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British Left’s Brilliant Strategies, from May to Eagle.

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Cartoon 12.07.2016

Steve Bell’s comment.

The British left is famous for its brilliant strategists.

First we had ‘Lexiters’ relishing the thought that  a Leave vote would divide the Tories.

A crisis for the Tories most definitely is equivalent to an opportunity for the left. It is possible to claim otherwise only by detaching the left from the basic wisdom of the working class movement upon which the left has claimed to base itself. That’s fine for the Greens and those leftists whose conclusion from the defeat of the working class movement in the 1980s was precisely to pursue a déclassé progressivism.

Cameron’s tactical purpose in calling the EU referendum was to undermine UKIP and to unite the Tory party on its hard Thatcherite course of class confrontation at home. He has succeeded only in dividing the Tory party from top to bottom….

Counterfire. Kevin Ovenden. 

Now we have Teresa May uniting the Conservative party.

Second we have, from the right of Labour,  Angela Eagle claiming that she is running a campaign against Jeremy Corbyn because she can “unite the party”.

Labour leadership: Angela Eagle says she can unite the party.

Sure….

Written by Andrew Coates

July 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

Europe: a Bloc démocratique against the Bloc oligarchique and the Bloc of Sovereigntists? Review: Ce cauchemar qui n’en finit pas. Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval.

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Ce cauchemar qui n’en finit pas. Comment le néolibéralisme défait la démocratie. (This nightmare without end. How neo-liberalism  is dismantling democracy) Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval, La Découverte, 2016.

Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval are important writers on the French radical left. Laval  is a specialist on Jeremy Bentham, utilitarianism, the economic, political and ideological grounds of neoliberalism, and, more recently, has written on Marx. Dardot and Laval run the “groupe d’études et de recherches « Question Marx » ” and most of his publications have been joint ventures with Laval.

Both researchers and authors  have  a significant place within the ‘altermondialiste’ movement – the ‘other’ globalisation campaigns. Their joint La Nouvelle Raison du monde. Essai sur la société néolibérale, (2009) investigated classical political economy (Adam Smith, Ricardo), utilitarianism and  the ‘courant ordolibéral’, or ‘social market’ opposed by Hayek and Von Mises.  It is the totality of these doctrines, as social and economic practices, which is now known as “neo-liberalism” that they centre upon. The book is translated into English as The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society. Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval. It considers  this economic liberalism a ” permanent governmental critique of sovereign power – through the market.

The alternative they offer   centres on the idea of a society founded on  the “common”, a notion  elaborated by many parts of the alter-globalisation currents, chiefly concerned with its opposite, privatisation. The book  Commun –Essai sur la révolution du XXIème siècle ( 2014) is an important synthesis of these ideas and their own take on ‘anti-utilitarian’ economics.  (Le “commun” : un principe au cœur des mouvements sociaux 2014).

Their approach is significantly influenced by the ideas of the later Michel Foucault on “rationalité gouvernemental”, and ‘bio-power’, how the liberal limitation of the ‘state’  is also a form of intervention, to impose a “social discipline” dictated by this form of the market.

Critics have signaled scepticism about the picture of ‘neoliberalism’ and its institutional ground, particularly as it has developed in concrete forms, such as within the European Union in combination with the framework of the post-war ‘social market’ economy, or ‘ Rhineland model.’ The use of Foucault to conceptualise a new “way of life” that reigns in neoliberal polities has also met serious reserves. It is hard to see exactly how Foucault’s concept of governmentality and biopower meshes exactly with the economy, right down to accountancy and finance. Still less clear is the evidence that it has created a ‘new kind of person’. Similarly  Foucault’s residual ‘resistance’ to ‘micro-powers’ for all its descriptive force, is compatible with a realisable left project of taking power…..

Others have asked how exactly the principle of the ‘common’ can be translated into a political project. As this critic noted, citing Boltanski and Chiapello in  Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme. (1999, English translation, 2007), past creative ideas, critical of capitalism,  can be absorbed within the market society. (1).

That said this vision applied to direction of European construction is an influential one and chimes with a widespread perception that it is the ever-rightwards and pro-free-market. Neo-liberalism is, they have since asserted, apparently, less plural and more monolithic. Despite their earlier belief that rule is now dispersed and horizontal, it has become oligarchical and tending towards the centralised or at least coherent.

The issue of how to render the counter aspiration for the ‘common’ against this trend into anything resembling political and social reality is at the heart of their latest work, Ce cauchemar qui n’en finit pas.

The lucid study merits reading in its entirety.  It returns to the global character of neo-liberalism marked by a  hallucinating degree of inequality. The steady dismantling of democracy is, they argue, its trademark.

Two central areas in the present, well-written and exceptionally clear book, are  relevant for the debate on the left about British European Referendum.

The first is that Dardot and Laval begin with an account of the further spread of neo-liberalism, from the (Foucauldian) ‘disciplining’ of the masses, right down to the ‘imaginary’ entrepreneurial liberation of Uber,  share the pessimistic account of the European Union, portrayed with crusty bitterness by one-time pro-European and one-time New Leftists like Perry Anderson. In this picture the EU is dominated, shaped and founded within the terms set by an oligarchy – a veritable political and class ” bloc oligarchique” –  which cannot be reformed. It is a form of polity in which the ‘ gouvernementale’ – governing or capable of governing – European social democracy has become “social liberalism”, with concerns for fashionable rights and equality of opportunity, , or straightforward market liberalism.

Dardot and Lavel spend some trying to justify this conceptualisation and vocabulary. Most obviously – which they do not consider – the  term Bloc, compact mass, partisans of the same strategy –  is singularly unconvincing. It covers, in their opinion, political rulers, finance, ‘top management’, the media and ideological apparatus (Not their phrase but essentially identical to Althusser’s usage), media and education, universities included, all the ‘few’ who rule. Applied to the United Kingdom, where the bourgeoisie and ‘oligarchy’ contains important fractions, and the right-wing (Conservatives and UKIP), political expressions, of neoliberal agencies virulently opposed to the EU’s present policies and long-term governmental strategies, this image of unity is plainly nonsense. The images of corruption inside the bloc also looks more like wallpaper paste rather than cement.

Is Democracy Ending?

Ce cauchemar qui n’en finit pas alleges that we   are at the threshold of a “sortie de la démocratie” – any form of popular control is being eliminated from the governance of the economy, and, behind that, the institutional framework  of the EU. The treatment of Greece and the Syriza government is proof of this development. In their vein the two claim, that is, assert, that Yanis Varoufakis and DiEM‘s project of democratising the existing structures is a no-runner. A more telling point, is that Syriza had no effective political allies that could counter the ‘triumvirate’s demand.

The second is that an alternative has to be built, across countries and across movements, a “ bloc démocratique”. Dardot and Laval have serious reserves about Podemos, noting that the causes of the radical Spanish left’s progress are very specific to the country – something one can see with the limited impact of its homologue in France, Nuit Debout. But the prospect of an alternative trans-continental ‘bloc’, rather than national forces, leads back to the arena in which DiEM has been created.

It is clear that no such movement can be built on the basis of the ‘Lexit’ campaign. This is to retreat to an imaginary British national sovereignty which leaves the labour movement and left at the mercy of those intent on constructing a Hayekian ‘order’. Those going that route, like nostalgic for Little Britain strategies of the 1970s UK left, are marginalised in the face of the relentless campaigns against migration and xenophobic attacks against ‘Europe’.

The book concludes with a bold, some might say, irrelevant, ‘non-negotiable’ demand for the rotation of all public offices. Nevertheless, the optimist strand in Ce cauchemar qui n’en finit pas points in another direction: to outward movements and alliances within a trans-national democratic bloc, in the first instance in Europe itself. This would involve left parties, unions, campaigns, and a galaxy of progressive social movement groups. Whether we can create these links – Another Europe is Possible is a hopeful sign –  is up to us. We back this approach to voting Remain, critical support  – in debate and activity with comrades like  Dardot and Laval.

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Another Europe is Possible Rallies the Left in London last weekend.

(1) Le Commun, ce qu’il n’est pas, et ce qu’il peut être. A propos de l’ouvrage « Commun : essai sur la révolution au XXIè siècle » de Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval.  Mathieu Cocq also signals potential problems in the authors’ history and concept of “neclosure” of the common and attemnpts tpo create a new ‘common’.

Review of Ce cauchemar qui n’en finit pas: Henri Wilmo (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste).

 

Rhea Wolfson Speaks of Racist Abuse: “Pretentious, self serving, martyrdom promoting, precious nonsense.” Says Leading ‘anti-Zionist’.

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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.

My first 24 hours as an NEC candidate made me want to give up – but I won’t.

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.

Labour List.

After Harry’s Place it was the turn of Tony Greenstein, a leading ‘Anti-Zionist’ campaigner to give his judgement,

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,

there are no safe spaces under capitalism. Asylum seekers don’t have safe spaces nor do the victims of Syria’s civil war or the families whose houses have been demolished by Israel.

What you mean is a pampered middle class kid shouldn’t have their oh so precious feelings hurt. So sad. NOT

Comments on site.

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. *

Watch out Labour, the Trots are back with a vengeance. David Aaronovitch. 1998.

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.

Socialist Worker Attacks “dull and uninspiring” Jeremy Corbyn over Europe Referendum.

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SWP Predicts End of Tories if Brexit Comes. 

In Socialist Worker today Charles Kimber lays into Jeremy Corbyn,

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:

‘We want our country back’ Farage rallies troops ahead of ‘Independence Day’ Brexit vote

NIGEL Farage has given his most rousing speech to date by declaring that a vote for Brexit will become Britain’s Independence Day.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 27, 2016 at 4:51 pm

As Labour Movement Rallies Behind ‘Stay’ Vote, Corbyn Makes Socialist Case for EU.

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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,

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Jeremy Corbyn: leaving EU would lead to ‘bonfire of rights’.

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.

 

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Re-run of 1970s Battle by Tariq Ali and ‘IMG Sealed Knot’ Society.

The real left meanwhile…

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 14, 2016 at 11:19 am

Galloway Organises ‘Left’ Brexit Campaign Day of Action with Nigel Farage, Kate Hoey MP, and Grassroots Out

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Kate Hoey: Now Part of Team Galloway-Farage. 

‘Grassroots Out!’ Galloway & Farage team up for massive Brexit campaign day of action

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:

George Galloway, Respect Mayoral candidate, makes the left-wing case to leave the EU, and rejoining the world with London ideally placed as the world capital city.

Doors open at 6.30.

Bring copy of ticket.

When
Tuesday, 8 March 2016 from 19:00 to 22:00 (GMT) Add to Calendar
Where
The Hellenic Centre – 16 Paddington Street, London W1U 5AS, United Kingdom – View Map
Tags

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.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 5, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Elder Statesman George Galloway compares relationship with Nigel Farage to Stalin and Churchill.

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Historical Precedent for Galloway/Farage Pact.

Or?

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.”

galloway farage

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.

George Galloway storms to victory in Bradford West by-election

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.

Yanis Varoufakis: “The UK should stay in the EU to fight tooth and nail against the EU’s anti-democratic institutions”

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. ….