(issued by Ali Wilkin, interim Harmony Party Media Officer)
As a democratic socialist party, the membership of The Harmony Party have watched and listened, as threats of legal action against Jeremy Corbyn swiftly became a threat of blackmail – triggered by socialists who came together in an act of solidarity for the Labour Party’s former leader, to raise money for a legal fund. Despite the fact that Jeremy Corbyn had nothing to do with the Go Fund Me that was set up, the right-wing media immediately began calling for him to ‘return’ the money – something he obviously cannot do, since he has not raised it.
And then on Sunday morning, the Daily Mail reported that the anti-Semitism “whistleblowers” – who have also threatened legal action against the Labour Party over the leaked report that, amongst other things, revealed that agents actively stymied investigations into complaints of anti-Semitism, and who have already received a “substantial payment”– issued the “offer” to the Labour Party: expel Jeremy Corbyn, and the threatened legal action against the Labour Party goes away.
We stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn, and with all socialists inside and outside of both our political parties. We stand in solidarity with his more than 30 years of service to his constituency and his country as a backbench MP, who never sought the leadership of the party, but when asked to stand, did so, never expecting to win.
Yet his message – essentially the simplest of all: hope, and a vision of a country as both community and Nation, working together for the benefit of all, sparked an unprecedented revival in that essential truth of socialism. The membership of the party swelled to over half a million during his leadership, and from the start the power of that message terrified those within the Labour Party whose greater allegiance is to the status quo. Yet both times that he stood for election he won by enormous majorities, and when he campaigned, people of all ages turned up in their thousands, with people crowding out venues, drawn by the message and the integrity of the messenger. In 2016, he held the party together after a far-right extremist murdered Labour MP Jo Cox. In 2017, he grieved with the families torn apart after the horror and bitter tragedy of Grenfell Tower fire.
In part, it was how close Corbyn came to taking a socialist Labour Party into government in 2017 that fired the growing zeal of the personalised campaign to demonise him. Yet for all his calmness in the face of it, Corbyn’s essential belief in the best of people became his own undoing. Particularly after 2017, what was needed was for Corbyn to stamp his authority on the party. For all the ambition of the 2019 manifesto, messaging became muddied, he didn’t communicate clearly enough his position of neutrality over the Brexit issue until too late, and the counter messaging and undermining that we have now a better awareness of as a result of the leaked report, meant that a racist, sexist, incompetent man who could only repeat 3 words, who wrenched journalist’s phones out of their hands and hid in fridges, became Prime Minister.
Whatever the flaws of the socialist revival in what was once a socialist party, or the flaws of the man who was given the task of leading it, the idea that the Labour Party could potentially stoop so low comes as no surprise to those of us who have left, are leaving or are considering leaving.
The Harmony Party is a democratic socialist party that recognises everything which was good about the socialism that we pursued under Corbyn, but also recognise, and are realistic about the flaws of that project, and the essential truth about the Labour Party: that it will always be held hostage by those who cling to the neo-liberal agenda and consistently seek to move the United Kingdom’s first successful socialist party into a “centre ground” – in a time when that centre is being driven ever further right under a hard-right resurgence, in the United States, Hungary, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
Nye Bevin once said: “The right wing of the Labour Party would rather see it fall into perpetual decline, than abide by its democratic decisions”. That has never been truer.
We recognise and respect Jeremy Corbyn’s continued service, and his former leadership – and as the Harmony Party pursues democratically elected socialist principles, and seeks to lead a true political opposition and resistance to that far right narrative, we hope that the Labour Party will at least see the blackmail for what it is, and act with some of the integrity of its former leader.
We stand in solidarity with all those who, like Jeremy Corbyn, aspire to dream of a country that enables and lifts up each other, and that as communities and a Nation, listens to its better angels.