- and the suspension of Corbyn
Here’s the good news – “We know members will be keen to discuss the EHRC report and its findings, we hope the guidance note will provide a framework for this discussion to take place in a comradely, constructive, and inclusive manner.” So said David Evans, Party General Secretary in an email to all CLPs.
But it ends there because “comradely, constructive and inclusive” does not include the former leader of the Party.
The swift action against Corbyn looked pre-planned as if they knew he would disagree with some of the report’s findings and were determined to use it against him.
And both the right and the party bureaucrats – spot the difference there! – were quick to crack down on any comments or debate.
The doubling down on any dissidents didn’t stop with Corbyn.
Evans also said “Social media accounts of branches, CLPs and other Party Units should not be used to comment on the EHRC investigation or the publication of its report. Social media accounts where comments or discussion is permitted (for example Facebook groups) must be closely moderated or access to post at all temporarily suspended.”
So you can have a comradely, constructive and inclusive debate as long as you don’t do it on social media! At a time of lockdown due to Covid, this is a plain attempt to both stifle any debate and trawl a net to catch anyone on the left and expel them.
So how should the left respond?
Well, firstly not in haste, however angry we may all feel.
Sheffield Labour Left stand-in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and are totally opposed to his suspension from the party.
There is a battle in the Party that has been going on for decades – between the right-wing bureaucrats who want power for the sake of power and the left seeking a genuine, transformative socialist party.
It is a mirror of wider society that is so brainwashed by right wing media stories that children drowning in the channel or going hungry does little to prick their dwindling morals or consciences.
The real question we need to ask ourselves is whether the room for a fight in the party still exists when Starmerism seems shorthand for “do as I say, or else!”
Just as the Tories have used the covid crisis for a power grab, the right has used the lockdown shutdown to stifle any opposition – or debate.
The touchstone for this issue is Palestine. It seems now that anyone who criticises Israel – which is an inevitability if you support the Palestinian cause – is guilty of anti-Semitism.
Is saying Nethanyahu is corrupt or just simply disagreeing with his policies a form of anti-Semitism in today’s Labour Party?
If it is, then all semblance of claims to be a democratic party are dubious and those who suggest that the Labour Party is just a Tory lite party are wrong – it is worse than that because it makes claims for equality and democracy which are not matched by its behaviour.
At least the Tories make little pretence of being what they are. The party for the few, not the many.
The fight though is not over. The next couple of months will be crucial. socialists must stay and fight in the Labour Party.
Labour Party NEC Elections
- Vote Left
Ballot papers for the Labour Party National Executive Committee elections started to be sent out as of Monday 19 October. These were sent to the email address registered with the Labour Party.
The ballot closes at noon on Thursday 12 November, with the results announced the following day.
Ordinary members only get to vote for 9 CLP places on the 38 member NEC, which is obviously a shame in terms of the party representing the views of ordinary members.
That said, it is important that the left try to get elected as many of those 9 places for the left.
The voting system is a single transferable vote (STV) where comrades should list as many candidates as possible by preference.
Sheffield Labour Left are calling for a vote for the following in these NEC elections.
Two from the Labour Left Alliance (LLA)
Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal
Plus, despite our criticisms regarding the way the slate was chosen, the CLGA slate of six:
It is unlikely that your vote will go beyond these 8, but if it does then please consider your 9th and 10th choices to be for the two other Labour Left Alliance candidates nominated in Sheffield: