An Error of Proximity

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has publicly spearheaded a repositioning of the party’s policy regarding Britain’s departure from the European Union. In what can only be described as a U-turn, this shift contains within it the worst of both worlds. As Starmer lays out in The Guardian, Labour now commits itself to remaining “in a customs union with the EU and within the single market” for a “transitional period” over the next two years. The Shadow Brexit Secretary also manages to provide little detail regarding Labour’s approach to Freedom of Movement (FoM), with the exception of recognising “the need for more effective management of migration”. This is an intervention which prides itself on allaying business concerns and appealing to political maturity. The uncertainty looming over the British economy demands of the official opposition an answer that poses solutions to the problems of a devalued pound, declining investment, sluggish growth and low productivity. The trouble with Labour’s policy shift is that it isn’t geared toward providing even social-democratic solutions to the difficulties of Brexit. What it is concerned about are the dilemmas confronting a political party with a real chance of managing the capitalist state. It is in this spirit that Labour has reversed its European policy and put much of its policies at risk when it could be maintaining and elaborating radical, class-based solutions to the challenges posed by Brexit. Continue reading “An Error of Proximity”

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Movin’ on up?

Review of Richard Seymour’s Corbyn: the Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics

For much of my life, I have had this vague, unconfirmed memory of my parents, standing in the kitchen of our old flat, displaying relief and even slight jubilation at the election of Tony Blair as the British Prime Minister. Until last year, I have always wondered why the fuck they were so chuffed.

Even worse, roughly eighteen years after Tony Blair’s first general election victory, I woke up early in the morning, on May 8th, for a Job Seekers appointment. Only to, adding insult to injury, turn on the news and find out that Cameron’s Tories had won an electoral majority. Walking to the job centre had never felt so grim. That feeling of grimness had nothing to do with any hope or illusion in the prospects of Ed Miliband delivering one for ‘the class’. Far from it. The party he led to defeat sparked almost no connection to notions of ‘solidarity’ or ‘the left’ to me growing up. They almost always sparked thoughts of ‘war’, ‘ASBOs’, ‘immigrants and Muslims’, and that is not even to imply those words were filtered through to me with progressive connotations. Growing up, more often than not, we settled for Dizzee Rascal’s assertion: “I’m a problem for Anthony Blair.”i

The grimness I felt waking up that morning was so far removed from how I felt, sat in a Highbury pub four and half months later, watching a video on Facebook, of Jeremy Corbyn, elected leader of the Labour Party only hours beforehand, speaking at a 90,000-strong demonstration in London, in support of refugees. It’s that story, its challenges, its future and ultimately its limitations that makes Richard Seymour’s recent book amongst one of the best things written on Corbynism and a must-read for militants inside and outside the Labour Party. Continue reading “Movin’ on up?”

Black Bolsheviks: Lessons from the Communist Party of USA

This is an edited and shortened version of my undergraduate dissertation. It is modified to start a discussion on explicit revolutionary and practical lessons to be drawn from the CPUSA’s anti-racist experience. Continue reading “Black Bolsheviks: Lessons from the Communist Party of USA”