Support Greece, not banking billionaires, British Labourite Corbyn says

This 24 June video from London, England is called Jeremy Corbyn Denounces Government’s Austerity Plans.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Cancel Greek debt, Jeremy Corbyn urges PM

Party leadership contender among 19 Labour MPs to write to David Cameron asking him to show banks ‘we won’t keep bailing them out for reckless lending’

Frances Perraudin

Monday 29 June 2015 15.03 BST

The Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn is among 19 Labour MPs who have called on David Cameron to take steps with other European leaders to cancel Greece’s debt as a “signal to the banks and financiers that we won’t keep bailing them out for reckless lending”.

A letter, published in the Guardian, was also signed by the Trades Union Congress and Unite general secretaries and MPs including Diane Abbott, who is standing for the party’s nomination to be London mayor, Michael Meacher and John McDonnell.

“We call on David Cameron to support the organisation of a European conference to agree debt cancellation for Greece and other countries that need it, informed by debt audits and funded by recovering money from the banks and financial speculators who were the real beneficiaries of bailouts,” the letter reads.

“We believe there must be an end to the enforcing of austerity policies that are causing injustice and poverty in Europe and across the world,” it says. “We urge the creation of UN rules to deal with government debt crises promptly, fairly and with respect for human rights, and to signal to the banks and financiers that we won’t keep bailing them out for reckless lending.”

Corbyn, the MP for Islington North and a key figure on the left of the Labour party, is vying with Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall to become the party’s leader. Bookmakers say he is the least likely to win the contest, but he has said he is running to ensure the anti-austerity argument is heard.

Corbyn, who opposed the decision to go to war in Iraq, has defied his party’s whip 284 times since 2005.

“There is an escalating crisis of Greek society,” he said. “There is no sane solution to the situation in Greece that involves repaying this debt. The only sensible way forward is to cancel the Greek debt – or at least substantial swaths of it – and for the international community to support Greece’s democratically elected government to rebuild its society and its economy.

“I ask my fellow Labour leadership candidates to echo this call to the prime minister, and for him to heed this call. It is in our own interests to do so.”

The Green MP Caroline Lucas, also a signatory, will attend an event in Trafalgar Square on Monday evening organised by the Greece Solidarity Campaign to call for an end to imposed austerity in Greece.

Austerity in Greece has been a profound failure, in both human and economic terms. Poverty and unemployment have skyrocketed while government debt as a proportion of GDP has grown by over 40%,” said Lucas.

“It’s time that European governments think again about how to tackle the crisis in Greece. A first step, which I’m urging David Cameron to support, is to bring together a European debt conference based on what happened in 1953 to help Germany’s economy recover after the war.”

Lucas said Greece’s social fabric could not take more public sector spending cuts before it was torn apart. “It’s time for Europe’s leaders, including David Cameron, to stand up for democracy and back a credible solution to Greece’s dire problems,” she said.

The Greek government announced on Sunday night that it would be forced to close the country’s banks after the European Central Bank (ECB) froze the liquidity lifeline that has kept them afloat during a six-month run on deposits.

On Friday, Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, called a snap referendum on the last offer tabled by the country’s creditors before the negotiations broke down. The referendum will take place on Sunday.

22 thoughts on “Support Greece, not banking billionaires, British Labourite Corbyn says

  1. Letter of support for Greece

    A number of academics, including former Archibishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, have written to us to support the Greeks and calling on the European union to recommit to the principles of democracy:

    Over the past five years, the EU and the IMF have imposed unprecedented austerity on Greece. It has failed badly. The economy has shrunk by 26%, unemployment has risen to 27%, youth unemployment to 60% and, the debt-to-GDP ratio jumped from 120% to 180%. The economic catastrophe has led to a humanitarian crisis, with more than 3 million people on or below the poverty line.

    Against this background, the Greek people elected the Syriza-led government on 25 January with a clear mandate to put an end to austerity. In the ensuing negotiations, the government made it clear that the future of Greece is in the Eurozone and the EU. The lenders, however, insisted on the continuation of their failed recipe, refused to discuss a write down of the debt – which the IMF is on record as considering unviable – and finally, on 26 June, issued an ultimatum to Greece by means of a non-negotiable package that would entrench austerity. This was followed by a suspension of liquidity to the Greek banks and the imposition of capital controls.

    In this situation, the government has asked the Greek people to decide the future of the country in a referendum to be held next Sunday. We believe that this ultimatum to the Greek people and democracy should be rejected. The Greek referendum gives the European Union a chance to restate its commitment to the values of the enlightenment – equality, justice, solidarity – and to the principles of democracy on which its legitimacy rests. The place where democracy was born gives Europe the opportunity to recommit to its ideals in the 21st century.

    Etienne Balibar

    Costas Douzinas

    Barbara Spinelli

    Rowan Williams

    Immanuel Wallerstein

    Slavoj Zizek

    Michael Mansfield

    Judith Butler

    Chantal Mouffe

    Homi Bhabha

    Wendy Brown

    Eric Fassin

    Tariq Ali


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  3. JOBS on the west coast of Scotland can be secured without replacing Trident, Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday in a pitch to win Scottish voters back to Labour.

    The left leadership candidate said Scotland represented “the biggest mountain to climb” for his party in the 2020 general election, and called for Labour to be “seen as the party of social justice again — campaigning as a social movement for that cause, rebuilding trust and giving people hope.”

    Mr Corbyn, a longstanding supporter and vice-chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, used an article on the Scottish Labour grassroots website LabourHame to propose setting up a defence diversification agency “to ensure … workers’ skills are not lost.”

    “I know many Labour members and trade unionists share that view that huge investment in money, jobs and skills could be put to more socially useful purposes,” he added.,-says-Corbyn#.VZKihUaw51Q


  4. ALL four Labour leadership candidates vowed yesterday to resist and repeal proposed Tory laws that threaten to make legal strikes impossible.

    At a huge trade union hustings in London, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall joined Jeremy Corbyn in opposing plans to impose turnout thresholds on all strike ballots.

    But only Mr Corbyn promised to go further and reverse restrictive Thatcher-era laws that left Britain in breach of international conventions on employment rights.

    They voiced their opposition to the government’s Trades Union Bill in answer to a question from Dave Dash of bakers’ union BFAWU.

    Proposals include a 50 per cent turnout threshold for any strike ballot to be valid and placing the bar higher in essential services by requiring 40 per cent of all eligible members to vote to back strike action.

    Mr Dash asked: “If you were Labour leader, would you repeal the anti-trade union laws so that so that unions can protect their members’ terms and conditions to stop the race to the bottom?”

    The question was met with cheers and applause from hundreds of members of Labour’s 15 affiliated trade unions.

    Ms Cooper answered first, saying: “The ones that the Tories are about to bring in, I think we should oppose and, if they manage to bring them, then we should repeal them.”

    Mr Burnham replied: “We’ve got a big fight coming on ballot thresholds and, as leader, I would fight that all the way with you, side by side.”

    For her part, Ms Kendall said: “The proposals the Tories are putting forward on strike thresholds and opt-in for the political funding and independent running of trade unions, we should oppose them and, if we’re elected in 2020, reverse them.”

    Only Mr Corbyn was willing to take on what he called Margaret Thatcher’s “systematic attack on every good piece of legislation on rights at work and trade unions.

    “We’ve got the worst trade union legislation in western Europe,” he declared.

    “The very least we can do is say that every worker has a right to be covered by collective bargaining, every worker has a right to join a trade union.”

    Mr Dash welcomed the opposition to the latest Tory laws from all the candidates, but said: “Jeremy Corbyn is the one really for me.”

    He told the Star: “Jeremy’s speaking my language.

    “We need a Labour leader that’s going to progress us in a direction that makes us completely different from the Tories.”

    The three other candidates said they would not oppose laws passed during the four terms of Tory rule between 1979 and 1997.

    Within a year of Thatcher’s first victory, the Tories had made it harder for unions to win recognition in workplaces and banned secondary strike action.

    The laws remain in force, in defiance of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. Mr Burnham insisted: “We’ve got fight the battles of today, not yesterday.”

    But Institute of Employment Rights director Carolyn Jones said: “We had seven pieces of legislation previously, none of which was repealed by New Labour, all of which have been criticised by the ILO and need removing from the statute book.

    “As Tony Blair said, British trade union law is the most restrictive in the Western world.

    “Of course, he said that proudly, but we’d say it with shame.”

    The Institute of Employment Rights is holding a one-day conference on human rights at work at GMB offices in London today. For more information visit


  5. LABOUR leadership hopefuls had to concentrate yesterday, making a pitch at the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation (Tulo) hustings for what remains the party’s most substantial and enduring support base.

    They have worked out key themes and the coded phrases designed to outflank their rivals.

    Liz Kendall described herself once again as the candidate the Tories fear, which might make sense in the Westminster village but surely has little resonance outside that strange island.

    Why Tories should quake in their boots over someone who has nailed her flag to the austerity measures mast, closely mirroring their approach, is a mystery.

    Her supporter John Woodcock sneers at Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper as “continuity Miliband,” implying that they have not put the boot into the former leader hard enough and suggesting that they could only lead Labour to a further defeat.

    Kendall lectured her trade unionist audience against returning to the past, but her stance smacks of a belief that it’s possible to turn the clock back to 1997 when Labour, led by Tony Blair, was elected in a landslide.

    Many things have changed since then — not least popular perceptions towards Blair, now widely seen as not only a warmonger but a self-centred money-grabber who will do anything for cash.

    New Labour may have wrongfooted the Tories for a time by adopting their policies and phraseology, but this tactic rebounded on Labour, alienating millions of its voters.

    Burnham’s reference to Miliband as a “a man of principle, courage and integrity” went down well at Tulo, not least because many trade unionists valued the former leader’s more combative stance during the general election.

    The shadow health secretary’s position on scrapping the lower level of the minimum wage for young adults also fell in line with his audience’s concept of the rate for the job.

    However, Burnham has yet to jettison his post-election lurch to the right when, like all contenders with the exception of Jeremy Corbyn, he adopted Peter Mandelson’s misuse of “aspiration” to mean identification with better-off voters.

    In Burnham’s case, this involved calling the widely appreciated mansion tax plan part of the “politics of envy.”

    Cooper has emerged from the shadow of Ed Balls following her husband’s election defeat, showing herself as self-confident and offering change in terms of a first female Labour prime minister.

    However, she has also developed her own warning code for audiences, especially in light of successive warm receptions for Corbyn.

    Her caution for Tulo members was to vote not just for a candidate they could imagine as Labour leader but someone who could “look like a Labour prime minister from the start.”

    This was directed at Corbyn and contains all the usual condescending prejudice against him — that he’s a good honest man of principle but utterly unelectable.

    The idea that Labour can only be victorious if it replicates Establishment policies and fights elections on triangulation tactics or media perceptions of image is a philosophy of despair.

    Such a tired and cynical format casts aside the possibility of a politician and a party actually enthusing the electorate by meeting the hitherto unanswered demand for political principle and competence.

    Corbyn answers voter commitment to public ownership, higher living standards for working people, abandonment of Trident and opposing not only George Osborne’s emergency Budget but “the whole austerity strategy.”

    His declaration that “you can’t cut your way to prosperity” has the makings of a successful general election slogan.


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