In a previous article, I discussed the possibility of next week’s Labour Party conference as a defining moment for the party’s direction. Indeed, the atmosphere in Liverpool could turn toxic if certain issues are not debated.
But the Labour Party is undoubtedly experiencing one of its biggest downturns since the 1980s. As Corbyn was elected, the ideological framework for the party was once again flipped to face the more socialist aspects of Labour. Political parties in Western democracies are never a solid block of philosophy and principles.
However, there have been plenty of recent incidents in Labour where there is an unswerving devotion to Corbyn’s socialism – and any threat to that has been promptly acted on. The activists at the centre of Labour’s ‘Twitter-military’ movement are confrontational and aggressive to any suggestions of dissent within the movement. It is an experience that for many Labour Party members and MPs has proven too troubling to align to.
Socialism has never been a singular and pure ideology. Even before Marxist political philosophy was influential, there were strands and infusions of societal ideologies that formed a wide-reaching and diverse movement of ideas and audiences. In modern history, socialism has been malleable enough to adapt to situations and trying times.
Which begs the question, why are Corbyn’s devoted following so dedicated to this one rigid perception of socialism? The Labour Party backbenches are where the ideological diversity lives, adapting to other movements and societal issues. But what the devoted need to realise and respect is that the goals of the Labour movement are all dedicated to the same overall destination: a country respecting equality, diversity, and social justice. The means to achieve those ends are diverse, but the movement is inextricably dedicated to achieving those ends.
The internal debates with Labour have been exemplified by the recent string of deselections and votes of no confidence in local constituencies. Joan Ryan🗳️, Gavin Shuker🗳️, Chris Leslie🗳️, and the recently elected MP for Canterbury, Rosie Duffield🗳️ have all faced local opposition from their own members. This has shocked the parliamentary establishment in its entirety, as such an aggressive and emotive move can signify a deprivation in party politics.
On 11 September, Corbyn was asked about the recent populist wave of deselection votes only to refuse any intervening with a moot response about Labour’s ‘broad church’. It was a worrying display of apathy to his party’s inertia.
One person is responsible for all this disorder and anger: Jeremy Corbyn🗳️. His wish for a kinder, gentler politics has simply disintegrated after a vitriolic anti-Semitism scandal (still yet to be fully resolved) and now a parliamentary crisis. The movement of activists and social groups dedicated to Corbyn’s ideology have in many cases shown bitterness towards the ‘broad church’.
I was insulted by Labour members for supporting Jess Phillips🗳️ and Stella Creasy🗳️ on Twitter. When you are called an ‘odious Blairite troll’ for not drawing blood for the Corbyn movement, it is a poisonous community to belong to. I have never been a paid member of any political party. But Labour’s current twists and turns are pushing me and many others away from the movement. If the Corbyn fanatics continue to press for an unwavering support for their type of socialism, the ideology itself will lose its impact.
There needs to be a restoration in the party to heal the wounds of this crisis. Corbyn himself said he would defend his ‘broad church’ and ensure it survives. The rhetoric and language of socialism has adapted to the social media age with great spirit, and subsequently online abuse is very common. The ideology of the Labour Party is dedicated to equality and diversity, so why can’t it transmit that to its own party politics? If there’s one unfortunate casualty of the information age, it’s respect.🔷
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com)