Scandals in an Echo Chamber
Now the Labour Party has decided to suspend Ken Livingstone for 12 months and as Corbyn yet again wavers all over the place and fails to stand up to the right wingers and the witch hunters it’s worth reflecting how this all began. Livingstone has been in trouble before, including whilst Mayor of London, for making rather stupid nazi comparisons yet there was absolutely no talk of labour having an anti Semitism crisis during the period of his mayoralty. There are individuals within Labour who hold anti Semitic views, there are those who hold racist views, nationalistic and back ward views of all kinds.
Unfortunately the capitalist society we live in generates prejudice and backward ideas even amongst members of a party which is supposed to be a socialist party. This is why we as the rank and file of the labour movement must make sure that we combat these prejudices whenever they are spewed forth but also must carry out real political education. Such people holding ugly views were there during Ed Milibands leadership and yet the establishment media did not declare a crisis then. In fact they attacked Miliband using scarcely veiled anti Semitic propaganda. Tom Watson was not attacking his own party for “failing the Jewish community” then. This all began with Corbyn taking a commanding lead in the 2015 leadership election and the attacks over his long support for the Palestinians began. This is no coincidence. During the new labour years the party leadership were totally devoted towards backing up any Israeli government no matter how right wing it was or how brutal it’s deeds were. The mere prospect of a leader of the potential next government being a strong supporter of Palestinian nationhood has driven the foreign policy and media establishment into a frenzy. Whole hearted support for Israel is a cornerstone of the British ruling class’s foreign policy for decades. Israel is a key arms market for the UK. In fact Britain’s foreign policy in the middle east rests on the relationship with Israel and the alliance with the Saudi’s and the ultra reactionary governments of the gulf states. The British political establishment is desperate to defend this and so it used a method of attack pioneered by the Israeli political right. That any criticism of Israel by non Jews was anti Semitic, that any Jew criticising the Israeli government was “self hating”.
This was combined with (as the recent Al Jazeera story revealed) the Israeli government has been carefully cultivating support amongst key political players and those rising through the ranks. The aim therefore of the Livingstone affair is obvious. It is part of a wider Israeli government initiative to totally deligitimise any criticism of their actions. It is also part of the ongoing attempt to create an unending storm of bad news around the Labour leadership. It will never, ever stop. Not until the Corbyn leadership is dead and buried and a leader who will tow the line of the British foreign policy establishment again is imposed on the Labour Party. Corbyn could hurl Ken Livingstone into the Thames tomorrow and it would not be enough. We must be clear about what is going on here. Livingstone says and does stupid things, he has for a long time but there are others within the party who have said and done far worse in terms of both policy and statements who remain in no danger of being suspended or expelled. It is not really about Livingstone but about the right colluding with the British political-media establishment to further erode the Corbyn leadership. For those reasons we must oppose this witch hunt.