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Posts Tagged ‘Another Europe is Possible

Internationalist Left: Laura Parker, former Momentum Chief and Jeremy Corbyn Aide, Backs Keir Starmer.

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The pro-European, internationalist, left is backing Keir Starmer.

The internationalist left, as indicated by Laura Parker’s public stand,  is moving towards Starmer.

 

Laura Parker: Why I’m backing Keir Starmer for Labour leader

She was at the 2018 AEIP National Conference.

Parker’s support reflects the way that radical human rights supporters and internationalists have their place in Starmer’s unity campaign.

More support for Starmer comes from Susan Press, a well-known and respected figure on the Labour left.

Susan Press, Keir Starmer for Labour Leader

It is hard to part company with comrades on the left but the truth is it was crystal clear we were heading for catastrophe and we didn’t have an oven-ready candidate experienced enough to replace Jeremy. Had the result not been such a disaster, there was a lingering if unlikely hope that John McDonnell (who had actually wanted to be Leader and would have commanded support still) might be persuaded to stand. But that ship sailed with Johnson’s 80-seat majority.

These days I am not just a Labour Left activist. As a councillor for the past six years I represent a ward in West Yorkshire with two food banks and a lot of deprivation. But there are also people who are doing OK, people who didn’t vote for us last time or even vote at all. We need all of them on board to stand any chance at all of clawing back ground – let alone forming a government.

Does the PLP bear any responsibility for this? Sure they do. However the turn the Party as a whole took after the so-called chicken coup by MPs didn’t just lose us support. It spawned a bunker mentality and understandable determination to protect the leadership from the top right down to the grassroots. It got toxic. Very. Any criticism of Corbyn and you were a Tory. Anti-semitism was an invention (trust me as a member of the NCC, it wasn’t). Any concerns about election prospects were dismissed on an increasingly hysterical social media amid the cries of ‘bring it on’ and JC4PM. To be frank a lot of it was delusional. And as much to blame as Brexit for what followed.

This is Susan’s analysis of what we face at present.

So here we are with another leadership campaign. But it is not 2015. What made that campaign so amazing was its message of hope and authenticity from someone who had spent his life in the labour movement. Someone who didn’t have to keep saying the s-word as everyone knew he was a socialist and always had been. We wanted a fundamental shift in the Labour Party after years of watering down our values and we were right even if it went wrong in the end. Hindsight is easy and luck wasn’t on our side as neither was the media but that has always been the case even if this time it was unprecedentedly vile. A lot of mistakes were also made by the LOTO office according to those closer to the coal face and all that will no doubt be revealed in due course. However there has been a game-changing shift. Which may help us in the difficult years ahead.

Not one of the leadership candidates could in all honesty be described as on the right of the Party. And whatever silliness is being said about ‘ true’ and ‘proper’ socialists, after 40 years on the left of the Party I am not buying the line there is only one candidate we can vote for. Truth is there is not a batsqueak policy-wise between them.

So like that well-known Blairite Paul Mason I am voting for Keir Starmer – the candidate who has best chance of inspiring trust and convincing the unconvinced to come home to Labour. Who can cope with the pressure and take Johnson apart at the dispatch box and hold him to account when Brexit unravels. And, with no disrespect to the others, someone with a much longer track-record of standing up for human rights and social justice.

 

When you wish upon a Starmer

Keir Starmer received another big boost to his leadership bid when Laura Parker wrote a piece for LabourList yesterday about why she was endorsing him. Why is this significant? Parker was national coordinator of Momentum until just two months ago, and previously worked as Jeremy Corbyn’s private secretary. As you will know, Momentum is backing Rebecca Long-Bailey for the leadership and its chair, Jon Lansman, is director of her campaign.

This news is also remarkable when you think that Parker was working in the Labour leader’s office at the time that the mass shadow cabinet resignation and subsequent leadership challenge took place in 2016. These factors make Parker’s support the clearest realisation so far of Starmer’s broad appeal within the party – and it offers another example of the recent fragmentation of the Labour left. Of course, it would be remiss not to note that Brexit – with Parker and Starmer being on the same side – continues to play a huge role in this shake-up of factional allegiances.

The warring fragments of the left opposed to Starmer are still at it!

The Morning Star compares Starmer to Neil Kinnock…..but in reality  they are speaking for Kinnock’s pro-Brexit son.

We have been here before. Back in the 1980s when Kinnock became leader he believed in public ownership, he believed in unilateral disarmament, he had principles — or so we thought. But by the time his second general election came in 1992 he had long jettisoned them (and we still lost).

At this stage I have less faith in Starmer than I did when Kinnock became leader in 1983. You see it all comes down to who appears more electable.

This ‘betrayal narrative’ shows just how desperate the old comrades of Andrew Murray (who has just left as a Corbyn top aide)  have got.

They ignore the damage their own pro-Brexit campaigns, reflected through the influence of the  ‘corridor clique’ around Corbyn, have been to Labour’s vote in the December election.

 

The revolutionary socialists of Counterfire are another group of crystal ball gazers.

They consider, after a heap of slurs on Starmer’s human rights record,  and the claim that being against the hard-right Brexit project was wrong, that,

If Keir Starmer were to win, he would take Labour back to the centre-ground that proved so disastrous for Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and social democracy across Europe and beyond. He is no friend of the left and no committed socialist should vote for him.

Unlike the left’s  friends of the less than a hundred strong Counterfire.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 20, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Internationalist Responses to Len McCluskey on Brexit and Freedom of Movement.

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Galloway: “Discussing “freedom of movement” of cheap labour into Britain.  As @LenMcCluskey  just said it must end with #Brexit

Len McCluskey, Head of UNITE, has had a very mixed response to a Guardian interview in which he tried to lay down the line to Labour on Brexit and freedom of movement.

Guardian

In a wide-ranging interview, McCluskey said:

  • Labour needed to get the election debate off Brexit and on to the day-to-day issues that really mattered to voters.
  • The shadow cabinet should keep quiet about how it would campaign in the event of another referendum.
  • White working-class supporters of leave in the 2016 referendum would be driven into the arms of a hard-right party unless their concerns about migration were dealt with.
  • There would be no attempt to move Labour back to the centre if the party lost the election.
  • He predicted paramilitary attacks on UK mainland ports as a result of the customs border down the Irish Sea that forms a key part of Johnson’s Brexit withdrawal deal.

Some people have not appreciated the call to “shut up” from somebody who looks as if he is now backing a “People’s Brexit’ – that is the Dancing with Care Bears prospect of a Brexit from the ‘left’.

Other have remarked that “concerns about migration” looks like a threat to muster prejudiced support for McClusky”s call to end freedom of movement.

In other words, be silent,. and we’ll sort the Brexit stuff out, with the help of the pro-Brexit UNITE chief of Staff, Andrew Murray.

One issue has caused an immediate response.

Unite leader infuriates activists who campaigned for radical pro-migration motion

Alena Ivanova, from the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, said: “A Romanian care worker and a British bus driver have more in common with each other than they do with their boss. That is the basis of the trade union movement. Len McCluskey’s job is to fight for their full rights, for decent pay and the right not to be deported and harassed by the state because of their immigration status.”

The Morning Star and the other supporters of the McClusky line, like Skwawkbox, have been quiet on the controversy.

 

But McClusky has got George Galloway’s backing:

Today Labour for a Socialist Europe says,  It’s solidarity that we need, not borders, Len

Extracts,

Mark Boothroyd
Branch Secretary, Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Hospitals Unite Branch (personal capacity)

Len McCluskey’s intervention in the debate over freedom of movement is aiding the Tories, and promoting myths about immigration that the trade union movement should be dismantling.

Yesterday McCluskey criticised the policy voted for at Labour Party conference, of defending and extending freedom of movement for all migrants. McCluskey said “It’s wrong in my view to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter labour market regulation.”

What does stricter labour market regulation mean? If McCluskey means more rights for trade unions and stronger collective bargaining agreements to strengthen workers organising against the employers, then as a socialist and trade unionist I heartily agree. But that has nothing to do with freedom of movement. In fact, opposing freedom of movement, and the equal rights that accompany it, will only weaken unions. When workers’ immigration status is tied to their boss through visas or work permits, they are more vulnerable to exploitative employers who can have them arrested and deported at a whim.

One of the better ways to ensure “stricter labour market regulation”, would be to grant all workers the same rights and protections, regardless of their immigration status. This is what proponents of freedom of movement want, equal rights for all, with the right to live and work wherever we choose. In the same interview McCluskey shows he could make these arguments, but instead he panders to a nationalist and xenophobic worldview.

 

McCluskey clarifies his statement.

Now this is true, but it is still the case that McClusky – see Galloway – is now seen as against the continuation of existing freedom of movement in the European Union.

The pro-Brexit  RS21 (they are against a “Tory Brexit” claiming to  “oppose both the British state and the European Union” whatever that means…) offers a sustained critique of McClusky’s views.

Defend workers’ rights – against McCluskey

Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey is attempting to undermine the free movement policy agreed at Labour conference. Unite activist Ian Allinson argues for the right of working-class people to live and work where we want and explains why unions and the Labour Party are so ambivalent.

What makes McCluskey’s remarks even more outrageous is that he is arguing for the Labour leadership to ignore policy passed at Labour Party conference with Unite support. Corbyn has tried to make Labour more democratic, but there were already worries that the Labour leadership would revert to a more traditional approach, as suggested by Diane Abbott’s comments.

Neither McCluskey nor Abbott are motivated by racism – they are conceding ground to racists for electoral reasons. But pandering to the racists doesn’t win them over. We have already seen a huge shift in the public debate since Corbyn replaced Miliband and his racist mugs. You can’t win an argument without having it – we need to push Labour’s manifesto as far to the left as we can. But we need to argue and campaign for workers’ rights to live and work where we want whatever the manifesto says. Labour’s conference policy makes that easier.

We need to get this right. This debate is only going to get more important as the climate crisis forces more people to migrate as a result of droughts, famines, floods, fires and wars.

Some Left Responses to Labour Refusal to Have a Policy on Brexit.

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Key pro-Brexit Constituency Labour has to Worry About.

The Morning Star reports,

A statement by the party’s governing national executive committee (NEC) said: “The NEC believes it is right that the party shall only decide how to campaign in [a referendum on Brexit] — through a one-day special conference, following the election of a Labour government.”

The statement was also reinforced by composite motion 14, that said Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit was “abundantly clear”, which was voted through.

Moments earlier, delegates narrowly rejected composite 13, that called on the party to “campaign energetically for a public vote and to stay in the EU.”

Quoting, exclusively, from the anti-composite 13 side of the debate the Party that calls itself Corbyn’s best friend notes,

Urging delegates to reject composite 13, Sheffield Hallam delegate Sophie Wilson said: “I represent a proud, northern ex-mining community of committed Labour voters and people who share our vision of a country that works for the many.

“Like so many of our heartlands, they also voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU.

“We cannot disregard the 2016 referendum, or attempt to leave behind our heartlands in the same way the Tories have done.

“I urge people to support composite 14 for the good of our people, to unite our electorate, and to ensure that we win a general election and deliver the radical Labour policies so desperately needed.”

Batley and Spen delegate Cath Pinder said: “Since the referendum the Tories have deliberately tried to widen the divide. Theresa May shut out all the 48 per cent who voted Remain as though they did not matter.

“Now Boris Johnson wants to make out it is the public against Parliament when it comes to Brexit.

“Labour will give the people the final say on any Brexit deal — unlike the Tories and the Lib Dems who won’t.”

In a parallel  Editorial today the Morning Star defended its claims to internationalism,

…. support for the EU on “internationalist” terms is contradictory. The EU is a driving force for imposition of unequal trading terms on poorer countries: its subsidised agricultural exports have had devastating effects on African farming. It is a key architect of treaties aimed at prioritising the rights of corporations over the rights of elected governments.

As then commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told John Hilary, then of War on Want, in 2015, when he pointed to the evidence that a big majority of Europeans were opposed to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated with the US, “I do not take my mandate from the European peoples.”

In the end it was Donald Trump, not the EU, that ditched TTIP.

Vote for comrade Trump as the way to get rid of TTIP?

Well, apparently it’s the EU at fault all the way.

If socialists are serious about transforming our economy, challenging the power of capital and planning a sustainable future, we cannot simultaneously act as cheerleaders for one of the most powerful enforcers of the global economic status quo.

…..more serious still is the debilitating effect on our movement when “internationalism” comes to mean support for institutions of the ruling class. A revolutionary socialist movement must know its enemies.

The Communist Party of Britain believes in a Brexit on WTO rules: dump the capitalist WTO?

Fake News site Skwawkbox  also goes folk politics,

SHOWSTOPPER BECKETT TAKES ON ‘CAR-CRASH’ THORNBERRY TO DEMAND SUPPORT FOR CORBYN ON BREXIT

Unite deputy general secretary describes Thornberry’s full-remain position as a ‘car crash’ and brings house down with speech backing Corbyn on Brexit

The Unite deputy, Howard Beckett,

 …..brought the house down with a speech in which he demanded Labour’s conference support Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit – saying that to do otherwise would be to tie Corbyn’s hands in a nonsensical way and describing Emily Thornberry’s attempt to defend her full-remain position on a recent Question Time episode as a ‘car crash’.

No doubt we should all trust leaders, of the stamp of Corbyn, just like that, without indication of what his stand on the key British political issue of Brexit is.

Socialist Worker says,

Labour needs a general election campaign not based on what’s good for business and the EU—but a Brexit which can unite working class people and a fight against austerity and racism, and for action on climate change.

The Morning Star seems to suggest that Britain, free from the EU, without ‘cheerleaders’ for the capitalists, will be ready to become an internationalist state.

That’s ‘revolutionary socialism’ – though perhaps they could indicate what exactly that revolution means with a capitalist British state and capitalist class still in place.

But back to the electoral fall out.

Here is a different angle: Sráid Marx

An Irish Marxist Blog (Extracts)

Corbyn wins and condemns himself to defeat

The Labour Party has just decided, in advance of the general election that cannot be far off, that it won’t tell those who might think of voting for it whether, on the big issue of our time, it is in favour of Brexit or against it.  It wants instead to unite the nation around the belief that this is so unimportant that you don’t really need to know.

According to its leader Brexit might, or might not, be better than Remain, although if you believe what he says about his ability to strike a ‘credible’ deal, that might indicate to you that your support for Labour will result in support for Brexit.

The Labour leadership wants its members and supporters to continue to play the role of mushrooms and to forget that with this policy it received less than 15% of the vote in the European elections. It wants everyone to forget about being out-polled by the Liberal Democrats for the first time since 1910, a party on the way out just before; forget that it failed to win a majority in 2017 with 40% of the vote but has only around two-thirds of that support now in one opinion poll after another.

So, it doesn’t matter because Labour will go into the election with a dishonest position, that makes no sense even on its own terms; that has proved a failure in the European and local elections; that is opposed by the vast majority of its members and big majority of its supporters, and that will most certainly lead to defeat.

Michael Chessum says,

https://twitter.com/michael_chessum/status/1176120174631673856?s=20

 

On Labour List,

Michael Chessum, national organiser of the Another Europe is Possible campaign group that backed the defeated pro-Remain motion, commented: “Labour members, 90% of whom want to stay in the EU, will be deeply disappointed with this decision.

”It is possible that the Remain motion had a majority in the CLPs, but because there was no card vote we will never know.

“Brexit is a project of the Tory hard right. It is about attacking workers, downgrading migrants rights and shifting politics to the nationalist right. Labour beating the Tories is the only path to stopping this project, and it is not to late for Labour to make clear that that it opposes Brexit outright.

“Though it is not the policy we supported, the calling of a special conference to democratically decide Labour’s Brexit policy was a concession which we won. But a fudge is not a unity position. It is deeply divisive among members, and risks losing a large chunk of our voter base.

This vote was set up as a loyalty test, but those grassroots activists who ran the campaign – Momentum activists, people who have fought for the left in Labour for years, know this is a nonsense. We have come so far in pushing Labour’s position towards a public vote, and while we might all be disappointed by this outcome, we must now prepare for the election. If Labour loses, the consequences will be dire.”

Boffy has this line on those running Labour,

I would say that the sour atmosphere created around the  way the victory of the Corbynista loyalist ultras was secured will not go away.

This, from reliable sources, looks an accurate account of yesterday’s Labour vote:

How Jeremy Corbyn stitched up Labour’s Brexit vote, writes Robert Peston

ITV

Labour’s leadership may have failed in the “drive by shooting” of Tom Watson (using his colourful words) but they have totally stitched up NEC and conference Brexit votes – by making sure their supporters were largely in the room, and keeping out those pesky Remainers.

None of this should come as a surprise. But it was still awe-inspiring to watch in action.

The point is that for the past 24 hours, all the attention has been on which way the big unions would vote.

And when Unison turned against Corbyn’s Brexit neutrality it looked as if the Remainers might just squeak a victory. But in the end the unions’ position was irrelevant.

Because the conference votes were done by a show of hands. And guess what? There just weren’t many Remainers on the conference floor.

I wonder how that happened?

It’s a bit like how two crucial 8am NEC meetings were cancelled and requests for emailed submissions on the Brexit policy were made at around midnight on the prior evenings, making it almost impossible for Corbyn’s critics to get their act together.

The Brexit position of the trade unions was always a red herring, what magicians call misdirection. What mattered was who was in the hall.

And that was sorted weeks ago though the choice of delegates.

For spectators like me – who spent 15 years observing the tactics of China’s leaders – all this is quite familiar.

For passionate Labour Remainers, it’s infuriating.

  • Update 20.05:

Just to explain in more detail the preceding points, a senior member of the shadow cabinet told me days ago that constituency Labour Party delegate selection had been organised to favour Corbyn loyalists.

About half those present were trade union delegates, who were thought to narrowly favour Corbyn’s Brexit ambivalence.

And immediately before the vote a delegate made a point of order from the platform alleging there were many in the conference room not entitled to vote – which was a suggestion she thought the vote was not being conducted in a robustly fair way.

Also there were lots of shouts at the end for a card vote, to verify the result via a formal counting process – which showed not everyone present thought the results accurately captured the view of Labour members.

All that said, Jeremy Corbyn won handsomely, which his allies told me he would over the preceding hours.

You can admire or criticise the professionalism of the operation to secure the win.

And of course I regret and apologise for my comparison with China which I thought was a joke but has caused unnecessary offence.

It is of course the case that the Labour leadership in the past would often simply exclude any motion they disliked that looked as if it might win from  getting on the agenda at all.

But they were not supporters of the Theory of Conference Sovereignty and Democracy.

Though the “populist left” where it has any strength (think France, think Spain) has evolved its own methods of excluding and ignoring dissent.

There remain some straws to clutch on:

Now to add to all the fun, there is this:

 

 

Boris Bootboys rally for Johnson and Queen flops as Left backs Defend Democracy protest.

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March for Boris and Queen Flops.

Remainers and Brexiteers have clashed in Parliament Square during protests.

About 200 people joined a pro-Brexit demonstration organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) and clashed with the anti-Brexit group March for Change.

As the latter began to set up for a rally of their own, some members of the DFLA approached and began shouting.

A beer can was thrown towards about 10 people from the March for Change protest before police, who knew about both protests prior to Saturday, on horseback intervened.

Evening Standard.

Sputnik, the RT stream that hosts George Galloway *: “Protesters have been taking to the streets of London to rally in support of Brexit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and activist Tommy Robinson. The demonstration was organised by the “Democratic Football Lads Alliance” group.”

 

As can be seen Sputnik  has given maximum publicity to the protests of a handful.

These Brexit bigots are held up to left-wing internationalists opposed to Leaving the EU as one of the reasons why Labour should be careful about provoking the ire of the national populists behind Leave.

They are without doubt furious about pushing Brexit.

But these images show that for the moment, on the streets, they are little more than scarecrows.

Paul Mason Tweets on the DFLA and the British Gilets Jaunes.

 

The Independent also reports,

Pro and anti-Brexit protesters have clashed outside parliament.

Around 200 people joined a pro-Brexit demonstration organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) on Parliament Square in Westminster on Saturday morning.

Look at them….

 

The internationalists held their heads high.

Owen Jones:

Rallies have taken place across the country:

*

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 7, 2019 at 4:23 pm

The Left At the Forefront of Anti-Brexit Movement as March to “Support Boris and the Queen” Planned.

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Left Taking the Lead!

This is an excellent start to the day read.

 

This is an important analysis.

First stage of coup defeated – now the battle gets serious

Note these points:

Nigel Farage is quite right that he personally is the key to a Johnson victory. If Johnson meets a number of preconditions – hard Brexit or nothing! – the Brexit party faithful will be mobilised for Johnson. At a certain stage it is quite possible his rallies will also feature Farage.

This Saturday’s demo by the Football Lads Alliance – ‘Support Boris and the Queen’ – will be an indicator of the scale of the reaction to come. The reactionary onslaught will of course be led by the Tory press, with the Sun and the Mail in the vanguard.

The whole of the Left must completely reject the Johnson-Brexit line that the government is fighting to implement the democratic will of the people as indicated by the 2016 referendum outcome. The 2016 Brexit referendum was not a democratic exercise and, in any case, the British people did not vote for a hard Brexit – on the contrary they were told a trade deal with Europe would be easy and everything would be tickety-boo, European UK residents would be safe etc etc. This has now been revealed as rubbish. In fact a softer Brexit was available in May’s plan, and not passed largely because the Tory right (and DUP) wanted only a hard Brexit. In this sense it is ridiculous for the Morning Star to say that Parliament has frustrated the democratic will of the people. That is repeating Johnson’s line.

 

Meanwhile out on l’angleterre périphérique  the fragments of the pro-Brexit left shout,

The SWP says, , “Socialist Worker wants a break from the racist, neoliberal EU. But there are people who have been won to backing it because they think it’s progressive.”

The Hard Brexit Morning Star (Editorial 5th of September warns, yet again, of .

the big business coalition that wants above all other considerations to keep Britain as closely aligned to the neoliberal EU as possible..

The Split-riven Socialist Party calls for,

 Corbyn negotiating an exit deal with the EU from the standpoint of working-class interests.

And Counterfire says Labour  should be “uniting people across the Brexit divide” by being willing to ” negotiate a People’s Brexit.”

Away from the fringes Comrade Clive Lewis says,

The marriage of the left and the Remain movement is not only a natural and logical conclusion to this sorry saga – Lexit was never, of course, on the cards, while a hard-right Brexit very much is. It also offers a wonderful chance to transform our party’s fortunes in the country. Labour has struggled in recent polls, but we know the formula we need to win at a general election, which might be right around the corner.

..

For many of us, this week has been the launch-pad for that renewed vision and campaigning. And on Saturday, activists will be doing it all over again – right outside Boris Johnson’s home. If you too want to demand democracy, say no to the coup and Brexit, and kick-start the campaign for a socialist victory in an upcoming election, join Momentum, Another Europe is Possible and others at a noisy rally on Saturday at 2.30pm outside Downing Street at or any of the events mapped out here. The PM is on the back foot – let’s come together to finish him off, and change both our country and Europe for the better.

Chartist writer Alex Sobel says,

Read this fine article:

Nick Dearden on the chilling world that awaits if the free marketeers get their way

Boris Johnson has been clear that a trade deal with the US is an absolute priority for him, and has planned a series of meetings with Trump’s administration, while snubbing European leaders. Johnson’s new Trade Secretary Liz Truss met the US ambassador to talk trade only a few days into her new job. So what is this trade deal likely to mean for us?

First it’s important to recognise that Johnson’s new cabinet is stacked with ultra-free marketeers, who are deeply sceptical about protections for workers, consumers or the environment. Founder of the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, Liz Truss herself is a turbo-charged Thatcherite who has spoken of her desire to drive down taxes, cut back public spending and strip away regulations on everything from housing, to education, to the workplace.

This is some of what’s been happening during the week.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 6, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Perfidious Brexit: The Movement Against the Johnson Coup, the Left and Brexit.

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Another Europe is Possible at Burston Yesterday.

Perfidious Brexit.

“Many in Britain are now springing the defence of Parliament and elected representation, but they should have spring a bit earlier. Those in the Labour Party who were neutral about Brexit  – or even saw it as a welcome disputation to the status quo and an opportunity for radical reform – only now seem to be noticing that Brexit was always a vehicle whereby the hard-right could take over the government”.

Patrick Cockburn. The Independent.

“People are tired, Rob,” Silas continued, “They’re fed up. They’re worn down. They’ve had with all this left-wing dogma. The new anti-authority is on the right, not the left. It’s the new punk…..”

Sam Byers. Perfidious Albion. Faber and Faber 2018.

What are the values behind Parliamentary proroguing, the sacking and the use of an armed police officer to escort Sonia Khan, Sonia Khan specials adviser out of Downing Street?  “Respect for one,” suggests Sam Byers’ post-Brexit novel, “’Integrity. Pride in our landscape. Control over our borders, our laws.” The leader of England Always, Hugo Bennington, continues, “It’s about putting the needs of our country and the people in it first.” Love for his country means, “Self-protection. “control of immigration” “control of our culture”. “We need to ensure we’re all, literally and hypothetically, speaking the same language.”

Perfidious Albion is not an imagined future.

It is now. England Always is the Brexit Party and the European Research Group-led Tories. The street thugs and angries, already adopting American, and “Kool Aid”, Farage’s “Folks”, are slavering for a No Deal Brexit.

Control of the language has become a battlefield. Johnson, Farage, and the outriders in Spiked, the ‘new punk’ right are already trying to recapture British pre-contemporary pomp. British sovereignty, the voice of the ordinary people, the people’s voice for Brexit, stands against the Parliamentary elite. Hugo Bennington/Brendan O’Neill’s waving Internet dick; Jacob Rees Mogg’s “visionary soil” need the coup de main of the Prime Minister to set off a national populist surge for “community, belonging, group identity and the nation.” (1)

“Brexiteers dream of a Britain ‘unchained; from the shackles of European regulation.” wrote Luke Cooper in the Introduction to The Left Against Brexit (2018) “in other words, even more of a capitalist distopia. At present the Prime Minister is driving through Brexit, regardless of the elected MP’s wishes. The National Organiser of Another Europe is Possible, Michael Chessum says, “The longer-term aim of Johnson’s plan goes much deeper, Brexit Britain is to be a deregulated country, brought closer into the orbit of Trump’s America. Workers’ rights, food standards and environmental protection are to be undermined. Public services and the NHS will, as made clear by the US government, be up for sale.” (Westminster shutdown: is Britain facing a coup? Observer. 1.9.19)

It is not good enough for some on the pro-Brexit Left to confine their indignation to curbs on Parliament. It is not enough to focus on Johnson’s pro-austerity politics. Brexit drives the Cummings Cabinet; Brexit is the instrument to achieve their aims. Look at any of the protests against the ‘Coup’ and you will see European flags and hear calls not just to stop a No Deal Brexit, but Brexit full stop.

Régis Debray in l’Europe fantôme ( 2019) asserts that the European ideal is the property of “élites sociales sans honneur” an ersatz messianism. This weak civic cult is a shield from reality, and appeals only the orphans of the radical left, and Christian democrats, liberals, socialists, social democrats, one time radical leftists in need of a cause, believers in the Enlightenment, believers and secularists, a cult of saints and the, European, god, dulia and latria.  This heartless, property-of-nobody, non-nation is further sullied, in Debray’s eyes, by the dominance of English “pidgin”.

A feeble thing, Europe is no doubt a ‘phantom’. There are greater thrills to be had following Bennington’s Willy, praising borders, getting excited with New Left Review at the prospects of “anti-systemic” parties.

Yet, the last days the country has seen mass protests against the Coup, including one where I live, Ipswich, where around five hundred people heard Labour MP Sandy Martin, Liberal Democrats, and Suffolk European Alliance speakers address the crowd from the steps of the Old Town Hall.

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At the Burston Rally yesterday Another Europe is Possible had a stall. Many of the people present seemed to be from the Lexit side of the left. Mark Serwotka  from the PCS trade union made an appeal for unity against the Conservatives and the Johnson Coup. Nobody on the platform spoke of the need for a ‘People’s Brexit’. People came to our stand to pick up stickers and copies of The Left Against Brexit rapidly disappeared. Some trade unionists, I cite amongst them an electrician and a fire-fighter, talked of their support for the AEIP stand. A comfortable majority of trade union members voted Remain, as did a majority of the younger working class. Alas, Len McCluskey, UNITE Boss, goes against these internationalist  views. (2)

As comrade Chessum says, “we are witnessing the growth of a huge movement in defence of democracy”. The centre of the groundswell is the fight against Brexit in its only actually existing shape the Hard Right ERG Johnson Brexit.

 

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(1) Page 278. National Populism. The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. Pelican. 2018

(2) Unite will support Labour MPs who vote for a new Brexit deal

Leader Len McCluskey says union will back MPs – even on the right – who face deselection/

Kinnock, the Labour MP who coordinates aroundabout 30 MPs in a group called Respect the Result, has previously said he believed there was increasing feeling among many of his colleagues opposed to a second referendum that passing the withdrawal agreement bill was the best option. McCluskey has previously argued that Labour must be prepared to support a pragmatic Brexit deal, saying it appeared to be impossible to stop no deal and that there was no path to a second referendum. The majority of Labour MPs who are sceptical about a referendum are still likely to back the cross-party efforts to pass a bill this week that would mandate Johnson to seek and extension to Article 50.

Labour Activists Call to Fight No Deal Brexit as Morning Star and the Red Brown Front Back Pushing Hard Brexit Through.

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Turning the Tide Against Brexit.

Today the Morning Star, Jeremy Corbyn’s self-appointed Best Friend, carries this Editorial.

The writer claims that efforts to prevent a No Deal Brexit through Parliament are misplaced, if that’s not too mild a way of putting it.

Pious observations about “parliamentary sovereignty” and repeated bids by the Commons to “take back control” of the Brexit agenda have not impressed a public that sees through the democratic rhetoric to the anti-democratic reality — that these have been bids to frustrate implementation of the largest democratic vote in Britain’s history, the 2016 vote to leave the European Union.

The key sentences that follow are these, attacking a National Government.

This spectre, which is not on the cards, any more than Caroline Lucas’ all-woman Cabinet, is ‘hard right’ – as opposed to the actually existing Hard Right ERC led Boris Johnson Cabinet….

As with the “state of emergency” used by French President Emmanuel Macron to rule by decree and attack workers’ rights, it would enable the undemocratic imposition of a hard-right reactionary agenda.

A Labour pitch to defeat Johnson based on preventing a no-deal Brexit helps feed his chosen image as the champion of the 2016 popular mandate to leave.

This – ignoring the state of emergency needed to push through a No Deal Brexit –  is  followed by the following guff, “Labour should speak for the public’s anger against a Parliament that has thoroughly earned it…” whose important phrase is this demand “freedom from the pro-corporate competition rules imposed by the EU single market..”

In other words, Back Brexit, No Deal or Not.

This is what Brexit means

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The Morning Star is not alone is misrepresenting the political line up over Brexit.

To cite one example, Left-wingers in other countries would get the impression from the pages of the US Jacobin, and other self-identifying left publications, who cover the issue by articles from various factions who have come out of the SWP and supporters of the Red-Brown Front, the Full Brexit, that the British radical left has roughly similar politics to the Morning Star on this issue.

But the majority of the UK the left is at the forefront of the right against a No Deal Brexit, and a large section is against Brexit tout court. 

This battle is gathering momentum.

The hard right has made this call:

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As the Independent reports today the left is counter-attacking.

Labour activists tell Corbyn he must back cancelling Brexit to stop UK crashing out with no deal

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to back cancelling Brexit altogether if it is the only way to stop the UK crashing out of the EU, as another battle with Labour activists looms.

Almost 30 local parties are demanding Labour “support revoking Article 50 if necessary to prevent no deal”, in motions being submitted to its conference in September.

The move threatens to shatter the fragile peace over Brexit policy since the shadow cabinet agreed Labour would campaign for Remain in any fresh referendum held while the Conservatives are in power.

The policy was attacked as a fudge – after Mr Corbyn admitted Labour could yet fight a general election as a pro-Brexit party – and says nothing about wider strategy to stop the no deal Boris Johnson is threatening

Now the local Labour parties have signed up to a campaign to maximise pressure in Brighton in September, launched by the grassroots groups Another Europe is Possible, Labour for a Socialist Europe and Open Labour.

The motion “notes the vast majority of Labour members and voters oppose Brexit” and says the party still needs “a clear Brexit policy”.

It then states: “Labour will campaign energetically for a public vote and to Remain. We support revoking Article 50 if necessary to prevent no deal.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Labour MP backing the campaign, said: “No deal would be a catastrophic moment for the Labour Party and the people we represent. It would mean a huge economic crisis which the right wing of the Tory party would use to drive an agenda of deregulation.

“We must be willing to do absolutely anything to stop it – and of course that would mean, if we had to, whipping to revoke Article 50.”

And Michael Chessum, national organiser for Another Europe is Possible, said: “It’s not the tool we would choose, but if revoking is the only option left on the table to stop the disaster capitalists, Labour has to be willing to use it. There can’t be any fudge or ambiguity on that.”

This year, anti-Brexit activists are likely to make a commitment to revoking Article 50, if necessary, a “red line” in the marathon Sunday evening get-together of constituency parties, trade unions and affiliated groups.

..

In total, 50 constituencies have already voted to submit anti-Brexit motions to the Brighton conference, of which at least 29 explicitly call for the Article 50 notice to be withdrawn.

The Morning Star  has promoted an alternative campaign Leave-Fight-Transform.

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LeFT: campaigning for Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit

Key figures in the CPB, its associated organisations and its milieu are well-represented – including CPB General Secretary Robert Griffiths. Some of the Labour Party signatories are very close to the CPB, eg Marcus Barnett and Eddie Dempsey (the latter is the one who said that Tommy Robinson supporters are “right to hate the liberal left”). It’s worth noting that these were the organisers of a campaign for people to boycott the European elections, ie to refuse to campaign or vote for Labour even – or it might be more accurate to say because of – the Brexit Party surge.

Some comrades have speculated that this new organisation was launched because a pre-existing one, “The Full Brexit”, was too discredited by a number of its founders supporting and in one case – James Heartfield – standing for, the Brexit Party. This group distinguished itself by publishing an article from two of its leading people denouncing Irish republican groups as “the armed wing of the European Union” and calling for violent British state action to crush their opposition to a hard border.

But TFB has been quick to get a statement out supporting and trumpeting its involvement in LeFT. And the initial LeFT signatories include Phil Cunliffe, a central participant in the same ex-Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked network as Heartfield, fellow Brexit Party candidate (now MEP) Claire Fox et al – and himself a supporter of the Brexit Party! Plus another Spiked writer, George Hoare.

This is not an initiative any self-respecting socialist should have anything to do with.

It was therefore genuinely disappointing to see that LeFT’s signatories include a number of supporters of the anti-Stalinist (ex-SWP) socialist group RS21: I recognised the names Jen Wilkinson, Brian Parkin and Colin Wilson. It seems surreal that these comrades could put their names to such a thing.

The Red Brown Front (an alliance of sovereigntist left individuals, Counterfire supporters, the CPB, which runs the Morning Star, Blue Labour social conservatives,  and Brexit Party backers)  in the Full Brexit, backs this campaign.

This is the alternative:

This is also worth reading: Prominent Centrists and the Fiction of the White Working Class