Activists protesting the expulsion of Labour socialists at Labour HQ in Victoria Activists protesting the expulsion of Labour socialists at Labour HQ in Victoria

Following Tuesday’s demonstration by left wing activists at Labour Party HQ, the entire left needs to organise to push back against Starmer’s witch hunt, writes Yonas Makoni

Activists assembled outside the Labour Party HQ in Victoria on Tuesday in protest at the expulsion of several left wing organisations by Keir Starmer and the Labour leadership. The proposal, now adopted by the NEC, could see the automatic expulsion of around 1,000 members belonging to organisations such as Socialist Appeal, Labour against the Witchhunt and the Labour in Exile Network.

This proposal is only the most recent development in an ongoing assault on the left in the party, since Keir Starmer took over the leadership. The purported necessity of ‘rooting out antisemitism’ in the party justified first the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey as Shadow Education Secretary and then the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn and thousands of other left-wing members, many of them Jewish, at the end of last year. 

Now Starmer and co. have turned their eyes on so-called ‘far-left extremists’ – Marxists and socialists in the party – whose beliefs are apparently not “compatible with Labour’s […] aims and values”.

Speakers from Socialist Appeal, Jewish Voice for Labour and other organisations spoke about the need to fight back against these attacks and to protect the left in the party. The mood was indignant, with speakers calling for Starmer to resign and to fight to restore socialist leadership in the party. Many pointed out the absurdity of these attacks, especially given Starmer’s notoriously lukewarm attitude towards the Tories.

It is clear that these attacks will have ramifications beyond Labour. After the fright that the Corbyn leadership, and its clear popularity, gave them, right-wing elements in Parliament, in the unions and in the media will be especially keen to marginalise the left as much as possible. 

While showing solidarity with the ‘proscribed’ organisations and their right to remain in the Labour Party, we should also see this as part of a wider attack on left wing politics, which should concern all activists involved in the trade union, anti-war, anti-austerity and anti-racism movements. Actions like Tuesday’s will hopefully be part of a wider organised effort to push back against Starmer’s offensive, and in the process building a fighting opposition to the Tories which Starmer is clearly incapable of providing.