Posts Tagged ‘Ian Bone’

Private Eye on Corbyn and Trotskyite Anti-Parliamentarianism

August 20, 2016

Private Eye was running the old Blairite line yesterday that under Corbyn, Labour was being infiltrated by Trotksyites from the Socialist Worker’s Party. In the ‘Focus on Fact’ strip, which seems to be just the Blairites trying to have their revenge against the old Labour left for slights and incidents in the 1980s, they quoted the Socialist Workers’ a saying that all Momentum events were open to them. As proof of this, they further cited the SWP as saying that they’d managed to sell 127 copies of their paper at Momentum rally Newcastle, and about 20 or 30 odd in one of the southern towns.

Now I might be missing something, but this seems less than conclusive proof that they’ve infiltrated the Labour party. The fact that they are not thrown out of Momentum might show that there is some sympathy for them in Momentum, but it does not show that they have infiltrated it. Look at what was not said: the Socialist Workers did not say that they had infiltrated Momentum, only that they weren’t kicked out of Momentum’s rallies.

As for selling newspapers, at one time all Labour party or trade union events attracted people from the extreme left-wing parties. Way back in the 1980s a friend of mine went to a demonstration in Cheltenham against the banning of trade unions at GCHQ. He came back with a stack of papers being sold by people from the Communist party, including a copy of Worker’s Dreadnought, which was the paper of the ILP, still just about hanging on at that stage. And the Anarchist Ian Bone on his website talked about heckling Ed Miliband when Not So Red Ed came to speak out at an anti-austerity rally.

All this piece really showed is that there were some in Momentum, who weren’t completely hostile to the SWPs attending. But that’s quite different from infiltrating Momentum. If the story is true, of course. And given the fact that the Blairites have lied and lied again as if it’s going out of fashion, there’s no reason to believe that it is.

Elsewhere, the Eye also saw fit to mention that the SWP was against parliamentary democracy. This was to frighten us all again with the spectre of Trotskyites worming their way into Momentum to seize control of the Labour party, win power, and turn this country into Marxist dictatorship. It’s the kind of stupid, paranoid conspiracy theory that the Scum ran in the 1987 General Election, Frederick Forsythe turned into a thriller, and Maggie read and approved. It’s classic Thatcherite scaremongering. But it perversely had the effect of making me actually think higher of the SWP for a moment.

I don’t have much sympathy for the Socialist Workers’ Party. Their leader, Dave Renton, has written some excellent articles for Lobster, but the part itself is a threat and a nuisance because it does try to infiltrate and take over other left-wing protest groups and organisations. I’ve mentioned before how they broke up Rock Against Racism by infiltrating it and turning it into front organisation. There was also trouble on campus in Cheltenham in the 1990s when some of the students organised a demonstration against student fees. Unfortunately, someone also naively invited the Socialist Workers, who turned up with their megaphones haranguing the students, before being chased off by College and NUS staff.

Despite their stupid and destructive tactics, they’re right about parliamentary democracy. The corporate domination of parliament has shown it to be increasingly corrupt. 78 per cent of MPs are millionaires, holding between them 2,800 directorships in 2,400 companies, with a combined workforce of 1.2 million people and £220 billion. The laws passed by parliament reflect this corporate dominance – pro-free trade, anti-welfare, with a concern for ‘flexible labour markets’ through zero-hours and short term contracts. This bears out the Marxist idea that the state is an institution of class oppression.

As for the horrors of soviet-style government, Trotsky and Lenin were champions of the workers, soldiers’ and peasants soviets set up spontaneously by Russia’s working people during the first phase of the 1917 Revolution. Before the Bolshevik coup, these were genuinely democratic institutions. Apart from the Bolsheviks, there were other Socialist parties elected to them, including the Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries and Trudoviks, parties later dissolved and purged by the Bolsheviks. Now I think we need a genuinely democratic system of workers’ assemblies and a workers’ chamber in parliament in this country, because of the overwhelming upper class bias of existing parliamentary institutions. And it isn’t just the Trotskyites in the SWP, who want a system of worker’s soviets. I think Dennis Skinner says something positive about them in his autobiography. And I have the impression that the Tribune group within the Labour party also support this form of government. On their books website they offer a documentary history of the Council Revolution in Germany. This is interesting, because one of the major supporters of the council system, the Bavarian premier Kurt Eisner, did so not because he wanted to destroy democracy, but augment and buttress it using the workers’ and peasants’ soviets.

The Bolsheviks effectively neutered the workers’ council in Russia by taking them over and turning them into the instruments for exclusive Bolshevik government. But this doesn’t mean that they originally weren’t a good idea. And the Eye’s denunciation of the anti-parliamentary attitude of the Socialist Workers to my mind actually makes them look good when parliament is so corrupt, unrepresentative and increasingly hostile to working class representation and policies.

Ed Miliband and the Labour Right’s Refusal to Oppose Sanctions

August 11, 2016

Back on Monday, or thereabouts, I put up a series of four articles on Workfare, drawn largely from Guy Standing’s A Precariat Charter, which has an entire section detailing why it is unjust, cruel, and just plainly factually wrong. Contrary to what we’ve been told, it does not help people into jobs. It may even do the opposite, as forcing people to perform deliberately degrading jobs intended to stigmatise them as one of the Nazis’ Arbeitscheu will demoralise and deter people from pursuing work, and not persuade them that it’s actually at all rewarding. There’s also, contrary to the lies peddled by the media, actually very little evidence for multigenerational families, who’ve lived without working. A couple of academics found that only about 1 per cent of Britain’s families actually consist of two or more generations of the unemployed. As for cutting down on expenditure on the welfare state, it doesn’t do that either. It’s actually far more expensive in terms of administration costs and subsidies to the companies taking on workfare labour than simply letting people draw their dole. It also has the effect of driving down wages for low-paid workers, and throwing permanent employees out of their jobs, and denying work to the short-term unemployed, who would otherwise be hired. But I suspect that’s the real point of it all: to supply cheap labour for big business like Asda, Homebase, Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and the other companies, who are part of the scheme.

Standing also shows how the Labour party backed the scheme, giving quotes in support of it from Liam Byrne and Ed Miliband. Stewart Lansley and Joanna Mack also have a very telling piece about Miliband’s attitude towards the unemployed in their book, Breadline Britain: The Rise of Mass Poverty (London: Oneworld 2015). When Cameron introduced sanctions against workfare, Miliband told his shadow cabinet that they were not to vote against them, but abstain. If they did not do so, they would be forced to resign.

A number of people have made this point before, including several commenters to Mike’s site and here, if not Mike himself. Johnny Void and Ian Bone, who are both Anarchists, were bitterly critical of Miliband because he appeared to offer platitudes instead of tackling Tory austerity. And they have a point. New Labour’s electoral strategy was based on copying the Tories in order to appeal to swing voters in marginal constituencies. One of them – I’ve forgotten who – even promised that once in power, Labour would be even harder on the unemployed than the Tories. And so Ed Miliband’s outright refusal to have the party oppose one of the worst aspects of the Tories’ austerity campaign against the poor and unemployed.

This is what the Blairite Right represents. They do not represent working people, but corporate interests and the middle class. And it’s because of policies supported by many of the parliamentary labour party, that so many are now in grinding poverty.

Questions of Paedophile Abuse in Lambeth Children’s Homes

July 21, 2014

I’ve just reblogged two piece from Ian Bone’s website denouncing and describing George Thomas, Viscount Tonypandy, the former Speaker of the House of Commons and a paedophile, who used rent boys. Evil men like Thomas are, unfortunately, found on all sides of the parliamentary benches, and should be exposed and punished regardless of their political affiliation. I’ve no doubt that as the investigation proceeds, more paedophiles like will be uncovered.

A few weeks ago the Mirror ran a story of the terrible history of child abuse at a children’s home run by Lambeth council. This included the personal experiences of a noted Black author, who was one the victims while an inmate at the home. He described one of the men, who frequented the home to abuse and terrorise its young residents, whose name was Mark. No surname was given, and it’s possible that the author didn’t know it. And there’s no reason why he should, as if he was just a young boy, then his abuser may simply have been known to him by his first name. I wondered, however, if his tormentor was Mark Trotter, a serial abuser, who was outed in Private Eye way back in the early 1990s.

Trotter was a care worker for Lambeth Council. He appeared in the Eye’s ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column, after dying of AIDS. A paedophile, Trotter was reported as having molested over 100 boys in his care, whom the Council were now desperate to contact to warn them of the possibility they faced of having contracted the disease. Trotter had escaped justice because he was a staunch member of the local Labour party as well as the local gay rights organisation.

This should have been no protection. He should have been exposed and prosecuted, as should the council and local political leaders, who were complicit in covering up his crime. I know that there is a danger in exposing cases like Trotter’s there’s a danger of reinforcing the prejudices of the Daily Mail crowd, who do believe that homosexuality is synonymous with paedophilia. That can easily be countered simply by interviewing spokesmen for gay rights organisations like Stonewall to clear up that misconception, or by simply allowing the disgust of the bog standard ordinary, decent gay people in this country about these crimes to be heard, the people Lambeth also betrayed, when they refused to prosecute Trotter for his vile crimes.

Frankie Boyle Interviewed by Max Keiser On Scots Independence and British Politics

May 29, 2014

I found this interview with Frankie Boyle by Max Keiser over on Ian Bone’s site. Boyle talks about the Scots Independence, George Osborne as the type of landowner responsible for Highland Clearances, how the Act of Union was brought about through Scots colonial debt, the Tories, banks and debt, Thatcher’s squandering of North Sea oil revenue, the BBC and the restrictions on the type of comedy and suitable subjects on television, Donald Trump and the pathetic nature of the SNP, comedy and political rebellion, Right-wing institutional bias at the Beeb, Thatcher’s funeral and the IRA. He also compares the massive scandal surrounding Russell Brand’s and Jonathan Ross’ phone call to Andrew Sachs with the rather less outrage at Jimmy Savile’s and his long career at the Beeb.

Boyle is known for his edgy, offensive comedy. He makes some comments and observations here, which some will undoubtedly find offensive, such as his suggestion for the treatment of Maggie’s corpse. He is, however, also intelligent with very sharp, critical views, citing Noam Chomsky in one of his observations on the state of politics and the media. Definitely worth watching. But not if you’re Tory.