Left groups and people

Labour leader: a blurred election

Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has something of Jeremy Corbyn 2015 about it (and then some). Unfortunately for Rebecca Long-Bailey, the same cannot be said of her Labour leadership campaign. She has had some large-ish (stress ish) rallies, but many have been flops. In general her campaign is lacklustre. Politically poor videos seem to be taking the place of public mobilisations. We have gone from the situation of 2015, where a scattering of left-wingers quickly cohered into a dynamic, enthusiastic, organised campaign, to one where the left is transformed back into a (now bigger)...

A patronising appeal to the poor

“Why did Labour lose so badly (in the 2019 general election)? Because there was one central issue in the election campaign: Brexit. In that context, a party that could provide only a hesitant and ambiguous answer because of its internal divisions had no chance.” “If Corbyn had been able to counterpose a resolute Left Brexit to Johnson’s plans – that is to say: using the end of the neoliberal EU treaties for the purpose of a social restructuring of British society – then a different result would have been very possible.” “There is nothing irrational about the fact that the upper middle classes...

Michel Lequenne, 1921-2020

“The last Trotskyist” — so Michel Lequenne, who died on 13 February 2020 aged 98, sometimes described himself, according to a tribute by Antoine Artous and Francis Sitel. Arguably he was indeed the last surviving Orthodox Trotskyist with an unbroken political thread from the early 1940s. There are other Orthodox Trotskyists — the more-or-less theory-free network around Peter Taaffe’s Socialist Party, the “Morenist” diaspora, those post-Mandelites who still call themselves “Trotskyist” — but they scarcely attempt to offer a systematically-developed ideological tradition. In the introduction to...

Health, education, Green New Deal

We are bringing our people together around an agenda that works for the working people of this country, not the one per cent. All over this country, workers are sick and tired of earning starvation wages. You can’t make it on 9 bucks an hour or 11 bucks an hour or 12 bucks an hour. We are going to raise the federal minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. We are going to provide equal pay for equal work for women. We are going to make it easier for workers to join unions. We are going to create millions of good-paying, union jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and building the ten...

Nevada: bump in the road?

Next Saturday (22 February) voters in Nevada will participate in caucuses to choose their 48 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Early voting has already begun. According to the latest poll, Sanders has a 7 point lead over Biden, with no other candidates reaching the 15% threshold required to win delegates. This represents a major shift, as Biden had been leading in all the polls in Nevada up until very recently. A Sanders victory in Nevada would represent more than just a hat trick, following his victories in the popular vote in Iowa and New Hampshire. It would mean that he has...

How can Sanders beat Trump?

In early June, voters in the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands will go to the polls to choose their delegates for the Democratic National Convention. When that happens, the primary season will be officially over, though it is likely to end well before that. If polls today are accurate and nothing much changes in the next few months (rather large assumptions, obviously), according to The New York Times and the respected FiveThirtyEight website, Bernie Sanders is likely to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. He is already generally acknowledged to be the front-runner due to the implosion...

Labour NEC: vote Townsend and Wright!

The by-election for three places on Labour’s National Executive Committee is messy, with multiple “left” slates or partial slates in competition. Momentum, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, the rump Labour Representation Committee, and the (Chris-Williamson-ite) Labour Left Alliance are supporting different combinations of candidates. • CLPD are backing Lauren Townsend and Cecile Wright for the two CLP places • Momentum, Lauren Townsend and Leigh Drennan, plus Nav Mishra for the BAME place • LRC, Jo Bird and Deborah Hobson, plus Hassan Ahmed for BAME • LLA, Jo Bird and Mohammed Azam...

West Midlands feels the Byrne

Right-winger Liam Byrne has been selected as the Labour candidate to unseat Tory West Midlands metro-mayor Andy Street in May. Out of 6,948 votes, Byrne received 3,105 first preferences. There were two left candidates, former Dudley council leader Pete Lowe on 2,034 votes and former Respect activist Salma Yaqoob on 1,809. Yaqoob’s transfers did not go to Lowe, or not much more than they went to no second preference or to Byrne. After transfers Byrne beat Lowe 56.5-43.5%. Byrne has, for obvious reasons, made vague leftish noises, but he was a loyal minister in the Blair-Brown regime, nominated...

Irish election: behind the left surge

The Irish election results have seen an unprecedented surge of support for Sinn Féin, overtaking both the establishment parties to win the popular vote with 24.5% of first preference votes, to Fianna Fáil’s 22.2% and Fine Gael’s 20.9%. SF’s vote was a rejection of the two-party system, which has seen FF and FG rotate in power since the early 1930s. This rejection was overwhelmingly fuelled by anger about issues such as housing, homelessness and health. Whatever SF’s willingness and capacity to deliver fundamental change on these issues, or its credentials as a genuinely left-wing party, the...

Sanders and the unions

Bernie Sanders has introduced a new phrase into American politics: “working class.” For decades, hardly anyone has used those two words together. It was far more common to speak of the “middle class” or, more recently, “working families”. By employing the language of class, Sanders has staked out his claim to be the candidate of the trade unions. In early 2016, when Sanders’ chances of getting elected were considered to be around zero, the leaders of most major American unions rushed to endorse Hillary Clinton. In most cases, members were not asked who they supported, and to many union leaders...

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