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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 August 2016

#KeepCorbyn: huge support at rallies and among Labour rank and file

Cheers for Corbyn, boos for Khan at London rally

Journalists on Twitter said the turnout at the Jeremy Corbyn rally in Kilburn, north-west London, on 21 August was "moderate". That wasn't true in either size or outlook.

Over 3,500 people of all ages took part in an enthusiastic rally demonstrating once again the tremendous hunger there is for an alternative to the endless austerity and inequality served up by all the big business parties.

The popularity of the policies the Socialist Party has campaigned on for years - such as council house-building, rent controls, and free education - meant the hall was filled with cheers time and again.

In an echo of our slogans, Jeremy declared we want a society "for the millions not the millionaires."

The only exception to the applause was when the audience erupted in boos at the mention of London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Unfortunately, while Corbyn declared that austerity is a political choice not a necessity and slammed the fact that austerity has fallen hardest on the poorest areas, there was no pledge for Labour councils to stop passing on the cuts.

The elephant in the room was the Blairite MPs. While the speakers called for unity behind the leader, the long queue outside was full of discussion about what needs to be done.

Socialist Party members talked with people about reselection, and a federal structure in a re-formed Labour Party.

Lots of people agreed that the Labour Party should open up to include all anti-austerity forces, including the Socialist Party.

People were curious about the Socialist Party, having seen us in the press recently. We sold 80 copies of the Socialist.

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party

Derby photo Steve Score

Derby photo Steve Score   (Click to enlarge)

Harrogate

"I'm not sure there's been anything like this in Harrogate before," were the introductory words used by Paul Whitmore, a Labour Party member involved in organising the Harrogate4Corbyn rally on 20 August.

Around 35 people turned out, predominantly Labour Party members who had been enthused by his policies.

Speakers included local anti-war activist Lindis Percy and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) chair Dave Webb. Dave commented on Corbyn's role in CND, particularly in opposing the renewal of Trident.

Labour Party member Rev David Wheeler talked about the hope that many people felt Jeremy Corbyn offered. He called for a progressive alliance, with Labour needing to unite with those working class forces who agreed with its anti-austerity policies such as the Socialist Party and the Communist Party.

Socialist Party member Iain Dalton was also one of the speakers, explaining why the right-wing MPs and media had decided to try to vilify 'revolutionaries' and 'Trotskyists' - he explained how Trotsky spoke of revolutions being mass movements of people, as we are seeing in support of Jeremy Corbyn.

Unfortunately, the organisers of the rally were put under extreme pressure to not allow Iain to speak, which we commend them for resisting. Two Owen Smith supporters did attend the rally, and loudly criticised Iain after he had finished speaking.

Socialist Party members provided practical help to the rally, including use of our PA system. We were welcomed by Labour Party members there, who instinctively saw the need to unite together in order to bring social change.

Socialist Party reporters

Derby

To loud clapping and cheers in his introduction of Jeremy Corbyn, former Derby North Labour MP Chris Williamson said Corbyn was likely to be the first ever prime minister to have stood on a picket line.

Jeremy Corbyn addressed over 800 people at the lunchtime rally in Derby on 16 August. He spoke on many issues, from the NHS to Trident and zero-hour contracts. "Let's get rid of zero-hour contracts," he said. "It's very difficult to plan anything in your life if you don't know when you are going to work and how much you are going to get paid for it. We also need a decent 10 an hour living wage in this country."

He was cheered loudly on his every word by the crowd of all ages.

At the rally was a large contingent of teaching assistants, members of public sector union Unison. They highlighted their dispute with Derby's Labour-controlled city council. Many have lost hundreds of pounds a month after changes to their contracts imposed on them at the beginning of June.

They have already had a one-day strike and several lunchtime walkouts. They plan further strikes in September and October. Jeremy expressed his support for these workers in his speech.

Socialist Party members sold 90 copies of the Socialist.

Charlie Taylor Derby Socialist Party

Leyton and Wanstead

On 12 August, Leyton and Wanstead CLP voted to back Corbyn by 94 to 33.

The meeting was so big we had to have an overspill meeting down the road. There weren't even enough Owen Smith supporters to fill their allotted time in the overspill venue. Socialist Party members showed support for Corbyn outside the meeting.

Addressing the room, one Owen Smith supporter asked: "Why were the Socialist Party allowed to leaflet our meeting?" Another Labour member answered: "It's a democratic right to give out leaflets on the pavement!"

A Leyton and Wanstead Labour Party member

Greenwich

"It's great to see packed meetings discussing left-wing ideas" said Chris Clarke of rail union the TSSA, reflecting the excitement as around 80 people crammed in Progress Hall in Eltham for a Greenwich Momentum rally on 18 August.

Other speakers were Claudia Webbe, a councillor in Islington and newly elected to Labour's NEC and Danny Hoggan, branch secretary of Unite local government in Greenwich and a prominent member of the Socialist Party locally. The meeting was sponsored by Greenwich Unite.

Danny spoke about his union calling at its conference for mandatory reselection of MPs saying to loud applause: "It's not a god given right to have a job as an MP". He also spoke of the need for "a socialist party fighting for the people we represent and the class we come from". He also said that Labour councillors "need to use reserves, set needs budgets because the Tories are beatable."

Unfortunately this is not what Labour councillors have done, even those who support Corbyn. Webbe rightly pointed out that this "is not a political wake up call, this is a political revolution". This is not reflected in her approach in Islington where as a council cabinet member she has voted for a number of cuts.

She also spoke of the need for unity in the party and extending "the hand of friendship" to the right-wing after the leadership election. Unity with the same people who have been plotting against Corbyn for the last year is a fantasy.

In contrast to other Momentum meetings, in Greenwich people with differing political views, including the Socialist Party, have been welcomed.

Paul Callanan Greenwich

Walthamstow

Jeremy Corbyn has won resounding backing from rank-and-file members in the Blairite-led Walthamstow Labour Party in east London.

309 people attended the recent nominating meeting to discuss which leadership candidate would win the endorsement of the Constituency Labour Party (CLP). Walthamstow had one of the biggest turnouts across the country, and unsurprisingly, Corbyn was what attracted these numbers. 205 votes were cast in his favour, and the remaining 104 went to Owen Smith.

The Blairite leadership of Walthamstow CLP made every attempt to prevent this result. They were very clear at the start of the meeting that they would be following the ruling National Executive Committee's undemocratic rules for nomination meetings.

Only 30 minutes were allowed for discussion - five speakers for each candidate, speaking for three minutes each. Despite being the most important part of the meeting, the debate was the shortest section, and the only one kept to time!

But the right are completely unable to compete with the popularity of Corbyn's anti-austerity ideas, as was reflected throughout the meeting. Overwhelmingly, the speakers in favour of Corbyn were young, women, black or Asian, and all received sound applause from the rest of the meeting.

A Walthamstow Labour Party member

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 24 August 2016:


#KeepCorbyn

Kick out the Blairites

#KeepCorbyn: Answer right's attacks with firm socialist programme

Corbyn union nominations round-up and view from the workplace

#KeepCorbyn: huge support at rallies and among Labour rank and file


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