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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Williamson

Left Fragmentation Part 3: Trade Union and Socialist Coalition Launches Rival to Labour in May Elections.

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Another Left Splinter.

 

TUSC is a coalition with an all-Britain steering committee comprised of representatives from its constituent organisations alongside leading trade unionists, sitting in a personal capacity. The current constituent organisations are the RMT transport workers’ union, represented on the steering committee since 2012; the Socialist Party, a co-founder of TUSC in 2010; and the Resistance Movement, established in 2019 by, amongst others, the ex-Labour MP Chris Williamson.

Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

The Socialist Party, SP,  is best known as one the splinters that emerged from the Militant Tendency – the others of an size being Socialist Appeal (following the major anti-Militant expulsions bust up in 1992 they stayed inside the Labour Party), and Socialist Alternative (a more recent split, which is part of the Committee for a Workers’ International in which the SP was the leading fore). There is also a faction within the PCS Trade Union, Socialist View, which had connections with the party.

Socialist Party leaders, such as Peter Taaffe (General Secretary 1997–2020) considered that the Labour Party had become a bourgeois party, and had to be opposed electorally. But, “When Jeremy was Labour leader there was an opportunity to transform Labour into a mass workers’ party. ” ‘Jeremy’ and his ‘project’ did not do this. “his was not done, allowing Starmer to take the leadership with the party machine, MPs, and structures ready and waiting to do his pro-capitalist will. Given that missed opportunity, a struggle for working-class political representation will not now succeed within the confines of the Labour Party.” “Today, in an era of profound capitalist crisis, the working class needs its own voice more than ever before. A party, not a project, is the way forward.” ( Socialism Today, issue 245, February 2021)

One can only guess who would be the leading cadre in this party.

Both the Socialist Party and the Rail and Maritime Transport union (RMT) campaigned for Brexit and cast their support behind the Leave campaign. TUSC promoted Paul Embery’s Trade Unionists Against the EU front whch had got financial backing from hard right businessman Arron Banks. Far from helping the labour movement, or fulfilling prophecies that the North Sea would turn to socialist lemonade,  this helped the Bosses’ Brexit and prepared the way for the Johnson electoral strategy of Getting Brexit Done..

 

 

Chris Williamson, whose Resistance Movement is, an observer member,  did not attend. This suggests that there may well be problems with the man whose reputation as a left-wing politician may exceed Lord Voldemort’s.

Williamson did make a recent appearance elsewhere, not long ago, promoted by the anti-Labour Skwawkbox alt-news site.

If Williamson is yet to tweet on the event,  Resist sent somebody.

 

 

Sadiq Khan is a target in London.

 

Pitching to Corbyn…

We await Corbyn’s response,

Summary of previous electoral campaigns (Wikipedia).

2015 local elections

TUSC renewed its promise to field the largest left-of-Labour challenge in the parliamentary and local authority elections. It bolstered its 2014 local election candidacy count by 70, bringing the total to 650. As it also fielded 135 PPCs, in every major town and city in England, Wales, and Scotland, TUSC subsequently exceeded the overall number of candidates to satisfy the BBC’s fair coverage threshold, qualifying it for distribution of election material via the Royal Mail, as well as time on the major networks for the airing of a Party Election Broadcast.[56]

TUSC gained no seats (and, in one ward, no votes) and lost three anti-cuts councillors in Leicester and Hull. They retain one affiliated councillor each in Warrington, Walsall and Hull, and two in Southampton.[57]

2016 local elections

Following the 2016 elections, TUSC had three councillors in Southampton under the banner of Coxford Putting People First,[58] Kevin Bennett having lost his seat in Warrington;[59] Hull Red Labour and Walsall Democratic Labour also lost their remaining seats.

2018 local elections

Following the 2018 elections, TUSC retained at least one affiliated councillor in Coxford, Southampton, following the re-election (as Independent – Putting People First) of TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell.[60] Two other former Putting People First councillors also retain their seats as Independents, but the group has since dissolved.[61] Morrell resigned in 2019.[62]

@Neo-LIberal’ Labour meanwhile has launched this:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 8, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Chris Williamson’s New Best Friend, Tony Greenstein, and Nemesis, Owen Jones.

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“Williamson became a topic that caused mounting anger and frustration within the leadership, including Corbyn who according to senior aides, privately called him an idiot and wished he’d shut his fucking mouth. (Page 253. This Land.)

Many people have reviewed Owen Jones’ This Land, The Story of a Movement (2020). It is a participant’s account of the Corbyn moment,  a “political revolution”  in the Labour Party. It begins with an account of left wing protests in the new millenium, the Stop the War marches in 2003, and continues up to (amongst others) the People’s Assembly Against Austerity formed in 2013. The author by this a national columnist, was prepared to offer some selfless support for this and other campaigns, touring the county to speak in towns and cities. Work, as a Parliamentary Researcher for John McDonnell in 2005, and, for some time, membership of the Labour Representation Committee reinforces the depth of his commitment to the left. That is, before Corbyn’s win the Labour internal elections.

From Jeremy Corbyn’s success in the 2015 leadership contest, an honourable score in the 2017 national ballot, to crushing electoral defeat in 2020, Jones offers a weighted series of judgements within a compelling set of first hand reports on the day-to-day working and strategies of the Labour leadership, and their internal battles. It is an effort to present neither a story of Corbyn as the leader of a “crazed political cult” doomed to fail from the word go,  or a noble effort wrecked by internal sabotage and the eternal right-wing smear campaign against socialism. It remains an important record.

 

Reception has often focused on ‘Corbyn’s Court’. “This is Seumas Milne, he does our thinking for us” the Labour chief would sometimes introduce him.  After some less than faint praise for the Party’s Communications Director, This Land talks at length of how Milne was “sadly lacking”, “evasiveness”. turning up at meeting only to “waltz in and out”, lack of professionalism, and a fair amount more. Other figures appear in This Land. Andrew Murray,  Karie Murphy, Len McClusky, with varying degrees of respect and criticism. Jones’ ally Andrew Fisher, come across as a thoroughly decent person, with a real political ‘nose’ which is not the case for everybody.

Its pages are worth reading now, with some distance.

But this is not another review of last year’s political books.

This Blog thinks simply that  Owen Jones is a good thing. He is a columnist, a commentator. He does the ground work. He offers analysis. You can disagree.  But the last thing left wing politics needs is an echo chamber.

So one one let readers gauge if History will be kinder “to a “reluctant leader” with a deep-rooted revulsion of injustice” who “withstood a campaign of vilification that would have broken many”. Or that his failures included that, used to agreement amongst those on his section of the left he was left struggling “with difficult conservations with those he disagreed with” and that his stubbornness contributed to a “bunker mentality” of his inner circle. Some may agree that it was a tragedy that John McDonnell, “serious on winning the prize” was not in charge, and  “Labour’s lost leader”

But I digress…..

Chris Williamson, never one to forget a grudge, has been nursing one against Jones. Apart from the head quote there is another,

If those described as ‘cranks’ had a King, it was Chris Williamson. As leader of Derby City Council he implemented  pro-privatisation schemes, the Private Finance initiative, and formed an alliance with the Conservatives in order to govern. ….2010, backed Ed Miliband ..I met him at the time, He was a middle of the road ‘soft left’ MP who would tweet countdowns about how many days remained until a Miliband government would usher in ‘responsible capitalism’. Williamson supported the war on Libya Western airstrikes on Iraq in 2014, and refused to vote against Conservative workfare programmes in 2013……But when he lost his seat in 2015 Williamson re-invented himself a revolutionary, his new political outlook accompanied by a Twitter profile picture of Fidel Castro accompanied by Nelson Mandela,” (Pages 251 – 2)

And it gets hotter,

“But is was Williamson’s role in the antisemitism crisis that proved toxic” .

Jones lists many incidents, the defence of any Labour member accused of anti-semitism, notably Jackie Walker, re-tweeting dubious figures, and, as people who follow this Blog and others know full well, Williamson’s “inflammatory comments”. This Land claims that Karie Murphy  (Executive Director of the Labour Party’s Leader’s Office, LOTO) acted a  “one-woman” Chris Williamson defence league. This does not reflect well on her judgement. Or indeed on those on the left who rallied behind him.

The saga continues.

It’s the Alternative Voice: the Monster Raving Greenstein Party take on This Land.

 

Review of Owen Jones ‘This Land’ – a liberal apologist for Israeli Apartheid who helped bring the Corbyn Project down

 

I have devoted a whole blog to ‘The AntiSemitism Crisis’ in Owen Jones book, because he played a key role in supporting a campaign whose sole purpose was removing Corbyn.

In years to come, the moral panic over ‘anti-Semitism’ which helped destroy the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party, will come to be seen for what it was. Utterly contrived and confected.

It is not hard to see why Williamson likes this torrent of a rant,

Chris Williamson [251-3]

If the ‘cranks’ had a king according to Jones, it was the socialist Labour MP Chris Williamson. There follows what can only be described as litany of lies. This is ‘journalism’ according to Jones.

Chris’s crimes included meeting Miko Peled, son of an Israeli General and hiring a House of Commons room to show Jackie Walker’ film WitchhuntThe film was an expose of the fake anti-Semitism campaign. The Zionists did not like it and when it was scheduled to be shown at the Labour Conference in 2018 someone phoned a bomb threat to the place where it showing. Jones has nothing to say about these Zionist attacks on free speech.

Let those who plan to align with Williamson, and his “grassroots, anti-imperialist working class movement” Resist, such as the Socialist Party and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) reflect on what kind of figure this man is..

 

Here’s some more of Williamson’s allies:

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 30, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Socialist Workers Party and TUSC say “come and join us!”.

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Building coalitions outside SUTR/SWP: London Anarchist Federation write up on 9th December Antifascist mobilisaton – Freedom News

 

SWP, “The future has to lie outside Labour.”

 

The Socialist Workers Party held its annual rally last weekend. Not many people noticed. But we Spotters did. “Over 400 members attended the conference held online.”

In the run up to the event an eagle-eyed writer, ‘Peter Manson’,  for a small leftist magazine noted,

the December PCB provides membership figures, which this year appear in the CC’s ‘Finance report 2019-20’. Here it is stated: “The number of registered members of the SWP is 6,701. This is about an increase of 250 on last year.”

But what does it mean to be an ‘SWP member’? There is a clue in this sentence: “Around 2,000 of our members are paying a regular subscription …” Yes, that’s right – well under a third of them pay any dues.

But what does it mean to be an ‘SWP member’? There is a clue in this sentence: “Around 2,000 of our members are paying a regular subscription …” Yes, that’s right – well under a third of them pay any dues! The CC elaborates: “New members tend to pay much lower subs – or sometimes none at all, if someone in the branch has not explained the importance of making a financial contribution.”

This gives the whole game away. These so-called ‘members’ are merely individuals who have filled in an application form.

‘Mason’ also found this in their internal debate.

“Jim (Newcastle)” proposes an addition to Socialist Worker’s ‘What we stand for’ column, which reads:

In the event of a successful transition to socialism … we reject any attempt to create a one-party state by encouraging a multi-party system, with the provision that all parties represent different means of progressing towards production for need, not profit, and do not include any policies that seek to discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion or disability.

In other words, once the working class has taken power, the only kind of political parties permitted will be those advocating the building of socialism.

 

At the event, (SWP conference—Debating where next for the left )

Charlie Kimber, SWP joint national secretary and editor of Socialist Worker, led a discussion on Tory failures and the crisis in Labour.

During discussion of the Labour Party Charlie highlighted the need to work with the Labour left in united fronts, but to argue for revolutionary ideas.

“Keir Starmer has agreed with the Tories more than he has disagreed. We need to put forward the argument for people disillusioned with Labour to join the SWP.

“The best response from the Labour left to attacks from Starmer would be leaving the Labour Party.”

This is one of the vehicles  which the SWP sees as important for their activity.

Delegates also highlighted the People Before Profit (PBP) organisation’s emergency ­programme, along with the importance for action on the streets and in workplaces.

There is no reference to a debate about the consequences of Brexit. The SWP enthusiastically voted for Brexit in the Referendum. The most recent reference (December)  in Socialist Worker to the issues Brexit raises,  concludes with a long list things that didn’t and would never, happen,

Brexit could have meant more than this

 The feeling against the elites could have led to a Brexit in the interests of working class people. 

That would have broken from the pro-business single market regime but maintained and extended workers’ freedom of movement.

It would have been linked to more money for the NHS and education, a higher minimum wage, action on climate chaos and other issues. This is what supporters of a left exit from the EU (Lexit) argued. To win such a Brexit would have required mass pressure. 

Instead the Tories have come up with various versions of Brexit designed to make it even easier for the bosses to exploit people. 

Instead they talked about happier themes.

The SWP effectively runs Stand up to Racism (SUTR).

Brian from the central committee (CC) introduced the session on racism and the far right, BLM, and Stand Up to Racism.

 debate took place on whether to add an amendment to the session’s commission about the SWP pushing for SUTR to explicitly oppose Israeli apartheid.

Martin from the Black Country said, “We need a very clear profile as the party saying we are against anti-Palestinian racism and Israeli apartheid.”

Sophia from the CC disagreed with this approach. She said, “As the SWP we are uncompromising on our position over Palestine. But in the united front we don’t put ultimatums on people. We need the strongest possible anti-racist movement in Britain.”

The amendment was voted down.

Translated into ordinary language this means that the SWP/SUTR will work with people who do not agree that Israel is an apartheid state, some of whom may well include Jews.

In the meantime another approach to Labour has got underway from equally virulent pro-Brexit groups, the Socialist Party and the RMT.

TUSC to hold local elections conference in February

The Socialist. 13th of January.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has agreed the agenda and timetable for a local elections conference to be held on Zoom on Sunday 7 February.

The conference has been convened under the heading ‘Fighting back against Starmer’s new New Labour – including at the ballot box!’, starting at 11am to conclude by 1.30pm.

Platform speakers from the constituent components of the TUSC steering committee, the RMT transport workers’ union, the Socialist Party, the Resistance Movement (note, this is Chris Williamson’s outfit) and the individual members’ representatives, will introduce the single plenary session.

There is no pre-registration for this conference. The Zoom details will be published on the events page at tusc.org.uk nearer the time.

Here is Chris Williamson’s new Best Friend:

It is believed that the SWP will not be supporting, even minimally, this front.

No round up of these developments would be complete with giving the views of another of the SWP’s critics though,

Pseudo-left groups all over the world have responded to the attempted coup led by Donald Trump with one voice. It is a position best summed up by Alex Callinicos, the theoretical leader of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and its sympathising groups in many countries: “No need to panic—order will be restored in Washington.”

 

The next passage from the article,  may not be about the SWP, and refers to a breakaway from the party. But it will strike many people as a stern, but fair comment and credits us Pabloites for running the IMG to boot!,

Counterfire specialises in offering a platform for the flotsam and jetsam of pseudo-left politics. Illustrative of the politically diseased character of this milieu is the closing commentary of Tariq Ali, the former leader of the now defunct British Pabloite outfit, the International Marxist Group, and now a self-promoting media commentator of no fixed political abode. He concluded his own dismissal of events by wishing success for the political violence planned by Trump’s supporters, writing, “Instead of running scared and being taken out by the cops, [Mike] Pence and [Nancy] Pelosi should have waltzed out together, down the street till they reached the White House… and then? Fill in the blanks as the mood takes you.”