Hundreds of Labour and trade union activists have signed a statement put out by Labour for a Socialist Europe demanding a radical, left-wing, anti-Brexit platform for Labour in the Euro-elections due on 23 May.
The signatories include Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West, and Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East.
With the excuse of rush, the selection of Labour candidates for the Euro-elections has been done with minimal democracy. The whole process is scheduled to terminate on Wednesday 17 April, the day after Solidarity goes to press, and the best information we can get from chat in the corridors is that it looks bad for left-wing and pro-Remain candidates.
The Labour machine has a problem, though. Most of the sitting Labour MEPs will be standing again; they are all pro-Remain, and some of them are leftish.
Given the confusion, ambiguity, and lack of authority of “official” Labour policy, it is hard to see how the Labour machine will stop them campaigning on anti-Brexit and sometimes left-wing platforms.
Back in 1979, Socialist Organiser, the forerunner of Solidarity, pioneered the idea of a distinctive left-wing and socialist campaign within an official Labour election campaign. It was called the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory.
Constituency Labour Parties then largely ran their own campaigns, with relatively slight central control.
SCLV was able to get six constituencies officially to decide to back SCLV and use SCLV materials. Only six, and some of those used SCLV stuff only marginally, alongside more conformist electioneering.
But it was enough to make an impact. And in many other constituencies individual canvassers or groups of canvassers were able to use SCLV materials.
Since then, and particularly since the “Blair coup” inside the Labour Party in the mid and late 1990s, central control has been much tightened.
It could well be looser in these Euro-elections. We should certainly push.
We have a chance to do something much more like the SCLV of 1979 than was possible with smaller-scale similar efforts in 2010 and 2015.