Attempts to oppose Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party have been blocked by the right-wing bureaucracy. But grassroots members in Bristol have shown that it is possible to smash through these barriers and fight back.

Attempts to oppose Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party have been blocked by the right-wing bureaucracy. But grassroots members in Bristol have shown that it is possible to smash through these barriers and fight back. 

Labour members in Bristol West CLP dealt a punishing blow to the right wing at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) earlier this week, on Monday 9 November.

This EGM was called to hear a strongly-worded motion submitted by one of the wards, which clearly spelt out the anger felt by party members towards the vicious suspension of Jeremy Corbyn.

The motion stated that Corbyn’s suspension is “a politically motivated attack against the left of the Labour Party by the leadership”. It called on the CLP to “oppose any and all politically motivated disciplinary actions against the left by the leadership”.  

Local activists – including Momentum members – saw this as a much clearer statement in defence of Jeremy Corbyn than the weak resolution put forward by CLPD [the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy]. This is also being pushed by Momentum nationally. But it fails to call for Corbyn’s reinstatement.

In the hours beforehand, intense pressure was applied on the CLP’s officers by Labour Party Regional Office. The regional bureaucracy demanded that the meeting be called off, making an explicit threat of disciplinary action.

This only heightened emotions and fuelled determination amongst the rank and file, as over 180 members poured into the Zoom meeting.  

The CLP chair took a calm and admirably steady approach. An initial motion was put to the floor, in favour of the meeting having the right to discuss the ward motion. This was passed by a clear majority.

A number of amendments were then discussed, which sought to dilute the motion opposing Corbyn’s suspension. These were all defeated. 

In the end, the motion in defence of Corbyn was carried by 99 votes to 81. The right wing were left licking their wounds.

Bristol West is one of the largest CLPs in the country. By standing up to the pressure of the party’s bureaucracy and passing a motion in support of Jeremy Corbyn, grassroots Labour members in Bristol have given confidence to others to defend Corbyn and fight the right wing.

Bristol West CLP motion

Passed at an EGM on 9 November 2020

This CLP notes:

1. That the Labour Party leadership has suspended Jeremy Corbyn MP from the party and removed the parliamentary whip, ostensibly due to his statement regarding the EHRC’s report on antisemitism in the Labour Party.

2. A number of public figures, including but not limited to the leader of the party, the deputy leader of the party, and the Socialist Campaign Group have issued public statements on the suspension, and that the SCG has called for reinstatement, yet the general secretary has nevertheless ordered that CLPs cannot do the same.

This CLP believes:

3. That Jeremy Corbyn MP is a socialist and life-long fighter against racism inside and outside the Labour Party

4. That his suspension is a politically motivated attack against the left of the Labour Party by the leadership.

This CLP resolves:

5. To condemn Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension and demand his reinstatement to the party.

6. To oppose any and all politically motivated disciplinary actions against the left by the leadership.

7. To send the contents of this motion to the Leader’s Office and the NEC.

8. That the voting numbers for, against, or abstain of any motions will be included with any messages sent within the Labour Party.