TUESDAY night’s vote in parliament calling a general election on December 12 revealed that the Labour Party is split from top to bottom.
In the vote, passed by 438 to 20, 104 Labour MPs defied the Labour whip and abstained while 127 voted for.
On top of this, a further 11 Labour MPs, including leading right-wingers Margaret Becket, Ann Clwyd, David Lammy, Barry Sherman and Owen Smith were amongst the 20 who voted against.
Owen Smith, who was the right-wing’s candidate to unseat Corbyn in the last leadership contest, promptly announced he would be standing down at the next general election.
Amongst those abstaining were prominent Labour right-wingers including Harriet Harman and Margaret Hodge – the MP notorious for her concerted campaign to smash up Labour with smears of anti-Semitism.
The opposition to a general election by half of Labour’s MPs reflected their main aim – to kill off Brexit for good by holding a second referendum before a general election in which Labour would campaign for Remain.
This was made clear when, earlier in the day, 54 Labour MPs signed an amendment that would change the date of the general election from 12th December 2019 to 7th May 2020.
Labour frontbenchers Roberta Blackman-Woods and Marsha De Cordova joined renegade ex-Labour MP Mike Gapes and ex-Tory Anna Soubry in proposing that any general election would take place after a second referendum on 26th March 2020.
Corbyn now faces the prospect of going into a general election in 6 weeks’ time with a Labour Party split down the middle, with half openly campaigning not for a Labour victory but for Remain at any cost, including victory in the election.
All the years of plotting to dump Corbyn along with any trace of socialist policies will emerge sharply in this election as they fight for a return to the days when the working class knew its place and did as it was told by parliament and didn’t defy the wishes of the ruling class by voting to leave the EU.
Corbyn told the Labour leadership on Tuesday that he was supporting the snap general election because the granting by the EU of a three-month extension to Article 50 meant that No Deal was off the table and that ‘We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen.’
Brave words from Corbyn, but the only way Labour can defeat the Johnson government is if he finally stamps down hard on Labour’s right-wing by adopting a Labour manifesto that commits Labour to carrying out the decision of the 2016 referendum to leave and completely reject any plan to hold a second referendum.
Alongside this, the new manifesto must update the manifesto on which Labour fought the last general election in 2017 to reflect the urgency of the current crisis engulfing capitalism.
In 2017, Labour, with its pledges to respect the referendum result, re-nationalise public services, end all the austerity cuts by restoring wages and repealing anti-union laws, won massive support from the working class and young people.
In the forthcoming election, only by Labour not just adopting the old manifesto but extending it to embrace a socialist programme of nationalising all the major industries along with the banks will they win the overwhelming support of workers and youth.
Adopting a bold socialist programme of expropriating the bosses and bankers means Corbyn breaking finally with appeasing the right wing in the Labour Party and insisting that every Labour MP either fights for these policies or is thrown out of the party.
Any attempt to compromise with the right wing will result in the Labour Party being split into at least two parties and destroy any prospect of a Labour victory.
The world crisis is reaching the point of wholesale banking and industrial collapse in Britain, which the bankers and bosses will try to dump on the backs of workers. Only socialist policies of expropriating the capitalist class and advancing to socialism can lead to a Labour victory on December 12.