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A Europe-wide “project hope” agenda – a central role for Jeremy Corbyn

Colin Hines is one of several readers who responded to a report in the Guardian. He wrote:

Your chilling, but hardly surprising, front-page revelation that one in four Europeans vote populist was long on excellent analysis, but lacked any solutions. Reversing this trend and its fallout, including Brexit, will require tackling the reasons for its rise:

  • widespread concerns about inadequately controlled migration
  • and the economic insecurity now rife among both the employed and unemployed.

Tackling the latter will require spelling out a “project hope” agenda which reverses austerity and instead invests in the rebuilding of Europe’s social infrastructure, while also funding a massive green infrastructure programme for transforming the energy, energy-saving and transport systems continent-wide.

Europeans should take inspiration from the US, where progressive new congresswomen and men are now pushing the Democrats into adopting just such aGreen New Deal”.

They realise that a “jobs in every part of the country” programme is central to defeating Trump.

Here, Jeremy Corbyn could play a central role by capitalising on the present parliamentary chaos and asserting that Labour supports a people’s vote, but with the “remain and reform” agenda for Europe, similar to that he “campaigned” for in the run up to the referendum.

Putting rebuilding local economies at the heart of such reform would gain support from leave-voting areas and could be a rallying call for those fighting rightwing populism across Europe. It could also have the domestic payoff of forming the core of Labour’s next and hopefully successful election manifesto, whenever required.

 

 

 

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Francesca Martinez: a word on the latest Corbyn ‘mural’ outrage

While we’re all debating whether Corbyn’s a spy or a Putin stooge, or an anti-semite, people are dying in NHS corridors, disabled people are starving to death, our public services are being cut, our assets are being privatised, our wages are being driven down, our environment is plundered and polluted, and wealth and power remain in the hands of the 1%.

Francesca writes:

This is, as always, about politics. If anyone needs convincing, please read about other socialist leaders around the world. They are routinely called commies, anti-semitic, insane etc. It is an age-old tactic.

Corbyn can’t be touched on policy so they have to manufacture shit-storms.
He is a life-long anti-racist campaigner with a thirty year record of standing against racism in all its forms.

He is one of only 8% of MPs to have signed the five UK parliamentary motions that condemned antisemitism.

No other MP has such a record of commitment to fighting racism and anti-semitism.

While we’re all debating whether Corbyn’s a spy or a Putin stooge, or an anti-semite, people are dying in NHS corridors, disabled people are starving to death, our public services are being cut, our assets are being privatised, our wages are being driven down, our environment is plundered and polluted, and wealth and power remain in the hands of the 1%.

Make no mistake, this is a war.

If Corbyn goes, we, the 99%, all lose.

 

We will never achieve a more equal, democratic, humane and peaceful society, if we allow the elite to destroy anyone who stands up against them.

 

 

 

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Another Europe is Possible

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Another Europe is Possible campaigned for a radical ‘in’ vote – building a community that is pro-EU even while it works towards building a stronger, reformed union that can bring about the radical social change our citizens need in the UK and across Europe. It sees Brexit as a crisis for Britain – an attack on rights and freedoms, and a potentially calamitous brake on our prosperity. But too often this debate is conducted in a language of fear.

That’s why it has released a new campaign of hope set out in a new report – The Corbyn moment and European socialism.

It was written by Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance at the London School of Economics, Luke Cooper, Senior Lecturer in International Politics at Anglia Ruskin University, John Palmer, former European Editor of the Guardian newspaper and Political Director of the European Policy Centre and Niccolo Milanese, Director of European Alternatives.

It takes a fresh look at the critical role that a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government could play in transforming Europe’s politics, working from within the EU. You can read it in full here, and order paper copies by emailing info@anothereurope.org

The report makes the case that institutions such as the EU are essential to pushing forward radical and progressive change. A Corbyn-led Labour government could be instrumental to: 

* Taxing multinationals, including harmonising corporation tax rules and clamping down on tax avoidance.

* Regulating banks, including with a new financial transaction tax

* Protecting migrant workers’ rights and strengthening trade unions

* Digital Rights, where Labour has already played a leading role in the global debate

* Climate change, using its weight shift EU institutions and overcome big business lobbies

* Addressing global conflicts, prioritising the security of people, rather than the interests of states, on a humanitarian basis

* Ending fortress Europe, by radically altering the discourse, opening up legal routes for entry, and treating the refugee crisis as a humanitarian issue, not a security one

* Reforming the Eurozone, by playing a supportive role and example for progressive anti-austerity parties inside it

The message ends: Jeremy Corbyn has transformed British politics – and if you think he’s good for Britain, he’d be even better news for the EU, if we stay in it.

See this inspiring video with an interesting reference to Portugal, said to be flourishing under a government which has rejected austerity and used taxes to invest.

 

 

 

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Lancashire Evening Post reports Corbyn’s major speech on public ownership and the economy

October: in a major speech on public ownership and the economywhich may be read in full here – Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn singled out Preston Council.

Preston’s skyline, by Carl Ji, a Chinese student, at the University of Central Lancashire

Relevant extracts from the speech:

The Tories have devolved austerity to local councils and, perversely, areas with higher levels of poverty have been hit hardest. Councils have on average faced 40 per cent cuts in their budgets. But in the face of this adversity councils such as Preston have responded with inspiring innovation.

They brought together major local employers in their community, what academics call the anchor institutions, and Preston Council worked with them to drive through a local programme of economic transformation.

By changing their procurement policies, these anchor institutions were able to drive up spending locally protecting businesses and jobs.

And they’re looking at the council’s own pension fund to see where investment can support local businesses keeping the money circulating in their town.

Alice Thomson of the Times writes, “Jeremy Corbyn in a recent speech hailed Preston for showing the way to a new post-Brexit Jerusalem” but ends “A move by Preston council to employ more of the talent in its area deserves to be copied, but not by Jeremy Corbyn . . . “

More from her article will be quoted next week on the LWM blog.

 

 

 

 

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FT: Corbyn’s ‘rapturous reception’ in Brussels


Today the FT reports that Jeremy Corbyn was given a ‘rapturous reception’ in Brussels on Thursday, as he warned that leaving the EU without a Brexit deal would be “catastrophic” for the UK economy. Mr Corbyn met Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator (above), the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the prime ministers of Portugal, Italy and Sweden on Thursday in Brussels.

Mr Corbyn received a standing ovation from Europe’s centre-left parties as he addressed delegates at the Europe Together conference, just hours before prime minister Theresa May was scheduled to meet her EU counterparts at a European leaders’ summit. He said:

“We’re here to make sure that negotiations get on track, that we defend jobs in Britain, and that we make sure there is trade access to Europe in the future . . . We cannot countenance the idea that we rush headlong into a no deal with Europe. No deal would be very dangerous for employment and jobs in Britain. We are clear in our priorities: a jobs-first Brexit which maintains free access to the single market.”

He advocated “radical alternatives” for Europeans after years of austerity, rising job insecurity and falling living standards.  “The neoliberal economic model is broken. It doesn’t work for most people,” he said, adding: “Our broken system has provided fertile ground for the growth of nationalist and xenophobic politics.”

The FT ends: “Mr Corbyn’s enthusiastic reception was in stark contrast to Mrs May’s arrival in Brussels on Thursday. The UK prime minister was rebuffed from attending a meeting of Britain’s traditional European allies — including the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic countries — on the sidelines of the summit, though Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, was invited to that meeting.”

 

 

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Corbynomics 3: “Someone had to come out fighting and that someone was Jeremy Corbyn”

An overlooked draft – still well worth belatedly putting on record. 

Taking up the theme covered by Professor Prem Sikka, William Keegan once wrote in the Guardian: “Someone had to come out fighting, and that someone was Jeremy Corbyn . . . Until Corbyn came along, Labour was like a rabbit in the headlights on the subject of austerity”.

w-keeganWilliam Keegan, who worked in the Bank of England Economics Intelligence Department, as assistant to the Bank’s Governor, then Economics Editor of The Observer and is now their Senior Economics Commentator, continued: 

“Students of the cynical, shifty but politically adept George Osborne know that his approach has been to acquiesce, in opposition, in what the Labour government did, then to try to move the so-called “centre ground” to the right when he himself arrived in government.

“The northern powerhouse and manifesto promises about electrification? Forget it! The casual way in which he reneged within days on the Conservative manifesto “commitment” to impose a ceiling on old people’s bills in care homes was outrageous. The attack on the poor in his budget – on which the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies provided chapter and verse – was so brazen that someone had to come out fighting, and that someone was Jeremy Corbyn”. 

In August 2015, David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, and fortyone economists, made public their support for Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, dismissing claims that they are extreme:

“The accusation is widely made that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have moved to the extreme left on economic policy. But this is not supported by the candidate’s statements or policies. His opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF. He aims to boost growth and prosperity.”

Keegan continues: “[T]he idea (is) that austerity is required in order not to cheat future generations. The truth is that it is cutting back on public sector investment, which can be financed at negligible interest rates, that actually penalises future generations.

Corbyn had written: “Parliament can feel like living in a time warp at the best of times, but this government is not just replaying 2010, but taking us back to 1979: ideologically committed to rolling back the state, attacking workers’ rights and trade union protection, selling off public assets, and extending the sell off to social housing. This agenda militates against everything the Chancellor says he wants to achieve. If you want to revive manufacturing and rebalance the economy, you need a strategic state leading the way.”

John McDonnell MP, shadow chancellor, said that privatisation had been “a confidence trick”. He said: “Privatisation over the last four decades has been a history of the British people being robbed and the spivs snatching up the public assets being given the licence to print money. From the earliest privatisations of water, energy and rail to the PFI schemes from the last decade, it has been one long confidence trick. Under a Corbyn Labour government this shameful era of governments and ministers colluding in the picking of the taxpayers’ pockets will be brought to an abrupt end. 

“Let’s also make it absolutely clear to any speculators in the City looking to make a fast buck at the taxpayers’ expense that if any of these assets are sold by Osborne under their value, a future Corbyn-led Labour government will reserve the right to bring them back into public ownership with either no compensation or with any undervaluation deducted from any compensation for renationalisation.”

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn: Peter Burgess tells the truth and pulls no punches

jeremy-corbyn-2Much of the media is taking its usual stance referring to Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘handlers’ as though he were a pit bull terrier. The Times has determined that ‘a bid to relaunch his leadership’ has been ‘derailed’ and Jim Pickard in the FT, author of many articles depreciating Mr Corbyn, focusses on pay caps but not pay ratios.

It is good to turn to sane and rightminded commentators such as Peter Burgess (Times comments) and Maisie Carter (recent article). Peter spells out the Corbyn message with absolute clarity and rather more bluntly than JC:

  • It is very clear he wants top execs pay to reflect that of the lowest paid worker for them to earn more and not rely on tax payers to boost their salaries and for the top execs to earn a decent salary but nor one that is obscene (sadly so many Tories want to see the poor get poorer and the rich richer).
  • He also wants to ensure that we continue to bring in workers when needed but ensure they don’t depress wages for British workers.
  • Of course those at the top getting obscene salaries want to disgrace Corbyn because the last thing they want is for their salaries to fall under £500,000 a year.
  • There’s big and there’s obscene especially when they are telling others to tighten their belts, can’t afford to pay you more then handing themselves 7 and 8 figure salaries and bonuses.
  • What shows double standards are all those commenting on here who think salaries of over £100,000 a year are too much if somebody is running the NHS, a local authority or running a Union.
  • I do find it difficult to understand how anybody can find the policies which have allowed so many workers to have their wages and working conditions deteriorate whilst CEO’s are paying themselves up to 700x the salary of their employees as being fair and something they’d support.
  • I would add that labour to their shame played an important part in allowing these obscene differentials since Maggie was in office. Some of them thought £500,000 a year for them and their friends was not enough.
  • Yes Corbyn needs to keep shaming all those, including some labour MP’s who’ve happily supported the policy of “austerity” that have hit the poorest whilst allowing the richest to continue to get richer.
  • I’d support a return to the differentials back in the days of Maggie. Top execs back then were hardly struggling. 20x / 30x acceptable 700x isn’t!

Endnote: Maisie Carter’s appeal

“Unite around Jeremy Corbyn’s ten point programme, which proposes the building of one million homes in five years, a free national education service, a secure, publicly provided NHS, with an end to health privatisation, full employment, an end to zero hours contracts, security at work, action to secure an equal society, a progressive tax system, shrink the gap between highest and lowest paid; aim to put conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy.  On the last point, as the wars waged or aided by the West are the cause of mass immigration, we must step up foreign aid and instead of spending £37bn a year on foreign wars as our government does, invest in helping to rebuild these war torn countries”.

Read Maisie’s article in full here.

 

 

 

Highlights from an article by the General Secretary of the TSSA (transport and travel industries union)

Manuel Cortes: The leadership contest shows how Jeremy has already won the debate in the party and the country

A summary of Cortesarticle:

manuel cortesJeremy has seized the moment with his opposition to austerity and economic policies such as privatisation, deregulation and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy which have seen inequality rise to Victorian levels. This masterstroke delivered him a resounding victory.

Across Europe, anti-establishment politics of both left and right varieties are growing. Social Democratic hegemony among the working classes is broken and its standard bearers within the Party of European Socialists (PES) are in varying degrees of crisis having failed to engineer an alternative to neoliberalism.

Ordinary people, bruised and bloodied by an economic crisis that wasn’t of their making are demanding that politicians develop new narratives which put them back at the heart of politics and policy making.

PASOK in Greece and Labour’s catastrophic collapse in Scotland indicated the real danger of simply continuing with politics as usual but last year, our party’s elite didn’t go beyond the old sound bites – never mind provide the boldness required to face the challenges of our time and prevent our party from suffering the fate of the dinosaurs.

This leadership contest is being fought completely on Jeremy’s political terrain

  • Austerity is now acclaimed as a political evil choice not an economic necessity.
  • Labour is now committed to bringing our railways back into public ownership.
  • And, across our party, we are now committed to scrapping anti-union laws, redistributing wealth, increasing taxes on the rich and corporations
  • and building a new economy which works for the 99%.

jc your choice

Jeremy has transformed our Party and shifted the entire centre of our country’s political gravity to the left and he hasn’t even been in post for a year! Not a small feat for someone criticised for his so-called inability to lead.

Jeremy’s leadership rival may now portray himself as a candidate liberated by socialist values but in reality he is hell-bent on becoming the jailer of Labour’s new found freedom.

Team Smith’s problem is that, at best, they appear either opportunistic or insincere. It is Jeremy who is once again making the political weather this summer. It’s why the crowds turning out to see him are even bigger than last year. He is not just growing our Party. He is growing our movement and most importantly, he is activating our grassroots.

Jeremy will win big again this summer and we should all get behind him and play our part building the pro-prosperity movement that will see us gain the keys to 10 Downing Street!

 

 

 

Culled from ‘Anatomy of a Failed Coup in the UK Labour Party’

TeleSUR has published an article by Richard Seymour, a London-based author and broadcaster, which focusses on a plan ‘to orchestrate such media saturation of criticism and condemnation aimed at Corbyn, to create such havoc within the Labour Party, that he would feel compelled to resign’. Seymour continues:

“The tactical side of it was executed to smooth perfection, by people who are well-versed in the manipulation of the spectacle. And yet, in the event that Corbyn was not wowed by the media spectacle, not intimidated by ranks of grandees laying into him, and happy to appeal over the heads of party elites to the grassroots, their strategy disintegrated. This was not politics as they knew it”.

He explains the failure of the plan in context:

“(M)ore and more of the state’s functions were taken out of democratic control and handed over to quangos, businesses, and unelected bodies. Millions of people, no longer seeing much real choice on offer, began to boycott the electoral system. Party elites retreated into the state and into the manipulation of news cycles, having less and less to do with mass politics.

“In the context of the Labour Party, the result of this was that a generation of political leaders emerged who were experienced as special advisers, think-tankers, policy wonks and spin doctors, but had little real understanding of how to motivate activists and communicate with the broad public.

“In government, they were all too often advocates of state policy against their own popular base—tendency peaking with the Iraq war. And after years of having been embedded in the failed New Labour experiment, they were badly discredited among Labour members and among young people radicalizing in response to post-credit crunch austerity.

 JC Newcastle 2015

“Corbyn emerged in 2015 as the only leadership candidate who still understood how Labour politics was done, while also having a sense of how to fuse these methods with social media communications. And so it has proved again. The coup plotters knew all about how to manipulate old media, but they were at a loss when Corbyn stood firm, ignited his base, and thousands hit the streets in his defense, from London to Hull.

“What a strange time in British politics. The outcome of the attempted overthrow of Jeremy Corbyn is thus a hugely improbable and unexpected strengthening of the Left. Since the EU referendum result, 200,000 people have joined the Labour Party, the great majority of them supporting Jeremy Corbyn. Total membership is now approximately 600,000. The shadow Cabinet has become more left wing, more multiracial, and more female. Corbyn’s own standing, having withstood the extraordinary barrage of attacks and even some friendly fire, has emerged greatly strengthened. The coup plotters, weak and disorganized by their own miscalculations, disgraced by their links to and affinity with a discredited past, are an undignified mess”.

Richard Seymour is the author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics. He has a PhD from the London School of Economics, and is online editor of Salvage.

See also a review of Seymour’s book by Tom Mills: https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/review-corbyn-strange-rebirth-radical-politics/

Read the article here: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Anatomy-of-a-Failed-Coup-in-the-UK-Labour-Party-20160707-0009.html. Our thanks to Felicity Arbuthnot for the link.

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn: a convincing case for ‘Remain – and Reform’ in Europe

In February Jeremy Corbyn quoted Einstein: “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes & shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas & shoddy philosophies.”

Highlights of his latest address in the EU referendum campaign follow:

corbyn2 eu rally

EU membership has guaranteed working people vital employment rights, including four weeks’ paid holiday, maternity and paternity leave, limits to working hours, protections for agency workers and health and safety in the workplace. Being in the EU has raised Britain’s environmental standards, from beaches to air quality, and protected consumers from rip-off charges.

In the coming century, we face huge challenges, as a people, as a continent and as a global community, serious and pressing issues which self-evidently require international co-operation:

  • how to deal with climate change,
  • how to address the overweening power of global corporations and ensure they pay fair taxes,
  • how to tackle cyber-crime and terrorism,
  • how to ensure we trade fairly and protect jobs and pay in an era of globalisation,
  • how to address the causes of the huge refugee movements across the world and
  • how we adapt to a world where people everywhere move more frequently to live, work and retire.

We need to make the case for reform in Europe – democratic reform to make the EU more accountable to its people

Mr Corbyn is critical of its shortcomings, from its lack of democratic accountability to the institutional pressure to deregulate or privatise public services. Europe needs to change, but that change can only come from working with allies in the EU. Changes include:

  • economic reform to end to self-defeating austerity, putting jobs and sustainable growth at the centre of European policy,
  • labour market reform to strengthen and extend workers’ rights in a real social Europe and
  • new rights for governments and elected authorities to support public enterprise and halt the pressure to privatise services.

The crisis in the steel industry

A global problem and a challenge to many European governments, the European Union – 28 countries and 520 million people – could have made us stronger, by defending our steel industries together. The European Commission did propose new tariffs on Chinese steel, but it was the UK Government that blocked these co-ordinated efforts to stop Chinese steel dumping. Germany, Italy, France and Spain have done much better at protecting their steel industries, because they acted within EU state aid rules to support their industries; whether through taking a public stake, investing in research and development, providing loan guarantees or compensating for energy costs.The jobs created under the Conservative Government are too often low skill, low pay and insecure jobs. If we harnessed Europe’s potential we could defend high skill jobs in the steel industry and in others. 

The Conservatives are committed to protecting the tax avoidance industry

The Prime Minister in 2013 personally intervened with the European Commission President to undermine an EU drive to reveal the beneficiaries of offshore trusts, and even now, in the wake of the Panama Papers, he still won’t act. On six different occasions since the beginning of last year Conservative MEPs have voted down attempts to take action against tax dodging. On Tuesday, the EU announced a step forward on country-by-country reporting. We believe we can go further. But even this modest measure was opposed by Conservative MEPs last December.

Labour has allies across Europe prepared to take on this global network of the corrupt and we will work with them to clamp down on those determined to suck wealth out of our economies and the pockets of our people.

Some argue that we need to leave the EU because the single market’s rules are driving deregulation and privatisation. They certainly need reform. But it was not the EU that privatised our railways. It was the Conservative Government of John Major and many of our rail routes are now run by other European nations’ publicly owned rail companies. They haven’t made the mistake of asset stripping their own countries.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is also a huge cause for concern, but we defeated a similar proposal before in Europe, together when it was called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, back in 1998. Labour MEPs are rightly opposing the Investor-State Dispute Mechanism opposing any attempt to enforce privatisation on our public services, to reduce consumer rights, workplace protections or environmental standards.

Working together in the European Union is vital for tackling climate change and vital in protecting the environment we share 

Climate change is the greatest threat that humanity faces this century. And Britain cannot tackle it alone. We could have the best policies possible but unless we act together internationally, it is worthless. Labour brought in the Climate Change Act, John Prescott played a key role in getting the Kyoto Protocols agreed. Labour has led the debate within Europe.

Regulations agreed in Europe have improved Britain’s beaches and waterways and are forcing us to tackle the scandal of air pollution which will kill 500,000 people in Britain by 2025, unless we act.

Jobs and migration

We live in an increasingly globalised world. Many of us will study, work or even retire abroad at some point in our lives. Free movement has created opportunities for British people. There are nearly three-quarters of a million British people living in Spain and over two million living in the EU as a whole. Learning abroad and working abroad, increases the opportunities and skills of British people and migration brings benefits as well as challenges at home.

Failure to train enough skilled workers means we have become reliant on migration to keep our economy functioning. This is especially true of our NHS which depends on migrant nurses and doctors to fill vacancies. Enough skilled workers should be trained to stop the exploitation of migrant labour to undercut wages and invest in local services and housing in areas of rapid population growth.

There is a strong socialist case for staying in the European Union and for reform and progressive change in Europe. We need a Labour government, to stand up – at the European level – for industries and communities in Britain, to back public ownership and public services, to protect and extend workers’ rights and to work with our allies to make both Britain and Europe work better for working people.

The move to hold this referendum may have been more about managing divisions in the Conservative Party. But it is now a crucial democratic opportunity for people to have their say on our country’s future, and the future of our continent as a whole.

Left to themselves, it is clear what the main Vote Leave vision is for Britain to be the safe haven of choice for the ill-gotten gains of every dodgy oligarch, dictator or rogue corporation. They believe this tiny global elite is what matters, not the rest of us, who they dismiss as “low achievers”.

I appeal to everyone, especially young people – who will live longest with the consequences  – to make sure you are registered to vote to keep Britain in Europe this June, to build a better world engage with the world, build allies and deliver change. The EU, despite its failings, has proved itself to be a crucial international framework to do that.

 

Read the full text here