Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Eddie Dempsey Affair latest turn: Owen Jones attacks “caricature of working-class identity.”

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Image result for eddie dempsey right to hate them tweet

Red-Brown Front Defends Dempsey.

For those who do not know Eddie Dempsey is a virulent supporter of Brexit. He has participated in the red-Brown Full Brexit, which brings together Spiked supporters and members of the Brexit Party (including James Heartfield, candidate for Nigel Farage in Islington North), Communist Party of Britain members, Leave Labour, Blue Labour, anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaign and leader of  Arron Banks funded Trades Unionists Against the EU, Paul Embery, Counterfire, Funny Money sovereigntist  Thomas Fazi, Wolfgang Streeck, New Left Review Stalwart and a ‘left’ national populist, Prof Costas Lapavitsas, of a Greek leftist micro party, backers of the Socialist Labour Party (Scargill’s lot) and many, many, even odder balls and lot, and lots, more Spiked writers.

Spiked carried this story in March,

Why we’re campaigning for a Full Brexit

Bob From Brockley analysed this red-brown front:

One LM initiative in the post-Referendum period was “The Full Brexit”, an avowedly left-wing pressure group launched in the summer of 2018 to reframe the Brexit narrative as one about “democracy” rather than just bashing immigrants. Alongside a smattering of Blue Labour social conservatives and Lexit Marxists, a good half of its 20 founding signatories are RCP network members. Academic Chris Bickerton has been a Spiked contributor since 2005, when he was a PhD student at St John’s College, Oxford. Philip Cunliffe, Furedi’s colleague at the University of Kent, is another long term Spiked activist. Pauline Hadaway, another academic, is a veteran of the Living Marxism days. James Heartfield was a paid RCP organiser. Lee Jones seems to have been recruited at Oxford around the same time as Bickerton. Tara McCormack is an RCP veteran, as is Suke WoltonBruno Waterfield write for Living Marxism. Other signatories aren’t part of the network but have been promoted by Spiked: Paul Embery and Thomas Fazi for example (Fazi is also connected to the 5 Star Movement and recently retweeted an antisemitic tweet from someone with “Nazbol” in his user name). Many are also involved in Briefings for Brexit, which has several RCP veterans on its advisory committee, and some are involved with Civitas. This is a peculiar form of left-right crossover politics.

The RCP then played a key role in the creation of the Brexit Party, again providing “left” cover for a deeply right-wing project. Otto English in Byline Times documents how, in February 2019, a film-maker, Kevin Laitak, a disciple of Furedi, began turning up at local Leavers of Britain groups, telling campaigners that he was making a short film about rank-and-file Brexiters. He then recruited activists who might consider standing for the new BXP, who were then called by a woman called Lesley Katon. Katon told would-be recruits that she was the co-founder of a group called ‘Invoke Democracy Now’, whose activists, English notes, included Claire Fox, as well as Luke Gittos, the legal editor of Spiked, Brendan O’Neill, its editor, Living Marxism alumni Tessa Mayes and Munira Mirza, and Mick Hume, former editor of Living Marxism (for more on Invoke Democracy Now, see Colin Lawson). Katon herself has several LM connections, and among the candidates emerging from this process were In addition to her client Claire Fox; Katon’s colleague David Bull who spoke at a Spiked event in 2003; James Heartfield, a long-time RCP cadre; Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, a former RCP activist and Spiked contributor; and in Scotland long time Spiked writer Stuart Waiton. Of these, only Fox was placed high up enough a regional list to get sent to Brussels.

Dempsey came to people’s attention when he spoke at a Full Brexit event.

Amongst the fall out from this speech was this.

For daring to criticise Dempsey Clive Lewis had this to face:

Clive Lewis expelled from RMT parliamentary group for ‘defamatory’ attack on Eddie Dempsey

Then there was this:

Ash Sarkar just No Platformed a pro-Brexit trade unionist

The middle-class left gets more ridiculous by the day.

The middle-class left gets more ridiculous by the day. Today, Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar announced she has pulled out of speaking at an upcoming People’s Assembly demo, apparently because she couldn’t bear to share a platform with pro-Brexit trade unionist Eddie Dempsey.

Spiked commented,

Bourgeois ‘leftists’ have No Platformed a working-class trade unionist. All because he supports Brexit. There could be no better example of how detached these people are from real radical politics and working-class interests.

The Morning star echoed Spiked:

RMT’s Eddie Dempsey calls for unity against Boris Johnson after ‘no-platform’ bid by Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar

Despite his enthusiastic participation in this Red-Brown front, set up by Spiked, Dempsey makes this bald-faced claim.

Today sees this released:

This is a core section,

A few weeks ago, both me and Novara Media editor Ash Sarkar were invited to speak at a rally organised by the People’s Assembly. As it turned out, I’d double booked, but I was lobbied particularly by BME activists to withdraw, which Ash quickly did. The reason: the presence of RMT activist Eddie Dempsey, who once argued that “the one thing that unites” those who turn up at Tommy Robinson protests “is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.” Now we socialists have our own critique of the “liberal left” — principally their support for market economics — but that is not what Tommy Robinson supporters (or “fascists”, to use shorthand) hate them for. No, it is for having perceived anti-racist, pro-migrant, anti-Islamophobia politics.

What makes it even more egregious is that Dempsey folds anyone on the left who isn’t pro-Brexit into his “liberal left” category, including both myself and Ash Sarkar. We were expected to stand as an ally with someone who believes fascists are right to hate us. For those of us at risk of violence from Tommy Robinson’s fascist supporters for espousing our socialist politics — indeed the last People’s Assembly protest I spoke at, they surrounded me chanting “Jonesy as a homo” then attempted to punch me in the face — it is a lot to ask us to stand together as comrades and allies with an individual who believes these hateful thugs are right to hate us. (We’ve since been accused of ‘no platforming’ Dempsey, including by the right-wing libertarian Spiked website, and Sarkar was inundated with racist abuse: in actual fact, we simply disinvited ourselves — no-one is forced to share a platform — and turned down an offer by the protest organisers to remove Dempsey as a speaker).

Dempsey’s perverse argument rests on the assumption that Tommy Robinson’s supporters represent a meaningful, if wrongheaded, constituency of working-class Britain. It is a belief which should have been put to bed by this convicted fraudster, thug and grifter getting 2.2% of the vote in the North West during the European elections: most working class people detest this far-right businessman. An even more extreme worldview is expounded by Dempsey’s ally Paul Embery — a pro-Brexit union activist suspended by the Fire Brigades Union’s national executive — who opposes equal marriage, believing it alienates “traditional Labour voters”, opposes trans rights, and claimed that Labour’s demand for revoking Geoffrey Boycott’s knighthood on account of his domestic abuse conviction had “alienated the whole of Yorkshire.”

But this caricature of working-class identity is simply not based on the facts. Take Brexit: a debate often simplistically portrayed as Leave = working class, Remain = middle class. This is partly because of a ‘ABC1C2DE’ social classification system which has a lot to answer for: ABC1 lumps FTSE 100 board members in with public sector workers as ‘middle class’, while C2DE — which is weighted towards pensioners — is used as a working-class social indicator. But even using this profoundly flawed system, most working-class people under 35 and working class BME people voted for Remain. We are told that “the Labour heartlands voted Leave”: why Liverpool, Manchester or indeed London are excluded from “Labour heartlands” is not explained. Where does the Scottish working class fit in all of this?

Red-Brown Eddie responds.




Here is another example of Dempsey’s activism.



4 Responses

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  1. Andrew Coates

    September 16, 2019 at 4:07 pm

  2. […] Coatesy goes into more detail here. […]

  3. Owen Jones can’t win an argument with a shat weasel like Morgan.

    Bell. End.

    Charlotte Church

    July 12, 2020 at 1:21 pm

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