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Posts Tagged ‘Morning Star

Left Media Review, Labour, Brexit, Tories and the aftermath of the Peterborough By-Election.

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front page of the guardian

Brexit Can’t Be Wished Away by Calls for Labour ‘Unity’ around pro-Brexit Policy.

The Morning Star was one of the first off the block to respond to the Peterborough result.

Labour unity around their pro-Brexit policy was, their Editorial on Saturday asserted,  the only basis for electoral victory.

Tory disunity is Labour’s opportunity. But it must take it

Jeremy Corbyn’s determination that the party must stand for working-class unity and move beyond the referendum’s divisions stands vindicated.

….

… Labour’s chances of forming the next government rest on finding a principled basis for uniting the labour movement with and within the party that best represents its diversity.

The only credible basis for such unity lies in convincing a decisive majority of voters, most particularly Labour’s core constituency of skilled and lesser skilled workers, that Corbyn meant it when he said Labour would respect the referendum result.

A wide spectrum of opinion in the party understands this simple truth. It needs to become a decisive majority.

Socialist Appeal , which now poses as a leading voice on the Labour left,  told everybody who dissented to shut up:

Labour victory in Peterborough silences the cynics

The began with the spotlight on the ‘Blairites’ and the Jewish Labour Movement’s “plan”.

The plan was that Corbyn was to take the blame for allowing a hard-right, hard-Brexiteer MP to enter Westminster, having already overseen a tepid performance in the recent local elections and a poor one in the Euros.

Yet,

The Blairites, for their part, were more bitterly disappointed than anyone. Labour’s temerity to win in Peterborough represented a major setback for all their hard work to sabotage the party and finally get rid of Corbyn.

They went onto say this,

Brexit was supposed to be the ultimate expression of this cultural divide, with people culturally identifying with their stance on the EU to a far greater degree than any social class. The Euro elections were seen to confirm this, with the Brexit Party and strongly-remain Lib Dems gaining at the Tories’ and Labour’s expense.

Many on the left of the Labour Party (including so-called socialists like Owen Jones and Paul Mason) bought into this propaganda.

Despairing at the rise of the Brexit Party, which had apparently lulled the working class under the spell of racism and nationalism, these pessimists and sceptics concluded that Leave constituencies like Peterborough were a lost cause, and that Corbyn had to embrace a second referendum to at least hold onto his middle-class Remainers.

Who cares what the “middle class” think and vote, surely the sturdy working class would see the wool being pulled over their eyes.

As apparently they could

However, the 2017 general election and the Peterborough by-election both show that class-based demands can bridge the Brexit gulf. The by-election also proves that the European election results are not a good measure of Labour’s potential for success in a general election. The party’s vote share in the by-election was up 14 percent compared to the EU elections last month.

That is, when Labour came behind the Liberal Democrats…

This demonstrates that plenty of people who voted for other parties over Europe would return to Labour in a general election – as long as it runs on a bold, anti-austerity programme.

Apparently,

It has also vindicated Corbyn’s refusal to back a second referendum. It is very possible the result might have been different had the party gone down this route. Between this victory, Corbyn’s address at the Trump demo, and the newly launched tour of public rallies (‘Labour Roots’), there is the potential to take the initiative back to the grassroots.

After the Peterborough result, Corbyn challenged the Tories to “bring on” a general election. “We’re ready”, he said.

It is imperative this is accomplished as soon as possible, taking full advantage of the Tories’ internal crisis, and in order to avoid being bogged in the Brexit myre.

John Rees from the revolutionary socialist Counterfire is less sure.

He observes that, “concerns about a new coup” against Corbyn, “have persisted”

Writing yesterday the leader of a successful, several thousand strong march to demand a general election earlier this year he says,

 the issue of remaining in the European Union and of a second referendum which may prove even more consequential.

He has this stark warning against plotters,

the danger in this comes less from increasingly discredited figures like Tom Watson and those who support him in this argument such as former revolutionary socialist Paul Mason, who now calls for the sacking of Seamus Milne, Corbyn’s trusted head of communications and strategy.

It comes rather from members of the shadow cabinet who, although they were not part of the original Corbyn left, and although they share little of Corbyn’s radicalism, have been seen as loyal to Corbyn because they have observed the discipline of being Shadow Cabinet members.

Rees wants Labour to demand a People’s Brexit,

It would be better if Labour did not break faith with working-class Leave voters, and returned to the policy of a People’s Brexit, silently and stupidly retired before it had the chance to pull together both those who voted Remain but respected the referendum result and those who voted Leave.

How the left can take the initiative

A contrasting approach is taken by Socialist Resistance.

Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Emily Thornberry are correct on Brexit

The article, which is important and should be read in full, begins,

The Corbyn project is in crisis, writes Alan Davies. The EU elections results were a disaster for Labour, brought about by a major failure by the Corbyn leadership. It was an election that Labour could have won and within the terms of the policy agreed by conference last year, but this policy was repeatedly watered down by the front bench.

This is a crisis that is a direct threat to the most important development ever on the left in Britain in modern times; the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party, which has opened up a real prospect of a left anti-austerity government at a time when world politics is moving to the right. That prospect is still there but the Labour leadership’s stance on Brexit, the issue that defines politics in Britain at the present time, is going to have to change.

..

Had Labour placed itself at the head of the growing anti-Brexit movement the result could have been very different. Overall, the European election vote was pro-remain with pro-remain at 40.3%. and hard Brexit at 34.9%. The Brexit party result was no surprise. It is not a new party as Farage claims but UKIP mark 2. UKIP polled 28%in the last EU election and this transferred to Brexit with some additional votes mostly from the Tories.

Although Labour went on to win the Peterborough by-election – which was important in that it denied momentum to the Brexit Party at this point – it did so on a reduced vote and because the Brexit vote was split (equally according to John Curtice) between the Brexit party and the Tories and reflected the same underlying situation. The Labour candidate, Lisa Forbes, who beat the Brexit party by just 683 votes, argued that her campaign had been successful because it had ignored Brexit and concentrated on local issues. This is a seriously wrong analysis that has been widely accepted on the Labour left and in particular by Momentum.

Davis continues,

The danger with this fence sitting is that it is based on avoiding crucial issues. On the one hand, the further away we get from what was already an undemocratic referendum – in that EU citizens and under 18’s were denied a vote – and as material circumstances changed, the less legitimacy the 2016 result has. This has never been challenged by the Labour leadership. Even worse was the idea that it would be possible to leave the EU without reducing the living standards of the vast majority in the process, or that there could be a Brexit that protected jobs. Ironically those areas where the majority voted leave which may well suffer most if Brexit goes ahead.

There is another very important reason as well to have a second referendum, and actually the most important, that is because it has become a democratic right at this stage of the Brexit shambles to have another vote. A second vote is itself a democratic right as circumstances change. Democracy can’t be a once off event that must be imposed despite the consequences and impact on peoples’ lives. The government has failed to implement what was promised in the referendum and crashing out without a deal cannot be remotely seen as what people voted for then the natural process must be to go back to the voters.

In the Clarion Martin Thomas is equally direct on the Peterborough result.

Labour won essentially because the Tory vote held up better than in the 23 May Euro-elections. Enough Tory voters thought that they will soon have Boris Johnson or another hard-Brexiter as leader, and so no longer have to protest by voting Farage.

Labour still lost many votes to Lib-Dems and to abstention.

The easing of pressure to oust the 3 Ms, the Milne-Murray-Murphy group who run the Leader’s Office, is not good. Seamus Milne and Andrew Murray are longstanding Stalinists, and responsible for shaping Labour’s shameful evasions on Brexit and antisemitism.

Those evasions affront most members, and demoralise and lose members. They affront most Labour voters, and lose votes.

They have ruined Jeremy Corbyn’s personal standing with the broad electorate. The latest poll (YouGov, 5-6 June) had Theresa May, at 29%, scoring much better as “best prime minister” than Corbyn, at 17% – even after May had resigned!

To all appearances, Corbyn is demoralised.

Labour after Peterborough

There is another aspect to take up , the depth of the fight against National Populism, something which the internationalist left and this Blog, have had underlined.

Mike Phipps puts this clearly in Labour Hub

The Big Debate II: Alternative Perspectives on Brexit

In Europe and beyond, the rise of rightwing economic and political nationalism is producing a polarisation into two distinct camps. On the one hand, there are those that support rational, tolerant, liberal, humanitarian, internationalist values and on the other, those that support irrational, intolerant, illiberal, anti-humanitarian, nationalist values. We must be the most consistent part of the first camp.

Internationalism should guide our approach to Brexit too. If leaving the EU were right for Britain, it would presumably be right for all member states, and logically we should call for the destruction of the EU and all its institutions. In practice, few argue for this. Internationally, all other significant socialist currents want to Reform the EU, which implies Remaining.

..

It’s time for a change of strategy. We are not economic nationalists, but nor are we content with the neoliberal European order. Above all, Labour is more credible when it is clearly advocating what it believes in, putting forward real solutions to problems, rather than trying to tack between different interests within the movement. Let’s press the  reset button and commit to a distinctive socialist policy towards Europe – radically overhauling its institutions to make them work in the interests of the many, not the elites.

Comrade Mike may well be right in stating the following, but we have to do everything we can to promote the following stand,

In the unlikely event of a new referendum, we should seek to break out of the binary choice of Leave or Remain and focus on Reform, which obviously entails Remaining. But it separates us from the passive Remain camp of the Lib Dems and Change UK. Our message is radically different: the EU is not fit for purpose and must be radically restructured.

The polarisation of poltiics, the evidence of those who support “irrational, intolerant, illiberal, anti-humanitarian, nationalist values.” could be seen in the previous post on this Blog, from the identity politics of Spiked.

For all their bombast about ‘Blairites’ the Lexit left are remarkably complacent about their allies in the Brexit camp.

The intellectual centre of this camp is the Full Brexit.

Its “mission” is  “to reshape Britain for the better” – with Brexit. The “left’s proper role is to be the architect of a better, more democratic future and, second, that a clean break with the EU is needed to realise that potential”

This brings together  supporters of the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain and Counterfire (such as Feyzi Ismail),   Blue Labour ( Lord Maurice Glasman, ‘anti-cosmopolitan’ Paul Embery) , prominent New Left Review contributor, Wolfgang Streeck, the Somewhere versus Nowhere People David Goodhart, Edouard Husson (for a French right-wing for everybody, “. Une droite de la France pour tous),  Labour Leave, the self-identifying ‘left-wing’ national sovereigntist, Thomas Fazi, and Spiked supporters and other Brexit Party members and supporters.

It published this piece in the run up to the European Elections,

“A signatory of The Full Brexit’s founding statement explains his decision to stand for The Brexit Party. All of Britain’s major political parties are committed to a feeble Brexit in name only, or cancelling Brexit altogether. TBP is the only major force fighting to defend democracy by carrying through the referendum result, and deserves the support of everyone committed to a Full Brexit.”

As good as The Full Brexit has been at marking out the left-wing case for Brexit, it has not been able to give those ideas a clear organisational expression. There is no Full Brexit Party in a shape to challenge Tory and Labour Parties at the election.

I have joined with the Brexit Party to put myself forward as candidate in Yorkshire and the Humber. I am working with some great people, like Lucy Harris who organised the Leavers of Britain Group, and the libertarian Andrew Allison.

To say we disagree on many things is putting it mildly. But every one of the Brexit Party candidates is committed to Leaving the EU and to democracy. No other party with any prospect of a hearing is even standing on a Leave platform.

The Big Debate II: Alternative Perspectives on Brexit

 

This should focus people’s minds when thinking about why fighting Brexit is part of a wider battle against National Populism and our own Red-Brown Front.

Perhaps this is a good sign..

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Boycott Labour Morning Star Calls for Labour Purge to Back Brexit as Campaign Against Internationalists Grows.

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“Full Brexit now “. We need to expel saboteurs” Tom Flanagan  in Morning Star.

In an “opinion”  piece in  the organ of the Boycott Labour Communist Party of Britain, the Morning Star, Tom Flanagan  called today for a purge of the party to create a pro-Brexit organisation.

Clear them out: Labour must become the party of Brexit

Leave won the EU elections – to win a general election Labour must rid itself of Remain saboteurs, argues TOM FLANAGAN

The apathy amongst some of our members is caused by the softness of the Corbyn project on dealing with our enemies within the movement. The knives are already out once again, the olive branch hasn’t worked yet again.

We need to expel saboteurs.

Alastair Campbell’s departure is brilliant start — now we must clear out the other liberals so we can get on with building socialism.

He continues,

Full Brexit now. Socialist governments in London and Edinburgh tomorrow.

Tom Flanagan is press and communications officer for Scottish Young Labour.

Labour has no Scottish MEPs and barely any MPs in Scotland.

As far as I know Edinburgh and London are the homes of the loathed, “metropolitan elite”, or whatever that fucking gibberish means.

This article might seen best classed with the Workers Revolutionary Party call for a General Strike  to introduce a socialist Brexit.

And yet..

Let is ignore the eructations of Bastani and come to something serious:

This appears in the New Statesman today,

An attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s advisors is an attack on Jeremy Corbyn

“Unite the Union disagrees with Paul Mason on Labour’s Brexit position.

It’s hard to take issue with some of the points made by Howard Beckett  in this article.”

Mason’s famous piece indeed combines support for a strong Remain position with ill-thought out asides about the need to “fight personal insecurity, crime, drugs, antisocial behaviour and organised crime as enthusiastically as it fights racism”. The first words could have come from Marine Le Pen, the latter from some of the red-brown sovereigntists anxious to cover up their own working class identity politics.

No doubt the claim that “a strong national security policy is somehow “imperialist”. It needs to forget scrapping Trident”  is as irrelevant as it is annoyingly off beam.

Some will, perhaps those in well-paid labour movement jobs themselves, find the rudeness about Seumas Milne, director of strategy, and Karie Murphy, and poor old thin skinned Ian Lavery MP, the party chair, sympathise with their wounded, delicate, .souls.

But this is the core of Mason’s argument,

Corbyn’s mistake was not simply triangulation between the values of leave and remain voters. It was an attempt at triangulation between two wings of Corbynism: between the demands of an economic nationalist current from the old left, and the internationalist and progressive politics embedded in Labour’s new urban heartlands. I understand his loyalty to the former group, they stuck with him through every attack. But their politics are a throwback, and the voters rejected them last night.

Being seen to deliver Brexit loses votes from progressive voters and wins none back from more socially conservative ones. That’s exactly what a leaked internal poll by Hope Not Hate and the TSSA union told Corbyn back in February. It was ignored.

Corbynism is now in crisis: the only way forward is to oppose Brexit

 

Mason is right, empirically and politically right, to point that not adopting this stand, equivocating, beating around the bush,  for ever, is not the way to electoral success.

 

We need a Remain and Reform agenda.

 

Those of us on the Another Europe is Possible left want to achieve that goal, shared by the majority of Labour members, to prevail by debate and democratic party vote.

We do not need the assistant general secretary for politics and legal affairs at Unite the Union to say, of Mason,

Today is clearly a moment for flinching cowards and sneering traitors.

Come off it!

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 29, 2019 at 4:51 pm

The Last Gasps of the Pro-Brexit left.

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Lacks “a sense of humility and appreciation” for Farage that ‘Left-Wing’ Full Brexit says is needed. 

With the Brexit Crisis fueling unprecedented voting shifts in the European election campaign the Pro-Brexit left ‘Lexit’ as they like to call it, (nobody else does) often feels to get away from the tiresome drag of cloud cuckoo land and escape to somewhere less mundane.

Time indeed to ihgnore the haemorigging of Labour votes to anti-Brexit parties, starting with the Liberal Democrats.

It’s there that the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) has finally found an echo for its Boycott Labour Campaign.

We need a People’s Brexit and a general election that can return a left and Labour government, which can begin to rebuild Britain for the people, not the bankers.

Respect the vote – SUPPORT a ‘People’s Boycott’ on 23 May 2019.

From the self-identifying  “Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants“.

The Socialist Party, which is thoroughly enjoying its trip away from the harsh world,  says of the European Elections.

Unfortunately, however, at this stage Corbyn and the left Labour leadership are not conveying a clear message to working class voters. A central reason for this is their continued mistaken attempts to compromise with the pro-capitalist Blairite wing of Labour – whether that is the local Labour councils cutting public services, or the Blairite MPs fighting for Labour to be seen as the party which defends the EU bosses’ club.

No mention of the pro Brexit Bosses’ Club.

No mention of the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit campaign which has captured people’s imagination across the left.

On the talks with May they say,

… reports from the talks have focused overwhelmingly on the Blairite demand for a second referendum, inevitably giving the impression to many Leave voting workers that Labour is not fighting in the interests of working class people and is instead focused on ‘reversing Brexit’.

No mention of Remain voting workers or the Remain supporters in the Trade Unions.

No mention of how to vote in the European election.

No mention of the Labour voters going head over fist to the anti-Brexit parties, which some polls suggest have pushed the party into third place.

Or this, somewhat optimistic claim,

A clear and unambiguous pro-Remain position from Labour would give the party a resounding 27% lead over the Conservatives, an 8% lead over the Brexit Party and a 14% increase in their overall vote, new research has revealed.

New European.

But apparently.

Bosses fear revolt against capitalism

At least the People’s Brexit dreamers of Counterfire say,

Tory collapse is only half the story; Corbyn’s Labour needs to sharply recalibrate around anti-austerity and class politics, argues Lindsey German

Farage understands he can only win the level of support he has by channelling the huge amount of anger about the failure to carry out the decision of the referendum. To do so he is prepared to downplay his racism, and he has some cover from erstwhile lefts who now support the Brexit party, but we can be sure that a campaign where he and Johnson are in competition (and with a myriad of fascist and extreme right parties spewing their filth) will have racism and scapegoating at their centre.

……

The only tactical vote is for Labour, because they are the only people who can beat Farage, and the higher Labour’s vote the stronger its left leadership will be. The alternative is strong Lib Dems – which will help Watson and Starmer.

How might they ‘channel’ this anger?

By joining Counterfire’s voyage to a People’s Brexit….

Note, Comrade Keir Starmer’s first appearance as an enemy of the revolutionary socialist groupuscule Counterfire.

The Morning Star with one toe in the carnival of reaction that’s taking place, dismisses worries about the far-right across Europe and Farage’s likely real political impact in the EU.

As indicated in this valuable article:

The far right is no great shakes

The European Union is proving to be a less reliable instrument for resolving contradictions among its member states and competing elites than either centre right, liberal or social democratic opinion has hitherto hoped.

In addition, although these right-wing populists are something of a problem for the big business and finance circles that stand behind the likes of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron they lack the long-term cohesiveness or numbers to reshape the institutions of the EU.

Like those leftwingers who think the EU can be transformed by populating its structures, they too will find out that the real decision-making ever eludes the grasp of forces outside the charmed circle whether they come from the left or the right.

Oddly, or not so oddly given reports that some of the hard line Brexit Bolsheviks will do more than follow the Communist Party of Britain’s call not to vote Labour the editorial concludes,

The populist right – in or out of the EU – cannot meet the needs of working people. Almost uniquely our country has a Labour government in waiting that can.

The Full Brexit, supported by prominent members of the Communist Party of Britain, and ‘Blue Labour’ Family Faith and Flag patriots, not to mention Spiked ex-Revolutionary Communist Party, (and Green Larry O’Nutter, better known under his pen name of Larry O’Hara)  tweets  about this article:

Lee Jones is Reader in International Politics at Queen Mary University of London.

Note these words well,

It is deeply lamentable that this crucial channel for political expression is being supplied by a party led by Nigel Farage. However, the explanation for this lies not with Farage’s unique talents, or the supposed far-right proclivities of millions of British citizens, as many now claim. Farage is only able to claim leadership of a pro-democracy movement because the left has utterly failed to do so. Despite admitting the EU’s many faults and being unable to mount a positive case for it, the left bottled the referendum, clinging to a discredited neoliberal edifice. The opportunity subsequently to return to its foundational principle of democracy and lead Brexit in a progressive direction has been squandered. Most so-called leftists have merely doubled down on their ludicrous insistence that only racists and fascists can oppose the EU.

He continues,

TBP ought to be a left-wing party. By failing to reclaim the banner of democracy from the Eurosceptic right, the left has created the opportunity for Farage to return.

Despite its important short-term contribution, however, in the longer term, it is doubtful whether TBP can help resolve the problems of British political life. While the most obvious limitations stem from its leadership, the deeper problems lie in the populist form of political organisation itself.

Accordingly, whatever Nigel Farage may or may not be, TBP is simply not a “far-right” party. It has only one policy, to defend democracy and uphold the referendum result, and there is no reasonable way to define this policy as “far-right”.

The academic opines that one should approach Farage’s start-up party,

…with a sense of humility and appreciation for the important role TBP is playing in the immediate crisis of British politics.

Jones concludes,

At present, TBP stands exclusively for the enactment of a democratic majority decision – no more, no less. To call this “far right” is hysterical, immoral, and deeply insulting to many millions of people.

The Brexit Party: Creature of the Void

At least the Socialist Workers Party says:

Vote Labour in the European elections – and increase the Tories’ crisis

Hold on…

The next few days matter. Labour could still launch a real fight that brings together the call for an anti-austerity and anti-racist Brexit with action over the NHS, housing, climate chaos and other urgent issues.

Back from the sidelines:

Morning Star Calls for Active Boycott of Labour Party (European Elections).

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Morning Star, Self-Styled Supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

“Our view is that a mass boycott and stay-away, similar to the tactic used in South Africa when the apartheid government forced local government structures on an unwilling population, will be a massive restatement of the democratic decision to Leave.”

With this provocative analogy, an insult to the brave people in South Africa fighting apartheid, underlining that the Morning Star intends to develop its already announced anti-Labour campaign, the article contains these points

A vote for any party at the European elections is a vote for the EU

The Communist Party’s political committee (PC), reviewing the message coming back from People’s Brexit meetings in cities as far afield as Cardiff, Bristol, Derby, Cambridge, Southend, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, London and Norwich and some workplace gatherings around the country, confirmed the party’s decision to boycott the European elections on April 24.

International secretary Professor John Foster said: “The ‘People’s Vote’ in the biggest poll in British history in June 2016 was to leave the European Union… this should be reinforced by a ‘People’s Boycott’ of the EU elections if they go ahead.

“Britain should have left the EU and its institutions by now, almost three years after the result — but this been prevented so far by a majority of MPs and the Tory Cabinet who want to keep us tied to EU single market and customs union rules if they can’t sabotage Brexit altogether.”

The party’s campaign for an active boycott is the start of something much bigger. We want the maximum pressure brought to bear on parliament to implement the majority vote from the referendum.

If a boycott — in effect a massive “stay-away” — does not sharpen minds, workers taking to the streets and non co-operation in other ways can follow. We need a People’s Brexit and a general election that can return a left and Labour government, which can begin to rebuild Britain for the people, not the bankers.

A boycott is designed to take support away from all parties….

While some of its close allies in The Full Brexit and former best friend George Galloway are backing Farage, it is good to see that the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain has not forgotten its classics.

“Firstly, it is not true that fascism is only the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie. Fascism is not only a military-technical category. Fascism is the bourgeoisie’s fighting organisation that relies on the active support of Social-Democracy.

Social-Democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism. There is no ground for assuming that the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie can achieve decisive successes in battles, or in governing the country, without the active support of Social-Democracy. There is just as little ground for thinking that Social-Democracy can achieve decisive successes in battles, or in governing the country, without the active support of the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie. These organisations do not negate, but supplement each other. They are not antipodes, they are twins.

Fascism is an informal political bloc of these two chief organisations; a bloc, which arose in the circumstances of the post-war crisis of imperialism, and which is intended for combating the proletarian revolution. The bourgeoisie cannot retain power without such a bloc. It would therefore be a mistake to think that “pacifism” signifies the liquidation of fascism. In the present situation, “pacifism” is the strengthening of fascism with its moderate, Social-Democratic wing pushed into the forefront.”

J. V. STALIN, from , “Concerning the International Situation,” 1924″.

You can access further material in support of Brexit from the CPB here:

Use these resources to campaign against participation in the sham EU elections on the 23rd of May and explain to everyone you know why it’s essential to support Brexit.

Experienced comrades predict that the CPB’s tactic, apart from putting pressure on Labour to do a “Ramsay McDonald” and collaborate with the Tories to introduce Brexit, will enable the micro-party and its organ to claim that any abstention was a vote for their ‘line’.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 5, 2019 at 10:31 am

The Dead End of Lexit (“Left” Brexit).

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Image result for Lexit left brexit

One for the Historically Minded Trainspotters.

Bob has written an excellent survey of the confusionist politics of the ‘left’ Brexit camp aka, Lexit, ‘People’s Brexit’,

Left nationalism and Brexit Bolshevism

I haven’t managed to keep up with the flood of sewage coming out of the nationalist left this past month. The cast of characters: a weird amalgam of Arron Banks-funded trade unionists (Paul Embery), Blue Labour’s Third Way centrists (Lord Maurice Glasman), old Etonian man of the people David Goodhart, the formerly Trotskyist libertarian contrarians of Spiked (Frank Furedi, Clare Fox, etc), media professors like Matt Goodwin, and old school tankie Stalinists at the Morning Star, young Stalinists shit-posting on social media, SWP splinter sects like Counterfire, and hipster leftists at Novara and in the machinery of Young Labour, and even a few ex-anarchists. None of these currents would be particularly significant alone,although some of them are increasingly called upon pundits on daytime TV sofas and Question Time debates. But the alignment of these different formations has become an increasingly toxic force on the left. This toxic force pulls the Labour Party away from internationalist, anti-racist and pro-migrant positions (e.g. promoting pro-Brexit positions and sacrificing our right to freedom of movement). And it is toxic in terms of the culture of our movements too, driving better people away from the left.

Another Europe is Possible published this at the end of last month,

BREXIT, FARCE, AND THE LEXIT LEFT

Neil Faulkner argues that Brexit is the British expression of the wave of nationalism, racism, and fascism sweeping the world – and Lexit is on the wrong side of history.

History repeats itself. First time, tragedy; second time, farce. It was an off-the-cuff remark by Marx, and it gets repeated too often. But how appropriate it seems as Britain’s small, shrinking, sectarian Left embraces Third Period Stalinism ever more completely.

..

The Lexit Left, on the other hand, is an alliance of 1970s fossils, unrepentant Stalinists, and former Trotskyists. It represents an abandonment of revolutionary internationalism and solidarity, a retreat into the fantasy-world of ‘socialism in one country’, and a capitulation to the nationalism of the Far Right.

The Morning Star keeps at it:

What would a ‘clean break’ with the EU mean for the economy? Alex Gordon.

Any Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated between the EU and Theresa May is by definition not going to be acceptable to socialists. The EU wishes to tie Britain into its single market and customs union, which embeds austerity, cuts and privatisation, super-exploitation of migrant workers (and wage depression), a Fortress Europe, racism and a growing far-right across Europe as a consequence.

A “clean break,” managed no-deal Brexit on WTO terms will allow a future Labour government to challenge these policies. Labour’s current policy to embrace “a customs union” with the EU would prevent implementation of its 2017 general election For Many Not The Few manifesto and could lose them the next general election.

As in this prospect:

But, fortunately,  this looks prospect has not won friends inside the Labour Party, today.]

Face the facts, Labour leftwingers: Lexit is dead

(Described as being on the soft left of the Labour Party, with the “Daily Mirror noting Smith’s politics “largely overlap when it comes to policy” with Corbyn’s.)

The key sections are these:

But the Lexiters had one argument that was never completely rebutted. There was a grey area in the law about whether EU competition laws and state aid rules would prevent us from renationalising the railways or subsidising other key industries. Even though most legal experts thought this was surmountable, it was a point that lingered in the public debate. Not any more. In supporting a customs union and a single market alignment, our party leadership is saying it would bind the UK to the very rules the Lexiters are against. And, if we’re outside the political structures of the EU, we will have very limited say in how those rules are made or how they will operate.

As George Peretz QC, co-chair of the UK State Aid Law Association, has said: “In a customs union, we are asking the EU to give up the weapon that WTO rules (countervailing measures) give it against UK subsidies. There were always going to have to be cast-iron state-aid rules in consequence.” The EU has already imposed a state-aid clause in the proposed withdrawal agreement for this very reason.

The truth is there can be no leftwing Brexit. It is an oxymoron. It’s irreconcilable with those values of freedom and equality that are at the heart of what we stand for. There is no freedom without an end to poverty, said Bevan; it is our job is to pursue equality and freedom, said Crosland. To them, a leftwing Brexit could never have been born; to me, Lexit is now dead.

….

Crucially, Jeremy is fighting for a significant extension of the Brexit deadline with the EU. This additional time is needed not only to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU but also to scrutinise any new deal and allow for a confirmatory referendum so that the people, as well as MPs, can have their say. Labour is finally making the right case for its values of equality, internationalism and freedom. Our party can remind the country the Brexit right doesn’t have to have its way. If we stay in the EU, we can work with other socialist parties to build a fairer and more democratic Europe.

Lexit is dead. Democracy is alive. Labour is waking up. Now the British people know the real facts about the costs of leaving, that many of the promises made for Brexit will be broken and that any deal will not give clarity – just a crisis that goes on and on – our voters deserve a new say.

The wind is turning.

The letter was organised by the Love Socialism Hate Brexit campaign.

The fight continues:

If a deal is passed, Brexit never ends. We must put a stop to it

Brexit threatens all of the progress we have made. The public rightly regards this episode as an exercise in politicians wrangling over a chaotic process and neglecting the real issues. Unless it offers a sharp alternative on Brexit, Labour will not be immune to that sentiment. Meanwhile, our national discourse is becoming increasingly poisonous. Racists the far right are on the rise, feeding off the idea that the 2016 EU referendum put them on the winning side of history.
The two MPs continue,

We have now joined with a host of other radical and socialist Labour MPs to form Love Socialism Hate Brexit. Together, we are campaigning for the socialist Labour government we all need. And we are taking a stand with Labour members, and with the communities we represent, to fight against the disaster that is Brexit. We, and other members of Love Socialism Hate Brexit, will write a column every Thursday for LabourList.

We want to turn this from a moment of stagnation and frustration into a moment of hope. By uniting, Labour can end the Brexit chaos, bring down the government, and rebuild and transform Britain. We can live up to our role as an internationalist party, leading the left in Europe to fight climate chaos, bring forward a compassionate refugee policy, and combat and regulate capital. We need to remain and transform the EU.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2019 at 10:36 am

Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star) Denounces “Saboteur” Labour MPs and Calls for Hard Brexit, “on World Trade Organisation terms .”

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Be Vigilant! Communists Warn of Labour MPs’ “sabotage” against Brexit on April the 12th on World Trade Organisation terms.

Communists condemn ‘saboteur’ MPs and demand April 12 EU exit

3rd of April.

Monday evening’s votes in the House of Commons confirm that a substantial number of MPs remain determined to bind Britain as closely as possible to the EU and its rules and institutions if they cannot stop Brexit altogether.

These MPs show utter contempt for the EU referendum result – the biggest democratic vote in our history – and make a mockery of their past pledges to ‘honour’ the decision made by a clear majority of voters.

A majority of MPs have no genuine disagreement with the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement which ties Britain to the EU Single Market in most goods, keeps us permanently aligned with the EU Customs Union through the unnecessary Irish ‘backstop’, maintains EU Court of Justice sovereignty in large areas of economic and social policy and pledges to pay the EU at least £39bn in a bogus divorce settlement.

However, a substantial number of these are also holding out in the hope of locking Britain permanently into a customs union or overthrowing Brexit altogether in a second referendum that would exclude a real exit from the ballot paper.

Tragically, many of these would-be saboteurs are Labour MPs who put their loyalty to the EU above any loyalty to democracy, popular sovereignty and the Labour Party.

Many are opposed to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and have no concern that by painting Labour as an anti-Brexit party they are jeopardising the prospects of a left-led Labour government. Some openly support the possibility of an all-party ‘national government’.

The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on The priority now must be to allow Britain to exit the EU on April 12 on World Trade Organisation terms and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.and secure an early General Election and a Labour victory.

That government would then be free to carry out Labour’s left and progressive policies, which include aid for manufacturing industry and mutually beneficial trade agreements with European and developing countries.

What, some wreckers and saboteurs might dare to ask, is a Brexit on WTO terms?

Brexit: What is the ‘no deal’ WTO option?

One of the terms that keeps cropping up in the Brexit debate is “the WTO option”.

If the UK left the European Union without a deal, it would automatically fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

So what would that mean?

First, the basics. What is the WTO?

The WTO is the place where countries negotiate the rules of international trade – there are 164 members and, if they don’t have free trade agreements with each other, they trade under “WTO rules”.

Which are?

Every WTO member has a list of tariffs (taxes on imports of goods) and quotas (limits on the number of goods) that they apply to other countries. These are known as their WTO schedules.

The average EU tariff is pretty low (about 2.8% for non-agricultural products) – but, in some sectors, tariffs can be quite high.

Under WTO rules, after Brexit, cars would be taxed at 10% when they crossed the UK-EU border. And agricultural tariffs would be significantly higher, rising to an average of more than 35% for dairy products.

The government has set out its plans for tariffs in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Its temporary schedule would mean that 87% of imports by value will be tariff-free, compared with 80% before Brexit.

There will be some protection for companies producing cars in the UK, farmers producing meat and the UK ceramics industry. The government has attempted to balance the benefits of free trade in getting cheaper products for consumers, with protecting the livelihoods of some UK producers.

Some groups, which claim to be on the left, still cling to the idea of a “People’s Brexit”.

The Full-Brexit supporting Counterfire publishes today this;

Neoliberalism and Brexit: why Brexit is about more than just Brexit

“Brexit is about more than just Brexit” says Dragan Plavšić, “it’s about the wider crisis of neoliberalism and the long-diminishing authority and standing of the British state and ruling class.”

However, if Corbynism is indeed to be true to the discontented mood shift of which it is the most authentic expression, then it has to advocate a Brexit – a People’s Brexit – that provides a future Labour Government with the necessary freedom to undo the destructive and devastating effects of forty years of neoliberalism. A People’s Brexit is therefore the only real alternative to the neoliberals who wish to leave the EU or remain in it. A general election is feared by them all; the sooner we have one the better.

Most people will have forgotten what a ‘People’s Brexit’ was ever meant to be – and Plavšić does not enlighten us in this reheated rhetoric.

But Counterfire has published articles arguing that WTO rules are better than the EU’s,

“The WTO Red Herring

WTO anti-subsidy provisions are a completely different kettle of fish from EU state aid rules – being far narrower in their scope, far less stringent in their implementation and fundamentally different in how they operate.

The radical case against the single market is no myth February 2019. Reuben Bard-Rosenberg.

So the ‘left’ Brexit or People’s Brexit camp has adopted versions of the Tory ‘Hard Brexit’ position, with the UK negotiating free trade deals with other states through the World Trade Organisation.

There is the minor problem that not only does this prospect go against present Parliamentary votes,  Labour policy, and the views of nearly all but the fringe of the fringe of the Party, but that it runs up against this prospect:

UK cannot simply trade on WTO terms after no-deal Brexit, say experts

The UK will be unable to have frictionless, tariff-free trade under World Trade Organization rules for up to seven years in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to two leading European Union law specialists.

The ensuing chaos could double food prices and plunge Britain into a recession that could last up to 30 years, claim the lawyers who acted for Gina Miller in the historic case that forced the government to seek parliament’s approval to leave the EU.

It has been claimed that the UK could simply move to WTO terms if there is no deal with the EU. But Anneli Howard, a specialist in EU and competition law at Monckton Chambers and a member of the bar’s Brexit working group, believes this isn’t true.

Morning Star Promotes the “Red Gyms” of Merrie Olde England.

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No St George’s Cross on this banner.

The Red Gyms of England — a new front for anti-fascism

A new movement of socialist fight-sports clubs is smashing misconceptions that the left is a muddle of middle-class milquetoasts, writes JAMES CROSSLEY

English identity is a ready-made collective identity that can help develop a movement for the many not the few.”

James Crossley is Professor of Bible, Society and Politics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He writes mainly on religion and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first century and the historical Jesus in the first century.”

I have no idea of what kind of toast is milque but this indicates something:

The story of why this happened is well known. Attacks on trade unions by Conservative and New Labour governments, and New Labour’s obsession with middle-class swing voters, alienated working classes from socialist movements…

..

Enter a socialist culture from below.

..

161 are part of a countrywide re-emergence of “red gyms.” One of the most prominent is women-led Solstar Sports Association, based at the Refugee and Workers Cultural Association, a Turkish and Kurdish socialist community centre in Tottenham, North London. Solstar run boxing, martial arts and self-defence classes for adults and kids. It is based on socialist principles and is always run by three experienced female trainers, presently Ella Gilbert, Paula Lamont and Anna Zucchelli: they argue one of the simplest ways to fight sexism is to have women in charge, especially in what are traditionally male-gendered roles.

Like all their politics, this is a subtle, rather than headbanging approach — and the gym is free of the trite and self-congratulatory sloganeering of liberal feminism: the gym is women-led but decidedly open to all. (Including liberal feminists?)

….

Last month I went to a new gym run by the Cambridge Socialist Club (CSC). The design and socialist aesthetics of the club banner (pictured) might even rival the rightly praised posters produced by Manchester Momentum. Not only is CSC grounded in socialist values, it promotes its links to the trade unions—and if you are a GMB member then you’ll get to train for free.

CSC is based at East Barnwell Community Centre and located well away from the world of Cambridge academics and assorted intellectual posers. Like Solstar, the participants come from a range of abilities and backgrounds—including people from Romanian, Lebanese, Portuguese, and Turkish families.

But Crossley then says,

GMB rep Gordy Cullum was the inspiration behind starting this new red gym in 2018. After seeing a return of far-right violence on the streets in London last year, he decided to take his gloves back off the hook and start a club for the local community. I sparred with Gordy as he trained for his upcoming fight, when CSC met up with 0161 and Solstar for an interclub boxing card in Manchester.

….

I  spoke with Gordy about the role of the St George’s Cross on the club banner—something 0161 have also used unashamedly. Isn’t a national flag and its tainted history something that makes leftists and liberals queasy?

Gordy’s response was that the England flag should not be confused with the Union Jack—the flag of British imperialism. What’s more, his take on the flag is that it does not represent the Queen and all the associated pomp and ceremony. Nor is this the England of the far right, no matter how hard they try to hijack the flag as the far right try to hijack national flags everywhere else.

Instead, the English flag points to something else that has an obvious popular appeal, and this includes a shared, ongoing and ever-changing history. Underlying his point is something important: if socialism is alien to everyday interests of local communities, who do take the English flag seriously, then how can socialism expect to win? Indeed, is it even socialism if a movement remains dominated by academia and middle-class intellectuals uninterested or even opposed to the English flag?

English identity is a ready-made collective identity that can help develop a movement for the many not the few. To succeed, this needs to be a wider cultural socialism that doesn’t just tolerate an English heritage but makes it clear that this is English heritage.

Whatever the merits of the red gyms it does not seem appropriate to tack on these claims about “English identity” to the word red.

If England has no link to the history of imperialism, then, what is this?

“This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars … This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”.

The “popular appeal” of the St George’s Flag includes its use by the far-right English Defence League, UKIP, and other National Populists.

Saying that any one of these groups “hijacks” the banner is to claim that its rightful owner is somebody else.

Really?

The flag of the St George Cross, is a royal symbol used because St George was considered a “warrior saint” .

A moment’s thought tells you that this, a counterpart to the failed ‘left populist’ attempt by La France insoumise to appropriate the Tricolore, is riddled with problems.

Some people are not too fond of Saints, national symbols, nor, for that matter, boxing.

Taking the “the English flag seriously” as part of a socialist project…….you’re having a laugh.

Unless of course this is a further sign of the pro-Brexit Morning Star’s further descent into the identitarian Blue Labour politics of  Familyfaith and flag.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 2, 2019 at 11:54 am