petej + theleft   610

To save his project, Jeremy Corbyn must bring Labour’s old guard on side
The way forward is to recast the project: around the core goal of major nationalisations, a state-led reindustrialisation project, a green new deal, £50bn worth of redistributive tax rises and the democratisation of Britain. The parliamentary arithmetic may be against stopping Brexit, but delaying Article 50 and forcing a second referendum are not impossible – and the frontbench should throw itself enthusiastically into making this political argument positively.
UK  politics  LabourParty  IndependentGroup  split  WatsonTom  MacronEmmanuel  Blairism  TheLeft  CorbynJeremy  Brexit  xenophobia  UmunnaChuka  CooperYvette  diversity  shadowCabinet  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul 
16 hours ago by petej
The rise of the student worker | Red Pepper
The marketisation of universities and privatisation of the students’ social reproduction has broken the walls separating the university as an academically oriented space that is partially autonomous from the demands of capital. From setting foot on campus to taking a loan to finding place to live, students today cannot escape their forcible integration into international capital’s search for investment returns in an increasingly volatile market.
mai68  students  PCF  France  TheLeft  ToynbeePolly  demo2010  UK  grants  loans  work  labour  jobs  class  debt  interestRates  financialisation  marketisation 
4 weeks ago by petej
Only a rupture with the EU will alter the failed status quo | Larry Elliott | Opinion | The Guardian
Brexit, the gilets jaunes protesters in France, the terrible pain inflicted on Greece and the support for the League/Five Star government in Italy all tell their own story. Europe is alive with political discontent that reflects the demand for deep and urgent reform, but the chances of getting it are less likely if the status quo prevails.

Why? Because the forces of conservatism are strong. Change comes about only when the pressure for it becomes too great to resist. The financial crisis provided one such opportunity to reform an economic system that for many people clearly wasn’t working; Brexit was a second. The left’s case for Brexit has always been based on the following notions: the current economic model is failing; socialism is needed to fix it; and the free-market ideology hardwired into the EU via the European Central Bank, judgments of the European court of justice and treaty changes will make that process all but impossible without a break with the status quo.

It is theoretically possible that in the event of a “Brexit in name only” or no Brexit at all, policymakers will push ahead with what’s needed in order to make a reality of the slogan “a reformed Britain in a reformed Europe”. Possible but not all that plausible, given that it would require breaking up the euro, more autonomy for individual countries to intervene in the running of their economies, and a simultaneous philosophical U-turn in the big member states.

Much more likely is that the pressure for change will dissipate and the real grievances of those who voted for Brexit will be quietly forgotten. The softer the Brexit, the more convinced the EU will be that it has been doing the right thing all along. Britain will not go up in flames, but there will still be consequences. Leave voters will feel they have been victims of an establishment stitch-up. The anger will not go away and will eventually resurface.

The risk is that the losers will be the biggest supporters of the EU – the liberal left. And the biggest winners will be the extreme right.
UK  EU  Brexit  TheLeft  Lexit  Leave  finance  crisis  economy  productivity  ECB  Euro  reform  farRight  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=ElliottLarry 
4 weeks ago by petej
For the sake of working people, the left must back remain | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
If there is a second referendum, Labour will back remain. How it campaigns will matter as never before. Remain’s chances will rest squarely on winning back Labour leave voters – making a case both for staying in the EU and for upending the status quo at home. That means Tory remainers somehow agreeing to let Corbyn get some of his policies on the statute books. And the beached whales of the remain campaign – the likes of Tony Blair – will need to be cleared away.

It will also mean Labour squarely making the case for the EU being better for working people than Brexit. Without the EU’s working time directive, they could say, British workers wouldn’t have the legal right to paid holidays. Indeed, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson have reportedly plotted to repeal such rights as soon as Britain leaves. Equal pay for women, protection for agency workers: such basics have come from the EU, often despite resistance from the British government.

Some on the left will ask, but what about those EU state aid rules that get in the way of building a new economy? Yet research by two EU competition law experts found that of the 26 economic proposals in Labour’s 2017 manifesto, all but two would not require any state aid notification. And researchers concluded that Brussels would allow the other two to pass. Besides, under Labour’s current proposal for a customs union, the UK would still be subject to state-aid rules.

While I understand the sentiments of those who want a leftwing Brexit, many of their positions sound like flights of fantasy, by those who will never have to suffer the worst consequences. Against them, I’d weigh up the consequences that await low-paid migrant workers – and I know which side deserves the most support from the left.
UK  EU  Brexit  referendum  withdrawalAgreement  CorbynJeremy  LabourParty  constructiveAmbiguity  opposition  noDeal  ERG  NorwayPlus  BolesNick  MayTheresa  softBrexit  freedomOfMovement  PeoplesVote  farRight  RobinsonTommy  FarageNigel  Remain  Lexit  TheLeft  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya 
5 weeks ago by petej
How Thatcherism produced Corbynism - UnHerd
In Britain, as elsewhere, the Thatcherite project was self-undermining. While the country Thatcher brought into being was very different from the one she inherited, it was nothing like the country she intended to fashion. Insofar as it ever existed, her Britain was a country of dutiful middle-class families prudently saving for the future. But rather than consolidating and expanding this middle class, she consigned it to the memory hole. More individualist, post-Thatcher Britain is also less bourgeois.

Aside from their homes, few middle-class people have assets of any importance. Beyond the public sector, pensions are dependent on the vagaries of the market. Without job security, much of the middle class lives only months from penury. Incomes have increased for many, but so has debt. While distancing Labour from its past and turning it into an overwhelmingly middle-class party, Tony Blair continued the hollowing out of middle-class life that Thatcher began.

A type of capitalism emerged in which the practices that shaped bourgeois life as it had been known in the past – saving for the future, pursuing a lifelong career, self-sacrifice for the sake of family stability – became redundant or dysfunctional. Adapting to ceaseless change came to be regarded as the primary virtue. Accelerating and accentuating processes that globalisation was driving anyway, Thatcher created a society she could not have imagined.
UK  politics  academia  tenure  Thatcher  Thatcherism  JosephKeith  Keynesianism  state  welfare  employment  individualism  neoliberalism  precarity  insecurity  post-industrialism  middleClass  Corbynism  TheLeft  globalisation  Brexit  referendum  PeoplesVote  farRight  dctagged  dc:creator=GrayJohn 
6 weeks ago by petej
At the risk of being attacked from all sides, a few short words on Brexit and the Labour Party. One thing I can see is that, in general, *both* sides of the argument have their hearts in the right place. Both want something positive in left wing terms. 1/
At the risk of being attacked from all sides, a few short words on Brexit and the Labour Party. One thing I can see is that, in general, *both* sides of the argument have their hearts in the right place. Both want something positive in left wing terms. 1/
UK  EU  Brexit  Leave  Remain  TheLeft  LabourParty  austerity  immigration  freedomOfMovement  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=BernalPaul 
8 weeks ago by petej
Labour should prepare to fight neoliberalism within the EU – Lexit is not an option
But the British left has to stop dreaming about Lexit. One of the things we have genuinely learned from the process of trying to leave the EU is the extensive nature of its status as a regulatory superpower. Even a Britain ruled by the Socialist Workers Party and the Morning Star would find itself forced to comply with Commission directives. Paradoxically, a left exit from Europe is only possible if Europe itself goes left.

For two and a half years Labour has dutifully and painfully tried to make Brexit work. But parliament has been sidelined, time has run out, and the space for a Labour-designed version of Brexit has disappeared. If anybody has betrayed Brexit it is Theresa May. Once her deal is thrown out, the moral authority of the 2016 referendum evaporates. It’s then either no deal or no Brexit.

And if it’s no Brexit, watch the blood drain from the faces of European neoliberalism: I’ve been with Jeremy Corbyn as he’s hit both Brussels and the Hague with messages of uncompromising clarity: neoliberalism is over, austerity is a catastrophe. But to the stunned audience of centrist social democrats, Corbyn’s words always seemed like a message from afar. If we play this right, we can take it into the heart of Europe.
UK  EU  Brexit  withdrawalAgreement  LabourParty  Remain  reform  Maastricht  Germany  Italy  budget  Portugal  Greece  Spain  EC  neoliberalism  JunckerJean-Claude  freedomOfMovement  migration  exploitation  TheLeft  CorbynJeremy  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul 
10 weeks ago by petej
There is no left-wing case for Brexit: 21st century socialism requires transnational organization | British Politics and Policy at LSE
The left needs to turn resolutely to Europe. It needs to pluralise (and not reduce) the sites of political conflict. It needs to build a pan-European movement through transnational party lists, shared political manifestos, and common protest initiatives. It needs to mobilise migrant workers rather than alienate them even further. It needs to campaign, in a coordinated way, not for a liberal superstate with a common army but for a European socialist federation which renounces neo-imperial ambitions once and for all. It needs to advocate neither the abandonment nor the reform of the European Union but a review of the Lisbon treaty that dismantles neoliberalism and bureaucracy. It needs to campaign for non-territorial citizenship, European-wide public ownership, extensive popular control of the economy, a new digital common, direct democracy, a federal parliament with revocable public offices and a non-technocratic, accountable, administrative apparatus based on strong principles of subsidiarity.

This is neither “leave” nor “reform”: it is “transform”. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to how the project can become appealing to European citizens, given the current predicament. Matters of tactic and strategy will be different in different member states. This is why Remain and Leave mean very little without concrete ideas of how one can go from where we are to where we aspire to be. But these ideas need organizational structures and an international mass movement to be developed. Rushing to abandon the primitive forms of transnational coordination that the current European Union offers seems premature in the absence of realistic, alternative paths forward. Retreating to civic republican projects disconnected from the wider fight for transnational democracy will only strengthen capital, and the far right.

Socialism in the 20th century took a civic nationalist form. Socialism in the 21st century can only be transnational. This is a very demanding task. But it has one advantage. Unlike socialism and social democracy in one country, it has not already failed in the past.
UK  EU  Brexit  TheLeft  socialism  internationalism  transnationalism  nationalism  socialDemocracy  SchroederGerhard  BlairTony  politics  LabourParty 
12 weeks ago by petej
From Trump to Boris Johnson: how the wealthy tell us what ‘real folk’ want | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
With that conceded and, hopefully, addressed, the left is in a far more solid place to expose and challenge the disingenuousness, hypocrisy and inadequacy of the culture-warriors on three main counts. First, their prescriptions don’t work. Britain does not feel like a stronger, more confident place since it voted to leave the European Union, but more divided, lost and lonely than anyone can remember. It didn’t put the great back into Great Britain but the little into Little England. In short, it has proved an inadequate balm for the post-imperial melancholy so many were apparently experiencing. Denying Muslims and migrants their civil rights or women their reproductive rights doesn’t give other groups more rights. When terrorists kill fewer people than toddlers with guns and are more likely to be white and American than brown and foreign, the threat to your “way of life” is the way you are living it.

Second, there are far more powerful and plausible national stories we can tell, that are inclusive and optimistic and they occasionally break through. Obama’s first election, when a multiracial, multigenerational, economically diverse coalition came together to embrace a message of hope and change from a black American, was a case in point. It is always worth remembering that roughly one in eight of Trump’s voters backed Obama in 2012.

Similarly, in Britain, the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012 or the, albeit belated, revulsion at the treatment of the Windrush generation this year showed that there was a more inclusive story to be told about what really is great about this country.

Finally, all too often the rightwing cheerleaders for these “ordinary folk” are more embedded in the elites than those they attack can ever be. When George W Bush, who is teetotal, is the man you’d most like to have a drink with, an Old Etonian Bullingdon boy like Boris Johnson is able to get away with posing as a man of the people, and Trump can get the modern equivalent of $140m from his dad and still claim he is a self-made man, something is seriously wrong.

Or as George Clooney put it about Trump: “I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door to door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. The idea that I’m somehow the ‘Hollywood elite’ and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.”
USA  TrumpDonald  politics  populism  TheLeft  TheRight  elites  wealth  oligarchy  culture  nativism  immigration  multiculturalism  liberalism  paternalism  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
12 weeks ago by petej
Decline and Fall: What Next for May’s Deal? | Novara Media
The third option is a general election. Without the fixed-term Act passed to shore up the Cameron-Clegg coalition, such an election would already be underway; it is the natural remedy for political impasse. An election allows not only a conversation about Brexit in narrow technical terms, but to put to the country the profoundly differing visions of the future which now exist between the two major parties, including a throughgoing rejection of Conservative economics, a rebalancing of the country’s disgorged financial sector, and an end to the punitive austerity of the past Tory administrations. Such an election would be difficult for Labour: it would require the party to clarify its Brexit plans beyond the six tests, in explicit propositional terms, and require a future Labour government to push for renegotiation under an extended Article 50, in order to rectify the mess and incompetence of the Tory negotiating team. This seems the best strategy for the left in Labour: it will require those active in the party to demand their MPs refuse Tory fear-mongering and the siren call of Soubry’s national government.

As we enter what looks like the endgame of May’s ministry, the sights of the left ought to be focused on the possibility of a transformational, socialist government. Behind the political churn, deep questions lurk: what sovereignty looks like in a globalised world, how to rectify the decades of wreckage inflicted by successive governments on this country and its working class, how to adequately tackle the planetary death spiral capitalism has locked us into. Only the left can answer those questions – and it now must.
UK  EU  Brexit  withdrawalAgreement  MayTheresa  ToryParty  politics  DUP  customsUnion  NorthernIreland  Scotland  SNP  LabourParty  stateAid  Parliament  leadership  1922Committee  BarnierMichel  GNU  SoubryAnna  referendum  generalElection  TheLeft  dctagged  dc:creator=ButlerJames 
november 2018 by petej
There is a leftwing way to challenge big tech for our data. Here it is | Evgeny Morozov | Opinion | The Guardian
The city is a symbol of outward-looking cosmopolitanism – a potent answer to the homogeneity and insularity of the nation state. Today it is the only place where the idea of exerting meaningful democratic control over one’s life, however trivial the problem, is still viable.

From transport to food delivery, from accommodation to energy consumption, the city also figures prominently in how digital technologies penetrate our life. That the city is also the primary target of big tech is no accident: if these firms succeed in controlling its infrastructure, they need not worry about much else.

The true challenge for the data distributist left is, thus, to find a way to distribute power, not just data. It must mobilise the nation state to turn cities into the harbingers of a new, radical democracy keen on deploying socialised big data and artificial intelligence in the interests of citizens. Without such an emphasis on radical empowerment, the data distributism of the left will only be a boon to the loony far right.
Facebook  socialMedia  personalData  control  markets  ownership  democracy  cities  TheLeft  dctagged  dc:creator=MorozovEvgeny  dataExtractivism  decentralisation 
august 2018 by petej
Financial Globalisation Has Been a Disaster. Brexit Gives Us a Chance to Resist It | Novara Media
The left was right to campaign against leaving the EU in 2016. Based on the tenor of the campaign, it was clear the Leave campaign would embolden the xenophobes and nationalists that exist across the class spectrum in the UK. This prediction was proven chillingly correct with both the spike in hate crime that followed the referendum and the movement that has emerged around Tommy Robinson over the last few weeks. The left should deplore and, if necessary, physically resist such acts of violent racism.

But fighting fascism does not mean accepting globalisation. The fact is, working class people are right to be pissed off about global economic and financial integration – especially those in the places that have been most ravaged by it. Financial globalisation has led to the concentration of capital in a series of financial entrepots, more integrated into the global economy than they are with their own countries. Rather than using this capital for productive investment, these centres have repurposed it for the kind of financial wizardry that caused the 2008 crash. London is in many ways the global financial hub par excellence, with the City of London the vampire squid sucking on the face of the global economy.

The left should be making a case for Brexit that involves resisting financial globalisation, whilst welcoming immigrants from the parts of the world that have been most ravaged by both colonialism and free market neocolonialism.
finance  economics  politics  globalisation  financialisation  neoliberalism  anti-globalisation  IMF  WTO  protest  activism  StiglitzJoseph  KrugmanPaul  TheLeft  France  nationalisation  Greece  Italy  EU  Euro  singleMarket  UK  Brexit  referendum  campaigning  immigration  intervention  economy  dctagged  dc:creator=BlakeleyGrace 
june 2018 by petej
Delegitimising the British left – Owen Jones – Medium
There is a massive disconnect between where the media is and the political reality of the country. Rather than attempting to bridge that gap, the media is doubling down, and treating the left as barbarians at the gate who have to be kept out at all costs. So-called ‘centrist’ commentators who represent almost no substantial body of public opinion are back to treating the left with derision and contempt.
UK  politics  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  delegitimisation  media  smears  PutinVladimir  Assad  anti-Semitism  TheLeft  centrism  TheRight  socialMedia  dctagged  dc:creator=JonesOwen 
april 2018 by petej
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