Britain: Keir Starmer Defeated at Labour Party Conference over Palestine

By Laurence Humphries, RCIT Britain, 15 October 2021,


On Monday 27th September a motion on Palestine proposed and supported by young Labour supporters denouncing Israel as an apartheid state and advocating sanctions was passed to great acclaim. Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party and an avowed Zionist suffered a huge defeat. Starmer has been responsible for witch-hunting members from the Labour Party for taking Anti-Zionist positions and accusing them of purported Anti-Semitism.


“Keir Starmer faced a calamitous day at his party conference on Monday as delegates pushed through a defiant motion on Palestine and a shadow cabinet member resigned with a furious statement denouncing Starmer's leadership. Labour conference backed a motion urging the party to back sanctions against Israel for its illegal actions under international law, to stop the UK’s arms trade with Israel and end trade with illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. The vote is an embarrassment for Starmer who has downplayed the issue of Palestine since replacing Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime supporter of Palestinian calls for an end to Israeli abuses and military occupation. The Palestine motion points to recent human rights reports showing “unequivocally” that Israel has committed the UN-recognised crime of apartheid as evidenced by Israeli rights organisation B’tselem and Human Rights Watch. The motion supports Palestinian civil society calls for “effective measures” against the building of settlements, demands the end to the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, and supports the right of Palestinians to return to their homes.” [1]


There is no doubt that Starmer and other Zionists who now hold office in his Shadow Cabinet will not carry out this Policy. Zionism is ingrained in the Labour Party, a racist creed has existed since the Labour Government recognised the state of Israel in 1948. But there exists a very significant support amongst the Young Labour supporters who campaigned with the Palestine solidarity campaign to rally big support amongst the delegates at the conference. After all the witch hunts and expulsions of members who have been accused of Anti-Semitism there is a large groundswell of support for Palestinian rights.




Starmer Overturns all of Jeremy Corbyn’s Reforms in the Labour Party




The Socialist – a centrist publication and weekly organ of the Socialist Party (British section of the CWI) – has written an editorial about the changes that Keir Starmer has made since he assumed leadership of the Labour Party. He has removed registered supporters which enabled Corbyn to win the leadership by a big majority and Starmer has continued to reduce the rights to carry out trigger ballots to remove right-wing Blairite MP’s or make them whatsoever accountable.


Among the measures Starmer sprang on the conference was the removal of the registered supporter’s category, with six months of membership now required to vote in a leadership election? Starmer's measures reduce even further the opportunity for constituency parties to remove right-wing MPs. He has increased the threshold for trigger ballots to a majority of local party branches and affiliate branches combined, rather than just one or the other. Starmer's changes will also mean that the number of motions debated at the annual party conference will be cut from 20 to 12, while a revamped national policy forum process will shape what goes in the manifesto. These measures constitute some of the finishing touches of Starmer's project to return the Labour Party to Blairism: that is a party that acts in the interests of the capitalist class” [2]


The centrists of course make no reference to the Palestinian motion successfully carried at the Labour Party conference. (This is no accident as the CWI adapts to Zionism by supporting a two-state solution, i.e. giving equal rights to the oppressor nation as well as the oppressed nation.). Nevertheless, the general description of the right-wing shift of the Labour Party under Starmer is quiet correct.


The Socialist Party is one of the few centrist groups that advocates the formation of a New Workers Party. Unfortunately, they are reducing this correct slogan to advocate their alliance called Trade Union and Socialist Coalition which limits itself to stand candidates either at a general election or in local elections. Other than that, they have no perspective. The centrists have come full circle and end up as out and out reformists in a political period of slump, inter-imperialist rivalry and the threat of war and revolutions.




Form a New Workers Party!




When Keir Starmer was elected Leader of the Labour Party, the RCIT called on all socialists and Anti-Zionist forces to split from the Labour Party and form a genuine Workers Party. We called on Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters to join us in the construction of a new Workers Party. It is very encouraging that amongst Young Labour supporters at the Labour Party Conference there is a layer of people who take up a principled position on Palestine and do not accept the lies and provocations of Zionism.


“The RCIT in BRITAIN calls on all principled socialists and activists in the Labour Party to join with and support our call to split the Labour Party and build a New Workers Party on a genuine socialist base. This rapid lurch to the right with the election of Starmer as leader means that it becomes ever more necessary to split the party and to break with the rotten comprise done for so long with the pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist wing of Blairites and their lackeys.


The New Workers Party could and should be the platform for all socialists and militants to hammer out a programme for Socialism. Various centrist forces like Socialist Appeal continue to peddle the old illusion that somehow Labour can be transformed into a Socialist party only if Marxists stay long enough inside Labour. That is a pipe dream by people who orientate themselves blindly and uncritically towards (left) reformists. As the former comrades of Militant, the members of Socialist Appeal must know that Starmer and the Blairites will most likely do exactly what Kinnock and Blair did in the 1980’s - to expel and purge any opposition to them. While it made sense to (also) fight inside Labour under the era of Corbyn when the party turned to the left and many new members entered it, the situation changes now. The RCIT calls revolutionaries to not orientate towards a membership in the Labour Party which obviously entered the old Blairite way head over heels. All forces must be dedicated in the creation of a new workers party!” [3]


That still remains our perspective and the RCIT in Britain puts forward the following demands to those socialists and Young Labour supporters who are still members of the Labour Party.


* Split from the Labour Party - help to build a New Workers Party! All authentic Marxists have to fight for a revolutionary program of such a new party!


* Fight for open borders, full equality for all migrants and equal wages! Full citizenship rights should be given to all people living in Britain as well as the unlimited right to speak in their mother tongue and to live their cultural and religious believes! Stop the “War on Terror” that is only an excuse to discriminate Muslim people!


* For self-defence guards and action committees to protect workers, the oppressed and migrants from the police, racist or fascist attacks!


* For a Workers Government based on Popular Councils and Militias!


* For one Red Palestine from the River to the Sea!


* Join the RCIT






1) Labour conference votes to back sanctions against Israel over 'crime of apartheid' | Middle East Eye


2) Socialist Party :: Starmer consolidates post-Corbyn Blairite transformation of Labour


3) Britain: The Blairite Keir Starmer is elected leader of the Labour Party with Angela Rayner elected as Deputy - International Revolution (