Labour Party

Women of the Poplar rebellion

Our story is set just after the first world war in Poplar, an east London borough with a population of 160,000 people crammed into the docklands in the bend of the River Thames (Poplar) and the area just north of it (Bow). It was an impoverished and exclusively working-class area, which had suffered greatly during the ‘Great War’. Working-class women juggled low-waged work with domestic chores, contending with overcrowded housing, unsanitary conditions, fatherless children and war-wounded husbands and sons. They had fought against profiteering companies, government stinginess and for the vote...

Why we wrote about Saklatvala

Our new pamphlet on 1920s revolutionary socialist MP Shapurji Saklatvala is out now and can be bought here (profits from the first print run go to the Sage care workers’ strike fund). Its author Sacha Ismail explains why he started reading about Saklatvala and we decided to produce the pamphlet. When I first joined Workers’ Liberty, twenty years ago, I read an article about the history of the Labour Party. Written in 1996 by Sean Matgamna, it cited Saklatvala as an important figure, quoting Communist and Trotskyist veteran Harry Wicks – active in the Battersea labour movement at the same time...

Activist agenda: Safe and Equal, Free Our Unions, Neurodivergent Labour, Poplar 100

Safe and Equal is pursuing its drive for full isolation pay for all with systematic phoning-round of its hundreds of contacts, demands for information from councils and from the NHS Test and Trace operators, and an appeal to other groups for a united front on the issue. Momentum Internationalists has given support; a good informal response from Don’t Leave Organise, but no formal answer yet. Free Our Unions has a Zoom meeting on anti-union laws, Tuesday 2 March, 6:30 pm. Speakers include Gerry Carroll MLA on the Trade Union Freedom Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mark Porter, Unite...

Break this new "tradition" now!

A new “tradition” is being developed in the Labour Party, of activists being suspended and fobbed off without due process, presumably in the hope that we will give up. An analysis by John Stewart in early February counted 56 CLP (Constituency Labour Party) officers suspended. 91 CLPs had passed motions which might have flouted the bans issued by General Secretary David Evans against discussion of Jeremy Corbyn’s and other suspensions, and 29 had had officers suspended. That may not be all, and probably hundreds of members were suspended earlier in 2020. We are told that the National...

To attack inequality, fight "business", don't partner with it

Perhaps stung by criticisms about his lack of fight — and alarmed by stagnant poll ratings — Keir Starmer seems to be trying to indicate a change of tack, promising “a moral crusade now… to address the inequalities and injustices that this crisis has so brutally exposed”. “The Tories… want to build back”, Starmer said in his 18 February speech. “I don’t want to go back… certainly not to an economy rooted in insecurity and inequality.” “They’ve been slow at every stage. They’ve ignored advice. They haven’t learnt from their mistakes… Yet a government out of its depth is not even half the story...

"The Silvertown Tunnel will be a disaster"

Victoria Rance, a spokesperson for the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel campaign, spoke to Solidarity. If it goes ahead the Silvertown Tunnel [a road tunnel under the Thames between Silvertown and the Greenwich Peninsula, supported by London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan] will be a disaster for people in East London and for the fight against climate change. It’s being justified as a way of easing congestion. The Blackwall Tunnel always has jams, and there’s not many river crossings in the East of London. But what they’re doing is making a crossing right next to the Blackwall Tunnel – it’s the same...

Forde Inquiry is stalled

On 11 February the Labour Party’s National Executive was told that the report of the inquiry led by lawyer Martin Forde into the 860-page internal report on Labour’s HQ workings leaked in May 2020 would be indefinitely postponed. Forde said in a letter that the government Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) “has indicated it is making inquiries” about the “security breaches” involved, and “the publication of our report could prejudice those inquiries”. This is a setback. The Labour Party will not be able to act in unity until we know whether allegations in the leaked document are true and...

Non-meeting in Bristol West

After Labour suspended some members of the Executive of Bristol West Constituency Labour Party, and cancelling our December Annual General Meeting, regional office staff ran that AGM on 11 February. We had to login before 7 pm, so they could verify our membership. Ballots were then sent out by email. There was no discussion, no speeches by candidates, no way to interact with or see the other participants. It was in no meaningful sense a meeting. We stared at a blank screen, refreshing our emails, while ballots came through in dribs and drabs. Broken up only by a talking head apologising for...

Regroup Labour's internationalists!

Every now and then on Twitter, users will post about their distress at being diagnosed with a terrible illness. The replies to these posts are almost always full of people making “helpful” suggestions: to forego meals and subsist off fistfuls of turmeric; to subscribe to expensive and miraculous yoga courses; homeopathy. The illnesses are very real; but the remedies often tell you a lot more about the people proposing them than about how to get well again. It is the same with the Labour Party’s famous disconnection from the working class, or at least from a large portion of it. When...

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