Protest in support of Diane Abbott. Photo: Isai
Protest in support of Diane Abbott. Photo: Isai

Deji Olayinka, Croydon and Sutton Socialist Party

A group of Black activists and trade unionists from the UK and around the world met online on 2 June for a discussion entitled: “Are you voting in the UK’s 2024 general election? If so, who are you voting for?”

Historically, the Labour Party has been seen as the party for working-class Black people. But not a single person in the meeting spoke in favour of Labour (or any of the other major parties). However, because of the desperation to get the Tories out, some people said they would be voting Labour in what they saw as a ‘two-horse race’.

This meeting came after a week of the right-wing Labour Party leadership leaking that it was going to block Diane Abbott, the UK’s first Black woman MP and a member of Labour’s Socialist Campaign Group, from standing. By the time of the meeting, Starmer was forced to announce that in fact she could stand. But that was only done reluctantly in fear of the growing backlash from working-class activists and her community.

The meeting saw this attack on Diane as just the latest proof that the Labour Party is now against the interests of working-class Black people. People spoke on the racism exposed in the Forde report, the racist purge of left candidates and Starmer’s recent pledge to “bring immigration numbers down”. Some contributors raised historic betrayals of New Labour and many saw the potential for a positive change during Corbyn’s leadership. But that hope has been lost.

It was clear in the meeting that Black people are searching for a party to vote for that can represent our interests and stand for our communities. I spoke to explain how the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) plays that role, as a banner to bring together trade unionists, Black activists, socialists and campaigners to stand in elections.