Editor's Choice

EU fences off refugeesSJWWed, 04/07/2018 - 14:04

As the leaders of the EU countries on 27-29 June put their names to their “universal accord” on immigration policy, news arrived of another horrific tragedy off the coast of Libya.

A hundred men, women, and children drowned as their rubber boat exploded and they drifted helplessly in waters where NGO rescue ships are now banned by Marco Minniti, Italy’s Minister of the Interior, not in the current right-wing Italian government, but in the previous centre-left one.

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Make Labour the "party of strikes"
Corbyn speaking at Unison conference
SJWWed, 04/07/2018 - 12:33

There are many who think that trade unions have had their day. While new and powerful labour movements are emerging around the world, on the whole the labour movement in Britain is very much on the defensive.

I was born at the end of the miners’ strike, and I am in no doubt that trade unionists are on the back foot. The trade union movement is now half the size that it was at its 1979 peak, with vastly fewer elected workplace reps and shop stewards. Strike numbers are at an all-time low.

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Socialism Makes Sense: Ideas For Freedom 2018 report

Submitted by SJW on 4 July, 2018 - 12:23
IFF walking tour

Just under 200 people attended Ideas for Freedom 2018, a weekend socialist summer school organised by Workers’ Liberty on 23-24 June in London. The title of the school this year was “Socialism Makes Sense”, and sessions aimed to make the basic case for a revolutionary socialist transformation of capitalist society.

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For a workers' Europe

Submitted by AWL on 2 June, 2015 - 5:28 Author: Editorial

A proposal to the class-struggle left, from Workers’ Liberty.

The government intends to hold an in-out referendum on the UK’s European Union membership. David Cameron is currently attempting to negotiate with other EU leaders to allow the UK government more power at the expense of the EU.

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Industrial policy in one country?

Submitted by SJW on 6 June, 2018 - 12:32 Author: Martin Thomas

The economist Costas Lapavitsas, who has done important work on financialisation, has written a widely-cited article for the US magazine Jacobin (30 May) to argue that Labour should back Brexit after all.

Indeed, his article systematically cites the “hardest” sort of Brexit — where Britain has no arrangement with the European Union to reduce economic barriers other than that given by general World Trade Organisation rules — as preferable.

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Preserve the right to criticise Israel

Submitted by SJW on 6 June, 2018 - 12:38 Author: Sean Matgamna
Jews in USA protest at Gaza killings

Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has recently said that “anti-Zionism” is the new antisemitism. “In the 19th and 20th centuries [Jews] were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel”.

That is true, I think. But it needs explication if we are distinguish well between that anti- Zionism and reasonable criticism of Israel. And it’s been true for a very long time, for decades in fact. It is now the specifically “left” strand of antisemitism.

Comments

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Fri, 08/06/2018 - 03:28

Increasingly the dominant trend on the U.S. left is what I'd call immediate binationalism -- the idea that "the two-state solution is dead" and that the only possible way forward for Palestinian liberation to to push for a binational state of all historic Palestine (NOT the old PLO idea of Jews having religious but no national rights). And when US socialists chant "from the river to the sea..." that's what they mean. I've asked.

You may argue that this is utopian -- at this point I'm not sure if the two-state program as promoted by, say, Gush Shalom is any less utopian -- but I wouldn't call it "political antisemitism." Your thoughts, comrades?

Submitted by Jim Denham (not verified) on Fri, 08/06/2018 - 10:38

In reply to by Jason Schulman

The problem with people who proclaim "the two state solution is dead" is that ther words can be interpreted in at least two ways – one benign if naive (Israel must voluntarily give up its statehood and turn itself into some kind of bi-national state in which Jews and Palestinians will live together in happy harmony), the other definitely *not* benign (Israel must be destroyed). The fact that a lot of leftists, "anti-zionists" and avowed pro-Palestian campaigners appear not to recognise the need to be very precise and clear about what they are, and are not, saying, and the fact that many of them seem quite happy to share platforms with people whose “anti- zionism” has definitely crossed the line into antisemitism, makes me very doubtful about the honesty of some of these people. Unfortunately, they're only too typical of the kind of “well-meaning” liberals in and around the PSC (in Britain) who claim they’re not antisemites, but seem quite willing to associate with people who are.

Finally, even if we accept the claim that these people simply means Israel reforming itself out of existance , or the widely-touted argument that socialists are in favour of the “withering away” of all states…how come these arguments are virtually never used about other nation-states, including those (like the USA, Australia and Argentina) that – unlike Israel – were created by means of genocide?

Submitted by Jams O'Donnell on Sun, 10/06/2018 - 18:25

This is just an apology for fascism. They only acceptable solution to the problem of zionism and Palestinian rights is a one state solution with equal rights for all, and with no religious basis, either Judaism, Islam, Christianity or anything else. This toadying to the Israeli government's orchestrated campaign to equate anti-zionism with anti-semitism is an enabler for continued state-sponsored murder and ethnic cleansing. People publishing this sort of state-sponsored propaganda should be ashamed to call yourselves 'leftists'.

Try taking your lead from Jewish anti-zionists such as Phillip Weiss - "Mondoweiss" instead of the Israeli government.

PS I'll be surprised if this entry is still here in a couple of hours.

Submitted by Barry Finger on Wed, 13/06/2018 - 15:17

“You may argue that this is utopian -- at this point I'm not sure if the two-state program as promoted by, say, Gush Shalom is any less utopian -- but I wouldn't call it "political antisemitism." Your thoughts, comrades?”

I don’t think that I’m one of the comrades Jason was addressing. But I’ll put my two cents in anyway in the hope that others might feel obliged to respond.

The short answer is this: what is the context in which this slogan is raised? For instance, there is nothing objectionable or racist in the abstract with the slogan “all lives matter.” In many situations this is a democratic and fully humanistic outcry.

But when used as a response to “#Black Lives Matter” something else is introduced: the suggestion that blacks have no special grievances, that the insistence of pervasive racism in policing is an excuse to avoid the “real issue” of rampant criminality in the black community.

So too with the one-state solution. In the abstract, it is fully compatible with our democratic aspirations. In the concrete, it denies the reality of how Israel came to being as an ingathering of the most traumatized and victimized remnants of the worldwide Jewish community.

And I’m not speaking here solely or even mainly of the offspring of concentration camp survivors and holocaust escapees. This story is well told. I’m also talking about the descendants of Mizrahi Jews, communities and civilizations who predated the Arab and Muslim conquests by centuries and were ethnically cleansed far more thoroughly than the Palestinians were by the Israeli rulers. Those with money or credentials fled to the West; the poor – those who lost everything -- became Israel’s “rightwing” working class.

The demand for a one-state solution in all of Palestine (Jordan too?) is one of many rightful and just remedies for Palestinian grievances. But it is also betrays an abject blindness to the equally valid trauma of ethnically cleansed Israelis, who scour the Arab world for evidence of the very toleration and trust – the social and political equality -- they never experienced as constituents of that world. For them it is a return to the vulnerability of the status quo ante.

It also suggests that that anything less than a one-state solution is a concession to a fundamentally criminal and illegitimate state, just as "BLM is said by racists to be a means of deflecting from the issue of black lawlessness. In this sense, while not anti-semitism, this slogan may be a not-too distant relative.

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Jenö Landler 1875-1928

Submitted by SJW on 6 June, 2018 - 3:04 Author: John Cunningham
Jenö Landler (left) on his way to Moscow for the Third Congress of the Communist International (Comintern) with György Lukács (right — hands in pockets).

It is 90 years since the death of the Hungarian Communist Jenö Landler.

His is not a name that will evoke much response today. He did not leave a written legacy but he was one of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes and never occupy the spotlight. Without him and countless thousands of other unsung activists where would we be today? They too should be remembered and honoured along with the “big names”.

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Ken Livingstone: good riddance

Submitted by SJW on 22 May, 2018 - 8:41 Author: Colin Foster

Ken Livingstone resigned from the Labour Party on 21 May. Good riddance!

He ceased to be a real left-winger decades ago, he has a clear record of high-profile antisemitic comments, and he has been aggressively persistent about them.

Yet the Labour Party is still blundering along without any open and thorough discussion of antisemitism. There are still people on the left who see nothing wrong in what Livingstone has said. Suspensions, expulsions, resignations will resolve little until we have that discussion.

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A revolutionary left turned neoliberal

Submitted by SJW on 1 May, 2018 - 9:02 Author: Rhodri Evans
Ortega & Putin

According to a local human rights group, at least 34 unarmed demonstrators have been killed, and hundreds injured, as the Nicaraguan government has attacked protests against pension changes which will make workers pay more from their wages to get less in pensions.

The government has promised to consider changes, but only in discussion with Nicaragua’s bosses’ federation, its main social ally.

Yet this government is headed by Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinista Liberation Front, which first won power in Nicaragua in 1979 as an avowedly revolutionary socialist force.

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How the ground was laid for Enoch Powell

Submitted by SJW on 25 April, 2018 - 11:09 Author: Matt Cooper
Dockers march for Enoch

Last week saw the fiftieth anniversary of Enoch Powell’s “River of Blood” speech”.

The contents of the speech are well known, arguing that black and Asian people were an immutable and alien pollutant in Britain and that immigration should be stopped and reversed through repatriation.

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