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.
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Jul 16 2016

BREXIT – VIEWS FROM IRELAND

We are posting two pieces from Ireland in the aftermath of the UK Brexit vote. The first is by D.R. O’Connor Lysaght, a member of Socialist Democracy (Ireland) written soon after the result was announced. The second is a collective statement from Socialist Democracy (Ireland). 

1. BREXIT – THE HANGOVER

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The good news is that the British electorate has dealt a major blow to the liberal capitalist consensus that has guide the politics of western (and, from 1991, eastern) Europe since the Second World War. How bad the damage is uncertain, nonetheless Brexit has brought to the surface a crisis comparable to that which destroyed the Soviet Union. The citizens of the country with the second strongest economy in the European Union have voted to leave it. This is a serious vote of no confidence in the status quo.
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Mar 23 2015

THE SCOTTISH LEFT PROJECT

Allan Armstrong (RCN and RIC activist) provides the following initial assessment of the proposed Scottish Left Project. This is the final part of three articles, the first of which examines the role of the UK state and SNP in attempting to derail Scotland’s ‘democratic revolution’ (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2015/02/24/british-unionists-and-scottish-nationalists-attempt-to-derail-scotlands-democratic-revolution/) and the second which looks at the inadequate response of the Left across these islands (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2015/03/16/the-left-in-the-uk-the-2015-general-election-campaign-and-the-wider-impact-of-scotlands-democratic-revolution/).

 

The Scottish Left Project (SLP) has been mooted in the context of the impact of Scotland’s ‘democratic revolution’, and the success of RIC as a movement within this. There is now a concerted effort by the unionist and nationalist parties to roll back this ‘democratic revolution’ [1]. Therefore, the success of the SLP will depend upon whether it takes up the baton bequeathed by these momentous events, or lets itself become a bit-player in others’ political projects.

 

a) the role of the International Socialist Group (ISG)

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As with RIC, the ISG has been the SLP’s prime mover. It is therefore useful to examine the way the ISG operated within RIC, to come to some better understanding of how it could see its role in the SLP.

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Sep 03 2014

UP TO AND BEYOND THE SEPTEMBER 18th INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM – A socialist republican perspective

Allan Armstrong (RCN) has written an account of the Scottish independence campaign since the SNP launched its official ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign in 2012 up until the last two weeks before the September 18th referendum. This is based on several contributions Allan has already made on this blog. It is also a contemporary update of his historical piece, The Making and the Breaking of the UK State (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2012/01/11/internationalism-from-below-2/). This article also looks at the possibilities beyond September 18th.

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UP TO AND BEYOND THE SEPTEMBER 18th INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM – A socialist republican response

 

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a)                   The Scottish independence referendum – not an exercise by the UK of the right of self-determination

b)                   The SNP leadership’s strategy

c)                   Cameron’s strategy pushes Labour into the frontline of the defence of the Union in Scotland, whilst he controls things at a UK level

d)                   Attempts to widen the political base of support for the Union

e)                   The new challenge to social liberalism and the ‘New Unionist’ settlement from UKIP, the Tory Right, the Ulster Unionists and Loyalists

f)                    Enter the unexpected – a new movement from below

g)                   The lack of class confidence underpins both official campaigns and the inherited weaknesses of the Left affect RIC too

h)                  After September 18th

 

a)         The Scottish independence referendum – not an exercise by the UK of the right of self-determination

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Aug 09 2014

THE TELLING OF TWO PRESS RELEASES. ONE A BALLS UP, THE OTHER FROM THE HAMSTER ON THE WHEEL

Jerry Hicks of there rank and file Grassroots UNITE campaign, who opposed Len McCluskey for General Secretary, writes of the significance of two press reloads, one from Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, the other from McCluskey.

Len McCluskey adjusts his politics to Westminster time and the 2015 General Election

Len McCluskey adjusts his politics to Labour Westminster time and the 2015 General Election

Ed Balls adjusts Labour politics to meet the needs of the CBI

Ed Balls adjusts Labour politics to meet the needs of the CBI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a day of press releases, two stand out. One from Unite’s Len McCluskey, the other from Labour’s Ed Balls.

McCluskey promises Unite’s full support for Labour and Ed Miliband, including funding – and my word there will be a lot of that. While Ed Balls, Labour’s ‘would be’ next Chancellor of the Exchequer, promises what? Workers rights? Repeal of anti union laws? No, he promises tax breaks for businesses.

What an about turn considering McCluskey recently caught the headlines when he said “Unite may break with Labour, threatening to launch a ‘new party’, adding that Ed Miliband is drinking in the last chance saloon.”

When was this announced? At a press conference on April 1st or April Fools Day as it’s also known.

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Mar 24 2014

US TRADE UNIONS: WAITING FOR GODOT

James Fearon (Socialist Democracy-Ireland) argues that a lost vote for United Automobile Workers union recognition at Chattanooga in Tennessee shows US workers distrust of union partnership policies while Walmart and fast food workers illustrate power of rank and file organisation. He also draws some parallels with UNITE, which organises workers throughout these islands.

 

UAW puts US corporate interests before those of its members

UAW puts US corporate interests before those of its members

Recent events have revealed that the established conservative leadership of the trade union movement is faced with a dilemma. The era of relatively low class conflict is closing and the trade union bureaucracy is under attack from both the working class and the capitalists. The scant regard shown for Unite’s bureaucratic leadership by Ineos has now been added to by a slap in the face from the working class, this time administered to the United Auto Workers bureaucracy by the workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Feb 11 2014

‘JUST SAY NAW’ TO GALLOWAY’S SECTARIAN BRITISH UNIONISM

Bella caledonia posted an article by Richard Cameron (RCN and Edinburgh RIC) outlining the politics behind George Galloway’s Just Say Naw Scottish road tour (see http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/02/03/just-say-naw-to-galloways-sectarian-british-unionism/). Given the short time to write this article a number of errors appeared, none of which affected the overall arguments presented. However, Richard has now had time to correct these and to add an addendum, What is meant by communalism? The amended article is posted below, with thanks to all those who contributed.

This is followed by a report by on the Edinburgh Just Say Naw meeting held on February 3rd written by Allan Armstrong (RCN) for Edinburgh RIC . This was first posted on  posted at:- http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/report-of-galloway-roadshow-in-edinburgh.html

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1. JUST SAY NAW TO GALLOWAY’S SECTARIAN BRITISH UNIONISM

ARemember George the anti-Iraq war campaigner – look at his allies now

unjtitled-2With the Scottish independence referendum less than nine months away, George Galloway is bringing his ‘Just Say Naw’ roadshow to Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms on Monday February 3rd. A seat costs £10 a head – nothing comes cheap where ‘Gorgeous George’ is involved!

Galloway has been dining out on the Left for a long time since his triumph at the US Senate hearing, almost nine years ago, during the Iraq war. Whatever political differences others on the Left held then, we could all cheer his performance in front of such a smug, then thoroughly riled, bunch of war-mongering US politicians.

However, since then, it has been all downhill for Galloway as a credible Left politician. His Westminster election victories, won on a Left populist mix of Islamic communalism and Old Labourism, leave nothing solid behind. He only held the Bethnal Green and Bow seat from 2005 until 2010, and, in 2015, will almost certainly lose the Bradford West seat he won in the 2012 by-election. In Galloway’s own mind, this has no doubt been largely compensated by his financial gains for being an MP (albeit mostly absentee), from earlier substantial libel awards, from good earnings on the celebrity speaker circuit and, of course, from his cringe-worthy performance on Celebrity Big Brother.

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Oct 29 2013

SOCIALIST UNITY – THE RCN ASKS 12 QUESTIONS

The RCN has been involved in preliminary discussions with Frontline, the International Socialist Group (Scotland), individual members of the International Socialist Network and Defense of Our Party faction in the SWP, as well as other individuals mainly from an SSP background. Frontline  published the views a number of socialist organisations, which we reposted at http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/06/10/socialist-unity/. Stemming from these initial discussions, the RCN has framed 12 questions, which it has sent out to those organisations participating in socialist unity discussions. We will post each response as receive it. We would like to thank Alister Black of Frontline (http://www.redflag.org.uk) and James Foley of the International Socialist Group for the first responses to our questions.

 

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 1. ALISTER BLACK OF FRONTLINE  REPLIES TO THE RCN’S 12 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR SOCIALIST UNITY

 

1.     After the demise or major setbacks for Left unity and Socialist unity projects in these islands (SSP, Socialist Alliance, Respect, Forward Wales, United Left Alliance-Ireland), there have been a number of new initiatives recently – the Peoples Assemblies, the proposed Left Unity Party (LUP) and the Socialist Unity Platform (SUP) and International Socialist Network/Socialist Resistance/Anti-Capitalist Initiative (ISN/SR/ACI) unity proposals. However, these have mainly been confined to England and Wales. Why do you think things are less advanced in Scotland at the moment?

The Scottish political environment is now very different to that in the rest of the UK state. The left has faced the problems of its own fractures but also of the ascendance of the Scottish National Party. The left lacks credibility but also has been slow to recover from the self-inflicted wounds of the last few years. At the same time the SNP has presented themselves as social-democrats through reforms such as free prescription charges and abolition of tuition fees (whilst being very friendly to union-busting big business outfits like Amazon).

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Oct 28 2013

AFTER GRANGEMOUTH – WHAT NOW FOR THE LEFT IN SCOTLAND?

The ignominious climbdown of the Broad Left UNITE leadership at Grangemouth highlights the need for the Left in Scotland to assess the political significance of  this disastrous capitulation, which will encourage every employer to resort to similar dictatorial methods when dealing with their workers. Furthermore, the decision of the SNP government to bow to Ratcliffe and INEOS shows the kind of future workers can expect under the SNP’s proposed ‘Scottish Free State’. Below are three articles, the first by Allan Armstrong of the RCN examining the wider political implications. The second is from Jerry Hicks, the Rank & File candidate, who challenged Broad Left incumbent, Len McCluskey, for the General Secretaryship of UNITE earlier this year. Socialist Democracy (Ireland) sent us the third article.

 

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Aug 11 2013

THE LABOUR CRISIS

Below is an article from the August issue of Socialist Democracy (Ireland) pointing to the parallels between the TUC and ICTU, and in particular the role of Len McCluskey and the Broad Left Unite leadership  in providing cover for Labour’s acceptance of austerity.

Unite poster for Dublin demo against austerity

Unite poster for Dublin demo against austerity

A series of discussions recently in both Ireland and Britain have thrown into relief the crisis in the labour movement and specifically the crisis of political organization in relation to the respective Labour parties. The most reactionary perspective was put forward by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions at its Belfast conference.

In essence ICTU and Irish labour operate in tandem. They are to the forefront in planning and carrying out the austerity, boasting that the pain is reduced because they operate; “a scapel rather than a knife.” They are frantic supporters of Keynesian economics, which they understand correctly as a purely capitalist programme, and see their role as patiently convincing the capitalists that they have adopted a mistaken strategy.
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