Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Portuguese Socialists, Left Bloc and Communists Look Set to Govern.

leave a comment »

Rejeitar o Governo PSD/CDS para mudar de política: Reject the PSD/CDS Government to Change Politics. say Portuguese Communists.

The BBC reports.

Socialists ready to head left-wing coalition in Portugal

Three left-of-centre parties in Portugal say they have reached a deal to form a government after last month’s inconclusive general election.

It means the centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho now looks set to fail in its attempt to stay in office.

Socialist Party leader Antonio Costa fought the election promising to ease back on austerity.

He has the support of two smaller far-left parties, including the Communists.

Mr Passos Coelho’s centre-right party polled just under 37% in October’s election, with the Socialists on over 32%.

He was sworn in for a second term, but earlier this week he said his coalition appeared to have lost its absolute majority in parliament.

With 99 seats in the 230-seat parliament, the ruling coalition fell 17 seats short of the number it needed.

Mr Passos Coelho had indicated that he was ready to talk to other parties in parliament to pursue the “necessary reforms” he wants to implement.

But the Socialists, the Communists and the Left Bloc between them have 122 seats, enough for a parliamentary majority.

Left Bloc won 10% of the vote, securing 19 seats, while the Communists took 8% of the vote.

“The conditions are in place to bring down the right-wing coalition government and for the Socialist Party to form a government,” said the Portuguese Communist Party in a statement late on Friday.

Many in Portugal, including President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, are concerned about the impact on the country’s finances and international standing if the far-left gains influence in government, the BBC Alison Roberts in Lisbon reports.

But the president could soon have little choice but to ask the Socialist leader to take over.

A vote on the centre-right administration’s programme is due on Tuesday, and if it loses, the government will fall.

“If I am not prime minister as of Tuesday it will be because the Socialists did not let me continue,” said Mr Passos Coelho.

This follows the same story in El País yesterday.

Los partidos de izquierdas sellan un pacto de gobierno en Portugal

The Communist Party of Portugal announced late on Friday that it had reached a deal with the Socialists to form a government of the left. An agreement ending 40 years of differences.

The announcement of the PC plus by the Bloco de Esquerdas yesterday, is that the socialist party led by António Costa is willing to offer an alternative government overrides attempts by the country’s president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, to usher in, the current government, which took office seven days ago.

The left alliance totals 122 votes to 107 on the right coalition.

The change over will take place in a Parliamentary vote to reject the new right-wing government on Tuesday.

The Communists and their allies in the union federation, the CGTP, plan a mass demonstration on that day outside the National Assembly.

El País remarks that this recalls a large protest outside the same building 40 years ago, which forced the MPs to abandon the edifice where a new constitution was being drafted.

The present Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has not lost hope of clinging onto office. 

Background: Portugal: ‘Europe is very concerned’ as new gov’t likely short-lived By Dick Nichols

“The incoming government of Portugal will most probably prove to be the briefest in modern Portuguese history.”

Portuguese elections: surge in Left Bloc support puts Socialist Party on the spot.

By Dick Nichols  Will Portugal finally see the end of austerity as administered for four years by the right-wing coalition of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre—People’s Party (CDS-PP)?


Written by Andrew Coates

November 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A State Jew? Léon Blum – David A. Bell on Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist by Pierre Birnbaum.

with 6 comments


Blum: a Generous Humanist Socialist, not a “State Jew”.

A State Jew. David A. Bell. Review of Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist by Pierre Birnbaum, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.

London Review of Books.

Thanks Jim D.

Bell begins  his review with this, which should give some pause for reflection,

The newspaper Action française habitually referred to Léon Blum, France’s Socialist leader, as the ‘warlike Hebrew’ and the ‘circumcised Narbonnais’ (he represented a constituency in Narbonne). On 13 February 1936, Blum was being driven away from the National Assembly when he encountered a group of ultra-right-wing militants who had gathered at the intersection of the rue de l’Université and the boulevard Saint-Germain for the funeral procession of Jacques Bainville, one of the founders of Action française, a reactionary political movement as well as a newspaper. Glimpsing Blum through the car windows, the militants began shouting: ‘Kill Blum!’, ‘Shoot Blum!’ They forced his car to stop and began rocking it back and forth. Blum’s friend Germaine Monnet, sitting with him in the back, tried to shield him with her body. Her husband, Georges, who had been driving, ran to look for police. But one of the militants managed to tear a fender off the car, used it to smash the rear window, and then beat Blum repeatedly over the head. Only the arrival of two policemen saved his life. They dragged him to a nearby building, where the concierge gave him first aid. The next day pictures of Blum, his head heavily bandaged, appeared in newspapers around the world.

We halt there.

To internationalist socialists Blum is above all known not for his Jewish identity – despite the book – but for his socialist humanist republicanism.

Blum defended French democratic republicanism, from the Dreyfus affair onwards. He was profoundly affected by the “synthesis” of socialism, including the Marxist view of class struggle, with democratic republicanism, that marked the life and work of one of our greatest martyrs, Jean Jaurès, assassinated in 1914 by a sympathiser of the far-right,  for his opposition to the outbreak of the Great War. Blum did not, however, play a part in the anti-War left.

That is the context in which we would take the shouts of “kill Blum”.  Political, not ethnic.

Blum was a leading figure amongst the minority of the French Socialists, the SFIO (Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière), who opposed what became in the 1920s the French Communist Party, the PCF. He was one of those who opposed affiliating the party to the Third International at the Congrès de Tours (SFIO).

Speech at the Socialist Party Congress at Tours, 27 December 1920 (best known under its French title, background Pour La Veille Maison, Text).

This is the crucial objection from the ‘reformist’ (but at this point, still Marxist) democratic socialists to the Third International – the Leninist one.

You are right to declare that the whole party press, central or local, should be in the hands of pure communists and pure communist doctrine. You are certainly right to submit the works published by the Party to a kind of censorship. All that is logical. You want an entirely homogeneous party, a party in which there is no longer free thought, no longer different tendencies: you are therefore right to act as you have done. This results – I am going to prove it to you – from your revolutionary conception itself. But you will understand that envisioning that situation, considering it, making the comparison of what will be tomorrow with what was yesterday, we all had the same reaction of fright, of recoil, and that we said: is that the Party that we have known? No! The party that we knew was the appeal to all workers, while the one they want to found is the creation of little disciplined vanguards, homogeneous, subjected to a strict structure of command – their numbers scarcely matter, you will find that in the theses – but all kept under control, and ready for prompt and decisive action. Well, in that respect as in the others, we remain of the Party as it was yesterday, and we do not accept the new party that they want to make.

To show how radical Blum was at this point, this is how he defended the dictatorship of the proletariat,

Dictatorship exercised by the Party, yes, but by a Party organized like ours, and not like yours. Dictatorship exercised by a Party based on the popular will and popular liberty, on the will of the masses, in sum, an impersonal dictatorship of the proletariat. But not a dictatorship exercised by a centralized party, where all authority rises from one level to the next and ends up by being concentrated in the hands of a secret Committee. … Just as the dictatorship should be impersonal, it should be, we hold, temporary, provisional. … But if, on the contrary, one sees the conquest of power as a goal, if one imagines (in opposition to the whole Marxist conception of history) that it is the only method for preparing that transformation, that neither capitalist evolution nor our own work of propaganda could have any effect, if as a result too wide a gap and an almost infinite period of time must be inserted between taking power as the precondition, and revolutionary transformation as the goal, then we cease to be in agreement.

Bear this in mind: these words are memorised almost by heart by many on the left.

The minority, for which Blum spoke, opposed to the Third International, retained the name, French Section of the Workers’ International. This was significant: it referred to a claim to continue the traditions of the Second International, of Marxist, if moderate and reformist,  inspiration.

Blum offered social reform on this foundation. He led, during the Front Populaire (1936 -38)  a government (as President du conseil) of socialists and radical-socialists, backed by communists from the ‘outside’ and a vast movement of factory occupations and protests,  to implement some of them, on paid holidays, bargaining rights limiting the working week. He had great limitations – one that cannot be ignored is that his government did not give women the right to vote – and his role in not effectively helping the Spanish Republic remains a matter of controversy to this day. Indeed the absence of feminism – as well as a rigorous anti-colonialism (the FP “dissolved” the North African, l’Étoile nord-africaine of Messali Hadj –  in the Front Populaire, is something which should cause a great deal of critical investigation.

The review in the LLB is about a book, and this is what he has to say specifically about it:

Birnbaum, a well-known historian and sociologist of French Jewry, has written a short biography that focuses on Blum’s identity as a Jew, as the series requires. It cannot substitute for the more substantial studies by Joel Colton, Ilan Greilsammer and Serge Berstein, but it’s lively, witty and draws effectively on Blum’s massive and eloquent correspondence. Arthur Goldhammer has, as usual, produced a lucid, engaging English text. Birnbaum seems to have written the book in some haste: he repeats facts and quotations, and makes a few historical slips – France was not a ‘largely peasant nation’ in 1936; Hitler did not annex the Sudetenland in the summer of 1938, before the Munich Agreement. The chapters proceed thematically, highlighting Blum the writer, Blum the socialist, Blum the lawyer, Blum the Zionist and so forth, which produces occasional confusion as Birnbaum leaps backwards and forwards in time. But overall, the book offers a knowledgeable and attractive portrait. If there is a serious criticism to be levelled at it, it doesn’t concern the portrait itself, so much as the way Birnbaum draws on it to make a broader argument about French Jewish identity.

But there are issues of much wider importance in that broader argument which do not depend on discussing that text and its content.

Bell makes two points about his legacy as described in Birnbaum’s book,

As Birnbaum himself repeatedly notes, despite his ‘quintessential’ Frenchness, Blum always expressed pride in his Jewish heritage, often in the highly racialised language of the day. ‘My Semite blood,’ he wrote as a young man, ‘has been preserved in its pure state. Honour me by acknowledging that it flows unmixed in my veins and that I am the untainted descendant of an unpolluted race.’ While he could speak disparagingly of Jewish ritual, he recognised and respected a Jewish ethical tradition. In 1899, in the midst of the Dreyfus Affair, he insisted that ‘the Jew’s religion is justice. His Messiah is nothing other than a symbol of Eternal Justice.’ He went on to identify ‘the spirit of socialism’ with ‘the ancient spirit of the race’ and to comment: ‘It was not a lapse on the part of Providence that Marx and Lassalle were Jews.’ Blum, in short, thought the Jews could change the French Republic for the better by drawing on their own traditions to push it towards socialism.

This attempt to bring up Blum’s references to his Jewish background, even in terms more democratic than Disraeli’s novels, voiced above all by the character Sidonia, owes more to pre-1930s racial romanticism to racialism.

Does this prove Bell’s point that, “The republican model allows strikingly little space for what immigrant communities can contribute to a nation. Visitors to France can see at a glance just how much immigrants have brought to its music, literature, sport and even cuisine. But the republican model treats difference primarily as a threat to be exorcised in the name of an unbending, anachronistic ideal of civic equality. Even in the heyday of the Third Republic, many committed republicans recognised that different ethnic and religious groups could strengthen the republic.”

Yes it does: secularism is freedom for difference, not the imposition of homogeneity.

Blum could be rightly proud of his cultural heritage,as indeed in a ‘globalised’ world of migration many other people from different backgrounds should be, and are, within the democratic framework of secular equality.

There is little doubt that the spirit of nit-picking secularism can be as unable to deal with these backgrounds, as say, state multiculturalism, which treats ‘diversity’ as if this were a value in itself. If the first tends to be hyper-sensitive to, say, reactionary  Islamic dress codes, the second abandons the issue entirely.

But there are far deeper problems than superficial insistence on  Laïcité

The first is ‘Sovereigntist’ efforts to claim secularist universalism for French particularism. This is the rule amongst the supporters of the far-right Front National, historians and writers like Éric Zemmour bemoaning France’s ‘decline’ , though we should underline, not the novelist Houellebecq, who expresses disdain for things, not hate). There are those who call for all Muslims to be expelled from Europe, those  to those milder nationalists of right and left who commemorate “le pays et les morts” (and not anybody else – a return to the culturalist (not to say, racial)  themes of Action française to Maurice Barrès and to Charles Maurras. This is indeed “communalism”.

It is the major threat to French republicanism.

There is also the issue of anti-Semitism in France, woven into another kind of ‘communitarianism’. Alain Soral, his close friend the comedian Dieudonné, popular amongst young people from the banlieue and the more refined inheritors of the Marrausian tradition, the partisans of the  Indigènes de la République, (including those associated in the English speaking world) rant at thephilosémitisme d’Etat” in France.

It takes all the effort of refined ‘discursive analysis’ from academics to ignore that at its heart this is a current  which indulges in Jew baiting. The mind-set of these people was classically described by Sartre, “« Si le juif n’existait pas, l’antisémite l’inventerait.» (Réflexions sur la question juive 1946). They indeed spent an enormous amount of time ‘inventing’ the presence of Jews in politics, and giving them influence ‘behind the scenes’.

In words which might have been designed to pander to the world-view of the  Indigènes, Bell cites Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist,

Blum ‘the first of a new type of state Jew interested in giving greater weight to democratic sentiment within the framework of a socialist project.’ One wonders, though, what Birnbaum might say about a French Muslim politician today justifying an ideological position by reference to Muslim tradition and ethics (or sharia law). Would he have quite so favourable an  opinion? Or might he see the move as a ‘communitarian’ threat to ‘the unifying logic of the nation’ and to ‘French exceptionalism’? It is well past time to recognise that a nation can have many different unifying logics, and that a political model forged under the Third Republic fits the France of the Fifth Republic very badly.

Blum celebrated his Jewish heritage. It is hardly a secret. Nor is his post-war Zionism, or support for Israel, a stand shared in the immediate aftermath of the conflict by the USSR.

But did he become a  man of the  ‘state’ because he was a ‘Jew’, and does this aspect of his person matter politically – that is in terms of the state?

For us Léon Blum is only one of the sources of a generous humanist secularism, but a significant one. That he did not tackle issues like feminism, anti-colonialism, and a host of other issues, goes without saying. But it would be a great shame if his legacy was reduced to being a “State Jew”.

And it could equally be said that republican secularism has many strands, that it is being transformed by the views of secularists from North Africa, the threat of the Islamist genociders of Deash, the mounting oppression in Erdogan’s Turkey, backed by his Islamist AKP, and – no doubt – Israel’s evident failings. Every one of these cases shows that religious law is not any part of a “tradition” that socialists – believers in equality – would recognise.

The logic at work here binds us to our French sisters and brothers, binds internationalists across the globe, in the way that the Je Suis Charlie moment briefly melded our hearts and minds together.

That is perhaps the real ‘end’ of all exceptionalisms.

As ‘Coup’ Against Jeremy Corbyn Threatens the Hard Left Moblises its Troops.

with 9 comments


Weekly Worker Editorial Board Deciding Corbyn’s Strategy.

Senior Labour MPs are plotting to oust Jeremy Corbyn if he is elected party leader, amid growing fears that the leadership contest has been hijacked by far-Left infiltrators.

Shadow cabinet sources have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn would never be allowed to remain in the job long enough to fight the 2020 general election, if he is elected on September 12.

A coup could be launched within days of the result, which would plunge the party into even deeper crisis and division, but would be necessary to prevent an electoral “disaster” under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, senior figures said.

However, a growing number of Labour MPs believe Mr Corbyn’s campaign is being boosted by tens of thousands of radical Left-wing socialists who have paid £3 to sign up as an “affiliated supporter” in order to vote in the election.

There are reports that Unite, the country’s biggest trade union, which is backing Mr Corbyn, has been telephoning 1,000 people a day urging them to register with Labour and back their preferred candidate.

One shadow cabinet minister told The Telegraph a coup would be inevitable if Mr Corbyn is successful.

Reports the Telegraph.

On the 6th of May Seamus Milne announced:

The Tories are plotting a coup in the name of legitimacy.

Fleet-footed the People’s Assembly acted (7th of May):

Stop the ‘Tory Coup’.

Ipswich followed the lead.

Cde Milne swiftly replied:

We beat off that coup!

Our troops, after recruiting thousands of new Labour Party supporters,  are ready again!


Ipswich Workers’ Militia in Training.

“Misogynistic, vitriolic, very dangerous” – George Galloway as described in Naz Shah’s Maiden Speech.

with 31 comments

Just out: “Naz Shah (Bradford West) (Lab) (Maiden Speech House of Commons)

It is customary to say a few pleasant words about my predecessor—[Laughter.] I have many words, but sadly only a few pleasant ones.

My predecessor was, I am told, a great orator.

The sad truth is that the only words he ever directed towards me were misogynistic, vitriolic, very dangerous and, to quote him, “only ever had a fleeting relationship with the truth”.

However, it would be most unwise of me not to compliment him on his sensational acting abilities, not forgetting, as demonstrated in “Big Brother”, his taste for red leotards and black hats. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his actions, which united the people of Bradford West. Their patience—and, indeed, mine—certainly paid off when we handed him his P45 on 8 May.

The Spandex Cat has truly left the building.”

Thanks DT.

Ha, Ha Ha!

Good on you Naz!

Mirror Poll Shows Support for Islamic State Amongst British Muslims.

with 26 comments

Morning Star Attacks “Unhinged” pro-Europe Trotskyist Left’s “alliance with CBI” and David Cameron.

with 30 comments

‘Unhinged” Leftists Say yes to European Unity. 

The Morning Star has published and extraordinary article, EU Referendum: Vote to Get Out, by Brian Denny (No2EU spokesman)  in support of the Campaign to vote to withdraw from the European Union.

It is headlined with a sentence containing this, “the EU functions as a cheerleader for unconfined monopoly capitalism.”

Younger readers may not have heard of “monopoly capitalism” which is known partly from Harry  Braverman’s Labor and Monopoly Capital (1974) but owed its currency in Orthodox Communist circles under the name of “State Monopoly Capitalism.”

Elaborated by post-war Soviet, Eastern European and Western European Communist party economists ideologues, it is one of the planks of ” Marxist–Leninism”. The  thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively. This is a close partnership between big business and government, and it is argued that the aim is to integrate trade-unions completely in that partnership.” (Wikipedia)

State monopoly capitalism formed the foundation of the programme of the  1960s French Parti Communiste Français, and other orthodox Communist Parties. It featured in the Communist Party of Great Britain’s programme, such as Britain’s Road to Socialism (1968).

At present the Communist Party of Britain, CPB  (best known for the Morning Star) believes that the emphasis has shifted.

The European Union and Marxist theory and practiceRobert Griffiths, Communist Party of Britain general secretary 2004 (Extracts)

The drive to construct a monopoly capitalist United States of Europe with a common foreign and military policy has the same three-fold purpose identified by Lenin in 1916: to promote monopoly capitalism and suppress socialism at home, to exploit neo-colonies abroad and to compete against rival imperialist powers and in particular the US. At the global level, it should be no surprise that the EU is a champion of privatisation, the free movement of capital, GATS and other archetypal ‘globalisation’ measures aimed at the developing and former socialist countries.

It is the drive to a United States of Europe which threatens, in our assessment, to undermine and circumvent the democratic institutions of EU member states. More specifically, EU laws and treaties have sought to limit the powers of democratic national parliaments – themselves the product of long working class struggle – precisely in those areas where they might limit the power and freedom of capital. Meanwhile, such unelected EU institutions as the European Commission and the European Central Bank acquire powers to initiate and enforce policies of privatisation, deregulation and monetarism enshrined in EU fundamental law.

In the present day, popular sovereignty is the struggle to impose the will of the working class and its allies – the vast majority of the nation – over monopoly capital. In Britain, the campaigns against participation in imperialist wars and in the US Star Wars programme are embryonic expressions of the aspiration for popular – and not just national – sovereignty.

Our party does not see anything progressive in the drive to construct an imperialist military United States of Europe. We do not believe that the creation of a rival imperialist super-power bloc, even if can be achieved despite its internal contradictions, would be a valuable ‘counter-weight’ to US imperialism. The two super-powers would collaborate with one another, and do rotten deals with each other, in their joint interest to suppress the working class movement at home and exploit and oppress other peoples around the world.

In the immediate future, as Communists and internationalists in Britain our responsibility is to ensure that the referendum campaigns against the single European currency and the EU constitution are imbued with the same spirit.

Imbued with this ghost of the call for ‘national sovereignty’, not to mention the phantom of the old Soviet Union,  as ramparts against international monopoly capitalism, Brain Denny launches into a tirade.

After an all too brief critique of  the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Brian Denny follows it up by this:

The EU has also been openly financing a junta that has violently grabbed power in Ukraine and which is led by fascists and revanchist groups promoting a cult around former Nazi collaborators.

This cult focuses particularly on Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, which joined forces with the nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Numerous monuments to Bandera have been erected, particularly in western Ukraine, including a statue in the city of Lviv, site of one of the largest anti-Jewish pogroms in WWII.

The Kiev regime even saw fit to pass a law under which wartime nazi collaborators, who carried out these mass murders, are officially recognised as “fighters for the freedom of Ukraine.”

At the same time it banned communist symbols and socialist thought across Ukraine.

This repressive, anti-democratic far-right regime is enthusiastically backed by its EU allies. Meanwhile Dmitry Yarosh, the neonazi leader of the Right Sector fascist party, has just been appointed as advisor to the chief of general staff of the armed forces.

This is how the EU projects its power externally on the international scene.

There is more in the same vein about the EU’s crimes, ranging from youth unemployment, privatisation, ” and so-called “free-market competition,” which is actually institutionalised monopoly capitalism”, to the, inevitable issue of fish.

Ultimately, the EU is a Tory project. The Tories took us in, campaigned to stay in, virtually wrote the 1986 Single European Act and supported the Maastricht Treaty and every right-wing, neoliberal treaty ever since.

Europhile Tory leader David Cameron claims that he wants to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership before holding an in-out referendum, probably next year.

But after a private meeting with the prime minister, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Cameron wants to use the upcoming EU referendum to “dock” Britain permanently to Brussels.

Cameron has no intention of fundamentally changing Britain’s relationship with the EU, mainly because finance capital does not want it altered.

There is no sign that he will end the supremacy of EU law over British law or even that he will keep Britain out of the eurozone in the long run.

Denny then evokes the spectre of ‘Trotskyism’ and its alliance with the Conservatives – perhaps an improvement on previous Stalinist claims about links between Trotskyists and much less pleasant political forces.

Cameron is already building an alliance for his strategy which stretches from the CBI to the more unhinged parts of British Trotskyism.

But, ultimately, by campaigning for a Yes vote you are effectively endorsing all of the above crimes inflicted on Europe and further afield by fundamentally anti-democratic EU institutions.

It is without doubt that this does not refer to the SWP or the Socialist Party, both of which intend, like the CPB, to mark their ballots in the same way as UKIP,  the Tory ‘Eurosceptics’ and their big business supporters.

The “unhinged” left is without doubt here:

Campaign for a workers’ Europe!

This letter will be circulated to gather support for left opposition to UK withdrawal from Europe.

With the formation of “Conservatives for Britain”, the right-wing campaign to exit the EU has begun. Unfortunately, it is likely to be mirrored on the left.

A number of Labour MPs and trade unionists and the Morning Star newspaper will group themselves behind the banner of “Labour for Britain”, saying life will be better for British workers outside the EU.

Far-left groups are likely to dissociate from the nationalist name and from Labour. They say they will organise an internationalist anti-EU campaign, one that defends the rights of migrants.

They are all setting themselves an impossible task: the automatic right of EU workers to migrate to the UK, and of UK workers to migrate to EU countries, will be ended by UK exit. Those that do arrive after a UK exit are likely to come on worse terms than workers currently do, and they will arrive to a climate poisoned by the xenophobia of the referendum campaign, an atmosphere in which the left itself cannot thrive.

A UK outside the EU will offer worse prospects for fighting for workers’ rights than we have staying in. The nationalist right, no friends to workers, will have the political upper-hand in a post-exit UK, and UK workers will lose the possibility of organising a common struggle for better rights by workers across Europe.

The left cannot be anti-EU without being dragged behind the right-wing and anti-migrant backlash. It will raise a tiny voice, inaudible against the right-wing anti-EU campaign which has money, press backing, and establishment support, a campaign that is all about putting up borders and actively restricting migrants coming to the UK. The left-wing voice will be drowned out in the growing nationalist gale.

The concessions Cameron is seeking from the EU also threaten workers’ rights: in the first place, migrant workers’ rights to in-work benefits. He is also likely to seek further opt-outs from those European regulations that benefit workers. Many other EU governments will be sympathetic to Cameron’s vision of the EU: less regulated, more ruthlessly neo-liberal.

The Tories that want to get out and the Tories that want to stay in offer no choice for workers. But we should not be indifferent to the question posed in the referendum. The integration of capitalism results naturally from the process of outgrowing national boundaries, and workers do not have any interest in seeking to turn back the clock of history or re-erect national barriers. We oppose UK exit from the EU.

At the same time, we recognise that the EU, like its constituent member states, is organised primarily in the interests of capital, an increasingly pressured capital, forced to compete with growing industrial powers such as China and India, and therefore looking to liquidate those elements of “Social Europe” that still remain. We should not join any cross-class alliance with pro-EU Tories or business leaders: we do not positively support bosses’ Europe.

Instead, voices on the left are discussing a campaign for a workers’ Europe in the coming referendum. We will:

• defend migrants’ rights and oppose racism;

• vote against UK withdrawal from the EU;

• campaign for a workers’ Europe, based on solidarity between working people.

A reply to Denny by Jim can be seen on Shiraz.

The Tendance has signed the Campaign for a Workers’ Europe declaration.

Yes to a United Social Europe!

Against the chauvinist anti-EU left!

Update: a serious discussion of the problems of the EU, Britain and Europe after the general election: An interview with John Palmer.

Party of the European Left:

…..the Left, if it wants to channel its resistance against the demolition of the social state and of democracy into political alternatives, has to express itself as united at the European level and develop necessary concrete and alternative proposals for a different EU, and a different Europe together.

Why should it not find and determine the common political denominator – not the smallest, but in face of neo-liberal social destruction the largest – in order to successfully exist as an independent political force, and, at the same time, as a partner to  social movements, in order to be recognised as an actor capable of influencing and changing European politics?

In the light of the strength and tradition as well as the expectations of the feminist, ecological, and peace movements, it is high time for the political Left to live up to its responsibility. We want to contribute to the creation and realisation of new political strategies.

This is, without any doubt, the central challenge to left parties in the EU and in Europe, in a situation where neo-liberal thought is occupying ever more space in the minds of the people, a situation of apparent absence of alternatives to capitalist market logic, cost reductions, rigid and outrageous social demolition, and even the economic market sale of the whole society.

The Party of the European Left demands another Europe:


  • a Europe that says no to war and militarization. The European Left is an anti-war Left;
  • a Europe that defends the social states, and renews it, as well as redistributes wealth, power, and influence;
  • a Europe of diverse cultures, of freedom of spirit, and open to the world. The European Left is a cultural Left, which refuses historical revisionism, because it is capable of dealing with its own history critically and respectfully;
  • a Europe open to a world that resists capitalist globalisation. The European Left is critical of capitalism: It is anti-capitalist and aims at a transformation of societies beyond the rule of capitalism;
  • a democratic Europe. The European Left wants to get politics out of the backrooms of power and back into society, onto the squares and streets, into the debates of citizens, men and women of all ages. Politics is a part of movements and it forms parties; the parties act in parliaments and in governments, in initiatives and in extra-parliamentary protests; it is counter-power and a designing force. It is ready to be held accountable, which is what distinguishes parties in the broad social discourse.

We have to work seriously and honestly with all of the people who want to walk this path with us. In the sense of “Carpe diem!” we say: The social, peaceful and solidarity-based Europe needs our intervention! It is just the beginning!

Written by Andrew Coates

June 25, 2015 at 11:46 am

Your Royal Highness’s most humble and obedient servant.

with 4 comments


As a young French learner I had the honour of apprehending some handy formulas for addressing his Majesty, which readily translate as I am your groveling servant.

Apparently the same exists in English.

Humble and obedient? How ministers defied etiquette in replies to Charles


I have the honour to remain,


Your Royal Highness’s most humble and obedient servant.

French examples:

(Prince)Je vous prie d’agréer, Prince,



Hautes autorités religieuses  























Les religieux (euses)

  Pape=Très saint père









Cardinal = éminence








Evêque =monseigneur








Mon père

Ma sœur

Monsieur le curé

Monsieur l’abbé

 J’ai l’honneur d’être avec le plus profond respect, de Votre Sainteté, le très humble et dévoué serviteur. 

Daignez, Votre Éminence, agréer l’expression de mon très profond respect.


Daignez, Votre Excellence, agréer l’expression de ma très respectueuse considération.


Je vous prie d’agréer, (titre), l’expression de mon respectueux souvenir.




Written by Andrew Coates

May 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized