As expected, Boris Johnson – a documented Islamophobe, homophobe and racist – has won the Tory leadership contest, thus becoming Prime Minister. Liberals and establishment media mouthpieces are in a panic. Grassroots Labour Party activists, by contrast, are getting organised to make Johnson the first sitting prime minister to lose his House of Commons seat.
Labour canvassers from all across the country – from Essex to Exeter, Hastings to Hull – gathered in Uxbridge on 21st July for the launch of a campaign to ‘unseat Johnson’. There was a strong turnout, with over 200 volunteers in good spirits on a sunny Sunday afternoon as they took to the streets of Uxbridge to campaign for Labour.
The event was organised by the Uxbridge & South Ruislip Labour Party. They day kicked off with a rally addressed by the local Labour parliamentary candidate, Ali Milani, shadow ministers Diane Abbott and Richard Burgeon, and journalist Owen Jones.
The speakers emphasised that - with a majority of only 5,034 - Johnson’s constituency is in a fragile state. This will be a key battleground in the next general election.
In the 2017 general election, Johnson lost half of his majority. This was despite the fact that Labour had to form a campaign around a candidate who was parachuted in at the last-minute, and with the party hampered by the sabotage and slander of the Blairites on a national level.
It was the massively reinvigorated party membership - inspired by Corbyn and McDonnell’s left-wing manifesto - that accomplished this. And it is the same army of supporters who will be organising to wipe out Johnson’s majority altogether in the next election.
Labour also has a stronger candidate this time around in Milani: an Uxbridge local and left-winger who, unlike Johnson, actually puts in appearances in the constituency. Milani connects with ordinary people in Uxbridge in a way that Johnson never could.
At Sunday’s event, Milani described how he arrived in Britain from Iran at the age of five. He spoke to the crowd about his childhood memories of his family being forced to choose between topping up the electricity or gas meter, since they were too short of cash to afford both. This is the kind of poverty the Labour Party has pledged to eradicate.
Aside from Milani, Burgon also gave a very inspiring speech. The Leeds East MP pointed out that the revamped smear campaign against Corbyn is an indication that a snap general election is imminent. Such an election, Burgon asserted, will present the opportunity to put “the most socialist, most anti-racist, most anti-austerity Prime Minister ever” into Downing Street.
Burgon also warned of another Blairite coup against Corbyn. The Labour right wing are determined to stop Jeremy Corbyn getting into Downing Street.
The response from Uxbridge residents was mostly positive. The majority of people on the doorstep either declared their support for Labour, or stated that even if they’re unconvinced by Labour and Corbyn, they’ll do whatever it takes to boot out Boris. Most also expressed their preference for Milani over an upper-class Tory: an out-of-touch MP who was parachuted in and who rarely appears in the constituency he claims to represent.
Afterwards, canvassers debriefed at a nearby pub. Milani again showed the difference between himself and Johnson by chatting to most of those involved, including supporters of Socialist Appeal who were joining in with the day’s activities.
The local Labour candidate expressed his support for Clause IV, saying that nationalisation of the railways, postal service, water and energy industries is essential in order to have an economy run for the people, by the people.
Of course, a Corbyn Labour government will face massive attacks and economic sabotage when in power. Labour must therefore pledge to place the commanding heights of the economy under public ownership and democratic control. This is the only way that Labour can carry out Corbyn’s promises and programme.
Boris out! Corbyn in!
With the Tories in meltdown and a snap general election threatened by Johnson, the strategy seen in Uxbridge must now be replicated up and down the country.
A mass campaign of strikes, rallies, and demonstrations must be organised to force a general election. Such a campaign begins this week, with big protests against Boris Johnson and for a Corbyn Labour government already called for London. These should be spread to other cities and towns.
Labour must put its 500,000-strong membership on an electoral footing, ready to mobilise around an inspiring, socialist programme to elect a Corbyn government. Moreover, the wreckers in the PLP must be replaced with genuine class fighters, willing to defend and implement such a programme.
160,000 viciously reactionary Tory members have been allowed to make Boris Johnson Prime Minister. But hundreds of thousands of Labour activists – and millions of Labour voters – will send him packing, along with the rest of his vile party.