Jeremy Corbyn, now official British Labour leader candidate


This 26 July 2010 video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn MP – Stop the War CoalitionAfghanistan Time to GO!

By Luke James in Britain:

Sign up to vote left

Tuesday 16th June 2015

Late push secures Corbyn’s place in the race but his team urges social media socialists to make their support count

THE SOCIAL media socialists who helped Jeremy Corbyn into the race for Labour leader must sign up as party supporters and vote for the left candidate.

That was the call from the Corbyn campaign team after the Islington MP secured his place on the ballot paper at the 11th hour yesterday.

Mr Corbyn doubled his number of nominations in a single day, leaping from 18 supporters to 36.

The late rush of support, which left him just five nominations behind Blairite candidate Liz Kendall, came after cyber campaigners piled pressure on MPs over the weekend.

Speaking moments after reaching the total, Mr Corbyn paid tribute to the grassroots campaign.

“I am on the ballot paper as a result of the massive campaign by Labour Party members and supporters across the country urging MPs to vote for democracy,” he said.

An energetic online campaign in support of Mr Corbyn saw his 19,000-strong Facebook group dwarf that of rivals Andy Burnham, Yvetter Cooper or Ms Kendall.

By now, there are 22.832 ‘likes’ at the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader Facebook page.

Activists sent hundreds of emails and letters to Labour MPs calling on them to nominate Mr Corbyn and ensure a broad debate about the party’s future.

More than 7,500 people also signed a Change.org petition demanding Mr Corbyn’s inclusion.

Now Mr Corbyn’s team has called on the cyber campaigners to sign up as supporters and ensure “all this energy and power is translated into votes.”

Changes to Labour’s structure made by former leader Ed Miliband last year mean people who do not want to join the party as full members can join as “registered supporters” for £3.

Members of affiliated trade unions sign up as “affiliated supporters” for the same price.

And now Mr Corbyn is on the ballot paper, the new one member, one vote system means supporters will have as much of a say over the leadership as any MP.

Campaign for Labour Party Democracy spokesman Jon Lansman, who supports Mr Corbyn, said they could have a “profound effect” on the result.

He told the Star: “I think we will see lots of people joining up to back Jeremy.

“There are an awful lot of people out there who have been disillusioned for years, who maybe used to be members of the party who will rejoin in some way.”

Countless people have already responded to the call on Mr Corbyn’s Facebook page.

Sheila Coombes wrote: “Have never been a member of a political party, but have just joined solely to get Jeremy Corbyn in as Labour leader.”

Steve Kimberly added: “Just signed up as a supporter. At last there’s a chink of light for the party that I have despaired for these last many years since I resigned my membership.”

The deadline for joining as a registered or affiliated supporter in order to vote is noon on August 12.

Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Mr Corbyn becoming leader, which are now as short as 14/1.

By comedian Frankie Boyle today:

Jeremy Corbyn did scrape together enough nominations to stand, causing the left of the party to get quite excited that it is still allowed to lose. One of the few decent politicians remaining in the Labour party, he reminds me of those old drinkers you see haunting a new bar because they used to go to the pub that was there before.

Much of the contest so far has involved the candidates fretting about how the party can be more pro-business. It is not even clear what they mean by this word “business”. Are they worried about small businesses that care about being able to borrow money; manufacturing businesses that care about high growth; transnational businesses that care about you taking your tax bill and shoving it up your arse; or the banking business, which doesn’t care whether anybody lives or dies but would like a lot of hot Russian mafia money to flash about the dying nervous system of the finance industry as though we’re treating Aids with cocaine? Obviously, those are all interests that sometimes oppose each other in various ways. I’m reduced to imagining that “pro-business” is simply a rhetorical code for “rightwing”, and that we are watching leadership contenders wonder aloud whether they are being rightwing enough.

Will innocent Guantanamo prisoner be free at last?


This music video about the Guantanamo Bay camp is the song We Are America by Esperanza Spalding from the USA.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Shaker Aamer could be weeks from freedom

Thursday 28th May 2015

Last Briton in Guantanamo gets scent of home

THE last British prisoner in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp could be released within weeks, it was revealed yesterday.

Shaker Aamer, whose wife and four children live in Battersea in London, has been unlawfully held in the United States’ camp in Cuba for 14 years after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2001.

His release was authorised by US authorities seven years ago, but he has remained in Guantanamo.

A cross-party delegation of MPs including Jeremy Corbyn and David Davis travelled to Washington on Monday to lobby President Barack Obama to finally release him.

In a BBC interview, Mr Aamer’s solicitor Clive Stafford Smith said that US government officials have told him Mr Aamer is going to be released in June.

However, a Reprieve spokeswoman told the Star that Mr Stafford Smith “did caveat what he said quite heavily — there have been positive noises and we are optimistic, but there’s no confirmation or timeline or anything like that.”

Mr Obama pledged to close the camp, which still holds 57 prisoners, in his 2008 presidential campaign.

Mr Aamer has never been charged with any offence or stood trial. He has suffered ill health through his detention and treatment at the hands of his US military captors, and has never met his last-born child.

When he was arrested in 2001, US authorities alleged he had led a unit of Taliban fighters and met former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

But Mr Aamer has maintained throughout his imprisonment that he was in Afghanistan with his family doing charity work.

Mr Stafford Smith praised campaigners around the world, and particularly in Britain, for their actions demanding the release of Mr Aamer.

Earlier this month, as reported in the Morning Star, one volunteer spent 14 hours locked in a cage in Trafalgar Square — one hour for each year of Mr Aamer’s incarceration.

Mr Stafford Smith said: “So many people have done so many great things to help him and I think that’s had a great impact.”

Militarism and anti-militarism in Britain


This 2012 video from the USA is called Network XMilitarism in the Schools: Counter-Recruitment Conference. It says about itself:

Network X – 02/03/00 – Guests – Mario Hardy, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Asif Ullah, War Resisters League, Michaelle Jacobson, Seattle Teacher and Activist.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

Timely antidote to pro-war propaganda

Monday 27th April 2015

Spectacle, Reality, Resistance: Confronting a Culture of Militarism by David Gee (Forces Watch, £7)

ARMED Forces Day. Help for Heroes. The government’s Troops to Teachers programme. The media frenzy around the military funeral repatriations in Wootton Bassett. Girl band The Saturdays opening the Poppy Appeal.

It’s clear that we are in the midst of a resurgence of militarism in Britain.

The government presents these pro-military schemes as an attempt to encourage understanding and appreciation for the armed forces. But, with a 2008 Mori poll finding 81 per cent of the British public already view the military favourably, David Gee, co-founder of the activist organisation Forces Watch, is unconvinced.

Rather, he argues these recent policy initiatives are a direct response to the public’s increasing opposition to an aggressive foreign policy, in particular the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2009 the Chief of Defence Staff Jock Stirrup claimed that the Taliban’s roadside bombs were less of a threat to troops’ morale than the “declining will” among the public to support the war.

Tellingly, Stirrup added: “Support for our service men and women is indivisible from support for this mission.”

Unusually for a peace activist, Gee spends time looking at the role of popular culture, quoting cultural theorists like Guy Debord, Levi-Strauss and Slavoj Zizek.

He has a particular interest in Hollywood and how films with “violent romance quests” at their heart encourage audiences to form a positive view of the military and regenerative violence.

But while he notes that research shows war films as a key influence on British infantry recruits’ decision to enlist, he also explains how films like Avatar and The Hunger Games provide dissenting narratives.

Formed in 2011, Veterans for Peace UK is also working to counter pro-war propaganda, sending former soldiers into schools to teach children about the reality of war. “Simply put, we ought to know what war is, at the very least, before deciding whether or not to lend its support,” argues Gee.

While the parliamentary defeat for the government on their proposed attack on Syria was a huge victory for the anti-war movement, Gee is fully aware of the power disparity between the resistance and the Establishment.

“It might have failed to win our support for its recent wars but the government’s power to elicit public compliance and shape social culture through the education system, the media, and legislation is prodigious,” he notes.

Spectacle, Reality, Resistance is a short book but it’s important in inspiring anyone interested in exploring the increasing militarisation of society and learning about those opposing it.

British government loves wars, hates refugees from those wars


This video from London, England says about itself:

Libya: Stop the War Coaliton protest at Downing Street 19.04.11

As Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama escalated the attack on Libya to a regime-change war, Stop the War Coalition joined with CND and War on Want to protest at Downing Street, London, calling on the British government to end its bombing campaign. Video by Anupam Pradhan and Keith Halstead.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Bishop says Britain has a moral duty to accept refugees from its wars

Rt Rev David Walker, bishop of Manchester, says it is ‘unworthy’ for politicians to label displaced migrants as criminals, and country should take in ‘fair share’

Mark Townsend

Saturday 25 April 2015 20.33 BST

One of the country’s most senior bishops has said that Britain has a moral imperative to accept refugees from conflicts in which it has participated.

After a week in which the death toll of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe grew to 1,700 so far this year, the bishop of Manchester, David Walker, said there was a duty to treat the survivors with compassion.

In a piece for the Observer published online, he writes: “They are pushed, not pulled, towards the EU, forced out of their homelands by war, terrorism and the persecution of minorities. A political rhetoric that characterises them as wilful criminals rather than helpless victims is as unworthy as it is untrue.”

The UK’s pivotal role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq prompted a sectarian war that the UN said had forced two million Iraqis to flee the country, an involvement that ran alongside the 13-year Afghanistan war and was followed by the 2011 attacks on Libya, both of which precipitated significant regional instability and migration.

According to the UN Refugee Agency in 2013, one in four refugees was Afghan, although most were in neighbouring countries, while the ongoing instability in Libya was credited with making the north African state a haven for people smugglers.

Walker writes: “The moral cost of our continual overseas interventions has to include accepting a fair share of the victims of the wars to which we have contributed as legitimate refugees in our own land.

“I want my country to be governed by those who are prepared to look at the faces of the desperate, be it the desperation of the asylum seeker or of the food bank client, and to look at them with compassion.”

He also criticised the language of mainstream parties on issues such as immigration and suggested that politics needed a new moral compass in the context of the growing number of deaths in the Mediterranean. “I want my political representatives to show they have values beyond expediency and appeal to the muddled middle. Only such politicians will I trust with the wellbeing of my family, my community and my nation.”

Despite the huge numbers of migrants heading north, only 5,000 resettlement places across Europe have been offered to refugees under an emergency summit crisis package agreed by EU leaders, with the rest sent back as irregular migrants under a new rapid-return programme coordinated by the EU’s border agency, Frontex.

“Welcome though it was that European leaders sat down to talk about the situation this week, their conclusions seem more directed at making the symptoms less visible than at tackling the disease,” said Walker.

EU ‘humanitarian’ response to hundreds of migrants drowning – a war on migrants: here.

From Europe, to Asia, to the Americas, the world is witnessing growing numbers of refugees and a corresponding wave of state repression and violence directed at denying them their fundamental democratic rights: here.

THE Easterhouse Baptist Church in Glasgow, which I attend, befriends and is strengthened by local asylum-seekers. It also supports a Baptist couple, David and Ann McFarlane, who are located in Reggio Calabria on the southern tip of Italy. This is a port where boats from Africa and Syria attempt to land refugees. Not all make it and drowned bodies float in. David and Ann join with others to welcome the penniless arrivals and provide food, clothes and shelter: here.