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Richard Seymour

Britain: Why Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership bid panics the right

Jeremy Corbyn joins Pride in London, alongside some of the activists backing his campaign. Photo: Steve Eason.

The surprising support for Jeremy Corbyn in the race for the leadership of the British Labour Party has electrified the left and is terrifiying the right. Below a number of articles from the British left explain why.

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Left Unity Newsletter, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal on July 28, 2015-- The movement in support of Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader has set politics alight – and got the media in a panic. Corbyn’s candidacy is demonstrating the mass support that exists in society for the policies he stands for, and Left Unity has also supported since its foundation: an end to austerity and war, a different society based on peace and equality.

This unexpected movement is an expression of the same sentiment that is seeing a new left rise across Europe – with the difference in expression perhaps down to Britain’s archaic electoral system.

Left Unity wishes the campaign all the best. This is an opportunity for the Labour Party to become the party it was founded to be, defending and extending its great achievements of the welfare state – the party that millions want.

Against infantile realpolitik: Richard Seymour on some left reactions to Ukraine

Click HERE for more on Ukraine.

By Richard Seymour

March 5, 2014 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The enemy of your enemy might still be your enemy. Because, complexity. Because, nuance. Because, concrete analysis of concrete situations. How much do I really need to underline this?

I raise the point because the tendency to try to distil the situation in Ukraine into one or at most two relatively simple contradictions is apparent in abundance. Lindsey German's article for Stop the War Coalition (UK) is a classic instance of this. It attempts a "clarification" of the political stakes, largely by way of clearing away complicating clutter and allowing people to see the interests of US imperialism and its allies at work. But in so doing, German's article resorts to utter nonsense and embarrassingly crude reductions.

Britain: Successful conference forms Left Unity party; Richard Seymour reports

Around 400 members attended the founding conference of Left Unity.

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal will carry more reports of the founding conference of Left Unity.]

By Liam Mac Uaid

December 1, 2013 -- Socialist Resistance --  The first indication that Left Unity is different from most other left-wing organisations came very early in its November 30 founding conference. Ken Loach, the person who is seen as having given the inspiration for the launch of the new party, proposed that we shouldn’t take a decision on which of the political platforms to endorse. Ken lost the vote and conference moved on to next business. There was no dramatic tension, no sense of impending crisis. It would have been hard to imagine a similar scene at a Respect conference. It was a very promising omen.

Richard Seymour on the rise of a new left in Europe

By Richard Seymour

May 19, 2013 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Speech presented at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb.

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I think the title of this talk, "The rise of a new left", is clearly to some extent projection of a desired outcome; of course, there are elements of a new left visible. Not just the indignados and occupiers, but also the radical left challengers: Syriza, the Portugese Left Bloc, Die Linke, the Scandinavian red-green alliances, Front de gauche in France, maybe some elements of the Pirate Parties ...

Richard Seymour: Margaret Thatcher, an obituary from below

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For more on Thatcherism, click HERE. For more by Richard Seymour,click HERE.

By Richard Seymour

April 11, 2013 -- Jacobin, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Richard Seymour's permission -- Thatcher’s great achievements were also what made her so vile. Her many talents were harnessed to bigoted, class-supremacist ends.

Obituaries are typically concerned with the accomplishments and worthwhile qualities of the deceased. Thatcher’s achievements are undeniable. She was a “Modern Prince” of the Right, intervening at a moment of crisis and great danger for the Conservative Party, taking control of the elements in flux and recomposing them. She utterly transformed the state, party politics, and the economy, institutionalising a form of neoliberal statecraft that is almost unassailable from within.

Richard Seymour: The British left badly 'needs to change course'

The following are excerpts from a much longer article, "The actuality of a successful capitalist offensive", that appeared on Richard Seymour's website, Lenin's Tomb. Seymour is a leading member of the new IS Network, which is one of a number of developments on the British left that may encourage progress towards a regroupment of the left. The full article is available HERE.

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By Richard Seymour

Britain: Socialist Workers Party members debate 'Leninism', party democracy (updated Feb. 3)

The first document below was produced by opposition members of British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (authors listed at its conclusion, the best known include Richard Seymour, Neil Davidson and China Miéville). The SWP is the dominant party within the International Socialist Tendency, with affiliates around the world. The SWP is presently in the midst of a major dispute over inner-party democracy. The article is a reply to SWP leader Alex Callinicos' recent article, "Is Leninism finished?"

Following that are two articles by Tom Walker, a former Socialist Worker journalist who resigned from the SWP during the current dispute.

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Christopher Hitchens: The guilty bastard

Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens
By Richard Seymour
New York: Verso Books, 2012
134 pages

Review by Doug Enaa Greene

January 19, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- First impressions do matter. Now it is said that first impressions can be unfair, not giving us a chance to understand a person’s complexity. In the case of Christopher Hitchens, my first impression of him was that of a witty tool for the George W. Bush administration’s wars. In 2005, I first saw Hitchens while randomly flipping through television channels and finding a debate between him and George Galloway on the Iraq War.

Britain: Reflections on the crisis in the Socialist Workers Party

"As an important part of the English-speaking left, the SWP over the years has influenced many individuals and groups. Without correction, the actions by the current leadership, along with the errors regarding women’s oppression and left organising, risk damaging the project of building a new left for the 21st century." 

[For more on the British SWP, click HERE. For more on revolutionary organisation, click HERE.]

By Paul Kellogg

January 13, 2013 – PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author's permission

Richard Seymour: A comment on Greece and Syriza

Photo from Kasama Project.

[For more discussion of SYRIZA, click HERE.]

By Richard Seymour

October 9, 2012 -- International Socialism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in the interests of promoting left discussion -- The “strategic perplexity” of the left confronted with the gravest crisis of capitalism in generations has been hard to miss.1 Social democracy continues down the road of social liberalism. The far left has struggled to take advantage of ruling-class disarray. Radical left formations have tended to stagnate at best. Two exceptions to this pattern are the Front de Gauche in France and Syriza in Greece. While the Front de Gauche did not do as well as many hoped, it did channel a large vote for the radical left in the presidential elections won by Hollande. Meanwhile, Syriza is potentially a governing party in waiting.

Is Venezuela a 'one off'? A response to Richard Seymour's must-read analysis

Supporters of the Bolivarian revolution mobilise in their millions. Caracas, October 3, 2012.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Stuart Munckton

October 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Richard Seymour has written a very interesting analysis on Venezuela that is a must read for a number of reasons. It is open ended in its assessments and deliberately poses as many questions as it seeks to answer. Fair enough, as the revolution is open ended and poses questions that only the struggle will answer.

It is far superior to the article written by the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) Latin American "expert" Mike Gonzalez, that acknowledged reforms, victory against the right, but then presented the ongoing struggles in a basically distorted "from below counterposed to Chavez" line.

Richard Seymour: Venezuela in the 21st century

With the announcement of Hugo Chavez’s reelection as president by 55% of the Venezuelan electorate, spontaneous crowds across the country gathered to celebrate the victory. More photos at http://venezuelanalysis.com/image.

By Richard Seymour

October 8, 2012 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Richard Seymour's permission -- Chavez lives. He has survived cancer, thus far, and will most likely survive the presidential election with a comfortable majority (update: yep). And what if he did not? Would not Venezuela still have a popular mass socialist party, a thriving democracy, an expanding union movement, a politically emasculated ruling class, a greatly enhanced welfare state which incorporates elements of grassroots participation, and probably one of the few societies in the world today where it's almost impossible to impose a vicious austerity project? Jealous much?

Richard Seymour: The problem of left unity

By Richard Seymour

August 28, 2012 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Richard Seymour's permission -- Dan Hind, enlivened by the Hellenic tumult, calls for a Coalition of the Radical Left in Britain. I love it. Of course I do. But isn’t it, to any rational observer, a perfectly silly idea?

Anyone who has spent much time listening to the British radical left these days would no more expect them to coalesce than they would expect grace, humility and talent from Gary Barlow. The latest rumble has been over Julian Assange, Wikileaks, US imperialism and the rape allegations, which has produced more mutual distrust and resentment on the left than I have seen for at least weeks. The disagreement seems to be between those who think the rape accusations against Assange have been politicised in order to facilitate his forward extradition to the US, and those who think Assange’s supporters have greatly exaggerated this risk in order to justify his refusal to go and face these allegations in Sweden.

Richard Seymour: The Syrian revolt enters a new phase

Anti-Assad protest in Syria organised by the Local Coordinating Committees. Some 300 LCCs have refused to recognise the imperialist-backed Syrian National Council.

[Click HERE for more analysis of the situation in Syria.]

By Richard Seymour

Richard Seymour: The challenge of SYRIZA

For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.

By Richard Seymour

"...this isn't just another election. The choice is between a New Democracy-led austerity government, which would be immensely demoralising, and a SYRIZA-led anti-austerity government, which would give the whole continental left a massive shot in the arm and open up a host of new possibilities. This is a key moment in which a great deal is condensed, which will be formative of a great deal of the political and ideological terrain for some time, and any formation that appears to bring the latter possibility closer isn't helping the industrial struggle."

Richard Seymour: Libya -- All they are saying is give war a chance

Celebrations in Tripoli following Gaddafi's retreat.

By Richard Seymour

August 31, 2011 -- ABC's The Drum -- Libya, the source of so many American nightmares, is fast becoming an American dream. 

Reagan was tortured by Tripoli, and its big boss man, sassing the US. He imposed sanctions, and bombed the country, but had no peace. Bush the Younger was reconciled with the prodigal Colonel Gaddafi, but somehow this alliance seemed, well, un-American

Obama, though, will have the privilege of being an ally of an ostensibly free Libya that he helped birth into existence. At minimal outlay (a mere $1 billion, which is peanuts in Pentagon terms), and with relatively few lives lost from bombing, a US-led operation has deposed a Middle East regime and empowered a transitional regime that is committed to human rights and free elections. 

After the carnage of Iraq, such a simple, swift and (apparently) morally uncomplicated victory seemed impossible. 

Lest we swoon too quickly, however, it is worth remembering that there are other ways to look at this.

The Oslo mass murder and the mainstreaming of racism in Europe; Solidarity from Palestine

The Sun, a flagship daily of the disgraced Murdoch empire, immediately prepared a front page that described the far-right attack as an "Al Qaeda Massacre".

By Miriyam Aouragh and Richard Seymour

July 27, 2011 -- Jadaliyya -- Media coverage of the Norwegian tragedy was led with dangerous and clichéd arguments about "Islamic extremism" and multiculturalism, even after the identity of the killer was confirmed – thus contributing to the mainstreaming of racism that helped make far-right mass murderer Anders Breivik what he is.

An hour before Breivik embarked on his massacre of the innocents in Oslo on July 23, he distributed his manifesto online. In 1500 pages, this urgent message identified “cultural Marxists”, “multiculturalists”, anti-Zionists and leftists as “traitors” who are allowing Christian Europe to be overtaken by Muslims. He subsequently murdered dozens of these "traitors", the majority of them children, at a Labour Party youth camp. His inspiration, according to this manifesto, were those pathfinders of the Islamophobic right who have profited immensely from the framing and prosecution of the “war on terror”, including Melanie Phillips, Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer and Bat Ye’or. 

Left debates Libya: `This is Washington's war' -- Richard Seymour, 'Angry Arab' & Vijay Prashad on the rebel leadership

French president Nicholas Sarkozy greets rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril. Leaked US cables describe Jibril as being keen on a close relationship with the US and eager “to create a strategic partnership between private companies and the government”.

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

Springtime for NATO in Libya

By Richard Seymour

April 4, 2011 -- Lenin's Tomb -- We now know what Washington's model is for the Middle East, in its most attractive guise. In answer to Egypt's Tahrir Square uprising, they have smoking craters filled with the charred remains of rebels, and conscript soldiers, and civilians and other blameless people who must have seen the joy in Egypt and Tunisia and wished it for themselves.

Bahrain and the Anglo-American oil frontier

US President George W. Bush greets vice-admiral Kevin Cosgriff, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command and the US 5th Fleet, at Naval Support Activity Bahrain in 2008. If the Bahrain monarchy falls, the country may cease to host the US Navy.

By Richard Seymour

February 19, 2011 -- Lenin's Tomb -- When, in 1968, the British government announced that Britain's formal protectorate in the Gulf would end in 1971, US planners were anxious and distraught. After Suez, the US had taken the lead in defending Anglo-American interests in the Middle East, but the structure of power in the "east of Suez" was still conserved by the old colonial power. The Persian Gulf states at that time supplied 30% of total oil resources. The reconstruction of Europe, and especially Japan, after WWII was driven by Gulf oil. And the US had no alternative structure of security elaborated for when Britain let go.

The rise and fall of Tunisia's Ceauşescu

Socialist Unity, January 17, 2011 -- Picture sent by Twitter from Al Jazeera journalist Ayman Mohyeldin. Protesters hold up signs outside a trade union office saying “Protests must continue”, rejecting the fake “national unity” government.

[For more on Tunisia in revolt, click HERE.]

By Richard Seymour

[This article first appeared on Seymour's blog, Lenin's Tomb. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission.]

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