Labour Party will boycott G4S security services over repression of Palestinians

by Newsdesk


It has emerged that the Labour Party decided at its national executive meeting on Tuesday to boycott the private security company, G4S, that has provided its conference security in recent years because it helps Israel run prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture. Protests have taken place both outside Labour’s conferences in recent years about the issue.

G4S provides equipment and services to Israeli prisons at which political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture. In October alone, Israel arrested over 1,000 Palestinians as a means to stifle Palestinian popular resistance. Many of these people will be held in Israeli prisons that G4S is helping to run. By helping Israel to run such prisons and “interrogation centres”, G4S is participating in Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration of more than 6,000 Palestinians as a way to discourage any action to resist its occupation. Continue reading →

On Rafael Behr and how to mangle history by way of gratuitous Corbyn-bashing

by David Osland

Hammer Corbyn1It’s a curious inversion of most extant moral codes to claim the high ground on the basis of support for war and quicker resort to fatal force by the police, while painting those who argue against them as ethical imbeciles. But the last week has seen numerous critics pass judgment on the alleged failings of Jeremy Corbyn – and by extension, the wider left – on these very issues.

After the evaporation of Jihadi John, and the Paris atrocities, Corbyn’s refusal to fall in behind the Start the War Coalition has seen him widely castigated, not only by the media but the Parliamentary Labour Party too. Continue reading →

Post-Paris massacre poll shows UK public oppose Syria airstrikes – MPs take note

by Jon Lansman

paris massacreThe vast majority of the British public do not believe that British airstrikes on Syria are the right response to the Paris massacre, says a poll published today. Nor do the public believe past airstrikes have made the UK any safer. What most people want is a joint international approach backed by the UN, and for any response to be approved by Parliament before action is taken.

The poll should stand as a warning to those MPs who deliberately seek to undermine the party leader by ridiculing his position on this subject which clearly has considerable public support. There is nothing wrong with them arguing a different position – open comradely debate is encouraged – but playing politics with war and terrorism for factional advantage is repugnant and no-one could blame their communities and local party members for wanting to see the back of such behaviour. Continue reading →

On Jeremy Corbyn, “shoot to kill” and stopping terrorists in the act of murder

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Jeremy Corbyn, in the cross hairsYou can understand the thirst for vengeance. On Sunday night, France flew sorties over Syria to strike IS targets in Raqqa, the capital of their ramshackle semi-state. They reportedly hit a recruitment centre and munitions depot. Other facilities on the receiving end of French ordinance were a hospital, a museum, a stadium, and a chicken farm. Still, “something” has been done. IS have had a taste of fire, even if civilians every bit as innocent as the murdered in Paris lost their lives in the French bombing.

Whenever there is an appalling outrage on Western soil, or mass civilian casualties mount overseas, as per the Tunisian beach murders or the bombing of a Russian airliner, politicians and media outlets combine their outrage with simple non-solutions that paint one half of the world in saintly white and the other in sinner’s black. The complexity of the situation, of the drives that fuel IS support here and abroad, which few establishment figures are normally interested in anyway, are painted out. They’re against us, so let’s kill ’em. Alas, turning Raqqa and parts of Sinai and Yemen into the Moon will kill terrorists, but does nothing to address the causes of terrorism. Such is the folly of dressing ourselves in saintly white as against their sinner’s black. Continue reading →

Are drone strikes doing more harm than good in the fight against ISIS?

by Luke Barratt

DroneThe death by drone of Jihadi John earlier in the week again brought to the fore the increasingly fraught debate over such state-sanctioned killings, which would, in a time before the War on Terror, have been termed assassinations.

Jeremy Corbyn was predictably castigated by some for remarking that it would have been better for Emwazi to be brought to trial, but many have pointed out that similar sentiments have been expressed by David Haines’ widow, and Majid Freeman, a friend of Alan Henning. Continue reading →

A guide to the comradely divisions in Labour’s parliamentary party

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Is the Labour Party divided? Of course it is. But divided doesn’t necessarily mean at each others’ throats, at least not all of the time. As divisions have been the theme of the week, it’s time to quickly cast one’s eye over the Parliamentary Labour Party and discern what groups are emerging among this most august of bodies:

The 4.5%ers; The Corbyn Sceptics; The Go-With-The-Flows; & The Corbynistas

Continue reading →

On brilliant, neglected women economists

by Ann Pettifor

joan robinsonThis week I was invited on to Woman’s Hour to talk about outstanding women in economics that have never properly been recognized and acclaimed for their contributions. The context is the Virago/New Statesman women’s prize for new, young writing on politics and economics. The prize was launched in late October to address the underrepresentation of women in non-fiction publishing  “and most particularly in the vital, society-shaping fields of economics and politics”.

At first, the producer of Woman’s Hour (Helen Fitzhenry) had asked if I wished to put forward a list of women economists and writers. I did so with alacrity. At the top was Emeritus Professor Victoria Chick, a formidable and outstanding monetary theorist and macroeconomist. She is best known for the integrity and rigour with which she evaluated both Keynesian and monetarist traditions in her book, The Theory of Monetary Policy (1973). And for her magnum opus: Macroeconomics after Keynes, published in 1983. (Listen to her here on the subject of “why economists don’t understand money.”) Continue reading →

The return of George Galloway to Labour – yes or no?

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

George Galloway at Stop The War protest in London, 24 Feb 2007. George Galloway. Scenes from Trafalgar Square, photo by David Martyn Hunt CC BY 2.0Ever since the election of Jeremy – and before – there has been whispering that the Gorgeous One, George Galloway will make a triumphant return to Labour. Ever since his expulsion from the party for “bringing it into disrepute” for suggesting that soldiers should disobey orders given by officers, it’s no secret that he has held out for a return. That is despite running against the party on a number of occasions, and – in 2005 and 2012 – winning two Parliamentary seats from it. There has always been an uneasy feeling among a section of the membership that a return was never ruled out.

The rumour mill ground out more nervous jitters last week with Ken Livingstone stating that Galloway should be allowed to return. Was he speaking from the heart or indulging some unlicensed kite-flying? No matter, at Monday’s PLP meeting, members of that august body stated in no uncertain terms that he shouldn’t be allowed back – a position apparently shared by the leader. Continue reading →

Left candidate wins general secretary election in GMB

by Jon Lansman

Tim Roache & Jeremy CorbynThe result of the election to choose the General Secretary of the GMB to replace Sir Paul Kenny whose term of office expires at the end of 2015 has been announced. The winner is Tim Roache, currently GMB Regional Secretary for Yorkshire & North Derbyshire, who beat Paul McCarthy,Regional Secretary for the North West & Ireland by 15,034 votes (57%) to 11,454 (43%). Tim Roache is also chair of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class), of Yorkshire and Humber TUC and of his own CLP (Elmet and Rothwell). He is seen as to the left not only of Paul McCarthy but also of Paul Kenny.

Tim Roache said of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to TUC Congress just after being elected leader “in my 36 years working for a union I’ve never heard leader of the labour movement so utterly supportive of workers” and was also quoted as telling a fringe meeting at the recent Labour Party conference in Brighton: Continue reading →

The New Politics is shifting the political landscape

by Diane Abbott

Corbyn at PMQsOn 12 September, I attended the packed Labour Party Special Conference to see the announcement of Jeremy Corbyn’s resounding victory in the Labour Party leadership election with more than 251,000 of 422,000 votes. As John Prescott commented at the time, “the party gave an overwhelming endorsement to this man” who “got more votes than Tony Blair.”

Two months on – and despite much media coverage being relentlessly anti-Jeremy – we can see that the new way of doing politics Jeremy stands for is starting to shift the political landscape in Britain, shaking the Government on key issues (most notably cuts to working families’ tax credits) and bringing new support to the Labour Party. The key to these successes has been a new approach to opposition to the Government – reflecting the wish expressed in Jeremy’s landslide victory this summer for a clearer, stronger opposition to ideologically-driven austerity measures from the Conservative Government that attack people’s living standards and threaten the economy’s fragile growth. Continue reading →

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