Corbyn’s vision

Speech by Jeremy Corbyn

Whether you voted to Leave or to Remain, you voted for a better future for Britain.

One thing is clear, the Tories cannot deliver that. So today I want to set how Labour will deliver that vision of a better Britain.

This government is in disarray over Brexit.

As the Prime Minister made clear herself they didn’t plan for it before the referendum and they still don’t have a plan now.

I voted and campaigned to remain and reform as many of you may know I was not uncritical of the European Union. It has many failings.

Some people argued that we should have a second referendum. That case was put to our party’s membership last summer and defeated.

Britain is now leaving the European Union. And Britain can be better off after Brexit. But that’s far from inevitable and it certainly won’t happen with a government that stands by whilst wages and salaries are driven down, industry is hollowed out and public services are cut to the point of breakdown.

Because while the European Union has many problems so does Britain in the hands of Theresa May after six years of Conservative misrule.

Our social care system is failing to provide essential care for people with disabilities and over a million of our elderly people.

The NHS is in record deficit; nearly four million people are on waiting lists, the Red Cross is describing the state of our emergency health and social care as a “humanitarian crisis”.

Our jobs market is being turned into a sea of insecurity, six million workers in Britain earning less than the living wage, nearly a million people on zero hours contracts, record numbers of people in work living in poverty while in fat cat Britain, the chief executives had already received more than most people will earn all year by the third day of January.

My point is this, I don’t trust this government with social care, or with the NHS or with the labour market.

So do I trust them to make a success of Brexit? Not remotely.

Only a Labour government, determined to reshape the economy so that it works for all, in every part of the country, can make Brexit work for Britain.

And there can be no question of giving Theresa May’s Tories a free pass in the Brexit negotiations to entrench and take still further their failed free market policies in a post-Brexit Britain.

The Tory Brexiteers, whose leaders are now in the government and their Ukip allies had no more of a plan for a Brexit vote than the Tory remainers, like Theresa May.

They did however promise that Brexit would guarantee funding for the NHS, to the tune of £350m a week. It was on the side of Boris Johnson’s bus.

What’s happened to that promise now the NHS and social care are in serious crisis? It’s already been ditched.

And it’s not just on the NHS. We have had no answers from the government about any of their plans or objectives for these complex Brexit negotiations.

At no point since the Second World War has Britain’s ruling elite so recklessly put the country in such an exposed position without a plan.

As a result they are now reduced to repeating “Brexit means Brexit”. They are unfit to negotiate Brexit.

That is why Labour has demanded the government come to Parliament and set out their plan before they present it to Brussels and explain what they want to achieve for our country.

But in the glaring absence of a government plan Labour also believes it’s time to spell out more clearly what we believe the country’s Brexit objectives should be.

People voted for Brexit on the promise that Britain outside the European Union could be a better place for all its citizens. Whatever their colour or creed. A chance to regain control over our economy, our democracy and people’s lives.

But beyond vague plans to control borders the only concrete commitment the government has so far made is to protect the financial interests in the City of London. Though maybe that’s hardly surprising from a government that has already slashed the bank levy and corporation tax.

In the last budget there was not a penny extra for the NHS or social care but under the Tories there’s always billions available for giveaways to the richest.

As far as Labour is concerned, the referendum result delivered a clear message.

First, that Britain must leave the EU and bring control of our democracy and our economy closer to home.

Second, that people would get the resources they were promised to rebuild the NHS.

Third, that people have had their fill of an economic system and an establishment that works only for the few, not for the many.

And finally, that their concerns about immigration policy would be addressed.

Labour accepts those challenges that you, the voters, gave us.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will insist on a Brexit that works not just for City interests but in the interests of us all.

That puts health and social care, decent jobs and living standards first and a better deal for young people and the areas of this country that have been left behind for too long.

First, we will open the way to rebuilding our NHS by ending the under-funding and privatisation of health care.

Leaving the EU won’t free up the £350m a week that Boris Johnson claimed but savings in EU contributions could help close the gap.

And we will reject pressure to privatise public services as part of any Brexit settlement. Just as we oppose the attempt to give special legal privileges to corporate interests as part of the EU’s CETA or TTIP trade deals.

This government could have given the NHS the funding it needs but it has chosen not to. Their tax giveaways to the very richest and to big business hand back £70bn between now and 2022.

That is more of a priority for the Tories than elderly people neglected in their homes, patients dying on trolleys or millions waiting in pain to get the treatment they need.

Labour created the NHS, and it is only safe under a Labour government. We will give the NHS the funding it needs. The British people voted to re-finance the NHS – and we will deliver it.

Second, we will push to maintain full access to the European single market to protect living standards and jobs.

But we will also press to repatriate powers from Brussels for the British government to develop a genuine industrial strategy essential for the economy of the future, and so that no community is left behind.

Tory governments have hidden behind EU state aid rules because they don’t want to intervene. They did so again last year when the steel industry was in trouble. Other governments in Europe acted and saved their industry, the Tory government here sat back.

But EU rules can also be a block on the action that’s needed to support our economy, decent jobs and living standards.

Labour will use state aid powers in a drive to build a new economy, based on new technology and the green industries of the future.

That’s why Labour has set out proposals for a National Investment Bank with regional investment banks that will decide the priorities for their areas. A massive programme of investment that will be needed to rebuild regional economies.

This country is far too centralized. So we will take back powers over regional policy. And instead of such decisions being made in Brussels or in London, we will make sure they taken locally wherever possible. Taking back real control and putting power and resources right into the heart of local communities to target investment where it’s needed.

Third, we will use the huge spending leverage of taxpayer-funded services to massively expand the number of proper apprenticeships.

All firms with a government or council contract over £250,000 will be required to pay tax in the UK and train young people.

No company will receive taxpayer-funded contracts if it, or its parent company, is headquartered in a tax haven.

And we will not buy outsourced public services, such as care for the elderly, from companies whose owners and executives are creaming off profits to stuff their pockets at the expense of the workforce and the public purse.

Finally, a Labour Brexit would take back control over our jobs market which has been seriously damaged by years of reckless deregulation.

During the referendum campaign, many people expressed deep concerns about unregulated migration from the EU.

In many sectors of the economy, from IT to health and social care, migrant workers make an important contribution to our common prosperity, and in many parts of the country public services depend on migrant labour.

This government has been saying it will reduce migration to the tens of thousands. Theresa May as Home Secretary set an arbitrary political target knowing full well it would not be met.

They inflamed the issue of immigration. They put immense strain on public services with six years of extreme cuts and then blamed migrants for the pressure caused by Tory austerity.

And last week a government minister who voted “Leave” told an employers’ conference, “don’t worry, we’ll still let you bring in cheap EU labour”.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will not offer false promises on immigration targets or sow division by scapegoating migrants because we know where that leads. The worrying rise in race hate crime and division we have seen in recent months and how the issue of immigration can be used as a proxy to abuse or intimidate minority communities.

Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle, but I don’t want that to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out.

When it comes to border controls, we are proud to say we will meet our international obligations to refugees fleeing wars and persecution.

To those EU citizens who are already here, we will guarantee your rights.

And we continue to welcome international students who come to study in this country.

We cannot afford to lose full access to the European markets on which so many British businesses and jobs depend.

Changes to the way migration rules operate from the EU will be part of the negotiations.

Labour supports fair rules and the reasonable management of migration as part of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, while putting jobs and living standards first in the negotiations.

At the same time, taking action against undercutting of pay and conditions, closing down cheap labour loopholes, banning exclusive advertising of jobs abroad and strengthening workplace protections would have the effect of reducing numbers of EU migrant workers in the most deregulated sectors, regardless of the final Brexit deal.

Of course migration has put a strain on public services in some areas that’s why Labour would restore the migrant impact fund that the Tories scrapped.

Sarah Champion is leading for Labour on our policies to ensure better integration and more community cohesion and part of that again will be about restoring funding for English language lessons.

Let’s not forget it was this Tory government that slashed funding for learning English as a second language. As we’ve seen with the Prime Minister talking about the need to strengthen mental health care, while cutting funding by eight per cent it seems the government’s second language is hypocrisy.

It is the ripping up of workplace protections and trade union rights that has allowed unscrupulous employers to exploit both migrant and British labour, and help to keep pay low, and drive down conditions for everyone.

But let’s be clear, public services are not under pressure primarily because of immigration – especially since many migrant workers keep those public services going.

They are under pressure because this Tory government has cut them to fund tax break after tax break to the super rich and big business.

That is the Tory game – low taxes for the rich, low pay for the rest, underfund public services, and find someone to blame , It’s brutal and it’s not working.
Labour will break with this failed model and offer solutions to problems, not someone to blame.

Labour will demand that the Brexit negotiations give us the power to intervene decisively to prevent workers, from here or abroad, being used and exploited to undermine pay and conditions at work.

We need a drive to provide British people with the skills necessary to take up the new jobs which a Labour government and the new economy will generate. I’ve already set out at the CBI and TUC conferences that this means asking companies to pay a bit more in tax to fund more and better access to education and skills training, and government contractors always providing decent skilled apprenticeships.

We will end the race to the bottom in pay, working conditions and job insecurity, setting up a new Ministry of Labour to get a grip on the anything goes jobs market free-for-all.

Labour will ensure all workers have equal rights at work from day one – and require collective bargaining agreements in key sectors in a properly regulated labour market, so that workers cannot be undercut.

That will bring an end to the unscrupulous use of agency labour and bogus self-employment, to stop undercutting and to ensure every worker has a secure job with secure pay, that’s why we’ll set the minimum wage at the level of the living wage, expected to be £10 per hour by 2020.

Those changes should be made to benefit the whole country.

But while we tackle low pay at the bottom, we also have to address the excess that drives that poverty pay that leaves millions of people in poverty even though they work.

In the 1920s, J.P. Morgan, the Wall Street banker limited salaries to 20 times that of junior employees.

Another advocate of pay ratios was David Cameron. His government proposed a 20:1 pay ratio to limit sky-high pay in the public sector and now all salaries higher than £150,000 must be signed off by the Cabinet Office.

Labour will go further and extend that to any company that is awarded a government contract.

A 20:1 ratio means someone earning the living wage, just over £16,000 a year, would permit an executive to be earning nearly £350,000. It cannot be right that if companies are getting public money that that can be creamed off by a few at the top.

But there is a wider point too. 20 years ago the top bosses of the FTSE 100 companies earned just under 50 times their average worker, today that figure is now 130 times. Last year alone, the top bosses got a 10 per cent pay rise, far higher than those doing the work in the shops, in the call centres, in the warehouses.

So what can we do?

… We could allow consumers to judge for themselves, with a government-backed kitemark for those companies that have agreed pay ratios between the pay of the highest and lowest earners with a recognised trade union.

… We could ask for executive pay to be signed off by remuneration committees on which workers have a majority.

… We could ensure higher earners pay their fair share by introducing a higher rate of income tax on the highest 5 percent or 1 percent of incomes.

… We could offer lower rates of corporation tax for companies that don’t pay anyone more than a certain multiple of the pay of the lowest earner.

There are many options. But what we cannot accept is a society in which a few earn the in two and a bit days, what a nurse, a shop worker, a teacher do in a year. That cannot be right.

This is not about limiting aspiration or penalising success, it’s about recognising that success is a collective effort and rewards must be shared.

We cannot have the CEO paying less tax than the cleaner and pretending they are worth thousands times more than the lowest paid staff.

So this is Labour’s vision for Britain after Brexit.

Labour will not block the referendum vote when the time comes in Parliament, we will vote for Article 50.

But as the Opposition we will ensure the government is held to account for its negotiating demands.

At the moment they are in total disarray, on Brexit, on the NHS and social care, on the pay in your pocket.

Labour will build a better Britain out of Brexit.

That will start with the refinancing of the NHS and the creation of a more equal country, in which power and wealth is more fairly shared amongst our communities. A genuinely inclusive society with strong and peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

This is Labour’s New Year pledge to the British people.

458 comments on “Corbyn’s vision

  1. Karl Stewart on said:

    Thanks for posting this up Andy.

    From a personal perspective, as someone who had recently been moaning and grumbling just a bit about Corbyn not having set out a comprehensive political agenda, Tuesday’s speech answered all of my concerns.

    I thought his Peterborough speech was comprehensive, robust, and also intelligent in terms of building in some much-needed “wriggle-room” in those areas of uncertainty.

    Politically, as well as drawing sharp lines of demarcation with the Tories (i.e. counterposing “Labour Brexit” to “Tory Brexit”) it also clearly differentiated Labour from the LibDems, Greens and SNP (counterposing “Labour Brexit” to “reject the referendum”).

    So now Labour has the opportunity to politically carve out its own, specific policy manifesto upon which to build its 2020 general election strategy and tactics – and the opportunity to aggressively fight back in Scotland, see off the LibDem resurgency, and also ward off Tory or UKIP advances on Labour territory.

    I’d be very interested in the views of others on this speech and on its political content.

  2. This is the key argument

    require collective bargaining agreements in key sectors in a properly regulated labour market, so that workers cannot be undercut.

    It is the answer to the immigration controversy, making it impossible for employers to use migrant labour to undercut pay and T&Cs, takes the heat out of the question.

    Though we are not helped here by false friends who deny that any undercutting takes place

  3. Jellytot on said:

    Andy Newman: It is the answer to the immigration controversy

    Is there a controversy?

    The Trots are jumping up and down of course but who else is?

  4. Evan P on said:

    #4 Yes, the one shibboleth of so many trots that seems to have caught on with much more liberal/ soft left types is the opposition in principle to immigration controls.

    When I ask, how can you have a planned economy with open borders it’s revealing how often the answer is that a planned economy is either not achievable or undesirable or both.

    So for these people neo-liberalism on the question of “free movement” is socialism but making inroads against the free market is out of the question.

    Would Trotsky be proud? In fairness I doubt it.

  5. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P: #4 Yes, the one shibboleth of so many trots that seems to have caught on with much more liberal/ soft left types is the opposition in principle to immigration controls.

    Well spotted.

    Evan P: So for these people neo-liberalism on the question of “free movement” is socialism but making inroads against the free market is out of the question.

    Would Trotsky be proud? In fairness I doubt it.

    As a general rule I don’t think it is fruitful to speculate about what historical figures would think/say/do if they were alive today.

    Having said that, I think you are wrong on this point.

    a) Trotsky popularised the argument that socialism in one country is inconceivable. So trying to achieve it must be reactionary.

    b) If you read his writings in the late 20s – early 30s you will see that he was insistent that any economic planning would have to be subordinate to the market. And not just the national market but the world market.

    So, while we can’t know what Trotsky would say if he were to still around/resurrected, we can say that people who use these arguments can quote Trotsky in support.

  6. Evan P on said:

    #6 Trotsky did however defend the USSR and called on his supporters to do likewise on the basis of the socialised economy until his assassination.

    He may not have meant it but that’s what he said.

  7. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P: Yes, the one shibboleth of so many trots that seems to have caught on with much more liberal/ soft left types is the opposition in principle to immigration controls.

    Cheap Filipina nannies ?

  8. Jellytot on said:

    Andy Newman: There is some paralysis on the centre left about the issue, I think. uncomfortable about talking about it, partly for historical reasons.

    There is this weird and truly bizarre dynamic in Britain that support for immigration controls makes you automatically some kind of racist.

    It’s a hangover from the fifties, sixties and seventies Andy – you’re right.

  9. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P: #6 Trotsky did however defend the USSR and called on his supporters to do likewise on the basis of the socialised economy until his assassination.

    ‘defend’ in the Pickwickian sense of the term.

    The basis for this ‘defence’ was the idea that the Soviet Union was a workers’ state.

    Those followers who broke with him on the issue of the defence of the USSR did so because they felt that it had ceased to be a workers’ state, not because they thought that there was not enough planning.

  10. brianthedog on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    I was also seriously starting to worry about Corbyn’s ability to put together a coherent position regarding the EU and Brexit, not helped by Diane Abbott ‘s recent pro EU neo liberal statements.

    This is much better in my opinion but still more to do and also needs continued and more polished delivery.

    I’d keep it simple – not anti migrant or anti immigration but it needs to be democratically controlled and fairly applied. Something EU freedom of labour isn’t and has been used all too often by business to undercut and supress wages and workers rights. Couple this with much stronger collective bargaining and trade union rights.

    The EU and the issue of free movement has exposed many on the left as fully paid up liberals and/or libertarians.

    We also have the bizarre situation in Unite where one of the candidates who has been anointed by Jerry Hicks is attacking Len McCluskey’s recent statements on EU free movement saying that not only should it be defended but that Britain should have completely open borders and global free movement.

    Its utterly baffling that a trade unionist would advocate this given that one of the key reasons for the existence of unions is allowing workers to able to regulated their workplace, but it does highlight the lack of judgement and wisdom of much of the ‘left’.

  11. Evan P on said:

    George Hallam,

    I agree although I don’t see how that refutes what I said (if that’s what you were doing 🙂 ).

    The basis for the argument that it was a workers’ state was the socialised means of production based on the foundations of the October 1917 revolution.

    In fact part of his argument with those of his followers who disagreed with him on this was that he saw the extension of those property relations even under Stalin to Finland, Western Ukraine and Belarus as progressive.

    None of which btw presents evidence one way or another as to whether objectively or subjectively he was or wasn’t working in the interests of one section or another of imperialism.

    To be honest I don’t see how you can have socialised means of production and no plan. Not in anything other than the very short term.

  12. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P,

    Thank you for this response.

    Evan P: The basis for the argument that it was a workers’ state was the socialised means of production based on the foundations of the October 1917 revolution.

    That would make sense.

    Evan P: In fact part of his argument with those of his followers who disagreed with him on this was that he saw the extension of those property relations even under Stalin to Finland, Western Ukraine and Belarus as progressive.

    That would be in 1939-40.

    I don’t know when Trotsky first used this criterion. I might be wrong, but my guess is that it would be sometime after 1935.

    Here is my reasoning.

    From the mid-20s though till the mid-30s Trotsky continually talked about possibility a ‘Thermidor’ which he defined variously as the “restoration of capitalism”, the transfer of power to another class or at the very least a change that would inevitably result in a civil war.

    The point about this ‘Thermidor’ is that it hadn’t happened. In fact it might not happen at all because Russia might go straight to ‘Bonapartism’.

    Then in 1935 he decided that the Thermidor had happened back in 1923.

    This change had implications for the idea that the Russia was a workers’ state. It was easy to think of the Russian state as being a workers’ state while Thermidor was just a possibility. Once one said it was an accomplished fact then it was logical to suppose that the working class had lost power. Hence the need for a get-out, as in legal forms of ownership that allowed the Russian state to still be regarded as a workers’ state.

  13. Brianthedog on said:

    Richard Farnos:
    Hail the rise of National Labourism

    “Left Unity remains resolved. We are wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens and beyond as a point of principle.”

    Middle class trots combining hippie politics with alligance to the EU Empire. Free movement as a point of principle devoid of any reality. Useful idiots comes to mind but no wonder this grouplet is going nowhere and just talks to itself.

  14. Karl Stewart on said:

    Richard Farnos,

    I’ve read your article and I really don’t think it’s reasonable to place the progressive agenda set out by Corbyn at Peterborough with any form of ‘nationalism’ – it makes no sense at all.

    Corbyn pledged to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens who settled here before tge vote, and he also pledged to fully meet our humanitarian responsibilities towards refugees – hardly examples of ‘ nationalism’.

    Surely the fairest approach to people from other countries coming to the UK is to treat them equally regardless of origin?

    Your position of remaining “wedded in principle” to the EU entry regulations is, in fact, a pledge to “remain wedded in principle” to discrimination in favour of Europans and to “remain wedded in principle” to discrimination against non-Europeans.

  15. John Grimshaw on said:

    George Hallam:
    Evan P,

    Thank you for this response.

    That would make sense.

    That would be in 1939-40.

    I don’t know when Trotsky first used this criterion. I might be wrong, but my guess is that it would be sometime after 1935.

    Here is my reasoning.

    From the mid-20s though till the mid-30s Trotsky continually talked about possibility a ‘Thermidor’ which he defined variously as the “restoration of capitalism”, the transfer of power to another class or at the very least a change that would inevitably result in a civil war.

    The point about this ‘Thermidor’ is that it hadn’t happened.In fact it might not happen at all because Russia might go straight to ‘Bonapartism’.

    Then in 1935 he decided that the Thermidor had happened back in 1923.

    This change had implications for the idea that the Russia was a workers’ state. It was easy to think of the Russian state as being a workers’ state while Thermidor was just a possibility. Once one said it was an accomplished fact then it was logical to suppose that the working class had lost power. Hence the need for a get-out, as in legal forms of ownership that allowed the Russian state to still be regarded as a workers’ state.

    So you are saying…?

  16. Well Corbyn is clearly stating that he supports full access to the single market, which if carried through will have to mean maintaining the free movement of labour. There cannot be one without the other.

  17. George Hallam on said:

    John Grimshaw: So you are saying…?

    Trotsky’s theoretical pronouncements were just a series of post hoc rationalisations of policies he had already decided on.

    This suggests that the key to understanding his insistence that the Soviet Union remained a ‘workers’ state’ after the supposted ‘Thermidor’ lies in what Trotsky wanted to do.

    Trotsky’s actions indicate that he envisaged a reversal of fortune that would see him invited back to the Soviet Union on his own terms. This would be difficult to justify if the Soviet Union had ceased to be a workers’ state.

  18. brianthedog on said:

    Gavin,

    There are some that are hoping that access to the single market can be negotiated without free movement of EU labour, so I am not sure Corbyn is saying what you suggest or that you can’t have one without the other.

    The 4 so called EU ‘freedoms’ are not a scientific fact like gravity and are instead a political and economic decisions that benefit the ruling elites and can be changed, adapted or ended.

    However the point is that he and his leadership team haven’t always been very clear on Brexit and free movement and time is running out, particularly with two by-elections coming up.

    My fear is if Labour doesn’t get its position solidified pretty quickly and is seen as supporting free market and free movement with the EU it will be wiped out in many working class areas for a generation.

  19. Gavin:
    Well Corbyn is clearly stating that he supports full access to the single market, which if carried through will have to mean maintaining the free movement of labour. There cannot be one without the other.

    Access to the single market is the objective. Responsibility for negotiating the quid pro quo rests with the Tory government

  20. Richard Farnos on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    I appreciate your point, Karl and that not I was trying to say – evidently I was not clear enough. I have a lot of time for Corbyn However sadly his leadership of the Labour party is nominal. As I spell out there are forces on both the right and supposedly left of the party like Mcckuskey and Cruddas that clearly promoting an agenda that is clearly nationalistic and in Cruddas’s case consciously social conservative.

    I fear however Corbyn is being drag along, largely under the influence of the goons from Counterfire who were “Lexiteers” and by the way “Trots” – as if this that phrase has any meaning any more. If you compare Corbyn speech at the party conference to that last week his support for Freedom of Movement has diluted.

    I agree with you Karl that the ideal situation would have global freedom of movement of people. Sadly this is not the political reality. No Brexiteers is advocating increasing the rights of non-Europeans to enter the UK. On the contrary it is likely to lead to greater restrictions on Non-Europeans, as May’s resent speech on migrants needing to speak English implies. We are in a defensive situation. Karl if we can’t maintain freedom of movement with the rest of Europe what prospect is there for freedom of movement with the rest of the world.

    Sadly however there are people like Brainthedog who have evidently swallowed the reactionary and racist argument that immigration is the source of their problems rather than a crisis in capitalism. As I argue in the Moral threat of National Labourism this will only lead widening politics of hate.

  21. brianthedog on said:

    Richard Farnos,

    Yes I am a reactionary racist for advocating leaving the EU, ending free movement of labour and having fair immigration and democratic control of borders.

    YAWN !

  22. Evan P on said:

    Richard Farnos:
    Karl Stewart,

    …As I spell out there are forces on both the right and supposedly left of the party like Mcckuskey and Cruddas that clearly promoting an agenda that is clearly nationalistic …

    I fear however Corbyn is being drag along, largely under the influence ofthe goons from Counterfire who were “Lexiteers” …

    I agree with you Karl that the ideal situation would have global freedom of movement of people.Sadly this is not the political reality.No Brexiteers is advocating increasing the rights of non-Europeans to enter the UK.On the contrary it is likely to lead to greater restrictions on Non-Europeans, as May’s resent speech on migrants needing to speak English implies. We are in adefensive situation.Karl if we can’t maintain freedom of movement with the rest of Europe what prospect is there for freedom of movement with the rest of the world.

    Sadly however there are people like Brainthedog who have evidently swallowed the reactionary and racist argument that immigration is the source of their problems rather than a crisis in capitalism.As I argue in the Moral threat of National Labourism this will only lead widening politics of hate.

    When you accuse people on the left who refuse to support your neo-liberal/ anarchist position on immigration of seeing immigration as the “source of their problems”, this is merely the mirror of your position, in that for people like you open borders are a shiboleth.

    Large numbers of the ostensible socialists I have had contact with recently do not have any points of political/ economic principle other than “free movement of labour”. They certainly don’t seem to have any faith whatsoever that an economic system based on planning is either desirable or necessary.

    I remember making the point about a planned economy to a young member of Left Unity, someone who calls herself a revolutionary, in Manchester a while ago and she looked at me as if I was living on a different planet.

    If nationalism means defending the right of a British government to plan its economy, and defend and rebuild industry and services then I am a nationalist.

    The thing is, it doesn’t and I’m not.

    As for brexiteers not wanting to increase the rights of people coming from countries outside the EU, clearly those on the right generally do not. But neither do most people who supported remain.

    On the other hand most people who supported Lexit do want to do just that.

    Which is why for example so many of us were involved in the convoy to Calais in different ways at the same time the referendum was going on.

  23. brianthedog on said:

    brianthedog,

    “I agree with you Karl that the ideal situation would have global freedom of movement of people. Sadly this is not the political reality.”

    Really? Go figure! But you and your ultra leftist group still demand open borders and global free movement of labour. Bizarre. Idealism devoid of reality never makes for very good politics or trade unionism.

    The moral threat of National Labourism????

    Look outside once in a while and you might notice nation states still exist, with national borders, civic nationalism and cultures and working classes that identify with it.

    Bourgeois liberals and the ultra left have always hated it but then again they are two sides of the same coin.

  24. brianthedog on said:

    Richard Farnos,

    “I agree with you Karl that the ideal situation would have global freedom of movement of people. Sadly this is not the political reality.”
    Really? Go figure! But you and your ultra leftist group still demand open borders and global free movement of labour. Bizarre. Idealism devoid of reality never makes for very good politics or trade unionism.
    The moral threat of National Labourism????
    Look outside once in a while and you might notice nation states still exist, with national borders, civic nationalism and cultures and working classes that identify with it.
    Bourgeois liberals and the ultra left have always hated it but then again they are two sides of the same coin

  25. Jellytot on said:

    brianthedog:
    brianthedog,

    Bourgeois liberals and the ultra left have always hated it but then again they are two sides of the same coin.

    Roger Cox of the SWP (a long standing member who was with Cliff in the Review Group in the Fifties and spoke at his funeral) once said to me, “You know, we’re the real liberals”

    It’s only recently that I got what he meant.

  26. Andy Newman,
    True, but accepting that this is the goal de-facto means agreeing to the free movement of labour. And this should be a ‘red line’ for the Labour Party.

  27. Karl Stewart on said:

    Gavin,

    Yes of course, if the UK is to have a 100 per cent tariff-free mutual arrangement with the EU, then 100 per cent compliance with the other so-called “four freedoms” would indeed, logically, be a quid pro quo.

    But what if the UK had an arrangement whereby tarriff-free trade with the EU was limited to only some commodities? And not for others?

    For example, we could say that we do not want to import any steel, or that we will not permit any “free trade” of any other key strategic industries or vital public services?

    As a quid pro quo in that event, neither would we want to buy any share of other countries’ key strategic industries or services.

    There are an infinite number of permutations here and it is understandable that Corbyn (and Theresa May as well for that matter) is absolutely right to build himself some “wriggle room” in this area.

    It isn’t a straightforward black or white decision.

  28. Karl Stewart on said:

    Richard Farnos,

    The ideal situation would be (after those EU nationals who settled here before the vote have been substantiated) is that all foreign visitors to the UK, going forward, are treated equally.

    That would be in breach of EU regulations. It would not have been achievable if we had stayed within the EU.

  29. Karl Stewart:
    Gavin,

    Yes of course, if the UK is to have a 100 per cent tariff-free mutual arrangement with the EU, then 100 per cent compliance with the other so-called “four freedoms” would indeed, logically, be a quid pro quo.

    But what if the UK had an arrangement whereby tarriff-free trade with the EU was limited to only some commodities? And not for others?

    For example, we could say that we do not want to import any steel, or that we will not permit any “free trade” of any other key strategic industries or vital public services?

    As a quid pro quo in that event, neither would we want to buy any share of other countries’ key strategic industries or services.

    There are an infinite number of permutations here and it is understandable that Corbyn (and Theresa May as well for that matter) is absolutely right to build himself some “wriggle room” in this area.

    It isn’t a straightforward black or white decision.

    I think it pretty much is black and white – it’s in or out. There is no Red, White and Blue exit.

  30. Karl Stewart on said:

    Gavin,

    Out of the neo-liberal capitalist and racist EU yes of course – and we’re out.

    But my point was about the question of future tariff-free access to trade with EU members states. On that question, the range of different possibilities is infinite.

  31. If I’m not mistaken, then any “deal” for the UK on leaving the EU, on markets or anything else, would need to be agreed by all the remaining 27 states. The chances of that happening, given the horse-trading which characterises inter-state relations within the EU, are almost certainly nil. So the post-Brexit UK may well enjoy a similar status with regards to the rest of the EU as the Republic of Belarus does at the moment. If that’s the case, then there’s little sense in debating what sort of stance we may or may not want the Tories to take in these futile ‘negotiations’. We might do better to consider what to do if we find ourselves outside the EU with no special arrangements at all.

  32. Karl Stewart on said:

    Francis King: We might do better to consider what to do if we find ourselves outside the EU with no special arrangements at all.

    Take the British Road to Socialism perhaps?

  33. Jock mctrousers on said:

    Evan P:
    #4 Yes, the one shibboleth of so many trots that seems to have caught on with much more liberal/ soft left types is the opposition in principle to immigration controls.

    When I ask, how can you have a planned economy with open borders it’s revealing how often the answer is that a planned economy is either not achievable or undesirable or both

    brianthedog:
    Richard Farnos,

    Jellytot: tanding member who was with Cliff in th

    Idealism devoid of reality never makes for very good politics or trade unionism.
    The moral threat of National Labourism????
    Look outside once in a while and you might notice nation states still exist, with national borders, civic nationalism and cultures and working classes that identify with it.
    Bourgeois liberals and the ultra left have always hated it but then again they are two sides of the same coin

    Well said. The entire working class is just sick of being patronised by them. The open borders cranks are not on or of the left and should be shunned. To argue with them is a waste of time, and wasting time is an objective that MI5/Special Branch endorses and no doubt encourages with its admitted host (was it 3000 or 30 thousand) of still-active undercover workers. That’s a matter of public record . Enough of their previous activities have come to light to leave no doubt that fighting jihadis is just a sideline to protecting the establishment from the proles. What do you think they do? Wherever you encounter the looniest (apologies) left… ?

  34. Karl Stewart: Take the British Road to Socialism perhaps?

    Ha ha. Yes the British working class are just waiting to be rid of the EU before embarking on that journey

  35. Petter Matthews on said:

    Andy Newman: Though we are not helped here by false friends who deny that any undercutting takes place

    Undercutting does take place, but there is a danger that the relationship between labour migration and falling wages is overstated and discussed out of context. This can lead to scapegoating and it lets the Tories off the hook for their disastrous management of the economy.

    The relationship between labour migration and falling wages is correlative rather than causal. Tom O’Leary pointed out recently that in the period 2007 to 2015, German real wages rose by almost 14% while UK real wages fell by over 10%. In this same period migration into Germany had soared to almost 1.4 million per annum, whilst in the UK it remained more or less steady at around 500k. The difference, he rightly points out, is that Germany has much higher levels of investment and as a result, its economy is 30% more productive.

    Britain is becoming a low-cost, low-skilled economy and it has been built to some extent on cheap labour from Europe. Corbyn is right to call for the “reasonable management” of migration, but the long-term solution is investing in skills and technology to boost productivity and real wages.

  36. Karl Stewart on said:

    Gavin,

    Leaving the EU was a pre-requisite for BRS. But that’s only to point out that our departure makes the road to socialism possible, not guaranteed.

    We need to move forward now along the lines sketched out by Corbyn at Peterborough.

  37. Karl Stewart on said:

    Petter Matthews,

    The solution to low wages and job insecurity is stronger and more powerful trade unions.

    (Not following the advice of capitalist neo-liberal economists.)

  38. brianthedog on said:

    Petter Matthews,

    It shouldn’t be overplayed but the issue of EU free movement and its impact has often been ignored on the ‘left’ and when it is, is treated like a Shibboleth. To even mention it in some circles gets you immediately accused of being a reactionary racist.

    As others have stated on this thread much of the working class have had enough of being preached at by middle class lefties on this issue.

    Because much of the ‘left’ exited the playing field regarding the EU and freedom of movement the vacuum was filled by UKIP. We then wonder why they are doing so well in many of the traditional labour heartlands.

    Yes, free movement has been used by the capitalist class in the UK/EU to make Britain a low-cost, low-skilled economy and investing in skills and technology to boost productivity and real wages is need along with better trade union and collective bargaining rights.

    However the issue of EU free movement and fair immigration needs to be dealt with a matter of urgency if we want to win back working class voters as many have stopped listening and don’t trust the ‘left’ and Labour.

  39. Jellytot on said:

    brianthedog,

    To even mention it in some circles gets you immediately accused of being a reactionary racist.

    Thankfully those circles are getting less and less politically important. They have had their day.

    We are on new political terrian in the West.

    The Populist Right (who are not Fascist) are on the march and winning. It has been decades in coming but it’s here….. ( I recall reading then largely ignored articles in the old Red Action newspaper back in 1992 warning about what’s presently come to pass socially)…..The Left have to adapt intelligently with a populism of our own to counter them.

    Screaming “RACIST !!” basically won’t cut it anymore.

  40. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P: I remember making the point about a planned economy to a young member of Left Unity, someone who calls herself a revolutionary, in Manchester a while ago and she looked at me as if I was living on a different planet.

    Perhaps that was because, in a manner of speaking, you were both living on different planets.

  41. jock mctrousers on said:

    Petter Matthews: Undercutting does take place, but there is a danger that the relationship between labour migration and falling wages is overstated and discussed out of context. This can lead to scapegoating and it lets the Tories off the hook

    There you go again. ” scapegoating”? ” bleedin’ immigrants mate, innit?”

    I guess you’ve been getting the socialist economic bulletin emails that Ken livingstone’s office sends out. That guy Tom O’Leary seems like a sea change in the last couple of months since he took over the writing, like he has a mandate to boost support for the EU, the virtues of globalisationl…

    Petter Matthews: The relationship between labour migration and falling wages is correlative rather than causal.

    Does this really say ANYTHING? i guess I’m not alone in suspecting that economists can justify anything by a few tweaks of the parameters, or subtle redefinitions or… and in the end the argument goes to the side that can pay the most economists…

    Petter Matthews: Tom O’Leary pointed out recently that in the period 2007 to 2015, German real wages rose by almost 14% while UK real wages fell by over 10%. In this same period migration into Germany had soared to almost 1.4 million per annum, whilst in the UK it remained more or less steady at around 500k

    Well, I seriously doubt these immigration figures for the UK, but I’ve seen a range of economists come to roughly the same conclusion, that it’s investment that’s needed.

    Petter Matthews: The difference, he rightly points out, is that Germany has much higher levels of investment and as a result, its economy is 30% more productive… the long-term solution is investing in skills and technology to boost productivity and real wages.

    Karl Stewart: The solution to low wages and job insecurity is stronger and more powerful trade unions.

    (Not following the advice of capitalist neo-liberal economists.)

    Yes, it’s a which comes first the chicken or the egg scenario. Mass immigration weakens unions because it’s so much harder to organise a constantly shifting transient workforce, many of whom feel little common cause… so this undermines the ability of the ‘labour movement’ to pressure the government to ‘boost productivity’ or whatever…

    I belong to the school that feels that the current Tory regime (and most of Labour) are actually intent on bankrupting and destroying as much as possible so they can sell everything off to their buddies at firesale prices and get a cut themselves of course. They have no plans for the survival of most indigenous UKers – hence the assault on even barely affordable rentable housing – they imagine a future in which they live in their estates and gated communites served by guestworkers living in containers like Qatar or Saudi…

    There is no point in a reasoned appeal to our rulers about the value of investment. They’ve decided to scrap the place. Only a strong labour movement can pressure them. But mass immigration weakens organised labour, which is why the bosses love it.

    If the unions give the workers the impression that they are ok about mass immigration, then the workers might well wonder if they are prepared to fight for ANYTHING? Rightly.

    So what chance UKIP bringing us greater investment in the UK? Fat. Round and round and round and round is a correlaton of sorts…

  42. Jellytot on said:

    jock mctrousers,

    I think the powers-that-be decided that the UK would be a de-skilled low to mid cost base providing services and a financial centre in the context of an emerging United States of Europe.

    Hence the conscious decision to run down Britain’s manufacturing base and curtail investment. This also would have the side benefit (for them) of killing trade union militancy, previously strong in Britain. Countries like Germany would be permitted to retain their vast manufacturing centres, compliant Unions, highly skilled indigenous workforce and upward investment.

    Margaret Thatcher was fully compliant in this until the “No…No…No” speech when she went severly off script and the Howes, Clarkes and Heseltines did for her. It was Europe and not the Poll Tax that really ended her as it has every Tory PM in recent memory.

    The strategic decision to allow massive immigration into the UK was clearly a part of this in order to deaden wages and reverse the falling rate of profit.

    Why else would they have allowed it FFS ?!

    Because they are fans of Polish Delicatessens?!

  43. George Hallam on said:

    jock mctrousers: i guess I’m not alone in suspecting that economists can justify anything by a few tweaks of the parameters, or subtle redefinitions or… and in the end the argument goes to the side that can pay the most economists…

    A mathematician, a statistician and an economist get interviewed for the same job.

    The mathematician is called in first and interviewer asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, are you sure?” The mathematician looks down at his fingers and says “Yes, four, exactly.”

    The accountant goes in next and asked the same question “What do two plus two equal?”
    The statistician says, “Do you mind if I use a calculator?”
    “Certainly”, replies the interviewer.
    After a few moments punching away the statistician beams and says the “On average, four”
    “Are you sure?”
    “Plus or minus 2 percent, I’m 95 percent confident”.

    Finally the interviewer calls in the economist and puts the same question “What do two plus two equal?”
    The economist looks round to check they are alone, leans foreword and then says in a low voice, “Well, what do you want it to equal?”

    This is from the First Year Quantitative Methods for Economists course

  44. Karl Stewart on said:

    Richard Farnos,
    My opinion on the subject (which isn’t a popular one I must admit) is yes that (once the legacy issue of EU nationals who settled here before the vote has been resolved by substantiating them unliaterally) the starting point for our post-Brexit system should be that entrants are treated equally regardless of their nation of origin.

    That’s not to say I believe in “open borders,” but that any restrictions should apply equally to all.

    That’s impossible within the racist EU.

  45. Karl Stewart on said:

    Richard Farnos,

    And just another point I’d like to make. The person you quoted in your earlier posting, Ton O’Leary, is a capitalist economist.

    I’ve read several of his articles that he has written recently and they all argue in favour of globalisation, neo-liberalism, and the capitalist market economy.

    Don’t know why you’re quoting a Thatcherite on a socialist website?

  46. The idea of open borders is of course an impossibility in a capitalist world economy, but that’s partly why a number of socialists argue for it. They argue for many things which they know couldn’t be realised by even a radical socialist government, exactly because they want people to realise that such demands cannot be achieved without abolishing capitalism all together.

    The difficulty is that, in the current period most working class people don’t consider open borders to be a good thing, and therefore arguing for them as a “transitional demand” is something of a nonsense, and it also makes you look a bit silly as most people rightly point out that it wouldn’t really work. This is what makes arguing for open borders as a point of principle something of a shibboleth.

    The sensible thing for the left to do is to argue against all forms of racism within the immigration system; oppose undercutting, not by opposing the employment of non-British workers, but by campaigning for better wages, terms and conditions; and also by making an internationalist argument in favour of the benefits of immigration. You don’t have to be a die-hard advocate of open borders to be in favour of these things.

  47. brianthedog on said:

    Gavin,

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/16/we-can-escape-brexit-doom-with-one-small-tweak-to-free-movement

    Not always his biggest fan but some interesting points in this article by Paul Mason, including this …………. “For the left, it should be to minimise the economic break with Europe and restore popular consent for migration. Britain should apply to join the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and, through it, to remain inside the European Economic Area (EEA). Those who say that means accepting complete freedom of movement are, not for the first time, misleading us.

    Freedom of movement has always been a “qualified right” – not an absolute one: that is, constrained by national conditions. Plus Article 112 of the EEA treaty allows us to suspend freedom of movement, for an unspecified period and unilaterally, due to “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties”. Well, we have a serious societal difficulty: we have lost consent for high inward migration, and we need to regain it.”

  48. Karl Stewart on said:

    Tim N,

    Well put Tim. I agree with about 99 per cent of that.

    The only minor quibble is I’m personally completely neutral as to whether immigration is a “good” or a “bad” thing.

    My own opinion is that it’s neither, it’s just something that happens, like the weather.

    Immigration has happened since time began and it’s as natural for human beings to move around – yes, bringing some benefits and some problems – as it is natural for all other types of migrations.

    I just think making that clear makes the rest of the argument – both against racism and also against undercutting – easier to make.

  49. Petter Matthews on said:

    Karl Stewart: The solution to low wages and job insecurity is stronger and more powerful trade unions.

    (Not following the advice of capitalist neo-liberal economists.)

    Stronger trade unions are essential and to his credit, John McDonnell has pledged that Labour will repeal the Trade Union Act within its first 100 days. However, he also knows that doing so is not sufficient. In his September speech he also identified low productivity as a major challenge and committed establish a National Investment Bank to boost it. The idea that investing in skills and technology are neo-liberal solutions is economic illiteracy.

  50. Petter Matthews on said:

    jock mctrousers: Does this really say ANYTHING?

    It says that the relationship between labour migration and low wages is not simple or straightforward and that if we want to understand it, we need to look beyond simplistic sloganeering.

  51. Karl Stewart on said:

    Petter Matthews,

    I agree that it would make no sense to oppose investment in skills and technology.

    Where your recommended economist Tom O’Leary and I differ is over his support for capitalism as a system.

  52. Karl Stewart: The only minor quibble is I’m personally completely neutral as to whether immigration is a “good” or a “bad” thing.

    Sure, but I didn’t quite say it was a “good thing”, though my instinct probably is to consider it as such, but rather that we should make an internationalist argument for its benefits, of which there are plenty.

  53. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart: Where your recommended economist Tom O’Leary and I differ is over his support for capitalism as a system.

    While I am more with you in this debate Karl – quoting “Right Wing” economists and historians in your support isn’t necessarily wrong.

    Just because they are on the Right doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong in some select instances. And conversely people on the Left are capable of being wrong too.

    Earlier I quoted Robert Service (who is considered to be on the Right) who was debating Chris Hitchens on Trotsky. I think Service was spot on in his points for the most part.

  54. jock mctrousers on said:

    Petter Matthews: It says that the relationship between labour migration and low wages is not simple or straightforward and that if we want to understand it, we need to look beyond simplistic sloganeering.

    i.e. it DIDN’T say anything

  55. David Riley on said:

    #56:

    “The sensible thing for the left to do is to argue against all forms of racism within the immigration system”

    Since all (UK) immigration controls from the 1905 Aliens Act onwards have been based on racism how do you think it’s possible to argue against racism while accepting more controls?

    Answer – it isn’t.

  56. #67

    If it was the case that the existence or not of immigration laws was a matter of principle then you would have an argument.

    But it very clearly isn’t.

    You’re absolutely correct that British immigration laws are generally racist. And therefore by definition anti racists should oppone those racist laws.

  57. David Riley on said:

    Glad to see we agree on the fundamentals – UK immigration laws are racist and it’s the duty of socialists* to oppose them as they stand and, presumably, the imposition of further restrictions.

    Not sure how their existence or otherwise can be a matter of principle though 🙂

    * I accept it’s possible to be anti-racist without being a socialist, but would argue that these days vice versa isn’t. And this is after all a socialist site.

  58. David Riley: Since all (UK) immigration controls from the 1905 Aliens Act onwards have been based on racism how do you think it’s possible to argue against racism while accepting more controls?

    I wasn’t arguing in favour of further immigration controls, I was making the point that you don’t have to be in favour of further controls, or a racist, if you don’t think calling for open borders is particularly important or useful at this moment.

  59. Jellytot on said:

    I agree that all immigration laws are xenophobic (not sure about racist). Immigration laws can and do exclude people of the same race from countries based on nationality not ethnic difference.

    I support immigration laws for practical, electoral, political reasons and for societal peace.

    I understand how the “disciplines of chaos” that constitute the current far left would want to see a worsening of race relations and even some kind of fascist regime on the basis of “After them….us”‘.

    Let’s face it. It’s all they’ve got.

  60. David Riley on said:

    Jellytot:
    I agree that all immigration laws are xenophobic (not sure about racist). Immigration laws can and do exclude people of the same race from countries based on nationality not ethnic difference.

    Potato/Potahto

    I support immigration laws for practical, electoral, political reasons and for societal peace.

    So we reduce the number of immigrants because they’re the cause of racism. FFS!

    I understand how the “disciplines of chaos” that constitute the current far left would want to see a worsening of race relations and even some kind of fascist regime on the basis of “After them….us”‘.

    Let’s face it. It’s all they’ve got.

    And now it’s third period Stalinism?

    Why don’t you just join UKIP and have done with it?

  61. David Riley: Why don’t you just join UKIP and have done with it?

    If everyone who supported immigration controls had to join UKIP, then it would be the ruling party by now.

  62. Also, there is a distinction between not calling for “open borders” and supporting the current, racist, incarnation of immigration controls, much like you don’t have to be in favour of the abolition of all prisons to recognise that the current prison system is racist.
    As it turns out, I’m not in favour of immigration controls as such, I just get annoyed at the constant advancement of the “open borders” slogan as a point of principle without anyone feeling the need to set out how it would actually work in practice.

  63. David Riley on said:

    Tim N:
    Also, there is a distinction between not calling for “open borders” and supporting the current, racist, incarnation of immigration controls, much like you don’t have to be in favour of the abolition of all prisons to recognise that the current prison system is racist.

    As it turns out, I’m not in favour of immigration controls as such, I just get annoyed at the constant advancement of the “open borders” slogan as a point of principle without anyone feeling the need to set out how it would actually work in practice.

    I don’t think I mentioned “Open Borders.” That’s not because it’s a concept I disagree with, but because it’s just not achievable in the foreseeable future. I might as well call for “full communism now.”

    What I am saying is that it’s the duty of socialists to push back against further restrictions, not meekly accept them because the anti-racist argument is a difficult one.

    Tim N: If everyone who supported immigration controls had to join UKIP, then it would be the ruling party by now.

    The argument that Jellytot was making – that immigration controls are necessary for social peace – comes straight out of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech. I think I was being restrained in only suggesting UKIP.

  64. David Riley: The argument that Jellytot was making – that immigration controls are necessary for social peace – comes straight out of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech. I think I was being restrained in only suggesting UKIP.

    Indeed.

    This blog is now an anti migrant cesspit. I demand that all my articles on here are removed.

  65. David Riley: I don’t think I mentioned “Open Borders.” That’s not because it’s a concept I disagree with, but because it’s just not achievable in the foreseeable future. I might as well call for “full communism now.”

    What I am saying is that it’s the duty of socialists to push back against further restrictions, not meekly accept them because the anti-racist argument is a difficult one.

    Ok we agree then.

  66. David Riley on said:

    John: Indeed.

    This blog is now an anti migrant cesspit. I demand that all my articles on here are removed.

    🙂

  67. brianthedog on said:

    John: Indeed.

    This blog is now an anti migrant cesspit. I demand that all my articles on here are removed.

    Diddums.

    The deity has spoken.

    I for one, on an almost daily basis would look back through the SU archives to pour over his pro EU rants.

  68. brianthedog: Diddums.

    The deity has spoken.

    I for one, on an almost daily basis would look back through the SU archives to pour over his pro EU rants.

    Now now Mr Denny. It’s Mr Deity to you.

  69. brianthedog on said:

    John: Now now Mr Denny. It’s Mr Deity to you.

    ??????

    “He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy! Now, piss off!”

  70. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N: I’m not in favour of immigration controls as such

    What does that mean? That you’re not opposed to measures that reduce immigration provided they don’t restrict immigration directly?
    For example, a much greater devaluation of sterling so that earnings from low-paid jobs in the UK are worse than those in Eastern Europe.
    Alternatively, much stringent enforcement of labour laws (have a national insurance number, paying income tax) would also shift the balance of advantage against moving to the UK to get causal work. The same applies to housing standards.

  71. George Hallam,

    No, what I mean is that I’m not in favour of any measures aimed at reducing immigration. What I am in favour of (in the current economic system), are measures aimed at ensuring migration doesn’t negatively impact upon workers – that means Labour having policies that ensure undercutting doesn’t occur.

    For what it’s worth, when it comes to undercutting immigration is by far not the major issue – poor contracts, such as agency work, are a bigger issue; as is high unemployment obviously.

  72. brianthedog on said:

    Tim N,

    Can you explain this in the context of Sports Direct and ASOS where the companies are using on a huge scale EU free movement to create a reserve army of labour?

    It is a major issue along with poor contracts, minimum wages (and below mimimum wages) and abuse. They go together and is a bedrock of neo-liberalism.

    An inconvenient truth but don’t let your dogma get in the way of reality.

    For ultra left libertarians free movement and open borders are a shibboleth.

    And you are supposed to win the working class in the UK around to this tenet?

  73. brianthedog: An inconvenient truth but don’t let your dogma get in the way of reality.

    I don’t suppose you’d like to hazard a guess at what my dogma is?

    brianthedog: For ultra left libertarians free movement and open borders are a shibboleth.

    Scroll up, I said exactly that without the name calling a few comments up.

    brianthedog: Can you explain this in the context of Sports Direct and ASOS where the companies are using on a huge scale EU free movement to create a reserve army of labour?

    I also said that migrant labour has been used for undercutting, just it’s by far not the main contributor, compared to unemployment and bad contracts such as those used by agencies. The reason migration is focused on, while these others are not, is that that issue fits with the Right’s agenda, while the others do not.

  74. brianthedog: And you are supposed to win the working class in the UK around to this tenet?

    I also pointed out the problems in doing that a few comments up.

  75. brianthedog: Can you explain this in the context of Sports Direct and ASOS where the companies are using on a huge scale EU free movement to create a reserve army of labour?

    Can you explain the left wing case for blaming migrants for their own exploitation rather than the companies you mention? Can you explain what is socialist about presenting working class people, regardless of nationality, culture, or race, as part of the problem rather than solution?

    Are you sure you’re not UKIP’s business spokesman?

    Once again, the bosses set the wages and the workers get exploited. It’s really very simple. If you want to stop them setting low wages you unite the workers around their common class interests. Migrant workers are not the enemy of working class people in Britain. Given May’s Brexit speech yesterday, it is quite clear who their enemy is, a far right Thatcherite politics given its biggest boost since the Falklands War as a result of Brexit.

  76. Evan P on said:

    Dave Riley, what I said was that Britain’s immigration laws are generally racist, and that socialists should oppose those that are.

    And how can you have no immigration laws and that not lead to open borders?

    It’s the same thing.

  77. David Riley on said:

    Evan P:
    Dave Riley, what I said was that Britain’s immigration laws are generally racist,and that socialists should oppose those that are.

    And how can you have no immigration laws and that not lead to open borders?

    It’s the same thing.

    What’s the difference between the racist immigration laws we have and the “generally racist” ones you imagine we have?

    How can an anti-racist argue “against all forms of racism within the immigration system” without arguing against the whole system of restrictions and controls?

    Where do you stand on further restrictions on immigration?

    Because that’s the key divide here – between serious anti-racists and dilettantes.

  78. brianthedog on said:

    John,

    “Can you explain the left wing case for blaming migrants for their own exploitation rather than the companies you mention?” Brianthedog has not blamed migrants.

    Note i have taken leaf out of your book and i’m writing in the third person. It make me feel grandiose and very important.

    “Can you explain what is socialist about presenting working class people, regardless of nationality, culture, or race, as part of the problem rather than solution?” Brianthedog has not presented working class people as part of the problem, rather part of the problem is ultra left, libertarians who are calling for open borders and acting as outriders for neo-liberals.

    Are you sure you’re not UKIP’s business spokesman? Yawn.

    Are you sure you’re not Mr Junckers pet poodle?

  79. Of course any immigration laws are racist to a greater or lesser extent. There is no point pretending they are not. But is it possible to have a modern welfare state, in which citizenship or right of abode confers certain rights and publicly-financed benefits, without laws determining who has the right to live in that state and access those rights and benefits?

  80. Jellytot on said:

    John: This blog is now an anti migrant cesspit. I demand that all my articles on here are removed.

    Should you be replacing the personal pronoun with “John Wight” ?

  81. Jellytot on said:

    David Riley: The argument that Jellytot was making – that immigration controls are necessary for social peace – comes straight out of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech.

    Yes, I am a Irish/English Londoner with a Chinese wife, Biracial kids, a Canadian passport, US Green Card, properties in the US, Canada and China, a business in Thailand, who speaks fluent Mandarin, passable Thai and Japanese. Is a former member of the SWP, ran very briefly with Red Action and AFA, activist in the ANL in the 90’s and currently a LP member, HnH supporter and financier and who has just joined Momentum……and happen to support immigration controls. I may be many things but a Powellite “little Englander” I am not.

    If support immigration controls makes you automatically a racist then this illustrates the complete paucity of your arguments.

    Support for ‘open borders’ (which opposition to immigration controls, in essence, is) amounts to is a pose that you know will never be enacted and you will never be held politically accountable for (I doubt you would stand for election on it). Therefore it is totally safe for you to propound it.

    Removal of immigration controls would lead to a vast movement of global populations from South to North and lead directly to societal collapse in the host nations*. I am totally and utterly convinced of that. Thankfully it will never come to pass.

    John Wight can talk about cesspits but his politics, which were once of some worth, are essentially a joke now anyway and given over more to emotional hyperbole than anything else – he is essentially the political equivalent of a hormonal teenager with OCD.

    * I am convinced this collapse is what the Trot groups want – they want a worsening of race relations to promote their agenda.

  82. Jellytot on said:

    Tim N: I just get annoyed at the constant advancement of the “open borders” slogan as a point of principle without anyone feeling the need to set out how it would actually work in practice.

    Because Open Borders are unworkable in practice…..and they know it.

    They are poseurs of no political worth.

  83. brianthedog on said:

    Jellytot: Yes, I am a Irish/English Londoner with a Chinese wife, Biracial kids, a Canadian passport, US Green Card, properties in the US, Canada and China, a business in Thailand, who speaks fluent Mandarin, passable Thai and Japanese. Is a former member of the SWP, ran very briefly with Red Action and AFA, activist in the ANL in the 90’s and currently a LP member, HnH supporter and financier and who has just joined Momentum……and happen to support immigration controls. I may be many things but a Powellite “little Englander” I am not.

    If support immigration controls makes you automatically a racist then this illustrates the complete paucity of your arguments.

    Support for ‘open borders’ (which opposition to immigration controls, in essence, is) amounts to is a pose that you know will never be enacted and you will never be held politically accountable for (I doubt you would stand for election on it). Therefore it is totally safe for you to propound it.

    Removal of immigration controls would lead to a vast movement of global populations from South to North and lead directly to societal collapse in the host nations*. I am totally and utterly convinced of that. Thankfully it will never come to pass.

    John Wight can talk about cesspits but his politics, which were once of some worth, are essentially a joke now anyway and given over more to emotional hyperbole than anything else –he is essentially the political equivalent of a hormonal teenager with OCD.

    * I am convinced this collapse is what the Trot groups want – they want a worsening of race relations to promote their agenda.

    🙂

  84. Jellytot: Because Open Borders are unworkable in practice…..and they know it.

    They are poseurs of no political worth.

    Well, yeah there’s some of that. However, for many it is simply just a genuine response to the large amount of anti-immigrant racism out there, and the (correct) belief that all immigration controls are by definition racist, and certainly are the way they are currently enforced. There’s also a general distrust of others on the left who talk about immigration, as there’s a long history of right union leaders and politicians using talk of undercutting, etc. as dog-whistle racism (not saying that’s what anyone on here is doing, but it has happened and does happen.

  85. Evan P on said:

    David Riley: What’s the difference between the racist immigration laws we have and the “generally racist” ones you imagine we have?

    How can an anti-racist argue “against all forms of racism within the immigration system” without arguing against the whole system of restrictions and controls?

    Where do you stand on further restrictions on immigration?

    Because that’s the key divide here – between serious anti-racists and dilettantes.

    Tell you what, you answer my question.

    What’s the difference between open borders and no immigration laws?

    Because if there is no difference how can you say that immigration laws are intrinsically racist, agree that open borders are not possible at the moment and accuse others of going along with racism by not supporting open borders?

  86. Jellytot on said:

    brianthedog,

    Thank you.

    It should be noted at this point that the SWP (one of the main proponents today of ‘Open Borders’) actually voted down support for “No Immigration Controls” at the RESPECT Conference in 2004. On the basis of, “How can we send George into an election with that policy?!”

    Tellingly it sent its BME members (like Gary McFarlane) up to the podium to argue against it.

    http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/516/no-respect-for-principles/

    “But zoom forward to 2004 and what do we find? The SWP taking the lead in defeating a call at the January 25 Respect launch conference to legalise all migrant workers – that is, flatly rejecting the demand for open borders and the free movement of peoples made by the Socialist Worker of yesteryear. Life cruelly responded only days later with the deaths of 19 – possibly 20 – Chinese immigrant cockle-pickers at Morecambe Bay.”

  87. Evan P on said:

    Francis King: Of course any immigration laws are racist to a greater or lesser extent. There is no point pretending they are not. But is it possible to have a modern welfare state, in which citizenship or right of abode confers certain rights and publicly-financed benefits, without laws determining who has the right to live in that state and access those rights and benefits?

    In that sense you might as well argue that the existence of every nation state is to one extent or another racist.

    In fact, the legal definition of racism in this country applies to national groups as well as ethnic ones.

    Where does that take us?

    It makes those trotskyists who argue against all immigration controls even more bizarre. Socialism in one country is unrealisable but no country in one country is not only a realisable demand but the essential test of anti racism.

  88. Jellytot on said:

    Tim N,

    I take your (legitimate) points on board.

    But people with a track record of (literally) fighting fascism and racism should not be accused of racism for supporting immigration controls.

  89. Evan P on said:

    Evan P asks if John Wight is going to demand that the posts he put on here after he demanded that his previous posts were removed are also removed? Or does that demand only apply to the ones he made before?

    And if he replies to this, is he going to demand that his reply is removed?

    Just asking.

  90. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P: It makes those trotskyists who argue against all immigration controls even more bizarre.

    This present fad for Open Borders is about political positioning and marketing their brand.

    The groups have to appear to the Left of the present Labour Party leadership (which is very Left wing itself)….they need to appear distinct and different for recruitment purposes (their overriding concern and raison d’etre after all). They need to be able to bash Corbyn from the Left.

    Nothing really to do with principles (as their principles shift on this issue as all others as pointed out in my post #102) – it’s about intra left marketing.

  91. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P,

    Keep John Wight’s boxing ones up, they are quite good.

    His espousal of Militant US Black Nationalism (as a pasty white bloke from Scotland) less so.

  92. Evan P on said:

    Jellytot:
    Tim N,

    I take your (legitimate) points on board.

    But people with a track record of (literally) fighting fascism and racism should not be accused of racism for supporting immigration controls.

    To me it’s not a question of positively supporting immigration controls but simply taking the view that you can’t not have them.

    It’s like imagining there’s no countries (or possessions for that matter).

    I think the point is that if you simply say that you are against all immigration rules you don’t have to get into the business of describing what a socialist/ anti racist immigration system would look like.

    Which would be fine if it in fact was possible not to have immigration rules. As it isn’t, the demand that there are no rules is essentially a cop out.

    And the position that the SWP took in Respect is a clear indicator of that.

    Interestingly when the SLP was debating immigration policy at its first conference less than 10 years earlier, the SWP were highly critical of those who argued against the no immigration control position, but of course they did so from the outside, with no responsibility for taking such a position to a wider audience of actually existing working class people.

    And on the subject of a wider audience I’d be interested to see the results of an opinion poll amongst immigrants already settled in this country on the issue of open borders, and broken down by different ethnic groups and different areas.

    I live in a community where as a white English person I am probably in a minority. There are many South Asians, West Indians, Black Africans, and most other white people are either Irish or East European (mainly Roma from Romania). (So apart from anything else if I’m a racist, choosing to live here must also make me a bit of a masochist!)

    I have never had a conversation with any member of any of the above groups on the subject of immigration where the view has been expressed that there should be no immigration rules.

    Anecdotal I know, which is why I would be interested to know the result of such a survey.

    And on being accused of racism or dilettantism on the subject by people who know nothing of one’s record or personal circumstances is pretty galling as well as being an utterly bad bit of advertising for the left.

  93. David Riley on said:

    Evan P: Tell you what, you answer my question.

    What’s the difference between open borders and no immigration laws?

    Because if there is no difference how can you say that immigration laws are intrinsically racist, agree that open borders are not possible at the moment and accuse others of going along with racism by not supporting open borders?

    First of all there are two questions, but in a fit of generosity I’ll answer both.

    There is no difference between open borders and no immigration laws. How you could ever have thought there was I do not understand.

    Show me the quote where I have accused someone of “going along with racism by not supporting open borders.” You can’t.

    So now will you answer my questions? Or will you just keep blathering on about imaginary conversations.

  94. It is hard to see how a policy of unrestricted population flows can be reconciled with any notion of rational economic planning let alone planning in a socialist economy.

    The first point is that where professionals and skilled workers are trained at the expense of the state (ie the rest of us) there should be some social obligation placed on them to serve the community.

    Planned migration, of course, should be reciprocal. It is an unfair privilege derived from of colonial past and imperial present that sees the mass migration of skilled professionals from other countries to buttress our public services where our governments have failed to ensure sufficient human resources to meet the needs of our economy. A policy that staffs our public services by poaching other countries’ skilled personnel is morally corrupt.

    Secondly, all states are constituted on the basis of a monopoly of coercion. This goes for socialist countries as much as any other. Without control of its borders this essential component of a state’s sovereignty is negated along with the prospects for a planned socialist economy which must, of necessity, depend on strict controls on the movement of capital.

    Any Labour government worthy of the name would want to develop a planned programme of trade with the states that make up the EU. ie access to the Single Market.

    But a planned economy and a non racist immigration policy is incompatible with membership of the Single Market which carries with it unrestricted migration flows from EU countries, forced marketisation, restrictions on public spending etc, etc.

    Our present immigration policy, imposed on us by membership of the European Union, is essentially racist and discriminatory. People with no personal or familial ties can migrate here without restrictions while other people, many whose families came here before the UK joined the EU, cannot secure entry for their relatives.

    The idealist notion of ‘the right free movement’ is, in essence, an expression of petit bourgeois individualism on the part of the relatively privileged which masks a policy of coerced migration for the less privileged and of immigration barriers for those without privileges. It is an idea at the service of capital.

  95. Jellytot on said:

    David Riley: Show me the quote where I have accused someone of “going along with racism by not supporting open borders.” You can’t.

    The argument that Jellytot was making – that immigration controls are necessary for social peace – comes straight out of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech.

    This was as good as.

  96. David Riley on said:

    Jellytot: Yes, I am a Irish/English Londoner with a Chinese wife, Biracial kids, a Canadian passport, US Green Card, properties in the US, Canada and China, a business in Thailand, who speaks fluent Mandarin, passable Thai and Japanese. Is a former member of the SWP, ran very briefly with Red Action and AFA, activist in the ANL in the 90’s and currently a LP member, HnH supporter and financier and who has just joined Momentum……and happen to support immigration controls. I may be many things but a Powellite “little Englander” I am not.

    If support immigration controls makes you automatically a racist then this illustrates the complete paucity of your arguments

    Well don’t you like to think you’re the eighth wonder of the world!

    And yet you think that supporting racist laws doesn’t make you a racist. Dream on!

    In fact, for someone with such a fine political pedigree you’re actually a disgrace!

  97. David Riley on said:

    Jellytot: The argument that Jellytot was making – that immigration controls are necessary for social peace – comes straight out of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech.

    This was as good as.

    Simple statement of fact.

  98. David Riley on said:

    Evan P:

    And on being accused of racism or dilettantism on the subject by people who know nothing of one’s record or personal circumstances is pretty galling as well as being an utterly bad bit of advertising for the left.

    Strewth but you’re a mardy so and so.

    Nobody accused you of “racism or dilettantism.”

    I asked if you opposed the proposed tightening of immigration controls and made the observation that for a serious anti-racist there could be only one answer. I didn’t say that if you gave the other answer you were a racist.

    Learn to read and then get over yourself!

  99. Jellytot on said:

    Nick Wright: Our present immigration policy, imposed on us by membership of the European Union, is essentially racist and discriminatory. People with no personal or familial ties can migrate here without restrictions while other people, many whose families came here before the UK joined the EU, cannot secure entry for their relatives.

    This chimes with conversations with people of African-Caribbean and Indian heritage in particular. They not that they have to jump through hoops to gain entry into the UK for their relatives and complain bitterly that people from Eastern Europe can just rock up without so much as a by-your-leave.

    The bitterness over this within these communities is real and tangible and explains the partial BME vote for Brexit last June.

  100. Jellytot on said:

    David Riley: And yet you think that supporting racist laws doesn’t make you a racist.

    Then, by your logic, the clear majority of the UK adult population are racists.

    Then we have a problem, eh?

    http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/uk-public-opinion-toward-immigration-overall-attitudes-and-level-of-concern/

    But I am sure the power of your political persuasion and razor sharp intellect can win most, if not all, of them around so we shouldn’t worry too much, I guess.

  101. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot,

    Nah, his boxing stuff’s shite as well. It’s all media-luvvie-softie-pretending-to-be-a-toughie, same as the rest of his rubbish.

    Karl ‘the prick’ Stewart is all for taking down Wight’s rantings.

    But Andy’s the boss around here and, as the idiot Wight knows from his own humiliating experience, no-one ‘demands’ Andy.

  102. brianthedog on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Jellytot

    Brianthedog thinks we should keep “Brexit is racism and racism is Brexit ” and “Scotland and Ireland should now secede from the Confederate States of the United Kingdom” as evidence of when the self styled guru that is John Wight ‘jumped the shark’ and decided to disappear up his own posterieur.

  103. David Riley on said:

    Jellytot: Then, by your logic, the clear majority of the UK adult population are racists.

    Then we have a problem, eh?

    http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/uk-public-opinion-toward-immigration-overall-attitudes-and-level-of-concern/

    But I am sure the power of your political persuasion and razor sharp intellect can win most, if not all, of them around so we shouldn’t worry too much, I guess.

    So that’s your comfort blanket is it? Public opinion supports immigration controls and that’s good enough for you.

    What was it Marx said – “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas?”

    Some people are content to go along with those ideas. Others, lets call them socialists, seek to challenge them as part of trying to make a better world.
    Don’t you see any responsibility for socialists

  104. Karl Stewart on said:

    brianthedog,

    Karl ‘the horrible’ thinks we should keep Wight’s 2014 classic comparison of Scottish independence supporters with “brownshirts” as a reminder of when the clown had a totally different perspective.

    And maybe also post up some of his recent pro-Trump tweets?

  105. Karl Stewart on said:

    David Riley:

    Do you believe in discriminating against non-Europeans over entry to the UK, as exists within the EU?

    Or do you believe in treating all entrants equally, regardless of origin, as is possibe now we’re outside the EU?

    I appreciate it’s difficult to argue against the prevailing ruling class ideology that holds Europeans to be superior people to non-Europeans, but some people, let’s call them socialists, believe that Eurocentric racism needs to be challenged.

  106. brianthedog on said:

    David Riley,

    “What was it Marx said – “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas?”

    Exactly and the majority of this epochs ruling class in the UK and EU are in favour of free movement of labour east to west. I can understand how a liberal or a libertarian would support this but any socialist.

    What was is that the other Marx said, “I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”

    Sound advice, particularly with some of the infantile open borders comments on here.

  107. brianthedog on said:

    David Riley,

    “What was it Marx said – “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas?”

    Exactly and the majority of this epochs ruling class in the UK and EU are in favour of free movement of labour from east to west.

    I can understand how a liberal or a libertarian would support this but not any socialist.

    What was is that the other Marx said, “I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”

    Sound advice, particularly with some of the infantile open borders comments on here.

  108. David Riley on said:

    Karl Stewart: Do you believe in discriminating against non-Europeans over entry to the UK, as exists within the EU?

    Sorry, the EU is preventing non-Europeans entering the UK is it? Is that why so many migrants are stuck out side the channel ports? Because the EU won’t let them cross.

    Or do you believe in treating all entrants equally, regardless of origin, as is possibe now we’re outside the EU?

    We’re outside the EU now? Did I fall asleep for two years?

    I appreciate it’s difficult to argue against the prevailing ruling class ideology that holds Europeans to be superior people to non-Europeans, but some people, let’s call them socialists, believe that Eurocentric racism needs to be challenged.

    So your idea of anti-racism is to extend racist treatment to all foreigners because that would be fair. Just amazing.

  109. Karl Stewart on said:

    David Riley,

    No, my idea of anti-racism is to treat all entrants to the UK equally, regardless of their nation of origin.

    It is a fact that the EU obliges member states to discriminate against non-Europeans.

    If you truly want free and unrestricted movement for all across all borders, then the logical position for you to take is to oppose the EU system and oppose the UK retaining any aspects of the EU’s border policies.

  110. “…don’t think I mentioned “Open Borders.” That’s not because it’s a concept I disagree with, but because it’s just not achievable in the foreseeable future. I might as well call for “full communism now.””

    Your words Dave.

    Over to you.

  111. David Riley on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    David Riley,

    No, my idea of anti-racism is to treat all entrants to the UK equally, regardless of their nation of origin.

    In this totally hypothetical world where all migrants are treated equally there are two possibilities, aren’t there?

    One is where we recognise that migrants aren’t the cause of the ills in society and treat them with dignity and respect.

    The other is where we accept the racist narrative that migrants cause low pay, housing shortages, the crisis in the NHS, etc, etc. So we erect barriers to their entry to the UK or the EU or whatever. We sit idly by while they drown or die of thirst or just waste away in camps. But that’s okay because we treat them all equally.

    I must admit I didn’t believe a friend when they said there was a socialist website where people were congratulating each other on their principled commitment to increased immigration controls. Well now I do and it saddens me.

    Goodbye

  112. #132 Sad to see someone so ready to attack and then when confronted with the mildest counter to their arguments just pick up the ball and walk away. Never mind David, I’m sure you’ll make lots of nice friends who won’t be so ready to challenge you.

  113. Karl Stewart on said:

    David Riley,

    Of course migrants aren’t the cause of all the ills in society.

    But no-one is saying that.

    Of course refugees must be treated with compassion and respect and shouldn’t be left to starve, drown or die.

    But no-one is saying that either.

    It seems to me that you’re just making up stuff that’s offensive, so that you can become offended.

    What’s the point of that?

    Why not, instead, read what people have actually written and agree or disagree with that? And explain why?

    Personally, I want to see the immediate and unilateral substantiation of all EU nationals who settled here before the vote.

    Maybe if the whole of the left had focussed on that for the past six months – you know, actually trying to help real people – it might have been achieved by now.

    Going forward, I’d personally like to see a system in which entrants to the UK are all treated equally, regardless of their nation of origin – why do you find the notion of equality between Europeans and non-Europeans so offensive?

    I don’t want closed borders, or quotas, or a points system. But I do think the state should retain the right to deny entry to person, or persons, who presence here could be harmful, or dangerous to society.

    You, on the other hand, would discriminate in favour of Europeans and against nom-Europeans.

    Can you explain why you think Euro-centric discrimination is a good thing?

  114. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot,

    But the irony of John Wight’s position – sorry, “David Riley’s” position – is that he doesn’t actually advocate “open borders” himself.

    Have a read of “David Riley’s” post number 77, in which he says that open borders is not achievable now or in the forseeable future and that it is something that will have to await “full communism”.

    That’s what “David Riley” argues.

    Now, if open borders is not achievable this side of “full communism” then what exactly is he advocating?

    What he’s actually advocating is continuing adherence by the UK to the racist EU border regulations, which openly discriminate against non-Europeans.

    He has no interest in justice or fairness or anti-racism. It’s the notion of equality between Europeans and non-Europeans that’s really upsetting him.

  115. Jellytot on said:

    I must admit I didn’t believe a friend when they said there was a socialist website where people were congratulating each other on their principled commitment to increased immigration controls. Well now I do and it saddens me.

    A ‘Dave Riley’ has been contributing to Left websites for decades including Louis Proyect’s and including this one.

    So his inference that he only became aware of this site recently following a friend’s tip-off is doubtful.

    That’s assuming of course that it’s the same David Riley.

  116. Jellytot on said:

    Omar,

    Why are you obessed about anti Semitism?

    You bang on about on about it a lot.

    I am always slightly suspicious about those who have a sort of jew mania and try and and dovetail every topic to jews and Israel.

    They are the flip side to the types at Harrys Place IMO who seem equally obessed with the subject.

  117. Karl Stewart on said:

    Francis King:
    Anyone know what became of “David Ellis”?

    Not certain, but there’s a “Rob Green” currently posting over on “Left Futures” who uses remarkably similar early 1980s-style Trot-speak in his comments.

  118. jock mctrousers on said:

    Karl Stewart: It’s all media-luvvie-softie-pretending-to-be-a-toughie, same as the rest of his rubbish.

    For once I agree with you about something. Even when he’s good it’s just a rehash of stuff that appeared 2 years previously on Consortium News or Moon of Alabama. Me, I think he’s Special Branch… but well, y’know…

    TO THE OPEN BORDERS LOTl; So you’d let ISIS in without a check? No you wouldn’t. So you don’t believe in scrapping border controls! So stop wasting our time!

  119. jock mctrousers on said:

    Jellytot: But people with a track record of (literally) fighting fascism and racism should not be accused of racism for supporting immigration controls.

    You ‘literally’ fought fascism, dude? Respect!

  120. jock mctrousers on said:

    Francis King:
    Anyone know what became of “David Ellis”?

    He changed his name to Arthur Bough and now has a drag act in northerm non-working men’s clubs, doing mostly Dolly Parton stuff…

  121. #144 I remember when this argument came up years ago I pointed out that if you had a position that all immigration controls are racist then there was nothing to stop you supporting the position of no to racist immigration controls, as you would be able to point out on a case by case basis why any given proposed or existing immigration rule was racist and argue against it on that basis.

    And if those who didn’t believe that immigration controls were inherently racist disagreed with you, they would have to explain why, and if you were correct that immigration controls could not be anything other than racist you would win the argument each time. (How naive was I ???)

    I then pointed out to a zealot for the no immigration controls argument that if his position won, a socialist government would have no way of stopping all sorts of reactionary terrorists, spies and undesirable criminal elements from coming into the country (I hadn’t given proper thought to the issue of how such a policy would affect economic planning) and it was explained to me quite contemptuously that this wasn’t the same thing and that security and immigration were separate questions.

    I suspect there will be a fair number of such “separate questions” to be honest!

  122. Tim Nelson on said:

    Evan P: #144 I remember when this argument came up years ago I pointed out that if you had a position that all immigration controls are racist then there was nothing to stop you supporting the position of no to racist immigration controls, as you would be able to point out on a case by case basis why any given proposed or existing immigration rule was racist and argue against it on that basis.

    And if those who didn’t believe that immigration controls were inherently racist disagreed with you, they would have to explain why, and if you were correct that immigration controls could not be anything other than racist you would win the argument each time. (How naive was I ???)

    I then pointed out to a zealot for the no immigration controls argument that if his position won, a socialist government would have no way of stopping all sorts of reactionary terrorists, spies and undesirable criminal elements from coming into the country (I hadn’t given proper thought to the issue of how such a policy would affect economic planning) and it was explained to me quite contemptuously that this wasn’t the same thing and that security and immigration were separate questions.

    I suspect there will be a fair number of such “separate questions” to be honest!

    To be fair I think they are separate issues. “Immigration controls”, as I understand, restrict people from being able to settle or work in Britain who are from other countries, i.e. people have to apply for citizenship or a visa, and can be accepted or turned down based upon certain criteria.

    Security is a different matter. Few people would argue there should be no monitoring of who comes in or out of the country, and obviously if someone was on some sort of record as a potential spy/terrorist/sex offender/Nazi/Coldplay Fan, then naturally they could be turned away/arrested/shot. Immigration controls don’t have much to do with this.

  123. George Hallam on said:

    Tim Nelson: Security is a different matter. Few people would argue there should be no monitoring of who comes in or out of the country, and obviously if someone was on some sort of record as a potential spy/terrorist/sex offender/Nazi/Coldplay Fan, then naturally they could be turned away/arrested/shot. Immigration controls don’t have much to do with this.

    I’m it is painfully obvious that you haven’t thought this through.

    Security is about protection from danger. That means countering threats, Hence the definition “the absence of threats to acquired values” (Wolfers – ‎1952).

    This has legal implications because it means that security is about what people might do rather than anything they have actually done.

    It’s all very well saying “naturally they could be turned away/arrested/shot” but what would be the legal basis for this?

    As things stand it’s immigration laws that do this. It may be imperfect but it does provide a legal framework. Abolish immigration laws and there is nothing left but the judgement of officials to deal with people who may be a threat.

    Just imagine..

    Cue music:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAYhNHhxN0A

    Cue alternative trailer:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du1-ScWU-p0

  124. Jellytot on said:

    jock mctrousers: You ‘literally’ fought fascism, dude?Respect!

    I cannot admit to criminal acts on a message board…..but fighting fascism for me did not involve handing out leaflets on the High Street or Waving Lollipop placards (although I did some of that).

    Meaner and tougher times….less “health and safety” and “safe spaces”.

    The British Movement and Combat 18 weren’t into that.

  125. Jellytot on said:

    Tim Nelson: How do current immigration controls stop ISIS “getting in”?

    I am genuinely interested in how Open Borders would work. The practicalities and dynamics of it. Just get beyond the slogan and explain to be how it would operate in Britain in 2017′

    Would you care to enlighten us?

    Like I said, this is not a trap…I genuinely want to know.

    As a supplementary question, do you think Corbyn and Labour should put support for “open borders” and “no immigration controls” in their next General Election manifesto.

  126. Jellytot: I am genuinely interested in how Open Borders would work. The practicalities and dynamics of it. Just get beyond the slogan and explain to be how it would operate in Britain in 2017′

    Would you care to enlighten us?

    Like I said, this is not a trap…I genuinely want to know.

    As a supplementary question, do you think Corbyn and Labour should put support for “open borders” and “no immigration controls” in their next General Election manifesto.

    I think I set out what I thought on this further up, but I’ll expand upon it.

    I am (queue courtroom drama style gasps) a Trotskyist (of sorts), and therefore do actually think that open borders is possible…in the context of international socialism.

    In the context of Britain 2017, even with a socialist led Labour government, I don’t see how open borders would work, because such a government would be operating in a capitalist world economy. This means that labour would remain a commodity, and like all commodities would be subject to the rules of the market. Therefore, crudely put, migration goes where the work is. I would hope that a left wing Labour government would aim for guaranteed full employment. If you guarantee full employment, and also guarantee citizenship for everyone in the world, you’re writing a blank cheque.

    It’s not so much that I am for or against Labour having an “open borders” policy, it’s just that I don’t see how it would be possible given the nature of the party and its politics.

  127. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N,

    Amongst other things immigration officers must check for evidence of:

    • adverse behaviour (using deception, false representation, fraud, forgery, nondisclosure of material facts or failure to cooperate)
    • non conduciveness, adverse character, conduct or associations (criminal history, deportation order, travel ban, exclusion, non-conducive to public good, a threat to national security)

    This means looking for “reliable evidence the person has been involved in or associated with war crimes or crimes against humanity – it is not necessary for them to have been charged or convicted

    The authority for this is provided by paragraph 320(19)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/529333/GGFR-sec2-v26.0.pdf

    While I’m flattered that you asked me, I’m not an immigration lawyer and it’s really not that difficult to find these things out for yourself.

  128. George Hallam: Amongst other things immigration officers must check for evidence of:

    • adverse behaviour (using deception, false representation, fraud, forgery, nondisclosure of material facts or failure to cooperate)
    • non conduciveness, adverse character, conduct or associations (criminal history, deportation order, travel ban, exclusion, non-conducive to public good, a threat to national security)

    This means looking for “reliable evidence the person has been involved in or associated with war crimes or crimes against humanity – it is not necessary for them to have been charged or convicted”

    The authority for this is provided by paragraph 320(19)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/529333/GGFR-sec2-v26.0.pdf

    While I’m flattered that you asked me, I’m not an immigration lawyer and it’s really not that difficult to find these things out for yourself.

    Yes, but these things can be checked for when people enter the country without the current immigration controls being in place, is my point.

  129. Jellytot on said:

    Tim N,

    Thank you for at least answering.

    So you think Open Borders are an impractical impossibility short of a world socialist government *

    My (obvious) question to you then is, if that’s the case, why raise it as a slogan or demand? Unless it is being used in a sectarian way as a stick to beat other socialists who support controls or at least see the necessity in them?

    * open borders may also be realisable in the context of a one world globalised capitalist economy….where Capitalism is no longer structured in the context of nation states?

    A recent Wikileaks revealed a speech given to Brazilian bankers by Hillary Clinton in 2015 where she prompted the idea of a united north and south america without tariffs and border controls with free movement of labour across the continents.

  130. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N: I am (queue courtroom drama style gasps) a Trotskyist (of sorts), and therefore do actually think that open borders is possible…in the context of international socialism.

    Oh, I thought you were an economist.

    A physicist, a chemist, and an economist who were stranded on a desert island with no implements and a can of food. The physicist and the chemist each devised an ingenious mechanism for getting the can open; the economist merely said, “Assume we have a can opener”

    This one is in the textbooks.
    Kenneth E. Boulding (1970) Economics as a Science

    see also
    http://www.tutor2u.net/economics/blog/the-assumptions-of-an-economist

  131. Jellytot: My question to you then is why raise it as a slogan or demand? Unless it is being used in a sectarian way as a stick to beat other socialists who support controls or at least see the necessity in them.

    Well I don’t raise it as a slogan or demand inside the Labour Party. I actually largely agree with your point, I think it’s raised by people inside the Labour Party either tactically to put some clear red water between them and the Corbyn leadership, or genuinely as a result of a naïve belief that voting in a Labour government would lead to something akin to Full Communism. Personally, I would only refer to getting rid of borders when discussing the virtues of an international socialist society. It’s not a demand I’d make on a state since I think a prerequisite for its realisation would be the abolition of the state.

    I don’t actually think the abolition of all borders is possible in the case of a globalised capitalist economy. Capitalism (at least in its current phase) needs borders as it needs to restrict the flow of labour.

  132. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N: Yes, but these things can be checked for when people enter the country without the current immigration controls being in place, is my point.

    Of course, one can imagine all sorts of changes to the existing immigration legislation that leave the security provisions in place. The point is that these provisions would be a restriction on immigration.

    So you are not arguing against immigration legislation “as such”, only its scope.

  133. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N: Jellytot: My question to you then is why raise it as a slogan or demand? Unless it is being used in a sectarian way as a stick to beat other socialists who support controls or at least see the necessity in them.

    Well I don’t raise it as a slogan or demand inside the Labour Party. I actually largely agree with your point,

    So this is just a time-waster.

  134. George Hallam: So this is just a time-waster.

    Yep. It’s an ultra left plot. While I’m distracting you with my open borders talk a group of anarchists are stealing your car.

  135. George Hallam: Of course, one can imagine all sorts of changes to the existing immigration legislation that leave the security provisions in place. The point is that these provisions would be a restriction on immigration.

    So you are not arguing against immigration legislation “as such”, only its scope.

    Yeah I suppose, although that’s just a different way to put it. When I talk about immigration controls, what I mean are laws designed to prevent migration, rather than ensure that those who are migrating aren’t a threat to those living where they’re intending to go.

  136. brianthedog on said:

    Tim N,

    “Capitalism (at least in its current phase) needs borders as it needs to restrict the flow of labour.”

    Not sure how this fits in with the neo-liberal capitalist EU has no restrictions on the flow of labour.

    Also think socialist states already have and would want to have immigrations controls and laws otherwise how are you going to have a planned economy?

    ” While I’m distracting you with my open borders talk a group of anarchists are stealing your car.”

    I really doubt a group of anarchists would know how to steal a car.

    Pointlessly smashing up a shop window thinking it was at the pinnacle of being a radical is another matter 🙂

  137. brianthedog: “Capitalism (at least in its current phase) needs borders as it needs to restrict the flow of labour.”

    Not sure how this fits in with the neo-liberal capitalist EU has no restrictions on the flow of labour.

    Free trading zones like the European Union and the kind advocated for the Americas by Clinton are actually a furtherance of the borders agenda. It creates a market for goods, either for industrialists and bankers within that zone to trade with each other, or for artificially well paid workers to purchase those goods as consumers.

    Borders are needed in order to ensure the relative wealth of the Global North at the expense of the Global South, hence the capitalists’ willingness to have free trade zones between “advanced” capitalist countries on relatively equitable terms, but restrictions on developing countries.

    brianthedog: Also think socialist states already have and would want to have immigrations controls and laws otherwise how are you going to have a planned economy?

    Well I’d argue that for a society to be truly socialist/communist the state would have withered away. By state I mean the political entity, of course there’d have to be administration (we could get sidetracked into an entirely separate discussion here. Happy to do it but giving you fair warning).

    brianthedog: I really doubt a group of anarchists would know how to steal a car.

    Fair point. They’d probably get into an argument about whether only having one person driving was hierarchical and end up driving into a tree.

  138. At the very moment that the dreams of Thatcher are about to be realised; as the Tory right takes Britain out of the EU; when Britain wins the race to the bottom; when it becomes more closely allied to the US at a time when it has it’s most right-wing President in living memory; when it whips up racism and xenophobia in order to blame their ills on the most oppressed sections of the working class. During all this, some on the left can just talk about controlling immigration and justifying it with some fantasies about what would happen if there were socialism in Britain. Your British road to socialism is nothing more than a diversion towards the edge of a cliff and it will be the working class that suffers the most from the fall. Little Englanders draped in red.

  139. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N: When I talk about immigration controls, what I mean are laws designed to prevent migration, rather than ensure that those who are migrating aren’t a threat to those living where they’re intending to go.

    That’s sounds like a distinction without a difference.

  140. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N: Yep. It’s an ultra left plot. While I’m distracting you with my open borders talk a group of anarchists are stealing your car.

    But I don’t have a car.

    And anyway it’s a leftist plot to distract us from the serious task of dismantling Trotskyist ideology.

  141. George Hallam: That’s sounds like a distinction without a difference

    Not especially. Current immigration controls aren’t about security, they’re about restricting migration from particular parts of the world.

    Frankly, the security argument, is just trotted out to justify immigration controls, it’s not the real reason for them. It also has the benefit of encouraging the idea that foreigners are dangerous outsiders intent on doing harm. I’m not saying you’re doing that, but it’s certainly what the Right does.

  142. brianthedog on said:

    Gavin:
    At the verymoment that the dreams of Thatcher are about to be realised; as the Tory right takes Britain out of the EU; when Britain wins the race to the bottom; when it becomes more closely allied to the US at a time when it has it’s most right-wing President in living memory; when it whips up racism and xenophobia in order to blame their ills on the most oppressed sections of the working class. During all this, some on the left can just talk about controlling immigration and justifying it with some fantasies about what would happen if there were socialism in Britain. Your British road to socialism is nothing more than a diversion towards the edge of a cliff and it will be the working class that suffers the most from the fall. Little Englanders draped in red.

    Don’t let history get in the way of your yarn as the only other time there was a referendum on the EEC (EU) Thacther was an ardent remainer and was even photographed with a jaunty jumper with flags of the members states.

    Or the reality that the majority of the working class in the UK voted to leave the EU due to free movement of labour and the inability to have a democratic say about it or sovereign control.

    But hey ho, you keep preaching to the proles about how racist they are and how they should stop being so reactionary and love open borders as it looks like your on to a winner.

  143. George Hallam on said:

    Tim N: Current immigration controls aren’t about security, they’re about restricting migration from particular parts of the world.

    In which case they’re not doing a very good job.

    Table 1: Latest Migration Statistics, Year Ending June 2016

    All Citizenships British EU Non-EU
    Immigration 650,000 77,000 284,000 289,000
    Emigration 315,000 127,000 95,000 93,000
    Net Migr 335,000 -49,000 189,000 196,000

    https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/statistics-net-migration-statistics

    Tim N: Frankly, the security argument, is just trotted out to justify immigration controls, it’s not the real reason for them. It also has the benefit of encouraging the idea that foreigners are dangerous outsiders intent on doing harm.

    The section titled ‘Grounds on which entry clearance or leave to enter the United Kingdom is to be refused’

    seems to be centred on concerns about a) establishing who the applicant really is; b) if they are likely to be a threat; c) unpaid bills.

    (1) the fact that entry is being sought for a purpose not covered by these Rules;

    (2) the fact that the person seeking entry to the United Kingdom:
    (a) is currently the subject of a deportation order; or
    (b) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 4 years; or
    (c) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 12 months but less than 4 years, unless a period of 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence; or
    (d) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of less than 12 months, unless a period of 5 years has passed since the end of the sentence.
    Where this paragraph applies, unless refusal would be contrary to the Human Rights Convention or the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, it will only be in exceptional circumstances that the public interest in maintaining refusal will be outweighed by compelling factors.

    (2A) failure, if required to do so, by a person seeking entry to the United Kingdom to provide a criminal record certificate from the relevant authority in any country in which they have been resident for 12 months or more, in the past 10 years. Such evidence will not normally be required where:
    i. The applicant is aged 17 years old or under at the date the application is made; or
    ii. It is not reasonably practicable for the applicant to obtain such evidence from the relevant authorities.

    (3) failure by the person seeking entry to the United Kingdom to produce to the Immigration Officer a valid national passport or other document satisfactorily establishing his identity and nationality save that the document does not need to establish nationality where it was issued by the national authority of a state of which the person is not a national and the person’s statelessness or other status prevents the person from obtaining a document satisfactorily establishing the person’s nationality;

    (4) failure to satisfy the Immigration Officer, in the case of a person arriving in the United Kingdom or seeking entry through the Channel Tunnel with the intention of entering any other part of the common travel area, that he is acceptable to the immigration authorities there;

    (5) failure, in the case of a visa national, to produce to the Immigration Officer a passport or other identity document endorsed with a valid and current United Kingdom entry clearance issued for the purpose for which entry is sought;

    (6) where the Secretary of State has personally directed that the exclusion of a person from the United Kingdom is conducive to the public good;

    (7) save in relation to a person settled in the United Kingdom or where the Immigration Officer is satisfied that there are strong compassionate reasons justifying admission, confirmation from the Medical Inspector that, for medical reasons, it is undesirable to admit a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom.

    (7A) where false representations have been made or false documents or information have been submitted (whether or not material to the application, and whether or not to the applicant’s knowledge), or material facts have not been disclosed, in relation to the application or in order to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party required in support of the application.

    (7B) where the applicant has previously breached the UK’s immigration laws (and was 18 or over at the time of his most recent breach)by:
    (a) Overstaying;
    (b) breaching a condition attached to his leave;
    (c) being an Illegal Entrant;
    (d) using Deception in an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain, or in order to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party required in support of the application (whether successful or not);
    unless the applicant:
    (i) Overstayed for 90 days or less and left the UK voluntarily, not at the expense (directly or indirectly) of the Secretary of State;
    (ii) used Deception in an application for entry clearance more than 10 years ago;
    (iii) left the UK voluntarily, not at the expense (directly or indirectly) of the Secretary of State, more than 12 months ago;
    (iv) left the UK voluntarily, at the expense (directly or indirectly) of the Secretary of State, more than 2 years ago; and the date the person left the UK was no more than 6 months after the date on which the person was given notice of liability for removal, or no more than 6 months after the date on which the person no longer had a pending appeal or administrative review; whichever is the later;
    (v) left the UK voluntarily, at the expense (directly or indirectly) of the Secretary of State, more than 5 years ago;
    (vi) was removed or deported from the UK more than 10 years ago or;
    (vii) left or was removed from the UK as a condition of a caution issued in accordance with section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 more than 5 years ago.
    Where more than one breach of the UK’s immigration laws has occurred, only the breach which leads to the longest period of absence from the UK will be relevant under this paragraph.

    (7D) failure, without providing a reasonable explanation, to comply with a request made on behalf of the Entry Clearance Officer to attend for interview.

    Grounds on which entry clearance or leave to enter the United Kingdom should normally be refused
    (8) failure by a person arriving in the United Kingdom to furnish the Immigration Officer with such information as may be required for the purpose of deciding whether he requires leave to enter and, if so, whether and on what terms leave should be given;

    (8A) where the person seeking leave is outside the United Kingdom, failure by him to supply any information, documents, copy documents or medical report requested by an Immigration Officer;

    (9) failure by a person seeking leave to enter as a returning resident to satisfy the Immigration Officer that he meets the requirements of paragraph 18 of these Rules, or that he seeks leave to enter for the same purpose as that for which his earlier leave was granted;

    (10) production by the person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom of a national passport or travel document issued by a territorial entity or authority which is not recognised by Her Majesty’s Government as a state or is not dealt with as a government by them, or which does not accept valid United Kingdom passports for the purpose of its own immigration control; or a passport or travel document which does not comply with international passport practice;

    (11) where the applicant has previously contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the Rules by:
    (i) overstaying; or
    (ii) breaching a condition attached to his leave; or
    (iii) being an illegal entrant; or
    (iv) using deception in an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain or in order to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party required in support of the application (whether successful or not); and there are other aggravating circumstances, such as absconding, not meeting temporary admission/reporting restrictions or bail conditions, using an assumed identity or multiple identities, switching nationality, making frivolous applications or not complying with the re-documentation process.
    (12) DELETED

    (13) failure, except by a person eligible for admission to the United Kingdom for settlement, to satisfy the Immigration Officer that he will be admitted to another country after a stay in the United Kingdom;

    (14) refusal by a sponsor of a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom to give, if requested to do so, an undertaking in writing to be responsible for that person’s maintenance and accommodation for the period of any leave granted;

    (16) failure, in the case of a child under the age of 18 years seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom otherwise than in conjunction with an application made by his parent(s) or legal guardian to provide the Immigration Officer, if required to do so, with written consent to the application from his parent(s) or legal guardian; save that the requirement as to written consent does not apply in the case of a child seeking admission to the United Kingdom as an asylum seeker;

    (17) save in relation to a person settled in the United Kingdom, refusal to undergo a medical examination when required to do so by the Immigration Officer;

    (18) DELETED

    (18A) within the 12 months prior to the date on which the application is decided, the person has been convicted of or admitted an offence for which they received a non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record;

    (18B) in the view of the Secretary of State:
    (a) the person’s offending has caused serious harm; or
    (b) the person is a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law.
    (19) The immigration officer deems the exclusion of the person from the United Kingdom to be conducive to the public good. For example, because the person’s conduct (including convictions which do not fall within paragraph 320(2)), character, associations, or other reasons, make it undesirable to grant them leave to enter.

    (20) failure by a person seeking entry into the United Kingdom to comply with a requirement relating to the provision of physical data to which he is subject by regulations made under section 126 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

    (21) DELETED

    (22) where one or more relevant NHS body has notified the Secretary of State that the person seeking entry or leave to enter has failed to pay a charge or charges with a total value of at least £500 in accordance with the relevant NHS regulations on charges to overseas visitors.

    (23) where the applicant has failed to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office.

  144. Karl Stewart on said:

    Gavin,

    The “dreams of Thatcher” what are you on about. She was the single most important architect of the EU single market.

    And she was the most vigorous campaigner for a ‘Yes’ vote in the original referendum. She even had a special jumper made for the campaign.

    She’ll be turning in her grave.

  145. Karl Stewart on said:

    Gavin,

    So Tories are Tories – what’s new?

    We need to unite behind a Labour Brexit plan and fight for that.

    And let’s hope Corbyn stands firm and sacks any Shadow Cabinet Members who vote against Article 50.

  146. Jellytot on said:

    Gavin:
    Karl Stewart,

    Perhaps, but the Tories’ vision of Britain after Brexit is Thatcherism on steroids.

    Somehow I don’t think they’ll be tacking Left.

    Yep….it will be globalised neo-liberalism on steroids and making Britain even more “attractive” for business (which essentially means reversing the falling rate of profit and guess who takes the hit?)

    Any resistance to this will be diverted by whipping up even more xenophobia and racism….Brexit and a Trump presidency gives them a perfect canvas on which to do this.

    Cruel Britannia in other words.

    Get ready for a rough few years.

  147. Jellytot:
    Omar,

    Why are you obessed about anti Semitism?

    You bang on about on about it a lot.

    I am always slightly suspicious about those who have a sort of jew mania and try and and dovetail every topic to jews and Israel.

    They are the flip side to the types at Harrys Place IMO who seem equally obessed with the subject.

    Ha-ha, right on cue.
    Considering it was you that was banging on about it’s alleged prevalence within Labour last year, I was wondering if you had any comments re: recent developments ?

  148. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Hi Comrades,

    I am just wondering if any of the drawing-room circle here were out tonight on the Anti-Trump demonstrations somewhere in Britain organised by the liberal popular-front organisation called ‘Stand Up to Racism’. I am sure it would be far more advantages to have a discussion with a far wider group of ordinary people – workers, youth and a radical middle class – than the ivory-tower refined group that is on here. I have come back from the Edinburgh Anti-Trump demonstration where over 500 people marched to the American Embassy. I gave out socialist leaflets, sold the ‘SOCIALIST’ newspaper and discussed socialist ideas that the working class in America and Britain should not rely on capitalist politicians to stop Trump. But instead to look at the history of the women’s rights and Race Relations and Civil Rights movement where it is always ordinary working people getting organised and building mass movements with a left working class social programme that changes history. I also explained that socialist based around the SOCIALIST PARTY SCOTLAND’s sister party in America called SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE has a socialist councillor in Seattle – Kshama Sawant – who has been to the fore in successful movements of workers and youth for $15 an hour, Black Lives Matter and winning victories on rent control and investment in affordable housing in Seattle. In fact I was explaining tonight that if Bernie Sanders had accepted the political advice given by Kshama and SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE to continue to run as an independent candidate on the basis of continuing his political revolution against the billionaire class almost certainly it would have meant Sanders would have undercut Trumps support and Clinton would have won; and it would have laid the basis for the creation of a mass third political party of the working class and youth throughout America to fight the capitalist system. I did that tonight rather than pontificate on the drawing circle of the internet. I am doing all again tomorrow when a Women’s and supporters demonstration is taken place outside the American Embassy in support of the Women’s march in Washington on Saturday.
    Fraternally, Jimmy Haddow, international socialist

  149. Jellytot on said:

    Omar,

    I genuinely have no opinion

    It’s not something I have looked to deeply into. So any comment would be from a position of near ignorance.

    While I have enormous sympathy for the Palestinian people sometimes you’d think they were the only oppressed people on earth.

    The Shan people of Eastern Myanmar are horribly oppressed. Where’s the marches and acres of newsprint for them? Or is there a league table of oppression and the Palestinians are the “Chelsea’s” because of the religion of the oppressors??

  150. Petter Matthews on said:

    brianthedog: However the issue of EU free movement and fair immigration needs to be dealt with a matter of urgency if we want to win back working class voters as many have stopped listening and don’t trust the ‘left’ and Labour.

    There isn’t much between us on this issue, but I want Corbyn to do more than respond to the demands of working people, I want him to persuade them that radical transformation is both possible and in their interests. On this issue it means more than calling for ‘reasonable management of migration’, it means pointing to the source of falling wages and the increasing exploitation of workers in the EU and Tory Party.

    I hated everything that Thatcher stood for, but I also remember at the time wishing that Labour leaders were willing to fight for our class in the way that she fought for hers. Jeremy has that fight in him, but he must, like her, shift public opinion, not follow it.

  151. Petter Matthews on said:

    Karl Stewart:

    Don’t know why you’re quoting a Thatcherite on a socialist website?

    This is absurd. Presumably you consider Marx a sell-out for using the work of classical political economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo as sources for Das Kapital?

  152. Jellytot,

    No, it is because Britain directly facilitated, and continues to facilitate, their oppression . As British socialists, it makes sense to do what we can to remedy it , no ? Did you sign the petition yet ?

  153. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Laugh Out Loud and blah blah blah; where the writings and thoughts of the Socialist Unityers on the internet only will lead the working class to oblivion………………..Laugh Out Loud. I am now off to get washed and dressed have some breakfast and away to Edinburgh to join the next march against Trump and oh sell Socialist newspapers and give out socialist leaflets and talk socialism with the working class.

  154. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: I cannot admit to criminal acts on a message board…..but fighting fascism for me did not involve handing out leaflets on the High Street or Waving Lollipop placards (although I did some of that).

    Meaner and tougher times….less “health and safety” and “safe spaces”.

    The British Movement and Combat 18 weren’t into that.

    🙂

  155. John Grimshaw on said:

    George Hallam: Trotsky’s theoretical pronouncements were just a series of post hoc rationalisations of policies he had already decided on.

    This suggests that the key to understanding his insistence that the Soviet Union remained a ‘workers’ state’ after the supposted ‘Thermidor’ lies in what Trotsky wanted to do.

    Trotsky’s actions indicate that he envisaged a reversal of fortune that would see him invited back to the Soviet Union on his own terms. This would be difficult to justify if the Soviet Union had ceased to be a workers’ state.

    This often happens with people who have large impression of themselves. I suspect this was Trotsky’s weakness.

  156. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    Jellytot,

    But the irony of John Wight’s position – sorry, “David Riley’s” position – is that he doesn’t actually advocate “open borders” himself.

    Have a read of “David Riley’s” post number 77, in which he says that open borders is not achievable now or in the forseeable future and that it is something that will have to await “full communism”.

    That’s what “David Riley” argues.

    Now, if open borders is not achievable this side of “full communism” then what exactly is he advocating?

    What he’s actually advocating is continuing adherence by the UK to the racist EU border regulations, which openly discriminate against non-Europeans.

    He has no interest in justice or fairness or anti-racism. It’s the notion of equality between Europeans and non-Europeans that’s really upsetting him.

    So your real beef is actually with the EU.

  157. John Grimshaw on said:

    Back in the real world. There Are two by-elections coming up soon. One in Copeland and one in Stoke. What happens to Corbyn if both are lost, it’s not implausible. Copeland could go Tory and Stoke, where the leader of UKIP is standing, could switch to Nuttall.

  158. Karl Stewart on said:

    Petter Matthews,

    Yes, good point Petter. I should have made my own point more clearly.

    I think it’s important, when referencing or citing such sources, to introduce the ‘quotee’ to the reader.

    For example:

    “…capitalist and neo-liberal economists, such as Tom O’Leary, argue that…etc…”

  159. Karl Stewart on said:

    John Grimshaw: So your real beef is actually with the EU.

    Yes indeed, I think that leaving the EU will open up the real possibility of socialist advance and also of treating all would-be entrants to the UK on an equal basis.

    Of course none of this is inevitable, but the possibility is opened up in a way that it was not before.

  160. Brianthedog on said:

    Petter Matthews: There isn’t much between us on this issue, but I want Corbyn to do more than respond to the demands of working people, I want him to persuade them that radical transformation is both possible and in their interests. On this issue it means more than calling for ‘reasonable management of migration’, it means pointing to the source of falling wages and the increasing exploitation of workers in the EU and Tory Party.

    I hated everything that Thatcher stood for, but I also remember at the time wishing that Labour leaders were willing to fight for our class in the way that she fought for hers. Jeremy has that fight in him, but he must, like her, shift public opinion, not follow it.

    The problem for much of Labour and the left that when it comes to EU free movement the idea of shifting public opinion was to patronisingly repeat and repeat that it’s great and anyhow nothing could be done about it.

    Diana Abbott only a few weeks ago was still trotting out this line.

    Outside of this liberal bubble large parts of the working class stopped listening years ago and there is huge credibility gap and lack of trust.

    This means spouting more of the same isn’t going to move many people and a bit of contrition and understanding and yes following what many working class people want on immigration is in order.

    Only then the other messages about workers, trade unions and collective bargaining rights won’t get so drowned out.

  161. Petter Matthews on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    #191

    Yes, fair point. In this case I had never heard of Tom O’Leary before seeing the article in question. A quick google search didn’t make me any wiser.

  162. brianthedog on said:

    Jellytot:
    Omar,

    I genuinely have no opinion

    It’s not something I have looked to deeply into. So any comment would be from a position of near ignorance.

    While I have enormous sympathy for the Palestinian people sometimes you’d think they were the only oppressed people on earth.

    The Shan people of Eastern Myanmar are horribly oppressed. Where’s the marches and acres of newsprint for them? Or is there a league table of oppression and the Palestinians are the “Chelsea’s” because of the religion of the oppressors??

    Jellytot its not like the Myanmar government, embassy and secret service are setting up, funding and supporting front organisations in this country to target students, the labour leader, the labour party and senior Tory MPs who dare criticise their country’s behaviour.

    They are not trying to ‘take down’ anyone in the UK or smear them as vile anti-Buddhists and racists.

    It not obsessive to point this out just extremely worrying.

  163. Petter Matthews on said:

    Brianthedog: This means spouting more of the same isn’t going to move many people and a bit of contrition and understanding and yes following what many working class people want on immigration is in order.

    You seem to be going at least some way towards agreeing with those who argue that Corbyn should adopt a populist approach to winning power. Is that correct?

  164. Evan P on said:

    Jimmy Haddow:
    Hi Comrades,

    I am just wondering if any of the drawing-room circle here were out tonight on the Anti-Trump demonstrations somewhere in Britain organised by the liberal popular-front organisation called ‘Stand Up to Racism’. I am sure it would be far more advantages to have a discussion with a far wider group of ordinary people – workers, youth and a radical middle class –than the ivory-tower refined group that is on here. I have come back from the Edinburgh Anti-Trump demonstration where over 500 people marched to the American Embassy.I gave out socialist leaflets, sold the ‘SOCIALIST’ newspaper and discussed socialist ideas that the working class in America and Britain should not rely on capitalist politicians to stop Trump. But insteadto look at the history of the women’s rights and Race Relations andCivil Rights movement where it is always ordinary working people getting organised and building mass movements with a left working class social programme that changes history. I also explained that socialist based around the SOCIALIST PARTY SCOTLAND’s sister party in America called SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE has a socialist councillor in Seattle – Kshama Sawant – who has been to the fore in successful movements of workers and youth for $15 an hour, Black Lives Matter and winning victories on rent control and investment in affordable housing in Seattle. In fact I was explaining tonight that if Bernie Sanders had accepted the political advice given by Kshama and SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE to continue to run as an independent candidate on the basis of continuing his political revolution against the billionaire class almost certainly itwould have meant Sanders would have undercut Trumps support and Clinton would have won; and it would have laid the basis for the creation of a mass third political party of the working class and youth throughout America to fight the capitalist system.I did that tonight rather than pontificate on the drawing circle of the internet. I am doing all again tomorrow when a Women’s and supporters demonstration is taken place outside the American Embassy in support of the Women’s march in Washington on Saturday.
    Fraternally, Jimmy Haddow, international socialist

    Jimmy you really are a dick.

    I was on the local anti-Trump protest yesterday evening with the “liberal popular frontists”, as were a number of your Manchester comrades I noticed. I wonder why they were giving credence to such a petty bourgeois event.

    And like you, as well as engaging in activity I am now on the internet.

    Surprised you have the time.

    I also wonder why you bother given the way you clearly feel about the people who run it and most of the people on here.

    It really limits my sympathy for you when you get censored.

    And just because people don’t bang on all the time about what they do politically doesn’t mean they aren’t active outside the internet.

  165. Evan P on said:

    brianthedog: Jellytot its not like the Myanmar government, embassy and secret service are setting up, funding and supporting front organisations in this country to target students, the labour leader, the labour party and senior Tory MPs who dare criticise their country’s behaviour.

    They are not trying to ‘take down’ anyone in the UK or smear them as vile anti-Buddhists and racists.

    It not obsessive to point this out just extremely worrying.

    I have to agree.

    And nor does the government of Myanmar get huge amount of direct foreign aid from our main ally in the world to build its armed forces in order to attack the people it’s oppressing.

  166. Brianthedog on said:

    Petter Matthews: You seem to be going at least some way towards agreeing with those who argue that Corbyn should adopt a populist approach to winning power. Is that correct?

    …… well if being popular amongst the working class and having policies that the majority will for vote for and allows you to form a government is akin to populism then yes. I’d like to also add that it’s not beyond the wit of man of woman for these policies to be progressive for working class citizens of the UK.

  167. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Follow up to post 180: Saturday, 16:30
    Just back from Edinburgh where there has been a tremendous Anti-Trump demonstration at the American Embassy with – I would say – over two thousand people on it. it was brilliant and SOCIALIST PARTY SCOTLAND members once again intervened with the SOCIALIST newspaper – we sold out – and socialist leaflets and many discussions on how our sister party – SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE – is attempting to build a political party of the 99%. I must say it has been a great couple of days politically.

  168. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 197 – Evan P — Lol, not a dick but a troll and having funny. Political Adrenalin going through my brain. Certainly, it was not aimed at you because during the time the demos were on plus travel time home you were not on Socialist Unity contributing to whatever they are discussing. I know you are a serious socialist – but not of my political persuasion – and are active within the movement. But there are others on here that are just debaters and on the circles of socialist activity who need a good shot up the arse. Anyway I was at the Edinburgh demo today and it was great and a tremendous refreshing antidote to the internet warriors; again political adrenalin going through my brain and it has not been copied and pasted from a SOCIALIST PARTY article. LOL. Comradely, Jimmy

  169. Jellytot on said:

    Jimmy Haddow:
    Laugh out Loud……..and oh sell Socialist newspapers and give out socialist leaflets and talk socialism with the working class.

    A wasted morning then ?

    P.S. Young people, so I’m told, use the acronym LOL.

  170. brianthedog on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    “Lol, not a dick but a troll and having funny. Political Adrenalin going through my brain.”

    Do you have any self awareness of what you say and how its comes across, as you sound like an idiot?

    I pity any member of the public who you decide to latch onto at a demonstration.

    A sad bore comes to mind.

  171. Jellytot on said:

    brianthedog:
    Jimmy Haddow,

    I pity any member of the public who you decide to latch onto at a demonstration.

    A sad bore comes to mind.

    I made the fatal error of telling a SWP member at a Marxism in the mid 90’s that I was not a member and this rat faced little twat proceeded to follow me around ULU haranguing me to join. Really fucking annoying !! I was just there for the minor, more obscure, meetings in the smaller classrooms….which used to be quite good and you could learn stuff.

    Next year I didn’t make the same mistake…When asked again I lied and said yes I was. I was promptly handed a pile of Papers to sell. I went outside, dumped them all in a rubbish bin and went back to the meetings.

  172. John Grimshaw on said:

    I went outside, dumped them all in a rubbish bin and went back to the meetings.

    That’s not very environmentally aware though is it.

  173. unclealbert on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: SOCIALIST PARTY SCOTLAND members once again intervened with the SOCIALIST newspaper – we sold out –

    That’s fantastic!

    Surely it is only a matter of days before Sturgeon and the SNP are swept from power.

    Do you have details of Taafe’s impending arrival at Holyrood?

    Totally understand if, due to crowd control difficulties likely to arise from mass working class support, such details are restricted to the S.P. elite.

  174. George Hallam on said:

    John Grimshaw: This often happens with people who have large impression of themselves. I suspect this was Trotsky’s weakness.

    There is plenty of evidence to support this view.

    Obviously it was a serious weakness that vitiated all his theoretical work. Perversely, it has also served as a defence mechanism.

    It’s easy to have a productive discussion about Aquinas

  175. George Hallam on said:

    (continued)

    It’s easy to have a productive discussion about Aquinas or Anslem without referring to their characters. Trotskism isn’t like that. In order to understand all the twists and turns you have to recognise that a lot of these were driven by Trotsky’s personal agenda.

    This makes any thoroughgoing critique sound as though it’s just a personal attack. According there are always people who regard this as bad form and rush in to defend the man, even though they may have serious reservations. For example, Evan P #7.

  176. Jimmy Haddow: Hi Comrades,

    I am just wondering if any of the drawing-room circle here were out tonight on the Anti-Trump demonstrations somewhere in Britain organised by the liberal popular-front organisation called ‘Stand Up to Racism’. I am sure it would be far more advantages to have a discussion with a far wider group of ordinary people – workers, youth and a radical middle class – than the ivory-tower refined group that is on here. I have come back from the Edinburgh Anti-Trump demonstration where over 500 people marched to the American Embassy. I gave out socialist leaflets, sold the ‘SOCIALIST’ newspaper and discussed socialist ideas that the working class in America and Britain should not rely on capitalist politicians to stop Trump. But instead to look at the history of the women’s rights and Race Relations and Civil Rights movement where it is always ordinary working people getting organised and building mass movements with a left working class social programme that changes history. I also explained that socialist based around the SOCIALIST PARTY SCOTLAND’s sister party in America called SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE has a socialist councillor in Seattle – Kshama Sawant – who has been to the fore in successful movements of workers and youth for $15 an hour, Black Lives Matter and winning victories on rent control and investment in affordable housing in Seattle. In fact I was explaining tonight that if Bernie Sanders had accepted the political advice given by Kshama and SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE to continue to run as an independent candidate on the basis of continuing his political revolution against the billionaire class almost certainly it would have meant Sanders would have undercut Trumps support and Clinton would have won; and it would have laid the basis for the creation of a mass third political party of the working class and youth throughout America to fight the capitalist system. I did that tonight rather than pontificate on the drawing circle of the internet. I am doing all again tomorrow when a Women’s and supporters demonstration is taken place outside the American Embassy in support of the Women’s march in Washington on Saturday.
    Fraternally, Jimmy Haddow, international socialis

    Lefties constantly banging on about all the great work they’re doing amongst the working class is reminiscent of hearing teenage boys talking about how much sex they’re getting. Pro-tip – it would be more believable if you toned it down a notch or two. Sometimes less is more.

  177. George Hallam: rush in to defend the man, even though they may have serious reservations. For example, Evan P #7.

    I don’t think I was defending him, merely quoting what he said, as I would have done in the case of anyone else.

    I did also point out that he may not have meant it.

    One of the main reasons for the appeal of trotskyism in its orthodox form was historically that it allowed people to take an ostensibly revolutionary and pro soviet position while rejecting the actions of the soviet leadership at any specific times, and particularly during the Stalin period.

    And one of the main genuinely political reasons (as opposed to personality issues between rival gurus) for the splits within orthodox trotskyism was the tension between a thoroughly negative approach to the leadership and nomenklatura and an ultimate defence of the USSR.

    In some cases this tension ended in a rejection in practice or in theory of the latter, while others took ultimately pro-Soviet positions.

    The difference between what became the AWL and the then Militant over the Soviet presence in Afghanistan was a clear example of the above.

    The main divide in my opinion over the question now is whether people believe historically that, (a) the 1917 revolution was a good thing, (b) that the existence of the USSR was overall a positive thing for its people and for the world as a whole, (c) that its demise was a huge historical setback.

    Those who agree on the above are broadly on the right side, those who don’t are not. Those who are unclear need to become clearer.

  178. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P: I don’t think I was defending him

    I’m sure you didn’t; which just shows how deeply Trotskism is embedded in your subconscious.

    Evan P: merely quoting what he said

    Yes, Trotsky has form when it comes to making false or misleading statements. As I’ve pointed out, that’s one of the problems in discussing him and his ideas.

    Evan P: I did also point out that he may not have meant it.

    This is a bit weak. If he was insincere then his words were just a cover and this need to be pointed out.
    So why state this a possibility when there are lots of indications that he really didn’t mean it?

    And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

    For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

    So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

    1 Corinthians 14: 7-9

    Evan P: I would have done in the case of anyone else.

    So you say, but one would have to be a real hard-core pedant to do that for anyone.

    Evan P: One of the main reasons for the appeal of trotskyism in its orthodox form was historically that it allowed people to take an ostensibly revolutionary and pro soviet position while rejecting the actions of the soviet leadership at any specific times, and particularly during the Stalin period.

    Yes, I agree in part. Certainly, it was used that way during the Cold War.

    However, I think you would be hard put to find evidence of Trotskist groups ever having a had “pro-Soviet” positions even in words and even less in their actions. This is not just a matter of taking an attitude the things that happened before 1953 but on contemporary events.

    Evan P: And one of the main genuinely political reasons (as opposed to personality issues between rival gurus) for the splits within orthodox trotskyism was the tension between a thoroughly negative approach to the leadership and nomenklatura and an ultimate defence of the USSR.

    I agree that personality issues between rival gurus was a cause of endless trouble. It’s worth pointing out that Trotsky himself was an ideal role model for a sect/cult leader.

    I disagree about tension being due to “an ultimate defence of the USSR”. As I indicated above this never impinged on practical activity. In my view one of the main genuinely political reasons for the splits within orthodox Trotskyism was the difficulty of squaring Trotsky’s various pronouncements with the real world.

    Evan P: In some cases this tension ended in a rejection in practice or in theory of the latter, while others took ultimately pro-Soviet positions.

    The difference between what became the AWL and the then Militant over the Soviet presence in Afghanistan was a clear example of the above.

    A few years ago I worked with the Socialist Party on some local campaigns. I understand from post-activity pub discussions with them that.:

    a) Militant opposed the Soviet intervention/invasion (call it what you will) of Afghanistan in December 1979.

    b) Subsequently Ted Grant suggested that, though they were wrong to go in, a hasty Soviet withdraw might be disastrous. (This smacks more of applied common sense than any ‘ultimate’ sympathy of the USSR.)

    c) This highly qualified acceptance of the Soviet presence in Afghanistan was controversial, with most of the opposition to it coming from those who went on to become the leaders of the Socialist Party.

    d) None of this ever fed through into any practical activity.

  179. Evan P on said:

    George Hallam: As I indicated above this never impinged on practical activity.

    Such as taking part in mass activity in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament? (Some trots do/did, some don’t/ didn’t).

    George Hallam: Militant opposed the Soviet intervention/invasion (call it what you will) of Afghanistan in December 1979.

    As did many pro-Soviet people who were not trotskyists. The decision to intervene was not taken lightly by the Soviet leadership.

    There were many trotskyists who not only demanded Soviet withdrawal but supported the military opposition to the Red Army.

    On the other hand a small number (particularly the Sparts) who welcomed the military intervention and agitated on demonstrations in support of the Red Army.

    Both lots based their positions on partial readings of Trotsky and others.

    And I agree that there “…was the difficulty of squaring Trotsky’s various pronouncements with the real world.”

    Subsequently Ted Grant suggested that, though they were wrong to go in, a hasty Soviet withdraw might be disastrous. (This smacks more of applied common sense than any ‘ultimate’ sympathy of the USSR.)

    c) This highly qualified acceptance of the Soviet presence in Afghanistan was controversial, with most of the opposition to it coming from those who went on to become the leaders of the Socialist Party.

    …which is why I referred to Militant, not the Socialist Policy. Yes it was controversial but was the majority position. That was one of the reasons I didn’t leave Militant far sooner than I did.

    There was also a similar debate within the USFI.

    I think you would be hard put to find evidence of Trotskyist groups ever having a had “pro-Soviet” positions even in words and even less in their actions.

    Well some of the intra-trot rows during the Korean and Vietnam wars might refute that. For example the IMG weren’t referred to as the “MIGs ” for no reason.

    It also depends clearly on your definition of “pro-Soviet”. If you argue that public hostility to the actually existing leadership of the USSR is incompatible with such a definition then clearly no group or individual in any remote sense trotskyist could be so described.

    I’m sure you didn’t; which just shows how deeply Trotskism is embedded in your subconscious.

    An expert on psychology as well! Is there no end to your specialities?

    This is a bit weak. If he was insincere then his words were just a cover and this need to be pointed out.

    So why state this a possibility when there are lots of indications that he really didn’t mean it?

    You’ll need to clarify that a bit more simply. It’s above my head.

    By the way, is there any reason why you feel the need so often to back up your points by reference to the King James Bible?

    It’s great literature but I don’t see how it gives greater weight to your pronouncements.

    Maybe if I had bothered to keep up my study of psychology I might be able to answer that question for you.

  180. brianthedog on said:

    George Hallam,

    This is all very historical and interesting …………………….. Zzzzzz

    Only a suggestion but can Socialist Unity have a seperate thread for dead bearded revolutionaries of either persuasion so the thread on here can try and stay a little on topic or at least in the right decade or century.

  181. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P: Such as taking part in mass activity in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament?

    Not a very good example, I’m afraid. CND was seen as an opportunity for paper sales and recruitment. Unlike STW, there were no members of trotskist groups in the leadership of CND (as far as I know).

    Evan P: There were many trotskyists who not only demanded Soviet withdrawal but supported the military opposition to the Red Army.

    Nice use of non-emotive language, “military opposition to the Red Army” is so much more neutral than terms like ‘terrorists’ or ‘head-choppers’.

    By the way, the term ‘Red Army’ was dropped in 1946.

    Evan P: On the other hand a small number (particularly the Sparts) who welcomed the military intervention and agitated on demonstrations in support of the Red Army.

    Yes, there was the Spartacist League* and.. could you help me out on this one?

    *Curious group the Spartacist League, very different in all sorts of ways. I regard them as the exception that proves the rule. I believe there’s a small support group for former members.

    Evan P: Both lots based their positions on partial readings of Trotsky and others.

    I think we agree that, give the nature of Trotsky’s writings, this is easy enough .

    Evan P:[GH] I think you would be hard put to find evidence of Trotskyist groups ever having a had “pro-Soviet” positions even in words and even less in their actions.

    Well some of the intra-trot rows during the Korean and Vietnam wars might refute that. For example the IMG weren’t referred to as the “MIGs ” for no reason.

    I’m not sure that “intra-trot rows” count as ‘action’.

    As regards the IMG, I’ve always assumed that the appellation “MIGs” was adopted with the intention of annoying its members.

    Evan P: It also depends clearly on your definition of “pro-Soviet”. If you argue that public hostility to the actually existing leadership of the USSR is incompatible with such a definition then clearly no group or individual in any remote sense trotskyist could be so described.

    So how does this sit with your earlier post? You said:

    Evan P: The main divide in my opinion over the question now is whether people believe historically that, (a) .. (b) that the existence of the USSR was overall a positive thing for its people and for the world as a whole, (c) that its demise was a huge historical setback.

    This needs to be put a wider context.

    Not long after the end of the war public hostility to the USSR and all its works was a salient feature of British politics. Even though the armed forces spent most of their time fighting colonial wars, everybody was indoctrinated with the idea that Russia was the main enemy. Training and equipment was designed with the objective of fighting a war with Russia.

    This hostility to the USSR wasn’t confined to the armed forces it was actively promoted and reinforced by the education system. For example, for decades ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ were set books for GCE English. In history it was routine for the Soviet Union to be equated with Nazi Germany.

    You didn’t have to be ‘marxist’ or ‘revolutionary’ or even ‘left-wing’ to see that this was nonsense and dangerous nonsense at that. More importantly for the current discussion you didn’t need to be “pro-Soviet” in the sense of admiring the “the actually existing leadership of the USSR”.

    So what were the Trotskists doing while all this was going on? I think it’s fair to say that rather than combating this wave of anti-Soviet propaganda they were piggy-backing on it.** Not difficult since it was Trotsky himself who first made the link between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Also, in some ways Trotsky was one of the founding fathers of cold-war Soviet Studies.

    So I’m not complaining that Trotskists didn’t support the Soviet leadership, my point is that far from “defending the USSR” they uncritically supported a campaign against Soviet society as a whole. Further, this was easy to do because it was fully supported by Trotsky’s own writings.

    **Can one piggy-back on a wave? Perhaps not, but I haven’t the time to think of a more suitable metaphor.

    By the way

    Evan P: By the way, is there any reason why you feel the need so often to back up your points by reference to the King James Bible?

    It’s great literature but I don’t see how it gives greater weight to your pronouncements.

    Passages and phrases pop into my head and I always like to give proper references.
    And yes, it’s great literature and I prefer it to the current fashion of quoting films and song lyrics.

  182. George Hallam on said:

    brianthedog: This is all very historical and interesting …………………….. Zzzzzz

    To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.

    Cicero

  183. George Hallam on said:

    brianthedog: Only a suggestion but can Socialist Unity have a seperate thread for dead bearded revolutionaries of either persuasion so the thread on here can try and stay a little on topic or at least in the right decade or century.

    This thread is titled ‘Corbyn’s vision’.

    If you keep in touch with current developments then you’ll know that Trotsky and trotskism are entirely relevant.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/15/jeremy-corbyn-called-for-complete-rehabilitation-of-leon-trotsky/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/14/labour-entryism-row-john-mcdonnell-attended-celebration-of-leon/

  184. brianthedog on said:

    George Hallam,

    If you keep in touch with current developments then you’ll know that Trotsky and trotskism are entirely relevant.

    So articles from the Torygraph in August 2016 are current developments?

    Do you get your news via carrier pigeon?

    You are still very boring and off topic.

  185. brianthedog on said:

    George Hallam,

    “If you keep in touch with current developments then you’ll know that Trotsky and trotskism are entirely relevant.”

    So articles from The Torygraph in August 2016 are current developments.

    Do you get your news via a lost carrier pigeon.

    You are still boring and off topic.

  186. Jellytot on said:

    Omar:
    George Hallam,

    Count me as an admirer of your historical knowledge, sir, particularly where the USSR is concerned.

    I always find George’s posts interesting, well written and eductional but while I have been reading him for years and I am still not entirely sure of his actual politics. Although I think is Left wing (of some persuasion). That said, it doesn’t detract from his contributions.

    I agree with George about why Trotskyism has been relatively successful in the West.

    It allows a veneer of radicalism while accommodating itself to the Right but its anti-Communism. No wonder so many Trotskyites became Neo-cons. It’s not that great a leap.

    It is appealing to people who are essentially liberals and it’s a safe form of politics.

    It is always oppositional. It does not need to defend any national government presently in power and is therefore not politically accountable. It’s politics free of responsibility.

    It’s no wonder it’s so attractive to students. It’s an infantile disorder.

    I have known middle aged Trotskyites (invariably men). They never seem to grow up, either politically or personally.

  187. Evan P on said:

    Jellytot: It is always oppositional. It does not need to defend any national government presently in power and is therefore not politically accountable. It’s politics free of responsibility.

    What you describe is a very common feature of trotskyism in various forms.

    However, to give some exceptions:

    1) In the late 40s and early 50s the largest Trotskyist international formation organised work brigades to go to Yugoslavia in support of Tito’s government. Clearly the motivation was the fact that Tito had broken with the USSR and Stalin, but it happened nevertheless.

    2) In the 50s and 60s many of the same people in France, Belgium and elsewhere helped smuggle weapons and other assistance to the FLN in Algeria, one of their leaders going to prison as a result. He later became an advisor to the FLN government (albeit that he broke from the Fourth International as a result, many years later to rejoin with his small group of followers).

    3) The same international grouping singled out Cuba as being a “workers’ state” that was not “deformed” or “degenerate”. Their main leader, a leading Marxist economist, went to Cuba and gave advice to Che while he was economics minister. They have been involved in solidarity with Cuba in various countries where they operate (although not in Britain for many years I have to say which is one of the reasons I broke from them many years ago).

    4) In the 80s members the same international grouping played a significant role in several countries, including Britain, in supporting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, including helping organising town twinning and solidarity visits.

    5) The international grouping represented by Socialist Appeal in Britain gave strong support to the government of Venezuela, and I believe their main leader and Chavez had a certain amount of personal contact.

    6) Of course in more controversial circumstances there is the grouping that imploded in the 80s as a result of serious allegations of serial rape against its guru, which allegedly received significant material assistance due to their support for the governments of Iraq, Iran and Libya.

    None of which makes the various dogmas of trotskyism any more correct or the general point you make any less true. And in fact is clearly the exception rather than the rule.

  188. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P,

    Yes. Agree. I did know that Trots did some good work around Algeria. A lot of PCF members died too.

    Google the 8 February 1962 Charonne Metro Station massacre.

  189. Evan P,

    One should also remember respected “Trotskyist” theorists like Ernest Mandel, whose Marxist Economic Theory is a classic and who demolished the IS/SWP theory of “state capitalism” in the late 60s/early ’70s.

  190. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 226 —– 5) The international grouping represented by Socialist Appeal in Britain gave strong support to the government of Venezuela, and I believe their main leader and Chavez had a certain amount of personal contact.

    You are talking about the IMT and Alan Woods here who in my opinion had a sycophantic approach to Chávez and the Venezuelan revolution. Anyway here is an alternative analysis to the IMT’s – aka, Alan Wood – prognosis of the revolution by a member of the CWI International Secretariat called “Revolutionary Socialists and the Venezuelan revolution” which I think you will find interesting.
    http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/1266

  191. Omar: One should also remember respected “Trotskyist” theorists like Ernest Mandel, whose Marxist Economic Theory is a classic

    Yes, that’s who I was referring to as the marxist economist who went to Cuba.

  192. brianthedog on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    i’m not against discussion about any dead revolutionaries bearded, moustached or clean shaven.

    I just think it should be on topic and if not a separate opened ended thread where those so inclined can get into the finer details of who did what and said what a hundred years ago on a windy and cold Thursday evening to their hearts content.

  193. #231 It’s hardly unusual for threads on here to go off topic, it’s almost a tradition.

    And while I frequently get annoyed with it myself at the end of the day I’m not an admin so I can’t set up a new thread everytime this happens.

    After all these are essentially conversations rather than meetings with agenda items.

    Anyway, one bit of good news which I’ll put on the trade union thread.

  194. brianthedog on said:

    Evan P,

    True and although I don’t want to come across as Stalinist 🙂 there are limits and it would be a shame for this to become a dead bearded reenactment debating club.

    Also have you thought of approaching Andy and becoming part of admin as I am sure you are more than able to put up interesting and topical posts.

    And I promise to not mention anything about anyone being vertically challenged and thus avoid being banned.

  195. Evan P on said:

    #283 I wouldn’t presume to put myself forward for such a position, particularly as it would require me to spend more time online than I do already, which I admit is already far too much ☺

  196. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P,

    This blog needs a serious shot of new blood though. The politics are fine…..just needs a make over and more articles.

    Understand though that Andy is busy with other commitments.

  197. Karl Stewart on said:

    brianthedog: …i’m not against discussion about any dead revolutionaries bearded, moustached or clean shaven…

    Who’s the clean-shaven one Brian?

  198. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    Ted,

    Didn’t he have a goatee?

    Lol !

    If we’re roping in the Chinese then most of their revolutionaries were clean shaven.

    P.S. The Bavarian Soviet Republic was interesting (albeit tragic)…..letters to Lenin about stolen keys to ministerial toilets and suggestions of declarations of war on Switzerland.

  199. brianthedog on said:

    If I had known what I would have started by suggesting clean shaven revolutionaries…………

  200. Jellytot on said:

    brianthedog,

    Was gonna pitch in Thomas Sankara (“Africa’s Che”) * but he had a ‘tash.

    * Not to be confused with Nelson Mandela, Karl Stewart !! 🙂

  201. To be fair, most of the leading counterrevolutionaries, crowned heads of Europe and the like 100 years ago were also bearded. If you want beardless revolutionaries, you could try Rosa Luxemburg, Aleksandra Kollontai, Mariya Spiridonova…

  202. Andy Newman: You would be very welcome

    Thanks Andy. However I don’t think being cited in divorce proceedings would be the best possible publicity for this blog!

  203. I thought I would mention that all the various trot leaders I referred to above- Mandel, Raptis, Grant and Healy were clean shaven.

    Fascinating stuff eh?

  204. Evan P: I thought I would mention that all the various trot leaders I referred to above- Mandel, Raptis, Grant and Healy were clean shaven.

    Similarly, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill all smoked.

    Hitler and Mussolini were non smokers.

    Draw you own conclusions.

  205. Karl Stewart on said:

    Going back to the subject of Jeremy Corbyn, and his vision, I was really puzzled by his strategy in this week’s PMQs.

    I just don’t get why he didn’t focus on the Trident misfire. It seems the Prime Minister has got off the hook over this and I can’t understand how this has happened.

    She hasn’t been forced to answer to Parliament for this at all, just sending the Defence Secretary to the Commons earlier in the week.

    Why did the Leader of the Opposition not press her on it?

  206. Karl Stewart: Going back to the subject of Jeremy Corbyn, and his vision, I was really puzzled by his strategy in this week’s PMQs.

    I just don’t get why he didn’t focus on the Trident misfire. It seems the Prime Minister has got off the hook over this and I can’t understand how this has happened.

    She hasn’t been forced to answer to Parliament for this at all, just sending the Defence Secretary to the Commons earlier in the week.

    Why did the Leader of the Opposition not press her on it?

    I was wondering about that. Might be because Trident is such a difficult subject between him and the Labour right.

  207. Karl Stewart on said:

    Tim N,

    Yes it’s a very difficult issue within the Labour Party.

    But even the most ardent pro-nuclear deterrent person doesn’t want an unreliable system.

    He could have asked her to find out while she’s in the USA, what happened to this missile, and made the point that the American seem to know more about it than the UK Government does.

    And, given that it ‘s been suggested that this malfunction might have been the fault of the US guidance and directional system used, then, if that’s so it could have been the basis for a strong point to be made about whether this deterrent is actually ‘independent’.

    And then reference could have been made to Mrs May’s stated willingness to kill some 100,000 people by firing Trident. Maybe the question could ask whether this would be aimed at 100,000 citizens of Florida.

    It just seems to me that a real opportunity to put the PM on the spot over this crucially important issue – a literal life or death subject if ever there was one – was badly missed here.

  208. Jellytot on said:

    Tim N: Might be because Trident is such a difficult subject between him and the Labour right.

    Everything is a difficult subject with the Labour Right – these people should not even be in the Labour Party – They should join the Liberals. It’s a shame they cannot be purged. But Labour isn’t like that.

    PMQ’s is not a forum in which Jeremy shines. His strengths lay elsewhere.

    Outside the Westminster Bubble they don’t matter much anyway.

  209. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot: Outside the Westminster Bubble they don’t matter much anyway.

    But our Prime Minister has not been questioned in Parliament at all over this extremely serious matter.

    She told the Commons without hesitation that “Yes” she would willingly fire Trident, even at the risk of killing 100,000 people, and did not tell the Commons that there had been a Trident malfunction just weeks before.

    And no-one in Parliament has questioned her on this.

  210. Petter Matthews on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    How did we arrive at the point where the majority of people seem to think that the politician that proclaims a willingness to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people is ‘reasonable’, whilst the one that says he would never to do so is ‘dangerous’? John Pilger begins to provides an answer when he says that: “As in the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the regularity of a metronome.” Tick, tick, tick . . .

  211. Jellytot on said:

    Petter Matthews:
    Karl Stewart,

    How did we arrive at the point…..

    By a long but none the less identifiable process.

    Someone once described this period as “the 1930’s in slow motion”.

    I thought that silly at first but am getting more and more attracted to this definition.

    We haven’t landed up with goose stepping fascism (although there is a possibility that may come later) but with an ugly right wing populism.

    Caused (in the West) not by a depression of world war but by the economic and social catastrophe engendered by globalised neo-liberalism.

  212. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    Going back to the subject of Jeremy Corbyn, and his vision, I was really puzzled by his strategy in this week’s PMQs.

    I just don’t get why he didn’t focus on the Trident misfire. It seems the Prime Minister has got off the hook over this and I can’t understand how this has happened.

    She hasn’t been forced to answer to Parliament for this at all, just sending the Defence Secretary to the Commons earlier in the week.

    Why did the Leader of the Opposition not press her on it?

    He should’ve obviously. Could it be something to do with the unions representing workers in the nuclear industry?

  213. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot:
    anticapitalista,

    Should be limit the term Revolutionary to those who have led or at least participated in revolutions?

    What did Healy and Cliff lead exactly?

    Well I take your point. I would say Healy was a criminal and Cliff was a leader of an unorthodox Trotskyist group that didn’t succeed in getting to a revolution. But that being said neither did the BCP. I think we have to give consideration to the objective and the subjective.

  214. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot:
    anticapitalista,

    Should be limit the term Revolutionary to those who have led or at least participated in revolutions?

    What did Healy and Cliff lead exactly?

    Trotsky. Was the most successful revolutionary leader, no?

  215. Karl Stewart on said:

    Corbyn’s absolutely right to impose a three-line whip on all Labour MPs to back the Parliamentary Motion to trigger Article 50.

    A lot of nonsense has been said and written about the forthcoming Article 50 vote, but all it does i to formally endorse the referendum decision.

    I can’t understand any basis on which any MP could vote against it.

    It was Parliament that endorse the decision to hold the referendum, and now Parliament is being asked to formally endorse the result of that referendum.

    Any Labour MPs who defy the whip in this vote should have the whip withdrawn.

  216. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw: Trotsky. Was the most successful revolutionary leader, no?

    The Russian Revolution* was defended ablely by Trotsky in its early stages but in the end he fell foul of the rules, party culture and processes he in part put into place and defended. He simply lost out to a leader who knew the politics and culture of the Communist Party better than him. Sorry….Big Boys Rules. It should be remembered too that Trotsky was a late arrival into the Party.

    Anyway October wouldn’t have happened without Lenin….it would have happened without Trotsky. Even Cliff conceded this.

    And if we see Revolution as a long term process and not just a revolutionary act, Stalin was a great revolutionary who transformed Russia into a war machine that saved us all from the darkness that was fascism.

    In terms of today and the future, Mao will be seen as the greatest Revolutionary in terms of the epoch changing process he put into place.

    The rise of China as a World Power has changed everything.

    * Despite being called a revolution, October 1917 actually has aspects of a Coup d’tat….what % of the Russian population was actively involved?….it was tiny. The actual mass participatory Revolution came later in the transformation of society.

  217. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw: Well I take your point. I would say Healy was a criminal and Cliff was a leader of an unorthodox Trotskyist group that didn’t succeed in getting to a revolution. But that being said neither did the BCP. I think we have to give consideration to the objective and the subjective.

    I have said many times, being a revolutionary in Britain is a pointless waste of time. Revolution is alien to British political, cultural and social mores. To claim to be one is posturing.

    I have a maxim for revolutionaries:

    “Convince the British that Revolution will not adversely affect house prices and you may be onto something !”

    🙂

  218. Andy Newman on said:

    Jellytot: And if we see Revolution as a long term process and not just a revolutionary act

    Over the last year I have read biographies of both Keir Hardie and Will Thorne. They both shared similar childhoods, starting work at around 8 years old, in a society that offered no health or social security, and only the most rudimentary education.

    By the time Will Thorne quit parliament, he and his comrades had transformed Britain, brought in social security, education, social housing, the start of the NHS, built strong trade unions, extended collective bargaining to embrace most workers, and fought a war that successfully smashed fascism

    These men were the real British revolutionaries

  219. Andy Newman on said:

    Jellytot: Convince the British that Revolution will not adversely affect house prices and you may be onto something !”

    Though if a revolution would bring live test cricket back onto the BBC it would seem a much more attractive option

  220. George Hallam on said:

    Omar #223

    Jellytot #224

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    Evan P, #225

    Thank you for saying this.

    Evan P, #225

    Thank you for this nicely balanced summary.

    I’m always* willing to learn and you’re clearly very well informed on this topic.

    * perhaps I should have said ‘sometimes’.

  221. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P: If he [Trotsky] was insincere then his words were just a cover and this need to be pointed out.

    So why state this a possibility when there are lots of indications that he really didn’t mean it?

    You’ll need to clarify that a bit more simply. It’s above my head.

    Have a look at the ’80 years ago’ column in today’s Morning Star, you will find some research that casts light on this.

    Of course the ‘Star is thirty years late in reporting this research, but better late than never.

  222. #279 Interesting.

    When did you become aware of it just out of interest? And do you know of anywhere it’s published?

  223. Petter Matthews on said:

    Jellytot: I have said many times, being a revolutionary in Britain is a pointless waste of time. Revolution is alien to British political, cultural and social mores. To claim to be one is posturing.

    So, how do you explain 1640?

  224. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: Though if a revolution would bring live test cricket back onto the BBC it would seem a much more attractive option

    I knew you were middle class. Have you got an MCC tie?

  225. John Grimshaw on said:

    Petter Matthews: So, how do you explain 1640?

    1660 was a result for reaction but the revolution had created a situation where you could not go back again….the divine right for example.

  226. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P: When did you become aware of it just out of interest? And do you know of anywhere it’s published?

    I became aware independent evidence of the formation of the Right-Left bloc about 25 years ago.
    As far as the diplomatic papers Graham Stephenson mentioned that would be much more recently, ten years ago?
    Previous to that I knew from reading Alfred Sohn-Rethal’s ‘Economy and Class Structure of German Fascism’ that the Nazis, as opposed to the Reichwehr, had contacts with oppositional elements (possibly nationalists) since 1934.
    My interest in military history had already led me to conclude that Tukhachevsky had been plotting a coup.
    Getty ‘Origins of the Great Purges’ (1985) pp 119-121
    Pierre Broué’s published his in Bloc of The Oppositions in French in 1980. An English translation is on-line at https://www.marxists.org/archive/broue/1980/01/bloc.html
    Broué says that the bloc was short-lived, but since the Trotskt archive was weeded he has no evidence for that.

  227. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw: I knew you were middle class. Have you got an MCC tie?

    How is cricket middle class? I used to bunk off school and go to Lords and watch middlesex mid week. The Oval would be full of Working Class fans from South London.

  228. George Hallam on said:

    Evan P,

    There is evidence in the German and Czech archives that the Germans believed that a coup d’état was about to take place in Russia in 1937. This belief was so strong that it led Hitler to halt an important foreign policy initiative.

    In April 1936 Albrecht Haushofer, an assistant to Ribbentrop, floated the idea of a German-Czech nonaggression. With Ribbentrop’s authorization (and Hitler’s approval) Graf zuTrauttmansdorff made an informal approach to Mastny the Czech minister to Berlin in August 1936. Talks on concrete issues stated in October. The next month the German negotiators had discussions with Beneš and Kamil Krofta, the Czech foreign minister.

    Then in February 1937 Hitler suddenly decided to halt the negotiation Trauttmannsdorff, told the Czech minister Mastny that the real reason for this hesitation was information Hitler had received from Russia, that “in the near future there may be a possibility for an imminent reversal in Moscow, the fall of Stalin and Litvinov and the imposition of a military dictatorship.

    ANM-M Mastn’y’ Czechoslovak Legation, Berlin, for the President, 9 February 1937 quoted in Lukes, Igor ‘Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of EdvardBeneš in the 1930s‘ (1996) Page 97

    At about the same time the German Foreign Minister, von Neurath, in a letter to the head of the Reichbank had dismissed the ideas of holding trade talks with the Russian government. However he added a caveat:

    It would be another thing if matters in Russia should develop in the direction of an absolute despotism propped up by the military. In this event we should not let the opportunity pass us by to involve ourselves in Russia again.”

    Neurath letter to Schacht 11 February 1937 quoted in Grover Furr ‘New Light On Old Stories About Marshal Tukhachevskii : Some Documents Reconsidered’ 1986 https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/tukh.html#FOURTEEN Original source: N(ational) A(rchives) Series T-120 Roll No. 1057, pp. 429-296-7

    There is also the Carsten document.

    This is a report from 1937 found in the Vienna Bureau of the Austrian Chancellor by the British/German academic Frederick L. Carsten in 1974. It details high-level rumours circulating in Munich in early 1937.

    These allege that members of the German General Staff, including the Chief of Staff, von Fritsch, were trying to form an alliance with the Soviet military. Further, that the German military was following the “power struggle presently taking place in Russia,” in hopes that Stalin would be overthrown in favour of a military dictatorship.

    Quoted in Furr ‘New Light On Old Stories About Marshal Tukhachevskii’

  229. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: How is cricket middle class? I used to bunk off school and go to Lords and watch middlesex mid week. The Oval would be full of Working Class fans from South London.

    I think you miss the fact that I was being a little ironic. The players of my preferred football team until the 1960s used also to play cricket in Lancashire in the Summer.

  230. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: The Russian Revolution* was defended ablely by Trotsky in its early stages but in the end he fell foul of the rules, party culture and processes he in part put into place and defended. He simply lost out to a leader who knew the politics and culture of the Communist Party better than him. Sorry….Big Boys Rules. It should be remembered too that Trotsky was a late arrival into the Party.

    Well…My own view is that the Revolution deviated from the “correct” course after the 10th Bolshevik party conference in 1921 and also after the suppression of the Kronstadt uprising. Trotsky of course was complicit in the latter but did unsuccessfully oppose the banning of factions from the party which Lenin supported. I agree that Tortsky’s previous history worked against him. It is certainly one reason why he was so resented by the likes of Stalin etc. However Trotsky’s position vis the Mensheviks was not that he always agreed with them but rather he wanted to hold together the European revolutionary left movement…even when it became obvious that sections of it were no longer revolutionary. He also disagreed with for a long time with the “Russian centrism” of the Bolsheviks.

  231. Jellytot on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Way off topic I know (as threads on here tend to be nowadays) but you have an interest in American politics.

    What is your opinion of Huey Long? Was he left or right in the context of US politics of the 30’s?

    Would be interested to get your opinion.

    Nick Griffin mentioned him favourably in relation to Trump the other day on Twitter and it set me thinking. The Griffin nod struck me as odd because the Klan hated Long supposedly.

  232. John Grimshaw: I think you miss the fact that I was being a little ironic. The players of my preferred football team until the 1960s used also to play cricket in Lancashire in the Summer.

    They should have stuck to that ☺

  233. Jellytot: What is your opinion of Huey Long? Was he left or right in the context of US politics of the 30’s?

    It is a very good question, and one that I have pondered myself without really coming up with an answer.

    It is worth considering the wider context, that FDR and the new deal rested on the foundation of Southern Dixiecrat votes, and my understanding is that Huey Long was actually considerably more liberal on racial issue than most Southern whites of his era. So it would be harsh – given the free pass that FDR is given on his accomodation with segregationists – to judge Long by more contemporary standards regarding race.

    My instinct is that Long was from the left, but it is easy to see how his legacy can be co-opted by the right.

  234. Evan P on said:

    Also on US history I found a book in the library the other day that intrigued me on the subject of an anti-Confederacy “liberated area” established in Jones County Mississippi by Confederate deserters and others during the Civil War. Anyone know anything about that?

    I’d never heard of it before.

  235. Andy Newman on said:

    Evan P: liberated area” established in Jones County Mississippi by Confederate deserters and others during the Civil War. Anyone know anything about that?

    I thoroughly recommend Bruce Levine’s “Fall of the House of Dixie”, for an excellent discussion on this, the same phenomenon happened in Georgia, and North Carolina.

    The more famous example is the revolt in East Tennessee, which always stayed loyal to the union, but which for geographic reasons was harder to liberate than west Virginia.

    The cruel twist of fate is that Andrew Johnson was selected as Lincoln’s vice president because he was a Tennessee union loyalist, but was a useless appeaser of slavery, which complicated reconstruction

  236. Jellytot on said:

    Andy Newman:
    My instinct is that Long was from the left, but it is easy to see how his legacy can be co-opted by the right.

    These echo my thoughts on Long, his praise of Father Coughlin not withstanding. He didn’t do his legacy any favours there.

  237. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman,

    I thoroughly recommend “The promised Land” by Nicholas lemann which is not about exactly the same subject but does relate in a kind of way.

    “He’s leaving on that midnight train to Georgia. I’d rather live in his world etc.”

  238. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: Way off topic I know (as threads on here tend to be nowadays) but you have an interest in American politics.

    What is Jeremy Corbyn’s vision?

  239. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: Are you having an existential crisis, Jimmy, vis-à-vis your own life?

    Isn’t the use of the word “existential” evidence of an over-educated middle class background? 🙂

  240. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw: Isn’t the use of the word “existential” evidence of an over-educated middle class background?

    No….it’s evidence of a library card.

  241. John Grimshaw on said:

    Labour will build a better Britain out of Brexit.

    That will start with the refinancing of the NHS and the creation of a more equal country, in which power and wealth is more fairly shared amongst our communities. A genuinely inclusive society with strong and peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

    But Labour looks genuinely divided now about the EU issue, more so than the Tories.

  242. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    Jellytot,

    You’ve got…..a library….card?

    I had a well used and “dog eared” one in the days of Working Class self improvement.

    “Libraries gave us Power…..” Manic Street Preachers – Design for Life.

  243. jock mctrousers on said:

    Jellytot: No….it’s evidence of a library card.

    No, it could be just a Sunday colour supplement ‘cultural acquisition’ sort of thingy…..

    John Grimshaw: “He’s leaving on that midnight train to Georgia. I’d rather live in his world etc.”

    Now that’s a cultural acquisition I can wholly endorse. – Gladys Knight and the Pips ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ ( “he dreamed one day he’d be a star – a superstar but he didn’t get far – ” )She did , around the same time (early 70s) also a magnificent version of ‘the Way We Were’. Check it out,.

  244. Jellytot on said:

    jock mctrousers,

    Incredibly underrated singer was Gladys. 10 times the singer that Diana Ross was….never got the plaudits that Ross did (although Remember me is a great performance).

    Saw Gladys in Vegas in 04….fantastic evening.

  245. Evan P on said:

    #294 I believe he described himself as to the left of the Democrat Party, but explicitly rejected socialism.

    Aside from the modern day Griffin approval (but bear in mind that he is very much on the Strasserite side of fascism) there is the fact that Long was preparing to run a joint campaign with Father Coghlan, with whom he described himself as having no differences.

  246. Evan P: Long was preparing to run a joint campaign with Father Coghlan, with whom he described himself as having no differences.

    Politics is often more complicated than it seems at first. George Washington was the commander of an army fighting for liberty, but was accompanied throughout the whole war by his slave, Billy Lee.

    Martin Luther King originally opposed Kennedy becoming president because he didn’t think that the USA should ever have a Catholic in the White House

  247. Evan P on said:

    Andy N
    ewman
    : Politics is often more complicated than it seems at first. George Washington was the commander of an army fighting for liberty, but was accompanied throughout the whole war by his slave, Billy Lee.

    Martin Luther King originally opposed Kennedy becoming president because he didn’t think that the USA should ever have a Catholic in the White House

    And unlike Malcolm X he supported Israel in the 1967 war.

  248. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P: And unlike Malcolm X he supported Israel in the 1967 war.

    Different times. There was a socialist Kibbutz movement and Israel had more supporters on the Western Left than it does today.

    There is a tale (true) of an anti-Vietnam war protest in New York in 1967 that was cut short because most of the attendees left to demonstrate support for Israel outside the UN building.

    MLK wouldn’t have stood out as being particularly odd being doing so.

  249. Jellytot,

    I didn’t suggest that he would.

    Because he died the other day I had a read through Kevin Halpin’s autobiography.

    One very poignant passage is where he describes how the Communist vote declined significantly in Jewish areas in the East End when it became known that the CP opposed Israel in the 1967 war.

    At the time it was really difficult to argue against Israel in progressive circles and for what on those days were apparently self evident reasons.

    How proud am I to be a member of a party that stood for principled workng class international politics and refused to bend to narrow communalism, notwithstanding that the communalism in question in part reflected one of the worst crimes ever committed against humanity.

    Down with anti-Semitism, down with zionism!

  250. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: army fighting for liberty,

    Fighting for Liberty from the British crown yes but for liberty for men, I wonder. Howard Zinn had it right I think. With the exception of Franklin maybe.

  251. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman: George Washington was the commander of an army fighting for liberty, but was accompanied throughout the whole war by his slave, Billy Lee.

    Another of his slaves – also named Washington after his owner – ran away and fought for the British, who promised manumission to slaves who left rebel owners.

    In ‘Liberty’s Exiles’, Maya Jasanoff writes in detail about the enthusiasm this generated among many black people in North America, and also of how so many of them were then betrayed by the craven British capitulation.

    Washington (white, slave-owning Washington) was no fighter for liberty. He led a slave-owners’ rebellion, which was sparked primarily by British restriction on westward expansion and secondarily by fears for the future of slavery following the Mansfield Judgement.

  252. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    At the end of the 18th Century Black loyalists went up to Nova Scotia in what is now Canada. Their descendants form a vibrant and dynamic community in Halifax NS to this day.

  253. Karl Stewart on said:

    The third stanza of Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner,” expressing fury at the recruitment of black slaves by the British…

    “And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a Country should leave us no more?
    Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

  254. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    While we shouldn’t be falling out over an event which occured 240 years ago, and while the issue of slavery undoubtedly complicates matters, there can be no doubt that the American Revolution, like the French, was genuinely progressive and revolutionary in the context of the times.

    OK…you don’t like Washington (who was a conservative force)….then go with Thomas Paine.

  255. Jellytot: Washington (who was a conservative force)

    But was he? Washington ensured that there would be constitutional government by opposing a coup by the Continental Army at Newburgh in March 1783, and through the settlement reached between the Army and Congress that all officers would receive 5 years pay, Washington ensured that there was a Federal budget, and therefore national government. The result of which was that the slave states were incorporated into a Federal nation which also included those committed to free labour. If the 13 states had each remained independent, then slavery would have endured much longer.

  256. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot: there can be no doubt that the American Revolution, like the French, was genuinely progressive and revolutionary in the context of the times.

    Leaving aside the French revolution, and focussing on the foundation of the USA, I do appreciate that the opinion that it was progressive has traditionally been and is still to a large extent the prevailing consensus on the left.

    But I take a dissenting view on this question.

    Take for example slavery. Of course the British cynically used the black slaves to increase their military manpower and betrayed them later, but it is a fact that slavery increased enormously across the USA in the years after 1783, while it decreased sharply across the British Empire over the same period and was abolished altogether some 60 years before Gettysburg.

    Had the British decided to continue direct rule over all 18 of the North American colonies, would slaves have been better off or worse off?

    Similarly, might the 1763 Proclamation Line have protected native Americans from the fate that befell them? Would they have been better off had the British decided to maintain direct rule?

    Certainly the ending of British rule benefitted Washington and the class he represented, but were slave owners and plantation owners a progressive class?

    Similarly, with the restriction

  257. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot: While we shouldn’t be falling out over an event which occured 240 years ago

    I don’t see it as a ‘falling out’ but an interesting historical debate – a subject I’m very interested in anyway – and one that has a great deal of relevance today I think.

    The USA’s foundation myth is a major plank of its contemporary self-confidence, self-righteousness, and arrogance – and I think it’s important to try to separate historical fact from legend.

  258. Evan P on said:

    #327 The majority of the British ruling class supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. While that doesn’t in an of itself give a definitive answer to your question it surely is a bit of an indicator. No?

  259. Karl Stewart on said:

    Evan P,

    You’ve gone 90-odd years forward Evan mate. The period I was referring to was the 1770s, when the grandfathers (or great-grandfathers) of the Confederate leaders were defending slavery against a perceived threat to it from the British, and fighting for the right to expand onto more of the native American’s land.

    But if you’re asking me if I think the British ruling class at the time was in any way progressive, then no of course I don’t think that.

  260. Evan P on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    Evan P,

    You’ve gone 90-odd years forward Evan mate. The period I was referring to was the 1770s, when the grandfathers (or great-grandfathers) of the Confederate leaders were defending slavery against a perceived threat to it from the British, and fighting for the right to expand onto more of the native American’s land.

    But if you’re asking me if I think the British ruling class at the time was in any way progressive, then no of course I don’t think that.

    What’s 90 years? Different ruling class?

  261. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    I think your knee jerk anti Americanism is clouding your historical and political judgement.

    Any attempt to de-legitimise either the present US government or the US as a nation really does come across as a fairly pointless parlour game.

    Yes, the US is supremely arrogant but superpowers tend to be. The British and French certainly were at the height of their imperial power.

    The Native Americans would have suffered the same rapacious land grab whoever would have prevailed in the American revolution.

    Although I will concede that the pace and murderousness of it would have probably been less under the British (a British North America would almost certainly not have had the same scale of European immigration and associated massive drive westwards….it would have happened but would have been slower and less intense) . It’s true that Indian fighters did use Western Canada as a sanctuary in the late 19th century from US cavalry assaults but the condition of Indian tribes in Canada today is pretty much the same as their southern counterparts. I.e. fairly desperate….at least in the Northern States (Pine Ridge for instance)

  262. Karl Stewart on said:

    Evan P: What’s 90 years? Different ruling class?

    90 years is the difference between the 1860s and the 1770s Evan.

    And no, not a different ruling class. The Virginian slave-owning plantation class were dominant both within the Confederacy and among the ‘Founding Fathers’.

  263. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot,

    So you conceded that the genocide of the indiginoues peoples accelerated in what became the USA as a consequence of the success of the Washington-led rebellion, and we know as a fact that slavery also expanded and increased as well, yet orthodox left-wing theory teaches that this was a historically progressive development.

    Can you see why I’m struggling with this orthodoxy?

  264. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot:
    Karl Stewart,

    At the end of the 18th Century Black loyalists went up to Nova Scotia in what is now Canada. Their descendants form a vibrant and dynamic community in Halifax NS to this day.

    I think I’m right in saying that some of then went to West Africa?

  265. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart: and fighting for the right to expand onto more of the native American’s land.

    And in fact Native American warriors supported the Brits largely for exactly the same reasons you have identified.

  266. John Grimshaw on said:

    By the way Karl. I looked it up. Franklin didn’t condemn slavery until very late in his life and did himself own slaves.

  267. John Grimshaw on said:

    Evan P:
    #327 The majority of the British ruling class supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. While that doesn’t in an of itself give a definitive answer to your question it surely is a bit of an indicator. No?

    Yes they did. But in the British Empire slavery had already been abolished. Rather they supported the Confedracy because they feared the rising power of the USA.

  268. John Grimshaw: But not in the USA surely?

    No, but Karl was claiming that slavery was abolished in the British Empire 60 years before it was in the USA. Of course, it was not abolished in Brazil until much later.

    The abolition of slavery shows the undialectical approach Karl takes.

    The USA invested the blood and treasure to smash slavery, the British Empire would never have been able to break the power of the slave economy.

    The paradox is that independence from Britain could only be gained by building a European style army, which George Washington was able to do building on the experience of his Virginia Militia ( slave state). Independence of the 13 colonies was only gained by alliance between the slave states and the free states. But in so doing it created the United States, and empowered the growth of Yankee capitalism, and a state that was ultimately powerful enough to smash slavery.

  269. John Grimshaw: Rather they supported the Confedracy because they feared the rising power of the USA.

    No, the southern economy of cotton, sugar and tobacco was bound tightly with Manchester, Glasgow and other British cities. Simple economic interest kept British interest engaged with the south.

    Also, the fact that the USA did not abolish slavery in Maryland, Delaware, Kansas, Illinois or Washington DC at the beginning of the war meant that the European powers saw no principled distinction. Furthermore, the seeming inability of the USA to subjugate the rebel states caused pragmatic diplomats to sit on the fence.

  270. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    My mistake in writing 60 years, rather than 30 years – fair point.

    But slavery across the British Empire was in long-term decline from the latter part of the 18th century, while it was on the increase in the USA.

    The victory of Washington the slave owner, led to the geographical and numerical expansion of slavery in the years that followed.

    Slavery in the USA continued to increase right up until the actual outbreak of the 1861-65 conflict.

    The Northern states didn’t go to war to end slavery, but to prevent its expansion into the western territories freshly stolen from the native Americans.

    Lincoln, like the British 90 years before, issued his Gettysburg proclamation in order to boost military manpower and disrupt his enemy’s home front.

    After the period of reconstruction following the North’s victory, black American were quickly abandoned by northern political leaders and relegated back to second-class status.

  271. Karl Stewart: The Northern states didn’t go to war to end slavery, but to prevent its expansion into the western territories freshly stolen from the native Americans.

    Your judgement stands boldly at variance of black Americans, who saw the war as entirely about slavery. When Charleston was captured in 1865 it was the glorious 55th Massachusetts regiment, a regiment of black soldiers, many of them former slaves who marched in first.

    It was the all black Twenty Fifth corps of the USCT who accepted the surrender of Richmond, and when Lincoln visited the captured city on 3rd April, he was mobbed and treated as a hero by blacks who were freed by the US army.

    Frederick Douglass and other back leaders toured tirelessly signing up blacks to fight in the union armies.

    A revolution was unleashed accross the South, and even as conservative a General as Sherman, who regretted the end of slavery, lit a wildfire of slaves liberating themselves.

    Karl Stewart: After the period of reconstruction following the North’s victory, black American were quickly abandoned by northern political leaders and relegated back to second-class status

    That is an ahistorical simplification. Reconstruction was a contested process, and obviously Andrew Johnson played the role of an impediment not an enabler, but Ulyssess Grant did promote a progressive policy in the face of a guerilla war against the Republican Party accross the South, and it was not the political leaders who lost the will, but a shifting political context where the electorate was not prepared to commit the blood and treasure necessary, and therefore an accomodation was reached. However, it was an accomodation reached on the basis of free labour not slavery.

    The war and abolition of slavery and reconstruction was five steps forward, 2 steps back, but the process of reconstruction was a long drawn out and rich one, where black activsits in the south played their own part, and were not just marrionettes of Yankee capitalists

  272. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    I’m struggling to understand your theory that the state established after Washington’s victory hastened the end of slavery Andy.

    When the USA was created, in 1783, there were an estimated half million slaves. But 90 years later, on the eve of the civil war, there were four million slaves.

    Slavery increased eight-fold, in the years after the victory of Washongton the slave owner.

    As well as expanding enormously in numbers over this period, it also expanded enormously in terms of the area over which it existed.

    Over the same period, slavery declined in numbers across the British Empire, and was abolished.

    So I don’t understand how you can argue that the abolition of slavery in North America would not have been possible under British rule, when it did actually decline and was abolished in the areas ruled by Britain.

  273. Andy Newman on said:

    Karl Stewart: So I don’t understand how you can argue that the abolition of slavery in North America would not have been possible under British rule, when it did actually decline and was abolished in the areas ruled by Britain.

    You are logically inconsistent here in arguing that the American Revolution against British rule was a slave owners revolt, but that Britain had the capability to suppress slavery. I would remind you that Britain lost that war, and many American Tories who stayed loyal to the crown would have joined the rebels to protect slavery.

    The power base of slavery in the Americas was the cotton belt. Once that was outside British rule, the residual Caribbean slavery was a minor power base, not least that unlike the Americans, the slave plantations of the Caribbean had absentee landlords, and managers on short term contracts, who were easily compensated. The apprentice system brought in by the British abolished slavery but kept the workforce captive and outside the wage economy. Some example!

    King cotton, and tobacco were extraordinarily powerful, and the might of the Northern states struggled to contain it at the cost of hundreds of thousands dead. There is no way Britain could have achieved that from the other side of the Atlantic

  274. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Cototn was a small-scale industry in North America in the 1770s. It didn’t become ‘king’ until after the invention of the cotton gin 20 years later. After that, it grew enormously – and was the main economic driver of the parallell enormous expansion of slavery in the new USA.

    Has British rule been maintained, and has the 1763 Proclamation restriction westward expansion also been maintained, cotton – and therefore slavery – would not have expanded to such an extent there.

  275. Andy newmanl on said:

    Karl Stewart: Has British rule been maintained, and has the 1763 Proclamation restriction westward expansion also been maintained, cotton – and therefore slavery – would not have expanded to such an extent there.

    Again you are being ahistorical. The British Empire had no intention of abolishing slavery, and slave labour was behind the sugar, tobacco and cotton industries.

    Slavery declined in the British Empire because the mainstays of slave production had either never been in thr British Empire, Brazil and Cuba, or became independent, the American colonies.

    Slavery was the bedrock of the economy in many of the American states, and given the relative sizes if Britain (6.5 million) and the 14 colonies (1.5 million), the metropolitan power could not have revolutionised their economy in the face of armed revolt.

    If Britain couldnt win the revolitionary war, then how coukd it have supprrssed slavery?

  276. Evan P on said:

    Karl Stewart: Has British rule been maintained, and has the 1763 Proclamation restriction westward expansion also been maintained, cotton – and therefore slavery – would not have expanded to such an extent there.

    Why do you think that the British would have continued to object to the expansion westwards once cotton became so important, had they maintained rule over the colonies? It’s not as though cotton wasn’t important to growing British industry is it?

    And had this happened under British rule and the economic impetus for slavery grown accordingly, do you think it would have been easier or more difficult to win the battle against slavery in the British Empire as a whole?

    Moreover, one of the influences on westward expansion in the early 19th Century was the fear that if the US didn’t, Britain would occupy the territories. And it’s not as if the British empire didn’t expand generally during that century is it?

  277. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy newmanl,

    You seem to be arguing that Britain could not possibly have ended slavery.

    And yet the historical record shows us that Britain did end slavery.

    And you also seem to be arguing that the nation state created by Washington and those he led was a necessary precondition for the abolition of slavery.

    And yet the historical record shows us that slavery increased eight-fold in the 90 years from the establishment of the USA.

    You argue that the North American cotton industry was too dependent on slavery for slavery to be abolished.

    Yet the historical record shows us that this sector was small-scale at the time of Washington’s rebellion, and that its rapid growth and development came some 20 years after the 1770s.

    The ending of the restriction on westward develppment and the invention of the cotton gin were the factors that enabled the rapid expansion of the cotton industry in the USA. And it was the rapid development of cotton that was the economic driver of the enormous expansion of slavery in the 90 years that followed the conflict of the 1770s.

    So you seem to be arguing that the British, in the 1770s, did not have either the ability or the inclination to end slavery because of the economic importance of an industry that had yet to develop.

    Washington was a Virginian, a plantation owner, and the dominant forces in the drive for independence from Britain were also Virginians and from the same class.

    Yes, New England mercantile interests were hugely important to the fight for independence as well, but not the dominant force.

    It was not until the mid-19th century that these two social and economic forces came into conflict.

  278. Andy Newman on said:

    Karl Stewart: you seem to be arguing that the British, in the 1770s, did not have either the ability or the inclination to end slavery

    Britain certainly lacked any inclination to abolish slavery in the 1770s. And given that that American colonies rebelled and Britain lost that war then clearly Britain lacked capability to impose it’ on the colonies

    Given your lack of knowledge about the history then this is is not a fruitful discussion

    With regard to the growth of cotton, the issue is not the state of the industry in 1770 but it’s strength later when Britain aboiolished slavery

  279. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    But given that you don’t dispute the fact that slavery in the USA increased eight-fold in the first 90 years of the USA’s existence, how can you describe the creation of the USA as a triumph for liberty?

  280. Jellytot on said:

    Andy Newman: …… the residual Caribbean slavery was a minor power base, not least that unlike the Americans, the slave plantations of the Caribbean had absentee landlords, and managers on short term contracts, who were easily compensated.

    I read that the relatively few White British overseers on the Caribbean islands (many were Scottish and Irish) meant they were heavily outnumbered by African Slaves.

    This is turn lead to increased terror and brutal punishments to ward off potential slave revolts.

    The violence towards slaves under British rule was judged to be worse than in North America where the Whites to Slave ratio was larger.

    For examples of British terror see:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derby's_dose

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Thistlewood

    “With whites outnumbered nine to one in Jamaica, such an extreme racial imbalance affected everything on the island. During Thistlewood’s first year in Jamaica, he lived in an almost exclusively black world, having no contact with other whites for weeks on end. Such a disparity was even greater in rural western Jamaica, where Thistlewood would eventually settle with the proportion of slaves to whites being as high as fifteen to one.

    Consequently, Englishmen like Thistlewood lived in an Africanised society that rested on the white control through fear, inequality, and brutality. With almost no societal restraints, slave owners ruled their slaves with a degree of violence that left outside observers aghast”

  281. John Grimshaw on said:

    Evan P: Moreover, one of the influences on westward expansion in the early 19th Century was the fear that if the US didn’t, Britain would occupy the territories. And it’s not as if the British empire didn’t expand generally during that century is it?

    I agree with this point. There was also a fear of First French expansionism and then Russian.

  282. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw: I think I’m right in saying that some of then went to West Africa?

    Not sure if there was a move back to Africa after the Revolution.

    Former Slaves did certainly go to West Africa after the Civil War and establish Liberia. The flag of which is modelled on the Stars and Stripes and whose light skinned Slave descendants form a ruling class in that country. I don’t know its status now but during the Cold War it was firmly a CIA client state and monitoring station.

  283. Karl Stewart on said:

    Evan P,

    Who knows what would have happened had the British had the political will to continue their direct rule over all 18 north American colonies?

    The historical record shows that the British made the largely economic and strategic decision to withdraw from 13 of their 18 colonies and that, subsequently, the new rulers of those 13 colonies decided to expand and increase slavery eight-fold over the next 90 years.

    We also know that, over the same period, slavery declined and was abolished in the British Empire.

    Of course there was appalling brutality and cruelty by the British in maintaining and expanding their empire.

    I’m not making a case for the British Empire.

    I’m making a case for judging the ‘founding fathers’ of the USA not by what they said, but by what they did.

    Yes their rhetoric was certainly impressive. But then so was the rhetoric of the British Empire, which also claimed the noblest of motivations.

    But judged by what the ‘founding fathers’ of the USA actually did, in my opinion, there is no case for them to be judged as in any way progressive – certainly not as ‘fighters for liberty’.

    Judging by what actually happened, my question is, how can Washington the slave owner and Virginian plantation owner be judged as a ‘fighter for liberty’?

  284. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot,

    Good points. The British were extremely cruel and brutal to the subject peoples of their empire.

    British ruling class rhetoric at the time when empire building was at its height, however, was full of boasts about Britain’s noble aspirations to spread civilisation and Christianity around the globe.

    Quite rightly, no-one on the left today believes any of that pro-empire rhetoric, because the reality of racism, brutality and inhuman cruelty is well known.

    But strangely, the equally false rhetoric of the slave owners who founded the USA, the rhetoric of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ of the notion that ‘all men are created equal’ is still taken at face value by some on the left today.

    Despite the fact that we are all well aware of the reality of rapid expansion of slavery, organised removals of and mass killings of the native people, there are some on the left who still want to cling to a belief, in the face of all the historical evidence to the contrary, that those founders of the USA nation state genuinely were ‘fighters for liberty’ and for all those other high-minded notions they claimed as their motivation.

    I’m puzzled by this.

  285. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Cromwell was horrid to the Irish but surely the English Revolution was progressive in the context of the times?

    You are in danger of viewing historical events through the prism of 21st Century western liberalism.

  286. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot,

    Yes the English revolution was a huge leap forward. It ended the absolute monarchy and firmly established the rule of Parliament.

    It was a specific point at which there was a qualitative change in class rule – from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie.

    In the USA a little over a century later, southern agricultural slave owners and northern capitalists combined to claim political power from the British ruling class. I see a change obviously, but I don’t see a qualitative shift in class power here.

    Do you?

  287. Karl Stewart on said:

    I’d suggest that the more accurate historical analogies to be made with Washington’s rebellion are with the rebellion against direct British rule by the Boers of South Africa, or with Ian Smith’s declaration of independence for Rhodesia.

  288. Andy newmanl on said:

    Karl Stewart: We also know that, over the same period, slavery declined and was abolished in the British Empire.

    Who bought the sugar, tobacco and cotton from the slave economy of the USA? (Clue: it was mainly not the yankees)

  289. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy newmanl,

    Fair point Andy, British Empire was not progressive either.

    Did you know that, at the time of the Boer War, the ‘plucky’ Boers were supported by British left-wing opinion of the day?

    Lloyd George, the TUC, the ILP, even Keir Hardie sympathised with the Boers.

  290. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: Cromwell was horrid to the Irish but surely the English Revolution was progressive in the context of the times?

    The Leveller movement which was defeated by Cromwell and his middle ranking gentry, of course famously refused to go to Ireland.

  291. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart: It was a specific point at which there was a qualitative change in class rule – from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie.
    In the USA a little over a century later, southern agricultural slave owners and northern capitalists combined to claim political power from the British ruling class. I see a change obviously, but I don’t see a qualitative shift in class power here.

    Karl Marx disagreed – In an open letter to Abraham Lincoln he described the American Revolution as a victory for the middle classes.

    With Respect Karl……I’ll go with the other Karl.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/iwma/documents/1864/lincoln-letter.htm

    “The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes.”

  292. Jellytot on said:

    Ken MacLeod,

    Blimey….he wouldn’t win any awards for plain English.

    My point was not about Lincoln or his reply. It was about Marx’s analysis of the American Revolution which he regarded as a shift in Class relations….and therefore, presumably, progressive.

  293. Andy Newman on said:

    Karl Stewart: The defeat of the slave-owning south in the civil war was undoubtedly progressive.

    And who defeated it? The United States of America, that’s who. Therefore the creation of the USA was progressive. QED.

  294. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    Jellytot,

    The defeat of the slave-owning south in the civil war was undoubtedly progressive. Marx was right.

    Yes, he was. he also wrote,

    “the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class”

    which suggests a transfer of power from a higher class to a lower one. A concept regarded as progressive by Marxists – and everybody else on the Left.

  295. Evan P on said:

    Andy Newman: Therefore the creation of the USA was progressive. QED.

    And to answer Karl’s substantive point, the creators of the USA in that respect were also progressive insofar as they created the USA, whether or not some of them owned slaves. The fact that any of them owned slaves obviously made them considerably less progressive.

    What I think is key to the issue as far as the issue of African-American slaves is concerned is the fact that the existence of slavery was seen to go against the principles of the US constitution, a fact that was less important in my view than the contradiction between that and some of its authors and champions themselves owning slaves.

    “The prevailing ideas entertained by him [Thomas Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen [Founding Fathers] at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically…This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time… Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error…Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.”

    ( Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy).

    To me it’s like leaders of colonial national liberation struggles against French colonialism being influenced by the principles of the French Revolution, and objecting to the principle of, essentially, “Do as I say not as I do.” Or for that matter the slave revolt in Haiti which was then crushed by the army created out of the Revolution (albeit led by Bonaparte).

  296. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P: What I think is key to the issue as far as the issue of African-American slaves is concerned is the fact that the existence of slavery was seen to go against the principles of the US constitution

    The main theme of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech was the demand that the US live up to its constitution. In MLK’s words;

    “the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence”

    The main propaganda appeal and thematic thread of the Civil Rights Movement was that America live up to its Constitutional promise.

  297. Jellytot: The main propaganda appeal and thematic thread of the Civil Rights Movement was that America live up to its Constitutional promise.

    It is interesting that black separatism has never gained ground, there is broadly a geographically coherent area where blacks form the majority, yet national autonomy has only ever been a relatively marginal view or aspiration. Black militants have traditionally wanted to be Americans and demended thatAmerica to live up to its potential, rather than wanting to seperate away.

  298. Karl Stewart on said:

    I’ve found this a really interesting and challenging discussion so far.

    Does anyone think the Trump regime could spark future separatist feeling? I’m thinking Califrexit? Or New Yexit? Could that come onto the agenda?

  299. Karl Stewart: Does anyone think the Trump regime could spark future separatist feeling? I’m thinking Califrexit? Or New Yexit? Could that come onto the agenda?

    I know people are saying it, but think it is just noise.

    The secession of the Confederate states was the culmination of a 30 year process, and a fundamental class of economic interests (not only that the free states opposed the expansion of slavery, but that the slave states opposed such measures necessary for the expansion of capitalism as the Whig plans to make a national network of navigable waterways, etc)

    Trump is awful but in some ways he is only taking the cronyism and corruption of day to day Washington to its most ridiculous limit.

  300. Jellytot on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Trump represents the venality of the US political system stripped of its liberal veneer.

    In a twisted way I find that almost refreshing. At least you know where you stand with him. Or would you prefer a Hillary Clinton (once desribed by Chris Hitchens as “like her husband, a crook and bullshit artist without compare”)?

  301. Pete Jones on said:

    Have I just seen Tom Watson smiling whilst Jeremy corbyn was at the dispatch box at PMQs? Steady on old boy!

  302. jack ford on said:

    Jellytot,

    Yes the Hitch seriously loathed the Clintons, describing Bill Clinton as reptilian. He wrote a book about Bill called “No one left to lie to”

  303. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: Karl Marx disagreed – In an open letter to Abraham Lincoln he described the American Revolution as a victory for the middle classes.

    With Respect Karl……I’ll go with the other Karl.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/iwma/documents/1864/lincoln-letter.htm

    “The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes.”

    Interesting that you refer to it as a revolution but Marx himself says it was a war of independence.

  304. Karl Stewart on said:

    Brianthedog:
    Clive Lewis is more and more looking like a vain, flaky twit.

    Indeed, and apparently he’s a big pal of idiot boy Jones too.

    I liked Corbyn’s response that Lewis’s resignation “is not a disaster”

  305. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot:
    John Grimshaw,

    Potato….Po-tar-toe

    The clear inference is that he deemed it progressive.

    With respect, the only thing clear is that Marx strongly supported the north in the civil war, which definitely was a progressive viewpoint.

  306. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    I would strongly doubt if Marx would have regarded the American Revolution as regressive.

    You’re clutching at ultra Left straws.

    But if you have some infantile need to win this debate then fine…..You’re correct.

  307. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot,

    I’m only pointing out that Marx’s reference to the 1770s conflict in the letter to Lincoln is not a detailed viewpoint. Did Marx write in detail about Washington’s rebellion?

  308. Evan P on said:

    I’ve had a quick look and can’t find immediately anything by either Marx or Engels on the subject of the American revolution, however Lenin had this to say:

    The history of modern civilized America opens with one of those great, really liberating, really revolutionary wars of which there have been so few among the large number of wars of conquest that were caused, like the present imperialist war, by squabbles among kings, landowners and capitalists over the division of seized lands and stolen profits. It was a war of the American people against English robbers who subjected America and held it in colonial slavery as these “civilized” blood-suckers are now subjecting and holding colonial slavery hundreds of millions of people in India, Egypt and in all corners of the world.

    From a Letter to American Workers dated August 20, 1918

  309. Evan P on said:

    Doesn’t mean he a was right, obviously, but he certainly doesn’t appear to have any doubts.

  310. Karl Stewart on said:

    Evan P: The history of modern civilized America opens with one of those great, really liberating, really revolutionary wars

    Wow!

    “civilised America”

    Blimey!

    Evan P: Doesn’t mean he a was right, obviously, but he certainly doesn’t appear to have any doubts.

    Indeed, I can’t imagine anyone on the left making a statement like that today. Native people don’t seem to have figured in his thinking at all do they?

  311. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart: Wow!

    “civilised America”

    Blimey!

    Indeed, I can’t imagine anyone on the left making a statement like that today. Native people don’t seem to have figured in his thinking at all do they?

    Native peoples would have been regarded as backward and deserving of limited sympathy.

    Their plight would have been seen in the context of Historical Materialism. A historically inevitable process.

    Early socialists weren’t drippy liberals Karl. I am not saying he’s right but as I keep saying, don’t project the values and social mores of today unto the past.

    Marx was not PC in his language. In a letter to Engels he referred to Ferdinand Lassalle as a “Jewish N*gger”.

  312. John Grimshaw on said:

    Evan P:
    I’ve had a quick look and can’t find immediately anything by either Marx or Engels on the subject of the American revolution, however Lenin had this to say:

    The history of modern civilized America opens with one of those great, really liberating, really revolutionary wars of which there have been so few among the large number of wars of conquest that were caused, like the present imperialist war, by squabbles among kings, landowners and capitalists over the division of seized lands and stolen profits. It was a war of the American people against English robbers who subjected America and held it in colonial slavery as these “civilized” blood-suckers are now subjecting and holding colonial slavery hundreds of millions of people in India, Egypt and in all corners of the world.

    From a Letter to American Workers dated August 20, 1918

    I have looked also Evan but can’t a primary source originating from Marx or Emgels. As regards Lenin’s quote which you posted you could I think that somepart displays, quite rightly, his concern with the mass destruction caused by Imperial Capital during his time.

  313. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jellytot,

    Mr Power agrees with you. He’s shortened the flakey twit to 10/3. Starmer’s drifted out to 11/2 and Ms Long-Bailey is at 14s. (EdM is good value at 33s though).

    But I reckon JC will lead Labour to victory in 2020.

  314. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: I am not saying he’s right but as I keep saying, don’t project the values and social mores of today unto the past.

    “To say that the declaration of Independence , even by it’s own language, was limited to life, liberty and happiness for white males is not to denounce the makers and signers of the declaration for holding the ideas expected of privelidged males of the eighteenth century. Reformers and radicals, looking discontentedly at history are often accused of expecting too much from a past political epoch. – and sometimes they do. But the point of noting those outside of the arc of human rights in the Declaration is not centuries late and pointlessly to lay impossible moral burdens on that time. It is to try to understand the way in which the declaration functioned to mobilise certain groups of Americans ignoring others.”
    A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

  315. John Grimshaw on said:

    “When the declaration of Indepdence was read, with all it’s flaming radical language from the town hall balcony in Boston it was read by Thomas Crafts, a member of the Loyal Nine Group, conservatives who had opposed action against the British. Four days after the reading the Boston Committee of Correspondance ordered the townsmen to show up on the common for military draft. The rich it turned out could avoid the draft by paying for substitutes; the poor had to serve. This led to rioting and shouting: “Tyranny is Tyranny let it come from whom it may.””

  316. Karl Stewart on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    When Her Majesty Queen Victoria became Empress of India, she also pledged to treat Her Subjects equally.

    Many Victorian reformers with socials consciences also admired these principles, which were expressed in many parts of the British Empire.

    I’m sure if you read, and took at face value, the foundational statements of many other nation-states, you’d find formal adherence to similarly noble principles as well.

    The founders of the State of Israel, and the Boers who set up the independent state of South Africa, for example, and the support for both from the ‘progressives’ of the day.

    Israel was supported by most people on the left right up until the 1967 war, for example.

    While in the case of the Boers, the TUC, the ILP (led by Kier Hardie), the SDF (the main British Marxist organisation of the time) and persons such as Kautsky, supported the Boers in their fight.

    But I find it odd that, while left-wing opinion has shifted away from support for these other nation states, there is still a stubborn minority on the left which insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the statements of the founders of the USA, uniquely, have to be taken at their word.

    If you do hold the view that the foundation of the USA was progressive, then why do you not also take the view that the Boers were progressive? Or that today’s Israle is progressive? Or that the British Empire did serve noble intentions?

  317. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart: she also pledged to treat Her Subjects equally.

    And we all know what the reality of that was Karl. Many moderate socialists of that period of time were also imperialists like the Shaws for example. No doubt because they believed that the Empire was civilising the savages. Mind you Shaw also believed in eugenics.

    Karl Stewart: If you do hold the view that the foundation of the USA was progressive, then why do you not also take the view that the Boers were progressive? Or that today’s Israle is progressive? Or that the British Empire did serve noble intentions?

    Welll…there was kind of revolution of sorts in the founding of the USA it’s just it wasn’t as impressive as the Americans themselves make out or there modern left wing supporters and like most revolutions it rapidly de-generated. Howard Zinn who I have quoted above points out that it wasn’t just the angry merchants and mechanics of Boston who began the insurrection against the British. There were also bands of the poorer sorts of white people angry at raised taxation and their land being detained. The problem for the richer Bostonites etc. was that they no more trusted these people than they did the BRitish but since they weren’t going to find common cause with blacks or Indians (in fact one of the list of complaints about the British that follow the declaration was that the King was allowing their lands to be attacked by Indians) they had to use the services of these angry and potentially revolutionary poor (they all had guns). So in a sense the poor were sucked into the bOston merchants project by this flaming imagery. Only to be spat out later on. In no sense were the Boers or the foundation of Israel revolutionary moments. You could of course argue that supporting the Boers whilst holding ones nose was right as they being attacked by the Imperial enemy of the working class? Israel is just an extention of contemporary Imperialism but clearly after the war there was considerable sympathy for the setting up of such a state but how many socialists at the time knew about the machinations in the lead up to the Balfour declaration? Or thought about Israeli Jewish terrorist groups and the fact that some of them were of a distinctly fascist hue.

  318. #403 A victory for the Boers against British imperialism would have been a progressive outcome. The fact that the more racist of them treated black people on the whole marginally worse than the less racist of the Brits does not alter this.

    What is or is not progressive in given situation is based on objective as well as subjective criteria, and the logic of your view would be to agree with those who refused to support the allied side in the second world war.

    80 percent of the subjects of His Majesty lived in India, in an imperial set up so racist it was admired by Hitler.

    Ghandi refused to support the war effort. His main rival in the independence movement recruited Indian troops to fight for the Japanese and the Nazis. Were the Indian communists who rejected either approach essentially quislings?

    Some trotskyists in France refused to fight the Nazi occupation on the grounds that they wouldn’t fight for French imperialism (which itself was pretty disgusting in Indo-China, Algeria etc as we know).

    Goering tried to base his defence at Nuremburg with whataboutery on the US treatment of the Native Americans as well of course on the British atrocities against the Boers.

    That’s leaving aside the case of Belgium and its colonial regime in the Congo.

    Surely it was as unprincipled for the USSR to make an alliance with these imperialist and white supremacist monsters in 1941 as it was to have a pact with the other lot in 1939? And surely all US, British and French leftists who did the same were essentially apologists for their own imperialist ruling classes?

    Because the marxist approach to the war between the two imperialist blocs in the First World War was in fact based very much on those principles. And none of the imperialist ruling classes allies against Germany were essentially any more progressive in 1939-45 than they were in 1914-18.

    But the objective situation was different.

  319. Karl Stewart on said:

    Evan P,

    It’s certainly true that lots of different stuff has happened at different times in history – good point.

    In 1776, the progressive side to be on was on the side of the native Americans and the African slaves.

  320. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P:

    Goering tried to base his defence at Nuremburg with whataboutery on the US treatment of the Native Americans as well of course on the British atrocities.

    indeed he did.

    In 1944 Goebbels’s propaganda department too had the brass neck to produce posters condemning the US racism against Black people. At the same time as Goebbels (considered a “radical” in Hitler’s inner circle) was acting as one of the main instigators of The Holocaust.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Liberators-Kultur-Terror-Anti-Americanism-1944-Nazi-Propaganda-Poster.jpg

  321. Jellytot on said:

    Karl Stewart: Indeed, I can’t imagine anyone on the left making a statement like that today.

    Yes Karl. Today’s Leftists are so superior to Marx and Lenin.

    😉

    Give me strength !

  322. Karl Stewart: In 1776, the progressive side to be on was on the side of the native American

    The question is not 1776, but 1784, when the USA’s professional army was reduced to a small unit of artillery and a regiment of 600 soldiers who garrisoned West Point and Springfield, and were in charge of the resettlement of New York following the British evacuation. The whole force was later slashed to only 80 men, which was then the entire land warfare force available to the federal goverment

    The idea that the USA was predicated upon expansion into Indian territory is contradicted by the decommissioning of its military, so there were no means for prosecuting that expansion.

    Indeed, the modest expansion of US military power after 1789 were a response to the growing aggressive stance from the confederation of the Shawnee and Miami indians West of the Ohio river, who actually represented a military threat to the poorly armed and demilitarised republic. This can be evidenced by the two military expeditions in 1791. At battle by the Wabbash River, St Clair’s army was ambushed by a combined force of Shawnees, Delawares, Mingos, Chipewas and Cherokees, and although the small force of regulars held their ground the militias fled, leading to a massacre. The worst ever defeat at the hands of Indians, and the US force lost 1200 muskets and 8 cannons to the Indians

    The aftermath was a wide rise in aggressive Indian raids right along the frontier.

    So far from the Independence of the USA being an immediate defeat for the Indians, the young republic had no expansionist plans, and the removal of the British Army and the demobilisation of the Continental Army, increased the relative military capablity of the Indian tribes.

    What happened next was revealing, because while the Nationalists like Washington and Hamiliton argued for a professional army to fight the Indian confederation, there was a peace party arguing for a negotiated treaty, and military showdown only became inevitable when war with Britain and France broke out in 1793, the Royal Navy started pressing sailors from US ships, and Britain encouraged Indian attacks against the USA.

  323. John Grimshaw: they had to use the services of these angry and potentially revolutionary poor (they all had guns).

    This buys too much into the USA’s own foundation myth. Militias armed with rifles were poor soldiers. There were two battles lost to the British, Kip’s Bay in 1776 and Camben in 1780 where militias fled in ignominious panic.

    The war was won by Washington’s acheivement of keeping the Continental Army in the field. It is necessary to under stand that in 18th century warfare, the field of battle could only be held by drilled and disciplined professionals who could fire, load and reload muskets in unison to deliver volleys (far more rapidly than could be achieved with a rifle), ignoring the tumult and chaos of battle; and who could rapidly switch between line to square (to resist cavalry); and who could deliver a bayonet charge.

    It was not until the next century, at the battle of Balaclava, where the rate of fire of rifles had increased, where infantry aimed with rifles could defeat cavalry, the origin of the “thin red line”

    The Continental Army was built on the foundation of the Virginia militia regiment, that was a modern army on the European model, commanded by Washington, and Washington himself was an architypal English squire, ,of the same class and inclination who officered the British Army.

    Indeed, a key personal grievance of Washington precipitating his adherence to the rebellion was the indignity of his ineligablity as a colonial to secure a King’s commission

  324. Jellytot on said:

    Two interesting comments from a major article on Labour in today’s Observer.

    John Cruddas MP on a section of The Left and the Working Class:

    “For some of the fashionable left, their strategy seems to be to get out from under the present crisis by disinventing the working class altogether,” says Cruddas. “They assume they will disappear, replaced by some combination of automation and artificial intelligence, and are focusing all their energy on an urban networked youth as the new base for the left. You have a problem with the working class so you just assume it will go away – not exactly the most creative, thoughtful route through our current problems!”

    and Marc Stears (former Ed Miliband speechwriter) on New Labour:

    “In the late 90s and early 2000s,” says Stears, “New Labour explicitly did a deal with the devil – it said, ‘Look, we’ll leave neoliberal policies alone because we’ll be able to cream off enough money to redistribute adequately.’ So you could generate support for the public services by being very hands-off with market forces, but then redistributing through the state.”

    “The big problem with the model was that the Labour hierarchy grew to have disdain in high places for the people who were not happy with that settlement. People who were miserable at work because they were being treated badly by some corporate power; or people working in a public sector that was increasingly marketised and target-driven; or people whose communities were changing and felt aggrieved at the emergence of clone towns and high streets that lost all their identity.”

    The crash brought an uneasy compromise to an end. “If economic times are good and you are getting a fancy new GP surgery, you may feel you can put up with the lack of control at work, or the nature of the high street and so on. But when that improvement in the public realm comes to a shuddering halt, as it did in 2008, then this deal is no deal at all. And you get the populist revolt that we’ve seen.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/12/brexit-labour-identity-crisis-solution-return-to-roots

  325. Karl Stewart on said:

    Pete Jones,

    From reading the article, it does appear to be a genuine political difference to be fair.

    According to the article, the CfS spokesman says Momentum apparently want to team up with the liberals, SNP and Greens in a so-called ‘progressive alliance’, while CfS want nothing to do with it.

    If that’s so, then there’s no basis for the two organisations to stay together really.

    If the article’s right, then well done CfS, good call.

  326. brianthedog on said:

    Jellytot,

    I am also getting statements from ‘social dialogue’ neo liberal EU funded meetings about automation and artificial intelligence without how this is going to impact on the working class and what to do with it. Just an inevitability of its happening and/or is coming.

    Very worrying.

    The only thing I am also getting is the ‘basic income’ idea which is currently being trialled in Finland.

    John McDonnell has mentioned this concept recently along with other ‘leftist’s’ some of which I am a bit dubious about.

    It would however be a good idea to have a wider debate and a thread on here about the pros and cons of a ‘basic income’.

  327. Andy newmanl on said:

    brianthedog: It would however be a good idea to have a wider debate and a thread on here about the pros and cons of a ‘basic income’.

    GMB Congress last year voted to support the idea, but I have not studied the proposal myself. Good call to have a discussion about it

  328. Jellytot on said:

    brianthedog: I am also getting statements from ‘social dialogue’ neo liberal EU funded meetings about automation and artificial intelligence without how this is going to impact on the working class and what to do with it. Just an inevitability of its happening and/or is coming.

    Anything that will reverse the falling rate of profit, even temporarily, they will support and basically f*ck the consequences.

    Any resistance I assume will be met with cries of “Luddite” and failing that, repression.

  329. Pete Jones on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    It’s not that straightforward. Momentum doesn’t have a position on a progressive alliance, and it would certainly be controversial. As momentum is a new organisation, it was effectively established in Scotland with joint CFS membership. So this split, originating in the CFS leadership, is likely to effectively destroy the support organisation in Scotland for the most progressive labour leader in recent history. And why? To oppose a potential proposal that may or may not happen.
    This doesn’t ring true.

  330. Karl Stewart on said:

    Pete Jones,

    I take on board your general point that the left is, and has ever been, way too keen on splitting over trivia. It’s been a curse on the left for many years. Fair point.

    And you may well also be right to say that there may well be other factors at play in this Scottish situation, although I have zero knowledge on the issue other than the article you’ve linked to.

    However, the CfS spokesman quoted in that article, Martyn Cook, seems very clear that this is down to the Momentum people wanting a so-called ‘progressive alliance’.

    This may or may not be true, but if it is, then I’d say that’s reasonable grounds to go their separate ways.

    Either advocate a Labour vote everywhere, or advocate Labour standing down to assist the LbDems, Greens, or SNP. It’s difficult to see how a single political organisation can face both ways on an issue like that.

    There are some issues on which common ground isn’t possible and I’d suggest this could be one of those instances.

  331. jock mctrousers: Try this: Employment guarantees are better than income guarantees

    very useful thanks

    Alarm bells should be ringing that the idea was advocated by Milton Friedman, Hayek, Richard Nixon and the only state in the world to actually have a guaranteed minimum income is Alaska

  332. #423 I don’t see the problem personally.

    At the end of the day, a guaranteed basic income would be better than what we have at the moment.

    If the state decides you’re fit to work you get your rent so long as it’s not too much plus £73 a week if you don’t get sanctioned minus up to £25 if you pay the bedroom tax.

    In work benefits are subject to conditionality, the opposite of guaranteed, so if you spend as much time as I do outside dole offices you see people in work clothes turning up, not because they’re taking the piss but because they risk being sanctioned for not looking for more hours or a better paid job.

    I agree with the argument that low wage employers should not be subsidised by the state, but this isn’t the same thing.

  333. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: This buys too much into the USA’s own foundation myth.

    No I don’t think so. But maybe we are talking at cross purposes here. I know that the Americans celebrate the so called minute men and their use of rifles to “ambush” the British but that is not what I meant. Although some of that did go on. And I accept your general description of eighteenth century warfare , like you I suspect, I’m a bit of a war geek. Bear in mind of course that if you didn’t get close enough you couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a Brown Bess and the muskets used by the French were even less accurate which is a partial explanation for their use of columns to attack rather than waste time firing. And once all the cordite got into the air you couldn’t see anything anyway. So whilst you are probably right about Washington’s achievement of keeping the Continental Army in the field I don’t think armies of this period were particularly efficient in the field because of the technological limitations. Also whilst we’re on the subject I’m not aware that cavalry were used in any great numbers in the Independence war but I could be wrong?

    What I was talking about was the class nature of the American side, which of course modern Americans don’t get told about. I wasn’t talking about the militia-myth. As you say about Washington many of the leaders of the American side were in fact classic English gentlemen. The next layer down to join the regular forces were respectable citizens. All of the above had a dim view of the white lower classes and of their potential to fight. However the Continental Army had to recruit lower class persons because of the need for man-power. John Shy in “A People Numerous and Armed” says that the first people to join the army were “hallmarks of respectability or at least of full citizenship”. Howard Zinn adds to this; “Excluded from the militia were friendly Indians, free Negroes, white servants, and free white men who had no stable home. But desperation led to the recruiting of the less respectable whites. Massachusetts and Virginia provided for drafting strollers into the militia. In fact, the military became a place of promise for the poor, who might rise in rank, acquire some money, change their social status.”

  334. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: Aren’t they the ones who paid out on a Clinton election win a month before polling day last year ?

    Just checked. Lewis is still favourite at 10-3 and you can get Gordon Brown at 175-1.

  335. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Don’t bet mate. Never have. Mug’s game IMO.

    I have wagered a total of 50 cents (two quarters) in my entire life. In Vegas in 2004.

    I lost them.

  336. John Grimshaw: Americans celebrate the so called minute men and their use of rifles to “ambush” the British but that is not what I meant. Although some of that did go on.

    Yes, and sometime with success, as with the massacre of the British force at King’s Mountain in 1780.

    John Grimshaw: I’m not aware that cavalry were used in any great numbers in the Independence war but I could be wrong?

    The British did have dragoons in the battle of Brookyln in 1776, and by that date dragoons had evolved into being cavalry rather than mounted infantry.

    The battle of Brooklyn was important, as the only real set piece battle fought between armies, and an overwhelming vindication of professional armies. However, the politics of the relationship between armies and the state played a hand. The Continental army effectively was the revolutionary state. After they were roughly handled by the British, Washington’s force dug in on Brooklyn Heights. Had Howe stormed the Heights, the revolution would have been crushed. However, Howe did not do so, presumably because as a professional soldier of the eighteenth century he would have expected a gentleman to surrender once a military position became hopeless to prevent “further effusion of blood”.

    Washington was indeed a gentleman, but could not surrender without abandoning the entire possiblity of an independent American state. They slipped away, thus maintaining the existence of the Continental army.

  337. John Grimshaw: All of the above had a dim view of the white lower classes and of their potential to fight

    John Grimshaw: “Excluded from the militia were friendly Indians, free Negroes, white servants, and free white men who had no stable home. But desperation led to the recruiting of the less respectable whites.

    To be fair, Zinn is not a military historian, and I think he misunderstands the nature of eighteenth century warfare. I would recommend Robert o’Connell’s “Of Arms and Men” which discusses the interaction between technology and military organisation.

    As you describe, in actual battle, the enormous noise, clouds of cordite and physical proximity to the enemy due to the short range available to the musket, and the shattering impact of receiving volley fire, means that automaton like muscle memory was needed to carry out, in unison, the 33 separate motions to reload and fire.

    Professional soldiers were drilled, bullied, flogged and hanged to keep them in shape. Only the poorest, most desperate men would enlist.

    Washington was unique in the colonies, for having already built exactly such a regiment in Virginia

  338. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: The question is not 1776, but 1784, when the USA’s professional army was reduced to a small unit of artillery and a regiment of 600 soldiers

    After the victory at York Town there was widespread de-mobilisation. This was because the new rulers of the thirteen states were unwilling to pay for a standing army, and also because there was widespread resentment by the white lower classes of impressment and corruption and thus a fear of insurrection. I make no judgement obviously about whether this was wise but your seeming assertion that this was because the new republic was being pacific are short of the truth.

    Andy Newman: Indeed, the modest expansion of US military power after 1789 were a response to the growing aggressive stance from the confederation of the Shawnee and Miami indians West of the Ohio river, who actually represented a military threat to the poorly armed and demilitarised republic.

    This needs some historical input. And also the recognition of the fact that one doesn’t just need troops in order to expand. So for example Land Agents began visiting the tribal confederacy called the Covenant Chain on the Ohio river after about 1750. The Iroquois were spokesmen. The friendship between New York and the Mohawks came to an end after about 800,000 acres of land were swindled from them. Chief Hendrick to the Governor George Clinton (I wonder?) in 1753: “…Brother you tell us that we shall be redressed at Albany, but we know them so well, we will not trust them, for they (Albany merchants) are no people but devils so…as soon as we come home we will send up a belt of wampum to our brothers and the other five nations to acquaint them the covenant chain is broken between you and us. So brother you are not to expect to hear of me any more, and brother we desire to hear no more of you.”

    There was as you say ultimately conflict. The American elite controleed land and plantations on the seaboard therefore the poor had no choice but to move in land bringing them into conflict with the Indians. This of course was not helped by the fact that after the end of the British/French war in 1763 the French had reneged on their Indian allies and ceded all land west of the Appalachians to the British. There was a brief Indian/British war sometimes called “Pontiacs Conspiracy”. When the peace was concluded the Royal Proclamation agreed that there would be no encroachment on Indian land west of the mountains. Americans were inevitably angered by this. The original Virginia charter for example insisted that it’s land went westwards to the Pacific. After the absence of first the French and then the British the American elite assumed that the land in the west was theirs. They sent small expeditions over the mountains and were often defeated. There were battles such as Harmar’s Humiliation and St. Clair’s Shame but eventually in 1798 at the Battle of Fallen Timbers there was a victory. The result was a treaty which achieved land concessions in return for the USA giving up claims for Indian lands in certain places BUT IF the Indians decided to sell their lands they would offer them to the USA firstly.

  339. Andy Newman: Washington was indeed a gentleman, but could not surrender without abandoning the entire possiblity of an independent American state.

    It is worth observing, that in 1754, Washington had been is a similarly desperate position fighting the French at the Battle of Great Meadows, and had surrendered Fort Necessity to the French. This would have drummed into him the political significance of surrender, as a mistranslation of the French surrender terms meant that the young American officer was unaware that he was conceding a point of diplomatic nicety, that embarassed the Crown

  340. John Grimshaw: eventually in 1798 at the Battle of Fallen Timbers there was a victory.

    This rather proving my point, that at the Battle of Fallen Timbers (I thought in 1794), General Wayne overwhelmed the Shawnee with professional drilled regulars, combining a musket volley and bayonet charge.

    Expansion into Indian territory did require a professional army.

    That is not to say that the militia model was not without value, and the regiments who put down the Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsylvania were irregulars under Washinton’s command in the same year. But there the rebels wisely declined to fight.

  341. John Grimshaw: This was because the new rulers of the thirteen states were unwilling to pay for a standing army, and also because there was widespread resentment by the white lower classes of impressment and corruption and thus a fear of insurrection.

    I think that if you are influenced by Zinn in this assessment, that he has misunderstood Eighteenth century politics. There were two issues, firstly the federalists didn’t want a standing army because that would require a strengthened national government to control it, and the deal struck to honour full pay to all officers of the Continental Army for five years after the end of the war already required such federal finance.

    Secondly, the revolutionary threat was not posed by the lower orders, but by those self same officers, organised after 1783 into the hereditary Society of Cincinnati, that raised its own war chest, and appointed Washington as its president. This was an aristocracy on the Prussian model waiting to take power

    Eighteenth century ruling elites knew full well how to keep the lower orders in check, through the lash, the gibbet and the noose.

    The Army officer corps had, in its Newburgh addresses in March of that year threatened insurrection (in guarded terms) to overthrow Congress, and was only talked out of it by Washington himself. Had Washington been a Cromwell or a Bonaparte (or perhaps had he had a son), then the United States would have been born as a Monarchy.

  342. John Grimshaw: the Royal Proclamation agreed that there would be no encroachment on Indian land west of the mountains.

    It is worth considering George Washington’s own view of this as a “temporary expedient to quiet the minds of the indians”. Speculators such as Washington and Crawford secretly mapped out and surveyed lands West of the Appallachians in anticipation of the proclamation being rescinded.

    It is worth also observing that the Iroquois relinquished the land which became Kentucky in November 1768.

    Furthermore, between 1770 and 1772 some 35000 acres of land were allocated to veterans West of the Appalachians.

    The thesis that the proclamation was a lasting grievance for the colonists is untenable.

    What is more, in support of my argument that a professional army was needed to conquer Indian land, the proclamation was only made because Amherst lost the Pontiac war, because the Indians’ military capacity was formidable.

  343. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: I think that if you are influenced by Zinn in this assessment, that he has misunderstood Eighteenth century politics.

    I am influenced by Zinn but then so should we all. That being said I don’t think it’s gods last will and testament nor is it the only source. As I agreed with you above he’s certainly not a military historian and his references to such matters are only sketchy.

    Andy Newman: Eighteenth century ruling elites knew full well how to keep the lower orders in check, through the lash, the gibbet and the noose.

    Indeed but they didn’t always succeed Andy. Zinn’s thesis which I believe to be credible especially in the context of the vastness of America, is that there were always “outsiders” and others living on the fringes of the “civilised” towns of the eastern seaboard. The American “revolution” meant that the ruling elites had to consider recruiting some of these people into the regular army let alone the irregulars. In some cases they were empowered by this rise in status and if they managed to survive some at least went on to make this rise permanent. He makes the point, perhaps not surprisingly, that for many of these “white trash” joining the Continental Army was a career move only and that they weren’t really interested in the “high” values of American independence because they couldn’t see the difference between a British boss and an American boss. It is also quite clear that there was constant low level insurgency against authority way before the Independence war and that the American/British elite was in a constant state of worry about this. The run in to the war, associated with the British attempts to increase taxation for the French war, only increased this volatility. The American elite, once the decision to split had come, attempted to bind people together with calls to arms and nationalist messages which were successful to a degree. It is worth noting that you point about the centrality of the Virginia forces not withstanding, that other states further south such as Carolina, played virtually no part in the Independence war because they were exhausted, disinterested or their armed men spent most of the time guarding against slave rebellions. I have no doubt that you are right about the officer corps etc. but what Zinn tries to do is to give a description of the lower classes in these momentous events (more than probably could’ve been imagined at the time) rather than the traditional great man theory of history.

    By the way if you can get hold of copies (they must be out of print now) “Armies and Uniforms – The Napoleonic Wars” by Liliane and Fred Funcken.

  344. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: The thesis that the proclamation was a lasting grievance for the colonists is untenable.

    I think the point is that the proto and actual American government objected to the British making decisions that they didn’t agree with and which they didn’t consider binding. That they actually acted in a different way is hardly surprising.

  345. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: Fallen Timbers (I thought in 1794),

    It would seem that you have uncovered an editing error (at least). My copy of Zinn says 1798 but all the other sources I have viewed do indeed say 1794. 🙂

  346. Jellytot on said:

    Andy Newman: Eighteenth century ruling elites knew full well how to keep the lower orders in check, through the lash, the gibbet and the noose.

    As an aside I read that most adults would have been in various states of inebriation most of the time due to the omnipresence of Gin and clean alcohol was preferred to dirty water.

    Indian communities would have been almost permanently pissed as traders and “mountain men” would trade alcohol for trade goods. In the early 19th century the US government tried to restrict this practice but to little avail. Kerry Trask in his book on the Blackhawk war relates a story where a US negioating team went upriver to contact a tribe only to discover everyone comatose including the children.

  347. Andy Newman on said:

    John Grimshaw: think the point is that the proto and actual American government objected to the British making decisions that they didn’t agree with and which they didn’t consider binding.

    Yes, I agree. If you remember this discussion started because Karl Stewart’s argument was that the rebellion was inspired by slavery and expansionism, against British constraints.

    In fact the British had no intention of abolishing slavery, and had no principled objection to taking Indian land,

  348. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: Yes, I agree. If you rememberthis discussion started because Karl Stewart’s argumentwas that the rebellion was inspired by slavery and expansionism, against British constraints.

    In fact the Britishhad no intention of abolishing slavery, and had no principled objection to taking Indian land,

    I was under the impression that Karl was questioning the assumption that the American “Revolution” was a truly radical event. This is something I have a certain amount of sympathy for. Some of the leadership of the American side were genuine radicals such as Franklin or Jefferson but many were just British gentlemen who were now Americans instead. And as a result they shared all the prejudices of their English counterparts. I agree with you that the Brits had no interest in abolishing slavery at that time and that the use of slaves in the independence war was merely a convenience. Equally the supposed support for American non expansion over the Appalachians. I think the British maintained forts over the mountains until relatively late into the eighteenth century? So in reality the British were solely concerned with power and constraining the nascent republic.

    Somewhere up thread someone says that the independence war allowed the American bourgeois to come into being but this, I think is wrong. The American bourgeois already existed. It might be more accurate to say it allowed it to expand. The English revolution allowed the bourgeois to compete on the same terms as the aristocracy and this event had a strong influence on the USA for obvious reasons. My understanding (possibly wrong) of the Marxist definition of revolution is that it is a seismic event which allows the lower class access to power which previously had been denied. This is usually concommittent with improvements in the means of production and sometimes the expropriation of the previously powerful classes property. Is it not the case that in America in the eighteenth century because of its close links to Britain/England that in the same way that it was true here that that same “seismic event” had already taken place. To a greater degree this relegates the American “revolution” to more of a nationalist event?

    On the specific subject of slavery the British government did abolish slavery in the early nineteenth century and I don’t think we should underestimate the impact of those, largely Christian campaigners who pursued their cause. That being said I also accept what you say about the increasing irrelevance of slavery to the empire. A vast amount of money must’ve been spent over the years trying to stop slaves from reselling and given the growth of industrial mass production it must’ve made slavery increasingly uneconomical.

  349. John Grimshaw: To a greater degree this relegates the American “revolution” to more of a nationalist event?

    This underestimates the sea change that engulfed the world following the self conscious emergence of revolutionary nationalism in Venezuela and the British American colonies.

    I fear it is crude reductionism to discount the ideological and political impacts of the revolution purely on the basis that there was a continuity of property relations.

    In any event, a result of the revolution was a change in immigration patterns to the northern non-slave states, which did over time constitute a revolution in property relations, as the previous economic model of yeomen farmers and master craftsmen was surplanted by wage labour. This was predicated upon the expansion of immigration of unskilled (often Catholic) immigration from Germany and Ireland, and the move from mercantile capitalism to concentrations of capital in the productive process. This was the political trajectory advanced by the Whig party.

    Going forward 50 or 60 years, and this would result in the political backlash of the middle classes, expressed through the “know nothing” or American Party.

  350. Karl Stewart on said:

    The historical record tells us that slavery declined across the British Empire in the period following Washington’s successful rebellion and that slavery was then abolished in 1830 across the British Empire.

    The historical record also tells us that slavery increased eight-fold in the newly independent USA in the period from its creation up until the civil war.

    The historical record also tells us that the newly created USA ended the terms of the 1763 proclamation preventing expansion west of the Appalachians and proceeded to steal more land from native Americans – right up to the west coast and to today’s USA borders.

    It’s fair, I think, on the basis of these facts, to question why some on the left call Washingston’s rebellion ‘historically progressive’.

    But in response, Andy describes this questioning, based on the historical record, as “ahistorical” and then bases his counter-argument entirely on supposition as to what “might” have happened, had Britain decided to maintain its direct control over all 18 of its north American colonies.

    Britain “might not” have decided to abolish slavery.

    Britain “might not” have maintained the restriction on the further theft of native American land.

    And this counter-factual approach is not “ahistorical”?

    It’s not even a fair counter-factual, because it assumes that every other future development would have continued as it did. That Britain would have continued to directly rule those 13 colonies and that they would still have developed geographically, economically, and culturally in exactly the same way that the independent USA did.

    OK, let’s speculate as to what might have happened. But lets base this counter-factual on the actually situation at the time.

    Firstly, Britain withdrew from 13 of its 18 north American colonies as a result of Britain’s strategic weighing-up of the pros and cons of whether to withdraw or remain.

    It’s important to establish this, that Britain did not withdraw because of a military defeat, but because Britain decided that continuing direct rule was no longer in its interests.

    In my opinion,had Britain decided to remain, then north America would have continued to be a theatre of war between Britain and France – and also Spain and other European rivals as well.

    By withdrawing, the north American theatre of this war was neutralised – and with the longer term benefit for Britain that this newly independent nation state was to be dominated by an English-speaking ruling class, a majority English-speaking population and a largely English political and cultural tradition.

    Had Britain decided to remain, then it’s highly unlikely that the 1763 proclamation would have been rescinded. It was not aimed at providing justice for native Americans, its intention was as a “buffer zone” (both formally ‘neutral’ but also friendly) between Britain’s colonies and those of the French and Spanish.

    Set against this overall strategic policy, upsetting a few would-be land-stealing farmers would have been a minor consideration.

    The other big “what if” in Andy’s counter-factual concerns the enormous, eight-fold expansion of slavery that took place in the newly independent USA.

    Of course Britain abolished slavery through self-interest and not from moral concerns, but that particular expansion of slavery was driven by the expansion of cotton.

    This expansion was enabled by the invention of the cotton gin and by the expansion of territory into stolen native American lands.

    Had Britain made a different call, and decided to maintain its direct rule over all 18 of its north American colonies, then, Andy asks, would not Britain have developed this industry too, with all its consequences?

    Yes of course had Britain continued to directly rule these colonies after the invention of the cotton gin, then the British would have developed this industry.

    But it would also have developed in the French-ruled parts (and Spanish-ruled areas) of the continent – differently in the various different parts and each in competition with the other. And potentially a new source of military conflict between them.

    It’s likely, in my opinion, that this ongoing conflict for control between the competing European powers would have been to the benefit of both the native American and African-American populations.

    And today, it would be likely that the area that is now the USA, would, instead, be more of a patchwork of different nation states with a variety of linguistic and cultural traditions and influences.

    That’s my attempt at a counter-factual. Maybe it’s nonsense, but no more or less so than other counter-factuals.

    On the other hand, strictly on the historical facts, Washington’s rebellion did in fact make the lives of native Americans and African Americans a great deal worse.

  351. Karl Stewart: Britain did not withdraw because of a military defeat, but because Britain decided that continuing direct rule was no longer in its interests.

    The British had already offered Home Rule, in an attempt to end the rebellion, the rebeles rejected it; which was the context of the Continental Army’s up to that point most successful general, Benedict Arnold, defecting to the Crown forces.

    Following the defeat at Yorktown, the military position of Crown Forces was untenable.

    The rest of what you say Karl, is just reductionism, because you discount entirely the political, ideological and philosophical impact of the rebellion, and their lasting impact. If you follow the debates that gripped America over slavery in the early nineteenth century, you will see that the abolitionists founded their arguments on the fact that slavery was inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of constitutional law, and the American concepts of liberty.

    The key fact is that the actual abolition of slavery, was conducted by the United States of America, who fought a mighty war to do so.

  352. Tim N: Can anyone recommend a good book on this subject?

    If you read one book on American history, I would recommend “Team of Rivals” by Doris Keanes Goodwin.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed Stephen Brumwell’s “George Washington, Gentleman Warrior”

  353. Karl Stewart on said:

    Tim N,

    For a comprehensive history of the genocide committed against the native Americans, I’d strongly recommend Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.

    For a fascinating account of the aftermath of Washington’s rebellion, in terms of its impact on the estimated one-third of the population who fought against Washington, I’d recommend Liberty’s Exiles by Maya Jasanoff

  354. Tim N: Can anyone recommend a good book on this subject?

    Looking at the broader significance of the growth of nationalism as an ideology, and national consciousness as the dominant form of collective identity in modern industrial society, then Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities” is a starting point for seeing how the Venezuelan and American revolutions changed the world

  355. Karl Stewart on said:

    I’ve not read much about Washington himself, but I have read various accounts that rate his strengths as a political, rather than military leader.

    Basically, that he grasped the essential need to keep a viable force and an existing ’cause’ in existence around which his supporters could unite, rather than a pressing need to actually engage and defeat the British militarily.

    By contrast, in the US civil war, General Lee was, by all accounts, a superbly talented military genius and battlefield tactician. But failed to grasp what Washington had grasped, that, for the Confederacy to ‘win’, it needed to continue to exist as a viable entity – not defeat the north militarily.

  356. Karl Stewart: General Lee was, by all accounts, a superbly talented military genius and battlefield tactician. But failed to grasp what Washington had grasped, that, for the Confederacy to ‘win’, it needed to continue to exist as a viable entity – not defeat the north militarily.

    Blimey, don’t start another hare running.

    You have fundamentally misunderstood Lee. He was certainly a very aggressive general, and sometimes profligate in tolerating higher losses than the Confederacy could sustain. However, the strategy of Lee and President Davis was certainly to survive and grind the north down long enough until support for the war waned in the North and the Peace Democrats gained ground.

    It is also important to understand that both politicians and soldiers on both sides knew each other well. IIRC, for example, Lincoln and the Confederate Vice President Stevens had both served together as Whig congressmen at the same time. Generals on both sides had served together in Polk’s war in Mexico, and been classmates at Westpoint.

    Lee’s aggression was therefore carefully calibrated to exploit the cautious nature of Union generals, like McClellan, who he more than had the measure of.

    The political and military strategy of the Confederacy came close to succeeding

  357. John Grimshaw on said:

    I am not a Know-Nothing – that is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equals, except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.’ When it comes to that I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

  358. John Grimshaw: I am not a Know-Nothing – that is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people?

    Yes, Lincoln was a Whig, opposed to the Know Nothings. It is worth considering that when he wrote that, Lincoln was opposed to the spreading of slavery, but was not an abolitionist – the Know Nothings (not unanimously, but broadly) were abolitionist

    The Know Nothings opposed immigration, but the picture is complicated because they were a progressive party ( in the context of mid nineteenth century America), and in the brief period when they captured control of Massachusetts, they enacted a raft of legislation that benefited working people, and trimmed the power and control of the capitalists.

    Immigration to the USA played the same role in created a reserve army of wage labour in the cities as enclosure and rural depolulation in Britain. It fundamentally transformed the economy of the republic, moving from communities of small farmers and independent craftsmen to a capitalist economy based on a propertyless working class.

    Naturally, the cultural expression of the immigration, both Catholic, and alien to the traditions of teetotalism, were seized upon as manifestations of a change to the nature of what had been a broadly homogenous protestant community. The systematic electoral fraud of the Democrat Party in fast tracking naturalisation and citizenship for immigrants in exchange for widespread vote farming further provoked outrage at the way the rich elites were using immigration to subvent the democracy of the state.

    The Know Nothings need to be understood in their historic context, as a left wing, anti-slavery party, whose anti-Catholicism is contextualised by the way Catholic immigration was at that time being used by the rich to transform the economy and subvert democracy.