Posts Tagged ‘Bell Ribeiro-Addy’

Forthcoming Events at the Arise Festival of Left-Wing Ideas

May 30, 2023

It‚Äôs nearly here!¬†ūüéČ

Hello David

Arise 2023 kicks off with a bang Wednesday, as a vital Our Right to Resist rally (info below, register here), brings together 15+ campaigns & groups on the fight for our civil liberties & rights.

If you aren’t one of those who has got a ticket for the whole online festival yet – please grab one here today – a better world is possible, let’s keep fighting together for it.

Yours in solidarity,
The¬†Arise ‚Äď A Festival of Left Ideas¬†Volunteers (via the¬†Labour Assembly.)

Coming up at Arise Festival

1) RALLY: Our Right to Resist


Online, THIS Wednesday May 31, 6.30pm. Register here // Get festival ticket here // Retweet here & spread the word.

John McDonnell MP // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Kate Osborne MP // Kim Johnson MP // Lord John Hendy KC // Zita Holbourne, BARAC // Myriam Kane, Black Liberation Alliance // Chantelle Lunt, Black Lives Matter & Kill the Bill // Ellen Fearon, GND Rising // Mish Rahman, Labour NEC (pc) & Momentum NCG // Rob Poole, Strikemap // Chris Peace, Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign // Hasan Patel, Young Labour // Daniel Kebede, NEU next General Secretary// Fran Heathcote, PCS President // Alex Gordon, RMT President // Video message from Shami Chakrabarti // Christine Blower (Chair)

Opening Arise РAn Online Festival of Left Ideas 2023. 

2) What can Gramsci teach us about the crisis today & what we can do about it?


Friday June 2, 1pm, Online. Register here // Share & Invite here // Retweet here // Get festival ticket here

With James Schneider, author of “Our Bloc: How We Win”¬†& former advisor to Jeremy Corbyn.

This event will look out how the Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci’s concepts of hegemony & organic crisis can help us understand what is going on today.

Register¬†here¬†to get a link to join live or watch back later. Part of the ‘Socialist Ideas’ series.
 

3) Celebrating Solidarity: Crucial role of art & music in the miners’ strike


Sunday June 4, 5pm, Online. Register here // Share & Invite here // Retweet here // Get festival ticket here

With: Mike Jackson, LGSM; Kate Flannery & Chris Peace, Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign.

Fighting oppression & injustice has inspired many artists & musicians to connect with political struggles. As well as the support for the miners’ strike that came from many groups who were experiencing the same oppression & hostility from the establishment of the day, many artists¬†were proactive about their support for the miners,¬†We need bread but we can have roses too!

A Socialist Sunday session, hosted by the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign as part of Arise. Register here to get a link to join live or watch back later. 

4) The Good Friday Agreement at 25: Time for Irish Unity?


BE PART OF THE DEBATE: Register here // share & invite here // RT here // get festival ticket here.

Monday June 5, 18.30. Part of Arise 2023 РAn Online Festival of Left Ideas.


Michelle Gildernew MP, Sinn Fein // John McDonnell MP // Geoff Bell, author of ‘The Twilight of Unionism’ // Chair: Rachel Garnham, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.

Join us for a vital discussion on Ireland’s future &¬†¬†prospects for real change.

5) NHS @ 75 – How can we repair & restore it after 13 years of austerity?


Online. Wed. June 7, 18.30. Register here // Share & Invite here // Get Festival Ticket here // Retweet here

Nadia Whittome MP, John Lister (Keep Our NHS Public & co-author, NHS Under Siege), John Puntis (Doctors for the NHS.) Chair: Chloe Brooks (North West. Rep, Labour Students.)

July¬†marks 75 years of our¬†NHS. In light of Starmer and Streeting’s recent remarks, join the discussion on how we can end the current crisis, & secure its future as a universal publicly-owned, public service for all.

Hosted by the Labour Assembly Against Austerity at Arise 2023.

6) Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist & Scourge of Empire.


Friday June 9, 1pm, Online. Register here // Share & Invite here // Retweet here // Get festival ticket here

With¬†Katherine Connelly¬†–¬†author of¬†Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire.

Sylvia Pankhurst dedicated her life to fighting oppression & injustice. This event will look at how this courageous & inspiring campaigner is of huge relevance  today. 

Register¬†here¬†to get a link to join live or watch back later.¬†Part of the ‘Socialist Ideas’ series.
 

7) People & Planet on the Brink – Socialist Solutions to Climate Catastrophe


Online, Sunday, June 11, 5.00pm. Register here // Get festival ticket here // Retweet here.

Olivia Blake MP // Tess Woolfenden, Debt Justice // Sam Knight, Green New Deal Rising // Sam Mason, Climate Justice Coalition trade union officer // Fraser McGuire, Young Labour.

The world is on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points, threatening the very future of humanity. Yet our Government – like many others globally – are more interested in protecting the profits of the fossil fuel giants than urgent action to tackle the climate emergency.

A Socialist Sunday session at Arise 2023.

8) Free Palestine – Mustafa Barghouti briefing + Q&A


Monday June 12, Online, 6.30pm.
Register here //
 Share & Invite here // Retweet here // Get festival ticket here.

In-depth briefing + Q&A with¬†Mustafa¬†Barghouti, Palestinian National Initiative, on the latest developments in¬†Palestine¬†as Israel’s far-right government steps up its aggression.

With supplementary contributions from Young Labour, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign & Labour & Palestine. Chair: Louise Regan, National Education Union & PSC.

Free event but solidarity tickets & donations essential for funding Webinar & streaming. Hosted by Labour & Palestine as part of Arise.
 

9) The Case for Labour Party Democracy – for Members’ Rights & the Union Link


Online, Wednesday June 14, 6.30pm. Register here // Share & invite here // Get festival ticket here // Retweet here.

With: Jon Trickett MP // Mick Whelan, ASLEF GS//Simon Fletcher // Rachel Garnham, CLPD // Nabeela Mowlana, Young Labour.

Join us for a vital discussion to make the case for a democratic party & movement – & to map out next steps in campaigning for members’ rights &¬†in defence of the union-link.

Part of Arise 2023. 

Arise Campaign to Restore the Whip to Jeremy Corbyn and Democracy to the Labour Party

May 28, 2023

I had a message from the Arise Festival of Left Ideas notifying me of the various events they’re holding at the end of the month and into June. One of them is a campaign to have the whip restored to Jeremy Corbyn, and there’s an online rally on Wednesday, 31st May, about resisting the Tories and another on June 14th about fighting Starmer’s dictatorial constraints and restoring true democracy to the Labour party.

ACTION ALERT: As 70k oppose Starmer’s bloc on Corbyn – let the members decide!

Hello David

Our petition¬†Restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn – let Islington North’s members decide their candidate!¬†has reached over 70,000 signatories. Here are some next steps to take together against the attacks on¬†Labour Party democracy:

  1. Let the members decide ‚Äď support the new model motion ‚Äď Download here & take to your CLP // Read more here // Retweet graphic here // FB share here.
  2. Keep building support as 70k+ sign petition – sign & share here // Retweet image here // FB share here // Read more here.
  3. Join The Case for Labour Party Democracy – for Members’ Rights & the Union Link¬†online event –¬†June 14, 18.30. Register¬†here¬†// Retweet¬†here¬†// Full info below. With¬†Jon Trickett MP // Mick Whelan, ASLEF GS//Simon Fletcher // Rachel Garnham, CLPD // Nabeela Mowlana, Young Labour.

We will keep fighting.

Yours in solidarity,
Matt Willgress, via¬†Arise ‚Äď A Festival of Left Ideas¬†& the Labour Assembly.

EVENT:¬†The Case for Labour Party Democracy – for Members’ Rights & the Union Link

Online, Wednesday June 14, 6.30pm. Register here // Share & invite here // Get festival ticket here // Retweet here.

With: Jon Trickett MP // Mick Whelan, ASLEF GS//Simon Fletcher // Rachel Garnham, CLPD // Nabeela Mowlana, Young Labour.

Join us for a vital discussion In light of the growing concern about the erosion of democracy in the Labour Party. To make the case for a democratic party and movement – and to map out next steps in campaigning for members’ rights and in defence of the trade-union link.


Part of Arise РAn Online Festival of Left Ideas 2023. 

Also coming up at Arise 2023

1) RALLY: Our Right to Resist

Online, Wednesday May 31, 6.30pm. Register here // Get festival ticket here // Retweet here & spread the word.

John McDonnell MP // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Kate Osborne MP // Kim Johnson MP // Lord John Hendy KC // Zita Holbourne, BARAC // Myriam Kane, Black Liberation Alliance // Chantelle Lunt, Black Lives Matter & Kill the Bill // Ellen Fearon, GND Rising // Mish Rahman, Labour NEC (pc) & Momentum NCG // Rob Poole, Strikemap // Chris Peace, Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign // Hasan Patel, Young Labour // Daniel Kebede, NEU next General Secretary// Fran Heathcote, PCS President // Alex Gordon, RMT President // Video message from Shami Chakrabarti // Christine Blower (Chair)

Opening Arise РAn Online Festival of Left Ideas 2023. 

Forthcoming Arise Online Meeting on ‘The Right to Resist’

May 15, 2023

This is another message I got from the organisers of the Arise Festival of left-wing ideas. They’re organising an online meeting on the 31st May 2023 about defending our right to resist from the highly authoritarian and illiberal legislation that was used to arrest the anti-monarchy protesters at the coronation.

Our right to resist!

GET INVOLVED: Register here // Retweet here.

Hello David

The shameful rushing through of anti-protest legislation in the run-up to the Coronation – & how police treated protesters during it – starkly illustrate how a deeply unpopular Government has had a major authoritarian shift on top of years of attacks on our democratic rights. As John McDonnell noted yesterday“There‚Äôs a comprehensive assault on basic civil liberties – the right to strike, right to protest peacefully & right of journalists to report without arrest.. Time has come for a new movement to defend our civil liberties.”

As part of the growing, active opposition to this offensive – in solidarity with, & to amplify support for, protests coming up – we’re bringing together a wide range of voices standing up for our right to resist in unity on May 31Be part of it!

Yours in solidarity,
Matt Willgress , Arise РA Festival of Left Ideas (via Labour Assembly.)

Our Right to Resist

Major online rally. Wednesday May 31, 6.30pm. Register here // Retweet here & spread the word.

John McDonnell MP // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Kate Osborne MP // Lord John Hendy KC // Zita Holbourne, BARAC // Myriam Kane, Black Liberation Alliance // Mish Rahman, Labour NEC (pc) & Momentum NCG // Rob Poole, Strikemap // Chris Peace, Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign // Hasan Patel, Young Labour/ / Fran Heathcote, PCS President // Alex Gordon, RMT President // Video message from Shami Chakrabarti.// Chair: Christine Blower // & many more tba.

The deeply unpopular Tory Government has had a major authoritarian shift, with a new assault – on top of years of attacks – on our basic civil liberties and democratic rights. As part of the growing opposition to this, we are bringing together a wide range of voices to stand up for our right to resist and say no more.

Opening Arise РAn Online Festival of Left Ideas 2023. 

Arise Event on Monday Supporting Palestine

July 17, 2022

Tomorrow the Arise Festival are staging another online event to stand up for Palestine, thus defying the attempts by the Labour party’s leadership and apparatchiks to clamp down on any support for Israel’s indigenous Arabs. The notice for this events runs as follows

Time to Speak Up for Palestine.

Online, Monday July 18, 19.00.Register here // Retweet here // Get ticket for the whole festival here.

Rally with special guests from Palestine including H.E Ambassador Husam Zomlot, plus: Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Kim Johnson MP // Yasmin Dar, Labour NEC // Louise Regan. National Education Union // Hugh Lanning, Labour & Palestine // Ryvka Barnard, PSC // & more tba.

An online event as part of Arise 2022 РA Festival of Left Ideas in association with Labour & Palestine.

Left-Wing Rally on Wednesday against the Conservatives and the Cost of Living Crisis

June 5, 2022

The Arise Festival of the Labour left is organising an online rally on the 8th against the cost of living crisis and, of course, this ‘hoary Tory government’ as Paul Weller memorably described them in one of his songs from the ’80s. I’ve received several messages about it – one from Gemma Bolton earlier this week, and another from Bell Ribeiro-Addy. Here’s her email about this rally, followed by the information about the rally itself, which is anticipation of a protest by the TUC on the 18th.

GET INVOLVED: Retweet me here // register for June 8 here

Hello David

What does it say about the Conservative Party that they can’t even muster 15% of their MPs to get rid of the most openly corrupt Prime Minister of our time? Frankly it tells us that they’re all as bad as him and we need to get the Tories Out.

Whilst the PM hangs on, the social emergency is growing. Poverty is spiralling, with over 2.6 million children live in households that skipped meals or struggled to afford food last month.

And we face continuous attempts to criminalise dissent – threatening everyone who wants to stand up for what they believe in and believes in building a better society. Enough is enough. Now is the time to build the fightback 

  1. Join the Rally of the Left on June 8, to mobilise for the TUC demo (register here) – full details below.
  2. Get on the streets and join the TUC demo on June 18.
  3. Sign and share the #WorkersCantWait petition here

 
Yours in solidarity,
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (via Arise Festival & the Labour Assembly Against Austerity.)

PS: Make sure to join 1000s registering for the June 8 rally now here.

ONLINE RALLY: Enough is enough – time to demand better!

Wednesday June 8, 18.30-20.00. Register here // Share & invite here // Retweet here to spread the word.


John McDonnell MP // Zarah Sultana MP // Dave Ward, CWU General Secretary // Ian Byrne MP // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Grace Blakeley // Matt Wrack, FBU GS & LRC // Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts // Mohammad Suhail, Chair of North West Young Labour // Ben Chacko, Morning Star editor // Dave Allan, TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee & Unite EC // Peoples Assembly // Gemma Bolton, Labour NEC & CLPD // Lord John Hendy QC, IER //  Nasrin Warsame, Migrants Organise // Matt Willgress, Labour Outlook Editor // Mish Rahman, Momentum // Sakina Sheikh, GLA member // Mick Rix, GMB National Organiser // Doina Cornell, Leader of Stroud Council // Ronan Burtenshaw, Tribune editor // Mark Serwotka, PCS GS // Beth Winter MP // Kim Johnson MP // Barry Gardiner MP // Ian Lavery MP  // RIchard Burgon MP.

Online rally of the Left to mobilise for the TUC June 18 demo – coming together to demand urgent action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and build the fightback. Registration free, but solidarity contributions much appreciated!


Arise Festival is proud to host this event, bringing together MPs, union representatives, social movements, campaigns and different Labour left groups and publications to publicly mobilise for the vital TUC demo on June 18 (demo details & sign up at https://www.tuc.org.uk/DemandBetter )

Middle East Eye Video on Demonstrations in London Against Israel’s Attacks on the Palestinians

May 12, 2021

I found this video from Middle East Eye on YouTube of the demonstration in London sometime this week against Israel’s attacks on the Palestinians. The protest was held outside Downing Street, and the video features comments from a woman from the Muslim Association of Britain, Jeremy Corbyn and a gent from the Stop the War Coalition. The Muslim woman points to how large the demonstration is and how it shows people are getting increasingly angry. Corbyn says that the US and Britain are close to Israel, and so must urge it to it stop. He adds that there are very many people and organisations in Israel who also believe it is wrong. And the gent from the Stop the War Coalition states that Britain is complicit in Israel’s attacks through our connections with them.

They are not wrong. Earlier this evening I watched a bit of an on-line left Labour party rally by the Socialist Group of MPs. Hosted by Bell Ribeiro-Addy, this Virtual rally included such great MPs as Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, and Rebecca Long Bailey. Zara Sultana gave a superb speech condemning the Israeli attacks, as did John McDonnell. He also called for the whip to be restored to Jeremy Corbyn and for Corbyn’s supporters to be readmitted to the party. Absolutely! One or the other of those two great MPs also said that one of the reasons the Israeli police fired on the protesters in the al-Aqsa Mosque was to clear the way for a march by Israeli extreme right-wingers. This was the annual ‘March of the Flags’, when Israeli far right bovver boys march through Muslim east Jerusalem vandalising Palestinian property and threatening the local people. Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the current Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, have both gone on it. Sacks even led a party of British Jews against the request not to from a British liberal Jewish organisation. That’s right, Sacks and Mirvis were rubbing shoulders there with the Israeli equivalent of the BNP. And these were the men, who accused Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters of being anti-Semites when they were and are definitely no such thing.

I don’t support Palestinian terrorism, but the Israeli attacks and massacres of innocent people and the theft of their homes and land must stop. Now.

Private Eye on Johnson’s Appointment of Neocon as Anti-Extremism Chief

April 14, 2021

A few weeks ago the Labour left staged an event on Zoom in which a series of Labour MPs and activists, including the head of the Stop the War Coalition, explained why socialists needed to be anti-war. They stated that after going quiet following the debacles of the Iraq invasion, Libya and elsewhere, the Neocons were being rehabilitated. There was therefore a real danger that the ideology behind those wars was returning, and Britain and America would embark on further imperialist, colonialist wars. And now, according to this fortnight’s Private Eye, for 16th – 29th April, 2021, Boris Johnson has appointed Robin Simcox, a Neocon, as head of the government’s Commission on Countering Extremism. Simcox is a member of the extreme right-wing Henry Jackson Society, firmly backing the wars in the Middle East. He also supported the rendition of terrorists to countries, where they would be tortured, as well as drone strikes and detention without trial. And when he was in another right-wing American think tank, the Heritage Foundation, he objected to White supremacist organisations also being included in the American government’s efforts to counter violent extremism.

The Eye’s article about his appointment, ‘Brave Neo World’, on page 14, runs

Robin Simcox, appointed as the new head of the government’s Commission on Countering Extremism (CCE), has neoconservative view that will themselves seem pretty extreme to many observers. He replaces Sara Khan, the first head of the CCE, which Theresa May set up in 2017 as “a statutory body to help fight hatred and extremism”.

Simcox was researcher at the neoconservative think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), before leaving for the US to become “Margaret Thatcher fellow” at the conservative Heritage Foundation. He was also a regular contributor to Tory website ConservativeHome, writing there in 2011 that David Cameron was wrong to criticise neoconservatives “what has been happening in the Middle East is proving the neocons right” (ie that invasions could build democracies.

In a 2013 study for the HJS, Simcox argued: “Rendition, drones, detention without trial, preventative arrests and deportations are the realities of the ongoing struggle against today’s form of terrorism; they are not going to disappear, because they have proved extremely effective.” Rendition meant the US and UK handing terror suspects over to nations such as Libya or Egypt so they could be tortured for information. He complained that politicians “failed to adequately explain to the public” why these methods were needed and were “failing to explain that the complexities of dealing with modern-day terrorism meant that not all roads lead to a court of law”.

Simcox spent many years looking at Islamist terrorism, but at the Heritage Foundation he argued that making “white supremacy” the subject of a “countering violent extremism policy” was mostly driven by “political correctness” and could be “overreach”, regardless of the terrorist acts by white racists in the UK, US and elsewhere.

Simcox has been appointed interim lead commissioner of the CCE, possibly because bring him in as a temp means his recruitment wasn’t subject to the same competition and inspection as a permanent appointment.

Johnson has therefore appointed as head of the commission an extreme right-winger, who supports unprovoked attacks on countries like Iraq and Libya. The argument that these invasions were intended to liberate these nations from their dictators was a lie. It was purely for western geopolitical purposes, and particularly to remove obstacles to western political hegemony and dominance of the oil industry in the region. In the case of Iraq, what followed was the wholesale looting of the country. Its oil industry was acquired by American-Saudi oil interests, American and western multinationals stole its privatised state industries. The country’s economy was wrecked by the lowering of protectionist trade tariffs and unemployment shot up to 60 per cent. The country was riven with sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia, American mercenaries ran drugs and prostitution rings and shot ordinary Iraqis for kicks. The relatively secular, welfare states in Iraq and Libya, which gave their citizens free education and healthcare vanished. As did a relatively liberal social environment, in which women were to be regarded as equals and were free to pursue careers outside the home. And western intervention in the Middle East created an environment leading to the further, massive growth in Islamist extremism in al-Qaeda and then Daesh. And this has led to the return of slavery. This was Islamist sex-slavery under Daesh in the parts of Iraq under their jackboot, while Black Africans are being enslaved and sold by Islamists in slave markets that have reappeared in Libya.

Domestically, Simcox’s appointment is also ominous. He clearly doesn’t believe in human rights and the protection of the law. Just as he doesn’t believe in tackling White supremacist extremism, even though at one point there were more outrages committed by White racists than Islamists.

His appointment is part of continuing trend towards real Fascism, identified by Mike over at Vox Political, of which the Tories proposed curtailment of the freedom to demonstrate and protest in public is a major part. At the same time, it also appears to bear out the Labour left’s statement that the warmongers responsible for atrocities like Iraq and Libya are coming back. And I fear very much that they will start more wars.

The people warning against this and organising to defend real freedom of speech is the Labour left, whatever the Tories might say about ill-thought out legislation designed to outlaw ‘hate speech’. We need to support left politicos like Richard Burgon, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Diana Abbott and Apsana Begum. The last three ladies, along with former head of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, held another Zoom event as part of the Arise festival of left Labour ideas, Our right to resist – the Tory attacks on our civil liberties & human rights, in March. We need to support the Stop the War Coalition, because I’m afraid the Tories and the Blairite right in the Labour party will start more wars.

Blair lied, people died. And Johnson lies as easily and as often as other people breathe. If not stopped, the Neocons will start more wars and more innocents will be massacred for the profit of big business.

Left Labour Zoom Meeting on Saturday to Restore Whip to Jeremy Corbyn

November 25, 2020

I also got this email message yesterday from the Labour Party Arise group about another Zoom meeting. This one is in support of Jeremy Corbyn and will demand that the Labour whip be restored to him. Indeed, he should never have been suspended and had the whip removed. It’s just sheer vindictiveness on the part of the Blairites and the self-declared, entirely unrepresentative British Jewish establishment.

EVENT: #RestoretheWhip to Jeremy Corbyn

RSVP, invite & share here // Retweet here to spread the word

Saturday 28 November, 5pm


With: Diane Abbott // Apsana Begum // Richard Burgon // Ian Byrne // Ian Lavery // John McDonnell // Jon Trickett // Matt Wrack (FBU) // Jess Barnard (Young Labour Chair) // Chair: Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

Come and hear why the divisive & anti-democratic decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn must be reversed, what we can do to build the pressure & the next steps in the fight for party democracy & socialist policies. The fightback is on ‚Äď get involved.

Organised by Arise & Momentum.

RSVP, invite & share here // Retweet here to spread the word

Dan Hodges Lies about Liberal Left Hating White Working Class

July 14, 2020

Yesterday I put up a piece attacking ‘Celebrity Radio’ host Alex Bellfield, who had falsely claimed that ‘lefties’ had done nothing about the sweatshops in Leicester. As I explained in my piece, the problem wasn’t with the left. The Labour MP for Leicester East, Claudia Webbe, had talked about the problems with the area’s sweatshops in a Zoom online meeting on Saturday afternoon organised as part of the Arise festival of the Labour Left. Webbe made it very clear that she and others had tried to get the authorities to act about the appalling conditions and low pay in the city’s garment industry, but they were ignored.

Now another right-wing hack is also spreading lies about the ‘liberal left’. Yesterday a video appeared on my YouTube page from Talk Radio. This one had had the title ‘Dan Hodges – Liberal Left View White Working Class as the Enemy’. Hodges is a writer for the Daily Mail. Such is the quality of his journalism that readers of Zelo Street know him as ‘the celebrated Blues artist Whinging Dan Hodges’. It’s an old chestnut. The Tories have been pursuing this line for years. Way back in 2003/4 the Spectator was publishing pieces like ‘Blackened Whites’ about how anti-racist activists were maligning the working class. These articles contained lines such as ‘there is only one minority not welcome under Labour on the streets of central London – White men’. They also opined about how the Left despised working class Whites because of their patriotism, amongst other values.

This is a flat-out lie. It was another one that was shown as such by the speakers at Saturday’s conference. The first of these was Black Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy. She gave a superb speech making it clear that Labour stood for the working class in all its diversity, and that we should not allow the working class to be divided. It was a theme repeated again and again by nearly all the speakers there, including, I believe, Corbyn’s deputy, John McDonnell.

Owen Jones, the bete noir of the rabid right, made the same point in his brilliant book Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class. He dispels accusations of racism made against the unions during a strike. I’ve forgotten the precise details, but the media presented it as if it had been caused by White workers refusing to work alongside Blacks and Asians. In fact the reverse was true. The strike had been called by the union partly because of the exploitation of BAME workers. There is racism in the working class,¬† and a feeling of marginalization. The latter has its roots in the way New Labour turned its back on the working class in order to chase middle class Tories. This created a constituency of White, low-skilled, working class people in their fifties for UKIP. See the excellent study of that particular piece of populism when it was led by the Fuhrage, Revolt on the Right.

I don’t believe Black Lives Matter has helped this situation. Although the demonstrators have repeatedly stressed that they are not against Whites – I’ve mentioned the meme of the cute little Black girl holding a placard spelling this out – and there was another placard with the slogan ‘We’re Not Trying to Start a Race War – We’re Trying to End One’, unfortunately that is the impression some BLM protests make. The right-wing put up another video a few days ago about a group of BLM protesters demonstrating against White privilege in Birmingham. The photograph for that video showed a White middle-aged women waving a placard with the slogan ‘Use your White Privilege for Good’. This is particularly tin-eared. Whites and ethnic minorities are not homogenous communities occupying distinct places in the social hierarchy. While Whites generally have higher status, better jobs and education, and are more prosperous than Black, this is certainly not uniformly the case. Some ethnic groups, such as the Chinese, outperform Whites. Indians are only slightly behind Whites in society as a rule. Muslims and Blacks are at the bottom, but nevertheless there are many Whites who are as poor or poorer than parts of those ethnic groups. And the worst performing group at school are White working class boys. By waving such placards, the protesters appear to show that they are indeed elite middle-class Whites with a hatred of the working class. But if they do, those protesters do not speak for all left-liberals.

The Labour left support the White working class, just as they support all the disparate communities of the working class. The Tories don’t. They only appear to in order to garner votes, fostering racial antagonism in a very cynical policy of divide et conquera. As we’ve seen over the past ten years of Tory rule, they have cut welfare benefits, frozen pay and introduced mass unemployment and job insecurity to Whites as well as Blacks and Asians, while at the same time lying to them in the pages of the Scum, the Heil, Torygraph and Spectator that they are really defending them. It’s a classic piece of misdirection that the racist elites have done for centuries. In 17th century America the colonial rulers after Bacon’s rebellion found a way to prevent White indentured labourers joining forces in revolt with Black slaves: they simply defined Whites legally against Blacks, but gave them no extra rights nor privileges. White indentured labourers were as exploited as before, but it worked. Whites felt themselves to be superior and no longer joined Black revolts quite as they did. Although many White working people, as well as liberal Whites further up in the social hierarchy could still have considerable sympathy for Black slaves. James Walvin in one of his books on slavery has a passage from a 19th century article stating that in Scotland, the women who demand slave emancipation are working class.

The likes of Hodges have been lying to Black and White for a long time. It’s time we stopped listening and exposed this lie for what it is. Working people of all colours unite – you have nothing to lose but your chains, as Marx could have said.

 

Conservative Radio Host Smears Left Over Leicester Sweatshops

July 13, 2020

For some reason unknown to me, my YouTube keeps putting up videos from Alex Belfield. Belfield’s the Conservative host of the ‘Celebrity Radio’ channel, which regular attacks the left. And this afternoon up came one of his videos with the title ‘Leicester 10000 on ¬£2 an Hour Where’s the Left’. This obviously refers to the garment sweatshops in Leicester which were at the centre of a Covid-19 outbreak a few days ago. It was revealed on the news coverage about them that their employees work far less than the minimum wage in appalling conditions. Clearly they’re a scandal, and something should have been done about them long ago. So where were the left when these people needed protection?

From what I’ve heard, they were trying as hard as they could to get something done about these places, and were ignored. I went to the conclusion of the Arise Left Labour festival on Zoom on Saturday. There were some great speeches by some really great left Labour politicos – Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Ian Lavery, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and the former leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn. And one of the speakers was the Labour MP for Leicester East. Claudia Webbe. And she was very well aware of the sweatshops.

She was not surprised that there had been a Coronavirus outbreak there. They had been around for a long time, employing a workforce mostly drawn from ethnic minorities. Many of them were undocumented immigrants, who had no other form of support. These people were exploited, not only working for disgracefully low wages but packed into their workshops, making it easy for the infection to spread. Webbe said that they had been trying to get the authorities to act on them for years, but they took no notice. Leicester had become the sweatshop of Europe, thanks to neoliberalism and the Tories. And she wanted this ended. Working people, whatever their ethnicity, need proper pay, decent working conditions, and undocumented immigrants also particularly needed to be properly supported, which meant tackling the racism of the immigration service. And with the other speakers at the festival, she wanted neoliberalism smashed and the existing social and economic system transformed.

Belfield wonders where all the lefties were. From what Claudia Webbe said, they were there, doing their job and trying to get help for these people. But the authorities charged with actually looking after exploited workers weren’t interested. From what I’ve read, the agencies charged with protecting them have been cut to the bone by the Tories so that they can’t do an adequate job. And it might also be that those same government bodies and agencies were stuffed full of Tories, who had no intention of doing anything about it, so long as it made money and the bosses donated to Tory coffers.

The left aren’t at fault for the scandal of Leicester’s sweated workers. It’s the Tories, who have removed protection for workers and looked the other way when abuses like this happened.

No doubt confident in their knowledge that if something did happen, and their exploitation was exposed, right-wing media shills like Belfield would immediately start spreading the falsehoods to direct the blame away from them.

I’m not putting up a link to Belfield’s wretched video. I don’t want to give him the publicity. If you want to find it, you can Google it using the title I’ve given.