The left-wing group Red Labour, which specialises in use of social media, Facebook and Twitter, has been sabotaged in an astonishingly undemocratic way.
Red Labour began in 2011 as a modest Facebook page. Over the following years it demonstrated the way that social media might be used to get out news to those on the left of the Labour Party.
They used videos, memes and factual information to counter right wing arguments. The Red Labour national Facebook page gathered 31,000 supporters and a similar number followed their Twitter account. Alongside it were many local pages, forwarding and adding to these national messages.
When Red Labour was started, the left in the Party was disorganised and weak. The success it had in building an online following provided significant proof that the public were still responsive to a broad anti-austerity agenda. Many senior figures in the Party acknowledged Red Labour’s contribution to Jeremy Corbyn’s success in the leadership election. But on 19 January, in an act of outrageous vandalism, the Red Labour Facebook page was hijacked, temporarily closed down, and taken over. The Twitter account was similarly taken over. It is not known at the time of this paper going to press who was responsible for this vandalism. The saboteurs have chosen to keep their identities secret. It is possible that the person or persons responsible may have had some minor role in the beginning of Red Labour, but contributed little in recent times or during the Party leadership election. Whoever they are, they never voiced any alternative proposals about how it should be run within the organisers’ group that decided Red Labour’s policies and output. In effect someone has overruled without discussion the overwhelming majority of Red Labour organisers, stolen the Red Labour page, and sabotaged the hard work of many comrades over several years.
The policy of the hijackers became clear when they reopened the now fraudulent Red Labour page a few days later, exclusively in their control. In their first statement they accuse Red Labour of a list of charges, including having become a rump controlled by Workers’ Liberty. Out of the nearly one hundred Red Labour organisers, only two or three were connected with Workers’ Liberty. None of the “admins” of Red Labour had more relationship with Workers’ Liberty than any other left winger activist or Corbyn supporter in the Party. However, Red Labour had taken a leading role in campaigning against the witch-hunting of campaigning bodies of socialists like Workers’ Liberty.
The nonsense about Red Labour being controlled by Workers’ Liberty has been combined with with fairly crude attempts to “finger” Workers’ Liberty members to people on the right who have been trying to get organised. Needless to say these tweets have been readily retweeted by a host of right-wingers. This hijacking has done some temporary damage to one of the left wing’s most effective social media facilities. But the hijacker(s), if they ever do reveal themselves, are going nowhere. As the true facts become known and after the initial confusion, they will be widely shunned by the left in the Party.
• Red Labour have re-established new social media accounts and all socialists who use social media should make sure to switch over from following the former one to the new ones: facebook.com/RedLabour2016 and twitter.com/Redlabour2016