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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.

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm

The Holiest Day in the Calender: Workers’ Revolutionary Party, News Line Beano.

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Post Halloween Festival. 

Torrance’s WRP is the only surviving Workers Revolutionary Party in the UK and still produces The News Line as a daily paper, and it is also included in a website. The party has been registered with the Electoral Commission since 15 May 2001, with Frank Sweeney as registered leader.[34] As of 2007, the WRP had assets of just over £4,000.[35] It remains electorally active and stood seven candidates for the 2015 UK General Election, six in London and one in Sheffield,[36] gaining a total of 488 votes.[37] It supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

More , a lot more, on Wikipedia.

BBC:

General election 2017: Workers Revolutionary Party policies

The British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, founded by Leon Trotsky, is bidding for five seats at the general election.

The Workers Revolutionary Party’s Frank Sweeney spoke to Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil about what his party thought of the Labour manifesto.

He said that Trotsky was “21st century”, while he described capitalism as “19th century”, and he explained that the whole of the UK was “fertile territory for us”.

Fighting left antisemitism in the 1980s

Sean Matgamna.

Extracts: 

Supporters of Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty find themselves especially unpopular just now [2003] with certain sections of the pseudo-left, because of our attitude to George Galloway MP.

The hostility which our stand on Galloway has aroused reminds me of the heresy hunt organised against some of us, who were then publishing the weekly paper Socialist Organiser, by the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) and its friends in the labour movement.

The issues in dispute were pretty much the same as those raised now by the Galloway affair: the connection of certain ostensibly socialist “anti-Zionist” groups and individuals in the British left with anti-working class Arab governments, and how others should regard those who have such links.

The large-scale campaign launched by the WRP and its Ayatollah, the late Gerry Healy, was an incident within a broader attempt by the WRP and its friends, such as Ken Livingstone, to force our paper Socialist Organiser out of publication.

In 1981, the actress Vanessa Redgrave, on behalf of the WRP, of which she was the best-known member, had sued John Bloxam and myself for libel over things I had written about the WRP in Socialist Organiser and John had repeated in a circular letter to supporters of the Socialist Organiser Alliance.

The WRP embroiled us in expensive and potentially ruinous legal processes for four and a half years. If we hadn’t found a friendly solicitor who helped John and myself do the legal work cheaply — John did most of it — we would have been bankrupted and Socialist Organiser forced to cease publication.

Why didn’t we take the easy way out and issue a tongue-in-cheek apology? We explained why:

‘’We live in a labour movement grown spiritually cross-eyed from the long pursuit of realpolitik and the operation of double standards, a movement ideologically sick and poisoned. In terms of moral ecology, the left and the labour movement is something of a disaster area because of the long-term use of methods and arguments which have corrupted the consciousness of the working class. The most poisonous root of that corruption was the Stalinist movement”. (Quoted in Socialist Organiser 447, 10 May 1990).

For years before 1983, Socialist Organiser had been saying that an ostensibly Trotskyist organisation, the Workers Revolutionary Party, was kept afloat by Libyan and other Arab government (including Iraqi) money. You couldn’t read their press and not know that.

They fawned on Arab dictators, publishing a glossy pamphlet about Iraq and Saddam which could have been issued by the Iraqi Embassy in London and which Iraq certainly paid the WRP for publishing. Their paper, Newsline, carried reports on Libya and its ruler, Gaddafi modelled on the stuff which the Communist Party Daily Worker (now The Morning Star) once published about Stalinist Russia.

They raged against “the Zionists”. They identified and denounced “Zionists”, that is Jews in prominent positions in British business and other institutions, for example, in the BBC. They singled out for special abuse prominent Jewish Tories and Jewish Labour right wingers. These were “the Zionists”. “Zionists” were at the heart of the “imperialist” “conspiracies” all over the world. “Zionists” fomented anti-Arab feeling everywhere.

Socialist Organiser was part of a “Zionist” plot against the WRP and the British labour movement. We were, naturally, “anti-Arab racists”.

They published a raving — in fact Hitlerite — editorial in Newsline asserting that there was a Zionist conspiracy stretching through, and linking, the Tory government, the editorial board of Socialist Organiser and Ronald Reagan’s White House!

When, in April 1983 the BBC, in a low-audience early Sunday evening programme, repeated a mild version of the “Libyan gold” allegations, I wrote a short review in Socialist Organiser saying that the BBC had told some of the truth about the WRP. I protested against unsubstantiated statements in the programme that “the ethnic press” was, like the WRP, financed by Libya.

Those who were using the libel laws against a labour movement paper now launched a political campaign in the labour movement against the BBC… and Socialist Organiser! It was a typically vigorous campaign.

A sizeable number of trade union branches and trades councils were persuaded to pass resolutions condemning “the BBC and Socialist Organiser”, sometimes adding the name of the present writer to the list of those being denounced and condemned.

Frequently the resolutions demanded that Socialist Organiser or I, or both, “retract” our “slanders” and discharge our working-class duty to stand by those being attacked by the bourgeois state by way of the BBC programme.

The WRP’s daily paper, Newsline, devoted a page or most of a page every day for 50 (fifty) issues over nine weeks, to printing (solicited) letters and formal statements denouncing us from people holding office in the labour movement and well-known theatrical personages. As well as that they published feature articles, editorials and a large pamphlet to tell the labour movement what dishonest, unprincipled scoundrels, “Zionists” and agents-provocateur for the bourgeois state we were. They tried to whip up a lynch-mob atmosphere against us. They urged that we — and the writer by name and photograph — be shut up.

Meetings were held to denounce us all over the country at which local shop stewards and convenors, secretaries of trades councils, and occasionally a Labour councillor, and one Labour MP, appeared on the platform.

For example, the meeting held at the Conway Hall in London featured the leader of the then Greater London Council, Ken Livingstone, and the leader of a famously “left-wing” borough council, Ted Knight, amongst a large number of well-known platform speakers.

Meetings held in Scotland featured the Labour MP Ron Brown, a sincere political idiot later thrown out by the Blairites, who believed that Libya and Russia and possibly — I can’t remember — Iraq were socialist states.

In that affair we were spectacularly vindicated — and comparatively soon. In late 1985, the Workers Revolutionary Party imploded. They expelled the aged Gerry Healy, charging the 72-year old with the serial rape of members and other such things. The two initial factions splintered into a dozen pieces, all flying in different political directions. Its warring fractions fell over each other in the rush to spill its secrets, including the secrets of its lavish supply of funds.

One of its “historic leaders”, the academic Cliff Slaughter, denounced the WRP’s leadership, of which he himself had been a part for 25 years, as “fascists” for their amoral attitude to politics and for their deeds. We, who had regarded them as no longer part of the labour movement, had not gone that far; but you could see his point.

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

Force ouvrière union federation faces crisis as new Protests are launched in France against Macron’s ‘reforms’.

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A Paris, mardi.

France 24 reports,

Around 160,000 people joined demonstrations across France on Tuesday, the interior ministry said, heeding union calls for President Emmanuel Macron to “maintain the social model”, which has come under threat from his ambitious reforms.

..

Around 20,000 people turned out in Paris, the largest of some 100 rallies across the country.

The head of the hard-left Confederation of Labour (CGT) union Philippe Martinez estimated turnout higher at 300,000 nationwide. The CGT said about 50,000 people marched in Paris at the urging of six of the country’s labour unions.

“We’re not complaining, we’re revolting!” the students, workers and retirees chanted as they marched in the first demonstration since the end of the summer holiday, referring to President Macron’s recent suggestion that the French complain too much.

Libération covers the 50, 000 strong Paris march organised notably by the union federations FO (which has undergone a ‘left’ turn this year) and the traditional left CGT.

A Paris, le défilé organisé notamment par FO et la CGT a réuni 50 000 personnes selon les syndicats. Une mobilisation en ordre dispersée, sans la CFDT, qui a tout de même plus rassemblé qu’au printemps.

The presence of Force ouvrière (FO) in these and other protests, traditionally a cautious union, based on a complex series of alliances between right-wingers, anti-Communists, and the ‘Lambertist’ trotskyist current, has not gone unnoticed.

Last week Le Monde published this article.

FO se métamorphose en « CGT bis »

Michel Noblecourt observes that under the new leadership of  Pascal Pavageau the FO has undergone a “une rupture radicale avec le passé “.

The federation is now dominated by supporters of Pavagau in alliance with a variety of leftists (including for example, Marc Hébert an ‘anarchist’), but above all the sovereigntist ‘Trotskyists’ of the  Parti ouvrier indépendant (POI).

Interestingly Noblecourt also mentions that said POI is now active in the CGT (once closely led by the French Communist Party, the Parti Communiste français, PCF).

That would perhaps explain why a somebody ‘representing’ the ‘CGT’ was present at a sovereigntist Camden rally for ‘left-wing’ Brexit before the UK referendum.

POI are not to be confused with their arch rivals, the Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique (POID – how we chuckled at the ‘weighty’ name).

The two split, very acrimoniously, a couple of years ago.

POID ran their own  pro-Brexit beano in Paris around the same time, attended by anti-internationalist forces from British unions, including the Aaron Banks backed Trade Unionists Against the EU, and which received fraternal greetings from the Morning Star.

The two are united in opposing internationalism in general and the European Union in particular.

Both groupuscules, though small in number – not that small, POID have a few councilors, like Christel Keiser, (Seine-Saint-Denis) – live, like the Socialist Party in the UK, from their hold on paid union positions.

Who says Lambertist says the dirty deeds needed to keep these places.

Whether they are linked to this skulduggery or not we do not, as yet, know.

This is the news today about FO, Pavageu’s mates apparently spent their time not just plotting against his predecessor, but building up large files of information against him and his supporters:

Des cadres de Force ouvrière fichés par des proches du secrétaire général, Pascal Pavageau

Written by Andrew Coates

October 10, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Britain’s Barmiest Brexiter Comes to Colchester.

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David Icke, arguably the world’s best-known conspiracy theorist, has come out in favour of leaving the European Union, labelling the bloc a “dictatorship”.

In series of tweets and posts on his website, the broadcaster hit out at the “dark suits running your life” and that real reform is “completely absent” in David Cameron’s deal.

Huff Post 2016.

More recently.

Yup, George Soros figures in top reptilian rank according to Icke…

Icke still sings the old tunes though,

Tickets for the Colchester feast for mind and spirit cost £30.00…..

“David brings his Brand New 4 Hour Show to Colchester as part of his UK Tour on the back of his Brand New Book “Everything You Need to Know but have Never been Told” which was released in November 2017.”

Written by Andrew Coates

October 8, 2018 at 11:06 am

The Fractious Background of ‘left Populist’ Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Guest of ‘The World Transformed” at the Labour Conference.

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Image result for jean luc melenchon populiste charlie hedo

Something Fishy about Mélenchon’s ‘left-Populism’? 

The leader of La France insoumise will soon be in Liverpool.

Why we’ve invited Jean-Luc Mélenchon to The World Transformed

The World Transformed will be welcoming Jean-Luc Mélenchon to speak at its Labour conference fringe. The French politician who inspired the European left with his radical campaign for the presidency in 2017 won more than seven million votes. Since then, despite only commanding 17 MPs in the National Assembly, Mélenchon has emerged as the main resistance to the neoliberal ‘Jupiterian’ presidency of Emmanuel Macron.

The socialist veteran will appear alongside Labour shadow cabinet member Jon Trickett in one of the headline acts of our four-day festival of politics, art and music that has become a mainstay of party conference.

..the real reason for Mélenchon’s invitation to TWT is not because he is Corbyn mark 2. No, it is for the same reason that TWT is happening in the first place: as part of a democratic socialist project to shift power towards the people. The fundamental truth about the two men’s successes is that it’s not about them. It’s about what they, and TWT, represent: the left taking hold of the future.

Mélenchon ‘commands’  15 MPs, there are two allies (Clémentine Autainand Caroline Fiat) from the alliance of small left groups known as Ensemble who form the Parliamentary Group of 17.

The Ensemble site has published material, in the past, highly critical of Mélenchon. In 2016 they put up a text by  Samy Joshua arguing that his strategy of ”federating the people’ dropped the working class for left populism. « L’ère du peuple » et « l’adieu au prolétariat » ?

The World Transformed  continue.

This was encapsulated by their 2017 manifestos. It was Corbyn’s left-wing programme of nationalisation, abolishing tuition fees and improving workers’ rights that precipitated his astonishing rise in the polls. Mélenchon’s similarly dizzying rise stemmed from the bold manifesto, L’Avenir en Commun (A Shared Future), which he put forward with his party La France Insoumise (FI).

It was the promise of a Sixth Republic, based on the principles of justice and democracy, which saw young and old flock to Mélenchon’s campaign. Likewise, Corbyn promised a constitutional convention as part of his quiet political revolution. Both seek to distribute power to the people.

Shifts in political power will, however, achieve little without an attendant transfer in economic power. The resurgent left is based above all on one thing: the return of class to politics. As Corbyn put it in a speech last month, Labour is back as the party of the working class. Mélenchon was at the heart of recent protests against Macron’s zombie neoliberal ‘reforms’ targeting the once-powerful French public sector (particularly rail workers). Both would repeal restrictive trade union laws, move to protect people from precarity and rebuild national industry following the ravages of neoliberalism.

This statement lacks any recognition of a long political past, not only before the Ère  du people replaced class as the defining context of Mélenchonian ideology.

‘Dizzying’ is the is the most unlikely word that comes to mind  when describing Mélenchon’s ascension, to a position of a commanding minority (around 20%) of the electorate, and a  history of stirring up deep antagonisms on the rest of the French left. Amongst the most recent is a virulent reaction to Parti Communiste Français (PCF) criticism of his supporters who advocated tougher immigration policies, and serious doubts about his claims to take a hard-line with the EU if other member states reject the LFI’s position on their own economic sovereignty. (LFI: un des fondateurs critique l’«hégémonie» de Mélenchon et sa «posture électoraliste» sur l’Europe. August 2018)

Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s political career began in the orthodox Trotskyist  current in France known as ‘Lambertist’ after the Leader of a long-standing variety of groups,  Pierre Lambert (real name, Pierre Boussel). As a student he joined, after May 68, the Lambertists, one the most rigid and authoritarian groups on the French left, the ‘Organisation communiste internationaliste (OCI). The future Presidential candidate was head of the local antennae  in  Besançon, between 1974 and 1976.

The present chief of La France insoumise, dropped Leninism for the Parti Socialiste (PS). He became an active Freemason in the Grand Orient de France (GODF). A member of various groups in the Party he ended up creating the ‘Gauche socialiste’ with another former Trotskyist, Julien Dray (from the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR). He was marked by burgeoning admiration for François Mitterrand. Indeed Mélechon is often called a “mitterrandiste “. For a variety of reasons, starting with the former French Preisdent’s role in the repression of the Algerian insurgency, and culminating in the 1983 turn of Mitterrand’s appointed Cabinet to “rigour” and retreat from radical socialism, this makes him an unlikely hero for those who would transform the world.(1)

Mélenchon left the PS in 2008, wishing, he stated, to draw clear lines with the right of the party and to have complete freedom to pursue his own left-wing course.  Forming the micro-party, the Parti de Gauche (essentially a public version of a Parti Socialiste ‘club’, ambitiously named after the German Die Linke)) in 2008,  Mélenchon entered in a long series of alliances, with forces such as the Parti Communiste Français, and smaller left groups. These culminated in the bloc, the Front de Gauche, which was marked by conflicts, over issues such the composition of electoral lists and his own version of republican laïcité.

With the creation of La France insoumise (LFI) in 2016, he has entered into a “war of manoeuvre” for hegemony over the French left. Some have compared this with the old Communist Party’s wish to impose itself over the whole left, and its tactic as to keep its supporters preoccupied by frenetic activism.

LFI is not a Party but a “movement of individual citizens those who recognise themselves in the line of action offered by JLM “un mouvement de citoyens individuels qui se reconnaissent dans la démarche de Jean-Luc Mélenchon “.

That is, is defined by allegiance to an individual.

LFI has no proper internal democracy at all.

Conferences, such as they are, a rallies in which up to 60% of the ‘delegates’ are chosen by lot from the lists of (on-Line) members who have expressed an interests. The rest are made up from those chosen by  what has been called “la petite caste” around the Leader (A La France insoumise, la démocratie interne fait débat). It’s this caste who take all the decisions.

There are no internal tendencies; on-line voting is on a limited agenda set by the central leadership.

LFI’s best known strategic objective is to “federate the people” against the oligarchy dominating French politics. This, a broad enough aim, “includes” the workers’ movement (that is skipping over the organised union federations, the CGT, CFD,  FO, FSU and SUD), just as it does ‘social movements’, like the late Nuit Debout that occupied French squares  in 2016 (freely translated as Woke Nights).

Critics say that the “people” figures in LFI’s plans as actors to follow the LFI script for the Sixth Republic. More abstractly, their disparate discourses are ‘articulated’ (voiced and linked together), in the words of the theorist of Left Populism Chantal Mouffe, to create a new, potentially hegemonic Collective Will.

It is true that those who enjoy inspiring speeches, lacked with poems, from Victor Hugo to Apollinaire, have much to hear from Jean Luc.

But the nationalist overtones of books like the Le Hareng de Bismarck, (2015 above) which rails against the “Le poison allemand” (German poison)  imposed on Europe, l’opium des riches”, un monstre born on the other side of the Rhine, are hard to ignore.

It is this thinking which leads Dan Davidson to accuse him of a “drive to tap into French patriotism rather than build international working class solidarity” (The British Left Should Be More Critical Of Jean-Luc Mélenchon)

Mélenchon defines himself as socialiste républicain. In French terms this means a belief that the Republic is the prime vehicle for socialism. The Sixth republic, in the ‘era of the People’, needs radical reform. It is hard to see how any of the political reforms proposed bring the state into the hands of the People, there is little in way of socialising ownership under self-management to start with.

As such he puts the Sovereignty of the People/France, at the top of his priorities.

The EU must change or we will leave it, was his reaction (some interpreted this as a welcome at the shock) to the Brexit result.

On international issues he is anything but an internationalist. His priority again is the national interest,  defending the French independent nuclear force outside of NATO.

The Leader of LFI has faced accusations of  conspiracism (he has been known to claim that Daesh  was created by the US) , of complaisance towards Vladimir Putin, and a failure to defend democrats (although he has taken a serious stand in defence of the Kurds)  in Syria. 

He continues to support the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

He should not be welcome at the World Transformed, still less a Labour Conference.

****

(1) Covered from his side  in Le Choix de l’insoumission, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Marc Endeweld. 2016. Less complimentary background is given by another former Lambertist, 68, et Après. Les héritages égarés. Benjamin Stora. Stock. 2018.

 

Frank Furedi (ex-Revolutionary Communist Party) Gallantly Defends Hungary’s Viktor Orban.

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Image result for orban hungary soros

Furedi: “democratic and very human.” culture of Hungarian regime.

In Europe it striking that, in the face of right-wing ‘populism’, some on the left have taken up the same right wing themes.

The German aufstehen movement, which claims inspiration from both Momentum and La France insoumise of Jean Luc Mélenchon has taken up the themes of harder controls over immigration and a hard-line on law and order. Apart from creating an almighty row in the party a couple of days ago (Wieder Streit bei der Linken: Sammlungsbewegung Aufeinanderlosgehen)  the echoes have been felt in France.

Both elements within LFI and the ‘left’ of the Parti Socialiste. Emmanuel Maurel, who is said to be about to join Mélenchon, have praised this stand on borders,. Maurel, who cites  Régis Debray, Éloges des frontières (2010)) says, “La gauche ne doit pas avoir honte de parler de nation, de frontière, de laïcité” The left should not be ashamed of the Nation, of frontiers, and of secularism.” (le Monde) The leader of LFI now repeats his hostility to EU principle of freedom of movement, the latest occasion only being a few days ago. (“Jean-Luc Mélenchon a réitéré, à plusieurs reprises cet été, son hostilité à la liberté de circulation et d’installation.”Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières. 9th of September). Some of his team openly admire the positions of Aufstehen: “ La gauche allemande anti-migrants saluée par un proche de Mélenchon (8th of September) 

It would not be difficult to find similar views, from Blue Labour stalwarts, to Trades Unionists Against the EU, and, in a more mute form on other parts of  (by no means all) the Brexit left’

The drift to ‘sovereigntistism’, that is the centring of politics on the issue of National Sovereignty, borders, law and order to the fore, is widespread.

No doubt after the Swedish election it will grow.

But the destination reached by the ex-Revolutionary Communist party, now present in Spiked, and reproduced by their writers for the Sun, broadcasts on Radio Four, and the Sky News Press Review – for the moment -stands out amongst the others.

THE EU’S SHAMEFUL CRUSADE AGAINST HUNGARY Frank Furedi

For some time now, Hungary has been the target of a witch-hunt led by an alliance of Euro-federalists and cosmopolitan politicians. The aim of their propaganda campaign has been to delegitimise the Hungarian government by portraying it as a xenophobic, quasi-fascist entity that threatens to undermine democracy across the continent of Europe.

This campaign of vilification against Hungary has to some extent proved successful. Hence a significant section of the European Parliament voted today to punish Hungary. For the first time ever, this institution has unleashed the EU disciplinary process, known as Article 7, against a member state.

After some attempts to portray the Obran government as just like all the others:  “like other countries it has its share of problems, of course. Some of the policies pursued by Viktor Orban’s government can be criticised.” we come to gritty kernel of Feurdi’s argument: 

The Hungarian government’s values are very different to the technocratic outlook of the EU federalists. The best way to describe the Hungarian government’s outlook is conservative, traditional and Christian. It is also democratic and very human. These are values that the EU oligarchy is determined to abolish, to erase from the European landscape and history, in order that it might replace them with its own technocratic cosmopolitan outlook.

the EU parliamentarians who voted to punish Hungary should be ashamed of themselves. They have betrayed the real values of Europe: those values of humanism and tolerance that were best expressed by the Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers.

Perhaps the Emeritus Professor of Sociology could find an appropriate  quote from Voltaire on the necessity of tolerating the intolerable and intolerant…….

We will surely need all we can get to save us from the “cosmopolitans” out to erase so much that is precious from  the European landscape and history.