Jewish Former South African MP Feinstein Challenges Starmer in Holborn St Pancras
The announcement that Andrew Feinstein will stand against Keir Starmer in Holborn and St Pancras signifies a grassroots revolt against the rightward drift of today’s Labour Party. As a veteran anti-apartheid activist and MP in South Africa, Feinstein embodies the passionate socialist principles that Labour has betrayed under Starmer’s tepid leadership.
Feinstein is a credible candidate with an outstanding resume. Andrew Josef Feinstein is a former South African politician, activist, filmmaker, and author. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1994 to 2001 under the ruling ANC party, notably resigning in 2001 due to the ANC’s refusal to investigate a £5 billion arms deal marred by corruption allegations. Feinstein, born in Cape Town to Holocaust survivors, has a deep personal connection to anti-apartheid activism.
During his tenure, Feinstein played a significant role in South African politics, holding positions such as MP, Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, and economic advisor. His notable achievements include introducing the first-ever motion on the Holocaust in South African parliamentary history. His advocacy for a thorough investigation into the South African Arms Deal, despite facing resistance from the ANC, led to his resignation.
Since 2001, Feinstein has resided in London, serving as the Executive Director of Corruption Watch UK and chairing the AIDS charity Friends of the Treatment Action Campaign. He is considered a dissident and critic of the ANC, particularly critical of the party’s political culture and the arms deal, which he views as the point where the ANC lost its moral compass.
In 2011, Feinstein published “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade,” offering a comprehensive examination of the global arms industry. The book, well-received internationally, emphasizes the close ties between the arms trade, corruption, and political entities. It later inspired a documentary, “Shadow World,” which premiered in 2016 and garnered multiple awards.
For decades, Labour MPs took working-class votes for granted by adopting centrist policies that supported the neoliberal status quo. However, under Corbyn’s leadership, there was a noticeable shift in this approach. Labour’s increasing momentum in 2017 demonstrated a growing appetite for left-wing policies. Despite this, in 2019, Labour suffered a significant setback, losing 60 seats, particularly in post-industrial areas that had overwhelmingly supported Leave in the EU referendum. Specifically, Labour lost 6 seats in Scotland and 54 seats in England, 52 of which had voted decisively in favour of leaving the EU.
Despite the clear reason for these losses, the remain-dominated Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) avoided taking responsibility, particularly for Starmer’s policy of supporting and pushing a second referendum, which was pointedly the root cause of losing votes. This allowed Starmer to deflect blame onto the leftist policies of the Corbyn era.
In this deceitful manoeuvring, Starmer threw socialist commitments overboard and remade Labour into a party of the establishment centre. After becoming leader, he broke pledges and purged leftists while dragging Labour towards corporate interests. Starmer now speaks only in hollow platitudes devoid of vision.
But from this morass, resistance stirs. The grassroots group OCISA has tapped Andrew Feinstein to embody the socialist values Starmer betrayed. This bold challenge exposes mass discontent with Starmer’s incompetence and ideological emptiness.
Across the UK, there is growing hunger for a substantive progressive politics rooted in economic and social justice. As a principled fighter against oppression, Feinstein provides a clear moral contrast to Starmer’s shapeless centrism. This could resonate strongly in diverse communities abandoned by Labour elites.
Make no mistake, toppling Starmer will be difficult. But this uprising from below reveals the hollowness of his boasted control.
Whether Feinstein wins or not, his candidacy rebukes the Labour establishment’s rightward lurch. It ignites hope that socialist ideals long-dormant within the party may flourish again through grassroots action. Starmer has failed to articulate an inspiring vision, for the grassroots it has become acutely clear, that Labour’s lost soul must be reclaimed by a new generation of leftist fighters, outside the Labour Party.
Outside Starmer’s seat of Holborn and St Pancras, Labour MPs are warning they face a growing challenge from a well-funded slate of independent candidates opposed to Keir Starmer’s position on the Israel-Gaza war, amid an increasingly coordinated campaign in the build-up to the next election.
OCISA are crowdfunding their campaign and has raised a substantial amount. The ambitus group hopes to use the funds not only to support a truly left wing candidate in Holborn and St Pancras but used to assist other socialist candidates standing elsewhere in the UK. You can help by donating here.
Labour MPs facing wave of independent challengers over stance on Gaza
With several MPs warning they continue to face anger over the party’s handling of its position on the Middle East, the Observer has been told that meetings have been taking place in recent days to identify, fund and champion a list of independent candidates to take on Labour MPs who failed to back an immediate ceasefire in a parliamentary vote last November.
The Bethnal Green and Bow seat in east London, held by the shadow business minister Rushanara Ali, is among the constituencies being discussed. An independent candidate has already been installed to stand against shadow health secretary Wes Streeting in Ilford North, with a major fundraising campaign already under way to back her.
One MP said that the funds being talked about were substantial and would cause concern among colleagues with large Muslim populations, as well as those with a significant share of voters willing to back a candidate to the left of Labour. It is understood a meeting about running rival candidates, which included potential financial backers, was held in London last week.
Meanwhile, George Galloway is Rocking Rochdale…
More immediately, the danger comes from figures like George Galloway who is peeling away working-class support with his emerging Worker’s Party. Galloway offers a clear and present danger to Labour in the Rochdale by-election where Labour’s position grows more precarious hourly, particularly following Starmer’s selective decision to continue backing Azhar Ali despite Ali’s disturbing promotion of antisemitic conspiracy theories about Israel deliberately allowing the killing of its own citizens. This exposes the hypocrisy and cynicism behind Starmer’s purported stand against antisemitism, not exactly pulling it out by the roots on this occasion, is he…
Azhar Ali’s conspiracy theory came when he allegedly claimed Israel deliberately allowed 1,400 of its citizens to be massacred on October 7 in order to give it the ‘green light’ to invade Gaza.
Labour Shadow Minister Nick Thomas-Symonds told the BBC Azhar Ali’s comments were “completely and utterly unacceptable”. However, he said the prospective MP understood the “gravity of the offence that has been caused” and had “unreservedly apologised”.
The Tories are urging Labour to suspend Mr Ali from the party and stop campaigning for him in Rochdale. Party chair Richard Holden said: “If Labour won’t do that, the public will see that Labour is happy to run antisemitic candidates to attract racist votes and is therefore unfit to play a leading role in our nation’s affairs.”
Mr Ali is alleged to have told a Labour party meeting that Israel had “allowed” the deadly attack by Hamas gunmen on 7 October.
Mr Ali made his initial remarks at a meeting of the Lancashire Labour Party soon after the attacks, making the astonishing claim that the Israeli government had removed its border security to give the Hamas terrorists free rein.
He told the meeting: ‘The Egyptians are saying that they warned Israel ten days earlier… Americans warned them a day before [that] there’s something happening… They deliberately took the security off, they allowed… that massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want.’
After someone suggested Sir Keir was ‘held in high regard’, Mr Ali replied: ‘Can I disagree with you… A lot of the MPs I’ve spoken to, non-Muslim MPs, feel that on this issue, he’s lost the confidence of the parliamentary party.’
Mr Ali was selected last month to contest the by-election, caused by the death of Sir Tony Lloyd. He served a five-year stint as a Government advisor under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Cynicly, It was pointed out that it is too late for Labour to withdraw Mr Ali as their candidate and replace him with someone else as the deadline passed on 2 February.
What is clear is that Rochdale is set to see one of the dirtiest campaigns of 2024 where local grooming gang controversies and international issues like Israel-Palestine will be weaponised. Labour clings to a precarious 9000 vote majority, but this could easily crumble amidst the toxic politics of division. Will we see a unifying alternative under Galloway or plain old scapegoating and fear-mongering from the right wing…
It’s worth noting the remarkable contributions of George Galloway, particularly his courageous efforts in South Africa on behalf of the ANC working undercover in the most dangerous of times and his principled stance as one of the founders of the Stop the War movement. It’s no surprise that Labour is feeling uneasy in light of such principled activism.
With insurgent challengers multiplying, the left is showing boldness against ossified centrism. There are the first green shoots of a moral reawakening sorely needed in these bleak political times. Out of darkness, light flickers into view.