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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2021

Peace and Justice Project - no way forward for socialism

Keir Starmer is seen as a safe pair of hands by the ruling class compared to ‘unreliable’ Corbyn, photo Jeremy Corbyn photostream/CC

Keir Starmer is seen as a safe pair of hands by the ruling class compared to 'unreliable' Corbyn, photo photostream/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party general secretary

Around 10,000 people attended the online launch of Jeremy Corbyn's Peace and Justice Project (PJP). Speakers - in addition to Jeremy Corbyn - included Len McCluskey, left general secretary of Unite, and Labour peer Christine Blower. While the rally was billed as a global event its participants were mainly from Britain.

There are many reasons to attend a left rally right now. The death rate from Covid in the UK is the highest in the world and 6.2 million people have to rely on Universal Credit to survive.

At the same time, Starmer's New Labour leadership is determined to show the capitalist elite they can be relied on to defend its interests. Corbyn is currently fighting for his right to be reinstated as a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

There is clearly an urgent, burning need for the Labour and trade union left to come together and discuss out a strategy for how to fight back and to organise effectively in the interests of the working class. Unfortunately, the launch of the PJP was not the kind of event that is needed.

The only speaker based in Britain to make any reference to the 'elephant in the room' - Corbyn's suspension from the Labour Party - was Len McCluskey, who has supported Corbyn throughout his leadership. But while Len McCluskey correctly called for Corbyn's reinstatement, he went on to give an inaccurately positive impression of the current balance forces in the Labour Party. He stated that Jeremy had "changed the Labour Party forever" and that in the Labour leadership contest, all "three candidates ran on socialist platforms, although we have to keep reminding Keir".

This is when one of the candidates - Lisa Nandy - was part of the 2016 attempted coup against Corbyn. The victor, Starmer, has spent his time as leader systematically breaking from Corbyn's policies.

Shift to right

From largely backing the government's approach on Covid, to whipping Labour MPs not to vote against the Spycops bill, to failing to sign a letter to stop a Windrush deportation flight, Starmer's every action, from the smallest to the largest, is designed to show that he does not have a socialist programme.

No amount of 'reminders' will change Starmer's direction. It was clear from the live feed of written comments that many participants fully understood this and had come to the launch hoping it would offer them a way forward, including the establishment of a new mass workers' party.

Instead, they heard general comments supporting 'peace', 'justice', 'hope' and, as Corbyn put it "a more decent and just economy". What these words actually meant, and how they were to be achieved, was unfortunately absent. A project of that kind is, in reality, a diversion from the urgent issues facing the workers' movement.

Corbyn raised that he wanted to defend and build on ideas in Labour's 2019 manifesto. Doing so requires openly mobilising to combat Starmer's return to pro-capitalist New Labourism, and to do that effectively the struggle cannot be confined within the Labour Party.

As the Socialist has raised previously, a far more effective 'project' to take this battle forward would be for Jeremy Corbyn to stand on a socialist programme in the London Mayoral contest due to take place in May of this year.

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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.

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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.

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In The Socialist 20 January 2021:


News

Make the super-rich pay, not the poorest

Bosses profit out of 'starvation' food parcels

Teachers: On the front line, in their own words

Peace and Justice Project - no way forward for socialism

Millionaire tendency regains control of Scottish Labour

News in Brief


Covid-19

The Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

Covid: Bosses chase profit and put workers in danger

Vaccine confidence - a worker's response

Life in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard


NHS

On the NHS front line


Black Lives Matter

Justice for Mohamud Hassan!

Police use Covid laws to intimidate BLM protesters

New Cross Gate fire 40 years ago


International News

USA in crisis - the need for a socialist alternative

Trump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right


Workplace

PCS Broad Left Network conference

Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

Morrisons - £10/hr headline hides divisive pay offer

A day in the life of an agency worker

British Gas strike continues


Students

Refund student rent and fees

Plymouth rent strike continues

Scrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant


Campaigns

London's May elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

Socialist Party national women's meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Christmas Crossword Competition


Readers' Opinion

Books that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier


Obituary

Obituary - Jeff Edwards


 

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