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Morning Star Warms of Labour ‘Thermidor” and Attacks ‘Neoliberal” Keir Starmer’s “Bat Squeaks”.

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Image result for communist party of britain

Communists Advising on Labour Strategy: “Starmer’s base is, “metropolitan stratum that derives from socially liberal and economically unadventurous middle-class values”.

The Morning Star, wholly independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the Co-op gives prominent space to the views of one Nick Wright, responsible for the Communist Party of Britain’s media work, (and a former member of Straight Left)  on Labour Party “contradictions”.

Make no mistake — the competition is between the neoliberal wing and the class conscious wing of the party, writes NICK WRIGHT

Two poles of understanding seem to be emerging. On one hand we have a liberal pole of which the best exemplar is Starmer. This is gaining an impressive number of constituency nominations in meetings which, by some accounts seem older and reinforced by those who departed the scene after Jeremy Corbyn renewed his leadership and now see their Thermidor.

“Thermidor”, a word that has strayed from supporters of  Red Flag to the Morning Star (” Starmer represents the victory of the Thermidorian reaction”)

The word was used by Trotsky to refer to the way Stalin establish his power to rein in the Russian Revolution. It quickly fell out of use when it was pointed out that the ‘Thermidor’ which put an end to the Terror in the French Revolution, was not only inappropriate for a rule that vastly expanded the terror in the USSR, it  referred to the way one fraction of radical bpeurgeisie and its allies, during the bourgeois revolution was replaced by another, bourgeois,fraction. (1)

Is Wright suggesting that Corbyn led a bourgeois revolution, or a new Soviet Revolution  and that its gravedigger is in the wings?

One the other hand we have a more explicitly socialist pole given clearest expression by Rebecca Long Bailey.

What is important here are the bat-squeaks. These are emitted at such a high frequency that to hear them requires devoted attention. Comrade Starmer has doubled down on his pledges to respect the Corbyn heritage and presents a package of policies modelled in all surface appearances on the most distinctive elements in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos.

Cde Wright battens onto his favourite candidate,

These, by contrast,  are the politics we need,

 ….a more thoroughgoing critique of capitalism, encapsulated in classically class-conscious language and predicated on an assumption that fighting for these policies is an existential challenge to the main features of contemporary British capitalism……

Rebecca Long Bailey has made a good job of clothing this class perspective in the kind of thought-out detail that can convince the electorate. Her command of the Green New Deal, which she authored, must be a central feature of Labour’s pitch whoever comes out on top in the leadership contest.

The Green New Deal has not been a surefire winner for European left parties.

Benoît Hamon scored  6.36% of the vote in the French Presidential election, as the Parti Socialiste candidate,  after making this, dubbed “ecological transition”, a central part of his platform.

He won a 3,27% and no seats in the 2019  European election after his splinter group, Génération.s ran a list in co-operation with DieM25 and others,   which centred on the issues, called the “federalist European Green New Deal”.

The Podemos breakway Más País, led by  Íñigo Errejón has also given priority to the “La transición ecológica”.

After repeated failure (in the  2019 Spanish General Eleciton they got 2.40% of the vote  3 seats in the Spanish Parliament)  they have now retreated back to their Madrid bases, or “put in a draw” as the Spanish press puts it, “Errejón guarda Más País en un cajón“).

But nothing douses Wright’s ethusiasm for Long-Bailey.

What a contrast, he laments, with Keir Starmer,

Starmer’s particular appeal (as was Thornberry’s) to a spectrum of opinion that wants to move on from, away from, or even reverse Corbyn’s positions is clothed in the cultural and linguistic signifiers of a metropolitan stratum that derives from socially liberal and economically unadventurous middle-class values.

As they say down at the Slaughtered Lamb, “wot bleeding linguistic signifiers are these? How do they, deal with the Brexit “contradiction between working-class priorities and middle-class values”? More like Starmer embodies “the class interests of the dominant section of Britain’s capitalist class underpinned the Remain campaign and the People’s Vote device.”

In a master stroke Wright show’s the issues at stake, “if this leadership contest results in a more-clearly articulated distinction between the liberal pole in Labour politics and the class-politics pole so much the better.”

On Lisa Nanday he has these kind words,

But the logic of her challenge has compelled her to re-energise several strands of traditionally reactionary politics in British Labour. The result is a cacophony of conflicting messages which are acquiring coherence only by her now more-precisely articulated reactionary ideas.

This Blog will not deal with his further reflections as surely the news turns that, hope against hope, a window opens for Labour to “emulate Corbyn at his best.”

Rebecca long-Bailey is said to be gladdened at this response to her heartfelt appeal.

Labour can look forward to Corbyn’s winning advice for a long time to come!

Meanwhile in East Anglia:

The signatories include Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere, the leader of the Labour opposition at Suffolk County Council Sarah Adams and the Labour group leaders on both East and West Suffolk councils Peter Byatt and Diane Hind.

 

Here

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(1) On this point, and why Trotskyists questioned the term see: Chapter 1. Michel Lequenne. Le Trotskisme, une histoire sans fard (2018 edition)

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 21, 2020 at 1:20 pm

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

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

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

 

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

She was at the 2018 AEIP National Conference.

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

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

Susan Press, Keir Starmer for Labour Leader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

When you wish upon a Starmer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 20, 2020 at 12:06 pm

A Critique of Susan Watkins – New Left Review – on “After Brexit”.

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Image result for susan watkins new left review britain's decade of crises

Let Brexit Be Done!

 

“Holloa, my republican friend, d—n it, that’s a nasty lick you’ve got, and from one of people too; that makes it harder to bear, eh? Never mind, he’s worse off than you are.” It was, 1814, the time of the French Restauration. London had been celebrating a visit by His Sacred Majesty, the Bourbon King Louis the 18th. Zachariah Coleman a Dissenter and Radical, had not doffed his cap as the French King appeared. Hit by a burley Drayman’s fist, saved by the intervention of the above Major, the hero of The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane (1887. Mark Rutherford, W.H. White) could stand for the left after the blow of December’s General Election. We are still reeling as the People have cheered, or at least, voted, Boris Johnson into office.

In Britain’s Decade of Crisis, Susan Watkins talks of this present-day “restoration”. “The Tories are back in office with their largest majority since the 1980s, thanks to the long-ignored northern working class”. Like the Bourbons, the PM’s “ traditional ruling-class persona” gave the trappings of “decisiveness, vitality, enjoyment”. Rolling these phrases the Editor of New Left Review sees no cause to revise her judgement on the Leave victory in the 2016 Referendum. “Critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret this knocks against it, against which the whole global order establishment – Obama, Merkel, Modi, Junker, to Xi – has inveigled.” (1)

In another return to the old order New Left Review clutches at Tom Nairn’s portrait of British capitalist development. The “rising bourgeoisie was absorbed into the existing aristocratic state and civil structures”. “The world dominance of the City of London served to divert investment away from the northern industrial regions: higher returns were to be found overseas.” To cut a long, and contentious, story short, the country ended up with this: “While London remained the financial capital of Europe, ‘outward-orientation’ in the era of bubblenomics was above all Atlanticist.”

In other words, leaving the EU was not a knock to the neoliberal global order, or to “southern-based financialised capitalism”. Those gaining from “bubblenomics”, some of the funders of the Leave movement, show that much. The multinational state, Nairn’s bugbear, which he calls by the laborious name of Ukania, may be under strain. Watkins cites the ‘Scottish Rebellion’. She does not mention the sage’s speculation that “the breakup of Britain will be accompanied by the dissolution of its heartland or Southern nationalism into a larger European entity”. (2)

UKIP’s ‘National Independence” movement.

A belated English national independence struggle, led by UKIP, and with wider roots in the Northern Rust Belt, fuelled the demand for Leave. “England without London”, the alliance of the “disaggregated” working and middle classes who backed Leave, the ignored “will of the working class” given voice in Tory support is the result. But like the former mining and industrial districts of Northern France that have turned to Marine Le Pen, this is an alliance of the less-well off with their betters, the traditional reactionary wing of the right. French and British legitimists may add colour to the bloc; former mining families, self-pitying pathos. Racism, xenophobic, the germs of popular base for national populism, could be cited. They are not. One equally suspects that Simon Kuper is onto something when he talks of the “middle class anti-elitist” as the vanguard of Leave support, not the working class and poor ‘left behind’. (3)

Britain’s Decade of Crisis skirts over the movements against austerity that grew after the 2008 Banking crisis and state cuts. The People’s Assembly, run at the top by the small left group, Counterfire, funded by trade unions, such as UNITE, it galvanised and brought together grassroots protests. Prefiguring the election of Jeremy Corbyn, anti-austerity campaigns brought together left activists, local councillors, trade unionists and a big slice of community groups. Many involved joined the Labour Party – actively encouraged by the unions, and the transitional stage of supporters’ membership – under the new leadership. Some saw this as the basis for Labour insurgency, a challenge to “capitalist realism” in civil society. Yet, paradoxically or not, the anti-austerity movement began to fade the moment Jeremy Corbyn was elected and Momentum was floated as the new ‘social movement’. There is little doubt that placards and demos can only go so far when confronted with Council budgets and the Fortress of the DWP. (4)

Labour, Corbyn and the Media.

Watkins jumps to the challenge “from the Labour Left under Jeremy Corbyn: an appeal to redistribute wealth and recast foreign policy, distancing the UK from NATO’s wars.” We learn little about how Labour’s team prepared to turn these policies into a digestible form and the criticisms they faced, up to, and during the election about the unintelligibility and volume, of their plans Indeed the difficulties that the ‘Corbyn project’ faced are externalised.

We hear a lot about how the Parliamentary Party tried to frustrate Corbyn, and a great deal, a very great deal about the media’s hostility to Labour. The “Labour leader came under an unprecedented three-way assault—from the establishment intelligentsia, from his own parliamentary party and from opponents of his anti-war foreign policy.”

Nobody pointed out, that blaming foreign wars, with barely audible qualification, for the Manchester bomb attack – mass murder – was factually and politically doubtful. Nobody questioned Labour’s failure to give more than tepid support for Syrians killed by Baathist, Russian and Iranian forces, or do anything to back the Kurds, to back democrats against Assad, was reflected the ethically bankrupt ‘anti-imperialism’ of key Corbyn advisers. Nobody mentioned it in New Left Review!

Instead the issue of anti-semitism loomed over all others. She concludes“… given the scale and toxicity of the establishment onslaught, besides which the concoction of the Zinoviev Letter in 1924 appears the work of amateurs, the first duty is to salute the moral integrity of Corbyn and his courageous Jewish allies.” This no-holds, no concessions, defence offers little to resolve an over-commented issue. It is hard to credit that Corbyn supporters who reacted with as much vitriol as their critics helped resolve the issue, or that the way some treated the Labour Party as  a place to play out their absolute anti-Zionism, was not the best way to deal with a predictable attack from this quarter, helped. 

“The media’s anti semitism campaign represented a damaging assault on Corbyn’s Labour from above.” Far from the only one, but Watkins is eager to go for the next issue. “Brexit hurt the party from below—dividing it from an important section of its historic voter base.” Again, without surveying the influence of those called the Corridor Cabal, who backed Brexit even more enthusiastically than Watkins, or the turn outs on some of the biggest mass demonstrations ever seen in Britain, for remaining in the EU, she concludes, “ Instead of proposing an alternative solution to the crisis, as in 2017, Labour was the main force blocking the implementation of the popular vote, in a defence of the status quo—aligned with the Supreme Court, the House of Lords, the ‘Remainer elite’.”

Let Brexit be Done!

Any attempt to stop Brexit was not only doomed, it frustrated an alternative. “Corbyn could have avoided this position by giving Labour mps a free vote on Brexit legislation in 2019, ‘according to their conscience’, as Harold Wilson had done on the divisive 1975 referendum on the UK’s entry into the Common Market. With the ‘northern group’ voting for the bill and two dozen Labour abstentions, Johnson would have been denied the chance to make electoral hay out of the obstruction of Brexit, and the prospect of combating a much weaker Tory administration would have lain ahead at the next election.”

In other words, Labour should have let Brexit pass. The Northern patriots would have been appeased, Johnson, his key policy given the green light, his own remain opponents tossed aside, and pro-EU protesters rattled, would be in a mess. Or “much weaker”.

With the blessing of hindsight  Zachariah Coleman should have tipped his hat to the Bourbon King.

Having cheered him on his way, the Dissenter would only have to wait till 1830 to see the elite gone, and a fine musical, Les Misérables, written to celebrate it.

What now for Labour and the Left. Momentum, according to some reports, has frazzled out. Long-Bailey looks unlikely to hold the Corbyn candle. The pro-Corbyn left is fragmenting.  “The new left keeps open the prospect of taking the fight to the terrain of the future with bold solutions for inequality, climate change and the international order, as the Corbyn leadership tried to do” states Susan Watkins towards the conclusion of the New Left Review Editorial. This looks like a rerun of the alter-globalisation folk politics of the past, without any prospect of power.

What constituencies should the new left and Labour address? Reworking the themes of the Somewhere and Nowhere people, the Metropolitan and the Periphery, the political and electoral cartography stands as this: For Paul Mason, the progressive alliance of the future lies squarely with the ‘internationals’, the young metropolitan professionals of the Remain camp. For Wolfgang Streeck, the national level offers the only effective basis for democratic accountability, for calling the ravening forces of capital to order.” Paul Mason, internationalist, opponent of right-wing populism and “national neoliberalism”. Wolfgang Streeck, star writer for New Left Review, member of the alliance between left sovereigntists and Brexit Party supporters, the Full Brexit, the man who thinks national borders are the “last line of defence”…. The Editor leaves little doubt about where her support goes….(5)

*****

  1. Susan Watkins. Casting off? Editorial. NLR No 100. 2016.
  2. Page 391. The Enchanted Glass. Britain and its Monarchy. Tom Nairn. Radius 1988.
  3. Simon Kuper. The revenge of the middle-class anti-elitist. Financial Times. Feb 13th. 2010. Most British Leave voters lived in the south of England, and 59 per cent were middle class (social classes A, B or C1), writes Danny Dorling, geographer at Oxford University.
  4. Exiting the Vampire Castle. Mark Fisher. 2013. “One of the things that broke me out of this depressive stupor was going to the People’s Assembly in Ipswich, near where I live. The People’s Assembly had been greeted with the usual sneers and snarks. This was, we were told, a useless stunt, in which media leftists, including Jones, were aggrandising themselves in yet another display of top-down celebrity culture. What actually happened at the Assembly in Ipswich was very different to this caricature. The first half of the evening – culminating in a rousing speech by Owen Jones – was certainly led by the top-table speakers. But the second half of the meeting saw working class activists from all over Suffolk talking to each other, supporting one another, sharing experiences and strategies. Far from being another example of hierarchical leftism, the People’s Assembly was an example of how the vertical can be combined with the horizontal: media power and charisma could draw people who hadn’t previously been to a political meeting into the room, where they could talk and strategise with seasoned activists. The atmosphere was anti-racist and anti-sexist, but refreshingly free of the paralysing feeling of guilt and suspicion which hangs over left-wing twitter like an acrid, stifling fog.
  5. From the Demise of Social Democracy to the ‘End of Capitalism’: The Intellectual Trajectory of Wolfgang Streeck. Jerome Roos. 2019 HISTORICAL MATERIALISM 27(2): 248-288

As an example of how the pro-Corbyn left is splintering this could not be better:

 

Here

Counterfire on “Post-Corbynism”, “Rebecca Long-Bailey is not continuity Corbyn enough” .

with 11 comments

Image result for the sea of faith arnold
Post-Corbynism. 

Labour in vain? – weekly briefing

Lindsey German, on “ Post Corbynism” .

The leader of the revolutionary socialist Counterfire is already retreating from Long-Bailey.

And what’s more, she has, in-between defensive remarks based on her own group’s unique standpoint, begun to talk sense.

The main thrust is to undermine the claim that Long-Bailey is the ‘real’ left candidate to lead Labour.

The problem for the left however is that Rebecca Long-Bailey is not continuity Corbyn enough. She advocates the use of nuclear weapons. She declared herself a Zionist at the Jewish Labour Movement hustings. And she has signed a statement over trans policies in Labour which contradicts the manifesto pledges, and which threatens to lead to a witch-hunt against some feminists. I understand the pressure that she is under, but we can see from the experience of Jeremy Corbyn himself over the past four years that giving in to pressure doesn’t mean it gets easier further on down the line.

Lindsey German may be wrong to highlight ‘Zionism’ as a be-all-and-end-it all issue.

She ignores the pressing issue of Syria. Many would like to see Labour leadership candidates confronted with the need to support the Kurdish fight and that of democrats against Assad and wider Middle East. Other democratic struggles, across the world, are pressing, from Hong Kong to South America.

Labour’s whole flawed foreign policy needs dropping.

As Rohini Hessman says,

The attempt by the Corbyn team to cover up the brutality of Russian airstrikes in Syria illustrates what I call their pseudo-anti-imperialism: opposition only to Western imperialisms while supporting non-Western imperialisms like Russian imperialism and Iranian regional imperialism, which share responsibility with brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad for over half a million dead and over half the population displaced in Syria.[17] Putin’s is a far-right regime which has provided funding and other support to neo-fascist parties throughout Europe,[18] and to far-right politicians – including Trump – in the rest of the world. Evidence has emerged that it has supported Boris Johnson too.[19] One reason why it has bombed Syrian civilians and democracy activists in support of Bashar al-Assad is to entrench its power in the Middle East; but another is to support its neo-fascist allies in Europe by giving them an ‘enemy’ to demonise, namely millions of Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives.[20] It is disturbing that Corbyn’s team would want to cover up the crimes of such a regime; equally disturbing is the implicit contempt for Syrian working people struggling against unemployment, poverty and authoritarianism.

 It is important that the Labour left – and indeed all socialists – abandon the simplistic notion that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ which has been used to support anti-Western tyrants and imperialists, and take a consistent position in solidarity with all struggles against oppression and exploitation. They need to be able to deal with complexity; to understand that it is possible to oppose military assaults on Iran and sanctions that hurt ordinary Iranians, and at the same time oppose the repressive, extreme right-wing Islamic regime; to acknowledge that prejudice against Jews is racist and antisemitic, but denying Palestinians the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is also racist, and campaigning for those rights is not antisemitic.

German continues on Long-Bailey,

She will get the majority of the left’s votes, although some of those will go to Keir Starmer, who is tacking very much to the left at the moment. His support for Owen Smith back in 2016, his record at the DPP, his ultra-remain politics, are all on the back burner for the next month and a half. Lisa Nandy is the most right wing of the candidates and has already signalled retreat on nationalisation. All three of the remaining candidates have distanced themselves from Jeremy Corbyn in a number of ways, even though December was clearly a Brexit election and even though there are many signs that Labour’s policies were, and remain, popular.

This is where it get sticky.

The Brexit election…German means an election in which Counterfire backed Brexit, and,  with the help of a rag-bag of parties like the Communist Party of Britain, the SWP, left sovereigntists, ‘traditional’ Labour nationalists helped confuse politics by supporting an imaginary ‘People’s Brexit’.

‘Remain’ was the right policy for internationalists, the prefix “ultra” signifying Counterfire’s annoyance at the consistent and principled influence on the left and the Labour Party of groups like Another Europe is Possible.

German opines further on Labour’s  popular policies,

Equally fanciful is the idea that the left-wing policies put forward by Corbyn were unpopular. Indeed if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then we should look at the way in which Johnson’s government is scooping up a number of these policies and claiming them as its own. We’ve already had the nationalisation of Northern Rail, and rail nationalisation is likely to go much further. Now Johnson has declared massive spending on bus services, something that Corbyn was ridiculed over just a couple of months ago.

As has been said time and time again, such clear policies were swamped in the sheer volume of announcements the Labour Party put out.

The faith in Corbyn, a man with many merits, but not a charismatic leader for most of the population, is disintegrating.

Is this one answer?

Rebecca Long-Bailey would offer Jeremy Corbyn a place in her shadow Cabinet

The need to remove the failed team, the “corridor cabal”  that botched an already hard election battle, and to build a united Labour party, would suggest otherwise.

One threat has emerged.

On trans issues German says,

It should be possible for socialists to discuss these issues and reach a position which opposes all oppression. The trans debate in the Labour Party is in danger of ending up in a bad place if it does not do this. Some of the pledges put out by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights are in my view unacceptable, especially those calling organisations like Woman’s Place UK transphobic, and calling for expulsions of transphobes (presumably including members of WPUK). What I find most worrying here is that women who are good socialists are being branded as transphobes because they have a different perspective on women’s rights and trans rights, and that there are repeated moves to close down this discussion. This is being done in an authoritarian manner through threatening expulsion. We have already seen protests at WPUK meetings, attempts at no platforming women such as historian Selena Todd, and attempts to sack women who disagree.

This leads to a situation where it is impossible to move the debate forward. Labour’s manifesto called for full support for trans rights, but also for retention of rights relating to women as a sex under the 2010 Equality Act. Both Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey seem to have dropped this approach in favour of signing the pledge. Laura Pidcock’s eminently sensible call for discussion led to a stream of abuse directed at her. It really has to stop.

For a very different view (this Blog tends to agree with German on this issue but this is an important, heartfelt, article) see:

What’s Wrong With Woman’s Place?

There have been few more bitter struggles on the left in recent years than the conflict between those who support trans inclusion and those who style themselves as Gender Critical and refuse to accept that trans people should be socially or legally treated as their aquired gender.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 17, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Progressive Patriot Long-Bailey, “Our role now is to set out a positive vision of what Great Britain looks like outside of the European Union.” as she fuels Trans Row.

with 4 comments

 

Image result for our path to power long bailey

Path to Power: Positive Vision of Great Britain, and Continued Labour Row over Trans Rights.

 

Apart from these comments, which included a call, despite her “personal view”,and support for some voting rights,  to be “pragmatic” about ending freedom of movement, Long Bailey also poured petrol on the fire by announcing this,

Rebecca Long-Bailey says women’s refuges must accept trans women and urges Labour members to ‘stop having this debate’

Rebecca Long-Bailey has vowed to change the law to prevent women’s refuges excluding trans women, telling Labour members to “stop having this debate”.

The leadership candidate explained her stance after signing up to a campaign to “fight” women’s groups deemed to be “transphobic” and for offending party members to be expelled.

“There is no conflict between rights of women and the protection of women, and safety in particular places, and trans rights,” Ms Long-Bailey argued.

“And we need to stop having this debate within this party on that basis….there doesn’t need to be a differentiation between the two.”

She called for changes to the 2010 Equality Act, which allows exclusions from women-only spaces, saying: “I want a right to self id [identification] for trans people, it’s not an easy journey to go on.”

It was put to Ms Long-Bailey that female victims of domestic violence have spoken of their “debilitating terror” and of the vital importance of a woman-only refuge.

But she replied: “We can’t use that as an argument to discriminate against transpeople.”

The BBC’s Andrew Marr suggested that – if holding such views triggered expulsion – “an awful lot of good feminists inside the Labour party would be caught by this”.

He quoted Jess Phillips’ support for women-only spaces, asking: “Jess Phillips could be kicked out of the Labour party if Rebecca Long-Bailey becomes leader?”

 

The contest’s leftwing candidate replied she didn’t believe her former rival had said “anything transphobic” and said it was “right to listen to concerns about domestic abuse”.

The interview laid bare how the controversy has exploded into the leadership debate, after Ms Long-Bailey signed the 12-point charter put forward by a group called Labour Campaign for Trans Rights.

Is the demand that people stop speaking Long-Bailey’s final word?

 

Women’s Place say,

Rebecca Long-Bailey on Marr this morning questioned about signing the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights pledge and repeatedly challenged over whether she thought WPUK was a transphobic hate organisation. She swerved a lot but one thing is clear: she supports self-ID and the removal of the single-sex exemptions in the Equality Act (even though the Labour Party manifesto says it will uphold them). From 49.46.

 

Will she answer this call?

Woman’s Place UK demands evidence for allegation on pledge card signed by some candidates

Labour leadership candidates who signed a pledge calling several organisations “trans-exclusionist hate groups” are facing demands to produce evidence for the allegation.

A row over a pledge card drawn up by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights group broke out last week after Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry and Lisa Nandy, as well as deputy leadership candidates Angela Rayner and Dawn Butler, all expressed support for the charter. It calls on Labour to expel “transphobic” members, and describes campaigns including Woman’s Place UK as “trans-exclusionist hate groups”.

Woman’s Place UK has now written to the leadership figures demanding to see the evidence behind the claim. The group has also written to the candidates who have not signed the pledge, asking to meet them to discuss the growing row. It said none of the candidates had yet replied.

Business Insider reported yesterday,

The Labour party will lose the next general election if it elects an “establishment” leader like Keir Starmer, the Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has told Business Insider, in her strongest attack yet on the frontrunner to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

In a clear reference to Starmer, who is currently leading the race to become the UK’s official opposition party leader, leadership candidate Long-Bailey said that Labour risks making the mistake of thinking “you [can just] put on a nice suit and be a bit suave and think that’s a route into Downing Street.

She continued this personal attack.

Long Bailey seemed to suggest that the Tories love Starmer.

The above Toff, Stramer, has not signed up to the purge call but he has backed this:

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Communist Party of Britain Hails “achievement” of Leaving the European Union.

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Image result for communist party Brexit

Peoples of Britain Rise Up! Communists Hail Brexit “Achievement.

Thanks LH.

The leader of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), said to have influence on the independent daily, the Morning Star, owned by the “Co-op”, recently declared – two weeks ago……

EU, BREXIT, THE PEOPLES – communist party general secretary Robert Griffiths says,

“Today we begin the process of finally leaving the European Union. This achievement, which required many struggles, must not be underestimated. It certainly won’t be in the City and ruling circles of the EU.


The vote of 2016, demonstrated the desire of people for more democracy, self- government and an end to austerity. The result came as a shock to the ruling class in Britain and its allies abroad.


This year is an opportunity to fight for a Brexit that delivers legislation and policies that serve the people’s interests, not the City and big business.


There is much to play for. This is not a strong government. It can be stopped. The communists will play the leading role expected of them, in the struggle to come. We urge supporters to consider applying for membership to our growing party.

Message of Hope.


Britain leaving the EU sends a message of hope to beleaguered peoples on the continent who share our opposition to the Bosses’ Club and yearn for more democracy, rather than ECJ, ECB and Commission diktat.


The Communists will campaign for greater cooperation across all of Europe and beyond, for medical and scientific cooperation and coordinated measures to deal with the climate change crisis. This weekend, we reject the doom and gloom brigade and as a sign of our confidence in the future, announce a new edition of the CP programme ‘Britain’s Road to Socialism’, will be released on 15 March to coincide with the commemoration of Marx at Highgate cemetery.”

The CPB has sage words for the Labour leadership contenders.

In their party sheet they declare,

Labour would be wrong to argue for a close alignment to the EU as John McDonnell suggested on the andrew Marr show early this month.

This would tie the parliamentary left to the Labour right wing’s strategy and weaken the position of a future Labour government. it gives cover to those whose strategy made electoral
defeat inevitable. it is a slap in the face of working class commitment to Brexit, denies the lessons of the election defeat and erects new barriers to rebuilding working class political strength in the deindustrialised areas where Labour is weakened.

The Communist Party has joined with allies to strengthen the Leave – Fight – Transform, Campaign. LeFT makes the case for what can be achieved outside the EU and to fight to rebuild the left in our communities in all of Britain.

In particular, the Communist Party leader said the labour movement should spell out how Brexit could benefit working-class communities.

This week they declared:

CP urges left to advance not retreat

Reporting to the Communist Party’s political committee on Wednesday evening (February 12), the party’s trade union organiser Andy Bain said the Labour leadership contests had so far been a ‘dispiriting fiasco’.

‘Too many candidates are capitulating to the witch-hunting demands of outside bodies that feminists and supporters of Palestinian rights should be silenced if not driven out of the Labour Party altogether’, Mr Bain charged.  ‘This comes on top of the willingness of most of Labour’s possible leaders and deputy leaders to press the nuclear button and cause millions of civilian deaths instead resolving the cause of the conflict’, he added.

At the root of the problem, the former president of transport staff union TSSA declared, was the shift away from a socialist class analysis of society to the non-class politics of personal and group identity.  ‘The seeds of disunity and intolerance are being sewn by people who in some cases are not interested in promoting unity against all the forms of oppression that assist capital’s exploitation of labour’, Mr Bain argued.

Instead of abandoning class-based left-wing policies, he urged labour movement activists to renew mass campaigning in workplaces and local communities for workers’ rights, the ‘Green New Deal’, public investment, a ‘people’s Brexit’, peace and nuclear disarmament.

‘The trade unions, trades councils, the People’s Assembly, CND, LeFT, Stand Up to Racism and similar movements have a vital part to play in the struggle for left, democratic and progressive policies’, the CP trade union organiser concluded.

Britain’s Communists urged big turnouts for events around International Women’s Day (March 8), International Anti-Racism Day (March 21) and May Day, and for the Marx Oration at Highgate Cemetery on March 15 when the main speakers will be CP General Secretary Robert Griffiths and Joginder Bains of the Indian Workers Association (GB).

 

There is more on the People’s Brexit!

 

What’s not to like!

BRITISH TRAVELLERS FACE BEING TURNED AWAY AT EU AIRPORTS OVER NEW PASSPORT EXPIRY RULES AFTER BREXIT.

Today:  Boris Johnson assembles DREAM TEAM with historic first – Brexiteers delighted

The far-right Express continues,

BORIS Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle means the Prime Minister now has a dream team of Brexit ministers – with all four great offices of state now occupied by Leavers.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 14, 2020 at 12:06 pm

As Support for Keir Starmer Grows and Grows Socialist Worker Attacks “Right-wing Labour Leadership Candidate.”

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Peter Tatchell, Starmer would make a “fine Labour Leader”.

The Newsnight debate yesterday.

This is highly recommended:

Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner and longtime acquaintance of Starmer, remembered him as always being “very open to representation from outside his own circle” as DPP.

“I was involved in helping to defend two Balochistan activists who the government of Pakistan was trying to frame on terrorism charges,” he said. “When I approached Keir about the case he immediately said ‘Come in and see me. Let’s talk about it.’ He was a very high-profile, busy man at the time but he took the time, you know, which I think is a measure of his character and integrity.”

Tatchell said Starmer would make a “fine Labour leader” but said he hoped he would take on some of the “very thoughtful, intelligent proposals” made by Clive Lewis, the left-wing Labour MP who dropped out of the leadership contest in the early stages.

“I think the Keir you see today is pretty much the Keir of 30 years ago,” Tatchell added. “He’s got a very sharp mind and is very articulate. I think it would be a great asset if he can work on a sense of humour as well. … Yeah, it’s a bit hidden.”

Keir Starmer Is Not Who You Think He Is. Emily Ashton.

James McAsh writes on Labour List.

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are in the lead by a considerable margin. Each has approximately 60% of nominations. Two in five CLPs have nominated both candidates, one in five have nominated each one alone, and only one in five have nominated neither.

……

 Perspective on the EU is still a factor. CLPs nominating Starmer and Thornberry are more likely to be in areas that voted Remain, while those supporting Long-Bailey or Nandy more often voted Leave.

Nonetheless, the Brexit vote does not disrupt the headline results: Starmer has won a majority of both groups, Long-Bailey is in second place, and Nandy is beating Thornberry to third place. Perhaps we’re not so divided after all.

It is all but impossible that Starmer and Rayner will lose. Moreover, their staggering leads make it clear that they have hoovered up support from both previous Corbyn supporters and his critics. Is this a new era of unity? A happy compromise between those who want the Corbyn project to enter a new stage, and those who want it to end? Or rather, will the expectations for the new leadership be ultimately irreconcilable? Only time will tell.

As the Labour Party looks to a new leadership to replace the failed pro-“People’s Brexit’ Corridor Cabal that damaged the party during the election.

From the SWP sidelines comes further reasons to back Starmer charging him, falsely with wanting to “move to the right”, and sneering at his human rights work, and, correctly, with having been pro-internationalist on the issue of the European Union.

The SWP no doubt thinks that if they repeat the claim that Starmer is a “right-winger” long enough people might believe them.

Right wingers lead as Labour leadership race enters final stage

Right wing Labour leadership candidate Keir Starmer looked set to enter the final round of the contest with the most nominations by far.

Starmer had won backing from 280 Constituency Labour Parties—local party organisations—as Socialist Worker went to press.

His nominations surpassed the left’s candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey, who had the backing of 131 CLPs, and the two other candidates Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry.

Among those nominating him last week was Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency Islington North—prompting gloating from the Labour right and barely concealed joy from political pundits.

The deadline for nominations was Friday this week. The final stage of the contest—a ballot of individual members and affiliated supporters—was set to run from Friday of next week until Thursday 2 April.

Yet the scale of the nominations for Starmer is an indication that the mass support that sustained Corbyn’s leadership may not become backing for Long-Bailey.

Starmer says Labour has to move right to be electable—and activists worry that this is swaying members.

He has tried to cultivate an image as ­someone who supported workers as a campaigning lawyer.

Yet he also relies on his image as a “respectable” politician due to his background as Labour’s shadow Brexit ­minister and as Director of Public Prosecutions.

Starmer was one of those responsible for Labour’s slide towards backing a second referendum—which was central to the disastrous 2019 general election result.

He also ­publicly backed ­remaining in the European Union. Yet demoralisation among Labour members mean some are pulled by the idea that Labour needs a leader more acceptable to the right and the media.

Meanwhile, Long-Bailey was attacked for promising to ban bosses from forcing workers to answer emails out of working hours, and to ­support “every” strike.

Yet her campaign has also made concessions to the right—including ­backing MP Angela Rayner over the left wing Richard Burgon for deputy leader. She’s also backed rules that would allow left wing activists to be purged from Labour for anything more than the ­mildest criticism of Israel.

Labour lost the general election partly because its leadership under Corbyn consistently conceded to right wing arguments, allowing them to take hold and undermine him.

Now the pressures of “unity” and “electability” look set to drag the party even ­further to the right.

Fellow supporters of Brexit, Spiked, are also anti-Starmer.

On another identity issue, the ‘Trans pledge’, the leadership debate has seen Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey back calls to purge Labour of feminist dissent on the issue.

In thoughtful and reasoned comment Lindsey German said earlier in the week said that the issue should not be used to shout down debate,

No platform should only be for fascists

Laura Pidcock, the former Labour MP who has such a good record on the left, has come under attack in the past week for making the following statement as part of a much longer article: ‘The women’s movement needs space to talk about sex and gender without fear of being “no platformed”’. She has been called bigoted and transphobic. Yet what she says is absolutely true. There is no justification for refusing a platform to someone who wants to discuss these highly controversial issues. They are not fascists, indeed many have a long record of fighting oppression. Moreover, they are as resolutely opposed to attacks on, abuse of, or discrimination against trans people as are the people attacking them. So they cannot be lumped in with right wingers who want to deny trans rights.

The truth is there is no automatic unity of the oppressed and positions need to be argued and fought for. Demonstration against feminists who are concerned about transgender issues, shouting them down, trying to get them sacked or removed as speakers, should have no place on the left. It’s 50 years since the first women’s liberation conference in this country and, guess what, women’s oppression remains a major factor in our society.

Here is Starmer’s reaction to the calls for a witch-hunt on the issue of trans rights.

Instead he backs this democratic pledge: