Labour Party

Labour leadership contest is not the key

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The current battle to lead the Labour Party stands in sharp contrast to the leadership contests in 2015 and 2016 when Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature electrified the campaigns.

Corbyn was both the most left wing Labour leader in history and the most popular with the party membership, which swelled to more than 500,000, making Labour the biggest political party in Europe at a time when Labour-type parties elsewhere in Europe are in crisis.

His victory in 2016 came despite two-thirds of the shadow cabinet resigning in an effort to bring him down.

A bloody bitter pill

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The reasons for the Tory victory extend back beyond Jeremy Corbyn’s time as Labour Party leader and beyond Brexit. Joseph Choonara explains and points a way forward.

Yes, this was the Brexit election. Yes, Jeremy Corbyn, the most decent figure to lead a major British party in recent history, was subjected to a campaign of slander in the media, aided and abetted by the right-wing of the Labour Party. This was indeed the context in which Labour’s “red wall” of formerly safe seats in the north of England and Midlands came crashing down, paving the way for Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory.

But the wall began crumbling long before — back when Corbyn was a peripheral figure within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Interview: Labour and the weaponising of antisemitism

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Tony Lerman is one of the authors of Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the party and public belief (Pluto, 2019). Rob Ferguson and Sophia Beach spoke to him about the Labour Party, antisemitism and the rise of the far right.

Rob: Bad News for Labour focuses on how news coverage of the debate over antisemitism in Labour has developed and, in particular, the disparity between actual numbers of allegations of antisemitism and the public perception of the level of antisemitism in Labour.

A year of hope and horror

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Looking back at the world of 2019 we can see examples of fantastic bravery and resistance in the face of fierce state repression, but also attempts by the right to gain ground. Sally Campbell asks what awaits us in the year to come.

This year Graffiti has appeared on walls from Hong Kong to Santiago reading, “We won’t return to normality, because normality was the problem.”

As a slogan it expresses well the predicament of the moment. For the past decade “normality” has meant misery for millions of people across the globe, as working class people and the poor were made to pay for the last economic crisis.

Break the Tories on the streets

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Boris Johnson, within weeks of taking over as (unelected) prime minister, has outraged everyone by suspending parliament in the run-up to the Brexit deadline. Ian Taylor analyses the forces at work around Johnson, while looking for signs of strength on the left to take the Tories on.

Boris Johnson challenged MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit to a showdown by suspending parliament for up to five weeks from the week of 9 September.

It meant MPs must move to topple the government the week of 3 September. The move wrong-footed Labour, Lib Dem and Tory opponents who had been groping towards a strategy to prevent no deal without backing Jeremy Corbyn and called their bluff. Crucially, it invited the 40 or so Tory MPs opposed to no deal to fall on their swords.

Tory impasse: how can the left intervene?

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After two and a half years of negotiations, it is still absolutely unclear what will or will not happen with Brexit. Joseph Choonara looks at the scale of the crisis for Theresa May’s government, but also at the potential opportunities for the left to shape events, rather than simply spectate.

It is astonishing that, as I write this article, two months before Britain was scheduled to leave the European Union (EU), and after two and a half years of negotiation and planning, it is entirely unclear what fate awaits us.

Back in summer 2016, few people predicted that one of the greatest stumbling blocks would prove to be the Irish question — an issue fusing the legacy of Britain’s colonial past with the EU’s determination to police its external borders.

Continuity and change in the Labour Party

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First published in 1988, Tony Cliff and Donny Gluckstein's The Labour Party: A Marxist History was indispensible to those trying to understand the power and limitations of reformism. Charlie Kimber explains why he has contributed to an updated edition covering the period from Blair to Corbyn.

An extraordinary transformation in the image of the Labour Party happened in 2015 with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader. A party that had acted as an efficient and loyal servant of the capitalist class was suddenly speaking about a challenge to big business, the banks, and the super-rich.

Can Corbyn's Labour grasp the moment?

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The Tories’ Brexit troubles are escalating, with talk of an early general election returning. But can Corbyn’s Labour Party take advantage of the situation? Shaun Doherty investigates.

In any assessment of the Labour Party conference it’s useful to look beyond the headlines, particularly since some of them were quite remarkable.

After Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s closing speech to conference George Osborne’s London Evening Standard ran a front page featuring a caricature of Corbyn wearing a communist hat and carrying a volume of Marx, alongside the headline, “Corbyn: United, We Will Never be Defeated”.

Labour must hold the line against pro-remain centre

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Pressure is building on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party leadership to agree to backing a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU. Several trade unions, including the GMB, are either balloting members over the issue or preparing to take motions to this month’s TUC conference in Manchester calling for Labour to adopt the policy.

In an email sent to GMB members, the general secretary, Tim Roache, wrote: “GMB wants to hear from members about your views on Brexit, and whether you think there should be a public vote when we know what the deal looks like.”

Antisemitism, the witch hunt and the left

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The accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party have continued unabated. Rob Ferguson unpicks the relationship between real instances of antisemitism and politically motivated attacks.

On 24 April, as Socialist Review went to press, Jeremy Corbyn and the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) held a much publicised “crunch” meeting. A Labour spokesperson described it as “positive and constructive, serious and good humoured”. The BoD had a different take, describing the meeting as “a disappointing missed opportunity” and demanded “strong actions in order to bring about a deep cultural change in [Corbyn’s] supporters’ attitudes to Jews.”

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