My July reads

22 Jul

I won’t beat about the bush. The West is inhabited by two groups: those who know that we are ruled by sociopaths, by the criminally insane1; and that much larger group which, taking at face value the surface forms of democracy informed by independent media, either cannot or will not accept this admittedly frightening truth.

This second group, seemingly unaware of how extreme our assiduously normalised world order is, deems the first a melting pot of extremism. Such a view has advantages for those who value a quiet life. No need to listen to, far less engage with, a word that first group says.

Not even when a dozen men own half the world while scores of millions die in directly related destitution. Not even when profits and ‘growth’ demand an unsustainable consumerism which pushes planet earth to the limits of its capacity to support advanced life. Not even when – just this January, to the backdrop of a barrage of demonisation by all mainstream Western media of China and Russia – the Doomsday Clock advanced to one hundred seconds to midnight.

Within each group we find endless internecine hostility. Those who know the world to be run by gangsters with a monopoly on both state violence and, beneath a chimera of media pluralism, the manufacture of opinion may be marxists, anarchists, or on the far right.2 Not that my list is exhaustive, or of sufficient granularity. Each division is host to a plethora of further divisions, the bitterness of their feuds rising in inverse ratio to the ideological distance between them.

(This is what Freud meant by “the narcissism of tiny differences”. And what Life of Brian was getting at in that Judean People’s Front scene. Our pull toward schism reflects in part the ego’s drive to locate itself in difference. In part it reflects capital’s tendency – insightfully observed, I’m told, by the late psychologist, David Smail – to strip us of our collective nature and leave us atomised and alienated, individuated and impotent.)

But back to the gangsters who rule, the common thread binding my July reads. All document their cynicism: in this case a Venezuela ‘opposition’ made in America. Or the cynicism of those who do their bidding: in this case the US presence in Afghanistan, and a British Labour Party “under new management” as Keith Starmer, beneficiary of the dirtiest war ever waged on an incumbent leader, loftily informed his Punch & Judy opposite number, Boris Johnson, this week.

(Starmer’s point being that Johnson needn’t delude himself into thinking this Newest of New Labour will be “soft on Russia” – nor for that matter a sanctuary for critics of the lawless and apartheid state which is Israel.)

And this concludes my preamble to this month’s three reads. With the shortest of them close to 6,000 words, you’ll need to set aside a little more time than I usually ask.


Meet the Venezuelan Coup Regime’s ‘UK Ambassador’ (5,761 words)

This Grayzone piece by Ben Norton also featured in CounterPunch. Taking a detailed look at the ‘career’ of heiress Vanessa Neumann, it begins as it means to go on:

Since the United States initiated a coup attempt against Venezuela’s elected, internationally recognized government in January 2019, the gang of far-right opposition activists the Donald Trump administration recognized as the country’s unelected representatives have racked up a series of embarrassing scandals.

Top aides of the US-appointed “interim president,” Juan Guaidó, blew hundreds of thousands of dollars of humanitarian aid money on luxury hotels, swanky clothes, and wild parties in Colombia. Violent pro-Guaidó coup-mongers then burnt USAID trucks in a failed putsch on the Venezuelan border, while falsely blaming the fire on the actual president in Caracas, Nicolás Maduro.

Guaidó’s coup gang subsequently set the stage for North American corporations to liquidate Venezuela’s most valuable foreign asset, Citgo. And in another bizarre PR stunt, Guaidó even tried to scale the fence outside of Venezuela’s National Assembly, after refusing to pass through the main entrance.

Nearly 18 months into the failed coup attempt, the scandals keep coming.

This July, the representative that the Venezuelan coup regime appointed to the United Kingdom, Vanessa Neumann, threatened several American and British journalists who criticized her on social media.

Neumann’s corporate consulting firm claimed to have reported these journalists to the FBI, and even baselessly accused them without a scintilla of evidence of being “part of an indicted transnational criminal network with a price on your head.”

These threats came just after Neumann’s official Twitter account declared, “Death to Nicolás Maduro.” Neumann subsequently claimed her profile was hacked, while intimidating the journalists who reported on her incendiary tweet.

How a deranged right-wing fanatic ended up as the person the British Government recognizes as Venezuela’s official representative deserves some investigation.

Indeed it does and, while I stripped this excerpt of its many substantiating links, investigation is precisely what Norton delivers. Keep a sick bag close at hand.


“I Could Live with That” … CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade (7,165 words)

The first image of war in Afghanistan for many Americans was of CBS anchorman Dan Rather, wrapped in the voluminous drapery of a mujahedin fighter, looking like a healthy relative of Lawrence of Arabia. From his secret mountainside “somewhere in the Hindu Kush,” Rather unloaded on his audience a barrowload of nonsense. The Soviets, he confided portentously, had put a bounty on his head “of many thousands of dollars … the best compliment they could have given me. And a small price to pay for the truths we told about Afghanistan.”

Every one of these observations turned out to be false. Rather described the government of Hafizullah Amin as a “Moscow-installed puppet regime in Kabul.” But Amin had closer ties to the CIA than the KGB. Rather called the mujahedin “Afghan freedom fighters … in a  patriotic fight for home and hearth.” The mujahedin were scarcely fighting for freedom, in any sense Rather would have been comfortable with, but to impose one of the most repressive brands of Islamic fundamentalism known to the world, barbarous, ignorant and notably cruel to women.

It was a “fact,” Rather announced, that the Soviets had used chemical weapons against Afghan villagers … [and] that the mujahedin were severely underequipped, doing their best with Kalashnikov rifles taken from dead Soviet soldiers. In fact the mujahedin were well-equipped recipients of CIA-furnished weapons in the most expensive covert war the Agency had ever mounted. They did carry Soviet weapons, but they came courtesy of the CIA. Rather also showed news footage he claimed was of Soviet bombers strafing defenseless Afghan villages. This was staged, with the “Soviet bomber” actually a Pakistani air force plane on a training mission over northwest Pakistan.

CBS claimed to have discovered in Soviet-bombed areas stuffed animals filled with Soviet explosives, designed to blow Afghan children to bits.3 These booby-trapped toys had in fact been manufactured by the mujahedin for the exclusive purpose of gulling CBS News, as an entertaining article in the New York Post later made clear.

Rather made his heroically filmed way to Yunas Khalis, described as the leader of the Afghan warriors. In tones of awe he normally reserves for hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, Rather recalls in his book, The Camera Never Blinks Twice, “Belief in ‘right’ makes ‘might’ may have been fading in other parts of the world. In Afghanistan it was alive and well, and beating the Soviets.” Khalis was a ruthless butcher, with his troops fondly boasting of their slaughter of 700 prisoners of war. He spent most of his time fighting, but the wars were not primarily with the Soviets. Instead, Khalis battled other Afghan rebel groups, the object of the conflicts being control of poppy fields and the roads and trails from them to his seven heroin labs near his headquarters in the town of Ribat al Ali. Sixty percent of Afghanistan’s opium crop was cultivated in the Helmand Valley, with an irrigation infrastructure underwritten by USAID.

This piece from CounterPunch editor Jeffrey St Clair is long, but every word more than carries its weight. With forensic eloquence it punctures the self serving myths not only of the US as a force for good in Afghanistan, but of the brazen hypocrisy of two other highly fan-fared wars: the so-called War on Terror, and the so-called War on Drugs.


Corbyn’s Opponents Burned the House Down … Starmer Is King of the Ashes (6,640 words)

Two news items came to my attention this week. One is that Sir Keith Starmer has authorised a £370k (Telegraph) or £500k (Daily Mail) pay-out to the party’s “antisemitism whistle-blowers”, the other that Jeremy Corbyn faces legal action after criticising those pay-outs.

With regard to the first, this piece from the Jacobin notes that:

It is objectively impossible for anyone to believe that the Labour Party merits investigation for racism, yet the Tories do not. Instead of defending the rights of ethnic minorities, the EHRC is functioning as a protective shield for racism in high places.

Disgraceful as this may be, it’s not difficult to understand why it should be the case. The EHRC does not exist in a vacuum. Most of Britain’s media outlets support the Conservative Party, and even the ones that don’t were bitterly hostile to Jeremy Corbyn.

If the EHRC announced an investigation into the Tories, it would be setting itself up for relentless flak from the Tory press. It faced no such backlash when it put Labour in the spotlight.

With regard to the second news item, the British establishment – in tandem with right wing and liberal media, an alarmingly powerful Israel lobby, and a Labour Right which again and again has shown a preference for electoral defeat over a Left Labour Government4 – is not content with having crushed the hopes that Corbyn briefly but gloriously inspired …

(The unprecedented surge in Labour membership speaks eloquently to those hopes but I don’t suppose Team Starmer will be unduly put out by a now inevitable dwindling party membership. “You can’t make an omelette”, I hear them say, “without cracking eggs”.)

… no, that unholy alliance is bent on humiliating a man by several orders of magnitude – and I say this as one with serious criticisms of Left reformism – their moral superior. The message to anyone minded to launch any attempt at reviving “Corbynism” rings loud and clear. We will not only defeat you, but grind you into the dust beneath our feet.

Let’s not forget though that the prime agents of Corbyn’s defeat were those who sat beside him on the benches of Her Majesty’s Opposition. Which is what this Jacobin piece from Daniel Finn is about. I don’t agree with all he says. In my view he’s too soft on any number of actors – Long-Bailey, Lansman, Becket (Andy not Margaret) and Thornberry for starters. And too addicted to laboured (!) metaphors he doesn’t quite pull off. But such carps aside, this is an edge-of-seat read. However nasty you may have thought the Labour Right – and we did get glimpses through the foul mouthed slanders of John Mann and Margaret Hodge – Finn shows it to be worse.

And he has the smoking guns to prove it.

* * *

  1. I don’t mean to imply our rulers are all twenty-four carat, frothing at the mouth loony tunes. Indeed, they may be charming, passionate about improving the lot of the poor, devoted parents and all round good eggs. It’s just that the decisions they – or those who act on their behalf – make are driven by an insane and life negating imperative. I speak of the pursuit of profits which, however vehemently this class may protest to the contrary, trumps all other considerations; all those things that sane people hold dear. I don’t say our rulers don’t care about the environment, peace, the eradication of dire poverty etc etc. I say that actions speak louder than words and the choices our rulers make are overridingly driven by none of these things but by the remorseless logic of capital accumulation: a logic of which they – and the theoretically bereft economists ultimately in their pay – are and always have been in deepest denial.
  2. I’ve just finished watching for the third time the BBC drama series, Peaky Blinders. Its plotting is preposterous, its messages amoral and ultimately reactionary. But it’s also stylish, sumptuously shot, convincingly acted and houses both splendid dialogue and magnificent villains. And it locates itself in an explosive period of British history. The arch cad of Series 5 is Sir Oswald Mosley, in the aftermath of the Wall Street crash of 1929, and I was struck by how similar Mosley’s message of a global takeover by “Jews and financiers” is to that now put out by those who locate a world rocked by crises not in the logic of capital but in the shady doings of rentiers and gamblers – as if these were some disconnected aberration from ‘good’, ‘normal’, ‘healthy’ capitalism.
  3. “Stuffed animals filled with Soviet explosives, designed to blow Afghan children to bits …” As with Assad gassing kids, the week a UN inspection team is set to visit the area, no rationale is needed. As I say in a footnote to a recent post, such allegations “bypass rationality to tap into our orientalist receptivity to tales of evil-for-evil’s-sake barbarity, be the alleged perp an Assad or a Putin.” Jeffrey St Clair’s piece reminds us that such crude but – since they draw on wells of prejudice so deep we are only dimly aware of them – effective lies have a long history.
  4. On the Labour Right’s historic preference for electoral defeat over Left led victory, two examples suffice (a third is given in the Jacobin piece). One is from the 1987 general election when Labour’s Frank Field, in Birkenhead, urged neighbouring Wallasey to vote Tory against left Labour candidate Lol Duffy. (Tory Lynda Chalker scraped back in by 279 votes.) The other is from election night 2019, when Jess Phillips was caught smirking with delight as the disastrous exit polls came in. Belatedly realising she’d been caught on camera, she adopted a suitably sorrowful look. (NB I wrote a post on this, with a link to the damning video. It’s been taken down. Do I suspect YouTube censorship? Damn right I do – and it’s getting worse. The same thing happened with leading epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski, who’d been critical of what he saw as an overstatement of Covid-19’s threat, and the lockdown response. Whatever our views on the specifics of Wittkowski’s message, we should all be worried. As our rulers’ grip on opinion manufacture through mainstream media loosens, the battle to rein in social media is intensifying. Postscript 2/8/20: I’ve now found both videos via indirect routes. Phillips’ election night behaviour can be seen here; Wittkoski’s interview, with transcript, here.)

11 Replies to “My July reads

  1. I haven’t had time to see all your links but the Corbyn episode is the saddest and most sobering to watch in my lifetime. And it makes clear with ruthless certainty the bottomless viciousness of the ruling class. But there is a dialectical way of seeing this i.e. the apparent strength of the ruling class may be seen as a weakness. The Labour Party is becoming increasingly obviously simply another organ of ruling interests. When more and more people come to see they can no longer get representation in the political spectrum they will come to abandon it.

    • Right from it’s beginning the ‘Labour’ Party has been a vehicle for muting protest and diluting progressive movement. There is no point in bemoaning the party’s capitulation to the establishment – it was always thus. Its birth from inside the Fabian Society guaranteed impotence – and that was the point.

  2. The Life of Brian reference is timely in a context of vanguardism and its associated purity which has for too long undermined the coherence of a ‘left’ more interested in slogans and posturing than thinking and analysis. Where who is considered “in” and whose “out” is the only relevant criteria of judging an issue rather than having to do the hard work of actually engaging the brain cells with inconvenient things like fact based arguments and analysis.

    Why bother with that ‘shit’ when all one needs to do is simplistically and conveniently denounce, for example, a quoted source who is considered to be “out” rather than bother with the actual issue?

    And what you end up with is a pissing contest of who or what self identified faction considers themselves to have the most points in terms of a hierarchy of whatever is being discussed; whether it’s being ‘left’; ‘progressive’; ‘oppressed’; or whatever.

    Becoming nothing more than a pale imitation, a tribute act, to Year Zero managerialsm in which the wheel is constantly reinvented every so often and experience derided and flushed down the pan as no longer relevant to whatever bunch of twelve year olds have suddenly discovered an alternative politics which has actually always existed.

    Just like the managers we had at work with the same disdain for anything outside of the fairy land “reality” operating in their own heads. Like experience, observable and objective reality, and open systems.

    And the point is that as far as the Establishment (in whatever Official Party form) is concerned such student level politics is easy to deal with and control. Within that Establishment the Labour Party has returned to its role as The “Loyal” Opposition, with its attendant monopoly on that role as an alternative administration which does not stray a single iota outside of a rapidly shrinking Overton Window on the odd occassion when the Establishment first team Government runs out of steam.

    And the same process is replicated within the LP – with “Official” monopoly controlling Establishment faction and “official” monopoly left opposition role – most recently and currently occupied by Lansmans Momentum, PLC – which, from personal experience and observation, is and was more than prepared to adopt the same anti-democratic power politics to achieve its own careerist orientated organisational goals and objectives as the extreme centrists.

    Which is why you will find very similar interchangable approaches to issues associated with each official monopoly “left” and “right” currently operating. The total absence of objective based evidence; due process principles and standards; and systemic monopolisation and homogeneousisation of a single group (with attendant active denial and exclusion of diversity of positions and views from within that group); and their substitution for subjective self identified based opinion; guilt by allegation (oh the irony of RLB!); “cancelling” of any debate or discussion; denial of different voices within a specified demographic (“self hating Jews” etc); and decisions by shouting the loudest/mob rule; which is evident in the AS issue for the official monopoly “right” and replicated on the official monopoly “left” (and fellow travellers) with gender issues for example.

    Of which (and I’m interested in analysis and debate – including MY right to exist – rather than Tufty Club Brownie Points) the link below provides ample food for thought on the basis of jest and true words (try substituting, where appropriate, the terms and labels etc used in the AS issue):

    or here:

    Of which: “A problem can be seen straight away here of course, because an accurate means of assessing people, based on a quality seen only on the inside of their heads, does not immediately spring to mind.” more or less sums up the absurdity we are faced with across a range of other issues.

    Suggesting another way of describing the two groups identified within the West would be on the axis (allegedly) provided by Karl Rove – in full post modernist mode – with his reality based community and its opposite (yes, I know, it’s binary. ie not bleedin’ anologue) the non reality based community.

    No prizes for identifying, in this post modernist bullshit dystopia, which community is in the majority on both the left and the right.

    In terms of its stated, professed and implied values – along with its written rules and procedures – the Labour Party remains institutionally corrupt. In that regard it fits in with just about every other institution and organisation in the self identified “free world.”. From the OPCW through to the EHRC and the entire spectrum of so called “Third Sector” NGO’s.

    Yet despite this being clear to even a blind man on a galloping horse too many within the Party and thewider Movement who should know better – both “left” and “right” are prepared to go actively along with this, refusing point blank to see they are wasting their time. There is little prospect of the level of commitment and work (within the context of a finite lifetime)
    put in to achieve certain values and policies ever being accepted within this framework.

    For them, the organisational means has become the ends. The LP is a means of achieving certain ends. When there is no possibility of achieving those ends via that means (and the question is one of a Parliamentary road to democracy rather than one of socialism) it is perverse to continue operating on the basis that it is possible. Like the observational quote above this is acting on the basis of a subjective reality inside the head rather than the objective reality which actually exists.

    This, like any other ideological based internal reality, won’t end well. I’m reminded (and I may have related this previously) of an incident at work some years ago when a group of engineers were told in no uncertain terms by a local senior Board level manager to smash a new gas main which, when laid, had damaged the telecom cable and duct. Back then (over thirty years ago) common sense prevailed.

    Today, there is little doubt that for both the gas main case and the political/”democratic” sphere, there will be a bloody great hole in the ground and things flying in all directions as the shit hits the fan, as it surely will.

    The Covid issue has demonstrated the serious weakness of the current framework – from systemic built in weaknesses in Capitalist/Feudal economics/finance through to its political structures and processes. That will further deteriorate come January when the reality hits post Brexit with no adequate reality based planning in place to deal with the changed logistical situation, structures and processes.

    In this regard, the two groups can be further redefined in evolutionary terms. Those who get to win the Darwin Awards and those who get to survive.

    • Yep. Way back in the 1970’s I joined the SWP. I was subsequently appalled by party members virulent denigration of the IMG, the Communist Party, the Anarchists and/or anyone else on the ‘left’ who was not in the SWP. The afore mentioned others had a similar perspective. We were all supposedly aiming at the same goal, but only the ‘party line’ you were included in was the correct path to follow. Unfortunately for my continued membership, I found that on marches or demos, the Anarchists were funnier, more accurate and more to the point in their comments and analysis than the SWP were. I left – fortunately before the sexual scandals which ultimately did for the party, as that would have been even more unsupportable to me than the political doubts I had at that point.

      Left wing solidarity has to be a real and desirable goal if the left is to get anywhere soon. “People’s Front of Judea-ism” is a weapon wielded by the establishment.

  3. Your second footnote conjures up so many conundrums. I haven’t seen Peaky Blinders, but I would imagine that there is an overlap with any number of films and TV series from the past e.g. The Godfather movies, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, I Claudius, Game of Thrones etc. where the action centres around characters who would be insufferable and indeed lethal in real life and yet they are admittedly fascinating and even mesmeric on film. Oliver Stone recalled how bemused he was when the Gordon Gekko character from Wall Street was supposed to be the villain and yet huge sectors of the audience wanted to be him. But the real curiosity is that when such characters seem to appear regularly in the business and political fields, they are dismissed as aberrations. There might be opportunity for a few essays on the contradictions of bourgeois ideology here. Indeed, I would be surprised if these had not already been written.

    • If I can find the time – and as we Stakhanovites of the Gecko School know, lunch is for wimps – I mean to write a post on the Blinders, though as you imply, it’s highly likely the Cultural Studies crowd have written screeds on it. Yes, Godfather – also splendid and ultimately reactionary – is relevant here but, as I think we discussed once before, I see Cillian Murphy’s Tom Shelby as a direct descendant of James Bolam’s Jack Ford in the seventies series, When the Boat Comes In.

  4. So that was the problem!! Who says Russians are not to blame?

    Regarding Corbyn the problem exists because the Labour Party-and the broader movement- has come to consider itself part of bourgeois society. This is relatively new- the Broad Church never was meant to include satan worshippers like the Blairites but to signify that, within the party, differences would be worked out democratically.
    The current legal threats and counter threats exemplify the problems that come by recognising the right of capitalist class society to ajudge internal questions.
    It ought to be axiomatic that Labour alone has the right to decide whether it has an ‘antisemitism’ problem. And that it is ludicrous to listen to the views of those who are, on principle, opposed to socialism and therefore, and entirely logically, going to use every available weapon to thwart it and its champions.
    Anyone who believes that agents of the bourgeoisie can or will seriously consider whether Labour is antisemitic, particularly in relative terms , more antisemitic than ruling cl;ass parties, simply does not undrerstand politics.
    Politics is about power in a society in which the class with power exploits the mass of the population in its own interests. The idea that journalists, judges, legislatures or private groups not committed to socialist change will judge questions vital to their socialist opponents fairly and objectively is nothing short of idiocy.
    Corbyn was ‘done in’ by The Establishment, of which a part consists of false socialists, which is to say members of the Labour movement whose real loyalties are to that Establishment.
    This has nothing to do with the Fabians- who, for all their many faults, understood that a condition for being admitted to internal debates on policy was a tacit agreement to accept the ‘majority’ verdict- always bearing in mind the curious effects of block votes.
    Gradually and thanks in part to the mirages set in motion by the Butler Education Act (to which I owe everything!) Labour has come to regard itself as a part of the society it exists to demolish, intellectually and physically. And to preserve this society against all threats leads to Labour regarding its first duty as being to prevent itself from coming to power.
    That was what we saw under Corbyn: the scum who torpedoed his leadership and prevented the people from setting their hands back on to some of the levers of power, after those levers had been torn from them after 1970, did so because, in their shallow pates they thought that to do so was in the interests of a society which benefits from EU economic policies, NATO /Pentagon military diktats and an hierarchically organised society in which merit and brains (see Ms Oldknow’s or Nicoll’s or Starmer’s bios) allow the children of Labour to aspire to places within capitalist society.
    It is my view that while the tendencies to compromise with The Establishment are very old and long predate the Labour Party the attitude of mind within the party that it is a part of capitalist society- that it gets its ideas from that society, that it shares the economy with the bosses, that it gets equal justice from the courts, that it will find objective and fair reporting from the BBC, that it recognises in The Guardian its fellow thinkers, that its interests in Labour’s position in society differs little from the concerns of feminists over the position of women, of homosexuals of their interests- such a view of Labour is new.
    And it is a view that removes from Labour its raison d’etre, which is that it is the party of an exploited class.
    In short Labour has to stop thinking of the many as being party of the same nation as the few- the few are the enemy. As such they are worth studying: the lies that they employed against Corbyn, and the charges of racism against Labour, set a very dangerous precedent for them- their leaders are invariably compromised in dozens of ways-Cameron was linked to every dodge in the tax avoiders’ book, May was married to a Hedge Funder ‘betting against the working class’ and don’t let’s get started on Johnson. As to racism- the Tory party is riddled with it.
    Time was when (even though Fabians ruled) the Daily Herald and the Mirror regularly subjected Tories to the sort of propaganda mobilised against Corbyn. It was when Labour, in cahoots with the enemies of socialism, with the US Embassy and Murdoch, decided that it didn’t need a press of its own, or an internal political education system, or local party organs (including Labour run councils) championing the interests of the working people, the poor, the immigrant, the dispossessed, (because the state served all equally and fairly!)
    In my view the entire matter is summed up in the purpose of the GoFundMe campaign for Jeremy which is to engage in a legal process in front of judges selected because they are enemies of socialism and friends of the ruling class in the hope of proving (to whom? only fools would require the proof) that Jeremy Corbyn is not an antisemite, that the Labour Party was ill served by those staff members sabotaging it and the Panorama was engaged not in reporting but in character assassination. And that the BBC- contrary to the opinion of virtually nobody- is not a fair and balanced source of news when subjects dear to the imperialists are under consideration.
    Raise hundreds of thousand by all means but use it for building an organisation, employing full time agitators among the semi employed and those in debt bondage, exposing the slave systems in the economy, feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.
    And let the lawyers look elsewhere for their fees, because we assuredly loook elsewhere for justice.

    • In terms of the LP, an analysis congruent with the evidence, experience, facts and reality on the ground. And thus as accurate an observation of the state of play as one is likely to encounter.

      Whilst he point is well made, as I understand it the crowd funder for Corbyn is defensive rather than offensive; to defend a libal action which, if not robustly defended, will, like the recent shenanigans against Alex Salmond and current actions against Craig Murray and Mark Hirst – which are also Crowdfunding the defence against Stat/Establishment Prosecution, publicly trash his character and, by extension, what he stands for (and everyone else on this side of the fence by extension).

      In this regard, whether it’s Salmond, Murray, Hirst, Corbyn or whoever they are merely a proxy for what they stand for and those who share that stance. The charge is immaterial to the objective of crushing those alternative stances by whatever means. To demoralise and present the current Establishment neo- liberal cult as the only ‘reasonable’, ‘realistic’, and ‘legitimate’ so called ‘choice.’

      Which is why all the above are worth the effort. Not necessarily to ‘win’ on their terms – though Salmond demonstrated, not once but twice on the same issue, that it can be done on those terms – but to demonstrate that we will no go silently into that darkness.

      If that means being nothing more than a constant and consistent foot blister I’ll sign up and stand in that trench. Which is why submissions went to the EHRC, last year, and the Force Inquiry, last week. Amongst other similar actions.

      On the wider issue, my own, not dissimilar take is perhaps best encapsulated in the apology I sent round to local colleagues this afternoon to an invitation to an online CLP members meeting – apparently organised through the Party Management apparatchiks from Region – with John Healey MP (who, according to available evidence supported Owen Smith in the 2016 coup attempt) designed to relaunch an effort to recapture the seat should there ever be another election:


      Even though I have registered – it’s the only way to submit a question – I have decided to vote with my feet on this occasion and will not be participating.

      As the form for submitting questions only allows so many characters the question submitted has had to be more generalized than I would wish.

      “What guarantees exist that the hard work of volunteer members will not be further undermined by the Party in the future?”

      It is worth the effort of getting back to basics and considering why it is people spend limited time and great effort attempting to achieve change, from a failed and failing approach to methods that are more workable and realistic in a practical sense. Particularly when the evidence and individual experiences exist that large parts of the means through which these ends are being sought (senior Party figures; the Party bureaucracy; even members of the PLP) have made it very clear they would rather lose than operate outside of the narrow parameters of a shrinking Overton Window.

      The local evidence and experience from 2017 of two separate campaigns being fought is now supplemented with clear evidence from national level of a deliberate attempt to lose that election for sectarian purposes.

      The consistent public attacks in the two years which followed from within the Party from senior Party figures, existing and former staff within the Party bureaucracy, and members of the PLP against the Party, using the elected leadership as a proxy for policies many members and voters have worked hard towards, has followed the same pattern and approach with the same sectarian end goal.

      A pattern and approach which took its lead from the pronouncements of a former leader – who lost at least five million votes between 1997-2005 – that he would rather lose rather than win on policies many members and Party voters have worked, and continue to work, to achieve.

      Many of those policies – such as Green New Deal amongst others – are time dependent in the sense that they are designed to address a deterioration of systems which once certain thresholds are passed it becomes impractical and impossible to remedy. We have seen and experienced this across a range of issues in the past and more recently with local authority funding and the privatisation of services (including housing, schools, and leisure) to the detriment of democratic accountability. Ditto with the former public utilities, some of which like Water, are ticking time bombs of complex Corporate debt.

      If large sections of and within the Party with significant decision making and other power have been willing in the recent past to undermine the Party and it’s election chances on this basis it is not unreasonable to surmise this will continue into the future.

      At which point the question everyone seeking such change has to address is that of whether the means by which the work and effort going into the practical solutions and aims being sought can be achieved, in the time available, under such circumstances and in this context?

      The Labour Party is A means to achieve specific ends. When the ends which are the object of people’s individual and collective efforts are consistently and openly undermined and prevented from within that means to the extent that the means have become the ends the practical consideration needs to be addressed as to whether under such circumstances it will ever be possible to achieve those ends through such a means?

      It is therefore legitimate for those who do all the donkey work and graft to discuss and debate this issue before anything else is discussed and to obtain cast iron guarantees on these matters.

      The attitude of those within the Party who are responsible for this sectarian approach is encapsulated in the observation attributed to Peter Mandelason some years ago that traditional Labour voters and Labour voting areas “had nowhere else to go.”

      Well, they found somewhere else to go in Scotland. Yet the lesson has not been learned because those responsible within the Party, at all levels, don’t want to learn those lessons. Which is why voters found somewhere else to go in traditional Labour areas in the North and the Midlands of England. As matters stand the same process looks set to be repeated in terms of Party members.

      Which is more than likely to meet the wishes of a former Party leader and other purists of like mind of never, ever, winning power.


      Dave Hansell

  5. One wonders, on reading this article, if those such as John Ware and associates like Dan Hogan (who was supposed to be processing two of my complaints which went missing around the time of his departure in July 2018 but managed not to lose a third related complaint going in the somewhat opposite direction – qulle suprise) are intent on pursuing anyone who is currently raising questions about their probity?

    Like those who are currently pursuing complaints involving their breaches of LP members GDPR rights in the case quoted above of in their misuse of LP members data in the Panorama programme?

    If so this could go on for some time as they systematically attempt to take out every single individual on these islands who consider them to be gurus*

    * I recollect seeing somewhere that the term guru is often used by those of us who cannot spell charleten.

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