Archive for the ‘Conservatives’ Category
Rhea Wolfson Speaks of Racist Abuse: “Pretentious, self serving, martyrdom promoting, precious nonsense.” Says Leading ‘anti-Zionist’.
Rhea Wolfson is a breath of fresh air.
Like many activists I was very pleased to see a fresh face standing for the Centre left Grassroots Alliance slate for Labour’s NEC along with the other strong candidates, Ann Black, Claudia Webbe, Darren Williams, Christine Shawcroft, and Pete Willsman.
Reflecting the diversity of the democratic socialist, labour spectrum reflected on this list, which includes those from all parts of this tradition, Rhea is an activist with her own views. She immediately attracted criticism, from the Progress Right-wing of the party, from the Eustonites, and, as can be seen from her own account, from others who have nothing to do with the labour movement or any form of left.
Harry’s Place – the ‘Eustonites’ – singled her out.
Saul Freeman wrote,
Rhea Wolfson, a young socialist who has stated that “winning 2020 should not be the priority of the Labour Party” and asserts that “to focus only on elections loses sight of other ways of making effective changes in society”.
If Ken & Rhea didn’t exist, some of us would be tempted to invent them as clumsily drawn characters to use in our blog posts where we write about the moral and political collapse of the Left.
He appeared to suggest that her opinions fitted in a box that included the Stop the War Coalition, amongst people who, “who sneer at the dull incrementalism of parliamentary social democracy”.
Now I appreciate that Rhea isn’t too concerned about this aspect, but how could I vote for Labour in 2020 anyway? It wouldn’t be the safe or responsible thing to do. I mean – and I know this is stretching the argument – what if Labour actually achieved power? Is anyone seriously suggesting that we vote to empower those that hold the STWC world view, in whole or in part? How might history judge us?
Harry’s Place was not the only critic.
Rhea has written her own account – which should be read.
On Tuesday afternoon, I announced that I was standing for election to represent Labour Party members on its National Executive Committee. My first 24 hours as a candidate were a crash course in why so many are reluctant to put themselves forward. In less than a day I have faced racist and sexist abuse through social media, directed to both my family and me, been smeared by Tory blogs, and had senior figures in my own party attack me unfairly.
My day got worse from here. The right wing blog Guido Fawkes then picked up the story. This led to more attention and more hatred on social media. And I presume it was thanks to this coverage that I won the attention of the far-right.
A neo-Nazi blog covered my candidacy. There, I am described as a ‘dirty Zionist Jewess’. The writer has publicised my twitter account and instructed its readers to send Nazi images to me. The comments on the page include photoshopped images of me in a gas chamber. More harrowing still, they have shared my sister’s Twitter handle and suggested that she be targeted too.
This is such pretentious, self serving, martyrdom promoting, precious nonsense. Those of us who have actually been active in the anti-fascist movement, you know actually facing up to fash and driving them off the streets, would find this pathetic. I’ve been targeted for close on a decade by Redwatch – Southern Coast, a neo-Nazi site dedicated to physically targeting anti-fascists for attacks in the street or home or both. People on it have been attacked but we don’t moan. I’ve been attacked but you just put it down to experience.
Those who wish can try to finish this particular line of thought on the original site.
Greenstein added, in response to the suggestion that Rhea should be entitled to a Safe Space that,
Tony Greenstein is currently believed to be appealing against his suspension from the Labour Party.
By contrast how is the labour movement reacting?
Left Futures reports.
GMB condemns antisemitic abuse of centre-left candidate for Labour executive
GMB Scotland today utterly condemned the vile antisemitic abuse suffered by their Glasgow Branch Secretary, Rhea Wolfson, who is standing for a position on the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
A spate of deliberate attacks on social media by Nazi propagandists occurred following confirmation of Rhea’s candidacy and GMB Scotland have said they will bring these hate crimes to the attention of the police, while using every tool at their disposal to flush out the online racists.
Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, said:
There is no place for anti-Semitism or racism of any kind in our politics or society and Rhea has the total solidarity of her trade union in the face of this vile abuse.
Rhea is a hugely talented and principled activist; a popular and respected member of our union in Scotland and beyond with an established track record of campaigning for social justice and human rights.
We can’t let this hate go unchallenged. What sort of message would that send out to young people of all backgrounds who may want to get involved in making our communities and workplaces more fair, peaceful and prosperous?
GMB Scotland looks after our members and we call on all representatives from across civic society and politics to condemn these hate crimes.”
Like many others who were involved in forming and supporting the Grassroots Alliance when it was set up in 1998 I can say that all this brings back recollections of the response of those hostile to it at the time. *
This piece, which enjoyed cult status in some quarters (though not, for reasons which become immediately clear, amongst those individually singled out), brought us back down memory lane.
WHEN I was first at college, the most romantic and sexy left group on campus was Tariq Ali’s International Marxist Group. They smoked dope, they dropped acid, they bonked, they argued, they partied. When they got militant the blokes all put on denim jackets, tartan scarves and black gloves, and occupied things. And the IMG women were cool, too, divided between free-loving Alexandra Kollontais and Earth Mothers.
The International Socialists (forerunners of the Socialist Workers Party, and political home to Paul Foot) and sections of my own Communist Party were hostile to the IMG. “IMG, IMG, idle sons of the bourgeoisie”, was one little chant that we all enjoyed in those far-off days. Hour after hour we would sit up debating with IMG members the virtues and vices of Ernest Mandel’s critique of the Neither Washington Nor Moscow problematics.
Echoes of this past were ringing in my ears when I read the accounts this week of the attempts by Liz Davies, the ousted Labour candidate for Leeds, to get elected to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party this autumn. She is part of a slate – the “centre-left” slate, no less – which is canvassing for the votes of ordinary Labour Party members, even as I write. She’s had a very good press for, after all, what is she doing, other than trying to debate, in a party that now stifles debate? Poor Liz.
As always. Nice to see you again, comrades. But “centre-left”? Please.
I should point out that Liz had nothing to do with the IMG whatsoever.
That was before the Web, Twitter, Trolling, and when the likes of Saul and Greenstein could only grind their teeth in their basements amid the smell of damp socks.
At least Aaronovitch could do funnies.
*The Alliance’s founding groups were originally Labour Reform, a centrist democratic group within the Party, and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, the left wing democratic grouping, who subsequently brought in other more left-wing groupings from within the Labour Party. Private talks with trades union representatives to build a broader base had failed on union demands and this initiated the inclusion of a much broader Left group from the grassroots, including Labour Left Briefing and the Editor of Tribune, Mark Seddon. Successful efforts were also made to include the Scottish Left. Wikipedia.
SWP Predicts End of Tories if Brexit Comes.
It’s probably hard to make a good speech when you’re uncomfortable with the message you’re communicating.
That’s why Jeremy Corbyn made such a dull and uninspiring presentation launching Labour’s pro-European Union (EU) campaign last week.
The SWP National Secretary has his own unique theory as to why Corbyn calls for a Remain Vote:
It turned out the way to make Corbyn back the EU was to elect him Labour leader. He compromised to keep at least some of the right vaguely on side.
The reappointment of Pat McFadden as shadow minister for Europe was seen as the first victory for Labour’s right under Corbyn’s leadership. The announcement that the party would campaign to stay in the EU followed.
McFadden eventually resigned, but was replaced with another strongly pro-EU figure.
Kimber accuses Corbyn of being pivotal in moblising the ‘Remain’ vote.
If Corbyn backed Leave, it is highly likely that the vote would be to break from the EU. Polls suggest that Corbyn is far more trusted on the issue than Tories on either side.
His support would banish completely the myth that only the right wants to exit. He would particularly appeal to young people who presently see the EU as a left wing project.
In place of any argument about workers’ rights, social Europe, or internationalism, or whatever the SWP used to dredge up as ‘principled’ reasons to stand for Little Britain, Kimber places this centre stage
Corbyn insists a Leave vote would boost the right. But with the political feeling in Britain at the moment it is more likely it would see Cameron’s resignation, turmoil in the Tory party, the loss of their parliamentary majority and an early election. This offers the hope of the end of the Tories before 2020, surely something to be grasped.
In other words, don’t vote just against Europe, but to get rid of the Tories….by replacing Cameron by a more right-wing anti-European Tory.
One can imagine the SWP National Committee…..
The comrades are respectfully silent.
Kimber is gazing into the dialectical crystal ball.
The Leave side has won!
The Organiser sees movement, a hideous Tory party, a gnashing of teeth, resignations, fights, disarray, messages of international support to Socialist Worker.
A new regime, perhaps of the hardest of hard rights.
Outrage, strikes, divisions: the regime falls.
Kimber continues his divination. An election, which will….. – here the prophecy grows dark: only the shifting shapes of masses of workers and protesters can be seen.
There’s a glimmer….
2,000, perhaps 200,000 thousand copies of Socialist Worker sold!
Lowestoft recruits ten new members!
The comrades smile: the Seer of Socialism has Seen!
In French this is known as la politique du pire: the worse the better.
After the exalted visions the SWP cannot resist a sharp, but more mundane, attack on Barack Obama.
Chief SWP theoretician Alex Callinicos finely analyses the speech of the Monarch of the global Empire,
Obama’s intervention stops anyone pretending any longer that they haven’t noticed where global capitalist interests are lining up. The Emperor himself has told them in words of one syllable that Brexit will harm his empire.
Meanwhile the Carnival of Reaction from the Leave camp continues:
NIGEL Farage has given his most rousing speech to date by declaring that a vote for Brexit will become Britain’s Independence Day.
Labour Movement Rallies for Europe.
The country’s three biggest unions – Unison, Unite and GMB – have announced they will campaign for remain reported the Mirror yesterday.
Unison today became the latest major union to announce it would campaign for the UK to stay in the European Union.
The public sector union joins Unite and GMB, which between them represent more than 3million workers, in deciding to back remain in June’s referendum.
General Secretary Dave Prentis said a consultation with Unison members showed overwhelming backing for the union to campaign to stay.
Top of their concerns were fears that Brexit would see the loss of employment rights such as parental leave, paid holidays and protection for part time workers, the consultation found.
Almost four in five (78%) Unison branches wanted the union to take a stance in the EU referendum, and of these 95% wanted their union to campaign for the UK to stay in Europe.
The BBC is now running this story:.
Jeremy Corbyn is setting out the “socialist case” for remaining in the EU in his first major intervention in the referendum campaign.
The Labour leader said the party “overwhelmingly” backs EU membership despite its “shortcomings”.
And he argued that Britain must remain in, to fight for reform.
He cited protection of workers’ rights, environmental standards and consumer safeguards as reasons to vote to Remain on 23 June.
In a speech in central London, Mr Corbyn said: “Over the years I have been critical of many decisions taken by the EU, and I remain critical of its shortcomings; from its lack of democratic accountability to the institutional pressure to deregulate or privatise public services.
“So Europe needs to change. But that change can only come from working with our allies in the EU. It’s perfectly possible to be critical and still be convinced we need to remain a member.”
The Guardian leads with,
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has responded to calls for him to step up the fight for Britain to remain in the European Union with a speech stressing the need for international cooperation to boost workers’ rights, tackle climate change and crack down on corruption.
Speaking to an audience of Labour-supporting students and trade unionists in London, Corbyn repeatedly pointed to the shortcomings of the EU in its present form – but said he wanted to forge alliances with leftwing parties across Europe to reform it.
“You can’t build a better world unless you engage with the world,” he said, urging young people to “make sure you register to vote, and vote to keep the UK in Europe in June”, and warning that a Conservative government would take the opportunity of Brexit to slash protection for workers, in a “bonfire of rights”.
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“We want to strengthen the protection of every worker, all over Europe, not just in Britain,” he said, promising that a Labour government would co-operate with socialist allies to halt the “race to the bottom”.
Corbyn said the EU had helped to underpin “investment, jobs and protections for workers, consumers and the environment”, and working together with European allies offered “the best chance of meeting the challenges we face in the 21st century”.
He compared the decision to his own choice to remain within the Labour party, even when he had profound disagreements with its leaders. “I’ve had a few differences with the direction the Labour party has taken over the last few years, some people may have noticed. But I have been sure that I was right to remain a member of the Labour party.”
He added, smiling: “Some might say I’ve managed to do something more recently about changing the direction of Labour, and I’m enjoying that as well.”
For arguments against the increasingly isolated Brexit ‘left, see: Shiraz Socialist.
Re-run of 1970s Battle by Tariq Ali and ‘IMG Sealed Knot’ Society.
The real left meanwhile…
Galloway Organises ‘Left’ Brexit Campaign Day of Action with Nigel Farage, Kate Hoey MP, and Grassroots Out
Kate Hoey: Now Part of Team Galloway-Farage.
Activists campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union (EU) will take part in the biggest ever day of leaflet distribution in referendum history on Saturday, the Grassroots Out (GO) campaign has announced.
GO is one of three main anti-EU groups vying to represent the official ‘Leave’ campaign. It has the support of London mayoral candidate George Galloway and UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
The group says March 5 will be the “biggest single coordinated” action day in the history of British referenda, when they drop more than a million leaflets, the IBTimes UK reports.
Meanwhile this is being touted:
Doors open at 6.30.
Bring copy of ticket.
- Tuesday, 8 March 2016 from 19:00 to 22:00 (GMT)
- The Hellenic Centre – 16 Paddington Street, London W1U 5AS, United Kingdom – View Map
Team Galloway 4 London
Organiser of #LEXIT: The Left Case To Leave The EU
This event is a joint production of Team Galloway4London and the Grassroots Out (GO) Campaign.
Historical Precedent for Galloway/Farage Pact.
From: John Rogan to the Tendance and to Shiraz.
George Galloway compares relationship with Nigel Farage to Churchill and Stalin.
Reports the Independent.
‘We are not pals. We are allies in one cause. Like Churchill and Stalin…’
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Farage said: “On that night, yes, the Respect Party was on the platform, so was the Conservative Party, so was Ruth Lea, the economist, so was a London taxi driver, so was [Tory MP] Sir William Cash, so was [Labour former minister] Kate Hoey.
“The point about Grassroots Out is, we’re bringing people together from across the spectrum.”
The New Statesman‘s Stephen Bush continues in this vein,
“If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons,” Winston Churchill remarked shortly after the Nazis’ fateful decision to open a second front against Soviet Russia.
It’s tempting to see that as the justification behind George Galloway appearing as the “very special guest” at Grassroots Out’s rally on Friday.
The appearance of the Respect leader and former MP attracted derision from the commentariat and prompted walk-outs from the hall. But signing up Galloway is an astute move on the part of Grassroots Out that could have big implications for the coming referendum.
Why? Grassroots Out is currently in a fight to the death with Vote Leave, another pro-Brexit grouping, for the status of “lead campaign”. The designation brings with it a spending limit of £7m during the referendum’s “regulated period” – all other registered campaigns will be able to spend just £70,000. Effectively, whichever campaign doesn’t get the designation will have to shut down.
Although Stronger In has no official line on which of the two campaigns it would rather face, it is an open secret that they regard Vote Leave as the deadlier opponent.
Matthew Elliot, formerly of the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the successful campaign against the Alternative Vote, has been the victim of a whispering campaign from his own side but is feared and respected in equal measure by his opponents. Many either have pleasant memories of campaigning against the Alternative Vote alongside him or bad ones of the two-to-one defeat that was handed to the Yes side. Dominic Cummings, formerly of Michael Gove’s office and the successful architect of the defeat of the North-East Assembly, is held in similar esteem.
“If it’s [Grassroots Out], then it will be a very narrow campaign with a ceiling of 40 per cent of the vote,” one senior staffer predicts, “If it’s Elliott it will be a vicious campaign of smear and fear – and I’d put our chances at 50/50.”
Many people on the left have another historical comparison for Galloway and Hoey’s alliance with Farage.
Oddly the Morning Star has yet to comment on this alliance.
On the left, let’s look at how some greeted Galloway’s past triumphs,
March 2012. Socialist Worker.
While there were specific factors in Bradford that propelled Galloway to victory, his win is a boost for the left in Britain and underlines the potential for building grassroots opposition to Tory austerity.
The Socialist, April 2012.
George Galloway’s stunning Bradford victory shows the potential for anti-cuts election challenges.
Counterfire: Galloway victory: a landslide against war and austerity March 30, 2012 James Meadway.
The scale of Galloway’s win, turning a safe Labour seat into a 10,000 vote majority, is without precedent in modern British politics. All those who oppose austerity and war should be walking a little taller this morning.
We are waiting for some comment from these quarters on Galloway’s recent turn, not least from Meadway somebody, we believe, who has something to do with John McDonnell.
This is all we have from the leadership of the SWP:
We now learn that this all comes as a complete surprise to Galloway’s supporters, as Kimber says for the SWP,
It was nauseating to see George Galloway appearing at the Grassroots Out rally last night and campaigning against the EU alongside the racist Ukip’s Nigel Farage.
Many people have been nauseated by Galloway for years…..
Galloway has yet to pronounce on whether he will share a platform with Zac Goldsmith on the same issue.
Boris Johnson has already spurned the idea,
During the admission Johnson stressed that he would not share a platform with Nigel Farage or George Galloway and would not take part in any TV debates opposing any fellow Conservatives.
Update: this is how the real left is reacting.
Following David Cameron’s renegotiation, the UK has set the date for its referendum on EU membership as the 23rd of June. How should British voters who are dissatisfied with the EU view the referendum?
We should reject wholeheartedly the fudge that David Cameron came back from Brussels with. He is asking the public to support staying within a reformed Europe, but he has deformed Europe in the process of creating this fudge.
Yet at the same time we should also reject the Eurosceptic view that Britain should leave the EU, but stay within the single market. I have a lot of respect for Tory Eurosceptics with a Burkean view of the sovereignty of national parliaments. The problem is that they also support staying in the single market. This is an incoherent proposition: it’s impossible to stay in the single market and keep your sovereignty.
Neither withdrawing into the safe cocoon of the nation state, nor giving in to the disintegrating and anti-democratic EU, represent good options for Britain. So instead of seeing the referendum as a vote between these two options, and these two options alone, the UK needs a third option: to vote to stay in the European Union so that it can fight tooth and nail against the EU’s anti-democratic institutions.
The Tendance is internationalist and does not agree with the ‘sovereigntist’ argument about Parliaments, but the point now is to argue against Brexit.
We can discuss radical democracy – a project to transform Europe into a potential cosmopolitan democracy compared with the merits of sovereigntism later. ….
Crabb: Standing up to Hard-Edged Secularists.
The Guardian reports.
A Tory cabinet minister has said that Britain’s increasingly secular society risks “pushing more young Muslims into the arms of Isis”.
Stephen Crabb, the Welsh secretary, used a speech to claim that a “hard-edged” secularism in Britain was partly to blame for “aiding and abetting” extremism, as mainstream religion is marginalised in public life.
Crabb is a committed Christian who voted against gay marriage and is one of at least two prominent members of the Conservative Christian Fellowship in the cabinet, alongside the education secretary, Nicky Morgan.
He made the intervention on Tuesday, the day after the commission on religion and belief in British public life proposed that schools should no longer face a legal requirement to provide daily acts of worship of a Christian character. It also suggested the teaching of religious belief should be overhauled to make it more relevant in a diverse and increasingly secular country.
Although extremism is not part of his usual brief, Crabb spoke about the issue as he gave the annual Wilberforce address for the Conservative Christian Fellowship.
Apparently religious liberty is menaced.
The minister, who has been tipped as a possible outside candidate for the next Tory leadership race, said he thought freedom of religion was now under threat, citing the case of the advertising company that refused a Church of England cinema commercial promoting the Lord’s Prayer.
In the speech, he claimed the current mood meant “faith gets squeezed further into the margins of public life and religion becomes delegitimised through suspicion, fear or ridicule”. This could have implications for the fight against Islamic extremism, Crabb suggested.
“The answer to the seduction of Isil [Isis] is not a greater dose of secularism that delegitimises their faith in the public space,” he said. “I believe the marginalisation of religion in our national life risks pushing more young Muslims into the arms of Isil.”
On the Spectator Blog Isabel Hardman comments,
He also admitted finding it easier not to talk about his own faith at all as a politician, and worrying that ‘I doubt whether we will ever see again a British Prime Minister who can talk openly about the times when they might pray to God’. He said:
‘So here we are in 2015, in an age when it is easier for a politician to admit to smoking weed or watching porn, than it is to admit that they might take prayer seriously in their daily life.’
Crabb pointed to the open ridicule that politicians such as Tim Farron and Tony Blair invited for saying that they prayed. He also said the decision by major cinema chains to refuse to screen a Church of England advert about the Lord’s Prayer was ‘an act of enormous ignorance and intolerance’.
Crabb’s call has already had a wide echo in progressive circles.
Reports indicate that Goldsmiths College plans to offer a new MA on the intersecting social identities and related systems of secularist oppression, domination or discrimination and marginalisation of faith communities, provisionally entitled Interfaithality.
It is said that Matt Carr, an expert on Jihadism and the Spanish International Brigades (StWC) will be one of the course tutors.
Yvonne Ridley, George Galloway’s Best Friend, Asks “Are Zionists at the heart of the Tory bullying scandal?”
Are Zionists at the heart of the Tory bullying scandal?
Yvonne Ridley. Middle East Monitor.
Yvonne has been a prominent member of George Galloway’s Respect Party.
In January 2014, Ridley was nominated for the Muslim Woman of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.
Sister Ridley was at one time tipped at the leader of George Galloway’s Respect Party.
But according to the Guardian she refused to answer in 2013, “Neglecting to confirm or deny whether she was the leader”.
After the Chechen leader Shamil Basayev (responsible for the terrorist attack on the Beslan school) was killed, Ridley wrote an article referring to Basayev by the Muslim honorific shaheed, meaning “martyr”. She went on to refer to Basayev as leader of “an admirable struggle to bring independence to Chechnya”. (Here).
So what is the answer the question that is on everyone’s lips: Are Zionists at the heart of the Tory bullying scandal?
A political scandal which has rocked the British government, forcing the resignation of a Conservative minister, also reveals the powerful influence of pro-Israel Zionists at play.
Grant Shapps has already quit his post of international development minister after damning evidence emerged of bullying following the death of a young political activist. It seems that the former Conservative Party chair failed to act over allegations of bullying, sexual harassment, drug taking and the blackmailing of some MPs, according to media reports. The focus of the allegations is Mark Clarke, who was appointed by Shapps as the director of the Road Trip election campaign last year. The appointment is said by some media reports “to have baffled many in the party.”
While Middle East political observers may regard the fall out as nothing more than a domestic spat, they couldn’t be more wrong, because snippets of information are beginning to come out which reveal the dirty tricks of Zionist influences at the heart of David Cameron’s troubled government.
Most people will not have even got this far, so to spare them from any further boredom, we will simply reproduce Sister Ridley’s conclusion,
Quite why Grant Shapps seems determined to protect Mark Clarke remains to be seen but it is a question to which Baroness Warsi and the parents of Elliott Johnson want an answer. It will also be interesting to see if any more evidence of Zionist influence leaks out. In the meantime, Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to hold a full inquiry into the bullying allegations made by Johnson, Warsi and others who have also complained about the hectoring culture within the ranks of the Conservative Party. Let’s hope that he doesn’t bottle it, for the sake of Elliott Johnson’s parents and everyone else keen to remove rotten apples from the core of British politics.
On Ridley’s Facebook Page this comment on the above article appears:
Why are people surprised? Zionist rule the World. They controls the Banks, Media and the Press. Many Zionist keep their Jews identity as a secrets so many times we don’t know that rich, white man or woman in suits are Zionist.