WE ARE living in worrying yet hopeful times. The left has made so much progress in the last three years, it’s remarkable. We are at an important crossroads in history and in British society. But we have to stay focused and united.
There are various things being put about on social media and the mainstream media to derail us. We must see them for what they are: attempts to undermine the socialist project. Activists on Twitter are having fake accounts set up in their names. Things are taking a dark turn in many ways.
There are also the usual smears being bandied about: for example David Aaronovitch saying Red Action carried out the Warrington bomb in 1993 instead of the IRA. Guess who allegedly had close links with them? Of course, Jeremy Corbyn. The media are using anything they can to portray Corbyn and in turn, the rest of us, as bad and dangerous. It’s an old trick and most of us get it.
However there is one thing that has got a bit of truth to it — and which can and has already done more damage than anything else: anti-semitism. It’s precisely because it’s got a small element of truth to it that the potential to do damage to our movement is far greater.
Anti-semitism, like any form of racism, is wrong and while there have been only tiny numbers of anti-semitism complaints in the Labour Party, one is one too many. There is no doubt that some in the media are weaponising anti-semitism as a stick to use against Corbyn and the left in general. Unfortunately, there are some in the party doing the same.
Jeremy Corbyn has been labelled and portrayed as all sorts of things since he became leader. All designed to put people off him and the Labour Party. But the biggest insult of all is that he has been called anti-semitic himself. There are no depths they won’t go to in their quest to demonise him. Corbyn has fought all forms of racism all his life. He is not anti-semitic.
We have to realise they are doing this because they want to divide us and they want rid of Corbyn. Some just don’t get what the last three years have been about. They think that if Corbyn goes, they could replace him with a Blairite in a shiny suit as leader and everything will go back to how it was in their perfect little ‘90s world. They just don’t get times have moved on.
There are so many who are so desperate to get rid of Corbyn and they aren’t afraid of using dirty tactics to achieve it. They will use and are using all sorts of methods to achieve their aim. And we must fight back against the smearing, the name calling and the lynch mobs.
Which is why we on the left of the Labour Party have to unite. Whilst we fight amongst ourselves, it only benefits the right wing. That also means that if we see or hear any anti-semitism in the party, we have to call it out. It is wrong and if we ignore it we are only playing into the hands of our enemies. We want to see all forms of racism not just removed from the party, but completely from our society itself.
This shouldn’t mean we can’t criticise the Israeli government, like any government that does wrong things, but it does mean we have to be respectful of the Jewish religion like we are any other religion.
All too often we are labelled “the cult of Corbyn” by our opponents. Nothing could be further from the truth. This has never been about one person — it is about socialism. It is socialism that frightens so many in the Establishment, the ruling class — and even some in our own party.
Sometimes we can all get fed up and despondent — it’s human nature.
But we must remember that there is so much negative spin put around exactly to try to make us feel fed up and make us think that we cannot succeed. We can succeed but it was never going to be easy. Our strength lies in our numbers and unity. And there is a larger swathe of the general public who can see things are not as they could or should be.
We have got to seize the opportunity in front of us not only for us but future generations. We have to unite. We have to keep our eyes on the prize. There is far too much at stake here for us to give up now and go away. We are not going anywhere.
Rick Evans is a Labour Party activist.
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