Thursday, May 25, 2017

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Why The Labour Party Was Formed

Mick Hall argues in Organized Rage that:

The LP was formed to fight against oppression and want not to support capitalist exploitation




We don't usually post articles from church of England vicars but I've made an exception for Giles Fraser, the parish priest at St Mary's, Newington, south London. He is spot on when he writes:

Listening to Marine Le Pen attack Emmanuel Macron for being a creature of global finance is a reminder of a disturbing feature of modern political life: the extent to which the attack upon capitalism has migrated from the left to the right.

This is why so many supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon are finding it so difficult to vote for either Le Pen or Macron in tomorrow's Presidential election; and I can understand why for both are on the right politically. The only real difference is Macron will be less harsh against immigrants who already live in France than Le Pen, But both given half a chance will blow to kingdom come their family members who still reside in Syria. Both will be a willing tool of big business, it just Marine prefers home based corporations while Emmanuel will welcome all comers thus it's hardly surprising they both vigorously oppose organised labour.




As Giles Fraser writes:


Giles Fraser
There was a time, not so very long ago, when it was widely accepted that the job of the left was to explain how free-market capitalism is bad for the poor and bad for social cohesion more generally. The left was supposed to show that in free markets, wealth doesn’t trickle down, it bubbles up. That trusting the invisible hand to spread wealth all round is like trusting bankers to share their bonuses with their neighbours. And, moreover, that inequalities of wealth created by the free-market system creates a society profoundly ill at ease with itself. This is why socialists have always believed in the public ownership of the means of production and of the major public services. Markets and money should exist to serve people, not the other way round. The importance of democratic socialism is that it uses the power of the ballot box to assert the will of people over the will of capital.

The EU debate, now breaking out all over Europe, has flushed out the extent to which the so-called left, now overrun by liberalism, has largely abandoned this historical position. In this country, the liberal left now believes that support for the single market and economic free trade is the very thing that distinguishes them from a so-called hard Tory Brexit. This is an astonishing change of position. It used to be obvious to democratic socialists that the terms of international trade should be set not by the market alone but also by democratically elected governments subject to the will of their electorates. But the liberal left, perhaps not trusting how ordinary people (as opposed to more enlightened economic “experts”) might vote, thinks that trade should be free of the irritating interventions of democratic accountability. They want it to be frictionless – an irritating euphemism that ultimately means: not subject to will of the people.

Jeremy Corbyn aside, one of the tragedies of the leftwing abandonment of its traditional suspicion of capitalism is that the far right has now filled the vacuum. It understands that the bubbling resentment of rundown estates and forgotten seaside towns can be harnessed and turned against foreigners and Islam as well as the liberal capitalist establishment.

This, of course, only serves to secure in the minds of the liberal left how dangerous it was in the first place to challenge the basic premise of capitalism: the freedom of money to go where it will, unimpeded, untaxed, unbothered. What a topsy-turvy political world we now inhabit. Squint your eyes and it almost looks as though the left has become the right, and the right has become the left.


It is not that working class people nor the best of the middle classes have adhered to this pro capitalist idea in any great numbers, its been an ideological leadership within the Liberal Democrats and New Labour who have succumbed to reactionary right wing strategies.

We witnessed it when the Orange Book liberals entered a coalition with the Tories, something which would have been anathema to LibDem leaders like David Steel and Charles Kennedy. It has to be said New Labour paved the way when Tony Blair eagerly picked up the market knows best banner when he removed Clause IV from the party's constitution and turned it from a democratic socialist party into a left of centre liberal party which allowed socialists to continue within it as long as they did not get to uppity and towed the leadership line come election day.

It was this cosy leadership club which out of the blue Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader broke a sunder. The fact the Blairites and their useful idiots never saw it coming just shows how out of touch with the party membership they had become.

Giles Fraser continues:

Perhaps a word about terminology is helpful, because liberalism is a slippery idea. Liberals are distinguished above all by their belief in freedom – the freedom to be who you want to be (social liberalism) and the freedom to make and keep as much money as you want (economic liberalism) existing on the same continuum. As much as possible, the state should not stand in the way of, or make any sort of judgment about, the wants and desires of free individuals. But what liberals don’t see, or don’t want to see, is that their little individual freedoms are also collectively responsible for the boarded-up shops of Walsall and the disintegration of communities such as mine in south London.

Even if you disagree with my take on liberalism, you might accept that this broad analysis leaves the Labour party in serious trouble, its traditional alliance between socialists and social liberals at an unhappy end. Like many failed marriages, it struggles on because each side fears the other will get control of the house. But for the good of the country, we need a party that represents the anger at what the City has done and freely continues to do to this country. Otherwise that anger will look for other places to express itself. And then, heaven help us, we will have our own Ms Le Pen.


Giles hits the nail on the head when he concludes with this:

Even if you disagree with my take on liberalism, you might accept that this broad analysis leaves the Labour party in serious trouble, its traditional alliance between socialists and social liberals at an unhappy end. Like many failed marriages, it struggles on because each side fears the other will get control of the house. But for the good of the country, we need a party that represents the anger at what the City has done and freely continues to do to this country. Otherwise that anger will look for other places to express itself. And then, heaven help us, we will have our own Ms Le Pen.

After the June 8 election, win or loose the LP will in my view split asunder, the two wings of the party left or right cannot continue to cohabitant, as their core beliefs are total opposites, what we have been witnessing since 2015 is a fight over the spoils of the British Labour Party.



How strange that capitalism’s noisiest enemies are now on the right

Giles Fraser




* Clause 4: "To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service."

3 comments :

larry hughes said...

For goodness sake the military and armed peelers are on the streets of the UK hunting a bomb team (don't remember that during the IRA campaign... no-matter) and we have people calling for socialist revolution. Can't see that ever happening, words like that should be left unsaid while Corbyn nationalises all and sundry.

The workers gains from the evil that was the industrial revolution for me was the shining star that Britain is remembered for and the Labour Party triumph after WW2. Stuff like that would almost make me proud to have been a subject.... almost. I really hope Labour pull off a surprise victory.

Niall said...

Did Attlee not plunder and pillage Britain's colonies to fund his NHS besides other dubious behaviour!

larry hughes said...

Romans built lovely roads and the English built a lovely railway in India. Public conscientiousness.