A political attack on the left – Defend Jeremy Corbyn

JVL Introduction

A rallying call from the Morning Star is one of many initiatives in support of Jeremy Corbyn

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And read the many articles we are reposting which highlight the need for open, critical debate on the EHRC Report and its findings.

This article was originally published by the Morning Star on Sat 31 Oct 2020. Read the original here.

Editorial: Defending Corbyn must involve a political mobilisation of the left

PROTESTS and petitions demanding the reinstatement of Jeremy Corbyn as a member of the Labour Party are multiplying.

This is not an “internal disciplinary matter,” though some politicians will trot out this excuse to justify their lack of solidarity action. It is a political attack on the left.

The suspension of Corbyn cannot be challenged in a void. It is a key stage in a process by which Britain’s ruling class is reasserting control over the Labour Party.

Five years in which the leadership of that party threatened Establishment interests by fighting for a fundamental redistribution of wealth and power to ordinary people and challenged British imperialism by arguing for a foreign policy based on peace and internationalism were a nightmare for our political class.

Since winning the leadership on pledges to continue the party’s socialist direction, Keir Starmer has already largely abandoned it. He has dropped support for the Green New Deal and stopped talking about public ownership. He refused to support education unions whose concerns over school and university reopenings have proved more than justified.

He has abstained rather than oppose dangerous Bills granting power to state agents to break the law. This ties in with a sharp shift in foreign policy, in which Labour exploits the conspiracy theory that Russia somehow intervened in the Brexit vote to call for authoritarian attacks on media freedom, and eggs the Conservatives on in slavish adherence to a damaging and reckless new cold war against China being directed by Donald Trump.

All changes are justified by the mantra that Labour lost the last election and has to change – without reference to the role of Starmer’s flagship policy under Corbyn, a commitment to force a second EU referendum, in that defeat.

Corbyn’s suspension on the flimsiest grounds has been compared to the restoration monarchy’s decision to dig up and hang Oliver Cromwell’s corpse, a ritualised warning to those who challenged those born to rule that they must never do so again.

That context is crucial to developing an effective defence. Corbyn has not been suspended because of what he said in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on anti-semitism. So there is no point in waiting on the outcome of any disciplinary process.

But while the commitment to “work tirelessly for his reinstatement” adopted by many supporters is essential, this cannot be seen as a lobbying process, in which MPs or Labour members simply register their displeasure.

Starmer is not such a fool that he will be taken aback by the scale of left outrage over the suspension of Britain’s most prominent socialist. He expected and probably welcomes it.

And he knows he is winning plaudits in quarters he cares rather more about: with the exception of the Morning Star the entire daily press cheered his removal of the whip from Corbyn, and from the right he is being pushed to take further action, including against other socialist MPs.

This threat is no doubt why many Labour figures are so circumspect about the suspension, attacking it but not placing it in context as part of a wider assault on the left – because Starmer has made it clear that referring to the reality that the accusations against Corbyn are politically driven will be treated as denying Labour has an anti-semitism problem, which in turn will be treated as evidence that you are part of that problem.

This caution is understandable but misplaced. The war on the left within Labour cannot get much worse than it is already. Mobilising in defence of Corbyn must mean challenging the entire warped narrative that has developed over the socialist political project he led.

And it must be accompanied by heightened campaigning for the causes of that project, which still has the only real answers to the terrible economic, social and now health crisis gripping Britain. The socialist left must make clear that we are not going away.

 

Links to all JVL statements and other articles on the EHRC report

Comments (16)

  • timfrom says:

    Only a court case will vindicate Corbyn and expose the real facts, which are massively on his side. The hearsay and innuendo that have underpinned the media/Blairite smear against him will be exposed and a welcome turning point in the public’s relationship with the MSM will have been reached.

    So bring it on! Let the Old Bailey be used to make the nation proud of its justice system again after its soiling by Judge Baraitser in the Assange trial and give Jeremy his day in court!

  • Nye Davies says:

    The term, Hostage to Fortune, cited by John McDonnell during the Momentum Rally, is aptly applied in Sir Keir’s list of video interview statements, on the Marr Show, and on the various podium speeches he has made — he has reneged on practically all of them, people need to more aware, that he is an opportunist political grifter’, who will head before any wind that turns him, yes we must get the message out but rationally and factually.

  • Paul Smith says:

    Corbyn’s suspension is a calculated provocation to stamp Starmer’s return to New Labour and all that this entails, such as distancing from trade unions and acceptance of the Washington Consensus (and hence support for Israel now under the guise of opposing antisemitism). And this has the added bonus that thousands of Labour Party members are resigning and thus their votes for left-wing candidates for the NEC will be invalidated. Then the next stage of the restoration will begin.

  • Sheila Gorman Flynn says:

    The Tories are delighted because not only is Starmer & Co helping them on all fronts by simply not Opposing, he is also determined to smash the one thing they fear the most, a Socialist vision offering popular policies to end the rigged system. We cannot let this assault on all of us succeed. #WeAreCorbyn.

  • Ann Miller says:

    Yes. Starmer prevented legal scrutiny of the Panorama programme. The courts are the only chance for examination of the facts, and for a challenge to the lies and distortions that have vitiated debate over the last five years, even if the Assange case has undermined confidence in their independence.

  • Phil says:

    Agree with all of this – except where it refers to “slavish adherence to a damaging and reckless new cold war against China”. This reveals an ignorance, all too common among those on the left, as to the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party and the unbelievable political, mental and social catastrophe it has inflicted on the Chinese people over the last 70 years. The term nazi is not used flippantly in connection with the PRC, it is used with deadly accuracy. It is a racist stare under which the Han have supremacy over the other national minorities. The sense of superiority, subtley fostered by the CCP, that the Han majority invariably have over all non-Han, or ‘unterHan’ (I.e. Tibetans, Uighurs in their concentration camps and, further down the line, anyone, including you, who resists the CCP) will underpin and justify future expansion for lebensraum. This is necessitated by the unescapable reality that the Huabei plateau, China’s breadbasket, will soon become an agricultural wasteland due to climate change. Its already started in the South China Seas, will move to Taiwan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan passing revenge against Japan along the way. Opposing fascism in China is not damaging or reckless, it is the duty of everyone on this planet, including the left, and Hendrix (praise be his name) help us, Donald Trump, Blier Starmer and the Conservatives too.

  • Ieuan Einion says:

    This interview with Marie Van Der Zyl (0′.55″ – 6’15”) was broadcast this morning on BBC Radio4’s “Sunday” programme. The journalist does not challenge any of the false assertions the BoD boss makes nor is anyone asked to provide an alternative point of view. Just when you thought the BBC (which laughably says it is obliged to provide “balance” and has a department ostensibly dedicated to combatting fake news) couldn’t sink any lower:-

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000p0kv

  • Graham Jones says:

    Starmer is recognised as being one of the top 50 Zionist influencers in the UK in 2020 [he ranked at no 14 – see Top 50 Pro-Israel Influencers] and has signed the Board of Deputies “10 commandments”. Corbyn supports the humanitarian rights of Palestinians which has made him a serious target of the Israel lobby within the party, of which Starmer is one !

  • Manuel Ortega says:

    An excellent summary of the situation. From far away in Canada, I am dismayed that the likes of Tony Blair within Labour again move the party away from democratic socialist values to become some sort of duplicate Liberal party. I stand with Corbyn.

  • Dr Agnes Kory (PhD, Musicology) says:

    Please do NOT trust the justice sytem! I myself experienced it at its worse and, as you mention, it did not work fairly at the Assange trial.
    The last thing we need is Jeremy’s humiliation at the courts.

  • Corbyn should have taken the liars, slanderers and defamers to court, as soon as the lies started. But he didn’t,and now look where we are… A sickly criminally incompetent and corrupt tory government, and a red tied tory posing as leader of the labour party!

  • Anne says:

    Turned on radio 4 to hear George Osborne say, ” Jeremy Corbyn was always catastrophic for our democracy” .
    Whose democracy? There is none. Jeremy WAS our chance for democracy.
    Couldn’t bear it, switched off. It’s not just Starmer, for the past 5 years, continuous slander from the ‘Right’ and its media cronies, brainwashing the public with antidemocratic venomous hate.

    Musing: the word ‘antisemitic’ is used by certain people to villify sane humanitarians who abhor the Netanyahu government’s invasion and imposition of terrible suffering on Palestinians – as one deplores any criminal warmongering, so prevalent across the globe, causing wide-ranging repercussions. (Jeremy tried to effect concilliation between the factions, only to receive more media trashing as a ‘friend’ of Hezbollah. They won’t want to meet up if you call them ‘enemy’, will they?)

    I turn to the Oxford Dictionary (ipad version): ‘A Semite is a member of any of the peoples who speak, or spoke, a Semitic language, particularly Jews and Arabs’.
    And ‘Zionist’: ‘A supporter of a political movement, formed in 1897 for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.’

    Keir Starmer is an avowed Zionist and supporter of Israel’s government. Palestinians are largely of Arab descent. Is Keir Starmer himself anti-Semitic?
    As ‘Leader of the Opposition’, whose number one priority must be taking Government to account for the welfare of this country, its people, the integrity of our politics and, crucially, our democracy. He’s not doing a very good job, is he? Angela Rayner does a far better PMQs

  • steve mitchell says:

    Our Party is morphing into IngSoc. Orwell’s nightmare is coming true. History is what we say it is according the Ministry of Truth Members will be gagged I fervently hope this matter gets into a court of law. The truth must be revealed at all costs. Corbyn gave us hope. That hope is lost. The Party has rendered itself impotent. No change in political and economic policy . No support for the Palestinians. Labour may win an election under Starmer but still nothing will change. Power without purpose is dishonest.

  • David Aldred says:

    I still think a socialist labour party is worth fighting for: where would democracy hide if the two major parties were simply different interpretations of Tory? One day the whole world will be Socialist – or it will burn (and that’s not a threat!)

  • RC says:

    At the centre of the EHRC report is the profoundly illogical – indeed counter-logical deduction:
    1: the complaints procedure has been an almost total shambles. TRUE
    (2: the majority of cases (42) cited in this report show discrimination against respondents to charges of antisemitism, rather than discrimination against complainants in those cases). TRUE. [This is especially true of the political ‘interference’.].
    3: (2) does not matter because a shambles is a shambles, nobody has any confidence, so it all must be antisemitic. ?!?!?!

    Thus the report in essence vindicates the LP from the charge of particular antisemitism (as well as admitting that there has been no institutional antisemitism).

  • Andrew Jenkinson says:

    Can someone please tell me what Starmer has done to eradicate antisemitism in the Labour Party over and above what Corbyn did? If the answer is “nothing” should be not also be suspended?

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