what chance a ‘left’ revival in the labour party?

by David Broder

Today’s Daily Mail front page screams “Rats desert sinking ship”, as ministers and MPs abandon the spiraling Brown government even before likely disastrous results in Thursday’s local and European elections. This morning there was further bad news for the Prime Minister when his factional opponent Hazel Blears – recently attacked by Brown for her role in the expenses scandal , in retort to her criticisms of his YouTube appearances – cut loose from the Cabinet, promising “to return to the grassroots, to political activism, to the cut and thrust of political debate”.


Blears’ move follows yesterday’s announcements by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes, former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt and Tom Watson, a Brown ally who was at the centre of the botched summer 2006 “Curry House coup” against Tony Blair. Each of these had their different motivations for leaving government or leaving Parliament – some of them without significant animosity towards the beleaguered Prime Minister – but it all adds to the sense that the government cannot stumble on much longer.  Yesterday The Times – and today The Guardian – called on the Cabinet to get rid of Gordon Brown.

Sooner or later, Brown will fall, even if he does manage to cling on to power right up until May 2010, the latest date to which he can postpone the General Election. Clearly there is no serious prospect of him continuing to lead the party after such a defeat. Some on the left believe that this collapse will present new opportunities in the Labour Party, arguing that the turmoil which will follow Labour’s defeat will lead to factional “re-alignment” in the party and therefore an opening-up of debate in its ranks which we should participate in. So what signs are there of a space for the left to operate in Labour? Continue reading “what chance a ‘left’ revival in the labour party?”

the times or the commune, political reform or social revolution

by Chris Kane
“British politics is in trouble. The anger of the past fortnight has been frightening, even a little threatening. But almost as worrying has been the morose, resigned silence of the past decade, perhaps two decades. A gulf has opened up between the governed and those doing the governing.”
No this is not from a communist publication but from the new ‘Political Manifesto’ of that champion of British establishment The Times, itself a virtual institution of the upper class.   Correctly The Times recognise there is a deeper problem with the political system manifested in the ever decreasing participation in elections and a “sullen, cynical lack of regard for politicians” and “all this even before the electorate discovered that Members of Parliament were engaged in a massive scam.
The Manifesto of The Times seems radical and democratic and strikes a resonance with the popular mood which some of the traditional left have not achieved.  Continue reading “the times or the commune, political reform or social revolution”

8th june london forum: do we live in a democracy?

The next of The Commune’s ‘uncaptive minds’ public forums takes place in London on the evening of Monday June 8th, and is on the question of ‘do we live in a democracy?’.

The recent MPs’ expenses scandal has brought renewed attention to the checks and balances of the House of Commons, from right and left alike. There is widespread anger at the excesses of the worst offenders, with the Speaker of the Commons axed, some arguing for more ‘regulation’ of the system and others calling for a clearout of the current MPs in favour of more ‘responsible’ MPs and more ‘independents’.

But few are questioning the Parliamentary system itself (see our recent editorial): although in recent months the mainstream press has been happy to use Marx’s economics to explain the economic crisis, they don’t dare to touch communists’ radical critique of the state, the ‘executive committee of the ruling class’.

At the meeting we will not only be looking at the current scandal and the response, but also the state of our democratic rights in general and its implications for our struggle for a different kind of society. The speakers leading off the debate will be The Commune’s Nathan Coombs and Labour left MP John McDonnell.

The meeting takes place from 7pm on the 8th at the Artillery Arms, near Old Street. All are welcome – get in touch with us at uncaptiveminds@gmail.com if you would like more information. Map of the venue below. Continue reading “8th june london forum: do we live in a democracy?”