Alongside the upcoming Labour NEC elections, which begin in October, voting will also take place to choose the new national committee of Young Labour (YL).
This is another important battleground in Labour’s civil war. A strong, radical youth wing could provide a militant opposition to Starmer’s leadership and rightward turn. And it could be a powerful pole of attraction for young workers and students who are moving into struggle.
Under its new ‘grassroots’ leadership, Momentum recently held primaries to decide who the organisation would back in the YL elections. In effect, the winners would be the left’s official slate.
Seven Socialist Appeal supporters stood in these elections, under the banner of the Marxist Voice for Young Labour.
As proud Marxist activists, we used our campaign to make the case for bold socialist policies. This included: nationalisation of the key levers of the economy, under workers’ control; reversing all privatisation and outsourcing; abolishing tuition fees; ending the Tory anti-trade unions laws; and opposing imperialist wars and jingoistic sabre-rattling.
Above all, we explained that we need to build a mass movement capable of overthrowing capitalism – this rotten system that is responsible for the coronavirus crisis, the climate crisis, and the housing crisis; that is responsible for racism, oppression, and war; and that is responsible for robbing young people of their future.
This struggle, as our platform stated, must begin with taking the fight to the right wing of the Labour Party. Starmer has refused to provide any real opposition to the Tories. Instead, he has gone on the attack against the left, whilst paying off saboteur ex-staffers.
It is vital, therefore, that we continue raising demands for open selection and party democracy – to sweep the Blairites and bureaucrats out of the PLP and Labour HQ.
Appetite for Marxism
Through the #MarxistVoice4YL campaign, we raised these key questions and presented a clear socialist alternative. Hundreds followed us on Facebook and Twitter. And our videos – on issues such as fighting racism and linking up with workers’ struggles – reached thousands online.
In the end, our candidates saw strong support in the Momentum primaries. Notably, comrade Lewis Griffiths won the contest for the Wales regional representative, and is therefore part of the official Momentum slate for the YL elections. Congratulations to Lewis!
Elsewhere, Fiona Lali and Nick Hallsworth both came a close second, for the London and North West regional positions respectively. And Olivia Rickson from Sheffield and Kieran Lee in Brighton showed that there is an appetite for Marxist ideas amongst students.
Unfortunately, one of our candidates, Danielle Wright, was bureaucratically barred from standing by the Momentum shortlisting panel.
Danielle was standing for the position of Yorkshire and Humberside representative. But citing a tweet of her’s from earlier this year, the selection panel deemed that Danielle was not eligible to run in the primaries.
The tweet in question puts forward a class-based position on the issue of Israel-Palestine. In it, Danielle denounces the racist, apartheid policies of the Israeli state. “Ultimately,” Danielle correctly asserts, “our position must be to unite Palestinian and Israel workers on the basis of socialism.”
At the same time, Danielle rightly describes the right-wing witch-hunt against the left over anti-semitism as a “smear campaign”.
By blocking Danielle from standing, the Momentum panel has shown precisely why it is vital that we build a bold socialist leadership in the labour movement. The left must stand firm in the face of the right wing’s attacks – not capitulate and self-censor.
Join the Marxists!
Socialist Appeal encourages readers to now back the Momentum slate going into the YL elections.
At the same time, we – the Marxist Voice platform – will continue to fight for radical socialist ideas and for a militant opposition to the Tories and Labour right wing.
Capitalism offers no future for workers and youth. So join the struggle for socialism! Join the Marxists! Join Socialist Appeal!