Starmer dismissing BLM made me quit Labour

Socialist Party at Black Lives Matter

Socialist Party at Black Lives Matter   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Isabelle France, Sheffield Socialist Party

In July last year, I was laid on my sofa doing my daily doomscroll when I stumbled on a video of Keir Starmer dismissing Black Lives Matter. Starmer, in his usual high and mighty centralist tone, nearly made me throw my phone across the room in frustration.

He then went onto to describe BLM as a ‘moment’. It was then and there I decided to cancel my ten-year-long Labour Party membership.

I had been a Labour member since I was 17. I wasn’t even out of school before decided to pledge my allegiance to this party – volunteering, voting, organising, supporting and cheering along their victories.

But in that swift moment, the accumulation of the years of Labour denying its members and the left wing our voice became unbearable. So I left. No pun intended.

Summer 2020 had been difficult enough – the desperate desire to be on the streets to connect with and protect one another during the Black Lives Matter mass social movement, yet simultaneously needing to stay apart in order to protect one another from a deadly pandemic.

When I left Labour, I felt alone in a different way. But looking around, I could see others were too.

So many people I knew were homeless politically. We were all angry, but had nowhere to direct that to.

I knew we needed organised direct action. But where was I meant to find that?

I thought about joining litter-picking groups, but would I scare off the old folk with my anti-capitalist rants? I thought about joining theory groups. But would we ever do anything?

Luckily for me, someone had been putting up Socialist Party posters. It wasn’t long until one caught my eye.

I’d had no idea of the Socialist Party. I found them on Twitter, and immediately followed them.

Shortly after, local member Alex contacted me, asking if I fancied coming to a meeting. I think my answer was fairly obvious.

I joined after a couple of branch meetings, and a few meet-ups at protests. But I’d have probably joined then and there after receiving that first Twitter message.

I feel calm to be part of a group which is outspoken in its beliefs, and unafraid to name the beast of capitalism. The Socialist Party doesn’t shy away from fighting for reforms, and we have an outright commitment to dismantle capitalism, and in its place rebuild a better system – socialism. A breath of fresh air.

It’s a million miles away from Starmer telling me ‘BLM is just a moment, and soon the status quo will be restored’. Why should we be asked to put more energy into propping up this failing status quo when, instead, together, we could tear it down?