maybe if we all rant in unison

Keir Stalin has launched a purge of all left-wing MPs from the Labour Party
Kerry-Anne Mendosa, The Canary, Oct 30 2020

Keir Starmer has suspended Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour party, despite a 17-month investigation by the EHRC finding no evidence of anti-Semitism attributable to the former leader. But even worse, Sir Keir appears to have launched a full Stalinist purge of left-wing MPs from the Labour party. Not satisfied with repeated purges of left-wingers from the party membership, they’re now locking down the parliamentary party too. First scalp is the former leader and figurehead of the British Left, Jeremy Corbyn. But it is clear there are many more to come. The standard approach adopted for the wider witch hunt goes something like this: Pro-Israel organisations lodge a complaint of antisemitism, no matter how tenuous. The press elevates the accusation (without investigation) into a crisis that Labour must sort out. The party expels the member or MP. We have seen it time and again. Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson and so on. With that in mind, we now know who’s on the menu for the purge. According to LabourList editor Sienna Rodgers:

This would constitute a direct attack on the leading left-wing MPs in the Labour Party. The list includes all potential left-wing leadership candidates for the party:

Diane Abbott
Rebecca Long-Bailey – already neutered by repeated attacks.
Apsana Begum
Barry Gardiner
Richard Burgon
But it also reportedly targets rising stars like Zarah Sultana. This was always the end game of the chicken coup. And those who warned of it were denounced as antisemites. But this was never about antisemitism, beyond weaponising Jewish trauma to fight factional political battles. That behaviour is unforgivable. It has harmed Jewish people, and the fight against racism more broadly. But it could not have happened without supportive pundits, especially those on the left.

And so I say this: ditch every supposed leftie commentator who went along with this insidious campaign. It doesn’t matter why they appeased the witch hunt. It just matters that they did. They have proven you cannot trust them to stand with you when it costs them something. There was a chance to prevent this from happening. If Corbyn had backed mandatory reselection, the left-wing membership could have ousted their mutinous Centrist MPs in 2016 and 2017. Instead, he offered an olive branch. He welcomed them into his cabinet, and (his worst mistake) sacrificed allies to appease a rabid smear campaign. His reward was five years of character assassination, abuse, and finally it appears, expulsion. Now is not the time for remaining Leftists to repeat that mistake. You don’t negotiate with emotional terrorists. And that is, all politics aside, what these people are. They set out to “break” Corbyn “as a man.” And even after they toppled him, they are not relenting. It’s time to organise and fight. Don’t argue about which method is superior. Just pick one, and give it everything you’ve got. We stand together, we fight together, we win together.

Jeremy Corbyn’s shocking suspension is met with an outpouring of solidarity on social media
Sophia Purdy-Moore, The Canary, Oct 30 2020

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended, “in light of his comments” in response to an investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’s investigation, published on Oct 29, found Labour responsible for “unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment” in its handling of allegations of anti-Semitism. In his statement following the release of the report, Corbyn said he regrets it took “longer to deliver that change than it should,” but that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated.” This comment led to his suspension from the party. Corbyn told followers that he will “strongly contest” Labour’s decision to suspend him. People took to Twitter to express their thoughts about the shocking news. There has been an outpouring of solidarity for Corbyn from organisations and individuals, under the hashtags #IStandWithJeremyCorbyn, #WeAreCorbyn and of course, #Jezza.

Others are asking why allegations of anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and transphobia within the Labour Party haven’t been handled with such severity (or at all), as well as allegations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party:

Some are calling on Corbyn to establish a new political party, as they feel that Labour no longer represents the politics they stand for. Many are calling for #StarmerOut:

Labour’s decision to oust Corbyn is monumental. With internal divisions running deeper than ever, the future of left-wing parliamentary politics in England is unclear.

Keir Starmer’s foolish decision to suspend Corbyn is a gift to the Tories. And racists everywhere.
Joe Glenton, The Canary, Oct 30 2020

Keir Starmer’s foolish decision to suspend former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a huge gift for the Tory government. And it will help racists everywhere. The suspension, following the publication of the EHRC report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, will be debated for months. But some things are beyond doubt. The suspension has immediately, and predictably, been used by the Conservative Party to attack both Starmer and the left he himself is attacking.

The Tory strategy is to try and say these two entirely different politicians are one and the same – despite the current Labour leader’s apparent ferocious purge of socialists and his abandoning of any kind of left-wing policies. But that isn’t all. Last year, the late academic David Graeber warned that the weaponising of anti-Semitism by the centre against anti-racists was itself dangerous for minorities. Not least to Jewish people like Graeber himself. In a video published on Twitter in Dec 2019, Graeber said:

I’m making an appeal. Stop this. Please. For the sake of my safety. Fanning the flames is making things dangerous. What actually threatens Jews, the people who actually want to kill us, are Nazis.

The heartfelt warning by Graeber, a brilliant left-wing thinker and author who tragically died in Sep 2020, should be heeded by us all. Now more than ever, the left needs to organise against racism. We must condemn the use of antisemitism as a weapon to attack long-standing anti-racists like Jeremy Corbyn.

By suspending Jeremy Corbyn the Labour party has once again shown that it isn’t the party of anti-racists
Maryam Jameela, The Canary, Oct 30 2020

Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour Party. The suspension follows his reaction to an Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report on anti-Semitism in the party. In getting rid of Corbyn, a lifelong anti-racist, the Labour Party has once again shown that it is not the party of anti-racists. Starmer’s decision to suspend Corbyn and remove the whip has caused fury and disappointment on social media. One of the most prominent questions involves Starmer’s behaviour towards Diane Abbott. Or rather, his total lack of action on the fierce abuse the Labour MP has received.

Others pointed out the deplorable behaviour of Rosie Duffield:

Evolve Politics had this to say about noted racist Boris Johnson:

What’s next for anti-racists? Corbyn’s suspension of course carries huge implications for the future of anti-racist activism in Britain. But some social media users took heart and called for a reminder of principles in the face of injustice:

While others called for reminders of injustices against Palestinian people:

Several people criticised the cynical tactic of weaponising anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-racism:

Corbyn’s response to the report carefully laid out his abhorrence of anti-Semitism. He stated:

My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.

Corbyn has demonstrated time and again his commitment to serious anti-racist work. His response to the EHRC’s findings is measured and astute. It is a travesty that antisemitism is being weaponised under the guise of anti-racism. This takes away from the work of many who seek to build better support for Jewish people. The outpouring of rage and grief on social media is testament to Corbyn’s principles. The fact that, under Keir Starmer’s reign, many have already spoken of leaving the Labour Party is testament to Starmer’s. Corbyn will contest his suspension, as he should:

It is difficult not to despair at the cowardly lack of opposition to this craven government. But this is exactly when we must take stock of our morals and principles. It is important to acknowledge grief, despair and rage. Those emotions guide a moral response and we should respect them. But that doesn’t mean pausing or abandoning the work of anti-racism. We must turn to each other. We must turn to our fellow anti-racists. We must stand in solidarity with Jewish communities. We must stand for the values Corbyn has fought for all his career. We must stand together.

If you ‘love’ politics, there’s something wrong with you. Let me explain what.
Wilson Belshaw, The Canary, Oct 26 2020

Politics watching has hit the sort of highs you only see when things are going very, very badly. While engagement is a good thing, there is one group that’s suffering, namely the weirdoes and pundits who treat politics like some drab combination of Game of Thrones and the snooker. For them, the constant reminder that parliamentary drama has real-life consequences harshes their buzz. It doesn’t harsh it as much as it harshes the lives of those who experience said consequences, but still, it has made their Twitter interactions some 27% more disagreeable. The question is who are these people and what’s wrong with them? Undoubtedly you’ve come across these hobbyists. You generally see them online, the majority dreary centrists who care more about processes than outcomes, the sort of people who tut when the Tories vote to starve children but gag when said Tories get called ‘scum.’ These people hate the right and left pretty much equally because both groups want to change things. The right wants to make life increasingly lavish for the few; the left wants to make the world bearable for the many. To the hobbyists, either result would be intolerable precisely because they’re results, outcomes that mandate change. This is why they object to anything beyond tepid managerialism with the same impotent fury that regressive football supporters deployed against female linespeople.

As an autistic person, I get the inclination to avoid change. The difference is, I’m worried my cheese grater might end up in the wrong cupboard, whereas they’re terrified someone will upend a political model that’s consistently failed to improve people’s lives. A model that can’t even stop things getting worse! A model that’s failed so badly that change isn’t just desirable, it’s inevitable.

Matt Forde, Spitting Image writer or comedian (he hasn’t decided which yet), opened his recent book Politically Homeless with the following passage:

My name is Matt Forde and I’m a political obsessive. There, I’ve said it. I made that pretty clear in the introduction, but I want to be absolutely certain that you know what you’re in for. I’m consumed by anything to do with politics and I am beyond help. I love every part of it: the ideas, the individuals, the debate, elections, committees, scandals, inquiries, budgets, mistakes, the lot. Every tedious element of it engages me.

I read that and thought:

But most of those things aren’t fucking politics, Matt.

And yes, technically they are, but they’re such a small part that they shouldn’t make anyone’s greatest hits list. These things are to politics what a baboon’s arse is to the animal itself: a vulgar extremity that catches attention but produces little other than shit.

Politics is feeling the crushing weight of the British state pressing down on you. For me it was being told my son needed support, only to learn from some government stooge that he wouldn’t be receiving it, freezing him out of a mainstream education. For others it’s going to bed in a tower block that could literally catch fire. For many it’s being disabled and not having enough to live on, knowing full well the government sees you not living as part of the solution. More importantly, politics is looking at all of the above and asking yourself: How can I stop this shit happening? Unless you’re a Tory, in which case you ask: How can I profit from this shit happening? The hobbyists enjoy questioning the fundamentals of politics about as much as the man who built his house on sand likes people asking about his foundations. They’re happy in their little house. They’ve got a view of the tide coming in and everything.

The title of Forde’s book, Politically Homeless, didn’t come out of nowhere. In the Corbyn era, many dull pundits and Iraq war apologists had it tattooed on their foreheads to save time. The thing is, these hobbyists should feel out of place in a worthwhile political operation. The Labour Party was formed to represent the interests of the working class. It’s hard to imagine it having the same societal impact if Keir Hardie had devised it as a social club for bored fops to sit around watching Prime Minister’s Questions and quivering. The problem with a lot of politics watchers is they aren’t in any sense political; They’re looky-loos. Which would be fine, except they want to insert themselves into the heart of the process, like bird-watchers who decide they know more about flying than ducks and go flapping off into the marshes. So they’re freaks, in other words. And while there’s generally nothing wrong with being a freak, it does become problem when someone’s need for guilt-free hobby time gets in the way of actually improving things.

A love of politics isn’t the worst passion a person could have. At the same time, I’d advise the hobbyists to love it from a distance. They think it’s fun and games, but trust those who’ve had an actual relationship with politics. This baboon’s arse isn’t worth your affection.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.