Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Ed Miliband's Third Way to Electoral Disaster

Miliband - torn between support for capitalism and the need for a radical manifesto
There are times when you see someone walking headlong over the cliff and  you feel bound to try and prevent the inevitable disaster.  Such is the case with Ed Miliband’s catastrophic misleadership of the Labour Party.

The policy pronouncements of Miliband’s rump New Labour Party have been touted as ‘radical’ and appealing to the many not the few.  In reality they are disjointed prounouncements lacking any binding theme or message.
Miliband with the old war criminal - Labour has failed to dissociate itself from  US policy worldwide

It is perfectly possible for a radical and reformist Labour Party to be elected with a majority, as Harold Wilson demonstrated.  It is also possible for a reactionary New Labour Party to be elected, once it convinces capital it poses no threat to the capitalist system, as Tony Blair demonstrated.  What isn’t possible is a New Labour Party, making radical noises but promising to change nothing, quite the contrary, to be elected on a mandate to change nothing.

One might have hoped that Miliband would get the message of today’s Mori Opinion Poll which gives the Tories a 1% lead and puts the Lib Dems on double figures (12%).  Yet one suspects that like an inveterate drunk, Miliband’s response will be to reach for one last drink.
Trying to convince himself of some point
Forget his alleged unpopularity.  This is the fate of all opposition leaders, as Thatcher demonstrated.  People are quite pre pared to put the froth of political punditry aside if the politics of the party connects.  The problem is that Miliband is promising nothing.  There will be a temporary 20 month freeze on fuel prices but the water and utility companies will continue to remain in private hands.  Miliband promises to repeal the bedroom tax but supports Welfare ‘Reform’ which is a conjuring trick designed to transfer wealth from the poorest in society to the richest.

In short Miliband shies away from challenging those who hold financial, economic and political power in this society.  Instead we have pathetic stunts such as being photographed holding a copy of the Sun before the World Cup.  That Murdoch’s press stable should be anathema to anyone with an affiliation to the labour movement is beyond Miliband’s comprehension.
At least his shadow cabinet (Sadiq Khan) support him - at the moment
There is a very simple theme which could unify people around Miliband and consign New Labour to the scrapheap.  It is the fact that the top 1% of British society owns 55% of the wealth.  A promise to tackle this mountain of injustice and to pledge that the paying off of Britain’s debts is the responsibility of those who are most able to pay, not the poorest in society, would galvanise support for Labour.

Miliband has promises to cap rail prices but has shied away from the most obvious solution – to take back control of rail from the privateers.  What you don’t own you cannot control.  Yet there is a fear of confronting the Richard Bransons of this world.  Likewise Miliband has nothing to say about the creeping privatisation of the NHS or ‘Free’ schools.

Another example of Miliband’s half-hearted approach is/was  his suggestion that private tenants would have the protection of 3 year tenancies and capped rents.   Such a move would prove immensely popular given the growth in private renting as house prices have relentlessly continued to rise.  Yet the anguished howls of those who prefer to maximise their buy-to-let ‘investments’ have warned Miliband off.  Contrast this with Harold Wilson’s protection of private unfurnished tenants.

The fact that all 3 major parties have so few political differences should make the task of a united socialist left that much easier.  But the shenanigans of Left Unity and the esoteric nature of its debates have ensured that the group continues to inhabit the  margins of political influence.

It is of course possible that despite himself, Miliband's Labour will become the largest party.  If the largest and most influential companies refuse to back the Tories because of the danger of a withdrawal from the European Union, then Miliband's Labour might win despite itself. However this scenario is unlikely and certainly not something to rely on.

Tony Greenstein

Saudi Sponsorship of Isis and the tyranny of Wahhabism

Iraq crisis: How SaudiArabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

Below is an interesting article analysing the Saudi ruling family’s baleful influence on recent developments in the Middle East, in particular its relationship to Isis.

The article appeared in The Independent, whose coverage of the Middle East is by far and away the best of any British daily paper.  It has both Patrick Cockburn and the legendary Robert Fisk.
The Guardian which used to have David Hirst and Michael Adams, as Middle East contributors, has become increasingly susceptible to Zionist media pressure.

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade
Fighters from the Isis group during a parade with a missile in Raqqa, Syria.
 Patrick Cockburn Sunday 13 July 2014

How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them."
Kerry and Binder Sultan, ex-Saudi Ambassador to the United States
The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as "spoils of war". Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.
There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa'ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar's words, saying that they constituted "a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed".
Prince Bandar bin Sultan
He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: "Such things simply do not happen spontaneously." This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with Isis without their consent.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan Dearlove's explosive revelation about the prediction of a day of reckoning for the Shia by Prince Bandar, and the former head of MI6's view that Saudi Arabia is involved in the Isis-led Sunni rebellion, has attracted surprisingly little attention. Coverage of Dearlove's speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from Isis to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden's al-Qa'ida, it is absorbed in a new conflict that "is essentially Muslim on Muslim". Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by Isis are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al-Qa'ida and Isis is that the latter is much better organised; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.
Sir Richard Dearlove - ex-head of MI6
The forecast by Prince Bandar, who was at the heart of Saudi security policy for more than three decades, that the 100 million Shia in the Middle East face disaster at the hands of the Sunni majority, will convince many Shia that they are the victims of a Saudi-led campaign to crush them. "The Shia in general are getting very frightened after what happened in northern Iraq," said an Iraqi commentator, who did not want his name published. Shia see the threat as not only military but stemming from the expanded influence over mainstream Sunni Islam of Wahhabism, the puritanical and intolerant version of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia that condemns Shia and other Islamic sects as non-Muslim apostates and polytheists.

Iraq crisis: The rise of Isis


Dearlove says that he has no inside knowledge obtained since he retired as head of MI6 10 years ago to become Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge. But, drawing on past experience, he sees Saudi strategic thinking as being shaped by two deep-seated beliefs or attitudes. First, they are convinced that there "can be no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their Wahhabi credentials as guardians of Islam's holiest shrines". But, perhaps more significantly given the deepening Sunni-Shia confrontation, the Saudi belief that they possess a monopoly of Islamic truth leads them to be "deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom".

Western governments traditionally play down the connection between Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist faith, on the one hand, and jihadism, whether of the variety espoused by Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida or by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's Isis. There is nothing conspiratorial or secret about these links: 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was Bin Laden and most of the private donors who funded the operation.
Sunni Ahmed al-Rifai shrine near Tal Afar is bulldozed
The difference between al-Qa'ida and Isis can be overstated: when Bin Laden was killed by United States forces in 2011, al-Baghdadi released a statement eulogising him, and Isis pledged to launch 100 attacks in revenge for his death.

But there has always been a second theme to Saudi policy towards al-Qa'ida type jihadis, contradicting Prince Bandar's approach and seeing jihadis as a mortal threat to the Kingdom. Dearlove illustrates this attitude by relating how, soon after 9/11, he visited the Saudi capital Riyadh with Tony Blair.

He remembers the then head of Saudi General Intelligence "literally shouting at me across his office: '9/11 is a mere pinprick on the West. In the medium term, it is nothing more than a series of personal tragedies. What these terrorists want is to destroy the House of Saud and remake the Middle East.'" In the event, Saudi Arabia adopted both policies, encouraging the jihadis as a useful tool of Saudi anti-Shia influence abroad but suppressing them at home as a threat to the status quo. It is this dual policy that has fallen apart over the last year.

Saudi sympathy for anti-Shia "militancy" is identified in leaked US official documents. The then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in December 2009 in a cable released by Wikileaks that "Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups." She said that, in so far as Saudi Arabia did act against al-Qa'ida, it was as a domestic threat and not because of its activities abroad. This policy may now be changing with the dismissal of Prince Bandar as head of intelligence this year. But the change is very recent, still ambivalent and may be too late: it was only last week that a Saudi prince said he would no longer fund a satellite television station notorious for its anti-Shia bias based in Egypt.

The problem for the Saudis is that their attempts since Bandar lost his job to create an anti-Maliki and anti-Assad Sunni constituency which is simultaneously against al-Qa'ida and its clones have failed.

By seeking to weaken Maliki and Assad in the interest of a more moderate Sunni faction, Saudi Arabia and its allies are in practice playing into the hands of Isis which is swiftly gaining full control of the Sunni opposition in Syria and Iraq. In Mosul, as happened previously in its Syrian capital Raqqa, potential critics and opponents are disarmed, forced to swear allegiance to the new caliphate and killed if they resist.

The West may have to pay a price for its alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, which have always found Sunni jihadism more attractive than democracy. A striking example of double standards by the western powers was the Saudi-backed suppression of peaceful democratic protests by the Shia majority in Bahrain in March 2011. Some 1,500 Saudi troops were sent across the causeway to the island kingdom as the demonstrations were ended with great brutality and Shia mosques and shrines were destroyed.

An alibi used by the US and Britain is that the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family in Bahrain is pursuing dialogue and reform. But this excuse looked thin last week as Bahrain expelled a top US diplomat, the assistant secretary of state for human rights Tom Malinowksi, for meeting leaders of the main Shia opposition party al-Wifaq. Mr Malinowski tweeted that the Bahrain government's action was "not about me but about undermining dialogue".

Iraqi leader al-Maliki Western powers and their regional allies have largely escaped criticism for their role in reigniting the war in Iraq. Publicly and privately, they have blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for persecuting and marginalising the Sunni minority, so provoking them into supporting the Isis-led revolt. There is much truth in this, but it is by no means the whole story. Maliki did enough to enrage the Sunni, partly because he wanted to frighten Shia voters into supporting him in the 30 April election by claiming to be the Shia community's protector against Sunni counter-revolution.

But for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki's failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Again and again Iraqi politicians warned that by not seeking to close down the civil war in Syria, Western leaders were making it inevitable that the conflict in Iraq would restart. "I guess they just didn't believe us and were fixated on getting rid of [President Bashar al-] Assad," said an Iraqi leader in Baghdad last week.

Of course, US and British politicians and diplomats would argue that they were in no position to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. But this is misleading. By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue.

The chief beneficiary is Isis which over the last two weeks has been mopping up the last opposition to its rule in eastern Syria. The Kurds in the north and the official al-Qa'ida representative, Jabhat al-Nusra, are faltering under the impact of Isis forces high in morale and using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. It is also, without the rest of the world taking notice, taking over many of the Syrian oil wells that it did not already control.

The Shia Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque in Mosul explodes Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein's monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.

As for Saudi Arabia, it may come to regret its support for the Sunni revolts in Syria and Iraq as jihadi social media begins to speak of the House of Saud as its next target. It is the unnamed head of Saudi General Intelligence quoted by Dearlove after 9/11 who is turning out to have analysed the potential threat to Saudi Arabia correctly and not Prince Bandar, which may explain why the latter was sacked earlier this year.

Nor is this the only point on which Prince Bandar was dangerously mistaken. The rise of Isis is bad news for the Shia of Iraq but it is worse news for the Sunni whose leadership has been ceded to a pathologically bloodthirsty and intolerant movement, a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, which has no aim but war without end.

The Sunni caliphate rules a large, impoverished and isolated area from which people are fleeing. Several million Sunni in and around Baghdad are vulnerable to attack and 255 Sunni prisoners have already been massacred. In the long term, Isis cannot win, but its mix of fanaticism and good organisation makes it difficult to dislodge.


"God help the Shia," said Prince Bandar, but, partly thanks to him, the shattered Sunni communities of Iraq and Syria may need divine help even more than the Shia. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

|The Killing of Palestinian and Israeli Teenagers Demonstrates The Difference Between The Treatment of Palestinian and Jewish Life

The Killing of Israeli Teenagers is Political, the Killing of Palestinian Teenager is Criminal

The difference between the treatment of the killing of a Palestinian teenager and the three Israeli teenagers says everything you need to know about Israeli indifference to Palestinian life.  The unspoken message if 'they'  love death, we love life.  racism as a letter I wrote appears in today’s Independent.


And now it emerges that a 15-year-old cousin of Muhammad’s, visiting for the summer from the US, was the victim in video footage of a savage beating by armed Israeli police. They kicked and punched him relentlessly after he was cuffed and lying on the ground. He is still under arrest, apparently without charge. - See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-07-05/four-families-grieve-one-is-under-assault/#sthash.aQeCasAu.dpuf

Dror Eydar, a columnist for Israel Hayom,summed this up in an article:  ‘Murder of IsraeliTeens Highlights Palestinian Culture of Death’

Murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdair
This racist attitude was firs articulated by Israeli Primer Minister Golda Meir:  'Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.' (The Agony of the Promised Land (2004) by Joshua Levy, Ch. 23 "The Hope for Peace", p. 187)  

The Result of Israeli bombing of Gaza - Netanyahu  Knows Who the Killers of the Israeli Teens are.


And now it emerges that a 15-year-old cousin of Muhammad’s, visiting for the summer from the US, was the victim in video footage of a savage beating by armed Israeli police. They kicked and punched him relentlessly after he was cuffed and lying on the ground. He is still under arrest, apparently without charge. - See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-07-05/four-families-grieve-one-is-under-assault/#sthash.aQeCasAu.dpuf

 ‘in response to the kidnapping and killing of the Israeli teenagers, Israeli jets and helicopters launched dozens of air strikes across the Gaza Strip overnight on Monday, just hours after the bodies of three abducted Israeli teenagers were found in a shallow grave near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.' 

 The air strikes… came after the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, vowed the militant Islamist group Hamas, blamed by Israel for the kidnapping, would "pay a heavy price".

Of course there were no air strikes on the  settlements where the killers  of  Muhammad Abu Khdeir are based.  Such an idea is unthinkable to Netanyahu and his cabinet of killers.

At the Israeli teenagers funerals, which were effectively state funerals, Netanyahu waxed lyrical:  "I know the pain of mourning; there is nothing worse than that," he said standing by the three coffins, each draped with the blue and white Israeli flag.

Addressing their parents, he said: "The whole nation has witnessed your inner strength and that of the rest of your family," their children were "attacked by murderers who violated the decree: 'Never cast a hand on a child'". Guardian 1.7.14.

When Netanyahu condemns murder of Palestinian teenager,  he adopted a very different tone.  Nothing about casting a hand on a child or the pain of mourning, after all Palestinians don’t mourn, they glory in violence.  Whereas Netanhayu knew the identity of the killers of the Israeli teenagers, he didn’t ‘know yet the motives or identities of the perpetrators. 'We will bring to justice the criminals responsible of this despicable crime whoever they may be.” Guardian 1.7.14



It now emerges that a 15-year-old cousin of Muhammad’s, visiting for the summer from the US, was the victim in video footage of a savage beating by armed Israeli police. They kicked and punched him relentlessly after he was cuffed and lying on the ground. He is still under arrest, apparently without charge. - See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-07-05/four-families-grieve-one-is-under-assault/#sthash.aQeCasAu.dpuf and http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.603184

The killers of the Israeli teenagers were politically motive, Hamas of course, but the killers of a Palestinian teenager were criminals.  They had no political motive when they killed 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teenager whose body was found on Wednesday, July 2 in Jerusalem’s forest area. 

Netanyahu’s response to the murder of a Palestinian teenager was much more measures:  Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism — they have no place in our democracy,”
Netanyahu condemns murder of Palestinian teenager. The Times of Israel
4th July   2014 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Brighton's Sodastream Shop is Forced to Close



A Magnificent Victory for BDS


When Israel’s Sodastream decided to set up shop in Brighton, in an attempt to exploit our Green credentials, the local Palestine Solidarity Campaign took up the challenge and began a weekly picket with others on week days. Local Zionist and Kach/EDL thug, Simon Cobbs, vowed that this would not be another Ahava. Ahava was the Israeli ‘beauty shop’ in London’s Covent Garden which we closed down two years ago.

Picture from the early days of demonstrations

From the early days

At the beginning the Zionists confined themselves to the opposite side.  When they mixed it with us, they managed to successfully deter any doubting shoppers

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Israel Tortures and Shackles Palestinian Children

Palestinian children as young as 9, are being held at the G4S prison at Ofer and at other gaols, beaten up, forced to sit in extremely uncomfortable positions, with food thrown on the floor.  It is impossible to imagine this could every happen to a Jewish child.



Thus we see the Israeli State in all its savagery, with its accomplices in the Palestinian Authority. Children in the Palestinian Authority juvenile justice system

It is fast becoming a scandal, the way Palestinian children as young as 9, are being held at G4Security Establishments, beaten up, forced to sit in extremely uncomfortable positions, with food thrown on the floor.

Thus we see the Israeli State in all its savagery, with its accomplices in the Quisling Palestinian Authority. Children in the Palestinian Authority juvenile justice system  adopting the same tactics as the Israeli military.

Below is a story that needs no further comment

Tony Greenstein

MOTHER OF TORTURED PALESTINIAN CHILD PRISONER TO ADDRESS MPs IN HOUSE OF COMMONS #FreeHaresBoys - 24th JUNE 2014

www.inminds.com, 22th June 2014

DATE: Tuesday 24nd June 2014  4:30pm (come 30 minutes early to give time for security checks)
LOCATION:  Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA ( Closest tube: Westminster)

FACEBOOK EVENT:
Um Fadi, the mother of Palestinian tortured child prisoner Ali Shamlawi - one of the 5 Hares Boys, will address a special meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Britain-Palestine (APPG) on 24th June 2014. The meeting is in the House of Commons and is open to the public, please come to show your support. Its starts at 4:30pm but please come 30 minutes early for the security checks that have to take place before your are allowed in to the House of Commons.

Um Fadi's visit to the UK including this event has been graciously organised by our friends at Watford Friends Of Salfeet:
HARES BOYS - BACKGROUND

On 14th March 2013 a simple car accident, when a illegal Israeli settler car speeding along a road built illegally on stolen Palestinian land, crashed in to the back of an Israeli truck which had stopped to change a flat tire resulting in four people being hurt, was later at the behest of angry settlers presented as an attack by Palestinian stone throwing youth. The truck drivers earlier testimony that he stopped due to a flat tire was replaced with the new reason being that he had seen stones by the road, and an accident that nobody saw suddenly became a terror attack with 61 witnesses including the police!

Over the next few days over 50 masked Israeli soldiers with attack dogs stormed the local village of Hares in the early hours of the morning and in waves of violent arrests kidnapped the children of the village. In total 19 children were taken to the infamous G4S secured children's dungeon at Al Jalame and locked up in solitary confinement for up to 2 weeks in filthy windowless 1m by 2m hole in the ground cells with no mattress. The Israeli prime minister Benyamin Natanyahu announced to the settlers that he had “caught the terrorists”. The children were violently tortured and sexual threats were made against the female members of their families in order to coerce confessions from the boys.

With the confessions and the new “eye-witness” statements, five of the Hares boys were charged with 25 counts of attempted murder each, even though there were only four people in the car and all are now safe at home. Apparently the military court had decided that 25 stones were thrown, each with an "intent to kill". The five boys - Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Mehdi Suleiman, Tamer Souf, and Ammar Souf are currently locked up in another G4S secured facility - Megiddo prison where G4S provides the entire central command room.

In violation of international law Israel has turned prisons in to money making enterprises with the boys essentially forced to pay for their own imprisonment. Israel deliberately fails to provide Palestinian prisoners the basic essentials - edible food, cloths (underwear, shoes..) and hygiene products (soap, toothbrush..). The boys are forced to buy these at the extortionately priced prison shop costing the families over € 125/month to provide for one child's basic needs in prison.

With no evidence of a crime the military court keeps on postponing the hearing dates from one month to the next, meanwhile the boys remain caged indefinitely and their families facing financial ruin in the process. The occupation in its cruelty doesn't inform the families of cancellations. The families spend most of their day queuing and enduring the humiliation at the checkpoints, then waiting at the court in anticipation of catching a glimpse of their son.. only to be disappointed at the end. Not that evidence, or lack of it, has any bearing in an Israeli military court - a study conducted by the Israeli NGO 'No Legal Frontiers' over a 12 month period concluded that 100% of Palestinian children brought before the military court are convicted. If the five boys are convicted they will be locked up for over 25 years - five young lives ruined with no evidence of a crime let alone their guilt.

Why I resigned from Left Unity

Feminists Brook no Debate on  'Safe Spaces' - Manchester Branch suspensions

I resigned from Left Unity nearly a month ago. Set up in a blaze of publicity, it has fallen victim to identity politics and navel gazing. It reports that it has 2,000 members. If so they make next to no impact. There is no internal life in the organisation, no paper or journal, and criticism of policies such as ‘safe spaces’ for women are frowned upon or, as is the case in Manchester subject to censorship and suspension.
Ironically, despite the number of ex-SWP members, such as Richard Seymour in LU, they have taken up the SWP's forlorn campaign - understanding nothing and learning even less
Socialist Resistance of the 4th International, a chameleon group that long ago abandoned any class analysis or Marxism, has no problem with identity, as opposed to class politics. The emigrants from the SWP have failed to understand that the problem with their leadership was not a failure to appreciate feminism, but a failure to create a democratic culture where the leadership could be held to account, unlike the present day oligarchy.

No campaigns have been organised nationally (what use a party?) and now we hear that those who have spoken out, in the Manchester Branch have been suspended and the e-mail list shut down. Left Unity: Freedom to criticise must be defended - Laurie McCauley reports on his suspension from Manchester branch Left Unity was supposed to be different. A pluralist party, we were told, which could accommodate varied views within its ranks. The mistakes of the ‘old left’, of enforcing a false ideological unity that only led to splits, would be avoided. Openness and transparency were to be the order of the day. http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1015/left-unity-freedom-to-criticise-must-be-defended/. It was a Socialist Resistance member, the miserable Ian Parker, who proposed the suspension and the closure of the e-mail list.

As Laurie writes: ‘Left Unity was supposed to be different. A pluralist party, we were told, which could accommodate varied views within its ranks. The mistakes of the ‘old left’, of enforcing a false ideological unity that only led to splits, would be avoided. Openness and transparency were to be the order of the day.’

It is clear to me that a small group of feminists and men they have guilt-tripped into agreeing with them, have effectively begun to ‘purify’ the organisation. No doubt it will be a good experience for these women before they continue their journey to New Labour.

What began this episode was when Dawud Islam, a former deputy leader of Respect, was demonised for the heinous crime of not coming to a snap judgement on the guilt or innocence of Steve Hedley, a trade unionist accused of domestic violence. His own union, the RMT found he had no case to answer but being working class he must be guilty of something!

Meanwhile LU, which has a Rolls Royce constitution but precious few people to fill all the new posts, flounders about making no impact whatsoever. Ironically, it has adopted the SWP campaign against a 'racist' UKIP, thus entirely misunderstanding this party.  That is why I resigned.

Tony Greenstein
Thursday, 29 May 2014
Dear Left Unity,
I have always supported the idea of a broad party to the left of the Labour Party that would include a spectrum from the left of the Labour Party to the far-Left. I have therefore been extremely disappointed in where Left Unity is going, or rather not going.
 
I sent an Open Letter to you from my web site earlier this year http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/left-unity-conference.html and asked that it be published on LU’s web site, a request that was ignored. I notice though how Fred Leplat, a prominent member of Socialist Resistance has an article on the web site and certain other members have privileged access. Clearly some people are more equal than others.

Despite having a flying start LU has become entangled in the sectarian politics of feminist and anti-racist identity politics, which 20 years ago were characterised by women for Palestine and Jenny Bourne of the Institute of Race Relations as profoundly reactionary. But then who is to say which identity trumps another identity? It has led to LU becoming an organisation primarily focussed on itself. In prioritising the demands of a few inconsequential feminists with no political base, whose desire is not to be challenged politically but for people to accept their arguments because of the ‘identity’ of those who make them, it has abandoned the most basic democratic norms. It wasted a whole day last December in London debating a constitution for an organisation 100 times as large.

Since then most mailings from the Centre have concerned elections for the multiplicity of posts in LU. Barely a word has been issued concerning prioritising campaigns such as the destruction of the NHS or the welfare state. Bogus issues of interest to just a handful of careerists, such as intersectionality, have been deemed of more importance instead.

It is little wonder that LU didn’t see fit to stand candidates in the European elections when it has such pressing internal issues to deal with. The result is that UKIP and its anti-immigration policies have been given a free ride and LU has abandoned what could have been an effective platform for introspective navel gazing.

As a political activist in the student movement, Irish, anti-fascist, unemployed and Palestine solidarity campaigns, for the past 40 years, I have wondered in amazement at where LU’s leadership believes it is going and its complete lack of strategy as the old, seasoned cooks of the left – Socialist Resistance, the SWP émigrés and people like Andrew Burgin, Liz Davies and Kate Hudson – have taken an organisational and political grip over LU.

LU’s leadership could do worse than to look at the success of Syriza in Greece and try and learn some lessons. However I fear that they are too fixed in their views and politics to learn lessons from anyone. They insist on following the same strategies that embraced Respect and destroyed the Socialist Alliance. Politically LU has demonstrated complete impotence on questions like Ireland. My conclusion is that the time for success has now passed and what is left is a terrible missed politically opportunity.

I have therefore decided that no purpose is served by my continuing to remain a member and I have decided to resign from Left Unity.
 
In Solidarity
 

Tony Greenstein

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

IDS - The Tory's version of Scrooge

 

 

 

 

 

The Contemptible Ian Duncan Smith

Is there anyone more despicable than Ian Duncan Smith? He puts Scrooge to shame for the latter’s generosity. This is a man who spent £10,000 of public money having his portrait painted.
After being sacked as Tory leader he went on a mission of salvation to Easterhouse in Glasgow where he appeared to befriend the poor and unemployed. Little did they realise that he was rehabilitating his career and dissembling.
 
ALL of IDS’s ‘welfare benefits, i.e. cuts to the poor and unemployed have been supported by the Lib Dems and New Labour, whose Rachel Reeve promises to be tougher on welfare reform than the Tories. This is Reeve’s idea of Opposition.
 Bedroom Tax Protest - Scotland
 
There have been a battery of measures – forcing Incapacity Benefit claimants into Job Seeker’s Allowance, paying £27 pw less. The benefits cap, workfare, abolition of Council Tax Benefit Or the changes from DLA to Personal Independence Payments, whose openly declared aim is to cut £2 billion a year from the benefits bill. Reduction of Housing Benefit, the introduction of starvation sanctions and of course the Bed Room Tax. Dressed up as the Spare Rooms subsidy it is nothing of the kind. Houses are rented as an entity, not room by room. A ‘spare’ room is often used for children coming to stay, elderly relatives, carers and, horror of horrors, friends. The only effect of the Bedroom Tax is to drive people out of their houses or see them evicted because they cannot afford to pay with their rent. There are also the cuts to Tax Credits, the very people IDS claims he is seeking to benefit.
 
The net effect of all this is that people cannot afford even a hot meal for their children. The growth of food banks run by the Truscott Foundation is testimony to this. But to IDS they are simply a political gimmick. Surprise, surprise the Daily Mail has done its best to undermine them with an ‘exclusive’ about how their reporter obtained cans of food. ‘No ID, no checks... and vouchers for sob stories: The truth behind those shock food bank claims.’  From supporting Hitler to supporting IDS is quite understandable.
 
Bedroom Tax Protest, Trafalgar Square
 
And there is the new universal benefits scheme, which no one understands and which the computer systems implementing it cannot do it. IDS’s malevolence is only trumped by his incompetence.
If IDS is queried as to why people have committed suicide with anxiety It has led to people taking their lives such as mother-of-two Stephanie Bottrill – who suffered a crippling illness – committed suicide after realising she couldn’t pay the Bedroom Tax.  IDS has a standard answer. He is being fairer to those in work and he is trying to ensure that "people find work always pays"
 
IDS (and the coalition’s) primary aim is to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich. Under this government the commitment to reduce child poverty has gone into reverse (though IDS fiddles the figures to show the opposite). Britain's richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together, according to the latest official analysis of who owns the nation's £9.5tn of property, pensions and financial assets 
 
Whilst the poor suffer cuts, the richest 1,000 people in Britain has seen fortunes rise by 15.4% according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Their wealth has now reached a new high of £519bn
The Sunday Times described this as an 'Astonishing' year for richest Britons sees fortunes rise 15.4%, according to Sunday Times Rich List 
 
Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at Sheffield University, has charted the share of national income going to the richest 1% since 1918, the end of World War I. After falling for more than half a century, Prof. Dorling says, the share of Britain's richest 1% started rising sharply and inequality is now on course to return to what it was in 1918. This is the full measure of IDS’s ‘welfare reforms’ which are justified by trying to divide those who work from claimants.