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Shocking omissions: "Capitalism’s conscience – 200 years of 'The Guardian'"

 

 

April 29,2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Media Lens — Long before ‘the propaganda model’ flew off Edward Herman’s keyboard and into ‘Manufacturing Consent’, the book he co-authored with Noam Chomsky, Leo Tolstoy had captured the essence of non-conspiratorial conformity:

‘One man does not assert the truth which he knows, because he feels himself bound to the people with whom he is engaged; another, because the truth might deprive him of the profitable position by which he maintains his family; a third, because he desires to attain reputation and authority, and then use them in the service of mankind; a fourth, because he does not wish to destroy old sacred traditions; a fifth, because he has no desire to offend people; a sixth, because the expression of the truth would arouse persecution, and disturb the excellent social activity to which he has devoted himself.’ (Tolstoy, ‘What Then Must We Do?’, Green Classics, 1991, p.118)

Britain: On the Coronavirus and the social crisis - An open letter to the Trade Union movement from Labour Transformed

 

 

March 12, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Labour Transformed — Labour Transformed are extremely concerned about the situation presented by the Coronavirus and the inadequate responses from both the Conservative government and the organised Labour/Union movement. We appreciate a lot is going on, ‘behind the scenes,’ but believe a collective  response from the union movement is long overdue. Hopefully such a response can help to quell social anxiety and provide the leadership necessary to deal with the crisis as it unfolds over the coming weeks. 

All current modelling regarding the spread of the coronavirus suggests that the UK is currently two weeks ‘behind’ Italy in terms of infection rates, although some modelling has already suggested the UK will suffer a larger number of cases given the current rate at which the virus is spreading here. If we end up with a 20% infection rate in the UK, with only 5% of those needing ICU care –  we would need 600,000 ICU beds.There are only 4000 ICU beds across the whole of the NHS, and these are already 90% occupied. 

Britain: How should the left and labour movement respond to coronavirus?

 

 

By Mark Findlay

March 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance — Over the few days there has been a significant escalation of cases of coronavirus cases in Britain with numbers currently at 90 – more than double the figures of 40 two days earlier. Cases have appeared in people who haven’t travelled abroad and where no contact with a known carrier has so far been found. And it appears that some people may be more liable to pass on the virus than others; “superspreaders

Britain: Analysing a disastrous result

 

 

By Socialist Resistance Editorial Board

February 17, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance — Like many others on the left, we got the election result seriously wrong. Most thought a hung Parliament or even a Labour minority government was a real possibility. It was not.

Brexit shattered voting loyalties established over lifetimes and, along with Britain’s notorious first-past-the-post electoral system, gave the Tories an 80 seat majority in Parliament. The Tories won 43.6% of the vote, gaining 66 seats and Labour’s vote share fell by 7.8% to 32%, resulting in a loss of 42 seats.

The Brexit election – from revenge to resistance

 

 

By Ray M

February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from RS21 — This essay follows on from two recent articles. The first was written before polling day and defined the election as the ‘Revenge Election’. It argued that Labour needed to articulate the desire for revenge felt by working-class people who have suffered years of neoliberalism, austerity and injustice. The second article, written after the election, drew on Mark Fisher’s 2009 book Capitalist Realism to explain the failure of the Corbyn-led Labour Party to present an alternative that convinced enough working-class people to vote for them in 2019; Labour’s manoeuvring over Brexit between 2017 and 2019 made Corbyn seem more like another establishment politician. This piece builds on these, drawing on Enzo Traverso’s reflections on ‘militancy coming from mourning’ to outline a framework for how we understand the defeat with suggestions about how we begin to rebuild. We need a strategy that transcends the current culture war and unites our class against both the radical right-wing Tory government and the metropolitan liberals from the ‘extreme centre’.[1]

Britain: 2019 election analysis – A victory for the Far Right. A crisis for the Left

 

 

By Neil Faulkner and Phil Hearse

December 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mutiny — The British ruling class has much to celebrate. Their party – the party of the rich and the corporations – has won its biggest majority since 1987. Our party – the party of working people – has suffered its worst result since 1935.

They are right to celebrate. Millions of working-class people, many of them in once rock-solid Labour seats based on traditional industry and union power, have voted for the party of the bosses. This is the story in many former mining constituencies, where the victims of Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry and the NUM have now come full circle and voted for Thatcher’s party. It is a story repeated in a swathe of ‘Red Wall’ old industrial centres in the North and the Midlands.

British politics in tumult

 

 

By Susan Pashkoff

 

September 18, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — It is a tumultuous time in British politics.Parliament returned from its summer recess on September 3 to a new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, elected by only Tory members following Theresa May resignation as Prime Minister.

 

The Tory government had a working majority of 1 at this point (including the MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party; DUP). Johnson lost this the very same day when Phillip Lee (a Tory remainer MP) dramatically crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats while the Prime Minister was addressing Parliament. The Parliamentary Conservative and Unionist Party continued to shrink further over the days ahead.

 

Parliament closed again on September 9 after sitting for only 6 days. During that time Johnson suffered 6 consecutive defeats at the hands of both MPs and the Lords, provoked continued demonstrations across Britain and presided over what looks like the worst crisis the Tories have ever suffered.

 

Britain: Gordon Brown’s self-exoneration rings hollow

 

 

Review by Alex Miller

 

My Life, Our Times
By Gordon Brown
Bodley Head, £16.99, 500 pages

 

December 13, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Gordon Brown went from being a creditable left-wing British Labour MP in the 1980s to Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) under Tony Blair from 1997-2007 and then Prime Minister from 2007, until his defeat at the hands of the Conservatives in 2010. As co-architect of New Labour, he became a champion of business elites, the private sector, the ultra-wealthy, globalisation, private finance initiatives (PFIs), public-private partnerships (PPP), privatisation, financialisation, and just about any neoliberal policy you care to mention.

 

In this dismal and depressing autobiography, he attempts to portray himself as a progressive opponent of neoliberalism and tries to relieve himself of culpability in New Labour disasters, such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

1968 seen from Britain

 

 

By Phil Hearse

 

May 4, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint  — None of the key events of 1968 happened in Britain, but they impacted dramatically on the configuration of the Left. One socialist journal said it was “the year the ice cracked”. [1] But more realistically it was the culmination of a process of left political renewal started in 1956 when the near-simultaneous Hungarian revolution and the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt shook the British Left to its core, resulting in the emergence of the “first” New Left. [2]

 

La política británica en transición: la austeridad, Brexit y el desafío Corbyn

 

 

Originally published in English on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal here

 

Por Phil Hearse

 

16 de Marzo, 2018
Sin Permiso traducido por Enrique García — En medio del invierno más duro de más de una década, Gran Bretaña se encuentra aún atenazada por los dedos helados de la austeridad neoliberal. Tanto el servicio de salud (NHS) como los gobiernos locales van de crisis en crisis, y los recortes salvajes del gasto público del gobierno conservador de Theresa May hacen imposible la prestación de servicios adecuados, utilizados principalmente por las personas con discapacidad, los ancianos, los enfermos, los pobres y las personas sin hogar. Ocho años de austeridad y moderación salarial dura impuesta a los trabajadores del sector público han hecho caer el crecimiento económico en picado, lo que reduce drásticamente los ingresos fiscales, dando así una vuelta de tuerca más los recortes conservadores.

 

British politics in transition: Austerity, Brexit and the Corbyn challenge

 

 

By Phil Hearse

 

February 28, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  — In the middle of the harshest winter for more than a decade, Britain finds itself still gripped by the icy fingers of neoliberal austerity. Both the health service (NHS) and local government stagger from crisis to crisis, as savage spending cuts by Theresa May’s Conservative government make the provision of adequate services – those used mainly by the elderly, disabled people, the ill, the poor and the homeless – impossible. Eight years of austerity and harsh pay restraint among public sector workers have pushed economic growth into a nosedive, sharply reducing tax income, thus giving a further twist to the knife of Tory cutbacks.

 

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.

 

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