The Parliamentary Labour Party has put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to distance himself from and disown the Stop the War Coalition he used to chair, after it has emerged that some Syrians may have been prevented from speaking at one of its meetings.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “Their politics is driven by their opposition to US imperialism. This sometimes mean they will ignore the horrendous crimes of despotic anti-American regimes like Russia and Iran,” he told The Independent.
He also went on to say that Jeremy Corbyn has picked and chose which autocratic regimes he will explicitly pit himself against.
Two MPs, Emma Reynolds and Caroline Flint, joined calls for Mr Corbyn to drop plans to attend a fundraising dinner – calls he ignored. Ms Reynolds said: “They are anti-West rather than anti-war.”
Days before Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, stepped down as a patron of Stop the War, after statements made by the group in response to the Paris terror attacks and after she alleged that Syrians were not given an opportunity to speak at a meeting organised by the group at Parliament last month.
The group said France had “reaped the whirlwind” of Western support for extremist violence in the Middle East. The article which contained this was removed and has been disowned by the organisation’s leaders, but Stop the War was criticised again last week for a separate article, which said that jihadists were driven by a “spirit of internationalism and solidarity” akin to the International Brigades that fought in the Spanish Civil War. The article was also removed and disowned.
Mr Tatchell has been a vocal and long-term critic of some of its stances, condemned it for allegedly failing to allow anti-Assad Syrians to speak at a meeting chaired by Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary Diane Abbott. Ms Abbott has denied this.
Stop the War has issued a staunch defence of its campaigning and said its membership and support for its protests was increasing.
“Stop the War is always accused of supporting those that our government opposes. This is far from the truth, we oppose both terrorism and dictatorship but believe foreign intervention does nothing to deal with them,” the group said in a post on their website.
Analysis from our Political Editor, Noah Brown:
Really what we are bearing witness to here is a new brand of what I would term “Liberal Fascism” which in essence is a fundamentalist and extreme approach to upholding a left wing point of view. Liberal Fascists give no room for those who dissent or question their approach. In short they support free speech only for those who agree with them.
Image credit: flickr.com/zongo