RIGHT-WING Labour MPs, with the enthusiastic support of the Tory press, are manoeuvring once again to split the Labour Party so that they can create a new right-wing political grouping alongside the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and pro-EU Tories.
This manoeuvre has been encouraged by the refusal of the left-reformist leadership of Corbyn to stand up to them and spell out to them that a vote to oppose the triggering of Article 50, to quit the EU, will result in them being deselected as Labour MPs by angry Labour Party members, furious at their pro-EU manoeuvres and backstabbing of the millions of Labour voters that voted to Leave on June 23.
On Thursday, the Tory Daily Telegraph triumphantly announced that Corbyn had made a humiliating retreat over the issue of the government triggering Article 50. Article 50 is the legal means by which Britain leaves the EU and it is expected that the Supreme Court will shortly rule that for May to start the process she must first get a vote in parliament.
If a motion to invoke Article 50 is defeated, then Brexit would be stalled and a huge national crisis created. Earlier in the week, Corbyn had stated quite clearly that, in the event of a vote on Article 50, he would insist that every Labour MP vote in favour, saying: ‘I’ve made it very clear the Labour Party accepts and respects the decision of the British people.’ He went on: ‘We will not block Article 50. It means all Labour MPs will be asked to vote in that direction next week.’
This was a direct statement that as leader he would impose on every Labour MP a three-line whip which means any MP defying it would face disciplinary action, including suspension from the party. However within hours Corbyn was in retreat.
This was made clear when, immediately after this statement of intent, Corbyn’s senior aides were insisting to the bourgeois press that he hadn’t really meant that he would impose a three-line whip.
This abrupt climbdown was a result of a group of up to 30 right-wing Labour MPs, including several shadow cabinet members, announcing privately their intention to rebel and vote to block Brexit.
The Telegraph reported that between 20 to 30 senior Labour MPs had vowed to ‘wrestle control’ of the party from Corbyn. Having completely failed to oust Corbyn as leader, this conspiracy of right-wingers is now dead set to overturn the democratic vote of millions of workers and smash up the Labour Party in the process.
While they are forever claiming that Labour is unelectable under Corbyn, they are doing their level best to make sure that Labour lose seats in by-elections. With two by-elections coming up, triggered by the resignation of two other right-wingers up to their necks in plotting to rip the party apart, they are banking that workers will not vote for a Labour Party that holds the democratic decision of workers to quit the EU in complete contempt.
The right wing is working actively to drive workers into the arms of the UKIP demagogues, as they show once again that they are opposed to a left-wing Labour government and to socialist policies in general.
Labour Party right-wingers are now ready to smash the party to pave the way for the emergence of a third force in British politics, a reactionary coalition between themselves, the Lib/Dems, disaffected pro-EU Tories and the SNP. What is clear is that the weaker Corbyn becomes, the more aggressive and determined the Labour right wing will become.
Any free vote on this issue of Article 50 is tantamount to handing the Labour Party over to the Blairites, to create the conditions for them to create a pro-EU counter-revolutionary grouping that will take its revenge out on the working class for daring to vote to leave the EU.
As the crisis of world and British capitalism deepens, it is becoming crystal clear that left reformism, from Syriza in Greece, that surrendered to the EU when it had a massive majority to fight it, to Corbyn in the UK, is completely toothless, and faced with taking power will always surrender.
The lesson from this crisis of leadership is that only a revolutionary leadership that is prepared to mobilise the working class to take the power can take the working class forward.
The lesson from this crisis situation is that revolutionary action, a mass general strike, will be required for the working class to bust the UK’s way out of the EU. Such a mass strike will bring forward a workers government that will expropriate the British bankers and bosses, and create the conditions for the European working class to rise up and overthrow the EU and form the Socialist United States of Europe. This is what has to be done!