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Pro-Brexit ‘left’: Paul Embery, Trade Unionists Against the EU, Backs Polish National Populist Law and Justice Party.

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Paul Embery, Trade Unionists Against the EU.

Embery is not only a FBU member, the leader of the above campaign, he is a” Member of the Labour Party since 1994, and active within the Blue Labour tendency.”

Why Poland’s Law and Justice Party appeals

BY PAUL EMBERY.

Commonly – though somewhat lazily – characterised as ‘Right-wing’, PiS, after coming to office in 2015, set about redressing economic inequality. It boosted the minimum wage, lowered the retirement age and increased the state pension. It also made heavy investment in a variety of social and welfare programmes, helping to free thousands from poverty. That Poland currently enjoys an economic growth rate superior to many of its European neighbours should command attention.

PiS also promotes the type of cultural traditionalism – with much emphasis on family values – that is in keeping with the country’s Catholic heritage and appeals to much of small-town and rural Poland. It is certainly far from perfect: its opponents have accused it of authoritarianism, and it is seen as hostile to the LGBT community.

But its wide support and retention of power should be seen as instructive.

Some of us have been arguing for a long time that a similar sweet spot exists in British politics, where an enthusiasm for economic radicalism fuses with a desire for cultural security. 

Millions of voters here would see themselves as falling into this category, but feel unrepresented by any of the mainstream parties. It was the anger and alienation of these millions that gave us the Brexit vote, and has been instrumental in the ongoing polarisation of our politics and breaking down of normal tribal loyalties.

These voters, often (though not exclusively) residing in the poorer parts of the UK – such as the post-industrial towns across the north and Midlands – would find great appeal in a party that was, on the one hand, committed to delivering an economy built around redistribution, intervention and investment, while, on the other, placing a high value on place, family and nation. The politics of economic fairness mixed with the politics of belonging.

The Polish Law and Justice Partym  Prawo i Sprawiedliwoś (PiS) is called right wing and far right.

This is one of the reasons:

Critics accused the PiS of fomenting homophobia during the election campaign, with party officials calling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights an invasive foreign influence that threatens Poland’s national identity.

“They are trying to impose a narrative that we are in a culture and civilisation war,” Scheuring-Wielgus said, adding the bill is aimed at intimidating and silencing educators and activists.

Al Jazeera.

This is another,

The re-election of the conservative-nationalist group, founded and led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has heightened fears among the journalists and academics that freedom of the press will be further restricted in the party’s pursuit of a proposed “new media order”. 

PiS announced in its 232-page election manifesto that it wanted to regulate the status of journalists, promising a “new media order”.

And another,

Poland’s democracy is not a priority for many of its voters

Derek Scally Irish Times.

A week ago, the “wrong kind of Pole” won the Nobel Prize in Literature. This is the friend-foe language of Poland’s Law and Justice (Pis) party, winner of a second term in Sunday’s general election.

For her admirers, Olga Tokarczuk is a writer who brings dignity – and, now, international attention – to the lives of ordinary Poles. In PiS doctrine, Poland’s sixth Nobel literature laureate is a targowiczanin, a traitor, that the country would be better without. Why? Because in her writing and activism she questions the populist ruling party’s claim to be supreme arbiter of the Polish soul.

Because she, and other “traitors” like her, challenge the PiS campaign for absolute control of public institutions and debate. Because they warn against reshaping the Polish history as a patriotic pick and mix that ignores, obfuscates or contests everything that does not serve a Polish victim narrative – from Nazi collaboration to Polish anti-Jewish pogroms. (In the muddied waters of PiS Poland, a critic cannot be a patriot.)

Days before Tokarczuk was awarded the highest prize in the literary world, the PiS culture minister said he had never finished any of her books because they were too difficult. That was a mild criticism by PiS standards of the writer who, in the election campaign, warned of the social cost of a united church-state alliance against the LGBT community.

Embery’s right wing cultural politics and caring for our own folk economics has got the backing of the former Henry Jackson Society chief, Marko Attila Hoare.

Embery campaigned for Leave during the 2016 referendum.

His group, Trade Unionists Against the EU appeared on platforms organised by the Socialist Party front, TUSC.

In Ipswich a speaker ranted and raved about their internationalism. As evidence he bellowed about a Paris Meeting – which turned out to have been run by the dodgy French nationalist Trotskyists of the  Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique (POID). They published this: International anti-EU rally report.

POID published a real account, emphasising the role of their own party in holding the rally and the speech of their chauvinist  General Secretary (at the time) Gérard Schivardi  ( 123 540 votes, 0,34 % in the 2007 French Presidential elections): Le grand meeting de la Porte Charenton du 26 septembre (La Tribune des travailleurs).

 

Embery spoke at this event in Cardiff:

Paul Embery speaks at the TUSC meeting in Cardiff photo Ross Saunders

“We built a united front of speakers from genuine workers’ organisations, willing to come together to fight the EU ‘Employers’ Union’. This included Owen Herbert, regional secretary of transport union RMT; London regional secretary of firefighters’ union FBU, Paul Embery, from Trade Unionists Against the EU; and Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party.” TUSC anti-EU tour touches down in Wales

Trade Unionists Against the EU received money from Arron Banks.

Donations were also made, between March and June 2016, to WAG TV Limited (who made an anti-EU film), Ukip (led at the time by Farage), Veterans for Britain… and Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU). Hang on a minute! Trade Unionists Against the EU! Isn’t that a supposedly “left wing” organisation, regularly promoted in the pages of the Morning Star? And it received funding from Arron Banks? Yes, dear reader, I have to tell you that it did: £54,000 according to the Electoral Commission.

Jim Denham

More on this: Lexit and Brexit collaboration-what did the Morning Star know? John Rogan

There was this (April 2019)

Union official told to ‘cease’ social media after ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ tweet

Paul Embery refused to apologise despite criticism over an ‘antisemitic’ comment about Brexit referring to ‘rootless cosmopolitans’

Embery’s antics meant he got into a spot of bother with this FBU.

He received the support of the Red-Brown National Populist site Spiked,

The scandal of Paul Embery’s sacking

He was dumped by the Fire Brigades Union for speaking at a pro-Brexit rally.

Now Embery is onto higher things….

The politics of national populism, a new leash of life for “solidarisme”,  in the sense of solidarity between people from the same society, the  ‘somewhere’ people, social Catholicism, nationalist economics, intolerant towards cultural diversity and critics of good order, is now on Blue Labour’s agenda.

Perhaps they will invite somebody from these traditions to speak at a future Full Brexit event er, possibly somebody like Marine Le Pen, who also combines a conservative social agenda, hostility to  globalisation (‘Globalism’), support for social protection, and a staunch defence of the Somewhere people.

ewhere people.His new best friend elaborates on the future strategy.

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Brexit Bolsheviks of Counterfire Join Galloway and Skwawkbox Attack on John McDonnell’s “Flirtation with the Right.

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Counterfire  Cadres with an Old Friend.

And perhaps finds a new one:

A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:

They want to rig the referendum and disenfranchise four million Labour leave voters by forcing them to choose between Boris Johnson’s bad deal and remain, instead of the credible deal that Conference agreed only last month – not to mention millions of other sensible leave voters who want to leave on decent terms.

And of course, it’s a slap in the face for the millions of Labour and union members who voted at Conference to back Jeremy’s plan. They’ve boxed Jeremy in and isolated him from his team – and now this.

Skwawkbox now recommends this list of heroes, including Kate Hoey, to stop the rot,

Coming to the rescue?

In March this year, the Commons voted on a motion to hold a new Brexit referendum – and it was heavily defeated. If Labour’s largely centrist remainers, emboldened by the power grab in ‘LOTO’ last week, try to force a referendum on Boris Johnson’s bad deal, the Labour MPs who voted to defeat the March motion – many of whom then wrote to Corbyn urging him to reject a divisive referendum – are:

  • Kevin Barron
  • Ronnie Campbell
  • Sarah Champion
  • Rosie Cooper
  • Jon Cruddas
  • Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Caroline Flint
  • Yvonne Fovargue
  • Stephen Hepburn
  • Mike Hill
  • Kate Hoey
  • Dan Jarvis
  • Helen Jones
  • Kevan Jones
  • Emma Lewell-Buck
  • Justin Madders
  • Grahame Morris
  • Melanie Onn
  • Stephanie Peacock
  • Dennis Skinner
  • Ruth Smeeth
  • Laura Smith
  • Gareth Snell
  • John Spellar
  • Graham Stringer
  • Derek Twigg
  • Tracy Brabin
  • Julie Cooper
  • Judith Cummins
  • Gloria De Piero
  • Chris Evans
  • Mary Glindon
  • Andrew Gwynne
  • Carolyn Harris
  • Mike Kane
  • Stephen Kinnock
  • Ian Lavery
  • Liz McInnes
  • Jim McMahon
  • Ian Mearns
  • Lisa Nandy
  • Jo Platt
  • Paula Sheriff
  • Jon Trickett

Counterfire  joins the anti-McDonnell fray:

With friends like this: John McDonnell’s flirtation with the right is damaging and inexcusable

The non-Labour groupuscule  Counterfire, which controls the Stop the War Coalition and the People’s Assembly, writes,

The article begins with an account of the Labour position on Brexit, which few understand, and certainly not those who’ve tried to sell it to the public.

But bear in mind, Coutnerfire supported Brexit, seeing as an opportunity to turn the slogan “take back control” into a mass progressive movement.

They repeated this during this year’s Labour conference,

Labour need to distance themselves now and go into the coming election arguing for a Brexit in the interests of working people. Only by doing that can it free up space to talk about everything else.

Labour’s Brexit slide September 2019.

Keep focused on that. Beneath the dripping with contempt sentences, that all the comments on McDonnell’s conciliatory remarks about Alastair Campbell is this opinion,

Thankfully the recent Labour conference rejected proposals to push the party even further down a divisive and high-risk ‘Full Remain’ path.

Writes the Full Brexit Bolshevik Alex Snowden.

The piece continues,

McDonnell failed to articulate the compromise position adopted at Conference, undermining it by suggesting that a referendum happening before a general election is a real possibility. This is yet another example of the policy-by-media approach perfected by his shadow cabinet colleagues Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer, both of whom are known for exerting political pressure via comments during media appearances, irrespective of what Corbyn might be saying or what Labour conference may have voted for.

The Brexit Bolsheviks go in for the kill,

Such rhetoric has the effect of downplaying the importance and urgency of a general election. Meanwhile, the status of Brexit is enhanced: suggesting that a referendum could take precedence over an election reinforces the centrality of Brexit to British politics.

Whatever McDonnell’s intentions might be, that strengthens the forces of liberal centrism (embodied by Campbell) against a Left that seeks to overcome Brexit divisions in favour of class politics and a left-wing platform. It emboldens Boris Johnson and the Tories who want to trap Labour in a narrative that cynically pits Johnson as the people’s champion, upholding the democratic will, against an obstructive Remainer parliament.

One can only imagine McDonnell’s reaction to the patronising conclusion,

McDonnell has made important contributions to the renaissance of socialist politics in recent years, but his latest interventions point in the wrong direction. It’s time to get back on track.

These are the forces, hostile to socialist internationalism, that Counterfire has joined.

 

Pro-Brexit Karie Murphy Loses Key Labour Post. Boost for Left Internationalists, Loyalist Ultras Full of Rancour.

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Image result for Karie Murphy the Four Ms

Karie Murphy Loses Key Labour Post: ‘Ultras” accuse McDonnell of making a “power-play”.

The story began this morning.

Now:

In the Financial Times Jim Pickard reports,

Karie Murphy, one of the most controversial figures in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, has been sidelined amid a power struggle in Britain’s main opposition party. Ms Murphy, the pro-Brexit chief of staff, is to move out of the leader’s office in Westminster to the party’s headquarters in Victoria to help run the election campaign, a Labour spokesman said on Tuesday.

The reaction from internationalists started:

The voice of the “Four M’s  the pro-Brexit group around Corbyn (Karie Murphy, Andrew Murray, Len McCluskey, and Semmus Milne) has just responded.

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Within minutes of news breaking this morning that Jeremy Corbyn’s chief of staff Karie Murphy and a number of his ‘LOTO’ (Leader of the Opposition) team were being seconded to Labour’s ‘Southside’ HQ to coordinate the general election campaign, journalists hostile to the Labour left were being briefed from inside the party that the move was a form of pay-back by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

McDonnell was said to be ‘furious’ over the resignation of LOTO policy expert Andrew Fisher – whose resignation has been painted by hostile corporate media as triggered by the behaviour of Corbyn’s closest aides, with a clear implication that Murphy was at the heart of the problem.

Pause.

Andrew Fisher is a greatly respected comrade, known for his activism, union work, and  research before he joined the Corbyn team.

Steve Walker, that is Skwawky, continues, citing unamed “Labour insiders” – believed not to be a million miles away from the “Four Ms clique”.

“Labour insiders tell a very different story – and have accused McDonnell of making a power-play. One told the SKWAWKBOX:

Karie Murphy was Jeremy Corbyn’s firewall. She absorbed key attacks on him & carried out the ugly jobs dutifully. She shovelled the s**t everyone else was either too timid and/or too self-interested to touch.

Hold your breath…..

There are only two potential reasons for wanting to connive to remove her. First, so they can isolate and destroy Jeremy. Second, so they can control him. We won’t have long to wait to discover which of those motivations were behind this redeployment.

The site continues,

This has been brewing for a while. John has been on manoeuvres, as his comments about Labour and remain have shown when Jeremy has wanted Labour’s ‘sensible leave deal’.

But it dates back much further. Hostilities commenced in June last year, at least in part in response to Jennie [Formby] becoming general secretary, and have gone steadily downhill since.

Of course, Karie’s too highly regarded (Note: not by internationalists! ) for John to get her out altogether. But all of a sudden, Jeremy’s closest aides who have helped resist John’s attempts to push the party down a damaging line are all in a different building, leaving Jeremy isolated and exposed.

For “damaging line” read, Comrade McDonnell’s efforts to get Labour to adopt a firm anti-Brexit position.

McDonnell, it is widely acknowledged, knows something about economics, and if he doesn’t know it, he has a whole raft of serious advisers to tell him. His stand on Brexit, some might say, is a pretty good indication of this.

That’s apart from his clear roots in the internationalist democratic socialist movement.

Skwawky then publishes Andrew Fisher’s resignation letter which gives details of what he had to endure from that lot/

This is a key section, it illustrates for comrade Fisher,

a snapshot of the lack of professionalism, competence and human decency which I am no longer willing to put up with daily. I’ve tried to resolve some of these issues for a long time, but have been unable to – and yesterday just proved that I never will.

No  internationalist will shed any tears over pro-Brexit Murphy’s departure.

Fighting Boris Johnson’s national neo-liberalism, spearheaded by Brexit, with people who support leaving the EU in top Labour posts, means having one hand tied behind the back.

This is the wider Labour shake-up:

Written by Andrew Coates

October 8, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Clear, Bright Future. A Radical Defence of the Human Being. Paul Mason. Left Promethean politics?

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Image result for Clear Bright Future.

 

Review: Clear, Bright Future. A Radical Defence of the Human Being. Paul Mason. Allen Lane 2019.

“Will you accept the machine control of human beings, or resist it?” asks Paul Mason at the beginning of Clear Bright Future .” He continues, “And if the answer is resist, on what basis will you defend the rights of humans against the logic of machines?”(P xi) Like Shoshana Zuboff in Surveillance Capitalism (2019), the journalist and popular socialist internationalist has written a book on its logic of accumulation, an “anti democratic juggernaut” a “market driven coup from above”. Mason has more explicit political targets, the “acheofuturists” who go backwards to national populism, and forwards by using the latest technology,

“As we approach the 2020s, an alliance of ethnic nationalists, woman-haters, and authoritarian political leaders are tearing the world order to shreds. What unites them is their disdain for universal human rights and their fear of freedom. They love the idea of machine control and, if we let the, they will deploy it aggressively to keep themselves rich, powerful and unaccountable. “(P xii – xiii) (1)

Paul Mason outlines the development of what he has described as “cognitive capitalism” towards new projects, including the development of artificial intelligence (Postcapitalism. 2015.). At times this reminds us of Samuel Butler’s animate or quasi-animate machinery, with a “kind of consciousness”, leading to the war between machinists and anti-machinists (Erewhon 1872) Mason refers to Donna Haraway’s political myth of a “Cyborg” fusion of animal and machine, ending the search for revolutionary subjects. Writings on the transhuman are no longer fantasies as we face the “challenge of machines that can emulate us.” (Page 144)

These interesting speculations are rooted in an outline of the development of neoliberalism. Mason is one of the clearest writers to grapple with the novelty of the post-Trump right. What was seen as an unstoppable movement of history towards a state in which everybody would be forced to be an entrepreneur of the self ran aground in the crises of 2008. One reaction is summed up by Trump’s election. That is to “abandon the neoliberal model, or reshape it in a form whereby every state is fighting for a piece of a smaller pie, an option I’ve labelled ‘national neoliberalism.”(Page 71)

This is a template with wider implications, “for the outright fascists the main grievances were economic, while for the right-wing populists their grievances were cultural, driven by a perceived loss of status among existing working-class communities faced with migration.” (Page 96)  There are many who see in the left-behind, the “périphérique”,a constituency with which to resurrect the sovereignty of nations, have become the focus of the new right wing identity politics that bolsters national neoliberalism.

Universal Human Rights.

This alliance of the top of society and the mob in the Brexit crisis in the UK sees Old Etonians incite nationalist hatred against the rootless cosmopolitans. Mason is clear that against the shock troops of national populism, fed by “..the rejection of our universal humanity” we need to unite “differences in skin colour, face shape, religion and culture” This is the ultimate defence against, “the slide towards both right-wing authoritarians and full-blown fascism. One again, the defence of the concept of the human being, with universal rights, is the key to resisting the slide to chaos.”(P 100)

Those who support internationalism and membership of the EU with the goal of a transformed open-looking Europe will know that Mason has played a public part in our movement. Behind this is a common belief in the democratic revolution grounded in developing movements for human rights. Clear Bright Future offers an overarching strategy against national populism, in which liberals (in the political sense of those who defend liberty) and the left work together, to “develop the strategies that prevent the convergence of conservatism, fascism and the state bureaucracy into a common authoritarian project.”(P 260) Whether this should involve a “popular front” , including Centre parties like the SNP and Liberal Democrats, to defeat Brexit, remains a matter of debate. The howls of the Brexit Bolsheviks against Mason’s contributions to the anti-Brexit camp suggest that he may well be onto something.

Mason tries to place, “digital information inside the physical, world…”(P 131) Against this domination he offers, Marx’s “Free, conscious activity is man’s species-character”. (Page 141) Perhaps less obviously contentiously Mason draws on the humanist Marxism of Raya Dunayevskaya which originated in a small 1940s heterodox ‘state capitalist’ tendency of Trotskyism, the Johnson-Forest group. In this view for Marx, “free will is something humanity can achieve only by changing its social circumstances.”(P 219) Dunayevskaya rejected all forms of vanguard party. She talked of a “vast store of creative energy” that could be unleashed, in a communist society, “the development of human power which is its own end, the true realm of freedom” (2).

Postmodernism and anti-Humanism.

This vision is set against a variety of targets. Postmodernism, he decides without much ado, is an “anti-theory about human beings: their selves are shattered, their agency is gone, their scientific thought is really ideology.”(P 177) Michael Foucault, whose dystopian Panopticon surveillance is not distant from his own images, and whose ‘anti-fascist’ ethics, devised during the last gasps of French ‘Mao-spontex” agitation represented a political retreat, is berated for removing the ‘human dynamic” from history.

A major target is Louis Althusser. In the 1960s the Marxist philosopher rejected ‘humanism’ in the sense of talking about an invariable ‘essence’ and – his principal political target – the new found humanism of the French Communist Party’s official thinkers such as former hard-line Stalinist Roger Garaudy. He was, in this sense, a critics of the bogus ‘humanism’ of parties which remained wedded to the post-Kruschev Soviet Union. More  widely, not many people who’ve read Althusser’s 1970s calls for “class struggle in theory” would agree that he neglected the importance of human willpower in history.

The “existential reason to resist” finds its home in, as with his earlier books, the “networked individual”. This he describes in terms of the cultural logic of postmodernism, “Today the multiple self, the leaky self, the branded self and the disembodied self are all ‘states; recognisable to those habitually immersed in networked.”(P 195) In a sensitive account of value in itself, Mason notes that, millennial identity politics are a small personal space, a “source of strength” of resistance, “to begin from the self, and defend the self, gives their resistance a hard, granular, irreducible quality.”(P 205)

Human rights do not need, and are burdened by, a particular ‘ground’ in one theory of human nature. Dunayevskaya relied on Hegelian dialectics, perhaps not as great a chain as official dialectical materialism, but one that many would disagree with. Human rights are defined by people themselves, often coming from outside existing ideas about what they are, as the first declarations of the rights of women and the rights of those enslaved by colonialism, during the French Revolution demonstrated. It is not up to democrats to define them. For Marxists, for class struggle internationalists, they are part of the fight against national neoliberalism, for our capacity to express solidarity outside of the carcass of “entrepreneurs of the self”.

Left Promethean politics

Paul Mason is sometimes linked to the “accelerationist” left. This arose from a critique of those who would wish – as the Brexit left imagine –to recreate the entrenched trade union and political structures of the 1970s. Against the socialism in one country model “Accelerationism seeks to side with the emancipatory dynamic that broke the chains of feudalism and ushered in the constantly ramifying range of practical possibilities characteristic of modernity.” Clear Bright Future can be seen as a left Promethean politics” that seeks to “accelerate automation” to “unlock the economic power of the new information technologies,  in the same line as much lesser figures promoting ‘total luxury automated communism’. Yet, as Mason says, the threat of climate change is, at present, an absolute limit on future development. (3)

One can discuss the proposals in Clear Bright Future to bring these mechanisms under human control, and to combine Universal Basic Income and Universal basic services. Whether post-capitalism will come or not, is far from clear. The influence of the 1970s left and those hankering after Brexit inside the Labour Party indicates obstacles in Britain alone One thing is certain: Paul Mason is a great comrade whose voice deserves to be listened to as widely as possible. (3)

******

  1. Page 513. Surveillance Capitalism. The Fight for the Future and the New Frontier of Power. Shoshana Zuboff. Profile Books. 2019
  2. Raya Dunayevskaya Archive See also the News and Letters Committees. “News & Letters is a Marxist-Humanist newspaper which was created so that the voices of revolt from below could be heard unseparated from the articulation of a philosophy of liberation. Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-1983) was Chairwoman of the National Editorial Board from its founding in 1955 until her death in 1987. Charles Denby (1907–1983), a Black production worker, was its Editor from 1955 until 1983.”
  3. The Accelerationist Reader  Robin Mackay,  Armen Avanessian 2014.

Labour Vote on Brexit as anti-Remainers Factionalise and Moblise Unions against Party Members.

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Image result for another europe is possible demonstration

“Using union bloc votes to defeat the overwhelming majority of members may well not work, and would look awful.”

The Labour Party Conference will debate Brexit today.

Guardian.

In a statement last night Michael Chessum, national organiser of Another Europe is Possible, which has been mobilising support for the ‘back remain now’ motion, said that it would “look awful” if Corbyn won today just as a result of the union bloc vote. He said:

Ninety percent of motions to this conference are anti Brexit, reflecting a membership which is overwhelmingly pro remain. We are taking a remain position to conference flor, where we are expecting a close vote. Using union bloc votes to defeat the overwhelming majority of members may well not work, and would look awful.

There will be an attempt to turn this into a loyalty test. But those proposing these motions are by and large people, like me, who have spent years fighting for the left inside Labour and backing Corbyn. We want a radical Labour government, and Corbyn in Number 10. The best way of getting there is with clarity on Brexit and a clear message to our members and voters that we are on their side.

Few people aware of the factionalists pushing for Labour to back the Leader’s Position have any objective other than to pursue Brexit.

This is Corbyn’s formal stand,

The party’s draft plan for its Brexit policy, put forward by Mr Corbyn, suggests that, if Labour wins power in a general election, it would remain neutral while negotiating a new deal with the EU within three months.

It would then hold a referendum within six months, and the party would decide which side to back ahead of that at a special conference.

What kind of ‘new deal’ would emerge?

The Morning Star publishes an article by Laura Smith M.P arguing that total luxury communism will follow a Labour run Britain  and the need to understand those who back Brexit (that is the Morning Star).

The crucial point is that the MP for Crewe and Nantwich argues that ‘renegotiating’  any deal with the EU should be the work of “people who are committed to campaigning to leave the EU.

Building a new Britain outside the EU

To this day, I believe it is vital that the Labour Party has a serious offer for those who wish to leave the EU at the next election.

That general election campaign should focus on building a new Britain, one with full employment, a real living wage and advanced workers’ rights. Public ownership and progressive taxation would be just a couple of tools used to distribute both wealth and power fairly.

New technology would be embraced for the common good. High-wage, high-productivity jobs would be made available in transformed workplaces where a four-day week and true industrial democracy had become the norm. Full collective bargaining coverage would ensure that no workplace or community was left behind.

The renewal of our democracy at every level, with meaningful devolution through radical federalism, would make our government both more responsive and more accountable to the people. Well-funded public services would be run in the public interest and not for profit.

Racism and fascism would be decimated, not least by stamping out the conditions in which they thrive. This new Britain would not follow the US blindly on imperialist crusades in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.

I am certain that this vision would have the support of the Labour Party membership and the vast majority of the public, too.

In a Westminster Hall debate last year, I set out the reasons why I believe we must leave the EU to realise this vision. Many others believe that “Remain and reform” is the route we should take.

Despite this difference, we can all agree with what Jeremy said in his Coventry speech: “We cannot be held back, inside or outside the EU, from taking the steps we need to support cutting-edge industries and local business, stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing or from preventing employers being able to import cheap agency labour to undercut existing pay and conditions.”

The Labour Party might feel it needs a second vote to settle the debate over whether membership of the EU helps or hinders (or even prevents) this vision being realised.

If this is the case, it is vitally important that Labour’s negotiating team is made up of people who understand the arguments that have long been made by left-wing Eurosceptics.

Perhaps even more importantly, that team should consist of people who are committed to campaigning to leave the EU in any subsequent public vote.

The ‘we can all agree’, is immediately cancelled out by the claim that any attempt at a new deal is lead by only one side of Labour.

People may recall Laura Smith’s last initiative,

A Labour MP has called for a general strike to “topple” Theresa May’s government, prompting criticism from senior colleagues.

Laura Smith, the Crewe and Nantwich MP, backed mass industrial action if Jeremy Corbyn is unable to force a general election, when she spoke at a fringe meeting at the Liverpool conference.

“Comrades, we must topple this cruel and callous Tory government as soon as we can,” she said to loud applause.

“And if we can’t get a general election we should organise our brothers in the trade unions to bring an end

Labour MP calls for general strike to ‘topple cruel and callous Tory government’. 2018.

The atmosphere is being poisoned by the Lexit supporters, clinging like limpets to Corbyn, and the refusal to back Remain.

Here are some of the latest examples (see Andrew Fisher’s comments yesterday),

Taking a broader view, as Paul Mason points out,

To win the election, face the facts!

What we need, coming out of conference is a three point promise:

  • We will force any deal done by Boris Johnson to a second referendum.
  • If we win the election we will hold a second referendum within six months without any further substantial negotiations.
  • In that referendum the party apparatus will back Remain – because we know the shape of the deal on offer. It is already “credible” – it’s just that it’s crap

But, if the Corbyn composite wins,

..the optics of it are terrible. On the doorstep it looks like the whole party has no position, and if the CWU/Unite unions got their way that’s what would have happened. And that’s a problem because of Fact #6.

Fact #6: Jeremy Corbyn is popular among climate strikers but unpopular on the doorsteps of two kinds of voters: socially conservative working class people and passionate Remainers. Unfortunately these are exactly the people we need to convince to win an election.

Two thirds of this problem is created by the billionaire-owned media, the talk radio shows and slanders by our political enemies. One third of it is created by dithering over Brexit, and inept party management described by Andrew Fisher in his resignation memo.

Now, no matter how principled it looks to us, Jeremy’s neutral line on Brexit looks weird to ordinary voters – and on current evidence is not easy to defend in TV interviews.

This, nevertheless looks unlikely, to say the least,

The way to deal with this problem is obvious: in the coming election we advance a collegiate leadership, just as Blair-Brown did, with major shadow cabinet figures leading the line on policy.

The following is less improbable, but as remarked above, the atmosphere is at risk of being drenched with acid.

We cannot win anything unless the Labour Party is an alliance of the left and the centre. An enlarged centrist party is in formation, because the British business elite has lost control of the Tories and needs a new mouthpiece. We already lost 9 MPs to this centrist project and I don’t want to lose any more.

That’s why, though I disagree with Watson on policy, it was madness to use a bureaucratic manoeuvre to remove him as deputy leader.

We need to come out of this conference with a clear message: a radical Green New Deal offer, massive investment in local services, health and education, and the offer of a second referendum: May’s deal versus Remain, in which Labour institutions, from South to the Welsh and Scottish parties to CLPs and branches, can affiliate to the Remain campaign and spend party resources on that campaign.

Here is the outline of the split in which we certainly not ‘all agree’.

 

Another Europe is Possible.

 

This Brexit composite will go to a vote on Monday afternoon. (There may be a couple of minor typographical errors).

It is proposed by more than 50 CLPs. Another Composite, which is backed by just eight CLPs, will be also be voted on – it praises the leadership but does not put forward any particular position on Brexit.

For press inquiries please ring 07964791663

______

The real division in society is not between those who voted Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few. Brexit is poisoning politics and stopping us from addressing the issues that matter to people. We need a general election to deliver a radical Labour government.

The Conservative Party and the Brexit Party are determined to rip the UK out of the EU on October 31, deal or no deal. Their agenda is part of a right-wing nationalist exploitation of global economic and social crisis.

Investment in the UK has plummeted. Manufacturing orders are down to their lowest since the financial crisis a decade ago. The cost of living is already higher than in 2016. Public services are threatened. Working people are already paying the price for the Tories’ Brexit failure.

The Tories want to undermine our rights and living standards. They are desperate to create a low tax, low regulation, low rights economy which will benefit the richest 1%.

The Tories’ plans for Brexit threaten jobs, workers’ rights, migrants, the NHS, public services and the environment, and would make it harder for us to deliver a radical manifesto.

If Britain leaves the EU, Brexit does not end. We face years more of negotiations and neoliberal trade deals.

All economic assessments show that the best deal we have is our current deal as a member of the EU.

If we were to leave, the so-called backstop is a vital insurance policy ensuring no hard border in Ireland unless and until the principles of the Good Friday Agreement are provided for in any future UK-EU relationship.

The only way to resolve Brexit is through a confirmatory referendum with an option to Remain in the EU against a credible Leave option, and calls upon the PLP to propose or support any motion in parliament for this.

Labour must reflect the overwhelming view of its members and votes, who want to stay in the EU. Labour will therefore campaign energetically for a public vote and to stay in the EU in that referendum, while recognising the rights of those members who want to argue another view.

Labour will show solidarity with the people of Northern Ireland and protect the Good Friday Agreement by opposing any Brexit deal and make campaigning to remain in EU manifesto commitment

In government, Labour will address the reasons people voted Leave. We will attack poverty, insecurity and inequality; rebuild communities with public investment and ownership; boost wages and union rights; and combat the climate crisis. We will defend free movement and extend migrants’ rights.

Labour will build cross-border alliances to transform Europe with socialist policies, starting with a Green New Deal, levelling up of wages and rights, and ending Fortress Europe. Labour will convene an international conference of left parties, unions and social movements to coordinate this struggle.

Let’s remember this:

Example: the leader of Trade Unionists Against the EU and anti-cosmopolitan campaign tweets.

One can imagine that Embery’s mates at Spiked would agree…

Ex Key Galloway Ally Salma Yaqoob tries to Become Labour Mayor of Birmingham.

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Yaqoob Back in the Days of Respect.

Ex Respect leader and anti-war activist Salma Yaqoob launches shock bid to be West Midlands Mayor

Outspoken activist Salma Yaqoob has launched an audacious bid to win the right to challenge Andy Street as West Midlands Mayor, BirminghamLive understands.

Ms Yaqoob, former leader of the Respect Party and an ex Birmingham city councillor, has decided at the 11th hour to throw her hat into the ring to win the Labour nomination – despite questions over her party credentials.

Subject to confirmation from Labour’s executive that her candidacy meets membership criteria, she will stand against Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne, thought to be the frontrunner, and unions favourite Pete Lowe from Dudley in the race to be selected as the party’s official candidate to take on Street next May.

The reason why she left Respect was not disagreement with its politics, but a personal spat with Galloway over his defence of Julian Assange.

He suggested accusations against Julian Assange by two Swedish women did not constitute rape “as most people understand it” and Assange was simply guilty of “bad sexual etiquette.”

Yaqoob was caught up in the backlash and left the party as a result.

This is what she said afterwards,

I’ve always admired George’s anti-imperialist stances and I don’t regret, for a second, standing side by side on those issues. But for me, to have to make a choice between that and standing up for the rights of women was a false choice. I thought it was a blurring of something that didn’t need to be blurred. It’s not that complicated – you can hold two ideas at the same time.” Of course, “we’re all human, we can’t always make perfectly worded and crafted sentences – I really hoped a clarification would sort that out.” She published a statement setting out her own position, but then, as she describes it, things escalated. Although she says Galloway never got directly in contact – and still hasn’t – she felt she was being personally maligned; that “under the guise of different names there were personal attacks”.

Salma Yaqoob, in her first interview, explains why she left the party, what comes next – and her thoughts on George Galloway

The interview continued,

There is also a significant cohort worried about the nature of the membership of Respect, that it is an uneasy alliance of far left and Islamist far right. “I will not accept that. I’ve been there from the beginning. I know that we have fought those very reactionary forces, we challenged them from within. I get the hate calls – I get people in the streets saying, ‘She is trying to wreck our homes.’ I’ve had the death threats, that anyone who beheads me will go straight to heaven. Because I promote democracy, because I have a very clear stance on pluralism. Pluralism is not about just supporting people you happen to agree with anyway. I would challenge anybody to say where I have pandered to, never mind encouraged, any reactionary stance.”

This is denying reality, the alliance between Respect and Islamists is a fact that can’t be wished away by referring to their distance from the most extreme, violent, wing and ignoring the link between the party with ‘moderate’ Islamists of, amongst others,  the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Her own ignoble role in denying Islamist influence during the Trojan Horse scandal is a matter of record. (1)

 

One can admire her standing up for democracy against the Jihadist wing of Islamism.

 

One can also admire the fact that she has stood up for Syrian refugees.

And she believes in a Third EU referendum, not to mention loathes the Boris Johnson Coup.

Yaqoob appears to have made a personal enemy in arch-right wing Leaver MP Roger Godsiff which is good.

 

But her background in Galloway-style bogus ‘anti-imperialism’ is still there.

 

Because of this, Lansman’s is very far from a unanimous left-wing view:

(1) “While Ofsted’s inspection of Park View is not thought to have found any evidence of extremist behaviour, the report concludes:

  • The academy did not do enough to alert students to the risks of extremism.
  • Speakers invited to the school were not vetted and pupils not taught about the safe use of the internet.
  • Staff are scared of speaking out and some feel governors get inappropriately involved in the running of the school.
  • Pupils are not given adequate preparation for living in a multi-cultural society.
  • Education about sex and relationships is ineffective.

The school’s managing trust has issued a statement rejecting the findings, saying inspectors have misrepresented the facts, adding there was “no suggestion” in the report of extremism being present in classrooms.

Park View Educational Trust said: “Ofsted judges that Park View is not doing enough to raise students’ awareness of the ‘risks of extremism’. We reject this.

“It is also crucial to note that the Ofsted reports make absolutely no suggestion, nor did they find any evidence, that trust schools either promote or tolerate extremism or radicalisation.”

The trust added it had been working with the government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme since at least 2012.

It said there was “an open working environment” but accepted improvements in areas like staff pay, recruitment and progression could be made.

However, it said “a disillusioned workforce would soon result in (academic) standards slipping” and this had not been the case, with three-quarters of GCSE pupils earning grades A* – C, including maths and English, last year.

Mr Gove is facing renewed pressure from his Labour shadow, Tristram Hunt, over the government’s handling of the threat of extremism in schools.

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “How you can go from outstanding to inadequate? And that’s because the inspection criteria is not fit for purpose.

“We want a much broader criteria to make sure these problems don’t arise.”

Ms Yaqoob, who described herself as “a Birmingham mum”, alleged that Ofsted’s findings were “prejudged” and she had yet to see “a shred of evidence” that pupils were being radicalised.

“The kids of Birmingham are already damned as being extremist,” she added.

“One of the [Ofsted] inspectors asked a girl who was sitting next to a Muslim boy whether she felt intimidated.

“The assumption being that a Year 11 Muslim boy is, by virtue of being a Muslim boy, intimidating.”

BBC

Written by Andrew Coates

September 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Tunisia, “Revolutionary Conservative” Kaïs Saïed heads First Round: two Populists to battle it out.

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Kais Saïd ou le choix de la génération

Robocop Heads Tunisian Presidential First Round.

Presidential election results were seen as a shock in the Tunisian media.

Here

Tunisia election: Outsider in lead stuns after most votes counted.

Al Jazeera.

With two-third votes in presidential race counted, conservative constitutional law professor Kais Saied takes the lead.

Law professor and political outsider Kais Saied is leading Tunisia‘s presidential polls with two-thirds of the votes counted, the electoral commission said, after the country’s second free vote for head of state since the 2011 Arab Spring.

Saied was on 18.9 percent on Monday night, ahead of imprisoned media magnate Nabil Karoui, who was on 15.5 percent, according to the electoral commission, ISIE.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, a presidential hopeful whose popularity has been tarnished by a sluggish economy and the rising cost of living, could well turn out to be the election’s biggest loser.

ISIE figures showed him in fifth place with 7.4 percent of the vote, trailing both Ennahdha party candidate Abdelfattah Mourou (moderate’ islamists, once a favourite of Jeremy Corbyn’s right-hand man, Seumas Milne)  and former defence minister Abdelkarim Zbidi.

France 24 noted,

In a sign of voter apathy, especially among the young, turnout was reported by the elections commission (ISIE) to be 45 percent, down from 64 percent recorded in a first round in 2014.

Reports indicate that  Kaïs Saïed’s electoral base is the educated youth, the “les 20-30 ans éduqués.”

Nicknamed, “robocop”, this comes from his unflagging diction, his use of a rigorous literary Arabic (when many candidates speak in Tunisian forms), his analysis essentially based on the country’s constitutional problems, his conservative positions on social issues. Others have made the connection with “Robespierre”, a ”  Robespierre without guillotine, but if the situation was that of two centuries ago, he would have used it,” an observer noted. He has been a favourite in the polls for many months.

Le Point.

The  analysis by Syrine Ben Youssef on Huffington Post Maghreb has a different angle on the age cohort.

Kais Saïd ou le choix de la génération Z

37 % des électeurs de Kais Saïd auraient entre 18 et 25 ans

37% of the voters for Kais Saïd  are said to be between 18 and 25 years old.

Syrine Ben Youssef summarises some reasons for this result.

They call them ‘Generation Z’ who have grown up since the Tunisian Spring, in contrast to ‘Generation Y who made the revolution.

This is the digital generation, “digital natives” ultra-connected, born with internet, mobile phones, and  social networks.

Saïd is seen as “honest, independent, intellectual” and, above all, he conveyed this image in short broadcasts which can be quickly absorbed and gave an image of furthering a change from the old political set up, the style of lengthy speeches and arguments. He, the Huffington Post journalist, argues,, managed to give an accessible image and a message of supporting, “ideas of ​​direct popular participation” and backing for “universal suffrage”, that is, not the rule of a squabbling political class.

Generation Z, for its part, shows us, through this election in 2019, that it needs change and that it thinks differently. Kais Saïd advocates  a direct democracy where the intermediaries between the power and the people would be reduced. A democracy in the image of a horizontal company or even a liberated firm having little or no level of separation between employees and the executive. Kais Saïd targets, perhaps very intentionally or possibly accidentally, Generation Z.

In case anybody should think this audience makes Saïed a liberal, think again.

He is in favour of the death penalty, he thinks homosexuality is promoted by ‘foreign’ forces’ (l’homosexualité, ou plutôt son expression publique, est encouragée par des parties étrangères qui les financent »)  which should be kept Private, and he thinks that inheritance laws should give priority to males (as in most interpretations of Islamic ‘law’). More here.

It looks like a standoff between two “populists”, the one, constitutional and conservative, who attacks “elites”, the other Nabil Karoui, referred to as a Tunisian Berlusconi with dodgy money – currently in Gaol awaiting trial for this – who wants to “Libérer l’économie”, free the economy.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 17, 2019 at 12:27 pm