Latest News & Comment
Questions arise about the legitimacy of the UK regime as well as the outcome of the US election.
The Trump campaign in the United States has been outspoken in its criticism of the fairness of the forthcoming Presidential election. It is obvious that the 'political Establishment' has been opposed to his campaign and the mainstream media have been almost exclusively pro Clinton. The voting has been started in some cases and allegations of votes being cast which should be ineligible are already being made. Examples include votes being cast on behalf of deceased residents. Questions of voting irregularity have long existed in the USA. The term 'gerrymandering' was associated with very early elections in a fledgling United States. In 1960, Joseph Kennedy Snr. was reported to have invoked the head of a mafia family to deliver important votes in Illinois in favour of JFK. The 'hanging chads' voting machine controversy surrounded the 2000 Presidential contest.
We may be suspicious of the workings of US Presidential elections but we also have large question marks hanging over our own Parliamentary elections. Here again, the media are very influential, as we have found out to our cost on many occasions. Coverage of the SLP has often been blacked out with our candidates not being mentioned and even excluded from reported lists of candidates. This has happened both in the written and broadcast media. Our candidates have been deliberately excluded from hustings.
Other examples of irregularity have included masses of voting forms being filled in on behalf of large numbers of potential voters (as in postal voting) and this has been particularly relevant in inner city areas and in relation to residents of old peoples' homes. Furthermore, the first past the post system means that millions of votes do not have any representation, a situation that would be resolved by a system pf proportional representation.
Finally, there are ongoing allegations of overspending by the main political parties (as with 'battle buses' and undeclared accommodation expenses) in the last General Election. We must ask whether the Tory majority was therefore 'legitimate'. They barely scraped in, as it was, with only about 24% of those eligible to vote! The current Prime Minister is, of course, unelected in the Country and was ultimately unopposed in an internal Tory Party contest for leader. There is also the question of millions of people without permanent accommodation not being recorded on electoral registers and losing their right to vote. Fairness, impartiality (especially from the media and voting regulators) and openness are requirements in any voting process that is to give the correct result and reflect the true wishes of the mass of the population.
Thoughtcrime: exposing the 'new anti-Semitism'.
‘An expert’ wrote Noam Chomsky, ‘is someone who articulates the consensus of people with power’.
Patriarchy, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism are orthodoxies promoted by clever people throughout history to whitewash the guilt of powerful elites. Far from being challenged, as we are lead to believe, mostly they are shifted in new directions at different targets for the purposes of policy.
On the political right the ‘old’ anti-Semitism is giving way to a calculating sympathy for Zionism. The historical hatred of Jews has not subsided. It is simply that a new target has been found. Islam is the alien influence and Muslims preferred as the fifth column.
Given Israel’s alliance with the West, it is no surprise that the campaign by some of its more militant supporters to re write the meaning of anti-Semitism in accordance with the new ‘realpolitik’ is meeting a compliant press.
The core objective of those advocating the idea of ‘left anti-Semitism’ is the legitimisation of Israel. Not in the sense of national sovereignty: rarely do they 'equate' its Arab neighbours with Israel. The acceptance they seek and the standard they use is Israel’s right to equal esteem and entitlement with its allies in the ‘democratic’ West.
Ideologically this conflicts with radical left doctrines viewing Israel not as a haven or 'settlement' but as a European colony established by force, supported ideologically by European exceptionalism.
Differing from arguments about racism historically, the new anti-Semitism draws on the political allegiances of individuals represented in this case as ‘racial’ constructions. Opposition to the idea of Israel does indeed look like a sinister ‘double standard’ if you view Israel as it is viewed by the ‘new’ Zionists, without the Palestinians and the perception of displacement and occupation.
Viewing anti Zionism as racially motivated would be a huge victory for a world view extreme even by the outlandish double standards of western ‘foreign policy’; we can criticise Israel for its mistakes, as we might the UK, since this confers on it the legitimacy sought. Anti Zionism however - viewing Israel as an occupying power - is placed beyond the pale of argument, portrayed shamelessly through the prism of the old anti-Semitism.
The new anti-Semitism is the old one re-packaged in time honoured fashion for the purposes of policy. When used by opponents, the word Zionist becomes anti-Semitic code for 'Jew' or 'Jew Lover'. Referring to Zionism as powerful or unaccountable becomes a covert endorsement of ‘anti-Semitic conspiracies’; questioning its exclusivity becomes a revival of traditional slurs against ‘wealthy’ or ‘influential’ Jews. Boycott or divestment campaigns become analogous to the burning of synagogues or the attacks on Jewish businesses or shops in 1930s Germany.
Accepting a definition of anti-Semitism written by Zionists denies the Palestinian experience, turning the case for Palestine into thoughtcrime. Without the Palestinians, the 'repudiation of Israel’s right to exist’ (Howard Jacobson) becomes a denial of Jewish identity, intrinsically anti-Semitic. In becoming 'associated' with the genocidal instincts of Nazism, anti Zionism loses its right to be heard. An oppressed people is tarred once again with the brush of 'racism'.
Comparing nations targeted for ‘regime change’ to fascism or their leaders to Hitler is endemic in our culture, no matter what the experiences of their people historically. Branding the left as the 'new' carriers of historical anti-Semitism fits the prevailing political narrative well, built as it is on a common aim; avoid addressing the supremacist nature of western foreign policy by portraying opposition as ‘hatred’.
What will be achieved if we accept the idea that anti-Semitism has ‘changed’ in the manner suggested is no different to what has been achieved throughout history by all ideas constructed to favour the powerful: the real issues of political justice which lie at the core of the conflict in Palestine and many conflicts around the world are avoided.
Kim Bryan, 24th October 2016
Comparisons of British ruling elite's attacks upon the progressive elements in the population.
The Miner's pension scheme has had some 'extra' coverage lately in the 'alternative' media. The main stream media is providing its usual silent treatment over the issue which is causing the rise in interest in the subject. This issue is the billions of pounds extracted from the fund by successive British regimes.
Following the grotesque political decision of the Thatcher Tory regime to close down most of the British coal industry, large areas of the Country were left desolate, devoid of hope, jobs, futures and investment. The funds creamed off (out of pensions) from these areas by the actions of the right-wing politicians, both Tory and Labour, could have substantially alleviated much of the hardship born by the former mining communities. These areas have generally been left with high levels of unemployment, high rates of drug taking and general decline of infrastructure. It is as if they have been singled out since the 1984-5 Miners' strike for special victimisation.
This situation, of course, has historical parallels. One that springs readily to mind is the treatment of the South West after the rising against King James the second in 1685. A rebel army was formed to oppose the actions of an intolerant, autocratic monarch. This army, although largely made up of ordinary craftsmen and agricultural workers, had learned the lessons from the English revolution which had deposed King Charles 1. It had former officers of the New Model Army, radicals, including 'Levellers' and other 'progressive' political and religious elements (e.g. Daniel Defoe). The Leveller colours of sea green were flown in this army.
Following the battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset, James 11 sent the infamous Judge Jefferies to wreak vengeance upon the population. His perversion of justice in the 'Bloody Assizes' left mangled bodies strewn over the South West and largescale transportations of rebels to the West Indies. It would have taken decades for the area to recover economically.
The comparison with the treatment of the mining communities is strikingly similar. Following the paramilitary and illegal attacks upon miners at places like Orgreave, restrictions on freedom of movement, expression and mutual self- help, many of these communities have been left economically devastated. It is as if the recent British regimes have wanted to hound British miners and their communities to the grave! There is also a close parallel in the political outlooks of the various participants. The reactionary Tory and Labour regimes were confronted overwhelmingly by principled miners with generally progressive and more often than not socialist ideas on how to better their lives and communities.
As an historical postscript, the devastation of the South West meant that it was relatively easy for William of Orange to land at Torbay in 1688 and depose James11. Some progressive political reforms came with this so-called 'Glorious revolution'.
Let us hope that the mistreatment of the mining communities will lead indirectly to a future of true Socialism in Britain as a whole.
Cynicism of Labour Party Social Democrats points the way for true Socialists to avoid political pitfalls
It is a sight for us to behold with some amusement as we witness the current widespread cynicism coming out from the mouths of the Labour Party Social Democratic politicians being relayed on the main stream Capitalist media.
Fundamentally, they have no intention of reinstating Clause 1V of the Labour Party constitution which was ditched by the Blair regime. This is one of the fundamental differences which led to the re-formation of the SLP under Arthur Scargill.
They claim that they will listen to the wishes of their members, unlike under the regimes of the likes of Blair and Brown. Social Democratic Labour leaders will, however, still have the final say, which means that any socialism will be extracted from the final version of any policies or laws. They claim that Labour Party conferences will, once again, have influence over policy making, despite the decades of being ignored. They claim that rail nationalisation will again be on the menu. This is just a token gesture! Wholesale and widespread public ownership of industries is required with compensation payable to the working class who have suffered under privatisations.
One of the most cynical devises of the Labour Party Social Democrats has been their use of the Capitalist courts in an attempt to influence political developments within their Party. Thousands of potential voters have been excluded from decision making as a result. The SLP must learn the lessons from such debacles. There should be no involvement of Capitalist Courts in the running of true Socialist organisations.
The final great cynicism in all this is that not a word or whimper was heard of any of this sudden discovery of potential socialist reform under the right- wing pro - Bankers and Capitalist regimes that began in earnest with Blair becoming leader of the Party. Where were all these people while we were suffering all the attacks upon our communities and living standards? Where were these people while Bankers, mega Capitalists et al were stashing all their ill- gotten wealth and bonuses in offshore tax havens? We should all beware politicians who have had sudden 'road to Damascus' conversions in their political beliefs. They are normally looking after their own career interests.
British working class uses its vote in agreement with the SLP
The British working class has given the Establishment a good kicking by rejecting all the pressure put upon them to accept the status quo of repressive EU membership. As various commentators, including Dr. Lisa McKenzie of the London School of Economics, have indicated, there is a very high correlation between the 'No' votes and the working class. The appeals to their 'so-called' natural supporters from the Labour Party were for the most part ignored.
As Dr. McKenzie has stated, Labour Party spokespersons won't even use the word 'class'. This is ignoring the blatant fact that at least 60% of British people in a recent class survey regard themselves as working class. Since Tony Blair years ago said that the working class were disappearing, this amounts to yet another instance of him being detached from reality. The great majority of Labour M.P.'s just don't represent the people that voted for them. As Dr. McKenzie has also stated, most Parliamentarians we have at the moment are 'useless'. This is despite the fact that they are some of the most educated Members of Parliament that we have ever had. Unfortunately, the Labour M.P.'s are more interested in pushing their own personal and career interests than standing up for their working class constituents. The Socialist Labour Party has a great opportunity to benefit from this gulf in representation.
SLP at Tolpuddle 2016
Chilcot and the Lie that Won’t Die!
In January 1991 a US led coalition began carpet bombing Iraq. The latter's invasion of neighbouring Kuwait was, they said, the perfect cause, since all nations agree the aggressor must be repelled.
Dropping more tonnage in less than a month than was dropped by all powers combined in World War II, they massacred a large part of Iraq’s conscript army and destroyed much of the infrastructure of the country. Coalition casualties were fewer than would have been expected in comparable military exercises outside of war.
Iraq’s surrender did not end the ‘war’. This ‘aggressive’ regional ‘superpower’ had to be contained.
Having used them against the Iraqis the ‘allies’ decided that weapons of mass destruction would be the new ‘cause’. After all, this too is a ‘principle’ on which we all ‘agree’.
While the coalition powers increased their arms sales to Iraq’s neighbours, in violation of their own UN resolutions, Iraq’s defences were dismantled and sanctions were imposed which were so wide ranging Iraq could no longer adequately feed or care for its people.
During this twelve year period the combined effects of continual illegal bombing raids using intelligence supplied by ‘weapons inspectors’ and the 'United Nations' sanctions killed more than a million people with others dying slowly from the effects of the depleted uranium released into the atmosphere by allied bombs, tanks and shells.
The media in the allied countries reported a story of Iraqi ‘intransigence’. In the war on ‘Saddam’, Iraq was rarely if ever referred to by its name or treated as a nation.
In 2003 the invasion finally came. The warnings of some establishment figures that ‘regime change’ would unleash sectarian violence across the region came true and the WMDs were not found. The terrible lie - that the ‘war’ was about weapons of mass destruction - would be sustained now by the only narrative left … the narrative of the ‘mistake’.
With the publication on the 6th July of the Chilcot Report, the lie began the final stage of its journey to becoming official ‘truth’.
The war makers knew what objectives were being served by the terrorism inflicted on another poor country. Supported by historical precedent, the 'evidence' is substantial and easy to interpret; the opening of new ‘markets’, the re-inforcing of outside political control.
Since they were not the reason for the war, it didn’t matter what anyone believed or was told about WMD. And as the war makers had sought the disintegration of Iraq, why would it matter to them what happened after.
We can assume that people who know they’ve made a ‘mistake’ try not to repeat it. After Libya and in light of the ongoing pursuit of regime change in Syria, we can assume that, like the WMD, the narrative of the ‘mistake’ doesn’t actually need to be ‘believed’.
Kim Bryan, 8th July 2016
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