Britain’s problem: Philip Green is the archetype British capitalist

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Philip GreenOn global capitalism in Lenin’s day, the Bolshevik leader had this to say: “Imperialism is an immense accumulation of money capital in a few countries … hence the extraordinary growth of a class, or rather, of a stratum of rentiers, i.e., people who live by “clipping coupons”, who take no part in any enterprise whatever, whose profession is idleness …” If only the money men of 21st century Britain remained excrescences on the economy, of directing their stooges to invest capital and growing fat off the labour and talent of others. At the risk of being wistful, this ideal-typical view of your average capitalist is long buried and have gone beyond mere uselessness. Drunk on their parasitism, they are oblivious to how their appetites are not just imperiling the health of the enterprises they gorge upon, but threaten to kill them outright. Continue reading →

Yemen’s calamity – blood on Britain’s hands

by Mike Phipps

a-shameful-relationshipThe Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) has published a new report, A Shameful Relationship: UK Complicity in Saudi State Violence by David Wearing. It exposes how the UK’s supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia for its devastating bombing of Yemen systematically violates international law.

UK-made aircraft, bombs and missiles have been used in the bombing and our Government continues to offer training and support to the Saudi regime. The report states

One year into the intervention in the civil conflict in Yemen by a Saudi-led military coalition, 6,400 people have been killed, half of them civilians, including 900 children, and more than 30,000 people have been injured…. The large majority of these casualties have been caused by Coalition air strikes in a campaign where combat aircraft supplied by the United Kingdom have played a significant role.”

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Sanders must keep up his Momentum until the Democratic Party is won for Socialism

by Jon Lansman

Bernie's MomentumFollowing the New York primary, Hillary Clinton is “cautious but confident” says yesterday’s New York Times, and is busy picking running mates. Bernie Sanders, who lost by 16%, picking up 106 delegates to Clinton’s 139 is ploughing on. And so he should. Even the New York Times in an editorial agrees:

Mr. Sanders has voiced the concerns and energized millions of young people, many of them voting for the first time. His candidacy has forced the party to go deeper on addressing issues like wealth inequality, college tuition costs and the toll of globalization — important points of distinction with Republicans. What’s more, Mr. Sanders’s commitment to small individual contributions has put the lie to Democrats’ excuses that they, too, must play the big money game to win. This is a message too seldom heard in the party that first championed campaign finance reform.”

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Explaining the election of Malia Bouattia

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

What to make of the election of Malia Malia Bouattia to the presidency of the National Union of Students? Well, the political establishment are pretty clear about the opinions every right-thinking person should have. “Malia Bouattia’s election as NUS president proves deeply divisive“, says The Graun. “Disaffiliation threat could leave NUS facing a financial blackhole“, The HuffPo writes. And eager to stir things up, the increasingly tabloid Telegraph reckons Malia’s election “sends a dark message to Jewish students“. Sounds serious.

In my younger days, I was often of the view that if radicals succeeded in pissing off the centre left establishment, then it couldn’t be so bad. Specifically in the case of the NUS, I do recall a sliver of hysteria greeting the election of Kat Fletcher to the NUS president’s post in 2004. A position, in case we’ve forgotten, that has long been regarded the private property of wannabe Labour MPs in what passes for the students’ movement. Well, the sky didn’t fall in, Kat went on to become a Jez aide/handler, and after 2006 control returned to a succession of colourless and uninteresting mediocrities. And yes Wes, I include you in that number. Continue reading →

Keep it Co-op and ensure a strong voice for cooperatives in politics

by Jeremy Corbyn

The Co-operative movement has a long and proud history in this country, working to build a society where wealth and power are shared.

Implausibility of a “Social Europe”

by Danny Nicol

EU_RulesAndRegsBEven the dogs on the streets know that David Cameron’s EU “reforms” are pitiful.  Indeed, even he no longer mentions them.  So why assume that reforming the EU into a “real Social Europe” is any more feasible?   It’s when one examines the constitutional obstacles to reform that one realises that the whole idea just doesn’t stack up. Continue reading →

Porn, fags and Big Macs: Labour and the ethics of business donations

by David Osland

Corbyn and the Big MacBack in 2002, New Labour accepted a £100,000 donation from Daily Express proprietor Richard Desmond, a man who made his original fortune from printing pornographic publications under such lurid titles as The Very Best of Mega Boobs and – hey, let’s not be squeamish, because Blair certainly wasn’t – Spunk Loving SlutsQuestioned on the issue, cabinet minister John Reid retorted:

If you asking if we are going to sit in moral judgment and have a political judgment on those who contribute to the Labour Party, the answer is no.”

And there you have it. Business bungs to Labour were at that time officially a morality-free zone, in which even political calculations played no part. One wonders what the current crop of feminist Labour MPs – the ones that routinely indict Corbyn for alleged low-level non-violent misogyny, even as they threaten to knife him in the front – would have made of that one? Continue reading →

Review: The revolution will be visualised

by Guest

Garageland framed for programmeSanjiv Sachdev reviews an exhibition of the art of political prints

In Waiting for the Great Leap Forward Billy Bragg famously sings that “The revolution is just a T-shirt away”. The phrase now, of course, adorns a Bragg-approved Philosophy Football T-shirt, and captures the subject matter of Hugh Tisdale and Dan Murrell’s exhibition of prints; an interest in music, progressive politics and pop culture in its broadest sense. A small slice of a huge, wide-ranging catalogue is present here, starting in 2000 and ending in 2016, of 20 prints produced in silkscreen, digital and hand-stenciled media. Continue reading →

Taxation – challenging everyday libertarianism

by Maria Exall

TaxingBooksIn his Left Futures article on the 7th April, Intense Relaxation, David Osland took John McTernan to task for advocating tax avoidance as a ‘basic British freedom’ and for making reference to the political theorist Robert Nozick and his argument for freedom from taxation in Anarchy, State and Power (Basic Books, 1974).

The ideological libertarianism of theorists such as Nozick is rejected by those on that wide spectrum of political thought we know as social democracy, whether left or right leaning. However the discourse and principles of such an approach are much more commonplace and pervasive in wider society, an ‘everyday libertarianism’. This everyday libertarianism overshadows our political debate on tax and needs to be addressed by Labour politicians and progressive campaigners if we are to win support for a more redistributive tax system and for a Government with enough resources to support those in need and to rebuild our economy after the financial crash of 2008 and Tory ‘austerity’. Continue reading →

Labour and the Big Mac: Snobbery or principle?

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Corbyn and the Big MacWhat kind of company should be allowed to have a corporate stand at Labour Party conference? Should all-comers be taken provided they stump up the readies, or as a minimum are they expected to subscribe to a set of standards around employment relations, trade union recognition, and ethical practices (whatever they are)? I ask because a row is being stoked by the usual moaners about Labour’s decision to refuse a stand (worth £30,000) at this year’s conference in Liverpool.

In a typically dishonest article, The Sun says McDonald’s have been “banned”, and Wes Streeting is called upon to denounce the “snobby attitude towards fast-food restaurants and people who work or eat at them.” It’s worth stating at this point there is no suggestion whatsoever that the “banning” took place because NEC members disapprove of fast food. That has been made up by The Sun, and it is disappointing – to put it euphemistically – for Wes and others to join one of our movement’s fiercest enemies in dumping on our party. Continue reading →

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