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Eddie Dempsey Affair latest turn: Owen Jones attacks “caricature of working-class identity.”

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Red-Brown Front Defends Dempsey.

For those who do not know Eddie Dempsey is a virulent supporter of Brexit. He has participated in the red-Brown Full Brexit, which brings together Spiked supporters and members of the Brexit Party (including James Heartfield, candidate for Nigel Farage in Islington North), Communist Party of Britain members, Leave Labour, Blue Labour, anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaign and leader of  Arron Banks funded Trades Unionists Against the EU, Paul Embery, Counterfire, Funny Money sovereigntist  Thomas Fazi, Wolfgang Streeck, New Left Review Stalwart and a ‘left’ national populist, Prof Costas Lapavitsas, of a Greek leftist micro party, backers of the Socialist Labour Party (Scargill’s lot) and many, many, even odder balls and lot, and lots, more Spiked writers.

Spiked carried this story in March,

Why we’re campaigning for a Full Brexit

Bob From Brockley analysed this red-brown front:

One LM initiative in the post-Referendum period was “The Full Brexit”, an avowedly left-wing pressure group launched in the summer of 2018 to reframe the Brexit narrative as one about “democracy” rather than just bashing immigrants. Alongside a smattering of Blue Labour social conservatives and Lexit Marxists, a good half of its 20 founding signatories are RCP network members. Academic Chris Bickerton has been a Spiked contributor since 2005, when he was a PhD student at St John’s College, Oxford. Philip Cunliffe, Furedi’s colleague at the University of Kent, is another long term Spiked activist. Pauline Hadaway, another academic, is a veteran of the Living Marxism days. James Heartfield was a paid RCP organiser. Lee Jones seems to have been recruited at Oxford around the same time as Bickerton. Tara McCormack is an RCP veteran, as is Suke WoltonBruno Waterfield write for Living Marxism. Other signatories aren’t part of the network but have been promoted by Spiked: Paul Embery and Thomas Fazi for example (Fazi is also connected to the 5 Star Movement and recently retweeted an antisemitic tweet from someone with “Nazbol” in his user name). Many are also involved in Briefings for Brexit, which has several RCP veterans on its advisory committee, and some are involved with Civitas. This is a peculiar form of left-right crossover politics.

The RCP then played a key role in the creation of the Brexit Party, again providing “left” cover for a deeply right-wing project. Otto English in Byline Times documents how, in February 2019, a film-maker, Kevin Laitak, a disciple of Furedi, began turning up at local Leavers of Britain groups, telling campaigners that he was making a short film about rank-and-file Brexiters. He then recruited activists who might consider standing for the new BXP, who were then called by a woman called Lesley Katon. Katon told would-be recruits that she was the co-founder of a group called ‘Invoke Democracy Now’, whose activists, English notes, included Claire Fox, as well as Luke Gittos, the legal editor of Spiked, Brendan O’Neill, its editor, Living Marxism alumni Tessa Mayes and Munira Mirza, and Mick Hume, former editor of Living Marxism (for more on Invoke Democracy Now, see Colin Lawson). Katon herself has several LM connections, and among the candidates emerging from this process were In addition to her client Claire Fox; Katon’s colleague David Bull who spoke at a Spiked event in 2003; James Heartfield, a long-time RCP cadre; Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, a former RCP activist and Spiked contributor; and in Scotland long time Spiked writer Stuart Waiton. Of these, only Fox was placed high up enough a regional list to get sent to Brussels.

Dempsey came to people’s attention when he spoke at a Full Brexit event.

Amongst the fall out from this speech was this.

For daring to criticise Dempsey Clive Lewis had this to face:

Clive Lewis expelled from RMT parliamentary group for ‘defamatory’ attack on Eddie Dempsey

Then there was this:

Ash Sarkar just No Platformed a pro-Brexit trade unionist

The middle-class left gets more ridiculous by the day.

The middle-class left gets more ridiculous by the day. Today, Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar announced she has pulled out of speaking at an upcoming People’s Assembly demo, apparently because she couldn’t bear to share a platform with pro-Brexit trade unionist Eddie Dempsey.

Spiked commented,

Bourgeois ‘leftists’ have No Platformed a working-class trade unionist. All because he supports Brexit. There could be no better example of how detached these people are from real radical politics and working-class interests.

The Morning star echoed Spiked:

RMT’s Eddie Dempsey calls for unity against Boris Johnson after ‘no-platform’ bid by Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar

Despite his enthusiastic participation in this Red-Brown front, set up by Spiked, Dempsey makes this bald-faced claim.

Today sees this released:

This is a core section,

A few weeks ago, both me and Novara Media editor Ash Sarkar were invited to speak at a rally organised by the People’s Assembly. As it turned out, I’d double booked, but I was lobbied particularly by BME activists to withdraw, which Ash quickly did. The reason: the presence of RMT activist Eddie Dempsey, who once argued that “the one thing that unites” those who turn up at Tommy Robinson protests “is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.” Now we socialists have our own critique of the “liberal left” — principally their support for market economics — but that is not what Tommy Robinson supporters (or “fascists”, to use shorthand) hate them for. No, it is for having perceived anti-racist, pro-migrant, anti-Islamophobia politics.

What makes it even more egregious is that Dempsey folds anyone on the left who isn’t pro-Brexit into his “liberal left” category, including both myself and Ash Sarkar. We were expected to stand as an ally with someone who believes fascists are right to hate us. For those of us at risk of violence from Tommy Robinson’s fascist supporters for espousing our socialist politics — indeed the last People’s Assembly protest I spoke at, they surrounded me chanting “Jonesy as a homo” then attempted to punch me in the face — it is a lot to ask us to stand together as comrades and allies with an individual who believes these hateful thugs are right to hate us. (We’ve since been accused of ‘no platforming’ Dempsey, including by the right-wing libertarian Spiked website, and Sarkar was inundated with racist abuse: in actual fact, we simply disinvited ourselves — no-one is forced to share a platform — and turned down an offer by the protest organisers to remove Dempsey as a speaker).

Dempsey’s perverse argument rests on the assumption that Tommy Robinson’s supporters represent a meaningful, if wrongheaded, constituency of working-class Britain. It is a belief which should have been put to bed by this convicted fraudster, thug and grifter getting 2.2% of the vote in the North West during the European elections: most working class people detest this far-right businessman. An even more extreme worldview is expounded by Dempsey’s ally Paul Embery — a pro-Brexit union activist suspended by the Fire Brigades Union’s national executive — who opposes equal marriage, believing it alienates “traditional Labour voters”, opposes trans rights, and claimed that Labour’s demand for revoking Geoffrey Boycott’s knighthood on account of his domestic abuse conviction had “alienated the whole of Yorkshire.”

But this caricature of working-class identity is simply not based on the facts. Take Brexit: a debate often simplistically portrayed as Leave = working class, Remain = middle class. This is partly because of a ‘ABC1C2DE’ social classification system which has a lot to answer for: ABC1 lumps FTSE 100 board members in with public sector workers as ‘middle class’, while C2DE — which is weighted towards pensioners — is used as a working-class social indicator. But even using this profoundly flawed system, most working-class people under 35 and working class BME people voted for Remain. We are told that “the Labour heartlands voted Leave”: why Liverpool, Manchester or indeed London are excluded from “Labour heartlands” is not explained. Where does the Scottish working class fit in all of this?

Red-Brown Eddie responds.

 

More:

 

Here is another example of Dempsey’s activism.

Here

 

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The Village in Revolt. The Story of the Longest Strike in History. Shaun Jeffery. Review – the Burston School Strike.

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Image result for The Village in Revolt. The Story of the Longest Strike in History. Shaun Jeffery.

“…hard to recommend this thoroughly researched book on our labour movement more highly.”

The Village in Revolt. The Story of the Longest Strike in History. Shaun Jeffery. Higdon Press.2018.

On the first Sunday of September every year trade unionists, members of the Labour Party and other left-wing organisations, rally on Burston Village Green. Standing on the side is the Burston Strike School, now a Trust-run memorial. In the past years figures such as Audrey Wise, Tony Benn, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn have spoken to the crowd. The march around the flat village lanes, a “candlestick” is both a present-day labour gathering, and to celebrate what the historian of the Farm Workers’ Union, Reg Groves called, a “microcosm of the rural war” (Sharpen the Sickle! 1948).

On the 13th of May 1917 there was a great labour movement gathering. A “Great Eastern Railway special charter train from London Liverpool Street” writes Shaun Jeffery in his Introduction. It had brought around a thousand people to Burston. As they paraded with two bands, amongst union banners from the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union, and National Union of Railwaymen, Labour political figures and Sylvia Pankhurst, joined villagers and the children who attended the school. The opening of the Burston Strike School drew people from London, Norwich and across the country.

Replacing a temporary structure used since the walk-out began in 1914 it bore an “engraved tablet” writes Shaun Jeffery, “recorded for perpetuity just why they had all come to be there.” “Mr T. Higdon and Mrs A.K. Higdon were unjustly dismissed from the Council School of this village on the 31st day of March 1914. This building, was erected by public subscription to protests against the action to provide a free school, to be a centre of rural democracy and a memorial to the villagers’ fight for Freedom.”

Village in Revolt tells the story of the Higdons, Tom and Annie, and the Burston school strike, including their adversary, the Reverend Charles Tucker Eland. Shaun Jeffery charts the fortunes of the ‘National’, the agricultural labourers’ union, (NALU) to which “Tom’s own life was to be eternally tied” against the backdrop of the rise of militant union action in the years running up to 1914. The story takes us to socialism, “For decades” Jeffery’s observes, “Socialists in Norwich had been making various attempts to gain support in the surrounding villages”. By 1913 the Independent Labour Party, by then part of the Labour Party in Parliament, would draw up a “Rural Programme” and MP George Roberts would attempt to get a wages board for agriculture.

Tom and Annie lives, and their career as schoolteachers, were bound up with protests against rural squalor and exploitation. Before Burston they had disputes with the education authorities over “illegal employment of boys by the local farmers during term time”, that is, a clash with the local “squireachy” of parson and landowners foreshadowed the conflicts after their 1911 appointment in Burston.

The reader will perhaps sometimes feel that the cause of the friction and “little altercation” between the Higdons and their – powerful – enemies was not always one-sided. Rebutting the idea that they did not accept outside guidance, they showed “openness to informed advice”. Yet “Any accusation that the Higdons did not suffer fools in position of power who served themselves…would certainly be a charge harder to refute.” Nincompoops amongst their adversaries abounded. That one of the first charges against them in Burston was “non-attendance at church” followed by the same Reverend Eland, the rector, complaining that Annie was “Lighting fires without permission” casts darkness on their adversary’s behaviour. It ended in claims that the Head Teacher, Tom had been “discourteous” to the Managers, and that Mrs Higdon had beaten two Barnardo girls with a cane.

The Children’s Strike.

The details of the dispute are the work of the book. The Higdons were sacked, April the 1st 1914 came, and the children paraded with banners and cards with the words, “We want our teachers Back”. “Neither Violet Potter, nor any of the other senior scholars involved in the strike, could remember who exactly came up with the idea of taking the action that they had embarked upon”.

These opening episodes in the dispute take us from the Norfolk fields to wider conflicts. School strikes were ‘in the air’ across the country and, Jeffery’s suggest can be seen as a way in which “pupils and parents sought to assert community control over provided education” – perhaps a lesson for today when anti-community Academy schools exist. This dimension may help to explain why the wider labour movement gave backing, from the newly founded NUR (1913), to the more directly concerned Agricultural workers. Nor does The Village in Revolt neglect the most obvious of backgrounds, the Great War. “Tom Higdon was no militarist warmonger, but like many Labour leaders, such as his friend George Edwards, he had come to the conclusion that there was no other alternative but to enter the war.”

After the Armistice ambitious plans for the Strike School and national reforms in its wake did not happen. Tom Higdon was disappointed that a “great upheaval did not take place”. Yet the First Trade Union School in England was honoured as “living monument to the struggle against rural tyranny and for democracy”. In the post-war years, “Supporters that the Higdons hadn’t fallen out with would still visit and address large audiences in the green in front of the school”. Despite hard work for the cause of the agricultural workers Tom never rose to prominence in the labour movement. The Rally was revived in the early 1980s and continues to draw large crowds each year.

Both as an absorbing narrative and history The Village in Revolt is an unqualified success. It is hard to recommend this thoroughly researched book on our labour movement more highly.

More information: THE VILLAGE IN REVOLT – NEW BURSTON BOOK

Written by Andrew Coates

August 27, 2019 at 11:12 am

After Struggle Between “Trotskyist Method and Organisation” and “Petty Bourgeois Opposition” CWI is on the Way to Refoundation!

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Victors in Fight Against Petty Bourgeois Opposition.

Refounding the Committee for a Workers’ International on the basis of a Trotskyist programme and method

This document recalls the glory days of the 1953 split in the world Trotskyist Movement.

At an historic meeting held in London between July 22nd and 25th over 200 delegates and visitors to an international conference of the International Faction for a Trotskyist and Workers CWI took the decision to refound the Committee for a Workers’ International. Present at the meeting were delegates and visitors from England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, Finland, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Chile, South Africa and the USA. Unfortunately, comrades from South Africa and Nigeria who had planned to attend could not due to visa problems.

This decision has followed an intense debate and political struggle in the CWI over the last seven months. This political struggle has been fought between those represented at this meeting who defend the Trotskyist method and programme the CWI was founded on in 1974 and a petty bourgeois opposition. This opposition has taken a right-ward opportunist turn, buckled to the pressures of identity politics, turned away from conducting a systematic and consistent struggle in the trade unions and blunted the revolutionary socialist programme that the CWI and its sections have fought to defend.

Other views exist..

The Socialist Party, and before it the Militant tendency, has been a section of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) in England and Wales since 1974. The CWI is an international organisation based on the ideas and methods of democratic socialism, Marxism and Trotskyism, and further developed by the hard work and sacrifices of comrades across the world.

This includes 3 TDs (MPs) in Ireland, an elected council member in Seattle, and members fighting in the revolutionary movements in Sudan, Hong Kong and elsewhere. Sadly, after 45 years, the majority of the leadership of the CWI and England and Wales section have chosen to abandon the CWI and the bold ideas it was founded upon.

On Sunday 21st July, a Special Congress in London passed a resolution stating that the many members of the Socialist Party who still support the CWI, “will have to do so outside of the Socialist Party”. In reality, the resolution is a cowardly method of expulsion from the party, following a campaign of witch-hunts, bullying and lies against the majority of CWI sections.

This was all but confirmed when the SP’s Welsh Secretary said from the platform “goodbye and good riddance” to CWI supporters – a remark the leadership has refused to retract.

The majority of the SP leadership are running scared from a debate about socialist programme and tactics, only half way through an agreed one-year process of debate. Instead of having a discussion in the democratically convened leadership bodies of the CWI – the International Executive Committee and the World Congress (which all sides had agreed to) and risking losing a vote, they have chosen to expel the majority of the organisation and walk away with the resources, including hundreds of thousands of pounds, against the will of the majority of its members.

They have, in effect, attempted to enact the bureaucratic expulsion of the majority of the CWI: entire organisations and groups in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel/Palestine, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Quebec, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, Tunisia, and the USA from the CWI, as well as a majority of members in Germany and South Africa who oppose their plans.

Over 100 comrades in England & Wales, including a majority of active members in over a dozen key cities, stand together with the CWI majority in opposing this course of action. A meeting on 22nd July voted unanimously to refound the CWI in England and Wales, rejecting these bureaucratic expulsions and continuing to organise in the proud tradition of Militant in Britain – the traditions of socialist democracy and Marxism.

Further explanation and analysis will follow. We call on all Socialist Party members, and in the wider workers and social movements to join us in fighting for a socialist world!

One aspect of this dispute could do with some exploring.

The Socialist Party, the leading force in the CWI, and the self-proclaimed ‘victors’ in the battle, has a long record of its own identity politics rooted in opposition to the internationalist Remain side in the Referendum on the EU, and support for the Arron Banks funded Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU).

It is based on the spurious claim that the “real” working class, to which they have unique insight and feeling, back their assertion that the UK outside the EU would be on the path to socialism.

At present this political strategy is in tatters.

Lexit or a ‘People’s Brexit’, a kind of Care Bears version of Boris Johnson’s Trump-led Brexit is marginalised in the Labour Party, and clings on only in the stubborn assertions of a “Labour Party Spokesman” (who’s name is ) and the clique of Andrew Murray, Len McCluskey and other diehards.

  • The Socialist Party also stay true believers.

Writing in their theoretical journal, Socialism Today (July-August)  the Editorial warns against the “The people’s vote clamour.”

.some lefts like the journalist Paul Mason have now adopted the same stop Brexit position is a reflection of the broader evolution of such figures away from socialist ideas in a complex political conjuncture.

After this pompous assertion we learn that,

A rerun referendum – the capitalist establishment telling working-class leave voters they were wrong – would not be guaranteed to result in a Brexit reversal.

Nonetheless the people’s vote propaganda still has its purpose, above all within the Labour Party. It provides an allegedly ‘progressive’ cover for the right wing – deputy leader Tom Watson claims to “support the EU because I’m a socialist” – to build its base to move against Corbyn’s leadership when the time is right, either to sabotage a Corbyn-led government or form a new party.

Combating these agents of capitalism within the workers’ movement is the duty of every socialist.

No editorial from this crew would be complete with a final facile assertion,

The Tories’ Brexit travails are creating new opportunities for the workers’ movement and must be met with a clear programme for a socialist and internationalist opposition to the EU bosses’ club.

This is their own “clear” “socialist” and “internationalist opposition to the EU: the SP worked hand in glove with the TUAEU and it’s infamous Blue Labour, Spiked contributor, leader, Paul Embery – just barred from office from the FBU.

Here is Embery’s backing from a Brexit Party candidate:

Here is the Socialist Party’s own work with the same individual.

The socialist case against the EU: TUSC tour continues

London June 2016

“The Tory government could be brought down if Brexit triumphs” declared Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe to a packed London meeting of 120, part of TUSC’s 20-city tour ‘The Socialist Case Against the EU’ (now in fact 25 cities).

Paul Embery, London secretary of the Fire Brigades Union and national organiser of Trade Unionists Against the EU, pointed out: “The EU is rampantly pro-austerity and that approach has caused suffering throughout Europe, a collapse in living standards, the rise of the far-right and the decimation of public services.”

Critic of “rootless cosmopolitans” Paul Embery is pictured on this tour: (Cardiff 9th of June 2016)

The re-founded CWI was constituted on the basis of the first four congresses of the Comintern, the founding documents of the IV International in 1938 and the congresses of the CWI. The determination and confidence of those present and represented at this conference was reflected in the collection which raised over £25,000.

Just like the early years of the Russian Revolution!

The conference agreed that the International Secretariat will seek to convene a world congress in 2020 of CWI sections and groups that defend the programme of the CWI and also invite revolutionary socialist organisations which are committed to building revolutionary socialist parties based on the working class and which are prepared to discuss and collaborate on an honest and principled basis.

The International Secretariat of the CWI will publish a fuller report of this crucial meeting in London and material related to the debate which has taken place in the coming week which has crucial lessons for all workers’ and revolutionary socialists.

One lesson we have already learnt is that the Socialist Party, which campaigns to be an affiliate of the Labour Party, expels “petty bourgeois” opponents, and would no doubt like to throw out from the Labour Party anybody who is an “agent of capitalism”.

Or who looks at their Leader Peter Taaffe the wrong way….

Other documents emerge:

Spanish section of the CWI walks out

Statement from the ‘In Defence of a Working Class Trotskyist CWI’ Faction to all members of the CWI

Dear comrades,

At the meeting of the International Faction in London held on 27-28 March the Spanish and Portuguese delegations unfortunately walked out of the meeting. In a final declaration JIR made the completely false assertion that they were being excluded from the Faction because they had raised political differences.

At this meeting a series of important political differences arose. This followed a telephone conference which was held between the entire Spanish EC and members of the IS Majority on Friday 22 March. At the meeting comrades from Spain raised a series of differences relating to method, the decisions taken by the leadership of the England and Welsh section at the recent congress of their section and also a clear declaration of important differences relating to the analysis of the CWI regarding the lowering of socialist consciousness following the collapse of the Stalinist regimes and the consequences this had for the international workers’ movement at the time alongwith the extent to which these effects are still present today.

At the end of this telephone conference JIR made clear that these issues were of critical importance to the Spanish leadership. It was agreed that they would be discussed in more depth at the Faction meeting in London. This was done on the first day. In the debate important differences emerged in relation to socialist and political consciousness, the consequences of the collapse of the former Stalinist states and the analysis we have had on Venezuela and some other issues which JIR stated were fundamental questions. During his intervention JIR argued that these questions had not been sufficiently discussed during the process of unification and that the comrades had been “deceived”, something which is completely false. He declared that these issues would be reported back to a special Spanish CC meeting which would then decide on its attitude towards the Faction.

In informal discussion following the meeting between the Spanish, Portuguese comrades and Phillip Stott (Scotland) Clive Heemskerk (England and Wales) and Tony Saunois (IS Majority) JIR made clear that these differences were fundamental and implied that the comrades would recommend to the Spanish EC and CC that they leave the Faction. He also stated that this would mean it would make no sense to remain in the CWI.

It was agreed that he make a formal statement of the situation to the Faction meeting the next day. At that meeting he was asked to make such a statement and argued that firstly Peter Taaffe should reply to the discussion. This was not acceptable as the content of the reply would partly be dependent on the declaration made by JIR

This approach by JIR was a continuation of the ultimatist approach which unfortunately has been the approach adopted by the Spanish leadership throughout the CWI factional struggle. JIR eventually made a declaration protesting against the alleged methods used in the meeting and falsely claiming that the comrades were being excluded from the meeting because they and the Portuguese delegation had raised political differences. As Tony Saunois was responding to this declaration, refuting the allegations made by JIR, stating that we were prepared to continue the discussion on these issues the Spanish and Portuguese delegations walked out of the meeting.

The members of the Faction at this meeting reject the false claims that the Spanish and Portuguese were excluded for raising political differences.

At the meeting it was clear that the Spanish and Portuguese delegations were arguing in our opinion from an ultra-left and sectarian standpoint. The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction. However, in conducting a principled defence of the methods and traditions of the CWI against this trend we are not prepared to paper over or mask important political differences with the sectarian approach adopted by the Spanish and supported by the Portuguese leadership for the sake of opportunistic expediency in the factional struggle within the CWI. The Faction openly discusses political issues and, unlike our opponents, we do not hide any disagreements that may arise. The Faction was formed to defend a principled Trotskyist approach in opposition to opportunism within the CWI. Now a sectarian ultra-left trend has also emerged which we will also politically oppose.

Committee for a Workers International (CWI – Socialist Party) Splits and Expels “Petty Bourgeois Mandelism”.

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Image result for socialist party CWI

 

Struggle against “petty bourgeois Mandelism” creates international split.

This, some might say, bland announcement appears on the Socialist Party’s website.

Socialist Party conference reaffirms the CWI’s historic approach

It requires close reading to get to the gist of the important bits.

On Sunday 21 July over 200 delegates at a special conference of the Socialist Party (England/Wales) voted overwhelmingly, 173 – 35 with 0 abstentions, to sponsor an international conference to reconstitute the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI – the international organisation of which the Socialist Party is part).

This followed a nine month long international debate. Key issues included the central role of the working class in the struggle for socialism, the need for consistent work in the trade unions, the danger of making concessions to identity politics, and the importance of fighting for a programme which links the immediate struggles of the working class to the need for the socialist transformation of society.

In the view of the Socialist Party, and the majority of CWI members internationally, it is vital to defend the CWI’s historic approach to these issues in order for our international to be able to play a role in the struggle for socialism in the coming period.

..

To give in to the pressures created by the complications of the current situation, as a number of the CWI’s  previous co-thinkers have unfortunately done, is a fundamental error.

It is followed by these optimistic, some might suggest out-of-touch and wild,  claims.

At the present time our method has allowed us to orientate effectively to those mobilised in support of Jeremy Corbyn, campaigning for the removal of the Blairites and the transformation of Labour into a workers’ party.

We are pioneers of the fight against council cuts.

We play a vital role in the trade union movement, including our members playing a leading role in the rank-and-file National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).

At the same time we have built a significant base on the university campuses.

Most importantly, we are building a party based on a clear socialist programme, currently over 2,000 members strong, which will be able to play a vital role in the mighty struggles of the working class which are ahead.

Opposition to this “method” has come from the Non Faction Faction (NFF).

After the conference, in which it is said 9 sections of the CWI led by Taaffe’s Socialist Party) have expelled the other 31 they held their own rally attended by dozens.

Today we learn that scores of individual members have been expelled, in England and Wales, for opposing Peter Taaffe’s “reconsitute” line.

The NFF have set up a Fighting Fund to back their initiative to Refound the CWI.

One wonders how anybody who backed efforts to affiliate the hard-line pro-Brexit Socialist Party to Labour would now welcome a group bent on expelling members who disagree with the leadership.

Background to this dispute is given in these articles (extracts):

Pete Boggs.

The SP (Socialist Party) is holding a special conference on 21 July to discuss issues from the conflict in the international network linked to the SP (Committee for a Workers’ International, CWI), and a split looks likely.

SP doyen Peter Taaffe has formed a faction in the CWI, “In Defence of a Working-Class Trotskyist CWI”. They contend that the Irish section has moved into “petty-bourgeois Mandelism” through its work in its feminist pro-choice campaign ROSA and an overemphasis on students.

The “Non-Faction Faction” (NFF) in the SP, aligned with the majority in the CWI, charges Taaffe with bureaucratism and being unable to relate to the new wave of left-wing and liberation movements across the world.

Taaffe’s faction has a comfortable majority in Britain, and has been able to remove NFF supporters Sarah Wrack and Claire Laker-Mansfield as (successive) editors of the SP’s weekly paper and from the SP’s Executive Committee.

Evidence for the NFF’s claims of bureaucratism comes from an email sent in error by Taaffe- supporting CWI secretary Tony Saunois to every national section revealing plans to expel Taaffe’s opponents if they convened a meeting of the CWI’s leading committee.

From another well-informed activist:

Petty bourgeois deviations?

THE COMMITTEE FOR A WORKERS’ INTERNATIONAL (CWI) IN CRISIS

Monday 22 July 2019 Manuel Kellner

The CWI is an international organization in the Trotskyist tradition. [1] Its strongest national organization is the “mother party” Socialist Party in England and Wales. In the 1980s, when its members were still working in the Labour Party, then as the “Militant Tendency”, it gained great prestige through its fight against Margret Thatcher’s poll tax, among other things.

According to reports, this organization could be threatened with division. By all accounts ‒ and that is where the problem begins. We are dependent on “leaked” internal documents on the Internet, press articles based on them from other left-wing groups in the English-speaking world and a kind of Kreml-astrology. The CWI does not publicly discuss the differences of opinion that have arisen.

In particular, a 12-page text by Peter Taaffe (English member of the leadership of the CWI for almost 50 years) dated 15 January this year and entitled “In defence of a working-class orientation for the CWI” is available on the Internet. At the very beginning, heavy guns are fired at the CWI: “… the CWI is confronted with …tendencies towards petty bourgeois Mandelism”. [2] Above all, Taaffe accuses the Irish organization of the CWI of “abandoning the necessity of an organization based on the working class movement” in favour of “identity politics”…

Taaffe is obsessed with defeating “petty bourgeois Mandelites”…

Defence of a Working-class Orientation for the CWI Peter Taaffe for the International Secretariat (Majority).

It is necessary to call things by their right name. Barely a month has passed since the IEC and yet it is already quite clear that the CWI faces an opposition to the policies and programme of the CWI with tendencies towards petty bourgeois Mandelism. This opposition originated with the leadership of the Irish section, but it is also present in the leadership of a number of sections of the CWI who support them. This is most prominently displayed in the recent lengthy Greek Executive Committee’s resolution written by Andros P, which represents an open political retreat from the policies and analysis of the CWI.

This is a complete apologia – both organisational and political – for the false methods, policies and perspectives of the Irish organisation.

We have characterised this as representing substantial concessions to ‘Mandelite’ political positions on identity politics, the abandonment of the need for a revolutionary organisation based upon the movement of the working class and the internal regime and democracy of the revolutionary party, and the revolutionary programme and perspectives that flow from such an approach.

Ernest Mandel ( 1923 – 1995) was a greatly respected, and liked, leading figure in the main international Trotskyist current represented in the Fourth International.

In total, he published approximately 2,000 articles and around 30 books during his life in German, Dutch, French, English and other languages, which were in turn translated into many more languages. During the Second World War, he was one of the editors of the underground newspaper, Het Vrije Woord. In addition, he also edited or contributed to many books, maintained a voluminous correspondence, and went on speaking engagements worldwide. He considered it his mission to transmit the heritage of classical Marxist thought, deformed by the experience of Stalinism and the Cold War, to a new generation. And to a large extent he did influence a generation of scholars and activists in their understanding of important Marxist concepts. In his writings, perhaps most striking is the tension between creative independent thinking and the desire for a strict adherence to Marxist doctrinal orthodoxy. Due to his commitment to socialist democracy, he has even been characterised as “Luxemburgist”.

As a young member of the same Fourth International as Mandel (in the International Marxist Group, IMG) I read many of Mandel’s articles, pamphlets and books. In the International Marxist Group, and the wider left, his influence was important. From books, such as The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx (1971), Late Capitalism (1975), the Leninist Theory of Organisation (1970) to From Stalinism to Eurocommunism (1979) Mandel played a significant role in shaping the thinking of the left – even those who disagreed with his (open-minded) Leninism and Trotskyism.

Taaffe is fixated on the way Mandel (and the FI) related to what was initially called the “new mass vanguard”. This was the FI’s was of describing  the radical left that broke from traditional social democratic and Communist leadership in the 1960s on issues such as the Vietnam War,. In the 1970s, the “new social movements” that emerged in the wake of the events of 1968 existed at a time (above all in the UK) with mass worker unrest and anti-fascist and anti-racist struggles, including the emerging black movement. Other issues emerged, more associated with the intelligentsia, such as the Second Women’s movement, which came to interact with struggles in the unions.

It is true that Mandel’s wing of Trotskyism, across Europe, was receptive to the issues of feminism and gay rights, and later, developed innovative ideas about green politics. Unlike the remnants of traditional Trotksyism who, when they finally recognised them, spent their time trying to control these forces, this tendency tried to grapple with their autonomy as well as the need for unity.

The IMG was one of the forums in which many of these activities and debates took place,  in a period when Taaffe’s progenitors in Militant dismissed feminism as middle class, “petty bourgeois”, supported the self-organisation of women comrades and published Socialist Women. The group was open to the debates created by the path-breaking Beyond the Fragments by Sheila Rowbotham, Lynne Segal and Hilary Wainwright (1979). This widely read pamphlet, subtited Feminism and the Making of Socialism, contained, amongst other ideas, a critique of the leaden form of top-down political organisation represented by Taaffe’s little band of always-right comrades guided by their “perspectives”.

The IMG also backed those who became involved in wider movements such as the Abortion rights campaigns of the 1970s.

The highly regarded IMG comrade Leonora Lloyd was a leading light in the new wave of the women’s movement.

This is the record of the comrade, which speaks for itself.

By 1975, Leonora was living in Harrow, and was a member of a socialist women’s group. When it was learned that the anti-abortion Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child was planning a local public meeting, the group organised a picket and got in touch with other women’s groups. The result was the formation of NAC.

Abortion law had been reformed in 1967, but the anti-abortion lobby was mounting well-resourced campaigns, and Scottish Labour MP James White was introducing his abortion (amendment) bill, which would have seriously curbed the numbers of legal abortions. NAC was launched at a major London rally and Leonora was central to it from the beginning. As NAC full-time coordinator from 1983 to 1993, she campaigned against White’s bill, and the others that followed. She spoke at meetings, debated on radio and TV, organised demonstrations and lobbied MPs. She didn’t ignore routine either; stuffing envelopes, phoning, photocopying. No task was too daunting, no task beneath her.

A stalwart of the left, she played a key role in the birth of the women’s movement (Liz Davis. Obituary 2002)

 

The contrast with the Taaffe faction’s stand on the Irish campaigners on the same issue does not need underlining.

The main issue is that the SP does not believe in working in campaigns which they do not control and would prefer to run isolated front organisations that they can tell what to do, rather than engage in broad movements

A final point on the IMG.

While the majority, and particularly the tendency this writer was part of, was influenced by the largest section of the Fourth International (the wing called at time the Unified Secretariat (USFI) the French Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (now the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste)  and Mandel himself, there was never a sense of being led by a senior party (like the SP…) or a unique guiding figure (Taaffe).

The idea would have seemed ridiculous.

Here is one of many tributes to ‘petty bourgeois’ Ernest Mandel.

The Life and Struggles of Ernest Mandel

Comrade Mandel had weaknesses. He made mistakes. But he had a great capacity to admit his errors and to take the necessary steps towards correcting them. He was dedicated to building the revolutionary party, no matter how modest its starting point, because of, as he taught us, the essential importance of programme and revolutionary method. But he was also and at the same time oriented to the masses, to the big struggles of our century. He had no patience for sidelined commentators, for abstract critics, for sectarians of any stripe. His last work is a polemic against sectarianism, which you can read in BIDOM.

I will quote only the closing paragraph, a stanza that is really more about empowerment and socialist humanism, in the face of difficult obstacles. And I appeal to each person here. If you agree with these words, join us. Your place is with us, in Socialist Action and the FI, in the fight for a better world.

Ernest Mandel wrote these words: “Do not succumb to despair, resignation, or cynicism, given the terrible odds we all have to face. Do not retreat into “individual solutions” (the flesh pots of the consumer society are still open for some, be it on a much more restricted basis than before) … Never forget the moral commitment of all those who claim to be Marxists: the intransigent defense of the interests of the exploited and the oppressed on a world scale, everywhere, all the time.

“Never content yourself with pure propaganda activities. Never forget the initial and final commitment of Marx: The philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

 

 

 

The Groans and Wails of the Lexit Left Overs.

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‘Left’ Brexiters Gnashing their Teeth.

If you want to read some sense see this excellent article by comrades Alena Ivanova & Ana Oppenheim.

Labour’s Brexit shift is a victory for the grassroots left, not centrists in suits

This is their conclusion,

Ultimately, we believe that Labour policy should be decided by members, not in backroom meetings. That’s why, at this year’s conference, we will be ready. Already, 300 CLPs are debating the model motion promoted by Another Europe Is Possible, Labour for a Socialist Europe and Open Labour. If it passes, it will commit Labour to opposing Brexit outright, fighting the nationalist and xenophobic narrative of the Leave campaign, and building transnational alliances to implement a left-wing vision for Europe. It is with this kind of radical, optimistic agenda that Labour can regain the trust of its own members and supporters, win the next general election and start transforming society.

But, it being the summer holidays, the few remaining believers in a People’s Brexit prefer to get away from the hurley-burly of cloud cuckoo land and take a break in the virtual reality of  Lexit Front.

The Morning Star put its own unique spin on Labour’s new stand,

A Labour source told the Star: “Past the media excitement, there’s not much to be said — it’s just restating our stance, with the new line about remaining against a Tory crash-out.

“The trick will still be negotiating a good deal once we’re in charge, though.”

Which did not stop one of their supporters putting his own twist on the story:

The Full Brexit welcomed this article in the Morning Star

 

 

This is from the ‘left-wing’ – that is Red-Brown Front  – the Full Brexit’s own material,

“All democrats should support The Brexit Party in the European Parliament elections. But that does not mean it is the answer to the deep problems of British politics.”

Peter Ramsey. May 2019.

Our Parliament of Liars must be stopped in its tracks: all democrats need to vote for The Brexit Party at the European elections. But this can only be a stop-gap.

James Heartfield explains why he’s running for The Brexit Party – to defend democracy from an intransigent political establishment.

These seem representative examples of further confusionism from the Red-Brown Front (re-tweeted by George Galloway)

 

It’s hard to tell if this is a parody or not.

Or indeed hard geezer who likes to make your flesh creep, Eddie Dempsey’s comment is, er, like, for real.

The campaign against rootless cosmopolitans continues:

And the pillars of the Red-Brown Front hope to recruit.

Labour Leave looks as if it’s joined the Red-Brown Front:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 10, 2019 at 4:27 pm

Union Leaders Step in the Right Direction to Shift Labour’s Policy Against Brexit.

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Image result for brexit UNITE

UNITE Makes Welcome Step Towards Action to Deal with this.

The Morning Star, Monday, 

Editorial:Beware misleading narratives on Labour

Momentum activist Holly Rigby made a convincing case today that a second referendum could mean the end of the Corbyn project even if Labour won an election. But winning that election would be far harder if Labour decide to take on the Tories as the party of Remain.

Remain supporters claim that the public’s position has shifted significantly on Brexit, but evidence suggests otherwise.

The European elections were a disaster for Labour and the Tories, but the Brexit Party topped the poll. Arguments that if you compile all the pro-Remain parties’ votes they outmatch the Leave ones depend on how you define those categories. Even if Labour is counted as a Remain party for the sake of the experiment, the difference in tallies is marginal and becomes meaningless when we consider that two-thirds of eligible voters stayed away.

What a difference a day makes!

The BBC today, Tuesday,

Trade union leaders have reached a common position on Brexit following a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn.

The bosses of Labour’s five-biggest affiliated unions back a referendum on any deal agreed by the Tory government or a no-deal exit from the EU.

They are calling for voters to be given the option to remain in the EU and expect Labour to formally back remain.

If Labour wins power in a general election, they want a “confirmatory vote” on any new deal negotiated.

However, Labour’s stance in a referendum campaign in these circumstances would “depend on the deal negotiated”.

The Guardian, reporting on the events,

Labour is poised to declare it will campaign for remain in a second referendum on any deal put to parliament by a Conservative prime minister, after trade union leaders including Unite’s Len McCluskey backed a change of policy.

The joint position agreed by the unions on Monday would not commit Labour to an explicitly pro-remain position in all circumstances: unions also agreed Labour should seek to deliver a Brexit deal if the party won an election before the UK left the EU.

That Labour deal would also be put to a public vote, but the party would not commit to campaigning for remain against its own Brexit deal, throwing into doubt what Labour would offer in any snap election manifesto.

One senior shadow cabinet source described it as a significant win for remain campaigners, despite the potential lack of clarity.

“Unions have backed a referendum on any deal this parliament and Labour campaigning for remain – that’s a big victory. What’s in a manifesto is a debate for another day,” the source said.

Barring any major intervention, the surprise consensus among trade unions including Unite, GMB, Unison, Aslef and Usdaw is likely to force any remaining sceptics to agree to the new position when the shadow cabinet meets on Tuesday.

Several shadow cabinet sources said the policy had the hallmarks of being approved by the Labour leader’s office and said it “would not be watered down” – though some shadow ministers are likely to push for an even stronger position.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, who has regularly clashed with Jeremy Corbyn over the party’s Brexit position, tweeted: “Remain is who we are. Our values are remain, our hearts are remain. Today is a step in the right direction but members and supporters are clear that any kind of Brexit gives us less than we have now and Labour should not support it.”

 

More reaction:

Anti rootless cosmopolitans had their say:

The declaration includes the principle of negotiating a new Brexit deal should Labour win an election and then, no doubt in the belief that this will be achieved with all the advantages that a Jobs and Rights Brexit could obtain, according to some (that is, pro-Brexit forces in UNITE), be then put to the electorate.

Looking at this in more detail:

Image may contain: text

 

Politics Home picked this up:

However, the door has also been left open to the possibility of Labour campaigning for Brexit if it wins a snap election and then manages to negotiate its own deal with Brussels.

..

The first one states: “The Labour Party should confirm that whatever deal is negotiated by the new Tory Prime Minister or an exit based on no deal should be put to the people in a public confirmatory vote.

“The options must be: 1) accepting the deal or a Tory no-deal in the knowledge of its terms; 2) Remaining in the European Union.

“In this event, the Labour Party should campaign to remain in the European Union.”

However, the second scenario envisages a snap election in which Labour’s manifesto would commit to renegotiating the Brexit deal.

If Labour won and reached a new agreement with Brussels, that would also be put to the people in a fresh referendum.

The options would be to either leave on the terms agreed by Labour, or staying in the EU.

Bizarrely, the trade union document leaves open the option of Labour possibly campaigning against its own deal.

It says: “The Labour party’s campaign position on such a ballot should depend on the deal negotiated.”

A Labour source insisted the party had not agreed on a formal Brexit position.

“Jeremy is working to unite the party and wider labour movement around a common agreed position,” said the source.

This Blog is not convinced that UNITE has wholly abandoned this position,

A Brexit that works for working people

Unite’s campaign for a jobs first Brexit

Or this,

UNITE has not posted anything on the above Brexit Check site since April.

It is to be strongly suspected that some will attempt to weave this stand on Brexit into the Labour negotiation, no doubt in the belief that the Party has superpowers to agree on a form of left Brexit, Lexit.

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…