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Brexit Support Shifts to Remain as Labour Activists Call for new Referendum.

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Opinion Shifting Against Brexit.

Major new analysis shows most constituencies now have majority who want to Remain

The analysis, one of the most comprehensive assessments of Brexit sentiment since the referendum, suggests the shift has been driven by doubts among Labour voters who backed Leave.

As a result, the trend is starkest in the north of England and Wales – Labour heartlands in which Brexit sentiment appears to be changing. The development will heap further pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to soften the party’s opposition to reconsidering Britain’s EU departure.

Researchers at the Focaldata consumer analytics company compiled the breakdown by modelling two YouGov polls of more than 15,000 people in total, conducted before and after Theresa May published her proposed Brexit deal on 6 July.

Corbyn hopes to avert call for public vote on Brexit at conference

Guardian 9th of August.

Labour members seeking second referendum could inflict damaging defeat.

Labour has been considering how to head off a concerted attempt by remain-supporting members to stage a vote at its annual conference calling for a second referendum, to avoid what would be an embarrassing defeat for Jeremy Corbyn on the party’s Brexit policy.

About 130 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) were understood to have expressed willingness to back a motion in favour of a second vote, drafted by the pro-Corbyn campaign group Labour for People’s Vote.

To avoid a damaging defeat, one option is to invite delegates to support a Brexit policy statement that would refer to holding a second referendum, but only in exceptional circumstances.

It could be similar to a watered-down resolution that was supported at Unite’s policy conference in July, which was offered by the union leadership to defuse a similar situation.

Major new polling of 10,000 people suggested Labour voters backed a second referendum by 63%, with just 8% opposed, in one of the largest surveys of public opinion since the referendum to leave the European Union.

Motion: (I have submitted this, for my CLP All Members’ Meeting).

Oppose Tory Brexit and win a radical Labour government.

This CLP supports the earliest possible election of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. The current government is putting Tory Party dogma first, not jobs first – and they have no mandate for their agenda.

We note and support Labour’s six tests for Brexit, which aims to ensure that the post-Brexit settlement preserves the benefits we currently get from collaboration with Europe, defends our rights and protections, and delivers for all parts of the UK. It is increasingly clear that the Tories’ Brexit deal will fail these tests.

We believe that only Labour can lead the British people into a progressive and economically sound relationship with Europe.The Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland, and the future of the NHS and public services. Tory Brexit will wreck the British economy, will commit us to a series of long-term trade deals which will enforce American-style deregulation, and will undermine the rights, freedoms and protections currently enshrined in EU law. All of this will bind the hands of a future Labour government, and will make it far harder for us to deliver on our promises.

We therefore urge Labour to oppose the Tories’ destructive Brexit and unite the country behind a radical vision for the future. In government, Labour could rally left-wing parties across the continent, and create a Europe for the many, not the few.

The social problems that caused the Brexit vote – inequality, declining public services, falling pay, a lack of quality affordable housing, and so on – will be made worse, not better, by Tory Brexit and the continued austerity that would result. The problem is the policies of the political establishment, not immigrants, and the solution is a radical social and economic programme.

We must make the election of a radical Labour government our first priority.

We note that given the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the most likely route to a general election before 2022 is the collapse of the government’s Brexit agenda. This motion supports all available avenues to bring down the government: voting down the EU exit deal in Parliament, calling for a snap election, and a popular vote on the deal.

We note and support the 2016 Conference commitment to a public vote on the Exit Deal so the people have the final decision on whether to accept the government’s deal or to stay in the EU.

We call on the Labour Party to:

1. Oppose any Brexit deal that does not satisfy Labour’s 6 tests.

2. Call for an immediate general election, and make a manifesto commitment to call a public vote on the Brexit deal with an option to remain in the EU if the public rejects it.

3. If we cannot get a general election, to campaign for a public vote on the deal with an option to remain in the EU; and following a defeat for the government, to call for an immediate general election.

4. To place radical social and economic policies at the heart of our programme of government – taxing the rich and big business to pay for better public services, rapidly expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.

Delegates from this CLP to Labour Party conference should vote in line with this policy.

While the old sovereigntist left and those claiming to back a non-existent “People’s Brexit’ are running out of steam, the anti-Brexit left is organising!

Labour set for policy shift as left and Labour grassroots turns against Brexit

Labour looks set for a strengthening of its Brexit position, as an unprecedented number of constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) look to submit motions in favour of a People’s Vote. The countdown to the conference begins in earnest on August 8th with the motion submission now open.

Labour for a People’s Vote, which launched in June with the support of key left wing figures within the party, has put forward its motion in well over a hundred constituencies across every region and nation of the UK.

Because of the Labour Party’s rules, CLPs only have a small window between August 8th and September 13th in which to pass conference motions. Nine CLPs have already agreed to submit the Labour for a People’s Vote conference motion before submissions even opened, with around 130 set to consider it prior to the deadline. Delegates at Labour conference will first decide whether to debate Brexit as a policy area, and then decide whether to support the motion.

The movement in CLPs follows a series of large town hall meetings held across the country last month. The ‘Left Against Brexit’ tour, run by Another Europe is Possible, has drawn hundreds of local activists to meetings in Manchester, London, Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham with speakers including Ann Pettifor, Catherine West, Manuel Cortes, Zoe Williams, Billy Hayes and Marina Prentoulis. It will continue in late August and September with events in Glasgow, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Cambridge, Northampton, Newcastle, Norwich, Cardiff, Cornwall, Plymouth and Oxford.

The conference motion argues that “the Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland and the future of the NHS.” It continues: “Tory Brexit will mean a future of dodgy trade deals and American-style deregulation, and undermine our rights and freedoms. This binds the hands of future Labour governments, making it much harder for us to deliver on our promises.”

If passed, it would commit Labour to voting down Theresa May’s deal in October, and then calling for a general election, with a commitment in its manifesto to holding a People’s Vote. If a general election could not be achieved, Labour would campaign for a People’s Vote as a means of bringing down the Tory government.  The motion also argues for “taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing the anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.”

The push for motions at Labour conference comes alongside a major shift inside Momentum, the grassroots group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn in 2015.  A petition, started by Tower Hamlets Momentum activists Alena Ivanova, has ostensibly now obtained the 4000 signatures it requires to trigger a vote of Momentum members on backing a strategy to stop Tory Brexit.

BREXIT BROMIDE

While a Brexit bonus is a lie Peter Kenyon checks out progress and sees opportunity at this year’s Labour Annual Conference.

Feeding the groundswell of discontent with the Tories – and it must be the Conservative Party as a whole that is targeted – should be the leitmotif of Parliamentary Labour Party activity until a Brexit deal is delivered, whether dead or alive. Voters need reminding repeatedly – there is no Tory Brexit bonus – it was a lie. There are no alternative trade deals under the Tories – it was a lie. National sovereignty will be surrendered with a Tory Brexit, and so on.

This will not be achievable in current circumstances. Too many of Labour ‘s elected representatives in Parliament are Brexit bromide dependents. For Labour’s electoral ratings to enjoy another major uptick, Labour MPs in so-called Leave constituencies need to be working over the summer wising their voters up to the realities of the Tory mess – surrendering our right to have a say, continuing to pay into the Brussels budget, accepting European Court of Justice rulings. We should be relaunching that old rallying cry from across the pond – no taxation without representation – to justify the Remain option, when the time is right.

Constituency Labour Parties have an opportunity to table so-called contemporary resolutions to Party conference.

Chartist editor Mike Davis has tabled one for his local party:

Labour & Brexit –

Conference notes:

*British households are £900 worse off following the vote to leave the EU;

*the economy is now 2% smaller than forecast before the referendum;

*a rise in racist attacks and abuse since the referendum;

*an almost 20% devaluation of the Pound in relation to the Dollar and Euro;

*a relocation of many businesses to European states;

*the threat to the peace process and Good Friday Agreement with the introduction of a hard border in Ireland;

*the HMRC estimate of a cost of over £20b to leaving the EU in addition to the £39b settlement:

*Trump’s election and declaration of a protectionist trade war:

This BLP/Conference further believes the Tories will either exit with no deal or manage a bad deal that will not protect jobs or workplace rights or safeguards for environmental and human rights including full citizenship rights for EU citizens in Britain.

This branch/BLP/Conference resolves to:

Call on the party in parliament to reject any deal which fails to sustain these current rights and conditions.

Support the proposal to negotiate for as long as it takes to secure these terms, through a transition period for continued membership of a Customs Union and single market.

Campaign in a general election for the option of retaining membership of a reformed EU.

To work with our European partners for:

– an end to EU austerity policies with

– a European recovery programme for jobs, rights, benefits and economic security that the British

and other European peoples deserve, after ten years of austerity, worsened employment, reduced pay and welfare deprivation.

The affiliated trade unions also have rights to table such resolutions. In the face of mounting evidence of the job losses in the UK arising from Brexit uncertainties, it would seem negligent in the extreme if they did not link staying in the EU Customs Union and possibly the Single Market to Labour’s ambitious and necessary anti-austerity programme for jobs and investment. What is certain is they will not seek to embarrass Labour’s leadership. Nor should rank and file members, but that is an idle wish. As long as Labour has dropped any pretense of negotiating a ‘Better Brexit’ or delivering a Brexit bonus, an open debate at Conference can only help seal the idea in the electorate’s mind that ‘Brexit means a Tory mess’.

The Left Against Brexit.

Time is running out. Theresa May’s Brexit deal will go to the vote in parliament in autumn.

The closer we get, the clearer it becomes that Tory Brexit is an attempt to deregulate our economy, sign our future over to dodgy trade deals and allow bosses to cash in. It is all-out attack on the rights, freedoms and prosperity of working class people and the communities that the left is supposed to represent. And it is built on an agenda of racist scapegoating.

We have been quiet for too long. The fight back starts now.

This summer, join us for a nationwide tour — with inspiring speakers, and an in depth discussion about how we can stop Brexit

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

Dispute about Jade Azim’s article ‘Cranks’ rocks British left.

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Image result for Labour Party cranks

 

Yesterday this set several felines amongst the peace-loving doves of the British left.

The Real Battle For Labour’s Soul? Lansmanites Vs Cranks

Momentum, as a national body, have been swift and effective. There was a delay in the decision to drop Willsman from their slate, but the line at the top has since been clear: we will not tolerate antisemitism or bigotry that has become the apparent priority of the ‘crank’ left. In doing so, the Momentum National Coordinating Group (NCG) has aligned with the ‘Lansmanites’ who rightly draw the line at the likes of Jackie Walker. But local parties and local Momentum groups have seen rebellion and dissent. This has manifested itself online in organised ‘Twitterstorms’, the replies of Momentum’s Twitter account, and most amusingly in the replies of loyalists such as former Jeremy Corbyn spokesman Matt Zarb-Cousin. These activists, now #JC9-branded, have made it known this is still a hill they want to die on. On the left, the split hasn’t only just emerged – but it’s become too difficult to ignore.

This is poor old Skwawky’s response:

At present the Azimites are winning:

But there is a backlash:

This attack on comrade Azim intensely annoys me, and I imagine many others:

 

By contrast, the tone, not just the content, of the Azim article is immediately attractive.

The existence of this crank tendency, is one of the reasons many of us on the left have played no part in Momentum.

Not that it defines Momentum.

Or Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters.

There are a number of recommended books for those who want a serious analysis of the Corbyn phenomenon:

The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power Paperback Alex Nunns (Second Edition 2018) 

Nunn’s lucid account focuses on the inner workings of the Corbyn candidacy, both as he won the leadership (twice) in the Labour Party, with a full command of the various Parliamentary, party and union players. There is an illuminating section on the (post-Referendum) 2017 electoral  campaign. The role of Momentum, as a positive force that works to reach outside the Party is underlined. The debate  on whether Momentum should be a support team for Corbyn  or extend to becoming a wider social movement is discussed. 

A Party with Socialists in It: A History of the Labour Left Simon Hannah (2018).

The definitive modern account of the Labour left, pre and post-Corbyn.

Democratic Socialism.

There are problems about Momentum. Its basis may be democratic socialism but supporting Corbyn is its principal focus. Not everybody thinks that left populism’, around a Leader, however important unity may be, is the way forward.

The way the Momentum national structure appears not to have a fully transparent democratic basis, critics says far worse, does not give strong legitimacy to a NGC run by ‘Landsmanites’. Which is not to ignore problems in the way other groups, from the Campaign for Labour Party democracy to the Labour Representation committee, operate internally or externally.

It may well be, signs indicate, that Momentum will run out of steam faced with the present controversies.

Regarding Azim’s main charge, it is true that a fringe of cranks exists in the Labour Party, in Momentum and amongst the ‘ultra-loyalists’ like poor old Skwawky

It would not take long to find the word used for some in the Lansman camp as well……

But one group of kenspeckle cranks  are conspicuous on the issue of  antisemitism, defending their right to shout their ‘anti-Zionism’ at the top of their voices.

This body, Labour Against the Witch Hunt is noted for its oddballs,  internal faction fights and purges.

It is  hard to beat Lansman’s Nemesis,  the Monster Raving Greenstein Party (expelled from Labour and a pillar of Labour Against the Witch-Hunt).

Here is his latest plea for help:

We need to turn the heat up on the BBC and all the other liars in the mainstream press.  When we can have the racist press, the Sun and Mail, being in the forefront of the campaign against ‘anti-Semitism’ we can be sure that the ‘problem’ in the Labour Party is utterly contrived.  That is why Corbyn has to be saved from his own stupidity. If he doesn’t start fighting back he is doomed.  And the person who bears most responsibility is the scab leader of Momentum, Jon Lansman, a Zionist for whom defence of Israel is more important than a socialist Labour Party.  Already there are reports of secret meetings of his MPs.  CORBYN’S CURTAIN CALL: Furious MPs vow to ‘COLLAPSE’ leadership at SECRET MEETINGS

We know who these MPs are and in the event Corbyn manages to win a working majority at the next election we can expect these scabs to refuse to support him as Prime Minister.

We have to deselect Labour’s Tory MPs now.  If their bluff isn’t called then they will, when the time is ripe, act as a Tory/Liberal 5th column.

We confidently predict that we will see some crankery from this quarter after today’s news: Exclusive: Jon Lansman lobbying Labour to adopt full IHRA with examples

Sources tell Jewish News that the Momentum founder believes the NEC must accept full anti-Semitism definition to rebuild trust with the Jewish community.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 9, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Backlash at Momentum Withdrawing Backing for Peter Willsman Exposes Deeper Left Rift.

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Image result for corbyn palestine

New forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, should replace unconditional support.

Momentum withdraws support for Corbyn ally Peter Willsman for ‘deeply insensitive’ remarks about Jews

Independent.

The present crisis in the Labour Party over anti-semitism is a mess with which most people would recoil from.

The underlying problem is not this or that charge: it is a fight over Jeremy Corbyn’s politics.

Although the majority of the left stands with the anti-austerity programme, and for democratic socialist measures  to replace neo-liberal politics – give or take some divisions about how to respond to Brexit – there is no consensus about the politics of the Middle East and, above all, on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Is this  the central question of the age? In most people’s minds it is not. We could begin with the civil war in Syria, where massacres continue after genocides.

But there is no getting away from it.

Jeremy Corbyn comes from an honourable tradition on the left which puts international solidarity at the forefront of left campaigning.

It is part of his marrow.

Jeremy Corbyn has put the Palestinian people’s rights at the centre of his work.

It is scandalous to accuse him of underhand behaviour when he has acted in the plain light of day.

Or that Corbyn is of the same mind as everybody he’s been found in the company of.

Nobody can doubt that this involves cooperating, or at least appearing on the same platform,, as people he disagrees with.

But not everybody on the left accepted, or does now accept, the idea that solidarity means not taking a critical distance from the leadership and activists of liberation movements.

A thoughtful piece this year on the New Socialist site begins with a premise that seems very much of a different time:  Antisemitism and Our Duties as Anti-Imperialists. (The Editors April 2018)

The claim that groups like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are liberation movements reflects a position of the 1960s and 1970s left on such struggles which has not worn well.

But in a wider sense what are the “duties” of “anti-imperialists”? Opposing colonialism, the occupation of whole swathes of the world by European powers, US intervention in Asian wars, ended by the 1970s.

The term ‘anti-imperialism’ was visibly coming apart after the the Khomeini  victory in Iran in 1979, which heralded a wider rise in diverse forms of political Islam – virulently opposed to the left. Yet these were, in Tehran,  ‘anti-imperialist’, as a whole section of the Iranian left claimed, before being executed or put in gaol.

Opposition to US-led intervention against Iraq, the Gulf War onwards, and in Afghanistan, had some meaning.

But it failed to inspire much support on the left for Baathism or the various Islamist groups that took power in Afghanistan

The idea of moral obligations to support positively anti-imperialist countries or movements opposing ‘imperialism’ has even less  meaning today when ‘anti-imperialism’ or ‘campism’ in the post-Soviet world has led some on the left to claim the mantle of ‘internationalism’ for support for a variety of repressive and reactionary states and movements opposed to the ‘West’.

Despite its obvious bankruptcy the influence of this stand can be seen at present far beyond the Middle East, with some continuing to back the blood-stained and  corrupt regime in Nicaragua on ‘anti-imperialist’ grounds.

The hollowness of this position is not hard to see. For those who wish to see them taken apart read Dan la Botz Nicaragua’s Popular Rebellion Stopped—For Now. (1)

Just as we would not tolerate unconditional support for Israel, above all in the form of the Israeli government, it is hard to see why why we should tolerate the – well-known – faults of the backward looking right-wing  Muslim Brotherhood ally Hamas.

This has its domestic translation.

In the present Labour Party row the issue keeps returning to the influence of anti-democratic, and prejudiced forces that style themselves ‘anti-Zionists’ operating in movements calling for  support for the Palestinians.

These range from those who have lost all sense of decency through their use of  ‘Nazi’ rhetoric against ‘Zionists’, Islamist and classic far-right anti-semites, to the probably more numerous, “conspiratorialist” individuals and groups.

But the Labour Party is not, as Labour Against the Witchunt and the its backers would like it to be, a playground where these individuals can engage in ‘debates’ on the template of the Letters Page in the Weekly Worker.

It is equally  true that the Labour Party is not going to be taught lessons about racialism from people like the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, who declared in June 2016,

Our freedom from the EU will make extremism less, not more, likely, as the pressure cooker is released.

Brexit: It’s a wonderful day for Britain – and its Jews

But we are not going to resolve our difficulties without a coming to terms with the need for forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, to replace the old unconditional support. for movements we think are ‘anti-imperialist’ or progressive.

In the deeper senses outlined above this is simultaneously a foreign policy issue and a domestic one, so that this analysis by Steve Bush in the New Statesman is right at both ends put together:

The issue at stake is that Corbyn himself regards the row as a foreign policy issue, confined to the question of how Labour members can talk about Israel, while his critics primarily see it as a domestic issue, confined to the need to reassure British Jews of Labour’s intentions and to take the sting out of the row, which risks derailing a summer of detailed policy interventions from the opposition.

Momentum dump Peter Willsman from their NEC slate – in direct defiance of Jeremy Corbyn’s office

The backlash at Momentum’s decision illustrates all these issues coming to the surface:

Momentum drops Pete Willsman – support the comrade!

 

And so it goes….

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Skwawkbox launches an organised wrecking operation against Momentum.

LOCAL MOMENTUM GROUPS COME OUT FOR WILLSMAN AND THE #JC9YES9

National Momentum – or rather the officer subset of Momentum’s ‘NCG’ (National Coordinating Group) – made the widely-condemned decision yesterday to withdraw support from left-slate member Peter Willsman in the vital National Executive Committee elections, over antisemitism claims that do not stand up to scrutiny.

The decision sparked a major online backlash, with large numbers announcing they had ended their membership.

But others are staying within the organisation yet still making clear that the NCG has not spoken for them.

****

(1) Notably,

Many of my generation, the generation of 1968, who supported the Nicaraguan revolution of 1979 (as I did), may have found these arguments appealing, reflecting as they did the situation forty years ago, but not only do they have little factual or logical merit, but they are based on a specious reasoning that denigrates ordinary people and idolizes strongmen. Such arguments are based upon three fundamental suppositions:

1) Nicaraguans and other Latin Americans cannot have legitimate grievances against the “Leftists” governments and would any case be incapable of creating their own movement, so they must be manipulated by some other force;

2) the United States masterminds and controls all political developments in Latin America from Argentina and Brazil to Venezuela and Nicaragua, and it is the real force behind any apparent popular opposition;

3) existing “anti-imperialist” governments (Russia, Syria, Nicaragua), whatever their character, must be supported against the world’s only imperialist nation, the United States.

These arguments can only appeal to those who have no understanding of the complexity of international political developments, of a world where, for example, people can organize themselves, a left can develop critical of a so-called leftist government, and the United States, powerful as it is, cannot always call the shots. That these authors provide shameful support for an authoritarian, capitalist government murdering hundreds and wounding thousands of its citizens is not surprising, given their support for Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia, Iran’s theocratic dictatorship, and Assad’s dictatorship in Syria. Zeese and Blumenthal represent what writer Rohini Hensman has called a neo-Stalinist current that came out of the left but now has little that is even vaguely leftists about it.[18]

Fortunately, the international democratic left has rallied in defense of the Nicaraguan people’s rebellion. Noam Chomsky spoke out against Ortega’s “authoritarian” government on Democracy Now.[19] Dozens of leftist intellectuals and political activists  principally from Europe and Latin America signed a statement strongly condemning the Ortega governments and containing these demands:

The unconditional release of all political prisoners; the transfer of information from the authorities to human rights organizations about the real situation of the persons declared missing; disarmament of the paramilitary army organized by Ortega and his government; an independent international investigation into the various forms and facets of repression, with appropriate sanctions; the constitution of a transitional government — with a limited mandate, — leading to free elections; and the end of the Ortega-Murillo government.[20]

After Peter Willsman Outburst on Jewish “Trump Fanatics” Left Figures Urge Him to Stand Down.

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Image result for peter willsman labour party

Pressure Grows on Willsman to Withdraw from NEC Race.

The day starts with this:

Bombshell tape shows Jeremy Corbyn ally blamed ‘Jewish Trump fanatics’ for inventing Labour antisemitism

The Jewish Chronicle continues,

The leaked audio begins with Mr Willsman ending a sentence saying: ”They can falsify social media very easily.”  It appears to be a suggestion that some of the antisemitism Labour members have posted online has been faked.

He then says: “And some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump – they are Trump fanatics and all the rest of it.”

Speaking in an increasingly agitated manner, Mr Willsman, who is secretary of the Campaign For Labour Democracy group that supported Ken Livingstone over his Zionism and Nazi remarks, adds: “So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up duff information without any evidence at all.

“So I think we should ask the 70 rabbis where is your evidence of severe and widespread antisemitism in this Party?’”

As he continues to speak, amid audible protests from some in the room, Mr Willsman adds: “Let me ask you, let me ask you a question, how many people in this room have seen antisemitism in the Labour Party?

“Put your hands up…  one, two – you’ve had antisemitism in the Labour Party? I’m amazed. I’ve certainly never seen it.”

Audio: Labour NEC member Peter Willsman’s rant about Jewish ‘Trump fanatics’

Comrade Rhea Wolfson had this reaction:

Phil sets the right tone:

Labour’s Incompetent Handling of Anti-Semitism

A recording of outgoing NEC and Momentum slate member, Pete Willsman ranting away about anti-semitism at the NEC earlier this month is, to put it euphemistically, not helpful. Saying “I’ve seen no evidence of anti-semitism” coming from someone who isn’t Jewish is like some bloke claiming sexism is a myth because he’s never experienced it. While not anti-semitic in and of itself, it’s crass, stupid, and in the context of what’s going on, unforgivable. As Luciana Berger notes in her quote, evidence of anti-semitism, as sporadic as in the party it is, was right there in the papers in front of him. The thing is when studied recklessness of this sort happens and continues to happen (I understand this isn’t the first time Pete has held forth on this topic in a similar manner), you’ve got to start asking serious questions. Whether Pete is guilty of being stupid or something worse doesn’t matter, he has shown himself unfit for the position he’s contesting, Momentum slate or no Momentum slate. For as long as he’s on the leading body and associated as a “key ally” of Corbyn, he’s a liability and will cause further damage down the line. I was glad when Ken Livingstone belatedly realised his pig headedness was harming the Corbyn project, and did the decent thing. I hope Pete has a similar epiphany too.

Already Labour List reports,

Corbynites who previously expressed support for the slate termed the #JC9, endorsed by Momentum, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) and others, have withdrawn their backing.

Leading Corbynite journalist Owen Jones said he would no longer be voting for Willsman, and Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar agreed that the NEC member should pull out from the race. Matt Zarb-Cousin, Jeremy Corbyn’s former spokesman, also spoke out and started using the hashtag #JC8.

Owen has updated his tweet:

This the recommendation we would follow and urge others to do so:

Some supporters of Ann Black, who was dropped from the full Corbynite slates and now stands as an independent candidate for Labour’s NEC, are urging members to vote for ‘Ann and the #JC8’. Ballots dropped on Thursday and voting closes on 30th August.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 31, 2018 at 10:45 am

Skwawkbox Gets in a Spot of Bother over Anti-Semitism.

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Image result for Labour anti-semitism jewish papers

Is this just ““concocted hysteria” ?

This Blog does not consider the row about the Labour Party’s definition of anti-semitism to be the only issue in international or British politics today.

When there are actual genocides and mass murders taking place in Syria, the latest being the incursion of Daesh into the Druze areas, the heat generated seems, to say the very least, disproportionate (Daesh leaves Syria Druze reeling from heaviest losses of war. 27.7.18)

One site, Skwawkbox, is doing all that it can to claim this, that, ” a significant part of the agenda in the presentation of this issue is indeed to divert or prevent criticism of Israel.”

And that this is a way to ‘get’ at Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

Whether this is true or not, Steven Walker, the chief of Skwawkbox, also claims – ludicrously in the light of the opinions publicly expressed all over the place on these issues – is that the Mainstream Media has presented the controversy  as if those of a Jewish background “all have the same view and the same voice.” (Skwawxbox. 27.7.18)

It would be equally ridiculous to assume that there is uniformity amongst the diverse critics of the Official Jewish Community Voices.

But is there a problem with anti-semitism – in the form of  extreme attacks on ‘Zionism’ and ‘the Jews’  in the UK which is reflected in the Labour party?

The following may give some indication that there is a problem.

The inflammatory – morally cretinous –  comment on this Tweet aside what of this?

 

Image may contain: text

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 29, 2018 at 11:25 am

Labour NEC Elections. Vote Ann Black!

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Image result for ann black Labour party

Ann Black: the Members’ Voice.

As the Labour Ballot papers arrive I am voting for Ann Black and am deciding who else to back.

Many of us are unhappy about being called to vote for a left slate for which we – that is the overwhelming majority of the left activists – have had no say in drawing up.

No doubt like other left-wingers I will put a cross by some from the JC9. But how they were ‘selected’ remains a mystery, well it’s not a mystery, but it had nothing to do with 99% of the voters.

In these conditions while it is clear that many of the JC9 candidates are fine people it is up to us to decide who to cast our ballot for-just as it was for those who decided on the list to decide who was on it and who was not

Loyalty to ‘Jeremy’ is not enough.

Clearly a left-wing European socialist is not going to support long-standing right-wingers – a list which includes admirers of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Some may have a soft spot for Eddie Izzard, who has made a point of standing up for the pro-European left.

But his other views are not particularity left-wing.

As I say, I make one choice already, independent of the JC9: Ann Black.

I have known Black since the Original Grassroots Alliance (and Labour Reform) in 1998.

Like many I would then, and now, not agree with her views on everything.

But Ann has made it her business to stand up for ordinary members.

She has continued this while many of us left the Party.

Ann Black is a great people’s tribune: she stood up to Blair acolytes, and is now smeared for not being at a different group of people’s beck and call.

These are some of her guiding themes:

When I joined the NEC Tony Blair was the leader, followed by Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and now Jeremy Corbyn. Throughout that time my personal politics continued firmly on the left. I voted against austerity, privatisation, selective education, war in Iraq, Trident, and for public services, fair taxation, decent pensions and social security benefits, restoring funds to local government, and large-scale social housing, sometimes in a minority of three or four, now, with the popular 2017 manifesto, in the party mainstream.

While I have my own views, I consult widely and listen to what you tell me. All of us, particularly those with public profiles, owe loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn as our democratically-elected leader. However our party is a broad church, and In these polarised times it’s particularly important that every member is heard with respect, not treated as the enemy within.

Exactly: she is an independent centre-left voice who listens to the grassroots.

This is her reply to one of the best known smears against her:

The veteran activist, who lost the support of Momentum last month, said that the grassroots group had falsely accused her of robbing 125,000 members of a vote in the leadership election of 2016.

She countered that in fact Corbyn himself was to blame, after he appeared before the TV cameras instead of backing an NEC move to enfranchise thousands of members in that year’s ballot.

..

The ruling NEC infuriated Corbyn supporters that year when it voted to impose a ‘freeze date’ of January for eligibility for the ballot.

But Black said that she had proposed amending the cut-off date to June but her plan failed because the vote was tied.  Corbyn and fellow MP Jon Trickett left the meeting to give TV interviews about winning an earlier vote to put the leader automatically on the ballot paper

“If Jeremy had stayed, many thousands of additional members would have been able to vote,” Black wrote. “I may have committed other crimes, but that is not one of them.”

Huffington Post. 20.2.2018.

I talked to her properly at the Chartist AGM a few weeks ago: she is 100% approachable.

She is great.

Whatever else: Vote Ann Black!

Here are some reasons why:

Why Non-Factional Members Are Supporting Ann Black For The NEC

You’d be forgiven for thinking the Labour Party can be divided simply into the two camps that tend to dominate our internal affairs discourse. For the current NEC elections, on the left, there’s Momentum with Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) and Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA), and towards the centre, Progress and Labour First. But there is a growing number of middle-of-the-road members paying their annual subs, socialists appreciative of the leftward shift catalysed by the consecutive elections of Jeremy Corbyn yet loyal to neither slate and looking for a broad, pluralist left. In this year’s NEC elections, this group is presented with a highly appealing option in Ann Black and Open Labour.

Formerly the NEC chair and head of the disputes panel, and currently the National Policy Forum chair, Black’s non-factional bid for re-election to the NEC has been launched without the support of either key slate. This marks a change, given that Black had previously stood on the left slate before being (falsely) accused of supporting the exclusion of new members in the 2016 leadership election, and subsequently being removed.

Instead, she now stands independently on a decisively proud record of commitment to socialist policies and party democratisation. She has the respect of individuals from all parts of the party, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. She spoke truth to power throughout the New Labour years, opposing privatisation, the Iraq War and the centralisation of power; she fought for the extension of one-member-one-vote elections to different parts of our party and secured increased funding for CLPs. When some opposed Corbyn’s automatic inclusion on the 2016 leadership election ballot, Black voted for his inclusion, giving members a say.

With the political backing of only Open Labour – an impressive group that, since renewing its strategic aims, is emerging as a directional and potentially influential section on the left of the party, calling for diverse, tolerant socialism – Black stands distinguished as a formidable, experienced candidate able to represent large swathes of our membership and to build a broad, radical left where the two main factions cannot do this alone.

Although Momentum and Progress can be applauded for offering cohesive and consistent choices to some members in line with their values, this duality inevitably means that complex issues are condensed and independent thought is limited to parameters set by those leading the factions.

And what about those members who I spoke about earlier, socialists who may not be factionally engaged? We are a democratic socialist party of over 500,000 members, and many of us don’t relate entirely to a faction. There are valid criticisms of the dominant left and centrist wings of the party – and this doesn’t amount to rejection of them completely, or their contributions.

Without outspoken, independent socialists like Ann Black on the NEC, a large section of our party risks being deprived of representation. There is a reason that turnout in our internal elections is consistently so low. Debate is restricted and voting options are few. Members are expected to pledge allegiance to one of two factions, which do not represent plurality and breadth of opinion.

This can change. An organised, diverse left in the Labour Party is emerging and this is why the activity of Open Labour and activists like Ann Black is so important. As we debate our future relationship with Europe and how to rebuild Britain after eight years of Tory destruction, we should realise that our future lies in the enfranchisement of as many activists as possible – not just those who are factionally engaged. I genuinely look forward to using one of my votes to re-elect Ann Black to our NEC.

Luke Hurst is Co-Chair of Leeds Labour Students.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 28, 2018 at 12:47 pm

The Independent Backs Referendum on Brexit Deal.

with 3 comments

Image result for Left anti-=Brexit tour

 

Britain in the EU is the best chance to constrain the power of big money and big business.

Amongst continuing chaos on the Brexit right and left this is worth flagging up: how some of the leading ideologues of Leave are now becoming disaster theorists.

In the Great Deception (643 pages long, long) Christopher Booker (who is also a climate change denier) and Richard North argued that that British membership in the EU is a “slow-motion coup d’etat” with an “agenda of subordination” to invasive centralised regulation that is economically harmful to the UK. “an entirely new form of government, one which was supra-national’ beyond the control of national governments, politicians or electorates” Everything else would become subordinate to this entity.

Those who have plodded through its weary pages, and bothered to retain more than the name of Jean Monnet (there are 3 other apocalyptic horsemen, Arthur Salter, Altero Spinelli and Paul-Henri Spaak), will probably remember only that the project the authors refer to was a United States of Europe. 

And that it was doomed, “…like the vision of Le Corbusier and a much grander scale, it would eventually leave a great devastation behind it: wasteland from which it would take many years for the peoples of Europe to emergence.”

The Great Deception, Can the European Union survive? Christopher Booker. Richard North. 2017 ‘Referendum’ Edition (First published 2005).

It seems, nevertheless, that now it’s the Brexit victory that can claim to have created a desert and called it their peaceful victory.

As both authors now say.

Theresa May’s Brexit proposal is so detached from reality that it can only end in disaster. CHRISTOPHER BOOKER (1)

It is this context which makes the Independent’s call today make sense.

The referendum gave sovereignty to the British people, so now they deserve a final say on the Brexit deal

Independent.

Morally, emotionally even, another referendum is needed to help bind up the wounds of the past two years

The Independent today launches a campaign to win for the British people the right to a final say on Brexit. Come what may in the months ahead, we maintain our commitment to our readers to retain balance and present many different points of view. But on this subject we believe a referendum on the final deal is right. We do so for three reasons.

First, amid the chaos of recent months, one thing has become increasingly clear: Theresa May’s approach – and indeed the chaos in parliament – is not working. We are simply not close enough to resolving so many big issues about which people care so much. The enormity of the task, the contradictions in both major parties and the ferocious divisions in their ranks have now stretched our parliament to its limits, to the point where the impasse leads us ever closer to an “accidental” Brexit, as foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt most recently acknowledged, without a deal.

Second, sovereignty rests with the people – the people should have the opportunity to finish what they began, to pause and consider whether they still want to go ahead with the Brexit course we’re on, just as they would any other major decision in their lives.

Third, while there are questions about the validity of another referendum – shouldn’t the original outcome be delivered? – we clearly know more now than we did in 2016, amid such deeply flawed campaigns on both sides. Ignoring these shortcomings and ploughing on regardless is a far bigger problem for democracy. Faced with the current turmoil in our politics, and with dangers ahead coming into focus, it is surely undemocratic to deny people a chance to express their opinion afresh.

The Independent also publishes this important commentary on Corbyn’s Labour Brexit speech by Nick Dearden, director of UK campaigning organisation Global Justice Now.

It makes many of the points those backing The Left Against Brexit would make, but is too sanguine about the lingering influence amongst the Labour leadership of the view that Parliament, embodying Popular Sovereignty, can effectively work socialist wonders free from the kind of pooled sovereignty the EU works with. Those Corbyn listens to include influential voices from the ‘British Road to Socialism’ tradition which believes not only that, but that the EU is a particularly hard form of what used to be known (pre-Trump) as “neo-liberalism”.

Corbyn was brave enough to tackle the reasons why people voted for Brexit – and now he’s being savaged for it.

Nick Dearden

The real criticism you might make of Corbyn’s speech is that it’s not radical enough. After all, much of this analysis is common sense in many parts of Northern Europe where “industrial strategy” and “economic intervention” have not been dirty words for the past four decades. But Corbyn pushes the envelope, for instance insisting that those businesses who benefit from government intervention must be held to account for their levels of pay equality, for their climate impacts, for what happens in their supply chain.

This couldn’t be further from Donald Trump’s vision of the world. In fact, Corbyn explicitly eschews Trump’s protectionist trade wars. But, as economist Dani Rodrik consistently argues, if you want low tariffs and an open economy without high levels of inequality and poverty, you must have strong regulation on big business, coupled with high levels of investment and welfare. The alternative is a free-for-all for big money.

That’s what we’ve lived through in Britain – a “market knows best” approach in which all that mattered was slashing regulation and liberalising the economy. That’s what drove Brexit, and indeed it’s what is driving far-right votes in the US and elsewhere. Sadly, it’s not being listened to by the government because the hard Brexit being successfully pushed by Liam Fox and Jacob Rees-Mogg would turbocharge this model.

I want the EU to survive because I believe it can fulfil the dream of some of its founders to promote peace and equality. I want Britain in the EU because I believe it’s the best chance to constrain the power of big money and big business, to fight climate change, and to offer an alternative to the rise of Trumpism. That’s why I’m speaking at the Left Against Brexit tour in Liverpool tonight.

But it is a fantasy to think the EU can do any of this without serious top-to-bottom transformation. The EU has embraced far too much of the “market knows best” philosophy – often pushed by the British government. As a result it is coming apart at the seams, and before too long, Brexit will be the least of Brussel’s worries.

That’s why the policy direction Corbyn announced yesterday should not be seen as an attack on the EU. Rather it gives much-needed direction for the union as a whole. Only a Europe which embraces some of the changes set out by Corbyn yesterday has a hope of surviving. There is no going back to the day before the EU referendum— we either embrace fundamental economic reform, or we lose to the false promises of the growing far right.

John Rogan  signals this useful thread on the issues the speech dealt with.