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Quote of the Week

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

— Desmond Tutu

Quote of the Week

“Human beings have a natural right to be stupid, but they sometimes learn that it is better not to exercise the right.”

— Leon Trotsky

Quote of the Week

“’The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

— Antonio Gramsci

Quote of the Week

“People not only don’t know what’s happening to them, they don’t even know that they don’t know.”

– Noam Chomsky

Quote of the Week

“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”

— B F Skinner

The Jeremy Corbyn Okey-Cokey

You put your left wing out, you put your left wing in … (trad. Labour)

What a farce! All we need now is for Boris Johnson to stagger through a door with his trousers around his ankles. Those of you too young to get the reference should look up Brian Rix and the Whitehall Farces. These were staged at the now defunct Whitehall Theatre and involved characters toing and froing through various doors, mostly bedrooms, and invariably ended with the main character, played by the excellent Brian Rix being caught with his trousers down.

It seems that the establishment has woken up to the mistake they made in getting rid of poor Jeremy. Now they have nobody to blame for all the misfortunes currently afflicting our poor, benighted, soon to be even more disastrously affected country. So they staged a Festival of The Suspension of Jeremy, only just falling short of declaring it a public holiday. This, unfortunately only lasted for a few days before even the poor excuses of journalists in the extended Tory propaganda machine had little to return to but the blatant, open corruption at the heart of the British Establishment. Sinking the boats of desperate poor people had lost its appeal. Reporting on the poor people being killed in Yemen, Syria and Gaza remains strictly forbidden. Then someone had a brilliant idea: bring Jeremy back, then you can suspend him again! Joy everywhere! Robert Peston almost choked on his toast and marmalade and Laura Kuenssberg swooned with delight. Margaret Hodges even allowed herself to be dragged away from gazing lovingly at the bank statements for her millions stashed away in tax havens to spit out a bit more bile. It is the gift that keeps on giving. This could run until at least Christmas and by the new year, when the real Brexit misery strikes and people begin to realise just how badly they have been swindled, the Johnson gang will have ridden out of town clutching their ill-gotten gains. A new gang will have appeared clutching hands to hearts saying “it wasn’t me guv” and we will be so happy because when we give them control of all the money they are bound to use it all to help us. That is what they will tell us and, after all, they are such nice well spoken gentlemen, so we can believe everything they say.

Quote of the Week

“I am no longer accepting the things I can not change, I am changing the things I can not accept”

— Angela Davis

Has Labour a Future?

The flood of members from the Labour Party has reached biblical proportions. Figures are difficult to come by, not least because the chosen leaving mechanism for most people seems to be a simple cancelled direct debit. That leaves members on the database as they progress through various levels from late paying through lapsed until the data protection laws (hopefully) force their final removal. In all that time they might still find themselves counted in some quoted figures. Most of the “big beasts” of the left remain, though that could change rapidly, even though Jeremy Corbyn is under suspension. There is, indeed, a campaign to get Jeremy reinstated. During all this the clearly stated message is that members should stay and fight in or for the Labour Party, although there is probably an element of “they would say that wouldn’t they.”

For anybody still wavering, or for those hoping that the Socialist Campaign Group MPs remain within Labour, I would like them to try and answer the question that I have asked repeatedly but never received even an attempt at an answer. This is to provide a clear route map to a genuinely left wing Labour government. In order to achieve this it seems the following steps are a bare minimum.

Force a new leadership election; there is no hope with Starmer in charge.

Get a left wing candidate on the ballot against rule changes designed specifically to prevent this.

Win the ballot following rules specifically designed to prevent a repeat of Corbyn’s victory.

Win an election faced with the same media onslaught, with the same back-stabbing MPs behind you backed by the same big money as in 2019. They will not be complacent and caught napping again as they were in 2017.

Hang on to power and your principles through the shitstorm the establishment will unleash.

Does anyone seriously think this can be achieved for the next election in 4 years, or even the next? Even if this is all managed you will still be stuck in the same system as before, fighting every step of the way. All you will have accomplished in the end is to shift around some real estate in the Westminster Village.

What needs to happen cannot be done by the Labour Party which is no longer the party of the working class and the Trade Union movement. The Labour Party, like other parties around the world that come vaguely within the category “Social Democratic”, has now become the party of the educated technician/middle class. If you want the figures and detail on this you should read the excellent “Capital and Ideology” by Thomas Piketty, with further analysis in the equally excellent “The Tyranny of Merit” by Michael Sandel. Those without a university degree, and particularly those trapped in poverty, no longer have direct representation in any of the major parties. With a few notable exceptions the middle class, highly educated Labour MPs do not ring true with this part of the electorate which leave them wide open to charlatans like Trump and Farage who, despite their own background, manage to convey the “man down the pub” image that strikes a chord. Those who hope for some repetition of the 1945 Labour government should check up on the background and educational status of the MPs and the cabinet, which gave it a lot of credence as a working class party. This is not the same today (except again for those very few notable exceptions).

There is no time to wait for the vagaries of the electoral system to hopefully turn in the right direction. If the recent news about methane leakage in the Arctic is confirmed, the most pessimistic current warnings about global warming will become optimistic. The forests of the Amazon, Indonesia, Alaska and Siberia are still disappearing at an ever increasing rate. Species are being forced into new habitats and closer contact with each other and with humans. With 3000 variations of coronavirus in the bat population alone just waiting to mutate and jump species, the pandemic is set to be another of those once a century events about to become annual. Inequality is increasing at an ever greater rate promoting civil discord and unrest. Huge populations are on the move seeking sanctuary.

The only way we can force action in time is by forging a new mass movement, bringing together movements like Gilets Jaune, BLM, XR who are already almost daily achieving more real change than the Labour Party has managed in 70 years. For this they need leaders, ones that can be trusted not to turn them into personality cults and a path to autocracy.

Don’t sit there indulging in factional squabbles and beauty contests. Don’t argue about the finer points of Marxism or what Gramsci once said. Don’t start yet another debate on what is the working class now. Get out there and change something! #Solidarity.