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The Left needs to organise to win Labour’s internal elections this year

Inside Labour Corbyn“Force of conservatism” in the Labour Party will not be defeated until the left wakes up to the importance of structures, a former CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes told the Morning Star this week. Hayes is standing for election to Labour’s influential conference arrangements committee.

He said the party’s policy-making structures should empower members and “not officialdom.” His comments came after Labour rightwingers won key positions at the London Young Labour conference last weekend, due to being better organised that their left-wing rivals. Mr Hayes, who is standing alongside north London party activist Seema Chandwani on the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance slate, warned that the right had upped its game following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.

“The forces of conservatism have not gone away,” he told the Star. “Sometimes people think that structures are dry as dust, but they’re vitally important.”

The committee is regularly criticised by left activists for keeping policy motions and rule changes proposed by left activists off the agenda at the Labour conference. It is made up of five members elected by the whole conference — effectively chosen by the unions — and two Constituency Labour Party (CLP) reps elected in a one-member one-vote postal ballot. The current CLP reps are MP and former TV presenter Gloria de Piero and former MEP and Eastenders actor Lord Cashman. “For a long time, conference has been underplayed,” Mr Hayes added. “The minimum wage began at Labour’s women’s conference, and there’s something to say for the wisdom of crowds.

“I was involved in union negotiations to get issues onto the agenda, and when we have got our way, it was because the unions have acted as one. The CLPs are not as experienced.”

9 Comments

  1. John P Reid says:

    You need to huge the headline to ‘centre ‘ left apparently billy Hayes is on the centre, PMSL

  2. Bazza says:

    Absolutely we need to be ORGANISED!
    We come on here and theorise but you need to do practical things too!
    Back left wing democratic socialists for positions, go to Labour meetings and put forward arguments, canvass, leaflet etc, propose resolutions.
    Thinking outloud is good but need action!
    Words need backing up with pratical action too!
    So far in the last few months I have got resolutions passed at my branch on the need for a national care service, a comprehensive housing policy covering all tenures (as posted on here and the LRC website), and I have put forward a resolution on increasing CLP NEC places from 6 to 12 to give grassroots members more power, and my next one is for free public transport.
    So yes think, share ideas, canvass, leaflet etc. but most importantly of all back it up with practical action – the left must organise!
    We need to be holistic socialists instead of partial socialists!
    Solidarity!

  3. Sacha Ismail says:

    Bazza, how do we get the text of your resolution on a national care service? Momentum NHS is talking about campaigning around that, be useful to have a model resolution to adapt/use.

  4. Bazza says:

    Sacha
    Think it was something like: “This CLP calls upon the Labour Party to revive its policy of a National Care Service and to effectively campaign to address the current adult social care crisis.”
    With best wishes, Bazza

  5. Shaun Cohen says:

    After recently re-joining the LP after leaving in the early 80s (I originally joined in 1974), I was shocked to discover how much the Party has abandoned internal democracy and accountability. We have it seems an apparatus to support the organisation norms previously created that excludes the grass roots from decision making. Unless there are organisational changes from within the left will get nowhere.

  6. Bill says:

    This should make interesting reading. Enough to expel any OTHER Labour Party member.

  7. Joe says:

    How were these candidates selected, or is this just another Lansman fix?

  8. The right has had a dozen years to embed itself in the bureaucracy of the party from the CLPs upwards. it is going to be a long fight to remove them from positions of power. The left with the likes of Momentum will need to find some common positions with the ‘soft’ left in order to defeat the right. Losing some of the Leninists from Momentum should make that easier.

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