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Labour Party members in Cardiff expelled for calling on councillors to refuse to make cuts
Support Cardiff's no-cuts three!
A Cardiff Against The Cuts (CATC) press release
Cardiff Against The Cuts has learned that three members of the Labour Party in Cardiff have been expelled shortly after calling on the Labour council to refuse to make more funding cuts to jobs and services.
Cardiff Against The Cuts will support anyone who takes a stand against the brutal cuts that this and previous councils have carried out. We believe councillors should represent their constituents by fighting cuts to the important services and facilities for which they are responsible. CATC expresses its solidarity with the members and supports their campaign against expulsion. Their appeal letter is below.
Yours, Ross Saunders, Secretary, Cardiff Against The Cuts, 0777 221 5281
Dear brothers and sisters in the labour movement,
We are appealing to you to support our campaign against our expulsion from the Labour Party.
We believe that we've been targeted because we've called on our councillors to stop making the cuts the Tory government is demanding.
Thousands of new members have not flooded into the Labour Party to see councillors, AMs and MPs carry on and slash jobs and services like they did before Corbyn was elected: we all want to see the Labour Party take a new path and oppose austerity in deeds, not just in words.
The voters won't let the status quo stand either: we believe that if Labour doesn't prove beyond doubt that it's against austerity cuts and the big-business establishment, then we will lose ground to Plaid, the Lib Dems and even Ukip in the elections this year, none of whom will stand up for ordinary working-class people.
Please read our story below. Whether you live in Cardiff or not, whether you are a member of the Labour Party or not, if you believe Labour members should have the right to call on representatives of the Party to fight funding cuts to public services, please email us at NoCutsCardiff@gmail.com to add your name to support the campaign against expulsions.
It's not just us of course: many Labour members are still suspended or expelled as a result of the pre-Corbyn Labour machine's crackdown on his supporters.
We're organising a public meeting at 7.30pm, Thursday 9th February, upstairs in the Andrew Buchan on Albany Road in Cardiff. Please come if you want to hear more or help support our campaign.
John, Joćo and Rich
Support Cardiff's No-Cuts Three!
Three young socialists have been expelled from the Labour Party in Cardiff for the crime of calling on councillors to fight Tory cuts.
John Williams, Joćo Félix and Richard Edwards - all three in their twenties - joined Labour after being enthused by Jeremy Corbyn's victory in Labour's leadership election contest, hoping that this was a chance to create an anti-austerity, anti-cuts, socialist party on a massive scale.
John and Joćo proposed a motion to their local Labour Party branch in Plasnewydd, Cardiff, on 17th January, calling on the council to refuse to make the £19 million cuts demanded by the Tory government and the Labour-led Welsh Assembly this year.
Two weeks later, on 31st January, both woke up to find a letter informing them that they had been expelled from the Labour Party.
Rich got the same letter too, after having publicly stated he was going to do the same at the next meeting of his branch in Cathays.
The motion, which called for councillors to refuse to make any cuts this year and instead spend some of £54 million in general and earmarked reserves, complies with the policy that the highest trade union in Wales, Wales TUC, adopted at its conference last year.
A legal no-cuts budget should be adopted, with the council spending the year building a campaign demanding more funding from the Westminster government, the three argued.
Supporters of Momentum in Wales (called Welsh Labour Grassroots) agreed at their Cardiff AGM on 16th January to back the call.
Last year, rather than spend emergency reserves, Cardiff council actually increased its cash stash by over £6 million! The council's own budget proposals note that over 1,600 jobs and £120 million of funding have been cut while Labour has run the council.
The Lib Dems and Plaid made cuts too, but Labour should demonstrate that it's different.
All three have pledged to appeal the expulsion.
Rich said: "The excuse given in each of our letters is that we've been associating with activists in other socialist organisations.
"What's wrong with that? Labour should be throwing its doors open to community campaigners, activists and socialists to build as broad a united campaign against Tory austerity as we can."
Joćo said: "The real reason is that we've challenged the councillors, and we don't regret that one bit. Representatives should be accountable to the members of an organsiation."
John says: "It's my 21st birthday this Thursday - I got expelled just a couple of days before. Labour should be welcoming young people who want to get politically active, not booting them out."
This is the motion we moved:
- the terrible damage done to public services in Cardiff as a result of Tory austerity. £105 million has been cut in the three years since the last election, and £200 in the last decade. According to the Echo, a third of jobs in social services have been cut.
- that the policy of Wales TUC, Unison, Unite, GMB and many other organisations is to call for councils to set legal no-cuts budgets to allow time for a campaign to be built.
- that Cardiff council's draft budget proposes a further £19 million of cuts to services this year and an above-inflation increase in council tax.
- that Cardiff's council's reserves stand at over £50 million.
- that rather than spend these reserves, Cardiff council increased them by £6 million last year.
- that Cardiff Labour should resist all cuts.
- that council services will be severely reduced if the cuts continue to be made.
- that if elected again, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru will not lead a fight to retain services.
- that for Labour to retain control of Cardiff council at the next election a change of direction will be needed to win back support.
We therefore resolve:
- to call on the Cardiff Labour group to alter their budget plans, scrap the funding cut of £19 million, and instead adopt a budget which funds all current services, spending reserves and if necessary borrowing money carefully in order to meet the gap in funding while a city-wide campaign for more funding is built.
- to then appeal for support from the elctorate as the only clearly anti-austerity party.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2 February 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.