‘Corbynite agents’ in ‘harassment’ amid antisemitism report as Left-wing prophecy realised

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Mr Corbyn was yesterday suspended from the Labour Party following his comments in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report on antisemitism under his leadership. The human rights watch commission, launched last year, found the party “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” in its handling of antisemitism. Mr Corbyn, in a statement, said as leader he was “always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism”.

However, what clinched his suspension was his insistence that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.

The EHRC report states that it found that “the Labour Party, through its agents, committed harassment against its members in relation to Jewish ethnicity in the case of two individuals, Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley”.

Both were close allies of Mr Corbyn, with Mr Livingstone the former Mayor of London.

Many have described those who were closest to Mr Corbyn as “Corbynite agents” installed or given favour in the party to keep tabs on things.

Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham who specialises in the politics of the Labour Party, told about one group in particular that were used to mobilise support inside and outside the party.

He explained: “Corbyn brought in things like the community organisers who were placed in the party.

“Soon enough, many people realised that these people weren’t really organising the community or anything outside the party.

“They were basically agents, Corbynite agents, helping to mobilise the Left in the party and get candidates in.”

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Mr Corbyn devised the community organiser strategy in 2018 in what he said would “empower people” and “further invigorate” Labour.

It marked one of the clearest signs that the party was becoming a social movement as opposed to an establishment party.

Since Mr Corbyn’s departure, high-profile figures on the Left have stepped up to defend the former leader.

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite the Union who earlier this month retracted 10 percent of his union’s funding to Labour, said Sir Keir’s decision to suspend Mr Corbyn risked “chaos”.


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He said it could cost the party the next election, adding that a “split party will be doomed to defeat”.

Mr McCluskey has repeatedly denied many of the allegations of antisemitism within the party under Mr Corbyn.

In August, he told The Observer: “There were lots of claims and criticisms that the Labour Party was institutionally antisemitic. I absolutely reject that.”

He has echoed Mr Corbyn’s concerns that the issue of antisemitism became politicised as a result of opposition to the former leader from within the party.

Mr McCluskey has several times pointed to a leaked report drawn up at the end of Mr Corbyn’s tenure that alleges staff who opposed the socialist politician in the 2017 general election sought to meddle in his campaign by taking money from his team’s control.

In response to Mr Corbyn’s statement about the report, Sir Keir told reporters: “If – after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report – there are still those who think there’s no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party, that it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack, then, frankly, you are part of the problem too.

“And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.”

He said the report meant a “day of shame” for the party, and was “disappointed” by Mr Corbyn’s comments.

Mr Corbyn has since said he intends to “strongly contest the political intervention to suspend” him.

Many have drawn attention to Mr Corbyn’s lengthy political life having worked towards anti-racist activism.

Details in the EHRC report points towards extremely poor management within the party before 2020.

For example, it found that the Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) – which is the unit within Labour responsible for handling complaints – before September 2019 had no clear process whereby those accused of antisemitism in the party could be investigated.

And, further, before 2018, the party had no “consistent or reliable system for recording antisemitism complaints”.

It is worth noting that this was improved after September 2019, with investigations now required to be signed off by at least two of four senior staff in the GLU.

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