Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Counterfire

Factionalism in the Time of Coronavirus Part 14: Calls for New Workers’ Party and ‘Resistance Movement’.

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It’s all happening on the Home Front! 

From what remains of the left (we hear that Momentum has revised its membership total down to 8000, from a high of 45k)  the drip drop of criticism of Keir Starmer continues, without a pause,

Momentum is trying to re-merge as a force:


But other strategists have been plotting the way forward.

At the beginning of August the revolutionary socialist groupuscule Counterfire which runs what remains of the People’s Assembly, and strongly influences the surviving structures of the Stop the War Coalition  carried this analysis, from the white-heat of the actuality of the revolution,

Life After Corbyn: don’t lose the radicalism

There has been some speculation that Corbyn might be expelled, and that he might then set up a new mass party of the socialist left. It won’t happen. Starmer isn’t stupid, he would prefer to keep Corbyn as a prisoner of the PLP so that what’s left of Labour’s radical left can be kept to heal and picked off one by one in the witch hunt. So if we need something new we are going to have build it ourselves.

Roy Wilkes concluded.

Plurality of ideas and approaches is positive and healthy. Plurality of sects competing with each other isn’t. And if we are going to extricate ourselves from the terrible predicament we find ourselves in, following over a century of failure to build an effective proletarian leadership, then our best hope is surely to force ourselves to come together, one way or another.


This is where revolutionary socialist leadership should be stepping in to the breach. It isn’t too late to change the course of history and avert catastrophe. But it soon will be.

Zooms apart there is little sign of this popping its head above the parapet.


Chris Williamson is garnering support for his initiative, The Resistance Movement, as critics of Keir Starmer seek a welcoming political home.

Many will  relish his plain speaking.


They will no doubt admire how he stands up to the “Zionist” lobby,

Last week the Socialist Party called for a “new mass workers’ party”.

Labour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

the Socialist Party has called for discussion in the workers’ movement on the need for a new mass workers’ party.

A ‘major gathering’ of trade unionists and socialists is definitely needed, in the form of a conference that can democratically discuss and debate how political representation for the working class can concretely be re-established in the situation created by Starmer’s leadership.

 with or without the involvement of any particular individual, the need for a mass workers’ party that can discuss and adopt a socialist programme is inherent in today’s situation.

The Socialist Party has already initiated a call for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to once again stand anti-cuts candidates in the next local and mayoral elections, following TUSC’s suspension of standing in the last local elections.

Presenting candidates who will fight for workers’ interests can only aid the discussion on how a mass workers’ party can be built, while in the meantime playing an important role in putting a socialist alternative on the ballot papers.

Yet, so far no answer seems to have come.

Socialist Worker comments,

Battles and infighting inside Labour reflect the party’s limits Charlie Kimber

Socialists should always be for the Labour left against the Labour right. But they also have to recognise that, even at its best, Labourism is not going to transform society.

A left that couldn’t effectively confront the right in its own party can hardly deal with the pressures of global capital and the state.

The obsession with Corbyn-nostalgia matters because big struggles are coming. Every day there is more news of job cuts and frequent predictions of mass unemployment.

The need for resistance focused on the workplaces and the streets, not parliament, is more urgent than ever.

At the moment the main energy of these factions has been concentrated on building Colvid-19 Action fronts, People Before Profit: Health Worker Covid,  and  agitating for NHS workers’ pay rises – a better way of spending their time some might say than the usual party/groupuscule building.


Hot on their heels George Galloway’s Workers Party calls on the masses to spurn those  “beholden to the Westminster brethren”.



Counterfire to Spearhead Fightback Against Labour’s Keir Starmer.

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Fighting “Starmer’s rightward shift” “in the workplaces, the communities and on the streets”.

Last week the Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), Lindsey German, asserted,

…there is no road to success for the left inside Labour.

The battle is on: and the left can’t win in Labour – weekly briefing

She observes,

Perhaps the most important reason for the failure of Corbynism was that there was none of the ruthlessness towards the right that we now see being used against the left.

We are informed that

Many Labour lefts backed Starmer despite the fairly obvious writing on the wall. This was for a variety of reasons: the shock and demoralisation of defeat and the call for ‘electability’; the continuing Brexit debate (where the People’s Vote campaign did real damage to the Corbyn left); the promises of Starmer that he would unite the party; the continuing rows over antisemitism.

These look pretty convincing reasons to have backed Starmer.

Most socialist internationalists (unlike Counterfire) opposed Brexit and saw no reason to go along with the pro-Brexit supporters around Corbyn.

Is anti-semitism within Labour, a hysterical ‘anti-Zionism’ with plenty of complotism around it that shades and indeed is, full of prejudice, an imaginary problem?

Most people think it is neither manufactured nor dreamt up.

The issue remains open as to what role the left can find within the Labour Party

But those who intend to make a hobby of “fighting” in the party have lost before starting.

Few wish to listen to them and their loud-mouthed insults.

So perhaps German is right to say that,

the fight is going to be outside of Labour, and organising inside will be an extremely pale shadow of that, with very high likelihood of failure on every major front.

The future is to go back to the left strategies of the early years of the new millenium,

We desperately need a mass socialist party in Britain, but Labour is not going to be it. At present there is no such party on the horizon, however there are hundreds of thousands who would identify with it. There are also major struggles ahead as we face unemployment, pandemic and attacks on workers. The building of such a party will most likely come from working in those campaigns and perhaps with an organised split from Labour (although this is unlikely to contain MPs). It has to be centred on those struggles and not on electoralism.

German has learnt a lesson from the massive electoral failures of previous efforts to create a “mass socialist party” outside of Labour: its inability to do well through “electoralism” – the ballot box.

Her comrades have plenty of experience in this area, one thinks of  the prominent role Lindsey German and John Rees played in George Galloway’s Respect Party….

The piece ends, “whether you stay or go, the key thing is to fight.”

How many battalions do these people have?

Counterfire runs what remains of the People’s Assembly, and has an influential position within the Stop the War Coalition, now comments on the actuality of the Revolution.

It has now launched an appeal on the lines sketched by German.

Starmer takes Labour right: It’s time for an extra-parliamentary left

In a statement the groupuscule (around 100 members) states,

Counterfire energetically supported the Corbyn project while always pointing out the pitfalls and the limitations of a purely parliamentary strategy for change. It’s very important now that we are clear about the new situation. Starmer’s witch-hunting of the left, his positioning as a reasonable and loyal opponent of this calamitous government shows that the attempt to transform Labour has been defeated. But this doesn’t mean that the phase of popular opposition is over.

Pausing to note the Tories’ “arrogance and incompetence” and the Black Lives Matter protests, they state,

..the fight is on. But it’s not going to be fought in the Labour Party, it is going to take place in the workplaces, the communities and on the streets.

This leads them to assert,

We urge everyone who is sickened by Starmer’s rightward shift to get involved in this kind of mass politics – building workplace organisation, supporting the People’s Assembly, fighting every cutback and closure on the ground.

Counterfire urges the creation of  working class movement.

Counterfire has been at the heart of the resistance since we launched just ten years ago. Our online support is growing daily, our website is read by tens of thousands every week, but we need active, participatory socialist organisation everywhere to create the kind of working-class movement that can win.

Counterfire is now committed to organising  “a dynamic extra-parliamentary left in every part of the country.”

Extra-Parliamentary, that is, as an alternative to the Parliamentary Road to Socialism, the Labour Party.

Some might suggest that a major factor in this turn is that Lindsey German and John Rees – and their ex-(and present) Communist Party of Britain mates – no longer have the ear of a friendly Labour leader who put up with their enthusiasms, rages, and belief that politics is decided by street theatre.


Labour Defeat: Labour Left Alliance Blames Expulsion of Greenstein and Walker; Counterfire for not offering sole option of a People’s Brexit.

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https://labourleft.org/join-labour-left-a... - Labour Left ...

“Witch Hunt” Chief Reason for Labour Defeat.

There’s been time for people to digest the report on Labour’s election defeat,General Election Review

Cross factional, evidenced-based, from the ground up, their conclusions have been discussed by some very cross factions have now responded..

‘Labour Together’ Report: It was the witch-hunt, stupid!

(Thanks to Newshound David Walsh)

On the reasons for the defeat….

“But the report manages to spectacularly miss the key reason. The 15 Labour grandees (including Lucy Powell who took part in the 2016 chicken coup) appointed to run the review focus on platitudes like “Jeremy Corbyn was deeply unpopular” – but the authors seem to chiefly blame Corbyn’s character for that, rather than make any attempt to get to the bottom of what happened in the last five years.

We are happy to help: It was the witch-hunt, stupid (to paraphrase the Clinton adviser James Carville).

These masterminds of the new grassroots left continue,

 Instead of calling out the lie that the Labour Party was overrun by antisemites, the Corbyn leadership sought to appease right-wing saboteurs, pro-Zionist groups and the self-appointed leadership of “the Jewish community” who set out to obstruct the new members and the move towards socialist ideas. The Corbyn leadership behaved as though they believed this lie. The ‘leaked report’ shows that in the process they displayed an inability to recognise real antisemitism, while eagerly trying to get rid of prominent activists like Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson, none of whom can be accused of even a trace of antisemitism.


Corbyn’s decision to try to appease the witch-hunters made him into a sitting duck for the right inside and outside the party. The establishment media gleefully got in on the action. And if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the truth. This is, in our view, the chief reason why many working class voters turned away from the Labour Party at the general election of 2019.

Stand firm Cdes!

The Labour Left Alliance believes it is therefore of utmost importance that we learn the lessons from this massive defeat. Appeasement never works.

Here is their latest event:

Counterfire, creating the kind of surprise you get when you find out that the Pope celebrates Mass, believes that Labour should have backed Brexit.

Labour’s election result: drawing the wrong conclusions – CounterBlast

Alex Snowdon.

Labour’s failure last December really was a result of one dominant factor. It killed its electoral chances by capitulating over Brexit. It did terrible damage by supporting a second referendum and disregarding the result of the 2016 referendum which, however narrowly, clearly provided a mandate for leaving the European Union.

What Labour should have done is to support Counterfire and the Morning Star’s idea of a “People’s Brexit”.

Labour lost the election by dropping its sensible position of 2017 – to respect the referendum result and outline a version of Brexit relatively favourable to working class people – in favour of an incoherent fudge that satisfied nobody and looked weak.

The Policy ‘imposed’ on Labour, which included offering a new Brexit as outlined above dreamt up by the Four Ms, Karie Murphy, Seumas Milne, Andrew Murray and Len McCluskey was fudge. We should have presented to the electorate  only one option: a better Brexit.

…progress was subsequently reversed due to a major political error on Brexit. As the new leader, Keir Starmer, was in the vanguard of those demanding support for a second referendum, it seems unlikely that Labour will now learn the correct lessons.

Well, that’s that.

Two very different takes on the report.