The Labour right wing have shown that they are ruthless in their aim of purging the left. The leaders of the Corbyn movement must show equal determination and resolve. We need a fighting leadership, armed with a bold socialist programme.
The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party has effectively unleashed the attack dogs of capitalism. It marks the opening of a new ruthless stage in Labour’s internal civil war.
The right wing is over the moon about Keir Starmer’s bold actions. Margaret Hodge has rushed around the TV studios gushing with enthusiasm at the removal of Corbyn. Alastair Campbell, the arch Blairite and cynic, said he was “shocked” by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report – as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.
These gangsters have done everything to discredit Corbyn over the past five years. One shadow cabinet member described this latest move as Starmer’s “Clause 4 moment” – a reference to Tony Blair’s scandalous attack on Labour’s socialist aims and values.
The comparison is true: both were instructions from the ruling class to their agents in the Labour Party.
This struggle by the right wing is all about making the Labour Party a safe tool for capitalism. This is what is behind the removal of Corbyn. Now the right wingers are in the saddle, they intend to clear out the left. But Tony Blair himself stated that to make the Labour Party “safe” would require driving out 300,000 members! This means a bloody purge.
It is a shame that when the left leaders were in control, they were not prepared to act in the same ruthless and determined manner, in the interests of socialism and the working class. Unfortunately, instead, they acted as a brake.
This drastic action by Starmer was clearly a preconceived plan by the right wing to drive out the Corbyn-supporting rank and file. As soon as the EHRC report was released, Starmer seized the opportunity to tighten the screw on the left. Anyone questioning the scale of anti-semitism in the party, or the recommendations of the EHRC report, is now faced with the threat of expulsion.
This is an attack on party democracy and the freedom of debate. An instruction has gone out from David Evans, the general secretary, clamping down on discussion in local parties. We cannot tolerate this attempt to impose control on Labour members.
Starmer’s mission is to restore the Labour Party firmly into the hands of the right wing, who are open agents of capitalism. These right-wing infiltrators act decisively and ruthlessly, knowing that they have the full support of the capitalist establishment, the press, and the ruling class generally.
The Blairite right wing have been engaged in an open war against Corbyn and the Corbyn movement ever since 2015: sabotaging general election campaigns; undermining the leadership at every turn; and whipping up the issue of anti-semitism to attack the left.
They have appeared in the media on a daily basis to attack Corbyn. Whilst he was leader, they were clearly operating as a Fifth Column. For example, officials in Labour HQ were deliberately sidelining cases of anti-semitism so that Corbyn would get the blame. This was all revealed in the leaked report, detailing this sabotage. But nothing was done against the traitors.
This report should have been released long ago, not after Corbyn had resigned. Then the culprits could have been dealt with. This is a gross failing of the left leaders, who did not want to rock the boat. But this simply played into the hands of the right wing.
‘Safe pair of hands’
Following Labour’s defeat in the December general election, the right wing got their way in forcing Corbyn to step down. Starmer became their standard bearer, elected on a promise of ‘unity’. But this pledge was quickly thrown out of the window, and he acted swiftly to remove the lefts from the shadow cabinet, before getting rid of Rebecca Long Bailey.
Starmer’s aim was – and is – to ingratiate himself with the ruling class, and prove to the establishment that he is a ‘safe pair of hands’. His groveling ‘constructive’ opposition to the Johnson government was part of this plan.
The suspension of Corbyn is a further signal to the ruling class that his leadership is now in their pocket.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite the Union, said that this action by Starmer threatened the electoral chances of a future Labour government. But the right wing are not concerned about this. Their aim is to do the bidding of big business.
This raises the question of the growing splits and divisions within the Tory government, which is going from bad to worse. The issue of a coalition government has been posed by right-wing commentators. At a certain point, the ruling class may push for this option, and Starmer would no doubt jump at the possibility.
But for the establishment to allow this, the left wing must first be silenced or driven out of the Labour Party. This is certainly part of the right wing’s calculations.
Faced with the present onslaught of the right, the left needs to step up to the mark. The left must not prevaricate and dither, but must take a firm stand and go on the offensive.
Some on the left have been as weak as dishwater and are running for cover. If it were purely down to these people, there would be a rout. It was reported that five members of the Socialist Campaign Group were critical of Corbyn for publicly defending himself. Others are still parroting the need for party ‘unity’, even when the right wing are sharpening their knives.
The best form of defence is attack. The left should be actively mobilising the membership against the right wing. Protests against these attacks should be raised in all Labour parties and trade unions. Grassroots members should disregard the bureaucratic rules imposed by the general secretary to stifle discussion and dissent.
The call should be made for an immediate emergency NEC meeting to overturn Corbyn’s suspension. There should be motions of no confidence in the Starmer leadership. The Labour Party – including the MPs and the shadow cabinet – should be inundated with protests. Let them feel the fire under their backsides! Let them see the angry mood that exists!
If all else fails, the leaders of the Corbyn movement should demand an emergency recall conference to debate this whole question. The left trade union leaders have the power in their hands to bring this about.
Unfortunately, the track record of the Labour left has been woefully inadequate. This also applies to the ‘left’ trade union leaders. In the face of vicious attacks from the right, they have fallen over themselves to call for ‘unity’, even whilst being stabbed in the back.
The left leaders deliberately blocked bringing back Clause 4 – our commitment to socialism – at the 2019 Labour Party conference. Meanwhile, rank-and-file delegates were overwhelmingly in favour. “The time was not right,” they pleaded. “Don’t rock the boat.”
Similarly, a year earlier, we had the opportunity of clearing out these right wing careerists by adopting open selection (or mandatory reselection). But again, the left leaders and trade unions blocked the move.
They were determined to maintain ‘unity’ with the right wing. But now, given their prevarication and weakness, they have lost the opportunity. In reality, by thwarting attempts to bring in open selection, they signed Jeremy Corbyn’s death warrant.
The trade unions control the Labour Party, with 50% of the vote at Labour conference. Unite dominates the union bloc.
In fact, Unite were mandated to vote for open selection, following a decision at their own policy conference in 2016. But they broke this mandate and ordered their delegates at the 2018 Labour conference to vote against open selection. Now we are paying the price for such cowardice.
Let us call a shovel a shovel. They are responsible in allowing the right wing to get away with murder. They should have come out fighting over the blown-up allegations over anti-semitism. But they failed to do so. And, as we know, weakness invites aggression.
This softness and conciliation arises from their weak politics. At best, the left leaders pay lip service to socialism. In reality, they have no belief in the idea.
They think instead they can reform capitalism through Keynesianism measures and by tinkering with the system. In other words, they accept capitalism and therefore make political compromises.
Their woolly politics lead directly to a lack of courage and determination in the fight with the right wing. This contrasts with the ruthlessness of the right wing, backed to the hilt by the capitalist establishment.
We need to learn these lessons. What we really need are determined class fighters at the head of the labour and trade union movement – leaders who have no illusions in capitalism, but who will instead fight to change society and introduce socialism.
This means no compromises with capitalism or its representatives. We do not want a ‘broad church’, but a real fighting socialist Labour Party, prepared to go to the end.
We urge the Labour lefts to stand up and fight. But we also see the need to build a powerful Marxist tendency to provide a backbone to this struggle; a leadership who will not compromise with the class enemy.
Capitalism is in a deep crisis. An avalanche of attacks is coming. Class struggle is on the order of the day. All hell is going to break loose. Everything is going to be turned upside down.
We must clear out the careerists and rid ourselves of the right-wing apologists of capitalism who want to bind us to this rotten system. We need a root and branch transformation and to arm the labour movement with a bold socialist programme that will do away with capitalism.
Fight the right wing offensive! Reinstate Corbyn!
Drive out the careerists! For a bold socialist programme!
Build the forces of Marxism!