Up to date criticism of the labour party

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Scallywag
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Nov 21 2019 18:34
Up to date criticism of the labour party

Has labours record from when they where last in power and their period where they have been the opposition been any better than the tories and looking ahead to the next election do you suspect it will be?

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R Totale
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Nov 21 2019 19:28

Cheers for this, it's always an important topic to discuss, I don't really have the energy to offer any proper analysis right now, but here's some important case studies:
https://freedomnews.org.uk/labour-council-threatens-bin-workers-with-tor...
https://freedomnews.org.uk/manchester-a-reality-check-for-corbynism/
https://freedomnews.org.uk/as-the-shine-rubs-off-labour-what-next/
http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2017-07-28/durham-teaching-assistants...
https://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2017-10-31/durham-teaching-assistant...
https://architectsforsocialhousing.co.uk/2019/11/13/another-general-elec...
https://architectsforsocialhousing.co.uk/2019/11/08/a-vote-for-labour-is...
https://architectsforsocialhousing.co.uk/2017/05/08/vote-labour-the-aims...
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/10/corbynism-work-gov...
http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=4780
http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=4382

radicalgraffiti
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Nov 21 2019 20:10
Scallywag wrote:
Has labours record from when they where last in power and their period where they have been the opposition been any better than the tories and looking ahead to the next election do you suspect it will be?

better than the torys? that would hardly be difficult, so probably, but that doesn't make them worth campaign for or anything

its also worth pointing out, that if they do nationalise a bunch of stuff, give people free internet etc, thats probably better than private companies using it for profit, but its not workers control or ownership by the people, its wide open to being privatised again once the tories are back in power, it makes people more dependant

jc
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Nov 21 2019 20:17

This vid makes the case that the REACTION from the rich, etc, if Labour seriously tries to enact their policies, may well be as bad. Though the thrust of it is that there are negative consequences to the Left if we *promote* Corbyn - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKo9Y8gf6ik

Scallywag
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Nov 27 2019 16:43

This is a good article that argues that labours manifesto is not so radical and gives the capitalist class nothing to fear.

https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2019/11/26/whoever-wins-the-election-...

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rat
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Nov 27 2019 23:06

Thanks Scallywag. That's a succinct way of expressing it. We'll use that to plug the ACG article on Twitter.

Scallywag
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Nov 27 2019 23:48
rat wrote:
Thanks Scallywag. That's a succinct way of expressing it. We'll use that to plug the ACG article on Twitter.

Hey your welcome and cheers for writing the article. It was pretty much just what I was looking for when I made this thread. Just discovered ACG through Facebook and I like a lot of stuff coming from them.

Scallywag
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Nov 28 2019 18:31

Labour are changing their election campaign strategy just to try and close the gap with the conservatives by trying to appeal to leave voters who would vote Conservative.

https://www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50580699

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R Totale
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Nov 28 2019 19:22

Been thinking about this a bit, and I suppose one thing to do is to turn it on its head - not "why we don't support Labour", but more "what does it mean to support Labour?" Do people who want anarchists to support Labour want us to vote, or to canvass, or to join the party, or to bite our tongues about embarrassing criticisms? Because I wouldn't do any of those things, but the specific reasons why I wouldn't do any of them differ. Also, the "do both" argument comes up a lot (as in, both commit to doing Labour stuff and other class struggle stuff - I think this is the basic promise of like The World Transformed/Momentum and so on), but, as discussed here, I'm not sure how many people actually manage to "do both", or what that even looks like in practice - thinking about stuff going on this week, are there many people who've managed to both go out canvassing in a marginal and show practical solidarity to the UCU strikes? And how many hours does that take up, how many meetings per week does that mean attending?

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Nov 28 2019 21:07

Also, something I've been thinking about a little bit this week is having visited one picket line where I could hardly get a word in because two WSWS trots had come down and got in a big argument about the Labour Party, which is one of those things where on a very abstract level I suppose the arguments being made by the WSWS trots were probably closer to what I would think of as "the correct position" or whatever, but also I'd hope that we can agree that going down to a picket line and then going straight into lecturing the strikers and/or getting into a huge row with them is, uh, not an ideal way of doing things. So yeah, I suppose the question isn't just "what are our criticisms", but also like "how and when do we raise them", how you walk that line of having a relatively unpopular set of positions without just alienating everyone on one hand, or keeping quiet about stuff on the other. Don't have any good answers to that one, though.

Scallywag
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Nov 28 2019 22:03

Well there is the idea that labour are the party of the working class or most beneficial for the working class and no one would tell us to vote labour if they didnt somewhat believe that. Thats the problem I think telling people to vote labour causes further left-washing of them. Its a dead end just like green-washing and all the social organising that it sucks up could go better elsewhere.

Sure like you said radicals can possibly do both but thats only a minority of labour supporters, the majority believe in labour and there going to put their focus in getting them elected and I agree with JC's vid that ultimately this just a way of controling social movements, deradicalising them and deadening them.

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Lucky Black Cat
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Nov 29 2019 09:56
jc wrote:
This vid makes the case that the REACTION from the rich, etc, if Labour seriously tries to enact their policies, may well be as bad. Though the thrust of it is that there are negative consequences to the Left if we *promote* Corbyn - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKo9Y8gf6ik

I watched this the other day and thought it was great. Is it your video?

R Totale wrote:
So yeah, I suppose the question isn't just "what are our criticisms", but also like "how and when do we raise them", how you walk that line of having a relatively unpopular set of positions without just alienating everyone on one hand, or keeping quiet about stuff on the other. Don't have any good answers to that one, though.

I'm not sure, either. I have general ideas about it that sound good on paper, but I usually feel super clumsy and awkward when I try to apply it in real life, and usually don't have much success.

I think when doing picket support or something like that, it's best not to get confrontational when you're trying to build solidarity. But I think it's ok to offer your contrary opinion, politely and briefly, and then leave it at that. Most people don't mind that; it's when someone seems pushy that they get their back up. That said, if someone you're chatting with seems open to a friendly debate, and you can tell it's something they're enjoying rather than something that feels like an argument or a lecture, then go for it.

I guess all that applies pretty much anywhere, too.

I think it can be effective to share a video or article, too. Not just posting in on facebook or whatever, but sending it directly to a friend or coworker whose perspective you're trying to change, along with a friendly, low-pressure note. By letting someone else make the argument for you, it avoids the potential awkwardness and strain on your relationship that can sometimes result if you directly debate with someone.

As for the unlikeliness of finding time to "do both" (class struggle and campaign for a party), absolutely. Finding time for one of these is hard enough and more than most people manage.

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Dec 8 2019 17:13

Not really up-to-date as such, but I was wondering if people had any good recommendations on the Labour left in the 1980s, the GLC and so on, since those are from Labour's past, but a part of Labour's past that Corbynism is relatively closely identified with. Thinking again about that Asian Youth Movement/Bradford 12 interview - I'm broadly aware of the general narrative that there were independent/autonomous movements, the left wing of Labour was keen on offering them funding and so ended up making them dependent on the generosity of the state, but not really too up on the details. Is this the sort of stuff that Kenan Malik covers? And any recommendations for how it played out in feminist movements, gay rights, etc?

Mike Harman
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Dec 9 2019 09:58

Not really what you're asking for, but never forget when Militant wanted to continue the Falklands war on socialist lines https://libcom.org/library/militant-falklands-war-1982. There's also the taxi redundancy notice incident but not sure we have an article on that.

Maybe closer to what you're after is Sivandan on Stuart Hall and New Times - New Times ended up supporting New Labour

https://libcom.org/library/all-melts-air-solid-sivanandan

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R Totale
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Dec 9 2019 15:51

Yeah, this is kind of a cross-post from the discussion on the last page of the Plan C thread, all the stuff about...
"we have to be in control of the means of our own social reproduction: the way we reproduce our everyday lives. We have to be able to feed, care for and house ourselves, and we have to be in a position to take over our workspaces and turn them over to our needs. We need to build renters unions and co-operative housing, we need militant workers unions, we need care creches that do not depend on feminised labour, and mental health support that empowers us and doesn’t leave us at the mercy of a punitive state. We need access to land to grow our own food and brew our own beer, hosting our own events in our own bars and cafes or make the spaces we frequent part of a movement. We need to common the resources we have and obtain the resources we need."

Which sounds good to me, but the question of how it all relates to the state is pretty crucial - there's obvious contradictions between trying to do all that and do electoralism in the short term (good luck trying to run a creche while also making time to trek out to whatever far-flung town counts as the nearest marginal), but in the long term, I would guess that the model Plan C/Labour leftist types imagine is that these kind of things start as autonomous self-managed projects and then the hypothetical Corbynist state just gives them money and resources, sort of like what happened with the AYMs, but I don't think it would be as simple or straightforwardly positive in practice as they like to imagine. I imagine that there must probably be some stuff from Workers' Playtime/Wildcat/Subversion or someone similar covering how the Labour muncipal left operated in the 80s, not sure exactly what though...
And looking at the Workers' Playtime blurb from the last issue, I noticed that there's a line about "We aren't assisted by the GLC, CIA, or South American millions as far as we know".

Dannny
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Dec 9 2019 20:17
R Totale wrote:
Also, something I've been thinking about a little bit this week is having visited one picket line where I could hardly get a word in because two WSWS trots had come down and got in a big argument about the Labour Party, which is one of those things where on a very abstract level I suppose the arguments being made by the WSWS trots were probably closer to what I would think of as "the correct position" or whatever, but also I'd hope that we can agree that going down to a picket line and then going straight into lecturing the strikers and/or getting into a huge row with them is, uh, not an ideal way of doing things. So yeah, I suppose the question isn't just "what are our criticisms", but also like "how and when do we raise them", how you walk that line of having a relatively unpopular set of positions without just alienating everyone on one hand, or keeping quiet about stuff on the other. Don't have any good answers to that one, though.

I'd be interested in responses to this - also to the recent (for me, anyway) conundrum of knowing absolutely loads of people who are canvassing and frantically propagandising for Labour who are not only already conversant with "the correct position" but also believed in it themselves until 2 or 4 years ago or whatever. Are we just supposed to restate the position?!

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Noah Fence
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Dec 10 2019 14:31
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But I think it's ok to offer your contrary opinion, politely and briefly, and then leave it at that. Most people don't mind that; it's when someone seems pushy that they get their back up.

That’s not true in my experience - unlike with Libdems or Tories who’s voting aspirations are largely geared towards small improvements or at least the maintenance of their current social and financial advantages, Labour supporters, or at least the Corbyn supporting types hold an absolutely religious intolerance of any position that doesn’t comply with their orthodoxy and will Immediately dogpile anyone daft enough(such as my idiot self) with accusations of privilege or worse -one even implied that I was a toff! Lol, and that was on an Afed FB page!
I even got attacked when sticking up for Corbyn in the light of him being personally accused of anti-semitism by right wing outrage merchants who don’t actually give a fuck about anti semitism but use it as political capital. Basically, “I won’t be voting for Corbyn or anyone else but...” and off they went. It really is absolutely pitiful.

jc
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Dec 10 2019 15:29

What the last couple months has made clear to me is that although we have TONS of examples of grassroots & direct action stopping austerity, and we've put out some good ideas on strategy - most anarchists and everyone else DON'T know about it and are quick to forget. I'm seeing a lot of "well anarchists have no alternative...". WHAT? I wrote a whole damn book on how to fight university cuts - how to start a group from nothing, how to run meetings without leaders, how to take action. EVERYTHING. Other people (many on libcom) have made great contributions, latest being Wessex Solidarity on the NHS - https://wessexsolidarity.wordpress.com/members-blogs/defend-the-nhs-fight-for-socialised-healthcare-by-felix-sabot/

Damn, I've even had some anarchists who are backing labour, write that AFed is just all about theory. Lol, a government report named their direct action as the main threat to workfare!

So why is it that despite all of the great action and great ideas, that people think Labour is the only alternative? I always assumed that if I organised good grassroots action then anarchists would be chuffed and do all they could to promote it and talk about it. After all there are tons of anarchists who just live on twitter and don't have the confidence or time to do real organising. Surely something good to promote is exactly what they are waiting for? This just hasn't happened. In fact most class struggle action is still written off as old fashioned and boring. Many would rather talk in gentrified cafes about nonsense than hear about real working class people putting their theories into practise.

We need to stop relying on others for all this, basically. If you are a direct action class struggle anarchist, most of the "anarchist" movement has no real interest in what you do. The Labour Left definitely doesn't and most will actively try to shut you up and cover up your actions like they didn't happen. Instead we need to plan into every action, that after it we are going to write it up and big it up and flood every social media channel and anarchist paper with talk about it!

Some of the best things that have happened never even got written up, not that I've seen. The workers who saved Bristol childrens services from privatisation for example. They used anarchist methods and mobilised a lot of people. People involved were too shattered to talk about it after, most folk haven't even heard of it, and of course none of the anarcholiberals have any interest in investigating or talking about it either.

It is only down to us or it wont happen we have to fill this gap. Unfortunately there's no shortcut we just all need to put more time into this even if it slows down important action and campaigns. I'll start, I'm working on a video about a direct action campaign that DEFEATED the Tory government. Fingers crossed will be ready to go December 14th wink ;)

We also need to do a few flashy actions now and again. Pickets etc are effective, but they just don't grab attention. In the class struggle anarchist scene I think there is a lack of the kind of stunts that draw attention and interest. The reasons are understandable we are all more interested in getting the job done than grandstanding. But the last decade showed that campaigns need all that. Without the symbolic occupation of Millbank there wouldn't hardly have been an antiausterity movement. Without the (ineffective) ukuncut & their first action locking on inside a travel agents, there wouldn't have been the Workfare campaign which used and refined their methods. I think this is a class thing we are always told from very young that we don't matter and the media has no interest in us. But we have to get over that and just do it. Class War is a good example of how it can be done! If they aren't ideal well fine, let's do it our own way and do it better then!

Mike Harman
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Dec 11 2019 19:42
jc wrote:
We need to stop relying on others for all this, basically. If you are a direct action class struggle anarchist, most of the "anarchist" movement has no real interest in what you do. The Labour Left definitely doesn't and most will actively try to shut you up and cover up your actions like they didn't happen. Instead we need to plan into every action, that after it we are going to write it up and big it up and flood every social media channel and anarchist paper with talk about it!

Another plug for https://libcom.org/library/mutu-rethinking-our-radical-media - I do think that kind of regionalised radical news network would help with this.

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Dec 14 2019 16:35

Well, I suppose everyone and their dog has up-to-date criticisms of the Labour Party to offer today. For a relatively mainstream commentator, Chakrabortty's stuff is usually worth reading: see This Labour meltdown has been building for decades and The truth about Labour leavers: they feel locked out of politics if interested.

Spikymike
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Dec 14 2019 19:11

Roy's brief take on the recent Labour Party election defeats here:
https://critical-mass.net/2019/12/14/the-uk-elections-2019/
An ill-defined use of the 'middle-class' label (really just better off workers) and over-generalisations on the north/south divide (maybe more City/country divide), avoiding any more substantial analysis of changes to class composition, but not all wrong and OK for the start of a conversation ?