Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Seumas Milne: Enemy of the North African Left and Secularists.

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Opponent of North African Left and Secularists. 

Seumas Milne  has a new job.

Guardian columnist Seumas Milne has been appointed as Labour Executive Director of Strategy and Communications. The appointment is considered controversial in Labour circles.

The appointment of Milne is the surest sign yet that Jeremy Corbyn will fill senior positions with hard left allies in an attempt to assert his dominance. Milne is considered one of the most left wing commentators in the media. He has worked as comment editor and labour editor for The Guardian, as well as writing for The Economist, and has spent 10 years as an executive member of the National Union of Journalists. He has also written several books, including one about the miners’ strike of the 1980s.

Milne will join the Labour leader’s office on the 26th October, next Monday, on leave from his position at The Guardian.

Labour List.

Much will be made of Milne’s various political stands, including, no doubt the time when he stood as a ‘Marxist-Leninist’ candidate in mock elections at his exclusive public school, Winchester College (information from an Old Wykehamist).

These are just two which make him unfit to represent Labour to an important section of the world left, his opposition to the North African left and support for their Islamist allies, and, as he showed with his reactionary anti-Charlie Hebdo rants, his hostility to secularists and lovers of freedom of expression everywhere.

The first issue is Tunisia:

, Guardian Comments Editor, has described the Ennahda party (right-wing Islamists)  as “progressive” and gave space to pro-Islamist views during his time as Comment Editor (for six years, 2001-7).

In October 2011 he said this (Guardian)

The once savagely repressed progressive Islamist party An-Nahda (Ennahdha)  won the Tunisian elections this week on a platform of pluralist democracy, social justice and national independence.

In January 2011 the Guardian published this – reflecting Milne’s enthusiasm.

We are building a Tunisia for all  

Oddly this had happened in February that year, (BBC)

Police have cleared crowds of Tunisians who marched through the capital Tunis on Friday demanding the resignation of interim PM Mohammed Ghannouchi, a long-time ally of the ousted leader.

It was the biggest rally since Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia last month after 23 years in power, after being toppled by weeks of unrest.

Mr Ghannouchi’s interim government has promised elections by mid-July.

But crowds marched down Tunis’ main avenue chanting: “Ghannouchi leave.”

Later police fired tear gas and warning shots as they cleared the demonstrators from in front of the interior ministry .

Witnesses said one protester was injured when police fired warning shots at the crowd which some estimates said was 100,000-strong.

By the beginning of 2013 this was happening:

Tunisia: Islamists Kill Secularist Left Leader, General Strike Today.

Milnes did not support the left-wing Tunisian Front Populaire. Or (presently ruling, left-of-centre secular party) at the head of a coalition with the Islamists and nationalist parties,  Nidaa Tounès, of PM Habib Essid. 

Instead he backed full-square the Muslim Brotherhood franchise, the pro-business, pro-liberal economics, Islamists of Ennahda.

The second issue is Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie: Pornographic Humiliation of Muslims.

Paris is a warning: there is no insulation from our wars writes, in the Guardian.

The attacks in France are a blowback from intervention in the Arab and Muslim world. What happens there happens here too
Nothing remotely justifies the murderous assault on Charlie Hebdo’s journalists, still less on the Jewish victims singled out only for their religious and ethnic identity.


What has become brutally obvious in the past week, however, is the gulf that separates the official view of French state policy at home and abroad and how it is seen by many of the country’s Muslim citizens. That’s true in Britain too, of course. But what is hailed by white France as a colour-blind secularism that ensures equality for all is experienced by many Muslims as discrimination and denial of basic liberties.

What of Charlie?

Charlie Hebdo claims to be an “equal opportunities offender”, abusing all religions alike. The reality, as one of its former journalists put it, has been an “Islamophobic neurosis” that focused its racialised baiting on the most marginalised section of the population.

This wasn’t just “depictions” of the prophet, but repeated pornographic humiliation.

I will not dignify this with longer extracts but note this conclusion, and note it well,

Europeans are fortunate that terrorist outrages have been relatively rare. But a price has been paid in loss of freedoms, growing anti-semitism and rampant Islamophobia. So long as we allow this war to continue indefinitely, the threats will grow. In a globalised world, there’s no insulation. What happens there ends up happening here too.

In brief, the slaughter was terrible, but Charlie Hebdo was so awful that there was bound to be a “blowback”.

For in plain English: they (and one assumes the victimes at the Hyper-Cacher) had “it coming to them”.

The failure to back the left, and instead support the right, during the important events in Tunisia, and his misinterpretation of Charlie Hebdo’s satire,  are enough to make Milne unsuitable to represent the Labour Party for important constituencies.

That is, on Tunisia he stands against the majority of the North African and European left, and to the overwhelming majority of the Francophone left which mourned the Paris slaughter in January this year. 

He has already mightily annoyed Kate Godfrey (“Mr Corbyn, I have spent my life in conflict zones. Prior to becoming a Labour PPC I worked in Somalia, in Sudan, in Libya, in Algeria, in Lebanon when the Israelis were shelling the passes, in Yemen, in Iraq, in Georgia, in Azerbaijan and in the DRC”), who criticises a much wider field of misjudgment on international issues.  ”

“So Mr Corbyn, what made you appoint fascism-apologist Seumas Milne?”

Bob’s view:  Three reasons why Milne’s appointment was wrong, wrong, wrong.

22 Responses

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  1. This article also exposes the contradictions of Tendance Coatesy’s own position.
    He posted and cheered on Jeremy Corbyn like most of the left, and is then surprised and disappointed that Corbyn is not doing what he thought he would.

    There is a solution to this, and I honestly don’t know how readers of this site can’t see it.

    There is no other way.


    October 21, 2015 at 4:22 pm

  2. I shall bear that in mind….

    Andrew Coates

    October 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

  3. Deigo

    I half think you might be some parody of a Trotskyist although I think you are probably for real.

    Your politics may be ok (or not) but your method sucks big time. To introduce ‘reforge the IVth International’ as the answer to anything, especially in a discussion dominated by former (and so very cynical) Trots (& not Shactmanites – or Cliffites as they might be called in the UK) gets you nowhere. Who, apart from some madman is going to start listening to a 1950s 2 hrs recording of Cannon (I did, for a bit. But then I’m mad. I now have a LESSER view of Cannon although I liked his “gaping like yokels at a county fair”) in some discussion of current UK politics.

    You have to deal with the day to day although I suggest you would find few takers here even by doing that. There isn’t sadly any hard Left discussion board that I know of in the UK, just a few very small ones, like this one dominated by (before Corbyn) Labour party types – I wish there was . There is the weekly paper http://www.weeklyworker.co.uk that may be more interesting to you.

  4. What a wonderful appointment. Hopefully Pilger will be brought in next to advise on NATO.

    Soon all the worlds greatest evil doers will be advising Corbyn.

    Incidentally, I have yet to see news of this sparking protests in North Africa. Though after your war in Libya they have other things on their mind. Maybe when they step off the boats, should they survive, they will raise it with the Greek authorities. I can see the picture now, cold immigrant steps off boat, BBC reporter asks him for a comment, immigrant says, “What is Corbyn doing appointing an idiot anti imperialist like Milne!”.

    This is the problem with scum like you and Bob from Brockley, when you actively support ‘Islamo-fascists’ in Libya and Syria this is fine, but oppose US imperialism, which has done more damage to that region than the Islamists could ever dream of, you throw stupid accusations around.

    And what of the secularists? Are they not busy running a military junta and executing the opposition and slaughtering protesters? You know, the usual secularists hobbies.

    Bob from Brockley, what an arse!

    Socialism in One Bedroom

    October 21, 2015 at 5:59 pm

  5. Hi Southpaw,

    I was under the mistaken assumption that this site was Trotskyist, but if it is just Labour party, then I suppose that REFORGE THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL may not go down too well.

    I see that without a real revolutionary socialist party, and international leadership, there will not be anything apart from opportunism, either by ex Trotskyists of whatever type. After all, there were/are ex Trotskyists among the neo cons in the Republican party.

    To be a Trotskyist, you must uphold the Transitional program and the program of permanent revolution, as well as a rejection of nationalism in all its forms, in favor of internationalism. Also, the formation of a democratic centralist party, that allows factions and is democratic and not top down, bureaucratic and stalinist.

    How influential are the Platypus society in the UK? They are Trotskyists, with whom i have debated the issue of reforging the fourth international, although they have a different analysis, and they were in a previous incarnation.

    The importance of this following statement, from the Transitional program, is key to Trotskyism, and if you understand this, you will surely understand the need for reforging the fourth international.


    the first line captures the truth of our time, and who here would seriously doubt it:

    The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.”

    and later:

    “The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership.”

    what is false about these statements? there is a crisis and no revolutionary leadership. This is why we need a reforged fourth international. To create a revolutionary leadership. where is the leadership in the UK, Greece, Egypt etc. It would help all these places if there was a revolutionary socialst party with the correct revolutionary internationalist ideology, and a scientific and dialectical grasp of the material reality.

    Not stalinist nationalists, or fascists, or Islamists, or Labour Party social democrats. But a real socialist Bolshevik Marxist party. Wouldn’t that be something to strive for? Something to get passionate about? Something to dedicate your life to?

    That seems to me to be pretty clear and rational. You are not mad to listen to James P Cannon and if you listen to his other speeches, you can learn a lot. It is rather the people who do not listen to his readily available youtube speeches that are mad.

    here he gives a good analysis of the New Left.


    October 22, 2015 at 2:37 am

  6. for instance, why dont you, personally, Southpaw, try and get involved with reforging the fourth International?

    After all, the reforged International will need people like you, who know how things are in the UK.
    It seems to me that the Cliffites, the former IS Counterfire, SWP, RS21 etc have betrayed Trotsky, and the Bolshevik tradition, in favor of tailing social democrats, nationalists, and even Islamists. They are an example of what happens when there isn’t a fourth international and ideological leadership. Opportunism.

    thank you for replying kindly to my questions.

    James P Cannon is presenting a scientific analysis. I frequently listen to James P Cannon, you are not alone, and you are not mad. I indeed hope you would promote his work through social media, facebook etc.

    I consider these people to no longer be Trotskyists or ex-Trotskyists.

    Also, is the Weekly Worker/CPGB Trotskyist? Is Jack Conrad a major leader in the UK?


    October 22, 2015 at 2:49 am

  7. and this, Leon Trotsky speaks! on the fourth International, in English.


    October 22, 2015 at 3:10 am

  8. Deigo, I half feel that I am contributing to some Monty Python type script by continuing (“It is rather the people who do not listen to Cannon’s readily available youtube speeches that are mad. People here are not mad but just very, very bad – at being Lefts. Also Cannon looks radically different above to every other shot I have seen of him before). Your words will but fall on fallow ground here.

    Weekly Worker actually arose from the (‘Stalinist’, if you like) ‘official’ Communist Party of Great Britain although they are a long way from that now – and the only UK outlet you will see ever carrying anythig from Platypus. Jack Conrad is no major leader (he’s got maybe a dozen comrades) – there are no ‘major leaders’ in the UK (and doubtless none in the US, either).

  9. On the question of Seumas Milne – his job is to communicate Labour’s message to the media. I don’t know how effective he will be at doing this – but he will only be able to do this if he does not himself become the story. He should be judged in that role by how well he is able to communicate the message – a message which he will sometimes personally disagree with. If he does it effectively and without letting his personal political positions intrude, then I can’t see the problem. If, on the other hand, he cannot resist the temptation to put forward his own positions, then a P45 will be in order. The usual rules of professionalism apply.


    October 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm

  10. Precisely the problem Francis.

    He has consistently put forward his own views before facts: framing the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in terms of a “blow-back” and making vile comments about its ‘pornographic’ humiliation of Muslims (in fact religious leaders, not ‘Muslims’) without any attempt as understanding the weekly’s politics.

    His response to the well known attempt by then (then) London based Rachid Ghannouchi and his daughter to claim that they were ‘left of centre’ – which they are not – was simply to fit it into his own thoughts that there was a struggle within Islam in which they were part of the “progressive” side.

    In fact his background is in confrontation with the Tunisian left: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ennahdha

    His ‘moderation’ has been questioned. Certainly in the 1980s he was capable of writing this, ” Ce qu’il y a de plus dangereux dans la conciliation avec l’Etat Juif, c’est son influence sur ce qui reste des barrières psychologiques de notre communauté, ces barrières constituées par le dégoût à l’égard des juifs en qui il faut voir des ennemis de Dieu et de l’humanité faisant du mal partout où ils vont… »


    And the whole notion of political Islam is questioned by Tunisian leftists,

    Lettre ouverte au Cheikh Rached Ghannouchi et aux islamistes tunisiens.


    Their strongest opposition during their period of power came from the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT – Milne in effect opposed the Tunisian trade union movement.

    One of the main reasons they lost the Tunisian elections last year is because people did not want ‘political Islam’ to dominate their lives, and the present Coalition, led by secularists, recognises their electorate only on condition that this is not imposed.

    That, is, naturally, without going into what Milne has said in ‘defence of the USSR’.

    Andrew Coates

    October 22, 2015 at 1:34 pm

  11. Oh, and did I mention, fans of James P. Cannon, that I’m a real, that is a real, Pabloite?


    Andrew Coates

    October 22, 2015 at 1:43 pm

  12. Well, if SM does his job properly, he will simply be a conduit through which the message is disseminated. His personal ideas (some of which I would agree with, others of which I would not) should not intrude into his professional role with the Labour Party. He is no fool, I’d expect he understands that. But we shall see.


    October 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm

  13. No he is no complete fool – he is generally right about British politics, just a moral black hole on many other issues.

    By contrast this man is a total fool: Neil Clark.

    From Sputnik News.

    Seumas Milne – and the Wrath of Britain’s New McCarthyites

    The news that Seumas Milne, anti-war journalist and Guardian columnist, has been appointed the new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications has caused uproar among Britain’s McCarthyite pro-imperialist faux-left.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20151022/1028934351/labour-seumas-milne-appointment.html#ixzz3pJHw0fwA

    Andrew Coates

    October 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

  14. ‘Cliffites’ =/= ‘shactmanites’ (sic).

    (Other than perhaps at some brief juncture in the early to mid-fifties which I really do not care enough about Marxist sectarian heresiology to try and calculate).

    Just saying.

  15. “No he is no complete fool – he is generally right about British politics, just a moral black hole on many other issues.”

    So speaks the uber apologist of imperialism!

    “He has consistently put forward his own views before facts: framing the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in terms of a “blow-back””

    Facts, like you, are dumb, facts need to be interpreted. Milne has a different interpretation to you. If you put facts before everything else all you get is idiocy. facts are the thing that informs the view, not the other way round.

    If Milne believes ‘blowback’ was the only reason for the Hebdo attack then he is wrong but he is certainly correct to include it as a factor. And for the record he doesn’t think it was the only factor, you are just maing shit up as usual.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    October 22, 2015 at 4:55 pm

  16. You are right, amongst other things, he also thought that being terribly rude about Islam helps explain why people would want to slaughter cartoonists and Jews.

    Andrew Coates

    October 22, 2015 at 5:01 pm

  17. ‘Bob from Brockley – what an arse!’

    Oh the cut and thrust of intellectual debate…it’s like we’ve recreated fin de siecle Vienna’s Cafe Central right here on the internet.

    Keep it special.

    • Guest appearances from Karl Kraus and Robert Musil…..

      Andrew Coates

      October 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm

  18. ‘uber apologist of imperialism’.


  19. I had in mind the Austro-Hungarian diplomat at Brest-Litovsk whose memoirs expressed his amusement that it was ‘Trotsky of the Cafe Central’ (or maybe it was some other famous Viennese intellectual cafe) who was facing him across the negotiating table.

  20. We could invite Neil Clark and his friends of the Belarus Solidarity Campaign (No I am not making this up – he links to them and to this, ICDSM (Defence of Slobodan Milosevic) on his Blog http://neilclark66.blogspot.co.uk/

    Clark stands for this, “I believe in the urgent necessity of a left-right anti-war coalition.” – red and…well guess what colour?

    This is what Seumas Milne’s new best friend’s mates say on this campaign,

    A campaign for truth and objectivity about the Republic of Belarus.

    Since the election of Alexander Lukashenko as President of the Republic of Belarus in 1994 there has been a concerted campaign of misinformation, and lies about the country and its government. This campaign aims to highlight both the truth, and the reasons behind the lies about Belarus.

    The people of Belarus have the right to freely determine their own future, free from outside interference; therefore the Belarus Solidarity Campaign will:

    * Lead a permanent campaign against the misinformation and deliberate lies of mass media and foreign governments about the situation in Belarus.

    * Show the reality of the social and political situation in Belarus.

    * Highlight & support the progressive policies undertaken by the government of Belarus since 1994.

    * Call for an end to the EU & US sanctions and travel bans on the Belarusian Leadership to allow a serious and constructive dialogue between governments.

    Since the election of Alexander Lukashenko to the office of President of the Republic of Belarus in 1994, Belarus has come under increasing pressure and interference from abroad, particularly from the USA. This culminated in the 2004 Belarus democracy act, and a sustained campaign of misinformation and falsification intended to not only discredit Lukashenko personally but also the democratic choice of the Belarusian people themselves. The Belarus Solidarity Campaign defends the right of the Belarusian people to support a system aimed at enriching the entire nation and not just a select group of individuals.


    Andrew Coates

    October 22, 2015 at 5:27 pm

  21. Hi Southpaw,

    But you are aware of Platypus and James P Cannon. You have a duty to get involved in reforging the Fourth International. Your views are welcome. How would you personally suggest one should set about building and reforging the fourth International?

    Are you a Trotskyists?
    If so, then what else should a Trotskyist be doing apart from trying to reforge the fourth International and put into practice the transitional program.

    Tendance Coatesy is a Pablo-ite. I see. Oh, well. Sad. You should read this:


    “The essence of Pabloist revisionism is the overthrow of that part of Trotskyism which is today its most vital part–the conception of the crisis of mankind as the crisis of the leadership of the labor movement summed up in the question of the party” (p. 181)

    Southpaw, you are either following a Pabloist Tendance Coatesy line, or another line. Jim Denham of the AWL have a ‘third camp’ Max Shachtman line. The struggle of James P Cannon against Max Shachtman is thus of great and historic import. There is an excellent book that i recommend you read if you want to know more:


    “Dog Days: James P. Cannon Vs. Max Shachtman in the Communist League of America, 1931-1933”

    a ruthless struggle needs to be waged on contemporary manifestations of either Max Shachtman ‘third way’, typified by the AWL, and Pablo-ite revisionism, as championed by Tendance Coatesy. The true revolutionary socialism of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and James P Cannon must prevail, and the fourth International must be reforged.

    Southpaw, it is your moral duty, your intellectual duty, your political duty, to help reforge the Fourth International, and reject the dead ends of Pabloite and Shachtmanite deviations.

    This is really good, and worth listening to, and thinking very deeply about.


    October 22, 2015 at 9:54 pm

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