Sunday, 23 September 2018

Labour Party Fringe (3) : Labour Against the Witch hunt

Labour against the witch-hunt

One of the more sinister fringe groups active inside the Labour Party is the Labour Against the Witch Hunt (LAW). This group contains, defends and promotes some of the worst individuals in and around the Labour Party.

Closely associated with the Jewish Voice for Labour which contains many of the same individuals either in or about LAW or their defence campaigns. These include two well known and rather unpleasant individuals like Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein.

LAW is gearing up to be very active during Labour Party Conference and inform their supporters:

We are at a crucial moment in the civil war in the party, with the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and the left in the party reaching ever new heights. We understand that in addition to their plans to force Corbyn’s hand on Brexit (there is a demo planned on Sunday afternoon) and the ongoing smears around Anti-Semitisn, the right is also planning on sabotaging conference wherever possible.

LAW use the totally unreliable propagandist Skwawkbox website to claim that the "right-wing" plan to disrupt meeting including ones with Chris Williamson the "Beira" of the Corbynista left:

Right-wingers hope to force conference delegates to ‘run the gauntlet’ of a placard-waving demonstration that will claim to be about antisemitism, but in reality is about undermining and removing the party’s leader.

Usually of course conferences and meetings are surrounded by hordes of left-wing newspaer seller and other leftie protestors complaining about this and that. The fact that others might dare protest against them is so galling to the comrades ego's. 

They further claim:

The right has a fourfold plan for the Conference fringe and the parallel ‘The World Transformed‘ (TWT) event. Disruption is planned at any fringe event that Corbyn is expected to attend, or that involves the Jewish Voice for Labour group or its supporters. In addition, any appearances by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, Labour general secretary Jennie Formby or Chris Williamson are on the hit-list.

Not a shred of evidence of course though any attempt by someone who attends one the meetings run by the Corbynites that attempts to disagree will of course be fingered as a disruptive right winger. Of course the fact it's usually the left that engages in planned disruptions of "right-wing" (by which they mean anyone the left disagrees with) meetings is an irony lost on the comrades. Perhaps they should be the ones pointed out by the Dear Leader as those who do not understand history or the British sense of irony. 

Oh yeah, that's Jews Zionists of course..........

LAW advises the comrades: not let right-wingers provoke you. We know they will try and they will in all likelihood have somebody with a camera nearby. They will want to make us look like dangerous lunatics..

Not that they aren't already of course.

Talking of Zionists LAW take a strong view  of the National Exective adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, personalising it around the unsavoury types who have been excluded, suspended or expelled from the Labour Party:

For the last three years, vastly exaggerated claims that the Labour Party is awash with anti-Semites have been used to attack the left. But Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein and hundreds of other Labour Party members were little more than collateral damage.

This vicious campaign, orchestrated by the pro-Zionist lobby and the right in the party, never had anything to do with fighting anti-Semitism – but everything with getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn. His pro-Palestinian views and socialist policies make him unacceptable to both.

It's all about them and their precious ego's. The destruction of a nation to satisfy their ideological mores of course is not bigotry. But then these people, like Corbyn have never worked for peace. Ever.

Oh and they want Lansman (who recognises anti-Semitism but remains an "anti-Zionist") "dealt with and call for:

Instead of defending Corbyn, Momentum owner Jon Lansman has sided with the witch-hunters. He has thrown Jackie Walker and Pete Willsman to the wolves and is now ready to abandon Corbyn, too. He wants the term ‘Zionism’ banned. He runs Momentum like a dictator, having abolished all democratic structures.

Not a bit like the Bolsheviks then?

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Labour Party Fringe (2) : Labour Party Marxists

 Labour Party Marxists  Communist Party of Great Britain

The Labour Party Marxists are a front organisation for the Communist Party of Great Britain (Weekly Worker) and hold joint "educational" meetings.  Oddly enough one of their number, Jim Grant writes in the latest edition of the Weekly Worker that:

This year’s event looks set to see fierce controversy, in the hall and the hallways. It is now the job of an outsider-left leadership to keep the whole show on the road.

This is no small matter. Even allowing for the fact that the standard method for the right to roll back the gains of the left in this period is to keep the atmosphere at a perpetual level of crisis, it is a particularly fraught moment for a conference.

There's no love lost between the LPM and Momentum as Grant takes a swipe at Lansman:

Particularly obvious is the cooling of relations between the leader’s office and Momentum, with the outlines of a sharp disagreement discernible during the fiasco of John Lansman’s abortive tilt at the general secretary’s job.....

Lansman, by ensuring Momentum developed merely into a factional machine under his own tight control, played this role in an earlier phase - a small matter which rather puts his sudden democratism in perspective. Yet his internet irregulars are small fry compared to the institutional power of the major unions, so Corbyn has good reason to shelter with them instead, if shelter is forthcoming. So much the worse for the rest of us.

And here's the crux:

The bottom line is that the struggle for the transformation of the Labour Party must escape the shackles of unconditional Corbyn-loyalism" 

That's because the LPM want subordination to "a programme of Marxism".

The LPM distributes both a free 4 page propaganda sheet and produced a daily bulletin for conference delegates last year:

WednesdayLPM20 - web-color-1

Their leading writer "James Marshall" writes:

In 2015 Labour members had the temerity to elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader, and our party is, as a consequence, riven by civil war and faces unremitting media lies, mockery and attack. Such a leader was never going to be acceptable for the establishment. Corbyn’s past statements on Marxism, the monarchy, Nato, nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union, Iraq, Zionism, Palestine, etc, rule him out as a trustworthy prime minister. No wonder, once he was elected Labour leader, there were stories of unnamed members of the army high command “not standing for” a Corbyn government and being prepared to take “direct action.

Not acceptable to the majority of right thinking people is correct and his "policies" based on slogans and wishful thinking from his student days are not only unworkable but would leave the country defenceless and promote another holocaust in the Middle East. Corbyn's defence policy is summed up in two words: "We surrender".

James Marshall in a seperate article outlines the military policy of Labour Party Marxists and:

.. a Jeremy Corbyn government would be best defended by abolishing the standing army and the formation of a popular militia.

Popular with who is my first question and do their supporters openly admit that this would lead to a civil war, the worst kind of war where neighbour would be set against neighbour. I doubt it. Marxists only ever see workers as a tool to achieve their ideological aims.

Their distorted and somewhat utopian view of history betrays them as their analysis of the Second World War shows:

...the looming clash between the German-Italian axis and the Anglo-French alliance had every appearance of being a classic inter-imperialist conflict. The correct slogan under these circumstances would therefore be ‘defeat for both sides’. Britain and France were going to fight not for democracy, not for national freedom, not for the anti-fascist cause. No, they wanted to preserve their position at the top of the imperialist feeding chain.

A classic Leninist proposition of "Revolutionary Defeatism" that worked so well for the Bolsheviks who ended up giving away swathes of Russian territory to the Germans. In any case the Nazi's HAD to be defeated whether the followers of the LPM liked it or not. Imperialist this country may have been but the British made huge sacrifices inspired by Winston Churchill to defeat fascism.

The working class must develop its own militia. Such a body grows out of the class struggle itself: in the fight to protect picket lines, in defence of Muslims from fasc­ist attacks, in guarding our print shops, meeting places and demonstrations. With a workers’ militia it becomes realistic to split the state’s armed forces. Fear of officers, sergeants and court martials must be replaced by rank and file mutiny. Certainly, army regiments, airforce squadrons and naval crews declaring for our side provides us with the military wherewithal needed to safeguard either an expected or a recently established Marxist majority in parliament.

There are already rumours swirling around of unnamed members of the army high command “not standing for” a Corbyn government and being prepared to take “direct action”

First I've heard of it. Sheer paranoia on their part. Gerry Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party spent year after year warning about the dangers of a military coup. Never happened of course. It was and is a product of a deranged mind polluted by ultra-leftism and cultism.

LPM conclude:

...let us put our trust in a “well regulated militia” and the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Two words: Bugger that!

Friday, 21 September 2018

Labour Party Fringe (1) : Alliance for Workers Liberty


Over the last couple of posts we have seen how the larger far-left groups the SWP and Socialist Party (Militant) outside the Labour Party and Socialist Appeal (also Militant) inside Labour are swinging behind Jeremy Corbyn and in the case of the SWP attacking the trade unions. Now it's time to have a look at the smaller groups that have entered the Labour Party.

The highest profile of all these is the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) a small group of around 150 activists led by veteran Trotskyist, Sean Matgamna. It publishes a weekly newspaper Solidarity. This group stand out from the other as they  both recognise and oppose left-wing anti-Semitism:


Certainly “left-wing” antisemitism, expressed as “anti-Zionism”, is a malignant and powerful force on the left. Especially among the would-be revolutionary left, who on many other things say what we say.

The core of the antisemitic infection is denial that Israel has a right to exist — insistence that it is a historically illegitimate state which should be done away with if it continues to refuse to dismantle itself. A whole cluster of attitudes and positions have their roots there.

It is an infection carried by the “revolutionary” absolute anti-Zionist left into broader areas. These ideas need to be stigmatised and driven out of the labour movement. The political, intellectual and moral health of the labour movement demands no less than that....

Those who want the destruction of Israel and advocate, or would support, an Arab or Islamic war of extermination against it should not be members of any working-class or socialist party. It is necessary to educate and re-educate the left and the labour movement, to get the movement to see, reject, and fight their “left-wing” antisemitism....

Blatant and persistent antisemites should be expelled from the Labour Party. But more than that is needed.

They till support Jeremy Corbyn though and call on him to:

.. take the lead in initiating an educational campaign in the Labour Party and in the broader labour movement on the complex of questions involved, including Israel-Palestine.

Wishful and wrong thinking as Corbyn is incapable of intellectually or honestly conducting  a balanced view on the Israel/Palestine conflict. He is considered by many to be inherently anti-Semitic especially after his remarks about British Zionists not understanding history or irony.

For all their efforts they are accused by the rest of the left of being Zionists!

They are active in Momentum where they came into conflict with Jackie Walker and her supporters who left to create a Grassroots Momentum that seems to have died a death. The AWL are involved with the semi-official Momentum paper; The Clarion. The by-lines of leading AWL activists Jill Mountford, Janine Booth, Rosie Woods and Sacha Ismail regularly appear.

The latest issue of The Clarion has just been published and will be hawked to delegates outside the conference centre along with a plethora of other Trotskyist rags.


The group used to work under the Socialist Organiser banner which was proscribed by the Labour Party in 1992. Several of their more prominent members were expelled.

At one time the AWL were registered with the Electoral Commission as a political party however in 2015 they "de-registered" in order that their members could join Labour. 

The AWL/SO has a number of well known former members including PCS union General Secretary Mark Serwotka. 

My how people change......

Socialist Party pushed aside by Labour and Momentum

Socialist Party logo

Yesterday I took a look at the former Militants two factions preparing for Labour Party Conference. Socialist Appeal (the smaller of the two) is already inside Labour pretending to be just supporters of a newspaper not that anybody is fooled. Meanwhile cult leader Peter Taffe has been desperately writing to Jennie Formbie trying to get his party affiliated to Labour.

Back in April he wrote:

We would like to meet with you to discuss the possibility of our becoming an affiliate of the Labour Party. From the beginning we have enthusiastically supported Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader of the Labour Party, which has offered the possibility of transforming Labour into a clear anti-austerity party, based on the trade unions and the working class. Clearly, your appointment as general secretary, replacing Iain McNicol, is an important step towards the renewal of the party along these lines.
and then went on to state:

..we are sure you will agree, measures to democratise Labour's structures are therefore urgent. We would argue this should include the readmittance of all those socialists, including ourselves, who were expelled in the past as the pro-capitalist wing of the party 

The reply from Labour's new General Secretary was blunt and to the point and sent with obvious urgency at the end of July:

Thank you for your letter on behalf of the Socialist Party requesting affiliation to the Labour Party.

The Labour Party rules about affiliation are very clear.

Chapter 1, clause ii, part 5 (A) states:

"Political organisations not affiliated or associated under a national agreement with the party, having their own programme, principles and policy, or distinctive and separate propaganda, or possessing branches in the constituencies, or engaged in the promotion of parliamentary or local government candidates, or having allegiance to any political organisation situated abroad, shall be ineligible for affiliation to the Party."

As the Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition who stood candidates against the Labour Party in the May 2018 elections, it is ineligible for affiliation. Furthermore, it is not "associated under a national agreement with the party".

Taffe wasn't having none of it and attempted to raise the question again:

You suggest that we cannot affiliate because we are not currently "associated under a national agreement with the party."

They want such an agreement however their response to the thorny question of the TUSC candidates:

...TUSC did stand candidates in the May 2018 local elections. We stood 111 candidates, with none standing against Jeremy Corbyn-supporting councillors but only against a few of the many Labour councillors...

Jennie Formbie replied at the end of August:

Thanks for your further correspondence about the Socialist Party affiliating to the Labour Party under a national agreement.

Whilst the Socialist Party continues to stand candidates against the Labour Party as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, it will not be possible to enter into any agreement.

The leader of a political party is judged by their electoral success. Standing candidates against the Labour Party is damaging not only to local Labour Parties but also to Jeremy. You will therefore understand why there can be no discussions given that TUSC stood candidates against the Labour Party in May this year.

Spurned once more the Militant comrades turned to Momentum and tried to participate in the World Transformed  "fringe event". This time Tony Mulhurn (expelled from Labour decades ago) wanted to highlight the struggle of the Liverpool Councillors. (You now the one's that sent taxis around the city delivering redundancy notices to their workers which ended in Neil Kinnocks famous speech):

This was initially greeted with enthusiasm by the Liverpool TWT liaison officer who wrote that it was exactly what TWT was formed to showcase and who confirmed that she would recommend its inclusion to the national body.

However, we learned that bureaucratic Momentum leadership who control TWT had other ideas. The response was - sorry, no can do.

The Liverpool TWT liaison officer was probably too young or too mad to remember but the Momentum leadership knew about this disgraceful episode and were having none of it.

Mulhern bemoans this and concludes the struggles were:

not important enough for TWT to include in its programme. I think labour movement activists will draw their own conclusions.

Yes. Militant was useless then and is now. Next!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Two Wings of Militant Prepare for Labour Party Conference

 Socialist Appeal Latest Issue!

The two wings of the old Militant Tendency are gearing up to back Corbyn at the Labour Party Conference. First up is the Socialist Party, the larger of the two groups which remains outside Labour. They proclaim:

The Labour right's summer of slander is drawing to a close. As parliament reopens and the party's conference approaches, the Blairite fifth column is preparing the next phase in its relentless anti-Corbyn campaign.

Right-wing MPs are anxiously weighing up their options. They are considering possible scenarios and reflecting on which lines of attack have thus far proved most fruitful.

There will be no respite for Corbyn. The key question being discussed by his enemies is what comes next: how can they best escalate the attacks, how can they inflict the maximum possible damage?

and further: votes are an important symbolic indication of the mood of ordinary Labour members and Corbyn supporters. No-confidence votes have no real power in and of themselves.

But they must be the starting gun for the battle to deselect the pro-capitalist Labour saboteurs. In particular, it is vital that Corbyn comes out clearly and boldly in favour of mandatory reselection of MPs ahead of a vote on the question at the upcoming Labour Party conference.

The Socialist Party concludes with it's ongoing and totally ignored demand it be allowed back in Labour's playground:

Part of taking on the right must mean opening up the Labour Party to all anti-austerity, pro-worker forces. A spectre that seemingly hangs over Blair, and which he repeatedly references in his BBC interview, is that of the Militant tendency - forerunner to the Socialist Party.

What makes the Socialist Party a 'bogeyman' for the right is our implacable determination to fight in the interests of working class people. That's why we call for the Labour Party to adopt a modern federal structure - which could allow the participation of all pro-working class forces, including the Socialist Party - as part of a full programme to redemocratise the Labour Party, restoring trade union rights, and refounding the party along democratic, socialist lines.

With barely 2,000 members, the influence of the Socialist Party wing of the old Militant Tendency is limited. Only in the PCS union do they have any kind of base and even there they have fallen foul of the General Secretary who seeks to purge his Assistant GS a member of the SP with a member of the breakaway from the SP, Socialist View.

The smaller wing founded by Ted Grant when he split with the Tendency that he had built since the fifties is Socialist Appeal. This group is believed to have around 200 to 300 members and is buried in the Labour Party in the same parasitical manner that the original Militant was.

Socialism Today 221 - September 2018 In Defence of Marxism Issue 14

Socialist Appeal (the name of it's paper is a formally organised group just like Militant was and the Socialist Party is today. They are part of their own version of the Fourth International, The International Marxist Tendency.

Their website declares:

Responding to the pressure from below, for example, Momentum has come out in favour of shaking up the existing system for selecting Labour’s parliamentary representatives, backing calls for “open selections” of local candidates.

Yesterday’s pre-conference meeting of the NEC, however, has thrown a spanner in the works and left this question hanging.

Following a gruelling nine-hour long meeting, the recommendation that will likely go to conference from Labour’s ruling body is for a fudge that lowers the trigger ballot threshold, but which falls far short of mandatory reselection or an open selection process.

Most notably, the NEC proposal maintains the unions’ influence over candidate selections, with a reselection process being set in motion if backed by either 30% of local LP members or affiliated (e.g. union) members.

This will provide rank-and-file members with a greater chance of turfing out unrepresentative right-wing Labour MPs - but only if activists are well-organised on the ground locally.

Just like the Socialist Workers Party (see post below) they are afraid of the trade unions pragnatism and argue:

but more conservative elements of the labour movement - in particular, the leaderships of the unions - are afraid of the Pandora’s Box that might be opened by setting the bar too low.
With militant left-wing MPs like Chris Williamson becoming more vocal and gaining in popularity, the union leaders (who only reluctantly backed Corbyn in the first leadership election) are keen to maintain their grip in deciding who succeeds Jeremy.
Socialist Appeal conclude:

That is why the demand for mandatory reselection must remain at the fore. We need to complete the ‘Corbyn revolution’ inside the Labour Party, kicking out the Blairites and replacing them with genuine class fighters. We cannot let our movement be derailed by the malicious actions of these right-wing renegades.

Whilst the Socialist Party will be reduced to shouting slogans and trying to offload their dull rag on to delegates, Socialist Appeal will be present inside the party working with others to end the Labour Party as a broad church and turn it into something more than sinister, a new communist party.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Socialist Workers Party Attacks Trade Unions

Trade unions exist for one reason; to protect their members at work. When they were first formed the unions tended to be representing very skilled groups of workers and were hostile to Marxist and Socialist movements. That partially changed at the beginning of the twentieth century and the unions became a primary force for the creation of the Labour Representation Committee and this transformed into the Labour Party responsible for the setting up of the Labour Party.

The central ethos of the unions has always (despite the political views of some of it's leaders like Scargill and McClusky) to protect its members Jobs, conditions of employment and wages. It's the reason the vast majority of union members pay their dues. The union has a responsibility to look after the individual interests of members in personal case work. For the member the union is an insurance policy.

Socialist Worker

Marxists see trade unions as a "conservative force" within the Labour movement precisely because at the end of the day the union leaders have to be pragmatic about policy. This attracts the ire of the Marxist left. Socialist Worker tells us:

...there has often been an antagonistic relationship between union leaders and Labour politicians—especially when workers’ struggle has challenged the bosses or threatened to cost Labour right wing votes.

But politicians and union leaders share an interest in limiting the demands of Labour’s ordinary members, who look to the party to bring real change. So for much of Labour’s history union leaders have acted with the Parliamentary Labour Party against the left.
and continues:
Under Corbyn, union leaders are back in the fold. But they won’t let Corbyn commit Labour to scrapping nuclear weapons because they think defending the arms industry means protecting their members’ jobs.

The GMB union supports fracking for the same reason.

And they don’t want Britain to leave the EU because they believe that what’s bad for the bosses is also bad for their members.

There are limits to what union leaders will accept from the left. And, over some of the most crucial questions, they’ll come down on the side of the right.

With the Labour Conference about to start and sides lining up for what promises to be at least an interesting affair the SWP says out:

This year’s Labour Party conference could mark the moment that trade union leaders reveal themselves as Jeremy Corbyn’s most unreliable allies.

Their actions could play a decisive role in events that dictate the fate of his leadership.

Corbyn has relied on the support of trade union leaders—particularly Len McCluskey, general secretary of Labour’s biggest donor, Unite.

This has always been a shaky alliance.

McCluskey likes to pose as a supporter of Labour’s leadership. But last year—before Labour’s success in the general election—he hinted that Corbyn had just 15 months before he would force him out.

GMB union leader Tim Roache “proudly” campaigned against Corbyn in 2016. And Unison leader Dave Prentis has repeatedly attacked Corbyn and the left.

Socialist Worker berates the union leaders for accepting the IHRA statement and continuing to support both Trident and the defence industry because of the threat to jobs. In other words at the end of the day the far left do not care about workers jobs.

The same attitude is taken to the CLP motions calling for a second vote. The SWP along with the Socialist Party (Militant), the Communist Party and other sections of the Marxist left are anti-Europe despite the possible effects on the withdrawal of  EU legislation that protects workers rights and the dangers of higher unemployment combined with higher prices that working people may or probably will face post-Brexit.

The suffering of ordinary people has never figured high in the comrades ideology. The cause is central, the end justifies the means. This led to the creation of several murderous regimes in the name of "socialism". The Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and many more saw the deaths of more people than Hitler managed.

The SWP illustrate how the far-left actually do not care about workers and only see them as a tool for their authoritarian beliefs.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

An Uninspiring Liberal Democrat Conference

Liberal Democrats

The two main political parties are in the grip of civil war. Labour has been taken over by the hard left and has wandered into territory normally associated with the far-right, anti-Semitism with even Holocaust denial appearing on the Facebook pages and twitter accounts of some of the more deranged Corbyn supporters.

Meanwhile the Tories are engaging in fratricidal warfare over Brexit. Theresa May has shown herself to be an inept and weak leader. The prospect of the buffoon Boris Johnson looms in the background as her successor being the darling of what remains of the blue rinse brigade in the shires.

The Liberal Democrats are Britain's third party and one would think they should be rising in the poles and taking advantage of the situation despite only having a dozen MP's. They were down to just 6 seats when I became active in politics back in the seventies. They survived the Thorpe Scandal, rose up with the SDP Alliance and at one point had 52 MP's in parliament.

Then came the coalition. Clegg dumped support for abolishing university fees and then agreed to a vote on a form of PR that no one wanted including his own party. It all went downhill from there. The Liberals went into government with the Tories and tasted power only to be punished by the electorate who threw out nearly all the Lib Dems MP's.

File:Official portrait of Sir Vince Cable crop 2.jpg

Even so that's the past, but people have long memories and strong party loyalties are difficult to break. Just ask the moderate Labour MP's who remain in Labour despite the growing deselection purge awaiting them.

Watching bits of the Liberal Democrats Conference on the BBC's Parliamentary Channel has proved less than inspiring. Before the conference Vince Cable talked about a new "centre movement" and also invited non-members to sign up for possible inclusion in a vote for their leader which may not be an MP.

Speaker after speaker talks about being "Liberal", "radical" and the need for "Liberalism" but this ideology seems somewhat undefined since others spoke of "social democracy" which is closer to my beliefs.

Other than demanding an end to Brexit which is not possible and would go against the democratic result of the referendum whether I agree with leaving the EU or not. Gina Miller addressin conference (who rejected the notion of her becoming leader  not least because she is not a member) said:

Make no mistake - time is running out. We have just 193 days to go until our scheduled departure from the EU, and, as things stand, we have no agreed plan, no prospect of an agreed plan.

A leader in charge of what looks like an increasingly unleadable party.

An Opposition that is not opposing, and reasonable, sensible, conciliatory voices - such as your own - being all too often drowned out and suppressed by what I can only describe as hysteria.

It’s time for politicians to do the morally and democratically right thing – to let the people decide their own future on the facts before it is too late.

There is a need for a new party of the centre. A recent poll showed no less than 52% of the electorate would "mull over supporting a centre party". That's not definite support of course, but there is hope.

At the moment the will does not exist and the Brexit question needs to be resolved before a new party can be set up.

But set up a new party must be.

The Liberal Democrats are not that party.