“These issues simply won’t go away. They’re too important. They need to be fixed urgently if we are to live up to our name as an anti-racist Party. They’re crucial for a democratic and safe Party which is open to all.”
By Mish Rahman, Labour NEC & Momentum NCG
We fought to see Forde published
When hundreds of thousands of Labour members were out campaigning for a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, a handful of Labour staffers were working to sabotage our efforts. Just one of the shocking findings of The Forde Report, which investigated racism and sexism within the Party, and the conduct of senior staffers.
Labour’s leadership was terrified of what the report would say, and it was delayed again and again. As one of your NEC representatives, I fought for nearly two years to get it published. Now, we will work towards meaningful action on its findings. This pressure is vital.
These issues need to be fixed
The Party’s leadership is acting as if the problems have been solved, and that we can move on.
Tell that to the Black Labour MPs who have called the leadership’s response “a kick in the teeth”. Tell it to the Labour Muslim Network sounding the alarm over institutional Islamophobia in the Party. Tell it to people of colour like Apsana Begum who have suffered racist and sexist abuse within the Party, without any support from the leadership. Tell it to the thousands of Labour members, from Jeremy Corbyn to Young Labour, who have been silenced or suspended under Keir Starmer’s leadership.
These issues simply won’t go away. They’re too important. They need to be fixed urgently if we are to live up to our name as an anti-racist Party. They’re crucial for a democratic and safe Party which is open to all.
We ignore Muslim voters at our peril
Labour must learn from the 2019 General Election and never take its core base for granted again. Starmer may be banking on the majority of Muslim voters having no other party to turn to, but if the recommendations of this report are not acted upon, we risk an exodus of Labour Party Muslim members. Moreover, we risk Muslims simply staying at home on polling day or voting for other parties, as did many former Labour voters in the ‘Red Wall’.
We urgently need new democratic BAME structures so people of colour have our own voice within Labour. We need Forde’s recommendations to be actioned, not shelved. We also need an end to the suspensions, rule breaking and candidate blockings, that Starmer has indulged in to marginalise the left. Our representatives in all corridors of power must stand up for democracy, workers, and socialism.
- Mish Rahman is a members’ representative on Labour’s National Executive Committee and a member of Momentum’s National Coordinating Group. You can follow him on Facebook and twitter.
- Originally published in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy’s Campaign Briefing 2022. Further information is available here.