Britain

Today is the 200th anniversary of what has gone down in history as the Peterloo Massacre. This is one date that the ruling class has little desire to remember. Even now, two centuries on, a reminder of the bloodshed and violence associated with the history of British capitalism will be uncomfortable for the establishment.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson took his place in 10 Downing Street as the latest Prime Minister of Britain. His premiership will be characterised by deep crises and intense class struggles.

The Conservative and Unionist Party is in the midst of a monumental crisis. This is more than raised voices and red wine on the sofa – this is an existential crisis that threatens to tear the party apart.

The crisis unfolding within the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) is reaching a critical phase, and a deep split is now imminent. The Spanish group of the CWI, Izquierda Revolucionaria, which only joined the CWI in 2017, has already split away and what remains of the Mexican and Venezuelan groups have followed suit. The Portuguese group has also left. To help readers understand what is happening, we take this opportunity to publish two opposition documents from 1991 and 1992, when a heated dispute took place within the Militant Tendency in Britain over the question of the internal regime.

On 12 June, the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid certified the request from the US to extradite Julian Assange for allegations of hacking and sharing classified American government documents. We wholeheartedly oppose his extradition and defend Assange’s freedom of speech.

When Theresa May made a tearful resignation announcement in front of Downing Street recently, many posts on social media went viral speaking about the lack of tears from the Prime Minister over Grenfell. In any case, Grenfell families wouldn’t have been comforted by any tears then, and they certainly won’t be now. They want justice.

In Britain, all eyes are currently on the Tory leadership contest. But another – far less publicised – race is currently taking place at the same time: that to replace Vince Cable as leader of the Liberal Democrats, who are enjoying something of a revival.

The Labour right wing were fully expecting and hoping for the party to lose a key by-election in Peterborough last week. This constituency voted strongly to leave the European Union, and the press had hyped up Nigel Farage's right-wing Brexit Party, which everybody expected to win the seat. This would've given a boost to the Blairite plotters and Farage's hard-Brexiteer outfit. But on the day, Labour defied expectations and won with an increased majority. Originally published at Socialist Appeal on 7 June.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, comments on President Trump's recent state visit to Britain. With Theresa May stepping down, Tory leadership contenders have made a lot of noise about how Britain will 'reclaim sovereignty' and 'take back control' after Brexit. But the events surrounding Trump's visit expose this as a complete charade. Far from achieving a favourable trade deal with the USA, the Tory government is preparing the ground for American big business to sweep in and pick at whatever scraps are left of the British economy after Brexit.

As expected, the European elections saw a huge victory for the Brexit Party, which took 32 percent of the vote in Britain. This clearly reflects the frustrations of many people about the paralysis in Parliament and the failure of politicians to agree on a path for Britain’s departure from the EU.

After three years of can kicking, Theresa May has finally run out of road. Giving a teary-eyed speech in front of Number 10 this morning, the Prime Minister announced that she would step down on 7 June. The race to succeed her will begin the following week. Then the fireworks will really begin.

Things are getting desperate, even excruciating. The Tory agony seems to have no end. Theresa May is clinging to office by her finger tips, hoping to last out until the end of October, or maybe even longer. However, the longer she bunkers down, the greater the disaster for the Tory Party.

It has been a shaky start for Change UK – the Independent Group, in Britain. Impressive early polling figures for the new "centre ground" party suggested it would take 15 percentage points and a few seats off Labour, thereby robbing Corbyn of a general election victory. But despite this strong initial push, it all seems to have gone horribly wrong. This should come as no surprise. Change UK represents the failed politics of the past.

Local elections took place in Britain on 2 May, in which nearly 9,000 seats across over 250 councils were being contested. They told a story of anger, apathy, and disillusionment. The Tories are clearly in crisis. The unholy alliance of the media and the Blairites have used the opportunity to further their campaign to sabotage the chances of Labour coming to power. Corbyn has tried to bring the focus away from Brexit and towards class issues. This is the best way forward.

Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching the UK Bail Act. One year is the maximum sentence permitted for bail evasions. He will serve out his time in Belmarsh maximum security prison.

Alan Woods discusses the battle in the Labour Party over the question of a second referendum on Britain's EU membership. The Tories are torn apart over Brexit, yet rather than uniting behind their party leader, right-wing Labour MPs are putting their energies into attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Sooner or later, judgement day will come for Theresa May, and the opportunity for Corbyn’s Labour to form a government will present itself. But how will Corbyn deal with the wreckers in his ranks, and the question of the EU?