Tendance Coatesy

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Grace Lee Boggs has passed away: remembering her links with Socialisme ou Barbarie.

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Grace Lee Boggs, Legendary Activist, Dies At 100.

Huffington Post.

Grace Lee Boggs, the child of Chinese immigrants who spent her life actively supporting causes ranging from civil rights and labor to the Black Power and feminist movements, has died. She was 100.

Boggs died Monday morning, a spokeswoman for the Detroit-based Boggs Center confirmed, saying she went “peacefully in her sleep at her home on Field Street in Detroit.”

“Grace died as she lived surrounded by books, politics, people and ideas,” Alice Jennings and Shea Howell, two of Boggs’ trustees, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama — who himself was a community organizer in Chicago in the ‘80s — said he and the first lady were “saddened” to hear of Boggs’ death.“Grace dedicated her life to serving and advocating for the rights of others — from her community activism in Detroit, to her leadership in the civil rights movement, to her ideas that challenged us all to lead meaningful lives,” Obama said in a statement.

Howell, who has known Boggs for more than 40 years and co-founded the Boggs Center, said the centenarian activist spent the entirety of her life pushing people to ask hard questions and challenge the status quo.

Howell pointed to an anecdote Boggs wrote in her 1998 autobiography, Living for Change. “When she was born above her father’s restaurant and cried, the workers in the restaurant said, ‘You should put her on the hillside. She’s just a girl — and she cries too much,’” Howell told The Huffington Post. “[Grace] said she knew from the beginning that the world needed to change.”

Facing significant barriers in the academic world in the 1940s, she took a job at low wages at the University of Chicago Philosophy Library. As a result of their activism on tenants’ rights, she joined the far left Workers Party, known for its Third Camp position regarding the Soviet Union which it saw as bureaucratic collectivist. At this point, she began the trajectory that she would follow for the rest of her life: a focus on struggles in the African-American community.[10]

She met C.L.R. James during a speaking engagement in Chicago and moved to New York. She met many activists and cultural figures such as Richard Wright and Katharine Dunham. She also translated into English many of the essays in Karl Marx‘s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 for the first time. She soon joined the Johnson-Forest tendency led by James, Raya Dunayevskaya and Lee. They focused more centrally on marginalized groups such as women, people of color and youth as well as breaking with the notion of the vanguard party. While originally operating as a tendency of the Workers Party, they briefly rejoined the Socialist Workers Party before leaving the Trotskyist left entirely. The Johnson-Forest tendency also characterized the USSR as State Capitalist. She wrote for the Johnson-Forest tendency under the party pseudonym Ria Stone. She married African American auto worker and political activist James Boggs in 1953 with whom she politically collaborated for decades and moved to Detroit in the same year. Detroit would be the focus of her activism for the rest of her life.

When C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya split in the mid-1950s into Correspondence Publishing Committee led by James and News and Letters led by Dunayevskaya, Grace and James supported Correspondence Publishing Committee that James tried to advise while in exile in Britain. In 1962 the Boggses broke with James and continued Correspondence Publishing Committee along with Lyman Paine andFreddy Paine, while James’ supporters, such as Martin Glaberman, continued on as a new if short-lived organization, Facing Reality. The ideas that formed the basis for the 1962 split can be seen as reflected in James’ book, The American Revolution: Pages from a Black Worker’s Notebook. Grace unsuccessfully attempted to convince Malcolm X to run for the United States Senate in 1964. In these years, Boggs wrote a number of books, including Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century with her husband and focused on community activism in Detroit where she became a widely known activist.


It was as part of the Johnson-Forest tendency that Grace Lee Boggs developed links with the French group Socialisme ou Barbarie (SouB) best known for the figures of Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort. Their critical views on the Soviet Union, which the French theorists  called bureaucratic capitalism, and the Americans some form of state capitalism, were in reality not too far apart when it came to the political conclusions they reached.  Both drew a line at any form of support, or ‘defence’, of the USSR.  Both were opposed to Orthodox Communist parties, which SouB tended to consider as arms of the Kremlin.

Their joint concern with power relations inside enterprises, the division between those giving Orders and those carrying them out, and rebellions – often outside, and opposed to, established trade unions – against this, were common themes.  Ties continued through the Correspondence group after its split with Raya Dunayevskaya  – SouB did not have a high opinion of  her exaggerated Hegelian Marxism.

The review that SouB published, Socialisme ou Barbarie,  included the both parts of the American Worker in its issues 1- 8 (1949 – 1951) – That is from   GUILLAUME, Ph.: L’ouvrier américain par Paul Romano 1:78 ROMANO, Paul: L’ouvrier américain (I) (traduit de l’américain) 1:78-89 = The American Worker  STONE, R.: La reconstruction de la société (II) 8:50-72 = The American Worker. )

The American Worker” was originally published in 1947 by the Johnson-Forest tendency. It was divided into two parts. The first part “Life in the Factory”, was written by Paul Romano, a young worker in one of General Motors’ car plants. It describes the everyday lives of the workers, their (often contradictory) attitudes towards the work, the company, unions, politics, and each other. Part 2 “The Reconstruction of Society” was written by Grace Lee Boggs (pen name Ria Stone).

The text had a significant influence on SouB – described in detail in  Looking for the Proletariat Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Problem of Worker Writing. (2014) Stephen Hastings King.

A theme was the direct recording of what workers experienced in their daily lives and in their confrontations with bureaucrats of all stripes, from bosses, managers, foremen, unions and political parties of the left.

As Floriana Ferro notes,

The fifth chapter of the book shows how the group, through the newspaper Tribune Ouvrière, tries to give a voice to the collective at the factory of Renault Billancourt, whose political context is clearly defined in the fourth chapter. Hastings-King points out similarities and differences with another worker newspaper, the Detroit-based Correspondence project. After that, the author writes about Tribune Ouvrière and the role that Socialisme ou Barbarie plays in the process of its production, printing, and distribution.

Castoriadis’ indefatigable English translator, David Ames Curtis has also observed that his phrase “reconstruction of society” was borrowed from Grace Lee Boggs. He continues,

Ria Stone (Grace Lee Boggs), “The Reconstruction of Society,” part two of Paul Romano and Ria Stone, The American Worker (Detroit: Bewick Editions, 1972; originally published as a pamphlet in 1947 by the Johnson-Forest Tendency of C. L. R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya—which later became the Correspondence group—the first part of this book was translated for the first eight issues of Socialisme ou Barbarie). Grace Lee Boggs seems to have had a considerable influence on Castoriadis’s positive attitude toward the burgeoning “woman question” in the early Sixties; some her ideas can also be seen to be expressed in the key 1962 internal Socialisme ou Barbarie documents known as “For a New Orientation” (Political and Social Writings, trans. and ed. David Ames Curtis, 3 vols. [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988, 1993], vol. 3, pp. 9-26.)

Here are some more connections: Facing reality – CLR James and Grace Lee Boggs.

Facing reality - CLR James and Grace Lee Boggs

François Dosse‘s, Castoriadis, une vie ( 2014) also discusses Grace Lee Boggs’ relations with Socialisme ou Barbarie.

She stayed for 6 months in Paris in 1948 for the 2nd World Congress of the 4th International – as a representative of the Johnson-Forest tendency, .

During that period she met Castoriadis. He credited her with “lifting him out of his European provincialism” and playing a decisive role in his intellectual development. (Pages 111 – 112)

Thanks to Shiraz for signaling this loss.

Living Marxism Journalist Celebrates ‘King of the Lads” David Cameron sticking his “bits in all sorts of places.”

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Brendan O’Neill does his bit for Oppressed Men Everywhere. 

Calm down, dears. Drunk young men put their bits in all sorts of places. Why? Because they’re drunk and young and men. It’s what they do. I remember a boozed-up night in which a friend of mine put his into the exhaust pipe of a car. On another occasion a friend slapped his schlong on to an electric fence. Much merriment ensued — for us, not him. Was it big and clever? Nope. But then, we weren’t big or clever people — we were young and dumb. It’s genuinely heartening to know the PM was once young and dumb too.

One assumes from this language that Brendan is referring to an alternative universe in which he was brought up in a US high-school and starred in Dumb and Dumber.

All are implying that Dave is a deviant, some strange super-toff, far, far removed from ordinary people who never misbehave.

Well, now they have a potential new hero in Dave, King of the Lads. If only he would fess up to his pig thing (if it’s true) and take ownership of it. In 2015, it often feels like the world is ruled by the unworldly, by over-spun politicians, a moralistic media class, and fun-allergic student bureaucrats. Pig-gate gives me hope — hope that behind Cameron’s too glossy veneer there might just lurk a real man. Maybe even a bloke.

, “He began his career at Spiked’s predecessor, Living Marxism, the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party.”

The Spectator. 


Written by Andrew Coates

September 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Clause Four Moment”.

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Worth Reading Again. 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when socialist ideas appear to have a real possibility of gaining political influence in the United Kingdom the anti-left and anti-socialist liberal media is never in want of a response.”

Tales about Trotksyist, Green, Tory and Communist entryists joining or becoming sympathisers of the Labour Party have run, and run and run.

Most people will wonder what reaction those who, in their tens of thousands, have become members of the Labour Party, or signed up , will have.

No doubt they will not all welcome being the object of suspicion.

Or, those, who, like myself, have helped Labour out in a small way for several years during local elections, enjoy thinking that they may be the subject of an intensive investigation into our political affiliations.

But this is nothing to what is about to come with the latest news about Corbyn’s support for a new look at  Clause Four.

We had a flavour of what’s in store yesterday.

* (who believes in charging people to enter public museums) in the Guardian (Labour centrists like me aren’t cynics: we’re the truly ethical wing of the left)  evoked his personal memories of actually existing socialism.

He mentioned, “soup swimming with sausage fat in the decaying hostel of the Komsomol..”.gruel ladelled out from huge tubs at Moscow airport and bought a drink at a shop where there were separate tills for each of the small range of commodities.”

The arts editor of the liberal paper observes, “I was seeing pure socialism – and everyone I met was exploding with joy to escape from it.”

A “serious and committed Marxist” in his student years, who tried to find “kulaks” in the English Civil War (why, one might possibly  ask?) sums up his critique of Corbyn, “I can’t help thinking today’s bold neo-Marxist concepts like “the 1%” and “austerity” are equally unmoored from real lives. Indeed Greece has already found out what anti-austerity means in practice.”

So that’s been told. Austerity is a “neo-Marxist concept”.

No prizes for guessing how Jones and his friends will react to today’s news.

Jeremy Corbyn to ‘bring back Clause IV’: Contender pledges to bury New Labour with commitment to public ownership of industry

“Corbyn reveals that he wants to reinstate Clause Four, the hugely symbolic commitment to socialism scrapped under Tony Blair 20 years ago, in its original wording or a similar phrase that weds the Labour Party to public ownership of industry.

“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring the Clause Four as it was originally written or it’s a different one, but I think we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.

“I’m    interested in the idea that we have a more inclusive, clearer set of objectives. I would want us to have a set of objectives which does include public ownership of some necessary things such as rail.”

Independent on Sunday. 

The original Clause Four was drafted by the Fabian Sidney Webb. It was adopted by the Labour Party in 1918.

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

The idea that public ownership should follow one pattern of government appointed boards with only indirect  Parliamentary control  – what is known as Morrisonian nationalisation – was far from anybody’s minds at the time.

In 1920  Sidney Webb , Beatrice Potter Webb  published the Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain which outlined a society in which two chambers, of producers, consumers democracy, in an overarching political elected system.

There were other ideas, including G.H.Cole’s workers’ control plans in  Self-Government in Industry (1917, revised 1920).

Since that time, and since 1945, there have been a variety of socialist proposals for public ownership.

The last with any serious impact were elaborated in the 1970s:   Britain: The 1970s and the movement for workers’ control. Andrew Coates  (Links Magazine).

The failures of the free market make these ideas relevant again.

As you can read about in left journals, like Labour Briefing, a magazine Jeremy Corbyn has been associated with for several decades and the Labour Representation Committee.

Eastern Daily Press. Outside Corbyn Meeting Norwich.

Jeremy Corbyn is right: we need to look at these ideas and not fall back on the market, or rather the organised profiting from state subsidies for privately contracted out ‘public services’ and the profiteering of the utilities and railway companies.

This, in effect, what is being proposed, not a reinstatement of the old Clause.

As the Corbyn Campaign says (Mirror),

“He says we need some forms of discussion about public ownership objectives for the 21st century and in some cases, such as rail, on which matter Labour needs to reflect more closely the views of the majority of the public.”

That this will be a fight is obvious from another headline in the paper’s this morning,

Labour’s biggest individual donors have pledged to stop giving money if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader in a move that could leave the party almost entirely dependent on trade union funding.

Five senior donors have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn’s victory would be “disastrous” and could lead to Labour being locked out of power for decades.

Millions of pounds of funding from businessmen may be withheld if the Mr Corbyn, the hard-Left candidate and apparent front-runner, wins the contest on September 12.

It is the first time the party’s biggest financial backers have spoken out about Mr Corbyn, with only John Mills, the party’s top individual donor, having voiced concerns until now.

The revelation has triggered fears that Labour’s attempts to rebuild links with industry would be undermined and its dependence on union funding heightened under Mr Corbyn.


I also think that a new Clause Four backing public ownership will have the effect of getting rid of the clinging faith that the SNP is left-wing. not to mention putting the cat amongst the pigeons of the Green Party.

* Jonathan Jones is a hot contender with Giles Fraser nominated by Shiraz for the “most annoying” semi-literate commentator in the mainstream UK media.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 9, 2015 at 11:08 am

Sebastian Budgen – Risée du Monde – Out to ‘Get’ the Charnel House.

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Sebastian Budgen: Family Grocers Does Excellent Tuck!

This story on Charnel House is the talk of the Left,

Stumbled across an amazing database of free Marxist PDFs, the posts of which seems to be password protected but whose files are nevertheless accessible.

See the site for details.

The post cites Budgen’s response to people who download for free:

“…before the internet people had to actually go to the photocopying shop. Now they don’t even have to do that and they are outraged when they can’t download the stuff for free. Fuckers – I hate them so much…

I make a distinction between the honest downloaders who do it discreetly and will spend money when they have it and the loud-mouthed freeloading scum who have no interest in or understanding of how to build a counterhegemonic apparatus.

I’m not just interested in people being customers but in recognising, to the extent that they are leftists, that they should be involved in building a counterhegemonic apparatus. The anarchoids and lazy leftists of today don’t get that so they act like the lowest petty bourgeois individualist swine.”

Sebastian Budgen, of Verso books and Historical Materialism, on download culture and downloaders, Oct 2012.

Sebastian Budgen Memorial Page.

There are many reasons to dislike Bugden’s politics as well:

We strongly suspect he has something to do with propagating the “anti-race mixing”  Indigènes de la République in the oddly named  Jacobin and the promotion of the sympathiser of this group – the militant wing of anti-colonial studiesChristine Delphy, by Verso.

Budgen has the “chic” for getting himself loathed.

We express our solidarity with comrade Ross Wolfe who has been the object of this attack by the Owl of the Verso Remove:

Maybe I’d feel a bit worse about linking to all these texts if Budgen weren’t such a whiny crybaby. Hard to sympathize with him, however, after he put out this ridiculous burn notice against me a couple months back, urging other leftists to erect a cordon sanitaire around me. Leftists should “shun” and “no platform” me, defriending anyone who posts or shares links to this blog. Kind of reminds me of a recent Clickhole article, “Uncompromising: This Tyrant Unfriends All Dissidents as an Example to the Rest,” which describes “[a] despotic maniac rules with an iron fist of callous indifference, unfriending anyone who dares go against something he posts.”

Childishness and grandiosity aside, though, this is a great list of books. Grab them while you can, but don’t despair if they’re removed before you get the chance. Someone will repost them eventually, probably sooner than later. Enjoy.

Update (LOL): Seems he’s now asking ppl to report anyone who so much as links to this post. *impotent buttrage intensifies*.

The poor puffer seems to have forgotten the gentlemanly etiquette of the Eton Wall Game.


As he would no doubt love to call for similar action against Coatesism and all of its works we can only say: arise ye starvlings from your slumbers and feast on Budgen’s hampers!

Open source Marxism: Free PDFs from Historical Materialism, Verso, and Jacobin.

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Andrew Coates:

Sebastian Budgen does do excellent Christmas Hampers. ” Sebastian Budgen — until recently a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party in Britain (prior to its 2013 rape scandal), commissioning editor of Historical Materialism, Verso Books, New Left Review, and now also Jacobin — take exception when similar demands are placed on books released by their own companies. Budgen of course claims that the printing presses he works for are not ordinary companies, but rather integral parts of a “counterhegemonic apparatus” that will someday challenge hegemonic capitalism.

The Association of Musical Marxists captured this hilarious sense of exceptionalism on their “Sebastian Budgen Memorial Download Page,” featuring one of his trademark outbursts against those who illegally download books……”

Originally posted on The Charnel-House:

Stumbled across an amazing database of free Marxist PDFs, the posts of which seems to be password protected but whose files are nevertheless accessible. (You can click any of the hundreds of links below to download them directly, since the post itself is locked). Even if these get taken down, as seemed to happen with the Fuck V£R$0 blog a few years ago, the cat is already out of the bag. As Novara Media pointed out following the Lawrence & Wishart copyright controversy in 2014, once published these things tend to obey the logic of the so-called “Streisand effect.” They explained that “[the] attempt to ban or censor something will tend to increase its prominence and breadth of dissemination. The instantly and near-infinitely replicable quality of digital information makes this easy.”

In their view, this is just one of “Seven Reasons ‘Radical’ Publishers are Getting OWNED by the Internet.”

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

Orthodox Trotskyism on the “Psuedo-Left” and Jeremy Corbyn

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Trotskyism vs. Revisionism Volume 7: The Fourth International and the Renegade Wohlforth

Standing Firm Against Pseudo-Left. 

While some of the left of Labour groups welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign, and indeed attempt to bathe in its glory, including even the so-called ‘hard’ Workers Power now practicing entryism in Channel Four’s Economic Department (Paul Mason), of there remain Trotskyists who have not forgotten the ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUCVWXYZ of the Transitional Programme.


Much of the pseudo-left have indeed rallied to Corbyn’s side. Far from being a “hard left” plot to destroy the party, however, their concern is to preserve Labour’s role as the main political opposition to socialism and revolution. The Communist Party of Great Britain has long maintained the fiction that Labour is a “workers’ party” to this end, while the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition was formed as an electoral bloc between sections of the trade union bureaucracy and the pseudo-left as a means of preventing a political rebellion against Labour.

This also accounts for the backing that Corbyn has won from Unite, Britain’s largest union, along with several other unions. The greatest fear of the trade union bureaucracy is that Labour’s too obvious adoption of Tory policies will open the way for the emergence of a new, socialist, workers’ party.

But rather than proving Labour’s continued relevance to workers and youth, Corbyn’s candidacy has instead laid bare just how sclerotic, moribund and right-wing the party is. Faced with the possibility that it may be required to adopt an oppositional pose, it has gone into meltdown.

Writes Julie Hyland  on the esteemed organ of the International Committee of the Fourth International, The World Socialist Web Site.

The British section of the ICFI, the Socialist Equality Party, stood 2 candidates in the 2015 General election:  Katie Rhodes in Glasgow Central and David O’Sullivan in Holborn and St. Pancras.

They resolutely criticised the left wing alliance that also presented candidates in the election, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, and the left group, Socialist Unity.

……Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Left Unity. Representing better-off layers of the upper-middle class, these pseudo-left tendencies see the crisis only as an opportunity to further their own careers and gain lucrative posts in the trade union bureaucracy and the state apparatus.

More here.

Katie Rhodes scored  58 votes (0.1%) and David O’Sullivan obtained 100 (0,2%).

Their rivals, TUSC, stood 135 General Election candidates and won 36,327 votes, or 0.1% of the popular vote.

Meanwhile…is this what the Times has become these days?

Oh our aching sides!

As ‘Coup’ Against Jeremy Corbyn Threatens the Hard Left Moblises its Troops.

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Weekly Worker Editorial Board Deciding Corbyn’s Strategy.

Senior Labour MPs are plotting to oust Jeremy Corbyn if he is elected party leader, amid growing fears that the leadership contest has been hijacked by far-Left infiltrators.

Shadow cabinet sources have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn would never be allowed to remain in the job long enough to fight the 2020 general election, if he is elected on September 12.

A coup could be launched within days of the result, which would plunge the party into even deeper crisis and division, but would be necessary to prevent an electoral “disaster” under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, senior figures said.

However, a growing number of Labour MPs believe Mr Corbyn’s campaign is being boosted by tens of thousands of radical Left-wing socialists who have paid £3 to sign up as an “affiliated supporter” in order to vote in the election.

There are reports that Unite, the country’s biggest trade union, which is backing Mr Corbyn, has been telephoning 1,000 people a day urging them to register with Labour and back their preferred candidate.

One shadow cabinet minister told The Telegraph a coup would be inevitable if Mr Corbyn is successful.

Reports the Telegraph.

On the 6th of May Seamus Milne announced:

The Tories are plotting a coup in the name of legitimacy.

Fleet-footed the People’s Assembly acted (7th of May):

Stop the ‘Tory Coup’.

Ipswich followed the lead.

Cde Milne swiftly replied:

We beat off that coup!

Our troops, after recruiting thousands of new Labour Party supporters,  are ready again!


Ipswich Workers’ Militia in Training.