The Labour Party is dead. Long live the resistance.

Former MP Chris Williamson in front of a Resist movement banner
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In Nottingham on 16 and 17 October, Resist held a festival to celebrate unity among the left. Former MP Chris Williamson formed Resist as:

a grassroots movement with nationwide support, which aims to empower communities and workers through democratic, practical and political means.

The festival brought together an impressive range of speakers to talk about their own story of resistance including activists and performers like Lowkey, Alexei Sayle, Jackie Walker, and Dr Bob Gill. Other speakers included historians and journalists such as Ilan Pappé, Abby Martin, and Max Blumenthal, professor Bill Mitchell, and many others.

Having been there and met some of the most amazing and hard-working people I’ve ever met, I’ve come away truly inspired. Namely I’m inspired to work harder to bring down a rotten establishment that seeks to serve the rich and takes great pleasure in exploiting, and leaving for dead, poor and working-class people. An establishment that serves neo-liberalism and attempts to keep us in our place through divide and conquer.

But the weekend of Resist did something else for me. It confirmed something that shouldn’t have needed confirmation: the Labour Party, as a party of working-class people, is dead. In fact, I don’t believe that kind of party ever existed. Now there’s a credible working-class movement emerging. One that could possibly affect the kind of change we need.

Yet last weekend also left me with a question: Could such a grassroots movement, inside the confines of parliament, make a real difference for working-class people? That’s something I can’t answer. Time will tell. But whatever the outcome, this fearless, relentless bunch I met in Nottingham are about to give it a right go. And this group will face down any scandalous lies told about them or witchhunts launched to discredit them. The establishment better watch out!

Entering parliament?

On the second day, a panel of speakers and festival delegates debated the topic: Should The Resist Movement Register To Become A Political Party?

Read on...

Following a lively and, at times, contentious debate, the overall feeling was one of support. An indicative vote showed the vast majority of voting delegates support the move. Two weeks ago, this was also the general feeling of respondents to the same question on Resist’s social media page. Paid members of the movement will now vote on this in the coming week. This should give a definitive answer.

What exactly comes after that – we’ll have to wait and see. But what was clear to me was the vast majority of people I spoke to believe the Labour Party, as a representative of the working-class, is dead and well beyond saving. It’s for the bin. And while not everybody there supported the formation of a new political party, there was palpable anger with the ruling elite. It’s an anger that’s more than justified.

Among the delegates there was a very strong appetite for a fight back – a fight back against an anti-working class parliament, a corporate media that speaks for the elite, and against sexism, racism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. It’s also a fight to return the NHS into full public ownership.

A party of disgrace

There’s little need for me to list the many ways the Labour Party has consistently betrayed working-class people. Just put Keir Starmer’s name in the search option and you’ll find a lot of what you need to read. That party is an absolute disgusting and immoral charade. But despite not wanting to delve into that betrayal, the witchhunt against anti-racist campaigners and socialists within the party in recent years (that began under the Corbyn/McDonnell leadership) deserves special mention. Because it showed how cowardly that leadership was when its bravery was needed.

A similar style witchhunt was used to sack professor David Miller from his role at the University of Bristol. Miller also addressed the festival and clearly explained his sacking came as a result of his speaking out against anti-Muslim racism in the UK. He said “Muslims are continually under attack” and the Zionist campaign against him is actually in part about eradicating “the possibility that Muslims can be active in public life”. Miller believes Zionism is a form of racism.

But getting back to Labour’s witchhunt against socialism, former editor-at-large of The Canary Kerry-Anne Mendoza wrote in February this year:

Centrists have spent the past year continuing the chicken coup. They’ve purged the party membership of socialists with mass suspensions. They even aimed to decapitate the movement by suspending Corbyn on bogus pretexts. They’ve buried the Forde Report, and any hope of holding to account the centrist staffers responsible for racist abuse against BAME MPs and members. In short, they’ve made the party a hostile environment for anyone to the left of Margaret Thatcher.

It’s firmly my belief that Starmer has, should he so chose, the know-how to stand up to the Tory austerity government. He’s the leader of the opposition and former director of public prosecutions (DPP). Surely during that time he’s learned a thing or two about defence and attack? So it’s my belief he’s simply choosing not to. And he’s choosing not to because his agenda and that of the Tories are aligned. They’re aligned in terms of creating a friendly environment for the elite that comes at the expense of working-class people. In fact, Starmer’s time as DPP outlines how close he is to that establishment.

There’s nothing for working class people in the Labour Party. And given Labour’s history of supporting imperialism, there probably never was. And there’s certainly nothing in it for the delegates of Resist. Because, as the delegates at the festival know, simply attending Resist leaves them open to suspension from the Labour Party. I’ll put my neck on the chopping block here though and guess that’ll worry them not a jot!

The next election?

As I said at the workshops I attended, the bad news is that it’s a long road for working-class people to reclaim power from the elite. But one possible advantage is that this means we can take our time. The next general election will be held sometime in 2024 at the latest. That, in all reality, leaves fuck all time to organise for proper change. It’s not enough time to mount a credible challenge against the establishment. And we also need to be clear about what we’ve learned from the Corbyn project.

So in that sense, the next election is already lost for working-class people. The 80-seat Tory majority may narrow, but then again it may widen. Starmer has made no impact. Those powers that be won’t be changing any time soon.

But when they do come crashing down, as they have done before and inevitably will do again, we need to be ready. And part of getting ready means changing the mindset from How do we win the next election? to How to we build the society we want? There are already existing alternatives we could look at to see what suits our needs. That’s going to take some time. But there’s never been a better time than right now to begin that work and Resist the powers that be.

Featured image via Resist and Wikimedia/Chris McAndrew

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  • Show Comments
    1. I truly, truly hope so, however with so many other new small Parties detracting votes I still believe our votes would be of best used, at the next GE, to blow Thatcher’s Neoliberal Neo-New-Labour Party Parasite TORIES right out of their seats, blocking any new Neo-New-Labour TORY candidates from taking seats, and vote in ALL UK Labour Party MPs and Candidates. With a good housekeeping effort and condemnation of apartheid Israel and Racist, Terrorist Zionism from the Party, along with all the Right/Far Right clingers on, there would be nothing stopping the Labour movement from taking all these smaller Parties under one big Left Wing.
      Once the BoJoke starts screwing up again we can, with a candidate for every seat call an early GE and take Government, A dream? Yes! Possible? Fuck yeah! If we Unite and use our vote tactically and secure the Ballot Boxes on their 22:00 Solo Joy Ride!

    2. I heartily agree with the need for change but when ‘The Working Class’ is mentioned I cringe a little as I don’t know who this vaguely specified group encompasses. It is often accompanied by ‘the poor’ so I’m kind of figuring if earning much above the average take home wage of £27k p.a. will class a person as not being working class so that would mean many in skilled jobs or professions would be excluded.
      The suggestions that ‘ Already existing alternatives’ be looked at is likely to leave many people who already enjoy levels of individal freedom that community action, collective ownership will necessarily restrict in order to function cohesively will find much favour within a highly individualistic society.
      “And part of getting ready means changing the mindset from How do we win the next election? to How to we build the society we want?”
      How to win an election is not as difficult as it seems. Having sufficient candidates and a message that the electorate will vote for is the simple answer. How to build a society that people want to subscribe to and live in is very difficult without first establishing the sort of society envisaged. Using more generalisations doesn’t sway the masses and I’m not even sure a well researched, reasoned proposal would garner many votes. People tend to shy away from what they don’t understand and what’s not known about or understood is usually feared and treated with suspicion. Does the ‘working class’ (whoever they are) possess the knowledge, intellectual capacity and critical thinking skills to grasp some of the concepts which will need discussing.
      The power has always resided in the hands of the people yet acting in solidarity has never been their forte. Consumerism is controlled by the many who subscribe to it, albeit it’s owned by the few. It’s why panic stations happened when Covid left the high street and service sector inoperable it accounts for about 80% of the UK economy. Changing it to a different economic direction is about as easy as retraining people to become lorry drivers and a long term solution, not the quick fixes the public tend to expect.
      Good luck with the project.

    3. Finally. A good article, but 6 months behind the times.

      And no mention of the Socialist Party, The Workers’Party of Great Britain, or, most importantly, the TUSC?

      Come on, The Canary – MORE WORK TO DO! 🙂

    4. I agree, Working Class and the definition of a “Socialist”/The Communist Manifesto are outdated and needs a lot of rethinking. Just as there are Fundamentalist Religious there are Fundamentalist Communists and Socialists and also only on the points that suits.
      All this stuff is nothing more than division tools for the Elites/Establishment to keep us from uniting, The Pitchfork People and the Torch People.
      Blue Collar Workers can earn more than GPs, are they no longer Working Class? Are they no longer Working Class Socialists for affording their own property, or even becoming “fair/decent” landlords?
      As I see it there are only The PEOPLE, Rich or Poor, all working towards Equality, Justice and Freedom of The PEOPLE. Sadly MANY of The PEOPLE are Asleep/Hypnotised by Manufactured Consent.
      Then there are The ELITES/ESTABLISHMENT Manufacturing Consent and abusing Puppets to do the work for their good and to keep The PEOPLE divided and at war.
      Of course that leaves the Carrot Chasing Puppets of The ELITES/ESTABLISHMENT, who have Empathy amputated and works ONLY for their “OWN BENEFIT”, “abusing” The ELITES/ESTABLISHMENT.
      We’ve followed the same pattern for Millennia written about it, revolted against it, but still keep doing it!
      The World is a mess! Wars, Fascism, Unnatural Viruses, Governments who kills 100s/1000s through “incompetence”, benefit cuts, etc, but ‘Aggressively’ “Cares” about our jab status, etc, etc.
      Life has become an Omelette of Brave New World, 1984 and Metropolis, oozing with a filling of Metamorphosis and Eraserhead and for the hell of it sprinkled with a Discworld Garnish!

    5. Any left-wing, or left leaning, alternative to stale Labour would be welcome. But whoever it is, they need to be careful with the name. For the people happy with their job, whose living conditions are comfortable, or at least not quite misery but yet do believe that the state should own key industry (energy / transport), invest more in education and health care, that we should stop outsourcing public services to private companies (in short: left-wing) will be absolutely put off by an aggressive sounding party such as “resist”… 60-70% of the population are sympathetic to key left wing. But it’s Britain. We are meek, we don’t like confrontation. We don’t want to “resist”, we just want to get on with it.

    6. The best news all year. The Labour Party doesn’t want to win the next election; it prefers to rid itself of left of centre members. God knows what it wants then! Any new Movement should be broad and diverse, chasing ideological rabbits down holes isn’t going to cut it, just more if the same. There is every chance it will receive wide support.

    7. Independant Scotland would provide an example to English voters of alternative socialist policies to the traditional Tory greed based hegemon. After all toryism and its support amoung working class women for instance during the Thatcher regieme is anglo not Celtic centric. The impact of the SNP could be the meterorite that kills off Tory rule south of the border as it has north of the wall.

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