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Euro Elections: An Opportunity for Labour to take an Internationalist Stand on Europe.

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Labour Will not Win by Competing for the Brexit Vote.

The Tories are in steep decline, and the Brexit Party (Farage, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Spiked – Revolutionary Communist Party oddball, Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert to name but their best known candidates),  are slugging it out over ownership of the fear of god with UKIP.

UKIP has just distinguished itself with this:

I bet the chap below does not like rootless cosmopolitans:

Labour is a strong position to stand up for internationalism.

The anti-cosmopolitan Full Brexit crowd is still trying to drag the party into a competition with the three Brexit parties and adopt National Populist policies.

Skwawkbox, for it is he, says,

Labour’s leadership, following the party’s conference policy, tabled the option of a new referendum in Parliament – and it was decisively defeated, as it was when tabled separately.

But to those aware of working-class opinion, especially outside London, it’s always been clear that Labour had to see through Brexit or risk alienating huge tracts of its heartlands.

Labour’s current strong polling shows that the majority of its base understood that Jeremy Corbyn has played a difficult hand brilliantly. But if Labour wants to win power – as millions of suffering people in this country desperately need – it’s now time for the party to focus on delivering a Brexit that works as well as possible for everyone. Ultimately, that’s always been true.

Those who can’t see beyond a desire to ‘stop Brexit’ to the greater prize of a country governed by Labour for the many cannot be allowed to dictate the party’s agenda, tactics or message.

The time has come for the internationalist left to strike another note:

The Huffington Post publishes this:

Jeremy Corbyn Handed ‘Remain, Reform, Rebel’ Manifesto For European Elections

Rachel Wearmouth

Calls for Jeremy Corbyn to back remain at the European elections have intensified as a strongly pro-EU manifesto penned by left-wingers was passed to the Labour leader.

Titled “Remain, Reform, Rebel”, the document was penned by Corbyn allies, including his ex-economic advisor Ann Pettifor, and has been endorsed by every sitting Labour MEP set to contest their seat should the Brexit deadlock trigger the May 23 poll.

It demands an EU-wide Green New Deal – similar to that advocated in the US by Democrat politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – to include a “European super-grid” and pledges to make the continent 100% served by renewables by 2050.

Labour’s official manifesto will be be decided separately by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee and the party has said it will consult with a range of stakeholders.

Talks between Corbyn and Theresa May were set to enter a third week on Monday as the pair attempt to thrash out a compromise after the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement was rejected three times.

While elections to the European Parliament are not yet certain, all parties have begun preparations to take part.

….

It comes as party insiders increasingly fear the European Parliament elections, which will be held almost three years after the 2016 vote, will inevitably morph into a proxy referendum on EU membership.

A Labour source told HuffPost UK MEPs see the Remain vote will split between the new Change UK party, the Lib Dems and Greens, handing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party a path to victory.

Turning to the Commission’s draft manifesto, they said: “These talks are like a death dance with the first who stops accused of collapsing.

“This is the left’s bid to show that we aren’t afraid of fighting on an overtly pro-European election.

“We want to come out fighting and to be able to say we are part of a pro-European alliance that wants to push things in the direction of a socialist Europe.

“We are saying to Labour as a commission: bite the bullet, get behind where the membership are and the majority of Labour voters are.

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The Dead End of Lexit (“Left” Brexit).

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One for the Historically Minded Trainspotters.

Bob has written an excellent survey of the confusionist politics of the ‘left’ Brexit camp aka, Lexit, ‘People’s Brexit’,

Left nationalism and Brexit Bolshevism

I haven’t managed to keep up with the flood of sewage coming out of the nationalist left this past month. The cast of characters: a weird amalgam of Arron Banks-funded trade unionists (Paul Embery), Blue Labour’s Third Way centrists (Lord Maurice Glasman), old Etonian man of the people David Goodhart, the formerly Trotskyist libertarian contrarians of Spiked (Frank Furedi, Clare Fox, etc), media professors like Matt Goodwin, and old school tankie Stalinists at the Morning Star, young Stalinists shit-posting on social media, SWP splinter sects like Counterfire, and hipster leftists at Novara and in the machinery of Young Labour, and even a few ex-anarchists. None of these currents would be particularly significant alone,although some of them are increasingly called upon pundits on daytime TV sofas and Question Time debates. But the alignment of these different formations has become an increasingly toxic force on the left. This toxic force pulls the Labour Party away from internationalist, anti-racist and pro-migrant positions (e.g. promoting pro-Brexit positions and sacrificing our right to freedom of movement). And it is toxic in terms of the culture of our movements too, driving better people away from the left.

Another Europe is Possible published this at the end of last month,

BREXIT, FARCE, AND THE LEXIT LEFT

Neil Faulkner argues that Brexit is the British expression of the wave of nationalism, racism, and fascism sweeping the world – and Lexit is on the wrong side of history.

History repeats itself. First time, tragedy; second time, farce. It was an off-the-cuff remark by Marx, and it gets repeated too often. But how appropriate it seems as Britain’s small, shrinking, sectarian Left embraces Third Period Stalinism ever more completely.

..

The Lexit Left, on the other hand, is an alliance of 1970s fossils, unrepentant Stalinists, and former Trotskyists. It represents an abandonment of revolutionary internationalism and solidarity, a retreat into the fantasy-world of ‘socialism in one country’, and a capitulation to the nationalism of the Far Right.

The Morning Star keeps at it:

What would a ‘clean break’ with the EU mean for the economy? Alex Gordon.

Any Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated between the EU and Theresa May is by definition not going to be acceptable to socialists. The EU wishes to tie Britain into its single market and customs union, which embeds austerity, cuts and privatisation, super-exploitation of migrant workers (and wage depression), a Fortress Europe, racism and a growing far-right across Europe as a consequence.

A “clean break,” managed no-deal Brexit on WTO terms will allow a future Labour government to challenge these policies. Labour’s current policy to embrace “a customs union” with the EU would prevent implementation of its 2017 general election For Many Not The Few manifesto and could lose them the next general election.

As in this prospect:

But, fortunately,  this looks prospect has not won friends inside the Labour Party, today.]

Face the facts, Labour leftwingers: Lexit is dead

(Described as being on the soft left of the Labour Party, with the “Daily Mirror noting Smith’s politics “largely overlap when it comes to policy” with Corbyn’s.)

The key sections are these:

But the Lexiters had one argument that was never completely rebutted. There was a grey area in the law about whether EU competition laws and state aid rules would prevent us from renationalising the railways or subsidising other key industries. Even though most legal experts thought this was surmountable, it was a point that lingered in the public debate. Not any more. In supporting a customs union and a single market alignment, our party leadership is saying it would bind the UK to the very rules the Lexiters are against. And, if we’re outside the political structures of the EU, we will have very limited say in how those rules are made or how they will operate.

As George Peretz QC, co-chair of the UK State Aid Law Association, has said: “In a customs union, we are asking the EU to give up the weapon that WTO rules (countervailing measures) give it against UK subsidies. There were always going to have to be cast-iron state-aid rules in consequence.” The EU has already imposed a state-aid clause in the proposed withdrawal agreement for this very reason.

The truth is there can be no leftwing Brexit. It is an oxymoron. It’s irreconcilable with those values of freedom and equality that are at the heart of what we stand for. There is no freedom without an end to poverty, said Bevan; it is our job is to pursue equality and freedom, said Crosland. To them, a leftwing Brexit could never have been born; to me, Lexit is now dead.

….

Crucially, Jeremy is fighting for a significant extension of the Brexit deadline with the EU. This additional time is needed not only to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU but also to scrutinise any new deal and allow for a confirmatory referendum so that the people, as well as MPs, can have their say. Labour is finally making the right case for its values of equality, internationalism and freedom. Our party can remind the country the Brexit right doesn’t have to have its way. If we stay in the EU, we can work with other socialist parties to build a fairer and more democratic Europe.

Lexit is dead. Democracy is alive. Labour is waking up. Now the British people know the real facts about the costs of leaving, that many of the promises made for Brexit will be broken and that any deal will not give clarity – just a crisis that goes on and on – our voters deserve a new say.

The wind is turning.

The letter was organised by the Love Socialism Hate Brexit campaign.

The fight continues:

If a deal is passed, Brexit never ends. We must put a stop to it

Brexit threatens all of the progress we have made. The public rightly regards this episode as an exercise in politicians wrangling over a chaotic process and neglecting the real issues. Unless it offers a sharp alternative on Brexit, Labour will not be immune to that sentiment. Meanwhile, our national discourse is becoming increasingly poisonous. Racists the far right are on the rise, feeding off the idea that the 2016 EU referendum put them on the winning side of history.
The two MPs continue,

We have now joined with a host of other radical and socialist Labour MPs to form Love Socialism Hate Brexit. Together, we are campaigning for the socialist Labour government we all need. And we are taking a stand with Labour members, and with the communities we represent, to fight against the disaster that is Brexit. We, and other members of Love Socialism Hate Brexit, will write a column every Thursday for LabourList.

We want to turn this from a moment of stagnation and frustration into a moment of hope. By uniting, Labour can end the Brexit chaos, bring down the government, and rebuild and transform Britain. We can live up to our role as an internationalist party, leading the left in Europe to fight climate chaos, bring forward a compassionate refugee policy, and combat and regulate capital. We need to remain and transform the EU.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2019 at 10:36 am

Alain Badiou criticises the “réactionnaire” Gilets Jaunes movement: “tout ce qui bouge n’est pas rouge”.

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Something has kept me away from the movement of the Gilets Jaunes: it is the overwhelming presence, the constant return of the  cheerless tricolore  flag,..” Alain Badiou.

A few months ago it was announced that Badiou was to have an op-ed article on the Gilets Jaunes published in Le Monde.

We were watching out for it like ‘awks.

But it appears that the French Daily would not publish it, something about Badiou being virulently rude against Alain Finkielkraut in another article («Le Monde» a-t-il «censuré» un texte d’Alain Badiou sur les gilets jaunes ?)

In the weeks that followed we lost interest, largely because something was happening in the UK that readers may have heard of.

But now Cde Google informs us that the text had found a publisher.

ALAIN BADIOU : LEÇONS DU MOUVEMENT DES « GILETS JAUNES »

Alain Badiou, March 10, 2019

“Un proverbe d’autrefois dit que « tout ce qui bouge n’est pas rouge ». Et pour le moment, du « rouge », dans le mouvement des gilets, qui certes « bouge », il n’est pas question : je ne vois, outre le jaune, que du tricolore, toujours un peu suspect à mes yeux.

An old proverb says that “everything that moves is not red” (that is, not every political groundswell is on the left…Note). And for the moment, “red”, amongst the Gilet Jaunes movement, certainly “moves”. That is certain. But I see, in addition to the yellow, only the tricolore, which is always a bit dubious in my eyes.

Badiou considers the Gilets Jaunes’ upswell as a protest against the difficult lives of those in rural or sub-urban areas, the result of the erosion of public services,  the way that real incomes have not kept up with the times,  tax systems which weigh upon these parts of the population, and the hard lives of women who also have to raise a family.

In France there is are deep rooted reasons for discontent in the working middle and lower middle class, particularly in the provinces. Deindustrialisation and real pauperisation have gone along with the present, Macron-led, ‘modernisation’

The Gilets Jaunes are thus a reaction of classes threatened by Macron’s policies and the constant wavew of austerity/modernisation. They can be viewed in Marxist terms as the cry of despair of those threatened with losing their relative status in a ‘globalised’ world. But they are not forward looking. “The individual members of this class…. constantly hurled down into the proletariat ” look to the past, to their lost security, and demand that a better past be restored.

As traditional political organisations, of the left and the right, have not been able to channel this discontent, the Gilets Jaunes’ “spontaneous” response has been hard to pin down.

This is Badiou’s sketch:

..on pourrait appeler la subjectivité de ce mouvement un individualisme populaire, rassemblant des colères personnelles liées aux formes neuves de la servitude aujourd’hui imposée à tous par la dictature du Capital.

one could call the subjectivity of this movement a popular individualism, gathering together the personal anger related by the new forms of servitude today imposed on all by the dictatorship of Capital.

This does not mean the Gilets Jaunes are’ fascists’ (though one can remark that this reaction involves supporters of the far-right, from Marine Le Pen’s party to the ‘ultras). Badiou dismisses this talk from what he calls (with all the moral authority of a former apologist of Pol Pot), “renegade” intellectuals. This is just “infiltration”. Oh, and “crypto-fascist style of “the people against the elite” and, hey, the wild rumours (notably about The Media) circulating on social networks…

Which – all reports confirm – is widely taken for “truth” against “fake news”.

Yet the legitimacy of reacting to Macron’s neo-liberal policies does not make the Gilets Jaunes left-wing.

There are two fundamental tendencies in politics, those in favour of capitalism, and those, under the names of socialism and communism, which have challenged it.

In what sense are the Gilets Jaunes, harking back to the security of the post-war settlement, aligned with socialism or communism?

Les gilets jaunes « combattent la Bourgeoisie », comme le dit Marx, c’est vrai. Mais ils le font pour restaurer un ordre ancien et périmé, et non pour inventer un nouvel ordre social et politique, dont les noms ont été, depuis le XIXe siècle, « socialisme », ou, surtout, « communisme ».

“The Gilets Jaunes fight the Bourgeoisie”, as Marx would  say. That is true. But they do it to restore an old and outdated order, and not to invent a new social and political order, whose names have been, since the nineteenth century, “socialism” or, especially, “communism”.

Some further salient extracts when Badiou gets more serious and tackles those who would see in the movement a revolutionary challenge to the system:

“Of course, the ultra gauches, the anti-fafs, those who’ve woken up after (the movement) Nuit-debout, those who are always on the lookout for a “movement” to get their teeth into, the loud-mouths of “the coming insurrection”  (l’insurrection qui vient, the name of an ultra left neo-situationist  manifesto) , celebrate the GIlets Jaunes’  democratic proclamations (in fact, individualistic and short-sighted), introduce the cult of decentralised assemblies, and imagine that they will soon redo the capture of the Bastille.

“But this attractive carnival fails to impress me: these movements have led everywhere, for ten years and more, to terrible defeats, paid very dearly by the peoples. Indeed, the “movements” of the last historical sequence, from Egypt and the “Arab Spring” to Occupy Wall Street, from the latter to Turkish Squares, from this  to the Greek riots, from  the Indignados…Nuit Debout…seem to ignore the implacable  historical laws that govern the world today….

Nothing is more important, in the present moment, than to have in mind the lessons of this sequence of “movements”, Gilets Jaunes included. They can be summed up in a single maxim: a movement whose unity is strictly negative, either will fail, often giving rise to a situation worse than the one that at its origin, or it will have to be divided in two, by the emergence of a creative surge, and within it, an affirmative political proposition which is really antagonistic to the dominant order, and supported by a disciplined organisation.

Sticking the knife in further Badiou talked of the Gilets Jaunes as a reaction of “old France” under threat in a recent book, Méfiez-vous des blancs, habitant du rivage  reviewed, here: Alain Badiou. Changer de peuple.

One can genuinely see that the State, in the service of Capital, has deserted the old provincial world, ageing, suburban and colonial. One can understand  the nation-wide, archaic, reaction of part of society whose small privileges are menaced.

His  hostility to the demonstrators brandishing of the Tricolore  is strong,

 Quelque chose m’a tenu écarté du mouvement des « gilets jaunes » : c’est la présence massive, le retour constant du triste drapeau tricolore, dont la vue, à chaque fois m’accable, et d’une marseillaise que trop de nationalismes fascisants ont entonnée pour qu’on se souvienne encore de son origine révolutionnaire.

Something has kept me away from the movement of the Gilets Jaunes: it is the massive presence, the constant return of the  cheerless tricolore  flag, whose sight, always overwhelms me, and of the Marseillaise which too many fascistic forms of nationalism have bellowed out for us to remember its revolutionary origins.

Back to the Op-ed (above) Badiou’s counter-strategy looks in the line of radical socialism.

…without massive incorporation of new proletarians, the Gilets Jaunes can not represent, as such, “the people”. This people, would be reduced to the nostalgia for its lost social status of the poorest sections of the middle class. Today, in politics, “the people”, the mobilised crowd must have a strong and central contingent amongst the nomadic proletariat of our suburbs, the proletariat from Africa, Asia, Europe of the East, Latin America; it must show clear signs of breaking with the dominant order.

Change is above needed,

First in its visible signs, like the red flag instead of the tricolore…..and in its demands,  the minimum requirements that must be claimed, for example, include  the total cessation of privatisations and the cancellation of all those sell-offs that have taken place since the mid-eighties. The main idea is to have collective control over all means of production, the entire banking system, and all public services (health, education, transport, communication)….

LEÇONS DU MOUVEMENT DES « GILETS JAUNES is beautifully free from Badiou’s ontological speculation. If you can get over the attacks on everybody – and I enjoyed those against the ‘ultra-left’ those out to fish for souls for their revolutionary projects – Badiou has retraced the path to some fairly robust ideas about reviving collectivist and universalist demands…..

There is nothing of this in the just published interview on the Verso site:  Allegiance to Macron is largely negative! Alain Badiou interviewed about the Gilets Jaunes, Macron and future of the French left.

The explanation is simple: the  original date of the article was Interview with Julien Le Gros, 17 December 2018 Translated by David Fernbach.

Less explainable is why Badiou’s numerous fans in the English speaking world have not reacted to the wise words of the ‘post-Maoist’ sage, which many will be tempted to call undeniably sane.

A clue, again, may lie in the way he lays into  Occupy! and other movements.

A pitiful reply from admirers of L’Insurrection qui vient on the site Lundi Matin, which mixed sub-Badiou ‘metapolitical’ ontology and Jacques Rancière’s devotion to the role of the “part of those of no part” in generating ‘dissensus” to accuse him of pointless irrelevance,  was published at the end of March: Jacques Fradin. QU’AURAIT PU DIRE ALAIN BADIOU DES « GILETS JAUNES » ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 6, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star) Denounces “Saboteur” Labour MPs and Calls for Hard Brexit, “on World Trade Organisation terms .”

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Be Vigilant! Communists Warn of Labour MPs’ “sabotage” against Brexit on April the 12th on World Trade Organisation terms.

Communists condemn ‘saboteur’ MPs and demand April 12 EU exit

3rd of April.

Monday evening’s votes in the House of Commons confirm that a substantial number of MPs remain determined to bind Britain as closely as possible to the EU and its rules and institutions if they cannot stop Brexit altogether.

These MPs show utter contempt for the EU referendum result – the biggest democratic vote in our history – and make a mockery of their past pledges to ‘honour’ the decision made by a clear majority of voters.

A majority of MPs have no genuine disagreement with the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement which ties Britain to the EU Single Market in most goods, keeps us permanently aligned with the EU Customs Union through the unnecessary Irish ‘backstop’, maintains EU Court of Justice sovereignty in large areas of economic and social policy and pledges to pay the EU at least £39bn in a bogus divorce settlement.

However, a substantial number of these are also holding out in the hope of locking Britain permanently into a customs union or overthrowing Brexit altogether in a second referendum that would exclude a real exit from the ballot paper.

Tragically, many of these would-be saboteurs are Labour MPs who put their loyalty to the EU above any loyalty to democracy, popular sovereignty and the Labour Party.

Many are opposed to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and have no concern that by painting Labour as an anti-Brexit party they are jeopardising the prospects of a left-led Labour government. Some openly support the possibility of an all-party ‘national government’.

The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on World Trade Organisation terms and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.

That government would then be free to carry out Labour’s left and progressive policies, which include aid for manufacturing industry and mutually beneficial trade agreements with European and developing countries.

What, some wreckers and saboteurs might dare to ask, is a Brexit on WTO terms?

Brexit: What is the ‘no deal’ WTO option?

One of the terms that keeps cropping up in the Brexit debate is “the WTO option”.

If the UK left the European Union without a deal, it would automatically fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

So what would that mean?

First, the basics. What is the WTO?

The WTO is the place where countries negotiate the rules of international trade – there are 164 members and, if they don’t have free trade agreements with each other, they trade under “WTO rules”.

Which are?

Every WTO member has a list of tariffs (taxes on imports of goods) and quotas (limits on the number of goods) that they apply to other countries. These are known as their WTO schedules.

The average EU tariff is pretty low (about 2.8% for non-agricultural products) – but, in some sectors, tariffs can be quite high.

Under WTO rules, after Brexit, cars would be taxed at 10% when they crossed the UK-EU border. And agricultural tariffs would be significantly higher, rising to an average of more than 35% for dairy products.

The government has set out its plans for tariffs in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Its temporary schedule would mean that 87% of imports by value will be tariff-free, compared with 80% before Brexit.

There will be some protection for companies producing cars in the UK, farmers producing meat and the UK ceramics industry. The government has attempted to balance the benefits of free trade in getting cheaper products for consumers, with protecting the livelihoods of some UK producers.

Some groups, which claim to be on the left, still cling to the idea of a “People’s Brexit”.

The Full-Brexit supporting Counterfire publishes today this;

Neoliberalism and Brexit: why Brexit is about more than just Brexit

“Brexit is about more than just Brexit” says Dragan Plavšić, “it’s about the wider crisis of neoliberalism and the long-diminishing authority and standing of the British state and ruling class.”

However, if Corbynism is indeed to be true to the discontented mood shift of which it is the most authentic expression, then it has to advocate a Brexit – a People’s Brexit – that provides a future Labour Government with the necessary freedom to undo the destructive and devastating effects of forty years of neoliberalism. A People’s Brexit is therefore the only real alternative to the neoliberals who wish to leave the EU or remain in it. A general election is feared by them all; the sooner we have one the better.

Most people will have forgotten what a ‘People’s Brexit’ was ever meant to be – and Plavšić does not enlighten us in this reheated rhetoric.

But Counterfire has published articles arguing that WTO rules are better than the EU’s,

“The WTO Red Herring

WTO anti-subsidy provisions are a completely different kettle of fish from EU state aid rules – being far narrower in their scope, far less stringent in their implementation and fundamentally different in how they operate.

The radical case against the single market is no myth February 2019. Reuben Bard-Rosenberg.

So the ‘left’ Brexit or People’s Brexit camp has adopted versions of the Tory ‘Hard Brexit’ position, with the UK negotiating free trade deals with other states through the World Trade Organisation.

There is the minor problem that not only does this prospect go against present Parliamentary votes,  Labour policy, and the views of nearly all but the fringe of the fringe of the Party, but that it runs up against this prospect:

UK cannot simply trade on WTO terms after no-deal Brexit, say experts

The UK will be unable to have frictionless, tariff-free trade under World Trade Organization rules for up to seven years in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to two leading European Union law specialists.

The ensuing chaos could double food prices and plunge Britain into a recession that could last up to 30 years, claim the lawyers who acted for Gina Miller in the historic case that forced the government to seek parliament’s approval to leave the EU.

It has been claimed that the UK could simply move to WTO terms if there is no deal with the EU. But Anneli Howard, a specialist in EU and competition law at Monckton Chambers and a member of the bar’s Brexit working group, believes this isn’t true.

Walks Outs by “ultra-left and sectarian” Spanish and Portuguese Sections in Growing Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) Split.

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Socialist Party in Split with “ultra-left and sectarian” Spanish and Portuguese Sections.

It seems as if the international far-left is undergoing some serious splits.

The American International Socialist Organization, which is known to the present site for some serious political articles over the years), has dissolved.

THE ISO’S VOTE TO DISSOLVE AND WHAT COMES NEXT

MEMBERS AND recent ex-members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) have decided to dissolve the organization and end publication of SocialistWorker.org over the coming weeks, but also to support several working groups and initiatives going forward, and to work toward continued collaboration in rebuilding independent revolutionary socialist organization.

These decisions followed a week of online voting that ended March 29 on nearly two-dozen proposals put forward ahead of an all-member conference call on March 24. Nearly 500 members, participants in disaffiliated branches and recently resigned members took part in the vote.

The decisions came in the wake of a severe crisis in the ISO after information surfaced about a horribly mishandled sexual assault accusation in 2013. An independent disciplinary committee at the time came to the conclusion that an ISO member had clearly violated the organization’s code of conduct and should be expelled, but the 2013 Steering Committee interfered with the committee’s work, overturned its decision and effectively

Meanwhile the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), best known for its British section, the stridently pro-Brexit Socialist Party, and which has yet to produce any serious political articles, is undergoing a split of its own.

It seems that in its dispute with the Irish group SP leader Peter Taaffe has found himself in the minority.

This is latest (April the 2nd).

Statement from the ‘In Defence of a Working Class Trotskyist CWI’ Faction to all members of the CWI

Dear comrades,

At the meeting of the International Faction in London held on 27-28 March the Spanish and Portuguese delegations unfortunately walked out of the meeting. In a final declaration JIR made the completely false assertion that they were being excluded from the Faction because they had raised political differences.

At this meeting a series of important political differences arose. This followed a telephone conference which was held between the entire Spanish EC and members of the IS Majority on Friday 22 March. At the meeting comrades from Spain raised a series of differences relating to method, the decisions taken by the leadership of the England and Welsh section at the recent congress of their section and also a clear declaration of important differences relating to the analysis of the CWI regarding the lowering of socialist consciousness following the collapse of the Stalinist regimes and the consequences this had for the international workers’ movement at the time along with the extent to which these effects are still present today.

At the end of this telephone conference JIR made clear that these issues were of critical importance to the Spanish leadership. It was agreed that they would be discussed in more depth at the Faction meeting in London. This was done on the first day. In the debate important differences emerged in relation to socialist and political consciousness, the consequences of the collapse of the former Stalinist states and the analysis we have had on Venezuela and some other issues which JIR stated were fundamental questions. During his intervention JIR argued that these questions had not been sufficiently discussed during the process of unification and that the comrades had been “deceived”, something which is completely false. He declared that these issues would be reported back to a special Spanish CC meeting which would then decide on its attitude towards the Faction.

In informal discussion following the meeting between the Spanish, Portuguese comrades and Phillip Stott (Scotland) Clive Heemskerk (England and Wales) and Tony Saunois (IS Majority) JIR made clear that these differences were fundamental and implied that the comrades would recommend to the Spanish EC and CC that they leave the Faction. He also stated that this would mean it would make no sense to remain in the CWI.

It was agreed that he make a formal statement of the situation to the Faction meeting the next day. At that meeting he was asked to make such a statement and argued that firstly Peter Taaffe should reply to the discussion. This was not acceptable as the content of the reply would partly be dependent on the declaration made by JIR.

This approach by JIR was a continuation of the ultimatist approach which unfortunately has been the approach adopted by the Spanish leadership throughout the CWI factional struggle. JIR eventually made a declaration protesting against the alleged methods used in the meeting and falsely claiming that the comrades were being excluded from the meeting because they and the Portuguese delegation had raised political differences. As Tony Saunois was responding to this declaration, refuting the allegations made by JIR, stating that we were prepared to continue the discussion on these issues the Spanish and Portuguese delegations walked out of the meeting.

The members of the Faction at this meeting reject the false claims that the Spanish and Portuguese were excluded for raising political differences.

At the meeting it was clear that the Spanish and Portuguese delegations were arguing in our opinion from an ultra-left and sectarian standpoint. The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction. However, in conducting a principled defence of the methods and traditions of the CWI against this trend we are not prepared to paper over or mask important political differences with the sectarian approach adopted by the Spanish and supported by the Portuguese leadership for the sake of opportunistic expediency in the factional struggle within the CWI. The Faction openly discusses political issues and, unlike our opponents, we do not hide any disagreements that may arise. The Faction was formed to defend a principled Trotskyist approach in opposition to opportunism within the CWI. Now a sectarian ultra-left trend has also emerged which we will also politically oppose.

Signed:

Tony Saunois, Bob Labi, Clare Doyle, Niall Mulholland, Senan Uthaya (International Secretariat);

Peter Taaffe, Hannah Sell, Judy Beishon (International Secretariat and English and Welsh EC);

Paula Mitchell, Clive Heemskerk (English and Welsh EC);

OKSascha Stanicic, Micheal Koschitzki (IEC and German EC), Angelika Teweleit (German EC);

Christine Thomas (IEC and Italy EC);

Phillip Stott (IEC and Scottish EC).

Further material available here: More documents from the CWI faction fight

From Trainspotters – the texts are now in the public domain.

The sentence, “The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction.” already looks headed for the annals of classical Marxist quotations.

Brexit, End Game and the Left.

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Brexit Publicity by British Tourist Board.

“Tout commence en mystique et finit en politique.”

Charles Péguy. Notre jeunesse.1910.

”Our central argument is that the various and disparate forms of discontent which led 51,9% of voters to vote Leave must not be allowed to fade away until the Brexit process is complete. This discontent is the emergency, which will power our programmes. If Brexit was fuelled, first and foremost, by a sense of the part of many of the British people that the political class had betrayed them, that sense of betrayal must be sustained. Indeed, it can now be focused more accurately since, with the reframing of Leave’s narrow majority as the ‘will of the people’, public anger will be turned most effectively on those members of the political and media establishment who can portrayed as frustrating that will…”(P 359 – 9)

Imperium Foundation. Middle England. Jonathan Coe 2018.

How long ago seems the aftermath of the Brexit vote. After the 2016 result, Roger Scruton talked mystically of the need for “conciliation”, the opportunity it gave to move towards, a decentralised economy, of the kind that existed in the nineteenth century and could exist again. The poet of identity in political communities continued, ”We must build the thing that the British people value most, which is place.” The pseudo people of Anywhere, the “metropolitan elites”, opined David Goodhart, had been answered by a “populist revolt” by the People from Somewhere. Susan Watkins, editor of New Left Review, chimed in, “Critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret these knocks to it, against which the entire global establishment – Obama to Abe, Merkel to Modi, Junker to Xi …inveigled.” (1)

Coming to the issue of identity, Eric Kaufmann observes, “What really distinguishes Leave from remain voters is their willingness to sacrifice economic benefits to cut immigration”. In their favourable account of national populism, Eatwell and Goodwin give legitimacy to fears about “hyper-ethnic change”. “We do not think the term “racism” should be applied solely because people seek to retain the broad parameters of the ethnic base of country and its national identity, even though this can involve discriminating against outside groups.” (2)

The Great Replacement.

The poetasters of national identity began to look, to those soaked in the traditions of nationalist European literature,  like a return to the themes of Maurice Barrès and “la terre et ses morts”, “la substance nationale” and hostility to cosmopolitan “dérancinés” In recent days the arch-theorist of a great identity replacement Renaud Camus has sprung into the public eye. The claimed threat of immigrant “colonisateurs” bringing “nocence” (harm and damage) to In-nocent Europe has inspired the most ignoble of reactions. (3)

Alan Thornett was perhaps the first to predict that a Yes Vote for Brexit would mean allow this “carnival of reaction” to flourish. Others, enlightened by Fintan O’Toole, recognise in Brexit, a “genuine national revolution against a phoney oppressor.” A burly figure, the ignored working class, was spoken for by the sovereigntist left. The cry for sovereignty, elaborated into a celebration of sovereign nations was, for some, the People’s Brexit crew,  the vehicle of a new socialist project. This prospect of a British Bolshevik Beacon, found a few takers when the economics did not just add up. British political sovereignty, run by the left, runs up against the need to trade, and the country’s embedded condition in a capitalist world, not the much overdrawn ‘neoliberal’ rules of the EU. Critics could point to the Irish writer’s insight into how mysticism had descended into politics. Behind Brexit, the real steam engine,  lay “Jacob Rees Mogg’s “sovereignty of the super rich and their right to escape.” and a scramble for Parliamentary power.(4)

Rhetoric and Reality.

The rhetoric about “elites”, “oligarchies”, and the political “caste”, has seeped from right to left. It is tempting to dismiss this as an unwanted revival of a strain of 19th century European socialism, hostile to representative democracy, looking for decisive leaders to sweep away the manoeuvres of Parliament and the forces of “financial feudalism”. The reappearance of the references to Rothschild, and newer name of George Soros, has echoes of one such ‘socialist’ diatribe against the “financial aristocracy”, Alphonse Toussenel’s Les Juifs Rois de l’époque (1886). Yet the programme of ‘Imperium’, that is the European Research Group (ERG) is indeed, as fictionalised  lightly in Jonathan Coe’s Middle England,  “to liberate Britain from the EU’s oppressive tax and other regulations and allow it to become a genuine free-trading country with its principle endeavours directed towards Asian and US markets.” It is that faction which is riding high in the Conservative Party. It is the motor behind a drive for the worst possible Brexit possible. (5)

In the (just translated) Le crépuscule de la France d’en haut, Cristophe Gilley hailed the Brexit result. It was sign of the ‘Marronage”, the escape of slaves, from the yoke of the establishment, a development he detected that was well underway in the Hexagon – as would underline as the Gilets Jaunes emerged. The British Somewheres, like “la France périphérique” had found a voice in voting for Sovereignty. No0 doubt Nigel Farage is leading them at this very moment towards the Great Wen. Eatwell and Goodwin suggest that the return to two-party dominance in 2017 is far from a new normal. It “may represent an unstable prelude to populist-right renewal.” (6)

There is one vehicle that can halt this in its tracks. The mass movement against Brexit, led, for the moment by the liberal centre, but backed by sections of the left, is a democratic challenge to the projects of the ERG. If, as Another Europe is Possible argues, it can reach deeper into the Labour Party and the labour movement, it may be able to head off Brexit. There is now everything to play for. Now. (7)

………..

 

 

 

  1. Pages 218, and 223. Where We Are. The State of Britain Now. Roger Scruton. Bloomsbury. 2017. The Road to Somewhere. The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics. David Goodhart. Hurst & Company. 2017.Casting Off? Susan Watkins. New Left Review. No 100. 2016.
  2. Page 201. White Shift. Eric Kaufmann. Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities Penguin 2018. Page 75. National Populism. The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. Pelican. 2018.
  3. Pages 281 – 283. Les Déracinés. Maurice Barrès. 1897. Gallimard. 1988. Le Grand Remplacement. Renaud Camus. 2012. Page 70. La Nocence, instrument du Grand Remplacement.
  4. Page 172 Heroic Failure, Brexit and Politics of Pain. Fintan O’Toole. Apollo. 2018.
  5. Page 359. Middle England. Jonathan Coe. Viking 2018.
  6. Page 248. Le crépuscule de la France d’en haut, Cristophe Gilley. Flammarion. 2017. Page 209. National Populism. Op cit.
  7. Another Europe is Possible.

 

Morning Star Tries Failed Left Populist Rhetoric against the “Political Caste” to Back Brexit.

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Last Attempt at Insurgent anti-EU politics.

As popular revolt against Brexit is growing the Morning Star has found nothing better than the warmed up rhetoric of Podemos to come to its Leave campaign.

Railing against the “political caste”, la casta, was all the range some years ago on the Spanish Left.

The ‘caste’ like la caste in French, sounds pretty odd in English.

Apparently backing the popular demand for a referendum in the new conditions is a manoeuvre by this ‘caste’.

This would not matter but the Morning Star has weight in some pro-Brexit Labour and union circles.

Speaking, modestly, for the people, the Morning Star, organ of the British Communist Party, sorry Morning Star Co-op,  talks of Parliament being given, “its marching orders from the electorate” to back Brexit.

They voice this righteous indignation:

Popular anger at a political caste that has not delivered on its promises will only increase every day that leaving the EU is postponed beyond March 29.

As shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon writes in tomorrow’s Morning Star, Labour has a huge amount to offer because it is not led by members of the political caste. Its leaders are radicals ready to transform our country in the interests of the vast majority.

But if it is to do that it has to rekindle the insurgent politics that won it millions of new voters in 2017. The commitment to securing a Brexit deal that works for workers, rather than a second referendum, which Corbyn confirmed on the Sophy Ridge show at the weekend is welcome.

But Labour and its allies at local level should look beyond Brexit to build the campaigns for public ownership, accountable politicians, a fairer economy and action on climate change that both showcase and strengthen our movement’s credentials as the vehicle for change our country needs.

Editorial May’s deal is dead. But what does that mean for Labour?

So sure of their cause why do not the Brexit Left – minus their mates in the Rotters’ Club of the ERG and Farage’s Barmy Army  – organise their own protests?

Here is a helpful suggestion:

But then what exactly are these “insurgent politics”?

Socialist Worker has the answer – Revolution!

Brexit and the sham of capitalist democracy

There is an alternative to the parliamentary farce that means we don’t just have to sit back as spectators. That alternative is fighting back—whether that’s getting out onto the streets, organising strikes or taking direct action.

That’s why it was so important to see the 1.5 million people take part globally in the climate strikes last Friday. Thousands marched around London—and defied the authority of the cops.

And the following day up to 25,000 people marched in London as part of a worldwide day of action against racism and the far right.

Movements outside parliament have the power to take on our rulers.

Whenever people take action, they begin to see that they can challenge their “betters” and make decisions for themselves.

There are always individuals who take a lead in organising action at the beginning.

But as movements grow, they face questions about how to make sure the greatest possible number take part in decision-making.

Real democracy flows from participation in action and discussion. And through taking action we can fight for an entirely different society, a socialist society, where ordinary people call the shots at every level.

NObody takes this seriously, starting from the figures of the people on the demo above.

But left Populism has been the subject of some weighty books and has convinced some groups, from the playing at left politics US Jacobin, to the people who voted for Podemos (which has a democratic, if imperfect) structure to Mélenchon’s La France insoumuise (which has largely the imperfections and is best described as a “rallying point” rather than a genuine party.

Today, left Populism, after the split of Podemos and the descent of La France insoumise to around 8% (7.5% in the very latest poll) of voting intentions for the coming European elections, is dying.

The latest in this sorry saga can be read about here:

Germany’s “left populists” collapse Ann Field

The movement was consciously designed as left-populist. But since left populism is a contradiction in terms, it was simply populist. With Wagenknecht as its figurehead, it took a decidedly anti-immigration and anti-refugee stance.

It also lacked democratic structures. Membership was free and involved no more than providing an e-mail address. Some 170,000 people did so. Thereafter it was steadily downhill.

The e-mail addresses were not the property of the movement but of a separate legal entity, also called Rise Up. Local groups could not establish themselves without the permission of the legal entity. And they could e-mail their own members only through the legal entity, which was also the owner of the Rise Up Facebook page.

Although it was run by the founders of Rise Up, including Wagenknecht herself, that legal entity was not, and was designed not to be, accountable to Rise Up members.

Few “big names” joined Rise Up. Most of those who did were “big names” from the past. Rise Up got round this problem by arguing that it was first and foremost a grassroots movement of “ordinary people”.

Rise Up garnered little support among Green and SPD activists, and only marginally more among Die Linke activists. It got round this problem by arguing that this showed just how out of touch the established political parties were with “ordinary people”.

And it attracted little support for its public activities. In fact, as a top-down creation, it lacked a focus for any activities. Not even Rise Up could get round that problem.

The public face of Rise Up was always Wagenknecht. And the disappearance of that public face will almost certainly be followed by the disappearance of Rise Up. Some of its leading figures have already publicly written off any future for the organisation.

Here is an answer to that lot:

Written by Andrew Coates

March 21, 2019 at 5:18 pm