War on members

Hundreds of suspended Labour Party members - victims of an ongoing purge against the left - plan to hold a public shaming of Keir Starmer in London on Tuesday July 20 at 12 noon.

As one of the organisers of the event, I was chair of my local party of South Thanet until I was suspended in December of last year. That was because, like many other party officers, I allowed my members to debate a motion in support of Jeremy Corbyn. Months later I remain suspended without a clue as to my fate. So many others in our party are in a similar state - it is an appalling situation. That is why we have been driven to this action - to publicly shame the leadership of our party.

The protestors will be lobbying Labour’s national executive committee, calling for the reinstatement of all unfairly suspended members and the restoration of the whip to former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who lost it in November, and there is no sign of him getting it back. Hundreds of other members have also been expelled or suspended on the flimsiest of grounds. It’s obvious that Keir Starmer and his allies have embarked on a purge on the left in the party.

Starmer won the leadership promising he would unite the party. That was a lie. In reality he has declared war on most of its members. Last year an internal report was leaked, which included allegations that unelected party officials were actively trying to undermine the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Starmer ordered an inquiry into that report which has now been shelved - indefinitely. It’s clear now he never meant the truth to come out.

What’s happening in the Labour Party has implications for the whole democratic process in Britain. Free speech, justice and democracy are under attack as never before in the Labour Party. Starmer and his allies are flagrantly abusing the disciplinary processes to suppress all dissent. An unrepresentative minority have taken over our party. How can you have a proper party of opposition if it does not represent its members?

The London protest follows on from a demonstration held outside Labour’s regional offices in Bristol last month, when members protested against what they claimed was a “corruption of democracy” going on in their party, including the alleged rigging of internal elections and “bullying” by local branch bureaucrats and Keir Starmer’s national leadership team.

Many of the Bristol members will be taking part in the protest in London and will attempt to hand their complaints to a member of the NEC. And there will be more action to come - including at the Labour Party conference in September. This is just the beginning of the fightback. We are fighting for the future of the Labour Party. We won’t stop until we take it back into democratic control.

The protest will take place at Labour Party head office - 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT (nearest tube/station: Victoria).

Norman Thomas

Labour In Exile Network