Labour Party

Unions must oppose far right
SUTR demonstration
SJWWed, 18/07/2018 - 11:33

While the 14 July mobilisation of anti-fascists to oppose the rally in support of former EDL leader Tommy Robinson was significantly better than that on 9 July, it was still smaller than that of Robinson’s supporters.

Some 5,000, many part of an organised far right gathered in Whitehall.

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On Labour’s new guidelines for dealing with antisemitism
Labour antisemitism
SJWWed, 18/07/2018 - 11:17

The Labour Party is right to engage with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines as a living document (something to be engaged with, discussed, analysed, interpreted and expanded upon), and indeed this is what it would appear was intended by the writers of the IHRA guidance.

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Seize chances of Tory chaos! Labour can stop Brexit!
Bollocks to Brexit stickers
SJWWed, 18/07/2018 - 11:01

Left Against Brexit committees and campaigns are being launched across the country along with organising efforts for the Left Against Brexit speaker tour (anothereurope.org/tour).

They are organising street stalls, debates, and speakers and motions to labour movement organisations.

With the Tories in trouble — even more trouble after Donald Trump told them that their Brexit plan would block a trade deal with the USA — an active Left Against Brexit campaign has a real chance of shifting the axis of debate.

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What should Labour do about policing?
A Labour Party leaflet in the shape of police helmets calling for more police officers
Gemma_STue, 17/07/2018 - 13:14

Carrie Evans spoke at Socialism makes Sense: Ideas for Freedom 2018 on 23-24 June about Labour, crime, and policing.

Labour have positioned themselves as the party of law and order. Most notably they are calling for police funding to go back to pre-2010 levels, and promising 25,000 extra police on the streets.

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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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Building the ‘Left Against Brexit’
Left Against Brexit
SJWThu, 21/06/2018 - 13:02

The Left Against Brexit is an initiative that seeks to take back what should be the common-sense left wing position on Brexit, and stand out from the more centrist establishment anti-Brexit campaigns.

David Miliband may believe speaking out with Nicky Morgan and Nick Clegg from a rice factory will do the trick. We don’t.

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RMT decides against reaffiliationSJWWed, 06/06/2018 - 15:12

The RMT SGM on 30 May voted narrowly to reject affiliation to the Labour Party. The overall vote, 25 – 31, is roughly proportionate to the votes in branches and regions on the question.

As was carried in Solidarity previously part of the blame for the failure to affiliate has been the attitude towards the question by those in the RMT national leadership who supported affiliation but posed it almost entirely as a question of influence in national structures and what kind of return would be received from the affiliation fee.

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Build the left against Brexit

Submitted by SJW on 6 June, 2018 - 2:45 Author: Editorial
Anti Brexit protest

Pressure is growing inside Labour for it to take a firm stance against Brexit.

Some of this pressure comes from the right of the Party. On Sunday 3 June Sadiq Kahn called for Corbyn to oppose Britain’s departure from the single market. He advocated Labour supports an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which aims to keep Britain in the European Economic Area, effectively signing the UK up to the so-called “Norway option”, which would retain access to the Single Market.

Comments

Submitted by AS on Mon, 11/06/2018 - 12:47

The article states Solidarity supports the PLP voting for amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would keep the UK in the EEA. Whilst this is an improvement on the prospect of a hard Brexit, I think it is the wrong approach to the question.

The AWL has been raising the slogan of 'Stop Brexit' and rightly so. Membership of the EEA is a poor substitute for full membership of the EU. EEA members must make budget contributions and accept regulations without having any say in decision making.

Furthermore, if we accept Labour is only arguing for EEA membership, we lose the opportunity for debate and give credence to the Labour right. The article correctly states their primary concern is for businesses to continue trading freely. Therefore whilst a Government defeat in Parliament is welcome, it will do nothing to aid our cause of building the left against Brexit.

Secondly, I think there is a typo in the phrase “A minority of Labour voters opposed Brexit”. From the context of the paragraph, I think this should read “A minority of Labour voters supported Brexit”. There were various arguments for a leave vote, from the Red Tories of Labour Leave to sections of the hard left peddling the myth of Lexit. In contrast, polling just after the referendum showed two thirds of Labour supporters voted 'Remain'. Today, opposition to Brexit is estimated at 80% among Labour members.

These statistics give further weight to having a proper debate on Brexit at this year's Labour Party Conference.

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"Bennism" warm and cold

Submitted by SJW on 6 June, 2018 - 12:44 Author: Martin Thomas
Benn and Scargill

There was nothing grand about Tony Benn’s house in Holland Park Avenue, Notting Hill, West London, but it was a big house in an expensive area, and with the sort of high-quality shabbiness which, so I learn from literature, is typical of “old wealth”.

John Bloxam and I were visiting, around 1981, to interview Benn for Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity. We asked him questions about the battles against Thatcher, and Labour Party affairs, and got answers which gave ideas close to our own added weight and audibility as coming from one of Labour’s best-known figures.

Comments

Submitted by Matthew on Wed, 06/06/2018 - 16:06

Benn might have been relatively wealthy, but I wouldn't describe him as an aristocrat. He came rather from the upper middle class - I think his family owned a small publishing firm - and was descended from radical Liberal MPs and Nonconformist ministers (a similar background in fact to Michael Foot). His father was the first to hold the title he later succeeded to, having been appointed as an emergency wartime Labour peer.

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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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