Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/879/21774

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 November 2015

Report: 'Labour Young Socialists'

How can young people organise to support Jeremy Corbyn?

Young Jeremy Corbyn supporters, photo by Paul Mattsson

Young Jeremy Corbyn supporters, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Young Socialist Party members

The raging civil war within the Labour Party and the Blairite offensive against Jeremy Corbyn formed the backdrop to the 'Labour Young Socialists' rally on 11 November. But the approach of the meeting's organisers - in the main people allied with small group Workers' Liberty - failed to live up to the seriousness of the situation or to offer a way forward.

The meeting was around 100 strong - showing that there is a thirst for political ideas and organisation among young Corbynistas. We had expected to hear from John McDonnell, but he was unable to attend due to other commitments.

Instead, the agenda consisted of an item on the new higher education green paper, a discussion on the witch-hunts and exclusions taking place in Labour and a general conversation on 'what we should do practically'.

Attendees were also informed by the chair that this 'wasn't a decision making meeting' and that therefore nothing could be voted on or agreed. Socialist Party members challenged this and argued that there should, at the very least, be an opportunity for the meeting to vote indicatively on proposals.

Education

The first discussion, introduced by two leading members of the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts, outlined the seriousness of the attacks on education the Tories are preparing.

But they put forward little strategy, either for organising on campus, or for addressing the question of Labour's policies for universities and education generally.

Socialist Students national organiser Claire Laker-Mansfield spoke in this discussion and raised the importance of Jeremy Corbyn's support for free education in him winning the enthusiastic backing of so many young people.

She pointed out the systematic attempt of Labour's right-wing parliamentary party to undermine the policies Jeremy Corbyn won such a huge mandate for.

In light of that, Claire proposed that the meeting take a vote to re-affirm its support for free education as well as its intention to fight against any potential retreat from this pledge.

This was applauded and clearly had support in the meeting. But unfortunately the chairperson refused to allow any vote to take place.

The discussion then moved on to the question of witch-hunts, purges and exclusions. Another small group, Socialist Appeal, had circulated a motion beforehand, calling for the re-instatement of Corbyn's aide Andrew Fisher, who has been victimised by the right on the supposed grounds that he had supported a candidate standing against Labour at the last election.

But Socialist Appeal's statement did not challenge the whole, illegitimate basis of Andrew Fisher's suspension, as well as the expulsions of other Labour left-wingers and anti-cuts councillors. Instead it gave far too much ground to the right, conceding that "no members of the Labour Party should give support to other political parties".

In practice, this argument means that loyalty to the Labour rule book, inherited by Jeremy Corbyn from Tony Blair et al, should come before loyalty to working class people.

Cuts

Socialist Party member Sarah Sachs-Eldridge pointed out that in areas where Labour councillors have taken a stand to defend local jobs and services by voting against cuts, they have been expelled from the Labour group for doing so.

Where these councillors have stood for re-election, they have had to do so either as independents or under the umbrella of another party or organisation, in many cases that of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Indeed, in the vast majority of areas in last year's elections, backing an anti-austerity candidate necessarily meant supporting someone standing outside of Labour.

What's more, these were among the grounds on which over 50,000 - mainly Corbyn supporters - were excluded from voting in the leadership election in the first place.

Social media statements supporting anti-cuts and TUSC candidates, or even tweets backing community campaigns, were used by the right-wing Labour machine to show people did not share the party's 'aims and values' and thus strip them of their right to vote.

Rather than conceding ground to the Blairites, Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters must instead go on the offensive. They must demand an immediate end to the attacks on socialists and Corbyn backers, and the reinstatement of all those excluded on these grounds, starting with anti-cuts councillors.

Indeed, as Sarah pointed out, to wide applause, it should be pro-austerity, pro-war and anti-working class MPs and councillors who have to worry. Labour members and trade unions should be given the democratic right to re-select them and replace them with genuine class fighters.

Again, the chair refused to allow any voting to take place on the circulated statements or on the issues generally, meaning no decisions could be taken.

Clearly keen to move the discussion on from the more 'difficult' political questions, Michael Chessum, a former president of the University of London Union and an ally of Workers' Liberty, spoke. He argued that there was no need for further political debate and that we should instead move on to a more 'practical conversation about what to do'.

But what should have been the most concrete discussion was actually the most directionless part of the meeting. Members of both Workers' Liberty and Socialist Appeal spoke to generally encourage people to attend Labour party meetings, and make vague suggestions of raising 'left-wing motions'.

But there were no clear ideas as to what these motions should contain. Neither was there suggestion for what Labour Party members should do if, as in many cases, there are no ward meetings held in their area, or where a right-wing local party leadership is attempting to prevent democratic discussion from taking place.

What's more, these contributions completely ignored the fact that many socialists are unable to attend meetings because they have been directly excluded from the party, as we had been discussing earlier.

Lambeth Socialist Party member Laurence Maples described the fact that in his borough, a huge campaign is being organised against devastating cuts to local libraries that are planned by the Labour council, with library workers currently balloting for strike action.

Clearly there should be no question of socialists 'getting behind and supporting' axe-wielding councillors like that. Indeed, Jeremy Corbyn has himself urged Labour councils to stand together against the cuts, which means refusing to implement them on behalf of the Tories.

Urgency

Clearly there is an urgent need for Corbyn supporters, both inside and outside Labour, to be organised to counter the right and take the fight against austerity forward. Students and young people must be a big part of this.

But the format of this Labour Young Socialists meeting was undemocratic. And the meeting showed an unwillingness among its current 'leaders' to address the central questions of how we build the kind of movement necessary to transform Labour into a party that can consistently act in the interests of working class people.

These factors mean that, unless there is a significant change in its direction - as the Socialist Party argues there should be - the 'Labour Young Socialists' is unlikely to play a significant role in this process.

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


In The Socialist 18 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

How to defend Corbyn and defeat austerity

We can defeat the Tory cuts!

Tories flog bank assets to hellhound US profiteers

Athletics doping scandal: big business profits behind global sports corruption

Councils won't spend a penny

Them & Us


Socialist Party features

The end of social housing? How can we solve the housing crisis?

How can young people organise to support Jeremy Corbyn?


International socialist news and analysis

Paris terror attacks


Workplace news and analysis

Junior doctors: first strikes in 40 years

Trade union action needed to fight for steel jobs

Historic London bus drivers' agreement

Reinstate sacked CWU reps

Pro-Corbyn mood among Usdaw members

Support for Roger Bannister in Unison election

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments and reviews

All NHS unions should join junior doctors' strike

A day in the life of a Game retail worker

Why I joined: "I already feel as if I am finally home"

Robert Tressell's characters are all too real to me

My struggle for an income I can live on


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour bans union activist

Thousands march against India premier's bloody sectarianism

Strike to save Lambeth libraries

Gaining momentum in Lewisham

Anger at care home closure


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 November 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Young people:

triangleHow 'Prevent' training fosters racist paranoia

triangleStop Trump! Build for 13 July student walkouts

triangleStudent leaders claim one million on the streets against Brexit - fight for a workers' exit

triangleSpain: Student general strike against sexist, capitalist 'justice' system

triangleProtest against Trump and May on 13 July

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleTories prepare for possible snap election

triangleAntisemitism, Israel-Palestine, & the left

triangleThousands on TUC demo

triangleSocialists in Israel-Palestine reject establishment antisemitism charge against Jeremy Corbyn

Labour:

triangleVictory: how school strike beat 'academy' privatisers

triangleChesterfield May Day: march turnout great

triangleRonan Point disaster 50 years on

Socialist:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Cuba after the Castros

triangleEast London Socialist Party: 'Made in Dagenham' Ford women workers' pay strike 50 years on

Cuts:

triangleAds won't fix it: fight mental health cuts as well as stigma

Councillors:

triangleAction demanded from new council

Socialist Party:

triangleSolid strike at Tesco Dagenham distribution centre forces pay talks

Labour Party:

triangleTories' continuing EU quagmire is Corbyn's opportunity

Anti-cuts:

triangleTUSC stands against Birmingham council's cuts and attacks on workers

Students:

triangleMay 1968: 'Communist' leaders hand power back to defeated bosses

Trade unions:

triangleMay 1968: Revolutionary explosion as two thirds of workforce join strike

Unions:

triangleLeicester socialists fight poverty-paying sweatshops

John McDonnell:

triangleBritish Museum: Carillion workers demand to be brought back in-house

Socialist Students:

triangleStop Trump! Build for mass walkouts and protests on 13 July!

Union:

triangleFirst ever strike at TGI Fridays

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

23/5/18

Rail

Government continues to back failed private rail

23/5/18

Ebola

New Ebola threat

23/5/18

Homelessness

Homeless charity colluding to deport homeless!

23/5/18

General election

Tories prepare for possible snap election

23/5/18

Ireland

Youthful enthusiasm to break with repression of past

23/5/18

Housing

Capitalism's Grenfell shame - Tories must go

23/5/18

Refugees

Support refugees rights

21/5/18

Antisemitism

Antisemitism, Israel-Palestine, & the left

17/5/18

PCS

Threat to unity of PCS left

16/5/18

Super-rich

Richest worth 724bn... as 100,000 kids fall into poverty

16/5/18

Monarchy

Royal wedding opulence... during longest pay squeeze in 200 years

16/5/18

Brexit

Tories' continuing EU quagmire is Corbyn's opportunity

15/5/18

Gaza

Stop the Israeli state slaughter!

15/5/18

Middle East

Middle East in crisis

15/5/18

PCS

PCS conference 2018: building on the union's militant record

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999