Labour Party

Labour avoids politics

To dispel any illusion that Labour Party members are seen as more than foot soldiers and a source of funding by the people that run it, see the agenda for 2020 Connected, the online event on 19-22 September replacing the postponed National Conference and Women’s Conference. The agenda gives the appearance of a political party at pains to avoid politics. The “National” days have 24 training sessions and only 9 policy panels. The policy panels are only one hour long, and will likely consist of “the great and good” talking to us, not with us. The “Women’s” Connected day has tried for more...

Johnson heads for disaster Brexit

Brexit is destructive. It means higher borders between countries, and a drive by the British government to slip down from EU-agreed social standards to what will suit getting a trade deal with the USA. That’s true for any Brexit, and even more true for the “no deal” Brexit the Tories are edging towards. Also, the moment of Brexit is bound to bring turmoil and dislocation. Even if you think that will be passing, and worth it in the long run, those will be complications which should be avoided when trying to devise virus-control policies in the depths of winter. Since the Tories have a large...

Manctopia? Remaking Manchester for capital

The population of city centre Manchester is set to double in the next five years. 105 complexes of flats are planned. Already tower blocks, usually of little architectural merit, are being built on any available land regardless of the effects on the local environment. Where the land is not free, historic buildings are often demolished or left to rot until they become impossible to save. Until the 1990s, few people lived in the city centre. Now it is becoming “Manc-hattan”. A number of traditionally working-class areas on the fringes of the city centre are being redeveloped as part of a plan to...

Shapurji Saklatvala: A tribune of the working class

Part three of our series. Part one here. Part two here. In rapidly shifting post-war conditions, as Labour displaced the Liberals as Britain’s second party, there were three general elections in 1922-24. Chosen as the standard-bearer of a strong and radical local labour movement, Indian revolutionary socialist Shapurji Saklatvala was elected Labour MP for Battersea North in 1922; narrowly lost it to his “Constitutionalist” opponent in 1923; and won it back in 1924, as a Communist candidate with local Labour backing. Saklatvala was Labour’s first “BAME” MP, but not the first MP with membership...

Left politics without the activists

Gabriel Pogrund’s and Patrick Maguire’s book Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn is not really about the politics of the Corbyn Labour Party leadership, but about the “politics” in the sense of corridor chat, text-message exchanges, and WhatsApp groups at the top of the party hierarchy. Tellingly, it doesn’t mention the failure of the Labour Party in that period to promote any real ongoing political campaigns outside the general elections of 2017 and 2019. Either the authors take it as obvious that political parties won’t do political campaigning, or they picked up no argument or...

Tories lurch towards No Deal

Boris Johnson, according to the Financial Times on 7 September, is planning legislation (to be published 9 September) which will contradict the Withdrawal Agreement already signed with the European Union on state aid to industrial bosses and on trade checks between Britain and Northern Ireland. And Johnson said on 6 September that if he doesn’t get an outline deal on free trade post-Brexit with the EU by 15 October, then he will “move on”. In other words, to a “no-deal” Brexit. We can’t judge how much Johnson is bluffing to try to spook the EU into last-minute concessions, and how much he...

Young Labour: democracy, struggle, Internationalism

Set up to back internationalist, class-struggle candidates in the current Young Labour elections (nominations close 27 September, ballot 19 October to 12 November), Young Labour Internationalists also aim to connect Young Labour activists with social movements and struggles. In particular, they plan to get young activists involved in the NHS workers’ fight, and in making solidarity with freedom struggles in other countries: Belarus, China, Montenegro, Poland... You can read their full platform

Young Labour elections

Young Labour Internationalists is a platform being put forward in the Young Labour elections (nominations close 27 Sep, voting 19 Oct to 12 Nov. Momentum “primary” voting closing 2 Sep). We are supporting: • Benj Eckford for Northern rep • Robbie Scott for International Officer • Sacha Marten for Student Rep Our slate is likely to expand, with more candidates signing up to support our political platform. We hope to run debates via Zoom with Young Labour groups across the UK and organise forums of our own to discuss how to build a class-struggle oriented internationalist youth movement. Our...

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