Corruption Capitalism

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Creed of Capitalism
Is the greed of capitalism
Bringing about the fall of capitalism
There is no hope of reforming capitalism
We can only settle for abolishing capitalism
Solely because of the crimes of capitalism
Forget about the lies of capitalism
Focus on the destruction of capitalism
Socialism the only cure for capitalism

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Labour Civil War? This Is A War Of Ideology

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What is happening within the Labour party is much bigger than Corbyn, it’s much bigger than the Labour Party. Within Labour we are witnessing a break down of the Thatcherite consensus which has dominated the Labour party since the days of Blair and New Labour, alongside this we are witnessing a backlash against Neoliberal ideology and Thatcherism in wider society. Corbyn is the figurehead, or the representative of this change and his opponents in and outside the Labour party believe the maxim “cut the head of the snake” but the paradigm shift that is occurring cannot be stopped so easily.

When Thatcher got elected, many said she couldn’t do it, when she became PM, people didn’t believe it. Yet since then, we have seen a huge shift in the political consensus to the right, in fact the One Nation Tory ideology that Thatcher effectively destroyed became irrelevant. She managed to shift our politics so far to the right that people even buy the lie that left wing politics can never win an election (if you repeat a lie often enough…). This has been the generally accepted view since the eighties, coincidently there was a huge back lash against this shift to the right, sadly ending in the defeat for the left. The war however is far from over, and we are now witnessing a realignment, politics much like a pendulum is swinging back the way it came.

The establishment political, media and business have joined together in an evil triumvirate of ideological power to try and preserve the system that has enriched them, or as Chomsky puts to “manufacture consent”. They do not want the change that is coming, hence their alliance in shutting Corbyn down. They are going with the old narrative that left is unelectable, they are fighting back to protect neoliberal ideology. The power of Thatcherism is waning, and the confidence of the public in the establishment is breaking down. The media is losing its power to the internet, and the rising tide in anti-establishment sentiment because of the banking crisis, the expenses scandal, cash for questions, corrupt tax dodging business practices, all of these have crept up on neoliberalism, slowly but surely eroding peoples confidence in business as usual, in the generally held paradigm espoused by the establishment.

In a post Blair world the Blairites have become the dinosaurs, they have become the fossils, an insult so readily dished out at socialists and the like for just not “modernising.” In a scandal ridden world, where the new norm has become corruption, in a world after the expenses scandal, the bankers crash of 2008, and the ever widening income gap, their ideas and arguments seem alien to our generation. We are the products of the failure of neoliberal ideology, and we are open to something else, we haven’t lived in a world where socialism, or left wing politics has been in the mainstream.

It has been over thirty years since a left wing alternative was put to the electorate, in fact since the Thatcher years we have had an unbroken line of Thatcherism, Neoliberalism at the heart of our government it festering like a poison at the heart of our politics. Many people alive today myself included have never been presented with typical left wing arguments, they have become the ‘new’, they have become fresh, because neoliberal has become stale, and we have not been offered a credible choice for decades. This isn’t just happening here in the UK, it is happening all over the west, look at Sanders in America, and the agents of neoliberalism are becoming ever more desperate and dangerous, because it is happening on the flip side too, look at Trump and Farage.

People are crying out for change, we have had the occupy movement, we have had waves of protests, and unrest around this country and the wider world, the political landscape has shifted vastly, the rise of the SNP, the shadow of UKIP and Brexit. In a world where so much has changed since the Blair years, how can people think “business as usual” can win the day? This belief completely flies in the face of the problems the Labour party was facing prior to Corbyn becoming leader, it completely removes the party from its recent history and the context of where it finds it self.

Thus the ideological war which many believed to be over, the end of history, the fall of the Berlin Wall, has come out of no where to frighten the establishment inside and outside the Labour party. They have completely and utterly closed ranks in order to conserve the ideological consensus they have worked at over the last thirty years. If a left wing leader does win a general election, the narratives they have built up to protect neoliberal ideology will come crashing down. They lose justification for their arguments, and it is they who will be pushed into retreat. We are witnessing the desperate lashing out of its advocates, whether they are being directly pushed by their ideology or on a more subconscious level, because they are in a fight for their survival. If they lose within the Labour Party, an opposing ideology will start being presented in the chamber, if they lose a GE, a new ideology will start drafting policy.

While the Labour party is the main focus of this war of ideas, it is only one battlefield, and on a wider level what happened with Corbyn’s election is just a wider indicator of the paradigm shift which is happening to the wider public. So even if Corbyn is toppled, even if they put a neoliberal business as usual stooge in, they cannot stop the march of history, it has become too big now. So whether it happens inside or outside the Labour party, a big change is coming, and it is one that is going to realign our politics. We can either ride that wave and fight to create the kind of world we want to see, or we can get dragged along by it.

Momentum – shrinking back into Labour

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Momentum, the social movement set up in the wake of the phenomena that was Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for Labour leader has steadily and consistently retreated from the spirit of the campaign, and its founding ethos to the point it is in a real danger of becoming irrelevant to the wider movement.

The writing was on the wall when the right wing of the Labour party came out publicly attacking Momentum. Momentum’s response to this was revealed in a Guardian article entitled “Corbyn’s Momentum group moves to block influence of hard-left parties.”

Within that article it declared: “It would mean members of other leftwing parties such as Left Unity and the Communist party would not be allowed to attend its decision-making meetings. Momentum has decided that office holders in the group must all be Labour members and it is urgently preparing plans to develop a more democratic structure.”

This was a sign of things to come, firstly Momentum is not Corbyn’s group, it is suppose to be a grassroots social movement. The campaign to get him leader was led by many different forces in and out of the Labour party, and they have now been effectively expelled from a movement they were integral in creating.

Secondly, Momentum now has unequal membership, it sees Labour members as more important than the rest of us. How can a social movement be one, when it is now excluding large parts of the movement from involvement, or decision making?

Momentum had its first national meeting of delegates (no observers allowed), and it reinforced this previous position by voting to exclude at every single level, members of other parties, even if those parties campaigned to get Corbyn elected, and have similar values to that of the Labour party, and the trade unions.

The exact decision reached is as follows: “The Committee decided that Momentum should become a membership organisation. Members of other political parties will not be eligible for membership of Momentum.”

This is incredibly short sighted and extremely damaging to any movement Momentum was hoping to create, and for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in general. Without his supporters outside of the Labour party, he will find himself extremely isolated, it is the pressure and power of these collectively working together which is his biggest weapon against the right wing, and the media onslaught he has faced.

Within this context Momentum’s decision is nothing short of a betrayal, a betrayal to those that helped get him elected and a betrayal to the wider movement, as Momentum retreats into the Labour party to become an internal echo chamber, a Progress of the left.

I’m not a member of any other party but I had hoped that Momentum would be a vehicle for change, where forces from across the left could come together under the banner of Momentum in order to fight for the values put forward during the Jeremy Corbyn campaign by all those that supported him, both inside and outside the Labour party.

It feels that Momentum was dishonest about what it was from the start, as it clearly is no longer a social movement, nor can it be under its current structure. It clearly has changed from its original intentions which were: “The group is designed as a grassroots network to create ‘a mass movement for change, for real progressive change in every town and city’. Momentum describes itself as the successor to the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader campaign, but it is independent of the party’s leadership. It will work both inside the Labour party and organise in broader civil society.”

Momentum also wanted to effect change within the Labour party, hence the massive pressure it has come under from Labour MPs attacking it, but it was suppose to be independent of this Labour influence. In any case the solution to sheltering the Labour party from any outside influence that can be of a negative nature, was to have Labour members within Momentum organised, so that part of Momentum’s work is carried out by Labour members, the solution they have come to however is to exclude everyone, which shows extreme weakness and is going to damage Labour’s electoral chances.

It seems however these internal problems are going to bog down Momentum, this has already happened to some degree, Momentum has slowed down and well lost some of its momentum – a victory for the right who wanted this to happen. It looks like the Momentum leadership are trying to appease them, rather than effectively create a social movement that aspires to change society, while helping those in need who as it was put when it was founded, cannot wait for a Corbyn led government.

The steps it is taking are not new, not radical and I cannot see it achieving its aims unless it drastically begins to change. It is just a new name but carrying out old methods, we live in the internet age, we should be looking to have an inclusive movement that incorporates new media with a non-hierarchical structure.

Look at how Podemos are doing it in Spain, there is another way but mimicking the old methods isn’t going to reach the masses, and the more Momentum gets dragged into part of the internal Labour machinations, the further it is going to be from helping the people that cannot wait for a Corbyn government.

If Momentum is going to be successful it needs be brave, it needs to be bold but more importantly it needs to break away from the shackles of the Corbyn campaign, so that it can begin achieving change in our society, while it lays the foundation for a Corbyn victory in 2020.
I’m still going to be a member of Momentum, and everyone that reads this you should get involved too. We need to shape Momentum in its early formative months, and the more people fighting for an inclusive radical looking and acting Momentum, the better.

Get involved!
Lets keep the Momentum we need alive and kicking.

Left Unity and the election

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Let me start this blog by saying well done to everyone that had the courage and nerve to put themselves forward in local or national elections for Left Unity, while the results may have not reflected the hard work and dedication you showed, you deserve praise for having the balls to put your head above the parapet.

This article however is not going to be kind on Left Unity and its involvement in the elections, for they were an absolute disaster. Some of us within the party argue, albiet unsuccessfully at the folly of rushing into national and in some cases local election politics, when so much had yet to be achieved.

I personally argued for a local election focus, as if any network or fight back is going to be waged against this system, it will start at the bottom of communities.

Left Unity however first and foremost sought to be a social movement, it sought to ride the wave or if need be create the wave that would turn the tide in the battle for that which communities the length and breadth of the country hold dear.

Which is why many of us myself included, were distraught at the direction and turn Left Unity had started to take, it changed course dramatically and begun sailing straight towards the rocky waters of electoral politics without a care in the world for the direction of the political winds.

The forces of political nature were therefore harsh and unforgiving as socialists shamed themselves yet again in England in an utter massacre. As we rounded up to take part in our bi-decade self-flegellation that sees us humiliated and shamed.

This experiment has been an expensive failure, and a harsh lesson for Left Unity to learn, with members dropping out and abandoning us because of our performance, or in some cases the despair at not seeing the change and breath of fresh air we had hoped the party to be, materalise in any meaningful way.

What is done cannot be undone and it is how we seek to get out of the hole that we blindly and willingly dug ourselves into that will define the next five years for us.

How long will we keep doing the same old things and expecting fresh and new results? We want to build a successful party, we want to or at least I am fighting to improve communities because I don’t want people to starve, I don’t want people to be forced to live in shame, I don’t want my friends to go cold in the winter.

Yet I am dismayed at the complete and utter disconnect that the left keeps showing with the communities of this land, we keep doing failed and destructive methods and then hope or try to define and exclaim our failures as something else, we pass the buck without examining our own responsibility within those failures: That has to stop now.

I will tell you why we failed, we are not trusted – the people of the country don’t trust us, that can be for a million reasons, of course the mainstream media barrage against our ideas and figures is a major part but we ourselves have done little to earn their trust.

The London activist bubble, and hardened and great comrades up and down the country, many of whom I respect fo their services to the movement have got locked into a paradigm which is no longer beneficial to the left movement, the strategy no longer serves us. This can be seen in our falling power and popularity, and general standing – the trend is not good for the left.

Left Unity a party that is fighting for the many, fighting for the majority yet it is manned by a skeleton crew – why is that? Why are we irrelevant? in an age of such despair, why are we not a beacon of hope? Why are we not cutting through the forces of austerity with our sword of socialism? Why are people up and down the country not singing our praises as we stand shoulder to shoulder with them against the full brunt of this capitalist onslaught?

The common thread of community struggle, the glue that holds society together and creates an effective network for people to organise and resist attempts to attack and destroy the things we hold dear, has been eroded and destroyed over successive generations. Now we must work to rebuild these lost links and remember that which is being forgotten and lost.

Most importantly we have to earn the peoples trust and we are not going to do that with words, only with actions will the people be emboldened to fight, only through actions will people have the courage to stand against austerity and only in the fires of action will the weapons against this system be forged.

Another debate, another protest, another time – these methods do have their place, and must be used, they serve a purpose. We are not however doing what needs to be done around these, we need to get into communities and fight against austerity not with words but deeds!

Starving to death? Well people should know that Left Unity will not let you starve to death, it will feed your family – it will keep you alive. Freezing to death? Well people should know that Left Unity will not let you freeze because of a cold heartless government – it will keep you warm.

All we are hearing is words, we need to change the direction and outlook we have on what political activity means. We talk the talk, we talk tough – yet ultimately it falls on deaf ears because we are not walking their walk. You can talk about austerity from your heated home, your lovely three bedroom house, but to someone who has hunger in their belly, they want more than inspiring words.

There is merit in standing in elections, however we invested 18 or so thousands of pounds in our election effort, in a time when people are starving to death, thousands of people dying because of planned austerity measures, planned poverty – this investment should of gone on people, not polls.

We invested so much, for what return? What gain did we get on our investment? Very little. We could of showed solidarity with the people of this country, we could of begun a program to fight austerity in this country, instead we chose the tried and failed route of electoral politics first, and ultimately we are now going to pay the price – I only hope the price is not the most cruellest one to pay, that of our own demise.

Elections have their time and place, they serve a purpose – local elections are cost effective ways of campaigning and highlighting an issue within local communities and building links within local communities. Local must come first if we are to have any hope of achieving anything, it has to start at the bottom – we have to start at the bottom,.

Even if you go down the electoral strategy route, there was no strategic planning in placing candidates all over the place, diffusing our limited resources and isolating our many skirmishes and battles. If elections were a war, we spread our armies too thin and then paid the ultimate price – defeat.

There is hope for the future, there is hope for Left Unity but we have to get our priorities straight, we have to change – the left has to adapt and change to meet the current needs of the people. We need to be backing up our intellect with our actions, one without the other is meaningless.

In the end we need to not only say we want change, we need to display what change means, we need to showcase socialism, we need to put socialism into action, as the saying goes “socialism, the radical idea of sharing” – It is time socialism is taken to the streets!

Left Unity: Moving Forward

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This article is a follow up article to a piece wrote at the beginning of the year entitled: “Left Unity, a new party, a new politics.” It is suggested you read that before reading this one as the two compliment one another, the article delved into how Left Unity should be operating and what it should be doing for our new kind of politics. This article shall delve deeper into that topic reflecting on what still needs to be done, and what strategy we should be adopting to grow the party, and continue to fight for the oppressed. The task ahead for Left Unity as a whole and for individual members is a monumental one, building a party from the ground up, it cannot be rushed, we cannot cut corners, for if we drop the baton now, everything is for naught.

Our year anniversary is fast approaching and we have come quite a way since we started out, so I guess a congratulations and a well done are in order for all the hard working members, officers, and branches up and down the country, who are working tirelessly in service of their communities and towards the success of Left Unity. Our work however is far from over, as founding and early members of the party our job is one of the most important tasks, we need to be laying the foundations of the party, our foundation within communities and our foundations in the hearts and minds of the people. If we fail at this task, the party is finished, it is our duty to prove to the people that we are not more of the same, that we are well and truly on their side in the struggle, and that they can trust us. It with this in mind that the formative years of the party will shape how we are perceived by the public, and will set the tone of the party for years to come.

Our first task in ensuring we can deliver on the five strategical aims I laid out in my previous article is organisation, we need to ensure our internal structures and organisation are complete and operating as intended. If we cannot get this right, we stand no chance of working efficiently or growing as a party, for we will forever be marred in internal distractions. This means ensuring:

  • Regional councils are fully functioning

  • Standing orders finalised for branches, committees, sub-groups, etc

  • Branches are fully supported and operational

  • All posts are filled

  • Committees are fully operational

  • Refined policies

In fact, everything in regards to the internal structure and organisation could be added to the list, so it is by no means an extensive one, but you get the picture. This is what I am getting a little concerned about, if Left Unity was an army, half of our troops have had no training, the other half haven’t been given any weapons, and we are going to be sending them out to war?

Which leads me to my next point, elections are coming up and the debate was had at Left Unity Northampton on how we were planning to proceed, we unanimously agreed that standing in the General Election would be a waste of time, money and resources and we have put a motion in to the NC towards that end. Left Unity is not even a year old, we haven’t got our organisation fully operational, and with less than a year to go, we have no strategy for fighting the election, even if we win a seat, the party is not prepared or ready to have an MP. We need only look at other parties to see how long it has took them to mount credible challenges, and what strategy they adopted to achieve that end. Money that we are going to be throwing away in fighting a general election could be spent on positive things which help us lay the foundations for 2020, where we can fight a good campaign. If Left Unity was a product, we haven’t finished making it yet, nor have we finished producing it, but we are already trying to sell it and that kind of opportunistic token electioneering will damage our long term success.

So what should we be doing in the coming year, what strategy should we adopt if jumping on the general election bandwagon is a waste of time? I touched on the five points in my previous article, but we need to be doing more than just that. We need to be working at building local foundations, local fortresses, Left Unity bases up and down the country, and more importantly we need to be getting Left Unity out there into mainstream culture. To achieve this, we should be standing in local elections, while continuing to build relationships with communities through the five points. Once these lines of communication are fully laid, the trenches have been dug, then we will be prepared for battle, as the saying goes, fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Therefore the time spent on elections could be spent helping communities in their struggles, doing the important ground work for the success of the party in its battle against capitalism.

On top of this, the money we are going to be wasting on a general election could be put towards real good use in growing the party, we could hold a Left Unity political road show traveling up and down the country, with national officers and members going to each and every branch to boost that branches recognition and get the Left Unity message out there. We can put that money where it is needed, helping the oppressed and downtrodden, getting right into the hearts of communities and building Left Unity from the bottom up. Instead of rushing around placing general election candidates for the sake of it, when we are relatively unknown, we should be carrying out positive actions within communities which will attribute to the long term success of the party, not detract from it. If we do this step perfectly, when 2020 comes around we will be in perfect position to mount a general election campaign, as we would have had six years to plan for it, instead of half a year.

In Northampton Left Unity we have been working at building a strong base, a powerful foundation with which to challenge in 2020. We have built relationships with local groups, carried out our own protests and actions, got involved in local campaigns, helped in communities and set up our own society within the university. We are working tirelessly to build links within the community and create a bond of trust which will empower the group and the people. We will be standing a few candidates in the local election to get LU on a ballot paper, and make a headway into local government, because we feel that is the most effective use of our time. Each month we are gaining one or two new members, and these members are usually people that have never engaged in politics before. We plan on leading by example, and whatever strategy Left Unity adopts, we hope in a few years time we can show you a successful branch. We have done this without any real tangible support in terms of funds and resources from LU Central, if we got given a couple of grand with which to build the branch, we would be twice the size we are now, and this is where the resources should be going.

To wrap this up, Left Unity is a long term project, and we need to be thinking in the long term, we are the builders of Left Unity’s future and if we build those foundations on sand, then we are destroying that future. We have two thousand members and need to be pushing to get that membership up to ten thousand, we need to be working at getting branches fully embedded into their communities struggles, we need to be supporting one another so that the party is operational, so that when we do go to war, we are fully prepared for the fight, instead of throwing ourselves to the lions. There is important work that needs to take place in the formative years of the party, that we cannot afford the distraction of chasing general elections, when we will not get our deposits back, not mount a credible challenge, and waste a huge chunk of the year and time, for little or no gain. Now more than ever we need to be placing ourselves well and truly on the side of the people, so that come 2020, we mean business. Instead of running the Fawlty Towers of election campaigns, the party will be fully operational, our policies will be refined, our strategy well thought out, our product will be finished and it will be rolling off the assembly line. We should not be trying to sell Left Unity and carrying out business like the other parties, they are more prepared, better funded and resourced than us, we cannot beat them fighting a conventional war, we will not beat them at their own game, we have to resort to guerrilla tactics if we are too be successful in the long term, so lets not sell out our long term success for short term dreams.