Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Far-Left Reflect on Labour Party Conference

Cover of Krokodil magazine No 1 by I Malyutin.jpg

With Labour Conference well over it's reached that time of the week when the far-left can update their websites and publish their rags to vent their criticisms of all and sundry. With the Socialist Party (Militant) baying at the door to be let in Labour Party Marxists wrote: is good news that the SP has at last started to take Labour seriously. But obviously it needs to stop standing against any Labour candidates, including those who it says are “implementing savage cuts”.

and concluded that:

Our party should change its rules in order to end all bans and proscriptions, all of which were introduced by right wing leaders. It should indeed return to its founding principles – it needs to become a united front for the entire working class.

So the SP has found a friend "of sorts" to let them in.

Socialist Party logo

Militant, I mean the Socialist Party had it's own cross to bare:

The view of those around Corbyn and McDonnell is that in order to win government power they have to prevent a right wing split away. And in the run-up to conference, the mood music appeared to point in the direction of the right wing deciding to stay in the party for now.

They were more interested in the past which Dawn Butler MP had raised at the Labour Women's Conference where she praised the Liverpool Government, the Militant one where they sent out redundancy notices by taxi to their workforce. The comrades participated in Labour against the Witch Hunt fringe meeting:

On Sunday evening a number of us attended a 'Labour against the Witch Hunt' meeting. Tony Mulhearn, a Socialist Party member and one of the heroic 'Liverpool 47' - the councillors who defied Thatcher in the 1980s - was among the speakers. Tony drew a link between the Labour right's witch hunt against Militant supporters in the 1980s and the attacks led by the Blairites on Corbyn supporters today.

Meanwhile the big issue of the week was anti-Semitism. The leadership (other than Steptoe) went to great lengths to attack anti-Semitism and state it had no place in the party. The LPM had a different view:

....the absurdly titled session ‘Security at home and abroad’, which included the debate on Brexit – and Palestine. This session was, incredibly, chaired by NEC member Rhea Wolfson, a member of the pro-Zionist Jewish Labour Movement. She started the session by warning conference to stay away from “inward-looking debate which focuses on internal matters and NEC decisions. Please be careful about the language you use. Make everybody feel welcome and do not boo.”

......Wolfson is not just a member of the JLM: she used her vote on the national executive committee (NEC) to send Jackie Walker to the national constitutional committee (which will in all likelihood expel her later in the year), pushed through the ‘working definition’ on Anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)

WEDNESDAY full LPM 21-web-1

Incredibly they went on to attack pro-Corbyn MP Emily Thornberry:

Then came Thornberry’s already infamous conference speech – well-delivered, but playing hard and fast with working class history, using references to the International Brigades and the Anti-Nazi League to support the witch-hunt against many Corbyn supporters who have been accused of anti-Semitism (most of them falsely).

“There are sickening individuals on the fringes of our movement, who use our legitimate support for Palestine as a cloak and a cover for their despicable hatred of Jewish people, and their desire to see Israel destroyed. These people stand for everything that we have always stood against and they must be kicked out of our party, the same way Oswald Mosley was kicked out of Liverpool.”

Socialist Worker

The SWP rag Socialist Worker limited it's coverage of  labour Conference to just one main article in which they criticised Corbyn for not being left-wing enough and desired the building of a mob to overthrow capitalism:

The theme of his speech—rebuilding Britain” was often about what works for “the country”—a supposed shared interest between ordinary people and big businesses....

Winning the radically transformed economy that Corbyn promises can’t be done by seeking the permission of the bosses and the bankers. It means building a mass movement of resistance to challenge them.


One of the smaller groups inside the Labour Party had a much more responsible attitude to the rise of anti-Semitism, but they and the few others that agree with them are very much a minority within the far-left. 

Their newspaper published Diary of a Delegate in which the author asserted that:

These people are not just on the fringes of our movement. I sat just behind the honorable member for Derby North — a man who is happy to peddle the idea that the whole antisemitism issue is really a matter of it being “weaponised” by the right to harm Jeremy Corbyn. Extreme Holocaust denial may be on the fringes, but antisemitism in the form of wanting to see Israel destroyed, as shown by the chanting at Labour conference, is not.

In a disgusting attack “Labour Party Marxists” in their Red Pages bulletin took exception with Rhea Wolfson being allowed to chair the session on Palestine! She has pro-Palestinian views? Ah, she is a member of the Jewish Labour Movement and a Zionist! They raised no objections to anyone else chairing sessions.

That sort of dog-whistle antisemitism from LPM coupled with the glowing reception two members of Neturei Karta got when leafleting shows that some Labour members have a long way to go on managing to make solidarity with Palestinians without falling into the trap of antisemitic actions and views.

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