ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context JeremyCorbyn, LabourParty

A 2020 purge of the left

Jeremy Corbyn’s Opponents Burned the House Down to Stop Him — Now Keir Starmer Is King of the Ashes

Quora Answer : Why has Jeremy Corbyn been suspended from the Labour Party?

Oct 29

The definition of a witch-hunt is where protesting your innocence is considered further evidence of guilt.

Corbyn is accused of doing anti-semitic things. He protests his innocence and says he didn't do anti-semitic things.

Protesting your innocence is then taken as further evidence of guilt.

Or "saying that the claims are exaggerated is compounding the problem" as the anti-Corbynists put it.

Protesting your innocence is considered further evidence of guilt.

Corbyn's anti-semitic crime consists entirely of him denying that he's an anti-semite. And "not doing enough" to stop anti-semitism in the party.

This is, let's remind ourselves, in an age where bad ideas have been running rampant across the internet.

Imagine someone came to Keir Starmer and said "you are now personally responsible for stamping out COVID-denialism and mask-refusal and lockdown-breaking in the Labour Party. If you don't remove COVID denialists and non-mask wearers and those who go to the pub from the Labour Party, you are "enabling" and "encouraging" COVID denialism. You are an evil COVID denialist complicit with the thousands of unnecessary deaths from people who wouldn't wear masks"

Then, because COVID conspiracies and denialism is ramping up on the internet it turns out that Starmer fails to hunt down and remove every COVID-denialist in Labour.

So now Starmer is a pariah because he was "enabling" COVID deaths?

Would you go along with that?

No, you'd find it absurd that Starmer is held personally accountable, and receives personal animosity for the institution's failure to fix the evil influence of the wider culture. Sure, he can be criticised. But to what degree? To the degree of being considered an accessory to the crime?

You'd find it even more absurd that when Starmer tried to defend himself, this was taken as further evidence that he was secretly plotting to kill more people with COVID.

This is pretty much the situation with Corbyn.

And it matters, not just because it's unfair to Corbyn. But for a far bigger reason.

This is now the standard playbook by a coalition of the right-wing and centrists for taking down left-wing politicians.

You find a seed of something, anything, that might be construed negatively. You then start hammering on that "issue" non stop. You blow it up to be the biggest thing in the world, in politics. It can be alleged "anti-semitism" (ie. support for Palestinians and criticism of Israel). Or "corruption" (as was used to take down Dilma Rousseff, one of the least personally corrupt politicians in Brazil for what was, effectively, common accountancy massaging during her election campaign). Or something you did in your childhood (Aaron Coleman, the 19-Year-Old Progressive Who Won His Kansas Primary, Speaks About His Troubled Past and Promising Present). Or not keeping your sex life sufficiently separate from your work life (Alex Morse Would Like You To Know He Has Sex) etc.

You demand that the left (or liberals if those are your target) have zero-tolerance for this kind of thing. You appeal to their sense of shame and embarrassment that their political leaders might be anything other than saints. That anything other than zero-tolerance or complete self-immolation is total shame.

Then you let the left fight itself to destruction.

The right, then happily, pragmatically, able to live with some of most the flawed leaders and representatives imaginable, waltz off to take power and implement policies a million times worse than anything that would actually follow from the alleged "wrongdoing" of the left politician you destroyed.

We have to stop falling for this trick. All our leaders and heroes have feet of clay.

Humans have skeletons. Sometimes in cupboards. And we need to learn to judge politicians and leaders pragmatically. Not to hold them up to some impossibly high standards.

We must reject the narrative that says that the left can only be "legitimate" if they are supernaturally "pure". Because we will always lose on those terms. Politicians are not saints.

I mean does anyone actually believe that Corbyn was actively plotting, or actively trying, in any way, to get more anti-Semites to join Labour? Or to move Labour policies in a more anti-Semitic direction? What's an example of this?

No ... it's insinuation that because he didn't do some indefinite "enough" or didn't "care enough" (ie. prioritize over the hundreds of other items in his job's todo list) that he is complicit and culpable in everything. And because he has now rejected the accusations, he is diminishing their seriousness and therefore bringing the party into disrepute for not being sufficiently anti-anti-semitism.

This is the kind of thing that gives "virtue signalling" a bad name.

So is this why Corbyn's been thrown out? Because he doesn't sufficiently play along with the narrative that the Labour Party has been the most evil party in the history of evil parties because it didn't stamp out every instance of prejudice and rudeness among its 500,000 members?

Well, no, of course not. If it had been someone that these guys liked who had done that, then it would all be glossed over with hardly a ripple in the media.

But people hated Jeremy Corbyn. And feared what he stood for. A Labour Party that turned its back on the kind of neoliberal centrists politics of New Labour and wanted to rediscover its roots as a socialist party.

That is the real answer to this question. Corbyn was suspended because the right in the Labour Party want to get rid of the left in Labour.

And now this is a convenient justification. It's part of a huge theatrical performance aimed at discrediting the left. If the left scream, then they can be accused of defending the indefensible. If Corbyn accepts that he was the most evil and shameful of Labour leaders ever then he contributes to his own humiliation and the humiliation of his project. If he tries to defend himself, he is "compounding the problem" and therefore can be chucked out. (Protesting your innocence is taken as further evidence of guilt. )

If the rest of the left leave in a huff, then that makes the problem of the left "go away". If the left start the same kind of campaign against Starmer as the right waged against Corbyn, then that makes them look petty and unserious (because that's what the right campaign against Corbyn was).

For the Tories, it's even better. If large numbers of supporters now drop out of the Labour Party, that hits Labour finances. And reinforces a narrative that a large number of enthusiasts for Corbyn's Labour were incorrigible anti-semites. Labour lost the last election for many reasons, but being internally divided was undoubtedly part of it.

Starmer and right-wingers in Labour undoubtedly hope that a big, dramatic showdown and cathartic purge of Corbyn and the left now, will make the problems go away more quickly and more cleanly (criticisms from the right will stop, the left will be too demoralized and subdued.)

We'll see whether they are right about that, or if this failure to heal the rift (which is, let's remember, the policy that Starmer stood on. He was voted by many Corbyn supporters because he implied that he wouldn't be trying to purge the left but rather provide continuity and rebuild the alliance between different wings of Labour), dooms it to another failed election in 2024.

PS : here's the basic Guardian summary of the findings : Key findings of the EHRC inquiry into Labour antisemitism Find the evidence in that that shows my interpretation here to be wrong.

Quora Answer : Has the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey reignited Labours turmoil over antisemitism?

Jun 25, 2020

It's certainly causing turmoil on my Twitter feed, yes.

I mean I understand why Starmer did this.

It was very, very, very painful for Labour to be accused of anti-Semitism over the last couple of years. Anyone would want to try to make that accusation go away.

And if a few stunts like slapping down anyone for even tweeting approval of someone who criticised Israel is the price of "fixing the relationship between Labour and the Jewish community" then it must be tempting.

Sadly, of course, Starmer isn't going to be able to "fix the relationship". Because the whole issue was just a right wing stick to beat Corbyn with.

When the next election comes around, Starmer is going to find that clamping down on anything and anyone that might even have shared the same Tube carriage as someone who once made a criticism of Israel is going to buy him precisely nothing.

Half of the people who made these accusations will keep on making them if they think they work. It doesn't matter what Starmer does, they'll say "Starmer is just whitewash. Remember Jeremy Corbyn! Labour is STILL anti-Semitic at heart!"

And the other half will just find something else in Starmer's past to complain about.