Tendance Coatesy

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Galloway’s Former Bagman, Kevin Ovenden, Gives Advice on Fighting Tommy Robinson to Another Europe is Possible.

with 17 comments

Image result for Kevin Ovenden and george galloway

Ovenden in Previous Unity Offensive with Labour.

Equating fascism with Brexit is disastrous, irresponsible and gives a hand up to Tommy Robinson

Kevin Ovenden is George Galloway’s former Bagman in Respect.

His most recent experience of fighting fascism was his call to fight to the last French person against Marine Le Pen, but not to vote against the Front National in the second round of the French Presidential elections.

This is actually the moment of the fighting left. The agency for rupturing into a half century political settlement has been someone whose politics are actually closer to the patriotic social democratic left than they are to anti-capitalist revolutionaries.

(Here one suspects Ovendon does not actually speak the language)

But the rupture is made, in any case – égal (sic) And that poses a challenge for those of us who are of the anti-capitalist left. Our politics – in a practical, and therefore real sense – were formed out of 1968. In the intervening years it has been easy for them to become buried under sedimentations of formulae and reflexes built up in decades of relative social peace, punctuated by minor eruptions. And with each subsiding of an eruption, so the sediment thickened.

It does mean breaking once and for all with a satellite status orbiting the Socialist Party and the Communist Party. They are dying stars. Out of their orbit is the only way to avoid going down with them.

France: an historic moment for the left

Today Ovenden is all in favour of unity with interstellar social democracy, the “left leadership of the Labour Party”.

What he is against (a mild way of describing an incontinent rant) is Michael Chessum and Another Europe is Possible .

Arguments tying opposition to fascism with opposition to Brexit makes out half the country as Tommy Robinson supporters. This is idiotic in the extreme, argues Kevin Ovenden

His charge?

The demo against Brexit and Fascism, called in opposition to Tommy Robinson’s rally Against the ‘Brexit Betrayal’ is wrong to link Brexit and Robinson.

(it) lumps together fascism with Leave – a stupid and dangerous thing to do – and it talks of mobilising only “Remainers”. Most people on the left want to unite the labour movement and working class. This AEIP operation wants to continue to divide it – in just the way that its paymasters in the second referendum campaign want to: weakening left-led Labour.

One assumes that the Labour Party Conference decision to leave a Second Referendum as a possible ‘option’ was a sign of Labour members, and John McDonnell’s  interest in the possibility is also weakening Labour.

This “transparently anti-left intervention out of the Blair-Campbell stable” ” suicidal sectarianism” is no doubt unwelcome for Counterfire, which pushes the doomed ‘People’s Brexit”, something few are interested in, even if they have heard of it.

According to the former leading figure of Respect, after having been a long-standing activist in the Socialist Workers Party, Another Europe is saying, “Brexit equals fascism and today’s Labour leaders are “social Brexiters”.

“One of the critical mistakes of the left in the early 1930s was not to recognise the specific danger of fascism and to refer to social democratic leaders as “social fascists”.”

For those not as familiar with the history of Stalinism he is accusing Another Europe of adopting the tactic of the Comintern during the late 1920s, during the ‘Third Period”. This, the Communists asserted, was a time of intensified class against class clashes – following the second period of relative capitalist stablisation, following the first period of the upheaval unleashed by the October Revolution,

“We are witnessing Third Period Liberalism.”


The idea that UKIP adviser Robinson’s Rally needs to be confronted by those who are opposed to his calls against ‘Brexit Betrayal” would seem a reasonable one to most people.

But not to Ovenden of the “fighting left” and his pro-Brexit mates in the revolutionary socialist Counterfire.

He (and he is far from the first from this lot to use the allegation) refers to the Other Europe is Possible “paymasters” and alleges that we are on “the Blairite dime”, that is we are paid for to mount a ” transparently anti-left intervention out of the Blair-Campbell stable.”

He claims that that we should go into the Robinson base and argue.

How can we argue if we are saddled with having to say, “We agree with you lot about leaving the EU, but please we want a nice anti-racist Brexit.”


17 Responses

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  1. I don’t know why you give prominence to the likes of Ovenden, He was and is Trotskyist hack and will never change. He is a joiner of groups that being the only way to give any meaning to his life.

    Dave Roberts

    December 2, 2018 at 6:38 am

  2. Ovenden is a total opportunist and seems happy to hitch his wagon to group since leaving the SWP and now it is Counterfire, one of the more laughable sects that emerged from the splits in the SWP over the past decade.

    In truth there should be variety of opinions in the anti fascist movement and anti fascists can and should mobilize separately on the day. Calls for so called “Unity” (always overrated) are in effect just calls for Pro Brexit Trotskyites to dominate the anti fascist movement. For these groups actual anti fascism is a secondary concern. They have other agendas.

    A variety of groups organising on the day can have the effect of diverting police resources and make the anti fascists less easy to control (Good !) and anti fascists have a choice about what demo to attend.


    December 2, 2018 at 8:29 am

  3. Did he leave the SWP or was he expelled because he went with Galloway as paid assistant or whatever? Apparently he was considered black for some reason and was an organiser of black issues for the SWP. Any news of Martin Smith, Comrade Delta?

    Dave Roberts

    December 2, 2018 at 11:11 am

  4. Counterfire is a unique organisation on the left, in that it is a grouping that split from the SWP that has turned out politically *worse* than the SWP: that takes some doing!

    Jim Denham

    December 2, 2018 at 11:21 am

  5. Did Rees, German and co resign or were they expelled? Whta’s happened to the Socialist Party, they have been very quiet of late?

    Dave Roberts

    December 2, 2018 at 12:16 pm

  6. I’ve been sceptical about the Labour leadership backing a People’s Vote (with Remain option) but this article makes me think that it’s more likely than before especially if the UKGovt/EU deal is voted down on 11 Dec.

    If there is to be another referendum between Theresa May’s Deal and Remain (with No Deal ruled out), I would expect Corbyn and Labour to back Remain arguing the case for strong EU Reform.

    I look forward to how the Lexiters will decide to vote though – will they back “Tory Brexit” or “Corbyn’s Remain and Reform”?


    John Rogan

    December 2, 2018 at 5:49 pm

  7. Rees and German and Ovenden resigned over the fall out between Respect/Galloway and the SWP. Rees and German started counterfire as a Media/Online influencer project in tandem with Stop the War. Ovenden became a Galloway hanger on.
    Martin Smith is still doing his Phd at Liverpool Hope University where senior SWPers there got him a place (the SWP have influence). He will go onto lecture.
    He runs a very active Blog which comments mainly about anti fascism. It is believed he never actually left the SWP (although technically he may be a non member in terms of paying subs). He still advises the UAF/SUTR and is a “back seat driver” in terms of strategy and analysis for those front groups. He still writes for Socialist Worker but his articles do not carry his name obviously. The SWP will attempt to bring him back formally in the next five years I reckon.


    December 2, 2018 at 10:01 pm

  8. […] fascists” and saw the soft left as a more dangerous enemy than actual Nazis. (Kevin Ovenden accuses AEIP of “Third Period liberalism, but there is a bit of a ring of the Third Period from the […]

  9. I’m not convinced anybody is protesting Tommy Robinson in order to offer any effective opposition. Counter protests aren’t there to convince anyone and will only succeed in publicising his demonstration. What we’re seeing here is anti-fascism divorced from any working class base and posturing for leadership of its own small leftist milieu.

    Seriously though – handing the far right the mantle of saviours of Brexit is truly insane.


    December 9, 2018 at 11:10 am

  10. Tommy Robinson has joined the wrong party. If he wanted to join a radically racist and fascist party, he should have joined Momentum. The Labour Party officially died when anti-Semitic and racist Jeremy Corbyn became leader


    December 9, 2018 at 11:15 am

  11. Not only only are all these loony-bin groups divorced from the working class. They are also divorced from reality.


    December 9, 2018 at 11:20 am

  12. It’s good to see the “everyone who disagrees with me is a racist” thinking consume the idiot conspiratorial centre Saskia (and Howie), we just need to expunge it from the idiot conspiratorial left.


    December 9, 2018 at 11:39 am

  13. Andrew Coates

    December 9, 2018 at 11:51 am

  14. If you have abandoned any sensible political strategy, what is left of your anti-fascsm? Physical confrontation? But that’s not what is going on here. Genuinely – is there anything to this other than posturing?


    December 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

  15. Andrew Coates

    December 9, 2018 at 1:37 pm

  16. #BuildUnionsNotBorders with who though? Europe already is borderless internally with all countries bar one notable exception having joined the Schengen Area. It is only the UK that is the odd man out having decided to opt out.

    Another Europe

    December 9, 2018 at 2:08 pm

  17. The UK (and Ireland) doesn’t have look stupid sat out there on their lonesome clinging on to their anachronistic border like they are scared of a Roman Invasion or summat. Get with the times! Tear the bloody thing down!

    Open Borders

    December 9, 2018 at 7:34 pm

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