The battle against the Blairite backstabbers is in full swing. Eight formerly Labour MPs have now split away, joined by three of their Tory friends from the other side of the aisle.
Many of those who have jumped have done so in order to avoid being pushed. Four of the new ‘Independent Group’ were on the receiving end of votes of no confidence, in addition to right-wingers Frank Field and John Woodcock who had already resigned the Labour whip.
It is clear that the focal point of the struggle must now be to fight for mandatory reselection, to sweep out all the careerist rubbish remaining inside the Labour Party. This is an urgent task for the left: to kick out the Blairites immediately, before a possible snap election.
Meanwhile, the sects on the fringes of the labour movement are as busy as ever giving their ‘advice’ as to what Labour members should do. These sects, who constantly try and puff themselves up to look very important, have the cheek of hell in giving us such lectures.
The most shrill of these groups is the so-called Socialist Party of England and Wales (the SP). After denouncing the Labour Party for decades as a capitalist party, this group was forced to reluctantly realise that something had changed with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.
Despite this victory for Corbyn, the SP could not bring themselves to pronounce the party as a true Labour Party. According to them, Labour members needed to clear out the Blairite MPs and right-wing Labour councillors. Only then would they be prepared to reward the Labour Party with their support, as if anyone cared.
In short, the SP said they were for a Corbyn Labour government, but only on their terms.
In a recent article, the SP demands that Labour members heed their advice and organise selection conferences in the Party. "Socialist candidates should be put up against the Blairites in reselection contests," explains our learned friends of the Socialist Party.
But who then are the Labour members to choose as the new Labour candidates?
"If necessary, these left candidates should come from fighting elements across the labour and trade union movement, including socialist organisations like ours,” states the SP.
This is truly laughable stuff, even for such a sectarian outfit. According to them, Labour Party members should force reselection battles and then invite "fighting elements" from outside of the Labour Party to become Labour candidates, which should include members of the Socialist Party, who would then honour us with their presence!
Labour and the unions
The SP continues:
"It is therefore necessary to face up to this reality by reconstituting Labour as a federal party that includes all anti-austerity forces across the labour and trade union movement - including the Socialist Party."
So the 600,000 members of the Labour Party should do all the hard work in getting rid of the right wing, and then hand over leading party positions to the Socialist Party. What planet do these people live on?
Firstly, Labour members do not need lectures from the sidelines about how to reclaim the Labour Party. Members are already doing this, thank you very much.
Secondly, the track record of the Socialist Party regarding the Labour Party leaves much to be desired.
When workers were seeking to join the Labour Party to help Corbyn, the Socialist Party actively fought against this. When the FBU discussed the idea of re-affiliating the union to Labour, the SP sectarians opposed it. When the RMT was discussing affiliating to Labour, again the SP waged a noisy campaign, with leaflets, opposing such a move.
One would think that the more left trade unions join the Labour Party, the better. But such sentiments are not shared by these sectarians. In the end, while the FBU affiliated, the SP helped to derail the RMT’s affiliation.
Fight for a socialist Labour government
The SP has forgotten the basic Marxist attitude to the workers’ mass organisations. As the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels explains:
“The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties.
“They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.
“They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.”
But the above lines are a closed book to the SP. In the present situation, the sectarianism of the SP plays a reactionary role.
Many SP members have already left to join the Labour Party. We appeal to those SP members still in the group to turn their back on the SP’s sectarian methods and join the fight in the Labour Party.
The more socialists who join the Labour Party, the more it will hasten the defeat of the right-wing and help transform the party into a vehicle that can carry through the socialist transformation of society. Don't stand on the sidelines. Help transform the Labour Party! Fight for socialism!