Labour dumps Kashmir policy

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 19:33

Sacha Ismail

Labour chair Ian Lavery has written a letter to Indian-background voters in the UK saying that “Labour is opposed to external interference in the political affairs of any other country”.

Lavery does nod towards the right of the Kashmiri people “to have a say in their own future”, but insists that “Kashmir is a bilateral matter for India and Pakistan to resolve together”. “Labour will not take a pro-Indian or pro-Pakistan stance on Kashmir”.

Lavery’s statement is a mass of evasions — denouncing “external interference” in such a way as to rule out international solidarity, and dismissing the

Drain the far right swamp!

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 09:01

Luke Hardy

On 20 September, a 16 year old from Bradford was found guilty and detained for five years for seriously attempting to build a powerful bomb filled with shrapnel.

Although the eventual target is unclear, the court heard “he searched for and watched videos about the English Defence League, attacks on Muslims”. He also praised Adolf Hitler, telling friends “gas the Jews”.

This 16 year old was not just desensitised to the horrors of Nazism or far-right racism. He was ideologically convinced by them.

In Britain there is a growing threat of far right ideology. Only a tiny few will make the jump to


Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 11:01

A “Free Tommy Robinson” demo in Leeds on 7 September drew only 50 people.

Tommy Robinson’s arrest last year was outside Leeds Crown Court, and since then there have been five “free Tommy” marches in the city by various combinations of ex-EDL, “Yorkshire Patriots”, “Yellow Vests”, “For Britain”.

They are always a few far-rightists filming all our left wing or anti-Brexit demos, and for a while there was a far-right demonstration of some sort or another in the city almost every weekend.

There is a loose Labour network on WhatsApp and Facebook for anti-fascist mobilisations, usually working with

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

RMT activists oppose Lewis expulsion decision

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 07:41

Daniel Randall

The conference on 23-27 June of the rail union RMT passed, by a majority of two votes with six abstentions, a motion expelling left Labour MP Clive Lewis from the RMT’s Parliamentary Group.

The conference decided that Lewis should be expelled unless he retracts and apologises for the criticisms he made of comments by RMT member Eddie Dempsey from the platform of a “Full Brexit” rally.

RMT activists who oppose the decision are circulating a statement of protest, already signed by numerous AGM delegates as well dozens of other union activists.

Lewis criticised Dempsey’s assertion that Tommy

After Christchurch, organise against far right

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:59

Riki Lane

Friday 15 March was a day of contrast in both Australia and New Zealand – exuberance and militant action by students striking for climate action in both Australia; followed immediately by immense sadness, horror and anger at the mass murder by a fascist at a mosque in Christchurch.

The apparent attacker, an Australian, made it clear in his manifesto that the murders were inspired by white supremacist neo-Nazi ideology. He was on no police or security service list, nor known to socialist or anarchist anti-fascists who monitor the right’s social media and other publicity. Apparently he was

Far right in Leeds

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2019 - 09:15

Luke Hardy

The far right organised a “Yellow Vest” pro-Brexit demo in Leeds on 19 January.

Since it was also a RMT strike day on Northern Trains, a special effort was made by the Leeds labour movement to turn out for the city centre picket.

In Manchester recently, fascists on a “yellow vest” demo abused and threatened a picket line.

About 100 turned out to back the RMT: Labour people, various flavours of socialists, Momentum, Young Labour, and Leeds Anti Fascist Network.

A couple of fascists turned up to jeer and film, but the main yellow vest group stayed clear.

The far ­right protest was called by

Leeds socialists attacked

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:28

Luke Hardy

On Monday 7 January, a group calling itself “Justice for Women and Girls”, led by Lee Scheres (aka Lee Baylan), who runs the “Antifa Public Watch” Facebook site, invaded a Leeds Socialist Party closed meeting.

A drunken and wired Lee Scheres and his pals tried to disrupt the meeting, intimidating people, filming them, squaring up to them, seizing papers off them etc. Leeds Socialist Party report: “Bar staff assisted to escort them out of the venue. No one was hurt during the incident.

“During their interruption of our meeting they accused us of campaigning against women and child

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2019 - 10:38

Ollie Moore

Drivers in Darlington, Durham, Redcar, Stockton and Whitby working for Arriva have started a week long strike over pay.

Unite members rejected a revised pay offer just before Christmas. The drivers are some of the lowest paid across the whole of Arriva buses. Arriva claim that 25% of buses have continued to run over the first 48 hours, but there has been widespread disruption with Unite stating they are willing to re¬enter talks as soon as the company confirm that a revised pay offer would be made. After this week Unite says it will consult members again as to what follow up action will

Rail workers’ picket line attacked by far right

Published on: Sun, 06/01/2019 - 17:04

On 5 January an RMT picket line of striking Northern guards in Manchester was attacked by far-right thugs connected to the Democratic Football Lads Alliance and the rump English Defence League. It seems the attack may have been an opportunistic action by far-right activists mobilised for a demo of their own taking place in Manchester on the same day.

An Asian striker was specifically targeted, and was called a “nonce”, “child groomer”, and “paedophile”.

The attack shows that the DFLA and similar organisations are not merely groupings of working-class football fans concerned about “extremism” or the problem of child grooming, but are far-right political forces who are violently hostile to the labour movement.

Fortunately the attack was only verbal, with no physical assaults or injuries.

This event, like the attack on RMT activists after an anti-fascist demo in London in the summer, reminds us of the urgent need for the labour movement to take anti-fascist organising seriously. It’s not good enough to “outsource” anti-fascism to external campaigns, our unions need to mobilise members under their own banners to confront the far right.

We also need a political alternative to the far right: working-class socialists policies on issues such as jobs and housing, where social despair creates conditions in which the far right grows, combined with an unapologetic internationalism and defence of migrants’ rights to tackle the nationalism of the far right head on.

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