Open letter: Why the LLA is conducting an open and democratic hustings and ballot of all left-wing candidates for Labour’s NEC

3) The methods and politics of the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) need to radically change – or it needs to go! The Labour Left Alliance’s request for affiliation has not been met with a reply, and was not properly discussed despite being raised by other delegates in the meeting. Even some of the 13 organisations involved have complained about the secretive nature of negotiations, the failure to consult members, and the politics of some of the candidates that have been chosen, which includes their failure to report from NEC meetings and the absence of any means to hold them to account. The political emphasis is still on ‘centre’ rather than ‘left’, and in this current struggle, where the very survival of the left in the Labour Party is at stake, that is not good enough.

4) We need candidates who will stand up to the witch-hunt! We are very disappointed that none of the candidates chosen by the CLGA have spoken out against the witch-hunt. At least one candidate, Nadia Jama (disappointingly proposed by the Labour Representation Committee) supported the implementation of the Lansman constitution in Momentum Sheffield, which led to members expelled from the Labour Party as part of the witch-hunt being expelled from Momentum. She also supported Jon Lansman’s ‘Momentum Renewal’ in the recent Momentum NCG elections. Yasmine Dar and Ann Henderson have not stood up publicly to the degeneration of party democracy during their stint on the NEC. Jo Bird on the other hand, who topped the list of left-wing candidates at the February 2020 by-election and has publicly campaigned against the witch-hunt, has, we understand, been rejected both by the ‘new’ Momentum leadership and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.

5) We need to inspire the tens of thousands who are considering leaving the Labour Party! Even a single principled voice on the NEC that openly dares to stand up to the right is worth more than nine silent voices.

6) We are not splitting the left vote! The new electoral system, although an attack on the left, makes splitting the vote less of an issue, but does require careful tactics – something that requires time to plan, another reason not to unnecessarily rush into forming a fixed slate so early. We will make it a prominent part of our campaign that voters should rank all the candidates on the ballot to ensure that votes are transferred between left candidates (including those on the CLGA slate). In this way the left can both maximise its chances of winning places on the NEC, and offer members a real choice over who is elected. We should also be prepared for a number of NEC candidates being suspended in the middle of the campaign, as has happened before. We need a decent-sized pool of democratically agreed, principled, left-wing candidates who can step in, if necessary. 

7) The process to select left-wing candidates needs to become democratic, transparent and political! We therefore propose a vibrant ballot campaign of all left-wing candidates that includes public hustings. We are asking all left-wingers for their view on our ‘Action programme for the left’, which includes a commitment to publish reports from NEC meetings, as well as the need to fight for some basic left-wing policies and opposition to the ever-increasing witch-hunt against the left. This will allow Labour Party members to make an informed choice. We will invite other organisations on the Labour Left to participate in this open and transparent ballot. We will explain that if somebody thinks we should only support the CLGA slate, they should only vote for those six candidates. We will encourage LLA supporters to rank all candidates in the order of the ballot results. 

LLA NEC election plan

As agreed by the LLA Organising Group, meeting on July 11 2020

  1. On July 11, we approach all left wing candidates with our ‘Action Programme for the Left’ and ask for their public responses asap, which we will publish on our website.
  2. In the meantime, we urge LLA supporters to start nominating the candidates democratically agreed by the LLA in our previous ballot.
  3. We publicise the responses as and when we get them and might add recommendations for nominations if a candidate seems good. 
  4. We also organise public hustings meetings, to which we invite ALL left wing candidates.
  5. We produce a checklist, featuring where every candidate stands on the witch-hunt; open selection; IHRA etc.
  6. At the end of July we ballot LLA supporters on ALL the left wing candidates who are standing. We explain that if somebody thinks we should only support the CLGA slate, they should only vote for those six candidates.
  7. We approach other left organisations to participate in our ballot (this is unlikely to include any participants in CLGA).
  8. We will decide at a later stage on how and how many candidates we will promote.