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Let’s not kid ourselves that the recently leaked Labour report is the kryptonite that will automatically kill the power of the Labour right and that of the residual Blairites. The report was to be submitted to the EHRC as part of the investigation into alleged systematic antisemitism in the Labour Party. Labour lawyers managed to stop it being submitted and then it was leaked. You don’t have to be a conspiracy geek to figure out that this action would effectively have buried the report (which is probably why it was leaked) and its hardly surprising that Labour HQ would primarily go after the leakers rather than the sabateurs named in the report.
To be fair the party machine should have been expected to attempt to lock down the report and disallow any official dissemination of these revelations pending an investigation and to comply with those instructions is proper. But we also should have expected the membership of those named to have been suspended prior to an investigation as would have happened if they’d been accused of antisemitic activities.

the corrupt establishment is corrupt …
That’s why a new movement is needed

Many of us came into the Labour Party inspired by the vision of Jeremy Corbyn and, thanks to the activities of Momentum, we were buoyed by the numbers. Here was a case of herd immunity — the neoliberals would have a hard time suppressing half a million activists in the largest political party in Europe. But scandalised as they were, they were quick to attack and very nearly succeeded in quashing the rebellion on their first attempt. The infamous Chicken Coup was scarily close to shutting Corbynism down within a year of its emergence.
Jeremy Corbyn’s second win sealed the future for Corbynism and because it was so unusual and so forceful it caught the media and the political class on the hop. Him being relatively unknown, it wasn’t too tall an order to present Corbyn as disloyal, unBritish and left of Stalin and make it stick. But when Theresa May threw him into the spotlight and people got to know the man, they grew to like him. Given 2 or 3 more weeks campaigning a Labour victory in the 2017 elections would have been irresistable. The law mandated that he be given equal air time and a fair crack of the whip while more exposure for Theresa (Maybot) May only made her look worse.
Even in 2017 we were aware of opposition to a Corbynite Labour government from within Labour HQ, Iain McNicol directing clandestine efforts to blunt the election campaign. The leaked report merely fills in the blanks. More damaging was the open hosility by right wing Labour MP’s who were more than happy to go to the press with stories of bullying, ineptitude and power grabbing by those close to Corbyn. Some even openly criticised the party leader while campaigning to be re-elected as Labour MP. Its hard to argue that a Labour government wasn’t emminently possible or likely in 2017 if it were not for the shameless antics of the Parliamentary Labour Party and Labour HQ.
The Labour defeat was rightly claimed as a victory for the left. We removed May’s majority effectively making her a lame duck PM and insured that Jeremy Corbyn, those who supported him and the radical Labour manifesto wasn’t going to be assigned to the bin of history. By 2019 Labour had been transformed from a Tory-lite centrist party to something that, at least in appearance, was a left of centre true opposition. But the poisonous right had worked their dark magic so well they managed an historical defeat that meant Jeremy would have to resign and those around him would be dispersed.
The Labour Left are still reeling, the leaked report rubbing salt in the wound. Once the new elected leader was announced it was expected of the left to draw a line under the past and get behind the new leader even while the right were still laughing in our faces. The hollow call for unity didn’t wash and with the Covid crisis hightening everyone’s stress, the leaked report only intensified the feelings of those who so enthusiastically campaigned for a Corbyn led Labour government. As an opposition we have been underwhelming against a miserably incompetent government. It hardly inspires socialists to fight for what seems a nominally socialist party.
Many have left the party, not only disheartened by last year’s defeat but lacking any hope of Labour being a force for socialism. Five years feels like a lifetime when, in that time you gone from being vaguely political to a socialist activist to feeling like an unpaid leafleter. Its not just a case of getting back on the wagon. This wasn’t a relationship that didn’t work out and there are plenty more fish in the sea. This project began decades ago when an internationalist, anti-fascist, anti war, socialist became member of Parliament for Islington North not long after Thatcher reformed this country for the worse with her disastrous moneterism and toxic neoliberalism.
I for one shouldn’t be surprised having long held the belief that all institutions are either corrupt or tend towards corruption. As Michael Walker of Novara Media has beutifully put it, the officials running the Labour Party around 2015 enjoyed a relatively small party of largely non-activists. Corbyn has never been an existential threat to Jews or anyone else in this country apart from the Labour apparatchiks who had a very lucrative and cosy lot and were not going to give it up easily. A massively increased, enthusiastic and largely socialist membership must have terrified them.
Does that mean I should have learned my lesson and now give up on a party that doesn’t appear to have any aspirations of forming a socialist government. That is a question I’ve asked myself and could have been pursuaded had I listened only to those with that view. Those saying we should stay and fight were not particularly convincing and even given that there is no credible alternative, why should I give myself to a hopeless cause just because its the only one in town? There has to be a better reason — some light at the and of the tunnel — some residual glow that tells me there are embers of hope and not just a heap of potash and charcoal.
Glenn Greenwald has put it beautifully, in an interview with acTVism Munich when talking about the Bernie Sanders campaign in the Democratic primaries:
“Yes, there are villains responsible for Bernie Sanders not being the Democratic nominee but that’s the whole premise of … the populist movement generally that the … establishment is corrupt. They’ll do anything to cling to power. So you can’t launch a campaign that’s designed to wrench power out of the hands of a corrupt establishment and then when you fail, whine afterwards that the corrupt establishment is corrupt … That’s why a new movement is needed.”
Just as the the Sanders campaign got many things wrong, so did the Corbyn team and Corbyn himself. Its clear from the report that he and Jenny Formby threw Corbyn allies under the bus in order to appease the JLM and LFI and gave in to pressure to accept the IHRA in its entirety when its own author warned against it being a definitive document. Jeremy’s right hand man, John McDonnell, abandoned the Labour commitment to honour the referendum and so helped seal Labour’s fate in 2019.
Even if Labour had won in 2017 the entire establishment would have moved heaven and earth to bring it down, using every dirty trick in the book. If the revelations of the leaked report had come out earlier, what would that have done to the Labour Party? Those of us on the left might have fought hard and made sacrifices but in other ways we had it easy. The Left was crushed in the 1980’s and it took 30 years to rise from the ashes. The Corbyn movement has been shafted but not crushed. We are down but not out. The 2019 manifesto is our stake in the ground, the leaked report our whip. Around the world progressives are comparing notes while the coronavirus has created a crisis from which there is no return to normal.
The Chartists, Tolpuddle Martyrs, Peterloo and the miner’s stike teach us there is no easy path to victory. We won’t walk into the halls of power just because we have half a million people behind us. We certainly won’t win by complaining about our lot or joining a circular firing squad, shooting those who stray a little from our radical positions. We are not innocent bystanders or collateral damage. We are wounded, fallable soldiers who maybe missed the odd target and with our own instances of friendly fire. We haven’t been led by donkeys but they are not saints either.
Look around and be thankful. The last 5 years will not be washed away easily and we’ve already been vindicated. The next 5 years are going to be tougher and some of the fights will be closer to home. But we stand on the shoulders of giants, some of whom literally gave their lives for justice and a fair society.

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