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Posts Tagged ‘Another Europe is Possible

Hard Brexit: Last Gasps of the Lexit Left as Morning Star Talks of “Rump EU”.

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Rump EU isolated from Britain after Brexit.

Things that never happened:

  • Britain made a Norway style deal with the EU.
  • Theresa May’s deal with the EU passed through Parliament with Labour Support.
  • There was a popular movement from the workplaces to the street in support of a People’s Brexit to “take back control”.

Or as Nick Wright wrote in a letter to the Guardian (January 2019),

Communists want a People’s Brexit. Unconstrained by EU treaties, single market rules and directives, a left-led Labour government could develop a worker-led industrial strategy; aid industry, invest in training, youth and jobs, social welfare, housing, education and health services; and take the transport, energy and postal service profiteers back into public ownership.

This did happen:

This is happening:

The hard-line pro-Brexit Morning Star this morning pontificated on the latest state of play.

Editorial Brussels: Boris does the Brexit dance as the US waits in the wings

 

MUCH of the Brexit endgame is conducted as theatre.

No surprise to shop stewards, union negotiators or even market traders who know from long experience that what appears as an irremovable obstruction to agreement can suddenly vanish into thin air and that a posture of resolute resistance is often the precursor of sudden breakthrough.

In this over blown drama it is easy to lose sight of the substantive issues for working people. Food prices are important. But the main problem is pay levels are disastrously low and the British diet is a window into a world of class inequalities with poor nutrition and hopeless health outcomes.

In other words, the “real” issue post-Brexit is not a big rise in prices, or deals that will let in rubbish industrial food, things that we can see and touch, but class inequality which is to say, capitalism. The very inequality which a rise of costs will make worse.

The hard bitten union negotiators of the Morning Star take stock of the present state of play.

But trade is just part of the context in which Britain renegotiates its relationship with the rump EU. The Biden victory, close as it was, changes the global context in which Britain’s ruling class reconstitutes its relations with its neighbours.

An important part of our ruling class is fused by shared ownership, strategic interests and often family ties with the biggest sectors of US capital, particularly in aerospace and military production.

These people have a deep investment in Britain as a channel of influence to prevent the EU emerging as a challenge to a US hegemony in which they are junior but profitable partners.

It is hard to tell what these confused paragraphs mean.

The Morning Star, independent of the CPB and run by the  co-op, has long argued that the EU is a neo-liberal junior partner, of US Capital and international neo-liberalism. Now they seem to recognise that that it has been a project shaped by those with interests in American business at heart. And a fraction of finance capital which can exploit the loosening of regulation. Not to mention the fantasy idea of an “Anglosphere” of the Hard right.

So what about popular sovereignty?

Eminently sane backer of the Brexit Party, Brendan O’Neill has that one sorted,

Remainer elite’s atrocious assault on democracy

The capitalist class and its supposed implacable opponents in the Corbyn camp united in 2019 around a policy of defeating and burying the working-class revolt against the neoliberal EU.

Vigilance will be essential in the 2020s if we are to guard the people’s democratic rights against both ‘swivel-eyed loons’ and the more well-spoken, supposedly moderate enemies of democracy.

Sure.

Brexit is a fake social movement. The demand for a referendum was granted by Cameron to his own Eurosceptic backbenchers. The campaign has always relied on the sponsorship of millionaires, from James Goldsmith to Arron Banks. Its focus was never on “levelling up” and other such lip service, but on the technicalities of trade and the European court of justice. And whenever in the past year Nigel Farage has tried to muster a decent crowd, from Merthyr to Sunderland, he has flopped. This is not grassroots, this is astroturf.

He concludes,

Unlike other rightwing populisms, voters for leave supported not a person, nor a party, but a process – one that will take decades to work out and that will inevitably be decided by political, technocratic and business elites.

The internationalist left has responded:

ANOTHER EUROPE’S STRATEGY FOR 2021:

The UK’s departure from the European Union, on terms set by the nationalist right, will mean an attack on the rights and prosperity of ordinary people, including future generations. The dangers of the situation are numerous, and the attacks will come on every front.

The Tories Brexit agenda is not a policy but a project. It is anti-worker but not anti-state. It puts up new barriers to trade with Europe, but seeks deregulation and marketisation ‘at home’. It wants the state to spend big to support big business, especially in tech, is addicted to outsourcing and is disdainful of the public sector. This is pushing Britain towards a new, authoritarian, ‘crony capitalism’. As this becomes unpopular, the other aspects of the Tory agenda – the migrant bashing culture wars and ethnic nationalism – will become more and more important to sustain their political support.

The bare bones deal being negotiated between Brussels and London protects very little in terms of rights and protections, and the economic fallout of Brexit will also be grave. The double-whammy of Covid and Brexit will mean a huge loss to livelihoods. While rhetorically at least the government has broken with the language of austerity used by Cameron and Osborne, the reluctance of the Tories to raise taxes, coupled with the scale of the hit to public finances, mean they are unlikely to be able to resist their own tendencies in this direction. They also almost certainly attempt to further curtail trade union rights and civil liberties in order to make resistance harder.

This is the changed international context:

Brexit, as envisioned by the Tory Right, is the British franchise of a right wing resurgence that encompasses, to varying degrees of conscious alignment, Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban, Kaczyński, Le Pen, Salvini, Erdogan, Netanyahu, Modi, Alternativ für Deutschland, and others.

That project is setting sail just as its most important international ally is failing. The defeat of Donald Trump in November is a cause for celebration across the world, and makes the job of the UK government more difficult: it no longer has a factional ally in the White House.

We should not be complacent about the situation brought about by the election of Joe Biden, however. Realistically, a US-UK trade deal under Biden would also reflect the long-term interests of corporate America – even if aspects of his manifesto have drawn back from the total support for trade liberalisation of the Obama era.  The NHS and the rest of our regulatory framework will be on the table, even if the new administration is more likely to set down conditions regarding the Irish border and more likely to prioritise relations with the EU27.

More broadly, we must be sharply critical of the idea that things might now go ‘back to normal’, or that this would be a desirable outcome. The domination of politics in the western world by the neo-liberal elite and the interests of big business is exactly what gave the nationalist right their window of opportunity for projects like Brexit and the Trump presidency. A defeat for Trump in the presidential elections is a defeat of the symptoms of the crisis, but the far right will continue to grow unless we defeat both the deeper narratives of nationalism and the social conditions which drive them forward. The only way to do this is with a radical alternative.

There is a lot more detail, most importantly on long-term goals and present strategy,  in the draft, read it via the above link.

“Another Europe has always played three roles: we are the anti-Brexit wing of the left, the left wing of the anti-Brexit movement, and a driver of internationalism with the progressive left. “

“The British left is often painfully parochial – especially in relation to Europe. We are often more American in our political interests than we are European. Another Europe swims against the stream here: we have a special role to play as an internationally orientated group. “

I think one can safely say that the Tendance is not exactly orientated towards American politics…..

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

A Red Letter Day for Baroness Claire Regina Fox as she takes her House of Lords Seat.

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Claire Fox: This Climate Science Denying Former Revolutionary Communist Might Win in the European Election | DeSmog UK

 

“And, with glorious triumph, they

Rode through England proud and gay,

Drunk as with intoxication

Of the Wine of desolation”

The Mask of Anarchy. Shelly.

Today, “In the Lords (12:00), there’s another crowd at the arrivals desk, with former Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox due to take her seat as Baroness Fox of Buckley,”

The Conservative Woman site writes today,

Keep campaigning in the Lords, Claire

ALTHOUGH Claire Fox is no longer a mouthpiece for the Revolutionary Communist Party, she is still far from being a social conservative. Nonetheless, throughout the political upheavals of the past few years, she has been on the side of the angels when battling for Brexit, fighting for free speech and doughtily defending civil liberties.

Last Night John McDonnell (MP), Ann Pettifor (Economist), Adam Ramsay, (Open Democracy), Amelia Womack, (Deputy Leader of the Green Party) and Ana Oppenheim, (Another Europe and Momentum NCG) spoke at a Webinar for Fight for the Future, organised by Another Europe is Possible.

This is the biggest attempt to deregulate the economy in British history, alongside a vicious anti-migrant policy. Boris Johnson and his allies were always clear that this is what they wanted from Brexit. Now, it is happening.

Unless we stand up and fight back, we could lose everything.

All the speakers had important  points to make about the effects of Brexit, attacks on human rights, consumer standards, and the future of the movement for new Green politics to respond to the ecological crisis.

A striking contrubution came when Adam Ramsay. He outlined the way  Brexit opened up the UK to largely US run multinationals and finance. Beginning with inroads into the NHS, US-style deregulation, the lowering of consumer standards to fit the needs of American agribusiness, and free-reign asset-stripping the Open Democracy Site Editor, he suggested that Britain will become an annexe of the US, without power to affect decisions made that will affect us. That is, Ramsay has written)  “an outhouse for US business, a sort of colder, paler version of Puerto Rico.” ( Britain after Brexit: welcome to the vulture restaurant.)

The Open Democracy speaker also talked of the funding that drove the Brexit Campaign, the ‘dark money’ that Peter Geoghegan put at the centre of the campaign for the Brexit project of this “anglosphere” (Democracy for Sale. 2020). Ramsay was the stimulus and collaborator for Geogenham’s investigation into the DUP’s pro-Brexit intervention in the 2016 Referendum, “The sheer scale of the party’s spending (£250,000) also begged the question of where the money came from.” (Page 82).

From this flow of cash, the ‘digital mercenaries” of Brexit,  the gyrkins of the ‘anglosphere’, the ruddy-faced English nationalists, the Tory Toffs of the European Research Group, we come to the area where ‘left’ met right, the Full Brexit.

 

This was an initiative which brought together the ‘Spiked’ network (whose immediate predecessor was Living Marxism, with a background in the Revolutionary Communist Party,- please ask for more details!) members of the British Communist Party, Lexit leftists…

Bob From Brockley:

The Full Brexit”, an avowedly left-wing pressure group launched in the summer of 2018 to reframe the Brexit narrative as one about “democracy” rather than just bashing immigrants. Alongside a smattering of Blue Labour social conservatives and Lexit Marxists, a good half of its 20 founding signatories are RCP network members. Academic Chris Bickerton has been a Spiked contributor since 2005, when he was a PhD student at St John’s College, Oxford. Philip Cunliffe, Furedi’s colleague at the University of Kent, is another long term Spiked activist. Pauline Hadaway, another academic, is a veteran of the Living Marxism days. James Heartfield was a paid RCP organiser. Lee Jones seems to have been recruited at Oxford around the same time as Bickerton. Tara McCormack is an RCP veteran, as is Suke WoltonBruno Waterfield write for Living Marxism.

Other signatories aren’t part of the network but have been promoted by Spiked: Paul Embery and Thomas Fazi for example (Fazi is also connected to the 5 Star Movement and recently retweeted an antisemitic tweet from someone with “Nazbol” in his user name). Many are also involved in Briefings for Brexit, which has several RCP veterans on its advisory committee, and some involved with Civitas. This is a peculiar form of left-right crossover politics

Claire Fox: Brexit & Left. (Brexit Party MEP Candidate) I So What You're Saying Is - YouTube

 

Then,

“The RCP then played a key role in the creation of the Brexit Party, again providing “left” cover for a deeply right-wing project.”

Today one raptor in ermine takes her fight for “democracy” and seat in the House of Lords, Baroness Claire Regina Fox.

Spiked it could be noted is also a beneficiary of US right-wing largesse.

The ennoblement has aroused opposition centring on this part of her political past:

More: John Rogan, The Brexit Party, Claire Fox and Warrington-an overview.

 

Her ladyship has taken of the name of the place where she grew up, Buckley.

The news has not gone well in the Welsh town.

In this week’s Private Eye we learn that her Ladyship cannot be stopped from using this name.

We hope the Baroness receives a rousing welcome.

Update:

 

 

Boris to Renege on EU Deal: Brexit Reality and the ‘Lexit’ Fantasy.

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French Daily’s Take on Boris Johnson’s Brexit Antics.

Brexit is turning out to be an economic catastrophe and a boost for Britain’s racists and fascists, as the ‘culture wars’ waged by nationalist identitarians show. The far-right protests in Dover over the weekend to defend UK borders against migrants  are only the latest part of the fall out.

Boris Johnson ‘planning to rip up key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement’

Boris Johnson is planning to rip up key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement putting at risk trade talks with the European Union.

The Mirror has learned the Prime Minister intends to use domestic legislation to override the “oven-ready” Brexit deal he signed with the EU at the end of last year.

The high stakes move would be a breach of international law and could damage the UK’s reputation on the international stage.

Government insiders also suggested it would give the UK a pretext later this week to blow up trade deal talks in favour of an Australian-style relationship.

reports the Mirror.

The Irish government responds,

 

The French left of centre daily Libération carries the story:

What is Boris Johnson playing at? Has he chosen the “nuclear option” in negotiations with the EU for a possible free trade agreement  ? The Financial Times revealed on Monday that the British government intends to present to Parliament on Wednesday a bill which, in fact, “clearly and consciously”, “would remove the legal weight of parts of the Withdrawal Agreement” on Brexit, signed last October by the British Prime Minister, in particular in the area of ​​state subsidies and customs in Northern Ireland.

On the eve of the eighth session of negotiations on the post-Brexit relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which starts on Tuesday in London, these revelations could threaten the continuation of the discussions, already extremely tense.

Le Monde states,

In the absence of an agreement before December 31, only the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with their high customs duties and extensive customs controls, will apply. Which will further weaken economies already hit hard by the pandemic.

Der Spiegel talks of the threat of a hard Brexit. Left-wing members of the European Parliament have called for a response.

 

Older readers may recall the campaign for Lexit, ‘left’ Brexit.

Ardent Lexiteer Nick Wright wrote,

It is precisely because we want an alternative to Britain’s crazily unbalanced and financialised economy that we campaigned for Britain to leave the neoliberal EU and in doing so free ourselves from the anti-union judgments of the ECJ, the restrictions on state aid to industry, the obstacles to public ownership and the drive to militarise the EU.

..

Communists want a People’s Brexit. Unconstrained by EU treaties, single market rules and directives, a left-led Labour government could develop a worker-led industrial strategy; aid industry, invest in training, youth and jobs, social welfare, housing, education and health services; and take the transport, energy and postal service profiteers back into public ownership.
Nick Wright
Head of communications, Communist party of Britain

This of course is exactly what has happened…..

In The collapse of Corbynism – radicalism without class power, Johnny Lewis outlines the divisions in the Labour Party that focused on this issue.

The sharpest division between the PC’s (‘political Corbynites’)  and the social democrats was over the EU, a rupture made all the more important because ‘Lexit’ (the idea that there could be a “left-wing” Brexit, and/or that the reality of the Tories’ Brexit could somehow be turned to the advantage of the left and the working class) was deeply rooted in the Party’s neo-Stalinist wing. They stood on one side of the divide, while mobilised on the other was the Party’s base along with nearly everyone under 45 who wasn’t a Tory, a racist, a supporter of Farage, or all three.

An important section of the radical left in Another Europe is Possible was involved in mobilising against the Hard Right Brexit. We attended the broader People’s Vote national demonstrations and local protests.

In the Labour Party there was a furious dispute over the failure to come out with a clear anti-Brexit position.

As Zoe Williams, a supporters of Another Europe is Possible, wrote recently in the Guardian,

. By 2017, CLPs were using the very rebel spirit that had made Corbyn party leader to force him out of his strategic leave position. Let’s park this eternal question of who lost the 2019 election between remainers and the former leader; it is hackneyed to the point of being unkind to repeat how unpopular Corbyn was in the run-up to it. What recent years have shown is that most of the debate around the power of the membership is symbolic: they are a mighty mandate when it suits their leader, and a clearable obstacle when it doesn’t.

The treatment of the members is synecdoche for the party’s positioning: certainly, some leaders like to make a show of ignoring the membership to indicate how much more likely they are to listen to regular folk; other leaders pay vocal and elaborate respect to the members as a signal of their radical intent, but that doesn’t mean they’ll let them interfere with their strategic vision.

One of the reasons people in the Labour Party, including a section of the left,  voted for Keir Starmer, was his support for the campaigns against Brexit, and their disgust at manoeuvres inside the party to prevent their voice on the issue being heard.

 

A leading supporter of Lexit, Lindsey German, of the revolutionary socialist Counterfire, and the Stop the War Coalition, and whose group runs what’s left of the People’s Assembly, spends her time these days attacking Keir Starmer,

 

She writes this week: Labour adrift while the second wave builds – weekly briefing

 

It’s increasingly clear however that under Starmer’s leadership Labour’s main priority is to protect British capitalism from the worst effects of the crisis, and that the interests of workers are going to come a very poor second. This means that Labour has been very strongly in favour of the reopening of schools regardless, that it backs more people going back to work and that it wants to minimise the numbers of those working from home.

For those not interested in the hobby of  snipping against the Labour Leader the issue of Brexit looks unlikely to go away.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 7, 2020 at 10:43 am