This is a guest post by Howie
With the continuing attacks taking place on the hard won reforms of the NHS, working people’s rights and the welfare state, the Labour Party remains the sole vehicle through which the forward march of the coalition can be halted. As the recent attacks on the father of the Labour leader Ed Miliband shows, the forces of conservatism are ever seeking to undermine the opposition by “any means necessary”.
Ed is to be applauded for standing up to the press over the record of his academic father whose books, regardless of Marxist leanings, were an example of modern democratic thinking within their own time. The Labour Party must maintain this stance and not allow tactics similar to that of the forged Zinoviev letter published back in the twenties to damage the party’s chances at the next election.
At the same time as Labour takes the painful road to modernisation of its politics into the twenty-first century it must not allow the politics of the old and discredited Stalinist era to take a foothold in its roots. The Mail‘s latest wheeze has been to pick up on a story already taken up on this blog and elsewhere about the selection of Andy Newman as a Labour candidate in the moribund Chippenham constituency
The modern voter will not be drawn to a man who speaks of liberty as if it is something to be taken lightly. Yet Andy Newman is a creature of the failed “socialisms” of the past showing his leanings through such bizarre statements as:
If we set to one side the issue of personal liberty, the [Berlin] wall was a great success.’
This represents just one aspect of a political activist who remains part of the anti-democratic far-left through the Socialist Unity website. Here the politics of totalitarianism are still revered, along with much else that the voting public will find distasteful. In a recent edition he uncritically reprints the views of the Chinese Government (one of the great bastions of modern democracy) over the US Government shut down. Frankly though that is the least of the concerns that Ed Miliband should consider from the latest of his candidates.
The thoughts of Newman are Legion.
On trade unions (since he is a member of the GMB, his fellow members should note that he views trade unions as a hindrance to his political ends if they are not in the “right hands” like those Communist controlled ones in Cuba):
It is not unusual for socialist governments to have a tension with trade unions, and to expect the trade unions to prioritise increasing production for the common good, trade unions who impede the advance towards greater equality may clash with the government.
For good measure he doesn’t like other members of the Labour Party being free to express their views either, as Luke Akehurst writes on Labour Lists when comrade Newman spoke of the need to ban Progress:
The trouble with the GMB is that the extremist tail has wagged the moderate dog. The anti-Progress motion was moved by Andy Newman, ex-SWP, ex Respect, stood against Labour as a “Socialist Unity” candidate for Parliament in 2005, only rejoined Labour in 2010.
But when brother Newman moved his motion not one person got up at the GMB Congress to say this is sectarian, extremist nonsense, and to call out his political track record.
Of course Newman’s political record has been volatile in recent years through a seeming transition from the Galloway/SWP Respect Party, of which he was an Executive Council member. This includes an unholy alliance with reactionary clerics. Newman has published a series of articles by extremist writers including those who eulogise the misogynist and anti-Semitic cleric al Qaradawi such as former member of the Workers Revolutionary Party, Bob Pitt.
Newman promotes Pitt’s usual pro-Islamist drivel on Socialist Unity:
…people of faith who wish to accept the scripture, and yet to avoid those parts which nowadays are repugnant have to find circumlocutions.
The traditional historical role of the Islamic law was to raise the evidential bar so high that the sanctions would not be carried out.
There are obvioulsy still highly probematic aspects to these teachings, but there are processes by which religious faiths accomodate to liberalising social mores, and Qaradawi is a liberalising figure within that context.
I see Respect as seeking in a very mature way to use its limited leverage to move forward the whole left.. Andy Newman (November 2009)
Newman’s political stance remains firmly within the Galloway milieu as he writes:
My own characterisation of Respect is that it is a broadly labourist party that gives expression to anti-war and anti-imperialist sentiment that cannot find electoral expression through the Labour Party..
Written in September 2012, some two years after his departure, this shows his “break” with Galloway to be far from complete. He does go on to say they should not have stood against Labour in Manchester (though he would have to say that if he didn’t want to get expelled from the Labour Party) but does not call on them to actually work for a Labour victory, simply implying they have the same interests.
Newman’s blog Socialist Unity clearly acts as a vehicle for the gorgeous one and defends his every twist and turn as he does here over Julian Assange. Disgraceful stuff. But he’s not very progressive or supportive of gay rights either as he muses in a piece about Peter Tatchell in which he repeats Scott Long’s lies that Peter Tatchell used the libel laws to silence his critics. That is wholly untrue, and it was disgraceful that these allegations were repeated on Socialist Unity:
…Scott Long’s article is worth reading for a discussion of the politics of gay rights advocacy groups in the West, who transpose Westernised politics of identity onto other societies, without due regard for the political consequences and human cost.”
Over at Left Futures in April of this year Newman rises to the continued defence of Galloway:
George is a robust politician, and he understands more than most the ruthless nature of the game. It is a contact sport, and the fact that the simplistic, media-created simulacrum of Galloway has become a pariah is not a fair reflection of the real life George Galloway, a man of considerable talent and principle.
Alan A recently blogged here about Socialist Unity’s support for Galloway’s documentary designed to attack the former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Andy Newman is clearly promoting an agenda based on Respect’s politics inside the Labour Party.
The man’s political views are not compatible with that of the modern social democratic party that Labour has become. Ed Milband has acted wisely against the Mail. Now he must take action to prevent the return of the militant types into the ranks of Labour.
Andy Newman is not a suitable candidate for the Labour Party and how someone with his background was so quickly adopted as a candidate should be of concern to the Labour Party leadership.
I’ll leave you with a couple of “Newmanisms” to ponder on whilst you drink your cocoa.
On Chairman Mao:
[I]t is a travesty to paint Mao as a monster like Hitler, which is what Jung and Halliday do. Mao’s government failed to deal effectively with a famine, but they did not do so deliberately, and even with the famine taken into account, overall life expectancy and standards of living rose dramatically during the period of Mao’s rule. Mao never carried out a campaign of mass terror like Joseph Stalin.
It would be foolish to deny that there is a legacy of an ideological support for egalitarianism in Iran, following the influence of Ali Shari’ati in the revolution; and that support for sovereign state independence has allowed Iran to support redistributive social policies that would be outside the Washington consensus.