Labour Party

Push back for asylum rights

“Its main effect will be to add an extra dose of cruelty to the existing arrangements.” That’s the impact the Tories’ Nationality and Borders Bill — just passed by the House of Commons for a second time — will have on asylum-seekers, as summed up by migration writer Daniel Trilling. The arrangements are extremely cruel already. For almost three decades, Labour and Tory governments have progressively tightened access to asylum in the UK and restrictions on those seeking it when they are here. They have normalised barbaric practices including imprisoning asylum-seekers, forcibly dispersing them...

New Labour procedures are stitch-ups

The Labour Party leadership have drafted the “skeleton” of a new complaints procedure and indicated that they want rule changes at the conference in September. Cases to do with sexism, racism, antisemitism etc. will go to National Executive Committee (NEC) panels, and appeals to a new Appeal Board, replacing the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), and appointed, not elected: four lawyers, four HR people, four appointed party members. This is a response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) calling for an independent procedure. It looks like the EHRC has ok’d it. Less...

Organise for Labour Party conference!

Labour Party conference 2021 will take place from 25 to 29 September in Brighton, in-person unless a new Covid spike brings new curbs by then. This will be an important point for the left of the labour movement to regroup and halt its retreat and dissipation. Getting good rule changes through Labour conference is always a long and intricate process, so probably the best chances for political regrouping will be around motions and policy. The deadline for motion submissions is 13 September. Many local Labour Parties have already decided their motions. Others will decide in August or early...

Do revolutionary socialists have a place in Labour?

Although the Labour leadership's new bans on four organisations have been justified mainly in terms of the issue of antisemitism, the question of Marxist and Trotskyist politics has also been raised. We republish this article written by one of our comrades for socialist Labour Party magazine The Clarion in February 2017, which discusses the issues in the form of a reply to Labour right-winger Luke Akehurst. At the time dozens of Workers' Liberty people had recently been expelled from the Labour Party. Do revolutionary socialists have a place in Labour? By Sacha Ismail Some activists on the...

How to get a democratic, due-process Labour Party

The Labour Party leadership’s new move to ban some groups, following on a new wave of suspensions and exclusions since December 2020, and the previous waves in 2015 and 2016, is built on a rulebook allowing much scope for arbitrary purges. In this article, written before the move for new bans, Dave Levy argues for a rulebook providing democracy and due process. The reaction of the Party’s new leadership to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report on antisemitism seems to be to assume that everything they wanted was agreed, and that what they wanted is the answer to the Party’s...

Starmer's wretched support for NI Unionism

On 10 July, towards the end of a two day visit to Northern Ireland (NI), Labour leader Keir Starmer was asked, in an interview by BBC NI, what he would do in the event of a future border poll on a United Ireland. At first he dodged the question by insisting that such a poll was not an imminent possibility and it would be up to the people of NI to decide. When pressed by the interviewer though, he said that he “believed in the United Kingdom” and would campaign for the union and against a united Ireland. "I personally, as leader of the Labour Party, believe in the United Kingdom strongly”, he...

No to Starmer's bans!

The Labour leadership is planning to propose that the party’s National Executive Committee, at its meeting on Tuesday (20 July), bans four organisations. The four are Labour Against the Witch-Hunt, the Labour in Exile Network, Resist / Resistance Movement and Socialist Appeal. The report in the Mirror cites a “Labour source” saying Starmer wants to “stamp out anti-Semitism and toxic extremism” and condemning the “far left fringes”. The Labour right want to create an association between left-wing socialist politics and antisemitism. They also seem to be throwing in the issue of support for...

Starmer's feeble Big Idea on jobs

On 3 July Rachel Reeves and Keir Starmer launched their new economic Big Idea: “ask every public body to give more contracts to British firms big and small”. So far this feeble Big Idea (only “asking”) has been saved from the derision which overwhelmed the “I’m backing Britain” campaign of then Labour prime minister Harold Wilson in 1968, but only by attracting little comment of any sort. In any case, what is a “British” firm? One owned by a British boss? What if most of its production chain is overseas? Yet a non-British-owned firm has most of its workforce in Britain? Should we expect other...

Letter: Office doesn't equal power

I agree with Eric Lee (Solidarity 599) that trying to win public elections should be a part of socialist activity. Workers’ Liberty has in print a pamphlet, How to Fight Elections, based on our comrade Lol Duffy’s campaign as Labour candidate in Wallasey in 1987. But Eric’s article switches to and fro between “power” and “elected office” as if they are the same thing. They’re not. In fact, a dogmatic over-valuation of seeking electoral office can lead to socialists adapting to the constraints of office, sacrificing real political power from agitation in workplaces and neighbourhoods. Momentum...

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