Category Archives: Anti-Semitism

Cowards, careerists and Corbyn diehards

Momentum MP Navendu Mishra claims to be in favour of a Gaza ceasefire. Despite that he followed Starmer’s orders to abstain, reports Carla Roberts

In how much trouble is Keir Starmer over Palestine?

Some commentators have been very excited about the fact that a total of 56 Labour MPs ended up voting against the whip and the instruction to abstain on the Scottish National Party’s ceasefire amendment. And, yes, 10 frontbenchers were duly sacked from their positions, most prominently Jess Phillips, the vicious anti-Corbyn MP for Birmingham Yardley, who wrote: “On this occasion I must vote with my constituents, my head, and my heart, which has felt as if it were breaking over the last four weeks with the horror of the situation in Israel and Palestine.”[1] (Makes you wonder on which “occasions” she consciously voted against her constituency, head and heart – a few votes during the Corbyn years spring to mind). No doubt, her role in the witch-hunt and her support for Labour Friends of Israel[2] will ensure that she will be back on the front bench before long, as will some of the other ‘rebels’.

It would be a stretch to call this vote a ‘rebellion’ – it was more of a small, controlled display of disapproval. Not even all 34 members of so-called Socialist Campaign Group managed to vote in favour. A couple of them at least had an excuse: Olivia Blake had a doctor’s appointment and was paired; Kim Johnson was on a “prearranged parliamentary overseas visit”;[3] and Mick Whitley had a “family emergency”.[4] All three of them let it be known publicly that they would have voted in favour of the SNP’s motion.

Labour left

Not so Navendu Mishra, MP for Stockport and formerly Momentum regional organiser (and supported by many on the official Labour left). On November 15, the day of the vote, he had the audacity to post on Twitter: “I stand with Labour Friends of Palestine’s call for a ceasefire and enduring peace. I will continue to make that case within Labour and to government, so that humanitarian aid reaches civilians and the siege ends.”

But then he did as ordered by Keir Starmer! In other words, the man is lying through his teeth. “Labour Enemy of Palestine Navendu Mishra is a fraudulent liar: he actually abstained on the ceasefire vote, meaning he has the blood of 5,000 Palestinian children on his hands,” rages Asa Winstanley on Twitter.[5]

It is very doubtful that Mishra fell for Starmer’s last-minute attempt to appease some of his ‘leftwing’ MPs (it is all relative now) by tabling an amendment that called for “longer humanitarian pauses” instead of a ceasefire. No, the man is an out-and-out careerist who does not want to endanger his position of parliamentary private secretary to Angela Rayner – after all, he was only appointed in September 2023 and, unlike Phillips, cannot rely on being in Starmer’s good books. His lack of a backbone really should not come as a surprise. In December 2018, at the height of the anti-Semitism smear campaign in the Labour Party, he actually posted a selfie in front of a protest by the Jewish Labour Movement.

If the Socialist Campaign Group had any bottle, it would expel this toxic careerist weasel immediately. But then it stopped playing any kind of useful role a long time ago. Not even Momentum (which “proudly” endorsed Mishra to become an MP in 2019 and an NEC member in 2020[6]) has sunk that low and has been calling on all supporters to write to their MPs to demand a ceasefire. Of course, they do not have it in them to criticise their erstwhile creature publicly.

It is very obvious that Starmer has succeeded in clearing the Labour Party of any principled opposition. The ‘left wing’ is now entirely neutered and most ‘left’ MPs have stuck to Starmer’s orders not to speak at demonstrations and protests in solidarity with Palestine. John McDonnell MP is something of an exception, perhaps because Starmer knows he is very popular in his constituency of Hayes and Harlington, which he has been representing since 1997. And, having shown during the anti-Semitism smear campaign that he is all too willing to dance to the right’s tune, he can easily be tolerated as a sort of eccentric old uncle.

Choppy waters

Of course, the political situation in the Middle East does continue to present Keir Starmer with some choppy waters, even if those are not caused by the left. He committed a major blunder when he backed Israel’s decision to cut off the water, electricity and food to the Gaza Strip. “Israel has that right,” he said over and over again in his now infamous interview on LBC Radio.[7] But after some serious criticism from across the board, he rowed back just in time, “clarifying” that, actually, he believes pretty much the opposite.

Increasing numbers of ‘normal people’ can see that the “war” is in fact a very one-sided mass slaughter. According to the not very neutral polling company, YouGov (founded by Liz Truss’ former sidekick, Nadhim Zahawi MP), 58% think that there “definitely should be a ceasefire”, another 18% said there “probably should be”.[8] So 76% of the population are more principled than Starmer.

In his speech during the November 15 debate in parliament, Starmer explained what his position is really about. He wants to be seen “working with our international allies”, because that is “what you would expect from someone who wants to form the next government”. He added: “Leadership is about doing the right thing. That is the least the public deserves. And the least that leadership demands.”

By aping the position of Joe Biden, Starmer does exactly what Tony Blair did so successfully: he is showing that he can run capitalism just as well as the Tories. Better, in fact, seeing as they are in severe crisis. By not rocking the capitalist boat, Keir Starmer can sit and watch Rishi Sunak’s increasingly wild efforts to save his sinking ship.

Sunak’s latest announcements of some possible minor tax cuts were a vague effort to ‘bury’ the latest horror stories from the parliamentary Covid inquiry – to no avail: Sunak has now personally been named as driving the second Covid wave with his disastrous ‘Eat out’ campaign, according to the government’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance. “I think it would have been very obvious to anyone that this inevitably would cause an increase in transmission risk, and I think that would have been known by ministers.” He also said that scientists were “not aware” of the scheme until it was announced.[9]

Bar some major political upset, Keir Starmer will be the next UK prime minister – not because he is so popular, we hasten to add, but because the Tories are so despised. The Labour Party currently stands at 47%, according to a meta survey of all the polls, with the Tories on only 23%.[10]

Rupert Murdoch can tell which way the wind is blowing – his papers, The Sun and The Times, have been gradually, but markedly, shifting their support to Starmer’s Labour. And, of course, Suella Braverman can tell – that rat jumped ship in rather dramatic fashion, orchestrating her own dismissal with increasingly weird and desperate announcements. When her rants about “hate marches” and “lifestyle choices” failed to do the trick, she attacked the police for their ‘softness’ towards Palestine demonstrations. That’s a big no-no for any home secretary and she really did not leave Sunak any other option but to throw her overboard – straight into her cushy lifeboat.

Socialist Worker[11] and The Socialist[12] have both made rather sweet attempts to try and convince their readers that it was in fact themselves who did the damage: “the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets in the last month for Palestine … have forced Rishi Sunak to sack Braverman,” writes Socialist Worker. The Socialist proclaims: “The anti-war movement – whose demonstrations she tried and failed to ban – has scored a victory!”

Nothing more but wishful thinking, sadly. No, Cruella has managed to row free of the toxic Sunak and will be busy building her own leadership campaign. To paraphrase The terminator, she’ll be back.


But Keir Starmer, we are told by many on the left, is deeply unpopular ‘out there’ – very few will want to go leafleting or canvassing for him. There is an element of truth in that – but it matters not.

For a start, the big donors are back. The last quarter saw, in fact, an historic “record”: Of the £10.4 million received between June and August 2023, only £2.7 million stemmed from “public funding and donations from trade unions”. But there was a £3 million donation from David Sainsbury and £2.2 million from Autoglass billionaire Gary Lubner.[13] Starmer does not need the membership and he certainly does not need the left.

The snazzily-named ‘Organise Corbyn Inspired Socialist Alliance’ (OCISA)[14] has now officially launched its campaign to “unseat Starmer” in his constituency of Holborn St Pancras: it is calling for candidates to apply to stand against Starmer at the next general election – on Corbyn’s ‘For the many’ programme. The organisers think that they have a realistic chance of overturning Starmer’s majority of 48.9% by using the “digital community”. This method, they think, is so fool-proof that they want to spread it to all areas “where the action of individual attack on the MP becomes necessary”.

The small text on the website explains “the mechanics of harvesting the vote”, which are:

a matter of technologists who can provide the platform for the votes to be harvested. These votes are applied in two ways, under the model proposed. Primarily to harvest the vote for the candidate, but secondly to make the policy choices and managerial issues relating to the company itself, so that it becomes self-governing by the membership and democratic in nature. This gives it the necessary weight and credibility to approach the constituency.

Clear enough?

Of course, there are a number of campaigns already in existence who want to do exactly that – with slightly less eccentric and technocratic language. The electoral front of the SPEW, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, has called on other groups to “join us to co-host a convention to organise a working class challenge at the next general election”.

Ditto ‘Transform’, the merger of the rump Left Unity and the Breakthrough Party, which will be launched on November 25 in Nottingham. Point 8 of their 10 “core principles” explains that they want to “contest elections”.[15] As an aside, this already looks like a stillbirth: we hear that Kate Hudson and Andrew Burgin, ‘leading lights’ of Left Unity, are growing cool on Transform – for a start, should LU be disbanded in the process, the comrades would lose their affiliation to the European Left Party. Of course, this only exists on paper, as Left Unity has never recovered from its disastrous decision not to join the Labour Party during the Corbyn years – pretty much its entire membership did, leaving a corpse behind. But for some people, such titles matter.
















Still getting it wrong

Diane Abbott has finally spoken out on Labour’s ‘fraudulent’ disciplinary process. But, asks Carla Roberts, is Sir Keir’s refusing to allow her to stand as a Labour candidate the result of racism?

It has been just over five months since Diane Abbott MP was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party for her crass letter to The Observer, in which she wrote that Jewish people, travellers and “redheads” – basically anybody who is not black – “are not all their lives subject to racism”. Instead she claimed they are only subject to the lesser “prejudice” and in the process equated the persecution and mass extermination of Jewish people with the teasing experienced by redheads.

Of course, Labour leader Sir Starmer was quick to pounce on one of the few remaining Corbyn supporters in parliament. Abbott immediately and humbly apologised, blaming some computer mishap that allegedly sent a half-finished letter. (We very much doubt the other half would have been any better.)

Some on the left believe that Abbott should not have been criticised for her Observer letter, because showing ‘real solidarity’ demands that we do so uncritically. Kevin Bean’s article in the Weekly Worker at the time was widely criticised for ‘attacking’ Abbott.[1] What nonsense. Of course, we continue to oppose her suspension, as all socialists should. But we do so critically, because her letter, quite frankly, was a lot of ahistorical and apolitical nonsense. A reflection of the dire identity politics that remains popular on the left, despite the fact that it so obviously weakens and splits our class into smaller and smaller groups defined by colour, sex, gender, etc.

By reducing racism to simply a question of skin colour, Abbott drew on the very same ideas of a ‘hierarchy of racism’ that her letter was ostensibly designed to counter. It is just that Keir Starmer has got the pyramid the wrong way around, you see.

Abbott was, of course, correct to state that the trans-Atlantic slave trade and apartheid in South Africa were ideologically justified on the basis of biological racism. However, the same must be said of the oppression of Irish Catholics by the British colonial authorities, and Jews – above all under the Hitler regime. Indeed, Ireland was radically depopulated through a socially caused famine and an imperial neglect that justified itself on the basis that the ‘Africanoid’ Irish were inferior compared to the fine, upstanding Anglo-Saxons. The Nazis exterminated between four and eight million Jews … along with millions of Roma, Sinti, Slavs, homosexuals and Soviet POWs by putting mass killing onto an industrial footing.

Today, Romany gypsies and Irish travellers too, while they appear to Abbott as just another type of white people, are clearly and seriously disadvantaged when it comes to poverty, education, health, life expectancy, mental illness, etc. They are undoubtedly subject to overt racism by politicians, the media, the police and often also the local population that has been whipped up into vigorously opposing the setting up even of temporary camps in their neighbourhood.

Reading through Abbott’s September 19 statement[2] published on the social media platform, ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), it becomes clear that she continues to view politics chiefly through the prism of race – and herself. At no point does she try to link her suspension from the PLP to the wider witch-hunt and the anti-Semitism smear campaign. She writes:

The internal Labour Party disciplinary against me is fraudulent. The Labour Party has not charged me with anti-Semitism because they know it is untrue. As somebody who has fought all forms of racism all my life, I would consider it a very serious allegation. Instead, it has been used to smear me, my reputation, and decades of anti-racist work.

Before her

Her – and hundreds before her, of course. Why did she not speak out when others were falsely smeared as anti-Semites – at a time when it still could have made a difference? What about the disciplinary process, when it comes to Tony Greenstein, Chris Williamson and black activists Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth? Was that non-fraudulent? What about the hundreds who have since been publicly smeared as anti-Semites, often because they dared to criticise Israel? What about the bans and proscriptions? What about those who have been expelled because they ‘liked’ a social media post by Labour Against the Witchhunt? The list goes on, as we all know.

“I am the longest serving black MP,” she writes. “Yet there is widespread sentiment that, as a black woman, and someone on the left of the Labour Party, I will not get a fair hearing from this Labour leadership.”

At least there is some small recognition here (the only one in her statement) that her suspension might have something to do with the fact that she is on the “left”. But the “yet” implies that she believes she should have been treated differently to others on the left, because she is the “longest serving black MP”. Perhaps that is the reason why she “remained silent about this issue until now”. This was “in the hope that “some sense of decency and recognition of the tenets of natural justice might prevail”.

So she did not say anything before, because she thought, when it comes to herself, a black woman, a different set of criteria would apply, compared to the hundreds of others who have been vilified, smeared and persecuted? That is either extremely naive or extremely presumptuous.

In any case, Abbott – just like the rest of the entirely useless Socialist Campaign Group of MPs – in the main kept her mouth firmly shut. Instead of at least trying to take on the right, the official Labour left continues to this day to appease it, begging for forgiveness for the entirely fake ‘mass anti-Semitism problem’ of the party. In reality, it was exactly this silence and apologia that has allowed the witch-hunt to take hold, fester and become as successful as it is today. Corbyn and his allies showed their enemies exactly where they should best be attacked. The SCG is now so weak that Starmer can pick the remaining ‘left’ MPs off one by one, with little or no opposition.

As a result, not only has the left inside the Labour Party been crushed, but the campaign to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism continues to grow and poison all areas of society – in the media, schools, universities, town halls, political parties, national governments and the European parliament.

The truth is that Diane Abbott’s suspension has nothing to do with anti-Semitism or indeed the colour of her skin. No, withdrawing the whip from Diane Abbott is just the latest round in Sir Keir Starmer’s campaign to show the ruling class that he really is a man they can trust. With talk of the next general election taking place in May 2024, Starmer will want to make sure that there is no chance of Abbott – or Jeremy Corbyn for that matter – coming back onto Labour’s benches.

Replace me

The question is, why does Abbott go public now, after having kept quiet for so long? It appears it has to do with her prospect of being re-elected to parliament – or, more precisely, the lack of such a prospect. Abbott believes that the shutting down of her local CLP’s executive committee and replacement of its principal officers has less to do with the recent conviction for paedophilia of the election agent of Meg Hillier (MP for the neighbouring constituency of Hackney South) and the “relevant child safeguarding issues” posed by “members in both constituencies” – but was merely done in order to “replace me as the candidate prior to the next election”. Perhaps, perhaps not.

But it seems to have dawned on her at last that Starmer will indeed not make any kind of exception for her or let her off with a slap on the wrist. “Others have committed far more grave offences,” she complains, yet they “have been immediately excused as supporters of this leadership”. A rather weak defence, you would think, but the Morning Star editorial of September 21 makes the same point – listing various unpunished “offences” by rightwing MPs:

The racism is blatant once the record under Starmer is considered. Shadow cabinet member Steve Reed accused a Jewish businessman of being a ‘puppet master.’ He apologised – no sanction. Veteran backbench MP Barry Sheerman speculated about a ‘run on silver shekels’ when two Jewish businessmen did not get a peerage. He apologised, referencing his long support for Labour Friends of Israel – no sanction …

The editorial continues:

It may be as relevant that they are factional allies of the Starmer regime, which is also trying to hound Jeremy Corbyn and Jamie Driscoll out of office. But the racism in the difference in treatment is unanswerable.

Factional – yes, obviously. But racist? Really? It is now commonplace for many on the left to accuse Starmer and the Labour Party of ‘institutional racism’. Anti-black racism, obviously – not anti-Semitism, as the accusation against Corbyn went. The Forde Report, many claim, exposed such institutional racism. Wrong. Martin Forde KC wrote that Labour was “in effect operating a hierarchy of racism or of discrimination” and that it was not taking accusations of anti-black racism or Islamophobia as seriously as allegations of anti-Semitism.[3]

We all know why, of course. Those allegations were inflated and weaponised, because that is the stick with which to beat Corbyn. Many on the left now see their job of reclaiming the said “hierarchy of racism” – but with anti-black racism on top. Diane Abbott’s Observer letter is a (not very sophisticated) reflection of that widespread adherence to ID politics (‘My experience of racism is worse than yours’).

The boring truth is that the Labour Party under Sir Keir Starmer is not institutionally racist. Just as it was not anti-Semitic under Jeremy Corbyn. As a party with a membership of hundreds of thousands, of course, there is no doubt there will be a small minority of racists (and anti-Semites), reflecting what exists in wider society. But does that mean that either the leadership or the mass of Labour activists are racist?

It is absurd to claim that the straight-laced Starmer, who is going out of his way to show that he is capable of running ‘multicultural’ British capitalism without rocking the boat, would do so by running the Labour Party in a racist manner. Black and British-Asian members of the shadow cabinet, over 40 Labour MPs from “ethnic minority” backgrounds[4] and a commitment to official anti-racism paint a rather different picture.

Of course, what goes unquestioned is national chauvinism, unity around British red, white and blue nationalism, pursuing our national interests and loyalty to the UK monarchical constitution. But then most of the official Labour left share that exact same outlook which amongst them simply passes for common sense.

[1]. ‘Race, prejudice and stupidity’ Weekly Worker April 27:




Putting the record straight

Carla Roberts reviews Oh, Jeremy Corbyn – the big lie   [Alexei Sayle (narrator), Chis Reeves (director), Norman Thomas (writer),  Platform Films]

I would definitely urge readers to go and see this film, whenever it is shown locally – but please be aware that our enemies have been handed a couple of easy weapons – through a lack of political editing perhaps and various shortcomings.

The “big lie” is a reference, of course, to the campaign to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. I recognise much of the footage, because the leftwing filmmaker, Chris Reeves of Platform Films, which produced it, has attended many of the meetings, stunts and activities put on by Labour Party Marxists, Labour Against the Witchhunt and other pro-Corbyn groups over the years. We even paid him to record a couple of events that are now part of the film and a lot of my friends and comrades can be seen on screen, either in the background or in the interview section. It is heartening to see reminders of the huge, enthusiastic crowds of Corbyn movement supporters.

Refreshingly, however, the film is also critical of Corbyn – taking him to task for appeasing the witch-hunters who accused him and his supporters of ‘anti-Semitism’. “The Labour leadership’s answer to the attacks seems to be to say ‘sorry’,” laments narrator Alexei Sayle. Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi of Jewish Voice for Labour says: “We kept thinking, Jeremy and John McDonnell will see that they will have to stand up to this now. Surely, they can see that these criticisms are not made in good faith.” Graham Bash, Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker make similar comments.

Interestingly, we also hear from Andrew Murray, who left the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain in 2016 to join the Labour Party and was seconded from Unite the Union to Labour HQ for the 2017 general election. He subsequently worked as an advisor to Corbyn from 2018 to 2020. “I am critical of how we handled the anti-Semitism thing”, he says, “because in my view we didn’t.” Apparently Jeremy was “very, very upset by the allegations, very personally wounded and it sort of paralysed a political response.” It is a real shame that neither Murray nor Corbyn spoke out when it still could have made a difference.

The big lie is not the kind of exposé that contains bombshells or knockout blows. It is unashamedly of the left and for the left. The film simply tries to tell the story of what happened – and why. Mostly that works well. But, on a few occasions, the film gets things wrong politically. My criticisms however, are relatively minor and, crucially, they are very different to the nonsense heaped onto the film by the mainstream press and so-called leftwingers like Paul Mason, Novara Media and singer Billy Bragg (standing in for Owen Jones in the Guardian, who has been surprisingly reticent on this whole issue). Of course, none of these darlings of the establishment stood up to the witch-hunt in the Labour Party and often they actually supported it. So their presentday stance comes as no surprise.


The main charge is, naturally, that the film is “allegedly ‘anti-Semitic’”, as The Times put it. Their journalists do not seem to have watched the damned thing, so instead Rupert Murdoch’s august publication turns to that useful idiot Paul Mason (for decades a Trotskyist, first in the SWP, then Workers Power, then Permanent Revolution).

In his review posted on LabourList (June 19), Mason claims that

the film presents a full-blown conspiracy theory about Corbyn’s opponents, conflating Zionists, Jews and Israel as part of a force that ‘orchestrated’ his overthrow. That, to me, appears to match at least two examples of anti-Semitism in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, and should raise legal and ethical questions for any venue considering screening it.

Not only does Mason present the hugely controversial IHRA fake ‘definition’ as some kind of holy script: he also thinks non-compliance with it raises “legal questions” – perhaps he believes it has official legal status? Sadly for Mason, this is not the case. It is not legally binding: it is also not a definition, as legal experts have pointed out many times – it is extremely vague.

But then Mason’s claim that the film “conflates Zionists, Jews and Israel” is utter nonsense anyway – and Mason has to admit as much. His single piece of ‘evidence’ consists of his description of a scene in which Moshé Machover states, quite correctly, that “nobody can fail to see that this was a concerted, orchestrated campaign” against Corbyn, followed by the narrator, Alexei Sayle, asking: “But if it was an orchestrated campaign, who was in the orchestra?” Mason himself lists the Zionist groups involved: “the Jewish Board of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement, Labour Friends of Israel, and the Israel Advocacy Movement”.[1]

In other words, even by Mason’s own logic, the film – as it is – could not be accused of anti-Semitism. But that is a minor admission that, of course, none of the venues which have banned the film will lose much sleep over. From the union bureaucrats of the Tolpuddle Festival, via the cowards in various town halls and council chambers to Sharon Graham of Unite – they all have been falling over themselves to stop the film being shown. To little avail, of course: every cancellation has led to at least two more screenings at other venues. Good.

Of course, the film goes on to add some other members of the said “orchestra”, which Mason fails to mention: the mainstream media, former deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and almost the entire Parliamentary Labour Party. Mention could also have been made of alleged leftwingers like Mason himself, as well as chief appeaser and Momentum founder Jon Lansman. He was so eager to please the witch-hunters that he went over to them (in a genuinely cringey interview for The Guardian, for example, in which he and Owen Jones try to outdo each other with their witch-finding skills, he actually claims that the phrase, “I hate Israel”, is “clearly anti-Semitic”[2]).

Of course there was a conspiracy against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. The Lobby, Al Jazeera’s documentary, and the report by Martin Forde KC on Labour, contain a mountain of evidence. There was a concerted campaign of sabotage, which most left activists on the ground experienced directly – from day one of Corbyn’s leadership.

The most effective tactic came to be the “big lie” – the claim that anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are anti-Semitic. Thousands were vilified, smeared and kicked out the Labour Party and other organisations. So successful has that been, it continues to this day.

Until Mason’s review, it was the title that the mainstream media concentrated on (after all, the film can only be seen at special screenings and none of the mainstream media hacks seem to have gone to the trouble to attend).

“There are big lies everywhere and one of the big lies today is of the Labour Party being infested by anti-Semitism”, as Moshé Machover explains in the film. “I doubt there is a single Palestine solidarity activist who has not been accused of anti-Semitism. The Zionists have certainly successfully redefined anti-Semitism, says Tony Greenstein: “It does not mean hatred or hostility to Jews as Jews, but for the Zionists … is opposition to a Jewish, racial, supremacist state.”

On this key issue, the film is very strong.


There are, however, a few criticisms that have to be made.

Firstly, at no point does anybody point out that in fact there were a few (very, very few) cases of anti-Semitism – it would have been a miracle if there had not been. The Labour Party is part of society and reflects the anti-Semitism, racism, sexism and homophobia that exists in society (though probably on a much smaller scale). Most allegations were utter nonsense, based on trumped-up charges. But on a very few occasions, the recommendation of Labour Against the Witchhunt was that the accused should indeed retract and apologise for a particular thoughtless phrase or problematic tweet that indeed conflated ‘Jews’ and ‘Zionists’.

This underlined our demand for education and discussion on all issues to do with this subject – not an approach of ‘zero tolerance’, as so stupidly pursued by John McDonnell MP and Jon Lansman. Zero tolerance – ie, the banning of discussion – is  the opposite of the kind of open, democratic culture a healthy working class organisation needs. On the particular subject of anti-Semitism it is doubly wrong, because it was the chief weapon of the right against the left.

More importantly – and Mason picks up on this too – the film makes some rather outlandish and frankly bizarre claims about Keir Starmer, which reflect a serious misunderstanding of how the Labour Party and indeed modern capitalism work. The claim is that Starmer is some kind of operative in the intelligence services. Jackie Walker exclaims “Starmer worked for the CIA, didn’t he?” Actually, no, he did not. Rebecca Massey from Brighton gets it right: “He had worked quite closely with the CIA”, which is rather different. Starmer was, after all, appointed Director of Public Prosecutions in 2008 … and duly received a knighthood for services rendered. Andrew Murray puts it like this: “I think Starmer will simply be seen as someone who did the establishment’s bidding, which is really what he’s been doing all his life. He is above all a servant of the state.” Exactly.

Now we get to the most shaky part of the film’s narrative. Starmer is presented as using his undoubted opposition to Brexit first and foremost because it would wreck Corbyn’s election chances. Andrew Murray, showing that he still adheres to the CPB’s nationalist road to socialism, sees Starmer’s creeping advocacy of a second referendum as the means to scuttle the Corbyn project: “It became clear that [a second Brexit referendum] is the thing that can undermine Corbynism.”

Rebecca Massey piles it on: “[Starmer’s] best trick was to make Labour a ‘remain’ party. Let’s stick two fingers up to the majority of the British people who voted for Brexit.” The film then spends a considerable amount of time interviewing Labour Party members, who explain how they did not understand Labour’s policy on Brexit. And, of course, that is exactly how Keir Starmer planned it.

This is overegging things to put it mildly. Surely the comrades at Platform Films will remember that the vast majority of Labour Party members opposed Brexit. In the 2016 referendum around 70% of Labour voters ticked ‘remain’[3]. Corbyn, however, and many members of the traditional Labour left are of the view that a smaller, a nationally fragmented, capitalism is somehow preferable.

Despite his sentimental internationalism when it comes to the Palestinians or other solidarity movements, Corbyn at no point tried to win over the population to a positive vision of workers’ unity across Europe and beyond. Labour’s repudiate Brexit policy was weak, confused and self-defeating. Clearly, Corbyn did not believe in it and it showed. But to claim that this was somehow Starmer’s sneaky doing – on behest of other, shadowy forces – is idiotic.

Starmer did what he did because he believed in it. He believed what liberal capitalism believed. Big business, top civil servants and most of the political class believed that Brexit was bad.

That is the truth and the truth needs no lies, either big or small.




Open for business

Starmer is determined to display his loyalty to big business, the state and the Atlantic alliance by purging what is already a totally marginalised and useless official left. But, asks Carla Roberts, what if Jeremy Corbyn stood as an independent?

Sir Keir Starmer was quick off the starting blocks after the misnamed ‘Equality and Human Rights Commission’ report predictably cleared the Labour Party of the “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” it had allegedly been guilty of under Jeremy Corbyn. He announced that Corbyn would not be standing as a Labour candidate at the next general election.

For the EHRC, Sir Keir’s “action plan to drive out anti-Semitism” (also known as his purge of the left) has apparently done the trick! Sure, it took a redefinition of what anti-Semitism actually is: instead of ‘hostility against Jews’ (which very, very few Labour Party members could be convicted of), it is now almost universally understood as ‘criticism of Israel’.

The EHRC is, of course, far from independent – nor very much interested in human rights, for that matter. It is a deeply partisan body whose members are appointed by the government, and it is now firmly in Tory hands. Corbyn should have told the EHRC to get lost when it first launched its investigation of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ back in 2019 when he was still leader. But his active cooperation was yet another symptom of his futile campaign to appease the right. It is quite astonishing that he continued to pursue this strategy to the bitter end. Even in his final moments as leader, Corbyn sought to reward deputy leader Tom Watson with a seat in the House of Lords, though this witch-hunter continued to stab him in the back.

With the EHRC’s clean bill of health in his back pocket, Starmer moved to his coup de grâce. When  asked if Corbyn will be a Labour candidate at the next election, Starmer bluntly pronounced: “Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at the next general election.”

The day before publication of the EHRC report, Starmer confidently wrote in The Times:

The changes we have made aren’t just fiddling around the edges or temporary fixes. There are those who don’t like that change, who still refuse to see the reality of what had gone on under the previous leadership. To them I say in all candour: we are never going back. If you don’t like it, nobody is forcing you to stay.[1]

As most of those members who actively and loudly supported Corbyn have now been expelled, suspended or have simply resigned in disgust, it does beg the question: who was he talking about? The few ‘leftwing’ MPs in the Socialist Campaign Group have clearly given up the fight. Showing up on a picket line is the most radical thing that some of them are prepared to do. But even that seems to be going too far for some of them: they have recently set up an alternative group entitled ‘New Left’, which so far acts as a group within the SCG.[2] The neo-Blairite undertone of their name surely cannot have escaped MPs like Clive Lewis, Dawn Butler, Sam Tarry and Nadia Whittome (the latter a fellow traveller of the pro-imperialist Alliance for Workers’ Liberty). Apparently, they model themselves on ‘The squad’ of politicians in the US, despite the fact that this opportunist quartet has pretty much collapsed.

As for Starmer, he was really talking to big business and the mainstream media, to those who used to love Tony Blair. He might not have the same alleged ‘charm’ and media savviness, but he is certainly a lot more brutal, when it comes to reshaping the party and purging the left, as shown by his decision to pursue five former Corbyn staffers in a civil case for leaking what was going to be Labour’s submission to the EHRC. The unredacted 860‑page report highlighted the right’s campaign against the Corbyn leadership (as well as that leadership’s appeasing efforts to push out Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and others falsely accused of anti-Semitism). Even though this case might cost the party between £3-4 million, this is money well spent for Sir Keir. It signals that Labour is, once again, open for business. Starmer might have stood for Labour leader on the 2019 Corbynite manifesto, but he has certainly washed his hands of it now.


It is rather incredible that, at the same time, the official Labour left is still barking up the ‘unity’ tree. “The blame for this polarisation in the party lies with Starmer and his fixation on the left, while there is so much wrong in wider society,” says Mike Cowley on the dying Red Line TV show, which is loosely linked to the Labour Representation Committee. Why, oh why, can’t Labour concentrate its fire on the Tories instead of attacking the left?

Cowley is, of course, encapsulating the political outlook of the official Labour left, despite its obvious and painful failure in the last eight years. It is exactly such useless appeals for ‘unity’ that have led to Corbyn’s futile strategy of trying to appease the right rather than take it on.

Starmer’s ultimatum serves as a reminder that the Labour Party is still a ‘bourgeois workers’ party’. The party has trade union affiliates and still relies on hazy notions of class to get votes, but the right commits itself to maintaining the existing constitution and pursing common interests (read: the interests of capital). Of course, Starmer is doing his best to limit the damage caused by the presence of active socialists in Labour’s ranks to the carefully crafted pro-big business image. But the continued affiliation of the big trade unions, representing millions of workers, means that for now Labour remains an arena of the class struggle.

And no, that does not mean that communists believe that the class struggle can be decisively ‘won’ in the Labour Party and even less that socialism can somehow be realised through a vote in parliament. But, as should have become crystal-clear over the last eight years, the bourgeoisie did everything in its power to prevent a Corbyn government, which was clearly a manifestation of the class struggle.


In his bid to shift the party still further to the right, Starmer may well be investigating the possibility of yet more bans and proscriptions.

Momentum might well be put on the list, despite the fact that the organisation has loyally implemented the witch-hunt. Its founder, Jon Lansman, actively and eagerly participated in it and his various heirs and successors never strayed much from this path. To this day, they are continuing to implement the witch hunt in their own ranks. Momentum does not allow anyone to be a member who has been expelled from the Labour Party. They are harmless, loyal and entirely useless as an opposition. So they may be spared.

Ditto groups like the Labour Representation Committee and the even more ineffective Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. While the LRC somewhat flaccidly stood up to the witch-hunt, supporting this or that protest or open letter organised by the likes of Labour Against the Witchhunt and Jewish Voice for Labour, it is barely alive nowadays.

Red Line TV was perhaps the last spark of life emanating from that corpse and it is now “taking a break”. At its Kafkaesque AGMs, the LRC continues to elect John McDonnell as its president – the same man who has embraced the anti-Semitism smear campaign and goes on about “zero tolerance”. Naturally he did not raise the rafters when his old friend Graham Bash, editor of Labour Briefing, was expelled. President McDonnell used to write a monthly column … so presumably he is in Starmer’s cross-hairs.

CLPD guru, Barry Gray (also a leading member of the Stalinoid sect, Socialist Action), has given out the message that it is heads down for the next 10-15 years. The hope is that eventually some leftwing leader will come along and bring salvation. All the while he and his chums kept their silence as comrades were purged one by one. When founder-member, Pete Willsman, was suspended and then expelled in November 2022 (for – you guessed it – false claims of anti-Semitism) the CLPD looked the other way.

Jewish Voice for Labour, one of the few organisations that did dare to speak out, has been a likely candidate for proscription, but perhaps Starmer has been fearful of the obvious charge of anti-Semitism being made against him! It seems that JVL too has been struggling, as most of its members have themselves been suspended or expelled from the party. It does put such groups into an existentialist crisis – their whole political outlook is based on work in the Labour Party. It is not surprising that there is so much demoralisation on the left.

An anonymous “Labour figure” speculates on the Skwawkbox website that the Stop the War Coalition could be next on Starmer’s hit list, which, given the ‘withdraw your signatures of else’ instruction to the spineless SCG 11 back in February 2022, seems quite possible.[3] Jeremy Corbyn is deputy president alongside the Communist Party of Britain’s Andrew Murray. And, of course, StWC dares to criticise the US/Nato proxy war in Ukraine (even if it does so in a peacenik kind of way). Such a ban could lead to all sorts of Labour lefts being expelled, including Corbyn.


Many on the left are now pinning their hopes on Corbyn standing as an independent in Islington North. And, while he has chosen not to publicly speculate about such a move yet, the odds are that he would win, having served as the local and popular MP for over 40 years. It is unlikely though that Corbyn would receive any kind of support from the cowards in the Socialist Campaign Group. They much prefer saving their own stalled careers and keeping their heads down until it is time to cash in their lucrative parliamentary pensions.

Corbyn is also unlikely to form any kind of a political party, which is what many on the left urge him to do. That is rather surprising, considering that he was prepared to sacrifice hundreds of his own supporters in the witch-hunt, many of whom are still being vilified as anti-Semites in the national press. Reputations have been ruined and not a few livelihoods and careers badly affected. Thanks to the internet, this will be so for decades to come. But, incredibly, for many the man still seems to walk on water.

A Starmer government might take on the unions if they cause UK plc too much trouble over pay and conditions. A serious confrontation might see some big unions disaffiliating and forming a new version of the 1900 Labour Representation Committee. Should any such new kind of ‘broad left party’ emerge, communists would of course participate. It would be sectarian and stupid to do otherwise. But the main task remains fighting for a mass Communist Party l

[1]. The Times February 14.



Palestine, payments and purges

Starmer is out to prove that Labour can be relied upon as a safe alternative party of government, argues David Shearer of Labour Party Marxists

Last month Keir Starmer gave his clearest signal yet that under his leadership the Labour Party can be relied upon to act as a loyal ally of US imperialism, particularly when it comes to the Middle East.

I am, of course, referring to the huge sum that Starmer agreed to pay out of Labour coffers to seven former staff members and John Ware, a prize-winning freelance reporter (his awards include the Commitment to Media Award from the Women’s International Zionist Organization). The payment was to cover legal fees and reputational damages which resulted from the statement issued by the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn in response to the Panorama documentary, ‘Is Labour anti-Semitic?’.

Broadcast on July 10 2019, it had just about everyone being interviewed answering the question contained in the title in the affirmative – although virtually no supporting evidence was produced to back up the extraordinarily vague and unsubstantiated claims that were made by so many, including the presenter.

Immediately following the broadcast, Labour issued a statement. It claimed that many of the staff members interviewed had “personal and political axes to grind” and Ware’s overall presentation amounted to “deliberate and malicious misrepresentation”. This resulted in the legal action taken by Ware and the seven former staff members and the July 22 high court agreement to hand over an estimated £370,000 to the eight litigants (Labour’s own costs could take the total up to £500,000).

Afterwards Starmer effectively agreed with the programme’s title when he said that anti-Semitism had become a “stain” on the party and that those staff members who backed up the allegation had in fact given many years of “dedicated and committed service” to the party. Which makes you wonder, if they are so “dedicated and committed” to Labour, why they are now prepared to deprive the party of such huge amounts – raised to a great extent via the dues of ordinary members.

Continuing his implied condemnation of Corbyn, Starmer went on to say that Labour was now “under new management”. After all, “If we are to restore the trust of the Jewish community, we must demonstrate a change of leadership”. In other words, under the former leader Labour was indeed ‘anti-Semitic’ – yet Starmer has given us no indication of what precisely needs to change in order to get rid of this “stain”.

Following the settlement, Corbyn himself issued a statement saying he was “disappointed” by the decision to pay out such huge sums. This, he said, was “a political decision, not a legal one”, which “risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in recent years”. Corbyn said the party had been advised that it had a “strong defence” against any legal action – not least the evidence contained in the internal report that was leaked in April this year.

In a sense it is good that Corbyn can be seen to have taken some kind of stand – although it is not exactly a principled one, is it? If it is true that his leadership had been obliged to take such strong action to “tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in recent years”, that seems to go along with this whole idea that prejudice against Jews had indeed become a major problem in the party.


What about the Panorama programme itself? It did, of course, feature lots of interviews with former members of staff and current Labour rightwingers, including Jewish ones (although not a single anti-Zionist Jew was interviewed – more on this below). And near the beginning there was coverage of Corbyn’s support for the Palestinian struggle and opposition to Zionism. Ware’s views on this question are well established and go back a long way: eg, he wrote in The Jewish Chronicle: “So deeply into Labour’s left has anti-Zionism morphed into anti-Semitism – itself a Corbyn legacy – that Jewish Labour members are avoiding meetings.”

It is clear that this ‘morphing’ of anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism includes those on the left who either cling to a hopeless two-state solution or call for a single Palestinian state with equal religious rights for all its inhabitants.

What about the views of the former staff members? What was notable was the fact that, while they talked of their distress, no details regarding actual cases of anti-Semitism within the party were provided. Well, unless you take the case of Ken Livingstone, featured by Ware as the first example of ‘anti-Semitism’ to come to light under Corbyn. Livingstone’s comments about the collaboration in the 1930s of German Zionists with the Nazis were “offensive” to Jews, it was claimed – although strangely the charge of anti-Semitism was quickly dropped in his case in favour of “bringing the party into disrepute”. One of the ex-staffers said that Livingstone’s suspension for three years was totally insufficient – surely such an ‘anti-Semite’ should be permanently expelled.

That brings me to those former staff members themselves. I stated earlier that no anti-Zionist Jews were amongst those who featured, but several were Jews with rather different political opinions. In fact it was soon revealed that no fewer than nine of the people interviewed were, or had been, leading members of the Jewish Labour Movement, including office-holders such as Ella Rose, JLM equalities officer, and Izzy Lenga, the international officer.

The significance of the JLM is that it is totally committed to Zionism, with strong links with the Israeli Labor Party – until 1977 every Israeli government had been led by the ILP, but it is not a left formation in any sense: it has been responsible for the systematic oppression of the Palestinians.

What about the Jewish Labour Movement itself? Originally founded in 1903 as Poale Zion, it was wound up in 2004. But immediately after the election of Corbyn as leader in 2015 it was refounded. According to Jeremy Newmark, who became the first chair of the newly recreated grouping until his resignation in 2018, in around September 2015 there was “talk about reforming the JLM” – specifically to make the Corbyn leadership as short-lived as possible.

At its April 2019 conference JLM voted no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, who was just “unfit to be prime minister”. In fact, it scurrilously alleged:

The leadership of the Labour Party have demonstrated that they are anti-Semitic and have presided over a culture of anti-Semitism, in which they have failed to use their personal and positional power to tackle anti-Semitism, and have instead used their influence to protect and defend anti-Semites.

So is it seriously being suggested that those JLM members employed at Labour HQ wanted to see a flourishing party, to which they were so “dedicated and committed”?

It was so obvious what they were up to – especially after that notorious Panorama programme – that for once Corbyn came out openly and actually condemned those employed by the party who had joined in the smears against Labour as “institutionally anti-Semitic”. But the question we have to ask is, why did Corbyn not call out the ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt from the beginning? It was clear from the start that it was the Labour left and his own supporters who were being targeted by deliberately conflating, as John Ware did, anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Instead so determined was team Corbyn to appease the right that it actually became complicit in the campaign – to such an extent that anyone who denied that the party was awash with anti-Semites was labelled a “denier” (and thus guilty themselves of anti-Semitism, of course).


In reality, the whole campaign was totally false and those like the JLM knew it. In reality, they have the interests of Israel and Zionism at heart first and foremost. However, the UK establishment, in line with US imperialism, supports Israel for a different reason. It is not because it favours the strengthening of Israel in and of itself, but because it knows that its interests, as a colonial-settler state, are reliant on US imperialism.

But the problem is that Israel’s standing as an upholder of ‘democracy’ has lost much of its traction with millions, including large numbers of Jews. The expulsion of hundreds of thousands, the military occupation regime in the West Bank, the planting of settlements, the nationality law, the annexation of east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and now possibly the Jordan Valley have caused deep disquiet. Indeed many liberal Zionists find themselves deeply troubled by the actions of the Israeli government.

And that is what the ‘Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ campaign is all about. It is about restoring traction by making criticism of the Israeli government impossible or at the very least problematic. In the new topsy-turvey world the racist ideology thereby becomes anti-racism, anti-racism becomes racism.

For Starmer, what matters is securing Labour’s place once again as the UK’s safe alternative party of government – and that means complying with the wishes of the US state department. So for him half a million is a small price to pay to achieve that end – no doubt he will be prepared to fork out further huge sums to the likes of former general secretary Iain McNicol, who is also considering legal action against the party.

And now Corbyn himself is facing legal action simply for suggesting that Ware and the JLMers should have been fought all the way in the courts. The threat against Corbyn sparked a fundraising drive that started with an initial target of £20,000, but within less than a week £300,000 had already been raised.

So who are all these people prepared to help Corbyn defend himself against legal action? No, these are not ‘anti-Semites’ defending their right to discriminate against Jews. They are conscientious Labour members who are both against the campaign to delegitimise Palestinian solidarity and for the simple need to state the truth.

Oppose calls for reinstatement

We must defend Rebecca Long-Bailey against false charges that she helped spread an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’, writes David Shearer of Labour Party Marxists. But why was a so-called ‘socialist’ willing to sit in Starmer’s shadow cabinet?

Sacking shadow education secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, allows Keir Starmer to send out a two-barrelled message:

  • firstly, his ‘decisive’ leadership represents a complete break with the Corbyn years.
  • secondly, Labour can now be relied upon, if elected, to implement sensible policies that promote the interests of British capital at home and abroad.

Long-Bailey’s ‘crime’, of course, was retweeting an article in The Independent based on an interview with actor Maxine Peake, in which she said: “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

This claim was immediately condemned as not only untrue, but – by Zionists in particular, and totally absurdly – as “anti-Semitic”. Starmer was pressed by Zionist groups to deliver on his commitment, made immediately following his election as Labour leader, to “tear out this poison by its roots”. As everyone knows, Labour under Jeremy Corbyn was portrayed as “institutionally anti-Semitic” and there was a huge campaign to discredit opposition to Israeli settler-colonialism by defining it as anti-Semitic.

Disciplinary action was taken against scores of Labour members. Large numbers were expelled. Amongst them were a handful of actual anti-Semites, but in most cases – certainly when it comes to the most well-known, such as Ken Livingstone (who actually resigned rather than waiting to be expelled), Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth – the charge of anti-Semitism was eventually dropped. Instead there was the vague catch-all of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’.

Shamefully, Corbyn failed to act to prevent this purge of his own supporters, which was instigated and controlled by the rightwing party bureaucracy. The likes of John McDonnell and Diane Abbott also preferred to keep quiet rather than express any opposition to this witch-hunt or solidarity with its victims. But silence was not enough: it was regarded as essential for the defence of Israel and its key role in the Middle East to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and effectively outlaw anything but the mildest criticism of Israeli oppression.

Step in Keir Starmer and the official Labour statement he endorsed just a few hours after Long-Bailey retweeted the interview. This reads:

The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. As leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number-one priority. Anti-Semitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it.

It goes without saying that the allegation of “an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” is absurd. First, the claim that the ‘neck-kneeling’ method of ‘restraint’ was “learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services” was obviously meant to be directed against Israeli (and US) authorities, not against ‘Jews’ in general! It is irrelevant that the claim is, of course, untrue. While both US and Israeli police forces do employ this murderous technique, and they have indeed organised joint seminars, etc, the method has been written into the operational manuals of numerous police forces in the US for the best part of two decades.

Second, where is the “conspiracy theory”? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, this is defined as “a belief that an event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people”. It is pretty obvious that a ‘technique’ that has been employed for so long in both countries cannot be described as – or was intended to be – “secret”. The claim that it was the Israeli “secret services” that taught US forces all about it – however ridiculous – does not change that.

In any case, the question of who taught who what is completely irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that both the US and Israeli police have employed a brutal, inhuman, oppressive method and anyone who states that the allegation is “an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” is either an idiot or a liar. Not that you would have thought so from the media coverage, of course. Where is there any serious questioning in the mainstream media of either element in this pathetic phrase?

But, of course, Zionist groups like the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement all praised Starmer to the skies. What he said was exactly what they wanted to hear.


In The Independent article Maxine Peake pointedly attacked capitalism. In relation to the coronavirus pandemic, she was quoted as saying: “We’ve got to the point where protecting capital is much more important than anybody’s life.” Later she talked about a “cycle that’s indoctrinated into us all” and added: “Well, we get rid of it when we get rid of capitalism, as far as I’m concerned.”

However, her main concern was seeing the back of the Tory government: “You know what: at the end of the day, all I want is the Tories out.” That is why “I didn’t like Tony Blair, but I still voted Labour, because anything’s better than the Tories.” And that applies to the current leadership too: “I think people will get behind Starmer, won’t they? He’s a more acceptable face of the Labour Party for a lot of people who are not really leftwing. But that’s fine. Whatever. As long as the Tories get out, I don’t care any more.”

Her forthright opposition to the Tories – that and urging Labour members not to leave the party – explains why Long-Bailey called Peake an “absolute diamond” and retweeted the article.

It is worth quoting in full the former shadow education secretary’s subsequent statement:

Today I retweeted an interview that my constituent and stalwart Labour Party supporter Maxine Peake gave to The Independent. Its main thrust was anger with the Conservative government’s handling of the current emergency and a call for Labour Party unity. These are sentiments shared by everyone in our movement and millions of people in our country.

I learned that many people were concerned by references to international sharing of training and restraint techniques between police and security forces. In no way was my retweet an intention to endorse every part of that article. I wished to acknowledge these concerns and duly issued a clarification of my retweet, with the wording agreed in advance by the Labour Party leader’s office, but after posting I was subsequently instructed to take both this agreed clarification and my original retweet down.

I could not do this in good conscience without the issuing of a press statement of clarification. I had asked to discuss these matters with Keir before agreeing what further action to take, but sadly he had already made his decision.

I am proud of the policies we have developed within the party from our Green Industrial Revolution to a National Education Service and I will never stop working for the change our communities need to see. I am clear that I shall continue to support the Labour Party in parliament under Keir Starmer’s leadership, to represent the people of Salford and Eccles and work towards a more equal, peaceful and sustainable world.

All this illustrates the profound weakness of Labour lefts like RLB. Surely, instead of ‘supporting’ Starmer, she should be organising an opposition within the opposition. However, even worse were Long-Bailey’s cringing comments in a subsequent article in The Guardian, entitled ‘I know how painful anti-Semitism is and never intended my tweet to cause hurt’ (June 29). She says:

I explained to the leader’s office that I would never have intended to retweet or endorse anything that could cause hurt to anyone. I know how painful the issue of anti-Semitism has been for the Jewish community and I have been part of the efforts to eradicate it from our party.

…. Would I have retweeted the article, knowing some of its contents would cause hurt? No of course not.

In saying this she only just stops short of conceding that Peake’s throwaway remark was actually ‘anti-Semitic’. And anyway who cares about ‘causing hurt’ to Zionists? Would you apologise for causing hurt to white racists because they found opposition to apartheid South Africa offensive? Hopefully not.

But at least the Corbynite left actually spoke up in her defence. Both McDonnell and Abbott publicly opposed Starmer’s actions – and so did Momentum owner Jon Lansman. This, in contrast to their attitude in response to the witch-hunting of anti-Zionists during the Corbyn years. Why the change? The possibility of ‘prime minister Corbyn’ excused the sacrifice of one friend and ally after another. There is no such possibility now. Moreover, it is clear that if Long-Bailey can be accused of promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, what about John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn himself?

However, the pass has been sold. Under Corbyn, Labour adopted the IHRA’s so-called definition of anti-Semitism, along with all of its so-called examples. Labour leadership candidates also agreed to the BoD’s Ten Commandments. All of this means that anyone who dares criticise Israel can easily be branded an anti-Semite.

Indeed, so concerned was RLB to appease Zionism that she called herself a Zionist. Her reasoning? She supports Israel’s “right to exist”. Would she support apartheid South Africa’s right to exist? She supports the “right to self-determine”. Would she support the “right” of white people throughout the globe to take over the land of native populations and drive them out?

Note that Jon Lansman’s rush to call for the reinstatement of RLB – his candidate against Starmer – did not help his Momentum Renewal slate in elections to Momentum’s national coordinating group. All 20 successful candidates in the members section were supporters of Forward Momentum. A final humiliation for Lansman: general election – lost; Labour leadership election – lost; NEC election – lost; NCG election – lost.

Either way, we should not join calls for Long-Bailey to be reinstated. While it is correct to defend her – and Maxine Peake – from Starmer’s scurrilous attacks, we must ask what a so-called ‘socialist’ was doing in an alternative government headed by the unashamedly pro-capitalist Keir Starmer. Of course, RLB is just a typical career politician who finds it advantageous to call herself a ‘socialist’. So, instead of calling for her to be reinstated, we ought to be exposing her as a fake ‘socialist’. The fact that she took a well-paid seat in Starmer’s shadow cabinet marks her out as an opponent, an enemy of socialism.

Stand up to witch-hunters

Those who fail to show solidarity should not be given solidarity, writes David Shearer of Labour Party Marxists

While Jeremy Corbyn was still Labour leader, there was much speculation on the left that, once the right had managed to remove him and recapture the party, we would see an abrupt end to the weaponisation of anti-Semitism. That was, of course, a campaign that saw the Labour left, and Corbyn supporters in particular, absurdly targeted as ‘anti-Semites’ and the party itself accused of having become ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’.

Well, I think the events of last week might have knocked that one on the head. For those who have missed this story – relegated, of course, to the inside pages, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic – the latest ‘scandal’ occurred as a result of the April 29 online meeting of a new Labour left grouping called ‘Don’t Leave, Organise’, which was set up following the election of Keir Starmer as the party’s new (rightwing) leader.

Attended by over 500 people, the meeting was addressed by, amongst others, two Labour left MPs, Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy. As you might expect, their contributions focused on the recent leaked report, which revealed how the rightwing Labour bureaucracy under former general secretary Iain McNicol had not only deliberately worked to reduce the possibility of a Labour general election victory, but had sat on allegations of anti-Semitism in order to undermine Corbyn.

The big problem with this line involves the second allegation, which actually takes it as a given that there is indeed a serious problem with anti-Jewish prejudice within the party. In this way the soft Labour left, including our two MPs, has attempted to turn the tables. There is not only anti-Semitic racism: there is ‘institutional racism’ in general (both MPs are black, of course). Much discussion ensued about black self-organisation.

But they obviously had not reckoned on the presence of spies. A well orchestrated scandal followed. Its focus was not on what they (or anyone else) said at the meeting, but on the fact that among the dozen or so people called to speak from the audience there were two expelled Labour members: namely Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein. In case you have forgotten, both these comrades were originally suspended over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ (despite the fact that both are Jewish!), but were eventually booted out over totally different charges – I will return to that below.

The next day, following well crafted denunciations from several Zionist groups, the story went live. The BBC version (April 30) was headlined: ‘Sir Keir Starmer is facing calls from Jewish groups to take further action over two MPs who addressed a meeting that included two expelled activists’. Of course, terms like ‘Jewish groups’ are used to imply that they speak on behalf of the ‘Jewish community’. In reality there is a strong anti-Zionist current among Jewish people. For example, one of the founding organisations of Don’t Leave, Organise is the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Labour (the others being the Labour Representation Committee and Red Labour, Red Britain).

So what did the Zionists allege? Well, the Board of Deputies of British Jews claimed that the MPs had ‘shared a platform’ with the two expellees. According to BoD president Marie van der Zyl, “It is completely unacceptable that Labour MPs, and even ordinary members, should be sharing platforms with those that have been expelled from the party for anti-Semitism.”

Of course, the term, ‘share a platform’, usually refers only to an event’s official speakers, not to people in the audience. But that does not bother van der Zyl, of course (nor the fact that comrades Walker and Greenstein were not “expelled from the party for anti-Semitism”). She demanded that Keir Starmer take “swift and decisive action” against Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy in order to demonstrate that “this is a new era, rather than a false dawn” following his pledge after the leadership election to “tear out this poison by its roots”, as Labour had “failed the Jewish community on anti-Semitism”.

Then there was Euan Philipps of Labour Against Anti-Semitism, who said that Starmer should have given a “strong and unequivocal response” following this ‘outrage’ of the MPs addressing a meeting where a couple of expelled members were present. Starmer, he said, had instead “demonstrated a disappointing level of moral and political cowardice” in not removing the whip from them. For his part, Gideon Falter of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said the Labour leader had shown that “his apologies are meaningless” because of his failure to take stronger action: “After half a decade of the Labour anti-Semitism crisis,” said Falter, “no MP should need ‘reminding’ not to engage with those expelled from the party over anti-Semitism.”

A Labour spokeswoman said Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy had been “reminded of their responsibilities” and had been spoken to “in the strongest possible terms”. After all, “The previous comments made by some of the individuals” attending the meeting had been “completely unacceptable”.


So how did the two respond? Disgracefully, they issued a grovelling statement which said: “The MPs were not aware that any suspended or expelled former members of the Labour Party might contribute as audience members. They did not and would not share a platform with them.”

This is appalling on so many levels. First, would you not expect that out of the 500-plus there would be all sorts of different people, some of whom might express views you totally disagreed with? Secondly, what is wrong with debating with such people – even if they had been expelled from Labour for legitimate reasons? Which brings me to my third, and most important, point: by taking this disgraceful stance Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy were placing themselves firmly in the camp of the witch-hunters and thus aiding the right, not to mention the anti-Labour establishment.

In fact neither Tony Greenstein nor Jackie Walker had done or said anything remotely anti-Semitic and the disciplinary action taken against them was completely unjustified. The initial moves against comrade Greenstein had seemed to centre – at least in terms of what was alleged publicly – on the fact that he had used the term ‘Zio’ as an abbreviation for ‘Zionist’ on social media. So shortening the word in this way completely changes its meaning, does it? Perhaps any such usage (like ‘bio’ or ‘eco’) is unacceptable.

Secondly, comrade Greenstein was also accused of describing the rightwing Labour MP, Louise Ellman, as an “apologist for Israel’s occupation forces” and a “supporter of Israeli child abuse” (the latter because she had praised the actions of Israeli soldiers, even though amongst those they had violently arrested were children). Ellman, of course, later resigned when faced with a no confidence motion in her Constituency Labour Party.

But comrade Greenstein was expelled in February 2018 – basically for ‘being rude’.

What were comrade Walker’s ‘crimes’? In 2016 she was suspended after a private email she had sent was “uncovered” by the Israel Advocacy Movement (the name says it all). In this she pointed out that Holocaust Remembrance Day focussed almost exclusively on Jewish victims of genocide. But what about the thousands of Africans who had been enslaved and died on the other side of the Atlantic? She had (rather clumsily) pointed to the fact that in the slave trade some Jews, far from being the victims, were in fact among the slave-owners. She wrote in the email: “… many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. She later said that what she had meant was: “Jews (my ancestors too) were among those who financed the sugar and slave trade.”

Eventually comrade Walker was reinstated, but was suspended again a few months later for comments she made at an “anti-Semitism training event” organised by the Jewish Labour Movement at the 2016 Labour conference. Not only did she say, “I still haven’t heard a definition of anti-Semitism that I can work with.” But she also queried the need for special security at Jewish schools. Presumably such remarks constitute “prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour against the party” – the ‘offence’ for which she was finally expelled in March 2019.

What was the stance of Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy in relation to such cases? Like Corbyn himself, they said and did nothing. After all, if you say that such disciplinary action is misplaced then you yourself might be targeted next. Better to go along with the action taken and pretend it was all justified. That was what they effectively did once again last week.

That is why we totally disagree with the headline above the statement issued by Labour Against the Witchhunt, which reads: “Solidarity with Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy” (although at least it adds: “and all those unjustly expelled!”). LAW failed to criticise ‘comrades’ Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy,’ despite their disgraceful statement issued two days earlier.

Solidarity means – if it means anything – unity, agreement, common action and mutual support. Calling for solidarity with scabs, turncoats and traitors is, to say the least, to foster illusions, to throw dust into the eyes of Labour members. We should defend Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy from any attempt to discipline, suspend or expel them. But their surrender, their cowardice, is inexcusable. And that needs saying.

While we are on the subject of solidarity, it is worth a brief comment on the May 2 ‘Statement on Salma Yaqoob’ issued by the Stop the War Coalition. Yaqoob is another Labour member facing an investigation following a complaint by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. That despite her long record of fighting racism and other forms of prejudice. The STWC states: “The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism demanded the exclusion from Labour of two black women MPs, Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy, on the flimsy pretext that they addressed an online meeting which included expelled Labour Party members in the audience, not on the platform” (original emphasis).

But then it added: “Local STWC groups act autonomously in deciding their platforms, but we note that Tony Greenstein has never been asked to address a national STWC meeting. STWC rejects both anti-Semitism and abusive language in political debate.”

So, unlike Salma Yaqoob, comrade Greenstein was justifiably expelled, was he? That seems to be the implication.