Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Neoliberalism

Morning Star, “recycled fragments of the ultra left now line up with the main vehicles of the Labour right wing and much of the liberal and neoliberal media.”

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Image result for ultra leftism in britain Betty reid

Be Alert: Keep a Copy of this Handbook Close at all Times!

The leadership contest has revealed new contours in Labour’s ideological topography. Nick Wright.



The former Straight left stalwart writes in the Morning Star, independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the Co-op.

This article may be seen as a response to the Guardian column, The Labour leadership contest has exposed new factions in the party ( ).

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth was this section,

 The orthodox left still basically wants to implement the Communist party’s 1951 plan, The British Road to Socialism, with its vision of socialism being implemented in one country by a strong, centralised national government. They lean heavily towards a pro-Brexit position, while tending to interpret support for Brexit among working-class voters as incipient class consciousness rather than tabloid-inspired xenophobia.

Followed by,

The radical left is still a very new, fragile and inexperienced tendency that has a long way to go before emerging as a mature political formation. It brings together the more libertarian strands of the hard left, the more radical strands of the soft left, and a new generation of activists from outside the traditions of the Labour party.

Wright makes a clarion call for the whole of the left to support Long-Bailey, and follow the doughty progressive patriot for better reasons than the (official) left who back her, “mainly out of sheer loyalty to her mentor, John McDonnell, that most of the radical left have supported her.”

He aims to dampen down this deviation:  “Privately, many on the radical left agree with former MP Alan Simpson that the dogmatic and authoritarian tendencies of the orthodox left smothered the creative and democratic potential of Corbynism, contributing to its eventual downfall.

The Communist Party of Britain sage writes of Labour’s General Election Campaign.

The disparate elements that Corbyn’s election united has ended and the wide legitimacy that Labour’s radical programme commanded is now challenged by people who attribute the election defeat to “socialist policies” which must be abandoned.

With the help of ace-reporters Wright discovers that Labour was, at one point, on the brink of victory,

…. a wave of popular participation, an effective social media operation, skilled targeting of swing seats and a bold manifesto (along with the divisions in the Tory ranks and a weakened Liberal Democrat Party) produced a surge in support that eroded a 20-point Tory lead and took Corbyn within a few thousand votes of No 10.

We may not have noticed that, but he did!

The fault lay in a failure to respect the decision to respect the Brexit vote, something which Wight and his comrades tirelessly campaigned for.

Instead of becoming a springboard for a further assault on a divided ruling class — this itself apparent in a highly conflicted Tory Party in government — this hopeful prospect was dissipated as Labour’s activists and mass base were sidelined by a parliamentary party intent on subverting the clear decision to respect the referendum result.

Worse was to come,

Labour (was)  corralled into an increasingly Get Brexit Undone policy, the way was open for Labour’s manifesto to be driven to the margins of public discussion.

The People’s Vote campaign, a middle class mass movement, had sown confusion in Labour ranks.

The success of the Remain camp in conflating “internationalism” with a kind of shared European privilege to travel, study and work freely threatens to undermine the deeper internationalism that found an expression in the mass movement against neoliberal trade deals, in the Stop the War movement, the anti-racist and solidarity action with refugees and migrant workers and the Palestine solidarity movement.

The kind of internationalism that has stood by while Assad, Russia and Iran,  attack Idid in Syria, in short.

Remain, unlike Boris Johnson and the ERG, had a “neoliberal project.”

Worse the pro-EU side has  echoes of fascism, foretold in  ” manifesto of Oswald Mosley’s postwar racist revival”.

He cites Gilbert (above), without mentioning (surely an oversight),  the passage of the British Road to Socialism,

It is to Jeremy Gilbert, professor of cultural and political theory at the University of East London, that we owe the insight that the leadership contest has revealed new contours in Labour’s ideological topography and that the only way for Labour to win is to ditch “Labourism.”

Writing about Labour’s so-called “soft left,” he writes: “Despite the failures of both Kinnock and Miliband, their default assumption remains that progressive government can be achieved by selling moderate social democracy to the electorate, led by a guy in a smart suit.”

Worse is to come….

It is to this inspiring standard that the recycled fragments of the ultra left now line up with the main vehicles of the Labour right wing and much of the liberal and neoliberal media.

The Morning Star writer has a warning to them:

While it might suit some to reduce much of politics to the clash of cultures, no-one should underestimate the political potency of questions of nationhood, patriotism and identity.

As in progressive patriotism.

Cde Wright ends with a stirring call for unity behind the banner of the “Orthodox Left”-  including these “recycled fragments”, supporters of a neoliberal project, who admire something with the odour of Oswald Mosley “?

A dog-eared copy of Betty Reid’s, ‘Ultra Leftism in Britain’, (1969. CPGB) would surely show the dangers of the “ultra left” in their true light.

Bonfire of Illusions, Alex Callinicos. Review: A Keeper of the Flame.

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A Keeper of the Flame. Review: The Bonfire of Illusions.  Polity 2010.

Was Autumn 2008 marked by “events of a genuinely epochal character”? The Bonfire of Illusions begins by announcing that it saw the “end of the post-Cold War Era.” 2008’s harvest months saw a war between Russia and Georgia. For Alex Callinicos, King’s College Professor of European Studies, and the Socialist Workers Party’s Maître à penser, it was defining moment. Moscow’s victory underlined its assertiveness, and American global weakness. This had a hefty economic counterpart. The “ collapse on Lehamn Brother on 15 September” heralded “the biggest global financial crash since the great Depression of the 1930s” (Pages 1-2) On a deep level, this “historic turning point” can be seen in terms of Alain Badiou’s concept of ‘event’, a radical turning-point, an eruption of the new, is “affirmed and proclaimed”(Ethics. 2001). Callinicos concludes by stating that a “huge hole” in neo-Liberalism that it’s created may allow a widening of the “boundaries of the possible” for those “prepared to seize this moment boldly.”(Page 143)

How the changes now underway in states, markets, offer a spur towards socialism is another, more open-ended, affair. There is the “chronic political weakness of the radical anti-capitalist left on a global scale” to begin with (Page 143). The Bonfire of Illusions argues that the time has come to revive plans for “democratic planning” “democratically taking control of the financial markets, nationalising under workers’ control..” “extending social provision” and even a “universal direct income” (Page 141) What is it about the present ‘twin crises’ of the world economy and state-system, in the “immanent laws of capitalist production itself”, with all their contradictions, that brings these principles to the fore? Have they re-shaped the global landscape in ways that will allow the left to spring to life and “collective action”? This prospect, and the identity of the “anti-capitalist” left that could come to power, remain uncertain throughout the book.

Markets turn to Governments.

Alex Callinicos has nevertheless some steady vantage points. The US inability to influence the outcome of the conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi was the result of a widely commented “longer term geopolitical process of declining US power.” The punctured speculative bubbles, and the ‘credit crunch’, were, by contrast, for mainstream observers (trapped within the perspective of a benignly growing world-economy), a bolt out of the blue. Following two decades of unchallenged financial expansion, and speculation, the subsequent collapse invites, Alex Callinicos states, comparison with the 1930s Depression. He believes that the workings of market capitalism, set on “auto-pilot” to free the economy from political control, have unravelled. Both overtly right-wing governments and those following the market –states with a dose of social justice promoted by the Third Way of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. Finance is humbled. A re-assertion of direct government involvement in the economy is underway. “We are likely to see both a stronger state and a more unstable state system (page 127)

A turn towards “state capitalism”, through bank nationalisations (the “greatest nationalisations in world history” and the “apparent conversion of the capitals of Neoliberalism to Keynesianism” is underway (Page 9) It may well be that “rescuing the banks and increasing spending and borrowing” will “encourage yet another speculative boom followed by yet another crisis” (Page 134) But, as Callinicos notes in his Preface (better described as an Afterword), “illusions have survived the bonfire”. In fact “liberal capitalism attempts to steam ahead as if nothing has happened” (page x). At present we could argue, more affirmatively than the SWP leader, that we see instead a series of drifts. Across the globe, there are continuing ‘state-shrinking’ and wage-cutting measures (paralleling the 1930s in other ways): drastic cuts in public spending and simple salary reductions in the private sector. There are “strong state” policies, not to master the financial or industrial infrastructure, but the reserve army of labour, such as draconian efforts to discipline and punish the workless. The ‘enclosure of the commons’ – privatisation – is proceeding apace, in the United Kingdom, under the newly formed Liberal-Tory administration. Perhaps it would therefore be better not to talk of ‘state capitalism’ but of ‘market states’ that use a variety of instruments to support capital. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew Coates

July 2, 2010 at 10:23 am