Mar 14 2020

THE LABOUR LEFT ALLIANCE AND ROYAL SOCIALISM

This letter by Steve Freeman is a reponse to a report by Stan Keable in Weekly Worker about the post-December 12th general election conference of  section of the Labour Left, who have become disillusioned with Momentum, John Lansman’s Corbyn fan club. Yet, as this letter shows the Labour Left Alliance retains  the weaknesses of Corbyn, his allies and Momentum when it comes to the existing UK state.

 

THE LABOUR LEFT ALLIANCE AND ROYAL SOCIALISM

 

As reported by Stan Keable in ‘A vision of royal socialism’ (Weekly Worker, February 27), the Labour Left Alliance conference was a significant event in the evolution of the Labour Left, which was revitalised by the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2015. Stan reports that 130 delegates at the conference represented about 36 local and national Labour Left groups.

The Labour Left in England has long been ‘social-monarchist’ – or ‘old Labour’, as it was known under the reign of Tony Blair. Social monarchism is the programme based on the 1945 Labour government, which established a version of state capitalism with a ‘welfare state’ under the governance of the constitution of the crown-in-parliament, which Stan calls the “constitutional monarchist system”.

Brirish Left Corbyn’s social-monarchist programme was seen as a move towards ‘socialism’ by restoring some public ownership, the national health service, the welfare state, council housing and progressive taxation, etc. Social monarchism is the trade unionist politics of the British working class. Its aim is to bargain with the ruling class and the employers for better terms and conditions for the working class. Labour and the trade unions are thus two sides – political and economic – of a better social contract agreed within the framework of the constitution of the UK ruling class.

Momentum was launched as the support group for Corbyn’s social-monarchist programme, with Jon Lansman becoming its unelected monarch after his January 10th 2017 ‘bureaucratic coup’. Left social monarchists became increasingly disillusioned with him. This discontent was crystallised after he called for the expulsion of Chris Williamson MP. Over two years later the LLA is a potential alternative Momentum. Around 130 delegates arrived in Sheffield to launch the new organisation.

Left social monarchism has no republican democratic programme. It conceals its ‘democratic deficit’ by concentrating on or prioritising economic and social reforms. It is ‘republican’ only in a token way – as a long-term goal, when socialism is won. In the meantime, workers should bargain for social improvements and not seek political change.

A classic example of left social monarchism was in the motion from Cheltenham Labour Left, which called for a “socialist UK”. This was passed by 63 to 53 votes. It is not just that a socialist kingdom is a contradiction in terms. It shows the blind spot or lack of self-awareness of the English Labour Left. There is a complete absence or ignorance of the militant democratic republican politics of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Connolly, MacLean, etc.

Cheltenham Labour Left seems to consider the United Kingdom only as a geographical territory, which can be filled with capitalist or socialist policy content. The UK is a state and law through which the ruling class exercises its control over a given territory. In law it is an undemocratic union state, comprised of different nations. This is not the means through which the working class can socialise the economy.

A combined and uneven, democratic transformation – or democratic revolution – will not leave the current union undisturbed. The 2016 referendum on the European Union has already shown that Ireland and Scotland are on a different trajectory. English left social monarchists haven’t noticed this – much less drawn any political conclusions.

It is significant that of the 10 bullet points with which Stan sums up the political achievements of the Sheffield conference, nine were organisational and only one set a strategic political goal. This stated that the LLA stands for the “free movement of people”.

It seems that Labour Party Marxists played an important role in supporting the organisation of left social monarchists. Their aim was to win the Labour Party to communism, with the LLA as a vehicle for a united front of communists and left social monarchists. With this in mind the London LLA, under the influence of the Labour Party Marxists, proposed that communism should be the aim.

This is in the resolution from London LLA on aims and principles. This called for “opposition to capitalism, imperialism, racism and militarism and the ecological degradation of the planet … a commitment to socialism as the rule of the working class”. This would move towards full communism as “a stateless, classless, moneyless society”, carrying out the communist principle of “From each according to their abilities … etc”.

The communist programme from London LLA was voted down by about two-thirds to one-third of delegates. The influence of social monarchism runs deep in the Labour Left. Stan fails to mention that hidden within the London LLA aims was a democratic republican programme.

This calls for “achieving a democratic republic. The standing army, the monarchy, the House of Lords and the state sponsorship of the Church of England must go. We support a single-chamber parliament, proportional representation and annual elections”. Whilst this is supportable, it falls down badly in its implicit acceptance of English nationalism (i.e. Anglo-British nationalism).

England is by far the dominant nation in the British union. No revolutionary working class republican would ignore the right of Ireland, Scotland and Wales to self-determination. Neither would militant republicans give any support whatsoever to the anti-democratic Acts of Union. Supporting British unionism is the litmus test of English social chauvinism.

The conclusion from Sheffield must be that the Labour left is disorientated by Corbyn’s defeat but is still following the political programme of social monarchism. Counterposing the communist maximum programme to this simply lets Labour Left reformism off the hook. The immediate task is not about communism but taking the only road towards it through consistent working class democracy – which means winning the working class to the minimum republican programme.

 

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This was first posted in Weekly Worker:-

https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1289/letters/

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also see:-

Steve Freeman – The Left Unity Conference, 2018

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2018/07/18/left-unity-conference-20-6-18/

Allan Armstrong – The Impact of the December 12th Genera Election across the constituent parts of the UK

THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12TH GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK

Allan Armstrong – After Boris’s ‘Coup’, Let’s Fuk it – It’s the Constitution Stupid

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2019/08/30/after-boriss-coup-lets-fuk-it-its-the-constitution-stupid/

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Mar 08 2020

TRUMP NETANYAHU ‘DEAL OF THE CENTURY’

We are posting this article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) about the proposed Trump/Netanyahu Deal to finally end ant prospects of a Palestinian nation state. The article shows that far from being an alternative to the proposed two-nations Camp David accord, this latest deal is the logical outcome of what was always a one-state plan – that state being Israel with or without Palestinian reservations.

 

TRUMP NETANYAHU ‘DEAL OF THE CENTURY’

When Donald Trump, standing beside Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the “Deal of the Century,” which he claimed was a “peace” plan, it was widely dismissed. Some reporters suggested that it should be referred to the comic section of papers rather than reported as news. Continue reading “TRUMP NETANYAHU ‘DEAL OF THE CENTURY’”

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Feb 27 2020

COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE

Allan Armstrong has added an addendum to his book From Pre-Brit to Ex-Brit  (https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/from-pre-brit-to-ex-brit-1.pdffollowing the December 12th UK and February 8th Irish general elections.

 

COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A  SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE

 

 

 

 

Although Johnson gained an overall Right Populist electoral victory in the UK on December 12th, this disguises the fact that in Scotland the constitutional nationalist SNP emerged as the electoral victor, pushing the Tories and Scottish Labour into retreat. In Wales, the still largely liberal unionist, Welsh Labour and the constitutional nationalist, Plaid Cymru retained an overall majority, but the Tories made substantial gains. In Northern Ireland, the reactionary unionist DUP lost its overall majority, giving a tentative constitutional nationalist (Sinn Fein and SDLP) and liberal unionist (APNI) alliance a majority. Furthermore, there are wider national democratic movements in Scotland, Wales and Ireland/Northern Ireland, which will be prepared to challenge Johnson’s reactionary unionist clampdown. This is a recipe for continued constitutional crisis, with Scotland in the front line at present. Continue reading “COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE”

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Feb 22 2020

GENERAL ELECTION: PODEMOS COMES TO IRELAND

We are posting the following article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) about the outcome of the Irish general election held on February 8th

 

GENERAL ELECTION: PODEMOS COMES TO IRELAND

 

 

Sinn Fein were expected to do well in the recent Irish general election. In the event they topped the poll, reviving the old call Tiocfaidh ár lá! (Our day will come), and brought chaos to the Irish governmental system.

However if we take a step back we see many other examples across Europe of emergent parties coming to power and promising an end to austerity, only to move to the right – Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece and many others. Podemos has come to Ireland, but it is a long road from here to the Worker’s Republic. Continue reading “GENERAL ELECTION: PODEMOS COMES TO IRELAND”

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Feb 09 2020

TWO SCOTTISH RESPONSES TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

We are posting two responses to the results of the December 12th general election, the first from activists within the Scottish Labour Party and the second form Gavin Lundy, National Convenor of Young Scots for Independence.

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1. Open Letter: Scottish Labour for Radical Democracy

(this was first posted at:-  https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/12/15/open-letter-scottish-labour-for-radical-democracy)

We demand radical self-determination for Scotland. The Scottish people have, in successive elections to both Holyrood and Westminster, elected majorities in favour of a new referendum on independence. Setting aside the arguments for and against independence, we must not allow a hardline Tory government – which has no mandate here – to override Scotland’s democratic will.

Should all attempts to secure a second referendum by legal and constitutional means be obstructed by the UK government, we support an escalating strategy of non-cooperation and civil disobedience against that government, pursued at all possible levels: from the Scottish Government legislating on, or refusing to cooperate with, matters ‘reserved’ to Westminster, to grassroots non-violent direct action within and outwith Scotland. Continue reading “TWO SCOTTISH RESPONSES TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION”

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Feb 04 2020

FROM ILLUSIONS IN A LEXIT BREXIT TO A DISILLUSIONED LEXIT FROM BREXIT POLITICS – THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION AND INDEPENDENT SOCIALISTS ACROSS THESE ISLANDS

Allan Armstrong has published an article entitled From Illusions in a Lexit Brexit to a Disillusioned Lexit from Brexit Politics (https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/socialists-and-december-12th-election-5.pdf) The contents of this book are shown below, followed by the last two chapters and conclusion. This  article follows The Impact of the December 12th General Election across the Constituent Parts of the UK. (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/01/24/the-impact-of-the-december-12th-general-election-across-the-constituent-parts-of-the-uk/)

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FROM ILLUSIONS IN A LEXIT BREXIT TO A DISILLUSIONED LEXIT FROM BREXIT POLITICS 

Telegraph backs Lexiters’ ‘revolution’ and ‘Peoples Brexit!

 

Contents

a)  The 2015 general election provided a warning

b)  After 2015 – an increasingly floundering Left

c)  Northern Ireland – a different pattern

d)  Reactionary unionism and Europhobic opposition to the EU

e)  The largest independent Socialist parties walk into the Brexit trap

f)  The official Remain and Leave campaigns – two wings of the British ruling class

g)  The Lexiters’ false arguments

h)  The political options open in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum

i)  From 23rd May, 2016 to 8th June, 2017 – A victory for the Left or the Right?

j)  ‘Independent’ Socialists and ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’!

k)  Corbyn and the ‘independent’ Socialists unwittingly help Boris Johnson to victory

l)  Independent socialists after the December 12th general election

m) Independent socialists in Scotland and Northern Ireland/Ireland

n) Conclusion

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THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION AND INDEPENDENT SOCIALISTS ACROSS THESE ISLANDS

 

1. Independent socialists after the December 12th general election

On December 12th, Labour’s vote share fell by 7.8% and its number of MPs decreased from 262 to 202. The Tories’ vote share rose 1.2%, but its number of MPs increased from 317 to 365. The gap in the vote share was 11.4%, 32.2% for Labour and 43.6% for the Tories.[1] Not surprisingly a shattered Jeremy Corbyn offered his resignation, opening up the prospect of a new leadership campaign. Continue reading “FROM ILLUSIONS IN A LEXIT BREXIT TO A DISILLUSIONED LEXIT FROM BREXIT POLITICS – THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION AND INDEPENDENT SOCIALISTS ACROSS THESE ISLANDS”

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Jan 26 2020

HANDS OFF IRAN STATEMENT ON KILLING OF QASSEM SOLEIMANI

 

E&L is reposting this statement from Hands off People of Iran on response to the US killing  of Qassem Soleimani

 

 

FIGHT ON TWO FRONTS

Trump’s reckless drone assassination was a godsend for the reactionary theocratic regime in Tehran

Hands Off the People of Iran unequivocally condemns the United States assassination on January 3 of the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani. It is not enough, however, to simply denounce Trump’s perilous manoeuvres in this volatile region. We must understand the underlying political dynamics of the face-off between two mismatched reactionary regimes – the US world hegemon and the Islamic State of Iran. Continue reading “HANDS OFF IRAN STATEMENT ON KILLING OF QASSEM SOLEIMANI”

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Jan 26 2020

NEW DECADE, NEW APPROACH – WELCOME TO BACKSTOP COUNTY

E&L are posting this link about the reconstitution of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly. It was first posted by Socialist Democracy (Ireland). 

 

NEW DECADE, NEW APPROACH – WELCOME TO BACKSTOP COUNTY

 

 

The New Decade, New Approach document restoring the local executive in the North of Ireland marks a return of the Orwellian doublespeak of the novel 1984.

New Approach is in reality the same old tired formula of bribing Unionist bigots and bribing and strong-arming a corrupt Sinn Fein in to cobbling together another forced coalition. The idea that this will last for a new decade is the wildest fantasy for a process that has been in a state of ongoing collapse since the Good Friday Agreement was signed. This latest iteration is so dysfunctional that neither Sinn Fein nor the DUP would own it. While being driven on by their fear of the only alternative, fighting an election, they reluctantly mutter their conditional support and assure their members that they can change it later once it is launched by the British and Irish governments. The forced agreement was followed by immediate convocation of the Assembly in an attempt to move on rapidly before any awkward questions could be asked.  Continue reading “NEW DECADE, NEW APPROACH – WELCOME TO BACKSTOP COUNTY”

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Jan 24 2020

THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12TH GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK

Allan Armstrong follows up his article, The Continued Rise of Right National Populism and Reactionary Unionism in the Run-up to the December 12th General Election (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2019/12/09/the-continued-rise-of-right-populism-and-reactionary-unionism/). He examines the impact of the general election results across the constituent parts of the UK and the prospects for the immediate future. 

 

THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK

 

 

a)    The three possible outcomes of the December 12th Westminster general election

b)    How Corbyn’s Left social democracy, its complicity in British chauvinism and racism and its support for the UK state helped to pave the way for Johnson

c)    Other factors undermining the Corbynista challenge to Johnson

d)    The election results in England

e)    The election results in Wales

f)     The election results in Scotland

g)    The election results in Northern Ireland

h)    Conclusion

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  Continue reading “THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12TH GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK”

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Jan 23 2020

PROTESTS AND POLITICAL RHETORIC PUNCTURES COMPLACENCY OVER RACISM IN IRELAND

E&L is reposting this article first posted by Socialist Democracy (Ireland). This shows that the widespread belief in the absence of significant racism in Ireland is misplaced. Even in Ireland, which was long the subject of UK state and British racism, the post-2008 crisis and current  rise of the Right globally, has led to a resurgence of a racism.  Such warnings are also important  for other nations, particularly Scotland. Here the Scottish-British component of a wider British ruling class. was a very active participant in both colonialism and imperialism.This has  left  behind a deeper legacy, that the SNP government has left largely untouched, despite its attempts to break free from the UK and the British hard Right’s attempt to bring about Empire2.  

 

PROTESTS AND POLITICAL RHETORIC PUNCTURES COMPLACENCY OVER RACISM IN IRELAND 

 

 

“People are scared to call this racism. I say, why not?” Lucky Khambule, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland

The recent protests against plans for asylum centres in various rural locations, and the increasing use of racially charged rhetoric by political figures, should serve to puncture the complacency that has grown up around the issue of racism in Ireland. Continue reading “PROTESTS AND POLITICAL RHETORIC PUNCTURES COMPLACENCY OVER RACISM IN IRELAND”

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