Green Party

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Democrats Campaigning to Keep Green Party off the Ballot in Key Swing States

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/09/2020 - 1:52am in

The 2020 presidential election is already underway — or, at least, it should be. Because of an ongoing legal battle, none of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will be sending out mail-in ballots today like they were originally scheduled to. Democrats are attempting to remove Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins from the ballot because of an alleged procedural mistake his running mate Angela Walker made when informing election authorities about a change in her South Carolina address. A similar battle is raging between the two parties in Wisconsin, another key battleground state.

That such a minor procedural error could, in effect, disbar an entire political party from running might be news to many Americans. It is also a charge the Green Party strenuously denies. “I filed my address change properly to the Wisconsin Elections Commission as they instructed me to when our campaign informed them of my address change,” Walker said in a press release this morning,

The Democrat chairing the hearing concerning Democratic objections to my filing prevented that documentation from being presented. They had that information in hand. The Democratic commissioners could have resolved the problem last month at the hearing. Instead, they are playing politics with Wisconsin voters. They could end this now by withdrawing their phony objections. The Democratic commissioners are as guilty as the Republican justices in this hold-up of absentee ballots.”

“The court should have made a decision by now. We want a decision today to put us on the ballot. We want the absentee ballot process to proceed without further delay,” Hawkins added.

Why the Democrats might benefit from the removal of the Greens is clear. With many predicting a close election, third party votes could prove crucial in preventing one of the two major parties from getting over the line. One Emerson poll found that 51 percent of Bernie Sanders primary voters were at least considering opting for a third party come November. Hawkins and Walker have been pitching hard to disenchanted leftists, reminding voters that they embrace a Green New Deal, while Biden has rejected it.

Democrats have been clear in their opposition to Hawkins. “The ‘Green Party’ has done incalculable damage to the environment by helping to elect Republican Presidents twice. Don’t fall for it again,” advised Obama advisor and MSNBC contributor Ben Rhodes. Democratic strategist Tom Watson was even blunter, tweeting, “A vote for the ‘Green Party’ is a vote for fascism.”

The attack on Hawkins comes amid an open letter signed by over 170 prominent environmental leaders condemning the Green Party and telling the nation to vote for Biden, claiming he is a “progressive Democrat,” who, in “his 36-year Senate career” was “an enlightened voice on nearly every issue.” “Twenty years ago, the Green Party snatched the White House from a climate change leader and handed it to George W. Bush,” they questionably claim, not mentioning the Republican Party’s legal shenanigans. “Pious gestures [like voting Green] will produce catastrophic results,” they conclude.

On the Green ticket, Ralph Nader won 2.9 million votes in the 2000 election, no doubt hindering Al Gore’s chances. However, the Florida election was blatantly stolen by Bush, a fact glossed over in the letter. In 2016, the Green Party received 1.5 million votes nationwide, triple what they got in 2012. “Whatever you think of the Green Party, throwing them off the ballot because they listed two addresses for the VP is complete bullshit and voter disenfranchisement,” said Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project think tank.

Republicans have also been involved in their own voter suppression tactics, closing around 1,700 polling stations across the South since 2013, primarily in poorer and majority non-white neighborhoods (some counties losing nearly 90 percent of their voting places). President Trump, who recently said that if more people voted, Republicans would never again be elected, has attacked the postal ballot system as well, claiming it would produce a fraudulent result, instructing his followers to vote twice, once by mail and in person on Election Day. Across the United States, some 671 mail sorting machines have been removed ahead of the election, leading many to accuse the Republicans of blatant election rigging.

While the merits of voting for a third party in a two-horse race can be debated, voter shaming did not work for the Democrats in 2016 has historically not been a productive strategy. With this latest attempt to bar the Green Party from even standing, the Democrats are choosing a high-risk strategy that could potentially backfire come Election Day.

Feature photo | Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins reads a newspaper in a holding room before a television interview. Mike Groll | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Democrats Campaigning to Keep Green Party off the Ballot in Key Swing States appeared first on MintPress News.

History Debunked on Anglo-Saxon Slavery in Bristol

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 6:48pm in

Yesterday there was another Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol. The demonstrators walked through Cabot Circus, and there was a speech by one of the Green party councillors for the city calling for Bristol to apologise for its part in the slave trade. She told the news teams that it was about reparations and would send an inspiring message to the community in Britain and around the world.

In fact, as this video from History Debunked shows, the slave trade in Bristol dates from long before the transatlantic slave trade which began in Britain from the 16th century onwards. Bristol was a major centre of the slave trade in the 11th century, exporting White English slaves to Dublin, from which they were exported further abroad. He states that about 10 per cent of the population of Bristol during this period were slaves. He also goes on to say that Dublin, Waterford and other Irish towns were founded by the Vikings as slaving centres and tells the old story of how Pope Gregory came to send missionaries to evangelise the English. The Venerable Bede recounts in his History of the English Church and People how the pope was passing through the slave market in Rome. He saw two beautiful, blond children for sale. When he asked the slave dealer who they were, he was told, ‘Angles’. The Angles, along with the Saxons and Jutes, were one of the Germanic tribes that came to form Anglo-Saxon England. It’s from the Anglo-Saxon form of their name that the world ‘English’ is derived. Gregory then replied with a pun in Latin: ‘Non Angli, sed angeli’ – ‘Not Angles, but angels’. He also makes the point that St. Patrick was also a slave. He was English, and was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave by pirates. This is also correct, though I don’t think Patrick was English. He would have been British, coming from part of the British Isles that hadn’t yet been conquered by the advancing Anglo-Saxons, and may well have spoken a form of early Welsh. Certainly one of the places which claims him is in Wales.

This is all fact. Bristol was a centre of the slave trade in Anglo-Saxon England. In the 11th century the Anglo-Saxon bishop Wulfstan visited the city to preach against it. He was so successful that the citizens turned on the slavers, beat them and threw them out. However a hundred years later it was still dangerous to visit the Irish ships in the harbour alone at night. In the 12th century a team of French clergy went on a tour of England to raise funds for rebuilding one of their cathedrals after it fell down in a disaster. One of the places they visited was Bristol, where one of them had dinner one evening with an Irish ship’s captain aboard his vessel. When the visiting clergyman told his host, he was warned that it was very dangerous. The ship’s captains would invited the unwary aboard to have dinner, but then kidnap them, slip anchor and sail off. The cleric wisely didn’t go back for a second visit the next night.

History Debunked seems to be a man of the right, and many of his videos are arguments against some of the fake history that is being told as part of the anti-racist campaign. In one video, for example, he refutes the claim that the Black inventor Benjamin Banneker built the first clock in America. He didn’t. Banneker did make a wooden clock, but these were also being made in the US long before him. While this is obviously going to be controversial, as far as I can make out the history is absolutely sound.

I’m putting the video up here because I really honestly don’t believe that Black Lives Matter in Bristol and its marchers are aware that slavery and the slave trade in Bristol predated that of Black Africans. I think they want a simplistic narrative in which slavery is just something that racist Whites did to Blacks. But slavery existed all over the world, and while Black African slavery is a crime and holocaust, White slavery existed in Europe, and White Europeans were enslaved by north Africans from the Middle Ages right up to the French conquest of Algeria in the early 19th century. This is also part of the history of slavery, and needs to be included and remembered in any discussion.

The Only Wasted Vote Is a Vote Not for a Third Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 8:13am in

What would be the totem animal for a third-party?

Jesus, Ted. All you ever do, some people tell me, is complain. We get it—you hate both the Republicans and the Democrats. We don’t like them either. But those are the only two parties that have a chance of winning an election. Stop telling us what not to do. Tell us what you think we should do instead.

That criticism is fair. If you don’t like something, it stands to reason you think something else is better and you ought to say what it is.

In my defense, people will never build a new political system until the old one is dead to them. Che Guevara said that the masses would not risk the violent upheaval of revolution as long as they still believed the old regime capable of addressing their needs and grievances to any significant degree. Although the elimination of the two-party duopoly in U.S. electoral politics does not necessitate violence, the same inertial principle applies: as long as progressives and other leftists continue to think that they can express their political will through the Democratic Party, they won’t create the space for what comes next.

So job one is to drive a stake through the corpse of the Democratic Party. Much of my work these days is dedicated to my belief that the Democratic Party is where progressivism and liberalism go to die. I am out to convince as many people as possible to get real, dump the Dems and move on. Articulating the platform of a new third-party or revolutionary movement before enough progressives and leftists have given up on the Democrats would put the cart before the horse.

It would also be arrogantly undemocratic. No one person, certainly not a 57-year-old cis white male political cartoonist, can or should write a programme for the future of an entire society. We all have to do that together.

If you’ve been reading my work for a while, you know that I think that nothing short of revolution is adequate to address the radical problems faced by Americans and by humanity, beginning with the climate crisis. The profit imperative of capitalism is inherently corrupting; it hobbles all efforts to move toward a sustainable relationship with the planet. But no one can make revolution. It happens or it doesn’t. What to do in the meantime? Specifically, for us now, what if anything should we do with our vote this November?

The most compelling argument for electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is harm mitigation, with a view toward preventing a second Donald Trump administration, cleaning up the mess from the last four years and governing better than Trump would have.

I don’t find this argument compelling. History shows that presidents rarely accomplish anything of substance during their second terms. Trump would probably be the same.

Not only did Barack Obama fail to clean up the mess he inherited from George W. Bush, he codified and expanded it: he told CIA torturers not to worry about being prosecuted, he expanded the assassination drone program, he sent more troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, and he continued Bush’s policy of austerity for distressed homeowners and the unemployed with giant cash giveaways to the big banks. Likewise, Bill Clinton didn’t do anything to reverse the Reagan revolution; he went further right than the Republicans dared with “welfare reform,” Joe Biden’s devastating crime bill targeted at minority communities, NAFTA and the WTO. Given Biden’s half-century record of neoliberalism and his refusal to apologize for any of his crimes, it would be ridiculous to assume he would govern as anything other than a Republican.

After you accept the reality that a Biden administration would probably be even worse than keeping Trump, the question becomeas, should one vote and if so for whom?

There is a long and honorable tradition of voter boycotts throughout the world. This is especially true in countries without vibrant functioning democracies, like the United States. (In a European-style parliamentary democracy, most voters can find a party close to their personal ideological alignment. A two-party monopoly cannot possibly serve 330 million people.)

However, there is a relative dearth of data studying the motivations for people who stay home on Election Day. There is a cultural assumption in the U.S. that non-voters are lazy, apathetic or both. So it’s hard to ask intelligent progressives and other people disgusted with the two major parties to sit it out on November 3rd, knowing that they will be shamed.

Which leaves the third-party option.

There are two relatively notable third-party candidates this year. Clemson University professor Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party nominee for president. On the left, the Green Party standard-bearer is unionist and environmentalist Howie Hawkins.

Given that neither candidate is likely to be elected, the main reasons to cast a vote for Jorgensen, Hawkins or another minor party candidate are to register a protest—I’m not apathetic, look, I vote—and to build an organization for the future. You can’t keep saying every two or four years, I would love to vote for a party other than the Democrats or the Republicans but the other parties are too small unless you actually do something to make one of those other parties bigger. That means voting for them. That means contributing money. Not two years from now, not four years from now, but now.

I have not yet decided whether to vote for Hawkins or someone else. I do know that I won’t be voting Democratic or Republican. I’m against both parties. Both parties kill innocent foreigners with abandon. Both parties neglect the poor. Neither party cares about the planet.

Why should I vote for a party I disagree with on almost every fundamental issue?

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

The Data Is Clear: Progressives Should Boycott Biden

 Joe Biden ...

            Once again the Democratic Party is asking progressives to vote for a presidential nominee who says he disagrees with them about every major issue. This is presented as an offer they cannot refuse. If they cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate like the unionist and environmentalist Howie Hawkins of the Greens or stay home on that key Tuesday in November, Donald Trump will win a second term—which would be worse than Biden’s first.

            Which is better for the progressive movement? Fall into the “two party trap” and vote for Biden, or refuse to be coopted and possibly increase Trump’s reelection chances?

            My new book Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party documents the last half-century of struggle between the party’s left-leaning voters and its right-leaning leadership class. History is clear. When progressive voters compromised their values by supporting corporatist candidates, they were ignored after the election. Only when they boycotted a general election did the DNC start to take them seriously.

            Throughout the 1980s party bigwigs manipulated the primaries in favor of establishment corporatist candidates over insurgent progressives: Jimmy Carter over Ted Kennedy in 1980, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis over Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988. Democrats were united but unenthused; all three lost.

            Jimmy Carter won once, and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama each won two terms, all three with progressive support. Democratic victories didn’t help progressives.

Most people have forgotten that Carter was the first of a string of conservative Democratic presidents. He brought back draft registration. The “Reagan” defense buildup actually began under Carter, as Reagan himself acknowledged. Carter provoked the Tehran hostage crisis by admitting the despotic Shah to the U.S., boycotted the Moscow Olympics and armed the Afghan mujahdeen who morphed into Al Qaeda.

            Carter became the first president since FDR not to propose an anti-poverty program. Instead, he pushed a right-wing idea, “workfare.”

            Progressives got nothing in return for their votes for Jimmy Carter.

            Like Carter, Clinton and Obama governed as foreign policy hawks while ignoring pressing domestic issues like rising income and wealth inequality. Clinton pushed through the now-disgraced 1994 crime bill that accelerated mass incarceration of people of color, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement that gutted the Rust Belt and sent hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas, and ended “welfare as we know it,” massively increasing homelessness. Obama bailed out Wall Street while ignoring Main Street, smashed the Occupy Wall Street movement and supported Al Qaeda affiliates that destroyed Libya and Syria.

            There was only one arguably progressive policy achievement over those 16 years: the Affordable Care Act, which originated in the bowels of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

            Progressives kept holding their noses and voting for Democrats. Democrats took them for granted. Democrats didn’t push to increase the minimum wage. They watched silently as generation after generation succumbed to student loan debt. As the earth kept burning, they hardly lifted a finger to help the environment except for symbolic actions like Obama’s fuel efficiency regulations, which required less than automakers were doing by themselves.

            Personnel, they say in D.C., is policy. Clinton had one progressive in his cabinet for his first term, Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Obama had none. Citigroup chose his cabinet.

            After the defeat of Bernie Sanders in 2016, progressives tried something new. Millions of disgruntled Sanders primary voters either stayed home, voted for Trump or cast votes for third-party candidates like Jill Stein. Hillary Clinton, who was so sure she could take progressives for granted that she put Sanders at 39th on her list of vice presidential picks, was denied her presumptive shoo-in victory. (Don’t blame Stein. Adding all of her votes to the Hillary Clinton column would not have changed the result.)

            Three years later, something remarkable happened. Most presidential hopefuls in the 2020 Democratic primary campaign emerged from the centrist corporatist wing of the Democratic Party yet felt pressured to endorse important progressive policy ideas. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and even Michael Bloomberg came out in favor of a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Most of the mainstream candidates proposed some sort of student loan forgiveness and Medicare For All. Nearly all support a Green New Deal.

            What forced the Democratic Party to shift left after decades of moving to the right? Fear that progressives will withhold their votes this coming November. After years of empty threats from progressives, the November 2016 voter boycott proved they wouldn’t sell their votes without getting something in return.

            The answer to the question, what should progressives do, is easy in the long term. Progressives should boycott Democratic candidates who don’t credibly pledge to support progressive policies. Biden says he would veto Medicare For All. He opposes a Green New Deal as well as student loan forgiveness. He is hawkish on Russia and Venezuela. He doesn’t want your vote. Why give it to him for free?

            The trouble is, every election is also about the short term. Progressive voters have to game out the next four years.

            If Trump wins, he may have the opportunity to appoint another Supreme Court justice. He will certainly appoint more federal judges. He will continue to coddle hate groups and spew lies. Many of the weak and vulnerable will suffer. On the other hand, activism will be sustained. Resistance and possibly even revolutionary change may emerge. Trump will be a lame duck likely wallowing in scandal; very few presidents get much if anything done during their second terms.

            If Biden wins, his Supreme Court picks may not be significantly more to the left then Trump’s. He is likelier than Trump, who shows restraint on interventionism and ended the occupation of Afghanistan, to start a new war. Big problems will get small solutions or none at all. Streets will be quiet. If there are any demonstrations, for instance by Black Lives Matter, his Department of Homeland Security will suppress it as Obama did to Occupy. As under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the left will go back to sleep. Progressives will watch Biden appoint one corporatist cabinet member after another as their dreams of making the country a better place fade away.

            And in 2024, we will again face a choice between a rabid right-wing Republican and a wimpy sell-out Democrat. This election, Democrats will say as they always do, is too important for ideological purity. Progressives should wait until some future election when less hangs in the balance. Perhaps in 2028? Maybe 2032? 2036?

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

Private Eye Sides with the Witch Hunters, Smear Merchants and Plotters in Article about Leaked Labour Document

I should have realised it wouldn’t last. Last fortnight’s Private Eye carried an article about the leaked Labour party document revealing the antics and intrigues of Blairite party bureaucrats to prevent the party winning the 2017 general election. Although the article accepted uncritically the leaked document’s false assumption that Labour was a hotbed of vicious anti-Jewish hatred, it nevertheless seemed to take seriously the document’s allegations that a series of highly placed Labour apparatchiks had been doing everything they could to sabotage its election chances in order to get rid of Corbyn. Now that attitude has been completely reversed.

In this fortnight’s Private Eye, for 8th – 21st May 2020, there’s another article about the document. Titled ‘Party Poopers’, this has returned to the magazine’s old line of pushing the anti-Semitism smears along with the rest of the lamestream media. The article views the leaked document as a series of terrible libels against people, who were genuinely exposing massive anti-Semitism. These people were also being victimised for their participation in the Panorama programme, ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’, were suffering vicious personal abuse, including being targeted by an online Nazi group. Fortunately they’re being defended by defamation and privacy specialist (sic) Mark Lewis.

The article runs

Like a retreating army planting booby traps, Labour’s routed Corbynistas have left Keir Starmer some unexploded bombs: most notably the 860-page report on the supposed complicity of anti-Corbyn officials in hindering investigations into anti-Semitism.

They have left the party open to investigations by the information commissioner and Inspector Knacker – and multiple actions for libel and breach of privacy. Not content with electing one lawyer as leader, Labour may soon be enriching more of them.

The report, commissioned by general secretary Jennie Formby, created a stab-in-the-back narrative by alleging that Labour lost the 2017 general election because, in the words of John McDonnell, staff undermined the leader in a “shocking act of treachery”. It implied that anti-Corbyn officials sat on complaints of racism to make him look bad. Criticising “whistleblowers” who appeared in a Panorama film about Labour and anti-Semitism, it said the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) should “question the validity of the personal testimonies”.

Party lawyers advised Formby she couldn’t submit the report to the EHRC, let alone publish it. After an unknown Corbyn supporter leaked it over the Easter weekend, however, online activists were quick to share unredacted copies – including much confidential personal information.

A shower of writs is now about to descend on the party. At least 30 former Labour officials have contacted defamation and privacy specialist Mark Lewis – so many that Lewis has signed up other lawyers who are twiddling their thumbs in lockdown to deal with the backlog. Labour will ahve to deal with the fallout without Formby, who announced on Monday she was stepping down as general secretary.

The leaked report was based on 10,000 emails and private WhatsApp messages in which Labour employees bitched about their bosses, as employees tend to do. The information commissioner, who has the power to set multi-million-pound fines, is said to be taking the data breach seriously – all the more so because Labour has still not met its legal obligation to contact all the victims of the data breach to warn them that information they had the right to expect would remain private was in the public domain.

Equally angry are members of the public who are identified in the report as reporting incidents of anti-Jewish hatred – and whose names are now in the possession of neo-Nazi groups. The far-right website Unz Review used Formby’s dossier to name Labour members who complained and to denounce them as agents of “Jewish control” behind “the conspiracy to undermine and destroy Corbyn”. The group Labour Against Anti-Semitism has asked the police to investigate. Its lawyers have also hired private detectives to find who leaked the report.

One lawyer involved expects about 40 privacy and libel actions, estimating that even if Labour settles them at once, the cost to the party will be £2.5m. But Corbyn supporters on Labour’s national executive committee could try to block retractions and apologies. If so, the costs will explode.

Let’s deal with a few irritating little details Private Eye doesn’t mention. It claims that the plotters’ emails were leaked. They weren’t. The plotters did the intriguing using Labour’s computers, and duly handed them over when they were asked as part of the inquiry. They surrendered that information themselves. If they had wanted to keep it all private, they should have used their own machines.

They also went much, much further than bitching about their bosses. Their anti-Corbyn scams included mocking up fake videos to mislead Corbyn that the anti-Semitism allegations were being effectively handled, when they were allowing those same allegations to pile up. They ran two sets of campaigns in London with the intention of ensuring election victories solely for members of the Blairite right. They also suspended constituency Labour parties that were on the verge of deselecting the sitting MP, like Angela Eagle’s in Liverpool. Leading conspirators also acted as members and moderators on Tory online groups, and openly wished for Conservative and Lib Dem victories. This is against party rules, and the same conspirators had also thrown out other members of the party for doing the same, such as one individual who made the mistake of liking an internet comment by a Green politico.

The Panorama programme ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ was a farrago from start to finish. It’s producers were already biased against Corbyn, and it allowed members of the anti-Corbyn groups to make their allegations of anti-Semitism without revealing their membership of the same groups. Mike, Zelo Street and any number of other left-wing news sites and blogs have torn it to shreds.

Now look at the way it deliberately connects the leaked report with Nazism. The allegations of intrigue and plotting are described as a ‘stab-in-the-back- narrative. This is the same language historians use to describe the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that propelled Hitler to power: that Germany had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by the Jews so that the country lost World War I. Then it brings in the real Nazis, Unz Review.

If innocent people are being target for anti-Semitic abuse and attack by real Nazis, then it is absolutely disgusting.

But the Eye is also hypocritical in not mentioning the abuse and intimidation heaped upon their victims by the anti-Semitism smear merchants. People like Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein and Mike, who is still accused of being an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier, even though he won his IPSO complaint against the newspapers who so libelled him. Mike, and other victims of the anti-Semitism smears, also had their private information leaked to the press. Mike has also complained to the Information Commissioner about it, but so far the Commissioner has done nothing. This awkward fact also isn’t mentioned by the Eye, because Hislop’s mighty organ has also done everything it can to push the anti-Semitism smears. And some of the witch-hunters’ victims have suffered far worse than abuse and death threats. One commenter on Mike’s blog posted that he had also been smeared as an anti-Semite by David Collier, part of the GnasherJew troll farm. Not only did Collier smear him, but he also doxed him as well, putting his personal details up on his wretched website and then camping outside his door. Collier has so far not taken the information down.

No mention of any of this from Private Eye!

On then, to Mark Lewis. The Eye’s description of him as specialising in defamation and privacy issues is one way of viewing him. In fact, he’s Rachel Riley’s pet lawyer, and the one she uses whenever someone criticises her for smearing and bullying decent people as anti-Semites and Nazis simply because they support Corbyn.

And finally, there’s the whole issue of ‘Jewish control’ in the Labour party. In fact, a large number of the victims of the anti-Semitism smears are themselves Jewish, because the ultra-Zionists of the Israel lobby cannot tolerate the idea that any Jew does not support Israel and regards its ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians as abhorrent. Yet there are any number who do, from the Haredi who believe Jews must continue to live in galut – exile – until Israel is truly restored by the Messiah, to politically liberal Jews, who believe that Israel’s maltreatment of the Arabs violates the liberal principles they view as being intrinsic to Judaism. As the saying goes, ‘to be a Jew is always to identify with the oppressed, never the oppressor’. It violates the commandment in Deuteronomy that the Jews are not to maltreat the ‘stranger in the land, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt’. These entirely decent, self-respecting people are smeared, insulted and sometimes physically attacked, like the non-Jews the witch-hunters have also targeted. Some of them have even been the victims of real anti-Semitic assault themselves, or, if non-Jewish, they’ve been attacked because they’ve dared to defend Jews or have Jewish friends, partners and relatives.

But no-one from the press, including Private Eye, has ever asked them about their experience.

And the talk about ‘Jewish control’ is designed to stop any objection to the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ demand for the right to interfere in the Labour party. By demanding that the Labour leadership contenders, including Starmer, sign up to their wretched 10 Pledges against anti-Semitism, the Board of Deputies of British Jews now exercises a very high level of control over the party. They want the right to decide who should be allowed membership, including seeing confidential personal information. They have also demanded that members should not be allowed to share platforms with those expelled for anti-Semitism.

These demands are unreasonable, dictatorial and one-sided. No such demands have been made of the Tory party, Lib Dems or anyone else. 

By talking about Nazis and their denunciation of the Blairites’ intrigues and plotting as ‘Jewish control’, the article is clearly intended to make any objection to the Board’s demands seem anti-Semitic. But the Board has overstepped the boundaries of reasonable criticism into comprehensive involvement with these demands. And there are party political motives at work here. Not only does the Board uncritically support Israel and its atrocities, but it is also partisan in its political support here. The Board’s president, Marie van der Zyl, has sent messages of support and congratulations to Tweezer when she took office as Prime Minister. It’s possible that individual members of the Board may not be Tories, but to me it looks extremely likely that Zyl and the Board will use the anti-Semitism smears to demand the expulsion of anyone, who either criticises Israel or seems serious about returning the party to its socialist roots.

I’ve said many times that Eye publishes some excellent stuff, but I am exasperated by its complicity in the anti-Semitism smears. I despise the way it, and the rest of the media, has steadfastly refused to cover the people, who have been unfairly defamed and threatened by the witch-hunters simply because they criticise Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. And this article is another example of the same. I notice that the article is also unsigned. It is not credited to ‘Ratbiter’, perhaps because ‘Ratbiter’s’ real identity as Nick Cohen of the Guardian and Absurder is too well-known.

But like Cohen’s articles, this is yet another disgraceful smear and another vile attempt to keep the witch-hunt going and the witch-hunters safe from retribution for their foul activities.

Tactical voting is not enough. To stop Brexit – and save democracy – we need a Coupon Election.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/11/2019 - 1:13am in

The General Election that will take place on 12th December is the most important in modern British history. It is an election that will decide not just whether the UK leaves the European Union – and hence whether the Brexit project, a project of the far Right that aims to embed austerity, succeds: it is also about whether the United Kingdom survives as an entity and, most importantly, is one that will decide whether Britain takes the road to Trump-style populism (whether of Right or Left) or whether it reasserts its faith in empirical, progressive liberal democracy.

At the heart of decision is the fact that Brexit has become far more than a matter of whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. Brexit has become the central issue in a culture war, one in which democracy has been subverted by the insistence that a Brexit that reflects the assumptions and aspirations of the far economic Right – one that destroys jobs and services, that sells the NHS to US health-care providers and big pharma, that destroys environmental and food standards, and removes rights of both UK and other EU citizens to freedom of movement – is “the will of the people”. And that claim institutionalises a referendum – advisory in law and corrupted by malpractice – as a legitimate expression of democracy that stands above the right of Parliament to decide. It is a Brexit that has elevated the outcome of a narrow, corrupted, three-year-old plebiscite into a democratic act in which the choices that have been made by politicians – often out of fear of the extremists in their own parties – into an expression of the popular will. It has led to a situation in which unlawful data manipulation, contempt for Parliamentary and democratic norms, open gerrymandering through controlling electoral registration, and threats of violence against politicians who dare to speak truth to power have become commonplace.

And it is a Brexit in which the leadership of the Labour Party is just as culpable. The evolution of Labour’s Brexit policy makes Finnegan’s Wake look like a model of narrative simplicity, but its confusion and tortuous contradictions are the result of one central fact; its determination to “respect the referendum”. But in order to do that, you have to accept that a marginal result in a corrupt election is something that sets in stone the most important decision of our time; and accepts that Parliament does not have control any more. There are many courageous Labour MPs who have understood that democracy means putting the interests of your constituents first, and that democracy is about far more than obedience to a corrupt plebiscite in order to deliver a Brexit framed by politicians of the Right; but they are the minority.

So, we have a divide that has cut right across the two main political parties in the UK. Other parties have been clearer: the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party are all Remain parties. However, the Conservative Party has, since the election of Boris Johnson as Leader – and the installation of Dominic Cummings as his ideological minder at No 10 – purged its liberal wing with a ruthlessness and efficiency that the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn – who have presided over a similar attempt to ensure ideological purity in the Labour Party – must envy. Liberal Tory MPs have been expelled or are standing down in their droves; especially women. Meanwhile, the Labour leadership – to the despair of many of its MPs, and of those of its members who have not left already – is largely controlled by people from outside the democratic Labour tradition. As I have argued in my book, they draw their politics from a Leninist model of political organisation in which political direction is given by a vanguard elite, with the only role of the ordinary members ( the “rank and file”) being to give that vanguard democratic legitimacy by voting its decisions through.

The one beacon of hope in all of this has been the willingness of Parliament to seize control. Assisted by the efforts of a courageous Speaker who has been willing to stand up for the rights of Parliament against an executive that has openly agitated against its independence, MPs have taken control of the process. They are the people who have ensured that we are still in the EU, and have stood firm against both the intellectual dishonesty of Brexit and the bullying of a Conservative Party leadership that has no respect for democratic norms.

So, what is to be done?

I think the answer from a Remainer and democratic perspective must be – we need to get past party labels and ensure the election of a Parliament of remainers – which, because of the resonances of Brexit, means a Parliament that is willing to assert the values of empirical liberal democracy. A Popper Parliament, one might say. My own view – for what it is worth – is that Brexit in its broadest sense represents a political convulsion which will see a realignment of party politics; and that at the heart of that realignment will be a reassertion of liberal values against populism. But whether that happens or not, my belief as a democrat is that populism, whether of right and left, must be defeated.

And that means moving the focus away from parties to candidates. As well as considering who is most likely to win in an individual constituency, it’s important to consider what each candidate’s position on Brexit is – and, if they are an MP seeking re-election, looking at their record. There is no point in voting tactically in favour of a former MP who has simply toed Corbyn’s line – which is that Labour should be delivering a better Brexit. Or one who follows the line being sent out from Corbyn’s ideological minders that Labour should be neutral on Brexit; because if you want to preserve the NHS, protect jobs and services, maintain workers’ rights, keep environmental and food standards, and preserve freedom of movement, you simply cannot be “neutral” on Brexit. You are voting for a Labour MP who, in truth, has morally and intellectually capitulated to the Brexiters’ neoliberal agenda.

And, by the same token, that means rewarding Labour MPs who have stood up againt Brexit. To take an example: Cardiff Central is one of the Liberal Democrats’ top targets in Wales, but Labour’s Jo Stevens resigned her front bench post over Brexit, and has been a staunch supporter of the People’s Vote campaign and has been with us front and centre in the campaign against Brexit in Cardiff and Wales more generally. She has earned the vote of every Remainer in that predominantly remain constituency. Likewise, we should back liberal Tories: people like Dominic Grieve, standing as an independent, or Antoinette Sandbach, seeking re-election under Liberal Democrat colours in Eddisbury, deserve the unstinting support of remainers.

And we should not accept simply being content with tactical voting. We Remainers seem unduly reticent about our strength. It was us, not the Brexiters, who twice got more than a million people – protesting loudly but peacefully – on to the streets of London. It was us, not the Brexiters, who managed to get six million signatures on a petition to revoke the UK’s Article 50 notification. Only today, the Brexiters promised a mass rally in Doncaster – nobody, literally nobody turned up: not even the Weimaresque local Labour MP Caroline Flint who has chosen to back the Johnson deal in the hope that it will save her seat. It’s time we in the Remain movement realised that we are powerful, and organised. I can understand that the national remain movement has sought to keep out of party politics; but we in the grassroots need to use our strength and back candidates of whatever party who stand firm against Brexit, stand firm against the leaderships of both Labour and Tories, who want to deliver Brexit.

Above all, we need to convince Labour people to vote for good candidates from other parties – especially Liberal Democrats. Yes, I know what the Liberal Democrats did in 2010; it was appalling and they paid for it politically. But things have moved on; the Orange Bookers have been routed and this election is about the future, not the past. The fact is that any Brexit means you will not be able to deliver your aspirations for a society that is more equal, more just – a society for the many, not the few: even the soft cuddly Brexit that Corbyn (wrongly) thinks the EU will allow him to negotiate. Jeremy Corbyn claims to lead a member-led party, but the Leninists around him have treated you with contempt. They haven’t listened to you, they have dismissed you, they have done everything they can to ensure your beliefs are not reflected in Conference policy, they have reminded you that you need to remember your place in the so-called “rank and file”. It is surely time for you to rediscover your self-respect and vote for what you know is right, not what will get you a pat on the head from your local Momentum enforcer. Your grandchildren are more important; give them an internationalist and democratic future.

And ultimately we need a list. The tactical voting websites appear to have been largely discredited before they have begun. We need to move on from party. We need to be able to say to candidates; it’s your choice. You can have the remainers’ coupon, or you can stand up for your Brexiter party leadership in Westminster. But there are millions of us, and probably our numbers in your constituency are probably enough to seal your fate.

But above all it’s time we stopped being defensive. We need to organise, and at a national level, Remainers should be issuing our coupons. We are counted in our millions and we should use our power. And if we do, we can stop Brexit and defeat populism at the most important election of our time.