Category: "Politics"

The results point the way forward for Labour

Nationally the share of the vote looked like this:

Tories 44%
Labour 24%

In London, with a socialist candidate the share of the vote looked like this:

Johnson 42%
Livingstone 36%

Grimmer mentions their candidate, Janet Oosthuysen, falling short of ousting the Lib Dems by 53 votes, they campaigned on a slogan of "Vote Labour - Get a Socialist".

I think there is a message here for the Labour Party and somewhere in it is the 'S' word.

John Wiseman and democracy

John Wiseman, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale has picked up some attention for his recent entry on Labour Home where he made a plea to Gordon Brown to reinstate the 10p rate of tax.

He's running into a lot of flak, some of it to be frank quite ghastly with plenty of ad hominem attacks thrown in against him too. He has also picked up a lot of support too, with for example Grimmer weighing in on this issue too.

The Labour Party, according to my membership card is a democratic socialist party. If members of the Westmorland and Lonsdale Labour Party and the public there think the 10p rate should be re-introduced then their candidate should be representing them and speaking out on their behalf - that's the candidate's first priority, represent the party membership and the working class. The Labour Party is a broad political party that is rich with a diverse set of opinions, far more so than the other two political parties so of course we're not all going to agree on everything all the time. Long may that continue and long may our members and candidates have the right to freedom of speech and the freedom to criticise. This is a strength - not a weakness.

Those calling on John Wiseman to "shut up" and represent the party leadership top-down need a strong reminder of what living in a democratic society and working within a democratic organisation means.

Vote for Ken Livingstone

The London Mayoral elections are just a few weeks away now, and things are looking pretty neck and neck between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.

Here's Ken's official election broadcast:

I know a lot of socialists will be tempted to vote for Lindsey German, and possibly put Sian Berry from the Green Party as their second vote. I'd like to appeal to them to strongly consider backing Ken Livingstone, he is a socialist and he has been carrying out pro-environment policies in London, sure probably not as far as many of us would like. But there is a real danger of a Tory becoming Mayor of London, such an event would be a considerable setback.

Allow me to embed a few more YouTube videos:

And of course Boris, he may be able to get a few laughs but honestly what's he blabbering on about? Something about cutting funds to Marxists and anarchists, and worse still further destroying UK science which is in enough of a crisis right now and trying to draw a comparison between Ken Livingstone and DPRK's Dear Leader Kim Jong-il.

I think the Tory strategy here is very much to field the biggest nut they can find among their ranks to try and get some attention in the press.

More from Socialist Appeal on Boris Johnson.

Stop using religion as an excuse to be crappy towards people

First off, hat tip to the Stroppyblog for bringing this to my attention.

To quickly quote from the Daily Mail:

Lillian Ladele has launched proceedings against Islington Council in North London, claiming that to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies between same-sex couples is incompatible with her religious principles.

Her refusal to supervise such unions has brought her into conflict with the council, where she has worked for more than ten years.

Now she is taking her case to an employment tribunal, claiming "discrimination or victimisation on grounds of religion or belief".

As said on Stroppyblog, this isn't about her being discriminated against this is about her wanting the right to discriminate people she doesn't like - for no reason what-so-ever, other than she picks some values out of a book that says homosexuals should be stoned to death.


Hopefully her appeal will fail, after all it has nothing to stand on.

If we take her reasoning, I can flatly refuse to talk to people I don't like at work, and then say it is because I have beliefs which say I can only speak to people that are deemed worthy. Racists could demand not to carry out marriages of the "unclean" because it goes against their beliefs. Who knows what people could come up with as an excuse to discriminate against people they don't like.

Honestly Lillian, your gay-bashing it so last century. The rest of the world has moved on, I suggest you do too and stop looking towards the morals of such blood thirsty book, this is the 21st century.

I'm sure she'd go on to say that she doesn't believe in the rape, slavery and genocide that features in the Old Testament or the sadomasochism of the New, but if she discards that why does she hang onto the anti-homosexual stuff? If you believe the bible is the word of god you can't pick and choose what you want out of it and then later try and use the bible to hide behind.

As I've said before many times, religion should be a strictly private affair it should not influence policy, or be used as an excuse to do things, or not do things the rest of society disagrees with.

Leninism and Marxism

I'm slowly getting through my e-mail, anyway I had a question e-mailed to me a few days ago from a chap called Nathan.

Could you please make a list of differences between leninism and marxism i cant find one anywhereand you seem to know alot, it would be greatly appreciated.

This is one of those questions you can ask 10 different socialists and get 10 different answers, unfortunately there is no such thing as the Communist Check-list, where everything is neatly divided up and we can just quickly run down and decide what is what.

I've already written a bit on this topic on the request of one of my readers, but it looks like Nathan is after a more direct answer and so I will try to be brief which I know will simply and overlook many concepts.

Marxism I suppose could be summed up as a broad set of ideas on how capitalism works, on how working people must liberate themselves from capitalism and on how history is driven, namely through class struggle.

Lenin, in my opinion brought forward two key additions.

1) Updates on how capitalism functions, from 1900 onwards, through imperialism, what he called the highest stage of capitalism. Where the imperialist countries maintain their control of, and exploitation of 3rd world countries by owning their means of production, allowing them to buy off a layer of workers in their own countries to attempt to offset revolution. Like so many aspects of Marxism, it is truer today then when it was written.

2) How in police states and under-developed countries like Russia at the time, the final act in a revolution needs to be led by a dedicated group of activists in a relatively small party.

Time and time again throughout history even in developed countries we've seen the working class led to the top of a hill by a social-bourgeois party, only to be led back down once the leaders are either brought off, or chicken out. A dedicated revolutionary party should help take them the extra step.

3) Some would also include Trotsky's work on making revolution in 3rd world countries by the small number of workers leading the peasantry to take power, and then carrying out the reforms that would of taken place in a democratic, developed country themselves, instead of sitting back and waiting for the capitalists to struggle to do them - if ever. Which essentially the Bolshevik Party adopted in the middle of 1917.

A lot of people would chuck all of that under Marxism, after all Marxism is a body of ideas and many people have contributed to it. Marxism-Leninism has I believe been widely misused by Stalinists and Maoists for their own nationalistic agendas, completely opposite to the internationalism of Marx and Lenin.

I also recommend having a look at the FAQ on YfIS.

How the market really works

Hat tip to Socialist Appeal.

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