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The Campaign Group – Time to move on?

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In the absence of any more helpful website, I turn to Wikipedia to learn the post election strength of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs – the forum in which one might have supposed a left challenge for the Party Leadership would be prepared.

It seems that the great bastion of unflinching socialist principle is now down to 14 members. Unfortunately, this number includes my own MP, Martin Caton, who I happen to know is not a member, so it looks as though it is not more than 13. Two of these, the chair and secretary, John and Diane, have both managed to declare themselves contenders for the Labour leadership, leaving perhaps 11 further nominations to negotiate between them. However, three of these are listed on various websites as already declared supporters of other candidates, 2 for Ed Milliband and 1 for Ed Balls. It gets worse, despite all the discussion and positioning taking place on the left, right and centre, the actual attendance at the key meeting of this vanguard of the ‘most sophisticated electorate in Britain’, was precisely 6, including the 2 would-be candidates.

It is a long time since I was a Labour MP. When I was, I put a disproportionate amount of my time into an effort to turn the Campaign Group into a serious co-ordinator of the genuine parliamentary Left and as an ally of Labour Party socialists outside parliament. So it gives me no pleasure to suggest now that the group has lost any purpose in its continued existence and ought to be wound up in order to make way for a less sectarian and more effective body.

3 Comments

  1. Manzil says:

    Does the Campaign Group even operate anymore? Unless I’m wrong or out of touch, SCGN hasn’t been published in ages. Even if you take the more restrictive group of LRC MPs as more reflective of Labour’s left, it includes people like Katy Clark who are running Diane Abbott’s campaign. The Labour left – at least in the mould of Briefing, the Campaign Group, CLPD etc. – is dead. Attrition among its parliamentary membership and dwindling influence in the trade union movement have seen to that.

    There is no point in being the most socialist MP in a room full of people who don’t see the relevance of socialism.

    Whatever its faults, the emergence on a broad anti-neoliberal counter-culture situated around Compass and the ‘soft left’, has been far more influential, not because the activists and MPs supporting it are sell-outs or careerists, but because it has made left-wing politics seem vibrant, relevant and inclusive. Democratic socialists in the Labour Party should aim to be a positive, if critical part of this broad left.

  2. Duncan Hall says:

    It hardly seems appropriate to describe the SCG as “sectarian”. One of its key features over the years – which has been at once appealing and frustrating – has been its tendency not to act as one, and to be a collective of mavericks…

    The group has performed a key role over the years and I have no doubt will continue to do so. In many ways, in the current situation, an organised socialist backbench grouping has more opportunity than previously to make a real difference in the current parliament, in concert with other groupings.

    Whether a big shift of personnel is an opportunity for something of a re-branding is a matter worth discussing, but I do think it would be disappointing if too many articles on “Left Futures” were double-barrelled potshots at “Lefts Present and Past”…

  3. La revue Démocratie & Socialiste a décidé de la ncer un appel de socialistes européens en solidarité avec la grèce. des signatures sont attendues de Suisse, espagne, italie, belgique, grèce, allemagne et en Grande Bretagne, nous nous adressons à vous .
    Accepteriez vous de signer ce texte à nos côtés ?

    APPEL
     Nous, militantes et militants socialistes européens, n’acceptons pas la situation faite au peuple grec.
     
    Les plans d’austérité à répétition immergent son économie dans la récession. Ses services publics sont bradés aux multinationales. Le chômage s’accroit, les salaires et les prestations sociales diminuent, plongeant dans des difficultés insurmontables ou la pauvreté une grande partie de sa population.
     
     Militants et responsables socialistes, nous dénonçons la politique du FMI, de la Banque Centrale européenne, de la Commission Européenne qui conditionnent toute aide financière à l’organisation de l’austérité pour les peuples et les salariés.
     
    Nous, en tant que socialistes, constatons que le choix des dirigeants espagnols, portugais et grecs d’accepter les injonctions du trio (FMI/BCE/Commission européennes) conduit à la déroute électorale et nous coupe de notre base sociale.
     
    La finance qui avait provoqué la crise de 2007-2008 avait aussitôt obtenu le soutien massif et inconditionnel des Etats sans qu’aucune contrepartie ne leur ait été demandée. Aujourd’hui, la finance après avoir spéculé contre les dettes publiques des Etats qui venaient de la sauver se retrouve encore au bord du gouffre. Le FMI, la BCE, la Commission européenne organisent de nouveaux plans de sauvetage pour lui éviter la faillite. Mais, encore une fois, aucune contrepartie, autre que « « volontaire » et sans relation avec leur responsabilité réelle dans la crise actuelle n’est demandé aux banques, aux assurances, a l’ensemble des spéculateurs.
     
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    Nous ne l’acceptons pas. Tout comme ne l’accepte pas tous ceux qui, en Grèce, en Espagne… se mobilisent de plus en plus massivement, à l’image des « Indignés », des grèves et manifestations syndicales.
     
    Les casseurs doivent être les payeurs et la finance doit payer ce qu’elle a cassé.
     
    Le peuple grec, comme tous les peuples concernés, doit pouvoir décider démocratiquement (sur la base d’un audit public)  quelle part de sa dette est légitime et doit être remboursée, quelle part est illégitime et ne doit pas être remboursée.
     
    Par cet appel, nous voulons interpeller l’ensemble des socialistes européens, entamer le débat nécessaire sur les réponses socialistes à apporter à la crise financière, à la crise de la dette.
     
    La lutte entre les classes fondamentales, le capital et le salariat s’accentue dans toute l’Europe. Nous choisissons notre camp : les peuples et les salariés contre l’austérité
    Nous proposons de refuser de céder aux exigences de la finance, du FMI, de la BCE et de la Commission européenne.

    Les socialistes européens sont au carrefour, ensemble choisissons le chemin conforme à ce que nous sommes. 

    CALL
     We, European Socialists activists, do not accept the situation made the Greek people.
     
    Austerity plans repeatedly immerse the economy into recession. Public services are sold off to multinationals. Unemployment increases, wages and benefits decrease, plunging into insurmountable difficulties or poverty much of its population.
     
     Socialist leaders and activists, we condemn the policy of the IMF, the European Central Bank, the European Commission which determine any financial assistance to the organization of austerity for the people and employees.
     
    We, as socialists, note that the choice of leaders from Spain, Portugal and Greece to accept the orders of the trio (IMF / ECB / European Commission) leads to electoral defeat and we cut our social base.
     
    That caused the financial crisis of 2007-2008 had immediately received the overwhelming support and unconditional state without any compensation to them has been requested. Today, after the financial speculation against the public debts of States who came to save is still found on the Brink. The IMF, the ECB, the European Commission are organizing new rescue plans for him to avoid bankruptcy. But, again, no consideration, other than “” voluntary “and unrelated to their actual responsibility in the current crisis has asked banks, insurance, the set of speculators.
     
    Greece is now the benchmark of neoliberalism. Beyond the austerity already been served, it indicates what will be tomorrow inflicted all the European peoples, beginning with the peoples of Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
     
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    The breakers should be the payers and finance to pay what it broke.
     
    The Greeks, like all the people concerned must be able to democratically decide (on the basis of a public audit) how much debt is legitimate and must be repaid, how much is illegitimate and should not be reimbursed.
     
    For this call, we call upon all European Socialists, begin the necessary debate on Social Responses to the financial crisis, the debt crisis.
     
    The struggle between the fundamental classes, capital and the wage is increasing throughout Europe. We choose our camp: the people and workers against austerity
    We propose to refuse to yield to the demands of finance, the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission.

    The European Socialists are at the crossroads, choose all the way consistent with what we are.

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