Posts Tagged ‘Nationalism’
SWP Predicts End of Tories if Brexit Comes.
It’s probably hard to make a good speech when you’re uncomfortable with the message you’re communicating.
That’s why Jeremy Corbyn made such a dull and uninspiring presentation launching Labour’s pro-European Union (EU) campaign last week.
The SWP National Secretary has his own unique theory as to why Corbyn calls for a Remain Vote:
It turned out the way to make Corbyn back the EU was to elect him Labour leader. He compromised to keep at least some of the right vaguely on side.
The reappointment of Pat McFadden as shadow minister for Europe was seen as the first victory for Labour’s right under Corbyn’s leadership. The announcement that the party would campaign to stay in the EU followed.
McFadden eventually resigned, but was replaced with another strongly pro-EU figure.
Kimber accuses Corbyn of being pivotal in moblising the ‘Remain’ vote.
If Corbyn backed Leave, it is highly likely that the vote would be to break from the EU. Polls suggest that Corbyn is far more trusted on the issue than Tories on either side.
His support would banish completely the myth that only the right wants to exit. He would particularly appeal to young people who presently see the EU as a left wing project.
In place of any argument about workers’ rights, social Europe, or internationalism, or whatever the SWP used to dredge up as ‘principled’ reasons to stand for Little Britain, Kimber places this centre stage
Corbyn insists a Leave vote would boost the right. But with the political feeling in Britain at the moment it is more likely it would see Cameron’s resignation, turmoil in the Tory party, the loss of their parliamentary majority and an early election. This offers the hope of the end of the Tories before 2020, surely something to be grasped.
In other words, don’t vote just against Europe, but to get rid of the Tories….by replacing Cameron by a more right-wing anti-European Tory.
One can imagine the SWP National Committee…..
The comrades are respectfully silent.
Kimber is gazing into the dialectical crystal ball.
The Leave side has won!
The Organiser sees movement, a hideous Tory party, a gnashing of teeth, resignations, fights, disarray, messages of international support to Socialist Worker.
A new regime, perhaps of the hardest of hard rights.
Outrage, strikes, divisions: the regime falls.
Kimber continues his divination. An election, which will….. – here the prophecy grows dark: only the shifting shapes of masses of workers and protesters can be seen.
There’s a glimmer….
2,000, perhaps 200,000 thousand copies of Socialist Worker sold!
Lowestoft recruits ten new members!
The comrades smile: the Seer of Socialism has Seen!
In French this is known as la politique du pire: the worse the better.
After the exalted visions the SWP cannot resist a sharp, but more mundane, attack on Barack Obama.
Chief SWP theoretician Alex Callinicos finely analyses the speech of the Monarch of the global Empire,
Obama’s intervention stops anyone pretending any longer that they haven’t noticed where global capitalist interests are lining up. The Emperor himself has told them in words of one syllable that Brexit will harm his empire.
Meanwhile the Carnival of Reaction from the Leave camp continues:
NIGEL Farage has given his most rousing speech to date by declaring that a vote for Brexit will become Britain’s Independence Day.
Galloway Evokes Battle of Britain Spirit in London Mayor Bid.
This nationalistic posturing reminds me of what’s been happening in France.
While there are admirable protests about the projet de loi Travail (El Khomri) and the interesting Nuit Debout movement anti-Europe nationalism.
They call it “souverainisme“, demands for national sovereignty, migration, border controls, security, the constitution and cultural identity.
Most of those associated with this trend are clearly on the right, if not the extreme right.
But some on the French left have also been attracted by these themes.
This article from last year describes how some have passed over to the French nationalist right:
PARIS — When the newspaper Libération last month accused self-professed “left of the left” philosopher and best-selling author Michel Onfray of “doing the [far-right party] Front National’s bidding,” French intellectuals circled the wagons.
Onfray, who declined a request for comment for this article, went on to accuse France’s successive governments of “being contemptuous of the people” — what he calls, using the English term, “the ‘old school’ people”: French blue-collar workers, the unemployed, the poor, the pensioners. As for National Front leader Marine Le Pen, he said: “I don’t resent her as much as I resent those who made her possible.”
The first is the fate of France’s poor and working class – the “proletariat” Onfray says has been abandoned by the right and the left alike. In that vision, the governing left’s policies favor the globalized elite and the well-to-do, while catering to the needs of minorities (“the margins,” says Onfray) — such as immigrants, homosexuals and women.
The second theme is the visceral hostility towards Europe and the euro, seen as constraining economic and social policy and a fatal blow to the infamous “exception française,” a large and costly welfare state that’s supposed to shield the French from the turmoils of the global economy.
The drama is being played daily in the court of public opinion. Think of it as “the people vs. the euro.”
Onfray is well known for this vein of rhetoric.
They despised the common folk:
Les gens qui vont voter Non à la constitution européenne sont des crétins, des abrutis, des imbéciles, des incultes. Petit pouvoir d’achat, petit cerveau, petite pensée, petits sentiments. Pas de diplômes, pas de livres chez eux, pas de culture, pas d’intelligence. Ils habitent en campagne, en province. Des paysans, des pécores, des péquenots, des ploucs.
The people will will vote to the European Constitution are cretins, morons, imbeciles, uncultivated. They are hard up, small-brained, narrow mined and inward looking. They have no qualifications, no books at home, no culture, no brains. They live in the country, in the provinces. They are peasants, rustics, bumpkins, yokels.
Clearly Onfray hopes to repeat the result of the referendum on the European Constitution.
He however faces a nebulous target.
But British nouveaux réactionnaires have a unique opportunity: the UK Referendum on the European Union.
Brendan O’Neill takes up the Onfray challenge:
Railing against those “a Byzantine system of governance largely beyond the reach of Euro-plebs” the former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and writer for Living Marxism muses, for the anti-elitist Spectator magazine, on The strange death of left-wing Euroscepticism
The further removed the left becomes from everyday people, the more it views the public as an obese, probably racist blob to be re-educated rather than as political citizens to be engaged. The left’s turn from hating the EU to at least wanting to stick with it is directly proportionate to its loss of faith in the masses. Democracy is no longer seen as a tool of progressive change. Lefties now trust EU suits more than they do the loud, odd locals of their own towns.
This comment from Briançon’s article sums up the empty nature of this stand,
““Europe here serves as proxy for globalization,” said a government adviser, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of “adding fuel to the fire.” “I call it the defeatist wing of French intellectual life: There’s no chance we’ll be able to make it, so let’s retract and retreat.”
Will others, hostile to ‘capitalist’ EU but more specifically to the free movement of labour, a substantial group inside the so-called Lexit camp, follow their French counterparts and align, like Galloway, with the hard right?
Allied with UKIP for the European Referendum Galloway looks a trail-blazer.
They’re Jubilant: Few other People are. (1)
AFD (Alternative für Deutschland) RIDES HIGH reports Reuters.
With a high turnout in all the votes, the AfD, already represented in five of Germany’s 16 regional assemblies, succeeded in entering three more.
Its support was strongest in Saxony-Anhalt, where it grabbed 24.2 percent of the vote behind a diminished CDU showing, surpassing even the Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel’s coalition partner in Berlin, ZDF television projections indicated.
With campaign slogans such as “Secure the borders” and “Stop the asylum chaos”, it was the first time the AfD had come as high as second in any state.
“We have fundamental problems in Germany that led to this election result,” said AfD chief Frauke Petry.
The AfD’s rise, which has coincided with strong gains by other European anti-immigrant parties including the National Front in France, punctures the centrist consensus around which the mainstream parties have formed alliances in Germany, and may embolden more European leaders to challenge Merkel on the migrant issue.
The CDU’s leader in Saxony-Anhalt pointed the finger squarely at Merkel for his party’s losses.
“The issue that has brought the AfD into parliaments across Germany can’t be ignored on a federal level any more. We need solutions,” Reiner Haseloff told ARD television.
Charlotte Knobloch, former head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, bemoaned a “massive shift to the right”.
“If voters follow the call of right-wing populists and extremists to such an extent, it is a failure of the democratic parties,” she said.
In Baden-Wuerttemberg in the southwest, the Greens for the first time became the strongest party in a state, with 31.1 percent of the vote, ZDF television projections indicated.
The state was a CDU stronghold for more than 50 years before turning to a Green-led coalition with the SPD in 2011 after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, and CDU support fell by another 12 percentage points on Sunday.
Also damaging for the CDU was the result in Rhineland-Palatinate, the home of former chancellor Helmut Kohl.
There, the CDU’s Julia Kloeckner, who had positioned herself as a future candidate to succeed Merkel, failed to unseat SPD state premier Malu Dreyer.
It was the only bright spot for the SPD, the biggest loser overall. In Saxony-Anhalt, its support almost halved and in Baden-Wuerttemberg it sank by more than 10 percentage points.
Asked if the SPD’s weak showing in those two states would trigger questions about SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel’s future, deputy party chairman Ralf Stegner said: “No, not at all.”
It is still unclear which coalitions will take power in each state, but the splintered vote opens the prospect of deep changes to the political landscape.
Die Welt, presenting a detailed break-down of the vote, notes that the AfD support came above all from former CDU and SDP voters: (Woher die Stimmen für die AfD kamen)
The Süddeutsche Zeitung points out that, the AfD has one central theme: “Es gab ein Thema, das in diesem Wahlkampf, an diesem Wahlsonntag alle anderen überlagert hat: die Flüchtlinge. DieAfD ist gegen “Multikulti”, prangert das “Asylchaos” an, ist stattdessen für “Mut zu Deutschland”, für “kontrollierte Zuwanderung”. That is, refugees. The AFd is against multiculturalism (in their derogatory slang, with echoes of ‘cult’), singles out Asylum-seeker chaos, their “Pride in Germany” and demands for a “control of immigration.”
The paper lists its other appeals as a “protest party”, as a “social-media party” and a party of “donnernden Reden”, thundering speeches, which we would more freely translate as loud-mouthed demagogy, shouting “”Merkel muss weg”, Merkel must go!
Taz reports on the AFD’s jubilation-time, and its satisfaction that it is no longer an East Germany party facing with the “lying-media”:
Jubelzahlen aus der Lügenpresse
Auf der Wahlparty der Rechtspopulisten ist die Stimmung gut. Die AfD sei nicht mehr nur eine Ostpartei, freut sich deren Spitzenpersonal.
Taz also reports on the results in Baden–Württemberg
Daniel Cohn-Bendit über Kretschmann
„Es bleibt nur Schwarz-Grün“
Also bleibt nur Schwarz-Grün, die neue Große Koalition.
That is, Cohn-Bendit foresees a Green-‘black’ (CDU) coalition running the state.
The Guardian states,
The German government will stick by its existing refugees policy, a spokesman has said, after the anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland made strong gainsin regional elections on Sunday.
Asked if the results in three German states, where support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives dwindled, would lead to a change in policy, Steffen Seibert said: “The German government will continue to pursue its refugee policy with all its might both at home and abroad.”
AfD entered state parliaments in all three regions that voted, winning 24% of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt and over 10% in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.
The results suggested that German politicians increasingly appear to have two options: rally behind their chancellor, or rail against her.
Although AfD enjoyed considerable momentum, the majority of votes still went to parties who support Merkel’s pro-refugee stance. In all three states, incumbent premiers held on to their seat. In Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the Green and Social Democratic (SPD) candidates managed to increase their vote after resolutely backing the chancellor’s open-border position.
(1) Except perhaps this man: Wie Putin die rechten Parteien in Deutschland hofiert.
Labour will campaign to keep the UK in the EU but wants “progressive change” in the union, the party’s leader will say.
Jeremy Corbyn will tell a party conference in Newcastle later today that he wants to see a “real social Europe” that has greater public ownership and stronger workers’ rights.
He has come under some criticism recently from backbenchers who warned the EU referendum vote could be lost unless the party made a more “passionate” case for remaining.
The opposition leader will say reforms secured by David Cameron which curb benefit payments for low-paid migrants “won’t put a penny in the pockets of workers in Britain”.
Ahead of next week’s budget, the Labour leader will insist the Conservative’s austerity measures are a “political choice not an economic necessity” and call the cuts “both brutal and unnecessary”.
“In 2010 they said that their ‘long-term economic’ plan would sort all this out, that the deficit would be eradicated by now.
“Their long-term plan has turned out far longer than they imagined, but subject to short-term revision when it fails again and again. It is a blueprint in deepest Tory blue to shrink the state, to shrink people’s security, stability and opportunity.”
Jeremy Corbyn will also dismiss Chancellor George Osborne’s so-called Northern Powerhouse policy as “southern hot air”, saying most of the investment for infrastructure projects in going to London and the south-east.
Why stay in the EU?
Free movement of people
Your right to work and study in other European countries would be at risk. There are 1.8 million British people living in Europe who currently benefit from these rights.
Limits on weekly hours, guaranteed breaks at work and minimum amounts of annual holiday – these key rights are protected at a European level.
Membership of the European Convention on Human Rights secures precious freedoms. Leaving the EU places our human rights at real risk because many of those who advocate British exit also want to abandon the European Convention.
Key safeguards protecting wildlife and tackling climate change have also been won at a European level. By establishing a level playing field they stop a ‘race to the bottom’ on environmental standards.
Protecting these things doesn’t mean settling for Europe as it is.
A different Europe is urgently needed – one that breaks with the free market economics that have caused so much damage to our societies. With 1 in 4 EU citizens at risk of poverty and social exclusion, we can’t afford to accept the same broken economic thinking.
Building ‘another Europe’ means working to strengthen social and progressive movements across the continent and pushing for democratic change – not walking away from the EU. It’s clear that an exit at the current time would boost right wing movements and parties like UKIP and hurt ordinary people in Britain. Join the campaign that says, ‘Stay in Europe, to change Europe’.
There is of course this ‘campaigner’ for Brexit to show us where that leads:
Galloway Organises ‘Left’ Brexit Campaign Day of Action with Nigel Farage, Kate Hoey MP, and Grassroots Out
Kate Hoey: Now Part of Team Galloway-Farage.
Activists campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union (EU) will take part in the biggest ever day of leaflet distribution in referendum history on Saturday, the Grassroots Out (GO) campaign has announced.
GO is one of three main anti-EU groups vying to represent the official ‘Leave’ campaign. It has the support of London mayoral candidate George Galloway and UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
The group says March 5 will be the “biggest single coordinated” action day in the history of British referenda, when they drop more than a million leaflets, the IBTimes UK reports.
Meanwhile this is being touted:
Doors open at 6.30.
Bring copy of ticket.
- Tuesday, 8 March 2016 from 19:00 to 22:00 (GMT)
- The Hellenic Centre – 16 Paddington Street, London W1U 5AS, United Kingdom – View Map
Team Galloway 4 London
Organiser of #LEXIT: The Left Case To Leave The EU
This event is a joint production of Team Galloway4London and the Grassroots Out (GO) Campaign.
Corbyn: Labour leader backs ‘a social Europe for everybody.
This is really really good news!
26 February, 2016 KOOS COUVÉE. Islington Tribune.
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed claims he is a Eurosceptic at heart, making the case for a “social Europe”.
Speaking exclusively to the Tribune, the Islington North MP acknowledged his historically lukewarm personal feelings towards the European Union, but said: “Labour Party policy is to try and get the best deal out of Europe for this country and a social Europe for everybody.”
However, Mr Corbyn expressed concern about the EU’s “democratic deficit”, the economic strategy of the European Central Bank (ECB) and its power over austerity-stricken countries like Greece.
The Labour leader spoke before Prime Minister David Cameron announced his renegotiation deal in Brussels on Friday, which included restrictions on in-work benefits for EU migrants and protection for the City of London from regulations that could put British-based banks at a disadvantage.
Dismissing Mr Cameron’s renegotiation as “a lot of smoke and mirrors”, Mr Corbyn said: “The real issue David Cameron is concerned about is a dispute within the Conservative Party.
“It’s essentially a lot of smoke and mirrors which hasn’t actually achieved a great deal. And on the question of temporarily curtailing in-work benefits, I think there’s an equality issue about that. I believe if people are in work they should be getting the same conditions.”
The central point is this:
“Labour would instead be making the case for a “social Europe”, Mr Corbyn said.
“The case I’ve put forward is one for workers’ rights, and for Britain and Europe being more similar, because British workers have far lower levels of rights at work.
“Secondly, I would want to challenge the Fourth Railway package [opening up rail services to private companies] over the privatisation issue. I’m concerned with the way in which the railways are run in Europe and I believe they should be publicly owned.”
He added: “The other point is the right of countries to keep or take into public ownership certain services, and the question of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [a proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US], which is not part of the renegotiations.”
“Most trade unions in Britain, but not all, want to remain in the EU from the point of view of trade and the jobs that go with it, and that’s the view of the party which I’m putting forward.”
The story continues,
Three weeks ago, Mr Corbyn met Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, leader of the leftist party Syriza, to discuss EU reform and the European anti-austerity movement.
Asked how close he is to Mr Tsipras politically, the Labour leader said: “We both want to see an economic strategy around anti-austerity, and we’re both very concerned about the activities and power of the European Central Bank, although Britain is not in the Eurozone and isn’t likely to be.”
Mr Corbyn also revealed that Yanis Varoufakis, the former Syriza MP and Greek finance minister who resigned during the negotiation on an EU bailout package for the debt-stricken country last year, has met Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and will advise Labour in “some capacity”.
Mr Corbyn said: “Varoufakis is interesting, because he has obviously been through all the negotiations [with ECB, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund].
“I think the way Greece has been treated is terrible and we should reach out to them.
“I realise we’re not in the Eurozone but it’s a question of understanding how we challenge the notion that you can cut your way to prosperity when in reality you have to grow your way to prosperity.
“So all of our emphasis and work and campaigning is about an expanding economy and investing in an expanding economy.”
The leader of the U.K.’s left-wing Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, revealed to his local London paper that Varoufakis had met with shadow chancellor John McDonnell and would advise the party “in some capacity.”
Varoufakis’ view on the referendum:
Comrade Varoufakis has also just answered the anti-EU UK left on the issue of Greece: Is Greece not another compelling reason to vote for Brexit on 23rd June?
Last July the European Union completed a brutal coup d’état against the freshly elected Greek government, imposing upon it another huge, unsustainable ‘bailout’ loan that would, with mathematical precision, prolong Greece’s six-year-long Great Depression.
If there was ever any doubt that the EU’s institutions are deeply contemptuous of democratic process, and unabashed about their readiness to ride roughshod over rationality and over the will of a sovereign European people, the events of July 2015 dispelled it.
In this light, it is natural and right to ask two questions in the run up to the 23rd June UK referendum:
- Was the treatment of Greece last summer not another piece of decisive evidence that the EU is governed in an authoritarian, irrational and anti-democratic manner?
- Should voters across the UK (especially after the way Greece was treated last summer) not vote in favour of LEAVE as an important step in reclaiming their Parliament’s sovereignty and their democracy?
My answer to the first question is a decisive YES and to the second an unequivocal NO!
Those of us who detest the EU’s way of doing things have a moral and political duty to (a) jettison the illusion that Brexit will have positive consequences and (b) stick together (across national borders) to fight shoulder-to-shoulder in order to democratise the EU through an almighty confrontation with its current, inane, authoritarian rulers.
For a different spin on the last part of the story….
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is advising the Labour party on the economy, Jeremy Corbyn has revealed.
The controversial ex-minister, who was forced to resign after his country plunged into a debt crisis, has met with shadow chancellor John McDonnell, the Labour party leader said.
The news came as Paul Mason, the former Channel 4 journalist and strident anti-austerity campaigner, announced he has joined Labour’s economic lecture tour.
The journalist and film-maker revealed his departure from the state broadcaster as part of a plan to “work for a while outside the impartiality framework” dictated by the channel.
In an interview in the Islington Tribune newspaper Mr Corbyn spoke of being interested in Mr Varoufakis because of his experience in Europe.
He said: “I think the way Greece has been treated is terrible and we should reach out to them.
Reports the Telegraph.
From John Rogan.
This heartfelt letter has been circulating on the left.
In the interests of free-speech and pluralism we reproduce it without editing.
A couple of weeks ago our study group, The Left Against Europe, was working flat out for our campaign to vote No in the coming European referendum.
We have rescued unjustly neglected masterpieces from the workers’ movement: Henry Hyndman on The German Menace, and the need for a powerful Navy to defend “political liberty as against German regimentation”, Blatchford’s Britain for the British, Belford Bax on Prussian Militarism as well as his path-breaking exposé of the “shibboleth” and Fraud of Feminism, Charles Péguy on the internationalist “infection jaurésiste“, Engels on ‘non-historic nations’, and Karl Radek’s Leo Schlageter: The Wanderer into the Void.
With our researches into the archives we were prepared for anything to defend the interests of the British working class against the cosmopolitan capitalism of Brussels.
But now comrade George Galloway has aligned with Nigel Farage .
Everything is in turmoil.
We stood shoulder to shoulder with George as he built a powerful liberation movement, Respect. It united the left, Muslims, anti-imperialists, and anti-Zionists.
It was the best of times.
We saw comrade George cold-shouldered in Bradford in the General Election.
It seemed it was the worst of times.
Now George is under attack.
George Galloway has announced that Respect will join the Grassroots Out campaign to leave the European Union.
The Respect leader appeared as a ‘special guest’ alongside speakers from a number of political parties on Friday at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster to put forward the ‘Lexit’ case for voting in favour of leaving in the June 23rd Referendum.
Evoking the memory of Tony Benn, Galloway pressed home the need for Britain to regain its democratic power.”
Is Respect alone?
Will we come to George’s side in this hour of need for our nation?
Stand up for the British working class and the Commonwealth against the Brussels Bullies!