Jul 16 2019

BRIAN HIGGINS – A PERSONAL AND POLITICAL TRIBUTE

 

 

Communist, Republican, Trade Union Militant,

Scottish Internationalist, Glasgow Bear

 9th February 1941 – 2nd June 2019

 

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BRIAN HIGGINS

A PERSONAL AND POLITICAL TRIBUTE

Brian made a big impression upon whomever he met. Nigel Jeffrey, who encountered him on the picket line during the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike wrote, “Brian Higgins stands out because he was 6′ 6″ plus… He was a big lad as broad as he was tall… There must have been half a dozen police went for this Brian Higgins and snatched him… He was shoving them off left, right and centre.” [1] Continue reading “BRIAN HIGGINS – A PERSONAL AND POLITICAL TRIBUTE”

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Oct 22 2019

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

Allan Armstrong sent  this article to Conter, on September 13th, hoping  to open up one of the debates on the Left in relation to Scottish independence, before and during the Radical Independence Campaign conference in Glasgow on October 26th. There has been no acknowledgement of this article by the Conter editor, despite Allan being a member of RISE, Conter‘s main sponsor. This seems to reflect a unwillingness, highlighted at the founding of RISE, to discuss controversial  issues.

However, since then articles have appeared in Conter, or by RISE members writing for CommonSpace, which have been pro-Lexit. Allan’s article was written in an attempt to ensure that a fuller range of Left opinion was addressed on a specifically Socialist site claiming  to promote wider debate. This could then contribute to  the best traditions of RIC, where such controversial issues have been openly debated. A Left that is afraid to debate issues, in a democratic and respectful manner, is doomed to irrelevance.

Fortunately, both Socialist Resistance (http://socialistresistance.org/the-contradictions-underlying-brexit-and-scottish-independence/18211) and bella caledonia (https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/10/24/republican-internationalism-from-below/) have now posted this article. 

 

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

 

To date articles in Conter addressing Brexit have concentrated more on the neo-liberal opposition, and those on the Left perceived to be tail-ending this section of the British ruling class. There has been no real analysis of the aims of the hard right and national populist advocates of Brexit, whether the Boris Johnson-led Tories, or the Nigel Farage-led UKIP and now his Brexit Party. Brexit  has not been adequately placed in the context of the global rise of right national populism, highlighted by Donald Trump’s ‘Brexit, plus, plus, plus’, US presidential electoral victory in November 2016.[1] These people are still seen by some on the Left as political outsiders, despite now having their hands  on the US state’s anti-democratic presidential powers and the UK state’s anti-democratic crown powers. Nor have the machinations of such ‘left’ Brexit union leaders as UNITE’s Len McCluskey been addressed.[2]

 

The RIC conference on 26.10.19

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has formed an important arena for discussing such issues.[3] Indeed RIC’s Scottish internationalism is highlighted on its banner – ‘Another Scotland is Possible; Another Europe is Possible; Another World is Possible’. Hopefully, the October 26th RIC conference in Glasgow will extend this opportunity for discussion related to the situation we now face. Understanding the political forces, which the Left is up against, is essential, not only in the UK and wider world, but for us in Scotland, when we consider the future for Scottish independence. Continue reading “THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE”

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Feb 19 2019

FROM BLATCHERISM TO MAYBYNISM

Below is a synopsis of Allan Armstrong’s new pamphlet  The Continuing Shift to the Right in the Transition from Neo-Liberalism to Right Populism

https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/right-populism-2.pdf

 

This is followed by the last two chapters (relettered) which deal with the impact of Right Populism  since the Brexit vote,

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THE CONTINUING SHIFT TO THE RIGHT
IN THE TRANSITION FROM
NEO-LIBERALISM TO RIGHT POPULISM

 

Allan Armstrong presents a case that the world is leaving the period of Neo-liberal domination and entering a period of Right  populist domination. This is analogous to the earlier move from post-Second World War Social Democratic domination, which ended in 1979/80. He emphasises the role of the 2008 Crash in dividing the UK and US ruling classes. This had led to the rapid growth of Right Populist politics in these and other states. The Right’s winning of the Brexit vote and then the election of Trump (‘Brexit, plus, plus, plus’) has performed a similar role in the transition from Neo-liberalist domination to Right Populist domination that the election of Thatcher and Reagan had played in the earlier transition. Continue reading “FROM BLATCHERISM TO MAYBYNISM”

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Aug 27 2018

OPEN LETTER AND PETITION TO LEN McCLUSKEY

We have revived this open letter and petition from Ian Allinson of UNITE Grassroots Left. It calls upon UNITE members to reject Len McCluskey’s call for the Labour Party to adopt the IHRA definition anti-semitism.

 

OPEN LETTER AND PETITION TO LEN McCLUSKEY

We the undersigned call on you to oppose the adoption by the Labour party of those IHRA examples of antisemitism that would threaten legitimate support for justice for Palestinians.

We were concerned to read in his blog post for Huffington Post on 16 August that our General Secretary, Len McCluskey, while explaining clearly why some were problematic, argued that “It would be for the best if all eleven [of the IHRA examples] were now agreed, so the party can move on”.

The IHRA working definition of antisemitism is just 38 words and unproblematic. It was adopted by the Labour Party some time ago. The IHRA added 11 examples of what it says antisemitism “could, taking into account the overall context, include”. Continue reading “OPEN LETTER AND PETITION TO LEN McCLUSKEY”

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Jan 03 2017

GRASSROOTS UNITE LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE ATTACKS COYNE’S AND McCLUSKEY’s CAPITULATION TO ANTI-MIGRANT POLITICS

Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary, argues that McCluskey’s fudge on free movement stops him effectively defending members from the damage caused by Coyne’s attack on workers’ rights to free movement and equal treatment.

Gerard Coyne, the right-wing candidate in this election, is all over the press this morning (Independent, Daily Mail) demanding that “taking back control” of borders is a red line in Brexit negotiations, and that this is more important than trade arrangements.
Continue reading “GRASSROOTS UNITE LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE ATTACKS COYNE’S AND McCLUSKEY’s CAPITULATION TO ANTI-MIGRANT POLITICS”

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Jul 02 2020

NEIL DAVIDSON MEMORIAL MEETING, 11.7.20

NEIL DAVIDSON MEMORIAL MEETING

Saturday, July 11th, 20.00

 

 

Join comrades and friends in an online event to remember Neil Davidson who died on 3 May 2020.

You need to REGISTER to receive details by email of how to join this Zoom event: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAof-yorjktEtGWmauKAb958o3TEgvpAD–

Neil Davidson was a socialist militant and a highly innovative Marxist historian and sociologist, a member of revolutionary socialism in the 21st century (rs21), a prominent figure in the Scottish left and a lecturer at Glasgow University.

Speakers:
Sara Bennett (opening remarks, Unite / rs21)
Alex Law (Friend and comrade)
Michelle Campbell (PCS)
Steve Edwards (HM editorial board)
Cat Boyd (Radical Independence Campaign, Conter editorial board)
Satnam Virdee (Co-editor No Problem Here)
Jamie Allinson (Salvage editorial board)
Smina Akhtar (Contributor No Problem Here)
Charlie Post (Spectre Journal editorial board)
Maureen McBride (Contributor No Problem Here)
Raymond Morell (Unite / rs21 / Conter editorial board)
Open mic for memories and tributes

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1079869152407045/

You can read an obituary by Neil’s friend and comrade Raymond Morell and add your own memories and pictures here: https://www.rs21.org.uk/2020/05/07/obituary-neil-davidson-1957-2020/

If you’ve not used zoom before there’s a beginners’ guide to joining a zoom call here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UGE128WVZWxNKe1qxubbxgV17ucN9QBFXpPK0V6ibyU/edit?usp=sharing. If you need any help or want to have a practice please ask in good time.

The event will start at 8pm UK time (UTC+1). Please join by 8pm. Participants other than planned speakers will be in the zoom ‘waiting room’ and let in to the event around 8pm.

Hosted by revolutionary socialism in the 21st century. Co-hosted by Conter, Haymarket Books, Historical Materialism and Salvage Quarterly.

 

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also see the following obituaries from Raymond Morell, rs21 and George Kerevan in bella caledonia

Obituary: Neil Davidson, 1957–2020

https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2020/05/07/an-appreciation-of-neil-davidson-1957-2020/

 

and the following memorial review by Allan Armstrong

In memory of Neil Davidson: The West – No Better Than All the Rest

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Mar 26 2020

FIGHTING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

We are posting two responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first is from Trade unionists, health workers, independence supporters and community activists in Scotland. The second is from Socialist Democracy in Ireland.

 

1. Trade unionists, health workers, independence supporters and community activists demand radical action from the Scottish government to fight the pandemic

(To add your name and group or position (if any), email – covidscotresponse@gmail.com)

This statement was first published on 19th March. This version contains additions and revisions in the light of recent developments. There is a list of signatories at the end of this statement – as more are added the list will be updated at https://tinyurl.com/t6s5csz

The Covid-19 outbreak poses a real and significant threat to the people of Scotland, a country with a large elderly population, massive health inequalities and rural communities who will have difficulties accessing the health service when they need it most.

The Tory Governments “herd immunity” strategy is a catastrophe. The Westminster government itself predicted over a quarter of a million UK dead following this approach. Boris Johnson has now declared that “herd immunity” isn’t their strategy anymore because the science had changed! However, according to the editor of the Lancet in a tweet,” it took a study from Imperial to understand the likely burden of COVID-19 on the NHS. But read the first paper we published on COVID-19 on Jan 24. 32% admitted to ITU with 15% mortality. We have wasted 7 weeks. This crisis was entirely preventable.” Continue reading “FIGHTING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC”

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Aug 30 2019

It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!

Allan Armstrong gives his response to the latest constitutional crisis hitting the UK state

 

It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!

 

Contents

  1. A constitutional and legal coup under Crown-in-Westminster sovereignty
  2. The UK’s growing constitutional crisis, the retreat of neo-liberalism and liberal unionism and the growth of right populism and reactionary unionism
  3. The continued rise of right national populism and the hard right in the UK
  4. The May 23rd Euro-elections – Farage’s right populist victory paves the way for the hard right take-over of the Tory Party
  5. The asymmetric polarisation of UK politics
  6. From Maybynism to Borisbynism? – Labour’s role in helping to move official politics to the right
  7. Neo-liberal attempts to turn back the right populist challenge over Brexit
  8. The right and centre Remainers take politics to the streets
  9. The Lexiters’ (and Irexiters’) economism and abstract propagandism
  10. The emergence of left Remainers, Another Europe Is Possible, and their turn to the streets
  11. Conclusions

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  1. A constitutional and legal coup under Crown-in-Westminster sovereignty

The decision taken by Boris Johnson and his backers  to prorogue Westminster on the 28th August represents the culmination of a prolonged constitutional crisis, which began with the Scottish independence referendum between 2012-14, and has been accelerating in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016. Today we have liberals (in all the mainstream British parties), and even some conservatives, bemoaning  the unconstitutional and illegal nature of the decision taken by the unelected prime minister, Johnson, along with privy councillor, Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory MP representing the eighteenth century), and the unelected head of state, queen Elizabeth. However, the UK state, based on the sovereignty of the Crown in Westminster, with its armoury of anti-democratic Crown Powers, gives enormous power to the dominant section of the British ruling class. Proroguing parliament is both constitutional and legal. Continue reading “It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!”

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