Keir Starmer’s probably glad he’s self-isolating after angry visitors descend on Labour HQ

A wide shot of the demo at Labour HQ and Keir Starmer
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Poor Keir Starmer. Not only are his party’s finances reportedly down the toilet; not only is he having to self-isolate, but Labour HQ was the site of a protest on Tuesday 20 July. Starmer may well be glad he’s holed up at home.

Labour: expulsion central

As The Canary previously reported, Labour planned to ban four groups involved in the party:

  • Socialist Appeal.
  • Labour in Exile Network (LIEN).
  • Labour against the Witchhunt.
  • Resist (the Chris Williamson-founded group).

SKWAWKBOX noted that the banning of these groups would make:

mere membership of them an automatic expulsion offence even though they do not breach Labour’s rule about standing candidates against the party.

But the groups and members were not taking the news lying down. So, on 20 July, several of them organised a protest.

Not having it

It took place right outside Labour HQ in central London:

A shot of people protesting at Labour HQ

Read on...

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Several hundred people from around the UK turned up:

People protesting outside Labour HQ

Socialist Appeal, LIEN, Labour against the Witchhunt, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), and Labour Black Socialists were all there. What stood out was the broad age-range of activists, from young to old and of many ethnicities. Various people spoke, including former South African MP Andrew Feinstein:

Andrew Feinstein speaking at the Labour demo

“Resist… by all means”

Dylan Cope from Socialist Appeal told The Canary:

We’re certainly going to fight this purge. I think the whole left needs to come together and resist this by all means… Apparently, [fighting for public services] makes us “toxic”, as they’ve called us – which is disgraceful. Starmer’s doing the Tories’ job by getting rid of socialists. So, we say we need to get rid of him… We’ve got a rule change to push at this year’s conference… so we can remove Starmer with a vote of no confidence… We need to fight this all the way. So, we hope the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs and the unions will take up this fight as well. Because really, this is just the thin end of the wedge. First it’s us, the Marxists, then it will be Momentum and JVL.

Socialist Appeal told The Canary that the rule change would allow members to vote out the leader. It has been submitted to conference by “several” Constituency Labour Parties (CLPS). So, we’ll wait and see how that pans out.

Meanwhile, film director and activist Ken Loach sent the demo a message of support:

Some unwelcome guests

There was a small group of anti-Jeremy Corbyn activists present. They accused him of being an antisemite:

Anti Corbyn activists at the Labour demo

Anti-lockdown and coronavirus-denying activists also turned up. One of them was Corbyn’s brother Piers Corbyn:

Piers Corbyn at a Labour demo

The majority of the Labour activists present weren’t happy with the arrival of these unwanted guests. There was also a small police presence, which seemed to be targeted at the coronavirus-deniers.

Unwanted guests aside, many people gave rousing speeches. Tina from Labour against the Witchhunt said that if the party didn’t expel members, then people must “try to stay” with it – “but if you stay you have to fight”:

The banning begins

Late into Tuesday afternoon, the news broke that Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had voted to ban the groups. As PA reported, as many as 1,000 members could see their membership revoked as a result of the purge. The NEC agreed the move in a nine-hour meeting. It also discussed the full scale of the party’s dire financial state, with a voluntary redundancy process under way for staff. A Labour spokesperson told PA:

Labour is a broad, welcoming and democratic party and we are committed to ensuring it stays that way.

The NEC has decided that these organisations are not compatible with Labour’s rules or our aims and values.

Williamson gave his reaction to the news on RTUK:

At the demo, people were furious with what was happening to their party.

The end-game for socialism?

Terry Deans from LIEN told The Canary:

The result of all this will be that the working class people of this country will have no socialist agenda to work with and no rescue from the brutality of the Tory regime

The bottom line here is that this looks like the end-game for any form of socialism in the Labour Party. This purge has been ongoing almost since Starmer took over. Now, by proscribing the only groups that were a vehicle for persecuted members, it’s almost game over. If the likes of Momentum think they’re safe, then they’d best watch their backs. Because it seems Starmer and the Labour machinery won’t stop until a full cleansing of the party has taken place – even if it means leaving a hollowed-out, financially annihilated husk in its place.

Featured image via The Canary and the Telegraph – YouTube 

Additional reporting by PA

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  • Show Comments
    1. ‘Unwanted guests aside.’ Erm, awkward, you lot are the unwanted ones. This is why the party is moving to kick you out. You’re toxic and the reason Labour keeps getting it’s ass handed to it at elections.

    2. One of the most insightful comments I ever heard about the American Empire, is that its main aim was ‘The destruction of Hope’. Everywhere it goes, everywhere it conquers, everywhere it has its claws, the goal is to destroy hope in the subject populations.

      Hope for a better future, hope in labour-unionisation, hope in universal education and healthcare, hope for any kind of Democracy.

      The USA destroys those hopes as brutally as it can.

      Why is this relevant to what is happening in Labour?

      Because Starmer is applying the same approach, to show and prove his ‘loyalty’ to the US Empire. The peoples of Britain came within a hairsbreadth of using our electoral system to elect a decent human being, and that scared – terrified, even – the Powers-That-Be. ALL that Hope that we had from him, Corbyn, was anathema to them.

      And so Starmers mission is to demonstrate loyalty – not to the peoples of Britain, not even to the PLP, but to the CFR, the Bilderbergers, the Oligarchs, the entire networks that are driving the reborn far-right.

      A BIG UP!! to all those who went on this demo, though really – is the PLP even WORTH salvaging? I guess its a powerful ‘brand’, although it soon won’t be on the course it’s on.

      Piers is funny. 🙂

      DirtyMankyFlipFlop, TBH, if there is ANYONE I would ask about being “toxic”, it would be you. Something of an expert in the field, aren’t you?

      I bet you’re a laugh-a-minute at parties. If you ever got invited to any, poor thing.

    3. Good post Gnu!
      I have a strong feeling that we are in for exciting times over the next months and years.
      The frequent protests will not abate – they will increase in frequency and depth in my opinion.
      However, I fear that there won’t be just exciting times ahead – they’ll be very painful for many…but our very freedoms are at stake in this already global Orwellian climate.
      I’m genuinely fearful for what the future might hold for our children…
      I suppose we ordinary folk have to live in the moment and enjoy ourselves as best we can. But at the same time, we have to fight the sheer tyranny that is rapidly engulfing us.
      It terrifies me how the mainstream narrative and complicit mainstream media is increasingly cancelling any dissent from the views that the big corporation backed Establishment requires that we follow.
      Starmerism is just failed Blairism all over again. Without such an obsequious mainstream media in the pockets of big business, we might be able to begin to be a real democracy working for ALL the people.

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