On Constituency Labour Party Officer Suspensions
EDITORS NOTE: This is an opinion piece by an anonymous CLP Secretary from the UK Labour Party. Anonymous because if they didn't withold their name, they would also be suspended by the party for merely having an opinion the Labour establishment does not like.
In January 2020 socialist members of the Holborn and St. Pancras Constituency Labour Party (CLP) warned the Labour membership of the risks inherent to them, and more importantly to the conduct of CLPs posed by their local MP, Sir Keir Starmer, should he become Party leader. In an article published in the Camden Journal, they described in detail what socialists had experienced in the Holborn and St. Pancras CLP since Sir Starmer became the MP in 2015. You can refresh your memory, or read of their experiences for the first time via this link:
They experienced personal abuse and were manoeuvred out of CLP executive officer positions by the centrist and rightwing members of the local party who worked to gain control of the officer roles. People of real ability were replaced by placeholders.
Since 2015, many socialist members of the Labour Party across the country have had similar experiences. Socialist CLPs had been suspended by the General Secretary McNicholls. Rightwing, moribund CLPs mobilised suddenly to keep socialist members at the margins, even going so far as to not invite people who had joined the Labour Party after 2015 to Branch, or CLP meetings.
And yet, across the Labour Party, people who had voted for, and supported the Jeremy Corbyn leadership, voted in their thousands for Sir Starmer, believing his promises to maintain unity and his commitment to uphold the moderate, social democratic policies listed in the 2017 and the 2019 Labour Party Manifestos.
What was sown by Sir Starmer in spring, a seed of falsehood, has now ripened and socialists are falling beneath General Secretary David Evans’ scythe. Each time an activist is put into suspension, members go into an uproar and fall prey, by means of their comments on social media, to their own suspension.
The method of this double harvest being reaped by the Right are interesting. A century ago, harvesting corn involved having a team of scythers working in a row spiralling in from the perimeter of the corn field inwards towards the middle, while a few men stood in the middle of the field, ready to shoot any startled rabbits and hares that ran before the scythes for the pot: two harvests from one field.
Every time someone is scythed down, that is suspended, the members like frightened rabbits run into the guns of the Regional Directors and other Labour Party full time officers, and of course the rightwing members who search their social media output for indiscretions, ready to drop them in the pot, like so many Mr. McGregors.
This particular farm is a place where some animals are more equal than others, and Sir Starmer and his General Secretary, not your or our General Secretary, because he has not been ratified by the delegates to Conference, is undertaking a policy of suspending CLP officers who are socialist activists. Those mewling CLP officers with links to rightwing union branches, to some of the affiliated socialist societies beloved of centrists, and not least members of the Cooperative Party can look forward to taking over and smashing once active CLPs and Branches and mothballing them, only reeling the members out when Labour candidates need votes and photo-opportunities for Facebook pages.
Holborn and St. Pancras CLP socialists warned of what was to come in January. Now it’s December. Starmer-Evans Labour is shedding socialists. They are in particular targeting socialist CLP Chairs, Secretaries because they are the people who control the agendas at meetings and who lead the now unwelcome politicised campaigns against Austerity. The Starmer-Evans Labour compact is based on the idea that the Labour Party becomes more electable, the more they shut down socialists and reduce the membership involvement to envelope stuffing activities.
The levels of hostility towards socialist members will continue to escalate in the BLPs and CLPs. Regional directors are right behind it. They will not stop. Labour To Win has already advised its supporters to secure CLP delegate roles for Conference ‘21. Those delegates will be necessary to ratify Evans’ position as General Secretary.
The truth is, as it was in 1997, the Labour Right, the self-styled ‘grown-ups in the room,’ are either waiting for a voter backlash against the Tories to coincide with the first Thursday in May 2024, or they are as likely content to carry on losing as they did in the Miliband era; after all, who would actually want to be the Government of the Britain of 2024? Who seriously, other than a socialist leader, would believe it their duty to reform a post-COVID-19, post-Brexit, economically melting down third world backwater called Great Britain?