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Factionalism in the Time of Coranavirus Part 11: Chris Williamson Gets Close to Galloway’s Workers Party.

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Getting Close up to Galloway and pro-Brexit ultras of the Workers Party – aka as the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).

 

Chris Williamson was reported to be organising a ‘grass roots’ event, the ‘Festival of Resistance’ on the 20th of June but we learn from his site, “The Resistance” that,

In view of the ongoing Coronavirus calamity, we have decided to postpone the Festival of Resistance that was planned for the weekend of 20 June this year.

The festival has now been rescheduled for the weekend of 17/18 October in Derby, where we will aim to have an array of excellent speakers, workshops and films.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism asserts that speakers are already lined up,

The Resist Festival is due to feature controversial speakers including the rapper Lowkey, the outspoken academic Noam Chomsky, the activist Max Blumenthal and representatives from the ‘yellow vest’ protests in France.

This is one of his most recent public interventions,

Williamson has some new best friends:

This follows an earlier chum-fest with Galloway in May:

Chris Williamson’s views on the opinions of the Deputy Leader of Galloway’s Workers Party, Joti Brar, (Anti-imperialist, communist, media worker, truthseeker, mum. Workers of the world, unite; we have a world to win! @CPGBML @WorkersPartyGB )are not known.

Here are some of them, “Joti Brar is an active member of the Stalin Society, the website of which contains articles denying Soviet wrongdoing in the Katyn massacre, the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor), and the Moscow Trials which they blame on the Nazis, dismiss as propaganda, or describe as fair process, respectively.”

Williamson could not stand as the Labour candidate in his Derby North constituency in the 2019 General Election as a result of his active suspension. He resigned from the Labour Party and stood as an independent candidate. He won 635 votes, losing his deposit and coming bottom of the poll.

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Forward Momentum Slate Wins – Tears for ‘Tribune’, Lavery and Bastani as their ‘Renewal’ faction loses

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Tears for ‘Tribune’, Lavery and Bastani as their faction loses..

” Labour MPs such as Ian Lavery, Paula Barker, Sam Tarry and Charlotte Nichols, plus Tribune‘s Ronan Burtenshaw and Novara Media‘s Aaron Bastani, had all signed up to back the Renewal initiative.”

” the candidates selected by FM – said to include key workers, shop stewards and community organisers – were described by the campaign as “representing a break with the current leadership faction”.

It was bitterly contested fight, involving anonymous Twitter feeds attacking some of the Forward Momentum candidates for links with the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

Described as a less than edifying bun fight this is the result (on a turn out of 8,580, tiny in comparison with Labour’s growing membership of over 580,00).

Victory for Forward Momentum candidates as Lansman steps down

Labour List. Sienna Rodgers

Forward Momentum candidates have swept to victory by winning all member representative seats in Momentum internal elections that saw co-founder Jon Lansman step down.

Forward Momentum put forward one of the two main slates in the contest. The group pitched itself as ‘anti-continuity’ with a focus on democratising the organisation, and held open primaries to select candidates.

Momentum Renewal was the rival platform, more closely associated with Lansman. It stressed the importance of “left unity” within Labour and being “rooted in working-class communities”.

FM candidates won all 20 places in the members’ section, which gives them a majority on the NCG. Renewal candidates were elected by MPs and councillors to the four office holder posts.

That is, Renewal holds the  “4 representatives of Labour public office holders.”

“the candidates selected by FM – said to include key workers, shop stewards and community organisers – were described by the campaign as “representing a break with the current leadership faction”.

The Clarion has a report,

Forward Momentum sweeps election for Momentum NCG

Mohan Sen.

Momentum reform group Forward Momentum has won all 20 seats elected by members on the Momentum National Coordinating Group.

The four seats reserved for and elected by public office holders (MPs and councillors) were all won by conservative left / Stalinist slate Momentum Renewal. It remains to be seen if Momentum Renewal will try to use the ‘fake seats’ on the NCG allotted to various organisations to gain advantage. It will be hard given how comprehensive their defeat is.

(Full results here. Candidates outside the two main slates did poorly.)

This rejection of the conservative, demagogic and witch-hunting campaign Momentum Renewal ran is a good thing for the movement.

It at least opens up possibilities for changing Momentum.

Forward Momentum is a real mixed bag politically, with widely differing perspectives – even on what democratising the organisation means, let alone wider political strategy.

A serious debate about left strategy, demands and campaigning – which didn’t get very far during the campaign – is needed.

It is very positive that two candidates who endorsed Momentum Internationalists‘ socialist platform – Abbie Clark and Ana Oppenheim – were elected on the Forward Momentum slate. We were sorry to see Nadia Whittome MP, who also supported the MI platform, narrowly lose out in the office holders’ section.

Poor old Skwawky thinks he has managed to scramble on board the Forward bandwagon:

So far, (written a bare hour after the results were announced) the losers are keeping their chins up.

Keeping the Flag of the Bolivarian Revolution flying Bastani looks to set to continue his work in heralding the latest act of Maduro, and attacking the Labour leader.

It remains hard to see what role Momentum has today.

From its creation, as a group pledged to support Jeremy Corbyn, engaged in some serious election work in 2017, it has struggled to define its role.

Was it to become a “social movement”, the yeast in amongst the people that gave substance to a British ‘left populism’?

Was it, as it described itself, building socialism “in the community”? A ” a people-powered, vibrant movement”.

The claim that Momentum has been, “Harnessing people-power, technology and networks, we’ve won seats for Labour, changed minds about the solutions to the biggest crises of our time and altered the direction of travel for British politics. Our aim is simple: we’re creating a society for the many, not the few.” looks pretty empty after the 2019 Election Disaster.

Now some of the left seem happier spending their time attacking the popular and respected Labour leader, Keir Starmer.

Flaking away from the Party the self-pitying left seems on the up:

 

Nobody with morals or self-respect should remain in Labour.

Nobody with any with morals, intellect or self respect should now remain in the Labour Party. Throughout Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the party was constantly sabotaged from within: the plotters praying that electoral defeat would help restore the hegemony of the right wing careerists – and it has. They have won.

And so it goes..

Many will be happy that Momentum has seen a clear out of the loyalists who used Momentum to ensure factional control of Labour Conferences in the interests of the Corridor Clique  that thwarted, notably, internationalist opposition to Brexit.

Beyond that there is little to indicate that Momentum has found a new positive direction away from its past factionalism.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 1, 2020 at 10:10 am

Factionalism in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 10: Socialist Appeal calls for “War” after RLB Sacking.

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“Unity” against the “Appeasers” of Starmer.

A couple of days ago, Socialist Appeal published this article.

Long-Bailey sacking: Mobilise against Blairite aggression!

Keir Starmer has abruptly sacked former leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey from her position as Shadow Education Secretary, on the ludicrous charge of “sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories”. This incendiary move has rightly provoked outrage amongst grassroots members.

The “Marxist Voice of Labour and Youth” is not kind to Long-Bailey,

 

Long-Bailey showed her own timidity by distancing herself from Peake’s comments, rather than calling out the slanders and cynicism of the right. Worse still, she went on to say that she would not be “critical about the way I have might have been treated”, because “[t]he only way that we’ll win a general election is by being unified as a party.”

They continue,

So rather than standing up for herself, she rolls over and lets Starmer kick her in the teeth! This weakness on the part of the left leaders is in marked contrast to the right, who are resolute and ruthless in pursuing their agenda.

They concluded,

It is fruitless to seek unity with the Labour right wing. They represent the interests of big business, who are determined to reclaim the party from the Corbyn movement. The left leaders’ strategy of appeasement has been a proven failure over the past years, and is the reason we are in this position to begin with.

The unity we need is not one of concessions to the Blairites. We need genuine unity, based on organising Labour’s mass membership around bold socialist policies. This is the only way to avoid demoralisation and defeat.

No more compromises! Resist Blairite aggression! Unite and fight for a socialist Labour Party!

Here is their call to arms.

Socialist Appeal (SA) was founded by supporters of Ted Grant and Alan Wood after they were expelled from the Militant group in the early 1990s. While their former comrades founded the Socialist Party, they stayed inside Labour.

Socialist Appeal is said to be affiliated to the Labour Representation Committee.

The groupuscule is said to have over a 100 members.

They believed that Labour should have campaigned for Brexit on a socialist basis.

Their position was that the left should call for “the reform of the EU and its institutions, but with their destruction and replacement by a Socialist United States of Europe.”

If Corbyn and the Left had come out boldly against the EU – whilst defending workers’ rights and freedom of movement for all on a socialist basis – this would have transformed the situation. It could have shifted much of the debate away from immigration and onto the real nature of the EU – and to the question of how to improve society, particularly in the deindustrialised heartlands where Labour had lost support under Blair, Brown and Miliband.

Lessons of the Brexit saga

‘Utopian reform’ of the EU would not work. Failure to appeal  to the electorate to destroy the European Union and  in this way build support for socialist united states of Europe, cost Labour dearly in the ballot box.

Jeremy Corbyn compounded his error by not “waging a relentless assault against Blairism” as the interests of the working class demanded. After the election the “toxic mire of Blairism” loomed again. It “will end in disaster”.

One of SA’s best known international campaigns is the defence of President Maduro’s Venezuelan regime (No coup! No war! Hands off Venezuela! ). The success of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is too well known to need outlining.

SA is widely credited with having one of the most unreadable papers on the left.

This group is not alone in calling for a fight against the newly elected leader of the Labour Party.

Today opponents of Starmer have a new cause célèbre.

The Evening Standard reports,

Black Lives Matter UK has criticised Labour leader Keir Starmer after he dismissed their aim to “defund the police”.

The UK’s anti-racism group has joined demands from protesters around the world to “defund the police”, a term that refers to diverting of funds from law enforcement into other areas such as mental health services.

When asked about the process, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: “Nobody should be saying anything about defunding the police.

Black Lives Matter UK defended the movement on Twitter, as they said defunding the police is a call for more investment in “key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system”.

“As a public prosecutor, Sir Kier Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit,” said the anti-racism organisation.

These are some different responses to calls to ‘defund’ the Police.

2017 Election.

Labour will put 10,000 extra police on streets, vows Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour has pledged to put 10,000 additional police on to the streets of England and Wales in a policy designed to challenge the Conservatives in their own political territory of law and order.

Jeremy Corbyn will promise on Tuesday to fund the extra “bobbies on the beat” by reversing Tory cuts to capital gains tax (CGT) if he wins next month’s general election.

2019 Election,

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will give our NHS, schools and police the money they need

We will invest in every nation and region, rebuild our public services and give our NHS, schools and police the money they need by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone.

There are plenty of replies.

Socialist Appeal has its own angle on the calls.

Review: ‘The End of Policing’ – but how?

It’s not enough to have good ideas, we must participate in the class struggle to make them reality. In that spirit the last line of State and Revolution reads“It is more pleasant and useful to go through the ‘experience of revolution’ than to write about it.”

It will only be the experience of a working class, socialist revolution, that can really bring about the end of policing.

Can we suggest that they pursue their reading of State and Revolution in more convivial surroundings?

RS21 (a splinter from the SWP) have a thoughtful article which outlines just such a “perspective” (one of Ted Grant’s favourite words):

 

Outside the Labour Party things will surely be a lot happier for Socialist Appeal.