There’s no parliamentary road to WHAT?

Marxists need to join Labour immediately. But there’s no point doing that unless we know exactly why we’re doing it and what our long term strategy is.

I have been trying to explain my thinking for some time, from long before the general election. But I need to narrow down my focus to TUSC comrades sufficiently to accelerate this process. There is no time to waste because, despite what today’s MSM consensus now is, Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies could still topple him – even if that is only by unconstitutional means – in other words effectively splitting the party, losing in the process almost everything apart from the overwhelming majority of the PLP.

Depriving Corbyn of most members of parliament long before the left is ready to deal with such a split is something we have to take into consideration so that we can head it off as best we can.

For such a parliamentary split to take place, the PLP would resort to pretexts such as Corbyn’s refusal to grovel to the CIA, NSA, MI6, GCHQ etc over Venezuela, for example. Alternatively, Theresa May and Amber Rudd could exploit corrupt undercover cops of the Bob Lambert and Freddie Scappaticci variety. The latter would, naturally, perjure their way to framing innocent Muslims as their brothers and sisters once framed innocent Irish Catholics during ‘the Troubles’.

Theresa May and Amber Rudd could provoke riots in the hope of giving cops – and quite possibly the army too – ample excuses to impose an extremely violent authoritarianism. Streets flowing with blood?

Streets flowing with blood? Who the hell wants that? Not me. TUSC needs to join Labour immediately in order to stop society descending into that, courtesy of the state provoking counterproductive violence. If we do see such violence, make no mistake that a key cause of it will be agent provocateurs posing as part of the left, doing that specifically to frame us.

The reality is riots and terrorism are the price society pays for the lack of collective radical alternatives for the victims of exploitation and oppression. Alternatives do exist, obviously. Unfortunately, the British Establishment pays (vastly overpays) Tory editors and so-called ‘journalists’ at the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News, ITV and C5 to keep the voters in the dark about these alternatives. And the Blairite PLP – amply assisted by so-called Labour Party ‘commentators’ – conspire with the profiteering parasites to keep voters in the dark.

The only way to get the left’s alternatives aired in the mass media is by deselecting unrepentant Tory entryists who refuse to tolerate the expressed wishes of their CLP’s. This censorship is insidious, and it works. But it is only able to work due to divisions of the left. Let’s cut out the cancer of sectarianism, comrades.

Marxists should join Labour openly. But there’s no point describing ourselves as ‘Leninists’ or ‘Trotskyists’ no matter how much we agree with a lot of their writings and what they did. ‘Leninism’ and ‘Trotskyism’ are terms associated with splits in, respectively, the Second and then the Third [Stalinised] Internationals. I propose that TUSC stops justifying splits from broad churches such as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. There are several reasons I reject such splits.

Firstly, Jeremy Corbyn wants to unite the left, and he has more than earned his right to get us all into his one big tent. Secondly, first-past-the-post imposes on socialists compromises of a specific sort. Should we secure a different electoral system, then splits may become justified once more. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Second, it takes two to tango. Socialists denied membership of Labour are thereby liberated to let voters decide who the real splitters are. Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t want a split. But he has yet to free Labour’s membership from the ballot-rigging McCarthyites who went to the bourgeois courts to try to stop Corbyn even being on the ballot paper. Any individual member of TUSC denied his/her absolute right to participate in the broad church is free to do their own thing. And Labour voters [and, in secret, members too] may decide that any split vote is the fault of Tom Watson etc. The ball is in the Blairites’ court, not ours.

Thirdly, Marxists can’t use the alleged impossibility of a parliamentary road to socialism as a pretext for splitting the political organizations of the working class. We can’t do that because we are dealing with a situation our heroes never faced. Lenin and Trotsky were fighting for the hearts and souls of a constituency that broadly knew what socialism was. The details weren’t all pinned down, but everybody knew that it related to the expropriation of the expropriators: abolition of private property in the means of production, distribution and exchange.

Since corrupt war criminal Tony Blair robbed Labour of that Clause Four principle printed on the party cards of every single party member, the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News, ITV, C5 has tippexed out the justification for it from the airwaves. Anyone digging up the past is demonised as a violent extremist for not bowing down before the purity of the surplus value vampires bleeding humanity dry in all four corners of the Earth.

Labour MPs no longer even feel a need to question the legitimacy of workers being endlessly exploited due to accidents of birth. This wretched state of affairs permeates the entire PLP, including most so-called Corbynite MPs. Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t yet tried to restore Labour’s 1918 commitment to the abolition of capitalist exploitation, but today’s members feel it in their bones. And TUSC needs to stand alongside these people, shaping debates at every level of the party on what to do about a tiny elite whose values corrupt democracy while legitimising the ripping up of health and safety measures responsible for the likes of Grenfell.

Marxist groups following an ‘entryist’ strategy won’t last five minutes. ‘Internal documents’ will be leaked by police spies. And ‘secret meetings’ will be taped and videoed with Jeremy Corbyn held responsible for conspiratorial work which he neither knew of nor approved. The days of excessive caucusing have long gone, comrades. GCHQ, MI5 and Special Branch has reduced the 57 varieties of Trotskyite alphabet soup to an unedible porridge. Time for the left to enthusiastically open up our meetings, and our minds. Let’s join Labour to learn as well as to teach. Let’s be generous in our praise of others, especially Jeremy Corbyn. Let’s shake hands, offer and accept olive branches when offered to us. Let’s have truces. Let’s unite against our common enemies: the capitalist exploiters and the most outrageous anti-democratic aspects of their state.

Can those of us who cast doubt in a parliamentary road to socialism coexist in a single party with those who are much more naive? In my opinion, we certainly can.

In the first place, until we are agreed what this socialism is that we are fighting for, it’s an academic question as to how we can get there. In the process of debating this question, we can tackle the question of self-defence, and we can debate how the capitalist state resorts to counterrevolutionary violence to stop the people imposing their rule by means of democracy. Remember Chile? Remember Margaret Thatcher’s chum General Pinochet? Remember what NATO is doing in Egypt today? Remember how MI5 told Tony Benn they’d assassinate him if he was elected Prime Minister? Why should we expect Tony Benn’s favourite MP – Jeremy Corbyn – to be given the kid glove treatment any more than Benn, or Salvador Allende got? Let Marxists debate these questions. And let’s do this concretely, not cut ourselves off from Labour members when they express no wish to be isolated from us.


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Why TUSC needs to join Labour


Dave Nellist and Jeremy Corbyn

Dave Nellist belongs in Labour. He knows that. So does Jeremy Corbyn. Why are we waiting?

Everybody knows that Dave Nellist has zero interest in leading TUSC into splitting the anti-Tory vote under any first-past-the-post elections when Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s leader. Corbyn has long been engaged in a mass recruitment of exactly the people who would once have happily cast a protest vote for TUSC, so there is no space for both parties, not today and – if the left has anything to do with it – not ever. The interests of Corbyn’s base and TUSC’s coincide. So, why exactly are we waiting?

TUSC did once have a powerful trade union affiliate – the RMT – and they support Jeremy Corbyn. All trade unions humiliated by corrupt war criminal Tony Blair are desperately trying to be part of the Labour Party family. There is no future for TUSC outside Labour, so long as there exists the unqualified right to join. Can the Blairites seize the latter proviso to keep the genuine left divided? Clearly, that is what general secretary Iain McNicol wants, but he is held in contempt by most members, so spineless he tried, unsuccessfully, to deny members their right to elect Corbyn the leader.

Keeping the real left divided is what most Labour MPs want. Their tragedy, alas, is that the members and Labour Party voters overwhelmingly want the left to unite.

A mere 6% of Labour voters cast a vote for the local candidate. On the contrary, the PLP know they owe their jobs to the attractive power of the party leader. Dislodge him they cannot. They wasted a full two years sabotaging Labour 24-7 – on television and radio – only keeping their heads down (mostly keeping their heads down) in the final month before the general election. That single month, unbelievably, was all Jeremy Corbyn needed to defuse the effects of this sabotage.

Jeremy Corbyn didn’t quite win. Nevertheless, within a mere month, he reduced Theresa May’s allegedly impregnable 20% opinion poll lead to practically nothing. This despite bias on an unprecedented scale from all five of the broadcaster networks. Tories have descended into civil war as a consequence of the loss of their majority when they’d prepared themselves for a landslide victory of maybe one hundred or more seats.  With no way out, stuck with a laughing stock Prime Minister who is in no doubt that she is detested by all her MPs but unable to dump her. They can’t dump their leader because all those who voted Tory did so to award her a personal mandate. Should Tory MPs now dump this most presidential of presidential Prime Ministers, they’d have little option but to call a second snap election. And that election would take place in the wake of an inevitably bloody leadership contests.

Tory MPs are now stuck with each other, blatantly briefing against each other, with hoards of their younger members warning the so-called big beasts wanting the top job that they’re unwilling to acccept any of them, which further explains why Theresa May has a base to hold her in office for several months yet: the younger MPs need time to raise their profile before the members get to vote on their next leader.

This so-called party of gorvernment is in meltdown. And it is in hock to a tiny reactionary party, one that doesn’t even accept Theresa May’s version of Brexit. Labour is set to draw ever more members, activists and voters. So, why are we waiting for TUSC to join Labour?

Is there any good reason for TUSC to boycott Labour? In my opinion, there are no good reasons, but I will address one or two of the bad ones.

Firstly, Jeremy Corbyn has few MPs he can rely on. Of the PLP, Dennis Skinner is the most loyal on the backbenches, with Diane Abbott his most trustworthy front bencher. Unfortunately, most of the so-called ‘Corbynite’ MPs are so in name only, most seemingly desperate to appease PLP colleagues who, alas, are overwhelmingly Blairite.

So-called Corbynite MPs seem to have already surrendered to Corbyn’s enemies and now merely desire to get their names on the ballot paper when Corbyn eventually retires. Alternatively, if they don’t expect to get the top job, they want at least to be part of the front bench when one of their colleagues takes over, relegating the Corbyn era to a footnote in the party’s history. So these Corbynites refuse to defend Corbyn as he deserves to be defended, by means of deselection if that’s the only alternative.

The reality is most of the PLP have no intention of becoming the servants of their members. They dismiss the membership as an unavoidable evil, irritating, good for nothing other than being wheeled out at the last minute to canvass for them come election time. Give us yer money and then shut the **** up. Such Blairites know their days are numbered and are barely disguising their bid to set up a new party within a party, with Chuka Umunna their current shop steward.

TUSC can’t call for a mass purge of the PLP because everything depends on the CLPs. Should members reach an accommodation with a sitting MP, then, like it or not, the left has to accept this. But by joining Labour, TUSC can participate in debates and MPs sabotaging Jeremy Corbyn will find it hard to get away with this. So, why are we waiting?

Since Jeremy Corbyn may be toppled before the PLP becomes more representative of members, would it not be better for TUSC to bide its time? Absolutely not. By standing on the sidelines, TUSC would contribute to the likelihood of the left losing its grip on Labour and a return to Blairism. TUSC would be blamed by voters if we lose this golden opportunity. TUSC’s ambitions should not be limited to picking up a few pieces after the Jeremy Corbyn experiment dies. No. TUSC needs to be a key player in this experiment.

What are the limits of Jeremy Corbyn’s experiment? Who knows. What I am proposing is Marxists joining Britain’s broad church of the left a mere three months before the hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution, the key lesson of which is – allegedly – is the indispensability of a democratic centralist vanguard party to get a socialist society. What I am proposing, therefore, seems to be a betrayal of ‘Leninism’ and ‘Trotskyism’. And, to be frank, I guess it is. However, neither of those Marxists proposed splitting the parties of the Second International until after the betrayal of international socialism by their leaders during the imperialist first world war. Lenin and Trotsky were as enthusiastic as was Rosa Luxemburg in dismissing those who defended such splits as ultra-leftist sectarians. It is for very similar reasons that I think it is ultra leftism to boycott Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

If Jeremy Corbyn manages to convince Labour’s members to allow all Marxists to join, then a split by Blairites may become inevitable. But that won’t be our fault, nor will it be his. We fight for the maximum unity of all the exploited and oppressed. If MPs prefer to climb into bed with Philip Hammond, Vince Cable, Alastair Campbell, George Osborne, William Hague and David Cameron, that’s their right. But I know how Labour voters will vote. And it won’t be for those openly discussing dumping democracy in the letters pages of the Financial Times or protecting agent provocateur police spy rapists and serial killers like Special Branch’s Bob Lambert and Freddie Scappaticci.

Is there a parliamentary road to socialism? To offer an unequivocal ‘NO!’ will probably be enough to stop Jeremy Corbyn getting Marxists past the McCarthyite gate keepers. But that’s not why I am prepared to hedge my bets on this one. Marx and Engels did think it was possible. You can’t answer this question in a 140 character tweet. Nor can you in five-minute interviews with a hostile, vastly overpaid Tory bully working to corrupt democracy for the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News, ITV or C5. Nor has this question even been much discussed by those who split from the second international to set up the third. Time to consider this question, and I don’t think TUSC should fear being put on the spot about this. Whatever this question is, it’s hardly a key question for today. It is one we can safely put on the backburner as Marxists and non-Marxists alike unite to elect Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, unite with our co-thinkers around the world, becoming the champions of the exploited and oppressed everywhere, fighting to turn swords into ploughshares, and helping the rich anti-democratic parasites of the world have their ill-gotten gains returned to their victims.


Workers of the world unite.

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Graham Stewart owes me an apology


BBC Scotland’s Graham Stewart owes me an apology, but I won’t be getting one if it’s up to him. I think it’s worthwhile addressing why I am blogging about this since any apology I do get will be insincere. Where do I begin?

For some time now, I’ve been calling on the left to be careful how we engage with mainstream media broadcasters on social media. Many of my fellow lefties dismiss every MSM employee as equally bad. Either that or they have a bee in their bonnet about one particular network: typically either the BBC or Rupert Murdoch’s SKY News for, allegedly, only employing right-wing clones. These are very crude and totally indefensible assertions.

It is true that there are few political broadcasters across all networks who do a good job. What qualifies as ‘doing a good job’ in this context? I would like to think we can agree on the basics. Either way, my detailed answer can be found in several of my blog posts: here, for example. But the fact that even today there are still some broadcasters worth watching/listening to means we should single them out for praise, as negative feedback won’t work in a vacuum. We should even give credit where it’s due when typically less good broadcasters pleasantly surprise us. Is there any point praising people for doing their job? Is that not what they get paid for? That is the ‘logic’ justifying the ultra-left sectarian dismissal of all the MSM/bourgeoise media. But it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, not if the left wants to win hegemony throughout society, rather than settle for being generations of angry spectators heckling pointlessly as we’re escorted off the stage of history.

Politics broadcasters who are fair deserve praise, as do those capable of making politics entertaining. Being on top of their brief, and capable of thinking on their feet during interviews is crucial for a broadcaster to be taken seriously. Most broadcasters on every channel fails on every ground, especially at the BBC. The handful who qualify as good broadcasters (and, controversially on the left, I’d include Andrew Neil on my personal list of exceptions to the rule) set an excellent example to colleagues, thereby piling up pressure on employers who have to respond to some extent to their audience, and the audiences of their competitors. But the latter depends entirely on how the left-wing part of the audience responds.

If fair journalism (of the kind we have come to expect from, say, Eddie Mair, Chris Mason, Faisal Islam, Samira Ahmed, Mark Mardell and others) is not rewarded with praise when justified, then it will be infinitely easier for right wing editors and proprietors to sack them, or to so rarely let them have access to the airwaves that it amounts to the same thing.

Unless good broadcasters elicit positive feedback on social media (and that is in our hands), their bosses will punish them as an implicit warning to colleagues: “Don’t you dare step out of line, or you too can expect similar treatment.”

Praising good journalism can do more than rein in Tory editors imposing straightjackets on decent journalists: when the good ones are warmly praised on social media, their less confident, or possibly merely careerist, colleagues may want a piece of the action. Few humans are entirely immune to negative feedback in any forum if that is all they ever receive. If broadcasters know how to stop the worst abuse they receive on Twitter, or get a better balance, possibly even earn plenty of praise, then why would they turn their back on that?

Good broadcasters are congenitally incapable (as are the bad ones) of being politically neutral. There’s no point demanding that as we can scour through histories and find enough ‘dirt’ to make everyone unfit to be a broadcaster either for being too left-wing or too right-wing while a student or whatever.

Every last one of us has an agenda, on big and small matters. We all have to deal with inhabiting a planet where others challenge the way we see things. What distinguishes the good from the bad broadcaster is their successful suppression of opinions, allowing others to have their say.

Many on the left dismiss the MSM because what they demand is blind obedience to whatever own particular hobby horse happens to be. And the left is not without divisions of our own. And we even, as individuals, change our minds. It is not in our interests to suppress other views. We are not helped by soft interviews. We can’t expect to get them. And soft interviews wouldn’t be any good for us even if we could get them.

The good interviewer isn’t distinguished from the bad by the former parroting our views. The left has to demand that we are allowed access to the media to make our case if a valid one, especially an already hugely popular one. When we do get interviews we can’t complain when our views are challenged, not if everyone faces similar treatment by the interviewer in question. And that is why I disagree with almost everyone on the left about Andrew Neil.

I disagree with him about a lot of things. But his general election interview of Theresa May was hardly designed to help her secure any kind of mandate. So, when he blocks people on Twitter for saying he was openly biased towards Theresa May in the General Election, I can’t blame him. Not just that interview sets him apart from almost every broadcaster at the BBC and across all five networks: in general, he doesn’t make things easier for Tory politicians. Our criticism of him should relate more to the absence of our voice on the telly. We, Jeremy Corbyn’s voters that is, are censored almost entirely out of the picture. We deserve a right to reply. The question is how we accelerate our visibility on the mainstream media.

And that brings me back to Graham Stewart. When he responded to my criticism of him on twitter, I was genuinely surprise: few broadcasters try to defend themselves. I hadn’t framed my tweets in a manner designed to open up dialogue, but if Comrade Stewart tried to address my concerns, then he could,  possibly, have earned a degree of respect. But his responses were poor, so I have even less respect for him than I already had. I wouldn’t have minded if he blocked me as that’s how MSM Tories tend to behave, dishing out abuse, but unwilling to stomache a taste of their own medicine. Having received feedback, I decided to engage with him to see where this got us.

Graham Stewart defended racial profiling. At any rate, that’s the only conclusion I could draw from his defence of treating a Muslim reading a book about Syria as a potential terrorist. Only racists can justify such racial profiling. Since Graham Stewart disagrees, I draw my own conclusion. I’m reading a book about Syria at the moment, and have read others in the past. Why would I be unlikely to face intimidation from the authorities if I was seen doing this on an plane? Possibly because I don’t fit the racial profile? There is nothing suspicious about reading books on Syria, regardless of clothing or skin colour, or the food you eat on a plane or anywhere else.

Listen to Graham Stewart’s apologetics for the scum who removed a Muslim woman’s human rights for daring to reading a book, and listen to his incredulity that she wanted an apology for. And then judge for yourself if you think he was even handed. If you side with him, then words fail me. Anyway, you can find this interview with Faizah Shaheen about twenty minutes into this program:

I don’t think Graham Stewart has a leg to stand on. He thinks Faizah was treated fairly, she doesn’t. But maybe I’m wrong. I don’t accept that, but others might. As Faizah explained there’s a link between official Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslims. By refusing to challenge establishment racism, Graham Stewart makes society a more dangerous place for vulnerable people, by helping the violent Islamophobes feel safe in their hate fueled fury. This is how I see things, and I don’t see why I should be insulted for making my opinion known on social media. Graham Stewart went on to tell me that I was alleging only my views should be aired on his show. This is him descending into the gutter, and he knows it.

On Twitter and a variety of blogs I’ve called for respectful debate, listening to those who disagree with us, defending those who voted both ways in Scotland’s independence referendum, both ways on the Brexit vote, and for voting several different ways in Holyrood and Westminster elections. I frequently praise good broadcasters at the BBC – and others networks -, cutting them slack when they either have a bad day or deploy devil’s advocacy or simply disagree with what we think, as is their right and inevitable from time to time.

No one who reads what I’ve written on Twitter, this blog or anywhere else could fall for Graham Stewart’s bizarre caricature of my criticism of him. If he wants to block me, I can’t stop him. Since I have zero respect for him, I’ll shed no tears if he blocks me, and it won’t do him much good.

Graham Stewart is an unapologetic clueless, reactionary who isn’t worth one penny of our license fee. Sack him and award Samira Ahmed a pay rise from the money saved.


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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


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


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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