Left groups and people

Poor choices for Labour leader

Labour’s National Executive Committee has set a short timetable for the leadership election. MPs and MEPs have one week to nominate candidates (7-13 January). Constituency Labour Party [CLPs] and affiliates have one month (15 January-14 February). Voting will run a month and a bit (21 February-4 April). New members can vote if they join by 20 January. There will be a registered supporters system, in addition to affiliate supporters (eg people registered through their unions). To get on the ballot, candidates need 10% of Labour MPs and MEPs (22), and then either 5% of constituency parties (33)...

"Regrouping the left”

I commend Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) for broaching the difficult, yet important question of how the socialist movement can revive and reinvent itself and offer a genuine alternative to global capitalism against the false choice between neoliberal centrism and right wing ultra-nationalist populism. As the recent general election in the UK has demonstrated there is still a long way to go before anything that resembles a revolutionary movement comes to the fore. Despite the failures of Labour and Syriza, I still think a space is still possible for a new and truly revolutionary left. I...

Sanders, Corbyn and anti-Semitism

Bernie Sanders has a proud record both of supporting Israel and of being critical of its government. He summed up his views in a recent article for the magazine Jewish Currents, in which he wrote; “I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution.” The choice of the phrase “in particular for progressives” is deliberate. Because people on the Left, in recent years, have not acknowledged that the creation of Israel was...

Andy Shallice 1952-2019

Andy Shallice, a comrade from Sheffield Heeley Labour Party, died suddenly last Saturday, 14 December. Andy returned to the Labour Party with the Corbyn victory in 2015 and led local campaigning in the constituency. He was warm, funny, optimistic and politically switched-on. He fought for accountability and revelled in asking difficult questions of the local labour bureaucracy. Previously as a Unison activist. he had been key to the local rank and file, Unison Unleashed. He had been active on the left in the North West and Sheffield since the 70s, including with Workers’ Fight (a forerunner of...

Labour leadership: neither “LOTO continuity” nor “back to Blair”!

Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby has written to the National Executive Committee proposing the process of electing a new leader and deputy leader should begin on 7 January and conclude by the end of March. Under new rules agreed since the last leadership election, to get on the ballot paper candidates need nominations from 10% of MPs (21) plus either 5% of constituency parties (33) or 5% of affiliated organisations by conference voting strength, two of which must be trade unions. Since the Parliamentary Labour Party is still much more right-wing than the party membership, that may...

“Labour Transformed” launches

A new Labour left organisation is being launched from elements around Labour Campaigns Together. Labour Transformed has put out a launch statement and plans a conference on 14 December in London. It’s not clear why it has been scheduled to clash with the Another Europe Is Possible conference. Prime movers include James Meadway, formerly of Counterfire, and a former adviser to John McDonnell, and Seth Wheeler, formerly of Plan C. The statement contains much to agree with on anti-capitalism, socialism, internationalism and the importance of democracy in our movement. It says, rightly: “Whatever...

Bernie Sanders backed by America’s Muslims

In recent months, Bernie Sanders has become an enormously popular politician among Muslim Americans. He was one of only two Democratic presidential candidates to address the Islamic Society of North America Convention in August, the largest annual gathering of Muslim Americans in the country. He is the first major presidential candidate to appoint a Muslim, Faiz Shakir, as his campaign manager. He was the first American politician to visit a mosque after the attacks on Muslims in New Zealand. Prominent Muslim Americans including Linda Sarsour, a leader of the Women’s March, and newly elected...

Can Sanders win?

According to most polls, Americans have had enough of Donald Trump. A majority wants him impeached. And most voters say they will vote against Trump in November 2020. Despite those polls, many are terrified that Trump might somehow win re-election. For them, the candidate who deserves our support is the one most likely to beat him. Little else matters. According to a summary of all recent polls on the RealClearPolitics website, Trump would lose badly to any of the top three Democratic candidates were elections held today. Biden would beat him, Warren would too and so would Sanders. And yet...

Far right and soft left advance in Germany

The 27 October election in the German federal state of Thuringia saw Die Linke (a merger of the post-Stalinist PDS and a breakaway from the SPD) emerge as the biggest party, with 31% of the votes. The far right AfD came second with just over 23%, and the CDU (German Tories) third with just under 22%. The SPD (roughly the German Labour Party) came a poor fourth with just 8% of the vote. The FDP (German Liberal Democrats) managed to just scrape past the 5% hurdle, which parties must achieve to win any seats. It passed the hurdle by just five votes. Compared with the last federal state election...

Left splits over West Midlands mayor

The entrance of former Respect party leader Salma Yaqoob into the contest for the Labour candidacy for West Midlands mayor is causing a bitter row within Momentum and the Labour left as a whole throughout the region. In principle, the idea of a female ethnic minority candidate is attractive. But Yaqoob’s record makes her a highly problematic prospective candidate. There are many aspects of Yaqoob’s record that have caused concern, but the most obvious is her campaign, as an independent candidate, against Labour’s Naz Shah in Bradford West at the last general election in 2017. Now, Shah –...

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