We’re calling for an uprising.
Unlabour is a project/alliance for those that remain members in Labour and those that have left who subscribe to the values espoused during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party. The ideas he advocated for are more relevant than ever. We aim to be a ‘crossbench’ of activists who jut into Labour and extend out. There is quite a lot of people in our movement who are feeling disaffected, demoralised and powerless as the leadership enacts an uncalled-for crackdown on the left. Many of us were originally willing to get behind Starmer even if it was for a fraction of what Jeremy advocated for as promised in his leadership campaign in those now infamous 10 pledges. Most, if not all have been broken and it has become clear the campaign and platform he ran on was an egregious lie, as he does everything in his power to humiliate and disenfranchise us. We want to provide a voice to those people feeling disheartened, stand up for the values of the last 5 years, as well as provide solutions of how we can act collectively going forward rather than feeling powerless whether people decide to stay within Labour or not. You can read more about us here.
A line has been breached
Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension is unjust and has breached a line. It was an act of war. He did not say anything wrong and merely highlighted the truth. There is a false narrative in play that has been mainstreamed, that is being peddled uncritically by our media and that Starmer and his supporters are eager to uphold. It is quite telling neither he nor his spokespeople have been able to give us the exact reasoning for the suspension when questioned in the media. The reality is given the way he has consistently acted since he became leader, he was always going to suspend Jeremy because that’s what him and the faction backing him had already decided long before the EHRC report was set to come out. It is playing to a baying mob within the party and out, as well as the media who want to destroy a thoroughly kind and decent man. Jeremy’s only selfless wish was he wanted to improve the lives of every person in this country not just the few. It wasn’t enough that Jeremy lost and had his character was assassinated – they now want to destroy him and ensure the left never have a chance of being in charge again. They want to teach us a lesson to never dare to try something like that again. It is divisive going against the still repeated mantra of unity – the majority of people joined because of him, the majority stayed because of him and crucially got actively involved because of him. He’s politicised a generation of people who are now feeling once again politically homeless with many people leaving. Worryingly this includes many people from minority backgrounds like me – Jeremy Corbyn is one of the few politicians in this country who genuinely believes and practices his life as though we’re all equally deserving as humans as the majority in this country. It is why his support with minority people remains strong. These people are not going to be feeling united with people who want to destroy them and everything they stand for, no matter how many times it is repeated by Richard Burgon and John McDonnell.
Why we did a digital protest
The reason we did a “Digital Protest” occupying Islington North’s social media accounts and website is because the party is currently preventing people discussing the EHRC report or Jeremy’s suspension including publicly showing solidarity. This is an authoritarian suppression of speech and abuse of power by the new leadership. It has been a repeated tactic over many issues over the preceding months including most notably over the leaked internal report which exposed deliberate mishandling of complaints (including antisemitism) by factional opponents during the early part of Jeremy’s leadership, as well as sabotage of the 2017 election campaign where Labour came very close to power. Rules are being audaciously used as a blunt instrument to unjustly control people’s speech and actions, while simultaneously being broken repeatedly by the leadership and his allies. This is especially immoral given they know people cannot meet and organise in person during these unprecedented times of a pandemic, a cynical and flagrant act designed to break the spirit of the left. Threats to left-wing MP’s have also been sent for defying a one-line whip on votes, something highly unusual, such as after the vote on the so called Spy Cops Bill. As a result there is a deep climate of fear amongst the left which has meant people are worried about being suspended for even fairly benign actions defying the leadership. This has led to the quite ridiculous scenario in Islington North CLP, Jeremy’s home party, with the executive being so afraid of showing any kind of positive show or public solidarity towards Jeremy Corbyn including taking down the banner pictured on the left, Unlabour put up during our ‘occupation’.
We also have a leadership vacuum on the left. It is clear our left leaders of the Socialist Campaign Group and Momentum are not up to the job of leading a fightback, often just repeating the meaningless platitude of “stay and fight” ad nauseum. It’s been months now without any explanation of how or what actions will be taken to genuinely fight back. This means it is now down to us individuals to organise and defend ourselves on the front foot. We need to cut through the paralysis and understand we can do things. That we do have power to exercise as Unlabour did in our actions over the last few days, however little that maybe.
We’re calling for an uprising
Given the line that has been breached, petitions, motions, online rallies or a politely written letters/statements are not going to cut it. Even some of these fairly weak measures are subject to sanction. Solidarity is frequently preached by the left, after all “an injury to one, is an injury to all” – but it is not often practiced. Given what has been inflicted on Jeremy, the cost to his reputation and personal life – something he did for all of us, it is the least we owe him. Quietly knuckling under rules that are designed to control and subdue, will mean the beatings will be continued to be dished out to the left, before they ultimately come for you anyway. We don’t have to just sit and take it. We want to encourage an uprising – there are more members who feel this way than those that are in charge of the party, and with collective action they can stop the leadership getting away with what they are doing. We appreciate not everyone has agreed with our ‘guerrilla’ tactics, but we’re at the stage where there are little options. If we don’t stand up for our principles including solidarity ultimately, regardless of what the consequences of that are – then we lose sight of who we are. We urge all Labour members to use whatever powers they have, however small, in whatever positions they have in their CLPs, by whatever means, just like we have and send the leadership of the Labour party a message. There is more of us than them, we are not powerless, we don’t have to be silenced and we must not be afraid.