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Solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn – Fight the witch-hunt

Tuesday 3 November 2020, by Socialist Resistance

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party on Thursday 29 October. While the action was technically taken by Labour’s General Secretary David Evan it is inconceivable that it did not have the agreement of Corbyn’s successor as Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer.

The suspension took place after Corbyn issued a statement in response to the publication of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into Labour’s handling of complaints of antisemitism – partly under Corbyn’s watch. [1]

The burden of Corbyn’s statement is his abhorrence of antisemitism and his regret that despite efforts he had been unable to do enough to combat it but adds ‘but the scale of the problem was also dramatically exaggerated by our enemies inside and outside the party for political reasons, as well as by sections of the media’ [2] Socialist Resistance supports his statement which echoes points we have made during the whole witch hunt.

Jeremy Corbyn has a long and proud record of campaigning against all forms of racism, including antisemitism as well as support for the Palestinian people. His statement correctly identifies one of the major problems he faced as Labour leader – that a coalition of the Tories, the Labour right and some pro-establishment Jewish organisations combined to attack his supposed antisemitism.

In 2016 Corbyn commissioned a report by barrister Shami Chakrabarti into all forms of racism in the Labour Party. Unfortunately its findings were never fully implemented – essentially because of obstruction from the right of the Parliamentary Labour Party and in the apparatus.

Antisemitism was not the only basis on which he was attacked – he was apparently soft on Russia, he was a Czech spy and more in a vitriolic attempt to undermine the most left wing Labour leader. But the weaponisation of antisemitism was the most consistent aspect of these attacks.

This is the context in which Socialist Resistance issued the following statement on 29 October 2020. [Veronica Fagan]

Socialist Resistance stands in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and is totally opposed to his suspension from the Labour Party. This is a politically motivated move by Keir Starmer to crush the left in the party. Jeremy Corbyn has spent his life campaigning against racism, including antisemitism, and in defence of the rights of the oppressed and for justice for the Palestinians.

We reject the accusations that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was institutionally antisemitic. The EHRC report does not find this to be the case. We also know from the report produced by Jenny Formby, the former General Secretary, that many staff were sabotaging the efforts of the Corbyn leadership to deal with complaints in a more transparent and speedy way than their predecessors. The recommendations of the Chakrabarti inquiry were never implemented.

Socialist Resistance believes that all socialists in the Labour Party should fight this outrageous attack on Jeremy Corbyn. It is an attack on all of us. Starmer wants to make the Labour Party a safe option again for big business. We should vigorously oppose this witch-hunt and the threats being made to other left MPs and activists. We must also defend the radical policy gains made while Corbyn was leader. With the Covid pandemic, a deepening economic crisis, and a looming climate catastrophe, a socialist alternative – for the many not the few – is urgently needed.

P.S.

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Footnotes

[1EHRC report, 29 October 2020 Investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party.

[2Jeremy Corbyn, 29 October 2020 facebook post.