The Morning Star and its political masters in the Communist Party of Britain are getting desperate: the only chance they’ve ever had of wielding governmental influence in the UK lies in ruins.
Only yesterday, it seems, they had a Labour leader who openly supported the paper, surrounded by close advisers whose ideology reflected the CPB’s most hard-line Stalinist wing. And after the surprisingly strong Labour showing in 2017, governmental power (or at least, influence) could not be ruled out.
Now all that has been snatched away from them – or, as some would say, they’ve blown it.
No wonder they’ve been flailing about, blaming an “elite” or “big business-funded” conspiracy to brainwash Labour members into supporting Remain, and the “Hasbara department of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs” for concocting claims of antisemitism.
The best they can hope for now is a victory for their man’s chosen successor, Rebecca Long Bailey.
But she is proving to be something of a disappointment to the Morning Star, what with having distanced herself from the Stalinists in the Leader’s office and saying she’s a “Zionist”.
It is possible to have sympathy with those who will be voting RLB, if only to deny Starmer a crushing victory and because a defeat for RLB will demoralise some good comrades.
But it’s not that obvious that RLB is decisively to the left of the other two candidates, what with her stated willingness to press the nuclear button and coming out as monarchist.
As a comrade put it to me, it’s all “Kremlinology”, a matter of deductions from unclear signals, rather than of clearly contrasting political positions and records.
But Nick Wright, in the Morning Star of 20 February told us: “Make no mistake — the competition is between the neoliberal wing and the class conscious wing of the party.
“Two poles of understanding seem to be emerging. On one hand we have a liberal pole of which the best exemplar is Starmer. This is gaining an impressive number of constituency nominations in meetings which, by some accounts seem older and reinforced by those who departed the scene after Jeremy Corbyn renewed his leadership and now see their Thermidor.
“On the other hand we have a more explicitly socialist pole given clearest expression by Rebecca Long Bailey.
“What is important here are the bat-squeaks. These are emitted at such a high frequency that to hear them requires devoted attention.”
One really does have to ask, if there’s such sharp contrast between the “neoliberal wing” of the party (represented by Starmer) and the “class-conscious wing” (represented by Long Bailey), why is it communicated only by “bat-squeaks”, which we need “devoted attention” to hear?
Comrade Wright returned with more verbal diarrhoea in the Star of 5 March: “The leadership contest has revealed new contours in Labour’s ideological topography – The confidence of Labour’s 2017 has dissipated instead of becoming a springboard for a further assault on a divided ruling class”
This latest exercise in stilted Stalinoid verbosity from Wright, once again boils down to bleating about Labour’s anti-Brexit/ pro-second referendum stance (“ cynical exercise”, “big-business-funded and media-sanctioned elite”, etc, etc) plus a new, ultra-left twist:
“Brexit reconfigures the ground on which domestic economic policies, social legislation and labour market rules are decided. The rather limited social protections that EU membership entailed — already curtailed by Treaty revisions and European Court of Justice rulings — have less purchase.
“These questions are transparently now the business of a largely unmediated contest between entirely domestic protagonists. It is them and us. Tory government and labour movement. Ruling class and working class”.
Or, as the Third Period Stalinists would have put it: after Johnson, us!
And – it turns out – comrade Wright is indeed a bit of a Third Period Stalinist. Like Corbyn’s advisers Seumas Milne, Andrew Murray and Steve Howell, he was involved in the 1980s and 90s with the ultra-Stalinist Straight Left group.