The ground is shifting

This is doing the rounds, “In a hole and still digging: the left and Brexit“, it’s quite long and I summarise it as follows,

The extra Parliamentary Left, unlike in the 70’s is now not strong enough to be relevant; Brexit is a right wing project and the Left cannot sustain the space to make Lexit any different from the right’s project. The long look at the psephology proves that Leave’s ideology is not hegemonic amongst the proletariat/working class and that the Leave vote is not part of the downtrodden masses waiting for the lightening bolt of revolutionary consciousness to strike. Opposition to Brexit is growing, and by sticking with the Lexit position, Lexiters isolate themselves from this growing population. A no deal, or May’s Deal, Brexit will be shit, all who eased its path are going to be blamed including the leadership of the Labour Party if that’s where it is seen to stay.

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Newly in the public domain

Today is a great day; in the USA, works written/created in 1922 become available under the public domain as the 1970’s extension laws durations expire. This is recorded by Ars Technica, in an article entitled, Mickey Mouse and Batman will soon be public domain—here’s what that means. This headline is misleading since these properties won’t become PD until the 2030s. Don’t quite get the maths myself since the international treaties talk of 70 year durations and this looks like 95 years but we do know that this was an exercise in corrupt lobbying power but it would seem that “I’ve got you Babe”, written by the Congressional sponsor of the second extension law, yup, they did it twice, expires in 2060; don’t think I’ll be around to enjoy it for free. What a greedy twat!

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In Canada, on copyright

Torrentfreak, always worth a read, highlights a debate in Canada where they propose to lengthen copyright duration to the Berne treaty maximum. Bryan Adams, for those of us who remember him argues that long copyright duration benefits intermediaries and distributors, not creators. TF notes that the Canadian law proposes that the creator’s estate can revoke a copyright grant at 25 years after the death of the author and suggests that this should be at 25 years after the initial grant. Sadly unlikely to happen. Very similar to my proposal to Top of the Manifestos at #lab13.

What brought him to my attention! …

Provocation

So much Brexit/Lexit shite in my time line and I have to cook a Xmas lunch and begin my submission to #LewishamDemocracy review. But I have to react …

Someone has circulated the Sqwawkbox Lexit piece on a forum/group that I read, and I feel I need to say:

  1. Leaving the EU would be a bad thing economically partly because of the tougher immigration policy and I think we know who’d get the smelly end of the stick, you might think it can’t get worse but you’re wrong.
  2. Leaving the EU would diminish our rights because we can no longer go to the European Court to enforce our workers, consumer, privacy, civil & environmental rights.
  3. Remaining in the EU would not stop Labour’s 2017 manifesto, not on macro-economic policy, monetary policy nor on industrial policy because of our opt-outs.
  4. The rest of the Lexit case is triangulation.(“We’ll lose seats in the North (of England).”, it’s the same argument that led to our shameful “Control Immigration” mug.)
  5. There are some Labour members/supporters who oppose a 2nd vote out of loyalty to the Leader; arguing for remain, giving good advice, is not disloyal and the majority of the Party, and its voters want to remain. Some Labour remainers may want a different leader, I don’t.
  6. The remainer’s fear is that the Party’s policy will be/has been captured and set by advisers with no mandate and that their i.e. remainer’s views will be for some reason ignored. This would be both anti-democratic and disastrous for the Left.
  7. Don’t get into a list of those you don’t like who support remain, you’ll lose; my list of undeniable shits and criminals supporting Brexit is longer. Play the ball, not the player.

I have always argued that once those who want to leave have negotiated their best deal, we should ask if that is what is wanted. I am told that it has to be a referendum, I’d take a vote in Parliament because we have already had a General Election since the referendum.

ooOOOoo …

Democracy in the EU and the Trilemma

While writing up the last article, I also looked at “Labour’s Brexit trilemma: in search of the least bad outcome” on the Open Democracy web site. It refers to Rodrik’s trilemma., which was designed to examine the Bretton Woods currency regulations and the international trade regime it spawned.  I have marked up the first of these article with what I think are the interesting bits on diigo which can be viewed here. The OD article adopts the trilemma and sees a Lexit option as maximising (national) democracy and national control of economic policy and poses it against a “remain and reform” position which it argues maximises economic integration.

My biggest problem with the trilemma, which was designed to describe the Bretton Woods global currency regime is that it seems to believe that the UK’s democracy is superior to that of the EU. Within the EU, British Citizens are protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU’s Court, which as I an others have mentioned is chock full of the children of the opponents of fascism and Stalinism. It is also a republican construct without a House of Lords, without First Past the Post and without a hereditary Head of State. The people elect the European Parliament, the biggest party in the Parliament nominates the President of the Commission, the members of the Council and Commission are nominated by member state governments and the latter are confirmed and can be removed by the Parliament.

The Open Democracy article, also asks some tough questions of the Lexiters, not the least important being what makes you think that a more independent UK can manage Capital and the economy more effectively; it is clear that the Bexiters in the Tory Party don’t believe this. It also points the impossibility of being independent; the WTO places constraints on Trade Policy and if we want to sign a Trade Agreement with the EU, most of their same red lines will exist. …

What is to be done by Labour on Brexit

Back to Brexit, I had reason to write this somewhere else, and decided to share it here.

There is not a consensus within the Labour Party on remain because some who seem to want to leave on any terms will not accept that within the party they are in a tiny minority. The agreed position of the Labour Party is Composite 5/18, which says we reject any deal that does not meet the 6 tests. We seek to bring down the government and win a general election and otherwise all options including a public vote which offers remain are on the table. Despite the attempts of some to smear the supporters of a 2nd mandate as rump new Labour, there were over 100 motions at conference calling for a people’s vote. That is the popular will of the masses, not the result of a tiny caucus’s manipulation.

It would be easily possible to argue as an election manifesto promise that we would seek to negotiate a better deal and then put that to the people i.e. repeat Harold Wilson strategy. This would unite us all except those who want to leave on any terms and hide behind a bogus loyalty to the leadership; most of whom seem unwilling to use a 2nd mandate as a means of escaping the shitstorm we’re in. They are going to look pretty stupid when the Party finally decides that remain is better than the deal on the table.

It is unacceptable that a tiny minority of the party, many of whom have no elected mandate seek to capture it and hold it hostage to a so-called Lexit position and collude with the Tory Government in running the clock down.

There is no principle in arguing that we should remain ambiguous on this issue for reasons of electoral strategy, examined here at statsforlefties; I’d have thought that we have all learnt that we need to take a principled stand by Labour’s actions on the 2014 immigration act where most of the PLP followed a whip to abstain FFS. 😣

ooOOOoo …

Politics as a Platform. Not!

In an article on Open Democracy, entitled “Digital parties on the rise: a mass politics for the era of platforms”, Paulo Gerbaudo writes of the growth of Politics as a Platform based on ideas from his new book Digital Parties: Political Organisation and Online Democracy The article’s subtitle is,

The old party system appears in serious distress, faced with challengers using digital technology as a means to achieve the utopian goal of a more democratic society.

I suggest that if you read it, read it carefully, the call outs/subtitles are very suggestive that the adoption of digital populism is the inexorable reason for the new parties’ success and it is a service to identify this as a trend but it misses the structural politics and other reasons for the decline in historic parties is glossed over, and he ends with criticism of Politics as a Platform with which I agree. He concludes,

It is true that these parties offer a new model of mass participation that is very effective and could be geared towards progressive ends. However, their digital democracy has so far mostly proven a sham, with participatory platforms being used more a site where the leadership constantly checks and verifies its consensus, rather than a space for authentic decision-making and pluralism.

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Reinforcing Monopoly

Hereby are two stories about how software acts as a barrier to entry to a market and reinforces the monopoly power of its provider.

The first is shown by the fact that industrial content are getting cold feet over the EU copyright directive as the service providers have switched to supporting Article 13 since they already have the so-called “upload filters”. Only the big boys will be able to remain in the game of hosting user authored content. As predicted, the new regulations will inhibit both startups and SMEs.

The second story is closer to home. The UK have decided to mandate age verification functionality for porn sites. Who do you think is going to build that? Alec Muffet and the Open Rights Group have been tracking this and even if you think it’s a good idea, they way it’s being done is disastrous. The BBFC is the regulator and this is a massive piece of scope creep, it looks like they will licence a third party to act as the software provider and again the favourites to win this business is an interested party. Alec’s latest blog post is on Medium and is critical of the regulator’s stance and IT Security expertise and he previously wrote about the competitive dynamics and opportunities created by the new laws. Muffet is also concerned about the profiling use of such a database of porn users. It’s almost back to the days of the Roman Empire where monopolies were licensed. …