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People’s Brexit Meeting – for “a socialist economy off the shores of Europe”, free of “German Capital” and “Cheap Labour”.

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People’s Brexit Promises a Socialist Economy off the Coast of Europe.

 

Larry Elliot, writes in the Guardian today,

The left needs to work on its own plan to rebuild our economy, and that will be easier after Brexit.

 …there is an opportunity to do things differently, to exploit the policy space that Brexit affords and tackle the structural problems that have plagued the economy for decades. The right has its plan: more liberalisation. It is time for the left to come up with its own vision that would deploy every available policy tool to modernise the economy, rebuild Britain’s industrial space and spread prosperity more widely.

Such a transformation is much more likely to happen outside the EU than inside. That’s because the two most significant UK imports from the rest of Europe – German industrial goods and cheap labour – have helped to bend the economy out of shape by holding back the manufacturing sector and encouraging the growth of low-wage service sector jobs. It is possible to do better than that.

The economy is out of kilter because of “German industrial goods” and “cheap labour” (that is migrants).

The Socialist People’s Brexit will see off these foreign imports!

We’ll have our very own socialism off the shores of Europe!

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 23, 2018 at 1:49 pm

The Armistice and the Literature of the Great War.

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Siegfried Sassoon.

 

Both of my grandfathers fought in the Great War. My English forebear was, like his brothers, a socialist and a Clarion cyclist. Perhaps inspired by Robert Blatchford’s patriotic seizure at the outbreak of hostilities, Alfred, after a few pints with his friends, walking from Bethnal Green to the City, signed up. My Scottish ancestor,  James, was also a socialist. Less taken by the fight against the Boche and a member  of the ILP, which had a strong anti-war sentiments,  he was swept up by conscription.

I properly got know Alfred when, retired from his work in the Print, and very elderly, he and his wife moved to Bounds Green in North London. He talked of Dickens (I have his complete set) and his Labour beliefs, but never spoke about his war. My mother told me that he had been so desperate in the trenches that had tried to nerve himself up to shoot himself in the foot to get out as wounded. He told her that the officers had been brave, helped by spirits. My grandmother’s first husband, of Huguenot descent like her, had been killed. Left with a small child she got no support from his family. Alfred took to her. They married and had two other children.

Neither of my grandparents ever wore a Poppy. The East Ender said once a few words, not complimentary, about the British Legion who produce them. They did not need to display one; my parents never had one: I do not need to wear one.

Some of the books and poems that we read about the Great War stay in our hearts. Sassoon’s lines in Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man (1928) “And here I was, with my knobkerrie in my hand, staring across at the enemy I’d never seen.” The words of An Irish Airman Foresees his Death (1919) “my country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, No likely end could bring them loss, Or leave them happier than before.” (W.B. Yeats). And the immortal, “The Old Lie: dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori. (posthumously published in 1920, Wilfred Owen).

The chapters in Robert Graves’ Goodbye to All That (1929) on his harrowing service in the first wave of the Somme offensive, holds a special place in the literature. He captures “feeling “empty and lost” amongst the slaughter, death sentences for “cowardice”, army pettiness and incompetence, alongside the soldiers’ good sense and humour. Wounded in the cemetery at Bazentin-le-petit church on 20 July 1916 These experience is complemented by the memorable pages of Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth on her work as a nurse  in the Voluntary Aid Detachment, which took her to london, Malta and  France.

The most obvious difference with literature in French and German is that authors from these countries were writing about battles taking place on their own landscape. Barbusse’s, vivid, trench language-filled,  Le Feu: journal d’une escouade, 1916 is blood and fury. Babusse added sonorous appeals against national hatred . With its passion it stands head and soldiers over the to-be-Panthonised, Maurice Genevoix’s Ceux de 14, photographic realism, gutted of politics. Ernst Jünger’s Stahlgewittern (Storm of Steel is technically one of the finest, but politically already full of the nationalism which wroke havoc in Germany.

There is more common decency and humanity in writers such as Graves than anything that a cheap-jack journalist or ‘radical’ has written in the last few days.

Sunday, one hopes, with see these cited amongst the witnesses of the Great War.

Socialist Worker Warns, Vote for Anti-Brexit Resolutions will be a “Huge Victory for the Right.”

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“Right wing faction” Championing People’s Vote, says Socialist Worker.

Beware the union leaders’ moves against Corbyn at Labour Party conference

Socialist Worker. Today.

More than 100 Constituency Labour Parties have reportedly submitted motions calling for a “People’s Vote” on a future exit deal with the EU.

The motions have been championed by right wing factions in the party as a way of pushing Labour into opposing Brexit altogether.

As in…

The Independent says, “A substantial amount of the motions, however, are based on the left-wing statement backed by Another Europe is Possible and Labour for a People’s Vote. “

John McDonnell says,

 “I’m still saying all options are on the table. We’re never going to reject any form of democratic engagement so a People’s Vote is still on the table – but I want a General Election.” 

Left Foot Forward. (Today)

 

Socialist Worker, in its campaign to divide the labour movement, and ignore the threat from the far-right fomented by Brexit, says,

Labour’s leadership has rightly avoided both calling for a second referendum and opposing Brexit.

But since the vote to Leave, it has constantly fudged its own position—neither backing remaining, nor making a clear left wing case for leaving.

Instead it has made semi-retreats and compromises—such as seeking “access” to the pro-privatisation European single market.

Crucially, this has helped the right to sell opposing Brexit as something progressive to left wing, Labour members who ­support Corbyn.

If Labour conference votes to back a second referendum it will be a huge victory for the right.

At last year’s conference delegates overwhelmingly voted not to debate motions on Brexit that could have led to defeat for Corbyn.

Those opposing them included the influential Corbyn-supporting Momentum faction.

This year Labour’s leadership may not be able to avoid the debate—and the vote on whether or not to have a second referendum may not be so clear cut.

If it’s a close call, the votes of one or two major unions will probably swing it.

After the TUC union federation last week voted to support a “People’s Vote,” it looks likely that union delegates will back the right’s motions.

I think we can do without this Ladybird ‘History’ full of venom against the trade unions.

History shows why unions back the right wing’s People’s Vote initiative

Watch this instead:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 19, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Brexit Bolsheviks Warn Against People’s Vote on EU.

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The pro-Brexit Bolsheviks are rattled.

Unable to point to any convincing case for their ‘People’s Brexit’, from Labour’s ability to influence the negotiations on leaving the EU to any popular movement to “bring back control” amongst the public, this morning their mouthpieces have been making dire warnings about the People’s Vote.

In an editorial this morning, Labour should resist mounting pressure to back another EU vote they warn,

Labour’s seismic advance in 2017 was down to it changing the terms of debate. It accepted the referendum result and fought for a government committed to a radical shift of power and wealth to working people, and it enthused millions.

That achievement could be thrown away if the party becomes a mouthpiece for those who want a return to the past.

In a piece rich in insults against those “who want to a return to the past”.This includes the “establishment”, a group which apparently does not include Boris Johnson, his wing of the Tories, and  pro-Brexit millionaire media, from Murdoch to the Mail. Citing cautious union leaders, who hesitate at a re-run of the EU vote, it manages to avoid the central issue which is the call for a ballot on the terms of Leave which the government reaches.

The Morning Star backs the RMT pro-Brexit stand, a non-Labour union which twice stood in European elections against the Party, with fringe groups such as the Communist Party of Britain (the publishers of the Star) and the Socialist Party with the slogan, ” No2EU — Yes to Democracy

The Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain (CPB) also believes in National Sovereignty (The necessity to regain national sovereignty )

They consider the Brexit in the context of a fightback against the “the erosion of sovereignty and self-government “.

The politics of the Counterfire are more radical.

They are fond of the writings of the Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukács. This is how one of their writers sees his ideas in today’s context,

Seen from the perspective of the actuality of the revolution, the question is how do we maximise the level of political organisation, confidence and radicalism across the mass of ordinary people; how do we turn what has traditionally been the second party of British capitalism into a transformative force; how do we weaken the power of the British state to resist this movement. Then the answer is very clearly Corbyn – and the mass rallies, mass membership, organisation of resistance to the PLP that is going on as part of the Corbyn movement. Then a question like Scotland is easy to answer – don’t be so blinkered as to worry about numbers in Westminster – the Scottish question is about fundamentally weakening the British state.

The ideas of the great Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukács offer insights into Labour‘s recent quandaries, finds David Moyles (2016)

Corbyn: momentum meets vertigo

In an article on the Counterfire site a few days ago Martin Hall argued that Betraying the referendum result would spell disaster for Labour and the left. (People’s Vote vs People’s Brexit )

Hall, after ramping up the din about negative media coverage of Corbyn and Labour, suggests that,

The noise level is now increasing, with the aim of changing the party’s position of supporting the result and arguing for a Brexit in the interests of working people. The division which has been there on the broad left ever since the result is now cohering into two contradictory positions: a People’s Vote, or a People’s Brexit. Let’s consider both in turn.

Two anti-Brexit groups in Labour are cited.

He outlines the views of the People’s Vote campaign, with bringing several trowels of different, opposing positions, into a single lump.

People’s Vote represent the continuity Remain position that is favoured by the vast majority of the British establishment. Let’s remember that the CBI, the City of London, the Treasury and the Bank of England all supported Remain, overtly or tacitly, and have vested interests in tying British capital into its current arrangements within the Single Market. The Tory Brexiteers simply want a version of free trade that leaves British capital unfettered by EU rules: both these nominally opposed groups favour the primacy of free trade, but one is essentially federalist, while one is lost in nostalgic dreams of revivifying empire.

In the totalising eye of Counterfire’s version of the revolutionary left, they all back “capital”. Will I say or will I go now? Who cares….

Yet, why should people waste so much time fighting over “nominally” opposed positions when they all support “free trade”, imperial dreams or not?

While waiting for an erudite article somewhere challenging this claim, looking at the different “fractions” of capital involved,  it is clear that the divisions, spoken first and foremost by politicians, are political: between the idea of exclusive sovereignty, against the EU “pooling” of sovereign powers.

The second position is that of the Left Against Brexit.

…. position is that Brexit will be a disaster, and that the road to socialism (or at least, some form of progressive democracy) lies in a long march through the institutions of the largest trading bloc in the world. The second element is that having a final vote on the deal and overturning party policy will not represent a perhaps fatal blow to the Corbyn project, both in terms of his position within the Labour Party and what such a decision would do to Labour in the polls, and looking ahead, in the next general election.

To start with if the left takes a position independent of “capital” it does not take a position independent of attempts to share, by  international agreements, the governance of capital – which is one of the functions of the EU. This may be only  a potential power in the hands of the left, but it is not replaced by withdrawing into a sovereign nation which has even less capacity to respond to the internationalisation of capital, beginning with trade,  and extending to production.

Hall might have bothered to look at the motions to the Labour Conference before writing his article.

Do they overturn Party policy?

No: they call for the 6 criteria for a Brexit deal.

They call for the rejection of a Brexit deal if Theresa May fails to meet them.

They call for a referendum on the outcome of the government negotiations.

Normal Motion for CLPs

Oppose Tory Brexit and win a radical Labour government

This CLP supports the earliest possible election of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. The current government is putting Tory Party dogma first, not jobs first – and they have no mandate for their agenda.

We note and support Labour’s six tests for Brexit, which aims to ensure that the post-Brexit settlement preserves the benefits we currently get from collaboration with Europe, defends our rights and protections, and delivers for all parts of the UK. It is increasingly clear that the Tories’ Brexit deal will fail these tests.

We believe that only Labour can lead the British people into a progressive and economically sound relationship with Europe.The Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland, and the future of the NHS and public services. Tory Brexit will wreck the British economy, will commit us to a series of long-term trade deals which will enforce American-style deregulation, and will undermine the rights, freedoms and protections currently enshrined in EU law. All of this will bind the hands of a future Labour government, and will make it far harder for us to deliver on our promises.

We therefore urge Labour to oppose the Tories’ destructive Brexit and unite the country behind a radical vision for the future. In government, Labour could rally left-wing parties across the continent, and create a Europe for the many, not the few.

The social problems that caused the Brexit vote – inequality, declining public services, falling pay, a lack of quality affordable housing, and so on – will be made worse, not better, by Tory Brexit and the continued austerity that would result. The problem is the policies of the political establishment, not immigrants, and the solution is a radical social and economic programme.

We must make the election of a radical Labour government our first priority.

We note that given the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the most likely route to a general election before 2022 is the collapse of the government’s Brexit agenda. This motion supports all available avenues to bring down the government: voting down the EU exit deal in Parliament, calling for a snap election, and a popular vote on the deal.

We note and support the 2016 Conference commitment to a public vote on the Exit Deal so the people have the final decision on whether to accept the government’s deal or to stay in the EU.

We call on the Labour Party to:

1. Oppose any Brexit deal that does not satisfy Labour’s 6 tests.

2. Call for an immediate general election, and make a manifesto commitment to call a public vote on the Brexit deal with an option to remain in the EU if the public rejects it.

3. If we cannot get a general election, to campaign for a public vote on the deal with an option to remain in the EU; and following a defeat for the government, to call for an immediate general election.

4. To place radical social and economic policies at the heart of our programme of government – taxing the rich and big business to pay for better public services, rapidly expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.

Delegates from this CLP to Labour Party conference should vote in line with this policy.

(More on the Left Against Brexit on Shiraz)

Counterfire believes that “A radical rupture with the current model of capitalism in order to rebalance capital and labour in favour of the latter can only be achieved outside the EU, which is unreformable, and turning increasingly rightwards.”

Does it believe that capitalism is reformable, with a new ‘balance’ between capital and labour being built in a go-it-alone UK

Why is this intrinsically better than the potential governance offered by the EU.

That is, if they do not perhaps believe in a full “rupture” with capitalism is on the cards through elections, a view last proclaimed by the French Parti Socialiste  in the late 1970s….(Quand Mitterrand disait : “Celui qui n’accepte pas la rupture avec la société capitaliste ne peut être au PS“. France Culture)

What details do we have of this “radical rupture”, rather more modest than Mitterrand’s claims, in one country, with the “current model” of capitalism, with all the difficulties it would face (aside from domestic ones) with the WTO, Trade Partners, beginning with Trump who seems bent on his own new model of capitalist protectionism?

If changing the EU means a “long march through the institutions” what institutions can an individual ‘independent and sovereign’ UK turn to change with diminished economic weight and political power turn to change the internationally dominant form of capitalism?

Nobody would deny that many of the the countries that make up the EU are moving rightwards, towards the very national sovereigntistism defended by the Morning Star.

And, as for this jibe…. “Any overturning of the result will only benefit one end of the political spectrum: the right, and not just its electoral, relatively centrist wing. The rag-tag gang of fascists, Islamophobes and assorted fellow travellers that is coalescing around Tommy Robinson, the DFLA and the increasingly extreme UKIP, will be given a huge campaigning boost by any change in Labour policy.”

One assumes  the strength of racist and xenophobic feeling is such that Labour can never confront it…

And that pandering to the sovereigntist line has nothing to do with the rise in…far-right sovereigntist parties.

Deaming of the actuality of the revolution Counterfire seems unable to see the world in front of its face: that “the opportunity that Brexit gives to a radical reforming government” does not exist.

There is no such thing as a Brexit in the interests of working people, as the dominance of those opposed to the labour movement in shaping it indicates.

And what of the ” shibboleths”: that doing so is justified because the vote was somehow unfair, with reasons for this including but not limited to, Russian involvement; breaches of spending rules; the EU Referendum Act of 2015 stating that the result was advisory; the full ‘cost’ of Brexit not being known to people two years ago; that there are now people who are eligible to vote who were not then (and some voters have died). “

Counterfire leader Lindsey German once dismissed gay rights, an impediment in the Respect party’s alliance with right-wing Islamists, as a “shibboleth”.

Can the groupsucle equally dismiss the effects of Brexit on people’s rights and living standards?

This campaign for a vote is for something which was not in existence before: the terms of a Brexit deal, and whether it should continue.

Not to campaign against Brexit is to march towards the constitutional victory of the primacy of right-wing sovereigntism, economic dislocation, and attacks on internationalism,  the interests of working people and the majority in this country.

Morning Star Warns Against Trade Union Influence and Support for a People’s Vote on Labour Brexit Policy.

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Blairites and Tories in backing a “people’s vote.”

UNIONS could undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s agenda for change if they back a referendum on the EU exit deal, Mick Cash warned today.

TUC 2018 Backing ‘the people’s vote’ could undermine the Corbyn project

RMT’s Mick Cash issues warning against joining the Blairite’s call.

The piece notes (see above) that “delegates at TUC Congress voted to ratify a general council statement saying the option of a “final say” referendum should not be “ruled out.” and the general union GMB has publicly backed a vote on the Brexit deal, but other unions would prefer to push for an early general election.”

Mr Cash warns, in the light of this decision, against the TUC and trade unions having an influence on Labour Party policy on Brexit.

“The RMT leader said the labour movement should refuse to “line up” with Blairites and Tories in backing a “people’s vote.””

Mr Cash, whose union represents transport staff, seafarers and oil workers, said: “We need to understand those in the Westminster bubble are calling for a people’s vote for the sole reason of a second referendum on the EU. They are your Chuka Umunnas, your Chris Leslies, your Peter Mandelsons your Tony Blairs, the Lib Dems.”

In other words the Left Against Brexit, part of the campaign for a People’s Vote, and the much broader section of the Labour party in the over 200 Consistencies which have backed motions supporting Labour for a People’s Vote, are all in the ‘Westminster bubble”.

Worse it seems we are acting to thwart Jeremy Corbyn.

He said these politicians “want us in the EU so that the EU can stop Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for nationalisation and for state aid and for workers’ rights.”

He stormed: “We, the trade union movement, will be lining up with people who are seeking to force the hand of Jeremy Corbyn and with people who want to attack the socialist leadership of the Labour Party and who want to attack socialist policies.”

The RMT is not affiliated to Labour.

In the 2009 European Elections they aligned with fringe groups (such as the Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party) to stand against Labour as No2EU – Yes to Democracy

The won a handsome 153,26 votes nationally  – below 1%.

In 2014 they got 31,757 – 0,2%.

The Morning Star then cites the opinion of another union leader.

Citing something they call the “consensus position” they refer to Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.

(he) told the hall: “I understand the argument for a so-called ‘people’s vote’ on the deal — not on leaving the EU. That people’s vote has already happened.”

Can the People can only vote once?

No: because,  McClusky adds,

He said the referendum option “must be left on the table,” arguing: “Let’s focus on the prize — sweeping this government away in a general election and giving a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn the chance to repair two wasted years of Tory wrangling.”

The article tries to marshal another recruit to their fading cause:

“…public sector union PCS leader Mark Serwotka argued: “We are not with Chuka Umunna, but neither are we with Jacob Rees-Mogg.

“We are an independent working-class movement.”

As the PCS is also not affiliated to the Labour Party it is by definition independent of the debate at the Labour conference.

Addressing Congress earlier in the day, TUC leader Frances O’Grady described EU laws as “the rock that national laws and union agreements build on.”

She said the TUC would “throw its full weight behind a campaign” for a “popular vote” if the government “come back with a deal that doesn’t put workers’ first.”

Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward said he wanted “a people’s government” rather than a “people’s vote,” warning: “We have got absolutely no reason to support a second referendum that re-runs the debate that divides our country at the moment.”

Royal College of Midwives policy director Jon Skewes suggested an election was unlikely, arguing: “They will change the guard rather than do that.”

At a fringe meeting, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union official Sarah Woolley said: “We need to embrace that the UK is leaving the EU. A decision was made and we need to be proactive and make sure that our members are protected.

“The only thing that is certain is that next April we won’t be a member of the EU.”

She said unions should threaten PM Theresa May with a general strike “if you are not going to do the deal we want.”

No doubt a helpful suggestion.

We shall contact Seamus Milne again offering the services of the Ipswich workers’ militia to help ensure workers’ defence,  but what of the People’s Vote?

Mick Whelan, who leads train drivers’ union Aslef, told the same meeting that the EU Fourth Rail Package could enforce British-style privatisation across Europe.

“We don’t apologise for being protectionist about where we want to be for our railway,” he said.

Was the nationalisation of the East Coast line stopped by EU rules?

And what business is it for Brexit protectionists what policy the EU adopts?

And economist Costas Lapavitsas, a former Syriza member of the Greek legislature, said: “There’s a considerable ignorance in this country about what the European Union is.

“[The] Maastrict [treaty] basically created a union which is a neoliberal machine.

“We need an internationalist position on this … but internationalism of labour is not the same as internationalism of capital.”

An “internationalist” position is precisely the Left Against Brexit’s position.

What is the opinion of union members?

Perhaps the Morning Star could have asked McDonnell to explain why he wants a debate that answers the concerns of this section of the ‘Westminster Bubble’?

Here is the ‘Blairite’ Labour for a People’s Vote motion,

Oppose Tory Brexit and win a radical Labour government

This CLP supports the earliest possible election of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. The current government is putting Tory Party dogma first, not jobs first – and they have no mandate for their agenda.

We note and support Labour’s six tests for Brexit, which aims to ensure that the post-Brexit settlement preserves the benefits we currently get from collaboration with Europe, defends our rights and protections, and delivers for all parts of the UK. It is increasingly clear that the Tories’ Brexit deal will fail these tests.

We believe that only Labour can lead the British people into a progressive and economically sound relationship with Europe.The Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland, and the future of the NHS and public services. Tory Brexit will wreck the British economy, will commit us to a series of long-term trade deals which will enforce American-style deregulation, and will undermine the rights, freedoms and protections currently enshrined in EU law. All of this will bind the hands of a future Labour government, and will make it far harder for us to deliver on our promises.

We therefore urge Labour to oppose the Tories’ destructive Brexit and unite the country behind a radical vision for the future. In government, Labour could rally left-wing parties across the continent, and create a Europe for the many, not the few.

The social problems that caused the Brexit vote – inequality, declining public services, falling pay, a lack of quality affordable housing, and so on – will be made worse, not better, by Tory Brexit and the continued austerity that would result. The problem is the policies of the political establishment, not immigrants, and the solution is a radical social and economic programme.

We must make the election of a radical Labour government our first priority.

We note that given the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the most likely route to a general election before 2022 is the collapse of the government’s Brexit agenda. This motion supports all available avenues to bring down the government: voting down the EU exit deal in Parliament, calling for a snap election, and a popular vote on the deal.

We note and support the 2016 Conference commitment to a public vote on the Exit Deal so the people have the final decision on whether to accept the government’s deal or to stay in the EU.

We call on the Labour Party to:

1. Oppose any Brexit deal that does not satisfy Labour’s 6 tests.

2. Call for an immediate general election, and make a manifesto commitment to call a public vote on the Brexit deal with an option to remain in the EU if the public rejects it.

3. If we cannot get a general election, to campaign for a public vote on the deal with an option to remain in the EU; and following a defeat for the government, to call for an immediate general election.

4. To place radical social and economic policies at the heart of our programme of government – taxing the rich and big business to pay for better public services, rapidly expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.

Delegates from this CLP to Labour Party conference should vote in line with this policy.

It is far better to back the Labour for a People’s Vote motion than the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy one, which many believe is more subtle attempt to ward off commitment to opposing Brexit.

Brexit: living standards and jobs must remain Labour’s priority

Conference notes:

1) that following the UK/EU talks on 16/17 August the government still has no agreement on departure terms from the EU, despite the departure being scheduled for March 2019.

2) on 23 August the government started publishing some ‘technical notices’, advising people what to do in the event a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit.

3) the 6 August publication of ORB’s poll, indicating disapproval of the government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations has reached an all-time high of 76%.

Conference deplores the Prime Minister for prioritising negotiations within the Cabinet over those with the EU and her ministers for talking up the possibility of a ‘No-Deal’.

Conference notes any agreement the government negotiates is unlikely to protect the economy and people’s rights.

Conference continues to support Labour’s six tests, the commitment to a customs union and seeking full access to EU markets.

Conference calls on the Shadow Cabinet to continue with its policy of securing living standards and jobs, which requires free trade between Britain and the EU.

Conference agrees that Labour should vote against any agreement the government reaches with the EU which does not secure this objective, and how Labour achieves its objective should be decided in light of the situation at the time of the conclusion of any agreement negotiated between the government and the EU. At this stage in the UK/EU negotiations Labour should not exclude in advance any means or tactics to prevent a Brexit outcome which hurts jobs or living standards.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Burston Rally 2018: a Report.

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Ipswich Trades Council’s New Banner on the Burston March.

The annual Burston Rally (“to commemorate the longest strike in history and to celebrate the people who continue to fight for Trade Union rights, working class education, democracy in the countryside and international solidarity” on Sunday was well attended (See: Eastern Daily Press. Burston Strike School Rally in Norfolk.)

Eastern Daily Press.

Arriving on the full Ipswich/South East Suffolk Coach the Village Green was already full of stalls.

There were all the main trade unions and linked organisations – Norwich Trades Council had an impressive display – a long list of Norfolk and Suffolk Labour parties (although many IPswich Labour councillors were apparently filling out the sparse ranks of a local Temperance event in Alexandra Park), and campaigns (Amnesty, Palestinian Solidarity, Norfolk anti-fracking group) and fringe groups, such as the Communist Party of Britain,  the SWP the Socialist Party and the Jewish Voice for Labour.

In the morning we were entertained by bands and by the comedian Kate Smurthwaite.

Trade Unionists, such as Sean McGovern (UNITE) angrily attacked the anti-Labour media campaign, and concentrated on the injustices faced by the disabled, and the hard time imposed on workers and consumers by those in charge of the privatised public services.

There was comradely atmosphere, only occasionally spoilt by SWP activists attempting to gather support for their ‘Defend Jeremy Corbyn’ petition, and to raise backing for their autumn anti-racism demonstration.

It was noted that a Momentum group, calling itself  Norfolk Momentum, displayed material in support of a policy backed by other break-away bodies, such as Camden Momentum, against Labour’s National Executive taking a position on the 4 September, to oppose the adoption of the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Anti-Semitism (IHRA definition) of antisemitism.

I bought the highly recommended  The Village in Revolt: The Story of the Longest Strike in History.  Shaun Jeffery.

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I also got  the – very far from esteemed  – Britain in the World Front, Palme Dutt, (1942) from the CPB bookstall.

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The march, around the village in the tracks as the original school strikers’ first protest, was enlivened by trade union bands.

In the heat of the early autumn sunshine we returned to hear the afternoon addresses to the crowd.

Mick Cash (RMT) followed earlier speakers was rightly angry at the way the media had run down Jeremy Corbyn, stirred up division in the Labour Party, and diverted attention from the disaster of privatised companies. Concentrating on the policies of his rail union he called for nationalisation and a the creation of a genuine public transport service.

It was unfortunate that a divisive speaker from Jewish Voice for Labour (recently founded – 2017)  was called.

He outlined his group’s position on the Israel Palestine conflict.

While people are dying in next-door Syria, amid mass murder and torture, and millions have been made refugees this appeared as if it were the sole issue in the Middle East.

Denouncing Israel, whose policies he compared to apartheid, he advocated opposition to  the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

There were other contributions, more in line with labour movement traditions of unity.

The best speaker of the day was, without a doubt, John McDonnell.

Beginning with references to the Middle East (though not Syria) he called for justice in the region.

But the heart of his talk was – and the words are weighed – a brilliant outline of Labour’s plans to bring serious change in the economy and public services, from education to local government.

McDonnell pitched his plans as an effort to transfer wealth and power to ordinary people. His plans for nationalisation, of the utilities and transport, did not include a return to old style Morrison-style administration, but democratic bodies under Parliamentary, consumer, worker and community control. Tackling ‘Magic Money tree’ – that is the money pumped out to tax shelters on the Paradise Islands – would provide some of the basis for the funds the project would need.

Finishing, the Labour Chancellor raised the issue of a People’s Vote on Brexit. After cries from the audience in support of the campaign against Brexit (there were campaigners for the Left Against Brexit present all day), McDonnell defended the Labour Line of attempting to defend the best possible deal that could be got at present. He added, that while the best People’s Vote would be a ballot  to remove Theresa May, he did not rule out a future referendum on EU membership.

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John McDonnell hears the Tendance Line.

To  the chagrin of those trying to divide the labour movement this has just been published,

John McDonnell says he expects Labour’s ruling NEC will adopt the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

The shadow chancellor said he hopes the Party can move on from the bitter row which has dominated the news over the past few months

John McDonnell says he expects Labour’s ruling NEC to adopt the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism after a crunch meeting.

The shadow chancellor said he hopes the Party can move on from the bitter row which has dominated the news over the past few months.

He told BBC Radio Kent: “I think what will happen, I’m hoping what will happen is exactly what people are saying is an acceptance of the IHRA definition and examples, that’s what people are pressing for.

“But also to ensure, exactly what Rabbi Sacks said yesterday, that there’s freedom of speech so people are free to criticise Israel and its policies free to advocate the rights of the Palestinians but at the same time make sure it’s done in language that’s acceptable.

 

Frank Field, Resignation and “obsessive anti-immigration agenda.”

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“It is about culture, identity and family” Frank Field.

Today we learn that Frank Field, after resigning the Labour Whip, is contemplating contesting a by-election.

His Rallying Call?

Frank Field says Labour should be a ‘champion against racism’

Along with Nicholas Soames MP, Frank is Co-Chairman of the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration.

What is now so different, indeed unique, is the scale of that migration. In the last ten years the Government has in fact allowed an open borders policy. As a result, the composition of this country is radically changing. Maybe that is what should happen, and maybe that is what voters would like to happen. But voters have not been consulted whether they want that as a policy and as an objective.  Balanced Migration is about pushing the Government to a position where it brings into balance, over time, the numbers of people who come to this country, and those who actually leave. The campaign is seeking a change in the law so that people could come here to work for four years only, but to break the link between coming here to work and then having the automatic right to become citizens, as they have in the past.”

Amongst his many many speeches on the issue, the ‘champion against racism’  began harping on the theme about immigration in January 2016.

Field, who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership in the interest of debate despite not sharing his politics, told Sky’s Murnaghan show that Corbyn was “in tune” with voters on issues such as inequality and the economy.

On other issues, however, such as security and immigration, “the Labour leadership is walking off in the opposite direction to where voters are, and in particular those swing Labour voters who didn’t swing our way and gave the government its unexpected election win last time”, he said.

“Clearly that’s going to have to be sorted out before the next election if we’re not to get a walloping yet again.”

Guardian.

By November of the same year this had become:

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall is ‘game changer’ for Labour, says Frank Field

Nuttall could help Ukip take string of seats from Jeremy Corbyn’s party in the north of England, says senior Labour MP

Field, who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership in the interest of debate despite not sharing his politics, told Sky’s Murnaghan show that Corbyn was “in tune” with voters on issues such as inequality and the economy.

On other issues, however, such as security and immigration, “the Labour leadership is walking off in the opposite direction to where voters are, and in particular those swing Labour voters who didn’t swing our way and gave the government its unexpected election win last time”, he said

Farage picked up a million Labour votes by accident but with this guy it is all he’s going after,” Field said. “It is about culture, identity and family and so on. The party centrally hasn’t got a clue. There are one or two people taking about it but whether they seriously realise what is coming is another matter.”

To those in Labour who say Nuttall poses a similar threat to Farage, Field said they “couldn’t be more wrong – it is game changing to Labour”.

“Ukip under Paul will become the English party,” he said. “I don’t think it will be a wipeout on the scale of the SNP but I do think they will be taking Labour people out in our northern heartlands.

Field’s views on migrants, and the unemployed, not to mention the most obvious, issue, Brexit, have long been not too far off UKIP’s.

Frank Field: Migrants take nine out of 10 jobs

June 2011.

David Cameron’s plans to reform welfare are not radical enough as they do not punish the work-shy or reward those who have contributed to the benefits system, the Government’s poverty tsar has said.

Frank Field, the former Labour minister brought in to advise the Coalition last year, says that the public wants tougher sanctions forcing the long-term unemployed back to work. In an article for The Daily Telegraph, he dismisses proposals to simplify the benefits system as “Gordon Brown’s approach, on speed”.

He calls for “good, reliable” people who have worked and paid National Insurance to be prioritised for help above others, particularly those who have not contributed to society.

In the first year of the Coalition, 87 per cent of the 400,000 newly created jobs have gone to immigrants — as Britons fail to chase work, according to new official figures uncovered by the Labour MP. Under previous Labour administrations the figure was about 80 per cent.

Comrade Owen Jones sums up the position well,

Frank Field’s obsessive anti-immigration agenda once led a Church of England bishop to call him the “new Enoch Powell”.’

Antisemitism? No, Frank Field jumped before he was pushed

His resignation has nothing to do with antisemitism. Last month, the government was on the brink of defeat over its nonsensical customs arrangements plans. It may well have collapsed if the vote went the wrong way: Tory rebels were told that a general election could ensue. But Theresa May was saved by Frank Field and three other Labour rebels. That understandably riled Labour members, who pay their subs and surrender evening and weekends knocking on doors because they would quite like to replace a Tory government beholden to Jacob Rees-Mogg with a Labour administration instead.

The local parties of both Field and Kate Hoey near-unanimously voted no confidence in both, and called for the whip to be removed. Indeed, both politicians have a unique talent of being able to unite party activists on left and right: Hoey’s party activists nominated Blairite candidate Liz Kendall in 2015. Field knew he was about to be pushed. Instead, he jumped. It was what he called for Labour MPs to do three years ago if they were deselected, and he wasn’t citing antisemitism as a pretext back then.

Field’s claim that he fled the Labour party in the name of anti-racism is, given his record, certainly audacious. His obsessive anti-immigration agenda once led a Church of England bishop to call him “the new Enoch Powell” – the infamous Tory politician Field has himself praised. Here is a man who has described Margaret Thatcher as a “hero” and was appointed by David Cameron as his “poverty tsar”, swiftly announcing plans to shred child poverty targets.

There are those who angrily decry Corbyn as a beyond-the-pale Brexiteer, now cheering on Field as a principled martyr because he resigned the Labour whip before his local party deselected him for backing May’s extreme Brexit plans. That will do little to shake the suspicion that opposing Brexit is not their main priority: preventing a leftwing government is. There are a handful of other Labour MPs said to be planning on making the same journey as Field.

As it’s announced that a new centrist party has split before it has even been launched, it’s clear any new venture will perish. The best they can hope for is to gift a majority to a Tory party increasingly beholden to Rees-Mogg. What a political legacy to have. In the coming months, the media will venerate those determined to stop a Labour government, and both rightwingers and self-described “centrists” will escalate an increasingly vicious campaign against the left. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that they will do so because they are scared of losing, and understandably so.

Final word: