As Tony Benn once said, the Labour Party isn’t ‘Socialist’, even though from time to time it may have Socialists in it. I think this has been true of the Labour Party for much of its history, even though one of its key founders was the British Socialist Party. Of course, the BSP transformed into the ‘Communist Party of Great Britain’ (CPGB) in 1920, after the successful Russian Revolution of 1917 – acting in contradiction to the position of the anti-Communist British government of the day, that was acting inaccordance with the USA (and 12 other countries including a recently defeated Germany), by supplying British (working class) troops into Russia, in an attempt to destroy the fledgling ‘Socialist’ regime. It was thought at the time that the BSP could ‘transform’ into the CPGB simply as a matter of procedure, but even as early as 1920, there were dark anti-Socialist forces at work in the Labour Party. The Labour Party, despite its Unionist, working class roots, had been infiltrated by middle class men who brought their own particular brand of capitalist-friendly, bourgeois leftism to bear on the party’s direction. This dominance by the middle class over the working class within the Labour Party at the point of contact, mimicked exactly the situation that existed in broader society outside the Labour Party, and ironically represented the very inequality the Labour Party was originally founded to combat through effective (and collective) social and political action. As a consequence of middle class sophistry (and without as much as a whimper from the working class membership), it was decided that the BSP could not simply transform into the CPGB and retain its central position in the Labour Party. It was further decided that the BSP no longer existed as a legal entity when it transitioned into the CPGB, and that as a consequence, the CPGB was a ‘new’ political entity that would have to apply for ‘association’ with the Labour Party – an application that was swiftly ‘blocked’, and remains blocked to this day. Furthermore, the bourgeois powers that be in the Labour Party added the Communist Party to a proscribed list of potential members – which explains why Communists today are not permitted to hold Labour Party membership. This reality also explains how the Labour Party broke with the working class ideologies of Socialism (both religiously utopic and Marxist-Engels inspired), and with Communism (Marxist-Leninism) quite early on in its development, despite still pursuing a left-leaning rhetoric often misconstrued as being ‘Socialistic’.
Having firmly set the agenda of Labour’s non-Socialist and in many ways anti-working class agenda, it is important to state that the Labour Party has had individual members that have held Socialist or Communist views, but who have not been ‘official’ members of any other political party. Indeed, there has also been, in the early days, Labour MPs who openly described themselves as ‘Communist’, before the proscription against Marxist-Leninism was more robustly enforced. I would add that although a party of the left, the Labour Party as a historical movement has remained alarmingly ‘unprincipled’, despite the good intentions of some of its members. Its generally ‘anti-Soviet’ position, and its routine support for imperialism, coupled with its racist expulsion of over 1,500 Chinese people from London in 1946 (just because they were ‘Chinese’) attest to this fact.
As the Labour Party is experiencing something of a leftwing renaissance at the moment under the left-sounding (and incredibly popular) Jeremy Corbyn, I think the time is right for George Galloway to be re-admitted to the Labour Party with the caveat that he be recognised as a political martyr for the leftwing cause, because he stood-up to the rightwing policies of Tony Blair throughout that former prime minister’s tenure in Office, and is still active in campaigning for Tony Blair to face War Crimes charges for his illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Of course, I do not agree with George Galloway’s eulogising of the anti-working class Winston Churchill, his sentimentalism regarding Britain’s imperialist wars, his leftist nationalism, his sharing of a political platform with the racist Nigel Farage, or his routine anti-Soviet viewpoints – but I do believe his ‘Socialist’ heart is in the right place, and my family very much appreciate his expressed support for Communist China. Politicians often appear inconsistent when in the public eye, particularly when they are trying to achieve the exact opposite effect. George Galloway often says not only what he thinks, but also quite often what he ‘feels’. This is why on occasion he appears to ‘contradict’ himself – at least he is honest – and is one of only a few political figures in the UK that actually takes the time to directly engage the general public on social media. In fact, he is the only mainstream political figure that I have directly communicated with on Twitter, or am likely to communicate with. As I said to him then – I think he should not only be re-admitted into the Labour Party – but I believe the leftwing momentum could be maintained when Jeremy Corbyn eventually steps down (hopefully after being prime minister), if George Galloway were to become Labour Parry leader. His vast experience of the real world is exactly what Labour needs. Finally, the Labour Party cannot be kept on a leftist course if there are no credible leftwing politicians to direct it. In many ways, the wilderness years of George Galloway’s political career (outside the Labour Party) have not only been full of meaning, bravery, tragedy and stunning success, but have preserved his leftism in a pure (but enhanced) form, free from the need to conform to the rigours of Blairite rightism, and general Labour Party duplicity. He has been outside a Labour Party that has lurched so far to the right in recent times, that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish it from the Tory Party it is said to oppose! Jeremy Corbyn would do well to recognise this reality, and bolster the strength of his position by bringing George Galloway back into the Labour Party!