Tendance Coatesy

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Archive for the ‘British Govern’ Category

In Defence of the ‘Woke Left’.

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As Tony Blair warns that Labour could die under Starmer and the “woke  left”, is he planning a return?

Blair Wages War on Woke.

Tony Blair unleashes stinging attack on ‘woke left’ and says Labour could cease to exist.


Tony Blair
 unleashed a stinging attack on the “woke left” on Wednesday warning that Labour could cease to exist and that Sir Keir Starmer is “struggling to break through with the public”.

In a devastating verdict on the state of his party in the wake of its dismal May election results, the former Prime Minister said Labour needs a “total deconstruction and reconstruction. Nothing less will do”.

Writing in the Left-leaning New Statesman, Mr Blair added: “Keir seems sensible but not radical. He lacks a compelling economic message. And the cultural message, because he is not clarifying it, is being defined by the ‘woke’ left, whose every statement gets cut-through courtesy of the right.”

Blair joins the Spiked, who promote the identity politics of the national populist right. Or as the red-brown front put it, “the swapping of class politics for identity politics, the Britain-bashing..” wokists.

To this the Tendance says, who the bleedin’ hell are you to tell us about our problems and how to fight them.

“White Man In Hammersmith Palais”

Midnight to six man
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and Leroy Smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator

Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae
With backing bands sound systems
And if they’ve got anything to say
There’s many black ears here to listen

But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right
Charging from the bass knives to the treble
But onstage they ain’t got no roots rock rebel
Onstage they ain’t got no…roots rock rebel

Dress back jump back this is a bluebeat attack

Cos it won’t get you anywhere
Fooling with your guns
The British Army is waiting out there
An’ it weighs fifteen hundred tons

White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution

Punk rockers in the UK
They won’t notice anyway
They’re all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha you think it’s funny
Turning rebellion into money

All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They’d send a limousine anyway

I’m the all night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
I’m the white man in the Palais
Just lookin’ for fun

I’m only
Looking for fun

Written by Andrew Coates

May 12, 2021 at 10:01 am

As Britain and France prepare for War where does the left stand?

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‘Perfidious Albion’: Napoléon Macron and his British nemesis, Admiral Johnson.

Is it a coincidence that the day after the Bicentenary of Napoléons death that Britain and France are again close to war? Or that today is an election day in the UK?

Image

Royal Navy ships patrolling Jersey amid fishing row with France.

BBC

Two Royal Navy ships are patrolling waters around Jersey and two French patrol vessels are nearby, as fishermen protest over their post-Brexit rights.

About 60 French and Jersey boats are blocking the island’s St Helier port, with a freight vessel unable to leave.

French military ship heads to Jersey to join post-Brexit fishing protest as Royal Navy patrols waters

Sky

Suffolk’s Top News Site reports:

Where does the UK left stand? Is our main enemy at home? Or is it, as the Morning Star might say, the neoliberal imperialism of the EU member France? Some Campists state, “Critical support for degenerated Republican France versus the thoroughly rotten from top to bottom constitutional monarchy of Britain in this conflict.”

May be an image of map and text that says "Jersey and Guernsey"

Written by Andrew Coates

May 6, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Tribune, “The Centre Cannot Save Democracy” But Moderate Constitutional Reform Can.

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Image

Democratic Left: Whippet Party Demands Northern Independence.

The American, left populist review Jacobin, owned ‘Tribune’ is a curious animal. Since the collapse of left populism, the Bernie Sander’s campaign that had got nowhere fast, the Spanish Podemos’ welcome of political reality and government alliance with the Partido Socialista Obrero Españo (PSOE), Corbyn’s defeat, and the realisation that in France Jean-Luc Mélenchon is going to be stumped in the charismatic Leader’s third attempt at running for President in 2020 they have lost direction. For its critics the principal target of the self-identifying left magazine seems to be Keir Starmer and the Labour Party.

Into this political void had stepped a new voice. New being a relative term. Revived might be a better one. The old tunes are the best ones. Tribune has now turned to the themes of the past, hollowed out democracy, ‘post-democracy’, the ‘political centre’ or, what political confusionniste Tariq Ali has called the ‘extreme centre’. (The Extreme Centre: A Warning. 2015)

These were themes popular in the late 1990s, with the writings of Jacques Rancière“Post-democracy is the government practice and conceptual legitimisation of a democracy after the demos, a democracy that has eliminated the appearance, miscount, and dispute of the people and is thereby reducible to the sole interplay of state mechanisms and combinations of social energies and interests.” (La Mésentente: Politique et philosophie, 1995) And Colin Crouch, “A post-democratic society is one that continues to have and to use all the institutions of democracy, but in which they increasingly become a formal shell. The energy and innovative drive pass away from the democratic arena and into small circles of a politico-economic elite.”( Coping with Post-Democracy. 2000)

Students of politics always had a hard time getting to grips with the idea that societies where elections take place, different political parties run for office, there were hard battles over voting, getting people elected as representatives to national bodies right down to local, even parish councils, were ‘post’ democratic. Many were struck by the way that ‘alternatives’ to this state of affairs appeared to centre on forms of ‘populism’ that mobilised the ‘people’ against the ‘elite’. The best known case of populism that had got elected, national populism, was Trump and MAGA. That did not look very democratic at all…

Most people had forgotten about the original debates from another era.

Enter Tribune,

The Centre Can’t Save Democracy. Grace Blakely.

Blakeley argues that ‘post democracy’, that is liberal led government stopped political decision making influencing the way the economy is run – a curious claim one would think in the light of how governments have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic. Almost entirely limiting her international scope to the country of the owners of Tribune and the UK, she declares, “The neoliberals achieved with technocracy what classical liberals had achieved with limited suffrage: insulating management of the economy from popular pressure.” After a bit Carl Schmitt and the ominously titled Globalists by Quinn Slobodian she declares,

when it came to the realm of dominium — that is, the realm of the economy, conceived as entirely separate from that of politics — the influence of the masses had to be limited. Democratic governance of the economy always generated the danger of ‘economic nationalism’, in which the narrow, short-term class interests of the masses would be placed above the general interest, which entailed constructing and maintaining an efficient and stable market system.

The Tribune article continues,

The justification for the hollowing-out of democracy that has taken place in recent years was always that technocratic governance would support the efficient operation of the market. Central bank independence, for instance, would prevent the ‘politicisation’ of monetary policy by placing these decisions in the hands of independent economists. But this change has simply placed far more power in the hands of the ruling class — central bankers now heed the whims of financial lobbyists as much as politicians in their decision making.

The message of this squib is that real democracy cannot be furthered by the post-populist revival of the centre.

The political centre has seen its fortunes revive both in Britain, with Keir Starmer, and more particularly in America, with Joe Biden, not because it has any particular answer to this dynamic — but because it persuades people that it can be ignored. Faced with the disaster of Boris Johnson and Trumpism, it does not promise to make things better, only to prevent them from getting worse. And this, for many people, is enough. But it cannot last in the long term.

Instead we need a socialist take on democracy. Like the enthusiasts for Charter 88 several decades ago, and indeed the very liberal-minded Will Hutton, The State We’re in: Why Britain Is in Crisis and How to Overcome It (1995), Blakeley declares that,

“In the UK, constitutional reform — from removing the House of Lords, to dissolving the City of London Corporation, to a substantive local and national devolution agenda — would amplify the voices of working people within the British state. Deepening economic democracy — by reviving the trade union movement, expanding democratic public ownership, and building new democratic, publicly-owned financial institutions — would assist organised labour in its struggle with capital and help us to mitigate the effects of climate breakdown.”

It is hard to disagree with this programme. If we cannot revive the trade union movement by good intentions other reforms are welcome. Will Hutton and others around Charter 88 have argued for this democratic platform aligned to financial reforms for many years. Perhaps Tribune could add “stakeholding” (codetermination of companies) to the list. Hutton still promotes the cause.

Nevertheless this approach has got off on a wrong foot from he start. It ignores two important aspects of how politics and economics have developed in the new millenium.

The first is that Blakeley is fighting yesterday’s wars against ‘globalists’. What is the dominant feature of politics at present is the rise of national neo-liberalism. This is not just in its populist form, now apparently out of the way with Trump’s defeat, but in the shape practised by the Johnson government. Used by Paul Mason in Clear Bright Future (2019) the term is fleshed out by French economist Jean-François Bayart (Sur le national-libéralisme, une conversation avec Jean-François Bayart 2017). In the UK the present government practices a mixture of economic liberalism, that is the marketisation of state functions, private sector dominance, free trade, with the promotion of national identity and nationalist ideology.

The second issue is summed up by Jon Bloomfield and David Edgar

“In responding to the nationalist populist challenge there should be no triangulation. Blue Labour is a dangerous dead end that will only split progressive alliances. At the same time, absolutist positions must be avoided. Too often within contemporary social movements a narrow kind of identity politics is promoted, where solidarity is impossible because only personal experience is said to count. Similarly, there are still Remainers so incensed by the EU referendum result that they insist only a reversal of the decision will suffice. No element—liberal, progressive, socialist—can afford these indulgences. In opposing the illiberal, nationalist right the crucial lesson from the 1930s is crystal clear: unite against the main enemy.” (The populist delusion. The right has won the early battles, but the left can still win the war. Prospect. March 2021.)

In other words, identity politics, of the right (Blue Labour, Spiked, and the Tory ‘Common Sense’ faction) the identity politics of the actually existing liberal meritocratic US inspired left, are real political problems. Political liberalism which defends liberty can be an ally of the left. A central unifying issue is the defence of pluralism, and we need the centre to defend that, democratic diversity, and what Claude Lefort called the development of rights promoting movements. The right against national neo-liberalism, and national populism, means that without formal alliances we still need to recognise that on the issues these create there is a wider opposition within which the left, the internationalist left, needs to work.

Blakeley misses these issues altogether, clutching at straws she concludes,

Party reform is, of course, the sine qua non of this entire agenda. As long as social democratic parties continue to act as the voice of the liberal portion of the ruling class, and not of the working class, they will remain unable and unwilling to fix the deep divides that plague their societies. One of the biggest missed opportunities of Corbynism was the failure to democratise the Labour Party: that goal might be off the cards for now, but the Left needs to be fighting to defend the gains that were made and to prevent a further slide towards cartelisation.

And they wonder why the influence of magazines like Tribune is negligible.