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Grace Lee Boggs has passed away: remembering her links with Socialisme ou Barbarie.

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Grace Lee Boggs, Legendary Activist, Dies At 100.

Huffington Post.

Grace Lee Boggs, the child of Chinese immigrants who spent her life actively supporting causes ranging from civil rights and labor to the Black Power and feminist movements, has died. She was 100.

Boggs died Monday morning, a spokeswoman for the Detroit-based Boggs Center confirmed, saying she went “peacefully in her sleep at her home on Field Street in Detroit.”

“Grace died as she lived surrounded by books, politics, people and ideas,” Alice Jennings and Shea Howell, two of Boggs’ trustees, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama — who himself was a community organizer in Chicago in the ‘80s — said he and the first lady were “saddened” to hear of Boggs’ death.“Grace dedicated her life to serving and advocating for the rights of others — from her community activism in Detroit, to her leadership in the civil rights movement, to her ideas that challenged us all to lead meaningful lives,” Obama said in a statement.

Howell, who has known Boggs for more than 40 years and co-founded the Boggs Center, said the centenarian activist spent the entirety of her life pushing people to ask hard questions and challenge the status quo.

Howell pointed to an anecdote Boggs wrote in her 1998 autobiography, Living for Change. “When she was born above her father’s restaurant and cried, the workers in the restaurant said, ‘You should put her on the hillside. She’s just a girl — and she cries too much,’” Howell told The Huffington Post. “[Grace] said she knew from the beginning that the world needed to change.”

Facing significant barriers in the academic world in the 1940s, she took a job at low wages at the University of Chicago Philosophy Library. As a result of their activism on tenants’ rights, she joined the far left Workers Party, known for its Third Camp position regarding the Soviet Union which it saw as bureaucratic collectivist. At this point, she began the trajectory that she would follow for the rest of her life: a focus on struggles in the African-American community.[10]

She met C.L.R. James during a speaking engagement in Chicago and moved to New York. She met many activists and cultural figures such as Richard Wright and Katharine Dunham. She also translated into English many of the essays in Karl Marx‘s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 for the first time. She soon joined the Johnson-Forest tendency led by James, Raya Dunayevskaya and Lee. They focused more centrally on marginalized groups such as women, people of color and youth as well as breaking with the notion of the vanguard party. While originally operating as a tendency of the Workers Party, they briefly rejoined the Socialist Workers Party before leaving the Trotskyist left entirely. The Johnson-Forest tendency also characterized the USSR as State Capitalist. She wrote for the Johnson-Forest tendency under the party pseudonym Ria Stone. She married African American auto worker and political activist James Boggs in 1953 with whom she politically collaborated for decades and moved to Detroit in the same year. Detroit would be the focus of her activism for the rest of her life.

When C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya split in the mid-1950s into Correspondence Publishing Committee led by James and News and Letters led by Dunayevskaya, Grace and James supported Correspondence Publishing Committee that James tried to advise while in exile in Britain. In 1962 the Boggses broke with James and continued Correspondence Publishing Committee along with Lyman Paine andFreddy Paine, while James’ supporters, such as Martin Glaberman, continued on as a new if short-lived organization, Facing Reality. The ideas that formed the basis for the 1962 split can be seen as reflected in James’ book, The American Revolution: Pages from a Black Worker’s Notebook. Grace unsuccessfully attempted to convince Malcolm X to run for the United States Senate in 1964. In these years, Boggs wrote a number of books, including Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century with her husband and focused on community activism in Detroit where she became a widely known activist.


It was as part of the Johnson-Forest tendency that Grace Lee Boggs developed links with the French group Socialisme ou Barbarie (SouB) best known for the figures of Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort. Their critical views on the Soviet Union, which the French theorists  called bureaucratic capitalism, and the Americans some form of state capitalism, were in reality not too far apart when it came to the political conclusions they reached.  Both drew a line at any form of support, or ‘defence’, of the USSR.  Both were opposed to Orthodox Communist parties, which SouB tended to consider as arms of the Kremlin.

Their joint concern with power relations inside enterprises, the division between those giving Orders and those carrying them out, and rebellions – often outside, and opposed to, established trade unions – against this, were common themes.  Ties continued through the Correspondence group after its split with Raya Dunayevskaya  – SouB did not have a high opinion of  her exaggerated Hegelian Marxism.

The review that SouB published, Socialisme ou Barbarie,  included the both parts of the American Worker in its issues 1- 8 (1949 – 1951) – That is from   GUILLAUME, Ph.: L’ouvrier américain par Paul Romano 1:78 ROMANO, Paul: L’ouvrier américain (I) (traduit de l’américain) 1:78-89 = The American Worker  STONE, R.: La reconstruction de la société (II) 8:50-72 = The American Worker. )

The American Worker” was originally published in 1947 by the Johnson-Forest tendency. It was divided into two parts. The first part “Life in the Factory”, was written by Paul Romano, a young worker in one of General Motors’ car plants. It describes the everyday lives of the workers, their (often contradictory) attitudes towards the work, the company, unions, politics, and each other. Part 2 “The Reconstruction of Society” was written by Grace Lee Boggs (pen name Ria Stone).

The text had a significant influence on SouB – described in detail in  Looking for the Proletariat Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Problem of Worker Writing. (2014) Stephen Hastings King.

A theme was the direct recording of what workers experienced in their daily lives and in their confrontations with bureaucrats of all stripes, from bosses, managers, foremen, unions and political parties of the left.

As Floriana Ferro notes,

The fifth chapter of the book shows how the group, through the newspaper Tribune Ouvrière, tries to give a voice to the collective at the factory of Renault Billancourt, whose political context is clearly defined in the fourth chapter. Hastings-King points out similarities and differences with another worker newspaper, the Detroit-based Correspondence project. After that, the author writes about Tribune Ouvrière and the role that Socialisme ou Barbarie plays in the process of its production, printing, and distribution.

Castoriadis’ indefatigable English translator, David Ames Curtis has also observed that his phrase “reconstruction of society” was borrowed from Grace Lee Boggs. He continues,

Ria Stone (Grace Lee Boggs), “The Reconstruction of Society,” part two of Paul Romano and Ria Stone, The American Worker (Detroit: Bewick Editions, 1972; originally published as a pamphlet in 1947 by the Johnson-Forest Tendency of C. L. R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya—which later became the Correspondence group—the first part of this book was translated for the first eight issues of Socialisme ou Barbarie). Grace Lee Boggs seems to have had a considerable influence on Castoriadis’s positive attitude toward the burgeoning “woman question” in the early Sixties; some her ideas can also be seen to be expressed in the key 1962 internal Socialisme ou Barbarie documents known as “For a New Orientation” (Political and Social Writings, trans. and ed. David Ames Curtis, 3 vols. [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988, 1993], vol. 3, pp. 9-26.)

Here are some more connections: Facing reality – CLR James and Grace Lee Boggs.

Facing reality - CLR James and Grace Lee Boggs

François Dosse‘s, Castoriadis, une vie ( 2014) also discusses Grace Lee Boggs’ relations with Socialisme ou Barbarie.

She stayed for 6 months in Paris in 1948 for the 2nd World Congress of the 4th International – as a representative of the Johnson-Forest tendency, .

During that period she met Castoriadis. He credited her with “lifting him out of his European provincialism” and playing a decisive role in his intellectual development. (Pages 111 – 112)

Thanks to Shiraz for signaling this loss.

Portugal: Divided Left Wins 50% of Vote, but Right Retains Power.

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Portugal’s governing centre-right coalition has won the country’s general election, which was widely seen as a referendum on four years of austerity.

Socialist leader Antonio Costa admitted defeat and congratulated Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

With almost all votes counted, the centre-right leads with just under 37%, with the Socialists on over 32%.

However, Mr Passos Coelho said his coalition appeared to have lost its absolute majority in parliament.

With 99 seats in the 230-seat parliament, the ruling coalition fell 17 seats short of the number it needed.

Mr Passos Coelho indicated that he was ready to talk to other parties in the next parliament to pursue the “necessary reforms” he wants to implement.

“Times haven’t been easy, and the times ahead will be challenging,” he said, promising to talk to the Socialists with the aim of maintaining a rigorous budget and a reduction in the public debt.

Parties to the left of the Socialists achieved their best-ever result, says the BBC’s Alison Roberts in Lisbon.

Left Bloc won 10% of the vote, securing 19 seats, while the Communists took 8% of the vote.


Parties Votes % ±ppswing MPs MPs %/
votes %
2011 2015 ± % ±
Portugal Ahead (PSD / CDS–PP)[j] 1,979,132 36.83 Decrease11.0 124 99 Decrease25 43.81 Decrease11.1 1.19
Socialist 1,740,300 32.38 Increase4.4 74 85 Increase11 37.61 Increase4.9 1.16
Left Bloc 549,153 10.22 Increase5.0 8 19 Increase11 8.41 Increase4.9 0.82
Democratic Unity Coalition (Communists and Greens) 444,319 8.27 Increase0.4 16 17 Increase1 7.52 Increase0.4 0.91
Social Democratic[k] 81,054 1.51 N/A 7 5 Decrease1 2.21 Decrease0.9 1.46
People-Animals-Nature 74,656 1.39 Increase0.4 0 1 Increase1 0.44 Increase0.4 0.32
Democratic Republican 60,912 1.13 N/A N/A 0 N/A 0.00 N/A 0.0
Workers’ Communist Party 59,812 1.11 Decrease0.1 0 0 Steady0 0.00 Steady0.0 0.0
FREE/Time to move Foward 38,958 0.72 N/A N/A 0 N/A 0.00 N/A 0.0
National Renovator Party 27,104 0.50 Increase0.2 0 0 Steady0 0.00 Steady0.0 0.0
Earth Party 22,384 0.42 Increase0.0 0 0 Steady0 0.00 Steady0.0 0.0
Labour / Socialist Alternative ACT! 20,690 0.38 N/A N/A 0 N/A 0.00 N/A 0.0
We, the Citizens! 18,695 0.35 N/A N/A 0 N/A 0.00 N/A 0.0
People’s Monarchist 14,799 0.28 Increase0.0 0 0 Steady0 0.00 Steady0.0 0.0
Together for the People 14,196 0.26 N/A N/A 0 N/A 0.00 N/A 0.0
United Party of Retirees and Pensioners 13,739 0.26 N/A N/A 0 N/A 0.00 N/A 0.0
People’s[l] 7,536 0.14 N/A 1 0 Decrease1 0.00 Decrease0.4 0.0
People’s / People’s Monarchist[m] 3,654 0.07 N/A 0 0 Steady0 0.00 Steady0.0 0.0
Christian Democratic and Citizenship 2,658 0.05 Decrease0.1 0 0 Steady0 0.00 Steady0.0 0.0
Labour[n] 1,748 0.03 N/A 0 0 Steady0 0.00 Steady0.0 0.0
Total valid 5,174,499 96.30 Increase0.4 230 226 Steady0 100.00 Steady0.0

The Bloco de Esquerda (Left bloc) made a breakthrough. It got 5,2% in the last election.  Now it has 10.22%. It’s worth noting that some opinion polls had given them around 5%.

They are part of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left European Parliamentary Group and the Party of the European Left.

We are Europeans, but not Eurocentric: we want for Europe the same that we wish for the planet. We are Europeans, but not Eurocrats: we believe in democracy. We reject the standardization and lack of respect for the diversity that makes Europe. We are Left. Our opponents are not immigrants, minorities, poor, gays or unemployed, but those who promote austerity. We believe in solidarity, in facing the crisis together, in a Europe that restores hope.

“The Left Bloc (B.E.) was formed in March 1999 by the merger of the People’s Democratic Union (União Democrática Popular, UDP, communist), Revolutionary Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Revolucionário, PSR [ex-LCI], Trotskyist), and Politics XXI (Política XXI, PXXI, socialist). B.E. has had full party status since its founding, yet the constituent groups have maintained their existence as individual political associations, and retain some levels of autonomy, leading to a loose structure.” (Wikipedia)

I would correct Wikipedia on the details of this: the  União Democrática Popular (UDP) are former marxist-leninists- that is, Maoists. 

The Bloc had a very sharp internal debate last year:

Portugal: Left Bloc in struggle to regain unity after convention. December 2014. Dick Nichols.

After its ninth national convention, held in Lisbon on November 22-23, 2014, it really looked as if Portugal’s Left Bloc were in serious trouble—split right down the middle. And split not over insuperable differences of political perspective but over its leadership model and who, as national coordinator, should be its public face.

This was the first time in its 15-year existence that a Left Bloc convention had not produced a solid majority (usually around 80%). But this time Motion U (called “Unitary Motion under Construction—For a Citizen Revolt Against Austerity”, with outgoing co-coordinators Catarina Martins and João Semedo as lead signatories) was being challenged by Motion E. This motion was called “A Plural Bloc, Force for Turnaround” and was supported by the Bloc’s national parliamentary caucus leader Pedro Filipe Soares and founding member and MP Luis Fazenda.

Motion E put up Soares to replace Semedo and Martins as the Bloc’s national coordinator.

In the vote for the 80-seat National Board, the Bloc’s leadership body between conventions, Motions U and E both won 259 votes. As a result both obtained 34 seats, with the remaining positions being shared between two of the three other motions that had been submitted to the convention. These were Motion B (51 votes, 7 seats) and Motion R (32 votes and 4 seats).

In the vote on the motions themselves, Motion U won by a hair’s breadth from Motion E, by 266 votes to 258. Motions A (“A Left Response—For a Bloc that attends to the needs of people now!”), B (“Re-found the Bloc in the fight against austerity”) and R (“Reinvent the Bloc”) won 7, 34 and 30 votes respectively.

This overall result, due to some delegates switching from Motion B to Motion U for vote on the political line, raised the possibility that the incoming National Board, which elects the Left Bloc’s Political Committee and National Coordinator(s), would be deadlocked. The headlines read “Bloc ends convention without leaders” and “Left Bloc: leadership coming soon”.

Nonetheless, at the first meeting of the National Board, on November 30, a compromise was reached that won 90% backing and which no-one opposed: the 16-person Political Committee would reflect the proportions of support received at the convention (as required by a change to the statutes) and there would be a six-person Standing Committee (also with proportional representation) and a single national coordinator instead of the gender-balanced two-person coordination formula adopted at the previous National Convention (2012).

Portugal. Le Bloc de Gauche à la croisée des chemins gives more details on the stakes in the disputes.

As a result of these difficulties, which have continued this year,  these elections were crucial for the Bloco’s future,

The loss of the rightwing majority and the rise of the Left Bloc Monday 5 October 2015, by Luis Branco

The Portuguese right wing coalition has lost its absolute majority in parliament, but remains the main political force in Sunday’s election. The Left Bloc made a spectacular comeback with the best result ever, almost doubling its voters and more than doubling the number of elected MPs.

This result was built mostly on the performance of the new Left Bloc leadership after the November 2014 national convention of the party. The spokeswoman Catarina Martins had a widely-applauded victory in every face-to-face tv debate with the prime-minister, the vice-prime-minister and the SP leader and gathered the biggest popular support on street campaign in all Left Bloc’s history. The electoral result confirmed this warm reception on the streets in every corner of the country for the last two months. And the two parties that were formed by dissidents of the Bloc with widespread media coverage (Livre and Agir) were now doomed to political irrelevance, obtaining 0.72% and 0.38% respectively. The only small party to enter the Parliament is PAN, which has an animal rights agenda and it is ready to support any government.

 Official site, Bloco de Esquerda.

Vota Bloco

Written by Andrew Coates

October 5, 2015 at 10:38 am

Socialist Action, Shadowy Gurus of the new Labour Leadership – Exposed!

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Labour Briefing AGM circa 1981. Pic: Sunday Telegraph.

Rumbled by the Telegraph and Andrew Gilligan!

For much of Labour’s history, the idea that the party was covertly influenced by revolutionaries, Communists and terrorists was dismissed as a fiction propagated by Right-wing tabloids.

But now it is true.

Very worrying.

Mr Ross, now an economic adviser, was a prominent member of an international Marxist group. In an election speech in 1974, Mr Ross – quoted in a biography of former London mayor Ken Livingstone – said: “The ruling class must know that they will be killed if they do not allow a takeover by the workers. If we aren’t armed there will be a bloodbath.”

The Sunday Telegraph has also uncovered evidence of how other key figures around Mr Corbyn, including his chief of staff, Simon Fletcher, as well as Mr Ross are or were members of a tiny, secretive Trotskyite sect, Socialist Action, which seeks a communist revolution and believes that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a “tragedy for humanity”.

In secret documents (so secret they do not publish them NOTE) seen by this newspaper, Socialist Action calls itself the “revolutionary wing of the Labour Party” and describes how it performed a “clandestine form of entry” to infiltrate the party.

Among groups on the revolutionary Left, Socialist Action is unique in another way. It already has substantial experience of power.


Socialist Action started as an overt organisation fighting elections in its own right, initially known as the International Marxist Group (IMG). Mr Corbyn’s brother, Piers, was a prominent IMG member and fought an election for it in the 1970s.


Modesty prevents us from mentioning another prominent member of the IMG in the 1970s, behind a world-famous Blog.

A main focus of the group’s attention was the monthly news sheet London Labour Briefing, a key instrument of the takeover of the 1980s party in the capital by what became known as the “loony Left”.

Briefing, set up by a separate group of Trotskyites, was strongly influenced (?????)  by Socialist Action. Mr McDonnell and Mr Corbyn, too, were both closely linked to it.

Some might possibly note the word “separate” and quibble about the word Trotskyist,  but, hey, left’s continue the fun!

According to the authoritative Parliamentary Profiles by the late Andrew Roth, Mr Corbyn, a political activist and councillor, was the general secretary of its editorial board. His byline appears frequently from the first issue in 1980 and he usually chaired main fringe meetings of Briefing at events such as the Labour Party conference. According to the March 1983 issue, he ran Briefing’s mailing list.

Mr McDonnell, another bylined writer from the early 1980s, remains a key figure at Briefing, now affiliated with the ultra-Left party pressure group he chairs, the Labour Representation Committee (LRC).

Briefing’s pages seethed with calls for “mass extra-parliamentary action” and it ran hit-lists of “traitor” Labour MPs and councillors to be purged. The group gave 30 pieces of silver – well, “silver milk [bottle] tops” – to former Labour prime minister Jim Callaghan.

A lifestyle section agonised about whether it was “bourgeois” to have children, while municipal tea dances put on by London councils were denounced as “heterosexist” as well as “primarily racist” (because they “reflect comfortable white society”).

Mostly though, Briefing, like Socialist Action, avowed what it called a “British revolution” – its motto was Trotsky’s “Take the Power”.

Yes, we are well and truly rumbled.

Labour Briefing is well-known for its close ties with Socialist Action (note snazzy SA site!).

They share the word “socialism” for a start!

Taking Power?

We should ask politely, if not at all…

But here’s the rub: I can even now recall the warmth with which much-missed Briefing Editorial members, such as Leonora Lloyd  and Mike Marquesse talked about their secret ‘guru’  John Ross.

Briefing, in a coded message to supporters, with due reverence, once published a photo of the Leader under the title, “A rare daylight picture of John Ross”.

Even today the influence of Socialist Action on the Briefing and the LRC is only equalled by the mighty forces of Socialist Fight and the Posadists, not to mention the Brent Soviet.

Andrew Gilligan: Bless!

Will Russian Israeli Military Alliance and US-Russian ‘Tacit Agreement’ throw Stop the War Coalition and Eustonites into Confusion.

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Obama and Putin

‘Tacit Agreement’ on Syria in Sight?

Russia-Israel military alliance in Syria is a breakthrough.

Pravda. 23.9.15.

The agreement reached in Moscow between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on a “mechanism to prevent misunderstandings between Israel and Syria” is to influence the power balance in the Middle East, Avigdor Eskin, the Israeli publicist told Pravda.Ru in an interview.

The Russian-Israeli joint military group will coordinate operations in Syria. This military cooperation is the first one since foundation of the Israeli state, Eskin noted. The military alliance will operate without the US as well as other Western countries. The parties have one opponent, that is the Islamic State, and misunderstandings can occur only on the Syria’s helping Hezbollah, which is declared a terror organization in Israel.

What about Bashar al-Assad, the expert says that the Israeli authorities realized that only his army can oppose the radical Islam, and he is the only intelligible negotiation leverage in Syria. Jihadists, which are currently in the Golan Heights (a disputed area between Israel and Syria) for instance, are backed by the US, and attack the Israeli territory.

Russia and the United States have reached a “tacit agreement” on ending Syria’s bloody crisis, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said.

Damascus (Agence France Press 24.9.15.)

“The current US administration wants to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. There is a tacit agreement between the US and Russia to reach this solution,” Bouthaina Shaaban said in an interview with state television late Wednesday.

“The US recognises now that Russia has profound knowledge of this region and a better assessment of the situation,” she said.

“The current international climate is heading towards detente and towards a solution for the crisis in Syria.”

Shaaban said there was a “change in the West’s positions” over Syria’s war, which has killed more than 240,000 people and displaced millions since 2011.


Yesterday on Newsnight the consequences of the Russian-US tacit agreement were discussed in some detail by a former UK ambassador to Moscow and Timothy Snyder (author of Bloodlands).

The main message of the former diplomat was the Russia was focused on the threat from violent Islamism, Daesh. The US had not been able to create an alternative to Assad and to the genocidal Islamists. In present conditions – not least the humanitarian crisis – it was important to get rid of the Islamic State before anything else.

Snyder noted that Putin had a long history of backing authoritarian regimes and had created problems in the Ukraine.

Which did not answer the point about the Middle East and defeating the Islamic State.


Today: Syria: U.S., Russia Reach ‘Tacit Agreement’ On Ending Syrian War; Obama And Putin To Meet Monday. (HGN)

“Russia has provided and will provide adequate support to the legitimate government of Syria in the fight against extremists and terrorists of all kinds,” Ilya Rogachev, head of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats, told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Moscow announced Thursday it plans to hold naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in September and October. On Wednesday, the Syrian military for the first time began using Russian drones, and the army has previously received at least five fighter jets along with tanks and artillery.

Now that Russia is militarily involved in Syria, there has been “a change in the West’s positions” over the Syrian war and the crisis “is heading towards detente and towards a solution,” according to Assad’s adviser.

As Stratfor writes, “Russia has rightfully judged that its direct intervention in Syria will force Washington to begin direct military-to-military talks with Moscow on the conflict.”

The White House announced Thursday that Obama and Putin will meet Monday afternoon in New York during a three-day session of the U.N. General Assembly, reported The New York Times. The two will discuss the conflicts in both Syria and Ukraine.

The wider consequences of this change are too great to be examined here.

The mention of Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia,  and Iran should make it obvious that the complexities of whatever is being negotiated are enormous.

But we can observe some effects on UK domestic politics, specifically on the left and foreign policy:

  • The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) has been a leading voice in this country criticising the US and its allies’ interventions in the Middle East. But it has done more than that: it has asserted that the US, and Israel, have been responsible for both the conditions that gave rise to the Islamic State, and that their present actions have to be firmly opposed.
  • The StWC has refused to offer anything remotely realistic to secure the minimal objective of defeating the Islamic state, or indeed, to defend the group which many on the left strongly identity with, the Kurdish people’s armed wings – the principal  democratic fighting opposition to the Islamist killers.
  • Will they continue to do this when Russia is a ‘tacit’ ally of the West?
  • What alternative will they  offer? Or simply, what will they say?
  • The Eustonites, such as Harry’s Place and their right-wing allies in Parliament and the media, have been vociferous in denouncing the StWC and their former Chair, Jeremy Corbyn, for complicity towards Russia and  anti–Israeli forces, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
  • The Eustonites have advocated (without about as many specifics as a StWC policy-statement) forceful intervention in Syria to create a democratic replacement to the Assad regime – without going into the slightest detail about what this will consist of. They have been prepared to fight to the last Syrian and last Kurd to secure that end.
  • Will they now continue to do so when Assad’s ally, Russia is now about to reach an understanding with the West, and when Moscow has already made an agreement with Israel?
  • What will they say?


It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how these two opposing groupings react to  developments in the coming days.

Is Jeremy Corbyn a National Socialist, a Fascist, or Big Brother? The Big Liberal Debate Begins.

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Future Under Jeremy Corbyn Say Top Liberal Thinkers.

Dire warnings are gripping the liberal British media……

Jeremy Corbyn for UK Labour party leader? Blame the bankers

There is a point on the European political spectrum where the extremes of right and left converge: where nationalists align with socialists in revolt against the status quo. National socialism, it was once called. One side waves the flag, the other demands a bigger state. Both rail against outsiders — the right against immigrants, the left against international capitalism.

They share a soft spot for authoritarianism, a yearning for state direction of the economy and a jealous regard for national sovereignty. They tap into the resentments of those left behind by change. Above all, they are against the status quo — whether centrist politics, the EU, globalisation or Wall Street.

Mr Corbyn is a clever politician. He has worked hard to cultivate an image of principled reasonableness, pitching to young idealists as well as grizzled Marxists. To borrow a well-worn aphorism, he is adept at faking sincerity. In truth, there is an air of menace about his campaign. You are either an unquestioning loyalist or you are a Tory bastard.

Then there’s this:

Don’t be fooled by utopian Corbynomics – it is seductive fiction

The Labour front-runner’s policies have been tried in the past and rejected, and require an extremely authoritarian state Hamish McRae.


In many respects, the big surprise of the populist insurgency is that it has not been bigger. In another age, the 2008 crash might have triggered a revolution. Instead, Mr Corbyn and his fellow travellers are now capturing the seething popular resentment. They do not have answers. Many simply preach hatred of the outsider. They have understood, though, that something has to give.

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 you could see as anti-Utopian novels, describing what happened when such societies went wrong. Nevertheless, the idea that governments can engineer, if not an ideal society, at least a better-run one is deeply seductive. That, I think, explains the undoubted appeal of Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies – particularly to people too young to remember Britain in the 1970s, when the Labour government attempted some elements of the policies he now advocates.

I will be sure to pass on these warnings to the people coming out in love and solidarity – many of whom have voted Corbyn –  to demonstrate support for refugees tonight and this weekend.

And these:

Recent weeks have seen Jeremy Corbyn ridiculed as ‘the political equivalent of a child’s invisible friend’, ‘ugly, dispiriting, and out of touch’, ‘the bearded Messiah’, ‘dangerous’, ‘puerile’, ‘completely unfit for any kind of senior political office’, ‘a malevolent clown’, ‘an extremist who has spent a political career embracing nasty causes’, ‘a gormless Marxist’, and ‘a tinpot meddler’ prone to ‘engrained political pathologies’.

Those with the temerity to back him have been branded ‘Trumpton revolutionaries’,’pig ignorant lefty click activists’, ‘psychotically furious about everything’, ‘terribly well-orffff, doncha know’, infantile and possibly mentally impaired’, ‘petulant children’ and ‘gibbering perpetual adolescents’.

That’s right, we are supposedly ‘a rancid collection of single-issue nutcases’, ‘smug, London middle-class liberals’,the green-ink brigade’, halfwits’, ‘feminist lesbians, human-rights campaigners and race-obsessed mentals’, and ‘dog on a string radicals who view a bar of soap as a tool of capitalist oppression’.

Who are you calling a braindead Trot? 

Posadist International Publishes full run of Red Flag, Child Bearing in Space and Flying Saucers, The Process of Matter and Energy, Science and Socialism.

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Quatrième Internationale Posadiste


The Comrades of the Posadist International have rendered a great service to the International workers’ movement and to scientific researchers by putting the full run of their esteemed journal Red Flag on the Web.

Hat tips to Dave B and Jon A.

Great Britain – Red Flag

We can only salute them with the words of their first issue in the UK:


“We must embark upon the a new line: the line of class against class of clear and unfettered leadership of the class struggle, of the presentation of an alternative line, the programme of Marxism-Leninism-Trotskyism to the British working class.”

Red Flag. Volume 1 No 1.

July August 1963.

These are valuable documents for serious scientific students of dialectics:

Several texts unpublished

Several texts of J. POSADAS hitherto unpublished or recently re-published :

– War preparations and the role of the Socialist countries, 23.3.1981
– War is not the end of the world: It is an atomic charco, *20.9.1972
– Flying saucers, the process of matter and energy, science and Socialism, 26.6.1968
– Childbearing in space, the confidence of humanity and Socialism, 12.8.1978.

* The word ‘charco’ used by the author in its Argentinian version of Spanish has been left untranslated here for lack of a sufficiently evocative English world. The context of the author’s writings points to a traumatic quagmire, of a short duration. Editorial from Posadist Cdes.

Childbearing in space, the confidence of humanity and Socialism

J Posadas 12 August 1978


The Soviets are setting out to experiment with the gestation of a child in space.

This could be one of the forms that love will take in the future. It marks a very important step in the field of reproduction and in the field of science. Only a Workers State can actually do this. This initiative proves that the Soviet Workers State is not strictly determined by bureaucracy, for all the bureaucracy which it has. The bureaucracy still moves the tail -end of the Workers State, but not its limbs .

 Having now justified its existence , and demonstrated its superiority , the Workers State moves its own limbs

The superiority of the Workers State is no longer confined to its economic form….


“The existence of flying saucers and of beings coming to Earth is a phenomenon admissible by the dialectical conception of history. The most immediate conclusion that we are able to draw is that these beings, if they exist, possess a social organisation superior to our own. Since their appearance is not bellicose or aggressive, this means that they have no need for war, and that they come to Earth with no conquering aim.”


” We admit to the existence of extra -terrestrials as a conclusion of dialectical thought. The latter fills us with the certainty that we can master any existing phenomenon, and that we shall not be caught off-guard. Matters of extra- terrestrials and flying saucers do not put the dialectical method in any doubt whatsoever. Indeed they confirm it! The dialectical method gets reconfirmed at every turn.”


“We consider that extra-terrestrials and flying saucers can exist precisely because of what the dialectics teaches us about the organisation of matter. Matter can take infinite forms. For example, there is no reason why reproduction should always involve coupling. There may be self-reproduction, as is the case for the amoeba. And why shouldn’t this become the case for the human being in the future?”



 Coatesite solidarity with the Posadist International’s scientific research.

Andy Burnham Shows Sense as Factionalist Tristram Hunt Visits Ipswich.

with 10 comments

Essential reading on where Jeremy Corbyn comes from. 

“For students of entryism, Engels’s tactics were textbook stuff: a brutally successful medley of threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Tristram Hunt on the political practice of Marx’s comrade amongst German workers in Paris the  mid-1840s.

Page 141. The Frock Coated-Communist. Penguin 2010.

Andy Burnham To Reach Out To Jeremy Corbyn

“I want to capture that and involve Jeremy and his team in rebuilding our party from the bottom up,” he said, also promising to “take the best ideas of the other candidates, where there is common ground between us, and use them to shape my radical vision”.

He said it would be “unforgivable” if infighting after the new leader is elected prevented Labour standing up to the Tories.

Sky News

Shadow Cabinet MPs form ‘the Resistance’ group in anticipation of Corbyn win.

A moderate Labour pressure group dubbed “the Resistance” is being formed by two top shadow cabinet members as Jeremy Corbyn pulls ahead in the leadership race, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt have written privately to Labour MPs calling on them to meet four days before the leadership result is announced. It is being seen by MPs as a rival to Mr Corbyn’s Left-wing  platform and the start of guerrilla warfare for Labour’s soul.

The group, Labour for the Common Good, will meet on September 8 and include some peers, council leaders and trade unionists.

Evening Standard.

Tristram Hunt supports Liz Kendall.

Dear Andrew.

This is just a reminder that Tristram Hunt MP, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, will be in Ipswich this Monday 17th August to meet with local members and supporters.

The event will take place at 33 Silent Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TF at 12.15pm. Parking can be found at Cromwell Square or at the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

RSVP to meet Tristram this Monday

We hope you can make it along!

Liz Kendall for Labour Leader

Labour for the Common Good...

Students of Labour politics will be reaching for their copies of  Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock’s Labour by Richard Hefferman and the much missed Mike Marqusee (1992).

One of the central themes in the book is the story of how the Labour Co-ordinating Committee (LCC) emerged. From the soft left of the party it evolved into a part of what would (after Kinnock’s exit) become Blairism.

Progress, one of the leading forces in the present ‘anybody but Corbyn’ campaign carried a couple of years ago  an interesting article by Luke Akehurst  on this topic,

…the LCC did play a role in rescuing Labour, they came late to the match having been playing on the other side in the first half. The heavy lifting had already been done by the Old Right around the MPs in Labour Solidarity, the union leaders and political officers in the St Ermins Group and the newsletter ‘Forward Labour’.

We can see an attempt to reforge this bloc of the former left (in the present instance perhaps some ‘Eustonites’?) and the hard Labour right,  with Liz Kendall’s claim to promote a “new politics: blue Labour in dialogue with the revisionist tradition that started with the Gaitskellites in the 1950s.” (17th August Progress).

She states,

To make this a reality, Labour must win back economic credibility, the argument goes. In no uncertain terms, Kendall argues that Labour has to be known for being ‘careful with people’s money’.

 ‘If we’re deaf to these calls from the public for fiscal responsibility, we’ll be out of power for decades’ she warns. Turning the left’s critique on its head again, Kendall insists, ‘the politics I’m putting forward is actually the real anti-austerity politics’. When Labour puts its energies into ‘running sound public finances’ it ‘win[s] elections’, meaning Labour politicians ‘can actually stop some of the awful, vile things that the Tories are doing’. The current shadow care minister is able perhaps better than anyone currently at the top of Labour politics to identify the real divide between the Conservatives and Labour: George Osborne’s summer budget promotes ‘inherited wealth for the few’, she says, while Labour’s mission under her will be to ‘tackle the inherited poverty for too many people’. ‘This is the politics that will really be anti-austerity. It will allow us to win power and to have a totally different alternative from what the Tories are doing.’ Articulating this fundamental difference and putting flesh on the bones of a plan to achieve this is what will make clear how Labour differs from its array of competitors.

For those tempted to take these claims seriously Dave Osler’s New Labour PlC (2003) is essential reading.

‘Labour Party Plc’ tracks the party’s relationship with business from the early steps made by Neil Kinnock, to John Smith’s more overt flirting, to the love that dared speak its name under Tony Blair. David Osler looks in turn at funding of the Labour Party by rich individuals and big business, the scramble for lucrative government contracts once Labour was in office, and the way that business has been invited to help formulate government policy.

Osler suggests that one key turning point was Black Wednesday in 1992. On that day the pound was kicked out of the scheme that was the precursor to the euro and the Tories looked like they might never win another election. John Moores, director of Littlewoods football pools, described the motivation of big business in forming closer ties to the Labour Party during this period: ‘Since Labour is going to form the next government, it’s worth getting to know them.’ Another executive was more explicit in saying why he supported a New Labour initiative before the 1997 election: ‘Some of those involved are clearly dedicated Labour supporters. But most, like us, simply want to influence policy.’

This new receptiveness on the part of business was only part of the picture. Former leader John Smith signalled Labour’s desire to court business with a series of meetings with people from the City of London–dubbed the prawn cocktail offensive. Up for discussion were not just policies on the economy and companies, but also anything that might upset the wealthy.

Blair pledged to keep top-rate income tax at 40 percent in the 1997 election manifesto. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, after his £1 million donation had been returned following a scandal over tobacco advertising, explained that his gift was a result of Labour’s pledge not to raise income tax. ‘As a substantial contributor to the Inland Revenue, I have clearly benefited from this decision,’ he wrote. After all the questions about the possible link between party donations and government policy, such an explicit connection did not merit many column inches.

Socialist Review.

Meanwhile the anti-Corbyn factionalists are in disarray.

Gordon Brown declared yesterday (BBC) that Labour should not be a party of permanent protest.

He also stated,

“I have to say that if our global alliances are going to be alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there is absolutely no chance of building a world-wide alliance that can deal with poverty and inequality and climate change and financial instability, and we’ve got to face up to that fact.”

Mr Corbyn has previously described Hezbollah as “friends” and said that he wanted Hamas to be “part of the debate”.

Some points:

  • Labour supporters are not voting in the leadership contest on whether to ally with Hezbollah, Hamas, Putin, and the (late) Hugo Chávez.
  • Corbyn has, however ill-chosen some of his words have been, never  suggested an “alliance” with these forces.
  • It is up to the Labour Party, and preferably a strengthened internal democratic process, to decide on our foreign policy, not Jeremy Corbyn,

The Telegraph states,

Lord Mandelson tried to persuade the three mainstream Labour leadership candidates to quit en masse to stop leftwinger  Jeremy Corbyn and force the party to suspend the election.

It also emerged that Liz Kendall urged Yvette Cooper to stand down because Andy Burnham is the only candidate who can win – but Miss Cooper refused.

The Independent reports today:

Dozens of Labour staff members and Shadow Cabinet aides could be dismissed within hours of Jeremy Corbyn winning the party’s leadership, it has emerged.

The Independent understands that large numbers of Labour staff members are on contracts that expire the day after the new leader is elected. This means Mr Corbyn and his new shadow cabinet team will have a completely free hand at choosing who works for the party, with little or no legal obligation to existing staff.

Labour aides, who have worked for the party for the past five years, fear those around the new leader will use the opportunity to “purge” party HQ of those considered to be on the right, and replace them with people whose views are more in tune with the new leader. Other staff members intend to leave of their own volition and are understood to be already sending out their CVs in anticipation of a Corbyn victory.

Our own hope is that Leadership contenders  follow Andy Burnham’s suggestion – it follows Jeremy Corbyn’s own calls for opponents to work with him if he wins.

This will strike most people as the way forward.

Unless we wish to follow Labour for the Common Good, with its hint of “threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”