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Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Corbyn

Labour and National Populism After the Peterborough By-Election.

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Brexit Politics (Cold War Steve).

“When in a crisis” wrote Stuart Hall in 1979, “the traditional alignments are disrupted, it is possible, on the very ground of this break, to construct the people into a populist political subject with, not against the power bloc; in alliance with new political forces in a great national crusade to make Britain ‘Great’ once again.” (1)

In this,  The Great Moving Right Show, Hall foresaw the way in which the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher was able to bring together voters behind an “authoritarian populism” that played in the difficulties of Labour’s social democratic collectivist heritage. The details of radical free-market policies mattered less than law and order; the “nation” and “our people” appealed to the large racist constituency that had been given a voice by Enoch Powell and was visible in the street marches of the National Front; ‘popular morality” embraced her call for hard work and getting the state “off our backs”.

The Peterborough by-election was marked by the presence of a new army in that Holy War for British Greatness, the Brexit Party. As Alan Wager says, “for the first time since the introduction of universal suffrage, Peterborough is no longer a Labour or Conservative contest. Instead, an insurgent party just eight weeks old – the Brexit Party – came a close second, campaigning ostensibly on the single-issue basis they will “bring democracy back”. Farage, he continues, fills a vacuum. His defeat, acknowledged, if at all, with ill-grace, was not a decisive blow. The new start-up business/Party, “mixing together democracy and leaving the EU without any withdrawal agreement, clearly hits the electoral sweet-spot of the current moment “ Their impact on the Conservative Party leadership contest, and the potential boost to the No Deal Boris Johnson, is considerable. (2)

Farage’s own stunt – clearly planned in anticipation of victory – still went ahead:

 

This indicates, those inspired by one side of Hall’s articles argue, the left needs its own “national popular” language to counter the national populists of the Brexit Party and the Tory European Reform Group. Calls for class struggle, or mass protests, the “real struggle”, have been launched, largely to deaf ears. There were a couple of thousand People’s Assembly demonstrators in January. They might have sparked some sympathy if they had not finished the day with pointless fisticuffs between their high vis clothed supporters and far rightists in yellow jackets over who were the “real” Gilets Jaunes. The “floating signifier” of the People against the “elite”, the “power bloc” could be harnessed by the left and filled with democratic content. National Sovereignty could be the key to fighting ‘neoliberalism’, largely, it appears, an enemy located in the European Union.

National Therapy Culture.

“The Language of emotionalism pervades popular culture, the world of politics, the workplace, schools and universities and everyday life” began Frank Furedi in Therapy Culture. (2004) Today the ‘red-brown’ Brexit Party supporter is one of many who celebrate the national “Self”. Far from a bold assertion of self-affirmation and independence the Brexit crusaders wallow in victimhood and narcissism. Identity politics, of the ‘real’ working class, the ‘real’ British, the English has flourished. The quiet decency of love for people, culture and things dear has been replaced by cries of Treason, and Betrayal. (3)

The Brexit Party is an Encounter Group for this constituency. Perhaps it’s to ease their pain with palliatives like turning against the hard Brexit free market pain pain by proposing “John Lewis-style” – boss run – social ownership by companies part-owned by the workers in British Steel.

Socialist Resistance predicted a Carnival of Reaction after a Referendum Leave vote. It is still taking place. This time the moving right show is leading a simulacrum of Greatness, subordinate to a new American assertion of autonomous, unilateral, action. Those who pinned their hopes on a popular pro-Brexit revolt “from below”, paralleling the French Gilets Jaunes. But such signs of the vanquished standing up in the line of a “democratic and social revolution” seen in the rose tinted spectacles of the French journalist Edwy Plenel, has not appeared. They will not appear. (4)

Left Brexiters at an Impasse.

The disillusion of left Brexit supporters has yet to unfold. Larry Elliott, is a supporter of the ‘red brown’ Full Brexit grouping, which brings together Brexit Party backers the Communist Party of Britain, Labour Leave, some Counterfire supporters, and the anti-cosmopolitan Blue Labour. Elliott defends Jeremy Corbyn’s “Euroscepticism”, and places anti-EU politics on the left, ignoring long-standing radical socialists who have had a more favourable “transform and remain” stand for some decades. Those who recoil from National Populism and advocate this view turn a blind eye to Europe with a “a currency that doesn’t work, an economy that doesn’t work and a political process that doesn’t work.” Elliot is reluctant to describe in detail the socialist potential offered by a Brexit Britain, one carried out by the only available vehicle the Conservative government, negotiating with the WTO and Donald Trump,.

That the Labour leader has done a good job in keeping Leavers and Remainers under the same tent – a “marriage counsellor” – seems to be the “line” in some quarters. The idea that Labour needs its “herbivores” – middle class liberals – as well as is sturdy working class supporters may well be true. Stuart Hall talked of Thatcherism speaking out for those with negative experience of the corporate institutions of the social democratic consensus. Labour, it hardly needs saying, can draw on the lived experience of neoliberalism, austerity and the coercive bureaucracy of the shrunken welfare state.

But Brexit remains at the centre of everything. There is indeed a “significant minority”, with or without the romance of labour movement history, of Labour supporters who backed Brexit. But this claim covers something that needs thinking about. Efforts by Left populists to “federate” the “people” against the “oligarchy” have been set back in the European elections as Podemos and La France insoumise lost a lot of votes. It is even less likely that Labour can win support as an “insurgent” party against Europe and against those opposing National Populism and Brexit. 

This may help clarify Labour’s position,

It is commonly assumed that Leave supporters want to leave the EU — regardless of the type of Brexit — more than Remain supporters want to remain. But a new YouGov survey of over 1,600 British citizens carried out by academic researchers shows it is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. 

While 33 per cent of the country now want a no-deal Brexit, 42 per cent say it is their least-favourite outcome. Our survey also shows that support for the Brexit Party is higher among financially comfortable voters — adding to previous research showing that support for no-deal is also higher in that group.

The gap between Remainers’ attitude to leaving and leavers’ attitude to Remaining holds true across supporters of all the political parties. Even Brexit Party voters are not all vehemently attached to leaving at any cost. Only 50 per cent prefer their lowest-ranked Leave option to Remaining.

Meanwhile, among people who voted Labour in 2017, 72 per cent of Remainers would mind “a lot” about leaving the EU, whereas only 25 per cent of Labour Leavers mind “a lot” about Remaining.

Everything you think you know about Leavers and Remainers is wrong.  Christabel Copper and Christina Pagel.

Not that these considerations will affect the Boycott Labour in the European Elections editors of the Communist Party of Britain’s Morning star.

They are still rattling out the same old tune,

 Labour’s chances of forming the next government rest on finding a principled basis for uniting the labour movement with and within the party that best represents its diversity.

The only credible basis for such unity lies in convincing a decisive majority of voters, most particularly Labour’s core constituency of skilled and lesser skilled workers, that Corbyn meant it when he said Labour would respect the referendum result.

That is….back the part of that diversity which alone, and against everything, supports Brexit….

There is only one Brexit on offer and this is the Man who would like to carry it out:

Matthew Parris.

*********

  1. Page 49. The Hard Road to Renewal Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left, Stuart Hall. Verso. 1988.
  2. Peterborough: Labours squeaky victory and the vacuum on the right. Alan Wager.
  3. Therapy Culture. Routledge 2004. The Minimal Self. Christopher Lasch. Picador. 1984.
  4. La Victoire des vaincus. À Proposes des gilets jaunes. Edwy Plenel. La Découverte. 2019.
  5. Jeremy Corbyn is right: Labour needs both its leavers and its remainers. 

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Corbyn in Backstairs Dealing with Tories to Try for ‘Soft Brexit’.

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Yet Corbyn is widely reported to be doing everything he can to save Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will work with Conservative MPs to try to avert a no-deal Brexit.

The Labour leader met with senior Tories Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles on Wednesday to discuss their plan for a softer Brexit.

Speaking afterwards, he said he was “reaching out to all groups in parliament” and “looking at all the options” to prevent no deal.

It comes with talks between the UK and EU deadlocked and just days left for Theresa May to secure new compromises before MPs vote against on her deal next week.

Independent.

Sienna Rodgers writes on Labour List.

All options are on the table. Some commentators and members are surprised – or perhaps just disappointed – that this remains the case: they expected that the twice-defeated Labour Brexit deal would be shelved by the party once support for another EU referendum was declared. But the leadership has made it clear all along that it is still looking to push for an alternative that involves leaving the EU (although also willing to whip for a public vote). The main reasons are two-fold: it is opposed to the idea, on ideological and electoral grounds; and it knows that a second public vote proposal is unlikely to pass in the Commons. Jeremy Corbyn has written in The Mirror today that “getting Brexit right” is his focus.

As well as publicly campaigning for “Our Alternative”LabourList understands that the leader’s office has been quietly working with the Common Market 2.0 group to draft a new Brexit amendment. Made up of Labour’s Lucy Powell and Stephen Kinnock, plus Nick Boles, Oliver Letwin and Robert Halfon from the Tories, this cross-party initiative has been campaigning for a deal consisting of single market membership and a new customs arrangement. They say it meets Labour’s six tests and only requires changes to the political declaration in Theresa May’s deal.

Perhaps Corbyn really believes that through these attempts at  backroom deals he is doing his best to secure a deal on Brexit that meets Labour’s six tests.

But the very way this is being carried out is deeply distasteful, not in front of Labour’s membership, but with Toires, and not doubt Corbyn’s famous pro-Brexit ‘advisers’. Playing along with Labour’s Brexit supporters will raise the hackles of the wider membership as well

It is equally hard to believe, despite the pro-leadership spin,  that anything that’s the result of negotiations with the Tories will meet this “2. Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union?” and 4. Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom?

The Labour List report continues on the last issue:

People’s Vote campaigners aren’t happy, of course, and say such moves contradict the conference policy agreed in September. But others contend that the composite motion – which promised “full participation in the single market” – is actually more in line with the ‘Norway Plus’ group plan than anything else. And the leadership is keen to point out that avoiding ‘no deal’ is the priority, and if a fresh public vote proposal has no chance of securing a Commons majority, isn’t backing a softer Brexit the only way to do that? Nonetheless, Clive Lewis – who is still a shadow minister – has called the latest strategy a “grave error”. PV-ers are determined not to back any kind of Brexit now. But with around 30 on the Labour benches prepared to defy the whip to vote against PV, it will be interesting to see whether that changes. If the mood does shift after their preferred plan of another public vote is substantially defeated next week, Common Market 2.0 could be the future of Brexit.

Here is  Clive Lewis:

Here is  alternative to the ‘Soft’ Brexit Labour leader’s.

On 23 March, six days away from the scheduled exit day, hundreds of thousands of people will march to demand a final say on Brexit.

We are coming together as the left in all our diversity to organise a massive left bloc and rally for the march, to put forward a clear left message and to bring as many people as possible on to the streets.

We are campaigning to transform society, not for the status quo. We are against Brexit because it is a massive assault on working-class people, on the environment, on migrants and on the communities that the left aims to represent.

We will put forward the positive politics of internationalism: for the transformation of Europe and Britain, for free movement, for international cooperation to stop climate chaos, and for solidarity between people and across borders. We urge everyone on the left to join us on 23 March at 11am at Grosvenor Square in London.

Marsha de Cordova MP, Clive Lewis MP, Kate Osamor MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Preet Gill MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, Rachael Maskell MP, Sandy Martin MP, Rosie Duffield MP, Chi Onwurah MP, Anna McMorrin MP, Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley Co-leaders of the Green party, Amelia Womack Deputy leader of the Green party, Manuel Cortes TSSA general secretary, Joseph Healy Principal speaker of Left Unity, Michael Chessum Another Europe is Possible, Nadia Whittome Labour for a Socialist Europe, Zoe Williams Journalist, Julie Ward MEP

Guardian. 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 7, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Chris Williamson: a Disgraceful Record that Speaks for itself.

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Chris Williamson’s Record.

The news today:

Labour faces calls to suspend Chris Williamson over anti-Semitism comments

BBC.

Labour is facing growing calls to suspend one of its MPs for “deeply offensive” comments about the party’s handling of anti-Semitism.

Chris Williamson said Labour has been “too apologetic” in the face of criticism and was being wrongly “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”.

Deputy leader Tom Watson said the Derby North MP brought Labour into disrepute and should have the whip withdrawn.

 

This is his ‘apology’.

Shiraz sets the line: Chris Williamson is a disgrace

Comrade Bob from Brockley has been posting on this individual for some time:

I recently posted on Chris Williamson, the odious Labour MP who really needs to have the party whip removed from him. I didn’t think Williamson could stoop any lower than he has already, but today he signed a petition defending Gilad Atzmon, tweeted the petition, then deleted the tweet, and later wrote a half-arsed non-apology. (Atzmon had been banned by Islington council from playing there in the Blockheads. Not sure I approve of this ban, as when he is playing saxophone in someone else’s band he hasn’t got a platform for his politics. But given how toxic he is, I’m not going to complain about him being considered a pariah.)

If you don’t know who Atzmon is, here’s over 13 years’ worth of my blogposts about him. The short version is he is an Israeli-born jazz musician who long ago renounced his Jewishness, became a Holocaust revisionist and antisemite. He is not only denounced by anti-fascists like Hope not Hate but also by anti-Zionists such as As’ad AbuKhalil, Michael Rosen and Tony Greenstein.

Williamson’s apology to me reveals he is either more stupid or more dishonest than we already realised but either way confirming he doesn’t care at all about racism against Jews. Because either he saw a petition complaining about someone being accused of antisemitism and just assumed the accusation was false without bothering to research it (in which case he is remarkably stupid and irresponsible, as well as automatically assumes accusations of antisemitism are always false) or he’s lying.

And Williamson has a track record:

And there is this.

For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done is promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:

Williamson, who was attending the Beautiful Days festival, tweeted of his “privilege” in meeting Vanessa Beeley, a blogger who described meeting the Syrian regime’s war criminal president Bashar al Assad as her “proudest moment” and has waged a relentless campaign of lies and distortion to promote the Assad regime abroad.

This is not Williamson’s first dalliance with pro-Assad trutherism, having voiced doubts over allegations that Assad was responsible for the gas attack on Douma while addressing a protest outside parliament in April 2018. Williamson has been no stranger to causing offence to Jewish Labour members in recent months, so his endorsement this week of Beeley, who has also been accused of anti-Semitism, marks another new low for the Labour party.

Responding in kind to Williamson’s endorsement, Beeley said in a Facebook post “Hats off to Chris Williamson, Labour MP – a genuine human being.”…

Williamson’s tweet provoked immediate condemnation, drawing a strong response from James O’Brien, who called Williamson a “disgrace” and referred to Beeley as “Assad’s very own Alex Jones.”

The Washington Post’s Middle East correspondent, Louisa Loveluck, responded to Williamson’s endorsement of Beeley’s “reporting” with: “Beeley has justified the use of incendiary weapons against civilians, recycled and championed debunked conspiracy theories, and described a meeting with Assad as her proudest moment. This is cheerleading, not reporting.”

Noting that Beeley has viciously slandered the late Jo Cox (Beeley “has shamelessly accused her of being a “warmongering Blairite” and “al-Qaeda advocate” endorsing a policy of “wholesale devastation” on Syria.) Oz argues that the Labour Party has a choice between being the party of Jo Cox or the party of Chris Williamson.

 

Here is the latest from this source:

 

 

Here is one of Williamson’s last best friends.

 

At the moment Skwawkbox seems too occupied with trying the foment a Labour rebellion against party policy on a new vote on Brexit to post in Williamson’s defence…..

This is his last effort: RIGHT-WING ABUSE OF LEFT-WING MP WILLIAMSON SPREAD UNCRITICALLY BY MSM

Written by Andrew Coates

February 27, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Corbyn Plans “Bringing the Country Together” Behind His Brexit.

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Image result for alice in wonderland lion and unicorn I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! ...

Alice Meets Corbyn’s Brexit, “I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too.”

The pro-Brexit Morning Star (Editorial today) summarises Corbyn’s move:

Labour’s five proposals are a compromise. They do not represent what Labour would negotiate if it had the opportunity: this is no doubt why the list is far less ambitious than the Brexit vision outlined by Corbyn in Coventry nearly a year ago, when he pledged to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions … in relation to privatisation and public service competition directives, state aid and procurement rules” and vowed that “we cannot be held back inside or outside the EU from taking the steps we need to support cutting-edge industries and local business [and] stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing.”

Until a general election changes the game, Brexit is not Labour’s to negotiate. On the other hand, articulating a positive and ambitious vision of our future outside the EU, and how Labour would approach that differently from the Conservatives, is essential both to general election success and to transforming an economy broken by neoliberalism and auster

Here is Corbyn’s letter to Labour members:

I have written to the Prime Minister laying out Labour’s alternative plan so we can move beyond the mess the Tories have made of Brexit.

The Tory failure has left the country deeply divided and facing the threat of a disastrous No Deal outcome. Labour can and must take a lead in bringing our country together.

We are convinced that our sensible alternative, set out in the five demands in my letter, could both win the support of parliament and bring together those who voted Leave and Remain.                                           

More than any other party, Labour represents the hopes and ambitions of millions of people across all parts of our country. 

Whether people live in Tottenham or Mansfield, they face the same problems of austerity, the injustice of Universal Credit and insecure work. The real divide in our country is not between Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few.

I believe our alternative plan – which includes a permanent customs union, staying close to the single market, and full guarantees on workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental protections – can help move us beyond divisions over Brexit and lay the ground for the transformation of our country that only a Labour government can deliver.

Theresa May is unable to reach a sensible deal because it would split the Tories – and we will never vote for a bad Tory deal.

If Parliament is deadlocked, then the best outcome would be a general election. Without it, we will keep all options on the table, as agreed in our party conference motion, including the option of a public vote.

Thank you,

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party

This all looks, as some have commented, a strategy for either negotiating some agreement with Theresa May, or for many, many years, of future negotiating should Labour win an election.

The Guardian has commented that, “It is far from clear whether Labour’s five demands for UK withdrawal are achievable”.

The Guardian lists the 5 points and looks at them.

  • A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union, an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals.

The problem here is  that on present evidence, “The British government would have no say over new trade deals if it was in a customs union with the European Union, a former head of the World Trade Organisation has said. ” (Guardian 21st of January 2018). Nor is obvious how a sudden lurch back into a Customs Union is going to be re-worked out from scratch.

  • Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.

The Guardian notes on this, “This part of the proposal sounds strikingly similar to May’s Chequers plan, but the EU rejected that as “cherry-picking” parts of the indivisible four freedoms. If Labour decides it wishes to be fully in the single market, the EU will insist it signs up to EU state-aid rules. “Corbyn will have to come out of the closet and say we accept single market rules,” says one senior EU official. If Labour wants to be in the single market, it will also have to accept continued freedom of movement, though senior Labour figures have sounded more warm towards that prospect in recent weeks.

This could equally be described as a pious intention, open to Labour to ‘negotiate’ as it sees fit. As noted on Labour List, (Sienna Rodgers)”“single market alignment” doesn’t amount to the “full participation” prescribed by the composite motion. (of the Labour Party Conference).

It is also open to the Morning Star Brexiteers and the “4 Ms” to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions. That is, a merry game over many years, until they decide to break away completely and try for the WTO rule based trade. It is a recipe for endless rows, dramatic turnarounds, and a continuous diversion from any Labour government’s legislative programme.

  • Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.

The word  “dynamic” cannot hide that this is always open to a Tory government to renege on. One of the obvious attractions of common European standards is that they were made in common not “aligned” with.

  • Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation.

A commitment – no more. And, the Guardian states, “The political declaration – the non-binding part of the Brexit deal that May has proposed – already states that the EU and the UK will “explore the possibility of cooperation” involving agencies such as the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

  • Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases.

Something that remains open. The Guardian says, “Brussels has said it is difficult for the UK to have the same access to EU police organisations and databases without being a member state, including taking on EU data-protection rules and accepting the remit of the European court of justice. It is unclear if Labour would be prepared to accept this.”

On Labour List Sienna Rogers also observes:

 Corbyn’s list makes no mention of the backstop or of free movement.

It remains that Corbyn and his inner circle want Labour Party members to accept Brexit.

The present strategy may well involve a compromise to bring “our country together” – for yet more, and yet more, negotiations.

Corbyn allies in the influential groupuscule Counterfire do not relish such a consensus.

John Rees writes,

Marxism and the Brexit crisis

But now the entirety of the British political establishment, and the mass media, are pushing the Labour leadership to “save the nation” by joining in a Tory-inspired unity campaign aimed at achieving the seemingly politically impossible task of passing Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

He, like the Morning Star, backs Brexit.

Brexit, in this compromise form is still Brexit.

Many people in the Labour Party simply do not accept Brexit in the first place.

Shiraz describes the move as  “Corbyn’s Brexit betrayal.”

Socialist Resistance writes on the forces, hostile to left-wing internationalism, who are driving the Corbyn stategy.

The British Road to Brexit

Milne and Murray haven’t changed their minds on that in forty-five years. That’s fine. The EU is a bosses’ club. What’s different now is that the push for Brexit is coming from the right of British politics and has galvanised every racist in the country. The 2016 referendum result wasn’t a rejection of a bosses’ club, it was a rejection of freedom of movement within the EU. Milne and Murray are in the Labour Party now and they are very definitely in a minority on this issue. The most recent evidence for that is the report commissioned by Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association which says:

“Labour would especially lose the support of people below the age of 35, which could make this issue comparable to the impact the tuition fees and involvement in the coalition had on Lib Dem support….

… “If there is an election in 2019, Labour will get a lower share of the vote in every seat in the country if it has a pro-Brexit policy than if it has an anti-Brexit position.”

Corbyn knows this already and yet he is risking electoral defeat. His letter to Theresa May setting out the terms under which Labour would support a Brexit deal makes no reference to the party’s conference vote calling for a new referendum. It doesn’t even mention delaying the exit date until a deal which meets his conditions for a soft Brexit are negotiated.

This is a big victory for those of his advisors who want Brexit to happen because they think it might set Labour on a road to socialism in one country. And it’s not just Milne and Murrary. Len McCluskey of Unite is dead set against a new referendum and so is Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s chief of staff who accompanied Corbyn and Milne to the recent meeting with Theresa May.

The only people this will give comfort to are those Tories who back May’s plan to run down the clock to a hard Brexit and the DUP. It will not win over a single Brexit supporting voter and it will demoralise the hundreds of thousands of Labour members the party will need to win the next general election.

As we learned a couple of weeks ago during the immigration debate, the Corbyn leadership is responsive to pressure from its left. Anti-Brexit members need to be kicking up a fuss about this capitulation to the idea of socialism in a single country across social media and in their wards, GCs and CLPs. And if you haven’t already done so get this resolution supporting a new referendum through your local party and affiliated unions.

Corbyn Goes Pro-Brexit with “Re-Negotiation” plan.

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Image result for corbyn and brexit

Corbyn on Rocky Brexit Road.

Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election

Reuters has just clarified thess points,

“You’d have to go back and negotiate, and see what the timetable would be,” the 69-year-old told the Guardian newspaper, when asked what he would do if he won an early election designed to break the deadlock in parliament.

Asked what stance Labour would take if a referendum were held, Corbyn said: “it would be a matter for the party to decide what the policy would be; but my proposal at this moment is that we go forward, trying to get a customs union with the EU, in which we would be able to be proper trading partners.”

…..

Labour wants a permanent customs union with the EU and a close relationship with its lucrative single market. The policy has been dubbed “constructive ambiguity” by some, who question whether Labour could negotiate a better deal.

There are forces hostile to socialist internationalism within the Labour Party, many of whom believe that Brexit was a “a genuine democratic revolt,” “for self-government, identity, community, sovereignty, patriotism.” “It was the elite versus the people.”

Some of these people are close the Leader of the Opposition.

They appear to be making Labour strategy, on their interpretation of party policy, off the hoof.

Britain can, alone, be a socialist “Beacon” a shining “radical break with neoliberalism ” in a benighted world.

Perhaps from its heights Corbyn can tear up lengthy re-negotiations, begin again, and get a customs union, and who knows what other benefits?

He may find time to cast off the economy’s moorings from the capitalist world, WTO rules, and the IMF.

In fact the EU and its negotiators have made it clear that another negotiation is not on the cards at the moment.

We shall see if another one, for a Beacon Brexit, is possible.

It goes without saying that many do not agree with this strategy.

How far is Corbyn willing to share the opinions of the sovereigntist hard-liners is a matter for him.

For the Party it is of great concern.

Faced with this turn this call in the excellent Clarion, by Manuel Cortes, looks all the more important.

 

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association General Secretary Manuel Cortes, a prominent supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and opponent of Brexit, spoke to The Clarion.

You’ve called for a special Labour conference to decide the party’s Brexit policy. Why?

I think it’s very clear that if we’re going to push for a referendum, the party needs to make a decision about about what it’s going to argue in that vote. At the same time, Brexit is evolving on a day to day basis – we need an opportunity to take stock about what we’ll argue in a referendum but also how we’ll campaign to get one. Andrew Gwynne has alluded to the members deciding our position in a referendum – and the only way to do that is to call a special conference.

Is it realistic? Well, it’s been done before. In 1975, Labour called a special conference at short notice when the referendum on remaining in the European Community was announced.

And what position would you advocate at the conference?

My position remains that we should remain in the EU and work together with socialists and labour movements across the continent to create a Europe for the many. Jeremy Corbyn campaigned for this in 2016, he was right then and it’s the right position now. Clearly the kind of Europe we want to create is one that favours working people – that puts people first. We need an end to austerity and to a system which does extremely well for the one percent at the expense of the other ninety nine. If we’re going to slay the neoliberal dragon and take on global capitalism we have a much better chance in a union of 28 nations than by ourselves.

The situation in the Labour Party seems complicated and hard to predict. How do you think it will play out?

We’ve got a political and constitutional crisis in our country. We’ve had paralysis for the last 30 months at Westminster, ever since the referendum result. I think Labour has not done that badly in the sense that it’s attempted to heal a very divided country. However, it’s become increasingly clear that the party membership and the great majority of our voters no longer want us to leave the EU. In a democratic party we have to recognise and respect that. The best way to solve this contradiction is a popular vote and for Labour to make a strong case for Jeremy’s vision.

What would you say to those who say a second referendum will disillusion blue-collar working-class voters even more and drive them away from Labour?

I′m not arguing we should remain in Europe with the status quo. Far from it. We need a Labour government committed to the kind of policies we had in the 2017 manifesto. It’s been far too easy for British politicians to blame the problems that afflict so many of our citizens on Europe, when by and large they are the fault of Westminster – the privatisation and deregulation of our economy, the fact that we have the most stringent anti-union laws in Western Europe, the lack of labour rights compared to many European countries, all these problems stem from Westminster not Brussels.

I’m extremely proud that working people in 32 countries have the right to move freely. We want that right to be extended, but to give up the right we have is nonsense. I’m a union leader. I’m not in the business of giving the rights our workers currently enjoy. It’s not migrants who create low wages and insecurity, it’s unscrupulous bosses.

The Labour Party must work with our allies across Europe, in terms of democracy but also an economic program that makes the lives of working people far better. For instance we need to extend collective bargaining and ensure there’s a union in every workplace so that workers can fight for their rights. We need repeal of all the anti-union laws, and their replacement with a charter of positive rights for workers. We need to regulate our economy, ban zero hours contracts and introduce a real living wage of at least £10 an hour. We need to ensure resources are made available to enforce all those things.

Then it won’t matter if you come from Wigan or Brussels, everyone will be treated the same in the workplace.

That argument about free movement, aren’t there a lot of people in the Labour Party, including on the left, reluctant to take that on?

The majority of our members want to say and the majority of our voters want to stay. They know that you can’t stay in the EU without freedom of movement. You don’t have to win that argument with most of our members and voters. There is a minority of people we have to challenge and win over but let’s not inflate their voices.

It often seems there is widespread reluctance to criticise Corbyn. What do you think?

I think one thing Corbyn will respect, because he has been known as a rebel for most of his political life, is this – if you think something is right you should articulate your point and do so forcefully. I’m standing up for what I believe. The people of our country will be far worse off if we leave the EU. The xenophobia that’s been unleashed is a terrible poison and we can’t give victory to the people who unleashed it – Farage, Johnson, Rees-Mogg.

If there is a second referendum, it seems likely the dominant Remain campaign will be a bourgeois lash up similar to the first one but with a slightly more activisty buzz. In that situation, what should the anti-Brexit left do?

Actually I think we’re in a very different place from 2016, because Corbyn has now consolidated his leadership of the Labour Party. The party machine and our half a million members should be mobilised and we should have our own agenda – a firm commitment to remain and to fight to change Europe. We should not get involved in so called cross party alliances. In the last referendum I campaigned with Another Europe is Possible, and I am all for Labour members organising for this perspective, but my view now that Jeremy has consolidated his leadership is that the Labour Party itself should run a high profile campaign.

But what if it doesn’t adopt that position?

My confidence is rooted in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Labour members want this. No party can survive long term without giving its members the ability to influence its policies. More importantly still, perhaps, Jeremy and John have a strong record of seeking to involve ordinary members in decision-making. That’s why I’m calling for a special conference. I think if things are moving towards a public vote a conference will happen and I can only see it taking one position – remain and reform.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Corbyn claims EU is willing to renegotiate Brexit deal for “Sensible Jobs First Brexit”.

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Image result for corbyn sensible jobs first brexit

Corbyn, “Brexit should be catalyst to invest, bringing good jobs and real control to local communities and people.”

It was heralded as a key speech on Labour’s plans for working with business and on its Brexit strategy.

Speaking to business leaders at the CBI’s annual conference in London, which will also be addressed by the prime minister, Corbyn will claim May’s deal, published last week, would “leave the country in an indefinite halfway house without a real say over our future”.

Instead, he will say, “a good Brexit plan for this country is not just about what can be negotiated with Brussels. It must also include a radical programme of investment and real change across our regions and nations.

“Brexit should be the catalyst to invest in our regions and infrastructure, bringing good jobs and real control to local communities and people.”

Sunday. Guardian.

Labour List reproduces the speech in full.

Key sections on Brexit:

“Labour has an alternative plan for a sensible jobs-first Brexit” – Corbyn’s CBI speech

Labour has set out an alternative plan for a sensible jobs-first agreement that could win support in parliament and help bring our country together.

First, we want a new comprehensive and permanent customs union with a British say in future trade deals that would ensure no hard border in Northern Ireland and avoid the need for the government’s half-baked backstop deal. Businesses and workers need certainty. The Tories’ sticking plaster plan for a temporary customs arrangement, with no clarity on how long it will last and no British say, can only prolong the uncertainty and put jobs and prosperity at risk.

Second, a sensible deal must guarantee a strong single market relationship. Talk of settling for a downgraded Canada-style arrangement is an option popular only on the extremes of the Tory Party. It would be a risk to our economy, jobs and investment in our schools, hospitals and vital public services.

Third, a deal that works for Britain must also guarantee that our country doesn’t fall behind the EU in workers’ rights or protections for consumers and the environment. Britain should be a world leader in rights and standards. We won’t let this Conservative Government use Brexit as an excuse for a race to the bottom in protections, to rip up our rights at work or to expose our children to chlorinated chicken by running down our product standards.

A good Brexit plan for this country is not just about what can be negotiated with Brussels. It must also include a radical programme of investment and real change across our regions and nations. Brexit should be the catalyst to invest in our regions and infrastructure, bringing good jobs and real control to local communities and people.

The Guardian noted this crucial point.

Our votes in parliament will be to attempt to stop this deal and to say to the government, ‘You’ve got to go back and negotiate something else’. There is time to do it. By the way, when the EU says there isn’t time, the EU has a long history of 11th hour negotiations. Even the Lisbon Treaty was renegotiated several times.

Speaking after consultation with EU negotiators and on behalf of the Nation, UNITE leader Len McClusky pointed yesterday to a different Brexit deal already on the table.

McCluskey said: “If the Prime Minister would only stop listening to the hard-line rump on her own backbenches, she would realise that there is a different deal available.

“That it is perfectly possible to secure a natural majority in parliament for leaving the European Union, as the British people mandated in June 2016 but in a way that unites the nation.

Huffington Post.

Word from President Macron is that France  is anxious to renegotiate another Brexit arrangement.

“Anybody who’s a friend of Jean-Luc Mélenchon  is more than welcome at the Élysée. It’s time to ditch all that tiresome Theresa May paperasse” said an Official Spokesperson.

Sounded out, many other European states welcomed the Labour Leader’s announcement.

Some already have their negotiator support teams working on a favourable response.

Jim Denham offers a guide to the details of Corbyn’s speech.

Labour would get a better deal in three months than the government has managed in two years by asking more nicely, but if we needed longer we could use the transition period to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement that must be agreed for the transition period to come into effect and we don’t like the Brexit deal agreed by Brussels, because it doesn’t provide the exact same benefits of EU membership which I disliked because of state aid and competition rules, but remaining is not necessarily better than leaving with no deal at all, and the outcome of the referendum must be respected but all options remain on the table, but a second referendum is not an option for today but could be tomorrow, and if it was I don’t know how I would vote.

Corbyn’s position on Brexit summarised

In case this is too complicated the position of the Brexit Bolsheviks is on offer, as set out by Socialist Worker:

Our alternative is to leave the EU and simultaneously begin transforming the whole basis of a society based on capitalist policies and priorities.

As Brexit chaos continues – grab this chance to push the Tories out

Written by Andrew Coates

November 20, 2018 at 6:14 pm

As Internationalist Left Campaigns for Corbyn’s Option of a Second Brexit Vote, Brexit Bolsheviks Plan Monster Rally.

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Anti-Brexit campaigners unfurl a banner on Westminster bridge on November 15, 2018 in front of the Houses of Parliament in London. - British Prime Minister Theresa May will give a press conference this afternoon amid intense criticism from lawmakers over her Brexit deal. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Internationalist Left Mobilises Against Brexit while Brexit Bolsevicks Plan Monster Meeting Next Week.

Corbyn Confirms Support For ‘People’s Vote’ Campaign Remaining On The Table

In an email to Labour Party members this evening, Jeremy Corbyn confirmed that Labour supports the campaign for another public vote on Brexit “remaining on the table” if a general election is not possible.

The Labour leader’s message reads: “If we cannot get a General Election, in line with our conference policy, we will support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.”

Although this is simply a reiteration of existing party policy, ‘people’s vote’ campaigners have expressed concerns about Corbyn’s recent comments on the efforts to secure another referendum on Brexit.

At Labour conference in September, the composite motion agreed by the party pledged to “support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote” should it not be able to secure a general election.

But last week Corbyn gave an interview to Der Spiegel in which he said Brexit could not be stopped, and later told Channel 4 that he wouldn’t agree with Jo Johnson’s call for another referendum.

Interviewed in a ‘Reach Fest’ event on Wednesday night, Corbyn was asked whether he would back a public vote and replied: “That’s not a priority”.

If Theresa May’s deal is voted down and the opposition cannot force a general election, it is hoped by some pro-EU Labour groups that the party will get behind the ‘people’s vote’ campaign as a way of breaking the deadlock.

There may then be some debate over whether to exclude the option of ‘no deal’, which Remainers would argue could be dangerous, and whether to include the option to remain in the EU, which may cause others to worry about the optics of re-running the 2016 referendum.

From the E-Mail.

As I said in Parliament earlier today, people around the country will be feeling anxious about the industries they work in, the jobs they hold and the stability of this country.

We do not accept that the choice is between the government’s deal and ‘no deal’. We will work across Parliament to stop a ‘no deal’ outcome. Labour has set out our alternative plan for a sensible Brexit that would work for all of our nations and regions, bring Parliament and the country together, support jobs and our economy and guarantee rights, standards and protections.

If Parliament votes down this shambolic Tory deal — as seems likely — this will represent a loss of confidence in the government. In those circumstances the best outcome for the country is an immediate General Election that can sweep the Tories from power and deliver the Labour government this country desperately needs.

If we cannot get a General Election, in line with our conference policy, we will support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party

On   Labour List  Sienna further comments,

The question is what happens after Theresa May’s deal is voted down the first time. We know forcing a general election is highly improbable. Does she go back, renegotiate with the EU, have it pass in the Commons on the second go after economic chaos has put enough fear into MPs? Or will a ‘people’s vote’ initiative be backed by Labour and somehow gain a majority in the House? Corbyn has seemed reluctant to give the campaign his backing, worrying groups such as Another Europe is Possible, but he confirmed in an email last night to members that Labour “will support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”. Reluctant though the leadership and many MPs may be, another public vote may become the only way of breaking the deadlock.

The Brexit Bolsheviks are already mobilising against Internationalism.

The sight of people who claim to be on the left promoting National sovereignty and a ‘People’s Brexit’ as the cornerstone of Labour strategy, and claiming to be socialists, when their politics are those of Spiked and Brendan O’Neill reminds one of these lines from Finton O’Toole.

“Who, in other words, are “the people” to whom power is supposedly being returned? Here we find the other thing that dare not speak its name: English nationalism.”

How Brexit Broke Up Britain

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm