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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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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