The Labour Party’s decision to proscribe four left leaning groups the Socialist Appeal, Resist, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Labour in Exile Network has been met with outrage. The Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) voted to proscribe the membership of Labour members involved with these groups last week. The four groups are mainly composed of leftist, supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and the opponents of the right-wing policies of the Labour Party led by Keir Starmer.
Members of the proscribed groups, several MPs from the Labour Party, and trade unions including Unite the Union, raised concerns over this internal purge of leftists initiated by the party leadership and said that this move is not in the interest of the working class and and the citizens of the country and it will derail the fight against the Tory government. Various groups including members of the Socialist Appeal organized demonstrations in front of the Labour Party headquarters on July 21, protesting the ‘purge.’
In October last year, former Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was suspended from the party after he challenged the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on antisemitism in the Labour Party during his tenure as leader. The suspension deepened existing divides within the party between the left-leaning, pro-Corbyn sections and the more conservative sections.
Morning Star in its editorial said that Labour’s planned purge is an act of self-sabotage. “[P]roscription is the cold war mechanism which right-wing Labour developed to discipline MPs and members who backed friendship with the Soviet Union and socialist countries or advocated peace, international trade union unity and solidarity,” said the editorial.
The Socialist Appeal — one of the support groups shunned by the Labour leadership — said that “Keir Starmer doesn’t care about winning broad support for socialist policies. The Labour right-wing’s only goal is to completely expunge socialism from the party, so that Labour can be a ‘safe pair of hands’ for the capitalist class. That is why they are attacking our supporters.”
“The Labour right wing accuse our supporters of being organized — of being a ‘party within a party.’ But what about groups like Progress and Labour First, are they not organized? Indeed, these groups are representatives of the establishment within the Labour movement — they are the Tory party in our party!” they added.
On July 23, Andrew Scattergood wrote in the LabourList, “[T]he unjust mass suspensions of members simply for passing motions in support of Corbyn, the shameless abandonment of the pledges on which he campaigned to be Labour leader, the absence of almost any socialist MPs in the shadow cabinet and the closure of the Community Organising Unit are just a few of the many indications that Starmer has given that his preferred politics is a hollowed out version of New Labour. And now this brand of politics is leading the party to financial ruin. If he keeps this up, Keir Starmer is more likely to be King of the Ashes than Prime Minister.”
Momentum, another major left-wing support group of the Labor Party, also raised concerns over the proscription and stated that “If only Keir Starmer was as eager about attacking the Tories as he was about attacking the Labour membership.”