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- Building a progressive majority: Left strategy after the Brexit
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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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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’
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.
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’.
Left Unity, September 12 -- Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party. Who could have imagined writing such a sentence only a few weeks ago? His victory shatters the austerity consensus that has dominated British politics for the last five years.
This is a victory for the movement as a whole. It is a victory for all those opposing the welfare cuts, for all those campaigning against war and racism, for all those fighting to defend our NHS and a host of other issues.
Jeremy’s election will have the effect of a dam breaking in British political life. It will shift the centre of political gravity to the left.
There were two intersecting currents behind the dramatic growth of the Corbyn campaign. Firstly there was the long pent-up resentment against the Blairite wing of the party, which the new process for electing the leadership allowed to be unleashed.
A Corbyn rally in Bristol.
By Socialist Resistance (Britain)
July 31, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Jeremy Corbyn campaign for the Labour Party leadership is a remarkable phenomenon. He stands a very good chance of winningunless the Labour Party establishment can turn around the tide over the next six weeks.
As things stand, the tide remains with him. The Labour leadership is like a rabbit in the headlights. Large numbers of people, young people in particular, are joining Corbyn's campaign and people are flocking to his rallies and campaign events. Many are signing up to Labour as registered supporters or as affiliated supporters through their trade unions. (According to Labour List in late June the figures were registered supporters: 9115, affiliated supporters: 3788 while the number of full members has also grown significantly since the general election.)
The support from inside major trade unions for Corbyn’s candidacy has been extraordinary.
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.
* * *
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.
Peoples Assembly march, London, June 20, 2015. Photo by Steve Eason/RS21.
Socialist Resistance editorial
June 22, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One home-made banner on the Saturday, June 20, London demonstration against austerity seemed to put into words the inarticulate howl of anguish of millions. In colourful letters it read “Fuck the fucking fuckers”.
It was a reminder of just how visceral hatred of the Tories [Conservative Party] is and just how all-encompassing their social counter-revolution aspires to be. The People’s Assembly is claiming 250,000 marched from the Bank of England to parliament.
There was a strong trade union presence, lots of families, groups of friends, environmentalists and activists from across the progressive spectrum. Mainly though it was a gathering of the young, the angry and defiant who were announcing that they understood what a Tory government means and are ready to stand up to it. Singer Charlotte Church is representative of this generation, with her passionate, reasoned expressions of contempt for the new government.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.
Click for more on left politics in Scotland
By Murray Smith
June 4, 2015 – International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The day after the May 7 Westminster [British] general election, George Kerevan, newly elected Scottish National Party MP for East Lothian, was walking through his constituency. He was approached by a group of young working-class women who recognised him, proudly declared that they had all voted SNP and wanted to take “selfies” with him. When Kerevan asked why, they replied “because this is history”.
They were of course right. The day before the SNP had taken 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland, leaving the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties with one each.
By Colin Fox
May 11, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the end the polls got it wrong, badly wrong. And all the commentators who placed so much faith in them looked foolish. There was no hung parliament. No horse trading between Westminster parties, no weeks of instability before a coalition government was formed. The Tories thumped Labour and won a clear majority.
May 9, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party won a clear victory in Britain's May 7 general elections. In Scotland, however, the Scottish National Party (SNP) dramatically rose from six seats to 56 out of 59, in a clear sign of opposition to the brutal austerity backed by the major parties in Westminster.
The big loser in Scotland was the Labour Party, which was nearly wiped out. Previously the largest party in Scotland, it kept just one seat. It was ruthlessly punished for its support for austerity and its role in opposing Scottish independence. Although the “no” vote won, Labour paid the price for a nasty campaign in which it appeared as just one more voice of the London establishment.
By Alister Black, Edinburgh
May 4, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- Britain's May 7 general election is set to be the closest in living memory. In the polls, the two leading parties, Labour and the Conservatives (Tories), are within points of each other. The polls have not shifted despite the best efforts of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband to secure a breakthrough.
Why are the polls so close?
May 2, 2015 -- Irish Republican News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With just days to go before a potentially historic Westminster general election on May 7, a further rise in support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) is already creating a crisis in British politics which will likely have implications for Ireland.
Most recent polls indicate that the SNP will sweep almost all of the 59 Westminster seats in Scotland, and is well placed to win the balance of power in London. The development appears to have taken the British establishment by surprise and thrown the opposition Labour Party into chaos.
All but one or two of the 59 MPs elected by Scotland could now be won by the SNP by the time counting concludes, creating a political imperative for independence which is directly comparable to the 1918 "Sinn Fein" election in the aftermath of the Easter Rising in Ireland.
A confused Labour Party leader Ed Miliband told a television election special that he would refuse any pact with the SNP -- even if it meant giving up the chance of power to David Cameron’s Conservatives (Tories). On May 1 he repeated that there would be “no deals or coalitions”.
Tony Benn discussing politics with Ralph Miliband (right) at the Socialist Society Conference, Chesterfield in 1988. Photograph: John Harris/reportdigital.co.uk.
By Andrew Perchard
April 16, 2015 -- History Workshop, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the midst of last year’s Scottish independence referendum campaign, a friend and fellow historian of modern Britain, visiting from the north west of England, recounted his Damascene moment in grasping the national conversation in Scotland.
He had been visiting friends several weeks before and was taken to a bar one night in a former mining village in central Scotland. There he had been struck by the overwhelming number of those in the bar, whose politics he typically associated with the Labour Party, who openly declared they would be voting in favour of Scottish independence.