What we say and the way we say it? Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party

As a member of the left of the Labour Party I find the anti-Semitism scandal to be really, really chilling. A sort of McCarthyism in overdrive. Rational debate is simply not possible. I personally find the accusations of antisemitism extremely distressing. The historical reality of the Holocaust has had a profound influence on my politics. I have a set of beautiful photos of Ann Frank on my office wall that I look at every day so that I never forget the horror that human beings and political systems are capable of. The persecution of the Jewish people in Europe has informed everything I do politically and made me determined to fight fascism, racism and state oppression wherever I see it.

Ironically and tragically that includes trying to draw attention to the way the Israeli government and army has treated the Palestinians and the racist rhetoric of the fascist religious right in Israel, which is as obnoxious as anything coming out of the racist right in Europe or the USA. Continue reading

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Coercive Control In The Workplace

Quite rightly Coercive Control in the personal realm is now a criminal offence but surely in the workplace ‘coercive control’ is the norm?

Some of the characteristics of the crime of Coercive Control are listed as….

  • Isolating you from your friends and family
  • Controlling how much money you have and how you spend it
  • Monitoring your activities and your movements
  • Repeatedly putting you down, calling you names or telling you that you are worthless
  • Threatening to harm you
  • Threatening to publish information about you or to report you to the authorities
  • Forcing you to take part in criminal activity

To me that sounds like what happens in many workplaces on a daily basis. Continue reading

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Neoliberal identity politics has failed and has to be replaced with class politics

Contemporary Liberal Identity Politics is based on the idea that ‘identity’ is a personal matter and that any individual can ‘choose’ any identity – for example that men can ‘choose’ to be women and women can ‘choose’ to be men. This liberal individualist conception of ‘freedom also underpins neoliberal capitalism and perhaps it is more accurate to describe contemporary Liberal Identity Politics is actually Neoliberal Identity Politics.

And I am distinguishing here between ‘Neoliberal’ Identity Politics that has been specific to the neoliberal era (1979-2017), and previous forms of identity politics that saw themselves as parts of a broader struggle for the liberation of the 99% from domination by 1%.

The rhetoric of many contemporary ‘liberation groups’ fails to challenge the current political hegemony and the economic status quo and asks only for equal access for middle class women and disabled BAME and LGBT members of the middle class, to the class privilege that was previously only available to white, middle-aged, middle-class, males. In this neoliberal iteration of identity politics the various ‘liberation groups’ now ‘compete’ with each other in the political sphere for resources, activist time and energy, media attention and of course the moral high ground. Continue reading

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Higher Ground?

My on going experience in the Labour Party is that while Corbyn’s critics in the party have been (temporarily?) been subdued by his success in Teresa May’s disastrous election, the underlying tensions are still very real.
But the party isn’t just split between those who support Corbyn and those who don’t and those who supported ‘New’ Labour as a centrist, essentially ‘liberal’ party and those committed to the LP as a participatory vehicle for achieving democratic socialism.

Continue reading

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Corporate Culture and Being Human

Much of the discourse surrounding the current moral panic about sexual conduct is dominated by a particularly puritanical and sociopathic, corporate culture that takes it for granted that ‘at work’ human beings should not behave like human beings.

Unwanted sexual advances, sexual bribery, sexual assault and rape are abhorrent everywhere and anywhere including the workplace. But in the modern corporate workplace human beings are not even supposed to find each other sexually attractive. Indeed, many corporations have severe sanctions including sacking for employees who engage in sexual relationships… and yet one of the most common places to meet a future partner is in the workplace?! Continue reading

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In Memorium

Until yesterday I knew nothing about Carl Sargeant, I’d literally never heard of him. Now all I know about him is that he was accused of some form of sexual impropriety and killed himself.

And I for one can’t blame him because Carl knew how these witch hunts and ‘purges’ play out. Once the accusation is made ‘the mud sticks’ and the gossip-based, ‘no smoke without fire’ logic kicks in and whatever the outcome of an investigation the accused is ‘guilty’ for ever more. Continue reading

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The Conservative Workers Party! Wtf?

Some Tory twat just suggested on Newsnight that the Conservative Party should be renamed, The Workers Party.

He went on to say that the Conservative Party needed to be the ‘trade union’ for everyone in the UK and that as a political party it had always stood for workers rights, workers opportunity, workers jobs and high wages for workers.

The thing is the twat seemed to really believe what he was saying. He seemed to really believe that the Conservatives are and always have been the party of the workers. Continue reading

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