Left groups and people

How can Sanders beat Trump?

In early June, voters in the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands will go to the polls to choose their delegates for the Democratic National Convention. When that happens, the primary season will be officially over, though it is likely to end well before that. If polls today are accurate and nothing much changes in the next few months (rather large assumptions, obviously), according to The New York Times and the respected FiveThirtyEight website, Bernie Sanders is likely to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. He is already generally acknowledged to be the front-runner due to the implosion...

Labour NEC: vote Townsend and Wright!

The by-election for three places on Labour’s National Executive Committee is messy, with multiple “left” slates or partial slates in competition. Momentum, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, the rump Labour Representation Committee, and the (Chris-Williamson-ite) Labour Left Alliance are supporting different combinations of candidates. • CLPD are backing Lauren Townsend and Cecile Wright for the two CLP places • Momentum, Lauren Townsend and Leigh Drennan, plus Nav Mishra for the BAME place • LRC, Jo Bird and Deborah Hobson, plus Hassan Ahmed for BAME • LLA, Jo Bird and Mohammed Azam...

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...

Irish election: behind the left surge

The Irish election results have seen an unprecedented surge of support for Sinn Féin, overtaking both the establishment parties to win the popular vote with 24.5% of first preference votes, to Fianna Fáil’s 22.2% and Fine Gael’s 20.9%. SF’s vote was a rejection of the two-party system, which has seen FF and FG rotate in power since the early 1930s. This rejection was overwhelmingly fuelled by anger about issues such as housing, homelessness and health. Whatever SF’s willingness and capacity to deliver fundamental change on these issues, or its credentials as a genuinely left-wing party, the...

Sanders and the unions

Bernie Sanders has introduced a new phrase into American politics: “working class.” For decades, hardly anyone has used those two words together. It was far more common to speak of the “middle class” or, more recently, “working families”. By employing the language of class, Sanders has staked out his claim to be the candidate of the trade unions. In early 2016, when Sanders’ chances of getting elected were considered to be around zero, the leaders of most major American unions rushed to endorse Hillary Clinton. In most cases, members were not asked who they supported, and to many union leaders...

What France teaches us

My decision to go on the delegation to France organised by AWL on 25-26 January had its roots in what happened on 12 December. As a Labour activist and socialist for two years, I had a flame of hope that a left-wing government could triumph. As we all know, it didn’t. Facing an 80-seat Tory majority which will destroy communities, workers rights and environmental protections the question became — what next? The possibility for resistance still exists and always will, so when I saw the opportunity to go and learn from the French strikes in Paris, I jumped. The only way we can resist the...

What alternative in Iraq?

The protests in Iraq are not just around a particular demand, but against the whole governmental system. How can an alternative government be won, and what sort of government? We talk about councils – in place of bourgeois parliamentary democracy, we want councils which establish direct democracy in neighbourhoods and workplaces. When there is a political vacuum, these bodies can take control of cities. However, this kind of idea is unfamiliar to the younger generation in particular, who know little about socialist traditions. The young people in the protests we discuss with often think we...

Bernie Sanders, dangerous Trotskyist?

In the hunt for dirt on Bernie Sanders, hostile journalists have come up with very little. He had his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. He wrote some dodgy stuff in an alternative newspaper as a very young man. And that’s pretty much it. It’s hard to find anything really juicy in Sanders’ past because his politics have been fairly consistent from the time he joined the Young People’s Socialist League (YPSL) in the early 1960s until today. It was in the YPSL that he learned to be a democratic socialist and he remains a democratic socialist even now. But one story has recently surfaced which is...

New decade, old approach?

Three years after Stormont collapsed, following the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), power-sharing returned to Northern Ireland on 11 January and a new Executive was formed. The general election on 12 December punished both the main parties, the DUP and SF. There was growing anger at the continuing deadlock, which saw a crisis in public services — NI has the longest NHS waiting lists in the UK and schools are under huge financial pressure — while legislators still received their salaries. A well-supported health workers’ strike for the restoration of pay parity with UK NHS staff (broken by the...

Bob Sutcliffe 1939-2019

Bob Sutcliffe, a well-known Marxist economist for over fifty years, and at one time a comrade of ours in the Workers’ Socialist League of 1981-84, died on 23 December 2019, aged 80. I last talked with Bob about 10 years ago, when I was seeking interviews and discussions with Marxist economists about the 2007-8 crisis and its aftermath. Bob explained that his health was bad, and he couldn’t contribute, but he was, as ever, friendly, helping me with introductions to other economists. He was then, and had been for some years, working as a university teacher in the Basque country of Spain. When I...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.