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Gilets Jaunes: the Ultra-Right Accused of Creating Saturday’s Violence.

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Image result for ultra-droite aux champs elysees on est chez nous!

Ultra-Right Accused of Leading Violent Protest on the  Champs-Élysées.

According to initial reports, (the violence) was in the majority created by members of the ultra-right, who infiltrated the movement with the sole intention of smashing everything up. These rioters were largely said to be young men, who came from the regions.

“D’après les premiers éléments, il s’agirait en grande majorité de membres de l’ultra-droite, qui se seraient infiltrés au mouvement avec l’unique ambition de tout ravager. Ces casseurs seraient des hommes plutôt jeunes, venus de province.” BFM

The historian of social movements Sylvain Boulouque  evoked the “political colouring” behind the flags carried on the Champs-Elysées, some of which held sympbols of the Sacred Heart and the  fleur de lys. “Calls were spread on the all the web sites of the radical right calling for people to pour into the Champs-Elysees and to storm the Elysée, or at least to get close to it.”

“une coloration politique” des drapeaux représentés sur les Champs-Elysées, parfois frappés du Sacré-Cœur ou de la fleur de lys. “Des appels fleurissent également sur tous les sites de le droite radicale pour descendre les Champs-Elysées et prendre d’assaut l’Elysée, ou du moins s’en rapprocher”,

France Info

In this interview Boulouque notes that the ultra-right were at the head of the march.

 

Here is a broader report:

Anti-government protesters clashed with French police on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Saturday, leaving the area cloaked in tear gas and smoke from fires on a fresh day of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

France 24.

Demonstrators wearing the yellow, high-visibility vests that symbolise their movement threw projectiles at police preventing them from moving along the famed shopping avenue, which was decked out in twinkling Christmas lights.

They also built barricades in some spots, and tore down traffic lights and street signs, creating riotous scenes reminiscent of France’s 1968 civil unrest, or street insurrections in the mid-19th century immortalised in paintings and movies.

Police arrested 130 people, 69 of those in Paris, and 24 people were injured, five of them police officers including one who suffered burns to his groin, the city police department and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

The interior ministry counted 106,000 protesters across France on Saturday, with 8,000 in Paris, of whom around 5,000 were on the Champs-Elysees.

That was far less than the national tally of 282,000 in the November 17 protests.

Castaner said after the tumult died down that damage on the Champs-Elysees was “small”.

The French government cast blame for the unruly protests on far-right politician Marine Le Pen,claiming she egged them on.

But Le Pen rejected that accusation saying she had “never called for any violence whatsoever” and in turn accused the government of “organising the tension” and seeking to make her a scapegoat.

Meanwhile, opposition parties on both the right and left accused the government of trying to reduce the protests to just the sporadic scenes of violence, and turning a deaf ear to the demonstrators’ grievances.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the radical left France Unbowed party who attended a separate march Saturday protesting violence against women, tweeted that the action on the streets was “a mass protest of the people” which signalled “the end for [interior minister] Castaner”.

There is no doubt that there were ultra-right protesters on the Champs-Élysées.

That, is, apart from the Front National, who in French political language are just far-right…

Amongst those present on Saturday was prolific anti-semitic far-right writer, Hervé Ryssen, originally an anarchist, then a holocaust denier, and obsessed with Jewish ‘plots’ Ryssen recently rendered homage to   Robert Faurisson after his death.

Violences aux Champs-Élysées: une centaine de membres de l’ultra-droite parmi les gilets jaunes

Here is a video of them chanting “On est chez Nous” – that is, “It’s our Homeland”

 

This is another picture of them.

 

There is an issue as to why the Police let these demonstrators erect barricades, something, to say the least, unusual  in the posh 8th arrondissement.

Mélenchon of the rally La France insoumise (LI) claims that the protests were part of the great French revolutionary tradition of refusing to pay taxes for the rich.

The far-right Sovereigntist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, leader of Debout la France, who has very publicly backed the protest.,accused the government of seizing on a few idiots to discredit the movement, the honest folk behind the Gilets Jaunes movement.

The Gilets Jaunes protests could be called “populism in the streets”, an upsurge against the government by a very mixed group of people.

It is hard to not to sympathise with those, trapped into using their cars in many parts of France without proper public transport (as is the case in many areas of Britain) are the first to suffer from tax rises on the diesel they were  encouraged to use.

But it is hard to claim that this this protest is ‘floating signifier’ which the left  can ‘hegemonise”  (“Le gilet jaune comme signifiant flottant.  ) There is a case for addressing the issues of the “peripheral” parts of France, which, as in the rest of Europe, suffer from poor transport and a shrinking number of public services. But how exactly can any left, the “composantes progressistes du champ social” convince those who, to put it simply, correspond to the “petrol heads” of Top Gear. Clearly the far-right have not been able to work within the Gilets Jaunes so easily without a reason. Any Green measure is likely to be fought by these people.

It does not take a Doctorate in the behaviour of the far-left to see something of an opportunist running after any form of popular unrest here.

Macron and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner have not just been able to accuse Marine Le Pen and the   Rassemblement National of fomenting disorder.

They have (with transparent logic) posed a real problem for those parts of the French left which have shown sympathy with the Gilets Jaunes.

It is fortunate, helped by support for the march against sexual violence at the same time,  that none have said, “No, it was not the ultra-right – we were there too!”

and Ligne rouge et gilets jaunes  by  & 

and: Classes d’encadrement et prolétaires dans le « mouvement des gilets jaunes »

 

Notably, 

Cet agrégat informe d’individualismes, qui ne veut pas payer pour les autres, s’insère dans un fond idéologique d’extrême-droite. Au delà de la présence plus que problématique de l’extrême droite parlementaire et extraparlementaire, un discours, qui revient comme une rengaine : contre les « parasites » dits du haut (Macron, les bobos, le gouvernement, mais pas la classe capitaliste) et du bas (les précaires, les immigrés, les chômeurs, etc) qui profiteraient de la redistribution. Cela s’est traduit concrètement par des attaques physiques sur une femme voilée, un reporter asiatique, un couple homosexuel, des migrants cachés dans un camion et livrés à la gendarmerie, un camarade noir, etc.
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Gilets Jaunes Fuel Price Protests in France. CGT Union will not demonstrate with the Far-Right.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "gilet jaunes rassemblement national affiche"

Far-Right Backs Gilets Jaunes Protests.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, faces a new challenge this weekend as a motorist protest movement threatens to bring the country to a standstill.

The so-called gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protest movement has no official organisation, no identified leader and no political affiliation. Instead, it has been almost entirely coordinated on social media.

As a result, the French authorities fear the location of the protests is almost impossible to pin down and nobody has a clue how many people will turn up.

poll by Elabe for BFM TV on Wednesday suggested 73% of French people supported the protests and 70% said the government should scrap the fuel price rises.

Guardian.

 

The attempted blockades have taken a violent turn with 1 woman dead and 17 injured, one gravely, in an accident at one of their barrages in Savoie (Mobilisation des “gilets jaunes” : un mort et 17 blessés légers, dont un “en urgence vitale”, dans les manifestations ).

The Huffington Post reports that the driver, who was taking her daughter to the doctor, panicked when the Gilets Jaunes began thumping on her car and drove into the  crowd.  Gilets jaunes: mort d’une manifestante tuée en Savoie après la panique d’une automobiliste)

You can follow events live via Le Monde:

(Latest) 17 novembre en direct : plus de 1 000 points de blocages, un mort et plusieurs blessés sur des barrages de « gilets jaunes »

 

The strongest political support for the protests against fuel price rises has come from the extreme right.  Marine Le Pen (whose activists will not parade overtly as part of their party, the Rassemblement national (ex-Front National)  and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan’s sovereigntist Debout La France, which is attempting to play on overtly leading role.

Forces to the right of these movements, that is the ultra-right, have had a field day.

France 24 explains.
The ‘yellow vest’ protests began after the French government’s decision in late 2017 to raise a direct tax on diesel in an effort to fight against climate change. Since then crude oil prices have surged, making diesel prohibitively expensive for many who rely on their cars to get to and from work, especially in rural areas.
The movement has now transformed into a general protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration. Around 50,000 “yellow vest” protesters are taking part in more than 1,000 demonstrations nationwide, according to the interior ministry.

 

The Leader of the left Trade Union Federation, the CGT, will not participate in  the demonstrations and calls for a rise in the minimum wage.

France Info.

The general secretary of the CGT demands that the government  increases the smic (minimum wage) to calm the  “legitimate” anger of the “yellow vests” . “Why do not we talk about an increase in wages At end of the year, the government will review the question of the SMIC.  Why not, regarding  purchasing powerannounce an increase in this minimum wage? ” asked Philippe Martinez on Saturday (November 17th) on Europe 1. The smic currently stands at 9.88 euros gross, or 1 498.47 euros per month. “We can not live with that,” said the number one CGT, which has for some years put forward the proposal for  minimum wage to 1,800 euros gross monthly.

Regarding the movement of “gilets jaunes”, Philippe Martinez  reiterated his opposition to participating in today’s moblisation, because of the presence of the extreme right.  “Some, a minority,, with bad intentions are trying to take advantage of this,” said the boss of the CGT, referring to the extreme right. CGT activists will still protest this Saturday  for their call for an improvement in purchasing power, despite the opposition of the confederation, but there will be no sanctions against those who do so, said the union leader, because “everyone has the right to to express oneself “ .

More from France 24.

Yellow Vests’: from left to right, French political parties struggle to respond

The tax hike is part of France’s long-term ecological plan and is meant to move the country’s citizens away from fossil fuels in general and, in particular, from diesel cars. Opponents say that the tax is unjust and unfairly penalises those living in non-urban areas, where there is little access to public transportation.

The campaign poses a conundrum for opposition parties. How do they demonstrate solidarity with voters without looking like they are exploiting a movement that has deemed itself apolitical? And without contradicting their past positions on the environment?

The difficulty of that balancing act is evident in the stance taken by almost all of the opposition parties, most of which “support the movement but not the blockades”. Here is a breakdown of each party’s position, from the extreme right to the far left

National Rally (Rassemblement National)

National Rally (or RN, which was formerly known as the National Front) President Marine Le Pen was one of the first politicians to show support for the Yellow Vest movement. In late-October she began calling for her party’s officials and representatives to join the protest, and party activists have been distributing leaflets for the movement. Le Pen, however, will refrain from joining the rallies herself. She justified her stance in a radio interview with France Inter: “The place of a party leader is not at demonstrations.” That position allows her to denounce the attempts of her political rivals to capitalise on the movement.

Although “a good part of the elected RN” are expected to participate in the road blockages, according to Wallerand de Saint-Just, the RN’s regional councilor for the Ile-de-France region, activists and party officials have been asked not to wear party logos, so that the movement isn’t equated with the far right. But Le Pen is already being accused of taking advantage of it.

“The November 17 demonstration is being completely exploited by Marine Le Pen and [Stand Up the Republic leader] Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who are hugely irresponsible on this subject,” said government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.

Stand Up The Republic (Debout la France)

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the president of Stand Up The Republic and a former ally of Marine Le Pen, didn’t hesitate to say that he would take part. It was an activist from his movement who helped spread word of the mobilisation by posting a video on his Facebook page that went viral and has now been viewed by more than 4.4 million people.

“Someone, I don’t know who, launched on Facebook the idea of a general mobilisation of the French people, saying that on November 17 we should all block the country’s main roads to protest the rise in the price of gasoline … I suggest you all contact your friends and go block your city, the ring roads, motorway tolls … Please share this video widely,” activist Frank Buhler wrote on October 23. A former member of Le Pen’s National Rally, Buhler is in the process of being expelled from that party for making racist remarks on Twitter.

The Republicans (Les Républicains)

On November 17, Laurent Wauquiez will likely trade his ever-present red parka for an equally becoming yellow vest. The president of The Republicans (LR) plans to join a demonstration in his department, the Haute-Loire.

“The position of LR is simple: we will be on the side of angry demonstrators but we won’t call for the blocade because it is counterproductive,” the party’s vice president, Guillaume Peltier, explained in the free newspaper 20 Minutes.

Along with LR MP Damien Abad, Peltier proposed in early November distributing a “fuel cheque” of €100 to 13 million rural French who have “no access to public transport”. The proposal is intended to offset the “excessive rise in taxes” on diesel. Never mind that the proposal comes with an exorbitant price tag and isn’t really in line with the limits on public spending traditionally defended by the right. The measure is far from unanimously supported by the party.

The Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste)

There is no easy position for the Socialist Party, which, since its poor performance in the last presidential election, continues its plummet without managing to reconnect with voters. “We support the French who are mobilising to defend their purchasing power,” said party boss Olivier Faure.

The government has linked the grassroots movement with the RN “to better disqualify it”, Faure said, no doubt anxious not to contradict the environmental positioning of his party. The Socialists have not officially called for protests, even if some party leaders will be on the street. It is, to say the least, paradoxical for a party that created the carbon tax to support a demonstration against rising fuel prices.

The former socialist presidential candidate and now leader of Generation.s, Benoît Hamon, for his part, believes that there is “legitimate political anger”. But that isn’t enough to get him to join the movement. “I’m not going to protest next to the FN,” he said.

France Unbowed (La France Insoumise)

France Unbowed (LFI) faces the same conundrum. Between the ecological positions of the party and its fear of seeing the Yellow Vests movement claimed by the hard and extreme right, the party has had a hard time positioning itself.

Former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, without calling on members to participate in the blockade, wished the movement success. “I’m told ‘there are [fascists] in there.’ Yes, yes, there are everywhere, and there are also a lot of angry people who are not [fascists], and they are right to be angry,” he said at a meeting on November 8. “This anger is just, it is about something that makes sense.”

Some LFI officials, such as François Ruffin, will participate as individuals. “I’ll go there to listen, to understand,” the popular deputy said on France Inter.

Seine-Saint-Denis deputy Clémentine Autain, on the other hand, will not take part. She refuses to “parade at the call of [far-right publication] Minute and with Marine Le Pen,” she explained in Le Monde on November 6.

Gilets jaunes : la députée LFI Clémentine Autain ne participera pas le 17 novembre

Autin is a member of Ensemble, a democratic left group allied with the LFI but not subordinate to the structure of Mélenchon’s Rally.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 17, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Roger Scruton Scandal, the “detachment of a Superior Being” faced with the Rabble.

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Fortnight’s Anger, Roger Scruton: “These commissars of political correctness aren’t fit to tie his boots.”

“Roger Scruton claimed sexual harassment “just means sexual advances made by the unattractive” and said date rape victims were “withdrawing consent in retrospect”.

Alex Wickham

BuzzFeed continues,

Conservative pundits leapt to the defence of Scruton in response to BuzzFeed News’ revelations yesterday.

The commentator Toby Young said it was “depressing to see the social media cops trawl through everything Roger Scruton’s ever written in the hope of finding things to be offended by”.

Historian Niall Ferguson praised Scruton as “the greatest living Englishman”, adding: “If only he could be prime minister.” The Guido Fawkes blog tweeted: “He is a moral giant being attacked by midgets.”

Update: Following publication of this article, Roger Scruton said in a statement:

“These highly selective quotes grossly misrepresent an entire lecture. I was in no way suggesting that victims of date rape are not victims of a crime and could have worded my point differently to make this clearer. I’ve spent my life arguing for greater respect between men and women and anyone who takes the time to read my books or listen to my lectures will realise this.”

One of Spiked’s minions writes,

Roger Scruton: thoughtcriminal?

One of his supposedly controversial comments unearthed by Buzzfeedis, ironically, about the marginalisation of conservative viewpoints. ‘In a society devoted to inclusion, the only “phobia” permitted is that of which conservatives are the target’, Scruton wrote, adding that conservatives are ‘frequently marginalised or even demonised as representatives of one of the forbidden “isms” or “phobias” of the day – racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, etc’.

Those calling for Scruton to be sacked are proving his point. You do not have to agree with a single thing he says to see that the intolerance towards his conservative views has been remarkable and alarming.

Another flunky fumes,

Don’t let the offendotrons take down Scruton

If Twitter offendotrons manage to get Maybot and Co to sack Sir Roger Scruton from his new job advising Building Better, Building Beautiful on housing policy, you can safely stick a fork in British civil society. It’s done.

Poor old Scruton:

Written by Andrew Coates

November 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Vox: The Return of the Spanish Far Right.

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Mitin de Vox en el Palacio de Vistalegre.rn rn rn

Spanish Immunity to the Populist Far-Right has Ended.

A couple of days ago The Times stated,

Far right set to win first Spanish seat for decades

A far-right party is on course to win a seat in the Spanish parliament for the first time since the fascist dictatorship of General Franco more than 40 years ago.

Vox, which was founded in 2014, says that its support has risen tenfold since it took a hard line against illegal immigration and the independence drive in Catalonia. Ten thousand people took part in its most recent rally in Madrid and a poll by Metroscopia puts the party on 5.1 per cent, enough to gain a seat.

The European Council on Foreign Relations announced this week that,

Bannon sets his eyes on Spain

Spain’s far-right party Vox draws the country into the continent’s growing anti-European league

Steve Bannon, the controversial former adviser to US President Donald Trump, has set his eyes on the site of his next battle against what he deems the “globalist ideology” and its principal embodiment, the European Union. Making use of his contacts with Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom, Marine Le Pen in France, and Matteo Salvini in Italy, Bannon is setting up The Movement, a Brussels-based group that aims to unify far-right anti-European forces.

Spain, a rare exception on the continent in its relative lack of far-right or anti-EU movements, has largely been spared Bannon’s and the alt-right’s attention so far. Not for much longer, it seems. On 10 April 2018, Bannon declared: “it is very important that in Spain there is a party based on the sovereignty and identity of the Spanish people, and that is ready to defend its borders”. His statement came after a meeting with Rafael Bardají, an erstwhile adviser to former Spanish president José María Aznar who now works as a strategist for far-right party Vox. After Bannon publicly announced his support for the party, Vox asked him for advice on what he is best at: political communication through alternative media and social networks – that is, electoral engineering based both on big data and micro-targeting.

Santiago Abascal, a former member of a conservative party based in the Basque Country, created Vox in 2013. Despite receiving only 46,638 votes (0.2 percent) in the 2016 general election, Vox is now polling at 5 percent (around 1 million votes, which would mean a significant increase in support). Following a very active social media campaign and a series of rallies across Spain, the party achieved a great success a few weeks ago when it gathered 9,000 people for a meeting at Madrid’s Vistalegre arena. If it remains as popular as the polls indicate, Vox will eventually enter the Spanish parliament and, most importantly, may make it to the European Parliament next May.

Vox’s main message is that there is a need to defend the Spanish nation, which it sees as threatened by Catalan and Basque nationalists, immigrants, and the EU. On 7 October 2018, the party released its “100 measures to keep Spain alive”. Its proposals and message fall within the orbit of Le Pen and Salvini, especially on migration and the EU.

Earlier this month there was a spate of articles in the Spanish and European Press on Voz and the above rally.

La nueva extrema derecha irrumpe en escena El País  4th of October.

The New Far Right has burst onto the scene.

Far-right political party Vox attracts 9,000 people to Madrid rally

El País  (English).

Created in 2014, the group drew its largest crowd ever at the weekend as polls suggest it could win a seat in Congress.

Vox speakers take turns listing the party’s 100 proposals for Spain: creating a Family Ministry, revoking the gender violence law and “any other legislation that discriminates against one of the sexes,” lowering income and corporate tax, developing a new water-management plan… But what really rouses the crowd is the proposal to deport “those illegal immigrants who come to Spain not to make it greater, but to receive handouts.”

To support this larger goal, Vox also wants tougher criminal punishment for illegal-immigration mafias “and those who cooperate with them, be they non-profits, businesses or individuals.”

Another major objective, says another speaker on stage, is “taking back our national sovereignty on the application of our courts’ decisions. Terrorists, rapists and serial killers would no longer benefit from the protection of European organizations, as they have to date.”

The secretary general of Vox, Ortega Smith, takes the microphone to insist that “Spaniards come first” and paraphrases Donald Trump: “Together we will make Spain great again.”

“Welcome to the resistance!” he cries. “We have come here to send out a message: we are not ready to let our dignity be trampled!”

The closing speaker is party president Santiago Abascal, who makes a rousing speech about Spaniards rising up against injustice.

“The living Spain has awoken, thank God. Spain does not rise up randomly. A nation reacts when it has historical inertia, when there is blood coursing through its veins, and when it is aggravated, as Spain is being aggravated now.”

L’émergence d’un parti d’extrême droite surprend l’Espagne.

Sandrine Morel. Le Monde.

La formation Vox, créée en 2013 par d’anciens militants du Parti populaire et jusqu’ici très confidentielle, a réuni 10 000 personnes à Madrid.

Background: Wikipedia (English, very incomplete) on Vox.

Vox (often stylized as VOX) is a political party in Spain founded on 17 December 2013, by former members of the People’s Party (PP). It is often considered to be far-rightalthough some media considered it as right-wing or right-wing populist

Explained: Who is VOX? Spain’s latest far-right party gaining popularity.

Fears of a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment and hardline nationalism have awakened in Spain after thousands participated in a Sunday rally at Madrid’s Vistalegre Palace by the far-right VOX party. But who is VOX and should Europe prepare for the rise of populism in Spain?

“Spaniards’ first”

Set up at the end of 2013, VOX aimed to capitalise on what it saw as a void in the Spanish political system, Dr Andrew Dowling of Cardiff University told Euronews.

VOX gained momentum last year as part of a broader rise of far-right populist parties in Europe, said Dowling. At the Sunday rally, Javier Ortega, the party’s general secretary, outlined the party’s first objective: “Spaniard’s first”. He listed a hundred proposals, which included revoking the gender violence law, deporting illegal immigrants and outlawing independence movements that could break up Spain.

However, the fact there was already two conservative parties Partido Popular (PP) and Ciudadanos meant that VOX will find it difficult to create a place for itself in the Spanish political spectrum, added Dowling.

The leader of Vox has declared that they will go it alone in elections, able to take advantage of the social discontent which Podemos, now in Coalition with the Spanish Socialists (PSOE), is unable to reflect.

“Abascal afirma que la vocación de VOX es ir en solitario a elecciones: Podemos aportar muchísimo más que en coalición”  Europa Press. 24 October.

One thing is certain, the issue of “El fascismo” has returned to the Spanish political scene.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 27, 2018 at 12:42 pm

McDonnell’s “traditional British Compromise” over Brexit.

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Image result for far right pro-brexit march in london

Should These People Dictate Labour Policy?

John McDonnell has backed a Labour colleague who warned that a second Brexit referendum could lead to social unrest.

The shadow chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he agreed with Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, that anything seen as an attempt to undo the result of the EU referendum could embolden the far right.

But despite those reservations, McDonnell insisted that the Labour party was not ruling out a second referendum and that another vote remained an option if parliament was deadlocked in the autumn.

Guardian 24th of August.

Last Night:

Lindsey German of the groupuscule Counterfire and the Stop the War Coalition (one of whose allies is a McDonnell adviser) gave advice to Labour in this vein on Monday.

The stakes are very high in the Brexit argument. If the Labour right and the centre get their way, there could be a second referendum or an aborting of the referendum vote. That would immediately fuel the rise of the far right, with Tommy Robinson, Gerald Batten and Nigel Farage being some of the unpleasant political figures who would benefit from such a move. That might lead to fissures within the Tories, and with a further recomposition of the political centre pulling in remain Tories, Lib Dems and social democrats, and the right flank of Labour, into a new party.

These are exactly the mirror of pressures on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, where there is growing clamour among large sections of the party for a second referendum. This is now being taken up by trade unions, including the GMB and the TUC itself. This week’s TUC congress will see further moves in that direction, motivated largely by people who are hostile to Corbyn.

The pressure is therefore increasing on Corbyn to abandon his people’s Brexit campaign. Far from helping him win the next election, this would be a suicidal move which would lose votes for Labour, most obviously to right wing formations. It would also strengthen his enemies in the party who have been on a relentless attack against him throughout his three years of leadership.

Counterfire.

It would be interesting to hear more about this “People’s Brexit’ campaign, its rallies, its leaflets, its marches, the workers who’ve occupied the factories to “take back control”…..

It is all very well to set out a list of demands for the best possible Brexit, beginning with “No deregulatory bonfire”, and ending with this, directed at the major partner most Brexiteers are wooing, “We reject a foreign policy based either on a special relationship with Donald Trump’s US…”

It is all fine and good to talk of a Universal Basic Income and backing for worker co-ops….

How can these plans, and overall ambitions for “capital regulation”  deal with the boss of Jaguar, Ralf Speth’s warning that, “friction at the border could jeopardise production to the value of £60m a day. He also warned that traffic jams on the approach to Dover meant that “bluntly, we will not be able to build cars”.” (Guardian)

Socialist Worker rails in the same vein as Counterfire  against the TUC backing for the option of a People’s Vote this week,

Trade unions join call for ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit. Tomáš Tengely-Evans

A second referendum would be a gift to the far right, which will claim betrayal.

The TUC General Council statement was deliberately broad enough to be all things to all union leaders who are split over Brexit.

The various sops in it guaranteed O’Grady could push through her support for the EU’s neoliberal single market and the People’s Vote.

Only the RMT rail workers’ union—and two rebel Unite delegates—voted against the statement.

The composite motion on Brexit kept support for the EU single market and the option of a People’s Vote.

But it had more emphasis of forcing an early general election in order to win over the leaders of unions with members who voted Leave.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the People’s Vote option “must be left on the table”.

But he said the “vote we will need above all is a general election that can deliver a Labour government”.

The issue is not just one for the sidelines, from where Germain and the SWP are comfortable shouting from.

It is of concern that anybody “compromise” agreement looks entirely one-sided: giving in to Brexit.

The worst possible way to try and shut down debate is to brandish the scarecrow of the far-right, populism, and UKIP> 

There is still time to call for a pause in the negotiations over British withdrawal.  

There is a need to have a vote on the issue of Brexit.

Could demanding a General Election, a gift not in Labour’s hands, be an answer out of these difficulties?

No: the issue of the EU will not go away.

 

 

Farage Begins Hard Brexit Campaign with ‘Leave Means Leave’: The Real Fight over the European Union has Begun.

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Image result for Tendance coatesy People's Vote EU demo

Will This Bunch of Charmers Join Leave Means Leave’s ‘Battle for Britain’?

The far-right Daily Express says,

7.30am update: Battle for Britain campaign launched by Brexiteers

Leave Means Leave campaigners Richard Tice and John Longworth have spoken out in the strongest terms of the betrayal looming over Brexit talks.

They said: “Public anger is palpable. Among those most keen to support a new campaign are traditional Tory donors disillusioned by the handling of Brexit.

“A number are so angry about what is going on that they have told us they will stop donating to the Conservative Party unless there is a major change in approach.

“Should the party leadership stick doggedly to the flawed Chequers proposal, it should be prepared to haemorrhage funds.”

Mr Tice and Mr Longworth said they set up Leave Means Leave as a six-month project in the belief the Government could be trusted to do the job they had been instructed to do by the British people.

They told the Daily Telegraph: “People knew what they were voting for. They dismissed the ridiculous scaremongering of Project Fear and voted in the largest numbers ever to leave the EU.

“None of us imagined that, two years on, we would have to refight the battle. We never dreamt that we would have to attack some desperate ‘Chequers’ proposal from the Prime Minister, which led to the resignation of two of the most influential Brexit-supporting Cabinet ministers.

“None of us feared being let down by other Cabinet Brexiteers, who we thought we could trust. Today, they are trying to sell thin gruel to Brexit voters as if it were some sort of delicacy. It is a con, and must be exposed as such.”

The Arron Banks launched Westmonster brays:

Nigel Farage has announced that he’ll be hitting the road and campaigning across the country, hitting out at Project Fear and saying: “Our complacent MPs need to understand just how strongly people feel about being lied to while their wishes are blatantly ignored.”

Writing in The Telegraph, Nigel makes clear that he “will go back on the road to campaign once again” for the pro-Brexit group Leave Means Leave.

“Over the last few months, and particularly since the Chequers betrayal, scores of people have stopped me in the street to ask: ‘When are you coming back?’

“Well now you have your answer: I’m back.”

They post their ‘line’:

Support Westmonster

We stand with Nigel for a clean Brexit. Westmonster will always fight for Britain’s independence, but we need your help. If you support what we do, please donate so that we can go on countering the mainstream media’s Project Fear. Thank you!

The Independent reports,

Nigel Farage has announced he will once again begin actively campaigning in British politics against Theresa May’s “fraudulent” plans for Brexit.

The ex-Ukip leader said it was necessary as a result of the “deceit and treachery” of politicians and senior figures in British society in their approach to EU withdrawal.

In particular he singled out an exclusive report in The Independent on warnings from the British Medical Association that a no-deal Brexit would be a “catastrophe” for the NHS.

It comes as The Independent also drives forward with its Final Say campaign for a new referendum on the outcome of Brexit – with more than 650,000 people now having signed its petition.

Pressure is intensifying on the government ahead of Brexit day in March next year, with Theresa May’s own MPs even drawing up alternative proposals to the prime minister’s, and meagre public support for her approach.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Farage claimed people had stopped him in the street to ask when he was returning, adding in his article: “Well, now you have your answer. I’m back.”  

He said: “It is now beyond doubt that the political class in Westminster and many of their media allies do not accept the EU referendum result.

“It is equally clear to me that, unless challenged, these anti-democrats will succeed in frustrating the result.

“Well, I’ve had enough of their lies, deceit and treachery. The time has come to teach them a lesson – one that they will never forget.”

He said he had decided to commit himself to the Leave Means Leave campaign, which is set for a relaunch, following discussions with its founders, businessmen Richard Tice and John Longworth.

In his piece, Mr Farage wrote: “To make matters worse we are subject to a daily stream of negative to beat us into submission.

“The latest example was the British Medical Association suggesting that a no-deal Brexit would lead to huge numbers of people dying.

“This baseless claim proves project fear is thriving. We need leadership.”

Mr Farage was referring to an article in The Independent in which the BMA said a failure to secure a deal could increase the risk of a Europe-wide pandemic.

The doctors union warned in a new briefing paper that the UK’s ability to coordinate responses to emerging threats, such as the current outbreak of measles or seasonal flu, will be seriously undermined, making it harder to stop infections spreading across borders.

Left campaigners against Brexit are attempting to get the issue onto the Autumn Labour  Conference agenda

In a counter move forces hostile to socialist internationalism are also organising inside the Labour movement.

 

Counterfire, which occupies leading positions in the Stop the War Coalitioon and the People’s Assembly, are hostile to the pro-EU motion.

In the run-up to the Labour Party conference in the period 23-26 September, all of this is a major threat to Corbyn. If the right succeed and change the party’s existing antisemitism code, and water down the party’s commitment to a People’s Brexit, this will sap away at the energies and hopes of left activists and voters, and breed wider discontent and distrust with the political system.

The consequences would be disastrous. The victory of the right in Labour would only do the Conservatives a favour by pushing Brexit voters in their direction, and it would embolden the real antisemites and the far right, the likes of Tommy Robinson, who feed on disillusion with the system.

Defend Jeremy Corbyn: time to fight back – Counterfire statement

Faced with the invisibility of a ‘People’s Brexit’ it is perhaps a sign of desperation to try to link the issue of the EU  to the Labour dispute about anti-semitism and to claim that to ‘defend’ Corbyn is to be against the call for a new People’s Vote.

There is no such confusion for the majority of the left.

UKIP and its former Leader Farage, are racist cheerleaders of the Carnival of Reaction, including the pro-Brexit Tommy Robinson crew,  that has followed Brexit.

Farage’s ‘Battle Bus’ and ‘Battle for Britain’ will no doubt receive the response they deserve.

City of Ghosts: from Syria to Europe and the fight against the far-right.

with 12 comments

 

Image result for City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts was shown on BBC 4 last night.

This moving documentary about a group of Syrian activists, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.  (RBSS)

The hopes of an Arab Spring resounded in their home, the city of Raqqa in the north of Syria. Protests against the Assad regime were countered by violent repression. The arrival of ISIL, in April 2014, the country’s branch of  Islamic State, was followed by the rule of their version of Islamic ‘law’. There were public beheadings, firing squad executions, mock crucifixions and  Volkish placard shaming.

At great risk to themselves RBSS opposed the take-over in the only way they could. They reported and filmed undercover the regime of what became the de facto capital of Daesh.

The documentary showed images of clandestine protests against Daesh and the slaughters the jihadists committed. Perhaps the most disturbing moments were when the new rulers tried to bring the young into their fold. “Children are Isis’s firewood” they said, and we saw a band of joyful babes and youngsters following a bearded fighter chanting their hate. A near-infant was filmed being trained to stab and behead on a large teddy bear.

This backdrop confirmed the worst scenes in Peter Kosminsky’s The State.

Many RBSS activists left the city, though they kept a core group of courageous witness inside Raqqa.

They used social media and the Net to broadcast their message. ISIL devoted a great deal of time to trying to search their supporters out.

In May 2014, Al-Moutaz Bellah Ibrahim was kidnapped by ISIL and murdered. In July 2015, ISIL released a video showing two men being strung up on trees and shot. Though ISIL claimed the two murdered men had worked with RBSS, one of the founders of RBSS denied they were members. Another friend of the group was similarly executed. Hamoud al-Mousa, the father of one of the group’s founders, was killed in ISIL custody. On October 30, 2015, RBSS activist Ibrahim Abdul Qadir (age 20) and his friend Fares Hamadi were found stabbed and beheaded in Urfa Turkey. It was the first acknowledged assassination outside of ISIL controlled territory. (Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently)

The sight of Hamoud al-Mousa’s execution, followed by that of the same RBSS activist’s brother’s murder, being watched in a safehouse in Germany was harrowing.

City of Ghosts deserved the highest awards.

But above all the activists of RBSS, merit the greatest respect we can possible give to other human beings.

Avoiding fruitless debate about the essential nature of ‘Islam’ one of them says,

“It is not my Islam”.

Europe.

Towards the end of the documentary there were scenes in which the Syrians were  confronted by  the German far-right Pegida calling for the removal of refugees.

There was also  commentary on the actions of Daesh in Europe, including the Bataclan massacre.

This opens up the issue of how we should both support the fight of groups of democrats like RBSS and combat the racist far-right.

With the Tommy Robinson campaign in Britain this has become an issue of burning importance.

People have noted that the groups Stand up to Racism and Unite against Fascism are dominated by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (“Both these groups are front organisations of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and receive their political direction from its leadership.”  Socialist Resistance)

In 2014, as Raqqa fell to the genociders Socialist Worker published this article by Hassan Mahamdallie, co-director of the Muslim Institute.

There is resistance to this frenzy of Islamophobia

The beheading of US journalist James Foley by the Islamic State, formerly known as Isis, was horrific. But is the Nigerian military slitting the throats of 16 young men and boys any less horrific?

Or last week’s Israeli air strike that blew to smithereens the wife and seven month old son of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif? Surely that was horrific and disturbing too?

..

In the 1930s radicalised young men from the same mining communities illegally made their way into Spain to take up arms against general Franco’s fascist army.

It must have been the fault of their Welsh Methodist upbringing.

But Howells’ drivel was modest fare compared to the truly millennial frenzy that was gathering pace.

In authentic End of Days tones, US secretary of defence Chuck Hagel said Isis represents “an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else.

“They’re beyond just a terrorist group. This is beyond anything we’ve seen, so we must prepare for everything.”

I much preferred the response of the spokesperson from south east London’s Lewisham Mosque.

The press asked him to condemn a tweet from a woman “Jihadi” in Syria who might have once attended the mosque.

He retorted, “The young woman’s desire to travel to Syria has nothing to do with the Centre. Unfortunately, the Muslim community are being subjected to a burden of proof based on a ‘guilty by association’ standard”.

He rightly attacked the press’s demand, as “loaded with an Islamophobic assumption that Muslims by default condone such brutality”.

It was good to see someone refusing to bow to the frenzy, a spark of resistance in a very dark week.

There was much in a similar vein, from the SWP and groups such as Counterfire, understanding the ‘radicalisation’ of those who volunteered to be part of Einsatzgruppen and concentrating their fire on the prospect of Western intervention in the civil war.

Unlike RBSS their criticisms of the Assad regime was fairly muted.

This ambiguity continued.

When Charlie Hebdo (12 deaths) and the Porte de Vincennes Hypercacher (5 deaths)  attacks took place  in 2015, the same forces took it upon themselves to understand why this “blowback” against France in general and the ‘Islamophobic” satirical weekly took place. Charlie “had it coming to them”. Counterfire railed against ” a crude and absolutist fetish of free speech”.

These people are unable to confront violent Islamism.

With such a tainted history these groups have no moral authority whatsoever.

There are many many people on the lest who do not back groups which fail to take a resolute stand against the jihadist Islamism, and against Assad.

The fight against Robinson’s supporters, many (from the Clarion to Socialist Resistance) suggest, should come from the mass organisations of the labour movement and the Labour Party.

We cannot unite around  “defeating fascism” as Lindsey German puts it, until we have a clear view that the violent jihadists and the mouvance around them, with roots in Europe as well as the Middle East and the Maghreb,  are also enemies of the far right.

And we need to back the Syrian democrats, whose heroism is so powerfully illustrated in City of Ghosts.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 12, 2018 at 10:37 am