“The election of Keir Starmer and the trajectory that he has regrettably followed have sustained and nurtured a culture of dismissing those forms of racism and prejudice at virtually all levels of the party”
Members of the ‘Labour Black Socialists’ group have decided that there is no alternative but to selectively ‘down tools’ in the party’s 2021 election campaigns. The group is still in the Labour party and has chosen to stay and fight for the party that its members support.
Members of the Labour party have reported routine anti-Black racism and islamophobia within the party, while the Labour internal report that was leaked last year also exposed. A report by the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) also revealed serious Islamophobia on the party’s right.
A press release by the group, which has around 160 members, states:
There is a culture within the Labour party that looks the other way when it comes to anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and prejudice against the Gypsy Roman Traveller (GRT) and trans communities. This leads members to believe there is an hierarchy when it comes to dealing with racism within the Labour party.
The Forde inquiry is not a commitment from the current leadership and the group does not want the leader to resolve these complaints in the same ill conceived and undemocratic way that has been identified within the EHRC findings.
This group will be raising our concerns with other like-minded members of the Labour party. We will be requesting that those who support us to also down tools. This means selectively campaigning only for candidates whose commitment is clear to justice for all irrespective of differences in class, race, ethnicity and religion.
The Labour Party will not get away with dismissing members’ concerns about racism and the group hopes that action will be taken swiftly against those within the party found to be racist.
Group spokesperson Mogamat Reederwan Craayenstein, who was jailed by the apartheid regime in South Africa for fighting the South African government’s racism, told the SKWAWKBOX:
I come from the anti-apartheid movement and I’ve spent time in prison in South Africa for it, so I’ve been around the block a bit. The Labour party has been an important element in the anti-apartheid movement in the UK and in the global solidarity movement in the struggle.
It is a tragedy that the Labour party has reached the point, on anti-Black racism, on Islamophobia and prejudice against GRT and trans people, where we have had to take this action.
We come from different parts of the country and different CLPs (constituency parties) and we believe that the leaked Labour report has been ‘kicked into the long grass’ with the Forde Inquiry. That leaked report and the LMN’s report show, persuasively to say the least, that anti-Black racism and Islamophobia are a serious problem in the Labour party.
The election of Keir Starmer and the trajectory that he has regrettably followed have sustained and nurtured a culture of dismissing those forms of racism and prejudice at virtually all levels of the party.
We believe he has shown a catastrophic failure on these matters when [standing against them] should be uncontroversial in the Labour party.
We remain loyal to the Labour party but will fight for the party we can have confidence in. This is not about left and right, this is about having genuine anti-racists in public office. It’s the only chance of restoring the party to the leading voice in anti-racism in this country and around the world that it is supposed to be.
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