Monday, 23 May 2016

Socialist sectarianism becomes anti-Semitism

Workers' Liberty

The sectarian shenanigans of the far left (mainly Trotskyist, but sometimes Stalinist) have a habit of of becoming both farcical and downright dangerous at times. The establishment of Momentum has already seen a fair number of squabbles accusations and fall-outs but the latest attack on the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) has very sinister overtones.

A post to the Socialist Leaves Europe Facebook page from someone called "Siobhan O'Malley" contains the following:

While Momentum continues the excellent legacy of the Corbyn campaign in many areas, it is important to note that it faces a variety of difficulties. The main issue is infiltration by the notorious anti-Labour sect the Alliance for Workers' Liberty (AWL).

The AWL is a wrecking operation designed to undermine the political Left in Britain and there are well-established rumours that they receive funds from Israeli lobbyists. They present themselves as "Trotskyists", yet support Israel, supported the Iraq war and oppose multiculturalism. In reality, they have been planted in the labour movement to disrupt and divide. It is noteworthy that the key figure in Another Europe is Possible is an AWL member, Michael Chessum.

These are well-funded individuals who receive money for steering the Labour Party away from its central socialist mission.

This is yet another example of where the lefts so-called anti-Zionism crosses the line into clear anti-Semitic territory. There's conspiracy theory, nation hate and spite towards anyone or any group that even dares to think differently to the "established" anti-imperialist agenda the left indulges itself in.

I also have to say that despite the posters "observation" that the AWL receives "funds from Israeli lobbyists" this is the first I have heard such errant nonsense.

The AWL is and always been a rather small group with just over 100 members. It's "operations" are somewhat limited. 

I'm no friend of the AWL (having had serious clashes with them when in the PCS union) and have many insurmountable difference with their Marxist politics, but this accusation is well, just hateful crap.

It says more about the proponents of this new conspiracy theory than those that it is aimed at.

Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Whatever happened to the SWP?

With the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and his Momentumistas the "extra parliamentary" or self proclaimed "revolutionary" left has been very much marginalised and forgotten about. The old Militant Tendency now re-branded as the Socialist Party has seen its Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition become irrelevant even within it's own terms and has been pushed back to controlling the much declined civil service trade union PCS.

Within the alliance that controls PCS remains the much discredited Socialist Workers Party who have three members of the unions National Executive. A party that when this blog was launched around three years ago or so was falling apart due to one of the worst internal scandals that the far-left has ever faced. Only the now almost defunct Workers Revolutionary Party can be said to have a worse record.

The result of the lack of focus on the politically corrupted SWP has allowed them to revive themselves and start attempting to rebuild their shattered organisation. However there are many that will not allow their "crimes" against women to go unforgotten.

Over at Lives Running, ex-member Dave Renton reminds us:

In 2010 a man called Martin Smith (“Comrade Delta”) was the National Secretary of the SWP, its day to day leader, the person who employs the other party workers. In July of that year, a 17 year old woman (“Comrade W”) complained that he had mistreated her. She didn’t use the word “rape”, but the people who met her and heard her knew what she was talking about.

From the start, Smith’s supporters (including Weyman Bennett, who worked with him on the SWP’s anti-fascist campaign) put pressure on the women who helped Comrade W, calling one of them a “traitor”, ostracising and dismissing them and forcing them out of the SWP.
The full story can be found here in my blog from October 2013.
And yet this organisation continues parading itself as one of "revolutionary virtue" and "correctness" as it prepares for the annual Marxism bash which it utilises to brow-beat attendees into joining it's sordid little group.
Although much smaller and less influential than in the past, Marxism 2016 has attracted a number of speakers that really should have known better than to give credibility to Professor Callincos's "Lynch Mob" as it became famously or should I say infamously known back in 2013/14 when the crisis over "comrade delta" broke not just across the left, but in the national media (just "goggle" there's plenty of material out there.
Amongst the speakers agreeing to participate are tired old anti-imperialist and ex-Trot Tariq Ali, Moazzam Begg from the organisation CAGE that described brutal mass-murderer "Jihadi John" as a "nice man", Natalie Bennett, the retiring gaffe prone leader of the Green Party and the rabid anti-Israel deputy leader of the Greens, Shahar Ali.
"By your friends we shall know thee"
There are still a few hundred die-hard old members left in the SWP who wouldn't (and didn't) leave even when the truth of their sect was obvious to everyone else.
The SWP has gone the way of the WRP complete with subservience to an anti-imperialist pro Islam(ist) agenda.
Best avoided. Especially if you are one of these types easily "triggered" by the truth of the world.
The SWP is a nasty little cult..and is full of them....

Friday, 20 May 2016

Musical Celebration: A Rock Goddess turns 70!

Photo: By M Abancourt

One of the great stars of the music world that I grew up with Cher, turns 70 today!

A household name since the sixties Cher has entertained generations with her unique and powerful voice. There were so many great songs to choose from, but I settled for this one from her 1989 Album Heart of Stone was my final choice.

Happy Birthday Cher!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The left's silence on the end of Venezuelan socialism

Photo: By Valter Campanato/ABr

The growing crisis of Nicolas Maduro's regime in Venezuela has attracted much media coverage over the last few days. Shortages of everything from basic staple foods to toilet paper have made this socialist "paradise" as the far left would have you believe a nightmare for ordinary people who just happen to live there.

The Times reported yesterday that Maduro was "planning military exercises" in an attempt to crack down on growing disquiet on in the towns and cities across the country. previously he has made threats that his regime will never relinquish power no matter what the results of any election may bring.

The failure of this anti-imperialist/socialist regime is clear for all to see. The Telegraph reports:

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, which have earned more than one trillion dollars since 1999. Yet such is the crisis in the country that the only contemporary comparison that can be made is with Zimbabwe’s meltdown under Robert Mugabe. Venezuela has the world’s worst inflation, currently about 180 per cent and predicted to rise almost tenfold next year. Yet for all the money being printed, there is almost nothing to buy in shops, with shortages from flour and nappies to medicines and underwear. Desperate people queue from the middle of the night outside supermarkets; tear gas had to be fired to disperse hundreds of looters after a lorry carrying salt and shampoo crashed.

...Seven in ten are of them in poverty, many reduced to smuggling goods over borders to survive. Cities are cursed with violent crime. Corruption is rife. Amid power cuts, the government had to plead with women not to waste energy by using hair dryers while public sector workers were put on a two-day working week.

Amongst the most vociferous supporters of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez are the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Seamus Milne and a number of trade unions including the civil service union PCS. I wonder how Mark Serwotka's members would react to living under such a regime?

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

Yet when it comes to failure the left is quiet. Nay a word in the latest Socialist Worker or it's tedious rival The Socialist. There is a Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and their website tries to blame the current crisis on everybody but the true culprits, the regime itself.

At some stage the situation is going to break and when Maduro's tanks are on the streets suppressing legitimate protest, just who will the left be in solidarity with?

It won't be the ordinary working people of Venezuela. That's for certain.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Islam(ist) violence is the real offence

A number of stories caught my attention as I went through the papers today. The first in The Metro reported that:

Three members of a "Sharia Patrol"in Vienna have been jailed for beating a father unconscious after they accused his wife and daughter of behaving "inappropriately on a night out.

The victim, named only as Martin P, is married to a Chechen woman who was taking her daughter and three of her friends to a club in the city when the patrol stopped them.

They were ordered to return home. According to the 14 year old girls the men told the mother that: "We and only we, are bringing the girls back home, they are our country's women.

When the Father arrived he was beaten to the ground.

Extremists in our midsts. And they are not alone.

And it also turns out three teenagers in Vienna were arrested for attacking a topless man handing out roses. One said:

What you are doing offends our religion, it is not nice.

It's violence that should offend. 

Who the hell do these evil men think they are? They have no right to force their religious beliefs on anyone else in a democracy.

The propensity of followers of Islam to use violence is disturbing.

And yet this threat is growing, even in the UK where Sharia patrols have already been seen in East London and Luton.

That threat is growing and it's in schools again. 

The Times reports:

Inspectors who targeted small unregistered schools, which were predominately Islamic, found pupils being taught in dangerous premises by adults who have no clearance to work with children.

It was estimated that some 5,000 children were attending these "schools" where Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of Ofsted told the paper that:

I remain extremely concerned about the number of children attending these schools who may be at risk of harm and indoctrination.

One thing was missing from this report. A rather obvious question in fact.

What about the thousands of parents who have sent their kids to these places?

The parents should also face an investigation. Their actions are not responsible and they are a potential, if not real danger to their children and society in general themselves.

No doubt some lefty anti-imperialist will shout Islamophobia (as they are prone to do) as the "religion of peace is beyond criticism in their blinkered little world.

There is no doubt that in time many Muslims will integrate into wider society, but these recidivist elements are a dangerous not just to non-Muslims, but other Muslims as well.

The time has come to stop "treading on eggshells" around the problem of a parallel society being created under our noses.

Migrants of all sorts have come to not just our shores but across Europe. Most are welcome but if they think they can enforce their backward religious ideas on others then those responsible for violent acts should be shown the door after they have served their sentences.

These evil men are not welcome here and it's about time we in the West put our foot down.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Opposition to DWP pay deal is growing

The recent Pay Deal agreed in the Department of Work & Pensions was recommended to members by all three trade unions, Prospect, the FDA and PCS. It's an incredibly divisive deal that sets members against each other by hiking up the award for those lower down the pay scale with a mere 1% for those at the top.

Whilst this may seem fair to some outsiders, what the deal does is allow the Department to cover it's tracks over the time it takes to progress up the pay scale at the expense of those who reached "Max" and adding insult to insult have not received pay rises at all some years and even when they did only got 1%.

The real backlash that appears to be rising is not over money, but the changes to hours and days worked.

In order to be eligible for the award (even the paltry 1%) members have to agree to new contracts forcing them to work evenings and at least one Saturday a month as part of the move over to Universal Credit, the Department's controversial (and many say failing) new benefit.

It's quite obvious from reaction both on the ground and in social media that a large proportion of members object to these changes with some indication that in the PCS at least there will be a strong vote against when the ballot takes place.

The agreement includes "safeguards" to "protect" those with medical problems an disabilities but in essence all that DWP Management actually agree to do is to follow the Equality Act which happens to be the law anyway.

The addition of a committee with "Independent" Managers (don't laugh) and a TU rep to oversee disputes does not exactly inspire confidence.

The DWP has shrunk it's staff at precisely the time it needs more to ensure a smooth changeover in the way it meets its so-called "business needs", leaving those still in place overworked and stressed with moral at an all time low.

The in-fighting in the largest of the civil service unions PCS (whose membership has shrunk considerably to just 175,000) continues unabated. Many former activists have pointed out that if this deal had been recommended by anyone else other than Left Unity themselves it would have been called a "right-wing sellout".

The problem for LU is there is no right-wing (mainstream in normal parlance) despite their trying to  make one up in their election literature.

The elections in the DWP remain to be announced and LU seem rattled by the advance of a rival hard left group in the NEC elections as the Independent Left take 3 NEC seats.

There is little likelihood that any kind of industrial dispute over the deal will take place or could be seriously considered due to the very nature of the divisive award itself. There are too many "winners" and many would see such action as futile.

However disquiet remains widespread at grassroots level which will not go away.

Sunday Supplement: Not your parents cartoons.....

When this...

becomes this.


Hanna-Barbera produced a lot of memorable cartoons which we remember fondly from our childhood. Wacky Races, Scooby Doo and The Flintstones were amongst them.

And they are getting a makeover. As comics.

DC Comics (owned by Warner Brothers) is launching four comics based on Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the first of which is due in comic shops on May 25th. A re-imagined version of Scooby Doo with character redesigns by Jim Lee in which the Apocalypse arrives and the Scooby Gang face real monsters....

While in Wacky Races Armageddon has happened and the survivors are involved in a race where coming second results in death.

Not your parents cartoons indeed!

On a lighter note The Flintstones are back. Pebbles and Bam-Bam are a bit older.

Mark Russell's "The Flintstones" Comic Series Adds Steve Pugh as Artist

And in this case it's not just a comic in the works. Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) has the contract for a new TV show.

In the meantime DC have their version due to hit stores in July.

For more on comics old & new please try out my other blog:

Howie's World of Comics