Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Black Lives Matter

Spiked Network’s New Front: “Don’t Divide us” Exposing, “racial division being sown in the name of anti-racism. “

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Spiked, Brexit Party ex-MEPs, Learned Pundits, Minstrels and Wordsmiths, try to heal divisions over Race.

Some might say it’s odd, a new front set up on the issue of race, that says “don’t divide us” whose three main initiators are: a former Brexit Party MEP and ex-Revolutionary Communist Party stalwart, Claire Fox of the ‘Academy of Ideas’, a one-time Brexit Party candidate and author at Brexit Central, and Spiked, Inaya Folarin Iman, and “anti-woke” glee and mirth-man, and – do we need to say? – Spiked contributor Andrew Doyle.

But it is so…

The Spiked Network (for more on this group see SPIKED FOOTNOTES) has geared into action…

The Spectator.

Racial division is being sown in the name of anti-racism

….activists, corporations and institutions seem to have seized the opportunity to exploit Floyd’s death to promote an ideological agenda that threatens to undermine British race relations.

The power of this ideology lies in the fear it inspires in those who would otherwise speak out, whatever their ethnicity. But speak out we must. We must oppose and expose the racial division being sown in the name of anti-racism.

The consequences of this toxic, racialised agenda are counter-productive and serious.

  • Under soulless acronyms such as BAME and POC, all ethnic minorities are robbed of individual agency, and assumed to be victims of injustice.
  • Free speech is being eroded by a McCarthyite culture of conformity in which to question the new dogma means to risk one’s livelihood and reputation.
  • Calls for the wholesale destruction of historical statues, symbols and works of art are fuelling an unhealthy war against the past and stirring up culture wars in the present.
  • An obsessive focus on the impact of colonialism threatens to turn history into a morality tale, rather than a complex, three-dimensional understanding of the past.

People will instantly agree that what we need on the issues of race and colonialism, slavery and ethnicity and nationalism, is the kind of complex nuanced debate that this little lot promoted as members of the Brexit Party, united behind the calm, anti-racist, leadership of Nigel Farage.

Or indeed by their on-line magazine Spiked:

Or: ‘The left is turning into a Woke Taliban’

They are surely right to conclude that “We will not be divided – by reactionary racists or culture warriors – who refuse to see us as individuals beyond our skin colour.”

Our ace-reporters are working on this right now, but look at some these tasty anti-division names that have backed this new Spiked Front:

William Clouston, party leader, The Social Democratic Party.

Recent healing Tweet:

Ben Habib, businessman; co-founder, Unlocked; former MEP (Brexit Party, modestly not mentioned…).

Christina Jordan, former MEP, South West England (Also Brexit Party, unmentioned).

Mercy Moroki:

Ed Husain, author The House of Islam: A Global History

Helen Pluckrose, specialist in the appealing sounding “Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship”.

Courtney Hamilton, Writer, (not mentioned: Author at spiked).

Another gleeman Simon Evans – he sounds a right laugh!

This all looks more like a Blue and Bluer Front than the previous Spiked initiative, The Full Brexit, which drew support from the Communist Party of Britain to the Brexit Party….
Perhaps closeness to Number 10 is altering the line…

 

Factionalism in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 10: Socialist Appeal calls for “War” after RLB Sacking.

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Image may contain: 2 people, suit, text that says "RLB SACKING: THIS MEANS WAR SOCIALIST APPEAL ACAAM SCAIE"

“Unity” against the “Appeasers” of Starmer.

A couple of days ago, Socialist Appeal published this article.

Long-Bailey sacking: Mobilise against Blairite aggression!

Keir Starmer has abruptly sacked former leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey from her position as Shadow Education Secretary, on the ludicrous charge of “sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories”. This incendiary move has rightly provoked outrage amongst grassroots members.

The “Marxist Voice of Labour and Youth” is not kind to Long-Bailey,

 

Long-Bailey showed her own timidity by distancing herself from Peake’s comments, rather than calling out the slanders and cynicism of the right. Worse still, she went on to say that she would not be “critical about the way I have might have been treated”, because “[t]he only way that we’ll win a general election is by being unified as a party.”

They continue,

So rather than standing up for herself, she rolls over and lets Starmer kick her in the teeth! This weakness on the part of the left leaders is in marked contrast to the right, who are resolute and ruthless in pursuing their agenda.

They concluded,

It is fruitless to seek unity with the Labour right wing. They represent the interests of big business, who are determined to reclaim the party from the Corbyn movement. The left leaders’ strategy of appeasement has been a proven failure over the past years, and is the reason we are in this position to begin with.

The unity we need is not one of concessions to the Blairites. We need genuine unity, based on organising Labour’s mass membership around bold socialist policies. This is the only way to avoid demoralisation and defeat.

No more compromises! Resist Blairite aggression! Unite and fight for a socialist Labour Party!

Here is their call to arms.

Socialist Appeal (SA) was founded by supporters of Ted Grant and Alan Wood after they were expelled from the Militant group in the early 1990s. While their former comrades founded the Socialist Party, they stayed inside Labour.

Socialist Appeal is said to be affiliated to the Labour Representation Committee.

The groupuscule is said to have over a 100 members.

They believed that Labour should have campaigned for Brexit on a socialist basis.

Their position was that the left should call for “the reform of the EU and its institutions, but with their destruction and replacement by a Socialist United States of Europe.”

If Corbyn and the Left had come out boldly against the EU – whilst defending workers’ rights and freedom of movement for all on a socialist basis – this would have transformed the situation. It could have shifted much of the debate away from immigration and onto the real nature of the EU – and to the question of how to improve society, particularly in the deindustrialised heartlands where Labour had lost support under Blair, Brown and Miliband.

Lessons of the Brexit saga

‘Utopian reform’ of the EU would not work. Failure to appeal  to the electorate to destroy the European Union and  in this way build support for socialist united states of Europe, cost Labour dearly in the ballot box.

Jeremy Corbyn compounded his error by not “waging a relentless assault against Blairism” as the interests of the working class demanded. After the election the “toxic mire of Blairism” loomed again. It “will end in disaster”.

One of SA’s best known international campaigns is the defence of President Maduro’s Venezuelan regime (No coup! No war! Hands off Venezuela! ). The success of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is too well known to need outlining.

SA is widely credited with having one of the most unreadable papers on the left.

This group is not alone in calling for a fight against the newly elected leader of the Labour Party.

Today opponents of Starmer have a new cause célèbre.

The Evening Standard reports,

Black Lives Matter UK has criticised Labour leader Keir Starmer after he dismissed their aim to “defund the police”.

The UK’s anti-racism group has joined demands from protesters around the world to “defund the police”, a term that refers to diverting of funds from law enforcement into other areas such as mental health services.

When asked about the process, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: “Nobody should be saying anything about defunding the police.

Black Lives Matter UK defended the movement on Twitter, as they said defunding the police is a call for more investment in “key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system”.

“As a public prosecutor, Sir Kier Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit,” said the anti-racism organisation.

These are some different responses to calls to ‘defund’ the Police.

2017 Election.

Labour will put 10,000 extra police on streets, vows Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour has pledged to put 10,000 additional police on to the streets of England and Wales in a policy designed to challenge the Conservatives in their own political territory of law and order.

Jeremy Corbyn will promise on Tuesday to fund the extra “bobbies on the beat” by reversing Tory cuts to capital gains tax (CGT) if he wins next month’s general election.

2019 Election,

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will give our NHS, schools and police the money they need

We will invest in every nation and region, rebuild our public services and give our NHS, schools and police the money they need by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone.

There are plenty of replies.

Socialist Appeal has its own angle on the calls.

Review: ‘The End of Policing’ – but how?

It’s not enough to have good ideas, we must participate in the class struggle to make them reality. In that spirit the last line of State and Revolution reads“It is more pleasant and useful to go through the ‘experience of revolution’ than to write about it.”

It will only be the experience of a working class, socialist revolution, that can really bring about the end of policing.

Can we suggest that they pursue their reading of State and Revolution in more convivial surroundings?

RS21 (a splinter from the SWP) have a thoughtful article which outlines just such a “perspective” (one of Ted Grant’s favourite words):

 

Outside the Labour Party things will surely be a lot happier for Socialist Appeal.

Culture Wars, Black Lives Matter, and Labour’s Future.

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America Protests Minnesota

Culture Wars: Protesters have pulled down a statute of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota State Capitol.

“Parts of the left have spent the months since Keir Starmer was elected leader attacking him for “losing the working-class base” through his social liberalism. Now he’s faced with attacks from the same corner for failing to support the destruction of the Colston statue.”

Paul Mason. To defeat the far right, Labour must lead the anti-racist movement

In his analysis of the Black Lives movement Paul Mason makes the cutting point that  recently a certain left press, from the Morning Star downwards, was full of attacks on the “metropolitan liberal” Keir Starmer and the internationalist pro-EU left. The Bluff Workers of the Red Wall would not put up with this North London elitism.

Things have changed.

This week the Morning Star took it upon itself to comment Editorially,

Colston’s toppled statue links the anti-racist and anti-imperialist causes

KEIR STARMER’S description of the toppling of slave trader Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol as “completely wrong,” like Priti Patel’s claim that it was “utterly disgraceful,” show their distance from what has become an international movement against racism.

They recommend creating  “building the broadest possible anti-racist alliance – one which connects racial oppression to capitalism. A movement that targets a system of which the whole working class are the victims and an imperialist global order based on exploitation and war.” – an alliance, one assumes, which keeps Keir Starmer at a distance.

Such a movement would develop a consistency the Labour leadership lacks, as it tries to square sympathy with anti-Trump protesters in the US with support for Washington’s aggression abroad.

While pondering on just what US “aggression” the Labour Leader supports we should not that other spokespeople for the Red Wall  have stood their ground.

Anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaigner Paul Embery (promoted by the Socialist Party as head of Trade Unionists Against the EU during the referendum), (1) says,

Now, in stark contrast,  his old anti-EU muckers in the Socialist Party are ready to advise Black Lives protesters,

Black Lives Matter protests sweep country: How can the movement win?

Sir Keir Starmer told LBC radio: “It shouldn’t have been done in that way, [it was] completely wrong to pull a statue down like that.” With this comment, and also in his approach to Covid, he has shown that he is not prepared to stand up for working-class people and defy the Tories – in bronze or in parliament.

The movement will have to build its own leadership through a testing of ideas and organisation as it develops.

And what would that involve?

To be on the side of this movement means drawing on the conclusion of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers: “You can’t have capitalism without racism”.

What does that mean for building the Black Lives Matter movement? It means building a mass united movement of working-class people with anti-racism at its heart; that fights for workplace safety and PPE for all who need it; for fighting trade unions; for free education; for democratic working class control of the police, and for a future for all young people. It means building a new mass party of workers and young people because we can’t trust the capitalist politicians with our lives and our future.

And it means fighting for the alternative to capitalism – socialism. Capitalism is outmoded. It can’t offer us a future. Join the Socialist Party to help us raise these ideas in the new movement.

The militantly pro-Brexit George Galloway’s new party has its own take.

Socialist Worker publishes this appeal, from the USA, by Michael Brown.

 we need to take these rebellions and uprisings to their most radical conclusions.

Already we have certain sections of the state—particularly the Democratic Party—that are offering concessions.

At this point, we need to be demanding and raising reforms but keep in mind that the system is rotten.

It needs to be uprooted, branch and root entirely. We’ve exhausted all other social means.

The power is in the streets. It’s not enough to write to your congressman or circulate a petition anymore.

And first and foremost the ruling class is scared because people are looting and burning, and defying curfews. That type of militant power in the streets is what we need.

The revolt runs deep—take it to its most radical conclusions

Others from the pro-Brexit camp remain reserved.

Pontificating Prelate Giles Fraser, once the darling of protesters against neo-liberal globalisation, now a Tory voter retweets,

Are there different approaches, ones that avoid the naked opportunism of sections of the left, and the reactionary response of the Blue Labour and Red-Brown Spiked?

As with all his writing Paul Mason’s important article should be read in full.

Key points include that the movement shows two striking aspects:

The first is an expression of power and solidarity by black Britons. Though the London demos have been multi-ethnic, when seen as black community events they are unparalleled in size. The university students, the taxi drivers, the cleaners, the church congregations, the football teams, the DJs and the civil servants of black London were drawn together in one place. These were not “activists” – they were families and friends mobilised together.

The second aspect of these events is they are a political project. They reflect the desire of multi-ethnic urban communities to decisively roll back the racism they see pervading their everyday experience: they have had enough, and a response has been coming for years.

He continues,

And that leads to the third characteristic of this moment. It is a major challenge to the Labour Party.

 

….

The black community, like everyone interested in politics, understands that there will not be a progressive government in this country unless Labour can take back its former northern heartlands. But the implicit question posed by the recent demonstrations was: “OK, but on what basis?”

Neither the Socialist Party’s call for a “mass united movement” around their own party, nor the SWP’s belief that “militant power in the streets” is on the political agenda, look likely, or are designed to help this objective. Nor are they likely  to win many converts.

But taking back voters is a hard subject. Labour has to be convincing, not just story-telling It is far from sure that we can will into being an alliance of the ‘Red Wall’ and socially liberal internationalists with a counter-movement and narrative, around the themes Mason suggests, the “family, fairness, hard work and decency” agenda.

If we are talking about a political project  deft national populism Tory, far right, and Red-Brown , one that can relate to Keir Starmer’s team in the Labour Party, but with a much broader appeal and some solid policy behind it.

I’d start looking at some of the ideas coming from new alliances of the greens, centre left socialists and social democrats, and*significant figures of the radical left, that are emerging in France around l’initiative commune, on radical changes to create an open modern and decent welfare system, raising working standards and pay, better, public services, tax reform, ecological transition (the ‘Green New Deal’, for more details see Au cœur de la crise, construisons l’avenir (2)

These efforts to bring people together for a positive future are encouraging, and should expand to include the issues Black Lives Matter raise.

Without this kind of compass plunging directly into the ‘culture’ wars looks a risky  task.

To begin with the sheer size and breadth of the moment we undergoing looks fraught with difficulties.

As Joseph Harker says in the Guardian today,

Black Lives Matter’ risks becoming an empty slogan. It’s not enough to defeat racism

If I hear one more white person say “Black Lives Matter” I think my head will explode. The slogan, powerful when first popularised by black people after the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012 in the US, has now become so ubiquitous as to have lost almost all meaning. A way for people to endlessly repeat “I hate racism” while doing nothing to actually stop it.

When even Boris Johnson can say “Black Lives Matter” – the same Boris Johnson who talks of African piccaninnies, of “bank robber” burqa wearers, who leads a party riven by Islamophobia but refuses a proper investigation into it, and who was part of a government that deported black British citizens, and continues the injustice of the hostile environment to this day – well, you know the slogan’s cultural appropriation is complete.

This brilliant article reminds one of this comment today:

Some further points can be made.

My own ancestors in Ireland, Glasgow and the East End did not get much of the Imperial “surplus wealth” or, I could cite Ireland as an obvious case, benefited from racism……

This Blog suggests that while the culture wars around the issues of racism are important we should not end with statues from the legacy of the slave trade,  British imperialism, or wider European colonisation.

It is not just a reckoning with the past, or present day American or European black lives that matter.

Certainly this is not helped by pulling stuff from television.

Given the state of the world this looks pretty small.

As internationalists we should be fighting the prejudice and disdain which has led many, including on the left, to ignore the millions of Syrian lives at threat from the Assad regime  and the millions of African  lives at risk in present day horrific civil conflict.

In the first instance we await the Morning Star’s support for the victims of the Baathist regime.

 

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(1) Paul Embery speaks at the TUSC meeting in Cardiff photo Ross Saunders   (Click to enlarge)

Ross Saunders and Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales

The ‘Socialist Case Against the EU’ tour held a lively and fraternal meeting in Cardiff on 9 June.

The tour is organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which supports a Leave vote, and includes transport union RMT and the Socialist Party.

(2) “Des figures intellectuelles et politiques de la gauche et de l’écologie appellent à une « initiative commune »

14th of May Le Monde.

The list of names indicates the breadth of the appeal.

On peut y trouver les ténors de la gauche et des écologistes : les députés socialistes Olivier Faure et Valérie Rabault, les députés européens Raphaël Glucksmann et Aurore Lalucq, la présidente de région Occitanie, Carole Delga, et les maires Johanna Rolland (Nantes) et Nathalie Appéré (Rennes) ; les écologistes Yannick Jadot, Sandra Regol, Eric Piolle et Eva Sas ; les amis de Benoît Hamon, Guillaume Balas et Claire Monod ; les communistes Ian Brossat et Pierre Laurent.

Ils ont été rejoints par un large panel associatif et syndical et de nombreux intellectuels progressistes. On peut remarquer ainsi les signatures personnelles des anciennes ministres passées au monde des ONG Cécile Duflot (Oxfam) et Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (One), de l’ex-président d’Emmaüs Thierry Kuhn, de l’urgentiste Rony Brauman, des anciens syndicalistes Bernard Thibault, Bernadette Groison ou Annick Coupé, des altermondialistes Gus Massiah et Christophe Aguiton. Des intellectuels de renom ont aussi paraphé l’appel, tels Thomas Piketty, Julia Cagé, Pierre Charbonnier, Dominique Méda et Sandra Laugier.