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Internationalist Left: Laura Parker, former Momentum Chief and Jeremy Corbyn Aide, Backs Keir Starmer.

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The pro-European, internationalist, left is backing Keir Starmer.

The internationalist left, as indicated by Laura Parker’s public stand,  is moving towards Starmer.

 

Laura Parker: Why I’m backing Keir Starmer for Labour leader

She was at the 2018 AEIP National Conference.

Parker’s support reflects the way that radical human rights supporters and internationalists have their place in Starmer’s unity campaign.

More support for Starmer comes from Susan Press, a well-known and respected figure on the Labour left.

Susan Press, Keir Starmer for Labour Leader

It is hard to part company with comrades on the left but the truth is it was crystal clear we were heading for catastrophe and we didn’t have an oven-ready candidate experienced enough to replace Jeremy. Had the result not been such a disaster, there was a lingering if unlikely hope that John McDonnell (who had actually wanted to be Leader and would have commanded support still) might be persuaded to stand. But that ship sailed with Johnson’s 80-seat majority.

These days I am not just a Labour Left activist. As a councillor for the past six years I represent a ward in West Yorkshire with two food banks and a lot of deprivation. But there are also people who are doing OK, people who didn’t vote for us last time or even vote at all. We need all of them on board to stand any chance at all of clawing back ground – let alone forming a government.

Does the PLP bear any responsibility for this? Sure they do. However the turn the Party as a whole took after the so-called chicken coup by MPs didn’t just lose us support. It spawned a bunker mentality and understandable determination to protect the leadership from the top right down to the grassroots. It got toxic. Very. Any criticism of Corbyn and you were a Tory. Anti-semitism was an invention (trust me as a member of the NCC, it wasn’t). Any concerns about election prospects were dismissed on an increasingly hysterical social media amid the cries of ‘bring it on’ and JC4PM. To be frank a lot of it was delusional. And as much to blame as Brexit for what followed.

This is Susan’s analysis of what we face at present.

So here we are with another leadership campaign. But it is not 2015. What made that campaign so amazing was its message of hope and authenticity from someone who had spent his life in the labour movement. Someone who didn’t have to keep saying the s-word as everyone knew he was a socialist and always had been. We wanted a fundamental shift in the Labour Party after years of watering down our values and we were right even if it went wrong in the end. Hindsight is easy and luck wasn’t on our side as neither was the media but that has always been the case even if this time it was unprecedentedly vile. A lot of mistakes were also made by the LOTO office according to those closer to the coal face and all that will no doubt be revealed in due course. However there has been a game-changing shift. Which may help us in the difficult years ahead.

Not one of the leadership candidates could in all honesty be described as on the right of the Party. And whatever silliness is being said about ‘ true’ and ‘proper’ socialists, after 40 years on the left of the Party I am not buying the line there is only one candidate we can vote for. Truth is there is not a batsqueak policy-wise between them.

So like that well-known Blairite Paul Mason I am voting for Keir Starmer – the candidate who has best chance of inspiring trust and convincing the unconvinced to come home to Labour. Who can cope with the pressure and take Johnson apart at the dispatch box and hold him to account when Brexit unravels. And, with no disrespect to the others, someone with a much longer track-record of standing up for human rights and social justice.

 

When you wish upon a Starmer

Keir Starmer received another big boost to his leadership bid when Laura Parker wrote a piece for LabourList yesterday about why she was endorsing him. Why is this significant? Parker was national coordinator of Momentum until just two months ago, and previously worked as Jeremy Corbyn’s private secretary. As you will know, Momentum is backing Rebecca Long-Bailey for the leadership and its chair, Jon Lansman, is director of her campaign.

This news is also remarkable when you think that Parker was working in the Labour leader’s office at the time that the mass shadow cabinet resignation and subsequent leadership challenge took place in 2016. These factors make Parker’s support the clearest realisation so far of Starmer’s broad appeal within the party – and it offers another example of the recent fragmentation of the Labour left. Of course, it would be remiss not to note that Brexit – with Parker and Starmer being on the same side – continues to play a huge role in this shake-up of factional allegiances.

The warring fragments of the left opposed to Starmer are still at it!

The Morning Star compares Starmer to Neil Kinnock…..but in reality  they are speaking for Kinnock’s pro-Brexit son.

We have been here before. Back in the 1980s when Kinnock became leader he believed in public ownership, he believed in unilateral disarmament, he had principles — or so we thought. But by the time his second general election came in 1992 he had long jettisoned them (and we still lost).

At this stage I have less faith in Starmer than I did when Kinnock became leader in 1983. You see it all comes down to who appears more electable.

This ‘betrayal narrative’ shows just how desperate the old comrades of Andrew Murray (who has just left as a Corbyn top aide)  have got.

They ignore the damage their own pro-Brexit campaigns, reflected through the influence of the  ‘corridor clique’ around Corbyn, have been to Labour’s vote in the December election.

 

The revolutionary socialists of Counterfire are another group of crystal ball gazers.

They consider, after a heap of slurs on Starmer’s human rights record,  and the claim that being against the hard-right Brexit project was wrong, that,

If Keir Starmer were to win, he would take Labour back to the centre-ground that proved so disastrous for Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and social democracy across Europe and beyond. He is no friend of the left and no committed socialist should vote for him.

Unlike the left’s  friends of the less than a hundred strong Counterfire.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 20, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Russian Anti-Fascists Imprisoned. Defend our Comrades!

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You can support the “network” case defendants by sending them solidarity messages, donating to the support campaign, and spreading the word about the case.

See the Rupression site for details

Russia jails members of ‘non-existent’ terror group Set

BBC.

Seven Russian anarchists and anti-fascist activists have been handed lengthy jail terms on terror charges.

A court in the city of Penza sentenced the men – said to be part of a group known as Set, meaning Network – to between six and 18 years in penal colonies.

Russian authorities say they were plotting to overthrow the government.

But rights groups and lawyers say the charges were fabricated, and the men were tortured into confessing.

Prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny described the sentences as “horrific” in a tweet, and called the Set group a “fictitious terrorist organisation”.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said he was aware of the case and had ordered authorities “to make sure everything is in line with the law”, but would not intervene.

The Guardian says,

Rights activists criticise trial, saying members of the Network were tortured.

A Russian court has issued harsh sentences to seven antifascist and anarchist activists in a controversial domestic terrorism case marred by claims that investigators tortured the defendants to elicit confessions.

The court in Penza, a city about 390 miles (630km) south-east of Moscow, sentenced the men to terms of six to 18 years in penal colonies for allegedly forming an organisation called Set, which translates as the Network, which prosecutors said planned to carry out future attacks inside Russia to overthrow the government. The men were also charged with an assortment of weapons and drugs charges.

Influential human rights groups have called the case fabricated and said the men may have been targeted for their political activism. Four of the men on trial said they had been tortured with beatings and electrocution during the investigation. In December, Memorial human rights centre, one of Russia’s oldest civil rights organisations, had called for the charges to be dropped.

The French Communist daily l’Humanité, runs the story,

RUSSIE LOURDES PEINES DE PRISON POUR DES ANTIFASCISTES

The left blog People and Nature reports,

Russia: “network” case anti-fascists jailed for 6 to 18 years

A military court yesterday convicted seven Russian anti-fascists of trumped-up charges in the “network” case, and sentenced them to between six and 18 years imprisonment. The trial of two more defendants continues in St Petersburg.

The frame-up of the “network” case defendants by security services (FSB) officers – and the repeated use of torture to obtain bogus confessions – has been denounced by human rights organisations. The jailed anti-fascists have been supported by an international solidarity campaign.

Here is a report from court yesterday, translated by the Russian Reader from Bumaga newspaper:

The Volga District Military Court, [sitting in Penza], has [convicted and] sentenced seven defendants in the Network Case.

Dmitry Pchelintsev was sentenced to 18 years in a maximum-security penal colony. Ilya Shakursky was sentenced to 16 years in a penal colony and fined 50,000 rubles.

Investigators claimed they were organizers of a “terrorist community.” Both men alleged that FSB officers had electrocuted them in order to obtain confessions.

Maxim Ivankin was given 13 years in a maximum-security penal colony, while Andrei Chernov was sentenced to 14 years, and Mikhail Kulkov, to 10 years. They were found guilty of involvement in a “terrorist community” and attempting to sell drugs.

Vasily Kuksov was sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony. He was accused of involvement in a “terrorist community” and illegal possession of a weapon. Another defendant, Arman Sagynbayev, received 6 years in prison.

The verdict handed down by the court in Penza suggests that the acquittal of the Petersburg defendants in the case is less likely, Viktor Cherkasov, the lawyer for Viktor Filinkov, a defendant in the Network Case, told Bumaga. “It sends a message,” said Cherkasov. “It is difficult to hope [for a positive outcome], but we are still determined to protect Filinkov’s interests.”

Cherkasov said that he planned in court to point to the faked evidence in the case. He also that he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if Filinkov were found guilty. The next hearing in the Network Case in Petersburg should take place between February 25 and February 28.

[In October 2017 and January 2018], antifascists and anarchists were detained in Penza and Petersburg. They were accused of organizing a “terrorist community,” allegedly called “the network”.

……

At the end of the court hearing, Mediazona, the human rights defenders’ web site, reported:

The session is over. The sentence was read out in complete silence. Now, behind the court’s closed doors it is very noisy. Those who came to support the defendants are shouting: “Free political prisoners!”

“Stay strong, we are with you”, one of the support group shouted out.

“No, it’s we who are with you!” answered Dmitry Pchelintsev, one of the defendants. […]

People shouted “shame!” and “freedom!” […]

Outside court, a crowd gathered. Some people played drums, others sang, waiting for those convicted to be taken away in prison vans. Alongside stood security services officers in masks.

Vehicles left [the court] in a convoy. According to Mediazona’s correspondent, OMON [riot police] officers threw their coats over the convicts, so as to pass the crowds unseen. The supporters then began to go their separate ways.

 

More information:

ABOUT THE CASE

In autumn 2017 6 people were arrested in Penza – to some of them weapons and explosives were thrown up. Then FSB tortured antifascists right in the pretrial detention center: connected electrodes to different parts of body and put the electricity on, beaten, hanged upside down. While torturing security chiefs forced activists to learn by heart the testimony which FSB wants, that they had founded and participate terrorist community “Network”. At the end of January 2018, three more antifascists were arrested in St. Petersburg. They were also beaten, electrocuted and forced to incriminate themselves – to confirm that they are members of the “Network”. And in July 2018 there was a last arrest of two persons in Moscow.

By forging the evidence and tortures, the FSB fabricates a case about terrorism against antifascists. The FSB claims that the detainees planned to arrange explosions during the presidential elections and the World Cup. All this – allegedly in order to “shake the masses to further destabilize the political situation in the country” and raise an armed rebellion. Now there are ten antifascists behind the bars. Arrested face from five years up to life sentence in prison.

After the case against antifascists and tortures became widely known- actions of solidarity took place in Russia and abroad. However, this led to new repressions. The participants of the actions from Moscow were detained and criminal proceedings were opened against them. Antifascists from Chelyabinsk were detained, electrocuted and a criminal case was also opened against them.

 

More

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm

“Starmer is the candidate for the Police, MI5 and the British State” – says Vice President of Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

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Image result for tony greenstein ken loach

Ken Loach and Friends (Greenstein on the the far left).

 

Keir Starmer is the candidate that the Deep State & the British Establishment want you to vote for.

Tony Greenstein.

Starmer is the candidate of MI5 and the Political Police – he is Establishment down to his manicured fingers. ‘Sir’ Keir has pointed to his role in providing legal advice to striking miners and print workers.  This is true but it was a long time ago when he was a socialist. Today he is the darling of the Right.

Anyone who is fooled by this ‘lurch to the left’ is truly pathetic. Starmer is the candidate for the Police, MI5 and the British State that eviscerated Corbyn.  It was just one of Corbyn’s idiocies that when Starmer resigned in the chicken coup that he was let back in to wreak more havoc.

Mr Greenstein is the Vice-President of Labour Against the Witch-hunt and a frequent contributor to the Weekly Worker.

He has also contributed to Al-Jazeera’s web site.

LAW’s honorary presidents are Professor Moshé Machover and Ken Livingstone.

LAW’s sponsors include:

  • Ken Livingstone
  • Alexei Sayle, comedian
  • Professor Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist and founder of Matzpen
  • Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers Union
  • Ken Loach, film director
  • Noam Chomsky, author and activist.

If you had doubts before, Starmer is now the candidate to back!

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 6, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Affaire Milla: 16 Year Old Gay Lycéenne Faces Death Threats for Criticising Islam, Minister of Justice says, “Insulting Religion” is an “Attack on Freedom of Conscience”.

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Misogynist and Homophobic Hatred in Response to Mila’s Criticism of Islam.

L’affaire Mila expliquée.

Le Monde, and

(Adapted)

It could have been just another live video posted by a teenage girl on Instagram on a Saturday. It has become what is now called the “Mila affair”. This homosexual high school girl with purple hair was insulted and threatened with death for having made insulting remarks towards Islam on January the 18th.

The case took on a new dimension when the Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet, was invited to speak on the subject on Europe 1 on Wednesday January 29. She was accused of wanting to put into  question the right to blaspheme (which is not not a crime in France), declaring that insulting a religion “obviously constitutes an attack on freedom of conscience” .

….

Mila is 16 years old, she lives in the Lyon region, and is passionate about singing. It is on Instagram that she shares her opinions, speaks about her life, posts videos of her, chats with her followers, and talks openly openly about her homosexuality.

In a video she expressed this view,

“  I hate religion, (…) the Quran there is only hatred in there, Islam is shit. (…) I said what I thought about it, you are not going to make me regret it. There are still people who will get excited, I clearly don’t give a damn, I say what I want, what I think. Your religion is shit, your God, I put a finger in her arsehole, thank you, goodbye.

This was the reaction,

“I received 200 messages of pure hatred per minute”, fake accounts are created in her name, she explains to Bellica (an ‘identitarian’ rightist site) , which has posted screenshots of the ultra violent messages that she received .

Personal information concerning her, such as her address or the name of her school, was disclosed.

She says,

Unlike them, I did not insult anyone, nor threatened, nor called for violence against anyone. What I did was blasphemy, general criticism of religions, and nothing else . “

But,

“I can no longer set foot in my lycée and I can’t even change my  lycée because it’s the whole of France that wants my hide” .

This was another response,

On Thursday January 23, the general delegate of the French Council for Muslim Worship (CFCM), Abdallah Zekri, estimated in the programme Les Vraies Voix on Sud Radio  : “whoever sows the wind harvests the storm”. “She sought this, she is responsible,” he said again, while saying “against” the death threats she received.

Mila has problems at helycée where some of the students are thought to have been at the origins of the violent threats.

Her case is being dealt with by the educational authorities.

A procedure to prosecute MIla for inciting race hate has been dropped, while another investigation into the origins of the death threats has been launched.

In France after the assertion of the Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet the “affaire Mila” has taken a political dimension.

If she soon backtracked, saying the death threats are no acceptable, questions remain as to why she ever came out with this defence of hatred.

The Minister of Justice returns to her remarks concerning the Mila affair

France 24.

“We have the right to criticise a religion, it’s very clear. There is no question of coming back to this,” added Nicole Belloubet to Radio Classic’s microphone on Thursday.

It evokes a “formulation error”. Nicole Belloubet, the Minister of Justice, made a point, Thursday, January 30, the day after her remarks strongly criticized on the Mila affair. The Keeper of the Seals condemned the cyber harassment and death threats against the 16-year-old girl on Europe 1, adding that “insult to religion is an attack on freedom of conscience”.

“I didn’t have to say that, for sure”, said Nicole Belloubet, at the radio of Radio Classique. “We have the right to criticise a religion, it’s very clear. There is no question of coming back to this”, she added.

he minister had already started, on Wednesday afternoon, a mea culpa, believing that his “expression may have been awkward”“Insults and discrimination on the grounds of religious affiliation are offences. That is what I meant”, she said, denouncing a controversy “ridiculous”. And to add: “I have absolutely no justification for the offense of blasphemy.”

A stock response on the British left these last years has been to dismiss people like Mila.

Saying that Islam is shite obviously does not hold up to the high standards of those, like Terry Eagleton, who think that religious truths are a separate kind of verity that unbelievers cannot understand.

Others, who promote a communitarian view of truth, think that nobody should be rude about a community of belief.

Even the ‘free speech’ warriors of Spiked and people like Douglas Murray consider that saying nasty things about ‘gammons’ should be halted.

Charlie Hebdo came to the defence of Mila, unbowed, recalling their own bloodied martyrs.

Yesterday they published this:

Editorial by Riss: Teenagers to the stake!

Have you heard of the boot torture? It involved encasing each of the suspect’s legs between two wooden planks, tying all four tightly together and then driving wooden wedges between the two central planks, thus crushing the limbs if the suspect refused to admit the crime of which he was accused. The Chevalier de La Barre was one of the most famous victims of this torture. In 1766, aged 20, he was condemned to have his legs crushed, initially with two wedges and then with four, before having his tongue ripped out, being decapitated and being thrown into the flames. His crime: blasphemy. He was accused of having failed to doff his hat to a passing religious procession in the saintly town of Abbeville and, what is more, of mutilating a crucifix. His decapitated body was burned with a copy of Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary nailed to the torso.

Today, blasphemy is no longer punished by decapitation: it is not even against the law. Nevertheless, in 2020 there are still people clamouring for death in its name. The Chevalier de La Barre was only 20 when he was tortured. He read licentious and impious books that did not respect religion. He had the insolence of his age – an age that fears nothing – and desired only to live in freedom.

At the ripe old age of 16, the age of revolt, Mila could have been his younger sister. Last week, online, she dared to express her anger against the injustice and aberration of faith, particularly that of Islam, in terms that the Chevalier de La Barre probably wouldn’t have disavowed. Mila won’t be subjected to the boot torture, only to insults on the social networks and death threats on the Internet. Routine treatment nowadays for those who refuse to submit to religious authority.

Her anger against the arbitrariness of religion is all the more moving because it recalls that of another young girl of her generation, the now famous Greta Thunberg. They both seem to be rebelling against the same injustice: adults’ cowardliness. Adults have done nothing to stop the planet disintegrating before our eyes. Nor have they done anything to fight religious intolerance, which is becoming more invasive every day, like an oil slick that we can no longer hold back. At 16, it’s impossible not to be worried by the thought that this is the world where you have to try and live: a planet asphyxiated by exhaust gases and the toxic preaching continually emitted by the diesel engines of Islamism and fanaticism. And you can’t count on adults to protest against the pollution filling our lungs and smothering our freedom of speech.

After first being insulted by the most stupid, Mila was threatened by the most fanatical and finally abandoned by the most cowardly. Her anger and sincerity should have elicited as much support as Greta Thunberg’s. But people have turned their backs on her out of fear and intellectual laziness, because her cause is less photogenic than koalas squealing when their little backsides are toasted by the flames of an apocalyptic fire. Above all, Mila is more dangerous. Here, we’re not talking about saving life on Earth, but saving our very skins. We refuse to admit that our society is capable of torturing the innocent with the same icy certainty as our ancestors at the Chevalier de La Barre’s time. We’re so full of our own modernity that we nonchalantly brush off the impassioned indictments of a Voltaire against the inquisitors, because they make us confront our cowardice. The boots in which we crushed blasphemers’ leg bones belong to the past. We no longer need them.

Smartphones, backed up by a few Kalashnikovs and well-sharpened kitchen knives, have taken their place when it comes to intimidating the insolent who refuse to bow before the faith of the fanatics and the resigned.

Charlie Hebdo n°1436

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 30, 2020 at 12:04 pm

UNITE Backs “Brains and Brilliance” Rebecca Long-Bailey.

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Image

‘Brains and the brilliance’.

“my kind of socialism is a kind where everyone is free to dream, free to climb and free to succeed. we will put power back where it belongs; in your hands” – powerful pitch in manchester tonight about how can rebuild labour and rebuild britain #RLB2020

After extensive consultation between Len McCluskey, Andrew Murray, the United Left, which brings together Labour Left, and non-Labour parties and groupuscules (Labour leader election – United left recommends Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon),  UNITE backs the progressive nationalist , sorry, ‘patriot‘, candidate for the aspirational working class to lead the party of Ralph Miliband, Rebecca Long-Bailey.

 

The Morning Star (independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the Co-op), says,

UNITE the union “overwhelmingly” voted to back behind Rebecca Long Bailey for Labour leader and Richard Burgon for deputy, general secretary Len McCluskey said today.

In his announcement, Mr McCluskey said that shadow business secretary Ms Long Bailey was nominated for having “both the brains and brilliance” to lead.

 

In the Clarion Mohan Sen summarises the candidate strengths and weakness, mostly the latter.

The leadership candidates: a socialist overview

Long-Bailey does not have a clear left-wing record even in the sense that Corbyn had before he became leader. A large part of her political pitch – in her campaign, and going back through her political career – is about patriotism (“progressive patriotism”, whatever that means). Having voted against Trident renewal in Parliament in 2017, she then said during her campaign that she would be prepared to use nuclear weapons as Prime Minister. She has now signed a pro-choice pledge – along with the other leadership candidates – but the pledge was only written because she created a stir by indicating to the Catholic Church during the general election she was sympathetic to limiting abortion rights.

Long-Bailey is associated with and makes a big deal about Labour’s “Green New Deal” policy. But the policy passed at Labour conference was significantly less radical than the motions submitted, and left-wing delegates who were in the compositing meeting report that she played a key role, in alliance with the GMB, in making sure that was the case. What she has argued publicly since is in turn less radical than the final composite.

She has also positioned herself as broadly more pro-Brexit than Labour’s existing policy, and despite some warm words about migrants’ rights (eg in Tribune) has made no commitments on the subject. Many of her backers have been key to the wing of the left arguing against free movement.

Sen notes,

More concerning still is who is behind Long-Bailey’s campaign. Many left-wingers are supporting her for understandable reasons – they want to see the “left” win – but she is the candidate of the Leader’s Office, ie of Stalinist apparatchiks Seamus Milne and Andrew Murray. A key figure in her operation is Alex Halligan, a well-known Stalinist who got in trouble in the national press for wearing a bad advocating the murder of Trotskyists. There are a number of similar figures involved in her campaign. More broadly, Long-Bailey has links to those on the left responsible for a deeply unpleasant and inhospitable culture and attacks on democracy in many parts of the party, for instance the shutting down of London Young Labour.

On Starmer,

In terms of Starmer’s internationalist image, he is not all he seems. It seems to be true that he was central to pushing the leadership towards a more anti-Brexit position, for which kudos – but that doesn’t mean his position was good. At the 2018 Labour conference he took the lead in facing down attempts to get a clear anti-Brexit line; and worse still he made sure that a pro-free movement motion ended up in the bin. This was fully in line with his wider stance: around the turn of 2016-7 he advocated Labour support the ending of UK-EU free movement, encouraging to Corbyn cave in as he eventually did.

Starmer has played up his work defending various campaigners when he was a lawyer. Immediately before he became an MP, however, he was Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). His record there was mixed to say the least. He refused to prosecute the police officers accused of killing Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson (though he later changed his mind on the latter when it became clear this stance was not viable). He followed this up by announcing that MI5 and MI6 agents would not face charges for torture and human rights abuses during the Iraq war. At the height of the Cameron-Osborne war on welfare in 2013 he also issued strengthened guidelines for prosecuting “benefit cheats”.

Starmer’s position on welfare seems out of kilter with his stand on human rights and long work as a barrister in the field.

But on one charge, it would have been difficult for him to take up the Charles de Menezes killing (2005). Starmer only became DPP in 2008.

It is worth noting that Starmer has a radical leftist background as well, however much his politics have developed towards the mainstream.

If it is true that Starmer’s ‘moral socialism’ is vague, he is the unity candidate, unlike waffling Long-Bailey who wobbles all over the place. It’s up to Labour members to get radical policy in place.

Nevertheless, sometimes, even if you do not agree it with it, this kind of dose of cold water is needed. as.

Particularly for the ‘Hot Boys‘.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 25, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Comrade Anti-Fascists, Greens, Kurds, Leftists: Check if you are on the ‘Counter-Terrorism’ List.

with 37 comments

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Exclusive: Extinction Rebellion and Peta also named in anti-extremism briefing alongside Combat 18 and National Action.

Among the groups listed with no known link to terrorist violence or known threat to national security are Stop the War, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, vegan activists, anti-fascist groups, anti-racist groups, an anti-police surveillance group and campaigners against airport expansion. Communist and socialist political parties are also on the list.

Let the Rozzers know: I have written for the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty Publication Solidarity and even been on CND protests and Stop the War Coalition marches against war on Iraq!

Mind you that Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice does look a dangerous crew.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm

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

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Image result for rebecca or leader

“Democratic Revolution” against “Unaccountable Elites”.

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

As Paul Mason says,

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

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

Independent.

The factionalists are in mobilising in full gear.

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

These were the sole names on the online ballot.

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

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

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

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

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

Centrist politics will not defeat Boris Johnson’s rightwing populism

Another struggle is possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

..

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

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

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

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

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

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

What of the present Long-Bailey strategy?

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

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

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

Public meetings are not a substitute for political power.

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

Written by Andrew Coates

January 17, 2020 at 12:41 pm