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8 August 2016
Thousands attend Corbyn rally in Cornwall
Ryan Aldred, Plymouth Socialist Party
On Saturday 6th August around 2,000 people gathered at Heartlands in Pool for a rally at which Jeremy Corbyn was the main speaker. People travelled from all over Devon and Cornwall for an opportunity to hear from the embattled Labour leader.
Understandably, Corbyn's calls for an end to austerity went down well in the poorest county in England where cuts have ravaged public services. Equally as popular was his policy of building more affordable social housing, stimulating the local economy by providing jobs for many out of work builders.
On the issue of where the money would come from Corbyn made the point that it would be better to invest in social housing rather than having the pockets of private landlords lined with money from housing benefit due to over the top rents in the private sector.
Although Jeremy Corbyn chose not to discuss the leadership election there were many in attendance who were asking for a strategy on how to get rid of the Blairites and many were keen to speak with us in the Socialist Party about this. Our calls for mandatory reselection of Labour candidates, democratising of the Labour Party structures and opening it the party out to all those who support Corbyn including from other anti-austerity parties were keenly taken up.
Momentum's 'new politics'
On the whole, we were very warmly received by the majority of those in attendance. However, some of the Momentum Cornwall leadership were determined to try to exclude us, as the police were asked to have us removed for having a stall. Despite Jon Lansman (one of the founders of Momentum) talking about 'a new kind of politics' at the event it is clear that there is some way to go before this will be embraced, particularly among the Momentum leadership.
Nevertheless, we remained at the rally, with many Corbyn supporters defending our right to be there. Over 60 bought our paper, the Socialist, and we had some excellent conversations with people who are keen for us to be involved in helping to defeat the Blairites and taking the fight to the Tories. Tried and tested anti-austerity campaigners will only strengthen Corbyn's Labour Party and the building of the anti-austerity movement.
Those in Momentum who treat us with hostility should take note of how the overwhelming majority welcome our ideas and our involvement in the building of the labour movement. As evidenced by the heavy-handed treatment of our presence and how many people were willing to defend us, it quickly becomes clear to all, who is, and who isn't so keen on working towards 'a new kind of politics'.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 August 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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