Starmer and the right wing are continuing their purge of left-wing activists from the Labour Party. Socialist Appeal supporters and grassroots members in the North East are the latest victims of this scandalous witch-hunt.

Starmer and the right wing are continuing their purge of left-wing activists from the Labour Party. Socialist Appeal supporters and grassroots members in the North East are the latest victims of this scandalous witch-hunt.

We have received reports that a number of Labour Party activists in Northumberland have received letters from the Labour Party bureaucracy, threatening them with expulsion on the grounds that they are supporters of Socialist Appeal.

This latest batch of expulsion letters – with reports of at least a dozen – is timed to coincide with the upcoming Northern Region Labour Party conference.

Notably, whilst some of these comrades are openly supporters of Socialist Appeal, many of those targeted have no links to our organisation.

It is evident that these activists have been picked out by the right wing for reasons that have nothing to do with their alleged support for our tendency. Rather, this ‘crime’ is being used to witch-hunt them out of the party, as part of Starmer’s bureaucratic purge against the left.

Socialist Appeal has a proud record of fighting for Marxist ideas – in the Northern Region, and across the labour movement.

We have consistently argued for our ideas amongst young people, in the trade unions, and in the broader movement, and have participated in the Labour Party for decades.

The Socialist Appeal newspaper has been openly sold in the party ever since it was founded in 1992, 30 years ago

Our comrades have never stood candidates against the Labour Party in elections. Conversely, we have always represented the most steadfast and determined fighters for genuine socialist ideas within the party.

In recent years we campaigned for mandatory reselection of MPs, as well as campaigning to restore the original Clause 4 – Labour socialist birthright, which was later ditched by Blair.

As we predicted, the witch-hunt against our comrades has now been used to attack the rest of the left in the region.

This is part of the Labour right wing’s strategy to smash all opposition, in their stampede towards the right.

Young members, councillors, and comrades with decades of experience in the Labour Party; CLP officers; and prominent trade union activists: all have been threatened with expulsion.

This bureaucratic manoeuvring reflects the inability of Starmer and the right wing to present a clear political response to the Tories and to the crisis of capitalism.

We are confident that the ideas we support cannot be separated from the Labour and trade union movement, or from the millions of young people who are being radicalised by events.

On the contrary, we are confident that support for socialist and Marxist ideas will continue to grow and develop – not just in the North East and Cumbria, but nationally and internationally. 

  • Stop the witch-hunt!
  • Organise and fight for socialist ideas!
  • Build the forces of Marxism!

We have received the following letter from Bill Haylock, former chair of Hexham CLP and proud supporter of Socialist Appeal. Bill writes to grassroots members of his local Labour party, informing them of his recent expulsion.

And what evidence was provided by the Labour bureaucracy to justify Bill’s expulsion? A Marxist Christmas cake!

Dear member,

This will be the last time I write to you as an officer of Hexham CLP. As a result of a complaint against me, I am being expelled from the Labour Party.

My ‘offence’ is simply being a socialist – being a member of a group, Socialist Appeal, that has supported the party and worked diligently within it for decades.

Last year, the party leadership proscribed Socialist Appeal and three other groups. Meanwhile, many other non-socialist groups are allowed to continue organising within the party.

I have been a Marxist for 40 years; and I am proud to be a part of the Marxist tradition, which has been a significant and effective current within the Labour Party for the whole of its 120 year history. 

In 1947, under Clement Atlee, for example, the party acknowledged “its indebtedness to Marx and Engels as two men who have been the inspiration of the whole working class movement”, in the introduction to a souvenir edition of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, which the NEC decided to publish to mark the centenary of its writing.

The Labour Party tells me that my support for Socialist Appeal is “inimical to the aims and values of Labour”. If that is so, it can only be that the aims and values of the party have changed.

There is plenty of evidence for that. The current leader made 10 pledges to members during his leadership election campaign. He has since renounced every one of those pledges. It appears that taking people for fools is now part of the ‘aims and values’ of the Labour Party, as well as of the Tory Party. 

The party recently welcomed a Tory MP – with an appalling record of voting against the interests of working class people – into its embrace. At the same time, the leadership has refused to readmit the previous party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, into the PLP.

It appears that supporting the interests of the ruling class against the interests of workers is a part of the ‘aims and values’ of the party under Keir Starmer.

We have heard Rachel Reeves recently saying she is glad that so many members have left Labour. It seems that contempt and hostility towards members who worked hard to get Labour MPs elected is also part of Labour’s ‘aims and values’ now.

Over the past six years, I have spent a large part of my life working to build the party in our constituency and the county: as Bywell Branch Secretary; CLP Secretary; Northumberland Local Campaign Forum Secretary; and now as CLP Chair.

From a vibrant, optimistic party, with revived, lively branches, able to field many active campaigners, I have watched disillusionment and apathy set in under the new party leadership.

I have become active in Socialist Appeal because – as many young people in particular are realising – it offers political ideas and hope for change: two things that are notably absent in the Labour Party's present leadership.

I would like to thank the many people within the party who have given me their friendship, solidarity, and support during my time as a member of Hexham CLP.

Bill Haylock

Chair, Hexham CLP