Tendance Coatesy

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John Rees and Lindsey German on Farage and the Brexit Party – Don’t mention George Galloway!

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Image result for john rees and lindsey german glaooway

Rees and German in Happier Days.

John Rees and Lindsey German have been key people in the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Stop the War Coalition (StWC).

As effective leader of the People’s Assembly and  Convener of the StWC they have played a significant role in the most important left mobilisations of the new millennium.

Rees and German, who are also leaders of the revolutionary socialist Counterfire (a split from the Socialist Workers Party in 2010), campaigned for Brexit.

Their call for a “People’s Brexit” has got absolutely no echo in the labour movement and the wider public.

The demand for a General Election is a to will for something not in the gift of the Labour opposition.

Now they are trying to come to terms with the rise of Nigel Farage’s Plc, the Brexit Party.

They do not mention Farage backer Galloway, with whom they have a long and close bond, once.

The growth of Nigel Farage’s party is remarkable, but not unstoppable, argues JOHN REES (Morning Star)

Rees explains the high scores for Farage in the opinion polls.

Leave voters have no effective, unequivocal, voice in establishment politics. After three long years of watching the political Establishment twist and turn, squirm and prevaricate, the political system is held in even lower esteem than it was before the referendum took place.

In other words, everything that produced the Leave vote in the first place has become worse in the last three years while the political representation of those who voted Leave is still non-existent.

The secret of the Brexit Party’s success is that it has fill this void.

The Counterfire leader avoids any in-depth discussion about the Brexit Party, part of a wider, a Europe-wide, rise in national populism, its class basis, and the way a “virtual” populism can capture a voting audience. Or how the ‘sovereigntist’ politics of this brand of “insurgency” mix patriotic national “taking back control” with Hard right policies.

He  misses out promoting his own hobby-horse, the defunct People’s Brexit, though loses no time in underlining that Labour has missed the boat for its “divisions”.

The Labour Party is divided and appears to many Leave voters as if it is permanently held hostage by the majority Remain Parliamentary Labour Party and constantly pressured into compromise by the second referendum campaign.

So Leave voters have no effective, unequivocal, voice in establishment politics.

Now what might an unequivocal voice be?

Obviously for Rees one that opposes, those who “dismiss Leave voters as knuckle-dragging racists who simply have to be exposed to the expertly informed opinions of Michael Heseltine, Tony Blair, Vince Cable, and Caroline Lucas until they except the revealed truth.”

No mention of Love Socialism, Hate Brexit.

No mention of the strong left opposition to Brexit, and for a People’s Vote.

The People’s assembly leader has some interest in what he claims is a “couple” (actually four, Claire Fox, Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, James Heartfield and Stuart Waiton, ex-Revolutionary Communist Party members, now writing for Spiked), of left-wing Farage fanatics.

Farage has even managed to convince a couple of gullible and/or desperate former leftists to act as window-dressing for his own free-market, NHS privatising, xenophobia.

Honesty would compel him at this moment to register George Galloway’s support for Farage.

The far-right Express reported on April the 24th.

Galloway reveals why he has MUST support Brexit Party – ‘no other party I could vote for’

BREXITEER George Galloway has said it is “not a difficult choice” to support the Brexit Party in the event that Britain is made to stand in the European elections.

There is little doubt that years of close collaboration with the Man in the fedora explain this gap.

Rees stood as a candidate for Galloway’s Respect Party.

In 2012 Counterfire hailed this result, the ‘Bradford Spring’:

Galloway victory: a landslide against war and austerity

Years of dishonestly working with somebody widely known for what he is all too visibly today have left their mark.

Rees recommends,

Indeed, in order to avoid the appearance that Labour had colluded in a class collaborationist relationship which extracted the Tory government from the very deep pit into which it has dug itself, a more or less total surrender by the government would be necessary.

That isn’t going happen, so the negotiations need to end now because all they are doing is sending a message to disillusioned voters that the Labour Party is part of a political Establishment which has already lost their trust.

In short, it makes Farage look like the insurgent outsider and Labour look like pork-barreling insiders.

Fair enough many would say.

But this?

A return to mass rallies would be one vital step in restarting the popular dynamic of support for Corbyn.

But more is required. The essential element now missing — it’s a direct relationship with the mass movements from which Corbyn has historically drawn his strength.

Efforts to conjure up this mass movement by the People’s Assembly have come to little more than a few thousand strong demonstration in London earlier this year.

He commends “the protest outside the Tory Party conference in Manchester in the autumn called by the People’s Assembly and the trade unions.

What has changed since January? 

Lindsey German argues, as one would expect, in the same vein.

An insurgent right can only be fought by an insurgent left – weekly briefing

She notes of the Brexit Party,

Headed by the far-right politician Nigel Farage, the party is projecting itself as an honest, democratic outfit, fielding non-white candidates and some from the erstwhile left in order to appeal to voters across the board who voted leave.

Again no mention of Galloway.

German also has a history of work with the man in the jaunty head-gear.

Famously she defended this decision about the Respect Manifesto in 2005,

George Galloway did not like what he saw. In particular, he objected to the twin questions of gay rights and abortion, which, he insisted, would jeopardise hundreds, if not thousands, of votes in the East End. It was not so much the ordinary muslim voter who would be alienated, but the leaders of the mosque and groups like the Muslim Association of Britain, who might withdraw their backing and influence their followers to do the same.

..

As for the non-appearance of LGBT rights in the manifesto, comrade German made no direct reference to it, but she said: “The idea that this was not an issue is not true – we always took it up.” The other parties were always bringing it up, according to comrade German, claiming that Respect was pro-gay – and despite the fact that they had dropped it from the manifesto too!

Comrade German concluded, totally disingenuously, that the motion had been moved “in bad faith”. No, comrade, you voted for it in bad faith, seeing as you have no intention, if your behaviour at conference is anything to go by, of actually abiding by it.

Notoriously she had said: “I’m in favour of defending gay rights, but I am not prepared to have it as a shibboleth” (see Weekly Worker July 10 2003).

Gay rights ‘shibboleth’

German cannot resist her own version of Rees’ snide attack on opponents of Brexit – including again, if not mentioned, the internationalist left.

Those who have been pushing for a second referendum seem particularly perplexed by this but it has always been obvious that treating the 2016 result as if it simply hadn’t happened, or treating the result as the work of ignorant and stupid people, would help to strengthen the likes of Farage.

No text is cited for the “ignorant and stupid” remark.

And,

The problem is that Labour has been looking less and less like an insurgency. That’s bad enough, but now Farage is claiming the insurgency mantle. Labour needs to get back out on the streets, arguing and campaigning across the country.

Slogans about insurgency – as it can be conjured up by an act of will – cannot hide the fact that those  backing Brexit have contributed to the left’s difficulties.

This is the way forward.

 

 

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5 Responses

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  1. More political confusionism:

    Andrew Coates

    May 14, 2019 at 1:36 pm

  2. I didn’t notice a “Vote Labour” message in that article. Are Counterfire going for a boycott as well?

    Oh and Scargill’s “Socialist Labour Party” marched with the Brexit Party in Manchester, btw.

    John Rogan

    May 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm

  3. Apart from Rees publishing in the Boycott Labour Morning Star I did not notice a call to vote Labour either.

    Andrew Coates

    May 14, 2019 at 5:12 pm

  4. Hold the Front Page!

    Down With the EU! No Participation in Its Pseudo-Parliament!

    For a Socialist United States of Europe, United on a Voluntary Basis!

    The following statement was issued on April 21 by the International Executive Committee of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist).

    The ICL’s British section supports Brexit and called for a vote to “leave” in the 2016 referendum. In contrast, Labour “left” leader Jeremy Corbyn betrayed his working-class supporters by campaigning against Brexit and more recently has come out for a second referendum, in defiance of the vote of the populace. With austerity continuing to stalk the workers of Europe, the reformists’ servile support for the EU has fueled the growth of the far right and fascists.

    The ICL’s opposition to the EU and its “parliament” is proletarian, internationalist and revolutionary.

    Andrew Coates

    May 14, 2019 at 6:02 pm

  5. Soft-pedalling *advanced* and contentious social issues like wimmin’s rights, gay rights, abortion rights and so on has a long history; the Labour canvassers in Irish parts of Liverpool were told very clearly to dodge all discussion of such issues wherever possible.

    Billy Corr

    May 15, 2019 at 11:51 pm


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