Introduction to a briefing, the PDF of which can be downloaded here.
Red London is a Facebook page which deploys unevidenced smears rather than political argument against people they politically oppose. Its administrators are anonymous.
Red London also builds support for contemporary Stalinist state formations (e.g. North Korea, China) and praises “High Stalinism” (the USSR in the 1930s and 40s). The page appears to be strongly aligned to the Communist Party of Britain and its paper the Morning Star (many posts share and defend Morning Star articles). They are also Labour supporters and members.
Red London’s favoured “hate targets” are Trotskyists, anarchists and “Radical Liberals”. “RadLibs” are people who are tagged with caricatured identity politics and support for “political correctness”. This hostile positioning involves no useful critique, rather it is a way to promote an anti-liberal (small “l”) and “masculine” politics. Akin to trolling, their attacks come out as piss- taking banter and/or working-class identity politics including a more disturbing “hard man” imagery, and gratuitous viciousness.
We are politically concerned by the growing audience for the idea that murderous totalitarian Stalinist regimes both historically and in the contemporary world are somehow authentically socialist. However, as unpleasant as that is, most of that kind of material can be political critiqued. In contrast, since 2016 the group have made a specific attack on Workers’ Liberty which is straightforward defamation, accusing us of vile and criminal activity. Through the medium of meme-making and “jokes” and often by direct accusation, Workers’ Liberty have been accused of condoning or even actively promoting paedophilia or child abuse. This accusation is ludicrous, without foundation. Whoever is responsible for this is engaging in reckless behaviour. Yet the accusation has been shared, promoted and cynically used in one form or another by others and the “story” has spread. Why do these ridiculous stories work? Because they speak to a sectarian mindset on the broader left that allows Trotskyists, or the AWL, or others, to be lied about without consideration for the consequences.
The AWL has taken action to defend itself by reporting these defamations to Facebook, the police and the Labour Party, and now by publishing this briefing. If would be negligent not to take action to protect ourselves, and especially because many of us are parents, teachers, social workers, youth workers and have experienced sexual abuse in our lives. Our complaints have been obstructed by the fact that Red London’s output has been anonymously produced and that anonymity has been protected by its friendship network.
However such cliques were bound to splinter. This has happened over a recent (justifiable) accusation of transphobia against Red London. Some members of the clique fell out with others, and were accused of trashing a flat in south London at a party on 8 November 2018. In the fall out, certain people were identified by their former friends as being linked to Red London.
This briefing brings together images and other evidence to show how this group and the politics it promotes operate. We also publish what information we have about the identities of the people directly involved; this leans on the information from the recent fall out. There is some evidence here of people who are, or have allowed themselves to be, associated with or influenced by Red London’s culture (for example the practice of using a “vigilance salute”).
We also publish this because we believe that people who make unsubstantiated defamations such as the ones that has been made against the AWL are a poison in the labour movement. If they are allowed to get away with it they will take their method of reckless lying further; it will spread, and it will become increasingly hard to tackle.
We urge everyone who has been associated with Red London in the past, even by simply liking or sharing their posts, and even if they agree with their general political views, to actively disassociate themselves from the group.
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