Staring into the abyss

jo cox

Sometimes the rush of the commenentariat to express opinions about contemporary events can seem cynical and ill considered. But I was impressed by two articles which must have been written as almost instant reactions to the tragic murder of Jo Cox, one by Alex Massie in the Spectator and one by Poly Toynbee in the Guardian. I felt that both writers spoke for me in expressing what I was thinking myself.

The mainstream Brexit referendum campaign has been fought on the ground of immigration and hostility to foreigners. Demagogues from the right and centre right have unleashed the crudest and basest of emotions in a cynical and irresponsible pitch to get their vote out.

The depth of the cynicism was exemplified by Michael Howard on BBC Breakfast yesterday, saying that it was a “fact” that Brexit would lead to a reduction in immigration. In truth the free movement of labour is not a condition of EU membership. but of the UK’s membership of the single market. The end of immigration, even were that desirable, would only be achieved by the UK not only leaving the EU but also entering an economic purdah by leaving the single market and turning our back on European trade.

Where mainstream Brexit politicians promise to end immigration, this not only stirs the pot to encourage the disadvantaged towards dark passions, blaming their woes on foreigners and migrants; but it will also inevitably lead to those promises being unfulfilled, and those who believed that immigration would be controlled will be frustrated and feel further betrayed. This is a dangerous cocktail to mix.

As Alex Massie says:

When you encourage rage you cannot then feign surprise when people become enraged. You cannot turn around and say, ‘Mate, you weren’t supposed to take it so seriously. It’s just a game, just a ploy, a strategy for winning votes.’

When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks. When you present politics as a matter of life and death, as a question of national survival, don’t be surprised if someone takes you at your word. You didn’t make them do it, no, but you didn’t do much to stop it either.

Sometimes rhetoric has consequences. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realise any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen.

Of course those few voices on the left who support Brexit have not been riding the same train as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, but they have totally misjudged the political context. The defining issues in British politics has become immigration and racism. Those who report back conversations on the doorstep from Labour voters who intend to vote Leave are not saying that these party supporters are against the EU due to high falutin’ arguments about parliamentary sovereignty or fishery policy. The issue leading most of them to reject the party’s advice over the EU is frankly all about race and hostility to migrants. Relatively marginal left intellectuals, small socialist groups and a handful of small, specialist unions are unable to make any substantive difference to the direction of travel of the Brexit juggernaut. They are like a fly riding on the back of an Ox, no one sees anything but the Ox.

Those who delude themselves that Brexit will lead to a split in the Conservative Party and a political realignment that will benefit the left and lead to a fight against austerity need to look at the reality. A racist, demagogic, populist Brexit campaign has opened the door not for the left, but the grimmest and ugliest resurgence of nationalist politics, where reason is buried in a red mist of anger. Do they believe that Brexit will lead to political chaos? It already has, with a rise in racist hate crime, and a lovely, kind, compassionate social democrat MP lying dead in her own blood at the feet of a fascist murderer bellowing “Britain First”.

The raw emotion with which the Leave campaign is seeking to discredit any balanced evaluation of the economic and social risks of Brexit is utilising rage and sense of betrayal against the very idea of reason and rationality in politics.

If you thought that a “Lexit” campaign could gain any traction, you were wrong, and you have not being paying attention to events in the real world. We are staring into the abyss, and now is the time for all of the left and the centre left to unite with the mainstream of the trade union movement to get out the vote for Remain.

41 comments on “Staring into the abyss

  1. jim mclean on said:

    In brief this referendum is about whether the Right or Extreme right of the Conservative party control the Country and for that one reason I will vote remain, lets hope the British Left do not make the same mistakes as the Scottish Left who now only exist to add legitimacy to the emerging Corporate Scottish statelet.

  2. Hospital Worker on said:

    This is really scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel. You have lost the argument and then you use this womans murder as an argument to stay in. Would you have done the same if the killer was a muslim, and not a mentally ill man in their 50’s? I thought not.

  3. Hospital Worker: Would you have done the same if the killer was a muslim, and not a mentally ill man in their 50’s?

    Yes I would. Do I believe that the mass murder in Orlando was linked to a deranged and degraded misrepresentation of Islam, encouraged and motivated by admiration for the warlord fanatacism of ISIS? Yes I do. Do I think that the Jihadi ideology is a dangerous one that needs to be opposed? yes i do.

    I don’t know whether Jo Cox’s murderer is mentally distressed. I am suprised that you can say so with such confidence. Of course the issue is not his health but whether he knows the diffeeence between right and wrong and whether he was mentally capable of forming Mens Rea.

    I do know that he has links to a far right Sprinkbok society, and to the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

    Have you really been living in such a bubble that you havent felt the rising temperature about immigration and migrants during this referendum? Do you really think this murder is disconnected to the ugly mood, the populist contempt for mainstream politicians, and the demagogy? Do you really think that such a mood washes over people without affecting them?

    You say I have lost the argument? What argument have I lost? I haven’t even heard a Lexit argument because you so irrelevent to the mainstream campaign I only know Lexit exists because of a few facebook posts.

  4. Andy Newman: Yes I would. Do I believe that the mass murder in Orlando was linked to a deranged and degraded misrepresentation of Islam, encouraged and motivated by admiration for the warlord fanatacism of ISIS? Yes I do. Do I think that the Jihadi ideology is a dangerous one that needs to be opposed? yes i do.

    I don’t know whether Jo Cox’s murderer is mentally distressed. I am suprised that you can say so with such confidence. Of course the issue is not his health but whether he knows the diffeeence between right and wrong and whether he was mentally capable of forming Mens Rea.

    I do know that he has links to a far right Sprinkbok society, and to the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

    Have you really been living in such a bubble that you havent felt the rising temperature about immigration and migrants during this referendum?Do you really think this murder is disconnected to the ugly mood, the populist contempt for mainstream politicians, and the demagogy? Do you really think that such a mood washes over people without affecting them?

    You say I have lost the argument? What argument have I lost? I haven’t even heard a Lexit argument because you so irrelevent to the mainstream campaign I only know Lexit exists because of a few facebook posts.

    Well said Andy. I agree with every word. Re Lexit I would go even further.

    They are dancing with the devil and should hang their heads in shame.

  5. Totally correct about Lexit. Hopefully they will have a long hard think over the weekend and urge a Remain vote come Monday. There’s nothing wrong in admiting you were wrong.

    I was fairly sure of a remain victory even before this….now I am am certain. The undecided will swing away from the hate and toxicity of the Brexit campaign. The victory on Thursday will be a fitting tribute to Jo.

  6. John Palmer on said:

    Hospital Worker,

    Nonsense. The question is who has raised the spectre of violence in the European Union debate. It is the UKIPites who have said that if the wishes of the nationalists are ignored there might be “the danger of violence.” I do not know whether to laugh or cry when I hear Lexitites say that in the crisis which they acknowledge would follow of a Leave victory that “the left” will be well placed to offer an alternative. It is like the demented Stalinist CP in the 1930s who opposed a united opposition to Hitler with the slogan “Nach Hitler, wir kommen!!” In other words, do not worry, after Hitler it will be our turn. IF the Leavers win and those who voted to ban EU workers coming to Britain see very little change afterward – how long before we hear the demand “Deport immigrant workers!”

  7. Good statement from UAF

    Links between Neo-Nazi group and man arrested for Jo Cox murderer exposed

    Thomas Mair, the man arrested for the murder of Jo Cox MP, has been linked to American neo-Nazi organisation the National Alliance (NA). According to the American group Southern Poverty Law Centre, Mair purchased material from the NA’s printing imprint including “Chemistry of Powder and Explosives” and “Improvised Munitions Handbook”. Media reports also link Mair to the Springbok Club, an organisation which has defended the white supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa.

    The attacker reportedly shouted “Britain First” as he carried out the attack. Britain First is a fascist organisation that split from the British National Party (BNP). The “Britain First Defence Force” is the paramilitary wing of Britain First and organises training camps.

    Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretaries and Stand up to Racism Co-Convenors Sabby Dhalu and Weyman Bennett said:

    “We are deeply saddened that Jo Cox died as a result of this attack. Our thoughts and sympathy are with her loved ones. We would like to echo the magnificent words of Brendan Cox, Jo’s husband, who said that Jo would have wanted us to ‘unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.’

    “We cannot allow double standards in response to such attacks, especially now that information has come to light linking Thomas Mair to neo-Nazi terrorist and white supremacist groups. Jo Cox’s murderer shouting ‘Britain first’ must be treated in exactly the same fashion as some one shouting ‘ISIS’ and carrying out a similar attack. This incident cannot be treated as an isolated incident by someone with mental health problems. Britain First and the paramilitary ‘Britain First Defence Force’ must be investigated for terrorist and criminal activity.

    “Batley and Spen has a history of fascist and activity. Six years ago Terrance Gavan – who was linked to the BNP – was sentenced to eleven years in prison after fifty four explosive devices were found in his home in Batley. The constituency has a history of fascist activity for over a decade: From electoral support for the BNP to English Defence League and Britain First demonstrations.

    “The lesson of history is that we must unite social democrats, liberals, socialists, trade unions, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, those with no faith, LGBT communities, disabled people and all those who oppose fascism. An injury to one is an injury to others.

    “This attack has taken place in the context of a racist discussion on immigration in the EU referendum debate. Exactly the same racist arguments were used against Jews, Irish, African, Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. There is no doubt that Jo Cox was targeted because of her positive views on immigration, her humanitarian work helping refugees, and her excellent relations with the local Muslim community . Politicians stirring up this toxic racist debate on immigration are responsible for the climate in which this attack took place. We say racism out of the referendum – unite against fascism.”

  8. John Palmer: It is like the demented Stalinist CP in the 1930s who opposed a united opposition to Hitler with the slogan “Nach Hitler, wir kommen!!”

    I included this point in the first , unpublished draft of this article, and I think John Palmer is absolutely right.

    Obviously the Lexiteers are not *responsible* in any way for the mainstream racist politics of the Brexit campaign; but have made themselves irrelevant from the real and important battle to fight against this drift towards racism.

    It is the hall mark of ultraleftism to be taking about the failings of the Eu from the perspective of a future and hypothetical socialist government, when the battle on the front line, right here and now, is the issue of race and immigration

  9. JT: The victory on Thursday will be a fitting tribute to Jo.

    I hope so, I am still very fearful that Leave will win, and the result of that is that the Uk will have defined itself as a state and as nations based upon hostility to foreigners.

  10. George Hallam on said:

    John Palmer:
    <a href="#comment-713347" rel="nofollow" It is like the demented Stalinist CP in the 1930s who opposed a united opposition to Hitler with the slogan “Nach Hitler, wir kommen!!”

    Do you have a source for this?

    According to a note to Chapter 12 Of C L R James’s ‘The World Revolution 1937-1936’ This was never an official slogan.

    “The Communists could not popularise this as a slogan, but under the guidance of the leadership, many of the rank-and-file used it among themselves, no doubt sincerely believing in this as Marxism.”

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/james-clr/works/world/ch12.htm#25

  11. Dick Velcro on said:

    You can pontificate all you like, there’s only two options on the ballot paper next Thursday. You want to side with Cameron and Osborne, with Lagarde and Goldman Sachs and against the working class, not only of Britain but of every European country. Where will you be when it comes to revolution? With your friends the capitalists.

  12. “The Communists could not popularise this as a slogan, but under the guidance of the leadership, many of the rank-and-file used it among themselves, no doubt sincerely believing in this as Marxism.”

    These apocryphal slogans take on a life of their own and become part of the historical record.

    Another example is the graffiti “IRA = I RAN AWAY” from 1969 which supposedly popped up all over Belfast and was used by the Provos and their hangers-on* as a stick to beat the Officials with for the next quarter century.

    Problem is their is scant evidence that it ever existed. Certainly there is no photographic evidence.

    http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/no-photos-extant-of-i-ran-away-slogan/

    Like “After Hitler, us” it was probably pub talk that gained a life of its own.

    * I recall it being a favourite of Chris Bambery in his Ireland talks.

  13. brianthedog on said:

    Andy Newman: I included this point in the first , unpublished draft of this article, and I think John Palmer is absolutely right.

    Obviously the Lexiteers are not *responsible* in any way for the mainstream racist politics of the Brexit campaign; but have made themselves irrelevant from the real and important battle to fight against this drift towards racism.

    It is the hall mark of ultraleftism to be taking about the failings of the Eu from the perspective of a future and hypothetical socialist government, when the battle on the front line, right here and now, is the issue of race and immigration

    I disagree as I think much of the labour movements weakness and complete lack of the answers to the effect of EU neoliberalism and uncontrolled free movement of labour is making much of the working class ignore us and drift to the right, whose ploy as we know is to blame the immigrant and thus feed racism.

    The left leavers I have talked to are not driven by some fantasy socialist paradise coming out of leaving but the corrupt, undemocratic neo liberal club that is driving through austerity across the continent. We don’t think its a good idea to help prop up a 28 country capitalist supra-state, that has already punished Greece for daring to suggest something different to unending austerity. We unfortunately don’t think another EUrope is possible (I’ve yet to hear from a left remainer how this is will happen, other than ultra left fantasy land waffle) and we don’t think the main EU treaties which enshrine neo-liberal capitalism are changeable. The EU is also fanning racism and anti immigration with its political and economic direction.

  14. lone nut on said:

    “Like “After Hitler, us” it was probably pub talk that gained a life of its own”.
    The first recorded reference to the phrase was in the testimony given to the Scarman Tribunal by Ardoyne priest Fr Marcellus Gillespie, who attributed it to “some men” in his area. The stories of Belfast walls being festooned with the slogan began, I think, with a report by the Sunday Times Insight Team c 1972 and was taken up by Conor Cruise O’Brien in his “States of Ireland”. Since Cliffism is based on spiffing anecdotes designed to raise a laugh at Marxism rather than analysis or any commitment to historical veracity, I am sure Bambery would simply have regarded it as ben trovato

  15. brianthedog: The left leavers I have talked to are not driven by some fantasy socialist paradise coming out of leaving but the corrupt, undemocratic neo liberal club that is driving through austerity across the continent.

    Granted, but what advantage DO they expect from a Brexit which is:
    – led by Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, et al, and almost totally dominated by the right;
    – is being argued for primarily on the basis of racism;
    – that if it does happen will almost certainly be organised by a Tory government;
    – and which will hand them a perfect opportunity to ‘reform’ human rights and workers’ rights?

    “The corrupt, undemocratic, neo-liberal club that is driving through austerity” is as much a description of the people running the UK as those running the EU, as true of the leaders of Brexit as of Remain.

    Remain offers us only the status quo; Brexit (this ‘actually existing’ Brexit) offers us an accelerated change for the worse.

  16. George Hallam on said:

    JN: Granted, but what advantage DO they expect from a Brexit which is:
    – led by Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, et al, and almost totally dominated by the right;
    – is being argued for primarily on the basis of racism;
    – that if it does happen will almost certainly be organised by a Tory government;
    – and which will hand them a perfect opportunity to ‘reform’ human rights and workers’ rights?

    1. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the British economy in its present form is unsustainable. It won’t be long before it will be impossible to ignore this fact. Whichever government is in office it would come under enormous popular pressure to take steps to deal with the crisis. Curbs on immigration wouldn’t have any effect.

    2. Membership of the EU imposes restrictions on the what governments are allowed to do. If Britain still in the EU when the crisis breaks then HMG would have very few policy options with which to tackle the ensuing problems. Contrarywise, if Britain leaves the EU then HMG would have a wide range policy options open to it.

    3. If, as you suggest, there is Brexit and this leads to a new government with Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, et al, in charge then they might have some difficulty in explaining why they weren’t using the new freedoms that their victory in the referendum had secured. This would give campaigners on a range of issues the opportunity to reach out to large numbers of ordinary people with a set of policies that would address the root cause of many of the problems facing them. For example, ending PFI, nationalisation of a major part of the financial system, capital controls, phasing out VAT funded by the reintroduction of purchase tax and progressive income tax. Of course none of these measures is revolutionary or socialist but (so obviously?) they would work.

    4. If, on the other hand, there is no Brexit and the present government, or one like it, continues in office there will still be a crisis. Campaigners could still try to reach out to ordinary people with a set of policies that address the root cause of problems. The only difference would be that such policies would be inoperable within the EU. So arguing for their implementation would in effect be arguing for Britain to leave EU.

  17. George Hallam,

    A Brexit under different circumstances, with different leadership, for different reasons would be a completely different situation than the one we are faced with. Hence my emphasis on this ‘actually existing’ Brexit, to which I still see no advantage at all.

    Brexit will do nothing to fix the economy, nothing to improve working conditions, nothing to control rents, etc, because the EU is not the problem here. In Greece, sure, but not here. Nobody is forcing the Tories to be neo-liberals. They will continue with the same policies because they are strongly ideologically committed to them, and they will continue to scapegoat immigrants for the direct results of those policies.

    By the way, I didn’t suggest that Farage would be in a post-Brexit government. Not unless and until UKIP gain a significant number of MPs.

  18. George Hallam on said:

    JN: Brexit will do nothing to fix the economy, nothing to improve working conditions, nothing to control rents, etc, because the EU is not the problem here.

    I agree.

    JN: Nobody is forcing the Tories to be neo-liberals. They will continue with the same policies because they are strongly ideologically committed to them,

    I beg to differ. I know, or have known, a lot of Conservatives. I wouldn’t say that they were especially committed to neoliberalism or any other ideology. of course they will sometimes use neoliberal arguments but only in an ad hoc fashion.

    You know the quote from Keynes that’s written up in the entrance to the IEA?

    “… the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.”

    (General Theory pp. 383–4))

    Well it’s wrong; vested interests are far more powerful than ideas. Keynes had considerable political skills and he was well aware of the power of City interests. The General Theory was an devastating attack on the policies favoured by the City. I’m sure he wrote this to soften the blow.
    .

  19. John Palmer:
    Hospital Worker,

    Nonsense. The question is who has raised the spectre of violence in the European Union debate. It is the UKIPites who have said that if the wishes of the nationalists are ignored there might be “the danger of violence.” I do not know whether to laugh or cry when I hear Lexitites say that in the crisis which they acknowledge would follow of a Leave victory that “the left” will be well placed to offer an alternative. It is like the demented Stalinist CP in the 1930s who opposed a united opposition to Hitler with the slogan “Nach Hitler, wir kommen!!” In other words, do not worry, after Hitler it will be our turn. IF the Leavers win and those who voted to ban EU workers coming to Britain see very little change afterward – how long before we hear the demand “Deport immigrant workers!”

    Remind me, what was the force that destroyed Hitler?

  20. George Hallam,

    But the idea and the interests are (for the most part) not in conflict. Neo-liberalism exists precisely to serve the interests of the rich, of the banks, corporations, etc. That’s why they are committed to it.

  21. Nick Wright,

    Come off it Nick. I Accept that the USSR was the powerhouse of the forces that defeated Hitler, but not on the basis of the flawed ultra leftism of the KPD during the rise of Hitler to power, but on the entirely different basis of the successful application of the strategy of the Popular Front which was presented to the 7th congress of the Comintern in 1935 by Georgi Dimitrov.

    Whatever the huge personal bravery and determination of Ernst Thaelmann , and the impressive organization of the KPD, they did fail to correctly build the necessary coalition of alliances necessary to beat Hitler

  22. George Hallam on said:

    JN: But the idea and the interests are (for the most part) not in conflict. Neo-liberalism exists precisely to serve the interests of the rich, of the banks, corporations, etc. That’s why they are committed to it.

    I broadly agree but I think you’re missing a couple of things.

    Neoliberalism is not a completely consistent body of thought. It contains different schools and conflicting strains of argument. Leftists tend to see only the North American version and associate it with the 70s and 80s. They’re unaware of its European roots in the interwar period. So even if they wanted to, they can’t see neoliberalism’s role in the formation of the EU. (Incidentally, neoliberal arguments also played a key role in shaping British competition policy before we joined the EU. This was central to the restructuring of our high streets not to mention the British economy as a whole.)

    To say that the rich, banks, etc. are “committed” to neoliberalism doesn’t quite capture the relation. That implies some sort of loyalty, faith or belief in neoliberal ideas, when all that happens is that they use neoliberal arguments if and when it suits them. As their treatment of the banks shows the precepts of neoliberalism are immediately abandoned if they threaten to harm their interests. In other words policies are ‘interest driven’ not ‘ideology driven’.

  23. George Hallam on said:

    Andy Newman: I Accept that the USSR was the powerhouse of the forces that defeated Hitler, but not on the basis of the flawed ultra leftism of the KPD during the rise of Hitler to power, but on the entirely different basis of the successful application of the strategy of the Popular Front which was presented to the 7th congress of the Comintern in 1935 by Georgi Dimitrov.

    If the post-1935 strategy of the Popular Front was so “successful” then why did so few communists parties managed for form alliances with social democratic parties?

  24. George Hallam,

    It is the nature of party politics that alliances at a formal level are hard to achieve, but I would argue that in , for example, the UK and France, the CP were able to significantly change the terms of the debate within social democracy, witness the left book club, international brigades, socialist league, etc.

    I would argue that the ‘premature anti-fascists’ like Pollitt and Stewart in the CP leadership had a better understanding of the strategy than the Moscow loyalists who replaced them in 1939.

    Over the longer term, what was the wartime alliance between the USSR and anti fascist governments of the imperialist nations, if not the Popular Front writ onto the international stage of war?

  25. George Hallam on said:

    Andy, you have written some very interesting posts on American history. I have learned much from them, including the ones on US military history. Thank you.

    Andy Newman: It is the nature of party politics that alliances at a formal level are hard to achieve

    I agree.

    It seems especially difficult for social democratic parties like, for example the SPD. Have you ever wondered why this might be the case?

    Think about it and perhaps it might help to put the KPD’s failure “to correctly build the necessary coalition of alliances necessary to beat Hitler” into perspective.

  26. Andy Newman: Whatever the huge personal bravery and determination of Ernst Thaelmann , and the impressive organization of the KPD, they did fail to correctly build the necessary coalition of alliances necessary to beat Hitler

    It is true that in order to build a coalition with German Social Democracy the KPD did fail. But to suggest that this , in essence , was its fault is to let social democracy (incidentally the very polizei preaesidents of which had, less than ten years earlier, been shooting them in the streets and imprisoning them) off the hook.

    The KPD’s ‘flawed ultra leftism’ arose preciesly from the violent counter revolutionary actions of actual social democrats in power. It wasn’t imposed on millions of German workers, it arose from the direct experiences of these workers.

    In the same way, the Class against Class approach of British communists in this period arose from the very real experiences of social democratic betrayal (going into government with the Tories and Liberals in a National Government).

    It was in this period that the Communist Party built its factory and pit organisation and trained a new generation of working class leaders without which the Popular Front would have been a middle class debating society.

    Hitler came to power in 1933. Even though the leaders of social democracy still refused to give sufficient strength to an anti fascist alliance, the Communists, and the Comintern were still able to devise and carry through a new strategy by 1935.

    The anti fascist unity in that period would have been in vain if Hitler could have attacked the Soviet Union before defence preparations were sufficiently advanced.

  27. George Hallam on said:

    Nick Wright: Hitler came to power in 1933. Even though the leaders of social democracy still refused to give sufficient strength to an anti fascist alliance, the Communists, and the Comintern were still able to devise and carry through a new strategy by 1935.

    While I appreciate the way your posts are always carefully worded, on this topic there is a danger that you bending too far over backwards.

    Starting in February 1935 the KPD made several approaches to the SDP executive (now in exile) asking for negations.
    Not only were these moves rejected but those SPD members who favoured negations were expelled from the executive.

    See Edinger 1956 ‘German Exile Politics The German Social Democracy Executive Committee in the Nazi era’

  28. Nick Wright: It was in this period that the Communist Party built its factory and pit organisation and trained a new generation of working class leaders without which the Popular Front would have been a middle class debating society.

    This is the one thing happens after another school of history.

  29. George Hallam: This is the one thing happens after another school of history.

    Indeed. Consequences, consequences. Which is why we need to worry about what follows from Labour’s line up with the ruling class over the EU.

  30. George Hallam: Meaning?

    Well, there is a school of history, perhaps best exemplified by Thomas Babbington Macauley, where history is a procession of events leading to the present day. When you approve of the outcome, as Whig historians like Macaualey did, then that procession becomes a triumphant parade where everything that happened in the past, however unfortunate it may seem at first glance, still contributes to the happy outcome.

  31. Nick Wright: Which is why we need to worry about what follows from Labour’s line up with the ruling class over the EU.

    Or why we need to worry about sections of the left being oblivious to the reactionary context of a Tory, xenophobic Brexit.

  32. George Hallam on said:

    Andy Newman,

    You have just described the Whig interpretation of history.

    The view that History (or Life) is just “one damned thing after another” is the opposite. Hence my confusion.

    It is better to be a “has been” than a “never was,” says Uncle Joseph, and adds “What is life, anyway, but one doggoned, golbinged, dodrotted thing after another !!!***???!!!???!! anyhow?”

    “The National Provisioner” October 1910
    http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/09/02/life-one/

  33. Jim Hutchinson on said:

    The main opposition to socialist policies are the corporates, their representatives in the UK, Cameron and Osborne and Labour’s Right Wing,and western imperialism. The Right Wing Brexiteers are secondary to these. The E.U are proving to be much more effective racists and racist creators than them. Andy and Co’s arguments give credence to those that would use the E.U as an excuse not to fight for changes that they think can be achieved through the E.U instead of workers’ struggle which dovetails into the thinking of the worst Trade Union bureaucrats. A reasonable prediction is that the E.U may easily fall apart due to its internal corruption, a Grexit followed by maybe Spain and Portugal leaving. A small majority either for Leave or Remain could lead to unstable Tory government and the possibility of an early General Election. A large majority for Leave means security for Cameron and a Tory government till 2020.

  34. Jim Hutchinson on said:

    I did of course mean a large majority for Remain would mean a Tory government until 2020- sorry old age!