Jennie Formby has won the race to be the next general secretary of the Labour Party. Ms Formby, a full-time officer of Unite, has been a Labour activists for years. Supported by Jeremy Corbyn, and backed by Unite and the GMB, she defeated her nearest rival in a secret ballot of Labour’s executive committee members by 35 votes to two.
Though the post is administrative and not political, the general secretary oversees Labour’s national campaigns and in the past the general secretary has used the powers of the post to apply the rule book as he or she sees fit. The previous incumbent, Iain McNicol, was directly in charge of the unelected and discredited “compliance unit” that purged thousands of pro-Corbyn members from the party, including prominent activists such as former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and others, on trumped-up charges of “anti-Semitism”.
One victim, former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, who has been suspended by Labour for almost two years, welcomed the result saying: “Things are definitely changing in the party, but they are not changing fast enough for a lot of members who remain suspended or expelled based on trumped-up or false charges or simply because they are active supporters of Corbyn.”
That’s certainly the case. The wounds inflicted by the despicable Blairite rump in the Labour Party can only be healed with an end to the witch-hunt and the return to Labour’s ranks of all those unjustly suspended or expelled over the last few years.
The Blairites bleat on about another “hard-left” victory as part of a hysterical bourgeois media smear campaign that’s been launched to try and stave off another Tory defeat in the local government elections in May.
But as communist leader Mao Zedong said during the Chinese civil war in 1939: “I hold that it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work”.
The Blairites say Corbyn’s left policies make Labour unelectable but what they really fear is that Labour will be returned to office on a programme of trade union rights, public ownership and social justice that they so bitterly oppose.
The Corbyn leadership victory shows that the Labour Party is still a potentially strong weapon for our class and has vindicated the New Communist Party’s long held electoral position. Although the New Communist Party (NCP) has never confused the Labour Party with a revolutionary party or imagined that we can gain a workers’ state through parliamentary elections, a Labour government, with its organisational links with the trade unions and the co-operative movement, offers the best option for the working class in the era of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. Our strategy is for working class unity and our campaigns are focused on defeating the right-wing within the movement, and strengthening the left and progressive forces within the Labour Party and the unions. Day-to-day demands for reform, progressive taxation, state welfare and a public sector dedicated to meet the people’s needs are winnable under capitalism, particularly in a rich country such as Britain today. We support these demands, and back those within the Labour Party and the trade union movement who are campaigning for greater social justice.
But social democracy, left or right, remains social democracy whatever trend is dominant within it. It has never led to socialism. So, at the same time, we must build the revolutionary party and campaign for revolutionary change.