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Britain

Theresa May’s Katrina: Grenfell Tower and the election outcome that wasn't supposed to happen

 

 

By Sheila Cohen and Kim Moody

 

June 23, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Solidarity (US) — We live in a north London street which, despite its impressive 19th century architecture, is peopled mainly by “council tenants” (public housing residents). This is largely due to the left-of-center politics of the local council (government), which bought up large areas of such housing in the 1970s, limiting “development” and gentrification, and preserving much of the working class population. Perhaps as a result Labour MP Emily Thornberry, a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, was re-elected with an increased majority of over 20,000 votes--63% against the Conservative’s 21%. Nationally, Labour won 30 new seats and increased its vote by 3.5 million and the Conservatives lost their majority.

 

They told us ‘elections are won from the centre’. We’ll never believe them again

 

By James Fox

 

June 15, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — Jeremy Corbyn has just gained the most support for the Labour Party since the 1945 election of Clement Attlee. A post-election poll from Survation, one of the pollsters that called the election the most accurately, now puts Labour ahead of the Conservatives by 6 percentage points, stating that Corbyn would win 45 per cent of the public vote (against the Conservatives’ 39 per cent) – 5 points up since the election only a few days ago.

 

Richard Seymour on British elections: Where we go from here

 

 

By Richard Seymour

 

June 15, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Novara Media

I.

 

What a difference election day makes. “Make June the end of May,” they said; and so they did.

 

Theresa May has gone from being the adored “mummy” of Tory activists, whose secret strength according to A N Wilson and Matthew D’Ancona was her matriarchal “sex appeal”, to being the woman who shot the Tory party “in the head” according to Tory MP Nigel Evans. If only Tory activists had read a little of what Winnicott said about mothers, they might have seen it coming.

 

Earning optimism after pessimism: Salvage editorial on the British general election

 

‘Obedience to the force of gravity. The greatest sin.’
— Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

‘Things can only get better. Can only get better, if we see it through.’
— D:ream

By Salvage editorial board

 

June 14, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from SalvageAn uncharacteristically subdued President Trump described the result of Britain’s snap general election of 8 June as ‘surprising’. The Guardian went further, calling it a ‘shock result’. The redoubtable Jon Snow for Channel 4 News was closer to the mark, that this was ‘one of the most remarkable election results in modern British History’. This was astonishing, staggering, extraordinary.

 

Socialist Resistance: For a Labour victory on June 8

 

 

By Socialist Resistance

 

June 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance — Labour’s election manifesto launch has boosted Corbyn’s campaign, which has been drawing thousands to rallies across the country. Debate has shifted to a new level, replacing endless ridicule of the Labour leader with a serious discussion on an alternative policy; not to only to end austerity but seeking to reverse it – for the many, not the few.

 

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.

 

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