Category Archives: Anti-Semitism

Selective justice is no justice

John McDonnell has rightly called for her reinstatement. But, asks Eddie Ford, what about all the many others wrongly accused of anti-Semitism?

By now everyone will be familiar with Frank Hester’s comments about Diane Abbott. The Tory mega-donor said (five years ago) that she made him “want to hate all black women and “she should be shot”. Presumably, his remarks were purely hyperbolic, not an instruction. Nevertheless, they were highly unpleasant, reeking of misogyny and racism, even if the man has apologised – laughably claiming that his comment had “nothing to do with her gender nor colour of skin”. Of course, there were demands that the Conservative Party return Hester’s £15 million donations, but that was never going to happen – maybe they have spent it already in a near doomed attempt to prevent Sir Keir becoming prime minister.

In response to Hester’s bile, which Abbott described as “frightening”, some have called for her to be reinstated to the Parliamentary Labour Party, being both the first black woman ever elected to parliament and the longest-serving black MP, getting re-elected in every general election since 1987. As readers will recall, she had the whip withdrawn almost a year ago after writing a stupid letter to The Observer, saying that, while “many types of white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice … they are not all their lives subject to racism”, going on to cite Jews, Irish and traveller people (April 23).

While she appeared to treat today’s Romany gypsies and Irish travellers as just another type of white people, you can reasonably argue that in fact they are subject to overt racism by politicians, the media and the police – we are dealing with far more than mere prejudice. And by reducing racism to simply a question of skin colour, she was effectively proposing a hierarchy of racism, where being black trumps being Jewish or whatever, which is dumb.

Anyway, Abbott apologised for her comments, saying the letter was an initial draft sent by mistake, though according to the Jewish Chronicle the letter had been sent twice – but who believes anything they say? She has now been under “investigations” for 11 months – an absurd amount of time to simply reread a letter – making you draw the conclusion that the party leadership are just playing for time in a bid to prevent her standing as a Labour candidate in the forthcoming general election.

Unsurprisingly, as a black woman, she has received a large degree of support from many within the party. Harriet Harman, former Labour deputy leader, said she would be “sad” if Abbott’s career ended without her being readmitted to the PLP. The current deputy leader, Angela Rayner, too “would like to see Diane back”, but added that the party “has to follow its procedures”.

But they involve a process deliberately designed to thwart natural justice. Otherwise how come it has taken so long to come to a decision? Ed Balls, hardly a natural ally, has also added his voice to those calling for Abbott to have the whip restored. “She was suspended from the PLP a year ago for saying something she probably shouldn’t have said and she apologised for it,” he said. “… following that apology, she should be supported and defended rather than left on her own, which is what’s happening at the moment”. We are informed by the Morning Star that “thousands” have signed petitions calling for her to be returned to the PLP. Good.

Of course, communists demand that Diane Abbott is restored to full membership and is allowed to stand in the next general election if her local party wants her to – everything we know about Hackney tells us the vast majority of party members in the constituency do want her to be their MP again, which should be their right. Yes, Abbott was stupid 11 months ago – so what? Whether her letter was a draft sent for publication by mistake or not, her sins are dwarfed by those committed by the Labour right and the vast majority of the PLP, who are pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist, pro-Nato and overwhelmingly pro-Israel – as it makes another step towards the genocide of the Gazan people, with Benjamin Netanyahu saying there is “no alternative” to a ground invasion of Rafah. Equally important, by calling for Abbott’s reinstatement, we are defending the space – which admittedly is extremely limited to almost vanishing point – that still remains in the Labour Party where any sort of leftwing views can be expressed and debated.


Showing that Diane Abbott has not been “left on her own”, as stated by Ed Balls, was last weekend’s demonstration called by the TUC and the SWP’s front, Stand up to Racism, to mark the UN’s Anti-Racism  Day – an event observed annually on the date when the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people in 1960. Naturally both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were there, marching amongst banners declaring: “Racism is extremism”, “Freedom is a constant struggle”, “Say no to Islamophobia”, “Stamp out anti-Semitism, yes to diversity”, and so on.

Loud cheers broke out when McDonnell, who was shadow chancellor under Corbyn, made a fiery speech in “solidarity with my friend, my colleague, my comrade, Diane Abbott” – going on to lead those gathered in a chant of “No justice, no peace”. He declared that Abbott is nobody’s victim, but facing racism “day in, day out” from various sections “takes its toll, and I want to pay tribute to this woman, her bravery, courage, determination”. These remarks echoed his earlier statement to the PA news agency: “… the reason people are mobilising in such large numbers is because we are seeing the rise of racism within our society again”, adding that it was “disrespectful” that Abbott had not been allowed to speak in the House of Commons despite the fact she was the focus of the debate around racism – something that “absolutely shocked” him.

McDonnell got an even bigger cheer when he told those assembled outside the home office: “If the Labour Party wants to be perceived as an anti-racist party, there is one simple step that can be done today, and that is Sir Keir Starmer restoring the whip to Diane Abbott.”

Now, these are perfectly fine sentiments – as said above, she should be reinstated. But the difference we have with John McDonnell is not over that, obviously: rather, why has he come out in “solidarity” just with Diane Abbott … and, for that matter, Jeremy Corbyn, but not the many others? After all, they are not the only ones who have suffered injustice or been monstrously slandered. What about Marc Wadsworth, Stan Keable, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and the hundreds – indeed thousands – of others who have also been wrongly accused of anti-Semitism? Or, more exactly, were first accused of anti-Semitism and, when that would not stick – as it was transparently false – were then charged with the catch-all crime of “bringing the party into disrepute” – an act of monumental hypocrisy, as it was the accusers who were guilty of that very offence with their kangaroo courts, inquisitions and malicious fabrications.

Why has McDonnell not come out in “solidarity” with all of them and led a militant campaign to have them exonerated? Why have they been left on their own? Are they lesser human beings because they are not MPs? For the official Labour left, it does seem that there are two tiers of solidarity – some are more worthy than others. The real reason for this is not too hard to establish. The official ‘lefts’ in the shadow cabinet looked the other way when these comrades were being suspended and expelled – named and shamed for something they had not done – in an attempt to appease the right, even though it was never going to be appeased.

The Labour right was always going to demand more and more – an obvious fact of political life that Jeremy Corbyn seemingly never understood, to the point where we had Jennie Formby, the general secretary appointed under his leadership, boasting about how the party was “speeding up” investigations and expulsions for ‘anti-Semitism’, much to the great delight of the bourgeois media, which was running non-stop lurid stories about the anti-Jewish hatred that was supposedly rife in the Labour Party.

Yes, we need to be critical not only of Jeremy Corbyn – who has thoroughly exposed himself as a complete nincompoop – but also of John McDonnell, who is equally guilty of trying to appease the right by sacrificing former friends and allies. We should not be selective about who we are in solidarity with, because we are up against a big lie: a witch-hunt that actually puts senator Joe McCarthy to shame. After all, at least in the 1950s there was a Soviet Union and a Communist Party of the USA, and the communist parties were a real force in many parts of the world.

But the anti-Semitism campaign in the Labour Party was based on nothing – a big lie of Goebbels proportions. That cannot be said often enough, and the likes of McDonnell and Corbyn ought to be saying it and saying it out loud.

Joining the living dead

Carla Roberts wishes she was surprised that Jon Lansman has joined the Jewish Labour Movement

A psychologist might explain Jon Lansman’s decision to join the Jewish Labour Movement at the end of 2023 as some kind of an attempt to escape trauma, stress and anger by regressing to his Zionist roots and Orthodox Jewish upbringing, including his much romanticised stay on a kibbutz at the age of 16. After all Lansman has seen his world come crashing down. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party ended in a humiliating general election defeat. Embracing big business, Sir Keir Starmer has junked almost everything from the 2017 and 2019 ‘socialist’ manifestos, and if that were not bad enough, in July 2020 Lansman found himself replaced as chair of Momentum by a firefighter and a climate activist.

But joining JLM is still an odd choice. After all, JLM was one of the key organisations behind the defeat of the Corbyn movement. As an official affiliate of the World Zionist Movement and sister party of Israel’s Labor Party (Havodah), the JLM worked tirelessly to smear Corbyn and the left by making bogus claim after bogus claim about the supposed anti-Semitism problem in the party. The bourgeois press and the right in the party eagerly lapped up their nonsense, no matter how ridiculous or weaponised.

Surely, as one of Corbyn’s “key allies” and decades-long leader of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Lansman must know what a despicable role the JLM played in destroying the Labour left’s biggest opportunity in a lifetime? Corbyn put him in charge of setting up Momentum, so how could Lansman be so disloyal now and join the very organisation that helped bring him down?

The sad truth is that this was a long time coming. And it is not just down to Lansman’s soft Zionism. It is a reflection of the total bankruptcy of the strategy of the entire official Labour left.

From the CLPD and Momentum via the slightly less horrid Labour Representation Committee to the various bitty groups represented in the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance: they all operate under the illusion that the Labour left needs to make peace with the ‘centre’ of the party.

Lansman is a long-time admirer of Vladimir Derer, the founder of CLPD, who he considers his political mentor: “Like Momentum, CLPD is an organisation which seeks to democratise the Labour Party, not to operate like a party-within-a-party. Similarly, Vladimir [Derer] was determined for CLPD to reach out to the centre of the party, since without doing so we would inevitably lose. The same is true for Momentum now”, he wrote in 2017[1].

‘Winning’, for Lansman and the rest of the official Labour left, of course means Labour winning a general election (under any leader, no matter their politics) and forming a government – not winning the civil war in the Labour Party.

This is why Corbyn bent over backwards to appease the right inside and outside the Labour Party. And that is also the reason why Lansman closed down democracy in Momentum at the end of 2016. Lansman (and, sadly, Corbyn) never meant for Momentum to become a fighting organisation. He told the Jewish Chronicle at the beginning of 2023: “I wish we’d never had Momentum branches. It was never our decision to set them up – they set themselves up.”[2] But he certainly did his best to clamp down on them, not least by imposing his outrageously undemocratic constitution in a cloak-and-dagger-operation otherwise known as the ‘Lansman coup’.

With the full support of Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and others in the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs he went on to cancel preparations for Momentum’s national launch conference, abolish the regions and downgrade the role of local groups. Lansman used a members’ survey to claim endorsement for his new constitution, ensuring he kept control of what was his private property, while also sneaking in a clause that banned from membership all those who had been expelled in the witch-hunt against Corbyn and the left. Although Lansman has since been ousted from Momentum, this clause remains intact and continues to be enforced by the all-new leadership of wannabe Labour bureaucrats.

Zero tolerance

In other words, Lansman might not have started the witch-hunt against the left, but he certainly enforced it. While maintaining that he supported Corbyn “100 percent”, he was always keen to state his view that there should be “zero tolerance” towards anti-Semitism.

From a communist point of view, zero tolerance towards any form of prejudice is entirely the wrong approach – we much prefer education and debate to convince people of their wrong ideas rather than tell them that they are ‘beyond the pale’. After all, there is a lot of prejudice, whacky ideas and racism within society – they are part and parcel of the capitalist class society we live in. We want to win people over and convince them that socialism and communism has something to offer them.

The problems with the strategy of trying to appease the right in the Labour Party are all too obvious.For a start, it is debatable how much better off the working class is under a rightwing Labour government of the Blair or Starmer variety: the self-censored left moans quietly about this war or that attack on the working class, while waiting for “the unions” to do something, anything.

And once you actually have a leftwinger in as leader, as happened by pure accident with Corbyn, the whole strategy quickly falls apart. The centre-right clearly had no interest in being appeased. There was no way they would have supported Corbyn as prime minister. They would have continued to plot, to sabotage, to undermine. Everybody could see it – apart from those on the official left who continued, right to the bitter end, trying to win them over by securing them in their cushy positions, be it in the regional offices, the CLPs or as MPs … all the while pointing their fingers at so-called ‘anti-Semites’ and keeping their cowardly distance from the victims of the witch-hunt (“we can’t have a suspended or expelled member speak on the platform”). This, sadly, included the Corbyn leadership itself, which – under its general secretary, Jennie Formby – vilified and smeared good comrades like Chris Williamson, Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker.

Yes, Lansman is a touch worse than your garden-variety official Labour leftie, because his soft Zionism also made him a keen supporter of the much-criticised, fake definition of anti-Semitism promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and adopted by the Labour Party under Corbyn (who made a half-hearted attempt to oppose it, but without publicly distancing himself in some sort of campaign, he had no chance).

Lansman fully embraced the attempt by the Israel lobby to redefine what anti-Semitism is: not hatred or discrimination of Jewish people, but criticism of Israel. He has stated, for example, that formulations like “I hate Israel” are not expressions of anti-Zionism, but are “clearly anti-Semitic”.[3]

He was more than happy to sell out Corbyn supporters and, pressed by Stella Creasy and Louise Ellman at the 2023 JLM conference, was quick to point to “anti-Semitic left activists around the country”, in particular those “in Riverside and Liverpool.”[4]

No wonder that he ended up joining Corbyn’s enemies in the JLM.

Lansman’s Zionism is very similar to his Labourism: he appeals to the sensible ‘centre-ground’ – which in reality means support for the hard right. In an interview with The Guardian in November for example, he expressed “sympathy” for Keir Starmer’s conclusion that calling for a ceasefire now in Gaza is wrong: “A ceasefire now could merely sustain Hamas as a continuing threat.”[5]

You see, “Israelis and Palestinians have been betrayed by their leaders – each side needs a new leader as soon as possible, each of whom wants peace and has the confidence of their own people!”, he recently tweeted.

Leaving aside the obvious contradiction of the latter (nobody who is calling for “peace” at the moment has the “confidence” of the majority of either population), his whole political outlook echoes the dumb ‘bad apples on both sides’ of the establishment media. He has been sharing dozens of tweets by Standing Together[6], a campaign of Jews and Arabs living in Israel, which has been promoted in Britain by Nadia Whittome MP, fellow traveller of the pro-imperialist and pro-Zionist Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. The campaign still peddles the illusion that there could be a capitalist ‘two-state solution’, when clearly no mainstream politician in Israel has any real interest in it whatsoever (Labor’s Merav Michaeli pays mere lip service to the idea).

Standing Together focuses on “de‑escalation and solidarity within Israel” by offering hotlines, workshops and other such worthy things, run by Jews and Arabs. Their mission statement reads like the naive wish list of a 14-year-old who just ‘wants peace’. It is appealing to those in charge to be a bit nicer to the Palestinians and stop supporting illegal settlements on the West Bank. But the campaign makes no demands, for example, to change any of the racist laws that condemn Arabs within Israel to second class citizenship.

For Standing Together, the root of the problem is not Zionism or the structures of state oppression. It is just that for some unfathomable reason Jews and non-Jews don’t seem to get on too well in Israel. Something a de-escalation course or, indeed, a new set of leaders who “want peace” are unlikely to fix.

Lansman is not a stupid man, so he knows all of that. But just like in the Labour Party, he wants to leave the structures of inequality intact. His main problem is that he has no confidence in his vision of socialism or, indeed, in the working class as the only force that can overthrow capitalism and liberate humanity.

We would not be surprised if Lansman was rewarded for services rendered with an OBE, a CBE or even a KBE by Sir Keir at some point in the next few years (presuming a Tory general election defeat). One thing is for sure, though, Lansman has not only joined the JLM, he has joined the ranks of the living dead.

Labour Marxists

Of course, while Lansman has betrayed himself, what took him to there is far from unique. I have come across quite a few self-declared “Marxists” in the Labour Representation Committee who will quote this infamous passage from the Communist Manifesto to justify their opposition to ever building a Marxist Party: “The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties. They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.”

Very odd, isn’t it, that a booklet with the full title The Manifesto of the Communist Party, written by Marx and Engels as a political programme for the Communist League (described by Engels as “the Communist Party in process of formation”) should argue against forming – a Communist Party!

Because Marx and Engels did no such thing. The German original makes it clear that in fact they said the exact opposite: “Die Kommunisten sind keine besondere Partei gegenüber den anderen Arbeiterparteien. Sie haben keine von den Interessen des ganzen Proletariats getrennten Interessen.”[7]

Hal Draper translates it as follows: “The Communists are not a special party vis-à-vis the other workers’ parties. They have no interests separate from the interests of the whole proletariat.”

In other words, communists do form a separate party – but they do work and engage with other working class parties, because they are trying to equip them with a winning strategy for socialism.

Despite the fact that this was laid out in detail in 1994 in Hal Draper’s very entertaining book The adventures of the Communist Manifesto (which pointed out many other mistranslations and misreadings), the official Labour left continues to ignore his important work – and continues to misquote Marx and Engels. A fig leaf for their own political cowardice l








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.