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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

For a democratic Labour party

Summer is known as the silly season by the press because the long parliamentary recess means they have to fill their columns with even more rubbish to make up the difference. It is a good time for bourgeois political leaders to shuffle their packs while the backstabbers make their play in the corridors of power. And it always ends with the ‘conference season’, starting with the TUC and followed by equally boring Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative bashes that we’ve all grown to know and love down the years.

This time round we’ve seen Rishi Sunak replace Ben Wallace with Grant Shapps in Defence – although Sunak had little choice because Wallace was going anyway after he failed to get the top job in NATO – while Sir Keir Starmer continues to purge the ranks of his Shadow Cabinet to make room for more Blairites eager for high office when Labour wins the next election.

Some Corbynistas are rallying around the call to “Stop Starmer” from a campaign backed by two former Labour MPs, George Galloway and Chris Williamson, and veteran Liverpool campaigner Audrey White who was kicked out of the Labour Party last year after challenging Starmer in a cafe over his right-wing policies and the ongoing purge of supporters of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.

Former Labour campaigner Crispin Flintoff, a comic who raised over £150,000 for Labour before he was kicked out, says: “Keir Starmer is a danger to our democracy. He will say or do anything in pursuit of power. He is the most untrustworthy political leader this country has seen …the media hasn’t shown the reality of Starmer. But people who’ve been members of the Labour Party know what he’s really like. He stabbed the previous Labour leader in the back, he has broken all the pledges he has ever made, and he is carrying out a McCarthyite witch-hunt of the party – the biggest political purge of recent times…Starmer’s campaign to get into No 10 is the most cynical attempt to manipulate public opinion ever undertaken. We cannot allow him to get power because then it will be too late.”

Whether Starmer is the most untrustworthy politician this country has ever seen is a matter of opinion – there have been plenty of other Tory and Labour leaders over the years who would fit that bill. What is a fact, however, is that the only way Starmer is going to be stopped from getting into Downing Street is to vote Conservative at the next general election.

Although Labour was founded by the trade unions to give the working class its own voice within Parliament, the Parliamentary Party leadership has been dominated by the middle class intelligentsia since the days of Ramsay McDonald.

But the enemy of the working class is the ruling class not the Labour Party. Labour still maintains its links with the unions and the cooperative movement, and as long as that continues it remains the best option for the working class in the era of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. Our strategy is for working class unity and our campaigns are focused on defeating the rightwing within the movement and strengthening the left and progressive forces within the Labour Party and the unions. Daytoday demands for reform, progressive taxation, state welfare and a public sector dedicated to meet the people’s needs are winnable under capitalism, particularly in a rich country like Britain today.

We don’t want to waste time on futile efforts to build social-democratic platforms to rival Labour at election time. We need to break with the ‘broad left’ factions in the unions that do little apart from elevating their leaders onto the gravy train of the bureaucrats who line their own pockets at the members’ expense. We do need a democratic rank-and-file movement within the unions committed to peace and socialism. It can be done!