John McDonnell

Trade union struggle and political struggle - an interview with John McDonnell

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and former Shadow Chancellor, spoke to Sacha Ismail. After Labour Party conference, what do you think will happen with Starmer’s leadership? Do you think he’ll be around for a long time? It’s impossible to tell at the moment. At the conference he used the traditional Blairite, Mandelson playbook. Attack your own party to demonstrate you’re a strong leader; do a big personal speech to try to demonstrate you’re a normal human being; make banal statements instead of policy commitments. It didn’t work: the bounce in the polls didn’t happen. The...

"Public ownership is just as necessary for banking as health and education"

Marxist economist Michael Roberts (thenextrecession.wordpress.com) has long argued and campaigned to take the banking and financial system into public ownership. He spoke to us about why. Why is public ownership of banking and finance an important demand for the working class and labour movement? What are the key arguments? Banking is an important service for ordinary workers, households and businesses, particularly small businesses. When we get our wage packets, they’re normally paid into bank accounts, and when we conduct most of our transactions they’re conducted with bank cards or credit...

John McDonnell says: Labour must oppose a Tory Brexit deal

"I can't imagine any Brexit deal emerging that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents, that will protect our rights and the environment. I believe Labour should have nothing to do with this Tory deal and vote against it", declared John McDonnell MP at the Another Europe Is Possible AGM on 12 December 2020. The next day, 13 December, Ed Miliband as Shadow Business Secretary gave the strongest hint so far that the Labour front bench is, as he put, “minded to support” a deal, apparently more or less whatever is in it. As well as ending free movement between Britain and Europe -...

Isolation pay for all!

Just days after the government announced the planned easing of lockdown, over 180 people attended the Safe and Equal campaign’s first public Zoom meeting on 12 May. The meeting brought together workers from health, social care, local government, the civil service, supermarkets and retail, construction, power and education sectors, including many outsourced workers. The meeting heard from Ruth Cashman, library worker and Lambeth Unison joint branch secretary, Tracey McGuire, teaching assistant and NEU [National Education Union] Executive member, Kas Witana, NHS worker, and MPs John McDonnell...

Labour leadership: what about the anti-strike laws?

Speaking in Sheffield on 7 February, Labour leader candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey pledged to back all striking workers “no questions asked”, promising to be a leader “as comfortable on the picket line as at the dispatch box”. She argued that building up trade unionism should be central to increasing Labour support, including in areas lost to the Tories, and said a Labour government should aim to increase union membership by a million in its first year. We are not supporting Long-Bailey, because of her close ties to the established Labour "backroom" cabals of the Unite union hierarchy and long...

West Midlands feels the Byrne

Right-winger Liam Byrne has been selected as the Labour candidate to unseat Tory West Midlands metro-mayor Andy Street in May. Out of 6,948 votes, Byrne received 3,105 first preferences. There were two left candidates, former Dudley council leader Pete Lowe on 2,034 votes and former Respect activist Salma Yaqoob on 1,809. Yaqoob’s transfers did not go to Lowe, or not much more than they went to no second preference or to Byrne. After transfers Byrne beat Lowe 56.5-43.5%. Byrne has, for obvious reasons, made vague leftish noises, but he was a loyal minister in the Blair-Brown regime, nominated...

LRC shame

Over recent times, and recent weeks especially, the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), once a relatively lively and open group of the Labour left, has descended into little more than a Jackie Walker fan club, a cult dedicated to the denial of antisemitism. Over the weekend 4-5 January, it has crossed the line. Its Facebook account, having previously posted conspiratorial crap and posts about violent, right-wing Jew-hate being the only “real” antisemitism, shared content by Laura Stuart, a far-right activist who has circulated racist material including from David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan...

Neurodivergent Labour

On 30 November Neurodivergent Labour held its founding Annual General Meeting, after about three years of preliminary work of developing the organisation and writing the manifesto. The conference was well attended considering that we were in the middle of an election, with about 45 people present. The political make up seemed generally left wing, and the motions passed on work and education were left wing. John McDonnell had been billed to attend, but sent a message pledging to “take the [neurodivergency] manifesto into government”. The organisation could probably do with a few more young...

Facts and figures of the election

The Tories have condemned Labour’s plans as “eye-watering”, “wild”, “reckless”, “unaffordable” and set to “bankrupt the country”, with much of the press singing in tune. Just after Labour’s 2017 election manifesto came out, Solidarity estimated that its proposals would “take some tens of billions of pounds — John McDonnell estimates £50-odd billion — out of the £1,000 billion a year which currently goes to the rich and the very well-off, or to enterprises under their control”. The 2019 manifesto isn’t out until Thursday 21 November, but the indications are it will be a similar document to 2017...

Smear campaign against McDonnell

The Skwawkbox, a blog that frequently voices the opinions of the Labour leader’s most senior office staff, has started an attack on John McDonnell. The start seems to have been a now-deleted post which included the entire letter of resignation from the Leader’s Office of Andrew Fisher, a former worker in McDonnell’s MP’s office. The charge against McDonnell is that he is now attempting a coup, alongside the Labour right or so-called “centrists”, against Corbyn. Fisher, in resigning, seemed obliquely to suggest hostility to the “four Ms” — Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Andrew Murray and Len...

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