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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

Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore, Socialist Worker…..On the Eve, more Reasons to Back the Stop Tory Brexit Bloc. Tomorrow.

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“Lining up behind big business calls for a second referendum to stay in the racist, neoliberal EU.”Socialist Worker

I won’t be marching for a people’s vote. There has already been one 

Ipswich’s most famous daughter, and former Punter on the Orwell Estuary, writes that “some of her best friends” will be joining the march.

I won’t be joining them. Not because I don’t care about their feelings or voices, but because of the strange denial of what this is all about.

She adds,

So half the country are racist, old, small-minded, poor people who were seduced by a combination of Aaron Banks and the delusions of empire? Spare me please.

Picture of where Moore used to go ‘punting’:

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Spiked: I love rebellion, and that’s why I love Brexit’

Julie Burchill on her new play, the working classes, sex and Brexit.

People Like Us – a new play about sex and Brexit. ”

 I was happy with my semi-retired life, doing volunteer work and having long lunches by the sea with my mates.

….

People Like Us is billed as a play about sex and Brexit. What’s the connection?”

I think that the ruling class – even when they’ve been progressives and actually very helpful, like Marie Stopes, and the Fabians – have always had a parasexual fear of the working class. It’s probably to do with the sort of sex they imagine us having – animalistic rather than caring or whatever – and this is a dark backbeat to Brexit, that we’re seeking to wallow in our own filth, be it racial, sexual or otherwise. It’s not us who’s having erotic spasms – it’s the prissy Remainers, looking under their blameless beds for big bad Brexiteers to treat ’em rough.

It is hard to beat that…..

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From our spaz side.

Only Labour can save Britain from this disastrous Brexit

As a trades unionist, negotiating for workers’ rights is my lifeblood. But never have I seen a negotiating hand played worse. May has led her cabinet into a hole and their inability to tell it straight to the British people means they can’t stop digging. British people crave straight-talking, and they crave a politics in which politicians treat them as grown-ups. Truth-tellers are respected. It’s the liars who can’t be stomached.

So with an extended transition deal set to turn Britain from EU nation state to yoked province, it falls to the people to rescue the country from Tory idiocy. But Labour, too, must rise to what is now becoming a national liberation struggle. The Brexit that was promised to leavers is not remotely possible. The backlash against May as this truth sinks in will finish her. For those of us committed to a Labour government, this is now Jeremy Corbyn’s moment. He can be prime minister-in-waiting if he leads the new battle of ideas for a different kind of Brexit.

Vassal state is not an option Labour can tolerate. Absolutely no one voted to be a colony. It is as ridiculous a political choice as it is unnecessary. The Tories are the party of the binary – we had a yes or no referendum and then a deal or no-deal Brexit. This is no way to do democratic politics. Labour’s position of keeping all options on the table subverts the Tories’ immature binaries – and enables a variety of democratic choices to prevail, including a popular vote on the outcome of negotiations and even a remain option should facts compel us to it.

What is now being offered makes staying berthed inside the EU look like a safe harbour. And Corbyn’s wait-and-see approach has ushered him to the threshold of government. The Tory shambles in which we go from EU nation state with full rights to irrelevant outpost should now be fully opposed. Retaining full EU voting membership until we have negotiated the future trading relationship with our European partners must become a Labour manifesto commitment. This won’t be easy as the EU itself has made leaving a red line for the start of negotiations about the future trading relationship. But the ace up Labour’s sleeve is the fact that we have not ruled out a popular vote once negotiations have been concluded. In the absence of a general election before 29 March, Labour must use parliamentary procedures to counter the government’s policy. To maintain the continued liberation of Britain now falls to Labour. We are ready.

 Manuel Cortes is general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association

Written by Andrew Coates

October 19, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Review: Revolution française. Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation. Sophie Pedder. Bloomsbury. 2018.

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Review: Revolution française. Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation. Sophie Pedder. Bloomsbury. 2018.

Emmanuel Macron is an “anti-Trump”, pro-European and a “liberal internationalist” who unites the centre-left and the centre-right against the extremes. He is a “neo-progressive”, argues Sophie Pedder, whose ideas are “structured around the idea of individual progress for all.” Elected President in 2017, in a run off with the far-right Marine Le Pen, at 39 years old, Macron presented a “a message of hope.” His strategy was “both a means of remaking party politics and a response to the populist threat”. Their campaign laid claim to break the existing party duopoly, and sweep away the existing “political caste”, itself perhaps a “populist” message.

The Head of State’s party, La République en marche (LRM), commands 60% of the seats in France’s National Assembly. It is, like many new ‘parties’ of this millennium, including their rivals La France insoumise (LFI), is less a democratic organisation run by the members than a top-down run movement or ‘rally’. Macron, despite the Benalla affair, and the recent Cabinet resignations of ecology Minister Bernard Hulot and Minister of the Interior Gèrard Collomb, is the master of French politics. He has been, so far, able to carry out his programme. Protests, last year,  against liberalising reform of labour legislation, and the railway service (SNCF), as well as of higher education, failed to have any impact.

Sophie Pedder is Paris bureau chief for the liberal (economically and politically), British weekly the Economist. Largely favourable to the President, the book is unlikely to win a favourable audience amongst those who dismiss Macron as, at best, a “social liberal”. This does not stop Revolution française from being a deft and informed account of Emmanuel Macron’s life and politics.

Modernisation.

Macron, writes Pedder, is a long-standing advocate of “modernisation”. France, from this standpoint, is burdened with regulations that stifle economic initiative. As a Minister of the Economy under Parti Socialiste President Hollande, his 2015 plans (Loi Macron) to loosen the rules on shop opening hours, and rigid legislation governing the ‘liberal professions’ (notaries, pharmacists) were partly thwarted. His Socialist colleagues were to blame, including the influential Mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, a moderate social democrat described as the “standard bearer of the Socialist left”.

This experience, Pedder states, led Macron to conclude that the existing party system kept France stuck in the past. A modernising regroupment needed, “to put together two-thirds of the Socialist Party, all of the centrists, and part of the centre-right. That would give us a pro-European market-friendly majority in favour of modernising the social model.” British readers will not fail to observe a parallel electoral logic with domestic ‘centrist’ projects, however tiny the audience for making the UK social system more ‘liberal’ is.

The achievement of that goal was partly due to good fortune. The “normal” Hollande discredited himself, both by his incontinent deprecation of colleagues revealed in Un président ne devrait pas dire ça (2006), and his causal deception of his partner Valerie Trierweiler. As his Presidential bid took off in 2017 his chief opponent on the right, François Fillon, became mired in allegations of financial misconduct. The Socialists chose the left-Green Benoît Hamon, without many allies beyond his own forces. With their political rivals in disarray Macron’s support snowballed. Socialists, centrists and the right, duly defected in his direction. The movement En marche  soon picked up a large number of the professional politicians targeted above, and inspired a, largely middle class, army of volunteers to campaign for him door to door.

Centre Left Reconciled to the Market Economy.

Revolution française equally offers a readable account of Macron’s ideas. Unlike the Macron, un president philosophe (Brice Couturier. 2017) Peddar does not offer a weighty list of influences, from Hegel to Schumpeter. Instead she singles out the influence of Macron’s teacher, Paul Ricœur, his Protestant humanism, and “confidence in mankind” with a dose of Saint-Simon’s advocacy of technocratic progress. Above all, “His roots are on the progressive centre left that reconciled itself to the market economy.” At the same time, noting some of Macron’s verbal tics, she observes that, “his theoretical abstractions and grandiosity came across as pompous. His sentences were convoluted, meandering and went on for ever.” One could expand further on his grating anglicisms.

Will Macron, the “networking machine”, be able to change France? Has ‘liberal globalism’ found a champion who will step into the breach that has opened up after the failure of ‘third way’? Peddar signals the entrenched difficulties of a divided France, mass unemployment, those cast aside in the banlieue and “la France périperifeque”. Can Macron’s grand romantic mission turn this around?

The ‘nation’ is less important than the people who live in France. There are not many grounds for hope in the recent indications that the richest section of French society is the undoubted winner of the President’s tax reforms. (Les ultrariches, grands gagnants de la fiscalité Macron. Le Monde. 13.10.18). Weakening labour legislation to the point where wage negotiations can take place plant by plant, does not look so progressive from the position of workers in enterprises cut off from national union support. Local tax changes seem designed to weaken municipal finance, not strengthen decentralised initiative. While Macron has tried to stand up to Trump his efforts have few visible effects.

Defeat of the French left.

The French left has yet to recover from the catastrophic defeat of the governing socialists. Hamon was fated, in the words of former PS General Secretary, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis to get the minimal score of left-greens, 6,36 %  (Chronique d’une débâcle 2017). Hamon now has his own party Génération.s. The PS has since seen more defections, this time to Jean-Luc Mélenchon La France insoumise. If LFI won a respectable vote of in the Presidential elections (fourth position and 19.58% for Jean-Luc Mélenchon,  in the first round) , and has, with its allies, 17 deputies, it is far, very far, from securing an alternative majority to Macron. It is unlikely this week’s pantomime response to police investigations into their funding will expand their audience and ‘federate’ the “People”. The left is now so splintered that up to 6 different lists will appear in next year’s European elections. It would appear, if one might say so from a distance, that a long-term war of position to regroup the left into some form of united front would be a better way of building an alternative to Macron that a head on war of manoeuvre. And, unlike LFI,  it is quite possible to be a ‘pro-European’ radical leftist.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Mélenchon on Police Inquiry into La France insoumise’s funding: “La République, c’est moi!”

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 Mélenchon’s sound and Fury: what does it signify?

Investigations have been opened into allegations of violence and threats against Police agents after incidents during the search of the headquarters of La France insoumise on Tuesday (October 16th).

The case, which arose from allegations of fictitious jobs in the European Parliament (that is, diverting EU funds into the movement’s hands to pay party employees in France) and the other examining funding of Mélenchon’s French presidential campaign last year. ,  and the finance of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Presidential campaign of 2017, has created an unholy row.

France 24 reports,

Anti-corruption investigators on Tuesday raided the home and party headquarters of French far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who broadcast the raids live from his mobile phone.

The raids, part of a long-running investigation into the alleged misuse of European Parliament funds to pay party employees, took place at the offices of La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) in central Paris and Mélenchon‘s private residence.

Shouting “Resistance!”, hundreds of supporters gathered outside the party’s headquarters to protest against the police action.

Police blocked Mélenchon from entering the premises as the far-left firebrand threatened to break down the door if he was not allowed in.

“Who gave you these orders?” he demanded a police officer blocking the entrance. “I am a parliamentarian!”

Amid the scuffle Mélenchon yelled, “I am the Republic.”

This was the “hallucinatory” scene that ensued,

La France insoumise issued a series of furious statements, stating that the inquiry originated in malicious complaints from the far-right, and the was motivated by President Macron’s wish to discredit his most serious rival (at – at most – around 25% of public support).

They have issued this video of the events claiming that there was a  “will” to intimidate behind the actions.

Coup de force policier, judiciaire et politique

LFI asserts that the French president himself received funding (donations) that infringed laws regulating party finance.

Whatever the truth of these claims (and little can be ruled out in this murky world) Mélenchon’s barking response won the affection of the wits of the Internet.

Here is LFI’s own version of events:

Here is one of the countless parodies:

“You pour water on the tea-bag, you do not put the tea-bag in the water. Never!”

You can see more here, Pose ton  Mélenchon.

Oddly not everybody sees the funny side of this.  Nor have the media and political figures dismissed the unseemly display of anger as “just one of Mélenchon’s little tantrums”.

Showing that after this outburst he has not lost the ability to rub people up the wrong way Merluche yesterday mocked a journalist’s Provençal accent, in a fashion some might suggest was racist….

Mélenchon se moque de l’accent d’une journaliste avec un ton méprisant

The harshest criticism is not the he made a fool of himself but that the leader of the rally, La France insoumise failed to respect the authority of the Law of the Republic ignoring the dictum that, “nul n’est cense ignorer la loi”, (nobody should ignore the law).  Or in plain language, no-one is above the law.

Le Monde’s Editorial today there is talk of his “deadly rage”.

The tone is, to say the least, severe.

Voilà un député, qui plus est président de groupe, qui conteste violemment, entrave et veut discréditer une procédure judiciaire, certes spectaculaire et déplaisante pour les intéressés, mais, quoi qu’il en dise, parfaitement conforme aux règles de la procédure.

Here is a member of Parliament, who is also the president of a Parliamentary group, who violently contests, obstructs a judicial procedure, and who wishes to discredit it,. This is certainly spectacular and unpleasant for those concerned, but, whatever he says, the procedures followed in this case are perfectly in accordance with the rules.

A widely shared view is that the leader of LFI has shown himself incapable of self-control, that he loses his nerve in the face of adversary, and is thus unsuited to hold any position of power.

Rumours that he will be appearing in a London pantomime with Ken Livingstone have not been confirmed.

This will no doubt interest those on the British left who brought the leader of LFI to speak at a meeting outside the recent Labour Cofnerence.

Perhaps a world tour, with Jacobin, is on the cards.

In short, his behaviour has obscured the real issues arising from this judicial operation, summarised here;

The row over Mélenchon has become sufficiently loud to reach even the homegrown English language press.

Allegations relate to staff payments and 2017 presidential campaign accounts

French police have questioned leftist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon in connection with two funding probes after raids on his home and party headquarters this week.

The firebrand leader of the France Unbowed party, who has led opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms, was summoned to the headquarters of the anti-corruption bureau in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Police are investigating allegations that he used EU funds for European parliament assistants to pay staff for work carried out in France. They are also looking into allegations of irregularities in his 2017 presidential campaign accounts.

The 67-year-old MP, who won 20% of the vote in the first round of last year’s presidential election, has denied any wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a political witch-hunt.

He reacted furiously to the raids on his home and party headquarters on Tuesday, shouting at police officers, shoving a prosecutor and attempting to force open the door of his party’s offices during the search.

The former Socialist minister has been strongly criticised over his outburst, with members of Macron’s government and centre-right Republicans accusing him of seeking to intimidate public servants and acting as if he were above the law.

Mélenchon, who is famous for his tirades (Note, should have read, “famous for his tirades, full stop”) against globalisation, the EU and elites, admitted later that things “got heated” but said he had “no regrets”.

The Paris prosecutor’s office is investigating him and other party officials for “threats and acts of intimidation against judicial authorities” and “violence against people carrying out public duties”.

Mélenchon’s party has filed a counter-complaint alleging police violence.

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

On the Police Infiltration of British Left Wing Groups. Back the Campaigns Against Spy Coppers.

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Police spies infiltrated UK leftwing groups for decades

 

Police deployed 24 undercover officers to infiltrate a small leftwing political party over a 37-year period, the Guardian can reveal.

The police spies infiltrated the Socialist Workers party (SWP) almost continuously between 1970 and 2007, often with more than one undercover officer embedded within the party.

Four of them deceived women into sexual relationships while using their fake identities. One spy met one of his wives during his deployment and had a child with her.

About one-third of the total number of undercover officers embedded in political organisations that have so far been publicly identified infiltrated the SWP, a Trotskyite party of a few thousand members that advocates the abolition of capitalism through revolutionary means.

Before going any further this is important to bear in mind.

The infiltration also involved nasty coppers who deceived people into having relationships with them, and wroke havoc with their lives.

It involved the notorious Bob Lambert, who became an expert on Islamism (advocating ‘dialogue’ and defended by ‘Islamophobia Watch’ Can those who smear Bob Lambert claim such anti-terrorist success? Posted on  by Bob Pitt )

Robert Lambert MBE is a British former academic and former undercover police officer. He served in the controversial Special Demonstration Squad and posed as a left-wing animal rights activist from 1983 to 1988, fathering a child with an activist during his deployment.[1] Until December 2015 Lambert was a lecturer in Terrorism Studies at the University of St Andrews and a senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University‘s John Grieve Centre for Policing.

In the course of his police service, Lambert infiltrated activist groups (environmentalists, animal rights activists and anti-racists) using the alias Mark “Bob” Robinson. To gain credibility as an activist, he formed friendships with other movement members; he also embarked in long-term relationships with women as a means of establishing a cover story.

He fathered a child with one of the activists he was spying on[1] although he already had a wife and children in the suburbs.[8] After that relationship ended he embarked on another with a woman who was politically conscious, but was not herself an activist. His colleagues at Special Branch raided her home in order to bolster his image as a hardcore militant.[9][10]

Lambert was confronted about his past activities by members of London Greenpeace (which he had infiltrated in the 1980s) as he spoke at a conference in October 2011.[7] Lambert subsequently apologised to other activists and to the woman whom he had used as a “lover” (who said she felt “raped by the state” after learning about the deception).[11] Though he had earlier denied that reports in The Guardian newspaper were true, in July 2013 he acknowledged that he had conducted four such relationships under false pretences, saying that he “made serious mistakes that I should regret, and I always will do.”[12]

On 23 October 2014, the Metropolitan Police Service agreed to pay £425,000 to a woman called Jacqui whose child was fathered by Lambert; she did not know at the time of their relationship that he was an undercover police officer. The payment was part of an agreement for her to drop her legal action alleging assault, negligence, deceit and misconduct by senior officers. She was a 22-year-old activist at the time of her relationship with Lambert, who was using the pseudonym Bob Robinson, and she gave birth to their son in 1985. When the boy was two years old his father vanished, and she told BBC News she had received psychiatric care after learning the officer’s real identity.

The unprecedented payment resulted from a legal battle with women who said they were duped into relationships with officers who were spying on them. Scotland Yard said it “unreservedly apologises for any pain and suffering” but added that “the Metropolitan Police Service has never had a policy that officers can use sexual relations for the purposes of policing”. Scotland Yard had previously refused to either confirm or deny whether Bob Lambert was a Special Demonstration Squad operative, despite his own admissions to journalists. However, it was forced to change its position in August 2014 after a legal ruling. Lambert did not respond to BBC requests for comment on the settlement but had previously said that he wanted to apologise to women with whom he had relationships and that he had made some “serious mistakes.

Comrade Helen Steel was also a target of another ‘Sypcop’.

Helen Steel and John Dines: The spy who loved me

In the early 1990s, Helen Steel was a member of a British social justice group called London Greenpeace when she began a relationship with a man she knew as John Barker. They were together for more than two years and he told her he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Then one day he disappeared. A letter arrived for her a few days later. “If I manage to sort my head out, I will be back,” he wrote.

She was both devastated and concerned about her partner’s emotional state and would spend much of the next decade looking for him. That was before she made a series of shocking discoveries: his real name, John Dines, a record of his marriage, and the death certificate of a child, Philip John Barker, whose identity he had assumed. But it was not until 2010 that she got confirmation her lover had been an undercover police officer employed as part of a secret London Metropolitan Police project to infiltrate protest groups.

Sydney Morning Herald.

This is the site which the Guardian bases its report on:

Spycop Targets: a Who’s Who

Who's WhoEveline Lubbers,

From 1968 to 2011, undercover police officers spied up on more than 1,000 political groups. However, no definitive list of these groups has ever been made public. That is changing now. Working with The Guardian, we present a Who’s Who of Spycop Targets, listing what is known to date from official sources, whistle-blowers and our own investigations

The list gives an idea of the breadth of groups that have been targeted through the years and reveals some patterns, such as the focus on particular groups, and lack of attention given to others. Many of the groups will question why they were infiltrated or reported on.

To help you find out more, you can search for names of groups, on certain periods of time, for specific political categories and by cover name of spycops. You will also find links to profiles of the undercovers published by the Undercover Research Group, to The Guardian or to the SpecialBranchFiles.uk project for a greater insight into the groups and how they were targeted.

Additionally, we also present an interactive timeline of all SDS spycops known to date, and their deployments over the years.

A work in progress

We started from the minimal list provided by the Undercover Policing Inquiry, adding groups that we know were infiltrated from our own research, work done by Rob Evans (and Paul Lewis), and from whistle-blower Peter Francis. We only included groups that were targeted by officers from the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit – the two Special Branch units which carried out the vast majority of such activities.

The Who’s Who project is very much a work in progress, and will be updated as soon as more information emerges. If we have missed any out, please let us know. Likewise, if you have suggestions to improve the descriptions or if you are aware of website we can link to that will help others learn more, do get in touch. Even if you didn’t encounter the undercovers, broadening out our knowledge of the groups is always helpful.

Undercover Research Group, 15 October 2018.

This story has just come out:

 I was 15 years old when I was spied on by the British state.

It’s been well documented that undercover police officers have stolen dead children’s names, had secret families, and spied on activists. I was one of those activists. I met Marco Jacobs in 2007 at No Borders meetings in a time when Cardiff was experiencing a renaissance of political activism as the war in Iraq mobilised the country.

No Borders is a loose network of groups worldwide working to resist and dismantle borders and immigration controls. Marco was funny, charismatic, and outgoing. He was around 5”9, white with a broad northern accent. Marco said that he worked driving trucks, which explained the long periods of time away from Cardiff. He liked heavy metal, cracking jokes and drinking lager. He built our relationship knowingly and slowly with a charismatic personality and a wicked sense of humour. It’s easy to bond with people on things like demonstrations, as we frequently had visible pickets outside the UK Border Agency (now UK Visas and Immigration) in Cardiff, protesting the racist border regime.

Then, he would show up to the same punk gigs I was at, and give us all lifts home afterwards. I always felt extremely safe with him. I had his mobile phone number and he was one of my friends on Myspace. On one occasion, I had acute anxiety at a punk gig where I received repeated unwanted advances from a man nearly 10 years older me, and Marco stepped in and stayed at my side throughout the night. He knew where I lived and what school I went to. I was especially comforted by our conversations where he offered me emotional support when a mutual friend was deported. I was devastated. Now, I wonder if that was genuine concern or part of a wider plan to get me to lower my defences around him.

The Guardian confirmed that Marco Jacobs was an undercover officer sent to infiltrate radical activist spaces, soon after Mark Kennedy – an undercover London Metropolitan police officer who infiltrated activist groups – was outed by climate change activists in 2011. We began to suspect Marco might also be an undercover police officer, and one friend once asked him straight. He deferred the question with  nervous laughter. Within a few months, Marco had left to be a gardener in Cyprus and we never heard from him again.

Many activists and trade union branches support the campaign against Spycops!

(Twitter)

We all should.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

French Socialist Party Splits: Emmanuel Maurel and his left leave.

with 2 comments

 

Image result for Emmanuel Maurel  dessin

Looking towards Mélenchon on “l’immigration” and “la question des frontières.”

This Friday France’s Parti Socialiste, (PS)  which until 2017 under President François Hollande had a working majority in the country’s Parliament, left his historic HQ in the  rue de Solférino near to the National Assembly for more modest premises just outside Paris in Ivry-sur-Seine.

In 2017  their candidate for the French Presidential election, Benoît Hamon, came 5th and won a tiny,  6,36% of the vote. Both before and after the contest a whole swathe of Socialists joined the victor, now President, Emmanuel  Macron’s La République En Marche.  In the legislative elections of that followed they had got only 7,5% of the national ballots, and 30 MPs.

Hamon left the PS and created his own, radical green left  movement, Génération.s.

The former Prime Minister Manuel Valls  went so far as to leave France and  is now seeking office in Barcelona.

The present Macron PM, Edouard Philippe’s Cabinet counts a number of  one time Socialist party figures, , such as the Minister of foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, although the former PS Minister of the Interior, Gérard Collomb, has recently reigned.

Only  37 000 members (out of the already shrunken 42,300)  took part in the vote for this year’s Parti Socialiste Congress.

Under their present General Secretary, Olivier Faure, the PS been unable to define a new strategy to fight back into a position of influence on the French left.

Now the face a new challenge.

The  organisation has haemorrhaged again with the break away of one of their left-wing leaders, the MEP  Emmanuel Maurel  who ran the party current, Maintenant La Gauche which obtained 18.8% of the the ballots in internal PS elections earlier this year.

Emmanuel Maurel : « Ce n’est pas un départ du PS, c’est une scission » reports Le Monde today.

In announcing that the Parti Socialiste no longer corresponds to his idea of socialism Maurel stated that hundreds of local lay office holders and local councillors, as well as the senator for Paris,  Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, would join him. Henceforth Maruel, whose socialism includes hostility to ‘no borders’ is looking in the direction of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and La France insoumise.

An English version of some of this text is given here: Emmanuel Maurel: “It’s not a departure from the PS, it’s a split”

There is a report in English on this site: THE MEP EMMANUEL MAUREL LEAVES THE PS.

Maurel’s politics.

Maurel comes from the “Poperian” tendency within the Parti Socialiste. This current, led in the 1970s by Jean Poperen (1925-1997), embodied, in some eyes, a kind of statist Marxism embedded in the French republican tradition.

Others, more favourable to Poperon, would point to his break with the French Communist Party and activism within both a ‘class struggle’ tradition and leading role in the decidedly non-statist Parti socialiste unifié (PSU).

Le Monde paints Maurel in terms which come largely from the first side of Poperon, “du marxisme et de la tradition jacobine” wedded to the principle of laïcité (Ancienne figure du PS, Emmanuel Maurel veut incarner un « socialisme décomplexé »)

Putting this aspects together we get a “antilibérale, écologiste, républicaine” supporter of  “socialisme décomplexé”, that is, an anti-economic liberal, green, republican unfeigned socialist.

While it is hard to dislike somebody who admires Stendhal’s la Chartreuse de Parme and Baudelaire, there is a distinct ‘Euro-sceptic’ strain in Maurel. (10 choses à savoir sur Emmanuel Maurel).

Recently he declared, “Je suis pour une politique de contrôle des flux migratoires, nous ne sommes pas des “no borders”. La gauche ne doit pas avoir honte de parler de nation, de frontière, de laïcité. On ne va pas laisser ça à la droite et à l’extrême droite. »(Le Monde 25.8.18) I am for the control of the the migratory flows, we are not backers of ‘no borders’. The left should not be ashamed to talk of the Nation, of Borders, and of Secularism (in the French sense, of ” laïcité’). We should not let these issues to the Right and the Far-Right.

This would put him in the line of the nationalist and sovereigntist left represented by the German Aufstehen and Sahra Wagenknecht

Maurel also seems to think well of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and La France insoumise (LFI)  (Emmanuel Maurel quitte le PS : une double bonne nouvelle pour les « insoumis »).

Stating that his first steps are to create a grouping with his friends in the “ gauche républicaine” one of the main themes aligning him with LFI is not ‘socialism’ but “l’immigration” and “la question des frontières.”

The central objective today, he declares is to prepare a new Front Populaire of the 21st century, “Notre objectif est de préparer le Front populaire du XXIe siècle»)  in which  La France insoumisme has a key part to play. (Libération).

He will be on the LFI lists for next year’s European elections.

Whether he will accept the Leadership of the, er Leader, yes, the Leader, of La France insoumise, today’s Maurice Thorez and  Léon Blum combined, is not at all certain.

 

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See also: Valls, Hamon, Maurel, Lienemann… La fuite des ténors du PS se poursuit