Withholding the whip from Corbyn is unjustifiable. The left must unite and fight back against Starmer's war on the left, argues Chris Nineham
Keir Starmer’s refusal to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn is an outrageous and utterly unjustifiable attack. It shows once again that he and the Labour Party right wing are engaged in war against the left. They want to eradicate all remnants of Corbynism in the party.
Despite all the misinformation circulating, there were no specific allegations against Jeremy Corbyn in the EHRC report. As he himself pointed out the report made clear that the process of dealing with accusations of antisemitism improved during his time as leader.
Corbyn has issued a statement making clear that both he and the vast majority of the wider membership of Labour are fully committed to combating antisemitism and all other forms of racism. As everyone knows, these were not just fine words. It is common knowledge that Corbyn has a record of fighting racism - including antisemitism - that is second to none in Westminster.
This is a fight to defend the left and the legacy of Corbynism against a witch-hunt. As such it is not a campaign that can be won through a narrow battle over the Labour Party constitution, by calls for unity or by making tactical retreats. The right are not in the least bit interested in unity and the series of concessions made by the left since the attacks on Corbyn began have only encouraged further moves against the left.
Jeremy Corbyn can only be defended and the constant attacks on the left ended by a concerted stand against the right. This is a battle that concerns the future of the whole of the left and the movements. It will require an open and clear defence of Corbyn’s record on the issues and a campaign that unites the left inside and outside the Labour Party.
There is widespread support for Corbyn and everything he stands for in the wider movement. That is why the Labour right are behaving so aggressively. But to mobilise this support it will take decisive action. The Socialist Campaign Group of MPs should for example immediately resign the whip in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn. A unified campaign needs to be set up. Support for Corbyn needs to be won in union branches, Labour Parties and protest groups up and down the country.
A serious campaign can force Starmer to back down. But this is a war and the lesson of the last two years is that we have to fight it like one.
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Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
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