Britain

El martes pasado, una fuente anónima filtró el borrador del manifiesto del Partido Laborista para las próximas elecciones generales del 8 de junio, sin duda el manifiesto más valiente y a la izquierda que el Partido Laborista haya defendido en décadas. Las promesas abarcan desde la renacionalización del Royal Mail (la antigua empresa estatal de correos) hasta la restauración de los derechos sindicales y la construcción de 100.000 viviendas municipales al año.

On Tuesday, an anonymous source leaked the Labour Party’s draft manifesto for the upcoming general election - without doubt the boldest and most left-wing manifesto that Labour has stood on in decades. Pledges cover everything from the renationalisation of Royal Mail, to restoring trade union rights and building 100,000 council houses a year.

“Marx is back in fashion.” So says the London Evening Standard (editor: George Osborne!) as the “sexy socialists” push Karl Marx and Das Kapital back into the limelight.

The annual analysis of the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain by the Sunday Times has been completed once again. The results are shocking, but unsurprising.

Their combined wealth has now reached £658 billion (a rise of 14% since the review last year), which makes it greater than the combined wealth of the poorest 40% of Britons.

In a confident anti-establishment speech in Whitechapel on April 29, Corbyn launched the Labour Party’s slogan for the upcoming general election. In spite of (or perhaps because of) another week of more-or-less open sabotage by current and former Labour Party grandees, the Labour Party election campaign has generated a lot of enthusiasm. An estimated 200,000 activists participated in some form or another in the Labour Party campaign this last weekend.

With the triggering of Article 50 and an upcoming general election to be fought primarily over the issue of Brexit, there has been much debate about Labour’s position on this key question and how it and the wider labour movement should respond to the Tories’ Brexit plan.

“En este momento de enorme importancia nacional debería haber unidad en Westminster, pero en cambio hay división. El país se está uniendo, pero Westminster no”. Con estas palabras, la primera ministra Tory, Theresa May, anunció elecciones generales anticipadas para el 8 de junio y pidió unidad política para afrontar el “divorcio” del Reino Unido con la UE.

Although initially written in December last year (and therefore already overtaken in places by new events and developments, most notably the announcement of the general election), this document written by Socialist Appeal provides an analysis of the main processes affecting British politics and society, as well as outlining the fundamental contradictions facing the ruling class and leaders of the labour movement. It is clear that the current political period in Britain is incredibly intense, and that a radical analysis and perspective is needed more than ever before.

“In questo momento di enorme importanza nazionale ci dovrebbe essere una spinta all’unità qui a Westminster, ma invece c’è divisione. Il paese sta serrando le fila, Westminster no.” Con queste parole il primo ministro Tory, Theresa May, ha annunciato elezioni politiche anticipate per l’8 giugno prossimo e ha chiesto un mandato diretto per traghettare il Regno Unito verso la Brexit, il divorzio con l’UE.

With Article 50 triggered and Britain now formally starting the process of leaving the EU, the gloves have come off. According to Theresa May, this is “the moment for the country to come together”. But the country has never been so divided.

Ken Livingstone’s suspension from standing for office or representing the Labour Party for a further year for “bringing the party into disrepute” has provoked a cacophony of protests from the party’s right wing, all demanding his immediate expulsion.

It is deeply ironic that those who have spent years ignoring the working class and trying to break the link between the trade unions and the Labour Party should now be taking such an intense interest in the future of Britain’s biggest union, Unite. And yet this is precisely what is happening at present, with the Blairite wing of the Labour Party going into overdrive in their attempts to kick out the incumbent, Len McCluskey, as ballots for the Unite leadership election arrive through the letterboxes of the union’s 1.4 million members.

The die is cast. In her letter, hand-delivered this afternoon to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Theresa May has announced the beginning of Brexit negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, marking a point of no return for both British and European capitalism.

Four people have been killed and at least 20 injured in what the police are describing as a “terrorist incident” this afternoon in central London. Shortly after 2pm, a man drove a vehicle into pedestrians at Westminster Bridge before crashing it against the fences of Parliament and then entering the complex wielding a knife. He stabbed a police officer before being shot by other officers. Those killed are the attacker, one police officer and two pedestrians. The House of Commons was put on lockdown.

Last weekend, 17-19th March, saw the Marxists in Britain take a momentous step forward at the national conference of Socialist Appeal activists and supporters in London.

Nicola Sturgeon this week finally delivered the speech that had seemed almost inevitable ever since the Brexit vote in June last year. By announcing her intention to seek a second independence referendum, Sturgeon has started a political storm that will likely rage on - at the very least - until any referendum takes place.

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor and veteran of the Labour Left, has warned of a "soft coup" being orchestrated to undermine Corbyn's Labour leadership. Owen Jones, meanwhile, has called on Corbyn to stand down and "do a deal" with the Blairites in order to pass on the baton to a left successor. The only way forward for the Left, however, is to boldly go on the offensive.

Britain - Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring Budget was presented by the media as something of a non-event – unless you happened to be poor, reliant on public services, or self-employed on a zero-hours contract that is.

Under the former coalition government and now the Tories, a swathe of brutal cuts and closures has been sweeping the country. And this blight is set to continue. “To eliminate the deficit”, states the Financial Times, the mouthpiece of big business, “Mr Hammond [the Tory Chancellor] will need to extend austerity well into the next decade.” (FT, 20/2/17)

Britain - The script was clearly written in advance by Jeremy Corbyn’s critics. After, Labour’s “humiliating” defeat in the Copeland by-election, surely Corbyn would “do the right thing” and step aside? Indeed, leading figures from the Blairite camp are likely feeling aggrieved that Labour actually won in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election – a victory that slightly ruins and contradicts their narrative about the “unelectable” Corbyn.

The resignation of Clive Lewis from the Labour front bench has dealt yet another blow to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, as Brexit continues to torment the Labour Party. But while last summer’s “Chicken Coup” may have seen a greater number of resignations, the public resignation of one of Corbyn’s most well known supporters in order to vote against the whip may prove even more damaging.

“Vote Leave - Take Control” was always a deeply cynical slogan, designed to exploit the alienation and powerlessness of the working class in the EU referendum. It is only now, however, as the brave new world of Brexit starts its lengthy unfolding, that its irony is being exposed.

On 9th January, Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of the Stormont Assembly in Belfast, resigned in protest against the ongoing Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal. As the Assembly was unable to elect a new Deputy, new elections have been triggered, as required under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which are now scheduled for 2nd March.

Sam Ashton takes a look at the history of housing in Britain and the mass struggles that have risen up time and time again in the fight for the basic right to a decent, affordable home. Today, the question of housing is a key issue, with the glaring contradiction of homelessness alongside empty mansions plain for all to see.

After months of vexed speculation over the possible terms of Britain’s departure from the EU, Prime Minister May mounted the podium on Tuesday to announce her grand Brexit plan to the world. In a 45-minute speech, May set out her vision for a “stronger, fairer, more united and more outward looking” Britain; a “global Britain” which will “re-discover its role as a great trading nation”.

And so the Bonaparte of Momentum was born. At a stroke, Momentum’s democratic structures have been abolished; the tireless work of thousands of Corbyn supporters over the past year-and-a-half thrown out the window. Overnight, grassroots activists have been shunted to the side in what can only be described as a coup.

The focus of the class struggle in Britain is undoubtedly now centred on the battle inside the Labour Party between the Corbyn movement, on the one side, and the Blairites - backed by the entire Establishment - on the other. Any analysis regarding the tasks of the trade unions at this time must begin from this fact.

Within the next three months, the Brexit negotiations with the European Union will officially start. The plan is to leave within two years, nothing more, nothing less.“Brexit means Brexit” according to Theresa May. We are told that there will be either “soft” Brexit, where Britain has access to the Single Market or “hard” Brexit, where we don’t. However there is a more probable third option: “train-crash” Brexit, where there is a failure to reach a deal and Britain crashes out of the European Union – with chaotic and drastic consequences.

It is often said that the British Establishment, at the height of its imperial power, would plan for decades and centuries into the future, such was its confidence and control over its own destiny. In contrast, it has been noticeable in recent years how short-sighted the British ruling class has become - looking for short-term profits through financial alchemy and quick political fixes via risky referenda.

Following the resignation of Nigel Farage – and his successor, Diane James, after only 18 days – Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP and former deputy leader for the party, was yesterday announced to be the newly elected UKIP leader, winning the leadership contest with over 62% of the votes from party members. But does the future hold in store for Nuttall and this far-right, racist party?

When Boris Johnson, the pro-Leave Tory foreign secretary, recently promised to “make a titanic success” of Brexit, it is unlikely that he realised at the time just how apt his choice of words was. With the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR), as part of yesterday’s Autumn Statement, predicting slower growth and a £122bn hole in the government’s finances as a result of Britain’s forthcoming departure from the EU, it is clear that the UK economy is heading for an iceberg.

Walter Bagehot famously remarked that there is no point in a mediocre monarchy - either the monarchy is fabulously expensive, or there is no monarchy. And fabulously expensive it certainly still is.

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that the government’s agenda is “unashamedly pro-business”. Millions of Britons who are gearing up for Christmas must be in a state of shock at this earth-shattering news that a Tory government is an “unashamed” supporter of big business.

Ross Walker discusses the events of the recent SNP annual party conference, where leader Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Beneath the apparent party unity surrounding independence, however, it is clear that strong class contradictions are developing within the SNP.

On Wednesday 2nd November the last inhabitants of the so-called Calais “Jungle” were moved from the site, drawing the operation to demolish the refugee camp to a close. The camp itself has been reduced to a pile of rubble and ash. The thousands of men, women and children who had endured its unimaginable squalor in the desperate hope of a better life now face the prospect of further fear, indignity, and suffering, including deportation if their applications for asylum are unsuccessful.

The recent hardening of Tory rhetoric over Brexit and the status of migrant workers in Britain has shocked many, prompting some on the left to wonder if we too should advocate immigration controls and others, such as Owen Jones, to fall into a spirit of impotent despair. But aside from being a return to form for Britain’s traditional “Nasty Party”, May’s hard talk reflects a deepening divide within her own party and, if anything, a position of weakness rather than strength.

Having seen off the miserable challenge of Owen Smith and the Blairites, both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell gave emboldened speeches to this year’s Labour Party conference. These were the speeches that the right wing did not want. Rather than trying to imitate the Tories, as previous Labour leaders have done, both Corbyn and McDonnell set out their vision for a Britain transformed. They even dared to use the “s” word – socialism.

Labour Party conferences have become very interesting all of a sudden. For years they have been notoriously stage-managed, and the few decisions that were taken were routinely ignored by the party leadership, which was in total control. Now things look very different. Without question, the left of the party have reason to celebrate, following the resounding second victory of Corbyn. But this year’s conference has served as a stark reminder and warning that the battle is very far from over and there remains a great deal of work to be done.

The sense of shock amongst the Labour right wing was evident from the look on their faces as they streamed out of the Party Conference on Saturday. Their dreams of an Owen Smith victory, the so-called “unity” candidate, were dashed. This has created a sense of turmoil and disarray within Labour’s right wing. Although many had conceded defeat for their candidate, they still hoped they could reduce Corbyn’s margin of victory. Despite everything, they failed miserably.

Ecstatic screams and cheers broke out across the country as the news came through that Jeremy Corbyn has again won a decisive victory to become Labour leader, with an even bigger mandate than last September. 313,209 members voted for him, 61.8% of the vote, compared to 59.5% last year. His challenger Owen Smith, the “unity” candidate, got 193,229 votes, or 38.2% of the vote. The turnout was 77.6%, with 506,438 members and supporters taking part.

With Jeremy Corbyn on course to win another landslide victory in the contest for the Labour leadership, the Party Establishment are preparing the ground for a split. Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, looks back at the Labour split of 1931 to analyse the important lessons of Labour's history for today's tumultuous events.

With Jeremy Corbyn on course to win another landslide victory in the contest for the Labour leadership, the Party Establishment are preparing the ground for a split. Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, looks back at the Labour split of 1931 to analyse the important lessons of Labour's history for today's tumultuous events.

Jeremy Corbyn is on target for a landslide victory in the election for Labour leader. According to all the polls, he will defeat his right-wing supported challenger Owen Smith by a wide margin. In fact, the support for Jeremy Corbyn amongst the grassroots of the Party has increased since last year; over 84% of local Labour Party leadership nominations have been for Corbyn, compared to under 40% in last year's four-way race.

[This article was first published on socialist.net on July 22.] After a short lived leadership campaign, beset with false starts and misfortune from the beginning, Angela Eagle graciously fell on her sword in order to allow another “unity candidate”, Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership.

Events are now moving at a lightning speed. Everyday there is a new twist and turn in the situation. Britain has become the focal point of the European crisis and even the world crisis. As we have explained in previous articles, the crisis which began in 2008 represented a turning point and would have massive repercussions around the world.

Ted Grant was a well-known figure in the international Marxist movement. He had a significant impact on British politics. When he died all the most important newspapers carried extensive obituaries that recognised this fact. This is a remarkable work that comprehensively covers the development of Ted's life and ideas, starting from his early family background in Johannesburg right up to his death in London in 2006 at the age of 93.

Yesterday evening, as Theresa May prepared to move into 10 Downing Street and continue the Tories’ programme of austerity, privatisation, and attacks on workers and migrants, Jeremy Corbyn emerged from a tense meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to confirm that he would be automatically on the ballot paper in the upcoming Labour leadership contest. With hundreds of thousands of new members joining the Party over the past year because of Corbyn’s leadership, the Blairite back-stabbers are now resigned to the fact that their attempted coup has failed.

We are living in a period of sharp and sudden changes. The result of the British EU referendum was yet another such sharp and sudden changes. In a further dramatic turn of events yesterday the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party voted by a majority of 14 to 18 to allow Jeremy Corbyn to defend his position as Labour leader without having to seek nomination by Labour MPs.