Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Trotskyism

Factionalism in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 10: Socialist Appeal calls for “War” after RLB Sacking.

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Image may contain: 2 people, suit, text that says "RLB SACKING: THIS MEANS WAR SOCIALIST APPEAL ACAAM SCAIE"

“Unity” against the “Appeasers” of Starmer.

A couple of days ago, Socialist Appeal published this article.

Long-Bailey sacking: Mobilise against Blairite aggression!

Keir Starmer has abruptly sacked former leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey from her position as Shadow Education Secretary, on the ludicrous charge of “sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories”. This incendiary move has rightly provoked outrage amongst grassroots members.

The “Marxist Voice of Labour and Youth” is not kind to Long-Bailey,


Long-Bailey showed her own timidity by distancing herself from Peake’s comments, rather than calling out the slanders and cynicism of the right. Worse still, she went on to say that she would not be “critical about the way I have might have been treated”, because “[t]he only way that we’ll win a general election is by being unified as a party.”

They continue,

So rather than standing up for herself, she rolls over and lets Starmer kick her in the teeth! This weakness on the part of the left leaders is in marked contrast to the right, who are resolute and ruthless in pursuing their agenda.

They concluded,

It is fruitless to seek unity with the Labour right wing. They represent the interests of big business, who are determined to reclaim the party from the Corbyn movement. The left leaders’ strategy of appeasement has been a proven failure over the past years, and is the reason we are in this position to begin with.

The unity we need is not one of concessions to the Blairites. We need genuine unity, based on organising Labour’s mass membership around bold socialist policies. This is the only way to avoid demoralisation and defeat.

No more compromises! Resist Blairite aggression! Unite and fight for a socialist Labour Party!

Here is their call to arms.

Socialist Appeal (SA) was founded by supporters of Ted Grant and Alan Wood after they were expelled from the Militant group in the early 1990s. While their former comrades founded the Socialist Party, they stayed inside Labour.

Socialist Appeal is said to be affiliated to the Labour Representation Committee.

The groupuscule is said to have over a 100 members.

They believed that Labour should have campaigned for Brexit on a socialist basis.

Their position was that the left should call for “the reform of the EU and its institutions, but with their destruction and replacement by a Socialist United States of Europe.”

If Corbyn and the Left had come out boldly against the EU – whilst defending workers’ rights and freedom of movement for all on a socialist basis – this would have transformed the situation. It could have shifted much of the debate away from immigration and onto the real nature of the EU – and to the question of how to improve society, particularly in the deindustrialised heartlands where Labour had lost support under Blair, Brown and Miliband.

Lessons of the Brexit saga

‘Utopian reform’ of the EU would not work. Failure to appeal  to the electorate to destroy the European Union and  in this way build support for socialist united states of Europe, cost Labour dearly in the ballot box.

Jeremy Corbyn compounded his error by not “waging a relentless assault against Blairism” as the interests of the working class demanded. After the election the “toxic mire of Blairism” loomed again. It “will end in disaster”.

One of SA’s best known international campaigns is the defence of President Maduro’s Venezuelan regime (No coup! No war! Hands off Venezuela! ). The success of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is too well known to need outlining.

SA is widely credited with having one of the most unreadable papers on the left.

This group is not alone in calling for a fight against the newly elected leader of the Labour Party.

Today opponents of Starmer have a new cause célèbre.

The Evening Standard reports,

Black Lives Matter UK has criticised Labour leader Keir Starmer after he dismissed their aim to “defund the police”.

The UK’s anti-racism group has joined demands from protesters around the world to “defund the police”, a term that refers to diverting of funds from law enforcement into other areas such as mental health services.

When asked about the process, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: “Nobody should be saying anything about defunding the police.

Black Lives Matter UK defended the movement on Twitter, as they said defunding the police is a call for more investment in “key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system”.

“As a public prosecutor, Sir Kier Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit,” said the anti-racism organisation.

These are some different responses to calls to ‘defund’ the Police.

2017 Election.

Labour will put 10,000 extra police on streets, vows Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour has pledged to put 10,000 additional police on to the streets of England and Wales in a policy designed to challenge the Conservatives in their own political territory of law and order.

Jeremy Corbyn will promise on Tuesday to fund the extra “bobbies on the beat” by reversing Tory cuts to capital gains tax (CGT) if he wins next month’s general election.

2019 Election,

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will give our NHS, schools and police the money they need

We will invest in every nation and region, rebuild our public services and give our NHS, schools and police the money they need by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone.

There are plenty of replies.

Socialist Appeal has its own angle on the calls.

Review: ‘The End of Policing’ – but how?

It’s not enough to have good ideas, we must participate in the class struggle to make them reality. In that spirit the last line of State and Revolution reads“It is more pleasant and useful to go through the ‘experience of revolution’ than to write about it.”

It will only be the experience of a working class, socialist revolution, that can really bring about the end of policing.

Can we suggest that they pursue their reading of State and Revolution in more convivial surroundings?

RS21 (a splinter from the SWP) have a thoughtful article which outlines just such a “perspective” (one of Ted Grant’s favourite words):


Outside the Labour Party things will surely be a lot happier for Socialist Appeal.

Is the Spartacist League Bankrupt?

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Nifty Headlines Already Missed.

George Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891) is set in a world where literature is becoming a commodity in the age of mechanical reproduction. Against the current and the pressure to produce pot-boilers, Edwin Reardon battles for the cause of art. The backdrop of the novel is obscure disputes fought out in ” the valley of the shadow of books”, the British Museum Reading Room.

A brief moment of happiness comes when the author meets a kindred soul, Biffin. Sophocles comes up.  “For half an hour the two men talked Greek metres as if they lived in a world where the only hunger known could be satisfied by grand or sweet cadences.”

Many people, well, at least one, like to compare the world of Leftist Trainspotting to New Grub Street. From our  garrets we do not visit the  Reading Room, but a greater virtual library. Ancient Greek poetry is replaced by the hard-to-decipher texts of leftist groups and their doings.

The latest topic is something of a bombshell, is the Spartacist League Bankrupt?

For decades the Sparts, the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist), have been a feature on the left. Last year their founder, James Robertson (1928–2019) passed away, and received a fitting tribute from, amongst others, Tendance Coatesy and James Robertson (a guest post).

Celebrated in the UK for their Private Eye Columnist Dave Spart, the group serves as a technical template for creative home-made placards, most recently by leading members of the Lambeth Left.

Sectarian hilarity for the left-wing trainspotter! The UK ...

They have brought joy and comfort in an otherwise dull political world:

Sectarian hilarity for the left-wing trainspotter! The UK Spartacist League’s papers from 1978-2011 now digitised and online

Now we learn, from eagle-eyed Spotter Paul F, reading one of the famously accurate publications of a Spart splinter, ( Internationalist Group and the League for the Fourth International) that they may be in trouble.

Silent Amidst Mass Upsurge Against Racist Oppression

Spartacist League Declares Bankruptcy

Amid the most massive protest movement in decades, as it has continued week after week, the Spartacist League has not published a paper, put out a leaflet or posted a single statement on its website on the killing of George Floyd or the mass protests against racist police terror. And this despite the fact that the core issue posed is black oppression, which the SL, from its inception, crucially emphasized as key to proletarian revolution in the citadel of imperialism.

At the same time, we noted that the SL/ICL’s flagship publication, Workers Vanguard, has now shrunk to four pages, with an issue skipped in April.

The current Workers Vanguard (29 May) that they are selling consists entirely of a “translation of a revised article from a March 2020 supplement” – that is, an item originally published two months previously – to the paper of their Greek group. (Discussing some of the ongoing internal turmoil, the most recent issue of the ICL’s theoretical journal had publicized the expulsion, on accusations of racist conduct, of two members who were involved in the Greek group’s work.)

Alas the financial collapse of Spartacism is not behind this.

Their silence speaks volumes: the SL’s abject abdication is a declaration of political bankruptcy.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 23, 2020 at 9:11 am

Anticapitalist Platform attacks “campaign of abuse and guilt by association”in Momentum Election.

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Anticapitalist Platform

“that this campaign has been allowed to flourish in the midst of Momentum’s election is an indictment of the democratic deficit at the heart of the organisation.”

Momentum’s response to the report on Labour’s election defeat (Election Review 2019)  contains this reference to “wrecking”.

Some people in Momentum seem to spend their time fighting ‘wreckers’.

The anticapitalist Platform (linked to the journal, Red Flag) have issued this declaration on the Momentum National Executive Committee Election – voting began on the 16th of June. (1)

A Statement on the Conduct of the NCG Election

As socialists we stand for maximum democracy and debate within our movement in order to clarify political differences and put competing ideas and strategies to the test of experience.

Throughout the Momentum NCG election, supporters of, and those who have worked with, the AWL group, have been subjected to a campaign of abuse and guilt by association which violates all democratic norms of the labour movement.

This includes vetting candidates for the supposedly ‘open primaries’ held by Forward Momentum, barring candidates from participating in ‘hustings’, and an anonymous Twitter campaign demanding “NCG candidates disavow [the AWL]”. This is a transparent attempt to bully candidates into repudiating the democratic choice of members if supporters of ‘Momentum Internationalists’ are elected.

As supporters of Red Flag we make no secret of our irreconcilable opposition to the politics of the AWL, most significantly in the context of the Labour Party, their equation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism. This leads them to brand principled opponents of Zionism as ‘political’ or ‘leftwing’ ‘antisemites’, which serves as a spurious ‘left’ cover for the Labour establishment’s witch-hunt.

Needless to say, this charge of antisemitism is one we reject with contempt. We understand that many defenders of Palestinian rights, including many courageous Jewish people, equally reject the AWL’s position on this issue, being themselves the target of right wing Zionist abuse. Nevertheless we are sure they will reject witch hunting and demagogy in reverse. Principles always pay in the long run.

The truth is, what their opponents, or at least the instigators of the campaign, really object to is the AWL’s consistent record of support for rank and file democracy in the trade unions, advocacy of the class struggle, and solidarity with democratic revolutions in the semi-colonial world. It is these remnants of the AWL’s original allegiance to Trotskyism that arouses the antipathy of this constellation of cliques, whose only common ground is their pathological hostility to the ideas of revolutionary Marxism.

The fact that this campaign has been allowed to flourish in the midst of Momentum’s election is an indictment of the democratic deficit at the heart of the organisation, and testament to the debased political culture prevailing in a disoriented and demoralised labour movement.

This witch-hunt is a deliberate distraction intended to divert attention from the poverty of the main factions’ platforms, which have nothing credible to offer on the key issues facing our movement: learning the lessons of the Corbyn movement and adjusting our strategy to meet the challenge of coronavirus, the economic crisis, and the emergence of a powerful anti-racist street movement.

All socialists and democrats should oppose demands to anathematise candidates because they belong to a different political tradition. It is wrong in principle, and it actually reveals the real attitude of such people to Momentum’s members and their democratic right to choose their own representatives.

Momentum, the Forward Momentum and Momentum Renewal slates, and MPs like John McDonnell, Richard Burgon, John Trickett, and others who have endorsed prominent candidates, should publicly condemn this undemocratic behaviour.

Those who persist in mounting intimidation campaigns against political opponents are aiding the right wing party leadership who recognise these pathfinders for the anti-socialist purge as temporary allies on their road to rescuing Labour for the ruling class.

This is a genuine and welcome statement.

It goes without saying that this Blog strongly disagrees with the assertion that the present Labour leadership is “right-wing” and preparing an “anti-socialist purge”.

We also have no intention of reproducing the latest quasi-pornographic tweets from Momentum Against the AWL which have passed the limits of decency.

It is worth noting that the wider ‘anti-wrecking’ wing of Momentum was involved in blocking attempts at Labour’s Conference to commit the Party to an internationalist anti-Brexit position.

Their conference factionalism is notorious.

Here they go again.

The Labour Party Marxist is now engaged in the Momentum elections

Affiliation and a line change (18.7.20)

 the LPM fraction in the OG voted against the LLA “encouraging” people to vote in the current Momentum NCG elections, and against endorsing any candidates, on the basis of not lending the organisation credibility. However, on reflection, and especially having listened to criticisms from the CPGB’s Provisional Central Committee, we have reconsidered our position. We see little point in standing ourselves, but we will support leftwing candidates who do. There remain disagreements within LPM’s fraction on the OG. Of course, they concern only matters of tactics. Our differences are entirely secondary, but we shall argue them out, openly if necessary.

There are those on the right in the LLA who believe Momentum is reformable. It is welcome then, that on this issue at least, we find ourselves with the majority (see LLA’s excellent ‘Can Momentum be reformed?’ online document5).

Either way, vote for principled leftwing candidates in Momentum, but do so with no illusions in Momentum.

(1) Labour List: The end of the parliamentary road. An anticapitalist platform for Momentum Urte Macikene.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 20, 2020 at 10:39 am