Britain

Thanks to the sabotage of some 300-odd members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, ordinary Labour Party members and affiliates, who were expecting a leadership election, ended up with no election and a “one member, no vote” imposed candidate. The task now is to strengthen the left in preparation for future battles.

Throughout the history of the labour movement we have witnessed the development of sectarianism within a section of the left. It reflects the inability to understand that the mass of the working class moves through its traditional mass organisations. The sectarian ignores this and believes that all you have to do is declare the "new party" and then the masses will come flocking.

We are reproducing here a letter sent by John McDonnell to all his supporters in which he stresses the need to now build the Left of the Labour Party. The campaigning work of the recent period is not wasted. It can be the basis for strengthening the left.

The ranks of the Labour Party and trade unions have been denied the right to vote on who they think the next leader of the party should be. This has been achieved by convincing a handful of Labour MPs not to nominate John McDonnell. But this is not the end of the story. Now is the time to redouble efforts to build up the left of the Labour Party in the coming period.

While the Blairites are licking their wounds after last week's elections results, the results of the Scottish Socialist Party and Solidarity in Scotland and the Socialist Party in England should leave no doubt in anyone's mind that sectarian politics is a dead end.

Last week’s elections confirmed the damage that Blairism has done to the Labour Party. Far from being the man who “wins elections” as the Blairites boasted in the past, Blair has become a liability. After ten years he has thrown away the 1997 victory. Now is the time to draw lessons from this whole experience and fight to change the leadership of the Labour Party.

Tony Blair is now more unpopular than the much-despised Margaret Thatcher, an amazing achievement, considering how hated she was. The latest polls put Labour on 29%, the lowest support for the Labour Party for 25 years! Today we will see how close these figures are to reality once the results are out.

Support for nationalism in Scotland is an indictment of the widespread disdain towards the agenda of New Labour. And yet a recent poll revealed that while 88% of Scots want more power for the Scottish parliament, only 27% want full independence. Rather than independence, the workers of Scotland want an end to cuts, privatisation and all the other Tory policies Blair has continued to apply.

Today Scotland goes to the polls. With capitalism red in tooth and claw and public services cut to the bone, people's needs are at odds with parliamentarians' actions. What developments can we expect? A grim reminder of the ultimate failure of Blairism and the policies it represents.

Sacked Amicus Press Officer and deposed former editor of the Amicus Unity Gazette, Des Heemskerk, has won his tribunal case for unfair dismissal from his job in the union.

The UK's Finance Minister (and hopeful for the Labour leadership after Blair) Gordon Brown presented his last budget yesterday. The announced income tax cuts in reality are being taken back by increased tax rates for some of the poorest households while the richest income earners would benefit the most.

Airbus workers throughout Europe have reacted with anger to the announcement on 28 February of the axing of 10,000 jobs at its plants in Europe as part of its "Power 8" plan. Following the announcement, Airbus workers responded with walk-outs and stoppages in France and Germany.

As Blair prepares to hand over leadership of the Labour Party to Brown, opinion polls reveal how low support for Labour has fallen. We face the real prospect of a return of the Tories at the next general election. Blairism has failed abysmally and it is time to change course and adopt genuine socialist policies.

Behind the term “private equity” hides good old “asset stripping” or “corporate raiders with junk bonds”. It is not about making profits from making things and selling them. It’s about making money from money, buying up companies, stripping them and putting them back on the market with a mountain of debt. Or to use a simpler term, it’s capitalism.

The Blair government’s decision to press ahead with huge spending on updating Britain’s nuclear arsenal highlight the growing contradiction between the needs of ordinary working people and the people at the top. If ever these weapons were used it would be the end of civilisation as we know it. More reason therefore to struggle for genuine socialism.

All the figures on the British economy reveal the underlying sickness of the whole system. The indebtedness of the population has reached record levels. Now all the signs are there of a coming serious slowdown. This is what Gordon Brown will inherit as he prepares to become the next Labour Prime Minister.

The stench of sleaze emanating from Number 10 Downing Street marks the end of the Blair era. Brown is no alternative. Both men will lead the Labour Party to defeat in the future. What is needed is a genuine left alternative. That is why it is so important that John McDonnell gets the required number of nominations to be able to stand for the party leadership.

While there is growing awareness that the coalition forces have been defeated in Iraq, to withdraw now would be seen as a catastrophe for the American Administration, a humiliation with far-reaching consequences similar to their defeat in Vietnam.

Family, friends and comrades of Phil Mitchinson gathered in Cardiff on Saturday 13th January for a memorial meeting.  We came together to celebrate his life that ended so tragically.

Hayden Phillips' inquiry into political party funding which was leaked last week aims to impose a cap of £50,000 on donations to political parties. Hidden behind this proposal is an attempt to stop the trade unions funding the Labour Party in a big way and thus break the influence of the labour movement as a whole over the party.

While no money is available for spending on healthcare, education, pensions, etc., billions of dollars are spent on building up massive security systems. Each terror scare adds to the profit margins of the big security companies. It is an indication of the sickness of the society we live in.

The capitalist system that flourished in the time of Dickens is still upon us, as are all of its ills and evils. Reminiscent of the popular festive tale A Christmas Carol, in 2006, we still find that the everyday lives of working people are subject to the whims of a minority of parasitic individuals. This has found expression most recently in the Farepak fiasco.

It is 100 years since the Labour Party first emerged as a force in parliament, and 100 since the Trades Dispute Acts granted British workers some basic rights against prosecution by employers in case of strike action. Today workers have fewer rights than they did then. Since 1906 the British ruling class have attempted to break the link between Labour and the unions, but have systematically failed.

It will come as a great shock to all comrades to hear the tragic news of the premature death of comrade Phil Mitchinson, the deputy editor of the Marxist journal Socialist Appeal and leading member of the International Marxist Tendency. Regrettably Phil suffered a severe heart attack late last night, was rushed to hospital, but staff were unable to save him. He was 38 years of age.

John McDonnell, the left-wing Labour MP, has announced his intention to stand for the leadership of the Labour Party. He is Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, the Labour Representation Committee, and the 'Public Services Not Private Profit' anti-privatisation campaign. He is also the national chair of Hands Off Venezuela and has been at the forefront of the campaign to defend the Venezuelan revolution. Read the interview on the Socialist Appeal website.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, a landmark event in the history of the British working class, when workers in London’s East End dealt a severe blow to British fascism. In commemoration of this victory of the working class, we republish Ted Grant’s pamphlet The Menace of Fascism - What it is and how to fight it, which offers an analysis of fascism and a programme for how to fight it.

While workers in Britain are forced by Gordon Brown to accept miserably low wage increases, the big fat cat executives are reaping big bonuses. Darrall Cozens looks at the figures, highlighting how the same government that holds down workers’ wages facilitates the rich in every way.

From the ashes of the old SSP two formations have emerged, Solidarity and the SSP, but with exactly the same programme, including a strong element of Scottish nationalism. Nothing has been learnt from past experience. There is an urgent need to return to the genuine ideas of Marxism.

As the Blair era draws to close factional intrigue is dominating the media news about what is going on in the Labour Party. There is no fundamental difference between the Blair and the Brown cliques. Their only argument is over who is to fill the seats on offer. What is needed, as John McDonnell MP argues, is “a national campaign for a radical break with the failed policies of new Labour", adding that changing leaders would "not be enough to save Labour at the next election".

On Saturday September 9th a Memorial Meeting was held for Ted Grant in the Friends Meeting House in London. Around 200 people turned up for a lively meeting that included international guests, some video footage and contributions from the floor. Also available is an audio file of Alan Woods' speech.

This summer once again a climate of fear was invoked to introduce further attacks on our civil liberties. At the same time popularity ratings for Blair have plummeted, leading to growing pressure for him to go.

The SSP is now split after a bitter, dog-eat-dog faction fight involving the supporters of Sheridan and McCombes. There are no principled differences between these camps. This is a battle of personalities over the leadership of the party. Yet beneath these clashes the root causes of the crisis are indeed to be found in politics. They spring, above all, from the abandonment of Marxism. Once they had set off down this path, making concessions to nationalism and reformism, there was never any other final destination than crisis.

British airports were in a state of chaos yesterday after it was revealed that a terrorist plot involving liquid explosives had been foiled. However, it would be a great mistake to abandon our ability for critical thinking in this period of hysteria and media frenzy.

On Tuesday the eighth of August at a quarter past one, the mortal remains of comrade Ted Grant were cremated in a simple but dignified ceremony at the East Essex crematorium. Almost a hundred of Ted's old comrades and friends gathered to see him off on his last journey.

Last Saturday, July 15, more than 300 people, amongst them veteran members of the International Brigades, gathered in London to pay homage to all those who went to fight Franco in the 1930s.

We have long stated that there is no fundamental difference between Blair and Brown. That is why we welcome the decision of John McDonnell, Labour MP, to stand for the leadership as the candidate of the left. We also reproduce John McDonnell's full statement on his stand.

The much vaunted ‘smooth transition’ from Blair to Brown would not imply any policy change whatsoever. Consequently, Blair’s replacement by Brown would propel Labour further along the course to losing the next election. What is required is a socialist candidate.

The new leader of the Tories has suddenly become very interested in reducing individual donations to political parties. In reality what lies behind this is an attempt to cut trade union funding to the Labour Party and replace it with public funding.

This latest of Ken Loach’s films is well crafted and well thought. It has been thoroughly researched and really gets under the surface of the processes and the events that helped shape the current situation on the island of Ireland.