Where is the Corbynite Offensive? A Church too Broad

As the “independents” descend like canaries into a mine testing the viability of a new centrist party the Blairites claim a new Corbynite scalp by suspending Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party.


Chris Williamson spoke at a Momentum meeting, defiantly highlighting that Labour have been far too apologetic when dealing with the question of anti-semitism in light of ongoing criticism from New Labourite renegades. The footage of said meeting has then been used by the Labour right-wing to have Williamson suspended.

Rather than sticking to his guns Chris Williamson has immediately rolled over and apologised for his “recent choice of words” immediately ceding ground to the right when he could have continued to highlight his original point about Labour’s role in opposing racism and discrimination.

In reality, the constant chiming of anti-semitism has been part of a continuing Blairite coup to continue to undermine Corbyn and come to the rescue of the flailing Tories just as they seem to be on the ropes. Instead of coming to Corbyn’s rescue Jon Lansman, founder of Momentum, has come out attacking a large number of Labour Party members for holding “hardcore antisemitic opinions” with seemingly no challenge from the Momentum membership.


Indeed, looking at how Momentum’s website has changed it barely resembles the Jeremy Corbyn supporters group which it was initially set up to be. Instead it almost sounds like a party in its own right, laying the groundwork for a soft left splinter group which Lansman clearly hopes to spearhead by distancing himself from Corbyn by singing from the same hymn sheet as the pernicious “Labour”-right.

With such political allies as these it seems to be almost accepted as a universal truth by some of Corbyn’s so-called allies despite the support he receives from the lay membership. Other than the Socialist Party’s continued highlighting of anti-semitism being used to carry out a Blairite coup the only other voice challenging this anti-semitism narrative has come from a group of 200 Labour members in Jewish Voice for Labour. This group co-signed a letter which spoke out in favour of a Corbyn led Government in challenging antisemitism.


With such a dereliction of duty on behalf of the Corbynite wing of the Labour Party the question has to be asked where is the Corbyn offensive? Corbyn’s so called allies have been all too willing to sound the retreat when numerically they vastly outnumber the Blairites. The Blairites continue to do damage whether it be leaving the party on their own terms or staying in the party and doing their best to sabotage Corbyn’s authority from within. Corbyn wouldn’t appear so damaged if he was seen to take a lead in calling for mandatory reselection of Labour candidates and representatives. The “Labour”-right claim this to be bullying but in reality this is simply a democratic measure to hold Labour representatives to account to ensure they reflect the views of the membership which a majority of Labour Councillors and MPs currently do not.

Corbyn has been more than complicit in this passivity by continuing to bang on the broad church drum. It seems to have completely escaped his and McDonnell’s attention that they are trying to broaden the church so much that the ceiling is caving in on them. They continue to offer tea and cake to those willing to ‘knife Corbyn in the front’ and yet won’t extend the olive branch to the likes of the Socialist Party which has consistently defended rather than attacked Corbyn.

Jess Phillips claimed to want to knife Corbyn in the front

Corbyn is giving far too much ground to those that would be much more at home in the Tory Party. Rather than apologising for alleged anti-semitism he should be highlighting the pro-war, pro-austerity politics of his opponents in the Labour Party in comparison to his championing of anti-racism, anti-war and pro-socialist policies.

Corbyn is also making a serious error by being conceding a second EU referendum. As a historic Brexiteer Corbyn could have challenged the narrative being set by the two opposing wings of the Tory party on Brexit and highlighted the socialist case for leaving the EU. Halfheartedly supporting remain is one thing but to back a second referendum is quite another. This will destroy a lot of people’s already wavering faith in the democratic process if they are simply encouraged a do over to vote the “right way”. Moreover a second referendum would quickly fan the flames of a far-right movement.


If the left in Labour are to succeed in building a party for the many, not the few they need to recognise that there are those in the Labour Party that still remain in it for themselves and their friends in big business. These people can’t be compromised with or befriended they have to be removed as they do not reflect the views of the party as a whole. There is a great need for democratic mandatory reselection and a rooting out of those willing to consistently sabotage Corbyn’s leadership. The Labour Party would hugely benefit from a refounding conference bringing under its wing the socialists that have been excluded and expelled from the party and the championing rather than marginalising of the union voice within its ranks.

If this is not done then Corbyn will be in danger of becoming known as Corbyn the Brief as his opponents strangle and smother the life out of the movement that has erupted underneath Corbyn. The right-wing of the Labour Party won’t be pacified by compromises as they will only demand more. Show them the door and hand them some Tory membership forms on the way out then keep the door open for the socialists!

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The Hollow Politics of the Gang of Seven+

On Monday 18th February 2019 seven “Labour” MPs have so far broken away from the Labour Party to form what they are currently calling an independent grouping in Parliament. They have encouraged people to get involved in building a new party and have so far set up a website but it was clear from their press conference that there is nothing new on the table.

According to their website they are claiming that ‘politics is broken’ and in their initial press conference they claim to want to move past outdated 20th century ideologies (undoubtedly a veiled swipe at socialism). However, when asked what they stood for they were less than forthcoming with a response. It is somewhat farcical to be attacking ‘broken’ politics whilst having absolutely nothing to offer but platitudes and empty phraseology.

When grilled by journalists about who they would strike alliances with they claimed that they would not build something new by linking up with the old but in the very next breath were inviting MPs from other parties to join them. Would these MPs suddenly be cleansed of their ideological leanings by joining this new formation? Of course not; they would bring their political baggage with them. The only thing that would be different is that they would be offering the same confused mish-mash of a nicer capitalism in a shiny new outfit with the same rotten core.

It has been clear for some time that the “Labour” right, the remain wing of the Tory party and the husk of the Lib-Dems are ideologically similar and so it is unsurprising that a new formation will likely form around them. All have called for a so-called peoples’ vote, in reality a chance to rerun the Brexit referendum this time voting the “right way”. This is not only profoundly undemocratic but also completely short-sighted as it would likely lead to a constitutional crisis, a further erosion in peoples’ already low expectations of the current political system and a whipping up of far-right sympathies.

The fast past the post (FPTP) system has artificially kept the two-party system limping on when it is clear in both the Tories and Labour that there are fundamental differences developing in both main parties. With Brexit throwing both parties into crisis tearing open the fissures that existed, it’s unsurprising that this split has taken place now as the clock marking Britain’s departure from the bosses’ EU runs down. It is likely that there will be a fundamental shift in British politics as the two main parties fracture and new formations begin to fill the political vacuum.

Already there is talk of some Tory MPs considering splitting from a rightwards moving Tory party. Theresa May, though a remainer has tried to satisfy both wings of the divided Tories and it becomes increasingly clear that she hasn’t succeeded in pleasing or at least placating anybody as the government faces defeat after defeat in the House of Commons. Whilst trying to placate the hard Brexiteers she could very well see a split from the remain wing of the Tories as more MPs gather around this new grouping.

Moreover there is talk of more “Labour” MPs waiting in the wings to break away from Labour’s creeping to the left. The same tired accusations of anti-semitism were levied against the Labour Party along with a culture of bullying. This is ironic considering that Chuka Umunna has referred to Labour members as dogs and Angela Smith made a gaffe on Politics Live the day the gang of seven announced their split, referring to people who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) as having a ‘funny tinge’.



Whilst those who have already left accuse Labour of bullying, the Parliamentary Labour Party is now attempting to strong-arm Corbyn and the Labour leadership. Threats are being issued that more will leave if Corbyn doesn’t change course. The likes of deputy leader Tom Watson are trying to play arbiter whilst also applying rightwards pressure by claiming that Corbyn needs to ‘listen to MPs’. Corbyn doesn’t need to listen to these false friends but needs to mobilise the millions to come out in support of a new general election followed by a clear Brexit strategy that protects workers’ interests from the bosses whether they be based in Brussels or London.

For the large part this ‘bullying’ element in Labour is actually the pro-Corbyn wing democratically excreting the New Labour elements out as they do not reflect or agree with the policies of Corbyn and the influx of new membership. Corbyn has more to gain not by listening to these MPs but by continuing the process that has already begun by calling for the democratic measure of mandatory reselection for all candidates looking to represent the party at both council and parliamentary level.

With the likes of Ben Bradshaw, Liz Kendall and Jess Phillips still remaining in the Labour Party it’s reasonable to expect that more discontented noise will come from within. Rather than trying to broaden the church to breaking point, now more than ever the Labour Party needs to return to its socialist roots and root out the New Labour, neo-liberal poison that has infected and crippled it since the 1980’s. The formation of a reconstituted Labour Party, built on democratic and socialist principles, inviting all those staunch defenders of socialism like the Socialist Party into a federated structure is on the order of the day.

We could see a party built to reverse austerity, stand up for workers and inspire the millions, not the millionaires to take society forward. Until then, whilst I support every tentative step forward made by Corbyn and the Labour left, I remain outside of it unwelcome for putting forward exactly these ideas with the Socialist Party. Open the door to the socialists, show the door to the Blairites.

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Global Tremors, British Quakes and Party Fissures

The following is an edited version of my contribution to World and British Perspectives from the Socialist Party South West’s recent Regional Committee which took place on Sunday 4th February.


Photo: Taken from the Socialist Party website, originally from the Creative Commons

“Before discussing the situation in Britain, it is important to look at some of the trends currently taking place in global Capitalism which provide the backdrop to the economic and political processes currently unfolding in Britain.

In recent weeks we’ve seen the unfolding of demonstrations and protests in Tunisia. This is in part due to the fact that ISIS have been pushed back and are losing their stranglehold over the territory which they had held previously. ISIS formed somewhat of a safety valve to the Tunisian bourgeois as a section of those being radicalised by poor economic conditions were being attracted to ISIS. With ISIS on the retreat the radicalised workers and youth are looking to the government for answers.

Like many countries, political stability is quickly deteriorating with 9 governments being formed within the last 7 years in Tunisia. The situation in Tunisia is being aggravated by the large levels of graduate unemployment. This and many of the factors that fuelled the Arab Spring of 2011 still being present, presenting potential material for revolutionary change.

As in Tunisia, there is a layer of articulate, more middle class, workers starting to draw radical conclusions even if we are not seeing the heavy battalions of the working class being drawn in at this stage. This can easily be exemplified here in Britain with the outbreak of the junior doctors strikes, with UNISON, GMB, RCN and other unions representing the bulk of health workers remaining quiet.


Photo: Mary Finch

One of the consequences of the ongoing carnage and war in the Middle East is that there are now 11 million Syrian and 4 million Iraqi refugees. This is prompting the less than benevolent response from the EU to become ‘fortress Europe.’ This is despite many countries in Europe directly fuelling the refugee crisis by engaging in bombing Syria such as Britain.

Economic crises are aggravating political and social upheavals. War, famine and natural disasters can often trigger movements and revolutions. This can easily be seen by the recent outbreak of avian flu in Iran. The culling of chickens caused a skyrocketing of the price of eggs and chicken meat, staple foods in the Iranian diet which has led to the outbreak of protests.

Another crisis for capitalism is the development of new technological advancements which are wasted as there is no market to sell them in. As workers are continually squeezed with eye-watering austerity, they are unable to buy back what they are able to produce meaning that new technologies are not able to be utilised to their full potential as profits remaining the driving force within the economy.

The bourgeois are trying to find a way out of the ongoing economic crisis which is leading to ideological splits in their ranks. This is best highlighted by the difference of approach of US vs China.

On the one hand Trump is beating his chest over North Korea and warning China of their expansion into the South China Seas islands whilst opting to take an “America First” approach. On the other hand, Xi Jinping is portraying himself as a poster-boy of globalisation with the One Belt, One Road policy.

This is essentially Chinese imperialism at work, fuelled partly by a desire to weaken US dominance. However, the One Belt, One Road policy is also being prompted by a looming debt crisis which China hopes to export to surrounding countries by providing loans to encourage the development of infrastructure, increasing Chinese trade and influence whilst kicking the can down the road.

Trump is a right populist, opting for protectionist and often xenophobic policies. This is echoed by a layer of bourgeois in the Tory Brexiteer camp. These splits in the bourgeois worldwide over the weakness of the global economy are expressing themselves in a crisis of political representation for the bourgeois. For instance, Germany, the strongest economy in Europe, saw the worst vote for Merkel’s Christian Democrats since 1949. They are losing ground to the more prominently right-wing and anti-EU AfD party.

These ideological splits are also aggravating the National Question. In Spain, the recent push by the bourgeois Catalonian independence parties and the PP government’s repressive reaction for a move to independence has led to a huge defeat for the PP in the Catalonian parliamentary elections.

Brexit has prompted the calling of a border poll by Sinn Fein and the stoking up of sectarian troubles as the Tory party has been forced to go into coalition with the DUP.

We’ve warned of the consequences of taking an incorrect position on the National Question. It can be exemplified by the lukewarm return to Labour seen in Scotland as Jeremy Corbyn does not come out in favour of the still looming question of Scottish Independence which has also been aggravated by the Brexit referendum.


There is a growth in a broad anti-capitalist mood and the development of a primitive socialist mood. This is expressing itself largely in passive support rather than active engagement in politics that would further a socialist cause. This stems from the economic crisis of 2007/8 and the subsequent austerity. There are little prospects of recovery, especially for the poor. [This is further highlighted by the nosediving of global stock exchanges yesterday and today].

Whilst a small section of the British bourgeois were in favour of Brexit, the Brexit vote has been a huge blow to the bourgeois both in Britain and in Europe not least because it deepens the EU crisis. Wary that they would be cutting their nose to spite their face, the European bourgeois are torn between making an example of Britain to stymie the growing anti-EU mood developing across Europe, or going easy to prevent further economic uncertainty. This is particularly the case as Britain is the 2nd biggest economy in Europe.

In Britain, there is a lack of confidence by the bourgeois in the economy. The fall in the pound won’t have helped this. Yet, there is no desire for the section of capitalists to take advantage of cheaper exports and expand their share in the global markets. Instead, British capitalists are electing to sit on the cash that they are accruing which is widening the already huge chasm of inequality that exists. The British bourgeois are treading water whereas the working class are being subjected through austerity to increasing levels of poverty and misery. This could be a potential flash point in what is already a situation fraught with increasing class antagonisms.

The trigger for political upheaval is just as likely to come from Britain as from countries in the Eurozone or indeed the wider world. There is a seeming quiet on the surface in Britain and the sense that things are not moving very quickly. However, this is partly the product of a weak government that cannot make decisive moves in any direction through fear of going to pieces. Such is the potential for splits in British politics. As one comrade put it, ‘we are paddling in petrol’ with Brexit and the bourgeois reaction to a Corbyn led government providing a potential match to ignite the whole situation.

Corbynism is largely representative of the more middle-class layers. These are layers which we can win to us but working-class layers have not been nearly as motivated into action.


There are now over 500,000 members in the Labour Party; Momentum [The group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn] claims to have 35,000 members. However, through its determination to purge itself of political debate, Momentum has largely become a moribund organisation whose main contribution is to provide canvass training to bolster Blairite Councillors and MPs. Those that still engage are mainly, with some very small exceptions, of a petit-bourgeois character.

That being said, working class appetites are rising. We caught a glimpse of this in the 2017 general election with the 10% swing to Labour as Corbyn unapologetically put forward his anti-austerity manifesto. This is the biggest swing to Labour since the Clement Attlee government of 1945. If Corbyn were to be returned to number 10 in another general election we could see the working class more decisively take to political engagement.

We have seen in the recent period, growth of more offensive strikes as working class confidence to struggle grows. Strikes have largely been of a defensive character since harsh austerity measures have been doled out in the aftermath of the 2007/8 crisis. Focus had been on defence and protection of current pay and conditions whereas now small pockets of workers are starting to demand better pay and better conditions.

One feature in recent strikes by the RMT, PCS and others has been the distinctive lack of Labour lefts on picket lines. It has largely been members of the Socialist Party that have expressed solidarity on picket lines as workers take to struggle. This is in part due to the soft left Momentum types demobilising their own supporters by preaching unity. Compare this to the right-wing in Labour who have cut to the quick and made no bones about attacking and undermining the left as evidenced by the recent letter attacking Corbyn signed by 68 council leaders and Labour group leaders.


The situation is at different stages across the country, in some places right-wing Councillors have been legitimately unseated by pro-Corbyn supporters. In other areas the right-wing bureaucrats still have a firm stranglehold of the party. In Plymouth, it seems that the right-wingers in Momentum who were quick to buddy up with the Blairites have succeeded in deselecting some Councillors but are still firmly married to the idea of continued austerity. This will simply mean a changing of the axe wielders as they offer the meagre and untrue defence of ‘we’re doing the best we can.’

As the left in the Labour Party have adopted the right’s mantra of preaching unity in the Labour Party the right-wing have the audacity to launch an attack on the party leadership claiming that Corbyn and the NEC are being undemocratic. This is somewhat ironic when it was democratic mechanisms which propelled these figures into the leadership in the first place, showing where the direction of travel is heading.

It is clear that the Blairites, who would be more at home in the Tory party, wish to continue cutting and privatising in peace whilst hiding their lack of principles under the broad church of the Labour Party. Our role is often to pop the balloon [so to speak] of these Corbyn types. It is clear that whilst the Labour Party could potentially be a broad church for discussing and implementing working class policies, it cannot accommodate the Blairite, pro-austerity, pro-capitalist and thus pro-misery bureaucrats which cling to the Labour ‘brand’.

We need to pick up and innoculate those who are being frustrated by the lack of strategy to take the right-wing in the Labour Party head on. Even since the general election, by-elections have shown a 5% swing to Labour. They have also shown a swing to parties that portray themselves as anti-austerity such as the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP. This shows the fertile ground that TUSC can reap in this period.

As Theresa May continues to traverse the harsh negotiations of the Brexit negotiations, there is a very possibility that we could see the Tories split as the Remain and Leave camps remain utterly divided. However, it is just as likely that we could see a split in the Labour Party as the anti-Corbyn, pro-capitalist wing act as a 5th column for the bourgeois. They would likely detonate a split if faced with the prospects of a Corbyn led government.


It remains clear that the quiet mood won’t last forever. There is an explosive mood which can rise to the surface. On Saturday we saw 500 people take to the streets of Exeter at relatively short notice to demonstrate in defence of the NHS. This mood can quickly fall back however and we need to harness and capture the mood as it strikes, with a programme and strategy to advance struggle as it breaks out.

The betrayal of Syriza in Greece marks the potential for a similar betrayal in Britain. Corbyn has done little to challenge the recent issue of Carillion and has instead relied on parliamentary methods rather than the building of a movement which will be much more reliable than those sat next to him on the Green Benches. The failures of even this limited left reformism will likely resurface under a Corbyn government.

This is not a personal attack on Corbyn but rather a warning. If Corbyn cannot face down the opposition within his own Party, is it any wonder that there are sections of the working class that have concerns about the strength of his leadership in forming a government? Particularly when said government would have to face down the sharks in the EU, the capitalist press, the bankers and the heavyweights in big business.

images (1)

More people will draw radical and revolutionary conclusions in this period and we need to be there as a revolutionary party to pick these people up, arm them with perspectives and a strategy to end capitalism.

So comrades, we need to hold our nerve, patiently explain but also prepare ourselves and those around us for the huge tremors that lay ahead and the potential for colossal battles to unfold which will highlight the power of the working class and the need for the socialist transformation of society.

There are regional variations about the current mood but it is clear that the idea of a strategy to end austerity is having to be grappled with and refuted more strongly by the Blairites thanks to our influence and intervention. The trade unions have largely been absent in organising big demonstrations and the trade union leaders have tried to apply the brakes on strike action but it is beginning to break out nonetheless.

Events are likely to get hectic as more struggles develop. It is important that we keep cool heads and plan to ensure we make the biggest impact. Events can be great teachers but we also need to be educating particularly newer comrades in Marxism. We can make steps forward, we may only be able to edge forward at this stage but we have to maintain flexibility as events can erupt around us.

We need to engage in and, where necessary, provoke events but we also need to spend time in branches with comrades, arming them with perspectives. People will be attracted to us for different reasons, some will want to ‘storm the heavens’ whereas others will want our grounded analysis in charting a course through the stormy times ahead. We need to temper our cadres by cooling the firebrands but raising the spirits and temperature of comrades who may be in danger of cooling off.

We have gained a certain authority, it is for this reason that the right-wing in the Labour Party treat us with such contempt as they have to justify why they continue to make cuts when we have highlighted a clear, and above all legal, strategy for practically opposing austerity and the Tories.


Photo: Mary Finch

Comrades, we’re not in a revolutionary period but the potential for incendiary events is there and we have to prepare the ground by building cadres and engaging in struggles as they develop, burst illusions and at each stage in a struggle lay out with workers a strategy and a programme for change.

We consistently manage to punch above our weight but we need to choose our battles carefully, be precious with our time and invest it in a balanced way between agitating and organising, between being patient and impatient in the struggle for socialism and most importantly of all between building and consolidating the party.”

Ryan Aldred


Tuesday 6th February 2018

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Should Socialists Support Scottish Independence?

Tensions are running high for British capitalists in the aftermath of the crisis caused by the Brexit body-blow dealt to them by a frustrated working-class vote for leave. As a means of trying to claw their way back into the bosses’ EU the Scottish National Party on behalf of the Scottish bourgeois are now pushing for a rerun of the 2014 Independence Referendum. As socialists should we support Scottish Independence?

In short, the answer is yes, however it comes with some important caveats.


Photo taken from the Socialist Party Scotland website

Should Scottish Socialists band together with the SNP?

Absolutely not. Scottish socialists will be mounting an independent campaign to reject the reactionary nationalism put forward by the SNP. It is important to campaign independently for the right to self-determination whilst campaigning for a voluntary confederation of socialist states. In this way, we can rebuff Scottish Nationalism and the oppressive yoke of Westminster, acting largely on behalf of English capitalism without in any way limiting the rights of Scottish people to identify and govern themselves freely as a people.

Should voters outside of Scotland have a say in this referendum?

No. If the Scottish working class wishes to identify and govern itself independently we should not put up barriers to working class unity by interfering in their right to self-determination. If the Scottish working-class wishes to govern itself independently, it is incumbent upon socialists in the rest of the United Kingdom to build working-class unity by ensuring that the Scottish working-class is empowered to decide its own fate. If an exploiting nation is given the opportunity to vote on whether to carry on exploiting another nation it will opt to continue doing so. By ensuring that there is no interference from Westminster, we disarm our own capitalist exploiters whilst drawing closer links with the Scottish working-class as they continue their struggle against their own class of capitalist exploiters.

Surely independence only encourages nationalism and division?

By trying to force unity by siding with our own bourgeois we are inadvertently working in the interests of our own capitalist exploiters, i.e. the Conservatives and their Blairite acolytes in their oppression of Scottish people. It is this which will stoke nationalist tensions which will be used to divide the working-class. We should support Scottish independence as part of a voluntary confederation of socialist states whilst rejecting the petty nationalism of the SNP and the exploitative nationalism of the Conservatives and Blairites in the Labour Party.

Should we not also support calls being made for a border poll in Northern Ireland?

The peculiarities and unique features surrounding the national question in Northern Ireland mean that a direct comparison cannot be drawn between Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is a divide which largely, though not entirely, falls down religious lines with the Catholic population wanting to be part of a united Ireland and the Protestants wishing to remain part of the United Kingdom. The attempts by Sinn Fein to whip up sectarian conflict by demanding a border poll only seeks to divide the Northern Irish working-class. Such attempts to inflame sectarian conflict should be rejected in favour of independent working-class organisations voluntarily deciding their own fate on the question of governance in Northern Ireland whilst building towards a wider voluntary confederation of socialist states.

What can we do to build support for Scottish Independence independent of the capitalist classes of both Scotland and Westminster?

Join with other socialists and build towards a true internationalism rather than a so-called “internationalism” based on exploitation and division such as that put forward by the EU free market capitalists, the Conservatives, their Blairite acolytes or the Scottish National Party.


Photo taken from the Socialist Party Scotland website

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