Britain: Keir Starmer dismisses Rebecca Long-Bailey because of her Criticism on Israel

Right-Wing Blairite David Evans appointed as General Secretary


All Socialists and earnest Militants: Break with Labour and Fight for A New Workers Party!


Article by Joseph Adams, RCIT Britain,


Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Pro-Corbyn supporter who was defeated by Keir Starmer in the Labour party leadership election and then appointed by him as Shadow Education Secretary, was dismissed for retweeting a comment from the actress Maxine Peake, alleging that Israel had been giving advice to the American military on arms training.


Keir Starmer is facing a showdown with the left of Labour after his decisive sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey reignited the party’s internal turmoil over the issue of antisemitism.


In a swift move, Long-Bailey was summarily dismissed as shadow education secretary for sending an approving tweet about an interview in which the actor Maxine Peake said the US police tactic of kneeling on someone’s neck was taught by the Israeli secret service.


This was emphatically denied by Israel, and Peake later retracted the claim. By then, however, Long-Bailey had been fired.” [1]


Starmer embraces Zionism


The first act by Starmer on getting elected as leader of the Labour Party was to approach all the Zionist organizations in Britain and wholeheartedly support their definition of Anti-Semitism, defined by the International Holocaust Organization. By their definition any criticism of the state of Israel is automatically anti-semitic, again conflating Zionism with Anti-Semitism and allowing these pro-Zionist organizations to determine who should remain a Labour Party member or not.


I support Zionism without qualification” – those are the words of the UK Labour Party’s new leader, Keir Starmer


Starmer won the membership election to succeed left-winger and Palestine solidarity veteran Jeremy Corbyn last weekend.


His first act as leader has been to declare the party’s allegiance to the Israel lobby, and to signal an impending purge of the left wing of the party membership under the pretext of combating “Labour anti-Semitism.”


Throughout his four and a half years as Labour leader, Corbyn was incessantly defamed with a manufactured anti-Semitism crisis by the Israel lobby and by the right wing of his own party.


“Anti-Semitism has been a stain on our party,” Starmer claimed in his victory speech, giving full credence to the smears against his predecessor. Labour lawmakers – who are overwhelmingly right wing – never accepted the result of the democratic leadership election which brought Corbyn to national prominence in 2015, and repeatedly attempted to overthrow him.


They finally succeeded last December. After the party’s defeat in the general election, Corbyn announced he would be stepping down.


Polling suggested that the Labour anti-Semitism smear campaign had a major impact on the general election outcome.


The Israel lobby was jubilant, with one major group gloating that they had “slaughtered” Corbyn.


But Labour members never accepted the false narrative”. [2].


Of course as the RCIT has explained many times, both Corbyn and McDonnell (his closest ally when Corbyn was leader) capitulated to the scenario that Starmer now espouses: that anti-zionism and genuine hatred against jews is both equally anti-semitism. We have pointed out consistently that Israel is a racist, imperialist settler state. It is above any reason to criminalise criticism against such a state especially as it means to ignore the forced displacement, oppression and exploitation of the Palestinian people.


Let us be clear the State of Israel is a racist, Imperialist and apartheid state comparable to the Worst excesses practiced against the Black Population of South Africa by the Ruling white racist minority. The aim of the Zionists and Blairites is to use Anti-Semitism as a weapon to drive out all pro Corbyn supporters and Socialists in the Labour Party”. [3].


The National Executive Committee apoints David Evans as General Secretary


Jennie Formby, the Corbyn appointed General Secretary, resigned as soon as she knew Starmer was the new leader. In her place the NEC appointed David Evans (a notorious Blairite) to the position. Since his appointment all constituency Labour parties have been closed down and are not allowed to make decisions. It is part of the Lockdown’s left decision not to meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they even refuse to meet virtually as other organizations have down which shows the real, anti-democratic reasons for this move. It is a deliberate policy by Starmer and the pro-Imperialist wing in the Labour Party to close and prevent any challenge to the right wing apparatus. This denial of democracy increased during the Corbyn Era, brings back the policies of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown where party democracy was strictly prevented and socialists were expelled, purged and suspended from the Party. This is the course that Starmer is pursuing.


The National Executive Committee met on Tuesday to choose its most senior official after the resignation of Jennie Formby earlier this month.


Six candidates were shortlisted for the post, but Mr Evans was thought to be favoured by the leadership. Some unions were thought to have wanted someone from the left of the party.


One NEC source from the Labour left warned the leadership that "members won't forgive them if they allow a hard-right general secretary to wage factional warfare" against them."[4].


Starmer remains opposed to the Black Lives Matter Movement


Starmer’s recent comments on the Black Lives matter is indicative of the rightward course being pursued by the pro-capitalist wing under Starmer’s leadership. He referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as just ‘A Moment’ and is opposed to their major criticism of police brutality amongst Black people in Britain. He is opposed to ‘Defunding the police’ and any investigation of police brutality. This is not surprising from someone who had worked for the Crown Prosecution Service in the past. For his service to British Imperialism he even received a Knighthood. Starmer was an integral part of the capitalist state. He has now referred to unconscious bias and some training in understanding the issues of the Black community.


Keir Starmer has said he will sign up for unconscious bias training amid criticism of his response to Black Lives Matter protests and calls from a new co-chair of Momentum to “get Labour’s house in order” over racism. During an appearance by Starmer on LBC on Monday morning, a caller challenged him for describing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as a “moment” during a BBC Breakfast interview a week ago. That turn of phrase and his dismissal in the same interview of calls to “defund the police” and divert the money elsewhere as “nonsense”, led to accusations that Starmer was belittling the grievances of anti-racism campaigners.” [5].



Arguments for a New Workers Party


Meanwhile in some centrist circles there are calls for a Workers party in Britain; most prominent is the Socialist Party of Britain. Their demand for a Workers Party however, is reduced to empty reformist slogans by standing candidates in bourgeois elections in competition with the Labour Party. This is a wrong electoral orientation full of empty rhetoric and has nothing to do with authentic socialism.


That is why the Socialist Party is urgently raising the need for the workers' movement to discuss how to solve the crisis of political representation, by taking steps to towards building a new mass workers' party with a socialist programme. One vital step in that direction would be to organise the widest possible number of anti-cuts candidates in next May's local and mayoral elections.”[6].


The Socialist Party, like all centrist groups, are tied to the trade union bureaucracy, the pro-capitalist wing in the workers movement. During the period of the Bonapartist lockdown, this bureaucracy has not lifted a finger to defend its members and continues to accept ‘The crumbs at the masters table’. Centrists like the Socialist Party provide the left cover and protect the bureaucracy at all costs. It is a worthless exercise ultimately in defence of capitalism. UNITE, one of the biggest trade unions refuses to defend its 12,000 members at British Airways or the 9,000 members at Rolls Royce who either face the sack or reemployed on temporary contracts.


The RCIT in Britain calls on all workers and militants to break politically with the Labour Party and form a serious Workers party dedicated to destroying capitalism and fighting for a Workers Government. In the Trade Unions this involves a struggle to drive the trade union bureaucracy out of the workers movement and replace it with a genuine revolutionary leadership.


The RCIT puts forwards the following demands:


* For Demonstrations, Strikes and Occupations of workplaces up to an Indefinite General Strike in order to remove this hated Tory government!


* For Councils of actions to be built in every locality to organise workers and communities! Fight for a Workers Government!


* Strikes up to an Indefinite General Strike need protection against the police forces and any right-wing attacks! For the building of armed Self-Defence Units to protect such a protest movement against any attacks!


* Organise a Conference to encourage All Socialists and Principled Militants to leave the Labour Party and to form a Genuine Workers Party! All revolutionaries must fight for a new Workers Party based on an Authentic Socialist Program!


* Join the RCIT in order to fight for such a perspective!