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Andy Burnham Shows Sense as Factionalist Tristram Hunt Visits Ipswich.

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Essential reading on where Jeremy Corbyn comes from. 

“For students of entryism, Engels’s tactics were textbook stuff: a brutally successful medley of threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Tristram Hunt on the political practice of Marx’s comrade amongst German workers in Paris the  mid-1840s.

Page 141. The Frock Coated-Communist. Penguin 2010.

Andy Burnham To Reach Out To Jeremy Corbyn

“I want to capture that and involve Jeremy and his team in rebuilding our party from the bottom up,” he said, also promising to “take the best ideas of the other candidates, where there is common ground between us, and use them to shape my radical vision”.

He said it would be “unforgivable” if infighting after the new leader is elected prevented Labour standing up to the Tories.

Sky News

Shadow Cabinet MPs form ‘the Resistance’ group in anticipation of Corbyn win.

A moderate Labour pressure group dubbed “the Resistance” is being formed by two top shadow cabinet members as Jeremy Corbyn pulls ahead in the leadership race, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt have written privately to Labour MPs calling on them to meet four days before the leadership result is announced. It is being seen by MPs as a rival to Mr Corbyn’s Left-wing  platform and the start of guerrilla warfare for Labour’s soul.

The group, Labour for the Common Good, will meet on September 8 and include some peers, council leaders and trade unionists.

Evening Standard.

Tristram Hunt supports Liz Kendall.

Dear Andrew.

This is just a reminder that Tristram Hunt MP, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, will be in Ipswich this Monday 17th August to meet with local members and supporters.

The event will take place at 33 Silent Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TF at 12.15pm. Parking can be found at Cromwell Square or at the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

RSVP to meet Tristram this Monday

We hope you can make it along!

Liz Kendall for Labour Leader
http://www.lizforleader.com/

Labour for the Common Good...

Students of Labour politics will be reaching for their copies of  Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock’s Labour by Richard Hefferman and the much missed Mike Marqusee (1992).

One of the central themes in the book is the story of how the Labour Co-ordinating Committee (LCC) emerged. From the soft left of the party it evolved into a part of what would (after Kinnock’s exit) become Blairism.

Progress, one of the leading forces in the present ‘anybody but Corbyn’ campaign carried a couple of years ago  an interesting article by Luke Akehurst  on this topic,

…the LCC did play a role in rescuing Labour, they came late to the match having been playing on the other side in the first half. The heavy lifting had already been done by the Old Right around the MPs in Labour Solidarity, the union leaders and political officers in the St Ermins Group and the newsletter ‘Forward Labour’.

We can see an attempt to reforge this bloc of the former left (in the present instance perhaps some ‘Eustonites’?) and the hard Labour right,  with Liz Kendall’s claim to promote a “new politics: blue Labour in dialogue with the revisionist tradition that started with the Gaitskellites in the 1950s.” (17th August Progress).

She states,

To make this a reality, Labour must win back economic credibility, the argument goes. In no uncertain terms, Kendall argues that Labour has to be known for being ‘careful with people’s money’.

 ‘If we’re deaf to these calls from the public for fiscal responsibility, we’ll be out of power for decades’ she warns. Turning the left’s critique on its head again, Kendall insists, ‘the politics I’m putting forward is actually the real anti-austerity politics’. When Labour puts its energies into ‘running sound public finances’ it ‘win[s] elections’, meaning Labour politicians ‘can actually stop some of the awful, vile things that the Tories are doing’. The current shadow care minister is able perhaps better than anyone currently at the top of Labour politics to identify the real divide between the Conservatives and Labour: George Osborne’s summer budget promotes ‘inherited wealth for the few’, she says, while Labour’s mission under her will be to ‘tackle the inherited poverty for too many people’. ‘This is the politics that will really be anti-austerity. It will allow us to win power and to have a totally different alternative from what the Tories are doing.’ Articulating this fundamental difference and putting flesh on the bones of a plan to achieve this is what will make clear how Labour differs from its array of competitors.

For those tempted to take these claims seriously Dave Osler’s New Labour PlC (2003) is essential reading.

‘Labour Party Plc’ tracks the party’s relationship with business from the early steps made by Neil Kinnock, to John Smith’s more overt flirting, to the love that dared speak its name under Tony Blair. David Osler looks in turn at funding of the Labour Party by rich individuals and big business, the scramble for lucrative government contracts once Labour was in office, and the way that business has been invited to help formulate government policy.

Osler suggests that one key turning point was Black Wednesday in 1992. On that day the pound was kicked out of the scheme that was the precursor to the euro and the Tories looked like they might never win another election. John Moores, director of Littlewoods football pools, described the motivation of big business in forming closer ties to the Labour Party during this period: ‘Since Labour is going to form the next government, it’s worth getting to know them.’ Another executive was more explicit in saying why he supported a New Labour initiative before the 1997 election: ‘Some of those involved are clearly dedicated Labour supporters. But most, like us, simply want to influence policy.’

This new receptiveness on the part of business was only part of the picture. Former leader John Smith signalled Labour’s desire to court business with a series of meetings with people from the City of London–dubbed the prawn cocktail offensive. Up for discussion were not just policies on the economy and companies, but also anything that might upset the wealthy.

Blair pledged to keep top-rate income tax at 40 percent in the 1997 election manifesto. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, after his £1 million donation had been returned following a scandal over tobacco advertising, explained that his gift was a result of Labour’s pledge not to raise income tax. ‘As a substantial contributor to the Inland Revenue, I have clearly benefited from this decision,’ he wrote. After all the questions about the possible link between party donations and government policy, such an explicit connection did not merit many column inches.

Socialist Review.

Meanwhile the anti-Corbyn factionalists are in disarray.

Gordon Brown declared yesterday (BBC) that Labour should not be a party of permanent protest.

He also stated,

“I have to say that if our global alliances are going to be alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there is absolutely no chance of building a world-wide alliance that can deal with poverty and inequality and climate change and financial instability, and we’ve got to face up to that fact.”

Mr Corbyn has previously described Hezbollah as “friends” and said that he wanted Hamas to be “part of the debate”.

Some points:

  • Labour supporters are not voting in the leadership contest on whether to ally with Hezbollah, Hamas, Putin, and the (late) Hugo Chávez.
  • Corbyn has, however ill-chosen some of his words have been, never  suggested an “alliance” with these forces.
  • It is up to the Labour Party, and preferably a strengthened internal democratic process, to decide on our foreign policy, not Jeremy Corbyn,

The Telegraph states,

Lord Mandelson tried to persuade the three mainstream Labour leadership candidates to quit en masse to stop leftwinger  Jeremy Corbyn and force the party to suspend the election.

It also emerged that Liz Kendall urged Yvette Cooper to stand down because Andy Burnham is the only candidate who can win – but Miss Cooper refused.

The Independent reports today:

Dozens of Labour staff members and Shadow Cabinet aides could be dismissed within hours of Jeremy Corbyn winning the party’s leadership, it has emerged.

The Independent understands that large numbers of Labour staff members are on contracts that expire the day after the new leader is elected. This means Mr Corbyn and his new shadow cabinet team will have a completely free hand at choosing who works for the party, with little or no legal obligation to existing staff.

Labour aides, who have worked for the party for the past five years, fear those around the new leader will use the opportunity to “purge” party HQ of those considered to be on the right, and replace them with people whose views are more in tune with the new leader. Other staff members intend to leave of their own volition and are understood to be already sending out their CVs in anticipation of a Corbyn victory.

Our own hope is that Leadership contenders  follow Andy Burnham’s suggestion – it follows Jeremy Corbyn’s own calls for opponents to work with him if he wins.

This will strike most people as the way forward.

Unless we wish to follow Labour for the Common Good, with its hint of “threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Jeremy Corbyn Defended our Beloved Charlie.

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JEREMY CORBYN (Parliamentary site). 

EDM 670: Defence of Journalist and Freedom of Expression

Filed under: Early Day Motions (EDM), civil liberties

That this House expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the families of those journalists, police and others who were assassinated or injured at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015; notes that this attack took place on press day, thereby increasing the casualty list and the potential damage to press freedom; considers that the perpetrators of this heinous crime must swiftly be brought to justice; further notes the bravery of individuals who work in this field despite many of them coming under attack previously, and that in carrying out their jobs they uphold the invaluable and historical right to free speech and freedom of expression which are both integral elements of democracies; acknowledges the solidarity that is being shown around the world on behalf of the victims and their colleagues in standing together in defence of civil liberties at this time; and offers its support to the NUJ in the UK and the International Federation of Journalists for their work in defending the rights of all journalists to do their job without fear of threats, intimidation and brutal murder.

More details: DEFENCE OF JOURNALISTS AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Ipswich For Corbyn.

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Rugby Tackle by Tony Blair Not Guaranteed!

The apocalyptic  mood that seems to have seized the right-wing of the Labour Party and their Eustonite friends reached a frenzy this morning:

Tony Blair: Even if you hate me, please don’t take Labour over the cliff edge.

The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes “disunity”. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.

…..

Even more so today, they do not think their challenges can be met by old-fashioned state control as the way to personal or social empowerment; they do not think breaking up Nato unilaterally is sensible; and they realise that a party without a serious deficit-reduction plan is not in these times a serious contender to govern them.

……

If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation. If he wins the leadership, the public will at first be amused, bemused and even intrigued. But as the years roll on, as Tory policies bite and the need for an effective opposition mounts – and oppositions are only effective if they stand a hope of winning – the public mood will turn to anger. They will seek to punish us. They will see themselves as victims not only of the Tory government but of our self-indulgence.

Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t offer anything new. This is literally the most laughable of all the propositions advanced by his camp. Those of us who lived through the turmoil of the 80s know every line of this script. These are policies from the past that were rejected not because they were too principled, but because a majority of the British people thought they didn’t work. And by the way, they were rejected by electorates round the world for the same reasons.

I also recall the 1980s – if you were there you would remember it.

The expression “old fashioned” was around then too.

It was used against those who wanted public influence and – yes – ownership (you can’t control what you don’t own – democratic socialist axiom), back in the ….1950s.

But at least the leading “revisionist” of that time, Tony Crossland, aimed for “social equality” and sought means to that goal ( The Future of Socialism. 1956).

In the 1980s faced with Thatcher there was a profound re-thinking on the left.

A high-point came with the Socialist Conferences (also known as the Chesterfield Conferences after the founding one) in the latter part of the decade.

They involved the left Labour Campaign group, notably Tony Benn, union and Labour Party activists, the Socialist Society (a ‘new Left’ group), left and pressure groups of all hues.

Over 2,000 people attended each of these events.

They debated  topics, Hilary Wainwright noted (in a reply to the  SWP’s dismissal of the Labour left)  such as, Left perspectives on winning the next election or Campaigning for the leadership: prospects and possibilities, the papers and workshops were on Democracy and state power, International finance, The fight for local government, The politics of race, The working class and socialism. Other events discussed feminism and socialism, green politics and constitutional reform (including Proportional Representation).

Documents emerged that offered a radical green democratic socialism based on participation and expanded rights.

Apart from that mouthful they put forward some clear ideas about workers’ rights, feminism, welfare, and constitutional change.

All this, as things boiled down in the 1990s – not forgetting the Fall of Official Communism –  to a choice between Blair and an effort to stand by the gains of social democratic public control, union rights,  and welfare.

There is also nothing new about our opponents’ rhetoric: all of this was shouted down as the foibles of the ‘hard left’ dinosaurs.

It seemed that a “multiplicity of democratic forces” in the ‘New Times’  would best be served through bolting down to the new free-market environment, and hope to add a little reform through the ‘Third Way’ (one idea that’s now so past its sell-by date that even its authors have forgotten about it).

The “modernisers” of the Labour Party, Blair and then Brown’s Cabinets, were even more electorally focused: they proposed a strategy based on an appeal  the “aspirational ” middle and working class that was indifferent to anything but their own personal interests and conservative (small and big ‘C’) values, what happened to them?

For the left the principal point about these Labour governments was that  they opened up the remains of the social democratic state to new markets (the NHS’ internal market) financing by PFI and turned over the unemployed to private profiteers, ‘providers’ of the various schemes like the New Deal.

Some of the Blair and Brown crew, and many of their immediate followers, went in for pretty old fashioned personal benefit.

One only has to look at those now benefiting in outsourcing companies like Capita to get a glimpse of that picture.

They did not bolster the position of unions – the grass-roots participatory foundation of many social rights.

On welfare they did not expand rights, or protect the “safe home” of the welfare state, but tried to reform the personal behaviour of the poor, the “socially excluded.”

They did not  up for the public goods that are needed for social equality, the universal services, the cash we have to have pumped into welfare run on a democratic basis , or freed the state from the grip of private exploiters – outsourcers –  living off the general purse.

The money they pumped into public services went as quickly as it had appeared, at the first signs of an economic crisis.

What have they done since?

In a sentence: they have not fought austerity.

Corbyn, by starting from this position opens up the possibility of re-opening the left’s imagination for those debates of the 1980s – ones which, it’s easy to see, have a great deal of present-day relevance, in new and changed forms.

One big idea that’s come back is public ownership of public provision.

This needs a pan-European approach, as developed by the Party of the European Left.

In the meantime…..

Today’s Guardian attack on Corbyn carries all the moral and principled authority that Blair can draw upon:

Tony Blair’s insatiable greed exposed by his secret deal with Saudi Arabia

John Stevens 22 January 2015.

Tony Blair has amassed a personal fortune since standing down as prime minister – often acting as an adviser to controversial businesses and regimes.

But yesterday the hefty fees he charges to act as a go-between were revealed.

A previously secret contract with a Saudi oil company headed by a member of the country’s royal family has been leaked showing Mr Blair charging £41,000 a month and 2 per cent commission on any of the multi-million-pound deals he helped broker.

The emergence of the Saudi deal led to new criticism of Mr Blair’s role as a Middle East envoy, but he strongly denied there is a conflict of interest.

The contract between Tony Blair Associates (TBA) and PetroSaudi signed in November 2010, said Mr Blair would personally arrange introductions to his contacts in China, such as senior politicians.

He had already attracted scathing criticism after it emerged that he had given Kazakhstan’s autocratic president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of 14 unarmed civilians.

Mr Blair has said claims that he is worth £100million are ‘greatly exaggerated’. But the Saudi contract shows how much he has been able to charge for his services.

Since leaving Downing Street in 2007, he has amassed a fortune including a property portfolio of 31 homes worth at least £25million.

He is one of the world’s best paid speakers – earning up to £150,000 a speech – and has secured advisory roles with US investment bank JP Morgan and Swiss insurer Zurich International.

The Saudi contract stated that TBA would help find potential sources of new investment and added that Mr Blair would make ‘introductions to the senior political leadership, industrial policymakers, corporate entities and other persons in China identified and deemed by us and you to be relevant to PetroSaudi’s international strategy’.

The firm agreed it would not divulge his role without permission.

Meanwhile we learn that Ipswich Top Tory Kevin Algar has joined the Eustonite attack on Corbyn:

Jeremy Corbyn Signed Commons Motion Looking Forward To Asteroid Killing All Humans

The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn once declared his support for an asteroid killing every human on the planet – because of PIGEONS.

The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies.

Adding his name to the motion alongside fellow Labour MPs John McDonnell and Tony Banks, Corbyn felt it was right to highlight the issue – and wanted an asteroid to obliterate every human on the planet for being “cruel and uncivilised”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Clause Four Moment”.

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Worth Reading Again. 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when socialist ideas appear to have a real possibility of gaining political influence in the United Kingdom the anti-left and anti-socialist liberal media is never in want of a response.”

Tales about Trotksyist, Green, Tory and Communist entryists joining or becoming sympathisers of the Labour Party have run, and run and run.

Most people will wonder what reaction those who, in their tens of thousands, have become members of the Labour Party, or signed up , will have.

No doubt they will not all welcome being the object of suspicion.

Or, those, who, like myself, have helped Labour out in a small way for several years during local elections, enjoy thinking that they may be the subject of an intensive investigation into our political affiliations.

But this is nothing to what is about to come with the latest news about Corbyn’s support for a new look at  Clause Four.

We had a flavour of what’s in store yesterday.

* (who believes in charging people to enter public museums) in the Guardian (Labour centrists like me aren’t cynics: we’re the truly ethical wing of the left)  evoked his personal memories of actually existing socialism.

He mentioned, “soup swimming with sausage fat in the decaying hostel of the Komsomol..”.gruel ladelled out from huge tubs at Moscow airport and bought a drink at a shop where there were separate tills for each of the small range of commodities.”

The arts editor of the liberal paper observes, “I was seeing pure socialism – and everyone I met was exploding with joy to escape from it.”

A “serious and committed Marxist” in his student years, who tried to find “kulaks” in the English Civil War (why, one might possibly  ask?) sums up his critique of Corbyn, “I can’t help thinking today’s bold neo-Marxist concepts like “the 1%” and “austerity” are equally unmoored from real lives. Indeed Greece has already found out what anti-austerity means in practice.”

So that’s been told. Austerity is a “neo-Marxist concept”.

No prizes for guessing how Jones and his friends will react to today’s news.

Jeremy Corbyn to ‘bring back Clause IV’: Contender pledges to bury New Labour with commitment to public ownership of industry

“Corbyn reveals that he wants to reinstate Clause Four, the hugely symbolic commitment to socialism scrapped under Tony Blair 20 years ago, in its original wording or a similar phrase that weds the Labour Party to public ownership of industry.

“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring the Clause Four as it was originally written or it’s a different one, but I think we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.

“I’m    interested in the idea that we have a more inclusive, clearer set of objectives. I would want us to have a set of objectives which does include public ownership of some necessary things such as rail.”

Independent on Sunday. 

The original Clause Four was drafted by the Fabian Sidney Webb. It was adopted by the Labour Party in 1918.

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

The idea that public ownership should follow one pattern of government appointed boards with only indirect  Parliamentary control  – what is known as Morrisonian nationalisation – was far from anybody’s minds at the time.

In 1920  Sidney Webb , Beatrice Potter Webb  published the Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain which outlined a society in which two chambers, of producers, consumers democracy, in an overarching political elected system.

There were other ideas, including G.H.Cole’s workers’ control plans in  Self-Government in Industry (1917, revised 1920).

Since that time, and since 1945, there have been a variety of socialist proposals for public ownership.

The last with any serious impact were elaborated in the 1970s:   Britain: The 1970s and the movement for workers’ control. Andrew Coates  (Links Magazine).

The failures of the free market make these ideas relevant again.

As you can read about in left journals, like Labour Briefing, a magazine Jeremy Corbyn has been associated with for several decades and the Labour Representation Committee.

Eastern Daily Press. Outside Corbyn Meeting Norwich.

Jeremy Corbyn is right: we need to look at these ideas and not fall back on the market, or rather the organised profiting from state subsidies for privately contracted out ‘public services’ and the profiteering of the utilities and railway companies.

This, in effect, what is being proposed, not a reinstatement of the old Clause.

As the Corbyn Campaign says (Mirror),

“He says we need some forms of discussion about public ownership objectives for the 21st century and in some cases, such as rail, on which matter Labour needs to reflect more closely the views of the majority of the public.”

That this will be a fight is obvious from another headline in the paper’s this morning,

Labour’s biggest individual donors have pledged to stop giving money if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader in a move that could leave the party almost entirely dependent on trade union funding.

Five senior donors have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn’s victory would be “disastrous” and could lead to Labour being locked out of power for decades.

Millions of pounds of funding from businessmen may be withheld if the Mr Corbyn, the hard-Left candidate and apparent front-runner, wins the contest on September 12.

It is the first time the party’s biggest financial backers have spoken out about Mr Corbyn, with only John Mills, the party’s top individual donor, having voiced concerns until now.

The revelation has triggered fears that Labour’s attempts to rebuild links with industry would be undermined and its dependence on union funding heightened under Mr Corbyn.

Telegraph.

I also think that a new Clause Four backing public ownership will have the effect of getting rid of the clinging faith that the SNP is left-wing. not to mention putting the cat amongst the pigeons of the Green Party.

* Jonathan Jones is a hot contender with Giles Fraser nominated by Shiraz for the “most annoying” semi-literate commentator in the mainstream UK media.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 9, 2015 at 11:08 am

Weekly Worker Sets Record Straight on Communist Infiltration of Labour Party.

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/RIAN_archive_849240_XXVI_Congress_of_the_CPSU.jpg

Weekly Worker Congress, 2015 (Photo Courtesy, Sunday Times) 

“As we hit the rough midpoint of the Labour leadership contest, it is safe to say that the right – both within Labour, and meddling from without – is in total, blind panic.”

As the Labour leadership contest gets ugly, William Kane begins to worry about the sanity of the bourgeois press (Weekly Worker).

At the most delusional end, we find – unsurprisingly – The Mail on Sunday, whose foam-flecked red-baiting focuses on a truly astonishing claim from the MP, John Cryer: “I am reliably informed that members of the Militant Tendency are using Tusc [the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition] to pay £3 to vote for Corbyn.”2

Where are we to begin? Perhaps by suggesting Cryer looks up the word ‘reliable’ in a nearby dictionary, and considers whether it can really be applied to any source who claims that:

  • The Labour Party is being infiltrated by an organisation that no longer exists, and whose direct descendant, the Socialist Party in England and Wales, refuses to touch Labour – Corbyn’s campaign included – with a barge pole.
  • This infiltration is being conducted through the same organisation’s electoral front, set up as a competitor to Labour.
  • This peculiar course of action is being taken in spite of there being no need for it, since anyone can sign up for £3 if they so choose.

Indeed.

TUSC stood against Labour in the General Election.

It was made up of the Socialist Party, the SWP, and smaller forces, such as the Independent Socialist Network.

How long union support, officially from the RMT, will continue is unclear after the election of a new General Secretary.

The Socialist Party – committed to the building of a new workers’ party – is well-known for the view that Labour is a “bourgeois party” which cannot be reformed.

TUSC was prepared to stand against Labour in marginal seats.

On this basis it aroused opposition on the left:

Criticism from the Unite union

In February 2015, senior figures from Unite the Union condemned the Socialist Party and by implication TUSC, for standing candidates against Labour in marginal constituencies for the 2015 general election. The open letter addressed to the Socialist Party, which does not mention TUSC, accuses the Socialist Party of having a “derisory” electoral record.[ In response, the Socialist Party claimed that a Labour government “would be at best austerity-lite and a continuation of the crisis that faces working-class people.”

The Socialist Party may have wavered on this point (after the wave of support for Corbyn).

[Note: what the SWP thinks varies from week to week according to the rhythm of its own fads and recruitment drives,  so we shall pass over this for the moment.]

The Independent reports,

A victory for Jeremy Corbyn in Labour’s leadership contest will  effectively be “the formation of a new party” with radical socialist ideals at its core, according to the organisation that evolved from Militant, the Trotskyist faction expelled by Labour in the 1990s.

Right-leaning Labour MPs have accused Militant – which rebranded itself the ‘Socialist Party’ in 1997 following Tony Blair’s first election victory –  of  “infiltrating” the leadership contest.

The group’s deputy general secretary officially announced its formal support for Mr Corbyn claiming the unexpected surge in support for the Islington MP would “be a real step forward, and in effect the formation of a new party.”

Hannah Sell told The Independent that statements by leading Labour figures that they would not serve in a shadow cabinet headed by Mr Corbyn, pointed  to a schism, and the need for a new Labour constitution.

She forecast : “In the same way that Blair created New Labour and abandoned the values of his party, so a Corbyn victory would create the basis for a new 100 per cent anti-austerity party of the working class.”

We at the Tendance doubt this news, which would mean ditching a stand taken for well over two decades.

This is the TUSC general election result: “the party performed badly at the election, winning a mere 36,327 votes, or 0.1% of the popular vote. No parliamentary seats were gained and no deposits were saved.”

Cde Kane continues on the story that cheered us all up:

Hard left plot to infiltrate Labour race. Sunday Times 26th July.

HARRIET HARMAN has been urged to suspend the Labour leadership race after evidence emerged that hard left infiltration is fuelling a huge surge in party membership.

More than 140,000 new activists are projected to have joined by the deadline for registration to vote, a rise of more than two thirds since the election, with many signing up to back the hard left candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

The Communist party of Great Britain has called on supporters to join and back Corbyn as part of its revolutionary “strategy” while Green party activists have also been discussing how to vote for him.

He comments,

 

…we expect better things from The Sunday Times. After all, Rupert Murdoch’s papers are not indifferent to the internal goings-on of the Labour Party, but highly interventionist. We might consider them a sort of evil twin: both our organisation and their corporation think about Labour strategically, albeit from diametrically opposed political viewpoints.

How amused we were, then, to make the front page! A story about “hard-left infiltrators” voting for Corbyn seized upon our humble organisation as a significant agent in all this stuff. They quoted us – more faithfully than many comrades on the left, we might add – on transforming the Labour Party, on fighting for a left victory in the leadership election, urging people to register and vote for Corbyn.3

There was, naturally, some hair-raising revolutionary rhetoric, and a little photomontage of Provisional Central Committee chair Jack Conrad and the last issue of the paper (clearly in view, ironically enough, is the front page promo: “As Jeremy Corbyn surges ahead, right plots anti-democratic coup”). There you have it – it’s the Weekly Worker wot won it.

Seriously now – we find ourselves, above all, concerned with the precipitate decline in journalistic standards. When a mail-out writer for Labour List declared on July 27 that we “could organise an infiltration of a nine-year-old’s birthday party and I doubt anyone would notice”, he was being a touch unfair; but we do not claim to be a large organisation, and frankly even if everyone who had read this paper since Corbyn’s nomination had signed up (almost certainly not true, given our international reach), it would still not amount to a significant minority of the numbers who have done so.

It must be said that on Sunday when these stories in the Mail and Sunday Times broke, social media, that is, Facebook and Twitter, were buzzing with the happy voices of leftists chortling over their croissants and Co-op 99 tea.

Our instructions from the CPGB Central Committee (Provisional) were not slow in coming: well grubbed old mole!

More, please, please, more peals of laughter….

Cde Kane rightly observes,

we are not a large organisation, and target our propaganda more or less exclusively at other “hard leftists”, who in turn seldom take our advice.

Many on the left do read the Weekly Worker.

Some of (including the Tendance) have written for it.

It is well worth a read.

Now…must ask Cde Kane on next line (with approval from the SPA. GS?).

 

Podemos in Free-Fall in Spanish Opinion Polls.

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https://i0.wp.com/www.elcorreo.com/RC/201410/24/media/cortadas/pablo-iglesias--575x323.jpg

Populist Party Losing Popularity.

17th July Simple Lógia.

 

PP 26,2%
PSOE 23,1%
Ciudadanos 18,4%
Podemos 14,9%
IU 5,4%
UPyD 0,5%

https://i0.wp.com/electomania.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/15010_1.gif

 

Evolution of Podemos support:

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 From 31% (December 2014)  to the present,  14,9%

More (just out)

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s governing People’s Party (PP) and the main opposition socialists (PSOE) have pulled well ahead of anti-establishment party Podemos ahead of national elections later this year, polls showed on Sunday.

Voter support for the center-right PP stood at 29.1 percent while the PSOE was on 25.1 percent, according to a survey by pollsters GAD3 published in Spanish daily ABC.

Support for Podemos, which transformed Spain’s political landscape in mid-June when leftist municipal coalitions it backed took power in four of the country’s five biggest cities, fell to 15.0 percent.

A second survey, by research firm Simple Logica and published on news portal larepublica.es, produced a similar result.

The findings contrast with recent polls that have shown the three parties running virtually neck-and-neck. In a survey from Metroscopia, considered the benchmark in Spain, published in El Pais on July 5, they all stood at between 21.5 and 23 percent.

Both the GAD3 and Simple Logica surveys questioned around 1,000 voters. The former was conducted between June 23 and July 8 and the latter from July 1-9.

The parliamentary elections are expected to take place in November.

(Reporting by John Stonestreet; Editing by Ros Russell)

 

Simple Lógia.

One of the problems about “populism” is that it evaporates when a movement is not “popular”

Some on the British left, who bathed the reflected glory of Syriza when it won a merited victory, are now fighting to the last impoverished Greek against Alexis Tsipras.

Now that the party of Pablo Inglesias  is not doing well, can we expect the same people to turn on Podemos?

Note: we cannot blame this on the fall-out from the present state of the Greek crisis as the score really began to go down in March.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 19, 2015 at 11:18 am

Greece and the Left, the fight against Austerity continues through the EU, not for a ‘new Britain’.

with 16 comments

 

Europe’s Left: No Retreat to Nationalist anti-European Politics. 

Alexis Tsipras’s grip on power suffers a blow with 32 of his own MPs rebelling as the Greek parliament votes in favour of new austerity measure against a backdrop of violence on the streets of Athens reports the Telegraph.

There are many things to say about the developing Greek crisis but I am still  struck by the information given in Le Monde on Tuesday about the “Explosive Propositions of Wolfgang Schäuble“.

The German Fiannce Minister, Schäuble, wanted Greece out of the Euro (no doubt to the satisfaction of the ‘left’ critics of Syriza’s leadership ), for a “provisional” period (not enough, would say the ‘left’, the True Finns and Golden Dawn). He also demanded a through-going “depolitisation” of the country;s administration, under close EU supervision (not something the ‘left’ would welcome one suspects).

The details behind this are a lot worse – as presented by Jack Rasmus,

Why Hardliners Prefer Grexit

It is a known fact that Schaubel and the ‘right wing’ of Euro bankers and ministers have wanted to eject Greece from the Euro since 2012. In that prior debt restructuring deal, private bankers and investors were ‘paid off’ and exited the Greek debt by means of loans made by the Troika, which were then imposed on Greece to pay. 2012 was a banker-investor bailout, not a Greece bailout. What was left was debt mostly owed by Greece to the Troika, more than $300 billion. Greece’s small economy of barely $180 billion GDP annually can never pay off that debt. Even if Greece grew at 4% GDP a year, an impossibility given that Europe and even Germany have been growing at barely 1% in recent years, and even if Greece dedicated all its surplus GDP to paying the debt, it would take close to a half century for Greece to pay off all its current debt.

Schaubel and the northern Europe bankers know this. In 2012, in the midst of a second Eurozone recession and financial instability, it was far more risky to the Euro banker system to cut Greece loose. Today they believe, however, that the Eurozone is stronger economically and more stable financially. They believe, given the European Central Bank’s $1.2 trillion QE slush fund, that contagion effects from a Greek exit can be limited. Supporters of this view argue that Greece’s economy is only 1.2% of the larger Eurozone’s.

What they don’t understand, apparently, is that size of GDP is irrelevant to contagion. They forget that the Lehman Brothers bank in 2008 in the US represented a miniscule percent of US GDP, and we know what happened. Quantitative references are meaningless when the crux of financial instability always has to do with unpredictable psychological preferences of investors, who have a strong proclivity to take their money and run after they have made a pile of it—which has been the case since 2009. Investors globally will likely run for cover like lemmings if they believe as a group that the global financial system has turned south financially—given the problems growing in China, with oil prices now falling again, with commodity prices in decline once more, with Japan’s QE a complete failure, and with the US economy clearly slowing and the US central bank moves closer to raising interest rates. Greece may contribute to that psychological ‘tipping point’ as events converge.

But there’s another, perhaps even more profitable reason for hardliners and Euro bankers wanting to push Greece out. And that’s the now apparent failure of Eurozone QE (quantitative easing) policies of the European Central Bank to generate Eurozone stock and asset price appreciation investors have been demanding.

Unlike in the US and UK 2009-2014 QE policies that more than doubled stock prices and investors’ capital gains, the ECB’s QE has not led to a stock boom. Like Japan recently, the Eurozone’s stock boom has quickly dissipated. The perception is that stock stimulus from the Eurozone’s QE, introduced six months ago, is perhaps being held back by the Greek negotiations. Euro bankers and investors increasingly believe that by cutting Greece loose (and limiting the contagion effects with QE and more statements of ‘whatever it takes’ by central banker, Mario Draghi) that Grexit might actually lead to a real surge in Euro stock markets. Thus, throwing Greece away might lead to investors making bigger financial profits. In other words, there’s big money to be made on the private side by pushing Greece out.

So, when we are talking about Syriza’s ‘betrayal’  bear this in mind.

Read it carefully.

Most will rightly, dismiss as stale air, calls for a “true” revolutionary party which will abolish these difficulties, and no doubt make the bankers and Schäuble disappear from the Earth’s surface.

But there are serious people inside Syriza, the Left Platform,  who offered an alternative strategy to Tsparis and who have not accepted the present deal.

One of their leading spokespeople, Stahis Kouvelalkis  has declared of the pro-EU Syriza leadership (this could apply more widely to others on the left – to Tendance Coatesy amongst many others) (Greece: The Struggle Continues ):

So for these people the choice is between two things: either being “European” and accepting the existing framework, which somehow objectively represents a step forward compared the old reality of nation-states, or being “anti-European” which is equated with a falling back into nationalism, a reactionary, regressive move.

This is a weak way in which the European Union is legitimated — it might not be ideal but it’s better than anything else on the table.

I think that in this case we can clearly see what the ideology at work here is. Although you don’t positively sign up to the project and you have serious doubts about the neoliberal orientation and top-down structure of European institutions, nevertheless you move within its coordinates and can’t imagine anything better outside of its framework.

This is the meaning of the kind of denunciations of Grexit as a kind of return to the 1930s or Grexit as a kind of apocalypse. This is the symptom of the leadership’s own entrapment in the ideology of left-Europeanism.

Kouvelakis cites the Greek Marxist political writer Nicos Poulantzas, who wrote and lived in France for most of his career,  to back his anti-EU ideology.

He says that Poulantzas said the following.

Yes, Poulantzas talked about European integration in the first part of his book on social classes in contemporary capitalism, in which he analyzes the processes of internationalization of capital and he clearly considered the European Economic Community an example of an imperialist form of internationalization of European capital within the framework of what he considered the new postwar structural hegemony of the United States.

Poulantzas indeed made this analysis in Les Classes sociales dans le capitalisme aujourd’hui, (1974)

But in L’État, le pouvoir, le socialisme (1978) Poulantzas offered an alternative to the domination of capital: a fusion of direct and representative democracy based ont eh workers’ movement and civil society. He famously stated that the state, is a ” « condensation matérielle d’un rapport de force entre les classes et fractions de classe » (a material condensation of relations between classes and fractions of classes).

The European Union is a judicial and economic  framework which is, self-evidently,  linked to these relations of changeable power.

It is not only a cabal of finance ministers, EU Commissioners,  and neo-liberals who can do as they will – if there is a large enough power to stop them.

To change the EU,  to fight neo-liberalism,  requires a different relation of force: based on Europe-wide unity between the popular classes and lefts.

It means a political movement, across borders, with institutional weight.

The European Parliament, without any effective influence on EU decision-making, which is essentially inter-Ministerial and Commission based,  is nevertheless a point where these bonds can, and are, made, through groups like the European Left Party – however weak they may be at present.

To leave the EU is to leave these potential ties of unity.

It is to give up the game at the first sign of difficulty – to follow those, misguided or simply opportunist ‘friends’ of Syriza who now turn on them when they have run into trouble.

It is to set the course for naked domination by the forces of international capital.

Or to put is more simply, no country, nor left, is in a position to  break free of  the IMF’s clutches, not to mention world financial markets.

Those on the Syriza left who proposed a Grexit, the centrepice of their economic plans, have yet to answer the point: would they have either offered a viable package, and how would they have warded off the financial locusts described by Rasmus?

They have yet to give a serious response.

A ‘New Britain’.

The Greek crisis has been a perceived as proof that the ‘pro-European’ left has failed, largely by those who were already convinced that this is so.

Briefly basking in Syriza’s reflected glory they have now returned to their own political projects.

In France, apart from the anti-Euro and ‘Sovereigntist’  Front National, a minority of the Parti de Gauche (45%) voted at their recent conference for this as part of a general “Eurosceptic” line (Libération).  Their leader, JeanLuc Mélenchon, has made frequent nationalist and anti-German remarks during the Greek crisis.

He said a few days ago,

“Pour la troisième fois dans l’histoire de l’Europe, l’obstination d’un gouvernement allemand est en train de détruire l’Europe”

For the third time in the History of Europe, the obstination of the German government is destroying Europe.

There is little doubt the same mood exists across Europe.

In Britain some see the Greek crisis as a sign to join in the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union.

This, Owen Jones dreams, would ” focus on building a new Britain, one of workers’ rights, a genuine living wage, public ownership, industrial activism and tax justice. Such a populist campaign could help the left reconnect with working-class communities it lost touch with long ago.”

Unfortunately this option will appear on no Referendum Ballot paper, when, one assumes the believers in a New Britain will mark their slips in the same way as the ‘populists’ of the far-right,  and hard-line anti-socialist economic liberals.

As Jim Denham rightly says, “The left should fight, not to go backwards from the current bureaucratic, neoliberal European Union, but forward, to a democratic United States of Europe, and a socialist United States of Europe.”

In the meantime here are some serious articles by people the Tendance respects (though disagrees with) on Syriza and the present crisis:

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin: Treating SYRIZA responsibly (Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal)
Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, Athens

 

Update: A reminder from UNITE,

Remaining in the EU is essential for manufacturing workers

02 April 2015 By Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary

Two-thirds of manufacturing jobs in the UK are sustained by trade with the rest of the EU.

Between 2009 and 2011 the number of manufacturing jobs in the UK dependent on trade with the EU grew by 15 per cent.

But it is not just the economics that make membership crucial it is also the protection that workers have because of the EU.

Talk of employment directives may seem dry but protecting our members rights at work have come about because we belong to the EU, and because Unite and other trade unions have fought long and hard to achieve them.

Parental leave has been extended to at least four months for each parent no matter what type of employment contract a worker may be on.

Thousands of workers in part time jobs can no longer be treated less favourably  than their counterparts who work full time.

Bosses don’t want anything that might interfere with their right to hire and fire at will so anything that provides protection for temporary agency workers from gross exploitation are hard fought. But we have been able to do it.

One of the major protections for workers is the transfers of undertakings directive a vital piece of legislation that guarantees workers’ rights and obligations in company takeovers and mergers – there was a time when companies could dismiss and automatically sack their entire workforces upon the transfer or sale of a business.

The working time directive protects workers from being forced to more than 48 hours on average and guarantees breaks during and between shits.

And lest we forget – guaranteed paid annual leave, of at least four weeks (28 days a year) – which now thanks to Unite has to be paid at average pay.

There have been massive improvements on equal pay; the right to be consulted on redundancies; to have information about your company and for workers in multinational companies the right to be heard and consulted at European level and improvements on health and safety.

Tory Eurosceptics and Ukip echo the right wing and defeated Tea Party in the United States offering Britain a prospectus of becoming an offshore financial centre – like Hong Kong.  Left to them we will become Europe’s economic and political renegade.

If the Tories and Ukip get their way they will set us on this calamitous course to exit the EU. That’s why manufacturing workers need to vote Labour on 7 May.