Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A Halloween Crazy Party Night

👺👻 Happy Halloween Everyone! 👹💀

Here's a scary little number from Japan.....

Islamists Call for Death of Judges who Freed Innocent Christian

Pakistan is infamous for it's treatment of minorities and their prosecutions for so-called blasphemy.  Asia Bibi was one such victim of Islamic intolerance by her neighbours who called for her death just for drinking out of the same cup. For the past eight years she has been in prison awaiting her fate.

But a Court of Appeal in Lahore has upheld an appeal. Dawn reports:

“The appeal is allowed. She has been acquitted. The judgement of high court as well as trial court is reversed. Her conviction is set aside,” said Justice Nisar in the ruling.

“Her conviction is set aside and she is to be relieved forthwith if not required in other charges,” he added.

The 56-page detailed judgement has been authored by CJP Nisar, with a separate concurrent opinion note from Justice Khosa.

“Tolerance is the basic principle of Islam,” the top judge read out, noting that the religion condemns injustice and oppression.

“It is a well settled principle of law that one who makes an assertion has to prove it. Thus, the onus rests on the prosecution to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt throughout the trial,” noted the top judge in the order. “Presumption of innocence remains throughout the case until such time the prosecution on the evidence satisfies the court beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the offence alleged against him.

“[…] The expression ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ is of fundamental importance to the criminal justice: it is one of the principles which seeks to ensure that no innocent person is convicted.

“Keeping in mind the evidence produced by the prosecution against the alleged blasphemy committed by the appellant, the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt,” concluded the chief justice.

Of particular interest is this part of the ruling:

Justice Khosa, in his note, said: “Blasphemy is a serious offence but the insult of the appellant’s religion and religious sensibilities by the complainant party and then mixing truth with falsehood in the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was also not short of being blasphemous.”

Even as the ink dried on the verdict the extremists were rioting on the streets. Channel NewsAsia reports:

A hard-line Islamist party in Pakistan on Wednesday called for the death of the chief justice of the Supreme Court and two other judges who overturned the death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

"The patron in chief of TLP, Muhammad Afzal Qadri, has issued the edict that says the chief justice and all those who ordered the release of Asia deserve death," said party spokesman Ejaz Ashrafi.

The party has launched street protests blocking roads in major cities to condemn the ruling, which was welcomed by human rights advocates.

Asia Bibi and her family are not safe in Pakistan. We must offer asylum to them. Please sign the following petition:

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

From Newspapers on Street Corners to Media Websites

Once upon a time there was a plethora of left-wing newspapers but most have either disappeared or shrunk to such low levels of print circulation that they are mainly read on-line. Of course their formats and publishers (usually small Trotskyist political outfits) still treat them as newspapers and do not allow for comment.

The Weekly Worker is a prime example of this trend. Published by the Communist Party of Great Britain it's print run is believed to be only 500 copies, yet it's readership on line far exceeds that. At one time they claimed over 10,000 readers but this has shrunk considerably as the group became sidelined and disliked at every corner.

The Weekly Worker at least has letters pages that engage in actual debate. Socialist Worker and it's rival The Socialist papers of the SWP and Socialist Party respectively only publish letters that support their purposes.

But times are changing as the developments of alternative media outlets are now showing.

Watching the debate on the future (or not) of the Simpsons character Apu on Sky News this morning I noticed one of those being interviewed was Ash Sakar of Novara Media one of these "alternative" media organisations that have sprung up in parallel with the rise of Corbynism.  Sakar of course became infamous for declaring she was a "bloody communist" to Piers Morgan on Breakfast TV.

There are a couple of other websites associated with this phenomenon which are probably better known. The first is The Canary edited by Kerry-Anne Mendoza who has appeared on Question Time.  The other is the oddly named The Skwawkbox. Both support the "Corbyn project"

These sites are just as biased as the traditional left-wing newspapers and are just as unpleasant (and unreliable) as their print rivals. However this trend is growing.

The small but but influential Counterfire group are currently developing their own new media outlet and proclaim that:

The media backs the establishment more and more brazenly. Alternatives are desperately needed. Counterfire has been key to defending Corbyn and putting the case for socialism.

Now it's time to launch Counterfire Media, with podcasts, live interviews and video reports from the frontline. There will be more columns, theoretical analysis and reviews, and more books.

Of course they need money to do this, but investors need to be weary this group couldn't run a cafe. Literally. Anyone remember Firebox? 

This will surely not be the last as the other left groups finally twig that the days of standing on windy street corners shouting "get yer paper here" are long over.

Pity really but time they are a changing!

Monday, 29 October 2018

Defend Freedom of Speech and Humour on Twitter!

On Saturday the journalist Kenan Malik was sent a message that his tweet of a Jesus and Mo cartoon was "illegal".

I'm sure it would be in Pakistan that country ruled by mobs of wild-eyed fundamentalists demanding death to to all who blaspheme.

He was advised Twitter "may have to take action in the future". Though nothing appears to have happened. Guess someone is keeping an eye on him...

Apparently his website is already banned in Pakistan:

Here's the offending cartoon:


Meanwhile in response to the ECHR ruling there is this one!


PCS Union Row Over Trans Rights

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It seems Mark Serwotka hasn't been the politically correct hero everybody on the left expects him to be when it comes to "Trans-rights. During the Summer Serwotka signed a letter (in "personal capacity) to the Morning Star which asked for "civil debate":

We, the undersigned, have a variety of positions about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. Some of us have not yet fully formed our opinions.

We are calling for action within our movement to allow debate to take place over proposed changes to the Act.

You may be aware that on April 13 this year, an activist, Tara Wood was convicted of the assault by beating of Maria MacLachlan, a 60-year-old woman who had gathered with others in order to attend a meeting at which they could discuss the potential impact on women and girls of such a change to the law.

On March 8, an incident also occurred on a Bectu picket line in which trans activists, with no connection to the industrial dispute itself, mobbed and verbally attacked a female trade union member on the basis of having recognised her as an attendee at a similar meeting.

And in late April women in Bristol looking to meet and discuss changes to the Gender Recognition Act were met with masked activists blocking entrances to the venue, and deliberately intimidating those wishing to go inside.

More recently, a meeting organised by Woman’s Place UK was targeted with a bomb threat which Hastings Police are investigating as a serious incident.

These cases are part of systematic attempts to shut down meetings organised by women at which they can discuss potential legislative changes and the impact these may have on any sex-based rights already enshrined in law.

They draw the whole of our progressive movement into disrepute.

Some trans rights activists even continue to justify the use of violence, meaning that many women are simply too frightened to attend meetings that are both public and lawful in order that they may discuss their own rights.

Other women, including ordinary women concerned for their rights, as well as those active within the trade union movement and other political campaigns, are also now anxious and fearful that they will be subjected to such attacks when engaging in any political activity, meetings, or protests.

We are sure that, whatever your view regarding the issues around the Gender Recognition Act, you will agree that it is unacceptable for women to be made scared to engage in political life.

We, the undersigned, publicly and unequivocally condemn the use of violence or tactics of intimidation on this issue.

A reasonable approach signed not just by Serwotka and his wife but Len McCluskey and the Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy.

Transgender pride flag

However the PCS Proud group disagreed and sent off a rant:

Following the publication of this article, we received contact from numerous members of Proud and PCS expressing their disappointment, hurt and anger that you had signed this letter, questioning our Union’s support for them and wider transgender equality and also, regrettably, their continued membership of PCS. 

While we appreciate you may have signed the letter in a personal capacity, as a well-known General Secretary of a major trade union and given the similar position of several other signatories, your signature has led to many making an assumption about our Union’s policies on transgender, and wider equality, issues as well as on inclusion and how our union views members in underrepresented groups, including those who are LGBT...

The letter provides a limited sample of alleged incidents and makes the claim that these cases are part of “systematic attempts to shut down meetings” and “draw the whole of our progressive movement into disrepute.” Each of the examples listed are specifically of alleged aggression from one side of the “debate” towards the other. We are concerned that this is an attempt to create a one-sided narrative and uses the actions of a very small minority to portray the many who peacefully support reform in the same light.

As usual the Trans-activists seek to close down debate.

Serwotka's response didn't not go down well with the comrades, especially as he did not appreciate an "Open Letter" that is to say making this a public debate about his actions.

In your response to us you recognise that “The PCS position is clear and a matter of public record. We condemn all discrimination against trans people and fully support the fight for trans people.” You also state “The letter is specifically, and only, about issues concerning the way in which debate should be conducted within the labour movement.” 

You further state “I have no hesitation in unequivocally condemning discriminatory behaviour against trans people, the belittlement of their everyday suffering from hate crimes, and the denial of the authenticity of their personal experience."

We would like to draw your attention to the tweet below, which was tweeted on Friday 13th July by Paul Embery, a fellow signatory of the Morning Star letter, which reads “This (a letter from LGBT Labour) landed in my inbox. I will not be withdrawing my name from the Morning Star letter. I consider it dangerous and wrong - ultimately biologically illiterate - for the law to force us to recognise a man as a woman simply because he says he is one #Orwellian #Stand WithWomen” 

This tweet was liked by, among others, Woman’s Place UK, one of the groups organising around proposed GRA reform, whose founders also signed the Morning Star letter and to whom you will already be familiar.

This tweet apparently caused the Proud people to have a "hissy fit" (they say disgusted) just because someone doesn't agree with them.

Clara Paillard (PCS NEC) supported Proud stating :

MS also broke conference policy more recently by signing this disgraceful letter in the Morning Star. He signed it as PCS GS, not personal capacity.

Neither side come out of this spat well.

The PCS General Secretary doesn't like being challenged by members in public and the Proud group show disdain and intolerance towards those that disagree with them.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Anti-Semitism Leads To Murder

The shocking murder of so many innocents just because they are Jewish should disgust every civilised human being. There is no political gain to be had here.

Hate has trumped tolerance. Death has been the only winner.

Sadly such incidents have been common throughout history as so many have been intolerant of those that are different.

In modern times there have been wide-scale genocides. The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, then the Greeks in Turkey, the Jews of Europe, the Tutsi's of Africa and the Yazidi's of the Middle East. Racial, nationalistic, tribal and religious rivalries have been at the forefront of these atrocities.

A stand needs to be taken against the ideologies of hate. Communism, Fascism and Islamism are but the three main threats to us all.

Racism, and at this time anti-Semitism in particular has seeped into the mainstream and must be rooted out where ever it appears whether in the demented minds of lone wolf fascists, the more organised political formations and those that operate under the cover of "anti-Zionism".

The far-right and the far-left are equally responsible for the current level of threats against the Jewish community world-wide.

We must all stand together against these extremists, after all when they have finished with the Jews, who will be next?

Never Again!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

On the Fluidity of Political Labels

The use of terms such as "left", "right" and "centre have always been at the heart of describing the views of politicians or the parties to which they belong. Add the term "far" and the in general indication is that of political extremism. Most of us have been accustomed to viewing politics from this perspective.

Enter the rise of new political movements that at first sight confirm the traditional terminology and the Corbyn supporting Momentum organisation and others of it's ilk are immediately seen as "left-wing" whilst other formations such as For Britain a breakaway from UKIP is seen as "far-right".

Trouble is in practice both groups defy the traditional analysis used by political commentators. This was particularly brought home to me tonight when looking down the list of "recommended sites on my blog I noticed something odd. Both Spiked! and Sharia Watch had were using the same title for their latest offerings which happens to be So now we're allowed to get angry about terrorism which turned out to be an article about the bombs sent to Democratic politicians in the USA.

Thing is at first I thought they simply had come up with the headline independently. However it turned out that both websites were hosting the same article by Brendan O'Neill. At first this seems to be incongruous with either groups ethos.

Spiked! originated from a far-left organisation the Revolutionary Communist Party which gave up revolutionary politics in the nineties. Sharia Watch is the project of Anne Marie Waters who has transformed from Labour to UKIP and then For Britain, considered to be too far to the right which is why the UKIP leadership campaigned against Waters.

How is it that both can come together without conflict. Now Spiked! sells it's articles so it is possible that this was simply a straightforward financial transaction between the now quite contrarian Spiked! organisation and Sharia Watch but I think it goes much deeper than that.

Both groups fight for "free speech" and make this demand central to the work they do. Sharia Watch/For Britain demand the right to be critical of Islam in particular. Spiked just want to be able to tackle any issue they like in any way they see fit. Neither initial proposition is contrary to democratic discourse and I happen to agree with both.

The next question of course is how to go about using these issues in the political arena. Here are where divisions inevitably appear. But this example is only one of a growing number of contradictions that are beginning to appear on the British political scene.

The Labour Party has been taken over by hard left activists who promote amongst other ideological demands "anti-Zionism". Problem is that this has morphed over the years into both subliminal and arrant anti-Semitism as has been through a whole number of events that have rocked Labour for months on end.

Anti-Semitism is usually associated with the far-right, though was not entirely unheard of on the left, particularly in Bolshevik circles as Russian politics was thoroughly immersed in an anti-Semitic tradition. Even the Anarchist Bakunin was a rabid anti-Semite. Yet For Britain stands firmly against anti-Semitism as Anne Marie Waters video on the subject shows.

There is a strand of "fascist" ideology referred to as "Strasserism" that covers much of what the new left activists on the block demonstrate in practice if not in theory. Unlike either the "libertarians" of Spiked! or the anti-Islamists of For Britain they do not uphold the concept of free speech. The various strands of the "new left"  are "no-platforming" anyone with whom they take a dislike.

Photo: By Ben Schumin

Most obvious is the actions of trans-activists and their allies in student unions in ensuring that women such as Germaine Greer do not get an opportunity to speak on their university campuses or complain about the dictionary definition of a woman being "hate speech".

Another target has been the "Zionists" and quite often Jews regardless of their political affiliation have been referred to as "Zio's" by rabid anti-Zionists. Discrimination against Jews and Jewish organisations is more likely to come from the so-called left than from the almost dead far-right.

The Jewish community has become almost totally alienated from the left which used to be welded to the Labour Party. Instead the left has sought alliances with the very conservative Muslim community. This was seen in the Stop the War Campaign where the left aligned with the self appointed Muslim Council of Britain (which has never represented all Muslims in the UK) and via George Galloway in the ill-fated Respect Party project that united the far-left Socialist Workers Party with Bangladeshi businessmen and politicians particularly in areas like Tower Hamlets.

The left remains in alliance with the Islamic agenda through it's continual adoption of the "Arab agenda" which revolves around anti-imperialism and the desire to destroy Israel seen by the left as a "bastion of capitalism" in the Middle east. Should it fall then there own ruling classes will fall like dominoes. The Zionist state therefore must be destroyed. The Palestinian cause is central to every left-wing outfit.

Theories about an "international Zionist conspiracy used to arise from the far-right. The Protocols of Zion a hoax perpetrated by the Tsars secret police still gains attraction decades after it's publication was denounced as a fraud. One left group has even developed a theory of the "International Jewish Bourgeoisie" and fail to see that this is absolutely an anti-Semitic theory.

What was once the domain of the far-right has become central to the far-left. Politics have wheeled full circle as the two extremes find common ground yet still send foot soldiers to fight each other on the streets.

With so many people finding themselves politically homeless as a result of these developments along with a very strong antipathy towards politicians in general. "All the same they are", "only out for themselves" kind of reaction often heard from ordinary punters in their homes and workplaces shows that the future needs a different kind of politics to challenge the way we think and react to issue.

Political discourse is changing and the way we analyse events and reactions will need to change with it. Simply viewing politics through the kaleidoscope of of tradition will no longer be satisfactory.

For the time being the left will still see itself as the left but more and more people will see something different. A form of "red fascism" is on the horizon. Failure to recognise this will be dangerous to the survival of democracy.

The attacks on free speech is already happening. The future is upon us.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Mark Serwotka: Censorship in the PCS Union

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The dispute over who will be the Assistant General Secretary of the PCS union has taken a censorious turn as Tony Mulhern a Socialist Party supporter writes on Facebook:

I'm informed that the General's Secretary's office has asked that my post is taken down as it’s not appropriate to be posted on an official PCS linked site. 

Judging by the number of members who have engaged in the debate it would appear to be more than appropriate.

It's typical of Serwotka to try & censor debate and suppress information. This blog was born out of attempts by the PCS General Secretary attempt to suppress the e-mail list I was using when a member. Serwotka  failed to tell the membership that after he suspended the PCS Reps in SOCA that they simply buggered off and formed another union, the  NCOA which now represents nearly all union members in the section.

When a further split took place in the HMRC I gave space to a guest post by one of the breakaway leaders to put their case on my blog. Serwotka demanded I took the post down. I refused.

The PCS Facebook page was constantly censored and was very one sided. If anyone wasn't on the left it became a very unpleasant place indeed. Even Janice Godrich got abusive towards me for which she was pulled up by other left members. Frankly as President she should know how she should conduct herself more than anyone else.

Now the Serwotka has turned his attention to others. He wants this removed (it won't be I'm sure but here it is represented for those who may not have had the opportunity to see this contribution to the debate by Tony Mulhern:



It is really gratifying to see so many engage in the Chris Baugh/Janice Godrich debate. It can only be good for democracy.

Opponents of Chris, including Mark and Janice, have argued that Chris is not the man for the job and can no longer take the union forward. Many anti-Chris charges have been made, but the only allegation that stands up to serious scrutiny is that he doesn’t get on with Mark. Indeed, prior to the last election for AGS, Janice appealed for support for Chris describing him in glowing terms as a ‘ferocious defender of union democracy’ 

Why the change in the evaluation of Chris’s value to the PCS? 

This, apparently, was achieved by Mark calling individual EC members into his office and briefing them on how he could not work with Chris who, he claimed, was guilty of many transgressions.
But the main question that Mark appeared to pose in this exercise was: ‘Who will rid me of this turbulent priest.’ Used by Henry II, who was troubled by Thomas Becket’s excommunication of Henry’s supporters. History shows Becket came to a bloody end, but was later venerated while Henry was vilified. Today armed knights are not deployed, instead the propaganda machine controlled by the GS is used for the desired assassination.

Mark is no doubt very persuasive. He is well turned out, an able communicator and speaker, with a Welsh lilt like other great speakers, Lloyd George, Nye Bevan and Rob Williams spring to mind. He is ubiquitous on radio and TV. All of these qualities, cloaked with the authority of the office of General Secretary, make him a formidable persuader. But, like other historical examples I can think of, is his conduct in the best interests of union democracy? The members will decide that for themselves.

One or two Socialist Party members have jumped ship, even though it was their membership of the Party which facilitated their rise in the first place. Now it appears they fear that continued loyalty to the Socialist Party will invite the disapproval of the GS and his acolytes, even my old friend Martin Cavanagh has used public platforms to denigrate the SP. After jumping ship, will their previous loyalty morph into hostility? An unfortunate tendency which I have had the misfortune to experience so many times in my long period of labour movement activity. 

Hopefully the crucial element to emerge from these events is that when the members cast their votes it will be based on a true and factual picture of whom they are voting for and which candidate will continue building the reputation of the PCS as a trade union that seriously fights on behalf of the membership. 
Chris has been in the forefront of that battle for decades as a lay member and elected officer. He should continue with that task.


One small and seemingly overseen matter is the removal of support for Clara Palliard for the NEC who just happens to be the partner of Chris Baugh. Bit petty minded I thought.

What the members will make of all this and how many will bothered to vote (only 7.5% did this year) remains to be seen.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

The Road to the SWP "Conference"

Socialist Workers Party

The Socialist Workers Party has just issued it's first pre-conference bulletin to their much diminished membership. Open questioning of the "party line" is only permitted during this period which sometimes allows for "a thousand flowers to bloom". In other words to root out opposition and have it either stamped on or expelled by the leadership.

The SWP were once thought of as quite a stable organisation for many years. Most of any opposition to Cliff & Co had gone by the time the International Socialists were transformed into th the SWP back in the mid seventies.

In fact until Lyndsey German & John Rees left the party after the Respect debacle with George Galloway and a section of the Muslim community, departures were just the natural turnover of members that the SWP always had.

One leading member did once ask "why is that ex-members end up hating us" should have simply looked beyond his blinkered vision. The "Delta affair" very nearly destroyed the party because they tried to deal with and cover up rape and sexual assault allegations through their committees rather than let Martin Smith go which he did after he was named all over social media.

The victim who turned out to be a very young woman in her teens was sacrificed to the altar of protecting the party first.  This led to huge ruptures with members leaving in droves and new organisations like RS21 and ironically the International Socialists in Scotland being set up.

Anyway discussion now starts and should only take place in the pages of their bulletins instruct the commissars. Using the internet (Facebook/e-mail etc) is seen as factionalism and the papers are not supposed to be shared to outsiders but somehow they do get leaked. I wonder if they keep an eye on comrades in the pub to make sure they don't talk about issues?

The instructions even tell members they cannot talk about the contents after conference is over. Bit harsh that, but smacks of "factionalism". Once conference is over the comrades will toe the Party Line or else!

According to the Central Committee consider:

the far right are stronger than at any time since the 1930s. Fascism is a real threat.

Not in the UK it isn't. The references they make to the Democratic Football Lads Alliance are misleading. Most of the participants aren't "far-right", there are a few boneheads turning up but the salutes are more down to some elements taunting the so-called anti-fascists shouting "Nazi's off our streets". Certainly the public were confused. 

These demo's were about child abuse and yes they raised the question of groups of Muslim groomers which the likes of the SWP tried to deny when first called out it has to be remembered. The SWP played the "race card", got it wrong and like others on the "left" allowed the abuse to continue. It's hardly surprising that elements of the "white working class" which is very much the DFLA's demographic have no time for the like of the SWP et al.

The SWP are left well out in the cold because of the rise of "Corbynism" and are left just trying to sell their rag outside other peoples meetings. Hiding behind the Stand Against Racism label they hope to regain their lost mojo. Not sure the feminists will let them. 

Nevertheless the SWP have tried to call for the re-establishment of the Anti-Nazi League and will be making an attempt at influencing the anti-racism movement on the big demo taking place in November.

Harping back to the Delta affair which was a few years back the SWP have set up an Expected Behaviour Review Committee. God shades of the Anti-Sex League in Big Brother or was that the Chinese Communist Party in Mao's time? Getting old can't always remember!

They talk about being respectful to each other, providing members toe the line. I've seen "super-cadres" berating members on what they should be doing making even the strongest rank & file member quiver a lip.

Oh and democracy is served as the leadership nominates itself and three new people to the Central Committee. Members have to vote for the entire slate. 

Keeps dissenters out that way you see.....

Petition to allow Robert Spencer in to the UK

Back in 2013 Hope not Hate launched a campaign to bar Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller from coming to the UK. This was taken up by Theresa May (wonder what happened to her) and they were both banned.

At the time I supported HnH but have since come to see that their stance was the beginning of the organisation taking a wrong turn and unnecessarily undermining free speech. Like many in this country I was not fully aware of their views or work and even though I disagree with some of the stances they take these are within the democratic tradition of free speech.

The decision of Hope not Hate to classify UKIP as a far-right party and then attack both secularists and ex-Muslim activists as proponents of "hate" were entirely wrong footed. I have since withdrawn from supporting their work and removed their website from my list of recommended blogs.

In their place are both (Robert Spencer) and the which you will find on the sidebar of this blog along with a range of other sites from across the political spectrum which I find useful.

"The prominent American author Robert Spencer was barred from entering the UK in 2013. Despite having committed no crime, Mr Spencer was prevented from speaking in Britain following his criticisms of Islam, a subject on which he has written widely. He should not be denied UK entry because of this 
Spencer was barred from entering Britain by then Home Secretary Theresa May. Mrs May deemed his presence in the UK as “not conducive to the public good”. Spencer had committed no crime, had not incited violence, but expressed his views about the Koran and Mohammed. We demand that this ban is lifted and that Robert Spencer be allowed entry to the UK."

Read more:

Go to:

Anne Marie Waters explains:

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Around the Far-Right

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Outside the BBC when Nick Griffin appeared on Question Time:
Photo: Mike Fleming

Someone on one of the Facebook forums asked about the far-right press after I put up my weekly round robin about the far-left press. Not a bad idea I thought. I've always deferred to Searchlight Magazine for their expertise on the subject of modern day fascists and would be Fuehrers.

The far-right are no longer the obvious threat they once were although most political activists are aware they are still there. The now banned National Action has been in the news as members of their organisation get sent to jail as they were found to be planning acts of terrorism and causing race division in our communities.

British National Party.svg

My first port of call was the British National Party once led by Nick Griffin who other than endorsing Jeremy Corbyn has virtually disappeared off the scene. Last I heard it was facing bankruptcy. However the party founded by the now deceased John Tyndall (whose book I lent to a Chinese friend of mine who ended up getting some odd looks on the tube reading it but I digress) does still exist.

The BNP's website is still there and occasionally updated. Now led by Adam Walker of whom I know nothing as I have not heard of him). In a very odd move they have given Enoch Powell Gold standard BNP membership. Powell would not be amused. He was no Nazi., not even a racist just anti-immigration. He also fought in the Second World War in army intelligence.

They once had two MEP's including Griffin who managed to fall out with each other. There were also a number of BNP local councillors, 55 in all but this went down to 2 after the 2013 local elections.

A recent post tries to argue they are still relevant but the discussion underneath shows divisions. One poster proclaims:

"The purpose of the bnp should be to become a self interest group for the white working class which highlights their plight. Their old allies on the left have now deserted them in favour of the growing muslim demographic who they hope will give them electoral success."

He is put down by a BNP hack who tells him straight:

The BNP is for ALL white folk not just the working class.

Their newspaper has changed it's name in case you see anyone selling it. The old Voice for Freedom is now called Identity.

It was the rise of the National Front in the seventies that caught  my attention and led to my involvement at grassroots level in the Anti-Nazi League. These were the days when you knew who fascists were and before the time the left capitulated to clerical-fascism in the form of Islam.

At one time they garnered over 100,000 votes in London alone and it was necessary to build a campaign against them. The confrontations were often violent and there were three way battles taking place in the streets as the police intervened. That was then......

Today the National Front barely exist but a report of their recent AGM states:

Following on from the National Fronts’ incredibly successful AGM which saw many great speakers including a former member of the European Parliament we can confirm that NF HQ has been struggling to keep up with the vast influx of new members membership forms!

These news members come from all walks of life all regions ,classes and political parties and includes new activists itching to get active in the movement to turn the tide against the on ongoing invasion and old hands coming home to find themselves welcomed with open arms.

Many have fled from the former flagship of British nationalism which has again entered into a state of civil war which has caused not for the first time the chairman to find himself toppled to the wayside and a acting chairman in situe to act as a caretaker whilst they await further legacies to fund their wages.

Others have returned from the various off shoot ” nationalist parties” which focused purely on the issues of English Nationalism in a sort of civic nationalism/anti Scottish approach however this party has been made practically defunct on account of the Scottish vote of independence and their opting to remain within the union.

Frankly that sounds somewhat bloated. The "former MEP" is probably Andrew Brons who fell out with former BNP Fuhrer Nick Griffin. Their candidates in elections attract derisory votes these days. They do not appear to have any kind of publication/newspaper.

 English Democrats Logo.png
Image: By Source, Fair use

The English Democrats ostensibly present themselves as an English equivalent of the Scottish Nationalists however the group contains a number of ex-members of the BNP and belong to an International grouping which includes the hardline neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece, Party of Danes (also considered neo Nazi) and the (now banned) Orbaz, a Serbian far-right nationalist party.

The party was founded and led by Robin Tilbrook in 2002. The report of their conference was err..sparse to say the least just posting photos with short statement about Tilbrook opening the conference or Charles Vickers "moving two resolutions. There is no photo of the audience and no main table  just a rostrum for speakers which suggests a minute turnout and actual active membership.

The English Democrats publish a bulletin occasionally called The English Voice but the last one was way back in February this year. Disturbingly they write:

We, the English, are now truly in a political landscape where it is true what John Tyndall said years ago, that:- 

“The first lesson is to realise that it is our lack of power not our so-called “extremism” is the big deterrent.” At different times across history extremism has meant different things. It’s all about power.Those who have the power today are able to determine what is mainstream and respectable and what is extreme. Its another meaningless term. 

As a Nation our activity must be geared to the winning of power. That still has to be said to some people… They are crusaders for the truth but they don’t relate it to necessities of winning power. It cannot be said enough. ‘Power is what must be won.’

John Tyndall of course was the founder of the neo-Nazi British National Party.

Britain First New.jpg

One of the more active groups over the past few years has been the Britain First Group. It's a bit of an odd formation in that although it is generally considered a "fascist" organisation it formally rejects racism and has members of ethnic minorites attending it's events and as members. Whether this is just "smoke and mirrors" is up to you to judge.

Their mission is very much "anti-Islam" but has also been involved in anti Roma activity in Northern Ireland where a large number of Romanian Gypsies have placed. Britain First has started a petition to stop the influx because homes should be prioritised for local people. An undated report says:

Britain First activists in Northern Ireland have delivered over 5,000 leaflets in a migrant hotspot town ahead of our next street rally there.

The town of Ballymena is awash with anticipation of our rally and HQ expects a much larger turnout than the previous one, held several weeks ago.

Britain First is leading a local campaign to address a huge and unwanted influx of migrants into the town.

The old-gang politicians are ignoring desperate appeals from local residents about anti-social behaviour.

Meanwhile their leaders face a trial:

The die is cast – on 14-15th January 2019, Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen will stand trial in Belfast for the terrible crime of criticising Islam.
Paul Golding, their leader asks for support:

We were both charged with ‘using insulting words in public’ - contrary to the Public Order Act - the most ridiculous Mickey Mouse charges we have ever faced.

The police in Northern Ireland are ultra-PC and a few years back they unsuccessfully prosecuted a popular elderly Christian preacher – Pastor McConnell – because he criticised Islam in his church.

They swung into action after receiving complaints from a Muslim in Belfast who previously made comments in support of ISIS rule in Iraq!

Now the ‘Muslim Protection Squad’ – otherwise known as the Police Service of Northern Ireland – want mine and Jayda’s heads on a plate.

They want to send the both of us to prison for making speeches in a British city.

I'll certainly keep an eye out for developments on this court case as the outcome will depend on what they actually said.

Image result for National Action

There are a couple of other outfits that need mentioning. The first is the banned National Action which has been in the press of late for terrorism plots. Obviously they no longer have a website. In 2016 one of their members was exposed as a paedophile which made the rest of the far-right distance themselves from this very provocative group.

Although there were less than a hundred members in the group the danger still exists but it's up to the security services to watch them.

The other group is Combat 18, so named because 1 & 8 represent the letters of the Latin alphabet A & H. Adolf Hitler. They are a dangerous group associated with the website Redwatch.

There are others on the far-right who like the far-left have a tendency to fall out with each other and splinter into smalll groups. Their electoral successes have been short lived and the fears are that some (like National Action) will turn to terrorism.

Please note: I have not provided any hyperlinks to these hate groups.


For regular detailed information about the fascist and 
neo-Nazi far-right:

Left Press Round Up

Socialism Today issue 223

The November issue of Socialism Today is now out and unsurprisingly the main article covers Corbynism:

There's still time, argues PETER TAAFFE, for Jeremy Corbyn to act decisively in Labour's drawn out civil war - to develop a socialist alternative to capitalist crisis and misery.

Illustrating a real isolation from the real world Taaffe Immediately raises the Bolshevik Coup d'etat as a way forward as he writes:

Of course, a social revolution - which upends society from top to bottom - differs from a political revolution within a single party, which the Corbyn movement potentially represented. However, the issue of leadership is vital in both kinds of upheaval.

The Russian revolution succeeded over nine months in October 1917 for one reason: the vital role of Lenin and Trotsky in the leadership of the Bolshevik party.

They alone understood the rhythm of the revolution at each stage, particularly the consciousness of the masses, and armed it with the necessary programme and perspective for taking power.

Taffe then prattles on about the experience of the Spanish Civil War before giving a potted history of recent developments inside the Labour Party before launching into the real reason for his rant:

The Socialist Party suggested that, as with the launch of the manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn should bypass the right-wing Labour machine.

He should launch his own constitution to be voted on by all Labour Party members with mandatory reselection central.

At the same time, Labour should be reconstituted as an open federation of different socialist organisations, including the Socialist Party, while maintaining the bedrock of democratised trade union affiliations.

Here we go again. Taaffe wants in on the Labour Party so he can prop up his now isolated and declining sect. Trouble is his approaches for marriage with Labour have been rejected every time. 

Meanwhile rival former Militant group Socialist Appeal (already buried in the Labour Party much to the chagrin of Taaffe and his crew) are firstly proudly announcing a "string of victories for their Marxist student societies in getting delegates to NUS conference. That's four after a quick glance out of what a thousand or so? Hardly signs of a takeover by the comrades who admit the turnouts were somewhat low which sounds about right for these things.

Of more interest is their continuing promotion of Janice Godrich for Assistant general Secretary of the PCS Union, now split from their Socialist Party rivals:
Janice believes that she is the best candidate in the election for AGS, given her experience, support and commitment. In this race, she is up against Chris Baugh, the incumbent, who is backed by the Socialist Party.Just for seeking the nomination, Janice was accused by the Socialist Party of “dividing the left”. But she rightly dismisses this suggestion.
“I don’t think it’s divisive to seek a nomination. No socialist should have the right to remain in a post unchallenged, just as no MP has the right to be automatically reselected for their positions.”

Out of desperation, Janice was alleged by the Socialist Party to have presided over the “bureaucratisation” of the union. This laughable suggestion was simply an attempt to sling mud.

Socialist Appeal also report that Janice is picking up "widespread support" which is highly likely as the Socialist Party have never been that popular with the rest of the left even amongst the grandees of  PCS and are probably having a giggle at their expense. Shame.....

The News Line - Daily Newspaper

Often overlooked and probably hard to find anyway is the paper of a small group of people still calling themselves the Workers Revolutionary Party and somehow managing to produce a daily newspaper! Only ever came across them once when on a picket line of my workplace. The comrade interviewed me and lacked a sense of humour as I referred to the PCS leadership as "Pabloite revisionists". Naughty me.

In the Monday edition they write about the Brexit march and opine that:

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of ‘Remainers’ marshalled by the likes of billionaire George Soros and other speculators set out on Saturday to try to create the conditions for a parliamentary coup against the 2016 referendum result.

This was when the masses of the people took advantage of a referendum, called by the then Prime Minister Cameron, and the then Chancellor Osborne to crush their euro-sceptics, to vote to leave the EU, sending a shocked Cameron and Osborne into early retirement, and dumping the UK ruling class into a first class disaster, completely of their own making, which they are having the greatest difficulty resolving.....

It was Lenin in Left Wing Communism who predicted that the British ruling class would make one great mistake that it would not be able recover from and would bring it down. This was the quality of the mistake that Cameron and Osborne made.....

The working class must show its power by taking to the streets, and organising a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government that will quit the EU at once and bring in socialism, putting an end to austerity for ever.

Such a movement will spread like wildfire throughout the crisis-ridden EU, and lead to workers rising up to bring down the bankers and bosses EU and replace it with the Socialist United States of Europe. We urge workers and youth to join the WRP and the Young Socialists to rapidly build up the revolutionary leadership that the working class and its youth need to take the fight forward.

Some things never change. Total reductionism Join the party (add favourite here) and all will be solved. Yeah right.

Somewhat bemusing is the SWP's attempt to review Contemporary Trotskyism by John Kelly in the latest issue of International Socialism, the SWP's theoretical journal. That it is an "academic work" rather than toeing an acceptable line seems to be the underlying theme who do not think it is up to the standards of Al Richardson and Sam Bornsteins work on the very early years of British Trotskyism. I thoroughly disagree. 

Christian Høgsbjerg writes:

While Kelly’s work is then scholarly and sophisticated in its own way, its framing academic sociological method and approach mean he necessarily misses much of interest and importance about the contemporary British Trotskyist movement—not only aspects of the institutional, political and organisational history but also the sense of personality, lived experience and cultural dimensions of the movement in all its richness (and, yes at times, also ridiculousness).

and continues:

What Kelly calls the “extraordinarily fissiparous character of world Trotskyism” is undeniable. Kelly blames Trotsky himself for some of this, noting for example that in 1933 Trotsky wrote “with real enthusiasm about the benefits of a split” among his French followers in the Communist League, on the grounds that “what will be lost—partly only temporarily—will be regained a hundredfold already at the next stage”.

And oddly chooses this quote from Trotsky (written in 1923) to defend his position

A Bolshevik is not merely a disciplined person; he is a person who in each case and on each question forges a firm opinion of his own and defends it ­courageously and independently, not only against his enemies, but inside his own party. Today, perhaps, he will be in the minority in his organisation. He will submit, because it is his party. But this does not always signify that he is in the wrong. Perhaps he saw or understood before the others did a new task or the necessity of a turn. He will persistently raise the question a second, a third, a tenth time, if need be. Thereby he will render his party a service, helping it to meet the new task fully armed or to carry out the necessary turn without organic upheavals, without fractional convulsions.

Yeah right. That'll get you kicked out the SWP for permanent factionalism especially if others do the same. I do wonder whether anyone teaches the theory of praxis in the SWP, but then I haven't forgotten their appalling behaviour over "comrade delta" either. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The Left and the Anti-Brexit March

The second largest demonstration ever seen on the streets of London took place at the weekend as up to 700,000 people marched against Brexit. For once it was not the usual suspects of the far-left, it was just ordinary punters who were concerned about the future outside the EU.

There was a Labour Party presence and a tiny smattering of two anti-Brexit left groups (Alliance for Workers Liberty & Socialist Resistance) who were lost in the massive crowd.  The rest were nowhere to be seen.

When I tuned in to Sky news during the afternoon I was surprised to see Lyndsey German the leader of the misnamed Stop the War Campaign (StWC) hanging around getting herself interviewed. Regrettably it was the end of the piece so missed what she had to say.

Fight for Corbyn, Freedom for Palestine - Counterfire Freesheet September 2018

Lyndsey belongs to a breakaway group from the Socialist Workers Party called Counterfire and writes on their website:

I spent a little bit of time in Parliament Square on Saturday being interviewed about the People’s Vote march. I have always opposed the demand and to be honest, nothing I have seen or heard about the march has made me change my mind.

Clearly she was just there to get self publicity. Lyndsey is an intelligent woman who could have garnered this information the same way I did being housebound by watching the news broadcast and reading what people say on-line, but hey take the opportunity to make a parasitical intervention, that's the way the left has always worked. Lyndsey continues:

The demonstration showed that this campaign is dominated by the rich and powerful, and was a vehicle for middle class protest, not the empowerment of the most radical sections of society.

It was a demo enthusiastically promoted and reported by all sections of the media. The figures from the organisers may or may not be correct. It looked to me considerably less than the 700k so dutifully reported. But the claim that it was the second biggest demonstration in British history is almost certainly false. It says more about the organisers and their determination to get beyond the Iraq war demo than it does about making an accurate assessment of history.

This put down attacking the "middle class" and trying to claim the demo was from the "rich and powerful" sounds like the sort of formulation a "Strasserite" would use. When Lyndsey was in the SWP and still as a leading head honcho of the StWC these organisations always lied about the size of their party or gave false figures upping turnouts on demos and meetings. Cleverley taken photos hide reality.

Obviously Lyndsey does not think the "middle class" (if that formulation could be proven) component has any "rights" such is the arrogance of the Marxist caste. History has left them behind. The "working class" in traditional terms is no longer the majority class in society. The world has changed.

Socialist Worker

The Socialist Workers Party whilst hostile to the march contradict Lyndsey German's assessment of the numbers involved in the march and write:

Almost 700,000 marched for a "Peoples Vote" in London on Saturday.

This was a huge mobilisation—the largest in Britain since the 2003 march against the Iraq War. It shows the campaign has struck a chord with sections of those who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum or who have subsequently turned against Brexit.

But that doesn’t make it progressive or in the interests of working class people.

The People’s Vote is a cross party alliance with warmongering spin doctor Alastair Campbell giving leadership. Many people have pointed out that as director of communications and spokesperson for Tony Blair’s Labour Party he ignored a march against the invasion of Iraq which was three times the size of Saturday's.

There was also a strong anger against Jeremy Corbyn for “failing” to oppose Brexit totally.

Meanwhile the dreadful  Corbyn supporting website the Canary approached the demo thus:

On Saturday 20 October, there was a bit of a protest in London. Something to do with Brexit, apparently. But meanwhile, in a small corner of Lancashire, a group of grassroots campaigners and locals had organised their own demo. And there wasn’t an EU flag in sight.

It was about "fracking" in Lancashire apparently. The jury is still out on that issue as far as I am concerned but that's a discussion for another day. This snide report is just the sort of attitude that Corbyn/McDonnell have about the EU but pretend otherwise.

Monday, 22 October 2018

PCS Union: Militant pitted against Militant!

The Socialist Party (Militant) and a breakaway faction (Socialist View) are vying for the Left Unity nomination for their respective candidates for Assistant General Secretary and other leading positions in the union.

Briefly for newcomers to these affairs Mark Serwotka wants rid of his troublesome Assistant General Secretary, Chris Baugh and replace him with current President Janice Godrich. The problem was both belonged to the Socialist Party (Militant)so since the SP backed Baugh Janice had to split taking a number of leading hacks with her.

A well produced leaflet has been circulated by Socialist View showing Janice is standing for AGS along with Fran Heathcoat for President, Kevin McHugh, Martin Cavanagh and the mad poet Zita Holbourne for Vice Presidents.

The dispute between is well out on the open.  Marion Lloyd (SP and PCS NEC member)wrote:

Socialist Party member Chris Baugh is up for re-election. He has been the Left Unity candidate on three successive occasions since 2004, and won the union's election each time.

Chris is being challenged by Janice Godrich, the union's president. This challenge was started and is actively supported by the general secretary, Mark Serwotka, supposedly because of personal dislike and alleged inability to work with Chris.

But as the election process within PCS Left Unity has got under way, the 'justification' for standing against Chris has turned into a campaign of slurs, half-truths and distortions.

Former leading Liverpool Militant Tony Mulhern opined on Facebook:

I attended a meeting last night to consider whom to nominate for the position of PCS Assistant General Secretary, a position currently occupied by Chris Baugh, whose stewardship of the position has been exemplary over a 14-year period. He has been elected and re-elected on three occasions.
Chris has been in the forefront of the fight to defend the members in the teeth of vicious attack by a government who are determined to destroy the PCS as a great fighting example to the whole trade union movement.

In a rational world, he would have been a shoo-in for the nomination. Not so.
Chris’s opponents are nominating lay officer PCS president Janice Godrich whose stewardship, in that capacity, has also been exemplary. 

Chris’s record speaks for itself, so I listened carefully to those campaigning for his removal.
The case against Chris includes: 

He doesn’t get along with the general secretary, so much so that, although PCS procedure, like all unions, rules that when the GS is indisposed, his duties shall be assumed by the AGS. When the GS was desperately ill this did not happen. Instead the procedure was ignored in favour of the GS’s choice. 

I can think of one or two past general secretaries in the PCS and other unions where friction between the GS and his deputy would have been in the members’ interests and not to their detriment.
He briefed against the proposed merger between Unite and PCS. This charge is based on tittle tattle, and his body language. Apparently, according to a Janice supporter, he was seen smiling when the proposed merger was scotched. In addition, Len McCluskey has stated unequivocally that there is no truth in this assertion.

Apart from loud assertions that he was ‘not the man for the job’ the case against Chris was entirely unconvincing. Although thrown into the mix was that one or two Socialist Party members had referred in an uncomradely manner to Mark’s illness. This is obviously to be deplored, but I’d like to know who they were. 

The case for nominating Janice was that she has carried out her President’s duties in an exemplary fashion. Quite so. But the caveat is that she gets on well with the GS.

It appears that the overriding consideration is that the two top officers of the union should be best buddies. It could also be argued that Janice’s excellent stewardship of the president’s position is a good case for her continuing in that capacity.

At a time when the unity of the movement is paramount to fight the crazed Tory government, it defies logic that a campaign is under way to remove an outstanding officer like Chris from a leading position on the most spurious grounds.

This opinion has been penned entirely off my own bat without discussion with Chris or his colleagues.

What will happen after the Left Unity nomination is won by either Janice or Baugh is still open to speculation.  Janice will probably win, but will Baugh go it alone. Would Janice if she doesn't? A three-way contest would be interesting although the the turnout for elections in PCS has dropped to an all-time low.

Meanwhile Left Unity's opponents in the Independent Left are not about to be sidelined and will run a candidate. In a three-way battle someone like Bev Laidlaw could well stand a good chance. 

The fight over who will be the Left Unity candidate for Assistant General Secretary in next year’s elections could hardly be farther removed from the concerns of PCS members in the workplace. Most won’t be even tangentially aware of it, and if they are will view it as irrelevant.

But it does say something about the current position of our union.

Left Unity has dominated PCS’s hierarchy for the better part of two decades. In that time, true believers have stuck to the party line. LU’s socialism, its leading role in the trade union movement, the correctness of its analysis was never in doubt – at least by those who didn’t want to put a target on their back.

Now, because Mark Serwotka doesn’t like Chris Baugh and has slid Janice Godrich across the board to replace him, a different message emerges.

The Chris Baugh camp tells us that unelected full time officers have too much power, that workers in struggle have had to fight for support, and that the Unite merger was being pushed for nest-feathering reasons with democracy an afterthought at best.

From the SWP, we learn that without Mark Serwotka the union would have been in constant retreat over the last few years and nobody else was willing to push for a national fight over pay.

Janice Godrich’s supporters tell us that the union has long sidelined organising for bargaining and this was a symptom of a layer of full timers who got their position through cronyism.

Mark Serwotka himself has even stated that in the past strikes were called as set-piece political protests, after the fact, and no real efforts were made to properly build leverage or negotiate.

There is truth in all of this. (And the personal attacks and bullying that pervade LU’s culture have been laid bare in the conduct of the debate).

But where each side blames the other, themselves conveniently committed to silence by a revolutionary discipline that can now be cast aside because the two most senior paid officials don’t get on, in reality the problem is Left Unity as a collective entity.

They conclude:

The trade union movement is coming to a crisis point. Outdated TUC-style business unionism is dying, and the promising upsurge in revolutionary, syndicalist organising needs desperately to be supported and spread.

In PCS, that means ditching LU’s ‘broad left’ model which is focused only on getting ‘the right people’ into positions. Instead, we need to organise in such a way that those we elect are only there to facilitate rank-and-file activity – and the rank-and-file can act without them where they don’t.

In next year’s elections, the Independent Left will be standing a candidate for Assistant General Secretary as well as a slate for the NEC. If you want a union genuinely led by its members and fit to take the fight to the bosses, you should consider nominating and supporting our candidates as a first step.
To be continued.....

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Russia: The far left just can't keep up with reality!

There was a time when I first got involved with politics that the various left groups had clear lines on what Russia and the other "socialist" countries were. Their main proponents in both the UK and the West was the official Communist Party of Great Britain publishers of the daily Morning Star. To them the defence of the Soviet Union and it's satellites in Eastern Europe plus Cuba was central to their political strategy and usually parroted whatever line the Soviet Communist Party used to pursue.

The CPGB also defended China, North Korea and  North Vietnam in their propaganda despite the Sino-Soviet split. Even today the Morning Star carries articles supporting the genocidal policy of the Chinese in Tibet.

The rest of the far-left was dominated by Trotskyism. The pro-Chinese groups were minute and mostly irrelevant. Trotsky considered the Soviet Union as "a degenerated workers state" and only needed a "political revolution" not a "social" one to remove the Stalinist usurpers.   This line was vigorously pursued by the Workers Revolutionary Party, International Marxist Group and the Militant Tendency amongst others.

Meanwhile Tony Cliff way back in the forties and fifties broke with "orthodox Trotskyism" and denounced the Soviet Union as "State Capitalist" and therefore Imperialist in nature when it came to the Korean War. This led to the famous slogan on the front page of Socialist Worker "Neither Washington nor Moscow.

That was then.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 and despite an attempted coup the Communist Party was finally overthrown and the country briefly went towards democracy not that this lasted long. Putin and his ilk rose to power. Opposition is difficult and the state has aligned itself with the thoroughly reactionary Russian Orthodox Church. Putin has promoted Russian Nationalism and has sought to reassert Russia's influence in lost place like the Ukraine even to the extent of invading the Crimea and stoking conflict using "breakaway republics" on his borders with with Crimea and even tiny Georgia.

Russia is now very much a capitalist economy with imperialist  intentions. Same has happened with China, though the Chinese Communist Party managed to introduce capitalism itself and remains firmly in control. Their imperialist intentions are seen right across the south seas as disputes erupt over tiny islands and sandbanks in a battle for resources. Their claim to Formosa (Taiwan remains a major source of potential conflict.

Nobody except the left seems to retain any illusions about Russia and China, though North Koera remains a nightmare. The Morning Star regularly takes a pro-Putin line as do some of the trotskyist sects. The New Communist Party (a breakaway from the official CPGB in the seventies remains a fan of Russia, China and North Korea. Old habits die hard.

Image result for New Worker NCP front page

Even bloody Jeremy Corbyn couldn't get it through his blinkered outlook on international politics that Russia was responsible for the chemical attack on British soil. Only pressure has made him publicly at least appear to revise that line,but pro-Russia he remains.

This was illustrated by a couple of articles I read from the micro-left recently. Socialist Fight published a paper in which the organisation was encouraged to recognise the imperialist nature of China:

It is hard to let go of defending a country that Trotskyists deem progressive after it transformed and become reactionary. This is true in particular in regard to the degenerated/deformed workers state. After the successful capitalist restoration in Russia and the Eastern European countries, it took most of those who called themselves Trotskyists years to concede that capitalism has been restored in these countries. A similar process is taking place in regard to China. Some Trotskyists still consider China to be at best a semi-colony, while in reality, China has been imperialist for some time.

Meanwhile the tiny International Bolshevik Tendency, a split from the Spartacists (don't ask, maybe one day) has had it's own split over a spat about the nature of Russia:

In early October 2018 several members of the International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT) submitted a statement announcing they were leaving the organization. The grouping, led by Tom Riley and including comrades from different sections and the international leadership, had until their departure been in the majority in the IBT in a long-standing dispute over whether Russia is now imperialist.

A substantial minority of the organization argued that Russia had developed into an imperialist power over a decade ago. Building on natural resources in oil and gas and what remained of the economic base inherited from the Soviet Union, Russia had come to project its economic might abroad to extract value from less powerful countries, using its military weight to secure spheres of influence for future enrichment. Although considerably more backward than the established major imperialist powers, Russia plays an increasing role in inter-imperialist competition, particularly demonstrated in recent conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The then-majority (composed of the Riley faction and others) described Russia as a non-imperialist regional power of similar status to Brazil.

These arguments taking place after so many years when the world has so clearly moved on and no one really sees Russia or even China as "communist threats" but powerful competitors in both economic and imperial ambitions.

The fact that Marxism-Leninism has failed everywhere seems to escape them. No different to wacky religious sects these groups continue to perpetuate long discredited ideologies.