If you only read and share one article on this blog in 2017, this needs to be it.
On the very first day of 2017, the Labour right-wingers were already plotting their next attempt to seize power in the Labour party. For all their protestations about ‘electability’ and their accusations against Corbyn and his supporters, it’s never been more clear that it’s the Labour right (laughably still called ‘moderates’ in the media) that is prepared to accept electoral defeat in exchange for a return to the status quo that they pine for.
Below is an image of an email sent 1st Jan by right-wing faction Labour First to its mailing list – clicking on the link below it for a larger, more legible PDF version:
The email shows Labour First encouraging its supporters to try to catch the Corbyn-supporting majority flat-footed by arranging early selection, at CLP (constituency Labour party) level, of the delegates who will represent the CLP at the next annual Conference and to make a move to lever further Establishment-supporting candidates onto two crucial committees.
For newer members, the significance of the annual Conference may not be immediately clear, but the short version is that it’s where Labour’s policy and rules for the coming year are decided. The NEC (National Executive Committee) can agree policies and rule-changes to be put before Conference, but only the Conference delegates can approve them into force.
To illustrate the importance of Conference, you only need to look at the 2016 event in Liverpool. Labour First and its ugly sisters, Progress and Saving Labour, managed to stack the Conference with their delegates and, as a result and with the collusion of the platform, to crowbar two unelected members onto an NEC that they had lost control of democratically, in order to keep hold of power to which they were not entitled.
That move was partially negated by a Corbyn political masterstroke, but the ramifications are still significant.
2017’s Conference is no less crucial. The Labour right are desperate to prevent rule-changes that will empower grassroots members democratically by lowering the threshold for nominations in future leadership contests.
If the threshold is lowered, it will be almost impossible for the right-wingers to prevent grassroots members having a genuine left-wing candidate to vote for, when Jeremy Corbyn eventually steps down from the leader’s role.
If it is not lowered, it will be too easy for right-wing retardant-MPs to commandeer the slate to make sure members can only choose the least vile-smelling cowpat from whatever list of Blairites it pleases the parliamentary right-wingers to put up.
And there will almost certainly be other – and potentially even worse – things pushed through at Conference by a faction that has shown itself to have no concern whatever for democracy.
Labour First’s email also asks its supporters help to keep 4 awful candidates in place on two extremely important committees – the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) and the National Constitutional Committee (NCC).
While these two committees sound as interesting as watching paint dry, they wield extremely important powers.
The CAC, as its name implies, gets to decide what and how things are put before the Conference – in other words, in large part they set the Conference ‘menu’ and the rules about how many courses delegates can ‘eat’.
At the 2016 Conference, this meant that a packaged set of rules could be put on the menu, forcing (after some anti-democratic manoeuvres) delegates to accept one very bad rule – the unelected new NEC members – or reject very good rules that unions and others had been working toward for years.
The importance of the CAC cannot, therefore, be overstated.
The NCC, by contrast, deals with complex disciplinary cases. In a climate where members are routinely summarily suspended or expelled when it’s expedient to stop them voting and the right-wingers will be looking for other opportunities to remove ‘troublesome’ members and officials via disciplinary means, it’s essential to ensure the NCC has a balance reflecting the make-up of the membership and is not ‘stacked’ with right-wingers.
What you need to do
The Labour right has no vision, no real ethics, no authenticity – and is massively outnumbered in the party membership.What it does have is long experience and a resulting deep knowledge of the rules and structures that move the levers of power within the Labour party.
In other words, what Labour’s authentic Left has cannot be copied by the right, because you can’t manufacture vision, ethics, authenticity – but the Left can copy organisation and match the right on it.
We on the Left have the ‘real deal’ and the numbers – so if we match the right for organisation, we will win.
If you’re a Labour member of good will that wants to maintain and accelerate Labour’s course as a real alternative to the idiotic Tory ideology that it turning this country into a shell of itself, this means you need to be:
- aware – of what the right is trying to do and why, and the internal workings of the Labour party
- ready – to learn, engage, act
- THERE – as the saying goes, decisions are made by those who turn up. It’s almost certain that your CLP has a big majority of Corbyn-supporting members. But if you don’t get to CLP (or branch, if your CLP has a branch->delegate CLP structure), you’ll be outmanoeuvred and outvoted by a small, well-organised right-wing faction. Every time.
The SKWAWKBOX will be posting guides over coming days to provide information on some of the key areas, key processes/timescales and what’s needed to make sure you win these essential democratic battles in your CLP – because winning them is crucial to winning the national battle.
And this country cannot afford for you to lose – because if you do, the chance of real change will be lost and the UK is doomed to decades of Tory governments.
Whether the rosette they wear is blue – or red. So spread the word – urgently.
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