Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/928/24065

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 December 2016

Editorial of the Socialist, issue 928

No more concessions to Labour right!

Jeremy Corbyn speaking to one of many mass audiences, photo Steve Score

Jeremy Corbyn speaking to one of many mass audiences, photo Steve Score   (Click to enlarge)

Fight for an anti-austerity, socialist party - readmit expelled socialists

In recent weeks the strategy of the pro-capitalist Blairites - to surround Jeremy Corbyn and gradually strangle him - has clearly been stepped up. Unfortunately, the response of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to this has been to retreat in the face of the onslaught. There is now a real danger that the possibility of creating a democratic, socialist Labour Party is squandered by conciliation with the right. It is vitally urgent that no more concessions are made and that a clear campaign is launched to consolidate the landslide victory that Jeremy won back in September.

One of the terms that has been banned as 'abusive' by the Labour Party NEC is 'Blairite'. Yet surely this is a fair description of the overwhelming majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party who voted en masse against the motion demanding Blair be held to account for 'misleading' parliament in the run up to the Iraq war.

It was a mistake for Jeremy Corbyn, a leading figure in the mass movement that opposed the Iraq war, to bow to the pressure of right-wing Labour MPs by not taking part in the vote. Only five Labour MPs dared to vote for Blair to be held to account. Jeremy Corbyn was elected by hundreds of thousands of people who want to see Labour transformed into an anti-austerity, anti-war party. Yet the pro-austerity warmongers are still running the show!

This is also true at local level. Labour councils are currently discussing implementing further huge austerity. Most recently Newham Labour council has announced plans to tear up its workers' contracts, sacking them and then re-employing them on worse terms and conditions. Doing so would take 1.8 million out of the pockets of Newham's workforce. Yet the council has 161 million in its general reserves! Correctly Unite is organising a campaign to stop these savage cuts, but Jeremy and John need to make clear that they support Unite's campaign.

Savage cuts

If this isn't done the right will claim that there is unanimous support for these kinds of savage cuts. For example, one of the Labour National Executive Committee's (NEC) councillors' representatives, Alice Perry, claimed that at the November NEC Corbyn supporter Rebecca Long-Bailey MP praised Labour councils and rejected calls for councils to set 'illegal budgets'. This is a red herring - the issue is not 'illegal' budgets but the setting of no-cuts budgets that refuse to implement any more misery on council workers or destroy any more vital services. It is urgent that the left leadership of Labour make clear that they do not support the further savaging of council jobs and services by Labour councils.

An essential part of transforming Labour into an anti-austerity party is the campaign for the party to be democratised; including fighting for mandatory re-selection of MPs, restoration of trade union rights, and re-admitting expelled socialists.

Printed here is the correspondence that has so far taken place between Ian McNicol, general secretary of the Labour Party, and Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party. Hannah is writing on behalf of 75 people demanding readmission to the Labour Party having previously been expelled or excluded because of their socialist ideas.

Unsurprisingly, Iain McNicol has not responded positively to the application. As Labour's general secretary, he has presided over the exclusions of many tens of thousands of Labour Party members during the attempted coup against Corbyn, in a vain attempt to try and stop his re-election. However, the decision is not McNicol's to take. We urge all socialists and trade unionists who want to see Labour transformed into an anti-austerity party to support the campaign for the next meeting of Labour's NEC to agree to readmit these and other expelled socialists (see socialistparty.org.uk/main/readmit_expelled_socialists).

The 75's application also asks the Labour Party NEC to look favourably on requests for affiliation from socialist organisations. This could form a vital part of the transformation of Labour into a democratic, socialist party that brings together all those forces that want to fight austerity. The affiliation of the Co-operative Party demonstrates that, even under the current undemocratic Labour Party constitution, there is no impediment to socialist organisations affiliating; other than the desperation of Labour's right wing to prevent it taking place.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, was reported as making that absolutely clear at the recent Labour First conference, by declaring: "Trotskyist entryists tried to ruin Labour 30 years ago, I won't let 75 back in to ruin Labour again." If the ideas of Tom Watson - who said at Labour's conference that "capitalism is not the problem!" - dominate Labour, it will be ruined.

Even Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has warned that 'people are becoming disillusioned with capitalism' and will seek alternatives. No wonder! For the majority it means falling living standards and increasing insecurity. A democratic socialist Labour Party would be able to win mass popular support for a clear anti-austerity programme. However, achieving this means standing up to the pro-capitalist wing of the Labour Party, who are determined to crush the movement around Corbyn.

Correspondence below.


Dear Iain,

Enclosed you will find a joint application to the Labour Party NEC for membership of the Labour Party. It is from 75 people, all of whom have previously been expelled or excluded from the Labour Party because of our socialist ideas. Among the 75 are members of the Militant Editorial Board, including Peter Taaffe, now general secretary of the Socialist Party; Tony Mulhearn, one of the leaders of the struggle of Liverpool City Council in the 1980s; and Dave Nellist, previously Labour MP for Coventry South East. We are socialists, trade unionists, community activists and young people. Between us we have over 1,000 years of Labour Party membership.

Because many of us who found ourselves outside the Labour Party rightly continued the struggle for socialism though membership of other organisations, we know that our applications for re-admittance will be denounced by the establishment media as 'left wing infiltration'. However, we have no wish to hide our background, hence this collective application for membership.

As our application explains, in our view the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader represents an opportunity for the Labour Party to be rebuilt as a clearly anti-austerity socialist party, with an open and democratic structure. We want to play our part in that struggle and urge the NEC to aid this process by admitting us, and others who have been similarly expelled or excluded, into membership and also by deciding favourably on requests for affiliation from any socialist organisation that so applies.

Yours comradely,

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary and Labour Party member 1985 -1991, Labour Party NEC 1988-89.

Dear Ms Sell,

Thank you for your letter.

If individuals wish to join the Labour Party they can do so by using the 'join' function on the Labour Party website. In the case of individuals who have previously been expelled from the Labour Party, they must write individually to the NEC requesting that their membership application be considered. They can do so by writing by post to me at the address above and the NEC will consider those membership applications in due course and in the normal manner for all of those who have previously been expelled.

I should add that the Labour Party's rules do not allow members of other political parties to join the Labour Party. Specifically, "Political organisations not affiliated or associated under a national agreement with the Party, having their own programme, principles and policy, or distinctive and separate propaganda, or possessing branches in the constituencies, or engaged in the promotion of Parliamentary or local government candidates, or having allegiance to any political organisation situated abroad, shall be ineligible for affiliation to the party."

Yours sincerely,

Iain McNicol

Dear Mr McNicol,

Thank you for your reply. We understand that it is not appropriate for individuals who have previously been expelled to apply via the 'join' function on the Labour Party website and that instead we should apply to the NEC. That is what we have done. Can you please assure us that our application will be passed onto the NEC for their consideration?

You also refer to the Labour Party rule which states that "political organisations not affiliated or associated under a national agreement with the Party, having their own programme, principles and policy, or distinctive and separate propaganda, or possessing branches in the constituencies, or engaged in the promotion of Parliamentary or local government candidates, or having allegiance to any political organisation situated abroad, shall be ineligible for affiliation to the Party."

I assume you are raising this because some of us are members of the Socialist Party, which we have not sought to hide. Clearly, it is possible for members of other political parties to join the Labour Party. That is the case with the Co-operative Party, for example. The Co-operative Party has an electoral agreement with Labour but clearly has its own "programme, principles and policy" and possesses "branches in the constituencies". On their website they state: "The Co-operative Party is an independent party. It maintains its own membership, staff, national executive committee (NEC) and policy platform, all of which are independent of Labour's." However, members of the Co-operative Party can also be members of the Labour Party. Again, on their website they state: "Our electoral agreement means that an exception is made for those who wish to be a member of both the Co-operative Party and the Labour Party. This is by no means required though, and many of our members choose solely to be Co-operative Party members." In order to strengthen the anti-austerity movement we would like to enter a discussion with the NEC about how other socialist organisations, including the Socialist Party, could come to a similar arrangement. It is in this spirit that our joint application has been submitted and we hope it will be considered accordingly.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Hannah Sell

Dear Hannah

Thank you for your letter.

As we explained before, we cannot accept joint applications for membership. Any application must be individual and fulfil the requirements for membership set out in the rule book.

We will not entertain membership applications from members of another political party. If members of the Socialist Party apply to join the Labour Party these applications will be rejected in line with the normal procedures and rules of the Labour Party.

Our agreement with the Co-operative Party is a historic link with a sister party agreed and endorsed by our Annual Conference.

Yours sincerely

Iain McNicol

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 7 December 2016:


What we think

No more concessions to Labour right!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight for a socialist Brexit

Conservatives humiliated in Richmond

Newham council to sack up to 1,300

Slump in unfair dismissal cases - scrap tribunal fees!

Workers can fight Uber-style care

Compensation disabled

Them & Us


Food banks feature

Food banks and the real Daniel Blakes


NHS crisis and fightback

NHS: Stop the Tory vandals

Hundreds protest the decimation of Devon NHS

Massive support in Stoke for action to save the NHS

Health campaigners in Yorkshire protest "slash and trash plans"


International socialist news and analysis

Victory at Standing Rock: US authorities agree to re-route oil pipeline

Spain: Government forced back by Student Union mobilisations

Italy: Establishment routed - workers alternative needed

Portugal: No to witch-hunts - fight the capitalists not socialists

Austria: Far right temporarily halted

Sudan: General strike in defiance of regime


Socialist Party workplace news

Durham TAs force Labour to suspend pay cuts

Protest against Glasgow Labour's scab workforce plan to defeat Unison strike

Crossrail action in defence of victimised union rep

Unison members barely earning the living wage in some universities

Sacked bakers' union rep Kumaran Bose calls for living wage 'protection'

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bolton council gives 300k to solicitors while making swingeing cuts

Reading TUSC writes to Labour councillors to demand cuts fight


John Sharpe: 1953-2016

Obituary: John Sharpe: 1953-2016


 

Home   |   The Socialist 7 December 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Labour Party:

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

Labour:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

trianglePacked Newham meeting against academies

triangleNo to the Woolwich monster block

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Why Labour and Plaid councils must set no-cuts budgets

Socialist Party:

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: 'Fake' Trump! What's really going on in the US?

triangleTheatre: 'Young Marx' shows growth in great platform for his ideas

triangleSouthern Socialist Party conference

Socialist:

triangleSocialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: Is there a global nuclear threat?

Austerity:

triangleTunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

Anti-austerity:

triangleOutrage against 'monster block' plan

Council:

triangleOpinion: foster care is work - carers deserve workers' rights

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Left parties, Greek tragedy and Jeremy Corbyn

Cuts:

triangleNHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

MPs:

triangleTories on the brink - kick them out!

Hannah Sell:

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

Candidates:

trianglePCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

Election:

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

Iraq:

triangleOpinion: British imperialism can take no credit in fight against Isis

Local government:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

Peter Taaffe:

triangleMass rally to commemorate 1917 Russian Revolution

Tony Mulhearn:

triangleFilm - Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast

Dave Nellist:

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

Anti-war:

triangleTories Out demo - Photos

John McDonnell:

triangleThe end of the Tories?

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/1/18

Labour

Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

17/1/18

Trump

Victory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests

17/1/18

NHS

NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

15/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis: demand action to save jobs and services

10/1/18

Tories

Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

10/1/18

NHS

Sustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

10/1/18

Education

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

10/1/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/1/18

Teachers

Teacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

3/1/18

Fire service

Fire service victory

3/1/18

Fares

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

3/1/18

Higher Education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

3/1/18

Virgin

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off 1bn

3/1/18

Homes

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

3/1/18

Fat cats

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2