Britain

The Chilcot report into the 2003 Iraq war and how Britain was dragged into it has finally been published after a delay of seven years. It fell like a bombshell on the British political scene that was already reeling from the effects of the EU referendum.

It was like a scene from the Living Dead, with the Blairite zombies out in full force over the weekend calling on Corbyn to resign. The mummified remains of Lord Kinnock – who lost two general elections – joined up with Ed Miliband, the previous Labour leader who failed to win an election, to demand that Corbyn stand down…in order to make Labour “electable”! Of all the cheek - our greatest failures offering advice to Labour on how to win an election!

Over the past week, thousands have turned out at demonstrations and rallies in cities across the country in protest against the Blairite coup and in defence of Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party. We publish here a collection of brief reports, pictures, and videos that provide a vivid expression of the enormous rank-and-file movement behind Corbyn.

There are some very powerful reasons why the British capitalists are not keen on Britain having to leave the European Union. Some of them have been looking at ways of getting around the result of the recent referendum. The question is: can they succeed? And what would the consequences be on the political front?

As the Blairites continue to plot their coup against Corbyn, mass meetings and rallies of Corbyn supporters have begun to sprout up in city after city across the country. A rebellion of Labour members against the careerists in the Parliamentary Labour Party has begun.

Britain is in a state of turmoil. There is a political crisis, which will be followed by a constitutional crisis. Independence is again on the cards in Scotland. There is fear in European establishment that Brexit could spark a continent-wide revolt.

The Rubicon has been crossed. The die is cast. With their vote of no confidence against Jeremy Corbyn (by 172 votes to 40), the den of thieves that is the Parliamentary Labour Party have declared all-out war against the democratically elected leader and the vast majority of grassroots members. Tensions have reached breaking point. As the Financial Times, the reliable mouthpiece of the ruling class, correctly asserts, “having unsheathed the dagger, Labour MPs cannot now draw back.”

The fat is on the fire. A right-wing coup is under way to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. This shabby coup, instigated by Labour's Tory Tendency, has been prepared a long time ago by those who never accepted his democratic election by an overwhelming majority. They are the Blairites: right-wing Tories who infiltrated the Labour Party to further their careers. They are indistinguishable from the Tories in their dress, manners, outlook and ideas.

Yesterday, 23rd of June 2016, the people of Britain made a momentous decision. After 40 years as part of the European Union they voted to turn their backs on it. This decision has immense consequences for the future of Britain, Europe and the world.

After the Brexit result, right-wing Labour MPs have mobilised once again to try to remove Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. They have called a vote of no confidence to be taken early next week. They are using the Brexit vote, to which Labour was officially opposed, as a stick with which to beat Corbyn, saying that it was his fault the Remain campaign was not successful. 

Britain goes to the polls today to decide on whether to Leave the European Union or Remain. The closing speeches in last night’s BBC “Great Debate” by Boris Johnson, the Conservative former London Mayor, and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Tories, summed up what this referendum has been from the outset: a fight between two wings of the Tory Party; a fight in which neither side has anything positive to offer workers and youth.

As the hour of judgement draws nearer, the campaigns on both sides of the EU referendum have become increasingly dominated by one issue: immigration. On the Leave side, the months leading up to this referendum have seen a ratcheting up of xenophobic and racist rhetoric, with the sole aim of scapegoating migrants and the EU’s free movement of labour for all the ills in society.

At lunchtime yesterday Jo Cox, a young Labour MP, was standing outside a local library, as she did every week, meeting residents in her constituency. It was just an ordinary day in the small town of Birstall near Leeds in Yorkshire. There was nothing to indicate the horrific events that were about to happen.

With a week to go before the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, Leave has leapt to a 7-point lead in a poll published by The Times on Monday. The sudden swing of support away from Remain, which held a slender 1-point lead last week, has caused outright panic in Westminster and stock markets around the world.

Two sides of the same capitalist coin. That is the choice on offer to workers and youth in this Tory farce of a referendum. On the one side is David Cameron and George Osborne, backed up by the majority of the Establishment, big business, and the bankers. Their vision for Europe is the complete antithesis of that advocated by the leaders of the labour movement who find themselves in the same camp as Cameron, campaigning to Remain.

Despite facing a barrage of attacks since his election as Labour leader last September, Jeremy Corbyn’s support amongst Labour members has not been dented. Indeed, according to the latest figures from YouGov opinion polls, Corbyn is even more popular with the rank-and-file of the Labour Party now than at the time of his election.

Anyone who in general believed the news before the recent elections would have been in for a shock on the 6th May. Rather than the catastrophic defeat predicted for Labour, the reality was that the Labour Party received by far the most votes cast (38.5%), as against 27.1% for the Tories.

Beginning at one minute to midnight on the 3rd May, the 1926 General Strike shook the ruling class of Britain to its foundations. Lasting for nine days, the strike showed the enormous power and solidarity of the working class. 4 million trade unionists - out of a total of 5.5 million - responded to the TUC’s call to halt work. Despite no real preparation by the TUC leadership, workers organised - through their own initiative - strike committees up and down the country. Nothing moved without the workers’ permission.

Just a few days before the May elections, the Blairites in the Labour Party have stepped up their war against Jeremy Corbyn, using the slur of “anti-Semitism” to further their aims. By doing so, they are hell-bent on creating a “crisis” within the Party.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, junior doctors in England came out on strike once again in defence of their terms and conditions, and in a struggle to save the wider NHS from Tory cuts, attacks, and threats of privatisation.

Amidst a chorus of frenzied calls to “get off the fence on Europe”, and under immense pressure from the Labour right-wing to make a positive case for the EU, Jeremy Corbyn made a highly publicised speech on Thursday 15th April in which he set out his case for remaining.

The past couple of weeks have seen an intensification of the civil war inside the Tory Party, as rabid reactionary Eurosceptic MPs savage their pro-EU colleagues. Daniel Morley looks at the nationalist delusions of the Brexit camp in the Tories and UKIP, and highlights the limitations of the arguments of left-wing Leave campaigners.

The European Union referendum has generated much debate among the British left. Over the decades of evolution of the EU institutions, the majority opinion among left-wingers has shifted from opposition to support. We must clarify our understanding of the EU and the related issues ahead of this referendum to provide a clear perspective.

After a period of months following its initial formation, Momentum - the pro-Corbyn movement inside and around the Labour Party - has taken the significant step of becoming a membership based organisation. By taking steps to tighten up the organisation of Momentum, the position of the Left within the Labour Party will be strengthened. This, in turn, will serve to solidify Corbyn’s position against the right wing of the Labour Party who are set on removing him.

Following the Panama Papers leak, David Cameron has faced relentless scrutiny over his tax affairs. On top of the £30,000 worth of shares in his father’s offshore company, Cameron has also been forced to admit that he was given £200,000 by his mother as a ‘gift’ in order to avoid paying inheritance tax on the money. He has described this as “completely standard, normal behaviour”; it seems likely, however, that a worker in Britain earning an average salary of around £26,500, on which around £5,000 tax would be due, would beg to differ.

Workers in Port Talbot have been shocked by the decision of Tata management to sell off its steel plant. Workers in other areas have also been affected. Despite all the sacrifice and hard work put in by the workers, they have been once again rewarded with a kick in the teeth. The pain in the community cannot be overstressed, with the century-old industry on its last legs.

The resignation of Ian Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions secretary represents the clearest example yet of the growing divisions emerging inside the Tory party. Duncan Smith, or IDS as he likes to be known as, was no disgruntled minor minister but a senior member of the Tory government cabinet and a former leader of the party.

We publish here a document written by the British Marxists of Socialist Appeal. The document analyses the explosive economic and political situation developing in Britain. In this first part, we look at the decline of British capitalism and the radicalisation taking place in society due to years of austerity.

As the crisis of capitalism deepens, all that was once solid is melting to air. The European Union, designed to strengthen European capitalism against the crushing dominance of the world market, is now unravelling at the seams.

As in Britain, millions of Americans have been battered by the economic crisis, suffering from low-paid jobs and falling living standards. As in Britain, despite the crisis, there are grotesque and rising levels of wealth and income concentrated just in the hands of America’s billionaire elite.

With the endless coverage of Labour in-fighting in the media one could be forgiven for assuming that the rest of British politics was a sea of tranquillity. But over the last few months the burgeoning split in the Tory Party over the question of the EU has burst to the surface.

Over 100 young revolutionaries gathered at SOAS in London on 13th February for the largest ever national conference of the Marxist Student Federation. Among them were delegates from all over the country, from Durham to Brighton and from Swansea to Southend, as well as a representative from the Pittsburgh Marxist Student Association in the USA.

The 2016 national conference of the Marxist Student Federation will take place on Saturday 13th February in SOAS university, London. We encourage everyone who is interested in the ideas of Marxism and who would like to meet Marxist student activists from all over Britain to attend and participate in the debates and discussions.

The Corbyn movement that began last summer represented the beginning of a political revolution inside the Labour Party. But this transformation is not yet complete. On the one hand, thanks to his enormous grassroots support, Corbyn has weathered the storm of hysteria and attacks from the Tory press and the Blairites, emerging stronger in his position as leader. On the other hand, however, the right wing of the Labour Party, residing primarily in Westminster, has not been completely routed and continues to skirmish with Corbyn in an attempt to destabilise and discredit him as leader. Corbyn has won many battles thus far; but Labour’s civil war is far from over.

George Osborne, the Tory chancellor, who only six weeks ago was boasting about the strength of the British economy, has now had to issue a bleak warning for the coming year. 2016 could mark “the beginning of the decline” for Britain unless the country swallows a large dose of austerity medicine. A culmination of weakening world growth, plummeting oil prices, and a sharp slowdown in China, amongst other things, has blown Osborne’s economic predictions out of the water. His latest talk is of “a dangerous cocktail of new threats”, which have suddenly emerged.

In the end it was by no means the “night of the long knives” that the national press were predicting. However, the reshuffle of Labour’s shadow cabinet in Westminster was critical enough to enrage the Blairites who infest the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

2015 was a turbulent year in British politics, with the general election, mass demonstrations, and the rise of the Corbyn movement. Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, looks ahead to what 2016 has in store, as the Tories ramp up their austerity and the Blairites sharpen their knifes in preparation to stab Corbyn in the back.

Junior doctors in Britain are preparing to strike next week for the first time in their history. We publish today a statement by Dr. Yannis Gourtsoyannis, a member of the BMA (British Medical Association) national executive junior doctors committee, calling for united working class action to defend the junior doctors and fight austerity.

Everyone was on the edge of their seats, braced for terrible news. The grim realities of life ‘up North’ were about to come crashing down onto Corbyn’s hippy head, sending his naive dreams scattering into a puddle along with his crown of flowers.

Following nearly eleven hours of heated parliamentary debate, Cameron secured a big parliamentary majority for the bombing of Syria. All kinds of arguments were dug up and used to justify this action. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury declared his support for this “just war”, as the Church had done on all previous occasions.

Members of Parliament, tomorrow, will once again be voting on whether to take the country to war in the Middle East. Cameron is leading the charge; but after a retreat by Corbyn, right-wing Labour MPs will now have a free hand to support the Tory leader. The question of Syria has brought all the contradictions in the Labour Party to the surface. The Blairites’ enthusiasm for yet another imperialist adventure, however, may well be their demise.

David Cameron is once again banging the war drum for intervention in Syria. Having been defeated on the issue in 2013, Cameron is now cynically using the horrific attacks in Paris to attempt to whip up support for military action, attempting to capitalise on the understandable outrage of millions against the barbaric ISIS.

As Osborne takes his axe to welfare spending, hacking away at the livelihoods of the most vulnerable layers of society, millions will be facing a very bleak Christmas indeed. The Tories will see to it that for many it will not be a season of joy and goodwill.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn provided the one thing that was lacking in Britain: a point of reference for the accumulated discontent and frustration of the masses. It is beginning to regenerate the Labour Party and push it to the left. That represents a mortal danger to the ruling class and they will stop at nothing to destroy it.

For a very long time British politics has resembled a stagnant pond.  With the election of Jeremy Corbyn in a landslide victory it felt as if a huge stone had been thrown into it, making gigantic waves that have transformed the entire political landscape. But not everyone is pleased.

On Friday 6th November, Andrew Fisher – a longstanding Labour left-winger, recently appointed as a political advisor to Jeremy Corbyn – was suspended from the Labour Party. His crime? A single tweet, sent in August 2014, in which he satirically called upon those in Croydon South constituency to vote for the candidate from Class War, an anarchist organisation, instead of the Blairite Labour candidate, Emily Benn.