Saturday, March 31, 2018
Keep calm and carry on campaigning for socialism
At a time when our trade unions appear to be incapable of leading national fights to improve our living standards, any hope which we may have for an improvement in our lives as working class people is necessarily focused upon our political party, the Labour Party.
Under socialist leadership, the Labour Party has bucked the trend of decline which is afflicting centre-left parties across Europe. We have reversed the the slide into irrelevance which commenced under the leadership of those in the Party who ceaselessly seek to undermine that socialist leadership.
The 2017 General Election manifesto signposts the possibility that Labour will be rescued from its historic role as a Party which could be relied upon to put responsibility to “the nation” (meaning to the ruling class) ahead of loyalty to its working-class base. This possibility has unleased the dogs of war against our Party and its leadership.
In recent weeks, Jeremy Corbyn, one of the most principled and politically consistent Parliamentarians of our lifetime, has variously been denounced as a cold war Czechoslovak spy, as “soft” on Putin in a confected episode of inter-imperialist rivalry and, most recently, as the cause of anti-semitism within our movement.
No one should deny that anti-semitism, as a particular form of racism with an ancient and grotesque lineage in European history, is a reactionary manifestation of prejudice which all socialists should oppose (and which no one should excuse) – and no one needs to do that in order to see that the sudden outrage at a six year old comment on Facebook is – as the majority of Labour Party members see – an episode in intra-Party conflict.
This intra-Party conflict is simply the latest desperate throw of the dice by those who want to return Labour to its role as a “safe” alternative to the increasingly divided Tories (who are tearing themselves apart over Brexit). The attacks upon Labour’s socialist leadership which we have seen in recent weeks and days are simply a foretaste of what is to come as we approach the possibility of a General Election victory.
Without doubt Jeremy Corbyn (being a human being) will have made comments (or “liked” other comments) on social media over the years which can be presented in a bad light by those who wish to do so. There can be even less doubt that some supporters of the Party leadership will have done discreditable things over many years – and each and every indiscretion will be publicised and condemned.
There are sufficient members of the Parliamentary Labour Party whose loyalties lie outside our ranks that they will be prepared to be lachrymose in response to whatever is said by our enemies (just as there have been Labour local government leaders who have been so obviously prepared to put their own individual interests before those of our Party).
There is a fifth column within our Party and our movement, consisting largely of career politicians, and its membership will become clearer as the fear which we rightly instil in our political adversaries (rightly) grows.
So what should socialists do?
Keep calm and carry on.
There are local elections in many areas in May – and we need to elect as many Labour Councillors as possible.
In Brighton and Hove we need members to put themselves forward to stand in next year’s Council elections.
Don’t let yourselves be distracted comrades.