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Respect

England and Wales: Reconquer the Labour Party or build a new left party?

By Phil Hearse

July 12, 2013 -- Socialist Resistance -- A supporter of the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain (CPB), under the pseudonym "Michael Ford", has written the most substantial rebuttal of the proposal to found a new left party in Britain – “Left Unity’s Modest Flutter”, posted on the Left Unity site.

Weighing in at more than 9000 words Ford’s article assesses almost every conceivable objection, from the weighty to the absurd. By analysing his critique in depth we can be more precise about what the case for a new party actually is and on what basis it can be built.

Britain: Kate Hudson on Left Unity, People's Assembly

Kate Hudson.

July 8, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Kate Hudson is a veteran British left-wing activist and former chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Hudson was a candidate for the left-wing Respect party in 2012's Manchester municipal by-election, but stood down after Respect leader George Galloway made “unacceptable and unretracted statements about the nature of rape”.

Since then, Hudson has joined other left-wing activists, including film maker Ken Loach, in pushing the Left Unity initiative for a new left-wing party, which has received support from thousands of people across Britain.

Green Left Weekly's Jody Betzien spoke to Hudson after the huge People's Assembly in London, which brought together more than 4000 people to plan to a campaign against the brutal austerity of the British government.

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The People’s Assembly was a clear success with more than 4000 people attending. What was the significance of the event?

Britain: New opportunities for left realignment

By Alan Thornett, Socialist Resistance

May 4, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The impact of austerity has thrown politics in Britain into turmoil. Both parties of the ruling coalition government -- the Conservative Party (Tories) and the Liberal Democrats -- lost heavily in municipal elections in England last week to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) – a right-wing, populist, anti-immigration party that is pulling all the main parties to the right. Labour’s performance was better but poor, since its answer to austerity is its own brand of austerity and it has pandered to anti-immigrant sentiment.

The left was nowhere in the election – there was nothing to rally the left in the way UKIP rallied the right – which raised again the desperate need for a broad party of the left that can start to do what Syriza has done in Greece: provide a clear anti-austerity platform to which the working class can relate.

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: Is the left coming together or falling apart?

By Socialist Resistance (Britain)

January 29, 2013 -- This is the editorial from the latest issue of the British socialist newspaper Socialist Resistance -- Recent events on the [British] left give the impression that it is falling apart. Last summer, following George Galloway’s outrageous comments on rape, Respect suffered the resignation of Kate Hudson, Andrew Burgin, Salma Yaqoob and others. Now, the Socialist Workers Party is tearing itself apart after its leadership tried to protect one of its own from allegations of rape in order to “defend the party”.

Britain: ‘To fight austerity we need a united left’ -- Anticapitalist Initiative

By Simon Hardy, Anticapitalist Initiative (Britain)

October 9, 2012 –  Submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The urgent need for unity on the radical left is something that has been eloquently put forward by Dan Hind on the Al-Jazeera website. Asking a very pertinent question as to whether there can be a SYRIZA-type organisation in Britain, Hind draws out some of the most important lessons of the Greek struggle and poses a challenge to the British left -- can we break out of the ghetto as well?[1]

La campaña contra Wikileaks debilita las campañas contra violaciones

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3000.]

Por Ash Pemberton, traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

29-08-2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- La odisea personal del jefe de WikiLeaks Julian Assange se ha utilizado para eclipsar el innovador periodismo de WikiLeaks que sacó a la luz los secretos de gobiernos y corporaciones de todo el mundo.

Unos cables diplomáticos australianos obtenidos por el Sydney Morning Herald en diciembre revelaron: “WikiLeaks es objetivo de una investigación criminal ‘sin precedentes’ por parte del gobierno de EE.UU.” A pesar de esto, el gobierno australiano sigue argumentando públicamente que no tiene conocimiento de una campaña estadounidense contra Assange –editor y fundador del sitio– e incluso argumentó que era muy improbable.

No es sorprendente que el mayor incriminado por las publicaciones de WikiLeaks –el gobierno de EE.UU.– se proponga estatuir un ejemplo con los involucrados. Uno de los miles de correos electrónicos hackeados de la firma de espionaje privada Stratfor publicados por WikiLeaks en febrero dice que EE.UU. tiene una acusación en firme contra Assange.

Anti-Wikileaks crusade undermines anti-rape campaigns; George Galloway wrong on rape

By Ash Pemberton

August 24, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- The personal saga of Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of Wikileaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.

Australian diplomatic cables obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald in December revealed, “WikiLeaks is the target of an 'unprecedented' US government criminal investigation.” Despite this, the Australian government continues to argue publicly that it has no knowledge of a US campaign against Assange — the site's editor in chief and founder — and even argued it was highly unlikely.

It is unsurprising that the main party incriminated by Wikileaks' releases — the United States government — is out to make an example of those involved. One of thousands of hacked emails from private spy firm Stratfor released by Wikileaks in February said the US had a sealed indictment against Assange.

Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador on August 16 after staying in Ecuador's British embassy since June to avoid extradition to Sweden. He remains in the embassy in a stand-off with British police who have backed down on their threat to raid the embassy.

Britain: Coalition government parties battered in local elections

Respect's Alyas Karmani defeated the Labour Party leader on the Bradford council. Respect won five seats.

May 6, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- The British Labour Party was clearly the big winner in the May 3 local council elections. Although in London celebrity politics, along with a nasty personalised campaign by the Evening Standard, and divisions within the Labour Party, created a win for Conservative Party's Boris Johnson, both the Conservative (Tory) and the Liberal Democrat (Lib Dems) parties took a drubbing across the country giving the Lib Dems the worst result in its history. This is clearly a part of shift to the left and towards an anti-austerity stance, which is evident elsewhere in Europe. This is the case in Greece, France and Spain in particular – though in Greece there is also the rise of the far right.

Britain: The space to the left of the Labour Party just got huge

 

By Socialist Resistance (Britain)

"An opportunity has opened up, in the teeth of a worsening economic crisis, for the left to offer a real alternative. This demonstrates, as with Mélenchon in France, that the left can make the running even at a time of severe economic crisis. The opening of such a space raises, once again, the issue of a new broad, pluralist, party to the left of Labour ..."

April 15, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- George Galloway’s Bradford West victory, like the student revolt in December 2010, the inner city riots of August 2011 and the Occupy movement in October was an event that no one predicted. Yet, as Galloway said in his acceptance speech, his election was the most sensational result in by-election history involving a left candidate. He polled 18,341 votes (55.9%) with a 10,140 majority. His Labour Party opponent Imran Hussain won a humiliating 8201 votes (25%), although this was a triumph compared to the Liberal Democrats' (Lib Dems) 1505 votes (4.6%).

Britain: A simple proposal for a new anti-capitalist left

By Simon Hardy

April 15, 2012 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission, in the interests of left discussion in the wake of George Galloway's success in Bradford West -- I along with a number of other members of Workers Power in Britain, Austria and the Czech Republic have resigned from the organisation. The global capitalist crisis has posed tremendous questions for the radical left about how to go forward. We have increasingly drawn the conclusion that the historical legacy of the post-war left, in particular the Leninist-Trotskyist left, needs to be subjected to far-reaching critique and re-evaluation in light of the contemporary challenges.

The organised left is dogged by sectarianism and opportunism. There are quite literally hundreds of competing orthodoxies, with each sect promoting and defending its own, typically very narrow, conception of revolutionary theory and practice without subjecting their ideas to the critical re-evaluation which we believe is necessary if Marxism is to reach out to far wider layers.

Britain: `Now is the time to seize the opportunity' of George Galloway's win in Bradford

[For more discussion around George Galloway's re-election and the left's response, click HERE.]

By Andrew Burgin

April 4, 2012 -- Socialist Unity -- The victory of the Respect Party in the Bradford West by-election opens up politics in Britain in a way not seen for many decades. The scale of the victory was remarkable. George Galloway’s vote surpassed that of all the three main parties added together. This was a new development and entirely unpredicted even by those close to the campaign itself.

When a young campaigner working for Respect in Bradford rang her mother a few days before the vote and told her that she felt there was a real chance that George would win, her mother, a seasoned political activist herself, thought her daughter had lost all political direction. The truth is that nobody saw this juggernaut coming not least the left itself.

And because it is a new and unexpected development it demands that we re-examine long-held and well-established understandings of political life and draw the necessary tactical and strategic conclusions.

Britain: The challenge of George Galloway’s ‘Bradford Spring’

George Galloway campaigns in Bradford West.

[For more discussion around George Galloway's re-election and the left's response, click HERE.]

By Paul Kellogg

April 4, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission by the author -- In the end, it wasn’t even close. Britain’s most prominent anti-war politician, George Galloway, is back as a member of parliament for his Respect Party, after receiving support so overwhelming that he had, in the words of a reporter for The Guardian, “annihilated the Labour vote”.

Britain: (Updated April 4) Tariq Ali, British left on George Galloway's surprise re-election


George Galloway explains why we won the by-election.

[For more discussion around George Galloway's re-election and the left's response, click HERE.]

On March 29, 2012, the left-wing Respect party's George Galloway was swept into the British parliament in a by-election few expected him to win. He was elected with an absolute majority of the votes cast, in a multiracial working-class seat. Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes a number of reactions to this important victory from British left.

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Scotland: Political climate changes utterly; Voters bring break up of Britain closer?

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond.

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party spokesperson

May 10, 2011 -- As landslides go the 2011 Holyrood election was huge. Scotland has been shaken to its political foundations as voters again voiced their contempt for the Conservative Party [Tories], its coalition partner the Liberal Democratic Party [Lib Dems], and also the Labour Party. The Scotsman newspaper described the result of the May 5 Scottish election as a "victory of hitherto unthinkable proportions" for the Scottish National Party (SNP). Even The Scotsman can be right some of the time!

Left debates Libya: `The Arab revolution must stay in Arab hands' -- a reply to Gilbert Achcar

French navy technicians load a Mica missile, destined for Libya, under the wing of a Rafale jet fighter on the deck of Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.

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

By Kevin Ovenden

March 28, 2011 -- Socialist Unity -- The Arab revolution has widened the left’s horizons. In the region itself there is now a historic possibility of a new radical politics: successful resistance to the hegemonic Western powers and to Israel fused with the movement of the young and propertyless masses against the corrupt and complicit elites. 

The fall of Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egypt's Mubarak shattered decades of Western policy, rocking them onto the back foot. They are now moving onto the front foot, as the regional despots raid their political and military arsenals to cling on.  

Scotland: Respect votes to split left vote, Galloway opposes independence

On November 13, 2010, the English left-wing organisation Respect’s annual conference voted, 59 to 15, to begin organising in Scotland. The decision was preceded by the most prominent Respect leader and former MP George Galloway floating the idea that he stand for the Scottish Parliament, either as part of a Respect campaign or an independent "George 4 Glasgow" campaign. Below are a number of articles from the Scottish and English left on Respect's move into Scotland.

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Don't do it, George

Writing on Liam MacUaid's blog on November 10, 2010, Raphie de Santos of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) makes a case against George Galloway standing for Respect in Scotland.

Britain: Building left unity out of the wreckage

Anti-war protesters in London, 2003.

The Socialist Resistance national committee adopted this document, by Liam Mac Uaid, on January 9, 2010, to outline its balance sheet of the last decade’s attempts at the resolving the crisis of working-class representation in Britain.

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January 9, 2010 -- Socialist Resistance -- The workers’ movement in Britain has faced a crisis of working-class representation since the rise of New Labour in the mid-1990s and it has been becoming more acute ever since. This backdrop put left unity at the centre of the political agenda. The rise of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and the Socialist Alliance (SA) were the first organisational expressions of this necessary process. A critical look at the last decade is essential if we are not to make the same mistakes – those who do not learn from history are pretty likely to make the same ones all over again.

Four goals for a new left party

By Duncan Chapel

November 14, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance -- The people on this platform share a lot of ideas.

  • We want a working-class party to the left of the Labour Party, with a socialist program that confronts the dual crises of the ecology and the economy, which the ruling class is struggling to contain
  • We want a party in which anti-capitalists are hegemonic, but not monolithic. We have to be open to everyone who’s for the class struggle, not just those with Marxist ideas
  • We want a party of struggle, based on the ground, that’s developing a movement of resistance as well as an electoral campaign.

That’s a lot of agreement. It’s meaningful. It’s new. We like it.

But what’s the next step? Where do we go from here? And in particular, some of us are in different places -- so that means different routes to the same destination. Socialist Resistance has four ideas we want to share with you about our idea of the route to a new party.

1. We need a party based on the struggle, not just a party for the election

In this crisis, the capitalists are starting a new offensive against social and democratic rights to increase the exploitation of labour and protect profits. Western governments are making working people pay for the crisis: “just as before, or almost and perhaps worse”.

Positive developments in the European left

By Ian Angus

October 7, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- LeftViews recently published an article by Alex Callinicos, a central leader of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party (SWP), on the state of the left in Europe. While conceding that there have been some gains, overall the picture he painted was dire.

Callinicos is an insightful writer on leftwing politics in Europe, and much of his analysis rings true. I’m certainly not going to try to offer a different analysis from my vantage point well west of the Atlantic [in Canada].

But by itself, his article might leave Socialist Voice readers with a picture of unrelieved gloom, when in fact there are some bright spots of note. In Germany and Portugal, leftwing parties made modest but important gains in last month’s elections, while in France and England we’re seeing constructive steps towards greater unity on the left.

Germany

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