On 5 February representatives of nine Labour-oriented campaigning organisations attended a meeting convened by Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
They were: Labour Campaign for Free Movement, Labour for a Four Day Week, Labour Homelessness Campaign, Labour Campaign for Council Housing, Labour for a Socialist Europe, Free Our Unions, Momentum NHS, Labour Transformed and The World Transformed. Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome was also there.
It was, in many respects, a follow-up to the previous get-togethers organised under the banner “Labour Campaigns Together” (labourcampaignstogether.com). LCT was created to organise pressure for left-wing policies passed at last year’s Labour Party conference to be carried out. It did some useful but limited bits, and since the election has been pretty low-profile.
So much has happened in the last few months that the discussion on 5 February inevitably ranged all over the place. There seemed to be consensus that maintaining and developing a network of Labour-focused left-wing campaigns can be useful. There will be another meeting in a few weeks, perhaps with a few more organisations, to discuss exactly what the purpose of a network should be and, if possible, makes initial plans.
Minimally, to start with, such a network should: advertise and popularise the policies passed at Labour conference and fight to get the party campaigning for them; promote genuine democratisation, above all the idea of a sovereign decision-making conference; and provide a forum in which parts of the critical-thinking Labour left can at least exchange information and ideas.
Those limited goals are worth fighting for, but even in themselves quite ambitious. Discussion and clarification would be needed to go further.
At the meeting a few people flagged up the idea of an alternative left to Momentum. Practical difficulties aside, those present clearly had major disagreements on what the left should stand for. A discussion about Clive Lewis’ attempted leadership campaign turned into one on “progressive alliances” - a welcome debate, but it couldn’t get very far, and participants had a wide range of views, many of them sharply contradictory.
I’ll report on the next meeting.