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Diary of a Corbyn Foot Soldier (February, 2020)  March 9, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Thanks as always to Michael Murray: murraymicha@gmail.com  Facebook: Michael Murray London   

Dictionary definition of foot soldier”:  “…a dedicated low level follower…” 


*The Labour leadership election;

*The Trump “Plan” – the end of the 2 State solution to the Israel-Palestine question?;

 *2020: 100 years of the Jewish Labour Movement/ Poele Zion.  

*The Labour leadership election

Voting in the Labour Party leadership contest begins on February 21st and closes midday April 2nd. April 4th the result is announced, a new leader is duly anointed – and Jeremy Corbyn stands down.  And, it seems, I didn’t do enough in the role of loyal Corbyn foot soldier to merit a nomination to the House of Lords, as happened with Tom Watson, handsomely rewarded for his disloyalty. 

April 4th, therefore, will mark my last entry in the diary of a Corbyn foot soldier. It started when I decided to support Jeremy’s bid for the leadership. It seems a long time ago, it’s been such an eventful  roller-coaster which, of course, came from an overly emotional investment on my part in what, without a doubt, will be seen in the future as one of the defining moments in British political history. Indeed that thought was more or less how I concluded the first piece.

In that diary entry I said I supported Jeremy because although there might have been Labour MPs more experienced and talented for the job, there was no one I wouldn’t trust as much as Jeremy to do the best he could within – from the get-go – what was a toxic political environment – much of the toxicity being generated within the Parliamentary Labour Party itself.  And by the British Establishment, including billionaire-owned main stream media.

Jeremy didn’t let down my faith in him. Indeed, as noted in a subsequent entry, I wrote that his  apology, on behalf of the Labour Party for its support for the Iraq invasion, would have been reward enough. Iraq was the reason I didn’t rejoin the Party on return from living in Ireland in my retirement, and didn’t until Corbyn presented himself for the Party leadership with the promise of doing things differently.  But there was more to come. Much more. Appropriately, culminating in his performance in  PMQ’s  (Prime Minister’s  Questions)  and his exposure of Boris Johnson’s support for the Trump “Peace Plan.” (29th January, 2020)

*The Trump Peace “Plan”

Let me summarise his contribution (from live House of Commons coverage): “This peace plan will annex Palestinian territory…lock in illegal Israeli colonisation …. transfer Palestinian citizens of Israel and deny them their fundamental human rights .. Labour calls for Government backing for a genuine international peace plan rather than Trump’s plan”

There has been world-wide criticism of the Trump-Netanyahu initiative. It has  been mocked as an electioneering gimmick by both men, one in the process of being indicted for fraud and the other being  impeached for a treasonable act – thus, both in need of a high impact distraction from their own problems.  But that is to miss the point.

This “Peace Plan” is the culmination of  a long settler colonialisation for the control of  a country – Palestine. It mirrors, in essence, the US Indian Removal Act, 1830, which displaced the nations of native Americans (“Indians”) from east to west of the Mississippi river, while before and after this Act carrying out a settlement policy, similar to what has been happening in Israel-Palestine – also  backed by heavy-handed military action against indigenous resistance.

Another parallel  is that the settlers were mostly Europeans fleeing religious, political and class oppression in their own countries, whose suffering was supposed to mitigate, if not excuse, the suffering they were inflicting on native Americans – and French and Spanish.  Being Irish, I have more relations in the USA than in Ireland. By far. We were, a lot of the time, the sharp end of settler colonialism as soldiers and police. As a child, I cheered John Wayne and Victor McLaglan and all the plastic paddies of the “Fighting 69th” when they stuck it to the “savages.” In Israel-Palestine those who resist are called “terrorists.” But it’s the same old “Manifest Destiny” script being played out before us, as if it was something new.  Senator  Chris Murphy, a Democratic Party foreign affairs spokesperson, and, apparently all-round decent guy, has said:”The unilateral annexation of the Jordan River Valley and existing settlements, deemed illegal under US and international law, will set back the peace process decades. And it risks real violence and massive destabilisation inside places like Jordan.” 

As former Guardian Foreign leader writer, David Hearst, said in Middleeasteye, 29th January 2020:.:”No-one should underestimate the historic nature of the declaration that has just taken place. The two-state solution or the idea that a viable, contiguous Palestinian state can be created alongside a Jewish majority state is dead.”  Hearst’s summary of  the main points of Trump’s plan: support for Israeli annexation of Jordan Valley and Israeli occupied West Ban and illegal settlements: a four year freeze on Israeli settlement construction in areas marked out for Palestinians, though, of course that leaves out the issue of the road networks, checkpoints and military outposts set up by Israel to prevent  unfettered communication within the scattered and fragmented  Palestinian territory. He concluded:  The Palestinian state envisioned by Trump “looks like an MRI scan of the brain of an Alzheimer’s victim. The Palestinian state has been entirely eaten away.”

That is the positive side of  the Trump plan. It, inadvertently, brings things to a head. It reveals the real plan: the completion of the settler colonial process at the expense of the colonialised: those still living in Israel-Palestine and those driven out and denied the right to return. Let us, as members of the Labour Party, in this time of remembrance, remember that the highpoint of  Palestine’s “Mississippi River” moment, was the forcible expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians and the beginning of the end of any real possibility of a viable state of  Palestine. And it happened in 1948. On our watch. 

The problem has festered too long. The prolonged “Occupation,” unchallenged  in international law, long ago  morphed into a de facto “Annexation” despite all the  pious UN resolutions. And the        “2 State” solution  has for decades constituted no more than a cover for more annexation by stealth. For me, as a Labour Party member, I welcome its timing: let’s see what the leadership candidates are made of – because they all failed their first test: responding to the outrageous demands, yes, demands of the unrepresentative jewish Board of Deputies about their antisemitic plans. Now is the time for them to make amends, balance things up – if they have it in them.

I am particularly interested in Lisa Nandy’s response, seeing her as the most likely one to succeed, if Keir Starmer slips up.  This is what she said to the Jewish Chronicle on Labour and antisemitism:

“Not only have we completely lost the trust of the Jewish community, but we are being investigated for institutional racism. If you do not accept this is a problem then you really have to question why you are in the Labour Party,” Lisa Nandy, Labour Leader candidate,  writes in the Jewish Chronicle.

As a member of the Labour Party, I do not believe it is “institutionally racist.”  If it were, I would not  be in it. However, I certainly would question now putting an “X” to Lisa Tandy’s name  to become the next Labour Leader. As experienced recently in the Labour Party, antisemitism was never only about antisemitism. There was another agenda. And that single item agenda read “That Jeremy Corbyn will never be allowed to be UK Prime Minister.” Was it because of his  potentially game changing foreign policy, or his domestic  policy? The truth is: both. In imperial, or post-imperial Britain,  foreign and domestic policies are indivisible. That is something I heard Lyndsey German, of “Stop the War,” say some years ago.    


I have yet to see proof of institutional racism, including antisemitism in the British Labour Party. Rather, all the proof is to the contrary – that the Labour Party, if anything, is less racist, less antisemitic than the main parties – and the general public.


* The Jewish Labour Movement, and its fore-runner: Poele Zion

Lisa Nandy has to know  that the referral to the EHRC came from the CAA and the JLM and was politically motivated.   The CAA is the Campaign Against Antisemitism. Fact check for yourself this organisation and its anti Labour stance. The JLM (Jewish Labour Movement), members of which, unlike the Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), which Nandy lambasts, are not even required to be members of the Labour Party, or, even, Jews! Fact check, please, because, I know,  it is hard to credit. As it is equally hard to accept its very public, and very electorally damaging declaration of non-support of Labour in the last election – without Nandy or any of the leadership contenders calling for its censure, or disaffiliation for bringing the Party into disrepute. 


The same JLM, was “affiliated to Labour for a hundred years,” says Nandy. Yes, if you stretch a point. To do that you’re obliged to mention the LFM’s original name: Paole Zion – the clue Is in the name: “The workers of Zion.” So, how appropriate it was for all Labour leadership candidates, to use the platform of the occasion of the LFM’s hundredth anniversary, to declare their adherence to Zionism! 


Paole, or Paolei, Zion was a split from The international Jewish Bund, a militant Marxist-influenced movement that rejected the colonialisation of Palestine idea. Bund adherents were, if you like, “anti-Zionists” when zionism and antisemitism were not “conflated” but were distinct and competing  tendencies in the Jewish socialist movement. Poale Zion affiliated to the British Labour Party in 1920 – less than 2 years after the British Labour Party proposed the jewish colonisation of Palestine.  Fact check minutes of LP &TUC conference, December 1917.


But Fact check, in vain, for any concern for, or mention of, the impact of this settler colonialist policy on Palestinian Muslims, Christians, Druze, or, indeed, the indigenous Palestinian Jews, or other, lesser, religious and ethnic groups.   


The Jewish Chronicle wrote, on 30th January, the contenders of the Labour Party are involved in  a high wire balancing  act on Labour and antisemitism – with glee, I suspect – as it sees its pernicious influence on internal Labour Party matters holding sway.


The next, and final, entry in The Diary of a Corbyn foot soldier, will attempt to assess how far we’ve come in the Corbyn years, and, in the light of the forthcoming leadership election results – and first Shadow Cabinet appointments – where we’re now headed.  


1. Diary of a Corbyn Foot Soldier (February, 2020) | Tomás Ó Flatharta - March 9, 2020

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2. tomasoflatharta - March 9, 2020

I highly recommend Michael Murray’s account – Days of Hope Started when Jeremy Corbyn was elected to the job of leading the British Labour Party. The foot-soldier’s trek through a gloomy British political landscape ends on April 4 2020 when Jeremy Corbyn officially resigns from his leadership job, and Tony Blair style right-wingers take over the British Labour Party again. Doctor Strangeloves are lining up to press a nuclear button, and prepare the funeral rites of the British Labour Party, which has already lost its one-time electoral fortress in Scotland.


EWI - March 9, 2020

Watch ‘Labour anti-semitism’ magically disappear, and the Board of Deputies somehow disinclined to carry on their campaign.

(The sight of the DUP, of all parties, marching ‘against anti-Semitism’ was a sick joke)


Michael Murray - March 13, 2020

EWI On the contrary. The BoD, Jewish Chronicle, the (internal Labour) Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) have already nailed down compliance from the Labour leadership candidates with future-proofing demands based on their take on antisemitism – more exigent even than those demanded of Corbyn’s Labour Party. No, it’s the gift that goes on giving.


Michael Murray - March 13, 2020

GRMA, a Thomáis. Aontaím le do bhreithiúineas poiliticiúl, is cuma cé comh úafásach 7 atá sé. Táimid ag deireadh an bhóthair le Corbyneachas. Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan Corbyn? “Toughen up!’ Sin a dúirt Tony Benn fadó tar éis bhriseadh eile. Sin doiligh, Fusa a rá ná a dhéanamh. I mo chás-se nuair a chaithim mo aois ‘san áireamh níl an dara rogha ann: tá sé in am filleadh ar na paidreacha le h-agaidh bás sona. An t-aon bhealach fághtha chun na bhfleathais don foot soldier (I gceart-lár Seachtain na Gaeilge, an “saighdiuir coise.”)

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