Tendance Coatesy

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Tariq Ali Attacks John McDonnell and Welcomes Prospect of “Independent Labour Party” Breakaway,

with 9 comments

The coming British revolution: Ali, Tariq: 9780224006309: Amazon.com: Books

Tariq Ali, “a Sniff of Spring”.

I met Tariq Ali on an underground Train,

Like a bloated Red Mole in considerable pain,

He said he’d been there since a quarter past nine,

Trying to Find the Majority Line.


IMG, IMG, the Fear and the Dread of the Whole Bourgeoisie,

IMG, IMG, Volumes and Volumes of Bankrupt Theory.

East End Music Hall Song, 1970s.

How we used to love that ditty, down on the Mile End Road!

Now Tariq Ali has popped up again, a master left strategist. New Left Review have launched a Blog, Sidecar, a rival to respected organs, such as TC and Shiraz. Who should be one of the first off the starting bloc but Tariq Ali, Starmer’s War.

The young upstart begins by noting that, “the forces unleashed since 2008 are still in flux.”

How true, how very true.

He turns to Labour,

Then came the 2017 election, which saw a Labour vote higher than the last two achieved by Blair, depriving May of her majority. Many party officials and MPs were hoping for a crushing Labour defeat. Their disappointment could be seen on their faces. The BBC and Guardian were equally distressed. How could this have happened? An informal agreement was reached. Everything possible must be done to make sure Corbyn was defeated. It was. He was.

Labour’s 2019 defeat was not all down to this crew, he wisely adds.

The very active public campaigner for Brexit, who cast his ballot to Leave, notes that his wishes should have been followed by Labour but were not,

I’ve argued before that Labour should have stuck to the line that the referendum result had to be respected, adding that since it was not of their making,

Alas, it was the dammed McDonnell who fudged it,

The weakest link turned out to be Corbyn’s supposedly loyal ally and Shadow Chancellor. But John McDonnell – hailed by the soft left as ‘the most radical politician of his generation’ (see Jeremy Gilbert in OpenDemocracy, Owen Jones in the Guardian, James Butler in the LRB) – had already shown his colours at the time of the Manchester bombing in the run-up to the 2017 election

The former Red Moler continues in this vein for some time, some very long time,.

McDonnell, ” caving in to the well-funded Remainer lobby – led, of course, by Keir Starmer,” Starmer, O Starmer! ” “claque “”the rights protected were mainly those of police and spies” ” KCB for his efforts”,.

Once with Starmer’s  hands on the levers of power, , “The Tory-voting Jewish Board of Deputies – if not the hyper-corrupt, hard-right Netanyahu himself – was given veto power over Labour foreign policy.” ‘If not’, a sage addition to the thought… Now,  ” the real feather in Starmer’s cap would be expelling Corbyn from the party.” ” Starmer’s purge is neither competent, professional, lawyerly or sober, but ill-considered, clumsily executed and open to legal challenge.”

After this cascade of adjectives about a real problem, Labour suspensions and expulsions that many, rightly oppose, Ali comes to this damming finale.

Just like Blair and Brown, he offers no serious opposition to Conservative policies and sucks up to Washington. Then, it was Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, mutatis mutandis, it is China. In July Starmer met up with US Secretary of State Pompeo to reassure him that Labour was back on the rails. As proof, he told Pompeo that Britain needed to be harder on China, not just banning Huawei’s 5G technology but imposing sanctions on Chinese officials suspected of human-rights abuses.

Such a bad idea…

What is the right response to the Starmerism?

 There are three years left before the next general elections. An Independent Labour Party with even half a dozen MPs and a membership base of perhaps 50,000 – that number have left already since Starmer took over – could mark a real advance.

Ali sees light at the end of the tunnel, Corbyn has moved:

His newly announced Peace and Justice Project is a positive move; amid the winter gloom of Starmer and Covid, a sniff of spring. It is a multi-issue initiative, open to those inside and outside the Labour Party, in the UK and abroad; over 20,000 people have signed up already. There will be teething troubles, no doubt, but the creation of a new political platform and online movement is a step forward.

Let us pass over the attack on John McDonnell, a serious internationalist politician genuinely liked by many on the left. What exactly are the forces Ali imagines in his Independent Labour Party? Tina Werkmann’s new network?  Labour against the Witch-hunt led by Jackie Walker, the Weekly Worker and Tony Greenstein? Lord Voldemort, Chris Williamson, and his mates in TUSC?  The Staliniens of the CPB, and his mate Andrew Murray? Democratic Socialism Alliance (DSA) forum? The likes of Massoud Shadjareh, a stooge of the Iranian regime and one of the backers of Corbyn’s New Project? Counterfire? They couldn’t even run a coffee shop…..

And the fact that the likes of Ali ‘welcome’ such a move, Ali, International Marxist Group, Yeltsin supporter, Liberal Democrat, Green, and more recently Jeremy Corbyn’s best friend.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

9 Responses

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  1. The full paragraph on China is worse than printed above. It reads “he told Pompeo that Britain needed to be harder on China, not just banning Huawei’s 5G technology but imposing sanctions on Chinese officials suspected of human-rights abuses. But these are different times. Politics are much more volatile than they were in the 90s and there are signs of opposition.” So my textual deconstruction tells me that Tariq sees those “signs of opposition” (to fighting against human rights abuses, martial law in Hong Kong and the ethnic progrom being visited on the near 7 million Uighurs) as a POSITIVE development.

    david walsh

    December 17, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    • Surprised he didn’t; mention his swim with the Great Helmsman in the Yangtze River…

      I getting bored of trying something short and clear about his views on China, there so much ranting about Israel, and the only person in France who’s ever heard of him – Edwy Plenal,

      This looks a bit of a signpost;

      Andrew Coates

      December 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm

  2. Lots of personal vendettas here we could all do without


    December 17, 2020 at 4:44 pm

  3. I loathe the idea of Tariq Ali. Never met him, never even heard him speak. Yet he’s around, omnipresent for 50 bloody years. Like some never ending Nothing Hill dinner party. Still offering his ideas long after the coffee has politely been served. I’m just tired of these careerists.

    John Chesterfield

    December 17, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    • Age can not wither him, nor custom stale, his vast pretentions.

      The way in which Ali talks about a genuine left-wing politician like John McDonnell, gives advice on Labour Party and left strategy……. as if he is more than our equal, or indeed our equal at all, is the stuff of legend.

      Andrew Coates

      December 18, 2020 at 10:17 am

  4. An excellent post, Andrew. You’ve said just about everything that needs to be said about this self-important has-been. I’ve taken the liberty of reblogging your wise words at https://shirazsocialism.wordpress.com

    Jim Denham

    December 18, 2020 at 10:11 am

  5. Slightly off-topic, but still … have you seen the editorial in today’s (Dec 19-20) Morning Star? It’s a cracker even by their standards. It seems to blame the EU for the plight of the Chagos Islanders!

    But even more bizarre is the closing section:

    “As the transition period towards a negotiated exit from the EU comes to an uncertain end it is worth reflecting on the ways in which the much vaunted ‘free’ movement of European had several aspects, one being the forced movement of labour from economies impoverished by capitalist ‘shock therapy’ and entry into a world dominated by big capital.

    “In 2021 Britain will, unless Boris Johnson surrenders sovereignty, be free of the iniquitous labour-market rules of the EU and the rulings of the European Court of Justice.”

    Compare and contrast:

    “In its positive aims, however, this form of Socialism aspires either to restoring the old means of production and of exchange, and with them the old property relations, and the old society, or to cramping the modern means of production and of exchange, within the framework of the old property relations that have been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means. In either case, it is both reactionary and Utopian.”
    (The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels).

    Jim Denham

    December 19, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    • The Socialist beats them for this Christmas cracker joke,

      Editorial of the Socialist issue 1113
      Should Corbyn stand for London Mayor?

      “What better way could there be to build the campaign against cuts to London Transport, and austerity in general, than Jeremy Corbyn standing as an RMT-backed candidate?

      Back in 2000, Ken Livingstone stood as an independent and won. Unfortunately, he used that victory to win his own case to be reinstated in Blair’s Labour, rather than to build a political force to represent working-class Londoners. On the contrary, he went on to call on workers to cross RMT picket lines.

      A Corbyn mayoral candidacy, however – backed by a slate of trade unionists, socialists, and community campaigners on an anti-cuts platform – could have a dramatic effect on combating Starmer, inspiring and rallying all those previously enthused by Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party.

      Even if this isn’t possible, a candidate standing for London mayor under the banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), as part of a widespread challenge across England, Wales and Scotland, would be an important step forward. TUSC, whose participants include the RMT and the Socialist Party, has pledged to provide a banner under which the maximum possible number of candidates can oppose cuts and austerity in the May 2021 elections.


      Andrew Coates

      December 19, 2020 at 4:53 pm

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