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Labour leadership election
14 July 2016
Reports and comments on the campaigning to defend Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership position
Grimsby councillor: "It is the 172 who should be thrown out"
In Grimsby 90 people packed into a north east Lincs 'Unite 4 Corbyn' meeting initiated by the Socialist Party. They heard speakers from the local Labour Party and Socialist Party.
One of the speakers at the meeting, a Labour councillor for Immingham ward, was met with applause when he declared:
"Labour should be embarrassed by the actions of the PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party]. How can it be that 10 months after a democratic election when 251,417 voted for Jeremy Corbyn, the biggest vote for a parliamentary leader ever, yet 172 from the Westminster elite vote against him? Is that democratic socialism? They are not democrats and they are not socialists. It is the 172 who should be thrown out."
Many speakers called for the local MP, one of the 172, to be thrown out of Labour.
Grimsby Socialist Party members
Manchester4Corbyn campaign launched
Over 300 people packed into a Manchester Momentum meeting on 13th July to discuss the situation in the Labour Party and how to defend Jeremy Corbyn. Speakers from the top table emphasised the need to get organised both inside the Labour Party and in the trade unions and communities.
Questions from the floor focused on how to overturn the decision of the Labour NEC to put restrictions on voting and party meetings. An emergency motion (text below) calling on the NEC to overturn these scandalous attacks was passed unanimously.
There was a proposal from the platform that Momentum and Manchester trades union council should launch a Manchester4Corbyn campaign to build mass support for Corbyn during the leadership election. Unfortunately, whilst this seemed to be a popular idea, no concrete plans were made for what to do next in the leadership campaign. Instead, the mass meeting was broken down into constituencies.
While many new members will find it useful to meet with other Corbyn supporters in their constituency, it is our view that events in recent days show the need to mobilise beyond the undemocratic structures of the Labour Party, particularly while official meetings have been suspended.
Much of the theme of the meeting was "let's discuss what we will do when the CLPs start back up again". Some wards and CLPs are defying the rules and are organising meetings anyway but an approach of restricting this movement to just being caucus meetings is a mistake. There should be mass public meetings of Manchester4Corbyn called in every constituency to mobilise support for Corbyn's leadership election campaign and a call for a mass national conference of supporters to organise such a movement around the country.
Crucially, these meetings need to be organised in defence of anti-austerity policies and fighting for a democratic working class party.
Manchester Socialist Party reporters
Emergency motion: defend democracy in the Labour Party
Manchester & Trafford Momentum condemns in the strongest possible terms:
1. The arbitrary and undemocratic exclusion of many Labour Party members from the leadership contest by setting the time limit as far back as February;
2. The anti-working class hike of the registered supporters' fee from £3 to £25.
Furthermore, we note that the suspension of all Constituency Labour Party activity for the duration of the contest will have the effect of:
1. Denying party members a forum for legitimate democratic discussion and debate, concerning not only the leadership of our party but also other crucial issues affecting our society;
2. Postponing CLP AGMs at which new committees were due to be elected, in many cases more representative of the influx of new members since Jeremy Corbyn's victory last year;
3. Keeping many incumbent officers in their posts beyond the expiration of their mandate, and crucially until after this year's important Labour Party conference has taken place.
We consider these actions to be a coup against party democracy, and call on the National Executive Committee to overturn all of them at the earliest possible opportunity.
Letter to the Liverpool Echo
From Tony Mulhearn, former socialist councillor and president of Liverpool District Labour Party
Tony McDonough writes [in the Liverpool Echo] what appears to be a 1980s composite editorial straight from the pages of the Murdoch press, the Daily Mail, the Express and the then Liverpool Echo. He asserts that Eagle can take Labour back to the fabled 'middle ground'; he doesn't mention that she and her allies lost Labour the last two elections and during the Blair years attracted the lowest ever turnout in a general election and bequeathed in Iraq the most toxic legacy since Ramsey MacDonald joined the Tories in 1931.
Aping the worst features of political analysis he dismisses Corbyn as being 'grumpy' and more of a comedian than a leader.
He then regurgitates the old false calumnies that Labour in the 1980s destroyed Liverpool's economic credibility. Is he not aware that under a Liberal/Tory coalition locally and Thatcher nationally, 65% of Liverpool's economy had collapsed? Those were the dark days the socialist council inherited. We refused to impose further suffering on the city. We cancelled redundancies, built houses, created jobs, opened nursery classes, etc.
Tony claims he mistakenly supported the left in the 80s. Is he suggesting that we should have implemented the draconic cuts demanded by Thatcher and worsened the plight of thousands of Liverpool's citizens?
I look forward to his reply.
Chingford Labour Party demands reselection
In the period before Labour's NEC met to decide whether Jeremy Corbyn would automatically be allowed on the ballot paper of a new leadership election, a Labour Party member in Chingford, north east London, moved a motion in defence of Corbyn that was passed by their local Labour Party branch on 11 July 2016. The action points from the motion are below.
This is one of many similar motions that have been passed in the last weeks. The response of the Labour Party NEC was to order branches to stop meeting! Labour Party members should not accept this. Local meetings should be organised anyway and turned into 'councils of war' to fight in defence of Jeremy Corbyn, inviting all those who support him whether or not they are members of the Labour Party.
This branch instructs;
1) That the NEC upholds Jeremy Corbyn's automatic right to be on the ballot paper when Angela Eagle officially declares, and any other candidate.
2) To demand that Angela Eagle and her PLP supporters cease with threats of damaging legal action through the courts and allow a fair contest to take place.
3) That Jeremy Corbyn calls a rules change conference to make MPs accountable to the membership and to prevent them from playing the role of undemocratically unseating Corbyn.
This branch resolves to;
1) Appeal to the CLPs who back Corbyn to mandate their MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn should the situation require it.
2) In the event that MPs go against CLP wishes then they immediately be recalled and reselection procedures to be instigated immediately.
This branch warns that;
The membership has been threatened with the prospect of a split. We are not deterred. We must not be afraid to fight for a Labour Party that holds MPs to account and oversees policies that are genuinely anti-austerity. If elements of the PLP wish to break with the Labour Party then we wish them well, but we won't let them take our name and our socialist history. We are now a party that could easily reach one million members with Jeremy Corbyn as our leader and positioning ourselves as anti-austerity and proudly socialist.
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