War on democracy, broken campaign promises and continuing vilification of Corbyn among reasons listed in damning resignation notice
Recent weeks have seen an exodus of Labour party members and their elected officers in London’s Newham borough, in protest and disgust at the conduct of Keir Starmer and his cronies and the racism of the Labour right. Philip Edwards has joined them – and his resignation letter is a damning summary of the crimes of the right-wing faction:
To whom it may concern, or not
Today I join the 200 000 plus other members of the Labour Party who have resigned since the whip was withdrawn from Jeremy Corbyn. This letter will not be of great concern to you as I realise along with many other principled comrades, that you have through stealth and undemocratic means either suspended or expelled members of the left to enable a takeover of the Party at every level by those on the right wing who support the ‘policies’ of Keir Starmer.
Thus you will no doubt not read any further as you have achieved the aims you set out to achieve. Nevertheless, I continue to explain to those who continue to fight inside and outside the Party, that my exit is from a Party no longer fit for purpose for those who wish to engage in a democratic struggle for socialist principles.
Before I joined the Party I was active as a socialist for many decades. I was a member of the committee leading the East London Teachers Association ( NUT ), I was a school rep., health and safety rep., I was Secretary of Tower Hamlets Trades Union Council for 5 years, helped organise and joined several convoys to Bosnia and Kosovo during the war in the Former Yugoslavia. I was heavily involved in NUT actions in the 1980’s, many anti-racist struggles and organised support during the miners Strike of 1984-5 alongside thousands of others.
More recently I have campaigned actively with Newham Save our NHS not only alongside other campaigners but also with our MPs and CLP members. It therefore came as a big surprise and a huge disappointment that in March you decided to suspend West Ham and our neighbours East Ham CLP on basically trumped up charges.
Our Regional Office even sunk so low as to repeat accusations of electoral malpractice which had already been dismissed by the police and to then make further malpractice accusations when it was our own officers who had reported this in the first place!! You have in effect disenfranchised 5000 members in two of the most active CLP’s in the country. We even campaigned outside of London to fight for a Labour victory in the parliamentary elections. Unbeknown to us this campaign was to be deliberately undermined by members of our own Party!
Is this what you mean by a ‘broad church’ and by ‘uniting the party’? We have decades of experience here but you ignore letters from our officers who are treated with contempt and you have made no attempt to update us on investigations into the supposed allegations which it is now obvious you have no intention of investigating. Why? Because they have absolutely no foundation.
You cannot defeat us democratically so you instead try to make it impossible for us to organise by denying our right to hold meetings or to participate in elections. You have failed in that respect because we have continued to organise. We will not turn our backs on our local community. We will not be silenced by you. Our community in Newham suffered the most horrendous death rate at the start of this pandemic and as became clearly obvious in that pandemic it was this terrible right wing Government’s policies which would decimate the most vulnerable of our diverse community .
We helped with food banks and members of Newham Save Our NHS contributed too to assisting the Newham Health Champions in educating the poorest sections of our community about the need to vaccinate. We have been at the forefront of campaigns against academisation, fought house evictions, and Newham Save Our NHS has also fought against the hostile environment, against privatisation and the Health and Social Care Act, and with others in London and nationally fought against the takeover of our GP practices by Operose ( a subsidiary of the American Health Insurance company, Centene ) and other foreign private multinationals.
You should be ashamed of marginalising the most active members of this Party without due process. Your actions are shameful and will be judged by history as such when the people suffering cuts in universal credit, cuts to benefits, austerity and poverty turn on you and ask why you are not fighting this shameful Government instead of turning on your own members. Shame on you.
When I joined the party it was along with a wave of support for the Socialist platform Jeremy Corbyn had set out. The Labour party was transformed in the wake of Corbyn’s announced policies and manifesto into the largest social democratic party, or indeed of any party, in Europe, with 500 000 members. What then happened, alongside a deliberate campaign of misinformation by Tory Brexiteers, was a parallel campaign by the media to politically assassinate Corbyn in the Press, on TV and on social media. This was not unexpected but alongside this the right wing clique of the parliamentary Labour party deliberately conspired against the wishes of the membership to destroy its leader who had been elected on a democratic mandate to fight for the most radical policies since the 1940’s.
The Labour party is unique in that , unlike in Europe , it was the trade unions who established it as the voice of the working class in Parliament rather than the other way round. It is sad now to see the party turning its back on the trade union movement and replacing Corbyn’s radical manifesto with shallow empty slogans like “prosperity” and “security”. It is sad too, that in the wake of the national chauvinist Brexit campaign, instead of fighting for internationalist perspectives, Starmer sits in offices waving the Union Jack .
Starmer broke every promise he made to unite the party as a ‘broad church’ and instead viciously aimed his guns at every principled socialist in the party and chose to exaggerate claims about rampant anti-semitism in the party in order to silence the left and to disarm the campaign supporting Palestinians against the reactionary policies of the Israeli theocratic State. This I know is now a thought crime which would provide grounds enough for my expulsion. Well I still believe that socialists have a right to debate openly their differences. Clearly we are not engaged in a debate with socialists but with people who have a wholly different perspective which has nothing to do with challenging capitalism.
I will be joining many others who will be fighting for genuine social change. The Labour party is not the place for anyone seeking to uphold the rights and liberties of the oppressed and the vulnerable. So I take my leave.
Philip Edwards ( Newham Labour party member )
The Newham situation is being repeated around the country. The most active members are leaving in disgust, leaving Labour unable to mount a decent by-election ground campaign – or even to find people willing to be associated with Starmer by standing as election candidates.
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