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As Tories Flounder Pro-Brexit Left Clutches at Straws.

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Image result for brexit poster communist party

Brexit Left Has Record of Sound Predictions.

The Sovereigntist Morning Star, no doubt refreshed from a trip to the Donbass*, yells,

Who can “deliver Brexit”?

Can it be delivered at all?

The Morning Star’s allies in Counterfire are worried,

Lindsey German writes,

The Tories shan’t topple on their own, we need to build and maintain the pressure against them, 

there are increasing demands for a second referendum.

such a referendum wouldn’t change anything, even if it could get through Parliament, which is still a big if. And while we don’t need to necessarily speculate over whether it would lead to riots among Leave voters, it certainly would cause widespread anger and even further distrust, if possible, for politicians.  The pressure from within Labour for this second referendum is, however, intense, and is also very dangerous. It can lead to a greater bitterness in Leave areas which, even if it doesn’t lose Labour many seats, can lead to an alienation from Labour which will damage Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

She notes,

Any resolution to the Brexit crisis which ends up benefiting working people will of necessity entail a level of popular protest on the streets, an increase in industrial action and a very hard fight to secure a Labour victory. All of this will require a turn to class politics and organisation.

Pray, what is this “resolution”?

If ruthless Tories can’t get a ‘good deal’ what chance a People’s Brexit?

Socialist Worker clings to the wreckage,

Resistance to the Tory vision of Brexit can’t mean supporting a new referendum. It must mean putting forward an alternative vision of Brexit and of society where ordinary people’s interests are put before those of the bosses.

Membership of the EU is incompatible with such a vision. We must fight for an anti-racist, anti-austerity Brexit.

While the Heralds of the Red Dawn remain true from the US pro-Brexit progressive magazine Jacobin comes a cry for help –  please please Theresa May call a General Election!

The People’s Vote Illusion

Dawn Foster.

The campaigners for a so-called “People’s Vote” illustrate the problem most clearly: a cabal of almost entirely middle-class centrists detached from the groundswell of public opinion, preoccupied with obscure legal loopholes that supposedly might scupper attempts to push Brexit through Parliament or any process that sees the UK leave the EU at all. They function entirely as an echo chamber, with a record of excruciatingly embarrassing attempts at protest.

Such a gamble makes no sense and Labour would be wrong to back it. What makes far more sense is to call for a general election, as Labour has repeatedly done. Theresa May has lost the support of the Democratic Unionist Party; the ten Northern Irish MPs with whom she forged a “confidence and supply” deal last May do not have the numbers to make a true majority. Without those MPs, May cannot pass anything in Parliament without the help of Labour rebels. And considering that close to a hundred Conservative MPs have said they’ll rebel against her Brexit deal, it is increasingly clear that she has no democratic mandate whatsoever. Returning to Brussels to renegotiate, she would likely be told that the negotiators had no confidence in her passing anything they might offer.

The pro-Brexit Boss of Jacobin is said to be almost as scornful of the European Union as his British Op-Ed editor,  ‘Race Play BDSM  games’  Richard Seymour.

Seymour, for a jellyfish, still packs a sting.

The extent to which a large number of people on the Left identify with the European Union is bewildering and rather frightening and sinister.

The Brexit Debacle Richard Seymour.

Update:

The People’s Assembly have called a demo to support the Counterfire line of General Election Now! People’s Assembly Demo in January Britain is Broken,

“Today the People’s Assembly have called a National Demonstration to show the will of the people.”

“Don’t forget your #YellowVest #YellowVestsAgainstAusterity.

Cheap petrol now!

*  See: Light in the Donbass Window. Among the “anti-imperialist” foreign volunteers in East Ukraine. 

“The Donbass is the spiritual homeland, the Olduvai Gorge of all tankiedom. “

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Galloway’s Former Bagman, Kevin Ovenden, Gives Advice on Fighting Tommy Robinson to Another Europe is Possible.

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Image result for Kevin Ovenden and george galloway

Ovenden in Previous Unity Offensive with Labour.

Equating fascism with Brexit is disastrous, irresponsible and gives a hand up to Tommy Robinson

Kevin Ovenden is George Galloway’s former Bagman in Respect.

His most recent experience of fighting fascism was his call to fight to the last French person against Marine Le Pen, but not to vote against the Front National in the second round of the French Presidential elections.

This is actually the moment of the fighting left. The agency for rupturing into a half century political settlement has been someone whose politics are actually closer to the patriotic social democratic left than they are to anti-capitalist revolutionaries.

(Here one suspects Ovendon does not actually speak the language)

But the rupture is made, in any case – égal (sic) And that poses a challenge for those of us who are of the anti-capitalist left. Our politics – in a practical, and therefore real sense – were formed out of 1968. In the intervening years it has been easy for them to become buried under sedimentations of formulae and reflexes built up in decades of relative social peace, punctuated by minor eruptions. And with each subsiding of an eruption, so the sediment thickened.

It does mean breaking once and for all with a satellite status orbiting the Socialist Party and the Communist Party. They are dying stars. Out of their orbit is the only way to avoid going down with them.

France: an historic moment for the left

Today Ovenden is all in favour of unity with interstellar social democracy, the “left leadership of the Labour Party”.

What he is against (a mild way of describing an incontinent rant) is Michael Chessum and Another Europe is Possible .

Arguments tying opposition to fascism with opposition to Brexit makes out half the country as Tommy Robinson supporters. This is idiotic in the extreme, argues Kevin Ovenden

His charge?

The demo against Brexit and Fascism, called in opposition to Tommy Robinson’s rally Against the ‘Brexit Betrayal’ is wrong to link Brexit and Robinson.

(it) lumps together fascism with Leave – a stupid and dangerous thing to do – and it talks of mobilising only “Remainers”. Most people on the left want to unite the labour movement and working class. This AEIP operation wants to continue to divide it – in just the way that its paymasters in the second referendum campaign want to: weakening left-led Labour.

One assumes that the Labour Party Conference decision to leave a Second Referendum as a possible ‘option’ was a sign of Labour members, and John McDonnell’s  interest in the possibility is also weakening Labour.

This “transparently anti-left intervention out of the Blair-Campbell stable” ” suicidal sectarianism” is no doubt unwelcome for Counterfire, which pushes the doomed ‘People’s Brexit”, something few are interested in, even if they have heard of it.

According to the former leading figure of Respect, after having been a long-standing activist in the Socialist Workers Party, Another Europe is saying, “Brexit equals fascism and today’s Labour leaders are “social Brexiters”.

“One of the critical mistakes of the left in the early 1930s was not to recognise the specific danger of fascism and to refer to social democratic leaders as “social fascists”.”

For those not as familiar with the history of Stalinism he is accusing Another Europe of adopting the tactic of the Comintern during the late 1920s, during the ‘Third Period”. This, the Communists asserted, was a time of intensified class against class clashes – following the second period of relative capitalist stablisation, following the first period of the upheaval unleashed by the October Revolution,

“We are witnessing Third Period Liberalism.”

Apparently.

The idea that UKIP adviser Robinson’s Rally needs to be confronted by those who are opposed to his calls against ‘Brexit Betrayal” would seem a reasonable one to most people.

But not to Ovenden of the “fighting left” and his pro-Brexit mates in the revolutionary socialist Counterfire.

He (and he is far from the first from this lot to use the allegation) refers to the Other Europe is Possible “paymasters” and alleges that we are on “the Blairite dime”, that is we are paid for to mount a ” transparently anti-left intervention out of the Blair-Campbell stable.”

He claims that that we should go into the Robinson base and argue.

How can we argue if we are saddled with having to say, “We agree with you lot about leaving the EU, but please we want a nice anti-racist Brexit.”

Socialist Worker: Get Ready for ‘Anti-Racist” Brexit in the “Interests of the Working Class”.

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Hasta La Victoria Siempre Comandante!

Great memes meme alike:

Break from neoliberal policies and racism—the Brexit we should fight for.

Socialist Worker. Charlie Kimber. 13th of November.

We would like to see May’s deal defeated by MPs, most probably triggering her resignation, and then for massive pressure to force a general election.

This could see the Tories dumped.

Labour should run in any such election on a Brexit that would maintain free movement for workers, welcome migrants and oppose privatisation and austerity.

It should dump the pro-business single market, and stress international workers’ unity.

That’s the agenda the trade unions should campaign for. The alternative to the Tories’ Brexit isn’t going back to the policies of David Cameron and George Osborne before the 2016 referendum.

It’s to break from the stultifying neoliberal consensus.

Neither Labour nor the union leaders are doing that. So we need more struggle in the workplaces and the streets against austerity and racism.

That’s the way to shape the Brexit debate in the interests of the working class.

Such a major issue cannot be left to feuding pro-business groups.

Meanwhile as the “mass struggle” for Counterfire and the SWP’s Brexit rumbles in the nearest telephone box, Labour List publishes this assessment,

There’s a rocky road ahead for the Tories. But it’s a tricky time for Corbyn too

The government now has a draft EU withdrawal agreement. A big moment, yes, but this is just the beginning. Ministers last night had one-to-ones in No10 where they could read the key documents and Penny Mordaunt, widely thought of as the most likely to resign (#PMforPM is a thing amongst Tory Brexiteers) will take her turn this morning. Theresa May will have to get sign off from her cabinet, which meets at 2pm today with that aim, while the other EU countries must concur that the draft is complete enough to merit a summit in November. The EU summit must go well, then so must the Prime Minister’s pitch to parliament and country, before presenting the withdrawal agreement to MPs for approval.

There are hazards and potential pitfalls all the way along this path to getting the withdrawal deal secured. That precarious journey should be a good thing for Labour, but instead it looks to be a difficult time – particularly over the next few days. The draft agreement has not been published, but we know Labour can’t support it. Though there are MPs who fear a no-deal Brexit, and others who fear the optics of ignoring the 2016 result, the majority and particularly the leadership simply could not prop up a Tory government. But this leaves Labour spokespeople looking a bit silly, as the media rounds this morning showed.

Jeremy Corbyn’s initial reaction was fair enough. “We will look at the details of what has been agreed when they are available,” the leader said. “But from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country. Labour has been clear from the beginning that we need a deal to support jobs and the economy – and that guarantees standards and protections. If this deal doesn’t meet our six tests and work for the whole country, then we will vote against it.” Under further scrutiny, however, opposition frontbenchers start to crumble as interviewers point out that May’s temporary customs union arrangement is pretty much what Labour has been advocating. It’s a tough gig, explaining why they oppose something that looks closer to Labour’s proposals than expected without being able to highlight the finer problematic details. Even when the documents are published, that’ll be 500 pages to comb through.

There is much excitement ahead of PMQs this afternoon, which precedes the crunch cabinet meeting. But there are no big resignations to mock so far. Although Brexiteer complaints of turning the country into a “vassal state” could be highlighted, such criticism would apply equally to Labour’s plans. The backstop is the Prime Minister’s obvious weak point, and yet the same customs arrangement would likely have had to be put forward under Labour. This is a politically dangerous period for May, but also a tricky one for Corbyn to navigate.

Sienna @siennamarla

Let us hope that Corbyn and McDonnell do not listen to Counterfire, Socialist Worker, and those who imagine that they are going to claw a ‘People’s Brexit’ out of the economic and social mess that is the only actually existing Brexit, a right-wing free-market one.

We should not forget that Trump’s nationalism is the rising form of the free-market politics, not the old “consensus”.

As in this:

Image may contain: 1 person, text

We do not need to cobble together some temporary customs union, we need to reverse Brexit and fight for a social Europe.

The internationalist left states,

Every Labour MP must vote against Brexit – and help bring down the Tories.

Shiraz says,

On 31 October, the New Statesman magazine reported that: “At a recent strategy meeting, Andrew Murray – who works part-time as [Unite union leader] Len McCluskey’s chief of staff and part-time in Corbyn’s office – argued that the Labour Party should vote for Theresa May’s deal to avoid a no-deal exit”. Murray, reports the New Statesman, was successfully slapped down by Diane Abbott. But his stance will surely encourage those Labour MPs thinking of voting with the Tories, as will Corbyn’s shameful statement (in clear breach of party policy) in an interview for Der Spiegal, that “Brexit can’t be stopped”: let’s hope this was a momentary aberration by a well-meaning but politically illiterate leader brought up on the simplistic nationalism of Tony Benn and the Stalinist chimera of ‘socialism in one country’.

If the Tories are brought down, then further progress will depend on changing the Labour leadership’s stance. At present they say they want to replace the Tories’ negotiations by a ‘workable plan’ — a message which really amounts to “we can negotiate better than the Tories” — and they explicitly oppose continuing free movement for EU and British citizens across European borders.

May’s Tories will try to blackmail us by saying that the only alternatives are ‘no deal’ or a ‘hard Brexit’ of the type proposed by the Tories’ right-wing fringe. In fact the great bulk of big business is firmly against a ‘no deal’/’hard Brexit’: there is little chance of the Tories replacing May as leader by an ultra-Brexiteer and almost no chance that any Brexitemist could win a parliamentary majority for their favoured schemes. No one should let scaremongering corner them into supporting a supposedly “lesser evil” Brexit. When the Tories are in trouble, that is an opportunity to stop Brexit altogether.

Left Against Brexit groups have been formed in Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Haringey, and South London. They have gone out on the streets to win people against Brexit. Over the next weeks and months they need to double their efforts.

Those should include campaigning in areas which are heavily pro-Remain, and in places like university campuses with strong pro-Remain opinion, in order to connect with and draw in more activists. The message needs to be “Remain and Rebel”, a battle for a different Europe reshaped in the interests of the working class by active working-class solidarity in the broad class-struggle arena created by the historically progressive capitalist semi-unification of Europe.

There is no case, under any circumstances,  for Labour MPs to vote for this deal – to vote, in other words, to save the Tory government.

 

PETITION: VOTE AGAINST THERESA MAY’S BREXIT DEAL

The government’s Brexit deal will soon go to a vote in parliament. This is the last opportunity for our elected representatives to stand up for us in the Brexit process.

Theresa May’s deal is not what anyone voted for in 2016. It will damage the rights and prosperity of millions of ordinary people. It is a threat to jobs, the NHS, the environment, human rights, free movement and basic things like food standards. And it will still mean that we have to abide by EU rules, without any say in how they are made.

Defeating the government’s deal will not result in a ‘no deal’ Brexit. If MPs block the deal, there can be an alternative – whether that’s a general election, or a public vote, or fresh negotiations.

We need MPs to stand up for their constituents and stand against the disaster of the government’s Brexit deal.

We, the undersigned, call on all MPs to vote against the government’s Brexit deal when it is put to the House of Commons.

Countefore, “Betraying the referendum result would spell disaster for Labour and the left, argues Martin Hall

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm

In Praise of George Soros.

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Soros: Open Diamond Geezer and His Enemies.

Frank Furedi, guru of Spiked,  wrote in the Daily Telegraph earlier this year.

My encounter with George Soros’s bright-eyed missionaries left me deeply disturbed

Soros does not believe in the legitimacy of borders nor in the authority of national electorates. Consequently he feels entitled to influence and if possible direct the political destiny of societies all over the world. Today it is the future of Britain; tomorrow it might be Italy or Hungary that will be the target of Soros’ largesse.

The problem with Soros is not that he is rich. (Note, like the proprietors of the Telegraph, the secretive Barclay brothers).  The rich, like the poor, are entitled to act in accordance with their political views. However, there is something morally wrong when a single individual seeks to use his wealth to alter the will of millions of people who constitute the electorate. It is even worse when an oligarch is able to exercise significant influence over the future of a society that he is not a part of.

Former Revolutionary Communist Party Furedi is not the only disturbed person around:

The Morning Star, happy with millionaire far right-winger Arron Banks backing for the anti-EU cause, and Trade Unionists Against the EU<  threw a wobbly about Soros during the Labour Conference,

The Chuka Umunnas, Anna Soubrys, Tony Blairs, Peter Mandelsons, Vince Cables, Andrew Adonises and sundry nationalist and greenish politicians, bankrolled by George Soros and other financial interests, are linked by their contempt for democracy and their hostility to Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the socialist policies they champion.

Demonising Soros they join the nationalist far-right.

As the Financial Times points out today:

The Soros conspiracy theory goes global

Three years ago, Hungary’s prime minister accused billionaire George Soros of trying to flood the country with Middle Eastern migrants.

In recent weeks, a similar allegation against Mr Soros has emerged in the US: internet conspiracy theorists and some Republican politicians have accused him, without evidence, of funding a caravan of Central American migrants heading for the US border.

Asked last week whether Mr Soros was financing the caravan US president Donald Trump said: “I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of people say yes.”

Mr Soros denies any connection. The frequency with which such unfounded allegations have been aired in the US highlights how divisive the issue of illegal immigration — a favourite campaign theme of Mr Trump— has become. But it also shows how anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories have spread from the fringes to the political mainstream, in both Europe and the US.

Soros can speak for himself. And does:

George Soros has been a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals and causes for more than 30 years. His philanthropic organization, the Open Society Foundations, supports democracy and human rights in more than 100 countries.

As in this:

budgets

 

George Soros is a supporter of Karl Popper’s idea on the ‘open society’.

In the Open Society and its Enemies  (1945) and the Poverty of Historicism (1957) he attacked ‘holism’ and the claim, notably by those claiming to be Marxists, to have discovered the ‘laws of history’ and to subject societies to their closed views. Popper painted a contentious picture of political philosophy. His account of the history ideas, a broad-brush picture of totalitarian inklings from Plato, to Hegel and Marx, is contested. The idea that there is a “falsification””principle in science which demolishes and claim to objective explanations of historical development, how societies work, or how modes of production and class struggle operate, is not one Marxists – of (probably) all stripes –  would agree with. But there are some who would certainly find fault with “total” explanations and the orthodox and Hegelian use of the term “totality” as a category.

Since democratic socialists, including democratic Marxist, stand for open debate and are not afraid of criticism, one can hardly fault Popper for stirring things up.

There is a vast literature on the debates created by these books, open as can be.

And do we disagree with the concluding words of the Open Society and its Enemies?

For to progress is to move towards some kind of end, towards an end which exists for us as human beings. History cannot do that ; only we, the human individuals, can do it;we can do it by defending and strengthening those democratic institutions upon which freedom, and with it progress, depends. And we shall do it much better as we become more fully aware of the fact that progress rests with us, with our watchfulness, with our efforts, with the clarity of our conception of our ends, and with the realism 28 of their choice.

Instead of posing as prophets we must become the makers of our fate. We must learn to do things as well as we can, and to look out for our mistakes. And when we have dropped the idea that the history of power will be our judge, when we have given up worrying whether or not history will justify us, then one day perhaps we may succeed in getting power under control. In this way we may even justify history, in our turn. It badly needs such justification.

Soros’ writings on ‘reflexivity’ need more a a glace oto get to grips with.

But this can surely be met with some sympathy:

Although the primary manifestation of the reflexive process that Soros discusses is its effects in the financial markets, he has also explored its effects in politics. He has stated that whereas the greatest threats to the “Open Society” in the past were from Communism and Fascism (as discussed in Open Society and its Enemies by his mentor Karl Popper), the largest current threat is from Market fundamentalism.

Faced with the kind of attacks Soros has received this is welcome:

Mr. Soros was born into a Jewish family in Hungary, and survived the Nazi occupation as a child in part by posing as the Christian godson of a government official.

After World War II, Mr. Soros fled Hungary for England as the Soviet Union consolidated control in his home country. He worked as a waiter and a railroad porter and studied at the London School of Economics, where he was deeply influenced by the theories of an Austrian philosopher who taught there, Karl Popper. Mr. Popper wrote about the consequences of what he called “closed” and “open” societies — concepts that shaped Mr. Soros’s investment strategy and philanthropy for decades.

His daring investments in companies and currencies proved hugely lucrative, prompting The Economist to call him “surely the world’s most intriguing investor” in 1987. His decision to short the British pound in 1992 earned his funds a reported profit of $1 billion.

By then, he was turning his attention to democracy-building in Eastern Europe.

Mr. Soros and his foundations supported groups and individuals seeking to bring down Communism, including the Solidarity and Charter 77 movements in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The leaders of both groups would later lead their countries in the post-Communist era.

In Hungary, Mr. Soros distributed photocopiers to universities and libraries as a means to fight government censorship, and he paid for dissidents to study in the West. The recipients included a young Mr. Orban, then a liberal activist.

After the end of the Cold War, with the Open Society Foundations as his main vehicle, Mr. Soros funded new work for destitute Soviet scientists in Russia, paid for free school breakfasts for Hungarian children and set up a college, the Central European University, that later drew the ire of Mr. Orban’s government.

In the United States, where Mr. Soros was granted citizenship in the 1960s, Mr. Soros’s efforts often won bipartisan applause. A professed admirer of President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to topple Communist rule in Eastern Europe, Mr. Soros, who at the time described himself as a political independent, was seen by anti-Communist Republicans as a fellow freedom fighter.

As his activities grew more prominent in Europe, and he began funding drug reform efforts in the United States, he started being cast in the 1990s as a central figure in a shadowy Jewish cabal by extremist figures such as the fascist presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. and allies of repressive Eastern European leaders who were targeted by groups funded by Mr. Soros.

The theories were initially confined to the anti-Semitic fringe, though Mr. Soros is not closely associated with Jewish or Israeli causes, and in fact has been accused of being anti-Israel and was criticized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

From: How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream New York Times. October the 31st 2018.

Here are some serious criticisms of Soros (201*

Throughout his career, Soros has made a number of wise and exciting interventions. From a democratic perspective, though, this single wealthy person’s ability to shape public affairs is catastrophic. Soros himself has recognised that “the connection between capitalism and democracy is tenuous at best”. The problem for billionaires like him is what they do with this information. The open society envisions a world in which everyone recognises each other’s humanity and engages each other as equals. If most people are scraping for the last pieces of an ever-shrinking pie, however, it is difficult to imagine how we can build the world in which Soros – and, indeed, many of us – would wish to live. Presently, Soros’s cosmopolitan dreams remain exactly that. The question is why, and the answer might very well be that the open society is only possible in a world where no one – whether Soros, or Gates, or DeVos, or Zuckerberg, or Buffett, or Musk, or Bezos – is allowed to become as rich as he has.

His response:

 I have been a passionate critic of market fundamentalism at least since I first discussed the phenomenon in my essay The Capitalist Threat in the Atlantic Monthly 20 years ago. Moreover, I have been a steadfast promoter of what Bessner calls the “root-and-branch reforms” that could bring about the better world that I and many others desire – for example, I would cite the positions I adopted regarding reforms after the financial crisis of 2008. Anybody who reviews the record will see that my proposals were far from the mainstream “centre left” approach that eventually prevailed. In the same vein, regarding eastern Europe post-1989, Bessner writes: “It was more than a lack of political will that constrained the west during this moment. In the era of ‘shock therapy’, western capital did flock to eastern Europe – but this capital was invested mostly in private industry, as opposed to democratic institutions or grassroots community-building, which helped the kleptocrats and anti-democrats seize and maintain power.” I agree. But Bessner continues: “Soros had identified a key problem but was unable to appreciate how the very logic of capitalism, which stressed profit above all, would necessarily undermine his democratic project. He remained too wedded to the system he had conquered.” To the contrary, my interventions were entirely in support of “democratic institutions and grassroots community-building”, and I urged others, including governments, to follow me in this approach.

Likewise, Bessner’s conclusion that my status “as a member of the hyper-elite and [my] belief that, for all its hiccups, history was headed in the right direction made [me] unable to consider fully the ideological obstacles that stood in the way of [my] internationalism” is unfounded. I don’t think I have ever expressed an optimism that history is headed in the right direction. Martin Luther King famously said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. I am less of an optimist, which is why I have spent my life actively trying to bend the arc in a positive direction. But recognising that I am a biased evaluator of my life’s work, I will submit it to the judgment to history.
George Soros
Open Society Foundations

It is still unfortunate that somebody with money can have a great influence on politics.

But this is hardly ‘post-democracy’ when Soros has helped stir up democratic action and debate from those excluded by the truly powerful – the right and the nationalists.

If we are unlikely to agree with all of his views then, tough.

He is a respected interlocutor.

And clearly, from the enemies he has: Soros is a diamond geezer.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Jair Bolsonaro: Where Populism Meets Fascism.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Bolsonaro violence after election"

Fascist Wins Brazil Election.

Jair Bolsonaro declared Brazil’s next president

Guardian.

A far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist has been elected as Brazil’s next president after a drama-filled and deeply divisive election that looks set to radically reforge the future of the world’s fourth biggest democracy.

Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper who built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat, secured 55.1% of the votes after 99.9% were counted and was therefore elected Brazil’s next president, electoral authorities said on Sunday.

Bolsonaro’s leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, secured 44.8% of votes.

In a video broadcast from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro thanked God and vowed to stamp out corruption in the country.

“We cannot continue flirting with communism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” he said.

This result concerns the left across the world.

These are some notes.

For in-depth analysis of the background see:

The most important presidential race in Brazilian history (plus statements from MST & PSOL). James N. Green. Links  – International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

Brazil: will fake news win the election?

As Brazil’s presidential election reaches its second round, support for rabid, homophobic extremist Jair Bolsonaro is being whipped up by an unprecedented tide of ‘fake news’, distributed on social media, particularly WhatsApp,  Red Pepper. Sue Branford.

Brazilian socialist Andressa Alegre spoke to Solidarity about the experience with the governments led by the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT) between 2003 and 2016.

More broadly:

Brazil goes back to an oligarch past

 Anne Vigna. le Monde Diplomatique. May 2018.

Post Lula, post Dilma Rousseff, power has shifted to powerful landowners aggressively asserting their rights over land they don’t use but don’t want to lose, and politically motivated violence is up.

Jair Bolsonaro and the threat to democracy in Brazil

Yesterday Brazil voted for a fascist. Jair Bolsonaro is now the President of Brazil.  He comfortably outpolled his nearest rival, Fernando Haddad, a former Mayor of Saõ Paulo and Minister for Education in the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by 55 to 45 per cent.  Although his lead appears to have narrowed in the final days before polling, it was still a decisive victory. The fourth largest country in the world could now slide from democracy to dictatorship.

Here are some pressing issues.

Brazil’s presidential election: fearful LGBT community prepares for a ‘proud homophobe’.

Tom Phillips. Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières

Activists say that while violence and discrimination against the LGBT community have long existed, Bolsonaro’s brazen bigotry has helped launch a new era of brutality and threats.

“It’s as if the gates of hell have been opened – as if hunting season had been declared,” said Beto de Jesus, a veteran LGBT activist and founder of São Paulo’s huge annual gay pride parade. “It’s barbarism.”

James Green, an American academic with longstanding ties to Brazil’s gay movement, said Bolsonaro’s “repulsive” discourse had left some gay and lesbian couples wondering if it was even still safe to hold hands in public: “He has unleashed all the demons in Brazilian society and they are out there now: unmasked and vicious and violent.”

Renan Quinalha, a São Paulo-based lawyer and LGBT activist, said recent weeks had seen a “frightening” spike in reports of physical or verbal abuse carried out by Bolsonaro supporters. He described a mood of fear and trepidation, both at the violence and the prospect that, as president, Bolsonaro might try to roll back hard-fought gains such as the 2011 legalisation of same-sex unions.

The Rise of the Brazilian Evangelicals

Au Brésil, les évangéliques ont voté Jair Bolsonaro.

The Evangelicals have voted for Bolsonaro – who is himself a Catholic.

There is a good case, given the intolerance, cult of violence, apologies for dictatorship and trumpeting of the most reactionary elements of free-market capitalism, religious bigotry  with themes of law and order,  and threats to withdraw from all international treaties and organisations, to  suggest that Brazil’s President is a figure in which  fascism meets populism.  

But this is far from the end of the story,

Brazilian presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro has flaunted a macho distaste for gays. He’s recommended that parents beat effeminate boys. He’s said he would prefer a dead son to a homosexual one.

And he has the vote of Tiago Pavinatto, a gay lawyer and columnist for O Estado de S. Paulo, one of the nation’s largest newspapers.

Bolsonaro has “flirted with homophobia because he’s an ordinary, rude man and he knows that,” said Pavinatto, 34. “He will be surrounded by people who will ensure gay rights be respected.”

This is no random, one-off case. Pavinatto is part of a surprisingly large segment of the gay community — 29 percent, according to a Datafolha survey this week — who intends to vote for the former Army captain. And it underscores just how strong the desire is among many Brazilians to prevent the party of Bolsonaro’s opponent, Fernando Haddad, from returning to power

Disgust with corruption during the 14-year rule of the Workers’ Party runs so deep that some gay voters have been willing to bet that Bolsonaro’s hostility is a mere ploy. Others support Haddad with great reluctance or are refusing to vote entirely.

Brazil’s gay groups, flourishing in its cosmopolitan cities, have been made a scapegoat in Bolsonaro’s grievance-fueled campaign. The candidate has pointed to homosexuals as evidence of moral decay as he preaches a return to conservative values.

Strong rejection of the Workers’ Party and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva drive Bolsonaro’s backers, and that isn’t different in the gay community. But gays find themselves torn between disapproval of corruption associated with Lula’s legacy and resistance to a candidate who has repeatedly antagonized them.

Why Many of Brazil’s Gay Voters Will Overlook Bolsonaro’s Homophobic Rants  

Apart from the problems with the Partido dos Trabalhadores, Workers Party, the disaster that is ‘Bolivarian’ Venezuela under their eyes- 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2014,-and clashes as some Brazilians have rioted against the presence of over 100,000 refugees – the Brazilian left has lost another potential source of inspiration.  (September. Brazil calls in army after mob attacks on Venezuelan migrants )

In a Video produced by the Left of centre French weekly l’Obs, violent scenes have already taken place in Post-election Brazil.

 

The French Daily Libération underlines the disappointment of the 44.9% who voted for his opponent Fernando Haddad, and the dangers of this result: “You are worth more than Bolsonaro.”

Written by Andrew Coates

October 29, 2018 at 1:53 pm

Tremble comrade George Soros: you have a new foe, Arron Banks!

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Image result for george soros elders of zion cartoon

The more I hear about George Soros the more I like the bloke.

There is this (just out): All The Incendiary Garbage Fox News Has Broadcast About George Soros Since April

At Fox News, Soros is treated as the Moriarty of liberal America, the spider at the center of a vast web.

This week, similar suspicious packages were mailed to frequent ring-wing targets, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and former CIA Director John Brennan.

The first one, however, was discovered on Monday outside the New York residential compound of billionaire George Soros. Authorities later determined it contained a pipe bomb.

It’s not yet known who delivered the pipe bomb. What’s not in doubt is that Soros has become the right wing’s main boogeymen over the last decade.

His most vicious critics tend to be members of the Nazi frog set, employing longtime anti-Semitic tropes to depict Soros as a Jewish puppet master. But other critics make their money at Fox News, where Soros is treated as the Moriarty of liberal America, the spider at the center of a vast web.

In the eyes of his most unwavering detractors, Soros is a Nazi-sympathizing, left-wing “globalist” hellbent on using his billions to destroy the conservative movement.

The Sovereigntist Morning Star (22nd of September 2018) has this to say about the man, some say is rapidly becoming the hero of a new wave of radical leftists.

the string-pullers or decision makers behind this “cross-party” initiative, which gathers up the same squalid group of politicians, backed by the same big-business millions, that fought unsuccessfully in our referendum to keep the UK in the EU.

The Chuka Umunnas, Anna Soubrys, Tony Blairs, Peter Mandelsons, Vince Cables, Andrew Adonises and sundry nationalist and greenish politicians, bankrolled by George Soros and other financial interests, are linked by their contempt for democracy and their hostility to Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the socialist policies they champion.

Their fellow thinkers  in the Weekly Worker, paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), say,

there is nothing leftwing about Another Europe is Possible. Not only is it in receipt of Soros money to the tune of £70,000, it promotes politics which are thoroughly liberal and entirely in line with PV’s (People’s Vote, – note) overarching strategy.

Hot in pursuit is the generous donor to Trade Unionists Against the EU, Arron Banks (hat-tip: Alan).

No, you couldn’t make it up!

Written by Andrew Coates

October 26, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Hal Draper and Socialism from Below.

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Image result for The "dictatorship of the proletariat" from Marx to Lenin (

Hal Draper (1914 – 1990) remains a seminal influence on Marxists.

Along with Maximilien Rubel (1905 – 1996, probably less known in the English speaking world) he offered a strongly democratic interpretation of Marx and Marxism based on serious historical and textual study.

Draper’s unraveling of the historical and political origins and use of the term ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’  (The “dictatorship of the proletariat” from Marx to Lenin 1987) is something many turn to whenever the issue of the Russian Revolution comes up.

His  Anatomy of the Micro-Sect (1973) while situated firmly within the context of the marginalised US left and, in this Blog’s view wildly and wrongly indulgent towards Lenin himself, offers insights into the way many small left-wing factions operate across the world.

In this important article Joel Geier offers an overview of Draper’s contribution to the left and not just on those who call themselves ‘revolutionaries’ or indeed agree with his interpretation of Marxism.

Hal Draper’s contribution to revolutionary Marxism

The piece is long but this extract gives some of the flavour.

Fifty-one years ago the Berkeley Independent Socialist Club published Hal Draper’s The Two Souls ofSocialism.1 Of the hundreds of radical pamphlets published in the 1960s, Two Souls has had perhaps the longest-lasting impact. Appearing at a time when various forms of top-down versions of socialism—social democracy, Stalinism, and Maoism—were in vogue, its emphasis on workers’ self-emancipation set it clearly apart. Moreover, Draper did not merely reintroduce genuine Marxism to a new generation; in its originality and clarity, Two Souls—and the subsequent work that elaborated in detail on his arguments—presented a different way of looking at the world, at socialism, and at competing ideologies.

Traditional interpretations maintained that the essential divisions in the socialist movement were between reform and revolution, pacifism versus violence, and democracy versus authoritarianism. Two Souls took a somewhat different angle, namely, that “throughout the history of socialist movements and ideas, the fundamental divide is between Socialism-From-Above and Socialism-From-Below,”2thus introducing the vocabulary, narrative, and ideas of socialism from below as the contemporary representation of revolutionary Marxism.

The unifying feature of the many varieties of socialism from above, Draper argued, is distrust or opposition to the working-class’s potential to recreate society based on its own initiative. Socialism from above, Draper specified, is the idea that socialism “must be handed down to the grateful masses in one form or another, by a ruling elite not subject to their control in fact.”3 Distrust of the mass’s ability to rule and denial of democratic control from below are the core tenets of the many variants of socialism from above that have dominated the history of the socialist movement.

The heart of socialism from below is the understanding that “socialism can be realized only through the self-emancipation of activated masses in motion, reaching out for freedom with their own hands, mobilized ‘from below’ in a struggle to take charge of their own destiny, as actors (not merely subjects) on the stage of history.”4 These few words summarize what Draper would later work for decades to restore and defend as the heart of revolutionary Marxism in his analysis of the entire body of Marx’s political writings, as presented in numerous articles, as well as in his indispensable, magnificent multivolume series, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution (KMTR).

A major thesis of Two Souls was that social democracy and Stalinism, the two major self-styled socialisms from above, despite their real and obvious differences, both identify socialism with the statification of the economy, and both reject workers’ democratic rule as the foundation of socialism. Long before Stalinism, Eduard Bernstein, the theoretical father of social-democratic reformism, was the first to revise Marxism to eliminate working-class self-emancipation from its essence, substituting “superior educated” parliamentary representatives for the “uninformed masses” as the agency for socialism. Social democracy and Stalinism, whose advocates strongly denied their similarities, were the dominant radical ideologies that divided the socialist movement during Draper’s political life, which was split between those who supported “democratic” Washington or “socialist” Moscow. These constrained political choices debilitated the working-class movement long before the wrecking operations of neoliberal capitalism began.

Read the full article on Socialism From Below in the International Socialist Review.

Those who are very far from enthusiasts for Trotsky or ‘revolutionary’ Marxism but who are democratic Marxists have learnt a lot from one of the best socialist writers of the 20th century.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm