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Brexit Party Backers George Galloway and CPGB M-L Unite to Denounce “Hong Kong phooey” of pro-Democracy Protests.

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Image result for george galloway and hong kong Ranjeet brar

Galloway’s New Best Friend: Ranjeet Brar of the CPGB-ML.

The friendship between George Galloway (once the leader of one of the biggest post-war ‘left’ parties in the UK, Respect) and the micro groupuscule the CPGB (M-L) began when both called for a Vote for the Brexit Party during this year’s European Elections.

Vote Brexit on 23 May! 

CPGB-ML.

When George Galloway declared his intention of voting for the Brexit party in the 23 May European elections, many on the fake left were up in arms, calling him a ‘fascist’ for even considering having anything to do with banker-turned-Brexit-campaigner Nigel Farage.

But as Galloway himself pointed out: “The left-wing predilection to call everyone to the right of you a ‘racist’ or even a ‘fascist’ is not just juvenile, cretinous, but totally counterproductive, driving the [working class] irredeemably beyond your political grasp …

The Brexit party’s arrival on the scene in time for this European election has presented workers with an opportunity to express their anger and let the ruling class know that they won’t be content to sit back and watch the Brexit vote be betrayed.

A VOTE FOR THE BREXIT PARTY IS A VOTE FOR BREXIT!

Bonds have since bloomed.

 

The latest flower is this: China

 

Hong Kong protests: Ranjeet Brar speaks to George Galloway on RT

‘The history of Hong Kong is one that mirrors the history of British imperialism.’

Comrade Ranjeet Brar (which oddly reminds us of Harpal Brar, his dad? and father of  Joti Brar , ‘vice-Chair? see note below *) of the CPGB-ML speaks with George Galloway on his show Sputnik about events unfolding in Hong Kong.

Who are the protestors? What are their demands? What is the role of British and US imperialism and the corporate ‘mainstream’ media? Why have British and US flags been appearing in the hands of demonstrators?

 

  • Harpal Brar (born 5 October 1939) is an Indian communist politician, writer and businessman, based in Britain. He is the founder and former chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist), a role from which he stood down in 2018. Brar was appointed Eternal Honorary Chairman of the Party in August 2019. “He, along with his daughter Joti Brar, is an active member of the Stalin Society, the website of which contains articles disproving alleged Soviet wrongdoing in the Katyn massacre, the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor), and the Moscow Trials which they blame on the Nazis, dismiss as propaganda, or describe as fair process, respectively.”

 

 

Galloway doesn’t go for half-measures:

“These foreign-funded and guided organisations are carefully stabled Trojan Horses chomping their British and American supplied hay until the time came for them to be told to gallop, and gallop they now are.

This is all Hong Kong phooey! No other country in the world would have shown such forbearance in the face of foreign-sponsored rioting destruction and sabotage of the national economy as China has. If in the days to come China’s patience runs out, it will not be before time so far as the great majority of Chinese citizens, including Hong Kong citizens, are concerned.

China signed up to the one country, two systems in the territory. It did not agree to two countries, two systems. Not one inch of Hong Kong belongs to anyone but China. The days when foreign countries could impose their will on China are long gone.”

Hong Kong phooey! Would you like any hypocrisy with that? RT.

George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.

Who is behind the Hong Kong protests?

Comrade Ella Rule features in this Kalima Horra debate, hosted by George Galloway.

 

Galloway has a pat on the head from the Chinese state:

Here is Galloway’s other stunt:

 

 

 

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 24, 2019 at 11:51 am

Allegation that ‘Syrian Truther’ heads Chris Williamson Fund Raiser to Sue Labour Party.

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Image

Syria ‘truther’ heads fundraising campaign to sue British Labour Party

Brian Whitaker.

al-bab.com

Bristol University professor David Miller – a member of the “propaganda professors” group which defends the Assad regime against accusations of chemical weapons use in Syria and disputes Russia’s use of a nerve agent against the Skripals in Britain – is behind a new campaign to sue the British Labour Party.

Miller is director and sole shareholder in a company called Campaign for Chris Williamson Ltd, which was registered on 17 July.

Williamson, MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of antisemitism and Miller has launched a crowd-funded campaign through his company to take legal action against the party. The aim is to raise £75,000 to cover the costs.

Miller is a prominent member of the quasi-academic Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media which claims that chemical attacks in Syria have been “staged” by rebels in oder to falsely accuse the Assad regime (see previous blog posts). Miller is a co-author of the group’s latest article which claims the OPCW’s investigation into alleged chlorine attacks in Douma was “nobbled”. The group also disputes that Russia was responsible for poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury last year.

The convenor of the Working Group is Piers Robinson, who until recently was a professor in the journalism department at Sheffield University. Last year Robinson wrote a review of a book by two 9/11 truthers, describing it as a “diligent and painstaking work”. His name appears on the book’s back cover, endorsing it as “authoritative and carefully argued”.

Robinson and Miller have worked together on various articles produced by the Working Group and both are directors of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, a non-profit company which “facilitates and conducts rigorous academic research and analysis of propaganda”.

Wikipedia entry:

Brian Whitaker has been a journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian since 1987 and was its Middle East editor from 2000 to 2007.

He studied Arabic studies at the University of Westminster and Latin (BA Hons) at the University of Birmingham. He is currently an editor on the paper’s “Comment is free“.[1] He also writes articles for Guardian Unlimited, the internet edition of the paper. He runs a personal, non-Guardian-related website, Al-Bab.com, about politics in the Arab world.

Brian Whitaker: 2018.

Defenders of the Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media

The Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media is made up of academics and PhD students from a variety of UK universities. It was convened by Piers Robinson. It is critical of the UK commercially-controlled media reporting about Syria, and has in turn been criticised by them.

Corporate media response

Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor of the Guardian wrote on 26 February 2018 that the group (which then numbered three professors, two lecturers and three postgraduate researchers) seemed “more like a propaganda exercise than a serious academic project.” Two days later Jonathan Cook write in an article entitled The Authoritarians Who Silence Syria Questions that Whitaker was “using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum.”[2]

The Times wrote that the group was “spreading pro-Assad disinformation”. Tim Hayward wrote that “a question thoughtful readers will likely be asking is why The Times has gone the trouble it has to give such prominence to a small group of critical academics.”

Recent Miller Tweet:

Perhaps this might explain the link between Miller and Williamson.

Bob From Brockley. What’s wrong with Chris Williamson? 2019

The time Williamson promoted a Syrian war crimes denier

For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done, last summer, was promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:

Williamson, who was attending the Beautiful Days festival, tweeted of his “privilege” in meeting Vanessa Beeley, a blogger who described meeting the Syrian regime’s war criminal president Bashar al Assad as her “proudest moment” and has waged a relentless campaign of lies and distortion to promote the Assad regime abroad… Responding in kind to Williamson’s endorsement, Beeley said in a Facebook post “Hats off to Chris Williamson, Labour MP – a genuine human being.”…

Williamson’s tweet provoked immediate condemnation, drawing a strong response from James O’Brien, who called Williamson a “disgrace” and referred to Beeley as “Assad’s very own Alex Jones.” The Washington Post’s Middle East correspondent, Louisa Loveluck, responded to Williamson’s endorsement of Beeley’s “reporting” with: “Beeley has justified the use of incendiary weapons against civilians, recycled and championed debunked conspiracy theories, and described a meeting with Assad as her proudest moment. This is cheerleading, not reporting.”

Noting that Beeley has viciously slandered the late Jo Cox (Beeley “has shamelessly accused her of being a “warmongering Blairite” and “al-Qaeda advocate” endorsing a policy of “wholesale devastation” on Syria.) Oz argues that the Labour Party has a choice between being the party of Jo Cox or the party of Chris Williamson.

The times Williamson promoted fake news about chemical weapons in Syria

As Katerji put it when writing about Williamson’s support for Beeley, “This is not Williamson’s first dalliance with pro-Assad trutherism, having voiced doubts over allegations that Assad was responsible for the gas attack on Douma while addressing a protest outside parliament in April 2018.”

More recently, Williamson has taken up a particular version of Douma trutherism: that the chemical attack was a managed massacre by rebels and the civilians White Helmet civil defence first responders, and that this is somehow proved by a dubious document (read all about it here) leaked from the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog, probably via Russia, to some pro-Assad activists in the UK called the “Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media“, with which Beeley is connected.

Williamson is so obsessed with the “leaked document” that he has asked several questions in parliament about it, worded in completely dishonest ways. The theory holds that chemical weapons in Douma were not dropped from above but staged by Syrian rebels or their civilian first defenders, the White Helmets, i.e. that the rebels massacred dozens of their own family members. In my view, this conspiracy theory is borderline Islamophobic, based on the idea of Syrian rebels and civilians in rebel territories as savage, bloodthirsty jihadis.

Tony Greenstein, a Man with Experience in Barrack Room Lawyering,  backs Chris Williamson – in black T-Shirt, not the youth in the Stalinist Red.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2019 at 10:59 am

John Ross, from International Marxist Group and Ken Livingstone, to denouncing ‘arrogant’ democracy Hong Kong protesters.

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Image result for John Ross International marxist Group

John Ross, from Student Revolutionary to “China has the best human rights record in the world.”

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.”

Global Times 2014

More recently,

“the CPC is a Marxist Party and China is a socialist and not a capitalist country. Those ‘China experts’ who doubted that, thinking they knew better than the CPC, have just been proved to be wrong.”

What is a great pity is that parts of the Western left followed, and were influenced by, Western ‘China experts’ into falsely believing that the CPC had abandoned Marxism and China had become a capitalist and not a socialist country.”

Xi stresses importance of The Communist Manifesto

“, the US House of Representatives would be well advised to pass a resolution congratulating China for its unequalled contribution to human well-being in lifting over 600 million people out of poverty, establishing an enquiry to find out why US-supported economic policies in the rest of the world have made no such contribution to human rights, and publicly apologizing for the hundreds of thousands of people it has killed in its wars – including the thousands of ordinary US soldiers.”

John Ross. British scholar defends China’s human rights

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-06-12 17:11:20

 

Now he is telling Hong Kong residents not to get so uppity.

And making conspiratorial claims against pro-democracy protesters.

Global Times suggested in 2014 that Ross could be included amongst the “expatriate American and British ‘academics’ who make a living telling China what it wants to hear about itself. Not specialists on China, or speakers of Chinese, or indeed scholars at all, they easily find cushy university posts from which they write blogs and columns about the superiority of the Chinese system.”

John Ross, a former director of London’s Economic and Business Policy to ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone and current Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute, also at the Renmin University, is one of a number of foreign academics on the receiving end of attacks by some netizens for his open criticism of liberal “public intellectuals” that, Ross says, do not really “understand” democracy. On June 12, Ross published an op-ed in China saying that the US is clearly wrong over China’s human rights record.

“The attempt to reduce human rights to a Western-style political structure, as though having a parliamentary system were the most important question facing human beings, is ridiculous,” Ross wrote. He argues that the idea that China has “raised” 630 million people out of poverty – more than the population of the United States – is more important than having access to Facebook.

Ross says his chosen headline was “China has the best human rights record in the world.” The op-ed has been published three times in China so far, both in English and Chinese; none have used his original title.

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.

Our Man in Beijing: Or Is He Theirs?

Background on Ross,

Ross joined the Trotskyist International Marxist Group (IMG) in the late 1960s. He worked with Bob Pennington to form the IMG Opposition Group. Ross was a central figure in the leadership of the IMG in the early 1980s when it became known as Socialist Action, but he gradually lost the support of much of its membership.

Ken and the rise of Socialist Action

(Andrew Hosken, Ken: The Ups and Downs of Ken Livingstone, Arcadia Books, 10 April 2008.

Chapter 18: 1985-1994. Ken and the rise of Socialist Action, 1985-1994)

In their early years, members of Socialist Action churned out him hundreds of agendas, documents and other discussion papers which I have been able to obtain. They tell the remarkable story of how the group absorbed itself into the Labour Left and became a major force within it; as well the efforts it made to disappear from view as an organisation. Socialist Action made a concerted attempt to cultivate Ken Livingstone back in 1985 in the wake of the failed rate capping campaign. John Ross, the leader of the group, interviewed Livingstone for its relatively new paper, also called Socialist Action. Livingstone had already heard about Ross as the author of a small book called Thatcher and Friends which predicted the terminal decline of the Tory Party.[4] ‘I recognised this was someone with formidable intellect,’ says Livingstone. ‘After the rate capping fiasco, when most of the rest of the hard left were boycotting me, he turned up and did an interview and we started talking about economics and I realised this was somebody who could give me the grasp on economic policy which I didn’t have, So when I became an MP I retained him to actually do that’.[5]

John Ross’s influence grew from that moment; he became Livingstone’s most important advisor from 1985 onwards. After Livingstone, he is the most influential personality in the mayor’s office. The rates farce stripped Livingstone of most of his Left contacts and friends. Ross supplied Livingstone not only with the support and network he needed to continue but also the education necessary to tackle the Labour leadership on the vital battleground of economic policy. For 20 years, Ken Livingstone has really been a double act; John Ross and Socialist Action have been the silent partners.

Ross worked as a lecturer at Enfield Polytechnic and once he fought the Newham North East parliamentary seat as the candidate for the International Marxist Group, the forerunner to Socialist Action.[6] By the time Ross met Livingstone, he had emerged triumphant from an internecine struggle within the International Marxist Group, or IMG, one of Britain’s main Trotskyist parties. During 1982, the IMG split over strategy: how to bring about that elusive revolution. That split led to the creation of Socialist Action.

The IMG was built fundamentally out of the student movement of the late 1960s and helped organise some of the biggest protests against the Vietnam War in London.[7] During the 1970s its revolutionary strategy was focused on industry and the unions, which made sense during this period of economic instability and intense industrial unrest. Members, often highly educated, were encouraged to get blue collar jobs to play a role in encouraging the workers to turn towards revolution, ‘The Turn’.

An internal IMG note in 1982 reiterated, ‘…it is vital that we are rooted among the industrial workers, going through joint experiences with them and drawing common lessons. Any other perspective will only alienate us from the forces who will be key in building a revolutionary party and expose us to class pressures’.[8] Jobs were often advertised internally: ‘London Transport are taking on bus drivers at Stamford Hill; contact Wood Green Job Centre’; or ‘Jobs available in small chemical factory in Hounslow; we have a comrade who is a convenor.'[9]

But the IMG had always been hopelessly confused about its approach to the Labour Party: to enter or not to enter. ‘We hopped into the Labour Party around 1975,’ wrote member John Marston, in his exasperated letter of resignation December 1982, ‘and then out again in 1977 for the joys of regroupment and Socialist Unity. Any pretence of a strategic perspective, vanished.'[10]

  • (← p. 258)

In late 1982, the IMG split over whether or not to join the Benn crusade within the Labour Party, or the ‘Bennite Current’. Apaper presented to the IMG’s conference in December 1982 stated: ‘It is clear that, at the leadership level, fundamental differnces are emerging as to the nature of the party we are trying to build and how to build it. A gulf is developing between those who, basing themselves on the positions of the 1981 conference, wish to build an independent combat party rooted in the industrial working class, and those who are moving towards the idea of an ideological tendency operating in the Labour Party as left critics of the Benn current.'[11]

John Ross was at the forefront of the internal struggle to ditch the industrial strategy and get all IMG members to join the Labour Party en masse and then seek to control the Left bloc within it. Supporting Ross was another key figure in Livingstone’s political career, Redmond O’Neill. At the December 1982 conference, Ross carried the day and over the next few months IMG members joined the Labour Party. A minority who disagreed with the policy of ‘deep eritryism’ split away and formed its own party, the International Group which became a political irrelevance. Despite becoming Labour members, the Ross majority still remained organised as a separate political organization. They decided to rebrand themselves as the Socialist League, and to establish a newspaper called Socialist Action. Like Militant, the group became known by the name of their paper rather than as the Socialist League.

‘The.next steps towards a revolutionary party comprise a fight for a class struggle within the Bennite current,’ said one discussion paper at the time. ‘For this a new newspaper is necessary – one that is seen as the voice of revolutionary socialists within the Labour Party and which can thereby give political expressions to the mass struggles of workers and youth who in the next period will seek overall political answers within the Labour Party. ‘… Socialist Action will fight for leadership within the Bennite Current.'[12]

The Socialist League/Socialist Action met for the first time as a central committee at the Intensive English School in Star Street near Marble Arch for the start of a two-day conference on Saturday, 22 January 1983. The official launch of Socialist Action took place the following morning[13] and it first appeared on 16 March. The group’s old paper, Socialist Challenge, ceased to exist.

Comment.

This is disgusting. Chinese people – and the Hong Kong pro-democracy  protesters –  are great. How the fuck can the leading figure of the IMG end up supporting that ruling class.

For the Fourth International, which Ross once supported, there is this,  very different position,

Sunday 11 August 2019, by Wilfred Chan

Hong Kong has justified its existence as an interface between Western neoliberal globalism and China’s statist authoritarian capitalism. China no longer needs the city to play that role; Hong Kongers desperately need an alternative.

A tiny border city of 7 million people cannot singlehandedly dismantle the hegemonies that ensnare it. But its struggle at this critical moment should be an urgent call for all leftists to help undo those structures—while rethinking the organization of societies beyond the capitalist model of nation-states. Then, perhaps, the people of Hong Kong would be able to join in building what Bernie Sanders has called the “international progressive front“—and, as he writes, “do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us up and set us against each other.” From the death of this neoliberal city, an emancipatory new history could be born.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2019 at 11:05 am

Brexit: the Slippery Slope of Left Sovereigntism, from Modern Monetary Theory to Spiked.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "dictionnaire des souverainistes de droite et de gauche"

An Ideology Now at the Centre of UK Politics.

Sovereigntism, the assertion of unique national sovereignty,  is at the centre of British divisions over Brexit.

In French  souverainisme has been used for some time to describe hostility to the European Union (“Doctrine des défenseurs de l’exercice de la souveraineté nationale en Europe”) expressed by parties and intellectuals from the extreme right to the left. There is even a party, “République souveraine” led by Djordje Kuzmanovic .

During the presidential campaign of 2002, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, who had founded the radical left  Centre d’études, de recherches et d’éducation socialiste CERES in the 1970s, had been a Socialist Minister in the first Mitterrand government, and served under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, presented himself as the “man of the nation”, above  partisan cleavages. As an opponent of the Maastricht Treaty, Jean-Pierre Chevènement  appealed in the new millennium to a new Gaullism of the left. In many respects Chevènement can be seen a trail-blazer for the evolution of socialists from a kind of Marxism on the left of the French Parti Socialiste (CERES, responsible for the claims that they would create a “rupture” with capitalism) critics of Mitterrand’s ‘modernising turn’ in the 1980s (expressed on the journal En Jeu)  to, outside the Socialists, republican socialism (1992, Mouvement des citoyens (MDC),  to openly nationalist sovereigntist politics which calls for an aligmement of La France insoumise with these right-wing anti-globalisation ‘patriots’. In this vein in 2015 he participated in the debates organised by the hard right Debout la France.

 The former socialist has even endorsed a degree of protectionist economics.

Sovereigntism can in this career alone be seen as a major source of political confusionism.

It rests on the idea that there is an entity called the ‘nation’, and the people, which, like Rousseau’s General Will, exists beyond all the different classes and political factions of a country. Populism, the claim to strand for the ‘real’ people against the ‘elites’ who frustrate their will, out of the self-interest of the oligarchies. In place of international bodies such as the European Union,  a sovereign Parliament, can solve all the problems in the land, by exercising full power.

Left sovereigntism claims that the same machinery, if captured by the right party, can do what it likes. With power in the hands of a left Labour Party,a People’s Brexit, a Lexit,  can “Bring back control” to the people.

Sovereigntism blurs the political lines and leaves the way open to more resolute forces who occupy the same terrain, all claiming to “take back control”. It has helped open the door to,

Exclusive nationalism and nativism, identity politics, critiques of globalisation and internationalism, and calls for democratic re-empowerment of the demos have converged politically on a new locus of inflated territorial, indeed ‘border’ sovereignty, aligning the call of ‘taking back control’ on behalf of a radically re-defined community (‘we’) with a defensive re-territorialisation of power along existing fault lines of nation-statism.

Populism, Sovereigntism, and the Unlikely Re-Emergence of the Territorial Nation-State. Aristotle Kallis. 2018.

Red-Brown Spiked (Italy: Salvini speaks to the gut of the nation) writer Thomas Fazi is perhaps one of the best known people who have argued for a “progressive vision of national sovereignty“.

History attests to the fact that national sovereignty and national self-determination are not intrinsically reactionary or jingoistic concepts – in fact, they were the rallying cries of countless nineteenth- and twentieth-century socialist and left-wing liberation movements. Even if we limit our analysis to core capitalist countries, it is patently obvious that virtually all the major social, economic, and political advancements of the past centuries were achieved through the institutions of the democratic nation state, not through international, multilateral, or supranational institutions, which in a number of ways have, in fact, been used to roll back those very achievements, as we have seen in the context of the euro crisis, where supranational (and largely unaccountable) institutions such as the European Commission, Eurogroup, and ECB used their power and authority to impose crippling austerity on struggling countries.

In a book written with William Mitchell Reclaiming the State, Fazi has argued, as an uncritical notice on the Counterfire site states, that,

The authors suggest that the left needs to provide a powerful alternative to neoliberalism, based around the state reasserting its supremacy over markets, and using its monopoly power over currency creation to introduce policies that favour the great majority. The insights provided by Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) show how such an alternative strategy is possible for countries with their own sovereign currencies, but is not available for those who have ceded their power to supranational agencies (e.g. Eurozone nations who have relinquished monetary control and placed it in the hands of the ECB).

Fazi continues to push the line.

It is as plain that as Boris Johnson sets out the only actually existing Brexit plans, that ‘taking back control’ is a smokescreen for hard right attacks on rights and deference to the stronger – US – partner in any independent trade deals.

But what of this plan for monetary control?

Modern  Monetary Theory (MMT)  – this writer has attended lectures on it and read some of less technical materiel – offers at first sight an appealing alternative to financial austerity.

Now James Meadway, an left wing economist,offers some devastating criticisms of NMT. He also sheds light on the reactionary politics behind the idea, politics which help to explain by Fazi now appears  in  the Red Brown Spiked.

This is his case:

James Meadway Interview: “There are ways to end neoliberalism globally that are not progressive, and this will (increasingly) be the terrain the left is fighting on.”

James Meadway is a former advisor to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Previously, he was the Chief Economist at the New Economics Foundation and he is currently writing a book on left wing economics. In his interview with this website, he outlines the principles of Corbynomics, discusses a Green New Deal and explains why he thinks MMT would be such a misstep for the left.

Meadway outlines with appealing clarity the economic strategy of the Labour Party.

John McDonnell summarised the aim when he said “we want nothing less than an economy that is radically fairer, more democratic, and more sustainable, where the wealth of society is shared by all.” As the Shadow Treasury team has developed that since September 2015, I’d say the principles are:

– A rejection of the neoliberal premises that private ownership and markets will always be the best way to organise society;

– A belief that deep changes are required for our economy to begin to move it in a direction that benefits the great majority, including making it more sustainable;

– The principle that ownership and control of productive resources are the decisive factors determining economic outcomes, and that both should be decentralised, democratic, and collective as far as possible.

Instead of rhetoric about elites and globalisation, Meadway  offers a basis for a critique of ‘neoliberalism’,

I’d argue this shift in production relations – transferring ownership and reasserting the power of capital over labour – is at the core of neoliberalism in practice, but it can sit alongside the continued provision of welfare and other “consumption” provision by the state, in one form or another.

Labour, he argues, has begun to tackle this with the first Manifesto under the new left leadership.

So to the extent that the 2017 manifesto aimed to restore spending cuts and improved public service provision, it was essential – the damage done by austerity since 2010 has been both appalling, and entirely unnecessary – but not radically transformative. To the extent the 2017 manifesto went further, and posed the issue of correcting the colossal error of privatisation, it was more radical, because it began the process of reversing forty years of neoliberalism, but it didn’t point at something beyond what is common enough across the developed world. Likewise, [Labour’s] £250bn National Transformation Fund would be a huge increase in public investment for the UK, but would move us to around the average level of investment (relative to GDP) of the developed economy OECD group. To a significant extent, Corbynomics is Make Britain Normal Again.

Furthermore,

The second, underlying even this, is the transformation of ownership. This is more than only correcting the mistakes of the past by reversing 1980s and 1990s privatisations: it means broadening the scope of collective – not government – ownership across the whole economy, from renewable energy production (which, given the technologies we have, will largely need decentralisation), to worker ownership, to areas that we’ve only just begun to think about, like data. There are huge opportunities here to break out of the zero-sum games that neoliberal capitalism is forcing us into.

The interview is recommended to anybody with a serious interest in Labour economic policies, proving some solid foundations have been built. 

The core of the interview is taken up by a critique of Modern Monetary Theory.

In an a earlier article in Tribune, Against MMT, Meadway stated,

Unfortunately, however, MMT’s reassertion of a number of macroeconomic truths has been swamped by its distinctive contribution to theory — which is a rehabilitation of what is known as chartalism. Chartalism holds that money receives its value fundamentally as a result of its use to pay taxes — that, in the words of leading chartalist Georg Knapp, ‘money is a creature of law’. This is dubious as a historical claim, since money has existed in many different forms throughout history, and only some of those forms have arrived with the stamp of the state — and dubious as a description of reality today, since most money is created by private banks when people take out loans, whose relationship to the state is (at most) indirect.

This is the crucial political aspect:

MT’s grand claim is that money derives its value from its ability to pay taxes and, therefore, governments can exercise ‘monetary sovereignty’ by setting the value of money as they see fit. But the economy is not an island, it cannot be isolated from others in this way. Trade matters, as do the financial relationships between different economies — and both of those will depend on the value of the different currencies that economies use. MMT understates the amount these relative values can vary over time. As anyone using the pound since the Brexit referendum will have seen, these variations can be quite large. Countries running a deficit on their current account (meaning, broadly, that they import more than they export, counting goods, services, and flows of income) like the UK — which has a deficit funded from abroad — will always be vulnerable to demands for foreign currency that they cannot immediately meet. This is a significant impediment to sovereignty.

Meadway  concludes,

Worse yet, in a country so profoundly and obviously overstretched internationally, with a major financial centre that we know to be a major vulnerability, MMT promotes a blasé indifference to the real relationships of power and patronage that sustain the world economy. To the extent that it disorientates activists, peddling simplistic monetary solutions to complex problems of political power, it is a barrier to a genuinely transformative Labour government. We need to build an organised and educated mass movement that can see the problems such a government might face. MMT cannot help us do this — in fact, it will hinder us in that mission.

Without pretending to grasp the technical details it is clear that McDonnell  would not have spent so much time consulting respected advisers on taxation reform if the Shadow Chancellor believed that using MMT would magic away the problems of raising revenue for Labour’s spending plans.

This is more in the line of the introduction to this post.

Meadway states,

There’s something I didn’t cover in Tribune, but the underlying politics of MMT are worth spending some time on. The core MMT policy agenda has strikingly little to do with the left: support for dollar dominance; indifference (at best) to redistribution from the rich through taxation (usually argued as taxing the rich being “unnecessary”); and labour market authoritarianism via the so-called “Job Guarantee”. There’s not much in here that is recognisably of the left, if we think the left is basically about freedom and equality – there’s quite a different political tradition at work.

This comes through in many different ways. For instance, Bill Mitchell and Thomas Fazi described it (in Reclaiming the State, p.10) as “tragic” that the left adopted the causes of anti-racism, women’s rights, and LGBT rights in the late 1970s. Worse, they claim this is as “equally tragic” as the acceptance of neoliberalism by parts of the left over the same time period. Now this is reactionary garbage, however you look at it, and should be firmly rejected – but it’s an important indicator as to where MMT is coming from.

MMT is not an authentic programme of the left; it’s a programme for economic nationalism that, currently, is trying to attach itself to the left. Historically, economic nationalism has arrived in left or right variants, and there has been slippage from one side to the other. So at different times MMT’s proponents have used different arguments to gain a hearing – claiming in the 1990s that a “Job Guarantee” would help drive down wages, for instance, whereas now they claim the Job Guarantee is a good way to deal with climate change. MMT advocates are reportedly advising Matteo Salvini in Italy, and Bill Mitchell thinks his government should “lead” other European countries. Mitchell and Fazi approvingly cite the monetary policy of Nazi Germany before the war in their book. I could generously call all this a bit slippery. There are ways to end neoliberalism globally that are not progressive, and this will (increasingly) be the terrain the left is fighting on.

Put simply, neither industry  nor money can be successful in modern attempt to create autarkies, worlds self-sufficient for themselves.

Does this monetary sovereignty lead to autocratic regimes?

That is far from established but it looks as if it lacks the capacity to perform the miracles Fazi and his side claim for it.

But as for slippery slopes, Fazi’s support for the Full Brexit, and now, collaboration with Spiked, shows he is already on one.

 

Solidarity with the Hong Kong Protests!

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Image result for hong kong protests Parliament flag

Protesters demand democratic rights: Solidarity! 

 

Police firing tear gas have evicted protesters who stormed and vandalised Hong Kong’s parliament.

Activists had occupied the Legislative Council (LegCo) building for hours after breaking away from a protest on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty to China from Britain.

After midnight (16:00 GMT), hundreds of police secured the building following a warning to protesters to clear it.

BBC

The 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests are a series of ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong and other cities around the world against the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 proposed by the Hong Kong government.

Background:

Hong Kong extradition: How radical youth forced the government’s hand

 Helier Cheung

In just one week Hong Kong has witnessed two of its largest ever protests, as well its most violent protest in decades. At the forefront of these demonstrations are young people, many barely out of their teens. Why did they get involved – and how did they manage to force the government’s hand?

..

No longer certain the system will protect them, they are modifying their protest techniques and learning the art of sophisticated dissent.

Every single protester I interviewed who had taken part in Wednesday’s unauthorised protests asked me to protect their identities – fearing arrest.

“We kept face masks on at all times during the protest, and afterwards we tried to delete our records on our iPhones and Google Maps,” says Dan, an 18-year-old student who helped protesters build a barricade with fences.

Some have taken to buying paper train tickets, rather than using their prepaid travel cards – on the basis this could make it harder for the authorities to trace their whereabouts.

Meanwhile, many have become cautious about what they say on public social media – and are only willing to communicate on secure apps with self-destruct functions, such as Telegram.

A new kind of Hong Kong activism emerges as protesters mobilize without any leaders

Alice Su, Los Angeles Times.

An outsider might assume there must be some administrative genius at the core, directing the tens of thousands of protesters who surrounded the legislative building to prevent discussion of an extradition bill that — if approved — would send people to China at its request.

But Hong Kong activism has evolved.

Five years after the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of 2014, in which high-profile individuals led mass occupation of the city center, only to be arrested or exiled in the aftermath, Hong Kong’s youth have decentralized their protests. They are impeccably organized, yet no one is in charge.

This is a new model of Hong Kong protests,” said Baggio Leung, 32, convener of Youngspiration, a local political group formed after the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Leung was elected to the legislative council in 2016, but disqualified for deliberately mispronouncing “China” in his swearing-in oath.

Several other pro-democratic legislators have also been disqualified from serving in the council, some imprisoned along with civil society and student leaders after having participated in the Umbrella Movement.

This time around, protesters are deliberately leaderless, Leung said.

“It looks quite organized and well-disciplined. But I’m quite sure you cannot find anyone managing the whole thing,” Leung said, adding that the protesters’ logistical practices — bringing supplies, setting up medical stations, rapid mass communication — were “in-built” from the last few years of practice.

“It’s just like a machine or a self-learning AI that can run by themselves,” he said.

Many groups are participating in a growing wave of grassroots dissent. Unions, student associations, churches and activist organizations like Demosisto, a nonviolent resistance group led by Joshua Wong, the now-imprisoned face of the Umbrella Movement, have all called on members to participate in marches, rallies, and other forms of direct action.

See this comprehensive Wikipedia page: 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
Further resources:

In French (Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières):

 

Chaos à Hongkong après la mise à sac du Parlement

Mobilisations du 1er juillet à Hong Kong

A Hongkong, la désobéissance civile s’installe dans la durée

Solidarity with those fighting for democracy against the totalitarian state capitalists!

The obstacles they face are enormous:

A new burst of Hong Kong protests offers a stunning challenge to Beijing, and brings a swirl of conspiracy theories

Joseph Yu-shek Cheng

 

State sovereignty, national security and the combat of advocacy for independence have been justifications for political crackdown, and the rampage in the legislative council building has provided an excuse for arrests and prosecutions of protesters.

As the Chinese leadership has chosen to support Carrie Lam, and is concerned about the morale of the local police force, a crackdown in the name of law and order can now be justified.

Chinese leaders have, in my view, been keen to learn the lessons of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the colour revolutions in eastern Europe and the Arab Spring. And one of the key lessons has been crushing the source of trouble in the very beginning.

There is zero appetite to yield to a mass movement, and there is an ingrained instinct to minimise any wider effects from the Hong Kong demonstrations. The Hong Kong people’s desire to hold on to the principles of democracy is not likely to meet a conciliatory response from Beijing.

Hong Kong people understand that the situation is grim. Emigration sometimes feels like the only sensible option. But most of them have not abandoned hope. A moment of angry vandalism might be a dent to the image of a benign “umbrella” revolution, but their political struggle should still take succour from the sympathy and support of the international community.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

“My role is consubstantial with the movement.” Mélenchon on Left Populism in Crisis.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "consubstantiel mélenchon"

Mon rôle, il est consubstantiel au mouvement.” Mélenchon réaffirme son autorité devant ses militants

Note: consubstantiel sounds as odd in French normal speech as it does consubstantial in English. *

The leader of La France insoumise spoke over the weekend at the “assemblée représentative ” of La France insoumise, chosen by lot, and by special delegates selected by the ‘Movement’, by some inner process,  which some have compared  to Momentum on a bad day.

  • Trinity. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (from Latin trinitas) holds that God is three consubstantial persons, expressions, or hypostases: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

“My role is consubstantial to the movement.” Mélenchon reaffirms his authority in front of LFI activists

After the defeat of France rebellious in the European elections of May 26, Jean-Luc Mélenchon was slow to speak. Strongly criticized in his ranks, he held this Sunday a speech at the party’s National Convention to respond to his critics and remobilise the troops.

Mélenchon announced that the next local elections in France will be stage in the self-organisation of the People.

But lo!

This morning.

Nouveau coup dur pour Mélenchon, qui perd une cadre de La France insoumise

The former candidate for the European elections and head of the  party training school Manon Le Bretton has announced she is to leave the La France insoumise this Monday, June 24.

Comrade le Bretton denounced the “virulence” of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s  Sunday speech against critics of the internal workings of the movement.

So much for the predictions of left-populist admirers, the US Jacobin,

The movement’s most recognisable figure has proven adept at bridging internal divides and presenting La France Insoumise’s ideas to a mass audience. Following the European elections Mélenchon has said that he’s reflecting over his political future, fueling speculation that he could step back from the spotlight. “The question,” asks Guiraud, “is do we have someone else who’s able to do this?”

Rebuilding France Insoumise Cole Strangler.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 24, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Labour and National Populism After the Peterborough By-Election.

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Brexit Politics (Cold War Steve).

“When in a crisis” wrote Stuart Hall in 1979, “the traditional alignments are disrupted, it is possible, on the very ground of this break, to construct the people into a populist political subject with, not against the power bloc; in alliance with new political forces in a great national crusade to make Britain ‘Great’ once again.” (1)

In this,  The Great Moving Right Show, Hall foresaw the way in which the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher was able to bring together voters behind an “authoritarian populism” that played in the difficulties of Labour’s social democratic collectivist heritage. The details of radical free-market policies mattered less than law and order; the “nation” and “our people” appealed to the large racist constituency that had been given a voice by Enoch Powell and was visible in the street marches of the National Front; ‘popular morality” embraced her call for hard work and getting the state “off our backs”.

The Peterborough by-election was marked by the presence of a new army in that Holy War for British Greatness, the Brexit Party. As Alan Wager says, “for the first time since the introduction of universal suffrage, Peterborough is no longer a Labour or Conservative contest. Instead, an insurgent party just eight weeks old – the Brexit Party – came a close second, campaigning ostensibly on the single-issue basis they will “bring democracy back”. Farage, he continues, fills a vacuum. His defeat, acknowledged, if at all, with ill-grace, was not a decisive blow. The new start-up business/Party, “mixing together democracy and leaving the EU without any withdrawal agreement, clearly hits the electoral sweet-spot of the current moment “ Their impact on the Conservative Party leadership contest, and the potential boost to the No Deal Boris Johnson, is considerable. (2)

Farage’s own stunt – clearly planned in anticipation of victory – still went ahead:

 

This indicates, those inspired by one side of Hall’s articles argue, the left needs its own “national popular” language to counter the national populists of the Brexit Party and the Tory European Reform Group. Calls for class struggle, or mass protests, the “real struggle”, have been launched, largely to deaf ears. There were a couple of thousand People’s Assembly demonstrators in January. They might have sparked some sympathy if they had not finished the day with pointless fisticuffs between their high vis clothed supporters and far rightists in yellow jackets over who were the “real” Gilets Jaunes. The “floating signifier” of the People against the “elite”, the “power bloc” could be harnessed by the left and filled with democratic content. National Sovereignty could be the key to fighting ‘neoliberalism’, largely, it appears, an enemy located in the European Union.

National Therapy Culture.

“The Language of emotionalism pervades popular culture, the world of politics, the workplace, schools and universities and everyday life” began Frank Furedi in Therapy Culture. (2004) Today the ‘red-brown’ Brexit Party supporter is one of many who celebrate the national “Self”. Far from a bold assertion of self-affirmation and independence the Brexit crusaders wallow in victimhood and narcissism. Identity politics, of the ‘real’ working class, the ‘real’ British, the English has flourished. The quiet decency of love for people, culture and things dear has been replaced by cries of Treason, and Betrayal. (3)

The Brexit Party is an Encounter Group for this constituency. Perhaps it’s to ease their pain with palliatives like turning against the hard Brexit free market pain pain by proposing “John Lewis-style” – boss run – social ownership by companies part-owned by the workers in British Steel.

Socialist Resistance predicted a Carnival of Reaction after a Referendum Leave vote. It is still taking place. This time the moving right show is leading a simulacrum of Greatness, subordinate to a new American assertion of autonomous, unilateral, action. Those who pinned their hopes on a popular pro-Brexit revolt “from below”, paralleling the French Gilets Jaunes. But such signs of the vanquished standing up in the line of a “democratic and social revolution” seen in the rose tinted spectacles of the French journalist Edwy Plenel, has not appeared. They will not appear. (4)

Left Brexiters at an Impasse.

The disillusion of left Brexit supporters has yet to unfold. Larry Elliott, is a supporter of the ‘red brown’ Full Brexit grouping, which brings together Brexit Party backers the Communist Party of Britain, Labour Leave, some Counterfire supporters, and the anti-cosmopolitan Blue Labour. Elliott defends Jeremy Corbyn’s “Euroscepticism”, and places anti-EU politics on the left, ignoring long-standing radical socialists who have had a more favourable “transform and remain” stand for some decades. Those who recoil from National Populism and advocate this view turn a blind eye to Europe with a “a currency that doesn’t work, an economy that doesn’t work and a political process that doesn’t work.” Elliot is reluctant to describe in detail the socialist potential offered by a Brexit Britain, one carried out by the only available vehicle the Conservative government, negotiating with the WTO and Donald Trump,.

That the Labour leader has done a good job in keeping Leavers and Remainers under the same tent – a “marriage counsellor” – seems to be the “line” in some quarters. The idea that Labour needs its “herbivores” – middle class liberals – as well as is sturdy working class supporters may well be true. Stuart Hall talked of Thatcherism speaking out for those with negative experience of the corporate institutions of the social democratic consensus. Labour, it hardly needs saying, can draw on the lived experience of neoliberalism, austerity and the coercive bureaucracy of the shrunken welfare state.

But Brexit remains at the centre of everything. There is indeed a “significant minority”, with or without the romance of labour movement history, of Labour supporters who backed Brexit. But this claim covers something that needs thinking about. Efforts by Left populists to “federate” the “people” against the “oligarchy” have been set back in the European elections as Podemos and La France insoumise lost a lot of votes. It is even less likely that Labour can win support as an “insurgent” party against Europe and against those opposing National Populism and Brexit. 

This may help clarify Labour’s position,

It is commonly assumed that Leave supporters want to leave the EU — regardless of the type of Brexit — more than Remain supporters want to remain. But a new YouGov survey of over 1,600 British citizens carried out by academic researchers shows it is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. 

While 33 per cent of the country now want a no-deal Brexit, 42 per cent say it is their least-favourite outcome. Our survey also shows that support for the Brexit Party is higher among financially comfortable voters — adding to previous research showing that support for no-deal is also higher in that group.

The gap between Remainers’ attitude to leaving and leavers’ attitude to Remaining holds true across supporters of all the political parties. Even Brexit Party voters are not all vehemently attached to leaving at any cost. Only 50 per cent prefer their lowest-ranked Leave option to Remaining.

Meanwhile, among people who voted Labour in 2017, 72 per cent of Remainers would mind “a lot” about leaving the EU, whereas only 25 per cent of Labour Leavers mind “a lot” about Remaining.

Everything you think you know about Leavers and Remainers is wrong.  Christabel Copper and Christina Pagel.

Not that these considerations will affect the Boycott Labour in the European Elections editors of the Communist Party of Britain’s Morning star.

They are still rattling out the same old tune,

 Labour’s chances of forming the next government rest on finding a principled basis for uniting the labour movement with and within the party that best represents its diversity.

The only credible basis for such unity lies in convincing a decisive majority of voters, most particularly Labour’s core constituency of skilled and lesser skilled workers, that Corbyn meant it when he said Labour would respect the referendum result.

That is….back the part of that diversity which alone, and against everything, supports Brexit….

There is only one Brexit on offer and this is the Man who would like to carry it out:

Matthew Parris.

*********

  1. Page 49. The Hard Road to Renewal Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left, Stuart Hall. Verso. 1988.
  2. Peterborough: Labours squeaky victory and the vacuum on the right. Alan Wager.
  3. Therapy Culture. Routledge 2004. The Minimal Self. Christopher Lasch. Picador. 1984.
  4. La Victoire des vaincus. À Proposes des gilets jaunes. Edwy Plenel. La Découverte. 2019.
  5. Jeremy Corbyn is right: Labour needs both its leavers and its remainers.