Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Expel The NEC Mole

In all of the Tory media hyperbole and hypocrisy, yesterday, over Pete Wilsman's perfectly valid comments at an NEC meeting, one question was never mentioned.  That is which member of the NEC recorded its proceedings, and then passed this recording to the Jewish Chronicle.  The other question of why they were covertly recording the proceedings of a private NEC meeting, and why their first port of call for handing over this recording was the Jewish Chronicle, hardly needs answering!

The act itself is a clear indication that, contrary to what the Labour Right try to claim, and what the Tory media are happy to convey for them, and to imply themselves, the Labour Right have continued their undemocratic campaign against Corbyn and his supporters, having lost the political arguments, and having lost successive democratic votes by the membership.  They hoped that Labour would do very badly in the 2017 General Election, so as to give them another opportunity to attack Corbyn and the mass of the party.  They did everything they could to undermine Corbyn, as the admission from Tom Baldwin illustrated.  That hope was dashed, as Corbyn led the party to the biggest rise in its vote since 1945, reducing the Tories to a Minority Government.  That silenced the Right for a time, but no one with any sense thought that they would simply admit they had been wrong, and shut up.

Indeed, there is no reason why they should shut up, but there is a difference between continuing a political argument after you have lost a vote, and trying to find various bureaucratic, and administrative means of getting your way, when you know that you are never going to be able to win the political arguments by democratic means.  The Labour Right know they have lost the political arguments, and that they have no chance of changing that situation in the immediate future.  All of the dogmas they have chanted for the last 30 years, have now lost their power, and it is the ideas of Corbyn and his supporters that have growing support amongst the electorate, particularly amongst that section of the electorate that represents Labour's core vote, and which has felt that the party had become indistinguishable from the Tories over the last 30 years.

So, the Labour Right, sought some means of undermining the Labour Party, so as to undermine the position of Corbyn, and his mass support within the party.  At each set of local elections, as well as at the General Election, and the EU referendum, the Labour Right sought to create some issue of dissent within the party, because they know that divided parties do badly in elections.  They tried a vote of no confidence, they tried preventing, by going to the courts, Corbyn getting on to the ballot in the second leadership election, they used the very real issue of Anti-Semitism, as a weapon against Corbyn himself, who has a long record of opposing racism and bigotry of all kinds.  When the first Tory media campaign based around Anti-Semitism was launched, the lazy journalists of the Tory media even tried to connect it, and Momentum, to the Alliance for Workers Liberty, a most clumsy and ridiculous amalgam, given that the AWL has a long history of both of opposing Left Anti-Semitism, and of supporting Zionism!

The reason that someone, undoubtedly from the Labour Right, on the NEC, was covertly recording this meeting, was precisely to be able to obtain some snippet of a comment by someone that could be used to support the ongoing ridiculous claims about Anti-Semitism being rife within the party, and encouraged by the leadership.  It is a familiar pattern of trying to amass a large number of usually peripheral, and irrelevant facts, so as to throw them all together to give a picture that supports a particular narrative.  It is facilitated by a Tory media more than keen to act as the propaganda arm of that Labour Right, so as to undermine Corbyn.  The latest ridiculous revelations by The Times, being simply a continuation of that campaign, which also seeks to keep the leadership tied up responding to these allegations.

There is undoubtedly Left Anti-Semitism in the party, and even a smaller amount of traditional Anti-Semitism, but even if we take into consideration all of the spurious charges of Anti-Semitism, the most glaring of which is probably the charges that were brought against, Steven lawrence campaigner, Marc Wadsworth, there are only around 200 charges of Anti-Semitism being considered, by the Party's disciplinary committees.  In a party of 600,000 that amounts to charges against 1 in 3000 members.  Its likely that many of these charges are spurious, and will be thrown out.  Its more likely that the valid charges amount to around 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 20,000.  Even that should be unacceptable in a party that prides itself on fighting discrimination and bigotry, but it is hardly and indication of "widespread Anti-Semitsim in the party".   It is rather an idnication of widespread fear mongering and shit stirring by the Labour Right, aided and abetted by Jewish Tories, and the Tory media.

That Tories of any kind should seek to attack and undermine the party using any tools and any shit they can get their hands on is to be expected, but that members of the Labour Party should make common cause with them is unacceptable.  It is an act of betrayal.  If they have a valid grievance they should pursue within the party, by the usual democratic means, not going running to the Tory media at the first opportunity so as to try to undermine the party for their own narrow political interests.  Indeed, mostly for the right-wing careerist Labour MP's, it is not even a matter of undertaking such actions for narrow political reasons, but purely for narrow personal reasons, by people who have grown accustomed to having a cushy, and comfortable existence as a well-paid MP, with the prospect of an even more lucrative career after leaving parliament, "working" for some large corporation, on an income that most workers could only dream of.  No wonder these elements are desperate to stop Corbyn and his supporters by any means including destroying the Labour Party, if necessary, so as to continue living the high life.

Labour should undertake an immediate investigation to identify which Right-wing member of the NEC covertly recorded its proceedings.  Having identified this spy, and fifth columnist, they should be subject to immediate disciplinary proceedings, and if the charges are proved against them, they should be expelled from the party forthwith.  The NEC, should learn from this experience, and insist that all phones, and other recording devices be handed over prior to the meeting taking place.

The continued campaign of the Labour Right, and the Tory media against Corbyn and the party, is however, a good lesson to be learning now.  When Labour wins the next election, the kind of bureaucratic manoeuvring, concerted attacks and challenges, smear campaigns from the Tory media  seen now will be nothing compared to the way a radical Labour government will be challenged by extra-parliamentary means.  Sections of the ruling class even considered launching a military coup against Harold Wilson's Labour government in the 1960's, and 70's.  Those who think that Labour's opponents will restrict their attempts to remove it to simply peaceful, democratic channels are deluding themselves.  Whenever the ruling class have felt they were about to face a serious challenge to their property and privileges in society, they have responded with whatever degree of violence and viciousness they deem necessary, as The Paris Commune discovered, as Mossadegh in Iran discovered, and as Allende in Chile discovered, not to mention the history of failed bourgeois revolutions such as those of 1848, or the 1905 Revolution in Russia. 

Labour should learn from the fact that its attempts to conciliate the Tory agents inside the PLP, local councils, and the party bureaucracy have only encouraged those forces to more openly ally with Labour's external enemies, and to redouble their demands and attacks upon the party.  If you feed this snake, it will simply attempt to swallow more and more.  The labour leadership has wasted two years, and allowed these fifth columnists to organise and build up a head of steam, with the help of external forces.  The Right would never allow the Left to do that.  The leadership two years ago should have moved to introduce mandatory reselection of MP's, and give members greater power to recall their MP's at any time.  The leadership should have worked with Momentum to clear out from the grass roots up, all of those right-wing Councillors and bureaucrats that have continued to use their position so as to attack the party.  It doesn't require us to follow the example of the right-wing under Kinnock that resorted to bureaucratic expulsions, and the closing down of oppositional branches and CLP's, it only requires us to democratically remove them from their positions.  With most of these people, when their access to the watering hole of office, has been removed,  they will quickly disappear to their true home in the ranks of the Tories, in lucrative jobs in business etc.

Labour should learn the lessons of this assault, now, and prepare for the assault it will face in government.  It should realise that attempts at conciliation with these opponents only encourages them to launch further attacks, and that the way to respond is to act decisively against them.  Labour should learn that its opponents will resort to all kinds of underhand means to oppose it.  Today, in opposition it is the use of Fifth columnist covertly recording private internal meetings and so on, along with the alliance with the Tory media, tomorrow it will be use of the Courts to undermine a Labour government, just as the Labour Right already resorted to the Courts to try to disbar Corbyn from the ballot, to restrict the voter base in the Leadership election and so on.  And, there will, of course be the use of global financial institutions to try to destabilise a Labour government, even if that damages the immediate interests of the economy, and even of those financial institutions.  Ultimately, as the Communards, Mossadegh, Allende etc. discovered, if all those methods fail, they will resort to the use of the paramilitary forces, or even the use of the military itself, whose titular head remains not parliament, but the unelected Monarch.

Labour should take heed, and begin to act now against its enemies inside and outside the party.  Its shows once again the desperate need for the Labour Movement to create its own media outlets, from a newspaper to a cable/satellite TV station.  We also need to recognise that in government we will face other more physical assaults, both on activists, on workers on strike and so on.  We will need to develop democratically controlled defence squads to protect our activists from attacks by fascists and other paramilitary forces, and to protect workers on strike etc.  We will need to build alliances with rank and file soldiers, and raise demands for the democratisation of the armed forces, giving ordinary soldiers the right to elect officers, and so on.  We will need to do the same thing in relation to the police, and we should turn the elected Police Commissioners into genuinely democratic figures, with real control over policing, so that we never again see the kind of political policing seen at the Battle of Orgreave. 

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