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South Shields 'Defend Corbyn' meeting: Mood for unity but not with right-wing infiltrators
Norman Hall , South Tyne & Wearside Socialist Party
Over 70 predominately working class people attended a packed and determined meeting in South Shields on Wednesday 4th August to defend socialism and democracy in the Labour Party. The meeting, held at Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare, was called by the Harton and Westoe Banner Group, an organisation determined to keep alive the traditions of not just the miners' banners but also the ideas they represent.
The mood of the meeting was one of determined opposition to the treacherous back-stabbers of the Parliamentary Labour Party and full support for Jeremy Corbyn. Overwhelmingly, the meeting followed the lead given by the main speaker, left-wing playwright Ed Waugh, who called for Labour MPs to be subject to the "right of recall".
In fact each and every reference to the traitors' cancer being removed was greeted with a loud round of applause. Loud applause also for the idea that Labour councillors should not act as agents of the Tories and should stop implementing austerity measures and cuts.
It was generally agreed that the 172 Labour MPs who demanded the removal of Corbyn as Labour leader are out of touch with the reality of working class people's lives. They live in a "Westminster bubble", isolated by their £75,000 wages. Ed called for Labour MPs to be on the average wage, with the rest of their money going to the party itself.
There was a mood for unity but not with infiltrators representing the interests of the ruling class, they already have a party they can join - the Tory Party. Instead a unity of real socialists under the Labour Party banner is needed.
The idea, put from the floor, of allowing parties such as the Socialist Party to affiliate, along the lines of the Co-operative Party's affiliation, was very warmly received.
Jeremy Corbyn was seen by the meeting not only as a decent, honest man, but as the personification of a platform of ideas: £10 an hour minimum wage now, ending zero-hour contracts, a programme of council house building, re-nationalisation of the railways, energy sector, water etc. All, if put in a Labour election manifesto, would get widespread support, except from the bosses and their representatives in the media and currently in the labour movement (but hopefully not for much longer).
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 5 August 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.