Nov 23rd, 2016by Patrick Foley
The last six months in Brazil have seen an immense upheaval of society since the removal of Dilma Rousseff. A spiralling corruption investigation, controversial impeachment, mass protests, growing strikes and an Olympic games held in Rio in the backdrop of an economic recession have led to a tumultuous year.
Anger is running high at the newly appointed President. Many are claiming he is acting without a mandate and are calling for new elections to take place, a measure Dilma strongly advocated whilst the impeachment was raging on. Continue reading →
Nov 22nd, 2016by Newsdesk
Jeremy Corbyn set out his economic vision to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) yesterday, in a speech that focused on using the state to encourage and promote entrepreneurship.
Arguing that Labour had “plenty of common ground with the CBI”, he said the party was “open to change”: Continue reading →
Nov 21st, 2016by Phil Burton-Cartledge
Tax cuts for the better off, isn’t that the kind of thing associated with the Conservatives? Blair-era Labour? Not of the present radicalparty leadership, surely. What with their desire to nationalise afternoon tea and issue pig iron production edicts. And yet, in 2016’s tradition of politics taking unexpected turns, that is exactly what’s happened. Has the party been sold down the river?
In his final, catastrophic budget George Osborne announced cuts to disability benefits. These were to pay for more tax cuts for the better off, specifically raising the “middle” range 40% income tax rate threshold from those earning £42,000/year to £50k. A nice, tidy bonus for the better off bedrock of the Tories, but also yet another tax cut for the top rate payers without it immediately looking like one. Readers may recall that raising the basic rate was Osborne’s favoured way of cutting taxes for the better off while pretending to care about putting more cash into pockets of modest depth. The unexpected intervention by Iain Duncan Smith put paid to the disability cuts, but the £4bn tax cut commitment remained. Albeit without a means of plugging the hole in the budget. Continue reading →
Nov 18th, 2016by David Pavett
Among the reasons for concern that Labour has still not broken with its tradition of forming policy out of sight of party members, and with scant concern for their views, is the handling of policy on Trident. Our ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ became something of an iconic issue for the left and a subject where the left and centre of the party could unite.
The Left Futures website illustrates the importance given to the issue by the number of articles devoted to it. The subject has been returned to probably more than any other issue except austerity. Since January 2013 there have been thirteen articles on Trident. Four of them were published earlier this year. Not a single one found any case for renewing our nuclear weapons. The only article with anything positive to say about Trident was one by a trade union official which considered Trident renewal without nuclear weapons. Continue reading →
Nov 17th, 2016by Bryan Gould
Americans are a funny lot. For them, it seems, celebrity trumps all. They have elected as President someone whose personal qualities and attitudes would disqualify him, in most democracies, from membership of a school board. But that is too simple a message. The Trump victory conveys a wider and deeper message – because Donald Trump got at least one thing right.
When we peel back all the posturing and blustering, designed to shock and claim attention, Trump’s basic message was addressed to those who felt that they had been left behind and ignored by the political establishment. He pitched himself quite specifically as the anti-establishment candidate. He attacked in terms – ironically enough, given his own circumstances – the fat cats, big business, and their friends in Washington. Continue reading →
Nov 17th, 2016by Helen Yuill
Helen Yuill, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group, www.nicaraguasc.org.uk Twitter: @NSCAG_UK
Elections took place in Nicaragua on 6 November for the Presidency, 90 National Assembly, and 20 Nicaraguan members of the Central American parliament.
Preliminary results based on the count from 66% of the polling stations give the FSLN 72.1% of the vote. The highest votes for opposition parties were PLC (Constitutionalist Liberal Party) with 14% of the vote and the PLI (Independent Liberal Party) with 5%. Continue reading →
Nov 16th, 2016by Phil Burton-Cartledge
You know that dark cloud shading into fascist brown accumulating above the White House? It’s pretty frightening, so it’s entirely normal and expected for some to (desperately?) discern a silver tinge its edges. One of them is superstar economist Yanis Varoufakis, who suggests Trump’s election signals a new wave of change. Coming from a similar, but decidedly non-Marxist standpoint, Robert Skidlesky reckons there is some progressive potential in ‘Trumpism’. A Keynesian kernel in a racist, bigoted shell, one might say. Another variant of comment looking for a hint of sunnier times to come, leap on the discrediting of the opinion polls and the mess our politics and economics are in. And that is the line of argument suggesting the Labour Party could well sweep to power at the next general election. Continue reading →
Nov 15th, 2016by Keith Wright
A Labour MP has faced calls for his suspension following remarks that allegedly breach the guidelines on racism within the Labour party set out by its recent review.
Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse, dismissed an ongoing debate in his local party about selecting candidates as the “same old worst of Bengali politics” in a social media post on November 2nd.
The tweet referred to an ongoing party procedure that decides whether the sitting Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, has to win a vote among members of his local party before becoming the Labour candidate for the 2018-22 term. Continue reading →
Nov 15th, 2016by Tom O Leary
Following the Brexit vote here and the victory of Trump in the US Presidential election there has been much ill-informed discussion of the ‘left behind’, sometimes spuriously described as the white working class who have not benefitted from rising living standards, or even globalisation in general.
It is not the purpose of this article to untangle the web of half-truths, distortions and falsehoods that comprise those statements. To take one example, the first great political and social exposition of the effects of ‘globalisation’ can be found in the Communist Manifesto. This sets out the enormous capacity of capitalism to dominate the globe by raising production up to a new, much higher level and so increase the exploitation of both natural resources and labour. It has nothing in common with radical ‘anti-globalisation’, that is protectionist and increasingly anti-immigrant movements in the Western countries. Continue reading →
Nov 15th, 2016by Phil Burton-Cartledge
When it comes to fascists and the far right, giving them air time is a decision that should not be made lightly. If they are to appear, they should be rigorously challenged and forced to defend themselves. Anything less just gives them an opportunity to push their propaganda. When I learned that Andrew Marr was to be interviewing the French National Front leader, Marine Le Pen this Remembrance Sunday, I thought the BBC were having a laugh. It was obvious this encounter was not going to be a grilling. If you want to drag someone over the coals, you send for Jeremy Paxman or Andrew Neil. Marr, never known for his combative interviewing style, treated the French fascist leader as one indulges a pet tamagotchi. Continue reading →