EU - Roads to Travel

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Ed
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Jan 27 2019 16:38
Maclane Horton wrote:
So the racists and the romantics want to help us to weaken the multi-nationals. Well the more people pushing the better. We need all the help we can get to topple the system. No problem with the romantics. The racism is worrying though. But in this case I don’t think it’s dangerous.

Read this when it was first posted and tbh I'm still absolutely baffled that someone could look at the current rise of the far-right across the world, the rise in racist attacks in Britain since the 2016 referendum, the way immigration remains one of, if not the central issues around which all political debates revolve, and conclude that racism is not dangerous in the current climate.

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Jan 27 2019 22:09
Maclane Horton wrote:
So the racists and the romantics want to help us to weaken the multi-nationals. Well the more people pushing the better. We need all the help we can get to topple the system. No problem with the romantics. The racism is worrying though. But in this case I don’t think it’s dangerous.

There was a rise in racist attacks after the referendum which lasted the whole summer. I don't think it should be dismissed as not dangerous.

I agree with jeff and can'tdo about the costs of getting settled status, which is not just one fee but includes phone calls and time off work etc. plus a lot of worry and stress for people.

I've seen people talking about how people having more insecure status puts them in a weaker position with employers, but I haven't seen people talking about how it also puts people in a weaker position with regard to domestic violence and abuse, and this is already a massive problem and is going to get a lot worse if large numbers of EU migrants are made more precarious, and I'm concerned that this is being ignored.

Mike Harman
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Jan 27 2019 22:19

An old friend of mine came over from Poland in the back of a van in the very early 2000s before they joined the EU. He worked cash in hand etc. and as far as I know evaded immigration enforcement, but a big problem he had was that he could never leave the country (until Poland eventually joined the EU, he stuck it out until then). So things like being able to leave a relationship and stay with family, then return to the UK on your own terms later, get very difficult. Or a converse version is the retaliatory report to immigration enforcement (very extreme version https://metro.co.uk/2011/02/01/immigration-officer-puts-wife-on-terror-l...).

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Jan 27 2019 22:24

I should explain my post a bit maybe, one situation is when a person's status depends on their marriage, a spouse visa, this can make them very vulnerable. Other people are not on spouse visas but lack of English and lack of support networks here in the UK make them vulnerable. If people are worried that they may be deported they will be afraid to seek help from any state agencies. Also people trying to leave a violent relationship and having to regularise their visa situation at the same time will have loads of practical problems like not being able to produce paperwork if the abusive partner has kept it.
Death rates from domestic violence are currently rising so this is something to take seriously.

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Jan 28 2019 10:20

The people talking about cross class alliances and stuff, what do you think about these issues of increased vulnerability for migrants? Because I feel like people* are basically ignoring it, but if that's not what's going on, please tell me what you do think.

[edit] when I say people are basically ignoring it, I'm referring to a few years worth of arguments in lots of different places, I'm not accusing specific people on this thread of ignoring it. I'm saying in my overall experience when people make left leave arguments they tend to a) say the increased vulnerability isn't really happening b) say 'what about non-EU migrants' c) talk about migrants bringing wages down d) just talk over me altogether.

wojtek
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Jan 28 2019 11:02

Maybe I'm cynical, but I think expecting the issue of foreigners' welfare to be central to the Brexit debate is naive.

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Jan 28 2019 11:04

Mate I'm writing on an anarchist/ libertarian communist website, I expect it to be important here.

Spikymike
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Jan 28 2019 12:24

Anarchists publicly arguing either for or against in the Referendum last time or in any new one were/are effectively joining one or other of the cross class campaigns in my opinion, even if they take the pro EU side on some understandable concerns about the assumed bad impact of Brexit' on the condition of some migrants in the UK or the EU. I'm just repeating what I have said previously in the much longer discussions last time round. Having said that I don't think the voting one way or the other by a few anarchist individuals who are part of a tiny ineffectual political movement to be significant and don't intend to fall out with such individuals on this one issue alone.

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Jan 28 2019 12:38

Edit: cross-post with Spikeymike

fingers malone wrote:
The people talking about cross class alliances and stuff, what do you think about these issues of increased vulnerability for migrants? Because I feel like people* are basically ignoring it

Yeah, I think this is a really important question as, it seems to me, while I agree with the danger of cross-class alliances, my feeling is that in this case, it remains on the level of an abstract principle (albeit a really important one), which I'm not sure how to apply in this instance.

For example, does anyone here disagree with my earlier characterisation of Leave vs Remain as two neoliberalisms, one with a harsher approach to migration than the other (which has a harsh approach to migration already)?

If so, then how else could it be characterised? (I'm obviously discounting 'Lexit' as an absolute fucking joke tbh so aiming it more at ultra-left types).

If not, what would 'avoiding cross-class alliances' look like in this instance as an actually workable alternative to that cross-class alliance, given the current balance of class forces? Sure, there is lots of excellent organising around anti-raids, migration, etc going on, but we're talking about activist groups in the dozens/low-to-mid hundreds. Perhaps Brexit would shock a movement into being, but it seems a lot to stake the ability of hundreds of thousands/millions of people to remain in the country on. All this is made more complicated by the context of a rising global far-right who, ultimately, are the best positioned to benefit from Brexit (not just in Britain but internationally, imo).

I suppose another way of characterising it is that Spikeymike is essentially right in the question he's asking of 'ultra-left Remoaners' like me; however, my issue is that I think cross-class alliances come about when a class movement is not strong enough to resist them and, at the moment, I see no class movement in Britain able to offer a solution to the 100,000s/millions whose residence in this country is potentially at risk. Maybe I'm wrong; but what solution is there, then, for all those people, which doesn't involve a cross-class alliance?

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Jan 28 2019 12:56

I'm involved in different groups which do migrant solidarity work from different angles (housing groups, workplace groups) and none of them are cross-class imo, also all of them involve both EU citizens and non EU citizens, none of them are EU exclusive and I don't think I'd want to organise on that basis. As Ed says all these groups are in the dozens/low hundreds and they are very overstretched. If Brexit imposes worse conditions on many of the members this will mean more work and more stress and make it harder for the groups to function, and make it harder for example for cleaners unions to organise and win victories.

Quote from Ed which sums up my position pretty well too.

For example, does anyone here disagree with my earlier characterisation of Leave vs Remain as two neoliberalisms, one with a harsher approach to migration than the other (which has a harsh approach to migration already)?

So we have this organising going on, which is good and effective but very stretched and very small, and then these legal changes may well come in and make everything much worse and make it much more difficult to organise, and my comrades response is what? Genuinely I don't really understand it.

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Jan 28 2019 13:22
Spikymike wrote:
Anarchists publicly arguing either for or against in the Referendum last time or in any new one were/are effectively joining one or other of the cross class campaigns...

This is a spurious argument I think. Voicing an opinion in a referendum debate is not the same as 'joining a cross class campaign'. Or even if it is, what about people who put forward arguments in the recent abortion referendum in NI. Do you think people voicing an opinion here were joining a "cross class campaign"?

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Jan 28 2019 13:03

Hey I campaigned against Job Seekers Allowance when it came in and now Universal Credit is replacing it and that's even worse, if I campaign against Universal Credit am I now some kind of 'pro JSA campaigner'?

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Jan 28 2019 13:36
Ed wrote:
If not, what would 'avoiding cross-class alliances' look like in this instance as an actually workable alternative to that cross-class alliance, given the current balance of class forces? Sure, there is lots of excellent organising around anti-raids, migration, etc going on, but we're talking about activist groups in the dozens/low-to-mid hundreds. Perhaps Brexit would shock a movement into being, but it seems a lot to stake the ability of hundreds of thousands/millions of people to remain in the country on. All this is made more complicated by the context of a rising global far-right who, ultimately, are the best positioned to benefit from Brexit (not just in Britain but internationally, imo).

I suppose another way of characterising it is that Spikeymike is essentially right in the question he's asking of 'ultra-left Remoaners' like me; however, my issue is that I think cross-class alliances come about when a class movement is not strong enough to resist them and, at the moment, I see no class movement in Britain able to offer a solution to the 100,000s/millions whose residence in this country is potentially at risk. Maybe I'm wrong; but what solution is there, then, for all those people, which doesn't involve a cross-class alliance?

Lots of interesting stuff to think about on this thread and I don't think I can give an adequate response on my phone, but this gets what I think is the main question, which is what can we actually do about any of it.
I'd kind of turn it around and ask what is it that "we" can achieve by joining in a cross-class/electoral/non-class-and-direct-action based response. Cos yeah, I agree that the current state of w/c direct action responses around housing, anti-raids and so on isn't adequate to the size of the problem, but if the alternative is like... hope that a second referendum happens, hope they let EU migrants vote, hope that remain wins, or even actively campaign for it, then that all seems like radically more inadequate? So if there's no solution that doesn't involve a cross-class alliance, I'm also not really clear what a solution that does involve one would be, and even less how we could actually contribute to it.

Trying to think of more positive solutions to put forward: I swear I can remember something about the Home Office suspending immigration enforcement in Glasgow at some point, but I totally can't find anything about it now. Does anyone else remember anything about that?

Spikymike
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Jan 28 2019 13:36

darren p, Could have been better worded. I'm meaning anarchists involved in organised collective public activity with a view to influencing others to act in a particular way. Not referring to off-hand comments by individuals in a pub argument. Organised political activity needs to be consistent and individuals need to standby their collective decisions., but then some of the contributions to this, as in earlier discussions, are just individual self-justifications not intended to be acted upon by anyone else. Ed and Joseph previously were upfront about their own pro-EU voting intentions as I was about my 'spoilt ballot' approach but there seemed to be a lot more unsaid pro-EU views underlying some of the other contributions.

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Jan 28 2019 13:59

I don't know everyone irl who is posting on here but to my knowledge none of the 'pro-Remain' people did anything like campaign in the referendum, some of us voted in it, including me, my personal position was that I didn't tell anyone what to do and I said I would be voting remain if anyone asked me and that was it, and on that basis I got a whole load of shit off people when I was very upset and worried about my friends, that's how I remember that discussion going.

I'm not campaigning for a second referendum or anything like that, I'm not involved 'politically' in the Brexit situation, what I'm doing is things like helping people with info about how to get their status sorted out. Apart from that I'm doing the aforementioned solidarity work around housing and stuff.

Do you think I'm telling the truth about the domestic violence stuff? If you do what do you think about it?

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Jan 28 2019 14:39
Spikymike wrote:
I'm meaning anarchists involved in organised collective public activity with a view to influencing others to act in a particular way. Not referring to off-hand comments by individuals in a pub argument. Organised political activity needs to be consistent and individuals need to standby their collective decisions.,

OK, yes I agree there is a difference between the two here.

Spikymike wrote:
Ed and Joseph previously were upfront about their own pro-EU voting intentions as I was about my 'spoilt ballot' approach but there seemed to be a lot more unsaid pro-EU views underlying some of the other contributions.

I think there's a difference between being "pro-EU" and anti-Brexit though. Agree?

Mike Harman
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Jan 28 2019 16:23
Spikymike wrote:
Ed and Joseph previously were upfront about their own pro-EU voting intentions as I was about my 'spoilt ballot' approach but there seemed to be a lot more unsaid pro-EU views underlying some of the other contributions.

This is a problem of framing though. The vote wasn't on whether or not to dissolve the EU, but whether the UK should leave the EU. After the UK leaves the EU it will still be funding Fortress Europe, collaborating on defence, have some kind of official economic relationship with the EU (whatever that is, unless there's no-deal WTO terms brexit), looks likely to be paying in billions of pounds as an exit fee, might continue to make regular payments as part of customs union or EEA membership etc.

A large number of people who voted leave are anti-EU, and a large number of people who voted Remain are pro-EU, and the leave/remain campaigns were in large part around this, but not only. To actually put forward a class perspective on this also needs to recognise what the impacts of a changed economic and political framework might be (and this would also need to include what the 'remain and reform' people are likely to do to attack migrants too).

I disagree with Ed that lexit is just a joke. While it's obviously a complete fucking fantasy, it's a fantasy that has quite a bit of institutional support from Novara to the New Statesman, to the RMT and FBU. This has led to people arguing for everything from support for more migration controls, to the EU being a barrier to renationalisation the railways or whatever else.

The New Statesman has just employed Grace Blakeley (also a Novara contributor) who's still a lexiter, and has a book coming out on finance capital with Repeater books.

Eddie Dempsey, a senior figure in the RMT is, calling for a no deal brexit. Of there's of course Angela Nagle's article against 'open borders', Angela Nagle can count among her defenders articles in the the Paul Mattick jr. edited Brooklyn Rail.

Bastani before he did an about face a couple of weeks before the vote was on a lexit promotional video alongside people like Galloway and Kate Hoey.

Here's David Broder doing an interview with Yanis Varoufakis:
https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2018/11/03/diem25s-radical-europeanist-po...

And David Broder praising Melenchon: https://jacobinmag.com/2018/09/france-insoumise-melenchon-sixth-republic...

Broder is not explicitly a lexiter that I can find, but Melenchon is pretty pro-frexit.

David Broder in case people don't remember: a few years ago writing for the commune after its split with the AF

Spikymike
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Jan 28 2019 16:58

darren, You can argue that being anti-Brexit doesn't mean you are automatically pro-EU in terms of what's going on in your head, but not so obviously in term of the voting practice and the arguments put forward to support that voting practice in the current situation. For us in the UK opposition to British, English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalism have always been high on our agenda as anarchist and communist internationalists but that should not create any bias towards alternative cross-national but capitalist institutions. We are not here to sort out the capitalist's state and administrative problems. Leave that to the politicians of the Left and Right.

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Jan 28 2019 17:42
Spikymike wrote:
darren, You can argue that being anti-Brexit doesn't mean you are automatically pro-EU in terms of what's going on in your head, but not so obviously in term of the voting practice and the arguments put forward to support that voting practice in the current situation.

Surely that depends which arguments are being put forward, no?

Spikymike wrote:
For us in the UK opposition to British, English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalism have always been high on our agenda as anarchist and communist internationalists but that should not create any bias towards alternative cross-national but capitalist institutions. We are not here to sort out the capitalist's state and administrative problems. Leave that to the politicians of the Left and Right.

But who are you including in this "us" and "we"? Almost everything I've read from various "revolutionary" groups (The Aufheben article is the only one I can remember offhand that took a different outlook) on this issue seems to be written solely from the perspective of UK citizens living in the UK. They completely ignore the potentially far-reaching and negative life-changing effects this could have on EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, and their friends and families. It isn't just a matter of trade agreements....

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Jan 28 2019 18:43
Mike Harman wrote:

David Broder in case people don't remember: a few years ago writing for the commune after its split with the AF: https://libcom.org/library/earth-not-flat-review-against-nationalism.

The Communue didn't split with the AF. Maybe you mean something else?

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Jan 28 2019 19:46
fingers malone wrote:
I don't know everyone irl who is posting on here but to my knowledge none of the 'pro-Remain' people did anything like campaign in the referendum, some of us voted in it, including me, my personal position was that I didn't tell anyone what to do and I said I would be voting remain if anyone asked me and that was it, and on that basis I got a whole load of shit off people when I was very upset and worried about my friends, that's how I remember that discussion going.

I'm not campaigning for a second referendum or anything like that, I'm not involved 'politically' in the Brexit situation, what I'm doing is things like helping people with info about how to get their status sorted out. Apart from that I'm doing the aforementioned solidarity work around housing and stuff.

OK, I think we might be talking past each other a bit here - if you're not doing anything of the things that I'm saying would be a bad idea, then I don't think we disagree with each other.

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Do you think I'm telling the truth about the domestic violence stuff? If you do what do you think about it?

I'm honestly not trying to be flippant or dismissive, so please don't take this the wrong way. My vague, inadequate starting point would be that harmful legal changes should be resisted and disrupted at the point of implementation as far as possible, and so hopefully make life a bit better at the local level with the aim of making the policy unworkable at the national level, but like I say, that's obviously not really an answer in itself - I have vague suggestions to make, but I don't have "the answer" to how Brexit will affect migrants any more than I have "the answer" to Universal Credit or legal aid cuts or housing benefit being a mess. Like, I think what Ed said about our current weakness is true, and given that's our starting point, it's really hard to offer constructive solutions that aren't just fantasy stuff like "first, take the militant mass movement that you prepared earlier..."
Trying to offer vaguely plausible solutions, I heard someone mention in an interview that the LA teachers' strike had included schools not co-operating with immigration enforcement as part of their demands - I can't find much about it online, but this mentions them including anti-deportation stuff as part of a previous round of bargaining, and there's a Jacobin piece about them here if you don't mind Jacobin stuff too much. I think it'd be good if we had more stuff like that here, but then that might just be me saying "I'd like it if we had a different and better union movement".

Also, on the question of whether there's more lexit-y or left-remain-y stuff around, I guess it's inevitable that people on here are arguing in response to stuff that's been said elsewhere to an extent. My guess would be that there's more lexit stuff in the Formal Political Left, but you're way more likely to find dodgy pro-EU stuff verging on open bigotry in general social circles of broadly left-leaning people, although obviously that massively depends on what your social circles are.

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Jan 28 2019 20:40

Thanks for replying, sorry I get upset.

Some examples of what you're talking about, Against Borders for Children did a lot of work around the govt collecting data from children at schools including their place of birth, that could be used for immigration enforcement, and they got the survey scrapped.
There's been various attempts in workplaces to resist immigration enforcement, there is currently a campaign around NHS charges for migrants. Problems are i) workers are not doing loads of collective action generally, so this impacts on people taking collective action against immigration controls. ii) the govt tries to build in technical strategies that make it difficult for people to resist immigration controls iii) lots of people are not sympathetic to migrants or 'people who don't follow the rules'.

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Jan 28 2019 20:42
R Totale wrote:
Like, I think what Ed said about our current weakness is true, and given that's our starting point, it's really hard to offer constructive solutions that aren't just fantasy stuff like "first, take the militant mass movement that you prepared earlier..."

Yeah this is fair enough

Mike Harman
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Jan 28 2019 22:04
rat wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:

David Broder in case people don't remember: a few years ago writing for the commune after its split with the AF: https://libcom.org/library/earth-not-flat-review-against-nationalism.

The Communue didn't split with the AF. Maybe you mean something else?

I think I got mixed up with the platformist split around the same time (which I can't remember the name of but contained someone with a particularly bad trajectory since). Will edit that out.

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Jan 28 2019 22:27

(Getting off topic, but I think maybe you meant Liberty & Solidarity?)

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Jan 28 2019 22:59
Maclane Horton wrote:
jef costello wrote that people had two reasons for voting leave – racism and a belief in some mythical Great Britain. Surely for some people (including this writer) there was a third reason. As the Anarchist Manifesto Ireland says:

"* The EU is the multi-nationals’ ideal world. Constantly manipulated by them to their self interest; constantly smoothing the way for them and channeling through their profits.
* Fortunately there is an anti EU bandwagon is on the roll. A strange lot of bedfellows admittedly, a mixture of the right and left, some of them indeed rather dangerous. Interesting times – ride the tiger."

Whoever wrote that last part sounds like they have little at stake. It's not a fun jaunt, it's real life. I am currently trying to sort my immigration status, I probably won't be deported and I will probably keep my job, but it is a tough time and I have it relatively easy.

Quote:
Despite its having survived some three centuries and currently being on a roll, I still think a political system rewarding just 1% of the people (with another 5% of well-bribed collaborators) is a precarious system.

And how do you think Brexit is going to damage the system? Once we have a fisheries department freed from the yoke of Brussels do you think workers will automatically throw off their chains?

Quote:
So the racists and the romantics want to help us to weaken the multi-nationals. Well the more people pushing the better. We need all the help we can get to topple the system. No problem with the romantics. The racism is worrying though. But in this case I don’t think it’s dangerous.

Wanting Brexit and wanting to weaken multinationals are far from being the same thing, this is why we don't use this "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic (if you want further illustration just look at US foreign policy for the last 60 years to get you started.)

Romantics? You mean people who haven't thought things through and are not realistic? I think you'll find that is the Brexit lobby, although to be fair they are mostly outright liars.

And I can't stress enough how much time and money this will cost normal people, as well as the sheer stress and worry.

fingers malone wrote:
Hey I campaigned against Job Seekers Allowance when it came in and now Universal Credit is replacing it and that's even worse, if I campaign against Universal Credit am I now some kind of 'pro JSA campaigner'?

So much this! We resist bad changes, regardless of whether we like the current system. We defend our living and working conditions which means something that will makes milliions of lives harder is not to be supported. I didn't vote and honestly now wonder if I should have.

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Jan 29 2019 12:51
Ed wrote:
If not, what would 'avoiding cross-class alliances' look like in this instance as an actually workable alternative to that cross-class alliance, given the current balance of class forces? Sure, there is lots of excellent organising around anti-raids, migration, etc going on, but we're talking about activist groups in the dozens/low-to-mid hundreds. Perhaps Brexit would shock a movement into being, but it seems a lot to stake the ability of hundreds of thousands/millions of people to remain in the country on. All this is made more complicated by the context of a rising global far-right who, ultimately, are the best positioned to benefit from Brexit (not just in Britain but internationally, imo).

If all this is true about the tiny influence of the tiny social group of radicals being discussed, I’m wondering what people are really arguing about here? If every one of these politicos was to join one or other side it would make little, if any, difference to the larger outcome. (As others have said, personal choice and public campaign are distinct; Novara, Broder and similar are a different case and whether someone voted or not won’t determine whether or not they follow their shameless path into the political slimelight.) So is it anything more than an argument about morality, principled consistent positions, not polluting the purity of particular political traditions etc? I’m not saying those things have no validity but it’s not like we’re arguing about a life & death struggle for the soul of a mass revolutionary working class organisation or movement (unless you ludicrously believe Corbyn’s Labour is that). There is no wieldable mass constituency that has to make a significant choice to put its considerable weight behind one side or the other. And if there was then the question would be able to be posed very differently, with far more options for such collective power than supporting one side or the other.

The consequences for migrants are very real, and whatever the outcome of the final deal for migrants Brexit has already poisoned the atmosphere for many migrants who feel less welcome and less secure. It has also revealed rising levels of racism, including among the working class, and made political debate more toxic & aggressive at every level of society, from the pub to parliament. It seems to have ‘politicised’ people more than any other issue – but in the worst, most nationalistic, way. But the ability of the tiny ‘pro-rev/radical’ constituency to influence things directly via brexit is minimal to non-existent – unless they were to accommodate themselves to active alliances with political parties/campaigns with worse immigration policies than those the radicals are trying to promote/defend. Positions of principle are fine and necessary, but one has to recognise when there is no material basis to be able to practice them. That shouldn’t lead to unprincipled acts but it does reduce real principles to a level of frustrating abstraction.

Mike Harman
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Jan 29 2019 14:04
rat wrote:
(Getting off topic, but I think maybe you meant Liberty & Solidarity?)

Yes I did. That one slid into Jacobin left nationalism and the other into Red London left nationalism tripped me up.

Mike Harman
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Jan 29 2019 14:49

Lots of Labour supporters are very angry (and some either surprised or feigning it) that Labour first was going to official abstain on, then very late yesterday imposed a one line whip against the 2nd reading of the Immigration Bill. It gives the government sweeping powers to change immigration rules post-Brexit (and affects non-EU migrants too).

Result was that the 2nd reading passed, by less votes than Labour no-shows. The no shows included 'luxury communist'/labour left favourites such as Emma Dent Coad, Clive Lewis, Keir Starmer, Naz Shah as well as most of the Blairite remainers like Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

I keep thinking about that bit in 'Left Wing Communism an Infantile Disorder' where Lenin tells Sylvia Pankhurst she should support Labour once electorally so that the working class can watch them betray everyone and go on to revolution. And how that's been used by generations of Leninists to support labour, get 'betrayed', support it again, then again, then again.

bastarx
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Jan 29 2019 23:54
Mike Harman wrote:
I keep thinking about that bit in 'Left Wing Communism an Infantile Disorder' where Lenin tells Sylvia Pankhurst she should support Labour once electorally so that the working class can watch them betray everyone and go on to revolution. And how that's been used by generations of Leninists to support labour, get 'betrayed', support it again, then again, then again.

Leninists, one more Labour betrayal if you want to be revolutionaries!