Fightback: The Task Facing The Socialist Labour Left
The genuine, and feigned, inability on parts of the left to grasp reality has had, and is having, disastrous consequences.
The failure to confront the very grave problems, that socialism faces inside of the Labour movement, inevitably meant, and means, that those problems cannot, and will not, be overcome.
It is this abject failure, to confront the truth, and grapple with the problems that it throws up, that has allowed the right wing to get away with the most outrageous behaviour over the last five years.
They systematically undermined Jeremy Corbyn, to the point where it became obvious, that bringing him down was far more important to these elements than Labour winning the general election.
THE PEOPLE'S VOTE/SECOND REFERENDUM BRIGADE
The pernicious role of the People's Vote campaign, in arguing for a second referendum, fatally undermined Labour, and was clearly the main reason for the December 2019 general election defeat.
Let us never forget the huge role played in that by Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party, including some of the left.
THE CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF JEREMY CORBYN
However the character assassination and sustained pressure on Jeremy, in the right wing and the liberal press, and the sabotage from within the Labour movement itself, also played a major role in the election defeat and the downfall of Jeremy Corbyn.
THE BOGUS ANTISEMITISM SMEAR CAMPAIGN
The bogus antisemitism smear campaign was central to the entire process of undermining Corbyn, attacking his supporters and everything he, and they, stood for.
The weaponisation of antisemitism, to attack the Labour party and Jeremy, was a cynical tactic, based on the most duplicitous, dishonest and outrageous allegations.
At one point in this hysterical campaign, it was even claimed that a Corbyn government, would pose an existential threat to Jewish people in Britain.
PLAYING INTO THE HANDS OF THE RIGHT
Unfortunately, the left's response to that kind of nonsense was so utterly inadequate and pitiful, that the mud began to stick.
Constantly apologising in response to false allegations meant that an almost entirely fabricated and exaggerated campaign began to look like it had some credibility.
In the end its objective of depicting the Labour party and the left, as institutionally antisemitic began to take root.
To a very large extent, the left's false strategy of appeasement and apology facilitated this. To a very large extent, they were architects of their own downfall.
Apologising and appeasing, instead of confronting and calling out the spurious allegations for what they were, proved absolutely disastrous.
It was a woefully inappropriate strategy and gave the right confidence to make ever more outrageous claims.
THE IHRA DEFINITION
Unanimously adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism at the NEC in September 2018 was a key turning point, it was an almost unparalleled act of political cowardice.
It enabled the conflation of legitimate criticism of the Israeli state's oppression of the Palestinian people, with antisemitism.
Without doubt it led to an intensification of both the smear campaign and the witchhunt against the left.
THE SHARP TURN TO THE RIGHT
The general election defeat and the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn led to the election Sir Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party.
Based on duplicity and deceit he managed to convince the majority of voting members that he was the 'unity', candidate.
This in turn has led to a very sharp turn to the right. The manifestation of this has been a ruthless determination to destroy the remnants of Corbynism, and to purge the left from the party.
The right under Starmer want to make clear to the ruling elite, and their establishment, that the Labour party is no longer a threat.
It is safe in their hands, and once again, ‘Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, is precisely that.
A COMPLETE LACK OF OPPOSITION
At a time when there is the most corrupt and incompetent Tory government, led by an absolute buffoon, responsible for tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, there is no effective opposition.
Britain is facing an economic downturn and job losses that will eclipse anything in living memory, the Labour leadership is nowhere to be seen.
It is probably fair to say that we have a Labour opposition that is the weakest in living memory.
In an attempt to appeal to the right, our Knight of the Realm is writing columns in the Daily Mail. He is playing the law and order card and is trying to out-Tory the Tories at every twist and turn.
CONTEMPT FOR BAME MEMBERSHIP
He has shown utter disrespect for Labour's BAME membership. Sir Keir unjustifiably attacked black women MP's, Dianne Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy for speaking at a meeting because two expelled Jewish members were part of the 400+ in attendance.
He treated the Black Lives Matter campaign with utter contempt, describing it as a 'moment', in two television interviews.
He later compounded this insulting behaviour, trying to excuse himself by saying that he had forgotten to prefix the word 'defining'.
It was then announced that he was going to go on an unconscious bias training course.
Adding insult to injury is a phrase that springs to mind.
Sir Keir has also displayed a hostility towards trade unions. His anti-union behaviour first became apparent with his refusal to back the NEU campaign for safety measures to be in place before children returned to school.
The fact that her active support for this campaign was one of the main reasons for Sir Keir's sacking Rebecca Long Bailey from the front bench, was outrageous.
There are those who close their eyes to these realities, however there are countless examples of other hyper-factional behaviour since Sir Keir Starmer became leader.
The appointment of David Evans as general secretary in the first month of taking office.
Changing the method of voting in the NEC elections to ensure that the left are blocked.
Above all else, the determined and ruthless manoeuvring to ensure that the bogus antisemitism smear campaign, and much more besides, was covered up, whitewashed and kicked into the long grass.
From fixing the Forde enquiry into the leaked report, to paying off former employees and issuing a grovelling apology, to avoid a court case, that could have begun to expose the reality of the witchhunt and the smear campaign.
THE BOGUS ANTI SEMITISM SMEAR CAMPAIGN, BASED ON LIES, EXAGGERATION AND DECEIT
But Sir Keir and the right wing have an Achilles heel. Their entire project is based on lies, exaggeration and deceit.
The same lies, exaggeration and deceit that played a central role in getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn.
The lies, exaggeration and deceit that are still being used to clear out the remnants of Corbyn's support.
It is no coincidence that the General Secretary has written to all CLP's instructing that it is forbidden to discuss certain issues.
The out of court settlement, (running into hundreds of thousands of pounds), and the grovelling apology to former employees who were involved in the Panorama programme.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism.
The report of the equality commission inquiry into alleged antisemitism in the Labour party.
Apparently none of these things can be discussed by CLP's, because, in the opinion of the General Secretary, it is not 'competent business'.
Just like the main reasoning behind the out of court settlement itself, the priority is to ensure that the big lie is covered up.
TASKS CONFRONTING US
The tasks facing all serious socialists and genuine trade unionists, have to be recognised and confronted. Refusing to face the truth is no longer an option.
The lies and distortions of the bogus antisemitism smear campaign should be systematically and relentlessly exposed for exactly what they are.
The witchhunt and victimisation of those who have had spurious allegations made against them by unknown accusers must be opposed.
The battle for freedom of speech in the Labour party must be resolutely fought for.
MANIFESTATIONS OF A FIGHTBACK
This could involve financial backing for those taking legal action, having been denied natural justice when victimised, suspended, and /or expelled by the party apparatus.
It will involve full support for those genuine left candidates for the NEC. Those who will not be bullied and cowed by the right wing, who oppose the witchhunt and the smear campaign, and are not afraid to say so.
It could involve resolutions into the CLP meetings that are re-commencing, using Zoom and similar online systems.
It could involve submitting motions calling for freedom of speech in the party.
Resolutions calling for due process and natural justice within the parties disciplinary procedures.
Whatever is most appropriate course of action for your CLP.
There is the question of preparing to challenge for prospective councillors positions for forthcoming elections.
Setting up socialist discussion groups by Zoom in your constituency.
Above all work in the unions, especially at a workplace and branch level.
Support on the picket lines, at lobbies of the council and so on.
WE WERE NOT OUTNUMBERED, WE WERE OUT ORGANIZED
A mass membership will have to be a mass movement the next time around. Only having about a fifth in any way active is simply not good enough.
AGAINST THE TIDE
It is going to be a difficult few years for the left in the Labour movement, however once the right have been exposed for all to see, yet again, precisely what they are, there will inevitably be a swing back to the left.
NO MORE TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK
This time there needs to be a serious left leadership at every level, born through struggle and having learned the lessons from the period of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
Never again apology and appeasement, in pursuit of false unity with those committed to destroying socialism.
Never again the naivety of the so called, kinder gentler politics. An approach that was ruthlessly exploited by the enemies of socialism.
Next time around we must confront the truth and fight to overcome the problems that it throws up.