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A walk in the park. For Jeremy. December 2, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Thanks for this from Michael Murray who published the following in Labour Affairs this month. 

Last Sunday, on a socially distanced, responsibly masked up march in Finsbury Park, London, in support of Jeremy Corbyn, I met a man who had been suspended indefinitely from the Labour Party sometime last year. On the march, jointly organised by rank and file members of Hackney North & Stoke Newington and Islington North Constituency Labour Parties, we talked about his case.  He said, at first, he had been officially cautioned not to discuss it – except with the Samaritans. Bollocks to that, I said: another  made up “rule” to suit the exigencies of the moment that can’t be found in the Labour Party’s Rules and Constitution, 2020 edition.

I joined the Labour Party, he said, in the early days of Corbynism. His motivation was to access a political education and be involved in what, he felt, was a party intent on righting the wrongs of inequality and unfairness – at home and abroad. Instead, just a few years later he found himself outside the Party, not quite knowing why; not allowed to attend his branch or the wider constituency party: missing out on  the banter of the “meeting after the meeting” in the pub or the cafe. Not able to participate in, or vote on policy matters or vote in elections: disenfranchised – indefinitely. 

 In Limbo, that state of non place, and non being between Hell and Heaven, I thought I’d left behind me with the rest of my discarded Catholicism. But no. Limbo may be dead in Catholic Ireland, but it’s alive and well in the 2020 Labour Party. And if you can’t hack it, well, there’s the Samaritans. Or turning up to a demo like this one – in support of Jeremy Corbyn, in the same boat as you now: suspended.  Your torment began, before Starmer, on Jeremy’s watch. (That should not  be forgotten by us, who remember those “thrown under the bus” in the name of “antisemitism.”)  Both you and Jeremy victims of the weaponisation of a customised antisemitism designed to stop Corbyn and Corbynism dead in its tracks. 

I’m of a different generation of the labour movement to you, I said. Where an injury to one is the concern of all; where a person is innocent until, after due process, he or she may or may not be found guilty as charged and a condign sanction applied if appropriate, be it an informal “pep talk” – or expulsion. Or something in between. Where the emphasis is on personal improvement, not punishment. Where the transformative power of redemption is allowed to work its magic. High trust, participatively managed organisations do exist which embody such values and not only in truly cooperative organisations.  A democratic socialist party without them can neither be democratic nor socialist. 

Justice delayed is justice denied. It rots the soul.  Those who inflict the delay know that. That’s why they reference the Samaritans in every letter of suspension sent out. If those who sent these letters had any integrity, they would refer those suspended to the free legal aid of their trade union – or a solicitor.  But recommending the Samaritans is no more than a cynical, arse-covering acknowledgement of the psychological damage that may be done.  

I’m glad. I said, that, for a couple of hours, on this beautiful, sunny day, amongst the animated crowd with its Labour movement’s colourful historical banners and imaginative impromptu placards you could rediscover some of the comradeship of which you are being deprived. Keep the faith, hard and all as  that is these days under the Labour Party “New Management” of Keir Starmer, Party Leader. And the unelected Dave Evans,  General Secretary, who does the hatchet work. 

Extract from – Diary of an ex-Corbyn foots soldier (Labour Affairs, December, 2020)
Dictionary definition of a “foot soldier” ….”a dedicated low level follower…”Michael Murray: murraymicha@gmail.com Facebook Michael Murray London


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