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Socialist Party, (former Militant) in Total International Split over those who have “buckled to the pressures of ‘Identity Politics’.”

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From Alf Garnett Rants Against Climate Change Demos to Split. 

The Socialist Party, apart from the split in the PCS union, has  apart from its hard-line pro-Brexit stand, and links with the likes of the  Arron Banks national populist Trade unions against the EU’ has not campaign has not made the news these days.

Even the Alf Garnett  rants have not won it a wider audience.

Rant against climate change demos by the hard-line pro-Brexit ‘Socialist’  Party,

“R’s insufficient programme and its rejection of politics inform its strategy…”

In reality, the manifesto leaves capitalism intact while seeking to remove its worst aspects. But this vague vision of an alternative society is utopian – and would not even mitigate the effects of climate change.

The idea of individual martyrdom is typical of a middle-class approach, and contrasts unfavourably with the democratic, collective traditions of working-class struggle.

Perhaps this latest row will get people’s attention note the bit, “further reflection of this capitulation is in shown in the Euro election where the main slogan of the Irish section’s candidate is “for a socialist feminist”.

 

“To all CWI members.

Declaration of a split from the CWI.

The Non Faction, Faction (NFF) last week circulated an open letter signed by a series of IEC members, (full and alternates) together with some visitors and translators who attended the IEC meeting in November 2018 together with some CWI members who were not present. In their statement the NFF rejected the decision of the International Secretariat to convene a meeting in November 2019 and appealed for the IS and the openly declared international faction to reconsider its position and commit to participating in an IEC meeting in August. Now they have taken the decision to convene a meeting of the IEC in august themselves. This action is part of the objective of the NFF to carry through a “regime change” in the leadership of the CWI. We entirely reject this action which is ithe declaration of a split from the CWI.

In the statement the NFF once again ignored the central political issues of difference which have clearly emerged in this debate. As we stated at the IEC in November 2018 there are clearly two main divergent trends developing in the CWI. This has been clarified during the course of six months of debate. It is clear that there is a decisive difference now on the crucial issues of orientation, perspective and programme.

“Socialist feminist” a major step backwards.

It is evident to us that some sections of the CWI have buckled to the pressures of ‘Identity Politics’. Others have gone even further and have or are in the process of capitulating to them. This was recently demonstrated in the debate in US in Chicago. Andy M (US NC) who led off and replied for the NFF – no US EC member was present – argued that the IS “did not understand the new world situation” and comrades argued that the womens movement was detonating the struggles of the working class. A further reflection of this capitulation is in shown in the Euro election where the main slogan of the Irish section’s candidate is “for a socialist feminist”.

This divergence is reflected by a turn away from systematic trade union work in a number of sections and abandonment of an orientation and emphasis on the centrality of the working class. This is clearly reflected in Greece and the non- Trotskyist approach of the section towards intervening in the environment movement and the approach taken towards the workers in gold mining industry.

There is a major divergence between the NFF and ourselves on the question of a systematic and consistent orientation and intervention to the working class and its organisations. We defend this orientation and in doing so up hold the historical foundations on which the CWI was build. The NFF are opposed to it and are moving away from it. This is not a secondary issue as the NFF allege. It is a crucial question on which there needs to be agreement in order to establish a “principled revolutionary unity”.

The leadership of the NFF evade serious debate on these crucial questions of divergence. In debate after debate they have alleged that the IS is conservative, out of touch and now represents “the old guard”.

They have tried to rally support on the basis of an emotional appeal for “unity” but evade explaining what the principled political basis of “revolutionary unity” is based on. The only thing that unites the leadership of the NFF is opposition to the IS. The failure to debate the political issues and only call for “revolutionary unity” without political agreement is the receipt for a split.

Throughout the debate the NFF have denied that it is a question of “regime change”. However, as Sascha S made clear in his recent statement this was explicitly posed by Eric B (Belgium) at the IEC meeting in November. Now other representatives of the NFF have also posed the same issue in recent debates. Paul C (representing the NFF in England and Wales) explicitly posed this in a debate in the eastern region. Now the removal of Peter T from the IS has been raised in a debate in the US and the representative of the NFF in the debate, Andy M, failed to comment on this.

Regime change

It has been revealed during the debate that some NFF members have been preparing the ground for a regime change for a number of years. From Austria comrades report that they were informed some IEC members were organising against the IS in 2016. Younger comrades in England and Wales were told by Danny B that they would have an important role to play “especially if there was a split in the CWI” at about the same time!

All comrades have the right to oppose the IS and argue for a different political approach. However, this should be done openly and honestly. This was not done by these comrades. This dishonest method has sunk to new depths during the course of the debate. All members of the CWI need to pose the question if there is to be regime change – which is the right of comrades to propose – what is the political basis to elect a new leadership? The only unifying stance of the NFF is to deny that substantial political differences exist and opposition to the International Secretariat. We have published our political platform. What is the political platform of the NFF if it carries through a regime change? Comrades will search in vain for a political platform they all defend. We are confronted with a non, faction, faction with non principled principles! A regime change of this character will destroy the CWI as a viable Trotskyist international organization which we are not prepared to accept.

The NFF demand that the COC resumes its functions. Yet this body is perceived by the NFF as an “alternative to the IS” which we reject. We reject the calling of the IEC in August by the NFF as an attempted coup or preparation for a coup against the current IS.

The NFF claims that the IEC majority represents the majority of the CWI. We do not accept this. As we have explained the IEC as currently composed is not representative of the CWI. Its composition is weighed towards the smaller groups like Cyprus, Poland, or Australia with 1 full member whose active membership is less than some branches in other sections! Or Russia with 25 members and 2 full IEC members and not a single full timer. Greece with 302 members has 4 IEC members the same as England and Wales with 2000 members. 3 sections – Cyprus, Australia and Russia – have a total of 66 members and 4 IEC members!

Against the background of a political and theoretical abandonment of Trotskyism by the NFF leadership we cannot agree to participate in or recognise the August IEC which is aimed at enacting a regime change which will mean the destruction of the Trotskyist principles the CWI was founded upon. We have defended and will continue to defend the Trotskyist methods and principles on which the CWI was founded and continue to build it on those methods in the coming period. We therefore appeal to the comrades not to participate in this meeting called by the NFF on a non-principled political basis, which in reality is a split from the CWI.

Those participating in this are placing themselves outside the CWI and in a rival organization. We appeal to comrades to support the international conference called by the international faction ‘In Defence of a workers’ and Trotskyist CWI’ and the programme and platforms which we have defended. This is the road to build a powerful Trotskyist international based on the working class and the methods of the CWI.”

“Against the background of a political and theoretical abandonment of Trotskyism by the NFF “

Harsh words….

They appear to have split on the basis of some of their sections having some kind of of way of relating to mass politics.

That is, against the Millies’ standard practice of refusing to  work with anybody on an an equal basis as opposed to the normal practice of this funny sect, which thinks, bizarrely, that it is a leading force for socialism (let alone ‘Trotskyism).

Their criticisms of ‘identity politics’, lety aline their hostility to Climate Change demos, have the odour of another age: what they mean is working with other people on the left.

They have done that, “we are in  charge” stuff since the anti-Poll Tax movement and the ant-racist campaign, and, one could list their hollow fronts at length.

It looked ridiculous, from a groupuscule of aged dogmatists,   in the past and now….

One would suggest that the weakness of their politics has been cruelly exposed over Brexit, which they stridently backed, even to the extent of supporting the Arron banks linked right-wing Trade Unionists against the EU.

They publicly supported the hard right Brexit project, the extent of being key members of the NO to EU Yes to Democracy front of the labour aristocrats of the CPB and the RMT

The right-wing trajectory of the anti-European Union Taafe group  continues...

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

April 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Galloway and the Far-Right.

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Galloway with Friend. 

Galloway’s old mates, John Rees, Lindsey German not to mention  his  former bag-man, Kevin Ovenden have been quite as mice about their leader’s turn to the far right.

 

All his best mate Rees can find to say is this;

The left needs to stop retreating over the use of the term Zionism

Written by John Rees

The Red-Brown  front continues….

Written by Andrew Coates

April 20, 2019 at 10:58 am

George Galloway goes Red-Brown and backs Farage’s Brexit Party.

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Galloway Goes Red-Brown.

The Red-Brown alliance develops, George Galloway is to back Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party for the Euro-elections.

Following the lead of former rivals, the ex-Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked/Institute of Ideas now supporters of National Populism,..(1)

 

 

Yesterday Galloway has tweeted his backing for Farage added, (1)

The Herald had just reported,

Socialist George Galloway under fire for backing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in EU elections

He also predicted that Farage’s party would win “at least 50% of the vote”, saying: “Count on it. The working class in the north are on the move.”

When being criticised for supporting Farage he told one critic: “So Farage is Hitler? How stupid can you get.”

In response to criticism Galloway has tweeted,

The seriousness of this much-welcomed support can be seen here:

We confidently predict that this red-brown alliance will receive more support.

As Jim says,

It appears he is not on his own. Chelley Ryan is a Corbyn cultist and a prolific tweeter and Facebook poster who has also posted for Red Labour and writes for the Morning Star. She has tweeted in support of the Brexit Party.

There have been others on social media.

Is this just Stalinist fraying at the edges or is there more to it?

UPDATE: from far-right Daily Express.

Brexit REBELLION: Left-wingers follow Galloway to back Nigel Farage’s surging Brexit Party

THE Labour EU elections list is so remain heavy left-wing Brexiteers are throwing their lot in with Nigel Farage, including George Galloway.

Fellow left-wing Brexiteers also promised to vote for their former political enemy Nigel Farage.

Simon Middleton said: “I totally agree with you Mr Galloway. Next month’s elections are about Brexit, pure and simple.

“I am from a Socialist background and I will be voting for Nigel Farage aand the new  Brexit Party “

Retweeted.

******

  1. Perhaps this tiff is forgiven now….”In an article in The Australian newspaper, 15th January 2009, ‘Critics of Israel giving voice to anti-Semitism’,  I stated that George Galloway, British MP for the Respect party, had called for a boycott of ‘Israel’s shops’ and that this meant that he was calling in practice for a boycott of Jewish shops. This was incorrect and I now understand that he was calling for a boycott of ‘Israel’ shops which is a mobile retailer operating in shopping malls and who sell Israeli goods and was not referring to ‘Israel’s shops’. I apologise to Mr Galloway for the mistake, and I withdraw the suggestion made in my article that he was showing or encouraging anti-Semitism in calling for this boycott.
    Frank Furedi, 9 February 2009″.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 18, 2019 at 11:50 am

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

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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…

 

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

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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

John Rees (Counterfire/People’s Assembly/Stop the War Coalition) Compares anti-Brexit March to “mild (as yet)” “mass fascist or populist right wing” movement.

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Clive Lewis and Lloyd Russell-Moyle “Angry Middle Class moblised for its own purposes by sections of the elite”.

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John Rees is a leader of the groupuscule, Counterfire, a split from the Socialist Workers Party. He is a national officer for the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) and a key figure in the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

Counterfire has worked with many groups and individuals, as part of what they pretentiously call “united fronts”, including George Galloway of the Respect Coalition and Andrew Murray, now an adviser to the Labour Leader on Brexit.

Recently they have engaged with the Full Brexit, an alliance of the Family Faith and Flag Blue Labour, the Communist Party of Britain, writers for Spiked, left “magic money” Sovereigntists, and bee-in-bonnet anti European Union loud-mouths. Two of the groups involved, Labour Leave, and Trade Unionists Against the EU, have received money from hard-right millionaire, Arron Banks.

Feyzi Ismail from Counterfire spoke at their hundred strong Rally in London this Monday.

Rees, and Lindsey German, have close links with Jeremy Corbyn, including a long history of joint work in the StWC.

Rees claims to be inspired by revolutionary Marxism.

A revolutionary organisation remains the indispensable tool for overcoming the unevenness in working-class consciousness, maximising the effectively of working-class struggler recalling the lessons of past victories and defeats, and educating and leading workers in struggle. Formed from the working class by working-class people to help generalise and organise the struggle of the whole class it is itself a dialectical organism. Without the struggle to build such an organisation, the danger remains that the dialectic of capitalist development will remain blind or destructive; but if the struggle to build such and organisation is successful, we have a change – more, not less power – to make the leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.”

Page 302 The Algebra of Revolution. The Dialectics and the Classical Marxist Tradition. John Rees. Routledge 1998.

With these arms in hand Rees has seen fit to advise Labour on strategy.

In February this year he wrote,

Corbynistas! Up your game, or lose the game

….Jeremy Corbyn, who has historically held an anti-EU position only altered under pressure from the right wing in the first days of his leadership, and now aware that Labour would lose the next general election if Labour deserts the very large number of Leave voters, is embattled at the head of his party.

One way of improving Labour’s prospects would be to face down the remainers and second referendumers. All the placatory talk of Labour being a broad church which can accommodate diametrically opposed views is doing nothing to quell the determination on the part of the remain right-wingers to see the end of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

..

At a moment when the Parliamentary system is manifestly failing, when every dog in the street knows that the government is willing to sacrifice the interest of ordinary citizens on the altar of Tory party unity, why would any left-wing organisation simply play by the Parliamentary rules?

Mass activity can never be a ladder which activists climb and then kick away once leadership has been attained.

The Labour Party and the trade unions should have by now called a second demonstration to ram home to the political establishment the simple message that voters will not tolerate a government which flouts every day democratic norms to stay in power no matter how many votes it loses in the House of Commons.

Call the rallies now. Send left leaders of the movement out to address them. Call a mass national demonstration now. Call on every Labour movement organisation to build for it. Break the bounds of the Parliamentary deadlock and give ordinary people the chance to shift the political spectrum to the left, open up the path to a general election, and win a left Labour victory.

The People’s Assembly held such a march earlier this year on the 11th of January.

Barely noticed, a  few thousand strong, it ended in confusion and fisticuffs between far-right Yellow Jackets and the ‘real’ Yellow Jackets of the demonstration (Hundreds of protesters have joined a ‘yellow vest-inspired’ anti-austerity march through central London this afternoon. The demonstration is organised by The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, which is calling for a general election. Metro.)

Understandably Rees is pleased when the only mass activity in sight has been the campaign for the People’s Vote.

He could have followed Socialist Worker which today describes the call for a Second Referendum by last Saturday million strong march, an ” anti-democratic outrage”.

Rees goes further.

He begins with claims that the march was set up by the wealthy to further the aims of the “overwhelming majority of big capital”.

It is a “middle class movement” with a “vanishingly small” union presence (where it was before it began to vanish is not described).

It is a “variant” of a “mild (as yet)” mass fascist or populist right wing” groundswell.

In other words, confusionist words, the Counterfire leader claims that the gentle anti-Brexit protesters  are manipulated by big business, the “elite”, “grandees” the “high Establishment” into something, which the expert in Dialectical Algebra can see: the beginnings of a “mass fascist or populist movement”.

Rees lectures, in the stentorian tones of somebody who he has spent his entire life in universities, that one should have a “respectful and engaged tone” to some of the demonstrators.

Like calling them part of a proto-fascist movement….

Perhaps Labour MP Clive Lewis could answer the learned dialetician best.

This is a racist Brexit, not fit for the 21st century but for the 19th century. That’s what it represents – deregulation, low taxes, imperialism 2.0. Don’t quote me on that: quote the former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.

..

One of the other things you might know as well is this. There aren’t that many black MPs supporting Brexit. Do you know why? We’ve got a bit of a spider sense when it comes to shit like this. We can see that Brexit wasn’t going to end well for us, for black people, when it has targeted EU migrants. EU visitors here – welcome, welcome comrades. You are comrades, not a bargaining chip.

..

I’m not talking about “Remain and reform”. I’m talking about “Rebel and transform”, to turn Europe into a global entity that can tackle climate change and rebuild this world.

Speech at the Left Bloc Rally at the start of the 23 March People’s Vote anti-Brexit demonstration. The Clarion.

 

Brexit, End Game and the Left.

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Related image

Brexit Publicity by British Tourist Board.

“Tout commence en mystique et finit en politique.”

Charles Péguy. Notre jeunesse.1910.

”Our central argument is that the various and disparate forms of discontent which led 51,9% of voters to vote Leave must not be allowed to fade away until the Brexit process is complete. This discontent is the emergency, which will power our programmes. If Brexit was fuelled, first and foremost, by a sense of the part of many of the British people that the political class had betrayed them, that sense of betrayal must be sustained. Indeed, it can now be focused more accurately since, with the reframing of Leave’s narrow majority as the ‘will of the people’, public anger will be turned most effectively on those members of the political and media establishment who can portrayed as frustrating that will…”(P 359 – 9)

Imperium Foundation. Middle England. Jonathan Coe 2018.

How long ago seems the aftermath of the Brexit vote. After the 2016 result, Roger Scruton talked mystically of the need for “conciliation”, the opportunity it gave to move towards, a decentralised economy, of the kind that existed in the nineteenth century and could exist again. The poet of identity in political communities continued, ”We must build the thing that the British people value most, which is place.” The pseudo people of Anywhere, the “metropolitan elites”, opined David Goodhart, had been answered by a “populist revolt” by the People from Somewhere. Susan Watkins, editor of New Left Review, chimed in, “Critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret these knocks to it, against which the entire global establishment – Obama to Abe, Merkel to Modi, Junker to Xi …inveigled.” (1)

Coming to the issue of identity, Eric Kaufmann observes, “What really distinguishes Leave from remain voters is their willingness to sacrifice economic benefits to cut immigration”. In their favourable account of national populism, Eatwell and Goodwin give legitimacy to fears about “hyper-ethnic change”. “We do not think the term “racism” should be applied solely because people seek to retain the broad parameters of the ethnic base of country and its national identity, even though this can involve discriminating against outside groups.” (2)

The Great Replacement.

The poetasters of national identity began to look, to those soaked in the traditions of nationalist European literature,  like a return to the themes of Maurice Barrès and “la terre et ses morts”, “la substance nationale” and hostility to cosmopolitan “dérancinés” In recent days the arch-theorist of a great identity replacement Renaud Camus has sprung into the public eye. The claimed threat of immigrant “colonisateurs” bringing “nocence” (harm and damage) to In-nocent Europe has inspired the most ignoble of reactions. (3)

Alan Thornett was perhaps the first to predict that a Yes Vote for Brexit would mean allow this “carnival of reaction” to flourish. Others, enlightened by Fintan O’Toole, recognise in Brexit, a “genuine national revolution against a phoney oppressor.” A burly figure, the ignored working class, was spoken for by the sovereigntist left. The cry for sovereignty, elaborated into a celebration of sovereign nations was, for some, the People’s Brexit crew,  the vehicle of a new socialist project. This prospect of a British Bolshevik Beacon, found a few takers when the economics did not just add up. British political sovereignty, run by the left, runs up against the need to trade, and the country’s embedded condition in a capitalist world, not the much overdrawn ‘neoliberal’ rules of the EU. Critics could point to the Irish writer’s insight into how mysticism had descended into politics. Behind Brexit, the real steam engine,  lay “Jacob Rees Mogg’s “sovereignty of the super rich and their right to escape.” and a scramble for Parliamentary power.(4)

Rhetoric and Reality.

The rhetoric about “elites”, “oligarchies”, and the political “caste”, has seeped from right to left. It is tempting to dismiss this as an unwanted revival of a strain of 19th century European socialism, hostile to representative democracy, looking for decisive leaders to sweep away the manoeuvres of Parliament and the forces of “financial feudalism”. The reappearance of the references to Rothschild, and newer name of George Soros, has echoes of one such ‘socialist’ diatribe against the “financial aristocracy”, Alphonse Toussenel’s Les Juifs Rois de l’époque (1886). Yet the programme of ‘Imperium’, that is the European Research Group (ERG) is indeed, as fictionalised  lightly in Jonathan Coe’s Middle England,  “to liberate Britain from the EU’s oppressive tax and other regulations and allow it to become a genuine free-trading country with its principle endeavours directed towards Asian and US markets.” It is that faction which is riding high in the Conservative Party. It is the motor behind a drive for the worst possible Brexit possible. (5)

In the (just translated) Le crépuscule de la France d’en haut, Cristophe Gilley hailed the Brexit result. It was sign of the ‘Marronage”, the escape of slaves, from the yoke of the establishment, a development he detected that was well underway in the Hexagon – as would underline as the Gilets Jaunes emerged. The British Somewheres, like “la France périphérique” had found a voice in voting for Sovereignty. No0 doubt Nigel Farage is leading them at this very moment towards the Great Wen. Eatwell and Goodwin suggest that the return to two-party dominance in 2017 is far from a new normal. It “may represent an unstable prelude to populist-right renewal.” (6)

There is one vehicle that can halt this in its tracks. The mass movement against Brexit, led, for the moment by the liberal centre, but backed by sections of the left, is a democratic challenge to the projects of the ERG. If, as Another Europe is Possible argues, it can reach deeper into the Labour Party and the labour movement, it may be able to head off Brexit. There is now everything to play for. Now. (7)

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  1. Pages 218, and 223. Where We Are. The State of Britain Now. Roger Scruton. Bloomsbury. 2017. The Road to Somewhere. The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics. David Goodhart. Hurst & Company. 2017.Casting Off? Susan Watkins. New Left Review. No 100. 2016.
  2. Page 201. White Shift. Eric Kaufmann. Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities Penguin 2018. Page 75. National Populism. The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. Pelican. 2018.
  3. Pages 281 – 283. Les Déracinés. Maurice Barrès. 1897. Gallimard. 1988. Le Grand Remplacement. Renaud Camus. 2012. Page 70. La Nocence, instrument du Grand Remplacement.
  4. Page 172 Heroic Failure, Brexit and Politics of Pain. Fintan O’Toole. Apollo. 2018.
  5. Page 359. Middle England. Jonathan Coe. Viking 2018.
  6. Page 248. Le crépuscule de la France d’en haut, Cristophe Gilley. Flammarion. 2017. Page 209. National Populism. Op cit.
  7. Another Europe is Possible.