bennism   7

Labour’s Brexit Policy |
To sum up – I started with three simple rival ‘narratives’ of Labour’s underlying position on Brexit. I’ve articulated my own interpretation of Labour’s position, which implies that all of these narratives have something to them. In my view, Labour’s preferred Brexit outcome involves significant breaks with existing EU governance rules. The leadership wants those breaks to be in the area of neoliberal constraints on socialist policy-making; much of the PLP wants those breaks to be in the area of freedom of movement. In a scenario where Labour is in government without the Brexit deal having been concluded, those two categories of negotiating priority will be in tension. Nevertheless, the tension between those two categories of negotiating priority is (I would argue) not as fundamental as the tension between some of the Conservatives’ commitments. Moreover, unlike the Conservatives, Labour have been quite careful not to articulate any commitments that cannot be backed down from towards greater compatibility with existing EU rules. Thus in a scenario in which Labour were negotiating with the EU, I would expect Labour to make an effort to achieve a set of concessions around EU rules, and if those concessions could not be achieved, to capitulate in the direction of a more liberal existing-EU-institutions-aligned position.
UK  EU  Brexit  politics  LabourParty  Remain  Leave  trade  economy  Bennism  Euroscepticism  immigration  borders  freedomOfMovement  customsUnion  singleMarket  ambiguity  tactics  flexibility  ToryParty  redLines  negotiations  strategy 
march 2019 by petej
Labour owes it to its supporters to become the party of remain | Zoe Williams | Opinion | The Guardian
A positive vision for the future needs solid answers to urgent questions: climate change, austerity, the erosion of workplace rights, the rise of fascism. All of these feed into one another to create a sense of precariousness and threat, and all solutions involve cooperation across borders. The new remain movement must articulate a future in which opportunities and freedoms expand rather than retract, citizens’ rights ratchet upwards in a race to the top, revivified unions support one another internationally, a green new deal echoes across multiple governments, racism is answered robustly and migration celebrated, and the dreams of the EU’s founders – peace, reconciliation, solidarity, equality – are rediscovered.
UK  EU  Brexit  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  Bennism  McCluskeyLen  Lexit  Remain  cooperation  internationalism  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=WilliamsZoe 
december 2018 by petej
Lorna Finlayson · Corbyn Now · LRB 27 September 2018
If the path Corbyn has started to follow is again closed off, there are two foreseeable consequences. The first is that anger and disaffection will find another outlet. While frequent reference to a racist and right-wing public opinion has been a convenient device for the protection of the status quo, there is no virtue in maintaining an opposite fiction of the British people as saints and socialists. The appetite for Corbyn’s vision of a more compassionate and co-operative society coexists with a counter-tendency that has been well nurtured in recent years: the tendency towards suspicion of strangers and neighbours, the scapegoating of the vulnerable, resentment and a desire to dominate others. This tendency was on full display during the Brexit referendum campaign, and was given a formidable boost by the result. (There is no need to choose between the interpretation of Brexit as a protest against a neoliberal political establishment or as expressive of an ill-informed, racist bigotry: it is both.) Islamophobic sentiment and related attacks are on the increase, legitimised by a media which has for years been normalising far-right rhetoric. British liberals like to believe that Americans are a different species but they didn’t think that even the Americans would elect Trump. Boris Johnson – limbering up with carefully pitched comments about women in burqas and suicide vests – is a threat not to be underestimated. And there are fates worse than Boris.

The other foreseeable consequence of the defeat of Corbynism is that what remains of the achievements of an earlier Labour Party will be undone. The combination of the economic consequences of Brexit and another few years at the mercy of the Tories or Labour ‘moderates’ will spell certain death for the NHS (even without Brexit, the health service would be doomed to an only slightly slower demise). In this context, the attacks on Corbyn’s leadership are attacks on all those whose lives depend quite literally on a break with politics as we currently know it.
UK  politics  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  Corbynism  LRB  capitalism  Bennism  redistribution  welfareState  taxation  tuitionFees  education  reform  Blairism  centrism  anti-Semitism  IHRA  Israel  Brexit  farRight  dctagged  dc:creator=FinlaysonLaura 
september 2018 by petej
In his speech the other day Neil Kinnock reminded me of a peculiar tick the the Labour Party… — Medium
This tick then, expressed (and expresses now when Neil Kinnock uses it in a speech) two very different ideas of what the Labour movement was or could be. For the Bennites then (and the Corbynites now), the Labour movement is and was something that recruits as many people as it can and becomes the direct expression of their political aspirations, including their most radical ones. That is, if you want a say in how the party, a trade union or the country is run, you join and participate with the best ideas winning through. The parliamentary party are nothing more than the delegates of their CLPs and their primary duty is to agitate for the politics of their members. For those on the other side, the Labour Party is not supposed to directly represent the politics of its members, it is a not a tool for direct interventions in the political sphere by ordinary people. Rather it is a organisation in which the leadership should be trusted to develop (after consulting members) a programme for government which appeals beyond their membership to the country as a whole. The members' role is largely passive, a case of essentially promoting whatever it is that party leadership does as opposition or government — socialism as “whatever a Labour government does”.

This then is one key to the gap between the left and right of the party. The gap that the soft left and the moving softer left (hello Owen Jones) don’t really get. The distance here is not all about policy. When Kinnock says he wants his party back, he means it in a very literal sense. He doesn’t want just want the leadership to return to his wing of the party, he wants an end to this dangerous experiment in “syndicalism”, where Labour pretends to represent directly the political ambitions of its members. He wants it back from its electorate and for the PLP, for a kind of imagined “authentic Labourism" which is more pragmatic and speaks for (but not with) the British people as a whole.

And when it says it, he does so with all historical justice on his side, because that genuinely is what the Labour Party has been historically and what it was founded to be — a party of the left’s great and good, cheerled by an obedient army of leaflet deliverers.

He and the other 172 MPs on Kinnock’s side will only truly be happy if and when it returns to that. That means that those hoping for a sort of Corbynism without Corbyn or even for a more general re-engagement with the interests of the working class, should think long and hard about what those cheers mean.
LabourParty  KinnockNeil  tradeUnions  syndicalism  control  Bennism  paternalism  hierarchy  radicalism  socialism  PLP  participation  leadership  CorbynJeremy  TheLeft 
july 2016 by petej

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