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Following the defeats of Corbyn and Sanders, leadership of the socialist movement shifts to the streets

IF ANYONE thought the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn would see an end to the witch hunt of left Labour members, the evidence of the last few months shows the opposite is happening. If anything, it is actually intensifying

That is why earlier this week I relaunched the Left Legal Fighting Fund (LLFF). It was originally established last December with legal costs I won from the Labour Party after the High Court ruled my suspension from the party was unlawful.  

I took this legal action because there had been a clear abuse of process by an obviously biased bureaucracy. But I was only able to take this action thanks to the incredible solidarity of grassroots members from all over the country.  

Sadly, the same cannot be said of most parliamentary colleagues, who simply acquiesced and would not confront the concocted anti-semitism crisis.

Although I secured a judicial victory, legal action is prohibitively expensive, which means most people who are pursued by these pitiless smear merchants have no means of defending themselves.

By contrast, those responsible for this political persecution of anti-racist socialists and pro-Palestinian campaigners are backed by powerful vested interests, who reject socialism and oppose an ethical, anti-imperialist foreign policy.  

I was singled out for three reasons in particular. My forthright and uncompromising campaign to democratise the Labour Party, my outspoken opposition to the weaponisation of anti-semitism and my unequivocal support for the Palestinian people. 

But my case was just the tip of the iceberg. Many other grassroots activists have also had their lives turned upside down by this despicable witch-hunt.  

But this intolerable inquisition is by no means confined to the Labour Party. And the impact can be much worse than simply being thrown out of a political party. People affected have had death threats, experienced mental ill health, suffered significant reputational damage and a significant number have lost employment opportunities, some have even been sacked and threatened with bankruptcy.

Sir Keir Starmer says he supports the ideology of zionism “without qualification,” even though UN resolution 3379, that was passed in 1975, holds that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”
He is not only out of step with most grassroots Labour supporters, he has misread the zeitgeist in the country at large and the growing political consciousness being driven by the Black Lives Matter campaign.

The need for socialism grows ever stronger, but the political situation on both sides of the Atlantic means that the prospects for electoral socialism have dimmed.  

Ossified old guard political party establishments – in Labour and the US Democrats – have stood in the way of the transformation that millions of people know we need.  

Both the Corbyn and Sanders movements were struck down by the forces of reaction.

We warned that if they prevented our inevitable revolution, we would have to take to the streets. The cold-blooded murder of George Floyd has stirred righteous anger in hundreds of millions of people around the world.  

And just as in the 1960s, the movement for black liberation has proven to be at the vanguard of an epochal shift in world history. The future we failed to win at the ballot box, our black brothers and sisters are leading us to on the streets.

The liberation of working-class peoples from capitalism and the liberation of our black and brown comrades from racial oppression do not merely intersect – they are one struggle.  

This was something the Black Panther Party recognised.  We cannot have one without the other.  One of the Panthers’ leaders, the inspirational Fred Hampton, said: “We’re going to fight racism…with solidarity [and] we’re going to fight capitalism…with socialism.”

At only 21 years of age, Fred was deemed too dangerous by the US authorities because he was uniting communities in opposition to capitalism. For that he was assassinated by Chicago police and FBI officers as he slept in his bed during a pre-dawn raid on his apartment.

Subjugation, exploitation, racism and enslavement underpinned capitalism from the outset.  

The monuments to slavery that we are toppling are also monuments to capitalism, an inherently exploitative system reliant on hierarchies of oppression and lust for empire-building. The wealth of this nation was built on the backs of slaves and sepoys.

As well as calling for socialism and racial justice here, we also need to demand that Britain takes its knee off the necks of the people of Yemen, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Iran and others.

To achieve Fred Hampton’s vision, we will need to fight on all fronts. The demand for change is being led by street protests, leaving Sir Keir Starmer and his Labour Party allies playing catch up with cringeworthy photo opps.

But while he defends the racist, apartheid state of Israel, he will not be taken seriously as someone who will stand up for black and Muslim communities in particular or working-class people in general.

That is why we need to build a new grassroots resistance movement, grow and expand our own media outlets like the Morning Star, nurture a battle-ready street movement with coherent demands and cultivate new parliamentary leaders.  

We also have to be prepared to use the legal system to defend activists from McCarthyite tactics.  

Over the coming weeks, we will also be working with some of the best human rights lawyers in the country to arrange teach-ins and legal support for protesters attending the Black Lives Matter rallies.

In particular in London, where the Metropolitan Police and Territorial Support Group have been unlawfully harassing and detaining protesters as well as using kettling tactics to acquire intelligence and intimidate activists.

So, the demands on the LLFF are potentially enormous which is why we need financial and practical support. Please donate if you can afford to on a one-off or regular basis. If you are a solicitor or barrister with the relevant expertise and willing to offer pro bono assistance, please get in touch.  

If you can’t donate at the moment but support our work, sign up to our mailing list and spread the word. If you have been suspended or expelled by the Labour Party or harassed by the police while on a Black Lives Matter protest in recent weeks, we also want to hear from you.   
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