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Archive for the ‘Ultra Left’ Category

Morning Star, “recycled fragments of the ultra left now line up with the main vehicles of the Labour right wing and much of the liberal and neoliberal media.”

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Image result for ultra leftism in britain Betty reid

Be Alert: Keep a Copy of this Handbook Close at all Times!

The leadership contest has revealed new contours in Labour’s ideological topography. Nick Wright.

 

(5 Retweets).

The former Straight left stalwart writes in the Morning Star, independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the Co-op.

This article may be seen as a response to the Guardian column, The Labour leadership contest has exposed new factions in the party ( ).

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth was this section,

 The orthodox left still basically wants to implement the Communist party’s 1951 plan, The British Road to Socialism, with its vision of socialism being implemented in one country by a strong, centralised national government. They lean heavily towards a pro-Brexit position, while tending to interpret support for Brexit among working-class voters as incipient class consciousness rather than tabloid-inspired xenophobia.

Followed by,

The radical left is still a very new, fragile and inexperienced tendency that has a long way to go before emerging as a mature political formation. It brings together the more libertarian strands of the hard left, the more radical strands of the soft left, and a new generation of activists from outside the traditions of the Labour party.

Wright makes a clarion call for the whole of the left to support Long-Bailey, and follow the doughty progressive patriot for better reasons than the (official) left who back her, “mainly out of sheer loyalty to her mentor, John McDonnell, that most of the radical left have supported her.”

He aims to dampen down this deviation:  “Privately, many on the radical left agree with former MP Alan Simpson that the dogmatic and authoritarian tendencies of the orthodox left smothered the creative and democratic potential of Corbynism, contributing to its eventual downfall.

The Communist Party of Britain sage writes of Labour’s General Election Campaign.

The disparate elements that Corbyn’s election united has ended and the wide legitimacy that Labour’s radical programme commanded is now challenged by people who attribute the election defeat to “socialist policies” which must be abandoned.

With the help of ace-reporters Wright discovers that Labour was, at one point, on the brink of victory,

…. a wave of popular participation, an effective social media operation, skilled targeting of swing seats and a bold manifesto (along with the divisions in the Tory ranks and a weakened Liberal Democrat Party) produced a surge in support that eroded a 20-point Tory lead and took Corbyn within a few thousand votes of No 10.

We may not have noticed that, but he did!

The fault lay in a failure to respect the decision to respect the Brexit vote, something which Wight and his comrades tirelessly campaigned for.

Instead of becoming a springboard for a further assault on a divided ruling class — this itself apparent in a highly conflicted Tory Party in government — this hopeful prospect was dissipated as Labour’s activists and mass base were sidelined by a parliamentary party intent on subverting the clear decision to respect the referendum result.

Worse was to come,

Labour (was)  corralled into an increasingly Get Brexit Undone policy, the way was open for Labour’s manifesto to be driven to the margins of public discussion.

The People’s Vote campaign, a middle class mass movement, had sown confusion in Labour ranks.

The success of the Remain camp in conflating “internationalism” with a kind of shared European privilege to travel, study and work freely threatens to undermine the deeper internationalism that found an expression in the mass movement against neoliberal trade deals, in the Stop the War movement, the anti-racist and solidarity action with refugees and migrant workers and the Palestine solidarity movement.

The kind of internationalism that has stood by while Assad, Russia and Iran,  attack Idid in Syria, in short.

Remain, unlike Boris Johnson and the ERG, had a “neoliberal project.”

Worse the pro-EU side has  echoes of fascism, foretold in  ” manifesto of Oswald Mosley’s postwar racist revival”.

He cites Gilbert (above), without mentioning (surely an oversight),  the passage of the British Road to Socialism,

It is to Jeremy Gilbert, professor of cultural and political theory at the University of East London, that we owe the insight that the leadership contest has revealed new contours in Labour’s ideological topography and that the only way for Labour to win is to ditch “Labourism.”

Writing about Labour’s so-called “soft left,” he writes: “Despite the failures of both Kinnock and Miliband, their default assumption remains that progressive government can be achieved by selling moderate social democracy to the electorate, led by a guy in a smart suit.”

Worse is to come….

It is to this inspiring standard that the recycled fragments of the ultra left now line up with the main vehicles of the Labour right wing and much of the liberal and neoliberal media.

The Morning Star writer has a warning to them:

While it might suit some to reduce much of politics to the clash of cultures, no-one should underestimate the political potency of questions of nationhood, patriotism and identity.

As in progressive patriotism.

Cde Wright ends with a stirring call for unity behind the banner of the “Orthodox Left”-  including these “recycled fragments”, supporters of a neoliberal project, who admire something with the odour of Oswald Mosley “?

A dog-eared copy of Betty Reid’s, ‘Ultra Leftism in Britain’, (1969. CPGB) would surely show the dangers of the “ultra left” in their true light.

The Bizarre pro-Brexit (‘Lexit’) World of US Left Magazine Jacobin.

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Image result for Jacobin brexit

Jacobin, promoter of “a solipsistic dialogue between wings of the ex-SWP and dyed-in-the-wool haters of the EU.”

The US magazine Jacobin claims to be the voice of the American Radical left.

Correction,  it modestly calls itself,  “a leading voice of the American left.”

One of its traits is the way it has presented the left case for Brexit in the UK as the ‘left’ position.

It has published, this year alone, We Need a Labour Brexit, by Costas Lapavitsas of the red-Brown front, the Full Brexit and a minuscule Greek grouplet whose names escapes me for the moment.

Dawn Foster One of the last defenders of Jeremy Corbyn’s isolated position was given space to assert,

The sensible route, currently being followed by Labour, would be backing the vote to rule out crashing out of the European Union with No Deal, and arguing for the least harmful exit to the European Union and resolution of our current impasse, which may still include a vote on whether to accept May’s deal or remain in the European Union.

After the Peterborough by-election she claimed.

Keeping to party policy on Brexit while cultivating the skills and activist numbers that helped shock the pundits in 2017 — these hold the key to any potential Labour general election victory.

Apparently Party Policy is whatever Foster thinks it is – but not anything to do with opposing a Hard Brexit advocating Remain.

Richard Seymour, somebody as distant from the daily struggles of the UK left as it is possible to be, was given space in June to ignore the left support for the pro-EU Remain and Transform left.

The problem is, Labour and the wider left haven’t really had a proper discussion about Europe since the 1980s, when Labour abandoned its critique and became a pro-European party. The idea was that the EU’s mild regulations would protect workers from the worst of Thatcher and, later, New Labour. Corbyn retained his Euroscepticism, and so did some parts of the labor movement, like the RMT union. But this had little influence.

So, when the Brexit referendum came up, it wasn’t a debate that arose on the Left or in the working class. It was a fight between two factions of the Right. Because of that, and because he needed the cooperation of the parliamentary Labour Party, Corbyn agreed to campaign to Remain in Europe in 2016.

Jacobin claims to be on the radical left.

Without going into the complexities of support and opposition within Labour for Brexit, the electoral calculations, and the claim that Corbyn has kept the Labour Party together by his fence-sitting stand, this is the line up of the radical left in the UK on the issue.

Lexit, the People’s Brexit, was a minority view, held by groups like the Communist Party of Britain, the marginalised Socialist Workers Party the remnants of Counterfire (a SWP spinter), the crisis-riven Socialist party of the splintered Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), the Spiked initiated red-brown front, the Full Brexit (a coalition of Brexit Party supporters, left sovereigntists and believers in funny money (New Monetary Theory) , the centre right Blue Labour, some traditional right-wingers of Labour Leave, and the Arron Banks funded Trade Unionists Against the EU, not to mention the Brexit Party voting Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). Oh, and another one of the tiny splinters from the SWP, Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21).

By contrast Another Europe is Possible, which backs calls for a Third Referendum,  has the support of the Green Party, the Editor of Red Pepper, Open labour (a centre-left group), a group of Labour MPs, Love Socialism, Rebuild Britain, Transform Europe is a group of socialist Labour MPs fighting to stop Brexit and transform Britain, radical left groups, such as Socialist Resistance, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, Left Unity, Chartist Magazine. The linked campaign, Labour for a Socialist Europe, has support in Labour constituencies. Other groups, such as Red Flag also oppose Brexit, strongly.

We have some impact.

This week readers of Jacobin are treated to this article, oddly reproduced on the internationalist site, Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières.

Boris Johnson, Brexit, UK Crisis… and the Left? – Socialism After the United Kingdom

AN INTERVIEW WITH NEIL DAVIDSON

This is the principal message (we leave it to others to steer through the rocks of the comments about navigating “the messy politics of national identity”).

Brexit has thrown the British ruling class, its parties, its state, and really its existence as a nation-state into crisis. But this won’t necessarily play out in the favor of the working class and oppressed groups, unless the Left is prepared to take advantage of the crisis as an opportunity to put forward an alternative socialist agenda.

AS
So that raises the question of what the Left should do amidst the seemingly unending Brexit crisis.

ND
To be honest we’re in a very difficult situation. Unlike in the Scottish independence referendum, the radical left failed to hegemonize the argument for Leave. Consequently, the center left immediately associate you with Farage and the right. It becomes even impossible to talk about the EU and its actual nature because all opposition to it is wrongly identified with that of the populist right.

Aside from the barefaced cheek of somebody from the fringes of the fringes talking for ‘the left’, Davidson is one of those who have tried to explain away their support for what was rightly predicted to be Hard Right Brexit bringing in its wake a Carnival Of Reaction.

That is the simple reason by Brexit is identified with the national populist right: it is the politics of that right.

This is now the view of the overwhelming majority of the left, moderate to radical, social democratic, democratic socialist, green left,  to democratic Marxist.

To get a grip on Davidson’s background here are some of his previous witherings and turnings (extracts),

After Brexit

No, Britain is neither on the eve of the October Revolution nor in the last days of the Weimar Republic (note by TC: sigh of relief! ) . There were working-class voters on both sides and they had both good and bad reasons for voting the way they did. Trotsky used to quote Spinoza to the effect that we should neither laugh nor cry but understand so, therefore, let us try to understand the class forces involved.

First, socialists have to accept the result of the referendum, in the same way that we would have expected others to accept the result of the Scottish referendum if it had been Yes. The idea of ignoring it, or running the referendum again until “we” (i.e. the Guardian-reading middle classes) get the “right” result (i.e., the one most of the British and global ruling class want), is deeply undemocratic—although there are many precedents in the history of the EU. The starting point should instead be to campaign for the right of all migrants currently in the UK—whether on an EU passport or not—to remain, and in the longer term, to fight for open borders regardless of the UK’s or its component’s relationship to the EU.

The EU may break up of its own internal contradictions over the long term. In any event, that kind of collapse—the result of structural failure rather than conscious intervention—is unlikely to benefit the working class. No, it will have to be destroyed, and perhaps the most serious argument facing the European Left at the moment is to convince a majority of comrades of this necessity.

So, a man who thinks the European Union should be “destroyed” is, for a US audience, presented as spokesperson for ‘the left’.

Many people consider that this  distorted coverage – that is, ignoring the influential and large left internationalist side for Remain and Transform,   may be due to Jacobin’s European Editor. he is somebody, somebody with great merits, but a sad personal history of conflict, one feels his pain,  with much of the European left and particularly the forces making up Another Europe is Possible in Britian.

But this does not excuse misrepresentation on an heroic scale of the political line up in the Brexit conflict in Britain. Jacobin’s articles on the topic are, frankly, a solipsistic dialogue between wings of the ex-SWP and dyed-in-the-wool haters of the EU.

Revolutionary Communist Group (Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism) Storms Newcastle Council Debate to Prevent Adoption of Anti-Semitism Guidelines.

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RCG Says, “Smash Zionism!”

Far-left protesters storm council chamber as anti-Semitism debate descends into chaos

The Chronicle (Newcastle)

A council meeting descended into chaos as protesters stormed the chamber during a debate on anti-Semitism.

“Frightened” councillors were forced out of the room and left in tears due to the angry protest from far-left campaigners, one of whom had to be dragged from the chamber by securit

The protest – led by the revolutionary communist Fight Racism Fight Imperialism group – was opposing Newcastle City Council’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which they claimed would “criminalise solidarity with Palestine in Newcastle”.

After Lib Dem opposition deputy leader Nick Cott raised the motion to adopt the definition, protesters in the public gallery above began chanting, unfurled Palestinian flags, and shouted abuse at councillors.

As councillors left the room, one man broke into the main council chamber and was dragged away by security as Lord Mayor David Down tried to calm the protesters down.

It was claimed that one member of the civic centre’s security staff was put into a headlock by the demonstrators, some of whom were led away by police.

Afterwards, council leader Nick Forbes labelled them “clowns” who “don’t do anything to further the cause of the Palestinians”.

The result?

“When councillors returned to the chamber after around 25 minutes, Coun Forbes seconded the motion – having agreed to drop an amendment he had proposed – and it was passed unanimously.

Coun Forbes told the chamber that adopting the IHRA motion would “show we understand the upset and hurt that many people in our Jewish communities feel”.

Flagged up here: Revolutionary Communist Group attack Anti-Semitism Debate.

And on their Facebook Page: “Fight Racism – Fight Imperialism – FRFI North East

We have won the right to address the council! Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. See you at the protest today. Fight the council motion – defend the right to defend Palestine!

 

This was the campaign mounted by the RCG/Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism!

Don’t criminalise solidarity with Palestine in Newcastle.

1. Vote against the motion to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

2. State that the IHRA definition is an attempt to criminalise solidarity with Palestine by aiming to restrict protests, meetings and individuals that criticise Israel.

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This campaign is being run by a member of the public on the Campaigns by You website, not by 38 Degrees itself. 38 Degrees does not endorse all of the petitions on the website.

Why is this important?

On 5th September 2018, at its full council meeting, Newcastle City Council is due to vote on a motion as to whether the council should adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

The definition comes with examples of anti-Semitism, including: “”Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.”

We say: Israel is a racist state and saying so is not anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.

Israel is a racist colonial settler state, based on the disposition of the Palestinian people, it must maintain itself by extending that dispossession through violent means, and has done so constantly since the 1993 Oslo Agreements.

We the undersigned call on Newcastle City Council to:

1. vote against the motion to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

2. state that the IHRA definition is an attempt to criminalise solidarity with Palestine by aiming to restrict protests, meetings and individuals that criticise Israel.

Acts of anti-Semitism show hatred towards Jewish and other Semitic people. Our assertion that Israel is a racist state is not informed by hatred towards Jewish people but rather by solidarity with the people of Palestine and their struggle against occupation and colonisation. Israel defines itself as a Jewish state. Non-Jewish Israeli’s and non-Jewish Palestinian’s are discriminated against on a vast scale. This discrimination and the collective punishment of Palestinians by Israel has been recognised by international humanitarian organisations, including Amnesty International.

There are many Jewish organisations who are opposed to Israel because of its Zionist and racist nature. For example, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network states:

“Zionism is racist. It demands political, legal and economic power for Jews and European people and cultures over indigenous people and cultures. Zionism is not just racist but anti-Semitic.” Non-white, non-European Jews, are treated as second-class citizens, and face racism and economic exploitation at the hands of the Israeli state.

There has also been a witch hunt in the Labour Party against any politicians who criticise Israel. This includes the suspension of Jackie Walker, who is both black and Jewish. Does the council support this suspension?

We oppose all forms of racism and oppression. That means we must defend the right to defend Palestine. We ask Newcastle City Council to do the same.

The RCG’s background (Wikipedia)

The RCG grew out of the “Revolutionary Opposition” faction of the International Socialists (IS), (forerunners of the Socialist Workers Party), being strongly influenced by the politics of Roy Tearse. When the leading figures of the “Revolutionary Opposition”, the name itself only first appearing in print in their appeal document, were expelled from the IS its members met to decide on their course of action, and disagreements between Tearse’s allies and the majority of the faction around David Yaffe rapidly surfaced. The result was that Tearse’s supporters formed the Discussion Group which led a quiet life for a number of years inside the Labour Party before dissolving. Meanwhile, Yaffe and his comrades proceeded to found the Revolutionary Communist Group in 1974.[4]

In 1975, the RCG began publishing a theoretical journal called Revolutionary Communist in which it in part espoused a view of crisis theory, a theme they had already addressed in the IS when challenging the work of the theoreticians of that group.[5] They developed Karl MarxFriedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin‘s analysis of the labour aristocracy, and showed its relevance for politics in the period after the Second World War. Their conclusions led them to call for no vote for the Labour Party.

The early years of the RCG saw the group lose a large part of its initial membership. For example, in September 1975 the Birmingham branch decamped in order to join the Workers’ Socialist League.

Hungarian sociologist Frank Furediwas an early member of the RCG before being ejected in 1976, following which he founding the Revolutionary Communist Tendency. In later life he rejected socialism and became a libertarian.

A few years after the RCG’s foundation, disagreements emerged amongst its members regarding such topics as Stalinism and the South African government. One group, dominated by Frank Furedi (1947-), a sociologist at the University of Kent who used the pseudonym of “Frank Richards”, began to argue against the views put forward by David Yaffe and his supporters. Yaffe himself later remarked that Furedi had been “organising among a clique of middle-class members, and became their self-styled guru”.[6] In November 1976, Furedi and his followers were expelled from the RCG, following which they went on to form their own rival organisation, the Revolutionary Communist Tendency(RCT). Soon, the RCT itself splintered, with a group calling itself the Committee for a Communist Programme (CPP) being founded by several dissenting members.[7] Following this, the RCT went on to change its name to the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1981, and would publish the magazine Living Marxism from 1988 to 2000, in which their political position moved from Leninism to Libertarian Marxism.”