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Jeremy Corbyn and hard left “Infiltration”

Jeremy CorbynThe press are not neutral arbiters when it comes to the Labour leadership contest. If they can use the debates between party members as a way of deepening divisions in the party, they will. At the forefront of these attempts is the so-called quality “paper of record” The Times, which of late is transforming itself into a straight propaganda sheet. Earlier this week, a fairly innocuous piece by Charles Falconer setting out his support for Andy Burnham was spiked with the headline “Women are not tough enough to lead Labour“. It was misleading bollocks as he said nothing of the sort. Nevertheless, it had the desired effect. The ‘Burnham is sexist’ meme got a lift before, the day after, The Times issued their mea culpa.

And now they’re at it again. The front page legend goes “Hard left plot to infiltrate Labour race“, with the subby “Harman urged to halt leadership vote“. It reads:

140,000 new activists are projected to have joined … with many signing up to back the hard left candidate….  The Communist Party of Great Britain (aka CPGB – Ed) has called on supporters to join and back Corbyn as part of its revolutionary “strategy”.

Then we see “Labour MPs say” their CLPs are being flooded with lefties (of course, these sources go unattributed). Let’s unpack some of this. 

First off, taking my very old friends the CPGB as evidence of any movement at all is the thinnest of thin gruels. Here’s a 30-strong collective who’ve spent over three decades peddling their politics to little effect. They’ve also participated in practically every left regroupment project going, managing to alienate virtually everyone they’ve ever come into contact with. By far left standards, that’s some feat. The Times also goes on to say that some TUSC candidates have also signed up. That may be the case, but some proof would be nice.

Furthermore, the two main forces on the far left – the rape cover-uppers in the SWP, and my increasingly stop-the-world-we-want-ti-get-off erstwhile comrades in the Socialist Party are standing aloof from what’s going on. Any real political movement of tens of thousands of politicised people is a real risk to their coherence as organisations. There’s that and the fact the organised “hard left” outside of Labour would be hard-pressed to muster 6,000-7,000 members and supporters. The numbers we’re talking about dwarf that pretty pitiful figure.

On that flood of new members, it says a great deal about the mindset of The Times and the briefers quoted. They cannot grasp that real people have all kinds of views, and that some might be attracted to a party when a menu of different options are unveiled. They cannot conceive how anyone would join Labour of their own volition to support a candidate without some plot or shadowy clique behind the scenes manipulating things.

I can only speak for my CLP, but since the start of 2015 about 100 people have joined sturdy old Stoke Central and 70 of them signed up after the election. From those that have come to meetings, most are not there just to vote in the leadership contest. They’ve joined because they want Labour to win nationally against a cruel and stupid government. Some of these are Jeremy Corbyn supporters, but by far and away the most important – and numerous – contingent of that constituency are established members. If the doomsayers want either Andy, Yvette, or even Liz to win they need to shut up and try and understand where the Jez supporters are coming from.

Half-way in we get to John Mann MP, the one “urging” the suspension of the Labour leadership contest. Acting as the party’s cut-price Simon Danczuk while he is temporarily indisposed, he says it’s “becoming a farce” as long-standing members are getting “trumped” by people who don’t care about the Labour Party. Too right, John. We can’t let any old any old swamping the members, can we? Except, according to this piece John penned for Progress, he’d go even wider and let anyone choose the party’s parliamentary candidates, including – presumably – “people who have opposed the Labour Party and want to break it up“. What a tool.

Of course, John – and also-quoted Labour donor/David Miliband groupie Assem Allam and Lord John Hutton – are being useful idiots for Conservative/Murdoch ambitions who’ve seen Scotland, seen how it is possible to completely rout the party in its traditional core areas. And they want to repeat the same in England and Wales.

Their inspiration here is German politics, how the left is split between Die Linke and the SPD. The former contains the radical, anti-austerity elements and the latter the so-called moderates. In practice where national politics are concerned, it has doomed the former to perpetual opposition and the latter to shoring up Angela Merkel. It would suit Murdoch and the Tories if such a scenario could be imposed on British politics as it makes the possibility of the centre left ever forming a government again incredibly unlikely.

If Labour MPs and other senior figures want to avoid this, they’d do well to stop fanning hysterical attacks on Corbyn, they’d do well not to give the Murdoch press and its ExpressTelegraph, and Mail allies reasons to put the boot in. Because they’re not only – yes – scabbing on the party, they’re putting their own careers on the line too.

This article was first published at All that is Solid

25 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    You are lying about the SWP. You should be ashamed to make false rape accusations.

    1. James Martin says:

      Nothing false about the ‘Comrade Delta’ rape allegations unfortunately. The only amazing thing is that it didn’t put what is left of that nasty little sect out of its own misery.

  2. James Martin says:

    The ‘entrist’ scare is a desperate act by some now pretty desperate right-wingers. Yes, of course some of the external left has finally realised that the Party isn’t dead after all (even though it has made a complete mess of their ultra-left perspectives). But lump all the associated still active stalinists and trots together and you would be lucky if they amounted to a few thousand (and only a fraction of them have I suspect joined the three quidders), so by themselves they are not going to decide matters one way or another.

    The real issue with entrism is at the other end of the Party, and in the shape on Progress, the Henry Jackson Society and other assorted and shadowy atlanticist networks – and it is from these atlanticist reactionaries that the real threat lays – John Mann may be a laughable idiotic goon, but those pulling his strings aren’t funny at all.

    1. David Ellis says:

      This is correct. The real entryists are the New Labour clique that captured the party in the early 90s with their alternative sources of income and their secretive organisational structures. They truly are a party within a party and of course the issue of the Telegraph advising their readers to register to vote too. But let us not forget who gave us this new system for electing the leader: New Labour itself.

      1. john P Reid says:

        some blairites were former Trots, Darling, Milburn,Byers, Straw and some were Gaitskellites,who’d been on the right of hte party for 40 years

    2. john Reid says:

      progress heanry JAckson don’t get a vote in the leadershipo, non party members who pay trhe 33 do,same as unions paying for false memebers to join

  3. its interesting that the article does not mention Tories for Corbyn, nor that John Cryer, chair of the parliamentary labour party, has also expressed concern. Fact is that the party is wide open to infiltration. There is no way that the constituency parties can check more than the electoral roll. The opportunity for anyone, including the BNP, to organise a membership drive purely for the £3 right to vote in the leadership election, is wide open.

    its not the reason for the Corbyn surge, but it will give the press a field day after the election as people who want to damage labour can then come out the woodwork and claim they voted for him.

    Tories for Corbyn is the key factor. Try working out what they are doing. It seems Toby Young has been rejected, but other less prominent figures from the right, can get away with infiltration.

    Add to this the YouGov report that the Corbyn supporters, even the genuine ones, do not think the man you support can win an election and don’t care, and the claim that this is a movement to build a winning coalition is on very shaky ground. Lets have a focus on all the relevant factors, not just those that the Corbyn camp want to consider

    The opinion polling on how the electors view Corbyn are notably missing at the moment. Where is the data on the voters?

    trevor fisher

    1. James Martin says:

      But you are assuming that the Tories, Telegraph et al are clever and know what they are doing. They aren’t and they don’t. They believe that if the Party was led by a socialist it would be a disaster. As socialists we obviously do not think that would be the case.

      As to checking names etc., well come on, who supported the Collins proposals in the first place, certainly not us on the left! Again, it is an example of how stupid the triangulaters really are given they were the very ones supporting what we now have because they saw it is a way of weakening the unions and CLP activists and moving power to vague non-committed ‘supporters’ rather than activists who would take their cue from the Mail and Sun, without realising that there is a very large progressive anti-austerity constituency out there that was, like Scotland, just waiting to be tapped.

      Besides, to a certain extent some Tories have always had an influence in leader elections, and I don’t mean the Tory entrist variety in Progress (although they are bad enough). Trade unions have always by their nature contained supporters of other parties and non-socialists, and so either via those people voting for their own union leaders, or if affiliated unions have opened up and ‘democratised’ the block vote they have always had the potential influence – nothing has changed here except that the widespread support for a genuine socialist both inside and outside the Party that is both new (in terms of recent history) and very welcome!

      1. john P Reid says:

        maybe they looked to 1983

    2. Matty says:

      “the YouGov report that the Corbyn supporters, even the genuine ones, do not think the man you support can win an election ”
      The YouGov report does not say that at all – you are misinformed. Go and look at the original queston again. By the way, YouGov also report that Corbyn as a leader scores best on the question of which leader is more likely to make you vote Labour (especially so in Scotland). You can find the surveys on the YouGov website.

    3. john Reid says:

      quite

  4. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    “I am not now nor have I ever been a communist, blah, blah, blah, blah; bollocks.”

    Even were this remotely true, (and only in the same way that Tories have been infiltrated by hard right crypto and not so crypto fascists;, let’s never ever forger Thatcher’s best mate was the bloody handed American stooge General Pinochet and what that tell us about Tories more broadly.

    People should vote for whom they chose and if socialism or even communism, (Marxism,) are gaining support again then that’s more the Tories and their vile and brutal policies, need, desperation and common sense that conspiracy or infiltration.

  5. David Ellis says:

    Unfortunately most of the `hard’ left are organised into self-serving sects and are engaged in their own opportunist projects like TUSC or Left Unity of The Greens and so if there are any infiltrators they are few and far between and even then probably not marxists but Stalinists, neo-Stalinists, centrists, left reformists etc. In fact however it is the duty of the Marxist left to be fully engaged in the Corbyn Campaign helping enthusiastically to build it but at the same time exposing its limitations especially its political limitations and pushing it to go further.

    In a way it would be a very good thing if the New Labour clique closed down the election as it would force the Labour Left to establish a bloc independently of the party apparatus that could give political represntation to the growinig anti-austerity movement outside parliament and it would mean that a victorious Corbyn would not be able to hand policy making power straight back to the New Labourites by stuffing his shadow cabinet with them in an attempt at `reconciliation’. But I don’t think even the New Labour dunderheads are stupid enough to make it that easy for us although it was them who bought in this inidividual voting to distance themselves from the Unions and then forgot to fulfill the gatekeeping roll they had kept for themselves and nomiated Corby so perhaps they are.

    1. john P Reid says:

      well said

    2. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      It’s also been estimated that Blair cost the labor party 5 million votes anyway and you just can’t keep, “excluding,” anyone you simply don’t like, Walter Wolfgang, the disabled delegates at the conference, the unemployed and not expect it to eventfully catch up with you in the polls.

  6. Bazza says:

    The £3 supporter idea should be scrapped after this vote.
    it is not fair on members who work year in year out but then supporters come along and get equal rights in voting then can disappear, leaving us all to do the graft.
    Also ditch the ridiculous US idea of Primaries.
    But have a minimum membership fee of £5 (based on income) and then membership fees on a sliding scale again based on income (like some trade unions) to try to make us a mass party.
    People should actually join us and you learn much by discussion as well as by reading.
    You also build solidarity.
    Also positive working class action to get more working class democratic socialist Parliamentary candidates.
    I think we are also doing well because we want more democracy for members re giving policy back to members through Annual Conference.
    I think everyone including the public are sick to death of top down!

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Yes lets us have non of this wretched democracy stuff, actually giving ordinary people an opportunity to vote on really important issues is actually pretty mental isn’t it?

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        As for all work you feel you’ve done, (are we supposed to feel grateful,) like getting thieving lying low life elected; from The Great Charlatan himself, (Blair alone is estimated to have cost Labor 5 million votes,) down to Harman, Cooper, Balls, Kendell and co,) into positions of power and influence which have abused so massively and replacing traditional UK democracy with an almost completely unaccountable extra parliamentary form of government driven by seedy financial and corporate interest that leans increasing towards a form of quasi totalitarianism ?

        Better you’d all staying at home in bed.

        1. john P Reid says:

          blair cost labour 5m ,votes, well Wilson,Callaghan and Foot cost labour 5.6M votes between 1955 and 1983,and who increased Labours vote by 5.2m votes between 1987,and 1997, Oh yes Kinnock and Blair

    2. john Reid says:

      true

  7. bazza is right and making membership a condition of voting is the principle which works and worked for many years. The idiocy is allowing anyone to come in to the party, without checks on party affiliation, to vote in internal candidates.

    One Member One Vote is democratic. One Cheque for £3 one vote is the opposite,. I have spoken to two long standing party members fully paid up this weekend who have heard NOTHING about this election from the Labour Party.

    What is the point in being a party member if anyone including tories for corbyn can join for £3. David Miliband, alas, wanted US style primaries where there was no check on political leanings.

    Membership democracy is the principle, but its for members not anyone who drops in, and can drop out just as easily. If the deal is only for elections then how many of the new signees are going to come back next year? When the hard work of fighting elections takes place?

    Trevor Fisher,.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Spoken like a true blue Blair apparatchik.

      Unfortunately it’s a load complete crap and the country as whole refused to buy into it.

      Harriet and all her thieving lying mates seem to conceive of labor as a narrow, (and wholly unrepresentative and unaccountable,) very exclusive club, (clique,) with membership, and it’s advantages ( jealously guarded,) and confined only to themselves and their well heeled middle class, “set.”

      In the end they, (people such as yourself,) got so far up their own rectums that they completely forgot that people, (like me and in the end I, if grudgingly, voted UKIP rather than vote for the above,) still had to vote for them; and we didn’t.

  8. john P Reid says:

    I would suggest that if the winning result is so close that the majority is based on the amount of those who joined recently for £3,( the results are divided into affilation,members and supporters or it can be proved that some of the new members had their membership paid for buy unite,

    That if those who back the winner and they only win by the supporters who paid £3, giving them their majority,and that if they don’t renew their membership next year, then if the leader wins, they should have to stand down as it won’t be current members/supporters backing them

    This could apply to Kendall aswell,as some Tories may pay the £3,for her

  9. I realise that J P Craig Weston has no idea who I am, but if you don’t know then don’t throw accusations about. Try the socialist educational association for starters and then look for the chartist web site

    How come this site tolerates this kind of abuse? Its not as though Jon Lansman and Michael Meacher do not know who I am. They do.

    I only reply to stop the mud sticking. But why is mud being thrown?

    Trevor Fisher

  10. John P Reid says:

    Dan hodges telegraph journal, and voter of Boris johnson for Major, has joined for three quid,to vote orbyn

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