For a Broad Left Network

Three leading left Labour groups – JVL, LRC and Red Labour  – call for unified grassroots coalition
  • New campaigning Labour left network aims for unity around shared socialist principles of equality and justice
  • Urges all socialists to stay in the party
  • Umbrella network aims to coordinate, support and act in solidarity with new and existing groups

Now read on! Then sign up here.

 

For a Broad Left Network

The loss of the General Election, the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn, and the defeat of the left in the NEC elections, together constitute a major setback. But we are not defeated. We are also working in the unprecedented landscape caused by Covid-19 and the government response to this health emergency.

So we urge all socialists to stay in the party, contribute to the efforts to re-unite the left, and be part of a renewed focus for mobilising to demand the society we need for the many.

One great achievement of the Corbyn period was to bring the left together into a force able to influence the terms of debate, to mobilise for and win a left orientated NEC and get radical motions passed at conference. Before Jeremy’s election we worked as many separate groups, but under his leadership we showed that together, we could wield real influence.

Remember how much we’ve achieved in the past 5 years. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic Labour had forced the Conservatives to make reverses on austerity – including the promise of new investment in infrastructure and public services. The £10 an hour Living Wage campaign was and still is a great example of successful campaigning that became Labour Party policy and pushed the Tories into moving on this issue.

We reaffirm our commitment to the Labour Party which remains, through its historic connection with the trade union and labour movement, the most important expression of the organised working class and a voice for the many.

Our tasks are twofold:

  • First is to help build a strong opposition to the right-wing Tory government. Sadly, we cannot always rely on support from within the Labour Party for our socialist policies, industrial action and active campaigning.
  • Our second task, therefore, is to help strengthen and reconnect the Labour left. There is a major task of reconstruction to be taken up urgently.

United we are rock – divided we are sand

Many existing left groups and trade unions, as well as emerging new grassroots organisations, have complementary strengths and a shared purpose, so we are calling for a national network of the grassroots Labour left. The signatories to this initial statement of intent will be part of the answer but we do not presume to offer a complete solution. This is just the start – one piece of a much bigger jigsaw. Any genuine coalition of the left should include both traditional established organisations and emerging new groupings.

Developing such a movement is the first stage in a process of getting people to think about what kind of society they want to live in. This has to be a grassroots activity bringing together individuals and groups, both within and outside the party together with trade unions, councillors, MPs and others in influential positions who actively support a transformative agenda – and demonstrating the importance of going back to our roots through workplace and community organising. We also need to promote understanding of the socialist potential a post-Covid-19 political landscape will offer.

A new and different landscape

The Covid-19 crisis, along with its tragic consequences, has made campaigners think about new ways of organising and mobilising. It has already highlighted the importance of public services and exposed the damage that decades of austerity have done to workers’ conditions while destroying any opportunities for our youth to thrive.

Across all regions and nations of the United Kingdom, party members are joining mutual aid groups. This kind of co-operative activity could sow the seeds of radical change, moving away from the cruelty of Tory individualism and its market-led ideology. The crisis around the pandemic has also seen a growth in workplace militancy, in particular resistance to working in unsafe conditions.

And in the unprecedented environment of lock-down we are finding different ways to communicate, organise and express solidarity – through social media, chat groups, virtual meetings and events. These are particularly important while most party structures are all but shut down. We need to demand they are opened up virtually to ensure that all members have a voice in party business.

Our principles and commitment to concrete action

Socialists in the party need to work together, in coalition, now more than ever. Alongside others in the Labour Party, we will help rebuild the left around a new, national network, which will be a place to organise, educate and debate in order to deliver the socialist society we all need.

We commit to democratic and transparent organisation; working to democratise the Labour Party and the trade unions; defending party members against unjust disciplinary processes and supporting the self-organisation of groups contesting particular oppressions.

Some of the key policies that we will be supporting and campaigning for are:

  • A commitment to repealing all anti-trade union legislation;
  • Struggles against employer attacks and oppression of workers; struggles for unionising unorganised workforces;
  • Combating damaging climate change nationally and internationally;
  • Public ownership of, and investment in, our public services, in particular our NHS and social care;
  • Opposing all forms of racism including antisemitism, and all other forms of discrimination;
  • Rolling back the growth of the far right;
  • An internationalist policy stance based on justice and peace which by definition includes support for the Palestinians.

Labour belongs to us. Let’s unite to form an opposition and movement we can be proud of, to build the society we believe in.

How to get involved – we want to hear from you

We are already talking to groups we expect to be among the first participants in this network. If you are in a left Labour/Momentum/constituency group, trade union branch, self-organising group representing liberation strands or broad left Labour organisation which you believe would be interested in joining this network we want to hear from you. We will use contact details, with permission, to put people in touch with each other and start to develop the networking potential of the Labour left. We also want to involve community cultural and arts groups to support diversity of political education.

There are many vibrant campaigns going on at grassroots level. Here are a couple of examples supporting people working in low paid jobs and the gig economy that stand out in their organisation and ambition. Please contact them direct for further information and to sign up. We’re proud to support:

  • Zero hours justice https://www.zerohoursjustice.org/
  • 100% campaign https://www.facebook.com/events/206565310643449/

We look forward to connecting activists involved in many such campaigns, covering issues including our NHS, housing, education and many more through our network as it develops.

Please get in touch via: [email protected] and our Facebook page

We are also building an internet hub of resources and materials for education, communication and organisation – open to everyone in the network. Get in touch if you want to contribute ideas, skills and local campaign details.

We aim to hold a major gathering, virtual if necessary, to connect all groups working towards our shared goals. Please contact us if you would like to be part of an organising group to make it happen.

Our founding organisations plus supporters

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Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)
Socialist Campaign Group of Councillors
Ian Hodson, President Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)
Laura Pidcock
Tosh Macdonald – Retired President, ASLEF
Jo Bird – Secretary of Wirral Labour Group and ex-NEC candidate
Jane Aitchison – President Leeds TUC and Labour PPC for Pudsey 2019
Kate Linnegar – Labour PPC for North Swindon 2019
Sophie Wilson – Labour PPC for Rother Valley 2019
Rebecca Gordon- Nesbitt – Labour PPC for South Thanet 2019
Tina McKay – Labour PPC for Colchester 2019
Pamela Fitzpatrick – Labour PPC for Harrow East 2019

 

Comments (12)

  • Doug says:

    There is only one challenge and that is to get socialists elected at every level of the party
    To do that you need single lists of candidates for the left to vote for
    This will then allow you to
    To make rule changes that speeds the departure of the enemy within
    Never agai

  • Dominic Sheeran says:

    There has to be action taken against the perpetrators of the gross betrayal before there can be any way forward.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Both sad and angry. I am not a Labour Party member, though I mostly vote Labour (but sometimes Green). I am also Jewish and I am a Friend of JVL and have done a lot of work with and for JVL. This statement excludes me. It treats Labour as the centre of the universe and assumes everyone on the left thinks likewise. It conveys no message of equality and respect to others engaged in political activism, some of whom show far more flair and creativity than Labour (think Extinction Rebellion) and especially not to unaffiliated individuals who are left wing, socialist, radical etc etc but are not in the Labour Party and see other organisations as being as important as Labour. Above all, there is no humility in the statement – no recognition that if Labour wants our support, with or without our membership, it needs to WIN it, not expect us to give it, because Labour is the self-evident leader of the left. I can’t sign this statement, nor persuade many of my left wing but unaffiliated friends to sign it, because ultimately you have made it clear, we do not even peak over your horizon. What a waste!

  • Rosemary Bechler says:

    For me – your winning statement is this one:”This has to be a grassroots activity bringing together individuals and groups, both within and outside the party…” . Ultimately I believe to be transformational it will also have to reach beyond the left.

  • TM says:

    For me the focus of this Call for a Broad Left Network has to be our work within the Labour Party to carry forward the Manifesto of JC’s leadership. We are in a very clear struggle to prevent the LP from moving rightwards. We are in a struggle to defend and promote socialist policies for the many not the few. It is a struggle to defend socialist policies internationally and stand up against oppression and human rights abuses anywhere.
    It does not in any way denigrate or underestimate those who struggle in other organisations or individually. I imagine there will be links made.
    It is an essential way forward for left and socialist members who are considering leaving the LP; to stay and fight on. The crucial phrase is the LP’s historic ties with the Trade Union Movement.
    Please support this effort to rescue and protect the gains of the past five years.

  • \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\frank \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\land says:

    We cannot risk another failure so coming together is very welcome. But unless we understand the reasons for our previous failures, we may fail to address the problem And the failures go far beyond failure to rebut the anti-left media. It is a matter of urgency to establish two standing bodies

    1, a body capable of a forensic analysis of past and present activities, policies, and strategems, and what lessons positive as well as negative can be learned from them
    2. a body which exists to ensure that these lessons actually result in action being taken.

  • Lynne Hayes says:

    Really interested in this new venture. Things are so depressing right now.

  • different frank says:

    People Keir Starmer chose not to prosecute as CPS head:

    -MI5 officer involved in torture
    -MI6 officer who rendered family to Libya
    -Police that killed Charles de Menezes
    -Police that killed Ian Tomlinson

    People he prosecuted especially hard:

    -Julian Assange
    -Benefit “cheats”

  • TM says:

    “The crucial phrase is the LP’s historic ties with the Trade Union Movement.”
    And those ties, I needed to add, also relate to the right wing and careerist bureaucracies. Much needs to be done to clear out the scum from both stables. The memberships must take control.

  • Nassah says:

    How can we ensure this movement to reclaim Labour will be inclusive of and be within the interests of people outside London ?
    If the last elections are anything to go by, people outside the capital weren’t feeling well represented by Labour, which resulted in them voting Conservative.
    Will people in this new movement be really willing to listen to people and working towards left policies ? What will be done to ensure this isn’t dominated by folks from elite backgrounds and/or an academic or media bubble telling ordinary people what to think ?

  • Jean Fitzpatrick says:

    Stay United.

Comments are now closed.