Campaign news


4th November 2015


Resolution Passed by the LRC NC in October 2015

1) We resolve to continue to build the LRC nationally and locally, pending the creation of a united organisation of the labour left and beyond.

2) We support and will participate in the development of a united organisation of the Labour left and beyond.

3) We argue for any new organisation of the Labour left and beyond to be democratic, with the membership determining policies and electing any officers, in order to recruit the thousands of volunteers and supporters involved in Jeremy’s leadership campaign. We also urge that the new organisation should organise at all levels in the Party, but particularly at CLP level.

4) Any decision on the future suspension of the LRC depends on progress in creating such a united organisation of the left and will be the decision of our members.

5) Meanwhile the LRC will open up direct discussion with other Labour left groups with a view to persuading them of the need for one united organisation of the Labour left. In the meantime we argue strongly that we should work together and organise events, one of which should be how to win policy in the Party.

6) We encourage LRC members to participate fully in creating organisations of Corbyn supporters, both locally and online.

7) We encourage the Labour left and those beyond to participate outside the party (such as in strikes, protests, demonstrations etc.) with others sympathetic to Corbyn’s policies, to pursue policy within the trade unions to support Corbyn’s policies, such as scrapping Trident and opposition to austerity.

Comments on the Resolution

The election of Jeremy Corbyn is part of a political earthquake in Britain. For many years first right wing New Labour, and now a Tory government which aspires to destroy the welfare state and most of the gains achieved by the labour movement over a century, have dominated the political agenda. Over this time the LRC and the left generally have been in a defensive mode.

Jeremy’s election on a huge wave of democratic involvement and debate represents the beginning of a long-awaited radicalisation in British society. As Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union has commented, this represents, “The chance of a lifetime.” We must seize this opportunity to make permanent gains for the cause of socialism.

On the left there has been a historic division between those like the LRC who argued that the radicalisation of the working class was bound to be reflected within the Labour Party, the traditional political organisation of the working class, and others who asserted that an alternative to Labour must be built from outside. The LRC has defended the position at Conference after Conference of our organisation that the radicalisation of working people will at some point create a mass left wing within Labour. For us this was a basic principle. This is now coming to pass.

So we feel Jeremy’s election as leader is a vindication of our perspective. But we are of course only at an early stage of what may well prove to be dramatic political developments. The situation is very fluid and LRC members are constantly discussing how things might turn out. The resolution above was passed last month in a fast-changing political environment.

If a mass movement of the left is in formation at present, then it is vital that the LRC is part of that movement. We have no organisational fetish. If the LRC is to be subsumed into a much larger movement that can strive to change society, then we have to be part of it, and would be glad to be so.

This new movement seems to be crystallising around the banner of Momentum. Momentum is a somewhat amorphous network at present. This is not a criticism. It is an inevitable stage in the creation of a new movement. Momentum has enormous potential. We intend to be part of that movement and to work as hard as we can to make it a big success.
There is no contradiction between the LRC participating fully in the creation of a national network of local and internet-based Momentum groups and maintaining the existence of our own organisation – for the time being. But we must be alive to the prospects opening up before us. We are not sectarians. If the LRC has outlived its usefulness, we will be delighted to participate instead in a mass left wing movement aimed at transforming the Labour Party and society.
Momentum has the possibility to become that movement, but that development is not inevitable. It is still finding its feet. There is at present no democratic structure to their organisation nationally.

Some believe that is not necessary – that Momentum can maintain its existence as a network indefinitely. We believe it must develop a democratic structure. That means it must have a determinate membership and a way of members expressing their views by voting on policy.

Secondly there is the question of the trade unions. Historically the unions gave birth to the Labour Party, and they remain its rock and foundation. Momentum must find a way to involve the trade union movement in its decisions and activities.

This vast elemental change in the face of British politics was triggered by Jeremy’s decision to stand as leader. It was an entirely unexpected trigger. He was seen as unlikely to get enough nominations to stand and then given no chance of winning. Now that he is leader he is surrounded by difficulties and by those who are determined to sabotage his project for change. Barely 20 of more than 200 Labour MPs support him as leader. Some lose no opportunity to run to the capitalist press and denigrate his leadership. In doing so they are of course running down the Party as a whole and downgrading the chances of every candidate in the land that stands under its banner.
They don’t care. Their loyalty is purely to their own careers, which they see potentially threatened by a mass influx of Corbyn supporters into the local Labour Parties. Jeremy has preached conciliation and the need for democratic debate on policy, in contrast to the top-down dictatorship practiced by New Labour, but all his opponents show in return is disloyalty. Jeremy is also hamstrung by the unreformed Party bureaucracy and the undemocratic policy-making structures put in place during the Blair years.

The movement embodied in Momentum that we see emerging is intended to continue and carry through the Corbyn project, a top to bottom renewal of a Labour Party that was emptied out by the betrayals and disappointments of the New Labour years. Jeremy cannot carry through the necessary reforms on his own. He is hanging on, hoping for a mass influx of members that will shift the balance of forces within the Party decisively in favour of change. Thus the movement to defend Jeremy must be one that will defend and strengthen his position within the Labour Party.
Does that mean that Momentum should be purely oriented towards Labour? That would narrow the movement that came behind Jeremy’s campaign unnecessarily. Tens of thousands of people, particularly those involved in local campaigns and social movements, identified immediately with the Corbyn campaign but are not prepared at this stage to become actively involved in the Party. They are an important buttress of support for Jeremy. It would be a serious mistake to disregard these campaigners or impose conditions on their support. They must be involved in support of Jeremy and his objectives by all means possible. But the task of Momentum must be to turn the attention of their supporters towards the battles that will take place within the Labour Party.

Neither the LRC nor anyone else has the power to prohibit people from joining in the Momentum movement which is involving activists, and people completely new to political involvement. Nor would we want to do so. Momentum has also been approached by groups such as the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) who want to get involved. TUSC stands candidates against Labour in elections. Next May there will be local and mayoral elections, and elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. It is quite possible that Labour will not do well in all these elections – for all manner of local and exceptional reasons that have nothing to do with the stance of Jeremy as Party leader. The right wing opposition within the Party have made it quite clear that this will provide the first excuse for a serious assault upon his leadership. In that situation we have to say that standing candidates against Labour and taking votes from the Party is not supporting Jeremy and his objectives. It is giving aid and comfort to his enemies.

We in the LRC put the interests of the movement above everything. We shall continue to monitor developments closely and see how we can intervene most effectively. We live in inspiring times. Let us make sure we don’t let slip, “The chance of a lifetime.”

Mick Brooks


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