The establishment has pulled out all the stops in recent months in order to try and bury Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left. The anti-semitism smear campaign has gone into overdrive. A group of Blairite MPs have split away to form the Independent Group. And the remaining right-wingers inside the PLP are openly organising as a 'party within a party', under the direction of deputy Labour leader (and Witchfinder General) Tom Watson.
But despite all of this furore, opinions polls indicate that Labour is on the rise. Meanwhile, on the ground, the left-wing of the Party continues to regain control from the Blairite right, as the reports below indicate.
The task now is to complete this transformation by introducing mandatory reselection, committing the party to a bold socialist programme, and fighting to bring a socialist Labour government to power.
Westminster voting intention:— Britain Elects (@britainelects) March 30, 2019
LAB: 41% (+5)
CON: 36% (-7)
LDEM: 7% (+1)
UKIP: 7% (+2)
Chgs. w/ 23 Feb
Sheffield Labour Students
By Danielle Wright, Sheffield Hallam CLP
At the recent AGM of Sheffield Labour Students, a motion calling for mandatory reselection was passed unanimously. This was passed alongside a motion in support of restoring Clause Four - Labour’s commitment to common ownership.
The discussion demonstrated an overwhelming support for mandatory reselection among Labour students. Contributions highlighted that being a Labour MP isn’t a cosy job for life. Rank-and-file members must be empowered to hold their representatives to account.
This motion comes at a time where the careerism of Blairite MPs has paved the way for the formation of the traitorous ‘Independent Group’. These splitters, who jumped before they were pushed, were already on the road to deselection in their respective CLPs. Joan Ryan, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith had all lost votes of no confidence late-last year. Luciana Berger in Liverpool Wavertree and Chuka Umunna in Streatham had also faced strong opposition from members locally.
We have seen numerous CLPs and university Labour clubs support similar motions calling for mandatory reselection. This is no surprise, given the intense struggles of the Corbyn-supporting membership against the out-of-touch Blairites.
In addition, Labour clubs (including Sheffield Labour Students) have been disaffiliating en masse from Labour Students (formerly known as NOLS). This is due to events surrounding the recent Labour Students’ national conference, where a small clique of right-wing bureaucrats blocked 19,000 student Labour members from voting in the national committee elections. This cabal feared a ‘takeover’ by Corbyn-supporters, who represent the vast majority of the student membership.
It is clear that socialism is on the agenda for Labour’s young members. We must take this struggle into the wider party in order to fight for mandatory reselection, Clause Four, and a socialist Labour government.
By Sam Tollitt, Streatham CLP
On Thursday 28th March, Streatham CLP held its AGM. This was the first AGM held under an all members system, with all members of the local Labour Party able to attend and participate.
This change to an all members structure, along with recent events - notably the spitting away of local MP, Chuka Umunna, to form the Independent Group - led to a mass turn out of around 400 members at this year’s AGM. This proved to be far more than the organisers anticipated, resulting in severe delays to the meeting.
This meant that the time allowed for discussions surrounding the elections had to be cut short. In the end, the votes for some positions, including the CLP’s national conference delegates, could not even be counted.
Despite the frustration this generated, there were many reasons to be optimistic. The pro-Corbyn left-wing swept the elections, winning all but one of the officer positions.
Pro-Corbyn candidates talked about fighting local battles - for example, against cuts to children’s centres and knife crime. But they also spoke about how the local party had been reinvigorated, and how this momentum should be taken forward to fight for a radical Corbyn government and demands like mandatory reselection, so that we can elect MPs who represent the party.
Over the past few months in Streatham, we have seen a big polarisation between the left and right wings of the Labour Party. Election results at this AGM often had narrow margins, with the left candidate for chair winning by fewer than twenty votes. This shows that despite the successes, we cannot grow complacent. We must continue to organise.
Nevertheless, this is an important victory for the left wing of the party, in what was a right-wing stronghold. It gives us the opportunity to elect a new local MP who will fight for the working class and for a socialist Labour Corbyn government.