nazi britain

Jeremy Corbyn suspended by Labour leadership in latest outrage during Blairite anti-Semitism witch-hunt
Chris Marsden, WSWS, Oct 30 2020

The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is a vicious and antidemocratic action by the right-wing cabal in control of the Labour Party. The political pretext on which the suspension was carried out, claiming the existence of widespread “left anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party under his leadership, is not only a slander against Corbyn but of countless party members. It is a political witch-hunt designed to justify the enforcement of the policies of British and US imperialism in the Middle East, built around the dishonest and illegitimate identification of anti-Semitism with principled opposition to the policies of the Israeli state. The level of cynicism involved beggars belief. Anti-Semitism, racial hatred directed towards the Jews, is historically identified with the far right, especially with Nazi Germany, though it had many adherents within the British ruling class, including among the Royal family. Now the left is being targeted as the source of anti-Semitism even as the fascist Alternative for Germany has been elevated to the position of official opposition in the Bundestag, and similar formations including Marine le Pan’s National Rally are being cultivated by the ruling elite throughout Europe. The opposition expressed by Corbyn to the suppression of the Palestinians is no more than can still be found among substantial sections of the left and peace movement in Israel. Nevertheless, bogus allegations of anti-Semitism are now being employed against the left, based upon a filthy campaign waged by the Blairite right, the Conservative Party, the Netanyahu government, and the security services of the US, Israel and the UK, ever since Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015. Any criticism of Israel and its persecution of the Palestinians has occasioned demands for the accused to be removed from the Labour Party. This was codified in Labour’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in 2018, outlawing political criticism of the Israeli state.

The sole purpose of such baseless lies is to complete the thoroughgoing transformation of the Labour Party into a reliable instrument of the most reactionary elements within the British state apparatus. It has been orchestrated by the war criminal Tony Blair, possibly the most sinister figure in British politics today, and his inner coterie. Left unchallenged, it will have a chilling effect on democratic rights, including the right to free speech and the right of political parties to advance policies that are deemed illegitimate by an unaccountable cabal of state operatives and political scoundrels. None of this excuses the fact that Corbyn is the architect of his own fate and is responsible for allowing the right wing to carry out its schemes against the working class. Corbyn won leadership of the party in 2015 and then again in 2016 at the head of a popular rebellion involving hundreds of thousands of workers and young people demanding a political reckoning with the criminal pro-business and warmongering legacy of the Blair and Brown Labour governments. Corbyn was mandated not only to oppose the Blairites, but to kick them out of the party. He refused to do so, making one pathetic capitulation after another and using his political authority to preserve the control of the right wing by opposing all popular moves to expel them and insisting on “party unity.” This enabled the Blairites to pursue their plans to remove the Corbynites, centred on the anti-Semitism witch-hunting of his leading allies, including former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, black Jewish activist Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson MP and countless rank-and-file members. They then retook control of the party following the electoral disaster of Dec 2019. His adversaries of course have no compulsion against expulsions and are now proceeding with a political bloodletting, beginning with Corbyn.

Corbyn was suspended just hours after the release of an Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report claiming that there were “serious failings in the Labour Party leadership in addressing anti-Semitism and an inadequate process for handling anti-Semitism complaints.” The EHRC, which is responsible for enforcing non-discrimination laws, identified what it said were “three breaches of the Equality Act (2010) relating to: Political interference in anti-Semitism complaints; failure to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism complaints” and “unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment.” The EHRC did not formally identify anyone guilty of the alleged criminal acts, but Corbyn was named on a dozen occasions. The Socialist Equality Party warned in Mar 2019 that the EHRC investigation, instigated based on complaints by the pro-Zionist Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), would end in mass expulsions. Yesterday morning, Corbyn issued a defence of his record in opposing anti-Semitism, stating that “the scale of the problem” within the Labour Party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.” Within two hours, amid demands by the Blairites and the media for his expulsion from the party, Corbyn was suspended by party leader Sir Keir Starmer. More will follow. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said it had filed complaints to Labour about 16 MPs, including Corbyn, his former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, his preferred replacement Rebecca Long-Bailey, and even Angela Rayner, presently Starmer’s deputy leader. But it will not stop there. The ultimate target of this McCarthyite orgy is the working class, which will face censorship, political victimisation, and even criminal prosecutions for opposing imperialism’s crimes internationally and at home. Demands have already been made by the Johnson government for the IHRA definition to be enforced on Britain’s campuses.

The Corbynites have once again responded by waving the flag of surrender. Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tweeted:

In interests of party unity let’s find a way of undoing & resolving this.

Corbyn told Sky News:

What I will be doing is appealing to the party to kindly think again.

He later appealed to Labour members:

Don’t go away, don’t leave the party. Stay in the party and argue the case for economic and social justice in our society.

Fundamental lessons must now be learned from this degrading spectacle by workers in Britain and internationally. Events have provided a devastating refutation of the claims made by the pseudo-left groups that Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party represented a “rebirth of social democracy” or the formation of a “new workers’ party,” according to the Socialist Party. Corbyn’s statements confirm that his only real concern for the past five years has been to suppress opposition to the Blairites to preserve the domination over the working class of Labour and its allies in the trade union bureaucracy. Corbyn was only the latest in a line of supposedly left-wing figures and movements, promising that new life could be breathed into old and discredited parties and trade unions, or that they would weld together various fragments of these old parties into a new political vehicle for the working class. Every one of these political adventures has ended in disaster. Corbyn’s capitulation to the Blairites immediately followed that of Syriza in Greece, which was given a massive referendum mandate to oppose EU/IMF-dictated austerity in Jun 2015 and instead implemented more draconian measures than its right-wing predecessors. In Spain, Podemos was hailed as the political new wave and now governs in a pro-austerity coalition with the Socialist Party (PSOE). In the US, Barack Obama promised “hope” and “change” and delivered eight years of uninterrupted wars and targeted assassinations. Bernie Sanders took his millions of young supporters on a wild goose chase promising socialism through the Democratic Party and is now providing a left gloss for Joe Biden’s right-wing campaign seeking to demobilise popular opposition to Trump’s threats to impose a presidential dictatorship.

The Socialist Equality Party rejected all efforts to sow illusions in a renewal of social reformism under Corbyn, warning that Labour was historically a party of British imperialism and its major political prop in opposing a socialist turn by the working class. Moreover, its lurch to the right was not the product of bad leaders such as Tony Blair but had profound objective roots in fundamental shifts within world capitalism associated with globalisation, which had dramatically undermined the viability of the old labour organisations and programmes embedded in the nation-state system. This appraisal has been confirmed. The heirs of Blair, the war criminal and most hated living politician in the UK, are back in charge of a party that has shed its last pretensions of a connection with the working class and socialism. Labour will not survive what it is about to do in launching the witch-hunt against its members. But neither will Corbyn and “Corbynism.” There are desperate calls being made for Corbyn to finally leave Labour and set up a new party. But what would be the character of such a party, led by those who foresaw nothing and failed their supporters miserably at every turn? The protracted death of the Labour Party must instead be the occasion for a political turn by the working class to the building of the SEP and its sister parties in the International Committee of the Fourth International, which not only predicted the failure of Corbynism but advanced the genuine alternative of socialist internationalism.

WSWS, Corbynism and the struggle against opportunism
Chris Marsden, WSWS, Oct 30 2020

I am speaking to you tonight during the congress of the Socialist Equality Party in the UK, which is discussing a draft resolution laying out the political axis for the work of the section during the explosive period of class struggle that lies ahead. All our delegates are listening in. And everyone knows that the relaunch of the WSWS provides the central axis for everything we are setting out to accomplish—the building of a new revolutionary leadership in the working class. Our resolution states:

The central political responsibility of the SEP is to take full part in the development of the WSWS as the authoritative voice of Marxism and the instrument through which the world working class will be unified in a struggle for socialism. The WSWS was relaunched on Oct 2 with a major redesign that is aesthetically pleasing and provides for heightened functionality. But the redesign was guided by an understanding that the historic crisis of the world capitalist system, accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, is generating an immense resurgence of interest within the working class in socialist politics, history and theory.

I want to explain what the work of the WSWS means for the political education and clarification of the working class. Our congress resolution pays very close attention to the bitter experiences made during the five years when Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party. Corbyn was elected in 2015 on a mandate to drive out the Blairite right-wing and take up a struggle against a despised Conservative government that had imposed savage austerity measures leaving millions in poverty and millions more struggling to survive. Instead, we are addressing these strategic experiences under conditions where Corbyn’s betrayal of those who voted for him, through his opposition to all efforts to kick out the Blairites, allowing a free vote on the bombardment of Syria, renewing the Trident nuclear weapons programme and supporting NATO, refusing to oppose the witch-hunt of his own supporters as anti-Semites, and his unswerving opposition to any struggle against the Tories, ended in a disaster.

Labour’s crushing defeat in the Dec 2019 general election brought Boris Johnson to power, heading a criminal government whose “herd immunity” policy has led to tens of thousands of deaths during the pandemic. Corbyn we now know was told of this policy by Johnson and kept quiet about it. He then handed power in the Labour Party to Sir Keir Starmer, who, taking his cue from Corbyn, has pledged himself to “constructive opposition” to the Tories, his words, which means active collusion in the back-to-work, reopen schools drive that is guaranteeing tens of thousands more deaths. This is the political legacy of the man hailed by all of the pseudo-left groups in Britain and internationally as the leader of a socialist rebirth of the Labour Party, the British equivalent of Bernie Sanders in the US and the wave of the future. I am sure you can imagine the political confusion this would create if this grotesque lie wasn’t challenged. But it was.

Our resolution cites an SEP statement from 2015, that is prior to Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, which is based on the historic character and experiences of the working class with social democracy particularly its “left” varieties. We insisted that no change of Labour leader, nor even an influx of left-leaning members, could change the historically and programmatically determined character of Labour as a “right-wing bourgeois party complicit in all the crimes of British imperialism,” one that “has functioned as the principal political opponent of socialism for more than a century.” That’s the historical approach that we took. It then cites a Dec 14 2019 statement by the WSWS editorial board, which marked the final electoral debacle of Labour, but which linked Corbyn’s treacherous record not only to the experiences made in Britain but to the betrayal of Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, and similar pseudo-left formations internationally—all of which represented a privileged upper middle-class stratum with a vested interest in defending capitalism. That statement explained:

What is exposed in Labour’s debacle is a type of politics that seeks to deny the revolutionary nature of the working class. Under Corbyn’s leadership, Labour ditched any class appeal in favour of promoting an agenda based on the identity politics of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. The ideologist of the middle-class left, Chantal Mouffe, described Corbyn as potentially the most successful example of a new wave of ‘left populism’, because he ‘stands at the head of a great party and enjoys the support of the trade unions.’ The outcome, she said, would depend on his rejecting the ‘traditional left political frontier established on the basis of class.’

From this we concluded:

Corbyn’s debacle is the exposure not just of the Labour Party, but of the entire perspective of the ‘parliamentary road to socialism.’ The great questions of war, poverty, and social inequality are not going to be solved with cleverly-run election campaigns. The precondition for resolving any of the great social problems confronting mankind is a massive mobilisation of the working class and the intensification of the class struggle on a global scale. Only a movement that identifies itself with this struggle, that breaks through the miserable nationalist debate over Brexit, and fights for a programme of international proletarian unity, will be able to win the confidence of the working class and lead it in the fight for socialism.

This is what the struggle against opportunism means. It is the fight for principle, for a historically-based analysis, and the perspective of socialist internationalism against any adaptation to nationalism, the seeking after short-cuts based on adaptations to the domination of the working class by the Labour and trade union bureaucracy. It’s statements like this that provide a strategic orientation for the working class, that stress the need to break from the perspective of national reformism, to shake off the stranglehold of Labour, and adopt the perspective of socialist internationalism. It’s a perspective that is fought for in irreconcilable opposition to all the pseudo-left opportunist tendencies. And we know that any worker or young person reading it can follow links to a vast trove of political analysis fighting for this perspective: over 100 articles on Corbynism, on other pseudo-left formations, polemics against the pseudo-left groups, on the role of the trade unions in betraying workers struggles, links to historical articles on Trotsky, on the Labour Party, on Stalinism, on Brexit, the mounting inter-imperialist antagonisms leading to trade and military war, and the necessity to base the struggles of the working class on internationalism, on the struggle for the United Socialist States of Europe.

When young people and workers begin probing the question of Corbyn, as analysed by the Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee, and this is one example among many, that worker or young person can begin their political education as a Trotskyist. That is what the redesign of the WSWS makes possible. It will provide the basis for the education of the millions of working people coming into struggle. To educate them in the programme and principles of socialism, as embodied in the International Committee. The WSWS is a pole of attraction for the best elements in the working class. And it is the forum through which the International Committee will be built as the world party of socialist revolution. That is what the struggle against opportunism represents. That is what we represent as a political tendency.

Teaching unions deepen collaboration with Johnson government’s “herd immunity” school policy
Tania Kent, Tom Pearce, WSWS, Pct 29 2020

COVID-19 infections are spiralling out of control with predictions of 100k new daily infections in the weeks ahead. Hospitals are near capacity and deaths have passed 1,110 per week. Schools and universities now constitute almost 50% of daily infections, overtaking every other sector since their reopening from Sep 1. The majority of infections amongst school students are asymptomatic, meaning millions are at risk from an invisible disease. Statistics show infections and deaths spreading from the young across all age groups. This was predicted. Prominent scientists warned the reopening of schools and universities would allow the virus to spread uncontrollably. The “let it rip” response of the Johnson government is having deadly consequences. The WSWS has defined the Conservative government’s policy to the pandemic as “malign neglect,” an indifference to the protection of the lives and well-being of the population. Johnson’s “herd immunity” agenda could not have seen the light of day had it not been for the criminal role of the education unions. The National Education Union (NEU), the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASWUT) and University and College Union (UCU) worked to ensure that teachers’ opposition, concern and anxiety over the reopening of campuses and schools was dissipated and subordinated to the demands of big business.

The insincere posturing of the education unions in the last two weeks, including their polite letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and their call for part-time rotas in areas under Tier 2 and Tier 3 lockdowns, are aimed at stemming and suppressing the widespread anger among teachers to the unions’ rotten capitulations to the Johnson government. They will do nothing to block spread of the virus. Under conditions where over 50% of schools have had COVID-19 outbreaks, the NEU, parroting the line of Labour leader ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer, called on Oct 16 for a “circuit breaker” lockdown. Labour was the most fervent advocate of reopening schools, with Starmer stating they should be open “no ifs, no buts, no equivocations”. Labour backed Johnson to the hilt, echoing the Tories’ sickening and hypocritical claims that schools must open in the interests of public education and to protect the most disadvantaged children. Throughout the pandemic, the Johnson government has refused to extend school meal vouchers to the poorest children, whose numbers are swelling through job losses and the ending of the furlough scheme.

ONS chart showing COVID-19 infections among primary age children
(Age 2 to School Year 6) have grown three-fold in recent weeks

Starmer’s proposed “circuit breaker” is a fraud. Under conditions where the consequences of the Tory government’s policies have produced a catastrophic rise in infections, Labour insists that schools remain open and has rejected calls from the unions that half-term be extended for an extra week. Half-term comes to an end across the country today with 600k children forced to self-isolate last week due to school infections—a devastating indictment of the decision to reopen schools. The response of the NEU to the government’s rejection of its call for a national “circuit break” was not to turn to its 500k-strong membership but to write a letter to Williamson calling for the introduction of part-time rotas for school attendance in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas for secondary school children. The measure excludes the millions of teachers and children in primary schools and nurseries. COVID-19 infections among primary age children (Age 2 to School Year 6) have grown three-fold in recent weeks yet despite this the NEU claims primary schools are “safe.” Teachers have responded with anger on social media, with one teacher writing:

Yet another teacher mystified as to why the NEU think primary school staff are immune to COVID, that is the only reasonable explanation I can think of for them not including primary schools in their 2 week circuit breaker.

Another teacher asked:

NEU would u advise primary staff cancel subscriptions as seems u only value health of secondary staff? Primary has no distancing, no masks + often no windows open fully to enable ventilation, the only ‘safety’ measure on offer.

The government has not responded to the NEU’s latest letter to Williamson, a desperate appeal that they be incorporated into the decision making process. The government knows full well they can rely on the unions to enforce their policy of keeping children in schools and keeping their parents in work to protect the profits of the major corporations and financial institutions. Government ministers have been warned that the spread of the disease in the south is following the same hotspot pattern of the north and is just a few weeks behind. Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London has put the R (reproduction rate) of the virus in London at close to 3—a higher rate than the average across the UK. Calling for national lockdowns “sooner rather than later” Riley told Times Radio:

We are showing a pattern in the southern regions that looks very much like the pattern in the northern regions a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it does show that the overall approach of trying to do the least possible in the smallest possible area, which is what lots of countries around the world are trying to do… is not working as well as we would hope. Clearly the number of infections is going up and the age distribution of those infections is not just in the young people, it’s clearly spreading out into the older ages who are more at risk. The inevitable conclusion of these findings is that hospitalisations and deaths are going to increase more quickly than we had thought until these data were seen.

Professor Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College London scientist whose modelling prompted the UK-wide lockdown in March, told PA news that measures in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas are “unlikely to cause daily cases and deaths to fall rapidly.” He said modelling suggests this could leave the country with high caseloads for several months.

The teaching unions, well aware of this information, are playing a key role in allowing the spread of the virus. The UCU has called for legal action against the government for allowing the return of face-to-face teaching, but the lecturers’ union supported the reopening of classes, all scientific warnings to the contrary. When staff at Leeds, Birmingham and Warwick universities called for strike ballots over COVID-19 safety concerns these were overturned by the UCU, which has refused all calls for a coordinated nationwide stoppage. The NEU junked their supposed “5 tests” for the safe reopening of schools, which included the R rate being below 1, testing and track and trace being fully operational, and social distancing and protections for vulnerable staff. There has been a catastrophic failure in the track and trace system, yet the unions are doing everything in their power to assist the government.

Educators must draw critical lessons from their experience with the trade unions. The only viable method to fight back is the development of an independent network of action committees to close schools and campuses to save lives. The Socialist Equality Party has established the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee which is growing in support across the UK. It fights for a unified global movement and calls for a general strike of educators throughout Europe and internationally, to protect lives over profits against the homicidal policies of the ruling elite. Educators should study the statement “For a general strike against the reopening of schools” and register to attend the next meeting of the Educators-Rank-and-File Safety Committee on Saturday Oct 31. The situation is urgent, but the mobilisation of the massive social power of the working class against capitalism will provide the only progressive solution to this crisis.

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