Archive for the ‘Marxism’ Category
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.
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.
Tristram Hunt supports Liz Kendall.
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.
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
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).
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.
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”.
- 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:
Rugby Tackle by Tony Blair Not Guaranteed!
The apocalyptic mood that seems to have seized the right-wing of the Labour Party and their Eustonite friends reached a frenzy this morning:
Tony Blair: Even if you hate me, please don’t take Labour over the cliff edge.
The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes “disunity”. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.
Even more so today, they do not think their challenges can be met by old-fashioned state control as the way to personal or social empowerment; they do not think breaking up Nato unilaterally is sensible; and they realise that a party without a serious deficit-reduction plan is not in these times a serious contender to govern them.
If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation. If he wins the leadership, the public will at first be amused, bemused and even intrigued. But as the years roll on, as Tory policies bite and the need for an effective opposition mounts – and oppositions are only effective if they stand a hope of winning – the public mood will turn to anger. They will seek to punish us. They will see themselves as victims not only of the Tory government but of our self-indulgence.
Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t offer anything new. This is literally the most laughable of all the propositions advanced by his camp. Those of us who lived through the turmoil of the 80s know every line of this script. These are policies from the past that were rejected not because they were too principled, but because a majority of the British people thought they didn’t work. And by the way, they were rejected by electorates round the world for the same reasons.
I also recall the 1980s – if you were there you would remember it.
The expression “old fashioned” was around then too.
It was used against those who wanted public influence and – yes – ownership (you can’t control what you don’t own – democratic socialist axiom), back in the ….1950s.
But at least the leading “revisionist” of that time, Tony Crossland, aimed for “social equality” and sought means to that goal ( The Future of Socialism. 1956).
In the 1980s faced with Thatcher there was a profound re-thinking on the left.
A high-point came with the Socialist Conferences (also known as the Chesterfield Conferences after the founding one) in the latter part of the decade.
They involved the left Labour Campaign group, notably Tony Benn, union and Labour Party activists, the Socialist Society (a ‘new Left’ group), left and pressure groups of all hues.
Over 2,000 people attended each of these events.
They debated topics, Hilary Wainwright noted (in a reply to the SWP’s dismissal of the Labour left) such as, Left perspectives on winning the next election or Campaigning for the leadership: prospects and possibilities, the papers and workshops were on Democracy and state power, International finance, The fight for local government, The politics of race, The working class and socialism. Other events discussed feminism and socialism, green politics and constitutional reform (including Proportional Representation).
Documents emerged that offered a radical green democratic socialism based on participation and expanded rights.
Apart from that mouthful they put forward some clear ideas about workers’ rights, feminism, welfare, and constitutional change.
All this, as things boiled down in the 1990s – not forgetting the Fall of Official Communism – to a choice between Blair and an effort to stand by the gains of social democratic public control, union rights, and welfare.
There is also nothing new about our opponents’ rhetoric: all of this was shouted down as the foibles of the ‘hard left’ dinosaurs.
It seemed that a “multiplicity of democratic forces” in the ‘New Times’ would best be served through bolting down to the new free-market environment, and hope to add a little reform through the ‘Third Way’ (one idea that’s now so past its sell-by date that even its authors have forgotten about it).
The “modernisers” of the Labour Party, Blair and then Brown’s Cabinets, were even more electorally focused: they proposed a strategy based on an appeal the “aspirational ” middle and working class that was indifferent to anything but their own personal interests and conservative (small and big ‘C’) values, what happened to them?
For the left the principal point about these Labour governments was that they opened up the remains of the social democratic state to new markets (the NHS’ internal market) financing by PFI and turned over the unemployed to private profiteers, ‘providers’ of the various schemes like the New Deal.
Some of the Blair and Brown crew, and many of their immediate followers, went in for pretty old fashioned personal benefit.
One only has to look at those now benefiting in outsourcing companies like Capita to get a glimpse of that picture.
They did not bolster the position of unions – the grass-roots participatory foundation of many social rights.
On welfare they did not expand rights, or protect the “safe home” of the welfare state, but tried to reform the personal behaviour of the poor, the “socially excluded.”
They did not up for the public goods that are needed for social equality, the universal services, the cash we have to have pumped into welfare run on a democratic basis , or freed the state from the grip of private exploiters – outsourcers – living off the general purse.
The money they pumped into public services went as quickly as it had appeared, at the first signs of an economic crisis.
What have they done since?
In a sentence: they have not fought austerity.
Corbyn, by starting from this position opens up the possibility of re-opening the left’s imagination for those debates of the 1980s – ones which, it’s easy to see, have a great deal of present-day relevance, in new and changed forms.
One big idea that’s come back is public ownership of public provision.
This needs a pan-European approach, as developed by the Party of the European Left.
In the meantime…..
Today’s Guardian attack on Corbyn carries all the moral and principled authority that Blair can draw upon:
John Stevens 22 January 2015.
Tony Blair has amassed a personal fortune since standing down as prime minister – often acting as an adviser to controversial businesses and regimes.
But yesterday the hefty fees he charges to act as a go-between were revealed.
A previously secret contract with a Saudi oil company headed by a member of the country’s royal family has been leaked showing Mr Blair charging £41,000 a month and 2 per cent commission on any of the multi-million-pound deals he helped broker.
The emergence of the Saudi deal led to new criticism of Mr Blair’s role as a Middle East envoy, but he strongly denied there is a conflict of interest.
The contract between Tony Blair Associates (TBA) and PetroSaudi signed in November 2010, said Mr Blair would personally arrange introductions to his contacts in China, such as senior politicians.
He had already attracted scathing criticism after it emerged that he had given Kazakhstan’s autocratic president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of 14 unarmed civilians.
Mr Blair has said claims that he is worth £100million are ‘greatly exaggerated’. But the Saudi contract shows how much he has been able to charge for his services.
Since leaving Downing Street in 2007, he has amassed a fortune including a property portfolio of 31 homes worth at least £25million.
He is one of the world’s best paid speakers – earning up to £150,000 a speech – and has secured advisory roles with US investment bank JP Morgan and Swiss insurer Zurich International.
The Saudi contract stated that TBA would help find potential sources of new investment and added that Mr Blair would make ‘introductions to the senior political leadership, industrial policymakers, corporate entities and other persons in China identified and deemed by us and you to be relevant to PetroSaudi’s international strategy’.
The firm agreed it would not divulge his role without permission.
Meanwhile we learn that Ipswich Top Tory Kevin Algar has joined the Eustonite attack on Corbyn:
The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn once declared his support for an asteroid killing every human on the planet – because of PIGEONS.
The backbencher – who looks set to be voted Labour leader next month – signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2004 called ‘Pigeon Bombs’ that criticised the way the birds were treated by, er, British spies.
Adding his name to the motion alongside fellow Labour MPs John McDonnell and Tony Banks, Corbyn felt it was right to highlight the issue – and wanted an asteroid to obliterate every human on the planet for being “cruel and uncivilised”.
Worth Reading Again.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when socialist ideas appear to have a real possibility of gaining political influence in the United Kingdom the anti-left and anti-socialist liberal media is never in want of a response.”
Tales about Trotksyist, Green, Tory and Communist entryists joining or becoming sympathisers of the Labour Party have run, and run and run.
Most people will wonder what reaction those who, in their tens of thousands, have become members of the Labour Party, or signed up , will have.
No doubt they will not all welcome being the object of suspicion.
Or, those, who, like myself, have helped Labour out in a small way for several years during local elections, enjoy thinking that they may be the subject of an intensive investigation into our political affiliations.
But this is nothing to what is about to come with the latest news about Corbyn’s support for a new look at Clause Four.
We had a flavour of what’s in store yesterday.
* charging people to enter public museums) in the Guardian (Labour centrists like me aren’t cynics: we’re the truly ethical wing of the left) evoked his personal memories of actually existing socialism.(who believes in
He mentioned, “soup swimming with sausage fat in the decaying hostel of the Komsomol..”.gruel ladelled out from huge tubs at Moscow airport and bought a drink at a shop where there were separate tills for each of the small range of commodities.”
The arts editor of the liberal paper observes, “I was seeing pure socialism – and everyone I met was exploding with joy to escape from it.”
A “serious and committed Marxist” in his student years, who tried to find “kulaks” in the English Civil War (why, one might possibly ask?) sums up his critique of Corbyn, “I can’t help thinking today’s bold neo-Marxist concepts like “the 1%” and “austerity” are equally unmoored from real lives. Indeed Greece has already found out what anti-austerity means in practice.”
So that’s been told. Austerity is a “neo-Marxist concept”.
No prizes for guessing how Jones and his friends will react to today’s news.
Jeremy Corbyn to ‘bring back Clause IV’: Contender pledges to bury New Labour with commitment to public ownership of industry
“Corbyn reveals that he wants to reinstate Clause Four, the hugely symbolic commitment to socialism scrapped under Tony Blair 20 years ago, in its original wording or a similar phrase that weds the Labour Party to public ownership of industry.
“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring the Clause Four as it was originally written or it’s a different one, but I think we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.
“I’m interested in the idea that we have a more inclusive, clearer set of objectives. I would want us to have a set of objectives which does include public ownership of some necessary things such as rail.”
To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.
In 1920 Sidney Webb , Beatrice Potter Webb published the Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain which outlined a society in which two chambers, of producers, consumers democracy, in an overarching political elected system.
Since that time, and since 1945, there have been a variety of socialist proposals for public ownership.
The last with any serious impact were elaborated in the 1970s: Britain: The 1970s and the movement for workers’ control. Andrew Coates (Links Magazine).
The failures of the free market make these ideas relevant again.
As you can read about in left journals, like Labour Briefing, a magazine Jeremy Corbyn has been associated with for several decades and the Labour Representation Committee.
Eastern Daily Press. Outside Corbyn Meeting Norwich.
Jeremy Corbyn is right: we need to look at these ideas and not fall back on the market, or rather the organised profiting from state subsidies for privately contracted out ‘public services’ and the profiteering of the utilities and railway companies.
This, in effect, what is being proposed, not a reinstatement of the old Clause.
As the Corbyn Campaign says (Mirror),
“He says we need some forms of discussion about public ownership objectives for the 21st century and in some cases, such as rail, on which matter Labour needs to reflect more closely the views of the majority of the public.”
That this will be a fight is obvious from another headline in the paper’s this morning,
Labour’s biggest individual donors have pledged to stop giving money if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader in a move that could leave the party almost entirely dependent on trade union funding.
Five senior donors have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn’s victory would be “disastrous” and could lead to Labour being locked out of power for decades.
Millions of pounds of funding from businessmen may be withheld if the Mr Corbyn, the hard-Left candidate and apparent front-runner, wins the contest on September 12.
It is the first time the party’s biggest financial backers have spoken out about Mr Corbyn, with only John Mills, the party’s top individual donor, having voiced concerns until now.
The revelation has triggered fears that Labour’s attempts to rebuild links with industry would be undermined and its dependence on union funding heightened under Mr Corbyn.
I also think that a new Clause Four backing public ownership will have the effect of getting rid of the clinging faith that the SNP is left-wing. not to mention putting the cat amongst the pigeons of the Green Party.
* Jonathan Jones is a hot contender with Giles Fraser nominated by Shiraz for the “most annoying” semi-literate commentator in the mainstream UK media.
Latest Recruit to Corbyn Campaign: Giles’s Grandmother.
As Trotskyist infiltrators swarm to tonight’s Jeremy Corbyn meeting in Norwich Ipswich saw a new supporter of the Labour leadership candidate: The Grandma statue, based on the character in Carl Giles’s cartoons.
She is a merry soul these days.
Sebastian Budgen: Family Grocers Does Excellent Tuck!
This story on Charnel House is the talk of the Left,
Stumbled across an amazing database of free Marxist PDFs, the posts of which seems to be password protected but whose files are nevertheless accessible.
See the site for details.
The post cites Budgen’s response to people who download for free:
I make a distinction between the honest downloaders who do it discreetly and will spend money when they have it and the loud-mouthed freeloading scum who have no interest in or understanding of how to build a counterhegemonic apparatus.
I’m not just interested in people being customers but in recognising, to the extent that they are leftists, that they should be involved in building a counterhegemonic apparatus. The anarchoids and lazy leftists of today don’t get that so they act like the lowest petty bourgeois individualist swine.”
Sebastian Budgen, of Verso books and Historical Materialism, on download culture and downloaders, Oct 2012.
There are many reasons to dislike Bugden’s politics as well:
We strongly suspect he has something to do with propagating the “anti-race mixing” Indigènes de la République in the oddly named Jacobin and the promotion of the sympathiser of this group – the militant wing of anti-colonial studies – Christine Delphy, by Verso.
Budgen has the “chic” for getting himself loathed.
We express our solidarity with comrade Ross Wolfe who has been the object of this attack by the Owl of the Verso Remove:
Maybe I’d feel a bit worse about linking to all these texts if Budgen weren’t such a whiny crybaby. Hard to sympathize with him, however, after he put out this ridiculous burn notice against me a couple months back, urging other leftists to erect a cordon sanitaire around me. Leftists should “shun” and “no platform” me, defriending anyone who posts or shares links to this blog. Kind of reminds me of a recent Clickhole article, “Uncompromising: This Tyrant Unfriends All Dissidents as an Example to the Rest,” which describes “[a] despotic maniac rules with an iron fist of callous indifference, unfriending anyone who dares go against something he posts.”
Childishness and grandiosity aside, though, this is a great list of books. Grab them while you can, but don’t despair if they’re removed before you get the chance. Someone will repost them eventually, probably sooner than later. Enjoy.
Update (LOL): Seems he’s now asking ppl to report anyone who so much as links to this post. *impotent buttrage intensifies*.
The poor puffer seems to have forgotten the gentlemanly etiquette of the Eton Wall Game.
As he would no doubt love to call for similar action against Coatesism and all of its works we can only say: arise ye starvlings from your slumbers and feast on Budgen’s hampers!