London Young Labour in decline

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 12:26 Author: Maisie Sanders

London Young Labour’s AGM on 31 March was billed by its organisers as “a packed day of elections and debates that will set the political direction of the organisation for the year”. But the only debate that took place was on the single motion to be heard: a statement in support of the Labour leadership’s Brexit strategy, out of date since the indicative votes took place in Parliament last week.

Since the Morning Star-oriented left won control of the committee last year, London Young Labour has run no outward facing campaigns. The committee itself has only met three times and generally not functioned. The conference was organised in a way seemingly designed to make it smaller than previous years.

Last year’s conference was attended by around 350 young members, while this year was about 70. Workers’ Liberty supporters and other class struggle socialists submitted motions on left antisemitism, scrapping Trident, radical action on climate change, for a culture of open and honest debate on the left, and on a movement in Labour that puts pressure on the leadership from the left. With Labour for a Socialist Europe we also submitted motions on Brexit and freedom of movement.

But the single hour scheduled for the motions debate was cut down to less than ten minutes after the ballot papers for committee elections were printed wrong twice, and only reprinted on our insistence that our candidate Andy Warren be on the ballot paper. The newly elected BAME officer joked that he should be left off because “no one would vote for him anyway.”

The organisers’ intention was clearly to create a hostile environment for Workers’ Liberty and other critical-minded and radical left-wingers. Mostly that seemed to bewilder other attendees. Many approached me to ask what I’d been trying to say all day.

The committee and the clique around them are clearly scared: of the right wing taking over again, of the politics we as a radical left are raising, and of the Brexit issue. Candidates endorsed by Momentum and CLPD Youth (by what process it isn’t clear) won all Chair and Liberation officer positions besides Under 19s Officer. The block committee elections have yet to be announced.

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