Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn joins health workers and supporters at a rally organised by Doctors in Unite (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Artillery Row

Are the far-left about to split off?

A left-wing split could deprive the Labour Party of thousands of campaigners

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 between groups like Momentum, including speakers such as Jeremy Corbyn and Dianne Abbott. I decided to speak to the mole to find out more. This is part 2 of my interview — you can read part 1 here.

Since you started infiltrating the far-left, what has most surprised you about their discussions?

Probably the sheer conviction of the bubble views they hold, and their unwillingness to listen to others from outside of that. For them, what they believe is practically a fundamental constant of the universe, which brooks no dissent whatsoever. It’s the same with the “woke” movement, and of course there’s a considerable overlap of people there. Another thing would be the mental gymnastics that many of them, who are very clearly middle-class, are able to effortlessly perform to call themselves working-class.

Notably, the far-left never talks about the middle-classes. They wouldn’t want to be rumbled that easily. To judge by their Zoom calls, though, many of them seem to have some pretty nice houses.

Are they ever optimistic?

Often, yes, though less so since their election defeat. Most of their energy is channelled through the belief that a socialist society would eliminate most if not all of the social issues that they see facing the country. They seem to see it as a silver bullet. Consequently, this is their single driving ambition and they will sacrifice much at an individual level if they believe that would help make it happen. The calls in the run-up to the last election were particularly enthusiastic.

They find it outrageous for the Labour Party to be kicking them out, or moving any further to the right

Do they ever argue?

Momentum’s events in particular were always quite polished, with little opportunity for that. Other groups can vary, though, and there can be opinions that are bubbling away underneath. It used to be the case that there was practically no originality of thought, although some of this began to change after the last election result and the rise of Forward Momentum.

Has there been a shift between pre-Corbyn and post-Corbyn?

Yes, definitely. There was a very considerable sense of a “burst bubble” after the 2019 election, followed by another upsurge when they believed Rebecca Long-Bailey might win the leadership. Since then, though, things have been remarkably subdued — although a lot of this will be down to coronavirus. Rest assured, though, that these people haven’t gone away and are still biding their time. They do still make frequent reference to the fact that “the left has never been more organised”, which they’re by no means wrong about.

This is one of the main reasons why I worry about Starmer. The man doesn’t seem to have any ideas, but the far-left still carry a lot of the membership (which can set policy at Conference) and it nowadays has a very thin majority on the NEC. That means there are plenty of things they could do to influence the party’s direction regardless of what the leader wants, and his policy void creates a vacuum that I worry these people and their ideology will inevitably fill.

They’re now setting up “Shadow CLPs”, to mimic the functioning of existing Constituency Labour Parties

All that’s really happened in that respect is that the party now has a far more electable leader.

How do they see Covid?

This goes back to their “oppression” narrative again, and the need for people to be protected from oppressors at all costs. Then again, there is a dual oppressor here, as the Government is also to blame in their mindset. It should be noted, though, that there’s no way any Tory Government would be able to get anything right on this, from their point of view. You don’t really see any anti-vaxxers among their ranks, for example. With the trade unions and the Zero Covid crowd in particular, though, there definitely seems to be a sense that vaccines alone will not be enough. They do always love to make use of a good crisis, and I think they’d be rather put out if it were to end all too soon.

How do they see Brexit?

Momentum in particular, and their members, view Brexit as the epitome of everything they despise. That’s not to say there aren’t some on the far-left who are part of the 5 million Labour Leavers (as I myself was at the time), but among the Momentum crowds, definitely not.

What do they think of Boris Johnson? Is he personally evil or is he just a puppet of the rich?

While they never shy away from the view that the Tories are “all in hock to their rich mates”, in principle it’s the politicians themselves they detest. I don’t think I’ve actually heard the word “evil” in relation to the Prime Minister, but certainly all the “-isms” come out, and they’re naturally inclined to hate anyone who’s a Tory anyway. It’s baked in — one cannot be a Tory and be a good person at the same time, because the Tories are seen as just another oppressor.

How do they try to get new recruits?

In any way they can — quite literally. This is why their organisation is so open — they are looking to get as many people as possible. One example of this would be the way they’ve been infiltrating the local Covid Mutual Aid groups. John McDonnell spoke very approvingly on one call of how they could be used to “educate” people on “what socialist practice is all about”.

It’s worth running through what this means. As The Express reported last summer, following a tip-off from me, the former Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey was filmed briefing trade union leaders to “politically educate” their members, particularly new ones. Far be it for me to personally claim a scalp, but she was sacked a week after my leak made it into the press. 

It’s always typical of an extremist mindset that they consider their own ideology to be education

It’s a theme that came about (again) mainly in the aftermath of their seating General Election defeat. Momentum decided they would take some time to “reflect” and work out why they lost — though they never really left their own echo chamber. Instead, they’ve been running “political education” classes frequently, in collaboration with Labour Left Alliance and The World Transformed, in which they just promote socialist propaganda.

It’s always typical of an extremist mindset that they consider their own ideology to be “education”. Orwell would have found himself very much at home with it. But when you look at the approaches they actually take to it, the underlying agenda becomes clear. BLM’s approach to “educating” people on race relations is a very good example.

“Education” is a word that these kinds of people (including the “woke” movement, which has a considerable overlap) have appropriated very effectively. Who would try to genuinely “educate” someone on something by telling them there’s no way they could possibly understand it? Or at least that the route to understanding could only ever come via themselves? That’s not education — it’s indoctrination.

It reminds me of the Biblical phrase: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Well, perhaps you can get away with that kind of thing if you’re the Son of God. But far-left social revolutionaries can jog on.

What is going on with Starmer’s expulsions from the Labour Party at the moment?

The far-left is basically split over this. Some of them want to form a new party, while others are insisting that all of their focus should remain on the Labour Party.

This is because the approach they seem to take is rather similar to the way the IRA viewed Sinn Féin as, essentially, their “political wing”. These people see themselves as “the labour / trade unionist movement” (note the small L) — the true believers in and representatives of the working classes (which is laughable, to say the least). That means they find it outrageous for the Labour Party to be kicking them out, or moving any further to the right than it was under Corbyn’s leadership. Those people, if they’re still members at all, are loathe to leave the Labour Party, or indeed to stop believing that their “movement” can wrest back control of it.

I can foresee a mass exodus of currently despondent Labour members, who really only joined because of Corbyn

But there are others who believe that this simply won’t work, so a new party would need to be formed. The latest iteration of that approach can be found in the way they’re now setting up “Shadow CLPs”, to mimic the functioning of existing Constituency Labour Parties even though they’re in no way officially affiliated with the party itself. One example of these is Newham Socialist Labour, which is an organisation of thousands of people consisting of the former members of the East and West Ham CLPs. They’re campaigning, leafleting and running food banks, according to one of their members.

The point is that, because of this massive split — and it’s roughly 50:50, as far as I can tell — no-one has yet quite managed to bring themselves to take the plunge and officially form a new, separate political party. But if one of them ever finally did — which I predict someone eventually will — and they did it convincingly enough, then I can foresee a mass exodus of currently despondent Labour members, who really only joined because of Corbyn. That party would then be pretty large with potentially tens of thousands of members. So, not only the major left-wing parties — which could see a significant vote share drawn away — but also the other extant smaller parties would do well to keep a close eye on them at the moment.

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