Canterbury Momentum August 19th 2016
We are approaching a decisive moment in the history of the Labour Party. As a member for 48 years, I have seen nothing like it.
We are facing not an ordinary election for Labour leader in which different candidates, representing different strands of the Party, are standing. This election is the outcome of a failed coup. It is a coup carried out by the Establishment Tendency, mainly within the Parliamentary Labour Party, and aided by some members of the NEC and by the General Secretary.
It is a coup not just against Jeremy Corbyn – but against the membership – us – who voted decisively for Jeremy to be our leader less than twelve months ago.
The Establishment Tendency have been plotting to overthrow Jeremy – and the decision of the membership – from the day he was elected because they oppose the threat he represents to the interests of the establishment.
They have thrown everything at him:
- · they tried to exclude him from the ballot – and failed;
- · they excluded 130,000 new members from voting;
- · they raised supporters’ fees from £3 to £25;
- · they have closed down local constituency parties in Brighton, Wallasey and South Shields;
- · and they have prevented party bodies from meeting till after the election is over.
They are afraid of the membership!
It gets worse.
- They made baseless allegations of anti-Semitism to try to undermine Jeremy. I am Jewish, I know what anti-Semitism is and I have suffered from it. I am appalled at the way they undermine the struggle against real anti-Semitism by concocting these allegations. Anti-Semitism exists less in the Labour Party than almost anywhere else in society. These allegations have been used to smear my partner – herself partly Jewish - and this has led to strains within my own family.
- And now they return to the usual nonsense about Trotskyist infiltration. There are 300,000 new members. The number of Trotskyists among them is miniscule – and they know it.
- They made up lies about Jeremy’s alleged performance at the European referendum. He spoke on six times as many platforms as Alan Johnson who was supposed to be leading this campaign. It was Tory voters going for Brexit that decided the referendum, not Labour, two thirds of whom voted for Remain.
- They try to argue Jeremy is no leader. Well, having to fight the Tory front bench in Parliament with his own Labour MPs behind him either in sullen silence or heckling him – he has nerves of steel to withstand that.
- And they say he is not electable. What a self-fulfilling prophesy that is. Until the attempted coup, Labour’s election results were going quite well. And now, post-Brexit, when the Tories were at their most vulnerable, our Establishment tendency - our party within a party – has weakened the whole of our movement.
In the last year, Labour under Jeremy has made real gains.
- We have grown to 600,000 members. A target of a million members is by no means off limits. We have become the biggest party in Europe
- We are now an anti-austerity party. Compare this to the shame of just a year ago when Labour’s Front Bench abstained on Tory welfare cuts! Jeremy of course, together with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, voted against. Owen Smith abstained.
- Jeremy has apologised on behalf of the Party for Blair’s illegal war on Iraq.
- Under Jeremy Labour will never again support imperialist attacks on the rest of the world.
So what is the way forward? At present we are two parties, We must become one again. We must insist that the democratic decision of the membership is respected. We must re-elect Jeremy and unite behind his leadership.
The Parliamentary Party must stop operating as a party within a party.
The Labour MPs must respect Jeremy’s mandate and stop plotting against him – or make way for those who will.
South Thanet CLP and member of the Editorial Board of Labour Briefing