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TUC, to Campaign against “damaging right-wing agenda behind Brexit and supports a confirmatory public vote on any deal or no deal with a remain option.

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The TUC Puts Words into Policy.

Motion passed at TUC yesterday.

Composite 04 Brexit

Congress recognises that the promises that were made during the EU referendum campaign are now distant memories, and that a Tory no-deal Brexit looms on the horizon – with potentially devastating results for workers in the UK.

Congress notes that the Tories have so far miserably failed to negotiate a Brexit deal that protects our jobs and our rights.

Congress notes with concern that Brexit, especially under ‘no deal’, would hit the NHS hard, with new immigration hurdles deterring EU healthcare professionals from coming to the UK to work in the NHS and the deep risk of wholesale privatisation flowing from a trade deal with the Trump White House. Congress fears the agenda of many Tory MPs is to enter into a devastating trade deal with Donald Trump which will reduce our rights and standards and leave our NHS and agriculture vulnerable to predatory US companies.

Congress believes too many Tory MPs are unwilling to defend the Good Friday Agreement which has brought peace and prosperity to Ireland. A hard border will have a devastating impact on the lives of people on either side of it.

Congress condemns the Tory government’s plan to categorise migrant workers earning less than £30k a year as ‘low skilled’ and allow them to stay in the UK for just 12 months. We will not let right-wing politicians and bosses divide our class. We will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with migrants to stop any attacks on them.

Congress will campaign against the damaging right-wing agenda behind Brexit and supports a confirmatory public vote on any deal or no deal with a remain option. Congress will continue campaigning for reforms to help build a Europe for the many through solidarity across borders.

Congress also supports a general election as a matter of urgency so that the British people can elect a government committed to ending austerity and building a new economic settlement that leaves no-one behind.

Mover: Musicians’ Union
Seconder: Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Supporter: Royal College of Midwives

   Carried.

It passed almost unanimously, with only the RMT transport workers’ union delegation voting against it.

TUC Congress demands Brexit referendum with option to Remain

The Morning Star was compelled to note,

Reiterating the TUC’s official position in support of a second referendum, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Whatever happens, we will fight for our jobs, we will fight for our rights and we will fight for public services.

“Even if there is a no deal, and I will do everything I can to stop that, that won’t be the end of it — it will just be the beginning.

“Because working people did end up paying the price of the banking crash.

“I think there is no appetite among working people to pay the price for a no-deal Brexit.”

Be warned though, the  Morning Star indicates,

 

On the issue of Brexit the current manoeuvres in Parliament will give the opportunity for an emergency motion that could help to stop the lemming-like rush to the Remain cliff.

Andy Bain is the Communist Party of Britain’s industrial organiser.

It was clear that the TUC would pass policy, however much the result of compromise, to oppose not just a Hard Brexit but to support a third referendum.

Hence this disingenuous  attempt yesterday by the pro-Brexit Morning Star to wriggle out of TUC policy before the vote was taken.

It argues against Labour’s position of stopping No Deal.

A pincer movement in which Labour is trapped between rival political forces which fetishise Brexit and divorce it from the political, economic and social crisis which created it must be met by a massive mobilisation to fight for a Labour government whose mission is to deliver the radical change its programme outlines.

Pacts based on stopping “no-deal” that shackle Labour to parties of the status quo, that are intrinsically hostile to any fundamental shift in wealth and power to workers and that have been complicit in the devastation of our communities by austerity, the relentless rise of child poverty and the fire-sale of our public assets will bury our movement’s message and hand Boris Johnson the narrative he craves, as the man who defied Parliament and fought to implement the 2016 referendum decision in the face of Establishment sabotage.

Polls suggest that despite purging his parliamentary party and losing Commons vote after Commons vote, Johnson’s strategy is paying off with a growing lead over Labour.

Our movement should throw aside parliamentary games designed to trap the Labour leader and demand an immediate election to unseat an illegitimate government and replace it with a socialist one.

The stakes could not be higher for our movement

There is no doubt that some people would just wish all the business of opposing Brexit would just go away and we could get back to unity around left folk politics.

 

But note this:

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 9, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Morning Star, says, “the referendum result should be respected, and Britain should leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal”.

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“Political elite’s arrogant authority”, says Brendan O’Neill in Spiked.

To get a taste of how the Brexiteers are frothing where better than to look at Brendan O’Neill flashing his Prick.

Today was a very dark day for British democracy

The political class has taken back control – from the people.

Don’t believe for one minute the self-aggrandising claims of the Remainer establishment and its noisy cheerleaders in the media. Tonight’s vote by MPs to seize control of the parliamentary agenda in order to prevent a No Deal Brexit is not, as they claim, a wonderful assertion of parliamentary sovereignty against a dictatorial executive led by Boris Johnson.

No, it is an assertion of the political elite’s arrogant authority over the people. If MPs have seized power from anyone this evening, it is from us, the public, the millions who voted to leave the EU. This is not parliament vs the executive – this is parliament vs the people, and it opens up one of the greatest, most troublesome constitutional crises of modern times.

This is how Corbyn’s self-identifying best friend responds.

Labour must make clear it respects the Brexit result if it wants to win an election

The Morning Star believes that the referendum result should be respected, and Britain should leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.

Problems may arise,

However, in the latter case, there will certainly be problems, particularly over the supply of fresh food and medicines, despite Michael Gove’s claims to the contrary.

Half of Britain’s food is imported, and 30 per cent of that comes from the EU, plus another 11 per cent from non-EU countries as part of EU trade agreements. If there is no deal, then tariffs and delays will result.

Food and drink manufacturers are facing difficulty in securing additional frozen and warehousing space in November, as that space has already been booked for Christmas supplies.

The solution, force business to solve any difficulty by ‘co-operation””

This issue could be resolved if the big corporations were forced to co-operate instead of compete.

Alas, Labour is going down the wrong path,

Labour’s position of blocking a no-deal Brexit risks Johnson sacking the Tory rebels and calling a general election on his terms, where he will paint Labour as an anti-democratic, referendum-cancelling party.

With the above declaration  in mind await The Morning Star’s explanation for this:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

People’s Assembly (Counterfire) “Stop Boris” Rally in Chaos: Ash Sarkar and Owen Jones Refuse to Share Platform with Eddie Dempsey – the Red-Brown Front Bites Back.

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StalinAssasin

Full Brexit supporter Eddie Dempsey to Speak at People’s Assembly Stop Boris Johnson Rally next week.

“The one thing that unites [the people who turn out for Tommy Robinson]…. is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.”

Eddie Dempsey, 26th of March and Star Speaker at People’s Assembly rally on Tuesday.

More here: Pro-Brexit Morning Star Wades into the “Eddie Dempsey Affair” and Mounts Campaign Against Anti-Brexit Labour MP Clive Lewis. (Tendance Coatesy)

This information circulated widely in the last day (the stats on this Blog echo).

This happened:

The National Populist site, Spiked, bit back.

Counterfire obviously think Dempsey is an ideal figure to bring together supporters of their CareBears version of Brexit supporters with Hard Brexit backers:

Luxury Communist Bastani Is automated to  think so:

This prompts a helpful suggestion:

 

Spiked, whose network (ex-Revolutionary Communist Party)  are key founders of the Red-Brown Front the Full Brexit, which includes Brexit Party candidates like  James Heartfield, (now proposing to stand for Farage, against Corbyn in Islington North) Communist Party of Britain members, Counterfire supporters, Blue Labour, and all kinds of rag-tails and bob-tails. has leapt to defend Dempsey. *

Not only is Dempsey a national comrade but,

So there we have it. Bourgeois ‘leftists’ have No Platformed a working-class trade unionist. All because he supports Brexit. There could be no better example of how detached these people are from real radical politics and working-class interests.

No Platformed a pro-Brexit trade unionist

The fight against the Red-Brown Front continues.

Pour en finir avec Eddie !

 

One LM initiative in the post-Referendum period was “The Full Brexit”, an avowedly left-wing pressure group launched in the summer of 2018 to reframe the Brexit narrative as one about “democracy” rather than just bashing immigrants. Alongside a smattering of Blue Labour social conservatives and Lexit Marxists, a good half of its 20 founding signatories are RCP network members. Academic Chris Bickerton has been a Spiked contributor since 2005, when he was a PhD student at St John’s College, Oxford. Philip Cunliffe, Furedi’s colleague at the University of Kent, is another long term Spiked activist. Pauline Hadaway, another academic, is a veteran of the Living Marxism days. James Heartfield was a paid RCP organiser. Lee Jones seems to have been recruited at Oxford around the same time as Bickerton. Tara McCormack is an RCP veteran, as is Suke WoltonBruno Waterfield write for Living Marxism. Other signatories aren’t part of the network but have been promoted by Spiked: Paul Embery and Thomas Fazi for example (Fazi is also connected to the 5 Star Movement and recently retweeted an antisemitic tweet from someone with “Nazbol” in his user name). Many are also involved in Briefings for Brexit, which has several RCP veterans on its advisory committee, and some are involved with Civitas. This is a peculiar form of left-right crossover politics.

 

Boris Johnson to Suspend Parliament to force through Hard Brexit: All out to Block the Coup!

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“A Very British Coup” – John McDonnell.

Frightened of losing a vote Boris Johnson plans to suspend Parliament.

Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament

BBC.

The government has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September – and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

Boris Johnson said a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his “very exciting agenda”.

But it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Tory backbencher Dominic Grieve called the move “an outrageous act”.

He warned it could lead to a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson, adding: “This government will come down.”

But the prime minister said it was “completely untrue” to suggest the suspension was motivated by a desire to force through no deal.

 

Comrade Paul Mason says, “#StopTheCoup – from Orkney & Shetland to St Ives, every constituency in Britain needs to shake with rage. They’re shutting down parliament because Boris Johnson can’t persuade civil servants to break our laws… #GeneralStrike on the day it happens…

Comrade John McDonnell says,

The pillar of the Brexit Party, Spiked, has already got its case for suspending Parliamentary democracy in (26th of August)

A battle of two evils

Proroguing parliament to force through Brexit is wrong. But using parliament to stop Brexit is far worse.

Brendan O’Neill,

Boris might be proposing a showdown between the executive and the parliament, but his pseudo-democratic critics are proposing something worse: a showdown between parliament and the people, in which parliamentarians, more than 70 per cent of whom voted for Remain, would use their know-all, well-educated, arrogant clout to ensure that the brainwashed little people did not get their way. The constitutional crisis Boris would provoke by proroguing parliament to push through the largest democratic vote in UK history would pale into insignificance in comparison with the disorder that would ensue from the weaponisation of parliament against the people.

There is much to criticise in the idea of proroguing parliament. But the anti-Brexit MPs criticising it are not doing so because they love democracy, whether of the parliamentary or any other kind. No, they fear the suspension of parliament because it would rob them of the key arena in which they are able to twist the rules and warp the agenda in order to achieve what would be the largest assault on British democracy in the history of the people winning the franchise – the thwarting of the vote for Brexit.

In short, suspending democratic procedure is the “lesser of the two evils.”

One wonders how many of their allies in the Red-Brown Front will follow suit.

Counterfire (which backs the pro-Brexit camp from the ‘left’ and publishes supporters of the Red-Brown Full Brexit)  hits off by attacking Remainers and lays claim to the be the leaders of militant opposition to this move:

There is no serious and reliable parliamentary opposition from those who talk Remain but prefer a no-deal Brexit to a Corbyn government.

Those on the left who have been taken in by the Lib Dems have been played by them and by Johnson. Perhaps now we’ll hear less of supporting demos led by them and Alastair Campbell, and more of highlighting the class issues which affect the vast majority of us, whether Brexit happens or not. Only by moving decisively in this direction can we break the impasse around parliament and defeat Johnson.

The Left, progressives, and people of good will, are signing this:

 

Over 200 MPs have committed to #BlockTheCoup so far!

We the people need to show Johnson we back every one of those MPs – and won’t let him subvert democracy. Sign the petition to #BlockTheCoup 👉http://ofoc.co.uk/blockthecoup

This is not a “coup” in the sense of a coup d’état that suspends normal laws and introduces a state of emergency.

In other senses it certainly is is a “coup” in the sense of a blow against democratic right to debate and the right of our representatives to vote on the most important legislation to face Parliament for decades.

Our comrades in Another Europe is Possible say,

Boycott Labour Communist Party and Allies Aim to Bring Labour and Left back together to Stand for Brexit against “anti-left wrecking operation”.

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In a bold  initiative the Communist Party of Britain and a leading Counterfire supporter  call for unity behind support for Brexit.

A Left case for leaving the EU

PHIL KATZ (CPB “A vote for any party at the European elections is a vote for the EU. For the first time in its 99-year history, the Communist Party has called for an active boycott of an election in Britain, in this case, the EU election on May 23. PHIL KATZ explains why“) and  MARTIN HALL (Counterfire,The Millbank Militants: the forces behind People’s Vote)  argue that once we leave the EU, new opportunities will open up for working-class advance.

The  CPB and George Galloway’s former best friends argue for left unity around the left case for Leaving the EU.

LeFT exists to bridge the growing gap on the left and bring the movement back together, to understand our common interests and concerns so that it can apply itself to transforming political alignments in Britain (and across the globe) in order to provide the threat of a good example to the working class everywhere.

We are committed to creating places where working class Remain and Leave voters can discuss, understand and re-forge politics together.

As part of this bringing back together they warm of an ” anti-left wrecking operation” in a “number of different guises.”

Looking to the future they say,

No deal, soft deal and hard exits are false choices. None of these terms existed prior to the vote in June 2016, and were introduced into the language by a capitalist class seeking to limit the damage to itself that the Leave vote could bring about.

LeFT seeks a clean break, which is what people voted for.

What is this clean break Brexit?

Contours emerge from the shadows.

LeFT intends to play an active part in arguing for a new kind of trade, especially with developing economies and advanced countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil, that previously was funnelled through EU institutions, rules and regulations. It is possible to trade in a way that is different from EU trade treaties that are all too often grossly exploitative.

I for one am excited at the potential for the international solidarity with India, Brazil  China and Russia that trade deals for Melton Mowbray pies will bring.

Hitching Corbyn to their Brexit wagon they assert,

We deeply regret the extent to which Corbyn and the Brexit supporters in Labour have been forced into a corner, perhaps fatally damaging its chance of winning the general election that is just around the corner.

Surely, they argue, we can all agree that they are right and we need to accept that the Brexit cause is a just one, and that,

The working class has to be united because in a class society, only the united strength of workers can keep the power of capital at bay. Once we leave the EU, that unity becomes more important as we seek to change the politics of the country in a radical and new direction.

The Boycott Labour Communist Party and the groupuscule Counterfire will lead this unity offensive:

In LeFT we wanted to gather the different forces from some unions, large working-class constituencies, local Labour parties, the Communist Party, Counterfire and other radical and Marxist forces into a united front with the muscle to make a difference. And we wanted to bring new forces in.

As part of this all-comrades-together initiative the Morning Star attacked yesterday Labour’s commitment to a Second Referendum,

Johnson’s riposte is that Labour plan to betray the Brexit vote.

It is true that committing to a second referendum with a Remain option will look that way to millions. Politicians like to lecture us on supposed nuances in the straightforward victory of Leave over Remain three years ago — saying that “nobody voted for no deal” or “nobody voted to be poorer” as excuses to disregard the result.

Johnson won’t deliver the Brexit Britons voted for

Written by Andrew Coates

August 27, 2019 at 11:57 am

Socialist Worker says Labour should, “not give into Right” and back Remain in the EU.

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Don’t Give Into Right and Oppose Brexit Says SWP.

Sometimes, happy days, not to say,  months, you forget that the SWP exists.

But the pro-Brexit far-left is still there.

They show no signs of regretting their furious campaign for the – Hard Right – Brexit.

It’s one of the best kept secrets in politics that the SWP have thriven and recruited in the mass people’s movement to take back control and support Brexit.

As they  said, ““The outcome of the referendum represents a revolt by millions of working class people against years of austerity and economic decline”. Socialists and the Leave vote—a (brief) reply to Sean Leahy

They added, ” how can things possibly get worse?”

As Johnson’s plans wreak havoc they say, “Nothing to so with us. We are revolutionary socialists and can’t share the blame for anything.”

Hobson chose for them, and they cannot be blamed for their choice, actions, or vote.

Tory plan for Brexit is a threat to ­two million EU migrants

Latest Socialist Worker.

Whether you voted for this or not we should all defend migrants’ rights writes Tomáš Tengely-Evans.

Anti-racists—whether they voted Racist Leave or Remain—have to fight to defend and extend freedom of movement.

(Note: some of this may have been slightly rewritten).

The same Socialist Worker has this:

Corbyn’s confusion over the European Union emboldens the right

Labour has been caught in a bind since the EU referendum in 2016. Many working class people—the people it looks to for votes—support leaving the EU.

But a vocal set of right wing Labour MPs want to push the party towards opposing Brexit.

They support the EU because they like its pro-privatisation, pro-austerity rules that look after big business.

They’re increasingly cheer-led by prominent left Labour supporters, and backed by the Labour Party’s membership.

The Labour left now largely sees backing Remain as the only progressive response to the Tories’ racist, right wing version of Brexit.

The SWP offers this advice to Labour,

The anti-austerity, radical-sounding message that worked so well for Labour in 2017 is at risk of being drowned out.

Where demonstrations and action on the streets against the Tories could have dominated, opposition has focused on parliamentary manoeuvres and inter-party wrangling.

This is the right’s terrain—the left is always weaker on it.

The bulk of Corbyn’s speech on Monday—attacking austerity and tax cuts for the rich, promising more for ordinary people—got almost ignored by the press.

The longer Corbyn spends giving into the right over the EU, the more he allows them to set the agenda and sideline left wing politics.

People may have noticed that the article says “The Labour left now largely sees backing Remain as the only progressive response to the Tories’ racist, right wing version of Brexit.”

Some might observe that they are claiming that we are “cheering”  on the right.

In the heat of the struggle, in the exuberant mobilisations to “take back control” and back Brexit, the SWP can perhaps be forgiven their annoyance at the pro-remain left.

Nobody could possibly accuse them of stinking opportunism in seizing on this effect of their vote and claiming that they opposed it all along:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 21, 2019 at 12:10 pm

New Left Review Tackles Brexit, from ‘anti-systemic’ parties to Corbyn.

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From Brexit Knocks to Corbyn.

Writing after the EU Referendum New Left Review editor Susan Watkins found time to pontificate on the “solipsistic and civilizational” reactions of those who regretted the victory of the Leave camp. She observed, with a cooled head, in tones echoing the French self-appointed speaker for La France périphérique,  Christophe Guilluy, ” the ressentiment of globalization’s losers.” ” Leave voters were markedly more pessimistic about their prospects and those of their children “

Watkins continued, “nearly 70 per cent thought Brexit couldn’t make things any worse.” And yet, she wistfully noted, ” the victory of British (read: English) nationalism has revealed the emptiness of its symbols: Rule Britannia, Mother of Parliaments, Royal Navy, Going It Alone, Dunkirk Spirit—all that has gone. “

Looking to the future, and echoing the words of her partner Tariq Ali, who used the vehicle of Venezuela state media, Telesur to explain that he was ‘Pleased’ Brexit Has Given EU ‘Big Kick’ up ‘Backside'” she concluded,

The Brexit vote doesn’t mean state break-up, yet. Still less the downfall of Brussels. For now, though, it is plain that Blairized Britain has taken a hit, as has the Hayekianized eu. Critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret these knocks to it, against which the entire global establishment—Obama to Abe, Merkel to Modi, Juncker to Xi—has inveighed. Which will ultimately prove more important, and what the side-effects of each will be, remains to be seen.

From the Intergalactic Senate Perry Anderson opined in 2017 that,

No other European country has been so dramatically polarised by region, between a bubble-enclosed, high-income metropolis in London and the southeast, and an impoverished, deindustrialised north and northeast where voters felt they had little to lose in voting for Leave (crucially, a more abstract prospect than ditching the euro), whatever happened to the City and foreign investment. Fear counted for less than despair.

…suddenly granted, for once, a real choice in a national referendum, they returned in force to deliver their verdict on the desolations of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

The welcome knocks against the EU were the result of this:

Issues of identity could more readily trump issues of interest than in the rest of the EU. So the normal formula — fear of economic retribution outweighs fear of alien immigration — failed to function, bent out of shape by a combination of economic despair and national amour-propre.

Britain’s example should be followed,

For anti-systemic movements of the left in Europe, the lesson of recent years is clear. If they are not to go on being outpaced by movements of the right, they cannot afford to be less radical in attacking the system, and must be more coherent in their opposition to it. That means facing the probability the EU is now so path-dependent as a neoliberal construction that reform of it is no longer seriously conceivable. It would have to be undone before anything better could be built, either by breaking out of the current EU, or by reconstructing Europe on another foundation, committing Maastricht to the flames. Unless there is a further, deeper economic crisis, there is little likelihood of either.

Yet, as the title of the broad brush indicates, “Why the system will still win.”, so one can be confident that Anderson does not see the prospect of the ‘dual power’ of his 1970s flirtation with the left returning.

In the latest New Left Review a less abstract note is struck by the Deputy Editor of the journal,  Daniel Finn,

Brexit has thrown the whole political field into confusion, and Labour will struggle to achieve a majority in parliament after the next election, even if it emerges as the largest party. The conditions of its likely coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party, could include the extinction of any distinctive Corbyn project.

Corbyn, Labour and the Brexit Crisis

Daniel Finn Labour in the Brexit Vice

Finn continues, “All factors seem to point towards ultimate defeat, except one: the fact that Corbynism has already survived against the odds to reach its current position.”

There is an account of the Labour Party’s post-Corbyn successes and difficulties.

Brexit, the Vice in which Labour is squeezed, is introduced:

“While rational fears of what Brexit could mean under Tory leadership fuelled the wider Remain constituency” writes Finn” it was Blairite holdovers like Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell who dominated the leadership of the People’s Vote (pv) campaign, skewing its political orientation.

In the sketch this also stands out, ” Expecting the Remain side to win comfortably, the Labour right thought it safe to use the referendum campaign as a factional weapon, telling sympathetic journalists that Corbyn’s line was really an argument to leave the eu altogether.”

Many would note this detail: New Left Review Editorial Board member Tariq Ali, “Jeremy Corbyn ‘would be campaigning for Brexit if he was not Labour leader’, says long-time ally Tariq Ali.” May 2016).

Finn finally settles down to the famous clasp in which Labour is clamped.

Having admitted its importance he admits that the Labour left has its own internal differences.

…. Corbyn allies like John McDonnell and Diane Abbott favoured a change of strategy as well, along with some of the younger left mps (Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Kate Osamor). Divisions over Brexit cut across the left/right cleavage in the plp: Labour front-benchers such as the party chair Ian Lavery were strongly opposed to a second referendum, and McCluskey argued against a sudden shift towards the hard-Remain camp, but a group of mps that included staunch opponents of Corbyn like Stephen Kinnock and Ruth Smeeth also composed an open letter, denouncing the ‘toxic’ idea of a second referendum as a gift to the nationalist right.

The NLR writer – accurately – summarises a real dilemma,

 In any case, securing a referendum is one thing, winning it is quite another. The Labour leadership is being urged by friend and foe alike to adopt a goal that is neither more desirable nor even more achievable than its previous stance, in the name of avoiding electoral meltdown.

This is differently phrased to his comments in  ‘Jacobin‘ a few months ago (which combines the following with the all too familiar ranting tone of the US’s ‘leading ‘ left voice, this time about Paul Mason’s, ” shop-soiled reactionary agenda .”)

One of the main advantages of a “soft Brexit” deal — whatever its precise details — would be avoiding the need for a second referendum. Most advocates of such a vote have been shockingly complacent about their chances of victory, brushing aside opinion polls that suggest a rerun of the first vote would be too close to call.

Even if Remain won, the campaign would be even more rancorous than the first, and only a landslide result could truly settle the issue.

We may now be drifting towards a second referendum in any case. But Corbyn and Labour were right to try and avoid that outcome.

There has often been a tendency to defend Labour’s position in terms of electoral pragmatism — the need to balance between Remain- and Leave-voting sections of its base. This is perfectly legitimate in its own right: a left-wing government, implementing Labour’s 2017 manifesto or going beyond it, would make far more of a difference to people’s lives than staying in the EU.

But there was a wider political logic behind the party’s stand. The accusations of “sitting on the fence” leveled at the Labour leadership are misguided at best, malicious at worst. The best elements in the party, including Corbyn, recognized it would be a disaster if Leave vs Remain became entrenched as the main dividing line in British politics.

Electing a Labour Government Matters More Than Brexit

The entrenchment is real and has not been wished away by Corbyn or anybody else.

What of his Jacobin claim that, “if the Labour leadership does now pivot towards the second-referendum camp, it should be seen in a realistic light, as a major setback for the Corbyn project…

Finn – rewriting lightly this judgement – concludes this section,

Corbyn’s latest move fell some way short of the unqualified pro-Remain commitment his opponents were seeking. In July 2019, he announced that Labour would campaign to stay in the eu if that was the only alternative to no deal or ‘a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs’; on the other hand, if Labour formed a government before the Brexit deadline and had time to negotiate its own package, it would put that agreement to a popular vote, with Remain as the alternative choice. The new line could be made to work—but whether Corbyn’s inner-party opponents will allow that to happen is a very different question.

‘Falling far short’ may satisfy New Left Review, but not many others, perhaps he means “falling far short” of a major setback…

“Could be made to work”, pure Andersonese, is as clear as mud.

All three of Finn’s possible scenarios for a Labour government,  headlong retreat by conservative resistance”, a “reformist party that actually carries out reforms”, and (the improbable), ” return to the ideas that animated left-wing forces in the 1960s and 70s when they recognized the limitations of social-democratic rule” depend on a response to the issue of Brexit.

But few can escape the observation that the days of feeling satisfied at the “knocks” delivered by the Brexit vote, or calling for “undoing” the EU have passed.

This is surely worth flagging up in the inconclusive concluding sentence,

If Corbyn succeeds in taking power after the next election, he will have made his way past many formidable obstacles, but his greatest challenges will still lie ahead.

From a different part of the left one can outline some of the deeper difficulties that Labour and the left face:

  • This is not a trivial “culture war”. The days when the category of  ‘anti-systemic’ parties had any use obscures the change. The Brexit vote has been followed by the development of national populist current in British politics. From the Johnson-led Tory Party to the Party PLC, of Nigel Farage (following the example of a number of European ‘parties’ from Macron’s  La République En Marche, Italy’s Movimento 5 Stelle, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Rally –   lieu de rassemblement – la France insoumise , a business run from the top), embody currents which call for national sovereignty, free-market economics, and antagonism to the “anti-nation”. The “empty symbols” of Rule Britannia, national “amour propre” not only moblised the Leave vote, they have become the foundations of this politics. A far-right fringe is now actively targeting the “collaborators” who wish to Remain.
  • WIthin the Corbyn camp the continuing influence of a pro-Brexit constituency.  But radical hostility to the “hayekised” EU, and calls to represent the “impoverished” deindustrialised  regions, the ‘left behind’, has not been the basis of a serious economic and social programme. They cannot recreate the labour movement of the 1970s. As the Accelerationist Manifesto pointed out in 2013  ” There can be no return to Fordism. The capitalist “golden era” was premised on the production paradigm of the orderly factory environment, where (male) workers received security and a basic standard of living in return for a lifetime of stultifying boredom and social repression. Such a system relied upon an international hierarchy of colonies, empires, and an underdeveloped periphery; a national hierarchy of racism and sexism; and a rigid family hierarchy of female subjugation. For all the nostalgia many may feel, this regime is both undesirable and practically impossible to return to.”
  • The lingering influence of  ‘sovereigntist’ politics on the British left, one of the principal poles of the pro-Brexit, Lexit, current, creates deeper difficulties. Many of their figures have followed that of its European counterparts.In the absence of a real prospect of “striking real blows at the roots of capitalist power, provoking a crisis within the state machine, and relying upon mass movement” (cited by Finn as the “least likely” of the results of a possible Labour government) they has turned inward. It cannot rely only on the “folk politics of localism” and memory of the “real” working class. Parts of this left has drifted towards a “red brown” cocktail of hostility towards “rootless cosmopolitans”. The leader of probably the biggest post-war left coalition, Respect, George Galloway, is now an open ally of Nigel Farage. Far from being at antipodes to National Populism the Sovereigntist left is in danger of becoming its twin.
  • A left based on transformative democracy has also emerged. As Another Europe is Possible says,”A British exit from the EU would have a seriously detrimental impact on the free movement of people; trade union and human rights; environmental protection; international cooperation; and a host of other vital issues. While, at the very least, the EU is in desperate need of a democratic overhaul, an exit at the current time would boost right wing movements and parties and hurt ordinary people in the UK. European politics has been dominated by neoliberal thinking for far too long – as recent events in Greece brutally demonstrate. But changing this means working to strengthen anti-austerity movements across all of Europe – not walking away. Another Europe is Possible is a campaign for a radical “in” vote. Our campaign will put the case for staying in the EU independently of Cameron and big business, opposing any part of a “renegotiation” that attacks workers’, migrants’ or human rights. We will combine campaigning for an in vote with arguing for an alternative economic model, maintaining European citizens’ rights to live and work across the EU, and for far-reaching democratic reforms of European institutions.
  • This position stands, and is a better guideline for left politics than delight at the EU being given a “kick up the backside” or celebration of ‘anti-systemetic’ parties without any positive emancipatory politics.

Finn is a specialist in Irish politics.

Perhaps he would care to develop – the present article does not –  the theme of how  EU demands for “no room for unilateral exit from the ‘backstop’ designed to prevent a hard border on Irish soil.” have become the centre of the Brexit wars…

Or this:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 20, 2019 at 1:26 pm