Review Essay: Leo Panitch & Colin Leys, Searching for Socialism: The Project of the Labour New Left from Benn to Corbyn (London: Verso: 2020)

This is a dispiriting book. How could it not be, arriving as it did—upon a scene already deeply etched by “economic, political, and cultural and not least ecological ” (p. 255)—amidst a pandemic of unfathomable personal, social, and economic consequences in the face of which the political leaderships of some of the world’s most vainglorious countries, the United Kingdom definitely included, have proved themselves to be utterly incompetent, devoted adherents of ideologies which are both murderous and suicidal.

Might it have been otherwise? Is there another political leadership waiting in the wings which might rescue deeply troubled, desperate people from their viral fate? These and more are the questions being asked in many places besides Britain and from the same fundamental concern for personal and societal survival. They are not, it must be emphasized, questions this book directly sets out to answer, for although it was written in the face of many deeply troubling predicaments, it was in press before the pandemic struck. But now, at this moment of immediate existential crisis—a crisis which is highlighting the systemic inadequacy of the attempts made thus far to address the less speedy existential crises with which the book is explicitly concerned, crises crowding in upon us and already straining the political capacities of so many of the world’s seemingly strongest countries—these are now the questions one has no option but to pose to all those political systems purporting to offer some insight into our seemingly intractable political ills, systems which regularly promise leadership to guide us to safer places.

So far as Britain is concerned, to the questions the deadly virus has thrust suddenly upon us with an intensity the other crises have not the answer this book seemingly provides is no, it could not have been otherwise, and no, there is no alternative political leadership waiting in the wings which might rescue us. This for several nested reasons: the dysfunctionality of the only sizeable, presently plausible source of a possible alternative leadership, namely, the Labour Party; the dysfunctionality of the British parliamentary system; and the dysfunctionality of the British constitutional system. Although the focus of this book is primarily on the first of these dysfunctional entities, the Labour Party, the others are touched on for they are integral, as always, to the predicament faced by all those seeking to employ the established constitutional arrangements to gain the right to try to solve the country’s problems. Yet the current pandemic puts all of them simultaneously in high relief; it shows them all to be facets of a single problem to which there seems to be no ready solution. Perhaps—to go further down a road which is both exhilarating and terrifying—we really are at a moment of extreme human freedom where none of the available systems of thought related to organisation and action which have guided as well as constrained us for so long are any longer of much practical relevance?

But what of the subject of this book, Labour’s “new left,” as Panitch and Leys refer to such groupings as the Bennites and, more recently, the Corbynites? Might it have shown us the way? Panitch and Leys’ answer is again no, for Labour’s new left is itself rendered dysfunctional because it is locked into the other overarching dysfunctional parts of the British system even while it seeks to challenge them. It, too, sad to say, is therefore part of the problem. But why is this so?

Those Americans who self-define as Democrats and who also consider themselves progressives are surely fortunate that their political party of choice is somewhat homologous with the political character of the United States itself, a federated structure which still affords some small space for local politics and local politicians, for some political deviation from the wishes and ideas of those who are dominant. Thus, while the constraints that the mainstream leaders of what is largely a mainstream, not very progressive party, can impose on those to their left are considerable, those who occupy that left wing, whether as elected members of one of the many political organizations which compose the Democratic Party or as citizen activists, whether occasional or persistent, are fortunate that these constraints are not comprehensively enforceable. The constraints they face certainly stop far short of the discipline of the sort which can be imposed on the members, including the elected members, of the British Labour Party.

For that Party is composed at all levels of those whose membership and functional role requires the approval of the Party hierarchs, some of whom are elected, some of whom are appointed via the elected Party leader and the elected National Executive Committee to the Party’s bureaucracy which is, in turn, managed by an appointed powerful General Secretary. In this the Party functions in a fashion somewhat homologous with Britain’s constitutional arrangements, with Britain’s parliamentary system of government, a system which, while supposedly democratic, prioritises a considerable degree of centralised, top-down control over the subordinate institutions of the British system and upon its British subjects.

In consequence, it is perfectly—and sometimes deeply unfortunately—possible for the Labour Party to deny individuals and political groupings membership and to expel members as its hierarchs see fit. To be sure, there are mechanisms for accepting and rejecting members and there are mechanisms for determining whether and how to punish members. Yet as the shenanigans of the Corbyn and now the Starmer years make clear, these mechanisms, again under centralised, top-down control, though not necessarily under the control of the leader should he be of the left, as the recent “Leaked Report” on the functioning of the Party’s Governance and Legal Unit lays bare, actually function in murky ways: some one will be informed that they are under investigation for breaching Party rules or for “bringing the Party into disrepute,” yet like as not they will not be told precisely what wrong they are supposed to have committed or who precisely has accused them of wrongdoing; further, they are usually forbidden to reveal that they are under investigation, to talk about their case, and others in the Party are prohibited from discussing it. Should anyone think all this is an exaggeration, I invite them to take a look at, for example, what the Jewish Voice for Labour has again and again published between 2015 and the present, where they will see many of those accused of anti-Semitic words and deeds, many of these themselves Jewish members of the Labour Party, revealing that they have been accused and are under investigation and either damning the Party to do its worst or else resigning from the Party in disgust. (I explain some of these items more fully below, in relation to the 2019 British General Election and its aftermaths.)

In short, while it is somewhat possible and definitely necessary to subject the American constitutional and procedural arrangements, including those of its political parties, to democratic critique, it is less possible and more evidently necessary to subject the constitutional and procedural arrangements of the United Kingdom and its political parties to the same sort of thing. And it is difficult to avoid the conclusion in the latter case—I leave the former case to others—that much of what democracy requires is much wanting, including in that Party which has long purported to represent, at least in principle, the great majority of the British people.

The effort by successive ‘lefts’ within the Party to make the British Labour Party more an expression of the will of its many members has been, as Panitch and Leys intimate, a long standing one, dating back to the Party’s earliest days. The aspiration, that the Party function in democratic—or at least more democratic—ways, is not, of course, the sole aspiration of those who join Labour or support Labour with their votes. Within the parliamentary system, the winning of elections is a continuing priority, for only then is there any possibility that the Party’s policies can be given effect. But the controversies over how and by whom and for whose benefit its policies are created are never far from sight. It is also a recurrent issue, whether those who become Labour MPs will support which policies and whether they will do so vigorously or not, for it is widely and correctly perceived that these MPs do not all sing from the same hymn book. Further, it is very difficult to “primary” a Labour MP, to challenge their right to stand again and again as the Party’s candidate in a General Election, no matter how much they depart from the policy preferences of their constituency party.

It is also the case that the degree of internal Party democracy varies somewhat depending on the nature of the individual leader and on which particular oligarchic group within the Party supports that leader. An added difficulty can be that parts of the Party while favoring more democracy overall may not be eager to have their particular organisations democratised. Hence, the particular problem facing Corbyn and those who supported him within and without Parliament. For, as Panitch and Leys review in their sixth chapter, under “New Labour” and its hierarchs clustered around Tony Blair and Gordon Brown the Party took a considerable turn away from democracy (something some apprehend is again happening under Starmer): a major definition of the Party’s purpose since its founding was more or less unilaterally eliminated; power was more centralised; the role of the annual conference was weakened; policy discussions were set within selected focus groups; the selection of candidates within the constituencies was subjected to much greater central control (with the result that the Parliamentary Labour Party, its local branches, and its bureaucracy all became heavily dominated by “Blairites”); and so on—all this in an effort to make the Labour Party fit for purpose in a Thatcherised Britain and in a globalising, neo-liberal world: no great inclination here to take arms against a sea of troubles—unless, of course, it was to take up arms against troublesome Iraq: the social and political destruction of that country was something else Blair’s policy of staying in close alignment with globalisation’s superpower required Britain to join in. And many in the Labour Party would never forgive him or new Labour that, especially since the decision to launch that war was rammed through the Party and Parliament in a most authoritarian way. As Panitch and Leys relate, a fair number of those who abandoned the Party for its role in launching the war on Iraq formed part of Corbyn’s base of support in 2015. So, too, did many others disenchanted by New Labour’s policies or political style.

That some effort to meet the newly emerging realities and the challenges they posed was necessary, goes without saying. But the Blairite approach was not, perhaps, the only possible one; others just weren’t given the time of day, for the leader knew best. And yet that effort, to become the party of government within a new and rapidly evolving country and world, eventually proved futile when the great economic collapse of 2008-9 intervened.

What that collapse highlighted was that Britain under New Labour had not overcome the economic difficulties and the social and cultural indignities Labour was supposed at least to diminish (p. 210). Rather, a great many were more exposed than ever to the brutal consequences of the measures taken to deal with the global financial crisis. Despite the fact considerable change had been imposed upon Britain, change which included social mobility of a sort, change which meant that there were “the left behind” in the old industrial areas, and there were those younger people for whom, no matter their academic qualifications (which they now had to acquire from an increasingly corporatised educational system demanding payment), work had become more precarious and not necessarily available in their home area. These were among the factors that led to the extra-Party Uncut movement against austerity and to the British Occupy movements, among others. These were also among the factors which made it so difficult, indeed, impossible, for Labour to settle on a policy respecting Britain’s membership of the European Union, although Corbyn did, I think, try to fashion an electoral approach that would transcend the differences between these two groups of potential supporters, an attempt that was frustrated by the rigidity with which people had come to connect on one side or the other with the issue of Brexit.

Panitch and Leys weave all these topics and more, in much greater evidentiary detail, into their book. But it is only appropriate to note that their concern is not just to describe how the Corbyn project was defeated. Following along the path marked out by Ralph Miliband in his Parliamentary Socialism: A Study in the Politics of Labour (1961) and in their own previous book, The End of Parliamentary Socialism: From New Left to New Labour (2000), their larger concern is to present the difficulties—difficulties which eventually proved insurmountable—Corbyn and his many supporters outside Parliament and his few supporters inside Parliament faced in the Parliamentary Labour Party and in thrzxe Labour Party at large as well as within the supposedly neutral Party bureaucracy, as but another round in the conflict inherent in the Labour Party since its founding, a conflict which comes much more out into the open in every period of great economic crisis. For time and time again, in the 1930s, in the 1970s, and the 2010s, as they note, those who sought a socialist solution to these crises manage to get a hearing among the general public because the country’s power elite, including those ensconced in the Labour Party, have manifestly demonstrated their incompetence to deal with it, only to have the forces of normality regroup and come down on them like a ton of bricks. (This sort of thing is, too, part of the more encompassing British political tradition, as those who recall the fate of the more radical wing of the parliamentary forces arrayed against the royalists in the 17th C. will recognise. Such is the depth of the problem. And, like the USA’s 1789, it is almost never addressed as a problem.)

The most recent drive for democratic socialism, of which Corbyn reluctantly became the leader and the symbol in 2015, was stronger than ever before, driving the forces of normality in his own Party, in Parliament, and in the media into a frenzy of destructive effort. And as the critics of parliamentary socialism would suggest, Corbyn’s destruction was almost inevitable, for parliamentary socialism is, certainly within the political field defined and maintained by Britain’s present constitutional arrangements and their attendant dominant ideology, a contradiction. That destruction came with the defeat of Corbyn-led Labour in the General Election of December 2019, a defeat which, though substantial, was, as Panitch and Leys claim, much exaggerated by the left’s opponents inside and outside the Party (p. 248). [1] Again, however, a most negative perception of the left had to be constructed and disseminated.

That 2019 General Election is the subject of Panitch and Leys’ concluding chapter, which they center on the problems the divisive issue of Brexit posed for the entire Labour Party including its left, including for Corbyn himself and his closest colleagues. For the 2016 Referendum result favoring Leave had initiated, not ended, a two-year-long battle between Leavers and Remainers which cross-cut Britain’s major partisan divide. On the Tory side, the Leavers eventually coming to power under the leadership of Boris Johnson had summarily dismissed the leading Remainers from their party and proceeded to call a General Election to validate their policy vis-à-vis the European Union. Labour entered this election very much divided on a number of grounds: on Brexit itself; on the significance of anti-Semitism among the Corbynite ranks; on the very fact that the left presently constituted its leadership. In short, on the Labour side the Election was not just a contest against the Tory government it was simultaneously a contest over who would control the Party. And unlike in the United States where the differences within the Democratic Party became somewhat muted during the 2020 election campaign to oust Trump from the Presidency, there was almost no such muting of the differences within British Labour in December 2019.

How Labour was wrong footed by the Tories and how Corbyn was pressed by the exigencies springing from the divided nature of his party to adopt positions on Brexit to his own and his party’s detriment, is discussed in some detail in the book under review.  As Panitch and Leys make clear, the internal division has been as much about the nature of the Party, the nature of Britain, and about the nature of the Britain’s antiquated constitutional arrangements as it has been about whether or not the UK should leave or remain within the EU. It was also another convenient stick with which to beat Corbyn since he had long been a critic of Britain within a neoliberal Europe. Since the Election, and since Corbyn’s replacement by Starmer, a Remainer, the Remainers within the Party have very much muted their opposition to Brexit. That that fundamental dispute of which the Leave-Remain dispute was a part nevertheless continues to have purchase, is indicated by two competing autopsies, if you like, of Labour’s electoral defeat—autopsies which postdate the publication of the book under review but which nevertheless fall in line with the argument Panitch and Leys are making in their concluding chapter.

There is, on the one hand, the official Party analysis, formulated and distributed by the post-Corbyn leadership of the Party: “Labour Together”. [2] This account, while it acknowledges that social democratic and similar parties have everywhere undergone serious decay almost everywhere, largely contents itself with outlining some longer term demographic shifts among the British public, as if these speak for themselves, as if deindustrialization and its consequences were somehow inevitable. Still more recently, on the other hand, some leading left Leavers in the Party have countered with “No Holding Back”. [3] Its authors reiterate that, as Panitch and Leys summarize regarding an earlier moment in the controversy, all the trends—deindustrialization, decay of the trade unions, etc.—“had been reinforced, rather than countered, by New Labour, whose continuing influence was reflected in the inability, or refusal, of so many in the PLP, and even in the shadow cabinet, to hear what Jon Trickett and Ian Lavery were telling them throughout 2018 and 2019—namely, that in many old working-class communities the call for a second referendum was being taken as an expression of profound political disdain” (p. 250). Clearly, the nature of the Party, its composition as well as its structure, is still the subject of much contention, linked as these are to the divergent answers being given to the question, what’s the matter with Britain?

With respect to the 2019 election, it is also necessary to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. It is now more necessary than ever to do so since their purported anti-Semitism has now been given as the grounds for dismissing from his shadow cabinet the new leader Keir Starmer’s principal opponent in the post-election leadership contest, Rebecca Long-Bailey, and for suspending Corbyn himself from the party he so recently led.

Obviously these events fall outside the purview of their book, though Panitch and Leys do discuss the almost ceaseless leveling of charges of anti-Semitism against the left, against Corbyn in particular, during the years he led the Party (pp. 208-211). And they do reference studies, such as that by Greg Philo, which explored and repudiated the effect of these repeated accusations on the general public (pp 292-293, n. 13). [4]        They do not, however, in my estimation, attend sufficiently to the effect of these accusations on the outcome of the 2019 General Election—though they are, perhaps, alluding to that, among other things, when they note that “Corbyn could not and would not disown his own anti-imperialist record; but his failure to respond to gross distortions of it cost Labour dearly in the 2019 election” (p. 251). Yet there were many reports of potential Labour voters voicing their concerns to those canvassing for their vote, revealing their reluctance to support Corbyn, the anti-Semite as they had come to perceive him to be. It is surely commendable that so many among the British electorate saw anti-Semitism as something to be rejected. It is surely not commendable that so many had a quite distorted view of the degree to which anti-Semitism was a peculiarly left-Labour problem in today’s Britain. 

To be sure, it is unclear how anti-Semitism fits in analytically to the narrative of left-right conflict for control of the Labour Party. But there can be no doubt that it has to be taken seriously since it has in recent times played a most significant role in that conflict and continues to do so. Let me therefore say a little more about it, to bring it up to date.

First, a little organizational detail which helps explain some of what follows: As Panitch and Leys discuss, although Corbyn was elected leader by a considerable majority of the Party members in September 2015 and defeated an attempt to remove him from the leadership by an even greater majority in September 2016, it was not until late 2017 that elections to the Party’s National Executive Committee gave Corbyn supporters a majority on that body. Thus it at last became possible to replace a bitter opponent of Corbyn as General Secretary of the Party, the head of the Party’s bureaucracy, with a strong supporter of Corbyn (pp. 223-224.) Related changes in the top bureaucratic staff occurred at the same time. Subsequently, after Corbyn stood down as leader, and after Starmer was selected in his stead, the Corbyn-friendly bureaucrats were soon replaced by those opposed to what he and the left stand for.

Now no doubt it is because Corbyn, like many others on the left in Britain and elsewhere, had been a strong supporter of Palestinian rights throughout his long political career, that a number of British-Jewish organizations strongly disapproved of him becoming the leader of a major British political party. It was quite common to see him and his like-thinking colleagues, some of them Jewish, characterized as anti-Semites. And as conflict between the left and the right in the Party escalated, that characterization was “weaponised” by his opponents in the Party and in the media. (The attempts to weaponize it against the American left have been rather less effective. [5].)

To spell out the character of this conflict more fully, to render it a little more comprehensible for those who have not been following it over the last five years: there have been two linked elements to this bitter feud. On the one hand, a conflict among British Jews, some of them Labour Party members, which has, roughly, opposed those who favored a more traditional notion of anti-Semitism to those who espoused the “new anti-Semitism” which has tended to link criticism of Israel more closely with anti-Semitism per se [6]. On the other hand, as I understand it, there have been those Party opponents of Corbyn and more generally of the rise of the left in the Party, some of them Jewish, some not, who saw that the charge of anti-Semitism and of being too lax in dealing with expressions of anti-Semitism in the Party could play a potent part in curbing the left and getting rid of Corbyn. Nevertheless, the remarks of those such as Lynne Segal, a Jewish member of Corbyn’s own constituency party and one of his long-standing proponents, deserve attention, as do those of Nira Yuval-Davis, who also describes herself as an anti-Zionist diasporic Israeli Jew. [7]

 So when Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission indicated that it would investigate anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, the for-the-moment Corbyn-friendly Party bureaucracy composed a lengthy report to be submitted as evidence to that Commission, “The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to anti-Semitism, 2014-2019”. [8] But before it could be submitted, the Labour Party was under new management. Starmer had replaced Corbyn as leader in early 2020. And the Party’s new leadership chose not to submit that lengthy report. It quickly, for obvious reasons, became the “Leaked Report.”

To refer to events germane to the argument of Panitch and Leys: The EHRC made its conclusions public on 29 October 2020. [9] In my view, it is a flawed report in that it does not adequately take into account one fact the very existence of the “Leaked Report” clearly signifies: that two bitterly opposed, politically feuding groups were in charge of the Party’s Governance and Legal Unit at different times and that their relationship with the political leadership of the Party was also very different. Hence, to blame the left for the politically motivated foot dragging on the part of the Blairite bureaucrats in dealing with members accused of anti-Semitism during the first half of Corbyn’s time as leader is a bit much. Again, these are much discussed matters. What also needs to be discussed is a more general issue, the growing tendency to substitute judicial and semi-judicial action for politics.

 What has turned out to be the most significant and most controversial consequence of the EHRC’s findings was that while acknowledging and regretting that there was anti-Semitism in the Party and saying even one case would be one too many, Corbyn also offered that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”—a conclusion which, given what had gone on during the preceding five years, seems to fall well within the bounds of civil political discourse. [10] Yet that is ostensibly why the Party’s new anti-left General Secretary immediately suspended Corbyn from the Party. The role of Starmer in all of this is much debated. Also relevant to the point made about control of discussion within the Party, the perceived suppression of free speech in the Party, especially when it comes to the attack upon a former leader who enjoyed much support and who brought membership in the Party to a new high, has again heightened the conflict between the opposed elements in the Party, nullifying the claims of the new leadership that it is seeking to unify. [11] An NEC panel reinstated Corbyn on 17 November 2020, much to the chagrin of those who have been denouncing him for so long. But almost immediately Starmer, in a move which the semi-official Labourlist described as “lea[ving] all sides feeling more mistrustful of party procedures than before, which is quite some feat,” decreed that he would not be allowed to sit in Parliament as a Labour MP.  The new left Momentum campaign group then charged that Starmer was “making it up as he goes along,” describing the move as “not only farcical and incompetent” and as “a blatant political attack on the left.” [12] No end to strife! Worse, from being just one weapon in the left-right struggle, anti-Semitism is being made into a key battleground. This is a troubling development which should give everyone pause.

But I have strayed perhaps too far in substance, though not, I hope in spirit, from Panitch and Leys’ discussion. Let me close by returning to their express concern that the predicaments faced by Labour’s new left and by Britain as a whole are inextricably linked to “the progressive loss of coherence and workability of the country’s so-called unwritten constitution.” Rather as in the United States—where constitutional revisions envisioning, for example, the elimination or circumvention of the Electoral College, the restructuring of the Senate to counteract its undemocratic favoring of small states over large populations, the imposition of limits of some sort on the Supreme Court, doing something to block gerrymandering and voter suppression, are beginning to be talked about at least by some—it seems clear that a more democratic Britain will first require a serious politically driven discourse on that unwritten archaic constitution.

Signs that such a discourse is underway amongst some in some places are several. In Wales and most notably in Scotland, the press towards a different set of governing institutions and ideas is part of the neo-nationalist movement for independence. But to this point, unless I’m mistaken, there has been no serious exploration of how to come up with a constitutional framework for an independent Scotland—just being separate from England, whether in or out of the European Union, does not begin to come close to such a framework for governing everyday life.

Another sign, oddly enough, is the unfolding of Brexit, which may be regarded as, in part, an important strand of the exploration within England in particular of its constitutional problems and its constitutional future. (NB. England is just one part, albeit much the largest part of the United Kingdom.) It cannot be doubted that that entire process became dominated by an English nationalistic right wing, on the one hand, and on the other, Euro-cosmopolitanism (the predominant part of Labour’s Remain element). But it should not be lost to sight and to history that there were those engaged in the bitter debate over Brexit who were seeking a voice in the governance of their own lives, a voice which Labour, for one, had increasingly denied them. [13]

As already noted, Panitch and Leys discuss in some detail how Brexit, in particular, helped derail the latest Parliament-centered attempt to bring more democracy to Labour and to Britain. But again, the general thrust of their argument is just how much the odds are stacked against parliamentary socialism being able to bring these aspirations to fruition. As they conclude: “In face of the contradictions being generated by twenty-first century capitalism, discovering and developing new political forms adequate to addressing them, and the popular capacities needed to overcome them, will take time. And yet, given the scale of these contradictions—political, economic, cultural, and not least ecological—time is short. This is the central dilemma for democratic socialists, not just in Britain but everywhere” (p. 255). I imagine that as they view the confused mess that is Britain’s pandemic politics they would want to repeat even more strongly, that a different, new politics is more necessary than ever. None which would advance a democracy in which “For the Many not the Few” might become a reality is yet coming into sight.

NOTE: The author of this review wishes to express his deep regret over the death of Leo Panitch on 19 December 2020 from Covid-19 contracted in hospital. He recommends an interview Leo Panitch gave in November 2020 as an amendment to this review:

[1] That it was much exaggerated is borne out by other data referring to the percentages of the British electorate, as distinct from the vote, going to Labour in the six successive 21st C. elections: 24.2%, 21.6%, 18.9%, 20.1% 27.5%, and 21.7%, the last two being those Labour fought under Corbyn’s leadership in 2017, when Labour’s level of support was greater than at any other time in the century, and 2019; clearly, too, although registering a big decline between 2017 and 2019, Labour still did rather better by this measure in 2019 than it did under Tony Blair in 2005, under Gordon Brown in 2010, or under Ed Miliband in 2015. Of course, all these percentages pale in significance when compared with the 40.3 percent of the electorate which was Labour’s share in 1951—in those far off days Labour and the Tories together were supported by about 80 % of the electorate, now they struggle to together account for about 50 %, a fact which points up just how much Britain’s post WW Two political order has decayed.

[2] ).

[3] Discussed by its proponents at more extensively at

[4] For some critical comments on the discussion of this very controversy-generating subject by Panitch and Leys (which he might extend to my additional remarks below?) see the review of their book by Professor Colin Shindler at  A “Corbyn” search on his site is quite informative.

[5] See, e.g.,

[6] See, e.g., the account by Antony Lerman, “The ‘new antisemitism’,” at  See also Brian Klug, For a brief account of the corresponding conflict in the contemporary United States see, e.g.,  Eric Alterman, “The Last Few Years Have Spelled a Resounding End to the ‘Jewish Vote’: There is no longer just one Jewish community. There are several, and they are increasingly at loggerheads,” The Nation December 14/21 2020 issue, See also the statement of Americans for Peace Now on the IHRA at which mirrors the criticisms directed at the adoption of this particular definition of antisemitism coming from the Labour left.

[7] See  . Also Professor Nira Yuval-Davis’s “Antisemitism and the labour party: some reflections after the publication of the EHRC report”



[10] See, e.g., See also Hilary Wainwright’s column in a newspaper otherwise known for its anti-Corbyn stance,

[11] See

[12] See

[13] An amusing, informative, and humane exploration of this and related matters is, Anthony Barnett, “Blimey, it could be Brexit,” accessible at

  Robin Melville, a frequent Logos contributor, is a retired academic who now lives in    Berkeley, CA.


Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

By Anthony DiMaggio: The War on Anti-Racism: The Mainstreaming of Social Movements, and the Emerging Backlash

By Joy James: The Algorithm of AntiRacism

By Lawrence Davidson: Israel’s Road to Apartheid and the Fate of International Law

By James Block: The Road Not (Yet) Taken II: From Culture Wars to a New History

By Russell Jacoby: High Court of Literary Correctness

By Benjamin Shepard: From Pandemic to Solidarity, Mutual Aid from Plague Days to Autonomous Zones

By Charles Thorpe: Toward Species Being

By Kurt Jacobsen: Stockholm Syndrome and The Trial of the Chicago 7

By Bill Nevins: Poetry Review Column

By Geoffrey Kurtz: Review Essay: J. Toby Reiner, Michael Walzer (Polity Press, 2020); Michael Walzer and Astrid von Busekist, Justice is Steady Work: A Conversation on Political Theory (Polity Press, 2020)

By Robin Melville: Review Essay: Leo Panitch & Colin Leys, Searching for Socialism: The Project of the Labour New Left from Benn to Corbyn (London: Verso: 2020)

By Benjamin Shepard: Review: Christophe Broqua, Action = Vie: A History of AIDS Activism and Gay Politics in France. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2020).

By Aidan J. Beatty: Review: Tanya Lavin, Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy. New York: Hatchette Books, 2020)

By Jeremy F. Walton: Patricia Morris, Fetishism, Psychoanalysis, Anthropology (London: Author’s Collective Press, 2020).

By Warren Leming: Review: Mark Harris, Mike Nichols: A Life. New York: Penguin, 2021.

By Sarah Kamal: Review: Eben Kirksey, The Mutant Project: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2020.