(source – labour.org.uk)
It pains me deeply to write this post as a lifelong “lefty”, who passionately defended the Labour party during the last election from the relentless media attacks, who passionately defended Corbyn during the Labour leadership election, and who tried and tried so hard to defend Corbyn during the early stages of his leadership, but I cannot do so any more. I cannot with sound conviction defend the Corbyn administration any more. For reasons I hope to make apparent in the bulk of this piece, this “Trot” is now withdrawing his support for the Corbyn administration, and now deeply regrets voting for Jeremy Corbyn in the first place. There are three main factors in my decision to withdraw my support for the Corbyn administration, ideological tensions, the seemingly never ending saga of damaging blunders and finally a cultural shift for the worse within the Labour party.
Firstly to address ideological tensions. From the very start when Corbyn first announced his intensions to run in the Labour leadership election I was well aware that my own and Corbyn’s ideologies are far from identical. Now I am not for a second saying that my exact political views should be enforced upon the entire Labour party, that would be an affront to the mechanisms needed for a healthy political party (something I will address later on). There comes a point however when political views so noxious run the risk of being bought to the front of a major political party that I can no longer be silent. Whilst I am in strong support of a great deal of Jeremy Corbyn’s domestic policies, various major aspects of his foreign policy (reflected in many of those close to him) are so toxic that they are not just an affront to the Labour movement, but an affront to a peaceful, tolerant, democratic and secular society that we should be promoting. My insurmountable grips with the Corbyn administrations foreign policy covers two key ares, the Israel/Palestine conflict and the Falklands.
(these dogs are not, and never will be, allies of peace and tolerance. Source – Business Insider)
To address the ideological tensions over Israel/Palestine. There can be no place in British political discourse what so ever for the fanatical and genocidal Jihadi rats of Hamas and Hezbollah. The warped Stalinist perspective of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, fused with the fetishisation of the oppressed that has resulted in even remote support for these anti-Semitic animals has come to embody everything wrong with the regressive left. This willingness to ignore or even apologise for the unspeakable acts of violence Hamas and Hezbollah have committed in the name of the “Palestinian Struggle” has not only deeply damaged the so desperately needed solidarity with the ordinary people of Palestine, it has fuelled a wider anti-Semitic atmosphere across the “left”, from ongoing investigations into anti-Semitism in Labour clubs, to ordinary activists like myself being called “zionist scum” for daring to air the opinion that a two state solution may be a better alternative than allowing Hamas to massacre all Israeli citizens. Finally, this unforgivable apologism for Hamas and Hezbollah would, in the case of the Labour Party being elected in 2020, serve as a legitimising tool for these terrorist dogs that would ultimately harm any prospects of peace. Hamas and Hezbollah have made their objectives clear, they will not stop until they have murdered every single Jewish citizen in Israel and beyond. Support for them at the top of a political party with a rich history of Jewish membership and combating anti-Semitism is as damaging as it is ludicrous, and an affront to peace, tolerance and secularism.
(source – Eric Gaba for Wikipedia)
Secondly to address ideological tensions over the Falkland Islands. Whilst I am completely sympathetic to the strive to increase awareness of Britain’s imperialist past, and bring light to the horrors that came with colonialism, the notion that this admirable cause should be inflected with the regressive Stalinism I mentioned in the previous paragraph is sickening, and the complete disregard for democracy that follows is downright toxic. The notion that we should open negotiations with Argentina over the future of the Falklands falls flat on two counts. Firstly, the history of the Islands. Discovered in 1690 by English captain John Strong, the islands were completely uninhabited until Port Louis was established by the French in 1764. The Argentinian government have absolutely no legitimate claim to the Falkland Islands, and are only interested in them due to natural resources. This is not a post-colonial struggle in any way, shape or form, this is Argentina’s own imperialism. If ANY state has a legitimate claim on the Territory other than the UK, it is France. Secondly, the idea of opening negotiations with Argentina over the future of the Falklands is a complete affront to democracy. Between March 10th and March 11th 2013, the citizens of the Falklands voted in a Referendum over their future, with over 90% of the total population turning out to vote. The results of that referendum were 99.8% of Falklands citizens in favour of remaining an overseas territory of the UK. The idea that such an incredible outpouring of opinion should be effectively ignored and that Argentina should have ANY say in the future of the Falklands, that they have neither historical not democratic claim over, is insane.
(source – tssa.org.uk)
So, you may be thinking, “surely Sam, these are just two policies, surely through open debate within the party and internal mobilisation we can convince the Corbyn administration the error of their ways and build an effective Labour party united around those brilliant domestic policies?”. I’d love this to be the case, I want this to be the case so much, I want to have faith in the internal mechanisms of the Labour party, but I cannot. There is no internal debate, any opinions that even remotely differ from the enforced uniform of regressive Stalinism are instantly shouted down and those who dare express them are brandished “Blairites” or “Red Tories”. At the very least we are told to effectively grin and bear it, and unite under a leader we are struggling to agree with in the guise of party unity (funny that, the very same sort of language used by the so-called “Blairites” that are so roundly condemned during the leadership election!). Internal mobilisation has indeed happened, but from where I am sitting it looks a lot like mobilisation of rabid attack dogs that now surround the Corbyn administration, snapping at anyone who even dares criticise their views as spreading “right wing propaganda” (as someone in the midst of studying Soviet politics, the painful realisation that this echoes the language used in the Terror is almost unbearable). My voice is no longer of relevance in the Labour Party, I am dismissed as some sort of infiltrator, sidelined for daring to suggest that the seemingly infallible Corbyn administration just might be dragging the party in the wrong direction on certain issues. My voice doesn’t matter a damn. Why on earth should I have any faith in a party in this state?
So what do these flaws in the current Labour Party I have thus far shown lead to? They lead to the party sliding beyond even a joke as a bunch of former long term backbenchers run around willy-nilly as if they are blindfolded, without the faintest clue what they are doing, and anyone who even dares to raise a legitimate criticism is brandished a traitor. Time after time obvious and extremely avoidable mistakes have occurred, from the “revenge reshuffle” that followed a supposedly “free” vote on Syria, to basic PR mistakes. Then, on the 14th of March, the straw the broke the camels back finally landed. Labour decided to abstain on the Investigatory Powers Bill, the so-called Snooper’s Charter, the bill that would grant the government unprecedented powers to invade our basic privacy without warrant. This bill mandates that all internet providers will now have to store our browsing data for a year, effectively outlaw WhatsApp, Snapchat, iMessage and any other service that uses end to end encryption (as much as I would love to see the end of Snapchat, this is hardly the way to go about it in a supposedly liberal democracy). How on earth can the Corbyn administration look themselves in the mirror each morning after deciding to abstain on such a blatant attack on civil liberties? If they had given a free vote, I would not be so infuriated (I’m actually in favour of demolishing the whip system, but that is a different debate for a different day), but they gave an order to abstain. Some may argue that this was Andy Burnham’s doing; an evil, meanie “Blairite”. Bollocks. I’m sorry, but even if the decision originated from Mr. Burnham (whom I utterly fail to see evidence of being a “Blairite”, again proving the term is useless and arbitrary as a means of dismissing opinions), did not one other person in the Corbyn administration have the guts to turn round and go “hang on a second, are you sure about this?”? Either the Corbyn administration are ideologically inconsistent, or so utterly incompetent and/or cowardly they cannot challenge such a blatantly stupid decision.
(source – The Guardian)
So there we have it. The slow and painful death of any form of Labour Party in which I can have faith in. I hate this turn of events, I want to go back to the feeling I had hearing the results of the Labour leadership election, standing in the middle of the street on my way to a Worker’s Liberty meeting (obviously proof that I’m an evil “Blairite” and “Red Tory”), with an ear to ear grin, a feeling of excitement and joy comparable to that of when I opened my results to find out I’d gotten into my first choice university. I want to return to that feeling so badly, I want everything to change, for this mess to be corrected, for the Corbyn administration to become the leaders of the Labour Party I had so desperately hoped for when I put a little “1” next to Corbyn’s name on my ballot paper. But I am kidding myself if I think this will happen. The internal mechanisms of debate in the Labour Party have been utterly decimated, the credibility of the party diminishes ever more with each successive blunder, and the ideological tensions that I was always aware of, and was confident could be debated and changed, are still there and stronger than ever. I will always support the Labour movement, but right now I cannot bring myself to support the Labour Party. I hope so desperately things will change, but this hope fades by the day.