Behind the Rutnam case

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 11:48

Luke Hardy

On a basic trade union level we should be against the bullying of even a very well paid civil servant like Philip Rutnam, head of the Home Office, who resigned on 29 February, complained that many of his staff had been bullied, and said he would sue the government for "constructive dismissal".

There clearly is a turf-war element here, as in the resignation of Chancellor Sajid Javid over prime minister Boris Johnson's insistence on replacing Javid's staff by staff under Johnson's control. Or the case of Javid's adviser Sonia Khan, who was marched off the job last September by armed police

What Prevent does and doesn’t “prevent”

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:53

Sacha Marten

It’s not just Islamists and the SWP who criticise the government’s Prevent programme. In some ways, the targeting of Islamism is just a welcome bonus for the Conservatives, since the core point is to increase the government’s ideological control over education and other areas where children are present.

Prevent was “revised” in 2011 along with the launch of two other projects, the promotion of “British Values” and the deputisation of teachers, social workers, healthcare workers and so on as immigration officials.

All three of these measures were part of an increasingly jingoistic tone forced

Living in an illiberal democracy

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:17

A reader reports from Hungary

One of the perks of living in Hungary is not having to ask your grandparents: “What was it like living in a one-party state?” — because you already know.

You see outrageous government propaganda everywhere. You see the posters of the crowds of refugees – excuse me: “migrants” — which would have you believe that they are out for Hungarian blood. You hear the endless droning speeches denouncing the treacherous liberals, and the sinister conspiracies trying to undermine Hungary.

You turn on the TV, switch to the right wing propaganda channel of your choice, and you

Convergence on the right

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 10:09

Cathy Nugent

″The right has changed; it has embraced the ideas of its outliers″, argues Dave Renton at the start of The New Authoritarians, Convergence on the Right. By embracing the outliers, Renton says, Trump and others have ″radicalised″ their conservative message.

At the same time Renton says, the left has failed to reassess the shape of the new right spectrum and have been weak on challenging its central ideas. The most important of these, for Renton, is its particular form of racism, how the ″right seeks to restrict welfare benefits to members of the [invented] national community, excluding migrants

Why we marched against Trump

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 12:40

On 3 and 4 June, Workers’ Liberty and Solidarity people joined thousands in London protesting against Donald Trump’s state visit. On 4 June we were part of an “against Trump, against Brexit” contingent, with Labour for a Socialist Europe and Another Europe is Possible.

Trump has stridently backed Brexit and boosted pro-Brexit right-wingers like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. Trump represents Brexit-type politics in the USA; Brexit represents Trump-type politics in Britain. It’s the same broad trend also represented (with important variations) by Modi in India, Erdoğan in Turkey, Salvini in

A new humanist politics?

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:02

Matt Kinsella

Paul Mason’s latest book, Clear Bright Future, is written as a defence of humanism and human-centred politics, against the resurgent threat of the far-right, from Trump to Bolsonaro, Le Pen to Salvini. The title is a reference to Leon Trotsky’s testament. Mason entreats us to fight “all evil, oppression, and violence”, and shares Trotsky’s optimism for the future.

Mason draws a convincing link from the financial crash in 2007-08 to Trump’s election. Mason emphasises how the monopolisation of information (think Google and Facebook) has led to systems outside our control, for example, of online

Galloway and Bannon

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 10:54

Rosalind Robson

George Galloway was recently ″papped″ by journalist Natalia Antelava, appearing to hug alt-right pundit Steve Bannon.

The photo was taken after both had spoken on a panel at the Eurasian Media Forum in Kazakhstan. Accepting Bannon′s friendly overture was just a matter of good manners, said Galloway afterwards. But in the panel debate Galloway and Bannon′s political worlds did align. Both praised a ″populist turn″ against globalisation. For Galloway it is a matter of trenchant support for a hardline or no-deal Brexit, leading him to cosy up to the likes of Nigel Farage. If you feel like

Trump, Banks, and Putin

Published on: Wed, 03/04/2019 - 11:48

Jim Denham

When the Mueller report found no evidence of “collusion” between Trump’s team and Putin, most decent people (and not just “liberals”) were disappointed, while pointing out that Trump had not been “exonerated” (as he claimed) of obstructing justice. Yet the Morning Star (in its editorial of March 26) positively crowed with delight and echoed Trump’s own propaganda:

“After a two-year inquiry, Mueller can find no evidence of collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign team and Putin’s Russia

“For many liberals, it has become an article of faith that the Kremlin and its oligarchs must have

Women and the alt-right

Published on: Mon, 25/03/2019 - 10:47

Cathy Nugent

The image (and to large extent the reality) of US alt-right/far right activist groups is that they are overwhelmingly populated by men. Indeed, these groups draw on certain themes associated with “toxic masculinity”; for example, extremely conservative views on gender and gender-defined social roles. The anti-feminist Men’s Rights Movement has been a “gateway movement” for the alt-right.

It may come as a surprise that, according to the 2016 American National Election Survey (ANES), men are not more likely to have those core social feelings that underlie the current US far right (essentially,

Trump and the McCarthyites

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 11:48

Barrie Hardy

When faced with criticism it’s common these days for right wing politicians to scream “McCarthyism”. Trump regularly does this in angry and irrational tweets to ward off criminal charges arising from the Mueller investigation. The Trump strategy is to accuse his opponents of crimes he’s culpable of himself and to establishing himself as a victim of political persecution. Such behaviour has spread across the far right like fish rotting from the head.

Bringing up the rear is the pound shop Breitbart that is, which has screamed “McCarthyism” when people have dared criticise it

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