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More Reasons to Back Keir Starmer as Mail attacks and Natty Dresser Galloway Scorns “Tailor’s Dummy”.

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Such worker-friendly sentiments differ greatly from his views while on the ¿editorial collective¿ of Trotskyite magazine Socialist Alternatives. A 1989 edition is seen above

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Using an image from this Blog Harry Cole, who used to go out with Boris Johnson’s present companion, Carrie Symonds (Boris Blonde Was Former Girlfriend Of Senior Sun Editor) has a little rant.

HARRY COLE: ‘Young Trot’ Sir Keir Starmer spent the 1980s campaigning AGAINST the minimum wage

Millionaire lawyer and Labour leadership front-runner Sir Keir Starmer spent the 1980s campaigning AGAINST the minimum wage, I can reveal.

Last year, Sir Keir, 57, was much more on message, celebrating that ‘two decades ago Labour delivered the national minimum wage. Millions of people saw their pay rise. This is what a Labour Government can deliver.’

But such worker-friendly sentiments differ greatly from his views while on the ‘editorial collective’ of Trotskyite magazine Socialist Alternatives.

Gasp!

The then 24-year-old claimed it would lead to ‘continued confusion’ over the role of unions as it ‘places the onus’ to protect employment rights on the state rather than the organised proletariat.

He insisted the minimum wage ‘calls into question the central principle of free collective bargaining’.

Such less than friendly statements – back in an article in the 1980s…a “campaign”…..

Given that even Jeremy Corbyn points to the minimum wage as one of the few things he will praise Tony Blair for, has Sir Keir – who now claims to be a moderate – managed to outflank the veteran Lefty?

The 1980s, the years of the Blair hegemony…..

As one of the comments goes:

Bliar was also a Trot once, ditto John Reid

How true, how very true….

Another reason to both like and back Keir Starmer is supplied by Gorge Galloway:

The far-right Express ‘reports’.

George Galloway tears apart ‘tailor’s dummy’ Keir Starmer over ‘denial’ of Brexit failure

GEORGE GALLOWAY lashed out at Labour leadership frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer claiming the shadow Brexit secretary is a “tailor’s dummy”, arguing Labour is in “denial” over their Brexit policy.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 20, 2020 at 1:13 pm

Long-Bailey Says Labour Should Hold Public Meetings and Organise for a ‘Democratic Revolution’.

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“Democratic Revolution” against “Unaccountable Elites”.

Keir Starmer is emerging as the unity Labour candidate, bringing together different wings of the party around a radical programme.

As Paul Mason says,

Labour can win again if we make the moral case for socialism

Starmer has now made this welcome statement, , “As the leadership race stepped up a gear, Sir Keir called for an end to Labour “factionalism” and insisted he was best placed to unite the party.”

Independent.

The factionalists are in mobilising in full gear.

The campaign for Long-Bailey got off to a stumbling start with the endorsement of Momentum, in an ‘election’ in which you could only vote yes or no to back her, and Angela Rayner.

These were the sole names on the online ballot.

Now she is going for a “movementist” strategy melded with an appeal for a “democratic revolution to take power out of the hands of unaccountable elites.”

It looks as if Long-Bailey is offering a left populist strategy for Labour.

This  has been described (2018) by its ideologue Chantal Mouffe (For a Left  Populism. Chantal Mouffe.  Verso. 2018) in these terms,

In Britain, as in the rest of Europe, the way to answer the rightwing populist offensive is the construction of another “people” – through the articulation of a project that can link together various demands against the status quo. A project in which both leavers and remainers could feel that they have a voice and that their concerns are taken into account. One signifier for such a project could be a Green New Deal – which articulates multiple environmental and economic struggles around a demand for equality and social justice.

To be sure, such an “us” will never include everybody. It does, of course, require a “them” and the drawing of a political frontier. But we can have a frontier that makes democracy more radical – one that pits the people against the oligarchy, and the many against the few.

Centrist politics will not defeat Boris Johnson’s rightwing populism

Another struggle is possible

Some of these themes, free of Mouffe’s abstract jargon,  are all too visible in Long-Bailey’s latest declaration.

Labour must stir up democratic revolution to win power, says Long-Bailey

She said that after the EU referendum in 2016 Labour should have spent less time trying to “win procedural games in parliament” and more time holding public meetings outside Westminster.

In the accompanying  article  Giving power to the people is Labour’s path back to power the Labour contender says that after the referendum,

Instead of winning procedural games in parliament, we should have used the aftermath of the referendum result to go around the country, holding public meeting after public meeting to stir up a movement for real change – pledging to take on the political establishment and raise up the people’s demands beyond our institutional arrangements with the European Union.

That way, our manifesto could have become a set of popular remedies to deal with the three linked crises our country faces: of democracy, the economy and the environment. A joint agenda could have brought people together. Instead, we tried to compromise between the two extremes on Brexit, neither of which could deliver the change the British people need.

Leaving aside the preposterous assertion that anybody could bring friend and enemy together over Brexit, what now?

We need a popular movement to turn the British state against the privatisers, big polluters and tax dodgers that have taken hold of our political system.

..

 Much of Labour politics should take place far away from Westminster, as a movement helping people take charge in their workplaces, homes and communities. In this way, we will develop and win support for policies that start a democratic revolution to take power out of the hands of unaccountable elites.

There is no evidence that a political party can conjure a vast popular movement into existence.

Amongst recent examples of popular movements, the anti-austerity  Indignados in Spain are associated with the birth of Podemos. Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the radical left alliance, did not “stir up” a movement, he emerged with it. The idea of a party running the Plataforma Democracia Real Ya! would have been unwelcome. To say the least.

Since that time Spain has seen  return to – successful – electoral politics by Podemos  and the Spanish Socialists, the PSOE. The “populist” moment has passed, democratic politics have returned. The breakaway Más País led by Chantal Mouffe’s ally,   Íñigo Errejón whose politics centred on a version of a Green New Deal,  got 2.40% of the vote in the November Spanish elections.

Another popular movement (whose democratic credentials are mixed) , the French Gilets Jaunes were born of a dislocation between both the government, existing parties and people’s demands. Efforts to channel them into a single political direction, by, for example La France insoumise (LFI)  and the far-right Rassemblement National, have conspicuously failed.

The leader of LFI, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s  own democratic revolution, the “la révolution citoyenne” got 6,3% of the vote in last year’s European elections in France.

What of the present Long-Bailey strategy?

Hold a rally, hold a demo, that will get the people moving!

What leverage on political institutions – elected bodies – is there in movements? There is no evidence of a grass roots surge in the direction Long-Bailey wishes for. There is even less visibility for the kind of radical strike and factory occupations that most radical would dream of.

After walking the streets, banners held high, we need people to put policies in place.

Public meetings are not a substitute for political power.

This ‘democratic revolution’, led by Momentum browbeating the Labour membership into backing Long-Bailey, does not look a good place from which to begin one either.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 17, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Progressive Patriot Rebecca Long-Bailey Wins Momentum Plebiscite.

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Long-Bailey Wins This ‘Election’.

On the day that Rebecca Long-Bailey entered a fresh controversy after telling  “Catholic priests she would ensure their “views are heard” over abortion, progressive patriot candidate for Labour Leadership received a further boost. *

Labour leadership: Momentum back Rebecca Long-Bailey in boost for Corbyn ally

The move is a boost to the Corbyn favourite when she bids for votes from the party’s 500,000-strong membership – but it comes after a highly controversial ‘only one option’ ballot

 

 

Momentum had only one candidate on the ballot, Long-Bailey.

Question 1 of 2: Should Momentum follow the NCG recommendation to endorse Rebecca Long-Bailey as the next leader of the Labour Party?

Results: For: 4,995 (70.42%) Against: 2,098 (29.58%)

Question 2 of 2: Should Momentum follow the NCG recommendation to endorse Angela Rayner as the next deputy leader of the Labour Party?

Results: For: 3,684 (52.15%) Against: 3,380 (47.85%)

The New European reports,

The campaign group said 70.42% of respondents to a ballot voted to throw resources behind Long-Bailey in the contest – equivalent to 4,995 members.

But that works out at just 12.5% of a membership which was reported to have totalled 40,000 last year.

Members also backed Angela Rayner for deputy leader with 52.15% of the vote – suggesting that others could have backed Richard Burgon as the alternative choice.

Suggesting that others could have backed Richard Burgon as the alternative choice.

Shadow business secretary Long-Bailey said: “Momentum members alongside hundreds of thousands of other Labour members worked day and night across the country to elect a Labour government last December, knocking on millions of doors.

“I am proud and beyond grateful to be backed by an organisation that has revolutionised how we campaign. I will deliver on the trust Momentum members have placed in me, with a plan to win the next general election and transform our country for the future.”

Some claimed the process was rigged because it only allowed one vote for each contest, rather than a version of the alternative vote like the actual Labour leadership voting processere

There were protests at this plebiscite.

Many noted that Momentum had followed other examples of the new wave of ‘virtual’ political groups, like La France insoumise, where all democracy is ‘organised’ centrally.

But despite the feeble turnout and less than 100% vote for the only candidate on offer one result has been obtained,

“the candidates will now have access to the organisation’s database of Labour activists across the country, and benefit from its experience of campaigning in two general elections and the 2016 leadership contest. “

Independent.

They will now “‘mobilise thousands’ for Rebecca Long-Bailey” reports the Telegraph.

No doubt building on their general election success these brow-beaters will try to shore up Long-Bailey’s support.

******

(*) Huffington Post. Rebecca Long-Bailey ‘Personally’ Supported Stricter Abortion Rules

 

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey has supported stricter limits on abortion.

Long-Bailey told Catholic priests during the election campaign she would make sure their “views are heard” when it came to any changes to the law.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 16, 2020 at 6:06 pm

The Brexit Left’s Responsibility in Labour’s Defeat.

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Image result for another europe is possible demonstration

The Internationalist Left.

With a solid Tory majority the results of the General Election are still sinking in. It would take a mind as large as a web cloud to take account of all the writing on the reasons for Labour’s defeat. Much of the debate has been dominated by the claim that the Party was able to sustain support among  “cosmopolitan” and pro-European urban centres, while being unable to reach out to the rooted communities which backed Brexit.

Don Flyn offers a glimpse into these, the pro-Brexit working class voters (After the Deluge. Chartist) The dispute over Brexit “offered people who had lost the habit of digging in and fighting back the chance to at least take sides in an argument that was driven by splits in the ruling class. Rebellion, in pursuit of its own interests had ceased to be a part of the daily life of these communities, but at least they could now take on a foot soldier’s role in someone else’s revolt.”

This football fan politics gave hope to Farage’s Brexit Party, but did not end with it getting any seats. The Conservative Party, having flirted with populist appeals to “Get Brexit Done” against a hung-Parliament, has now settled down to the more modest strategy of offering a few sweets to their new friends in the North and getting the chimes of Big Ben ringing at the end of the month.

“Given the divisions within the electorate, as well as within the Parliamentary Party and wider party membership”, Duncan Bowie writes, it was difficult for the Party to develop which avoided further divisions.” (Retrospect and Prospects Chartist.January 2020). The ambiguities, and near impossibility to explain on the doorstep, Labour’s position, a call to renegotiate a  (‘better’) deal and then to put it a referendum, was the result. Another was that Labour’s policies, many of which, such as tax reform and social ownership, had been worked out in some depth under Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s direction, failed to strike a chord. They were overshadowed by what Unite chief Len McCluskey called an “incontinent stream” of new promises which appeared during the election campaign.

Many writers have explored these areas, from the sociological profile of new Tory voters (always remembering this: The myth of the working class Tory: Just three in ten voted blue) and the electorate as a whole, to the reception of Labour’s manifesto. In many ways this parallels the debates, and systematic critiques of the one opened up around the polemics of Christophe Guilluy, on La France périphérique. One of Guilluy’s central points, that the many of the “popular classes”, in France and across much of Europe, have become detached from long-established political loyalties on the left, is undeniable. But the set up pitting the  “peripheral”, versus the “metropolitan” – “elite” areas, the Somewhere, and the Nowhere, people (the words of the pro-Brexit David Goodhart, The Road to Somewhere. 2017), all heavily loaded terms, leads to national populist inflection only the “real” rooted people, not the city living cosmopolitans, matter. (1)

One area that few have tackled is the way the left; aligned to the Corbyn leadership, or independent of it, has acted.

From its beginnings Momentum described itself as the flag bearer of Corbyn. Faced with the genuine prospect of factionalism, and oddities such as the Socialist Party’s brief attempt to create its own ‘Trade Union Momentum’, it centralised control. Momentum came to resemble a mini-France insoumise, run by virtual digital ‘democracy’ behind a ‘charismatic leader’. It encouraged the atmosphere of a ‘cult’.

The failure this left-populism in France, and the limits of a more genuinely popular party, Podemos, in Spain, had little effect on them. They have launched a plebiscite behind the “Corbyn continuity” candidate, Rebecca Long-Bailey, in the Labour leadership election. They may not have adopted in full Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s picture of a “people’s epoch” (l’ère du peuple. 2017) but they support a candidate embodying a not distant vision of “progressive nationalism”.

Not many have looked into the contribution of the pro-Brexit left on Labour’s defeat. Not only did the ‘Lexit’ campaign legitimate Leave voting in the communities now at the centre of attention, but the Brexit left helped confuse Labour’s strategy. Counterfire, unknown to the general public, but which headed the Anti-Austerity People’ Assembly, and made a welcome and serious contribution to its organisation, advanced the view that a movement to “take back control” would be one result of the Referendum vote.

The Morning Star, the echo chamber of a wider group of national sovereigntists, pursued its dream of a socialist Britain, a beacon the world, independent of the European Union. In bad faith, having helped create the conditions that confused the nature of the hard-right Brexit, they have pleaded for consideration for working class voters whose anti-EU thrust they support. Counterfire argued, to diminishing effect, for ‘mobilisation”, that is street protests. This did not happen, and the  slogan of the pro-Leave factionalist, a ‘People’s Brexit’, ended up as a headline in Daily Telegraph.

Counterfire were also amongst the loudest voices calling for a General Election as soon as possible. None of their leaders takes any responsibility for their advice being listened to. It can be assumed that Corbyn’s call for Labour to be the Party of Resistance reflects what it left of the strategy of Counterfire.

An article in the populist US magazine, Jacobin, by the Deputy Editor of New Left Review, Daniel Finn, puts the blame for Labour’s defeat on “The Obsessive Remainers“. Voices from these quarters have been keen to criticise the internationalist left of Another Europe is Possible (AEIP). John Rees, of Counterfire, talked of the EIP “clique”, “whose only practical effect is to have forced Labour into a position which materially assisted in its election defeat.”

In fact, the alliance of the radical left, greens and Labour centre, has every reason to be proud of its record. AEIP led the way in unmasking the confusion offered by the pro-Brexit forces within the left, pointing to the hard right nature of Brexit. . Only by making clear what was in store for the country with Brexit would it have been possible to win over electors undecided about the future. It argued that internationalism couldn’t begin by cutting the UK loose from the EU. That rhetoric about Fortress Europe was cheap when the only alternative on offer was a state aligned around the policies of European Reform Group. The left needed to back transformations, in partnership with the rest of the European left, of the existing institutions.  It participated in the movement for a Second Referendum, demonstrating in our own ‘left bloc’.

AEIP’s resolutions were widely supported within Labour, bringing together different sections of the party. Thwarted by bureaucratic manoeuvres, it laid the basis for longer-term co-operation within the labour movement.”

Counterfire  says, “”These motions were drawing inspiration from a plethora of organisations such as Another Europe is Possible (a cross-party ‘stay in Europe but reform’ outfit), Love Socialism, Hate Brexit (around which soft left Labour MPs coalesced such as Clive Lewis, Anneliese Dodds and Chi Onwurah), Labour for a Socialist Europe (driven by Labour grassroots organisers) (The Corbyn Project was defeated by the historic strengths of conservatism and liberalism Mark Wayne). The fault was that the membership backed them, “The tragedy for Labour was the strength of liberalism inside the membership and not just inside the Parliamentary Labour Party.”

At present the Labour leadership contest dominates the politics of the left. It is important to judge the politics of the contenders in wider terms than Brexit. But those who stand for the generous internationalist and human rights agenda, that is not too far from the politics of AEIP, something the remnants of believers in the ‘actuality of the revolution” in Counterfire call “liberalism”. With more radical socialist input needed we will still be looking to those who support this kind of politics, and, for all that we can both admire and question some of his record,  it’s Keir Starmer who looks the best in the running.

Or perhaps Counterfire could elect a new Labour Party membership.

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(1) His latest book No Society, La fin de la classe moyenne occidentale. Flammarion. 2018. See also his Le Crépuscule de la France d’en haut. Champs. 2017.

Blue Labour Makes Pitch for Progressive Patriotism to Lead Labour Values.

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Blue Labour Opponents of EU Now Relishing Post-Brexit Opportunities.

Labour leadership contender Rebecca Long Bailey’s call for progressive patriotism continues to echo throughout the labour movement.

Is this the thinker whose ideas can help rebuild a mainstream Labour Party?

Robert Philpot. Jewish Chronicle 

The time may have come for the ‘Blue Labour’ ideas of Ed Miliband’s former guru to help reshape Labour’s return to being a party for the working classes, writes Robert Philpot.

.. Lord Glasman is no rent-a-quote. Beneath the headline-grabbing comments was a serious philosophy. “Blue Labour”, as he termed it, urged the party to reconnect with its traditional supporters by embracing the values of “flag, faith and family”.

There may be few second acts in politics but last month’s election may give Lord Glasman a new opportunity to help shape how Labour rebuilds the “red wall” which Boris Johnson so effectively demolished.

Although she hails more from the party’s soft left, likely leadership contender Lisa Nandy is probably the most sympathetic of the potential candidates to Lord Glasman’s ideas. She has spoken at Blue Labour events and her close ally, Jon Cruddas, has been one of its strongest proponents.

Like Lord Glasman, the Wigan MP called for Labour to honour the result of the EU referendum and her belief that “place, identity, history and culture matter” is straight out of the Blue Labour playbook. So, too, her suggestion last month that, “There is a strong feeling in towns like mine that Labour stopped listening long ago and that we no longer have much understanding or care for the things that matter deeply to them or their families.”

Tireless campaigner against rootless Cosmopolitans, Paul Embery tweets.

In the Daily Mail a couple of days ago Peter Hitchens gives Blue Labour a puff.

..there is a tiny glimmer of hope, which I think civilised people should encourage.

It is called ‘Blue Labour’. At the moment it is only a few brave and thoughtful people, and it was pushed to one side in the Corbyn era of childish, clapped-out 1970s Leftism.

But if it succeeds it could not only be a good Opposition, it might even be a good government. People forget what Labour used to be.

Before it was taken over by Bloomsbury social liberals and Islington Eurocommunists in the 1960s and 1970s, it was a highly conservative, patriotic, working-class party.

Where political parties combine patriotism, a strong but just welfare state, good education, firm policing and tough defence, they tend to win elections.

If they can seize back control of the People’s Party, I’d support them against the Pinko Tories.

You can read more about them on the Brexit Party supporting Spiked site.

‘Globalisation has made our lives empty’

Maurice Glasman talks to Brendan O’Neill about Brexit, Blue Labour and the demonisation of the working class.

There are many critiques of Blue Labour, including on this Blog.

A central argument is that it is an adaption to national populism.

Now, with the failure of left populism, this looks an enticing prospect for some, and not just overt right-wingers like Hitchens.

Before somebody proposes “articulating” their ideas into Labour’s mix, serious issues need to be looked at.

One of the most recent to offer an account of them is this excellent article in the Political Quarterly (which we have referred to before).

TOXIC FRIENDS? A CRITIQUE OF BLUE LABOUR

Since the Brexit vote, the followers of Blue Labour – an advocacy group associated with the Labour Party that promotes conservative ideas – have accepted much of the far right’s analysis. Advanced by the likes of Paul Embery and Adrian Pabst, they have adopted the far rights’ language and terminology at an alarming rate.

Importantly, followers of Blue Labour have also bought into a binary divide: the choice is either neoliberal hyper‐globalisation or a patriotic nationalism. The possibility of any different types of globalisation has been denied.

..

Critique of Blue Labour: Towards a renewed social democratic alliance

Labour’s successes in 1945, 1964 and 1997 came through linking together the labour movement, the public sector and middle class intellectuals. Alliances will not necessarily return in the ‘old’ form, but they need to be constructed. The first step is to articulate alternative models of globalisation.

Progressives need an economic policy promoting a new relationship with nature and a thorough green industrial strategy that addresses the economic and social concerns of those who globalisation has passed by.

Progressives should also seek to create a sense of interconnectedness. Blue Labourites find it hard to conceive that a person can approve of European integration and yet still retain a national and local identity. The modern world is interconnected and overlaps. For instance, the wings for an Airbus are made in North Wales and Bristol, but the aircraft as a whole is put together in Toulouse.

To sum up, as the Green movement expresses it, ‘think global, act local’. There is no gulf between the two.

 

 

Morning Star Promotes ‘Socialist Patriotism’.

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The Patriots of the Communist Party of Britain.

One of the best known takes on patriotism and nationalism comes through the concept of ‘imagined communities’.

Benedict Anderson said, a nation is “an imagined political community”.

regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings.

Anderson’s definition, based on substantial arguments in  Imagined Communities, (1983), puts concepts like the ‘invention of tradition'( Eric Hobsbawm) in the context of this ‘comradeship’.

It has obvious echoes of the right wing French republican and philologist Ernest Renan’s (1882) claim that, the “spiritual’ (that is ‘imaginary) principle  of a nation is based on  these common thoughts and emotions, “The existence of a nation (you will pardon me this metaphor) is a daily referendum, just as the continuing existence of an individual is a perpetual affirmation of life.”

There is a whole library of books  trying to distinguish patriotism (good) from nationalism (bad).

George Orwell made these famous comments,

Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality..

Notes on Nationalism 1945

More recently Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe have talked of ‘articulating’ nationalist  sentiment into the construction of an opposition between the ‘People’ and the the Elite, the Caste…

In her most recent book, For a Left Populism t2018) she talks about constructing a “collective will”. Left populism, she asserts, draws into its orbit by a “chain of equivalences” a variety of progressive demands, open citizenship. This is the ‘construction of the People”, a collective political agency, “ opposing the ‘people’ against the ‘oligarchy’. For this to work Mouffe follows the late Ernesto Laclau. There has to be “some form of crystallisation of common affects, and affective bonds with a charismatic leader… “ In this way left populists can challenge the right-wing, national populist, claim to be the real patriots.

The only way to fight right wing populism is to give a progressive answer to the demands they are expressing in a xenophobic language. This means recognising the existence of a democratic nucleus in those demands and the possibility, through a different discourse, of articulating those demands in a radical democratic direction..

Populists are on the rise but this can be a moment for progressives too

Amongst Mouffe’s left populist movements, Jean-Luc Mélenchon led La France insoumise, made patriotism a central theme, beginning some time back.

 

Mélenchon, or M. 6,31% as he is known after his score in last year’s European elections, has not had much success with this idea, or any other part of his own, or Mouffe’s strategy

Talk of a “democratic nucleus” to patriotism in present day conditions can mean just about anything.

It can imply as Orwell stated, the quiet love of people and things dear.

Or, as we have seen during the Brexit disputes, a violent claim, coloured by xenophobia,  to assert sovereignty in the service of a hard right Brexit. In this case it is nationalism , or as we would now say, by national populism.

There is very little quietness about this.

That is after all what “imaginary communities” are like, you can dream up just about anything to put behind the label.

Matt Widdowson, a member of the hard-line pro-Brexit Communist Party of Britain, (Reform and Revolution by Matthew Widdowson) has, defending Rebecca Long Bailey’s defence of “progressive patriotism”  now joined this game.

In this story populism seems to have vanished and all we have left is “articulating” patriotism, towards the left.

There is no contradiction between patriotism and socialism

We need to articulate socialist patriotism a genuine love of our country and its people — in opposition to the militarism and imperialism, writes MATT WIDDOWSON

REBECCA LONG BAILEY’S call to “revive this progressive patriotism” (Guardian, December 29 2019) appeared to be greeted with horror by “Left Twitter.” While Long Bailey’s article did not expand further on what she meant by “progressive patriotism” or what policies would be guided by this slogan, it appeared to be the very word “patriotism” that was so shocking.

Social media was awash with a mixture of liberal disdain (mainly from those with EU flags in their Twitter handles – apparently, not all flag-waving is bad) and the typical ultra-leftist complaints about “socialism in one country.”

What exactly is this ‘love’, what does it mean?

Perhaps there is also fear among the opponents of “progressive patriotism” about ceding ground to reactionary nationalism (particularly the ethno-nationalism of the far right). This is perhaps understandable as there has been a noticeable and troubling shift towards the hard right around the world. But again, this misses the difference between the “official” nationalism promoted by the ruling class and the potential for a socialist patriotism based on popular sovereignty and international solidarity.

Indeed there is little evidence of any other amorous feeling around the topic. Official nationalism is bad pararently but look to the people and it can turn to pure gold.

Nationalist sentiment relies on stories and symbols and, a progressive vision needs to rely on the peoples’ counter-narrative to the official story of Britain. This is the radical history of Britain. It is the story of the Levellers, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Suffragettes, Red Clydeside, the Greenham Common camps and the miners’ strikes.

In other words, something the Morning Star’s old Euro Communist enemies called “the national popular”.

Nobody doubts that from this genuine history one can make up as many stories as one likes.

The Brexit Party backing Spiked site  already entered the race last year in this event to commemorate the Peterloo massacre.

 

But what are the politics behind, “a socialist patriotism based on popular sovereignty and international solidarity?

With a left-wing government in power, an alternative patriotism would need to build on this radical past in order to look to the future: what sort of society should we build? How should we strive towards a more peaceful and co-operative world?

Patriotism then becomes a commitment to a national project; a patriotism which is inclusive as it would not be dependent on ethnicity or the country of one’s birth, but on commitment to the collective goal. What else was the NHS but a collective national project involving people from around the world who were galvanised by a commitment to its founding principles?

If the left is to succeed then we need to start talking about concepts such as patriotism and nationalism without simply reaffirming inflexible dogma or resorting to hysteria. In a world where the nation state remains a reality and the only realistic path to socialism, the British left needs to articulate its own socialist patriotism in contrast to the chauvinism, conservatism and militarism which characterises the nationalism of the right.

Nobody has any idea of what this means, other than a trip to the dream time of imaginary communities built around a left wing government.

Nobody has a clear idea of what “popular sovereignty” means in a post-Brexit Britain dominated by the business interests behind Johnson. Not to mention a globalised basis to the economy.

But everybody can be sure that at the moment the patriotism evoked here is in the service of national sovereignty, sovereigntism, in a world where the British nation state is a vehicle for the capitalist  and the Conservative Party  converted to serve a Hard Right Brexit.

 

 

Comrade Keir Starmer – ‘Socialist Alternatives’ – takes lead in Labour members’ poll.

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Comrade Keir in the late 1980s (group active in the Ralph Miliband  and Hilary Wainwright Socialist Society).

Poll of Labour members suggests Keir Starmer is first choice

Keir Starmer has emerged as an early frontrunner in the Labour leadership race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn after a poll of members suggested he was the first choice in all regions of the UK, age groups and social classes.

The shadow Brexit secretary is yet to formally launch his campaign but is expected to do so in the first few weeks of the new year. The new leader will be elected in March after Corbyn said he would step down following the party’s catastrophic general election defeat.

Polling by YouGov for the Party Members Project put Starmer as winning with a 61% vote share to 39% for the shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long Bailey, in the last round.

We agree with the members:

Not only does Bastani and the rest of the ‘alt’ crew loathe him, which is all to the well,  but comrade Keir was an activist on the left,  a ‘Pabloite’.

So much for this rubbish about his “centrist” background.

Europe, Internationalism, Socialist Alternatives (Pabloism), and…Keir Starmer.

More here:  The British Pabloites

 

His legal career was marked by this, “Starmer became a barrister in 1987. He advised Helen Steel and David Morris in the McLibel case, which went to court in 1997.”

With this honourable background, and many other feathers to his bow,we would say that Starmer looks a good candidate.

There are many other reasons to back him.

See here:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 2, 2020 at 1:11 pm