Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1093/30989

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 July 2020

Editorial of the Socialist issue 1093

Starmer sacks Rebecca Long-Bailey

Workers need a new mass party to defend their interests

Some Labour lefts say they will

Some Labour lefts say they will   (Click to enlarge)

When Keir Starmer was elected Labour leader the Socialist Party warned that it represented "a qualitative step in the capitalist class's campaign to make the Labour Party once again, as it was under Blair, a reliable vehicle for their interests."

During his leadership campaign, Starmer had to hide his pro-capitalist agenda behind the banner of unity in order to win. Now, however, his claims to want unity, always risible, have been decisively ripped apart by his summary sacking from the shadow cabinet of Rebecca Long-Bailey - previously the left-backed candidate for Labour leader.

Long-Bailey's supposed crime was to retweet a long interview with Labour Party member and actor Maxine Peake which contained the claim that "the tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd's neck, learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services."

Peake has since retracted the statement, and Long-Bailey has clarified that she does not agree with all the views contained in the interview. Regardless, however, Starmer seized on the chance to sack Long-Bailey and step up the campaign to falsely argue that antisemitism is particularly prevalent on the left, when in fact it is far more common on the right.

In reality, sharing methods of coercion is normal between the security forces of the major capitalist powers. According to Channel 4's 'FactCheck', the Israeli consulate in Chicago did run training seminars attended by Minnesota police. While there appears to be no evidence to suggest that 'neck kneeling' originated in Israel rather than the US or elsewhere, the Israeli state employs it in the occupied territories as part of its panoply of repressive measures.

Anger

The anger of many on the left, including Jewish and Israeli activists, at the brutality of the Israeli state is not fuelled by antisemitism, but opposition to its barbarous treatment of the Palestinian people.

Unfortunately, as so many times before, the Labour left has responded to Starmer's attack by retreating. Jon Lansman, founder of the pro-Corbyn group Momentum, pleaded with Starmer to "build trust" with the left, while emphasising that he had "every confidence" Starmer could maintain "party unity". This, Lansman claimed, is essential because "divided parties don't win elections".

The fact that Johnson won a majority government with a completely divided Tory party passed Lansman by as he begged Starmer to leave room for the left within Labour. The pro-capitalist wing of the Labour Party, however, will only be happy with leaving room for the left if, as under Blair, the room is a prison cell from which they can do no more than smuggle out the occasional note.

The Labour right and the capitalist media spent the five years Corbyn was Labour leader attacking him for being factional and divisive. In reality, however, he made the opposite mistake, continually making concessions to the right in the hope of pacifying them, and allowing them to continue to dominate the parliamentary Labour Party, the Labour machine, and the council chambers. The right, backed to the hilt by the capitalist class are, by contrast, entirely ruthless.

Kate Green, who has replaced Long-Bailey as shadow education secretary, was one of the organisers of the attempted coup against Corbyn back in 2016. She wrote scurrilous articles attacking Corbyn for allegedly not understanding women's oppression, and managed Owen Smith's right-wing leadership bid.

Schools

Immediately on being appointed by Starmer, Green made a statement about "getting our children back in school as soon as possible". This was a conscious signal that Labour was acceding to the demands of Boris Johnson and the right-wing press that it disassociate itself from the education unions' campaign for safety to come first. The fact that Long-Bailey was considered too sympathetic to the unions' campaign over school safety was a factor in her being sacked.

These developments pose an urgent question for all trade unionists. How are they to have a political voice? Capitalism is in crisis. It is offering the working-class majority a diet of misery. Mass unemployment, pay cuts, and further cuts to already decimated public services are all on the agenda, alongside further risks to health as a result of capitalism's inability to deal with Covid.

The absence of a political voice for the working class is being shown graphically at local authority level. The Tory government has spent over 29 billion on bailing out the economy, but it has left councils with an estimated 6 billion shortfall, resulting in local services, including social care, facing a catastrophe.

What has been the response of Keir Starmer's Labour Party which leads a majority of these councils? Have they made a joint declaration demanding the necessary funds from central government, refusing to implement any cuts and pledging to defend their local communities? Of course not.

Instead, Steve Reed, Labour's shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, bleated inaccurately and weakly that "by law councils will be forced to make devastating in-year cuts that will see frail older people denied care, libraries and leisure centres shut for good and bins left unemptied."

Similarly, Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, despite being in an extremely powerful negotiating position given the necessity to capitalism of the London transport network, passively accepted a wholly inadequate funding package for Transport for London from central government, which will threaten safety, jobs and fare increases.

It could not be clearer that this Labour leadership has no intention of organising a struggle to defend the health, jobs, pay, and services, of working-class people. Rather, they will do the bidding of the Tory government and the capitalist class, just as they are doing on council cuts and school reopening.

The need for the trade unions to organise a battle to defend workers' interests is clear. To do so without a political voice, however, is to fight with one hand tied behind our backs.

Political representation

That is why the Socialist Party is urgently raising the need for the workers' movement to discuss how to solve the crisis of political representation, by taking steps to towards building a new mass workers' party with a socialist programme. One vital step in that direction would be to organise the widest possible number of anti-cuts candidates in next May's local and mayoral elections.

Some socialists remain in the Labour Party. They have to draw a line in the sand and fight tenaciously for socialist policies against the ascendant capitalist wing of the party, not least for the selection of anti-cuts candidates. A strong anti-cuts campaign outside of Labour can only assist their struggle. However, it is clear that in most areas Labour council candidates will be dominated by the right.

The workers' movement therefore needs to ensure that it finds another route to standing candidates who are prepared to lead a fightback against Tory misery.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 1 July 2020:


No going back

A socialist NHS fit for heroes


Workplace news

PCS: Change in leadership needed to secure union's future

Come to the NSSN conference

Sunday trading: Government blinks first

Trade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake

Equity union president elections

Tower Hamlets council strike

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak


What we think

Workers need a new mass party to defend their interests


News

Tories put profit before lives

Boris's new big deal

Tory full return to school plans gamble with lives

Yes to self-identity: Fight for trans rights

Benefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces

Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

Capitalism and corruption go hand in hand

Plastic waste ignored

News in brief


Campaigns

I left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time

Black Lives Matter has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists

Selling the Socialist

Red flags line road for Ken Douglas


Lessons from history

75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government


Readers' opinion

From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

Readers' opinion


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 July 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Labour Party:

triangleUnison general secretary candidate and Socialist Party member Hugo Pierre speaking during an anti-racism demo in 2017. Click here for the latest article in the Socialist on the general secretary contest.

triangleCorbyn suspended - Time to fight for a new mass workers' party

triangleCorbyn suspended:

Workers' movement needs a fighting political voice

triangleNon-fiction: This Land - the story of a movement

triangleUnite votes to cut affiliation fee to Labour

Workers:

trianglePPE contracts: It pays to have friends in high places

triangleStop the Tories putting profit before health

triangleHeathrow workers to strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

triangleCovid crisis: "We won't pay the price"

Labour:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleHugo Pierre, a candidate in Unison's general secretary election, speaking at Socialism 2020, 21st November 2020. Click here for a report in the Socialist. Videos will be posted soon.

triangleAfter Corbyn: TUSC and the fight for working-class political representation

Cuts:

triangleTUSC sets out core policies for May 2021 local elections

triangleWomen workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

Capitalist:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Are co-ops the answer to capitalist exploitation?

Government:

triangleRace disparity gets worse - fight to improve living standards for all

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

26/11/20

NHS

PPE contracts: It pays to have friends in high places

25/11/20

Covid

Covid crisis: "We won't pay the price"

25/11/20

Health

Stop the Tories putting profit before health

18/11/20

Unison

Women workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

18/11/20

Covid

Covid, vaccines, 'big pharma' - and the need for socialism

18/11/20

NEU

Campaign for school Covid safety must continue

18/11/20

Government

Tories in turmoil... 'Reset' the whole system! Fight for socialism

18/11/20

Government

Tory crisis cannot be 'reset' - workers need a new mass party

18/11/20

Children

System failing thousands of children in care

18/11/20

Education

Wales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?

18/11/20

Croydon

Croydon Council declares bankruptcy - no cuts in Croydon or any other council

18/11/20

Universities

Tories student 'evacuation' plan won't work

11/11/20

Police

Spycops inquiry : why the capitalist state feared and continues to fear socialism

11/11/20

Covid

Capitalists vs working class - not in it together

11/11/20

Children

Tory U-turn: Free school meals

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999