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Posts Tagged ‘Europe

Trump and the Implosion of Neoliberalism.

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“Trump is trying to subvert the political institutions of neoliberal capitalism”

“the neoliberal order continues to implode.” “..Trump has proved to be deadly serious about undermining the post-war liberal international order.”

Alex Callinicos. Darkening prospects. International Socialism. Issue: 159 June 2018

Trump’s chaos tour will unleash far right. Alex Callinicos. 17th of July.

Trump had in his sights precisely the European extreme centre, and more particularly the centre right that currently dominates the European Union (EU).

…….

His attacks on Merkel were semi-orchestrated with the far right governments that have taken office in Europe. They are Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Sebastian Kurz in collaboration with the Nazi Freedom Party in Austria and Matteo Salvini in Italy.

Similarly, Trump’s intervention in the Tory factional struggle over the terms of Brexit was intended to bolster Boris Johnson and other Brexiteers in rebellion against May.

As the Financial Times newspaper put it, “The US president is clearly intent on forming a new kind of transatlantic alliance with insurgent political forces.”

Luckily Johnson is probably too lazy and cowardly to take full advantage of Trump’s support.

But Orbán, Kurz, and Salvini are no clowns. They already have Merkel and other leaders of the European extreme centre such as Emmanuel Macron in a headlock.

The SWP leader continues,

So Trump is trying to subvert the political institutions of neoliberal capitalism on both sides of the Atlantic by promoting the forces of the far right. This is very dangerous.

In the first place, neither he nor his European allies have a real economic alternative to neoliberalism. Their most potent weapon is anti-migrant racism, and the extreme centre is adapting to their demands.

Secondly, Trump is giving confidence to genuinely fascist forces, as we’ve seen on British streets in recent weeks.

Trump has been successful in undermining the “political institutions” of what Callinicos calls ‘neoliberalism’. IN the last week alone he has ridden roughshod over liberal democracy, beginning with all normal forms of inter-state protocol.

He and his allies have equally boosted the European far-right. We just seen this work in the open with Steve Bannon’s support for Tommy Robinson. he has railed about ‘immigration’ in ways that recall Enoch Powell. In his Brexit and Helsinki interventions, it by acting as if his Gang wishes to make real the Russia Today vision of ‘Chaos Europe. Domestically his contempt for his own legal agencies such as the FBI has created unprecedented turmoil.

Iy well be that Trump’s intervention were ‘semi-orchestrated’ (which half we are not clear on) with the European populist right.Whether he will also achieve the weakening of the “extreme centre” is less certain. Callinicos adopts the term from a little read book by Tariq Ali (The Extreme Centre: A Warning 2015, now reissued., It described a period in which a ‘consensus’ of free-market social ‘reforming’ dominated European politics, centre left to centre right, from Germany to the UK. Ali was concerned to rescue the radical left from the ‘sealed tomb’ of this period.

The time of the Extreme Centre is already long past. Ali’s jibes at the “indistinguishable  political elite” have a different, more sour taste, when we realise that  far-right radicals, many with electoral success in their hands, now use that language. But it is not confined to these forces. The intense battles inside Britain’s Conservatives also show the rise of the national-populist right inside the former ‘centre’.

Chancellor Merkel  has shifted clearly to the right, the result of pressure not just from the AfD but the CDU. Some commentators suggest German Christian Democracy  may have its own alliances with the central European populists at hand.

Post World Cup, Macron’s ‘deadlock’, over issues such as EU immigration policy, does not mean that the French president’s wider politics are going to be thwarted by any “semi-orchestration”from outside.

Those who gamble on “Insurgent forces”, such as Italy’s Salvini,  take great risks.

Can a coalition around a populist-nationalist right emerge to dominate Europe?

There are many reasons to doubt such an outcome.

This is not just because (as Callinicos states) they have no economic alternative to neo-liberalism, but because they have no serious economic policies at all.

And, far-right ‘internationals’ – riven with differences too obvious to detail – have proved in the past more ephemeral than any Trotskyist splinter.

How can this be fought?

Alliances against the nationalist-populists (notably without the very pro-Brexit ‘left’ which helps the Trump strategy) can be built but one thing is missing.

We are still without an in-depth  explanation of why the rise of neoliberal “globalisation” is now coming undone.

America has been the global Leader not by acquiring ownership of other sovereign countries, but by being the ‘guardian’ of geopolitical and economic stability. If Trump is not longer a pillar of a world order, if he abandons even the pretence of humanitarianism and human rights in favour of nation state sovereignty, what are the economic drives behind his shift?

One of the main themes of globalisation theory from the 1990s till the financial crash of 2008 is an account of financial, production and distribution flows have become ‘deterrorialised’.

Trump can, provoking serious crises along the way, “re-territorialise” international politics around  what he and his team take to be the interests of the US Homeland.

It remains to be seen how he can bring economics under national political control.

No doubt the sovereigntist left who, rarely in public, but sotto voce, rather admire Trump for standing up for ‘his’ folk against the WTO and globalisation, will also be following this with interest.

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Trump Leaves Brexiteers, from Hard Right to “People’s Brexit’ in Disarray.

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“Those who are not prepared to fight to the finish to break free from the iron cage called the European Union are doomed to capitulate.”

Stathis Kouvelakis Borderland. New Left Review. 110. March-April. 2018.

The EU wants to break our national will — Brexit victory would be like winning the Falklands War.

Sir Bernard Jenkin. MP for HarwichThe Current Bun. 14th of July.

For the King’s College academic and  Greek supporter of La France insoumise (LFI), who claims, as is the custom of such academics, to speak for the “European left”, beyond the reaches of social democracy, the Brexit vote was welcomed by many on that radical fringe.

The British left, Kouvelakis said after the UK Referendum result, in the American journal Jacobin, should adapt to the result. Prime amongst our change of strategy should be a ” positive, conquering attitude at the level of the national formation”, that is to the British nation. The  task of the left in these Isles is to see (he cites Étienne Balibar, as one does) into the reasons for the Brexit vote, notably recognising that racism is “a displaced form of class struggle” and act henceforth to remedy this.

With this consoling thought in mind – no doubt reassuring for the victims of racialist attacks who can come to terms with their injuries by reading Balibar’s debates with Judith Butler in this latest work, Des Universels. Essais et conférences, Éditions Galilée, 2016 – he advocates a new approach.

This requires hegemonizing the very concept of “the people” that constitute the living substance of the nation to transform it into an inclusive, multiracial, multicultural, welcoming, and sovereign body politic.” (An Open Letter to the British Left. 2016)

The Nation as a political object for the left is suspect for many reasons, one of which appears in Flaubert’s Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues: “Nation. Réunir ici tous les peuples.” Nation: Unite here all the Peoples.

But is would perhaps be more appropriate to cite an old saw of Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau adopted by some strategists of La France insoumise which Kouvelakis so supports, that ‘federating the people’ requires constructing an “us” against a “them“.

It is no doubt the moment to point out that this ‘Other’ , the ‘them’ – a capitalised word that  sends many of ‘us’ reaching for our updated version of Flaubert’s work – has been doing a lot of work recently.

LFI prefers some nebulous alliance of the “popular classes” against a shifting spectrum of the “elite”.

Trump has his own Schmittian Enemy:

President Trump Calls the European Union a ‘Foe’ of the U.S.

Pro-Trump demonstrators in London on Saturday remain fixated, a little more explicitly than the ‘left behind’ but still salt-of-the earth ‘real’ voters Kouvelakis and his mates are so worried about, on immigration.

This was followed by this instruction from the US:

Bannon Calls for Brexit Supporters to Take Up Arms and Fight to Take Back the U.K.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, told Nigel Farage on LBC radio Sunday: “You’re going to have to fight to take your country back, every day. Whether it’s Italy, France, England, or the United States. If we quit, they’re going to be in control.”

Theo Usherwood, LBC’s political editor, said: “That sounds like a call to arms.” To which Bannon replied, “Absolutely. This is war.”

Others have different targets.

Sir Bernard Jenkin is not alone in wishing a decisive battle with the EU.

Other calls from Brexitering Tories against soft Brexit ‘traitors’ (Remainers in all but name) has an echo in the desperate rantings  of the ‘People’s Brexit’ cheerleaders.

John Rees of Counterfire writes,

UK big business and their EU allies are increasingly looking to the Labour Party to deliver them from the chronic, systemic incompetence of the Tory party. And most Labour MPs would love to help.

Stuffed shirt lawyer Kier Starmer is signalling like a sailor lost at sea that he’d love to deliver a soft Brexit and is constantly trailing his openness to a second referendum. Chuka Umunna and his allies would love to deliver the double whammy of defeating Corbyn and defeating Brexit.

On Sunday the Morning Star screamed,

The labour movement’s “red lines” should be clear. To support investment, trade and jobs, we need a Labour government with the freedom outside the EU to implement its left and progressive policies.

The problem is that nobody, absolutely nobody, takes the call for this “freedom” from the EU “iron cage” seriously anymore.

As for the ‘People’s Brexit’ – what mass moblisation have they to show for their campaign to “take back control”?

Step forward Trump – who has been the object of some protests…..and support:

Here is his latest….(BBC)

Donald Trump told Theresa May she should sue the EU rather than negotiate over Brexit, she has told the BBC.

The US president said on Friday at a joint news conference he had given Mrs May a suggestion – but she had found it too “brutal”.

Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr what he had said, she replied: “He told me I should sue the EU – not go into negotiations.”

And,

The US president has simply pointed out the obvious: the UK cannot maintain free trade with the European Union and at the same time strike new trade deals with other countries, such as the US. If the UK commits to follow EU rules and regulations in goods and agricultural products, as it said last week that it wants to do, then it will not be able to sign a new and different trade deal with the US .

As Trump put, in his interview with the Sun: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.” He half backed away from this yesterday – saying a trade agreement could still be on and backing away from the “ kill the deal” comment. But he was right the first time – if the UK does stay tied to EU rules, there won’t be any point.

Irish Times. Cliff Taylor.

There is also this (BBC):

Justine Greening calls for second Brexit referendum.

Justine Greening has called for a second referendum, labelling the prime minister’s Brexit deal a “fudge”.

Writing in the Times, the former education secretary described Theresa May’s proposals as “the worst of both worlds”.

The final decision should be given back to the people and out of “deadlocked politicians” hands, Ms Greening said.

She states there are three options: the PM’s deal, staying in the EU or a clean break from Europe with no deal.

Ms Greening, who resigned after the cabinet reshuffle in January, said the referendum should offer a first and second preference vote so that a consensus can be reached.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Greening said the government’s proposals were a “genuine clever attempt at a compromise that could work” but “suits no-one”.

The MP for Putney said: “The reality is Parliament is now stalemated. Whatever the proposal on the table, there will be MPs who vote it down. But Britain needs to find a route forward.”

But then no doubt trade deals, new referendums,  and all the rest probably mean little to readers of Balibar and “constructors of the People” Independent of the EU.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Spare a Thought for the Pro-Trumpists.

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Ipswich Protest: C’est dur, dur, d’être bébé Trump.

Donald Trump visit: London protesters stage ‘one of UK’s biggest rallies in years’

Protesters young and old, from the UK and beyond, were united in their opposition to the US president, writes Sky’s Mark White.

Organisers claimed 250,000 people turned out for the huge demonstration in London.

While police have not given an official estimate, to my eyes this was one of the biggest rallies in recent years.

It was mass mobilisation by many disparate groups, all united in their belief that President Donald Trump should not have been afforded an official welcome to the UK.

It must be hard from the admirers of ‘Mr Brexit’ to put up with this:

And this:

Not to mention the latest spluttering about “fake news” – Trump’s recorded interview in the Current Bun.

So hard that they have spluttering into their Chlorinated Earl Grey and Texan Cornish pasties all day:

Portada de Daily Mail (United Kingdom)

DAYS OF MIDDLE-CLASS RAGE

Writes horney handed son of toil, TOM SLATER DEPUTY EDITOR

The Trump protests are more about therapy than politics.

..therapy, not politics. And if there’s anything truly striking about political life today, it’s not the illiberal blowhard that is Trump – it is how hysterical, disconnected and feeble the left has become.

Followed by even hornier Brendan O’Neill.

It is censorious to brand Trump a bigot for criticising the mayor.

Did you say censorship?

Reach for the genetically modified Bourbon!

Trump Orders Change in British Brexit.

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Trump has not just shat on the table after a good Feed at Blenheim Palace….

“I told May how to do Brexit but she wrecked it — the US trade deal is off, says Donald Trump”

The Current Bun.

Amongst further reasons to hate Trump are these:

George Orwell once wrote (Notes on Nationalism) of those on the British left who has a “transferred” nationalism, “one who looks upon the U.S.S.R. as his Fatherland and feels it his duty to justify Russian policy and advance Russian interests at all costs..”

It looks as if the present crop of British nationalists look to Trump’s America as their new Homeland.

We confidently expect the keeper of the Presidential Potty, Nigel Farage, to come up with some justification for this tirade of tripe.

He has already opined thus:

Meanwhile:

 

Amongst the protests against Trump today this is our local one:

 

 

 

Brexit: A Requiem.

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Did Magna Carta Die in Vain for this?

“The Brexit dream is dying” Boris Johnson.

As “we are truly headed for the status of colony” spare a thought for those who dared to dream.

There is a thorpe in England, Bell End, Bertywoostershire.

Nay but a hamlet, but full, in every nook and herne, with  platoons, little and large.

In the ale-house, on the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frock’d boors sigh heavily o’er their loss.

The day is weary but they recall the merry match when Lord Tariq, wi’ sturdy northern folk from Counterfire, played the cricket team, and took a Beamer from Sir Arron, while wrinkled Vicar Giles smiled gently on.

The Squire, Sir Farrage, and his valet, Mr Galloway, would have many a cream tea at the neighbouring Big Boris Mansion.

Once a mouser was stuck high in the oldest Oak tree, the Lord of the ancient holt, and Yeoman Embery came a-runnin’ to save the feline.

The innocent of the village, Brendan O’Neill, made a tasty stew with that moggie….

The Very Honourable Ress Mogg with his Morris Players…. a sight to behold!

Alas.

Now gone.

Brussels ad portas.

Melanie Phillips Goes the Full Farage: “Sack May, give Farage a peerage, make him party leader and PM.”

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Phillips Leads the March on Downing Street!

Hat-Tip: The Seer of Hegemony.

Melanie Phillips is Britain’s answer to Alain Finkielkraut.

Both of ’em likes to whinge about falling educational standards, the loss of national identity and the perils of cosmopolitan multiculturalism, as in their parallel works, All Must Have Prizes (1996), Guardian Angel: My Journey from Leftism to Sanity (2018), and the Frenchman’s L’identité malheureuse (2014 – which reads like a line by line French version of Phillips’ oeuvre).

But one hesitates to imagine even  Alain Finkielkraut going outright raving nationalist as in the above and the below.

FAITHLESS, CRAVEN AND COWARDLY – THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S BREXIT BETRAYAL. Melanie Phillips.

we can say with near-certainty is that what Mrs May has done is put in serious doubt a Conservative victory at the next general election – and maybe at any further general election for a long time after that.

For she and her cowardly and faithless colleagues have betrayed Brexit voters, betrayed democracy and betrayed the British people.

..

the worst danger of all from this debacle: that the British people will simply lose faith not just in the wretched Conservative party but in the democratic process which will become increasingly meaningless.

That said, this thing is far from over; indeed, it may have only just begun. For if the EU sticks to its previous intransigence, it will reject the British government’s offer and insist that it makes further concessions to the EU’s rules which even Mrs May dare not make.

Which means, prepare now for “no deal”. Which Britain should have done right from the start.

But however this finally ends, Mrs May and her craven colleagues have done real damage – to themselves as politicians, to the Conservative party and to democracy itself.

 

These chaps are already moblising for the March on Downing Street to speak for the “disdained masses who have been championed by Melanie Phillips..”

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A Party with Socialists in it. A History of the Labour Left. Simon Hannah. A Democratic Socialist Review.

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A Party with Socialists in it. A History of the Labour Left. Simon Hannah. Pluto Press 2018.

(This review article appears in the latest Chartist magazine).

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party in 2015 victory and his re-election in 2016 have been followed a number of pacy biographies. There have larger number of efforts to explain the victory, often as part of a global rise of “outsider” politics. By contrast Simon Hannah’s A Party with Socialists in it, is an account of the North Islington MP’s leadership within the long history of the Labour left inside the party.

An issue hangs over A Party with Socialists in it. There may be socialists in Labour but can Labour become a vehicle for socialism? The late Ralph Miliband, Hannah observes, came to consider the party unfit for socialist purpose, unable to create a “radically different social order” (Postscript to Parliamentary Socialism. 1973)

The Labour Party, Hannah states, was created as a Broad Church designed to represent the “entire labour movement”. He suggests that the seating is arranged around two wings. There is the ‘transformative’ current – the socialist left – which aims to change society radically, facing sustained opposition from the Establishment. Seated separately have been the ‘integrative’ battalions in the Parliamentary party and major trade unions. Outside and inside office, they try to avoid friction by making peace with the Powers that Be.

A Party with Socialists in it ably covers more than a century of differences between right and left from the foundation of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 onwards – a vast sweep. But historical reminders are often extremely relevant.

To explain the background to Blair and Brown’s modernising project it is useful to look at the 1950s ‘revisionist’ debate, between figures such as Anthony Crosland and Aneurin Bevan. This centred on the balance between social and private ownership and making property serve “social purposes”. In the 1970s this again became a live issue. While the first stirrings of the neo-liberal privatisation agenda could be seen inside the Conservative Party, Labour appeared to be rethinking the “balance” between public and private in the opposite direction.

Alternative Economic Strategy.

The Alternative Economic Strategy (AES) came onto the Labour agenda. Stuart Holland’s version of the AES aimed to create a “new public ownership and social controls in the meso-economic sector”. It included nationalising the 25 top manufacturing companies to “harness the market power of big league firms”. Along with planning and rights to workers’ participation, it aimed to tackle inefficiency, to create jobs and end the decline in British profits and competitively. Hannah notes that the AES included protectionist measures. (Strategy for Socialism. Stuart Holland. 1975)

As Hannah notes, capitalists were unlikely to welcome the AES without ferocious opposition. Wilson, the figure of the ‘integrationist wing of the party, never intended this to happen. Only a shadow of the AES, a National Enterprise Board, that helped prop up some failing enterprises and the Bullock Report’s plans for corporatist works’ councils, “torpedoed” by the unions themselves, remained. (Pages 146 – 152) Avoiding ruffling the established powers ended with accepting an austerity programme in response to IMF demands. For Hannah this was “capitulation to international finance”. Efforts to bring together companies and workers through ‘Social Contract” wage restraint ended in the 1979 Winter of Discontent.

The 1980s rise and fall of ‘Bennism’, and the narrowly thwarted deputy leadership bid in 1981, saw the left rally around the former Cabinet Minister. Benn’s socialism, in Hannah’s account, was that of a “constitutionalist political reformer”. He based his ambitions on “genuine national sovereignty” and wider democracy including extra-parliamentary activism. Some saw this as a transformative ground for socialist activism; others considered that it placed too great a hope in a reformed Parliamentary system. It encouraged the belief that if the levers of the Labour Party were won, a sovereign left government could detach itself from the world economy, and bodies such as the IMF and implement the discarded AES. This idea remains popular on the left amongst those who wish for an independent Britain ‘taking back control’ from the European Union. 

Hannah surveys the left’s defeats in the 1980s. The first pitched battle was on the question of inner-party democracy (Page 164) The Chapter The Broad Church Collapses is valuable in covering with a critical eye on the main players, the inward looking and often fractious activities of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLDP) and the Labour Coordinating Committee (LCC).

Neil Kinnock’s modernising ambitions, a move to the centre, are widely said to have foreshadowed the 1990s dominance of Tony Blair’s team. Did Neil Kinnock isolate the left only by ditching radical policies and purging organised factions? (Page 197) Certainly Kinnock’s moves to remove policy making from Conference and NEC control were important to activists.

Forward March of Labour?

Others suggest that the search for policies adapted to the new constituencies appearing with ‘post-Fordist’ times played a part in the modernising agenda. A fierce inter-left polemic took place on the decline in the power of the industrial working class. (The Forward March of Labour Halted? 1981) Ideas about a post-Fordist production or a postmodern world may have had a limited appeal. But wholesale industrial run down, the defeat of the miners’ strike, and the wholesale closures that followed, saw the pillars of the labour movement disappearing. .

There were efforts to develop a response through new left policies in the late 80s, notably at the Socialist Movement Chesterfield Conferences called by Tony Benn, the Socialist Campaign Group and the Socialist Society, including Labour left journals and radical non-Labour forces. They attempted to learn from the experiences of municipal socialism shut down by Thatcher and the balance-sheet of the 1980s class conflicts. This initiative merits more coverage than the many pages devoted to the expulsion of the Militant platoons that claimed to represent the socialist vanguard

The Blair leadership appeared to cut off any chance of these Labour left or these ideas continuing as a serious ‘transformative ” current in the party. Leo Panitch and Colin Leys, dedicating their book to the independent left-wing academic, concluded, at the zenith of New Labour, that the “route to socialism does not lie in transforming the Labour Party” (The End of Parliamentary Socialism 1997).

Nevertheless the mid-1990s the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA), broke the ‘sealed tomb’ of the left under Tony Blair, and in 1998 got 4 left-wingers elected to the Labour’s NEC. The CLGA was broader than the CLDP or, Labour Briefing. There is no account of the role in the CLGA of Labour Reform and other ‘soft left’ forces, including Tribune and contributors to the present magazine.

Progressive Umbrella. 

Blair and Brown may have ended in a progressive umbrella hard to distinguish from a liberal desire to inject justice over market outcomes. Yet they were not only an acceptance of the neoliberal consensus but also a response to its appeal and to changing class configuration. Their relaxed attitude to finance and acceptance of privatising public services, not to mention participation in the invasion of Iraq, were disasters. The Third Way ideology was vapid cover.

But not every single policy was unwelcome, as can be seen as Universal Credit replaces Tax Credits. Stealth redistribution, nevertheless, means little as the modernisers’ centre-ground has dried up. There is little space for Labour in a “neo-liberal” consensus following the 2007-8 banking crisis. Accepting Conservative austerity plans, apparently eternal fiscal features means attacks on bedrock public services. Put simply, why indeed should the majority pay for their mistakes?

Hannah states that the 1940s left tended to assume that their main disagreements with the Labour leadership was over the speed of change, not over principles. The collapse of the Ecumenical endeavour during the Blair-Brown years, largely put an end to this way of thinking. For many on the left the turn to “social liberalism” cut the ground under the feet of any common endeavour.

In the light of this those who had given up on transforming the Labour Party would also deserve a mention, not least because many of them are now against party activists. A Party has nothing about the short-lived Socialist Alliance (its main challenge in the 2001 election, with derisory votes), Respect (George Galloway MP), or the more recent Left Party. All of these bodies involved Labour left-wingers. Many could offer not entirely happy experiences of working directly with left-factions and the larger Leninist groups which shape their take on Corbyn’s Labour left and Momentum. This gap contrasts with the large space devoted to Militant. No doubt it was “witch-hunted” but Militant’s top-down discipline and claims to lead the socialist fight have long limited its impact within the Labour left and more recent attempts to form electoral alternatives to the party.

Another initiative, which Hannah could have mentioned, is that the People’s Assembly movement of protest against austerity united trade unionists, the Labour and non-Labour left with a wide range of activists. The status of affiliated supporters allowed many to have a voice within the party, which it was easy to transfer into full membership after Corbyn’s election.

It is striking that British Labour is alone amongst established European left parties to have undergone change in the wake of Corbyn’s victory, perhaps indicating that its structures are not such an obstacle to the left after all.

An “invaluable account”.

A Party is an invaluable account not just of the history of the Labour left but of the future prospects of the Corbyn leadership. Hannah ends with hope that ‘capitalist realism’ is ending. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership may open up many possibilities As John McDonnell puts it in his Introduction, Labour can be a “genuinely transformative party”.

Momentum, in this view, is not just an effective electoral machine to support Jeremy Corbyn. It helps extend Labour’s influence amongst the public, and tips towards being a social movement for change. It would be to equip the practical idealists with the Parliamentary muscle to carry open-minded socialist ideas into effect. If Labour came to power would it also be needed to counter business and right wing attempts to sabotage the project? Could it develop a new better, version of the AES that avoids its pitfalls? The alternative, offered by the factionalising remnants of the modernisers, is an attempt to jump on a ‘progressive’ bandwagon driven by French President Emmanuel Macron. It is a bit of everything, except a realistic way of tackling a decade of government austerity.

Postscript 2nd of June.

 

The present Labour Party debate and splits on the fall-out from Brexit can can be seen in the light of the lingering influence of the ‘Bennite’ claim that the objective of the party should be ““genuine national sovereignty”. Those , a shrinking but still influential current,  advocating a ‘People’s Brexit’,  with the bare bones of a 20th century version of an national Alternative Economic Strategy, seem to reproduce the same difficulties and, in their sovereigntism, fall well short of an internationalist democratic socialist goal.