Why I am appealing against my expulsion

Submitted by Matthew on 2 September, 2015 - 11:29 Author: Daniel Randall

I joined the Labour Party in 2006, and have been a member ever since. From 2004 to 2013, I was a member of, and active in, two Labour-affiliated trade unions (Unison and GMB). During this election campaign, I successfully proposed that my current union, the RMT, support the Labour candidate in my constituency (Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn).

Having not received my ballot papers for the current leadership election, I rang the Labour Party to enquire as to their whereabouts. I was told that I wouldn't be receiving them, as my "membership had been cancelled" - in other words, that I had been expelled from the party.

The person on the other end of the phone apparently didn't know why; she read out a long list of possible reasons, and told me it would all be explained in a letter that was on its way to me. I still haven't received the letter.

I am also a member of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty (AWL), a socialist organisation descended from another group, Socialist Organiser, which was banned by the Labour Party in 1990 during the last witch-hunt against the far left. My membership of AWL has never been a secret, but it's never been an issue for the Labour Party until now - when I have a chance to contribute, by voting for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election, to a political earthquake that threatens the power of the Blairite cadre that controls the Labour Party machine.

There has been much talk around the leadership election about the "aims and values of the Labour Party", and who does and does not support or represent them. For me, the fundamental and foundational aim of the Labour Party is simple: to give organised labour a voice in politics, to allow us to express ourselves in the political sphere, through a party based on and accountable to our unions, just as our employers historically used the Liberal and Tory parties. The "values" of the Labour Party, meanwhile, have always been a contested terrain, and for too long they have been based on total accommodation to an ideological framework dictated by the Tories. This leadership election is a chance to begin changing that. No wonder the architects of that accommodation are running scared.

I will be appealing against my expulsion, because I believe that a Labour Party that cannot accommodate me, and the 100,000 other left-wing members and supporters like me who have been expelled as part of this election, but can accommodate the likes of Blair and Mandelson - super-rich class warriors for neo-liberal capitalism - must be overhauled and transformed.

Whatever the outcome on 12 September, the Blairite blockade on Labour Party politics has been decisively broken. We - socialist trade union activists - have an opportunity to remake the political labour movement as a force capable of radically altering society, of governing in the interests of our class in as partisan a way as the current government governs in the interests of capital. That work does not end, but begins, with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

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