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Solidarity with Iraq and Iranian Protests.

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Tahrir Square Baghdad: In Iraq Iranian Backed Militias Now Killing Protesters.

Iran is an active player, that is the leader,  in the fight against the recent Iraqi people’s protests.

Last week:

Two days ago (Guardian)

At least 15 people stabbed after Hashd al-Shaabi supporters march to Tahrir Square.

More than a dozen people have been stabbed in a Baghdad square that has become a focal point for anti-government and anti-Iran protests after supporters of an Iranian-backed militia flooded the area.

Thousands of men waving sticks, Iraqi flags and the insignia of the Hashd al-Shaabi armed group descended on Tahrir Square on Thursday morning in apparently coordinated marches from across the capital.

Anti-government protesters who have been occupying the square for several weeks, some of whom are critical of Iranian influence in the country, said at least 15 people were stabbed before the militia-linked marchers withdrew by the late afternoon.

Today: (BBC)

Iraq has seen one of the worst flare-ups in weeks of anti-government protests, with gunmen killing at least 20 people in Baghdad early on Saturday.

The unknown attackers raided key protest sites in the capital sending demonstrators fleeing into the streets.

The unrest in Iraq began in October, fuelled by anger over corruption, unemployment, poor public services and the influence of Iran.

More than 400 people have been killed since the protests started.

Witnesses described chaotic scenes from the latest attacks, which happened overnight on Friday.

Armed men on pick-up trucks are said to have driven through areas that have formed the centre of the protests in Baghdad, forcing demonstrators to flee from bullets.

It is not clear who is responsible – state television called the assailants “unidentified men”.

Earlier this week several people were stabbed in Baghdad after supporters of an Iranian-backed militia swarmed into a square occupied by protesters.

In another development, a drone dropped a bomb on the house of the influential Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, a source within his party said. He was out of the country at the time.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, has resigned over the protests but those who have taken to the streets want a fundamental overhaul of the country’s political system.

Iraq uses a quota-based system that allocates positions to political parties based on sectarian and ethnic identity.

But many Iraqis say it only encourages patronage and corruption and there is particular concern over Iran, the dominant Shia Muslim state which has close links to Iraqi Shia politicians who have been running the country since the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Iran itself has seen protests against the Islamist theocracy grow.

The Islamists have used extreme violence.

 

It is well known that the Khomeinist regime consolidated its power under the banner of ‘anti-imperialism’.

Many of the Iranian left, and the left internationally, bought this line.

Today we see the same anti-progressive positions being peddled by some  anti imperialists like the Stop the War Coalition and their allies in other Western countries.

Their priority remains fighting against imperialism.

This have been many  counter-voices from the Iranian left.

In the context of the present-day protests against the Islamist reactionaries, – one that could be extended to their actions by proxy against the Iraqi people, and across the near east through their alliance with Assad in Syria and sectarian forces in Lebanon)   now offers an important analysis of the unfolding fight against the Hassan Rouhani clique that has implications for these other crises.

First of all Khanlarzadeh offers some serious ideas about what kind of solidarity we should offer those fighting for their rights in Iran.

She writes in response to  the US petition, “Letter Against US Imperialism”, “As anti-imperialist activists, scholars, artists and lawyers located in the United States, we stand in solidarity with the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Asia in their calls to end imperialism, sectarianism and neoliberalism, and we view the recent protests in Iran within this broader international context of resistance.”

The people of Iran are resisting the economic, political and militaristic violence imposed on them both by international and domestic elites. The majority of the Iranian people do not seek regime change because they have already lived through two monumental events that destabilized their lives – the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War that lasted from 1980 until 1988. The elder generations can still recount the horrors that followed the toppling of Prime Minister Mossadegh during the U.S. and British-backed coup of 1953.

Iranians seek economic and political stability, and above all, they seek to maintain their national and individual dignity. We stand by them and their calls for domestic reform, and as people in the United States, we demand the end of the sanctions regime and U.S. and Israeli interference in the lives of the Iranian people.

In a detailed response to this declaration (milder than some of the rhetoric coming up from some ‘anti-imperialists’ who fight shy of direct backing for any form of  protest seen to further US interests, “Imperialist powers intensify pressure on Iranian regime in wake of protests“) states

“The petition pretends to know what Iranian people want: “The majority of the Iranian people do not seek regime change because they have already lived through two monumental events that destabilized their lives […]  Iranians seek economic and political stability, […]. We stand by them and their calls for domestic reform [….]” The petition claims Iranians want stability, but who are these Iranians who want stability? It’s certainly not the protesters who shouted for the fall of the dictator (Ayatollah Khamenei) in the streets and actually destabilized the country by forcing the government to use maximum force to silence them and to the surprise of the petitioners, kill more than 200 of them. The violent politics of stability has, in fact, been employed by the government to silence any cry for transformation towards improvement.

As Khanlarzadeh says, these forces position reminds one, of “the famous Ayatollah Khomeini quote, “All the anger you have accumulated in your throat must be screamed at the US.”

At a time when even the Communist Party of Britain has called for solidarity with the Iranian protests, some clarity on the issues is welcome.

Morning Star November.

Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths wrote to the Iranian ambassador yesterday to express grave concern.

Mr Griffiths said: “While our party has campaigned against the imposition of sanctions by the United States, we deplore and condemn the suspension of civil rights, the indiscriminate killing of demonstrators and mass arrests which have taken place over the past week.”

Codir is calling on individuals and organisations to show their solidarity with the Iranian people “in this their darkest hour.”

Anti-Imperialism As An Intellectual Trap

Written by Andrew Coates

December 7, 2019 at 5:40 pm

Amongst Unity in Admiration for Public Who Confronted London Attacker, Stop the War Coalition Strikes Discordant note.

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One of the Heroes of London Bridge.

There is a quiet  dignity about the response to the London Bridge attacks.

 

This is Labour’s well-measured response:

 

 

There are still political issues to raise (Independent).

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has said terrorism and security cannot be separated from cuts made to resources after two people were killed in an attack on London Bridge on Friday.

The attacker, who was named as 28-year-old Usman Khan, was convicted of terrorism offences in 2012 and had been released from prison on licence last year.

He was fatally shot by police after several people were stabbed at about 2pm on Friday.

There is also the responsibility of Islamist movements, “The London Bridge attacker was a student and personal friend of Anjem Choudary, the Islamist hate preacher.”

Inevitably a few voices, from the fringes, have tried to impose another agenda.

One such effort, unfortunately, comes from the Stop the War Coalition.

First there was this hastily written tweet

Then.

 

The view that Islamic terrorism is ’caused’ by “international tension” – it extends from Bangladesh to the Philippines, from the Maghreb to the (non-Western occupied) Syria, is vacuous.

The picture above has a banner reading Britain Out of NATO and a line about the New World Order.

Is German, the Convener of  the Stop the War Coalition,  suggesting that NATO and the ‘new world order’ are connected to the horrors on London Bridge?

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 30, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Brexit and the Election: Blue ‘Labour’ Cements its Alliance with the “anti-globalists” of Spiked.

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“I was told by middle-class graduates that things like family, stability and patriotism were Tory values. But when you look at Labour history, you see that these things are fundamental to it.” Maurice Glasman. 24th of November: 

Comments on the YourTube site:

calling labour globalist hipsters nomadic cosmopolitans is forbidden btw. But they can call working people “reactionaries” with impunity. Then they wonder where the hostility comes from. BUT remember they don’t engage in broad brush stereotypes.

This is the most sense I’ve heard made since I grew up in the 60’s in a working class community on the North side of St. Louis. Count me in; I’m TRUE BLUE LABOR NOW!!!
Why do you think that the European Parliament in Strassbourg is Exactly built like a Modern Version of the Unfinished Tower of Babel by Artist Breughel ? Why do you think time After time it is Exposed the Rich and Famous Abuse Children in Rituals like the Jimmy Saville Case, Epstein etc. ? Once Christian USA and Western Europe were such Bastions of Freedom, but Now are Turning to Chaos. This is a Spiritual Battle Above All and They are After your Soul with their MK-Ultra programming, having their Slaves Constantly Flashing Satanic Symbols. I was Not Raised Christian, I just Found out Later in Life that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Read the Gospel of John and Choose Wisely My Friend, Choose Wisely.

Blue Labour has an increasingly close relationship with the Brexit Party supporting Spiked (ex-Revolutionary Communist Party).

 

What is this group’ Blue Labour’? 

 

Blue Labour is an advocacy group associated with the  British Labour Party that promotes conservative ideas on social and international issues, including immigration, crime, and the European Union, rejecting neoliberal economics in favour of guild socialism and corporatism. Wikipedia.

Less directly its own site claims that,

Blue Labour is the Labour Party pressure group that aims to put relationships and responsibility at the heart of British politics.

We combine respect for work, family and community with a commitment to the common good: sustainable politics that helps people lead meaningful lives. You can find out more about what this means in practice by downloading our e-brochure available here.

There has been a surge of interest in Blue Labour this year and a lot of people have been asking what they can do to help. We have spent this year expanding the movement by establishing regional networks. All the new regional groups have pages on Facebook so if you search there you should find a group near you.

Our volunteers are very active on social media which is a great way to be part of the Blue Labour conversation. You’ll find us on Twitter and also on Facebook.

Maurice Glasman considers the European Union to be the greatest capitalist threat that’s ever existed,

Why No Deal Is the Real Deal: Brexit and the Politics of the Interregnum

January 2019 The US magazine The Nation.

The European Union is the greatest capitalist project ever devised by the human mind. It guarantees, in treaty form, the free movement of capital, labor, goods, and services throughout its territory as a constitutional right. These are known as the “Four Freedoms.” Imagine NAFTA underpinned by a political union so that it would be illegal to resist capitalism. A union in which economic policy is decided not democratically—but by judges interpreting whether the policy is “treaty compliant.” Yet that is the institution supported by the vast majority of progressives throughout the continent—and the main cause of the palsy that has overtaken social democrats across Europe. They think political and economic liberalism as the legal form of globalization is the best you can hope for. That is the European Union.

Citing Gramsci ““when the old is dying and the new cannot be born…in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms pertain.”  Glasman continues to paint a gloomy picture,

The fundamental process of capitalism is to turn human beings and nature into commodities that are bought and sold in fluctuating markets. And yet human beings do not wish to be treated as commodities. The best way of resisting is through democracy—by educating, organizing, and agitating within the communities in which you live and work. That is what the Labour Party used to do, and from time to time it won elections and did big things. The ability to act decisively, with the power of a democratic mandate, to resist the domination of capital and redistribute wealth and power within a democratic society is the credo of socialism. That is both illegal and impossible within the European Union—and that is why the best hope for the left is to lead the opposition to it. It’s Labour’s only way out of the interregnum.

The idea that democratically elected governments can share sovereignty in bodies like the European Union, that the EU has its own democratic input through the European Parliament, and that international democratic organisations are needed to shape global capital flows and politics, is excluded by Glasman.

That the Brexit project for a  British nation state, converted into a buccaneering player on the world market will make people into goods to be traded internationally is not even considered.

 Zeev Sternhell in one of his books on the history of ideas (Les Anti-Lumières : une tradition du xviiie siècle à la Guerre froide, 2010) identifies the Irish-British opponent of the French Revolution,  Edmund Burke, as a father of the strain of traditionalist anti-rationalist nationalism. Glasman and his national comrades owe a lot to the anti-Enlightenment belief in the chain of ancestors bequeathing obligations on the living. The ‘organicist socialist’  vision that draws on this picture has had many variants. It is corporatist, seeing society as a living body and ‘socialist’ in the sense that the social takes precedence over individual rights. In this view  ‘atomised’ globalising rights shatter idealised communities , in which class is a mark of belonging not of conflict or fights against oppression and exploitation.

Blue Labour ‘s debt to the person Sternhell alleges to be a founder of this counter-revolutionary tradition could not be clearer.

Blue Labour’s Glasman was certainly not going to concede any ground to Burke’s latest biographer in the depth of his affection for Old Tory Edmund. “The labour movement was a Burkean movement of labouring people”, Glasman declared, highlighting the Burial Societies and the challenge to the dark satanic mills in the name of established ways of life.

..

The main theme of the afternoon was whether Burke should have said more about the Enclosures. “The problem with the Conservatives is that they are not nearly conservative enough”, said Glasman, arguing that what Burke lacked was a critique of the creative destruction of the market. Norman noted that Burke had died in 1798, so had not seen the great urbanisation of the 1820s cities, but felt that he did have an account of the limits of markets, strongly preferring the rootedness of land to finance, for example.

Burke, Norman and Glasman – ‘post-liberalism’ in Britain today

The slogans of nation state sovereignty bringing order to a globalised world, limited markets, and ‘family, work and ‘community’ are the banners of national populism.

That those who claim to stand for patriotic Labour have now found common home with the Brexit Party backing Spiked is, at first sight, surprising.

The RCP left Marxism behind, it is said,  for risk taking and experimentation and they sneer at all regulation and limits. The idea that they would now find friends amongst the Poylani infomred idea of “society protecting itself” thinkers is odd.

Yet Furedi has recently began referring to the need to defend the European Enlightenment ‘tradition’ (a paradox for thinkers who rejected the authority of traditions) , and the Judeo-Christian one to boot. Articles against Equality Education and critiqiues of Transexual rights suggests  aconcenrn for the ‘family’.

One is waiting for Blue Labour’s hostile views on immigration to be taken up more openly by Brendan O’Neill.

The internationalist left begins from very different premises.

We are free to make our own world, unburdened by tradition.

As one of our forebears said,

There never did, there never will, and there never can, exist a Parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the “end of time,” or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed, or who shall govern it; and therefore all such clauses, acts or declarations by which the makers of them attempt to do what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves null and void. Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the age and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies. Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow..

Every generation is, and must be, competent to all the purposes which its occasions require. It is the living, and not the dead, that are to be accommodated

The Rights of Man. Tom Paine.

Democratic internationalist socialism has come a long way since the days of Burke and Paine. But it seems as if Brexit has revived some of these fundamental differences.

As shown by Blue Labour’s latest fory: ‘Globalisation has made our lives empty’

Spiked.

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

Maurice Glasman, Labour peer and founder of Blue Labour, joins spiked’s editor for the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show. They discuss the decades-long assault on the working class, the potential of Brexit, and what Thatcherism and Corbynism have in common.

 

 

Retweeted.

This  marks a new stage in a long saga.

At one point Glassman was criticised for calling for a dialogue with the far-right EDL (“In April 2011, Glasman called on the Labour Party to establish a dialogue with sympathisers of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) in order “to build a party that brokers a common good, that involves those people who support the EDL within our party. Not dominant in the party, not setting the tone of the party, but just a reconnection with those people that we can represent a better life for them, because that’s what they want”).

All seemed rather settling down however and by 2011 this was the judgement on the tendency and the man himself, (Tangled Up in Blue. Rowena Davis.)

Davis reviews the prospects for Blue Labour’s continued influence on the mainstream Labour Party. She concludes that Blue Labour probably does have a future, at least as a source of ideas if not as a brand. After the movement was pronounced dead by various journalists in summer 2011, Glasman withdrew from the public eye, but remained committed to promoting Blue Labour, and continued to expand his network of interested contacts. There has been growing interest among Labour academics and strategists centred on London and Oxford. Davis says support for Blue Labour remains weak among the parliamentary party, naming only a handful of MPs who openly support Blue Labour, such as Hazel BlearsTessa Jowell, and Caroline Flint. The author also states that despite its aim to champion working class traditional values, Blue Labour has next to no grassroots support from regular people outside of Citizens UK. However, both Miliband brothers remain interested in Blue Labour and there are signs that the party leader is increasingly accepting and implementing its ideas. Ed Miliband told the author in a September 2011 interview that Blue Labour is an idea that is “ahead of its time”.

Thins have changed from this rather limited prospect:

Jon Bloomfield has described the emergence of Blue Labour over this decade (Progressive Politics in a Changing World: Challenging the Fallacies of Blue Labour Jon Bloomfield : 11 October 2019)

Within Labour’s ranks a newly ennobled Maurice Glasman gave these ideas prominence after Ed Miliband’s leadership win in 2010. The Blue Labour movement he pioneered asserted that traditional working class communities had been ignored by New Labour’s trendy cosmopolitanism, which had paid too much attention to feminism, multi‐culturalism and sexual politics, and had ridden roughshod over the assumed conservative cultural sensitivities of the traditional working class. One of the leading protagonists, Jonathan Rutherford, used his role as editor of the Soundings magazine to promote these ideas and declare that ‘the future of English socialism is conservative.

As the election campaign unfolds this is worth recalling,

Brexit has crystallised these arguments. Blue Labour has converged with those unchanged voices from the 1970s left, who still believe in ‘socialism in one country’. Embery, Goodhart, Glasman and Goodwin are all signatories to ‘The Full Brexit’ manifesto which claims that, ‘Brexit offers an unprecedented opportunity to reshape Britain for the better … to develop a genuinely internationalist and democratic politics of national sovereignty’.23

This nationalism plays into the hands of the hard right. They gleefully sense an opportunity to split the progressive and labour movement. Blue Labour proudly calls itself conservative, so it is not surprising when Conservative media outlets offer them space to promote their ideas. The libertarian, ex‐Trotskyists of the Spiked website, supported by $300,000 from the US Koch brothers, give space to ‘Lexiters’, while the conservative UnHerd website hosts Embery, Goodwin and Giles Fraser as regular columnists.24 In the post‐financial crisis maelstrom, Blue Labour initially asked how progressives should express their values. What is amazing about their current trajectory is how willing they are to discard the core values of any progressive movement—liberty, equality and solidarity—and the speed with which they have moved to become fellow‐travellers of the nationalist right.

 

Brexit Party Call for Clamp Down on “Permanent Immigration” as Red-Brown Spiked Calls for “Responsible and well-managed immigration system”.

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Democratic Demand to ‘Take Back Control” says Former Revolutionary Communists. 

The Brexit Party has announced its election policies, (General election 2019: Brexit ‘should bring fundamental change’ – Farage)

Its main focus is on leaving the EU, but it is also promising action on immigration and the environment.

Among policies already announced, the Brexit Party is offering a cap on permanent immigration of 50,000 a year, the abolition of the House of Lords and a large-scale tree planting programme across the UK.

Mr Farage has also indicated his party will campaign for postal voting to be limited to elderly, infirm and overseas voters, citing “many examples of intimidation and fraud”.

He has pledged a £10,000 allowance for every UK company before they have to pay corporation tax, and said the party would continue to campaign for a “clean break from all EU institutions” after Brexit – with Brexit Party MPs “vital in holding Johnson to his word” in Parliament.

“We see Brexit as the beginning of a real fundamental change, not the end,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Ex-Revolutionary Communist Party cadre Claire Fox claimed during her election campaign for the European Parliament that,

“To be honest, Nigel and I are unlikely to agree on a range of issues – workers, women’s rights, immigration, public services,” Fox told the launch event in Westminster.

Farage’s useful idiots in the RCP’s new organ, Spiked have been busy preparing to ditch their own commitments.

Anti-multiculturalism columnist and researcher on Radicalisation and Terrorism for the neoliberal Henry Jackson Society, Rakib Ehsan writes in Spiked today.

Brexit presents us with a golden opportunity to establish a responsible and well-managed immigration system. We need a regime that prioritises individual English-language skills, which are crucial to social and labour-market integration. And we need to take into account broader factors, like the political culture, legal system and prevailing social norms in the places would-be migrants hail from.

A sensible immigration system is critical for a socially cohesive society.

Leaving the EU means restoring Britain’s national sovereignty. Doing so would give us democratic control over policy issues of crucial importance, like immigration.

 

Remainers don’t have the moral high ground on immigration

The sincerity of Ehsan’s attack on EU freedom of movement for allowing migration from predominantly ‘white’ countries can be shown this year’s attack on Angela Merkel.

Her decision in 2015 to allow in approximately one million refugees from unstable Muslim-majority countries, such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, placed considerable strain on Germany’s social fabric. This decision was all the more mind-boggling in light of the fact that Germany had already struggled to integrate migrants of Turkish Muslim origin – and even their German-born children.

Multiculturalism has failed

This odd ball reactionary has a soft spot for Modi though.

Spiked Guru and another former Revolutionary Communist, Brendan O’Neill, describes the EU as  “globalist”  and a pillar of “neoliberalism”.

Neoliberalism’s useful idiots Corbynistas pose as radical and yet they’re campaigning day and night to keep us in the capitalist machine that is the EU.

Spiked has become a trumpet for Farage, and for the national populist use of economic power on the global stage.

Junior Partner UK as a sovereign force behind Trump.

The neoconservatives of the Henry Jackson society, themselves often accused of ‘globalism’ now have a roaring anti-EU advocate of ‘community cohesion’ (code for, don’t upset people’s prejudices., only let in English speakers and those from the “right” places), at their best known public spokesperson.

Farage, in the meantime, is advocating an immigration system that will deny permanent and full rights to all but a few.

Use ’em and chuck ’em out, as it’s known.

We await O’Neill’s welcome for the “large-scale tree planting programme across the UK”.

 

Labour Manifesto Social Policy: a Big Step Forward to Replace Universal Credit and Reform Social Security.

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“Electrifying Manifesto”.

Chartist Magazine held its AGM last year at Toynbee Hall.

It is fitting therefore that that comrade  (great-great niece of philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee, after whom Toynbee Hall in the East End of London is named) should be the person to cite on Labour’s manifesto.

Labour’s electrifying manifesto should jolt this election into life

Here it is, a great cornucopia to lift this miserable election to a higher plane. Labour’s manifesto offers a vision of a country that can begin to put to rights the dilapidation and dysfunction that has been the deliberate policy of the past decade. Repair, restoration and reinvestment is the first task, but even that dismal work requires gigantic ambition. Labour goes right to the heart of longstanding fault lines in how the country is run, and for whom.

The nation’s problems are clear to all, as poll after poll shows people know exactly what needs to be done. They know that housing is the key economic malfunction that has upended the life chances of those under 40. They know climate breakdown will engulf their children and grandchildren without immediate radical action, and it has shot high up in public concerns. This manifesto makes practical sense of green necessity, turning housing need and decarbonisation into an industrial strategy with a million good jobs.

Toynbee is respected, despite political differences with many on the left, for her serious writing on social policy.

As she says of the Manifesto, “Read it with an open mind. Page after page shows that something better can be done.

The Guardian summarises the aspect which would interest not just the Guardian writer, but the millions trapped in the present social security system (known as ‘welfare’ and regarded as a burden by the pro-Trump, pro-Brexit populist right).

Social policy

  • Labour would introduce A Right to Food to end “food bank Britain”. It would aim to halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them altogether within three years.
  • The party would scrap universal credit – the controversial welfare system brought in by the Tories, which has caused benefit delays and hardship.
  • The benefit cap and the two-child limit would be scrapped.
  • “Dehumanising” work capability and personal independence payment assessments for those with a disability would end.
  • Labour also promises an end to raising the retirement age beyond 66, and maintaining the triple lock on pensions.

The Labour Manifesto sketches these objectives for Social Security.

While Labour wants a society in which people care for one another, the Tories are trying to pitch us against each other.

Under the Tories, the social security system has lost sight of its purpose. Poverty has become endemic, the glue that binds our society together has come unstuck and, in the words of the United Nations, the UK’s social safety net ‘has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos’. The cruelty and heartlessess of the Tories has made the  department for Work and Pensions (DWP) a symbol of fear. When people feel the DWP is more about harassment than a helping hand, something has gone seriously wrong.

Labour will completely change this culture, replacing the DWP on day one with a Department for Social Security, which will be there to help and support people, not punish and police them.

Universal Credit

The Tories’ flagship social security programme, Universal Credit (UC), has been a catastrophe. It has pushed thousands of people into poverty, caused families to lose their homes and forced parents to visit food banks in order to feed their children.

If anybody wants an illustration of this, Google (today)  and you will find these kind of stories:

Royal Navy amputee stranded with £16 Universal Credit told ‘get a job’ by DWP

Only three weeks after Kevin Barnes, 62, had his leg amputated, the Department for Work and Pensions has said he must prove that he wants to return to work to receive £16 a month

Labour will scrap UC.

We will immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect.

Our ambition in designing this system will be to end poverty by guaranteeing a minimum standard of living.

We will start developing this system immediately. But we have learned the lessons from Tory failure: major policy change can’t be delivered overnight, especially when people’s lives depend on it.

So we will also implement an emergency package of reforms to mitigate some of the worst features of UC while we develop our replacement system.

  • We will end the five-week wait by introducing an interim payment based on half an estimated monthly entitlement.
  • We will immediately suspend the Tories’ vicious sanction regime and ensure that employment support is positive not punitive.
  • We will stop 300,000 children from being in poverty by scrapping the benefit cap and the two child limit, so ending the immoral and outrageous ‘rape clause’.
  • We will pay childcare costs up front so that parents aren’t forced to turn down work or get into debt to pay for childcare.
  • Labour will protect women in abusive relationships by splitting payments and paying the child element to the primary carer.
  • We will make it easier for people to manage their living costs by introducing fortnightly payments and paying the housing element directly to landlords.
  •  The Conservative’s ‘digital only’ approach is excluding vulnerable people. Labour will end the digital barrier and offer telephone, face-to-face and outreach support.
  • We will recruit 5,000 additional advisers to deliver this.
  • Tory cuts are pushing people into rent arrears and leaving them at risk of homelessness. We will stop housing costs running away from benefits by scrapping the bedroom tax and increasing the Local Housing Allowance.

There is no doubt a lot of detail to be worked out here. and some things that should be added.

Housing costs are part of wider policy as are other areas, such as the issue of digital exclusion.

Proper training, and not the ‘schemes’ often run by private  chancers, should be the norm. Offering it would give a new angle to life-long learning but needs a new model of provision.

It should equally be made clear that there should be no wriggle room for any ‘workfare’ exploitation  left.

There is fine-tuning on how people in part time low paid work have to prove they are looking for more work. Or, to put it another way, learning from Tax Credit system not from the punitive hoop-jumping present one.

One would also wish for an end to “local” council tax rates for people on council tax benefits, now known as “Council Tax Reduction”. This system, introduced by arch-Tory Eric Pickles, means than some claimants pay a large percentage of their council tax charges, others, a smaller one. The result has been a record  increase in numbers of people in arrears (Council tax debts in England soar 40% in six years. 2019)

We also need, during this reform, to raise Benefit levels.

But the Manifesto is a really big step forward.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 21, 2019 at 5:49 pm

Internationalist Responses to Len McCluskey on Brexit and Freedom of Movement.

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Galloway: “Discussing “freedom of movement” of cheap labour into Britain.  As @LenMcCluskey  just said it must end with #Brexit

Len McCluskey, Head of UNITE, has had a very mixed response to a Guardian interview in which he tried to lay down the line to Labour on Brexit and freedom of movement.

Guardian

In a wide-ranging interview, McCluskey said:

  • Labour needed to get the election debate off Brexit and on to the day-to-day issues that really mattered to voters.
  • The shadow cabinet should keep quiet about how it would campaign in the event of another referendum.
  • White working-class supporters of leave in the 2016 referendum would be driven into the arms of a hard-right party unless their concerns about migration were dealt with.
  • There would be no attempt to move Labour back to the centre if the party lost the election.
  • He predicted paramilitary attacks on UK mainland ports as a result of the customs border down the Irish Sea that forms a key part of Johnson’s Brexit withdrawal deal.

Some people have not appreciated the call to “shut up” from somebody who looks as if he is now backing a “People’s Brexit’ – that is the Dancing with Care Bears prospect of a Brexit from the ‘left’.

Other have remarked that “concerns about migration” looks like a threat to muster prejudiced support for McClusky”s call to end freedom of movement.

In other words, be silent,. and we’ll sort the Brexit stuff out, with the help of the pro-Brexit UNITE chief of Staff, Andrew Murray.

One issue has caused an immediate response.

Unite leader infuriates activists who campaigned for radical pro-migration motion

Alena Ivanova, from the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, said: “A Romanian care worker and a British bus driver have more in common with each other than they do with their boss. That is the basis of the trade union movement. Len McCluskey’s job is to fight for their full rights, for decent pay and the right not to be deported and harassed by the state because of their immigration status.”

The Morning Star and the other supporters of the McClusky line, like Skwawkbox, have been quiet on the controversy.

 

But McClusky has got George Galloway’s backing:

Today Labour for a Socialist Europe says,  It’s solidarity that we need, not borders, Len

Extracts,

Mark Boothroyd
Branch Secretary, Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Hospitals Unite Branch (personal capacity)

Len McCluskey’s intervention in the debate over freedom of movement is aiding the Tories, and promoting myths about immigration that the trade union movement should be dismantling.

Yesterday McCluskey criticised the policy voted for at Labour Party conference, of defending and extending freedom of movement for all migrants. McCluskey said “It’s wrong in my view to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter labour market regulation.”

What does stricter labour market regulation mean? If McCluskey means more rights for trade unions and stronger collective bargaining agreements to strengthen workers organising against the employers, then as a socialist and trade unionist I heartily agree. But that has nothing to do with freedom of movement. In fact, opposing freedom of movement, and the equal rights that accompany it, will only weaken unions. When workers’ immigration status is tied to their boss through visas or work permits, they are more vulnerable to exploitative employers who can have them arrested and deported at a whim.

One of the better ways to ensure “stricter labour market regulation”, would be to grant all workers the same rights and protections, regardless of their immigration status. This is what proponents of freedom of movement want, equal rights for all, with the right to live and work wherever we choose. In the same interview McCluskey shows he could make these arguments, but instead he panders to a nationalist and xenophobic worldview.

 

McCluskey clarifies his statement.

Now this is true, but it is still the case that McClusky – see Galloway – is now seen as against the continuation of existing freedom of movement in the European Union.

The pro-Brexit  RS21 (they are against a “Tory Brexit” claiming to  “oppose both the British state and the European Union” whatever that means…) offers a sustained critique of McClusky’s views.

Defend workers’ rights – against McCluskey

Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey is attempting to undermine the free movement policy agreed at Labour conference. Unite activist Ian Allinson argues for the right of working-class people to live and work where we want and explains why unions and the Labour Party are so ambivalent.

What makes McCluskey’s remarks even more outrageous is that he is arguing for the Labour leadership to ignore policy passed at Labour Party conference with Unite support. Corbyn has tried to make Labour more democratic, but there were already worries that the Labour leadership would revert to a more traditional approach, as suggested by Diane Abbott’s comments.

Neither McCluskey nor Abbott are motivated by racism – they are conceding ground to racists for electoral reasons. But pandering to the racists doesn’t win them over. We have already seen a huge shift in the public debate since Corbyn replaced Miliband and his racist mugs. You can’t win an argument without having it – we need to push Labour’s manifesto as far to the left as we can. But we need to argue and campaign for workers’ rights to live and work where we want whatever the manifesto says. Labour’s conference policy makes that easier.

We need to get this right. This debate is only going to get more important as the climate crisis forces more people to migrate as a result of droughts, famines, floods, fires and wars.

News From the Fringes, Farage, Galloway and Chris Williamson.

with one comment

Gangster Chic for Galloway. 

Nigel Farage rules out standing down further candidates after Boris Johnson claims a Tory Brexit is only Brexit

Evening Standard.

Nigel Farage has ruled out standing down more Brexit Party candidates as the deadline day for nominations arrives.

It comes after Mr Farage was warned that votes for his party would hand the keys of Number 10 to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with Boris Johnson claiming that a Conservative government is the only way to “get Brexit done”.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme, the Brexit Party said: “What I’ve realised is that the Conservatives want a Conservative majority in Parliament, not a Brexit majority in Parliament.”

Former Revolutionary Communist Party Cadre James ‘Heartfield’ (born,  James Hughes), who is standing against Corbyn in Islington North,  tweets support to a national comrade,

Peter Wiltshire

CEO and owner of I.T. Company.

Otherwise, very little info about him online. His Twitter page is all predictably about one thing, that one thing being awesome, and everything else being rubbish. Retweets Spiked Magazine articles, Margaret Thatcher posts, and Piers Morgan tweets, and is smitten with Farage (link).

He appears at a Brexit rally, where the most notable thing about his waffling speech is the microphone being at the wrong height (link).

Seems to wheeze about Brexit for The Telegraph.

As one Twitter user complains, the Brexit Party makes no information available about him other than his name (link).

Chris Williamson is on the way to getting his couple of grand for losing in the coming election.

The daily Organ of the Communist Party of Britain does its bit to publicise the anti-Labour candidate.

Former Aslef president calls on Labour not to field a candidate against Chris Williamson

“Given his outstanding record of campaigning, his history of public service in Derby and his steadfast loyalty to the leadership, nominating an official Labour candidate could allow the Tories to capture the seat.

“I therefore hope the party will do the right thing to ensure the MP returned to Parliament to represent Derby North is enthusiastic about Labour’s socialist programme and supports Jeremy Corbyn as leader.”

Labour did not comment on Mr McDonald’s request but is currently standing Unite regional officer Tony Tinley in Derby North.

 

Britain’s leading Vegan Politician has a meaty battle on his hands.

Update, prominent Red-Brown candidate ‘Heartfield’ has not got the bottle to stand.

This type has already come under fire:

Written by Andrew Coates

November 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm