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Socialist Left Moves to Back People’s Vote on Brexit Deal.

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Theresa May’s abject failure in negotiating a deal with the EU means that the public must have a fresh say.

Mayor of London’s call for people’s vote adds to pressure on Jeremy Corbyn.

More than 100 anti-Brexit motions, and motions backing another referendum, or people’s vote, have been submitted by constituency parties – believed to be a record for any single issue in the party’s recent history.

A large number of the motions are from the left of the party, and call for a commitment to a people’s vote to be inserted into Labour’s next general election manifesto.

Sam Tarry, national political officer of the TSSA union, who used to work for Corbyn, said the left of the Labour party was uniting behind demands for another vote: “The sheer weight of anti-Brexit motions going to conference is unlike anything I have ever seen – and the only force in the Labour party capable of pulling that off is the left. The trade union movement has moved quickly towards an anti-Tory Brexit position this summer. There is this feeling that we, the socialist left, simply cannot stand by and watch while workers and communities are sacrificed at the altar of Tory dogma and imperial nostalgia.”

Until now Corbyn and the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, have said they would prefer the public to be given a say on Brexit in a fresh general election, adding that, if one does not happen soon, the option of a second referendum should remain open. But leftwingers in the party now say this formula is not sufficient, and want a commitment to another referendum in the next manifesto.

Alena Ivanova, a leading activist for the grassroots group Momentum in east London, said: “This is a campaign now being led by the left… Tory Brexit is a fundamental threat to the rights and prosperity of working-class people and the communities that Labour represents, driven by bosses and rightwing ideologues. We will only stop it with unashamed leftwing internationalism and, crucially, that will also help us in the campaign to get the Corbyn government we need.”

Guardian.

 

One of the parties backing such a motion is Ipswich.

In a debate last week at the All Members’ meeting this motion  was endorsed. It was just past the deadline for formal inclusion in the above list, but will be the basis for our Conference Delegate to support.

Motion – to be moved by Andrew Coates:

Oppose Tory Brexit and win a radical Labour government.

(Extracts)

This CLP supports the earliest possible election of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. The current government is putting Tory Party dogma first, not jobs first – and they have no mandate for their agenda”
…..

“We call on the Labour Party to:
1. Oppose any Brexit deal that does not satisfy Labour’s 6 tests.
2. Call for an immediate general election, and make a manifesto commitment to call a public vote on the Brexit deal with an option to remain in the EU if the public rejects it.
3. If we cannot get a general election, to campaign for a public vote on the deal with an option to remain in the EU; and following a defeat for the government, to call for animmediate general election.
4. To place radical social and economic policies at the heart of our programme of government – taxing the rich and big business to pay for better public services, rapidly expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.

Delegates from this CLP to Labour Party conference should vote in line with this policy.”

This received overwhelming support from all sections of the party, with one vote against and a couple of abstentions.

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 16, 2018 at 11:58 am

On Louis Proyect’s The Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism and the European left.

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Idlib, Syria: Thousands protest peacefully against Assad’s war, Friday 14 September.

Louis Proyect has just published this article (in Counterpunch), of significance not only in the US but for the European left, and across the word.

On the Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism.

Beginning with an overview  of “Rohini Hensman’s recently published Indefensible: Democracy, Counterrevolution, and the Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism” it extends to a wider series of reflections.

Project tunes into some of the key ethical and political problems, thrown up by a number of intense  conflicts across the world since 2011 and the response of various parts of the left to them.

In each of them the politics of an ‘anti-imperialism’, limited to opposing the ‘West’ (and de facto backing, amongst others, Assad’s regime, Putin and , though he mentions this to a much lesser degree, Iran) has been called into question.

Rohini Hensman’s recently published Indefensible: Democracy, Counterrevolution, and the Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism is an important contribution to the debate that has divided the left since 2011, the year that Syria became a litmus test. For some, support for Bashar al-Assad became tantamount to backing Franco in the Spanish Civil War while others saw my perspective as lending support to the USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other reactionary states carrying out the same neoconservative foreign policy that turned Iraq into a failed state.

In other respects, he observes that on a range of social and economic issues the US left was united (“ranging from defending immigrant rights to opposing fracking),at the start of the decade.

But, “The polarization deepened in 2014 when the Euromaidan protest became litmus test number two.”

“As was the case with Syria, the overwhelming majority of the left sided with Yanukovych who was seen as a progressive leader ousted by a coup organized and funded by the CIA. When war broke out in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin-backed militias were freedom fighters while Kyiv became a tool of NATO and Western banks. Trying to avoid such geopolitical dualities became difficult, if not impossible.”

This could equally be seen here. The left (with at least some hope of a wider political influence than the US left, which was increasing after Ed Miliband began his Labour leadership)  has in general terms  been united on issues such as anti-austerity. This has parallels across Europe, although since that time the EU (UK) or sovereigntism has become  dividing lines.

It was during the Ukraine crisis that the same divisions over international issues, as in the US, became serious.

There was (lightly covered) with support for Putin and the Russian Federation’s claims  from the Morning Star, and the Stop the War Coalition (Counterfire-led) – a position not reflected so widely in the rest of Europe outside of the direct inheritors of the Stalinist parties – but also present.

Here is their activity in sharp focus,

Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine’ launched in London Socialist Appeal. 2014

Lindsey German (Counterfire), Boris Kagarlitsky (Institute for globalization studies and social movements), Andrew Murray (Communist Party of Britain), Alan Woods (International Marxist Tendency) and Sergei Kirichuk (Borotba) discuss the threat of fascism in Ukraine, the role of imperialism in the current situation and the need for a campaign in support of the antifascist resistance in Ukraine to provide a counterweight to the lies and distortions of the Western media.

Then there is the Middle East, where unity over opposition to the Invasion of Iraq began to crack, above all as the Arab Spring brought forth a movement for democracy against the Assad dictatorship.

Proyect talks of Syria, the cause of whose people he has been a consistent champion.

He cites US writers who have sided with Assad (and not, odd as it may seem, the worst of the red-brown Assad apologists….)

For Syrians, the notion put forward by Stephen Gowans et al that Syria was some sort of socialist utopia rivaling if not besting Kurdish Rojava was a cruel joke. Hensman writes:

Finally, it is an irony that people who see themselves as socialists fail to note the class dimension of the uprising. Janine di Giovanni provides a vivid description of the Damascus elite who support Assad: “[In June 2012,] for several weeks running, I watched the fevered hedonism of the Thursday afternoon pool parties at the Dama Rose Hotel … By lunchtime, women were rushing to hairdressers; the roads leading out of the city … were clogged with luxury cars … Restaurants such as Narenj, which … served traditional Arabic food to the elite, were still packed.” (di Giovanni 2016, 8). By contrast, in 2007 a third of Syrians were living beneath the poverty line, with nearly another third only slightly above this level. Swiss-Syrian socialist activist and scholar Joseph Daher (2016) writes that “even the regime-controlled Syrian General Federation of Trade Unions deplored in 2009 that “the rich have become richer and the poor poorer … (and) low income earners who make up 80 percent of the Syrian population are looking for additional work to support themselves”. He continues, “We must not forget that the popular revolution in Syria began as a result of social economic injustices and widespread poverty, in addition to political issues.”

This is the crucial, the crunch point: his summary of what’s facing people in Syria now:

We are now in the final hours of the seven-year ordeal in which attempts to restore the democratic values of Hourani’s government have been crushed by overwhelming air power and massive intervention by Iran, Hezbollah and Afghan mercenaries. The looming victory against “imperialism” leaves the country in shambles with dismal economic prospects and inescapable environmental disaster.

He continues, looking at the “campists” now backing, more or less openly, Assad.

A certain political myopia exists in such quarters. Despite their anti-fascist pretensions, they cannot fathom how Assad’s victory will strengthen reaction throughout the Middle East and Europe. In an interview on Portuguese television, General al-Sisi stated: “The priority is that we support the national armies to impose control over the territory, deal with the extremists, and impose the necessary stability in Libya, Syria and Iraq.” When the interviewer followed up with “When you refer to the National Army in Syria, do you mean the Syrian army?”, the General replied: “Yes.”

In  Proyect’s conclusion he suggests that capitalists, and those states who wish for  Assad’s victory, have their own interests at heart.

Hardly a surprising claim but can this be extended to speculation that a bloc is being formed out of “With Assad, al-Sisi, Putin and Haftar” in a “new axis of resistance against Islamists” or, even more speculatively, “would anybody be surprised that Netanyahu would apply for membership?2

One can only note that Louis’s belief that Boris Johnson is still UK foreign Secretary is one, amongst many reasons to doubt the emergence of such an alliance. And there is a leap from a certain support for Libya’s Hafter to….Assad, and Putin, Israel, Macron….. which is hard to jump. (“In July, Haftar met with an Israeli intelligence officer in Amman, to “deepen security coordination between him and Israel”. Not only does Haftar have these considerable forces in his corner, he can also rely on the backing of France’s President Emmanuel Macron and the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, as well as the United Arab Emirates.”).

The conclusion is, nevertheless, worth serious reflection:

 In all their heartfelt objection to imperialism, Assad’s supporters on the left seemed to have forgotten that Lenin wrote a book titled “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”. If you forget about the capitalism part of his analysis, you don’t get very far.

One cannot imagine that Iran (whose capitalist rather than geopolitical and religious-ideological interest, if there is one, which it far from sure,  goes unmentioned) and Putin’s Russian Federation, have backed Assad out of a wish to strengthen a multipolar world contesting American dominance purely out of hearty anti-imperialist good will. The extent to which religious ideology as a material force in the conflicts remains unclarified, but who can seriously doubt that it plays a substantial role in these wars.

While one is certain that much of the US left, anxious at all times to distance itself from any hint of support for its own imperialist military machine, has good reason to be wary of its state’s involvement.

But today this is of utmost urgence: 

Indefensible: Idlib and the left Leila Al-Shami

Brexit, Racism and the Far Right: what some new anti-Fascists ignore.

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Image result for bookmarks shop britain great peoples charter

Hard-Line Brexit Right.

“The fight against racism is indivisible – which is why the left has always made it central to its politics.”

Lindsey German.  of the Left pro Brexit group Counterfire. August the 13th.

Brexiteer Arron Banks wants to mobilise Leave supporters to join the Tory Party and vote Boris Johnson as leader reports the Tendance’s favoutie daily print paper, the ‘I’.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon says Johnson has potential to be a ‘great prime minister’

Brexit-backing businessman Arron Banks is planning an attempt to ensure that Boris Johnson becomes prime minister by flooding the Conservative Party membership with his anti-EU supporters. The former Ukip donor, who gave £9m to the Leave.eu campaign in the 2016 referendum, has proposed a digital advertising campaign to encourage backers of his Brexiteer movement to join Tory ranks and back Mr Johnson in a future leadership election.

..

Trump adviser In the immediate aftermath of Mr Trump’s election victory, Mr Banks travelled to meet the president-elect along with close political ally and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage. Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s former political strategist and architect of his White House victory, yesterday reiterated his support for Mr Johnson, saying he has the potential to be “a great prime minister”. Mr Bannon, who is attempting to sway Mr Johnson towards supporting his plans for a populist anti-EU movement, insisted that Mr Johnson had “nothing to apologise” for over his remarks on the wearing of the burka. The US right-winger told the Sunday Times: “Boris just needs to be Boris – true to his nature and his calling – and I think he has potential to be a great prime minister, not a good one.”

In her account today of the Johnson’s Burka scandal Germain discusses racist coverage of Muslims, Islamophobia, and Boris. She defends women’s right to choose their oppression with the Burka. (Boris Robinson and Tommy Johnson: two sides of the same racist coin – weekly briefing)

For a second one’s attention is caught by this curious sentence, “Islamophobia in the 21st century targets women heavily, reproducing all sorts of issues to do with fear of sexuality, or of independent women. “

But disappointingly the role of the Burka and Niqab in promoting sexual independence is not developed.

After rushing around to mention media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, she then ends with the one phrase which makes some political sense in the whole overladen adjective-strewn, rant against “toxic” “scapegoating”,

There is a deliberate process here where fascists and the far right hitch themselves to mainstream politicians, and use them to further spread their doctrine of hate and division.

Now how did we come to a political scene in which these highly funded, media, Net obsessed alt-right can have an impact?

Why is there a cross-over between the far right and ‘mainstream politicians’?

How is that when the SWP bookshop, Bookmarks, was assaulted recently members of the vehicle of this cross-over UKIP, were involved (Ukip suspends three members over socialist bookshop attack) ?

Why is Boris the favourite of these forces?

The answer is the Carnival of Reaction that fed into and broke out after Brexit.

This was and is itself based on racism and xenophobia, the motor of that form of alt-right-driven populism which focuses on defending national sovereignty against the foreign EU and migrants.

While some on the left keep imagining that a People’s Brexit will be magicked out of economic and political thin air this continues to develop.

As observers have stated:

UN: Racism has risen since Brexit vote 11.5.2018.

The UK’s Brexit referendum has caused a growth in the acceptability of racial, ethnic and religious intolerance, the UN special rapporteur on racism said Friday.

After finishing a two-week fact-finding mission in the UK and Northern Ireland, Tendayi Achiume said in a statement that she found a “growth in volume and acceptability of xenophobic discourses on migration, and on foreign nationals including refugees in social and print media.”

Racial and religious-based intolerance was also noticeable in political discourse on both the left and right to the point that it has gained ground in mainstream political parties, she said.

DW

Perhaps one reason why Germain does not want to talk about this is because a part of the pro-Brexit left was heavily implicated in the process that has led to present conditions.

Paul Embery, National Organiser, Trade Unionists Against the EU. (a body given publicity and support by the Morning Star, the Socialist Party, and parts of the trade union left)  expressed (the  Sun 4th of May 2018)  the view that the left should be against uncontrolled migration permitted by EU rules on freedom of movement.

He went further than talking about competition over jobs and social resources, or employers’ use of (un-unionised) migrant labour to threaten wages and conditions.

Migration has created a cultural threat:

“The demographic convulsions meant stable, settled Barking and Dagenham found itself in the eye of the storm of the debate over mass immigration. The indigenous population cried out for respite. The letters page of the local paper was filled with correspondents begging to be heard. But nobody in power took a blind bit of notice, other than to patronise them with trite arguments about improved GDP and cultural enrichment.”

Our working class is not racist — they’ve just been shafted by the liberal elite

Embery’s defence of what he calls the “indigenous population” and their “their sense of order” ““faith, family and flag” against the “liberal elite”.

If this sounds like a call for something like the politics of Arron Banks (who donated £54,000 and gave other help to the Trade Unionists Against the EU) that is because beyond being the right-wing of Blue Labour it teeters on the fringe of the hard right.

There are wider issues about the relationship between Brexit and racism and the far right.

One way to look at them is through this emerging coalition of mainstream Tories and the far-right.

But it’s still important to look into the background.

In the lengthy article below Chris Gilligan, author of Northern Ireland and the crisis of anti-racism argues that the pro-Brexit left has ignored or tried to explain away the role of racialism in the Brexit vote.

It is not necessary to agree with the author’s support for Marxist-Humanist ideas on non-state social liberation (they took no official position for Leave or for Remain) to see that,

“If the Lexiteers are aiming to lead the working class, then they are invoking the working class to advance some other  project—such as promoting parliamentary sovereignty, justifying immigration controls, promoting social cohesion or building the Party. They are not immersing themselves in, and learning from, the struggle for human freedom.”

Left Brexiteers Evade the Charge of Condoning Racism

‘It was a popular revolt, not an anti-immigrant vote’: Left Brexiteers evade the charge of condoning racism

by Chris Gilligan, author of Northern Ireland and the crisis of anti-racism

The majority vote to leave the European Union (EU) has been celebrated by many on the Left (Lexiteers) as a revolt by the ‘left-behind’ working-class. The same vote has been condemned as enabling substantial racism and anti-immigrant sentiments. This article critically examines various Left attempts to defend the ‘Leave’ vote against the accusation of racism. According to these defences, a vote to leave the EU was in the interests of the working class, or of human liberation more broadly. The article highlights some contradictions between the goal of human emancipation and the defence of the Leave vote against the accusation of racism.

The article is divided into four main parts. The first part points to the ample evidence that anti-immigrant sentiment was a significant factor in the Leave campaign and vote. (This part also provides a substantiation of the assertion, in the MHI document Resisting Trumpist Reaction (and Left Accommodation), that: ‘In the UK, the surge of support for Brexit last year, which secured the victory of the “Leave” forces, was driven largely by anti-immigration backlash’ (p. 49).) The second part outlines a number of different attempts to evade the ‘it-was-racism-that-won-it’ argument. The third part provides a critique of Goodhart’s defence of Brexit voters from the accusation of racism. The fourth part does the same for Bickerton and Tuck. The article concludes by noting the importance of challenging racism as part of the broader struggle for human emancipation.

Amongst the many important  sections this is particularly telling:

Studies conducted after the referendum confirm that immigration control was a crucial issue. A poll conducted on the day of the vote, for example, found that a third of Leave voters who were polled (33%) said that the main reason for their vote was that leaving ‘offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.’ An analysis of data from the British Election Study survey of referendum voters concluded that the data suggested ‘that the decision taken by the Leave campaigns to focus heavily on the immigration issue … helped to drive public support for leaving the EU while also complicating the ability of Remain campaigners to “cut through” and galvanise support for continuing EU membership’. A study of the British Social Attitudes survey used the data to test two popular explanations for the Brexit vote: firstly, that it reflected ‘the concerns of more “authoritarian”, socially conservative voters about the social consequences of EU membership—and especially about immigration’; and secondly, ‘that the vote was occasioned by general public disenchantment with politics’ (a version of the ‘revolt against the elite explanation’). The study found that the survey data provided more evidence to support the first explanation than it did to support the public-disenchantment one.

Until people like Germain recognise this link between Brexit, racism,  and the growth – still very far from a mass movement – of the far-right in Britain, it is unlikely that those outside their limited circles will take their calls for anti-fascist and anti-racist unity seriously.

 

 

 

Ben Gummer, ex-Ipswich MP, Cosies up to Russian Oligarch and dodgy US “management consultants’ McKinsey.

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Image result for ben gummer sells kebabs

Gummer’s now got a nice little earner touting for Kremlin Oligarch and Dodgy US ‘Management Consultants’.

Ben Gummer and the ‘Kremlin-friendly tycoon’.

Friday 10th of August. SOLOMON HUGHES.

Morning Star,

Ben Gummer was a Tory Cabinet minister from 2010-17. Before the election he was considered part of Theresa May’s “inner circle.”
Gummer was “May’s eyes and ears, more trusted than many others around her Cabinet table,” according to one report.

He helped to write the manifesto for the 2017 election, which turned out to be a disaster, as loads of Tory MPs lost their seats — including Gummer himself.

So now he needs a new job. According to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, he’s got two.

First, Gummer has become a “fellow of practice” at the Blavatnik School of Government. He’s there to advise on “teaching and research on government reform” — because the Blavatnik school thinks the disastrous “reforms” his government ran between 2010 and 2017 are worth learning from.

The Blavatnik School of Government is an Oxford school founded by London-based Russian oligarch Sir Len Blavatnik. (1) His firm, Access Industries, have given the Tories £94,000. Blavatnik gave $1 million to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee, which organised the celebrations for Trump’s election. And he’s given £75m to Oxford to found this school.

But he built his fortune in the rough landscape of post-Soviet Russia, when oligarchs became billionaires by grabbing newly privatised state industries in a commercial “wild west,” where political connections helped to build fortunes.

The way his Russian wealth grew in the Putin years and his ongoing Russian business interests led the Financial Times to call him a “Kremlin-friendly tycoon.”

So his school hiring a former minister is likely to make the Tories even more oligarch-friendly.

Indeed, there is already government-Blavatnik school traffic. The Blavatnik School of Government does free work for the Cabinet Office, helping to train top civil servants through the Civil Service Leadership Academy.

A minister for a really bad government lecturing on how to do “good government” in an oligarch’s college is just one part of the picture.

Gummer also has a nine-month job as a senior adviser to McKinsey, the giant US firm of management consultants. McKinsey is all over the government, offering overcomplicated “solutions” to public services it doesn’t understand, usually by some spurious market methods. (1)

Any government that was “small-C” conservative would run a mile from McKinsey. But it got millions of pounds from both New Labour and Tory Andrew Lansley’s market-led “reforms” of the NHS.

McKinsey is hiring Gummer to advise on “government transformation projects.” Again all the Tory “government transformation projects” that happened in Gummer’s time — Lansley reforms, the probation privatisation, universal credit, rail franchising, academy schools — have been awful.

*******

Background: 

Should Oxford and the V&A take millions from Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik?   Guardian September 2017.

Fallout from resignation of Oxford professor at school bearing tycoon Blavatnik’s name latest in which business background has been raised

The Ukraine-born billionaire gave £75m to Oxford to set up the Blavatnik school of government, one of the largest donations in the history of the university. But last week Bo Rothstein resigned as a professor of government and public policy at the institution after it emerged that Blavatnik had donated $1m (£773,000) to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee.

A spokesperson for Blavatnik said his gift was for the committee that has been responsible for organising US presidential inaugurations since 1901 and that he had never donated to Trump. But Rothstein, a specialist on corruption, called the donation “incomprehensible and irresponsible” in his resignation letter.

Blavatnik, a UK and US citizen, was knighted for his philanthropy this year. His links to Vladimir Putin’s Russia and controversy in his business background mean criticism has often followed his donations, especially when it involves institutions naming buildings after him.

Oxford is not the only institution that has accepted money from Blavatnik and in return put his name on something. Tate Modern named its new extension after him because he made a donation the gallery described as “unprecedented”. The V&A museum is to call its new entrance hall after him too.

Oxford had already been criticised for accepting Blavatnik’s money before the letter from Rothstein. Two years ago, a collection of critics issued an open letter about his donation to the university, urging it to “stop selling its reputation and prestige to Putin’s associates”.

The signatories included Pavel Litvinov, one of the eight 1968 Red Square protesters, and Vladimir Bukovsky, a Russian dissident who exposed the Kremlin’s use of psychiatric treatment on political prisoners.

The letter urged Oxford to look into Blavatnik’s role in a clash between the British oil firm BP and its partners in a Russian venture.

Blavatnik, who turned 60 in June, was one of a group of oligarchs in the AAR consortium which partnered BP to create TNK-BP, one of the largest oil companies in Russia. Blavatnik was a director of TNK-BP.

*********

(1)  Blavatnik is a supporter of the US Republican Party, and in 2015-2016 donated a total of $7.35 million to six Republican political candidates, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Arizona Senator John McCain.[30] In February 2016, Blavatnik donated over $1 million to an anti-Donald Trump GOP group.[31] He also donated $1 million to the committee for the inauguration of Donald Trump.[30] In August 2017, political scientist Bo Rothstein resigned from the Blavatnik School of Government out of opposition to Blavatnik’s politics.[32]

Blavatnik and his American wife, Emily, also donated to Democratic Party candidates Kamala HarrisChuck SchumerAndrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton.[33]

 

In 2017, after two senior Trump administration officials went on record as being lobbyists for Blavatnik’s Access Industries[34], Blavatnik was mentioned in investigations led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian donations to the administration.[35] Since April 2016 Blavatnik contributed $383,000 to the Republican National Committee and $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund. However he did not give directly to the Trump campaign.[36]

Wikipedia

(2)  Information relating to allegedly corrupt practices by McKinsey at Transnet in 2011 and 2012 came to light in late July 2018. The weekly Mail & Guardian newspaper reported that a “…new forensic treasury report shows how controversial former Transnet and Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh enjoyed overseas trips at the expense of international consulting firm McKinsey, which scored multi-billion rand contracts at the state owned entities.” The “…report reiterates treasury’s recommendations that Singh’s conduct with regards to McKinsey should be referred to the elite crime-fighting unit, the Hawks, for investigations under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca). Under Precca, Singh would be investigated for allegations of corruption as the overseas trips alone constitute a form of gratification, which is illegal.”[59] The Sunday City Press reported that the forensic report in turn reported that “multinational advisory firm McKinsey paid for Singh to go on lavish international trips to Dubai, Russia, Germany and the UK, after which their contract with Transnet was massively extended.”[60]. Mckinsey issued a statement that the allegations were incorrect. Mckinsey stated that “based on an extensive review encompassing interviews, email records and expense documents, our understanding is that McKinsey did not pay for Mr. Singh’s airfare and hotel lodgings in connection with the CFO Forum and the meetings that took place around the CFO Forum in London and elsewhere in 2012 and 2013.”[61]

In early August 2018 McKinsey admitted to helping Transnet Group Chief Executive Siyabonga Gama prepare a part of his thesis to obtain an MBA degree from TRIUM, a collaborative MBA programme jointly run by the NYU Stern School of Business, the London School of Economics and Political Science and HEC School of Management. Several researchers at McKinsey’s Johannesburg office were assigned to help outline and prepare Gama’s submission to a joint thesis to which he had to contribute at least two chapters. Despite multiple earlier denials that any corrupt activities had been discovered, a McKinsey’s spokesperson said “… we believe this matter passed the threshold of reasonable suspicion that an offence may have occurred under South African law. As such, we reported it last year to relevant authorities under Section 34(1) of Precca.”[62]. The TRIUM Global EMBA official twitter account was reported to have tweeted that “We have been made aware of recent allegations about academic integrity involving a TRIUM alumnus. TRIUM and its three Alliance Schools…take academic integrity issues very seriously.”[63]

2018 Lawsuit

As of May 2018, the restructuring practice of the company is being sued by a competitor claiming knowingly misleading courts in order to land clients[64]. The company indeed disclose an average of only five potential conflicts per case, whereas other professional-services firms divulged, on average, 171 connections. In most cases it disclosed no conflicts at all.[65]

Wikepedia

Written by Andrew Coates

August 10, 2018 at 4:27 pm

Giles Fraser, The Poet of Brexit, Shreds Liberals’ “grin of intellectual superiority.”

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Image result for poor but loyal

“Why do Remainers find it impossible to consider the possibility that some people were prepared to accept a relatively poorer country as a price worth paying for a more independent one?” Giles Fraser.

This approaches the heart of the matter. Rensin argues that what is often behind liberal smugness is the philosophical assumption that the difference between people politically is always a difference of knowing various facts, not a difference of ideology. This is the problem with the empiricist approach to politics: the fact-based assessments and belief that evidence only should drive our disagreements. For when fact-based empiricism comes to dominate the cultural and intellectual apparatus of the liberal world-view, then it can only be a knowledge of the facts that divides people.

This is where progressive smugness comes from: the idea that I know stuff that you do not. It is not that we disagree ideologically, because ideology is dead. All that is left is facts and knowing facts. And either you know the facts or you don’t. And we do. And you don’t.

When it comes to Brexit – as with Thomas Frank and Kansas – it is widely insisted upon that no one could possibly have voted against their own economic interests knowingly. No one voted to be poorer, Anna Soubry told the Commons in an impassioned speech last week. The argument goes on thus: because Brexit will make us poorer, the Brexit-voting working class cannot have known what they were doing. So either they are stupid or (which amounts to the same thing) easily manipulated by the dark forces of those who do have much to gain.

But what if people did indeed think that there was something about Brexit that was more important that GDP? Why is it impossible to consider that possibility, that some people were indeed prepared to accept a relatively poorer country as a price worth paying for a more independent one? That some things are more important than money?

What middle-class liberals really do need to appreciate is that the difference between their perspective and that of the Trump supporter or the Brexiter is not one of ignorance of facts, but one of basic philosophy. It is not a mistake or ignorance that other people want to live in a very different world with very different values.

The smug sneer that progressives direct towards those who are “too stupid to know what is in their best interest” is premised upon a massive misreading of the situation. The Trump supporter and the Brexiter – and yes, of course I generalise – has a different philosophical perspective. Ideology has not gone away. It has returned in popular form. And that grin of intellectual superiority only feeds the opposition to the liberal perspective.

Indeed.

The material power of Brexit ideology:

 

One could remark that one thing that the British radical left opponents of Brexit and supporters of a People’s Vote are not is ‘liberals’, either economically or socially. Tolerance, to start with, does not include putting up with the intolerable, or being silent about the intolerant.

Democratic socialism  is a very different animal to US progressivism. Issues of poverty and class are not, from this standpoint, submerged under “meritocracy” “equal opportunity”  and “diversity”.

But there are more pressing issues.

In the less exalted world, also enlivened by a poetry,  where economics and Gradgrind Facts matter,

Brexit Is Dying. Time For A People’s Vote

The depth of the UK’s ties with, indeed dependence on, EU trade for its economic vitality was and is too great. Imports and exports are a crucial component of the UK economy – and over 50% of these involve the EU. By imposing barriers on trade with the UK’s largest market, Parliament would be inflicting a negative supply shock upon the economy, with ruinous effects for incomes, living costs, and the competitiveness of business. Many Brexiteers insist this would propel the UK to invest in markets further afield – but it is an economic fantasy, detached from the realities of geography, supply and demand.

Then what alternative? In the interest of addressing their own internal expediencies, the major parties have been flagrantly irresponsible, explaining neither the unattainability of a Hard Brexit nor the destructiveness to the UK’s international influence of its various softer alternatives. Though rarely mentioned publicly, the truth is common knowledge among the majority of MPs: no success may be made of Brexit.

Therefore, the possibility of No Brexit, via a second referendum, must be put back on the table. The deal that Theresa May, or another leader, negotiates with the EU must be explained to the public, its benefits and costs set against those of remaining an EU member. Let the choice be clearly laid out: the negotiated deal vs no Brexit at all. A People’s Vote may produce the same result as in 2016. But let it, this time at least, be a vote grounded in clarity of meaning and direction. Let the people make this last decision, for the political class is too divided and the future too precious. It is not too late to turn Brexit around. Indeed, failure to pursue the possibility, given what is at stake, would be an historic error. Else, the UK – divided, directionless and isolated – will continue on its present dangerous course, worryingly evocative of Edwin J. Milliken’s great poem ‘The Clattering Train’ (1890), which might now be adapted thus:

Who is in charge of the clattering train?

The axles creak and the couplings strain;

The pace is hot and the points are near;

And sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear;

Signals flash through the night in vain…

But who can now stop the clattering train?

 

The Independent Backs Referendum on Brexit Deal.

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Image result for Left anti-=Brexit tour

 

Britain in the EU is the best chance to constrain the power of big money and big business.

Amongst continuing chaos on the Brexit right and left this is worth flagging up: how some of the leading ideologues of Leave are now becoming disaster theorists.

In the Great Deception (643 pages long, long) Christopher Booker (who is also a climate change denier) and Richard North argued that that British membership in the EU is a “slow-motion coup d’etat” with an “agenda of subordination” to invasive centralised regulation that is economically harmful to the UK. “an entirely new form of government, one which was supra-national’ beyond the control of national governments, politicians or electorates” Everything else would become subordinate to this entity.

Those who have plodded through its weary pages, and bothered to retain more than the name of Jean Monnet (there are 3 other apocalyptic horsemen, Arthur Salter, Altero Spinelli and Paul-Henri Spaak), will probably remember only that the project the authors refer to was a United States of Europe. 

And that it was doomed, “…like the vision of Le Corbusier and a much grander scale, it would eventually leave a great devastation behind it: wasteland from which it would take many years for the peoples of Europe to emergence.”

The Great Deception, Can the European Union survive? Christopher Booker. Richard North. 2017 ‘Referendum’ Edition (First published 2005).

It seems, nevertheless, that now it’s the Brexit victory that can claim to have created a desert and called it their peaceful victory.

As both authors now say.

Theresa May’s Brexit proposal is so detached from reality that it can only end in disaster. CHRISTOPHER BOOKER (1)

It is this context which makes the Independent’s call today make sense.

The referendum gave sovereignty to the British people, so now they deserve a final say on the Brexit deal

Independent.

Morally, emotionally even, another referendum is needed to help bind up the wounds of the past two years

The Independent today launches a campaign to win for the British people the right to a final say on Brexit. Come what may in the months ahead, we maintain our commitment to our readers to retain balance and present many different points of view. But on this subject we believe a referendum on the final deal is right. We do so for three reasons.

First, amid the chaos of recent months, one thing has become increasingly clear: Theresa May’s approach – and indeed the chaos in parliament – is not working. We are simply not close enough to resolving so many big issues about which people care so much. The enormity of the task, the contradictions in both major parties and the ferocious divisions in their ranks have now stretched our parliament to its limits, to the point where the impasse leads us ever closer to an “accidental” Brexit, as foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt most recently acknowledged, without a deal.

Second, sovereignty rests with the people – the people should have the opportunity to finish what they began, to pause and consider whether they still want to go ahead with the Brexit course we’re on, just as they would any other major decision in their lives.

Third, while there are questions about the validity of another referendum – shouldn’t the original outcome be delivered? – we clearly know more now than we did in 2016, amid such deeply flawed campaigns on both sides. Ignoring these shortcomings and ploughing on regardless is a far bigger problem for democracy. Faced with the current turmoil in our politics, and with dangers ahead coming into focus, it is surely undemocratic to deny people a chance to express their opinion afresh.

The Independent also publishes this important commentary on Corbyn’s Labour Brexit speech by Nick Dearden, director of UK campaigning organisation Global Justice Now.

It makes many of the points those backing The Left Against Brexit would make, but is too sanguine about the lingering influence amongst the Labour leadership of the view that Parliament, embodying Popular Sovereignty, can effectively work socialist wonders free from the kind of pooled sovereignty the EU works with. Those Corbyn listens to include influential voices from the ‘British Road to Socialism’ tradition which believes not only that, but that the EU is a particularly hard form of what used to be known (pre-Trump) as “neo-liberalism”.

Corbyn was brave enough to tackle the reasons why people voted for Brexit – and now he’s being savaged for it.

Nick Dearden

The real criticism you might make of Corbyn’s speech is that it’s not radical enough. After all, much of this analysis is common sense in many parts of Northern Europe where “industrial strategy” and “economic intervention” have not been dirty words for the past four decades. But Corbyn pushes the envelope, for instance insisting that those businesses who benefit from government intervention must be held to account for their levels of pay equality, for their climate impacts, for what happens in their supply chain.

This couldn’t be further from Donald Trump’s vision of the world. In fact, Corbyn explicitly eschews Trump’s protectionist trade wars. But, as economist Dani Rodrik consistently argues, if you want low tariffs and an open economy without high levels of inequality and poverty, you must have strong regulation on big business, coupled with high levels of investment and welfare. The alternative is a free-for-all for big money.

That’s what we’ve lived through in Britain – a “market knows best” approach in which all that mattered was slashing regulation and liberalising the economy. That’s what drove Brexit, and indeed it’s what is driving far-right votes in the US and elsewhere. Sadly, it’s not being listened to by the government because the hard Brexit being successfully pushed by Liam Fox and Jacob Rees-Mogg would turbocharge this model.

I want the EU to survive because I believe it can fulfil the dream of some of its founders to promote peace and equality. I want Britain in the EU because I believe it’s the best chance to constrain the power of big money and big business, to fight climate change, and to offer an alternative to the rise of Trumpism. That’s why I’m speaking at the Left Against Brexit tour in Liverpool tonight.

But it is a fantasy to think the EU can do any of this without serious top-to-bottom transformation. The EU has embraced far too much of the “market knows best” philosophy – often pushed by the British government. As a result it is coming apart at the seams, and before too long, Brexit will be the least of Brussel’s worries.

That’s why the policy direction Corbyn announced yesterday should not be seen as an attack on the EU. Rather it gives much-needed direction for the union as a whole. Only a Europe which embraces some of the changes set out by Corbyn yesterday has a hope of surviving. There is no going back to the day before the EU referendum— we either embrace fundamental economic reform, or we lose to the false promises of the growing far right.

John Rogan  signals this useful thread on the issues the speech dealt with.

Counterfire Pats Itself on the Back for Backing Brexit.

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Image result for LOndon says Lexit Tariq Ali

Pro-Brexit Left Tries to Rise from the Grave.

How is the left reaction to the present stage of Brexit developing?

Counterfire, a weather-vane on the pro-Brexit left offers indications of how those opposed to the growing class for a Second Referendum on the left think.

For those not familiar with who and what Counterfire is, it is a revolutionary socialist groupuscle that split from the Socialist Workers Party in 2010 (Why we are resigning from SWP: an open letter.) They protested against the “authoritarian internal regime” of the SWP and its inability to create and work with, “a broad left response to the recession”.

They were the group most associated with George Galloway’s Respect, both inside the SWP (as the ‘left pltform’) and outside:Coutnerfire leader JohN Rees for example stood  for the Respect list in the WEst Midlands for the 2004 European Elections and was the Respect candidate for the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election. He also stood for Respect in the 2006 local elections in the Bethnal Green South ward of  Tower Hamlets.

Counterfire worked with Galloway in the Stop the War Coalition (StWC). Lindsey Germain from the orgisation is their best-known figure in the  the StWC. This alliance became notorious for  its “anti-imperialism of fools”. In 2015, following the murders at Charlie Hebdo and the Porte de Vincennes Hypercacher the organisation stated, “Paris reaps whirlwind of western support for extremist violence in Middle East”. It has played no active part in defending the population of Syria against the Assad regime’s violence, or in standing up for the Kurds fighting the genocidal Islamists of Daesh.

In domestic politics Counterfire was involved in the Coalition of Resistance (2010)  against Austerity, and is the leading force in the People’s Assembly (founded in 2013), whose national personal they have effectively provided. These are, in their own view, long-term strategic ‘united fronts’.

Counterfire itself promoted a Leave vote during the European Referendum.

Following the Leave victory Counterfire  has been prominent in what was known for a while as the “People’s Brexit” – that is a programme for a left government constructed outside of the structures of the EU (The why and what of a People’s Brexit John Rees)

The problem with this strategy is that trying to “block” the Conservative government’s policies without challenging Brexit has proved hard to do.

There is no movement in political or civil society to ‘take back control. There is no industrial unrest or indeed any other other forces demanding a left platform. There is only a Labour Party without political power. Unless Labour confronts the economic and social consequences of Brexit,that is opposes it, the labour movement lets  May and her hard Brexit opponents act as they wish.

This is the context for the present post:

Brexit and the left, two years on.

“The left should not avoid political struggle, it should actively work to shape the outcomes of political crisis argues David Bush

This article, which admirers  have compared to Mao’s On Contradiction, continues,

 It has been just over two years since Great Britain voted to leave the EU. With the final leave date set for March 29, 2019 Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU have revealed deep divisions within the Tory party and the broader ruling class.

………

In the runup to and shortly after the Brexit vote in the summer of 2016 many on the left sounded the alarm about the dangerous potential of Brexit for the UK, Europe, and even global politics.

Brexit was going to usher in a revanchist carnival of reaction. For the last two years, people have linked Brexit and the rise of Trump, using them as a sort of shorthand to describe the dangerous rise of rightwing populism across Europe and North America. Is this linkage warranted? Two years on what has been the actual effect of Brexit?

Apparently the Carnival was largely overshadowed by the good (but not winning) electoral performance of Labour in the last (post_Brexit0 eleciton)

The result of the election was a stunning near-victory for Labour. Corbyn’s Labour Party won 40 percent of the vote, drastically increased their seat count and took away the Tory majority. The Lib Dems, Greens and the SNP – which all backed Remain – lost votes.

And what of the reactionary side of the Brexit vote? Bush reassures us:

For many voters, living in forgotten communities, where jobs and hope have long disappeared, Brexit was seen as a way to reject the establishment.

One can only sight with relief that didn’t trundle out guff about “metropolitan liberals” “anywhere”.

But I dirgess.

Above all,

 The Lexit position was clear, there were no prospects for the working class inside the EU. It was argued that a Brexit vote would cause a crisis in the ruling class in the UK and in Europe and create better conditions in which to battle both the bosses and the far-right.

Er……?

It is not that the Brexit vote was destined to automatically lead to a decrease in anti-immigrant sentiment, rather that the Brexit vote opened up a political space in which those ideas could be shifted via political struggle.

Counterfire has shifted from arguing for a mass movement behind a People’s Brexit, to the view that Brexit offers the best conditions in which to fight  the expression of far-right prejudices and the bosses.

No evidence is offered for this claim

Except a thought experiment what might have happened if the Remain vote had won.

Looking into his vision of an alternative future the Counterfire Guru writes,

Two years on it is clear that if Remain won, there would more barriers than openings for the Left. David Cameron would still be the Prime Minister in a Majority government, the Tories would not be racked by political crisis, UKIP would be much more popular and able to harness frustration with the establishment more easily, British and EU capitalists would not be staring down a political crisis, Corbyn would not have had an election that would have put his internal critics on their back foot and shifted the political debate in the country.

Would it have offered the prospect of fighting an emboldened hard-right?

Obviously not.

Would it permitted a fight against the bosses?

Well, Yes it would!

Still, as it is, prospects are rosy:

When faced with business fears about Brexit, Tory MP Boris Johnson stated fuck business. Clearly, all is not well in the ruling class.

And,

Brexit from the outset was full of contradictions. Political struggle is and will always determine which side of the contradiction emerges from a political event. Too many on the Left forgot this basic outlook and retreated to moralism and fear. The Left should not dread shake-ups in ruling class institutions. It is messy, but that is the nature of political struggle – a shifting political terrain create openings, but it is also fraught with new dangers. The role of the Left is not to shirk from this struggle, to pine for institutional and political stability of capitalism, but to work to understand the potential, and actively shape the outcomes, of a political crisis. Two years on that is the lesson Brexit.

So in other words all Counterfire is left with is gloating at the “shake up” of “ruling class institutions” by internal squabbling amongt the Tories.

These, as Mao might have said, are “secondary contradictions” amongst the class enemy…..not to mention whatever mischief the pro-Brexit lot can stir up in the Labour movement.

But let the thought sink in: all they can show for Brexit is a bleeding big row.

****

An important reply (which is by no means in the same vein as the above)  is offered by Neil Faulkner: Lexit and the Left: a comradely response to Dave Bush (Left Unity).

Extracts:

The argument that socialists should support Brexit because the bulk of the British ruling class opposes it, because it has thrown the ruling class into crisis, and because the EU is a bosses’ club is no better. It breaks down at so many levels. Underlying it, I suspect, is the absurd notion that, in the hyper-globalised capitalism of the early 21st Century, there might be some sort of ‘British road to socialism’ – presumably under a Corbyn-led Labour government implementing some sort of ‘alternative economic strategy’. Is it not obvious that the state-managed welfare capitalism of the immediate post-war period broke down in crisis in the 1970s? Is it really credible to imagine some sort of social-democratic ‘new deal’ today, to be achieved in one country, in defiance of international finance-capital, and in isolation from the international working class?

..

The Tory regime is in deep crisis. The anti-Trump demonstration showed the potential to turn that crisis into collapse. We won a historic victory on 13 July. The British state, hosting the most important foreign leader in the world, could not guarantee security on the streets of its own capital, so was forced to move Trump around the countryside in a helicopter. The people controlled the streets and turned what was meant to be a state visit to honour a fascist supporting US president into a carnival celebration of our diversity, tolerance, and solidarity. The British Establishment was forced to mute its customary welcome – limiting it to  parades of Redcoats, tea with the Queen, holding hands with May – while the British people told the truth to the world that the man is scum. If we turned that into a mass social movement against Brexit and the Far Right, we can and will defeat them.