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Posts Tagged ‘Keir Starmer

Factionalism in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 10: Socialist Appeal calls for “War” after RLB Sacking.

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“Unity” against the “Appeasers” of Starmer.

A couple of days ago, Socialist Appeal published this article.

Long-Bailey sacking: Mobilise against Blairite aggression!

Keir Starmer has abruptly sacked former leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey from her position as Shadow Education Secretary, on the ludicrous charge of “sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories”. This incendiary move has rightly provoked outrage amongst grassroots members.

The “Marxist Voice of Labour and Youth” is not kind to Long-Bailey,

 

Long-Bailey showed her own timidity by distancing herself from Peake’s comments, rather than calling out the slanders and cynicism of the right. Worse still, she went on to say that she would not be “critical about the way I have might have been treated”, because “[t]he only way that we’ll win a general election is by being unified as a party.”

They continue,

So rather than standing up for herself, she rolls over and lets Starmer kick her in the teeth! This weakness on the part of the left leaders is in marked contrast to the right, who are resolute and ruthless in pursuing their agenda.

They concluded,

It is fruitless to seek unity with the Labour right wing. They represent the interests of big business, who are determined to reclaim the party from the Corbyn movement. The left leaders’ strategy of appeasement has been a proven failure over the past years, and is the reason we are in this position to begin with.

The unity we need is not one of concessions to the Blairites. We need genuine unity, based on organising Labour’s mass membership around bold socialist policies. This is the only way to avoid demoralisation and defeat.

No more compromises! Resist Blairite aggression! Unite and fight for a socialist Labour Party!

Here is their call to arms.

Socialist Appeal (SA) was founded by supporters of Ted Grant and Alan Wood after they were expelled from the Militant group in the early 1990s. While their former comrades founded the Socialist Party, they stayed inside Labour.

Socialist Appeal is said to be affiliated to the Labour Representation Committee.

The groupuscule is said to have over a 100 members.

They believed that Labour should have campaigned for Brexit on a socialist basis.

Their position was that the left should call for “the reform of the EU and its institutions, but with their destruction and replacement by a Socialist United States of Europe.”

If Corbyn and the Left had come out boldly against the EU – whilst defending workers’ rights and freedom of movement for all on a socialist basis – this would have transformed the situation. It could have shifted much of the debate away from immigration and onto the real nature of the EU – and to the question of how to improve society, particularly in the deindustrialised heartlands where Labour had lost support under Blair, Brown and Miliband.

Lessons of the Brexit saga

‘Utopian reform’ of the EU would not work. Failure to appeal  to the electorate to destroy the European Union and  in this way build support for socialist united states of Europe, cost Labour dearly in the ballot box.

Jeremy Corbyn compounded his error by not “waging a relentless assault against Blairism” as the interests of the working class demanded. After the election the “toxic mire of Blairism” loomed again. It “will end in disaster”.

One of SA’s best known international campaigns is the defence of President Maduro’s Venezuelan regime (No coup! No war! Hands off Venezuela! ). The success of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is too well known to need outlining.

SA is widely credited with having one of the most unreadable papers on the left.

This group is not alone in calling for a fight against the newly elected leader of the Labour Party.

Today opponents of Starmer have a new cause célèbre.

The Evening Standard reports,

Black Lives Matter UK has criticised Labour leader Keir Starmer after he dismissed their aim to “defund the police”.

The UK’s anti-racism group has joined demands from protesters around the world to “defund the police”, a term that refers to diverting of funds from law enforcement into other areas such as mental health services.

When asked about the process, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: “Nobody should be saying anything about defunding the police.

Black Lives Matter UK defended the movement on Twitter, as they said defunding the police is a call for more investment in “key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system”.

“As a public prosecutor, Sir Kier Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit,” said the anti-racism organisation.

These are some different responses to calls to ‘defund’ the Police.

2017 Election.

Labour will put 10,000 extra police on streets, vows Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour has pledged to put 10,000 additional police on to the streets of England and Wales in a policy designed to challenge the Conservatives in their own political territory of law and order.

Jeremy Corbyn will promise on Tuesday to fund the extra “bobbies on the beat” by reversing Tory cuts to capital gains tax (CGT) if he wins next month’s general election.

2019 Election,

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will give our NHS, schools and police the money they need

We will invest in every nation and region, rebuild our public services and give our NHS, schools and police the money they need by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone.

There are plenty of replies.

Socialist Appeal has its own angle on the calls.

Review: ‘The End of Policing’ – but how?

It’s not enough to have good ideas, we must participate in the class struggle to make them reality. In that spirit the last line of State and Revolution reads“It is more pleasant and useful to go through the ‘experience of revolution’ than to write about it.”

It will only be the experience of a working class, socialist revolution, that can really bring about the end of policing.

Can we suggest that they pursue their reading of State and Revolution in more convivial surroundings?

RS21 (a splinter from the SWP) have a thoughtful article which outlines just such a “perspective” (one of Ted Grant’s favourite words):

 

Outside the Labour Party things will surely be a lot happier for Socialist Appeal.

Tribune Attacks ‘Starmarism’, Morning Star speaks for “whole Left” against Sacking of Long-Bailey.

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Sir Keir Starmer: Who is Labour's new leader? - Cambridgeshire Live

“A safer pair of hands, a less disruptive force, than even the Tories.” – Tribune.

How Keir Starmer Sabotaged Rebecca Long-Bailey

The Editor of Tribune, Ronan Burtenshaw is beside himself, “From her earliest days as shadow education secretary, Keir Starmer set about undermining Rebecca Long-Bailey – because her socialist politics and loyalty to trade unions were incompatible with his leadership.”

The socialist politics Rebecca Long-Bailey represents has no place within Starmerism, as the other Left members of the shadow cabinet will realise in due course. His political project is to present Labour to the British establishment as a safer pair of hands, a less disruptive force, than even the Tories.

The chief of the re-vamped and US-owned journal, announced as a monthly in 2018, now reduced to a quarterly appearance,  also asserts,

To many onlookers, Rebecca Long-Bailey’s sacking might have seemed strange. After all, she was fired for sharing an interview by someone else in which they made a claim which was only marginally incorrect. (The Israeli police do, in fact, train the US police and encourage the use of “excessive force” against those who “pose little or no threat.”).

He concludes,

Starmer’s determination to be seen as sensible by the business and media elites is also incompatible, in any longer-term sense, with unity with the Left. It is not possible to present yourself as unthreatening to capital with principled socialists as part of your coalition. And so, they were always going to be sidelined – it was a matter of time.

It would be interesting to see what plans, and with what troops,  Burtenshawn has to threaten capital and to challenge the “powerful”, and all those business and media “elites”.

The would-be general of the revolt concedes,

Such an approach might win an election.

So what is he wittering on about?

That Starmer might succeed without toppling the statues and moments of capital?

Perhaps he could ask his close allies:

The Morning Star, totally independent of the Communist Party of Britain, which called to boycott Labour and voting for any party in last years’ European election,  said of the Long-Bailey’s dismissal,

Sacking Rebecca Long Bailey is an attack on the whole left

Attempting to dismiss references to the relationship between the Israeli and US security forces as “an anti-semitic conspiracy theory” is a cynical bid by the Board of Deputies to warn people off attacking the Israeli government at a time when its plans to annex the West Bank are arousing widespread condemnation.

Using it as an excuse to sack Long Bailey looks like a cynical bid by Starmer to drop a shadow minister whose refusal to attack teaching unions and parrot his irresponsible push for schools to fully reopen more quickly showed up the weakness of his opposition to a Conservative government whose mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic has cost tens of thousands of lives.

In other words Starmer acted against Long-Bailey because of his own failings, an inability to stand up to a Cabinet which is causing tens of thousands of deaths. Not only is the Labour leader unable to stand up to the mismanagement that is leading to people dying, his “cynical” move is against trade unionists in the teaching profession and in line with a further “cynical bid” bu the Board of Deputies to prevent people attacking Israeli plans for the West Bank.

Some might suggest that this looks a bit like a conspiracy!

Today the paper which likes to speak on behalf of the “whole left” says,

Editorial: Covid-19 is still a crisis – but Labour isn’t grappling with it

Where’s Labour? Hinting that it is now ready to drop the radical Green New Deal programme developed by the previous leadership.

Keir Starmer’s spokesperson says that new climate commitments will be written “in four or five years’ time,” that is in line with the parliamentary electoral cycle which he assumes is immune from external factors.

That shows no desire at all to try to work with, let alone lead, those fighting to transform this crisis into an opportunity for far-reaching change in the present.

Pause.

The Morning Star believes that Brexit is an “opportunity” for a ‘people’s’ then a ‘socialist’ Brexit.

Now it seems to think that Covid-19 and the Green New Deal are further opportunities to begin “far-reaching changes”.

With such an abundance of fruitful chances, how many more opportunities can we deal with?

Fact Checking.

The furious Tribune boss and his friends in the Morning Star has yet to respond in full to this:

Did Israeli secret service teach Floyd police to kneel on neck?

Channel Four FactCheck.

It seems Ms Peake’s original claim is based on an article in the Morning Star from 1 June, which states: “At least 100 Minnesota police officers attended a 2012 conference hosted by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the second time such an event had been held.”

The article has been shared over 40,000 times on Facebook, according to analytics provided by the website Crowdtangle.

This description appears to be supported by a report from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) at the time of the event. By the MPR account, the conference took place in Minneapolis and was “put on by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the FBI and Minnetonka police”. (Minnetonka is the neighbouring city to Minneapolis).

Which techniques were taught?

The Morning Star piece alleges that those attending the 2012 conference “learned the violent techniques used by Israeli forces as they terrorise the occupied Palestinian territories under the guise of security operations.”

The article does not explicitly claim that Israeli forces taught American police to kneel on a person’s neck at the conference.

The only link to this tactic in the story is made by an activist, Neta Golan, who told the paper: “When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee as he cried for help and other cops watched, I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique of leaning in on our chest and necks when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006.”

Ms Golan is quoted as saying: “it is clear that they [Israel] share these methods when they train police forces abroad in ‘crowd control’ in the US and other countries including Sudan and Brazil.” The information in square brackets is from the Morning Star’s copy.

The article mentions a 2016 report by Amnesty which lists US police forces that have “all traveled to Israel for training” and “thousands of others” that “have received training from Israeli officials here in the U.S.”

After yesterday’s controversy involving Maxine Peake and Rebecca Long-Bailey, Amnesty International told the New Statesman: “the precise nature of the training offered to US police forces by Israeli officials is not something we’ve documented”.

They added: “Allegations that US police were taught tactics of ‘neck kneeling’ by Israeli secret services is not something we’ve ever reported”.

Beyond the speculation of one activist, there is no information in the Morning Star article that would support the claim that the specific practice of kneeling on a person’s neck was taught to US police by Israeli forces.

Or indeed Jim’s latest post which signalled a justified scepticism about anything that appears in the Morning Star, wholly independent of the CPB and owned by the co-op that it is,

Long Bailey, ‘antisemitic conspiracy theories’ and the dangers of believing what you read in the Morning Star

It is quite possible to feel sorry for RLB – and to doubt that she is personally an antisemite – whilst recognising that she’s been an idiot and that Starmer, operating in the real world, had no choice but to sack her (not least because the EHRC’s report into antisemitism in the party is on its way, and expected to be highly critical).

Others have noted the flaws in the article Long-Bailey retweeted,

Rebecca Long-Bailey’s sacking: such a fine line between stupid and clever

George Chesterton.

The first point – echoing the sentiments of so many charming hard-left voices of the past five years that anyone who didn’t like Jeremy could “fuck off and join the Tories” – is all very well for Peake, but for a shadow cabinet minister to put a tick by such a knuckleheaded suggestion, even after the crushing defeat, betrays a lack of nous that would make Chris Grayling blush. According to Peake, Labour voters who didn’t vote for Corbyn should “hang their heads in shame”. Perhaps the electorate should apologise. But again, couldn’t Long-Bailey see what this self-harm had achieved? People literally had fucked off and voted for the Tories.

He concludes,

 ..let’s get this straight: Long-Bailey is praising an article in which an actor bad-mouths her new boss.

Quite.

Update, some reverberations:

Rebecca Long-Bailey Sacking: Momentum Mobilises to “Win Back Power.”

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Ronan Burtenshaw, editor of Tribune, says Starmer acted to “protect the reputation of the Israeli occupation’.

In recent weeks Keir Starmer, elected Labour leader with 56,2% of the party members’ vote,  has managed to dent Boris Johnson’s in the House of Commons. He has raised  issues, including the Tories’ handling of the Coronavirus panademic, and the rubber-stamping a Tory donor’s property development, that have further weakened the Conservatives position. Starmer’s approval rating keeps rising in the opinion polls.

This news now dominates the Labour landscape.

Now, according to many on the left (overwhelmingly those who never supported him), the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey has struck a blow against the Corbyn legacy and socialism.

Momentum is using the sacking to mobilise to “win back power” in the party.

 

The Editor of Tribune (now owned by the US left-populist Bhaskar Sunkara, (New owner of relaunched bi-monthly Tribune magazine says ‘Morning Star will cover the beat and we’ll do more analysis‘) is perhaps not widely taken seriously.

But John McDonnell is.

 

McDonnell immediately received these replies (by people this Blog knows),

The Guardian’s Heather Stewart reports on widely shared explanations for the sacking.

One Starmer-sceptic also pointed out that Long-Bailey, who represents a leave-voting constituency, had been sympathetic to Brexit, during the bitter internecine battle over the party’s stance that raged throughout last year.

Perhaps it didn’t help, either, that Starmer was visibly irritated last week when Boris Johnson wrong-footed him at prime minister’s questions by pressing him to say he thought it was safe for children to go back to school.

Starmer’s allies insist he has worked closely with Long-Bailey on schools policy; but some more centrist Labour MPs have accused her of listening too intently to teachers’ unions, and not enough to parents, as she warned about the risks of wider reopening.

For these reasons he may not lament her departure from the frontbench, but Starmer’s allies insist he would deal just as determinedly with claims of antisemitism even if they came from a close political friend.

Starmer’s removal of Long-Bailey has rekindled Labour’s civil war

A measured repose comes from Paul Mason.

The claim that Israeli police forces taught the US police the “neck kneeling” that murdered George Floyd has been denied.

The same link was made recently by Tariq Ali, who has supported a variety of political  parties and is at present believed to be a member of Labour.

I would now like to come to another part of the world which ironically links the knee on the neck to George Floyd to this region because a lot of the American police forces have been trained in Israel. Not just the Americans but many from right-wing countries in South America. And the methods in dealing with protests or ordinary citizens is virtually the same. You can find lots of photos of Israelis when these people are brave enough to take photographs with their knees on the neck of Palestinians.”

Coronavirus, War & Empire: Arundhati Roy & Jeremy Corbyn in Conversation w/ Tariq Ali

Many consider that some on the left are so anxious to tie in Israel and Zionism to anything that they jumped on the opportunity to get them implicated in George Floyd.

Perhaps they will claim that the French police, who have been caught up in (justified) accusations, have been instructed by Israel.

Cédric Chouviat, a 42-year-old deliveryman, died in January after officers pinned him to the ground and put him in a chokehold, police tactics that are increasingly being called into question.

On Monday, Le Monde newspaper and Mediapart, an investigative news site, both reported details of the videos in which Mr. Chouviat can be heard saying “I’m suffocating” seven times over a roughly 20-second period as the officers arrested him.

More: Violences policières : avant la France, comment certains pays ont limité le recours à la clé d’étranglement et au plaquage ventral. Radio France. 20.6.20.

 

Update:

Long-Bailey continues to gain support….

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