Last week Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the party he once led after claiming that his political opponents had dramatically overstated the scale of antisemitism inside the Labour party for factional reasons. The move by Labour’s Blairite general secretary, David Evans, was endorsed by Sir Kier Starmer, and indeed it could hardly have taken place without the covert blessing of the new Labour leader in the first place.
Starmer won the Labour leadership election after Corbyn stood down earlier in the year, on a platform based on “ten pledges” that were projected as broadly complimenting the line of the old Corbyn leadership. The Starmer camp told us that their man would continue the fight against austerity while standing for “unity” within the party. That was then. This is now.
The “ten pledges” have long been forgotten. The only “unity” Starmer wants is with the ageing Blairites who still sit in the House of Commons and the only fight Starmer’s led is against the Jeremy Corbyn and those who backed him when he was at the helm.
The mealy-mouthed response from some of Corbyn’s former comrades should not surprise us. They did next to nothing when other prominent supporters of the Palestinian cause like Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and Chris Williamson were hounded out of the Labour party for daring to speak out against the Zionist lobby.
But some MPs and union leaders have taken the principled stand and resistance is growing at the grass-roots level. The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs has pledged to work tirelessly for Corbyn’s reinstatement while seven major union leaders have signed a statement backing the former Labour party leader.
Over 28,000 people have signed a petition calling for the suspension to be lifted and the call has been taken up in the broad movement with Labour CND, the People’s Assembly and the Stop the War Coalition along with other campaigning groups calling for Corbyn’s reinstatement.
Meanwhile the usual suspects are predictably calling on the unions to either dump Labour in favour of the obscure left social-democratic alternatives that have long failed to make any impact on the electoral scene or use their political funds to set up a new union-based social-democratic party in its stead.
Needless to say this is going nowhere, not least because Corbyn and the union leaders who support him, are calling on their supporters to stand their ground inside Labour. It’s undoubtedly true that the unions, who provide over 90 per cent of Labour’s funds, could cripple the party if that support was cut off. But is equally true to say that diverting that money to existing lost causes or attempting to set up new ones would be an equally futile gesture.
Arthur Scargill, the militant miners’ leader tried and failed with his Socialist Labour Party (SLP) while even the RMT’s money wasn’t enough to get their Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) off the ground.
We reject the “parliamentary road” and electoral politics. The old Communist Party of Great Britain abandoned the revolutionary road when it adopted the British Road to Socialism. Other left electoral platforms like Respect, the SLP and TUSC all express essentially the same theory.
The paltry votes of all these parties reflect the futility of trying to compete with Labour in bourgeois elections. They show the futility of platforms that argue that the only way to defeat social democracy is in fact to imitate it.
Our Party’s strategy is the only way to fight for the communist alternative within the working class of England, Scotland and Wales. We want day‑to‑day reforms and they can only be achieved by the main reformist, social democratic party in Britain. We want revolution and that can only be achieved through the leadership of the communist party.