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Brexit Bolsheviks of Counterfire Join Galloway and Skwawkbox Attack on John McDonnell’s “Flirtation with the Right.

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Counterfire  Cadres with an Old Friend.

And perhaps finds a new one:

A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:

They want to rig the referendum and disenfranchise four million Labour leave voters by forcing them to choose between Boris Johnson’s bad deal and remain, instead of the credible deal that Conference agreed only last month – not to mention millions of other sensible leave voters who want to leave on decent terms.

And of course, it’s a slap in the face for the millions of Labour and union members who voted at Conference to back Jeremy’s plan. They’ve boxed Jeremy in and isolated him from his team – and now this.

Skwawkbox now recommends this list of heroes, including Kate Hoey, to stop the rot,

Coming to the rescue?

In March this year, the Commons voted on a motion to hold a new Brexit referendum – and it was heavily defeated. If Labour’s largely centrist remainers, emboldened by the power grab in ‘LOTO’ last week, try to force a referendum on Boris Johnson’s bad deal, the Labour MPs who voted to defeat the March motion – many of whom then wrote to Corbyn urging him to reject a divisive referendum – are:

  • Kevin Barron
  • Ronnie Campbell
  • Sarah Champion
  • Rosie Cooper
  • Jon Cruddas
  • Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Caroline Flint
  • Yvonne Fovargue
  • Stephen Hepburn
  • Mike Hill
  • Kate Hoey
  • Dan Jarvis
  • Helen Jones
  • Kevan Jones
  • Emma Lewell-Buck
  • Justin Madders
  • Grahame Morris
  • Melanie Onn
  • Stephanie Peacock
  • Dennis Skinner
  • Ruth Smeeth
  • Laura Smith
  • Gareth Snell
  • John Spellar
  • Graham Stringer
  • Derek Twigg
  • Tracy Brabin
  • Julie Cooper
  • Judith Cummins
  • Gloria De Piero
  • Chris Evans
  • Mary Glindon
  • Andrew Gwynne
  • Carolyn Harris
  • Mike Kane
  • Stephen Kinnock
  • Ian Lavery
  • Liz McInnes
  • Jim McMahon
  • Ian Mearns
  • Lisa Nandy
  • Jo Platt
  • Paula Sheriff
  • Jon Trickett

Counterfire  joins the anti-McDonnell fray:

With friends like this: John McDonnell’s flirtation with the right is damaging and inexcusable

The non-Labour groupuscule  Counterfire, which controls the Stop the War Coalition and the People’s Assembly, writes,

The article begins with an account of the Labour position on Brexit, which few understand, and certainly not those who’ve tried to sell it to the public.

But bear in mind, Coutnerfire supported Brexit, seeing as an opportunity to turn the slogan “take back control” into a mass progressive movement.

They repeated this during this year’s Labour conference,

Labour need to distance themselves now and go into the coming election arguing for a Brexit in the interests of working people. Only by doing that can it free up space to talk about everything else.

Labour’s Brexit slide September 2019.

Keep focused on that. Beneath the dripping with contempt sentences, that all the comments on McDonnell’s conciliatory remarks about Alastair Campbell is this opinion,

Thankfully the recent Labour conference rejected proposals to push the party even further down a divisive and high-risk ‘Full Remain’ path.

Writes the Full Brexit Bolshevik Alex Snowden.

The piece continues,

McDonnell failed to articulate the compromise position adopted at Conference, undermining it by suggesting that a referendum happening before a general election is a real possibility. This is yet another example of the policy-by-media approach perfected by his shadow cabinet colleagues Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer, both of whom are known for exerting political pressure via comments during media appearances, irrespective of what Corbyn might be saying or what Labour conference may have voted for.

The Brexit Bolsheviks go in for the kill,

Such rhetoric has the effect of downplaying the importance and urgency of a general election. Meanwhile, the status of Brexit is enhanced: suggesting that a referendum could take precedence over an election reinforces the centrality of Brexit to British politics.

Whatever McDonnell’s intentions might be, that strengthens the forces of liberal centrism (embodied by Campbell) against a Left that seeks to overcome Brexit divisions in favour of class politics and a left-wing platform. It emboldens Boris Johnson and the Tories who want to trap Labour in a narrative that cynically pits Johnson as the people’s champion, upholding the democratic will, against an obstructive Remainer parliament.

One can only imagine McDonnell’s reaction to the patronising conclusion,

McDonnell has made important contributions to the renaissance of socialist politics in recent years, but his latest interventions point in the wrong direction. It’s time to get back on track.

These are the forces, hostile to socialist internationalism, that Counterfire has joined.

 

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Labour Left Alliance Dominated by Sectarian in-Fighting.

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The Weekly Worker Supports the “Labour Left Alliance.”

The Labour Left Alliance had a sectarian pitch from the start.

The Weekly Worker, the paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) has published a report on the how the newly formed group fared in Brighton by a member of its Labour ‘front’, Labour Party Marxists, Carla Roberts.

As far as can be seen this is the only account of what is, in their view, an important meeting.

One small step forward

The Labour Left Alliance held its first national networking meeting in Brighton. Carla Roberts of  Labour Party Marxists reports.

The meeting was held in Brighton, after the end of the Labour Conference.

In this world the Labour Party debate on the EU and Brexit was of minor importance, as indeed were other policy issues – they are not mentioned apart from a brief mention of the vote in favour of free movement.

The event was dominated by one topic, “a vicious campaign against the anti-witch-hunt left had led to the cancellation of various venues booked by Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt and the Labour Representation Committee”. A related issue of disciplinary procedures is covered at length.

For those interested the CPBG (Provisional Central Committee) member Tina Werkman gave much to ponder on about the subject.

Labour Left Alliance claims 1,400 supporters of their “Appeal”.

A helpful suggestion was made by a leading member of Labour Against the Witch hunt, expelled from the Labour Part,.

Tony Greenstein, a member of the newly established Brighton Labour Left Alliance, admitted that his proposal was more of a “stream of consciousness” born out of the desire to move forward quickly. He suggested that the LLA should swiftly establish a membership structure and start employing a part-time worker to move the organisation forward.

Background on Greenstein:

Statement by Jewish Labour Movement:

Example of his harassment – in this case a Jewish Brighton Labour member.

Image result for tony greenstein zionist bitch

His view of Jeremy Corbyn:

The Weekly Worker then carries an attack on comrade Andrew Berry, a respected figure on the left.

The most bizarre intervention was made by Andrew Berry of the LRC. In his three minutes, he solely argued against a comrade who had earlier congratulated the LLA on its hastily produced leaflet, ‘Shun Tom Watson’.

This is why:

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He is duly admonished,

 Andrew Berry thought we were “fooling ourselves if we think this has anything at all to do with the LLA or its leaflet” (which he opposed). With this negative attitude we will never build anything worthwhile.

Sharpening the class struggle the meeting decided,

To approach all prospective Labour Party candidates with the simple question, ‘Will you support Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister?’ and then publish their answers to help comrades decide which candidates they should be campaigning for. Not a bad idea, in our view.

A pro-active approach is certainly better than the empty calls for ‘unity’ we have heard from the ‘moderates’ or the self-defeating view that, unless we “win”, we should not even try to fight.

The once widely read Weekly Worker also carries this account of the present political crisis by ‘Jack Conrad’, known in real life as John Chamberlain.

Establishment at an impasse

“While Boris Johnson may well hanker after an illiberal democracy, Jack Conrad warns that parliamentary deals, calls for a caretaker government and campaigning for a second referendum are worse than useless.”

It finds time, lengthy time, to attack comrade Paul Mason.

Clearly Mason relishes his new-found role as a ‘blue skies’ thinker for the liberal middle classes, but presumably he cannot resist scandalising the old-fashioned Trotskyites who still inhabit the Labour Party.

Welcome to the Labour Left Alliance comrades!

Written by Andrew Coates

October 5, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Socialist Worker says Labour should, “not give into Right” and back Remain in the EU.

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Image result for socialist workers Party Lexit Brexit Referendum poster

Don’t Give Into Right and Oppose Brexit Says SWP.

Sometimes, happy days, not to say,  months, you forget that the SWP exists.

But the pro-Brexit far-left is still there.

They show no signs of regretting their furious campaign for the – Hard Right – Brexit.

It’s one of the best kept secrets in politics that the SWP have thriven and recruited in the mass people’s movement to take back control and support Brexit.

As they  said, ““The outcome of the referendum represents a revolt by millions of working class people against years of austerity and economic decline”. Socialists and the Leave vote—a (brief) reply to Sean Leahy

They added, ” how can things possibly get worse?”

As Johnson’s plans wreak havoc they say, “Nothing to so with us. We are revolutionary socialists and can’t share the blame for anything.”

Hobson chose for them, and they cannot be blamed for their choice, actions, or vote.

Tory plan for Brexit is a threat to ­two million EU migrants

Latest Socialist Worker.

Whether you voted for this or not we should all defend migrants’ rights writes Tomáš Tengely-Evans.

Anti-racists—whether they voted Racist Leave or Remain—have to fight to defend and extend freedom of movement.

(Note: some of this may have been slightly rewritten).

The same Socialist Worker has this:

Corbyn’s confusion over the European Union emboldens the right

Labour has been caught in a bind since the EU referendum in 2016. Many working class people—the people it looks to for votes—support leaving the EU.

But a vocal set of right wing Labour MPs want to push the party towards opposing Brexit.

They support the EU because they like its pro-privatisation, pro-austerity rules that look after big business.

They’re increasingly cheer-led by prominent left Labour supporters, and backed by the Labour Party’s membership.

The Labour left now largely sees backing Remain as the only progressive response to the Tories’ racist, right wing version of Brexit.

The SWP offers this advice to Labour,

The anti-austerity, radical-sounding message that worked so well for Labour in 2017 is at risk of being drowned out.

Where demonstrations and action on the streets against the Tories could have dominated, opposition has focused on parliamentary manoeuvres and inter-party wrangling.

This is the right’s terrain—the left is always weaker on it.

The bulk of Corbyn’s speech on Monday—attacking austerity and tax cuts for the rich, promising more for ordinary people—got almost ignored by the press.

The longer Corbyn spends giving into the right over the EU, the more he allows them to set the agenda and sideline left wing politics.

People may have noticed that the article says “The Labour left now largely sees backing Remain as the only progressive response to the Tories’ racist, right wing version of Brexit.”

Some might observe that they are claiming that we are “cheering”  on the right.

In the heat of the struggle, in the exuberant mobilisations to “take back control” and back Brexit, the SWP can perhaps be forgiven their annoyance at the pro-remain left.

Nobody could possibly accuse them of stinking opportunism in seizing on this effect of their vote and claiming that they opposed it all along:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 21, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Jacobin’s European Editor Says ‘Haha” When Rival leftist Physically Assaulted.

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This is the story that inspired the hilarity.

A statement by Mark Osborn about an incident of physical violence at a meeting of Lewisham Momentum (15 August 2019).

A further series of unpleasant attacks on left activists aligned with Workers’ Liberty took place at the Lewisham Momentum meeting held on Wednesday 14 August.

The most serious incident at this Momentum meeting was that Bill Jefferies of Ladywell ward, Lewisham Deptford CLP, physically attacked me. He hit me on the chin and grabbed my throat, in the hall outside the meeting room as the meeting was breaking up. He is 10cm taller and 40 kg heavier than me.

I’m okay, as always. But my chin still hurts and there’s a mark on my neck.

Full statement via above.

Broder (David Broder@broderly @jacobinmag Europe editor) has deleted the tweet but his admirers, watching like ‘awks, noticed it.

Broder’s work for Jacobin on the international left is renowned.

He is a keen supporter of Mr 6,3% (the score of Mélenchon’s rally, La France insoumise, LFI,  in this year’s European Elections).

We look forward to Broder’s sympathetic coverage of the revolutionary patriotism behind this latest decision by LFI, their invitation to Thierry Ardisson, a ‘constitutional’ Monarchist, to star at the summer school.

Broder’s generosity does not extend to leftist rivals in Britain.

One questions why Jacobin have such an intemperate  enemy of British and Irish pro-European leftists, determined to re-enact the disputes of his youth,  as a gatekeeper for their European coverage.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 17, 2019 at 11:06 am

CWI Split: New Root and Branch Criticisms of the Socialist Party Published.

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Image result for cwi split

The present crisis within the CWI comes as no surprise to us. The only surprise is that it did not come sooner. With sufficient material resources, a rotten regime can last quite some time, as we saw with the Healyites. But in the end, it fell to pieces. This will be the fate of the CWI” (In Defence of Marxism).

The fallout from the CWI split continues.

Socialist Appeal, the ‘Grantite’ wing of the old Militant, has got round to producing their commentary.

This has just been published:

The recent convulsive faction fight and split in the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), driven by Peter Taaffe, the General Secretary of SPEW, the Socialist Party of England and Wales, is now plastered all over social media for the world to see. Despite the stream of allegations coming from the Taaffe faction, and the rebuttals from the other side, the dispute in reality centres around prestige politics, a highly pernicious tendency that is invariably fatal in a revolutionary organisation.

It occurs when somebody places his or her personal prestige above all other considerations.

As the title of their piece indicates they intend to give their point of view, as loudly as possible, about their own break with what is now the Socialist Party.

The CWI split of 1991-1992: setting the record straight

The article continues in the same vein,

Prestige politics is closely connected with personal ambition, self-promotion and delusions of grandeur. These things have characterised Peter Taaffe from the very beginning. At first they generally passed unnoticed. Most members of the Militants were unaware of them. But to those, like myself, that worked closely with Taaffe on a daily basis for some years, they soon became quite evident.

Unlike Ted Grant, who was a Marxist theoretician of considerable stature, Peter was a very superficial thinker with no ideas of his own. Insofar as he expressed any, they were all filched from Ted. But Taaffe felt no gratitude to Ted, of whom he was intensely envious. On the contrary, he spent most of his time systematically undermining Ted behind his back, whispering in corners to his group of adepts that Ted was “impossible” to work with.

What Taaffe wanted was an organisation of yes-men and women – unconditional supporters who would never contradict him. Lenin once warned Bukharin: “If you want obedience, you will get obedient fools.” That reads like the epitaph on the grave of the CWI. Over a period, the yes-men and women in the Militant – raw, young careerists, politically ignorant, but greedy for personal advancement, crystallised into a clique, which, behind the backs of the elected bodies, was deciding everything.

That was the real basis of the 1991-1992 split. The rest is pure fable. After nearly 30 years, it is about time we put the record straight.

The following, by contrast,  are long, serious, documents and should be read through.

Just to signal their importance here are some passages.

A matter of prestige

A case study in bureaucratic centralism, prestige politics and rule or ruin sectarianism.

The struggle within the Committee for a Workers International.

Extracts.

The recent split in the forty year old Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) followed the declaration of a Faction by Peter Taaffe and his supporters on the International Secretariat (IS) after they lost a vote at the International Executive Committee (IEC), which is the organisation’s leading body, other than the World Congress itself. The Faction claimed major “political differences” with their opponents on the IEC who represented a considerable majority of national sections and members of the CWI. The Majority were accused of abandoning work in the trade unions and, in a calculated provocation, of capitulating to Identity Politics and “petit-bourgeois Mandelism” i.e., to a reliance on social forces other than the working class. The United States of America and the Irish sections were specifically targeted as culprits.

In affecting to “call things by their proper name”, the Faction described the Majority as a “Non-Faction Faction”. This opportunist and unintentionally comical characterisation did not honestly reflect the nature of the CWI Majority either politically or organisationally. There was no fully formed and homogeneous “Non Faction Faction” but a non-factional opposition with a number of different trends representing some quite diverse trains of thinking. A healthy regime, based on the principles of democratic centralism, would have viewed the emergence of “political differences” as a prelude to a patient extended debate in an attempt to identify and resolve them, not a precipitous rush to a split in order to prevent what the Faction themselves described as “regime change”. Whatever “political differences” that may or may not exist they could never justify the crude organisational methods employed by the Faction to split the International before every last avenue had been explored in an effort to resolve the areas of contention. In splitting the CWI they were responsible for an act of political nihilism in which nothing mattered except their own status and political self-interest.

McInally continues,

The Socialist Party of England and Wales (SP),of which Taaffe has been general secretary since the mid-1960’s, held a conference in late July of this year that was quickly followed by an “international conference” consisting almost exclusively of English and Welsh members, at which a newly “reconstituted CWI” was announced. Those in England and Wales, who support the CWI Majority, were told at the SP conference they had “placed themselves outside the party” i.e., subjected to administrative expulsions without the right of appeal. At the “international” conference, a World Congress of the “re-constituted CWI” was announced which meant the inevitable expulsion of the rest of the Majority internationally. The SP leadership took administrative action against leading supporters of the Majority in England and Wales, including removing them from positions and withholding their wages. In pursuing such tactics the Faction demonstrated its over-arching imperative was the maintenance of power and to secure for themselves the resources of the International including its considerable finances and the CWI “brand” itself. These actions constituted a “coup” by the IS and SP leadership group, the same people in reality, against the overwhelming majority of the CWI.

In making the maintenance of status, power and position their key imperatives the Faction employed a “rule or ruin” methodology, which constituted the worst type of sectarianism and which in this instance meant they calculated splitting the International was a price worth paying to retain their leadership position and, not a secondary consideration, the money. In the process of splitting the CWI they have also split the SP in England and Wales tooin which they have lost some of their best activists, including amongst its more youthful elements.

..

Conclusion:

These events mark a critical juncture in the affairs of the SP which under its current leadership is marked for a process of inevitable descent into irrelevance and isolation. If the leaders of the new International that is emerging from the CWI Majority are to place themselves on a principled, non-sectarian basis, they must do more than denounce the false methods that led to this splitThey must examine and re-examine the whole history of the CWI over the past thirty or more years in particular, including the crisis of 1991-1992, to trace just how this bureaucratic degeneration developed. Only on that basis will they make the contribution they are capable of in the coming period.

This is also interesting from a US perspective – Oakland Socialist.

Another crisis in socialist movement: The split in the CWI

Particularly this:

Brexit
Taaffe compounded these mistaken perspectives with a blunder of massive proportions: He and the Socialist Party supported Britain leaving the European Union – known as “Brexit”. Oakland socialist has had many articles explaining this issue, and the Socialist Party is not alone in this blunder. Much of the socialist left in the United States supported Brexit, just as many of them either overtly or covertly support the most bloody dictator of this century, Bashar Assad. Taaffe & Co. argue that the vote for Brexit was a working class rebellion against the European Union-imposed austerity. To the degree that workers supported Brexit (and that degree is questionable), it was a “revolt” in the same way as how some workers voted for Trump out of anger at what happened during the Obama years. All reactionary movements of any size have a working class element within them. That doesn’t change their nature. Brexit may have had some working class support, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was based on the idea that British workers and British capitalists have more in common than do British workers and their fellow workers throughout the European Union. It doesn’t change the fact that it was an anti-immigrant vote. (Not all workers who voted for Brexit are xenophobes, but that doesn’t change matters either.)

In any case, the ultimate responsibility for austerity lies with global capitalism, not with the European Union, which is merely recognizing this accomplished fact. It is more obvious now than ever as Britain edges closer to a trade deal with the United States if and when it leaves the EU. Such a deal will mean austerity and destruction of the British health care system on a scale many times worse than anything the EU imposed. Not only that, but as the departure from the EU looms, British politics is turning to the right. The looming Brexit has brought the British version of Donald Trump to power in the person of Boris Johnson. It has also strengthened the divisions within the Labour Party and weakened Jeremy Corbyn.

Another recent articles

The Split in the CWI: Lessons for Trotskyists

The Committee for a Workers International (CWI) has split in two. Is one side adapting to identity politics and abandoning the working class? Is the other losing touch with new mass movements against oppression?

Update: Comment.

While many of the criticisms of the CWI/Socialist Party seem organisational and party focused (comrades remark)  it is interesting that the US Oakland Socialist has begun to listen to the internationalist left on the issue of Brexit, which, for obvious reasons, plays a big part in British politics.

It is worth noting that the SP promoted this chap’s organisation, (which received funding from the far-right Arron Banks), Trade Unionists Against the EU,  during the Brexit referendum.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm

John Ross, from International Marxist Group and Ken Livingstone, to denouncing ‘arrogant’ democracy Hong Kong protesters.

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Image result for John Ross International marxist Group

John Ross, from Student Revolutionary to “China has the best human rights record in the world.”

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.”

Global Times 2014

More recently,

“the CPC is a Marxist Party and China is a socialist and not a capitalist country. Those ‘China experts’ who doubted that, thinking they knew better than the CPC, have just been proved to be wrong.”

What is a great pity is that parts of the Western left followed, and were influenced by, Western ‘China experts’ into falsely believing that the CPC had abandoned Marxism and China had become a capitalist and not a socialist country.”

Xi stresses importance of The Communist Manifesto

“, the US House of Representatives would be well advised to pass a resolution congratulating China for its unequalled contribution to human well-being in lifting over 600 million people out of poverty, establishing an enquiry to find out why US-supported economic policies in the rest of the world have made no such contribution to human rights, and publicly apologizing for the hundreds of thousands of people it has killed in its wars – including the thousands of ordinary US soldiers.”

John Ross. British scholar defends China’s human rights

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-06-12 17:11:20

 

Now he is telling Hong Kong residents not to get so uppity.

And making conspiratorial claims against pro-democracy protesters.

Global Times suggested in 2014 that Ross could be included amongst the “expatriate American and British ‘academics’ who make a living telling China what it wants to hear about itself. Not specialists on China, or speakers of Chinese, or indeed scholars at all, they easily find cushy university posts from which they write blogs and columns about the superiority of the Chinese system.”

John Ross, a former director of London’s Economic and Business Policy to ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone and current Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute, also at the Renmin University, is one of a number of foreign academics on the receiving end of attacks by some netizens for his open criticism of liberal “public intellectuals” that, Ross says, do not really “understand” democracy. On June 12, Ross published an op-ed in China saying that the US is clearly wrong over China’s human rights record.

“The attempt to reduce human rights to a Western-style political structure, as though having a parliamentary system were the most important question facing human beings, is ridiculous,” Ross wrote. He argues that the idea that China has “raised” 630 million people out of poverty – more than the population of the United States – is more important than having access to Facebook.

Ross says his chosen headline was “China has the best human rights record in the world.” The op-ed has been published three times in China so far, both in English and Chinese; none have used his original title.

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.

Our Man in Beijing: Or Is He Theirs?

Background on Ross,

Ross joined the Trotskyist International Marxist Group (IMG) in the late 1960s. He worked with Bob Pennington to form the IMG Opposition Group. Ross was a central figure in the leadership of the IMG in the early 1980s when it became known as Socialist Action, but he gradually lost the support of much of its membership.

Ken and the rise of Socialist Action

(Andrew Hosken, Ken: The Ups and Downs of Ken Livingstone, Arcadia Books, 10 April 2008.

Chapter 18: 1985-1994. Ken and the rise of Socialist Action, 1985-1994)

In their early years, members of Socialist Action churned out him hundreds of agendas, documents and other discussion papers which I have been able to obtain. They tell the remarkable story of how the group absorbed itself into the Labour Left and became a major force within it; as well the efforts it made to disappear from view as an organisation. Socialist Action made a concerted attempt to cultivate Ken Livingstone back in 1985 in the wake of the failed rate capping campaign. John Ross, the leader of the group, interviewed Livingstone for its relatively new paper, also called Socialist Action. Livingstone had already heard about Ross as the author of a small book called Thatcher and Friends which predicted the terminal decline of the Tory Party.[4] ‘I recognised this was someone with formidable intellect,’ says Livingstone. ‘After the rate capping fiasco, when most of the rest of the hard left were boycotting me, he turned up and did an interview and we started talking about economics and I realised this was somebody who could give me the grasp on economic policy which I didn’t have, So when I became an MP I retained him to actually do that’.[5]

John Ross’s influence grew from that moment; he became Livingstone’s most important advisor from 1985 onwards. After Livingstone, he is the most influential personality in the mayor’s office. The rates farce stripped Livingstone of most of his Left contacts and friends. Ross supplied Livingstone not only with the support and network he needed to continue but also the education necessary to tackle the Labour leadership on the vital battleground of economic policy. For 20 years, Ken Livingstone has really been a double act; John Ross and Socialist Action have been the silent partners.

Ross worked as a lecturer at Enfield Polytechnic and once he fought the Newham North East parliamentary seat as the candidate for the International Marxist Group, the forerunner to Socialist Action.[6] By the time Ross met Livingstone, he had emerged triumphant from an internecine struggle within the International Marxist Group, or IMG, one of Britain’s main Trotskyist parties. During 1982, the IMG split over strategy: how to bring about that elusive revolution. That split led to the creation of Socialist Action.

The IMG was built fundamentally out of the student movement of the late 1960s and helped organise some of the biggest protests against the Vietnam War in London.[7] During the 1970s its revolutionary strategy was focused on industry and the unions, which made sense during this period of economic instability and intense industrial unrest. Members, often highly educated, were encouraged to get blue collar jobs to play a role in encouraging the workers to turn towards revolution, ‘The Turn’.

An internal IMG note in 1982 reiterated, ‘…it is vital that we are rooted among the industrial workers, going through joint experiences with them and drawing common lessons. Any other perspective will only alienate us from the forces who will be key in building a revolutionary party and expose us to class pressures’.[8] Jobs were often advertised internally: ‘London Transport are taking on bus drivers at Stamford Hill; contact Wood Green Job Centre’; or ‘Jobs available in small chemical factory in Hounslow; we have a comrade who is a convenor.'[9]

But the IMG had always been hopelessly confused about its approach to the Labour Party: to enter or not to enter. ‘We hopped into the Labour Party around 1975,’ wrote member John Marston, in his exasperated letter of resignation December 1982, ‘and then out again in 1977 for the joys of regroupment and Socialist Unity. Any pretence of a strategic perspective, vanished.'[10]

  • (← p. 258)

In late 1982, the IMG split over whether or not to join the Benn crusade within the Labour Party, or the ‘Bennite Current’. Apaper presented to the IMG’s conference in December 1982 stated: ‘It is clear that, at the leadership level, fundamental differnces are emerging as to the nature of the party we are trying to build and how to build it. A gulf is developing between those who, basing themselves on the positions of the 1981 conference, wish to build an independent combat party rooted in the industrial working class, and those who are moving towards the idea of an ideological tendency operating in the Labour Party as left critics of the Benn current.'[11]

John Ross was at the forefront of the internal struggle to ditch the industrial strategy and get all IMG members to join the Labour Party en masse and then seek to control the Left bloc within it. Supporting Ross was another key figure in Livingstone’s political career, Redmond O’Neill. At the December 1982 conference, Ross carried the day and over the next few months IMG members joined the Labour Party. A minority who disagreed with the policy of ‘deep eritryism’ split away and formed its own party, the International Group which became a political irrelevance. Despite becoming Labour members, the Ross majority still remained organised as a separate political organization. They decided to rebrand themselves as the Socialist League, and to establish a newspaper called Socialist Action. Like Militant, the group became known by the name of their paper rather than as the Socialist League.

‘The.next steps towards a revolutionary party comprise a fight for a class struggle within the Bennite current,’ said one discussion paper at the time. ‘For this a new newspaper is necessary – one that is seen as the voice of revolutionary socialists within the Labour Party and which can thereby give political expressions to the mass struggles of workers and youth who in the next period will seek overall political answers within the Labour Party. ‘… Socialist Action will fight for leadership within the Bennite Current.'[12]

The Socialist League/Socialist Action met for the first time as a central committee at the Intensive English School in Star Street near Marble Arch for the start of a two-day conference on Saturday, 22 January 1983. The official launch of Socialist Action took place the following morning[13] and it first appeared on 16 March. The group’s old paper, Socialist Challenge, ceased to exist.

Comment.

This is disgusting. Chinese people – and the Hong Kong pro-democracy  protesters –  are great. How the fuck can the leading figure of the IMG end up supporting that ruling class.

For the Fourth International, which Ross once supported, there is this,  very different position,

Sunday 11 August 2019, by Wilfred Chan

Hong Kong has justified its existence as an interface between Western neoliberal globalism and China’s statist authoritarian capitalism. China no longer needs the city to play that role; Hong Kongers desperately need an alternative.

A tiny border city of 7 million people cannot singlehandedly dismantle the hegemonies that ensnare it. But its struggle at this critical moment should be an urgent call for all leftists to help undo those structures—while rethinking the organization of societies beyond the capitalist model of nation-states. Then, perhaps, the people of Hong Kong would be able to join in building what Bernie Sanders has called the “international progressive front“—and, as he writes, “do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us up and set us against each other.” From the death of this neoliberal city, an emancipatory new history could be born.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2019 at 11:05 am

Latest on the CWI, “Re-founded with Determination and Confidence” – allegations of Dissident Full-Timers Left Unpaid Grow.

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CWI Refounded with “determination and confidence” against miserable Mandelite identity politics petty bourgeois, blunters, opportunist, anti First Four Congresses of the Comintern lot.

“the SP leadership has stopped salaries owed to hard-working full-timers. These are devoted people on low wages and with few financial resources. Despite political differences, the SP must continue to pay these people until they have found new work. It was the SP’s choice to leave the CWI, and it should not ruin comrades financially as a way to punish them for loyalty to the CWI.”

The Taaffites persist and sign!

Posted on 29 July 2019 at 14:43 GMT

CWI re-founded with determination and confidence

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary

On Sunday 21 July over 200 delegates at a special conference of the Socialist Party in England and Wales voted overwhelmingly, 84% to 16% (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).

The international conference which followed over the next four days was attended by delegates and visitors from England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, Finland, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Chile, South Africa and the United States.

Unfortunately, comrades from South Africa and Nigeria who had planned to attend could not due to visa problems.

The international conference’s decision to reconstitute the CWI followed an intense debate and political struggle in the CWI over the last seven months.

Indeed.

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 an opposition moving away from this position.

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 socialist programme that the CWI and its sections have fought to defend.

How these bucklers were ever members if beyond most genuine Marxist salt-of-the-earth-Trotskyists.

The international conference in London had lively discussions on the world situation and the tasks facing the working class and socialists, the revolutionary and counter revolutionary upheavals taking place in the neo-colonial world, and also a balance sheet of the recent debate in the CWI and tasks for building the re-founded CWI in the coming period.

The re-founded CWI was constituted on the basis of the political and organisational principles adopted by 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.

Money shows where the mind, and the heart, is.

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.

Following the decision of the Socialist Party conference, a small number of our members have announced they have left our party.

They have tried to disguise their decision by claiming they were expelled. This is not the case. The resolution that was overwhelmingly passed by the Socialist Party conference called on all members, regardless of their position in the debate, “to continue to help build the Socialist Party as part of a healthy Trotskyist international organisation in order to prepare for the mighty class battles ahead.”

The resolution agreed was “confident that the overwhelming majority of Socialist Party members will wish to participate in this historic task.”

However, it went to on to explain that, “if a small minority decides instead to build an alternative organisation” based on opportunist policies, they “will have to do so outside of the Socialist Party where they will have the opportunity to test their ideas against the reality of the class struggle.

Good luck to them – the miserable Mandelite identity politics petty bourgeois, blunters, opportunist, anti First Four Congresses of the Comintern lot. Reality, and the First Four Congresses (1919 – 1922), not to mention the Transitional Programme will teach them some hard lessons!

We expect some relevant sections from these lessons in the next Socialist:

War, Revolution and the Split in the Second International:
The Birth of the Comintern (1919)
The Second Congress (1920):
Forging a Revolutionary International
The Third Congress (1921):
Elaboration of Communist Tactics
and Organization
The Fourth Congress (1922):
The “Workers Government” and the Road
to the German Revolution

Lo, and hey, look what the opposition – left of their own free will have gone and done just as the Mighty Class Struggles Approach!

Even before the Socialist Party conference had taken any decision a small number of members had clearly made plans to launch a new, rightward-moving organisation, the launch rally of which was held an hour after our conference had finished.

No matter….

The vast majority of members, however, have come out of the recent debate with a renewed confidence in our party.

Look what we’ve done!

We defend the programme and approach of the Socialist Party which historically, in an era of heightened working class struggle, enabled us to lead the struggles of Liverpool City Council and the battle against the poll tax, the latter bringing down Maggie Thatcher.

We were also central to numerous struggles against racism and the far right. At the present time our methods have 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 with a socialist programme.

Corbyn’s best best friends continue.

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. 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.

So there!

We will publish further material on the issues in the debate, and the key documents from it, on our websites in the coming weeks.

We look forward to a reply to this:

Bureaucratic Coup Will Not Stop CWI Majority from Building a Strong Revolutionary Socialist International!

1289

A minority of the CWI has bureaucratically forced through an unfortunate and damaging split in the worlds largest and most influential revolutionary socialist organization, the Committee for a Workers’ International.

Those who follow the CWI, in its publications and activities, will be aware of the important debates that have taken place in our revolutionary socialist international during the last seven months or so. These debates have arisen from a complex world situation, with capitalism economically, socially, and ecologically exposed as parasitic and its institutions largely discredited, while simultaneously most workers’ and left organizations and their leaders internationally have not been up to the challenge. As a result, the workers’ movement in general has not as yet decisively put its imprint on events.

Bold Initiatives or Conservatism in Thought and Action

On the other hand, the conditions suffered by large numbers of workers, youth, women, migrants, and other layers in society have brought many into action. In the case of mass movements against specific forms of oppression, these have often been marked by ideological confusion, and varying degrees of bourgeois and petit bourgeois influence. The majority of the CWI and its ranks believe the best way to help overcome this confusion is by participating as the most dynamic and programmatically clearest component in those movements, clearly drawing a line between our working class approach and that of our opponents.

The former day-to-day leadership of the CWI which has carried out a bureaucratic coup in the organisation (the majority of the International Secretariat and the minority fraction it gathered around it), showed a lack of confidence about intervening in these movements. They emphasized the fear that our membership would be intoxicated by petit-bourgeois Identity politics and other “alien ideas” in these movements and preferred, in their own words, to “dig in” and await events within the official labor movement.

More via link above.

As the Transitional Programme (1938) says,

Most of the sectarian groups and cliques, nourished on accidental crumbs from the table of the Fourth International lead an “independent” organizational existence, with great pretensions but without the least chance for success. Bolshevik-Leninists, without waste of time, calmly leave these groups to their own fate. However, sectarian tendencies are to be found also in our own ranks and display a ruinous influence on the work of the individual sections. It is impossible to make any further compromise with them even for a single day. A correct policy regarding trade unions is a basic condition for adherence to the Fourth International. He who does not seek and does not find the road to the masses is not a fighter but a dead weight to the party. A program is formulated not for the editorial board or for the leaders of discussion clubs, but for the revolutionary action of millions. The cleansing of the ranks of the Fourth International of sectarianism and incurable sectarians is a primary condition for revolutionary success.

It finishes,

The present crisis in human culture is the crisis in the proletarian leadership. The advanced workers, united in the Fourth International, show their class the way out of the crisis. They offer a program based on international experience in the struggle of the proletariat and of all the oppressed of the world for liberation. They offer a spotless banner.

Workers – men and women – of all countries, place yourselves under the banner of the Fourth International. It is the banner of your approaching victory!

A better guide to the Socialist Party side of the CWI practice is given here:

Afew years ago Andrew Murray, then in the Communist Party of Britain, now in Labour, described very accurately this strategy as,

…trying to create a shadow labour movement around itself, with its own electoral front, its own shop stewards’ network etc.

Left Unity or Class Unity? Working-Class Politics in Britain. Andrew Murray. Socialist Register. 2014.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 30, 2019 at 4:44 pm