Britain

El martes pasado, una fuente anónima filtró el borrador del manifiesto del Partido Laborista para las próximas elecciones generales del 8 de junio, sin duda el manifiesto más valiente y a la izquierda que el Partido Laborista haya defendido en décadas. Las promesas abarcan desde la renacionalización del Royal Mail (la antigua empresa estatal de correos) hasta la restauración de los derechos sindicales y la construcción de 100.000 viviendas municipales al año.

On Tuesday, an anonymous source leaked the Labour Party’s draft manifesto for the upcoming general election - without doubt the boldest and most left-wing manifesto that Labour has stood on in decades. Pledges cover everything from the renationalisation of Royal Mail, to restoring trade union rights and building 100,000 council houses a year.

“Marx is back in fashion.” So says the London Evening Standard (editor: George Osborne!) as the “sexy socialists” push Karl Marx and Das Kapital back into the limelight.

The annual analysis of the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain by the Sunday Times has been completed once again. The results are shocking, but unsurprising.

Their combined wealth has now reached £658 billion (a rise of 14% since the review last year), which makes it greater than the combined wealth of the poorest 40% of Britons.

In a confident anti-establishment speech in Whitechapel on April 29, Corbyn launched the Labour Party’s slogan for the upcoming general election. In spite of (or perhaps because of) another week of more-or-less open sabotage by current and former Labour Party grandees, the Labour Party election campaign has generated a lot of enthusiasm. An estimated 200,000 activists participated in some form or another in the Labour Party campaign this last weekend.

With the triggering of Article 50 and an upcoming general election to be fought primarily over the issue of Brexit, there has been much debate about Labour’s position on this key question and how it and the wider labour movement should respond to the Tories’ Brexit plan.

“En este momento de enorme importancia nacional debería haber unidad en Westminster, pero en cambio hay división. El país se está uniendo, pero Westminster no”. Con estas palabras, la primera ministra Tory, Theresa May, anunció elecciones generales anticipadas para el 8 de junio y pidió unidad política para afrontar el “divorcio” del Reino Unido con la UE.

Although initially written in December last year (and therefore already overtaken in places by new events and developments, most notably the announcement of the general election), this document written by Socialist Appeal provides an analysis of the main processes affecting British politics and society, as well as outlining the fundamental contradictions facing the ruling class and leaders of the labour movement. It is clear that the current political period in Britain is incredibly intense, and that a radical analysis and perspective is needed more than ever before.

“In questo momento di enorme importanza nazionale ci dovrebbe essere una spinta all’unità qui a Westminster, ma invece c’è divisione. Il paese sta serrando le fila, Westminster no.” Con queste parole il primo ministro Tory, Theresa May, ha annunciato elezioni politiche anticipate per l’8 giugno prossimo e ha chiesto un mandato diretto per traghettare il Regno Unito verso la Brexit, il divorzio con l’UE.

With Article 50 triggered and Britain now formally starting the process of leaving the EU, the gloves have come off. According to Theresa May, this is “the moment for the country to come together”. But the country has never been so divided.

Ken Livingstone’s suspension from standing for office or representing the Labour Party for a further year for “bringing the party into disrepute” has provoked a cacophony of protests from the party’s right wing, all demanding his immediate expulsion.

It is deeply ironic that those who have spent years ignoring the working class and trying to break the link between the trade unions and the Labour Party should now be taking such an intense interest in the future of Britain’s biggest union, Unite. And yet this is precisely what is happening at present, with the Blairite wing of the Labour Party going into overdrive in their attempts to kick out the incumbent, Len McCluskey, as ballots for the Unite leadership election arrive through the letterboxes of the union’s 1.4 million members.

The die is cast. In her letter, hand-delivered this afternoon to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Theresa May has announced the beginning of Brexit negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, marking a point of no return for both British and European capitalism.

Four people have been killed and at least 20 injured in what the police are describing as a “terrorist incident” this afternoon in central London. Shortly after 2pm, a man drove a vehicle into pedestrians at Westminster Bridge before crashing it against the fences of Parliament and then entering the complex wielding a knife. He stabbed a police officer before being shot by other officers. Those killed are the attacker, one police officer and two pedestrians. The House of Commons was put on lockdown.

Last weekend, 17-19th March, saw the Marxists in Britain take a momentous step forward at the national conference of Socialist Appeal activists and supporters in London.

Nicola Sturgeon this week finally delivered the speech that had seemed almost inevitable ever since the Brexit vote in June last year. By announcing her intention to seek a second independence referendum, Sturgeon has started a political storm that will likely rage on - at the very least - until any referendum takes place.

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor and veteran of the Labour Left, has warned of a "soft coup" being orchestrated to undermine Corbyn's Labour leadership. Owen Jones, meanwhile, has called on Corbyn to stand down and "do a deal" with the Blairites in order to pass on the baton to a left successor. The only way forward for the Left, however, is to boldly go on the offensive.

Britain - Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring Budget was presented by the media as something of a non-event – unless you happened to be poor, reliant on public services, or self-employed on a zero-hours contract that is.

Under the former coalition government and now the Tories, a swathe of brutal cuts and closures has been sweeping the country. And this blight is set to continue. “To eliminate the deficit”, states the Financial Times, the mouthpiece of big business, “Mr Hammond [the Tory Chancellor] will need to extend austerity well into the next decade.” (FT, 20/2/17)