Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

“Stalin was Diamond Geezer” says Labour Candidate Andy Newman.

with 17 comments

Diamond Geezer say Labour Candidate Andy Newman. 

“Stalin was great says Red Ed’s man.”

So sayeth the Sun.

The Daily Mail helpfully adds,

Red Andy, the Labour hopeful who says Stalin improved living standards and the Berlin Wall was ‘a great success’ (but Ed says the party HASN’T lurched to the Left).

At first glance, Andy Newman would appear to be a good fit with the affluent Wiltshire seat, held by Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames.

Educated at a private school   (Editor’s note I didn’t know that – another reason to hate Newman) and Oxford University (same as previous)  Mr Newman’s CV bears the hallmarks of a modern Labour politician.

However, a delve into some of his recent writings suggests the union official is determined to keep the Red Flag flying over the West Country.

He has called the Berlin Wall ‘a great success’ and praised the ‘significant improvement in working class living standards’ during Stalin’s Great Terror.

He described the attacks on Pearl Harbour as the ‘opening salvo in a war between two rival imperialisms’ – equating America with wartime Japan under Emperor Hirohito – and branded the Dalai Lama a ‘figurehead for slavery’.

In the run-up to his selection last month, the telecoms engineer set out some of his uncompromising beliefs in articles in ultra-left-wing publications.

Paying tribute to Stalin’s character, whose brutal dictatorship led to the deaths of millions of citizens, he wrote earlier this year: ‘We should recognise how Stalin was the creature of his times; and not alone in culpability.

‘What is more, the character of Stalin, who almost through a feat of sheer will industrialised and militarised the USSR to defend itself against the Nazi threat, was also the character that ruthlessly regarded people as expendable. It did give Stalin the attributes needed to be a great war leader’.

And in 2009, Mr Newman, who is the local branch secretary of the GMB union, used a piece in Socialist Unity to put a positive gloss on the tyrant’s rule

Describing him in apparently respectful terms as ‘the Stalin’, he wrote: ‘Free market capitalism had seen worldwide depression in the 1930s and had led to fascism and war.

‘Meanwhile the USSR’s economy had achieved staggering success in the same period, including a significant improvement in working class living standards, despite the Stalin’s terror’.

In the same article, he wrote warmly of the Berlin Wall: ‘If we set to one side the issue of personal liberty, the [Berlin] wall was a great success.’
Our hearts are bleeding at the right-wing press witch hunt.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

17 Responses

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  1. The thing “The” Newman would be most annoyed about in that article was you giving it (for a reason unknown to me, or anyone else, unless you are just trying to wind him up) the tag “AWL”.

    dagmar

    October 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm

  2. I’ve looked around a little but cannot find the source of these quotes and claims – can you help?

    Geoff Barr

    October 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm

  3. I find it very strange that two decades after the Soviet Union gave up the ghost after years of stagnation and at a time when China shows every indication of being a capitalist state that Andy Newman decides to become some sort of Stalinist.

    Dr Paul

    October 16, 2013 at 5:13 pm

  4. Some website owners are very good at the, ahem, Stalinist school of falsification, e.g. by deleting stuff from their websites that might make themselves (or people that fellow Sozialistische Einheitspartei blog-members are fans of) look bad, especially in hindsight.

    Wouldn’t be the first time.

    Dr Paul: Why is it “strange”? It’s always been the easy option. Be the ‘realist’, be ‘serious’, don’t be a Trot ‘sectarian’, be a Tankie, support “actually existing socialism” and all that. Use the baggage of socialism without much of the content, and have Leaders to look up to and countries to visit. After leaving the SWP, lashing up with Galloway, and then leaving that when it was clear Respect was on yet another (slip-)road to nowhere, where else could one who wants to have some kind of ‘political career’ go but to join the Labour Party and be a bit Socialist Action-like (if only to help out the old ‘conscience’)?

    dagmar

    October 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm

  5. The quotes indeed do not seem to be where you’d expect them to be.

    Now you and I know that this is exactly the sort of thing a Newman might say – but the Mail and Sun lie professionally and without conscience so I don’t think we should uncritically repeat their accusations without verifying them ourselves.

    Roger McCarthy

    October 16, 2013 at 7:53 pm

  6. Andy Newman isn’t the only Trotskyist to defect to Stalinism, the Revolutionary Communist Group did so around 1980, when the Soviet Union was starting to show real signs of seizing up. Yet Newman’s new orientation is peculiar, as, apart from Cuba and North Korea, there isn’t much Stalinism left as a state form. Why Newman wishes to do it now is a mystery, even more so than Professor Yaffle and his little group, who at least still had the Soviet Union to look towards.

    The most one can say about the Stalinist socio-economic formation is that it enables a big, backward country to establish within a capitalist world a huge industrial base and thereby undergo a broad process of modernisation. It means opting out of the market for a while during this process, which is both repressive and wasteful, but which (hopefully) enables such a country to re-enter the capitalist world in a much more advanced condition (compared to what it would have been had it not embarked on this process) than when it left it. The Soviet Union left it too late to reintroduce the market in anything other than a degenerated manner, but China has timed it very well.

    As a form of Third World modernisation, Stalinism had some relevance; it is of little or no relevance in Britain today.

    Dr Paul

    October 16, 2013 at 9:55 pm

  7. “Andy Newman isn’t the only Trotskyist to defect to Stalinism”

    Again: Socialist Action. If they don’t suck up to China, Cuba, Vietnam, and whatever tinpot “21st century socialism” a far-away, yet warm, land has got to offer, (and, hm, does Laos offer money to “revolutionary” groups?), and whoever else might use 20th century Stalinist imagery, I don’t know who does.

    *Roger McCarthy*: try putting those quotes into Google. It’s not difficult. If you “weren’t expecting” to find them via the world’s search engine, leading you to the Socialist Unity website, you might be “surprised”.

    Hints: try also the SU article by A. Newman “the-popular-front-that-defeated-hitler/” from 2011, the ‘brilliant’ article ‘commemorating’ (or not) 20 years since the (end of the) Berlin Wall called “auferstanden-aus-ruinen/” from 2009; “china-and-the-riddle-of-tibet/” (2008) for the Dalai Lama quote; on “Stalin’s culpability” see “60-years-since-stalins-death-let-history-judge/”, published in March 2013, and the final quotes and the (probably caused by a lack of editing) amusing “The Stalin” reference are also from the article “auferstanden-aus-ruinen/”.

    So all quotes there on the SU website in articles published by and attributed to Andy Newman and available via google. While stocks last, I suspect.

    dagmar

    October 16, 2013 at 10:38 pm

  8. Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    Stalinism is a fascinating subject. A lot of No True Scotsmen. Are Trotskyites to be believed if they say they don’t want a Soviet Union on worldscale?

    oogenhand

    October 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

  9. Dagmar,

    I did google the first two quotes using quote marks and came up with nothing other than links back to the Daily Mail – however without the quote marks and with site:socialistunity.com added they do indeed come up.

    So I stand corrected.

    That this man was still writing hymns of praise for Comrade Stalin this March when his quest to become a Labour PPC must have already been well in progress is however so idiotic that I can also be perhaps forgiven for giving up the search too easily,

    Does occur to me that as Labour’s strategy must have a ‘fail to win majority and form coalition with whatever purged and chastened rump of the Lib Dems is left’ contingency then getting the very worst possible candidate for Chippenham may well be a good idea as it is a Lib-Dem Tory marginal where Labour’s vote was squeezed to just 7% and any significant recovery in the Labour vote will just hand the seat directly to a Tory,

    Would be willing to bet that either his trade union pals will lean on him to resign or the NEC will find some procedural excuse to dump him though.

  10. The worst example of former Trotksyism, and neo-Stalnism is Sam Marcy, and the descendants of his group, Workers World (WWP), and the International Action Center.

    They are mad beyond even the Rossites and the ex-RCP.

    Andrew Coates

    October 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

  11. Dagmar,

    I did google the first two quotes using quote marks and came up with nothing other than links back to the Daily Mail – however without the quote marks and with site:socialistunity.com added they do indeed come up.

    So I stand corrected.

    That this man was still writing hymns of praise for Comrade Stalin this March when his quest to become a Labour PPC must have already been well in progress is however so idiotic that I can also be perhaps forgiven for giving up the search too easily,

    Does occur to me that as Labour’s strategy must have a ‘fail to win majority and form coalition with whatever purged and chastened rump of the Lib Dems is left’ contingency then getting the very worst possible candidate for Chippenham may well be a good idea as it is a Lib-Dem Tory marginal where Labour’s vote was squeezed to just 7% and any significant recovery in the Labour vote will just hand the seat directly to a Tory,

    Would be willing to bet that either his trade union pals will lean on him to resign or the NEC will find some procedural excuse to dump him though.

    Roger McCarthy

    October 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

  12. Comments aren’t showing – have you blocked me?

    Roger McCarthy

    October 17, 2013 at 11:47 am

  13. That one worked will repost the comment that failed:

    Dagmar,

    I did google the first two quotes using quote marks and came up with nothing other than links back to the Daily Mail – however without the quote marks and with site:socialistunity.com added they do indeed come up.

    So I stand corrected.

    That this man was still writing hymns of praise for Comrade Stalin this March when his quest to become a Labour PPC must have already been well in progress is however so idiotic that I can also be perhaps forgiven for giving up the search too easily,

    Does occur to me that as Labour’s strategy must have a ‘fail to win majority and form coalition with whatever purged and chastened rump of the Lib Dems is left’ contingency then getting the very worst possible candidate for Chippenham may well be a good idea as it is a Lib-Dem Tory marginal where Labour’s vote was squeezed to just 7% and any significant recovery in the Labour vote will just hand the seat directly to a Tory,

    Would be willing to bet that either his trade union pals will lean on him to resign or the NEC will find some procedural excuse to dump him though.

    Roger McCarthy

    October 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

  14. Possibly comments failed because I included a ref to the SU site which your blog software might be interpreting as a URL – so I’ll try again:

    Dagmar,

    I did google the first two quotes using quote marks and came up with nothing other than links back to the Daily Mail – however without the quote marks and with the site added they do indeed come up.

    So I stand corrected.

    That this man was still writing hymns of praise for Comrade Stalin this March when his quest to become a Labour PPC must have already been well in progress is however so idiotic that I can also be perhaps forgiven for giving up the search too easily,

    Does occur to me that as Labour’s strategy must have a ‘fail to win majority and form coalition with whatever purged and chastened rump of the Lib Dems is left’ contingency then getting the very worst possible candidate for Chippenham may well be a good idea as it is a Lib-Dem Tory marginal where Labour’s vote was squeezed to just 7% and any significant recovery in the Labour vote will just hand the seat directly to a Tory,

    Would be willing to bet that either his trade union pals will lean on him to resign or the NEC will find some procedural excuse to dump him though.

    Roger McCarthy

    October 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm

  15. Give up on my original comment – if its in a moderation queue delete it.

    Dagmar’s google-fu is indeed superior to mine and I stand corrected,

    Amazed that someone running to be a Labour PPC would as recently as this March be singing the praises of Comrade Stalin or have not spent the last few weeks deleting such posts.

    However as Chippenham is a Lib Dem Tory marginal where any increase in the (squeezed by tactical voting to under 7%) Labour vote will hand it to the Tories – and as Labour does have to contemplate the possibility of being forced to make a deal with whatever purged and chastened rump of the Lib Dems are left there are good tactical reasons for choosing the worst possible candidate there……

    Roger McCarthy

    October 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

  16. Weird – no comment by me longer than a line is showing up – I give up.

    Roger McCarthy

    October 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm

  17. It is not.

    Word Press keep putting comments in the Spam box.

    Andrew Coates

    October 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm


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