Al Jazeera shines spotlight on anti-Corbyn slander campaign

By Robert Cosgrave 

Al Jazeera has produced a three-part docu-series dealing with the years when the Labour Party was led by Jeremy Corbyn and the campaign of lies and slander that was hurled against him by the Blairite right wing of the party. The series shines a light on the party’s so-called ‘anti-semitism crisis’ and shows that it was a total fabrication of the political and media establishment. It was used as a cynical factional battering ram against the Corbyn leadership, the left of the Labour Party and members from Muslim backgrounds. 

Lies and hysteria 

For anyone watching the series it’s obvious that allegations of “endemic Labour anti-semitism” – by which it was always meant the party Left – was a hysteria whipped up by cynical opponents of Corbyn’s leadership and policies. This ranged from traditional pro-Conservative outlets like The Times and The Telegraph, to those laundering a reputation as progressive such as The Guardian and The New Statesman, to the allegedly “impartial” BBC. 

When Corbyn was first elected leader in 2015, most Labour MPs and the party bureaucracy never reconciled themselves with his leadership. After the 2017 General Election this campaign went into overdrive. To their shock and despite their overt attempts at sabotage, Corbyn, campaigning on a programme that was to the left of anything Labour had campaigned on since the 1980s, defied the odds and denied the Tories a parliamentary majority. The possibility of him becoming Prime Minister no longer seemed implausible. After trying other lines of attacks, such as Corbyn being a “terrorist lover”, antisemitism would become the obsessive focus of all attacks on Corbyn and the Labour Left. 

Bad faith politics 

The docu-series makes clear the bad faith that lay behind these attacks. Throughout, the extremely bigotted nature of the Labour right – from MPs and Peers down to local party bureaucrats – is revealed. MPs can be virulent anti-black, anti-Traveller racists, Islamophobes, take money from some of the most reactionary and repressive regimes on the planet, and suddenly become bonafide anti-racists. Accusations of anti-semitism are to be taken seriously from people who spy on Muslim members, drawings up dossiers of where their children go to school! All of this is supported by the Starmer leadership of today, which is particularly eager to drive out what remains of the Labour Left and make it clear to the British ruling class that Labour is again a safe pair of hands.

The travesty remains that despite how much of a despicable operation the “anti-semitism crisis” was, Corbyn and the Labour Left ruined their historic opportunity by continuing their policy of appeasement, adopting a defensive posture and attempting to live peacefully alongside the right. Their weakness only invited more aggression, however, and with the taste of blood on its lips the right went on to devour the left. From this approach followed the defeats first of the 2019 General Election, and subsequently under Starmer. 

As British capitalism goes from crisis to crisis, the left needs to draw the lessons of the Corbyn period and develop a fighting approach in all fields. A new party of the working class that breaks with the rotten politics of Blairism and the feeble politics of refromism needs to be built.

Previous Article

A strong dollar is a harbinger of recession to come

Next Article

Iran: “Woman, Life, Freedom” – A Programme to Win

Related Posts
Read More

What the bank bailout money could buy

“The cheapest bank bail-out in the world”, Brian Lenihan arrogantly announced two years ago when the banks were guaranteed. The government have announced that the final figure for the bailout of Anglo and Irish Nationwide bail-out could reach €34.7 billion.