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British McCarthyism: Conservatives, Blairites, And ‘Center’ Journalists

Above: From Electronic Intifada, Four Reason Why The Anti-Semitism Charges Against Corbyn Are Dishonest.  Jeremy Corbyn leading a July 2014 demonstration against the Israeli war on Gaza. Corbyn’s long record of support for Palestinian human rights has led the Israel lobby to slander him as an anti-Semite. By Ron F on Flickr.

Jeremy Corbyn has a long history as a principled socialist in the UK Labour Party. The ruling class was shocked to their bones by an election that included a groundswell of support for Corbyn and that moved him from being a parliamentary backbencher to head of the party. So there is an open split now between many right-wing Blairite MPs and the current party leader, whose campaign brought a big wave of members into the Labour Party. Both disenchanted members who had dropped away and new members, shifting the party base to the socialist left. In this sense, the Corbyn campaign was a fair and square democratic contest in favor of socialism.

The anti-Corbyn coalition includes the Conservatives, the Blairite right-wing of Labour, and a crew of careerist journalists who are guardians of the “center.” Thus the collaboration of journalists at BBC and The Guardian. There is documentary proof (including videotaped conversations) of close links between Israeli embassy members and campaigners on the right-wing of Labour against “systematic antisemitism” among left-wing members of the Labour Party. Then the smear campaign is “objectively” reported as news. This includes dismissing Jewish socialists and anti-imperialists as deluded antisemites. Criticism of state Zionism is offered as proof of antisemitism. Case closed.

The right-wing smear campaign now targets Chris Williamson, a Labour MP and Corbyn ally who dared to say in public that Corbyn needs to be more forthright in defending his own Labour Party allies who are critics of state Zionism. For the anti-Corbyn coalition, that was like waving a red flag against a righteous charging bull. So they distorted what Williamson said as an outright dismissal of party commitment against antisemitism. The reality is quite otherwise. The socialists in Labour, including Corbyn, have been principled anti-racists all their working lives. The Guardian account from July 1 was their typical of their bargain basement journalism nowadays.

Corbyn, no surprise, now walks a political tight rope. As the party head, of course, he has to watch each step he takes. The BBC and The Guardian receive deliberate distortions and magnify them for a wider public. This smear campaign is in many respects an updated McCarthyite campaign across the pond. The real struggle in the UK is now a class struggle from the top-down among career politicians and journalists to reduce the Labour Party to a managerial arm of the corporate state, in the form it once had under Blair.

Sometimes the right-wing UK coalition and the US State Department will seize on reports of human rights violations in other countries and weaponize highly selected facts in the cause of an anti-factual imperial agenda. Hard enough to find out what is really going on in China and Russia, for example, which are both authoritarian regimes with their own geopolitical interests. More than ever, we need a coalition of conscience across borders committed to human rights and civil liberties. Following evidence wherever it leads should be a basic ground rule for honest journalists and for democratic socialists. All the more reason we must work harder to advance democracy from the ground up, including making the case for peace and solidarity. In relation to big media and corporate states, our course has to be over, under and around.

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