Notes from the front of 24-10-16
Labour should push for vote before Article 50 is triggered – and oppose a general election
The most important issue in British politics is Brexit. Unless there is a major war with British involvement, then Brexit is also likely to be the most important issue for the foreseeable future. Everything else is subordinate to that.
Notes from the front of 21-10-16
There is no such thing as Lexit
Four months after the EU referendum the consequences of pursuing Brexit are starting to unfold, revealing the reality of its reactionary character. Despite negotiations between the Tory government and the EU-27 not having even started, Brexit's negative consequences are already being felt.
The following piece by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was published on his regular Léargas blog. He argues that the attack on human rights lawyers by the new Tory Prime Minister should be strongly resisted. They are indispensable in establishing in truth and protecting civil liberties. Nowhere is this more true than in Britain's former and current colonies where human rights lawyers have been murdered because they have sought to expose injustice and to defend those fighting it. As we know, the same British governments who trample over human rights overseas also severely curtail them in Britain too.
By Stephen Bell
On the 14 September, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) published its report, 'Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options'. Published immediately after David Cameron’s retirement from Parliament, the reception given to the report concentrated on his culpability for the political and economic collapse in Libya. But this convenient response ignored how deeply compromised the British government’s intervention actually is. That policy continues to evade parliamentary control; involves fighting on both sides of a civil war, and adds to the chaos facing the people of Libya.
The following article by John Ross, on why China’s economy is so successful, was previously published on the website China & the world economy.
My article ‘China’s socialist model outperforms capitalism’ established factually two key conclusions for global economic and social development. First, that the fastest growing economies since the putting forward in 1989 of the ‘Washington Consensus’ (excluding oil-production dominated economies or countries with populations under 5 million) were not those following this model advocated by the IMF/World Bank but instead those following or deeply influenced by the entirely different China ‘socialist development strategy’ – China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Second, that 85% of the reduction of the number of those living in poverty in the world were in socialist countries and merely 15% in capitalist ones.
Corbyn is overwhelmingly backed by Labour members – so can only be removed by a coup
Recent polling confirms that Jeremy Corbyn would be the choice of Labour Party members, by a large margin, if the Labour right challenged him in another contest. A decisive majority of members approve of his leadership and would vote to re-elect him, possibly with an even larger landslide than last year.
By Michael Burke
The governing coalition of Fine Gael and Labour suffered a humiliating rejection at the hands of Irish voters in the General Election and the anti-austerity forces advanced. This continued the pattern evident in both the Portuguese and Spanish elections in 2015. It may also set the stage for renewed elections to the Dáil in Dublin later this year as no party looks able to form a stable government.
Tories attack democratic rights
The Tory government is increasing its efforts to curb legitimate protests, aimed in particular at the movement in support of Palestinian rights and freedom. Last week the Tory government published a Procurement Policy Note which directs public contracting authorities not to utilise boycotts in procurement except where restrictions have been put in place by the UK government.
The Tory media and the Labour right will spend the next four months claiming that the most important question facing Britain and people within it is whether Britain stays in the EU or not. It is not. The most important question facing people in Britain is whether economic, social, and political policies are pursued which defend their living standards. This requires the rebuilding of social services, increases in wages, a state led investment programme focussed on green and other infrastructure, opposition to Britain’s wars, opposition to the forms of racism whipped up every day in the media and numerous other policies.
Mobilise for 19 March - challenge the racist offensive
There is a huge racist offensive taking place in Britain and in many other European countries. In Britain, the Tories, UKIP and the overwhelming majority of mainstream media including the BBC are determinedly pushing issues of race up the political agenda, having decisively stepped up this reactionary offensive immediately after Britain's May 2015 General Election.
In the centenary year of the Irish Rebellion in 1916, Socialist Action continues its series on the topic. Below is a short article by Lenin, 'The British Liberals and Ireland’, which first appeared in March 1914, that is before the outbreak of the First World War. It is reproduced in full from the invaluable Marxist Internet Archive and can be found here.
By Jude Woodward and Michael Burke
It is now a relatively short time before the May elections, which will be widely taken as the next key test of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party that can be foreseen in advance. It will not be possible to ‘cheat’ this. Therefore, in order to prepare, it is crucial to have a strictly objective assessment of what are the achievements since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, problems that must be faced, and the conclusions which follow.
Labour is now carrying out extremely effective campaigning against Tory policies – on tax credits, on the sweetheart Google taxation deal, in support of the junior doctors and pinning the responsibility for the crisis in the NHS squarely on the Tories. This excellent work needs to continue and be strengthened.
By Frances Davis and Ian Richardson
The much-anticipated General Election in the southern Irish state, called for 26 February, has brought into sharp focus two clear political alternatives – a continuation of right wing austerity politics or a break with it, in favour of a left wing alternative. The fact that the election is taking place in the centenary year of the 1916 Rising also gives an added significance – and one which is not just based on an historic poignancy. Most of the fundamental tasks of 1916 are yet to be accomplished.
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