Saturday, 10 December 2016

Communist veteran joins Labour

Andrew Murray, life-long member of the Communist of Britain and aide to Len McCluskey in Unite has finally taken the plunge and joined the Labour Party. This surprising decision was reported in the Guardian today:

Andrew Murray, who last year said communism represented “a society worth working towards”, joined Labour’s ranks recently, a Unite spokesman said.

But as the paper notes, his conversion to "democratic socialism" seems a little suspect:

Murray, a former Morning Star journalist and longtime chair of Stop the War, said in a Guardian interview last year that his adherence to communism prevented him from joining Labour.

“All my children are in the Labour party,” he said. “One has been in the Labour party a long time; the other three are all there as a result of Jeremy’s surge. But no, I’m a member of the Communist party. That’s where I am. Communism still represents, in my view, a society worth working towards – albeit not by the methods of the 20th century, which failed.”

Murray is also currently Chair of the pro-Putin/Assad Stop the War Coalition so will have similar views of international politics to Labour's "Dear leader" Jeremy Corbyn.

The entry of a staunch Stalinist into Labour will simply add to the "potpourri" of extreme left activists that have come to dominate the Party. He will find an ally in Shameless Milne but will find himself at loggerheads with the Trots in Momentum as there is no love lost between him and the AWL, though his daughter is currently engaged in a fight with those dastardly followers of Leon Trotsky.

Another follower of lost causes joining the throng. Is faction fighting inside Momentum is about to become a family affair?

Friday, 9 December 2016

Friday night interlude with Radio Luxemburg!

Growing up in the sixties and seventies one of my main sources of music was none other than Radio Luxembourg which I, like many of my peers would listen to on a small transistor radio under the bedclothes.

The English language service of Radio Luxembourg actually began broadcasting in 1933 and ran until 1992.

The only problem with listening to this station was the fading in and out which always seemed to happen when I listening to my favourite tracks. Didn't stop me or anyone else tuning in.

There were some good Disc Jockeys that I remember like Stuart Henry, Tony Prince, Kid Jensen  and Emperor Roscoe.

For those of you who are of a certain generation will hopefully enjoy this trip down memory lane!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Round and about the far-left

  The Socialist issue 928 front page - NHS: stop the Tory vandals

The current crisis in Momentum has been the main talk on left-wing media over the last week and the left's papers are no exception but the Socialist Party (Militant) makes no mention of it's now obviously failed appeal to be re-admitted to the Labour Party.

However they have have allies in the tiny Communist Party of Great Britain who write in a report of their "aggregate that:

In the discussion that followed Vernon Price pointed out that SPEW was now making the correct demand that all working class organisations should be allowed to affiliate to Labour, so it does seem to have rethought things.

In reply to this, comrade Conrad said that SPEW had not engaged in any re-examination of its position on Labour - it had gradually “rowed back” into a “not so stupid” position. But for SPEW it was all about preserving its own organisation, not arriving at the truth. I added that for almost 20 years SPEW had insisted that Labour was now a bourgeois party, just like the Tories and Liberal Democrats, and it still refuses to admit it was wrong on that.

One interesting point to note about this meeting that it was a joint affair between the CPGB and the "Labour Party Marxists". The connection should be quite clear to the powers that be within Labour Party who are responsible for ensuring entryists of this type are kept out.

However their guru Jack Conrad (aka John Chamberlain) told the meeting:

...a Labour defeat would see renewed attacks by the right, who would blame it all on Corbyn, and there could possibly be a good number of trade unions withdrawing their support from him. As for Theresa May, she is looking for an excuse to call an early election - she knows full well that a general election in a few months’ time would almost certainly see the Tories re-elected with a hugely increased majority.

But most of the left, inside and outside the party, is in denial over this. Furthermore, the left groups have responded to Corbyn’s victory in a totally un-theorised manner. The Socialist Workers Party and Communist Party of Britain claim that the real battle is ‘on the streets’, not inside Labour, while the Socialist Party in England and Wales and Socialist Resistance have refused to engage in any self-criticism over their previous writing off of Labour as a site for struggle.

For the uninitiated Socialist Resistance are yet another tiny Trot faction that originated out of the implosion of the International Marxist group in the eighties. The IMG's most famous member was one Tariq Ali.

Socialist Resistance is an affiliate of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International, the largest of such groups claiming to be the continuation Trotsky's Fourth International. Oddly there is a second group that is part of the USFI known as Socialist Action and was infamous for providing Ken Livingstone with his "lieutenants" when he became Mayor of London.

Socialist Action has been buried in the Labour Party for years whilst Socialist Resistance was once part of Galloway's mis-named Respect party before briefly wandering into the Socialist Party/RMT led Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Now they too are burying themselves in Labour....

Meanwhile the media's current villains, the Alliance for Workers Liberty have issued a statement in which they openly admit their political orientation:

Yes, we are Trotskyists. We say what we think, and we organise openly for our ideas. We believe Momentum is a tremendous opportunity for the left.

Not that this should be news to anyone.

There are other groups "quietly" enconsed in Labour like Red Flag, the new name for the Workers Power group which is part of (believe it or not) The Fifth International. Then there is Socialist Appeal a 300 or so strong group who split from Militant and stayed in the Labour Party. They have their own "International" called the International Marxist Tendency.

All of these groups (and any I might have neglected to mention) have one thing in common. They seek to use the rise of "Corbynism" for their own benefit. All they are interested in is building their party. What happens to Labour is ultimately of no concern to them as they seek to supplant it and democracy in favour of a Leninist style "dictatorship of the proletariat" or to be more precise the dictatorship of the Party of the proletariat which means them.

Trotskyism is a threat to democracy let alone the Labour Party. The younger Corbynites seem to have finally got wind of this although whether they learn anything from this is doubtful since many of them are just as intolerant, just in a different way.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

World of the Weird on a Wednesday

After a week of uncertainty in the politics I thought it was time to once more delve into the "world of the weird" once more after watching a couple of quite laughable videos on You Tube tonight.

The first from our friends at UFOmania tells us that at bottom of a Lake Vostok in Antarctica which has been isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years has a "large swastika" on its floor. Yeah right.

No evidence and just throwing in the theories of Nazi redoubts in Antarctica and the wacky observations of Admiral Byrd (who claims he saw "mammoth type creatures" in Antarctica) doesn't exactly impress.

Why do I watch this stuff? I'm fascinated by the bizarre theories that some people either believe or in this just make up. UFOmania is frankly the latter. They did a feature on anti-aircraft missiles being fired at a UFO over London. Living in a tower block I'm sure I'd have noticed...... mind you I'm told I can sleep through anything!

Then there's Tyler at Secureteam. He actually believes the stuff he puts out and the "Towers of Mars" sounds like something that could be found in John Carter stories. Sorry to hear about his cat though.

One of Tylers other videos features a chap who claims that US & Russian militaries have been at war with aliens since 1979. You know I'm sure we'd have noticed somehow or is ISIS just a cover? The jihadists are not human that's for sure, but aliens....

Still as the conspiracists would say: "that's what they want you to think".

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The forgotten by-election

While a lot of attention was focused on the Richmond by-election because of it's high-profile incumbent MP Zac Goldsmith, virtually nothing has been heard about the forthcoming contest in Sleaford & North Hykham.

At the last general election this was a safe Tory seat with a majority of over 24,000 and  56.2% of the vote. Labour came in second place with just 17.3% with UKIP close behind on 15.7%. The Liberal Democrats just about saved their deposit with 5.7%.

Labour's vote collapsed badly in Richmond with the party not only losing it's deposit but getting less votes than the number of members it claims in the constituency. Factional eyes will be watching the result with interest. Most party members have focused their attention of Momentum's growing internal squabble as the comrades fall out with each other unable to agree on a simple notion of each of their members having a vote.

It's not rocket science "comrades".

Meanwhile back in the world of real politics this by-election id wide open with both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats likely to squeeze the Labour vote. The seat (just like Richmond) is not good territory for Labour but the party cannot afford yet another humiliating performance.

UKIP's candidate is Victoria Ayling a local County Councillor whilst the Lib-Dems are fielding Ross Pepper whose views can be found on his blog A Pinch of Pepper.

Labour have put up Jim Clarke a local trade unionist and refuse collector who says:

“People here in Sleaford and North Hykeham need a local representative that is going to stand up for them and be their voice in Parliament.

“It is not right that in 2016 working people here in Sleaford and North Hykeham are having to choose between heating and eating.

“It is not right that Grantham hospital hasn’t enough doctors to keep the hospital A&E open overnight. I will fight for the resources to protect our local NHS and I will stand side by side with local people campaigning to keep Grantham A&E open 24 hours a day.

“We have a Tory Government with no plan for Brexit. Here in Sleaford and North Hykeham 62 per cent of people voted for Brexit. But they didn’t vote to put their jobs at risk, they didn’t vote to lose their rights at work and they didn’t vote for price rises on everyday essentials.

“Immigration played a big part in the Brexit result and I will not ignore that. We need to earn people’s trust and show that we respect will of the people, but will also hold the government to account on ensuring the best deal for Britain, which protects our local jobs.

“I will be a campaigning candidate, and I will be out on the doors from tomorrow, standing up for local people showing them that only Labour will put Sleaford and North Hykeham first.

“I am ready for the challenge to be Sleaford and North Hykeham’s next MP.”

The election result is awaited in the early hours of Friday morning.

Monday, 5 December 2016

A warning from the Workers Revolutionary Party

Workers Revolutionary Party

With all the attention being given to the petty bourgeois revisionists inside Momentum the working class fails to heed the continued warnings of the Workers Revolutionary Party, British Section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Their paper The News Line warns us that:

THE European Union is like a huge powder magazine that started to smoulder even before the Brexit vote in the UK on June 23rd, and is now about to be blown apart as its inner contradictions become white hot and completely unbearable.

and concludes with gusto that:

British capitalism has no future except to plan to smash the NHS and all workers rights. The UK working class must act accordingly. It must take action to force parliament to withdraw from the EU and to defend the NHS. The way to do this is through the organisation of the British socialist revolution. This will be emulated all over Europe and replace the EU with the Socialist United States of Europe.

Oh dear. Even poor old Gerry Healy must be turning in his grave if he isn't roasting in Hell for his crimes.

Healy of course was expelled by the party he created for sexual abuse of young socialists, though despite this many of their members stuck with him including Vanessa and the late Corin Redgrave. Like all Trotskyist groups they too fell apart and the WRP that exists today is so small it is surprising they manage to keep publishing The News Line daily.

It's membership is unknown and the circulation of it's paper a mystery, but here it is perpetuating the tired old politics of paranoia and imaginary threats, though no longer in receipt of funding from Gaddafi.

However they have no time for the false messiah Jeremy Corbyn and write:

Corbyn has no stomach for any fight against the right-wing or Blair; instead he is content to act as a safety valve for the hatred of workers towards this bankrupt capitalist system. He deliberately ducked out of a fight to break decisively with Blair and the right-wing just as he has ducked out of any real fight over the attacks by the Tories on wages, jobs, the NHS and the smashing up of the welfare state.

What is required today is not a leadership that talks ‘left’ but then runs away from a real fight, but a leadership that will call for and lead a struggle to bring down this Tory government and bring in a workers government and socialism. Only the WRP is building this leadership. Join today!

Perhaps those unhappy with the Tory-lite Jon Lansman should heed their call.

And then the rest of can get on with the task of getting Labour and the trade unions out of the current madness and actually help people.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Momentum's Divided National Committee

Although Momentum and it's supporters are far from all being traditional "Trotskyists" (there are some like the AWL inside) it seems the old adage that "if you put three Trots in a room you get two parties and a faction" still applies.

Their long awaited and disputed National Committee took place yesterday and what a confusing and disorganised meeting it turned out to be with Matt Wrack the FBU General Secretary querying who actually had voting rig rights since a lot of "poorly" identified people and volunteers packing the room out.

The Clarion reports:

At the start of the meeting there was controversy about the new delegates from the regions and equalities groups, elected by online ballot of members, with uncertainty who had the right to vote. Delegates also questioned the representatives from left groups (CPLD, Compass, LRC, Labour Briefing Coop, Open Labour, Labour Assembly Against Austerity, Labour CND; it’s not clear if anyone was there this time from the blog Left Futures which previously “delegated” Jon Lansman). These organisations have not chosen to affiliate; Open Labour refused to back Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election – so why are they represented on the Momentum NC?!

It turns out that there is a "conservative wing" of momentum:

In summary: the left, more radical, pro-democracy wing of the NC won on some democracy issues including the structure and powers of the upcoming national conference, passing policy for a conference of delegates from local groups that can meaningful decide Momentum’s policy and plans; as well as on some other issues (eg defending freedom of movement and migrants’ rights, and fighting expulsions and suspensions). But the more conservative wing managed, by one vote, to block holding a new election for the Steering Committee, even though it was elected seven months ago, before many events, debates and controversies.
Who knew? 

Momentum Tories. That'll be a new on-line insult for the more deranged wing of the Corbynista movement.....

The comrades apparently held some "key votes":

• That this conference should make policy and establish a constitution.

• We voted down the proposal from the SC majority that we could only discuss three key areas.

• We voted that the conference would be on 18 February, 25 February or 4 March (25 February clashes with Scottish Labour conference).

• We voted for a composite from the Northern, London and Midlands regions advocating motions can be submitted one each from local groups, liberation groups, students and youth, affiliated unions, the NC and regional networks; three weeks before conference; with compositing, an e-forum to discuss motions and an online priorities ballot.

• Two delegates for every 100 members or part thereof (at least gender balanced and groups sending more than four must send at least one young person).

• Those not covered by a group can send at same rate elected by ballot.
• If not covered by a group 30 people can submit a motion.

• Liberation groups and students and youth can send delegates, to be agreed by NC in consultation with these groups subject to verification of structures and elections.

• We elected a Conference Arrangements Committee of seven people: Alec Price, Huda Elmi, Josie Runswick, Delia Mattis, Lotte Boumelha, Jackie Walker, James Elliott.

• We voted against complicated formulas for voting and instead for simple delegate voting at conference.

• We voted that group delegates should be elected at face-to-face local Momentum group meetings.

According to the author of this report he does not trust the Momentum leadership to not "void" these issues, by which he probably means they'll ignore it. After all Momentum remains a private company with Jon Lansman as it's proprietor.

Momentum are and remain a bloody mess. If these people represent the future of Labour the party is truly doomed.

Corbyn the false messiah has not chosen his disciples very well.