Party and Allies Aim to Bring Labour and Left back together to Stand for Brexit against “anti-left wrecking operation”.

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In a bold  initiative the Communist Party of Britain and a leading Counterfire supporter  call for unity behind support for Brexit.

A Left case for leaving the EU

PHIL KATZ (CPB “A vote for any party at the European elections is a vote for the EU. For the first time in its 99-year history, the Communist Party has called for an active boycott of an election in Britain, in this case, the EU election on May 23. PHIL KATZ explains why“) and  MARTIN HALL (Counterfire,The Millbank Militants: the forces behind People’s Vote)  argue that once we leave the EU, new opportunities will open up for working-class advance.

The  CPB and George Galloway’s former best friends argue for left unity around the left case for Leaving the EU.

LeFT exists to bridge the growing gap on the left and bring the movement back together, to understand our common interests and concerns so that it can apply itself to transforming political alignments in Britain (and across the globe) in order to provide the threat of a good example to the working class everywhere.

We are committed to creating places where working class Remain and Leave voters can discuss, understand and re-forge politics together.

As part of this bringing back together they warm of an ” anti-left wrecking operation” in a “number of different guises.”

Looking to the future they say,

No deal, soft deal and hard exits are false choices. None of these terms existed prior to the vote in June 2016, and were introduced into the language by a capitalist class seeking to limit the damage to itself that the Leave vote could bring about.

LeFT seeks a clean break, which is what people voted for.

What is this clean break Brexit?

Contours emerge from the shadows.

LeFT intends to play an active part in arguing for a new kind of trade, especially with developing economies and advanced countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil, that previously was funnelled through EU institutions, rules and regulations. It is possible to trade in a way that is different from EU trade treaties that are all too often grossly exploitative.

I for one am excited at the potential for the international solidarity with India, Brazil  China and Russia that trade deals for Melton Mowbray pies will bring.

Hitching Corbyn to their Brexit wagon they assert,

We deeply regret the extent to which Corbyn and the Brexit supporters in Labour have been forced into a corner, perhaps fatally damaging its chance of winning the general election that is just around the corner.

Surely, they argue, we can all agree that they are right and we need to accept that the Brexit cause is a just one, and that,

The working class has to be united because in a class society, only the united strength of workers can keep the power of capital at bay. Once we leave the EU, that unity becomes more important as we seek to change the politics of the country in a radical and new direction.

The Boycott Labour Communist Party and the groupuscule Counterfire will lead this unity offensive:

In LeFT we wanted to gather the different forces from some unions, large working-class constituencies, local Labour parties, the Communist Party, Counterfire and other radical and Marxist forces into a united front with the muscle to make a difference. And we wanted to bring new forces in.

As part of this all-comrades-together initiative the Morning Star attacked yesterday Labour’s commitment to a Second Referendum,

Johnson’s riposte is that Labour plan to betray the Brexit vote.

It is true that committing to a second referendum with a Remain option will look that way to millions. Politicians like to lecture us on supposed nuances in the straightforward victory of Leave over Remain three years ago — saying that “nobody voted for no deal” or “nobody voted to be poorer” as excuses to disregard the result.

Johnson won’t deliver the Brexit Britons voted for

Written by Andrew Coates

August 27, 2019 at 11:57 am

The Village in Revolt. The Story of the Longest Strike in History. Shaun Jeffery. Review – the Burston School Strike.

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Image result for The Village in Revolt. The Story of the Longest Strike in History. Shaun Jeffery.

“…hard to recommend this thoroughly researched book on our labour movement more highly.”

The Village in Revolt. The Story of the Longest Strike in History. Shaun Jeffery. Higdon Press.2018.

On the first Sunday of September every year trade unionists, members of the Labour Party and other left-wing organisations, rally on Burston Village Green. Standing on the side is the Burston Strike School, now a Trust-run memorial. In the past years figures such as Audrey Wise, Tony Benn, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn have spoken to the crowd. The march around the flat village lanes, a “candlestick” is both a present-day labour gathering, and to celebrate what the historian of the Farm Workers’ Union, Reg Groves called, a “microcosm of the rural war” (Sharpen the Sickle! 1948).

On the 13th of May 1917 there was a great labour movement gathering. A “Great Eastern Railway special charter train from London Liverpool Street” writes Shaun Jeffery in his Introduction. It had brought around a thousand people to Burston. As they paraded with two bands, amongst union banners from the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union, and National Union of Railwaymen, Labour political figures and Sylvia Pankhurst, joined villagers and the children who attended the school. The opening of the Burston Strike School drew people from London, Norwich and across the country.

Replacing a temporary structure used since the walk-out began in 1914 it bore an “engraved tablet” writes Shaun Jeffery, “recorded for perpetuity just why they had all come to be there.” “Mr T. Higdon and Mrs A.K. Higdon were unjustly dismissed from the Council School of this village on the 31st day of March 1914. This building, was erected by public subscription to protests against the action to provide a free school, to be a centre of rural democracy and a memorial to the villagers’ fight for Freedom.”

Village in Revolt tells the story of the Higdons, Tom and Annie, and the Burston school strike, including their adversary, the Reverend Charles Tucker Eland. Shaun Jeffery charts the fortunes of the ‘National’, the agricultural labourers’ union, (NALU) to which “Tom’s own life was to be eternally tied” against the backdrop of the rise of militant union action in the years running up to 1914. The story takes us to socialism, “For decades” Jeffery’s observes, “Socialists in Norwich had been making various attempts to gain support in the surrounding villages”. By 1913 the Independent Labour Party, by then part of the Labour Party in Parliament, would draw up a “Rural Programme” and MP George Roberts would attempt to get a wages board for agriculture.

Tom and Annie lives, and their career as schoolteachers, were bound up with protests against rural squalor and exploitation. Before Burston they had disputes with the education authorities over “illegal employment of boys by the local farmers during term time”, that is, a clash with the local “squireachy” of parson and landowners foreshadowed the conflicts after their 1911 appointment in Burston.

The reader will perhaps sometimes feel that the cause of the friction and “little altercation” between the Higdons and their – powerful – enemies was not always one-sided. Rebutting the idea that they did not accept outside guidance, they showed “openness to informed advice”. Yet “Any accusation that the Higdons did not suffer fools in position of power who served themselves…would certainly be a charge harder to refute.” Nincompoops amongst their adversaries abounded. That one of the first charges against them in Burston was “non-attendance at church” followed by the same Reverend Eland, the rector, complaining that Annie was “Lighting fires without permission” casts darkness on their adversary’s behaviour. It ended in claims that the Head Teacher, Tom had been “discourteous” to the Managers, and that Mrs Higdon had beaten two Barnardo girls with a cane.

The Children’s Strike.

The details of the dispute are the work of the book. The Higdons were sacked, April the 1st 1914 came, and the children paraded with banners and cards with the words, “We want our teachers Back”. “Neither Violet Potter, nor any of the other senior scholars involved in the strike, could remember who exactly came up with the idea of taking the action that they had embarked upon”.

These opening episodes in the dispute take us from the Norfolk fields to wider conflicts. School strikes were ‘in the air’ across the country and, Jeffery’s suggest can be seen as a way in which “pupils and parents sought to assert community control over provided education” – perhaps a lesson for today when anti-community Academy schools exist. This dimension may help to explain why the wider labour movement gave backing, from the newly founded NUR (1913), to the more directly concerned Agricultural workers. Nor does The Village in Revolt neglect the most obvious of backgrounds, the Great War. “Tom Higdon was no militarist warmonger, but like many Labour leaders, such as his friend George Edwards, he had come to the conclusion that there was no other alternative but to enter the war.”

After the Armistice ambitious plans for the Strike School and national reforms in its wake did not happen. Tom Higdon was disappointed that a “great upheaval did not take place”. Yet the First Trade Union School in England was honoured as “living monument to the struggle against rural tyranny and for democracy”. In the post-war years, “Supporters that the Higdons hadn’t fallen out with would still visit and address large audiences in the green in front of the school”. Despite hard work for the cause of the agricultural workers Tom never rose to prominence in the labour movement. The Rally was revived in the early 1980s and continues to draw large crowds each year.

Both as an absorbing narrative and history The Village in Revolt is an unqualified success. It is hard to recommend this thoroughly researched book on our labour movement more highly.


Written by Andrew Coates

August 27, 2019 at 11:12 am

The Internationalist Anti-Brexit Left faced with Trump and Johnson, Popular Front Government or United Front Against Brexit?

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‘Taz’s Angle on Johnson-Trump ‘Deal’.

One of the many fairy tales that self-identifying left-wingers who back Brexit tell themselves is that the dispute between other Brexiteers and Remainer is just a dispute between “two nationalisms”.

One of the contes de fées  that toadies of Boris Johnson tell each other is that the British Prime Minister is standing up for Britain in the famous trade negotiations with the US President.

There is little doubt that nationalism is one of the commonest traits in politics today.  That and whingeing about vaguely defined “elites” and “oligarchies”.

But what is really at stake in Brexit as comrade Paul Mason explains, is that the British bourgeoisie- a class which rules this country in the Marxist and democratic socialist point of view,  is divided.

The moneyed elite of Britain are split along the same factional lines as in the US. There is a coalition of interests that needs to break down the rules-based multilateral global order that was built during the previous 30 years: the frackers, the hedge-fund managers, the casino owners, the property developers and, above all, people who’ve sunk money into fossil fuels.

They need climate science to be proved wrong and for the multilateral commitment to reduce carbon emissions to break down. They need central banks to underwrite their business strategies but states to allow them to evade tax. They need governments to permit monopolies, speculative development and rent-seeking business strategies. And they need democracy to be a sham.

Above all, they need chaos. Because chaos is the environment in which people with money make more money. Johnson’s cabinet is basically a hand-picked team of yes men and women for this faction of British capitalism. Johnson, like Donald Trump, understands that to succeed he must become a chaos engine.

By contrast,

On the other side there are, of course, the real bosses of real businesses based in Britain, like Airbus, Honda, BMW – and the vice chancellors of the big universities, plus the major law and accountancy firms. They are terrified of no deal, and the atmosphere of xenophobia it will bring. Plus, there’s tens of thousands of small firms – from the metal bashers to the care home chains to the local garden centre – who will see their access to finance evaporate in a no-deal crisis.

The Tory Party which gives voice to these interests has, Mason argues, has changed over the decades,

Instead of being a tool for protecting the interests of British capitalism, the Tory party has, over the 30 year period of neoliberalism, become the tool for protecting oligarchic global capital in Britain: it represents the Saudi monarchy more than it represents Suffolk.

The traditional business elite won’t stop a no-deal Brexit — only Labour can be trusted to

The problem with Mason’s view is that he considers that Labour can be ” be trusted with the national interest even where the capitalist elite is split and factionalised. ” He believes in a coalition of the left and centre to carry this forward, a “popular front”.

This is different to the views of many radical internationalist left-wingers.

For a start Trump’s use of tariff wars suggests that the picture of globalisation as the inevitability of ever more fluid capital and good flows is flawed.

Capitalism may be accelerating but nationalist politicians can put spokes in its wheels.

It is also the case that Labour needs to build an electoral  coalition, a left bloc, that appeals to a majority by expressing the views and interests of those who are in conflict with both wings of the bourgeoisie, the global chancers and those based in “real Britain”.

There is a lot of attention on Mason’s call for a “popular front”.

There is many problems with this.

It is not because Mason uses the term refers to a period of history – past – where the European left was urged by Communist parties and their left allies, to unite with liberals against fascism – with degrees of success. One such electoral alliance  in 1936, in France, the Front Populaire, achieved some of the kind of social democratic reforms (workers’ rights, working hours, holidays and security) that Attlee’s post-war Labour government did, and is warmly remembered for its achievements.  Nor that it evokes images of the Spanish Frente Popular which ended, after heroic resistance to Franco, in tragedy, events which still sear in the hearts of the left across the world.

This is the past.

Today we have to create a left that is open-looking, internationalist, that is not just an electoral coalition, but has the politics that can challenge not just the backward looking nationalism of the Tories and the Brexit Party. We have to refound our politics on outward politics that avoid the trap of the “rooted” “somewhere” left, part of which has fuelled, if not participated in a “red-Brown front” with the right wing pro-Brexit bloc.

There is not doubt, however, were the principal contradiction lies.

The ‘trade deal’ with Trump  under which we will have to accept this, illustrates it.

With Boris Johnson as PM the ‘thriving through chaos’ wing have taken off.

The issue of Brexit calls for unity on stopping it, not on a whole programme for an election aiming at winning office.

All are welcome in the United Front Against Brexit!

March separately, strike together.

As in here:




Written by Andrew Coates

August 25, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Brexit Party Backers George Galloway and CPGB M-L Unite to Denounce “Hong Kong phooey” of pro-Democracy Protests.

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Image result for george galloway and hong kong Ranjeet brar

Galloway’s New Best Friend: Ranjeet Brar of the CPGB-ML.

The friendship between George Galloway (once the leader of one of the biggest post-war ‘left’ parties in the UK, Respect) and the micro groupuscule the CPGB (M-L) began when both called for a Vote for the Brexit Party during this year’s European Elections.

Vote Brexit on 23 May! 


When George Galloway declared his intention of voting for the Brexit party in the 23 May European elections, many on the fake left were up in arms, calling him a ‘fascist’ for even considering having anything to do with banker-turned-Brexit-campaigner Nigel Farage.

But as Galloway himself pointed out: “The left-wing predilection to call everyone to the right of you a ‘racist’ or even a ‘fascist’ is not just juvenile, cretinous, but totally counterproductive, driving the [working class] irredeemably beyond your political grasp …

The Brexit party’s arrival on the scene in time for this European election has presented workers with an opportunity to express their anger and let the ruling class know that they won’t be content to sit back and watch the Brexit vote be betrayed.


Bonds have since bloomed.


The latest flower is this: China


Hong Kong protests: Ranjeet Brar speaks to George Galloway on RT

‘The history of Hong Kong is one that mirrors the history of British imperialism.’

Comrade Ranjeet Brar (which oddly reminds us of Harpal Brar, his dad? and father of  Joti Brar , ‘vice-Chair? see note below *) of the CPGB-ML speaks with George Galloway on his show Sputnik about events unfolding in Hong Kong.

Who are the protestors? What are their demands? What is the role of British and US imperialism and the corporate ‘mainstream’ media? Why have British and US flags been appearing in the hands of demonstrators?


  • Harpal Brar (born 5 October 1939) is an Indian communist politician, writer and businessman, based in Britain. He is the founder and former chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist), a role from which he stood down in 2018. Brar was appointed Eternal Honorary Chairman of the Party in August 2019. “He, along with his daughter Joti Brar, is an active member of the Stalin Society, the website of which contains articles disproving alleged Soviet wrongdoing in the Katyn massacre, the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor), and the Moscow Trials which they blame on the Nazis, dismiss as propaganda, or describe as fair process, respectively.”



Galloway doesn’t go for half-measures:

“These foreign-funded and guided organisations are carefully stabled Trojan Horses chomping their British and American supplied hay until the time came for them to be told to gallop, and gallop they now are.

This is all Hong Kong phooey! No other country in the world would have shown such forbearance in the face of foreign-sponsored rioting destruction and sabotage of the national economy as China has. If in the days to come China’s patience runs out, it will not be before time so far as the great majority of Chinese citizens, including Hong Kong citizens, are concerned.

China signed up to the one country, two systems in the territory. It did not agree to two countries, two systems. Not one inch of Hong Kong belongs to anyone but China. The days when foreign countries could impose their will on China are long gone.”

Hong Kong phooey! Would you like any hypocrisy with that? RT.

George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.

Who is behind the Hong Kong protests?

Comrade Ella Rule features in this Kalima Horra debate, hosted by George Galloway.


Galloway has a pat on the head from the Chinese state:

Here is Galloway’s other stunt:





Written by Andrew Coates

August 24, 2019 at 11:51 am

New Spat Between Admirers and Critics of Mélenchon on Labour List.

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Image result for melenchon hologram

Mr Virtual 6,3%.

Yesterday le Monde carried two pages around this article:  the fragmented Left Faced with the Challenged of Refoundation.

The principal article talked of the historic defeat of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s ‘lieu de rassemblement’ (rally) la France insoumise (LFI)  in this year’s European elections, where they got 6,3% of the vote (down from 19% in the 2017 French Presidential Election). It suggested that the undisputed leader of LFI was now concentrating on winning municipal positions off his rivals, the Communists, PCF, who were down even further at 2,49%. The impression given was that the French left was squabbling over crumbs (the literal meaning of emiettée is ‘in crumbs’).

In interview across the page in the daily of a loyal LFI cadre and MP  Alexis Corbière contained only staunch denial of any difficulties – the resignations that followed this collapse, and the accusations of autocratic inner rally running (LFI has no members, only affiliates; it is run as a Party-business) by the Little Caesar in charge. There was a defence of their “populist” strategy of assembling the ‘People’ against the ”Oligarchy’ above the old left right divisions ( Alexis Corbière : « L’alternative, c’est l’oligarchie ou le peuple »).

Le Monde, oddly, was concerned with the French Greens, Europe Écologie, who with Yannick Jadot won 13,48%.

Not a lot in fact but more than anybody else who might be considered on the left, something Jadot is very equivocal about himself – he does not rule our local alliances with  right-wing parties. who accept a Green programme.

While all this has been going on, a few days ago Labour List published the following article:

What Corbynism could learn from France’s Mélenchon

Mckevitt seems to base his knowledge of La France insoumise and its Leader largely on Chantal Mouffe’s book For a Left Populism (2018), and reports of his presence at last year’s The World Transformed.

“This dynamic populist demand, articulated by Mélenchon through a desire to completely remake the French state from “the people” up, exhibits itself in Corbynism through the relatively gradual, procedural and legalistic process of reforming reselection processes. Despite the shared values of democratisation and of a mass membership wrenching control from those with entrenched positions (and the strategic concern of Corbynism to transform the Parliamentary Labour Party), the party structure that Corbynism finds itself channelled through is ultimately limiting to the scope of this demand.

Mélenchon’s left-populism also finds itself in fundamental opposition to what he perceives as the global institutions of neoliberal capitalism.

He concluded, noting that even the Sun had spots – Mélenchon’s ‘Patriotism” and backing for “a radically patriotic interpretation of laïcité, ”  a term or a politics which is not explained.

Nonetheless, Mélenchon provides a template for us to understand the compatibility of a truly radical, anti-establishment structural analysis with a popular left-wing mass movement.

Today we have this reply: Why Labour should reject the politics of Mélenchon

“Beneath the veneer, Mélenchon is a profoundly divisive figure” writes Antony Tucker, “whose attitude to the press, failure to deal with racism on the left and rejection of internationalism should serve as warning, not an example, to our party.”

Tucker outlines Mélenchon’s indulgence of a “sovereigntist” view of the EU – criticisms of its workings based on the way it has undermined French sovereignty,, and promoted ‘German’ interests. he could have mentioned the LFI leader’s initial welcome for the Brexit vote, which still sticks in the craw – as a popular revolt against the EU ‘oligarchs’.

He continues into the murky depths of the Mélechonist milieu, “Mélenchon spends far too much time pandering to the conspiracy theorist fringe of politics.” It would be truer to say that his association with the Gilets Jaunes has created ambiguities of the “red-brown” kind known in the UK, when some of the protesters (notoriously Fly-Rider) have been active conspiracy mongers. This kind of over-claim obscures the problem of real red-brown cross-overs such as Étienne Chouard.

He treats himself to some moral outrage – again without explaining what the term laicite means or what politics it is based on – at the LFI chief’s “radical, authoritarian laïcité

Riding the crest of the this manufactured rage he manages something this writer would have thought impossible, soliciting sympathy for Méluche, ” Mélenchon has spread the sort of vicious conspiracy theories that these people feed off of, and frequently denies France’s role in the Holocaust. ” This conspi theory of its own tries to wash away the fact that all French republican politicians deny the responsibility of the French republic for the anti-republican Vichy regime.

Tucker concludes, in apoplexy, that the “nationalist and xenophobic beliefs that drive Mélenchon” are no model for the Labour Party.

Mr 6,3% might have been a better way of putting the would-be left Populist Federator of the People down.

Then there is the total, sordid, collapse of his admired template, the “Bolivarian Revolution” in Venezuela, and left-populism across South America.

A serious beginning of a critique of Mélenchon” and LFI and is available here: The Death of “Left Wing Populism”.




Boris Johnson meets President Macron – French Media reactions, an Oaf preparing for a No Deal Brexit.

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Essuie mes godasses Manu! 

The extreme right Express ‘reports’:

Macron ‘got what he wanted’ – PM ‘tricked’ by French President into ‘behaving like an oaf’

EMMANUEL MACRON has been accused of “tricking” Boris Johnson as the British Prime Minister was filmed placing his foot on a table when the two leaders sat down during a meeting in Paris.

One wrote: “And Macron got the photo he wanted and our Prime Minister is once again the fool.”

Another added: “The oaf Johnson got tricked into behaving like an oaf in front of photographers. Only other oafs will think Johnson won this one.”

A third said: “He fell for it! And the picture looks just as we expect from this clown ‘cos he has form for being a fool.”

In keeping with the festive mood Le Monde’s main story on Johnson today (website) is this:

Boris, Jo, Rachel et les autres… L’incroyable famille Johnson

Boris, Jo, Rachel and the others, the Unbelievable Johnson Family.


Libération strikes a more serious note by headlining,

(Freely translated: Spinning in the Void Boris Johnson Turns to a Hard Brexit).


The chances of a “hard Brexit”, an exit from the European Union without agreement, “are of the order of one to one million,” prophesied on June the 29th Boris Johnson while still candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party . Yet a no deal” seems yet closer and closer. “All the objective elements are there, notes Aurélien Antoine, professor of public law at the Jean-Monnet University of Saint-Etienne and director of the Brexit Observatory. Postponements of the release date, the coming to power of Boris Johnson, the recruitment of customs officers in France, the recall of British officials in Brussels: on one side or the other, we prepared for it. “


The centre-right Le Figaro has this:


In the meantime the Hard Brexit supporting Morning Star, self-identifying as Jeremy Corbyn’s Best Friend, publishes a heartfelt appeal for ‘real politics’ and not voting in any referendum on the issue, from an inner city youth (King’s College London),

Second referendum? Not in my name

I’m a young person who would’ve voted to remain – here’s why I don’t want to ‘have my say’ in a second referendum, writes HECTOR

Brexit has always been an issue which divided the nation in half. The notion continually pushed by both of these campaigns, that every individual in our diverse and eclectic nation stands staunchly behind the polarised positions, of either a cliff-edge Brexit or overturning the result of the referendum, lacks any nuance and is a ridiculous generalisation.

In fact, I feel I am in a silent majority: those who just want a return to real politics


He concludes:

That’s why, as a young person who would’ve voted to Remain, I say, no, I don’t want to have my say in a second referendum.

By contrast:

Chris Williamson: Nicaragua, a “Beacon of Hope”.

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Chris Williamson in Brighton: Top Supporter (Tony Greenstein) on far-left.

This has now been tweeted.

The case of Chris Williamson is well known.

The man is so far gone that it hard to imagine the suspended from Labour MP  taking any notice of reality but here is an article, this year, from Labour Briefing by Mike Phillips, a Spanish speaker who knows Nicaragua,

New human rights report condemns Nicaraguan government

Mike Phipps 

A new report has slammed the Nicaraguan state for abuses carried out in the aftermath of last year’s protests. Crackdown in Nicaragua: Torture, Ill-Treatment, and Prosecutions of Protesters and Opponents, published by the US-based Human Rights Watch and based on work by an independent group of experts, appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, says that some of the abuse amounted to torture.

“Many of the people detained during the crackdown on protests were subject to serious abuses that in some cases amounted to torture – including electric shocks, severe beatings, fingernail removal, asphyxiation, and rape,” says the report. “Many injured detainees were reportedly denied medical care in public health institutions and doctors who provided care said they suffered retaliation.”

The prosecution of protestors has also violated the norms of due process, argues the report. “Protestors have been held in incommunicado detention, subjected to closed door trials, and denied the right to confer privately with their defense lawyers.”

The report further accuses the government of targeting journalists and cracking down on independent media outlets. It further cancelled the legal registration of nine civil society organizations. Top officials who bear responsibility for the abuses, far from being held to account, have been promoted by President Ortega.

The full report is available here https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/06/19/crackdown-nicaragua/torture-ill-treatment-and-prosecutions-protesters-and#page


Williamson, a vegan, is no doubt an authority on identity politics.

This is another strand he is following:

His supporters have had another setback with this news today:

Labour suspends Liverpool Momentum co-chair over alleged antisemitism

Jewish Chronicle.

He allegedly shared messages on social media that used antisemitic tropes around philanthropist George Soros

The co-chair of pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum in Liverpool has been suspended by Labour pending an investigation over allegations of antisemitism.

Chris Cavanagh – who is a close ally of suspended MP Chris Williamson – is accused of sharing messages on social media that contravened party rules including several that used antisemitic tropes around philanthropist George Soros.

The JC can reveal that Mr Cavanagh, a member of West Derby Labour Party, was informed of his suspension from the party earlier this month.

It is unclear whether he has also been suspended from his role as co-chair of Liverpool Momentum.

Last July, Mr Cavanagh had helped organise a Momentum meeting as part of Chris Williamson’s ‘Democracy Roadshow’ in which the Derby North MP – now facing expulsion over his repeated interventions in the party’s antisemitism crisis – attempted to unsettle Labour MPs deemed unloyal to Jeremy Corbyn.

During the meeting at Liverpool’s Quaker Meeting House, which the JC attended, one speaker was loudly applauded after he said: “What could be a greater threat to our democracy than a foreign government who is trying to veto the person we want for Prime Minister?

“Of course, I’m talking about the Israelis with their foot soldiers in Labour – the LFI [Labour Friends of Israel], the JLM [Jewish Labour Movement]. They are trying to take our democracy away from us.”

Socialist Worker says Labour should, “not give into Right” and back Remain in the EU.

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Don’t Give Into Right and Oppose Brexit Says SWP.

Sometimes, happy days, not to say,  months, you forget that the SWP exists.

But the pro-Brexit far-left is still there.

They show no signs of regretting their furious campaign for the – Hard Right – Brexit.

It’s one of the best kept secrets in politics that the SWP have thriven and recruited in the mass people’s movement to take back control and support Brexit.

As they  said, ““The outcome of the referendum represents a revolt by millions of working class people against years of austerity and economic decline”. Socialists and the Leave vote—a (brief) reply to Sean Leahy

They added, ” how can things possibly get worse?”

As Johnson’s plans wreak havoc they say, “Nothing to so with us. We are revolutionary socialists and can’t share the blame for anything.”

Hobson chose for them, and they cannot be blamed for their choice, actions, or vote.

Tory plan for Brexit is a threat to ­two million EU migrants

Latest Socialist Worker.

Whether you voted for this or not we should all defend migrants’ rights writes Tomáš Tengely-Evans.

Anti-racists—whether they voted Racist Leave or Remain—have to fight to defend and extend freedom of movement.

(Note: some of this may have been slightly rewritten).

The same Socialist Worker has this:

Corbyn’s confusion over the European Union emboldens the right

Labour has been caught in a bind since the EU referendum in 2016. Many working class people—the people it looks to for votes—support leaving the EU.

But a vocal set of right wing Labour MPs want to push the party towards opposing Brexit.

They support the EU because they like its pro-privatisation, pro-austerity rules that look after big business.

They’re increasingly cheer-led by prominent left Labour supporters, and backed by the Labour Party’s membership.

The Labour left now largely sees backing Remain as the only progressive response to the Tories’ racist, right wing version of Brexit.

The SWP offers this advice to Labour,

The anti-austerity, radical-sounding message that worked so well for Labour in 2017 is at risk of being drowned out.

Where demonstrations and action on the streets against the Tories could have dominated, opposition has focused on parliamentary manoeuvres and inter-party wrangling.

This is the right’s terrain—the left is always weaker on it.

The bulk of Corbyn’s speech on Monday—attacking austerity and tax cuts for the rich, promising more for ordinary people—got almost ignored by the press.

The longer Corbyn spends giving into the right over the EU, the more he allows them to set the agenda and sideline left wing politics.

People may have noticed that the article says “The Labour left now largely sees backing Remain as the only progressive response to the Tories’ racist, right wing version of Brexit.”

Some might observe that they are claiming that we are “cheering”  on the right.

In the heat of the struggle, in the exuberant mobilisations to “take back control” and back Brexit, the SWP can perhaps be forgiven their annoyance at the pro-remain left.

Nobody could possibly accuse them of stinking opportunism in seizing on this effect of their vote and claiming that they opposed it all along:


Written by Andrew Coates

August 21, 2019 at 12:10 pm

New Left Review Tackles Brexit, from ‘anti-systemic’ parties to Corbyn.

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From Brexit Knocks to Corbyn.

Writing after the EU Referendum New Left Review editor Susan Watkins found time to pontificate on the “solipsistic and civilizational” reactions of those who regretted the victory of the Leave camp. She observed, with a cooled head, in tones echoing the French self-appointed speaker for La France périphérique,  Christophe Guilluy, ” the ressentiment of globalization’s losers.” ” Leave voters were markedly more pessimistic about their prospects and those of their children “

Watkins continued, “nearly 70 per cent thought Brexit couldn’t make things any worse.” And yet, she wistfully noted, ” the victory of British (read: English) nationalism has revealed the emptiness of its symbols: Rule Britannia, Mother of Parliaments, Royal Navy, Going It Alone, Dunkirk Spirit—all that has gone. “

Looking to the future, and echoing the words of her partner Tariq Ali, who used the vehicle of Venezuela state media, Telesur to explain that he was ‘Pleased’ Brexit Has Given EU ‘Big Kick’ up ‘Backside'” she concluded,

The Brexit vote doesn’t mean state break-up, yet. Still less the downfall of Brussels. For now, though, it is plain that Blairized Britain has taken a hit, as has the Hayekianized eu. Critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret these knocks to it, against which the entire global establishment—Obama to Abe, Merkel to Modi, Juncker to Xi—has inveighed. Which will ultimately prove more important, and what the side-effects of each will be, remains to be seen.

From the Intergalactic Senate Perry Anderson opined in 2017 that,

No other European country has been so dramatically polarised by region, between a bubble-enclosed, high-income metropolis in London and the southeast, and an impoverished, deindustrialised north and northeast where voters felt they had little to lose in voting for Leave (crucially, a more abstract prospect than ditching the euro), whatever happened to the City and foreign investment. Fear counted for less than despair.

…suddenly granted, for once, a real choice in a national referendum, they returned in force to deliver their verdict on the desolations of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

The welcome knocks against the EU were the result of this:

Issues of identity could more readily trump issues of interest than in the rest of the EU. So the normal formula — fear of economic retribution outweighs fear of alien immigration — failed to function, bent out of shape by a combination of economic despair and national amour-propre.

Britain’s example should be followed,

For anti-systemic movements of the left in Europe, the lesson of recent years is clear. If they are not to go on being outpaced by movements of the right, they cannot afford to be less radical in attacking the system, and must be more coherent in their opposition to it. That means facing the probability the EU is now so path-dependent as a neoliberal construction that reform of it is no longer seriously conceivable. It would have to be undone before anything better could be built, either by breaking out of the current EU, or by reconstructing Europe on another foundation, committing Maastricht to the flames. Unless there is a further, deeper economic crisis, there is little likelihood of either.

Yet, as the title of the broad brush indicates, “Why the system will still win.”, so one can be confident that Anderson does not see the prospect of the ‘dual power’ of his 1970s flirtation with the left returning.

In the latest New Left Review a less abstract note is struck by the Deputy Editor of the journal,  Daniel Finn,

Brexit has thrown the whole political field into confusion, and Labour will struggle to achieve a majority in parliament after the next election, even if it emerges as the largest party. The conditions of its likely coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party, could include the extinction of any distinctive Corbyn project.

Corbyn, Labour and the Brexit Crisis

Daniel Finn Labour in the Brexit Vice

Finn continues, “All factors seem to point towards ultimate defeat, except one: the fact that Corbynism has already survived against the odds to reach its current position.”

There is an account of the Labour Party’s post-Corbyn successes and difficulties.

Brexit, the Vice in which Labour is squeezed, is introduced:

“While rational fears of what Brexit could mean under Tory leadership fuelled the wider Remain constituency” writes Finn” it was Blairite holdovers like Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell who dominated the leadership of the People’s Vote (pv) campaign, skewing its political orientation.

In the sketch this also stands out, ” Expecting the Remain side to win comfortably, the Labour right thought it safe to use the referendum campaign as a factional weapon, telling sympathetic journalists that Corbyn’s line was really an argument to leave the eu altogether.”

Many would note this detail: New Left Review Editorial Board member Tariq Ali, “Jeremy Corbyn ‘would be campaigning for Brexit if he was not Labour leader’, says long-time ally Tariq Ali.” May 2016).

Finn finally settles down to the famous clasp in which Labour is clamped.

Having admitted its importance he admits that the Labour left has its own internal differences.

…. Corbyn allies like John McDonnell and Diane Abbott favoured a change of strategy as well, along with some of the younger left mps (Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Kate Osamor). Divisions over Brexit cut across the left/right cleavage in the plp: Labour front-benchers such as the party chair Ian Lavery were strongly opposed to a second referendum, and McCluskey argued against a sudden shift towards the hard-Remain camp, but a group of mps that included staunch opponents of Corbyn like Stephen Kinnock and Ruth Smeeth also composed an open letter, denouncing the ‘toxic’ idea of a second referendum as a gift to the nationalist right.

The NLR writer – accurately – summarises a real dilemma,

 In any case, securing a referendum is one thing, winning it is quite another. The Labour leadership is being urged by friend and foe alike to adopt a goal that is neither more desirable nor even more achievable than its previous stance, in the name of avoiding electoral meltdown.

This is differently phrased to his comments in  ‘Jacobin‘ a few months ago (which combines the following with the all too familiar ranting tone of the US’s ‘leading ‘ left voice, this time about Paul Mason’s, ” shop-soiled reactionary agenda .”)

One of the main advantages of a “soft Brexit” deal — whatever its precise details — would be avoiding the need for a second referendum. Most advocates of such a vote have been shockingly complacent about their chances of victory, brushing aside opinion polls that suggest a rerun of the first vote would be too close to call.

Even if Remain won, the campaign would be even more rancorous than the first, and only a landslide result could truly settle the issue.

We may now be drifting towards a second referendum in any case. But Corbyn and Labour were right to try and avoid that outcome.

There has often been a tendency to defend Labour’s position in terms of electoral pragmatism — the need to balance between Remain- and Leave-voting sections of its base. This is perfectly legitimate in its own right: a left-wing government, implementing Labour’s 2017 manifesto or going beyond it, would make far more of a difference to people’s lives than staying in the EU.

But there was a wider political logic behind the party’s stand. The accusations of “sitting on the fence” leveled at the Labour leadership are misguided at best, malicious at worst. The best elements in the party, including Corbyn, recognized it would be a disaster if Leave vs Remain became entrenched as the main dividing line in British politics.

Electing a Labour Government Matters More Than Brexit

The entrenchment is real and has not been wished away by Corbyn or anybody else.

What of his Jacobin claim that, “if the Labour leadership does now pivot towards the second-referendum camp, it should be seen in a realistic light, as a major setback for the Corbyn project…

Finn – rewriting lightly this judgement – concludes this section,

Corbyn’s latest move fell some way short of the unqualified pro-Remain commitment his opponents were seeking. In July 2019, he announced that Labour would campaign to stay in the eu if that was the only alternative to no deal or ‘a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs’; on the other hand, if Labour formed a government before the Brexit deadline and had time to negotiate its own package, it would put that agreement to a popular vote, with Remain as the alternative choice. The new line could be made to work—but whether Corbyn’s inner-party opponents will allow that to happen is a very different question.

‘Falling far short’ may satisfy New Left Review, but not many others, perhaps he means “falling far short” of a major setback…

“Could be made to work”, pure Andersonese, is as clear as mud.

All three of Finn’s possible scenarios for a Labour government,  headlong retreat by conservative resistance”, a “reformist party that actually carries out reforms”, and (the improbable), ” return to the ideas that animated left-wing forces in the 1960s and 70s when they recognized the limitations of social-democratic rule” depend on a response to the issue of Brexit.

But few can escape the observation that the days of feeling satisfied at the “knocks” delivered by the Brexit vote, or calling for “undoing” the EU have passed.

This is surely worth flagging up in the inconclusive concluding sentence,

If Corbyn succeeds in taking power after the next election, he will have made his way past many formidable obstacles, but his greatest challenges will still lie ahead.

From a different part of the left one can outline some of the deeper difficulties that Labour and the left face:

  • This is not a trivial “culture war”. The days when the category of  ‘anti-systemic’ parties had any use obscures the change. The Brexit vote has been followed by the development of national populist current in British politics. From the Johnson-led Tory Party to the Party PLC, of Nigel Farage (following the example of a number of European ‘parties’ from Macron’s  La République En Marche, Italy’s Movimento 5 Stelle, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Rally –   lieu de rassemblement – la France insoumise , a business run from the top), embody currents which call for national sovereignty, free-market economics, and antagonism to the “anti-nation”. The “empty symbols” of Rule Britannia, national “amour propre” not only moblised the Leave vote, they have become the foundations of this politics. A far-right fringe is now actively targeting the “collaborators” who wish to Remain.
  • WIthin the Corbyn camp the continuing influence of a pro-Brexit constituency.  But radical hostility to the “hayekised” EU, and calls to represent the “impoverished” deindustrialised  regions, the ‘left behind’, has not been the basis of a serious economic and social programme. They cannot recreate the labour movement of the 1970s. As the Accelerationist Manifesto pointed out in 2013  ” There can be no return to Fordism. The capitalist “golden era” was premised on the production paradigm of the orderly factory environment, where (male) workers received security and a basic standard of living in return for a lifetime of stultifying boredom and social repression. Such a system relied upon an international hierarchy of colonies, empires, and an underdeveloped periphery; a national hierarchy of racism and sexism; and a rigid family hierarchy of female subjugation. For all the nostalgia many may feel, this regime is both undesirable and practically impossible to return to.”
  • The lingering influence of  ‘sovereigntist’ politics on the British left, one of the principal poles of the pro-Brexit, Lexit, current, creates deeper difficulties. Many of their figures have followed that of its European counterparts.In the absence of a real prospect of “striking real blows at the roots of capitalist power, provoking a crisis within the state machine, and relying upon mass movement” (cited by Finn as the “least likely” of the results of a possible Labour government) they has turned inward. It cannot rely only on the “folk politics of localism” and memory of the “real” working class. Parts of this left has drifted towards a “red brown” cocktail of hostility towards “rootless cosmopolitans”. The leader of probably the biggest post-war left coalition, Respect, George Galloway, is now an open ally of Nigel Farage. Far from being at antipodes to National Populism the Sovereigntist left is in danger of becoming its twin.
  • A left based on transformative democracy has also emerged. As Another Europe is Possible says,”A British exit from the EU would have a seriously detrimental impact on the free movement of people; trade union and human rights; environmental protection; international cooperation; and a host of other vital issues. While, at the very least, the EU is in desperate need of a democratic overhaul, an exit at the current time would boost right wing movements and parties and hurt ordinary people in the UK. European politics has been dominated by neoliberal thinking for far too long – as recent events in Greece brutally demonstrate. But changing this means working to strengthen anti-austerity movements across all of Europe – not walking away. Another Europe is Possible is a campaign for a radical “in” vote. Our campaign will put the case for staying in the EU independently of Cameron and big business, opposing any part of a “renegotiation” that attacks workers’, migrants’ or human rights. We will combine campaigning for an in vote with arguing for an alternative economic model, maintaining European citizens’ rights to live and work across the EU, and for far-reaching democratic reforms of European institutions.
  • This position stands, and is a better guideline for left politics than delight at the EU being given a “kick up the backside” or celebration of ‘anti-systemetic’ parties without any positive emancipatory politics.

Finn is a specialist in Irish politics.

Perhaps he would care to develop – the present article does not –  the theme of how  EU demands for “no room for unilateral exit from the ‘backstop’ designed to prevent a hard border on Irish soil.” have become the centre of the Brexit wars…

Or this:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 20, 2019 at 1:26 pm

The Red-Brown Front – Spiked – Ramps Up Culture of Intolerance Towards Owen Jones.

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Spiked, “swift and opportunistic use of the attack to demonise certain sections of the media.”

Spiked is the leading voice of the Red-Brown Front, the arm that helps fight the culture wars for the national populist Brexit Party.

They stand for an identity united around National Sovereignty for the “real” people who back Brexit against the elites.

Spiked aims to create a society, in which risk is taken by science-driven entrepreneurs, every country is fiercely independent,  business and culture thrive democratically, and trade is willingly  negotiated with free-spirit Donald Trump.

The virtues and the heritage of European civilisation, culture, and the Enlightenment are behind them.

A “war against ‘No Deal Brexit’, ” really just means a war against Brexit”

Spiked battles for the heroic “ordinary people” the “disenfranchised” like Nigel Farage and Anne Widdecombe against “offence culture” and wokeness.

It’s no surprise that to create a segmented society, excluding their opponents,  they target “Patsy” Greta Thunberg  and Owen Jones, “mouthpiece of middle class moralism”.

Brendan, for it is he, has today chosen Owen for “using” the assault he was a victim of over the weekend.

Not just using, but taking the case of people fired up by bigotry to implicate the bigots in the media.

Who’s really demonising journalists?

There is a grim irony in the response to the assault on Guardian columnist Owen Jones. Which is that this attack on a journalist is being used by woke leftists, including by Mr Jones himself, to attack journalists.

He continues,

the swift and opportunistic use of the attack to demonise certain sections of the media could prove to be the greater threat to press freedom.

Brendan pauses, to sip his own breath,

It goes without saying, I hope, that the attack on Jones was horrible and outrageous. Especially if it is true that he was targeted for his leftish beliefs. That would make it not just a punch-up outside a pub, but also an act of political intolerance. That is out of order in an open, civilised society.

But that makes it all the more depressing that this alleged act of intolerance has been weaponised to a different cause of intolerance – the left’s intolerance towards free-wheeling, rabble-rousing press outlets. Or as Jones referred to them yesterday, when he was outrageously implying that they bear some responsibility for what happened to him, the ‘hate preachers’ of the media.

The man himself sniffs his armpits,

He claims his attackers were far-right activists. And he says such far-right activists have been emboldened by ‘people in the mainstream media who deliberately stoke tensions, who demonise minorities and who demonise the left’.

His target was clearly the tabloid press (NOTE, which O’Neill writes for).  He said: ‘We should just be honest about it. We live in a society where on the front pages of newspapers you have things like “enemies of the people”, “traitors”, “saboteurs” – that’s how people are discussed in politics.’

Reaching for his Voltaire and loudly passing wind, O’Neill, bellows,

Prejudice against certain newspapers, and more importantly prejudice against the people who read them, who are presumed to be so fickle, so easily warped by words, that a few spicy headlines can convince them to wallop a Guardian columnist outside a pub.

Lowering to his warmed over theme he continues,

…who is responsible for the attack on Andy Ngo in Portland? The so-called antifa forces who assaulted him, very violently, notably used milkshakes. They were clearly inspired by the middle-class milkshaking phenomenon in the UK and possibly by pro-milkshaking journalists at newspapers like the Guardian, one of whom said milkshaking is a valiant effort to ‘reduce men of pomp to figures of ridicule’. If the Express bears responsibility for right-wing violence, does the Guardian bear responsibility for left-wing violence?

The conclusion,

The problem is a broader culture of intolerance towards different opinions – and that ugly culture comes more from the PC establishment itself than it does from a few saucy front-page headlines.

As in, “The green movement has become hysterical” Spiked 16th of August.



Written by Andrew Coates

August 19, 2019 at 1:13 pm

After Portland, Trump Bows to Far-Right Demands to Consider ANTIFA “Organisation of Terror”.

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Proud Boys Deem Portland A Success Because Trump Sided With Right-Wing Extremists

Huff Post.

“Look at Trump’s Twitter … he’s watching antifa. That’s all we wanted,” boasts former Infowars staffer and protest organizer Joe Biggs

A former Infowars staffer who organized the Proud Boys protest in Portland Saturday deemed the “mission” a success Saturday because President Donald Trump sided with the right-wing extremist group against the anti-fascist “antifa.”

“Go look at President Trump’s Twitter,” Joe Biggs told the Oregonian (see the video above). “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching antifa. That’s all we wanted. We wanted national attention, and we got it. Mission success.”

Biggs said he was pleased with the relatively peaceful day between the Proud Boys — which describes its members as “western chauvinists” — and counter-protesters, who included antifa activists. Portland police reported that at least 13 people were arrested and six were injured.

The Proud Boys who organised the racist march:

The Proud Boys is a far-right neo-fascist[9][10] organization that admits only men as members and promotes political violence.[2][11][12][13] It is based in the United States and has a presence in CanadaAustralia, and the United Kingdom.[14][15] The group was started in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder and former commentator Gavin McInnes, taking its name from the song “Proud of Your Boy” from the Disney film Aladdin.[16][17] Proud Boys emerged as part of the alt-right, but in early 2017, McInnes began distancing himself from the alt-right, saying the alt-right’s focus is race while his focus is what he defines as “Western values”. This re-branding effort intensified after the Unite the Right Rally.[18][19]

This their presentation:

The Proud Boys are a men’s organization founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. McInnes has described the Proud Boys as a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.

Proud Boys‘ values center on the following tenets:

Minimal Government
Maximum Freedom
Anti-Political Correctness
Anti-Drug War
Closed Borders
Anti-Racial Guilt
Pro-Free Speech (1st Amendment)
Pro-Gun Rights (2nd Amendment)
Glorifying the Entrepreneur
Venerating the Housewife
Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism

This caught my attention, “the Proud Boys organization was launched in September 2016, on the website of Taki’s Magazine, a far-right publication for which Richard Spencer was executive editor.”

There is a whole chapter on Richard B.Spencer in Key Thinkers of the Radical Right . Behind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy .(Edited by Mark Sedgwick 2019. Oxford.), Richard B. Spencer and the Alt Right by Tamir Bar-On. 

The Proud Boys say they are “not alt right”.

But their ideas seem to echo many of alt right Spencer’s themes.

He is absolutely barking,

Leftists (who sometimes understand us better than we understand ourselves) have always sensed this; they know that when we talk about immigration, we’re not really talking about immigration.

For us “immigration” is a proxy for race. In that way, immigration can be good or bad: it can be a conquest (as it seems now) . . . or a European in-gathering, something like White Zionism. It all depends on the immigrants. And we should open our minds to the positive possibilities of mass immigration from the White world.

And when White men talks about “restoring the Constitution”—or, more so, “Taking Our Country Back”— leftists and non-Whites are right to view this as threatening and racialist: it implies a return to origins and that the White man once owned America.

Today, in the public imagination, “ethnic-cleansing” has been associated with civil war and mass murder (understandably so). But this need not be the case. 1919 is a real example of successful ethnic redistribution—done by fiat, we should remember, but done peacefully.
The ideal I advocate is the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent.

We must give up the false dreams of equality and democracy—not so that we could “wake up” to reality; reality is boring—but so that we can take up the new dreams of channelling our energies and labor towards the exploration of our universe, towards the fostering of a new people, who are healthier, stronger, more intelligent, more beautiful, more athletic.


Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”

That’s how Richard B. Spencer saluted more than 200 attendees on Saturday, gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., for the annual conference of the National Policy Institute, which describes itself as “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of  people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”

Spencer has popularized the term “alt-right” to describe the movement he leads. Spencer has said his dream is “a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans,” and has called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”

He thinks the march was “too weak”.


That the US President bows to their pressure is beneath contempt.

Spencer is said to be the person who created the term “alt right”, and is aligned with European Identitarians., although his call for a “white racial empire” is not widely, or publicly, shared on our continent.

Comrade Spencer Sunshine says,



In this segment, I speak with Spencer Sunshine — researcher, journalist, activist, and political consultant regarding Far Right movements. Spencer discusses of the recent controversy surrounding Gavin McInnis, founder of the Proud Boys, and his invitation to speak at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City, in which a group of Proud Boys openly attacked protesters after the event. We discuss the lack of police interference in the beatings, and the overall trend in policing and law enforcement’s attitude toward Far Right movements in the US. We also discuss the differences and similarities between what has been defined as the “Alt-Right” and the “Alt-Lite,” and what these two camps of Far Right ideology have accomplished in the past year in the expansion and normalization of Far Right rhetoric and violence. We also discuss other strains of Far Right organization and ideology, including Joey Gibson and Patriot Prayer, as well the Left’s altogether lack of preparedness in addressing the looming threat posed by these groups.


Written by Andrew Coates

August 18, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Jacobin’s European Editor Says ‘Haha” When Rival leftist Physically Assaulted.

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This is the story that inspired the hilarity.

A statement by Mark Osborn about an incident of physical violence at a meeting of Lewisham Momentum (15 August 2019).

A further series of unpleasant attacks on left activists aligned with Workers’ Liberty took place at the Lewisham Momentum meeting held on Wednesday 14 August.

The most serious incident at this Momentum meeting was that Bill Jefferies of Ladywell ward, Lewisham Deptford CLP, physically attacked me. He hit me on the chin and grabbed my throat, in the hall outside the meeting room as the meeting was breaking up. He is 10cm taller and 40 kg heavier than me.

I’m okay, as always. But my chin still hurts and there’s a mark on my neck.

Full statement via above.

Broder (David Broder@broderly @jacobinmag Europe editor) has deleted the tweet but his admirers, watching like ‘awks, noticed it.

Broder’s work for Jacobin on the international left is renowned.

He is a keen supporter of Mr 6,3% (the score of Mélenchon’s rally, La France insoumise, LFI,  in this year’s European Elections).

We look forward to Broder’s sympathetic coverage of the revolutionary patriotism behind this latest decision by LFI, their invitation to Thierry Ardisson, a ‘constitutional’ Monarchist, to star at the summer school.

Broder’s generosity does not extend to leftist rivals in Britain.

One questions why Jacobin have such an intemperate  enemy of British and Irish pro-European leftists, determined to re-enact the disputes of his youth,  as a gatekeeper for their European coverage.



Written by Andrew Coates

August 17, 2019 at 11:06 am

Communist Party of Britain Calls to Reject “Hysteria” about No-Deal Brexit which offers “new arrangements with the EU, China and other countries”.”

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Image result for communist party of britain brexit

Workers Unite Behind Communist Call for ‘no-deal’ Brexit, ” Labour government could then seek new arrangements with the EU, China and other countries.”

The Communist Party of Britain, who counted amongst their number until recently Andrew Murray, one of the Jeremy Corbyn’s key advisers on Brexit, and which runs the Morning Star, warns against a national unity government.

Their view on Corbyn’s offer of a Caretaker Government is not known but they favour a No Deal Brexi which is the reason widely given for this call.

The CPB’s Red-Brown allies in the Full Brexit (see below) are more forthright retweeting this which implies dropping the effort.


In other words the Full Brexit wants Brexit come what may.



Here is the CPB’s statement.

Left and Labour must resist ‘Very real threats’, say Communists

The labour movement and the left face three very real threats from the British ruling class, Mollie Brown declared at the Communist Party’s political committee on Wednesday (August 14).

Firstly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson could present himself at a snap General Election as the ‘hero of Brexit’ who either delivered it on October 31 or failed in an heroic attempt and so needs a fresh mandate to succeed. Secondly, a so-called ‘government of national unity’ could be formed which closes down normal parliamentary processes in order to derail Brexit. Thirdly, if he remains Tory Prime Minister, Johnson will almost certainly try to use a ‘no-deal Brexit’ to be a closer economic, political and military alliance between Britain and a very right-wing US government led by the likes of President Trump,Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and foreign policy advisor John Bolton.

The overriding strategic aim of the capitalist class and its politicians in all the main parties is to prevent the election of a left-led Labour government free from EU single market rules to pursue left and radical manifesto policies’, Ms Brown told the meeting. She urged Labour to fight for an immediate General Election with a pledge to respect the EU referendum result and take Britain out of the EU on October 31 or at the earliest possible time if it has not already happened.

Rejecting the ‘hysteria’ being whipped up by right-wing and pro-establishment politicians and media against a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, Ms Brown said a Labour government could then seek new arrangements with the EU, China and other countries. ‘Only a left-led Labour government would seek to enhance mutually beneficial relations which respect the rights of all workers, citizens and consumers and enable the British, Scottish and Welsh governments to use their new post-Brexit powers to build a productive, sustainable and equitable economy’, she concluded. Britain’s Communists welcomed the formation of the broad-based ‘LeFT’ alliance in favour of leaving the EU and fighting to transform Brexit into a people’s exit that will open the path to socialist policies.

This is their full position on a No-Deal Brexit (January)

Communist Party calls for Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms

BRITAIN should leave the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms to free a future Labour government from single market rule, the Communist Party declared at the weekend.

And, ‘Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms’, Communists propose.

The Communist Party executive concluded that any revamped Withdrawal Agreement would continue to bind Britain to the ‘big business freedoms’ of the EU Single Market, which would obstruct any future British government’s efforts to promote infrastructure investment, manufacturing industry, economic planning, public ownership, regional development, public sector procurement and VAT reforms and a labour market that ensures full rights for all workers.

‘Locking Britain into the EU Customs Union would make any such agreement even worse’, Robert Griffiths explained, ‘because it would outlaw import regulation to protect strategic industries such as steel, while also impeding a mutually beneficial fair trade policy with developing countries’.

Socialist Resistance describe the real challenges ahead,

We are facing an unprecedented confrontation between government, Parliament, and people. Gordon Brown and Dominic Grieve have both described it as the biggest constitutional crisis since the English civil war of 1642 (no less), that will be launched next month in advance of the October 31 deadline.

Labour strengthens position

In response, Jeremy Corbyn has now written to the other opposition parties and remain Tories to say that Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government as soon as it is clear that it would win, and that in the event of this being successful Labour would seek form an interim administration with the aim of calling a general election. In that election, the letter says, ‘Labour will be committed to a public vote on the terms of leaving the EU including an option to remain’.

This throws down the gauntlet to the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and rebel Tories, at a time when remain MPs have been discussing a government of national unity led by the likes of Ken Clarke or Yvette Cooper. The letter’s clear commitment to a second referendum in the context of a general election is a major step forward in Labour policy and opens up clear battle lines with the Brexiteers and the hard right.

They note,

The new Left Campaign, launched recently by the Morning Star and supported by others on the left – such as Costas Lapavitsas, Kevin Ovenden, and Alex Gordon – is dedicated ensuring that Britain leaves the EU on October 31, and is completely uncritical of the no-deal Brexit being planned by Johnson and oblivious (apparently) to the racist, hard right, neoliberal nature of the exit they are supporting. They have been urging Jeremy Corbyn (fortunately unsuccessfully) to end any support for a second referendum and make a radical case for Britain staying in the European Union under the terms on offer.

They continue,

Since a successful no confidence vote would produce an election before October 31 that the Tories think they would lose, Johnson’s special advisor, Dominic Cummings has proposed a different and completely outrageous reading of the Act. He argues that since the date of such an election is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, Johnson should ignore a no-confidence vote, stay in office, and call a general election with a date that would ensure that it concluded after October 31 giving the Tories a better chance of winning by claiming that they had implemented the 2016 referendum vote.

Any attempt by Johnson to bypass Parliament and people will not be easy, or even achievable, however slick the Downing Street operation. A majority of both the population and MPs are against it, and opposition is growing as the implications become ever more clear. The Commons Speaker John Bercow has said, speaking in Edinburgh, that it is possible for MPs to block an exit on October 31, and he will strain every bone in his body to ensure that Parliament’s voice is heard.

Jeremy Corbyn rightly branded this, in a letter to the cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill on August 8, as “an unprecedented, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic abuse of power”. He went on to demand from Sedwill clarification of the rules surrounding ‘purdah’ which are designed to prevent an incumbent government from taking major policy decisions during an election campaign to the detriment of opposition parties.

He also asked Sedwill to confirm that in the event that Britain becomes required to leave the EU under the terms of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act during an election campaign, that the government would avoid this by seeking an extension to article 50 in order to allow an incoming government to take a decision of Brexit on the basis of the result. “Forcing through no deal Brexit against a decision of Parliament”, he said, “and denying the choice to the voters in a general election already under way, would be an unprecedented, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic abuse of power by a Prime Minister elected, not by the public, but by a small number of Conservative Party members.


No doubt in their push for a Hard, No Deal Brexit, the CPB would dismiss this as “hysteria”:


Written by Andrew Coates

August 16, 2019 at 11:24 am

Allegation that ‘Syrian Truther’ heads Chris Williamson Fund Raiser to Sue Labour Party.

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

Brian Whitaker.


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

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

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

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

The convenor of the Working Group is Piers Robinson, who until recently was a professor in the journalism department at Sheffield University. Last year Robinson wrote a review of a book by two 9/11 truthers, describing it as a “diligent and painstaking work”. His name appears on the book’s back cover, endorsing it as “authoritative and carefully argued”.

Robinson and Miller have worked together on various articles produced by the Working Group and both are directors of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, a non-profit company which “facilitates and conducts rigorous academic research and analysis of propaganda”.

Wikipedia entry:

Brian Whitaker has been a journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian since 1987 and was its Middle East editor from 2000 to 2007.

He studied Arabic studies at the University of Westminster and Latin (BA Hons) at the University of Birmingham. He is currently an editor on the paper’s “Comment is free“.[1] He also writes articles for Guardian Unlimited, the internet edition of the paper. He runs a personal, non-Guardian-related website, Al-Bab.com, about politics in the Arab world.

Brian Whitaker: 2018.

Defenders of the Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media

The Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media is made up of academics and PhD students from a variety of UK universities. It was convened by Piers Robinson. It is critical of the UK commercially-controlled media reporting about Syria, and has in turn been criticised by them.

Corporate media response

Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor of the Guardian wrote on 26 February 2018 that the group (which then numbered three professors, two lecturers and three postgraduate researchers) seemed “more like a propaganda exercise than a serious academic project.” Two days later Jonathan Cook write in an article entitled The Authoritarians Who Silence Syria Questions that Whitaker was “using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum.”[2]

The Times wrote that the group was “spreading pro-Assad disinformation”. Tim Hayward wrote that “a question thoughtful readers will likely be asking is why The Times has gone the trouble it has to give such prominence to a small group of critical academics.”

Recent Miller Tweet:

Perhaps this might explain the link between Miller and Williamson.

Bob From Brockley. What’s wrong with Chris Williamson? 2019

The time Williamson promoted a Syrian war crimes denier

For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done, last summer, was promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:

Williamson, who was attending the Beautiful Days festival, tweeted of his “privilege” in meeting Vanessa Beeley, a blogger who described meeting the Syrian regime’s war criminal president Bashar al Assad as her “proudest moment” and has waged a relentless campaign of lies and distortion to promote the Assad regime abroad… Responding in kind to Williamson’s endorsement, Beeley said in a Facebook post “Hats off to Chris Williamson, Labour MP – a genuine human being.”…

Williamson’s tweet provoked immediate condemnation, drawing a strong response from James O’Brien, who called Williamson a “disgrace” and referred to Beeley as “Assad’s very own Alex Jones.” The Washington Post’s Middle East correspondent, Louisa Loveluck, responded to Williamson’s endorsement of Beeley’s “reporting” with: “Beeley has justified the use of incendiary weapons against civilians, recycled and championed debunked conspiracy theories, and described a meeting with Assad as her proudest moment. This is cheerleading, not reporting.”

Noting that Beeley has viciously slandered the late Jo Cox (Beeley “has shamelessly accused her of being a “warmongering Blairite” and “al-Qaeda advocate” endorsing a policy of “wholesale devastation” on Syria.) Oz argues that the Labour Party has a choice between being the party of Jo Cox or the party of Chris Williamson.

The times Williamson promoted fake news about chemical weapons in Syria

As Katerji put it when writing about Williamson’s support for Beeley, “This is not Williamson’s first dalliance with pro-Assad trutherism, having voiced doubts over allegations that Assad was responsible for the gas attack on Douma while addressing a protest outside parliament in April 2018.”

More recently, Williamson has taken up a particular version of Douma trutherism: that the chemical attack was a managed massacre by rebels and the civilians White Helmet civil defence first responders, and that this is somehow proved by a dubious document (read all about it here) leaked from the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog, probably via Russia, to some pro-Assad activists in the UK called the “Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media“, with which Beeley is connected.

Williamson is so obsessed with the “leaked document” that he has asked several questions in parliament about it, worded in completely dishonest ways. The theory holds that chemical weapons in Douma were not dropped from above but staged by Syrian rebels or their civilian first defenders, the White Helmets, i.e. that the rebels massacred dozens of their own family members. In my view, this conspiracy theory is borderline Islamophobic, based on the idea of Syrian rebels and civilians in rebel territories as savage, bloodthirsty jihadis.

Tony Greenstein, a Man with Experience in Barrack Room Lawyering,  backs Chris Williamson – in black T-Shirt, not the youth in the Stalinist Red.



Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2019 at 10:59 am

CWI Split: New Root and Branch Criticisms of the Socialist Party Published.

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Image result for cwi split

The present crisis within the CWI comes as no surprise to us. The only surprise is that it did not come sooner. With sufficient material resources, a rotten regime can last quite some time, as we saw with the Healyites. But in the end, it fell to pieces. This will be the fate of the CWI” (In Defence of Marxism).

The fallout from the CWI split continues.

Socialist Appeal, the ‘Grantite’ wing of the old Militant, has got round to producing their commentary.

This has just been published:

The recent convulsive faction fight and split in the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), driven by Peter Taaffe, the General Secretary of SPEW, the Socialist Party of England and Wales, is now plastered all over social media for the world to see. Despite the stream of allegations coming from the Taaffe faction, and the rebuttals from the other side, the dispute in reality centres around prestige politics, a highly pernicious tendency that is invariably fatal in a revolutionary organisation.

It occurs when somebody places his or her personal prestige above all other considerations.

As the title of their piece indicates they intend to give their point of view, as loudly as possible, about their own break with what is now the Socialist Party.

The CWI split of 1991-1992: setting the record straight

The article continues in the same vein,

Prestige politics is closely connected with personal ambition, self-promotion and delusions of grandeur. These things have characterised Peter Taaffe from the very beginning. At first they generally passed unnoticed. Most members of the Militants were unaware of them. But to those, like myself, that worked closely with Taaffe on a daily basis for some years, they soon became quite evident.

Unlike Ted Grant, who was a Marxist theoretician of considerable stature, Peter was a very superficial thinker with no ideas of his own. Insofar as he expressed any, they were all filched from Ted. But Taaffe felt no gratitude to Ted, of whom he was intensely envious. On the contrary, he spent most of his time systematically undermining Ted behind his back, whispering in corners to his group of adepts that Ted was “impossible” to work with.

What Taaffe wanted was an organisation of yes-men and women – unconditional supporters who would never contradict him. Lenin once warned Bukharin: “If you want obedience, you will get obedient fools.” That reads like the epitaph on the grave of the CWI. Over a period, the yes-men and women in the Militant – raw, young careerists, politically ignorant, but greedy for personal advancement, crystallised into a clique, which, behind the backs of the elected bodies, was deciding everything.

That was the real basis of the 1991-1992 split. The rest is pure fable. After nearly 30 years, it is about time we put the record straight.

The following, by contrast,  are long, serious, documents and should be read through.

Just to signal their importance here are some passages.

A matter of prestige

A case study in bureaucratic centralism, prestige politics and rule or ruin sectarianism.

The struggle within the Committee for a Workers International.


The recent split in the forty year old Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) followed the declaration of a Faction by Peter Taaffe and his supporters on the International Secretariat (IS) after they lost a vote at the International Executive Committee (IEC), which is the organisation’s leading body, other than the World Congress itself. The Faction claimed major “political differences” with their opponents on the IEC who represented a considerable majority of national sections and members of the CWI. The Majority were accused of abandoning work in the trade unions and, in a calculated provocation, of capitulating to Identity Politics and “petit-bourgeois Mandelism” i.e., to a reliance on social forces other than the working class. The United States of America and the Irish sections were specifically targeted as culprits.

In affecting to “call things by their proper name”, the Faction described the Majority as a “Non-Faction Faction”. This opportunist and unintentionally comical characterisation did not honestly reflect the nature of the CWI Majority either politically or organisationally. There was no fully formed and homogeneous “Non Faction Faction” but a non-factional opposition with a number of different trends representing some quite diverse trains of thinking. A healthy regime, based on the principles of democratic centralism, would have viewed the emergence of “political differences” as a prelude to a patient extended debate in an attempt to identify and resolve them, not a precipitous rush to a split in order to prevent what the Faction themselves described as “regime change”. Whatever “political differences” that may or may not exist they could never justify the crude organisational methods employed by the Faction to split the International before every last avenue had been explored in an effort to resolve the areas of contention. In splitting the CWI they were responsible for an act of political nihilism in which nothing mattered except their own status and political self-interest.

McInally continues,

The Socialist Party of England and Wales (SP),of which Taaffe has been general secretary since the mid-1960’s, held a conference in late July of this year that was quickly followed by an “international conference” consisting almost exclusively of English and Welsh members, at which a newly “reconstituted CWI” was announced. Those in England and Wales, who support the CWI Majority, were told at the SP conference they had “placed themselves outside the party” i.e., subjected to administrative expulsions without the right of appeal. At the “international” conference, a World Congress of the “re-constituted CWI” was announced which meant the inevitable expulsion of the rest of the Majority internationally. The SP leadership took administrative action against leading supporters of the Majority in England and Wales, including removing them from positions and withholding their wages. In pursuing such tactics the Faction demonstrated its over-arching imperative was the maintenance of power and to secure for themselves the resources of the International including its considerable finances and the CWI “brand” itself. These actions constituted a “coup” by the IS and SP leadership group, the same people in reality, against the overwhelming majority of the CWI.

In making the maintenance of status, power and position their key imperatives the Faction employed a “rule or ruin” methodology, which constituted the worst type of sectarianism and which in this instance meant they calculated splitting the International was a price worth paying to retain their leadership position and, not a secondary consideration, the money. In the process of splitting the CWI they have also split the SP in England and Wales tooin which they have lost some of their best activists, including amongst its more youthful elements.



These events mark a critical juncture in the affairs of the SP which under its current leadership is marked for a process of inevitable descent into irrelevance and isolation. If the leaders of the new International that is emerging from the CWI Majority are to place themselves on a principled, non-sectarian basis, they must do more than denounce the false methods that led to this splitThey must examine and re-examine the whole history of the CWI over the past thirty or more years in particular, including the crisis of 1991-1992, to trace just how this bureaucratic degeneration developed. Only on that basis will they make the contribution they are capable of in the coming period.

This is also interesting from a US perspective – Oakland Socialist.

Another crisis in socialist movement: The split in the CWI

Particularly this:

Taaffe compounded these mistaken perspectives with a blunder of massive proportions: He and the Socialist Party supported Britain leaving the European Union – known as “Brexit”. Oakland socialist has had many articles explaining this issue, and the Socialist Party is not alone in this blunder. Much of the socialist left in the United States supported Brexit, just as many of them either overtly or covertly support the most bloody dictator of this century, Bashar Assad. Taaffe & Co. argue that the vote for Brexit was a working class rebellion against the European Union-imposed austerity. To the degree that workers supported Brexit (and that degree is questionable), it was a “revolt” in the same way as how some workers voted for Trump out of anger at what happened during the Obama years. All reactionary movements of any size have a working class element within them. That doesn’t change their nature. Brexit may have had some working class support, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was based on the idea that British workers and British capitalists have more in common than do British workers and their fellow workers throughout the European Union. It doesn’t change the fact that it was an anti-immigrant vote. (Not all workers who voted for Brexit are xenophobes, but that doesn’t change matters either.)

In any case, the ultimate responsibility for austerity lies with global capitalism, not with the European Union, which is merely recognizing this accomplished fact. It is more obvious now than ever as Britain edges closer to a trade deal with the United States if and when it leaves the EU. Such a deal will mean austerity and destruction of the British health care system on a scale many times worse than anything the EU imposed. Not only that, but as the departure from the EU looms, British politics is turning to the right. The looming Brexit has brought the British version of Donald Trump to power in the person of Boris Johnson. It has also strengthened the divisions within the Labour Party and weakened Jeremy Corbyn.

Another recent articles

The Split in the CWI: Lessons for Trotskyists

The Committee for a Workers International (CWI) has split in two. Is one side adapting to identity politics and abandoning the working class? Is the other losing touch with new mass movements against oppression?

Update: Comment.

While many of the criticisms of the CWI/Socialist Party seem organisational and party focused (comrades remark)  it is interesting that the US Oakland Socialist has begun to listen to the internationalist left on the issue of Brexit, which, for obvious reasons, plays a big part in British politics.

It is worth noting that the SP promoted this chap’s organisation, (which received funding from the far-right Arron Banks), Trade Unionists Against the EU,  during the Brexit referendum.


Written by Andrew Coates

August 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Labour Activists Call to Fight No Deal Brexit as Morning Star and the Red Brown Front Back Pushing Hard Brexit Through.

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Turning the Tide Against Brexit.

Today the Morning Star, Jeremy Corbyn’s self-appointed Best Friend, carries this Editorial.

The writer claims that efforts to prevent a No Deal Brexit through Parliament are misplaced, if that’s not too mild a way of putting it.

Pious observations about “parliamentary sovereignty” and repeated bids by the Commons to “take back control” of the Brexit agenda have not impressed a public that sees through the democratic rhetoric to the anti-democratic reality — that these have been bids to frustrate implementation of the largest democratic vote in Britain’s history, the 2016 vote to leave the European Union.

The key sentences that follow are these, attacking a National Government.

This spectre, which is not on the cards, any more than Caroline Lucas’ all-woman Cabinet, is ‘hard right’ – as opposed to the actually existing Hard Right ERC led Boris Johnson Cabinet….

As with the “state of emergency” used by French President Emmanuel Macron to rule by decree and attack workers’ rights, it would enable the undemocratic imposition of a hard-right reactionary agenda.

A Labour pitch to defeat Johnson based on preventing a no-deal Brexit helps feed his chosen image as the champion of the 2016 popular mandate to leave.

This – ignoring the state of emergency needed to push through a No Deal Brexit –  is  followed by the following guff, “Labour should speak for the public’s anger against a Parliament that has thoroughly earned it…” whose important phrase is this demand “freedom from the pro-corporate competition rules imposed by the EU single market..”

In other words, Back Brexit, No Deal or Not.

This is what Brexit means

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The Morning Star is not alone is misrepresenting the political line up over Brexit.

To cite one example, Left-wingers in other countries would get the impression from the pages of the US Jacobin, and other self-identifying left publications, who cover the issue by articles from various factions who have come out of the SWP and supporters of the Red-Brown Front, the Full Brexit, that the British radical left has roughly similar politics to the Morning Star on this issue.

But the majority of the UK the left is at the forefront of the right against a No Deal Brexit, and a large section is against Brexit tout court. 

This battle is gathering momentum.

The hard right has made this call:

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As the Independent reports today the left is counter-attacking.

Labour activists tell Corbyn he must back cancelling Brexit to stop UK crashing out with no deal

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to back cancelling Brexit altogether if it is the only way to stop the UK crashing out of the EU, as another battle with Labour activists looms.

Almost 30 local parties are demanding Labour “support revoking Article 50 if necessary to prevent no deal”, in motions being submitted to its conference in September.

The move threatens to shatter the fragile peace over Brexit policy since the shadow cabinet agreed Labour would campaign for Remain in any fresh referendum held while the Conservatives are in power.

The policy was attacked as a fudge – after Mr Corbyn admitted Labour could yet fight a general election as a pro-Brexit party – and says nothing about wider strategy to stop the no deal Boris Johnson is threatening

Now the local Labour parties have signed up to a campaign to maximise pressure in Brighton in September, launched by the grassroots groups Another Europe is Possible, Labour for a Socialist Europe and Open Labour.

The motion “notes the vast majority of Labour members and voters oppose Brexit” and says the party still needs “a clear Brexit policy”.

It then states: “Labour will campaign energetically for a public vote and to Remain. We support revoking Article 50 if necessary to prevent no deal.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Labour MP backing the campaign, said: “No deal would be a catastrophic moment for the Labour Party and the people we represent. It would mean a huge economic crisis which the right wing of the Tory party would use to drive an agenda of deregulation.

“We must be willing to do absolutely anything to stop it – and of course that would mean, if we had to, whipping to revoke Article 50.”

And Michael Chessum, national organiser for Another Europe is Possible, said: “It’s not the tool we would choose, but if revoking is the only option left on the table to stop the disaster capitalists, Labour has to be willing to use it. There can’t be any fudge or ambiguity on that.”

This year, anti-Brexit activists are likely to make a commitment to revoking Article 50, if necessary, a “red line” in the marathon Sunday evening get-together of constituency parties, trade unions and affiliated groups.


In total, 50 constituencies have already voted to submit anti-Brexit motions to the Brighton conference, of which at least 29 explicitly call for the Article 50 notice to be withdrawn.

The Morning Star  has promoted an alternative campaign Leave-Fight-Transform.


LeFT: campaigning for Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit

Key figures in the CPB, its associated organisations and its milieu are well-represented – including CPB General Secretary Robert Griffiths. Some of the Labour Party signatories are very close to the CPB, eg Marcus Barnett and Eddie Dempsey (the latter is the one who said that Tommy Robinson supporters are “right to hate the liberal left”). It’s worth noting that these were the organisers of a campaign for people to boycott the European elections, ie to refuse to campaign or vote for Labour even – or it might be more accurate to say because of – the Brexit Party surge.

Some comrades have speculated that this new organisation was launched because a pre-existing one, “The Full Brexit”, was too discredited by a number of its founders supporting and in one case – James Heartfield – standing for, the Brexit Party. This group distinguished itself by publishing an article from two of its leading people denouncing Irish republican groups as “the armed wing of the European Union” and calling for violent British state action to crush their opposition to a hard border.

But TFB has been quick to get a statement out supporting and trumpeting its involvement in LeFT. And the initial LeFT signatories include Phil Cunliffe, a central participant in the same ex-Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked network as Heartfield, fellow Brexit Party candidate (now MEP) Claire Fox et al – and himself a supporter of the Brexit Party! Plus another Spiked writer, George Hoare.

This is not an initiative any self-respecting socialist should have anything to do with.

It was therefore genuinely disappointing to see that LeFT’s signatories include a number of supporters of the anti-Stalinist (ex-SWP) socialist group RS21: I recognised the names Jen Wilkinson, Brian Parkin and Colin Wilson. It seems surreal that these comrades could put their names to such a thing.

The Red Brown Front (an alliance of sovereigntist left individuals, Counterfire supporters, the CPB, which runs the Morning Star, Blue Labour social conservatives,  and Brexit Party backers)  in the Full Brexit, backs this campaign.

This is the alternative:

This is also worth reading: Prominent Centrists and the Fiction of the White Working Class



Maoism. A Global History. Julia Lovell. A Socialist Review.

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Maoism. A Global History. Julia Lovell. Bodley Head. 2019.

Apart from their other characteristics, the outstanding thing about China’s 600 million people is that they are “poor and blank”. This may seem a bad thing, but in reality it is a good thing. Poverty gives rise to the desire for changes the desire for action and the desire for revolution. On a blank sheet of paper free from any mark, the freshest and most beautiful characters can be written; the freshest and most beautiful pictures can be painted.

Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong.

“Introducing a Co-operative” (April 15, 1958).

One of the “most significant and complicated political forces of the modern world” for Julia Lovell, Maoism is “A potent mix of party-building discipline, anti-colonial rebellion and ‘continuous revolution”, grafted onto the secular religion of Soviet Marxism”. The legacy of Mao-Zedong “unlocks the contemporary history of China”. It is equally a “key influence on global insurgency, insubordination and intolerance across the last eighty years.” (Page 7) At the conclusion of this wide-ranging synthesis, covering the history of 20th century China, and the “significant afterlife” of Maoist inspired uprisings and groupuscules, “case studies in radicalisation” across the globe, the author asks of the Chairman’s homeland, “How will the PRC weather the contrast between the CCP’s Maoist heritage and the hybrid, globalised nature of contemporary China?” (Page 465)

What is Maoism? A Global History paints a portrait of Mao, of rural origin, who placed his faith in the peasantry and produced the 1927 Report on the Peasant Movement in Hunan. Marx, Lovell asserts, had dismissed the mid-19th century French peasants as a “sack of potatoes”, a reference to their wretched conditions in isolated smallholdings. Marx believed that attachment to their post-Revolution property was one of the social bases for Louis Bonaparte’s Second Empire. Mao recognised a revolutionary social force in Chinese rural associations. It might be suggestive that this Emperor began his career by creating a “religion that represents and fights for the toiling farmers” put into practice through “a brief reign of terror in every rural area” (Page 34) (1)

Maoism a system of ideas and practices was, Lovell considers, born out of the brutal repression by the 1927 nationalists of their Communist allies. A hitherto loose organisation, inspired by the Russian Revolution, founded in 1921, it had entered a military based alliance with the Guomindang, on instructions from the Moscow run Third International. The violence unleashed by Chiang Kai-Shek was dramatised in André Malraux’s outstanding la Condition Humaine (1933). The French novelist underlined, like the present pages, the Soviet influence on making the disastrous alliance, and imposing the Leninist line that the peasantry would follow the urban workers (“le paysan suit toujours” dit Vologuine “Ou l‘ouvrier, ou le bourgeois. Mais il suit.”).

In the Countryside. 

In 1927 the nationalists and gangsters tried to exterminate the Communists, beginning by massacring communists and union members in their newly won Shanghai stronghold. The result was not only recriminations against Moscow, but the rise of “men like Mao from outside the first generation of elite intellectual leaders” who began “to assert the primacy of the military and of violence.” (Page 30) A strategy of the countryside following the city was replaced by a struggle in the rural areas. Regrouped the armed party began the Long March to escape the military campaign. Entrenched in remote districts the Chinese Communists (who became the CCP) expanded their territory until they led the national liberation struggle against the Japanese occupation.

In the early 1930s Mao had started his own purges, preceding Stalin’s Great Terror. “The most merciless torture” was ordered to “expose ‘Anti-Bolshevik conspirators”. Tens of thousands were murdered. The “radical sacrifice” (Terry Eagleton) by the Communists themselves was melded into extreme violence against others, including suspect Party members. This is an enduring pattern. A Global History resounds with memorable accounts of the brutality of Maoist uprising and the policies of the CPC, in war, at home and by their allies in North Korea and Kampuchea. They are not diminished by the American interventions in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and vicious efforts of states to exterminate Mao inspired insurgencies.

Many readers will be most affected by some of the opening chapters. Edgar Snow’s 1937 glowing portrait of the Communist North West in Red Star over China made an enduring impression across the world. Yan’an was no only a centre of heroic resistance; it “projected a reverence for culture”. In 1942 – 3 the less celebrated repression of the ‘Rectification Campaign’ indicated how Mao reacted to anybody bringing up the “dark side” of life in the base areas. Known as the Yan’an Literary Opposition (Gregor Benton)  they cast doubt on Communist pretensions to egalitarianism and popular participation. Amongst these dissident voices Lovell focuses on Wang Shiwei, who had studied in Moscow and was a talented translator and writer. In Wild Lily Shiwei launched heartfelt criticisms of Communist dogmatism, lack of human warmth and kindness. Above all he focused on the hierarchy and privileges that marked out life in the redoubt. The Communists allocated, by rank, three classes of clothing and five grades of food. Why was this not allocated “on the basis of need and reason”. Why should healthy “big shots” get more than the sick of lower rank? Subordinates “look upon them as a race apart”. (2)

Mao did not tolerate this. Wang was hauled up to a Show Trial. His fellow critics were humiliated into public self-criticism during “struggle sessions”. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were locked up in the caves. Charged and condemned Wang survived for a while, working in a matchbox factory. He was exhibited to journalists to say, “I am a Trotskyist. I attacked Mao. So I deserve to be executed.” Yet, “Mao is so magnanimous” and that he was “grateful for his mercy.” The Party leader’s forgiveness was short lived. The Communist dissident was hacked to death in 1947, it is said, on Mao’s orders. (3)

The Stalinist Terror Foundation.

This was founding moment in defining Maoism. These “Stalinist terror tactics” meant those under suspicion as “unreliable”, whether educated in the critical spirit of the “cosmopolitan Enlightenment” (Wang had translated Trotsky and Engels), or just grumblers, suffered imprisonment. Many were killed when it was convenient. From the Hundred Flowers Campaign in the 1950s, when criticism was invited, to the Cultural Revolution, when it was called for again, those who opened their hearts and spoke out found themselves subject to “thought reform” in vast gaols, and death.

There was another side to the Maoist template. Those who focus on the CCP’s achievements might draw some comfort in the description of the “co-operative movement” launched at the same time. Land reform and “social levelling” in their territory coincided with the Rectification campaign.

This two-pronged strategy, suppression of dissidents and material improvement, and suppression of exploiting classes, for the masses, was the “process through which Mao created a disciplined party and bureaucracy”. For Lovell it served as a template for ‘high Maoism’ – combining extreme violence against a variety of enemies with servitude to the ‘mass line’. Rebellion co-existed with the cult of Mao and Mao Zedong Thought.

A Global History draws on Frank Dikötter’s landmark studies to trace out the history of the People’s Republic. From the great enthusiasm that followed liberation, accompanied with repression to the mass famines of the Great Leap Forward, a break-neck industrialisation and collectivisation campaign, which in rural areas resembled the tragedy of the Holodomor, right up the Cultural Revolution, one can feel the CCP leadership’s disregard for human life. In the same year, 1958, Mao was prepared to add nuclear war to the human costs of his social gestures. “Maybe we can get the United States to drop an atom bomb on Fijian.” Mao spoke to his doctor, “Maybe ten or twenty million people will be killed.” (Page 133) Mao’s solipsism and egotism extended to his personal life. His ‘feminism’ did not prevent him from amassing  a female seralogio, imposing his personal quirks on others,  and boorish behaviour.  (4)

Cultural Revolutions.

1966 saw the launching of the Cultural Revolution, broadcast worldwide with hopes of global revolution. “Chinese propaganda portrayed Mao as the genius saviour of the world revolution: battling Western imperialists, treacherous Soviet revisionists and capitalist scabs in his own party.”(P 125) Mao had broken with Khrushchev over de-Stalinism and peaceful coexistence with the West. Apart from the formal allegiance of Albania to China’s line, the first small stirrings of a pro-Chinese current in the international Communist movement had begun before the Cultural Revolution. In Australia, and elsewhere, for example, in France, pro-Chinese activists took the label “Marxist-Leninist”. For these and similar groups across the world, Lovell notes, Chinese support was largely an affair of sending glossy magazines, small publication subsidies, and invitations to bathe in the glow of the Mao cult in China itself. (5)

In portraying the ‘Mao mood’ that took hold in small circles of the non-Chinese left Lovell does not distinguish between these early, ‘first wave’ dogmatic and Stalin nostalgic M-L groups from the much more heteroclite surge of ‘soft Maoist’ groupuscules who flourished in the wake of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. This proliferation of different factions was possible because, amongst other reasons, there was no centralised Maoist ‘International’ on Comintern lines. 

“Maoist fever”, fashion caught hold in many countries. I was on display in 1967 in Mao-jacket mannequin photo shots in Lui and the pages of the avant-garde literary journal Tel Quel in France, a centre of the craze. May 68 brought this to the fore, with the Gauche Prolétarienne attempting to create a ‘Mao-spontex’ synthesis based on the spontaneity of the masses, in its wake. Bizarrely, as Simon Leys pointed out in his 1970s writings, the Cultural Revolution was pictured as “anti-authoritarian” and its leaders internationalists. In reality the factions battling it out in China constantly used authoritative police and ‘mass’ measures to repress dissent and – in the Party – its supporters were dyed in the wool xenophobes (Les habits neufs du président Mao: chronique de la ” Révolution culturelle . 1971. (5).

A Global History coasts over these movements, such as the German K groups, and the Italian Red Brigades. While alighting on the Black Panthers and the Revolutionary Action Movement, she does not include much on the groups that have been called part of the New Communist Movement, of importance on the US left, which endured till the 1970s. Terrorist violence, associated with but independent of Maoism failed – Action Directe in 1980s France was perhaps the only case of a group with full-blown Maoist origins. Above all, “Dogmatic loyalty to the theory of the Cultural Revolution and to the twists and turns of Chinese domestic foreign policy” took their toll. Mao’s death in 1976 and the fall of the Gang broke whatever remained of the Cultural Revolution. From that wreckage Bob Avikin’s initiative, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement created in 1984, represents a low point. A more lasting influence can be seen in the ‘post-Maoist’ parties, the Belgium Parti du travail / Partij van de Arbeid van België, and the Dutch Socialist Party, Socialistische Partij, which have dropped the Marxist-Leninist heritage and have won Parliamentary and local representation in their countries.

Much of the Post-68 New Left, Trotskyist, anarchist and radical socialist, often strongly influenced by Simon Leys, either made fun of the hard-core Maoists or treated them with contempt. Our humour was misplaced, as Lovell describes, when in 2013 ‘Comrade Bala”, Aravindan Balakrishnan, was found to have kept female members of his cult, the Brixton based Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought was found to have kept women in sexual slavery kept in line by physical assault.

Maoism Across the World.

A Global History spends more time on the weightier political impact of Maoism, in Malaya, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Peru, India, African countries and Nepal. Lovell offers serious insights into the way Maoist intolerant tactics, that is violence, inflected deeply rooted fights for national liberation and social justice. It is hard not to keep in mind the example of Cambodia, “The go-it-alone nationalism of Mao’s revolution combined with the Khmer Rouge’s innate jingoism to produce the murderous self confidence of Pol Pot’s regime, a state unanswerable o any external authority.” (Page 257), Or the impact of China’s backing for the genocidal attack by the Pakistani army and Islamist collaborators against the Bangladeshi national liberation struggle in 1971.

In contrast to the largely for show support given to pro-Chinese groups, military and other aid in many of these cases was real. She offers reservations not just on the intoxicated cult of the Shining Path, which emerged fiercely critical of post-Mao China, but on the strategies carried out in the People’s War, the lead up to the genocidal crushing of Indonesian Communism, contemporary India, and the Nepalese Maoists, now in government. They too have practiced cultural revolutionary purges. Yet, Even passionate critics of the Maoists– of whom there are many in Kathmandu, across the political spectrum – concede that the Maoists accelerated, and placed centre stage, a more inclusive identity politics that sought to given political representation to the people of Nepal in all their diversity’ (Page 410)

Today the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) remains indebted to Mao Zedong and has called for a vote for the Brexit Party. Naxalite guerrillas in the Indian jungle pursue their insurgency, the President of China, Xi Jinping, is said to be reviving Mao’s ‘mass line’. Yet those who would say that Mao had written beautiful characters on the revolutionary history of the 20th century are few in number. In Maoism. A Global History Julia Lovell has accomplished a harder task: writing out in clear deeply thought-through pages one of the most important balance-sheets of Mao’s sombre legacy to have been published in the new millennium. Its measured criticisms of Maoist revolutionary cruelty make it essential reading for all democratic socialists and supporters of human rights.

In August 2018, a UN committee heard that up to one million Uighur Muslims and other Muslim groups could be being detained in the western Xinjiang region, where they’re said to be undergoing “re-education” programmes.

The claims were made by rights groups, but China denies the allegations. At the same time, there’s growing evidence of oppressive surveillance against people living in Xinjiang.




  1. The idea that Karl Marx dismissed the peasantry rests on a partial reading of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1869) Marx wrote of the majority of smallholding peasants formed “by the simple addition of isomorphous magnitudes, much as potatoes in a sack form a sack of potatoes.” But he also asserted that Bonapartism, as the representation of those who wish to “consolidate the condition of his social existence, the small holding. It does not represent the country people who want to overthrow the old order by their own energies, in alliance with the town.” Page 240. Surveys from Exile. Karl Marx. Editor David Fernbach. 1973.
  2. “From the amount of grain, sugar, cooking oil, meat and fruit to the quality of healthcare and access to information, one’s position in the party hierarchy determined everything. Even the quality of tobacco and writing paper varied according to rank.” Page 174. Mao’s Great Famine Frank Dikötter. Bloomsbury 2010. Link.
  3. Link. Lovell says, “Wang was denounced as a Trotskyist (he had translated Engels and Trotsky). His supporters were “investigated in a witch-hunt for spies and undercover agents, they were interrogated in front of large crowds shouting slogans, made to confess in endless indoctrination meetings and forced to denounces each other in a bid to save themselves. Some were locked in caves, others taken to mock executions. For month after month, life in Yan’an was nothing but a relentless succession of interrogations and rallies feeding fear, suspicion and betrayal. “(P 175) Some broke down, lost their minds or committed  suicide. “Mao demanded absolute loyalty from intellectuals, who had to reform themselves ideologically by constantly studying and discussing essays by him, Stalin and others.”(Ibid) The Rectification Campaign was ended in 1945 he apologised for maltreatment and blamed his underlings. Wang Shiwei was killed in 1947, reportedly chopped to pieces and thrown down a well. Translations are contained in the excellent, highly recommended, dossier on Lib Com: Yenan Literary Opposition.
  4. “The one-party state under Mao did not concentrate all its resources on the extermination of specific groups of people – with the exception, of course of counter-revolutionaries, saboteurs, spies and other ‘enemies of the people’, political categories vague enough potentially to include anybody and everybody. But Mao did throw the country in the great leap forward, extended the military structure of the party to all society. ‘Everyone a soldier’, Mao had proclaimed at the height of the campaign, brushing aside such bourgeois niceties as a salary, a day off each week or a prescribed limit on the amount of labour a worker should carry out. A giant people’s army in the command economy would respond to every beck and all of its generals. Every aspect of society was organised on military lines with canteens, boarding kindergartens, collective dormitories, shock troops and villages construed to be foot soldiers. –In a continuous revolution. “(P 298 – 299) Frank Dikötter op cit.

  5. See: Chapters one and Two.  Les maoïstes. La folle histoire des gardes rouges français. Christophe Bourseiller. 2nd Edition. Plon. 2008 This is particularly informative: PEKING REVIEW AND GLOBAL ANTI-IMPERIALIST NETWORKS IN THE 1960S Hatful of History.

  6. See also Chinese Shadows  Simon Leys, 1977. 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 13, 2019 at 12:23 pm

The Bizarre pro-Brexit (‘Lexit’) World of US Left Magazine Jacobin.

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Jacobin, promoter of “a solipsistic dialogue between wings of the ex-SWP and dyed-in-the-wool haters of the EU.”

The US magazine Jacobin claims to be the voice of the American Radical left.

Correction,  it modestly calls itself,  “a leading voice of the American left.”

One of its traits is the way it has presented the left case for Brexit in the UK as the ‘left’ position.

It has published, this year alone, We Need a Labour Brexit, by Costas Lapavitsas of the red-Brown front, the Full Brexit and a minuscule Greek grouplet whose names escapes me for the moment.

Dawn Foster One of the last defenders of Jeremy Corbyn’s isolated position was given space to assert,

The sensible route, currently being followed by Labour, would be backing the vote to rule out crashing out of the European Union with No Deal, and arguing for the least harmful exit to the European Union and resolution of our current impasse, which may still include a vote on whether to accept May’s deal or remain in the European Union.

After the Peterborough by-election she claimed.

Keeping to party policy on Brexit while cultivating the skills and activist numbers that helped shock the pundits in 2017 — these hold the key to any potential Labour general election victory.

Apparently Party Policy is whatever Foster thinks it is – but not anything to do with opposing a Hard Brexit advocating Remain.

Richard Seymour, somebody as distant from the daily struggles of the UK left as it is possible to be, was given space in June to ignore the left support for the pro-EU Remain and Transform left.

The problem is, Labour and the wider left haven’t really had a proper discussion about Europe since the 1980s, when Labour abandoned its critique and became a pro-European party. The idea was that the EU’s mild regulations would protect workers from the worst of Thatcher and, later, New Labour. Corbyn retained his Euroscepticism, and so did some parts of the labor movement, like the RMT union. But this had little influence.

So, when the Brexit referendum came up, it wasn’t a debate that arose on the Left or in the working class. It was a fight between two factions of the Right. Because of that, and because he needed the cooperation of the parliamentary Labour Party, Corbyn agreed to campaign to Remain in Europe in 2016.

Jacobin claims to be on the radical left.

Without going into the complexities of support and opposition within Labour for Brexit, the electoral calculations, and the claim that Corbyn has kept the Labour Party together by his fence-sitting stand, this is the line up of the radical left in the UK on the issue.

Lexit, the People’s Brexit, was a minority view, held by groups like the Communist Party of Britain, the marginalised Socialist Workers Party the remnants of Counterfire (a SWP spinter), the crisis-riven Socialist party of the splintered Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), the Spiked initiated red-brown front, the Full Brexit (a coalition of Brexit Party supporters, left sovereigntists and believers in funny money (New Monetary Theory) , the centre right Blue Labour, some traditional right-wingers of Labour Leave, and the Arron Banks funded Trade Unionists Against the EU, not to mention the Brexit Party voting Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). Oh, and another one of the tiny splinters from the SWP, Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21).

By contrast Another Europe is Possible, which backs calls for a Third Referendum,  has the support of the Green Party, the Editor of Red Pepper, Open labour (a centre-left group), a group of Labour MPs, Love Socialism, Rebuild Britain, Transform Europe is a group of socialist Labour MPs fighting to stop Brexit and transform Britain, radical left groups, such as Socialist Resistance, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, Left Unity, Chartist Magazine. The linked campaign, Labour for a Socialist Europe, has support in Labour constituencies. Other groups, such as Red Flag also oppose Brexit, strongly.

We have some impact.

This week readers of Jacobin are treated to this article, oddly reproduced on the internationalist site, Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières.

Boris Johnson, Brexit, UK Crisis… and the Left? – Socialism After the United Kingdom


This is the principal message (we leave it to others to steer through the rocks of the comments about navigating “the messy politics of national identity”).

Brexit has thrown the British ruling class, its parties, its state, and really its existence as a nation-state into crisis. But this won’t necessarily play out in the favor of the working class and oppressed groups, unless the Left is prepared to take advantage of the crisis as an opportunity to put forward an alternative socialist agenda.

So that raises the question of what the Left should do amidst the seemingly unending Brexit crisis.

To be honest we’re in a very difficult situation. Unlike in the Scottish independence referendum, the radical left failed to hegemonize the argument for Leave. Consequently, the center left immediately associate you with Farage and the right. It becomes even impossible to talk about the EU and its actual nature because all opposition to it is wrongly identified with that of the populist right.

Aside from the barefaced cheek of somebody from the fringes of the fringes talking for ‘the left’, Davidson is one of those who have tried to explain away their support for what was rightly predicted to be Hard Right Brexit bringing in its wake a Carnival Of Reaction.

That is the simple reason by Brexit is identified with the national populist right: it is the politics of that right.

This is now the view of the overwhelming majority of the left, moderate to radical, social democratic, democratic socialist, green left,  to democratic Marxist.

To get a grip on Davidson’s background here are some of his previous witherings and turnings (extracts),

After Brexit

No, Britain is neither on the eve of the October Revolution nor in the last days of the Weimar Republic (note by TC: sigh of relief! ) . There were working-class voters on both sides and they had both good and bad reasons for voting the way they did. Trotsky used to quote Spinoza to the effect that we should neither laugh nor cry but understand so, therefore, let us try to understand the class forces involved.

First, socialists have to accept the result of the referendum, in the same way that we would have expected others to accept the result of the Scottish referendum if it had been Yes. The idea of ignoring it, or running the referendum again until “we” (i.e. the Guardian-reading middle classes) get the “right” result (i.e., the one most of the British and global ruling class want), is deeply undemocratic—although there are many precedents in the history of the EU. The starting point should instead be to campaign for the right of all migrants currently in the UK—whether on an EU passport or not—to remain, and in the longer term, to fight for open borders regardless of the UK’s or its component’s relationship to the EU.

The EU may break up of its own internal contradictions over the long term. In any event, that kind of collapse—the result of structural failure rather than conscious intervention—is unlikely to benefit the working class. No, it will have to be destroyed, and perhaps the most serious argument facing the European Left at the moment is to convince a majority of comrades of this necessity.

So, a man who thinks the European Union should be “destroyed” is, for a US audience, presented as spokesperson for ‘the left’.

Many people consider that this  distorted coverage – that is, ignoring the influential and large left internationalist side for Remain and Transform,   may be due to Jacobin’s European Editor. he is somebody, somebody with great merits, but a sad personal history of conflict, one feels his pain,  with much of the European left and particularly the forces making up Another Europe is Possible in Britian.

But this does not excuse misrepresentation on an heroic scale of the political line up in the Brexit conflict in Britain. Jacobin’s articles on the topic are, frankly, a solipsistic dialogue between wings of the ex-SWP and dyed-in-the-wool haters of the EU.

John Ross, from International Marxist Group and Ken Livingstone, to denouncing ‘arrogant’ democracy Hong Kong protesters.

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John Ross, from Student Revolutionary to “China has the best human rights record in the world.”

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.”

Global Times 2014

More recently,

“the CPC is a Marxist Party and China is a socialist and not a capitalist country. Those ‘China experts’ who doubted that, thinking they knew better than the CPC, have just been proved to be wrong.”

What is a great pity is that parts of the Western left followed, and were influenced by, Western ‘China experts’ into falsely believing that the CPC had abandoned Marxism and China had become a capitalist and not a socialist country.”

Xi stresses importance of The Communist Manifesto

“, the US House of Representatives would be well advised to pass a resolution congratulating China for its unequalled contribution to human well-being in lifting over 600 million people out of poverty, establishing an enquiry to find out why US-supported economic policies in the rest of the world have made no such contribution to human rights, and publicly apologizing for the hundreds of thousands of people it has killed in its wars – including the thousands of ordinary US soldiers.”

John Ross. British scholar defends China’s human rights

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-06-12 17:11:20


Now he is telling Hong Kong residents not to get so uppity.

And making conspiratorial claims against pro-democracy protesters.

Global Times suggested in 2014 that Ross could be included amongst the “expatriate American and British ‘academics’ who make a living telling China what it wants to hear about itself. Not specialists on China, or speakers of Chinese, or indeed scholars at all, they easily find cushy university posts from which they write blogs and columns about the superiority of the Chinese system.”

John Ross, a former director of London’s Economic and Business Policy to ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone and current Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute, also at the Renmin University, is one of a number of foreign academics on the receiving end of attacks by some netizens for his open criticism of liberal “public intellectuals” that, Ross says, do not really “understand” democracy. On June 12, Ross published an op-ed in China saying that the US is clearly wrong over China’s human rights record.

“The attempt to reduce human rights to a Western-style political structure, as though having a parliamentary system were the most important question facing human beings, is ridiculous,” Ross wrote. He argues that the idea that China has “raised” 630 million people out of poverty – more than the population of the United States – is more important than having access to Facebook.

Ross says his chosen headline was “China has the best human rights record in the world.” The op-ed has been published three times in China so far, both in English and Chinese; none have used his original title.

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.

Our Man in Beijing: Or Is He Theirs?

Background on Ross,

Ross joined the Trotskyist International Marxist Group (IMG) in the late 1960s. He worked with Bob Pennington to form the IMG Opposition Group. Ross was a central figure in the leadership of the IMG in the early 1980s when it became known as Socialist Action, but he gradually lost the support of much of its membership.

Ken and the rise of Socialist Action

(Andrew Hosken, Ken: The Ups and Downs of Ken Livingstone, Arcadia Books, 10 April 2008.

Chapter 18: 1985-1994. Ken and the rise of Socialist Action, 1985-1994)

In their early years, members of Socialist Action churned out him hundreds of agendas, documents and other discussion papers which I have been able to obtain. They tell the remarkable story of how the group absorbed itself into the Labour Left and became a major force within it; as well the efforts it made to disappear from view as an organisation. Socialist Action made a concerted attempt to cultivate Ken Livingstone back in 1985 in the wake of the failed rate capping campaign. John Ross, the leader of the group, interviewed Livingstone for its relatively new paper, also called Socialist Action. Livingstone had already heard about Ross as the author of a small book called Thatcher and Friends which predicted the terminal decline of the Tory Party.[4] ‘I recognised this was someone with formidable intellect,’ says Livingstone. ‘After the rate capping fiasco, when most of the rest of the hard left were boycotting me, he turned up and did an interview and we started talking about economics and I realised this was somebody who could give me the grasp on economic policy which I didn’t have, So when I became an MP I retained him to actually do that’.[5]

John Ross’s influence grew from that moment; he became Livingstone’s most important advisor from 1985 onwards. After Livingstone, he is the most influential personality in the mayor’s office. The rates farce stripped Livingstone of most of his Left contacts and friends. Ross supplied Livingstone not only with the support and network he needed to continue but also the education necessary to tackle the Labour leadership on the vital battleground of economic policy. For 20 years, Ken Livingstone has really been a double act; John Ross and Socialist Action have been the silent partners.

Ross worked as a lecturer at Enfield Polytechnic and once he fought the Newham North East parliamentary seat as the candidate for the International Marxist Group, the forerunner to Socialist Action.[6] By the time Ross met Livingstone, he had emerged triumphant from an internecine struggle within the International Marxist Group, or IMG, one of Britain’s main Trotskyist parties. During 1982, the IMG split over strategy: how to bring about that elusive revolution. That split led to the creation of Socialist Action.

The IMG was built fundamentally out of the student movement of the late 1960s and helped organise some of the biggest protests against the Vietnam War in London.[7] During the 1970s its revolutionary strategy was focused on industry and the unions, which made sense during this period of economic instability and intense industrial unrest. Members, often highly educated, were encouraged to get blue collar jobs to play a role in encouraging the workers to turn towards revolution, ‘The Turn’.

An internal IMG note in 1982 reiterated, ‘…it is vital that we are rooted among the industrial workers, going through joint experiences with them and drawing common lessons. Any other perspective will only alienate us from the forces who will be key in building a revolutionary party and expose us to class pressures’.[8] Jobs were often advertised internally: ‘London Transport are taking on bus drivers at Stamford Hill; contact Wood Green Job Centre’; or ‘Jobs available in small chemical factory in Hounslow; we have a comrade who is a convenor.'[9]

But the IMG had always been hopelessly confused about its approach to the Labour Party: to enter or not to enter. ‘We hopped into the Labour Party around 1975,’ wrote member John Marston, in his exasperated letter of resignation December 1982, ‘and then out again in 1977 for the joys of regroupment and Socialist Unity. Any pretence of a strategic perspective, vanished.'[10]

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In late 1982, the IMG split over whether or not to join the Benn crusade within the Labour Party, or the ‘Bennite Current’. Apaper presented to the IMG’s conference in December 1982 stated: ‘It is clear that, at the leadership level, fundamental differnces are emerging as to the nature of the party we are trying to build and how to build it. A gulf is developing between those who, basing themselves on the positions of the 1981 conference, wish to build an independent combat party rooted in the industrial working class, and those who are moving towards the idea of an ideological tendency operating in the Labour Party as left critics of the Benn current.'[11]

John Ross was at the forefront of the internal struggle to ditch the industrial strategy and get all IMG members to join the Labour Party en masse and then seek to control the Left bloc within it. Supporting Ross was another key figure in Livingstone’s political career, Redmond O’Neill. At the December 1982 conference, Ross carried the day and over the next few months IMG members joined the Labour Party. A minority who disagreed with the policy of ‘deep eritryism’ split away and formed its own party, the International Group which became a political irrelevance. Despite becoming Labour members, the Ross majority still remained organised as a separate political organization. They decided to rebrand themselves as the Socialist League, and to establish a newspaper called Socialist Action. Like Militant, the group became known by the name of their paper rather than as the Socialist League.

‘The.next steps towards a revolutionary party comprise a fight for a class struggle within the Bennite current,’ said one discussion paper at the time. ‘For this a new newspaper is necessary – one that is seen as the voice of revolutionary socialists within the Labour Party and which can thereby give political expressions to the mass struggles of workers and youth who in the next period will seek overall political answers within the Labour Party. ‘… Socialist Action will fight for leadership within the Bennite Current.'[12]

The Socialist League/Socialist Action met for the first time as a central committee at the Intensive English School in Star Street near Marble Arch for the start of a two-day conference on Saturday, 22 January 1983. The official launch of Socialist Action took place the following morning[13] and it first appeared on 16 March. The group’s old paper, Socialist Challenge, ceased to exist.


This is disgusting. Chinese people – and the Hong Kong pro-democracy  protesters –  are great. How the fuck can the leading figure of the IMG end up supporting that ruling class.

For the Fourth International, which Ross once supported, there is this,  very different position,

Sunday 11 August 2019, by Wilfred Chan

Hong Kong has justified its existence as an interface between Western neoliberal globalism and China’s statist authoritarian capitalism. China no longer needs the city to play that role; Hong Kongers desperately need an alternative.

A tiny border city of 7 million people cannot singlehandedly dismantle the hegemonies that ensnare it. But its struggle at this critical moment should be an urgent call for all leftists to help undo those structures—while rethinking the organization of societies beyond the capitalist model of nation-states. Then, perhaps, the people of Hong Kong would be able to join in building what Bernie Sanders has called the “international progressive front“—and, as he writes, “do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us up and set us against each other.” From the death of this neoliberal city, an emancipatory new history could be born.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2019 at 11:05 am

Academics, the Communist Party of Britain and Fellow Travellers, Counterfire, Union Officials and Eddie Dempsey Launch “Grass Roots” Campaign to Fight for Brexit.

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Communists Launch Campaign as Alternative to “internationalist and liberal” Remain and Transform Left.

The Communist Party of Britain has got round to launching its own pro-Brexit campaign.

As Luke Cooper says, it’s ten weeks before Johnson and his cronies intend to lead a come-what-may hard Brexit backed by Donald Trump

Some suggest that the Spiked/RCP Full Brexit Red-Brown Front, which some CPB people backed,  has become too toxic to sustain….

This initiative is backed by a variety of academics, trade union officials, from  CPG fellow traveller circles, Counterfire’s own friends, a handful of Labour Party Brexit types, Eddie Dempsey (said to be its leading voice), and even one (very odd) Green.


It is backed by the CPB’s house daily.

Editorial: The new LeFT Brexit campaign is a force for solidarity and understanding

This is a heartfelt plea by the – rightly – marginalised forces playing at a People’s Brexit while the only actually existing Brexit Isis the hard Right its supporters in the ERG wanted all along.

Currently only two perspectives are being projected in the press. The pro-EU position is portrayed as internationalist and liberal while Leave supporters are identified with Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump.

Trumpeting the move by the boycott Labour (in the European Elections) CPB the Morning Star asserts,

And anything that divides the working-class movement and weakens its unity also threatens our democracy — because in a class society like ours it is only this collective solidarity that provides a barrier against the wealth and power of the few.

The new Leave campaign provides a voice for that class solidarity. It represents the silent workplaces denied state aid because of the EU’s competition laws. It explains that our derelict regions and crisis-ridden social services, in Britain and across the EU, are the result of EU austerity policies that imposed the costs of the bankers’ crisis on working people.

In defence of its campaign to divide the labour movement, and support a Hard Brexit under WTO rules (the CPB official position), the editorial concludes,

The new campaign is therefore an important first step. It will be successful if it is firmly based in the trade union and labour movement and linked to active campaigning against industrial closure, precarious working, community impoverishment and the defence of services.

In doing so it will be a force for solidarity and understanding and thus for redeveloping the power of working-class unity essential for our democracy.

The consequences of not doing so, of a working class divided, should be a concern to all.

Here is the declaration of intent.

Leave – Fight – Transform: Founding Statement

The LeFT Campaign is a new grassroots network of socialists, trade unionists and community activists, committed to democracy, internationalism and socialism – and making sure the 2016 EU referendum result is implemented

To develop the potential of this moment, the left must ensure the 2016 referendum result is implemented, so that the UK breaks with the treaties, institutions and laws of the EU as well as the structural racism of Fortress Europe.

To shape the 21st century in a way which advances the interests of the working class, in all its rich diversity, to begin to turn the tide on the environmental crisis, and to extend democracy into all aspects of people’s lives, the left must demand a break with the status quo. We need to leave the EU and transform society.

You can read the list of the supporters via the above link.

Some examples:

Robert Griffiths (General Secretary Communist Party of Britain, Tony Conway (CPB   Convenor of ARAF – a BCP body), Prof Mary Davis (CPB) , Costas Lapavitsas (UCU, SOAS University of London. Sectarian Political Dabblers Party), Kevin Ovenden (Former George Galloway Bagman, Counterfire), Feyzi Ismail (Counterfire, UCU, SOAS University of London), George Hoare (Writer: Spiked)


Leading the new campaign is Eddie Dempsey with his own unique unity strategy:




Italy: Five Star Movement – once critically admired by New Left Review – on the Ropes.

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Italy: Two Populisms Fall out.

The dramatic move on Thursday came after months of fighting between the League and its coalition partners, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).

The cavernous differences between the parties were clearly exposed on Wednesday when parliament rejected a motion by M5S to block a high-speed rail project linking Italy and France. M5S has built most of its popularity on vehemently opposing the long-stalled project but was outvoted by the League and opposition parties.


Salvini has been threatening new elections for weeks as the League reached 39% in opinion polls. Meanwhile, support for M5S has more than halved to 15% over the last year.

The League also triumphed in May’s European elections, winning 24% of the vote. The M5S only managed 17%, putting it in third place behind the centre-left Democratic party, which took 23%.

The Italian 5 Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle), it is often forgotten today, was at one time considered by some on the anglophone left to be ‘wing-left’ as well as populist.

Counterfire – who run what’s left of the Stop the War Coalition and the People’s Assembly, also called them, once upon a time,a “sort of coalition of resistance” (Beppe Grillo has wiped the smile off the face of the European elite argues Jo Franks. 2013)

Toby Abse, whose articles on Italy this Blog often relies upon, and are highly regarded by all, published this book review in 2016,

What sort of populism?

Toby Abse reviews: Filippo Tronconi (ed) ‘Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement: organisation, communication and ideology’, Ashgate Publishing, 2015.

This, which is long standing theme of comrade Abse, caught many people’s eyes,

Regrettably, Grillo’s most ardent British fans outside Ukip circles – where Arron Banks has actually suggested Ukip needs to copy M5S – have been the staunch Brexiteers of the New Left Review, a journal that in happier days popularised continental Marxism, and once even published an entire issue devoted to Tom Nairn’s challenge to the Europhobic anti-European Economic Community consensus of the British left in the 1970s.

This is no exaggeration.

While some call the movement “eclectic” and “anti-elitist”  – a way of avoiding saying right-wing red-browners –  New Left Review rated the movement for its opposition the system.

The thriving through Chaos, pro-Brexit, and publisher of a variety of sovereigntists such as Wolfgang Steek (that’s enough Coatesy) Editor of New Left Review editor Susan Watkins, was impressed enough to devote a section of one of the journal’s ponderous Editorials to the movement.

This are her assessments of the builders of the Red Brown Front in Italy:


This starts, “…only in the last few years have left oppositions started to produce national political projects with an impact at state level—flanked, and sometimes outflanked, by the radical right.”  Watkins continues looking at Corbyn, Syriza, Bernie Sanders, and (remember him, jean Luc-Mélenchon),  and, then, pausing, “Many on the Italian left would deny that Beppe Grillo (at the time 5 Star leader, the Jiminy Cricket founder of the movement now run by Luigi Di Maio) deserves a place in their ranks; not without reason”.

And yet….

The social profile of M5S’s 109 deputies and 54 senators was a marked departure from Italian norms (as with Podemos deputies in Spain): they were it workers, students, housewives and the unemployed, mostly in their twenties and thirties—rather than lawyers, professors and party officials. The M5S deputies pointedly took only half their allotted salaries, donating the rest to local projects; they disdain the formalities of the Palazzo Montecitorio, addressing their fellow deputies as ‘Citizen’ rather than ‘Honourable’—unlike the Corbynistas or Podemos. Uniquely, Five Star parliamentarians were obliged to vote according to their mandates, determined by online plebiscites in which at most 30,000 took part. Ignoring the mandate brought immediate expulsion; around a quarter of the parliamentary caucus has been ejected to date.

She continued,

 ..proponents of online direct democracy, the Five Stars take a position of radical iconoclasm towards Italy’s existing system: they aim to ‘open it up’ to the public by livestreaming back-room negotiations; with the rest of the left and the Northern League, they have assailed Renzi’s new constitution, but went farther in calling for pd President Napolitano’s impeachment over his illegal manoeuvrings to install Monti as prime minister in 2011.


Grillo targets Renzi’s grand-coalition government, rather than ‘the rich’, for ‘destroying the welfare state, the rights of workers and the education system and selling off strategic Italian assets’ to pay down the debt.

This was the key point for the NLR national sovereigntists,

Grillo, who had given full support to the Syriza referendum, derided the capitulation—‘It would have been hard to defend the interests of the Greek people worse than Tsipras did’—and went on to formulate a Plan B for monetary sovereignty within the eu.

This is her conclusion – bizarre as it looks today,

Italy’s Five Star Movement, which can’t properly be categorized as social-democratic—although the policy overlaps are remarkable: M5S shares Sanders’s views on immigration, Mélenchon’s on the euro, Corbyn’s on Western military intervention. One difference is Grillo’s stress on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers: although they all say this, he really seems to mean it—this is his own social background, after all, and an sme orientation also speaks to M5S’s new, ex-Lega supporters.

Another lies in the distinctive social demographics of the Five Stars’ base: they do well among students, the unemployed, unskilled workers, retailers and craftsmen, but less well among white-collar workers and badly among teachers—sectors that are far more supportive of Sanders, Corbyn, the Front de gauche and Podemos.footnote19 The reasons for that may lie in scepticism about the Five Stars’ version of online direct democracy—which can seem whimsical and, indeed, undemocratic—or dislike of Grillo’s coarseness: encouraging his audiences to shout ‘Vaffanculo!’ at images of politicians with criminal convictions, for example. But however poor Grillo’s taste, or repellent his jokes, M5S should be judged, like any political movement, by its actions. Its voter base, despite an influx of Lega Nord and ex-Berlusconi supporters, is still predominantly on the left.

A clearer analysis of the 5 Star Movement was hardly hiding in the broad daylight of left political journals.

Back in 2013 this appeared in Red Pepper,

How Beppe Grillo stole the left’s clothes. Lorenzo Fe 

Let us make clear that this is no victory for the left. M5S is an extremely ambiguous phenomenon. As Giuliano Santoro points out, Grillo and the co-founder of his movement, marketer Gianroberto Casaleggio, are both millionaires with a proprietorial conception of their organisation.

M5S’s constitution, written by Grillo and Casaleggio, states: ‘The name of the Five Star Movement is attached to a trademark registered under the name of Beppe Grillo, the sole holder of rights on its use.’ These rights have been consistently used to expel anyone who has tried to make the movement more autonomous from Grillo’s personal style of leadership.

rillo claims that ‘left’ and ‘right’ are now useless categories. Accordingly, he mixes environmentalism, degrowth and anti-austerity with anti-immigration remarks typical of the far right (for example he rejects citizenship for the children of migrants). When talking to CasaPound, who are self-declared fascists, Grillo stated that ‘anti-fascism’ does not concern him and that everybody is welcome to join the movement.

As the leftist collective of authors Wu Ming noted, Grillo’s proposals are ‘a chaotic programme where neoliberal and anti-neoliberal, centralist and federalist, libertarian and authoritarian ideas coexist’. Wu Ming also accuse Grillo of having channelled popular discontent against austerity in a purely electoral and politically very ambivalent direction, suggesting that this is one of the reasons why there was no Occupy or Indignados movement in Italy.

On the real nature of the 5 Star movement Toby himself noted,

The authors acknowledge that populism is not always rightwing, since no Italian political scientist can ignore the rise and fall of the left-populist Italia dei Valori party led by Antonio Di Pietro. But they see most successful European populist parties of recent times as being on the right (often the extreme right), and marked by anti-immigrant and anti-EU stances in their programmes. The problem with M5S for political scientists is that it fits neither category particularly well. Its original programme – the Carta di Firenze of 2009 – claimed that the Five Stars of its title stood for “[public] water, environment, [public] transport, [sustainable] development and [renewable] energy”.

However, whilst the original 2009 programme has never been repudiated, the absolute centrality to the party of Grillo’s blog has meant that he has shifted M5S to the right by repeated ex cathedra pronouncements on that blog about such topics as immigration. As Vignati points out (p19), “In 2000, Grillo criticised the ‘natural racism’ of Italians”. Regardless of whether Grillo’s recent anti-immigrant stance – particularly his opposition to the granting of Italian citizenship to the children of immigrants born in Italy – is due to electoral considerations, as Lorenzo Mosca suggests on p159, or to the influence of Gianroberto Casaleggio, as Vignati seems to imply on p19, it does make it impossible to define M5S as ‘left-libertarian’ in programmatic terms.

Casaleggio’s assertion in a 2013 text – that “M5S sees the word ‘leader’ as belonging to the past; it is a dirty word, perverted” – is unceasingly belied by its practice, for, as Vignati rightly observes, “its ‘leaderist’ character prevails over the ‘leaderless’ rhetoric with which it is imbued” (p11). Given the emphasis on political families for classificatory purposes, it is rather surprising that none of the contributors comment on Grillo’s lash-up with Farage in the European parliament.

On whether the 5 Star Movement was ever ‘left’ he notes,

There is some disagreement amongst the contributors as to whether the M5S electorate could ever have been categorised as predominantly leftwing, although there seems to be broad agreement that its current constituency is very heterogeneous. Andrea Pedrazzani and Luca Pinto in chapter 4 – ‘The electoral base: the “political revolution” in evolution’ (pp76-98) – see the 2012 local elections as a watershed. Before then, “more than half of Five Star voters expressed preferences ranging from extreme left to centre left (52%) and the rest were divided between respondents who refused to be placed along the left-right dimension (21.6%), centre voters (13%) and rightwing voters (13.4%)” (p94). After the 2013 general election, “the percentage of leftwing voters in the M5S was just 38.4%; rightwing voters almost doubled, increasing to 22.3%; and people who refused to be placed along the left-right divide reached 27.7%” (p95). Or, to quote the same authors’ less statistical summary, “In its early days, the M5S was quite similar to those supporting the left-libertarian parties that formed across Europe in the 80s” (p95), but “Grillo’s anti-system stance has led to a relevant change in the composition of the Five Star electorate, which has gradually become more heterogeneous” (p96).

Also worth looking at:

More articles by comrade Toby: from 2018 to early 2019.

Italy’s government provoking a clash with EU

Against the background of attempts to form a new rightwing coalition across Europe, Toby Abse looks at the manoeuvrings of the rival Italian populists.

Recession and xenophobia

Toby Abse reports on the latest shenanigans of the right-populist government – and the stirrings of organised working class opposition


Written by Andrew Coates

August 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Spiked Lays Responsibility for El Paso “Eco-Terrorism” on Extinction Rebellion.

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Madness, They Call it Madness: Spiked.

Top Brexit Party supporters, the Spiked/RCP Network have their own unique line on the EL Paso horror.

The chief of Britain’s National Populist Red-Brown Front, Brendan O’Neill, is in a questing frame of mind, and the quest has found its target.

Is Extinction Rebellion to blame for the El Paso massacre? Maybe Greta Thunberg is? Or any one of the commentators who spends their every waking hour bemoaning mankind’s ‘carbon footprint’ and insisting we need to rein in people’s rapacious consumerist behaviour.

After all, these misanthropic ideas, this green miserabilism, this anti-modern guff about humanity being a plague on poor Mother Earth, is a central feature of the El Paso killer’s manifesto. And if Trump can be held responsible for the shootings on the basis that the manifesto echoes his Mexican-bashing, why shouldn’t greens, who pollute public debate with the kind of anti-humanist ideology that clearly moved and enraged the El Paso murderer, shoulder some responsibility, too?


As with green ideology in general, there is a strong streak of anti-humanism in his eco-obsessions.

O’Neill defends the Christchurch murder from the accusation of neo-Nazism

 The Christchurch killer explicitly said he is not a Nazi but an ‘eco-fascist’.

And the modern far-right,

And yet somehow in recent years, this backward, anti-modern obsession with cleansing nature of foul mankind’s uncaring, destructive behaviour has morphed into a supposedly progressive, leftish outlook.

So really it was a left-wing killing….

Er not exactly, .

No green-leaning writer or activist bears even the remotest responsibility for the horrific acts of eco-fascism in Christchurch and El Paso.

Yet there’s, a ‘however’,

However, what is clear is that, in their search for ideological justifications for their loathing of their fellow human beings, both of these killers landed very firmly upon the environmentalist ideology. They clearly spied in it a moral-sounding, pretend-scientific justification for their belief that human beings are scum, a plague, who deserve to be punished. When your belief system so readily lends itself to violent misanthropy, it is time, surely, to rethink that belief system. The fashionable misanthropy of green thinking is in dire need of public questioning and public challenge.

So the leftist green ideology “lends itself to violent misanthropy” – and to violence.

Some people might describe O’Neill and his minions as “scum”, but we will not…

This is where the line comes from, straight from Trump:


The Trump administration tried to downplay the New Zealand terrorist’s white supremacist views and the global threat of the radical right. That’s dangerous.

Mick Mulvaney, White House chief of staff, echoed Conway, claiming that the accused terrorist’s 74-page manifesto had “eco-terrorist passages.” He angrily rejected any attempt to link Trump’s rhetoric to the New Zealand massacre, despite Trump’s long history of denouncing Muslims as potential terrorists.


The claim that the killer was really an “eco-terrorist” comes from a superficial and historically ignorant reading of his manifesto. In fact, his manifesto does touch on “hedonistic, nihilistic individuals” who are destroying the environment. He says he is an “eco-fascist by nature.” But what Conway, Trump, Mulvaney and much of the right-wing press apparently don’t realize is that Adolf Hitler and the original Nazis saw themselves very much as environmentalists. Among other things, they thought Jews despoiled the landscape, just as the New Zealand killer believes Muslims are doing.

To illustrate the confusionist politics at work here the terrorism smear does not stop the Spiked National Populists from casting doubt on the radicalism of the climate activists;

By contrast, environmentalist campaigns like Extinction Rebellion are, by their very nature, against freedom. They seek to place new limits on human activity: on industry, on economic growth, on our travel, on our diets, and on childbirth.

climate change presents the establishment with an opportunity to manage the little people’s habits, tastes and aspirations.

Extinction Rebellion merely provides a faux-radical gloss to this depressing and stultifying prospect.

Fraser Myers. Spiked (Today An establishment rebellion|: why the elite loves the eco-warriors.)

For a real analysis see this – highly recommended:

Morning Star Warns Labour Against, “joining the hysteria over a no-deal Brexit.”

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Last Stand: Hard Brexiters Moblise inside the Labour Party – as advertised by the Full Brexit Red-Brown Front.

An academic as SOAS who has dabbled in politics, Lapavitsas  is a backer of the red-brown Full Brexit, which brings together ‘left’ anti-EU intellectuals with Brexit Party candidates.

In Spiked he has declared that, “The left must fight for a real Brexit” and in the pro-Brexit US magazine Jacobin the Professor has advised this year the Labour Party to adopt this line, “We Need a Labour Brexit“.

The national sovereigntist is also published in French in this text, Pour un Brexit de gauche  something that takes a claim to be on the ‘left’ at face value.

Lapavitsas spends much of his time attacking left wing internationalists opposed to Brexit.

He regrets, drawing no doubt on his reading of the ancient British Constitution, how things have deteriorated since the European Union medled with its ancient rights and liberties  embodied in the Crown, and passed the  Maastricht Treaty in 1992, .

To begin with, there is now, with the workings of

The dramatic loss of popular sovereignty (which)  underpins the mounting frustration of workers and the poor in the United Kingdom.

He claims that socialist politics are only possible within the sovereignty of nation states,

For Britain to adopt policies of this kind, it would be necessary to have popular control of the national levers of power, that is, genuine popular sovereignty.

There is no European demos, only national peoples, and nations and “popular will”. The ‘social liberalism’ he detects amongst the European young, is a purely national phenomenon, apparently.

The eminent scholar warned against anti-Brexit internationalists trying  to subvert the popular will and deny national sovereignty,

For the broader European left, open adoption of a Remain position by the Labour Party would deliver a body blow to the prospect of developing a radical socialist stance toward the European Union. It would be a triumph for the dominant neoliberal forces on the continent, and a tremendous boost for the authoritarian right, further removing the Left from grassroots opposition to the status quo of Europe.

“Command over national space” – a claim made without any reference to the international nature of markets, of production, of distribution, and of political decision-making – is the goal.

From this dominating position a left Brexit – led by a Labour that has rejected the majority opinion of its own members opposed to Leave  – will enable a socialist government to negotiate its own treaties,. From a position of strength, under the light touch of WTO rules, with the US and the EU, and create a true socialist nation state built on the solid rock of “popular control over the levers of power”.

Whatever they might be, and whatever this “control” might be, and whatever the new institutions to be designed to take over from the existing bourgeois state and capitalist economy.

Our ancient freedoms restored what limits could there be to accelerated socialism across the land?

Costas Lapavitsas has a lot of valuable experience on how to create this new order. Having briefly been an elected member of Syriza in the Greek parliament in January 2015 broke with them a few months later and became a supporter of this splinter group in Greece: Popular Unity.

He appears to have ended this important political intervention in August of that year (Hellenic Parliament).

Greeks seem not to think highly of Popular Unity.

This year it received in the July General Election this vote: 15,930 or 0,28% of the poll.

Here are more hard-line Brexiter tweets from the Morning Star/CPB.

This is a personal favourite.

The Morning Star Warns, (Editorial).

MPs’ votes against no-deal played a political role in laying the groundwork to justify further parliamentary action designed to stop such a departure — including by remaining in the EU if possible.

A no-confidence motion is not enough, since even after losing it Johnson could squat in No 10 while MPs tried to cobble together a new government that could command the confidence of the Commons.

If they cannot do this quickly enough he would be able to call an election, setting a date after October 31 so that Britain’s membership is already expired. If Johnson could keep hold of the leadership of his own party, having delivered Leave in the teeth of parliamentary opposition would give him a narrative that could sweep him back into office.

Labour has unfortunately helped pave the way for such arguments by joining the hysteria over a no-deal Brexit, giving the impression that it is a calamity worth preventing at all costs.

In other words, opposing a hard Brexit would be a bad idea for Labour.

The real calamity would be the defeat of the socialist left and of a Labour Party leadership whose programme represents the only serious attempt in British politics to grapple with the profound economic, social, environmental and democratic crises that have engulfed the Western world.

That would be achieved by any surrender of control of the Labour Party to the right.

The left ought to have no part in any “national government” stitch-up and be ready to take action against any MPs who connive at it.

Even a major break with a significant number of MPs leaving the party would do less damage than meek participation in such a government.

The EU and Brexit

First they say, ” forecasts of a catastrophe are wide of the mark”, then,


Britain is the world’s fifth biggest economic power. Most economic activity in Britain—around 80-85%—takes place independently of relations with the EU. Temporary and emergency arrangements could be negotiated, some in areas already covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and economic relations can always be conducted in line with World Trade Organisation rules. These insist upon extensive market access between member countries and, except in very limited circumstances, forbid discrimination against any particular country. Tariffs on each other’s products would be inconvenient—but Britain’s trade deficit with the EU means that the Treasury could reimburse exporters in full from the tariffs on EU imports and still make a profit.

In the absence of the Withdrawal Agreement or an agreed alternative, UK-EU trade relations would be conducted under general WTO rules which (1) guarantee market access between WTO member states in most circumstances; (2) disallow discrimination by one member state against another, unless a preferential trade agreement exists between them; (3) set universal limits on tariff or quota levels that can be imposed on imports; and (4) outlaw ‘dumping’ of under-priced exports on foreign markets.

Trading with the EU on WTO rules would free British governments to reduce tariffs with other countries and trading blocs which account for 55% (and rising) of Britain’s trade.

Outside the EU, Britain would nevertheless remain a full participant in more than 70 international organisations including the UN and its affiliated bodies, the World Trade Organisation, the G8, the IMF, the International Labour Organisation, the International Panel on Climate Change, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, Interpol and NATO.

Lapavitsas: No Deal should have been the default position from the outset. It is an outrage that the government has not prepared the country for it. What have they been doing for two years?”

Brexit Party: James Heartfield, (former..) Revolutionary Communist Party Cadre is Red-Brown Candidate Against Jeremy Corbyn.

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Red-Brown James Heartfield Amongst Many Brexit Party Candidates. 


Proud of being publicised in Breitbart Hearty links to this:

Brexit Party Ramps up the Pressure on Boris Johnson, Announces New Parliament Candidates

A Brexit Party MEP has reacted with anger to the suggestion that now Boris Johnson is Prime Minister the party should stand aside, insisting that the British people still need to hold politicians to account over the promised withdrawal from the European Union which still hasn’t happened.

Claire Fox, a new member of the European Parliament and, as a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party a key example of the broad political coalition for Brexit Nigel Farage has built, reacted to the suggestion that the Brexit Party could now be merely dismissed by the government as the party announced 50 new candidates ready for a snap election……



The irony won’t be lost on Mr Corbyn himself, who has been a long-standing critic of the European Union but was apparently forced to drop his views after becoming the leader of the Labour Party. James Heartfield will stand for the Brexit Party in Corbyn’s constituency and said of being selected: “I’ve lived in Islington since the 1980s, working in the Council and now as a history teacher… Seeing the way the EU forced vicious austerity policies on Greece and Portugal convinced me we had to get out.

“Free from the EU Britain can make its own decisions about what kind of country it wants to be. I’ve been a Brexit Party supporter since it launched and urge anyone who believes in freedom and in democracy to join us.”


Heartfield, a former RCP full-timer and self-styled ‘Marxist’ backer of sovereigntism, is one of those who have welded the Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked network into the far-right national populist camp. There is debate pm whether he is attracted by the rewards of the Koch brothers or the glory of defending free-market Trump Toady Nigel Farage. Informed commentators agree that the bombastic academic, often called a ponce amongst ponces, represents the lowest form of political life. A true swine.

Updates from the Red-Front to follow….

At least four individuals standing for the Brexit Party are connected with the RCP/LM/Spiked network. James Heartfield (born James Hughes) was a RCP organiser who spent much of the ’80s and ’90s at the heart of the operation. He is standing in Islington North. Heartfield ran as an MEP in May and won’t have paid the £100.

His friend and one time colleague at Living Marxism, Stuart Waiton, also stood as an MEP and is now contesting Dundee West.

Another Spiked/LM writer, Canadian born Kevin Yuill, is hoping to be elected in Houghton and Sunderland South. Mr Yuill is a keen advocate of gun rights and has written tirelessly about how laws prohibiting the sale of weapons don’t stop gun massacres.

Then there’s comedian, performer and financial expert Dominic Frisby, a friend of Lesley Katon via the Comedy Unleashed circuit, who has contributed to Spiked podcasts when not writing ‘comical songs’ about the Brexit betrayal. Mr Frisby told me he applied to be an MEP but was too late and insisted that he did so through the online process like everyone else. But, as a Facebook friend of Ms Katon, it’s not impossible that his distinctive name will have leapt out from the thousands of other applicants.

That may also have been the case with Alaric Bamping, antiquarian bookseller and husband of writer Julia Hobsbawm OBE, who is another member of Claire Fox’s circle. Mr Alaric is hoping to become the MP for Dartford

News From the Red-Brown Front: Philip Cunliffe (“Lenin Lives!”, Spiked), “Owen Jones Vs Democracy”

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Image result for Lenin Lives! Reimagining the Russian Revolution

Brexit Bolshevik Attacks Owen Jones, “all bold promises will be reneged upon”.

DR PHILIP CUNLIFFE: senior lecturer in politics and international relations, University of Kent; co-founder, The Full Brexit; author, Lenin Lives! Reimagining the Russian Revolution

Some quotes,

 I see Brexit as an opportunity to go with the grain of current public opinion and make the democratic case for a liberal migration policy, rather than accept a hierarchically-layered, pro-European border policy as an imposed fait accompli, and then disingenuously blame it on Brussels bureaucrats.”

Brexit must be made the start of a much wider process of social and political renewal.

I may be a Brexit Bolshevik, but I’m no Lexiter


Then there were the ‘possible sightings’. Chief among those was Philip Cunliffe, a lecturer at the University of Kent – the spiritual home of the RCP and my own alma mater. Mr Cunliffe is tight with many of the Spiked Online circle and is a vocal Brexiter. Certainly a man who looked like him strode through the NEC and onto the stage, but when I approached him to confirm or deny that he was standing, he rather oddly responded by asking me to guess what clothes he was wearing. Mind you, at least he replied. None of the dozens of other people I have approached have bothered to.

The question remains: what is Cunliffe’s stand-point? This is not immediately clear from the book itself. But it is well known that he is closely associated with the former Living Marxism or LM network, known for promoting libertarian and anti-environmentalist ideas. Cunliffe with his Sovereignty And Its Discontents (SAID) Working Group, has been a sponsor of The Battle of Ideas organised by the Academy of Ideas (Institute of Ideas), since at least 2004, and he has participated and presented several times more recently. He like the former director and founder of the Institute of Ideas, Claire Fox, who is now an MEP for the Brexit Party, is a passionate supporter of Brexit. He describes himself on Twitter as a “Brexit Bolshevik”. He helped to found the “The Full Brexit”, a pro-Brexit campaigning network. He will be a speaker at The Battle of Ideas in September 2019.

And on 19 July 2019 he re-tweeted Bjorn Lomburg, author of ‘Cool It’ and ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’ (“which challenges widely held beliefs that the world environmental situation is getting worse and worse”), himself tweeting: “Lomborg deserves a medal for being one of the few to retain his sanity among the global intelligentsia.” Lomburg’s tweet?: “Unbridled alarmism: No, our current trajectory is about 4°C, not 6°C. No, 4°C is not the end-of-the-world, it is a problem, equivalent to reducing average income by about 3-4% in 2100 (when OECD will be 200-500% as rich as today and Africa 300-2,200% richer)”.

Bill Bowring Marx and Philosophy Review of Books.

The article.

Owen Jones vs democracy

Although Jones actually coined the term ‘Lexit’ back in 2015 following the EU’s ruination of Greece, (Note, this is highly contestable) he also abandoned it in fairly short order. He is now admonishing the diminishing band of left Brexiters, who he thinks should ‘stop trying to make Lexit happen’. But in his turn against Brexit, all that Jones really reveals is how much of his politics is empty rhetoric and bluster. His arguments also show just how far the left has internalised its defeats over the past 40 years and how it accepts these defeats as inherent limits on its capacity to make change.

The argument that Cunliffe makes is bizarre, but here it is,

The very thing that Jones feared and was trying to avoid – a Brexit defined by the right – has been encouraged by the left’s own unwillingness to fight to define the terms of Brexit. He is now encouraging other leftists to repeat his mistake.

The ERG, Johnson, Rees Mogg, Farage, have won because the left has not jumped on the Brexit Bandwagon…think about it….

The Brexit vote was also nothing to do with fear of immigration and hostility to migrants, which is a negligible factor in UK public opinion.

But once Brexit became, in his view, defined by nationalism and xenophobia, he could no longer sustain the Lexit position. This characterisation of the Leave vote is entirely at odds with the polling evidence, which shows that British attitudes to immigration are largely positive.

To which we say, Humph! 

Humph, and Humph – what a load of unbridled rubbish….

For the benefit of the thick the Lecturer repeats his assertion that Brexit was a popular uprising, led by such figures as the above,

Brexit was a popular insurrection at the ballot box. Its defining slogan – ‘take back control’ – resonates with the most basic and instinctive positions of classical left-wing politics: support for popular sovereignty and mass democracy.

And adds this,

Brexit remains a process to be defined. This, indeed, is the point of mass democracy – that it is an open-ended process whose outcome cannot be guaranteed in advance.

What Jones ultimately reveals in his criticisms of Lexit is a fear of change and his unwillingness to fight for it.

Indeed internationalists  are trying to define Brexit, away from the free-market hard right, but fighting against it.

Surely a democrat would welcome another referendum?

Another surge of popular debate and voting?

One, two, three, four referendums!

Cunliffe’s chef d’oeuvre  has this puff,

Lenin Lives! lays out a narrative account of how history might have happened differently if Lenin had lived long enough to see the global spread of the Russian Revolution to Western Europe and the USA. In one alternative world, instead of the grim authoritarian and autarkic states of the East, socialist revolution in the world’s most advanced economies ushers in an era of global peace, progress and prosperity, with global federations substituting for nation-states and international organisations. In keeping with the hopes of European revolutionaries of the time, the early achievement of socialism leads to a drastic improvement in human progress, economic growth, democracy and freedom at the global level.

Is the spirit of Lenin now living in Johnson’s Cabinet and the Brexit Party?

Trumpite Trotskyists take note!


The Great Replacement, Violent White Nationalism, from Christchurch to El Paso.

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Image result for the great replacement

Far-Right Call that Inspires Terrorism.

El Paso Massacre: Nihilism, Narcissism and White Nationalism

The alleged gunman is suspected of posting a 2,300-word manifesto titled “The Inconvenient Truth” moments before the attack. The manifesto referenced the Christchurch massacres in New Zealand that killed 51. According to the New York Times, the Christchurch mass murderer referenced:

“a white supremacist theory called ‘the great replacement.” The theory has been promoted by a French writer named Renaud Camus, and argues that elites in Europe have been working to replace white Europeans with immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.” 

Psychology Today.Ravi Chandra

The Daily Beast perhaps has the best take on the influence of these ideas,

Kelly Weill: From El Paso to Christchurch, a Racist Lie Is Fueling Terrorist Attacks

Alleged killers in Christchurch, New ZealandPoway, California; and El Paso, Texas believed a theory that claims white people are being “replaced” by people of color through mass immigration. Conspiracy theorists often falsely claim this is a deliberate effort by any number of groups demonized on the far right: liberals, Democrats, Jews, Muslims. It’s the theory peddled by white supremacist groups seeking recruits and the torch-bearing marchers in Charlottesville two years ago. It’s also a thinly disguised—and often not disguised—talking point from some conservative politicians and pundits, experts say.

By leaving these conspiratorial manifestos, white supremacists are trying to add to a long and growing library of terror, and get others to follow their examples.

“They’re also trying to inspire others about the urgency of the moment. In particular with the New Zealand shooter, the Poway shooter, and this guy in El Paso, you see these ideas building on each other,” Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, told The Daily Beast.

“There’s no question these people are feeding off each other because they’re referencing prior manifestos. In the Poway case and the El Paso case, they both referenced Christchurch.”


In name alone, the conspiracy theory began in 2011, with the book The Great Replacement by French author Renaud Camus. The anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant text likened the growth of non-white populations to the genocide of white people in European countries. This supposed genocide is non-existent. White supremacists use it as an excuse for violence anyway.

On August 11, 2017, white supremacists led a torchlit march on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia. The marchers chanted “you will not replace us,” or sometimes “Jews will not replace us,” in a callout to the conspiracy theory.


Here are reports on the alt-right web notice board involved.

Camus denies any connection with any killing.

In other word he denies any link.


He compares himself to a liberation movement and issues this call to arms.

France Inter disagrees, calling Camus’ writing a seminal text for the the radicalised young.

Le Grand Remplacement, texte séminal pour ces jeunes radicalisés

Many people have read Renaud Camus’ le grand remplacement, “ the great replacement” . Apart from the name, whose message takes two seconds to get, the book is short. Its appeal is that it is “a conspiracy theory that claims a global elite is conspiring against the European white populations to replace them with non-European peoples.”

In this simplicity Camus stands out from the intellectualised writings of people like Guillaume Faye (1949 – 2018), a key thinker in “identitarianism” and Alain de Benoist, a founder of the far-right Nouvelle Droite. Both are parents of the ‘alt-right’. Faye talked of “La Colonisation de l’Europe”  and ” ethnomasochism” by which Europeans denigrate their history faced with this ‘invasion’. Few people would follow with ease, however, the detailed pages in his writings on “L’Archéofuturisme“, beyond this rhetoric, “We are standing face to face with the barbarians. The enemy is no longer outside but inside the City, and the ruling ideology, paralysed, is incapable of spotting him. It stammers, overcome by its own moral disarmament, and is giving up: this is the time to seize the reins. Present society is an accomplice to the evil that is devouring it.”

Benoist’, who has written on nationalism, sovereignty, Nietzsche, Gramsci, the Indo-Europeans, neo-paganism (a theme he shares with Faye), Jesus, European Identity, and a  few more subjects, can be summed up in the belief that “European “identity” needs to be defended against erasure by immigration, global trade, multinational institutions, and left-wing multiculturalism.” (They Wanted To Be A Better Class Of White Nationalists. They Claimed This Man As Their Father J.Lester Feder and Pierre Buet).

Some of these ideas have fed into the left and have helped shaped the present-day ‘red-brown’ front.

The  ‘leftist’ intellectual US journal Telos translated Benoist’s Manifesto for a European Renaissance in 1999 and had a deep interest and sympathy for Faye. Some of the first renderings into English of the nouvelle droite current  were done by this one-time radical-chic publisher which counts Alain de Benoist as a regular contributor (Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age (Guillaume Faye).  More recently the criticism of ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ and behalf of the ‘somewhere’ people with deep ties to place and culture, a call taken up by supporters of the red-brown front the Full Brexit, and others, parallels Faye and Benoist’s right-wing identity politics with a new identity politics of the Brexit Party and pro-Brexit left. The ‘working class’ is seen is seen as a hereditary culture under threat from ‘globalism’ and its vehicle, the European Union. ‘Uncontrolled’ immigration is a common target. (1)

Yet the far-right goes much further, and raves at a ‘genocidal’ threat.

This is Guillaume Faye on the European Union, developing themes in the same vein as Camus (2016).

European peoples are surreptitiously victims of an attempt at genocide, demographic and cultural elimination, driven by their own ethno-masochistic and xenophile elites. This is an historical first.  The French authorities are, with the Belgians, the most involved in this enterprise of soft genocide. The is both physical and cultural.

Despite an apparent anti-racist ideology, it nevertheless follows a racial and racist goal: to eliminate from Europe, progressively, and in particular from France, the native populations. Eliminate them in five ways: by encouraging settlement immigration from outside Europe; discouraging native birth rates and penalizing middle-class families; by provoking the exile of young indigenous forces by dissuasive taxation measures; by favoring, in social, economic, legal and cultural terms, populations of non-European origin in relation to indigenous peoples; by penalizing and punishing all opposition to the global immigrationist project and any hindrance to its ideology.

A project of genocide of the European peoples? – by Guillaume Faye

On Camus I cannot recommend too highly this article: which should be read in full (extracts)

How Gay Icon Renaud Camus Became the Ideologue of White Supremacy

The bizarre odyssey of the “great replacement” theorist shows that kitsch can kill. James McAuley

A pioneering gay writer in the heady 1980s. A laureate of the Académie Française, a literary circle so rarefied that its members are known as les immortels. A radical champion of art for art’s sake who withdrew to a 14th-century château to live among the paintings and the pictures that were the only sources of meaning he ever seemed to recognize. These are all descriptions that might once have captured the essence of Renaud Camus.

His trademark was fearlessness, as evinced in his 1979 autobiographical novel, Tricks, which recounts in unsparing detail a string of nonchalant homosexual encounters the narrator has in nightclub bathrooms and grimy apartments on both sides of the Atlantic. “I put saliva in my ass, kneeled on both sides of him, and brought his penis, which was not of a very considerable size, inside me without much difficulty,” we read of one such encounter. “He came the moment one of my fingers was pressed inside the crack of his ass.” That was Camus then.

These days, the author of Tricks is better known as the principal architect of le grand remplacement (the great replacement), the conspiracy theory that white, Christian Europe is being invaded and destroyed by hordes of black and brown immigrants from North and sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2012, when it appeared as the title of a book Camus self-published, the term “great replacement” has become a rallying cry of white supremacists around the world—the demonstrators who stormed through Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017; the man who killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018; and especially Brenton Tarrant, the suspect in the New Zealand mosque attacks in March. Tarrant posted his own “The Great Replacement”—a 74-page online manifesto—before murdering 51 people.

The day after the Christchurch shooting, I called Camus out of the blue, reporting for The Washington Post. He told me then that he condemned this kind of violence but that he ultimately appreciated the attention these episodes have brought to his arguments. Does he resent “the fact that people take notice of the ethnic substitution that is in progress in my country?” he asked rhetorically. “No. To the contrary.”


Who, after all, reads Renaud Camus in 2019? Not the literary critics who still study Céline and Pound. Camus’s target demographic is angry white men with no discernible culture or critical faculties who shoot up mosques and synagogues because it makes them feel superior. His work provides them with some kind of half-baked justification, based on the lie of le grand remplacement, which is indeed “the epitome of all that is spurious in the life of our times.”

Consider the following excerpt from “The Great Replacement,” the manifesto published online by Brenton Tarrant. He drew particular attention to his travels in France, the details of which have yet to be confirmed. “The final push was witnessing the state of French cities and towns. For many years I had been hearing and reading of the invasion of France by non-whites, many of these rumours and stories I believed to be exaggerations, created to push a political narrative. But once I arrived in France, I found the stories not only to be true, but profoundly understated.” Where had Tarrant been reading those stories? Perhaps Camus’s seminal achievement has been to show that kitsch can kill.