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Left Bloc at the People’s Vote March: On lâche rien!

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At the Left Bloc Behind the Banner ‘Stop Tory Brexit’ (Photos from Mike H).

After short speeches in Old Park Lane, by a number of people, including Michael Chessum, Hilary Wainwright and Mary Kaldor, hundreds joined the Left Bloc at the People’s Vote March.

It was felt that a serious left presence was needed to show that the ‘another Europe is possible’ can be a political force within anti-Brexit protests, the Labour Party and the labour movement.

The intervention was well received, apart from unfavourable reactions from a few Liberal Democrats.

At the post-Demo discussion and Party in Lambeth, people thanked the organisers’ for their hard work, which had  paid, off.

The strategy is now to build the campaign for a People’s Vote in the Labour Party and the trade unions.

There was serious discussion on the grounded, mass, and worked out alternative to the ‘Lexit’ sovereigntist left which needs to be built.

It was an exceptional day.

The warmth and enthusiasm of the left bloc reminded this writer of one of his favourite film moments – Blue is the Warmest Colour, (Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2).

On lâche rien!

 

People’s Vote march: ‘More than 700,000 protesters’ call for second referendum on Brexit in ‘largest demonstration since Iraq War’

After the March there was a Post-demo Party in Lambeth.

 

 

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Thanks for to the gallery of photos by Mike Hirst.

And (nicked from LM):

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Written by Andrew Coates

October 21, 2018 at 10:46 am

Alan Simpson, latest Labour left-winger to join calls from the Left Against Brexit.

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Alan Simpson is a well known and respected figure on the Labour left, and a Labour MP from 1992 to  2010.

He is is currently the Shadow Chancellor’s Adviser on Sustainable Economics.

Meanwhile, living the dream of a People’s Brexit, Counterfire’s Lindsy German opines,

The crisis for Theresa May and the Tories continues to deepen, their only lifeline would be a second referendum.

Most people will dismiss the claim that a Second Referendum, whatever the problems it poses, would help May’s tottering position.

This is rhetoric.

You can turn the Tory crisis into anything you want, PM

Bojo, Rees Mogg as future Chancellor…..

But it is very hard to see how a Second Referendum, which would be ferociously opposed by her right-wing Brexit mad MPs and a substantial layer of her members, would save her from….them.

German does raise a series of core issues which should be answered.

There will be a number of left wingers on it regardless, promoting the myth that ‘another Europe is possible’. It certainly is, but not if you pin your hopes on the EU. The position of ‘stay in and change the EU’ is simply utopian, since there is no democratic mechanism for doing so, and relies on a wilful refusal to look reality in the face. The growth of the far right in Europe is being fuelled by EU policies, and the resultant victories for far right politicians are blithely accepted in most cases. Flexibility at work, low wages, shameful treatment of migrants, all are deliberate policies from the EU. So it’s not the time to be sowing illusions in it, or giving failed politicians a leg up.

The British state has been shaped into a neoliberal institution – right down to the contracting out of the means to solve some of the mess created by Universal Credit to charities.

The government debt is owned by….bond holders, not the people. One might suggest that this indicates that it has something to do with capitalism.

Flexibility at work conditions has been a goal of successive UK governments; one of the constraints on it have been EU regulations (such as the Working Time Directive).

Did the EU stop Chancellor Merkel – while German’s grotesque Stop the War Coalition stood aside – welcoming Syrian refugees and other asylum seekers,  more than 1.4 million, almost half of the total applications across the bloc  in the last decade?

What are the prospects for democratic control over the economy outside the EU?

You cannot wish away the world economy, ‘globalisation’ and inter-Europe production flows.

People’s Brexiteers, so far as I am aware, do not propose to leave the World Trade Organisation(WTO).

This will be a key body regulating the famous “deals” with other countries in a post-EU UK.

The WTO is ‘neo-liberal’, though the polices of neo-liberal free trade at present caught up in the fall out from the sovereigntist attempts by pro-Brexit Trump to put ‘American First’.

Perhaps Counterfire would support launching a UK First campaign in retaliation.

These are just some responses.

For a more systematic reply to the Brexit Bolsheviks see;

Alena Ivanova and Michael Chessum (THE LEFT AGAINST BREXIT AN INTERNATIONALIST CASE FOR EUROPE. ANOTHER EUROPE IS POSSIBLE)

The British left is at a crossroads unlike any other in its history. Just as the Corbyn moment gives us hope, the Brexit moment presents us with an unprecedented crisis. Domestically, we face an entrenched regime of deregulation combined with an emboldened far right whose anti-immigration narrative has soaked into the mainstream.

The choices we face are not unique to us. From the emerging splits in Germany’s Die Linke to the ‘sovereigntist’ approach of some on the French left, the temptation to give in to the politics of nationalism and border-building is stronger than ever.

Our strategy for battling Brexit and the rising far right starts from an understanding that only the left can win against the encroaching darkness. Only a transformative, socialist vision can compete with the politics of hate and the reality of social crisis. And the agents of change will be workers and ordinary people – in all their diversity – not the morally bankrupt establishment. But what comes next is not just a question of understanding or analysis – it is a question of doing. Intervening into the mechanics of Brexit and trying to stop the train crash seems like an arduous task, but it is essential. The price of defeat would be the biggest expansion of immigration controls in Britain’s recent history, a decimation of  46 THE LEFT AGAINST BREXIT our rights, a deregulatory trading agenda that will make TTIP look progressive, and a major economic crisis.

Here is a further response:

STOP TORY BREXIT – MARCH WITH US ON OCTOBER 20TH

It’s time for the left and the labour movement to mobilise – and take the reigns back from the political establishment.

On October 20th, hundreds of thousands will march to demand that the people are given the final say. We cannot allow the anti-Brexit movement to be dominated by the political establishment.

The time has come for the left to march, with a clear message of hope and solidarity. We will bring a sea of red flags, green flags, placards, flares and banners. Bring your trade union branch, your local Labour Party, your local Green Party, your Momentum group, your activist network.

There is only one kind of Brexit on offer – Tory Brexit. It is an attempt to further deregulate the economy, attack migrants, and undermine the rights and prosperity of working class people. When the Tories talk about “getting rid of the red tape”, he means our environmental standards, maternity pay and human rights.

But the fight to stop Brexit is not a fight for the status quo. We want to build a better society, with a radical social and economic programme, and we want to take on the right wing establishment in Brussels just as much the one in Westminster. We need to end fortress Europe, not build fortress Britain.

Join us on October 20th. Meet from 11am outside the Hard Rock Cafe on Old Park Lane/Piccadilly, W1K 1QZ.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 17, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Bust up on the Labour Left.

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Jewish Voice for Labour Standing Next to….

Labour List reports.

Lansman Slams Left Rival CLPD Slate For Key Disciplinary Committee

Momentum chief Jon Lansman has attacked the slate put forward by left-wing group Campaign for Labour Party Democracy for Labour’s key disciplinary committee.

This morning, CLPD published its slate of candidates – also backed by Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and the Labour Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (LCND) – in the contest for the national constitutional committee (NCC).

The three left-wing organisations have endorsed Kaneez AktharAnnabelle HarleGary Heather, JVL activist Stephen Marks, lawyer Khaled Moyeed and Cecile Wright.

But Lansman tweeted his disapproval of the South East/London-centrism of the CLPD slate, adding: “I regret that CLPD launched their campaign today without agreement.” Pre-empting a meeting due to be held later today, he confirmed that Momentum would be supporting a different set of NCC candidates.

Momentum were in negotiations with CLPD and other Labour left groups to put together a single left-wing NCC slate and were surprised by the CLPD announcement this morning, LabourList understands.

The Momentum chair’s open criticism of CLPD follows a row held during the summer over the candidacy of Pete Willsman for Labour’s national executive committee (NEC). Momentum dropped their endorsement of Willsman after a recording of his comments on antisemitism leaked – but CLPD remained supportive of his bid, which was ultimately successful.

Stephen Marks, a member of controversial group Jewish Voice for Labour, is thought to be one of the choices Momentum is not inclined to back. Like Willsman, Marks has previously denied claims of antisemitism within Labour, and in 2016 he signed a letter describing such accusations as “part of a wider campaign against the Labour leadership”. However, a Momentum source denied the report by Skwawkbox that “Momentum representatives” tried to “veto” Marks at meetings earlier this week.

The Skwawky one has just said.

BREAKING: MOMENTUM SET TO ANNOUNCE OWN SLATE LATER TODAY

Momentum founder Jon Lansman has cited concerns about the geographical balance of the CLPD slate, but says that Momentum had been prepared to back Jewish Voice for Labour’s (JVL) Stephen Marks although Lansman personally expressed concerns.

I shall only make one comment: it seems that Lansman actually knows Stephen Marks. and is aware of his recent political behaviour…

Written by Andrew Coates

October 11, 2018 at 12:35 pm

New Blows for Tony Greenstein Led Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

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Nerve Specialist Sir Roderick Glossop on Watch as News Breaks of New Crisis for Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

Posts by a Jewish blogger in London have been removed from US-based writing platform Medium after he alleged that the antisemitism rally in Manchester last month was supported by the far-right.

Reports the Jewish News today.

The Medium story has already been revealed by our ace reporters but this aspect is not:

Following a complaint from the Board of Deputies, the site took action against Tony Greenstein, who has been expelled from the Labour Party. He currently co-chairs Labour Against the Witch-hunt, which argues that the party’s antisemitism scandal is purposefully overblown and counts MP Chris Williamson among its supporters.

The Board drew attention to Greenstein’s article titled: ‘NW [North West] Friends of Israel, Tommy Robinson and the EDL [English Defence League] are Holding a Demonstration Against Antisemitism in Manchester.’

Anthony Silkoff of the Board said: “This is a complete lie with no factual basis… There was absolutely no involvement of the EDL and Tommy Robinson, indeed the organisations involved have denounced Tommy Robinson multiple times.”

Meanwhile … Labour Against the Witch-Hunt backer Williamson has difficulties of his own:

Labour MP Chris Williamson Facing Deselection Threat After Union Anger

The Labour MP for Derby North, Chris Williamson, will “definitely” be challenged under new party rules that have made it easier to oust sitting MPs, several sources have said.

Williamson is expected to face a “trigger ballot” in his marginal Westminster constituency as local activists take advantage of changes that mean just a third of union branches are needed to force a contest.

………

He’s definitely going to be triggered,” a source at one of the big trade union told HuffPost UK. “No doubt about it.”

A key figure in another major union, who preferred not to be named, confirmed Williamson would be targeted, as members wanted an MP who was less divisive and who was fully committed to the union link.

Even non-union party members locally are understood to be unhappy that Williamson hasn’t been focusing enough on Derby – where Labour lost control of the council to the Conservatives this year – rather than touring the country.

“He doesn’t realise how unpopular he is,” one said. Another source said that Williamson’s decision to hold his roadshow in the seats of some strongly union-backed MPs was another factor. “If the unions get a strong enough local candidate, he could well lose.”

And in case anybody wonders why many on the left are not fond of Williamson look no further than this article in the Huff Post:

Labour MP Chris Williamson’s Praise For Blogger Who Called Jo Cox A ‘Warmongering Blairite’

The party is ‘looking into’ Chris Williamson’s comments.

 

Noted Nerve Specialist Sir Roderick Glossop is said to be at the ready to help, in a caring way, with any crises that Greenstein may have after reading the Jewish News report.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 9, 2018 at 4:44 pm

Morning Star – Brexit Bolsheviks join “La gauche antimigrants”, the anti immigrant Left.

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Image result for The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got

Morning Star Says Brexit Means “Freedom to control our own borders.”

Le Monde has just published a long article on what they call the “anti-immigrant/anti-migrant” left”.

A ‘left in favour of national sovereignty and closing borders.

The French daily cites the German Aufstehn movement of  Sahra Wagenknecht, the “ambiguities” of Jean-Luc Mélecnhon’s La France insoumise, and Danish Labour and ‘populist’ left forces.

Lo and Behold the Morning Star, Britain’s leading organ of the Brexit Bolsheviks has just published this (which will appear in the Saturday print edition).

Time to get tough with the EU and our own anti-democrats

The benefits of being free of the EU neoliberal restrictions far outweigh anything else, writes JACQUI JOHNSON.

What do we do when we are free of the membership fee and from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice? Any of these things is complex, open to offers and counter-offers, stand-offs and compromises, but none overrides the ending of our EU membership.

Here is a very prominent ‘benefit’.

Leaving means freedom to control our own borders. Immigration policy can be part of a comprehensive employment plan based on equal rights for all who live and work here.

…..

The benefits of being free of all of these neoliberal restrictions on our economic prospects far outweigh anything else. Rebuilding and transforming Britain does not depend on trading arrangements, it depends on investment in our people to produce and transform society. You can’t trade if you can’t produce.

 

The anti-migrant writer of this, Jacquie Johnson is former president of NATFHE, now UCU,.

She is, by no coincidence at all, linked to the notorious “Trade Unionist Against the EU” – which received funds from far-right millionaire Arron Banks.

From this year’s TUC Fringe,

EMBRACE BREXIT – REBUILD AND TRANSFORM BRITAIN

Brexit offers opportunities we never had while members of the EU. This is now being recognised by almost everyone, even the Guardian. Jeremy Corbyn said, ‘the next Labour government will … [take] advantage of new freedoms outside of the EU to allow Government to intervene to protect our industrial base’. The speakers will explore the opportunities offered by Brexit and discuss how the trade union movement can take part in this most exciting phase in the history of our country. Contributions from the fl oor will be welcome.
Speakers: Mick Whelan (General Secretary, ASLEF), Sarah Wooley (BFAWU), Kelvin Hopkins (MP), Professor Costas Lapavitsas (author of Left Case Against the European Union)
Chair: Jacquie Johnson (former President NATFHE/UCU)
Venue: The Briton’s Protection, 50 Gt Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE
Refreshments provided.

Amongst her further comments we find this:

It is no accident either that one of the most virulent asset-strippers of Greece, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, manages to drape himself in “left-wing” colours . He wants to stay in the EU, “but not this EU”).

“It’s no accident” ………

How that hackneyed  phrase reminds one of these days:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 5, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Has the Morning Star Gone Totally Mad as it calls for “Militant Opposition” to “Paedo Gangs’ ?

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“I can already hear the allegations of Strasserism, of trolling, of “letting the right set the terms of the debate.” says Morning Star Brexit Bolshevik Red Browner Alex Birch. 

The working class has no use for liberal hand-wringing

The majority of working-class people oppose the EU, almost all dislike fundamentalist religion and almost all hate paedophiles. They are correct on all three counts. In each case, the left (with honourable exceptions) has failed to indicate its agreement clearly, because it is panicked that these issues are the stamping ground of the right, and that saying what we actually think would give inadvertent support to racists.

Yet,

Instead, the left is derided as the “politically correct brigade” and called “soft on paedos.” How can that do anything but damage our credibility with the ordinary person and provide the right with an opportunity to pose as the only people taking paedophilia seriously?

It really isn’t complicated — debunk the racist ideas in circulation around paedophilia, and at the same time make it clear beyond all possible doubt that the left is militantly and aggressively opposed to all forms of it.

He continues,

From Brexit, at the most important level, to backing England in the World Cup, at the most trivial, large sections of the left are abandoning their posts at the first sign of trouble, on subjects and areas of culture that the right have no natural claim to.

Alex Birch is an NEU rep and executive member of his Labour CLP…..

He has just won the coveted prize for “political confusionist” of the Year.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 1, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Mélenchon’s Mates Biff Back.

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“They nourish national vanity and the love of supremacy by force. “We alone,” they say, each behind his shelter, “we alone are the guardians of courage and loyalty, of ability and good taste!” Out of the greatness and richness of a country they make something like a consuming disease. Out of patriotism–which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred–out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace.”

Under Fire: The Story of a Squad, by Henri Barbusse, 1917.

 

The Left Should Welcome Mélenchon

Liberals want to smear Jean-Luc Mélenchon as a xenophobe. In fact, they fear his potential to unite the oppressed.

This article contains the following, which some may consider incredibly patronising, even for a graduate of Science-Po a place many consider the homeland of most patronising   arrogant gits on the planet:

Mélenchon’s patriotic tones may sound odd to British ears (as, indeed, may those of Bernie Sanders or Pablo Iglesias). But the Resistance, the Revolution, and the Commune figure far larger in French public life than the Chartists or Diggers in Britain. The Left’s own French-republican tradition owes not (as Dan tells us) to some desire to deny that Vichyite Nazi-collaborators were indeed French, or that France has committed colonial crimes, but the attempt to marginalize chauvinist narratives of French identity.

Historically, this has led to many sins of omission. And yes, Mélenchon should be scrutinized for his failings just like anyone else. But it is mean spirited and not a little bit silly to judge France Insoumise, or its leader, by assembling a series of clipped quotes and assertions of guilt by association. Was Jeremy Corbyn not himself subject to such a campaign, just a fortnight ago? I don’t agree with everything that Jean-Luc (or Jeremy) says either. But a politics of solidarity starts from the future we want to build in common.

 

Reponse

Thursday 27 September 2018, by Julien Salingue

Worse still, in order to justify his refusal of a real opening of borders, Jean-Luc Mélenchon uses the argument of the use of immigration, by the bourgeoisie, “to put pressure on wages and social gains” [9]. That some employers and politicians instrumentalize immigration to reinforce the logic of exploitation is undeniable. But to infer that immigration is “organized by the free trade treaties” [10] in order to reduce wages and grind down social gains, there is a step… that it is difficult to take. Because it is not just a question of confusion between a windfall effect and an organized policy, which we will come back to, but of the legitimization of the idea of a de facto competition between French and foreign workers and, therefore, the questioning, whether voluntary or not, of the possibility of jointly fighting against the employers. However, the fight against the pressure of capitalists determined to increase, at all costs, their profit rates, certainly does not involve challenging, even indirectly, migratory phenomena (“to say that (the waves of immigration) can exert a downward on pressure on wages and be profitable for the employer is not a completely absurd reasoning”) [11] but only challenging… the capitalist system itself, and the frantic race for profit. Besides, all things being equal, we seem to be hearing the arguments of some trade unionists at the beginning of the 20th century, according to which the entry of women, less qualified than men, into the labour market, would be used by the employers to lower wages…

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 28, 2018 at 12:18 pm