After the Gang of Seven – now for the rest

By KD Tait

We welcome, without a shred of regret, the resignation of the seven former Labour MPs, who will be spending the weeks and months ahead applying the finishing touches to their political obituaries.

The split confirms that these saboteurs are motivated solely by a desire to wreck any prospect of a left-wing Labour government starting to undo the damage inflicted by the policies of austerity, privatisation, and war supported by the zombie Blairites.

The allegation that Labour is “institutionally anti-Semitic” is a contemptible slander that undermines the fight against actual antisemitism.

By launching a wrecking campaign in the crucial days before 29 March, they reveal their opposition to Brexit was never anything more than a cynical attempt to exploit the divisions between Corbyn and the members.

By continuing to sit as MPs without renewing their democratic mandate, they reveal both the moral bankruptcy and political cowardice underpinning their project. Any Labour MP who resigns should have the courage of their convictions and contest their seat. We look forward to the opportunity of subjecting their programme to the popular judgement of a by-election.

The departure of these dedicated agents of the ruling class is a small step forwards in the struggle for a real socialist programme and party. We encourage the remaining opponents of socialism in the PLP and wider party to follow their lead.

But the Labour benches remain packed with disloyal MPs. Monday’s meeting of the PLP actually applauded the renegades. The resignations and the prospect of more to follow is proof that the leadership, and Momentum, were wrong to oppose mandatory selection of MPs.

Grassroots Labour Party members should abandon the practice of giving uncritical support to the leadership’s ‘tactical compromises’. Without clearing out the anti-socialist wreckers from the PLP, any Corbyn government will be held hostage by its backbenches. We must organise now to make sure this does not happen.

In each of the seven constituencies local Labour parties should now mobilise a campaign to demand a by-election, bundle these imposters out of parliament and return socialist Labour MPs.

In the party nationally, members should renew the campaign to reform the party’s rules so that MPs are accountable to the members, and ensure the party’s programme is voted on by a sovereign conference.

Labour is currently the only political force in Britain that can oppose the Tories. Its members and voters overwhelmingly oppose Brexit and support a chance to vote on the terms of any deal.

The leadership should recognise that Theresa May’s deal is the only deal on offer and that it will fail all Labour’s ‘tests’, will pave the way for an onslaught on jobs, migrants’ rights, and the welfare state, and is incompatible with the radical programme of pro-working class reforms we need.

A defeat for Brexit will be a victory for internationalists and socialists campaigning against the revival of a violent and racist nationalism.

On that basis Labour should reject any deal with the Tories, insist the deal is put back to the people, and campaign against Brexit in the name of a truly radical alternative: a Europe-wide struggle to replace the capitalist states and institutions of the EU with a democratically planned economy and a socialist European federation.