This video from Britain today is called Jeremy Corbyn Addresses Syria In Short Interview; Rational, Clear, Prime Minister In Waiting.
By Julie Hyland in Britain:
New pro-EU party planned to oppose Corbyn and Labour
13 April 2018
A secret operation to develop a political formation as an electoral counterweight to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has been underway for at least a year.
Involving “entrepreneurs, philanthropists and benefactors keen to break the Westminster mould”, it has already secured £50 million from financial backers, gloated the Observer at the weekend.
The “project”, as it is described, is led by multimillionaire Simon Franks, co-founder of Redbus Film Distribution. A former Labour donor, he acted as business adviser to Ed Miliband (who stood down as Labour leader in 2015). Even then, Franks was reportedly complaining that Labour was not sufficiently oriented to the needs of “entrepreneurs”.
“Project One Movement for the UK” was incorporated in August 2017 with Companies House, with Franks as its sole director and shareholder. It has “consulted political experts around the world in an attempt to create a credible plan” for the proposed new movement.
The Observer and its sister Guardian newspaper have been proselytising for some time in favour of a new party—one that is avowedly opposed to Britain’s exit from the European Union and is able to bring together the Labour right, pro-Remain Tories and the rump Europhile Liberal Democrats.
The majority of the British establishment, along with the military/security agencies, backed a Remain vote in the 2016 EU referendum. Alarmed at the further diminishing of British capitalism economically, militarily and politically, overturning or mitigating the Leave vote is considered vital amongst these sections.
Under conditions in which the Conservative Party is in hock to pro-Brexiters and the Liberal Democrats have been wiped out as an electoral force, Labour’s right wing has been entrusted with achieving this goal.
Having failed to dislodge Corbyn in the 2016 leadership challenge, the focus had been on pressuring him to change Labour’s official policy to support a second referendum. But while Corbyn has gone a long way to assuage his right wing—backing some form of a “customs union” with the EU—he has not endorsed a second referendum and he sacked his Northern Ireland spokesman, Owen Smith, for calling for one.
In addition to overturning Brexit, the Observer makes clear that this is bound up with trying to silence any criticism of austerity and neo-liberalism.
The project intends to “borrow” ideas from “both left and right”, combining social liberalism with fiscal conservatism. That is, it will promote divisive identity politics—based on race, gender and sexual orientation—while championing “wealth creation and tighter immigration controls”.
Small wonder that former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair and ex-deputy Liberal Democrat Prime Minister Nick Clegg responded sympathetically to the project. On Tuesday, it was reported that Blair’s son, Euan, is on its board. Blair senior had been “helpful in recommending potential donors”, a source reported.
The deserved collapse of the Socialist Party saw Macron—a former investment banker—win power in May 2017 on little more than 30 percent of the vote, amid a 57 percent abstention. Macron is now attempting to push through a major attack on workers’ jobs and social rights and is leading the European push for war in Syria.
The promotion of an organisation whose supporters and financiers are largely anonymous; which does not have a name, constitution, political manifesto—not to speak of any following—and modelled on a premier with amongst the lowest approval ratings in Europe, is a damning indictment of the anti-democratic and anti-working class character of Britain’s liberals.
The efforts of the Guardian/Observer are focussed on encouraging Labour’s right to split and join the project. Guardian columnist Andrew Rawnsley claimed that “opportunity” was knocking for the new party, “But will anybody dare open the door?”
“What is so far lacking is a critical mass of MPs prepared to take the large risks involved in making it happen”, he complained.
Rawnsley acknowledged that Britain’s first-past-the post, winner-takes-all electoral system presented an obstacle to power. For this reason, the preferred and “simpler” method of gaining power has been “to take over one of the old parties and change it from within”, he continued, noting the example of Blair and New Labour. This was increasingly unlikely, as Corbyn’s supporters now controlled all Labour’s key positions, he opined.
But Labour’s right-wing could count on significant financial backing for a breakaway, Rawnsley suggested. Money was no object, as “There is an affluent constituency, who are both appalled by the May government and horrified by the thought of a Corbyn premiership, who are waiting to get out their cheque books.”
The difficulty, he mused, was that this might backfire if the party was seen to have support only from “business people with deep pockets.” Equally, however, if the new party continued to make an association with Labour, this would “cramp the scope to attract defectors from the Tory party and support from voters who do not naturally identify with Labour.”
Another major problem is finding anyone with credibility to lead this rotten project. Among Labour’s Blairites, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband is regarded as the “king over the water.” News of the project was preceded by an op-ed from Miliband in the New Statesman in which, following his mentor, he called for a second referendum on the grounds of “national security.”
But this is a man whose support for the Iraq war saw him humiliatingly defeated by his outsider younger brother, Ed, in the 2010 Labour leadership contest, since when he took up residency in New York, at the International Rescue Committee—a charitable front for US/UK neo-colonial ventures.
Such difficulties have led some in New Labour’s number to urge caution. Lord Adonis, who was among those who broke from Labour to form the Social Democratic Party in 1981, warned that Labour is “the only means to defeat Brexit. …” The SDP had “failed” he said, “and we can’t fail this time, the stakes for the country are too high.”
As part of a liberal alliance, the SDP gained just 23 seats in the 1983 election and had dissolved by 1988. But it succeeded in its essential political objectives: first, in helping the Labour and trade union bureaucracy to suppress a militant movement of the working class in the early 1980s and, on this basis, preparing the way for Blair and the reactionary monstrosity of New Labour.
The right wing has made no secret of their hostility to a Corbyn-led Labour government. Only last month, Blair made an open pitch to Remain-supporting Tories that the only way to prevent such a possibility was to join with the Labour right in vetoing Brexit.
That Corbyn has not taken a single measure against Blair and his right-wing saboteurs is an indictment of his claim to have “returned” Labour to working people. Rather, emboldened by Corbyn’s pathetic reliance on a fake “party unity,” there is no end to the right’s scheming.
Guardian commentator Peter Kellner suggested another way for the right wing to “improve the odds.” If those Labour MPs opposed to Corbyn—a sizeable majority—”switched to a new party, it could overtake the pro-Corbyn rump at Westminster”, he opined. “It would then become the official opposition”, able to “command time on television and radio”, while Corbyn’s Labour would be reduced to a third party in Parliament, meaning that broadcasters would not have to include them “on news and current affairs programmes.”
The same advice is proffered by James Forsyth in the Tory right’s Spectator magazine. Labour “moderates” should “declare that their party has been taken over by a hard-left fringe antithetical to its real traditions”, he wrote. This would “be akin to a declaration of independence by the Parliamentary Labour Party”, which would “step into the shoes of the old one as the official opposition.”
The problem remained that few of those taking such a step have “a sufficiently large personal following” to win in any subsequent election, he stated, while talk of defending Labour’s “real traditions” would “make it harder to attract converts from other parties.”
BERNADETTE HORTON ridicules the idea of a new political party intended to split the Labour vote but warns that it will require a proper political riposte.
THE multimillionaire-led attempt to launch a new “centrist party” to beat Labour is up and running, but the branding is so bland you might mistake it for a new weight-loss product or an exciting online estate agent. Or even a new video-on-demand service. It’s called United for Change: here.
What does the Limehouse Declaration have to teach us today? With widespread rumours about a new “centrist” party soon to be sprung on the nation CALVIN TUCKER recalls the last time the Establishment used the same trick to hoodwink the electorate: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
2 December 2010
USA: TRUMP REPORTEDLY PLANS TO PARDON SCOOTER LIBBY The former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice after a leak that disclosed a CIA agent’s name. [HuffPost]
That CIA agent was Valerie Plame. Cheney and Libby outed her as revenge for her debunking of their lie that Iraq was supposedly buying uranium from Niger to make weapons of mass destruction; a lie which the Bush-Cheney administration intended to use as pretext for starting the Iraq war. This is called the Plamegate scandal.
UPDATE: meanwhile, Trump has pardoned Libby. Joe Wilson Reacts To Scooter Libby Pardon: ‘Trump Is A Vile And Despicable Individual’. The former ambassador and his wife, former CIA agent Valerie Plame, were at the center of the Libby case. She says Trump’s basis for the pardon is “simply false”: here.
By Alex Lantier in France:
13 April 2018
In an hour-long interview on TF1 television on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron threatened imminent war with Syria and pledged to make no concessions to the growing strike movement against his austerity policies at home.
The interview demonstrated the political bankruptcy of the Macron administration and its NATO allies. Macron baldly announced that his support for unprovoked military attacks, which threaten not only Syria but also Russian forces in Syria, and that he would formulate his policies without regard for public opinion, which he dismissed as “polls”. He called for an atmosphere of national unity despite his wildly unpopular agenda based on resort to the military, including restoring the draft.
Macron said he was working closely with US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to bomb Syrian and Russian forces inside Syria over unsubstantiated allegations that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against Islamist militias at Douma. “I have called him many times,” he said, adding: “Yes, every day since the beginning of the week our teams have worked closely together. We will have decisions to take in good time, when we think it is most effective.”
To justify his threats, Macron echoed the Trump administration: “The ongoing wars in Syria, particularly by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, cannot just do anything they want. There is a framework, of international law. We have proof that last week, chemical weapons were used, at least chlorine. They were used by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”
The cynicism of Macron’s invocation of international law to justify plans for an unprovoked and illegal act of aggression against Syria is breathtaking. Washington and its allies have provided no evidence for their claims that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Douma, which are based solely on the say-so of Islamist “rebel” forces. Since 2011, in defiance of international law, NATO governments have armed the Islamist networks in a proxy war for regime change in Syria—even as these very same networks carried out terror attacks across Europe, and particularly in France.
Yet 15 years after the collapse of US lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the pretext for the illegal 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Macron insisted that the French people should just accept the word of the Islamists and the NATO governments and acquiesce to their plans for war.
Macron all but acknowledged that his case for war against Russia in Syria has no factual basis. He pledged to “remove the regime’s chemical warfare capabilities” and “prepare the Syria of tomorrow”, that is, to bomb Syria, “once we have decided upon and verified all the evidence.”
An unprovoked NATO strike on Syria, where Moscow has stationed substantial forces, threatens escalation into all-out war across the Middle East and with Russia, a major nuclear-armed power. Macron breezily dismissed this danger, claiming he could stop any spiral of military escalation thanks to his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He said, “Since I received President Putin for an official visit we have seen each other repeatedly, we speak regularly, the world is chaotic, there are unacceptable situations, and that is why we are doing today what we will have to do in Syria, to stay on our priorities and ensure as much stability as possible in the region. France will not, under any circumstances, allow an escalation to begin or do anything that could damage the stability of the region.”
Macron’s guarantees that France can bomb Syria but without provoking a major war are worthless and dangerous. In the course of a quarter century of escalating wars since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union, the NATO powers have devastated the Middle East—from Iraq to Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. Amid explosive political warfare between Trump and his Democratic opponents, who are spearheading the anti-Russian campaign against the White House, Washington is threatening not only Syria but Iran and Russia with war.
This is a warning to workers and youth, in France and across Europe, entering into struggle against the European Union (EU) agenda of austerity and militarism. Amid strikes by workers and students against Macron’s social cuts and university reforms, there is growing discussion in France of the May-June 1968 general strike 50 years ago …
After a quarter century of war and a decade of deep economic crisis, the French ruling class as a whole is determined to drastically restructure class relations at home and assert its interests in the global imperialist drive to war. The French government has announced plans to spend €300 billion on the military by 2024. The money for this and for Macron’s multi-billion-euro tax handouts to the rich is to be obtained by plundering the workers with deep social austerity.
Macron insisted that he would make no concessions to growing support for strikes by railway and airline workers and protests by university students. Citing EU rules, he pledged to continue with plans to abolish the rail workers’ and public workers’ statute, which would allow him to replace these workers with new hires whose wages and social rights would be reduced to those of temp workers.
Asked by TF1’s Jean-Pierre Pernaut if he would continue with his unpopular policies “even if this means losing the support of public opinion”, Macron said he would. “Public opinion is not an end in itself”, Macron declared. “Pardon me for being blunt, but what is public opinion? Does this mean that each day I have to look at the polls about this or that question, and do this or that?”
This is the language of dictatorship, and Macron promised to build up a social base for his policies by appeals to nationalism and the military, including by restoring universal military service. He said, “our country must be aware that it is a nation, and that means public education, secularism, universal national service, a true politics of the Nation.” As Macron wages war from Syria to Mali,
both former French colonies
and the entire ruling elite uses “secularism” as political code for appeals to anti-Muslim racism, it is ever clearer what Macron is speaking about.
Plans for universal military service means inciting nationalist hysteria to recruit masses of youth as cannon fodder for imperialist wars overseas, and police-state operations against social opposition at home. …
Only a few days after his government violently attacked ecological protesters at Notre-Dame-des-Landes with paramilitary police and armored vehicles, and cleared students from parts of Nanterre University, Macron again threatened student protesters in his interview. He claimed that the forces leading the student protests are not in fact students, but only “professional inciters of disorder.”
Amid the growing strike movement in France, students are stepping up action against the reactionary policies of President Emmanuel Macron. A half century after the brutal police repression of student protests provoked the May-June 1968 general strike, during which over 10 million workers struck and occupied their factories, students are occupying university buildings, defying threats from university administrators, police and far-right thugs to protest the Macron administration: here.
From daily News Line in Britain today:
THIS week a headline in one of the bourgeois papers declared ‘Europe Grinds to a Halt’ and for once the hyperbole was justified as a wave of strikes by public sector workers engulfed France and Germany effectively closing down airports and transport in both countries.
In Germany, Ver.di, the biggest union for public sector workers, and other trade unions called a two-day strike on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the increasingly bitter pay dispute. The unions are demanding a 6% pay rise which equates to a minimum increase of nearly £200 a month.
Hardest hit by this strike was the national airline Lufthansa when airport staff walked out causing the cancellation of 800 flights from airports around the country. These airport workers were joined by public sector workers across the entire country hitting, amongst others, state nurseries, rubbish collection and closing down swimming pools.
According to the trade unions, over 60,000 workers joined the strike, with rallies and demonstrations taking place in cities across Germany. This latest strike wave follows massive strikes over pay by IG Metall, one of the biggest unions in Europe, at the beginning of the year for a similar pay increase of 6%.
Now public sector workers are rising up demanding an end to the pitifully low pay rises imposed on them, pay increases that have seen real wages only increasing by 0.8% in the ten years since the world banking crash in 2008. This mass wave of strikes against austerity is sweeping Europe as German workers were joined by French workers.
In France, airport workers also came out as pilots, cabin crew and ground staff walked out on the sixth day of strike action on Monday after rejecting a 1% pay increase offer from Air France – an absolute insult given that their wages have been frozen since 2011 while the company is recording massive profits.
They joined in the mass demonstrations that have shaken France by workers and youth led by rail workers striking against the plans by president Macron to privatise the railways as part of his war to smash up state-owned companies and destroy the employment rights of French workers. There can be no doubt that Macron’s war against the working class, a war dictated by the EU central bank which is demanding huge austerity attacks to keep the sinking eurozone from going under completely, is revolutionising the entire working class of France.
This can be seen in the massive support that railway workers, engaged in three months of rolling anti-government strikes, have received from the public who have donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to support the strikers. At the same time, students across France are occupying universities to defend the principle of free education and in solidarity with workers fighting the Macron government.
Yesterday, the brutal French riot police were unleashed to clear out these occupations, raising the spectre of the 1968 May/June uprising when riot police stormed students occupying the Sorbonne and the French workers responded with a general strike that brought down the government of Charles de Gaulle, bringing the country to the brink of revolution.
Today is not just a re-run of 1968; then capitalism internationally still had some residual strength. Today it is a bankrupt system that cannot afford to make any compromises in the class war to impose its historic crisis on the backs of every single worker and young person across the continent.
The capitalist class cannot back down and neither can the working class.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech before the European Parliament this morning left ordinary people standing out in the cold. Reacting to Macron’s performance, SP [Dutch Socialist Party] Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: ´Macron’s huge panoramas are well-known, but he behaves like a giant with feet of clay. While he is creating chaos in France with his diehard neoliberal policies, he expects the European Union to stand by him. France’s parliament, the Assemblée Nationale, which is the body closest to the country’s citizens, is shoved aside by means of presidential decrees, while the institution which is furthest away from ordinary people, the EU, is supposed to restore democracy. That’s completely beyond belief’: here.
MACRON URGES TRUMP TO ESTABLISH PERMANENT BASES IN SYRIA: here.
French president calls for new Indo-Pacific “axis” against China: here.