Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Fascism

Declinism and Tory Culture Wars.

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As Far-right Surfaces Left Gets Involved in Culture Wars.

In an important article ‘The Seductions of Declinism in the latest London Review of Books William Davies discusses Britain’s economic malaise. The Goldsmith professor cites the Resolution Foundation,’s latest report which reads, “The UK has great strengths, but is over a decade into a period of stagnation. The toxic combination of slow growth and high inequality was posing challenges for low-to-middle income Britain’s living standards even before the post-pandemic cost of living crisis struck. Growth stands at 0,4% a year, compared to an average 0,9% in OECD countries. Since 2007 wages have not grown at all. The UK is now an “unusually unequal country”.

In form of capitalism which has been called “rentier” (for many this will evoke the work of Thomas Piketty, although he cites Brett Christophers) or ‘neo-feudalism’ (for many again this evokes Cédric Durand and techno-feudalism rather than Jodi Dean) “economies like Britain’s have effectively abandoned the pursuit of prosperity through the traditional practices of investment in technology, R & D, skills and entrepreneurship…and (have) descended instead into passive speculation on unproductive assets, above all housing, bu extending to such Ponzi schemes as NFTs and other cryptocurrencies.”

This is the backdrop to the “nostalgia fest of the Tory leadership election”.

But one thing brightens the Conservative contest, cultural issues. They soak up “vast amounts of attention on-line” – propelled by the priorities of the news business, “a handful of newspapers owned by three or four billionaires”. This is illustration of Durand’s take on the “Dépendance des sujets aux plateformes, brouillage de la distinction entre l’économique et le politique” people’s dependence on digital platforms, a blurring of the distinction between politics and economics. At the same time it indicates Davis’ own view that with digital platforms we have shifted from the ideal of the presentation of factual information towards a landscape of swirling cascades of data and sentiment.

Davies’ picture was summarised last year in the Los Angeles Review of Books,

“The world of publicly available facts that these figures marshaled and mediated for ordinary citizens becomes increasingly divorced from the hidden world accessed by the miners of private data, with the result that new sets of insiders and outsiders are created and the workings of power become increasingly opaque. The ground is laid for conspiracy theories to replace consensus about reality. According to Davies, we have entered a new regime of truth, one with scant time for the shibboleths and separations — “between public and private, between state and market, politics and media, and between the three branches of government (executive, legislative, judiciary)” — that defined the liberal order.

The Liberal Trust Crisis. Adam Kelly.

Davies may well be right that “Pronouncements about Stalinism, gender identity, wokeness and Brexit” are more oaths of Tory loyalty than a contributions to Conservative electoral victory, or a ‘hegemonic’ strategy that can draw the electorate behind the Tories. He may, though this is less than sure, have a point about underlying this is a dispute about narratives between universities and papers over such topics as British identity, though this begs a lot of questions about the authority and coherence, let alone radicalism (many self-identifying left leaning ones are very quiet on the pressing issue of Ukraine) of academics. His observation that the under 50s do not read papers is undermined by the prevalence of their content on social media. Playing, cos or otherwise, many people are indifferent to battles on these issues, preferring simply to be “to be alive to issues of race and social justice,” and plenty of other subjects.

One topic though, Brexit, is neither a matter of wokeness, nor, despite the efforts of some of Davies’ left wing sovereigntist colleagues, a “floating signifier” that could have been given a left inflection. It is damaging to those trying to create a radical alternative to the Conservatives, and Starmer’s moderate slide, that it continues to capture illusions about popular sovereignty whose reach can be read in those left wingers who believe that People’s Brexit could have happened. Or that, for all its present Tory cast, is, in some sense a step forward which a future left government could build on.

It is hard to forget that New leftist Perry Anderson, whose thesis (with Tom Nairn) on the lack of a proper bourgeois revolution to spur later British modernisation Davies discusses at length, stated “for all its woeful shortcomings… Westminster is vastly superior to the lacquered synarchy” of the European Union” (The Breakaway: Goodbye Europe London Review of Books. 2021). Brexit, headed by a populist braggart, welcomed by the new millennium New Left Review, to be continued by the next Tory PM, is another cause of a economic, political and social regression, aiding the economic stagnation the Resolution Foundation outlines.

Davies concludes that the Tory Party leadership contest, “creates the impression of a country that can now only speak to itself in slogans, oaths and insults, and has no has no capacity to describe or explain its problems”. At the same time, it looks, he says, concentrating out minds, as if “Britain’s elites now intend to stake everything on another financial free-for-all”. If a limited (constrained by anti union laws) wave of strikes is breaking out, there has not been much success in getting the people to yearn for another clamp down on organised labour. There have been calls for a union day of action. As yet there is no sign of Britain seeing this: Grève générale et nationale le 29 septembre 2022 (France).

There is no doubt the case that the political world is now digitally captured to the point where it is hard to know where Twitter and platforms begin and at what point they merge into face-to-face politics and end political – even state – decisions .

The culture wars, in the meantime, are both in the billionaire media, and out on the streets:

You might almost think dredging up the culture wars is a deliberate distraction from the reality of economic decline….

Written by Andrew Coates

August 7, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Piers Corbyn and other Conspiracy Fash out in support of Canadian ‘Truckers’.

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Confusionism in London.

The weirdest thing is the French left-wing song – the Internationale? the sound track is not very clear – playing in the background.

Or perhaps not:

Written by Andrew Coates

February 19, 2022 at 7:38 pm

Canadian Communist Party on how to tackle Freedom Convoy “led by far-right and fascist forces.”

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News that the federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act to deal with the continuing occupation of Ottawa by the so-called truckers’ convoy led by far-right and fascist forces, may sound like a good idea to some, but it is a sledgehammer that will suspend the civil and democratic rights of everyone in Canada, effectively imposing martial law across the country. Though the Prime Minister promises to be selective in using the arbitrary powers he has acquired, the Emergency Act effectively suspends the Charter of Rights, eliminating civil and democratic rights in Canada.

The Emergencies Act is the new name for the War Measures Act which has only been used three times in Canadian history, twice during the first and second World Wars, and in 1970 during the occupation of Quebec by federal troops.

The name change was the result of massive opposition to this use of war-time legislation against civilian populations. The legislation should have been abolished. Instead it will be used to do the job in Ottawa that police have already done in Windsor without this draconian legislation.

It has been widely noted, especially by residents of Ottawa, that the Ottawa police have done almost nothing and in many ways have facilitated the ongoing occupation. Police inaction in Ottawa stands in stark contrast to harsh repression against Indigenous peoples whenever Indigenous sovereignty clashes with the capitalist theft of land and resources, or with the mass arrests of thousands that took place during the G20 protests in 2010 or during the Quebec Student Strike in 2012. The numerous connections between police, state intelligence, active and veteran military personnel and the far-right occupation has been widely reported. All this demonstrates that new policing, surveillance and repression powers will ultimately be used against the labour and people’s movements as opposed to the far-right.

What’s missing in Ottawa is the will to politically oppose and act against the far-right core of this movement, to use existing criminal and anti-hate laws to arrest and detain all those advocating hate and threatening violence against women, Muslims, Jews, racialized people, immigrants, Communists, liberals and social democrats, and all those who oppose hate.

Working people across Canada have protested in the streets, demanding the government act against hate; defend public health, hospitals and healthcare workers; stand up for science and for public health measures that could have prevented the deaths of thousands in Canada if they had been implemented early and consistently by federal and provincial governments.

Instead governments have pandered to Big Business interests, using the pandemic as cover for a massive transfer of wealth to the pockets of the biggest corporations in Canada, while millions of people lost their jobs, bankruptcies of small restaurants and businesses exploded, and many working people lost everything, including their hope for a better future for themselves and their children.

If politicians are frightened by the mob occupying Ottawa and other locations across Canada, they should be. This is not a protest, it’s a political movement of the far-right with funding and support from within the ranks of police and military, and from white supremacist and fascist forces around the world.

The antidote is immediate action, using existing laws, to protect the public and disperse the occupation. It is to protect and strengthen democratic and civil rights, not eliminate them altogether with the Emergencies Act.

The antidote is to act decisively to protect public health, by supporting public healthcare and healthcare workers with adequate funding, increased wages and better working conditions, reversing privatization and expanding Medicare to include long-term care and pharmacare.

The antidote is to act for a People’s Recovery: good jobs, increased pensions and wages, affordable social housing; quality public childcare; strong social programs; abolition of student debt, real action on climate change; and greatly increased corporate taxes with tax relief for workers and the unemployed. This is the antidote to widespread despair and justified anger.

Big Business may think the Emergencies Act is a good idea – eliminating both border delays and the right to strike. But working people – the labour, democratic, and civil rights’ movements, the NDP, the Green, and the Bloc, must speak up to oppose this sledgehammer to democracy. – which suspends the Constitutional and Charter rights of every citizen and resident, despite Trudeau’s assurance that he won’t act arbitrarily. How far will the PM go? “Just watch me” said Pierre Trudeau when he invoked martial law in 1970.

The Communist Party stands with anti-fascist, anti-racist protestors who are the real public defenders today, and calls on the labour, democratic and civil rights movements to speak up now against the invocation of the Emergencies Act, in defence of civil liberties and for government action to protect the public from the occupation using existing legislation and anti-hate laws.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada


Le Parti communiste du Canada considère le « convoi de la Liberté » comme l’expression publique de l’extrême-droite qui s’organise et s’affirme de plus en plus. Comme l’indiquent les liens manifestes entre les organisateurs du convoi et les réseaux d’extrême-droite, il ne s’agit pas d’une manifestation spontanée de la classe ouvrière. Au contraire, elle s’inscrit dans un phénomène global : celui de la montée et de la banalisation de l’extrême-droite à qui tous les micros sont ouverts, en particulier en temps de crise, comme dernier garde-fou de l’exploitation capitaliste.

Report from Canada: Far Right Trucker Convoy Crosses Canada

Oakland Socialist.

John Clarke reports from Canada

The ‘Freedom Convoy’ is a warning to us that the far right is on the march and will only grow stronger unless a working class response is set in motion that can beat the fascists and, far more importantly, challenge the crisis ridden system out of which they emerge.

John Clarke lives in Ontario and was a founding member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Written by Andrew Coates

February 16, 2022 at 4:00 pm