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A truly terrible day when @BoardofDeputies & @JLC_uk feel the need to write such a letter. No one in @UKLabour should try & minimise or downplay this. I will be showing my solidarity in Parliament Square tomorrow. https://t.co/ynDw8GWhAY
— Liz Kendall (@leicesterliz) March 25, 2018
I ask every Labour MP and member to read this statement and reflect upon it. Many of us have warned of the crisis of confidence in the Labour Party among Britain's Jewish community. What will change? What action will be taken? Enough is enough. https://t.co/BraHKUPn4T
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) March 25, 2018
Indeed there is, of course, nothing new in these accusations. The opening paragraphs from the following 2016 article could easily have been written today:
“The furore around charges of anti-Semitism engulfing the Labour Party is, in reality, an orchestrated and cynical new stage of the campaign by the right-wing pro-capitalist wing of the Labour Party to try and prepare the ground for ditching Jeremy Corbyn at the earliest possible opportunity.
It is not possible to tell what the timescale will be, but this has all the hallmarks of a slow coup.”
So how is it that this problem could have remained unresolved?
The reason why Labour members are still fighting this battle is because Corbyn, and sections of his supporters, continue to try and pacify the Blairites. This was evident again yesterday with Corbyn attempting to strike a conciliatory tone with his right wing detractors.
But, as many on the left have consistently argued: “no amount of attempts to compromise with the right wing that dominates the parliamentary Labour Party will pacify them…. On the contrary it only emboldens them. Nor are there any limits to the levels they will stoop to…”
Consciously using false claims of anti-Semitism – an ideology associated with the murder of millions of innocent people – to score political points against your opponents is literally about as low as you can stoop. At worst, this should be met with widespread reselection contests to kick them out of their seats; at best, with expulsions for bringing the party into disrepute.
Indeed, so flimsy and ridiculous are the accusations against Corbyn, that numerous prominent Jewish figures, as well as the Jewish Voice Twitter account, have been forced to furiously rebut the mainstream media and the Blairite’s latest relentless anti-Semitism smears against the Labour leader.
Austerity, Racism and the European Union
It is also no coincidence that the same MPs who are waging war on Corbyn on the issue of anti-Semitism are also fighting him over Brexit. The European Union – whose directives enshrine austerity and “free competition” into law – would be a serious (although not insurmountable) obstacle for the implementation of a socialist plan of production.
The Blairites know this, which is why they are also waging a battle on this front. By overturning the Brexit result (which remains the preference of the overwhelming majority of the capitalist class) they hope to bind the hands of a future socialist government – in effect to make austerity permanent.
This should come as a surprise to few. Prior to Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, the EU-loving Blairites were fully behind the Tories’ austerity programme – a fact that saw them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the General Election in 2015.
But it is this, above all, that makes the Blairites’ howls of racism ring a little hollow. Their support for the neoliberal EU, for cuts and privatisation, for dismantling public services, whilst big business rakes in record profits are precisely the material conditions on which racism and prejudice thrive.
Even the right-wing Council of Europe accepts that austerity is one of the principal driving forces behind the growth of racism and far right extremism across the EU.
Another significant contributing factor to the rise in racism is the failure of the left to provide a political alternative to capitalism. And what was Blairism and “New Labour” if not the complete disavowal of Labour’s historic responsibility in providing an alternative to the Tories? Little wonder that right wing populists like UKIP made significant gains in this period.
And if you want an even more developed example of this then look at Greece, where EU-enforced austerity coupled with the betrayals of the “left” government, Syriza, is providing fertile ground for the growth of Golden Dawn – a neo-fascist party with a record of anti-Semitism.
All of this is to say nothing of the Blairites’ support for imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria… the list goes on. As well as killing millions and displacing tens of millions, each of these wars have contributed enormously to regional sectarian violence and the ramping up of political tensions on a global level. Racism, nationalism, xenophobia, even elements of fascism (seen, for instance, in the methods of ISIS) are the objective consequences of these wars.
Anti-Semitism should of course be condemned and combatted wherever it appears. But when the Blairites cry racism, excuse me if I am a little cynical about their real motives.
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