Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26794
Labour's NEC intervenes in Haringey project - but the battle isn't over
North London Socialist Party members
The Labour Party NEC has voted unanimously to intervene against the right wing leadership of Haringey council on the issue of the HDV regeneration project.
This gentrification scheme has provoked enormous opposition in the community and at all levels of the local Labour Party.
Anti-HDV activists and Corbyn supporters mobilised and succeeded in deselecting (from being candidates in the May 2018 elections) all but six of the pro-HDV Labour councillors. 45 of the selected Labour Party candidates for the elections are now anti-HDV. This has dealt the HDV a mortal blow.
But the deselected and discredited Blairite council leadership is still formally in office until May 2018. Despite having lost its mandate, it is pursuing a scorched-earth policy with its pro-austerity agenda. It could use its dying days to sign away council assets in a 20-year HDV agreement with the developers.
Seeing that their days are numbered, some of the right wing councillors began to waver and the vote to proceed with the HDV was only carried by a margin of two at the last Labour group meeting.
Council meeting called
The Lib-Dems, who were virtually annihilated in the 2017 general election, have attempted to re-invent themselves as the anti-HDV party. They have called an emergency full council meeting on the HDV, which will take place on 7th February.
They calculate that any Labour Party councillor who votes against the HDV would be deemed to have broken the whip and would face an automatic six-month suspension from the Labour group, and would be disqualified from standing for Labour in the May elections.
Some anti-HDV activists have said that it is necessary to vote against the HDV in this council meeting. The Socialist Party agrees that if the anti-HDV councillors vote for the HDV scheme it will be seen as a betrayal of the expectations of hundreds and thousands of people.
Others have said that this would mean replacing the anti-HDV election slate that activists had fought hard to win, with right wing appointees, describing this as snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Socialist Party members argue that the anti-HDV councillors and candidates have a big campaign behind them, the vast majority of the local Labour Party is against the HDV, and the borough is in the national spotlight.
With a Corbynista majority now on the Labour Party NEC and a Corbynista chair of the disputes committee, are Labour lefts really saying they can't put up a fight against threats to expel them? If that was tried it would create uproar.
So a grassroots left meeting held on Thursday decided to appeal to the newly elected left NEC to intervene to stop the Labour Party rule book from being used to blackmail councillors into voting against Labour Party policy.
Socialist Party members leafleted this meeting with a well-received leaflet calling for a socialist, anti-austerity, no-cuts council. Following the meeting 21 councillors signed a letter asking the NEC to intervene.
Council leader presses on
The NEC decision is a humiliating blow for council leader Clare Kober, and has shown the left that when they fight, they can win.
Scandalously, in a direct challenge to the NEC, Kober has refused to be interviewed but declared that the HDV scheme goes ahead.
There must be no fudge from the Corbynista-majority NEC in the face of this belligerence from the discredited, deselected, right-wing council leadership.
Tottenham constituency Labour Party members have welcomed the NEC's intervention but have written to ask the NEC to give full protection to the 21 councillors. So it should - it is not those who stand up against privatisation who should be expelled from the party, but those who force it through!
A Labour Party member said to the Socialist: "We must build on this success and bury not only the HDV, but also Kober's policy of cuts, closures and privatisation. We have to ensure that we go into the May elections with an anti-austerity manifesto written by the pro-Corbyn membership, not by the outgoing leadership."
Haringey Labour Party is holding a conference on 4th February where 66 motions submitted by all 13 wards will be discussed to hammer out the key ideas for the election manifesto.
A resolution was submitted to one ward arguing for a legal no-cuts budget, and to use reserves and borrowing powers to balance the books while building up a mass campaign for the necessary funds from government.
This was supported by a majority of members in the meeting, and a shortened version, calling for a needs-based, no-cuts budget and a mass campaign, has been submitted to the manifesto conference.
We believe that at this conference Labour Party members should commit the next Labour council to a no-cuts budget, so that the residents of Haringey no longer suffer under the cosh of Tory austerity under what would be a Corbyn-council.
Demonstration, 7th February 2018
Stop the HDV
The Lib Dems have called an emergency council meeting on the HDV on 7th February. It is essential that all the anti-HDV Labour councillors vote against the HDV. If they do this then the HDV will be defeated. Anti-HDV campaigners are organising a lobby of the council.