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Posts Tagged ‘People’s Brexit

After Brecon Set-back the Last Left Supporters of Brexit Fight On In Counterfire.

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Image result for counterfire lexit

A “Small Hall” That’s Got a Lot Smaller.

“Chris Bryant, the Labour MP for the Welsh seat of Rhondda, claimed Labour’s vague stance on Brexit had damaged the party in the byelection.

Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme he said:

Some of us have been saying for quite some time that one of the problems about trying to be all things to men and women is that nobody ends up liking what you’re offering.

I think our constructive ambiguity hasn’t really helped us over the last two years. We have tried to say to Brexit voters ‘we are in favour of Brexit’ but to remain voters ‘we are in favour of remain’ and in the end you’re not. I am fundamentally a remainer and I believe it it is in the interest of Wales, and our country, that we should at the very least try and achieve as softer Brexit as possible so that we can continue trading with Europe.

Bryant put a brave face on the result. “In the end biggest problem for the Labour party is that we nearly lost our deposit. I’m glad we didn’t lose our deposit, lots of people were talking about that going to happen.”

He also claimed Labour was likely to call a vote on no-confidence in September. He said: “I would be amazed if we were not to table a motion of no confidence, and I will be wholeheartedly supporting it.”

Guardian

Yet there is hope.

It lies deep within the catacombs of the pro-Brexit British left the groupuscule Counterfire is fighting a rearguard battle.

Munitions are running low, the Hard  Right Johnson regime is showing its claws.

Even before the Brecon set back Corbyn was under fire for his failure to oppose the Tory Brexit, Hard and Soft.

The left is rallying to the cause of another Referendum, and support for Remain and transform Europe.

Time to send out an appeal for reinforcements from the remnants of the People’s Brexiters in the Corbyn camp.

Despite the media consensus, Corbyn’s position on Brexit is the right one

The “liberal commentariat”, writes Mike Wayne, a former stalwart  of the Socialist Workers Party, Left Unity, critic of the ‘gentrification of the left” and “Professor of Cultural Studies at Brunel University”, “will not acknowledge, is that if they are able to overturn the Leave vote without even trying to put a leave deal to the public, then a Johnson-Faragist axis of right-wing populism nourishing a grievance against the elites who frustrated a democratic vote, will be cemented into the body politics for years.”

The key divisions at stake, the academic asserts, are between

The nationalist conservatives on one side and the centrist coalition of conservativism and liberalism stretching from the Conservative Party, through the Lib Dems and deep into the ranks of the Parliamentary Labour Party on the other, represent two broadly different cultural and political projects for the continuation of ruling class rule. Their internal argument is the most severe intra-class crisis in decades. But what about the left-wing ‘Lexit’ position?

He continues, looking at this position defended tooth and nail by Counterfire.

Left-wing critics of Europe such as Wolfgang Streeck certainly have a strong case that this is a supranational form of neoliberal governance designed to protect capital and advance its interests while protecting it from democratic pressures exerted at national level.

Left-wing Streeck,  supporter of the Red-Brown Full Brexit, contributor to the Brexit Party organ, Spiked, and a left national populist, yes we remember him well.

 

In these conditions choices are as clear as mud, the cultural studiest argues,

Labour are currently arguing that either a no-deal or a Tory-bad deal should go back to the people with Remain as an option on the ballot paper. This position is perfectly clear – whether you agree with it or not – but the media continue to scream ‘fudge’. Many in Labour (including the membership) want Corbyn to go further and become fully Remain. In effect this means Labour abandoning even trying to get a compromise deal and simply restaging the Referendum, hoping to get a Remain result. The chances are that without a compromise deal on offer, this snub to the first Referendum would produce another Leave victory and do massive political damage to Labour in the process.

The result of the Second Referendum (the first was in 1975) is sacred.

To challenge it is to risk great danger,

The strategy is cack-handed even if its goal was merely to cancel the Leave vote, as it is amongst the Corbyn supporters of Momentum. But for others closer to the status quo, the call to go full-Remain is designed to further undermine Corbyn. For some ‘progressives’ (hello the Guardian) a Corbyn government is a more terrible prospect than even a triumphant Johnson administration pursuing a frenzied project of neoliberalism that will make Thatcherism in the 1980s look like the proverbial tea-party.

The fear of the far-right is the beginning of wisdom….

Hello! 

Perhaps, were Wayne serious about opposing “England’s enduring attachment to economic liberalism” he might oppose the Hard Right neoliberal Brexit as well and urge Corbyn to come out fighting against it.

By any means possible!

 

Update:

” the middle ground on Brexit has collapsed, Labour is losing far more Remainers than Leavers, most Leave voters now think that ‘No Deal’ is the only genuine Brexit and believe a soft Brexit is ‘Brexit In Name Only’. But in any case, the ideological case for Lexit makes no sense.”

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Movement for Brexit Blackout Takes off as Aldi Blockaded and People Turn off the Telly.

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Brexit Campaign to Stop buying EU products Takes Wing, “there’s no need for the Alice in Wonderland politics emanating from both the Another Europe is Possible camp and some trade union officials.”

The Socialist Workers Party and other Brexit Bolsheviks moan that there is no “mass movement” for Brexit.

As Paul Embery’s Trade Unionists Against the EU says,

For the metropolitan liberal elite, far removed from such concerns, the prospect of a people’s Brexit simply violates their sense of entitlement and jeopardises the prospect of middle-class benefits that the working class will never see.

Out-of-touch Labour MPs and councillors, door stepping for Remain, are shocked at what their constituents are saying.

Labour councillor Ed Murphy added insult to injury by claiming only the thick will vote to leave.

There is a blind refusal to see that a people’s Brexit provides a genuine opportunity for workers to gain confidence, challenge a weak and divided Tory government …..

A window of opportunity seem now to be growing!

cover photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, suit and text

Britain’s very own Brexit Gilets Jaunes are leading a new movement.

The call, in the Brexit Protest and Direct Action Group on Facebook, comes after EU leaders agreed to an extension to Brexit until October 31 – although the UK could leave quicker if a deal can be agreed.

There have previously been calls for people to stop buying EU products in supermarkets, a nationwide blackout where pro-Brexit supporters switch their phones and TVs and not go shopping for the day and plans to blockade every major roundabout and junction in Britain.

Other planned protests by Brexiteers include cancelling TV licences, refusing to pay Council Tax and protests outside German supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl in a bid to get Prime Minister Theresa May to listen to their demands.

Doncaster Free Press.

This is Brexit at its best’ claim five protesters who blocked off an Aldi

Echo. Liverpool.

The group of around five people parked their vehicles across the road so delivery trucks could not pass.

The group of around five supporters came in cars and camper vans and blocked Chester High Road, in Neston , last night.

In a video taken by a passerby members of the group can be seen brandishing placards and wearing British flags around themselves.

Meanwhile a man with a microphone shouts ‘this is Brexit at its best’ as another woman, with a flag wrapped around her head, shouts ‘we are here’.

“The tiny demonstration soon became a laughing stock on social media as some pointed out that one of their camper vans was German-made. One man wrote on Twitter: ‘They have blocked the road to a German supermarket distribution centre because they ‘don’t want German they want Brexit…. with a German motorhome.’”

Brexit supporters say they will turn off TVs and stay off work for ‘blackout’ protest tomorrow

Staffordshire live.

People enraged about the slow path to Brexit are planning to switch off their phones and TVs, stay off work and spend no money tomorrow.

A Facebook group called “Brexit Blackout! 12th of April”, which so far has more than 3,000 members, is organising a day of no driving, no spending and no using electricity to “get across the message to the powers that be that people demand their government adhere to 2016 referendum result”.

..

And among protests that have been suggested for tomorrow – the day we were supposed to leave the EU – are blockades of ports, roads and airports.

Will we see this lot join them?

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2019 at 11:05 am

Brexit, End Game and the Left.

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Related image

Brexit Publicity by British Tourist Board.

“Tout commence en mystique et finit en politique.”

Charles Péguy. Notre jeunesse.1910.

”Our central argument is that the various and disparate forms of discontent which led 51,9% of voters to vote Leave must not be allowed to fade away until the Brexit process is complete. This discontent is the emergency, which will power our programmes. If Brexit was fuelled, first and foremost, by a sense of the part of many of the British people that the political class had betrayed them, that sense of betrayal must be sustained. Indeed, it can now be focused more accurately since, with the reframing of Leave’s narrow majority as the ‘will of the people’, public anger will be turned most effectively on those members of the political and media establishment who can portrayed as frustrating that will…”(P 359 – 9)

Imperium Foundation. Middle England. Jonathan Coe 2018.

How long ago seems the aftermath of the Brexit vote. After the 2016 result, Roger Scruton talked mystically of the need for “conciliation”, the opportunity it gave to move towards, a decentralised economy, of the kind that existed in the nineteenth century and could exist again. The poet of identity in political communities continued, ”We must build the thing that the British people value most, which is place.” The pseudo people of Anywhere, the “metropolitan elites”, opined David Goodhart, had been answered by a “populist revolt” by the People from Somewhere. Susan Watkins, editor of New Left Review, chimed in, “Critics of the neoliberal order have no reason to regret these knocks to it, against which the entire global establishment – Obama to Abe, Merkel to Modi, Junker to Xi …inveigled.” (1)

Coming to the issue of identity, Eric Kaufmann observes, “What really distinguishes Leave from remain voters is their willingness to sacrifice economic benefits to cut immigration”. In their favourable account of national populism, Eatwell and Goodwin give legitimacy to fears about “hyper-ethnic change”. “We do not think the term “racism” should be applied solely because people seek to retain the broad parameters of the ethnic base of country and its national identity, even though this can involve discriminating against outside groups.” (2)

The Great Replacement.

The poetasters of national identity began to look, to those soaked in the traditions of nationalist European literature,  like a return to the themes of Maurice Barrès and “la terre et ses morts”, “la substance nationale” and hostility to cosmopolitan “dérancinés” In recent days the arch-theorist of a great identity replacement Renaud Camus has sprung into the public eye. The claimed threat of immigrant “colonisateurs” bringing “nocence” (harm and damage) to In-nocent Europe has inspired the most ignoble of reactions. (3)

Alan Thornett was perhaps the first to predict that a Yes Vote for Brexit would mean allow this “carnival of reaction” to flourish. Others, enlightened by Fintan O’Toole, recognise in Brexit, a “genuine national revolution against a phoney oppressor.” A burly figure, the ignored working class, was spoken for by the sovereigntist left. The cry for sovereignty, elaborated into a celebration of sovereign nations was, for some, the People’s Brexit crew,  the vehicle of a new socialist project. This prospect of a British Bolshevik Beacon, found a few takers when the economics did not just add up. British political sovereignty, run by the left, runs up against the need to trade, and the country’s embedded condition in a capitalist world, not the much overdrawn ‘neoliberal’ rules of the EU. Critics could point to the Irish writer’s insight into how mysticism had descended into politics. Behind Brexit, the real steam engine,  lay “Jacob Rees Mogg’s “sovereignty of the super rich and their right to escape.” and a scramble for Parliamentary power.(4)

Rhetoric and Reality.

The rhetoric about “elites”, “oligarchies”, and the political “caste”, has seeped from right to left. It is tempting to dismiss this as an unwanted revival of a strain of 19th century European socialism, hostile to representative democracy, looking for decisive leaders to sweep away the manoeuvres of Parliament and the forces of “financial feudalism”. The reappearance of the references to Rothschild, and newer name of George Soros, has echoes of one such ‘socialist’ diatribe against the “financial aristocracy”, Alphonse Toussenel’s Les Juifs Rois de l’époque (1886). Yet the programme of ‘Imperium’, that is the European Research Group (ERG) is indeed, as fictionalised  lightly in Jonathan Coe’s Middle England,  “to liberate Britain from the EU’s oppressive tax and other regulations and allow it to become a genuine free-trading country with its principle endeavours directed towards Asian and US markets.” It is that faction which is riding high in the Conservative Party. It is the motor behind a drive for the worst possible Brexit possible. (5)

In the (just translated) Le crépuscule de la France d’en haut, Cristophe Gilley hailed the Brexit result. It was sign of the ‘Marronage”, the escape of slaves, from the yoke of the establishment, a development he detected that was well underway in the Hexagon – as would underline as the Gilets Jaunes emerged. The British Somewheres, like “la France périphérique” had found a voice in voting for Sovereignty. No0 doubt Nigel Farage is leading them at this very moment towards the Great Wen. Eatwell and Goodwin suggest that the return to two-party dominance in 2017 is far from a new normal. It “may represent an unstable prelude to populist-right renewal.” (6)

There is one vehicle that can halt this in its tracks. The mass movement against Brexit, led, for the moment by the liberal centre, but backed by sections of the left, is a democratic challenge to the projects of the ERG. If, as Another Europe is Possible argues, it can reach deeper into the Labour Party and the labour movement, it may be able to head off Brexit. There is now everything to play for. Now. (7)

………..

 

 

 

  1. Pages 218, and 223. Where We Are. The State of Britain Now. Roger Scruton. Bloomsbury. 2017. The Road to Somewhere. The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics. David Goodhart. Hurst & Company. 2017.Casting Off? Susan Watkins. New Left Review. No 100. 2016.
  2. Page 201. White Shift. Eric Kaufmann. Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities Penguin 2018. Page 75. National Populism. The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. Pelican. 2018.
  3. Pages 281 – 283. Les Déracinés. Maurice Barrès. 1897. Gallimard. 1988. Le Grand Remplacement. Renaud Camus. 2012. Page 70. La Nocence, instrument du Grand Remplacement.
  4. Page 172 Heroic Failure, Brexit and Politics of Pain. Fintan O’Toole. Apollo. 2018.
  5. Page 359. Middle England. Jonathan Coe. Viking 2018.
  6. Page 248. Le crépuscule de la France d’en haut, Cristophe Gilley. Flammarion. 2017. Page 209. National Populism. Op cit.
  7. Another Europe is Possible.

 

After Theresa May’s Defeat on EU, Labour still stuck in ‘Negotiations’ for a Better Brexit.

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May’s Deal Defeated: Back the Left Bloc for a People’s Vote!

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking in the House of Commons after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated by 149 votes.

“The government has been defeated again by an enormous majority and it must accept its deal is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House.

“No Deal must be taken off the table. We’ve said that before and we’ll say that again.

“The House has got to come together with a proposal that could be negotiated. The Labour Party will put forward that proposal again.

“The Prime Minister is threatening us all with the danger of No Deal, knowing full well the damage it will do to the British economy.

“The Prime Minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her. It’s time that we have a General Election and the people can choose who their government should be.”

Corbyn’s lack of support for a Referendum, and the absence of any other possibility than future – endless – “negotiations” – is deeply disappointing.

Corby, his inner circle, and their supporters, lack any positive perspective on Europe.

At first sight they might as well be spouting this strategy, aimed at fuelling Labour Party internal fighting:

Nothing but a general election can change this. Either extending Article 50 or holding another referendum only gives the Tories more time to govern without governing. The Tories are facing an existential crisis – but that can only be exploited through a general election. A general election would give Labour the possibility of winning a majority to put forward its vision for Brexit, but also to immediately put an end to austerity.

It’s a disgrace, but unsurprising, that at this time when there is the best-ever possibility of getting rid of this failing Tory government, Tom Watson and his Blairite cabal are intent on wrecking Corbyn’s leadership. The left inside and outside the Labour Party must unite to defend Corbyn and push for a general election now.

Counterfire.  Shabbir Lakha. May’s Brexit deal is dead: we need a general election now

“In the Guardian Michael Chessum unravells today the details of Labour’s Strategy, which is not just a call for an election but is, he argues, entangled in a plan for a Common Market 2.0.” which is if anything, even more of a dead end.

Why Labour must not fall for the charms of a Norway-style deal

For the group of shadow cabinet ministers and prominent union leaders who have spent months pushing back against the idea of a fresh public vote in spite of party policy, there are sharper, more factional benefits. Soft Brexit would deny their opponents on all wings of the party, and in the grassroots, a victory.

But it would be a profound mistake for Labour to go down this path. Soft Brexit is the least popular policy with the public. It would oblige the UK to take all of the rules and regulations – including the state aid rules so often cited as problematic by pro-Brexit figures on the Labour left – while abandoning a seat at the decision-making table. The only people who think that this outcome would “deliver the result of the referendum” are remain voters desperately attempting to triangulate out of the situation.

The common market 2.0 position has been sculpted carefully by a cross-party group of former grandees from both main parties. It is not backed by anything like a grassroots movement. Unlike the movement against Brexit, it has organised no massive marches, no campaign of motions through party branches, no stalls and door-knocking in the rain. If a Norway-style Brexit deal does eventually win out, it will be because it commands the support of the Westminster bubble. It will neither solve the material problems that caused the Brexit vote, nor satiate anyone who voted for it.

Pause.

Some of the strongest supporters of the present Labour line, are in favour of Brexit, pure and simple.

Their “vision of Brexit” is, like Counterfire’s a “People’s Brexit”. Free from being a “colony” of the EU rivers of gold will flow,  austerity will be ended and Britian will become a socialist beacon for the rest of the world.

The Communist Party of Britain, which Corbyn adviser on Brexit, Andrew Murray supported until a couple of years ago, even backs the hardest of Brexits.

‘Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms’, Communists propose.

cpb brexit sticker

But what of Common Market 2.0?

At first sight it appears a reasonable strategy – setting aside the issue of why go to the trouble of leaving the EU only to remake the old Common Market.

On second sight there is this to get over, not least for the loyal supporters of Corbyn:

Image result for common market 2.0

Here is the summary:

The UK needs a Plan B.

One that can be negotiated quickly.

One that both Leavers and Remainers can back.

One that delivers on the referendum result.

That plan is Common Market 2.0

known as ‘Norway Plus’ by Michel Barnier.

It’s the only alternative plan that the EU might sign up to at this late stage

It’s the only alternative plan which might win a Parliamentary majority

It’s the only alternative plan that would protect jobs and preserve the Union of the UK

The plan has numerous critics.

The most obvious is the following,

Critics of the plan – including People’s Vote campaigners – said “this ship sailed some time ago”.

Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “Some people believe the Norway model is as simple as signing up to Netflix, it isn’t. Negotiations would be as complex as the last two years and result in the same challenges. Norway shadows the ECJ, it pays more fees into EU countries as part of its settlement per capita than Britain currently does for full membership, and Norway is very honest about the downside of taking rules whilst having little influence over their making.”

He added: “It’s now clear there is no form of Brexit, including this one, that can fulfil all the promises made for it. And there is no Brexit deal, even this one, that is as good as the deal we’ve got inside the EU.”

‘They think it’s like signing up to Netflix’ – Plan for Norway-style Brexit alternative criticised

Michael Chessum continues,

There is now a mass movement against Brexit. October’s People’s Vote march was the biggest demonstration in Britain since the Iraq war, and it could be eclipsed by a much larger one on 23 March. An army of campaigners, many of them new to politics and instinctively on the left, are leafleting, running stalls and knocking doors all over the country. This is a movement whose demands are supported by the overwhelming majority of Labour’s members, including those on the left – despite the prominence of establishment politicians within the official People’s Vote campaign.

On paper, a Norway-style deal might not look like the worst outcome. Many remainers would be relieved to have close ties to Europe and to retain free movement. But for Labour, delivering a Brexit of any kind will be ruinous. It would demoralise the Labour membership, and hand a stack of ammunition to Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents on the right of the party and in the Independent Group. It would fail the test of delivering the referendum for anyone who voted leave.

For Labour, there is now only one option: to join the mass movement and fight for the big ideas, not the Westminster fudge.

As Left Unity have pointed out, the only way forward is with our comrades on the European left, to “remain and transform” the EU.

The EU is as much a terrain of struggle for socialists as the individual capitalist states which comprise it.  The radical left in Britain needs to build on the emerging struggles by Europeanising and internationalising the fightback.

Socialists should still oppose Brexit: Remain and Transform!

 

 

 

Heroic Failure, Brexit and Politics of Pain. Fintan O’Toole. A Review from the Internationalist Left.

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Heroic Failure, Brexit and Politics of Pain. Fintan O’Toole. Apollo. 2018.

“L’existence d’une nation est (pardonnez moi cette métaphore) un plébiscite de tous les jours, comme ‘l’existence d’un individu est une affirmation perpétuelle de la vie.”

The existence of a nation (you will pardon me this metaphor) is a daily referendum, just as the continuing existence of an individual is a perpetual affirmation of life.

Ernest Renan. Qu’est-ce qu’une nation 1882.

No ! penury, inertness and grimace,

In some strange sort, were the land’s portion. ‘See

Or shut your eyes’ says Nature peevishly.

‘It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:

‘It’s the Last Judgement’s fire must cure this place,

Cacline its clods and set my prisoners free’

Childe Roland. Robert Browning. 1855.

The Irish writer Fintan O’Toole begins Heroic Failure on the “phantasm” that drove the Brexit vote with a meditation on the delights of English self-pity. In the years leading up to Brexit, he remarks, E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey (2011), a “fantasy of domination and submission”. This, he suggests could be rendered into a political fantasy “in which Christian Grey is the European Union and Anastasia Steele an innocent England seduced into entering his Red Room of Pain.” (Page 21) A friend tells me that flipping through its pages he found it full of un-erotic Americanisms (‘ass’). This might be a further metaphor to explore in that. Amongst the Brexit ultras, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage have not only taken their politics from the US neoliberal right, but the latter seems sufficiently at home alongside Donald Trump to talk in Disney speak of “that’s all folks.”

Ernest Renan, who considered the Nation to be a “soul” a “spiritual principle”, left the decision-making about this make-up to popular choice. O’Toole equally echoes Renan is describing just how much of the British imperial past Leave supporters forget during our own Referendum. In this present the UK is a plucky land, ill-rewarded for holding the fort against Hitler, and under the boot of an alien superpower run by Teutons in a new Holy Roman Empire. In this picture Brexit as a “genuine national revolution against a phoney oppressor. It has the form of a moment of liberation without the content. The people get out of the Red Room of Pain only to find themselves in the Red, White and Blue Rooms of Pain. (Page 141)

Brexit Bollocks.

In the absence of real oppressors a variety of substitutes were found. Food was an issue from the start. Heroic Failure cites E.P. Thompson’s dyspeptic attack on middle class enthusiasm for the Common Market’s well-garnished menu. By the 1990s Mr Podsnap returned to defend our national Cuisine. Boris Johnson pursued the millennium with a crusade against a Brussels-led “humiliation of British democracy” – a threatened penury of prawn cocktail flavoured crisps. Johnson stood firm. Against a bossy female bureaucrat he declared, “As part of the balanced diet of a British child, – two packets Quavers, three chocolate Magnums, 2 oz dog shit a day – the prawn cocktail flavour crisp was thoroughly nutritious” (Page 112) Magnum ice-creams, few will fail to notice, are now being stockpiled to guard against the no-Deal Brexit Final Judgement.

It would take from the pleasure of reading Heroic Failure to recount more of O’Toole’s  not at all tall-tales of Brexiteer Bollocks. Nor would be appropriate to cover his fine account bonds between the Irish and British are bound together, from the centuries of national oppression and prejudice, to the deep ties of affection and descent (this writer is, apparently, genetically around 37% Irish) that bring us perhaps closer than any other nationality outside of the United Kingdom. Given this background it is all the more surprising that the Leave campaign showed an “absolute refusal to countenance any discussion of Ireland.”(Page 88) The importance of the ‘backstop’, which may be translated into English as “safety net”, for the border with North, has turned out to be more important than the nippers’ right to eat dog shit.

Behind the “sadopopulism” and the nationalist “dreamtime” lies the hard free-market right. When the boss of Wetherspoons, Tim Martin, came to Ipswich he evoked fish, no doubt under the impression that East Anglia prosperity was assured, as from mediaeval times until the beginning of the Twentieth Century, by the Herring Catch. Campaigners for Leave may have spoken in other antiquarian language of the country’s ‘Vassalage’ to the European Union. O’Toole gives a reminder of the English Royals’ scorched earth tactics during the 100 years war, which he compares to the mass murders of warlords in today’s failed states. Les Anglais ont débarqué, which originated during this period, can still signify the flow of menstrual blood.

Behind this lies a wish for, O’Toole suggests, Jacob Rees Mogg’s “sovereignty of the super rich and their right to escape.”(Page 172) “Buccaneering capitalism”, national sovereignty in the service of commerce, the right to a no-Deal Brexit under WTO rules, the project is for,  as Luke Cooper says, “a Britain ‘unchained’ from the shackles of European regulation, in other words, even more of a capitalist dystopia.”(The Left Against Brexit. Another Europe is Possible. 2018).

The Rise of English Nationalism.

Heroic Failure concludes with thoughts on the English nationalism that has become the motor of Brexit politics. Renewed English identity – 60% of the country’s population now identify themselves as English instead of British – partly mimics “the gestures of small-nation ‘liberation’ movements…”(Page 187) The self-pity on show is not an exclusive national trade mark, if at least Hugh MacDiarmid is to be taken to heart, ”Puir Auld Scotland’ bleat wi’ pride…. A thorn in a’ the wide world’s side” (A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926) But few, very few, countries have resembling the “unfinished psychic business of both the Second World War and the End of Empire.”(Page 92)

O’Toole would like to see the back of the Tory eccentrics and chancers who have pushed Brexit. He is not at his strongest when he suggests that English nationalism, “so poorly articulated and self-contradictory” is up for grabs”, by “progressives” (Page 200). In the century following Ernest Renan’s definition of a ‘Nation’ another Frenchman, Henri Barbusse, writing in the midst of the brutalities of the World War that preceded the Second declared that nationality was the business of poets and dreamers. Patriotism can be respected. Yet it carried grave dangers when it became the basis for politics. (Le Feu. Journal d’une escouade.1916).* Left-wing politics may recognise wish to wrest our common feelings and imagination, our humour and our decency, away from the Brexiteers and isolate the far-right. But a political strategy built out of a national identity is unable to respond to the ‘real issues’ (that is, those not stemming from hatred of foreigners) said to be behind the vote to Leave by the left-behind, and their attraction to the wank-bank dreams of the Hard Brexit Right. 

This can be seen in the dismal fate of “leftist anti-Europeanism”. Efforts to harness the ‘national popular’ from those claiming to be on the left have led nowhere. They have run with the Brexit hounds, and not their opponents. There are claims that ‘the’ ‘real’ working class, not by virtue of what they do but on *who they are*, mustered behind ‘national liberation’ from the EU.  During the Greek crisis they would have volunteered to be Lord Byron’s Jackals and fight for Hellenic independence from Brussels. Some on that left now back a Brexit on WTO terms. More live in the ‘dream-time” of a People’s Brexit, a Beacon of Hope to the World, brought in on the backs of a break with the EU. It shows few signs of appearing. A few relish the thought that Brexit will lead to the break up of Britain. This will, by allowing nationalists free reign in Scotland, pave the way for internationalism. Some just wallow in chaos. One of New Left Review’s leading intellectuals, Tariq Ali, leapt for joy at the Big kick up the EU’s backside” after the Referendum result.“

There is another left. “Ours is a future of solidarity between people and across borders”, “to end Fortress Europe, push back against the neoliberal economic consensus and build unity between workers across the continent” “building an internationalist left that can turn the ride in Europe and beyond” (Alena Ivanova. Michael Chessum. The Left Against Brexit. Another Europe is Possible).

We are in the middle of the Battle………..

“Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, And blew. ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.’

***

*”Out of patriotism–which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred–out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace.” Under Fire.The Story of a Squad. Henri Barbusse

“Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms” – the Story Behind the Communist Party of Britain’s Call.

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Image result for unicorn classical painting

Communist Party of Britain Brexit Sub-Committee.

Britain should leave the EU on March 29, liberating a future Labour government from EU Single Market rules and trading with EU and other countries on WTO terms if necessary, Britain’s Communists declared at the weekend.

At the first meeting of its new Executive Committee elected at the 55th Congress, the Communist Party said that the ‘pro-EU Tory minority regime’ and the EU Commission could not be trusted to reach any withdrawal agreement that did not serve the interests of big business and the capitalist class.

‘Locking Britain into the EU Customs Union would make any such agreement even worse’, Robert Griffiths explained, ‘because it would outlaw import regulation to protect strategic industries such as steel, while also impeding a mutually beneficial fair trade policy with developing countries’.

Britain’s Communists urged the labour movement to reject ‘anti-democratic manoeuvres’ to extend Article 50 in order to delay and possibly cancel Brexit. Instead, the CP executive called for a ‘People’s Brexit’ to leave the EU, its Single Market, Customs Union and new pro-NATO military structures so that a left-led Labour government will be free to pursue left and progressive policies that benefit the workers and the people by investing in transport, the environment, housing, productive industry and public services.

‘Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms’, Communists propose

Communist Party calls for Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms (The independent Daily Paper of the Left, the  Morning Star).

The Morning Star has  yet to track down the insider’s account of the reasons for this call, and even the highly rated Skwawkbox has not, so far, published the ‘low down’

But the Newshounds of Tendance Coatesy are hot on the story that has rocked Britain’s left.

Our investigative reporters suggest that the announcement may be a sign of these possibilities:

  • The CPB has made the barking announcement so that anything, absolutely anything, Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne suggest for  Labour’s Brexit plans,  will look reasonable.
  • The Party has decided to follow Chantal Mouffe’s Left Populist strategy of hegemonically uniting  Gammon discursive articulations, with the most advanced sections of the labour movement,  through a chain of equivalences, in a People’s Brexit.
  • The WTO, as identified by cde Aaron Bastani, is the most advanced form of capitalist accelerationism whose rules will ensure the swift coming of total luxury communism –  faster than Novara Media’s Griffin farms in Norway.
  • Roger Griffiths and his mates have never got over the 1970s Alternative Economic Strategy and its protectionist proposals.
  • The CPB actually believes this load of old cobblers.

The Central Committee of Tendance Coatesy is in permanent session debating our response.

On a serious note, it seems that the CPB is prepared to throw the Irish people to the Unionist wolves.

 

As Tory Crisis Turns to Jeeves and Wooster Farce Labour Should Fight Brexit in Campaign for Election.

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Tories Debate Theresa May’s Future and Brexit.

Fintan O’Toole considers that the paranoid fantasy behind Brexit has now turned into a Marx Brothers Farce (Brexit looks like it was written by Marx Brothers).

Turning to the classics of the labour movement others would suggest that P.G.Wodehouse offers a better guide.

Aunt Agatha May is still trying the marry the Conservatives to a Mr Withdrawal.

Tory MPs meet today at the Drones Club to decide on the fate of this leader.

Fink-Nottle Mogg (MP, Market Snodsbury) whines that the British newt industry is threatened.

Roderick Spode Johnson wants to build a Giant Collapsible Channel Bridge to stem links with Europe.

Madeleine Basset says,  ‘Today I danced on the lawn before breakfast, and then I went round the garden saying good morning to the flowers.'”

There is not the slightest likelihood of a Jeeves shimmering into view, full of fish suppers, to sort out their difficulties.

As Labour is poised to offer an alternative to the Conservatives the most important thing is to have proper left-wing policy on Brexit.

We have had enough of the Heralds of the Red Dawn of Lexit

We have had enough of those who talk of a “real” working class, the left behind, all, apparently Leavers, to lend support for their ‘raise the drawbridge on Europe.

We have had enough of the belief that a go-it-alone Socialist Britain would be a Beacon for the World.

We are fed up with the pretence that Labour will negotiate a “better deal”, slightly less ruinous than the present one.

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Labour needs to take account of the “other Britain” of urban, multinational poor working class and lower middle class districts, and the majority of the labour movement,, across the country, which opposed Brexit. Not to mention the growing anti-Brexit constituency as a whole.

Another Europe is Possible has called for opposition to Brexit and a People’s Vote to be part of Labour’s campaign and manifesto.

This letter published in the Guardian summed up the stand:

“To quote the official policy passed at Labour conference 2018, we want “a radical government: taxing the rich to fund public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing the anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment”.

As the party of working people, Labour must defend all the rights threatened by Brexit – workers’ rights, environmental protections, free movement. With the Tory deal published, the realities of Brexit are clearer than ever. Fighting effectively for a radical Labour government means committing to giving the people a final say, and campaigning for remain in that referendum.

In Europe, just as in domestic policy, Labour must offer a radical alternative to the status quo. Our movement must champion a revolt across the continent against austerity, neoliberalism and anti-migrant policies and for a democratic, socialist Europe.

Labour’s policy is shifting, but is not yet committed to stopping Brexit. We will continue the campaign to win Labour to a vision for a radical government leading the fight to transform Europe from within the EU. To this end, and to provide anti-Brexit Labour supporters with a platform, organising framework and programme of activity, we intend to create an independent campaigning coordination within the campaign for a Corbyn-led Labour government.

Today Paul Mason joins the debate, giving some indications of what our aims should be.

Labour should prepare to fight neoliberalism within the EU – Lexit is not an option

Paul Mason, “The cancellation of Brexit and the election of Jeremy Corbyn would transform the mood in Europe.”

At a Europe-wide level, if the UK remains, Labour should announce that, in government, it would form an alliance of left governments inside the EU pushing for the complete reform of the Lisbon Treaty. The aim would be a new treaty, removing competition rules which promote privatisation and outsourcing, and modifying the state aid rules to allow both a national and a Europe-wide industrial strategy to support high-tech jobs, innovation and growth.

As a non-Euro member, there is little a left government could do directly to counter the way Germany games the Eurozone to promote jobs and growth at home, while maintaining austerity and poverty in the periphery. But it could promote, at Commission level, the policy of fiscal stimulus designed specifically to counteract the misdesign of the single currency.

Here, the recent manifesto published by Thomas Piketty is worth a look. It proposes tax rises of €400bn, mainly on corporations and the assets of the rich, and spending the revenue on innovation, democratisation and the integration of migrants.

This manifesto took up a whole page in le Monde yesterday..((.Nous lançons aujourd’hui un appel pour transformer les institutions et les politiques européennes »)

I did not notice any British signatories…..

Yet.

The upside is that it would create, at a pan-European level, both money and democratic control for fiscal stimulus and a redistributive programme. The downside is that it is explicitly designed to avoid a “transfer union” – whereby rich countries pay for public services in poor ones. But unless it becomes a transfer union, the Eurozone is simply a union for transferring wealth and growth from the periphery to the north European centre.

At the very least, a left-led Labour government could constructively join the discussion around Piketty’s manifesto. Events are moving so fast, and uncertainty so high, that people have barely registered what a remarkable change for Europe the withdrawal of Article 50 would be.

A left-wing Labour government, with a mandate to cancel Brexit and reform the EU, would radically transform Europe. Because, whatever happens to Piketty’s plan, it would come to power on a programme of fiscal expansion and redistribution, intending to overcome any Brussels-mandated obstacles to nationalisation and industrial policy. It would change the atmosphere. It would empower the parties of the left at national level, and could immediately engage Labour-controlled cities with the innovative left administrations of Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam.

There are many obstacles to cross: May has to go, her deal has to be defeated, the Tory party has to fall apart and – either in an election or in a second referendum – the xenophobic backlash has to be defeated.

But the British left has to stop dreaming about Lexit. One of the things we have genuinely learned from the process of trying to leave the EU is the extensive nature of its status as a regulatory superpower. Even a Britain ruled by the Socialist Workers Party and the Morning Star would find itself forced to comply with Commission directives. Paradoxically, a left exit from Europe is only possible if Europe itself goes left.

For two-and-a-half years Labour has dutifully and painfully tried to make Brexit work. But parliament has been sidelined, time has run out, and the space for a Labour-designed version of Brexit has disappeared. If anybody has betrayed Brexit it is Theresa May. Once her deal is thrown out, the moral authority of the 2016 referendum evaporates. It’s then either no deal or no Brexit.

And if it’s no Brexit, watch the blood drain from the faces of European neoliberalism: I’ve been with Jeremy Corbyn as he’s hit both Brussels and the Hague with messages of uncompromising clarity: neoliberalism is over, austerity is a catastrophe. But to the stunned audience of centrist social democrats, Corbyn’s words always seemed like a message from afar. If we play this right, we can take it into the heart of Europe.

Exactly.