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Posts Tagged ‘Labour Party

Britain’s New Lenin, Chris Williamson, Shocked by new Grayzone Revelations of “sinister plot” to “torpedo Jeremy Corbyn”.

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“Every cook has to learn how to govern the state”. Attributed Vladimir Lenin, Will the Bolsheviks Retain Government Power ? (1917) (1)

Britain’s Vanguard Leader has a busy schedule in the coming days.

Then there is this: Chris Williamson Former Labour MP for Derby North. Animal rights champion and creator of popular vegan croissants, is appearing at the Way Beyond the Fringe festival.

Programme includes:

You can’t say that! Racism, antisemitism, ID politics – are there limits to free speech? With Steve Walker, Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Esther Giles and Chris Williamson

What future for the left? – Debating the way forward. With Lesley Mahmood, Dave Nellist, Steve Walker, Chris Williamson, Ian Hodson, Jackie Walker and special guests

We shall look with interest at what Williamson has to say about his new discovery:

This all hinges on the Renew Party (no, I had not heard of it either, unlike, say the anti-Corbyn, pro-Remain Change UK). * Claiming to lead an Emmanuel Macron style political re-allignment it was founded in 2017 and disappeared without trace in 2019.

Yet not without unseen, and so far unacknowledged, hidden, or perhaps occult? effects on British politics. Or so the sleuths of Grayzone can now reveal. Kitty has the lowdown on how “Renew eventually played a decisive but hitherto unacknowledged role in Corbyn’s downfall.” The Grayzone gumshoes have unearthed that, “a closer look at the origins of the campaign for a second referendum reveals a far more sinister plot.”

calls for a second referendum did not originate from the British grassroots, but rather from the obscure Renew. As this investigation will reveal, Renew was established by operatives with deep, cohering ties to Britain’s military and intelligence establishment, including a long-standing psychological warfare specialist.

Strangely, Corbyn and his advisors failed to consider whether those leading the push for a second referendum were truly motivated by their adoration for Brussels bureaucrats, but instead a determination to scupper Labour’s electoral prospects. 

Corbyn’s commitment to a second Brexit referendum should be regarded as one of the gravest political missteps in recent British political history. Rather than provide a popular alternative to the Conservative government’s floundering Brexit negotiation process, Labour aligned itself with a nascent, fringe political movement borne of the very elite British voters sought to reject

And they may have engaged in this act of willful political suicide with a quiet but concerted nudge from the intelligence services which saw Corbyn’s ascent as an existential threat.

That’s us lot from Another Europe is Possible well sorted!

There is a theory about why Williamson is obsessed with the historic importance and influence of an obscure micro-party, but I just can’t remember for the moment what it is.

Well-established rumour has it that when he takes charge of the Socialist Labour Party Williamson intends to create a new movement in honour of his hero, the Kibbo Kit, a camping, hiking and handicraft youth group with ambitions to bring world peace.

More inside revelations from Grayzone:

*2019 general election Renew Candidates.

ConstituencyCandidateVotes%
Bromley and ChislehurstJyoti Dialani1190.3[52]
Edinburgh North and LeithHeather Astbury1380.2[53]
Hackney North and Stoke NewingtonHaseeb Ur-Rehman1510.3[54]
Sefton CentralCarla Burns1370.3[55]

(1) The quote is a summary of this, “We are not utopians. We know that an unskilled labourer or a cook cannot immediately get on with the job of state administration. In this we agree with the Cadets, with Breshkovskaya, and with Tsereteli. We differ, however, from these citizens in that we demand an immediate break with the prejudiced view that only the rich, or officials chosen from rich families, are capable of administering the state, of performing the ordinary, everyday work of administration. We demand that training in the work of state administration be conducted by class-conscious workers and soldiers and that this training be begun at once, i.e., that a beginning be made at once in training all the working people, all the poor, for this work.

Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power. 1917.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 25, 2022 at 12:24 pm

This is Only the Beginning. The Making of a New Left, From Anti-Austerity to the Fall of Corbyn. Michael Chessum. An Internationalist Review.

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This is Only the Beginning. The Making of a New Left, From Anti-Austerity to the Fall of Corbyn. Michael Chessum. Bloomsbury.

(This review appears in the latest issue of Chartist Magazine No 318. September/October 2022)

It’s only a Beginning, Let us Continue the Combat. The title of Michael Chessum’s account of “how the left came back to life in the 2010s” echoes a celebrated declaration of the French Mouvement du 22 mars in 1968.  This account of the rise of a new left in British politics, from a leading figure in the anti-Brexit Another Europe is Possible (AEIP), is not a Court History of the Corbyn Project. It offers a valuable picture of the movements and “politics from below”, with conflicts and controversies, that propelled the left to leadership of the Labour Party.

Chessum came of political age after the 2008 financial crash during the student movement of 2010. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition had announced big rises in tuition fees, the abolition of maintenance allowances for 16- to 19-year-olds in England, and cuts. There were campus occupations and demonstrations, and a tumultuous occupation of the Tories’ Milbank HQ. Anger mixed with left politics. General Assemblies used “consensus decision making”. Critics in the Occupy! Movements would call it the “tyranny of the individual”. They argued that this model stifles democratic disagreement.

Students were amongst the first to react to politics of austerity. David Cameron and Nick Clegg extended their measures across the public sector. The Coalition of Resistance held a founding conference in 2010. This brought together community anti-cuts groups, many not just “broad non-sectarian and action-orientated” but co-ordinated by the pre ‘new social movement’ local bodies of the TUC, Trades Councils. When these campaigns took off with the People’s Assembly Against Austerity in 2013, the small SWP breakaway Counterfire played a key role. Union support, from UNITE onwards, and backing from Labour councillors, gave the Assembly greater weight than loosely organised campaigns.

Were veterans of these social movements at the heart of the “Corbyn surge” of 2015? UNITE and other unions had encouraged anti-austerity activists to become “registered supporters” of the Labour Party. This boosted the numbers backing Jeremy Corbyn and many soon became full members. But the 59,5% victory came from the existing left, “keeping the flame alive” and, backing from a wider section of the party. A popular leader, plucked from the backbenches, who spoke at mass rallies across the country, offered the prospect of winning elections. Left social movements that supported Corbyn and campaigns like the People’s Assembly got involved. Many would say that this offered a better prospect for change than tents on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Aware of the hostility of the Parliamentary Party to this result, and recalling the weakness of previous lefts, Momentum launched as the grassroots wing of the Corbyn movement. Concern about the potential influence of left factions led founder Jon Lansman closing its structures to potential division. The machine and most MPs stayed hostile. The gulf that opened between the pro-Corbyn membership, and the apparatus led to “tub-thumping” loyalty, activists willing to defend the “leadership against its internal opponents at all costs.”  It “was all about Jeremy – expecting him to deliver everything that everybody wanted.” One could add that, unable to agree with this take, visible from the start, some on the left stayed away from Momentum.

This is Only the Beginning, speaks about Brexit. Momentum showed “relative apathy” during the 2016 Referendum, the Party leadership, despite formal commitment to Remain, and appearance at a few rallies, took “little interest in shaping a radical case against Brexit”. When Leave won it was an “inconvenience” to be worked around. Corbyn’s close advisers, Andrew Murray and Seamus Mine were pro-Leave. The left campaign for a People’s Vote, Another Europe is Possible (AEIP), which put forward a programme for a transformed EU, was a threat to the “iron discipline” of the Corbyn wing. The present book offers the insights of a AEIP activist intimately involved in the movement who attempted to bring its politics to bear on Labour policy. Successful motions on the issue to local parties and a left bloc on People’s Vote marches, met with hostility, including to Michael personally. At the 2019 Conference “speakers bellowed ‘back your leader’” The Leader decided on a “New Brexit deal” “a “credible Leave option” or Remain” to be put to popular vote.

The Brexit policy fudge neither appealed to the sovereigntist pro-Brexit wing, nor the internationalists of Another Europe, and failed to convince the voters. Michael Chessum argues that  Labour’s politics of bureaucracy and triangulation had won out over promises to democratise the party. The opposite of the social movement politics he engaged with this  stifling politics of top-down decision-making has grown worse under Keir Starmer,

It’s only a Beginning, concludes, that Labour needs to split, and to find a new way of doing politics. He floats the idea that this requires the end to the First Past the Post Electoral system. Does this mean yet another New left party? That reminds us that the radical left in France also had high hopes after the May events.

Andrew Coates.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 23, 2022 at 3:44 pm

Skwawkbox Falls Out with UNITE the Union.

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We had lost track of Skwawkbox. We assumed he would still be informing his readers of the doings of dreadful Dempsey, or amongst things useful to mankind, to acquaint them therewith, of his coming appearance at the Way Beyond the Fringe event outside the Labour Party Conference. Or calling the Labour Party a heap of vice and absurdity. Perhaps discoursing on His Majesty’s right and title, and the Protestant succession to those dominions.

Yet, keeping up on intelligence from the town (‘S.C‘), we learn that a new turn has befallen the Busy Body who pens the journal of reference for all things radical and trade unions.

There is nothing that can give a man of any consideration greater pain, than to see order and distinction laid aside: Skwawkbox has tussled with his quondam ally, and benefactor, UNITE the Union. *

The smart fellow refuses to let us see his electronic chirrups – “You’re blocked” – but perseverance reveals the cause of the quarrel.

A case, an Ogle, a Brendan Ogle….

Unite threatens legal action against Skwawkbox for reporting abuse allegations.

A Unite spokesperson said: “Over recent months Skwawkbox has made a series of false allegations against Unite, for reasons they are well aware of. Accordingly, Unite has now started legal action to deal with this. Skwawkbox has faced legal proceedings previously for similar unfounded allegations.”

Steve Walker continues,

Skwawkbox’s output regarding Unite ‘over recent months’ primarily consists of articles supporting Unite members against bad employers, or against betrayals by the Labour party’s right-wing leadership. In the last month, the site has had to cover a number of items concerning either Sharon Graham personally – an analysis of critical comments by Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), which had backed Ms Graham in the Unite general secretary election, and reports that she had banned Unite representatives from supporting or quoting the ‘Enough is Enough‘ campaign – or the behaviour of Unite’s senior management in general.

Well-wishers are flocking to Skwawkbox’s defence:

One looks with keen expectation to Walker’s coming appearances at the Playhouse, “You can’t say that! Racism, antisemitism, ID politics – are there limits to free speech? What is free speech: Should certain issues be ‘off-limits’ for the left? Is free speech an absolute right or are there limits for racists, homophobes etc? Is no-platforming a good way to deal with prejudice and mistaken ideas? Should we enforce ‘zero tolerance’ in working class organisations? With Steve Walker, Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein and Esther Giles. September the 27th. “What future for the left? – Debating the way forward. With Lesley Mahmood, Dave Nellist, Steve Walker (Skwawkbox), Chris Williamson, Ian Hodson, Jackie Walker and others” September the 28th.

There are those who wonder if Howard Beckett, a UNITE Assistant General Secretary, also starring at one of the spectacles at the drolly named Beyond the Fringe Festival, is holding (The summer of discontent – which strategy now for the trade unions?), will, turn up, in a personal capacity or otherwise.

* 2020.

Unite wastes more of its members’ money defending the indefensible.

Just before Christmas, former Labour MP Anna Turley won a libel case against Unite over a post on the notoriously unreliable Skwawkbox blog/website.

Turley – who lost her seat in Redcar, North Yorkshire, in the general election – was awarded £75,000 in damages by the High Court after she successfully sued the union and small businessman Stephen Walker, the owner of the Skwawkbox blog site. The site is also closely associated with Jeremy Corbyn’s chief of staff Karie Murphy, architect (together with Seumas Milne) of Labour’s disastrous 2019 election strategy, and close associate of Len McCluskey.

Turley claimed a 2017 article on Skwawkbox, which quoted a press statement from Unite, libelled her by suggesting that she had acted dishonestly when submitting an application to join the union.

Unite funded Skwawkbox‘s defence against Turley’s libel claim.

A former Labour MP who won a libel claim against a union and a blogger will get back more than £1m she paid out in legal fees. BBC. 2021.

Anna Turley, who lost her Redcar seat in December 2019, sued Unite and Stephen Walker over an article on his Skwawkbox blog published in 2017.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 16, 2022 at 10:57 am