We may have lost parliament. But support and solidarity can unite the left. | Chris Williamson

Chris Williamson
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On both sides of the Atlantic, the prospects for electoral socialism have dimmed. Fossilised old guard political party establishments – in Labour and the US Democrats – have stood in the way of the transformation that millions of people know we need. Both the Corbyn and Sanders movements were struck down by reactionary forces. We warned then, that if they prevented our inevitable revolution, we would have to take to the streets.

The cold-blooded murder of George Floyd has stirred righteous anger in hundreds of millions of people around the world. And just as in the 1960s, the movement for Black liberation has proven to be at the vanguard of an epochal shift in world history. The future we failed to win at the ballot box, our Black brothers and sisters are leading us on to the streets.

“One struggle”

The liberation of working-class people from capitalism and the liberation of our Black and Brown comrades from racial oppression do not merely intersect – they are one struggle. We cannot have one without the other. The monuments to slavery that we are toppling are also monuments to capitalism, an inherently exploitative system reliant on hierarchies of oppression and lust for empire-building. The wealth of this nation was built on the backs of slaves and sepoys, so we cannot call for socialism or racial justice here while we keep Britain’s knee on the necks of the people of Yemen, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, and Iran and others.

To achieve this revolution, we will need to fight on all fronts. We will need our own media system while taking the fight to the oligarch-owned press. We will need a battle-ready street movement with coherent demands at the same time as nurturing parliamentary leaders. But the road to parliamentary socialism is closed for now. The demand for change is being led by street protests, leaving Sir Keir Starmer and his Labour Party allies playing catch up with cringe-worthy photo opportunities. I cannot see them standing up for Black and Muslim communities in particular, and working-class people in general.

Starmer says he supports Zionism “without qualification,” even though UN resolution 3379, that was passed 45 years ago, declared that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” Furthermore, supporters of Zionism manufactured antisemitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn, his allies, and thousands of Labour members to crush the Corbyn project. 

“Lawfare”

Known as ‘lawfare‘, the threat of legal action is often used to silence opposition. In France and Germany, this tactic has been used in an attempt to criminalise pro-Palestinian activism and there are efforts to do the same here.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Israel lobby targeted prominent Black anti-racism campaigners in the Labour Party, such as Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker, falsely accusing them of antisemitism, forcing them out of the party and tying them up in costly legal battles.

For the thought-crime of defending Jackie, Marc and fellow anti-racists in the Labour Party, I was also targeted by the Israel lobby. They created media hysteria that led to my suspension from the Party. I was one of the lucky few – because of my public profile as a campaigning MP and as Jeremy Corbyn’s most loyal parliamentary ally, I received an outpouring of solidarity from thousands of activists and Party members. We crowdfunded to appeal my suspension resulting in it being overturned by the High Court, and the judge ordered the Labour Party to pay my legal costs totalling £89,000. But they concocted more allegations to maintain my suspension and prevent me contesting the 2019 election as a Labour candidate.

“This is just the beginning”

My intention in taking my case to the High Court was to set a precedent. Racist institutions and the Israel lobby aren’t the only ones who can win legal battles. The costs won from the Labour Party were used to create a Left Legal Fighting Fund, to take on any institution that pursues socialists, anti-Zionists, Black and Muslim activists and those who fight for justice.  Several activists have already been defended, but this is just the beginning. More legal actions are ongoing, defending left-wing, pro-Palestine Labour Party members who have been targeted by a new witch hunt directed by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and Keir Starmer’s office. 

In the last few weeks, we’ve heard about dozens of new suspensions and expulsions. But the Left Legal Fighting Fund will help to lead the fightback.

Black Lives Matter

Over the coming weeks, we will be working with some of the best human rights lawyers in the country to arrange teach-ins and legal support for protesters attending the Black Lives Matter rallies. In particular in London, where the Metropolitan Police and Territorial Support Group have been unlawfully harassing and detaining protesters, using kettling tactics to acquire intelligence and intimidate activists.

To do this, we need your ongoing support with financial and practical assistance. If you can’t donate at the moment but support our work, sign up to our mailing list and spread the word. If you have been suspended or expelled by the Labour Party, or harassed by the police while on a Black Lives Matter protest in recent weeks, we also want to hear from you.   

They may have Parliament, but if we stand together, we can turn the tables.

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Featured image via Maggie Amsbury used with permission

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  • Show Comments
    1. It’s shameful how the Labour Party and it’s Zionist backers demonised those that stood up for the rights of The Palestinian people.
      And now we see MiLord Spymaster (Starmer) has buried the leaked report into Institutional Racism and Electoral Fraud in the Labour Party.
      I’ve said this before and I’ll keep on saying it.
      There is no place inThe Labour Party for BAME, Socialist or even non political working class people.
      Best we have our own united left party, once and for all, instead of all the factionalised groups we have at the moment.
      A party run from the bottom up. Not, as with Labour, one lorded over by a few establishment Imperialists.

    2. I’m lost we had a very caring man has leader but only to be crushed by the media and BBC and his own party I dearly hoped for a leader of his caliba to unite us but see the ugle head of the greedie ones Blair’s babies damage the party so that they can rule hmm were do my children look to now we have stammer another blairite Chris’s w and a lot more who supported our leader cast aside by their made up crap they use but untill they are gone there be no labour

      1. There will never be a Labour, as you wish for it, ever again. Not even anywhere close.
        I expect no form of opposition, other than lipservice, from Starmer. Even after his “co-operative” efforts have finally brought the COVID crisis under control.
        It wouldn’t surprise me if they eventually absorb themselves into the Tory Party.

    3. Resolution 3379 was revoked in 1991. Even Chomsky criticised it. He was a Zionist youth leader as teenager but never believed in a Jewish State. Nor did Judah Magnes. 3379 was flawed because it failed to distinguish between the Zionism of the young Chomksy and Magnes and the racist doctrine of the Israeli State.
      The point is, we have 3 constituencies to think about: Labour members, Labour voters and trade unionists. Will they challenge the current leadership? The members have just elected Starmer. Those who voted for him will be loath to criticise and he won by a good margin. Labour voters are even less likely to take on the leadership. Mostly, they will put up with anyone who can win elections, even Blair. There will be voices raised in the unions, but will there be a concerted effort to drive the leadership towards principle? In short, what we need to accept is that members, voters and trade unionists will put electoral victory first. We are a small minority. There’s no point thinking otherwise. What we have to ask is how, as a small minority, can we make a difference? All transformational social movements begin with small minorities. There is no need for despair. Rather with imagination, resilience, energy and a never say die attitude, we can change things. But we have to accept they aren’t going to put our names in the history books. We will be the unacknowledged . We are playing the long game and we aren’t in it for personal glory or gain. We won’t “unite the left” but we can be the thorn in the flesh and in the long run, because individuals tire but movements don’t, we will prevail.

        1. Hear hear magicmancunian100, I only wish there were 99 more of you. There there oldshagnasty. They are only pretending to be deaf because it’s convenient. A transformation of consciousness involves both the merciless economics of imperialism and the constant background noise of magicmancunians1toa100. Has anyone heard of the hundred mancunian theory?

    4. Well said Chris Williamson.
      Most right-thinking people now understand that the parliamentary road to socialism is dead and buried, forever. The left needs to consider what’s next. Capitalism is stripping away all its “democratic” illusions in parliament piece by piece, as Lenin said “”Parliamentarism does not eliminate, but lays bare the innate character even of the most democratic bourgeois republics as organs of class oppression”, and this will become even clearer over the coming years as austerity 2.0 kicks in, and Britain prepares for another capitalist world war. That is if they can organise mass murder again on a global scale for a third time.

    5. I observed the BLM march in Bristol. Hardly working class. Lots of rather well off guilt ridden Stokes Croft types. The only working class at the march were the dodgy looking blokes who turned up to defend the cenotaph.

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