The election of Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party is a serious setback for the socialist left. Many are now talking about leaving the Labour Party. That is understandable. While we do welcome all left-wingers and socialists into the LLA (if they do not openly support candidates standing against Labour), we do urge comrades to hold on to their Labour Party membership cards, if they can. Here is a statement explaining our attitude to the Labour Party in more detail.
Under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party grew to more than 500,000 members, with many committed socialists. The composition of Labour’s annual conference changed dramatically. Inspired by Corbyn’s principled politics, the left gained influence in numerous local areas – and is now part of the leadership in many CLPs. The affiliated trade unions make Labour a substantial organisation of the working class – and the biggest democratic socialist party in Europe.
But we also need to be honest about what went wrong following Corbyn’s election in 2015. Millions were inspired – but very little was achieved and a chance to radically transform the Labour Party was squandered. Some of the reasons for that are now being brought to light through the ‘leaked report’ on the alleged antisemitism crisis in the Labour Party – click here to read our statement. At a national level, Momentum became complicit in the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. We urge independent-minded Momentum groups to affiliate to the LLA – six already have along with dozens of other local left organisations.
The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically exposed capitalism’s limitations. It has proved utterly incapable of stepping up to meet the crisis and protect people. Unsurprisingly, the neoliberal governments in the UK and US have been particularly inept. We have a duty to organise our forces and give radical answers to the problems facing our movement. Please sign our proposed Covid-19 action plan here. In such periods of crisis almost anything can happen!
Our attitude to the Labour Party must therefore remain flexible. We encourage all LLA supporters to get actively involved in the Labour Party and local Labour left groups. But in the new political situation, the LLA may need to increase its efforts on campaigns outside of the Labour Party’s structures. Developments inside and outside the Labour Party will determine how much emphasis we put into each of these different areas at any particular time. Click here to read the statement we produced after the April leadership elections.
The Labour Left Alliance wants to bring the left of the Labour movement together – our structures are transparent, inclusive and democratic. All affiliated organisations and local Labour left groups can elect delegates to the LLA’s Organising Group, from which the Steering Committee is elected. Any affiliate (or any 10 supporters) can present a proposal to the leadership bodies for discussion. Currently, we are involved in a campaign to democratise the selection of left-wing candidates for the NEC elections – for too long this process has been shrouded in mystery, while many of those who have eventually been elected as part of the left slate often turn out to be anything but left-wing. There is very little accountability and even less transparency. We want to help change the culture of the left.
Get involved! Sign up to the Labour Left Alliance! Get your local Labour left group to affiliate – or help set one up if there is no existing group where you live.
Appeal for a democratic Labour Left Alliance
It is not good enough to call for people to join this or that existing group. We have to be honest: None of our existing Labour left organisations are, by themselves, the answer. But they can be part of the solution.
We believe there is an urgent need to build a democratic, transparent and socialist Labour Left Alliance that:
- organises democratically and transparently;
- both supports a left Labour Party leadership against attacks by the right, and is independent and able to criticise our leaders when necessary;
- opposes racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all other forms of discrimination and is consistently internationalist – a stance which by definition includes support for the democratic and national rights of the Palestinians;
- campaigns for the free movement of people;
- opposes attempts to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism and opposes the witch-hunt against the left;
- campaigns to radically transform and democratise the Labour Party and the trade unions;
- campaigns for open selection so that the Parliamentary Labour Party better reflects the views of the members;
- campaigns for a disciplinary process in the Labour Party which is based on natural justice and due process;
- supports and encourages struggles against austerity and all forms of oppression.
Yes, I support the appeal!
If you agree with the appeal above, please complete the online form below. We strongly encourage all signatories to join the Labour Party and get involved in local Labour Left groups. We also welcome those who have been suspended or expelled as part of the witch-hunt against the left and those who have left the party in despair over the direction taken by Keir Starmer – provided they don’t support candidates who stand against the Labour Party. Please consider making a regular donation to the LLA to help us run campaigns, events and activities here.