Sign of the times: mitigations in place on Zoom event to foil party spies
The ‘Labour Left 4 Socialism’ coalition – a group of left organisations including the FBU, Labour Representation Committee, Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Black Socialists, Labour Women Leading, Welsh Labour Grassroots and Scotland’s Campaign for Socialism – has launched a manifesto setting out an agenda of ‘unified defiance on major issues affecting all sectors of the Labour movement’.
The group is also backing calls for delegates at party conference in Brighton later this month to reject Keir Starmer’s ally David Evans as general secretary – a danger to Starmer’s plans that has led to a concerted purge of conference delegates as the party’s right tries to stave off the threat.
The risk of the LL4S event being used as an excuse to purge delegates and members has also shaped the format for the event, which will be hosted on Zoom as a webinar rather than a normal meeting, to keep the identities of participants private from potential party snoopers – apart from speakers – with those interested in attending able to register under any name.
Skwawkbox strongly recommends that any conference delegates attending the event use this opportunity to protect their identity. The chance of a successful vote to reject Evans, who has enacted a war on left and particularly Jewish left Labour members under Keir Starmer’s regime, is slim – but it is not zero and every left delegate at the conference next week increases its chances.
Speakers at the online launch tomorrow will include Andrew Scattergood of the FBU on workers’ rights, LBS’s Ekua Bayunu on the fight against racism, Chris Saltmarsh (Labour for a Green New Deal) on the climate crisis and FBU general secretary Matt Wrack on Public Services.
The excellent Barry Gardiner MP will also speak about the campaign for his Private Members Bill to outlaw fire and rehire, which has its second reading in parliament on Sept 22. The event will be chaired, in a personal capacity, by Howard Beckett, left activist and an Assistant General Secretary of Unite.
LL4S intends to establish a standing committee representing supporting organisations, to plan a series of working conferences to debate and organise resistance based on the manifesto outlined below. Work is under way for an initial conference on November 27.
This is the start of something for the whole of our movement, the result of months of work by members of left groups and unions working together to confront attacks from the Tory government and also from Labour’s right wing.
With the ferocious ratcheting up of suspensions and expulsions in recent weeks, it’s clear that delegates to Labour Party conference in Brighton next week need to follow the lead of Unite the Union and vote down Evans as party general secretary.
The right have got away with a full-scale assault on the left of the party, to rid it of socialism, to become a party of the establishment, because the left has not been united. Now we are putting down a marker that we are united and we are not going anywhere. We are calling on all socialists in the party to come together around common goals and join us in setting in motion the process of left mobilisation.
Register for the webinar, which runs tomorrow from 11.00 – 13.00hrs, here.
Below is the LL4S manifesto:
LABOUR LEFT FOR SOCIALISM – BUILDING THE RESISTANCE: MANIFESTO
The sustained attack on workers’ rights, using the excuse of austerity and now the pandemic, is about furthering the wealth of the elite. Labour must call for urgent legislation to ban fire & rehire; zero hour contracts; age pay discrimination; bogus self-employed status and more. As fewer workers have benefited from the protection of Trade Union collective bargaining, so wealth inequalities have grown. Labour must outlaw attempts to exclude trade unionists from employment and commit to the abolition of all anti trade union laws. We fight against racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination in the workplace. Labour must support the New Workers Deal, promote the rights of trade unions to bargain across sectors as well as in the workplace, and oppose deregulation within Freeports. We stand in solidarity with those taking action over pay, conditions and jobs.
Labour needs to robustly challenge the Tories on the climate change crisis which poses an urgent and existential threat to humanity. Global temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising and extreme weather events (floods, fires, droughts etc) are rapidly becoming more frequent. We need a global, just transition.
The developed countries, responsible both for the overwhelming majority of historic carbon emissions and the current highest per capita emissions, are failing to act to keep temperature rises below 1.5°C. A catastrophe is unfolding, which can only be stopped if huge resources are deployed now to green the global economy.
In advance of the UN COP26 conference the Tories absurdly claim that Britain is a world leader. Labour must nail this nonsense. The Tory government has no serious plan to meet the climate targets it has announced; it is subsidising fossil fuels, supporting continued oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, and has cut Green Home Grants
The TUC is calling for the immediate investment of £85 billion for a Green New Deal, to cut the substantial majority of carbon emissions by 2030 and create 1.2 million green jobs. Labour is currently calling for less than half that. Labour needs to build on our 2017 and 2019 manifestos and the Socialist Green New Deal policy agreed at the 2019 Annual Conference.
The urgency of this task makes it essential that Labour campaigns, in office and out, for immediate action alongside the unions in mobilising society for a just transition. We must vigorously attack the dangerous complacency of the Tory government and expose its dishonest claims.
Free Speech and democracy
Free speech and the right to question leaders, ideas, rules and laws are fundamental democratic rights that are increasingly under attack. From the imprisonment of Assange, to the Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the threats to academic freedom by defunding universities who do not adopt the IHRA, to Prevent, immigration controls and Windrush, our rights are being curtailed as never before.
Freedom of lawful speech is a pillar of democracy. It is a protected right under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. Labour must commit internally and externally to protecting lawful free speech (including in its disciplinary procedures), stop and reverse the proscription of groups who do not stand candidates against the Labour Party and oppose any “conflation of antisemitism with legitimate advocacy for Palestinian rights”, as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign put it in a recent statement.
War and internationalism
As socialists and internationalists, we stand in solidarity with people against oppression everywhere. We stand in solidarity with those under attack from imperialism and suffering internal repression. An ethical Labour foreign policy must champion these principles across the globe by promoting peace, conflict resolution and nuclear disarmament at its heart.
The Tories intent, aided by the right-wing media, is to normalise a racist society. It is revealed in their legislation, attacking the GRT community, demonising Muslims, opposing BLM, criminalising refugees, doubling down on creating a Hostile Environment. But Labour is failing to expose this. Labour should stand up against all forms of racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism. It should stop being silent in the face of Tory racism and instead vigorously oppose it. Labour must commit to promoting an agenda of equality and respect by campaigning to ensure a diverse selection of candidates is supported into leadership positions; by improving our understanding of class, race, gender, disability and LGBTQ issues in our socialist practice and confronting racism in the Party as well as wider society, specifically including anti-Black racism.
A democratic social state that serves the people must have at its core public ownership of our essential public services, transport and utilities, the availability of social housing, including the state provision of a complete National Health Service to all. This means cancelling private service contracts and returning to in-house provision, and reclaiming the freehold of hospital property.
Decades of rip-off profiteering has destroyed the public services we need. Local Authority services must be brought in house and resourced to meet needs. We must urgently engage in a nationally co-ordinated programme of council house building to tackle the housing crisis. Since 2014, accessible NHS services have been withdrawn before our eyes by a corporate American profit scheme with cross-party support -“ICSs”- that incentivises cuts to care. Labour must heed its own 2017-19 conferences, opposing ICSs outright and their exemption from competition law, committing to a fully nationalised NHS, with Social Care under public ownership and control, and to reward front line workers with a minimum wage of £15 per hr.
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