20/02/2019 by socialistfight
Bury New Labour to Bury May!
This was written on 19 February. On the 20th Enfield North Labour MP Joan Ryan resigned rapidly followed by three Tory MPs, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen and joined the Independent Group, bringing their number to 11.
The split away of seven Blairites from the Labour Party is years overdue. Many more need to be induced to follow them. Recall that when the Parliamentary Labour Party, led by these people and other hardened neo-liberals who still remain in the Labour Party, engaged in their mutiny against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party membership in mid-2016, the ‘Chicken Coup’ had 172 supporters among the PLP. Allowing for a certain ballast of opportunists with few principles who would side with whoever they thought was going to win (but who got it wrong that time!) that is a hell of a lot of committed Blairite enemies of the working class that we need to get rid of.
These people have waited until they think that the time is right, to undermine Corbyn for as long as possible by wrecking activities inside Labour, only splitting when they think that they can do the maximum possible damage to Corbyn. They aim to cause the maximum confusion particularly around the question of Brexit, as well as seeking to exploit the continuing drip-drip in the neo-liberal/Zionist media promoting the Big Lie that Corbyn, and the Labour Party membership, are anti-Semites. Yet on the first day of the split, one of their people, Angela Smith, let the mask slip and uttered a racist remark on national TV about BAME people who to her apparently have a ‘funny tinge’. Just showing graphically that these are the worst elements in the Labour Party: racists, migrant bashers, benefit cutters, anti-union corporate mercenaries. Cuckoos in the nest of the labour movement who need to be thrown out!
Corbyn has shown three different kinds of weakness, which have come together to be exploited by the Blairites, who consider they have him on the defensive – hence the split is an attempt at political aggression. The first is that over the anti-Semitism lie he has not fought back, denounced and declared war on the Zionist liars. Even when he was denounced as a ‘fucking racist anti-Semite’ by corrupt scum like Margaret Hodge he turned the other cheek and allowed her to get away with it. He grovelled over the fake ‘scandal’ of the Brick Lane mural; he has allowed numerous lifelong socialists and anti-racist fighters to be purged on the say so of organised anti-Arab racists like the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel without demurring.
Then there is Brexit. Corbyn is here a prisoner of the left-nationalist wing of the trade union bureaucracy, whose real mottos is ‘British jobs for British workers’. Most Labour members, those on the left of the party, see before them the reactionary anti-immigration campaign that is at the core of Brexit and are opposed to it for reasons of internationalism. They want to join up with other European workers in a struggle for socialism as they understand it.
The Blairite remainers are opposed to Brexit for different reasons because they want to link up their neo-liberalism with the likes of Macron and the neo-liberal leaders of the EU. Corbyn, even though he correctly campaigned for Remain before the referendum, has since then refused to fight against Brexit, and has conciliated the left-nationalists like McCluskey in the bureaucracy who express the despair of sections of the working class that has directed its anger over neo-liberalism at migrants. This has allowed the Blairites to exploit some of the unease among members that Labour is not swimming against the stream of anti-immigrant sentiment strongly enough, as symbolised recently by its planned abstention on the government’s Immigration Bill, which was changed as the very last minute to voting against, but too late as 78 Labour MP’s were absent when the government won by only 63 votes. His attempt to reconcile Lexiters with left-Remainers has more generally meant that Labour has been pretty ineffectual faced with May’s tactics of running down the clock, even though her position is extremely weak and unstable.
This is the fruit of Corbyn being a prisoner of the trade union bureaucracy, following the dictates of McCluskey and worse. Not only has this stopped the Corbyn-led Labour Party fighting against Brexit, but it was the likes of McCluskey who rammed through the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ and imposed it on Labour without the membership having a say.
Thirdly, this has also extended to Corbyn allowing the bureaucracy to sabotage one of the key things his leadership stood for election on; the democratisation of the party itself. McCluskey was key in defeating Open Selection as last year’s conference; around 90% of the branch-based delegates were in favour of the automatic right to a contest for parliamentary candidate positions prior to an election, but the trade union bureaucracy used block votes to veto this to appease the neo-liberal right, just as McCluskey did over the IHRA. And Corbyn, again, allowed them to get away with it; he has consistently tried to conciliate the Blairite and Zionist neo-liberals who have sabotaged the party at every opportunity, as part of not challenging the policies dictated by the TU bureaucracy. Thus we need organised political rank-and-file opposition at the base of the trade unions, to deal with this problem.
And yet still Corbyn without a doubt is overwhelmingly supported by the membership, despite all the capitulations. This is simply because a whole mass membership came to political consciousness out of his leadership elections in 2015 and 2016. These were not seen by the advanced layers of the working class as simply another party election, like those under new Labour, between different strands of neo-liberal politics. It was seen as the working class, or its most politically advanced part, taking back its own party from the neo-Thatcherites, which is at bottom what Blairism was: Thatcher herself boasted that New Labour was her greatest achievement for the bosses.
We must demand a political offensive from below in Labour, to drive out as many of the hardened neo-liberal elements as we can. Tom Watson must be regarded as the leader of the enemy faction in the party. He must be challenged as Deputy as soon as possible by someone from the left. His disgusting demand that Corbyn reshuffle away left-wing people from shadow ministerial positions to appease the likes of Ummuna and Berger must be seen off with contempt. This monstrous, hypocritical racist, who smeared the membership of Liverpool Wavertree as anti-Semitic for holding Berger to account for her transparent split plans, almost certainly knew what she and the other six were planning. He throws around anti-Semitism smears with gay abandon and stands on Israeli platforms singing ‘Am Israeli Chai’, celebrating the massive pogroms , massacres and incremental genocide of the Palestinians.
It is likely that, despite the opportunism and the desire to do damage from the splitters, that the membership will stand firm behind Corbyn. This is crucial. It is not out of the question that there could be some kind of attempted coup, perhaps spearheaded by Watson trying to exploit these departures. However, we must hope he does attempt such a thing, as it is likely to prove delusional. Every splitter, every reactionary sleaze like Dugher and Woodcock who leaves the party weakens the neo-liberals and is likely to strengthen the backlash from members in favour of the hard left. Reactionaries like Watson, Jon Lansman and pusillanimous cretins like Owen Jones, who spoke up in ‘solidarity’ with Berger have discredited themselves in front of the Labour membership. The Blairites within and without see this as a means to further destabilise Corbyn but the left should see it as an opportunity to get rid of the Blairites once and for all.