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Britain

Local and mayoral elections in Britain: Brexit election delivers carnival of reaction

 

 

By Phil Hearse

 

May 11, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — The huge Labour losses in the local council elections are just what the Labour Right was hoping for. Peter Mandelson said as much late last year, when he stated he was hoping for Theresa May to call an early election that would result in a disastrous Labour defeat and therefore the removal of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s exactly what all Corbyn’s reactionary detractors in the press and television wanted as well.

 

Britain: The Tories, the general election and neoliberalism’s second phase

 

 

By Neil Faulkner

 

May 9, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Unity — ‘Ignorance never yet helped anyone.’ So raged Karl Marx as he leapt from his chair and thumped the table so hard that the lamp shook. The occasion was a meeting in Brussels in 1846 of the newly formed Communist Correspondence Committee – the tiny acorn from which, over the next 150 years, so many mighty oaks would grow. The target of the tirade was a somewhat vacuous activist called Wilhelm Weitling, who professed to believe that socialist theory was unnecessary. This was, Marx fumed, ‘equivalent to vain dishonest play at preaching which assumes an inspired prophet on the one side and only gaping asses on the other’.

 

Theresa May’s decision to call a general election should not mean that socialists stop thinking and mumble platitudes. To become uncritical cheerleaders for a cack-handed reformism can only foster illusions and false hopes at the expense of equipping activists with the understanding they need in the struggle to change the world. Left websites which are simply shouting support for a Corbyn victory – without discussing any of the contradictions in play – are the modern Weitlings. Corbyn is not a prophet, activists are not gaping asses, and a general election should not be the occasion for putting our brains in deep freeze.

 

Right wing putsch, escalating racism, deepening austerity – the real meaning of Brexit

 
 

By Phil Hearse

“The way the Leave campaign have tried to ramp up a fear of immigration has been disgraceful—but the truth is that if you see an immigrant in a hospital, they’re far more likely to be working there than being treated. The time has come to brand the “Brexit” campaign for what it is—a bid for a right-wing Tory takeover of the reins of power in the UK and to dismantle the hard-worn social gains of the last few decades. The people leading the case for a vote to leave are on the right of the Conservative Party and will take an “out” vote as their signal to make their power grab complete.” Nicola Sturgeon, 16/6/2016

Syria: Our starting point must be solidarity

 

 

 

Mark Boothoryd (left) alongside Syrian activists 
protesting against British military intervention in Syria, December 2015

 

By Mark Boothroyd

 

January 17, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – While I welcome David Bush’s attempt to debate Syria productively, his article reproduces many common mistakes made by socialist activists who have not consistently engaged with the Syrian revolution, and offers little to those on the ground struggling against both the Assad regime, and the various imperialist powers intervening in the country.

 

What if the workers were in control?

 

 

Members of the Lucas Aerospace Combine Committee on the steps of Wortley Hall, 1977

 

By Hilary Wainwright

 

December 3, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — Back in the 1970s, with unemployment rising and British industry contracting, workers at the arms company Lucas Aerospace came up with a pioneering plan to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. The ‘Lucas Plan’ remains one of the most radical and forward thinking attempts ever made by workers to take the steering wheel and directly drive the direction of change.

 

Britain: How Momentum is organising collectively to transform society

 

 

By James Schneider, Emma Rees and Adam Klug

 

November 3, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — Change and disruption is happening across Europe and North America. More and more citizens are rejecting a status quo that doesn’t work for them – and the elites who told them that it would. The breaking down of neoliberal hegemony creates almost unthinkable opportunities, such as Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in the UK or Syriza coming to power in Greece. But these opportunities face intense efforts to suppress them, as politics once more becomes a contest between the powerful and the rest of us.

A Tate Gallery for the New Left: Portraits, Landscapes, and Abstracts in the Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s

 

Revolutionary Workers Party national secretary Ross Dowson,
campaigning to become Mayor of Toronto, Canada, 1948.

 

Ernest Tate, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s: A Memoir – Volume 1, Canada 1955–1965 (London: Resistance Books, 2014)

 

Ernest Tate, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s: A Memoir – Volume 2, Britain 1965–1970 (London: Resistance Books, 2014)

 

By Bryan D. Palmer

 

Before ’68: The Left, activism and social movements in the long 1960s

 

 

August 18, 2016 —
Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalErnest Tate and Phil Hearse present Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 1960s at "Before ’68: The Left, activism & social movements in the long 1960s" conference. Hosted by UEA School of History in conjunction with the journal Socialist History, and the Institute of Working Class History (Chicago).

 

Ernest Tate's memoir is an important contribution to the history of the left in Britain and Canada during a unique period. It's a political life of Ernest Tate's life as a socialist during the fifteen year period from 1955 to 1970. In volume one, he tells us about his arrival from Toronto in 1955 as a working-class immigrant from Northern Ireland and about how he quickly became engaged in radical politics.

 

Excerpts of the book are available on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal here.

 

The British left after Brexit

 

 

July 10 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With British politics in crisis after the recent UK referendum vote to leave the European Union, a debate has opened on the British left regarding the situation it finds itself in. As part of Links' ongoing coverage of the Brexit debate we are republishing articles by Charlotte Bence, from Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century, Neil Faulkner, from Left Unity, and Joseph Choonara, from the Socialist Workers Party. Above, is also a video by Novara Media's Ash Sarkar exploring the way class and race are mobilised as ways to understand inequality and political disenfranchisement.

 

A very British coup: Jeremy Corbyn and the battle for Labour's future

 

 

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's message to party members

 

July 8, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The British Labour Party has been rocked by an attempt by the majority of Labour MPs to depose Jeremy Corbyn, who won a party-wide leadership vote last year. Many have dubbed this a battle between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the membership. Links is republishing a number of articles looking at this crucial battle. They include articles by Shadow Chancellor and Corbyn backer John McDonnell, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) general secretary Manuel Cortes, and Charley Allan writing in the Morning Star.

 

Britain: what was behind the 'Brexit' vote?

 

 

June 29 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the aftermath of the recent UK referendum vote to leave the European Union, the British left continues to debate the meaning and significance of the vote. As part of Links' ongoing coverage of the debate we are republishing articles by Charlie Hore, from Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century, and Andrew Flood, from Workers Solidarity Movement.

 

Scottish Socialist Party, Sinn Féin, Momentum and Left Unity on Brexit referendum result

 

 

June 26, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum which ended with a vote in favor of the UK leaving the European Union, Links has republished a variety of statements reflecting the views of key left forces in England, Scotland and Ireland.

 

Political fundamentals and the UK Brexit referendum

 

 

By Tony Norfield

 

June 26, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal originally posted on Economics of Imperialism blog on June 16 — What explains the desperation of British capitalism and Conservative Party in the lead up to the Brexit referendum on 23 June?

Austerity, racism and the EU referendum in Britain

 

 

Nigel Farage, leader of the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP), has been among the key figures advocating a vote to exit the EU.

 

By Tony Mckenna

 

June 13, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The EU debate is perhaps one of the more difficult to make sense of. For you are bombarded with a vast amount of articles, from every colour on the political spectrum. How does one go about making an informed decision? It’s said you can tell a lot about a person by who their friends are. When translated into political thought the axiom has a simplistic but not unuseful purpose: take the time to look at the groups and social forces that are gathering around a particular position. These might give you some hint as to which political interests the position truly serves and hint at its real essence. However, in the case of the EU referendum – the vote that is to be held later this year in Britain on whether we should remain or leave the European Union – there is a remarkably odd admixture of people who have aligned themselves with both sides.

Should we stay or should we go? The English left debates the European Union referendum

 

 

June 9, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With the referendum on whether Britain should stay or leave the EU fast approaching, the debate over what position the left should take continues. Links is reposting a vidoe debate between Marina Prentoulis (Syriza UK) and Luke Cooper (Another Europe is Possible) (for in), and Hannah Sell (deputy general secretary, Socialist Party) and Michael Calderbank (Red Pepper) (for out), in a special episode of The Wedge, produced in collaboration with and published on Red Pepper.

 

Below we also have an article by Terry Conway from Socialist Resistance outlining the different positions on the left, and an editorial from Morning Star on what the EU represents.

 

Sadiq Khan becomes mayor of London, but Britain faces deep-seated problems

 

 

By Rupen Savoulian

 

May 20, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Antipodean Atheist with permission — Sadiq Khan’s election as London mayor is a rejection of the politics of fear and Islamophobia, but let us not endorse his policies.

 

The election of Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London, made headline news in the English-speaking world. It is no surprise that Khan’s electoral victory made news here in Australia, given our longstanding economic, political and cultural ties to the United Kingdom. It is not intended to go into all the intricacies of British politics in this article, however, the victory of an openly Muslim candidate for a major political position in the UK has elicited various reactions, and these responses are illustrative of the kind of politics that passes for policy debate in the English-speaking countries.

 

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood: ‘Listen To People, Hear Their Problems And Listen To Their Solutions’

 

 

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood talks to John Haylett about the party’s manifesto which she sums up as three ambitions to build a Wales that is ‘well, well-read and wealthier’

How Bernie Sanders can harness the kind of momentum transforming British politics

 

 

A Momentum rally in Oxford, England in February.

 

By Kate Aronoff

 

April 23, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Waging Nonviolence — After his double-digits win in Wisconsin on April 5, Bernie Sanders’s insurgent campaign has a fair amount of momentum behind it. Still, many are asking what comes next, and how to carry the political revolution forward — whether he wins the Democratic nomination or not.

 

Lessons for Sanders might come from the movement that formed around another white-haired progressive challenger to the political establishment: British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Should the left support a "Brexit" in the upcoming British referendum?

 

In June, Britain will hold an referendum on whether to remain part of the European Union. Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing two opposing views on whether the left should support a British exit, or "Brexit".

A different Europe or bust

 

February 4, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper -- As David Cameron’s renegotiation nears its uneventful conclusion, the big picture of what kind of Europe we want to live in is in danger of being lost, writes Luke Cooper. What can we do to change it?

 

That Europe is in urgent need of reform is beyond question. At risk of being lost in the current British public debate, however, is the discussion as to the type of reforms that Europe needs. The focus on David Cameron’s ‘wish list’ of demands has established an accepted discourse that presumes that these demands reflect ‘British interests’. It also presumes that were Cameron to win European acceptance for all of his demands, then this would be ‘a good deal for Britain’.

 

'What we've achieved so far': an interview with Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn speaks on the march in support of refugees.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in conversation with Hilary Wainwright and Leo Panitch, talks about the meaning of ‘new politics’, Tony Benn’s legacy – and opening up Labour’s policymaking to the people

Leo: Your remarkable campaign for the leadership not only doubled the party membership but galvanised some 400,000 people overall to associate with the party. This is frankly unheard of anywhere in terms of party mobilisation on the left in recent decades. What do you think this reflects about the possibilities for a new politics, not only in Britain but more broadly – especially in Europe?

Jeremy: I think our campaign excited people who were very depressed by the election result and very depressed by the analysis that was being offered at the end of it, which was essentially that Labour wasn’t managerial enough and we had to be better managers in order to do better in the future. I only really got on the ballot paper because of a combination of people – from those who just absolutely wanted an alternative to be put, to those who thought that there ought to be a democratic debate in the party. This kicked off the social media campaign that encouraged others to get involved.

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