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Euro Elections: An Opportunity for Labour to take an Internationalist Stand on Europe.

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Labour Will not Win by Competing for the Brexit Vote.

The Tories are in steep decline, and the Brexit Party (Farage, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Spiked – Revolutionary Communist Party oddball, Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert to name but their best known candidates),  are slugging it out over ownership of the fear of god with UKIP.

UKIP has just distinguished itself with this:

I bet the chap below does not like rootless cosmopolitans:

Labour is a strong position to stand up for internationalism.

The anti-cosmopolitan Full Brexit crowd is still trying to drag the party into a competition with the three Brexit parties and adopt National Populist policies.

Skwawkbox, for it is he, says,

Labour’s leadership, following the party’s conference policy, tabled the option of a new referendum in Parliament – and it was decisively defeated, as it was when tabled separately.

But to those aware of working-class opinion, especially outside London, it’s always been clear that Labour had to see through Brexit or risk alienating huge tracts of its heartlands.

Labour’s current strong polling shows that the majority of its base understood that Jeremy Corbyn has played a difficult hand brilliantly. But if Labour wants to win power – as millions of suffering people in this country desperately need – it’s now time for the party to focus on delivering a Brexit that works as well as possible for everyone. Ultimately, that’s always been true.

Those who can’t see beyond a desire to ‘stop Brexit’ to the greater prize of a country governed by Labour for the many cannot be allowed to dictate the party’s agenda, tactics or message.

The time has come for the internationalist left to strike another note:

The Huffington Post publishes this:

Jeremy Corbyn Handed ‘Remain, Reform, Rebel’ Manifesto For European Elections

Rachel Wearmouth

Calls for Jeremy Corbyn to back remain at the European elections have intensified as a strongly pro-EU manifesto penned by left-wingers was passed to the Labour leader.

Titled “Remain, Reform, Rebel”, the document was penned by Corbyn allies, including his ex-economic advisor Ann Pettifor, and has been endorsed by every sitting Labour MEP set to contest their seat should the Brexit deadlock trigger the May 23 poll.

It demands an EU-wide Green New Deal – similar to that advocated in the US by Democrat politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – to include a “European super-grid” and pledges to make the continent 100% served by renewables by 2050.

Labour’s official manifesto will be be decided separately by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee and the party has said it will consult with a range of stakeholders.

Talks between Corbyn and Theresa May were set to enter a third week on Monday as the pair attempt to thrash out a compromise after the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement was rejected three times.

While elections to the European Parliament are not yet certain, all parties have begun preparations to take part.

….

It comes as party insiders increasingly fear the European Parliament elections, which will be held almost three years after the 2016 vote, will inevitably morph into a proxy referendum on EU membership.

A Labour source told HuffPost UK MEPs see the Remain vote will split between the new Change UK party, the Lib Dems and Greens, handing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party a path to victory.

Turning to the Commission’s draft manifesto, they said: “These talks are like a death dance with the first who stops accused of collapsing.

“This is the left’s bid to show that we aren’t afraid of fighting on an overtly pro-European election.

“We want to come out fighting and to be able to say we are part of a pro-European alliance that wants to push things in the direction of a socialist Europe.

“We are saying to Labour as a commission: bite the bullet, get behind where the membership are and the majority of Labour voters are.

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Shambling Towards Shambles: Brexit, Alex Callinicos and the Socialist Workers Party.

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“If a breakthrough to the left occurs in a particular country, this would indeed require a left government defying the EU and introducing a programme of controls over the economy.”

Alex Callinicos.

Shambling towards the precipice Alex Callinicos.

International Socialism Issue 162. April the 8th.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 10, 2019 at 11:44 am

Counterfire, John Rees, So-called Marxists and Brexit.

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“Genuine Marxists” with their one-time Best Friend.

Amongst many other things Brexit has divided the left.

The Parliamentary Labour Party, and the large number of people in Britain who have left-wing politics, from social democratic ideas, left liberalism, green politics, and all the varieties of democratic socialism have seen different views on the European Union become the burning political issue of our time.

The Marxist left has also been split.

What seemed like the majority view of both the non-Labour Leninist left and – it was assumed – the Labour left was a position extremely  hostile to the EU. Tony Benn had even described the UK as a “colony” of the EU, and this flight of fancy was not his alone.

The Referendum showed that there was a strong section of the radical left, including those who identify with the Marxist tradition, who stood for a Remain Vote. Today many are organised in the campaign, Another Europe is Possible, whose support goes from the Labour grass-roots group, Open Labour not far from the Party’s centre, the Green Party, to the Party’s Left, the democratic socialist Chartist, supporters of Momentum, to more radical groups, such as Socialist Resistance and the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. Left Unity has also given its backing to Another Europe. From Another Europe there is equally Labour for a Socialist Europe, which produces valuable material relating to Party debate. The allied initiative, Love Socialism Hate Brexit, has attracted Labour MPs, like Clive Lewis and Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

The Lexit, pro-Brexit, Left, has grouped around The Full Brexit, an alliance of Family Faith and Flag Blue Labour, sovereigntists, The Communist  Party of Britain, Spiked contributors , the odd maverick Green, and supporters of the Revolutionary Socialist Counterfire. The Full Brexit’s recent troubles over Eddie Dempsey, and, now Paul Embery, opponents of “rootless cosmopolitans” illustrate the difficulties many on the left would have in working with this body, let alone its anti-EU politics.

Now, from the above Counterfire, ignoring such mundane issues, John Rees offers the left a masterclass on Marxism.

Marxists, so-called Marxists, and parliamentary socialists

He begins by citing this,

The only sensible reaction to the accusation by the Tory right that Jeremy Corbyn is “a Marxist“ is the one that Karl Marx himself gave. In response to some of his own would-be followers in France he said: “all that I know, is that I am not a Marxist”.

Marx was referring to Jules Guesde the leader of the French ‘Marxist’ tendency which became the Parti Ouvrier, and, after another name change, eventually became, in 1905, part of the first substantial french socialist party, the : Section française de l’Internationale ouvrièreSFIO.

A little further down Rees gives another “famous quotation” from Engels, on French socialism to support his politics,

“We have never called you anything but ‘the so-called Marxists’ and I would not know how else to describe you. Should you have some other, equally succinct name, let us know and we shall duly and gladly apply it to you.”

He states of this (Engels To Paul Lafargue At Le Perreux. London, 11 May 1889)

What was it that produced such a scathing remark from Engels? It was the idea, current among Marx and Engels’ French supporters, that support for reforms was just a trick meant to lure workers into more radical politics once they had seen such demands fail.

Marx and Engels would have none of it. They took seriously the demands for reform that arose from the working-class movement and inscribed them as basic demands in their own programme. They wanted them achieved because they knew that both the struggle to attain them, and any successes that were achieved, would strengthen the working class movement in practice and ideologically.

Rees, to put it simply, is  misleading. The exchange had a meaning only within its time of writing and does not refer to “reforms” in general.

Engels’ letter was in the context of one of the divisions that marked, and still mark, French socialism, and international socialism. That is between those who stand for internationalism, what would now be called universal human rights, and those tempted by National Populism.

This arose during the “Boulangist Movement” and the letter is about the ambiguous attitude of Marx’s son-in-law, who had expressed sympathy  for this nationalist upsurge.

Mitchell Abidor offers and excellent introduction to this episode, a mass movement around Georges Boulanger, a former general in the French army, General Boulanger and the Boulangist Movement.

The movement that had grown around Boulanger’s name was perhaps the first of its kind, a combination of royalists, Bonapartists, Republicans, socialists, and Blanquists. If it resembles any movement in this strange mix of followers it is Peronism, which was also able to attract followers from all ends of the political spectrum around the figure of a general. And like Peronism, Boulangism was able to do this because it can justly be said of the man at the heart of it that, like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland, there was no there there.

It is hard not to see some modern parallels,

Populism, nationalism, defense of the rights of workers; everything was in place for the birth of the movement that would bear the general’s name.

And,

From 1888-1889 Boulanger went from victory to victory, winning elections in seven different districts. Blanquists, the most intransigent of revolutionaries (but who were not immune to the temptations of nationalism and anti-Semitism) , were to say that with Boulanger “the revolution has begun,” and that Boulangism is “a labor of clearing away, of disorganizing the bourgeois parties.” So close were the ties between the extreme left and Boulangism that the police were convinced that secret accords had been drawn up between the two forces. And though the official Blanquist bodies were split as to how far they’d go in following Boulanger, it is a fact that the Boulangist movement’s strongest electoral showing was in the Blanquist strongholds in Paris. Indeed, throughout France, it was in working class centers that Boulanger garnered his greatest successes.

The Engels text in full reads,

We have never called you anything but ‘the so-called Marxists’ and I would not know how else to describe you. Should you have some other, equally succinct name, let us know and we shall duly and gladly apply it to you. But we cannot say ‘aggregate’, which no one here would understand, or anti-Possibilists, which you would find just as objectionable and which would not be accurate, being too all-embracing.

It continues,

What we need are letters from Paris, sent direct to the Star, bearing the Paris postmark and refuting the Possibilist calumnies which appeared in Saturday’s and Tuesday’s editions, namely, that Boulé’s election campaign was run on Boulangist money, that Vaillant had acted as an ally of the Boulangists, etc. I should say that you could do this perfectly well without ruffling your newly-found dignity as the one and only Catholic Church in matters connected with French Socialism.

Apart from Engels notably not criticising Lafargue’s misguided enthusiasm for Boulanger, what else does this refer to?

It is first of all, about the Guesdist tendency’s war with the “possibilitists” of Paul Brousse leader of the  Fédération des travailleurs socialistes de France and with Édouard Vaillant a former Commmard, and ‘Blanquist’  elected a Municipal Councillor in 1884 in Paris

Engels backed the desire of his friend for an independent workers’ party – unlike the Possibilistes, and by extension municipal socialists of all stripes,   who turned from intransigent socialism and  were ready to compromise with the Parliamentary (and Municipal)  Republican left in order to achieve reforms.

But this leaves open the issue of what position should have been taken to Boulangism, a view, which Lafargue  was, unfortunately, to clarify further in a far from progressive direction.

As Abidor says,

We can multiply the number of quotations from those on the left who either supported Boulangism or refused to openly or uncompromisingly oppose it. Paul Lafargue, the great socialist leader and theoretician, who in 1887 wrote a bitingly mocking article on Boulangism, also wrote to Engels that “Boulangism is a popular movement that is in many ways justifiable.” The followers of the other great Marxist if the generation, Jules Guesde, wrote that “the Ferryist danger being as much to be feared as the Boulangist peril, revolutionaries should favor neither the one nor the other, and shouldn’t play the bourgeoisie’s game by helping it combat the man who at present is its most redoubtable adversary.”

He continues,

But not everyone on the left was willing to go along with or refuse to block the Boulangist juggernaut. Jean Jaurès wrote that Boulangism is “a great movement of socialism gone astray,” and the Communard and historian of the Commune P-O Lissagaray was a motive force behind the Société des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen, which was formed to combat Boulangism and defend democracy, uniting in the group socialists, republicans, students and Freemasons.

This episode is described in greater detail in Les Hommes Révoltés. Les Origines Intellectuelles du réformisme en France (19721 – 1917) Emmanuel Jousse. 2017. Pages 150 – 152.

The campaign against Boulanger “« empêcher la réaction césarienne. » (halt the Caesarist Reaction!) attracted the support not only Paul Brousse and Vailliant  but the radical left ‘Allemanists” of Jean Allemane a trade unionist,  and veteran of the Paris Commune exiled to hard labour in New Caledonia, and Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray, the author of the still valuable History of the Paris Commune of 1871, an event in which he participated.

In other words, the salt of the earth.

After Boulangism dispersed, left supporters of Boulangism were still churning out books justifying their alliance.

Pàtil-Emile Laviron claimed that the anti-Boulangist campaign has meant an alliance with the parliamentary establishment and neglect of the class struggle (“Oubliant leur principe de la lutte des classes, ils entrèrent dans la coalition parlementaire des radicaux et des opportunistes. Boulangisme et Parlementarisme.” 1888)

In Les antisémites en France : notice sur un fait contemporain 1892  Mermeix (Gabriel Terrail) claimed that right-wingers and anti-semites were merely ‘infiltrators” in the movement. The General had popularised the ideas of socialism, (“Le général Boulanger a donc puissamment aidé l’esprit public à évoluer vers le socialisme”).

This may not help sort out the ‘genuine’ Marxist sheep from the reformist Goats, but it does raise some contemporary issues about national populism and anti-antisemitism…

In some respects one can that an alliance against a serious hard-right nationalist project, Brexit, springs to mind….means marching with, though not supporting, a variety of groups with this goal, though not others, in common.

It is hard to tell, but one could ask if more than one section of the Full Brexit would have had some sympathy with General Boulanger. who stood for the “real” France, the “real” workers” against the cosmopolitans.

What would Galloway have done…..?

Written by Andrew Coates

April 9, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star) Denounces “Saboteur” Labour MPs and Calls for Hard Brexit, “on World Trade Organisation terms .”

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Be Vigilant! Communists Warn of Labour MPs’ “sabotage” against Brexit on April the 12th on World Trade Organisation terms.

Communists condemn ‘saboteur’ MPs and demand April 12 EU exit

3rd of April.

Monday evening’s votes in the House of Commons confirm that a substantial number of MPs remain determined to bind Britain as closely as possible to the EU and its rules and institutions if they cannot stop Brexit altogether.

These MPs show utter contempt for the EU referendum result – the biggest democratic vote in our history – and make a mockery of their past pledges to ‘honour’ the decision made by a clear majority of voters.

A majority of MPs have no genuine disagreement with the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement which ties Britain to the EU Single Market in most goods, keeps us permanently aligned with the EU Customs Union through the unnecessary Irish ‘backstop’, maintains EU Court of Justice sovereignty in large areas of economic and social policy and pledges to pay the EU at least £39bn in a bogus divorce settlement.

However, a substantial number of these are also holding out in the hope of locking Britain permanently into a customs union or overthrowing Brexit altogether in a second referendum that would exclude a real exit from the ballot paper.

Tragically, many of these would-be saboteurs are Labour MPs who put their loyalty to the EU above any loyalty to democracy, popular sovereignty and the Labour Party.

Many are opposed to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and have no concern that by painting Labour as an anti-Brexit party they are jeopardising the prospects of a left-led Labour government. Some openly support the possibility of an all-party ‘national government’.

The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on World Trade Organisation terms and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.

That government would then be free to carry out Labour’s left and progressive policies, which include aid for manufacturing industry and mutually beneficial trade agreements with European and developing countries.

What, some wreckers and saboteurs might dare to ask, is a Brexit on WTO terms?

Brexit: What is the ‘no deal’ WTO option?

One of the terms that keeps cropping up in the Brexit debate is “the WTO option”.

If the UK left the European Union without a deal, it would automatically fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

So what would that mean?

First, the basics. What is the WTO?

The WTO is the place where countries negotiate the rules of international trade – there are 164 members and, if they don’t have free trade agreements with each other, they trade under “WTO rules”.

Which are?

Every WTO member has a list of tariffs (taxes on imports of goods) and quotas (limits on the number of goods) that they apply to other countries. These are known as their WTO schedules.

The average EU tariff is pretty low (about 2.8% for non-agricultural products) – but, in some sectors, tariffs can be quite high.

Under WTO rules, after Brexit, cars would be taxed at 10% when they crossed the UK-EU border. And agricultural tariffs would be significantly higher, rising to an average of more than 35% for dairy products.

The government has set out its plans for tariffs in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Its temporary schedule would mean that 87% of imports by value will be tariff-free, compared with 80% before Brexit.

There will be some protection for companies producing cars in the UK, farmers producing meat and the UK ceramics industry. The government has attempted to balance the benefits of free trade in getting cheaper products for consumers, with protecting the livelihoods of some UK producers.

Some groups, which claim to be on the left, still cling to the idea of a “People’s Brexit”.

The Full-Brexit supporting Counterfire publishes today this;

Neoliberalism and Brexit: why Brexit is about more than just Brexit

“Brexit is about more than just Brexit” says Dragan Plavšić, “it’s about the wider crisis of neoliberalism and the long-diminishing authority and standing of the British state and ruling class.”

However, if Corbynism is indeed to be true to the discontented mood shift of which it is the most authentic expression, then it has to advocate a Brexit – a People’s Brexit – that provides a future Labour Government with the necessary freedom to undo the destructive and devastating effects of forty years of neoliberalism. A People’s Brexit is therefore the only real alternative to the neoliberals who wish to leave the EU or remain in it. A general election is feared by them all; the sooner we have one the better.

Most people will have forgotten what a ‘People’s Brexit’ was ever meant to be – and Plavšić does not enlighten us in this reheated rhetoric.

But Counterfire has published articles arguing that WTO rules are better than the EU’s,

“The WTO Red Herring

WTO anti-subsidy provisions are a completely different kettle of fish from EU state aid rules – being far narrower in their scope, far less stringent in their implementation and fundamentally different in how they operate.

The radical case against the single market is no myth February 2019. Reuben Bard-Rosenberg.

So the ‘left’ Brexit or People’s Brexit camp has adopted versions of the Tory ‘Hard Brexit’ position, with the UK negotiating free trade deals with other states through the World Trade Organisation.

There is the minor problem that not only does this prospect go against present Parliamentary votes,  Labour policy, and the views of nearly all but the fringe of the fringe of the Party, but that it runs up against this prospect:

UK cannot simply trade on WTO terms after no-deal Brexit, say experts

The UK will be unable to have frictionless, tariff-free trade under World Trade Organization rules for up to seven years in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to two leading European Union law specialists.

The ensuing chaos could double food prices and plunge Britain into a recession that could last up to 30 years, claim the lawyers who acted for Gina Miller in the historic case that forced the government to seek parliament’s approval to leave the EU.

It has been claimed that the UK could simply move to WTO terms if there is no deal with the EU. But Anneli Howard, a specialist in EU and competition law at Monckton Chambers and a member of the bar’s Brexit working group, believes this isn’t true.

Walks Outs by “ultra-left and sectarian” Spanish and Portuguese Sections in Growing Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) Split.

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Socialist Party in Split with “ultra-left and sectarian” Spanish and Portuguese Sections.

It seems as if the international far-left is undergoing some serious splits.

The American International Socialist Organization, which is known to the present site for some serious political articles over the years), has dissolved.

THE ISO’S VOTE TO DISSOLVE AND WHAT COMES NEXT

MEMBERS AND recent ex-members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) have decided to dissolve the organization and end publication of SocialistWorker.org over the coming weeks, but also to support several working groups and initiatives going forward, and to work toward continued collaboration in rebuilding independent revolutionary socialist organization.

These decisions followed a week of online voting that ended March 29 on nearly two-dozen proposals put forward ahead of an all-member conference call on March 24. Nearly 500 members, participants in disaffiliated branches and recently resigned members took part in the vote.

The decisions came in the wake of a severe crisis in the ISO after information surfaced about a horribly mishandled sexual assault accusation in 2013. An independent disciplinary committee at the time came to the conclusion that an ISO member had clearly violated the organization’s code of conduct and should be expelled, but the 2013 Steering Committee interfered with the committee’s work, overturned its decision and effectively

Meanwhile the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), best known for its British section, the stridently pro-Brexit Socialist Party, and which has yet to produce any serious political articles, is undergoing a split of its own.

It seems that in its dispute with the Irish group SP leader Peter Taaffe has found himself in the minority.

This is latest (April the 2nd).

Statement from the ‘In Defence of a Working Class Trotskyist CWI’ Faction to all members of the CWI

Dear comrades,

At the meeting of the International Faction in London held on 27-28 March the Spanish and Portuguese delegations unfortunately walked out of the meeting. In a final declaration JIR made the completely false assertion that they were being excluded from the Faction because they had raised political differences.

At this meeting a series of important political differences arose. This followed a telephone conference which was held between the entire Spanish EC and members of the IS Majority on Friday 22 March. At the meeting comrades from Spain raised a series of differences relating to method, the decisions taken by the leadership of the England and Welsh section at the recent congress of their section and also a clear declaration of important differences relating to the analysis of the CWI regarding the lowering of socialist consciousness following the collapse of the Stalinist regimes and the consequences this had for the international workers’ movement at the time along with the extent to which these effects are still present today.

At the end of this telephone conference JIR made clear that these issues were of critical importance to the Spanish leadership. It was agreed that they would be discussed in more depth at the Faction meeting in London. This was done on the first day. In the debate important differences emerged in relation to socialist and political consciousness, the consequences of the collapse of the former Stalinist states and the analysis we have had on Venezuela and some other issues which JIR stated were fundamental questions. During his intervention JIR argued that these questions had not been sufficiently discussed during the process of unification and that the comrades had been “deceived”, something which is completely false. He declared that these issues would be reported back to a special Spanish CC meeting which would then decide on its attitude towards the Faction.

In informal discussion following the meeting between the Spanish, Portuguese comrades and Phillip Stott (Scotland) Clive Heemskerk (England and Wales) and Tony Saunois (IS Majority) JIR made clear that these differences were fundamental and implied that the comrades would recommend to the Spanish EC and CC that they leave the Faction. He also stated that this would mean it would make no sense to remain in the CWI.

It was agreed that he make a formal statement of the situation to the Faction meeting the next day. At that meeting he was asked to make such a statement and argued that firstly Peter Taaffe should reply to the discussion. This was not acceptable as the content of the reply would partly be dependent on the declaration made by JIR.

This approach by JIR was a continuation of the ultimatist approach which unfortunately has been the approach adopted by the Spanish leadership throughout the CWI factional struggle. JIR eventually made a declaration protesting against the alleged methods used in the meeting and falsely claiming that the comrades were being excluded from the meeting because they and the Portuguese delegation had raised political differences. As Tony Saunois was responding to this declaration, refuting the allegations made by JIR, stating that we were prepared to continue the discussion on these issues the Spanish and Portuguese delegations walked out of the meeting.

The members of the Faction at this meeting reject the false claims that the Spanish and Portuguese were excluded for raising political differences.

At the meeting it was clear that the Spanish and Portuguese delegations were arguing in our opinion from an ultra-left and sectarian standpoint. The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction. However, in conducting a principled defence of the methods and traditions of the CWI against this trend we are not prepared to paper over or mask important political differences with the sectarian approach adopted by the Spanish and supported by the Portuguese leadership for the sake of opportunistic expediency in the factional struggle within the CWI. The Faction openly discusses political issues and, unlike our opponents, we do not hide any disagreements that may arise. The Faction was formed to defend a principled Trotskyist approach in opposition to opportunism within the CWI. Now a sectarian ultra-left trend has also emerged which we will also politically oppose.

Signed:

Tony Saunois, Bob Labi, Clare Doyle, Niall Mulholland, Senan Uthaya (International Secretariat);

Peter Taaffe, Hannah Sell, Judy Beishon (International Secretariat and English and Welsh EC);

Paula Mitchell, Clive Heemskerk (English and Welsh EC);

OKSascha Stanicic, Micheal Koschitzki (IEC and German EC), Angelika Teweleit (German EC);

Christine Thomas (IEC and Italy EC);

Phillip Stott (IEC and Scottish EC).

Further material available here: More documents from the CWI faction fight

From Trainspotters – the texts are now in the public domain.

The sentence, “The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction.” already looks headed for the annals of classical Marxist quotations.

Pro-Brexit Morning Star Wades into the “Eddie Dempsey Affair” and Mounts Campaign Against Anti-Brexit Labour MP Clive Lewis.

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StalinAssasin

Full Brexit supporter Eddie Dempsey also has a poetic bent.

The fall out from last Monday’s Full Brexit meeting continues.

This event was organised by an alliance of the “family, faith and flag Blue Labour,”, the Arron Banks funded Labour Leave and Trade Unionists Against the EU, The Communist Party of Britain, Counterfire, Spiked contributors, and a wide range of odd-balls and sovereigntists.

As in this:

This was the event:

It became notorious when this chap spoke, Eddie Dempsey, RMT rail union national executive member.

Dempsey said the following.

The one thing that unites [the people who turn out for Tommy Robinson]…. is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.

This was met by strong criticism.

Paul Mason wrote in the New Statesman,

If there is one thing people who go on the Tommy Robinson marches have in common, Dempsey told the audience, “it’s that they hate the liberal left – and they are right to hate them, they are correct.” When called out by a fellow Labour member who works for Another Europe is Possible, Dempsey replied that his critic was “flush with money from Soros”.

This goes a lot further than the 1970s-style economic nationalism of the Morning Star and the RMT union, of which Dempsey is a member. The entire argument – that the “working class” has been robbed of a voice in their own movement by liberals – echoes precisely the drivel against political correctness, “luvvies” and “citizens of nowhere” that is pumped out daily by papers like the Sun and the Daily Express.

It relies, as I’ve argued here before, on a definition of the British working class as white, manual, unskilled, culturally dispossessed and possessing citizenship of this country. In fact 44 per cent of people in work are managers, professionals or “associate professionals” like nurses; when it comes to education 47 per cent have a degree or above. Just 10 per cent of the workforce are in manufacturing. Of the 32 million people employed, nearly four million are from ethnic minorities, while two million are EU nationals without a vote.

Once you understand that this is the real working class, and that the one Dempsey is talking about is an ideological construct of the far right, the next thing he said was even more shocking. He claimed there are “too many in the Labour Party who have made a calculation, that there’s a certain section at the top end of the working class, in alliance with people – they calculate – from ethnic minorities, and the liberals: that’s enough to get them into power” – and that they can disregard “all the working class people that have been driven away by the neoliberals”.

Dempsey persisted,

He got defended, from a dependable ally.

The reference to fishing was not the end of it.

The Morning Star used to controversy to mount a campaign against the Labour Party’s Clive Lewis.

Clive Lewis branded ‘out of order’ by RMT’s Mick Cash

CLIVE LEWIS was branded “out of order” by RMT general secretary Mick Cash today after the Labour MP promoted an article calling a leading trade unionist a “Tommy Robinson apologist.”

Mr Cash demanded the Norwich South MP apologise for sharing an article that labelled RMT activist Eddie Dempsey a supporter of the far-right, anti-Muslim activist.

The article, which was written by Jim Denham, a member of the Trotskyite organisation Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), accused Mr Dempsey of being “far right” over comments he made criticising “liberal” Labour members at a left-wing anti-EU rally on Monday.

It also called on co-panellists, School of Oriental and African Studies economics professor Costas Lapavitsas and Institute for Public Policy Research economist and journalist Grace Blakeley, to condemn him.

Mr Dempsey insinuated (!!!) that this was an attack on him by the AWL and Mr Lewis, who are both anti-Brexit.

..

For the moment I leave out the following section (see below), said to be reproduced from the Weekly Worker, or Tony Greenstein’s Blog, attacking the AWL, Alliance for Workers’ Liberty of which Comrade Jim Denham is a longstanding member.

The article continues,

More than 100 trade unionists have publicly criticised Mr Lewis.

Norwich Labour county councillor Jess Barnard said she was “shocked” Mr Lewis would share an AWL member’s article, claiming that she had already raised concerns with him about the organisation.

Mr Cash added: “Clive Lewis should apologise and retract his comment.”

Mr Lapavitsas told the Star: “I consider Eddie Dempsey to be one of the most reliable socialists, trade unionists and anti-fascists in this country.

“I’m proud to share panels with him.”

Mr Lewis responded: “When a white trades unionist stands up at a Brexit rally and tells an audience he feels the same hatred for parts of the ‘liberal left’ as Stephen Yaxley’s supporters; and that ethnic minorities are being used by the same liberal left to enable ‘the working class’ to be ‘disregarded’ – as a black person, that sets alarm bells ringing.

“I’ve heard this language before and it’s the language of the far right. You don’t beat the far right by parroting their tropes. You beat them by standing in solidarity with all working-class people – whatever their colour, wherever they’re from.”

The first reaction must be that not a single one of the Morning Star’s comments criticises the speech Dempsey made.

Next, is that Clive Lewis was singled out for sharing an article, in fact a Blog Post taken from the (widely shared) Labour for a Socialist Europe statement which Jim reposted. (Sharing platforms with social-conservatives, reactionaries and nationalists: Open Letter to comrades Lapavitsas and Blakeley)

Finally, on what basis did Cash, whose union the RMT organised the anti-Labour No2EU electoral slate for the European elections in 2014, (153,236 votes, or 1%)  with the support of the Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party  have to “demand” an apology from an MP of the Party they stood against on the issue of Europe?

The AWL have replied,

A recent article in the Morning Star defended remarks made by Eddie Dempsey at a recent “Full Brexit” rally by way of inaccuracies and misleading remarks including about Workers’ Liberty. A copy of the response we are sending to them.

To the Morning Star,

Your article of 29 March (“Clive Lewis branded ‘out of order’ by RMT’s Mick Cash) contains a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements which are an affront to basic journalistic rigour, as well as the standards of democratic debate which the labour movement should set for itself.

The article reports on debate surrounding comments made by RMT activist Eddie Dempsey at a rally organised by “The Full Brexit”: “The one thing that unites [the people who turn out for Tommy Robinson demos] beyond whatever other bigotry that’s going on… is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.” At the same rally Dempsey also says: “too many in the Labour Party have made a calculation that there’s a certain section at the top end of the working class, in alliance with people, they calculate, from ethnic minorities and liberals, that’s enough to get them into power”. However, the Morning Star article refers to the substance of that debate only tangentially, and instead proceeds by deflection and “whataboutery”.

You refer to an article shared by Clive Lewis MP which criticised Dempsey’s remarks, but without linking to it to give your online readers the opportunity of reaching their own conclusions about its content. You inaccurately attribute it to AWL supporter Jim Denham; in fact, Jim had no part in writing it. It a collective statement agreed by the steering committee of the Labour for a Socialist Europe campaign, on whose website it was originally posted on 27 March. Jim, who does not sit on the Labour for a Socialist Europe committee, reposted the article on his own blog a day later, providing a link to the original.

The Morning Star refers to AWL’s position on the Jyllands Posten cartoons of Mohammed from 2007. What this has to do with the rights and wrongs of Dempsey’s remarks it does not explain.

In any case, our view on those cartoons is a matter of public record. While not endorsing their content, we viewed calls by ultra-conservative political-religious forces for their suppression and censorship as reactionary. Those “calls” came accompanied by death threats against the cartoonists, court cases against editors who republished the cartoons, sacking or jailing of several editors, especially those brave editors in the mainly-Muslim countries who took a stand for freedom of expression, and closings-down of newspapers. We said: “We protest against the suppression of these cartoons on the same grounds as we protested against the suppression of the play Bezhti (written by a Sikh, but offensive to conservative Sikh authorities) or the attempts of some Christians to suppress ‘Jerry Springer – the Opera’.” Readers are welcome to read our statement from the time, which, again, the Morning Star did not link to, and judge it for themselves.

The article goes on to say that “More than 100 trade unionists have publicly criticised Mr Lewis”, a seemingly arbitrary figure for which it provides no evidence. A large number of trade unionists have also supported Clive Lewis in the online debate, and condemned Eddie Dempsey’s remarks.

More seriously, the article says: “Many drew attention to the fact that last year, it emerged that a child AWL member had been sexually assaulted by an older member, and the organisation’s full-time officials did nothing to help the victim. The organisation admitted severe wrongdoing, but no members faced any repercussions or disciplinary measures.”

It is disappointing that the Morning Star would exploit a serious incident to intervene in a political debate, not by means of engaging with the arguments, but by deflection, distortion, and smear-by-association.

The allegation to which the Morning Star refers, and AWL’s subsequent investigation into it, is a matter of public record. In early 2018 a claim was made in an anonymous public blog post in which the blog-poster said he had been sexually assaulted in 2005 (when he was 16) by someone else who was then a member of AWL. Both the people involved parted ways with AWL (for different reasons) in 2008. We instituted an investigation independent of our leading committees and communicated with the blog-poster to offer help if he wanted to take the matter further.

Our investigation showed that in the years following 2005 the blog-poster had talked about the incident with other young members of AWL, but they had followed his expressed wish that they not report it to the committees. But it also concluded that this failure to bring the case to the committees showed an inadequacy of procedures. All the documents pertaining to the matter are available online. We had the investigation scrutinised by independent individuals, not members of the AWL, one with a professional background in safeguarding. The discussions we have had and the measures we have taken to mend the failings are likewise publicly documented on our website.

Throughout the process of investigation we remained as open and transparent as possible, with publicly accessible contact addresses for anyone to raise issues with the working group leading the process. We continue that openness and transparency. The working group remains available for contact at workinggroup@workersliberty.org.

How we respond to allegations of abuse within our organisations are an extremely serious matter for the entire left and labour movement. The issue should not be exploited in a misleading fashion as part of an intervention into a political debate. At no point has any journalist from the Morning Star contacted AWL for comment on these matters, as journalistic rigour and ethics should have compelled them to do.

The issues which are actually at the centre of the debate around Dempsey’s remarks – how the left responds to nationalism; how to relate to far-right movements; the issue of “identity politics” and the relationship of struggles against oppression to economic struggle against capitalism; and more – are issues of vital and current importance that the entire left must debate openly. The Communist Party of Britain has its own views in those debates, and is entitled to use its organ, the Morning Star, to express them. But it should do so openly, and by engaging in the debate on political terms, not by deflection, slander, and insinuation against its political opponents.

Yours, the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty

Today there is this from Another Europe is Possible:

More on Dempsey’s politics and political allies,

 

 

 

As Farage and Far-Right Moblise for Hard Brexit ‘Left Wing’ Full Brexiters Go for Collaboration with “Brexit Right”.

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Image result for nigel farage

Farage has “done more for Brexit than any socialist since Tony Benn” Tim Pendry, Crisis, Reputation & Political Adviser/Corporate Communications Adviser.

“Independent support for a simple idea – Brexit first, socialism second … all else is suspended until the vote of June 2016 is respected” (Pendry’s Twitter Account).

Brexit: Police brace for disorder after far-right protesters threaten to riot at London rallies

Independent.

Members of the UK “yellow vests”, a conspiracy-driven group of Brexiteers, were sharing a meme on social media that threatened: “If you stop Brexit, we’ll make the Paris riots look like a f***ing tea party.”

Supporters were due to meet near the Shard on Friday afternoon, at the same time several other demonstrations were due to take place on the other side of the Thames.

Tommy Robinson was to speak at Ukip’s Make Brexit Happen rally in Whitehall, which he is also financially sponsoring through his personal “news service”.

Mr Robinson claimed people were being “betrayed” by the prime minister and “traitorous” MPs.

There will be opposition,

“Whether you’re Leave or Remain, these people aren’t having a genuine Brexit protest – it’s a far-right rally,” Stand Up to Racism organiser Michael Bradley told The Independent. “It’s an attempt to make hay while the sun shines.”

But there are already signs that some of the ‘left wing’ pro-Brexit crew intend to ignore this assertion.

They also lay claim to back a “genuine Brexit protest”.

There are signs of an emerging Brown-Red Alliance:

Extract:

The debate became impassioned from the floor (although always civilised). The bulk of the feeling in the room, as I interpreted it, was for collaboration with the Brexit Right against the system. The immediate question was whether to turn up at Parliament Square on March 29th for a demonstration organised by the ‘Faragists’ and where Tommy Robinson might also be present. The official line was to do what one liked as individuals but to have no banners. It would, in this traditional left-wing view, be guilt by association with fascists in trying to persuade the rest of the Left to shift sides from Remain to Brexit with fears of a right-wing or Tory Brexit. The analysis began to break down under scrutiny. For a start, half the audience refused to accept that Farage was a ‘fascist’ – he was just a typical country Tory who had done more for Brexit than any socialist since Tony Benn and his democratic credentials were there for all to see. Pigeon-holing him (as opposed to Tommy Robinson) as Far Right was just not going to work.

…..

The oddest unintended consequence of this farrago may be that British national populism engages in the new Europe that is emerging while liberals look on with mounting horror and wonder precisely what their resistance was all for. The logic is Labour being steadily degraded by the rise of a working and lower middle class national populism for reasons of culture and distrust as much as anything else.

In short, thwarting Brexit paradoxically enhances the revolutionary potential of Brexit … its absence rather than presence creates the ‘revolution’ (more cultural than anything else) whereas an elite Brexit would have dampened down the growing and widespread sense of outrage at the loss of respect for voting rights and ‘agency’ (as Brexiters now see it).

(What May Happen to Socialism Under A Failed Brexit? Tim Pendry.)

Perhaps inspired by  Red-Brown Eddie Dempsey ‘s rousing words against liberal elites he has tweeted.

In a parallel development, FBU official and prominent supporter of The ‘left-wing’ Full Brexit,  Paul Embery denounces “cosmopolitans” and praises the “magnificent protests” of the Gilets Jaunes.

The Trade Union Club for liberal cosmopolitans

Despite the TUC having a history of pledging solidarity to internationalist causes and movements, it has uttered not a word and lifted not a finger in support of the gilets jaunes in France. These magnificent protests – an explosion of genuine working-class anger, a guttural roar against an arrogant, detached establishment, enjoying massive support from workers across urban and rural France (and beyond) – have generated not a syllable of support from the representatives of British workers just a few miles across the Channel.

Gilets Jaunes to Journalist: Bum-Boy You’re working for the Jews!

British Gilets Jaunes.

Embery continues:

Through Brexit, an accidental alliance has emerged between two groups alienated by the modern liberal establishment and holding fast to old-fashioned communitarian, small ‘c’ conservative values: on the one hand the working-class post-industrial towns, and on the other middle-class suburbia. It’s what the commentator David Goodhart has perceptively identified as the ‘Gavin and Stacey’ coalition, an “illustration of a benign independent-mindedness and pride in place that infuses two Brexit heartlands: Essex and ex-industrial South Wales”.

As a passing note,  Larry O’Nutter, under his pseudonym, Larry O’Hara is another Brexiter, and a supporter of the Full Brexit.

We await his ‘anti-fascist’ analysis of this confusionist brown-red alliance.

Update:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 29, 2019 at 11:44 am