There is no doubt that many on the Labour right are cynically inventing, exaggerating and manipulating stories of abuse within the party as part of their war against Corbyn and on members’ rights and democracy. The left must fight this. It must simultaneously be careful not to deny that people on the left can ever be guilty of abuse, or downplay the crucial, even decisive, importance of challenging sexism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry in the labour movement.
Faced by shameful lying and cynicism, and the fact that numerous instances of abuse, sexism, etc, by right-wingers (including Owen Smith!) are dismissed or ignored by right-wing leaders, the party bureaucracy and the bourgeois media, some on the left may be tempted to simply deny everything. This is wrong — and not just because it is tactically foolish.
Socialists must be the foremost champions of civilised standards of debate in the movement and of opposing all forms of bigotry and oppression. And, in our overwhelming majority, we are. That has always been Workers' Liberty's approach. Momentum as an organisation and its activists across the country have been very clear.
We must be vigilant and vigorous in countering anyone, even on the fringes of the left, who denies there could be issues or even engages in abuse.
We must respond to accusations by insisting on due process — on democratic rights for those accused as well as those accusing, on timely provision of information, on serious investigations, on challenging bad behaviour and bad practices rather than using accusations as an excuse to attack members’ democratic rights, and certainly rather than appalling instances of collective “punishment” such as the suspension of the Brighton and Wallasey parties.
Only on that basis can we challenge the right, and defend, improve and transform the norms, standards and political culture of the labour movement.