Socialists promise to wage war on the Labor left
The Labor left protested the demise of democracy in the party today before the decision to purge left groups or not.
Hundreds of suspended party members have been picketing at Labor Party headquarters in central London, alleging unfair expulsions, attacks on free speech and rigged internal elections.
The protest, in part organized by Norman Thomas, president of the Labor branch of South Thanet until his suspension in December, came as the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was due to vote on whether to ban four groups basic as “toxic”. The meeting continued as the Morning Star went to press.
Membership of Resist, Labor Against the Witchhunt (LAW), Labor in Exile Network and Socialist Appeal could be banned if the proposal is approved, the expected outcome given that a majority of NEC members support party leader Sir Keir Starmer. All group members would then be automatically expelled from Labor.
The groups are said to be against party values by ‘promoting’ communism, suggesting that allegations of anti-Semitism against members are exaggerated and demanding that former leader Jeremy Corbyn be reinstated as Labor MP after Sir Keir withdrew the party whip in October.
The move could affect legendary filmmaker Ken Loach and BFAWU national president Ian Hodson due to their involvement in LAW.
Mr Thomas told the Morning Star that the move was a “clear attempt by the leadership to speed up the purge of the left of the party”, adding that members “would continue to fight for a democratic and socialist party”.
In a statement on the eve of the vote, 10 left-wing NEC members, including former MP Laura Pidcock and Jayne Taylor of Unite, said the vote was a “continuation of factional destructive behavior” in the leadership.
“[This] It’s about setting a precedent as a precursor to banning more and more groupings to the left of the party, ultimately erasing the Bennites and other socialist traditions within the party, ”they said.
The warning comes as larger groups, key to community organizing, including Momentum, may be next.
And the proposals to create an exclusive “star chamber” to act as judge and jury on similar decisions in the future are an affront to natural justice, also stressed the group, which also includes Ian Murray of the Fire Brigades. Union and Andy Kerr of CWU.
Labor’s poor financial situation was also on the agenda for today’s meeting, with party secretary general David Evans admitting to staff that cash reserves are now just a month’s pay , reported the LabourList news site.
Finances have been under pressure since the party suffered a catastrophic loss of membership following Mr Corbyn’s resignation as leader last year.
The number of parties topped half a million when the MP for Islington North led between 2015 and 2020, making the party at one point the largest in Europe.
But the decision by Unite, Labor’s largest donor, to cut contributions, combined with a lack of wealthy future donors, also hit party coffers, Mr Evans reportedly said, as did the costs of thousands of complaints.
Voluntary severance pay is offered to staff, and it is understood that the goal is to lay off at least 90 people. The party may also be forced to remove a number of special advisers.
Reacting to the news, Momentum co-chair Andrew Scattergood said Sir Keir had brought Britain’s richest party to the brink of disaster.
“[Sir Keir] promised competence, eligibility and socialist policy: on each one, it is globally lacking. We need the support of massive membership and committed unions – and that means we need to be a party that fights for the workers. “