Since late March, the Labour Party has been effectively “locked down”, with no local constituency parties authorised to hold democratic decision-making meetings.
In early June, a letter from Labour’s London Region to a CLP [Constituency Labour Party] which had held an Executive Committee (EC) meeting online surfaced on social media.
In the letter, the regional official stated that the Party does not permit CLPs to hold meetings remotely and all regular meetings had been cancelled during the pandemic “to protect members”.
Since 25 March, “informal meetings” such as social events can be held. It was conceded that “in exceptional circumstances,” ECs can “meet to agree urgent business”.
London Region were quick to qualify this: “‘urgent business’ is limited to organisationally-critical decisions and is not an opportunity to pass political resolutions. For this reason the NEC [National Executive Committee] has requested Regional Offices approve all remote meetings before they take place”.
This is a profound centralisation of political initiative in the hands of the party bureaucracy. In effect, Labour’s grassroots democratic channels and structures have been closed off.
In the last couple of weeks, a few CLPs have had letters saying that they are being considered for a selective “trial” in restarting decision-making. No details yet.
We must support moves to “Wake Up Labour” and fight for the right of local party activists to meet, discuss and pass political resolutions.
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