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Posted on 20 February 2019 at 15:01 GMT

Former Militant editor Peter Taaffe on Derek Hatton re-joining Labour

A Socialist Party press release, 20.2.19

The re-admittance of Derek Hatton, Liverpool deputy council leader 1983-86, to the Labour Party poses the re-occurring question under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of opening the party up to socialist fighters and the need to transform it into a 100% anti-austerity party.

Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, said:

"Now three Tories have joined the Independent Group with the eight anti-Corbyn Labour MPs the picture is clear.

"This is an attempt to undermine Jeremy's leadership and to derail the Corbyn revolution which for thousands promised an end to austerity and a programme to create jobs and housing and offer a future to young people - including a world safe from environmental catastrophe denied them under capitalism.

"I hope that now Labour's doors are thrown open - to the workplaces, the estates, the school students protesting for the planet and all others who have been expelled from Labour for no other reason than standing up for the working class."

In November 2016, 75 expelled and excluded socialists, including general secretary of the Socialist Party Peter Taaffe, PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh, and former Liverpool Labour councillors such as Tony Mulhearn, applied for re-admittance to the Labour party.

This approach was backed by hundreds of signatures of trade unionists and community organisations. The application was rejected by the (then) general secretary Iain McNicol.

Here is the link to correspondence between Peter and Jenny Formby, Labour Party general secretary, on the Socialist Party's request to affiliate to Labour from September 2018.

Peter writes:

"We think this [open discussion about Socialist Party affiliation] is particularly urgent given the dramatic stepping up of the war against Jeremy Corbyn's leadership by the pro-capitalist Blairite wing of the Labour Party, backed to the hilt by the capitalist establishment and media.

"We see a very urgent need to organise and mobilise all those who support Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies into a mass campaign to democratise the Labour Party, allowing the hundreds of thousands who have been inspired by Jeremy's leadership to hold to account, and to deselect, the Blairite saboteurs.

"These saboteurs have made clear that their priority is not the election of a Labour government but the removal of Jeremy Corbyn at any cost.

"We believe the Socialist Party can play a useful role in the campaign to transform Labour, and would therefore like to discuss affiliation."

The record of the Socialist Party's predecessor Militant in Liverpool is clear. The Militant-led Liverpool City Council built 5,000 houses and flats and six new nursery schools.

It expanded council services. It had apprenticeships for council jobs. This stands in stark contrast to the record of Blairite-led Labour councils today who pass on Tory austerity leading to homelessness, job cuts and increasing child poverty.

This is why Labour needs to be transformed - so that it can fight these attacks on working class people - not implement this grotesque chaos.

Legacy of the Liverpool battle:

ENDS

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The Socialist Party is a campaigning, democratic organisation. Socialist Party members were among the leaders of the struggle in the late 80s and early 90s when 18 million people nationwide refused to pay the hated Poll Tax.

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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.
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