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The Legacy of Lyndon LaRouche (1922 – 2019???).

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LaRouche really did not like us lot either.

The ultimate American politician and conspiracist is dead—at least according to Twitter. It’s hard to know where to begin, really. This video summarizes LaRouche’s thoughts on Walter Mondale and is as good a place as any to start. The waters run deep and wide; I cannot but suspect Prince Philip is pleased to outlive him.

Here.

This, well-established rumour, was widely tweeted.

Many of the views for which LaRouche is famous are, these days, mainstream conspi stiff, “September 11th was an “inside job”, that Global Warming is a myth, “The “Greenhouse effect” hoax: a world federalist plot” and, inevitably, George Soros, whom he identified as a puppet master back in 2008

Your Enemy George Soros.

This Report documents the takeover of the democratic party by George Soros. A Nazi sympathizer who continues in the destruction of peoples and nations around the world.

LaRouche’s loathing for ‘Zionists’ nearly equalled some of the European ‘anti-Zionists’ of today, ” the Zionist Lobby is “the most visible of the internal enemies of the United States–and of the human race–at this specific moment. Every policy it is currently pushing is pure evil.” In his take on this (back in the 1970s) he said, “calls for a national “Task Force” to “root out the cancer in the American body politic that is the so-called Zionist Lobby….Literally thousands of operatives for the Zionist Lobby have penetrated the halls of Congress, the State and Defense Departments, the CIA, and American business and labor organizations….Their loyalties lie not with the United States but with the Zionist-British organism….[A]nyone professing Zionist loyalties is by definition incapable of being loyal to the interests of the United States. He is, by definition, a national security risk. The Zionist octopus must be eliminated.” LAROUCHE & CO.: A CHORUS OF HATE

The writer of this Blog first learnt of the existence of LaRouche at the end of the 60s when I was about 15 years old.

The National Caucus of Labor Committees put its material in the old Collete’s ‘Bomb Shop’ in Tottenham Court Road.

It was hallucinatory.

Yet we learn that the group had its origins in the US New Left.

The NCLC had it origins in the 1968 convention of the Students for a Democratic Society. It comprised people who had been expelled from the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, an SDS faction, and students from Columbia University in New York City. It called itself the “SDS Labor Committee” or the “National Caucus of SDS Labor Committees”.[5][6] Led by LaRouche, it included “New Left lieutenants” Ed Spannaus, Nancy Spannaus, and Tony Papert, as well as Paul Milkman, Paul Gallagher, Leif Johnson, Tony Chaitkin, and Steve Fraser.[7][8] According to Dennis King, Papert and Fraser had been targets of the FBI’s COINTELPRO operatives.[9] The Labor Committee was known for promoting a “socialist re-industrialization” of the economy, combined with confiscatory taxes on what it saw as wasteful and parasitic investment. It was expelled from SDS for taking the side of the teachers’ union in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville strike.[5] It was originally a New Left organization influenced by Trotskyist ideas[10] as well as those of other Marxists such as Rosa Luxemburg, but opposed other New Left organizations which LaRouche said were dominated by the Ford FoundationInstitute for Policy Studies and Herbert Marcuse.

Wikipedia.

LaRouche’s background is no less intelligible, at least to this Blog,

In 1964 he began an association with an SWP faction called the Revolutionary Tendency, a faction which was later expelled from the SWP, and came under the influence of British Trotskyist leader Gerry Healy.[23]

For six months, LaRouche worked with American Healyite leader Tim Wohlforth, who later wrote that LaRouche had a “gargantuan ego”, and “a marvelous ability to place any world happening in a larger context, which seemed to give the event additional meaning, but his thinking was schematic, lacking factual detail and depth.” Leaving Wohlforth’s group, LaRouche briefly joined the rival Spartacist League before announcing his intention to build a new “Fifth International”.[21]

In 1967 LaRouche began teaching classes on Marx’s dialectical materialism at New York City’s Free School,[24] and attracted a group of students from Columbia University and the City College of New York, recommending that they read Das Kapital, as well as Hegel, Kant, and Leibniz. During the 1968 Columbia University protests, he organized his supporters under the name National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC).[24] The aim of the NCLC was to win control of the Students for a Democratic Society branch—the university’s main activist group—and build a political alliance between students, local residents, organized labor, and the Columbia faculty.[25][26][27][28] By 1973 the NCLC had over 600 members in 25 cities—including West Berlin and Stockholm—and produced what Dennis King called the most literate of the far-left papers, New Solidarity.[29][30] The NCLC’s internal activities became highly regimented over the next few years. Members gave up their jobs and devoted themselves to the group and its leader, believing it would soon take control of America’s trade unions and overthrow the government.

Wikipedia.

This is the point where it all goes a lot more haywire.

It is hard to get a hold on it all.

Perhaps this may help.

There are many people in the US referred to as ‘left-wing’. Honourable people who do a lot of good. But in Europe their politics are centre-left, liberal, ‘progressive’.

The Marxist, or even radical, American left, has little practical influence on politics. Bernie Sanders, who would be on the centre mainstream of the UK Labour Party, never had the slightest chance of becoming President. The world was solemnly enjoined to take note when a couple of socialist councillors and  then a couple of mildly radical socialist inclined individuals (in all cases with something like the politics of the respectable centre of the UK Labour Party) got elected to Congress.

This means, some who know the US scene better than this Blog (not difficult)  say, that it is  made up of often frustrated and isolated individuals. It is claimed that they either live ‘dual lives’ (revolutionaries in their own minds, making daily compromises to the rest of the world), or keep the flame in enclaves (academic or cultural) shut off from the rest of the world, in academia or imaginary “Marxism lists”. However personally successful people may be in these conditions, however amiable and open-minded they are,  their politics are likely to be pretty adrift. This would naturally attract its share of odd-bods, as all unorthodox politics do.

But LaRouche was special.

Very special. 

Extract from the history of the group and actions which first brought him to wider attention

Operation Mop Up

LaRouche’s writings in the late 1960s displayed an intense curiosity about the history and methods of European fascism. His research, so his followers thought, was aimed at learning how to prevent fascism. But his analysis differed in subtle ways from that of other leftists. One of the first observers to spot something amiss was his old rival Tim Wohlforth. In a 1968 article, Wohlforth noted LaRouche’s “preposterous theory” that the Nazi’s murder of six million Jews had been motivated solely by economics. “It seems,” wrote Wohlforth, “that when [the Nazis] worked the Jews to a point where there was no labor power left in them, they simply sent them to the gas chambers to save the cost of upkeep for unproductive slaves.” Wohlforth saw LaRouche’s theory as just a one-sided analysis of Nazi motives. He didn’t suspect that LaRouche one day would develop his own brand of fascism.

In 1971, LaRouche published a major article on the prospects for fascist base building in America, Only with a mass base, he observed, could a “storm trooper” organization have “saleable qualities” that might attract support from “leading governmental and financial interests.” He predicted that such a movement would emerge soon on the basis of a “populist” ideology and diverse appeals to rival ethnic groups. This movement would begin to furnish the capitalists with gangs to “break strikes and break up socialist and union meetings.” Although at first it might include fascist-minded Jews, it would sooner or later turn on the Jewish community. The Jews, LaRouche observed, were “a most visible and thus ‘ripe’ ” candidate for the role of scapegoat.

LaRouche also predicted that a new type of left-wing group, defined as “left-protofascist,” would take part in the street violence on the side of overtly right-wing ethnic fascists. In subsequent articles he examined how the alleged controllers of fascism, the American capitalist class, might use advanced brainwashing techniques to transform leftist college students into precisely this type of left-fascist “zombie.” He meanwhile began to teach his own leftist followers to regard themselves as “Prometheans,” an elite far above the rest of humanity,

LaRouche’s implication was clear: The NCLC must learn from fascism and adopt some of fascism’s tactics. But his followers still regarded themselves as good Marxists (in spite of their elitist pretensions) and retained a visceral hatred of fascism. If LaRouche wanted to steer them to the right, he would have to turn the NCLC into a controlled environment for ideological reeducation—a political cult.

The NCLC’s transformation occurred in three overlapping stages during 1973-74. First, LaRouche ordered his followers into the streets for a campaign of savage attacks on rival leftist groups called Operation Mop Up. This forced them to either deepen their commitment or get out. It also isolated them irrevocably from the rest of the left.

Second, LaRouche staged “ego-stripping” sessions at NCLC meetings, instilling in his followers a sense of shame over any ideological wavering or lack of courage they might have displayed during Mop Up.

Finally, he whipped up an atmosphere of hysteria inside the NCLC based on allegations of an assassination plot aimed against himself. The acceptance of these bizarre allegations severed most of the remaining links between NCLC members and everyday reality.

Operation Mop Up was preceded by months of squabbling between the NCLC and the Communist Party USA. NCLC members had frequently disrupted CP meetings with long harangues from the floor. The CP began tossing them out and published articles alleging that they were government agents. Matters escalated in early 1973 when the NCLC announced a conference in Philadelphia to build a national organization for welfare recipients and the unemployed. CP members and other local activists started a campaign to discredit the conference, calling its NCLC organizers racists as well as agents. The NCLC leadership was furious. A New Solidarity front-page editorial, entitled “Deadly Crisis for CPUSA,” warned the CP that if it didn’t back off it would face an all-out counterattack. The CP failed to take the threat seriously.

On the conference’s opening day the anti-NCLC coalition sent a sound truck through the black community and staged a picket line with signs comparing the NCLC to the Ku Klux Klan. This failed to stop the event, which was attended by several hundred white middle-class activists and a handful of welfare mothers. The harassment did, however, give LaRouche the pretext he needed. He called an emergency meeting of the East Coast NCLC. “From here on in,” he declared, “the CP cannot hold a meeting on the East Coast . . . We’ll mop them up in two months.” The NCLC, he promised, would seize “hegemony” on the left—i.e., replace the CP as the dominant organization.

Many NCLC members were shocked and frightened by LaRouche’s announcement, but he anticipated their reluctance: “I know you better than you know yourselves, and for the most part you’re full of crap,” he said. “This isn’t a debating society anymore.”

For further information see  LYNDON LAROUCHE AND THE NEW AMERICAN FASCISM

There’s plenty more to say about his career, but this is a gem:

Britain, The Empire of Evil, Pushes Genocide and World War

2015.

As Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived Wednesday in Germany for a three-day visit, the truly Satanic nature of the British Empire was on full display. Prince Philip’s top aide, Martin Palmer, is the principal organizer of a French government-sponsored Paris conference in July, peddling the same genocidal program of “Earth stewardship” that would-be mass murderer John Schellnhuber inserted into the recent Papal Encyclical on climate change. The Paris conference is part of the propaganda assault, leading to the next ‘Copenhagen’ conference at the end of the year, also in Paris. The Worldwatch Institute, founded by Lester Brown, has just issued a report, demanding an end to all subsidies for fossil-fuel and nuclear power, as part of the drive for a total conversion to renewables like solar and wind power.

Any such reversal of the core principle of increased energy- flux density means mass genocide, on the scale that Prince Philip and Schellnhuber have been advocating for decades. Leading Italian economist Nino Galloni has penned an excellent attack on the recent Papal Encyclical, precisely from the standpoint of the concept of “energy-flux density” developed by Lyndon LaRouche.

The question that must be posed to all sane citizens is: Are you for the British Empire’s genocide, or are you for the human race? Are you with Zeus or Prometheus?

This is no abstract question. With the entire European financial system just days away from potential complete meltdown, around the showdown with Greece, and with a British-led NATO explicitly provoking thermonuclear confrontation with both Russia and China, the very survival of mankind is on the line.

There is no question where President Obama stands. He is a British agent, fully committed to the genocidal agenda of Prince Philip, Martin Palmer, John Schellnhuber, and the rest. Yesterday, the internationally renowned Doctors Without Borders issued a highly unusual, scathing attack on Obama, for his Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade swindle, which, the release details, will shut off affordable medicine to at least a half billion people, under the secret clauses of the treaty, written in league with the major pharmaceutical companies. This is mass murder, plain and simple, and this is Obama.

The greatest danger to human survival is the British Empire’s plan for mass genocide, as expressed by the Queen’s agent Schellnhuber. This is a full-blown commitment by the British Royal Family to reduce the world population to under one billion people. Any other matters are distractions and intentionally engineered distractions to prevent any effective counter to the genocide plans.

The British Empire is a Satanic force, and is the continuation of the European Empire system that has been at war with mankind, ever since the launching of the 15th-Century Renaissance by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa. The Empire’s response to Cusa and the Renaissance was the launching of 150 years of uninterrupted religious war on the European continent.

The latest expression of the British Monarchy’s commitment to that same mass extinction is the Schellnhuber operation run against the Pope. It is around this issue that the future of mankind will be decided in the immediate period ahead.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Corbyn Plans “Bringing the Country Together” Behind His Brexit.

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Image result for alice in wonderland lion and unicorn I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! ...

Alice Meets Corbyn’s Brexit, “I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too.”

The pro-Brexit Morning Star (Editorial today) summarises Corbyn’s move:

Labour’s five proposals are a compromise. They do not represent what Labour would negotiate if it had the opportunity: this is no doubt why the list is far less ambitious than the Brexit vision outlined by Corbyn in Coventry nearly a year ago, when he pledged to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions … in relation to privatisation and public service competition directives, state aid and procurement rules” and vowed that “we cannot be held back inside or outside the EU from taking the steps we need to support cutting-edge industries and local business [and] stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing.”

Until a general election changes the game, Brexit is not Labour’s to negotiate. On the other hand, articulating a positive and ambitious vision of our future outside the EU, and how Labour would approach that differently from the Conservatives, is essential both to general election success and to transforming an economy broken by neoliberalism and auster

Here is Corbyn’s letter to Labour members:

I have written to the Prime Minister laying out Labour’s alternative plan so we can move beyond the mess the Tories have made of Brexit.

The Tory failure has left the country deeply divided and facing the threat of a disastrous No Deal outcome. Labour can and must take a lead in bringing our country together.

We are convinced that our sensible alternative, set out in the five demands in my letter, could both win the support of parliament and bring together those who voted Leave and Remain.                                           

More than any other party, Labour represents the hopes and ambitions of millions of people across all parts of our country. 

Whether people live in Tottenham or Mansfield, they face the same problems of austerity, the injustice of Universal Credit and insecure work. The real divide in our country is not between Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few.

I believe our alternative plan – which includes a permanent customs union, staying close to the single market, and full guarantees on workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental protections – can help move us beyond divisions over Brexit and lay the ground for the transformation of our country that only a Labour government can deliver.

Theresa May is unable to reach a sensible deal because it would split the Tories – and we will never vote for a bad Tory deal.

If Parliament is deadlocked, then the best outcome would be a general election. Without it, we will keep all options on the table, as agreed in our party conference motion, including the option of a public vote.

Thank you,

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party

This all looks, as some have commented, a strategy for either negotiating some agreement with Theresa May, or for many, many years, of future negotiating should Labour win an election.

The Guardian has commented that, “It is far from clear whether Labour’s five demands for UK withdrawal are achievable”.

The Guardian lists the 5 points and looks at them.

  • A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union, an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals.

The problem here is  that on present evidence, “The British government would have no say over new trade deals if it was in a customs union with the European Union, a former head of the World Trade Organisation has said. ” (Guardian 21st of January 2018). Nor is obvious how a sudden lurch back into a Customs Union is going to be re-worked out from scratch.

  • Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.

The Guardian notes on this, “This part of the proposal sounds strikingly similar to May’s Chequers plan, but the EU rejected that as “cherry-picking” parts of the indivisible four freedoms. If Labour decides it wishes to be fully in the single market, the EU will insist it signs up to EU state-aid rules. “Corbyn will have to come out of the closet and say we accept single market rules,” says one senior EU official. If Labour wants to be in the single market, it will also have to accept continued freedom of movement, though senior Labour figures have sounded more warm towards that prospect in recent weeks.

This could equally be described as a pious intention, open to Labour to ‘negotiate’ as it sees fit. As noted on Labour List, (Sienna Rodgers)”“single market alignment” doesn’t amount to the “full participation” prescribed by the composite motion. (of the Labour Party Conference).

It is also open to the Morning Star Brexiteers and the “4 Ms” to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions. That is, a merry game over many years, until they decide to break away completely and try for the WTO rule based trade. It is a recipe for endless rows, dramatic turnarounds, and a continuous diversion from any Labour government’s legislative programme.

  • Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.

The word  “dynamic” cannot hide that this is always open to a Tory government to renege on. One of the obvious attractions of common European standards is that they were made in common not “aligned” with.

  • Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation.

A commitment – no more. And, the Guardian states, “The political declaration – the non-binding part of the Brexit deal that May has proposed – already states that the EU and the UK will “explore the possibility of cooperation” involving agencies such as the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

  • Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases.

Something that remains open. The Guardian says, “Brussels has said it is difficult for the UK to have the same access to EU police organisations and databases without being a member state, including taking on EU data-protection rules and accepting the remit of the European court of justice. It is unclear if Labour would be prepared to accept this.”

On Labour List Sienna Rogers also observes:

 Corbyn’s list makes no mention of the backstop or of free movement.

It remains that Corbyn and his inner circle want Labour Party members to accept Brexit.

The present strategy may well involve a compromise to bring “our country together” – for yet more, and yet more, negotiations.

Corbyn allies in the influential groupuscule Counterfire do not relish such a consensus.

John Rees writes,

Marxism and the Brexit crisis

But now the entirety of the British political establishment, and the mass media, are pushing the Labour leadership to “save the nation” by joining in a Tory-inspired unity campaign aimed at achieving the seemingly politically impossible task of passing Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

He, like the Morning Star, backs Brexit.

Brexit, in this compromise form is still Brexit.

Many people in the Labour Party simply do not accept Brexit in the first place.

Shiraz describes the move as  “Corbyn’s Brexit betrayal.”

Socialist Resistance writes on the forces, hostile to left-wing internationalism, who are driving the Corbyn stategy.

The British Road to Brexit

Milne and Murray haven’t changed their minds on that in forty-five years. That’s fine. The EU is a bosses’ club. What’s different now is that the push for Brexit is coming from the right of British politics and has galvanised every racist in the country. The 2016 referendum result wasn’t a rejection of a bosses’ club, it was a rejection of freedom of movement within the EU. Milne and Murray are in the Labour Party now and they are very definitely in a minority on this issue. The most recent evidence for that is the report commissioned by Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association which says:

“Labour would especially lose the support of people below the age of 35, which could make this issue comparable to the impact the tuition fees and involvement in the coalition had on Lib Dem support….

… “If there is an election in 2019, Labour will get a lower share of the vote in every seat in the country if it has a pro-Brexit policy than if it has an anti-Brexit position.”

Corbyn knows this already and yet he is risking electoral defeat. His letter to Theresa May setting out the terms under which Labour would support a Brexit deal makes no reference to the party’s conference vote calling for a new referendum. It doesn’t even mention delaying the exit date until a deal which meets his conditions for a soft Brexit are negotiated.

This is a big victory for those of his advisors who want Brexit to happen because they think it might set Labour on a road to socialism in one country. And it’s not just Milne and Murrary. Len McCluskey of Unite is dead set against a new referendum and so is Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s chief of staff who accompanied Corbyn and Milne to the recent meeting with Theresa May.

The only people this will give comfort to are those Tories who back May’s plan to run down the clock to a hard Brexit and the DUP. It will not win over a single Brexit supporting voter and it will demoralise the hundreds of thousands of Labour members the party will need to win the next general election.

As we learned a couple of weeks ago during the immigration debate, the Corbyn leadership is responsive to pressure from its left. Anti-Brexit members need to be kicking up a fuss about this capitulation to the idea of socialism in a single country across social media and in their wards, GCs and CLPs. And if you haven’t already done so get this resolution supporting a new referendum through your local party and affiliated unions.

A critique of Jacques Rancière’s Politics.

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Image result for jacques ranciere la haine de la démocratie

 

 A critique of Rancière’s Politics.

 

“Politics occurs because, or when, the natural order of the shepherd kings, the warlords, or property owners is interrupted by a freedom that crops up and makes real the ultimate equality on which any social order rests.”

Disagreement (La mésentente) Jacques Rancière. 1995.  (1)

Jacques Rancière is a critic of “post-democracy”, who is probably the first to have used the term. This political condition is one in which “elites exhibit paternal concern for their flock and protect it from its own rebellious spirits”. The essayist emerged at the threshold of the new millennium as a pioneering opponent of the – alleged – consensus ruling modern states. He staked out territory occupied by both serious efforts to grapple with the “neoliberal” policies and business influence on modern states, and potboilers claiming that there is no “real opposition” in societies dominated by the “extreme centre.” This is a political form “that has eliminated the appearance, miscount, and dispute of the People” and reduced politics to “the sole interplay of state mechanisms and combinations of social energies and interests”. The result is  “consensus democracy” a machine of power ruled by enlightened “experts” and the “absolute identification of politics with the management of capital.” (2)

The vocabulary of ‘oligarchies’, ‘elites’, ‘plutocrats’  and ‘post-democracy’, paralleled in French, and in English, is now part of the political talk of left and right populists. (2005) the target was The Republic, for which read la République française, “un régime d’homogénéité entre les institutions de l’État et les mœurs de société.” In this sense the ‘oligarchy’ loathed democracy, the unruly demos, any attempt by the unordered masses to shake up the regime. In other words, they dislike not the word, but the substance of democratic life. Rancière is equally referenced in France for L’introuvable populisme (2011). This criticised, pell-mell, “elite” contempt for the rough masses, secular French republicanism, and the racialism of the French state. There is a third string to this bow of ideas. In July last year, Rancière said that capitalism is so dominant today that it has taken over the left’s historical timepieces, resetting the political clock in line with market chronology. The elites run the world. (3)

How times change. If the words circulate, the claim that “democracy after the demos”, had eliminated dissensus, and had absorbed politics by top-down agreement, now looks threadbare. “Populist revolts’ have often gone beyond rebellion, to political influence and  – if we are to follow those who call Donald Trump a populist – to rule the most powerful state on the planet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew Coates

January 25, 2019 at 3:03 pm

Macron, Faced with Gilets Jaunes, “état d’urgence social”; Mélenchon calls for “Citizens’ Insurrection.”

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No automatic alt text available.

Point 24. Immigration: stem migratory fluxes.

Macron raises minimum wage to appease Yellow Vest protesters

He said people on the minimum wage would see their salaries increase by €100 a month from 2019 without extra costs to employers. Pensioners earning less than €2,000 would see the recent increase in social security taxes scrapped. Other measures promised include the abolition of taxes on overtime pay in 2019 and asking profit-making companies to give workers tax-free year-end bonuses

However, he also said he would stick to his reform agenda and refused to reinstate a wealth tax.

“We will respond to the economic and social urgency with strong measures, by cutting taxes more rapidly, by keeping our spending under control, but not with U-turns,” Macron said.

Let us go into the details:

PAULINE BOCK New Statesman.

He promised an additional €100 for workers on minimum wage “without it costing a cent to employers” – because it’s not a new raise, just the re-evaluation of a specific allowance that was already planned. (Le Parisien has calculated that the levelled system will negatively impact around 30,000 of the most precarious households). He said that a tax on pensioners “earning less than €2,000” would be cancelled – without making clear that “€2,000” included all earnings, not solely their pension, and would therefore impact less people than his rhetoric implied. He announced an annual tax-free bonus for workers – “whose employers can afford it”, so at a boss’s discretion. Mere hours before Macron’s speech, the Senate also adopted a freeze of welfare payments for 2019. Macron is a bit like a sneaky character in a Disney film: if you don’t negotiate precise terms in the contract, chances are you’re losing out in the agreement as a whole.

Bock’s excellent article misses nevertheless, one thing from this, the overtime tax break.

Le Monde: 

Les heures supplémentaires seront « versées sans impôts ni charges dès 2019 » alors qu’elles devaient initialement être « désocialisées »(pas de cotisations) en septembre 2019. Cette mesure avait déjà été mise en place sous le quinquennat de Nicolas Sarkozy, avant d’être abrogée par François Hollande.

Les heures supplémentaires correspondent au temps travaillé au-delà de la durée légale des 35 heures, et sont rémunérées davantage. Cette majoration de salaire est généralement de 25 %, mais peut être réduite à 10 % par un accord d’entreprise.

Overtime will be “paid without taxes or charges from 2019” when they were initially to be “unsocialised” (no contributions) in September 2019. This measure had already been implemented under the five-year term of Nicolas Sarkozy,  and was  repealed by François Hollande.

Overtime is the time worked beyond the statutory 35-hour period, and is paid more. This salary increase is usually 25%, but can be reduced to 10% by a company agreement.

So, in effect, Macron has not just tried to appeal to the lowest paid, but to the ‘hard-working’ middle earners who can do overtime.

Bock comments that, “These “crumbs” are unlikely to convince the gilets jaunes to cancel their “Act V”, planned for 15 December.”

I would not underestimate the effect of the latter measure on their constituency, as those interviewed on RTL this morning illustrated.

Nevertheless the refusal to reinstate the wealth tax, the  l’impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) irks many (Piketty : « S’il veut sauver son quinquennat, Macron doit immédiatement rétablir l’ISF » )

There is also the lycéen movement which the left can support unreservedly, not only because of the scenes of police brutality and efforts to humiliate school pupils, but because their protests against education “reform” are right.

Mouvement des lycéens et Gilets jaunes : “On espère faire converger nos luttes”

Update:

Whether they will find an echo in the Gilets Jaunes remains to be seen.

In the meantime the self-appointed leader of the Citizens’ Revolution announced that the Gilets Jaunes protests must continue.

Français encore un effort si vous voulez être révolutionnaires!

The obvious thing to say about Macron’s actions is that he is trying to “reculer pour mieux sauter”.

This can mean either, make a tactical retreat in order to leap back when the time is ripe, or to put off the inevitable.

Unfortunately having had that thought I noticed that  somebody has already made that comment (Pour Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron “recule pour mieux sauter” ). The leader of the far-right notes that the President is putting off the need to face up to globalisation, free trade, AND …..”‘immigration de masse et ses conséquences sociales et culturelles.”

As in:

No automatic alt text available.

Some enthusiasts for the Gilets Jaunes have got so carried away that they ignore the issues this raises.

Verso, apparently a left-wing publisher, has this translated interview (“Paris is not an actor, but a battlefield”) Eric Hazan interviewed about the Gilets Jaunes protests.

Hazan is already notorious for saying, of Jews (he does not bother with the word ‘Zionist’) on the ultra-left  insurrectionist’ site, Lundi Matin, recalling a Paris and a time when ” les juifs n’étaient pas du côté du manche. ” figuratively meaning “près du pouvoir “, that is, to translate. “when the Jews were not on the side of those wielding power.” (EN DESCENDANT LA RUE RAMPONEAU)

This is his latest, on why many intellectuals are reluctant to give unreserved support for the Gilets Jaunes.

A whole range of intellectuals see violence is evil. For those who do not stick to this position and may sometimes consider it legitimate, the fact that the far right is present in this violence puts them off quite a bit. But it doesn’t bother me.

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Amongst many reactions is this one:

Convalescence difficile pour Éric Hazan

Interrogé par Mediapart à propos des «Gilets jaunes», Éric Hazan a fait – notamment – la déclaration confuse et confusionniste ci-après.

On voudra bien considérer le fait que l’éditeur du Comité invisible a connu de graves soucis de santé l’été dernier, qu’il est encore très fatigué, et par suite ne tenir aucun compte de ce qu’il dit.

The following (thanks Paul) from a World to Win News Service  puts some thoughts together not far from those of this Blog, and shared by others, notably French leftists, both from the far left, and more mainstream.

However mad the political origins of the WWNS these points are far from off-beam.

France: “The house is on fire”

…the Yellow Vest movement cannot be evaluated as an isolated phenomenon. Le Pen’s fascist party has been a major force on France’s political scene for over a generation; not only did she make it to the run-offs for President 18 months ago, but her party is leading in the polls for the upcoming European Parliament elections. Le Pen has played a major role in shifting the whole political process to the right. As the mainstream of traditional French politics collapses, as it has in growing numbers of other Western countries, there is an increasing basis for major sections of the ruling class to support her bid for power. Macron is hoping that cancelling the fuel price hike will divide the Yellow Vests and cut off the most determined among them from those among the middle classes whose greatest concern is order, and undoubtedly to use an iron fist on hard-core elements who persist. But stepping up repression against a popular protest risks losing the support among those who look to him as a rampart against the fascists, even as this paves the way for the even more clearly authoritarian Le Pen.

The most important thing is not whether Le Pen is “behind” this movement organizationally. Consider the example of Italy’s Five Star movement. For years it declared itself apolitical and opposed to all parties in the name of “horizontal democracy” by means of social media and Internet referendums, but it ended up in a fascist coalition government alongside openly terroristic thugs who dominate despite the fact that Five Star won far more votes. Again and again mass movements that focus on fighting to turn back the clock and bring back the promises of the past social welfare state have been eaten alive by forces with very clearly defined reactionary political projects – in this case installing a fascist regime as part of defending and advancing France’s position among the bloodthirsty rival thieves of the imperialist world.

How to go beyond the inevitably temporary intersection of different interest groups and unite the people against their enemy, the capitalist-imperialist ruling class and its state? Not like Mélenchon, trying to unite different parts of the masses on the basis of nationalism and futile dreams of reviving the social-democratic welfare state. And not like the anarchists trying to prove that the character of the Yellow Vest movement can be changed and the movement led by proving to be the best street fighters against the police. The people can’t be united spontaneously. Revolutionaries can’t tail after anyone..

For those, by contrast. who wish to dream of the Gilets Jaunes as “une nouvelle construction démocratique” “une respiration démocratique ”  with their ” parlements locaux” and “l’expérience d’une communauté” the following E-pamphlet is recommended:

GILETS JAUNES. Des clés pour comprendre.

Cloud Cuckoo Land Publications is said to be preparing a translation.

 

Gilets jaunes L'actualité

The Politics of the Gilets Jaunes in France, is the Far-Right only at the Fringes?

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“Police Force. We hope that you will not touch French people in Gilets Jaunes. If you feel you need exercise you can start by going into the Estates and defend yourself against the scum of 10 to 16 years old when they spit and attack you instead of doing nothing about it.”

Today le Monde leads with the claim that the Gilets Jaunes movement is running out of steam ahead of its Saturday March on the Champ-de-Mars in Paris.

« Gilets jaunes » : la mobilisation s’essouffle au sixième jour du mouvement

Opinion is divided on the Gilets Jaunes.

The movement, protesting against a rise in the tax on transport fuel, has no formal leaders.

But there are plenty of political figures circulating around.

On the BBC site Lucy Williamson comments,

There’s lively debate here about the true nature of the protests – whether the movement is being steered by hard-right agitators, or hijacked by political interests. But for every one out blocking roads, there seem to be many French citizens supporting them at home. A survey by the polling agency Elabe found that almost three-quarters of French voters approved of the protests, and that more than half of those who voted for Mr Macron support them.

Several of the main opposition parties have publicly backed them, including the centre right Republicains, the far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Most people agree this is about much more than fuel taxes. It’s about the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron in the face of growing frustration from low- and middle-income workers about making ends meet.

Are French riots a curse or a blessing for Macron?

Jean Luc Mélenchon is clearly enthused by the Gilets Jaunes:

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Olivier Besancenot of the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA) has welcomed the France wide blockages as a “social upheaval”. The unrest, he asserted, was about the cost of living, not about ecological policies.”

“On n’a pas affaire à une fronde contre un gouvernement écologique, on a une fronde sociale contre la vie chère, qui n’a pas d’hostilité contre la transition écologique”, a analysé le fondateur du NPA.

Gilets jaunes: “C’est une fronde sociale qui ne fait que commencer”, affirme Olivier Besancenot

Robert Hirsh of the bloc, Ensemble (which has 2 MPs, allied to La France insoumise) states that their comrades participated in the blockages, and that the far right had not ” décisivement” impacted on the demonstrations. Hirsh sees the future in terms of a broader “anti-austerity” movement. (Passer des gilets jaunes aux drapeaux rouges et verts…)

On the same site, of Ensemble, a group of left-wing figures claim that the self-organised Gilets Jaunes, are welcome news, a popular movement after a long series of set backs, ” Ce mouvement d’auto-organisation populaire fera date et c’est une bonne nouvelle.” (Les “gilets jaunes” sont aussi le produit d’une succession d’échecs du mouvement social.)

Others are less than happy at reports of this character, illustrating joint action between Mélenchon supporters and the factions of the far right.

Notably:  Gilets jaunes: des manifestations très à droite… LE BLOG DE LANCETRE

Mediapart.

Here are some of the aspects of the movement which have caused concern.

“Yellow vests” deliver migrants hidden in a lorry to the gendarmes

The Tanker in which the six migrants were located was stopped in cyclist, near the a16 motorway in the Somme.

 

Here is more of the political support: (RN – Rassemblement Rational is the new name for the Front National).

Les gilets jaunes ne font pas de politique…Mais accueillent Dieudonné !

We wish those attempting to turn this into a broader anti-austerity movement well.

But there are few signs that the social groups moblised by the Gilets Jaunes are likely to turn to wider social solidarity. The trade union federations have kept, an often ambiguous, distance, while expressing some support for their demands. The political problems of the British fuel protests of 2000, and following years (up to 2007) which involved right-wing groups, such as  Farmers for Action and coincided with the hard-right Countryside Alliance protests, look small in comparison. The tolerance of the far-right, and many incidents of casual bigotry,   and overt racism, indicate a fracture – reflected across Europe, including the UK  –  between this “populism in the streets” and the left.

Norman Geras Falls Foul of Reading University’s ‘Prevent’ anti-Terrorism Strategy.

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Image result for Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution'.

“Security-sensitive material,” Says Reading University.

Several days ago this story appeared on Twitter,

And then on Facebook.

As a result of PREVENT, an academic was required to send this to third year undergraduates taking an optional module […]. The required piece is Norman Geras’ ‘Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution’.

Dear students,

As you will probably be aware, the last of the nine substantive topics considered in this module is the permissibility and appropriateness of revolutionary violence. As a result, the material covered in the module falls within the University’s understanding of its legal responsibilities under the UK Government’s PREVENT programme, which is designed to reduce the threat terrorism poses to the UK.

The University understands its responsibility to require it to control access to security-sensitive material, which includes but is not limited to material which might be thought to encourage the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; material which would be useful in the commission of acts of terrorism; and material which glorifies acts of terrorism. Academic work defending the permissibility or appropriateness of revolutionary violence might well be thought to encourage the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, and may glorify it, at least where terrorism is understood as the use of violence to encourage the government to do things – as it basically is in this context. As a result, you are now all apparently required to complete the form available through the link on ‘Learning Materials’ tab of the module’s Blackboard page and return it to Dr Firstname Lastname. If you are concerned about completing the form, please let me know. I also advise you to contact [the student union] if you find the University’s interpretation of the requirements of the policy in any way worrying, as I think you may well reasonably do so.

When completing the form, I suggest you fill the section ‘Material’ as follows:

The module includes a discussion of the conditions under which revolutionary violence may be acceptable. Students are required to read a journal article which defends the use of revolutionary violence, including against groups and individuals who are not members of the armed forces, in circumstances of obvious injustice, and several other academic pieces on the reading list cover similar topics and express similar views. These articles are widely available through electronic databases to which the University offers students access without any checks.

You should fill out the section ‘Relevance’ as follows:

It is not possible to discuss the possibility of permissible revolutionary violence without considering defences of the idea that some revolutionary violence is permissible and even justified.

I am very sorry that you have to do this. I was informed of this policy after I had put together the module for this year, and would have thought differently about what I included if I had known of its requirements. Please let me know if you have any questions.’

Martin Thomas, on the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty site flagged the story up.

Now the bizarre decision by reading University is on the Guardian website.

Prevent critics slam Reading for labelling ‘mainstream’ academic text as extremist

An essay by a prominent leftwing academic that examines the ethics of socialist revolution has been targeted by a leading university using the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

Students at the University of Reading have been told to take care when reading an essay by the late Professor Norman Geras, in order to avoid falling foul of Prevent.

Third-year politics undergraduates have been warned not to access it on personal devices, to read it only in a secure setting, and not to leave it lying around where it might be spotted “inadvertently or otherwise, by those who are not prepared to view it”. The alert came after the text was flagged by the university as “sensitive” under the Prevent programme.

The essay, listed as “essential” reading for the university’s Justice and Injustice politics module last year, is titled Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution. Geras was professor emeritus of government at the University of Manchester until his death in 2013. He rejected terrorism but argued that violence could be justified in the case of grave social injustices.

The University of Reading said: “Lecturers must inform students in writing if their course includes a text deemed security-sensitive, and then list which students they expect will have to access the material.

“As laid out in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the University of Reading has put policies in place to take steps to prevent students being drawn into terrorism.” One aspect of this is to safeguard staff and students who access security-sensitive materials legitimately and appropriately used for study or research.”

Norman Geras’s writings were and are important to many people on the left.

To give just one example, I re-read his critique of the ‘post-Marxism’ of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe only a few months ago: Post_Marxism New Left Review. 1/163 1987 and Ex-Marxism Without Substance (a reply to these writers’ response). New Left Review. 1/169. 1988.

They were followed his criticisms of post-modernism and the retreat from Marxism in  Seven Types of Obloquy: Travesties of Marxism (Socialist Register 1990)

Books such The Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg  (1983) and 1983Marx and Human Nature: Refutation of a Legend remain significant essays in democratic Marxist theory.

Like many on the left I had the chance to meet Norman, one of the most approachable of academics.

I had, and have, an interest in ethical theory and asked his opinions on Marxism and morality (see story above). We had some correspondence on the issue, covering what many consider to be the ethical void of Leninism.

In the Essay handled with Kid Gloves he wrote, that sometimes the need for justice trumps the absolute respect for human rights but that,

If there are indeed circumstances to make some moral crimes unavoidable, it is still necessary to have the rules and restraints which define them as crimes and which serve as a barrier against the avoidable ones. Socialists surely have good reason to be on their guard against forms of argument that are used to throw off all ethical constraints from around the conduct of war; and that were used, specifically, to justify opening the latest and potentially the most lethal chapter in the history of human warfare. Where there are established  parliamentary democracies, with a set of basic civil and political rights and freedoms protected under law, there is no right of revolution on account of tyranny. There is a right of social revolution – on account of grave injustice – against the capitalist forms of power, wealth and privilege over which these democracies preside, but the thing is complicated by the claim the latter make to democratic legitimacy.

You can read Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution (Socialist Register 1989, pictured) through this link.

 

When Norman Geras backed the Euston Manifesto(2006), an initiative which my part of the left, the democratic Marxists, roundly criticised them (including an article I wrote in a left-wing paper)  I could not help but feel that this burning concern with justice continued to inspire him.

 

The Euston Manifesto was much less qualified on human rights,

We hold the fundamental human rights codified in the Universal Declaration to be precisely universal, and binding on all states and political movements, indeed on everyone. Violations of these rights are equally to be condemned whoever is responsible for them and regardless of cultural context. We reject the double standards with which much self-proclaimed progressive opinion now operates, finding lesser (though all too real) violations of human rights which are closer to home, or are the responsibility of certain disfavoured governments, more deplorable than other violations that are flagrantly worse. We reject, also, the cultural relativist view according to which these basic human rights are not appropriate for certain nations or peoples.

The Euston Manifesto  Norman Geras.

Reading University has reminded me, and others, not just that we miss Norman, but that it would be good to hear his views today.

I would enjoy hearing or reading his opinions on the work about human rights which some of us have developed, beginning from a different starting point in Claude Lefort and the more Marxist views of Étienne Balibar  and present days debates about Giorgio Agamben. Not to mention the book I am reading at present (in relation to Jacques Rancière’s theories of Dissensus and ‘post democracy’)   Relire la Révolution (2016) by Jean-Claude Milner which turns again to the “ethics of revolution”.

Reading University has also reminded us that there is no fool like a learned fool.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2018 at 1:25 pm

The Holiest Day in the Calender: Workers’ Revolutionary Party, News Line Beano.

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Post Halloween Festival. 

Torrance’s WRP is the only surviving Workers Revolutionary Party in the UK and still produces The News Line as a daily paper, and it is also included in a website. The party has been registered with the Electoral Commission since 15 May 2001, with Frank Sweeney as registered leader.[34] As of 2007, the WRP had assets of just over £4,000.[35] It remains electorally active and stood seven candidates for the 2015 UK General Election, six in London and one in Sheffield,[36] gaining a total of 488 votes.[37] It supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

More , a lot more, on Wikipedia.

BBC:

General election 2017: Workers Revolutionary Party policies

The British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, founded by Leon Trotsky, is bidding for five seats at the general election.

The Workers Revolutionary Party’s Frank Sweeney spoke to Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil about what his party thought of the Labour manifesto.

He said that Trotsky was “21st century”, while he described capitalism as “19th century”, and he explained that the whole of the UK was “fertile territory for us”.

Fighting left antisemitism in the 1980s

Sean Matgamna.

Extracts: 

Supporters of Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty find themselves especially unpopular just now [2003] with certain sections of the pseudo-left, because of our attitude to George Galloway MP.

The hostility which our stand on Galloway has aroused reminds me of the heresy hunt organised against some of us, who were then publishing the weekly paper Socialist Organiser, by the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) and its friends in the labour movement.

The issues in dispute were pretty much the same as those raised now by the Galloway affair: the connection of certain ostensibly socialist “anti-Zionist” groups and individuals in the British left with anti-working class Arab governments, and how others should regard those who have such links.

The large-scale campaign launched by the WRP and its Ayatollah, the late Gerry Healy, was an incident within a broader attempt by the WRP and its friends, such as Ken Livingstone, to force our paper Socialist Organiser out of publication.

In 1981, the actress Vanessa Redgrave, on behalf of the WRP, of which she was the best-known member, had sued John Bloxam and myself for libel over things I had written about the WRP in Socialist Organiser and John had repeated in a circular letter to supporters of the Socialist Organiser Alliance.

The WRP embroiled us in expensive and potentially ruinous legal processes for four and a half years. If we hadn’t found a friendly solicitor who helped John and myself do the legal work cheaply — John did most of it — we would have been bankrupted and Socialist Organiser forced to cease publication.

Why didn’t we take the easy way out and issue a tongue-in-cheek apology? We explained why:

‘’We live in a labour movement grown spiritually cross-eyed from the long pursuit of realpolitik and the operation of double standards, a movement ideologically sick and poisoned. In terms of moral ecology, the left and the labour movement is something of a disaster area because of the long-term use of methods and arguments which have corrupted the consciousness of the working class. The most poisonous root of that corruption was the Stalinist movement”. (Quoted in Socialist Organiser 447, 10 May 1990).

For years before 1983, Socialist Organiser had been saying that an ostensibly Trotskyist organisation, the Workers Revolutionary Party, was kept afloat by Libyan and other Arab government (including Iraqi) money. You couldn’t read their press and not know that.

They fawned on Arab dictators, publishing a glossy pamphlet about Iraq and Saddam which could have been issued by the Iraqi Embassy in London and which Iraq certainly paid the WRP for publishing. Their paper, Newsline, carried reports on Libya and its ruler, Gaddafi modelled on the stuff which the Communist Party Daily Worker (now The Morning Star) once published about Stalinist Russia.

They raged against “the Zionists”. They identified and denounced “Zionists”, that is Jews in prominent positions in British business and other institutions, for example, in the BBC. They singled out for special abuse prominent Jewish Tories and Jewish Labour right wingers. These were “the Zionists”. “Zionists” were at the heart of the “imperialist” “conspiracies” all over the world. “Zionists” fomented anti-Arab feeling everywhere.

Socialist Organiser was part of a “Zionist” plot against the WRP and the British labour movement. We were, naturally, “anti-Arab racists”.

They published a raving — in fact Hitlerite — editorial in Newsline asserting that there was a Zionist conspiracy stretching through, and linking, the Tory government, the editorial board of Socialist Organiser and Ronald Reagan’s White House!

When, in April 1983 the BBC, in a low-audience early Sunday evening programme, repeated a mild version of the “Libyan gold” allegations, I wrote a short review in Socialist Organiser saying that the BBC had told some of the truth about the WRP. I protested against unsubstantiated statements in the programme that “the ethnic press” was, like the WRP, financed by Libya.

Those who were using the libel laws against a labour movement paper now launched a political campaign in the labour movement against the BBC… and Socialist Organiser! It was a typically vigorous campaign.

A sizeable number of trade union branches and trades councils were persuaded to pass resolutions condemning “the BBC and Socialist Organiser”, sometimes adding the name of the present writer to the list of those being denounced and condemned.

Frequently the resolutions demanded that Socialist Organiser or I, or both, “retract” our “slanders” and discharge our working-class duty to stand by those being attacked by the bourgeois state by way of the BBC programme.

The WRP’s daily paper, Newsline, devoted a page or most of a page every day for 50 (fifty) issues over nine weeks, to printing (solicited) letters and formal statements denouncing us from people holding office in the labour movement and well-known theatrical personages. As well as that they published feature articles, editorials and a large pamphlet to tell the labour movement what dishonest, unprincipled scoundrels, “Zionists” and agents-provocateur for the bourgeois state we were. They tried to whip up a lynch-mob atmosphere against us. They urged that we — and the writer by name and photograph — be shut up.

Meetings were held to denounce us all over the country at which local shop stewards and convenors, secretaries of trades councils, and occasionally a Labour councillor, and one Labour MP, appeared on the platform.

For example, the meeting held at the Conway Hall in London featured the leader of the then Greater London Council, Ken Livingstone, and the leader of a famously “left-wing” borough council, Ted Knight, amongst a large number of well-known platform speakers.

Meetings held in Scotland featured the Labour MP Ron Brown, a sincere political idiot later thrown out by the Blairites, who believed that Libya and Russia and possibly — I can’t remember — Iraq were socialist states.

In that affair we were spectacularly vindicated — and comparatively soon. In late 1985, the Workers Revolutionary Party imploded. They expelled the aged Gerry Healy, charging the 72-year old with the serial rape of members and other such things. The two initial factions splintered into a dozen pieces, all flying in different political directions. Its warring fractions fell over each other in the rush to spill its secrets, including the secrets of its lavish supply of funds.

One of its “historic leaders”, the academic Cliff Slaughter, denounced the WRP’s leadership, of which he himself had been a part for 25 years, as “fascists” for their amoral attitude to politics and for their deeds. We, who had regarded them as no longer part of the labour movement, had not gone that far; but you could see his point.