Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Archive for the ‘Nationalism’ Category

Euro Elections: An Opportunity for Labour to take an Internationalist Stand on Europe.

with 2 comments

Image may contain: text

Labour Will not Win by Competing for the Brexit Vote.

The Tories are in steep decline, and the Brexit Party (Farage, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Spiked – Revolutionary Communist Party oddball, Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert to name but their best known candidates),  are slugging it out over ownership of the fear of god with UKIP.

UKIP has just distinguished itself with this:

I bet the chap below does not like rootless cosmopolitans:

Labour is a strong position to stand up for internationalism.

The anti-cosmopolitan Full Brexit crowd is still trying to drag the party into a competition with the three Brexit parties and adopt National Populist policies.

Skwawkbox, for it is he, says,

Labour’s leadership, following the party’s conference policy, tabled the option of a new referendum in Parliament – and it was decisively defeated, as it was when tabled separately.

But to those aware of working-class opinion, especially outside London, it’s always been clear that Labour had to see through Brexit or risk alienating huge tracts of its heartlands.

Labour’s current strong polling shows that the majority of its base understood that Jeremy Corbyn has played a difficult hand brilliantly. But if Labour wants to win power – as millions of suffering people in this country desperately need – it’s now time for the party to focus on delivering a Brexit that works as well as possible for everyone. Ultimately, that’s always been true.

Those who can’t see beyond a desire to ‘stop Brexit’ to the greater prize of a country governed by Labour for the many cannot be allowed to dictate the party’s agenda, tactics or message.

The time has come for the internationalist left to strike another note:

The Huffington Post publishes this:

Jeremy Corbyn Handed ‘Remain, Reform, Rebel’ Manifesto For European Elections

Rachel Wearmouth

Calls for Jeremy Corbyn to back remain at the European elections have intensified as a strongly pro-EU manifesto penned by left-wingers was passed to the Labour leader.

Titled “Remain, Reform, Rebel”, the document was penned by Corbyn allies, including his ex-economic advisor Ann Pettifor, and has been endorsed by every sitting Labour MEP set to contest their seat should the Brexit deadlock trigger the May 23 poll.

It demands an EU-wide Green New Deal – similar to that advocated in the US by Democrat politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – to include a “European super-grid” and pledges to make the continent 100% served by renewables by 2050.

Labour’s official manifesto will be be decided separately by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee and the party has said it will consult with a range of stakeholders.

Talks between Corbyn and Theresa May were set to enter a third week on Monday as the pair attempt to thrash out a compromise after the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement was rejected three times.

While elections to the European Parliament are not yet certain, all parties have begun preparations to take part.

….

It comes as party insiders increasingly fear the European Parliament elections, which will be held almost three years after the 2016 vote, will inevitably morph into a proxy referendum on EU membership.

A Labour source told HuffPost UK MEPs see the Remain vote will split between the new Change UK party, the Lib Dems and Greens, handing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party a path to victory.

Turning to the Commission’s draft manifesto, they said: “These talks are like a death dance with the first who stops accused of collapsing.

“This is the left’s bid to show that we aren’t afraid of fighting on an overtly pro-European election.

“We want to come out fighting and to be able to say we are part of a pro-European alliance that wants to push things in the direction of a socialist Europe.

“We are saying to Labour as a commission: bite the bullet, get behind where the membership are and the majority of Labour voters are.

Advertisements

Movement for Brexit Blackout Takes off as Aldi Blockaded and People Turn off the Telly.

leave a comment »

Image result for league of gentlemen local shop

Brexit Campaign to Stop buying EU products Takes Wing, “there’s no need for the Alice in Wonderland politics emanating from both the Another Europe is Possible camp and some trade union officials.”

The Socialist Workers Party and other Brexit Bolsheviks moan that there is no “mass movement” for Brexit.

As Paul Embery’s Trade Unionists Against the EU says,

For the metropolitan liberal elite, far removed from such concerns, the prospect of a people’s Brexit simply violates their sense of entitlement and jeopardises the prospect of middle-class benefits that the working class will never see.

Out-of-touch Labour MPs and councillors, door stepping for Remain, are shocked at what their constituents are saying.

Labour councillor Ed Murphy added insult to injury by claiming only the thick will vote to leave.

There is a blind refusal to see that a people’s Brexit provides a genuine opportunity for workers to gain confidence, challenge a weak and divided Tory government …..

A window of opportunity seem now to be growing!

cover photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, suit and text

Britain’s very own Brexit Gilets Jaunes are leading a new movement.

The call, in the Brexit Protest and Direct Action Group on Facebook, comes after EU leaders agreed to an extension to Brexit until October 31 – although the UK could leave quicker if a deal can be agreed.

There have previously been calls for people to stop buying EU products in supermarkets, a nationwide blackout where pro-Brexit supporters switch their phones and TVs and not go shopping for the day and plans to blockade every major roundabout and junction in Britain.

Other planned protests by Brexiteers include cancelling TV licences, refusing to pay Council Tax and protests outside German supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl in a bid to get Prime Minister Theresa May to listen to their demands.

Doncaster Free Press.

This is Brexit at its best’ claim five protesters who blocked off an Aldi

Echo. Liverpool.

The group of around five people parked their vehicles across the road so delivery trucks could not pass.

The group of around five supporters came in cars and camper vans and blocked Chester High Road, in Neston , last night.

In a video taken by a passerby members of the group can be seen brandishing placards and wearing British flags around themselves.

Meanwhile a man with a microphone shouts ‘this is Brexit at its best’ as another woman, with a flag wrapped around her head, shouts ‘we are here’.

“The tiny demonstration soon became a laughing stock on social media as some pointed out that one of their camper vans was German-made. One man wrote on Twitter: ‘They have blocked the road to a German supermarket distribution centre because they ‘don’t want German they want Brexit…. with a German motorhome.’”

Brexit supporters say they will turn off TVs and stay off work for ‘blackout’ protest tomorrow

Staffordshire live.

People enraged about the slow path to Brexit are planning to switch off their phones and TVs, stay off work and spend no money tomorrow.

A Facebook group called “Brexit Blackout! 12th of April”, which so far has more than 3,000 members, is organising a day of no driving, no spending and no using electricity to “get across the message to the powers that be that people demand their government adhere to 2016 referendum result”.

..

And among protests that have been suggested for tomorrow – the day we were supposed to leave the EU – are blockades of ports, roads and airports.

Will we see this lot join them?

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2019 at 11:05 am

Shambling Towards Shambles: Brexit, Alex Callinicos and the Socialist Workers Party.

with 2 comments

Image result for alex callinicos

“If a breakthrough to the left occurs in a particular country, this would indeed require a left government defying the EU and introducing a programme of controls over the economy.”

Alex Callinicos.

Shambling towards the precipice Alex Callinicos.

International Socialism Issue 162. April the 8th.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 10, 2019 at 11:44 am

Paul Embery, Fire Brigades Union, Arron Banks Funded ‘Trade Unionists’ Against the EU, Denounces “Rootless Cosmopolitans”.

with 3 comments

 

Brexiters Beware: Rootless Cosmopolitan.

Paul Embrey, is the head of Trade Unionists Against the EU, and a prominent supporter of The Full Brexit.

Some suggest that it has got jealous about all the attention paid recently to fellow Full Brexiteer, Eddie Dempsey.

Look at the endorsement that Eddie’s got!

This is a good summary of some of Paul Embery’s background:

Better for the Country Limited and Leave EU, both controlled by Arron Banks, are under investigation by the Electoral Commission over potential breaches of the spending limits during the 2016 EU referendum campaign. Banks also has links with organisations claiming to be of the Left.

Better for the Country Limited made a series of donations to a group called: “Trade Unionists Against the EU” (TUAEU) amounting to a whopping £54,000. This is an unprecedented sum from a prominent Far Right figurehead for a so-called workers’ organisation.

The TUAEU have strong links with the Communist Party but they have also appeared on platforms with the Socialist Party and the Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMT). The RMT made a significant donation of £30,000 to TUAEU during the Referendum campaign. The RMT actually affiliated to TUAEU in 2016.

RMT members will want to know why so much of the Union’s money has gone into an organisation largely funded by an Arron Banks’ company and what checks have been done to investigate exactly what TUAEU is.

The TUAEU National Convenor is Paul Embery the London Regional Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union. Embery is a regular contributor to “Spiked Online” which itself is a relic of a former Left group reborn as a Far Right mouthpiece. We need to open a discussion about the scandal that means senior trade unions and trade union officials are actively pursuing the agenda of a Far Right funded organisation with links to other groups like the English TUC which in turn appear to have been set up to undermine workers’ rights.

TUAEU is also linked to a bizarre group called the English TUC.

This group advertises TUAEU across its masthead and has set itself up as a bona-fide trade union but the nationalist iconography on its website, replete with English heraldry and English flags is unlike anything else on any other Union website. Interestingly the contact number for the English TUC is Trades Union Congress for England Castle Brook House 75 Swinton Crescent, Unsworth, Bury, Lancashire BL9 8PB. Googling this address, it is interesting to see that this house is flying the flag of St George from a flagpole erected on the side of the house.

Evidence of Far Right Infiltration into the British Left

This ruffled some feathers.

He got support: Novara Media:

Family Faith and Flag, or Work Family and Community in their public face, Blue Labour.

La Patrie in French (grammatically female if it does mean”father” land, is etymologically “pays des pères”) also has this connotation for French speakers (amongst whom it is hard to imagine Bastani):

Une version relativement moderne et guerrière dit que la Patrie est le pays, la nation, pour lesquels on est prêt à se sacrifier.

 A relatively modern and warlike version entials that Motherland is the country , the nation , for which we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.

And,

La notion de patrie est lourde d’affectivité identitaire ; elle est une affirmation d’une différence ou d’une proximité avec autrui et il peut arriver qu’elle mène à la xénophobie

The notion of patrie has a heavy connotations of emotional identity, it is an assertion of difference or a bond to others, and it may lead to xenophobia.

What exactly is the “rooted, communitarian, patriotic working class”, opposed to the “rootless, cosmopolitan, bohemian middle-class .”?

Is every worker to be enrolled in the Full Brexit?

Is every worker, by definition “rooted”?

That all plain folks are, like Embery, National Populists?

That’s before we get into “rootless cosmopolitans”, an expression no doubt that comes to the lips of the locals every day down at the Dog and Duck…

 

The Dead End of Lexit (“Left” Brexit).

leave a comment »

Image result for Lexit left brexit

One for the Historically Minded Trainspotters.

Bob has written an excellent survey of the confusionist politics of the ‘left’ Brexit camp aka, Lexit, ‘People’s Brexit’,

Left nationalism and Brexit Bolshevism

I haven’t managed to keep up with the flood of sewage coming out of the nationalist left this past month. The cast of characters: a weird amalgam of Arron Banks-funded trade unionists (Paul Embery), Blue Labour’s Third Way centrists (Lord Maurice Glasman), old Etonian man of the people David Goodhart, the formerly Trotskyist libertarian contrarians of Spiked (Frank Furedi, Clare Fox, etc), media professors like Matt Goodwin, and old school tankie Stalinists at the Morning Star, young Stalinists shit-posting on social media, SWP splinter sects like Counterfire, and hipster leftists at Novara and in the machinery of Young Labour, and even a few ex-anarchists. None of these currents would be particularly significant alone,although some of them are increasingly called upon pundits on daytime TV sofas and Question Time debates. But the alignment of these different formations has become an increasingly toxic force on the left. This toxic force pulls the Labour Party away from internationalist, anti-racist and pro-migrant positions (e.g. promoting pro-Brexit positions and sacrificing our right to freedom of movement). And it is toxic in terms of the culture of our movements too, driving better people away from the left.

Another Europe is Possible published this at the end of last month,

BREXIT, FARCE, AND THE LEXIT LEFT

Neil Faulkner argues that Brexit is the British expression of the wave of nationalism, racism, and fascism sweeping the world – and Lexit is on the wrong side of history.

History repeats itself. First time, tragedy; second time, farce. It was an off-the-cuff remark by Marx, and it gets repeated too often. But how appropriate it seems as Britain’s small, shrinking, sectarian Left embraces Third Period Stalinism ever more completely.

..

The Lexit Left, on the other hand, is an alliance of 1970s fossils, unrepentant Stalinists, and former Trotskyists. It represents an abandonment of revolutionary internationalism and solidarity, a retreat into the fantasy-world of ‘socialism in one country’, and a capitulation to the nationalism of the Far Right.

The Morning Star keeps at it:

What would a ‘clean break’ with the EU mean for the economy? Alex Gordon.

Any Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated between the EU and Theresa May is by definition not going to be acceptable to socialists. The EU wishes to tie Britain into its single market and customs union, which embeds austerity, cuts and privatisation, super-exploitation of migrant workers (and wage depression), a Fortress Europe, racism and a growing far-right across Europe as a consequence.

A “clean break,” managed no-deal Brexit on WTO terms will allow a future Labour government to challenge these policies. Labour’s current policy to embrace “a customs union” with the EU would prevent implementation of its 2017 general election For Many Not The Few manifesto and could lose them the next general election.

As in this prospect:

But, fortunately,  this looks prospect has not won friends inside the Labour Party, today.]

Face the facts, Labour leftwingers: Lexit is dead

(Described as being on the soft left of the Labour Party, with the “Daily Mirror noting Smith’s politics “largely overlap when it comes to policy” with Corbyn’s.)

The key sections are these:

But the Lexiters had one argument that was never completely rebutted. There was a grey area in the law about whether EU competition laws and state aid rules would prevent us from renationalising the railways or subsidising other key industries. Even though most legal experts thought this was surmountable, it was a point that lingered in the public debate. Not any more. In supporting a customs union and a single market alignment, our party leadership is saying it would bind the UK to the very rules the Lexiters are against. And, if we’re outside the political structures of the EU, we will have very limited say in how those rules are made or how they will operate.

As George Peretz QC, co-chair of the UK State Aid Law Association, has said: “In a customs union, we are asking the EU to give up the weapon that WTO rules (countervailing measures) give it against UK subsidies. There were always going to have to be cast-iron state-aid rules in consequence.” The EU has already imposed a state-aid clause in the proposed withdrawal agreement for this very reason.

The truth is there can be no leftwing Brexit. It is an oxymoron. It’s irreconcilable with those values of freedom and equality that are at the heart of what we stand for. There is no freedom without an end to poverty, said Bevan; it is our job is to pursue equality and freedom, said Crosland. To them, a leftwing Brexit could never have been born; to me, Lexit is now dead.

….

Crucially, Jeremy is fighting for a significant extension of the Brexit deadline with the EU. This additional time is needed not only to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU but also to scrutinise any new deal and allow for a confirmatory referendum so that the people, as well as MPs, can have their say. Labour is finally making the right case for its values of equality, internationalism and freedom. Our party can remind the country the Brexit right doesn’t have to have its way. If we stay in the EU, we can work with other socialist parties to build a fairer and more democratic Europe.

Lexit is dead. Democracy is alive. Labour is waking up. Now the British people know the real facts about the costs of leaving, that many of the promises made for Brexit will be broken and that any deal will not give clarity – just a crisis that goes on and on – our voters deserve a new say.

The wind is turning.

The letter was organised by the Love Socialism Hate Brexit campaign.

The fight continues:

If a deal is passed, Brexit never ends. We must put a stop to it

Brexit threatens all of the progress we have made. The public rightly regards this episode as an exercise in politicians wrangling over a chaotic process and neglecting the real issues. Unless it offers a sharp alternative on Brexit, Labour will not be immune to that sentiment. Meanwhile, our national discourse is becoming increasingly poisonous. Racists the far right are on the rise, feeding off the idea that the 2016 EU referendum put them on the winning side of history.
The two MPs continue,

We have now joined with a host of other radical and socialist Labour MPs to form Love Socialism Hate Brexit. Together, we are campaigning for the socialist Labour government we all need. And we are taking a stand with Labour members, and with the communities we represent, to fight against the disaster that is Brexit. We, and other members of Love Socialism Hate Brexit, will write a column every Thursday for LabourList.

We want to turn this from a moment of stagnation and frustration into a moment of hope. By uniting, Labour can end the Brexit chaos, bring down the government, and rebuild and transform Britain. We can live up to our role as an internationalist party, leading the left in Europe to fight climate chaos, bring forward a compassionate refugee policy, and combat and regulate capital. We need to remain and transform the EU.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2019 at 10:36 am

Morning Star Promotes the “Red Gyms” of Merrie Olde England.

leave a comment »

Image result for socialist sports

No St George’s Cross on this banner.

The Red Gyms of England — a new front for anti-fascism

A new movement of socialist fight-sports clubs is smashing misconceptions that the left is a muddle of middle-class milquetoasts, writes JAMES CROSSLEY

English identity is a ready-made collective identity that can help develop a movement for the many not the few.”

James Crossley is Professor of Bible, Society and Politics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He writes mainly on religion and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first century and the historical Jesus in the first century.”

I have no idea of what kind of toast is milque but this indicates something:

The story of why this happened is well known. Attacks on trade unions by Conservative and New Labour governments, and New Labour’s obsession with middle-class swing voters, alienated working classes from socialist movements…

..

Enter a socialist culture from below.

..

161 are part of a countrywide re-emergence of “red gyms.” One of the most prominent is women-led Solstar Sports Association, based at the Refugee and Workers Cultural Association, a Turkish and Kurdish socialist community centre in Tottenham, North London. Solstar run boxing, martial arts and self-defence classes for adults and kids. It is based on socialist principles and is always run by three experienced female trainers, presently Ella Gilbert, Paula Lamont and Anna Zucchelli: they argue one of the simplest ways to fight sexism is to have women in charge, especially in what are traditionally male-gendered roles.

Like all their politics, this is a subtle, rather than headbanging approach — and the gym is free of the trite and self-congratulatory sloganeering of liberal feminism: the gym is women-led but decidedly open to all. (Including liberal feminists?)

….

Last month I went to a new gym run by the Cambridge Socialist Club (CSC). The design and socialist aesthetics of the club banner (pictured) might even rival the rightly praised posters produced by Manchester Momentum. Not only is CSC grounded in socialist values, it promotes its links to the trade unions—and if you are a GMB member then you’ll get to train for free.

CSC is based at East Barnwell Community Centre and located well away from the world of Cambridge academics and assorted intellectual posers. Like Solstar, the participants come from a range of abilities and backgrounds—including people from Romanian, Lebanese, Portuguese, and Turkish families.

But Crossley then says,

GMB rep Gordy Cullum was the inspiration behind starting this new red gym in 2018. After seeing a return of far-right violence on the streets in London last year, he decided to take his gloves back off the hook and start a club for the local community. I sparred with Gordy as he trained for his upcoming fight, when CSC met up with 0161 and Solstar for an interclub boxing card in Manchester.

….

I  spoke with Gordy about the role of the St George’s Cross on the club banner—something 0161 have also used unashamedly. Isn’t a national flag and its tainted history something that makes leftists and liberals queasy?

Gordy’s response was that the England flag should not be confused with the Union Jack—the flag of British imperialism. What’s more, his take on the flag is that it does not represent the Queen and all the associated pomp and ceremony. Nor is this the England of the far right, no matter how hard they try to hijack the flag as the far right try to hijack national flags everywhere else.

Instead, the English flag points to something else that has an obvious popular appeal, and this includes a shared, ongoing and ever-changing history. Underlying his point is something important: if socialism is alien to everyday interests of local communities, who do take the English flag seriously, then how can socialism expect to win? Indeed, is it even socialism if a movement remains dominated by academia and middle-class intellectuals uninterested or even opposed to the English flag?

English identity is a ready-made collective identity that can help develop a movement for the many not the few. To succeed, this needs to be a wider cultural socialism that doesn’t just tolerate an English heritage but makes it clear that this is English heritage.

Whatever the merits of the red gyms it does not seem appropriate to tack on these claims about “English identity” to the word red.

If England has no link to the history of imperialism, then, what is this?

“This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars … This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”.

The “popular appeal” of the St George’s Flag includes its use by the far-right English Defence League, UKIP, and other National Populists.

Saying that any one of these groups “hijacks” the banner is to claim that its rightful owner is somebody else.

Really?

The flag of the St George Cross, is a royal symbol used because St George was considered a “warrior saint” .

A moment’s thought tells you that this, a counterpart to the failed ‘left populist’ attempt by La France insoumise to appropriate the Tricolore, is riddled with problems.

Some people are not too fond of Saints, national symbols, nor, for that matter, boxing.

Taking the “the English flag seriously” as part of a socialist project…….you’re having a laugh.

Unless of course this is a further sign of the pro-Brexit Morning Star’s further descent into the identitarian Blue Labour politics of  Familyfaith and flag.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 2, 2019 at 11:54 am

Pro-Brexit Morning Star Wades into the “Eddie Dempsey Affair” and Mounts Campaign Against Anti-Brexit Labour MP Clive Lewis.

with 11 comments

StalinAssasin

Full Brexit supporter Eddie Dempsey also has a poetic bent.

The fall out from last Monday’s Full Brexit meeting continues.

This event was organised by an alliance of the “family, faith and flag Blue Labour,”, the Arron Banks funded Labour Leave and Trade Unionists Against the EU, The Communist Party of Britain, Counterfire, Spiked contributors, and a wide range of odd-balls and sovereigntists.

As in this:

This was the event:

It became notorious when this chap spoke, Eddie Dempsey, RMT rail union national executive member.

Dempsey said the following.

The one thing that unites [the people who turn out for Tommy Robinson]…. is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.

This was met by strong criticism.

Paul Mason wrote in the New Statesman,

If there is one thing people who go on the Tommy Robinson marches have in common, Dempsey told the audience, “it’s that they hate the liberal left – and they are right to hate them, they are correct.” When called out by a fellow Labour member who works for Another Europe is Possible, Dempsey replied that his critic was “flush with money from Soros”.

This goes a lot further than the 1970s-style economic nationalism of the Morning Star and the RMT union, of which Dempsey is a member. The entire argument – that the “working class” has been robbed of a voice in their own movement by liberals – echoes precisely the drivel against political correctness, “luvvies” and “citizens of nowhere” that is pumped out daily by papers like the Sun and the Daily Express.

It relies, as I’ve argued here before, on a definition of the British working class as white, manual, unskilled, culturally dispossessed and possessing citizenship of this country. In fact 44 per cent of people in work are managers, professionals or “associate professionals” like nurses; when it comes to education 47 per cent have a degree or above. Just 10 per cent of the workforce are in manufacturing. Of the 32 million people employed, nearly four million are from ethnic minorities, while two million are EU nationals without a vote.

Once you understand that this is the real working class, and that the one Dempsey is talking about is an ideological construct of the far right, the next thing he said was even more shocking. He claimed there are “too many in the Labour Party who have made a calculation, that there’s a certain section at the top end of the working class, in alliance with people – they calculate – from ethnic minorities, and the liberals: that’s enough to get them into power” – and that they can disregard “all the working class people that have been driven away by the neoliberals”.

Dempsey persisted,

He got defended, from a dependable ally.

The reference to fishing was not the end of it.

The Morning Star used to controversy to mount a campaign against the Labour Party’s Clive Lewis.

Clive Lewis branded ‘out of order’ by RMT’s Mick Cash

CLIVE LEWIS was branded “out of order” by RMT general secretary Mick Cash today after the Labour MP promoted an article calling a leading trade unionist a “Tommy Robinson apologist.”

Mr Cash demanded the Norwich South MP apologise for sharing an article that labelled RMT activist Eddie Dempsey a supporter of the far-right, anti-Muslim activist.

The article, which was written by Jim Denham, a member of the Trotskyite organisation Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), accused Mr Dempsey of being “far right” over comments he made criticising “liberal” Labour members at a left-wing anti-EU rally on Monday.

It also called on co-panellists, School of Oriental and African Studies economics professor Costas Lapavitsas and Institute for Public Policy Research economist and journalist Grace Blakeley, to condemn him.

Mr Dempsey insinuated (!!!) that this was an attack on him by the AWL and Mr Lewis, who are both anti-Brexit.

..

For the moment I leave out the following section (see below), said to be reproduced from the Weekly Worker, or Tony Greenstein’s Blog, attacking the AWL, Alliance for Workers’ Liberty of which Comrade Jim Denham is a longstanding member.

The article continues,

More than 100 trade unionists have publicly criticised Mr Lewis.

Norwich Labour county councillor Jess Barnard said she was “shocked” Mr Lewis would share an AWL member’s article, claiming that she had already raised concerns with him about the organisation.

Mr Cash added: “Clive Lewis should apologise and retract his comment.”

Mr Lapavitsas told the Star: “I consider Eddie Dempsey to be one of the most reliable socialists, trade unionists and anti-fascists in this country.

“I’m proud to share panels with him.”

Mr Lewis responded: “When a white trades unionist stands up at a Brexit rally and tells an audience he feels the same hatred for parts of the ‘liberal left’ as Stephen Yaxley’s supporters; and that ethnic minorities are being used by the same liberal left to enable ‘the working class’ to be ‘disregarded’ – as a black person, that sets alarm bells ringing.

“I’ve heard this language before and it’s the language of the far right. You don’t beat the far right by parroting their tropes. You beat them by standing in solidarity with all working-class people – whatever their colour, wherever they’re from.”

The first reaction must be that not a single one of the Morning Star’s comments criticises the speech Dempsey made.

Next, is that Clive Lewis was singled out for sharing an article, in fact a Blog Post taken from the (widely shared) Labour for a Socialist Europe statement which Jim reposted. (Sharing platforms with social-conservatives, reactionaries and nationalists: Open Letter to comrades Lapavitsas and Blakeley)

Finally, on what basis did Cash, whose union the RMT organised the anti-Labour No2EU electoral slate for the European elections in 2014, (153,236 votes, or 1%)  with the support of the Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party  have to “demand” an apology from an MP of the Party they stood against on the issue of Europe?

The AWL have replied,

A recent article in the Morning Star defended remarks made by Eddie Dempsey at a recent “Full Brexit” rally by way of inaccuracies and misleading remarks including about Workers’ Liberty. A copy of the response we are sending to them.

To the Morning Star,

Your article of 29 March (“Clive Lewis branded ‘out of order’ by RMT’s Mick Cash) contains a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements which are an affront to basic journalistic rigour, as well as the standards of democratic debate which the labour movement should set for itself.

The article reports on debate surrounding comments made by RMT activist Eddie Dempsey at a rally organised by “The Full Brexit”: “The one thing that unites [the people who turn out for Tommy Robinson demos] beyond whatever other bigotry that’s going on… is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.” At the same rally Dempsey also says: “too many in the Labour Party have made a calculation that there’s a certain section at the top end of the working class, in alliance with people, they calculate, from ethnic minorities and liberals, that’s enough to get them into power”. However, the Morning Star article refers to the substance of that debate only tangentially, and instead proceeds by deflection and “whataboutery”.

You refer to an article shared by Clive Lewis MP which criticised Dempsey’s remarks, but without linking to it to give your online readers the opportunity of reaching their own conclusions about its content. You inaccurately attribute it to AWL supporter Jim Denham; in fact, Jim had no part in writing it. It a collective statement agreed by the steering committee of the Labour for a Socialist Europe campaign, on whose website it was originally posted on 27 March. Jim, who does not sit on the Labour for a Socialist Europe committee, reposted the article on his own blog a day later, providing a link to the original.

The Morning Star refers to AWL’s position on the Jyllands Posten cartoons of Mohammed from 2007. What this has to do with the rights and wrongs of Dempsey’s remarks it does not explain.

In any case, our view on those cartoons is a matter of public record. While not endorsing their content, we viewed calls by ultra-conservative political-religious forces for their suppression and censorship as reactionary. Those “calls” came accompanied by death threats against the cartoonists, court cases against editors who republished the cartoons, sacking or jailing of several editors, especially those brave editors in the mainly-Muslim countries who took a stand for freedom of expression, and closings-down of newspapers. We said: “We protest against the suppression of these cartoons on the same grounds as we protested against the suppression of the play Bezhti (written by a Sikh, but offensive to conservative Sikh authorities) or the attempts of some Christians to suppress ‘Jerry Springer – the Opera’.” Readers are welcome to read our statement from the time, which, again, the Morning Star did not link to, and judge it for themselves.

The article goes on to say that “More than 100 trade unionists have publicly criticised Mr Lewis”, a seemingly arbitrary figure for which it provides no evidence. A large number of trade unionists have also supported Clive Lewis in the online debate, and condemned Eddie Dempsey’s remarks.

More seriously, the article says: “Many drew attention to the fact that last year, it emerged that a child AWL member had been sexually assaulted by an older member, and the organisation’s full-time officials did nothing to help the victim. The organisation admitted severe wrongdoing, but no members faced any repercussions or disciplinary measures.”

It is disappointing that the Morning Star would exploit a serious incident to intervene in a political debate, not by means of engaging with the arguments, but by deflection, distortion, and smear-by-association.

The allegation to which the Morning Star refers, and AWL’s subsequent investigation into it, is a matter of public record. In early 2018 a claim was made in an anonymous public blog post in which the blog-poster said he had been sexually assaulted in 2005 (when he was 16) by someone else who was then a member of AWL. Both the people involved parted ways with AWL (for different reasons) in 2008. We instituted an investigation independent of our leading committees and communicated with the blog-poster to offer help if he wanted to take the matter further.

Our investigation showed that in the years following 2005 the blog-poster had talked about the incident with other young members of AWL, but they had followed his expressed wish that they not report it to the committees. But it also concluded that this failure to bring the case to the committees showed an inadequacy of procedures. All the documents pertaining to the matter are available online. We had the investigation scrutinised by independent individuals, not members of the AWL, one with a professional background in safeguarding. The discussions we have had and the measures we have taken to mend the failings are likewise publicly documented on our website.

Throughout the process of investigation we remained as open and transparent as possible, with publicly accessible contact addresses for anyone to raise issues with the working group leading the process. We continue that openness and transparency. The working group remains available for contact at workinggroup@workersliberty.org.

How we respond to allegations of abuse within our organisations are an extremely serious matter for the entire left and labour movement. The issue should not be exploited in a misleading fashion as part of an intervention into a political debate. At no point has any journalist from the Morning Star contacted AWL for comment on these matters, as journalistic rigour and ethics should have compelled them to do.

The issues which are actually at the centre of the debate around Dempsey’s remarks – how the left responds to nationalism; how to relate to far-right movements; the issue of “identity politics” and the relationship of struggles against oppression to economic struggle against capitalism; and more – are issues of vital and current importance that the entire left must debate openly. The Communist Party of Britain has its own views in those debates, and is entitled to use its organ, the Morning Star, to express them. But it should do so openly, and by engaging in the debate on political terms, not by deflection, slander, and insinuation against its political opponents.

Yours, the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty

Today there is this from Another Europe is Possible:

More on Dempsey’s politics and political allies,