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Brexit Support Shifts to Remain as Labour Activists Call for new Referendum.

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Opinion Shifting Against Brexit.

Major new analysis shows most constituencies now have majority who want to Remain

The analysis, one of the most comprehensive assessments of Brexit sentiment since the referendum, suggests the shift has been driven by doubts among Labour voters who backed Leave.

As a result, the trend is starkest in the north of England and Wales – Labour heartlands in which Brexit sentiment appears to be changing. The development will heap further pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to soften the party’s opposition to reconsidering Britain’s EU departure.

Researchers at the Focaldata consumer analytics company compiled the breakdown by modelling two YouGov polls of more than 15,000 people in total, conducted before and after Theresa May published her proposed Brexit deal on 6 July.

Corbyn hopes to avert call for public vote on Brexit at conference

Guardian 9th of August.

Labour members seeking second referendum could inflict damaging defeat.

Labour has been considering how to head off a concerted attempt by remain-supporting members to stage a vote at its annual conference calling for a second referendum, to avoid what would be an embarrassing defeat for Jeremy Corbyn on the party’s Brexit policy.

About 130 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) were understood to have expressed willingness to back a motion in favour of a second vote, drafted by the pro-Corbyn campaign group Labour for People’s Vote.

To avoid a damaging defeat, one option is to invite delegates to support a Brexit policy statement that would refer to holding a second referendum, but only in exceptional circumstances.

It could be similar to a watered-down resolution that was supported at Unite’s policy conference in July, which was offered by the union leadership to defuse a similar situation.

Major new polling of 10,000 people suggested Labour voters backed a second referendum by 63%, with just 8% opposed, in one of the largest surveys of public opinion since the referendum to leave the European Union.

Motion: (I have submitted this, for my CLP All Members’ Meeting).

Oppose Tory Brexit and win a radical Labour government.

This CLP supports the earliest possible election of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. The current government is putting Tory Party dogma first, not jobs first – and they have no mandate for their agenda.

We note and support Labour’s six tests for Brexit, which aims to ensure that the post-Brexit settlement preserves the benefits we currently get from collaboration with Europe, defends our rights and protections, and delivers for all parts of the UK. It is increasingly clear that the Tories’ Brexit deal will fail these tests.

We believe that only Labour can lead the British people into a progressive and economically sound relationship with Europe.The Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland, and the future of the NHS and public services. Tory Brexit will wreck the British economy, will commit us to a series of long-term trade deals which will enforce American-style deregulation, and will undermine the rights, freedoms and protections currently enshrined in EU law. All of this will bind the hands of a future Labour government, and will make it far harder for us to deliver on our promises.

We therefore urge Labour to oppose the Tories’ destructive Brexit and unite the country behind a radical vision for the future. In government, Labour could rally left-wing parties across the continent, and create a Europe for the many, not the few.

The social problems that caused the Brexit vote – inequality, declining public services, falling pay, a lack of quality affordable housing, and so on – will be made worse, not better, by Tory Brexit and the continued austerity that would result. The problem is the policies of the political establishment, not immigrants, and the solution is a radical social and economic programme.

We must make the election of a radical Labour government our first priority.

We note that given the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the most likely route to a general election before 2022 is the collapse of the government’s Brexit agenda. This motion supports all available avenues to bring down the government: voting down the EU exit deal in Parliament, calling for a snap election, and a popular vote on the deal.

We note and support the 2016 Conference commitment to a public vote on the Exit Deal so the people have the final decision on whether to accept the government’s deal or to stay in the EU.

We call on the Labour Party to:

1. Oppose any Brexit deal that does not satisfy Labour’s 6 tests.

2. Call for an immediate general election, and make a manifesto commitment to call a public vote on the Brexit deal with an option to remain in the EU if the public rejects it.

3. If we cannot get a general election, to campaign for a public vote on the deal with an option to remain in the EU; and following a defeat for the government, to call for an immediate general election.

4. To place radical social and economic policies at the heart of our programme of government – taxing the rich and big business to pay for better public services, rapidly expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.

Delegates from this CLP to Labour Party conference should vote in line with this policy.

While the old sovereigntist left and those claiming to back a non-existent “People’s Brexit’ are running out of steam, the anti-Brexit left is organising!

Labour set for policy shift as left and Labour grassroots turns against Brexit

Labour looks set for a strengthening of its Brexit position, as an unprecedented number of constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) look to submit motions in favour of a People’s Vote. The countdown to the conference begins in earnest on August 8th with the motion submission now open.

Labour for a People’s Vote, which launched in June with the support of key left wing figures within the party, has put forward its motion in well over a hundred constituencies across every region and nation of the UK.

Because of the Labour Party’s rules, CLPs only have a small window between August 8th and September 13th in which to pass conference motions. Nine CLPs have already agreed to submit the Labour for a People’s Vote conference motion before submissions even opened, with around 130 set to consider it prior to the deadline. Delegates at Labour conference will first decide whether to debate Brexit as a policy area, and then decide whether to support the motion.

The movement in CLPs follows a series of large town hall meetings held across the country last month. The ‘Left Against Brexit’ tour, run by Another Europe is Possible, has drawn hundreds of local activists to meetings in Manchester, London, Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham with speakers including Ann Pettifor, Catherine West, Manuel Cortes, Zoe Williams, Billy Hayes and Marina Prentoulis. It will continue in late August and September with events in Glasgow, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Cambridge, Northampton, Newcastle, Norwich, Cardiff, Cornwall, Plymouth and Oxford.

The conference motion argues that “the Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland and the future of the NHS.” It continues: “Tory Brexit will mean a future of dodgy trade deals and American-style deregulation, and undermine our rights and freedoms. This binds the hands of future Labour governments, making it much harder for us to deliver on our promises.”

If passed, it would commit Labour to voting down Theresa May’s deal in October, and then calling for a general election, with a commitment in its manifesto to holding a People’s Vote. If a general election could not be achieved, Labour would campaign for a People’s Vote as a means of bringing down the Tory government.  The motion also argues for “taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing the anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.”

The push for motions at Labour conference comes alongside a major shift inside Momentum, the grassroots group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn in 2015.  A petition, started by Tower Hamlets Momentum activists Alena Ivanova, has ostensibly now obtained the 4000 signatures it requires to trigger a vote of Momentum members on backing a strategy to stop Tory Brexit.

BREXIT BROMIDE

While a Brexit bonus is a lie Peter Kenyon checks out progress and sees opportunity at this year’s Labour Annual Conference.

Feeding the groundswell of discontent with the Tories – and it must be the Conservative Party as a whole that is targeted – should be the leitmotif of Parliamentary Labour Party activity until a Brexit deal is delivered, whether dead or alive. Voters need reminding repeatedly – there is no Tory Brexit bonus – it was a lie. There are no alternative trade deals under the Tories – it was a lie. National sovereignty will be surrendered with a Tory Brexit, and so on.

This will not be achievable in current circumstances. Too many of Labour ‘s elected representatives in Parliament are Brexit bromide dependents. For Labour’s electoral ratings to enjoy another major uptick, Labour MPs in so-called Leave constituencies need to be working over the summer wising their voters up to the realities of the Tory mess – surrendering our right to have a say, continuing to pay into the Brussels budget, accepting European Court of Justice rulings. We should be relaunching that old rallying cry from across the pond – no taxation without representation – to justify the Remain option, when the time is right.

Constituency Labour Parties have an opportunity to table so-called contemporary resolutions to Party conference.

Chartist editor Mike Davis has tabled one for his local party:

Labour & Brexit –

Conference notes:

*British households are £900 worse off following the vote to leave the EU;

*the economy is now 2% smaller than forecast before the referendum;

*a rise in racist attacks and abuse since the referendum;

*an almost 20% devaluation of the Pound in relation to the Dollar and Euro;

*a relocation of many businesses to European states;

*the threat to the peace process and Good Friday Agreement with the introduction of a hard border in Ireland;

*the HMRC estimate of a cost of over £20b to leaving the EU in addition to the £39b settlement:

*Trump’s election and declaration of a protectionist trade war:

This BLP/Conference further believes the Tories will either exit with no deal or manage a bad deal that will not protect jobs or workplace rights or safeguards for environmental and human rights including full citizenship rights for EU citizens in Britain.

This branch/BLP/Conference resolves to:

Call on the party in parliament to reject any deal which fails to sustain these current rights and conditions.

Support the proposal to negotiate for as long as it takes to secure these terms, through a transition period for continued membership of a Customs Union and single market.

Campaign in a general election for the option of retaining membership of a reformed EU.

To work with our European partners for:

– an end to EU austerity policies with

– a European recovery programme for jobs, rights, benefits and economic security that the British

and other European peoples deserve, after ten years of austerity, worsened employment, reduced pay and welfare deprivation.

The affiliated trade unions also have rights to table such resolutions. In the face of mounting evidence of the job losses in the UK arising from Brexit uncertainties, it would seem negligent in the extreme if they did not link staying in the EU Customs Union and possibly the Single Market to Labour’s ambitious and necessary anti-austerity programme for jobs and investment. What is certain is they will not seek to embarrass Labour’s leadership. Nor should rank and file members, but that is an idle wish. As long as Labour has dropped any pretense of negotiating a ‘Better Brexit’ or delivering a Brexit bonus, an open debate at Conference can only help seal the idea in the electorate’s mind that ‘Brexit means a Tory mess’.

The Left Against Brexit.

Time is running out. Theresa May’s Brexit deal will go to the vote in parliament in autumn.

The closer we get, the clearer it becomes that Tory Brexit is an attempt to deregulate our economy, sign our future over to dodgy trade deals and allow bosses to cash in. It is all-out attack on the rights, freedoms and prosperity of working class people and the communities that the left is supposed to represent. And it is built on an agenda of racist scapegoating.

We have been quiet for too long. The fight back starts now.

This summer, join us for a nationwide tour — with inspiring speakers, and an in depth discussion about how we can stop Brexit

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

Sahra Wagenknecht Launches German Populist Left Movement, “Aufstehen”.

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Image result for aufstehen bewegung

 

Der Spiegel – our correspondent in Germany informed us yesterday – reports that the new ‘populist’ law and order left party of leading Die Linke Sahra Wagenknecht is going public.

“Aufstehen” – linke Sammlungsbewegung formiert sich.

Called Aufstehen (Rise Up/Stand UP) the movement is now being organised with a web presence a first formal step.

Der Spiegel notes that one of New Left Review’s top writers,  Wolfgang Streeck, is involved in the movement, whose key policies include greater law and order and a rethink of Germany’s openness to refugees and migrants. Wagenknecht has made many calls for a reduction in immigrant workers (“Einschränkungen der Arbeitsmigration” 10.6.18) and end to left backing for ‘open borders’.

German press accounts underline, as our Watcher on the Rhine has observed, that preparations for this movement (Bewegung) have been going on for some time:

Die seit längerem angekündigte neue linke Sammelbewegung nimmt deutliche Konturen an.  (NTV)

Wagenknecht, the same piece notes, has run up against heavy criticism inside the Left Party, Die Linke, for her stand against Germany’s migration policies.

Wagenknecht war zuletzt etwa mit ihren Positionen in der Flüchtlingspolitik innerhalb der Linken auf Kritik gestoßen.

As an illustration of its wider ambitions, Aufstehn has got the support of these figures: Marco Bülow (SPD MP), Sevim Dagdelen (Linke MP) the former Green MP,  Antje Vollmer (Taz).

Taz notes that Aufstehn is the title of a Protest song, by the Dutch popsters,  Band Bots.

The website informs us that a formal public beginning will take place on the 4th of September.

It wishes people to become part of the movement!

WERDE TEIL DER BEWEGUNG!

Here is an English language account (the only one that could be found this morning).

The high-profile faction leader of Die Linke, Sahra Wagenknecht, has been working for months on a movement to unite left-wing politicians across party boundaries. The movement now has a name and is about to go online.

 

The Local. basing itself largely on the Spiegel article states,

The new left-wing political movement first proposed by Wagenknecht in early 2018 is to be called Aufstehen (stand up). Its website, aufstehen.de, will go live on Saturday, Spiegel reports.

Political observers in Germany are eagerly awaiting the launch of the new movement, due to the fragile state of left wing politics in the country at the moment.

With the Social Democrats (SPD) haemorrhaging support, Wagenknecht has stated that she sees her movement as a solution to the woes of social democracy in Germany. In view of the fact that no left-wing party has led the country since 2005, Wagenknecht has stated the aim of Aufstehen is to lift the left back into power.

The movement is not supposed to pose a threat to the parties which currently reside on the left of the political spectrum. Instead Wagenknecht sees it as a platform for discussion outside of parliament and has invited politicians from Die Linke, the Green Party and the left-wing of the SPD to join in.

“It is of course our intention to achieve a different political majority and a new government with a social agenda,” Wagenknecht told Spiegel. “If the pressure is big enough, the parties will see it is in their own interest to open their lists to our people.”

The idea was initially met with suspicion on the left, with Die Linke’s chairpeople fearing that Wagenknecht was attempting to create an organization which would usurp their authority.

But Die LInke co-chair Dietmar Bartsch said on Friday that he was now open to the idea.

“On the right they are fighting a cultural battle. We need to take every idea seriously that can oppose them,” he told Spiegel. “Perhaps this provides a chance to to strengthen the left so that we can once again have a political majority.”

Other influential politicians on the left joined the chorus of support for the movement.

“The idea is good, the timing is right, the need for far-reaching chance is enormous,” an article penned for Spiegel by MPs from the Greens, Die Linke and the SPD argued.

Whether this is intended as the nucleus of a new party or a ‘Momentum’ type movement that presses within the existing German left for tough policing and a halt to open German migration policies,  is not yet certain.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 4, 2018 at 11:36 am

Backlash at Momentum Withdrawing Backing for Peter Willsman Exposes Deeper Left Rift.

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Image result for corbyn palestine

New forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, should replace unconditional support.

Momentum withdraws support for Corbyn ally Peter Willsman for ‘deeply insensitive’ remarks about Jews

Independent.

The present crisis in the Labour Party over anti-semitism is a mess with which most people would recoil from.

The underlying problem is not this or that charge: it is a fight over Jeremy Corbyn’s politics.

Although the majority of the left stands with the anti-austerity programme, and for democratic socialist measures  to replace neo-liberal politics – give or take some divisions about how to respond to Brexit – there is no consensus about the politics of the Middle East and, above all, on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Is this  the central question of the age? In most people’s minds it is not. We could begin with the civil war in Syria, where massacres continue after genocides.

But there is no getting away from it.

Jeremy Corbyn comes from an honourable tradition on the left which puts international solidarity at the forefront of left campaigning.

It is part of his marrow.

Jeremy Corbyn has put the Palestinian people’s rights at the centre of his work.

It is scandalous to accuse him of underhand behaviour when he has acted in the plain light of day.

Or that Corbyn is of the same mind as everybody he’s been found in the company of.

Nobody can doubt that this involves cooperating, or at least appearing on the same platform,, as people he disagrees with.

But not everybody on the left accepted, or does now accept, the idea that solidarity means not taking a critical distance from the leadership and activists of liberation movements.

A thoughtful piece this year on the New Socialist site begins with a premise that seems very much of a different time:  Antisemitism and Our Duties as Anti-Imperialists. (The Editors April 2018)

The claim that groups like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are liberation movements reflects a position of the 1960s and 1970s left on such struggles which has not worn well.

But in a wider sense what are the “duties” of “anti-imperialists”? Opposing colonialism, the occupation of whole swathes of the world by European powers, US intervention in Asian wars, ended by the 1970s.

The term ‘anti-imperialism’ was visibly coming apart after the the Khomeini  victory in Iran in 1979, which heralded a wider rise in diverse forms of political Islam – virulently opposed to the left. Yet these were, in Tehran,  ‘anti-imperialist’, as a whole section of the Iranian left claimed, before being executed or put in gaol.

Opposition to US-led intervention against Iraq, the Gulf War onwards, and in Afghanistan, had some meaning.

But it failed to inspire much support on the left for Baathism or the various Islamist groups that took power in Afghanistan

The idea of moral obligations to support positively anti-imperialist countries or movements opposing ‘imperialism’ has even less  meaning today when ‘anti-imperialism’ or ‘campism’ in the post-Soviet world has led some on the left to claim the mantle of ‘internationalism’ for support for a variety of repressive and reactionary states and movements opposed to the ‘West’.

Despite its obvious bankruptcy the influence of this stand can be seen at present far beyond the Middle East, with some continuing to back the blood-stained and  corrupt regime in Nicaragua on ‘anti-imperialist’ grounds.

The hollowness of this position is not hard to see. For those who wish to see them taken apart read Dan la Botz Nicaragua’s Popular Rebellion Stopped—For Now. (1)

Just as we would not tolerate unconditional support for Israel, above all in the form of the Israeli government, it is hard to see why why we should tolerate the – well-known – faults of the backward looking right-wing  Muslim Brotherhood ally Hamas.

This has its domestic translation.

In the present Labour Party row the issue keeps returning to the influence of anti-democratic, and prejudiced forces that style themselves ‘anti-Zionists’ operating in movements calling for  support for the Palestinians.

These range from those who have lost all sense of decency through their use of  ‘Nazi’ rhetoric against ‘Zionists’, Islamist and classic far-right anti-semites, to the probably more numerous, “conspiratorialist” individuals and groups.

But the Labour Party is not, as Labour Against the Witchunt and the its backers would like it to be, a playground where these individuals can engage in ‘debates’ on the template of the Letters Page in the Weekly Worker.

It is equally  true that the Labour Party is not going to be taught lessons about racialism from people like the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, who declared in June 2016,

Our freedom from the EU will make extremism less, not more, likely, as the pressure cooker is released.

Brexit: It’s a wonderful day for Britain – and its Jews

But we are not going to resolve our difficulties without a coming to terms with the need for forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, to replace the old unconditional support. for movements we think are ‘anti-imperialist’ or progressive.

In the deeper senses outlined above this is simultaneously a foreign policy issue and a domestic one, so that this analysis by Steve Bush in the New Statesman is right at both ends put together:

The issue at stake is that Corbyn himself regards the row as a foreign policy issue, confined to the question of how Labour members can talk about Israel, while his critics primarily see it as a domestic issue, confined to the need to reassure British Jews of Labour’s intentions and to take the sting out of the row, which risks derailing a summer of detailed policy interventions from the opposition.

Momentum dump Peter Willsman from their NEC slate – in direct defiance of Jeremy Corbyn’s office

The backlash at Momentum’s decision illustrates all these issues coming to the surface:

Momentum drops Pete Willsman – support the comrade!

 

And so it goes….

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Skwawkbox launches an organised wrecking operation against Momentum.

LOCAL MOMENTUM GROUPS COME OUT FOR WILLSMAN AND THE #JC9YES9

National Momentum – or rather the officer subset of Momentum’s ‘NCG’ (National Coordinating Group) – made the widely-condemned decision yesterday to withdraw support from left-slate member Peter Willsman in the vital National Executive Committee elections, over antisemitism claims that do not stand up to scrutiny.

The decision sparked a major online backlash, with large numbers announcing they had ended their membership.

But others are staying within the organisation yet still making clear that the NCG has not spoken for them.

****

(1) Notably,

Many of my generation, the generation of 1968, who supported the Nicaraguan revolution of 1979 (as I did), may have found these arguments appealing, reflecting as they did the situation forty years ago, but not only do they have little factual or logical merit, but they are based on a specious reasoning that denigrates ordinary people and idolizes strongmen. Such arguments are based upon three fundamental suppositions:

1) Nicaraguans and other Latin Americans cannot have legitimate grievances against the “Leftists” governments and would any case be incapable of creating their own movement, so they must be manipulated by some other force;

2) the United States masterminds and controls all political developments in Latin America from Argentina and Brazil to Venezuela and Nicaragua, and it is the real force behind any apparent popular opposition;

3) existing “anti-imperialist” governments (Russia, Syria, Nicaragua), whatever their character, must be supported against the world’s only imperialist nation, the United States.

These arguments can only appeal to those who have no understanding of the complexity of international political developments, of a world where, for example, people can organize themselves, a left can develop critical of a so-called leftist government, and the United States, powerful as it is, cannot always call the shots. That these authors provide shameful support for an authoritarian, capitalist government murdering hundreds and wounding thousands of its citizens is not surprising, given their support for Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia, Iran’s theocratic dictatorship, and Assad’s dictatorship in Syria. Zeese and Blumenthal represent what writer Rohini Hensman has called a neo-Stalinist current that came out of the left but now has little that is even vaguely leftists about it.[18]

Fortunately, the international democratic left has rallied in defense of the Nicaraguan people’s rebellion. Noam Chomsky spoke out against Ortega’s “authoritarian” government on Democracy Now.[19] Dozens of leftist intellectuals and political activists  principally from Europe and Latin America signed a statement strongly condemning the Ortega governments and containing these demands:

The unconditional release of all political prisoners; the transfer of information from the authorities to human rights organizations about the real situation of the persons declared missing; disarmament of the paramilitary army organized by Ortega and his government; an independent international investigation into the various forms and facets of repression, with appropriate sanctions; the constitution of a transitional government — with a limited mandate, — leading to free elections; and the end of the Ortega-Murillo government.[20]

Prepare for Far-right Carnival Of Reaction as Tommy Robinson Freed on Bail.

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Tommy Robinson bailed after Court of Appeal win

BBC.

Far-right activist Tommy Robinson has been bailed after winning an appeal against a finding of contempt of court.

Robinson, 35, from Luton, admitted the charge and received a 13-month jail term in May after he filmed outside Leeds Crown Court during a trial.

At the Court of Appeal, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett ruled there had been technical flaws by the judge who jailed him and quashed the finding.

He will attend the Old Bailey for the Leeds allegation to be reheard.

In his written judgement, Lord Burnett said: “We are satisfied that the finding of contempt made in Leeds following a fundamentally flawed process, in what we recognise were difficult and unusual circumstances, cannot stand.

“We will direct that the matter be reheard before a different judge.”

Lord Burnett said a suspended sentence Robinson, also known as Stephen Yaxley Lennon, was given for contempt of court relating to a trial in Canterbury in May 2017 should stand.

Anti-racist protest during the Hearing.

There have been warnings that the far-right was preparing a Carnival of Reaction if Robinson, either if he remained in gaol or  was freed on bail (Police are bracing for the possibility of mass protests and disorder over Tommy Robinson’s appeal result) .

It has begun:

Robinson’s cause has been taken up by the international far-right from Europe to the USA. It’s in the latter that he’s received the biggest support including this Trump diplomat ‘took up Robinson’s cause to UK ambassador’ (Mirror). And this,  US rightwing groups bankroll campaign to free Tommy Robinson. Thinktank that paid for far-right activist’s legal defence says other groups are backing him. Guardian.

Recently this caught people’s attention:  Steve Bannon calls for Tommy Robinson to be released from prison. Guardian.

Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump, has defended the jailed far-right leader Tommy Robinson, saying that he didn’t think he was “a bad guy” and that “he’s got to be released from prison”.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 1, 2018 at 11:27 am

Giles Fraser, The Poet of Brexit, Shreds Liberals’ “grin of intellectual superiority.”

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Image result for poor but loyal

“Why do Remainers find it impossible to consider the possibility that some people were prepared to accept a relatively poorer country as a price worth paying for a more independent one?” Giles Fraser.

This approaches the heart of the matter. Rensin argues that what is often behind liberal smugness is the philosophical assumption that the difference between people politically is always a difference of knowing various facts, not a difference of ideology. This is the problem with the empiricist approach to politics: the fact-based assessments and belief that evidence only should drive our disagreements. For when fact-based empiricism comes to dominate the cultural and intellectual apparatus of the liberal world-view, then it can only be a knowledge of the facts that divides people.

This is where progressive smugness comes from: the idea that I know stuff that you do not. It is not that we disagree ideologically, because ideology is dead. All that is left is facts and knowing facts. And either you know the facts or you don’t. And we do. And you don’t.

When it comes to Brexit – as with Thomas Frank and Kansas – it is widely insisted upon that no one could possibly have voted against their own economic interests knowingly. No one voted to be poorer, Anna Soubry told the Commons in an impassioned speech last week. The argument goes on thus: because Brexit will make us poorer, the Brexit-voting working class cannot have known what they were doing. So either they are stupid or (which amounts to the same thing) easily manipulated by the dark forces of those who do have much to gain.

But what if people did indeed think that there was something about Brexit that was more important that GDP? Why is it impossible to consider that possibility, that some people were indeed prepared to accept a relatively poorer country as a price worth paying for a more independent one? That some things are more important than money?

What middle-class liberals really do need to appreciate is that the difference between their perspective and that of the Trump supporter or the Brexiter is not one of ignorance of facts, but one of basic philosophy. It is not a mistake or ignorance that other people want to live in a very different world with very different values.

The smug sneer that progressives direct towards those who are “too stupid to know what is in their best interest” is premised upon a massive misreading of the situation. The Trump supporter and the Brexiter – and yes, of course I generalise – has a different philosophical perspective. Ideology has not gone away. It has returned in popular form. And that grin of intellectual superiority only feeds the opposition to the liberal perspective.

Indeed.

The material power of Brexit ideology:

 

One could remark that one thing that the British radical left opponents of Brexit and supporters of a People’s Vote are not is ‘liberals’, either economically or socially. Tolerance, to start with, does not include putting up with the intolerable, or being silent about the intolerant.

Democratic socialism  is a very different animal to US progressivism. Issues of poverty and class are not, from this standpoint, submerged under “meritocracy” “equal opportunity”  and “diversity”.

But there are more pressing issues.

In the less exalted world, also enlivened by a poetry,  where economics and Gradgrind Facts matter,

Brexit Is Dying. Time For A People’s Vote

The depth of the UK’s ties with, indeed dependence on, EU trade for its economic vitality was and is too great. Imports and exports are a crucial component of the UK economy – and over 50% of these involve the EU. By imposing barriers on trade with the UK’s largest market, Parliament would be inflicting a negative supply shock upon the economy, with ruinous effects for incomes, living costs, and the competitiveness of business. Many Brexiteers insist this would propel the UK to invest in markets further afield – but it is an economic fantasy, detached from the realities of geography, supply and demand.

Then what alternative? In the interest of addressing their own internal expediencies, the major parties have been flagrantly irresponsible, explaining neither the unattainability of a Hard Brexit nor the destructiveness to the UK’s international influence of its various softer alternatives. Though rarely mentioned publicly, the truth is common knowledge among the majority of MPs: no success may be made of Brexit.

Therefore, the possibility of No Brexit, via a second referendum, must be put back on the table. The deal that Theresa May, or another leader, negotiates with the EU must be explained to the public, its benefits and costs set against those of remaining an EU member. Let the choice be clearly laid out: the negotiated deal vs no Brexit at all. A People’s Vote may produce the same result as in 2016. But let it, this time at least, be a vote grounded in clarity of meaning and direction. Let the people make this last decision, for the political class is too divided and the future too precious. It is not too late to turn Brexit around. Indeed, failure to pursue the possibility, given what is at stake, would be an historic error. Else, the UK – divided, directionless and isolated – will continue on its present dangerous course, worryingly evocative of Edwin J. Milliken’s great poem ‘The Clattering Train’ (1890), which might now be adapted thus:

Who is in charge of the clattering train?

The axles creak and the couplings strain;

The pace is hot and the points are near;

And sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear;

Signals flash through the night in vain…

But who can now stop the clattering train?

 

The Independent Backs Referendum on Brexit Deal.

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Image result for Left anti-=Brexit tour

 

Britain in the EU is the best chance to constrain the power of big money and big business.

Amongst continuing chaos on the Brexit right and left this is worth flagging up: how some of the leading ideologues of Leave are now becoming disaster theorists.

In the Great Deception (643 pages long, long) Christopher Booker (who is also a climate change denier) and Richard North argued that that British membership in the EU is a “slow-motion coup d’etat” with an “agenda of subordination” to invasive centralised regulation that is economically harmful to the UK. “an entirely new form of government, one which was supra-national’ beyond the control of national governments, politicians or electorates” Everything else would become subordinate to this entity.

Those who have plodded through its weary pages, and bothered to retain more than the name of Jean Monnet (there are 3 other apocalyptic horsemen, Arthur Salter, Altero Spinelli and Paul-Henri Spaak), will probably remember only that the project the authors refer to was a United States of Europe. 

And that it was doomed, “…like the vision of Le Corbusier and a much grander scale, it would eventually leave a great devastation behind it: wasteland from which it would take many years for the peoples of Europe to emergence.”

The Great Deception, Can the European Union survive? Christopher Booker. Richard North. 2017 ‘Referendum’ Edition (First published 2005).

It seems, nevertheless, that now it’s the Brexit victory that can claim to have created a desert and called it their peaceful victory.

As both authors now say.

Theresa May’s Brexit proposal is so detached from reality that it can only end in disaster. CHRISTOPHER BOOKER (1)

It is this context which makes the Independent’s call today make sense.

The referendum gave sovereignty to the British people, so now they deserve a final say on the Brexit deal

Independent.

Morally, emotionally even, another referendum is needed to help bind up the wounds of the past two years

The Independent today launches a campaign to win for the British people the right to a final say on Brexit. Come what may in the months ahead, we maintain our commitment to our readers to retain balance and present many different points of view. But on this subject we believe a referendum on the final deal is right. We do so for three reasons.

First, amid the chaos of recent months, one thing has become increasingly clear: Theresa May’s approach – and indeed the chaos in parliament – is not working. We are simply not close enough to resolving so many big issues about which people care so much. The enormity of the task, the contradictions in both major parties and the ferocious divisions in their ranks have now stretched our parliament to its limits, to the point where the impasse leads us ever closer to an “accidental” Brexit, as foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt most recently acknowledged, without a deal.

Second, sovereignty rests with the people – the people should have the opportunity to finish what they began, to pause and consider whether they still want to go ahead with the Brexit course we’re on, just as they would any other major decision in their lives.

Third, while there are questions about the validity of another referendum – shouldn’t the original outcome be delivered? – we clearly know more now than we did in 2016, amid such deeply flawed campaigns on both sides. Ignoring these shortcomings and ploughing on regardless is a far bigger problem for democracy. Faced with the current turmoil in our politics, and with dangers ahead coming into focus, it is surely undemocratic to deny people a chance to express their opinion afresh.

The Independent also publishes this important commentary on Corbyn’s Labour Brexit speech by Nick Dearden, director of UK campaigning organisation Global Justice Now.

It makes many of the points those backing The Left Against Brexit would make, but is too sanguine about the lingering influence amongst the Labour leadership of the view that Parliament, embodying Popular Sovereignty, can effectively work socialist wonders free from the kind of pooled sovereignty the EU works with. Those Corbyn listens to include influential voices from the ‘British Road to Socialism’ tradition which believes not only that, but that the EU is a particularly hard form of what used to be known (pre-Trump) as “neo-liberalism”.

Corbyn was brave enough to tackle the reasons why people voted for Brexit – and now he’s being savaged for it.

Nick Dearden

The real criticism you might make of Corbyn’s speech is that it’s not radical enough. After all, much of this analysis is common sense in many parts of Northern Europe where “industrial strategy” and “economic intervention” have not been dirty words for the past four decades. But Corbyn pushes the envelope, for instance insisting that those businesses who benefit from government intervention must be held to account for their levels of pay equality, for their climate impacts, for what happens in their supply chain.

This couldn’t be further from Donald Trump’s vision of the world. In fact, Corbyn explicitly eschews Trump’s protectionist trade wars. But, as economist Dani Rodrik consistently argues, if you want low tariffs and an open economy without high levels of inequality and poverty, you must have strong regulation on big business, coupled with high levels of investment and welfare. The alternative is a free-for-all for big money.

That’s what we’ve lived through in Britain – a “market knows best” approach in which all that mattered was slashing regulation and liberalising the economy. That’s what drove Brexit, and indeed it’s what is driving far-right votes in the US and elsewhere. Sadly, it’s not being listened to by the government because the hard Brexit being successfully pushed by Liam Fox and Jacob Rees-Mogg would turbocharge this model.

I want the EU to survive because I believe it can fulfil the dream of some of its founders to promote peace and equality. I want Britain in the EU because I believe it’s the best chance to constrain the power of big money and big business, to fight climate change, and to offer an alternative to the rise of Trumpism. That’s why I’m speaking at the Left Against Brexit tour in Liverpool tonight.

But it is a fantasy to think the EU can do any of this without serious top-to-bottom transformation. The EU has embraced far too much of the “market knows best” philosophy – often pushed by the British government. As a result it is coming apart at the seams, and before too long, Brexit will be the least of Brussel’s worries.

That’s why the policy direction Corbyn announced yesterday should not be seen as an attack on the EU. Rather it gives much-needed direction for the union as a whole. Only a Europe which embraces some of the changes set out by Corbyn yesterday has a hope of surviving. There is no going back to the day before the EU referendum— we either embrace fundamental economic reform, or we lose to the false promises of the growing far right.

John Rogan  signals this useful thread on the issues the speech dealt with.

Sahra Wagenknecht Launches German left “law and order” Populist Party “tough on immigration”.

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Image result for Wagenknecht entartage

Sahra Wagenknecht: new Left “law and order” Populist Party “tough on immigration”.

“Leftwing politicians are singing the praises of border control while rightwingers call for expanding the welfare state. Old political certainties could be turned upside down in Germany this summer as the far ends of the country’s political spectrum both moot a “national social” turn.”

Says  in the Guardian today from Berlin.

A new leftwing movement soft-launching in Germany in August aims to part ways with what one of its founders calls the “moralising” tendency of the left, in an attempt to win back working-class voters from the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

The as-yet-unnamed new populist movement, partly inspired by the British Labour party’s Momentum and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise, and spearheaded by the leftwing party Die Linke’s chairwoman, Sahra Wagenknecht, will include former and current members of the Social Democratic and Green parties, and prominent academics such as the sociologist Wolfgang Streeck.

Note: the latter is a frequent contributor to New Left Review, which tells you something about their political direction…

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It seems that this is serious, although earlier this year an Aprilscherz (April Fool’s joke) suggested, Wagenknecht gründet links-nationale Partei (that is, a Nationalist Left party…)

If the opening paragraphs are bad news enough  the first thing to note is that the key figure in this new group is  Sahra Wagenknecht.

The Linke MP is notorious for her views on migrants – not favourable – which have created a serious row the German left, and praise from the racist AfD (Sahra Wagenknecht nach stern-Interview: Lob von der AfD, Rüffel von der Linken. ) Notoriously she claimed after the 2017 Lorry  terror attack on the Berlin Yule Market that Angela merkel bore a responsibility (‘Mitverantwortung”. “In addition to the uncontrolled border opening, there’s a police force that has been downsized to the point of inefficiency, that neither has the personnel nor the technical resources which would enable it to cope with the current threat situation.”

This is a summary of her stand,

““There have to be open borders for the persecuted,” she said, “but we certainly can’t say that anyone who wants to may come to Germany, claim social benefits, and look for work.” That point of view is “detached from reality”, she claimed.” 11th of June 2018. The Local. Open borders for all? The debate dividing Germany’s Die Linke.

Her background:

Wagenknecht’s East German past (Deutsche Welle DW)

Wagenknecht’s rebellious streak stretches back to her childhood growing up behind the Iron Curtain. Born in the former East Germany (GDR) in the city of Jena, her father was an Iranian student and her mother worked for a state-run art distributor.

Although she tends to be sparse with personal details in interviews, Wagenknecht has said several times that she doesn’t identify as having a “migrant background,” emphasizing that her father never fully immigrated to Germany. According to Wagenknecht, he returned to Iran when she was a small child and was never heard from again.

Today, she is considered part of the old-school wing of the party as one of the members who remains from the former East German Socialist Unity Party (SED).

For a time, she was under surveillance by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency for her far-left views.

She’s campaigned hard for an end to German military involvement in foreign missions and wants Germany to stop all weapons exports.

“I consider it so dishonest to say we are fighting terrorism, while at the same time cooperating with and delivering weapons to those who openly support terrorism,” she told DW. “You can’t fight terror with terror.

Noting the rise of the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) following the influx of refugees in 2015, Wagenknecht controversially adopted similar rhetoric in an attempt to make populist causes left-wing.

She’s heavily criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policies and went so far as to say Merkel is partly responsible for the Berlin Christmas market terror attack which killed 12 people.

“In addition to the uncontrolled border opening, there’s a police force that has been downsized to the point of inefficiency,” said Wagenknecht in January. That comment led to condemnation across the political spectrum, but applause from the AfD.

She’s also called for a limit on refugees and made comments about asylum-seekers losing their right to asylum if they commit crimes. In its party platform, the Left party calls for all who are looking for protection in Germany to not be turned away.

The parallels with the right-wing populists have uneased many within the party, with top Left party members repeatedly distancing themselves from her remarks.

A more extreme example of left-wing disapproval with Wagenknecht’s refugee stance happened last May when an anti-fascist activist threw an entire chocolate cake in her face at a Left party conference.

Weeks earlier, the same group made a similar attack – but that time it was the AfD’s Beatrix von Storch with cream pie on her face.

Wagenknecht represents the radical side of the Left Party, fellow top-candidate Dietmar Bartsch appeals to the moderate wing

Instead, she wants to solidify the Left’s position as the largest opposition party in the Bundestag. She’s all but ruled out possibly entering into an alliance with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens in a so-called “Red-Red-Green” coalition.

“A good opposition policy is better than a bad government policy,” she said at a party conference in June to thunderous applause.

Other leading members of her party, including her co-candidate Dietmar Bartsch and Left party co-chairwoman Katja Kipping, are more open to cooperation with the SPD and Greens if it means the Left gets a chance to be in the driver’s seat.

But Wagenknecht has harshly criticized compromises made by the Left in “Red-Red-Green” governments on the state level, saying the SPD and the Greens advocate for neoliberal policies.

With her precise and uncompromising attitude, Wagenknecht is determined to fight for her vision of Germany. “I think you must be able to fight for what you believe in,” she told DW.

Echoing the AfD, Left party’s Wagenknecht says Merkel partly to blame for Berlin terror

The Guardian story announces:

Wagenknecht has practical concerns: she worries that the Left’s support for open borders, beyond the recognition of right to asylum, is driving voters away from the party. She also fears that uncontrolled migration increases the pressure on Germans looking for work.

According to one of the movement’s founders, its defining feature is likely to be its adherence to “the materialist left, not the moral left”.

“When people live in social conditions that make them feel secure, they are usually prepared to act generously and tolerantly,” said Bernd Stegemann, an author and dramatist at the prestigious Berliner Ensemble theatre who is working with Wagenknecht on the movement’s programme.

“When they live in increasingly precarious and atomised conditions, however, they are also likely to react to challenges in a tougher and colder manner. Brecht summarised it wonderfully. Grub comes first, then ethics.”

As well as rallying around traditional leftwing causes such as disarmament and a reversal of Germany’s Hartz IV labour market reforms, an unsigned position paper circulating around Berlin political circles in recent weeks suggests the movement will also advocate law and order policies and a tougher stance on immigration. “Open borders in Europe means more competition for badly paid jobs,” says the paper, which is headed “fairland”.

Stegemann, who is not a member of any political party, said he was frustrated with middle-class leftwing intellectuals lecturing working-class Germans for their sceptical reaction to Angela Merkel’s decisions at the height of the refugee crisis.

We are dealing with an absurd situation when the winners of neoliberalism tell the losers that they must be more humane. And it galls me when politicians think it is enough to pass down moral judgments. No, politics must act.”

The launch of the new movement, which will start as an online forum where supporters can upload and visualise policy proposals, comes as the AfD is trying to win over disappointed Die Linke supporters in the former states of East Germany. It is doing so by occupying positions on social welfare usually associated with the left.

Earlier this year, on the First of January, this story appeared, on the DW site,

Germany needs ‘new left-wing people’s party,’ says leftist veteran Oskar Lafontaine

The co-founder of the Left party has called for a new alliance to catapult the left wing into power. He believes German voters are more than ready for such an option.

Oskar Lafontaine, who co-founded Germany’s Left party (Die Linke) in 2007 after leaving the Social Democratic Party (SPD)in protest over business-friendly reforms by ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, told weekly news magazine Der Spiegel that German voters had shown there was a “potential for a leftist majority” and that people were “downright asking for such an option.”

“We need a collective left-wing movement, a kind of left-wing people’s party comprising the Left party, parts of the Greens and the SPD,” Lafontaine told Der Spiegel.

Lafontaine, who is married to one of the Left party’s parliamentary group leaders, Sahra Wagenknecht, even goes so far as to say that the “political party system we have today no longer works” and that a new order was necessary to give the left wing a chance to get into government at the federal level.

Comment: 

It will be interesting to see what the new Party’s position on the European Union is.

This, with migration and law and order, is one of the central concerns of the AfD, whose electorate  Wagenknecht’s ‘anti-moralist’ group aims to target.

If they adopt a ‘sovereigntist’ anti-EU position, above all opposing the Euro, they way lies open for ties up with a number of other rightward, or ‘national’  drifting groups, from the British Brexit left, to French ‘republican’ currents present in the thinking of La France Insoumise.

There is equally room for further cross-overs with the patriotic cultural  ‘identity’ movement across Europe, seen in the UK not just on the hard-right but within Blue Labour and the ‘communitarian’ left  (indebted, amongst others, to the writings of Roger Scruton) and anti-virtue signaling networks, spearheaded by Spiked-on-Line. Perhaps the pro-Brexit New Left Review will give Wolfgang Streeck plenty of space to expound the new party doctrine.

It is a measure of the political direction of this movement that instead of attacking the Islamist genociders from the standpoint of universal human rights, they chose to float their ideas behind the provisional  name which  Guardian cites as “fairland” – a cosy heimat.

Update from our correspondent in Germany:

 the Guardian article contains no actual news. The only thing that makes this news is this article a month ago in the right-wing tabloid, Die Welt: https://www.welt.de/…/Gastbeitrag-Warum-wir-eine-neue…