“As an NEC member, I would campaign vigorously to restore the supremacy of party conference, uphold the democratic right of open selection of candidates for office, end arbitrary suspensions, and put forward radical socialist policies along the lines of the 2019 election manifesto.”
Too many socialists are leaving the Labour Party. Hundreds of thousands had joined to support Jeremy Corbyn; that was a broad but soft and passive support, and the current exodus, by which large sections of the membership are melting away, is the flip side of that support. It is necessary to raise the banner of socialism not just when it’s easy and there’s little overt resistance, but crucially when it’s tough going: when it’s a question of swimming against the stream and fighting back. A strong left vote will send a clear message.
The removal of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the front bench and the payment of hundreds of thousands of hard-earned party funds to Labour’s enemies suggest that it is current party policy to reassure the 1% at all costs that Labour is once again safe. But what chance is there for a New Labour, Blairite, “third-way”, policy of “moderation”? There is no “middle way” in the current crisis. The danger is not of a new era of Blairism – of “New New Labour” – but of something even worse: of another 1931, when the former Labour leaders were drawn into a national government and the party split.
The most dangerous and catastrophic existential crisis in human history is opening up – a perfect storm: a period of successive and potentially more lethal pandemics; of a rapidly approaching environmental catastrophe; of a slump on the proportions not even of the 1930s but of 1709; of a worldwide rash of repressive and racist regimes; and of a coming clash between a dying superpower in its death throes and a ferocious emerging rival.
The younger generation will see a definitive outcome one way or another to this crisis within their lifetimes – hence the magnificent uprising of youth worldwide, in Extinction Rebellion, in Me Too, and most spectacularly in Black Lives Matter, uniting black and white youth across the globe.
Socialist policies are overwhelmingly popular within Labour’s ranks. What’s the proof? The fact that hundreds of thousands of people joined the party to support Jeremy Corbyn. And their opinions have not changed. Rebecca Long-Bailey won 135,000 votes – way more than any former left candidate prior to Corbyn. And many if not most of those who voted for Sir Keir Starmer did so trusting his assurances that he wanted to advance Corbyn’s radical programme, and in the belief that he was better placed to secure a future Labour electoral victory. There has not been a shift to the right in the ranks of the party membership and support base.
And what about outside Labour’s ranks? Socialist policies are supported by most of the population. The policies outlined in Labour’s 2019 manifesto have never been more popular. Opinion polls show clear majorities for renationalisation of transport and the utilities, a wealth tax, a tax on higher incomes, a fully publicly-owned NHS, free health and social care, a green industrial revolution, etc.
It is a media lie that the last election was Labour’s “worst result since 1935”. No, it was actually Labour’s second-best result since 2001. Under Corbyn’s leadership it won more votes than under Miliband in 2015, under Brown in 2010, and even under Blair in 2005, when Labour won! Only in 2017, also under Corbyn, did Labour win more votes.
I am standing for the NEC to revive the spirits and morale of the hundreds of thousands who voted for Corbyn and the millions who voted Labour under his leadership; and to put socialism firmly back on Labour’s agenda.