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28 February 2018

Sun 'commie spy' smear

Corbyn didn't collaborate with Stalinism - but with Trotskyists against it

James Ivens

Jeremy Corbyn stands accused of collaborating with Czechoslovak Stalinism. But in fact, his public backing of a Trotskyist call for workers' democracy shows the opposite.

The Sun's 'Corbyn and the commie spy' front page on 15 February made fantastical claims of 1980s espionage. The Times, more statesmanlike in its aspersions, said only that Czechoslovak agents "targeted" Corbyn.

The Mail and Telegraph joined the pile-on. So did the vice-chair of the Conservative Party, Ben Bradley MP.

Czechoslovak security files do allege that Ray Mawby, a Tory minister, sold British capitalism's secrets to Stalinism for years. A Czechoslovak defector revealed the same about right-wing Labour minister John Stonehouse. Both are now dead.

And - sensationally - Czech security archivists say Jeremy Corbyn... never gave the regime anything.

Back in reality, parliamentary records show Corbyn's open support for the 1989 rising against Czechoslovak Stalinism.

Early day motion 210, 'Workers' democracy in eastern Europe', condemns "the corruption and mismanagement of the Stalinist bureaucracy." It calls for "genuine workers' democracy and socialism" and "not a return to capitalism."

The motion came from Terry Fields. Alongside Pat Wall and Dave Nellist, Terry was a Labour MP and supporter of Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party. We are proud to stand in the tradition of Trotskyism - against both capitalism and Stalinism, and for international socialism.

Backbencher Corbyn was a signatory to the motion, reproduced in full below. So was Ken Livingstone, who in recent times has sadly made baseless attacks on Militant's record.

As for the spy thriller, Bradley has issued a grovelling apology after claiming Corbyn "sold British secrets to communist spies." Even Tory journalist Andrew Neil called this an "outrageous smear."

Funny as all this is - and it is very, very funny - it is also a warning.

For the bosses' press and the capitalist state, silly little lies like this are just an appetiser. They have a proven record of using fabrication, secret surveillance and subterfuge against the Socialist Party and wider labour movement.

Corbyn will need to mobilise a mass movement of the working class to survive capitalist smears and sabotage.

Early day motion 210: workers' democracy in eastern Europe

That this House...

Primary sponsor: Terry Fields, tabled 14 December 1989

Signatures: Harry Cohen, Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingstone, Jimmy Wray

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