Tendance Coatesy

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Counterfire: “the Tories will not deliver the Brexit that people voted for.”

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Not the Brexit We Voted For!

Part 3 of our popular series, Things That Never Happened.

After the Morning Star, and Socialist Worker, Counterfire enters the No Deal Brexit fray.

Whatever happens in the next day, the Tories will not deliver the Brexit that people voted for, argues Shabbir Lakha

Blame Game:

But part of the reason there was any credence to Johnson’s claims was thanks to the pro-Remain campaign incessantly obsessing that Johnson was trying to sneak in a no-deal in 2019. Labour’s opposition was hamstrung by the Remain-at-all-costs brigade, and failed to back the initial calls for a general election, despite the fact it had been calling for since June 2017. So when Johnson did in fact pull a deal out of the hat, he wasn’t the one with egg on his face.

It would have been different but,

Neither a deal nor no deal under the Tories are going to be good, as both will be used to attempt a turbo charging of capitalism via deregulation. In Tory hands, the removal of the EU’s neoliberal shackles will give them space to erode further workers’ rights and environmental protections.

Corbyn was right, and it was inching towards Remain lost the election.

What is clear is that Corbyn’s promise to end the ‘rigged economy’ terrified the EU, so Labour moving ever closer to Remain had the effect of allaying the EU’s fears and making it increasingly unlikely that it was ever going to have to negotiate with a socialist, anyway, as astute observers in Brussels would have analysed the likely electoral effect of Labour’s position.

Faced with hundreds of thousands protesting against Brexit in 2019 Counterfire leader John Rees warned against Labour drifting in that direction.

He took the view that Second Referendum demonstrations were led by the wealthy to further the aims of the “overwhelming majority of big capital” It was a “middle class movement” with a “vanishingly small” union presence (where it was before it began to vanish was not described). It was a “variant” of a “mild (as yet)” mass fascist or populist right wing” groundswell. (Here).

Some suggest Counterfire were jealous, they could not organise their own People’s Brexit demonstrations.

There were some mass pro-Leave marches….

But that’s all in the past.

Today Johnson has to, or should, stand up to the EU,

But even though Johnson is not committed to public spending, redistribution and nationalisation, it’s hard to see how he can concede on this point without having to admit that the EU will maintain a level of control on how Britain is run.

So, in other words, getting out of the EU is a good thing, ending EU ‘control’, the bad thing is that the Tories are in charge of doing it.

This article ends with this,

Whatever the outcome, this government clearly has no legitimacy. And whatever happens, there will be a price to pay. We need to be prepared to fight against any attempt to put this cost on working people and to get this shower out of power.

So what did they vote for in the Referendum? The Lexit Brigade and Labour Leave cast their ballots with the Leave campaign, the far-right UKIP,  Leave.EU (which became Grassroots Out) and Vote Leave (endorsed by Conservative Party Eurosceptics). The largest of these groups, Vote Leave has  come to dominate the present Johnson government. One assumes that for Counterfire they do not count, they were not the “real” voters whose views the the revolutionary Marxist groupuscule has a special link with.

As far was one can tell Counterfire welcomes being free of the ‘shackles’ of the ‘neo-liberal EU’. The sovereign nation now unchained is, nevertheless, behaving badly. Perhaps this group thinks it will play a leading role in getting rid of the wrong “shower” in charge and get their shower into power. Reports indicate their presence in factional manoeuvres designed to create a split in Labour, through a variety of vehicles, which their merry band can join.

To left wing internationalists getting rid of chains of Brussels was always about the neo-liberal hard-right project of the European Reform Group and the dream of a new ‘anglosphere’, trading and cultural ties with the English-speaking capitalist nations.

The Tories Brexit agenda is not a policy but a project. It is anti-worker but not anti-state. It puts up new barriers to trade with Europe, but seeks deregulation and marketisation ‘at home’. It wants the state to spend big to support big business, especially in tech, is addicted to outsourcing and is disdainful of the public sector. This is pushing Britain towards a new, authoritarian, ‘crony capitalism’. As this becomes unpopular, the other aspects of the Tory agenda – the migrant bashing culture wars and ethnic nationalism – will become more and more important to sustain their political support.

Another Europe is Possible.


The possibility that Brexit would be anything else never happened.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 13, 2020 at 11:12 am

Counterfire, “Starmer is now following a Blairite directive to destroy the left in the party once and for all.”

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John Rees and Lindsey German on Farage and the Brexit Party – Don't mention George Galloway! | Tendance Coatesy

Counterfire leaders Rees and German with an old friend.

If there’s one thing worse than being lectured to by the Morning Star, it’s being hectored by Brexit backing Counterfire whose leaders, John Rees and Lindsey German,  played a prominent part in George Galloway’s Respect Party.

This is possibly German’s most famous intervention (she was at the time still a member of the SWP as well,

German supported the move to form Respect – The Unity Coalition, which included the SWP and other opponents of the war in Iraq, including Muslim groups and which stood as a left alternative to the Labour Party in elections. At the SWP’s Marxism 2003 event she commented: “I’m in favour of defending gay rights, […] but I am not prepared to have it as a shibboleth, [created by] people who . . . regard the state of Israel as somehow a viable presence.

Here is Counterfire’s latest, warm and cuddly, call to Labour activists.

Is there life outside Labour?

Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.


The immediate problem of course is that Starmer is now following a Blairite directive to destroy the left in the party once and for all. As John McInally says the right is prepared to pursue ‘a scorched earth policy and destroy the party rather that allowing the left to reclaim the party’. Angela Rayner’s outrageous comments at the recent Jewish Labour Movement meeting that she would be prepared to expel thousands of people show that the hostility to Corbynism extends quite far across the Parliamentary Labour Party.



despite the hard work of many Labour activists, Labour Party branches are unlikely to be the main hubs for building solidarity and active resistance to government attacks. That job will fall to trades union branches, trades councils, solidarity groups and the wider movements like the People’s Assembly (Note, by Counterfire). The strengthening of these extra parliamentary type of institutions has to be a priority.

The actuality of the revolution:

Historically, revolutionaries have almost always played a central role in the big social movements in Britain. The Marxist left has also always made a very important contribution to the process of developing socialist theory and education that Laura so rightly flags up. An estimated 60,000 members have left Labour in anger and frustration since April. More will be leaving over the next weeks and months. As we fight together against the Tories’ attacks, and rally to Corbyn, at some stage I think we will need to come back to the question of a mass, socialist alternative to the Labour Party.

Counterfire, as hard-line Brexiteers, have the gall to claim that socialist internationalists were gulled by Starmer and the People’s Vote into campaigning against Brexit and for a Second Referendum

Here is what one-time George Galloway Bag-man, Kevin Ovenden said recently,

The continuity-Remain campaign was the instrument of turning it against left-led Labour – and having Boris Johnson as prime minister was a small price to pay.

To those genuinely of the left who pressed Remain: you’ve been had.

Be angry. Let’s direct that against this government in collective struggles.

Keir Starmer’s Brexit opportunism

Heaven forefend that those who enabled the Bosses’ Brexit to take place, and went to the ballot box to vote the same way as the hard right, should take a gramme of responsibility for the present disastrous exit from the European Union..

Yes, it was foreseen, and planned, a ‘directive’ from Blairites to destroy the left…

They would have got away with it were it not for those doughty pesky Counterfire stalwarts.


Here’s them in action in 2012.

George Galloway MP: Bradford win shows we were right to oppose war

Galloway victory: a landslide against war and austerity

George Galloway has won a sensational victory in the Bradford West by-election with a 10,000 vote majority.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 2, 2020 at 12:39 pm

The last of the People’s Brexit Brigade, Counterfire, attacks John McDonnell and Left Internationalists.

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Image result for john rees and galloway

Still Crazy for a People’s Brexit: John Rees and Lindsey German with friend.

Don’t overestimate Boris Johnson…

John Rees, today, on the site of the groupuscule Counterfire, which runs the People’s Assembly (which held an ‘anti-coup’ rally a couple of days ago – who distinctive sectarian message was drowned out by the internationalist anti-Brexit clamour) and the Stop the War Coalition.

Rees is now keen to stress his own faction’s distinctive politics.

Some, like John McDonnell, seem to have become such fervent converts to the EU that they think that Brexit is more important than getting rid of the Tories. This is a mistake.

This is indeed a problem, and one of the Labour leadership’s own making. If they had not tied themselves so completely to the Remain bandwagon they could have appealed to Leave voters more convincingly and undercut Johnson, especially in the wake of the crisis over proroguing parliament in which the prime minister’s Machiavellian plan ended in shredding his credentials as a democrat.

But when the shift to an unequivocal Remain policy took place a while back we were told that it would unlock a huge reservoir of support for Labour. If the polls are to be believed that simply hasn’t happened.

On Brexit Labour should stress that it will negotiate a People’s Brexit, its unwisely abandoned original policy, and put that forward as a realistic alternative to Remain. That would cut the ground from under Johnson’s appeal to working-class Leave voters.

Unkind people may suggest that the conclusion to this puffery just about sums up the politics of Rees and his mates in Counterfire.

The Bullingdon Boys have got by all their lives on bluff and bluster.

Like their mate, this posturing puffer:


Looks like Tariq has more than a soft spot in his head for the Leavers…

As a person of peace I would not endorse this language, but in view of their participation in ‘anti-coup’ rallies, some are now calling the likes of Rees and Ali, the Brexiteers’ fifth column.

No, they are the left-behinds, l’angleterre

As a person of peace I would not endorse this language, but some are now calling the likes of Rees and Ali, who spoke at the ‘anti-coup’ Rally, the Brexiteers’ fifth column.
No, they are the left-behinds, l’angleterre périphérique.