Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Archive for the ‘British Govern’ Category

Syria: Air Strikes on the Way? How Should the Left React?

with 6 comments

Two RAF Tornado GR4's

Is ISIS massacre of 30 UK holidaymakers in Tunisia only the beginning?

Comments Paul Rogers on the Stop the War Coalition site.

He notes:

“..the great majority of people in the UK are hardly aware that this is a major war – and that Britain is at the centre of it.”

That,

While one intention was seriously to wreck the Tunisian tourist industry, leading to higher unemployment and more anger and resentment, providing a better environment for recruiting young people to the IS cause, it was probably part of a much wider intention to bring the conflict home to the coalition of countries now engaged in the air war.

This makes for uncomfortable connections, especially as most people in Britain simply do not recognise that the country is part of a large coalition that has been waging a major air offensive on IS forces in Iraq and Syria for almost a year.

He concludes,

One of the grim ironies of the Sousse attack is that the appalling loss of life might alert more people in the UK to the true extent of the war. Equally, IS will no doubt encourage further attacks on the countries at war with it; counterterrorism forces in countries as far afield as the US, Australia, Canada, France and Britain will accordingly be intensifying their work.

It is just possible that the Sousse massacre will turn out to be an isolated attack on British nationals, but it’s very unlikely. The reality is that the war with IS in Iraq and Syria is beginning to extend beyond those countries and the region – even beyond the established battlegrounds ofAfghanistan and Libya. What happened to the holidaymakers in Sousse may only be the beginning of a new phase.

 

If it is a “war” against Daesh we can be sure we know today where the UK government stands.

Consider Syria IS strikes, defence secretary urges MPs

MPs should consider allowing Britain to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria, the defence secretary is to say.

The RAF has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since September but Michael Fallon will say Parliament should look at the case for missions in Syria too.

The UK does not need the backing of MPs to launch raids but Mr Fallon has said the Commons will have the final say.

He will suggest terrorist attacks, such as Friday’s tourist murders in Tunisia, may have been planned by IS in Syria.

Thirty of the 38 tourists killed on the beach in Sousse on 26 June have been confirmed as British. Student Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, said to have had links to IS, was shot dead by police after carrying out the attack.

Prime Minister David Cameron later said IS posed “an existential threat” to the West, and its members in Iraq and Syria were plotting “terrible attacks” on British soil.

The Mirror also notes,

Britain edged closer to bombing Islamic State extremists in Syria after the Defence Secretary said it was “illogical” to attack jihadists in Iraq but not over the border.

Michael Fallon said a new Commons vote would be needed before the RAF carried out air strikes against Islamist fighters in Syria.

But he insisted there was no “legal bar” blocking Britain from attacking extremists in either country.

RAF Tornados and drones have been bombing the jihadists in Iraq since last September as part of a US-led alliance.

But Mr Fallon said: “ISIS is organised and directed and administered from Syria and there’s an illogicality about not being able to do it there.”

Where does the StWC stand?

Will it ‘defend’ the genociders of Daesh, and the European volunteers for its racist Einsatzgruppen from this bombing?

We say:

Another foreign intervention in Syria and Iraq is a bad idea, ethically and in terms of Realpolitik. The UK and the West have not opposed support for the reactionary forces of Al Nusra and other Islamist murderers. Their allies, such as Saudi Arabia, actively back these reactionaries. They have not stood against the threat of Turkish ‘Neo-Ottoman’ policy. They had not stood against Shia sectarian killings in Iraq.

The possibility that they will encourage any kind of democratic outcome to the civil war, and a replacement for the Assad regime with a progressive alternative is non-existent.

But to make opposition to this  bombing our chief objective is wrong.

We should be backing the democratic, largely Kurdish forces, of the People’s Protection UnitsYekîneyên Parastina Gel,, battling the genociders and their International volunteers on the ground.

There is little we can do in this tumult, but we are must use all the resources we can to help our Kurdish sisters and brothers who are fighting for dear life.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 2, 2015 at 11:28 am

Moazzam Begg: Back Islamists of Al Nusra and from Al-Qaeda to Defeat Daesh.

with 22 comments

 

Al-Nusra: Stopping Daesh Narrative, Says Moazzam Begg.

David Cameron will not engage the only people able to stop the IS narrative writes Moazzam Begg on the Middle East Eye (Tuesday 30 June 2015).

Hat-tip: David T.

In this article these are the sentences that matter:

Ahrar al-Sham – part of the Islamic Front coalition – and Al-Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front are the largest, most effective opposition forces in Syria. They have been at the forefront in the fight against IS. Thousands of their members have been killed in battle, tortured, beheaded and crucified. Despite Al Nusra’s confirmation that Syria would not be used as a launchpad for attacks on the West both groups have been bombed by coalition forces.

Arguably the most credible voices against IS have been Islamic clerics traditionally associated with Al-Qaeda. These include Jordanian scholars Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and Abu Qatada. Cameron’s government fought very hard to deport the latter from Britain where he had been imprisoned on the basis of secret evidence, without charge, for over a decade.

In the end, Abu Qatada opted to return to Jordan, of his own accord, where he was acquitted of terrorism charges against him. During and after his imprisonment in the UK and Jordan Abu Qatada made repeated calls for the release of British aid workers and journalists held by militant groups – including IS. He declared their consequent murders unlawful and subsequently issued scathing fatwa [religious edicts] denouncing IS:

“This group [IS] does not have the authority to rule all Muslims and their declaration [the caliphate] applies to no-one but themselves. Its threats to kill opponents, sidelining of other groups and violent way of fighting opponents constitute a great sin, reflecting the reality of the group.”

Cameron must be wondering how many young Britons would have joined IS if Abu Qatada made these statements from the UK instead of Jordan?

Many people will consider Begg’s intervention as part of the effort to “re-brand” Al-Nusra (The rebranding of the Nusra Front.Mehdi Hasan).

But in this case it appears to be part of an attempt to extend this to elements within Al-Qaeda.

It’s not as if there is a lot to white-wash.

I am at present about half-way through this important book: Al Qaeda’s Global Crisis. The Islamic State, Takfir and the Genocide of Muslims. V. G. Julie Rajan 2015.

This book focuses on the crises facing Al Qaeda and how the mass killing of Muslims is challenging its credibility as a leader among Islamist jihadist organizations.

The book argues that these crises are directly related to Al Qaeda’s affiliation with the extreme violence employed against Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the decade since 9/11. Al Qaeda’s public and private responses to this violence differ greatly. While in public Al Qaeda has justified those attacks declaring that, for the establishment of a state of ‘true believers’, they are a necessary evil, in private Al Qaeda has been advising its local affiliates to refrain from killing Muslims.

To better understand the crises facing Al Qaeda, the book explores the development of Central Al Qaeda’s complex relationship with radical (mis)appropriations and manifestations of takfir, which allows one Muslim to declare another an unbeliever, and its unique relationship with each of its affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The author then goes on to consider how the prominence of takfir is contributing to the deteriorating security in those countries and how this is affecting Al Qaeda’s credibility as an Islamist terror organization. The book concludes by considering the long-term viability of Al Qaeda and how its demise could allow the rise of the even more radical, violent Islamic State and the implications this has for the future security of the Middle East, North Africa and Central/South Asia.

It would be very complex to go into the various alliances and conflcists between the different groups in Syria and Iraq – though there have no doubt been convergences between the so-called “opponents” of Daesh – Al-Nusra and the Islamic Front.

Perhaps a simpler way of dealing with Begg’s lies about Al-Qaeda and the Al-Nusra Front is to cite Patrick Cockburn in yesterday’s Independent.

 Because Isis publicises and boasts of its atrocities in order to spread fear, it masks the fact that official al-Qaeda affiliates, such as Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria or AQAP in Yemen, are just as dangerous.

Their basic agenda is very similar to that of the self-declared caliphate, with al-Nusra carrying out the enforced conversion of Druze and the massacre of those who resist. This attempted rebranding of extreme but non-Isis Sunni jihadis is opportunistic and often directed at making them more palatable as proxies for Sunni states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

 There is more in Begg’s ideology: the reference to the importance  of the ‘Caliphate’.

He ends his piece with this distasteful observation:

…why did Seifeddine Rezguie kill 38 innocent tourists? Warped as his ideas must have been, he saw the tourists as representatives of Britain. Britain that had wanted to destroy the caliphate past, and, the caliphate present. The only ones who can successfully challenge the IS narrative, however, are the only ones the government will not engage with.

‘Caliphate John’ would doubtless agree.

Elderly working class tourists are indeed ‘targets’ for vengeance against the destruction of the ‘Caliphate past’, the “dismembered and occupied” Ottoman Empire.

But what exactly was this past?

The Caliphate – if we can condense so many different forms together,  as Begg does was marked by the treatment of   non-Muslims  as second class citizens and women as second class citizens. The caliphates were for most of their history based on slavery and landowner  exploitation. The Caliphate empires were grounded on the oppression of peoples, from Eastern Europe to North Africa. They regularly engaged in massacres of minorities, the torture and the murder of political opponents.

The clue perhaps lies in the word “empire“, not the word “Ottoman”.

Most people who are acquainted with the real – not fairy-story – history of the Caliphate, will feel sick in the stomach at  the thought that the Caliphate should be revived.

Whether it’s by Daesh or the forces Begg appears to favour, it is a potent symbol of tyranny, of class, sexual and religious oppression.

It is to hoped that this is the last time we will hear anybody on the left defending Moazzam Begg

Syrian Kurds Beating Back ISIS Genociders.

with 9 comments

 

 Syrian Kurdish fighters take control of key Islamic State base north of Raqqa.

Is there no end to the rush to “explain” why some British Muslims have gone to join Daesh?

This was the latest:

British police are partly responsible for the radicalisation of three sisters thought to have taken their children to join extremists in Syria, it has been claimed.Mohammed Shoaib and Akhtar Iqbal, whose wives both left their homes in Bradford to travel to Syria, suggested that police encouraged their radicalisation by urging the women to contact their brother who had already left for Syria. It is believed he is fighting for with the Isis terror group. Independent.

Everyone is responsible, except the volunteers for oppression, terror and  genocide.

On the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) site, they posted  – not too long ago –  Russell Brand (6.3.15.) spouting  this self-indulgent piffle.

‘Jihadi John’ – widely regarded to be the masked executioner featured in several videos, produced by the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS), showing the beheading of a number of captives in 2014 and 2015 – has been revealed as West Londoner Mohammed Emwazi. Russell Brand ask whether the attraction of Islamic State for some young people in Britain, like Mohammed Emwazi, is due to the loss of identity and power in our communities.

More recently there is an article that singles out ‘Islamophobia’ as the greater menace, The status of Muslims in the west is under threat by David Miller, Narzanin Massoumi, Tom Mills & Hilary Aked.

The (academic) authors are very big on “anti-Muslim hate crime” – no doubt a serious problem.

But they fail to mention the actually existing Islamist hate crimes of the jihadis.

The template: ‘Islamophobia-Identity-Crisis-Imperialist-Intervention-in-the-Middle-East‘ – a kind of puddle of images, not an argument –  just about overwhelms any rational explanation  from this quarter.

One thing is, nevertheless clear – they are asserting that the Jihadis are just as much ‘victims’ as those they slaughter.

A rare glimpse of sanity came when Shiraz Maher published these words in the New Statesman on the 17th of June.

The experience of Britain’s suicide bombers shows how these men are full participants in the war engulfing Syria and Iraq. Over the past two years British fighters have tortured prisoners in their care, executed prisoners of war, beheaded journalists and aid workers, and participated in the revival of slavery. As this brutal nihilism has taken hold, some fighters, among them many Britons, have grown weary of its trajectory and left the conflict. Not so the suicide bombers. Theirs are the actions of the conscientious and committed.

Western liberals and the left could perhaps do better by first considering the acts of those resisting  Daesh.

The StWC lost interest in the Kurdish people’s battle around the end of last year, some of their supporters darkly hinting at US or ‘Zionist’ involvement in their operations.

By contrast many of us, socialist internationalists,  continue to back our Kurdish sisters and brothers.

There are some important recent articles on the fight back by the Syrian Kurds against ISIS/Islamic State. Or, as it’s widely known, Daesh.

This is one, from Arab Awakening

Syrian Kurds have won a strategic victory in Tel Abyad, uniting two of their self-run cantons and putting ISIS on the back foot.

The struggle against ISIS continues to be a topsy-turvy affair. Recent setbacks include ISIS’ capture of historic Palmyra in eastern Syria and the important Iraqi city of Ramadi. In northern Syria, along the Turkish border, however, the situation is entirely different.

On 16 June, the Kurdish militia of the YPG (People’s Protection Units) and YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), accompanied by allied Arab military units and supported by US-led airstrikes, captured the ISIS stronghold of Tel Abyad (Girê Sipî‎ in Kurdish).

Tel Abyad was of pivotal importance to ISIS as a gateway to the Turkish border post of Akçakale, through which foreign fighters had allegedly come, and as a supply route to ISIS’ self-declared capital of Raqqa.

In recent months, Kurdish forces have moved rapidly to reclaim large swathes of territory from ISIS in northern Syria. The capture of Tel Abyad came after a pincer movement of Kurdish militia and their allies from the east and west.

Prior to the capture of Tel Abyad, units from the separate Kurdish-run cantons of Kobanê and Cizîrê made contact for the first time. With Tel Abyad in YPG/YPJ hands, two of the three autonomous cantons of the Syrian Kurds’ self-declared Rojava territory are now linked and Kurdish control extends almost 400 km along the Syria/Turkey border, from the Iraq frontier in the east to the Euphrates in the west.

This represents a remarkable reversal of fortune for Syria’s Kurds and their allies. Late last year, ISIS appeared all but unstoppable in Syria. Equipped with heavy weapons abandoned by retreating Iraqi troops, it swallowed up territory and pushed the lightly armed Kurds into a corner.

In October, ISIS was poised to capture the Kurdish city of Kobanê and extinguish one of the fledgling Kurdish cantons. It was only the determined resistance of the YPG and YPJ and the commencement of a US-led air campaign against ISIS that saw the city saved.

Kobanê became a rallying point for the Kurdish cause. Kurds in Turkey who I spoke to at the time of the siege remarked that it had brought together Kurdish communities spread across the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. “We have thousands of years of history,” one man remarked, “now, for the first time all our hearts are beating together.”

The siege also saw greater coordination between the Kurdish YPG and the US military. On January 26, after a siege that had lasted 134 days, Kurdish forces broke ISIS’ stranglehold on Kobanê. Since then, the Kurds and allied forces have made rapid gains.

In the course of their brave fight against ISIS, the Kurdish militias of Syria (and Iraq) have won considerable international attention and sympathy. They have also attracted western recruits to the cause. In February, Australian Ashley Johnston was the first westerner to be “martyred” fighting alongside the YPG militia. An American, Keith Broomfield, was also killed earlier this month.

Kurdish advances in northern Syria have not been without controversy, however. Social media users and some ethnic Arab and Turkmen refugees have accused Kurdish forces of ethnically cleansing areas they have captured. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has echoed these allegations.

In a battlefield rife with conspiracy theories and misinformation it is difficult to determine the veracity of such claims. Kurdish activists, for instance, often allege that Turkey has supported ISIS against the Kurds.

The YPG, for its part, denies that it has ethnically cleansed the areas that it has recently captured. In fact, it has issued an appeal to refugees fleeing combat zones, regardless of their ethnicity, to come to “safe areas” under its control, an appeal that many have eagerly taken up.

It is also clear that the Kurdish YPG and YPJ militias are not acting alone in the campaign against ISIS. The recent battle for Tel Abyad included ethnic Arab brigades of the Free Syrian Army, participating under a joint operations command known in Arabic as Burkān al-Furāt (the Euphrates Volcano). It seems implausible that Arab militia would allow the ethnic cleansing of their kin by the Kurdish forces they are fighting alongside.

The Turkish president, meanwhile, has also expressed his displeasure at US air support for the Kurdish campaign. Citing the YPG’s affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), he argues that it amounts to western backing for terrorist forces.

Turkey’s misgivings about the Syrian Kurds’ advances have been evident for some time. Notably, the day after the siege of Kobanê was lifted, Erdoğan stated that Turkey would not tolerate an Iraq-style Kurdish entity on its border with Syria.

Turkey, the US and the EU classify the PKK as a terror group. Erdoğan’s scolding is a reflection of Turkey’s refusal to view the PKK as anything other than a terrorist vehicle, despite the significant role it has played in pushing back the jihadi forces of ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. It is also evidence of a deep-seated Turkish mistrust of Kurdish intentions.

Turkish concerns notwithstanding, the Kurds’ recent victories have changed the complexion of the region. By linking two of their cantons, the Syrian Kurds will now find themselves on a much stronger strategic footing.

Despite (as yet unsubstantiated) claims of ethnic cleansing, the Kurds in Rojava have established a political entity run according to a post-nation-state model of democracy and accepting of diverse ethnic groups. On the battlefield they have proven reliable and highly effective.

It beggars belief that western governments, looking upon the chaos of the region with dismay, have not established formal alliances with the PYD, the political entity administering the Syrian Kurdish cantons.

Perhaps most importantly, the Syrian Kurds have demonstrated that ISIS is not the military powerhouse it was once envisaged as, but is in fact eminently beatable.

It beggars belief that the majority of the British left has not followed the example of the rest of the European left and backed our Kurdish sisters and brothers.

This the latest news, from the Kurdish news agency Rûdaw:

BEIRUT (AP) — Kurdish fighters and their allies have captured a Syrian military base once held by the Islamic State group, activists and officials said Tuesday, moving within some 50 kilometers (30 miles) of the extremists’ de facto capital.Taking the Brigade 93 base further squeezes the extremists, especially after they lost a major supply line when the Kurds captured the town of Tal Abyad on the Turkish border last week.However, even with the aid of U.S.-led airstrikes, battling even closer to the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa could prove costly for the Kurds and allied rebel factions.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali said Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, captured the base Monday night. Both said YPG fighters and their allies later entered parts of the nearby town of Ein Issa, the last major residential area north of Raqqa, which the Islamic State group considers the capital of its self-declared “caliphate” across Syria and Iraq.

The YPG’s official Facebook page said “dozens of Daesh mercenaries were killed” at Brigade 93, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group. The Observatory said that Islamic State militants transferred the corpses of 26 of its fighters to Raqqa after they were killed in Ein Issa by airstrikes.

The U.S. has found a reliable partner in the YPG, who have been the main force in the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria. They are moderate, mostly secular fighters, driven by revolutionary fervor and deep conviction in their cause. They are backed by Arab tribesmen, Assyrian Christian gunmen and members of the rebel faction known as Burkan al-Furat — Arabic for the “Volcano of the Euphrates.

“The Islamic State group continues to have a supply line to Turkey running through northwestern Syria to Raqqa. It’s not clear whether the Kurds will push in further on Raqqa. When cornered in the past, the militants have relied on coordinated mass suicide car bomb attacks and other scorched-earth tactics.Those tactics have included mass killings. On Tuesday, a media arm of the Islamic State group in Iraq posted a video online purporting to show it kill over a dozen men it described as spies by drowning them in a cage, decapitating them with explosives and firing a rocket-propelled grenade at them in a car.

More News: Syrian Kurdish fighters take control of key Islamic State base north of Raqqa.

We note the words “The U.S. has found a reliable partner in the YPG…” in this article: so expect the StWC to wash their hands of the Kurds completely.

Asghar Bukhari, Israel’s Covert War On Muslims: I would walk barefoot to defend my people — they can keep the shoe.

with 6 comments

The Story that Will not be Lost!

In the interests of promoting free speech we publish the following harrowing document (only just available, thanks to CAF):

Asghar Bukhari: Israel’s Covert War On Muslims

I am going to tell you my story, one where violence, intimidation, letters in the night and psychological torture techniques were used to silence me.

This heart-rending account of a man persecuted by Zionists to the point where even a man’s shoes are no longer safe is this year’s must-read.

Let me explain. Odd things had been happening in my home for some time. Things had been moved around, windows that my wife assiduously closed were open when we returned, the window seals on my car were pulled up, the gas on the cooker on, and on and on it went. Each time I put it down to forgetfulness, mistakes, or something none of us could explain, I just shrugged it off and got on with it.

Either way, I didn’t think much of it.

But on this night, something happened I knew was nothing to do with me being forgetful. It was all to do with a new pair of shoes.

Bravely  Asghar Bukhari publicised this heinous Zionist crime.

But what happened?

Within hours Facebook had banned me and a global campaign against me started. 

They also banned all videos being uploaded onto the MPACUK Facebook page. In effect stopping me communicating to the very audience that had heard my message. The timing seemed far more than chance to me. No sooner than the ban took effect, scores of Zionists started to troll my page attacking me.

The story was passed to the Media and a Zionist campaign started.

Worse was to come….

A day after my Jewish neighbours, both of whom are lawyers, stopped my wife and pointed out that they had found some slippers in their garden, they were placed, next to some feathers. They surmised a fox must have had something to do with it, they didn’t know much more as they had been on holiday.

The slippers, ripped and scuffed up, were the final nail in the coffin of any doubt that there was any plausible explanation at all for the strange and odd things that had happened over the last few months.

You see for those slippers to have been taken by an animal, that animal would have had to enter not just one door, but two, and then on the way out — lock both of them. There was no chance on earth an animal had taken my slippers or my shoes. I had been targeted for Zersetzung.

They will not win!

However, in trying to defeat me, the bungled attempt at trying to play with my mind had failed. They had made a story, where there was none. If they had left my post on Facebook, tens of thousands would never have never known about their actions — the invisible hand of Israel and its attempts to covertly destroy its opposition would have remained undocumented. But in their rush to silence me, they made a strategic misjudgement — they decided to go big with it — they panicked, and played a hand they did not have to play and that misjudgement reader — is why you are reading this right now.

One can only admire  Bukhari’s pluck:

As for me — I would walk bare foot to defend my people — they can keep the shoe.

On twitter @AsgharBukhari

Written by Andrew Coates

June 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report from Ipswich.

with 14 comments

Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report.

Around 80,000 people (the Tendance’s estimate) marched in London on Saturday. They protested against the newly elected Conservative government’s plans to continue, and deepen, austerity.

It’s unnecessary to list the faults of these policies. It’s enough to see the people begging in the streets, a few hundred metres from the office of Ipswich Tory M.P. Benedict Gummer. Without the response of the People’s Assembly, the unions, the diverse groups and parties on the demonstration, and the wider public, Cameron and Osborne will have free rein to create a mean-spirited free-market Britain.

From Ipswich and Stowmarket 42 people piled in our coach – there were more travelling to London by train. Up to 70% were under the age of 40, with a large percentage in their teens and twenties. This was reflected amongst the marchers, with a strong presence of young people.

While assembling by the Bank of England we were addressed by various speakers. Those advertised included Kate Hudson (Chair, Left Unity, CND) and Diane Abbott (Labour MP and candidate to represent the party for the London Mayoral contest). They and others made good, rousing, contributions on the need to fight austerity.

Weyman Bennett (SWP/Unite Against Fascism) linked people being rude to women wearing the Islamic veil to the massacre at Charleston and the heart-rending plight of migrants drowned in the Mediterranean. Lee Jasper (Respect Party), the ‘controversial’ former Director for Policing and Equalities under Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Authority Assembly continued in this vein.

Someone (one can imagine who) compared his peroration  unfavourably to Ali G.(1)  One Suffolk comrade remarked that on what she called the “shouting”.

It was to be regretted that there was nobody from the National Shop Stewards Network – a group which, whatever one’s political differences, represents a lot more than the former two users of the demo microphone – was not invited to speak.

The route of the protest, which began next to the City, took us from Ludgate Circus, down the Strand, past Trafalgar Square. This was the venue of a – poorly attended- commercial beano, a pop radio concert. It symbolised the use of public space for corporate gain.

Local People’s assembly groups (like Suffolk People’s Assembly) unions, Left Unity, anti-cuts organisations, disabeld rights groups,the SWP, the Socialist Party, and other (even) smaller left parties, the Labour Assembly Against Austerity , the Green Party …to Class War, were present.

In Parliament Square there were more speeches. Again there were solid well-argued arguments against the Cabinet’s plans, from Steve Turner (UNITE and the People’s Assembly) onwards. John Rees included a reference to the rights of atheists in a call for to defend the freedoms of different beliefs. His claim that the demonstrators were from all ethnic backgrounds was perhaps not fully substantiated by a glance at the overwhelmingly  white crowd.

Charlotte Church made an exceptional contribution.

The Mirror called it an “incredible speech“.

The Conservatives’ intention was to create a society around their principles, of private profit and public loss.

Describing the idea that Britain needs austerity as “the big lie”, Charlotte said: “They will sell off our schools and our hospitals. When it’s done, it will he hard to reverse.

“One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package.

“I’m proud to be British because of the NHS and David Bowie, not because of the Union Jack.

“Be proud for the right reasons. We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from years of yuppie rule.

“If you are ashamed that you have to use a food bank, because this Government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall. You have the moral high ground.

“We are not afraid of national debt and we will not let our public services be attacked.”

She added: “What this country needs is economic stimulation – most economists around the world would say the same. We need to get the blood pumping.”

Earlier, she said: “I’m here today in a show of solidarity with everyone here – it is a massive turnout – everybody who thinks that austerity isn’t the only way and thinks it is essentially unethical, unfair and unnecessary.”

It was hard not to be moved by Charlotte’s clear and heart-felt words.

Her call for positive alternatives and hope will resonate across the country.

For many present, Jeremy Corbyn, standing for the Labour Party leadership, made a decisive call to make sure there is a strong left, anti-austerity,  vote in this election.

End Austerity Now was a success.

Where we go from now is the subject of serious discussion.

One way forward can be seen in the multitude of protests against welfare reform: from the continued campaign against the Bedroom Tax, Benefit cuts, Workfare, to the – still not fully implemented – psychological treatment of some claimants.

It is to be regretted that some parties see groups like the People’s Assembly as a recruiting ground.

In Suffolk the Green Party does not appear to publicise this:

Suffolk’s best-known Green Party politician has pulled out of the battle to become Ipswich MP in next May’s general election – because he hasn’t “got the heart” to take on Tory Ben Gummer.

Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and independent group on Suffolk County Council and an experienced election campaigner, was chosen earlier this year to fight for the Ipswich seat, but has now dropped out.

“Although I find Conservative policies odious and overly focused on free market fundamentalism, crass cost-cutting measures and ecological destitution, I am of the view that the current MP Ben Gummer is dedicated and hardworking.

“I respect his honest endeavours for the town. And, therefore, I can’t drum up sufficient energies to really take him on. I like my politics to work on a human level, and not in a tribalist way.

Ipswich Star.

The day was an achievement for the organisers.

It was, as they say, only a beginning.

(1) This is what Jasper said (Charlie Hebdo and Europe’s rampant racism. 17th of January) about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo  (he doesn’t even mention the anti-Semitic murder at the Hyper-Casher):

“JeSuisCharlie in this context is nothing more than appeal from right wings white’s to be allowed to be racist without opposition in the name of free speech.  It’s a sort of ‪#WhiteLivesMatter statement particularly when viewed in the context of the tragic violence and world silence about the Nigerian massacre by Boko Haram.

This privilege allows them to disregard the social environment and political context of such satire and its consequences.  Writing in this flawed tradition is the perogative  of white, middle class Libertarian anarchists. Charlie Hebdo is for me,  a silly magazine and quintessentially an exercise in white privilege and arrogance.

George Galloway Announces Twitter Amnesty as Facebook Page Reaches 110 Likes and 4 People Ready to Attend Mayor Rally.

with 16 comments

The Man with a Nifty Hat Books Brockway Room (seating capacity – 70).

As George Galloway’s Facebook Page, Galloway for London Mayor, reaches an amazing 110 members, and the George Galloway London Mayor Rally Page has 4 people going we learn that,

George Galloway Announces Twitter Amnesty For Thousands Of Users.

Huffington Post.

George Galloway has announced he has “kind of given up on blocking” people on Twitter and invited people who feel he blocked them “unfairly” to get in touch.

The London Mayoral hopeful and former Respect MP, who is well known for his habit of blocking people, told listeners on LBC that if tweeters felt they had been blocked unfairly they should let him know to be in with a chance of being reinstated.

Cue obvious jokes about how people couldn’t contact Galloway precisely because they had been blocked.

The execrable Max Keiser will be at the ‘rally’. No doubt with his grinning ninny side-kick.

 

Update: we are informed that Keiser is Galloway’s economic “adviser”.

‘If I’m London mayor, Max Keiser will be economic advisor’ – George Galloway June the 5th.

Background:

Keiser: “November 2012, he predicted that the UK pound was about to collapse.”

“In a 2013 interview with Bradford MP George Galloway, Keiser stated that if he had financial control over the City of London he would base the entire economy on the Bitcoin digital currency.In January 2014, Keiser launched a cryptocurrency called “MaxCoin”, which was created by two Computer Science students from the University of Bristol. MaxCoin was launched during episode 555 of the Keiser Report.[n June 2014, Keiser launched a cryptocurrency called “StartCOIN” for use as the main currency for crowd-funding site StartJOIN.

“Currently a max(Coin) is worth 1/1500th of a bit coin and the value is steadily dropping…” As of April 2015, the Maxcoin is valued 1/12,500 of a bit coin and is long overdue for a reverse max-split.”

Wikipedia. 

Galloway’s last firm friends: Speaking at the Stop the War Coalition Conference, 6th of June

Michael Meacher MP on Labour’s Defeat – Chartist AGM.

leave a comment »

 

https://i0.wp.com/www.chartist.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/AGM-images-2015-212x300.jpg

Michael Meacher MP Backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader.

The Chartist AGM was held on Saturday at the University of Westminster. Around 40 people gathered to discuss, as democratic socialists, “post election perspectives”.

The meeting began with Michael Meacher, the veteran (as they say) MP for Oldham West and Royton. He talked of how we are on the left are in a “very bad place” after the election defeat.

Why had this happened ? – Meacher asked. While there is a need to look at detailed analysis of the polls, which will emerge – there are some points, the MP said, that could be made now.

The principal point is that the evidence is that the party lost because voters were not “prepared to trust Labour with finances”. The Conservatives had, during the whole Coalition period, been hammering away at the claim that the legacy of the Blair and the Brown years had been economic incompetence faced with the banking crisis and its aftermath. They had left a massive budget deficit that, the Tories claimed, only they were capable of dealing with.

The Labour Party had not met this message, repeated and repeated. They had not clearly pointed to the flimsy foundations of the Conservatives’ claims to economic competence. The ‘recovery’ was already “fizzling out”, wages had not recovered, and more employment (largely confined to London and the South-east) was above all in the precarious and badly paid work. The Coalition had not even been able to meet their own claims to resolve their own favourite problem – the deficit. Instead Ed Balls and the team around Miliband had accepted the right-wing premise that austerity was necessary.

With Labour unable to challenge the grounds of David Cameron and George Osborne’s economic strategy, the electorate preferred to place their confidence in the outgoing Tories instead of a new government.

Meacher then outlined an alternative to austerity, and long-term measures to deal with inequality. Fiscal policy should be a form of modern Keynesianism. Against “market fundamentalism” strategic areas of the economy would benefit from public intervention and control. The poor services offered by the privatised utilities and transport, had to be tackled, and manufacturing promoted.

Through the tax system and inside companies measures should be introduced to reduce, by a long-term and determined effort, the gulf between the sky-high salaries of the super-rich and ordinary people. This would also help increase public revenue and provide increased revenue for public services.

The AGM then heard a valuable contribution on the Greek left government, Syriza, by Isidoros Diakides (Greece Solidarity Campaign and a Haringey councillor). He painted a picture of just how severe the plight of the Greeks people had become.

The day’s debates that followed these well-argued talks were wide ranging. Many different points were raised. Meacher’s principal explanation for Labour’s defeat – the feeling that Miliband was not to be trusted with the economy – received support. However appealing Labour policies on issues such as the living wage and increased workers’ rights were, they had not stood up clearly to the Tories in this area. Accepting tight fiscal policy, and the need to cutting back on public spending, was a principal problem.

Austerity had to be fought. This was one of the reasons why Meacher had now “switched” support in the Labour Party leadership campaign to Jeremy Corbyn.

Yet some new Labour MPs had managed to win by reaching out into the community. The undermining of the ground of social democratic politics was discussed. The view that British politics could melt down and prepare the way for a Syriza or a Podemos did not get much backing. The differences between Greek, Spanish and our economies and politics were underlined, from the scale of the economic disaster in Greece to the extent of corruption in Spain, which stimulated the rise of these parties, were mentioned. Problems with Podemos, such as its vertical structure, were mentioned.

For others there was the issue of Scottish nationalism and the high vote for UKIP (despite their failure to secure more than one MP). It was suggested that constitutional issues remained central. A candidate who had stood for the Bermondsey  Republican Socialists in London took the view that the whole electoral process had become irrelevant.

Somebody pointed out that the Republican socialist had received 20 votes in the General Election (0.0%).

We think we can guess who that somebody was.

There was panel on migration, racism and nationalism.

Don Flynn (Migrant Rights Network) warned the meeting of a new clampdown on migrants. ‘Illegal’ workers will find their wages treated as criminal revenue and confiscated. Tehmina Kazi (Muslims for Secular Democracy) spoke on the twin threats of prejudice against Muslims and the rise of intolerant Islam. Secularism, universal rights, was the alternative to both. She cited, as a young woman her inspiration: Southall Black Sisters and the beloved Gita Segal.

Andy Greeg (Race on the Agenda) outlined the issues involved in different ethnic or ‘race’ policies and the problems of politics which depended on ‘community leaders’. He mentioned that the Conservatives had actively sought support from Hindus. The election results showed that the Tories had scored well in this constituency, and amongst Sikhs. Labour could not take the Black and Minority Vote for granted.

A high-point of the day was a talk, “Cartooning against the Coalition’, illustrated by magic lantern, by the cartoonist, Martin Rowson.

It is hard to recall the name of the politician whose face he described as resembling a “balloon full of sick”.

We will leave it to readers to imagine who it is.

More on Chartist Magazine