Should Socialists Vote Labor Under Starmer?

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AFTER the conference, Keir Starmer’s office and their various press contacts seemed enthusiastic about the heckling he received throughout his speech.

Oddly, the heckling seemed to have been factored into his performance following a tense conference in which the Labor right manipulated, rigged and corrupted the disciplinary processes and AGMs of CLP delegates to secure a narrow victory for Starmer on several proposed rule changes, designed to deprive members and give unchallenged authority to MPs.

In a clearly premeditated press briefing, Starmer supporters told reporters delegates heckled the leader during part of his speech in which he discussed his mother’s death – an outright fabrication which was clearly at odds with the video footage. of the event. The press, of course, blindly printed these lies anyway.

The strangely jubilant responses from the Labor right to the headlines on even more Labor disputes are based on an unproven and clearly incorrect assumption that images of Starmer and his allies trampling on Labor Party members and reneging on his promises and his principles would be a good idea for the party. : they made the mistake of thinking that the public hates moderate Social Democrats and Social Democrats as much as they do.

Opinion polls immediately post-conference show the opposite, with slight drops in Labor support. The public actually has no desire to see Labor members humiliated, berated and intimidated by Starmer and MPs on live television, a direct affront to those who have fought so hard for a Labor government over the past five years. years.

Such things are evident to most of us outside of the Labor Right bubble. But they point to a problem for the socialists. If Starmer does well in the next election, it will now be explicitly on the basis of his gratuitous and open repudiation of socialist values ​​and principles.

Look at the Green New Deal, housing, Palestine or workers’ rights: no sooner did members adopt a policy at this conference than a shadow minister was presented to renounce the policy and insist that ‘he wasn’t going to make the next manifesto.

The disregard for the members, their values ​​and the commitment to socialism under former leader Jeremy Corbyn was clearly expressed in repeated public statements from the First Bank, as well as in Starmer’s speech.

For a long time, most Socialists were “disciplined” to vote Labor for fear of the Conservatives. But never has a vote for Labor been accompanied by such strict and open ideological warnings.

At the height of his powers, even Neil Kinnock stood on a platform of nationalization, building mass council houses, and taxing the wealthy – a platform that made the 2017 manifesto look like du weak tea. Labor was still a socialist party under Kinnock, although it clearly is not today.

The idea of ​​maintaining the Conservative government is enough to turn the stomachs of most socialists. But there is a serious question; Does repudiating our whole tradition, our whole worldview and weakening our cause for decades, the price we are willing to pay for a slim (practically non-existent) chance to end it, in favor of the brand of Starmer’s washed-out liberal elitism?

Workers will continue to be exploited and abused under a Conservative government. But if we have any faith in our ideas, the extinction of socialism from mainstream British politics would have far greater long-term effects on the lives and living conditions of working-class people than any other conservative term. .

It would be a defeat for decency in politics, a defeat for morality, truth and reason – all issues that would have huge and unquantifiable impacts on our body politic.

Conversely, a defeat of Labor under its explicitly anti-socialist banner could force an account for the Labor right, in which the moral, intellectual and popular legitimacy of socialist values ​​within the Labor electoral coalition would be validated and recognized (and their own enraged cynicism and sectarianism was weakened).

Many Morning Star readers will be Labor voters for life – and Labor members for life. Not to vote for Labor has so far been unthinkable.

But the point at which we have come is such that the success of Labor under the present conditions would be detrimental to the development of a truly progressive political agenda and to the advancement of our cause.

Whether you remain a member of Labor or not, unless you have particular extenuating local circumstances (such as a properly socialist local candidate running for Labor), then Labor is currently asking you to vote for the destruction of whatever you are doing. believe.

People who make this request know well how humiliating it is – and how depressing it is. They are also aware that a socialist movement can never prosper if it is not proud of itself, dynamic and confident. This is yet another humiliation meant to put our ideas and principles back in the box.

Don’t do what you are asked to do. Do not vote to ruin your principles or our hopes for a better world. Future generations of workers demand that we stand tall, proud of our beliefs and confident in the future.


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