I AM NOT AN ENTRYIST. I’M A FREE MAN/WOMAN!

I AM NOT A NUMBER IM A FREE MAN

Yesterday, I made the case for all Marxists, at least in England, joining Labour immediately: here. In that article, I recommended we refer to ourselves as ‘Marxists’, rather than a subdivision of this group, specifically ‘Leninist’ and ‘Trotskyist’. I promised I’d explain why we should drop the latter terms, and I will do that now. Prior to addressing that specifically, however, I want to tackle the question of ‘entryism’.

Marxists joining Labour should reject ‘entryism’ as a label for what we’re doing. That term is nothing more than an insult used by McCarthyite ballot riggers who successfully smeared Jeremy Corbyn, mass purging his supporters while stealing their money, and rigging the party’s annual conferences by purging delegates known to be supportive of Jeremy Corbyn. As consequence of this illegal behavior, they have rigged the National Executive Committee as well. They purge people without so much as resorting to even kangaroo courts, denying the accused natural justice. These ballot riggers deserve to be persued through the courts for their illegal activities.

Are Marxists ‘entryists’? No. Not so long as we join Labour with the intention of making it our home. ‘Entryism’ implies a strategy of splitting, a smash and grab operation. I’m not proposing that. Under first-past-the-post, you only split votes if you don’t care who is the beneficiary of your electoral successes, even if they’re only measured in terms of saving your deposit. But Marxists are far from being impartial in the struggle between Jeremy Corbyn on the one hand and, on the other, Theresa May or any other alternative Tory Party would-be prime minister.

Should Britain’s electoral system enable unstable coalitions to break up relatively painlessly, then voters could feel free to vote for who they like, rather than against who they dislike most. But we deal with reality as it exists today, not how it could turn out at some unspecified point in the future. Marxists don’t intend to enter, then leave the Labour Party. We want to make this broad church our home. Marxists are not bothered about sharing a broad church with non-Marxists. And that brings me to why I reject the term ‘Leninist’ and ‘Trotskyist’.

Neither Lenin nor Trosky advocated splitting the parties of the Second International until the betrayal of their leaders during World War One. Marxists today – certainly under first-past-the-post – can’t afford to split parties like Labour, not the Labour Party of today with Jeremy Corbyn as leader. This is the party that is once more giving the exploited and the oppressed hope of a better world. Voters and activists are investing their hopes in this party, and only deluded sectarians would not want a piece of the action.

Only sectarians fear having our ideas subject to critical scrutinty. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Go to CLPs to listen, as well as have your say, and be respectful to those who disagree, turning the other cheek if necessary. No one has a monopoly of wisdom, and Marxists need to develop strategy and tactics in line with what our brothers and sisters are prepared to do. The masses are moving, and Marxists need to march with them, not criticize from the sidelines.

Why should we not call ourselves Leninists or Trotskyists? Those terms are associated with hard splits from non-Marxists based on, among other things, whether or not there is a parliamentary road to socialism. This is simply not a credible option today, not so long as alternatives exist, and exist they do.

Lenin and Trotsky split parties based on existing consciousness and organization at their time. Today’s consciousness has been thrown back a century and more, and when most people have no idea what socialism means, whether it can or can’t be achieved through parliament is a meaningless abstraction.

Tony Blair’s notorious ripping up of Clause Four changed reality. From 1918 (directly inspired by the Russian Revolution) until the Blair’s theft of the Labour Party’s leadership, every Labour membership card committed its owner, including yuppie entryists like Tony Blair to the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. The justification for public ownership derived from Karl Marx’s labour theory of value: surplus value rests on the exploitation of ‘wage slaves’ – those with nothing to sell but their ability to work. Unpaid labour is effectively stolen by a tiny class of parasites who monopolise access to the means of production as a consequence of accidents of birth.

Today, employees feel their exploitation, including those employees involved in the gig economy, mislabelled as part of the self employed workforce. Nevertheless – thanks to the censorship of Marxist ideas by the five television networks: BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News, ITV, C5 – there is zero access to the categories in the mainstream media essential to put effective resistance to capitalist exploitation into practise.

With or without Marxists, today’s Labour Party members will rediscover the key to class struggle. Why should Marxists not accelerate this process by sharing our ideas with those who have been blinded by Tory censorship, sharing our ideas while simultaneously sharing all non-Marxists’ day-to-day struggles. And part of this sharing involves full participation inside the broad church of anti-Tories: Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

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Marxists and Jeremy Corbyn

DAVE NELLIST TUSC

Karl Marx said he wasn’t a Marxist, but I am. At any rate, I try to be. When Marx insisted he wasn’t a Marxist, he was of course joking. What he meant to say was that if many of those who claim him as their inspiration are ‘Marxist’, then he wants to disassociate himself from them as forcefully as possible because they clearly didn’t understand what he was arguing. Marx and Engels were satisfied with calling themselves ‘scientific socialists’ – as distinct from the pre-Marxist utopian variety — and that’s a good enough label for all of us, surely. But Marxist is also, imho, equally as good.

It is less well known that Lenin denied being a Leninist, with Trotsky doing the same vis-a-vis ‘Trotskyism’. Part of the explanation for all them rejecting labels based on their names is they shared Isaac Newton’s modest affirmation that they were indebted to great men and women of the past upon whose shoulders they stood, seeing further than contemporaries as a consequence of this. Having sunk deep roots into the past masters of their respective sciences, they had infinitely greater prospects of adding value to what was already known.

Marxists — or scientific socialists – in Britain today should drop the labels ‘Leninist’ and ‘Trotskyist’, even if some of us have been happy to use them in the recent past. Why we should do that is something I can and will defend. But that will take more time than I have right now, and time is of the essence. I will explore all the pros and cons of dropping the terms ‘Leninist’ and ‘Trotskyist’ — but not today. Whether others drop these labels or not, Marxists are what we are. And it is as ‘Marxists’ that we need to join the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn.

I restrict myself for the moment to the English political landscape rather than the United Kingdom as a whole, insisting that Scotland is – for a variety of reasons — a more complex problem. England on the other hand is an open and shut case: if you are a Marxist and you live in England, then you need to at least apply to join Labour immediately. And if your application to join is not initially accepted, you need to be patient. Work with Jeremy Corbyn and with the party’s rank and file. You’ll need their help to get you past today’s ballot-rigging McCarthyite gatekeepers, to climb on board Corbyn’s political juggernaut as soon as possible. We all need each other. Sectarians of every variety working to keep us apart suck bigtime.

By definition, Marxists fight for the unity of all the exploited and oppressed against our exploiters and oppressers. It goes without saying that we don’t always agree on what happens to be the correct strategy and tactics at any given point in time. Nevertheless, we’re more than willing to accept majority decisions. We can patiently let history judge who was and who was not right. Marxists who join Labour today won’t get our own way on everything, losing a great many votes. So what? We will make our case, democratically, debating with respect. We’ll campaign for the official Labour candidate whoever he/she happens to be, so long as they are the choice of the party’s local members, rather than some unaccountable Blairite parachuted into a constituency against the wishes of the membership.

Who is scared of Marxist participation in Labour? Blairites probably. Let them make their case. I doubt they’ll convince many rank and file members. The PLP is worried. They feel it in their bones that their days are numbered. Glastonbury, last week’s Durham Miners Gala and more besides suggests that Blairite MPs can only hold onto their jobs by abandoning their war against Jeremy Corbyn, a war that’s been waged 24–7 on the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News, ITV and C5. Can they accept what Labour members want? Or would they rather split because they are either unable, or unwilling, to do enough to secure the support of their CLPs?

Different individuals will opt for different solutions. The truth is that no matter how much Blairites detest Jeremy Corbyn, they‘re incapable of setting aside their own not inconsiderable differences. They disagree with each other to such an extent that building a coherent electoral organization outside the Labour Party is a non-starter. How do we know this? Just look at their incompetence since Corbyn got his name on the ballot paper first time round.

The three anti-Corbyn candidates who stood in 2015 expecting to maximise their chances by lending each other their second preference votes got absolutely nowhere. They bitterly undermined each other, thereby consolidating Jeremy Corbyn’s alternative vision, with Corbyn coming across as a defiantly unspinable straight talker who engaged his brain as well as having a moral compass to guide him.

One year later the anti-Corbyn PLP attempted to unite behind a single anti-Corbyn candidate, hoping this would solve the problems. No such luck. They only further divided themselves due to their ‘united’ candidate’s neverending screwups, one of which being his insane bid to defeat Corbyn by pretending he agreed with 90% of his politics, which everyone knew to be a lie. Misrepresenting himself as a Corbynite exposed the Blairite candidate as a hypocrite, simultaneously alienating the PLP who felt nauseated that they were expected to vote for — and call on others to vote for — an MP whose policies they rejected, and reject to this day. Everything Blairites have tried thus far has backfired. This disunity is deeply embedded within the PLP, and it’s not going away. And that matters — a lot.

For a variety of reasons, it would be pointless for Marxists to call for the purging of Blairites. Firstly, there is no need. They are out of touch with Labour’s members, those who they’d need to canvass for them on the ground in any general election. In any fair race, they’ll come last every time. Let them apply to become Labour candidates. They’ll lose, which is self evidentally why they fear reselection so much. When they lose, can we expect them to accept the official Labour Party candidate, or is it more likely they’d split to stand as an ‘independent’ or to stand as part of a new party? The latter, obviously. But that would go down badly with voters, so lots of lost deposits beckon.

Having said that, if individual Blairites want to make their peace with the members, we need to call their bluff. Let’s see what they’re made of. If they want to wipe the slate clean, give them a chance. Don’t back them all into a corner. Why help unite them when nothing else can do that?

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All English socialists should join Labour

DAVE NELLIST TUSC

I have tweeted about this, but want to set out my thinking in more depth than can be squeezed into even a long string of 140 character tweets.

I deliberately qualified this appeal to English socialists. I did that because – unlike Jeremy Corbyn and most of his supporters – I think a great deal more work needs to be done to develop a sensible political strategy for the left north of the border: Labour’s core vote and activists have been repelled for decades to such an extent here that they won’t be won back without taking into account the incredibly powerful left wing currents inside both The SNP and Greens, not to mention a handful of smaller left wing splits. All these parties, as well as Scottish Labour, could very well split over the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. And that means socialists north of the border need to play it by ear or our divisions could play into the hands of the Tories, which is surely the last thing any of us want.

When I call on English socialists joining as fast as possible, am I not preaching to the converted? Surely I don’t have to tell those masses at Glastonbury or the Durham Miners Gala that voting for Jeremy Corbyn isn’t enough: older comrades and young activists will be queuing up to become Labour Party members to help him push through his radical revolutionary vision. They obviously won’t be attracted by the Greens nor other parties on the left under present circumstances – not this side of a change in the electoral system. First-past-the-post is repulsive to democrats as it exploits the anxiety that by voting for the candidate we most want, we risk handing power to the candidate we least want. This is a disaster of an elecctoral system, and the sooner it goes the better for everyone.

If voters intend to join Labour regardless of what I argue, why am I wasting my time posting this to my blog? Here is why: I am making this appeal specifically to left wing Greens and to all the socialist organizations on the left that have contested elections since Tony Blair tore up Clause Four, with its historic commitment to public ownership in the means of production, distribution and exchange.

The most important socialist electoral machine in England at the moment remains TUSC. Time, imho, for them to disband their independent electoral operation to promote official Labour Party candidates. This should have happened before the last election, but better late than never.

While TUSC never managed to negotiate their membership of Labour prior to this year’s [first?] general election, they did have the sense not to split the vote which could only have helped the Tories had they had any success. This unilateral gesture will strengthen their hand in negotiating a speedy mass ‘entry’ of TUSC members into Labour, although refering to this as ‘entryism’ should be avoided as it implies a short term smash and grab operation. Tom Watson will imply that is what I propose, and nothing could be further from the truth.

It goes without saying that TUSC won’t be welcomed by all Labour politicians. But McCarthyite witch hunters have lost all authority. Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity with voters, with members, with activists, Glastonbury youth, Durham Miners Gala etc gives bitter Blairite splitters nothing to bargain with. Should they launch a second Chicken Coup with Yvette Cooper as their standard bearer, CLPs will have no option but to get rid of them. Blairite MPs are on probation. Alas, we can expect many to keep smearing Labour members until they provoke their own expulsion. We have to be clear that expulsion can’t be ruled out, but it must remain the very last of last resorts.

Blairite MPs are desperately trying to provoke their expulsion. They calculate that if they’re kicked out against their will, they can lumber the Labour Party with responsibility for any split in anti-Tory votes. By far, the better strategy is to give Blairite MPs the option of redeeming themselves. But if CLPs find Blairites endlessly bring their party into disrepute, we will see what they’re made of when they lose their right to stand for the Labour Party ever again. If they choose to split the vote [as most of these right-wing egotists no doubt will], they’ll face electoral humiliation, with most of them losing their deposits.

Rejecting the option of expelling Blairite MPs – other than in the most extreme circumstances – won’t be popular with many on the left. Nevertheless, it’s an absolutely necessary concession. Politicians value the passion and radicalism of youth, but as we mature we increasingly appreciate the need to think with our heads as well as our hearts. The left has to promote the benefits of unity of all the exploited and oppressed. If Blairite MPs won’t tolerate democracy, rebel at being reduced to nothing more than just one more rank and file Labour Party member, then that’s their problem. If they want to split to form yet another party of illegal war criminals, arms dealers and capitalist austerity privatisers, then good luck to them. They’ll need it.

Not purging all Jeremy Corbyn’s critics is key if we want to get all England’s socialists on board the Labour Party. All those who will join will disagree with Jeremy Corbyn about something from time to time. And they’ll all disagree with each other. They’ll even disagree with themselves as they are persuaded to change their minds. Others won’t agree with the majority decision, but will accept they were defeated in a fair vote, and not sabotage the majority decision.

There is nothing wrong with socialists disagreeing with each other. And Corbyn has nothing to fear from a mass influx of socialists who don’t agree with everything he, or others have argued in the past. Respectful debate has to be cherished, and TUSC members joining need to bend over backwards to establish their credentials in this respect. To the extent that caucusing takes place by enemies of Jeremy Corbyn – Progress, for instance -, TUSC should be free to hold their own. Nevertheless, it isn’t going to work due to every group infiltrating every other group with their own spies, and Special Branch and The SUN infiltrating all of them too. We should accept that as a fact of life. If we do, then we won’t ‘let our hair down’ to indulge in tasteless jokes as we know recordings will be broadcast on Panorama or Dispatches to ‘prove’ something that isn’t true.

TUSC needs to join Labour not just to ‘teach’ the massed ranks of the party, but to learn from them too. Labour is where the radical democrats of twenty first century Britain are coming together to debate how to improve society. And it’s where those who think they have answers need to be to participate on an equal basis. No one will be attracted by a noisy monologue from self appointed ‘scientific socialists’ who understand the iron laws of history. TUSC has to join Labour in order to listen. And to listen with respect. Even where they/we think we’re being disrespected, they/we need to turn the other cheek. TUSC will be provoked by those who were desperate to keep them out. At least some of those who will be trying to drag CLPs into screaming political sewers will be in the pay of Theresa May and Amber Rudd. They’ll include today’s generation of Bob Lambert type rapist police spies. Special Branch agent provocateurs must not be allowed to get away with dividing the left nor with tricking immature youths into daft, wholely counterproductive adventures that will land them behind bars.

If TUSC thinks there is any point maintaining an existance independent of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party when both the leader and the rank and file warmly hold out membership cards, then they need to set out their reasons for this. I don’t think they’ll find any good ones, but am willing to address any they propose. Over to you, comrades. Over to you.

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Jeremy Corbyn’s broad church

This is an interesting intervention from Paul Mason. The left needs to debate what is going on here.

Paul Mason concedes he’s not a Marxist, dodging the question of whether he used to be one. What is key though is that he defends the right of those of us who are proud to describe ourselves as such. All serious Marxists need to help Jeremy Corbyn as best we can. And the reality is we can’t really do that from outside his party, references to there being no parliamentary road to socialism being entirely besides the point. We need to join Labour, and we need to do that now.

Marxists joining Labour will be resisted by those represented by the Blairites at this Progress meeting. In reality, most of the PLP will try to keep most Marxists out. However, Labour’s rank and file, and the party’s voter base, is overwhelmingly supportive of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and as such will be sympathetic to all left-wingers joining.

Every socialist who is not a member will sooner or later be tempted to stand against the official Labour candidate. Under first-past-the-post, that’s a luxury none of us can afford. Blairites denying rights to Marxists will be directly responsible for any split in the anti-Tory vote that results from their McCarthyite witch hunts. This is one of several reasons why Jeremy Corbyn will be pushing at an open door when he backs all socialists being allowed to unite together into the one big party: the Labour Party.

Securing rapid membership of Labour on the basis of working class unity imposes a reciprocal attitude by us towards Jeremy Corbyn’s critics on the right – up to a point. In the above Youtube video, we witness mutual incomprehension as to what kind of unity is being advocated by the other side. Paul Mason appears to think he’s being clear, but he’s really not, and I suspect he knows it. His lack of clarity could damage the left unless we explore the limits of the broad charch that is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Progress claim they’re being made to feel like parriahs. The reality is most Labour members don’t have a good word to say about these Blairites. What Progress think they’re doing inside Labour is baffling. Paul says they can’t achieve their aims for at least a decade or two. But if your goal is to destroy Labour, why not spread like cancer and maybe accelerate the process? You’re bound to end up with a seat in the House of Lords if you follow that path, surely.

Progress don’t feel welcome, and they’re not. But they still have the Parliamentary Labour Party almost totally in their pocket. This is their base. Members can’t tolerate anti-Corbyn MPs damaging the party as they did so successfully via their virtual monopoly of access to the airwaves at all five terrestrial network news channels for the two years from Corbyn’s being placed on the ballot paper to Theresa May’s opportunistic snap general election. It took a mere month of Blairite MPs keeping their gobs shut for two years of sabotage to be undone by Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s activists. Members don’t trust today’s PLP. That is a problem they can’t easily solve.

For excellent reasons, the PLP is terrified of their respective CLPs and of the party’s voters. They realise they need to keep their heads down, for the time being at least. Most of them already accept this, some even pretending they’ve been converted into Jeremy Corbyn fans. Unfortunately, the fact that fifty MPs broke the whip at the very first opportunity, days after the general election – with four front benchers testing Jeremy Corbyn’s willingness to defend collective responsibility – proves how right we are to worry about today’s PLP.

Most Labour MPs accept they owe their jobs to Jeremy Corbyn; accept it in their heads if not publicly. Corbyn is the vote winner. The MPs on the other hand are, with very few exceptions, unpopular Blairites, repulsive to voters – those who are not such non entities that no one knows who they are.

CLPs will decide who is fit to be elected as Labour MPs, and at the moment few can doubt the more they sabotage the Prime Minister-in-waiting, the sooner they’ll be out on their ear.

Because most MPs can’t hide their contempt for Jeremy Corbyn, and for his voter base within the general population and the Labour Party, many are unlikely to even try to accept the new situation. Already I can see what this means: a new party is being born, incubated inside parliament, one which could within months leap into bed in a national government. Such a government would dedicate itself to destroy the Hard Brexit wing of the Tories, as well as Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. You have to be blind not to notice the preparations for some kind of coalition deal between Blairite MP and an extremely large section of Tories as well as all Liberal Democrats and possibly most (but not all) of the SNP’s MPs. The latter party could split between left and right if they propped up any Tory/Blairite coalition government. And the left wing of the SNP, should they split, should be won to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party as soon as possible.

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A Soulmate’s Coffin

Vampire from coffin crawls from earth
Bloodless. Lifeless. Second birth
A soul left. Hole. No more mirth
Soulmate of Orpheus hates their death
Kiss of life can’t restore breath

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I dream of where I do not live

There is a world I sometimes go

Where it is I do not know

I fall asleep and wake up there

Sometimes I fly. My buttocks bare

Chimeys, trains. I lick. I scream

I lick my brains inside my dream

Once upon Albert’s space-time

A treason multiverse didn’t rhyme

Square root of miners made no sense

Illogical Captain. Earthlings are dense

Now picket someone else’s fence

I disbelieve. Goodbye suspense.

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April fOOl’s up entire Month

April Fool’s Day. What’s the point?
Fake-news. Each day. Time out-of-joint
#Napowrimo. Inflates. Grows
Dark-energy. Ben-Okri knows
Sneeze and snooze and freeze your booze
Eye for eye. I win. You lose.

Thirty days and thirty nights
Fool mOOn comes sOOn.
Diamond-ring lights
Man and son and woman too.
Stick together. Superglue
Family with dog and cats.
Sister drives her brother bats
Haunted house. Dicks and twats.
Boring-old-farts. Puking brats

Baby born into this world.
Big bang. Helix. Sick. Slime. Hurled
Spinning pies with eyes are twirled.
Crow feet flies. A straight line curled
Once upon a primal wave
He or she will have to shave.
She may be Rene Descartes.
Thinks she’s not. Feels her heart
Knowing world bigger than her.
Tardis-head.  Funhouse-mirror

Reflections reflect things beyond.
Studies her-story. What spawned
What came before. What will survive
To be some particles that dive
Ruby’s surface tension. Splatt.
Red-ripples ring what had been flat
Things are what they are. That’s all
Cinderella? Hah! Snowball.
But in the past she could not crawl
Now a robot. Self-made doll
Sign away for heat melts wall
Laugh out loud sounds. I scream lol.

Lick a lolly. Make it grow
Do it fast. Do it slow
Stick your change into a slot
One-armed-bandit. Binary dot
She came on seesaw. Cot to cot
Her goal’s a soul that can’t be bought
A great soulmate who’s tall and hot
And children to teach to be kind
Watching pocket clocks unwind
Empathy. Faust’s pact unsigned
Rest in peace. Asleep. Deaf. Blind

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