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Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star) Denounces “Saboteur” Labour MPs and Calls for Hard Brexit, “on World Trade Organisation terms .”

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Image result for A people's brexit

Be Vigilant! Communists Warn of Labour MPs’ “sabotage” against Brexit on April the 12th on World Trade Organisation terms.

Communists condemn ‘saboteur’ MPs and demand April 12 EU exit

3rd of April.

Monday evening’s votes in the House of Commons confirm that a substantial number of MPs remain determined to bind Britain as closely as possible to the EU and its rules and institutions if they cannot stop Brexit altogether.

These MPs show utter contempt for the EU referendum result – the biggest democratic vote in our history – and make a mockery of their past pledges to ‘honour’ the decision made by a clear majority of voters.

A majority of MPs have no genuine disagreement with the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement which ties Britain to the EU Single Market in most goods, keeps us permanently aligned with the EU Customs Union through the unnecessary Irish ‘backstop’, maintains EU Court of Justice sovereignty in large areas of economic and social policy and pledges to pay the EU at least £39bn in a bogus divorce settlement.

However, a substantial number of these are also holding out in the hope of locking Britain permanently into a customs union or overthrowing Brexit altogether in a second referendum that would exclude a real exit from the ballot paper.

Tragically, many of these would-be saboteurs are Labour MPs who put their loyalty to the EU above any loyalty to democracy, popular sovereignty and the Labour Party.

Many are opposed to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and have no concern that by painting Labour as an anti-Brexit party they are jeopardising the prospects of a left-led Labour government. Some openly support the possibility of an all-party ‘national government’.

The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on World Trade Organisation terms and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.

That government would then be free to carry out Labour’s left and progressive policies, which include aid for manufacturing industry and mutually beneficial trade agreements with European and developing countries.

What, some wreckers and saboteurs might dare to ask, is a Brexit on WTO terms?

Brexit: What is the ‘no deal’ WTO option?

One of the terms that keeps cropping up in the Brexit debate is “the WTO option”.

If the UK left the European Union without a deal, it would automatically fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

So what would that mean?

First, the basics. What is the WTO?

The WTO is the place where countries negotiate the rules of international trade – there are 164 members and, if they don’t have free trade agreements with each other, they trade under “WTO rules”.

Which are?

Every WTO member has a list of tariffs (taxes on imports of goods) and quotas (limits on the number of goods) that they apply to other countries. These are known as their WTO schedules.

The average EU tariff is pretty low (about 2.8% for non-agricultural products) – but, in some sectors, tariffs can be quite high.

Under WTO rules, after Brexit, cars would be taxed at 10% when they crossed the UK-EU border. And agricultural tariffs would be significantly higher, rising to an average of more than 35% for dairy products.

The government has set out its plans for tariffs in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Its temporary schedule would mean that 87% of imports by value will be tariff-free, compared with 80% before Brexit.

There will be some protection for companies producing cars in the UK, farmers producing meat and the UK ceramics industry. The government has attempted to balance the benefits of free trade in getting cheaper products for consumers, with protecting the livelihoods of some UK producers.

Some groups, which claim to be on the left, still cling to the idea of a “People’s Brexit”.

The Full-Brexit supporting Counterfire publishes today this;

Neoliberalism and Brexit: why Brexit is about more than just Brexit

“Brexit is about more than just Brexit” says Dragan Plavšić, “it’s about the wider crisis of neoliberalism and the long-diminishing authority and standing of the British state and ruling class.”

However, if Corbynism is indeed to be true to the discontented mood shift of which it is the most authentic expression, then it has to advocate a Brexit – a People’s Brexit – that provides a future Labour Government with the necessary freedom to undo the destructive and devastating effects of forty years of neoliberalism. A People’s Brexit is therefore the only real alternative to the neoliberals who wish to leave the EU or remain in it. A general election is feared by them all; the sooner we have one the better.

Most people will have forgotten what a ‘People’s Brexit’ was ever meant to be – and Plavšić does not enlighten us in this reheated rhetoric.

But Counterfire has published articles arguing that WTO rules are better than the EU’s,

“The WTO Red Herring

WTO anti-subsidy provisions are a completely different kettle of fish from EU state aid rules – being far narrower in their scope, far less stringent in their implementation and fundamentally different in how they operate.

The radical case against the single market is no myth February 2019. Reuben Bard-Rosenberg.

So the ‘left’ Brexit or People’s Brexit camp has adopted versions of the Tory ‘Hard Brexit’ position, with the UK negotiating free trade deals with other states through the World Trade Organisation.

There is the minor problem that not only does this prospect go against present Parliamentary votes,  Labour policy, and the views of nearly all but the fringe of the fringe of the Party, but that it runs up against this prospect:

UK cannot simply trade on WTO terms after no-deal Brexit, say experts

The UK will be unable to have frictionless, tariff-free trade under World Trade Organization rules for up to seven years in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to two leading European Union law specialists.

The ensuing chaos could double food prices and plunge Britain into a recession that could last up to 30 years, claim the lawyers who acted for Gina Miller in the historic case that forced the government to seek parliament’s approval to leave the EU.

It has been claimed that the UK could simply move to WTO terms if there is no deal with the EU. But Anneli Howard, a specialist in EU and competition law at Monckton Chambers and a member of the bar’s Brexit working group, believes this isn’t true.

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Communist Party of Britain, “under siege”.

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British Communists “under siege”.

The Morning Star is in a huff.

Like P.G Wodehouse’s Scotsman with a grievance there is no hiding this behind a beam of sunshine

The bid to mark communists as illegitimate, sinister forces is a bid to isolate the Labour left

It is fine to criticise (and rightly too!) Tony Blair, “associated with launching foreign wars” and Gordon Brown, “lumping the NHS with disastrously expensive PFI contracts” not to mention “serial election-loser Neil Kinnock” but not the tender skinned Communist Party of Britain and its esteemed organ (sorry, Co-operative of all the left) the Morning Star.

Marshelling the youth in their support  Ben Chacko states,

Hundreds of thousands of predominantly young people wishing to get involved in politics for the first time have been met by powerful Establishment insiders with ridicule and slander.

This is, as they say, no accident:

The attacks have often sought to delegitimise the Labour left by associating it with a supposedly unacceptable non-Labour left. In 2015 and 2016 the mass membership were often accused of being Trotskyist infiltrators.

More recently attacks have focused on whether Corbyn is a Marxist and which of his allies can be accused of being communists.ore recently attacks have focused on whether Corbyn is a Marxist and which of his allies can be accused of being communists.

To state the obvious: the anti-capitalist left in the form of the Communist Party and various other socialist parties has not been large enough in the recent past to have significantly infiltrated Labour or be responsible for either of Corbyn’s victories. And yes, some allies of Corbyn who are now in Labour have come from those traditions.

And who might they be?

Our newshounds will find out!

Er…

As for the lengthy defence of the domestic record of the old CPGB, which for reasons which are not explained, the writer claims exclusive rights to for the faction known now known as the CPB, which kept control of the Morning Star.

Their intentional commitments are equally celebrated.

We recall this:

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And as for referring to (unnamed) individuals from the Communist tradition, let us not pass by this chap,

Next Tuesday is the 120th anniversary of the birth of Josef Stalin… A socialist system embracing a third of the world and the defeat of Nazi Germany on the one hand. On the other, all accompanied by harsh measures imposed by a one-party regime. Nevertheless, if you believe that the worst crimes visited on humanity this century, from colonialism to Hiroshima and from concentration camps to mass poverty and unemployment have been caused by imperialism, then [Stalin’s birthday] might at least be a moment to ponder why the authors of those crimes and their hack propagandists abominate the name of Stalin beyond all others. It was, after all, Stalin’s best-known critic, Nikita Khrushchev, who remarked in 1956 that ‘against imperialists, we are all Stalinists’.”

Andrew Murray. 17 December 1999). “Eye’s Left”Morning Star.

As for the rest of the think skinned article, few would disagree with these intentions:

We need to strengthen what remains a fragile advance by broadening our perspective to that of the labour movement. We need to develop areas of union militancy to ensure the movement as a whole becomes more combative: the New Deal for Workers initiative promoted at the TUC by the CWU, Unite and GMB unions can do exactly this.

We need to fight together in community-based anti-austerity campaigns like the People’s Assembly, making it a visible presence in towns and cities.

And we need to be pushing for local Labour parties and allies to ready themselves for elections, whether local or general, by mobilising the membership around the many excellent policies Labour has — without saying that they are enough or there are not still weaknesses in its programme — to begin addressing our broken economy and refusing to allow contempt and abuse from Westminster to divert us from our purpose.

The Morning Star is trying to report on and agitate for that labour movement advance. Despite the abuse we received for a free distribution (thanks to support from the CWU and Unite unions north of the border) at Scottish Labour conference — abuse which included a Times columnist offensively comparing it to the Conservatives allowing distribution of a BNP paper — we remain a paper of the movement, with 10 trade unions — representing a majority of Britain’s trade union members — on our management committee. And that movement needs to fight in unity. At the moment we are under siege.

The bid to mark communists as illegitimate, sinister forces is a bid to isolate the Labour left.

For some reason, which escapes me, the Morning Star, proud of its pro-Brexit stand, is quiet on the issue at the heart of every political discussion at present.

The fight is on for a People’s Brexit.

Roger Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, writing in the Morning Star, states,

 ..we must promote it with our allies wherever we can over the next two months, in local communities and the labour movement. And in the campaign that lies ahead, we should emphasise that opposition to the EU comes not only from the right. We have the joint declaration signed by 28 Communist and workers’ parties condemning the EU, pointing out that it is “unreformable” and urging instead the construction of a workers’ and people’s Europe.

Perhaps the Morning Star might consider that this promotion has ruffled more than a few feathers.

Whingeing about being “under siege” is not going to change that.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 14, 2019 at 1:35 pm

After Theresa May’s Defeat on EU, Labour still stuck in ‘Negotiations’ for a Better Brexit.

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May’s Deal Defeated: Back the Left Bloc for a People’s Vote!

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking in the House of Commons after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated by 149 votes.

“The government has been defeated again by an enormous majority and it must accept its deal is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House.

“No Deal must be taken off the table. We’ve said that before and we’ll say that again.

“The House has got to come together with a proposal that could be negotiated. The Labour Party will put forward that proposal again.

“The Prime Minister is threatening us all with the danger of No Deal, knowing full well the damage it will do to the British economy.

“The Prime Minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her. It’s time that we have a General Election and the people can choose who their government should be.”

Corbyn’s lack of support for a Referendum, and the absence of any other possibility than future – endless – “negotiations” – is deeply disappointing.

Corby, his inner circle, and their supporters, lack any positive perspective on Europe.

At first sight they might as well be spouting this strategy, aimed at fuelling Labour Party internal fighting:

Nothing but a general election can change this. Either extending Article 50 or holding another referendum only gives the Tories more time to govern without governing. The Tories are facing an existential crisis – but that can only be exploited through a general election. A general election would give Labour the possibility of winning a majority to put forward its vision for Brexit, but also to immediately put an end to austerity.

It’s a disgrace, but unsurprising, that at this time when there is the best-ever possibility of getting rid of this failing Tory government, Tom Watson and his Blairite cabal are intent on wrecking Corbyn’s leadership. The left inside and outside the Labour Party must unite to defend Corbyn and push for a general election now.

Counterfire.  Shabbir Lakha. May’s Brexit deal is dead: we need a general election now

“In the Guardian Michael Chessum unravells today the details of Labour’s Strategy, which is not just a call for an election but is, he argues, entangled in a plan for a Common Market 2.0.” which is if anything, even more of a dead end.

Why Labour must not fall for the charms of a Norway-style deal

For the group of shadow cabinet ministers and prominent union leaders who have spent months pushing back against the idea of a fresh public vote in spite of party policy, there are sharper, more factional benefits. Soft Brexit would deny their opponents on all wings of the party, and in the grassroots, a victory.

But it would be a profound mistake for Labour to go down this path. Soft Brexit is the least popular policy with the public. It would oblige the UK to take all of the rules and regulations – including the state aid rules so often cited as problematic by pro-Brexit figures on the Labour left – while abandoning a seat at the decision-making table. The only people who think that this outcome would “deliver the result of the referendum” are remain voters desperately attempting to triangulate out of the situation.

The common market 2.0 position has been sculpted carefully by a cross-party group of former grandees from both main parties. It is not backed by anything like a grassroots movement. Unlike the movement against Brexit, it has organised no massive marches, no campaign of motions through party branches, no stalls and door-knocking in the rain. If a Norway-style Brexit deal does eventually win out, it will be because it commands the support of the Westminster bubble. It will neither solve the material problems that caused the Brexit vote, nor satiate anyone who voted for it.

Pause.

Some of the strongest supporters of the present Labour line, are in favour of Brexit, pure and simple.

Their “vision of Brexit” is, like Counterfire’s a “People’s Brexit”. Free from being a “colony” of the EU rivers of gold will flow,  austerity will be ended and Britian will become a socialist beacon for the rest of the world.

The Communist Party of Britain, which Corbyn adviser on Brexit, Andrew Murray supported until a couple of years ago, even backs the hardest of Brexits.

‘Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms’, Communists propose.

cpb brexit sticker

But what of Common Market 2.0?

At first sight it appears a reasonable strategy – setting aside the issue of why go to the trouble of leaving the EU only to remake the old Common Market.

On second sight there is this to get over, not least for the loyal supporters of Corbyn:

Image result for common market 2.0

Here is the summary:

The UK needs a Plan B.

One that can be negotiated quickly.

One that both Leavers and Remainers can back.

One that delivers on the referendum result.

That plan is Common Market 2.0

known as ‘Norway Plus’ by Michel Barnier.

It’s the only alternative plan that the EU might sign up to at this late stage

It’s the only alternative plan which might win a Parliamentary majority

It’s the only alternative plan that would protect jobs and preserve the Union of the UK

The plan has numerous critics.

The most obvious is the following,

Critics of the plan – including People’s Vote campaigners – said “this ship sailed some time ago”.

Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “Some people believe the Norway model is as simple as signing up to Netflix, it isn’t. Negotiations would be as complex as the last two years and result in the same challenges. Norway shadows the ECJ, it pays more fees into EU countries as part of its settlement per capita than Britain currently does for full membership, and Norway is very honest about the downside of taking rules whilst having little influence over their making.”

He added: “It’s now clear there is no form of Brexit, including this one, that can fulfil all the promises made for it. And there is no Brexit deal, even this one, that is as good as the deal we’ve got inside the EU.”

‘They think it’s like signing up to Netflix’ – Plan for Norway-style Brexit alternative criticised

Michael Chessum continues,

There is now a mass movement against Brexit. October’s People’s Vote march was the biggest demonstration in Britain since the Iraq war, and it could be eclipsed by a much larger one on 23 March. An army of campaigners, many of them new to politics and instinctively on the left, are leafleting, running stalls and knocking doors all over the country. This is a movement whose demands are supported by the overwhelming majority of Labour’s members, including those on the left – despite the prominence of establishment politicians within the official People’s Vote campaign.

On paper, a Norway-style deal might not look like the worst outcome. Many remainers would be relieved to have close ties to Europe and to retain free movement. But for Labour, delivering a Brexit of any kind will be ruinous. It would demoralise the Labour membership, and hand a stack of ammunition to Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents on the right of the party and in the Independent Group. It would fail the test of delivering the referendum for anyone who voted leave.

For Labour, there is now only one option: to join the mass movement and fight for the big ideas, not the Westminster fudge.

As Left Unity have pointed out, the only way forward is with our comrades on the European left, to “remain and transform” the EU.

The EU is as much a terrain of struggle for socialists as the individual capitalist states which comprise it.  The radical left in Britain needs to build on the emerging struggles by Europeanising and internationalising the fightback.

Socialists should still oppose Brexit: Remain and Transform!

 

 

 

Blue Labour, Aaron Banks Funded Labour Leave and ‘Trade Unionists’ Against the EU, ‘Marxists’, Plan Rallies on “Transforming Britain after Brexit.”.

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Blue Labour , Aaron Banks Funded Labour Leave and ‘Trade Unionists Against the EU’, and ‘Marxists’ Launch Speaking Tour.

Left Unity has published an excellent article.

Socialists should still oppose Brexit: Remain and Transform!

Craig Lewis and Len Arthur demolish Lexit attempts to dismiss the damaging effects of Brexit on the economy. Trade relations are central to the functioning of an internationally integrated capitalist production process. Socialists cannot afford to dismiss the impact of Brexit on trade.

The also tear apart this claim: “Staying within the single market will prevent a Corbyn government implementing key aspects of its “radical” programme. “

They state:

In a widely quoted report for the Renewal journal, Andy Tarrant and Andrea Biondi have undertaken a detailed analysis of claims that EU rules would present significant barriers to Corbyn’s industrial strategy. They looked at each of Labour’s economic proposals in the 2017 manifesto (26 in total).  17 would not fall within State Aid rules at all. 7 potentially do, but these would be exempted under current EU law. Only 2 measures would need to be reported under existing regulations and these could be structured to comply. With regard to nationalisation they suggest that little of Corbyn’s agenda would be affected, and point to the far higher proportion of public ownership in other EU countries.

The strategy Lewis and Arthur advocate is widely shared:

The Remain-supporting radical left must fight alongside those within the Labour Party and wider campaigning groups who seek to commit Jeremy Corbyn’s party to a policy of delaying Brexit to secure a second vote or a General Election. In doing so we should argue boldly for a “Remain and Transform” position.  We do not support a “people’s vote” to maintain the status quo in Europe.  The EU is as much a terrain of struggle for socialists as the individual capitalist states which comprise it.  The radical left in Britain needs to build on the emerging struggles by Europeanising and internationalising the fightback.

Internationalism also needs to be an integral part of the socialist case and action in the UK. Defending these politics is what this response is all about and in practice, on the issue of the EU working with others through organisations such as Another Europe is Possible, to ensure that the socialist case for remain and fighting for a social and democratic EU is made as opposed to the ‘business as usual’ case being promoted by others. Just as important is the active defence of working class action across Europe, against the attacks of neoliberal governments such as that of Macron in France; opposing the rise of the right, for example the AfG in Germany; and supporting social and human rights, such as the vote against the anti-abortion laws in Ireland.

The full piece should be read:

Here we review and update the socialist case against Lexit outlined in an article on Left Unity’s website last year. The article was a response to a piece by Costas Lapavitsas in Jacobin magazine in May 2018, setting out a case for Labour to pursue a hard Brexit under WTO rules. Since then Lapavitsas has developed his critique of the EU and support for Brexit in his new book (Lapavitsas 2019).

Bearing in mind the following point, “Left Unity notes the “extent to which sections of the Labour and far left have accommodated to right-wing nationalist ideas.”

The following sentences caught our gimlet eyes:

He (Lapavitas) will be the key speaker in a series of meetings planned for the run up to Brexit Day on March 29, organised by leading Lexit groups and figures including the Communist Party of Britain, Counterfire, Tariq Ali, the Guardian’s Larry Elliot and, bizarrely, Baron Glasman of Blue Labour: Transforming Britain after Brexit.

Indeed but the gathering is worse, a lot worse, than just the individual appearance of Glasman.

The tour is launched by the Full Brexit.

 

The list of Shame:

Tariq Ali
(New Left Review)
Paula Barker
(NW UNISON Regional
Convenor, personal capacity)
Chris Bickerton
(Cambridge University and The
Full Brexit)
Grace Blakeley
(New Statesman)
Kim Bryan
(Socialist Labour Party …..need we say more….)
Manuel Bueno Del Carpio
(Aaron Banks Funded, Trade Unions Against the EU)
Ben Chacko
(Editor, Morning Star)
Brendan Chilton
(General Secretary, Aaron Banks Funded Labour
Leave, “Leave.EU also secretly funded Labour Leave, the programme claimed, citing emails that suggested three staff members and office costs were paid by Banks. Guardian. 8.3.19)
Larry Elliott
(Economics Editor, The Guardian)
Paul Embery
(Anti-Migrant, anti-Multiculturalism,  Blue Labour, Trade Unions Against the EU)

John Foster (CPB, Scotland)
Lindsey German (Counterfire)
Maurice Glasman
(House of Lords, Blue Labour,
and The Full Brexit)
Bill Greenshields (CPB)

Moz Greenshields
(Derby TUC)
Malcolm Gribbin
(Trade Unions Against the EU)
Martin Hall (Counterfire)
Ian Hodson
(President, Bakers Union)
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Feyzi Ismail
(SOAS, University of London)
Jacqui Johnson
(Trade Unions Against the EU)
Lee Jones
(Queen Mary, University of
London, and The Full Brexit)
Kevan Nelson (UNISON NW)
Doug Nicholls
(Trade Unions Against the EU)
Chris Nineham (Counterfire)
Bob Oram (Morning Star)
Peter Ramsay
(LSE, University of London,
and The Full Brexit)
John Rees (Counterfire)
Arthur Scargill (SLP)

Richard Tuck
(Harvard University, and
The Full Brexit)
Sarah Woolley
(Bakers Union, Leeds)

This funding scandal remains:

Lexit and Brexit collaboration-what did the Morning Star know?

John Rogan.

And who did Banks deal with regarding this funding? Another extract from “Bad Boys…” (31 Jan 2016) –

Arron Banks is currently under investigation by the Electoral Commission for funding of Trade Unionists Against the EU (£54,000) and other organisations. Some more background to this can be found here and here.

A few days ago this came out, making the claim about Labour Leave’s funding by Aaron Banks.

Labour Leave (Channel Four)

The Banks organisation also funded an office, computers and paid for staff working for Labour Leave, a group that claimed it was “funded and staffed by Labour, Trades Unions and socialist Society members.”

Labour Leave did not declare any donations from Leave.EU or the Banks organisation.

The emails suggest that at least three prominent members of Labour Leave were also paid by Banks’s organisation. They include the former Labour MP and trade minister Nigel Griffiths, Brendan Chilton, the General Secretary of Labour Leave. and the Head of Communications, Olly Huitson.

Mr Huitson and Mr Griffiths told Channel 4 News they had expected the payments to be declared by the relevant organisation.

Mr Huitson said he worked for Labour Leave only and understood that his costs would be treated as a non-cash donation from the Banks organisation. They were not declared.

In an interview, John Mills, the Labour donor who ran Labour Leave, admitted he had failed to properly declare the office costs to the Electoral Commission. But he insisted Labour Leave was an independent organisation, and not controlled or directed in any way by Arron Banks or Leave.EU.

He said: “We were our own people, we ran our own ship, we had our own money. He did not provide any cash for us at all. He may of employed some of the people we did and paid them but they were separate from anything that was authorised expenditure by Labour Leave.”

So we have a series of meetings bringing together Counterfire, New Left Review, The Morning Star, Arthur Scargill, the Communist Party of Britain, magic money soveriegntists,  Benittes in their second youth, Blue Labour, anti-multiculturalists, raving patriots, and Labour Leave, who are embroilled in a scandal about extensive far-right funding, not to mention the other recipients of Banks’ money, Trade Unionists Against the EU.

What a shower!

Channel 4 News can reveal that Labour Leave is under investigation by the Electoral Commission.

 

The Pro-Brexit Labour Gatekeepers, From Milne to McCluskey.

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There is anger in the labour movement that a small group of pro-Brexit people are making party policy on Europe.

The Observer reported on Sunday that,

A senior union source said McCluskey seemed to be trying to bypass Labour party and TUC policy, which was to insist on a customs union and close involvement in the single market. “History will damn the treacherous moves to sideline the rest of the trade union movement and frustrate Labour party conference policy,” said the union official.

“He and his allies in the leader’s office haven’t made it a secret that they want Brexit to happen, but to do a secret deal behind the movement’s backs to get it done is shocking even for them.”

 Ana Oppenheim, an organiser for the leftwing anti-Brexit movement Another Europe is Possible, who is also active inside the pro-Corbyn grassroots movement Momentum, suggested any Labour MPs who refused to do all in their power to block May’s Brexit should be deselected.

“This is an existential moment for the left,” she said. “The Tory Brexit deal will mean a huge expansion of border controls and will open us up to unprecedented economic deregulation. If Labour MPs cannot unite to block it, they shouldn’t be Labour MPs. Members have mechanisms to choose MPs who actually represent the Labour movement, and we would encourage them to use these.”

Then there was this: in Private Eye yesterday:

There are claims that Corbyn has difficulty dealing with anybody with disagrees with him.

The highly articulate and focused Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit secretary, would normally be expected to have been at the meeting with the Prime Minister.

But apart from the differences PE outlines he is reported to back free movement, something the Lexit (pro-Brexit) left are dead against.

Having the unelected Milne in such a strategic position at the Downing Street and inside the Party means – the anti-Brexit internationalist left alleges – that attempts from inside the labour movement to reach a deal are reaching a critical point.

Shiraz posts today,

McCluskey’s Brexit manoeuvres

Four union leaders, including Len McCluskey of Unite, had one-on-one talks with the PM in Downing Street last month.

McCluskey is seeking commitments from May that would give some Labour MPs an excuse to back the government in the next “meaningful vote” on Brexit. That could allow Brexit to proceed without Jeremy Corbyn being held responsible by Labour’s anti-Brexit rank and file.  “The unions are at war given Unite’s attempt at a side deal,” an unnamed “senor union figure” told the FT, adding “and people are suspicious that it’s being nodded through by the leader’s office.”

Milne already has a programme for UK self-sufficiency:
Image result for the 4 M's Seumas Milne Maoist manifesto winchester

Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Review: In Defence of Bolshevism. Max Shachtman.

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IDoB cover

“The force of things and the behaviour of men have contradicted all Lenin’s optimistic forecasts, his hopes in a superior democracy as much as his semi-libertarian ideas expressed in the State and Revolution and other writings of the same period, at the dawn of the revolution. Nothing in the individual theses of Trotsky has stood the test any better, in particular his wordy and abstract theory of the ‘permanent revolution’.”

Boris Souvarine, Stalin. A Critical Survey of Bolshevism, 1939.

The labour movement is striving “to renew and reconstruct itself in politics”, writes Sean Matgamma in his Introduction (The Labour Movement and Bolshevism) to In Defence of Bolshevism by Max Shachtman. (Purchase here.) How can this take place? The AWL’s best-known activist¬writer observes that many who identify with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership have “no conception of socialism at all as the negation of capitalism.” Most Corbynistas are enthusiastic and open¬minded people. It would be a mistake to patronise them. But some, the observer of past left wing surges states, may be first of all looking for a career in politics, think tanks and NGOs. Predictably there is plenty of flotsam and jetsam floated in the “social media age”.

A half-thought out “anti¬imperialism” linked to “absolute anti¬Zionism” has become a minefield of “left anti¬semitism”. There are “posh Stalinists”, close to the party chief, who reheat a Boy’s Own view of the gallant Soviet Union fighting Fascism. Socialism in One Country reappears behind efforts to portray Brexit as a working class revolt against elites. And, let’s not forget, in cyberspace, there are over-educated Corbyn supporters. Some see capitalism’s replacement, through Nick Land’s “accelerationism”, pushing forward immanent tendencies, as re-worked by Aaron Bastani, into “fully-automated luxury communism”.

British Labour Movement.

The opening essay, “The British labour movement and Bolshevism” is a settling of accounts with those who have returned to politics after Corbyn’s win and who have been supporters of the British “toy¬town Bolsheviks”. The “Little Great Men” of the far-left have considered their groups the revolutionary Party. One stands out. The Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) was sold to the “Libyan government and secret service”. Their state sponsored hatred of “Zionism” lingers on, in some cases through those who had been directly associated with the WRP such as one¬time London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, Matgamna’s sketch of the history of let-wing opposition to the European Union is also highly relevant.

This became a defining feature of the 1970s Broad Left (alliances of Labour left and the Communist Party of Great Britain, CPGB). An early version of a People’s Brexit, the Alternative Economic Strategy (AES) advocated “an amalgam of World¬War¬Two¬style state controlled ‘siege economy’ and Stalinist models of planning, but linked to bourgeois¬democratic liberalism”. (p.43) At present the Morning Star and its supporters, including advisers to Jeremy Corbyn, are fixated on the last point, asserting national sovereignty against “Brussels”.

This is not the centrepiece of In Defence of Bolshevism. To open a dialogue with Corbyn supporters and talk about socialism Matgamma offers the practice of the Bolsheviks in the years immediately after the 1917 Revolution. They created a “democratic class dictatorship exercised by the elected workers’ councils…” In this they are due honour amongst the “glories of the working class’s past”. The writer that is chosen to shed light on the Bolshevik achievement is Max Shachtman. For Sean Matgamna, the American one¬time leading figure in Trotsky’s Fourth International was the founder of “heterodox” Trotskyism.

Shachtman broke from Trotsky over the defence of the USSR when Stalin ordered the invasion of Finland in 1939. Shachtman’s current supported the judgement that the USSR under Stalin had become a new form of class society that could not be uncritically supported. The AWL has convincingly argued that this turned out not to be anything “new” but a blood¬stained historical by¬way in capitalist development, not any “transition” to socialism.

Marxism.

Under the Banner of Marxism, the main polemic reprinted here, was, as Alan Johnson indicates (Solidarity 5.12.18), directed against an attempt by Ernest Erber to trace the origins of Stalinist totalitarianism in Lenin’s political theory and practice. Most people, including this reviewer, will have never heard of Erber, or his split from the Shachtman group, which was a small minority within a small minority of Trotskyists on the already marginal American left. What is the importance of the writings from this dispute?

This document, and the articles also included in the book from New International and Labor Action, offer an independent defence of Bolshevik practice in 1917 and the immediate aftermath. They are clearly of their time and place. This is not entirely a bad thing. Shachtman was concerned not just to teach “muddlehead “ Erber a thing or two, with echoes of the purple prose of Engels’ Anti¬Dühring and Lenin’s “polemical” style. The heterodox Trotskyist that he was at this point aimed to stand against “apostates” who moved from revolutionary socialism to an acceptance of the “American Way of Life” and who “identify Stalinism with Bolshevism”. His pages are concerned with the “bourgeois struggle against socialism.” In other words, he stood up for Marxism and communism at the onset of the Cold War.

A wide range of quotations from the writings of Marx and Lenin supports the defence of the Russian revolution. His authorities include the Communist Manifesto, and AntiDühring. Lenin’s State and Revolution is cited to defend the power of the Soviets against the Constituent Assembly. The Soviet type of state is the best “genuine democracy”. As for the Bolshevik dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, elections in nation-wide ballots are no great shakes. “Like the prettiest girl in all of France, universal suffrage cannot give more than it has.” (p.127)

Shachtman is a relentless user of the argument “by circumstances”. This blames any repressive anti-democratic action of the Bolsheviks when Lenin was at the levers of power on conditions beyond his, the Bolsheviks’, and the democratic soviets’ control. Lenin gambled. They were “summoned to hold the first revolutionary citadel against frenzied and maddened besiegers until the relief columns of the Western proletariat could be brought forward” (p.175).

Bolsheviks Eliminated Workers’ Democracy.

One may accept that the alternatives to the Bolsheviks in that fight were worse without having a present need to join the defence on the battlements. Russia, telescoping democratic and working class stages of the uprising together, did not just fail to trigger any successful socialist revolution in Europe. It did not just set the path for the rejection of democratic representative forms, as Johnson rightly point out. It did not only, from early expulsions and splits and moral annihilation, turn to the policy of physically eliminating opponents. The Bolshevik leadership eliminated workers’ democracy in the Soviets themselves.

Inside the workers’ movement the Bolsheviks assumed the right to lead the proletariat above the wishes of wage earners. In June 1918 the All¬Russia Soviet CEC decided that the Left and Right Socialist¬Revolutionaries, and the groups of the Mensheviks, should be deprived of their mandates in the Soviets. They resolved that, “all soviets of workers’, soldiers’ peasants’ and Cossack deputies remove representatives of these fractions from their midst”. In these conditions it is a bold claim that Soviets run in the early 1920s — under Lenin’s rule — exclusively by one party plus “non¬party Bolsheviks” were a model for workers’ democracy and socialist practice.

Whatever the misdeeds of their political opponents, how could any different opinion be expressed freely without opposition parties? How exactly can socialist forms of the economy be run without open democratic debate? The purge included those, Mensheviks, who had been comrades in the same Russian Social Democratic and Labour Party (RSDLP) as Lenin, a party marked by a remarkable “freedom and an openness that was known to no other working¬class organisation of the time and has certainly had no equal since the rise of Stalinism.” (p.202) Sean Matgamma states, “The Bolsheviks did not say the last word on socialism. If there is a last word, it has not been said yet. But they said much that socialists now need to heed, learn, remember and work to apply in our conditions.” (p.68)

Indeed. Some socialists, including Corbynistas, explain the crack down on opposition by the disastrous Maduro regime in Venezuela and the repression in Nicaragua on the grounds that these “citadels” have to be defended against imperialism. They might learn from the Bolsheviks that eliminating democratic institutions is nothing but a deviation from the road to socialism.

Solidarity.

30th of January 2019. 

“Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms” – the Story Behind the Communist Party of Britain’s Call.

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Communist Party of Britain Brexit Sub-Committee.

Britain should leave the EU on March 29, liberating a future Labour government from EU Single Market rules and trading with EU and other countries on WTO terms if necessary, Britain’s Communists declared at the weekend.

At the first meeting of its new Executive Committee elected at the 55th Congress, the Communist Party said that the ‘pro-EU Tory minority regime’ and the EU Commission could not be trusted to reach any withdrawal agreement that did not serve the interests of big business and the capitalist class.

‘Locking Britain into the EU Customs Union would make any such agreement even worse’, Robert Griffiths explained, ‘because it would outlaw import regulation to protect strategic industries such as steel, while also impeding a mutually beneficial fair trade policy with developing countries’.

Britain’s Communists urged the labour movement to reject ‘anti-democratic manoeuvres’ to extend Article 50 in order to delay and possibly cancel Brexit. Instead, the CP executive called for a ‘People’s Brexit’ to leave the EU, its Single Market, Customs Union and new pro-NATO military structures so that a left-led Labour government will be free to pursue left and progressive policies that benefit the workers and the people by investing in transport, the environment, housing, productive industry and public services.

‘Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms’, Communists propose

Communist Party calls for Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms (The independent Daily Paper of the Left, the  Morning Star).

The Morning Star has  yet to track down the insider’s account of the reasons for this call, and even the highly rated Skwawkbox has not, so far, published the ‘low down’

But the Newshounds of Tendance Coatesy are hot on the story that has rocked Britain’s left.

Our investigative reporters suggest that the announcement may be a sign of these possibilities:

  • The CPB has made the barking announcement so that anything, absolutely anything, Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne suggest for  Labour’s Brexit plans,  will look reasonable.
  • The Party has decided to follow Chantal Mouffe’s Left Populist strategy of hegemonically uniting  Gammon discursive articulations, with the most advanced sections of the labour movement,  through a chain of equivalences, in a People’s Brexit.
  • The WTO, as identified by cde Aaron Bastani, is the most advanced form of capitalist accelerationism whose rules will ensure the swift coming of total luxury communism –  faster than Novara Media’s Griffin farms in Norway.
  • Roger Griffiths and his mates have never got over the 1970s Alternative Economic Strategy and its protectionist proposals.
  • The CPB actually believes this load of old cobblers.

The Central Committee of Tendance Coatesy is in permanent session debating our response.

On a serious note, it seems that the CPB is prepared to throw the Irish people to the Unionist wolves.