Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24531

Posted on 14 February 2017 at 16:46 GMT

Support floods in for the Cardiff No-Cuts Three

Corbyn supporters want a Labour Party that fights austerity, not one that witch-hunts its members photo Paul Mattsson

Corbyn supporters want a Labour Party that fights austerity, not one that witch-hunts its members photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Ross Saunders

A flood of support from Labour Party members and trade unionists has greeted the appeal of the Cardiff No-Cuts Three against their expulsion from the Labour Party. John Williams, João Félix and Rich Edwards were expelled at the end of January shortly after proposing a motion calling on councillors to refuse to make more cuts to jobs and services.

A solidarity meeting packed out the upstairs of a local pub in Cardiff last Thursday. Messages of support have come from every corner of Britain - Aberdeen, East London, Liverpool and many other places. Even a message from Tony Blair's own Sedgefield constituency came in!

Unfortunately, support has not been forthcoming from all quarters. We've discovered that Darren Williams, a Cardiff councillor and NEC member, issued a call to other Labour members on a secret group on social media for the three to be expelled from Welsh Labour Grassroots (Momentum in Wales), which may have given the green light to the bureaucracy to move against them.

The Labour left is very short-sighted if it is backing this witch-hunt. The Labour Party doesn't stand a chance of being transformed into a party capable of fighting austerity without building a united front of all socialists who are willing to combat the Blairites and Tories who want to wreck the project.

If that is going to happen, Welsh Labour Grassroots (WLG) must adopt a different course. Rich says: "We appealed to WLG for support. Their answer - without meeting with us so we could put our case - was to expel us from WLG as well as Labour! We were blocked from attending the next meeting and they wouldn't even read out the written appeal we drafted. We understand that our motion calling on councillors to fight the cuts was overturned in our absence - despite having been adopted at the annual general meeting only a month ago. Unfortunately, it looks as though WLG/Momentum is determined to assist right-wing Labour councillors to carry out more cuts this year, and is willing to trample on democracy and turn a deaf ear to the pleas for support from Labour members who have been victimised by the pro-Blairite bureaucracy which still runs Labour."

It's increasingly clear that in the upcoming council elections, Welsh Labour is not going to fight on a platform of defending jobs and services, and that the leadership of WLG isn't going to organise a serious fight that could give people hope that Labour could be made to fight austerity. The danger is that, in that context, support grows for the Liberals and Plaid - who will also not lead a fight against cuts - and even Ukip.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) agreed at its conference last month to keep the option open of standing election candidates for just the eventuality we're facing in Wales. TUSC supporters who have taken part in building the coalition in Cardiff plan to discuss standing candidates in wards which include the worst of the Blairite councillors.


The appeal WLG refused to hear at its Cardiff meeting:

Dear Comrades in Welsh Labour Grassroots,

We are appealing to you for your support in our campaign against our expulsion from the Labour Party.

Unfortunately we are not able to be there in person because the Steering Committee of Welsh Labour Grassroots responded to our request for support by expelling us from membership of WLG as well as Labour. It is very disappointing that like Labour, the WLG SC has expelled us without giving us the opportunity to make our case. It seems to us to go against the principles of natural justice.

We were looking forward to developing a joint campaign against the cuts that Cardiff council is planning to agree on the 23rd February. We were delighted that Cardiff WLG agreed at its AGM to support the motion we proposed calling for the council to set a no-cuts budget and fight for more funding. Despite our expulsions, we would still like to take part in such a campaign with you. We hope to see you outside City Hall at 3.30pm on the 23rd to lobby councillors with Cardiff Against The Cuts.

We think it's Labour's last chance to demonstrate before the election that it is now taking a different road to the £100 million+ of funding cuts made so far. We owe it to the ordinary working-class people who rely on these services and jobs to show them that there are Labour members who will fight for them. We expect some will be worried that showing any opposition will weaken Labour's chances in the election but we would argue that the worst situation would be if all Labour members appeared to be united in favour of implementing cuts. Our voters will abandon us and look elsewhere, or not bother to turn out.

Like others who have been expelled and disowned, the pre-Corbyn Labour bureaucracy which favours the Blairite wing of the party has distorted the reasons for our expulsion. They say we have been expelled for having joined other socialist organisations and supported their campaigns.

These rules are undemocratic, and also unwise if Labour is serious about becoming a party capable of fighting against austerity and for socialism. Labour members should have full freedom of discussion and debate and the right to organise together with other members who agree with them to convince the rest of the party. The right wing enjoys these freedoms in organisations like Progress. We should fight to overturn these rules, but with the chance to convince people that Labour was heading in a new direction slipping away, we were not prepared to wait before getting involved.

In any case, this was clearly and demonstrably not the real reason for our expulsions. Labour tolerates organised groups in its ranks as long as they do not present a real threat to the right wing getting their way. But most telling is the fact that while each of us joined Labour at a different time, all of us were expelled together - very soon after raising the motion against cuts.

We can imagine that some will think we should have hidden our support for other socialist organisations. We considered this but rejected it, knowing that if we did so at some stage we'd be accused of dishonesty by the bureaucracy. We also believe that we've got to fight to open up and democratise the party. Labour should go back to its radical roots when it was a federation of socialist, suffrage and trade union organisations, and welcome the affiliation of groups like the Socialist Party. The anti- austerity wing of the Greens could be attracted on that basis too.

We appeal to you to follow in the footsteps of figures like Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn, who despite having several disagreements with the Militant newspaper, nevertheless fully backed the campaign of its supporters against expulsion in the 1980s, because they understood that it would open the door to the big business wing - those we call Blairites today - getting full control of the party.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 14 February 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Cardiff:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The US presidential election

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: How can we change the system?

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: What's the future for young people?

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: What is Trotskyism?

Cuts:

triangleUnison: Hugo Pierre is on the ballot - vote for a fighting socialist!

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleDover: Solidarity with refugees - applause and cheers for socialist ideas to unite working class

triangleCovid-19 pandemic increases financial pressures on Welsh local government

Labour:

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: Labour moved right and left me behind

triangleWhy we joined the Socialist Party

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: The Labour Party - what is its future?

Austerity:

triangleTUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

triangleLincoln: Save Drill Hall

Wales:

triangleUnder the microscope

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

30/9/20

Usdaw

Usdaw elections: Defend members' right to participate

30/9/20

Socialist Party

£71,522 raised: Thank you, we've smashed our target again

30/9/20

PCS

PCS: No to DWP management's plans - Yes to action

30/9/20

Socialist Students

Apprehension about Covid - anger at fees, costs and exploitation

30/9/20

NHS

NHS workers need 15% rise and full funding

30/9/20

Hull

Solidarity not charity

30/9/20

BT

Fight BT redundancies

30/9/20

Peterborough

Peterborough CWU have massively voted for strike action

30/9/20

Hugo Pierre

Unison: Hugo Pierre is on the ballot - vote for a fighting socialist!

30/9/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

30/9/20

Newham

Newham: Closed and evicted

30/9/20

Hospital

Campaign for new King George Hospital wing gets boost

23/9/20

The Socialist

The Socialist: More than a newspaper

23/9/20

Coventry

Coventry: Socialist Students is back

23/9/20

Liverpool

Liverpool Council must save care homes

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999