The long-delayed Forde report was finally released earlier this week. Commissioned by the Labor Party as an independent inquiry into the findings of the leaked 2020 report (aka “LabourLeaks”), Forde confirms what many on the left have known all along.
Forde’s findings also fully confirm Jeremy Corbyn’s own statement, which resulted in his suspension from the Parliamentary Labor Party (PLP) – a suspension that remains in effect to this day.
Corbyn correctly claimed that allegations of antisemitism were used factionally by the right wing of Labor and that the former left-wing leadership had been continually sabotaged by Blairite bureaucrats and right-wing MPs.
The devastating behavior of these gangsters began from day one of Corbyn’s time as Labor leader.
The ruling class and its agents within the party could not tolerate labor being anything other than a sure instrument of capitalism. And they have been ruthless in their mission to drive out the leftist insurgency, destroy the Corbyn movement and return Labor to Blairism.
But what the findings of the Forde report also demonstrate is that – sadly – the left has not shown the same resolve in this Labor civil war. As a result, Starmer and the right were able to purge the left and regain control of the party.
It is vital that the left learns the lessons of this whole episode.
Sabotage and purging
The Forde Report confirms that party staff were largely hostile to Corbyn and the left, as Corbyn’s policies were ‘out of step’ with the ‘prevailing political opinion’ of well-heeled Labor HQ bureaucrats.
The right-wing controlled party apparatus has denied membership to left-wing activists and suspended and expelled thousands in their brutal attack on Corbyn supporters. Between themselves, they referred to their hostile activities as “trot busting”.
These Blairite apparatchiks also dragged their feet and refused to cooperate with the leadership office. And with the PLP, they continually informed the right-wing press, all in pursuit of their goal of getting rid of Corbyn by any means necessary.
This even included maneuvers and sabotage to help the electoral defeat of the party, in order to discredit the leadership and the left.
Inevitably, however, the Forde report itself is also a sting. It attempts to declare a scourge on both chambers, implying that the left wing of the party was just as responsible for the “factionnalism” as the right. Yet all the attacks described are those of the right against the left!
The Forde Report’s assertions that “both sides” were responsible for the aggression of factions within the Labor Party are tantamount to saying that someone who is punched in the face is responsible for the bruised joints of their attackers. 1/2
—Joseph Attard (@josephattard02) July 19, 2022
The report claims that right-wing staffers and MPs did not “intentionally” seek to torpedo the party’s chances in the 2017 general election. Yet, it confirms that they secretly embezzled funds from winnable seats and that the factional chaos they created hurt the Labor campaign.
At times, the report downplays or even downplays the despicable nature of the behavior of the Blairite traitors. It is an effort to excuse the actions of the Labor right, which is now firmly back in the saddle – both in the party leadership and across the apparatus.
For example, he indicates that the quoting of some disgusting WhatsApp messages in the LabourLeaks – messages which in some cases threatened violence – was used to “advance” the author’s own factional agenda, as the majority messages “were perfectly acceptable”.
These outrageous messages were sent by well-paid bureaucrats and Blairites in the upper echelons of the party. One expressed hope that a Corbyn activist who suffered from mental health issues would “die in a fire”. Another called Corbyn’s chief of staff Karie Murphy a ‘bitchy-faced cow’, who ‘would make a good game of darts’. And another even joked about ‘hanging and burning’ Corbyn.
Many other posts were also explicitly sexist and racist, particularly those aimed at left-wing Labor MP Diane Abbott. But the Forde report tries to brush them aside, dismissing LabourLeaks’ inclusion of these horrific texts as advancing an “agenda.”
This shows that there can be no “independent” and “impartial” investigation, by Martin Forde QC or anyone else, when the issue at stake is a struggle between forces and opposing class interests.
Libel and slander
In truth, the answer to the shenanigans of the right should have come years ago. The leaked original report came out as Corbyn’s management left the building – but it was too little, too late.
Even when in power, however, left-wing leaders failed to advance the fight against the right in the party in any meaningful way. In fact, they even hampered the efforts of grassroots activists to do so.
Attempts by rank and file members to introduce mandatory reselection, for example, have been thwarted by the leader’s office. At the same time, leftist leaders have pursued a policy of appeasement and conciliation, hoping to appease and pacify the right. In doing so, the left sadly sealed their fate.
From then-shadow chancellor John McDonnell, to former Momentum leader Jon Lansman, to prominent journalists like Owen Jones: all of these leftists have followed the establishment’s smear campaign – accepting the baseless claims that Labor was institutionally anti-Semitic – and calling for unity and compromise with the party’s right wing.
Indeed, even after Starmer took over, with a booming McCarthyite witch hunt, and Corbyn quitting the PLP, McDonnell and co. has always urged Corbyn and the left to “keep apologizing” for anti-Semitism.
Charges such as anti-Semitism are now a common weapon in the establishment’s arsenal.
The right has learned that identity politics is the soft underbelly of much of the left, and that – in the face of no resistance – political attacks can easily be cloaked in the guise of personal perceptions, “legitimate concerns” and “lived experience”. .
Due to the subjectivist nature of these policies, any individual or self-proclaimed representative of the oppressed can end up making whatever accusations they want, often dressed in inflammatory and moralizing language.
And woe to those who dare to dispute this, or who seek to highlight the political nature of such attacks.
This was clearly demonstrated by both the Jewish Labor Movement and the Board of Deputies, both of whom declared themselves to be the only legitimate voice of the Jewish people, as they launched their attacks on Corbyn and the left.
The irony is that many of those expelled were themselves Jews, which shows in practice the absurdity of such a policy.
Weakness invites aggression
Unfortunately, in general, the left has constantly relented in the face of such attacks, not responding politically, but with profuse apologies and self-flagellation.
Such defensiveness and such acquiescence, however, have never satisfied the right. Indeed, showing weakness only invited further aggression. Given an inch, the right sought to take a mile.
This weakness of the left stems from their whole reformist vision. They believe that capitalism can be patched up and made “nicer” and “lovelier”; and, in turn, that the capitalists themselves can be persuaded to cooperate and come to an agreement with the working class.
From this stems the soft approach of reformists from the left to the right – those who act on behalf of the ruling class within the labor movement.
As a result of these retreats and compromises, the Corbyn movement was defeated. But the struggle for socialism is far from over. In fact, it is reaching a new level of industrial intensity.
Here too, however, we see the agents of the establishment resorting to the same methods of defamation and slander; of identity politics-based attacks that have been proven and battle-tested.
In Unison, for example, such methods have been used by the right-wing bureaucracy, in tandem with the bosses, against the left: accusing the left-led NEC of “white privilege” and victimizing leading left-wing activist Paul Holmes on the false motives of sexism and bullying.
Unfortunately, those at the top of the Time for Real Change campaign have also bowed under the pressure, making the same mistakes as the leaders of the Corbyn movement. And the right wing, which smells of blood, seeks to drive the point home.
storm and struggle
Those who learn nothing from history are doomed to repeat it. Grassroots activists must learn the lessons of the Forde report: it is impossible to appease those who are our class enemies.
The left must wage a ruthless struggle against the right wing infiltrators in our movement and fight to turn the unions into weapons for the working class.
This means calling for the election of all full-time, member-responsible and recallable officers; that the representatives take only the salary of an average skilled worker; and for grassroots democracy and conflict control.
We must prepare for the stormy weather ahead. That is to say harden yourself in the ideas of Marxism, in order to harden yourself and be able to resist the attacks that will come our way.