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 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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Dec 09 2019

LEAKED US TRADE TALKS SHOW HOW TRUMP IS DICTATING JOHNSON’S APPROACH TO A HARD BREXIT

Given their shared record of constant lying, the carefully prepared declaration from both Trump and Johnson that the thought of further privatising the NHS never entered their minds, will be taken by most people as an indication that the NHS is very much up for sale. The article below from Open Democracy  looks a little deeper into the one-sided relationship between the US and UK

 

LEAKED US TRADE TALKS SHOW HOW TRUMP IS DICTATING JOHNSON’S APPROACH TO A HARD BREXIT

 

‘”I wouldn’t want the NHS on a silver platter.’ That’s fooled them, eh, Boris.”

 

Far from taking back control, Britain has clearly entered into a relationship where we hold none of the cards. Continue reading “LEAKED US TRADE TALKS SHOW HOW TRUMP IS DICTATING JOHNSON’S APPROACH TO A HARD BREXIT”

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Dec 09 2019

THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

In the lead-up to the December 12th general election Allan Armstrong updates  his analysis of the drift to the Right populist and reactionary unionist politics in the UK and what this possibly means for the future of the Union.

This is followed by an article by  statement from  the Radical Independence Campaign in Scotland on the general election.

Finally we are posting an article by  Tony Greenstein, expelled Labour Party member from Brighton. He predicted the unexpected rise in support for Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, but thinks that Labour’s chances have declined in the run up to the December general election.

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  1. THE CONTINUED RISE OF RIGHT POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM 

IN THE LEAD-UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

 

(A fuller explanation of what is meant by Right national populism can be found in the article:- https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/right-national-populism-16.3.19.pdf

Neither the UK nor Great Britain have ever been unitary states. All forms of unionism are based upon the unionist nature of the UK state, which has recognised England, Scotland, Ireland (later Northern Ireland)  and Wales as constituent units. This has led to the adoption of various forms of hybrid Britishness.

Three key terms used in this article  are:-

Conservative unionism – This acknowledges the unionist nature of the UK state through administrative devolution (or later acceptance of liberal unionist devolutionary measures  which it once opposed, but have become part of the status quo)

Liberal unionism – This also accepts the unionist nature of the UK state but promotes political devolution as a better method of holding the state together

Reactionary unionism – This upholds the UK state and openly celebrates  its most repressive aspects. e.g. the crown powers, the armed forces and judiciary. It is also prepared to mobilise extra-constitutional force to prevent national self-determination, greater measures of political devolution, and reverse political devolution and even some administrative devolutionary measures that have already been accepted.) Continue reading “THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION”

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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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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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Jul 28 2019

BBC’s WAR ON CORBYN

Tony Greenstein takes apart the BBC’s Panorama programme Is Labour anti-Semitic? providing the Right wing,  racist and Islamophobic background of its producer, John Ware and highlighting the tendentious biased techniques used in its production.

BBC’S WAR ON CORBYN

 

 

 

As John Pilger has long argued, the BBC is the most refined propaganda service in the world.1 Its reputation for ‘impartiality’ is what has helped make it so effective.

However, the BBC was born in the womb of the British state. In 1926 Lord Reith, its first director-general, banned the Archbishop of Canterbury from broadcasting an appeal for compromise in the General Strike.2 The ruling class was determined to defeat the unions and they did not want any such messages. At Orgreave during the miners’ Great Strike of 1984-85 the BBC deliberately reversed the order of its footage, showing miners throwing stones and police baton-charging them, so as to make it appear that the police were responding to miners’ violence rather than the miners responding to police brutality.3 Continue reading “BBC’s WAR ON CORBYN”

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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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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/2020/03/right-populism.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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