Archive for the ‘Open Borders/Immigration Controls’ Category

The retirement of southern Irish taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny several months ago led to Leo Varadkar taking his place.  Varadkar is young, gay and his father is an Indian immigrant to Ireland.  Varadkar’s victory in the leadership contest in the Fine Gael party and assumption of the role of prime minister has been widely hailed as some kind of victory for gay rights and anti-racism.  Varadkar, however, is a committed anti-working class politician, with no track record of campaigning for either gay or migrant rights.  Varadkar  is no friend of the oppressed and exploited – quite the contrary.  The article is taken from the Irish Socialist Democracy website here, where it appeared on June 30.  It is a timely reminder that people need to be judged by their politics rather than being lauded because they are gay and/or female and/or brown.

The election of Leo Varadkar as Fine Gael leader – and his assumption of the role of Taoiseach – has been hailed as a watershed event in Ireland.  This perspective – which is particularity prevalent in international media coverage – carries the assumption that identity is the overriding factor in contemporary politics.  Within this framework the election of a relatively young gay man of ethnic migrant descent – standing in stark contrast to the profile of leaders that went before – is indeed a seminal event.  The other assumption attached to this identity-centred perspective is that a person from such a background will have a more liberal approach to politics.  However, a consideration of the record of Leo Varadkar quickly debunks such assumptions.      

Right-wing

Despite his relative youth, Varadkar is a long standing member of Fine Gael (he claims to have joined as a 17 year old) – the most conservative party in the state – and has consistently occupied the most right-wing positions on a range of issues, including those related to sexuality and race.  In 2010 he opposed the Civil Partnership Bill and also raised concerns over the prospect of gay couples  (more…)

Serious anti-capitalists – as opposed to people who are merely anti-Tory – don’t have illusions in the Labour Party of today.  But it’s important to understand that today’s Labour Party is the logical development of the Labour Party of earlier days.

Take Labour’s last couple of years of racist campaigning against immigrants, especially those with “Chinese-sounding surnames”.

Labour, in its very first years, was at the forefront of a racist campaign to strengthen the White New Zealand policy directed against impoverished Chinese migrants.  They were keen to make common cause with the Liberal and Reform parties against the Chinese.  In fact, they were even keen to make common cause with Andrew Russell, the head of Massey’s Cossacks against the Chinese.  See: Labour’s racist roots.

While the party’s racism was directed mainly at the Chinese, anti-Semitism was present as well.  The first Labour government, for instance, wanted ‘Aryan’ immigrants rather than Jewish refugees escaping the Nazis.

 

by Daphna Whitmore

For Labour’s 34 MPs the odds of becoming leader are quite high. Yesterday, for the fifth time in nine years, the party dipped into its talent puddle to present a new saviour. It was Jacinda Ardern’s turn to work some magic. Jacinda

In the press gallery expectations were not high as Jacinda stepped up for her first press conference as leader. The reporters seemed genuinely amazed when Jacinda showed she could speak fluently about nothing much, and could even inject humour into the void.

Four months ago she was elected to be Labour’s shiny new deputy leader. With her face beaming down from the hoardings alongside the last leader, what’s-his-name, she was to bring some X-factor. Somehow the magic didn’t happen and the polls fell further. That was yesterday; today Labour is optimistic.

Labour is the most optimistic (more…)

Note how the current National government, which came to power in the wake of the global financial crisis, has generally spent slightly more (as a % of GDP) on health and education than the previous Labour government (which enjoyed good economic times and substantial budget surpluses)

by Phil Duncan

The latest ColmarBrunton poll is not good news for National, showing their support dropping by 2.2 percentage points to 45.2%.  This would make it very hard for them to form a government with their current coalition partners – the Maori Party, Act and United Future.

However, the news is far worse for Labour.  Less than 8 weeks out from the general election, they have dropped a further 2.3 percentage points to just 24.1 support.  Their leader, Andrew Little, is only fourth in the preferred prime minister stakes.  Not only is he on less than a third of the support registered for National Party prime minister Bill English, he is now well behind New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and even behind his own deputy-leader Jacinda Ardern.

The only traction Labour seems able to get is in reverse.  Meanwhile New Zealand First continues to expand support, as do the Greens.

If Labour falls just a couple more percentage points then Little could actually be out of parliament, because he is only a List MP; he hasn’t been able to win a constituency seat.

Given that we are at the end of the third term of National, Labour’s position in the polls is especially dismal for them.  Can anyone remember a government that, at the end of its third term, was as popular as National and an opposition that was as unpopular as Labour?  It certainly hasn’t happened since Labour and National became the two dominant parties post-1935.

While a section of Labourites are in denial, pretending the polls results are not accurate, Little himself knows better and has said he is prepared to resign.  But Labour’s woes go far deeper than who happens to be the leader.  After all, they’ve had four leaders in less than nine years and what has happened?  Under Phil Goff, Labour wallowed, so he was replaced by David Shearer; under Shearer, Labour wallowed, so he was replaced by David Cunliffe; under Cunliffe, Labour wallowed, so he was replaced by Andrew Little; under Little, Labour has wallowed; in fact, it’s at its lowest point in decades.

Running deeper than the inability of successive leaders to grow Labour support is that there has been an ongoing erosion of its party vote in many of its old general roll heartland areas.  In 2014, for instance, more blue collar workers voted National than Labour and National now has the party vote in traditional Labour seat after Labour seat.

Put in short: the big majority of the working class don’t see Labour as (more…)

Location: Student Central (formerly ULU), London WC1E 7HY, Malet Street,

Conference attendance fee £10.

Date/time: Tuesday 19 September (11am-8pm) – Wednesday 20 September 2017 (10am – 4pm)

Contact: capital150conference@gmail.com

Registration URL: http://bit.ly/2uhukxO

King’s College website details here.

Tuesday 19 September

 

Crises (11am–1:30pm)

  • Guglielmo Carchedi – The old is dying and the new cannot be born: the exhaustion of the present phase of capitalist development
  • Rolf Hecker – Marx’s critique of capitalism during the 1857 crisis
  • Paul Mattick jr – Crisis: abstraction and reality
  • Ben Fine, discussant

 

Imperialism (2:30pm–5pm)

  • Marcelo Dias Carcanholo, Dependency, super-exploitation of labour and crisis – an interpretation from Marx
  • Tony Norfield, Das Kapital, finance, and imperialism
  • Raquel Varela (& Marcelo Badaró Mattos), Primitive accumulation in Das Kapital

 

Mapping the terrain of anti-capitalist struggles (6pm–8pm)

  • David Harvey, Perspectives from the Circulation of Capital
  • Michael Roberts, Perspectives from the Accumulation of Capital
Wednesday 20 September

 

The future of capital (10am–12:30noon)

(more…)

Below is the text of a talk delivered by Dani in Dunedin on Friday, July 21.

by Dani Sanmugathasan

Good evening! My name is Dani Sanmugathasan, and I am a member of the British Marxist and Leninist organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Group. The following talk will be on the topic of ‘Corbynmania’ – the opportunist phenomenon that’s swept through the labour movements in core economies over the last two years – and a good place to start is at the events in London earlier this month.

INTRODUCTION

“Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!” rang out the chants of many on the streets of London on the 1st of July at the People’s Assembly’s ‘Tories Out’ march. The People’s Assembly, Momentum, Radical Housing Network, the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the Socialist Party, and the large trade unions (PCS, RMT, CWU, Unison, Len McCluskey’s Unite the Union…) were all rallying round the Labour Party leader, the holy Son of Attlee, the man who would save Britain from the iron grip of Tory austerity.

But beside these organisations, a distinct second current of marchers – composed of such organisations as Class War, the Focus E15 Mothers, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants, Architects for Social Housing, Movement For Justice, the Revolutionary Communist Group, and trade unions like the IWGB – led a different chant: “Labour, Tory, same old story!” These groups made (more…)

by Workers Fight

The recent developments on the political scene in Britain have thrown usually clever commentators and political pundits into a mild state of confusion. After all, it was one thing getting the result of the 2016 EU referendum completely wrong, but they also lost their bets on Theresa May’s “snap” election this June.

In fact almost everyone was surprised by the result, but maybe primarily by the surge in Labour’s votes, with 40% of the total, despite the Tory’s apparently unassailable lead in the polls before the election.

It should be said however, that whoever was to lead the government, whether it was May or Corbyn, or someone else, with or without alliances, this government was always going to have the job of managing the affairs of British capital to the best of its interests.

The working class, as history shows us, has never made any real gains through the ballot box and has nothing to expect from any government – because it is the capitalists who are pulling all the strings behind the “democratic” mask of a Corbyn or a May. What is more, there has been no place on the agenda of any government of the capitalist class for significant reforms which could be offered to workers, in any case not since the end of the post-war boom at the beginning of the 1970s. Since then, the world economy has been in a (more…)