Analysis comment

Members must stay in Labour – whoever wins leadership, you will be needed to defend it

More than ever, Labour members are the key to party’s future

As the campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party takes shape, one thing is becoming unavoidably clear: the future of the party will depend more than ever on its members.

The moves to deprive the left majority of a meaningful choice in the contest and the positions taken by candidates have already seen many members saying they will not vote for any candidate – and others even saying they will quit the party altogether.

But Labour’s policies and rules are not decided by its leader – instead, those decisions are made by the National Executive Committee (NEC) and by delegates at the party’s annual conference.

Places for member representatives on the NEC will be decided again this year – and every CLP (constituency Labour party) will elect its delegates to represent its views at the conference in Liverpool this September.

Those who want to defend the progress of the last four years and ultimately see Labour restored as a genuine alternative to the Establishment line have only one option: stay in – and organise.

Quitting the party and ceding the field to the right to rig Labour’s rules against the many will be to gift victory to those who have fought against a Labour win for their own purposes.

However much members feel hurt and wearied by the war waged against them, that is not an option.

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  1. ‘Policies are decided by the NEC and by delegates at the party’s annual conference’.

    The problem is we have a corrupt NEC/bureaucracy and a conference where the unions are over represented.

    1. The unions are not “over-represented!” For god’s sake, the disaster of 12/12/2019 is evidence that Labour abandons the working class at its peril.

      1. Labreisgalloise The unions are not “over-represented!” – Please don’t be so foolish.

        Where did you get the idea that union delegates represent the working class? In the main they are mandated by the policy of their leaders such as McClusky and Prentice, who are more interested in maintaining their own power rather than doing what’s best for their members!

      2. The Labour Party is the party of organised Labour, first and foremost, “to secure for the workers, by hand and brain….: etc. Unions are democratic institutions in a country that is particularly devoid of democratic legitimacy.

      3. Labreisgalloise ‘Unions are democratic institution’s.

        They may or may not be within their own structures but that doesn’t mean that they excersise their power democratically!

      4. It is rumoured that it was a trade union representative on the NEC that imposed a candidate “to employer of the year award” (no) in West Bromwich East.
        Brexit played a part of course but to have this individual, would have depressed the vote not only in WBE but on neighbouring seats too. Let me be crystal clear, I wouldn’t have voted for him and stayed home.
        No way, I will have voted for an employer that doesn’t pay his workers a living wage.

    2. When one examines the size of their actual mandate it is legitimate to question the amount of power that the likes of Len McCluskey wield within the Labour Party. Len McCluskey was elected to his current position because approximately 5% of Unite’s membership voted for him.

  2. Nobody on the leadership ballot appeals to me and it could be that my Socialist future will be elsewhere within another organisation. As a parting gift to the PLP might ‘lend’ my leadership vote to Jess Phillips.

    1. But no one who votes for Jess Phillips has the right to claim to be any kind of socialist!

      1. I’m not interested in what Phillips is or isn’t called – the term ‘socialist’ has been drained of any precise meaning by various factions trying to claim ownership of it as a slogan.

        I am interested in what Phillips, or any other candidate *does* and what they actually support. And *that* is why I wouldn’t vote for her in a million years.

  3. Never again must the, ‘Moderates,’ run Labour. Stick with it. No matter how hard/endless the process appears to be. Solidarity is all. (I’m an Evertonian. I know how it feels!)

  4. I accept that as far as the conclusion of the 2020 conference but if the right are successful in regaining control of the party then, there should be wholesale defections in order to a) starve the party of money b) make the point forcefully that Corbyn was the solution, not the problem and c) concentrate on building a revolutionary socialist front to carry forward the struggle. That front already has a skeleton in peoples’ assemblies, stop the war groups, grassroots initiatives such as fans for foodbanks, trades councils etc. perhaps some trade unions, independent and socialist media allies and maybe even some Labour MPs.

    This perspective is well articulated here by a politician this site quite rightly promoted, once upon a time.

    People like Chris and others who have already been expelled (Marc Wadsworth and myself for example) would welcome a broad front that learns from south america struggles and particularly from France where a coalition of the the yellow vests, the trade unions, LFI and the Communist Party have eclipsed social democracy and the totally discredited French Socialist Party.

    Things are finely balanced but if Labour goes the way of PASOK, the SPD and others, comrades would be well advised to get into the lifeboats before the ship goes down.

    1. I intend to abstain as I don’t see Clive Lewis getting into the ballot paper. But I will not leave the Party.
      It is imperative that we stay in the Party to ensure that we keep the positions in the NEC and NCC. New slates for the NEC would be negotiated in the summer. What we need to ensure is that Momentum isn’t in a position to impose its slates anymore, with good socialist in control of the NEC we can carry on democratising the Party, despite whoever is the leader.
      We will need to vote for the slates supported by the Labour Left grass roots as opposed to Momentum’s slates.
      The idea that we can win the next General Election from the centre is ludicrous: it isn’t going to happen. It is a this moment that a majority left membership will come to play and we have more socialist MPs that ever before. Next time around we can elect someone like Ian Byrne for leader or have Barry Gardiner in the running.

  5. I will probably remain in Labour even if a disappointingly centrist non-reformist ‘radical’ wins the election. I will happily participate in my CLP. I will continue to support the causes and values that drew me back to Labour in anticipation of our wonderful departing-leader, Jeremy Bernard Corbyn and his spectacular Coryn Project.

    But I WILL NOT campaign, stuff envelopes or door knock for any right wing labour councillor or MP.

    My energy, my time and my efforts will only be spent for people who value, cherish, and share my socialist principles. They will never be exploited by managerial right wingers who view my beliefs as ‘hard left’, troskyist or ‘pie-in-thee-sky’.

    Labour for socialist progress. I belong in Labour, many of our MPs and councillors do not.

    Possession is 9/10s of the law and me staying in Labour helps keep Labour Labour.

  6. I think I will concentrate on the allotment like jeremy but without the Labour party…or the treacherous poison of the Labour party governance and the PLP..The nightmare of a future under the moderate fanatics is not for old men like me and I wish the membership well in the struggle to be the opposition to the establishment .My membership of the democratic socialist Labour party will not be renewed in july and hopefully the younger generation will carry on the fight for the working classes and democracy inside the Labour party…?And the vote for Labour leadership and deputy thankyou.!

    1. You’re right. There is no one to vote for. Good luck to all grievers.

  7. RBL and ideally Burgon need to win as our last hope (and get your MP to nominate him, the non-socialists are trying to to keep him off the ballot paper and you have until 12.00 Monday) – the problem with Rayner for deputy is she sold out the poor working class by abstaining on Tory welfare cuts because she didn’t have the political courage and acumen to counter the dominant right wing narrative on welfare as the Tories set neighbour against neighbour.
    I am afraid if political cretins like Starmer win I’m out.
    Problem with Labour as a democratic socialist party is it creates an elite in Labour MPs and gives them too much power when apart from possibly 60 socialist Labour MPs the rest haven’t an original idea in their heads and aren’t socialists.
    I will refuse anymore to help feed the gravy train of the political morons who make a fat living out of working people and an old ideas time may be due Labour MPs on an average workers wage so we get altruistic citizens.
    But though there are 300,000 of us, outside lies the possible wilderness unless a major union or two took the leap but then you have to deal with the tiresome bourgeois socialists like Trot vanguardists.
    What keeps me going is the solidarity of the Left but reform and strip Labour MPs of power and mandatory selections they are there to serve Labour and diverse working people, not themselves!
    RLB and RB and get out amongst the poor like Syrizia or Starmer, Pasok and oblivion.

    1. Syriza did a Starmer after the Greek referendum and now they’re history too. If Burgon can’t even get on the ballot, we are well and truly fucked.

    2. After listening to RLB’s nauseous crawling to the JLM, how could anyone but a dyed in the wool Zionist think she would make a good leader? The present witch hunt would look like a blip compared to what RLB has in store.

      1. “I don’t recall RLB smearing JC…do you?”

        Not blatantly – but being a weak-kneed parrot isn’t exactly convincing. And grovelling before the BoD and the JLM (which should have been automatically disaffiliated by now) is an indirect insult.

    3. I will vote for RB, their are at least 3 members of the Campaign group 4 if we count JC that haven’t nominated yet, for the Deputy leader position. It would be unforgivable if they were to refuse to nominate RB for deputy leader.
      I will not vote for RLB after the way she is behaving, her lack of solidarity and arrogance is something else. How on earth does she presume to tell members who should we vote for as a Deputy leader? Why would anyone vote for AR just on her say so rather than for RB?
      But if RB doesn’t make it to the ballot, I will not vote for AR either.

  8. RLB & Burgon or Oblivion with Starmer – the Remainer Architect of Labour’s Defeat!

  9. To those who, understandably, are questioning whether to stay in the party, just ask yourself this question,

    What would JC do?

    As long as we live in a FPTP system, change can ONLY come about through the LP. Anything else is just pie in the sky.

    1. I will not leave the Party but I will not vote for RLB. She didn’t smear JC, but she didn’t defend him either from the smears did she? But she did stated in the Jewish Chronicle that she wanted Chris Williamson out of the Labour Party, the one MP that was fighting the smears against Corbyn.

      With friends like RBL who needs enemies.

    2. Dreaming! Jeremy stayed throughout the Blair years, 400,000 others, including me, did not and won’t. The stitch-up, gerrymandering, witch-hunt, and blatant bias of the bureaucracy was bad enough with Jeremy as leader, what do you imagine it will be like now?

  10. Yes Conference and NEC make policy and decisions but so does the leadership, lets not make it out to be a perfect democracy. Union members in Labour decision making, as in taking part in ballots, shows a disengagement and the life has been breathed back in to the party due to it being the largest membership in western europe. Without real engagement from union members there is a void which the leaderships can exploit for there personal ends. Unions are vital to resist capitalisms exploitations but for a variety of reasons there importance to the party and country is waning.

  11. Reading some of the above, it looks like the BOD has won. People will not vote for the only Left wing candidate, RLB. Her platitudes to the JLM are just that, and their approach was a fit up.

    1. I wonder how long it’ll take Skwawky to issue a post on this? As of 11.06am there’s still a deafening silence…

  12. After nearly sixty years as a member I can only recall a couple of occasions where I have felt ,as I do now that I could leave the party. The capitulation to the Tory run BoD is a new low, but I have children and grand children and I owe it to them to stay and fight for a better tomorrow. To those above who,quite understandably,are saying they are leaving,and feel powerless to change the direction of travel,I humbly request them to think again. If we don’t fight back who will?

    1. Jim good points,but for some of us our familys already live abroad,and also I spend the summer in france and the rest of the year in Cambodia were I will finish my days working for a Catholic NGO.providing water and solar systems for people in the Mekong.Having thought long and hard I cannot remain in the Labour party and see socialism and common decency and morality disappear in the hands of the so called moderates…But I agree that its worth taking the fight for democracy to the heart of the Labour party and I wish the younger generation all the best with this bunch of candidates for the leadership and deputy leadership….I only hope that if you gain ground in democracy you do not show any mercy to the people who set about to destroy a decent human being and the democratic socialist Labour party…solidarity comrade.!

      1. Sorry to see you go,best wishes for the future. Keep the faith.

  13. How many of you are comfortable that all prospective candidates have sold you all out?

    “Within hours of the organisation (Board of Deputies of British Jews) launching its “10 pledges”, which include adopting the international definition of antisemitism with all its examples and clauses, the majority of hopefuls had given their support.”

    Total blind obedience…

    The Israelis have totally taken control of “your” party…

    Ignoring the Palestinian issue for a moment, imagine the Russian board of deputies and how far their 10 pledges would get…

    1. Foreign interference in our politics is just fine apparently as long as it’s the Israelis doing it.

      I applied to join the Labour party last week. After this (and assuming Clive Lewis doesn’t make the cut) I won’t be too bothered if I get knocked back, which I will if they dig deep enough!

      If the new leader, whoever they are, bows before the BOD, I predict not only a rise in REAL anti-Semitism, but also a mass exodus to a newly-formed, Corbyn-led party which I, for one, would join in a heartbeat…

  14. Oh, forgot to add.

    Starter will win. Likely via the same way the Tories recently won (postal votes made up 38% of votes made, that’s double the previous election).

    I also particularly like that the gits have stopped bleating about having a female leader (the excuse to replace Corbyn), because they see Starmer winning and he is their man…

    1. (postal votes made up 38% of votes made,

      Do you have a link for that?
      I didn’t think the figures had been published yet.

  15. I would have liked to see Corbyn stay on a bit longer to give things time to settle a bit. But any thought of him remaining leader after this election is untenable on both electoral and personal grounds.

    The only candidate who has made a reasonable radical pitch and isn’t entirely compromised is Clive Lewis. But he isn’t going to make the list.

    Otherwise, the kow-towing to the Israel/Right Lobby has unsealed any possible deal with any other potential candidate as far as my vote is concerned. I can’t hold my nose over a tendency to just crumble at the though of unpopularity in the MSM at the behest of a bunch of supporters of blatant racism – it’s a given and part of the job to resist.

    But I’m not leaving the Party. Nor will I support the likely leader unreservedly, because, by definition they will be compromised by this latest act of cowardly submission. We are not talking necessary compromise over the details of policy – but a fundamental matter of balls and principle. The support for justice in Israel should be unequivocal and not compromised by some wishy-washy notion of offending the offenders. And any potential leader who explicitly accepts the BoD antisemitic stance on the JVL (wrong sort of Jews) is beneath contempt.

    Delegates to Conference are going to have to stick by the commitment to Palestinian human rights. Loudly. It would be good to see the IHRA non-definition booted into the wilderness where it belongs. The opposition position on the Tory BDS bill (if it actually emerges, which I suspect it will as a pay-back from the Tories) will be a fascinating vote to watch, and we should watch the anti-Palestinian, anti-free-speech, anti-human rights voters carefully.

    Meanwhile I’ll stay inside the tent and also piss inside if necessary. The urine will be as nothing compared with the ignored ocean of it donated by the JLM.

    So – I suggest anyone thinking of leaving thinks again and resists the too common left-wing tendency to court irrelevancy. Be a gadfly.

  16. Keir Starmer’s team is now comprised of the Owen Smith campaign team, Progress, and Labour First, the hard right reactionary group established to expunge all traces of the left from Labour, who explicitly want to ban Momentum and Corbyn supporters from Labour

    1. Terry the reality is that KS has recruited expertise from right across the party.

      Starmer, in what is considered to be a boost to his campaign, has signed up Jeremy Corbyn’s former chief of staff. Keir has recruited Simon Fletcher as his top strategic adviser as he bids to win the top job.

      Simon Fletcher has claimed that Keir Starmer was garnering support from the Left of the party, who many expected to back RLB

      “On a personal level, I was struck over the Christmas break by just how many friends of mine who consistently supported Jeremy Corbyn were also now supporting Keir Starmer for leader” he said.


    DAWN BUTLER has managed to secure the required number of PLP nominations

    1. As things currently stand Dawn will be getting my vote for the deputy leadership.

  18. In the next general election all parties will still be hostages to Brexit.
    Tory fortunes depend on good results and ours, sad to say, depend on it being a disaster.
    We can’t in good conscience work to achieve disaster or even hope for it.
    If results are mixed the Tories will probably win again but if I’m right about AI (and I’m certain of it) job losses will be beginning to increase too fast to ignore.
    Public works (green new deal) to reduce numbers of unemployed might become Tory policy, which will be an admission that Labour’s policy was sound and a huge challenge to neoliberalism.
    Alternatively Universal Credit – ‘welfare’ – might be replaced with ‘Workfare’. Workfare on a mass scale will be seen as slavery.

    It might take ten years, fifteen or twenty for socialism to become the generally accepted solution but runaway capitalism will piss on its own chips one way or another.
    It really is that flawed.

    1. Your last paragraph nails it. Humanity will HAVE to go socialist for its own survival. Preferably sooner, rather than later…

  19. I should have stayed & fought for what I believe in……… a Zionist;Blairite Party that is corrupt from top to bottom; adopts the IHRA definition of AS & can’t get up off its knees to fight for anything. I realised that when Chris Williamson was expelled the Labour Party was no place for an old Socialist man like me. The future belongs to……….goodbye & thanks for all the fish!

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