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Labour’s Electoral Rise – A Tepid Reformism Reconsolidates

Ed Miliband

The victory of the Labour Party in the local elections has consolidated Ed Miliband’s leadership of Labour and set the political direction of Labour for the next period. For the first time since the death of John Smith in 1994, Labour has a leadership whose politics can be broadly characterised as social democratic, albeit very tepidly and timidly so.

The first hesitant blow against the Blair/Brown legacy of aggressive privatisation at home and imperialist wars abroad was struck by trade union members in the autumn of 2010, when they overruled the purged, cowed and largely middle class ‘aspirational’ Labour Party membership and installed the Green-tinged soft-left former Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, as Labour leader, defeating his brother David whose entire political profile was as a clone of Tony Blair. David Miliband, as foreign secretary in the later New Labour years, is personally culpable in such crimes as ‘extraordinary rendition’ – i.e. illegal kidnapping (with torture) of Muslims suspected of Al Qaeda activities or even just sympathy, for transport to the United States or its then client regimes like Libya or Syria, in contradiction to even formal legal norms.

Ed Miliband, though not in parliament at the time, claims to have been opposed to the Iraq war as waged by Blair, Brown, his elder brother and the entire Labour leadership. It is typical of Ed Miliband’s vacuity that there seems to be no credible evidence that he ever said or did anything in opposition to that criminal invasion. Not a single speech or article can his supporters produce to substantiate this claim of opposition. His claims on this are not really credible at all – probably the most that can be said for Ed Miliband is that he wishes that he had had the courage of his claimed convictions and spoken out against the war waged by his own party leadership. But he didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Capitalist Crisis or Crisis of Neo-Liberalism?

Karl Marx

John Maynard Keynes

At a recent meeting of the Independent Socialist Network, which is a new grouping of independent socialists affiliated to TUSC (the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), there was the beginning of an important discussion on the nature of the economic crisis that we are now living through.

Specifically, in the context of a discussion on how we can hope to achieve unity on the socialist left and the creation of a new socialist movement, there was some discussion on what kind of economic analysis socialists should be putting forward, and why the left currently appears so ideologically on the defensive despite the major blows that have been inflicted by events on the previously dominant free-market ideology by the credit crunch and the serious capitalist crisis we are currently still embroiled in.

This article will sketch out some ideas based on my view of this discussion and the issues it raised. It does not claim to be a summary of this debate, which in any case is an ongoing process, but rather I hope it will play some role in furthering discussion about economics both in the ISN and on the wider left. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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