Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Ken Livingstone Remembers those who Gave their Lives to Protest against the Invasion of Iraq.

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Remembering those who gave their lives in Protest at the Invasion of Iraq.

There are two powerful voices pushing people to support bombing Syria.

A couple of days ago Giles Fraser wrote,

War in time for Christmas is David Cameron’s plan. Yes, exquisitely timed to coincide with the Christian message of peace and goodwill to all. Yes, a perfect accompaniment to all those half-forgotten carols: “And man, at war with man, hears not, / The love-song which they bring: O hush the noise, ye men of strife, / And hear the angels sing.” Translated into the prosaically secular: we have no vision of peace.

Now Ken Livingstone has intervened.

He said on Question Time this week,

Mr Livingstone argued that David Cameron’s proposed air strikes against Isis in Syria were “too indiscriminate” and that the only way to defeat Isis would be with tens of thousands of ground troops – a move repeatedly ruled out by the Prime Minister

Livingstone also said.

In a heated debate on BBC One’s Question Time, he recalled the start of the Iraq invasion, saying that Tony Blair was advised that joining the US would make the UK a terror target.

“He ignored that advice and it killed 52 Londoners,” Mr Livingstone continued…

Jeremy Corbyn’s Defence adviser said out loud what the SWP and others , er, say even louder: those killed by Islamist bombers are the victims of imperialism, in this case, its agent, Tony Blair.

The former London Mayor also had a theme of religious sacrifice:

“Go and look at what they (the terrorists) put on their website did those killings because of our invasion of Iraq…they gave their lives, they said what they believed,” the former mayor of London said.

“They took Londoners’ lives in protest against our invasion of Iraq.”


It’s hard to not feel that, yes, it was an act of generosity, of martyrdom, of truth speaking to power…

Perhaps Giles Fraser could continue the lines of his Christmas Carol,

Glory to God in the highest
Glory to God evermore
Good news, great joy for all
Melody breaks through the silence

Marina Hyde in today’s Guardian, with Christian Charity, dissects Ken’s finely honed remarks.

Like Austin Powers after the cryogenic unfreezing process, Ken Livingstone has no inner monologue. Or if he had one, it was extinguished some time around 2006. The absence of any kind of filter makes Powers say out loud: “My God, Vanessa’s got a fabulous body … I bet she shags like a minx.” With Ken, it’s contemporaneous stuff, like how the 7/7 London terrorists “gave their lives” in protest. Although he can do the sexytime too: he once leered at a female journalist: “You should come home with me – I’m like a broom handle in the morning”. And still people persist in the nonsense that politics is showbiz for ugly people. If you’re not turned on by that, you’re either dead or a Tory. Which is the same thing – amirite, comrades?

She concludes,

Ken’s political superpower is a total inability to feel even a scintilla of shame, which is why he was back on the horse for his Question Time outing so quickly after last week’s forced apology, and will doubtless have something else groan-inducing up his sleeve for the runup to Christmas. Maybe Labour’s merchandise unit could produce a Ken-themed advent calendar, with a piece of signature artless spite behind each door. On 24 December, you get to open his brain and reveal the festive message: “Jesus was a terrorist. Now either get undressed or piss off.”

As Ken Livingstone stonewalls calls for his good self to piss off perhaps he will seek advice from his one-time Policy Director of Economic and Business Policy, John Ross, of the International Marxist Group.

Ross is a dab hand at putting a spin on difficult issues.

Recently he wrote, How China made the world’s largest contribution to human rights

China should be supported precisely because of its contribution to human rights. China has done more to improve the overall situation not only of its own people but of humanity than any other country in the world – as the facts show.

Ross, like Livingstone, is also a great patriot,

I love my country deeply, and the enormous contributions it has made to world culture and science…

The former London Mayor loves himself deeply as well.

Let’s hope that his Yuletide carol singing with Gilles Fraser is a happy one.

 Despite Fraser and Livingstone’s efforts the Tendance remains opposed to Cameron’s plans to intervene in Syria.

Meanwhile a very different left approach (which we signaled when it appeared in French) has now been translated.

It is absolutely essential reading:

Friday 27 November 2015, by François Sabado, Pierre Rousset.

Whatever the role of imperialism, the Islamic State is responsible for its actions.


All fundamentalist movements do not have the same bases, the same strategy. Are some of them, such as the Islamic State, fascists? They do not maintain the same (complex) relations with sectors of the imperialist bourgeoisies as in Europe in the 1930s, but they reproduce them with sectors of the bourgeoisie of “regional powers”, such as, in the Middle East, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey … They attract the “human dust” of decaying societies as well as elements of the “middle classes”, of a “petty bourgeoisie”, of educated workers. They use terror “from below” to impose their order. They dehumanize those who are different and make scapegoats of them, as yesterday the Nazis did with Jews, Gypsies or homosexuals. They eradicate all forms of democracy and of progressive people’s organizations. Religious exaltation occupies the same function as national exaltation in the interwar period and enables them, in addition, to deploy internationally



Written by Andrew Coates

November 28, 2015 at 12:13 pm

9 Responses

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  1. One L in Giles – he’s a posh Anglican cleric – not a fifteenth century century French nobleman ritually sacrificing peasant children to the Satanic powers (Gilles de Rais – look him up – fascinating chap).

    Really could have done without the broomhandle line when I was still digesting a late breakfast.

  2. Should have known, what with Giles Corner in Ipswich.

    re; breakfast.

    Hyde says this, ” Speaking of his fondness for a few drinks – his affinity with newts has always seemed a sledgehammer act of self-satire – Ken once reasoned: “I don’t think I have ever reached Winston Churchill’s level, and it didn’t impair him in the destruction of the greatest evil facing humanity.”

    Perhaps a whisky with the bacon and eggs, as is said, might help.

    Andrew Coates

    November 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

  3. Galloway is the only left candidate for Mayor. That traitor to his faith Sadiq Khan is pro bombing i think, or else he doesn’t say much about it.

    Galloway for Mayor!


    November 29, 2015 at 1:31 am

  4. Dean

    “Galloway is the only left candidate for Mayor. That traitor to his faith Sadiq Khan is pro bombing i think, or else he doesn’t say much about it.”

    Galloway for Mayor!

    Put simply Galloway is just an opportunistic turd who because he is minted will probably self-fund his latest vanity project to become mayor. Cannot see crowd source funding going very far beyond the swivel eyed.

    Sadiq Khan a “faith traitor”,? Dean, this sort of theological authoritarianism really does kill people in large numbers, have a word with yourself !!


    November 29, 2015 at 2:40 pm

  5. The more islamist bigots like Dean and Galloway traduce Khan, the more I like him – and the more likely he is to win!

    Jim Denham

    November 29, 2015 at 9:42 pm

  6. Despite all the bad, bad things he does, Galloway is the only (so far) Left candidate for Mayor. We all know what is wrong with Galloway but there is a lot more wrong with Blairite Khan..

    On basic socialist issues e.g. jobs, pensions, housing; Galloway is Corbynite and so much better than ‘moderate’ (sic) Khan.

    On international matters, sure Galloway can be wrong and even on the wrong side but he also has an ability to go for the war criminals in a way that complict Khan would not dream of doing. See Galloway’s excellent ‘You killed a million people in Iraq’ to Jacqui Smith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpIwMt5JAQ8

  7. Khan is the unions’ candidate: he has given firm and specific assurances to Unite and other unions regarding the terms and conditions of their members in London. How the fuck is that scum-bag Galloway pro-working class in any way whatsoever?

    Jim Denham

    November 30, 2015 at 2:09 pm

  8. The Sabado/Rousset piece is excellent. Never thought I’d say this, but — long live the Fourth International!


    December 1, 2015 at 5:16 am

  9. They are deep deep comrades.

    In our own hour of need they wrote a wonderful defence of the beloved Charlie Hebdo.

    “We are all Charlie” burst out as a cry of human solidarity against the murders. It captured a range of opinions. The idea of a “working-class Charlie” was even put forward – in order to link solidarity with the murdered journalists with the need to mobilize in defense of social rights. The formulation is open to debate, but the idea is a correct one in that it seeks to inject social and democratic content into the anger and sadness.

    This is the groundswell from French society that has been expressed since January 7th and anti-capitalists should be part of it, engaging in dialogue with the millions of people who have been involved. These were not reactionary demonstrations. The dominant themes were not support for cross-party national unity or the law-and-order and anti-democratic measures announced by the government. Society went into action, spontaneously, and with a great deal of confusion, but in a progressive direction all the same. ”


    Rousset then wrote this,

    “For many years now, sections of the Western radical Left, and not minor ones, have cast the strong rise of fundamentalism in the Muslim world in a very positive light – as a (more or less distorted) expression of anti-imperialism, whereas they are actually (as in other religions) reactionary and counter-revolutionary currents.

    More broadly, a number of currents have adopted the detestable habit of only defending the victims of their “main enemy” (their government, their imperialism), without worrying about the victims of the “enemies of their enemies” – in this case, fundamentalist Islam. They do so in the name of exclusive “priorities” or, worse, on the basis that defending such victims amounts to an act of complicity with imperialism. We should note in passing that the same kind of reasoning can be applied to victims of a so-called “anti-imperialist” dictatorship such as the Assad regime in Syria.”

    “he British SWP pushed things particularly far in this area. The Central Committee statement released following the Charlie Hebdo massacre is written from start to finish in such a way as to minimize the responsibility of the assassins, even if the attack is described as “wrong and completely unacceptable” and the killings as “horrific”. Alongside imperialism, Charlie Hebdo comes off as a major guilty party due to its “provocative and racist attacks on Islam,” adding for good measure that while “that does not justify the killings, but it is essential background.” The only task of the hour is therefore to “unite against racism and Islamophobia”. [12] It’s easy to understand why the SWP would react in this way, given that it has to erase its tracks and blind readers to its own responsibilities. It was one of the main organizations of the radical Left to describe the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as the expression of a new anti-imperialism. And when women in Britain itself called on progressive forces to support them against the fundamentalist threat, the SWP made it nearly impossible for them to get a hearing on the Left.”


    Andrew Coates

    December 1, 2015 at 11:31 am

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