The Labour Party is locked in a civil war of historic proportions, following the biggest parliamentary failed coup in modern history. The decision to put Corbyn on the ballot for the leadership contest has dashed the hopes of the party’s right wing. However, their dirty tricks are not over yet. It is time to complete Labour’s transformation by kicking out the Blairites.
The Labour Party is locked in a civil war of historic proportions, following the biggest parliamentary failed coup in modern history. “A proper party shoots the injured, buries the dead and moves on”, said one Labour MP. But the decision to put Corbyn on the ballot for Labour leader has dashed the hopes of the party’s right wing. However, their dirty tricks are not over yet.
Labour’s ranks have swelled to over half a million, but Labour’s top bureaucrats are now trying to stop the new members from voting. Around 130,000 newly joined Labour members have been disenfranchised by a decision to set a retrospective cut off date of 12th January. New affiliated supporters from the trade unions have also found themselves excluded from the leadership electoral register. And young people, students, the unemployed, and low-paid workers will all be denied a voice in the upcoming contest due to the implementation of an eye-watering £25 registered supporters fee.
Legal challenges are being seen on both sides, with rich Blairite donors seeking to overturn the decision to include Corbyn on the ballot through the High Court, and the trade unions keen to fight back against the gerrymandering of the leadership contest’s electoral lists. Meanwhile, initiatives are being taken through social media to attempt to crowd-source the funds needed to help thousands of people pay the £25 needed to register and vote for Corbyn.
Everyone can see these anti-democratic manoeuvres for what they are: a clear attempt to stack the scales against Corbyn in this leadership election. Despite these desperate actions, Corbyn is still predicted to win. All of these decisions, therefore, will only serve to fuel the anger of the Corbyn movement towards the careerists in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and the right-wing bureaucracy of the Party.
Already, delegates at the policy conference of Unite the Union, Britain’s biggest trade union, have voted this week to give their full backing to Jeremy Corbyn and support the mandatory reselection of Labour MPs. Prior to recent events, the Unite leadership was against the call for mandatory reselection, but they have changed their tune in the face of the Blairites’ back-stabbing and treacherous actions.
Faced with a grassroots rebellion, the Labour Establishment has panicked and is doing everything it can to stifle the movement of oxygen. After seeing local Labour Party meetings of hundreds erupting across the country, the Labour bureaucracy has suspended all Labour wards and constituencies from convening, terrified that these mass meetings are effectively turning into pro-Corbyn rallies. Huge #KeepCorbyn meetings and rallies are nevertheless still occurring through channels such as Momentum – for example, with over 250 turning out in Bristol last night at 48 hours notice.
The leadership election timetable now begins on Monday, with a 48-hour window for registered supporters to sign up and a three-day period for leadership challengers to find the necessary nominations from MPs and MEPs. A two-month long period of hustings will no doubt see a repeat of the massive #VoteCorbyn and #JezWeCan rallies seen last summer, before voting finally closes on the 21st September in time for the winner to be announced on 24th September.
Another Corbyn victory – which remains likely, despite the desperate attempts at vote fixing, and which even the Blairites seem resigned to – will not be the end of the situation, however, but only the beginning.
Establishment call to arms
“The British Labour movement is in crisis and is threatened with irrelevance”, explains the Financial Times, a paper not known for its passionate “concerns” about organised Labour. The paper warns of a split and then concludes, “But maybe such a scission is necessary: a split between hard-left vested interests and those who actually care about winning elections and exercising power could be just what Labour needs.” (12th July, 2016) They are hatching such a plot with the Blairites.
Clearly, the Financial Times is not read by workers. It is a big business paper that advises top business people and those who run the country.
The establishment have always supported the right wing. They are loyal defenders of the capitalist system. The victory of Corbyn last year constituted a deadly blow. The Blairite carpetbaggers who controlled the Labour party suffered a shock defeat.
These careerists, who never accepted Corbyn, have been trying to discredit him from day one. The hundreds of thousands who joined the Labour party are labelled as “entryists”. Such members constituted a threat to those in the Parliamentary Labour Party who believe they had a job for life.
End of the line?
So the right wing moved to try and crush Corbyn and put an end to the “rebellion”. First they tried to force him to resign. But that did not work. They tried a mass resignation of the frontbenchers. That did not work either. They tried a procedural challenge to keep him off the ballot. That also did not work.
Clearly the attempts at a compromise involving Tom Watson and the trade union leaders were going to fail as the right wing wanted nothing less than Corbyn’s scalp.
The Financial Times urges the launch of a legal challenge against Corbyn being on the ballot. But sadly concludes: “there is a sense that the Get Corbyn plan might be over.”
A section of the Blairites believe it is the end of the line. “Jeremy Corbyn may have won this vote, but he has destroyed the Labour party,” said John McTernan, a former adviser to Blair. despairingly, “This is the end of the Labour party, nothing more or less than that.”
The semi-demoralised, anti-Corbyn forces are struggling. Their attempt to rally round a “unity candidate” failed when Owen Smith entered the race. Angela Eagle was seen as their strongest hope. The problem is, she supported the Iraq war, opposed the Iraq enquiry, supported tuition fees as well as Trident renewal. This is not a winning hand. Indeed an Ipsos Mori poll states that more Labour supporters think Corbyn would make a good PM than Eagle, by 47% to 29%.
Meanwhile, Owen Smith, who is a careerist windbag of the Kinnock-type, threatens to divide their forces and undermine their challenge.
If any of these stooges were to win, they would disastrously drag the party back to the Blair years under New Labour. It would put the right wing firmly back in control.
But the mood in the party is against. That is why the right wing are in despair. That is why they are discussing at the highest levels how to split the Labour party and create a new so-called Centre Party. This should not surprise us.
The Parliamentary Labour Party is full of careerists, who infiltrated the party under Blair and Brown. It was Blair who invited to the party back all the SDP traitors. The working class was squeezed out.
These characters have much more in common with the class enemy – the Tories and the Lib Dems – than ordinary Labour members. Davy Hopper of the Durham Miners Association has correctly described them as “traitors”, while Denis Skinner has called them “scabs”, the same as those who crossed the picket-lines during the miners’ strike.
It will be very easy for them to cross the floor, as Ramsay MacDonald did in 1931. While in 1931 it was a small group who broke from the party, today the whole “gang of 172” could go. Again, these are being egged on by big business.
“By all means, Labour MPs must try to remove Mr Corbyn and replace him with a plausible prime minister”, states Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times. “But if the mission fails, political logic and the national interest both argue for a breakaway.”
“The 170-plus MPs who repudiated their leader last week would resign the Labour whip and sit as a new party of the pro-European centre left under leadership of their choosing. As the largest non-government group in the House of Commons, they would constitute the new official opposition, with all the privileges that entails.”
These plans to stab the Labour party in the back must be exposed. Labour’s right wing Fifth Column should be shown the door. Labour’s rank and file must have the right to deselect the Tory infiltrators and elect in their place socialist fighters who are prepared to live on the wages of ordinary workers.
Represent the people!
The Labour Party was founded to represent working people in Parliament, not careerists with their snouts in the trough. In 1918, under the impact of the Russian Revolution, it adopted a programme to abolish capitalism and introduce socialism. That aim was abolished by the Blairites, who, like Thatcher, worshipped the market. The fight to re-elect Jeremy Corbyn and clear out the Blairites must go hand in hand with the fight for real socialist policies.
There has never been a better time for such a fight. Millions of people in Britain are angry and hate the establishment. They are disgusted with the bankers and billionaires, who have got richer and richer as the rest of us get poorer.
We must “take back control” of our country and economy by abolishing the rule of big business by nationalising the 200 major monopolies, banks and insurance companies, under workers control and management. Then we will have the resources to end unemployment, homelessness and poverty once and for all and give young people a real future.