Ken Livingstone

Dick Whittington's heir —The Truth About Mayor Ken Livingstone

Dick Whittington

Author: 

John Bloxam

Robbed of the official Labour candidacy by Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone defied the New Labour leaders and in the summer of 2000 was elected Mayor of London. No sooner was Livingstone installed as Mayor than he created a Tory-Liberal-New Labour “popular front” government for London.

The most “left-wing” plank in his election platform had been opposition to Blairite plans to privatise London Underground.

Ken Livingstone, from the 1970s to today: class struggle politics disappeared from Livingstone’s agenda, if they were ever seriously part of it, in the early 1980s.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

A portrait of Gerry Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party, patron of the Livingstone Labour Left, in 1980

Gerry Healy
For describing the WRP as like the Moonies, John Bloxam and Sean Matgamna were in 1980 sued for libel by the actress Vanessa Redgrave. The WRP was then subsidising and producing Labour Herald, the paper of the Livingstone Labour left.

For describing the WRP as a cross between the Moonies, the Scientologists, and the Jones Cult, which exploited young people, etc.,John Bloxam and Sean Matgamna were in 1981 sued for libel by the actress Vanessa Redgrave. This portrait of the WRP was part of an appeal for labour movement support in fighting the libel action. The WRP was then subsidising and producing Labour Herald, the paper of the Livingstone Labour left.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Around the world: 

Livingstone: goodbye and good riddance

Conceding defeat in the contest for London mayor, on 3 May, Ken Livingstone said: “This is my last election”. As with many things Livingstone says, it’s not true.

Livingstone is a candidate on the “centre-left” list in Labour’s National Executive this year. Though many of those who have nominated him will confirm privately that Livingstone is utterly unreliable on the Executive, they think they have no choice but to have him on the list, because he’s a potential winner and a reliable right-winger might replace him.

Voters in London on 3 May could see nothing left-wing in Livingstone’s pitch, and only gimcrackery in his attempts to display himself as a maverick.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

How red is Ken Livingstone? (Workers' Liberty London forum)

Date: 

19 April, 2012 - 18:00 to 20:00

Location: 

The Lucas Arms, 245a Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross, London WC1X 8JR

Description: 

As the London elections approach, there has, rightly in Workers' Liberty's view, been a lot of controversy over Ken Livingstone's links to right-wing Islamist forces and his attitude to Jewish people. These are not the only ways in which Livingstone is anything but left-wing. His record, particularly as mayor of London, is one of shamelessly pro-capitalist policies varnished by an increasingly thing layer of left-wing rhetoric.

So why does the myth of "Red Ken" persist? And why do even those on the left who agree his politics are deeply flawed key into the narrative of a courageous and principled maverick, when all the evidence is to the contrary?

Where does Ken Livingstone come from politically and what does his evolution tell us about the Labour Party and labour movement? Given his record, why does Workers' Liberty advocate a Labour vote in the London elections? Come and discuss the real issues, issues hidden in the mainstream press.

Facebook event here

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Vote Labour, expel Livingstone

Two bottom lines: vote Labour. And expel Livingstone from the Labour Party.

If poor Eric Joyce can be expelled simply for getting pissed and punching a few Tories, then surely Livingstone’s blatant anti-semitism should be sufficient to get him booted out.

I’ve campaigned and voted for candidates as bad as Livingstone before: Liam Byrne for one. Voting Labour is a class duty, not a petty bourgeois choice. But that doesn’t mean we have to tolerate whatever the Party machine serves up. Miliband’s defence of Livingstone is disgraceful. Livingstone must be expelled.

Why Ken Livingstone should be expelled from the Labour Party.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Ken Livingstone and anti-semitism

A letter from prominent Jewish Labour Party supporters to party leader Ed Miliband, leaked to the press around 21 March, has expressed some profound concerns following a 1 March meeting between party activists and London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone.

Most of the criticisms made by Jewish Labour Party supporters following a meeting with Ken Livingstone about his attitudes on Jews and anti-semitism ring true.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Vote Livingstone... very critically

Ken Livingstone has aligned himself with the Occupy movement and attacked the tax-avoiding rich. Now, however, it seems he is one of them himself.

There has been a minor scandal in the media because Livingstone and his wife set up a company to channel money from his media appearances and speeches — allowing them to avoid the 50% income tax rate and pay 20% corporation tax instead.

However inadequate from a working-class socialist point of view Livingstone is, a victory for Labour in the mayoral election would be a blow against the Tory government.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

London mayor election: vote Labour, but have no faith in Livingstone

With the London Mayoral Elections approaching, many socialists will feel conflicted. On the one hand, we have the opportunity to remove Boris Johnson, the Tory incumbent who has spent the last year hiking fares, cutting services and making clear his desire to curtail the rights of trade unionists. On the other hand, in most elections anyway, many socialists feel reluctant to call for a Labour vote.

The AWL calls for a Labour vote in the upcoming London mayoral election - but not because we regard Ken Livingstone as a socialist or serious left-winger.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

How red is Ken? A Workers' Liberty London forum

Date: 

17 April, 2008 - 20:30 to 22:00

Location: 

The Lucas Arms, 245a Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross, London

Description: 

London mayor Ken Livingstone has a reputation for being "red" - a left-wing socialist politician. But is it deserved? In recent years, he has gone along with privatising bits of the Tube and called for striking Tube workers to cross picket lines, backed the police over the Jean Charles de Menezes killing and embraced the City of London and property developers. But was he ever any better? Come and join the discussion about Ken Livingstone's history and record.

Speakers in the debate: Martin Thomas (Workers' Liberty); Richard Price (Labour Briefing)

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Vanessa Redgrave, the WRP and Libyan money

The British Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP) was a sizeable organisation up to its implosion in 1985.

The WRP, in return for money from Iraq and Libya, spied on Arab dissidents and prominent Jews in Britain. Most shamefully of all they helped to get a number of Iraqi Communist Party members shot by Saddam Hussein.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Am I an MI5 agent? An open letter in reply to Ken Livingstone (1998)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Mr Livingstone,

Marx once rightly said:”To leave error uncorrected is to encourage intellectual immorality.”

But that has little to do with what I’m engaged in now! Dealing with an irresponsible old gobshite, unserious in everything political except self advancement, is no matter of an exchange of ideas and views with another socialist or of comradely “correction” and counter-correction. It is work akin to what sanitation workers do – unpleasant but necessary.

The editor of 'Workers' Liberty' responds to Ken Livingstone's accusation that he is “certainly mad and most probably an MI5 agent.”

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The left assesses 6 May

A round-up.


Charlie Kimber, the new editor of Socialist Worker, was the main speaker at the SWP's Central London "after the election" meeting on 13 May.

His speech sounded like part of a campaign by the SWP leadership to re-educate their membership away from the "Rage against Labour" orientation which they were pushing as recently as September 2009.

Kimber emphasised that the surprisingly buoyant Labour vote on 6 May was a class vote. People now rallying to Labour. Labour will talk a different language from when in office.

A round-up.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

London Labour left meeting calls for restoration of Labour Party democracy

Author: 

Martin Thomas

On 11 May former London mayor Ken Livingstone told the Daily Express that the coming Labour leadership contest would offer "a clear choice between left and right", and classified Ed Miliband and Ed Balls as the possible "left" candidates.

Speaking at a "Next Steps for Labour" meeting on 17 May in London, however, Livingstone spent much of his time rubbishing the younger Miliband.

A Labour left meeting organised by Ken Livingstone on 17 May called for a restoration of Labour Party democracy.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The City Hall office road to socialism?

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Redmond O’Neill, a leader of the Socialist Action group, has died aged 55 of cancer. Because O’Neill was an official in Ken Livingstone’s London mayoral administration, his death has received wide attention, for instance in the Guardian.

Ken Livingstone’s obituary describes him as a “lifelong revolutionary socialist and leading figure on the left for three decades”. In fact, for many years it has been an abuse of language to call O’Neill and his organisation socialist, or even really part of the left.

Redmond O’Neill, a leader of the Socialist Action group, has died aged 55 of cancer. Because O’Neill was an official in Ken Livingstone’s London mayoral administration, his death has received wide attention, for instance in the Guardian.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Redmond O'Neill, Socialist Action and "respect for the dead"

O'Neill

Author: 

Sacha Ismail
Redmond O'Neill of the Socialist Action group has died aged 55. How should we assess the politics he represented?

Redmond O’Neill, a leader of the Socialist Action group, has died aged 55 of cancer. Because O’Neill was an official in Ken Livingstone’s London mayoral administration, his death has received wide attention, for instance in the Guardian.

Trade Unions: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Who is Ken Livingstone’s hero?

Author: 

Sinead Asch

There is a Radio Four programme, Great Lives, in which prominent people nominate their “hero” and then discuss the hero with an “expert” — usually the hero’s biographer — with the one-time Tory MP Matthew Parris chairing the discussion.

As it turns out... Robert Kennedy

Culture and Reviews: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Popular Front, London-style

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Ken Livingstone has launched an organisation called “Progressive London” (http://www.progressivelondon.org.uk), backed by a “broad alliance of individuals, campaigns, communities, artists, trade unions, environmentalists, political parties and groups”. It is for “all those who believe in social justice, environmental protection, good community relations, cultural innovation and the many other areas in which London has made a contribution recognised throughout the world.”

Ken Livingstone has launched an organisation called “Progressive London” (www.progressivelondon.org.uk), backed by a “broad alliance of individuals, campaigns, communities, artists, trade unions, environmentalists, political parties and groups”.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Don't support "Progressive London"!

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Ken Livingstone has launched an organisation called "Progressive London", backed by a "broad alliance of individuals, campaigns, communities, artists, trade unions, environmentalists, political parties and groups". It is for "all those who believe in social justice, environmental protection, good community relations, cultural innovation and the many other areas in which London has made a contribution recognised throughout the world."

Why socialists must oppose labour movement support for Ken Livingstone's new "campaign".

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Socialist Action lashes out

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

These are bad times for the Socialist Action group. Not only did the defeat of Ken Livingstone mean the loss of their sinecures at City Hall, their front group “Student Broad Left” has now almost disappeared. In an attempt to shore up their position, SA have hit out at their erstwhile allies in the SWP.

These are bad times for the Socialist Action group. Not only did the defeat of Ken Livingstone mean the loss of their sinecures at City Hall, their front group “Student Broad Left” has now almost disappeared.

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Trade Unions: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Livingstone boasts of support from big business

Articles in the 8 and 9 May editions of the Guardian provided yet more evidence of how left-wing Ken Livingstone and his coterie are not.

Articles in the 8 and 9 May editions of the Guardian provided yet more evidence of how left-wing Ken Livingstone and his coterie are not.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Woeful London Elections

Over on Stroppyblog, Janine warns of a gloomy result in the London elections and picks apart how we got into this state; and looks at the Left List's response.

Over on Stroppyblog, Janine <a href="http://stroppyblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/nightmare-awaits-us-who-is-to-blame.html">warned of a gloomy result in the London elections</a> and picks apart how we got into this state; and <a href="http://stroppyblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/whos-sorry-now.html">looks at the Left List's response</a>.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Vote left, not Livingstone no.1!

City Hall

Author: 

Colin Foster

No, readers of Solidarity should not vote no.1 for Ken Livingstone for mayor of London. Despite all the frantic appeals to us to vote for him as a "lesser evil" than Boris Johnson, he deserves no credit or endorsement from working-class people.

Because of the vestigial links New Labour may still have with the trade unions, we'll vote Livingstone no.2. But for our no.1 vote we'd rather be with the left-wingers and activists who will vote for the Left List (despite the terrible weakness of that list, on which more later).

No, we should not vote no.1 for Ken Livingstone for mayor of London. Despite all the frantic appeals to us to vote for him as a "lesser evil" than Boris Johnson, he deserves no credit or endorsement from working-class people.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Tubeworker 18/4/08: Mayor election - Who speaks for us?

The new issue of Tubeworker assesses the contest between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone for London Mayor. It also reports on a cleaning company clamping down on immigration papers, the forthcoming strike on Metronet, the way forward after the recent casualisation dispute on LUL and much more.

Click on the file name below to view, download and/or print it. Click here to read Tubeworker's weblog.

The new issue of Tubeworker assesses the contest between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone for London Mayor. It also reports on a cleaning company clamping down on immigration papers, the forthcoming strike on Metronet, the way forward after the recent casualisation dispute on LUL and much more.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

NUT left abstain on homophobia

By abstaining on this motion Ray Sirotkin, the SWP and a large chunk of the STA shamed themselves once again.

For the first time in its history, the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers debated a motion submitted by LGBT teachers from their own conference. The motion, entitled “International Homophobia and Transphobia” condemned the current levels of anti-LGBT bigotry in Britain and the rising tide of militant right-wing attacks on LGBT people and Pride demonstrations around the world. Poland, Russia, Israel and Iran were among the places singled out for mention.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Workers’ Power back Livingstone

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Particularly since it expelled the bulk of its founders and trade union activists in 2006, the Workers’ Power group has been notable for combining rhetorical ultra-leftism with opportunism and wild political zig zags. Now the r-r-revolutionaries have surprised even the most jaded sectarian-watchers by supporting a first preference vote for Ken Livingstone, rather than Lindsey German of the SWP/Respect, in the upcoming London mayoral elections.

The r-r-revolutionaries have surprised even the most jaded sectarian-watchers by supporting a first preference vote for Ken Livingstone

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Vote Lindsey German no. 1

“Red” Ken Livingstone’s campaign for re-election is being supported with a high profile statement signed by... trade union militants? left activists? anti-cuts campaigners? No, instead we have a statement of the great and good, launched by that oh so radical organisation Compass.

“Red” Ken Livingstone’s campaign for re-election is being supported with a high profile statement signed by... trade union militants? left activists? anti-cuts campaigners? No, instead we have a statement of the great and good, launched by that oh so radical organisation Compass.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

SWP-Respect to challenge Livingstone

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Let’s look on the bright side first. SWP-Respect is reaffirming the need for a left challenge to Livingstone as London mayor.

George Galloway and his Respect-Renewal are now backing “Red Ken”, and appealing for a vaguely-left “Progressive List” for the Assembly. SWP-Respect says it will run candidates in the London mayor and assembly elections (May 2008) to respond to the needs of “working people” and present a “positive alternative”.

SWP-Respect is reaffirming the need for a left challenge to Livingstone as London mayor.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Open Ken's books, but don't back Boris!

London
We are no friends of Livingstone, but a lot of the Channel 4 TV documentary on 21 January was like the Tory candidate of whose election campaign the assault is meant to serve — ridiculous!

The knives are out for Ken Livingstone. He is targetted by the main London paper, the Evening Standard. He is the subject of a sustained smear campaign — he’s a drunk, a secret “Trotskyite”.

Some of his advisors run a careerist mafia, which for god knows what reason calls itself Socialist Action. We in Solidarity are no friends of Livingstone, but a lot of this is like the Tory candidate of whose election campaign this assault is meant to serve — ridiculous!

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Socialist Action - "the greatest defeats"

City Hall

Author: 

Mark Osborn

Questions from a friend: "How stupid are these people? How wrong can they be?"

These notes are an analysis of the magazine of the Socialist Action group over the period 1989-93 and deal with the collapse of Eastern European "Communism", the Stalinist coup attempt in Russia of August 1991 and the 1990-91 Gulf war.
The period begins with the final withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan at the beginning of 1989 ("Defeat in Afghanistan" - SA no.2, March-April 1989) and ends with SA justifying Russian nationalism.

These notes are an analysis of the magazine of the Socialist Action group over the period 1989-93 and deal with the collapse of Eastern European "Communism", the Stalinist coup attempt in Russia of August 1991 and the 1990-91 Gulf war.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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