petej + dc:creator=gilbertjeremy   14

An inevitable division: the politics and consequences of the Labour split | openDemocracy
As I’ve pointed out before most of the Blairite MPs became Labour MPs on the basis of a particular implicit understanding of what that role entailed. According to this understanding, the purpose of a Labour MP is to try to persuade the richest and most powerful individuals, groups and institutions to make minor concessions to the interests of the disadvantaged, while persuading the latter to accept that these minor concessions are the best that they can hope for. That job description might well entail some occasional grandstanding when corporate institutions are engaged in particularly egregious forms of behaviour (such as making loans to very poor people at clearly exorbitant rates), or when the political right is engaged in explicit displays of racism or misogyny. But it doesn’t entail any actual attempt to change the underlying distributions of power in British society; and in fact it does necessarily, and structurally, entail extreme hostility towards anybody who proposes to do that.
UK  politics  LabourParty  IndependentGroup  split  UmunnaChuka  Blairism  GapesMike  LabourFirst  Progress  class  capitalism  centrism  managerialism  anti-Semitism  Corbynism  Brexit  Labourism  coalition  Germany  FreeDemocraticParty  dctagged  dc:creator=GilbertJeremy 
8 weeks ago by petej
Can Labour win back its heartlands? Not by turning blue | Jeremy Gilbert | Opinion | The Guardian
Cosmopolitan culture is not a bad idea. It implies a liberal, tolerant, non-exclusive attitude. Historically, this is a mindset typical of merchants, financiers, artists and intellectuals. But cosmopolitanism has also been embraced by radical workers, infused with the internationalist spirit of communism, and by the urban poor in places where multiculturalism has been a fact of daily life for generations.

I think cosmopolitanism was a key reason why the New Labour coalition held together for as long as it did. There were always Labour voters in cities, in the more militant unions, in university towns and in the public sector, who would have preferred a more radical programme. But we knew from the bitter experience of the 1980s that there were not enough of us to win an election, at least in a country whose media was so skewed to the right. And after 18 years of Tory rule, we were relieved to have a government that at least encouraged an open, tolerant, sexually liberal and multi-ethnic culture to thrive.

At the same time, as much as we resented the Iraq war and the private finance initiative, many of us were being offered a lifestyle that even our parents couldn’t have dreamed of. So we were acquiescent, even if never quite reconciled, to the New Labour agenda.

The leave-voting heartlands would certainly not vote for Blair’s brand of Europhile neoliberalism
But there were others, in the north and the Midlands, in small towns and post-industrial regions, who had a very different experience. They too belonged to social groups who had traditionally voted Labour. But the third way did not offer them the consolations that it offered those of us in the cities and professional classes. Instead it offered them an experience of permanent decline. Accepting globalisation as a fact of life, New Labour made no effort to bring back industrial jobs. When migrants came from eastern Europe, looking for work, many citizens of the post-industrial towns experienced this as a threat to their already precarious livelihoods, rather than as an opportunity for cultural enrichment.
UK  LabourParty  ge2017  generalElection  politics  socialDemocracy  Blairism  BlairTony  ClintonBill  cosmopolitanism  multiculturalism  internationalism  deindustrialisation  post-industrialism  migration  inequality  fear  conservatism  BlueLabour  CorbynJeremy  dctagged  dc:creator=GilbertJeremy 
may 2017 by petej
Labour’s Crisis and the End of the Two-Party System, Jeremy Gilbert
" In response to this problem, the most articulate of the Corbynites see Corbyn’s key role not as being the leader of a parliamentary bloc, but as a figurehead who can inspire people to join the party in their hundreds of thousands, to the point where there is a realistic chance of Labour’s memberships approaching one million within the next year or so. What exactly they plan to do with a million members if they get them remains unclear – but the general proposition that achieving such a figure would create an opportunity to transform British political culture through member-led community activism seems reasonable."
LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  UK  politics  inequality  insecurity  PLP  representation  NewLabour  membership  accountability  Podemos  SNP  SandersBernie  activism  socialMovements  dctagged  dc:creator=GilbertJeremy 
august 2016 by petej
What hope for Labour and the left? The election, the 80s and ‘aspiration’ | openDemocracy
This is how hegemony works, of course: the power of the hegemonic group becomes so taken for granted as to become invisible, to the point where actually naming it comes to be understood as a pathological gesture; their values and ways of acting in the world are accepted as mere ‘common sense’, any deviation from which must be a form of mental disorder. So of course the vast majority of Blairites are not conscious that their entire world-view is handed down to them by the financial elites, or that deference to the authority of those elites is the single thread linking together an otherwise quite incoherent set of policies and preferences. But it is.

A great example here is the language of ‘aspiration’ which was circulating among the leadership contenders before it started to become apparent that it wasn’t working for them. This was the Blairite keyword in the weeks following the general election defeat, with Blairite candidate Liz Kendall not only condemning Labour’s general election campaign for having failed to connect with voters’ ‘aspirations’ and with aspirational voters, but actually arguing at one point that what was wrong with white working class children was that they lacked ‘aspiration’ and that governments ought to take it upon themselves to force them to have some.

What does ‘aspiration’ really mean, in this context? It seems to refer to a very narrow set of values and to express the idea that they are the ones that everyone naturally shares. Now, I don’t think that anyone really believes that the narrow, consumerist, individualist, competitive values of commercial culture are the only ones which really motivate human behaviour. But everyone knows that those are the values of the City, the bankers and the sections of the corporate and media world which are closest to them; and this is what ‘aspiration’ is really a code-word for. Think about a phrase like ‘aspirational fashion’. What does it mean? It means people wearing clothes that consciously ape the clothes that rich people might be assumed to wear.

When someone like Kendall says ‘we must respect and encourage aspiration’, she doesn’t really just mean ‘we must respect and encourage people wanting to improve their lot and that of their families’. What she really means is ‘we must signal to finance capital that we will continue to defer to its social authority by enforcing its values as the only acceptable norms in our culture’. Her saying this is predicated on the understanding that the balance of forces in the UK and globally is such that there is simply no point proposing any political project which even minimally challenges the hegemony of finance capital. I don’t mean she necessarily consciously thinks any of this. She probably thinks that ‘aspiration’ as she defines it is just normal, everyday human behaviour and that encouraging it is simple common sense. Well, that’s hegemony for you.
CorbynJeremy  LabourParty  UK  politics  media  1980s  FootMichael  BennTony  SDP  socialMovements  TheLeft  technology  informationTechnology  Internet  postFordism  vanguardism  democraticCentralism  Blairism  NewLabour  finance  financialisation  hegemony  aspiration  KendallLiz  dctagged  dc:creator=GilbertJeremy  ge2015 
september 2015 by petej

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