Streatham CLP has been transformed since local Blairite MP Chuka Umunna split away to launch his failed Change UK project. New members have subsequently flooded into activity, rejuvenating the party locally. This is reflected in the recent establishment of the Streatham Young Labour (SYL) group, set up by young activists in the constituency.
SYL held their inaugural public meeting on Sunday 21 July, with a discussion on Climate Change, Class and Capitalism. The aim is to put on regular events about important topical issues, such as the climate crisis, that are relevant to young people.
On the panel were Bell Ribeiro-Addy, a prominent local activist and current chief of staff to Diane Abbott, who was endorsed by the Labour Left in Streatham to run as the constituency’s parliamentary candidate; and Helena Nicholson, a young Labour member and president of the LSE Marxist society, who has been actively involved in the massive, militant climate strikes seen in London, across Britain, and internationally.
Both speakers gave passionate contributions about the ecological disaster that capitalism is creating, and also about the international movement of youth that has exploded onto the streets to fight this.
The discussion was lively, with many new faces to the Labour Party attending. These young activists were animated during the debate, putting forward radical views.
Both speakers and the room agreed that nationalisation of the energy sector and the banks are key steps to take in the fight against climate change. Only in this way can we begin to sustainably plan production on the basis of need, instead of allowing the ‘invisible hand’ of the market and the race for profit destroy our planet.
This founding meeting of Streatham Young Labour was a great success. It points the way forward for Labour parties across the country.
Young people in Britain are looking for bold socialist ideas. Young Labour - locally and nationally - can play a key role in organising students and youth for the battles that lie in front of us. The task ahead is to build a militant youth movement that can link up with workers and fight against Boris and the Tories, against climate change, and against capitalism.