On the new Labour party and radical social program

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“ If Brexit was a vague and contradictory call to ‘take back control,’ Labour’s program is the route to achieving it, recovering an alternative long buried by Thatcherism. It takes its inspiration from the most radical aspect of social-democratic politics — decommodification — and aims to remove staples of daily life from the market, making them public, universal, and free at the point of access. In doing so, the party’s program would radically lower the cost of living, placing workers under less pressure to accede to the demands of their bosses to work longer or for less. It would revive the idea of entitlement that conservatives have fought so hard to discredit and put the brakes on a slide towards an economy where even public goods are provided on a pay-per-service basis. It could also change how people relate to the provision of necessary things, challenging the idea that this must be done on the basis of exchange, where what you receive always relates to what you can afford. For forty-one years Britain has been governed, by both the Conservatives and New Labour, on the basis that the market rules, and that the growing marketization of public life was a natural development. By seeking to subordinate the market to the interests of the people, Corbyn’s Labour has fundamentally challenged the logic imposed upon the party by the International Monetary Fund in 1976 (…) In the more likely circumstance that Labour is defeated in the election, the party’s right will immediately argue that it was because its leadership was too left wing. But we now know this is not true. The vast majority of the country supports left-wing policies — it is the Labour right and their allies in the political, business, and media elite who are in the minority. The next battle will be to defend the manifesto from their attacks ”

Max Shanly & Ronan Burtenshaw, ‘The Blueprint’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On why proposing the disintegration of the European Union shouldn’t be what leftists want

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“ If it now disintegrates, if we all pick up our stumps and leave, developments at the economic level will only benefit the extreme right. The deflationary forces will be unleashed from the collapse of the euro, and they will only benefit forces like Marine Le Pen. It will not benefit the Left, just like Brexit did not benefit the Left. From a consequentialist point of view, I believe Lexit is profoundly wrong. As leftists, we have always protested our government when our government was wrong, which is most of the time. That does not mean, with the exception of a few anarchists in our midst, that we were against having a government. Similarly, as a Europeanist, it is my duty to protest and to disobey the edicts of Brussels and Frankfurt and so on, but at the same time I do not see why I should be proposing the disintegration of the European Union, even though I am extremely critical of its spirit and architecture ”

Yanis Varoufakis, ‘The European Choice’, Jacobin Magazine

On dark money in politics

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“ A multimillionaire City asset manager has pledged to spend up to £700,000 on ousting Labour MPs who campaigned against Brexit. Jeremy Hosking will use his money to ensure that there is as little parliamentary opposition to a hard Brexit as possible. Why should multimillionaires be allowed to try to buy political results? Allowed? That’s too soft a word. It is enabled by our pathetic, antiquated and anti-democratic rules on political spending. Hosking claims he wants to secure the sovereign future of this independent-minded democracy. But there is no greater threat to sovereignty, independence or democracy than the power money wields over our politics (…) The third issue is political funding that operates in a different sphere. It’s not illegal, it’s worse than that: there are no effective rules of any kind. This is the use of dark money that seeks not to influence elections directly, but to change the broader political landscape. Dark money is funding used, without public knowledge, by front groups (…) Why has there been no effective action on climate change? Why are we choking on air pollution? Why is the junk food industry able to exploit our children? Because governments and their agencies have rolled over and let such people make a mockery of informed consent ”

George Monbiot, ‘Dark money is pushing democracy in the UK over the edge’, The Guardian

On the Conservatives rhetoric of ‘us-and-them’

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“ The Conservative general election strategy is a straightforward appeal to patriotism. Their slogan is “strong, stable leadership in the national interest”. Everything is focused on Brexit and getting the best deal for the UK. The EU makes a convenient enemy to unite against. Conservative and leave-supporting newspapers have ramped up the “us versus them” rhetoric (…) Those who accuse anti-racist campaigners of engaging in divisive “identity politics” are among the least likely to object to aggressive anti-European sentiment. Consistency isn’t the point. It’s about belonging to a team, and challenging anything that doesn’t directly benefit your group ”

Abi Wilkinson, ‘Theresa May is playing identity politics more adeptly than the left’, The Guardian

On the arising of a new capitalism

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“ Yet Brexit and Trump’s election signify something more than popular anger, xenophobia, and cultural anxiety. They mark the end of neoliberalism’s heyday and the emergence of a competing capitalist vision. This vision, at least rhetorically, rejects two of the founding tenants under-girding contemporary global capitalism: the global trade architecture operating through institutions like NAFTA and the inter-state alliances buttressing America’s decades-old geopolitical vision and goals ”

Nicole M. Aschoff, ‘The glory days are over’, Jacobin Magazine