Artillery Row

The far-left are as busy as ever

Speaking to the “anonymous mole” who spies on the Corbynites

Two weeks ago we ran an article by an “Anonymous Mole” who, for the last few years, has been infiltrating far-left meetings online and listening in on thousands of hours worth of discussions. I decided to speak to the mole to find out more…

Why did you start doing this, and why have you carried on for so long?
I had never been very into politics before, but I joined the Labour Party about an hour after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader.  I’m not even really sure why — socialism was something I’d heard of that didn’t sound all that great.  But at least he was new and different.

At first, things seemed okay.  I went to meetings and demonstrations, and met the man himself twice.  I joined in with the campaigning action on school, paid my membership dues — twice over — and went to rallies. But change was afoot in the party, and at first I just ignored it.  Every major political force has a few cranks, I thought.  But it was when I realised just how dangerous some of these people were that I felt I had to do something.

My own personal revelation came in late 2018, following the Labour Party Conference.

Laura Smith was speaking and she was calling for a General Strike  She is, of course, entitled to her views — and if a few people had clapped, while most had tutted and recommended that she settle down, I could have dealt with that.

People in the party with some modicum of common sense later insisted it was not official party policy. But that wasn’t what happened in the auditorium — conference erupted with applause, and even several delegates whom I had thought were on the more moderate wing showed their support.  In that moment, the scales finally fell from my eyes; I saw what these people truly were.  I knew then that there was no place for me on the left, and that these were people who needed to be stopped. After a month of wrangling, I left the party but I still had contacts and mailing list memberships.  I started to pay a lot more attention to what the radical left wing of the party — which was gaining more and more control — was saying.  And the more I saw, the more disturbed I became.

There are a range of campaigns to wrest control back from Starmer and return to “true” socialism

Eventually, I started going to online events organised by groups like Momentum. It isn’t particularly difficult to do this — these people primarily see themselves as positive optimists, not extremists, so they have no shame in their views and take no compunction in organising public meetings and trying to convince as many people to attend as possible.

How do you get into their Zoom calls?
Invitations and links can be found in many places — by signing up to mailing lists, looking around on social media or on left-wing websites, including those of trade unions.  Back in the 1970s, it was town hall meetings.  Nowadays, it’s mass Zoom calls — and that’s even before the days of Covid.

I should add that the only calls I attend, or chat groups I join, are ones to which a public invitation has been sent out at some stage. Sometimes, the one leads to the other: a link to join a WhatsApp group might be sent out on a Zoom call.

Who are the main players?
At first, it was mainly Momentum.  They were particularly active in 2019, promoting Corbynism and anticipating a General Election that they genuinely thought they could win, or at least end up with an anti-Tory “rainbow coalition” headed by Corbyn.  Since their colossal defeat, Momentum has been much less active publicly, but there have been several other initiatives on the left since then — and the overlap of people (or certainly kinds of people) is not much different.

It began with the Forward Momentum movement, which wasn’t a split from Momentum but rather an internal pressure group.  After the election defeat, Momentum tried to analyse where they’d gone wrong.  They held discussion groups to hear more from members about what hadn’t worked — although the notion of opening up to people who didn’t already agree with their own political philosophy was apparently beyond them.  Their conclusion, in the end, was that they had been too top down (the London-based leadership) and not “bottom up” enough — which is probably true.  Forward Momentum was born as a “time-limited movement”, to reconstitute Momentum and ensure it was led by grassroots socialist activists in the future — or at least, by people who they elected.  It was highly successful and achieved its aims in respect of Momentum’s National Coordinating Group.

Nowadays, in the Starmer era, there are a range of campaign groups set up to wrest control back from the party leadership and return to “true” socialism.  Some are bemoaning the recent “purge”, while others (like “The World Transformed”, or “Claim the Future” by John McDonnell) are just a continuation of Corbynite policy.  The common ground seems to be that they feel they weren’t radical enough last time, and that the answer — just as the EU always opts for “more Europe” — is to be even more radical next time round.

They all believe they lost the election because they weren’t radical enough

What is their method of organising?  Are they centralised or decentralised? 
This has varied over time.  Prior to the 2019 election, organisation was definitely centralised by the London crowd, but also spread out across the regions, of which they defined 5.  One of the key complaints from the Forward Momentum movement when they were holding their public discussions, for example, was how “the North West and Wales” were lumped together as 1 of the 5 regions, despite involving two different countries with different issues.

With that said, though, they do also like to promote local activities, co-ordinated regionally.  There are certain subgroups as well, of course, such as the “Momentum Councillors Network”.  Then there was the “Labour Legends” initiative in the run-up to the last election, whereby campaigners would stay in areas where serious campaigning was needed and be put up by a host to enable them to do so. (now repurposed) was another masterful tool for local coordination of campaigning efforts (as well as signposting to local/regional WhatsApp groups), to which no other party has an answer at the moment.

Do they see everything through the same lens?
Most definitely.  I think a lot of these people are still fighting the French Revolution. Before the guillotine made its debut, members of the National Assembly who supported the King sat to the right of the President, while those who supported the revolution sat to the left.  In essence, at its most simple level, this is what far-left politics is about: a social, cultural and economic revolution that very deliberately targets and throws out what they perceive to be the current dominant groups and replaces them with… well, ultimately, history tells us that it’s always “themselves”.  It’s definitely never “the workers”.

Far-left doctrine is all about the narrative of the oppressor and the oppressed.  It requires this in order to function; without that element, it would collapse in a heap at once.  In practice, then, that means they always need to be able to identify an oppressor in any given political circumstance, even when there actually isn’t one.

But the bogeyman is cunning; he has many guises.  In politics, who is he?  The Tories — those nasty, mean old Tories who just love stamping on poor people.  In the workplace, who is he?  The bosses — those other fellow employees who clearly have an agenda to exploit those below them as much as they can.  In housing, who is he?  The landlords (especially private landlords) — those people who own property and dare to demand certain conditions and standards of those they allow to live in it for a fee.  After all, extreme socialists don’t really believe in private property rights.

Wherever they look for the bogeyman, they will find him

The point is: wherever they look for the bogeyman, they will find him. He simply has to be there, somewhere, otherwise all of their ideology falls apart at a stroke.  The entirely predictable thing about these people, therefore, is that wherever he doesn’t actually exist, they will invent him — it’s like clockwork.  Their response to the leaked Labour report last year was an absolutely classic example of this, just as their response to Starmer’s “purge” has been.

In essence, this is a bit like the notion of “dark matter”.  We knew there was a large proportion of the universe out there that was composed of “something”, but we couldn’t identify it.  We don’t even know what dark matter is; it’s just a placeholder concept for a vast quantity of matter out there that we can’t identify, but we do know that if it’s actually not there, then our entire understanding of everything falls apart at the seams.

That’s very similar to how the far-left views the bogeyman — not that they would know it if you told them.

Part 2 coming soon…

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