The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party on the flimsiest of pretexts is not only a baseless attack on a longstanding fighter in words and deeds against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.
It is also the latest step in a longer and bigger drive to marginalise socialists and left-wing ideas in the Labour Party and the wider labour movement.
Make no mistake, the British ruling class was shaken by the June 2017 General Election result, when Labour under Corbyn’s leadership increased its vote by 3.5m and won one of its biggest shares of the poll in more than 40 years. More than half a million new members had flocked to the party under his leadership and 13 million electors had voted for Labour’s most radical manifesto since 1983.
The prospect of a left-led Labour government next time around, led by a socialist who opposes British imperialism’s foreign and military policies, prompted the ruling class to intensify efforts to discredit Corbyn and his allies.
Those efforts succeeded, assisted by an unscrupulous smear campaign in the state and capitalist mass media, the sabotage of Labour’s electoral prospects by numerous Labour MPs and central staff members, and by Starmer’s successful strategy – in league with New Labourites and big business circles – to commit Labour to overturning the EU referendum result.
But the left-right battle in the Labour Party is a central part of the same struggle in the wider movement and in society itself. That is why socialists and the Labour-affiliated trade unions must unite in solidarity with Corbyn, demand his reinstatement and fight to reverse the drive to marginalise the left in the Labour Party.
One clear lesson of the past 100 years is that a bigger, stronger Communist Party can play a crucial role in building and strengthening such a counter-offensive.
Without this resistance, there is the growing danger that the British ruling class will engineer a ‘national government’ to rescue or a replace a divided Tory government and shore up crisis-hit capitalist system – with the support of the anti-socialists in a Starmer-led Labour Party.