Now is the time for the Labour left to get serious, not to leave

By Ellie Clarke

I’m livid; we should all be livid. The unelected bureaucrats exposed in the leaked Labour report are pond scum, so detached from the reality of working-class people’s lives that will throw an entire country under the bus to prove their god of neoliberalism is the one true god. It’s not just that they’re not socialists: they don’t belong in the labour movement.

However, I’m not surprised. We didn’t know all the details, but we knew this was happening. Obviously they were working to undermine the left and the movement at every turn. They were never going to call a truce because there was an election: they were pretty open about preferring a Tory victory to a Labour one under Corbyn. Like the most boring mafia imaginable, nothing is more important to these people than maintaining their control over the party.

Still, despite all this, and despite everything they together with the media, capital and the political establishment could throw at us, we almost won in 2017. Despite retreat in 2019, 2017 was a reminder that left-wing ideas – not socialist, yet, but certainly breaking with the dominant bourgeois consensus – can resonate with huge numbers of people, many more than the great and good of politics would have us believe. That should give us hope.

So: stay in Labour and fight for our movement and our party. The professional managers want you gone. They want to go back to business as usual; we shouldn’t let them. We haven’t gone nearly far enough away from business as usual. Labour remains a place to struggle because it is the only mainstream party based on the organised workers’ movement.

It is going to be painful, and the fight under Starmer will be hard, but if we learn from our mistakes it is not impossible we can do better than we did under Corbyn. You may feel heartbroken – I do – but we have a responsibility to pursue our socialist fight, more than ever in this terrible social crisis.

Last but not least, to our Jewish sisters and brothers – this report should remind us that the movement still owes you a massive apology. Your safety and comfort in the party and in society was seen as fair game, as a political football, by both left and right. The fight I want to have includes fighting for a better left, one that takes antisemitism seriously, one that is worthy of a future.

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