Marching in Haringey, Feb 2018, photo North London SP

Marching in Haringey, Feb 2018, photo North London SP   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Haringey ‘Corbyn-council’ faces a choice: Implement or fight the cuts

Nick Auvache, North London Socialist Party

Aditya Chakrabortty hit the nail on the head when he said “any new Labour administration will be judged on how much change it makes for the people it claims to represent” in the Guardian on 10 October.

Myself and two other socialists stood in Seven Sisters ward in the May elections, as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

We said “let’s turn Jeremy Corbyn’s words into action in Haringey”. We pledged to work alongside any Haringey Labour councillor who wants to put those ideas into practice.

One of the key demands we raised was “no redevelopment of Wards Corner without social housing and safeguarding the ‘Latin American Corner’ local businesses.”

Socialist Party members stood alongside anti-private development Labour Party members when they organised and deselected the worst of the old Blairite councillors. We said this was now our chance for a socialist anti-austerity council in Haringey.

We warned:

“Haringey is set to be a ‘Corbyn council’ and will be under intense scrutiny, not just from the press, Tories and pro-austerity wing of the Labour Party, but from the working class.

“We cannot wait till the next general election. It is imperative that under a ‘Corbyn council’ the residents of Haringey stop paying the price for Tory austerity through cuts and privatisation of council services, homes and jobs.

“Any other approach not only condemns people to more suffering under the Tory cosh, but also risks the current huge support for Corbyn-led Labour.”

Expectations are high in this council. The council leader claims to have no choice, being constrained by Tory cuts and the ‘poison pills’ left by the previous administration.

The ‘Corbyn’ Labour council has a clear choice. They should stand up and help mobilise a big campaign to kick the millionaire developers out of our borough.

Instead of preparing to accommodate another 10% of cuts next year, they should prepare a socialist needs-based, no-cuts budget.

They should use reserves and borrowing powers to stave off cuts, and mobilise the trade unions, local residents and community groups in a struggle to press the Tories to provide the necessary funding.

The excuses not to do this lessen every day as the Tories teeter on the brink. Such a struggle could help push them out of power and bring in a Corbyn-led Labour government which should guarantee to underwrite any debt incurred in resisting Tory cuts.

As Chakrabortty points out, the council needs to pick the right side in a small case. Corbyn will face much bigger fights in government.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 16 October 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.