Owen Jones is an anti-socialist traitor

Expel Owen Jones. #SoftCoup #JC4PM @OwenJones84 #Marr #TorySaboteur

WORKERS UNITED

Owen Jones has destroyed those microscopic shreds of credibility he had left. No longer should he be considered any part of the left. He should be treated like the traitor he is.

Nevertheless, it is crucial for socialists to be careful about how we expose this renegade. We need to be careful not because we hope to win him back; I’ve written him off, and so should you. Our problem is he is one of the key weapons in Tom Watson’s McCarthyite arsenal precisely because of his past reputation which was – IMHO – admirable, at least up to a point.

Socialists need to detach Owen Jones’s young, immature activist fans. And we can only do that by accepting he wasn’t always like this.

Everyone should watch the video Owen Jones made several years ago for the Daily Politics. I thought it was so good I uploaded it to @Youtube…

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Who are International Socialists for Corbyn?

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International Socialists for Corbyn is a phrase I’ve dreamt up in the last 24 hours. I have no intention of inflating the membership figures of my new group. Today it stands at a proud one. Me. I am speaking on my own behalf. Every democrat is responsible for their own rhetoric and action (and inaction), and no one else’s. No family member nor friend bears any blame for anything I get wrong. Having no membership of the International Socialists, no one has to be consulted by me before I offer a set of proposals those who think along similar lines. They are all free to dismiss everything I say as false from start to finish. But I suspect many will not.

Am I satisfied with having such an exclusive membership of my ‘group’? Yes and no. To be frank, I’m not too bothered at the moment. I haven’t joined Labour yet, but if I lived and worked in England I would at least have applied for membership. Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters in Scotland have a great deal of work to do before joining Labour as a block. He has more enthusiastic supporters in other parties, and of no party, than Corbynites who been allowed to organise within the ranks of Kezia Dugdale’s Scottish Labour. And I fear that may not change anytime soon. Strategy and tactics need to be debated in Scotland for many reasons:

  • we are tragically split at the moment into so many parties, all competing for a limited share of the vote, so badly split that even proportional representation can’t come to our salvation.
  • the almost inevitable second independence referendum, made more problematic by the splits on the left in Scotland as elsewhere over Brexit
  • the proportional representation escape ladder our English comrades have just lost due to the Brexit vote makes Scottish independence look increasingly attractive for many Scots, a cause of despair for many of our English socialist brothers and sisters.

However, while Scotland has a lot to think about, in England there is nothing to debate: join Labour, and do it immediately. If you don’t apply today, then keep debating the pros and cons with those asking you to join. Think things through by all means; but don’t take too long because a snap general election may be just around the corner. And if we get this wrong, even though we know Theresa May would only have won by default, we would have helped facilitate another five years of a Tory government claiming a mandate to push through the politics and economics of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, even though it could be elected with three quarters of the electorate or more not voting for it.

What if your request for Labour Party membership is rejected? In such circumstances, be in no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn will do whatever he can behind the scenes to secure justice for you. But it does take two to tango. If your request to join Labour is in the first instance turned down, for whatever reason, appeal. Insist that you are told in detail what you need to do to get such a decision reversed. Work with Labour members while you’re waiting to be allowed to join. If you throw in the towel so you can stand as a candidate against Labour, then you are allowing your heart to overrule your head, playing into the hands of Tom Watson and the rest of the Blairites; you would be making it possible for them to continue to keep you out and, thereby, bring forward the day they finally get to expel Jeremy Corbyn himself as well as all the members who have displayed such loyalty to him – that being the overwhelming majority of members of both the party and the trade unions.

When so-called ‘Trots’ do succeed in joining Labour, simultaneously joining Momentum is just as essential. But what if those who control it reject your right to join Momentum? Then Labour’s left can hardly be blamed for forming an alternative seriously left wing pole of attraction within the Labour party. But don’t seek this other than as a last resort.

Every left-wing group within Labour, as well as those on the outside, should be in no doubt that Theresa May and Amber Rudd will have implanted their Bob Lambert undercover cop agent provocateurs within your group: occupational hazard, I’m afraid. Caucusing in such circumstances is not the panacea some ‘entryists’ once supposed it to be. When off the record, letting-your-hair-down jokes are played back by Murdoch or BBC ‘journalists’, rank and file Labour members be manipulated. Taken out of context, so-called ‘Trots’ careless words can be damaging to all of us. What this means for practical purposes is that if ‘International Socialists’ are not made welcome inside Momentum, then we can expect them to attend ‘secret’ caucuses while paying lip service to whatever aims and values the new group draws up, while secretly just making notes, maybe recording every word, wired for sound – vision too, possibly.

Should ‘International Socialists’ set up rules to keep their critics at bay? Yes and no. Groups that bar us from their meetings can hardly complain if we reciprocate. What’s good for the goose, etc. Many so-called ‘Trots’ will be excluded from Momentum before too long unless their leading group stops conciliating the Soft Coup saboteurs over and over and over again. International Socialists inside Labour needs to be as all-embracing as they can be. At some point, we can look forward to ‘Trot’ groups dividing once more over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, given a push by Amber Rudd’s police spies fomenting paranoia, heresy-hunting at the drop of a hat… You can’t stop groups splitting, but serious socialists can always try to make the case against this.

I am hopeful that Chris Harman’s supporters will all join Labour in England before too long, as they did back in the 1950s and early 1960s. Elections matter. And splitting the vote under first-past-the-post is a luxury we simply can’t afford when Labour is a broad enough church to tolerate the real left, the internationalists and socialists, the ‘International Socialists’.

In this centenary of the Russian Revolution, there is nothing to be gained by turning our backs on the leaders of that revolution. Lenin and Trotsky were not an embarrassment to Marxists like Rosa Luxemburg. But in today’s circumstances, calling ourselves ‘Leninists’ or ‘Trotskyists’ invites questions we won’t be given enough time to address: who is responsible for disunity within the ranks of the exploited and oppressed? Point such people to Rosa Luxemburg’s unpublished booklet on the Russian Revolution, the concluding paragraphs.

The Russian Revolution was believed, correctly, by both Lenin and Trotsky to be a triggering event for an international socialist revolution based on the immanent alternatives globally of socialism on the one hand and barbarism, on the other. It was this stark reality, in combination with overwhelmingly powerful working class organisations built up over the previous generations by supporters of Marx and Engels and others for the purposes of expropriating the expropriators, that made splits during World War 1 both necessary and absolutely unavoidable. Today we face a somewhat different political landscape.

We Marxists now need to educate the overwhelming majority of the exploited and oppressed all over again about this exploitative and anarchic reality of capitalism, and of the gravedigger it keeps building for itself. We Marxists don’t need to grab spades to get the job done: capitalist politicians (including Blairites), as well as their agents within the mass media and state agents, keep doing that job for us, as do the surplus value vampires themselves.

What Marxists do need to do is bring the exploited and oppressed up to speed about their own history going back to the beginnings of capitalism and all exploitative system that preceded it: feudalism, slave societies being the most important. Teach the masses, but also learn from them too. We want a dialogue, not a noisy monologue. Let a thousand flowers bloom. In England, join the Labour Party immediately. And once we have access to the eyes and ears of all the party’s rank and file, expose the ballot-rigging McCarthyites.

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International Socialists for Corbyn

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I would like to make a suggestion for all the so-called ‘Trots’ that Tom Watson is so keen to witch hunt out of the Labour Party, and to those unable to weigh up the pros and cons of taking out Labour Party membership. We all know we need to defend Jeremy Corbyn as best we can. In England that definitely means we join (or at least try to join) Corbyn’s party. And we have to do this as fast as we possibly can.

For obvious reasons, there is intense pressure on Theresa May to get her snap election over with before she is caught for the vicious anti-democratic extremist that she is. This Prime Minister is a con artist who has transformed the Tory Party into UKIP, which is why Nigel Farage can’t stop praising her, and neither can Donald Trump.

The soft coup MPs are sabotaging Jeremy Corbyn every single day, not least by sounding ridiculous on all Andrew Neil’s three programmes – Daily Politics, Sunday Politics, and This Week -, painting themselves into a corner on basic economics, basic arithmetic, basic logic, basic ability to recall what they said in the past, including at the start of their own sentences. If they can’t explain how a Labour government would pay for any of its election promises, other than by borrowing on the never-never and praying for a miracle, then these people cannot contribute anything other than voter-repellant; utterly unelectable, and deliberately so.

These Labour MPs – frontbenchers and backbenchers alike – are making their party a laughing stock. These people are enemies of Jeremy Corbyn who don’t even try to hide it. They do so supremely confident that the unaccountable Tory editors of the BBC, SKY News, Channel4News and the rest will censor Corbyn’s voters from getting our entirely legitimate right of reply on the airwaves. The only way to stop that is to deprive them of their status as MPs elected as representatives of their party’s membership.

Contrary to the bilge of David Starkey on BBC’s This Week this week, Britain is very far from being a democratic nation state. Our broadcast and print media being owned and controlled by extremist fake news ultra rich parasites like Rupert Murdoch is one pillar of this horrible anti-democratic monstrosity; first-past-the-post, take-it-or-leave-it, Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, Hobson’s choice come elections has been another impediment to a genuine democracy, and Theresa May’s deployment of Special Branch undercover cop agent provocateurs – the likes of Bob Lambert and Freddie Scappaticci – is a third. There are plenty of others including quangos, unelected House of Lord, head of state, judiciary, generals, MI5, etc.

The PLP is almost 100% opposed to Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, and everybody knows it, which goes a long way to explaining why Corbyn’s own personal ratings are… shall we say problematic? There is next to nothing the party’s leader can do to protect himself because — let’s face facts, comrades— Jeremy Corbyn is being held hostage by the Parliamentary Labour Party: MPs know that if their elected leader sacks saboteur there is no one left on the back benches who are any better. 200 MPs are behaving like spoiled brats; they behave in a way that’s calculated to get them expelled. But if that happens, they’ll have their excuse to split the anti-Tory vote, and they will go on to blame the Labour Party leader for this. The way out is to deprive them of martyr status by letting the CLPs impose democracy, passing votes of no confidence in sitting MPs determined to humiliate their own leader and a membership of 500,000 24–7.

Socialists, in England, need to join Labour. But Jeremy Corbyn can’t guarantee everyone who requests membership will immediately be given it. Be in no doubt that Corbyn wants you in. Every last one of you. However, there does exist bitterness between socialists who have split each other’s vote. Those who have stood against Labour in the past need to address anxieties of the party’s rank and file as this bitterness will be exploited by Tom Watson and the overwhelming majority of the PLP. It is necessary to explain why this was done, and why there is no risk of it happening again. Olive branches need to be offered and accepted with good grace on both sides.

Rank and file members of the Labour Party will ask for reassurances that we are not threatening a ‘smash and grab’ operation. We’re in it for the long haul. We want unity. We know that Jeremy Corbyn wants that too. Trust has to be rebuilt, and we Marxists, International Socialists, Rosa Luxemburg’s supporters, look forward to playing our part in this.

The thirst for unity on the left is palpable. Marxists have to bend over backwards to prove we do respect those who disagree with us. We are joining Labour not simply to preach. We want to learn from the masses. We want the masses, the exploited and oppressed to join Labour en masse, and we’ll thrive in an atmosphere of democratic debate.

If our individual CLPs selects a candidate we are unhappy with, let the majority decide. Don’t under any circumstances openly support candidates standing against the official Labour candidate, not so long as CLPs get to decide who that candidate happen to be.
However, every socialist whose application to join Labour is rejected is awarded a get out of jail free card. No one can complain if he/she splits the vote. That is why socialists should not call for Blairites to be expelled just because we hate them. If most members are willing to tolerate them despite their behaviour, the left will have to accept that. Expulsions are what Blairites want. If they turn CLPs into disaster areas, then expulsions may become unavoidable. But be in no doubt that any Blairite who is expelled will stand candidates against Labour to help the Tories. They may even join the Tories, or UKIP, Lib Dems, Greens, or stand as independents, or become part of a new electoral coalition which could include maybe as many as 80% of today’s PLP, many Tories, including Michael Hesseltine, and all the Lib Dems, maybe even the Green Party. Socialists shouldn’t be afraid of Blairites splitting the vote. Good luck to them. They’ll need it.

Although socialists in England shouldn’t stand candidates against Labour, it’s pretty much inevitable that some will. We need to be patient with each other, relearn how to debate with our fellow lefties by resorting to facts, logic and respecting everyone else’s right to have their say and to be listened to. If we fail to persuade others, then, we must agree to differ with a parting handshake, happy to return to contentious issues at a later date, rather than to end meetings with, “You do realise that this means war, right?”

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Open Letter to Andrea McGall Part I

WORKERS UNITED

LETTER TO DOUGLAS ALEXANDER MAUREEN BEACOM

Dear Andrea McGall,

You are the Renfrewshire Council Housing Officer who hand delivered a letter for me today. It wasn’t in an envelope and I picked it up, about 6:45pm, it scared me. My electricity had been cut off before I went to bed and I hoped it would be a powercut and be okay when I got up again. Alas, I was still electricity-free. No access to the internet. No way to recharge the battery in my phone. No idea if I’d get the electricity back. I phoned my MP, Mhairi Black first. Just an answering machine?

After two attempts to leave a message on Mhairi’s answering machine (due to not knowing my telephone number without having to write it down and having no pen with which to write it down, plus an extremely dry throat which meant I had to get water before I could speak), I eventually…

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Noah Hawley’s #Legion and mental illness

[Before reading on, know that this article contains spoilers, so only read if you’ve already seen the pilot episode of #Legion]

What if anything does Legion tell us about mental illnessness? This program will be discussed by mental health professionals. But to the extent it is it’s likely most will condemn it for providing false hope to very damaged individuals that there is probably nothing wrong with them; and they are no less than victims of abusive psychiatrists and law enforcement officers doing their very best to help them from themselves.

Potentially this program could explore how all of us deal with ‘external reality’, the stuff that goes on outside our central nervous system and network of sense organs. Many of the most respected physicists now seriously consider weird hypotheses about our being trapped inside some Matrix-type virtual reality illusion; or the universe being a hologram projected onto a black hole – something like that.

Noah Hawley may explore some of these themes as the protagonist of Legion asks for constant reassurance that what he is experiencing is real. He knows that some of it isn’t, and finds it hard to know what, if anything, he can trust. Most of us get that feeling from time to time, because other people do have agendas and our own brain lies to us when we go to sleep at night.

One path Legion could go down is the one opened up by one of the most interesting episodes of Buffy: the one where she believes all her memories of being a vampire slayer might in fact be a delusion, and she’s been in a mental hospital for years – her sister Dawn never having existed, her mother very much alive, her parents are still together as a couple. Buffy’s psychiatrist and her parents tell her she can return to reality by killing her friends when she next falls back into her vampire slayer delusion. The final scene in that episode suggests that, in at least one parallel universe, this is exactly what we have been watching every week on Buffy: a crazy woman’s delusions who’s now fallen into a coma in a psychiatric hospital. Very sad.

Wouldn’t put it past Noah Hawley to explore this possibility in Legion – if the network allows him to do that. DC and Marvel comic book fans may not want the show to hedge its bets, but the critical community certainly wouldn’t mind.

Legion’s lack of touch with reality could be down, in part, to the drugs he was taking, and also the particular mutant powers that he’s got. But can any of this tell us anything about real mental illness in our homo sapiens universe, free of superheroes and villains with god like powers?

In the Guardian’s review, there was a misrepresentation of one key scene in Legion. I’m refering to the group therapy scene where Syd Barrett tells the group that the problem isn’t in the heads of those forced to attend this group. The problem, from her perspective, is with the man  on her right, and others like him with the legal power to label them mentally ill simply because they refuse to conform. David’s response is extremely interestingly. Sounds to me like this thought hadn’t occurred to him before. However, I think this is one of the real messages that viewers should take from this series. And to understand that message we need to look at the wonderful introduction to David Haller in the pilot episode.

The first few minutes truncate David Haller’s life from a smiling baby to an adult who tries to commit suicide. There is no dialogue. We are given a montage of David with many actors playing him at different points in his life played out to Happy Jack by The Who.

This introduction to David Haller injects into our souls an empathy overload. We’ve seen a baby grow up, being bullied throughout his life because he is a bit of a rebel, refuseing to conform, getting into trouble, and eventually decides to hang himself as no one cares.

Then we see David Haller in a mental hospital, discovering he’s been there for the last five years since trying to hang himself. Hearing him for the first time, we discover he is hilariously sarcastic, but everyone who doesn’t have an insanity label is tedious beyond belief, utterly devoid of a sense of humour.

David and his platonic female friend in the mental hospital are the only people we can relate to. Everyone in authority is an idiot. Boring. Humourless. Bullies. Liars. When we accept that this is the reality we are dealing with, then Syd Barrett’s comment about the problem being with mental health professional labelling non-conformists as fit for being locked up…. Well, I think this scene is key to at least part of what Noah Hawley wants viewers to think, and maybe do something about. And this happens to be one of the reasons the mental health professionals will not be in the least bit happy with Legion. It’s not the only reason I like it, but it’s definitely one of them. Fans of this program have a sense of humour. Those who locked David Haller up have none. If you don’t evangelize for Legion, then you are a boring as fuck bastard. Comprende?

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Garden of Eden Serpent:

WORKERS UNITED

You let me in
Secret cocoon
So you could touch
A big balloon

A bug-eyed snake
Rubber milkshake
That fell
Down well
Coming soon

BANG BANG BANG
My poor dead snake
Let’s shed a tear
Then have a wake
Let’s all hold hands
And sing this song
A blown-up serpent
Can’t be wrong…

BANG BANG BANG

[Posted on March 21, 2010, Tom Delargy]

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My attitude to Brexit is a work-in-progress

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“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?” John Maynard Keynes asked that question, and it’s an apt quote for me vis-a-vis Article 50.

It seems I have lost a significant battle on this front with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership team. I can’t deny I’m slightly disappointed. However, regardless of what I wish Labour’s leader had done in the past, there’s no going back. There is a new juggernaut in town that is rushing forward threatening to damage all of us. We need to play by the rules of this new game whether we like it or not.

Jeremy Corbyn justifies his attitutde towards Article 50 in a way that I reject, simply accepting the legitimacy of the EU referendum regardless of how undemocratically it was managed. However, is there any point my explaining in detail why he could have adopted a different attitude towards the Brexit vote, one that Diane Abbott and others could and should have accepted? Doubtful.

In the first place, there would be no way to prove if I was right. So I’d be fighting a meaningless battle. The left simply doesn’t have the luxury of wasting precious time on unprovable hypotheses.

Secondly, if I succeeded in persuading Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott that they had made a mistake, that couldn’t do much more than undermine their confidence. But I want to do the exact opposite. I want them to professionalize the Labour leadership by rejecting free vote jelly, imposing collective responsibility, uniting members and voters behind his leadership regardless of our individual differences. We need unity, not interminable navel gazing. So I’ll postpone a deep analysis of why the Brexit policy could have been different until we have time to indulge in academic exercises. Don’t hold your breath.

I now accept that Brexit has taken on a life of its own, and the best thing Labour can do is try to win an election based on what kind of Brexit is best for the British people.. And when I say British people, I’m not referring to the billionaire asset-strippers and money-launderers so beloved on Theresa May. I’m referring to the exploited and oppressed, who make up the overwhelming majority of voters. They are up for grabs, and Jeremy Corbyn can win a landslide victory by exposing the degraded Donald Trump hellhole that Theresa May and Paul Nuttall each have in store for us.

A Tax haven dystopia where corporation tax is slashed to next to nothing is what Jeremy Corbyn predicts lies in store for us if Theresa May isn’t challenged. He dismisses it as a race to the bottom, and he’s absolutely right. That’s Theresa May and Paul Nuttall’s Brexit Britain sees them both joining hands with the twenty first century Nazi Donald Trump. He demonizes hundreds of millions of Muslims. And that in turn gives the green light to KKK and Britain First arsonists to burn down Mosques, putting their molotov cocktails where Theresa May’s mouth is.

Race wars are coming to our streets of the USA and any country daft enough to tolerate Donald Trump’s hate speech. Such race riots will prove very fertile recruting ground for the likes of genocidal psychopaths like ISIS, a disease of a organization whose crucifictions and beheadings of Syrian Muslims is a matter of supreme indifference to Paul Nuttall and Theresa May. Britain doesn’t want to have anything to do with Donald Trump’s America, and we’re not gonna tolerate any of this shit in Britain neither.

Donald Trump’s government of billionaires plunders national assets and robs the poor of public medicine. And that’s the price Britain will pay for writing off taxation for the employers as public services like the NHS are sold to the highest bidder with the taxes on the poorest 99% rising to make up lost revenue from corporation tax cuts. Wages and conditions will plummet to turn Britain into a paradise for ultra-rich slave labour Tory ghouls.

Jeremy Corbyn can offer an alternative to all of this. But this requires amending Article 50 in such a way that makes it impossible for Theresa May to waste two years in meaningless ‘negotiations’, then to reject the take-it-or-leave-it deal to embrace her Plan B of Donald Trump’s NHS privatization and race-to-the-bottom Thatcherism.

Labour MPs incapable of uniting to get rid of this Tory government are in the wrong party. Their CLPs need to pass votes of no confidence as soon as possible. The sooner the better.

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