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Blue Labour Resurfaces in Pétainist Controversy.

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Image may contain: text that says "SBL @BlueYoungLabour Young Blue Labour In our bio we previously referred to Blue Labour's tenets as "Work, Family and Tradition" We were told that this is actually the slogan of Vichy France. We have updated it to the real Blue Labour slogan of "Work, Family and Community". Apologies for any offence caused. 4:08 PM Jun 16, 2020 Twitter for iPhone"

Not “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” but “Work, Family and Community”.

Blue Labour is a pillar of the alliance between supporters of the Brexit Party (Spiked/ex-Living Marxism), the Aaron Bank funded Trade Unionists Against the EU,the Communist Party of Britain, and sundry ‘sovereigntist’ anti-EU types, from red Tories to leading New Left Review contributor Wolfgang Streeck, the Somewhere, as opposed to the Anywhere People.

Its leading thinker, Maurice Glasman, a noble member of the House of Lords, has not been idle in the present crisis.

In the promiscuous forum of Web events the Baron of Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill,  has found time to discuss the weighty issues of the age in the comfortable companionship of old friends from the Spiked Network.

After this pleasant evening, displaying his preternatural intellectual endowments, the Brexit campaigner has enjoyed reflecting on the wisdom of the illimitable pretensions of  Catholic social doctrine.

It is Catholic social thought that has guided me through the 2008 crash, Brexit and now the coronavirus. It has been my inspiration and I will be eternally grateful to Catholics and the Church. It was a very generous gift. In the darkest moments, it lights the way.

Lord Glasman: How Catholic Social Teaching rescued me from an academic crisis

This deft piece in the Catholic Herald  could serve as a springboard for further popular instruction, from the 2008 crisis, pandemics, the glory that is Brexit, to the Universal Church’s centuries-long striving for equitable social institutions.

Alas, efforts to corral the rock of St Peter on the side of society’s efforts to “defend itself” may well have hit a snag.

Yesterday this lot hit the leftist headlines, the result of their own reference to another Catholic social thinker,  Philippe Pétain.

The Vichy regime and its leader enjoyed great support from the Church hierarchy and many believers, (see on this, “Vichy : un régime clérical.” More than half of young people between the ages of 14 to 21 belonged to pro-Vichy youth movements” Les mouvements de jeunesse catholique connaissent un véritable essor sous Vichy, entre 1940 et 1944 près de la moitié des jeunes âgés de 14 à 21 ans, appartenait à un de ces mouvements.”)

Vichy was permeated with “corporatist” ideology. Corporatism opposed class struggle Marxism, finance (‘globalism’), and promoted revived national and community values. Nobody would contest that the Vichy ‘National revolution’ had many other sources and policies, but this attempt to run the economy and society, however much a mask for German rule, was not a simple smoke-screen.

People can be excused for thinking that claims to balance ‘rights’ and duties’, to devise an alternative to Marxism and liberalism, “« le marxisme n’est qu’un aspect prolongé des doctrines libérales »” was not too far off Blue Labour’s ideas of “mutuality and solidarity”.  (Un laboratoire de la doctrine corporatiste sous le régime de Vichy : l’Institut d’études corporatives et sociales Steven L. Kaplan)

It is well known that Vichy was the first regime to establish the 1st of May as a bank holiday in France.

Le , le maréchal Pétain instaure officiellement par la loi Belin le 1er mai comme « la fête du Travail et de la Concorde sociale »23, appliquant ainsi la devise Travail, Famille, Patrie : par son refus à la fois du capitalisme et du socialisme

These aspects of history should not make us forget the courage of those Catholics who resisted Pétain and Vichy, some of the best human beings in French history.

It is to register that “Catholic social doctrine” is not a block of granite resting on the side of progressive causes.

Look at Hilaire Belloc, one of the best known social thinkers, amongst his many accomplishments.

The British-French essayist became a corporatist of sorts.

This is his best known  account of the origins unrestrained capitalism,

The Servile State (1912)

The Immemorial past of Europe is a Servile past. During some centuries which the Church raised, permeated, and constructed, Europe was gradually re- leased or divorced from this immemorial and fundamental conception of slavery ; to that conception, to that institution, our Industrial or Capitalist society is now upon its return. We are re-establishing the slave.

In his efforts to find a corporatist solution to this servitude Belloc equally didn’t exactly stand firm against fascism and antisemitism…

Today it would not be surprising to see forms of national populism trying to modify the hard-line free-market thrust of their ‘national neo-liberalism’ with corportaist suggestions about bringing people together through social justice  in national communities.

You could say that Blue Labour, backers of a Brexit and enablers of the Johnson-Cummings project, form part of that wing of national populism.

After the initial tweet by Young Blue Labour a  – less complicated – history lesson followed:

Then,

The Scooby Gang running Blue Labour  – ‘gotten’ followed this by another American contribution- Howdy Pardners!

 

But “skepiticism” did not last

For some of us this reference to Dempsey is up there with the Vichy stuff…

 

Former Corbyn Adviser Andrew Murray on Keir Starmer and the Brexit Fall Out.

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Brexit Derangement Syndrome” Andrew Murray Warns Labour Against ...

Andrew Murray, Former Corbyn Adviser, Anti-Imperialist.

Le Monde Diplomatique, it’s no secret – as we used to say- is no friend of the European Union. Its Director, Serge Halimi,  welcomed Brexit, but has wistfully remarked that it happened too late. In approximate translation he wrote in the March English language edition of the monthly, Brexit hasn’t freed EU of US

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has come too late. Brexit could have been good news for the EU, given that the UK is the state that has incarnated free trade since the 18th century industrial revolution, also alignment with the US since Winston Churchill’s ‘special relationship’, financialisation since the City of London began dominating the economy and politics, and flint-hearted neoliberalism since Margaret Thatcher’s reign. Britain’s departure could, in particular, have served as a reminder that the EU is not a prison: just as new states may join, existing members should be able to leave. On this score at least, the UK’s politicians have, after much delay, respected the will of its people, and that lesson in democracy has value right now.

It has not been too late for the soveriegntist inclined journal to publish – in its French edition – articles from supporters of the red-brown Full Brexit (with no indication of the nature of this alliance of the Lexit left, Communist Party of Britain, Faith Family and Flag, ‘Blue Labour’, former Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Communist Party, now stalwarts of the Brexit Party – members, and elected MEPs)  and assorted odd balls). Pro-Borders New Left Review star, social conservative, and Full Brexit backer Wolfgang Streeck, is another light in this little galaxy of national sovereigntists. 

Thus Chris Bickerton, author at the red-brown Spiked, which is now engaged in a war on the Black Lives Matter movement, has passed from their site to Le Monde Diplomatique. This pundit on Labour’s defeat, (Pourquoi le Labour a perdu. Chris Bickerton. February 2020.) As can be expected the article blamed metropolitan youth and elites’ dominance of Labour for refusing to accept withdrawal from the EU, supporting internationalism at the expense of the ‘real’ people in the Labour heartlands. Continuing the promotion of Brexit contained a lengthy justification for voting Tory, by an alleged Labour supporter and …a backer of the Full Brexit,  a gleeman called Chris McGlade, (« Je suis travailliste, j’ai voté conservateur »).

Such is the august publication which has welcomed Andrew Murray, Former Communist Party of Britain stalwart, leading figure in the, Stop the War Coalition (StWC) , Solidarity with the Anti-fascist resistance in Ukraine, UNITE Staff chief, and ‘adviser’ to Jeremy Corbyn on, amongst many things, Brexit.

The piece – alas not widely circulated in the British media – is titled:

Adieux discrets au corbynisme

There is an English version, but I do not have a sub to this, so the French will have to suffice.

Murray starts well (this bit is available without the sub…)

Starmer urged Labour to move beyond factionalism, probably optimistic given that the party has always hosted a range of competing tendencies, even in the years of Tony Blair’s ultra-centralising neoliberalism; the best Starmer can realistically hope for is to lower the fevered temperature of the ultra-polarised Corbyn years. However, he did not propose to move away from the main policies the outgoing leader had championed — public ownership of railways and utilities, major boosts to spending on public services to be partly funded by increasing taxes on the rich and big business, 

He generously concedes that the Labour membership made a clear choice (translation…)

Mr. Corbyn has given way to Sir Keir Starmer, the former Labour spokesperson, who won 56  % of the vote among party activists, supporters and unionists – a score barely less impressive than that obtained by Mr Corbyn in 2015 (59.5  % ).

Here comes the down side.

The ancient and, present, chair of the StWC laments, nevertheless, the loss of some of Corbyn’s keynote traits,”Le premier de ces traits est l’anti-impérialisme.” Noting that Corbyn would have a job getting through his ideas, indeed a  “scenario in which a parliamentary majority would support nuclear disarmament, much less a withdrawal from NATO.” There is a reference to the Middle East and the problems faced by any attempt to break the ” alliance with Washington or a reversal of British policy in the Middle East”. Whether this refers to the government’s and  Corbyn’s refusal to back opponents of Syria’s President Assad, to concentrate on justice for the victims of Daesh genocide, or to his more vocal backing for the Palestinians, is not clear. What is, is that Corbyn ran up against the “Atlanticist” alliances that dominate British politics – including President Trump’s active support for Brexit.

The anti-imperialist writer continues. Starmer has no record of backing social movements – movements Murray locates in mass demonstrations, such as the ones held by the StWC and anti-austerity protests, heavily backed by his own union, UNITE. 

The crunch moment came when the Parliamentary Labour Party, and the Labour membership, ignored the advice of Murray to accept Brexit (a cause he, too modest to mention, embraced fervently).

The “notables of the party did not cease thereafter wanting to reverse the verdict of the referendum, by demanding a second ballot rather than the negotiation of a soft Brexit”. This opened up a division between,

….parliamentarians and most members on the one hand and the majority of working class voters. somewhere else. The difficulties of the left in imagining a world outside the European Union ended up sounding the death knell for Mr. Corbyn’s project.

If only we had the will and the imagination to dream of a real People’s Brexit!

If only Labour had ignored the mass protests against Brexit – just as Tony Blair had the StWC demonstrations against the Iraq War .

Instead the party listened to its ranks, in which “the elites of North London” were over-represented.

For Murray Brexit was, and continues to be, not a conflict between internationalists and sovereigntists,. It’s between these ‘elites’ and  the “majority of working class voters”.

The present piece eschews the colourful description of pro-EU internationalists, infected by “Brexit derangement syndrome” , the malady of “human rights” and  “rancid identity politics”, see Andrew Murray. The Fall and Rise of the British Left. Verso, 2019.).

But even so…

Casting aside his own claim to be neutral in this Brexit ‘culture war’ Murray declares, 

The fracture within Labour, between the proponents of liberalism and the partisans of democracy, got the better of Corbynism.

So it is said. Liberalism is against democracy – a sentiment that without a doubt warmed the hearts of the editors of Le Monde Diplomatique.

Commenting on the Coronavirus crisis, with justness, that, “The United Kingdom is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, “

In conclusion Murray states,

In this sense, the crisis of today merges with that of yesterday. No matter how much Mr. Johnson claims he will overcome it, the promises of right-wing populism are likely to prove no less hollow than those of neoliberal centrism.

The contribution of Murray’s allies in the Full Brexit to the triumph of right-wing populism – their support for the illusion of a “people’s Brexit’ – is left unmentioned.

Factionalism in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 6: Workers Revolutionary Party Predicted UK Police State (1980, from onwards)

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WRP predicted Tory Coup back in the 1980s! (@M.Ezra Archives).

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There has been much talk of ‘Nostradamus’ Dominic Cummings and his ability to predict the future of pandemics.

But the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) has a better, and proven, track record of clairvoyance.

In the early 1980s the industrial dispute in Britain’s coal fields saw the WRP work out the implications of the threat a military dictatorship posed for the working class and labour movement,

The beginning of the miners’ strike coincided with the Thatcher government’s banning of unions at GCHQ. This, and the massive police operation directed at picketing miners, was taken by the WRP as evidence that ‘the traditional system of capitalist rule through parliamentary democracy is a thing of the past. In its place is Bonapartism – a regime of crisis relying on the armed national police force, directly confronting the organised working class on the streets’.16

The WRP insisted that the miners’ strike could not be won outside the struggle for power, and that if the miners were defeated Thatcher would impose a police-military dictatorship. ‘If we don’t take the power we will have fascism’, Healy declared in February 1985, on the eve of the strike’s collapse. ‘Make no mistake, if we don’t do it, there will be fascism.

The Rise and Fall of Gerry Healy. Bob Pitt. Chapter 10.

This menace has not gone away.

In 2014 the WRP again saw a UK Police State in the making:

May Launches Tory Police State (1st October 2014)

TORY Home Secretary May’s plans to ban democratic rights, that she proposed to the Tory party conference yesterday, was condemned as ‘worthy of a caliphate’ by civil rights group.
2019 saw renewed concerns,

Anti-Brexit coup under way – ‘Country before Party’ means bringing in military police state!

This foresight has now shown its value.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has proved, WRP stalwarts assert, the worth of their farsighted analysis.
There is a clear answer:

The unions must immediately organise a general strike to bring them down and go forward to a workers government that will nationalise the banks and major industries under workers management and bring in a socialist planned economy.

Socialist revolution is the only way forward today.